Allons-y! UPDATED 6/18: This is the end...
Told you guys I'd be coming back!
Hi everyone! My name is Rachel, and I have been a Disney-aholic for most of my life.... oh wrong post.
Anyway, my name is Rachel, and as you may have guessed from the trip report title I am about to celebrate my 30th birthday in March. A lot of my friends have already turned 30 (or higher) and it really doesn't seem to be a happy milestone for most (when I say most, I am also including all of my fictional acquaintances from TV and movies and books who also don't like to turn 30, it just generally seems a not so happy birthday age).
I don't like this mindset, so I decided that for my 30th I am going to go somewhere that I'll be absolutely forced to have a good time. Now everyone...where is the happiest place on earth? Let's set the scene...
Scene (or in other words, where)
Las Vegas? :confused:
Um no. At least not for my wallet.
The choice to have my birthday at the LAND instead of the WORLD was simple. I've been wanting to go back to DL since my first trip last spring/summer (see trip report in my signature). And I usually go to WDW at least once a year, I went last September to run in the Tower of Terror 10 Mile race, and will probably return next year to run the race again.
Choosing the date was simple. My birthday is March 2. So it kinda had to include that day. Luckily, I hope I'll just be beating all the spring break crowds. Also luckily, I'm looking forward to the better weather. (note I said better, I understand California can be quite dreary in the winter months...but I live in Ohio. We are definitely dreary in the winter months (definitely dreary <quite dreary), so California weather will be an improvement.
Well, me, for starters. The Birthday Girl!! :wizard: I've always wanted a spectacular birthday :cloud9: I've had some good ones, but none of them have really been stop the presses good. Bout time to change that.
I work in Columbus as an attorney (bleh) and I live with my boyfriend and 3 pets (Sirius my husky, Toulouse my persian cat, and a beta fish that the boyfriend named after star trek so he is never mentioned).
My parents took my 2 sisters and I to WDW 3 times, twice when I was younger and once when I was in college at Ohio State. I always loved watching what I call my generation's Disney movies: Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Mulan, and the Lion King. I liked the Sunday night Disney movie that was always on TV. I didn't really become Disney obsessed until my BF and I went on a trip and stayed onsite my second year of law school.
The second participant is my BF of too many years to count, Brian. He is nowhere near as Disney obsessed as me, but he has been coming along nicely lately. He likes some of the older Disney movies best like Robin Hood.
Well that is pretty much it for scene setting. I'll most likely add some pictures later when I am home.
Think I'll follow up this first post with some itinerary thoughts. Yay, itinerary!
Day 1 Travel and Disneyland
Chapter 1: Travel. give your seatbelt a tug, your neighbor a hug cause this boeing is going!
Chapter 2: Arrival! Green shells cannot catch me!
Chapter 3: To all that come to this happy place: welcome.
Chapter 4: Pilgrimage to Carsland
Chapter 5: Life could be a dream, sh-boom sh-boom sh-boom
Chapter 6: Prepare for take off
Day 2 Disneyland
Chapter 7: Evacuate medical emergency!
Chapter 8: Eatin Lunch Down on the Bayou
Chapter 9: He's Winnie the Pooh Winnie the Pooh Willy nilly silly old bear
Chapter 10: welcome to the house of tomorrrrrow!
Chapter 11: You can't run from trouble, there ain't no place that far.
Chapter 12: Look! A parade!
Day 3 WB Tour and Big Band Theory taping
Chapter 13: We're Animaniacs, and we're zany to the max!
Chapter 14: Welcome to Star's Hollow, next stop Central Perk!
Chapter 15: Anyone need a Presidential seal?
Chapter 16: May I please drive one of these cars home?
Chapter 17: Bazinga!
Day 4 DCA Early Entry and Disneyland Hotel
Chapter 18: DL Hotel early entry is a wonderful thing
Chapter 19: Radiator Springs Racers
Chapter 20: How we spent the rest of our EMH
Chapter 21: Eddie, Stormtroopers and Dinosaurs!!
Chapter 22: If you don't want to see 1 million pictures of the DL Hotel, back away slowly
Chapter 23: The trip had to hit a low point eventually, didn't it?
Chapter 24: Closing Time, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here
Day 5 Get Up and Go Powerwalk and travel to Anza-Borrego
Chapter 25: An early morning power walk and even more hotel pictures
Chapter 26: We are leaving...or are we?
Chapter 27: On the road again
Chapter 28: Historical Place of Interest
Chapter 29: Historical Place of Interest Part 2
Day 6 Anza-Borrego and the San Diego Zoo
Chapter 30: We see a ghost of Radiator Springs
Chapter 31: Our hike?
Chapter 32: Lets go to the zoo! It is kind of like Animal Kingdom, but this place really isazoo (as compared to notazoo)
Chapter 33: Its Baby Panda Time!!!
Chapter 34: Lions Tigers and Bears oh my!
Chapter 35: The Antelope Slope!!
Chapter 36: I see a lot of ducks, but no Donald
Chapter 37: Disney had flamingos pegged
Chapter 38: ZOMG so much cuteness!!!
Chapter 39: The hills defeat us.
Chapter 40: Birthday Cat
Day 7 Old Town, Outlets, La Jolla and Trader Sam's
Chapter 41: A relaxing morning
Chapter 42: Old Town
All right here is my itinerary so far. It is a brand new, baby itinerary (so cute).
Side note: we were unsure if we would be able to take this trip at all. I was unemployed for a month and a half in October/November of 2012 so the finances are a bit tight. In the end, Brian said it was important for me to have my 30th birthday trip (someone just earned a few BF points there) and that we should go.
We were originally planning on a 10 day trip, we cut that to 8 (really it is 7 because the last day is a very early travel day). We also cut out some of the more expensive, extravagant activities like a return to the Magic Castle Club and a stay at the Disneyland hotel Fairy Tale Suite for my birthday night.
I was sad about cutting the Magic Castle, but we had such an amazing experience last time what with seeing Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively and getting our own private after hours magic show that I don't think this second trip would have been as amazing as the first anyway.
End side note (that was a long side note).
We designed our itinerary around Southwest and their cheaper travel days.
We had been holding off on booking travel and hotels because we were trying to use my Grandma's bonus weeks at her RCI timeshare to score an Anaheim timeshare for a week. Well, we didn't realize all those things get booked up a year in advance, and nothing was available at 45 days out (we had to wait 45 days in advance to book the bonus weeks). So...those plans were foiled.
Managed to get 2 round trip tickets from Columbus to LA from Southwest for $27 :thumbsup2 Ok really, the tickets were approximately $242 each. We got them for so little because I used a previous travel credit I had that was a little less than the $242. Then I booked Brian's with some of my 50,000 Southwest points that I got when I signed up for the card.
So far, so good with a cheap trip.
All right, itinerary is finally here, I hope you guys will help me to edit/make it better.
Sunday February 24: Flight leaves Columbus 6:45. Arrive at LAX at 10:45. Pick up rental car (not booked yet) and hit the road to the Sequoia National Park. I've always wanted to see giant trees (yay, something older than me for my 30th birthday! :worship:) and Brian suggested we make the roughly 4 hour trip up north to see them.
Monday February 25: We will have spent the night at Sequoia (tent, hotel? I dunno yet). We will hope to wake up early and have a good few hour hike before getting back in the car and leisurely heading back to LA. I have no idea what we will do when we arrive back, but we will eventually be checking into an Anaheim hotel (Castle Inn perhaps, it has a good rate on hotels.com right now).
Tuesday February 26: Disneyland day! Will probably use Magic Morning Hours to get into Fantasyland early this day.
Wednesday February 27: sleep in day. Will be checking into the Disneyland Hotel for one night! We'll spend this day to run around the hotel, possibly go swimming, enjoy the room, and then Trader Sam's!!
Thursday February 28: Use the hotel's early morning hour to get into DCA for Radiator Springs Racers. Stay in the park all day. Thinking about driving halfway to San Diego this night and finding a cheapo hotel along the way.
Friday March 1: San Diego Zoo, then dinner downtown and the Prohibition Bar, not sure where our hotel will be.
Saturday March 2 (BIRTHDAY!): sleep in a bit, go to the artisan market at Old Town and have lunch at a restaurant there. Then head back to Anaheim, not sure what to do the rest of the day, possibly see Cirque du Soleil in Hollywood.
Sunday March 3: DL all day!
Monday March 4: obscenely early flight back home.
Anyone have any critiques or suggestions??
Also, can I just give a shout out to Disneyland's Dapper Day?? First, the event looks fun but as it is our arrival day, I think we will miss it. But we are definitely taking advantage of the discounts! We got the Disneyland Hotel one night for $177. We are also going to get our tickets from them. Right now we are thinking of getting 4 day non-hoppers for $200 each. The 4 day non-hopper is almost the same as a 3 day hopper, so we decided to go with more days.
Well I just found out that Cirque du Soleil Iris will be closing mid January.
We saw La Nouba last time we were at WDW and Cirque became one of our newest favorite things, we were both really looking forward to watching it this upcoming trip. Especially since it is themed around movies and I love movies.
Sigh. Back to the drawing board for my birthday night activity.
I really enjoyed your last TR, so I'll be on board for this one. And already enjoying the Dr Who references: Allons-y!
By the way, the Sequoia trees are really amazing. I've actually only been up there once, and just for a day, but I really liked it up there. I usually go up farther north to the closely related Coastal Redwoods in Nor Cal. I don't know how cold it'll be in February up in Sequoia though; it's obviously a high elevation so I think it snows up there in the winter? which may help you decide on camping vs hotel? I don't know, I guess it depends on how far up you're going.
As for other suggestions of what to do: hmmm... I really like Griffith Observatory if you're into that kind of stuff. You can go up there, maybe for the night you were going to see Cirque du Soleil (I think it's best at night). It sits right by the Hollywood sign, and you get a great view of LA from up there. It's free entry; and you can buy tickets to see their planetarium show if you want.
They have a planetarium show?? I love that, I got to go to one at Ohio State for my astronomy course. Nothing better than looking at the stars.
And oh, I found out Cirque is ending it's run this weekend :worried: So we are going to just miss it.
Well I was super productive today. ABC Family had this amazing marathon of Disney movies on...so I may or may not have spent all day on the sofa watching.
Mary Poppins was the first one, that is one of those sweet movies that is amazing when your a kid, and then amazing when your grown up but for totally different reasons. I really liked the banter between the adults.
Then Lady and the Tramp came on. I thought I remembered that movie, but I totally did not. I really enjoyed rewatching, especially the beginning with baby Lady.
I think I may have missed the next one, but I caught the end of Aladdin, which is always good but I'd seen that one recently.
Then Cinderella came on, which I also haven't seen in a super long time.
Alice in Wonderland was after, but I've never watched a lot of that one and I have to confess I don't really like it at all. I like Alice in Wonderland the story, just not the Disney version (blasphemy, I know).
Oooh, and I just checked tomorrow's tv guide and I have Hercules set to record.
I am totally in a Disney mood right now.
I booked the Castle hotel for Mon through Wed. I know it got some bad reviews, but I really can't find anything else that is within walking distance that is under $100 a night (got it for $88 and free parking/wi fi).
Then for Saturday (my actual birthday) through Monday I booked Ramada Main Gate. The weekend hotel prices were insane, and the Radisson was $109 a night and has free parking, so I just went with them. The reservations are both refundable so I am continuing to look for better deals.
I may book the Super 8 Anaheim we stayed at last time. We really liked it, we just didn't enjoy that long walk after a full day at the parks.
Glad to hear your accomadations are falling into place. Why is that always one of the biggest decisions?
Thanks SO much for the ABC family Disney movie tip. We actually have a 20 Disney movie countdown going on (approx. 1 movie every 10 days) to lead up to our trip this summer. Hercules and Lady and the Tramp are on the list and they are showing them again today. DVR has been set! :wizard:
Yes, accommodations always are trouble. Like today, I think I've been convinced to trade Castle Inn for the Candy Cane Inn since I found comparable rates.
On a non-Disney note, the tv tapings schedule that I've been looking has been getting closer and closer to our dates. They posted February 20th shows today. We are really hoping that the Big Bang Theory will be taping during our dates. We saw a taping of the Conan O'Brien show last trip and it'd be nice to see a sitcom this time.
We also booked the Paradise Point Resort and Spa, in San Diego for Friday night. It is the plan to stay in the parks Thursday until close, then drive to a hotel in Oceanside, which is about halfway between Anaheim and SD.
This way we can get up early in the morning, head for the SD zoo at opening, then check into our nice hotel, spend the afternoon, head out to the Gaslamp district for the Prohibition bar, then back to the hotel to relax at a beach firepit as it hits midnight and my birthday :banana:
I am not really sure what other preparations I can do now...I suppose I could make dinner reservations at DL but I was waiting until my one month booking window for the Walk in Walt's Foot steps tour and just book everything at once.
Its too early for packing/shopping yet.
Looks like all the pieces are starting to fall into place!
The first day is still up in the air, being the Sequoia or not Sequoia day/night.
Finally decided on where we will be checking into come Monday afternoon...
The Candy Cane Inn!! Got a low rate for this from their website, so I went ahead and booked for 2 nights.
Next up is the place I am certainly the most excited for...
Thank you Dapper Day rates! This hotel really calls to me, but I would never spend over $300 a night for any hotel (well, there are some exceptions but they'd be pretty out of this world/never happen hotel scenarios).
We were happy to get it for $170 a night. I was kind of pushing Brian to do another night, but that is out of my hands now as all the Dapper Day special rates are sold out for the DLH and the GC :sad: But also :cheer2: because it will save us money.
After checking out of here on Thursday and spending the day at the parks (they close at 8?! geez I'm not used to that). We will head south to...
That is the Best Western in Oceanside. I believe it is the little hotel whose beach view is being blocked by all the big ones....:faint:
We got really low rates on it, and decided it would be cheaper to stay in a little place outside of Anaheim and San Diego. This way we won't be too far from our first San Diego activity (the zoo). And I guess the views don't really matter cause we'll just be there for sleeping. I also did some research on Yelp so I've been informed that there is an amazing little breakfast place here called the Beach Break Cafe, so we'll be having a quick breakfast there.
After we have zoo'ed ourselves out, we'll be checking into my second 'steal' of the trip....
Paradise Point Resort and Spa in San Diego. I found a $134 a night rate on bookit.com, it seems to be regularly priced in the mid $200s, so yay for us.
It has a lot of fun resort activities, one of which we will be taking advantage of after our special birthday eve meal (Brian used to live near San Diego, so is taking me to a nice seafood place that is a surprise)...fire pits!! The resort has little fire pits on the beach and we can buy firewood and sit on the beach at night. Which might not sound great to others, but is an activity that sounds amazing to me.
After sleeping in and enjoying the Old Town market, we'll stop at La Jolla to enjoy some seal watching,
then it is back to Anaheim where we'll check into...
the Radisson Maingate. Which will be our last accommodations for the trip.
I've already figured out a clever idea (well, I think it is clever, anyway).
We will have several different size suitcases with us on the trap, and I think it is a good idea to have a smaller bag that we will have prepared to take into each hotel since we have so many hotel changes. The bag will be prepared whenever we have some down time, but it will basically mean we only have one small bag to take into the room while the rest of the luggage stays in the trunk.
I imagine the bathroom item bag will permanently stay in the 'to go' bag, along with our pajamas and however many articles of clothing we need for the upcoming hotel stay.
I figure this can make the whole process move a little more smoothly if we only have one bag to lug in and out of each hotel.
Upcoming decisions and reservations:
-I need to book our Walk in Walt's footsteps tour once our one month window comes up
-The TV Tapings ticket website is now up 2/22 tapings, so in a few days (Monday?) we should see if any shows we are interested in will be taping while we're there
-I discovered the Jekyll and Hyde, the off broadway play, will be in town while we are there, so I think we'll see this in place of Cirque, so we need to look into tickets
Following! You had me at 'Allons-y!' :upsidedow
Allons-y indeed lol.
My first doctor was Eccleston, but Tennant is at the top of my list.
I liked Rose, but adored Donna as a companion. Gosh, I woulda loved a second season with her and David. Was a relief to have a companion who didn't swoon over the doctor, and those 2 were so good together.
I love Tennant and Donna together. They were a great team. We just rewatched the fat babies episode for a good laugh.
I must admit that Matt Smith grew on me and I love me some Rory. My daughter proclaims Rory to be her new standard for a future husband. :rotfl:
Good news everyone! (said in a professor Farnswarth voice). We just scored Big Bang Theory taping tickets!!! To be exact, they are standby (the site crashed for like half an hour and finally Brian was able to get through). I read a blog that says if you get there insanely early usually 20 stand bys get in, so we'll be there insanely early with our books/tablets to settle in and wait.
I love that show. :cool1:
Matt Smith seems ok, its just that Tennant really knew how to bring the emotion, I really felt like I could imagine him as a real person (alien, timelord, whatever).
Rory is a good character though, wish Amy would stop going gaga over the doctor.
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