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Old 12-29-2012, 01:15 PM   #1
Escape2Disney
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What?? No More Disney?? We'll see about THAT! ~~ Trip Report Starts on Pg 2 (Post 24)

Travel Dates: September 15 – September 28, 2013
Travel Method: Car
Accommodations: Friend's House in Fair Oaks, Best Western in Marina, Embassy Suites in Valencia, Friend's House in Oceanside, and Paradise Pier Hotel (There are other friends who have offered, so the couch surfing locations may change)
Ages Represented: Me (42), DD (19)
Disney Resort Experience: Die-hard Disneyland Veterans!

Purpose of the Trip:
We got home from our incredible 2012 Christmas trip on December 13th. It truly was a bucket-list vacation full of firsts and wonderful memories. Here is the report if you'd like to read all about it. It was also a stark reminder of the extent of my illness. The two weeks after we got home were full of steroids, advancement of symptoms, and considerable pain. I knew I'd have to deal with some health issues from being around so many people and being more active than I should. What I didn't expect was a dictate from the doctor – No flying for a while. He wouldn't qualify 'a while', but it sounded pretty ominous to me. To top it off, I'm not supposed to drive for more than 2 hours at a stretch. I was starting to think my Disney days were over. Here I am with an Annual Pass, and no way to use it!

Anyone who knows me can tell you the best way to get me to do something is to tell me it's impossible.

Grumpy, frustrated, and more than a little sad, I wasn't defeated. Disneyland is my happy place; my something-to-look-forward-to when all of this reality junk gets to be overwhelming. There's no way I was going to give that up! My mind started churning. How could I justify another trip? How could I get there and back with no flying, and no driving more than two hours at a stretch?

Then it hit me...

DD is currently in community college, and will be transferring to a university in a couple of years. She's pretty sure where she wants to go, but I didn't want her to make any snap judgments. We have an arrangement – she will tour at least 15 schools before making a final decision. She's already been through the Oregon schools that would work for her, so why not tour schools in California?

I could feel the wheels turn and the smile return to my face...

Since we have so many Universities to visit, and friends along the way who are willing to let us crash at their house, we're breaking the trip up into more manageable chunks so I SHOULDN'T have any issues. Besides, I plan to ask the doctor if I can fudge the time on the no-long-drive dictate by laying down in the van while DD drives for longer stretches.

Tentative Itinerary:
  • September 15th: Drive to Fair Oaks, and tour CSUS (Stops in Yreka and Redding)
  • September 16th: Drive to Marina (Stop in Santa Nella)
  • September 17th: Tour CSUMB
  • September 18th: Drive to Valencia (Find three stops between Marina and Valencia)
  • September 19th: Morning tour of Cal Arts / Afternoon at The Getty
  • September 20th: The Getty / Drive to Oceanside
  • September 21st: Tour SDSU
  • September 22nd: Disneyland
  • September 23rd: Disneyland
  • September 24th: Disneyland
  • September 25th: Disneyland
  • September 26th: Disneyland
  • September 27th: Disneyland / Drive to Fair Oaks (find 3 stops between Disneyland and Fair Oaks)
  • September 28th: Fair Oaks / Home (Stop in Redding and Yreka)
DD starts her Fall quarter on September 30th, so I wanted to be sure she had at least a day to relax before starting a new term.

Why Plan NOW?
Yes, I realize September 15th is more than 9 months away. Do I really need to plan now? Logistically, no. But why put off something so fun? Why not start now and let my mind slip into Disney bliss a little each week? I have another surgery scheduled on the 9th of January, and mentally planning itineraries while laying in a hospital bed seems a whole lot more fun than thinking about feeling sorry for myself! So let the planning commence!

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Old 12-29-2012, 06:02 PM   #2
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YAY!!!!! I'm happy for you and having a trip on the horizon is great motivation and a mood enhancer!!! You'll be at Disneyland for my birthday!!!! So you'll have to make sure and have a goodie for me!!
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizNee Luver View Post
YAY!!!!! I'm happy for you and having a trip on the horizon is great motivation and a mood enhancer!!! You'll be at Disneyland for my birthday!!!! So you'll have to make sure and have a goodie for me!!
Glad you're joining my planning party!!

It sure will be a great motivation! I learned a dozen surgeries ago that it always goes better if I have something to look forward to. Who knows what crazy details I'll come up with in the next few weeks??!

Let me know what kind of goodie you'd have and I'll give it a shot!
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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Today I started sending out the 'WE'RE COMING TO TOWN' emails!! This part is nearly as fun as planning for the Disney portion of the trip. For almost every stop, we'll have 2-5 people we'll be seeing - some of them for the first time in a decade! I can't wait to hug my brother, have coffee with ex-coworkers, and get into deep philosophical discussions with one of my closest friends. DD can't wait to reconnect with family and our friend who practices the same form of karate as her.

I can't wait to see them all!!

DD is starting to get a little agitated about the college tours. She's in a funny place - anxious to be an adult, but terrified of the people who occupy the world. She's so very capable, but still struggles with the social limitations from the autism. I keep reminding her that she isn't leaving for a while, but the tours just make it more real. It's a good thing we're finishing the trip with MICKEY!! I don't think she'd go otherwise. Some may think I'm crazy to talk to her this far in advance about it all, but DD does not do well with surprises. She needs to go through a variety of emotional phases before taking off. She's going back and forth between excitement and terror right now. It'll take her the 8 months to make peace with the fact that she will be moving out in a couple of years.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape2Disney View Post
Today I started sending out the 'WE'RE COMING TO TOWN' emails!! This part is nearly as fun as planning for the Disney portion of the trip. For almost every stop, we'll have 2-5 people we'll be seeing - some of them for the first time in a decade! I can't wait to hug my brother, have coffee with ex-coworkers, and get into deep philosophical discussions with one of my closest friends. DD can't wait to reconnect with family and our friend who practices the same form of karate as her.

I can't wait to see them all!!

DD is starting to get a little agitated about the college tours. She's in a funny place - anxious to be an adult, but terrified of the people who occupy the world. She's so very capable, but still struggles with the social limitations from the autism. I keep reminding her that she isn't leaving for a while, but the tours just make it more real. It's a good thing we're finishing the trip with MICKEY!! I don't think she'd go otherwise. Some may think I'm crazy to talk to her this far in advance about it all, but DD does not do well with surprises. She needs to go through a variety of emotional phases before taking off. She's going back and forth between excitement and terror right now. It'll take her the 8 months to make peace with the fact that she will be moving out in a couple of years.
That's so exciting that you'll be able to reconnect with lots of friends and family on your road trip!! That's part of the reason we went that route. It was so fun meeting some people for the first time, re-visiting friends and surprising my brother.

I totally get the planning early thing.....but we deal with autism too (as you already knew). The more time these kids/young adults can have to process, react, process some more and react many times over.....the better!! I imagine she'll probably do pretty good once the time gets here. She may even be excited!!! (fingers crossed)
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10 of Us Summer Trip~2010: HERE 25th Anniv.TR~2009: HERE

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Old 12-31-2012, 09:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizNee Luver View Post
That's so exciting that you'll be able to reconnect with lots of friends and family on your road trip!! That's part of the reason we went that route. It was so fun meeting some people for the first time, re-visiting friends and surprising my brother.

I totally get the planning early thing.....but we deal with autism too (as you already knew). The more time these kids/young adults can have to process, react, process some more and react many times over.....the better!! I imagine she'll probably do pretty good once the time gets here. She may even be excited!!! (fingers crossed)
It's so nice when people understand!! You said it perfectly - she has to process and re-process to work her way to excited. I'm so used to making everything a ten step process, I forget others don't do that!

Our best example of planning was the trip we took in December. Normally we plan things out and somehow it all gets tossed out the window by day 3. DD's anxiety goes up every time the schedule is forgotten. This trip we were much more rigid. We had to be with everything we had planned! She's still saying it was the best trip we have had so far. I think the upcoming September trip needs to be strongly tied to the schedule for her to be able to absorb all of the information from all of the colleges.

This girl sure keeps me organized!
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escape2Disney View Post
It's so nice when people understand!! You said it perfectly - she has to process and re-process to work her way to excited. I'm so used to making everything a ten step process, I forget others don't do that!

Our best example of planning was the trip we took in December. Normally we plan things out and somehow it all gets tossed out the window by day 3. DD's anxiety goes up every time the schedule is forgotten. This trip we were much more rigid. We had to be with everything we had planned! She's still saying it was the best trip we have had so far. I think the upcoming September trip needs to be strongly tied to the schedule for her to be able to absorb all of the information from all of the colleges.

This girl sure keeps me organized!
The twins do better keeping to a schedule, that's why I was shocked at how well they did this trip. We did do meals at the normal time, we didn't do naps, we didn't get to bed on time......but they adjusted to "Disney" time. I couldn't have been happier!!!
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10 of Us Summer Trip~2010: HERE 25th Anniv.TR~2009: HERE

DLR: 1967, 1972, 1984, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2013, 2014 WDW: 2013


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Old 01-02-2013, 08:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizNee Luver View Post
The twins do better keeping to a schedule, that's why I was shocked at how well they did this trip. We did do meals at the normal time, we didn't do naps, we didn't get to bed on time......but they adjusted to "Disney" time. I couldn't have been happier!!!
It could be that they're getting familiar with DLR so it feels like an extension of home. I'm so glad to hear it went well for you all! They look happy in all of your pictures!
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:06 PM   #9
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Just a really quick update...

Believe it or not, we've been invited to Club 33 AGAIN by someone entirely different! We almost passed, but thought "what the heck!" This time we'll be going for dinner, so it'll be a bit fancier. We also have the option on this visit to take some of our friends who are Disney fanatics as well. I can't think of a better place to catch up with people!
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:31 AM   #10
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Life Update
So 2013 started with some very big challenges. Long story short, I went in to the hospital for a simple surgery in early January, and ended up staying 70 days and nearly dying. Everything that could go wrong did, but I was too stubborn to die! I must have had angels watching over me because I came back from some petty harrowing situations. Right now I'm in a rehab facility and should be going home Friday.


The first few weeks in the hospital, I was unable to speak. Once I could talk, I started to remember our travel plans, and started grilling the doctor about whether or not I'd be able to go to Disneyland in September. The first response was “uh, how about waiting until next year”. I wasn't having THAT, so I waited a couple of weeks and asked again. This time the response was “MAYBE. A lot depends on how you do in the next few weeks”. Finally, on the day I left the hospital to go to the rehab facility, I was told “You can go as long as you don't fly”.


YAY!!!


New Plans
DD has decided she's only interested in two schools – Cal Arts, and SOU. She's already had many tours of SOU (and will likely end up going there), but has never seen the Cal Arts campus. Since she's visited a half dozen Oregon schools already, I relented and agreed she only had to do 2 more – CSUS and CSUMB.


My kids split their childhoods between Marina (Monterey) and Fair Oaks (Sacramento). Since we don't need the extra days for school tours, we decided to add time to Fair Oaks. With 2 days in Marina, and 3 in Fair Oaks, we'll be able to visit old friends and take our time to stroll down memory lane.


So, here's the updated version of our itinerary:

  • September 15th: Drive to Fair Oaks, and tour CSUS (Stops in Yreka and Redding)
  • September 16th: Drive to Marina (Stop in Santa Nella)
  • September 17th: Visit all of our old favorite places on the Monterey area and tour CSUMB
  • September 18th: Stay in Monterey until around 3pm. Drive to Valencia (Find three stops between Marina and Valencia)
  • September 19th: Morning tour of Cal Arts / Afternoon at The Getty
  • September 20th: The Getty / Drive to DL
  • September 21st: Disneyland
  • September 22nd: Disneyland
  • September 23rd: Disneyland
  • September 24th: Disneyland
  • September 25th: Disneyland
  • September 26th: Disneyland / Drive to Fair Oaks (find 3 stops between Disneyland and Fair Oaks)
  • September 27th: Fair Oaks
  • September 28th: Fair Oaks / Home (Stop in Redding and Yreka)
Does anyone have suggestions for stops in Yreka, Redding, and Santa Nella?


What Now??
I usually book rooms and buy tickets early, but this time I'm a little more hesitant. The tickets are a non-issue since we have APs. The rooms, however, are going to have to wait. We're hoping to stay at PPH again. I'm hoping an AP deal will be available for our dates, so that means waiting until Summer to book the room. We're also going to need rooms for the driving portion of our trip, but the best rates are pay-now-no-cancellation rates. I decided to wait a month or so to be SURE I'm healthy enough for travel.


So with nothing to book, how do I keep the Disney planning joy alive??
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:14 PM   #11
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Well, I did it....I booked PPH! With the cancellation policy being 5 days before the trip, I just couldn't help myself! I have to wait for the other hotels to get a better rate, but I just HAD to book something or I was going to lose my Disney-loving mind.

I'm still recuperating from that crazy hospital stay, so I've had lots of time to plan and re-plan the details of the trip. It keeps me sane - it keeps me thinking about the fun times we'll have in the Fall.

I have some MORE good news - I decided to join the DIVA trip in Feb/March! It'll be the first time I travel alone, but I'm really excited to meet other women who love Disney as I do. I will, of course, be writing a trip report for this as well.

One more little bit of news - we changed our dates so DD could have a week to rest before starting classes again. Here's the new (and hopefully final) change:
  • September 8: Drive to Fair Oaks (with frequent stops). Hang out with my sister-from-another-mother (AKA one of my closest friends).
  • September 9: Spend more time in Fair Oaks and touring CSUS before going to Stockton to see my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. After dinner, drive to Monterey.
  • September 10: See friends on the peninsula, go to the Tuesday Farmer's Market (oh how I miss that Farmer's Market)
  • September 11: Say goodbye to the peninsula, then drive to Valencia.
  • September 12: Tour Cal Arts and spend a half day at The Getty.
  • September 13: Spend all day at The Getty, then drive to DL in the evening.
  • September 14: Disneyland!!!! Carthay Theater Lunch, followed by WOC
  • September 15: Goofy's Breakfast, followed by park time.
  • September 16: DL/DCA and dinner at Café Orleans.
  • September 17: DL/DCA
  • September 18: DL/DCA
  • September 19: DL/DCA in the morning, then drive to Fair Oaks (with frequent stops)
  • September 20: Time with friends in Fair Oaks
  • September 21: Morning with friends and back home in the afternoon.

That's all for now! I hope everyone is enjoying their Spring!
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:38 PM   #12
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When you ask for "suggestions for stops" are you referring to hotels? or just something to do to kill time?

There isn't much to do in Santa Nella (that I know of). We usually stop there for a drive through lunch or pick up snacks and throw away trash at the Chevron.

We are in Redding frequently, however, to visit family in a neighboring town. We always go to Turtle Bay. They always have some sort of exhibit and during the summer into September those exhibits are over the top! Last year was a chocolate exhibit. They have a butterfly aviary and a lorakeet aviary.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:19 PM   #13
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When you ask for "suggestions for stops" are you referring to hotels? or just something to do to kill time?

There isn't much to do in Santa Nella (that I know of). We usually stop there for a drive through lunch or pick up snacks and throw away trash at the Chevron.

We are in Redding frequently, however, to visit family in a neighboring town. We always go to Turtle Bay. They always have some sort of exhibit and during the summer into September those exhibits are over the top! Last year was a chocolate exhibit. They have a butterfly aviary and a lorakeet aviary.
We're looking for places to walk around and kill time. Technically I am not supposed to drive or ride in a car more than 2-3 hours at a stretch. I can fudge a bit if I lay down and sleep while DD drives.

We've never been to Turtle Bay - that's a good idea!
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:24 PM   #14
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TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH
The good news is I'm getting a little healthier every day. The bad news? It is going much slower than I anticipated. Some of the risks associated with the overwhelming medical catastrophes I had for the first half of the year is frequent infections and slow healing. I still have an open wound on my abdomen - it's a little smaller than a deck of cards now. I'm also on yet another round of antibiotics. The doctors all think September will be just fine. I am choosing to believe them!

I decided to go ahead and book the rooms. One of them was heavily discounted for pre-payment. Being the penny-pincher I am, I took that leap of faith and pre-paid for the room. Now I KNOW I'll go because I hate to waste money!

OF COURSE - PLANS DO CHANGE
If you read my previous trip report, you are familiar with my constant plan changes. Since my health is deteriorating, we don't know which trip will be our last. I tend to up the wow factor whenever possible so we can continue to make memories.

With the awful medical issues this year, DD and I have been under a lot of stress. I really want this trip to be an escape from reality for DD - she deserves to take her mind off of reality for a couple of weeks.

We originally planned to stay at the DoubleTree in Culver City like we did last year. I wasn't thrilled with the outdated rooms, but it was familiar enough to be a contender. The more I thought about this, the less it appealed to me. Instead we will be staying at the DoubleTree in Marina Del Rey. It's a bit more expensive, but puts us a lot closer to the ocean.

This is a new theme for the trip; enjoying the Pacific Ocean as much as possible! Since I grew up in Monterey Bay, finding a hotel close to the water without breaking the bank was quite easy. In SoCal, I'm less comfortable. We chose DoubleTree because of the comfortable beds and updated rooms (Culver City excluded). DD is looking up information on Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach as we speak. I can see her smiling face behind her laptop...

THE ALL-IMPORTANT DIETARY NEEDS
We are 3 weeks away from making our Club 33 reservations. A few months back, they changed the reservation policy - members can reserve 90 days in advance, but reservations for non-members can't be made until the 60 day mark. No problem for us! Waiting a few more days is not a big deal.

Here's what we are hoping to reserve during the DLR portion of the trip:
  • 9/14 - Carthay Theater Lunch (WOC)
  • 9/15 - Goofy's Breakfast (bad experience in the past, but we're giving it another shot)
  • 9/16 - Brunch at Carnation Café and Dinner at Café Orleans
  • 9/17 - Dinner at Club 33
The rest of our meals will be counter service. This is unusual for us. It's been a while since we've relied on counter service locations, but there are a few we want to try/visit again:

New to Us:
  • Jolly Holiday Bakery Café
  • Troubadour Café
Been before and going again:
  • Pacific Wharf Café
  • Rancho del Zocalo
  • Paradise Garden Grill
  • White Water Snacks
For our travel days, we plan to go to some of our old favoritesThe rest we'll play by ear!

That's it for today's update. Thank you for tagging along on our journey!
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #15
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Just a quick update:

Over the last 2 days, I made plans to have lunch/dinner with many friends who live between here and DLR. After each conversation, I became more and more excited about the trip! All but a few of the meals between 9/8 and 9/13 will be with a different friend. I haven't seen many of them for a long time, so it'll be a real treat! It also gives us good reason to get out of the car every few hours like I'm supposed to.

I also got some good news today. The open wound I still have on my abdomen is healing faster than anticipated. This is a HUGE relief because I can't travel until it's closed. The doctors and nurses are in agreement that it likely will be within 3 weeks. After months of struggle, the past few days of positive news, fun plans, and anticipation for DISNEYLAND have really been just amazing! Life seems to be getting back to normal!

We decided to get the PhotoPass Plus again. I wasn't very good about getting into the pictures last time, so I plan to rectify that situation this year. We should get our package next week.

Next week I'll be able to make our dining reservations.

Here's hoping these next 8 weeks will fly by!
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