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View Full Version : Trip report: "Keeping up with Jones" -- Disneyland January 26, 27, and 28 -- pre-trip


Rajah
02-08-2001, 02:27 PM
Trip report: "Keeping up with Jones" -- Disneyland January 26, 27, and 28

Cast:
-Rajah/Tammi, Disneyland fanatic, trip photographer, and report writer
-VonDrake/Michael, Rajah's DH, becoming a Disneyland fanatic
-DM or "my mom", Rajah's mom who just wants to do Indy over and over and over...
-DF or "my dad", Rajah's dad who wants to see Indy for the first time.

Trip dates:
January 26, 27, and 28

Stayed at:
Best Western Park Place, right across the street from the walk-in entrance to Disneyland on Harbor

Theme:
Keeping up with Jones -- named because the primary reason for this trip was to introduce my dad and reintroduce Michael to the Indiana Jones Adventure. Michael had been on it once, but only remembered the queue. My dad had heard my mom and me raving about this attraction and so really wanted to see it. So this quick whirlwind trip was specifically for Indy. And whatever we could fit in around Indy ;)


Pre-trip:

November 11, 2000... Rajah/Tammi, VonDrake/Michael, DM, and DF are at the Houston-area DIS meet. Rajah and VonDrake have a trip to WDW coming up in December and are just back from a trip to WDW for the food and wine festival.

Sometime during the course of the meet, the subject of Disneyland came up. DF made the comment then in a very longing voice that he hadn't been able to see Indy yet -- Indy referring to the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. He's the only one of the party who hasn't seen it, and Michael has only been on it once and somehow doesn't remember the ride itself. So DF teasingly said "why don't you cancel your December trip and we'll all four go out to Disneyland sometime next year?" Well, there was no way Michael and I were going to cancel our much-anticipated trip to see Christmas at WDW. But DM jumped on my dad and asked if he was serious, because if so, we'd go make reservations right then. He just grinned.

Flash forward about 2 weeks. As I'm driving home from work, I (Rajah/Tammi) hear a song that reminds me very much of the excellent piano players Rod and Alan at Disneyland and feel homesick. Oh, how I wanted at that moment to be sitting at Coke Corner on Main Street listening to the master or masters at the keys. But, I figured we couldn't afford a trip and already Michael had surprised me with approval for two unexpected WDW trips the past two months, so I said nothing.

I finally got home and who calls but Michael... he'd had a rough day at work and had gotten notice of the $99-one-way fares Southwest occasionally releases. So he asks do I want to go to Disneyland. I sit there blinking and answer "silly question". Then I remember my dad's comment a few weeks earlier and ask if we should see if my parents want to come too -- find out if my dad is serious. Michael answers sure, why not. When do we want to go? Well, since DF and I both have birthdays near the end of January, that would be perfect.

I'm off the phone with him fairly quickly then call my parents and get my dad. I propose the trip to him and he says he's very much interested, but we have to wait a few days so he can investigate to see if they can afford to go.

Part of determining whether he can afford to go or not depended on the prices for admission and hotel stay. So I was on the phone the next day trying to get prices for the Disneyland Hotel, which was where Michael and I really wanted to stay. We got a wonderful CM (I wish I'd caught his name) at that point who took the time to investigate every weekend in January and give us rates and availability for several different room types, package types, and hotels (specifically DL-Hotel, Paradise Pier, and Grand Californian). We almost made reservations for ourselves for one room with a 2-day ticket package, but as we weren't certain we wanted to go that weekend, we didn't.

By later that evening (after the reservation desk had closed), my dad had decided yes they're going to come but they'll have to stay at a less expensive hotel. But, they didn't mind if Michael and I stayed at the Disneyland hotel. So the next morning, I got up early enough to call right when reservations opened. I asked about pricing and availability for the last 2 weekends in January. This CM was horrible and I wish I'd caught her name to report her attitude.

"We can't do that, you have to give us a specific date to check" was her snotty reply. Um, excuse me, yes... you can. It was done last night. It's known as look at one weekend, give me the numbers. Look at second weekend, give me the numbers.

After much arguing, she finally checked both weekends. The only thing available on the main weekend we wanted to go was Grand Californian.

Okay, how about pricing for two-day tickets.

"We don't have those."

Um, excuse me... yes, you do. I was given prices for the two-day packages just last night, and there was at least one available last night.

"Well why didn't you take it then? We don't have two day packages."

Don't tell me you don't, I have the prices as quoted last night so I know they exist.

"Well, there aren't any available, they only release a small number of two day packages."

Oh, those same two-day packages that "don't exist"? We only want a two-day ticket because we're getting in too late to make use of the 3rd day on a 3 day ticket.

"Well, they aren't available so you're out of luck."

Fine. What's the cost for a room at the Grand Californian at that time with a package.

She gives me a quote. Which is something like $50 higher than what I was given last night. Goodbye. *click*

When I got off the phone with her, I was so furious I decided then and there that Disney had just lost some customers for their hotel. Even if something *did* open up that weekend, we weren't going to take it because of the rude service. I tried calling back to check again about 30 minutes later, but got the same person so just hung up. Disneyland apparently doesn't have the huge reservations base WDW has.

Okay, dad, we're going to all be staying at a Good Neighbor hotel.

From there I checked online to see what a package would cost at my pick of the Good Neighbor hotels -- Best Western Park Place, which in some ways is better situated for Disneyland than the Disneyland Hotel itself is. After seeing there was availability, I decided to try out Dreams Unlimited since we had several requests and wanted to check on discounts. Furthermore, after having to deal with the less-than-kind CM, I decided I'd had enough with making my own reservations for this trip, I wanted someone else to handle the details.

So we checked on airfare to get a specific weekend and found the cheap fares were still available for the last weekend in January for the flights we wanted, but they were going fast. So rather than waiting to double-check that DF would be able to afford their part, we got the go ahead to get the tickets. If DF couldn't go, we'd use the credit from 2 tickets for another trip somewhere.

Then I contacted Dreams and gave them our requests: Best Western Park Place, 4 adults in 2 rooms, King beds preferable, non-smoking a must. Check for AAA, MKC, Dclub discounts, and we did want transfers from the airport to the hotel and back.

Once those details were left in the hands of DU, we discussed the trip with my dad and decided to make it a surprise trip for my mom -- a Christmas present. It was hard staying quiet about the trip when around her, but we did it :D

However, we did have one scare at one point that at least part of the trip would be canceled. My dad was having problems with his stomach and so had to go in to a doctor and have several checks, some of which were in the hospital. If those bills were very expensive, he'd not be able to afford their part of the trip and would have to cancel.

After hearing that, I was on the phone real fast to Michael and after doing some numbers, we decided we could cover a major portion of my parents' cost of the trip. It would be Christmas presents for both as well as my dad's birthday present, and they'd still have to pay a bit, but we could do it. Proposing that alteration to the plan made my dad a little uncomfortable until I explained I usually spend about that much on birthdays and Christmas *anyway*, so this year just don't plan on getting anything major besides the trip. Finally, he agreed and we were back on for all 4 of us going to the park.

Christmas rolled around and finally we were able to tell my mom. We did so by having two pieces of paper that were puzzles. The first showed a cartoon airplane, a picture of a game piece from Monopoly for Park Place, Sleeping Beauty, a sketch of the castle, and the letters T&M and J&C, the word Jan, and the numbers 26, 27, and 28 scattered around the page along with the question "What do all these things have in common?". The second page (which was the last package opened) clarified things: the cartoon plane turned into a picture of a Southwest plane. The monopoly game piece turned into the Best Western Park Place sign with the monorail in the background. Sleeping Beauty and the castle sketch became an obvious picture of Sleeping Beauty Castle with the Matterhorn behind it. The letters were replaced with a picture of Michael and me, and a picture of my parents together. Along the top was the answer: "They're all going to be at Disneyland January 26, 27, and 28!"

My mom was excited! Not quite as much as Michael and I were, but only because Michael and I are bigger Disney fanatics than either parent. Now came the hardest part: waiting a month :D

And a long month it was, too, especially for Michael. He's a staff member at a local university and in addition to supporting the faculty he teaches one class a week there, and for some reason this semester started out as the semester from you-know-where. Pretty much everything that could go wrong was going wrong and half the time DH's group was getting the blame for things even if the blame wasn't theirs. So, as usual, by the time the trip rolled around Michael needed the vacation.

We were afraid for a short time that we would still have to cancel my parents' part of the trip, though, because my mom caught a cold at the end of December that just would *not* go away. Two weeks before the trip, she was trying antibiotic after antibiotic to get over the thing because she wouldn't fly if she had an ear infection. Thankfully, that cleared up just a few days prior to leaving.

One week before the trip date, we started thinking about how to get from the airport to the hotel. An online friend offered to pick us up (you know who you are, thanks again for the offer :D ), but we would be 5 in a car that best seats 4. My mom also isn't comfortable in small vehicles or having 3 packed into a seat designed to safely and comfortably hold 2, so she pushed to have us rent a car. My dad and I looked into it and found we could rent a car for less than the cost of all 4 of us taking Airport Bus, plus we could have an hour or more wait for the bus once we got to the airport, followed by a longer ride than driving ourselves, and we weren't sure where we'd be dropped off but were pretty sure it *wasn't* at the hotel directly because there wasn't anywhere in front of the hotel that a bus could stop. We looked into canceling the Airport Bus vouchers which we'd already paid for, but found it would cost exactly the same at this point to cancel the Bus as it would be to just eat the cost and go with a car. We decided to go with the car anyway.

Finally the trip date rolled around with no more scares other than me having "nightmares" the week before we left that we'd gotten to Disneyland but left the camera at home. ;) The closer we came to the trip date, the less excited I became -- but as always, once the day arrived I was *ready* to be there :D

-Rajah
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ZerasPride
02-09-2001, 09:10 AM
Just wanted to let you know that I am thoroughly enjoying your trip trip report so far and am off to read the next installment!

I actually forgot where I was for a second (work - yuck!) as I got lost in the drama - will her parents go or won't they (lol). You are a very good writer and I am looking forward to reading the rest.

Lisa

CBR - 10/98
BC - 10/98
BC - 6/00
GF - 9/00
Dolphin - 6/01

minniecarousel
02-26-2001, 09:33 AM
Yeah! I'm reading these at work - and somebody keeps interupting me! Thanks for the reports - I'm enjoying them!

<img src="http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Lair/9541/tcarousel.gif" width=114 height=87 border=0>

Marla Hellwig
03-06-2001, 07:22 PM
Can't wait to read your reports. Thanks for posting!