Thursday, September 11, 2014

The day before Dapper Day at the Disneyland Resort

Tomorrow is Dapper Day at Disneyland. What is Dapper Day? It's an unofficial event that started back in February of 2011 where people come to the park dressed in their best stylish outfits.
Definition: dap·per
Adjective: neat and trim in appearance; very spruce and stylish
One of the great perks of coming to the park during this time are the deep discounts at the park hotels. By getting a convention rate, the DapperDay.com organizers have been able to offer rooms at very reasonable prices. Normally rooms at Disneyland's nicest hotel, the Grand Californian, start at $450 per night. Theresa and I have always wanted to experience it, but living just 30 minutes away, that's always been hard to justify. With the Dapper discount that dropped to only $225 per night. Still expensive, but much easier to swallow.

Theresa and I left work a little early, picked up Ian, and showed up about an hour before the 3pm check-in time.

Luckily our room was ready and we were able to head right up. The room itself was nice enough. Not opulent by any means, but we've got some space to spread out. At $450 a night, I wouldn't have been too happy, but for $225 I'm feeling alright.

Ian checking out the place from down low.

As far as the view goes, again I wasn't expecting much. It wasn't a park view, or even a pool view, instead it was the parking lot view. At least we're on the very top floor.

Theresa and Ian chilling on the bed. It is nice and comfy.

At least he's getting a little more cautious when he's crawling to the edge. Instead of crawling right off, he slows down and judges the situation first.

I think one of the best things about our room was that it was so close to the viewing area into Disney's California Adventure park. On the sixth floor of the hotel there is a large balcony looking into the parks, and our room is just down the hall from it.

At night when the park is showing World of Color, they pipe the music up here and you can watch the show. I'm curious to see what it's going to look like though. Guess we'll find out tonight.

A short time later while we were in our room we got some vistors. Kelly is a friend from Arizona I met on Micechat.com and she and T were pregnant at the same time. She and her husband Sean had come out to visit during the last Dapper Day and came to the beach with us. We ran into Kelly again back in May during the 24 hour Disney Day. Now in September, finally the whole family is here and we can meet her daughter Sophie. She's just a month younger than Ian.

Ian was pretty happy to meet someone new.

Ian's very grabby though, so he immediately tried to grab her hair, her dress, her toes, etc.

The moms had quite the task to keep them apart. Poor Sophie. Ian just doesn't know how to treat the ladies yet.

Eventually a few toys came out and they spent some time taking toys from each other. Either way though, a cute interaction between the two of them.

By now, it was about 4pm and Jacob arrived too. Sean (who doesn't have an Annual Pass) agreed to watch Sophie, so Kelly (who does have an Annual Pass) could go explore the parks. It's great having the hotel entrance to DCA where we're inside the park within minutes of leaving our room. Our very first ride of the day was The Little Mermaid.

I hope Ian's enjoying these rides more than before. He doesn't whine or cry while we're on them so I'm thinking he does. Theresa does appreciate that she gets good hugs from him when we go on rides.

Wait times today in the park are pretty minimal. The park doesn't seem very busy at all, so Theresa agreed to watch Ian while the rest of us rode Screamin. The back row is my favorite on this coaster.

Upside-down while going through the loop.

I really wish they would have been doing the discounted on-ride photos still. A couple weeks ago they were selling digital downloads on your on-ride photo for $4.99, $2.99, $0.99, and even free while they tested the market. Instead it was $14.95 and that's a bit too high for me.

Checking our Mousewait app we saw Radiator Springs Racers had a 45 minute wait, but the single-rider line was only 15 minutes. That doesn't happen too often and it's been a while since we've ridden it. Everyone started to get into the single-rider line and I'm planning on just waiting in line with them while holding Ian, but not ride. I tell the cast member at the entrance that I won't be riding, but I'm told that I'm not allowed to cross the entrance to the ride while holding Ian. Odd... Wonder why.

So Ian and I wait by the exit in the shade. Turns out the single-rider line was walk-on with no wait at all, so shortly afterwards everyone is back together again.

For someone who takes so many selfies with characters that some on Micechat have started calling the act of taking a selfie with a character a "Character Kelly" she sure was pretty shy around my camera.

And when I do get her to look at the camera, she gives me faces like this (told you I'd post it).

It's 5:30 and our tummies are starting to get a little rumbly. I think we have time for one more ride though. Goofy's Sky School is a walk-on so that's where we head.

Always fun.

As we were all walking back to the Grand Californian, we pass by the Grizzly River Run. It's been years and years since I rode this ride and Kelly suggested we all go on it. Well we've got a hotel room right here to go back to if our clothes get too wet, so why not? And surprisingly even Theresa decided she would go on it.

With just a 5 minute wait, we didn't have any time to reconsider.

Those of us sitting by the openings were a little more concerned about getting drenched. Here Kelly is about to shield Theresa from the incoming wave.

About to go down the long drop.

And we're off. Not only is it a drop, but the raft spins too. Perhaps a little much for T. She said it reminded her of the teacups it spun so much.

Where was Ian this whole time? Hanging out with Jacob.
His first time babysitting in the past 20 years and he said it was the longest 10-15 minutes of his life. Ian was well behaved for him though and both of them came through the experience just fine.

It's always nice to hear the live piano player in the Grand Californian lobby.

It's a little bit of a late dinner, but still we were able to get seated immediately at the ESPN Zone.

Sophie appears to just be waking up from a nap.

It's been a really long time since T and I have eaten here as well. By staying at the Grand Californian we're doing a lot more things around the resort than we normally would do.

Ian's wondering what's for dinner. His appetite has really picked up now that we're giving him food from our plates as well as baby food.

It was a good time hanging out with friends and catching up on everything that's happened in the last year.

For dinner Theresa and I split the full rack of baby back ribs and the half-pound chili dog. I thought the ribs were quite flavorful and tender. The chili dog was tasty too, but I was a little disappointed the bun was already split before I even picked it up.

After dinner, we didn't have too much time to get back to the viewing balcony for World of Color. Because our room was so close, our baby monitor was able to reach the balcony so T and I put Ian to sleep and then joined the rest of the crew. Here's our nighttime view into the park.

Sophie getting a good view from Sean's shoulders. As soon as the show started, her eyes were locked on to all the colors.

Just a look back onto the balcony five minutes after the show starts. This is on a Thursday night after a very quiet day in the parks. The only "views" to be had are close to the balcony. Otherwise you won't be able to see much.

Note that I put "view" in quotation marks. The original Grand Californian hotel was finished in 2001, while this balcony was part of the 2009 expansion. Nearly 2 years later, the World of Color debuted inside DCA, so obviously this balcony wasn't built with World of Color viewing in mind.
If you've never seen the show this definitely isn't the spot for you. The music from the show is played through the speakers up here which is nice, but it's impossible to see any of the screens. You do get a good view down into Paradise Bay to see the fountains, but even then your view is obstructed. 


Sophie has had enough. Good night Sean and Kelly. We'll catch up more tomorrow.

Theresa and I spent just a few more minutes in the hallway watching Ian on the monitor while talking over our plans for the rest of the weekend.

Tomorrow is Dapper Day! Here's hoping it's not too hot!

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