Dates: September 6 – 17
Cast: Jane (ChipDale)
Ron (my husband)
6:00am flight Thursday morning September 6 to LAX, transferring to a plane up to Monterey. Spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Monterey, taking side trips to San Francisco and San Simeon. 5:30am flight Sunday morning September 9 back down to LAX, picking up rental car and drive down to Anaheim to spend Sunday – Wednesday at the Disneyland Hotel. Fly home on Wednesday afternoon, September 12.
What Really Happened:
Tuesday, September 11. Up at 6:30am again to get ready for another Early Entry day. I got ready, then turned on the TV to wake Ron up. I couldn’t believe/comprehend what I was seeing on the TV. I shook Ron and said “wake up – something terrible has happened!” We stared at the TV, waiting for the horror to sink in. Ron went and showered while I stood there, mesmerized. The phone rang – it was Samantha checking to see if we knew what was going on. We’re both crying on the phone, trying to make some semblance of what happened. After hanging up from talking to Samantha, we headed out to see what was going on. We figured that the parks wouldn’t be open, but we walked over towards Downtown Disney anyway. They had numerous security guards and Anaheim policemen in the area and were turning people away. At least Disneyland had the advantage of a three-hour time difference so they didn’t have to evacuate the parks. Since it was still early, there were several people that had not heard what had happened. I only witnessed one woman get angry with the security guards about the parks not being open, she was walking away, griping about “some terrorist **** ”. I informed her what really happened and she shut up right away. This was the only instance I witnessed where someone was angry with Disney. All other guests that we came in contact with throughout the day agreed wholeheartedly with Disney’s decision not to open the parks.
We decided to go over to Hook’s Pointe and try to eat some breakfast. Since it was still only about 8:30, it was pretty quiet. All the CM’s knew what had happened, so the atmosphere was pretty solemn. We ate what we could of our breakfast, then stopped in at the Captain’s Galley to stock up on bottled water and beer just in case the restaurants or bars closed (turns out we really didn’t need to do it, but I needed to have some sort of plan). We then went down to the front desk to make sure that we could stay for another three nights because we assumed there was no way we’d be flying home tomorrow or for the next few days. They said no problem and gave us new keys & hotel I.D./charge cards. I decided I had better go scope out the guest laundry since I had only brought enough clothes to wear thru Wednesday. The Disneyland Hotel’s Guest laundry facilities are practically non-existent. They only have two washers, (of which one was broken) and three dryers, so we went back to the room and I sorted a bunch of laundry and dry cleaning and phoned for the valet to pick it up. We watched some more TV in the room until 11:00, waiting for the Lost Bar to open. We went down to the bar when it opened, and people were just in a daze, watching what was unfolding on the TV. Some of our favorite bartenders had been called in to cover for the larger-than-expected crowds. We saw more Disneyland Hotel management around the place than normal. All the Cast Members we came in contact with were so nice. The hotel was bending over backwards trying to make sure that everyone was calm and felt safe. They opened the arcade with free games all day, they ran movies (with free popcorn and soda) in one of the ballrooms all day. The hotel actually was not very crowded to begin with, so it never seemed that crazy or frantic during our entire stay. We sat in the bar for about 4 hours, watching TV and talking to other guests. We met a very nice family from Carmel that we talked to for hours. On this day, even small children were quieter and very well-behaved. We never heard a cross word from anyone. We were all too shell-shocked and sad. After watching CNN for four hours, our brains were turning to mush (several rounds of beers helped too).
We decided to walk over to the Grand Californian to see what was going on over there. As we walked over (we took the way thru the Paradise Pier Hotel and crossed the street), we realized how eerily quiet it was. There were very few cars on Disneyland Drive and the parks were silent. No planes overhead, no screams from rides. We both looked at each other and said “the Day the Earth Stood Still”. Very weird, and probably something I’ll never forget. It was an absolutely gorgeous day with sunny, clear skies and a light breeze. And silence. As we approached the crosswalk to go over to the Grand Californian, we saw several security guards and policemen at the front gates. They checked our hotel and photo I.D.’s and allowed us to pass onto the Grand Californian’s grounds. We had a feeling this was just the beginning of what was going to be a serious security crackdown at Disneyland. The Grand Californian was very quiet. There were only a few people in the lobby. We went into the Hearthstone Lounge to have a couple more beers. They had the TV’s on, so we watched some more. There were only a handful of people in there with us. We only stayed a little while and walked back to our hotel (where they checked I.D.’s again). It appeared that only registered Disney hotel guests were being allowed on the property. When we got back to the room we had a voice mail that they were opening the ESPN Club for free games, soda & snacks, and the AMC Theaters for free movies, soda & popcorn for all Disney hotel guests. I thought this was a wonderful gesture on Disney’s part. They also ran free movies on one of the TV channels. We rested for a bit, then got ready for dinner. This was to be our anniversary dinner tonight – I had made a PS at Granville’s. We decided to go ahead with our plans and had a wonderful dinner there. We tried to relax as much as possible and enjoy our meal. Service and food were spectacular as always. After dinner we strolled over to Downtown Disney to see how many people were out and about. It was very quiet, and security was abundant. They had those bicycle-rack looking barriers up at the driveway entrances and just past the AMC Theaters and ESPN (those two places are closest to the Disneyland Hotel). We said hello to some of the guards, then slowly walked back towards our room. Ron said “we’re safe in the Disney Compound, aren’t we?”. I couldn’t have agreed with him more. If I couldn’t be at home, there’s no other place I would have felt safer in. We were so sick of watching the horror on TV we were very glad that Disney was running movies on one of the channels. We watched Mulan as we got ready for bed. I couldn’t sleep much at all that night. Every time I closed my eyes I saw that plane crash into the tower.