Disney travels: It's a diamond celebration....part 1

I cannot believe it was 3 weeks ago yesterday that I flew out to LA to start my most exciting Disney trip yet and now I've been home a week and suffering badly with those post Disney blues but now it's time to relive some of it as I share some of my favourite moments & memories from this wonderful time.

3 weeks ago I stepped aboard Virgin Atlanic's 'Queen Bee' and after an uneventful 10 or so hour flight I was landing in Los Angeles, immigration done and case collected in what I consider great time for LAX, I was heading out the airport and waiting for the 3.45pm Disneyland express to take me to the magic. I was so glad I made this shuttle as another one wasn't for an hour and I really wanted needed to get to Disneyland by 5.30/6pm at the absolute latest because I just had to meet Mickey & Minnie in their 60th outfits and I hadn't been able to confirm anywhere that they'd appear after 6pm and also the last Mickey and the magical map show that would happen while I was there, was due to start at 6.30pm

Knowing how LA traffic can be the drive was no problem and only took around 45 minutes but this being my luck, I was literally the last person on the coach to be dropped at my hotel and by the time I'd checked in and got to my room it was just after 5pm and thankfully as I knew I'd be cutting it fine getting to the park for the time I'd wanted I had freshened up, re-done my makeup and changed on the plane so I dropped my bags in my room, which I have to add was better than I expected and had lots of space, I then quickly switched my bags around, grabbed everything I needed and rushed back out the door for the 10 minute stroll to Disneyland.

The walk from the hotel was such an easy one, with a CVS, Walgreens and 7eleven all practically on my hotels doorstep it was great location with handy places to grab snacks, essentials and some bits from my shopping list ;) it was a brilliant hotel that I'd highly recommend and wouldn't hesitate to book again, it cost me just over £300 for 4 nights which seemed a pretty good deal for the location and how decent it was, to be honest I was a little worried beforehand that I wouldn't like it, the rooms would be grubby and it would be one of those hotels that needed some work but my fears were quickly gone. And now I was finally walking up to the security at Disneyland and I felt so excited, I couldn't believe I was finally here and that I'd also be there to say goodbye to the 60th celebrations. Before I could get into Disneyland I had to exchange my ticket as I only had a voucher, and here is where I wanted to kick myself, I joined the queue and after a 5 minute or so wait it was my turn, just a few more moments and I'd be skipping through those gates, rushing to find Mickey & Minnie and then of course rushing and hoping I didn't have any issues getting a seat for Mickey & the magical map, but no, I wouldn't be doing that because in my rush at the hotel, I'd forgotten my ticket voucher, I knew I had it because I put it in the pile of bits I needed to pop in my bag but obviously, somehow in my already tired but excited state I'd not actually put it in my bag, I could have kicked myself because this meant I'd likely miss 2 of the big things I'd really wanted to do this evening, by the time I got back to the hotel, found where I'd put the print out down and got back, exchanged my voucher and into the park it was about 6.25pm and I knew I wouldn't make the show so of course I rushed to see if I could at least catch M&M as this was probably up there with my priorities as watching Paint the night & Disneyland forever was, and I was beaming from ear to ear when I spotted them still out, I couldn't believe it and rushed over to join the queue only to be told it was closed, I nearly broke down, not joking, I was gutted and exhausted but before I did the lovely cast member said 'don't worry though, they'll be back out here later after Paint the night & the fireworks' I could have hugged her so tight, but I didn't in fear of being seen as a little OTT haha!

I took it easy this evening in terms of running around the park like the usual Disney crazed person on their first day as I just wanted to stroll around and take it all in, knowing some of the 60th decorations would likely be gone by the time I was back in the park on not to mention it was creeping close to me being up for 24 hours now and that was not something my body was happy with me about. Ride wise I only really wanted to do Space mountain this evening due to it closing after today but with a 80 minute wait time, that was not happening, I checked a couple more times throughout the night but it never went below that so sadly, I'm still yet to experience Space at Disneyland. 
By now my tummy was rumbling, rumbling loudly for some food, the park was busy and it seemed to be peek eating time, I'm guessing so that everyone was done and had good time to find their spot for Paint the night, so I just grabbed a slice of pizza in Mickey's Toontown and a little rest and took a little more of a walk taking in all the glorious beauty this park holds and the crowds were really starting to build for PTN, some people had clearly been camping out for many hours for their perfect spot but here's a bonus of being solo, trying to find somewhere to watch when most had been sat in their spot waiting for hours was easier than if I were in a group. I struck silver, I won't say gold as there was a couple of people in front of me but luckily they didn't block my view and I got a great spot on Main street just outside Emporium to watch, the atmosphere was amazing, I hadn't experienced a wait for a Disney parade or show like this, ever, to see so many people this excited to watch and everybody just singing, dancing and chatting away while waiting was lovely, this was just one of the many moments that made me realise just how special Disneyland is and why it's my favourite park of all the ones I've bene lucky enough to visit.

Paint the night was AMAZING, I loved it and have watched it a number of times on youtube since, I hope one day I get to see it again and before long it was over and time to grab a spot for Disneyland Forever which it seemed the whole of Anaheim seemed to have piled on Main Street to watch, normally I'd hate being stuck amongst a crown like this, but not this time, it felt wonderful and so special to be there and experience what was clearly a special moment with it being the last Disneyland forever fireworks celebrating Disneyland's 60th anniversary. WOW, I love Wishes at Magic Kingdom and that will alway be my absolute favourite but this did blow me away, and is a very, very close second favourite now, I'm so glad I never watched this online properly before seeing it in person because it was certainly worth the wait, I had tears in my eyes within seconds of it starting, it certainly was emotional. Unfortunately I didn't seem to get any photos of either of these, I remember snap chatting some of it but between recording those I just wanted to enjoy it in all its glory and not constantly be watching through a camera. 

The fireworks were over, the tears were wiped away and the crowds were spreading out, it was time to squeeze through and jump in the line for Mickey & Minnie, I did well because I was 3rd which I was so thankful for because by now the exhaustion was an issue, I was struggling and needing to sleep but I had one more important moment to experience before I gave in and a lovely one it was, I hadn't met Mickey & Minnie together much before, in fact I think I've only done it twice but this was definitely now my favourite, they were absolutely perfect, I soon started to notice how the character meets here were amongst some of the best, I don't know what it is but they just seemed all the more special and perfect.

I would have loved to have stayed to watch the second and last Paint the night but I just couldn't, I didn't have it in me to wait an hour, watch the show, walk back to my hotel so I said my goodbyes for the night and headed back for some very, very well deserved and needed sleep and looked forward to my days ahead in Walt's original park.

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