Dumbo and the Princess

Friday 27 January 2006, 1:33 pm

Mary and I disappeared for a few days to visit Disneyland with my sisters and brother-in-law, Carol, Susan, and Sam. The two of us met the three of them in Anaheim.

We left 7:30 am Monday morning and arrived at the Quality Inn on Manchester Avenue in Anaheim at 1:30 pm. We entered the park around 2:30 pm. My sisters left Fresno around 11:00 am and arrived at the motel at 3:30 pm. We met up with them at Cinderella's Castle shortly after.

We listened to my iPod most of the way down and most of the way back. But I'll post our playlist separately. It will take a while to sort it out. (My 2G iPod doesn't have the capability to remember what it played and display it in iTunes.)

Mary and I bought annual passes because we plan to come back this fall for my birthday. This time was "sort of" for Mary's birthday, which is in a couple of weeks. We might even come back next January to celebrate Mary's birthday early again. If so, the pass will be well worth the money. At $229, the deluxe (i.e. "limited") pass is worthwhile if you go to both parks for four days each. We were there for three days this time, so one day later and we'll break even. The deluxe pass has "blockout" dates on summer weekends and holidays, but we like coming during the off-season during the week anyway.

The annual pass also provides a 10 percent discount in most restaurants and stores, but we remembered to use it as such only once.

The only ride "down" was the Haunted Mansion. They redorated it and some other rides for Christmas, and they haven't finish restoring it to "normalcy." Oh, in California Adventure, the Golden Zephyr rocket ride was also down. Quite a few rides were down for short periods, but we eventually caught up with them all later.

We went twice on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, and Soarin' Over California (in California Adventure. Buzz because Mary wanted to improve her score, Roger Rabbit because the first time we went by ourselves, and the second time we wanted to take my sisters, and Soarin' because it is our favorite ride.

A few we went on that I'd never been on before: Dumbo, Peter Pan, the Circus Train, Winnie The Pooh, Monsters Inc. (a new ride this year), Tower of Terror (but we went on that one in Disney World last year), Jumpin' Jellyfish.

We also went on a few that I've not been on for a long time: Jungle Cruise (I don't remember it having Pirahna last time), Teacups.

We would normally go on all the roller coasters, but the first two days Mary's back was hurting, and the last day my back was a mess. I did take my sisters on Mullholland Madness the second day, and that might have messed up my back. So we skipped Space Mountain, the Matterhorn, and California Screamin'. We also skipped the two water rides (one in each park) because while sunny, it was not really that warm.

Monday we spent 1/2 day in DL, Tuesday we split the day between CA and DL, and Wednesday we stayed in DL until around 4 pm, because we still had a six-hour drive ahead of us. We did not visit anything else in LA or Orange County.

We stayed at the Quality Inn, a nice quiet motel with pool and pretty courtyards. Our room was only $46 for one queen non-smoking. The others stayed in a more expensive room because they needed two queen beds.

Tuesday morning we ate at IHOP. Fortunately we found a non-pancake breakfast that we could modify to be gluten-free. Did you know IHOP puts pancake batter into their omelet eggs? That makes even their omelets unsuitable for a GF diet, but they offered to make me "normal" eggs. Mary was skeptical they'd be made properly so she has something else.

Wednesday morning we ate at Mimi's Cafe. Mary thought it would be more expensive, but it was actually less expensive than IHOP and the food was better. Highly recommended. They have over 100 locations, mostly in California. I had the cajun sausage, which was pretty warm.

Tuesday evening Mary and I ate at Storyteller Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel off Downtown Disney. We ate there when we were there three years ago, and they took very good care of us and our special dietary requirements. (Neither of us can eat gluten, and Mary can't have vinegar either.) We ended up with salmon, almost the only GF and vinegar-free option on the menu. Their mashed potatoes have sour cream with modified food starch, but they instead made us gluten-free elbow macaroni and cheddar cheese. So we ended up with salmon and mac & cheese as the starch. Weird combination, but very good. The vegetable soup also warmed us up.

Wednesday afternoon in Toon Town while looking at ingredients, an employee named Brenda told us of gluten-free burgers at Club Buzz. (This is the disco dance floor in Tomorrowland.) We couldn't believe it, but she was right. We got huge burgers with gluten-free buns, and the fries were gluten-free, too.

What else? On Monday before my sisters arrived, Rancho del Zocalo restaurant made us a gluten-free Mexican meal. I think Mary had 1/4 chicken and I had enchiladas. They made us red corn tortilla special. On Tuesday, we wore tags that said it was Mary's birthday. To help us celebrate, Mission Tortilla Factory gave us a package of fresh corn tortillas right out of the machine. Yum! And they serve margaritas in California Adventure. A double treat.

Some of the rides had captions for the deaf, which helped my sisters. Tower of Terror had captions on the TV screens for the intro. Bug's Life had "reflective captions." These are projected from the back wall, and they give you a small smoke glass screen through which you can see both the feature and the captions as in a mirror. They also had reflective captions in Golden Dreams.

We left the hotel about 5:00 pm on Wednesday, but we did not get home until 12:30 am. That's what you get for leaving during LA rush hour.