Travel down to Anaheim on Friday morning went pretty well except for some confusion about my connecting gate in Seattle. I was flying into Santa Ana and that's what was printed on my boarding pass, but for some reason on the flight monitors they list it as Orange County. I sat at the wrong gate for awhile (based on the gate shown in a flight status email I got from the airline) but managed to figure it out in time to make it over to the right area of the airport just as they were boarding my flight. Once I landed in Santa Ana, I rushed out to the ground transportation area and was immediately able to get onto a SuperShuttle to the hotel. I was the last one in the van and the first one to be dropped off. Sweet!
I stayed at the Best Western Plus Anaheim Inn where I found a great rate of $89/night. At the time when I booked, it was the cheapest of the hotels that I'd consider to be within reasonable walking distance of Disneyland. There was a microwave and refrigerator in the room, the shower had good water pressure and plenty of hot water, and the bed was decent. Overall I didn't have any issues with the hotel and I'd stay there again.
After dropping off my luggage and freshening up a bit, I walked over to the Disneyland Hotel where the expo and packet pickup was held.
But before the expo, I made a quick stop at one of the Disneyland Hotel restaurants for lunch - Tangaroa Terrace.
I enjoyed my crispy tofu salad except for the citrus vinaigrette dressing which was too tangy for me. I was glad I ordered it on the side.
I had been planning to get a sweet potato cake from Tangaroa Terrace that I saw on the Disney Parks Blog... I love anything sweet potato! But unfortunately they're not being made anymore. Surprisingly, I didn't end up eating very many sweets during the trip. Disneyland doesn't have as many appealing snacks and desserts as compared to Walt Disney World.
For Disneyland races the packet pickup is in a separate area from the main expo room. This confused me when I was there a couple years ago for the Disneyland Half, but this time I knew what to expect. The packet pickup was sort of underground in a basement room. There was basically no wait as I picked up my race bibs for the 5k and half marathon, and my pre-purchased commemorative pin and park ticket. There were plenty of friendly volunteers (a common theme the entire weekend), and I got one of them to take a photo for me with this pretty backdrop.
Then I headed back up to the exhibit hall to get my race shirts and goody bags and check out the expo. I like the colors/graphics used for the 5k and I'm really happy that they did a long sleeve technical shirt for the half marathon. I may actually be able to get some use out of it! (Photos taken later in my hotel room.)
There were skirts and sparkles and wings everywhere at the expo. I guess it's to be expected at a Tinker Bell-themed event, but I'm just not really into all that girly running stuff. I wasn't very impressed with the official race merchandise either. Most of it looked very cartoony.
I picked up some free samples of Luna bars and Craisins, and some coupons for Dannon yogurt. There wasn't anything I needed or was interested in buying, but I did spend some money... on an entry to the Expedition Everest Challenge. RunDisney was offering $5 off if you registered at the expo. Not much of a discount, but I'll take it. Only a few months until my next Disney fix!
In the hallway outside the expo there was another photo opportunity. (I changed into my half marathon shirt for the photo and walk back to the hotel.)
After the expo I finally met up with my boyfriend's mom who was my travel buddy for the weekend. (In respect to her privacy, I'm not going to include her name or photo on the blog.) We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at California Adventure making use of the twilight theme park ticket that was included with the 5k registration. At first glance $99 is a lot for a 5k, but considering that I got a day's worth of entertainment from it - expo, theme park, and race - I think it was worth it.
We watched the Aladdin musical, which is a must do if you ever visit Disneyland. The Genie was awesome and I loved the music, but I think I was too tired to fully enjoy the show because there were parts where it seemed to drag. I also rode the new Little Mermaid attraction for the first time and it was neat but basically just a standard dark ride. Again, the music was the best part. (Fun fact: The Little Mermaid and Aladdin are the two movies that I remember the most from my childhood and I used to have the lyrics to Part of Your World and A Whole New World memorized.)
For dinner I had soup in a bread bowl from Pacific Wharf Cafe. It was tasty, but I would've liked more soup and less bread. At least it was filling.
My original plan had been to stay at California Adventure until park closing, but it was pretty windy and chilly outside and I didn't have a jacket with me. So we decided to just head back to the hotel to get ready for the 5k.