Vacation Recap Day 1: Hitting the Road and California Adventure

At the end of June, Jason and I went on a long-awaited one week vacation to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary.  Since our honeymoon, we hadn't been away from home without our dog, Tiki, for more than a single weekend (in 2008) so we were both excited to venture out without the responsibility and limitations of travelling with a pet.

The trip started on a Monday when we packed the car with our clothes and travelling supplies as well as two coolers of food and drinks.  Since we're both gluten-free and I'm vegan (Jason only eats meat occasionally) we decided to pack most of our food and drink and carry it with us on the trip.  I made huge batches of pasta salad and potato salad, and we packed chips and salsa, hummus, veggies, salad and dressing, almond butter and jelly, GF tortillas, fake "chicken", coffee, and soy milk and creamer.  I also made a bunch of energy bars using my favorite recipe, and Jason make a dozen GF chocolate-chip banana muffins and a loaf of bread. While it was kind of a pain to lug the coolers in and out of the hotels, it would have been even harder to find suitable places to eat while travelling.  We knew that the Disney parks and surrounding area would be especially challenging, and I'm so glad that we made the effort to plan and make meals in advance because it took a lot of the stress out of finding food on the road.  It also helped us save a significant amount of money, since we didn't buy any additional food for the first two days of the trip except for water and coffee.

We left at about 9 am and headed for Orange County, destination California Adventure!  We had reservations for two nights at the Candy Cane Inn, which had good reviews and is close to the parks.  So close, actually, that we were able to walk to the park entrance in about 10 minutes, and you could actually see the back of California Adventure from the hotel parking lot!  Our room was small but all we needed for sleeping and eating between park adventures.  There was a king bed and a mini-fridge but no microwave.  The hotel also has a pool and hot tub but they were both full of kids and families each time we walked past on our way to and from the Disney parks.  There is a shuttle to take visitors to the park entrance every 30 minutes, but we preferred to walk since it was only about a half mile away.

After unloading the car and having a snack, we walked to the park entrance and arrived about 4pm where we met my brother Kyle and his fiancee Sara who have season passes to both parks.  I had never been to California Adventure, since it wasn't even built the last time I was at Disneyland, and Jason hadn't been since he was 4 years old (over 40 years ago!) so it was great to have tour guides with us who knew how to navigate.  I'm so glad Kyle and Sara were with us, not only because I don't get to see them very often, but because it let us chill out and get into vacation mode.  We didn't have to look at any maps or make any decisions, which was quite relaxing!

Right away they took us to Grizzly River Run to cool off, which was great because it was definitely warmer in Anaheim than we are used to in Santa Cruz, where summer is often colder than spring or early fall.  In fact I packed not one but three sweaters and a sweatshirt, which I didn't even take out of the suitcase!  Our tour guides took us around California Adventure and we covered all of the major rides.  There are a lot of fun roller coasters in this park.  My favorites were California Screamin' (a roller coaster with an upside down loop) and the Tower of Terror, which I thought would be a "drop zone" kind of straight up and down thing, but it was way more surprising and fun.  But the best part of the day was spending time with my brother and Sara and seeing how they got a kick out of taking us on their favorite rides for the first time.

The park stays open until 10 pm, but after driving all day and the excitement of seeing Kyle and Sara and all the crazy thrill rides we were pretty tired, so we said goodbye around 8:30 pm and headed back to the hotel.  The next time we see those two will be at their wedding in September!  I can't wait, they are an awesome couple and really bring out the best in each other.  It is wonderful to see them both so happy.  We got back to the hotel, ate dinner form our huge stash of food, watched some TV and called it a night.  It was a great kickoff to a wonderful vacation week!

Next... Day 2: Disneyland!!!


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