Wide Load Ahead: 2 Princesses in a Double Stroller & DH in an ECV (PTR+TR on Page 2)
I'm resurrecting my TR since we may be going again in April 2013! :banana: I didn't set this up with the idea of having it be a multiple trip TR, but it's easier to do it this way since my Pre-Trip Report is here and I'll likely do the same prep again!
My PTR for our September 2011 trip starts immediately below this introductory section. The actual Trip Report for our September 2011 visit with photos starts on page 2. Here are the direct links:
Driving down from Northern California!
An afternoon at Disneyland
Our morning in Fantasyland and the Princess Fantasy Faire
Toontown and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!
DCA, my afternoon as a single rider, and WOC!
My Magic Morning
DCA with the whole family and lunch at Ariel's Grotto
My last Single Rider afternoon, Aladdin, and the end of our trip
DH's TR (written on a site devoted to his alma mater's sports teams where he frequently posts): Disney on Wheeeeeeeeeels
My breakdown of all the rides we each were able to enjoy (since we went on so few with the whole family) is here.
Here is my advice for those with mobility challenges and the benefits of using an electric convenience vehicle (ECV, aka scooter). DH really resisted it but after just 4 hours in DL the first afternoon, he was in so much pain that he caved in and let me rent him one. It only cost about $40/day and they delivered it right to HoJo!
My rave review of HoJo's Kid Suite (and this was BEFORE they did some renovations and replaced the windows to further dampen the noise).
My PTR for April 2013 starts on post 67 here.
SEPTEMBER 2011 PTR
It's finally official: we are definitely going to DLR next week, just 5 days from now. While we started planning this back in May, DH suffered a painful hip injury and we were unable to get any definitive answers until he got an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to discuss the results of the high contrast test (after inconclusive x-rays and MRI scans).
While it wasn't necessarily the news we wanted, DH will have the surgery (and it's scheduled already), but his orthopedic surgeon confirmed we can still go to DLR.
Me, 34 years old but will be celebrating my 35th birthday a week early at DLR!!! It's my first time in years! I haven't been to DLR since 1995 back when I was a student at UCLA. GO BRUINS!
This trip is really largely for me, as DH doesn't care for Disney or crowds and DDs are still very young but I can't wait to see their faces. I'll be pushing the crimson double stroller.
DH, 36, will be in an ECV (I'm still working on this as he insists he can just use his cane...I have Deckert Medical Supply programmed on my cell phone already!). Frankly, he has little (if any!) affection for Southern California in general, so he's grudgingly going to DLR for me. He's a die-hard Nor Cal man, 4th generation Cal Bear. So let's call him Grumpy Bear.
DD5 just started kindergarten and loves princesses. We have a lunch res at Ariel's Grotto and a BBB appointment set up for her. She really enjoys the toddler roller coasters at our local amusement parks, so I imagine we may spend some time at the Gadget Go Coaster and the Goofy's Sky School. She doesn't want to go on Matterhorn or any roller coaster that gets dark. I'm also unsure if we will go on any dark rides. More on ride strategy in the next post.
DD2 is my adventurous one. She loves the ferris wheel at our beach boardwalk. Not sure how she will react to meeting characters, but I'm sure she will enjoy the princesses, too.
Here's a photo of DDs from a few months ago in the parking lot at our local amusement park.
Ok, so I have lurked here for months, occasionally posting, and think I have figured out my "ideal" plan, though I'm remaining very flexible since I've got 2 kids and a DH who might be grumpy/in pain.
First, the big news: since DH hurt his hip and the trip was in limbo for a while, WE NEVER TOLD DDs. Thus, this is still a SURPRISE trip! I am bursting with the news, though DH wants to wait until we get there and they see DLR to tell them. They have never been to DLR or WDW. DD5 already recognizes the Disney logo, even noticing we recently got Disney Visa cards (after seeing the $200 gift card incentive--that pays for 1 of our 3 day hopper tickets right there!).
DD5 has been asking about going since a few friends from her preschool with older siblings recently went to DLR. We keep telling her that DLR is a bit far from us (so we can't just go like we go to our local amusement psrks) and expensive, so it's a special treat for very good girls. Lately, she has been a really good girl and I can't wait to see her face when she discovers we are at DLR!
Day 1: Thursday, Sept. 15
Drive to DLR, anticipating anywhere from 8-10 hours given frequent breaks and construction on the 5 (we are planning to use the 99 detour unless we hear otherwise on the radio/Internet on the drive down). Lunch is planned at Harris Ranch, as we really don't like fast food chains. Plus, we both love steak! We already checked out the menu and are leaning toward prime rib and ribeye for us.
Dinner will entirely depend on where we are. I have a list of good ethnic restaurants I got off chowhound stretching a good 1-2 hour driving radius.
Check in at the HoJo into our Kids Suite (THANKS AGAIN to JORY29, who so generously passed along her reservation when her family canceled their trip).
Assuming my family is up for it, we head over together to DLR to pick up our real tickets (purchased off Last Minute Travel so we need to submit our vouchers to get real tickets). Otherwise I'll walk over myself. We may also check out DTD but DD2 usually is in bed between 7:30-8 so we will have to see how late we get into Anaheim.
Day 2: Friday, Sept. 16 (1st day of Halloween decor!!)
8 am park open time, so I hope to be at the security tables at 7:20. Tentative plan for breakfast is to bring cereal/milk and toast with almond butter for DDs (DD2 has a peanut allergy so no PB) and DH and I plan to eat leftover prime rib/ribeye from Harris Ranch, made into sandwiches (we will bring bread, mustard, mayo, etc.). I'm so glad we have a microwave and fridge in our suite.
DH will "roll briskly" in his ECV while I do my best to walk briskly while pushing 100 pounds (DDs and stroller) to get FP for ST and then head to Peter Pan. I'm not sure if DD5 is willing to go on it, since it's a dark ride. But it's such a slow-loading ride that I want to go on it first rather than start with IASW and see how see does on that.
Dumbo is second. Depending on how she does on PP, we may just skip other dark rides. She can be very timid (refuses to watch Beauty and the Beast now as Gaston scares her). I am also not sure of going into the whale's mouth on the storybook land canal boats. My hope is to point out happy kids getting off the rides before we get on. I showed her some YouTube videos earlier this year and she said no to all the dark rides and even Little Mermaid (due to that one scene of Ursula with the eels). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that see changes her mind!
I also want to do Casey Jr. Train and IASW.
We may then wander over to Toontown for DDs to explore while I will go get more FP (I will have 3 tickets and mostly will use the FP myself as DH doesnt care for any rides except ST). I am not sure when to ride ST (depends on how early a return time I can get), but we will have to baby swap it as neither DD is likely to want to ride it.
I do want to keep the family near FL though to minimize back-tracking all over the park because at 10:50 am, we have a Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique (BBB) appointment for DD5. I also want to try the Bengal BBQ skewers and Dole Whip so I might just run over to grab those as snacks before the 10:50 res. I figured the res would be late enough that we would have had a couple hours to enjoy FL and be ready for a break. I also thought it would be good to do it on the first day so she can really enjoy the magic of DLR. I considered doing it Saturday morning, as our lunch reservation to meet the princesses at Ariel's Grotto is on Saturday. But I hear other girls just slept in their updo so I think it will still look great the next day. I didn't want to do Ariel's Grotto on Friday as I imagine the crowds will be worse on Sat than Friday, so we can maximize our time on Friday.
After BBB, I want to see the 12:20 Aladdin show at DCA. Do we need to line up more than 20 min beforehand? I'm not sure how long BBB will take but it could be an hour. I don't know about park-hopping first with DD2 as DD1 finishes up, as that means DD1 will have to follow DH in his ECV across the park and that doesn't sound good. Plus I want to see the big reveal.
Assuming we all walk over together, I'm thinking about sending them to wait in line while while I get us all corn dogs. Afterward, I hope to ride Little Mermaid and Goofy's Sky School. Somewhere in there I will also get a beer for DH to keep him mellow. :) We can also do our Disney Visa photo shoot before our afternoon break. DD2 will need a nap and DD5 may just fall asleep, too. Assuming DH is in his ECV, I will walk back to HoJo with them (since he can't push the double stroller). We may then grab Vietnamese sandwiches from Nhu Lan Bakery (Garden Grove/Harbor Blvd, recommended by Chowhounders). Afterward, I will ask DH to drop me off at DLR to ride solo while DDs nap and he rests.
While they're back at HoJo, I hope to ride Indy, Soarin', Splash, HMH, and SMGG. That might be overly ambitious depending on FP and SR lines. Between 4:30 - 5, DH can load DDs into the car, pick me up, and we go grab an early dinner outside the park (maybe Thai Nakorn or Los Chilangos, both are Chowhound recommendations). Then we'll head back to HoJo, grab the stroller and ECV, and head back for more rides. I am hoping to make it back in time for the 6:30 Soundsational Parade.
If it's not dark yet, maybe we can walk over to get a Jungle Cruise and take a walk to enjoy all the Halloween decor (provided we can avoid the Dia de Los Muertos and other potentially scary skeleton stuff as DD5 has a very vivid imagination and I don't want more fodder for nightmares!).
Then we will probably call it a night given DD2's normal bedtime around 8. If we are lucky, maybe DD2 will sleep in the stroller or stay awake long enough for us to see the 9:30 pm fireworks? I am hoping we at least get to see the ISAW show at 8:45 before we have to leave. But it's pushing it and we might just leave after the Soundsational parade as we have MM the next morning!
Day 3: Saturday, Sept. 17 (Magic Morning!)
We have MM due to buying 3 day passes so I want to be at the security tables by 6:20. We will have to see if that's possible. :confused3 DDs usually wake up at 6:30 but that's assuming they have a good night's sleep. They can roll out ready for school/daycare 15 min after waking up, but we still have an 8 minute walk. We may just end up rolling into DLR at 7 am (up at 6:30, quick breakfast in the room or pick up something hot from MCDonalds on the walk from HoJo).
Assuming DDs enjoyed FL on Friday, we will do their favorites again. I might also take them to Autotopia as they might like driving cars. I also have read that the Nemo subs have a room for those with disabilities that doesn't require climbing down into the sub, so we might do that, too. I would love to take the Disneyland Railroad back to the front of the park but I read that the Main St station doesn't have a ramp so DH can't get his ECV off the train there.
I see that two types of APs are blocked on Saturday, so it may be a good day to try the Tangled and Pixie Hollow meet & greets. Not sure yet.
At 9:30, I want to head to DCA and grab WOC FP and explore all the little kid Bug's Life rides for DD2, like Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, King Triton's carousel, etc. I also want to do the stationery Mickey's Fun Wheel as DD2 loves ferris wheels! If we have time, maybe we'll watch the Crush show.
At 11:50, we have lunch at Ariel's Grotto and meet the princesses!
Assuming it ends around 1:30, I think we head back to the hotel for a break. If I'm not exhausted, I will walk back to the park myself to SR stuff. But I'd have to walk back again to pick the girls up in their stroller, so I may just stay at HoJo and nap myself! I'm also thinking this is the day we play at the Pirate's Cove water area at HoJo, assuming it stays nice (weather is expected to be in the high 70s).
We will eat dinner off-site at a chowhound recommended rstaurant and then head back into the park. If DD2 naps for a while and gets up late, this may be the night we try to see WOC. I know we won't do Fantasmic because DD1 would be scared of the dragon. WOC is just so late and so crowded, especially with a double stroller and ECV! We will just have to see.
Day 4: Sunday morning (1/2 day)
We will not have MM entry so I hope to be at the security tables by 7:20 for an 8 am open. We also need to drive home today and I'd like to time it so we get lunch and have the DDs in the car in time for an afternoon nap!
I think this will be our leisurely morning. Just walk around to absorb that Disney magic. Try our favorite treats/snacks again. Ride some rides but don't worry about FP (unless it's on our way). If DD5 is brave enough to try, maybe ride some new rides she previously avoided.
I'm sure it's going to be tough tearing ourselves away from DLR around 11 am to return to HoJo, check out, grab lunch and drive home. I will need to make sure I save at least one of the Disney store sale goodies I bought a few months ago so they have one last surprise as we leave.
Based on reading many threads here, this is what I have compiled and have packed already. I'm not including basics (like clothes and toiletries) but thought it would be useful for other families traveling to DLR to see our list.
DLR-specific Packing list:
* Disney souvenirs pre-purchased during Disney Store clearance sale (princess dresses, nightgowns, character t-shirts) which I will dole out each morning
* 2 extra big/thick Sharpie pens (easier for the costumed characters to grasp) and the glossy full-color Disney Jr. encyclopedia recommended by DISBoarders for an autograph book (about $10 on Amazon)
* glow-in-the-dark sticks, necklaces, & bracelets to use at night to both identify our stroller/ECV and decorate DDs
* Kid-sized earmuffs for during the fireworks (if we make it)
* a slim travel zip wallet necklace (instead of a lanyard) for tickets, FPs, credit card, cash & hotel key (and maybe my iPhone? That may just have to go in my pocket as it may be too heavy)
* peanut-free snacks for DD2 (though I hope she will be able to try some of the fun park food)
* mini First Aid pack with bandaids, sunscreen, 2kinds of ibuprofen (for kids and adults!), and neosporin for cuts/scrapes
* Klean Kanteens (wide mouth!) for water, which I will refill with ice water or filtered water at CS restaurants or the filtered water taps at Baby Care Centers
* lime green Mickey heads to decorate our stroller in true DISboards fashion
* bike lock for our stroller so I can lock it up in each Land, as opposesd to wheeling it ride to ride and locking/unlocking each time (we will probably spend most of our time in FL)
* nightlight and a powerstrip for the hotel room
* extra outfits for DDs (in case they get wet or DD5 wants to change out of her princess dress)
* extra shoes for me to alternate between (Keens, Dansko, Sanuk flip flops, & New Balance running shoes--I've got all my options covered!)
Dansko Sara sandals:
Sanuk yoga mat flip flops:
Here is my morning-of checklist:
1. Take digital photos of both DDs in case they get lost. This way I have a record of what they were wearing.
2. Apply sunscreen and then write my cell # and DH's on DDs' arm/leg with a Sharpie (just have to make sure it's not readily visible and in all our photos!).
3. On the first day, get a birthday button for me at Town Hall (but might wait until after the morning rush!).
4. Pre-refrigerate Klean Kanteen water bottles so water is cold and bring peanut-free dry snacks for DD2.
5. In the stroller in the morning: pack water bottles, snacks, mini-First Aid pack, small pack of diapers/wipes for DD2, and extra outfit for each girl.
6. Have laid out in room for DH to pack into stroller after afternoon nap/break: light jackets for chilly evenings, glow sticks/bracelets/jewelry, and kids' earmuffs.
My shopping/food list
Our Kids' Suite at HoJo has a microwave and fridge, so I'm planning on buying/bringing:
- Yogurt, Milk and cereal for DDs' breakfast
- Fresh fruit (snacks in the room and possibly in the park since DD2 has a newly diagnosed peanut allergy)
- Hard-boiled eggs (we'll bring these with us) for snacks in the car/hotel room and maybe even breakfast
- Goldfish crackers for snacks
- whole wheat bread, mayo, and mustard to make sandwiches from our leftover ribeye and Prime Rib we plan to buy at Harris Ranch on the drive down
- chicken drumsticks (DH will cook these Wed night so we can have some protein snacks for the drive down that he can eat while driving)
- Jar of almond butter or sunflower seed butter
- 2.5 gallons of drinking water for in the room/the drive as we'll refill inside DLR from the filtered water taps (no offense, Orange County, but treated sewage water just sounds gross no matter how good your $490 million treatment system is)
- Cold beer for the hotel room at the end of the day as well as champagne for when the DDs finally fall asleep
Good call on the water - they don't drink it either!:rotfl2:
I know my DISfriend just had her aunt on the DL train in a wheelchair. They had to back up a little to get her lined up, but they did it. I see you said they don't have a ramp at Main St. Maybe he can get off and tomorrowland and then you are almost there?:confused3
Your DH will probably choose to walk on the rides, but you can get a guest assistance pass at the front at guest services (they keep moving it) and then you can go through the FP line - take the ECV all the way up and they will help you. NO LINES!!!:banana::banana: I know they kind of act like the FP replaced the GAP, but they do give them out for wheelchairs and ECVs.
Leisa learned alot about options for chairs with her aunt - here's a link to her trippie: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2749343&page=6
I'm so excited that you are surprising your DDs! They will be so amazed, and it will be so fun to see it through their eyes!
My first official visitor!!!! Hooray!!!! :cheer2:
I was thinking I was just posting for myself for a good couple days. :goodvibes
I love the idea of writing notes from Tink or a Princess--my 5 year old will get a kick out of that. I think I have to work on making it very girly--she's been writing he name with hearts and curlicues lately, trying to make it extra "princess-y" so I'm sure she expects any letter from a princess to be just as girly!
I'm off to read your friend's TR as I just skimmed through DLR's official blurb about guests with disabilities. I thought I read there that the ECV itself is like a GAC so you didn't need to get one. We'll have to see. DH is STILL insisting he won't ride in one so I'm not to rent it. Sigh. Stubborn man!
Men can be so stubborn. He'll probably change his mind after a morning.
I have also heard of people sprinkling that clear sparkly glitter around the gifts and calling it Pixie Dust from Tink!princess:
I can't believe you've managed to keep this a surprise! :thumbsup2
I really enjoyed all your pre-trip posts and I wanted to stop in and let you know that I'm here and looking forward to more! :wave:
OOOH, sparkly glitter sounds GREAT! And it's not in my house, so EVEN BETTER! I will need to go buy some.
We are driving down the 5 as I type! I can hardly contain my excitement. DD5 thinks we are going to a water park as she saw me looking for DD2's swimsuit this morning. We will have to see how long we can keep this up!
On a somewhat sad note, I forgot my lime green Mickey heads! Argh! I even made a special trip to Home Depot for them. I had intended to string them together to decorate our stroller but was so busy packing that I forgot. Oops.
We didn't hit any bad traffic until 12 miles from DLR. We are just MINUTES away now!!!
Hope you have a great time! look forward to reading the trip report :)
Waiting in line at Pixie Hollow with a 30 min wait. Got FP for ST at 3:25 with a 5:55 return. Also rode Tea Cups which DD5 LOVED. We only convinced her to leave by telling her we are going to Pixie Hollow.
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