Hello everyone, and Happy New Year!
Boy, did the end of 2012 get crazy, but it was a great way to finish the year. I do apologize for taking so long on this update, as school, finals, and the holidays kind of took over my time. I promise you though, this is a great trip report, and might be my favorite Disney trip ever. And, since it was so great, it will probably have to be a couple articles.
We went down south for my moms 50th birthday celebrations, and on the way to Disneyland, we stopped at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. Of course, the main reason for the stop was to see the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, but we also enjoyed the rest of the library as well. If you haven’t been to see the Disney Exhibit, you absolutely must check it out before it closes in April! Some of my favorite things were early Oswald pieces, the formal replica of Walt’s office, an Ironman suit, Captain America’s ready room from The Avengers, and the Maleficent head from Fantasmic. I had always remembered it as the dragon on a stick, so it was fun to be next to it and take a picture with it. In the library, we loved seeing and going into the Air Force One Plane (although not used by Reagan, it was still cool).
At the end, we had to go to the gift shop, and I could have bought every Disney thing in there, but refrained since we hadn’t even gotten to Disneyland yet. While in the gift shop, we came across a book that we have, titled, “Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove,” by Don Ballard, who is a friend of one of my moms friends, and is a Disney historian. My mom texted her friend about it, and in turn, he texted Don, asking if he knew his book was at the library. We didn’t hear anything back that day, but this story comes into play later. After that, we left the library to finish the drive, and finally made it to Disneyland that night after sitting in LA traffic for ages, and got to enjoy the parks in all their Christmas-ness.
The next morning, as we were heading into the parks, my mom heard back from her friend Matt, and he said that Don and his wife Lorrie were going to be at Disneyland, and wanted to get in touch with us to meet up. We spent most of the day moseying in the parks, and heard from Don when they arrived at the resort in the afternoon. He told us that they were staying at the Disneyland Hotel, and that we had to see their room, which just so happened to be the Adventureland Suite! Talk about exciting! We met them at Disneyland, as they were invited guests for the Candlelight Processional, and had a soiree beforehand, but said we’d meet up again after the festivities were over. Around 8:45, they told us to come on up to the room. Upon arrival on the 11th floor of the Adventureland Tower, we found the Fairy Tale Suite, Pirates of the Caribbean Suite, E-Ticket Lounge, and then, the Adventureland Suite. Each suite entrance was meticulously themed. The Adventureland Suite looked as if you were about to walk into the Tiki Room, and the doorbell sounded like it too! As we entered the suite, it was a great blend of the Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, and Moroccan-esque theming. It was so cool, and I was geeking out at everything! We were only planning on staying a couple of minutes, but Don and Lorrie invited us to stay and chat, and then go watch the fireworks from the E-Ticket Lounge. Don also wanted to show us some rare footage and pictures from Disney history. For me, that was really exciting, because Don basically has my dream job. Once it was time for the fireworks, we went to the quiet, and almost empty, E-Ticket Lounge for dessert, drinks, fireworks, and conversation. While we waited for the fireworks, I chatted with Don about how he became a Disney Historian. He got really into Disney history, specifically Disneyland Hotel history, in the mid 1990’s, and started researching and writing in the late 1990’s. He has written a couple of books, and is in the process of writing more on the Disneyland Hotel, as well as some of the resorts in Disney World. Don also gets to visit the archives frequently to look through videos and pictures and gather information on them, and he has met numerous Disney legends, including Diane Disney Miller and Ron Miller (Walt Disney’s daughter and son-in-law). Don even got to be a presenter at the 2011 D23 Expo! After the Lounge closed, we went back to the suite to chat some more and look at all of the fun details in the suite. We enjoyed hanging out with them, and look forward to seeing them again soon. It was truly a memorable night, and we were in awe of what we had gotten to see and do, and we still had 3 days left!
That’s it for now! Part 2 to come soon!