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-   -   Feb 28 - March 9th Trip Report - From Rain to Sunshine!! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3247388)

sherilaine 03-10-2014 11:22 PM

Feb 28 - March 9th Trip Report - From Rain to Sunshine!!
 
Rain, rain, go away?

Well, in spite of all the weather forecaster’s attempts to scare us into thinking our flight would likely see cancellation due to the rain storm of the century hitting LA – we landed about 15 minutes late on Friday. Driving from the rental car depot to the hotel was more of an issue than flying as we saw both people driving too fast for conditions and people who must have been scared out of their wits they were driving so slow. We managed though, arrived just in time to grab a bite to eat before our room was ready.

Friday evening we headed to the parks and would see rain come and go through to later on Sunday. It did a wonderful job of keeping the crowds low. Many CMs commented of what a great time we picked to come as rain is really the only quiet time they see in the parks now. Friday night we rode Space with a 20 minute standby wait and then walked onto Star Tours and POTC.
Saturday was quiet as well, even early afternoon we went on TSMM with a 15 minute wait. A few rides were offline due to the weather even and yet most lines were short.

Sunday morning my DD and I did rope drop – we showed up at 7:15 and were right behind the gate, once through the gates we were first to the rope at end of Main St. and the CM told us how we’d likely have the parks to ourselves with weather like this. We got past the rope only to find Space down but walked onto Star Tours, Matterhorn and a few Fantasyland rides – we headed over to New Orleans where we walked onto HM – but found Indy down, before it went down though it has a 10 minute wait and that is almost as long as it takes to walk through the queue.

All in all, while the rain can be annoying, leaving our freezing cold home to travel to a very quiet park was a great way to start a vacation.

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Walking in your footsteps…

Our tour was Sunday at 9:30. My DD loved it. She even got misty at times when we would listen to Walt speaking through the headsets about certain parts of the park. It really is a tour for older kids I think though, she had a very high interest and the tour guide had her full attention until she took us to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, then my DD’s eye glazed over which is typical for her age. She was 1st in line to get into the apartment though, just by accident, and got to ring the doorbell – she was pretty awed by that. We were in the apartment a good half an hour which was impressive. Small? Holy, he certainly upgraded when he built the Dream Suite for he and his family that is for sure.

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All in all it was a fun tour and very relaxing – keeping pace with the time when he was still around the park – so no attention is given to anything recent. Club 33 was not part of the tour and the railroad was also down when we were there but we still had a good time and got a very nice book shaped pin at the end of the tour.

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Frequent ride closures.

Before our trip I had read a lot of complaints about the current refurb list and schedule. While not much was officially down when we were there, I found myself back tracking to several rides as they were offline when we wanted to go on them – Indy and Soarin were two examples of ones that were down frequently.

So I do think there is a definite need for these refurbs to happen – it seems pushing back the dates only results in the ride not being listed as down but very hard to catch even when the park was not crowded.

Character Interaction.

We met Mickey a few times as well as Tinker Bell, Rosetta, Pluto, Donald, Duffy, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Goofy, Chip, Dale, Buzz, Flint, Sully and Sofia the 1st in the parks.

We did 2 character meals where we also met Minnie, Chip and Dale, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Eeyore, Tiger and Aladdin. It was cute to see Peter Pan and Captain Hook interact! We also asked Peter Pan about how long it takes to fly to Neverland and he said he can get there much faster than Tinker bell but it was a secret. So my DD told on him when we met her and and it was very cute her reaction – someone was not getting any pixie dust that day!

Goofy’s Kitchen was awful though – we did dinner and honestly the food was okay but nothing special. That was not our issue though, it was the fact we saw 3 characters, very bad! So I thought I’d politely expressed our disappointment and they admitted they were having a hard time having enough characters that evening and returned 2 of our meals for us – which I thought was quite fair indeed, especially since it’s a lot of money for a buffet with a 10 and 11 year old.

Being at rope drop

Since we stayed off site we did not have EMH and since we have APs we did not have any MM – so we tried to do a few rope drops on opposite parks with EMH. The rope drop on Sunday was sensational, we were almost upset we had to go off to our tour as we were getting so much done the park was so empty.

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Monday we even found after our Minnie’s breakfast the lines were very short.
Thursday we did rope drop at DCA and Friday we did rope drop at DL and we found the crowds very low until after lunch – which is about when we want to take a break anyway.

RSR

Single rider line worked so well for us – the kids had no issues with us all going in separate cars. There was little to no wait, the longest we waited was 15 minutes. One time my DD and I raced each other and another time my DS and DH were put in the same car, beside each other even.
I pulled FPs Tuesday morning with only a 10 minutes wait in the FP line and did not get into line until half an hour after park opening. We saw a few instances where the standby line was only 40 minutes but still opted for single rider.

Photo pass Plus

The one thing about the rain was no photographers in the park. We had to wait until the sun came out before we got any pictures – which was fine as then the lines were a bit longer so we had time to pose for pictures. We went on Space and Screamin so many times that I am glad we got the PP+ and to get the photo package from the character meals is great too! I think it’s really a good deal if you order it in advance.

Mickey and the Magical Map

My kids loved this – and what a great attraction, not having to show up early – just walked in 5 minutes before it started and got great seats. It is really fun and I highly recommend it to anyone heading to DL.

Ask and ye shall receive…

Something I try to teach my kids is if they want something, then they have to ask for it. Whether it’s “where’s the washroom” to “can I please get on the front row of the ride". They took to this quite quickly when the realized the answer was often yes. CMs took such a relaxed approach as of course this is asked of them all the time, you just stand to the side and then they put you in the front row of either Star Tours, Screamin, Space, Soarin…now mind you after a few times of each I told them to stop asking and let other people enjoy the front.

Annual Passports

We really enjoyed having the APs. The discounts were great, especially with our hotel. We bought them last May for an 11 night visit and used them again for this trip. With the savings we received over both trips we likely paid for 2 of our passes!

HOJO

This was our 3rd stay in the HOJO’s Kids Suites and we remain big fans of the place. The extra room, bathroom, tv, closet really works for us. The walk is not a big deal especially with older kids and we found the service to be excellent. One of the pet peeves I did have with the hotel though was the pool chair covers – they were getting a bit grungy for my liking last trip so we ended up using towels to cover them up, well this year we see they have nice waterproof and much thicker pool chair covers so there goes that issue.

Other than the parks…

While we went through the turnstile at least once, each one of our 9 days there, we certainly did other stuff as well. We enjoyed pool time every week day as once the weather cleared up it was perfect for us, and since others seemed to still find it cooler, we often had the pool to ourselves.

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We took a drive to Santa Monica and went to the Pier – I thought the kids would like to see the end of Route 66 and the similar amusement park that reminded them a lot of Paradise Pier. We got the bracelets and did the rides there which of course are a lot smaller but still a lot of fun. The Scrambler took me way back!! We spent some time at the beach. We also did some shopping at one of the outlet malls.

My DH took my DD to see a concert of one of her favorite bands at The House of Blues while my DS and I took in the Lego Movie in DTD. There is so much to do outside of the park that we felt we had a very full vacation.

Coming back soon?

After our trip last May, all I could think about was getting back to Disneyland I loved it so very much and was very anxious to use the APs again that we had bought. This time though, we reached our “done it all” spot. I think now we will have to let a few years pass, and hopefully there will be some changes between now and then that will be new for us. But until then the new car smell has worn off and we are comfortable in our memories…

Disney127 03-11-2014 12:02 AM

Thanks for your trip report, I really enjoyed reading it. I would have loved being in the parks with so little people even if it was raining!

Tasscrapper 03-11-2014 12:15 AM

Thanks for sharing your trip report with us! What lovely memories.

Jairy 03-11-2014 12:34 AM

I enjoyed reading your TR. We are headed there this Sunday, so we will have a much different experience, I'm guessing (more sun, more crowds!)

sherilaine 03-11-2014 10:50 AM

Thanks everyone, I wanted to do up a report this year as I have never done one up like this before, just figure out the picture thing yesterday!

Girimama33 03-11-2014 11:31 AM

Great report...and what an ideal time to go (even with the rain). Too bad all of the attractions weren't available for the WIWF tour. Great photos of you and your DD in an empty park.

WillowHaven 03-11-2014 02:33 PM

Sounds like a great trip! Thanks for sharing. :goodvibes

awdsmama 03-11-2014 02:53 PM

Great trip report and I enjoyed seeing the photos too! It was really empty, wow!

How did you/dd like Santa Monica Pier and beach?

I'm debating between going there or to Huntington Beach on our off day. I've heard people say SM area is kind of dirty, water quality not the best etc. Your thoughts?

Butterfly123 03-11-2014 03:07 PM

What a fun trip report. I loved seeing the pictures! Thanks for sharing them. :)

sherilaine 03-11-2014 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by awdsmama (Post 50924881)
Great trip report and I enjoyed seeing the photos too! It was really empty, wow!

How did you/dd like Santa Monica Pier and beach?

I'm debating between going there or to Huntington Beach on our off day. I've heard people say SM area is kind of dirty, water quality not the best etc. Your thoughts?

We have gone to Newport, Laguna and Huntington on prior trips - so SM was a new venture for us.

We did not venture too far into the water as their was some pretty high surf considering the storms that had come in earlier on in the week but I did not leave there thinking it was dirty at all. Now we only went, parked near the beach (beside the Cirque de Soliel tent) and then went on the pier, on the rides and along the beach, we did not do any shopping in SM itself.

The kids though the roller coaster on the pier was fun - it is nothing compared to Screamin, but they still got a kick out of it.

wiigirl 03-11-2014 03:29 PM

Following along! :)

valiamo 03-23-2014 06:26 PM

Sherilaine;

On the PP+ were you able to get ride pictures included? Such as Splash Mountain, Califorina Screamin' or the Twlight zone Tower? I have heard rumours that they were/could be included, but noo-ne has said that they actually had them.

jenpace 03-23-2014 08:36 PM

Great trip report, thanks for sharing!

gerilyne 03-23-2014 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by valiamo
Sherilaine;

On the PP+ were you able to get ride pictures included? Such as Splash Mountain, Califorina Screamin' or the Twlight zone Tower? I have heard rumours that they were/could be included, but noo-ne has said that they actually had them.

We had PP+ last year when we went and it did include all the ride photos. After each ride you took your picture number up to the counter like you would if you were buying it, but instead you hand them your PP+ card and they load it on there. The cost of getting the PP+ was well worth it since all the ride photos were included.

sherilaine 03-23-2014 09:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by valiamo (Post 51023638)
Sherilaine; On the PP+ were you able to get ride pictures included? Such as Splash Mountain, Califorina Screamin' or the Twlight zone Tower? I have heard rumours that they were/could be included, but noo-ne has said that they actually had them.


It includes ride photos and character breakfast photos, which makes the pre-purchased option great!


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