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Old 12-10-2012, 09:06 PM   #16
PHXscuba
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Glad you had a great time. I'll look forward to reading the trip report! I hate PDD!

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Old 12-17-2012, 11:17 PM   #17
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OK, I guess I've had enough downtime to recuperate from Disney (and to somehow squeeze in Christmas shopping and decorating!). Now... on to the trip report!
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:09 AM   #18
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Our morning started bright and early at 4:15am. The alarm rang and immediately Chase poked his head around the corner into our room and said "We're going to Disneyland!" Brian woke up Carissa and I woke up Tristan, saying "Time to get up... we're going to Disneyland!" I think we expected some sleepy little cheers from them but I guess it was a little too early for that. Oh well, we were all still little excited.

We didn't get out of the house as quickly as we would have liked this morning. Brian and I are slowly realizing that time is of no consequence to teenagers. Everyone was moseying about the house, chatting and not really getting their butts in gear. So by the time we got out of the house we were 15 minutes later than we'd hoped.

The drive to the airport was clear but Brian and I were both silently watching the clock, knowing that we could be pushing it close if the airport was busy. We did arrive in plenty of time, however. Brian dropped me and the kids off at the curb with the luggage while he went and parked the van in the long term parking and then took a shuttle back to the terminal. The kids and I walked right up to the JetBlue counter and checked our bags, though we had to keep Brian's with us until he could personally check it in. Thankfully his journey went quickly and he was back at the terminal within about 20 minutes of leaving there.

Next up was the dreaded security... and I do mean dreaded. Brian and I both commented, again, on how security is probably the most stressful part of our vacation. It's just no fun at all and trying to keep everyone and everything in line was quite a hassle. I did have a small moment of panic when I got my shoes and all my other assorted gear (especially my precious camera!) back on and then realized that I'd left my phone in a bucket at the scanner. Oh no! I hadn't walked too far, but my heart skipped a beat until I found it. *whew*

By now the time was 6am and we hiked it down to gate c6. We knew the plane would board about 6:30, so I went and got some juice and water and Brian and Carissa hit the bathroom. Then it was just sitting and waiting while we munched our breakfast of Krispy Kreme donuts (which we also hauled through security... maybe we need to rethink how much stuff we are bringing with us!).

Anyways, 10 donuts and 30 minutes later we were laden with sugar and ready to board the plane. We were flying JetBlue, an airline the family had never flown. I had flown them once before, in my girls getaway trip with Beks back in May of 2010, so I knew that I wanted the family to fly JetBlue. There's something about those TV's in the back of the seats that really make the flight seem so much quicker and easier! Of course, the fact that it's only 2 hours to California (as opposed to 8 hours to Florida) might have something to do with it too.

We arrived in Long Beach safe and sound and our driver met us at the baggage claim area. We prearranged service from DK Livery and it was great (at least this leg of it was). We even got a short stop at a grocery store to pick up some water, milk and apples for the room.

We got to our hotel, the Best Western Park Place Inn, and were pleased that it was exactly where I envisioned it being... directly across the street from the park! It is such a quick and easy walk to the park from here and I love that! Anyways, when we arrived the clerk asked for my voucher for the hotel room. My reply was something along the lines of "voucher? I don't have a voucher!". My internal panic set in for a little while, thinking that the only possibly place it could be was back at home in Oregon with the bits and pieces of the travel packet that we didn't take with us. Oh no! For a moment there I really thought they were going to tell me that I'd have to pay for the room again! I did ask if they could maybe call Disney Travel to verify that we did indeed pay for the room and they said they would, however when we checked back later to pick up our room keys I asked and they still didn't have anything. We'll see how that works out. (Edited to add: When we checked out the final day no one said a peep about not having the slip, so in the end I guess it all worked out).

Now that we were check in, had our luggage stowed in the hotels luggage room and were generally all done with travel for the day, we headed straight to the parks!

We arrived about 11:30am and headed straight for the lockers, so Brian could put the backpack and coats in there. I waited in line to trade my Photopass Plus pre-purchase voucher in for the actual Photopass Plus lanyard and card at the photo center. This took FOREVER! Like 20-25 minutes. They only had 3 people working the photo kiosks and the customers they had were apparently very needy, as not a single transaction was completed in the first 15 minutes of my wait. Eventually my turn came though and I got my Photopass Plus lanyard. While I was waiting (and waiting), Brian and the kids ran to the Blue Sky Cellar to trade the vouchers for free lanyards and pin that we received as part of our package. Now Brian and I actually have pin trading necklaces. We even both traded today.

Our original plan was to head straight to Screamin', but I wanted to grab a Soarin' fastpass on the way, so we took the longer route from Blue Sky, which took us past Soarin'.

We stowed the fastpasses and then tried to get fastpasses for GRR, as I thought they were not connected to the fastpass system. Wrong. My bad. No fastpasses. But the standby line was only 5 minutes long so we got a locker for all our gear and went on our first ride of the trip - Grizzly River Run. First stop was the lockers to drop all of our stuff except Brian's phone in it's waterproof case and Chase's waterproof camera. Which means we actually got to take a few photos on the ride!

We had fun in line and laughed at the misfortune of others... like when they got spayed with water or the tube kept spinning (as kept happening with us... btw, spinning rides are NOT Brian's forte). Then we loaded up for a little Disney fun. See how excited the kids are?





^ Remember that pose from Tristan. You'll be seeing a lot of it. LOL

Brian got hit by a huge wave


And the kids got some residual wetness


Somehow this ride did not do me any favors today. I left with a grossly wet backside, as an entire wave made its way directly down the back of my pants and soaked right in. Just great.

Chase got out relatively dry, as did Tristan. But not the rest of us. What a way to start the day! LOL

After our ride we collected our gear and set back on our way, towards Screamin'. We met a Photopass photographer on the way and got our first round of group shots this trip. See how wet we are?




(They snuck this creepy dog into our picture! I'm sure it's probably Frankenweenie, but when I got the pic it sort of freaked me out. Where did it come from?!? LOL I had to add more cartoons to it so I could hide it a little!)



Just wait... it only gets wetter...

Last edited by pixleyyy; 01-13-2013 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:14 AM   #19
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So frustrating! Spent most of my night fighting with Photobucket and my computer, who didn't want to play nice. Grrrr. So we only got a little TR tonight. Plenty more to come...
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:51 PM   #20
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Good for you getting the boys to all wear black so your pictures would turn out cute! I am waffling on the PhotoPass Plus for our spring trip and will be interested to see what you thought of it overall. The long wait to activate it would make me impatient (rides! now!)

DD13 just cleaned out her room and gave me her "matchy" Disney shirt from our last trip. She told me she doesn't want to match on our next trip. So I guess a realistic goal will be "not clashing."

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Old 12-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by PHXscuba View Post
Good for you getting the boys to all wear black so your pictures would turn out cute! I am waffling on the PhotoPass Plus for our spring trip and will be interested to see what you thought of it overall. The long wait to activate it would make me impatient (rides! now!)

DD13 just cleaned out her room and gave me her "matchy" Disney shirt from our last trip. She told me she doesn't want to match on our next trip. So I guess a realistic goal will be "not clashing."

PHXscuba
That's what we went for ... coordinating but not matching. It seemed to appease everybody. We had specific colored days... one was blue, one was red and green, one was black and grey (though apparently DS14 thought this meant navy blue... which I didn't find out until later in the day when he took his hoodie off for family pics). The last day was a "wear whatever you want" day, which ended up with most people in a park shirt of some kind that they'd purchased on the trip. So it worked for us and no one had to wear "matching" clothes.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:15 PM   #22
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We make our way over to Screamin' and see that the posted wait time was 30 minutes, however the fastpass return time was only 35 minutes from that time. Fastpass it is! Carissa was so excited to ride this ride and made sure she grabbed the fastpasses for it.


We stored the fastpasses and then walked the boardwalk. We hadn't eaten since our measly Krispy Kreme breakfast at 6am, but we didn't want to eat before Screamin' so we toughed it out. First stop was the Silly Symphony Swings.


I did mention that round-and-round isn't Brian's thing so he sat it out. Apparently it's no longer mine either. I used to love the swings at the state fair each year and this is just like those. Well, lesson learned. No more giant swings for me! I left feeling just a little out of sorts, though I was just fine. We passed up the Jumpin' Jellyfish and the kids went for a quick ride on the Golden Zephyr. Yes, I really did learn my lesson as I didn't go with them on this ride. I just stayed below and took photos, nice and safe on the ground.

Since we were so close we hit the Little Mermaid ride. It was a posted 5 minute wait but it was basically walk on. It was cute I suppose, but not so fabulous that I'd have to do it again. Good story, good music, but then again, I've already seen the move. The good news was that at some point in the ride it stopped, which allowed me to get some pretty decent photos inside the ride. It's hard to get good photos on a dark ride while you're moving and without flash, so I was pleased to have a chance to practice while we were sitting still. LOL




Anywho, it was FINALLY 12:30 and time to use our fastpasses for Screamin'! We took the fastpass line, which saved us a little bit of time (not a ton, but some). When it was our turn a fabulous green car pulled up and we went to get on... only the seat I was due to sit in was covered in puke. So was the floor of the car. And the ground outside the unloading area. Eeeeeewwwww! Everyone else had already loaded and I had to get a castmember's attention to let them know that there was puke there. The whole time I kept thinking "I hope they don't take off and my kids get covered in that puke during the ride". I forget how careful they are all checking and double-checking belts, so I'm sure they would have caught it, but the thought was not a pleasant one. In the end they took everyone off the car, flipped a track behind them, reversed that car and a nice red one (red is better than green anyhow!) pulled up. Finally, our chariot arrived! And Carissa could FINALLY get her first ever ride on Screamin'! The countdown commenced and we were off like a bullet. This ride just does not disappoint. Each and every time I am laughing and screaming and just loving it! And you get a long of bang for your buck with this ride, as it covers a lot of ground, a lot of different elements and has a decent length to it. Loved it! Here's Carissa's first ride on Screamin'!


With Screamin' taken care of we could finally sit down and eat. We were all hungry and getting just a little grumpy because of it. Chase had been wanting Corndog Kingdom since he ate there as a little boy. Back then they were footlong corndogs and he was a little 10 year old. The pictures I took of him eating that were never used because they looked almost lewd. This time they were more appropriate, in big thanks to the fact that the corn dogs are much smaller.

Carissa, Tristan and I ate at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. We all had pepperoni flatbread pizza and waters to drink. It really wasn't that fabulous and was, of course, expensive. Carissa only commented that her pizza didn't taste good but she'd still eat it... since it had parmesan on it! LOL

We'd now thoroughly covered the boardwalk area of DCA and it was time to move on. We decided to use our Soarin' fastpasses, but you know what happened on the way by Grizzly? I made the kids stop for photos!

You know what else happened? The same thing that happened last time: some genius says "only a 5 minute wait, why don't we ride". So we did.

Back to the lockers to store our gear than a pretty quick queue and then right on the ride. This time the raft spun even more and better than that... we got totally soaked. Like, all of us got soaked. Wayyyyy worse than the first time. This time I think two waves must have gone down my pants, as Brian commented that I looked like I was wearing a bikini under my clothes, as he could see it all since my 2 layered shirts and the butt of my jeans were both soaked through.
Brian took a huge wave right over his head that got him so wet that he had wet socks all day long. It was quite unpleasant and as the day progressed he got grouchy because of his wet feet.

We finally made our way over to Soarin', all quite wet and unhappy with our impromptu visit to GRR. Our fastpasses helped bypass the line quite a bit, so we only had about a 10 minute wait. Not too shabby at all. We did end up in the back (bottom, when riding) row, so we had feet in our view. Not my favorite. We'll be riding this several more times this trip, so we'll ask for front row at least once so we can get that wonderful, unobscured view. What a fabulous, fabulous ride. And one of the only rides I can think of that gets applause at the end every single time. We all love, love, loved it!

I know we'd recently had lunch but I thought some down time was in order, so we headed over to Clarabelle's for some ice cream. It was quite a treat this trip to not have to worry so much about money, as we'd saved up quite a bit more than needed. So for once we let the kids go to town and order whatever they wanted. Tristan got the seasonal ice cream, Peppermint Stick, with a chocolate dipped waffle cone with candy cane pieces on it.

Chase got strawberry ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone with sprinkles.

Brian got a double-scoop cookies and cream in a waffle cone

and Carissa got a make-your-own ice cream bar with vanilla ice cream, dipped in milk chocolate and coated with sprinkles and mini chocolate chips.

I decided to forego Clarabelle's in favor of the Mickey head ice cream bar that I'd been eyeing all day long. We all sat down at the fountain outside and just ate our ice cream and listened to the News Boys show going on right next to us. It was a good, relaxing moment for us all.

Up next... a trip down Hollywood Blvd.

Last edited by pixleyyy; 01-13-2013 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:48 AM   #23
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LOVE all the pics!! It is making me soooo excited for our first trip!!...I had already decided those swings are not for me Im not much on spinning around things Im a little nervous about the tea cups
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Christmas 2012-1st Disneyland trip-hopefully many more to come
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:46 PM   #24
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Loving the trip report! Keep it coming!
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:23 PM   #25
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Your ice cream looks awesome. I am a big peppermint fan but I have a feeling it will be long gone when we are there in March.

I don't do circular rides well either, never have. I can maybe do one if I'm careful but no more. I have finally wised up to understand that there are no prizes for toughing it out on rides you hate, or you end up covering a Screamin' car in puke! So I will wave to my kids and take pictures.

My DH hates water rides, so unless the weather is perfect and we are about to go back to the hotel, he won't want to ride GRR. We didn't last time because it was gray and raining on and off.

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Old 12-19-2012, 04:36 PM   #26
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Great pics!
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:25 AM   #27
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I'm 'in'! Looks like you had a wonderful first day. No Toy Story Mania for your family??

My DH won't ride the water rides so we've never been on GRR. It does look like fun though when we've watched.

Thanks for sharing your trip.

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Old 12-20-2012, 08:58 AM   #28
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I'm 'in'! Looks like you had a wonderful first day. No Toy Story Mania for your family??

My DH won't ride the water rides so we've never been on GRR. It does look like fun though when we've watched.

Thanks for sharing your trip.

TK
We arrived midday and the wait time for TSMM was really long. It averaged 45-60 minutes the entire time we were there. We do end up riding it later in the trip however.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:58 PM   #29
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Disneyland Day 1, Part 3

Up next was a walk down Hollywood Blvd. and the Monsters Inc ride! I snapped a few park photos on the walk and they give you an idea of weather while we were there... mostly overcast, though low 70's (which is great weather for Oregonians!).




While in line for Monsters Inc, Chase spent quite a bit of his time with his nose stuffed in his hidden Mickey's book, looking for all the hidden Mickey's in the queue and on the ride. Another pretty short line meant a quick ride through for us.




We looked at the time and realized that we had missed the 2:20 showing of Aladdin. Bummer! Instead, it was time for Tower of Terror!





This was another super short line. We walked almost directly into the pre-show room and then had about 5 minutes of waiting before being seated for the ride. I really love this ride! It makes my heart skip a beat every time and I love that you can't tell how high you are or how far you are going to fall! (And unlike the WDW version, I didn't walk away feeling sick for an hour afterwards). Brian said that Carissa was trying to catch things flying out of her purse during the ride! Thankfully all was recovered. We took a moment to add the pics to our photopass card then headed outside.


Aladdin was just getting out so I had the kids make a quick decision: Animation or Bugs Land. Drawing or kiddie rides... which do you think won? Drawing, of course! By the time we got there it was about 3:15pm and the next animation academy drawing class was scheduled for 3:30. They were drawing the Cheshire Cat. I gave the kids the option of staying around or moving on, but in the end they decided to stick around. I did a little scream of joy inside when they chose that, as I love the Cheshire Cat and was so glad to get to draw him! He was a tough one to draw, but we all came out with pretty decent drawings of him.

My drawing:

The kids with their drawings (Chase apparently couldn't peel his eyes off the giant screen playing Disney movies on the wall behind me!):

The kids had looked at the list of upcoming drawing characters and something caught their eye... Oswald the Rabbit. He was being drawn at 5:30 and they really wanted to go. I told them we'd try to make it back in time for him, but we weren't going to wait around another hour and a half waiting. Besides, we still hadn't been to Cars Land and were dying to go!

Last edited by pixleyyy; 12-20-2012 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:05 AM   #30
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Great report. Thanks for posting!!
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