|Mailan + I; best friends since freshman year, photographer for the day!|
|Typical Disney festivities: food + photoshoots|
|Isn't Disneyland extremely photogenic?|
|I don't even look eighteen|
On Saturday, February 23rd 2013, a milestone was born.
I made my last trek to Disneyland as a seventeen-year-old.
The next time I visit the Happiest Place on Earth (which, obviously, I will be doing), I will officially be deemed as *gasp*, an adult. Have no fear however, for I will always consider myself young at heart (and appearance-wise as well).
To celebrate my 18th birthday (which is actually on February 27th), I did not rent out an elegant hotel ballroom nor did I host a wild house party. Posh catered buffets and alcohol-quenching red cups? No thank-you. Instead, I opted for the unusual route: A trip to Disneyland with my best friend, Mailan.
Stolen from my Instagram
First event of the day?
Getting my "Happy Birthday" button from City Hall!
Upon pinning my button, I did not expect to be the recipient of so many happy birthday wishes from Cast Members and even guests around the parks! This sure beats just receiving a hasty "happy birthday" on Facebook (which I am guilty of doling off anyway).
Mailan and I were extremely fortunate to have come to Disneyland on a (slightly) less crowded day. Back when we went during the December holidays, it was a pure nightmare. On this Saturday, Disneyland was flocking with Southern California locals, rather than tourists. Thanks to this low crowd level, we were gifted with five-minute waits on Space Mountain and Indiana Jones. So much better then having to endure a fifty-minute wait, which would inevitably plague the rides later on. (And, it was on Indiana Jones that we both made a special pinky promise. . . )
After, we headed across the esplanade towards California Adventure! This was Mailan's first visit to California Adventure, which meant that we would, naturally, need to make a requisite pit stop at Tower of Terror. This trip was also the first time I experienced the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which proved to be the perfect backdrop for some Instagram-destined photos and secret handstand photoshoots. While venturing through the pathways, we happened to encounter Dugg from the movie Up, whom we posed with for an awkward photo. Earlier, I had also taken a photo with Duffy the Disney Bear, which rapidly turned into an awkward moment when the Cast Member dramatically declared it was my birthday and Duffy embraced me in a tight hug. I tried to appear normal.
For lunch, we fueled up on carbs at the Boardwalk Pizza and Pastas, where we witnessed a lonely Asian girl being ignored by her friends at a table nearby. In my own dream world, I would have walked up to her and started a friendly conversation, but this is reality, so it would definitely be painted as "creepy". A Japanese girl, who looked like one of those lifestyle/fashion bloggers (a la Xiaxue), sat nearby and we mentally obsessed over her adorable outfit and Minnie Mouse Nikon camera. Now the question is: where can I get a camera like that?
After, we spent quite a long time relaxing and resting in the Animation Building. This is truly a hidden gem within California Adventure. How can one not love comfortable couches and widescreen projectors that play clips and music from past Disney films? We took a class at Animation Academy and learned how to draw Donald, which was surprisingly complex and I, of course, made countless mistakes.
We returned to Disneyland just in time for a classic: A calming ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. Dinner time was right after, but tonight, we were not dining not just at any Disney establishment, but Blue Bayou, the restaurant tucked furtively within the Pirates ride. Ever since I was a young child visiting Disneyland, I have always been piqued with wonder and curosity at what Blue Bayou was like. As I would pass by on the boat, I would see the dimly-lit restaurant, colorful paper lanterns strung among the plants and candles flickering at each table. You would only see the shadows of the fortunate guests able to foot the bill or the passing outlines of servers doling out trays of exquisite dishes.
In honor of my 18th birthday, I had made a dinner reservation at Blue Bayou.
I could not contain my excitement; finally, I would be able to cross off an item off my Senior Year Bucketlist (which still, to this day, remains slumbering in my Drafts, waiting to be published). We had an uncomfortable encounter with the Asian waiter (seriously, our day was basically a concoction of awkward, quirky moments), where the awkwardness was thick enough for you to pause, think to yourself, and then (try to) act like nothing had happened.
To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive after reading online reviews of Blue Bayou. Some diners reported of five-star quality, while others seemed too passionate in their one-star rants of bland food and poor service. However, I am happy to announce that our Blue Bayou dining extravangza definitely deserved a five-star rating. Our server frequently made sure we were satisfied with our meals and constantly replenished our waters, and the basket of buttered rolls also was a plus too (carb overload again). For starters, I ordered the New Orleans gumbo soup, while Mailan opted for a salad. My gumbo was very delicious and was topped off with Spanish rice; it tasted like a mix between chili and beef stew and was heavenly, especially when dipped in bread!
For our main courses, Mailan and I both ordered the Isla Cruses Crab Cakes (Pirates reference, anyone?), which came served with mango slaw, Blue Bayou potatoes, and grilled vegetables. I thought the potatoes had a strange, herb-y taste that was not up my palette. However, the rest of the dish was succulent, appetizing and tasty as I had imagined it to be. Over dinner, we had a slew of interesting conversations, from durian to "easy ways to calculate tax" (not easy) and to other topics I probably should not disclose online.
Because I didn't have a real birthday cake to enjoy at Disneyland, we decided to scour for dessert at the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop back at California Adventure. We ended up getting a banana split to share (and snuck it inside the Animation Building to eat) which was topped off with whipped cream, peanuts, and pineapple shavings. Just thinking about it makes me crave it again. Aren't banana splits trendier then the mainstream birthday cake, anyway?
Our last ride of the evening was the exciting Nemo's Submarine Voyage, which I fell asleep in.
Hey, blame it on the Tiki Tiki Room. . .
Overall, I had a wonderful and memorable early 18th birthday at Disneyland! :)
It is crazy to imagine everything that has happened to me over these seventeen years. Even though I feel like I am growing older by the minute, I need to remember that I still have my life ahead of me and new adventures to explore and memories to create.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my Disneyland experience!