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Old 04-29-2012, 08:14 AM   #31
dougsmom98
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Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
De-lurking to say hello and how much I've been enjoying your TR.

I had to laugh at your experience at the Farmer's Market/The Grove. We have a long flight from Oz to LA (14 hours) and we normally are out of the airport by about 10.30 in the morning. I ALWAYS plan for us to go get lunch at the Farmer's Market/The Grove as this is too early for us to check in to any hotel.

The last two times we did this, my DS (then 8 and 10) would be asleep on the back seat when we get to the parking lot.
DH and I have to do the tag team thing to go get lunch so that we can eat and also make sure that DS is okay at the same time. We both end up rushing around and not getting to check out the vendors properly.

I'm not sure which is worse....getting there right on when they close or getting there when everything is opened and not being able to properly explore.

There won't be a third time. Next time we head to LA, we are definitely planning a day OTHER THAN arrival day to visit.
Thanks for following along with my trip report. I think we will definitely plan on the Farmers Market next time we head out to California and plan to spend a couple of hours there exploring our options for food and then eating. I guess you can watch them make ice cream, decorate cakes in the window, make candy... I think we could have used more shopping time on this trip too. We obviously never made it to The Grove shops and we also never made it to Downtown Disney. I don't like to spend a lot of time shopping on vacation, but I would have liked a little shopping.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:49 PM   #32
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Monday April 16th - First Day in Disneyland

The parks opened at 9 am on this day. I wanted to leave the hotel before 8 am because I wasn't sure how long it would take to walk to the entrance. We got up at 6:30 and had breakfast in our room. We were out the door by 7:50. We were so excited. About 1/4 of the way there, I realized that I had my camera, but the battery was still in the charger back at the hotel room. I told everyone else to go on without me and I ran back to the room. The walk from our hotel to the parks was literally 7 minutes. The longest part was waiting for the cross walk signal. I couldn't believe how quick it was to get there. We had purchased our tickets from Ares travel and got an email ticket voucher that needed to be turned in. I had read that I just needed to exchange the email voucher at the ticket turnstile. It was 8:15 and we were standing in line and I started to panic that perhaps the paper needed to be turned into a ticket purchasing booth instead. So I had everyone else stand in line and I went to the ticket booth. I am not sure if I could have done it at the turnstile, but the guy at the ticket booth gave me my real tickets and welcomed me to Disneyland. When he heard it was out first visit to the west coast and Disneyland, he gave us 6 First Visit buttons. That was so nice! So, with tickets in hand, I went back to the turnstile line. I expected to be standing there for a while longer, but within minutes, they let us in. It was only 8:30. We were allowed all the way to the hub in front of the castle.

Our first view of the castle.


The kids waiting for the rope drop. Mark thought he was too cool for his first visit button.


Our plan for the day was to go straight to Fantasyland. In WDW, it is imperative to ride Dumbo first and then Peter Pan. So we decided to do the same thing here. DH went to Space Mountain to get FP while we rode Dumbo.
Mark and Melissa wanted to ride together but when the worker came around, she said Melissa was too young to ride with Mark because he is only 11 1/2. She said he had to be 14 to ride with her because she is under 7 years old. So, Douglas switched with Melissa so she could ride with me.

Melissa and Mark before they had to swap:


From that point on, I told my 13 1/2 year old to say he was 14 so that Melissa could ride with him. The only ride I was really worried about was the tea cups because neither my DH or I can stomach that ride. I know that I broke the rules...don't flame me.

By the time we got off Dumbo, Peter Pan was too busy. We had a Magic Morning to use, so we knew we would have to wait on that ride until then. In WDW Peter Pan is a FP attraction so the line doesn't get as crazy as quickly. Oh well. Our goal was to ride all the attractions that aren't at WDW even if they looked "childish." So, we rode Casey Juniors Circus Train next. We thought this was a cute ride and we liked looking at the gardening and grounds around the ride.


Trey and Diane on the train:


Some of the kids and I on the train:


Next we rode, Snow White, Pinocchio, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. We LOVED these rides. Snow White is different than the WDW version and WDW does not have Pinocchio and Mr. Toad's ride. Maybe it just felt this way because we had never been on these rides before and there was so much to see, but I felt like the dark rides in DL go faster than they do in WDW. We knew we would have to do these again on our Magic Morning day so that we could look at the scenery and take them in again. We headed to Alice in Wonderland and let the kids ride the Tea Cups while the adults hit the restrooms.



Then we did Alice:


This was another great ride that is not found in WDW. So far, the wait times were non existent on any of these rides.

We headed to Tomorrowland.


On the way we saw where pictures could be taken with the Fairies. There was no wait so we decided to do it. We got to see Vidia and Tinkerbell. My son, Mark was NOT happy he had to get his picture taken with the Fairies. I don't get it because he LOVED posing with the "sexy" wax figures at the wax museum, but didn't want to pose with real live pretty girls







More DL to come.
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Up next - Off Site @ Grand Reserve April, 2015
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:21 PM   #33
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Loving your trip report so far! Also appreciate the Hollywood info, as we'll be down there for a week or so this summer and will probably tear ourselves away from the park occasionally to hit some other attractions.

Had to laugh about your plane ride....nothing sounds more heavenly to me than being forced to sit away from my family, all by myself . Of course, I have a toddler, so flying is probably more work than with your kids, but it's a dream come true!
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:38 AM   #34
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Your trip report is helping me so much, I love it I'm headed out to Cali next Monday, and I am using your report to help me plan my Hollywood day. My plans were to start the day off with breakfast at Mel's Diner, then the paramount studios tour, then have lunch at Pink's Hot Dogs then head to Madame Tussaud's (all your pics made me sooo excited about it), then the Hollywood Museum with maybe a Grauman's Chinese Theatre tour thrown in.

I was also going back and forth on a visit to the La Brea Tar Pits, and your report helped me immensely, I think I'll just stop by real quick, hop outta the car and start to the left of the building with the lake.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:53 PM   #35
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Great trip report

What a great trip report!!! We are going for our 1st vist in June and your trip report is very informative! Can't wait to read the rest
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:05 PM   #36
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After we met the fairies, we headed to Space Mountain. I was excited to ride the DL version of Space because I had heard it was better than WDW. I liked how you sit along side another person in the vehicle and I liked how smooth the ride was compared to WDW because it wasn't as herky jerky. I did not think it was a better version though. I literally scream the entire time in WDW because it seems faster, darker and there seem to be more sudden drops. This version was almost too tame for my liking. My kids couldn't believe how quiet I was on this version of space mountain.

Here we are on Space Mountain:


Here are Trey and Diane on Space Mountain. This was Diane's first trip to any Disney park and on Space Mountain.



After this ride, we did Star Tours. We have not been on Star Tours in Florida for 3 years. We don't go to Hollywood Studios often, so we were super excited to know that this ride is in DL. We LOVED this version of the ride. It was probably our second favorite ride in all of DL and DCA. The boys went on this ride 10+/- times during this trip and had a different experience every single time. I loved the ride but I felt sick after my first ride. I think it was because I was getting tired and hungry. We had another set of Fast Passes to use on the ride, but I passed it up a second time and had a snack while John and everyone else went back on the ride for a second time.

It was time to head to Adventureland and try the Indiana Jones ride. We have never been on this ride because they do not have it in WDW. We couldn't wait.

Here is Mark pulling on the rope in the queue:


This was probably our favorite ride in DL and DCA. The theming is top notch and it is a fun ride. I had read that it is just like the Dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom but it is sooooo much better than that ride. My daughter, Melissa, did not enjoy this ride though. She was scared to death. I am not quite sure why because she knows it is fake and she loves space mountain, but we could only get her to ride this twice the entire trip and I had to bribe her the second time.

Next we headed to the Haunted Mansion. I thought the mansion was beautiful from the outside.



I liked how the queue is more organized here compared to WDW too. After the stretching room at WDW, guests are corralled down a hall in a big herd and then expected to split into two single file lines. I always have to make sure the kids stay right by my side so that we don't get split up, so I was grabbing for them here and telling them to stay close and then there was only one line. The ride is very similar to the one in WDW. I felt like the doom buggies went faster here though so I wasn't able to take in as much. I got the feeling that a lot of rides were faster at DL, but it could have been my imagination.

We went on Pirates next. I knew that this was suppose to be better than WDW too. We liked the extra drops in this ride and how the boat went by the restaurant. We liked how it was a longer ride. My only complaint is that while it was longer, there seemed to be more empty space. In WDW, it is a shorter ride so the scenes are right next to each other. There were times here that I felt like we were gliding in the boat past nothing. I still loved it though.

Next, we headed over to Splash Mountain. I had read that it wasn't quite as good as WDW and I agree, but we still loved it.



At this point we were really getting hungry. My DH ran to get Thunder Mountain Fast Passes to add to the collection he had been gathering through out the morning. We love that DL doesn't enforce FP return times like WDW just started to do. We saw that there were 20 minutes before the next Billy Hill and the Hillybillys show at the Golden Horseshoe. The menu looked like it would satisfy our picky crew and so we headed there. There were plenty of tables and it wasn't too busy. I couldn't believe we could easily find a table for a party of 8. At WDW, we always have trouble finding even a table for four. This was awesome. Half of our crew got the fish and chips and half of us got the chicken nuggets and fries. DH and I each got something different and we split our meals so we got both.





We really enjoyed this show. It was a nice way to eat lunch and still feel like we weren't wasting time. We decided we needed dessert so we each got one of these sundaes:


We should have split the sundaes instead of each getting one because we had a really hard time finishing them. The cookies were so good!

Next, we decided to do the castle walk through. Before we went in, we got a picture in front of the castle. It's not the best photo, but it's the only one we took here all week.



WDW does not have a castle walk through, so we enjoyed this. Especially my DD.


We got another picture of the castle on our way to Small World.



I think It's a Small World is just beautiful in DL! I think the ride is also better than in WDW. I loved that some of the characters are in the scenes of Small World. They didn't look out of place and I thought it was well done.



At this point, we started to use all of the fast passes that my husband had been collecting all day. We also rode Buzz Lightyear because we somehow skipped it earlier in the day. I could not believe that at 4:30 pm, we could get on Buzz with less than a 5 minute wait. This is unheard of in WDW. All week the wait times were really low for just about every ride. We rode Space twice and Star Tours. My DH and the boys went to ride Indiana Jones. My DD and I explored a few shops and then realized that people were starting to claim spots for Fantasmic. So, we got a front and center seats and spread out as much as we could to save spots for DH and the boys. Saving seats stresses me out and the Indiana Jones ride seemed to be taking forever. They finally got there but still had another set of Thunder Fast Passes that they wanted to use. They left their sweatshirts and headed off to do that while my DD and I saved seats again. As a reward, for sitting for so long and being good, she got a Mickey Bar:



The boys finally arrived and made themselves comfortable.




Finally, the show started! It was great. I loved that they used the pirate ship in the show.








We loved Fantasmic. I wish there were stadium seating like WDW, but it was fun to enjoy it in a different way.

After a long day, we packed up and walked back to the hotel. We had a great day and really and truly fell in love with DL today. Our plan for the next day was to go DCA for the first time.
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Up next - Off Site @ Grand Reserve April, 2015
1st Trip Dec 2002 - Holiday Inn Nicki Bird, 2nd Trip June 2004 - Fantasy World Villas, 3rd Trip Feb 2006 - Windsor Palms, 4th Trip Feb 2007 - Regal Palms, 5th Trip Feb 2008 - Solana Resort, 6th Trip Feb 2009 - Windwood Bay, 7th Trip Feb 2010 - Grand Reserve, 8th trip Feb 2011 - Grand Reserve, 9th trip Feb 2012 Grand Reserve, 10th trip April 2012 Disney Land - Castle Inn and Suites, 11th trip Feb 2013 Grand Reserve, 12th Trip Feb 2014 Grand Reserve
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:22 AM   #37
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WDW is great but Disneyland is really special, isn't it? I'm slowly planning my way round to the 5 castles; and have only seen 3 so far....DLR is by far my favourite. I do enjoy being at WDW and it is much more of a 'destination' and I totally immerse in Disney there...but there is something really special about Walt's park.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:30 AM   #38
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WDW is great but Disneyland is really special, isn't it?
Yes, we loved it. When we go to WDW, we stay off site and choose 1-2 parks to visit per trip. Based on the way we travel, we thought DL was a better park. You get some much more park for your money. We also thought it was prettier. Everywhere I looked, I was amazed at how pretty things were - trees, shrubs, flowers... I can't wait to go back some day.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:34 AM   #39
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If you stay off site at WDW, then there is no contest. DLR, and SoCal, is a MUCH better option.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:02 PM   #40
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Love Love Love your trip report!!!

Confused on how you didn't like Space Mtn more at DL though. The first time my son and I rode it we both looked at each other when we got off the ride and his hair was standing up. We laughed and both agreed that it was amazing. The ride was so smooth and the music just made the experience top notch. Oh well to each their own.

And Pirates is sooo much better too at least for me. I love the second drop and the beginning going through the bayou.

Completely agree with everything else. ISAM rocks in DL. Puts WDW version to shame. You should see HM with the overlay at Christmas time!

I also agree that some of the rides feel rushed. Case in point for me is Splash Mtn. I feel like we rush thru the animatronic scenes there at DL. WDW's splash is my absolute favorite ride of all in any park but DL is my favorite park ever!

Did you get to see the fireworks show? Remember Dreams Come True?

Can't wait for the next installment of DCA!
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:12 PM   #41
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Love Love Love your trip report!!!

Confused on how you didn't like Space Mtn more at DL though. The first time my son and I rode it we both looked at each other when we got off the ride and his hair was standing up. We laughed and both agreed that it was amazing. The ride was so smooth and the music just made the experience top notch. Oh well to each their own.

And Pirates is sooo much better too at least for me. I love the second drop and the beginning going through the bayou.

Completely agree with everything else. ISAM rocks in DL. Puts WDW version to shame. You should see HM with the overlay at Christmas time!

I also agree that some of the rides feel rushed. Case in point for me is Splash Mtn. I feel like we rush thru the animatronic scenes there at DL. WDW's splash is my absolute favorite ride of all in any park but DL is my favorite park ever!

Did you get to see the fireworks show? Remember Dreams Come True?

Can't wait for the next installment of DCA!
I did like the music in Space Mountain in DL and I think that definitely adds to it.

We did get to see the fireworks show on the last night. We liked it a lot - the storyline, music, Tink, the lasers... In terms of actual fireworks though (large showering fireworks that fill the sky), it was slightly disappointing. I will say, i think the smoke/cloud cover that night had something to do with it. It was still amazing and it was the PERFECT way to end our vacation.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:58 AM   #42
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Love Love Love your trip report!!!

Confused on how you didn't like Space Mtn more at DL though. ...The ride was so smooth and the music just made the experience top notch. Oh well to each their own.
If you ever make it to Hong Kong, and have a side trip to the Disneyland there, the Space Mtn there is even smoother than at DL.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:03 AM   #43
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If you ever make it to Hong Kong, and have a side trip to the Disneyland there, the Space Mtn there is even smoother than at DL.
It would obviously be a dream of mine to see all the Disney parks. I've always heard that Disney's Tokyo Sea is one of the best as well. How many parks have you seen?
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:02 AM   #44
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It would obviously be a dream of mine to see all the Disney parks. I've always heard that Disney's Tokyo Sea is one of the best as well. How many parks have you seen?
3 castles so far. I've got a very very small glimmer in my eye for Tokyo next year. But I need to print money because I'm doing a Gamer DisMeet at WDW in October (naturally I'll be stopping in Anaheim to check out Carsland on the way through). Paris is on the plan in late 2014 or 2015.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:16 PM   #45
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Tuesday, April 17 - First day in Disney's California Adventure

After a long first day at DL, we decided we were not going to use our Magic Morning on Tuesday. I had originally thought that we might do the Magic Morning on Tuesday and get a few hours in at DL before heading over to DCA, but we decided after two very busy days under our belts, we thought we ought to get a little rest. So, we slept in until 7:30 and had breakfast in our room. Our hotel had a small coffee pot and supplied coffee and powdered creamer. We tried drinking it the first morning but after that, we couldn't stomach the coffee. So the second day, my DH went to McDonalds for coffee. On this day, my DH decided to try the 7-11 just down the road. It was good coffee and convenient. This is where we got coffee every day after that. They also had great glazed donuts for 50 cents each. We got a half dozen of these several times throughout the week.

We made it to the gates shortly after 9 am.

They didn't open officially until 10 but we had read that they let guests in at 9:30 to get WOC fast passes and sometimes to ride Soarin. At 9:30 we were let in. We didn't look at the map too carefully and our plan was to ride Soarin and then get a WOC Fast Pass. We followed the crowd because I was sure they must have the same plan as us and we walked for a while and realized that we were not going to Soarin. I have no idea where everyone else was "rushing" towards, but we back tracked, got our WOC fast passes and then made it to Soarin. I couldn't believe that there wasn't a huge crowd here already. In WDW, the line for Soarin would have been building already. We were held inside and they didn't start the ride until 10 am. We rode Soarin and headed over to Screaming Fast Passes and then got in line for Toy Story Mania. Again, I was AMAZED that the line for Toy Story Mania was reasonable. It is complete chaos getting to this ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. We only waited 5 minutes!




We had a great ride and decided with such a short wait 10 minutes, we would go again.

We got a picture with Mr. Potato head afterward:


We ran into Goofy on the way to Goofy's Sky School




There was no wait for Goofy's Sky School. My daughter loved this ride. I HATED it. It reminds me of Primevil Whirl in Animal Kingdom only it is even more herky jerky. My DD also loves that ride too.

Here's a picture of my DH and Matthew on Goofy's Sky School. Notice the lack of leg room for my DH:


Trey and Diane on the ride:


Next, I went to the Little Mermaid Ride. We really enjoyed this ride I love how elaborate it was.

After this ride, it was time for our Screamin Fast passes. We went towards Screamin and couldn't help but admire the scene before us. I just loved how beautiful Screamin and Mickey's Fun Wheel are off in the distance.







The second purpose in coming this way was to check out the WOC seating area. I knew with blue FP, I would want a spot on the bridge or by the fire hydrant. So, we checked out both those areas and decided they would be fine. I just hated not knowing how far in advance I would need to line up. According to the WOC super thread, we could probably get the fire hydrant without lining up too far in advance. I was satisfied with the view there so that made me feel better.

We made our way to Screamin. My DD didn't want to ride, but I bribed her with cotton candy if she did it. So, she road it and hated it. I was glad I rode it once, but had no desire to do it again. The boys loved it, so they rode again since the line was only 5 minutes.

Up Next... more DCA
__________________
-Amy
DH, John ME, Amy
DS 15, Douglas DS 13, Matthew DS 13, Mark DD 9, Melissa

Up next - Off Site @ Grand Reserve April, 2015
1st Trip Dec 2002 - Holiday Inn Nicki Bird, 2nd Trip June 2004 - Fantasy World Villas, 3rd Trip Feb 2006 - Windsor Palms, 4th Trip Feb 2007 - Regal Palms, 5th Trip Feb 2008 - Solana Resort, 6th Trip Feb 2009 - Windwood Bay, 7th Trip Feb 2010 - Grand Reserve, 8th trip Feb 2011 - Grand Reserve, 9th trip Feb 2012 Grand Reserve, 10th trip April 2012 Disney Land - Castle Inn and Suites, 11th trip Feb 2013 Grand Reserve, 12th Trip Feb 2014 Grand Reserve
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