Disneyland Spring 2012 Trip Report Pt 3
After a two-month hiatus from writing this trip report, and since starting another report, someone reminded me that I hadn’t finished this one! This is the second-to-last installment; the final installment will be out next week. If you’re a new visitor or haven’t read the excellent “One More Disney Day” installments in this Disney trip report, visit its index to read those first!
It was the last full day of our trip, so what better way to start than with…
…Disneyland closing due to a suspicious item being found in a tree! We were a little slow to get started that particular morning, not leaving our room until 10 minutes after Disneyland opened. Normally, this wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but on this particular day, people were only allowed to enter the park for about 10 minutes before the turnstiles closed due to this suspicious item.
By the time we were making our way up Harbor, guests were already being turned away due to a “bomb threat.” This didn’t stop us, as we wanted to see if we could find a way in, somehow. Of course, we couldn’t.
I did constantly scour Twitter for updates and to determine what was going on. Prevailing wisdom was that there had been a bomb threat, and that no one was being allowed in or out of the park. Those in the park were experiencing a veritable ghost town (lucky dogs!) and those shut out were prepared to riot (don’t worry, we only flipped two police cars and threw a few garbage cans through business’ windows). As updates continued to be released, we heard a couple of reports that guests were being allowed in through the Downtown Disney bag check. So we headed that way.
Along the way, one of my tweets was quoted by a NBC Los Angeles affiliate, which is basically my new claim to fame. You can find the riveting article here. If I knew my tweet would be quoted in the news, I would have written something more clever. Although, in fairness, at least they didn’t quote the 90% of my tweets that are inane drivel.
In order to get to the Downtown Disney area, we had to walk all the way down Harbor and Katella, past the Anaheim Convention Center, which was about a 25 minute walk. This didn’t bother me–I’d rather walk than stand in one place, even if walking doesn’t actually accomplish anything. I sometimes see TV commercials for treating something called “Restless Leg Syndrome.” I have no idea what this is and I refuse to Google it, but my face-value assumption is that I have this syndrome (kidding, of course, the syndrome has nothing to do with my impatience). If I’m moving around, I feel like I’m accomplishing something, even when I am not.
Walking all the way around accomplished pretty much nothing. We did find Alpine Inn, the hotel at which we’d be staying that night, and saw a lot of palm trees, but not much else. The Downtown Disney bag check was also closed, and the entrance through the Grand Californian Hotel did not open when Disney California Adventure should have opened.
Rather than just waiting around, we decided to head to Tangaroa Terrace for breakfast. Disney breakfast prices, in my opinion, are ridiculously high, so rather than each ordering our own meals, we decided to split a Breakfast Wrap.
The wrap was $6.99 and was a reasonable size, and it tasted pretty good, so perhaps my thoughts about breakfast being overpriced are based upon my own biases. Relative to other meals at Disneyland, $6.99 seems about right for a breakfast that size. Still, I’m not a huge breakfast person, and $6.99 is more than I want to spend on breakfast.
At this point, we realized that it might not be a bad idea to see if we could get an early check-in at the Alpine Inn. The place didn’t seem that busy when we walked past, and we’d be far better off moving our bags while Disneyland was closed down rather than doing it later when we could experience the parks. So we walked back to the Fairfield Inn to move our bags to the Alpine Inn.
Here’s our room at the Fairfield:
Because we’re frugal and because we had plenty of time to kill, we made the brutal 25 minute walk from the Fairfield to the Alpine Inn with our luggage, rather than taking a taxi. In hindsight, we should have just paid the taxi fare. It was too hot of a day to drag around the luggage. Plus, about ten minutes into the voyage, we discovered that Disneyland had reopen. We were alerted of this news by the audible rejoicing of thousands of people who were allowed to enter the park…or I saw it on Twitter. I can’t remember with certainty.
When we finally got to the Alpine Inn, we checked in and headed to our room.
Here’s our room at the Alpine Inn:
The room at the Fairfield is clearly nicer even in photos, but in person, the difference was even more stark. Most off-site Disneyland-area hotels are varying degrees of bad. They know they have an excellent location, and people will book them regardless of room quality. Few are downright disgusting, but few are actually impressive. The Fairfield was a nice hotel by any yardstick. Its rates were also twice those of the Alpine Inn.
I liked the Alpine Inn. It was the cheapest close hotel I could find, and I thought the theming was fun. Sarah had the misfortune of seeing the kitchen where they prepared their complimentary breakfasts, and I think that sight tainted her opinion of the hotel.
Given its price, proximity to Disneyland (further away than the Fairfield, Candy Cane Inn, or my personal favorite, the Anaheim Desert Inn–but still close enough to walk), and the rooms being decent, I’d stay there again. For me, it’s a utilitarian option. The rooms weren’t nice and you couldn’t pay me to eat their breakfast, but for the price…why not? For those unfamiliar with the area around Disneyland, Alpine Inn is right behind Cars Land. you can see the Cadillac mountain range behind it in the photo above.
I am actually a bit shocked that Disney didn’t acquire (maybe attempts were made?) Alpine Inn or Candy Cane Inn before it built Cars Land. Can you imagine a Wheel Well Motel in its place with a private entrance to Cars Land? Disney could certainly charge more than the $60-80/night rates that Alpine Inn charges with that type of access. Disney would have to purchase a few parcels in that area to make a large-enough hotel to justify the cost of building, but it seems like that property is far better off in Disney’s hands than it is in independent owners hands given that Disney can give a hotel there park access, but independent owners can not. I wonder what has prevented that land from being sold.
I’d hazard a guess that we had walked about 23 miles that morning by the time we made our way back to the Esplanade. This probably wasn’t much more than the amount we would have walked had we been in the parks that morning, but it was a lot more noticeable since we were traversing the same boring stretches of roadway.
I hope my assumption about the amount of ground we cover in the theme parks proves true, and I also hope that’s an adequate way to train for a marathon. We have the Tower of Terror 10-miler coming up soon, and neither of us have started training. My assumption, plus a highly-factual episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” in which Barney doesn’t train for the New York Marathon, are what were predicating our “training regimen” on. Here’s hoping that’s not a colossal mistake…
We decided to do Disney California Adventure first, with our first stop there being Minnie’s Fly Girls, which was new. I was excited to watch it because it seemed like a fairly divisive show. A lot of people loved that it was fresh and wasn’t stuffed with characters, others derided it for not being “Disney enough.”
There are multiple pages in this Disneyland trip report installment. Navigate to the next page below!
The pictures are amazing! I really love eating at Hungry Bear!
I’ve stayed at Alpine 3 times on trips to Disneyland. While not the nicest of hotels I’ve stayed in it served its purpose. I literally crashed there overnight. The price was perfect for the amount of time spent in the room. I’d stay there again for the price and proximity (unless for some reason i come into more money and can stay closer, lol)
Just want to add that I stayed at the Fairfield Inn on my last trip in April. It was fantastic! HUGE rooms (at least compared to Disney hotels), right across the street from the esplanade, and even had a nice Disney theme. It was a bit more than other hotels in the area, but it was so much nicer. And here’s a tip: I got a great deal on it by doing the “flight + hotel” option on the Marriott website. I think I only ended up paying like $65/night for the Fairfield that way!
And Tom, I LOVE these pictures of the attractions as silhouettes with the sunsets behind them!
At least if your legs stopped working and you were stuck on the monorail you wouldn’t have to worry about seeing where it “turns around” because it’s on a loop. Good luck with “training.” we still have over a month. Plenty of time.
Wow, you guys… amazing photos… as always! I also really enjoy your trip reports. Since you were close to Boardwalk Pizza, you should have hit up the Greek Salad at nearby Paradise Garden Grill. Looking forward to your next adventures and follow-up pics/stories.
It looks like you have the training aspect down for the 10 miler but be sure to eat some cupcakes from Starring Rolls before the race because you’re definitely going to need the carbs for such a long run.
Wow! I am always blown away by your photos. Everything about them is just incredible!
This really makes me want to take a trip to Disneyland with my ‘nice’ camera.
I always enjoy reading your trip reports. Thanks for sharing!
I love your marathon training ideas. We too are planning on taking the Barney Stinson route: “Step one, start running. That’s it, there is no step two.”
I never knew about the “mini world of color” before, I’ll definately be looking for it on my next trip in June. Nice to know your thougts on the Alpine too, I was thinking about it but now maybe not so much.
I thought Alpine was fine, especially for the price.
Awesome and magical!!!