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Old 07-27-2008, 04:37 PM   #1
teacherlisa1978
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Sparkling With Joy-A December 2008 Trip Report


I've decided it's time to write my very first pre-trip report after enjoying reading so many of the excellent reports on here. They always get me excited and make me think of things I want to see and do on my upcoming trips. And so without futher delay....

The Cast:
Me, Teacher, Seattle Native, celebrating my 30th birthday on this trip. (My birthday is actually in September-Labor Day weekend but for some reason my principal frowns on my not being in town for the first week of school. Huh. I don't get it...) I'm also known as a Disney commando, and I faithfully read both the DL and WDW versions of the Unofficial Guide every year. When friends plan trips I make up detailed print outs of useful information for them that I've gleaned from experience, the books, and these boards. They make fun of me terribly...until they go and see that I was right.

DH, Accountant (and oh yes, you'd better believe this side of him comes out in our Disney trip planning!), 37.

We will also be joined on this trip by my parents:
Mom, a Disney loving and all around fun gal.
Dad, who has great things to say about Disney when we get home, but gets quickly worn out by the trips when we're there.

My parents, younger brother and I took trips to DL and WDW as kids and they are still some of our favorite family memories, so I'm looking forward to going with them again.

The Dates:
December 5th-9th, 2008. We're hoping to make it to the Candlelight Processional. I know it will be crowded but a holiday Disney trip isn't going to happen too often for us, so I want to make it special. We realize the cast member parties may or may not be happening on the 8th and 9th but if Disneyland closes early on those nights we're okay with it.

We got a great deal flying into Long Beach Friday night after work, so we'll try this airport for the first time. We'll take a cab to our hotel-The Embassy Suites Anaheim South. We decided to stay here because even though it's for my b-day, it's really a trip of compromise. Dear Dad loves the Embassy and so he's happy about going and staying there, Dear Husband always complains that I don't plan well enough for breakfast on our park days (because I just want to get there and GO GO GO!!!!) and with the free breakfast here his accountant side is happy too. We're hoping to start a family in the near future and figure that once we have kids we'll want to stay within walking distance to avoid shuttling in with a stroller. So this was our chance to stay here.

My main goal with this trip is to relax a bit, as I've mentioned on other threads. Last August my poor husband became physically ill and had to leave the parks early on our last day (leaving me to run all over MK and Epcot as much as I wanted to!) and I'm afraid if I don't show him a good time on this trip he may not be too keen on future trips. And that, my friends, is an outcome I can't live with.

Coming soon:
Planning our trip around our meals
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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
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Last edited by teacherlisa1978; 12-17-2008 at 09:09 PM. Reason: changed title
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:07 PM   #2
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Great TR so far! Can't wait to read more.

We're taking a DL trip in September for my 30th birthday too! I actually turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to go during a less crowded and HOT time.

Have fun!
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:12 PM   #3
teacherlisa1978
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You have a great time too!

1978 was a great year!
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:04 PM   #4
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Great TR so far. Although that's awfully rude of your principal to expect you to be there for the start of school.





I can't wait to see how you plan your trip around your meals. Isn't that how you're supposed to do it? I pick where I want to eat first and then work everything else in around that.
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Old 07-27-2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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We'll be down there the 4th through the 7th. Based on how Disneyland traditionally schedules the Processional for the first weekend in December, it should take place that weekend.
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaU4 View Post
Great TR so far. Although that's awfully rude of your principal to expect you to be there for the start of school.


:

No kidding! I love teaching but I find myself fantasizing about having a job someday where I can take off season trips to Disney...it's a sickness, I tell you!

Don't worry, the food plans are coming soon. Glad to know it's not just my family that plans, and then remembers our trips, this way!
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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:27 PM   #7
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And now, the important stuff: the Meals.

I guess after doing the Dining Plan at WDW last summer I've come to appreciate the food aspect of Disney a bit more. During my childhood trips I remember just being bored sitting in all the table service restaurants that my dad required us to eat at because I wanted to go have fun, not sit around. However, after eating our way around the world last August I have a new attitude! I love the theming of many of the restaurants and the chance to sit back, talk about what we've done, plan what's next, and relax together.

Plus, I'm tutoring all summer to earn money for this trip so that we don't have to justify eating corn dogs and Mickey bars (but what's wrong with that?!!!) all day everyday.

Here's the plan:
Arriving on a Friday night. We'll grab dinner at the airport before our flight leaves that night. I'm a believer in getting to the airport nice and early even though we live literally less than 10 minutes from SeaTac. I don't want any trouble in parking, security, etc... to stress me out. Anyway, for you Seattlelites out there, while my husband will be happy to eat at Wendy's, I tend to like the Anthony's Fish bar fish tacos. We may want a snack when we arrive at the Embassy that night but I'm hoping to just pack a few granola bars, etc...and call it good. I want to get a good night's sleep!

Saturday: We'll have MM this day, so we'll be up and at'em bright and early. We'll have breakfast at the Embassy before we leave for the parks, and then it's off to DL for the day.We plan to have an early counter service lunch-like right at 11-some of our favorites are Rancho del Zocalo and the aforementioned corn dogs and Mickey bar meal sampler. Dinner tonight will be at Cafe Orleans. My husband loves Monte Cristos and I'm dreaming of the pommes frites. We've never eaten here before, but the pictures have us sold!

Sunday: My parents will have arrived late the previous night so it will be interesting to see if we can get them up and at breakfast with us. Again, this is the trip of compromise but I'm crossing my fingers that we can make it. We'll do breakfast at the hotel once again. Today we plan to hit DCA in the morning and have another early lunch, this time at Pacific Wharf Cafe. I love their bread bowls and I think there's something for everyone here. (It's hard with this group!) Dinner this evening is still being determined. Considering getting hot dogs from coke corner and staking out spots for the Candlelight Processional but I need more information on all that first.

Monday: Again, breakfast at the hotel. We'll do Disneyland again today. For lunch we'll try Carnation Cafe. My mom and I are huge baked potato soup fans and I've heard amazing things about this one. I also adore pretzel bread and so the turkey sandwich on pretzel bread is something I'm really looking forward to. For dinner tonight, since Disneyland may close early for the cast parties, we might try Ralph Brennan's in Downtown Disney. That way we can shop in World of Disney afterwards without missing valuable park time.

Tuesday: We'll treat ourselves to breakfast at StoryTeller's this morning. My mom loves Chip and Dale and so I'm hoping they'll still be doing the character breakfast there. If not, we may skip this in favor of breakfast in the parks for a change. (Like the cinnamon roll as large as my head I got last time from the Blue Ribbon Bakery...oh my!) We'll have a late lunch before heading to the airport (our flight doesn't leave until 5:30 so we have most of the day-yay!). I like eating chicken strips or chili and seeing the "Billy Hill" show so we may try that. Or just eat dole whips, Mickey bars, tigger tails, and all the other treats we're looking forward to! I'm sure there will be lots of holiday treats available too, that I can't even dream of yet.

It's going to be hard to get used to paying 'real money' for all these meals again since in WDW with the dining plan it was all pre-paid and felt free. Thisi should be a very different experience!

So, that's our plan so far, for eating our way through Disney. Coming up next time: Walking off the calories -or-what to do to kill time in between meals.
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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
Walt Disney World: 1992, 1997, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teacherlisa1978 View Post
And now, the important stuff: the Meals.

I guess after doing the Dining Plan at WDW last summer I've come to appreciate the food aspect of Disney a bit more. During my childhood trips I remember just being bored sitting in all the table service restaurants that my dad required us to eat at because I wanted to go have fun, not sit around. However, after eating our way around the world last August I have a new attitude! I love the theming of many of the restaurants and the chance to sit back, talk about what we've done, plan what's next, and relax together.

Coming up next time: Walking off the calories -or-what to do to kill time in between meals.
I just posted my restaurants plans today on my PTR too!!

I totally agree with you on the meals playing a larger role now. I grew up going to DL and we never put much thought into the food before. Even when I had my own kids and we had APs, food was an after thought. In fact, I'd usually bring in snacks and just eat those.

But this past year that's started to change and I've paid more attention to where we eat, including trying our first character meal as a family. We loved it and I really enjoy planning places for us to try, and reading all the menus. We'll probably end up spending way too much on food, especially since we are a family of 6, but that's ok. I think it's worth it to take that breather and just enjoy being together without rushing for a change.

All your meal choices sounds great. Similiar to ours in fact.
BTW, I LOVE this part: "what to do to kill time in between meals". That had me cracking up!!!!
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:05 PM   #9
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I think I finally figured out how to post pictures. Sorry they're so small! But for all you 'visual learners' out there here you go!

Here's me and Dh at Tony's Town Square Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom last summer.


And this was me with Eeyore at The Crystal Palace:



And finally, here we're having dinner on the patio at the Rose and Crown Dining Room in England at Epcot. We got a great patio table and were able to see "Illuminations" right from our seats!


I don't have any pictures from trips to Disneyland on my computer-but I can't wait to change that next December!
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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:07 PM   #10
mommaU4

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"Visual learners"

Uhhh, yeah, that would be me. Great pics! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:22 PM   #11
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I forgot to include two of my favorite photos from the last Disney trip:
This is Lucy the Disney Basset Hound, our very own Mouseketeer.
Check out the souveneir she got! (It's a Mickey head collar-hard to tell at this size.)

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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:23 PM   #12
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And now, the long-awaited, "what to do between meals" plan.
Well, as much as I can plan it out this far-I am a huge fan of the Unofficial Guide and am waiting for the updated one for 2009 to come out later this month just to make sure I have the most updated touring plan in place.

But, as far as our plans go for right now...

Saturday we'll do early entry and ride the Fantasy Land rides-Peter Pan first, of course! When we finish there we'll probably head over to Tomorrowland for opening, and then get FP for Indy, Splash, Big Thunder, etc...as needed throughout the day. I also want to get a picture with Mickey in Toontown to use for our Christmas card, so we may want to actually head over there as soon as ToonTown opens.
So, we'll have our early lunch, and we may leave for a while in the afternoon, we'll have to see depending on our energy levels. The nice thing is that whatever we don't get done today, we can still do on 3 more days! The luxury of time is something we don't usually have on our DL trips! (My last few trips have been 2 1/2 days at most...)
That evening we'll have our Cafe Orleans dinner and since the Candlelight Processional will probably be this evening I'm thinking we'll take the opportunity to stay in the back of the park until it's over and ride things with shorter lines.

Sunday is when we're joined by Mom and Dad so our pace will get slowed a bit. This is why it's important to have a plan. They can't argue with a plan, but it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the things you could do if you don't have a plan. We'll be at DCA for opening this morning, ride Soarin first and then we're pretty free-none of us are Tower of Terror fans, and I'm thinking December is too cold for my favorite over there-Grizzly River Run. We'd like to see Aladdin if we can, ride Toy STory Mania definitely, and I want to go check everything out in "A Bug's Land" because I've never been in that part of the park. We'll do lunch at Pacific Wharf and then...

I'm thinking the boys will be ready for naps and rest at the hotel. My mom and I would like to take the Holiday tour we've heard about at Disneyland this afternoon, and watch the afternoon parade. We're hoping to either get the dinner package for the Candlelight processional or somehow be able to stake out a spot to watch it this evening, after the boys have come back to join us.

Monday we'll be back at Disneyland. I'd like to check out the doings at Big Thunder Ranch at some point today, and just really soak up, and take lots of pictures of the Christmas atmosphere and decorations throughout the parks. We'll also do the rides that Mom and Dad want to do since they won't have been with us on Saturday. In all my trips I've never seen Snow White's area next to the castle so I want to be sure to see that, along with the witch in the window above Snow White, and a few other of those little Disney touches that make it so special. Since the rumor is that DL will close early for cast parties tonight we'll probably do dinner at Downtown Disney, and then shop or hop over the DCA with the rest of the crowds. Or maybe just have an early night back at the hotel, which may sounds pretty good at this point.

Tuesday we'll have our brunch at StoryTeller's-I also want to make sure I check out the decorations in the lobby at the GCH so this will be a good way to ensure that happens. We'll probably head back over to DL for the morning/early afternoon unless we want to sneak in another ride on Soarin' when DCA opens.

And then, sadly, our flight home leaves at 5:30 from Long Beach so we'll need to leave the parks around 2 to take the shuttle back to the hotel, get our gear, and get to the airport. We're hoping to arrange a late check out so we can still have a room when we get back but we'll have to see about that. It's nice to freshen up/change clothes/etc...in your room rather than a public restroom. At least that's my opinion!

My next installment will feature another of my favorite parts of any Disney trip-the souveneirs and shopping!
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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:54 PM   #13
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Now that the park hours for our trip are out--

I'm confused!

Sigh...

Just when you think you're all set for your trip 3 months and 22 days from now (but who's counting?).

Actually, I shouldn't be that confused, since the park hours are pretty much what I expected. But I was secretly hoping the cast member parties would be the week prior. Oh well, we'll deal with it.

So now our plan is:

Saturday, December 6th: Disneyland, pictures with Santa, Mickey (does he have some kind of holiday outfit that would be cute for our Christmas card?), checking out the 'hidden treasures' I've learned about on the boards. We definitely want to see the snow falling tonight unless I've worn my poor husband out. Got to remember not to do that...anyway, this will probably be our most 'commando' day, and we'll use our early entry for sure.

Sunday, December 7th: Joined by my parents. Had planned to do DCA today and then the holiday tour, but I found out that the tour starts at 10 am (is that right? Does it go right up until the parade at 3, because I know you get priority seating for that? That's a LONG time!) so we'll do Disneyland with my parents this morning, getting as much as we can done before the tour, do the tour and parade and then hopefully get to see the Candlelight Processional tonight.

Monday, December 8th: We'll start at DL to catch up on what we missed the day before, hop to CA when it opens, do the 'biggies' here, lunch at Pacific Wharf, and then more DL or a short afternoon break...I'd like to either do an early dinner at Carnation Cafe before the park closes, or do dinner at Ralph Brennan's in DTD afterwards. Shopping, and/or DCA are the plan for the evening.

Tuesday, December 9th: We'll have our brunch at Storyteller's, finish up DCA, and then go on to Disneyland until we leave for the airport at 1 or 2.

Phew...I feel like I'm not getting in a lot of quality Disneyland time on this trip, I have much more time for DCA due to the special events we want to fit in. I'm not sure how I feel about that...I'm going to have to look at our meal plans in detail again, too. At least the park is open until midnight on Saturday so hopefully I can fit everything in commando style then, and just "go with the flow" with everybody else's wishes the rest of the trip...I also have to remember that I have to be at work at 7 am on Wednesday so I better not wear myself out too much!

Up next, as promised: The Shopping!
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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
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Old 08-14-2008, 04:06 PM   #14
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Mickey is usually in a holiday sweater of some kind that's a Christmas green in Disneyland. In DCA he wears more of a California Christmas type shirt, a picture of which is in my Christmas 2007 TR in my sig.

Last year they did the snowfall multiple times during the evening. The best one is when they do it right after the fireworks because the fireworks are very emotional. When Disneyland makes it snow in SoCal right afterwards with the strains of White Christmas playing over the speakers, well you get the picture.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:41 PM   #15
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Thanks, Sleepless Knight for the info. I checked out your TR and Mickey with a Santa hat at DCA may be a really good option for us. When were you there last year? I may have missed that...you mentioned that it was very crowded and that concerns me. I know it will be crowded on Saturday and Sunday when I'm there but I'm hoping it will have thinned out a bit on Monday. Oh well-I'm there for the Christmas ambiance and your TR got me excited all over again about that-the music, the snowfall, the decorations--just can't wait.
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Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos-a DLR Trip Report
Disneyland: 1989, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013
Disneyland Paris: 1994-free trip won through the Disney Store!
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