And so it begins. It hasn't really sunk in at all - the reality that I'm leaving behind my family and going to Disneyland alone. Well, not really alone since Becky is meeting me there, but without kids and a husband.
Alone is how I will describe the traveling though. Brian drove me to the airport and we got there very early, leaving us time to walk the airport and talk a bit before my flight. All too soon it was time to tell him goodbye and make my way through airport security. Saying goodbye was the hardest part. I hated leaving him behind and regretted not making this a couples weekend instead, a situation I will have to rectify in another trip. But for now, it's girls weekend and I have a plane to catch.
After airport security I walked to the gate and took a seat. I sat alone, reading my book (the second time I read "Wings" by Aprilynne Pike... a great book by the way). When it came time to board I waited... and waited... and waited. I was close to last on the plane. I didn't see any sense in rushing on the plane, as I didn't have kids to get seated and situated or a plethora of carry-ons to deal with. So I let the hoardes board and then did so myself.
I flew JetBlue and I was fairly impressed. I love that each passenger has their own TV. It makes the time pass so much more quickly! That would have been very helpful in our long cross-country flight to Disneyworld last year. The flight to California was short though, only 2 1/2 hours. The TV was still a nice perk though.
Upon arriving at Long Beach airport, I marveled at how TINY it was. Not just little but tiny. You walk out of the plane and descend the steps, then walk to the terminal. Even inside it's little and the baggage claim is outside of the airport. I will say that I much prefer the little airport travel, as there are no masses of people to contend with, no walking here and there to find what you need or exit the airport. I like that.
I waited in the beautiful, sunny California weather for my luggage, which soon arrived. I grabbed my large suitcase (which I WAY overpacked. LOL) then called Bek, who was waiting to pick me up. 2 minutes later she rounded the corner and parked right next to me. We hugged and squealed and smiled and were just so glad to see each other and to enjoy this adventure together. We loaded my suitcase and were on our way.
While flying I noticed that the airport was quite close to the beach. I'd never been to a California beach, so Bek and I did our first spontaneous thing - we decided to forego the drive to the hotel and find the beach instead! Thankfully Becky already had the streets figured out some and she knew the way there. We ended up at Seal Beach, where we both kicked off our shoes and walked in the sand. I thought the beach would be different there, but other than a bit warmer water and coarser sand it wasn't much different than Oregon beaches. We walked right along the waters edge, at times running away from and getting hit by the surf.
We stopped mid-walk to take a self-portrait of us on the beach. I grabbed my camera, turned it on, positioned it and snapped the shutter. Nothing happened. Nothing. I turn and look at the screen and almost immediately I know what's wrong - the memory card is still in my computer at home. DOH! I put it in the computer to empty it off and never put it back in the camera. Oh man, here I am on this beautiful beach (and soon to be at Disneyland) and I have no memory card! We know then that the beach is done and we head back to the car and towards the hotel, looking for a store along the way where I can buy a memory card. We did luck out and found a Target on the way, where I bought a memory card on sale and some Pop Chips (YUMMMMM.... these are my new faves).
We made it quickly to our hotel. The Hojo was very nice. First and foremost, you can't beat the price we got. Their Entertainment Book rate can't be beat... seriously. We paid less in 2 nights there than 1 night at another hotel. And I always love a good deal. The beds were soft and comfy, with lots of pillows. The grounds were beautiful, with trees and flowers all along the walkways. We could open our patio door and smell the honeysuckle. It was pretty fabulous. However, we were clear back in Bldg. 2, the farthest building from the parks. So each day we had about an extra block of walking... not a big deal for us but it would have been harder for the kids, who get dog-tired after walking the parks all day. But our room did look out on the pool and we didn't hear any noise from the freeway, so it worked out in that sense. The other negative was our super loud air conditioning unit. After the 2nd night, when it startled me out of sleep several times during the evening and finally woke me up for good at 6am, I did complain. They sent someone up to fix it and while it wasn't much quieter, it also didn't wake me up the next night.
By now it was 7:30pm and we were famished! We headed straight for nearby Mimi's restaurant, which was pretty packed. We did offer to sit at the bar though and sat right down. We ordered some garlic fries, which we DELICIOUS! We shared those and an order of chicken strips. Oh, and you can't forget the drinks... a sweet strawberry margarita for me and a screwdriver for Bek. They make them strong, so she didn't finish hers (wimp!) but I thoroughly enjoyed mine. We talked and munched fattening foods and just had a grand time catching up.
After dinner we really didn't have much to do. We knew we were getting up early in the morning for Magic Mornings so we decided to head back to the room. We talked and talked and talked some more, unpacked and got ready for our week. We headed to bed at a pathetically early time (I think it was 10:30pm. LOL) and set our alarms so we could be ready for Disneyland tomorrow!!!