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Old 11-26-2011, 01:16 AM   #1
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 811

Trip Review - Four Days at THPOE

Our Disneyland/DCA trip was for 4 days the week before Thanksgiving week (Tues Nov 15 to Fri Nov 18). We are from out of state and it was me, my DW, our 4 year old DD (who will be 5 next month), and my parents visiting from northern California, and my sister who lives about 50 miles from DL and has an annual pass. This was my daughter’s 2nd trip to DL (1st time was when she was 2 ½). I will include wait times to the best of my recollection and how much we spent on food for myself, my DW and DD.

Our flight got in Monday Nov 14 and we stayed at the Ramada Inn Maingate just a few motels and restaurants from the main entrance. We paid $87 per night before fees/taxes after the $10 per night trip advisor coupon for a newly remodeled premium room ($512 was the final bill with fees/taxes for 5 nights). The room was nice and clean and the free breakfast was good considering it was free (doughnuts, danishes, hardboiled eggs, apples, oranges, toast, cereal, oatmeal, milk, juice, coffee).

I did a lot of planning thanks to the Disboard members, and had a general schedule of what park I wanted to spend the majority of the time in each day and which shows to see on which day, and it worked out pretty well.

Day 1 – Tues Nov 15 (both parks open 10am to 8pm):
This was the day we used our MM, but as I would learn when you have multiple people in your group, there can be people who have different thoughts about how long they’re willing to wait in line, or how long they’re willing to wake up…plus my mom recently had surgery on her feet so she could not walk fast and my DD’s little legs can only carry her so fast. So, usually got to the park gates right at opening time and never made any rope-drops which was no big deal…it’s kind of nice to take a leisurely pace and not feel so rushed.

• Free breakfast at motel. Left motel about 8:45 am
• It was our plan to ride Peter Pan 1st on our MM entry, but by the time we got into the park and made it to FL, the Peter Pan line was already 40 minutes. So instead of using up the rest of our MM waiting for one ride, we hit many of the other FL rides...
• Snow White (walked on)
• Pinnochio (walked on)
• Dumbo (15 min)
• Tea Cups (walked on)
• Mr Toad (5 to 10 min). Alice line was about 20 minutes so we would wait for another time to ride that also.
• By this time it was 10:05 am, so I headed over to get Star Tours FP’s and there was not one person at the FP machines, then I met back up with my family by the Santa area behind BTMR. When I arrived I had just missed my daughter’s encounter with Woody (one of her favorites)…one drawback from being the FP runner. We then went into the Santa area and met Pluto (with antlers).
• Big Thunder Mt Railroad (about 10 min). Surprisingly my 4 year old loved this ride and rode every thrill-ride she went on.
• Jungle Cruise (10 min)
• Drink at Bengal BBQ ($3.00) while my DW and DD went in the Tarzan Treehouse
• Checked out a couple menus in New Orleans Square and had lunch at 11:30 at River Belle Terrace ($20 after 10% discount with Disney Visa card…for DW and I to split a turkey s-wich and DD had a s-wich from the kid’s menu)
• DD wanted to go on the Treehouse again so I took her while DW went to get Splash Mt fastpasses.
• Haunted Mansion (5 min to get into elevator)
• Splash Mt (5 min, so we didn’t use our fastpasses…then we didn’t ride again because DD got too wet and the weather wasn’t warm enough)
• 1:15 pm - Went over to Tom Sayer’s (Pirate) Island at 1 ½ hours there
• Popcorn for everyone to share (about $3.50)
• Took train from New Orleans Sq to Main St
• Went over to California Adventure (long walk to go around all the construction)
• Cotton Candy ($3 something, I think)
• Monsters Inc ride (5 min)
• DW and DD rode Tower of Terror (about 15 to 20 min)
• 4:20 pm - got in line for the 4:45 showing of Alladin.
• Made it back to Disneyland at about 6pm (maneuvered through the parade crowd up Main St)
• DW, DD, and my sister rode Space Mt (probably about 15 min)
• Dinner at Pizza Port ($23 for salad, slice of pepperoni, a milk, and kid’s menu spaghetti)
• Saw 7:30 fireworks from the hub, in front of the Walt/Mickey statue. No snow fell on middle of the hub, but we could see it falling on Main St and on the edges of the hub. DD was so excited about the snow, she said “Disneyland is where the magic begins”.
• Used our Star Tours fastpasses (10 minute wait). DD’s picture was chosen as the spy, which made us very excited. End of day 1.

Day 2 Wed Nov 16 (both parks open 10am to 8pm):
This is the day we started off in DCA so we could do WoC. Free breakfast at motel. Left motel about 9:45 am and got to DCA until 10 am (no lines to get in, unlike DL). Headed right to Soarin’ to get fastpasses, but the FP machines weren’t working. So, we went to get WoC FP’s which only took a couple minutes (got Blue section). Then time for rides:
• Ariel’ Underwater Adventure (5 min)
• Pics with Jessie on the way to TSMM
• TSMM was having technical problems, so we spent about 20 minutes playing boardwalk games
• When TSMM started running again, we rode with a 20 min wait.
• Bought a Vitamin Water ($4)
• Two of us rode California Screaming while my DD and I rode Mickey’s Funwheel (about a 25 min wait…slow line. By the time we got on the ride, the other two in our group had already finished riding CA Screaming).
• On the way to lunch, we ran into the Little Green Army Men (from Toy Story) show and my DD was one of the 12 to 15 kids who volunteered to take part.
• Pics with Goofy near Goofy’s Sky School.
• 12:40 pm - Lunch at Corn Dog Castle ($22 for 3 corndogs and a soda)
• 1:20 pm – Jumpin’ Jellyfish (2 min)
• 1:25 pm – Golden Zephyr (2 min)
• It’s Tough to Be a Bug (no wait, got in just as they were closing the doors)
• Flick’s Fliers (less than 5 min)
• Ladybug “teacups” (5 min)
• Beetle Bumper Cars (less than 5 min)
• 2:30 pm - Ice cream in Bugs Land ($4.00)
• DW, DD, and sister rode Tower of Terror while my parents and I went in Blue Sky Cellar to look at designs for DCA refurbishments
• 3:00 pm - Met back up in front of Soarin’
• Rode Soarin’ (10 min)
• DW, Dad and sis went back to motel to get warmer clothes/jackets while DD, Mom and I walked to DL
• DD and I rode Autopia (15 min)
• 4:40 pm – everyone met back up in Tomorrowland and watched the Jedi Training Academy
• Went to It’s A Small World and watched the lights come on at 5:15 pm
• Rode IASW (2 min…parade was about to start)
• Took train from Toontown to Main St
• 6:15 pm – Got to Pacific Wharf in DCA for dinner
• Dinner ($21 – the three of us shared rice bowl and soda from Lucky Fortune Cookery and clam chowder in a bread bowl at Pacific Wharf Café)
• TSMM (20 min)
• Due to the members of our group not wanting to waste a lot of time waiting in line, and not being able to stand for long periods of time, we decided not to line up for WoC and just get to our blue section with less than 10 minutes before the 8:15 show time. Found a fairly decent spot on the beginning of the bridge…none of us were very impressed with the show. End of day 2.

Day 3 - Thu Nov 17 (both parks open 10am to 8pm):
We decided we were going to spend this entire day at Disneyland and not go to DCA.

• Free breakfast at motel. Left motel about 9:50 am.
• Entered DL gates about 10:15 am.
• My sister took my DD on the horse-pulled trolley down Main St while the rest of us got lockers and Star Tours FP’s (no wait at the FP machines)
• Sis and DD rode Astro Orbitors (15 min)
• Carrousel (2 min)
• Tea Cups (2 min)
• Storybook Land boat ride (15 min)
• 12:20 pm – Lunch at Café Orleans ($24.50 – DW and I split Monte Cristo and DD had kid’s mac n’ cheese)
• As lunch was ending, I went to get Indy fastpasses, and met group at Haunted Mansion
• Haunted Mansion (5 min)
• Train from New Oleans Square to Toontoown
• Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin (5 min)
• Mickey’s House and pics with Mickey (40 min)
• Gadget’s Go Coaster (3 min)
• Spent about 10 minutes exploring Goofy’s house
• Matterhorn (5 min)
• Around 4:30 got our place for the 5:30 Christmas parade around the hub
• While others saved our spots, DW and I rode Indy (no one else wanted to ride and DD is not tall enough)
• Got Dole Whip Soft Serve for the first time…yum! ($3.29)
• Parade had technical difficulties so it didn’t start until about 5:45 pm
• When parade ended, rode Star Tours (using FP’s…10 min)
• Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters (5 min)
• 7:45 pm – Took Monrail to Downtown Disney (had good view of fireworks from the Monorail platform)
• Dinner at Tortilla Joes (about $30) in Downtown Disney at 8pm (DD fell asleep near end of dinner so we had to carry her back all the way to motel). End of day 3.

Day 4 – Fri Nov 18 (DL open 8am to midnight and DCA open 10am to 9pm)
This was our one day to see Fantasmic and we had reservations for Minnie’s Character Breakfast at the Plaza Inn. Made a list of the must-see rides we still hadn’t ridden yet. Even though DL opened at 8am, that was too early for DD after 3 days of excitement, so we planned on getting there at 9am.
• Ate small free breakfast at motel to tide us over until our 10am brunch with Minnie. Left motel at 8:55 am
• Entered DL at 9:20 am
• Picked out new mouse ear hat for DD at hat shop next to Great Moments With Mr Lincoln.
• Came out of hat store and Mickey was outside so got in line for pics with Mickey (about 10 min wait)
• Looked in Main St shops on our way to Plaza Inn.
• 10 am – Brunch with Minnie at Plaza Inn ($71 for two adults and one child). Characters were Minnie, Pooh, Tigger, Eyeore, Chip & Dale, Captin Hook, Raffiki, Max, and Fairy Godmother. Most characters made it to our table, and the other ones we go pictures with by walking around the restaurant. The food was pretty good (not worth $27, but we weren’t there for the food). Scrambled eggs were overcooked and hashbrowns were not great, but bacon, sausage, Mickey shaped waffles, and made to order omletes were great. Assorted pastries looked good, but I’d had enough of those during the week at the motel.
• 11:30 am - Got in line for Peter Pan (finally) and waited exactly 25 min
• Alice in Wonderland (15 min)
• Tea Cups (5 min)
• Big Thunder Mt Railroad (15 min)
• Ice cream bar and frozen banana in New Orleans Square ($7)
• Tom Sawyer’s Island for about 45 minutes
• Look in shops in New Orleans Square
• Tiki Room (5 min)
• 3:30 pm - Back to motel for a break
• Left motel at 5pm (brought stroller with us since we knew it would be a late night)
• Dinner at Rainforest Café at 5:30 ($40 for two adult entrees and one kids meal)
• Got back to DCA entrance at 7:45 so decided to get one last ride on TSMM
• TSMM (40 min – WoC took place while we were in line)
• Rode Carrousel next to TSMM (no wait)
• 8:50 – Started walking back to DL to see 2nd showing of Fantasmic
• Planned on taking the train from Main St to New Orleans Square to try to come in behind the 1st showing of Fantasmic to get seats for the 2nd showing. But, the train was sitting at the station waiting and didn’t seem to be going anywhere soon and there were a lot of people waiting for the next train. So we decided to keep walking and we were coming out of Frontierland along the back of the crowd watching Fantasmic right as the show ended. We struggled through the crowd and behind some New Orleans shops to get to the other side. One of us got in line at the Mint Julep Bar (near the train station) to get hot cocoa and beignets ($7.50) and the rest of us went to find a seat. By this time the 1st show had been over about 15 minutes and there were still plenty of great seats for the 2nd show. We sat (in the sitting section) close to the center about four rows from the water. Only had to wait about 25 minutes for the show after getting our spot.
• After the show we went to Haunted Mansion, but the line was way too long. I then covered my DD up with a jacket in her stroller and headed over to Big Thunder Mt Railroad and by the time we got there, she was asleep (the line for BTMR was also long). So we spent the last hour shopping on Main St, then went back to motel at midnight.

Overall, crowds were fairly decent the first 3 ½ days we were there, it got crowded late on Friday. Four days was enough to do just about everything we wanted to do (except Animation Academy) and a few rides 2 or 3 times. Saw every show we wanted to see (Aladdin, fireworks, WoC, parade, and Fatasmic). Spent $286 total on food for the 4 days for a family of three (but $71 of that was for a character meal).
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