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Old 04-05-2014, 07:40 PM   #1
mom2rtk
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We Defected to the West! DLR 2013

Is everyone over the cold winter enough to venture back in?

Welcome along on our DLR in December trip! I know I'm late getting under way, but that's just how things go here sometimes. First, I had to finish up my December 2012 WDW trip report. If you haven't read any of my past trip reports, they are all linked in my signature.

I'm Janet. And this is my Disney partner in crime, my 13 year old daughter Katie.



We're not new to DLR. This was in fact our 5th trip to the parks. But most of our Disney trips have been to WDW. Our last DLR trip was summer 2010. And I'm sure you all know things have changed a lot since then. All of our prior visits had been fairly brief, 2 or 3 days tops. I really wanted to do the parks once where we didn't feel as rushed. So with fastpass plus rolling out at WDW in 2013, it seemed like the ideal time to make our move.

So who's up for a trip back into the cold. And I do mean cold..........

Last edited by mom2rtk; 04-05-2014 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:42 PM   #2
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LINKS:

12/4/13

Departure
Goofy's Kitchen
Goofy's Kitchen Flashback

12/5/13

DL Early Entry: Astro Orbiter, Nemo Subs
Matterhorn Flashback
Alice, Teacups, POTC
More POTC, NOS, Frozen!

Jingle Jangle Jamboree
Belielve in Magic

12/6/13

CARSLAND!
Lunch with Ariel
You Want Me to What?
Holiday Tour
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Small World Holiday
A Great Seat for the Parade!
More Parade Photos
RSR at Night and WOC
More WOC

12/7/13

PPH Santa, off to Goofy's Kitchen
DTD, Pearl Factory
GC and DLH Santas

12/8/13


A Cold but Very Awesome Morning on Paradise Pier
The CS Ride Photo Collection
More Fun around Paradise Pier and Grumpy Santa
Meeting a DIS VIP and Breakfast at Flo's
More Casrland, ToT, Bugsland
Viva Navidad and Back to DL for the Parade
More Daytime Parade Photos
FL Dark Rides, Castle Walkthrough..... and finally..... Mickey as Santa!
Fantasmic Dessert Seating
More Fantasmic

12/9/13

I'm finally loving ToT! and Breakfast at Storytellers

The Verdict on DL's Fairy Godmother
Practically Perfect
Mickey and the Magical Map
Which Mickey Will We Get?
New Orleans Square and Back To Small World

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Old 04-05-2014, 08:13 PM   #4
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The Plan:

Katie is in 7th grade now. I've taken her out of school every year for a week long Disney trip since kindergarten. It really hasn't been a problem. She always has a lot of work that first week back, but the teachers have been great. Now that she's in middle school and I know our days of doing this are numbered.

As it turns out, switching to DLR this year was a good move for many reasons. Not the least of which was that DLR requires less advance planning. So it drove me crazy that I didn't have any planning to do, but I was thankful that I didn't more planning to do.

Katie had a part in the school play in 6th grade and loved it. It was a great experience for her, a great way to meet lots of new friends just as she was entering a big new school. So I knew she'd want to do the play again in 7th grade. Of course, we had no way of knowing when the play would be until after school started in August, and we couldn't go until after the play was over. Last year it was in mid-November. On top of that, our middle son was leaving for college (the first to leave home) and I wasn't comfortable making commitments on dates until I knew more about his schedule. He wasn't coming (sadly, he's not a huge Disney fan) but I wasn't going to take a chance on being gone any time he might be home.

Eventually I committed to early December. My husband loves Disney too, but doesn't come every year. He passed this time since he used so much of his vacation time getting our son off to school and wanted to keep some days for when he would be home on breaks.

I really struggled with where to stay. We always stay onsite in a value hotel at WDW. There are no value hotels at DLR. I toyed with staying at one of the Good Neighbor hotels to save money. For us, it really is a place just to sleep. We are the sort to hit the parks early and stay til we drop. At one point I even booked an offsite location. But the more I thought about it, the more unsure I was.

I am a light sleeper. I sleep very poorly in the early morning hours. We were coming from the central time zone, so odds were I'd be up by 4 or 5 local time every morning. In the end I knew it would just kill me to know the parks were open and I was just pacing the room. Katie is pretty easy going and has seemingly endless energy at Disney. So I knew it wouldn't be hard for her to be up and at the parks. So when Cheaptickets ran a 20% off promotion, I jumped in and booked the Paradise Pier. In the end, it was that daily early entry that sealed the deal for me.

We have stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian on prior trips, so it only seemed fitting that we should try out the third of the onsite hotels.

It still frustrates me to no end that we can only get a 5 day ticket at DLR. I'm quite spoiled at WDW being able to get a 10 day ticket, and spend a few shorter days in the parks. We love visiting the parks on arrival and departure days, then taking at least one short day mid-week. With only 5 days at our disposal we were going to have to change our strategy. I know everyone says you can "do" the parks in 3 or 4 days. But I knew I wanted to do it ALL! So I knew 5 days barely do it for us. Just once, I didn't want to leave at the end of a DLR trip mourning everything I had missed.

So I bought tickets (10% off through Orbitz/Ebates! ) and booked flights. We were headed west!

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Old 04-06-2014, 01:18 AM   #5
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We are heading to DL at the end of May. Really want to see Carsland...and kinda waiting and watching how the new FP+ evolves. I've seen alot of your comments on the subject and totally agree. In the meantime, we'll enjoy FP Legacy this year!!
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:02 AM   #6
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I totally agree about the 5 day ticket. I could go more days easily.
Also I kept reading how DL has longer park hours, but it surely didn't when I was there. They parks closed early every night except the weekends and there is so much to see and do that I just couldn't do it all. Of course, having so many things down for refurb cut into what I could see as well.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaBaby View Post
We are heading to DL at the end of May. Really want to see Carsland...and kinda waiting and watching how the new FP+ evolves. I've seen alot of your comments on the subject and totally agree. In the meantime, we'll enjoy FP Legacy this year!!
Yeah! Welcome to the west! And might I add.... what a gorgeous state you live in. We are in Missouri and our first 4 trips to DL were driving trips. That first day of driving across Kansas is always brutal. But then we got to Colorado...... and

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenseib View Post
I totally agree about the 5 day ticket. I could go more days easily.
Also I kept reading how DL has longer park hours, but it surely didn't when I was there. They parks closed early every night except the weekends and there is so much to see and do that I just couldn't do it all. Of course, having so many things down for refurb cut into what I could see as well.
The longer park hours probably wouldn't have helped us. After being up and at early entry rope drop every day I usually run out of steam anyway. You are far better at burning the candle at both ends than I am!

And I could totally go for a 7 day ticket to DL. I would have loved to start with fireworks that first night, then gone into the parks for an hour or two on our down day. With the time change, we probably would not have done a park on departure day though. Which is a shame. I really love doing that at WDW.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:31 AM   #8
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I am all caught up, finally! I started back up at the F! Dessert Seating post. DH and I have always wanted to do that, but agree that the time it takes to get the best spot is not the best use of our time either. I have always loved Fantasmic though and do want to go for it sometime. You are brave to be riding TOT so many times! After I drag my husband on I can barely stand more than one time myself! I didn't know Flo's had views of RSR. I will definitely have to eat there sometime. Great report, I look forward to reading the rest!
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:41 AM   #9
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Whoa. The Shafer Canyon trail looks so amazing as well as the Mesa Arch. That must be fun and crazy to drive on the Shafer Trail.

Dead Horse Point looks amazing and it was worth the turn back to see it.
Thanks Bret! I do push myself outside my comfort zone when I get to these national parks, but it's not likely I'll be driving down that trail anytime soon!

And Dead Horse Point was definitely worth the U-turn. It's not Horseshoe Bend, but not much is. This was still VERY cool and worth the detour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWifey185 View Post
I am all caught up, finally! I started back up at the F! Dessert Seating post. DH and I have always wanted to do that, but agree that the time it takes to get the best spot is not the best use of our time either. I have always loved Fantasmic though and do want to go for it sometime. You are brave to be riding TOT so many times! After I drag my husband on I can barely stand more than one time myself! I didn't know Flo's had views of RSR. I will definitely have to eat there sometime. Great report, I look forward to reading the rest!
I think we're going to go ahead and book Fantasmic again this year. But only because we have very few opportunities to see it and we're going to end up there on a Candlelight Processional night again, so very crowded.

I'm definitely looking forward to hanging out at Flo's watching the cars race by again!

One more Disney day to go. I'm hoping to get through those photos soon.
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:08 PM   #10
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I'm ready to read along! Can't wait to see which characters you hunted down.

I'll be in DL in about 2 months so I'm going to use your trip report to get excited for my trip
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Old 04-13-2014, 01:48 PM   #11
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Joining in! I love your TRs!
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Old 04-13-2014, 03:11 PM   #12
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Great update! I love when you share the flashback pictures. Katie has grown so much!

I love your Goofy's kitchen interactions, and all those Christmas trees around! Disney at Christmastime is a dream for me.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:58 AM   #13
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Hey there! I'm venturing back over to the Dis & found this! I'm glad I'm not too far behind since it took you so long to get started- this works well for me!

Yay staying onsite!

You just had to bring up that WDW Cold Snap of 2010! Everytime I think I've forgotten about it… I remember!

Katie is growing up! Man… she needs to slow down. She is just a reminder that my girls won't stay small long either.

Oh and my girls think that Starbucks has the best juice. My husband and I had our first date at Starbucks, so it's kind of a big deal for us!

The room at PP looks really cute!

I love the Tree in the lobby! I have nothing to compare it, but I love the theming of it!

I'm loving the flashback pics! I can see my TR's looking like that in the future!

The castle looks so pretty all decorated for the holidays!

It's so weird to me to see all that Orleans stuff in the park at DL. Funny how things seem out of place when you are different places!

I love the meet and greet area for Elsa & Anna in DL!!! You have a BEAUTIFUL Elsa! I am so glad that we got to meet E & A in Epcot. The Princess Hall is just not "enough" of the movie for me. I really think they should have bumped Merida if they were going to move the girls to MK. I'm really quite shocked that they didn't. But they have FP already set up and easily done at the PH, and I'm not sure that would have worked for the Merida spot… Anyway, since I didn't do a TR for our March trip and I know you aren't on FB here is one of our E &A pics.



Oh and you see the capes I made for the girls (Since finding an Elsa dress was NEXT to impossible)? When Anna and Elsa saw them, they asked the girls where they got their "Ice Capes" and the girls said from me. Anna said "Your mother has Ice Powers too?" and my girls LIT UP! It was adorable! I just got a little taste of what you must feel like with your homemade dresses!
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:55 PM   #14
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Posting from Grand Californian with finicky internet so will be brief.

Bottom line, my son wasn't directly affected by shootings. As a Navy vet attending college he's older than most students.

Yes, sons are spreading their wings and I'm happy for them. Older son graduated from NY school with film degree and after seven years in NYC is trying Los Angeles. So far he's always managed to get work in his field.

I thought of you and your daughter on Sunday! After arriving mid-afternoon I headed to Disneyland for lunch at Carnation Cafe. I left without sunscreen and was too lazy to go back to the room for it. I went through bag check, got in a VERY long line for admission and then remembered ticket and room card are two separate cards, unlike Disney World . My "ticket" was sent to me a couple weeks ago and was safe in my suitcase. Happy ending, when I went back for my ticket I got sunscreen and then didn't want to trek all the way back to DL for lunch so went to Earl of Sandwich. . How's that for a happy ending?

I still feel so discombobulated here -- especially at Disneyland where things are similar but different. My maps are worn out here, whereas I never use them at WDW.

Saw Aladdin today - wow! Tonight is World of Color.

Thanks, again for all the info you've shared. Very helpful.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:02 PM   #15
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Hey everyone!

Sorry to let things go around here. Those of you who have been on my other trip reports might recall that happens in early June most years. We just got back from summer vacation. No Disney, but lots of great photographic opportunities on our road trip to Utah. If I could, I would pick up and move there tomorrow. It's an amazing area full of natural wonders and lots of great things to do. I'll post some photos when I can. And I'll be back to the regularly scheduled programming very soon!
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