Normally we'd arrive before park opening and get a jump on the crowds. Today though it took a little longer to leave the house and after exiting the freeway it took another 30 minutes to get parked. One of the reasons could be because they're handing out these special Annual Passholder buttons to each car. Even with all the Mickey and Friends lanes open, it was still backed up to the freeway offramp.
Ian knows his letters and when we asked him what his button said, he replied "A P Mickey Mouse".
I really wanted to make sure we got to ride on the updated Haunted Mansion Holiday and luckily for us, Fastpasses are available with return times just an hour from now.
With an hour to spend before we have to return, it was a pretty easy decision to make to head over to Pooh Corner. After 2 rides on Winnie the Pooh, as we were exiting, we saw the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood lining up to meet everyone. I love that Ian has no fear of the characters and will run up to give them hugs.
Alli not so much right now. Despite Tigger's best efforts she wasn't cracking a smile.
Next up was Eeyore who also got a hug.
There's a smile from Alli. I wonder why?
Because it's Winnie the Pooh of course! Ian has a few Pooh plushes at home and Alli always grabs then and hugs them.
It's a giant plush Pooh!
Cheese! Love seeing them with the characters.
Time to use our Mansion fast passes! Really happy not to have to wait in the regular line. Temperatures pushed 104 in Anaheim today and the queue offers very little shade. Alli was overdue for a nap and quickly fell asleep in the Ergo.
While the mansion can be a little scary, Ian was really brave. Another kid started crying in the elevator, but Ian stayed brave.
I love how they update the Gingerbread centerpiece and the whole area smell like gingerbread here.
Happy to see that I'm still on the good list. And Ian still has a present with his name on it too. Now we need to find Alli somewhere in this room!
Hi Jack and Zero! Ian was really good during the ride. During the graveyard scene when things pop up and try to scare you, Theresa phrased it as "they're trying to surprise us." I think that difference might have helped Ian not be scared. Alli just slept through the entire thing.
And for the first time ever at Disneyland Anaheim, Sally! (not counting the mini-Sally on the exit ramp)
In our travels, we have actually seen Sally appear at a Holiday Haunted Mansion in Tokyo Disneyland.
The few pictures I've seen are similar to the one above. But looking backwards you can see it's a full character.
Time to meet up with the rest of our group! Today both Jacob and Ruston are joining us! Jacob ducked in to DCA to grab some caramel corn for us all to enjoy. Ian was very happy for that.
Off to the carrousel! Jingles was missing today. Ian chose this horse instead. A fun tradition we've started is naming all the horses we're riding. Today Ian decided he's riding Pumpkin Magic. Theresa's orange and black horse was appropriately name Halloween. Ruston rode Freckles and Jacob rode Honey Drop. It was a close race and I think it ended in a 4 way tie.
And after a brief nap, Alli decided there was fun to be had and woke up for the last part of the ride.
It's lunchtime! Today Ruston is using his 50% off dining coupon he received as part of his year end bonus.
Drinks? How about a Mint Julep with unlimited refills!
First up was the breadbasket. Two types of bread were offered. A cornbread which was fine, then a sourdough roll. Ruston's comment was that with this roll and a sock, you could kill someone in prison. Not so great.
What was great though was the gumbo! No seafood at all and just a bit spicy. Ian and Alli both loved it! Jacob made a mini bread bowl out of a sourdough roll and a spoonful of gumbo.
Everyone at the table ordered something different for lunch, ranging from salmon, jambalaya, a strip-loin, and a seasonal pork chop. My pork chop was fantastic. Juicy and flavorful.
So dessert... It's been so long since I've had a Monte Cristo. Ruston and Jacob both agreed to split it with me. A turkey, ham, and swiss sandwich that's been battered and deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar, served with 3 different spreads. A blueberry compote, vanilla sauce, and a raspberry jam. Wow this thing is so rich. Even eating a quarter of it feels like too much. Well I'm stuffed. Let's go meet our friends!
Off to Club 33! Ian really wanted to push the doorbell, but we had to wait for our friends to arrive. Knowing we were visiting on Sunday, and knowing that the Disney characters come out on Sunday afternoons, our member friends invited us to bring the kids up to hang out with the characters.
I had mentioned earlier that it was a pretty hot day, right? Upon entering the courtyard everyone was offered a cold drink and a cool towel.
Then it was a trip upstairs to Salon Nouveau.
New to me is this liquor cabinet which sits at the back of the room. Drinks from here can cost upwards of $2500 per ounce!
The lounge is really great for just hanging out and chatting. Later tonight, Ruston, Jacob, T and I will all be planning our trip to Hong Kong and the new Shang Hai park. We were able to get some tips from people who have already been there. The Club 33 staff provided coloring pages and crayons to keep Ian entertained.
Then Uncle Ruston took him out to explore the rest of the club.
Do all parents say they're amazed by what their kids remember? Ian said he wanted to go see the birdie talk. It's been months since we've been here but he still remembered that Alfred the Vulture sometimes talks to the guests.
Alfred doesn't talk very frequently, but Ian was very patient waiting for him to do something.
And Donald right behind him!
Ian was happy to see them, but told them that we're all waiting for the birdie to talk. Crazy kid. Donald and Pluto here and you're content to just sit here. Well Donald and Pluto were happy to play along.
Donald tried multiple times to count 1, 2, 3, Go! but Alfred didn't move. Pluto recommended turning the hands on the clock forward.
Well I guess we're just going to sit here and wait.
Donald trying to use magic powers to convince Alfred to talk.
Alli getting some attention from Donald.
And unfortunately while Donald's back was turned, he missed Alfred talking... Poor Donald.
Think Ian was satisfied? Nope. Let's wait some more. With no one else waiting to meet the characters, it was 1-1 with our group. Let's do charades! Okay Donald. Favorite movie. Two words. First word (Donald points at himself). Donald. Second word (Donald points at himself). Duck. Donald Duck? Yep! Should have known.
Pluto's turn. 1 word. Circle? No. Ball?
Ruston guessed Ball and Pluto ran up to him all excited. Donald pretended grabbing the ball and tossing it. Pluto ran off to find it.
Let's bring out some bears! Alli loves her Shellie Mae.
Pluto pretending to be a bear.
Pluto getting down to sniff Duffy, then pretending to give him a big lick.
Ian getting a big hug, then Ian told him, "Now we can go wait for the birdie to talk." Really?
Okay, guess that means more 1-1 time for Alli.
Seriously one of the best perks of the Club for members with children has to be all the 1-1 time the kids can have with the characters. Alli was content to sit on the floor with her bear and Pluto and Donald just sat right beside her and played with her.
Ian, you're missing out.
Okay. Ian came back over to play a little more.
Trying to tickle Pluto's nose.
Let's get a family picture.
Donald... This picture isn't just of you.
Yet another magically awesome Disney day.