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Old 10-03-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
interstate70s
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wilds of Western Washington
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Highlights last week of September

Just got back on Monday, Oct 1, and wanted to report back... Thanks to everyone for all the planning help.

Mon 24-We flew out of Portland. Usually we drive, but scored cheap tickets on Jet Blue $55 each way! We took a taxi from Long Beach ($45 flat rate) to Best Western Park Place Inn. We stayed there one night and checked into the Grand Californian the next morning. Hotel was good, staff was friendly, rooms were nice, although I didn't care for the decor. Pool was cold and small. The last hotel we stayed at on Harbor was the Ramada Maingate. These two are comparable quality wise. BWPPI has slightly better rooms and Ramada has better pool. Breakfast was about the same. We ate at the Pizza Press next to the Carousel. I was really impressed. I loved their pizza! Very thin crust. 20% coupon on the Anaheim website.

Tues/ My birthday!- Checked into the GC at around 7:30am. Stored our bags and headed to 9am EMH at DCA. We got to Security about 8:10. There were already several families waiting there. By 8:20 the line was significant. We went straight to Carsland of course. We rode RSR and Luigi's then the kids and I went to TSMM (rode twice) and DH went to get RSR FPs. We met up outside TSMM at 10:15.

We then continued to tour DCA.

Ate lunch at Flos, Don't remember what everyone else ate, but I had turkey and mashed potatoes which I thought was pretty good. Very large portions!

Lost a lot of time that day, after DS barely 7 touched a cactus near Mater's which released a bunched of little tiny needles, I didn't have a tweezers with me, so we got to tour First Aid as well. He was pretty happy about getting a FP out of it!
DS and I rode ToT for the 1st time, while DD and DH went to the Frankenweenie preview. After ToT, DS and I shook hands and agreed never again. (By day 5 it was his new favorite)

We met Freeze in Hollywood when he snook up behind DS. He was really interactive and cool!

Itís all a blur but at some point we got the text that our room was ready. I was very pleased. We paid for standard, but we were on the 5th floor, nice view of pool and could see California Screamin', Cadillac Range, and part of the Mickey's "Fun" Wheel and even the very top of Grizzly peak over the building. Great location to elevators with bunk beds, score!

I think we hopped over to DL after that to check out HM Holiday. The first time we rode I missed the regular version, but the Holiday overlay grew on me the more times we rode. DH hates it. Did some rides there with short lines. DD and I rode SMGhost Galaxy that night too. That night we just ate at Whitewater, I love the Nachos.

Wed- Did EMH at DL. Did all that was open in FL. Can't remember what else. Had 11:30 reservation at Blue Bayou. Sat waterside. It was lovely. Food was good. DH and I both had Monte Cristo which was way too much food for me, but DH refuses to share! DD9 ate the chocolate mousse for my birthday. Note: If you get there before 11:15 they don't consider that "check-in" anytime before that and you are just "confirming your reservation."

That afternoon we went to the Halloween Carnival Jamboree at Big Thunder Ranch. Characters were great! We saw Chip, Dale, Pluto, Mickey, and Goofy, all in their Halloween costumes. The "conjure a villian" thing was a pain, although the kids loved it and it probably made the interaction better in a nice air conditioned room. We got Cruella, who was absolutely fabulous! She spent lots of time with each family, and was very insulting and vain.

We also saw Billy Hill while there. This is not the best venue for them IMHO. At the Golden Horseshoe, the crowd is there to see them, but at the Jamboree, lots of people are walking around the seating area and talking. I think their show kind of gets lost.

I have no idea what else we did that day! Although we definitely had pool time and I believe DD and watched World of Color from hotel view deck.

Thursday- we did EMH at DCA again. We did the same plan as Tues. We got to security at 8am this time. this time we were able to do
RSR, LFT, MJJ, TSMM X2 during EMH. Once again DH skipped TSMM to get FP. We did some rides around PP and ate at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta which was good. We did bugsland that day and at some point park hopped over to DL. Left around closing to get in some pool time.

Friday- Didn't have regular tickets for this day. We had Breakfast at Surf's Up. Unfortunately this was our most disappointing day. Stitch was not there. Characters were few and only came to our table once. The only one that hung out with the kids was Daisy (who I was happy to see) It seemed like a good place for babies and toddlers. Most of the food was alright, although I hated the hash browns.

We chilled by the pool that day, and went to the party that night. We all loved the Fireworks and had a great view, but the rest of the party is not something I would repeat.

Saturday and Sunday were our best days. We are a family that usually does summer and love the longer hours and entertainment schedule. EMH at 7am both days were wonderful and things didn't get busy until 11:30 or so. Met Jack Skellington with a very short line that day. We ate Village Haus for some reason, I guess for convience, we all got burgers and they were fine, nothing special.

In the afternoon my DD played musical chairs with Alice and the Mad Hatter (DS refused). She made it all the way to the end and tied for the win! She is a very serious child and was grinning and giggling the entire time. It was soooo wonderful to watch!
On Saturday it was packed, packed, packed in the evening. We had reserved F! seating. I just happened to walk buy the podium at 6:30 and a few people were already lining up, so I got in line and sent the family off to do some rides. We had front row left of center. We all thought the seats were very worth the cost. Especially that particular night when they announced they were not letting anymore people into the F! viewing areas. We watched the fireworks from there too, mainly because there was no choice, I don't think there would have been any way to get through at that point.

Sunday was the best!!! The morning hours were empty, although RSR was down, so DH got to ride TSMM over and over and other rides as well. We went to DL about 8:30am and stayed ahead of the crowds for a while, collecting FPs as we went. Kids finally like Big Thunder, and DD no longer hates Splash. It was really nice not to split up so much to get in everyone's favorites. I think my DD said we rode 24 rides that day (thatís including the repeats) and the canoes for the first time. I was surprised how much I enjoyed them. We ate at the French Market that day. Later we ran into Mary Poppins and Burt too! The last thing we did was ride the train all the way around to say goodbye to DL. Then we went to DCA watched the Pixar parade and used the rest of our FPs

Monday- Flight didn't leave until 6pm. So while I took the kids to swim DH made ressie at Goofy's for a late breakfast to make up for Friday's disappointment. It was great! Much better than the last time we were there, although we had the exact same table!
DS had been really sad about no Stitch at Surf's Up, but was thrilled when Genie was at Goofy's! We saw; Genie, Aladdin, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Mulan, Goofy, and Baloo. Food was very good as well.

So that's the trip, I guess I had more to say than I thought! Overall. It was crowded. Wednesday (holiday) and Saturday were the most crowded. We have always gone when the hours were at least 9am-10pm. I really felt the shorter hours were a hinderence. I don't think we'll do this season again. I didn't see any advantage to the weekdays, true that there were less people and the peak line waits might have been a little shorter, but those precious empty early morning hours are lost. EMH during the week, was not as effective as it was when the park opened earlier. We still had a wonderful time. It is the happiest place on Earth after all!
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:50 PM   #2
txcorey
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Thanks for the info. We leave in about 3 weeks and I couldn't be any more excited. You make me have hope that we can get over and ride or get FP for RSR first thing in the morning.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:19 PM   #3
interstate70s
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I must admit I was rather suprised the Carsland strategy worked so well. I'm not a very pushy person, so I was suprised that every morning we were at DCA for EMH we were within the 10-30 people in line for RSR. I went more into detail about it in this thread.

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2999608

On Sunday, it would have worked even better, there were a lot less people for 7am EMH. We got to security around 6:20-6:30 and we were about the third group in line for RSR, but since it wasn't running we didn't want to gamble and waste that hour and we had rode it 4 times during the week.
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