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Old 01-04-2013, 02:55 PM   #61
czmom
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I'll be anxious to hear the wrap-up!
Me too!
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:31 PM   #62
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Hidden Mickey! Awesome trip report, I love to see all the Christmas decorations.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:02 PM   #63
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Disneyland Day 3, Part 3

Tristan had made a run to the fastpass machines for Soarin' earlier in the day so we headed there for one of our favorite rides. We saw a Fastpass photographer so stopped for some photos, though the sun was apparently in our eyes as almost every photo had someone's eyes closed.





This time at Soarin' we asked for a front row and were reminded why we do that. Having nobody's shoes in your view makes all the difference! Brian is absolutely in love with the smells on the ride, specifically the smell when you fly over the orange tree orchards. Yummy! He wishes they would bottle that up and sell it, as he'd buy it! It's just such a wonderfully done ride and we enjoy it each time.

We wanted a chance to see Aladdin today so we headed that way. We had preferred seating tickets so got in the correct queue area and just waited for time to pass so we could choose our seat in the theater. The wait wasn't that long, maybe 15 minutes, before the preferred seating guest were allowed to enter. We chose seats along the aisle in the orchestra section, about 10 rows from the front. They were pretty great seats. Brian sat next to the aisle and appreciated being able to sit down and rest his weary feet as well as stretch his legs out. The kids really enjoyed the show and kept repeating the genie's jokes later in the day... "the dork knight" (for "the dark night"), "I found Nemo. I found him delicious. Nah, he was actually quite greasy" and tons of jokes about the Disney company recently paying billions of dollars for the rights to Star Wars. I was really glad that we took time to see this show again.














As soon as the show let out we went to Tower of Terror. It was a very short wait time and such a great ride. Brian and I both think it's better than WDW's, in that it doesn't seem as jerky or something. I felt soooooo ill after my last ToT ride in WDW, but I've ridden here twice now and it's been just fine for me.



We took a stroll through Bugs Land on our way back to Cars Land. Nobody expressed an interest in the Bugs Land rides. I think we've just moved beyond that point in our lives. Carnival rides are no longer fun! LOL

We were heading for Ghiradelli for the much-awaited ice cream. On our way through Cars Land we admired how Carissa's ears started glowing and flashing to the music there. So neat! I didn't get a photo there but have some coming up from World of Color. I did get this photo though... inside Cars Land looking at Grizzly River Run.


Our Ghiradelli ice cream was great. We got more samples of the peppermint bark and spent a ridiculous amount of money on ice cream (It was $34 for us all!), but it was another relaxing and tasty moment.
Brian's hot fudge sundae with almonds:

Chase's rocky road in a chocolate and sprinkled waffle cone:

Tristan's cookie dough in a chocolate and sprinkled waffle cone:

Carissa's cookies & cream in a cake cone:

My rocky road in a chocolate and peanut dipped waffle cone:


Our original plan was to head to GRR next, but the wind had picked up some and we were we knew we were going to be out late, so being wet for the rest of the evening wasn't a good choice. We decided to not go today. Surprisingly the one who grumbled about this was the one who would have been the coldest and grumpiest had she gotten wet - miss Riss. She really wanted to ride.


Instead the kids took some time on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, running around, playing on the rope bridges and huge outdoor play things. They seemed to have fun. Carissa was the only one who could go on the rope swing but the boys ran about playing and looking for hidden Mickey's.




See the hidden Mickey?


By this time it was almost 5. We had a 6:20 reservation for Goofy's Kitchen, so we started meandering our way towards that. We left using the GK hotel exit, passing by their beautiful lobby. If we'd had more time we probably would have gotten our picture taken with the Santa by the big tree, but there was a line and we wanted time to stroll Downtown Disney before our reservation.

The walk to GK was slow and leisurely. We stopped at a few stores, the pin booth, the Lego store and the candy store (where we found this hidden Mickey).


We didn't buy anything but just enjoyed looking around.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:11 PM   #64
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I still have 11 months for our trip, but your report and pictures just make me even more excited!! I look forward to hearing about Goofy's Kitchen...I am contemplating that on our arrival night.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:43 PM   #65
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I still have 11 months for our trip, but your report and pictures just make me even more excited!! I look forward to hearing about Goofy's Kitchen...I am contemplating that on our arrival night.
So excited for you! This was an amazingly fun trip for us and it's so much fun to visit any Disney park at Christmastime. My Goofy's experience is coming up and I think it will give you more to contemplate...
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:16 PM   #66
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Enjoying your report. It is very well written and pictures are amazing. We are considering a trip this summer to CA and it is interesting to read about your experiences. It's been 10 years since we've been to DLR/CA and it has changed a lot! I am interested to hear how WOC was!
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:28 PM   #67
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So excited for you! This was an amazingly fun trip for us and it's so much fun to visit any Disney park at Christmastime. My Goofy's experience is coming up and I think it will give you more to contemplate...
We have been to WDW the past 2 Decembers and it is wonderful! Next it is time to head West. I look forward to reading more!
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:15 AM   #68
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Nice installment! We love Soarin' too. I like the pine tree scent as we raft too.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:44 PM   #69
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So how "short" do you have to be to do the stuff in Redwood Creek like rope etc.? I think my two youngest would be able to if your daughter did.

I can't remember if you gave a verdict yet on whether you felt the Photopass Plus was a good value. I am seriously considering it for our March trip.

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:45 PM   #70
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So how "short" do you have to be to do the stuff in Redwood Creek like rope etc.? I think my two youngest would be able to if your daughter did.

I can't remember if you gave a verdict yet on whether you felt the Photopass Plus was a good value. I am seriously considering it for our March trip.

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Carissa is just shy of 5 feet and is about 70lbs. I think she was somewhere near the high end of the cutoff for the rope swing. The boys are 5'7" and 6' and both in the 120-ish weight range, so they were out. Not sure if that helps you but there you go.

I don't know that I gave a definitive answer on PP+ yet, but here's a quick rundown of our experience:
There were not a lot of PP photographers out, at least not when we wanted photos. For instance, we could not find a PP photographer outside the castle at night for photos. We looked on several different nights and at different times but found none. And since we don't wait in line for characters (where there usually are PP people) we got many less photos then previous trips.

The PP photographers that were out there (with the exception of one... which you'll hear about later in the TR) were really not good with their equipment or posing. For instance, I had one that posed us all in CA with the tree behind us. They should have been great photos except she put one son behind the other, so he's missing half his face in the photos. I had a lot of darker, underexposed photos (which I fixed as best I could in Photoshop) and photos where they only included portions of the park icon we were trying to be photographed with.

I did like the ride photos option on the PP plus. It's great to have those photos
I should have known better, but I didn't check my ride photos every day when I went back to the room. There's just so much going on while on vacation and I didn't want to spend more time each day checking all our ride photo receipts (which we also weren't great about keeping track of) vs. what showed up on our PP. For that reason we missed many, many ride photos. For instance, we only ended up with 2 from Space Mountain and we rode it at least twice as many times.

All that being said, I DO think PP+ is a great thing and I'd do it again. If not for PP I would have hardly any family photos from our trip... just one or two that I accosted strangers and asked them to take. And the ride photos are a good plus at a decent price. So yes, I'd recommend it but just be aware of my experiences and plan accordingly.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:47 PM   #71
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Nice installment! We love Soarin' too. I like the pine tree scent as we raft too.
That's one of my favorites!
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:55 AM   #72
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Disneyland Day 3, Part 4

We got to Goofy's Kitchen a little early but checked in anyways. We got our pictures taken with Goofy and our name was called as soon as that was over.



Dinner there was really not that good. Thank goodness we didn't pay out of pocket, as it would have been over $200! Instead we used the passes that came with our package. Even then, after this visit, we all would have chosen to use it elsewhere. None of us found the food very tasty. Tristan did try the PB&J pizza and liked it. He was excited when we got the recipe for it with our PP+ picture package. Dessert wasn't much better. When teenage boys leave dessert on their plate you know it isn't good.

The only positive part was seeing characters, which we didn't take time to do in the parks. We were able to see several characters, some of them multiple times. Minnie in particular came by a lot.






But we saw a few other characters too.







We laughed at Chip, who was trying to jump so he would be taller than Tristan and who danced with Carissa.




Later Dale came by and tried to push Tristan's head down so he wouldn't be taller.


Minnie came by a second (or was it third?) time and held out her hand to Chase, who tried to shake it. She then proceeded to point at her hand until Chase kissed it. He was smiling but embarrassed. Even when we mention it now he smiles and blushes.



Up next... our first time seeing World of Color.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:03 PM   #73
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Disneyland Day 3, Part 5

When dinner was over we meandered our way back to CA to see WOC. Melinda and her family had shown up quite early and saved us a pretty decent spot further back in the blue area but right up against the rail, so no one would be directly in front of us. We arrived about 7:30 for the 8:15 show and chatted with the Hunters while we waited for it to begin. None of us had ever seen this and didn't quite know what to expect. It was actually little scenes from some of our favorite Disney movies, with lots of music and songs. More than once Chase, Carissa and I were singing along to the music. Tristan and Brian aren't the singing types as much, but the rest of us belted out several great songs and smiled the whole time. At one point Chase was dancing to the music from the show and said quietly to himself "this never gets old". Ooooooohhhhh! Carissa's "Glow with the Show" ears were so cool and I got a few photos of them lighting up during the show. When "So Close" from Enchanted (a song I love!) came on I put my arm around Brian. He pulled Chase close and I pulled Tristan close. Carissa was right between them and we just stood there together and enjoyed the moment. It will be one of my favorite memories of this trip, I'm sure.

Here's a few of my favorite photos from the show.
























World of Color lasted about half an hour. The kids and I really liked it a lot. Brian was less enthusiastic but thought it was ok. When the show was over the park was closed so we slowly meandered our way out (there was a lot of meandering today) and through Cars Land so we could see the lights on at night once again.


We walked through the stores, finding several items we plan on purchasing tomorrow with our 20% discount coupon then headed back to our room and quickly fell fast asleep.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:40 PM   #74
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I am excited to see World of Color for the first time when we visit. I just have to figure out how to get a good spot so my short kids can see (one is about 50 inches and the other 52 inches).

I love the song from Enchanted too.

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:08 PM   #75
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I love your DD Mickey ears! Can't wait until I can see Carsland too.
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