Club Wyndham Dolphin’s Cove
Club Wyndham Dolphin’s Cove is in Anaheim, CA. So, this trip would include another coast-to-coast flight for me. While I was not excited about the coach flight coast to coast, I was able to book an emergency row seat on the flights, so I took on that responsibility but gained a great deal of legroom. I needed that with a 36-inch inseam.
Video by California Through My Lens
Day One Travel & Arrival
The flight over was found although after the flight change in Atlanta the final leg dig run us into some turbulence above Nevada or the border to California. Likely as we were coming back down closer to Earth again. I forget the cruising altitude we were at (you know when the pilot comes on and says, “Today we will reach a cruising altitude of 35,000 ft or something.” It must have just been some choppy air on the way down. But there was one time or two where I was happy. I put on my seat belt.
Rarely on flight, you will see someone hit their head in rough turbulence if they do not listen to the flight crew about wearing their seatbelt. I learned that lesson on my very first flight and I pay attention to the captain or stewardesses when they turn on the fasten your seat belt signs. Just glad I never had that happen when I was in the restroom on a flight. That could be a nightmare.
Twice during the flight it did feel like we were in a can of cola and some teenager was trying to make it explode when someone opened the can up. More than a little shaking happened. Other than those short shakes, it was an easy flight.
My flight came into John Wayne Airport which to me was really cool. I did not realize that an airport had been named after John Wayne. All of my childhood I was a big fan because I would watch his movies with my blind grandmother when I was young. She could see the outline details of movies, but mostly watched for the sound. She loved John Wayne’s classics because his voice was so distinctive.
The airport is a decent size with 3 terminals, and shops and restaurants. Here I would get a rental not only to go to the resort, which was close but also to see the area.
The airport is only 13 miles from the resort, so if you are flying in, it is close by and easy to find. Also, while most will want to get a rental car since it is so close, getting a cab is a real option.
What I did not realize until my flight when I had time to check online, the resort was also right next to Disneyland, so I would certainly be taking at least one day to see all the Disney California locations I could. I started to even make calls as soon as I got off the plane to see if anyone I knew had a connection with the 33 club. The private club inside of Disney.
I knew Disneyland was on Anaheim. I just did not process how close it was to the resort. Talk about convenient.
The drive to the resort took about 20 minutes with traffic and a few connecting roads. Then check-in at the resort was easy. I was a little early from my flight but thought I would announce myself and see if there was somewhere to leave my bags until the room was ready.
The resort itself is large but smaller than the last two mega sized resorts I had stayed at. It also (being so close to Disney) is in more of the heart of the city that your typical resort. Although the way the resort is designed crates like a protected interior area for the pool and garden areas, being outlined by the main buildings. This helps the resort still seem park like, and like a more isolated resort, despite being so close to so much.
The villas here are either 1-2-3-bedroom units that vary in size from 700 sq ft to over 1,100. This means that they feel roomy by anyone’s standards. I had a 1-debroom booked for the weekend and was again on this trip solo, so it was a perfect fit for me.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Activities Center
- BBQ Grills
- Activities Desk
- Business Center/Fax
- Concierge Services
- Fitness Room
- Game Room
- Hot Tub
- Swimming Pool (Heated/Outdoor)
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Laundry Facilities
- Putting Green
- On-Site Security
- Wi-Fi Internet Access
The room had a full kitchen, a nice sized bath, and a bedroom that felt modern and fresh. In the bedroom and living room, there were small AC units. In much of California, the weather really does not demand the use of AC much, so they are likely just there for people like me that enjoy their rooms cold.
The room itself felt updated and comfortable. But I could see some people who are only happy with things that appear brand new and ultra-modern might say they were somewhat dated. Myself, I enjoy things to be clean and cared for, but I do not like the whitewashed feeling of the modern styled rooms at some resorts. I like the crown molding, and the comfortable carpet in more established properties. But it is all about what you like, so check the photos of the rooms out for yourself on the website. What you see in them is what you get for sure here.
After flying and getting settled, I wanted to do my normal decompression travel thing and find somewhere for dinner and a couple of drinks. Not a lot, mind you, tomorrow I wanted to be at Disney when the gates opened to get a jump on the crowds.
This will sound silly to most, but for dinner I chose a fast-food place. The reason was nostalgia. This chain had not been near me on the east coast in a long time. I felt like I had found a Roy Rogers from a nostalgia standpoint, but it was just a simple Jack in the Box.
A burger, fries, and strawberry shake later. I was full. I then looked for a local watering hole. Please note there are many good to great restaurants near this resort. Do not think I was choosing the Jack in the Box because of limited options. I even managed to end up at a Red Robin chain for a drink nearby just because I like their little bar area in those. But I could have eaten at Ruth’s Chris, or several great looking local spots as well. As you can imagine, there are many choices this close to a Disney Park.
Day Two Up Early & To Disneyland
Disneyland is amazing because it is the original or OG. It is sizable but not comparable to Disney World, with all the parks and modern attractions. It is still amazing, however.
The park opened at 8AM and I was at the gates when they opened. Disneyland offers Star Wars, Fantasy Land, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Critter Country, Frontierland, Main Street, Mickey’s Toon Town, and New Orleans Square, all in the main park.
Here there is also the Disney California Adventure Park as well with many of the rides people love. In town for a few days, I would focus my time on Disneyland today and try to take it all in today. Then if I had the fun, I thought I would have I might hit the adventure park another day on the trip. I am just not a huge ride guy so Disneyland was more of the draw for me.
My first time at the OG park, I was excited to see much of Disneyland reminded me of the first Orlando theme park. You start at the main street then head in the direction of your choice though many of the same wonderful areas from your childhood at another Disney Park. In Florida, it seems like much of Adventureland has changed over the years, but here it looked much as I remembered and I loved that about it.
They still have both the Jungle Cruise here and Indiana Jones in Adventureland. Also, the Enchanted Tiki Room is still here, and it gets me every time. I go in and I feel like family that has passed are all of a sudden with me again as I watch the little show. That and I feel like I am 4-5 again for a few amazing minutes.
After adventure land, I head to Frontierland and one of the original 1955 rides the Mark Twain Riverboat Ride. There is a ton to do in Frontierland, but this is where I headed first. Another thing for the kids is the PirateLand, which is on the old Tom Sawyer Island. I went just to see the California version of the Tom Sawyer Island.
I can still remember back in the early days in the 1970s when the green park tickets were still a thing. Eating in Frontierland at some wonderfully cheesy little cowboy restaurant after going on Tom Sawyer Island.
New Orleans Square
New Orleans Square was next for me with a ride on both Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. Each is perfect for nostalgia seekers and since the Pirates are more recent, even younger adults enjoy that one for nostalgic reasons.
Just when you think 50 years of exposure to the “It’s a Small World” song has built you up a resistance, it proves you wrong. The only real relief is more stimulus, and I found that first in the rest of Fantasyland. It is amazing to think of that song and how long it has been a part of the resort and the ride along with it. In a time where flights were just becoming normal for many, and there was no internet. Heck, there were barely long-distance phone calls. (Compared to how they are now, especially.) There was a ton of future foresight in the song and the idea of a small world. Maybe in some way that has contributed to the worldwide fame of this little ride.
Afterwards I made my trek to the Peter Pan’s Flight experience. This is another original ride from 1955 that generations of families enjoy together on their visit. Imagine making something so timeless than for almost 70 years people have loved.
The Storybook Land Canal Boats was something new that they did not have in Florida, and it was neat to see and go on.
Galaxy’s Edge was next and seeing the Star Wars fun up close was still great, even though I had done so in Florida less than 6 months ago. Here it was much the same experience with the same 2 major rides and the firsthand look at the Falcon.
I ended the day in Tomorrowland, which is still incredible even after seeing the Star Wars fun up-close. They have rebranded the submarine ride here from 20,000 leagues to finding nemo, but it is much the same fun little experience.
You now also get access to a Star Tours the adventure continues ride that for me was a new experience in Tomorrowland. There is so much to do and see in the park that I can not fit it all in during a single day. Even when starting at 8AM.
Day Three Seeing Anaheim
I wanted to take a day and take in this amazing area. Some part of me wanted to just go back to Disney again today because I enjoy it there, but I felt like I would be cheating myself of a full experience doing so.
Anaheim is the West Coast Version of Orlando. You have many parks here in the area. I could easily have gone back to Disney or even gone to Universal to start my day 3 there. Instead, I chose to go see more of the local interests outside of the many theme parks.
Today I wanted to go to a real flight simulator and experience that. I have done some small ones but, in the area, there is an F16 simulator and a 737 Simulator. I have been amazed by aviation for many years. Ever since the movie “The Right Stuff” came out, and I learned about the legend Chuck Yeager. In the years since first seeing the film I have read both of his autobiography’s, and been too many locations like the Smithsonian where they have the Bell X-1 the plane General Yeager broke the sound barrier in, and Kitty Hawk, NC where man first took powered flight.
I have even considered building my own simulator but only chose against it because of a limitation of space at my current home.
So I thought this would be a treat for an aviation fan like me. I had not been before, so I chose to book two things. First a 30-minute class followed by a 30-minute flight, then a full 60-minute flight afterwards. With a short break that was an amazing 2.5hrs of fun on this site.
What is amazing about these flight simulators is the sense of movement and the controls. You know better at the time, but you feel like you are really flying these aircraft. I chose the 737 as my aircraft for two reasons: the size of the simulator, and the speed of the aircraft. I felt like I would have a better chance at success with the 737.
It struck me while having this experience that it would be amazing to do a flight sim of the landing on the Hudson. I asked the flight trainer about that idea. He said sounds great, just that no one would be able to do it. He himself did not think any reasonable percentage of even well-trained pilots could perform the miracle on the Hudson with training and coaching. It was that miraculous of a job that Captain Sully had done. Well, there goes that mini franchise idea. I am joking.
Great Mexican Food
For an early Dinner I found Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen which is a Michelin Restaurant in the area. The prices were reasonable, and the food was outstanding. Typically, a restaurant mentions Michelin. You are not only ready for good food but also high prices. That was not the case here. With prices only a few dollars more per item than my local Mexican restaurant back in Virginia.
I would have liked to stay at this resort for a full week and really hit the parks and even a few museums while I was in town. Yet my life and schedule would not allow me to stay longer.
Anaheim is a special place, and this resort gives you such great access to Disney, and the city at large that it should be near the top of your list if you are thinking about a Disneyland vacation. Just make sure you book with TZort to save.