The Fairest Trip Report of All: Food Reviews

Hi guys! Tragically, here is the final regular installment of our trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

JENN: And now we come to our final moment of nostalgia: food review from our Disneyland trip.

Let’s start in Downtown Disney with La Brea Bakery, where we got grilled vegetable sandwiches. As a vegetable expert, what were your thoughts? I know you felt there wasn’t enough ketchup.

MOON: Hmm. Vegetable sandwiches are always so uniform. I feel the approach to a vegetarian sandwich is “just take the meat off and put some peppers on it, maybe a mushroom.” However, I did appreciate there was no cheese on mine.

JENN: California tends to be good about providing vegan options. And I liked that they gave us vinegar and oil to go with the bread basket. Very continental.

Were the french fries to your liking? You tend to have strong feelings regarding french fries.

MOON: Ehhh. They rate mediocre on my french fry scale.

JENN: Burn!

One perk: when we were at La Brea, I tweeted that fact. Of course. Because Disney trips require excessive live documentation, clearly. In this case it worked out for us beautifully, because Nicole informed me that they honor a Disney Visa discount. According to the waiter, they only apply this discount unless you specifically ask, so fellow Disney Visa holders: do your research! (Or take Nicole with you everywhere.)

Next up, we have the Earl of Sandwich, where you got tomato soup and we SPLIT! a spicy tuna wrap. I thought it was good but not remotely spicy. I did appreciate that the tuna, while not dry, was neither over-mayonnaised. And the black olives were a nice addition. Still: NOT SPICY.

MOON: Yes, I agree. There wasn’t even a hint at spicy. The tomato soup was pretty good, but I always feel okay with tomato soup. 🙂

JENN: Did it make you feel any better? (Moon was sick the day before the race.)

MOON: It made me feel warmer!

JENN: I also ran over to grab a bread pudding from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express, because I am a bread pudding FIEND.

I don’t think Moon tried any so I’ll take this one: good. It came with a nice vanilla bean sauce. But it wasn’t quite gooey enough for my taste and the flavor was primarily just sugar, nothing more subtle. I feel like bread pudding is one of those things that you just can’t beat when it’s homemade.

Now for our post-half-marathon lunch at Jolly Holiday Bakery at the end of Main Street in Disneyland. We both got the same thing: the Jolly Holiday Combo, tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich cut into strips for dipping.

MOON: MORE TOMATO SOUP! 😀

JENN: And how was that tomato soup, connoisseur?

MOON: Also pretttty good.

JENN: I enjoyed the combo very much. But. There was something not quite right about the grilled cheese sandwich. Initially I thought it wasn’t quite enough cheese, but after further analysis I came to the conclusion that the bread, while buttery and delicious, was just a leeeettle too thick. Kind of undermines the cheese factor. And the cheese factor is key.

MOON: I’ve only ever had one grilled cheese sandwich I truly liked, so I feel my opinion on this matter doesn’t offer much.

JENN: Ha, where was that?

MOON: Austin, TX! They would put pears on your sandwich. Mine had a fried egg.

JENN: Nice. Jolly Holiday has promise but much to learn.

Next: the famous peanut butter sandwich! I got this from the candy store on Main Street after reading about it in the Disney Food Blog. Basically, it’s a graham cracker slathered with peanut butter and covered in milk chocolate. So: an open faced sandwich.

It was delicious, because peanut butter is delicious and chocolate is delicious and peanut butter + chocolate = delicious, but I can’t help but feel that what I ate was, essentially, a very large and expensive buckeye. The graham cracker didn’t really enter into the taste equation; I think it was only there for support.

Moon tried a bite – any thoughts?

MOON: Hmm, I thought it tasted like chocolate? What we can all take away from this blog: Jenn knows her food. Moon tastes Jenn’s food and generally feels okay about it.

JENN: “Jenn knows her Disney. Moon tastes Jenn’s Disney and generally feels okay about it.” Yep, still works. 😉

MOON: Hahaha, interchangeable nouns!

JENN: Okay, let’s move on to Uva Bar at Downtown Disney, where, in Moon’s own words, she ate her weight in guacamole.

MOON: The menu was limited for vegetarians! I opted for the guacamole. The plate arrived with a MOUND of guacamole.

JENN: Was it at least delicious? I remember it arrived with slices of radish sticking out of it.

MOON: Yes, it was quite delicious! If you remember (which I know you do), I ate nearly all of it. Radishes included.

JENN: Excellent!

I got the tuna “tacos,” called “tacos” because they were really more fried tortillas, I guess, rather than any more formal Latin wrapping? I don’t know. The tuna was raw, so naturally they were unaccountably tasty. The avocado accompaniment helped a great deal. I rather wish the shell had been soft, but that’s a personal preference.

Sadly in the value/hunger area, you only got three quite small tacos, so I also ordered a machengo cheese salad, which was great – nuts and fruit and wonderful hard cheese. I would recommend this if you’re looking to add some roughage to your diet.

Next up we have Paradise Garden Grill at Disney’s California Adventure. I got a Greek salad here. I felt more nutritionally secure because I was eating greens and greens are good for you therefore health, but… my GOD was it salty. That’s all I remember about it: salt. That briny, olive-y, feta-y salt, which means it was GREEK salt, but still.

How was your kebab? You got tofu with… what kind of sauce again?

MOON:  Ha, I have no idea. I remember asking the attendant which she preferred and I went with her choice.

It was okay. Just grilled veggies with a square or two of tofu. Unremarkable, but healthy nonetheless.

JENN: I think you got chimichurri sauce… you seemed lukewarm about it at best. How were the sides?

MOON: Vinegary. I think I had a cucumber salad and some rice.

JENN: Sounds about right. Worth eating?

MOON: Sure, but I would probably pick a different venue next time.

JENN: Speaking of: let’s move on to Lucky Fortune Cookery, home of Asian Food!

MOON: SIIIIIGH.

JENN: Now, in fairness, they do offer Thai coconut curry sauce. So that’s, like, at LEAST two countries represented. And I had that sauce, with the tofu and veggies and rice, and it was very tasty. Mind you, I’m sure Thailand proper could do better, but for a reasonably healthy, filling theme park meal I was not displeased.

MOON: Under that distinction, I would agree. Nothing was fried and there were vegetables. I was happy enough.

JENN: How was the teriyaki sauce?

MOON: Tangy. Not so much teriyaki sauce, but it was all right!

JENN: The tofu was a good, silky texture. Overall I would eat there again.

MOON: Same. Definitely beat out the weird shrimp salad that will never be spoken about again.

JENN: For our penultimate review, my greatest disappointment: the Starbucks cupcake from the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe on Buena Vista Street.

It LOOKED reasonably epic. The only reasonably-epic-looking cupcake in all of Disneyland.
The top was chocolate-coated chocolate mousse, and once you hit the cake portion it was filled with whipped cream and raspberries. By all accounts lovely, but… WHERE IS THE FROSTING??? No frosting, no epic. The end.

MOON: Pssst. It’s really not about the cupcake. Can you tell?

JENN: The cake portion is merely a means of conveyance. Frosting is priority. This is true. Oh well. At least WDW has me covered where frosting-y cupcakes are consider. Disneyland needs to step it up.

And finally: the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. We went here because it was convenient to the movie theater, but actually had a nice time. I had a perfectly good though unremarkable Cobb salad that came with some surprisingly great focaccia.

MOON: I really loved our bartender. She’s a person you want to ask to come with after.

JENN: Indeed! She gave me a vodka soda that was almost all vodka. Keep that in mind if you like that sort of thing.

MOON: I can’t remember what I ate, but it was in a wrap with no cheese. Maybe mushrooms. I approved!

JENN: Haha, I think it was a hummus wrap?

MOON: Most certainly not. I haaaate hummus!

JENN: Oh, right. Then I forget. But I swear there was a wrap involved. Anyway. Any final thoughts on Disneyland food offerings? Besides the fact that they seem weirdly expensive, even by Disney standards?

MOON: Nope!

JENN: Well. There you have it, folks. The food of Disneyland. Well, not really. I didn’t eat any beignets. OR a Monte Cristo. There’s work still to do. We’ll just have to go back!

This concludes our Disneyland trip report, although we will at some point in the future hit you with the obligatory WDW vs. DLR post. It’s a rite of passage. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!  

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/22

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

I hadn’t planned on doing a full day’s report for our travel day home. No one likes traveling home. Especially west coast to east coast; you pretty much lose an entire day.

Heck, I can’t even fall back on the always post-worthy tradition of complaining. Everything went fine. No problems driving to the airport. Both flights were on time and landed early. We had plenty of breathing room when it came to making our connection. Moon’s boyfriend picked us up from the airport in his sweet, sweet minivan, dropped me off at my car, and I got to go home. We didn’t even experience weather-related problems, and Maryland had recently been hit by snow, so we could have.

And yet here I am, and it is because of these photos. Let Moon explain.

MOON: On the flight home, I noticed a degradation of Jenn’s posture and mood… This warranted proper photographic documentation.

 Says it all, no?

The trip report proper is over – but we’re not done quite yet! Tune in next week for everyone’s favorite post: the food review.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/21

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

Our final full day in California. Sigh.

The parks weren’t opening until 10AM on this particular morning, which meant that we could sleep in. Which meant that we woke up about an hour ahead of schedule. Naturally. So we hung around the room for a bit before readying ourselves and walking down to the resort.

Disneyland was offering Extra Magic Hours (or whatever the equivalent is over there) for their hotel guests, but we decided to go in anyway. We were corralled at the hub for a bit until 10AM sharp, then set free.

Our first stop? Buzz Lightyear, as I had heard from many sources that the detachable guns made for a superior experience to its WDW counterpart. In theory, this is correct – they did FEEL easier. But I must have gotten used to the stationary WDW guns, because my score was pretty pitiful, all things consider. Moon smoked me – but then she’s always been better at first person shooters than I am. (And so are you. And so is everybody, ever. WHY CAN’T IT EVER BE MELEE?)

MOON: I’m a boss at laser tag, too!

I got the bright idea to check in on the wait time for Space Mountain. Moon did not appreciate this, but upon seeing the 10 minute posted wait time she allowed herself to be herded into line. Our ride photo would not indicate an improvement for her the second time around.

Pathos.

No one in this photo is enjoying themselves except me.

Post-Mountain, we bounced over to Fantasyland, where we proceeded to take ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS pictures. It was awesome.

MOON: I’m sure there are going to be a lot of those…

So awesome, in fact, that we decided to go around the entire park taking silly photos. As we passed Big Thunder Ranch, I saw a HORSE! Yay! Unfortunately this guy wasn’t as accommodating as the pair I met during the Tinker Bell Half, but it was still nice to see him.

THIS IS TRUE.

And even nicer to see Woody. I coached him and Moon into their pose and the CM on duty suggested a “Woody’s Angels” spin-off. Do you think we could resurrect Bo Peep for that? I always liked her.

I was still bound and determined to find myself a cupcake, and we checked the Hungry Bear for exciting desserts as we passed. Admittedly the honey lemon cupcake was a feast for the eyes and I’d heard great reviews… but I didn’t want a LEMON cupcake. Too light. I WANTED a honking sugar-fest. But a GOOD honking sugar-fest, with vanilla or cream cheese frosting for preference and some sort of frosting-intensive filling. In retrospect I probably made a mistake, but we moved on.

The Winnie the Pooh dark ride was practically next door and had no line to speak of, so we took a ride in a hilariously-named honeycomb. Okay, I might be imagining things, but I remember the WDW version as being WAY better. The story at Disneyland lacks clarity. Am I making things up?

Oh, bother.

By this point I was in the mood for a snack, of which there were many inside the Pooh Corner gift shop. Despairing of ever finding a glorious, WDW-worthy cupcake in Disneyland, I gave up the ghost and bought one of those generic colored cupcakes that are all over both properties. It was fine, sugar-fest-y, even, but an underperformer compared to anything I could get at Starring Rolls. Disneyland bakers need to step up their game.

MOON: If I may be so bold and repeat my favorite tweet: “I just stuffed cake into my BFF’s mouth. The trip has climaxed.” There you go, guys. That’s the highlight of my trip.

Subpar.

We’d photographed our way through Fantasyland, New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Critter Country, Adventureland, AND Main Street and it was time to head across the yard to DCA. On the way out we stopped in a gift shop so I could look for a shirt I liked, but they didn’t have it in my preferred size and color so I vowed to look in the World of Disney store later.

Over in DCA, I made a beeline for the roller coaster, and Moon was kind enough to wait for me and take photos as my train took off. Then we stopped in at the Golden Vine restaurant, but the menu didn’t inspire us to spend that kind of money; we went back to Pacific Wharf and got tofu bowls from Lucky Fortune Cookery (another one for the food review post).

Our next stop was Carsland, where Moon got a churro cone. I guess they make them fresh to order, because Moon informed me it was going to take six minutes for hers to arrive. She gave me leave to run off and look for Stanley stuff in the gift shops.

I checked through pretty much every single gift shop in the place and came up with exactly one lame t-shirt and a magnet. I mean, Stanley has a freakin’ STATUE here; shouldn’t he be more heavily featured? Moon called, churros accomplished, and I directed her over to me for discussion. I ultimately bought magnets for my mother and grandmother. The cashier guy was super nice – he gave us First Visit pins and Mickey stickers (which now adorn my cubicle wall and my cell phone case, respectively).

I FOUND IT!

Also, Moon gave me her cinnamon chocolate dipping sauce from the churros because she’s not a huge chocolate fan and I drank that stuff like it was hot chocolate. Question: reasonable behavior or cry for help?

MOON: I’m sorry for being a fatty and eating all the churros!! But I couldn’t find youuu and I was hungry. :/ But at least there was sauce, right? You ate that like a champ!

It being vacation, it was time to imbibe; we hit up the wine place next to Golden Vineyard. The guy there was also very nice, offering us different pours if we didn’t like what we got and describing our potential purchases. I got a glass of Malbec and Moon got a Cabarnet, and we took our glasses over to the benches in front of California Screamin.’ (On the way, Moon was accosted by a lady who wanted to know WHERE DID YOU GET WINE?????)

I snagged a FastPass for the roller coaster and we sat and sipped our wine for awhile. I finished my glass at the EXACT moment my time opened up. Moon had fallen asleep, and upon my return she was STILL asleep. It was adorable.

MOON: Zzzzzzzzz…

I did rouse her after a time, and we decided to approach DCA the same way we had Disneyland that morning – circle around and take pictures. So we did that. And as we walked past Grizzly River run, I saw him: DUG!

Oh, and here’s a bear from the gift shop.

Also, at some point we took pictures with Chip and Dale. I don’t remember when so I’m just going to stick this photo here. Chip tried to mime me into giving him money for food, but I refused because HE DOESN’T DESERVE ANY. (Confession: I don’t like Chip and Dale because they’re mean to Pluto. I harbor the same distaste for the Roadrunner and Jerry Mouse.) 

It was then that I made my most exciting discovery of the entire trip: one of the famed DISNEYLAND KITTIES! Disneyland sets up feeders to support feral cat populations that keep the rodent numbers down. Cast members warned, and rightly so, that they were wild, but this particular cat was incredibly sweet, rubbing against my hands and everything. Until some stupid kid came up and started yelling MEOW!!!!! at him which freaked him out and he ran away. Why do people continue to bring CHILDREN to Disneyland? I just don’t understand it.

We continued our tour with Condor Flats, but there wasn’t much there beside Soarin’ and we get that at WDW. After that we found ourselves back on Buena Vista Street… so I went into Starbucks and bought ANOTHER cupcake. Because it LOOKED epic. I say LOOKED… but more on that later.

I was so young and full of hope.

Moon convinced me to leave the parks, but I wasn’t ready to let go. She went back to the hotel while I headed into Downtown Disney and the World of Disney store to find my shirt. It was pretty much exactly the same as a shirt I had almost bought at WDW, but it said Disneyland instead; I figured since I still liked the design it would make a good souvenir. Unfortunate WoD didn’t have red in size small either, so I settled for purple. Whatever. Purple brings out the green in hazel eyes, right? The universe knows what it’s doing. I also found a shot glass and got a small pack of notepads for coworkers, but otherwise I managed to hold on to my money.

What I couldn’t hold on to was my sense of perspective – as usual, the prospect of leaving Disney property bummed me right the hell out. A normal person, having completed their business, would then go back to their room. I chose to walk alllllll the way down the DTD street to the Disneyland Hotel and back, ducking into a few shops for no reason whatsoever. My initial plan was to pick up the monorail and ride it into Tomorrowland before exiting, but it was down… which also saved me from the temptation to stay in Disneyland, so I guess that was just as well.

Goodbye… sniff…

Eventually I was able to drag myself away; I met Moon back at the hotel and we pondered the remainder of the day. Various driving excursions were considered, but as I am a nervous driver in new situations we abandoned those ideas in favor of staying safely close to home.

Step one: hot tub! At this dinner-ish hour, the pool area was practically empty. There was one family there, but they left shortly after we arrived. We did have one admittedly cute encounter – their little boy came up to us just before they departed and asked us very gravely if we would like him to turn the hot tub jets on for us. I don’t even like kids and I found that adorable.

Eh.
Much better.

Step two: dinner. We settled in at the Rainforest Cafe because it was right across the way from the DTD movie theater (we will get to step three shortly). This will serve as the final section of our Disneyland food review post, but let me just say now that they don’t skimp on the vodka.

Step three: movie. The reason we wanted to drink was because we had selected Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones as the evening’s film. WAIT HEAR ME OUT. Moon and I have a tradition with some friends that we watch horror movies together, both good and bad, and mock them and/or clutch each other in terror. We KNEW a PA movie would be mockable, but we hoped it would be a fun mockable. There is a method to our admitted madness, okay?

As you might have guessed, however, this particular PA installment was passable at best. The most interesting part was that when we walked in – a few minutes into the previews at that – we had the ENTIRE THEATER to ourselves. A couple came in shortly after, but they left about halfway through (if that informs you of the quality). Meanwhile, Moon literally stretched out across the seats and fell asleep about a quarter of the way in. The most frightening thing about the entire experience was sitting in the dark alone.

MOON: There’s also a tradition of me drinking a little too much in excitement for being scared and then my subsequent snoozing. I had a nice nap. Much better than the movie, I’m sure.

I woke Moon up at the end and we walked back to the hotel in the hush of Disneyland Resort at 11PM at night and went to bed shortly after. Our vacation was essentially over. In the morning: TRAVEL TIME.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon! 

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/20

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

I had suddenly remembered, the night before, that Disneyland opened its gates at 8AM on this morning, which would require an early start if we were to make rope drop. To which Moon said: NO. And really, if I were smarter, I would’ve been right there with her – we’d had a long race day and needed the sleep. But because I am me, I dragged myself out of bed early and was in line at Disneyland by 7:45AM. Because I am a crazy person.

MOON: I am not a crazy person. Here’s a confession: I was awake before Jenn woke up. But, I’m laaaaazy, so I stayed in with my three blankets.

The assembled faithful were allowed into the park at 7:50AM and permitted to walk as far as the Partners statue, about halfway up the hub; the other half was blocked off by rope. The cast member on duty started asking people where they were headed, and I can offer you this observed trend per his expertise: people closer to the Partners statue are headed directly to Peter Pan, whereas those closer to the railing and bolting for Space Mountain.

Me, I was in it for the Matterhorn, and the moment we were set free I made a beeline for the line – I’d say I was in maybe the second or third car to take off. And… it wasn’t that exciting. >.< Is that bad? It’s an iconic attraction! But essentially it’s like Space Mountain, the same sort of spiral-down ride track, only you can see the whole time so you’re never surprised. I’m glad I got to experience it but I can’t say I’d wait in any kind of line for it.

I had time to kill before Moon joined me, so I headed deeper into Fantasyland. My first stop was Snow White, now that we no longer have it in WDW, and I got my own car! It was a fun ride as always, but I can’t help but feel that the old WDW version had a more cohesive story line. Oh well. Another one bites the dust, eh?

MOON: In the meantime, I was enjoying a nice, long shower…

Now for a new experience: the Sleepy Beauty Castle walking tour! Not particularly exciting, really, but the little dioramas were quaint and cute and the entire attraction at that hour was blessedly empty and quiet. I had a pleasant walk through the displays.

I then made the grave tactical error of getting into line for Peter Pan. It had been broken down for the first half hour or so of park opening, and the line had backed up, but I figured what the heck. Well, the heck was that after about fifteen minutes it broke down again. Is it very different in Disneyland from WDW? At the time I banked on the idea that is wasn’t and jumped out of line with the intention of popping over to Disney’s California Adventure to ride the roller coaster, but at that moment Moon texted me to inform me she was on her way.

On my way out of Disneyland to meet her, I had a celebrity moment: I saw Chef Oscar outside of the Carnation Cafe! He’s been working at Disneyland since 1955. NINETEEN FIFTY-FIVE. Naturally I took photos like a crazed paparazzi. Because I am a nerd.

We met in the between-parks courtyard and determined that we would indeed proceed directly to DCA. First order of business was of course to grab FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers; just the FPs alone have their own queue. Sheesh.

Our return time was for a little after 4PM, so we had some time to fill. I did something I’ve been dying to do since 2001: ride the roller coaster, California Screamin.’ Moon declined with such a firm tone that I put up only a token effort to convince her to accompany me before hopping into the fairly short line. And was it worth my decade-plus wait? YES. YES IT WAS. I freakin’ loved it – just enough intensity for a thrill, but nothing like those big killer coasters that you have to psych yourself up for. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll brave a 205 foot vertical drop and like it, but there’s something to be said for a coaster you can approach as pure, courage-unnecessary fun.

We headed back to Buena Vista Street and the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe – aka Starbucks. The line was several billion yards long, but we wanted hot drinks so we soldiered through for a tea for Moon and a soy latter for me. We sat at a table outside and did some leisurely sipping, idly watching the Five and Dime performance that had set up a ways away.

MOON: I was so excited for tea that I ordered a large. We’re talking 24oz of tea. I forgot these things can’t go on rides. That much liquid makes one uncomfortable. Just saying.

After our break, we headed over to the Monsters Inc dark ride. The queue here was awesome, and the ride was good, but… um… I DESPISE Boo. She is incalculably annoying. The only thing she did in the entire film that I enjoyed was burst into tears when Sully accidentally scared her. So as much as I dig Billy Crystal, I will never 100% warm up to Monsters Inc.

SNACK TIME. We made our way down to Hyperion Wharf and stopped in at Ghirardelli for our free square of chocolate – dark chocolate raspberry this time. Tasty! Then we did the Boudin Bakery tour, which came complete with lovely sourdough bread samples. But the tour pained me terribly. Colin Mochrie, you are a great and clever man and you are SO MUCH FUNNIER THAN THIS. Did they write that script for you? DON’T LET THEM DO THAT. Don’t they know improv is your thing?

As we weren’t quite lunch-ready, we decided to take a spin around Mickey’s Funwheel. Moon selected the non-swinging cars and that was cool with me as it would make photography less tricky. Following the interminable inching crawl of a line that all ferris wheels inevitably provide, we made it into a car and rose high up over the park. It wasn’t what I’d call exciting but the views were definitely impressive.

After disembarking, we poked around the various Hyperion Wharf eating establishments and eventually settled on the Hyperion Wharf Cafe, which featured bread bowls from the Boudin Bakery. We both got Shrimp Louis salads, although I don’t think Moon’s agreed with her particularly. No need to revisit these in the food review post: they were kinda creamy and not very green. Good bread, though.

MOON: I hate shrimp.

It was time to head back to Disneyland, where we first picked up passes for Roger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin, and second got terrifically lost trying to find Big Thunder Ranch, which is NOT in fact in Critter Country. I think critters should be in Critter Country, don’t you? While we were there, Moon did pick up a sweet Davy Crockett hat, so it wasn’t a totally loss.

Eventually we located the ranch, where I discovered, much to my dismay, that the place billed as the home of the happiest horses on earth was horse-free. I did pet a donkey named Pablo, but he wasn’t really enjoying it. (Cisco wasn’t home.) (Ignore my parenthetical; only my dad would get that joke.) Moon enjoyed the fiddling cowboy, so at least there’s that.

Our FastPass time had opened up; we selected a much more efficient route this time and before long we were on Roger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin. Two words: Patty cake?!

We decided to hop back over to DCA and made a beeline for the Cove Bar, a gorgeous space jutting out into the lake. We had a table by the water after only a brief wait, and were soon enjoying some lovely cocktails. Needless to say, silliness ensued.

King of the wild frontier.

I hope you will forgive us if I confess that our first and only ride on Radiator Springs Racers was performed while slightly inebriated. We weren’t actually driving, so that’s cool, right?! The ride was fun but I kept getting distracted by all the ways I could see they had re-skinned Epcot’s Test Track. We won, though (although Mater says “You’re all winners today” which is a total cop-out).

Please don’t be mad, but… I have never seen Cars. BUT. I now MUST see it, because – wait. Hold on. Please prepare yourself for a bit of a mind-bender.

GUYS, MY GRANDFATHER’S NAME WAS STANLEY AND HE OWNED A GAS STATION.

IT WAS A SINCLAIR GAS STATION.

(Source)

AMAZING.

The sun was starting to go down, which signaled that it was time to go back to the hotel to change. Our walk was interrupted by this weird guy who tried to get us to go to some sort of timeshare breakfast, but eventually we extricated ourselves and made it to our room for some downtime.

Then it was right back to DCA for dinner and World of Color! But first we rode the Little Mermaid dark ride because there was no wait and it was warm in there. As far as I can tell it is exactly like the one in New Fantasyland only there’s no castle. Downgrade. Still love Ursula, though.

Oh, and the carousel! The SEA CAROUSEL. King Triton was way into it, and so was Moon. She speaks whale. Or possibly upset stomach.

MOON: VAT! VHERE ZEE VHALES? I rode that whale like nobody’s business.

We chose Paradise Garden Grill for dinner – review to come – and wandered around the Paradise Pier area taking pictures. In so doing, I came to this dismaying realization that the World of Color viewing area was pretty much exclusively for FastPass holders. As a denizen of the Hollywood Studio’s Fantasmic set up, this threw me for a complete loop and made me feel stupid all at once. I should have done more research… bleh. Well, I’ll know for next time.

There was nothing else for it: we took spots in a roped off section behind the main area and waited; I tried to play the color wheel game but for some reason they had already stopped playing. We managed to keep ourselves entertained all the same until World of Color began.

Verdict? I liked it. The scenes were well selected and the combination of lights, water, and projection was clever and well done. Oh, and it reminded me that Brave‘s “Touch the Sky” exists, so I am forever in debt to it for that. But I’d still rather watch Fantasmic or Wishes. I believe Moon loved it, though, so that was great!

MOON: I did think it was a bit too long, but I thought the water mechanics were pretty fantastic.

We exited the park with the masses at that point, but our destination was not the hotel just yet – it was Downtown Disney. I was bound and determined to find myself an epic cupcake. At WDW, they are EVERYWHERE – in Starring Rolls and Boardwalk Bakery and Contempo Cafe and they even pop up as specials in counter service restaurants – but Disneyland was coming up completely short. I was determined to locate myself a good cupcake in one of the DTD stores.

Which were all closed. INCLUDING TANGAROA TERRACE. Seriously? 10PM is when you close the Disneyland Hotel’s food court? Who signed off on that? Poor Moon followed me all over what felt like the entire planet before I dejectedly entered the mercifully open late Earl of Sandwich and purchased a brownie creme. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE me a good brownie creme, which is essentially a brownie-and-frosting sandwich… but I wanted an epic cupcake. Harrumph.

MOON: I imagine all the cupcakes in CA sneering and laughing at Jenn as she trekked through all Disney property in search for one. At least there was a brownie!

But I took my brownie creme home and I showed it who was boss (hint: me; I have teeth so I win) while Moon showered and then I showered and then it was bedtime. One more day in Disneyland to go.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon! 

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/19

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

When we left off last time, Moon and I had just completed the Tinker Bell Half Marathon because we are awesome. We were FREEZING post-race, so we wrapped ourselves in reflective blankets and hightailed it straight from the finish to our hotel.

Once there, we ate a few items out of our runDisney snack boxes and took turns in the shower. I really should’ve hurried us along with the intention of making my original goal of rope drop… but the shower felt so nice and warm and it was lovely to relax and check some email and such… so yeah. As the designated park commando, I failed. But we made it into Disneyland around 9:30AM, so really – not too shabby.

The first thing we did upon entry was pick up a map. This just felt wrong. I mean, we’re in a Disney park. I NEVER need a map in Walt Disney World! To compound the weirdness, a lot of Disneyland feels remarkably like the Magic Kingdom, so much so that the deja vu is strong enough to indicate a glitch in the Matrix. But then you’ll turn a corner and WAIT A MINUTE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HAUNTED MANSION? Oh, it’s over there? What on earth is it doing over there? That’s not where it goes! Er… if you know what I mean.

MOON: …SIGH! (Is this where I get to kiiiinda gloat that I’m not too bad at navigation? A natural born cartographer).

This looks wrong. Don’t you think it looks wrong?
I think it looks wrong.

And what did we choose as our very first Disneyland attraction ever? Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! I chose to prioritize rides that were unique to or significantly different in WDW, and Indiana Jones seemed like a great place to start as we’re both big fans of Dinosaur in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It was fun, but… um… would you be very angry if I mentioned that we both liked Dinosaur better?

MOON: There was a small hill and I was displeased. I also prefer dinosaurs. Especially vegetarian ones!

From there we proceeded directly to the Matterhorn, but the line was long and for some reason there was no FastPass; we moved deeper into Fantasyland, where I proceeded to get inordinately excited over MR. TOAD’S WILD RIDE YES. There was practically no wait, so we hopped in line.

As we inched toward the entrance of Toad Hall, we happened to spot some characters next to the carousel. It was… Doctor Who? Multiple Doctors Who, in fact, including a subpar Matt Smith, and impressive River Song, and a seriously authentic-looking Tom Baker. Over the course of the day we saw many more Doctors strolling around the park, including more Matt Smiths, some David Tennants, a lesser Tom Baker, and at least one Christoper Eccleston, plus a bunch of people wearing Who attire. I don’t know if there was a convention in town or an unofficial Disney Who Day or what, but this group was committed.

MOON: The Whos were a fixture throughout the entirety of our trip. Not really sure if we missed the convention?

I only know he’s supposed to be Matt Smith because Stetsons are cool.
Good River Song, though.

Now that’s a Tom Baker.

After Mr. Toad killed us and sent us to Hell, we rode Pinocchio with no wait, which dumped us out by the Frozen meet and greet with Anna and Elsa. The line was waaaaay too long to consider, but there was a nifty audio-animatronic Olaf snowman hanging out on the roof trying to talk people into trading off their appendages. “Hey, nice shoes. Can I borrow them? Oh, I don’t have any feet. Hey, nice feet. Can I borrow them?”

My undergraduate thesis was about the relationship between Lewis Carroll and his Alice illustrator John Tenniel, so naturally I freaked out over the Alice in Wonderland ride and its AMAZING caterpillar cars. I want one in my house. The ride itself was a little odd though, no? I mean, it seems to end, your car wanders around outside for a bit, then suddenly a random Mad Tea Party addition, then it’s over. Hmmm. But still. CATERPILLARS. Oh, and the Cheshire Cat! I <3 Sterling Holloway.

I think we can all agree that this is the greatest photo ever.

Next we rode the Storybook Land Canal Boats, skipping the line because there were only two of us, and we floated through many a miniature village. Pretty adorable, I must say.

I dragged Moon over to Space Mountain and bullied her into getting Space Mountain FastPasses. To make up for this heartlessness, we stopped in at the Jolly Holiday Bakery for a leisurely lunch of Cokes and Jolly Holiday combos: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Review forthcoming!

We ducked into a Photo Pass store so that Moon could buy some Chapstick, then headed over to New Orleans Square. The Pirates of the Caribbean line was surprisingly long…

MOON: BOOOOOOOORING.

…so we hopped into the Haunted Mansion queue instead. This version of the ride was not, to me, appreciably different, although it was interesting to walk through some portions of the Mansion that you ride past in WDW. Also, am I inventing things, or is the Ghost Host’s speech in the elevator room a bit curtailed here?

The PotC line was still long…

MOON: Still BOOOOOOOORING.

…so we headed past it and over the it’s a small world, just catching the 1:30PM parade of audio-animatronic figures that come out of the clock. Cute. The ride was still all done up for Christmas, so that was nice to see. Moon took some pictures of me in front of the small world facade, and then said this: “I’m going to make a tumblr called Jenn In Front of Disney Things.” Should totally happen, no?

Much to Moon’s chagrin, it was time to cash in on our Space Mountain FastPasses. Differences I noted: it seemed darked than MK’s version, and of course the seating is better (those rockets at Space Mountain MK are unavoidably awkward), and my personal favorite: MUSIC! But I feel like the MK version is a little more intense. Moon thought… she thought… well, she can put what she thought here. I don’t think it will be pretty.

MOON: I like space.

Okay then.

Space Mountain: it’s killed before.

As a huge fan of The Hall of Presidents, Moon was jazzed for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, so we meandered on down Main Street.

MOON: I’m not sure this is an appropriate adjective given my apathy toward jazz. Or yours, for that matter.

I stopped in at the candy store to pick up an item the Disney Food Blog has been teasing me with for years: the peanut butter sandwich. Hang tight for a review on that one.

Pluto was holding court outside of the Lincoln entrance and Moon LOVES Pluto, so we hopped in line and took a photo with him (complete with hugs and kisses) before entering the Lincoln lobby.

 We took some pictures and explored the lobby exhibits before entering the theater for the show.

Now where have I seen this before…

It was no Hall of Presidents/American Adventure, but it was certainly neat seeing the same show presented all those years ago at the World’s Fair. Historical! Fun facts: the Civil War sequence from the film here is pretty much exactly the same as the sequence from American Adventure; “Golden Dream” from AA plays as you leave the theater (ON FREEDOM’S WINNNNNND ‘CROSS THE SKYYY-Y-Y-Y-Y).

MOON: This is very unpatriotic of me, but I nearly lost my hat when the eagle appears in the backdrop when all the pomp and circumstance is going on. Does this happen in WDW, too?

After a grand circle tour around the park courtesy of the Disneyland Railroad, a quick game of rock-paper-scissors determined that we would have dinner in Downtown Disney, so we left the park, took a sharp right turn, and there it was. Good ol’ compact Disneyland Resort.

First stop: World of Disney to scope out souvenirs. As always, I saw lots of things I wanted which I then talked myself out of buying, but Moon did pick up some cookies for her mom.

MOON: I don’t think she liked them, but oh well. They were cute.

We decided to head to the coffee shop in the Disneyland Hotel for something warm to drink; on the way, a DVC kiosk guy congratulated us on our race (of course we wore our medals) and then teased us gently for walking slow. Then he teased us for coming back the same way two minutes later, because the coffee shop was closed. Oh well. After some consideration, we found ourselves in Uva Bar for tea and food – review forthcoming.

It was getting a little chilly – comparatively speaking, anyway – so we walked back to our hotel to hang out for a bit and change. After a brief break we threw on pants and hoodies and walked back to Disneyland for the fireworks. We briefly stood in line at the Starbucks for more hot drinks, but the line was approximately a thousand years long so we decided to scrap it.

Instead we made our way to the hub and staked out spots next to a family that had marked their own territory with blankets, on the principle that they would at least keep the area in front of us relatively clear. This worked… technically. Unfortunately, when the fireworks started, they all floated DIRECTLY BEHIND A TREE. Julie Andrews was the narrator for the fireworks soundtrack and I LOOOOOOOOOOVE her, but not even she could save me from the frustration of the tree and the fact that all the songs were from Wishes, so we left and got in line for Pirates of the Caribbean instead.

Now. The accepted rule is that whichever park you grow up with – Disneyland or Walt Disney World – that’s the one you’ll claim is the best. I’ll offer more opinions on this at a later date as will Moon, but let me say with absolute confidence that what you’ve heard is true: Disneyland’s PotC is far, far superior. It’s longer, it’s got more drops, and the story line is clearer. I simply cannot fathom why WDW chose to make a truncated version when the original is so awesome.

MOON: I will agree with Jenn that Disneyland’s PotC was more entertaining, but I still find that ride BOOOOOOOORING.

Post PotC we went back to the hotel again and pretty much just crashed. Day one in Disneyland down – two more days to go!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon! 

The Fairest Trip Report of All: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Recap

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

JENN: I had set no less than three alarms for 3AM, but I woke up no problem to the first one and actually felt pretty okay. Hooray for Eastern Standard Time!

MOON: I was already awake! And terrified!

JENN: Did you sleep at all?

MOON: I did BEFORE the fireworks started going off. I mostly listened to music all night, I think.

JENN: Oh dear. I seem to recall that you weren’t feeling too hot…

MOON: 
Yeah, I felt pretty bad that morning. I was really scared to get out of bed and put on clothes because my energy still felt low and it still felt like 30 degrees to me. So, I checked my phone when I decided to get out of bed. In my text inbox I had the BEST message. I will not disclose it here, but I finally felt the resolve I needed.

JENN: Yeah, I remember asking you if you were up to running and you were all I’M DOING IT.

MOON:  Yeah! Although, I was still scared I wouldn’t have enough energy to run the whole thing. This was my inner dialogue all night: “Nooooo…”

JENN: I was a little worried, but I’m not gonna lie – I was relieved you meant to try. Didn’t want to go without you!

MOON: Anyway, I ate a Clif bar and tried to mentally tell myself all would be well.

JENN: So yeah. We dressed and ate and put on makeup in the effort to improve photos and walked down to Disneyland. We were by no means alone – there was a constant stream of fellow runners all around us, acting as shepherds.

By contrast to the Princess Half, it was COLD out. Moon and I had on hoodies. These will be important later.

MOON: And very much missed pieces of clothing…

JENN: We headed past the Disneyland/DCA courtyard and through Downtown Disney, then banked I think a left into the Paradise Pier hotel area. We briefly hit the family reunion/pre-race area, but I hardly even remember what was in it. The tents for bag check, but we weren’t using that service. We kinda milled around a bit and then left.

STEVE HOLT

MOON: I remember the Princess being a little more organized this respect.

JENN: Yeah, the Princess pre-race was much more high-energy, with a dance party and photo ops. Of course, it was also much more crowded.

MOON: Yes, but you also knew where you were supposed to go!

JENN: 
True!

We headed toward the corrals, gleefully skipping past the frequent security checks on your bib letter before you could proceed. Corral B, baby!

MOON: Hip, hip for Corral B! Starting in B was a huge improvement from the Princess Half. SO much less congested throughout the entire run. I stayed with many of the runners I started with; that’s always kind of nice!

JENN: By that point it was only 4:30AM, so we had half an hour to kill. While it was a little boring, it did allow us to stand pretty close to the front of the corral, which was a bonus. We took some pictures and social media’d a bit to keep ourselves entertained.

Eh.

Much better.

There were hosts on a stage to the right of the first corral that kept up some chatter, but it was mostly filler. The event really began with the singing of the National Anthem, the start of the one wheelchair participant, and then – corral A was off! Ten minutes later WE WERE TOO.

MOON: So, I just have to say: once I started running, I was all set. I felt good (although coooold), and adrenaline kicked in!

JENN: By contrast – I did not feel good.

I have documented before how my lungs tend to react with extreme negativity whenever I try to run in the cold. It wasn’t freezing out, but it was definitely chilly. We crested our first hill and, while it was very steep, I had to take in just enough extra air that I could feel the restriction kicking in. Gotta say, it scared me.

MOON: Maybe this is when my throat’s weirdo illness worked in my favor. I didn’t feel much!

JENN: Just like in the end of Signs when the boy doesn’t die because he has asthma!

MOON: Ha!

JENN: Luckily the feeling eased on flatter portions of the course, but I was rather tragically Not Feeling It.

This is where we have THEME PARKS TO THE RESCUE! We ran into Disney’s California Adventure in short order and there it was: the World of Color fountains going. Quick calculations determined that if I stopped for a picture it would also give my lungs a brief rest, so I called Moon over and we took some quick photos.

MOON: This is the part when Jenn recaps all the important things… Of which I have no recollection. Although, I DO remember lights and general pretty things!

JENN: Haha, you were in the zone! Whereas I was desperately seeking distraction, and the parks did not disappoint. We took our very first steps into Disneyland – running steps – and it was awesome. We stopped for a photo op with the castle – I had read that it was tiny by comparison to WDW’s, but I didn’t realize how tiny! It was still fun running up the drawbridge and through the tunnel.

Jenn was unprepared, expression-wise.

MOON: Yeah, it was almost like running through a miniature town.

JENN: From there we ran through Fantasyland (loved the characters on the carousel!) and past it’s a small world, its facade all lit up, and we stopped for a photo there too.

But my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE stop was next! HORSES. They were SO cute and sweet and I wasted way too many precious seconds cuddling with them but it kicked my morale up several notches and that’s what counts!

MOON: You should have mounted up and gloriously crossed the finish line on horseback.

JENN: IF ONLY.

Roundabouts then we left the parks and it all goes downhill from here, folks.

MOON: So… The Anaheim Suburbs. Running through Anaheim was not the most exciting portion of the run…

JENN: I dunno, guys. I knew the second half of the race went through the streets of Anaheim but… really, Disney? That’s IT? Cheerleaders? They weren’t even doing any fancy routines, just yelling encouragement. Which we already have from spectators, and while they are less likely to come in coordinating outfits they sport funny signs. They win.

There were a couple marching bands, too, but I never saw any characters or the promised Polynesian dancers. Or puppets or displays or other ways WDW dresses up its boring street sections. Maybe we came through too early or something.

MOON: Well, at least there was lots of water!

JENN: You mean the water stations? Or did I miss a fancy water entertainment portion?

MOON: Ha, yes, you missed the part where World of Color shoots magical colored water into your mouth as your run past.

JENN: God, I’m so oblivious.

MOON: Yeah, water stations, ha!

JENN: It was in the streets of Anaheim that Moon started to pull away from me. All the ill portents aside, she had conquered sickness and was feelin’ it. I was not.

MOON: I periodically looked back because I really wanted us to stay togetherrrr. Most of the time I could spot you!

JENN: I stopped at every water station for water AND Powerade, but Moon started up again sooner than I did and little by little she pulled away. But not TOO far away – I could see her up ahead, and I gotta say, she kept me going. Aside from those water stops, I didn’t stop once, even though I was tempted to.

At one point I saw a hill coming and my internal monologue let out a belting NOOOOOOOOO but I saw Moon run right up it and I decided I would too. No walking for me!

MOON: I was pissed we had to run up the same obnoxious hill TWICE! Anger shot me up that one. And the promise of the race ending…

JENN: So Moon was keeping me going up ahead. And then around mile 12, when I was really starting to feel the sad, I heard the voice of the 2:15 pace guy. I had seen him in our corral before the start and I knew that if I could JUST KEEP AHEAD OF HIM I would pull out a good time. I intend to write a more involved love letter to the man who propelled me forward when I needed the push, but for now let’s just say that without him and Moon I could never have pushed past my sluggish body and made a PR.

MOON: And to add: there were so many jackets on the ground! I was so cold near the end. I seriously wanted to pick them up and wrap myself in them.

JENN: Oh, right, I totally forgot to mention that part! So as we entered Disneyland part, we ran up Main Street, and we were elated – Moon was feeling good, I was boosted by the sites and sounds of Disney, and were happy. All that adrenaline warmed us up, so we counted it down – THREE TWO ONE!!! – and tossed our hoodies.

We had made a huge mistake.

MOON: Way too overzealous. I still regret it. I feel cold now.

JENN: By the end of the course I had salt crusted on my face from sweat that had dried too quickly in the cold. It was crazy. But anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. The end of the race. I lost sight of Moon by the time I passed the 13 mile marker, but I had Pace Charming on my heels and even though I once or twice felt like I might puke I powered through and FINISHED BECAUSE STEVE HOLT.

FINISH HER!!!!

How was the end of the race for you?

MOON: Well, before I talk about that I just want to shout out to my favorite part of the race.While running through the Anaheim suburbs, I passed a lady who was out in her bathrobe, sporting a MIMOSA (the sun had not yet risen). When I ran past her she said, “Good morning!!” And that made me laugh, therefore… Great success.

JENN: Haha, excellent! I enjoyed the Red Hat Ladies, myself. But WHERE WAS THE GOSPEL CHOIR?! In the Princess Half we had a gospel choir at mile 13 and it was AMAZING.

MOON: Yeah, it’s pretty hard to give a race that and then TAKE IT AWAY for the next. But, I did well at the end. I found the end a little ambiguous at first because I wasn’t sure it was happening… and the kind of a windy path.

Survivors!

 Annnyway! Remember before we left and we said we would reveal our goals for the race?!

JENN: Yes!

MOON: Sooooo, did you make it?!

JENN: Well, no. Technically. I had wanted us to be at the parks at opening and we didn’t get on our first ride until 9:40AM. But that was my own fault – I dawdled in the shower and afterward. We probably could’ve made it if I’d really hustled us, but it felt nice to relax a bit. I think it was okay. I got a PR by about six minutes, and that’s what counts. 🙂 You?

MOON: While I didn’t finish with my personal best time, I did finish with a new official best time!

JENN: Yay!

MOON: I wanted to run the entire race – no walking. This happened, yay! I also wanted to finish under 2:20. This ALSO happened, yay! And those were my goals before getting sickly. The day before my only goal was, “Don’t drop out.”

JENN: Ooh, incidentally, my time was just under 2:15 and I think your official time was just over 2:13? The clock seemed a little off but that’s where we ended up. Not bad either way. AND we stopped for several photos!

MOON: You’re right! So, all in all we did really well. That pleases me. 😀

JENN: I guess it would’ve been nice to get those 4-5 minutes back, but they really improved my morale and gave my crotchety lungs a rrest.

How did you feel post race? Those reflective blankets were a LIFESAVER.

MOON: Yeeeeeah, I wanted all the reflective blankets.

JENN: We pretty much just got our snack box, water, and Powerade, and got the heck up outta there. It was COLD.

Snack box contents.

One thing I must say I rather enjoyed – the course actually ran right past our hotel. We had finished so early, runners from the last couple corrals were still coming through. To get to our room, we had to do the dart-across-the-course thing. Felt pretty good. 🙂

MOON: I still don’t know what happened to my Powerade.

JENN: Neither do I. I also don’t know what was up with that bibbed girl who was running on the opposite side of the street from the course as we walked back.

MOON: Haha, yeeeeah, girl was on the wrong side of the street. And this time it wasn’t because of lost costume parts like our lobster friend from last year’s race.

JENN: And that was our race experience! Next up: DISNEYLAND.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon! 

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/18

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

The morning started with a 6AM alarm on the principle that the longer we pretended we were still on the east coast the less painful our 3AM wakeup time for race morning would be. Of course, pretty much nothing whatsoever is happening at 6AM, so we basically did nothing for several hours. Vacation!

MOON: I have no recollection of this at all, but I do remember keeping my clock on Eastern Standard Time for the entirety of the trip!

Eventually Moon took a shower, we dressed, and we headed on down to the Expo, which was held in the convention area of the Disneyland Hotel (have I mentioned how much I loved walking EVERYWHERE?). As a random aside: the bagcheck lines on our side – that is to say, the non-Disney hotel side – were generally shorter. Just some information for you.

We wandered through the Expo with slightly perplexed expressions before finally doubling back and finding signs directing us to registration, which was underneath the building (a parking lot, technically, I think?). We were able to check in fairly quickly, and then was hardly any line for the team stuff (which was essentially a bib and a sash. Can I forgo the sash and not pay $15 next time? Just a question).

As we were walking toward the exit we saw that GET Travel was still offering discount Disneyland tickets, and as we had accidentally missed the cutoff date for online ordering I was like YESSS and hustled us into line. We got 3-day park hoppers for $1 more than a regular-price non-hopper. Score!

And the guys at the booth were actually really funny, especially the one who sold Moon her ticket. He jokingly suggested we travel together, so I introduced myself to Moon and shook her hand. Guy was all, “…I thought you guys knew each other…?” “We do.” “Oh, that was pretty good. You should be an actress!” Which would make me a pretty unique specimen in southern CA, no? 😉

Important piece of foreshadowing: this is roundabout the time Moon mentioned feeling like she had a bit of a cold.

MOON: I had been feeling a bit congested in the mornings for about two days, but I thought I had kicked it before we left…

We headed back up to the Expo proper and got our race shirts and bags, then began wandering through the stalls. I was disappointed not to see Brooks represented as a would love another pair of Ravennas at a discount, but alas, it was not to be. The only other vendor I really wanted to check out was Raw Threads, but their stuff is expensive and I didn’t find a sale section. 🙁 Actually, I was quite disappointed with the lack of sale sections in general. I saw some minor percentage-off offers but nothing particularly tempting.

Speaking of not particularly tempting – we got in line for the official merchandise tent and essentially walked right in. So… I don’t know how much of this is just because we didn’t arrive until Saturday; I’m sure that there was merchandise that had already sold out. But there were still t-shirts and tech shirts and sweatshirts available, and I found them all underwhelming. If they had been cheaper, sure, I probably would’ve picked something up, but $55 for a basic sweatshirt with a screen-on logo is not gonna hack it for me. I didn’t even see a wine glass to pick up. We walked out empty-handed. :/

Things started looking up on the way out, as Luna was giving out little samples of their protein bars. I tried a couple, cookie dough being my favorite and carrot cake my least. Fun!

Our next stop was at FlipBelt, which Moon found intriguing. She tried one on and I’ll let her insert her own thoughts here.

MOON: I would be interested to give it a try, actually. I’m not a huuuuge fan of armbands (most of the them are too big for my arm, anyway). I worry that it will ride up and then prove to be awkward, but I’m supposing it’s worth a try, right? It would make running with keys much easier (my pants lack pockets).

Other than that, we just kinda threaded through everything, shrugged, and left. Expo booth people – offer more discounts! You’ll never get an impulse purchase outta me otherwise!

It was close enough to lunchtime to justify getting lunch and Earl of Sandwich was RIGHT THERE, so we hopped into line. Review to be included in food post. Spoiler alert: the story includes a sidetrip to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express.

From there we returned to our hotel, with a brief pit stop at the front desk to request more blankets as Moon was, um, getting the chills. >.< Once in the room, I went ahead and made her my Special Travel Drink: chai green tea mixed with orange EmergenC. Based on the faces she made I don’t think she particularly enjoyed it, but she got dosed with vitamin C, and that’s what counts. She napped for a bit while I took notes and inspected our race bag contents.

After a time, we decided to head down to the hot tub. Unfortunately the hot tub at the HoJo Anaheim is RIGHT NEXT to the kids’ play area. Which I get, I suppose – that way parents can soak while they keep an eye on their underage charges. But it made for a LOT of small children who, despite the signs, were playing around in the hot tub unsupervised, or supervised poorly. We got splashed a lot and eventually gave up and went back and took showers.

Moon was really starting to feel sick at this point (I’m sure she’ll tell you more about that) and it was making us both nervous, but she had every intent of soldiering on through the morning’s race so we proceeded with the plan: dinner at the IHOP right across from the Disneyland gate. We got eggs and shared pancakes and the view was probably the best IHOP view ever, but Moon was looking more miserable by the moment. We trekked back to our room with uncertain steps.

MOON: I’m going to take a paragraph here to detail my woes. USUALLY when the cold hits I begin with a sore throat. It’s a clear indicator that things are about to go down. I also have this crazy method of beating colds which I will not detail here so the audience doesn’t think I’m into black magic or anything. Annnyway… This time it did not go down that way, so I was thinking, “Yeah, I’ll be fine. It’s nothing.” As Jenn said, after the chills I started to get kind of worried. I think I consumed all the vitamin C within reach. Under no less than three blankets, I figured sleeping would be my best bet at a quick recovery. Jenn suggested we go down to the hot tub, but I just grabbed three towels and spent most of the time napping. Being sick blows.

Yet, undaunted, we set out all our things for the race – sneakers and clothes and fuel and what have you. Then we settled into bed and cheered ourselves up with the masterful re-enactments of a TLC show called “Sex Sent Me to the E.R.,” which was exactly the sort of quality documentary you would expect. With that to send us off to sleep, we drifted into dreamland.

And then woke up half an hour later to the blasting echoes of the Disneyland fireworks.

And then we went to sleep.

MOON: Well, JENN went to sleep…

Does Moon make it to the race? Does Jenn have to carry her into the corral?! Come back soon to find out!!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/17

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! 

My parents live right by BWI [MOON: Mine too!], so my dad can usually be coerced into offering rides. This day was no exception, and since Moon lives nearby we picked her up too. Airport check-in and getting through security took longer than normal, but we had arrived in plenty of time for our flight so it was no problem.

Once into the airport proper we bought small breakfast items (Jamba Juice for me, though sadly not free this time, and a Naked juice for Moon), and then we sat at the gate and read a bit until boarding time – which was actually on time! Who would have guessed?!

I had not sprung for Southwest’s upcharge of Early Bird Check-In, as I only believe in it for business travel when I’m not footing the bill, but I had checked in online at precisely the opening time and managed to snag us B boarding group positions. I was some slots ahead and reserved us our preferred seats: aisles for both of us, directly across from each other so we could still converse. Perfect.

Until it happened.

The last people to board the plane came in and, not surprisingly, found that there was nothing left together. The guy asked me if I would mind moving to the middle seat for some reason; I’m not entirely clear on how that would’ve helped him sit with his girlfriend, but I, um, well, said no, because nobody likes the middle seat and I had won my right to early selection with careful advanced planning. Then he asked me if I would move up one, as somehow there was another aisle seat available, which did make sense to me as that would make two seats together, but I initially refused because I wanted to stick with Moon. So THEN he decided he would take the middle seat next to me and, uh… well, he was a broad gentleman. Which is fine! Some people just are! Yet it’s not… an ideal trait in an airplane seatmate, y’know? I don’t have a good solution for this one. Anyway. I sucked it up and moved up one and just talked to Moon diagonally backwards and occasionally got hit in the head by people traveling to the bathroom. Such is life.

MOON: Juuuuuust saying – they slept the whole time.

Go ahead and tell me if any of this behavior renders me a jerk; I’m always open to personality improvements. But I kinda feel like, if you’re flying Southwest, you have to recognize and accept that if you’re among the last to board you take what you can get. Naturally there are exceptions to every rule and extenuating circumstances do exist and what not, but that’s the law of the jungle, no?

My new neighbors were very pleasant and actually rather adorable – a middle-aged couple, the wife slept on the husband’s shoulder, and when they ordered drinks they clinked glasses before imbibing. (Side note: have you ever noticed how air travel makes drinking at any time whatsoever socially acceptable?) Moon seemed to be fine with her seatmates too, so that turned out all right.

MOON: Except for the papers. This lady had A LOT of paper. She would read a page, tear it out, then stuff it into the backseat pocket. She and her husband were also SNACK FIENDS. I’ve never seen anyone eat so many snacks on a flight. It was adorable, don’t get me wrong, but I was impressed. 

We landed early (!) and grabbed our luggage once an LAX employee had climbed all over the carousel undoing a bag jam, much to my amusement. From there we picked up the Budget shuttle to get our rental car. The Budget guy was kinda pushy and freaked us out about insurance coverage; even though I know my own insurance covers stuff we wound up getting partial coverage from Budget too in case. Which I think may have been dumb in retrospect, but whatever.

Although we had reserved an economy vehicle, we wound up in a Volkswagen Jetta. “Is it a party color?” inquired Katherine via Twitter. No. It was brown, which filled Moon with glee.

MOON: I was indeed filled with glee. More on The Importance of Brown later.

Braun.

We spent the rest of the trip periodically referring to the fact that ve vere driving in a braun Wolksvagen Jetta. Which felt like a friggin’ LAND BOAT to me, a habitual driver of a little Ford Focus. BIG IS SCARY. But I didn’t bend, spindle, or mutilate anyone or anything with it over the course of the week, so I guess it turned out okay.

MOON: Oh, it wasn’t that big!

We took off for the Howard Johnson Anaheim and, barring a brief and exciting series of U-turns furnished by clever, clever Siri, we found it without trouble. We checked in and found ourselves in building three, right behind the main building. The room was fairly large, and had some nice features like a mini-fridge, coffeemaker, and extra sink outside of the bathroom. The one consolation to its Disney-adjacent location: a Mary Blair-style art print on the wall.

After retrieving our suitcases from the car, we dumped our stuff, changed out of our Maryland-appropriate winter clothes, and put on glorious, glorious shorts. It was awesome. Then we WALKED to Disneyland! WALKED! We were crossing under the Disneyland sign in under ten minutes! I mean, how awesome is that?! Sure beats buses. Is this what it feels like to stay at an Epco-area resort?

The Disneyland layout works so that you go through the bag check line and then you’re in a wide, courtyard-type area with Disney’s California Adventure on one side and Disneyland proper on the other; the gates are parallel to each other and you can go either way. Across from the bag check is another bag check/exit area, and from there – from our direction, anyway – you enter Downtown Disney.

I like how Disneyland is coming out of my head.

We headed that direction and walked all the way down DTD, which, contrary to the WDW setup, is a long line of shops in straight lines all the way down the street until you bottom out in the Disneyland Hotel (there are entrances to the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier along the way).

As we went we poked about at some shops and restaurants, but nothing was quite working for us so we wound up at the Disneyland Hotel in the famous Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tikki Bar. Sadly, the amazingly decorated interior was packed, but we were able to grab some drinks to go and take them out to the fire pit across the way. We spent a good 30, 45 minutes with that firepit, nursing our drinks, relaxing, and generally being silly.

Moon’s latest favorite pastime is Truth or Dare.

MOON: Yes, it is. I commend your sporting behavior!

My dare? “Take a sassy photo of yourself and make it your Facebook profile picture RIGHT NOW.” Which is how this happened:

Sassy!

Eventually our drinks were done and we were ready to find some dinner, so we took a look at one of the store maps posted about and decided to give La Brea Bakery a shot. It was on the other end of DTD; on the way back we stopped in Roxy so that Moon could buy a hoodie, as she had forgotten to bring one.

MOON: In fact, I forgot a lot of things. I was WEARING my hoodie in the morning before we left for the airport. I’m still not quite sure what happened to it. I still blame getting my weeks mixed up. 

We looked at the La Brea menu and selected grilled vegetable sandwiches as a likely hit, so we wandered into their Express section and… saw it wasn’t available there. We turned tail, approached the sit-down podium, and were seated within minutes. Review to come!

Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash.

It was still only about, oh, I don’t know, 6PM? 6:30PM Pacific? But to our bodies it was three hours later, and I kinda wanted to encourage that until after the race so that our 3AM wakeup call on Sunday wouldn’t feel so harsh. Still, we were on vacation, so we stopped at the hotel gift shop for some fun supplies. Thing one? Reeses Pieces. Moon LOVES Reeses Pieces. She also grabbed some Sour Patch Kids, which were rung up by a cashier who looked AND sounded exactly like Edna Mode from The Incredibles. It was uncanny.

Thing two? Alcohol. As we surveyed the cases, noting with some trepidation the rather expensive bottles of wine, and Aussie lady came up and started giving us purchasing advice. Something about avoiding cabernets, or possibly ONLY drinking cabernets; I confess I got a little foggy on these points. Interestingly enough, her #1 recommendation was the 25 oz cans of Bud Light Lime, which we ended up buying because I like carbonation and we were both sick of trying to make a decision.

From there we retreated to our room and tried to find a movie but came up short. Instead we just munched on our snacks and talked, I showered, and then we went to bed at like 8PM. East Coast girls forever.

And then we woke up again forty minutes later to BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! for like ten minutes straight and about five minutes in I realized it was the Disneyland fireworks. We had arrived.

MOON: I actually slept through the first night of fireworks; sorry for staggering your cadence, Jenn!

Tune in tomorrow for day two of our trip!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!