It’s a long old flight to LAX from London. Thankfully, fellow Harlequin/M&B author Heidi Rice and I had organised to sit together and gossiping between watching films definitely made the 11 hours go more quickly. The flight itself was amazing. We had pretty clear weather and I saw the coast of Greenland, icebergs in Hudson Bay and then the casinos of Las Vegas and a vast desert all in the short space of a few hours.
I don’t remember much of my first night in California, apart from being very, very happy to see Donna again and sitting down and eating dinner at what would have been 4 a.m. UK time.
I had a choice of what to do on Tuesday. Either I could attend a mini women’s fiction conference – the sensible and professional option – or I could go to Disneyland. Yep. No prizes for guessing what I did! But seeing as I’ve never been to a Disney resort before in my life, how could I go within minutes of the gates and not visit?
Thankfully, Michelle Willingham, Historical Romance Author and trip-organiser extraordinaire had volunteered to wrangle a group of assorted authors and editors round the park with maximum efficiency. I had one plan for the day: don’t fall asleep and go where Michelle tells me. It worked out rather well! Here’s our party:
From left to right: Jennie Lucas, Maisey Yates, Lucy Gilmour, Michelle Willingham, Katy Madison, Julia Justiss, Cara Elliott, Bryony Green, Blythe Gifford, me & Tessa Shapcott. (Pic taken with Michelle’s iPhone)
We started with the Matterhorn, which unfortunately triggered my motion sickness, but next was Buzz Lightyear and I discovered I’m quite a whiz with a laser gun! Pic, courtesy of Jennie Lucas (including me with alien eyes) to prove it.
We also rode the jungle river ride, the Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World (a slightly psychedelic experience when you’re spaced out on jet lag!), the Haunted Mansion and a few other things my tired brain has probably eaten.
Probably most fun was Splash Mountain. I thought I was clever sitting in the back of the boat until Jennie told me you get just as wet there. She wasn’t wrong. The water splashed those in the front then swooshed up over the sides at the back to get me. As you can see, I didn’t really care much. (That's me, smiling but hanging on at the back.)
While some of our party had to leave, five of us stayed to have lunch at the Blue Bayou – a restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride that resembles a Mississippi swamp at night. I tried to take photos, but it was too dark too see much but the paper lanterns that hung from the ceiling. I did eat the nicest Jambalaya I’ve ever had there, though! Seriously good.
Then we did the Indiana Jones ride, which took over as my favourite, before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the more writerly events of the afternoon. Here are a few more of my favourite Disney pics: