Visiting Disneyland for the first time

It has been a dream of mine to visit Disneyland to see where it all began.  When I spoke with people, very often I was told how disappointed I would be.  Its much smaller was what I heard, or does not compare to Florida. Hardly a positive comment ever.  But I did not change my mind, and kept my plans to visit.

I was lucky to visit this summer, and even luckier to visit on my birthday!  What a present!

birthday

Anytime I enter a park I always get goosebumps at my first view of the castle, and this was no exception.  But it was definitely different… seeing a pink castle at the end of Main Street!  But there was no disappointment.  Only excitement that I was finally visiting the park where it all began.

I had done research on things and rides that I should not miss, so I did my best to see it all!  The park was not officially open yet, so people were lined up at the end of Main Street.  So we took this time to look around.  We found the “Test Wall” where legend has it Walt tried different bricks out.  If you are facing the castle, its the little side street to the right off of Main Street.

If you look at the photo, you will see a few different styles of bricks.

DSC_0333-sm

I found the park to be a bit smaller that the Florida Magic Kingdom, but I liked the cozier feel.  The feeling of the smaller walkways, and mature plantings over the paths.  I especially loved the teacups.  Especially at night with the glowing lanterns.

DSC_0665-sm.jpg

I also loved the walk through Sleeping Beauty area in the castle.  It was  nice to see something other than an expensive restaurant within the castle.  That is one of my favorite Disney Tales, so I could be a little biased….

But seriously how could you be disappointed with this sight? I know I certainly was not.

bestDSC_0637-sm.jpg

There are also some rides at this park not in Florida.  Such as Mr. Toads wild ride, Pinocchio, Snow Whites Scary Adventures, and the Matterhorn to mention just a few.  Its a Small World has never been a favorite of mine, but I actually enjoyed this version.  Its a more grand display at this park, and has its own versions of Disney Characters throughout the ride.

smallwDSC_0667-sm

Another thing you must see is the Fire Department building.  At first it seems like an ordinary building, until you know the symbolism.  Walt and his wife had an apartment on the second floor, and legend has it that when he was in residence, the light would be on.  So the light is left on in tribute.  I loved seeing this in person.  It seemed surreal to me, to be in the park where it all began, and to walk in his footsteps.

best-firedeptDSC_0977.jpg

Overall I loved my visit to the original park.  Yes, it was different from Florida and yes it was smaller.  But it made all of that up with its unique rides, and nostalgic features.  Being an artist I thought of this as Walt’s first try.  Whenever an artist creates, they are always striving to make changes and get better with their future work.  You learn from mistakes, and successes.  I can only imagine the parks that Walt would have created had he been around longer.  I think that the company has done well without him, but you have to wonder how different the Parks would have been had he been here to direct them.  We will never know, but I am thankful that someone took over the reigns and did their best, as the Disney Park legacy is a wonderful one.  One that I enjoy visiting with my family, and keep going back.  Because I love the creativity, the escapism that they provide. Thank you Walt!

Accidentally staying at one of the most haunted hotels in USA

accidentally staying at a haunted hotel

crop

So I went to Vermont last week for one night and stayed, accidentally, in one of the most haunted hotels in the US.   I do not typically care for old hotels that may be haunted.  In fact I generally avoid them.

We had gone to Vermont for my hubby, to visit a few breweries as he is a beer fanatic.  This little trip was payment for my hubbies endless patience with me for our visits to Disneyworld.

After visiting Long Trail Brewery, I opened the app “hotel tonite” and got a great deal on a hotel I had been interested in staying at.   The hotel was a little ways away, but we enjoyed our ride and arrived at dusk. At check in, I realized my ” spidey senses ” were tingling. This beautiful hotel is fully restored and has large old photographs of the hotel and famous guests throughout the building.   This was the photo in our room, which I loved as it featured an old car.Photo Sep 25, 7 02 33 PM

 

We went to dinner, took a nice walk in the village and went to bed. I was a little nervous but overall the stay was nice. We checked out and drove home after visiting Harpoon Brewery, in Windsor.

Once home my hubby was looking online and saw that we had stayed at a haunted hotel. Not just a haunted hotel but one that has made many lists as one of the most haunted!

To see list please click on link: Travel Channels most haunted hotels

Before you ask, no I will not be returning. I did enjoy my stay, I loved the old photographs, and the food was awesome, but no return for me.
It is called The Equinox, built in 1769, and has quite a history of Presidents and first ladies that have visited.  It is also within a charming village, and has lots of little shops, art galleries, outlets and restaurants to entertain you.

Room 329 seems to be the busiest room for ghosts, and the 3rd and 4th floors are the ones that have the most activity.  We stayed in room 341, and I did not see anything suspicious I am happy to report.  But maybe you will if you dare to stay.

 

 

Photo Sep 25, 8 35 31 PM

 

 

Renting DVC at Kidani Village

 

Of course I have heard of Disney Vacation Club, it has a ton of exposure with representatives in every lobby, and advertisements everywhere. But this was the first time we had rented DVC points, the price being something we could not pass up. We parked in the parking garage and checked our luggage and headed to the parks. Rooms don’t seem to be ready very early for DVC members, as it took till late afternoon to get a text saying our room was ready. By then we were very busy at the parks, and waited till later to get to our room to unpack.

akl-6-SM

 

We finally got into our room after a long day at the parks. Even though it was late, the girls went immediately to our balcony to see our view. Even an evening view is a sight, as the savannah is lit like a moonlit night, adding to the ambiance of a night on Safari. Kidani Village is a HUGE resort. It goes on and on, in a horse shoe shape. We were lucky enough to have a sunset Savannah view which our girls absolutely loved. Amanda even excitedly told me “This is better than a pool view!”, and I have to agree. Every time we returned to our room, the girls or I would go to our balcony and see what was waiting for us there. Disney provides a pamphlet of the animals you may see and the girls loved to keep track of what they saw. Even night time can be exciting, with a sleeping giraffe, or grazing zebras. And between the birds calling, lighting and shadows, you truly can believe you are on a Safari. Although I have to add it is wonderful not be in a tent and have running water. What a nice feeling to experience the savannah, without “roughing” it. Every day our girls would go the balcony to see which animals were out there, so they could mark what they saw, on the pamphlet Disney provides of animals that live in the Savannah.

 

panoramic
The view from our balcony

 

 

Kidani Village also has a wonderful pool. Although it is smaller than the main pool, the water slide is so much better! Two twists on the slide, lengthen your ride into refreshing waters. There are also a bunch of splash areas for little ones, and two hot tubs to soak in after a long day at the parks. We wore our fit bits and tracked 13 miles one day! So those hot tubs were wonderful!

DSC_0392

 

I loved our stay at Kidani Village, but I have to say my favorite part was the welcoming lanterns after a long day out on safari in the parks. Walking up to the flickering lanterns one night, I made everyone pause to enjoy the welcoming sight, and I hope they enjoyed it as much as me. For those of you wondering about a stay in Kidani, I hope you do, as it is an incredible experience to be on safari, in the heart of Disneyworld.

 

welcome3
Lanterns outside of Kidani’s entrance, welcoming you home.