Hub, Grub, and Up, Up, and Away!

Friday dawned and despite the pace of the last five days I was up with the sun. I had gotten to sleep before 11pm so was up at 6:30am thanks to ye old internal alarm. I had set out my travel clothes the night before so I dressed (having showered the night before) and headed up to the Desert Palms and enjoyed my last breakfast buffet. And FINALLY remembered to actually take a picture of it! This morning was waffles & syrup, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs with salsa, and fried potatoes along with coffee and OJ.

The rest of the family had slept in so I took my time eating and going thru pictures from the night before. I had broken my own rule on not posting pictures to social media, but we had our neighbor and a friend of Jinx’s watching over the house and taking care of our animals so I was okay with taking the chance.

I went upstairs and kept quiet until just before 9am when the rest of the family started getting up and moving around. We started packing in earnest sometime before 10am – Jinx had his priorities in order with his carry on

We were packed and out the door before 10:30am, dropping our bags off at the hotel’s secure storage area. We then took one more walk down Harbor and past the entrance to the Happiest Place on Earth

PumpkinGirl was bright and cherry despite the Adult Beverage Walkabout the night before

I had us all go to the hub and captured one of those iconic shots that every family should take at least once

We then headed into DTD for lunch, the place we chose was a must for our family. It is a bit kitschy and I know there are a lot of people who don’t like it. But our family has ended our trip at one each and every Disney trip since 2002 at both WDW and DLR! In case you haven’t guessed, we went to the Rainforest Café.

Here’s a shot of Jinx from our 2008 trip at the one attached to AK

And a couple of pics from our 2009 Disneyland trip including our nephew Kris

In short, no Disney trip is complete without one. So without further adieu, here are some obligatory pics of the interior

Loved the little presents they had hanging from the tree

The bar wasn’t open quite yet

The place wasn’t busy but it still took 20 minutes to get seated upstairs. Couldn’t figure out what took so long but luckily we had plenty of time. They put us next to the gorillas

Click for the Gorillas festive Antics

We got our order in and took out last Disney family pictures of the trip

I think we all got a variation on a burger or chicken and came away satisfied. After that we headed out with Jinx stopping quickly to say goodbye to a friendly gorilla

We did some window shopping and bought a couple of small items at World of Disney before making our way back to the hotel. Our drivers were there just before 1pm, again we got a Suburban and at towncar.

If you remember from the beginning of the TR, Roxy had been able to cash in some credit card rewards to get private transportation for a small handling fee plus tip. When we came from LAX Jinx and I had gotten the Suburban so this time Roxy and PumpkinGirl got it.

Away we went!

We played hopscotch all the way to LAX so I was able to get a shot of their ride as we traveled down the highway

Ticketing, baggage, and security wasn’t too bad and we were at our terminal in time to get some coffees to bolster us for the trip home.

As had happened on our trip down, we were forced to hop north past southern Oregon and then fly back down south due to United discontinuing their direct flight to LA after I had already booked our tickets. The upside is that we were re-ticketed on Virgin America so the family got to experience the ultra-modern entertainment options and the cool pink and purple lighting scheme AND we got to sit 2 people to a row of 3 so extra room!

By 4pm we were winging our way out over the pacific and making the turn north

At a quarter till 6pm the last of the light was fading from the sky and we were beginning our decent into Portland

The light had faded completely as we got closer to PDX

We were on the ground just after 6pm and had dinner in the terminal at your standard trendy burger/sandwich/beer place that you would expect to see in the PNW. Our flight took off somewhere after 7:30pm if I remember correctly and was uneventful. And soon enough we had touched down in Medford and made our way inside to a cheerily decorated baggage claim.

We had our bags and loaded up in ye ole minivan for the 30 minute trek home, making it to our doorstep around 9:45pm. We unloaded and came in to frantic doggies VERY happy to see us. And thankfully it was Friday night so we had the whole weekend to recover!

I don’t have pics of everything we picked up but there were the stuffies in Jinx’s backpack at the top of the page. And I did take a pic of one of our Matterhorn Macarons before devouring it

I also found our Jungle Cruise maps – still have to get that one framed

And my big prize, the classic Disneyland Railroad original route map and train print along with the ticket from the Lilly Belle

And of course all of the Midway stuffies Roxy and Kyra won!

Well there ya have it. I hope you all have enjoyed the ride! As far as final thoughts they are pretty straight forward. We have taken the following theme park-related trips:

2002 – Universal Orlando

2005 – Disneyland

2008 – Walt Disney World/Sea World/Discovery Cove

2009 – Disneyland

2011 – Walt Disney World/Universal Orlando (just Roxy and I for my birthday)

2012 – Walt Disney World/Universal Orlando

2017 – Disneyland (this trip)

2020 – Walt Disney World/Universal Orlando (Jinx’s 21st B-Day trip during the pandemic)

All of them had high points and some low points and were all amazing for their own reasons. But the family consensus is that this was just a perfect trip. So many rides, so many great interactions, such a great pace with nobody feeling burnt out or coming down sick. It was just plain magical.

It’s the type of things you wish you could bottle up and hold on to. And I hope the story I have laid out here helps do just that.


Matterhorn Macaroon Recipe

(perfected by Roxy)

Lobster Nachos Recipe from the Lamplighter Lounge

(formerly the Cove Bar)