Luckiest Robot on Earth - PTR - 10/31 - 11/2/12
Hi everyone! I've been meaning to do this pre-trip report since...well...September, I believe. I finally realized that yes, I really had better get started or it's going to be a post-trip report! :flower3:
So my mom and I had a wonderful trip to Disneyland in November 2011, right after Thanksgiving. Weather was great, crowds were fine, took something like 1000 pictures of my Tiny Duffy and Tiny Shellie May, etc. Even though Buena Vista Street and Cars Land weren't open yet, we had a great time...I even sort of fell in love with the construction walls!
(I have problems)
But with the economy and such, I figured that was going to be my last trip until 2013. We went all out and even splurged on 2 nights at the Paradise Pier Hotel (I figured by the next trip, the on-site hotels would be so pricey I couldn't afford them).
Fast-forward to February 2012, 3 scant months after my previous visit. I'm still wistfully remembering my trip to Disneyland, and frankly, entering every Disney trip contest I can find. When what should come up, of all things? Even DIS Unplugged is having a contest, in honor of their 1-year anniversary! All you had to do to enter was provide a Disneyland tip. I procrastinated, as I tend to, but submitted while my friend (referred to as Miss D in my previous report) was in town for our city's annual used book sale. I'm almost certain that I told her (while I was busy ignoring her so I could play on my computer) that if I won, of course she would be invited too.
So I entered and forgot about it until the podcast was up. So I listened to the podcast (first one I'd listened to :blush: but now I'm a faithful listener, albeit a bit on the slow side). When they read the tip at the end about riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad during fireworks, I was shocked that someone else submitted the same tip as me.
No. No they didn't. Or if someone else did, well, it wasn't their version of the tip they read.
It was my tip! Oh my goodness, my heart was pounding and when they said my name I felt close to ready to faint. My hands were shaking as I typed to my BFF (best Florida friend :hyper: ) that I had WON! 2 nights and 2 days at the Grand Californian, a hotel I literally thought I'd never stay at due to the expense. With park hoppers! Once I got control of myself I called my mom, still in disbelief. When my brother and I were kids she took us on at least half a dozen trips to Disneyland, so I thought it was only fair to return the favor to her.
I knew I was going to invite Miss D as well, but who to take for the 4th person? I suppose one reasonable option would have been to just take the 3 of us, but the trip was up to 4 people...how could I not bring 4 people??? Decisions, decisions.
But how blessed am I, to have that decision to make?!?! We'll get on to my decision in my next post.
THANK YOU to the DIS and DIS Unplugged for making my dream come true! :tinker:
I'm 'in' :goodvibes
So, when we last left...er...me, I was wondering who else to take to Disneyland. I have my mom, my friend "Miss D" from college, and...who else? I don't have many friends locally, certainly no one I'd instantly think of taking to Disneyland. No; there's just one person I wanted to ask to come along.
Unfortunately, she happens to live about 3 hours away from WDW! If I recall correctly, I started broaching the topic more casually to her, along the lines of "Oh, I wish you could go! I don't know who else to take?" Long story short, she was only interested in coming out if she could dress up in costume.
I love dressing up too, but when I went to a Halloween party in 2010, I wasn't impressed. So I would've probably done a late November trip...but I'd rather go with my BFF. So yes! She agreed to come!!!!!!!
The contest gave us 2 nights at the GCH with 2-day parkhoppers for each of us. We decided to buy Halloween party tickets too, to stretch out the trip (2 days/nights in the parks, plus 8 hours). And also to, you know, let us dress up!
We had to submit 3 different sets of dates to DIS Unplugged (hi Tom!) for Disney to decide which set to give us. We got "our" (meaning "my") first choice of dates!
So our plan is:
Tuesday, 10/30/12 - Drive to Disneyland Resort! (I probably have work til 11 AM though :( ) Check in to Best Western Stovall's (chosen in case we had to lug our stuff to the GCH when changing hotels...we'll have a car, though, it turns out)
Wednesday, 10/31 - Downtown Disney, then Halloween party!
Thursday, 11/1 - Get up early; pack and drive to Grand Californian Hotel; try not to faint; check in; try not to faint again; do Early Entry at Disneyland (then explore parks)
Friday, 11/2 - Early Entry at DCA (then explore parks)
Saturday, 11/3 - Check-out day; if the Power Walk actually goes through DCA (hearing different things on that), do that; if not, don't. :) Drive to (of all places) Prescott, AZ (long story)
Sunday, 11/4 - Explore Prescott; drive home
Monday, 11/5 - Drive BFF to airport. Cry a little. :sad1: Go back to work and miss vacation. :sad1:
I know the Halloween party on Halloween night will be crazy. But by going the 2 days after Halloween I'm hoping for lower crowds, to see some of the park not seasonal (Christmas is wonderful but I have a kajillion Christmas Disneyland photos by this point), and to--hopefully--meet Sailor Duffy! I'd met him in his sailor outfit once before, in October 2010, but I wasn't friends with him and I didn't even hug him. Oh dear. I have pictures of me with Santa Duffy, but I'd love a non-seasonal one. Will he be out in November, or will he be shaking off his Halloween self? We will see.
I was also hoping Space Mountain might possibly be regular the day after Halloween (or the day after the day after), as it supposedly was last year. Right now everyone (including DISboards) is reporting that Ghost Galaxy will be up through 11/4, since there is a one-day refurbishment on 11/5. I'm guessing they are right...but we need to ride it on Halloween night, just on the off chance they flip the switch to regular Space Mountain on November 1. (I greatly prefer regular Space Mountain, so the November dates was the only way I could have ANY chance of riding it without that stupid ghost.)
Plenty more to come! Such as costumes!
So as I mentioned, I went to Mickey's Halloween Party in October 2010, right in the middle of fall break. (Well, not mine, but the fall break of 3 teachers I went with.) I actually didn't enjoy that trip much, for reasons I'm attempting to remedy this trip.
*I didn't make my costume last trip (it was a costume I'd worn in high school!). So while it was nice to be called "Belle" (even if I didn't look much the part!), it was a bit disappointing to have people impressed by something I hadn't done. (Except the Chip purse. That was all me.) Solution? Make my own costume. Easy enough.
*Party was much more crowded than I expected last year (I'd read stories about walking onto the rides, etc. when really it was a bit of a mess to navigate and lines were not short). So I was very disappointed. Solution? Realistic expectations. Note that my brother, who went to the SAME PARTY as me, perceived crowds as light and had a great time. Also, better planning and more of a willingness to hang out. (I've found that having a Duffy with me to get photos helps me be less annoyed when I'm waiting somewhere.)
*Felt like we couldn't do enough during the party, as we only had the party day and the following Saturday in the parks. Solution: 2 days plus party day, instead of just the 1 day. (3+ days would be ideal, but it's not in the cards or the budget, and my BFF, who's used to being a local at WDW, might not enjoy all that time in the parks, really.)
There were some other issues but we're going with different people this time so it should work out OK.
Very early in the process, before ticket dates were even announced, we considered what kind of theme we could do. Cinderella mice could've been really cute, but I imagined it'd be not uncommon with Cinderella on Blu-Ray this year and all. So we kept trying to think of something that would be fun. My BFF thought it'd be neat to make/have an Ariel costume, and I wanted something that would light up. So where does that take us, do you think?
You won't faint at GCH but you may have trouble getting the smile off your face! SO happy for you that you get to stay there. Plus being at DLR ON Halloween - extra fun! pixiedust:
You are so sweet. Thank you! :flower3:
In real time, I got a couple inexpensive SD cards from Amazon today, and my Photopass+ (the voucher is taped on the outside!). Also some fiber optic hair strands. pirate:
My BFF wasn't so sure about dressing as Ariel, but I think every girl/woman (who wants to) should be able to dress as a princess at a Disney park at least once. As for me...I wanted to do something interesting, like dressing as a land. (Quite some time after I abandoned that idea, I read someone else on the DIS was doing that!)
I realized my favorite area of DCA (to date) is Paradise Pier, and I ADORE the Golden Zephyr and thought that'd be a fun costume. All that remained was to convince my other travel companions to dress in other Paradise Pier-themed costumes...Miss D is dressing as Goofy's Sky School and my mom is going to be the Silly Symphony Swings. Done!
My costume is nearly done...my mom's is barely started but should mostly consist of paint on clothes she has already. Miss D's is about done and my BFF's is done-ish and SUPER CUTE!
Here's a bit of mine.
You had me at Cone 1
Eeeek! There's a tropical storm coming to Florida and it may hit near my friend's house...she's up in Orlando at the moment (about 3 hours away from home) and I believe they're waiting out the storm there. Hmph. That storm had better clear out by Tuesday (!). That's all I have to say.
Costume is going fine. Here's an artist's sketch. (Well, "artist" probably belongs in quotes. Mine. It's my sketch.) The bag that you can hardly see on the right side of the sketch ended up smaller (far too small for my 12" Duffy to fit). And the fascinator headpiece is bigger and should have 6 blimps on it. Otherwise this is fairly accurate.
So, other plans! For food, I asked everyone for one restaurant where they wanted to eat. Miss D is picky in the "doesn't like sauces or food touching" way and my BFF is picky in the "likes high-quality food but nothing too weird" way. My mom isn't picky and I'm a little picky ("doesn't like anything that reminds me it was alive, so no bones please").
So who gave me their restaurant decision? Mom. That's all. :)
So my mom's pick was Cafe Orleans, which has my favorite atmosphere in Disneyland and the only french fries I've ever tasted that I'd go out of my way to order a la carte. So I made a reservation for 5:30 PM on the Halloween party day, since we found the park VERY crowded at party start time in 2010 (reviews are mixed this year). I figured a sit-down meal at the busiest time would be helpful, and that COULD be the busiest meal period of our entire trip. (We'll see.)
My pick was Earl of Sandwich, but that dream is basically dead. So right now I'm leaning toward Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta/Paradise Garden Grill. Everyone should be able to find something edible there, and I like the atmosphere. My other thought is the Pacific Wharf area (again, everyone should find something decent). Yes, I do love DCA!
I asked my BFF what food she liked best and she said salads (just not ones with arugula or anything weird), pasta, and fried chicken. So I decided for her that we will eat at Plaza Inn which ticks off 2 or 3 of those (she wasn't loving the looks of the salad). I'm not sure I've EVER eaten there outside of character breakfasts...I wonder if we ate there the one and only day we went to Disneyland with my dad. (He uses a wheelchair and has trouble transferring, and also hates crowds. It was not a destination he enjoyed!) In addition to food, I was ogling the cakes, though they're awful pricey.
As for Miss D, I have no idea where she'd like to eat. She likes the Village Haus but I didn't tell her they changed the menu, so she probably doesn't like it so much anymore. A BLT pizza might make her cry. OK, not really, but she would not like it.
I'm also fixing to perhaps try a corn dog this trip! And we must go to the Cozy Cones. We have 4 adults and there are 5 cones. Maybe we can all get the things we want from the different cones with only 1 wait for each of us? :) Actually, I'm super-excited about the Cones because I linked the menu and asked my BFF if there was something she wanted from there.
Churros+chocolate sauce! Yes, I had her at Cone 1. That's the first food option I remember her getting excited over, so I'm looking forward to that! (I'm leaning toward pretzel bites myself, but it will really depend on my mood. People complain Red's Apple Freeze is too sweet so to be honest, it's probably right up my alley, except I don't like mango. Or maybe Doc's Grape Tonic, is it? Decisions, decisions...)
We also have to find something to eat on party day. In 2010 we did Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express--I liked the price and the food--but I hate to do Cajun-type food two meals in a row. I guess I could get a burger, though. Or maybe we could try La Brea Bakery Cafe. Maybe take it to the Earl of Sandwich construction site and sit on the ground glaring at the walls. But I'm not bitter. :)
DUFFY HAS PANTS! Takes very little to please me. :) He just needs a hat (tomorrow's project?) and his outfit will be DONE. Very little progress on my own costume, though...got my necklace figured out. Still need to cut out my blimps (which I keep calling zephyrs) and attach them to my fascinator, and also buy another pack of lights and start sewing them to my costume. Don't see any rain in the forecast so lights should be a go!
Tentative plan for Halloween:
3 PM entry
*Send runner (if she's willing) for a FP for Space Mountain (if available...ha ha) or Star Tours (if available). That is a lot of ifs. I hear we can use them during the party though???
*I will pick up my Photopass+ from the Main Street Camera Shop
*Check out wait times on west side of the park; do something if lines aren't terribly long. If we didn't get a FP in Tomorrowland, try to get Fastpass for HMH if offered.
*Big Thunder Ranch - 4:00 for Billy Hill and the Hillbillies' Halloween gig
*Supper at 5:30 PM at Cafe Orleans
*Perhaps do Trick-or-Treating on the west side of the park (priorities: Cadaver Dans and Golden Horseshoe trail)
*Trick-or-treat trail in Main Street Cinema
*Check out villains on Main Street (?)
*Fireworks from Merida or princess meet-and-greet? (I've seen the show before so I'm not interested in a castle view--not sure about Miss D or my mom, but I don't think my BFF cares much)
*Ghost Galaxy--must ride once in costume due to Photopass+
*Matterhorn at night (maybe; we have 2 costumes that will limit mobility a bit)
It's all over but the lights
I just need to sew the lights on my own costume and that's done. Duffy's is done. He does not care about shoes. :)
Rumor is Earl of Sandwich may open November 2?!?!?! Please please please be true!
Mom's costume is coming along! I painted this for her (1930s Donald and bird). She is planning to draw music notes on the papers and paint some wind too. The paint was still wet so I didn't want to do the notes and was afraid of making a mess with the wind, never mind SHE is the one who didn't want to have too much paint on her shirt... :) )
Just finished Holiday Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich!!! Dream accomplished! Very good but the credit card machines were down.
Back home, safe and sound! Which means I have to go back to work. :sad: Will get to work on the trip report in the next few days!
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