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Old 10-26-2010, 02:55 PM   #1
JustAKid
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Talking Oh...we are going: a hopeful *PTR*

When I was 5 years old my mom got a large enough tax refund that she, with the help of my Grandmother, could afford to take my brother, my two cousins, and I to Disneyland for a couple of days. This was the first vacation I had ever taken, and I remember asking my mom to tell me the story of our plans OVER AND OVER during the days leading up to our trip. It would be the first of many things for me, the first time on an airplane, our first family vacation, my first time to Disneyland, and my first really magical childhood memory. The first characters I encountered were Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, who also happened to be my personal favorite. I had watched them every morning on the television (this was Disney channel WAY back when the characters from the show were people in costumes) and now they were “alive”!! I believe we stayed in what is now Jolly Rogers, or some such place. I remember, so vividly, watching the fireworks from our swimming pool at night thinking how lucky I was to be there. My mom said I could get 2 things, so I chose a plush Mickey visor that I had FOREVER before losing it at a friend’s house, and a Minnie mouse plush toy. The whole thing was such a magical experience for me and I have been trying to capture that magic in my daily life since then, finally I deduced that WHERE I was had its place as well.

That was 22 years ago, and back before Finding Nemo was even a blip on the submarine’s radar, back when they had a show at the Tiki Room with dancers, and LONG before California Adventure. For the past 7 years I have been trying to go back to Disneyland, but something always comes up. First I was surprised by my first pregnancy, then we wanted to wait until our first born was old enough to remember, then I moved across country, then I got pregnant with our second bambino and we had to wait for HER to be able to remember it, then I got pregnant with our third little nugget…you get the point.

Here’s the thing, guys, I AM NOT WAITING ANYMORE! I have literally planned a Disneyland trip AT LEAST once a year for the past 7 years. Actually, that’s a lie, once, between pregnancies, when we were closer to WDW I planned for us to go there, but that too did not happen. Now we have planned our trip for December 12-17th, and despite our financial issues (they arose in the last 2 weeks – ugh!) I am determined to make this trip work. I mean, we already have our hotel paid in full, and just found out we might be able to get free tickets for one of our 4 days in the park. I don't care what I have to do, but OH...WE ARE GOING!

So, I guess now’s as good a place as any to introduce our motley crew. First and foremost, Hi! I’m JustAKid. I’m 27 years old, and you will RARELY see a photo of me…so I’m not going to post one now, either. When I get to the actual trip report it’ll be somewhat like a “Where’s Waldo” game. Thanks for coming with me on our journey. I look forward to getting to know some of you, and entertaining all you lurkers!

Next we’ve got DH. He’s going through this phase where he likes to be called Joshua. He’s about to turn the big 3-0, so I think that plays into it. He’s pretty much along for the ride, but not really a Disney fan. This will be his first time to DL, though, so I’m excited to see his reaction after we leave.

The other adult going is DH’s brother. He’s one of our dearest friends, the most amazing uncle my children could ask for, and pretty much with us on every adventure we take. He’s currently (and for the last forever) going to school to become a specific kind of doctor, the name of which is really too complicated for me to remember, I just know it deals with radiation physics.

Now onto the meat of our group: my 3 beautiful children. We’ll go in birth order, just to keep things simple. DD(6) now, but will be 6 (her birthday is a few days before we leave). She’s pretty much the exact replica of me. If you’re in Disneyland at the same time as us and want to tell the EXTREMELY loud child behind you to shut it, I apologize in advance. She pretty much screams everything she says, but not on purpose, she’s just a very loud kid…just like mom. Lilly is our little scaredy-cat, unwilling to try most things she is unfamiliar with…just like mom. She’s extremely outgoing, and will tell her life story to anyone that will listen (I'm sure you know the drill by now, but cause I like to keep things clear...just like mom ) Currently her favorite Disney characters are Jesse from Toy Story, and Silvermist from the Tinkerbell movies.

Next we’ve got DD(3). Highly sensitive, very emotional, and pretty weird. One of her favorite past times is stripping off her clothes so that it’s just her and her underwear. She’s definitely the comedic relief of our family. She’s got this confidence about her that is startling. She’s only 3 but completely comfortable with who she is, never thinking twice about her oddities. She is in love with her rubber rain boots and wears them with EVERY outfit, and when she’s being dressy she’ll add her younger sister’s old headband complete with gigantic bow (you know the ones I’m talking about? Made of lace for babies with no hair so that everyone knows they’re a girl?). Her favorite Disney character right now is Tinkerbell, but she’s got a soft spot for Cinderella as well.

Finally, my little cupcake-sunshine-tiny nugget of love DD(1). SO affection, SO sweet, SO loving, and SO MUCH SCREAMING. It’s her new thing. Scream for everything under the sun. After we do a cool thing, say “TA-DA” and then scream. When your sister takes a toy from you say “MOMMY!” and then scream. It’s really quite annoying, and we’re trying to break her of the habit by trial and error. So far whispering hasn’t worked, nor has sternly saying “NO!” after a screaming episode. We’re trying time outs now which so far have just meant screaming while in time out. DD(1)'s favorite character is the Mouse himself. It’s pretty freaking adorable when she says “MICKEY MOUSE!” and claps her hands. YAY! I can’t wait to see if she’s as responsive to him when he’s gigantic on not on a screen of some sort.

So, there you have us!

Up next: The hotel dilemma.
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Last edited by JustAKid; 11-11-2010 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:36 PM   #2
samsmainla
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What a beautiful family!
I sure hope this is the trip that makes it!!!!
Christmas is a fabulous time to be in Disneyland, our family went on our first trip together in December 2005, and we have been crazy addicts since then, going back 5 more times.

Looking forward to reading this!
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:52 PM   #3
reyasmommy
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I'm in!

You're family is beautiful, and I bet all your children are super excited for their upcoming trip.

I understand waiting until your children are old enough to appreciate Disney before taking them, but on the other hand I disagree.

My DD was 9 months old, 18 months old, and 3 1/2 when she took her on Disney trips. And my DS was 3 months old, and will be 18 months old for his next trip.

It has been magical and amazing each and everytime we've gone. I know they won't remember their 1st trip, but I WILL. I have so many fabulous memories of Disney with my children that I will never forget.

I can't wait to hear about how your children feel the first time they set foot through the gates of Disney and when they see Sleeping Beautys castle.

I look forward to hearing more.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:59 PM   #4
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I'm totally in! I loved your story in the beginning. Sounds so much like my first ever trip.
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:39 PM   #5
JustAKid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsmainla View Post
What a beautiful family!
I sure hope this is the trip that makes it!!!!
Christmas is a fabulous time to be in Disneyland, our family went on our first trip together in December 2005, and we have been crazy addicts since then, going back 5 more times.

Looking forward to reading this!
Thank you for complimenting my family, I am totally biased so it's nice to hear someone else agree with me.

I'm hoping that like your family, mine willl catch the Disney bug after this trip. Thanks for coming along on our journey with us, it's nice to have you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reyasmommy View Post
I'm in!

You're family is beautiful, and I bet all your children are super excited for their upcoming trip.

I understand waiting until your children are old enough to appreciate Disney before taking them, but on the other hand I disagree.

My DD was 9 months old, 18 months old, and 3 1/2 when she took her on Disney trips. And my DS was 3 months old, and will be 18 months old for his next trip.

It has been magical and amazing each and everytime we've gone. I know they won't remember their 1st trip, but I WILL. I have so many fabulous memories of Disney with my children that I will never forget.

I can't wait to hear about how your children feel the first time they set foot through the gates of Disney and when they see Sleeping Beautys castle.

I look forward to hearing more.
So I have a confession to make -- totally have been lurking on your PTR. I know, I know, I should come out and say hey, especially when you're so concerned with it but I'm pretty shy and didn't want to say something stupid.

Anyway, thanks for the compliments on my family. Yours too is a beautiful one. I also appreciate your understanding of the "my-kids-may-not-remember-it-but-I-will" view on DL. Can't wait to hear more about your trip as well.

BTW, the picture of Reya making a wish is pretty much priceless!

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Originally Posted by merrrydeath View Post
I'm totally in! I loved your story in the beginning. Sounds so much like my first ever trip.
Well thank you for coming on this journey with me! I appreciate it. You want to share how your first trip went? Sounds like it will be an excellent story, and I'd love to hear more about first trip experiences and what I can expect to see/hear/feel during ours!
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAKid View Post
Well thank you for coming on this journey with me! I appreciate it. You want to share how your first trip went? Sounds like it will be an excellent story, and I'd love to hear more about first trip experiences and what I can expect to see/hear/feel during ours!
There is a link to my ongoing trip report in my signature and I did a small post about my "Disney Past" here's the direct link to that

My first trip!
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:00 PM   #7
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Thanks again, everyone, for the responses and for taking the time to read my novel of a first post! Only 45 more days to go, I am so excited!

So a couple of months ago we looked through the hotels and chose one based on the following criteria:
  • First and foremost there couldn’t be any bed bug sightings recently. I checked Trip Advisor, hotels.com, expedia, and the boards. Lilly, my oldest, has EXTREMELY sensitive skin. She gets these sores that are so bad she has to bathe in some red goop, and put antibacterial lotion on and stuff. She’s never encountered bed bugs (we know what to do with everyday bug bites like spiders and mosquitos but we’ve never had to deal with bed bug bites) so we wanted to ensure that we wouldn’t have to make an urgent care trip while at DL.
  • We wanted to have a kitchenette type area
  • We wanted a free breakfast – didn’t have to be hot although that is a plus
  • The adults had to be able to walk to and from the parks without the use of a car
  • It had to have 3 beds – sofa as the third bed is ok

So, based on these things we chose and paid for Residence Inn Maingate. An added benefit of staying here is that they would go grocery shopping for us which meant more time for us to rest up before hitting the parks. Here are some pictures from their website, and a couple from Trip Advisor of what the rooms look like etc…


The Livingroom area -- the kids will bunk on the pull out sofa.


The "bedroom" where the adults will sleep


The kitchen area


The hot breakfast that is a huge plus for this hotel. We love our sausage and eggs in the morning!


The nicely landscaped grounds. Looks very homey.

At the time RI really did suit our needs but now some of those needs have changed a bit. For example, we figured although RI is ½ mile from the gates we could ride ART when we had the kids and the adults could walk back and forth. Now that we know the park hours however, we’re second guessing ourselves (DL is only open until 6pm on two of our four days that we’ll be there). Mid-day breaks are pretty much a must for us as we’ll have 3 kids under the age of 6 with us. By the time we’ve waited for the shuttle and got back to the room, rested, and waited for the shuttle to get back to the parks we will have missed half of our day!

Also, as mentioned, we wanted a kitchen. Our original plan was to do 2 meals in the room and 1 in the parks but again, that means going back to the room. We’ve pretty much resigned to the fact that we’ll be eating 2 meals in the parks which leaves our kitchen pretty much unused.
Our room IS paid in full but we’re thinking that the penalty to switch might be worth it to stay at one of the hotels closer to the gates. This way we can just pop in and out when needed.

So, my question to anyone willing to add their two cents is – HELP!!! What do we do?
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAKid View Post
Thanks again, everyone, for the responses and for taking the time to read my novel of a first post! Only 45 more days to go, I am so excited!

So a couple of months ago we looked through the hotels and chose one based on the following criteria:
  • First and foremost there couldn’t be any bed bug sightings recently. I checked Trip Advisor, hotels.com, expedia, and the boards. Lilly, my oldest, has EXTREMELY sensitive skin. She gets these sores that are so bad she has to bathe in some red goop, and put antibacterial lotion on and stuff. She’s never encountered bed bugs (we know what to do with everyday bug bites like spiders and mosquitos but we’ve never had to deal with bed bug bites) so we wanted to ensure that we wouldn’t have to make an urgent care trip while at DL.
  • We wanted to have a kitchenette type area
  • We wanted a free breakfast – didn’t have to be hot although that is a plus
  • The adults had to be able to walk to and from the parks without the use of a car
  • It had to have 3 beds – sofa as the third bed is ok

So, based on these things we chose and paid for Residence Inn Maingate. An added benefit of staying here is that they would go grocery shopping for us which meant more time for us to rest up before hitting the parks. Here are some pictures from their website, and a couple from Trip Advisor of what the rooms look like etc…


The Livingroom area -- the kids will bunk on the pull out sofa.


The "bedroom" where the adults will sleep


The kitchen area


The hot breakfast that is a huge plus for this hotel. We love our sausage and eggs in the morning!


The nicely landscaped grounds. Looks very homey.

At the time RI really did suit our needs but now some of those needs have changed a bit. For example, we figured although RI is ½ mile from the gates we could ride ART when we had the kids and the adults could walk back and forth. Now that we know the park hours however, we’re second guessing ourselves (DL is only open until 6pm on two of our four days that we’ll be there). Mid-day breaks are pretty much a must for us as we’ll have 3 kids under the age of 6 with us. By the time we’ve waited for the shuttle and got back to the room, rested, and waited for the shuttle to get back to the parks we will have missed half of our day!

Also, as mentioned, we wanted a kitchen. Our original plan was to do 2 meals in the room and 1 in the parks but again, that means going back to the room. We’ve pretty much resigned to the fact that we’ll be eating 2 meals in the parks which leaves our kitchen pretty much unused.
Our room IS paid in full but we’re thinking that the penalty to switch might be worth it to stay at one of the hotels closer to the gates. This way we can just pop in and out when needed.

So, my question to anyone willing to add their two cents is – HELP!!! What do we do?
Before I "add my two cents"... How much are you willing to spend and how willing are you to skip the kitchen if you get a free breakfast in the morning? Because if you're already planning on eating two meals at the park the only one you have to worry about it breakfast. Right? IMHO I would rather have a hotel that offers a free breakfast and is real close in walking distance to the park.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #9
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Arrow Off-topic

Wow, what an exhausting, busy last couple of days I've had! My oldest daughter's father came into town, I had to work, my house was halloween central and then, of course, the actual trick-or-treating. All together we probably got close to 30 lbs of candy! It was an excellent year, candy wise. Do you celebrate Halloween? What did you and/or your children dress up as? I would love to see pictures - post them!
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by reyasmommy View Post
Before I "add my two cents"... How much are you willing to spend and how willing are you to skip the kitchen if you get a free breakfast in the morning? Because if you're already planning on eating two meals at the park the only one you have to worry about it breakfast. Right? IMHO I would rather have a hotel that offers a free breakfast and is real close in walking distance to the park.
Oh yeah, the kitchen is no longer a priority now that we have discussed and become more realistic about our plans. We have looked into a couple of different hotels so far and the bigger rooms seem to be booked. We aren't willing to pay for 2 rooms without the guarantee of them connecting. I'd say we are in the $100-150 a night range WITH TAXES AND FEES!
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:31 PM   #11
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I SO hope that you make it--you definitely deserve to get your Disney fix after so many years of waiting!!

I don't know what to say about your hotel debacle--I would almost be tempted to keep the Residence Inn just because of the demographics of your group...Having a suite can buy you/DH, DBIL, and kids much-needed separate spaces (For instance, I like to be able to have a TV on after my kids are asleep, which is hard if you are in one room). Even if you don't truly use the kitchen since you have a free breakfast and eat lunch at the park, you may still 'use' the kitchen/dining table for a take-out dinner or two on the nights the parks close at 6pm, and the fridge for cold drinks/ice (that you bring rather than pay $2 for one can of soda!!), and microwave for popcorn, reheating leftovers, etc. Even if the kitchen gets very light use, it might still be worth keeping the suite set-up, especially if no other hotel will guarantee you adjoining rooms.

Also, my guess is that true suites--not just large rooms with partitions, but separate rooms--will cost just as much if not more for closer proximity/easier walk to the park. I've noticed that most walking distance hotels are charging parking fees that just about match daily parking at DL--so IF the RI has free parking (I think it does?) then instead of walking or dealing with the shuttle, whoever is with the kids could drive and park at DL for no more money than if you paid to park at your hotel and had to walk to the park (and save you the time/trouble of dealing with the shuttle schedule, save your kiddos' legs from extra walking, and get you back and forth more quickly for the needed mid-day siesta with the little ones).

Lastly, if whatever penalty you have to absorb by cancelling then takes away from budget for the next reservation, I'd want to avoid that if possible (since I always seem to want to 'upgrade' accomodations rather than downgrade them LOL!)

Just my two cents, hope it helps--
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ardenandjacksmom View Post
I SO hope that you make it--you definitely deserve to get your Disney fix after so many years of waiting!!

I don't know what to say about your hotel debacle--I would almost be tempted to keep the Residence Inn just because of the demographics of your group...Having a suite can buy you/DH, DBIL, and kids much-needed separate spaces (For instance, I like to be able to have a TV on after my kids are asleep, which is hard if you are in one room). Even if you don't truly use the kitchen since you have a free breakfast and eat lunch at the park, you may still 'use' the kitchen/dining table for a take-out dinner or two on the nights the parks close at 6pm, and the fridge for cold drinks/ice (that you bring rather than pay $2 for one can of soda!!), and microwave for popcorn, reheating leftovers, etc. Even if the kitchen gets very light use, it might still be worth keeping the suite set-up, especially if no other hotel will guarantee you adjoining rooms.

Also, my guess is that true suites--not just large rooms with partitions, but separate rooms--will cost just as much if not more for closer proximity/easier walk to the park. I've noticed that most walking distance hotels are charging parking fees that just about match daily parking at DL--so IF the RI has free parking (I think it does?) then instead of walking or dealing with the shuttle, whoever is with the kids could drive and park at DL for no more money than if you paid to park at your hotel and had to walk to the park (and save you the time/trouble of dealing with the shuttle schedule, save your kiddos' legs from extra walking, and get you back and forth more quickly for the needed mid-day siesta with the little ones).

Lastly, if whatever penalty you have to absorb by cancelling then takes away from budget for the next reservation, I'd want to avoid that if possible (since I always seem to want to 'upgrade' accomodations rather than downgrade them LOL!)

Just my two cents, hope it helps--
You are a life-saver, and I actually found your two cents to be priceless. I think I was just looking for confirmation that my ideas of what was important, was indeed important. As stated in my CoC in my first post, DH is pretty much just along for the ride. He's not really interested in plans and hotel debates and such, so it's just me going at it alone. It's a blessing to have y'all to bounce ideas off of. So, keeping the reservation (and saving some $$) it is! Thanks again.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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If you DO stay at the RI, make sure to take lots of photos and tell me a ALLL about it.

Also, I posted those pictures of Annabella on my PTR for you. Hope they are of help.

If you become intrested they do have suites there with an extra room. It is nice to have a room for the kids when it's time for them to go to sleep and you want to stay up later to watch tv. I never had problems with getting my kids to sleep after a long day at Disney though. They would sleep through anything after such an exhausting and fun day.
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