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Old 01-23-2013, 07:01 PM   #91
pixleyyy
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Disneyland Day 5, Part 2

Once outside we split up. Brian and Chase went into California Adventure to grab us some Soarin' fastpasses, as the Disney parks app (which was very helpful!) was saying that fastpasses were being issued for 2:30-3:30pm. By the time they got in and through the fastpass line they were being issued for 2:50-3:50. Carissa, Tristan and I ran to downtown Disney to look for those last souvenirs on our list. We were looking for a specific Imagineering movie that Chase had seen, a CD of parks music, jewelry for both Carissa and I, a World of Color t-shirt for Carissa and an antenna ball for the Harrel's. In the end we walked away from the World of Disney store with only some jewelry for Carissa. I couldn't find the movie or a good parks CD (turns out we have 90% of the songs already, since we have the WDW CD, I couldn't find the necklaces I wanted, they didn't have the World of Color t-shirt and I completely forgot about the antenna ball. Eventually we were able to find the WOC shirt and Chase's Imagineering CD, but we left without the other items.


Chase met us at the California Adventure gates and gave us our park passes so we could all get in. Our only other thing we had to do at CA was to ride Screamin'. The standby time was 15 minutes so we stood in it. Even after all those rides, it still surprises and delights me. It's such a great roller coaster!


We were all pretty hungry so we grabbed some Mickey head ice creams to share.





We finished up our shopping at Elias & Co. (where we found Carissa's WOC shirt) and Off the Page (which had a horrendous line, as there was an artist signing pins that day but was the only other place we could find the Imagineering movie for Chase).


We wanted to get Brian a Ridemaker car for Christmas, which was an idea Carissa had a few days ago. We walked downtown Disney and ended up eating at the Jazz Kitchen express first, since we were still hungry. Some of us had burgers, some had chicken. The chicken was better than the burgers and the fries were tasty and crispy. It wasn't great food, but it was probably a little better than what we would get in the parks.


Next stop was Ridemaker. The car we had seen was a police car body. It was $30 for the body, plus any extras we added to it. We had planned to add radio control to it for the $25 advertised on the sign, only once we took the car up to make it we were told that it didn't include batteries and that if we wanted a battery pack for it then it would be an additional $25. If we did it Brian was going to want a few extras for his car too. So what started out as a pretty neat $55 gift had turned into a $100 car that wasn't worth it. We were both a little ticked that the battery pack was so much extra and that we had got Brian's hopes up (because he really did want it) just to change our mind once the price tag got so high. I'm still a little disappointed that we didn't do it for him.


Time was starting to get short on us so we took the Grand Californian entrance into DCA. I was working under the impression that our fastpasses were for 2:30, so we started walking that way. When Brian mentioned that they were actually for 2:50 we stopped at a bench and did our last video log of the trip, telling of our favorite things and just making nonsense for the camera. It was a fun tradition we had every night this trip and I think we'll look back on these videos and love the moments we captured of our kids personalities.


It was only 2:30 by now and we still had 20 minutes to wait so the kids headed to Grizzly. Brian and I were still not inclined to go on a water ride and have to be wet, so we let the kids go alone. We did offer up the ponchos we had with us. Carissa took one right away but neither boy wanted to wear one. They'd never admit it but they probably regret that decision. Tristan's front was pretty wet but Chase was fully soaked. I actually squeezed water out of his shirt. Hours later at the airport it was still wet. Yup, should have used that poncho! LOL




By now it was time for our Soarin' fastpass. We got to ride in the front row again, even though it was over to one side. Brian and I took in the final whiffs of orange scent (and the pine that I like too) and bid our rides at California Adventure goodbye. We dawdled on our way out... stopped for a last round of churros,

took some random photos (this one is courtsey of Brian's camera, which had exactly 8 useable pics on it. LOL)

We walked through a store then hit the bathrooms. As we were getting ready to leave the News Boys show came down the street with Mickey in their trolley. He stood at the far window waving and then moved to the window by me and waved right at the family. I teared up right then and there. It really was time to say goodbye. *sigh*



We walked out of DCA, then out of the parks plaza, then off the property and to our hotel, depression setting in with each step. We were looking forward to going home and sleeping in our own beds but we would miss all the fun and fabulous times at Disneyland.


We got back to our hotel about 10 minutes before 4. Our driver was due at 4 so we sat and waited for him. And waited. I later realized that I turned my phone on vibrate, since we were going on Soarin', and I had forgot to turn the ringer back on (I never feel vibrate). Our driver had called twice saying he was stuck behind an accident on the 105. When he finally reached me it was 4:15 and he said he was still 12 minutes out. I was starting to stress it! Our flight left at 6:16pm, so we needed to get to the airport soon. I was giving him until 4:30 to get to our hotel and was fully prepared to run across the street to the taxi vans I could see from where we waited. At 4:30 right on the dot he arrived to the hotel. He apologized again and explained the accident. I understand that things like that happen but I was still stressing time. I wasn't exactly mad but I wasn't happy either. I just let it go and moved on. We got loaded up as quickly as we could so we could get on our way but then the driver misplaced his bluetooth and spent a few minutes looking for it. Ugh! I was still stressing the time and here we were sitting in the hotel parking lot looking for his bluetooth! He did eventually get underway without the bluetooth and we did arrive to the airport about 5:10pm. It was plenty of time for that little airport and I was once again thankful that we'd chosen to fly into Long Beach. We checked in our bags, got through the empty security and into the waiting area in a just a matter of a few minutes. We ended up waiting about 30 minutes in the terminal before boarding. I usually like to be earlier than this but it was nice not having to wait for an hour or two in the airport.


I'm typing this now from 38,483 feet in a plane over southern Oregon, 3/4 of the way home. When we land it's going to be 35-40 degrees, cold and possibly rainy. What a bummer, as we're still decked out in our shorts and capris! We do have lots to look forward to these next few weeks - getting a Christmas tree, Christmas concerts, Taekwondo belt testing, etc. Maybe those will distract us from Disney and how much more fun life is there.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:26 PM   #92
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Final Thoughts

Just a few final thoughts running through my head. Feel free to ask any questions or opinions from me and I'll be happy to answer.
  • This trip brought into sharp focus our thoughts on the Disney parks. Disneyland is the original and it's got some great features (Carsland, Screamin' and HMH), but it doesn't hold a candle to Disneyworld. DW has more parks, more great rides, better ambience, better food, better hotels, better everything. I don't know that we'll go to Disneyland again unless we're already in California for anothe rreason. It was actually a bit of a disappointment for us, especially where Christmas was concerned. After Christmas at Disneyworld and the overwhelming sense of holiday cheer spread there, Disneyland was sorely lacking. In fact, I'm seeing the need for a re-do trip... since Disneyland wasn't up to our expectations we deserve another shot at Disneyworld. I don't know if we'll be able to save the money for it in the 2 1/2 years we have left with Chase at home, but we're certainly going to put our effort into making sure we have a shot at it.
  • Photopass Plus was great because we got the ride photos, but as previously mentioned many of the ride photos didn't make it onto the PP card thus we never got them. And since I didn't do a good job of asking for and keeping receipts from the ride photos, I have no way to go back and ask for them. Bummer! The other bummer to PP+ is that they have severely cut back on cast members taking photos.
  • We love, love, love the new and improved California Adventure. Carsland is by far the best themed area in any of the Disney parks, in my opinion. It was a great addition. CA could still use some updating (Monsters, Inc. ride especially) but overall we really liked the changes made to it.
  • Can we just keep HMH all year? Seriously? Because we love, love, loved it!
  • Food was a major disappointment at DLR. We're not big table service family, especially when we have to pay out of pocket for it and the counterservice options were lackluster and left much to be desired. The one exception to this is Flo's.
  • The merchandise in the parks really needs an improvement too. For instance, I collect the Mickey head glass ornaments and display different ones in my house each season and holiday. I didn't even buy one this trip because I couldn't find one that I really liked and didn't already have. Most of the ones I saw were ones that I had seen at least the last two trips. It was just disappointing to me, especially since I have scrimped and saved to have extra shopping money at Disney and then really didn't find a place to use it.
  • Sharing Disneyland with my friend and her family was something we had been talking about for years and I'm glad we finally got to do it. It's nearly impossible to manage Disneyland with 13 people, but the time we did spend together was great and an experience I'll never forget.
  • I miss Disney! We've been home nearly 6 weeks and already I'm squirreling away money for our next trip. Oh, and for those of you who kept track of all of our appliance issues prior to the trip (my Nikon d7000 had focusing issues and I had to send it in for a spendy repair, then our range AND dishwasher went out a few weeks before vacation and we had to use some of our Disney money to replace them. ), I can update you and tell you that they have now been joined by a new microwave/light/fan unit, which went kaput about 3 weeks after we returned. I swear the manufacturers must set them all to go out at about the same time.
  • I priced WDW vacations and had some serious sticker shock. I forget how expensive it can be to go all the way from Oregon to Florida and then have to find a room at WDW for a family of 5. But at least now I have an idea of about how much I need to save.
  • I'm sure I'll think of more but for now, this is all I've got!
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:04 PM   #93
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Thank you for posting your trip report and your final thoughts. It's nice to see the parks from different perspectives.

My family vacations at WDW and DL and we see pros/cons of each. We love trading off between the two. What WDW has in span and overall breath of activities DL has in not having to take the bus everywhere.

I agree with the food options being better at WDW. Had a hard time finding a corn dog at WDW though

I hope you are able to go on another Disney vacation soon. Luckily planning is 1/2 the fun.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:29 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by tksbaskets View Post
Thank you for posting your trip report and your final thoughts. It's nice to see the parks from different perspectives.

My family vacations at WDW and DL and we see pros/cons of each. We love trading off between the two. What WDW has in span and overall breath of activities DL has in not having to take the bus everywhere.

I agree with the food options being better at WDW. Had a hard time finding a corn dog at WDW though

I hope you are able to go on another Disney vacation soon. Luckily planning is 1/2 the fun.
Not only can't you find corn dogs at WDW, you also can't find good churros! The ones there are pretty bad. So we made sure to have them several times at DL cause when we hit WDW again we know to steer clear. LOL
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:30 PM   #95
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I really enjoyed reading your trip report. Your pictures are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your final thoughts, especially comparing both parks on opposite coasts. I look forward to checking out DL soon!!
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:28 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by pixleyyy View Post
Just a few final thoughts running through my head. Feel free to ask any questions or opinions from me and I'll be happy to answer.
  • This trip brought into sharp focus our thoughts on the Disney parks. Disneyland is the original and it's got some great features (Carsland, Screamin' and HMH), but it doesn't hold a candle to Disneyworld. DW has more parks, more great rides, better ambience, better food, better hotels, better everything. I don't know that we'll go to Disneyland again unless we're already in California for anothe rreason. It was actually a bit of a disappointment for us, especially where Christmas was concerned. After Christmas at Disneyworld and the overwhelming sense of holiday cheer spread there, Disneyland was sorely lacking. In fact, I'm seeing the need for a re-do trip... since Disneyland wasn't up to our expectations we deserve another shot at Disneyworld. I don't know if we'll be able to save the money for it in the 2 1/2 years we have left with Chase at home, but we're certainly going to put our effort into making sure we have a shot at it.
  • Photopass Plus was great because we got the ride photos, but as previously mentioned many of the ride photos didn't make it onto the PP card thus we never got them. And since I didn't do a good job of asking for and keeping receipts from the ride photos, I have no way to go back and ask for them. Bummer! The other bummer to PP+ is that they have severely cut back on cast members taking photos.
  • We love, love, love the new and improved California Adventure. Carsland is by far the best themed area in any of the Disney parks, in my opinion. It was a great addition. CA could still use some updating (Monsters, Inc. ride especially) but overall we really liked the changes made to it.
  • Can we just keep HMH all year? Seriously? Because we love, love, loved it!
  • Food was a major disappointment at DLR. We're not big table service family, especially when we have to pay out of pocket for it and the counterservice options were lackluster and left much to be desired. The one exception to this is Flo's.
  • The merchandise in the parks really needs an improvement too. For instance, I collect the Mickey head glass ornaments and display different ones in my house each season and holiday. I didn't even buy one this trip because I couldn't find one that I really liked and didn't already have. Most of the ones I saw were ones that I had seen at least the last two trips. It was just disappointing to me, especially since I have scrimped and saved to have extra shopping money at Disney and then really didn't find a place to use it.
  • Sharing Disneyland with my friend and her family was something we had been talking about for years and I'm glad we finally got to do it. It's nearly impossible to manage Disneyland with 13 people, but the time we did spend together was great and an experience I'll never forget.
  • I miss Disney! We've been home nearly 6 weeks and already I'm squirreling away money for our next trip. Oh, and for those of you who kept track of all of our appliance issues prior to the trip (my Nikon d7000 had focusing issues and I had to send it in for a spendy repair, then our range AND dishwasher went out a few weeks before vacation and we had to use some of our Disney money to replace them. ), I can update you and tell you that they have now been joined by a new microwave/light/fan unit, which went kaput about 3 weeks after we returned. I swear the manufacturers must set them all to go out at about the same time.
  • I priced WDW vacations and had some serious sticker shock. I forget how expensive it can be to go all the way from Oregon to Florida and then have to find a room at WDW for a family of 5. But at least now I have an idea of about how much I need to save.
  • I'm sure I'll think of more but for now, this is all I've got!
I appreciate the feedback, especially about Photopass Plus. I will be sure to get a receipt for any ride photos and check them nightly to be sure they are on our account!

It really does start to feel urgent to get in more family vacations before the kids start leaving. I'm all for sacrificing a few other things (like new carpet) to squeeze in one more trip.

We went to WDW in 2011 and the options for 5/6 people leave much to be desired in you want to stay on property and not pay $$$$. We stayed in an All-Star Music family suite and really liked it. I'd love to stay in a DVC 2-bedroom, but it would be double the cost. I'm hoping to have enough airline miles by the time we go back in a few years to take the sting out.

PHXscuba
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:03 PM   #97
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Thanks for the great trip report! It was great to be able to enjoy your family's trip to make me forget that mine had just ended! Again, great job!
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:18 PM   #98
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Thanks for the great trip report! It was great to be able to enjoy your family's trip to make me forget that mine had just ended! Again, great job!
Awwww... thanks!
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:56 PM   #99
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Thanks for the trip report! It sounds like you had a great time overall, and reading about your experiences makes me even more excited for our trip coming up! Although, I'm a little jealous that your kids are old enough to go off on their own. I'm not sure my 13, 10 & 7 yo are quite ready for that.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:11 PM   #100
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Thanks for the trip report! It sounds like you had a great time overall, and reading about your experiences makes me even more excited for our trip coming up! Although, I'm a little jealous that your kids are old enough to go off on their own. I'm not sure my 13, 10 & 7 yo are quite ready for that.
On our last trip the kids were 13, 11 & 8 and we did let them go on their own for very specified periods of time. For instance, they wanted to ride Mission: Space and then play in Innoventions so we made sure they had their cell phones, made them promise to stay together and then gave them a time and place we would meet. We did that a few times during our trip and it was nice for them to get to do things on their own for a little while.
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