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Old 08-14-2011, 03:56 PM   #1
fliplover101
Earning My Ears
 
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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The Birthday, Anniversary, Staycation Extravaganza!

Hello all! I just got back from the land with my family, and what a special, wonderful vacation it was!!!!! We were on vacation from Aug 6-11, with 4 days in the parks and 1 day on either end of the parks. This trip was designed to be a true vacation, despite the fact that we are pass-holders. Originally, we were going to go to Hawaii as a family vacation, but that ended up being too expensive. On the other hand, we had already payed for our Disneyland tickets and my Dad could get some free nights through Starwood, so ka-blam, super cheap and fun staycation!!

I will try and write up a full trip report for all y'all, but for now, here are some tid-bits to look forward to:
The Cast: myself, my younger brother, and my parents
Why: VACATION!!! Also, to celebrate my Dad's birthday and my parents 25th wedding anniversary.
Where: Sheraton Anaheim hotel. We loved this hotel - their shuttle service is quick, efficient, and easy. Their pool is wonderful, they have a hot tub, and it's themed like a castle. Plus, the rooms are huge. What's not to love?
The Plan:
1) Saturday: Drive up to my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary party. Settle in to hotel and get dinner at the Gardenwalk afterwards
2) Sunday: Full day in Disneyland, with reservations for character breakfast at Plaza Inn.
3) Monday: Dad's birthday! Let him run the show for the day, with reservations for World of Color Dining Package at Wine Country Trattoria for dinner
4) Tuesday: Mom and Dad's anniversary! Do whatever they want to do for the day, with reservations for Fantasmic! Premium Dessert Viewing.
5) Wednesday: Full day in CA Adventure, with reservations for dinner at Steakhouse 55 for a proper anniversary celebration dinner.
6) Thursday: Pack up and head home, and see Mary Poppins at the Civic Theatre to end the vacation!!!!

Please enjoy! Next up: Grandchildren on display and Gardenwalk exploration
PS: If I can figure out how to post pictures, I will. Otherwise it will just be my talking. I apologize in advance if the latter ends up true....
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:08 PM   #2
fliplover101
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Day 1: Grandparent's Day

We spent our first morning getting ready to depart...doing last minute chores, packing, making breakfast and snacks, et cetera. We finally got moving around 11:45 am. Unfortunately, we hit major traffic, and didn't get to my grandparent's place until 2 pm!!!! (Normally we can make the drive in about an hour and a quarter). Then we dutifully went to my grandparents celebration. Don't get me wrong, I love my grandparents, but I knew no one except family at the party of over 150 people, yet they all seemed to know intimate details of my private life. Right. Oh well, it was great to catch up with all my cousins etc. After all that, we checked in to our hotel - we got two connecting rooms on the third floor overlooking the pool area. Nice!! Then we were all getting pretty hungry - our drive-through Carls Jr. meal was not overly filling - so we drove to Gardenwalk and ate dinner at Bubba Gump's. I had only eaten at one once before, and it was great fun!! I got a combo platter with tempura, coconut, fried, and cold shrimp that was really good. I also tried a lemonade with rum in it that was delicious, and I got to keep the glass as a souvenir! After dinner, we were all very tired from the stressful drive and from the party, so we took a quick nighttime swim and then hit the sack. After all, have to be rested for Disneyland tomorrow!!! I realize this was a short post, but I'll have more details when we're actually in Disney!!!!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:11 PM   #3
fliplover101
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Day 2 Disneyland: Star Wars and Characters Galore!

We all woke up fairly early this morning, as we were excited and ready to be in Disneyland!! We caught the 8 am shuttle, and were in the park within 15 minutes of opening time. Score! First thing, we went and got Fastpasses for Star Tours, then hit the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters! The ride was a lot of fun as always, but I am afraid I was horribly beaten….like, 45,000 to 9,000….yes, say it with me…ouch. Well, I always get distracted looking at all the fun things happening in the ride, and my brother is a video game pro, and it was early in the morning, or, well, I really just suck at shooting those targets. ☺ Anyways, we only had a few more minutes until our breakfast reservation, and there was no line for the Astro Orbiter, so Db and I took a spin. We barely fit anymore! However, we managed it and it was thoroughly enjoyable. If you go all the way up then press the lever down really quickly, you can get a lot of centrifugal force going!

Next up was “Minnie and Friends Breakfast in the Park” at the Plaza Inn, which is what I had been most looking forward to before the trip!!!! I love the characters (well, except the princesses, I know it’s blasphemy), but as a family we almost never stop to greet the characters because of how long the lines are nowadays. And what a character experience it was!! Captain Hook came to greet us as soon as we sat down, and quickly befriended my mother after finding a Darth Vader keychain on her backpack and becoming convinced that she secretly sympathized with the Disney villains. Eeyore, Chip, Dale, Geppetto, and the two mice from Cinderella made quick stops by the table at some point during the meal. Then the penguin from Mary Poppins came over, and when I told him (?) that Mary Poppins was my favorite movie, he started jumping up and down and kissed my hand. Awww! Next up was Minnie, who really had a crush on my brother!! She took him over to the balcony for a romantic picture, blew kisses at him, made her hands into a heart, even fought over him with the penguin! Rafiki came over to say hi during the dance break, and upon seeing my brother and I doing the hand jive at the table, pulled him up to dance. Priceless. Tigger was the last one to come by the table, and he had a lot of fun pulling tricks on me. ☺ We missed the Fairy Godmother, but that’s really OK. The food was also really good! They have make your own omelettes as well as all the breakfast buffet norms. And the restaurant is so pretty – it has a chandelier inside! I had never eaten in here before, and it was a lovely way to start off the vacation.

After breakfast, we went for a little under the sea trip on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage! We had only been on the new version of this ride once before, and so I was very excited to go on it again. My overall impression: it’s very cute, and I love the opening sequence in the coral reef, but a lot of it is just looking at a screen….I liked it, but not loved it, and half of our party thought that the seats were just a little too tight. By this time our Fastpasses were eligible, so we grabbed some new ones for Space Mountain and then took off on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this ride!!!!!!!! And the pod-racing sequence is epic. ☺ And, as we were waiting, some Stormtroopers were patrolling to keep everyone in line. After the ride, we poked around in the Star Trader for a while, and both my brother and I got a T-Shirt. As we stepped out of the shop, who was outside but….R2D2!!! OMG! Of course we had to meet him, so we hopped in line and met R2! At this point we were all feeling a little thirsty so we picked up some sodas and relaxed for a few minutes. We had just under an hour before we could ride Space, so we went back and rode It’s a Small World. I know the song can get quite annoying, but this ride is such a classic – it’s not a true Disney vacation for us without it. They have added Disney characters to the ride too! It’s been a while since we’ve ridden it without the Christmas overlay, and so we hadn’t noticed them before. After a quick spin through the toy shop on the way out, we strolled back to Tomorrowland and hung out for a few minutes until our Fastpasses were good. Next up – Space Mountain! This is my second favorite ride in the park…the darkness, the speed, it really does feel like you’re flying through outer space. I especially love the launch sequence, and yelling down the count with the recording. ☺

After sneaking a quick picture of our picture, we split up for a half hour. Db and I went to the Mad Hatter shop on Main Street to pick up anniversary gifts for my Mom and Dad – the special couple ears with Happy 25th and their names embroidered on the back! Mom went to the Disney Gallery and the Emporium to try and figure out my Dad’s birthday present – a fail on that count, and pajamas as she had forgotten to pack any – another fail. Dad went for his first ride on Jungle Cruise, got a bag of popcorn, and hopped on one of the surrey cars to the front of Main Street. By this point, we were all ready for a break at the hotel. Once back, we grabbed some light lunch from the deli, and spent a few hours relaxing by the pool. Ahhh, Disney in the morning and pool time in the afternoon, now this is the life! Next up: parades and fireworks!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:14 PM   #4
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Day 2 Disneyland: Parades and Fireworks, Oh My!

We made sure to be back in the park in time to get a good seat for the second showing of the parade. We got one of the last spots along the curb right in front of the train station – this was a great place to see it!! And we ended up sitting right next to a couple of people we are sure work elsewhere in the entertainment department…including one of the actors who plays Genie I’m pretty sure! Anyway, we LOVED LOVED LOVED Mickey’s Soundsational Parade! Music is one of my favorite parts of most Disney movies, and they had floats of all my faves. By far my favorite float was the Mary Poppins one – the carousel horses Bert and Mary ride are ingenious, and I got some special waves and kisses from the chimney sweeps.

After the show was over, we popped in to The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln until the crowds thinned away. Now, maybe because I’m a history major and I know that some of the things they presented in this show are just plain wrong, or so slanted and one-sided while appearing to be factually neutral, but I had a huge problem with the new version. What happened to a day in the life with Lincoln? What about putting the final speech into context, or for that matter, finishing the speech? What’s with the 2 minute history of the entire USA? Well, whatever. After a stop in the twilight zone with Lincoln, we headed to dinner at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port. This is one of our favorite eateries – Db and I split an Asian Chicken Salad and the Chicken Fusilli Pasta – this is my must-have dish at Disneyland. Yummy!!!

We lingered over dinner quite a bit, then decided to head to Fantasyland for a short while. Dad and I went on the Storybook Land Canal Boats because we love all of the little scenes lit up at night. Unfortunately, this was a ride from hell – a boat in front of ours got broken down. So, every twenty seconds or so, we would stop for 3-4 minutes. Oh…my…gosh. It turned into a 20 minute ride. After that exciting adventure, we decided to just get a spot to watch the fireworks. We ended up in front of the annual pass office, which was a good view, although we did have to deal with a lot of people jumping into non-existent space at the last minute. The Magical fireworks themselves were really neat! I like the Christmas fireworks better, but there were some really innovative fireworks in this show.

We just chilled after fireworks to let the hordes of people exit the park. At that point, we decided to head to Downtown Disney and hit the World of Disney store – remember, at this point Mom’s birthday present for Dad and pajamas had not yet worked out. So, we spent 45 minutes in the shop convincing Dad to go anywhere my Mom was not, and just hanging out. However, eventually, mission accomplished!! She got him a statue of Mickey in the locomotive of the train, and a shadowbox of the Jungle Cruise – his two all time faves. By this time, we were all pretty tired, and decided to call it a night. We did grab some dessert to have in the room from the deli on the way by though – yay for apple pie! Next up: Happy Birthday Dad!
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:04 AM   #5
kylie71
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I'm enjoying yout trip report!!
We stayed at the Sheraton a few summer's ago, and loved it!!
Can't wait for more...
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:15 PM   #6
CB Jamboree
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I am enjoying reading your trip Hope we get to hear about the rest of it!
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