36 Hours in Anaheim

Last weekend, Jay and I had a whirlwind adventure in Anaheim, California. It all began when Jay wanted to go to PowerCon for Geek. Dad. Life. We had been trying to figure out a weeklong trip to see family in California, so the original plan was to go to San Diego on Labor Day weekend then head to Los Angeles County the second half of the week and finish up at PowerCon in Anaheim, flying home at a reasonable time on Sunday.

The best-laid plans…that didn’t quite work out. First, Zachary had a surprise track change at school so he would be in school this week. Additionally, Jay and I both started new jobs this summer and don’t have the PTO to spend a week on vacation at the moment. However, the deciding factor was Jay had the honor of officiating his friend’s wedding on Friday evening! Then the plans became, “Jay flies into Anaheim for the weekend.” As a severe sufferer of FOMO, I was like, “Ummm I’m coming, too, and I’ll do my own thing!” I found us pretty reasonably-priced tickets back in June and that sealed the deal. And thus, #36HoursinAnaheim came to be.

That said, we did everything in our normal crazy way, haha. Jay’s precious GTI’s engine died a few weeks ago and was expensive to fix, so we decided to drive our “extra” car, my 2004 Rav 4, for a while as we save money for a new car. We *just* paid off the van in June and don’t want another car payment right now. Since the Rav 4 has been sitting around for a bit, we decided to get it serviced on Thursday morning to make sure there were no major issues. Turns out there were some major issues and they were going to keep it through the weekend to do the necessary repairs. So Jay rented a car on Friday afternoon, drove 4+ hours to Asheville, performed the ceremony, and then drove 4+ hours back, getting home around midnight. We got up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, dropped the rental car off, and began our adventure.

6:30am: Ready for take off!

Our 6:42 a.m. flight took off on time. We got lucky. It was just the two of us in our row, so we could spread out and catch a few extra Zzzzz’s while we flew. When we landed, I had a thought. “Why didn’t we tell Clif we were coming?” I asked Jay.

“Well, text him now!” He exclaimed.

So, I texted Clif a picture of our plane at LAX at 8:45 a.m. PDT. He responded about an hour later with, “I have no idea what that’s a picture of, but I’m guessing you’re in California?” Oh, Clif, we’d missed you. <3

The whole weekend went like that. We reached out to friends and family and magically it all came together spectacularly. The only pre-made plans we’d had was going to a Padres/Dodgers game at Dodgers Stadium with Jay’s best friend Ryan and his wife, Jen. PowerCon was happening in our hotel (we stayed there for that reason), so once we got there, Jay went off to do geek dad things and I went off to Starbucks for some caffeine before roaming around Anaheim and…you guessed it…geocaching.

We both had awesome Saturdays. Jay had a blast at PowerCon and I had a great time exploring the city on foot and geocaching at and around Downtown Disney. We met back up at the hotel around 2 p.m. feeling like we’d lived a thousand lives within those few hours, haha. But our journey was just beginning! We grabbed a drink at the hotel bar while waiting for Clif to arrive. Disneyland was sold out, so the three of us walked over to Downtown Disney to hang out, catch up, and (eventually) get dinner.  We hit up Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar for Dole Whips (with rum, duh) and of course, went to Earl of Sandwich for dinner. I think by the end of the day, I had walked almost 7-miles and my poor knee was feeling it. We hung out a bit more with Clif back in the hotel lounge area before saying goodbye. It was SO great to see Clif. We really miss having him in Raleigh.

After Clif left, we relieved our aching legs and knees in the hotel’s hot tub. We were treated (via reflection) to a Disneyland fireworks show before headed back to the hotel to watch the latest episode of Ted Lasso. It was a perfect day.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we separated for an hour or so to do our own things again (same as on Saturday haha). Jen and Ryan picked us up and we headed back to LA for the baseball game! The game was awful. Blake Snell, the Padres’ starting pitcher, got injured on like the second batter, so they had to bring a reliever in during the first inning. It was some stellar pitching that day, with the Dodgers’ Max Scherzer almost pitching a perfect game and Padres reliever Austin Adams setting a record for most players hit by a pitcher. It was brutal, haha, but we had a blast with Jen and Ryan and being at a baseball game in general.

Aunt Cindy picked us up from the baseball game. We were going to meet up with Uncle Brett and Aunt Mary near LAX for a little In N Out dinner before our flight. We had some time to kill, so we went – you guessed it – geocaching near the airport while we waited for them, haha. It was fun! We hung out with the three of them for a few hours before it was time to leave. I’m so glad we got to see some of our California family, even if it was brief. Can’t wait to take the boys out for a full family trip to San Diego and Los Angeles soon.

10:30pm: Heading home.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 10:25 p.m, but we had a terminal change and sat on the runway for a little bit so I think it left closer to 11:30 (I fell asleep during the pre-flight announcements haha). We got lucky again and didn’t have anyone sitting in our row with us. I sprawled out on the middle/window seats and slept on and off. We landed around 7:30 a.m. I took a quick nap, shower, and headed to a 9:30 a.m. doctor’s appointment, to pick up the Rav 4 from the shop, then straight into the office. Woooo.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend (and a Monday haha) but I’m so glad we did it. I miss traveling and adventuring and can’t wait for COVID vaccines for kids under age 12 and/or the pandemic to be over so we can safely do more things with the kids, too. I’ve definitely been bitten by the travel bug again.

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