We left bright and early on Saturday, August 25. We flew Delta since I had the vouchers and just held our breath that everything would go alright. On Friday, we checked in and they had moved us from the middle and aisle to window seats...thanks Delta. Luckily we were able to switch and that was the biggest snag on the flight. While I don't think I'll go out of my way to book Delta, if it's the best option, I would consider them. Domestic only. I still won't fly code-share with them. (If you want the full story, click here.) Anyway, we connected through Salt Lake City and arrived at John Wayne Airport (okay..really Santa Ana/Orange County...but I like that it's called John Wayne airport) a little early. We very easily found Super Shuttle, which I had pre-booked and a van was waiting to take us to our hotel.
We decided to stay at the Fairfield Inn on Harbor Blvd in Anaheim. Unlike Walt Disney World here in Orlando, staying at an "off-property" hotel doesn't really put you at a disadvantage. They're close enough to just walk to the parks! My Mom cashed in points with Marriott so it really made staying at the Fairfield instead of a Disney-owned hotel a no-brainer. We checked in and our room was ready! We took a few minutes to unpack and then headed out to explore. As for the hotel, I would definitely recommend it. It's super close to the park entrance, it was clean, and I really don't think we had anything bad to say about it.
|Entrance onto Disney property off of Harbor|
Tickets in hand, we headed to Downtown Disney and the Hotels for exploring. Yes, you read that right. We did not go into the parks! Shocking, yes. But in fairness, we were originally planning on a 4 night trip until we discovered that if you use points for 4 nights at a Marriott, the 5th night is free. So instead of going into the parks on Saturday...we added an extra day. Good times.
|From our exploring.|
Since we were still on East Coast time, we were in need of a snack. And since we were on vacation, that snack obviously included some beverages. I'll do a full review later, but as a spoiler, it was perfect and it was so nice to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere.
Eventually, we made our way down to Garden Walk. Garden Walk isn't part of Disney, but I had heard about it on the DISBoards. Garden Walk has some entertainment options (bowling, movies) some restaurants and some shops. A lot of the shops were closed unfortunately, so there wasn't as much browsing as we were hoping for. We decided to have dinner at Bubba Gump. There's one in Orlando that my brother loves, but we had never been. We grabbed a snack at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate store (chocolate covered pretzels) and headed back to the room. We were pretty tired between waking up at 4am, being on Eastern time, and all the traveling, so we tried our best to stay awake for as long as possible. We had a nice little HGTV marathon and fell asleep sometime before 9:30. I know that because at 9:30 I woke up and thought we were being bombed. Nope, no bombs. Just fireworks!!