So it’s the last day of your vacation and you are wiped out! You’ve seen Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, and you have one last day in Anaheim. But you’re tempted to stay on a couch in the lobby of your hotel until the plane leaves! If you suffer from any kind of chronic illness, you likely need a vacation from your vacation at this point. But don’t give up yet! There’s still plenty to do and see, and you don’t need to push yourself over the edge to do and see it all.
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza on the “Disney strip,” meaning that the parks were just a short bus ride from the hotel. The buses usually played Disney movies to make the short ride even shorter! With Tangled playing, I was actually somewhat reluctant to get off the bus.
The hotel was lovely, but with a Disney trip we didn’t spend a lot of time there. Even so, we both agreed that we LOVED our room. Husband and I definitely got used to having a king-sized bed. Not that I don’t love cuddling, but once we got home he was just all up in my grill, yo! I missed sleeping in my own zipcode.
Protip: take advantage of your hotel giftshop – it’s a cheap alternative to buying snacks, small meals, ponchos, etc. elsewhere.
Another protip: if your flight is leaving after checkout time, don’t go “have fun at the airport,” that’s lame. Most hotels will hold your luggage at the front until you need to get on the shuttle to the airport, and it’s usually free!
So, for our last day we decided to check out the “Downtown Disney” district – an area of shopping and dining just a few steps away from the park gate.
The Lego Store
They have some pretty darn amazing lego sculptures to check out here. Basically a museum totally free of charge.
We had fun looking around. Outside, they had a small play area where you can build your own race car out of legos and race them! Perfect, because husband really wanted to, and I really wanted to sit down for a bit. So I sat with the other moms and husband played with the kids. Everybody wins.
So I’ve mentioned a couple of times before that my husband and I collect Vinylmation.
I have a post planned for later about how it really is the PERFECT hobby for a spoonie/dish couple, but I’ll keep my waxing poetic to a minimum here. All you need to know is that D-Street is like, a cool, hip, streetwise version of a Disney store, and it is Vinylmation headquarters.
We found a lot of really cool, rare vinyls here. And we did get to trade, but only twice, and even that was breaking the rules. As we still had a hefty pile of traders from the park trading, we were hoping it would be more of a trading hub, but it just wasn’t. Normally World of Disney also does trading, but they weren’t when we were there because of the holiday rush. So D-street is worth a stop, but it’s not as great as everyone says.
The Wonderground Gallery
The people at D-street tipped us off about this amazing art gallery next door. This is another place I could have spent hours. It’s an art gallery full of high-end, unique, beautiful, and sometimes disturbing Disney-inspired art. Husband was excited about all the cool portrayals of Maleficent they had there. If I’m ever very rich, I will buy so much of this art. But, it’s free to look, and that’s all we can afford for now.
Now, we didn’t actually eat here, because there’s one in my hometown, but this one has something that the “normal” ones don’t –
Parrots! 😀 Outside the cafe, they did parrot shows hourly when we were there. This little gal’s name is Elmo, and she’s a talker and a dancer! When we walked by later on, they had two parrots out. Pretty cool little demonstration, plus it’s free and outdoors. A great combination for a tired spoonie.
World of Disney
We spent most of our Downtown Disney time here. This store is HUGE, and is said to have “everything.” We learned, however, that this is not actually true. This large store is like a giant Disney store, but if you were hoping to pick up park merchandise that you’d find at the end of a ride, you’ll be disappointed. While this store does cover most Disney movie merchandise, you won’t find any t-shirts or other paraphernalia from the rides and attractions at the Disney parks.
Nevertheless! It’s a great store. It has the look and feel of the old classic Disney stores from the 90’s, and frankly it’s fun to just walk around and look at all the character sculptures and stuff like that.
They have a huge pin section for you pin collectors, and in the middle is essentially an art gallery full of beautiful collectibles of all sorts. I could have looked there forever, but hubby had a one track mind – we were also planning on doing ALL our Christmas shopping here. It was fun and…challenging, to say the least. But really it was a great use of our time. Thinking of our sweet loved ones back home took the edge off of the “but I don’t WANT to leave Disneyland!” blues.
Disney Pin Traders
Husband was allowed to have one pin for trading, but I had to cut him off there. We can’t afford another Disney addiction as our Vinylmation collection is reaching the 200s. But this was a pretty cool stop, and the pin traders were very friendly and didn’t put too much pressure on us to buy or trade.
We really just poked our head in here to look around, but it’s pretty cool. It’s essentially a build-a-bear for making remote controlled cars. Pretty cool.
Studio Disney 365
We wound up in here sort of by accident, but it’s actually a pretty cool place. Your teenie-bopper can come in here and get all glitzed up, hair styled, and makeup done, and when they’re finished, their debut is announced to the whole store and everyone cheers like they’re a movie star. It’s actually really sweet, and I liked watching the little girls get all shy and giggly when everyone cheered for them.
Needless to say, though, this store is swimming in hairspray and perfume, so chemically sensitive people should NOT go in there.
Earl of Sandwhich
This place has a bit of a cult following, and we were told NOT to miss it. It is, apparently, the best sandwich place in the world. So we went in there with high expectations, and we were not disappointed. The sandwiches are something else, and we’d highly recommend going. What’s also nice is that everything is made to order, so if you have allergies or a sensitive stomach (like I do) you can customize it to the perfect meal that won’t upset your tummy.
Downtown Disney has a bunch of other shops, too, that we didn’t explore. Fossil, Build a Bear, and Sephora, just to name a few. It’s definitely high end shopping, and if that’s you’re thing, then you could easily fill your whole day here (and empty your wallet, too!). But for a couple of poor kiddos, we were still able to fill the better part of a day without spending too much money. There’s a lot of free entertainment, live music, benches to rest on, and fountains to throw coins into. It’s a great place to take it slow, but still enjoy a very Disney day.
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