|11-26-2012, 04:02 PM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Finally back at DLR! 11/20/12 - 11/25/12
We just got back last night from a weeklong road trip to Disneyland with our 3 kids. DS is 8, DD will be 5 in February and DS2 is almost a year old. Our last trip to DLR was in October 2010 for DS's 6th birthday. We also had a trip to WDW planned for August 2011, that we had to cancel the day before we were scheduled to leave because of pregnancy complications. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement. We just couldn't swing flying all 5 of us to Orlando right now so we decided to reschedule for DLR instead. It took 15 months to make it happen, but we did it and had a blast!
We drove down to Las Vegas last Sunday and spent 2 nights there because dh had some meetings on Monday. We stayed off the strip at the Embassy Suites and had a nice relaxing start to our trip.
We arrived in Anaheim Tuesday afternoon 11/20 and checked into our room at HoJo. This was our second time staying there and our second time in a 2 Queen deluxe room in building 2 facing the quiet pool. Our room was ready when we arrived around 2pm so we unpacked the car and changed into swimsuits so the kids could enjoy the warm weather at the pirate play area. We found our room to be clean and quiet, with plenty of space for all of us. There are 2 sinks in the bathroom and there is a microwave and fridge. We were in 2-303 on the 3rd floor. They played for almost 3 hours and then we changed and walked over to Downtown Disney. My 8 year old is a Lego maniac so we headed to the Lego store first and he spent more than an hour building and racing cars outside the store. We had dinner at Earl of Sandwich and then headed back to our room around 9pm.
On Wednesday we were up around 7 and out the door and to the gates before 8 and had a frustratingly long wait at the gate at DCA. We had Costco 4 day Park Hoppers and in our case they reprinted tickets with our names on them but the cast member at the gate was an older woman who seemed uncomfortable typing on an onscreen keyboard so this took FOREVER. We were asked for ID every time we entered the park from then on. The problem is you never know when you are going to be behind someone who is entering the park for the first time so the lines have been moving slowly.
I got in the FP line for Radiator Springs Racers at 8:20am and it was wrapped all the way around to the Art of Animation by then. It moved quickly and I got 4 fast passes with an 8:30pm return time at about 8:35am. All the FPs were gone by 9:05. We spent the rest of the morning wandering around Cars Land and found very manageable lines for everything else in the park. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree was a walk on and we waited about 30 minutes for Luigi's. We made use of the rider switch passes on both of those because we had DS2 with us as well. Cars Land is PHENOMENAL! Seriously, it is SO well done. You really feel like you have stepped into a movie. It has totally changed DCA, as has the new Buena Vista Street. There is so much more to see and so many more live entertainment acts. We walked on Ariel several times and did Jumping Jellyfish, the rocket ride and Goofy's Sky School with almost no waits. DS rode California Screamin with us 3x and loved it and DD rode the carousel as often as she wanted. We ate lunch at the Mexican place on Pacific Wharf and spent most of our day at DCA and watched the Pixar Play parade in the afternoon and then took a break at the hotel and went back to ride RSR that night.
I really wanted to ride Tower of Terror on the way in and thought my 8 year old would be ok on it. We had FP for it and got right on but he wasn't too excited about it. He was even less excited when they stopped the ride at the very TOP and announced they were bringing us back to the start because of a safety concern. They lowered the car down slowly with the lights on at full and opened the doors. They pulled 2 girls off the front row and took them into the hallway and by then DS was DONE and said he wanted to get off. when I took him out the CM was lecturing the 2 girls in the hallway but I couldn't hear what he was saying. I mentioned to the CM at the register in the gift shop that the ride had stopped and what I saw and she asked if it was 2 girls and when I replied yes she said that it has been happening a lot. She didn't elaborate and DS wanted to go so I didn't ask for more information. It was just really odd. I couldn't see what they had done since it was so dark and I had been watching DS.
Even the fast pass line for RSR took quite a while and we had to do rider switch again, but it was SO worth it. The ride was awesome and the kids loved it. DH rode the first time with my 4 year old and 8 year old and then I went on with the 4 year old while the boys went back to Downtown Disney for more Lego fun. While I was in line there was a family behind us that included a 3 year old, his mom and the grandfather on an ECV. We had been chatting with them for a while and they were very nice. I had just picked up DD to talk to her when suddenly the ECV crashed into me from behind and kept coming. Thankfully the mom from their group caught me before I went over with DD in my arms. The grandfather had put the 3 year old on his lap on the ECV and the little boy started it and the grandfather couldn't get his hand off of the accelerator so it was still moving after it hit me. I am SO grateful that I had picked DD up just then because if he had hit her with the ECV we would have been at the Emergency room that night, I am sure. I really think that DLR needs to have a policy of NO lap riders on ECVs and that they need to enforce it strictly. They are just too dangerous to let small children have access to the controls. I probably should have had someone look at my ankle, but it seemed ok at the time. It's still a little stiff, though.
We slept hard that night and got up later Thanksgiving morning and didn't arrive at DCA until almost 9am with our friends who had arrived the night before. I was again able to get fast passes for RSR with an 8:30pm return time so we went and toured DCA again and hit some things we had missed the day before and did a few of our favorites again. We ate brunch at Flo's V8 cafe and I highly recommend the Brioche French toast. It was really good! We got in line at about 10:55 and when I got to the front of the line it was 10:58 and they were just about to switch the menu to lunch. The CM let me order my French toast and then they switched the computer so my kids could get mac n cheese and a sandwich, which really made my day.
We had another day of very manageable lines, the longest being TSMM. We loved the 3D Prep and Landing movie they are showing in the Muppet Theatre (and I am a HUGE Muppet fan so I was at first sad to see it was on hiatus). We went back to take a break around 5 before our Thanksgiving dinner reservation at Storyteller's at 7:20. We really enjoyed the buffet at Storyteller's and the atmosphere was great! When we were done we all went back and I waited with the baby while everyone else went on RSR. I wandered around the shops in Cars Land and took some pictures of the lights.When they got off, the dads volunteered to take the kids back to the hotel and my friend and I stayed to ride one more time. We were on and off with fast passes in less than 15 minutes that time and we took our time walking back through Elias and Co on the way back to the hotel.
We are really not good at rushing in the morning, so we again got a late start on Friday. There were definitely more crowds going in to Disneyland around 9:30am than we had seen going in to DCA the day before but it still wasn't bad overall. We went to get FP for Space Mountain and then walked over to ride Big Thunder Mountain RR, which had a 10 minute wait. We did rider switch again and I got on with DS almost immediately. Our group split up for a while after that because they wanted to go ride Splash and we didn't. We went over to Pirates of the Caribbean and waited less than 15 minutes. DH had to jump out of line to take DD to the bathroom but they let him come back up the exit and we met at the top of the queue with no issues.
We then had lunch at Cafe Orleans. DH had the French Dip and I chose the corn chowder bread bowl. Mine was SO good. Dh's was average. The kids at mac n cheese again. I also got a 6 pack of beignets on the way out, which we ate while walking around. The kids played in Tarzan's treehouse for a while and by then it was time to see the Christmas parade. Our friends were already sitting so we went and joined them. There was plenty of space just 15 minutes before the parade but it all filled in quickly. The kids really enjoyed the parade, and so did we. However, dh commented on the fact that the entire parade uses the SAME song. It's still playing in my head! Some Christmas carols would have been a nice addition. It just got repetitive.
After the parade we went and rode Space mountain using Fast Passes and ended up giving a few of ours away as well. While the second group was on Space Mountain, dh took DD to ride the rockets and then on to meet Tink, which she LOVED. Things are getting spotty in my memory here, but I think we split up again here because the friends had gotten to the top of the line at Splash that morning and it broke down so they wanted to go back to it. We made our way up to Fantasy Land and rode It's a Small World Holiday twice, waiting 5 minutes each time. Our kids LOVE this ride and I will admit that I really like the holiday version a lot. The parade was passing by during our second trip in line so they caught Santa again. When were done there the parade crowds had dissipated so we made our way back to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear and waited about 15 minutes. DH then wanted to take DS on Autopia but the line was 40 minutes so we decided we would do that on Saturday. We decided to call it an earlier night and made our way up Main Street, stopping to shop for some Christmas ornaments and just in time to see the light show on the Castle and the snow on Main Street! We had take out dinner in our room and hit the sack early.
By Saturday, our kids were starting to really feel the fatigue, and our 4 year old was especially whiny, which hadn't happened at all the previous 3 days. We took our double jogger (Mountain Buggy Double) and our single (Cybex Callisto) that day so that my 8 year old could take a break a couple of times. We hit the Haunted Mansion first thing and then we managed to be first in line to meet DD's favorite characters, Jack and Sally!! I was carrying DS2 in the Beco carrier on my chest and Jack looked down at us and said "Oh look, she has a growth - and it's alive!" It was quite funny. We met up with our friends again and rode the Jungle Cruise and then split up again so we could do Autopia and Jedi Training. We had lunch at Pizza Port (the pasta with garlic cream sauce was really good and huge). We ended up leaving the park around 2 and intended on taking a short break, but we ended up back at Downtown Disney after 3 hours of pool time and we never made it back in to the park. In hindsight I would not have done a sit down dinner that night (Tortilla Jo's) so that we could have made it back for a few last rides. Once dinner was done, though, we were all SO tired and the lines back into the park (at 9pm) were HUGE because the fireworks were at 9:30, so we went back to the hotel and crashed.
We packed up on Sunday morning and started on the LONG drive home. We stopped at Steak N Shake in Las Vegas for lunch and then met some friends who were on their way TO Disneyland for dinner further north. We finally rolled into the driveway at 10:30pm last night. We had a blast and I already can't wait to go back!
I can NOT believe how easy going DS2 was for the whole trip. He was content to ride around in the stroller smiling at people or hang out in the Beco with me on the dark rides. I was a little apprehensive about taking a baby that age to DL, but he was SO easy. We had several instances of Cast Members going above and beyond for us and our kids and I sincerely appreciated the moments of magic they helped create.
If anyone has any questions, fire away!
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