Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 7 – Friday, June 25, 2010

Plan: Morning at Disneyland; Lunch at Café Orleans; Dinner at Knott’s Berry Farm to celebrate Dad’s birthday

I slept in until the late hour (for me) of 6:45am. Jason and I decided not to rush over at park opening today. Since Sandy, Matthew and Samantha used the last of their 5-day park hoppers yesterday, it would only be those of us with AP’s visiting the park today. We had accomplished so much the previous five days with our detailed touring plans we decided today was just going to be a laid-back day at the park, without rushing around to any attractions. We hung out in the room until 9:00am and then drove over to the Toy Story parking lot, hoping it would be open by then. Luckily it was. We parked in a spot in the Jesse area and walking onto a waiting bus. Our luck continued as we were dropped off at the bus stop as close to the entrance as possible. The big rush to enter the park was over and there was a very short line at the turnstiles.

Our first stop was to the Market House for coffee, where we saw Dad sitting at one of the tables outside. Jason went and sat with Dad, while I went in to get our coffee. In addition to coffee, I picked up a couple of cookies for us for later. This brought our purchase to over $10 and I was able to use the 10% AP merchandise discount.

Dad said Mom was across the street at the Blue Ribbon Bakery getting cinnamon rolls. Jason and I held the table while Dad went in to get their coffee. When everyone returned to the table, we sat there for a while and talked. The weather was perfect. A little overcast with a hint of coolness still in the air.

After we finished our coffee, Jason and I headed over to Captain EO for one final show. Our timing was perfect as the door was just getting ready to close as we entered.

Next we headed across to Adventureland for one final Dole Whip. They were already letting people in for the Tiki Room show. We wouldn’t have had time to get our Dole Whips first so we decided to wait for the next show. We sat in the patio area for a few minutes and then timed it just right, getting our Dole Whips just before a large line formed. We enjoyed the show as usual, very happy that Disney didn’t monkey with this show like they did the one in Walt Disney World.

Leaving Adventureland, we decided to head to Town Square and find a shady bench to sit and watch the characters interact with guests. After five days I still hadn’t had any Disney popcorn, so I bought a box from the vendor in the hub since I wasn’t sure if the cart near City Hall would be open this early in the day. As we past Market House we stopped in for coffee refills and then found one of the very few shady benches in Town Square.

After we finished our coffee, and I finished my popcorn, we decided to go see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. While we waited for the next show, we sat and watched the 50th anniversary film that was playing in the lobby. When that was over, we decided to just skip Lincoln and look through the Disney Gallery next door. Jason was looking for a particular print that he’d seen earlier, but was now unable to find. After a while he gave up and we went over to the Emporium to check out some Mickey Mouse watches that he’d also seen earlier. They were only $12.95 so we each bought one. This was my only souvenir of the entire trip. While we were in line to pay for the watches, Dad came up to us. Mom was doing some shopping, so Dad chatted with us for a few minutes until we were finished with our purchasing.

Jason decided that the print from the Disney Gallery was really important to him, so back we went so he could ask a CM for help. She checked in the back and found both the print and frame that he wanted. I was glad that we went back.

After a restroom stop we decided to head back to the hotel. It was 1:00pm and we both wanted to rest before we met up with the rest of the group at Knott’s Berry Farm for an early dinner. We boarded a waiting bus to the Toy Story lot that only had six other people aboard. It was deliciously cool inside the bus. It was a quick trip back to HoJo’s. As we walked to our rooms, we encountered Matthew and Samantha sitting outside in the courtyard with their laptops using the WiFi. They had walked all the way down Harbor from their hotel, stopping at McDonald’s along the way where they were unsuccessful in connecting to the WiFi. Jason invited them into his room while I went to the lobby to check the five of us in for our flight home the next morning. There was one person working the front desk and she was helping a family check in. It seemed to be taking them a really long time to get everything figured out. I didn’t feel right interrupting her to ask if she could get my boarding passes off the printer that’s behind the desk. Finally, a man came up from the back and grabbed my printouts for me.

Back in the room I rested for a while and then Jason came over to hang out. At 3:00pm we received a text to let us know that the rest of the group was leaving their hotel and would meet us at Knott’s. We left shortly after that. As we were driving towards the Knott’s parking structure, we spotted their van up ahead of us. Jason and I lucked out and were able to score a parking spot on the street very close to the restaurant. There’s a two hour limit, but hopefully we won’t be here any longer than that. There was absolutely no line at the chicken dinner restaurant, so Jason and I sat on a bench outside to wait for the rest of the group to walk over from the parking structure.

It was only a few minutes until the rest of the group arrived. We headed inside and found only one group ahead of us waiting to be seated. This is the absolute shortest line I’ve ever seen. We could have been seated immediately, but Mom wanted to sit in the garden room. The rest of us were so hungry that we really didn’t care where we were seated. With a group our size, it’s really better to take the first available table since it’s not as easy to seat a party of seven as it is to seat a smaller party. The last time we were all here together we sat in the garden room and it was very difficult hearing each other over the sound of the waterfall that was right next to our table..

When a garden table didn’t open up for awhile, Mom went to check out other possible seating locations to see if they would be acceptable. Mom is very particular about where she sits and isn’t usually content with the first table she is shown to. In everyday life, Dad usually drops Mom off at the door to the restaurant and then lingers over parking the car so that by the time he joins her all the drama involved in being seated is taken care of.

Dinner was excellent. Most of us had the chicken dinner meal where you get your choice of creamy chicken noodle soup or rhubarb, cabbage or corn, salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, four pieces of chicken, plenty of piping, hot buttermilk biscuits with butter and Knott’s jams/jellies, and dessert (choice of pie or ice cream). Beverages were not included but most of us ordered berry punch. I clearly remember the punch being so good that you didn’t want to stop drinking it. For some reason this time it was just so-so.

There was no way I could finish my meal, it’s just too much food. I tried to focus mainly on the side dishes since the chicken would be easiest to take back to the hotel in a doggy bag. I ended up with two pieces of chicken leftover. I should have gotten the pie to go since I was absolutely stuffed, but I didn’t and really regretted it afterwards. I was miserably full.

After dinner everyone except me and Jason went next door to look through Virginia’s Gift Shop. I’m not much of a shopper and rarely just browse through a store. Besides, our two hour parking limit was almost up so it gave us a good excuse to leave. We said goodbye to Mom and Dad since we most likely won’t see them in the morning when we pick up Sandy and the kids to go home.

Back at the hotel Jason and I quickly packed up and then watched some TV. Sandy came by for a few minutes to check her email. At 9:00pm Jason said goodnight and went to his room. I was asleep by 9:30pm.

Highlights: It was a nice, leisurely day without any pressure to do anything. My knees were about done in for the trip so I was happy to just sit and enjoy the surroundings. Dinner at Knott’s was a treat. It’s funny how I can go there to eat and never have the slightest desire to enter the theme park.

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