Hope this post is finding you well. I am doing well. Actually, I’m doing pretty great. Still feeling good from a fun filled weekend, which ended with a sunset hike down the street with my husband on Sunday. No kids. No distractions. Just us.
Look at the sunset!
Today, I am going to catch us up on our day at Crystal Cove Beach, state park, a place where we loved chilling out on our first trip. Annnd, we snuck in an unplanned night at Magic Kingdom.
I know, what happened to holding off on the Disney magic till the next day? Long story short, The Haunted Mansion. It’s my favorite themed ride at Disney World. I was looking forward to riding the original at Disneyland on our first trip in 2018, but it was closed for holiday refurbishments. Which was the issue this trip as well. My luck, right?
So, the ride was to officially close on our first day at Magic Kingdom. Though we knew this, I still planned our first park day when I had because it made sense in my head to have four full days in the week, starting Monday. We did talk about adding on an extra day before leaving for this trip, many times, to see the ride but.. again, my mind said four straight days were fine. Anyways. After dinner the previous night, my husband added on tickets last minute as we were walking through the park entrances before we went back to our hotel the night before. Surprise!
As you’ll soon see, we had a great unplanned night! Rode the hell out of The Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain. My other favorite ride! Grabbed drinks unexpectedly at a fun bar and more.
Here we go!
We woke up to sunny skies. A perfect beach day! The girls and I got ready as my husband had to run an errand. His errand turned out to include surprising us with coffee and some beach breakfast snacks. Such a good guy! We piled into the car and made our way to Crystal Cove blaring some Gorillaz. We got to the beach in about twenty minutes, there wasn’t much traffic. For Orange County, that’s a big deal. And on a Sunday, unheard of.
My husband and I have talked about revisiting Crystal Cove since our last trip. It was an adventure we never forgot. The state park, overall, is massive, with the beach area located off a cliff. One of the entrances to the beach starts off as a conservation field from the parking lot. Walking the field is fairly easy, it has a boardwalk path that takes you along to the edge of the cliff, which overlooks the three mile coastline. It’s gorgeous.
Once you make your way down the cliff’s steep path and stairs, you’ll find an embedded rock ledge in the sand where the notable, and protected, tide pools sprawl into the ocean. It’s a great spot to spend time sitting or exploring all of the captured marine life. It is truly amazing. I got caught up watching the crashing waves and the water filling up each crevice of the rocks again. It’s mesmerizing.
We saw some funky colored crabs, little jellies and some of the shark egg pods that we learned about at the Monterey Aquarium last week.
The surf itself at this beach is pretty amazing too. Compared to our last visit, the beach this day had more people visiting. We saw no one last time, so remote, but on this day we saw bodyboarders, surfers, boats and people parasailing in the distance. My family really enjoyed the water again too. Swimming along with the rolling waves, or letting them crash on them.
Oh, also our girls said they saw dolphins swim by them!!
Aggh. I love California.
After a few hours, we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for Disney. But first, dinner.
We grabbed reservations at Exo Sushi nearby, about a fifteen minute ride. The girls had been harassing us for a few days to have sushi. They are sushi fanatics, and have been since they were little kids. It’s actually pretty awesome. They are awesome. They will eat almost any type of food, which makes it a joy to hang out with them or travel.
We had a great dinner, holy so many maki rolls!, but we powered through. Haha.
Right after dinner we parked our car over at the hotel and made a beeline right before Disneyland. We walked in quickly, there was not a lot of people, and it was still daylight which made walking into the park wonderful. we did walk slowly up Main Street, to soak up the feeling even though we knew we would be back in the morning tomorrow.
Now, here is a funny moment. Before getting into the park, we saw on the app that the haunted mansion ride had broken down. 😞 My husband, who wasn’t going to let that news ruin our evening on their last night open for the season. So, he grabbed me by the hand and still had us make our way right to the haunted mansion. When we got there there were two CMs standing at the entrance, telling folks that the ride was down. Bah. It was true. But, something told us not to leave the entrance right away. So we talked to the CMs at the entrance. No one else was there. Within one minute, seriously, I think even less, the female CM looked at me creepily and smiled, as she told me to run on in because the line to the ride was open. All of a sudden a rush of people followed. But I got to walk in first, slowly, taking it all in. The entrance is super cool.
How awesome was that?
We rode The Haunted Mansion about three times in a row. Exiting the ride, at night, so, I loved that! Then we made our way back to the ride for two more loops around before we left the park.
I really really really loved hearing The Ghostess, aka, Little Leota, say ‘hurry baaack’. She is so cute and creepy. Just how I see myself coming back to haunt my loved ones. 😉
After riding the mansion, we took a few whirls around Big Thunder Mountain! This is one of my family‘s all-time favorite rides! So much so, that our youngest daughter over the next two days will spend a lot of time riding it. One night, just the night, at least 15 times in a row. No exaggeration!
California started back to school this week, one of the reasons why we liked going the last time to DL at the end of August was this fact. Less people at the parks while there. So, my daughter… on our last day at DL, she and I together rode BTM five or even six times in a row, there was no wait and my husband and other daughter went on Space Mountain; so we took absolute advantage of that. Then after I had the spins, we grabbed a drink. Before I knew it, she grabbed her sister for two rides and then her dad for about six or seven more times in a row to finish out the night.
So between ending our night at thunder mountain and riding the mansion, we took a walk over to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge!
This was our first visit to any of Disney’s Star Wars lands. Wow. Just wow, we were floored. The way that they captured the feel, the all encompassing theme, my God, it was perfect.
Our first stop was Smuggler’s Run, we couldn’t pass up a ride while we were there, right? Ride times were super low, too, so score! The ride is an interactive simulator, for those that haven’t seen it yet. A group of six people sit in rows of two; the first two are the pilots, the next two are the gunners and the last two are engineers. Each set of people has a role to play.
We loved the ride so much! I didn’t quite understand the points you accrued during the ride that first time. But I guess that actually helped us because we got really high scores at the end 😆. I was a gunner shooting the lasers and I was just having an all out, you know, good time shooting everything in front of me. Laughing my tuccus off. It was super funny for me.
After the ride, we took our chances to check out Ogas Cantina. We weren’t really sure how this was going to work out during Covid19 restrictions, because on the app you couldn’t make a reservation to get in…. But our luck! Going by on this night, we ended up walking right in! No wait. ￼
We absolutely loved this place. They did such a great job theming the bar, that you really did feel like you were in the movie. The music, the drink choices, the DJ, everything. It was such a fun stop. We really enjoyed the drinks and atmosphere. The best part was when we left, there was a fairly long line to get in; so I think luck was just really on our side all night… we had a great time.
After a drink at the Cantina, we made our way to ride big thunder mountain and the haunted mansion one more time each before we left, as I mentioned before. We caught fireworks while on big thunder mountain, which is my favorite way to experience the fireworks. I just love coming out of the ride to hit that first drop and seeing those giant, brilliant displays in the sky; it’s just incredible.
After the rides, we walked around and took advantage of that a small window of time when the park is closing,but it’s still open to shop before they officially close. We tried on some hats, we walked around to soak up the night time feel. There is something really magical about Disney parks at night. The way that it’s lit up, there is a serenity in the air somehow, even though you’re in there with thousands of people. It really does have a special individual feel.
We made our way back to the hotel, utterly exhausted from an awesome day.
I love looking back at days like this when I’m pulling together a post. Remembering being in the moment. Adventures in nature. Watching my children laugh. Holding hands with my husband all day. Eating sushi, lol just kidding. But seriously, I so enjoy seeing all of the wonder in this world and sharing it with my family. ￼
OK well, I have to get going now. There are four more days to share from this trip. All Disneyland. I am trying to figure out how I can make it easy for my readers, and for myself 😆 to post about them. With Halloween, impending surgery and other life stuff it may be a while. Just FYI.
As always, guys, I appreciate all of you who read along and the support that you give!
Happy Halloween Week!
Till next time. xo