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Old 09-28-2012, 11:32 PM   #16
RidingSolo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurpee View Post
Congratulations on graduating! That's fantastic! I think you should! When do you think you will be there? I'll be there Dec 14th to 26th with our family from the 14th thru the 18th and just my little family the rest of the time. If you're there during that time we could meet up. I have DD4 and DD11 mos (in December). I hope you get to make a trip soon!
I think we will be there at the same time!! I would *love* to meet up!!
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:52 PM   #17
roobug
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I think you will find a fair amount to do at CA. My boys love Disney Junior live on stage, you story mania, the wilderness thing I'm blanking on the name but that's worth at least an hour, they also where in live with carsland even with out the rides. They likes looking at Filmores house and meeting lightening Mater and Red the fire truck. They also really like bugs land. So I think there is a ton to do there.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:57 AM   #18
longtimedisneylurker
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Originally Posted by RidingSolo View Post
Oh, you guys are all so great!!! Thank you so much for all the input!

So here's the plan I have so far:

Budget: Around $1,000 for the trip itself (transportation, hotel, tickets). We're within reasonable driving distance so with my gas calculations, if we can find a reasonable hotel, that budget is feasable for 3 days and 4 nights. Obviously if I don't have to use up my WHOLE budget it would be great - more money to play with. I'm saving up for food/souvenirs separately, so that budget isn't all inclusive.

Dates: As soon as practical after December 14th (graduation ceremony! ). I'm just GUESSING that checking in Monday the 17th and checking out Friday the 21st is going to be more budget friendly than going over the weekend; thoughts? I can't postpone until after the holidays - I have no idea what timeline I'll be looking at as far as sitting for state boards and getting a job until the time comes, and I don't want to risk having to cancel! I know FOR SURE that I'll be able to go directly after graduation though.
Often there really isn't a rate difference between weekends and weekdays near Disneyland, so it's worth pricing it out and considering.

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Originally Posted by RidingSolo View Post
Hotel: NO IDEA. I've been to Disneyland a bunch of times, but a) we were super spoiled and always stayed at the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier, and b) I haven't been to Disneyland in almost 10 years. Are the "Good Neighbor" designated hotels the best options? Are there other close options that may be less expensive? I don't need anything fancy - just a *safe* place nearby to relax, sleep and shower.
The hotels that I prefer that might fall within your hotel budget include Howard Johnson's on Harbor and Tropicana Inn and Suites. More budget minded hotels that are in walking distance that I have seen recommended included Anaheim Plaza Inn and Suites and the Quality Inn on Manchester. I'm sure you are very busy with your studies, but when you have a few minutes of downtime here and there hunt around this site for some hotel recommendations. Personally, based on some threads I have read here and some comments from an acquaintance of mine, I would stay away from Park Vue Inn and Castle Inn even if they were good deals.

If you are comfortable with being further away from the park and using the shuttle system rather than walking, then you might find some cheaper options or similarly priced options with more amenities. The drawback in this is time lost. A closer hotel makes it easier to go back for nap time or whatever.

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Tickets: I'm thinking of trying to shave a little off the cost by not doing park hopper tickets; I can't imagine trying to tackle more than one park in a day with a 3 year old. The only bad thing about that is if I only go for 3 days, we'll only get to go to DCA once. Anything I'm missing? I've never NOT had a parkhopper ticket; are there any perks to it that I wouldn't get with a one park/one day ticket?
You will still get your early entry to DL whether you get a hopper or non-hopper ticket. We are diehard parkhoppers even after the opening of the new DCA, so this would be tough for me. There is more than enough to do in both parks to make switching back and forth between them on the same day worth it. We like to start in one park, take a break, and then go to the other park after the break sometimes. I can see how saving the money is important though too, so this is a tough one.

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Rides: I know there will be PLENTY to do in Disneyland, but I'm worried about DCA. As I mentioned in the OP, my little guy is a super huge fan of Cars. The last time he was measured he was 37.5 inches - that was about a month ago - so unless he has some kind of monster growth spurt in the next two months I'm pretty sure he's going to be too little for ALL the Cars rides. Is that right? I know there are fun things in other areas for him to do, but I'm worried about the meltdown that may happen if he sees the Cars rides but can't go on them. I'm pretty sure I can explain away any of the other "big" rides by telling him they're for big kids or grownups, but I just don't think logic will apply in Carsland. Any tips?! Are there other fun things in Carsland to keep him occupied?
Your son is tall enough for both Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Flying Tires because the minimum height requirement for those rides is 32". You are correct that he is too short for the headliner Radiator Springs Racers and is likely to still be too short when you get there. You will just have to be firm and up front about him being too short for that ride and not spend a lot of time focusing on it. He will be able to enjoy the other two rides, the ambiance of the land, the Mater and Lightning McQueen meet and greets, and any street entertainment that occurs while you are there. It is still definitely a great place to go for a Cars fan.

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Originally Posted by RidingSolo View Post
Food: I don't have a set budget for this, but I want to for sure do at least one character meal. I'm thinking Goofy's Kitchen but am open to suggestions. Since he loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so much I'm mostly wanting Fab Five interactions, and he does like Chip and Dale. He still doesn't have the attention span for a lot of the classic cartoons I've tried to force him to watch So he won't recognize many of the other characters. Oh! He knows and loves the Winnie the Pooh Characters too.
I know Goofy's is a popular choice, but if a character meal mostly for the characters is your goal, then I would recommend Minnie's Breakfast at the Plaza Inn inside Disneyland park instead. There are consistently more characters at that meal than any other. Usually you can expect to see Minnie, Chip and Dale, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. There are also usually at least 4 or 5 additional characters in attendance. We have seen Hook, Fairy Godmother, Max (Goofy's son), mice from Cinderella, Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh, Brer Fox, and many others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RidingSolo View Post
Other than the character meal, I'm thinking we'll mostly wing it in the parks with quick service and all the DL delights like churros and Dole whips . I do want to try a Montecristo though.. I've been to Disneyland probably a dozen times growing up and I did the WDWCP and I've never had one!!! Anything else that's a must do that I might have missed?


Anything else I'm forgetting?! I'm SO excited for this trip - I have to just say, my little boy was born too early and spent 45 days in the hospital - and a LOT of those 45 days I sat by his incubator or held him and read trip reports of people taking their kids to Disneyland for the first time. I know it sounds way silly but thinking about it helped me get through his hospitalization and kept me hoping for the best outcome; I can't believe the time to start planning for REAL is finally here!!

Again, thank you so much for all the input and support! And sorry this post is so long!
Have fun planning, and have a great trip when you do go.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:29 PM   #19
Mommy2PrincessAbby
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Hi! You are going to have so much fun!!! My best memories of going to DL with my dd were trips when it was just the two of us... so much easier than having another adult to have to confer with... the two of us could just go as we wanted to.

Bring a stroller, even if your son isn't keen on them, you will need it for sure... and then I would pay the extra for the park hopper... I know it isn't all about "getting everything done" but it will be easier on you guys if you can go with the flow and hop if needed.

As others have said, you may want more time in DCA because of Bugs Land, Carsland (what he can ride will be sooo fun)--and you can watch the "big people" on the racers from Flo's I believe. Disney Jr... plus my dd adored Monster's Inc at that age--heck I love that ride...

I would probably choose Minnie's breakfast... we've done all of them, multiple times... and while Minnie's is not my favorite for food (that award goes to Surf's Up in my book)... it will have Pooh characters, Minnie, maybe Daisy, we've seen Chip & Dale there too... often 10 characters. So many that the food barely gets eaten because you don't want to miss a character.

If I were you, I'd have some groceries I brought in the hotel... give your kiddo a decent snack on the way to the parks (while chillin in his stroller) each morning (getting there before rope drop)... then ride rides etc until mid-morning... find out not the lastest character breakfast seating, but maybe the 3rd to last?? I would bet around 10 am if the parks open at 8... and eat breakfast then... then you would probably get by on snacks and could do an early dinner. 2 real meals a day filled in with food from home will reduce your costs too. Plus if you go back to to the hotel in the early afternoon for a nap, you could re-load your snack stash

So great that you are doing this trip!! Enjoy!!
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:49 PM   #20
Sherry E
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You and your son will be going to Disneyland during the most beautiful time in the parks! The holiday season is absolutely amazing.

First of all, It's a Small World is transformed into It's a Small World Holiday, with breathtaking colored lights covering the facade, and a total holiday overlay inside the ride.

Haunted Mansion becomes Haunted Mansion Holiday, with a "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme.

Santa will be in at least 4 (probably 5) places around the Resort (in Disneyland, in each of the 3 Disney hotels and probably in California Adventure too - though we're not sure where his post in DCA will be this year).

Santa's Reindeer Round-Up has actual reindeer!

The Castle becomes the Winter Castle, and it glows in icicle lights after dark.

The Christmas Fantasy Parade is festive and fun.

The Believe in Holiday Magic fireworks (if your little one can handle the noise) are beautiful, and they culminate with light snow falling on Main Street and a couple of other places.

Cars Land will be fully decorated with themed Christmas ornaments, trees, etc. (if the rumors are true), as will Buena Vista Street.

Toon Town in DL and A Bug's Land in DCA (both great for young kids) have their own whimsical decorations.
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Last edited by Sherry E; 09-29-2012 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Typo!
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:14 PM   #21
tomgreen41
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I went to Disneyland with twin 4 year olds. My biggest tips:

1. Don't try to do too much in a day.
2. Arrive early... the earlier the better.
3. Plan out what you want to see and do in advance.
4. Bring a stroller
5. Know the height minimums for the rides.
6. Take a mid-day break, and really, really try to get your child to have a nap.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:39 PM   #22
lurpee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RidingSolo
I think we will be there at the same time!! I would *love* to meet up!!
Keep in touch am let me know when you get your dates. Like I said, we will be a large group until the 18th and then it will just be the four of us and DH and I plan on breaking apart for some of that time--each one taking individual time with DD4. perhaps you can join us and maybe you can ride RSR on a rider switch (you can take my DD4 as collateral on the ride with you!). And my whole family is great and would be happy to have you join our herd. just from traveling by myself with DD when she was 1, 2, and 3 I know how exhausting it can be.

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