another perk of being a hotel guest is the early morning magic hour, where you get to enter one of the parks an hour before it opens to the general public. that day, magic hour gave us access to california adventure. this was perfect considering we had a special entrance into that park from the hotel. there was a line when we got there, but it moved pretty quickly.
we'd gotten there about ten minutes before magic hour, so we hung out in the holding area until it was time to go.
we decided to hit this ride first, partly because it was right there and partly because we hadn't been on it in awhile.
it's always nice to be here when it's not crazy crowded.
we headed over to cars land to see how long the line was for radiator springs racers and took a second to admire the halloween decor again.
even with magic hour, the standby line for racers was already at 45 minutes. apparently, everyone staying at the resort had decided to hit it first. but with the single rider line practically empty, we pretty much walked right on.
since we'd already done a bunch of stuff there the day before, we decided to head over to the disneyland side. on our way we came across the line of folks who were lined up and raring to go into the park for the day.
the headless horseman is a little less scary in the daytime.
while the old lady took a potty break, i came here to grab my birthday button.
did you know that you can get park maps and guides in a handful of different languages?
as we exited california adventure, we finally got our first look at oogie boogie at the gate. this is the first year that DCA has really done much in the way of halloween decorating, so it was kind of fun to see all the stuff they've added.
we see these guys every year over on the disneyland side. still cute, though.
they were going to be filming the parade that day, too:
as we stepped out onto main street we found one of the fire trucks sitting there with two open spots just for us, so we hopped aboard to cruise on down towards the castle.
with my disney snacks dress, rose gold ears, and birthday button on i got my annual birthday castle picture.
at this early hour, it was nice and quiet as we walked along the rivers of america.
and while i heard there were waits of over an hour this past weekend to get this picture, we walked right in and said hello to jack skellington. i was dying as the photographer pointed out the old lady's backpack to jack and said "look, she's ready for halloween! she's already decapitated a bear!" oh, man.
we wondered if jack was going through some sort of training or evaluation though, because as we had our visit we were acutely aware of this group of cast members who were watching and listening to everything we said and did. it was really awkward, i gotta say. and i was really surprised and amused when the old lady confessed that meeting jack scared the shit out of her. like, she was legit freaked out over it. i had no idea.
it's nice to be able to ride the disneyland railroad again. it's one of our favorite ways to cruise around the park while sitting back to relax.
by the time we were done with our grand circle around the park, the hub was texting to say he'd finally arrived to join us for a little birthday fun. perfect timing too, because it was time for us to check in to cafe orleans for lunch. it's a great alternative to dining at the blue bayou, which is always booked solid. we started off with a mint julep, which is always delicious. they must have changed the recipe recently, because it's not as bright green as it used to be. and it's not as sickly sweet, either. it's actually pretty perfect now.
pommes frites with their special dipping sauce:
it was my birthday, so i had to go big, right? monte cristo sandwich, please and thank you.
the hub opted for a much healthier-looking chicken and rice.
and the old lady, even more so with her salad.
when we were done our lackluster server brought over a birthday beignet for me:
we headed over to big thunder mountain and found that the standby time was an easy 30 minutes...but the fastpasses being distributed had a window that started just ten minutes later. so we scanned our passes in and hung out to wait and do a little peoplewatching. and selfie-ing, too.
we were on the ride in no time.
i dragged the hub back to the castle to get another picture...because i don't think we have one of just the two of us in front of it. he was thrilled.
although he was super amused to take selfies with his (unlit) cigar in his mouth.
and i got a cast member to take this for us.
we managed to get him to ride matterhorn with us (although we did single rider again because the line was long), and by then he was pretty much over it. yes, my husband drove all the way down to anaheim, parked, and came into disneyland to have lunch and ride two rides with us and that was it. what a weirdo. we decided to walk him out and head back over to california adventure, and on the way out he took this for us:
without a real plan or any real desire to ride anything in particular, we decided to do something we almost never get to do...go into the lounge at carthay circle and order a couple of adult beverages.
and this was our last snack before we headed back to the hotel to retrieve our luggage and have the valet bring the car around.
as we waited for the car, i spied someone familiar just behind the old lady. it seems that this place is a magnet for general hospital cast members - we always seem to come across various actors and actresses here - and this time it was carolyn hennesy, who plays diane miller on the show. she was engrossed in conversation with a couple of friends, and because i'm a creeper i took a picture "of my kid." she just happened to be in the background. i know, i know.
after picking up the bean from cheer practice, we came home to find that the hub had been hard at work scurrying around to put together a nice little dinner for us. because it was so late and it was a school night and everything, i knew we were going to do something quick and easy and so he'd picked up some pizza and pasta from one of our favorite local spots. and unbeknownst to me, he'd also walked into downtown disney after leaving us and picked up some treats from sprinkles:
can i tell you that it took all three of them working together to light all 46 candles at once? it was pretty comical to watch, and probably even more so as i tried my best to blow them all out.
i mean, i'm surprised the smoke detector didn't go off.
those poor cupcakes were pretty mutilated by the time we took all the candles out and then cut each one into four pieces so we could all have a bite of each flavor (red velvet, salted caramel, black & white, carrot).
it was a wonderful birthday indeed. i definitely felt the love. I CAN'T WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR.