Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How we had a great Anaheim weekend WITHOUT GOING TO THE PARKS!

Whenever we have something to celebrate, I immediately think of how I can incorporate Disney! My daughter just graduated from UC Irvine last weekend. (Mechanical Engineering, woot woot!) A quote from Walt Disney decorated her cap. She wants to work as an Imagineer,creating attractions and rides.  She's pretty much at Disneyland every week and if I was closer, I think I'd be too! My poster for her graduation featured her favorite Disney Princess. Needless to say, we are a Disney family!
I always want to expand our love for Disney to our extended family members, so of course I had to book a weekend stay at the Grand Californian. However, with everyone being on a budget, a trip to the parks for the fourteen of us was not in the plans. Here's what we did that still had us enjoy a Disney experience: First, after the morning graduation ceremony, we ate! We went to Sake To Me, an AYCE Sushi Place in nearby Tustin. There are so many great places to eat in the OC, but I'll save that for another post. Tip, order nigiri vs. sushi rolls, as rice can fill you up! Get the most bang for your buck!

 As a Disney Vacation Club member, we get to enjoy the Villas at the Grand Californian Hotel. After lunch,  we checked in and got celebration buttons at the front desk!!!

 I reserved the two story one a year ago just for this weekend. Here's a link to a video tour of the Grand Villa so you can see it,  Of course once they saw the pool table, the kids immediately wanted to play!

In the afternoon, we beat the heat by taking a dip in the pool!

After working up an appetite, we wandered over to Tangaroa Terrace. This is a small, kind of hidden, fast casual joint near the Disneyland Hotel. Trader Sam's bar was bustling next door but it was a bit noisy and not really for the kids. So Tangaroa it was! The great part here was that there was no line!  We ate a shrimp salad, kalua pork flatbread, and fish tacos! Yum!

We skipped off back to the hotel, because at 9:00 pm, from the comfort of our balconies, we witnessed the magic of World of Color! We set the TV to a certain channel to hear the show music.  
Speaking of magic, have you seen this before!? A TV in the mirror in the bathroom! Say what?! You can watch it while sitting in the jacuzzi tub or as shown here, while you brush your teeth!

Day 2 started off with this summer blockbuster at the AMC in Downtown Disney! I thought I'd get scared with the dinosaurs up close and personal, but it was really a great movie! A must see for sure this summer!

After our fill of popcorn, soda and a movie, we explored Downtown Disney! There's always some kind of entertainment happening at all times of the day. This was a military band singing some 80s pop.

The movie "Inside Out" was being promoted and this cool Art Board was there to take pictures with! Can't wait to see the movie opening weekend!

Then at the Wonderground Gallery, we met Disney Artist Jerrod Maruyama, who also did some artwork for Inside Out merchandise. He gave us more buttons with his designs, and we had him sign his Star Wars artwork for us and of course take a picture! We're ready to see this epic movie in December! 

 Then off to this place for lunch, the Anaheim Packing House!
And boy was it packed! This is a two story eclectic collection of food from around the world! I describe it as a re-purposed food court with a hipster vibe.  They had entertainment going on too!
We tasted all sorts of amazing food! Pork buns, Chicken tikka with lentils and naan bread, ramen, southern comfort food and treats from Popbar.

Then back to the hotel for more swim time to work off the scrumptious lunch!
We were pooped from our activities and enjoyed a home-cooked meal in the full kitchen and dining room at the Villa. We watched a movie as a family on the big screen TV as WOC played again outside. The waterworks provided a dramatic background through the floor to ceiling window. (Sorry no pictures to show of this, as I need to protect the bare-faced in pajamas clan, including myself! Hehehe!)
After checking out the next day, we ended our Anaheim weekend at this place five minutes from Disneyland for brunch! Who doesn't love fried chicken and waffles?!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend to celebrate my daughter's college graduation!  And we were able to enjoy the DLR (Disneyland Resort) and the city of Anaheim without visiting the Mouse! What does your family like to do in Anaheim? Please leave a comment below!


  1. Congrats to your daughter! What a fun filled weekend! I have never been to Anaheim, really enjoyed reading about your visit. One day I would love to go, I think I'd have to see the mouse too!

    1. Its a must to see the Mouse for your first visit!

  2. What a great weekend and such a fantastic reason to celebrate. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks Sarah, it is a great feeling as a parent!

  3. Congratulations!! What an accomplishment! The Packing House sounds right up my alley, I can't wait to try it!!!

  4. We've never done all of that at Disney and I wish I had before I moved. Now in Florida, I'll have to see what we can do.

    1. Hi April, I wish I could visit WDW every year, so much to see and do outside of tthe parks over there as well!

  5. W have never been to Disneyland, but have been to Disneyworld a few times. You are right, there is so much to do at Downtown Disney, you al most don't even miss being at the actual park! Looks like your family had a great time! Congrats to your daughter!


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