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Old 07-12-2010, 02:56 PM   #1
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Three Fabulous Disney Days!

We (DH, me, boy 8, and girl 6) were in the parks last week, so here goes my attempt at a trip report...

Tuesday, 7/6
Arrived at HOJO around 3pm and waited 10 minutes for room to be ready. Stayed in family suite- room 118 first floor in building 1. Loved the rooms- kids so excited about the bunk beds and their own bathroom. King room was nicely decorated and had everything necessary- microwave, coffee maker, fridge was already cold. Took the kids to the pirate splash area- fantastic! It was great that they could run around and get wet and we could just sit and watch. Then headed over to the main pool- kids didn't like the saltwater but had fun anyway. Drove to Souplantation for dinner (at Chapman and Valley View, probably 20 min drive) and used BOGO coupon from their e-club. Stopped at Ralph's for a few groceries on our way back. Put the kids to bed around 9:00pm, we headed to bed shortly after, but at 9:30pm were startled by very loud noises. Determined it must have been the fireworks' sound bouncing off the barrier separating the hotel from the freeway. Loud!! Dh fell asleep fine, but I couldn't sleep due to the freeway noise. Turned the A/C up but the weather had been chilly so we froze. Long night of tossing and turning!

Wednesday 7/7

Pleased by quick 10 minute walk (maybe more like 8 min) to parks. At the park gates by 7:30am, but waited in bag check line until about 7:45am. Gates opened at 8:00am, no fanfare just quick countdown. Walked quickly to SpaceM-got FP then rode once- then Star Tours. Sent DH to get Indy FP while we rode Buzz twice and Astro Orbiter. Met back up and rode Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit, IASW, BTMR (and got FP for later), Pirates, used FP for Indy (6yo barely and I mean barely made it past height check, then they checked again once we were at the front of the line- whew!), Splash Mtn- waits no more than 10 min for any ride. Left DL and I ran into DCA to get Soarin FP.

Lunch at Mimi's (used coupon from e-club and got survey on receipt good for free 4-pack of muffins after we called) followed by a rest and swim.

Off to DCA around 4:30pm and used Soarin FP. Watched Pixar Play Parade from right outside bakery tour. Left DCA and headed to DL for 6:30 dinner at Cafe Orleans. DH and I shared pommes frites and Monte Cristo (both yummy) and kids enjoyed kids meals. No room for beignets.

Back to DL to use FP for SpaceM and BTMR. Watched fireworks from Main Street hub (view of 1/2 castle, 1/2 trees) then back to HOJO.

Thursday, 7/7

Tried to make it to 7am MM, but hard to get kids up and going after a late night. McDs for breakfast then to parks by 7:20am. Rode FL rides and met Iridesca in Pixie Hollow (15 min wait, Tink not there yet).

9:30am headed to DCA and rode Soarin. Got FP for CS then waited in 25 min line for TSMM (wish they had a FP!). Rode Silly Symphony Swings, Mulholland Madness, used 2 of 4 FP for CS (6 yr old not tall enough). Ate lunch at Pacific Wharf Cafe (loved the chicken salad, DH had corn chowder and said it was good- remembered to ask for it in separate bowl from bread bowl, kids split a turkey sandwich). Rode Monsters Inc then saw Aladdin- 8 yr old laughed and laughed and laughed and is still laughing!

Back to HOJO for naps (kids actually slept!) then to DCA by 5pm. Rode ToT (pretty much walked right on). Dinner at WCT for WOC package- seated promptly at 5:50 reservation time at an outside table along the railing. Hostess seemed to know what she was doing, but lots of other employees standing around looking confused. Server was friendly and prompt. Salads were yummy. Dh had beef tenderloin (cooked medium as requested, potatoes were yummy, green beans skimpy), I had chicken (yummy and plenty of pasta), 8yo had grilled chicken and plain pasta and ate it all, 6yo had plain spaghetti with meatballs and ate it all. Kids loved their chocolate dessert tarts. I asked if we could substitute tiramisu for our dessert, but no go. Server was nice about it and apologized. Chocolate tarts were good, panna cotta was better than expected given the reviews on here (DH doesn't usually eat such things but liked it), berries were OK. Overall we thought the food was pretty good. Maybe not 5-star quality but better than expected. When we finished our meal a table of Disney suits was seated behind us and our server attended to them before getting our check and apologized for the wait. We finished at 7:00pm and by then it was cool outside and they'd turned the overhead heaters on.

When our server gave us our WOC tickets, she said we were to return to the front of the restaurant at 8pm (our tickets said return between 8 and 8:30) and we would be led to the priority dining section. Given what was said on here, we disregarded that and headed right over the the barracades for WOC. At around 7:30pm they started letting people in and we headed straight to our area and staked out our spot. We were to the right of the central circular area, against a railing, almost right in front of a box where the preshow people stand. We talked with a nice family next to us and a Disney CM came over and talked with us all. I asked if we would be able to see, as I was a bit concerned about the concrete curved areas around the central area, and the CM said we would have an awesome view. Unfortunately that was not the case. When the show started some people hopped up onto the concrete area and blocked our view. They started out seated which wasn't too bad, but then they moved to their knees. It was mostly kids but also a couple of adults. At one point I went over and asked them to sit, which of course lasted maybe 2 minutes. They kept looking back, but what else was I supposed to do? There were no CM in sight. DH put DD on his shoulders because otherwise honestly she wouldn't have seen a thing. The man next to us offered to put DS on his shoulders, but DS didn't want to. While I understand that people are frustrated with the shoulder sitting, what else can people do? We had staked out what we were told was an excellent view and it just wasn't the case. While we enjoyed what we could see of the show, I left completely frustrated.

We headed back to DL and used our SpaceM FP, then walked right on to Jungle Cruise (awesome guide) and Pirates.

Friday, 7/9

We were tired this morning! We decided not to rush and we stopped at Mimi's for breakfast- yum! We got into DL by around 9am, grabbed SpaceM FP, met Silvermist in Pixie Hollow, and tried to take the monorail to Downtown Disney, but the monorail was not running. So we walked to DTD instead and did a little shopping (to use the 20% off coupon between 9 and noon that we'd gotten when we ate at CO). On the way to DTD, DH ran into DCA to get CS FP. We took the monorail around once then headed to DCA. We rode CS (twice, taking turns with DS), did the food tours, Golden Zephyr, Redwood Creek (kids loved this!), Sorcerer's Wkshp.

We headed back to the HOJO then drove to In N Out Burger on Harbor for lunch (yum!). We rested then spent some time at the Pirate Splash area. For dinner we went back to DTD and grabbed a meal at Jazz Kitchen Express (we didn't have reservations and everywhere else was packed). The kids were watching the man making beignets and he handed us a box of 2 beignets, free. How nice!! We headed to DL and used Space Mtn FP, waited around for them to reopen FL after the fireworks, and rode Snow White.

Saturday we drove back to San Diego and took 3 flights to get home (we'd used frequent flyer miles) and finally got home around 1am. Whew!

Impressions on DLR (I'd been there as a kid, DH and kids had never been):

Thought many of the DLR rides were better than WDW (Space Mtn, Pirates, IASW, Jungle Cruise).

Loved being able to go back and forth between parks and gathering FP from both to use in the evenings.

Thought crowds were more noticeable than at WDW, but then we typically go to WDW in off-season. The longest line we waited in was 25 min for TSMM, but had we not had FP many lines were 50 min or so by late afternoon/night.

We didn't even attempt seeing F! due to the lack of seating. Now I get why people do the dessert package. It was insane just trying to get around that area anytime after 7pm. I did think Disney did a good job of keeping people moving.

CM were certainly nice, but no one really went out of their way to engage the kids. Maybe it's because they're older than the last time we'd been to WDW? They were wearing "First Time Visitor" buttons but only a couple of CM even talked to them. They didn't care, but I guess I expected more.

Overall we had a fantastic time and I wouldn't change a thing, other than to maybe slow down on the first two days so we weren't so tired by day 3. Three days seemed sufficient to hit almost everything if you maximize your FP and get there when the parks open. I could certainly have enjoyed a 4th day, but by day 3 DH was done. He's just not the Disney enthusiast I am!

Our kids are daredevils and had no interest in meeting characters. They wanted to ride SpaceM and California Screamin more than anything. I managed to get them to take a photo with Pinocchio but that was it. And they didn't want his autograph. So sad. Next time I'm getting my own autograph book!
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:14 PM   #2
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What a great trip report, I love the details and Im really glad you posted about your experience with WOC and not going to F!.
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:21 PM   #3
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Glad you had a great time! And darn those kids for growing up! Don't they know they are always supposed to be kids-and always want to pose iwht characters and get their autographs! My DD10 is very resistent to posing now.
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Old 07-17-2010, 09:31 PM   #4
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Sounds like you were able to see and do alot in your time at DL/DCA. I am sorry that you did not have a good experience with WOC. I loved how close DL and DCA were, it was so different than WDW.
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:11 PM   #5
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The seating/standing for WoC really has me worried. We'll have 2 in strollers, & 2 young kids that will have problems seeing if people are in front of them. After paying for the dining package.....you would hope to actually get to see the show. I think the CM's should have kept people off the cement barriers...it's too bad they were around & monitoring that.

Sounds like you had a lot of fun!! We'll be staying at the HoJo for the first time next week.......the water play area has us all intrigued!!

I love the Fantasmic show & usually try to do the dessert seating but we have 10 of us this trip so that is way out of our budget this time!! We're gonna try to catch the later show, so we move in when the first one gets over....maybe then it won't be so bad (finger's crossed).

I'm surprised that a 6 & 8 yr old wouldn't be into the characters! My 9 yr old son LVES the characters!! It's one of the things he talks about after our trips. I love the characters too & have no problem getting my pic done with them!!

Thanx for sharing your report with us!!
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:21 PM   #6
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Great report, thanks for sharing.

Were the kids able to do Jedi Training? (perfect ages for it...but maybe they've done it at WDW)

& for all who ask "how many days at DLR?"....they should follow your advice:

...Three days seemed sufficient to hit almost everything if you maximize your FP and get there when the parks open. I could certainly have enjoyed a 4th day, but by day 3 DH was done...
Glad you had a great time.

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Not for the faint of heart, but LOTS of info for the WDW Vet visiting for one or two days:


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Old 07-21-2010, 03:38 PM   #7
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Great trip report! Lots of details. We were there last week too and I'm going to try and start my TR soon. We had a 5 day pass which was nice since we are not morning people. But by the last two days we were really dragging our tail feathers. The week started out very pleasant (weather-wise) but got really hot at the end of the week. One of the few things we didn't get to do was Redwook Creek. We wanted to but the times we passed by it was SO HOT and noone was up for climbing, etc. I'm glad your kids enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.
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