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Old 02-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #61
Velvetia
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Thanks for the update
You're welcome - glad you're still reading along...
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:11 PM   #62
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Thursday 19th October 2012 - Day Five, Part One


We had booked a GrayLine coach to take us to SeaWorld San Diego today. After breakfast at the hotel we made our way to the bus stop on Harbor Boulevard, a couple of hundred yards from the Park Vue inn. There was a large group of people waiting, and for buses to different destinations. Kind of confusing – there was a deal of confused, slightly worried talk going back and forth between different parties thinking they’d missed their bus. Soon enough a GrayLine bus pulled up and the driver came out with a clipboard and called out parties’ names. That bus took us to the GrayLine depot where we checked in at reception and handed over our prepaid vouchers (I ordered prepaid which I found really easy to do online and saved a little bit of money on the ‘day of’ price.)

Then we got on our coach, which was wonderfully wrapped in SeaWorld pictures, and made our way to San Diego. Our driver took us on a short detour to San Juan Capistrano, which was very interesting. He told us the story of the ‘miracle’ of the swallows returning here annually. DG remembered the Pat Boone song about this, from the 1960s, that the driver told us about.

http://www.sanjuancapistrano.net/swallows/

Sculptures of the swallows are shown all along the freeway barriers too:



It was quite a windy, chilly day when we arrived at Sea World, so the cable cars were not running today. First of all, we went to Guest Services to double check our reservations for lunch, then with all that sorted out we then wandered through the park and came upon the hungry sea lions, so bought some fish to feed them, they were very cute and very good at catching the fish thrown to them just before any gulls swooped down on them.



After this our next stop was to visit the Sharks (cue Jaws theme music…) – this is an amazing aquarium with a moving walkway tunnel right through the tank so the sharks are swimming all around you!

DS7 is very interested in sea life and made a couple of purchases with his pocket money in the gift shop here – a plush great white shark which he named Cuddles (shrug!) and a shark tooth necklace. He was so enthralled with this, he has wanted a real shark tooth necklace for a long time…he didn’t take it off for the rest of the holiday, you’ll probably see it in many upcoming photos!

We then made our way to the theatre to see the Pirates 4D movie – a hilarious tale starring Leslie Neilsen (rip ) and Monty Pythonee Eric Idle. It was just my kind of silly nonsense humour, so I recommend this, it’s great, but you will get quite wet!

It was then our time to have our special lunch reservation with Shamu. We thought this was going to be good but it outlived our expectations. What an experience! I cannot recommend this highly enough, it was brilliant to be sitting so close to the amazing whales and the buffet was incredible – really good food, including Shamu shaped cookies! It was pricey but in all our opinions it was worth every penny!











We could have rushed off straight after lunch to see the main Shamu show in the arena, as most of the other diners did, but the DSs were more interested in talking to the whale trainer and a chap who had a hawk so we just hung about the dining area for a while…



We loved the area where you could watch the whales under water.

Next: Sealions, Otters and Dolphins, oh my!
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:17 PM   #63
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Thursday 19th October - part two

We pretty much had the park to ourselves whilst the main arena show was on and we headed over the Sesame Street themed kids rides area where the DSs had a whale of a time they loved this bit, and there was no queue for any of the rides at all.

The adjacent water park/ soft play area was great, though too huge to keep a good eye on your kids I limited them to a certain part so that I knew where they were. Thanks to dis board tips, wed brought towels, swimwear and a change of clothes with us. I grabbed a coffee for DG and I from the nearby kiosk as we sat in the play area. We spent quite a while in this area, the kids really enjoyed it.

Once we could, finally, persuade the DSs there were other interesting things to do in the park, we headed to the freshwater aquarium and were interested to see the Californian State Fish the golden trout, quite different from the brown trout that DS7 fishes for in Scotland&so its true everything is sunny in California! Even the trout!

We then went to the Sealion and Otter show which had a Halloween theme and ended up with the sea lions dancing to Michael Jacksons Thriller! Really great! The pre-show was hysterical, with a comedic cleaner misbehaving&you can just about see him pretending to sweep in this photo...





After the show we went to visit the dolphins and DS7 managed to stroke one (finally after many attempts at luring the dolphins near!) which he thought was awesome.

The park was closing and it was time for us to rendezvous with our coach and spend a happy but dozy trip back to Anaheim where we had an early night, in readiness for the awfully big adventures to come tomorrow&

Coming up: Were All Mad Here&
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:40 PM   #64
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Friday 20th October - part one  Were All Mad Here&

We were up early, breakfasted at the Park Vue, made our 8 minute journey to the Disneyland gates (loved that!) and were easily at Disneyland for rope drop.

As soon as we entered the town square, by the right hand tunnel, we were greeted by Alice and the Mad Hatter and The Queen of Hearts and Goofy, all just hanging out with no handlers. There were three groupings in all  its not fair to call them queues or lines, as there were hardly any people there. Most visitors were charging through Main Street at this point, I guess to get to the rope to be the first on those E-ticket rides, so none of the characters had much of an audience. Alice and the Mad Hatter were talking to one family, so we waited our turn to talk to them next. They were incredible, just lovely, and they spent a long while chatting and being super silly! DS7 was wearing his shark tooth and also his Mickey Ears and the Mad Hatter acted confused, asking are you a dentist? And not a mouse?! Alice has a lot to put up with, with that crazy Hatter!





We met the Queen of Hearts next, she liked that she had her photo to sign and made a big show of it to the folk standing around. DS5 seemed a little wary by her to start (maybe he thought it could be off with his head if he wasnt careful!) but the Queen won him over and he ended up happily giving her a hug.

Next up we met Goofy, he is DS7s absolute favourite character (well he and Max are tied as joint favourites) and didnt disappoint, and he was great fun and acting well&Goofy!

So, after these unexpected and brilliant meet and greets we made our way to Tomorrowland. I hurried ahead to get FPs for Autopia and then we lined up to ride the submarines, it was a short wait, maybe only 10 minutes before we descended into the bubbly depths&

Now, we liked the Subs  they are quite nostalgic for me as I remember them so clearly from when I was a kid& but we all agreed that we wouldnt queue for ages! Its true that theres not much room and I had to reassure the DSs when the red lights flash and the alarms go off that it is just part of the ride! We loved the inclusion of Finding Nemo elements  especially Crush and the current!

We then rode Autopia using our FPs  The DSs loved being issued with their own driving licences! Its a great track, much better and longer than the equivalent at WDW! DG and I were both chauffeured around the track. DS5 was my driver and we did stall a couple of times which meant we were trailing quite a strong smell of petrol&

We then went to get FPs for Space Mountain but ride and FP machines were both closed 9. So instead we got FPs for Star Tours.
The queue for Buzz Lightyear was not bad at this point (maybe 10 mins) so we thought we could do it just in time before our brunch reservation. Buzz was pretty much a walk on  there was no talking Buzz in queue which was a shame  that area curtained off  but others didnt realise so I didnt tell them!

We noticed as we were queuing that the line at Pixie Hollow was just crazy, so we decided we werent going to be meeting the fairies today! But we were ready to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg!

We all enjoyed our Space Ranger experience and were ready for&

Coming up: Minnie and Friends Breakfast&
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:07 PM   #65
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Yay! I found a trip report with Park Vue Inn! We are staying there in June despite its reputation on the DL board, I figure we'll survive. Glad to hear you liked it. We are also going to San Diego for a couple of days- which Sea World shows did you like?
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #66
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Friday 20th October - part two Minnie & Friends Breakfast


We arrived bang on time for our 10.00 reservation and there was no queue to enter, so we checked in at the stand outside the Plaza Inn and were directed towards the Photopass photographer at the door.

Now the photographer and his assistant were really lovely and took lots of photos of us in different set ups, but I couldnt help thinking it strange that there wasnt a character at this location as there had been at Ariels Grotto - to have a photo opportunity with! The photos were great quality and were included on the Photopass+ but Im not sure if I would have paid the $30 or so extra for the photo package had they not been included in our Photopass deal. I wondered if it was a recent development that there was no character greeting. Anyone know?

After our photos we checked in at the desk inside the Plaza Inn and paid with our character dining vouchers. I would recommend getting these vouchers in advance; they were a really easy way to cover our costs for our two character meals, as they include the gratuity also. One word of warning though, they look EXACTLY like your park tickets, so you do have to be quite careful that you are pulling the right ones out of your purse!

We were seated in a great table to the right of the breakfast buffet area, in the middle of the room we were able to see and interact with a lot of characters in this spot as our breakfast went on. We decided for the adults to do shifts going to the buffet, with the other adult staying with the children at the table so we didnt miss any characters. Also the buffet area was quite busy so we decided for us that it would be a better idea to keep the children seated at the table rather than being in the busy area with lots of people with their hot drinks.

I went up to the buffet and got Mickey waffles and maple syrup for the DSs which they loved and I had French toast and a blueberry compote which was really good! Then DG went to get an omelette which she said was lovely. We were very impressed with the quality of the food here.



Before we had managed to have much more that a bite of our breakfast, we were visited by our first character Gepetto. Well, we gave him the printed cards to sign& they had his picture on them and the name Geppetto. He shook his head and was unimpressed that his name was spelt incorrectly on his card - oops .

Next up came a rather lovely if doe-eyed Eeyore! He gave us all cuddles and signed the DSS autograph books Eeyore mimed that he loved that he had his own card to sign with a picture of him on it, and gave the card a hug.

Our next visitor was not far behind and it was our hostess, that main lady-Mouse herself, Minnie. She was in a very mischievous mood and actually surprised DS7 by coming up behind him to tweak his Mickey ears and then she gave him a big hug from behind I said maybe she thinks you're Mickey with the ears and she made a big show of being surprised that it wasnt Mickey when she came round to the front of DS7 coming right up close to peer at his face and then shake her head at her mistake! DS7 just loved it. We had a photo with her and she signed some autographs.

Then a daddy at the next table caught her eye and she went to flirt with him, ending up somehow with an engagement ring from him made up of a napkin wrapped around her finger which she showed off to the rest of the tables! She really was in a very mischievous mood! She also came by our table a little later to steal some packets of sugar and run off with them! She was so funny!

We then had visits by some adorable chipmunks:

Fairy Godmother she was so lovely and spent a great deal of time at our table speaking to the DSs. She asked all about where we were visiting from and was really genuinely interested. She was enthralled that we had pictures of her on the autograph cards for her to sign and complimented us on having them! Looking back she was the only face character that we met.

She spent so much time with us in fact that Tigger, just behind her and waiting to greet us ( I guess we were the last table in the area due for a visit from him) was playfully tapping his foot and acting impatient with her it was very funny.

The fairy godmother bibbity bobbityed away and Tigger bounced over, and had a bouncing competition with the DSs Tigger could bounce the highest of course! He was Tiggerific and quite mischievous too!

Coming up: More Pals at The Plaza Inn
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:47 PM   #67
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Friday 20th October Part Three More Friends...

After Tigger we had a bit of a pause in visits and we went up to get some more food. The cups of tea were lovely here DG and I did appreciate that!

The restaurant was getting a little quieter now, quite a few people had left already. I took DS5 to the bathroom, which is a bit of a strange set up as you have to go outside the restaurant and exit the picket-fenced outside seating area to use the bathroom next to the restaurant. As we came back we spotted Max making his way around tables outside wow we didnt know he would be visiting! He is DS7s favourite character, (tied with Goofy). I approached the character handler who was standing just back from the buffet to check if Max would be visiting us inside, she assured me that he would - phew!


Shortly after returning, Rafiki stopped by. He was hilariously rude picking his nose and wiping it on DS7 and making breading wind noises. The DSs loved it!

We then had a visit from Mr Penguin from Mary Poppins who was really really soft according to DS5 who snuggled right into him for a cuddle.

We were nearing the end of our breakfast, and it seemed like the buffet was being cleared away, so we were getting a little worried but then finally, they saved the best til last - a very special visitor - Max came by.

He was wonderful and spent a long time with the DSs, giving them tips on how to balance on a skateboard. Maybe because we were one of the few parties left in the restaurant, but he visited for quite a while, which just made DS7s day!

So, we all loved the Minnie and Friends character breakfast. It is a charmingly decorated restaurant, and the buffet food was lovely and definitely enough for brunch, no lunch needed after! There was excellent service and the character interaction just amazing! 10 (?) characters in total. Really well worth it!

Next: Meeting yet more characters in the park
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:57 PM   #68
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Great reports thank you, I will check back often, Cheers!
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:55 AM   #69
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Great reports thank you, I will check back often, Cheers!
Hey Rob - good to have you along.

I have a few more days still to report on from our trip at Halloween time last year. Can't believe it was 6 months ago already. Life gets in the way

I hope this trip report is better late than never...and maybe some folk are still reading along?
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:19 AM   #70
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Friday 20th October - part four Meeting yet more characters


After our brunch, we went to City Hall guest services to ask about meeting certain characters that the DSs were keen to meet. DS5 had decided that he had to meet Woody and DS7 wanted to meet Aladdin (and give him some Edinburgh rock as he had done for Merida).

We also wanted to ask if they had the cute Halloween demi-tasse cups on sale today in the park.

The City Hall staff was very helpful and gave us all the information that we'd been seeking Aladdin and Jasmine were meeting right now at Aladdin's Oasis, and Woody would be around Frontierland just after lunch.

The CM told us that the demi-tasse cups were for sale today (as it was a Halloween party day) at the Plaza Inn and at the Jolly Holiday bakery. DG went off on a mission to find those darling cups while the DSs and I went to meet Aladdin and then wed all meet up at Coke Corner after.

We went into Aladdin's Oasis and we couldnt believe it - we were the only people there! waiting for us was Jasmine and her CM handler. DS7 gave her a box of Edinburgh Rock (sickly sweet candy, unique to our home town) and she said she was really thrilled and said she would be sure to share it with Aladdin! Jasmine was really lovely with the DSs and chatted about how they had travelled here in a plane and not a magic carpet.

The character handler told us that Aladdin would be greeting in an hours time, so we decided we would come back to visit him then.

The Aladdins Oasis area is amazing with the Cave of Wonders on the stage it is such a shame that they dont have a restaurant here, it could be such a cool character meal spot!

I had promised the boys they could have a swirly pop so went to buy them in the Candy Store while boys sat at Coke corner, I also got two Mickey turtles too, one each for DG and me. The candy apples in the Store were just amazing:



DG came along, successful in her mission, with gorgeous Donald Duck Halloween demi tasse cups they were sold out of Mickey ones.

There was a pumpkin and chocolate pudding in the demi tasse cup:



Just as wed met up at our table, along came Alice and the Hatter for a very silly game of Musical Chairs. All the kids had a blast, as it seemed did Alice and the Hatter they are so wonderfully silly! The winners prize was to put all the chairs away!






I was enjoying it so much that I forgot about my Mickey turtle and it melted in the sun& (I still ate it though, melted and all!!).

After we'd finished up our drinks and snacks, we headed back to the Oasis to see if we could catch Aladdin...

Coming up next...Aladdin and then into New Orleans...
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:54 AM   #71
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Friday 20th October - Meeting Aladdin

Aladdin was wonderful, as soon as we came up to him, without any prompting at all he said ' were you the ones who gave me candy?' I thought that was so cool! And he told us how he and Jasmine had shared it with Abu,there were a few more people waiting to see Aladdin than there had been for Jasmine, but still it was very quiet, I think one family before us and one or two after us, which meant we must have hung out with Aladdin for a good 5 minutes just chatting - he was one of our favourite meets!

After meeting Aladdin, we went to NO Sq to get some tissue wrap for the demi tasse cups from the crystal store there.


As we passed an unassuming door, I asked DG and the DSs to pose in front of it...hmmm maybe one day...

The queue for Haunted Mansion was too long (but we took a photo with the CM at the Haunted Mansion, we loved his Jack Skellington inspired costume:

And we got on the train to go Tomorrowland to try our luck at Jedi Training Academy (cue: quick change into Star Wars tops) but the DSs didn't get picked so we headed to Toon Town...The DSs played around for a bit which they enjoyed, especially the TNT plunger at the fireworks factory.


As we were walking up towards the Mouses houses, we saw a photopass photographer walking towards us. I stopped here to ask if we could have a family shot and she said, sure, come with me, Im just about to help Goofy. DS7s eyes lit up - Goofy! We accompanied the photographer to an area by a statue quite near to Goofy's home and then he bounded up - and so we got to meet Goofy with no queue! Awesome!

Then we continued on our way through Toon Town, stopping to have a ride in Goofy's car:

We saw that the waiting time posted to meet Mickey in his house was only 20 minutes and we hadnt met the Main Mouse himself yet, so in we went. We ended up waiting far longer than that 20 minutes though - this was our longest wait of our whole trip at around 50 minutes from entering the house. However, it took quite a good portion of that to make our way through Mickeys house and there were a lot of things to see, and cool movies to watch in the barn and then eventually we met the big cheese himself!

Coming up: Time travelling into the Golden Age of Hollywood
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:46 AM   #72
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Friday 20th October - To DCA for dinner

We decided to take the train from ToonTown through Tomorrowland to see the much-loved dinos on our way out. As we pulled into Main Street station, we could see the parade in the town square but we couldnt stop to watch as we had early dinner reservations over at DCA&

I had made ADRs for dinner at Carthay Circle.

Wow! Walking into the lobby here made me take a sharp intake of breath the setting is just beautiful, really feels like stepping back in time to the golden era of 1930s Hollywood, an era that I love.



We checked in (oveseen by Walt and Roy and mummy Disney) and then had to wait in the lobby for around 30 minutes for our table. It seemed like a long time to wait for us, with our ADR, but I understand how the dining check in option works at Disney, your reservation books your place in the queue to be seated rather than being seated at your actual reservation time. The DSs were playing happily with their new monorail Vinylmations. DG and I were enjoying the surroundings, and I loved the Art Deco styled Cocktail Menu:




When we were seated, we were lucky enough to get a table in the main room, as I had requested (woo hoo!) which was beautiful and with the stunning, and huge, wine cooler in the middle.

The food was faultless very very good, service was good, but not great, considering just how many waiting staff there was. We were seated right by the pass to the kitchen which was a really interesting place to be, if, like me you are quite nosy as to how the food is prepped and what goes on in the kitchen!



There was one thing that really, severely, limited our enjoyment though. It was freezing cold in the room! The aircon must have been on its top setting, we ended up using our napkins at their most folded out in order to cover our bare, short-wearing legs! The service is not exactly slow, but it is relaxed which would have been enjoyable if wed been warmer. As it was, it took probably nearly 2 hours for our dinner and thats a long time to be getting colder and colder.

The food was wonderful:









We got our World of Colour priority fast pass tickets from the waitress with our bill. The bill price itself was good value considering the top quality of the food.

We really needed to warm up at this point. When we left the restaurant, the evening was a little chilly (though nowhere near as cold as it had been inside the restaurant!) so I returned to the PVI to get jumpers and long trousers for us all, whilst DG hired two buggies for the rather tired DSs.

We really had packed a lot into today...but there was no way we were going to miss the Fabulous World of Color...

We made our way towards the World of Color area, and it was packed with many different queues...quite confusing, but we managed to find the correct queue and were directed towards an area which I didn't think was that great so I just asked (DG afterwards said I actually 'told'!! oops channelling my inner Miss Piggy :/ ) a cast member that we'd prefer the wet zone and I led the charge over there, where around 3 minutes later the show started and we were all in awe of the amazing show - and we only got a little drizzled on, I would heartily recommend this area, we were so close we really felt like we were immersed in the show:

The DSs completely perked up after their restful trip here in the buggies, and both loved the Captain Jack section as their favourite bit. DG and I loved the Brave section, it reminded us of home!!

As the show ended and the throngs exited, we hung on a little while to let the pathways clear and were rewarded with seeing the Halloween fireworks from Disneyland light up the sky. Another wonderful Disney day...we headed home, tired, awed and happy...

Coming Up - That ain't inclement weather where we come from!!!
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #73
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Saturday 21st October - part one  a Drizzly Start

We had a lie in this morning after the late night the night before, before having breakfast at the PVI and making our way to Disneyland.

It was a bit rainy, well drizzly, today, so even though we didnt make rope drop the park was very quiet for the first couple of hours after we arrived (just after opening time).

So, where to first?



The Alice in Wonderland ride was our priority this morning as we had missed it so far. We walked on to the ride and all enjoyed it. As we came off though, we found it had been closed and the tea cups opposite was closed too (due to inclement weather  we did comment to each other& that aint inclement weather, you should try the freezing horizontal rain we get in Scotland, even in July!...).

So we crossed over the path to Pixie Hollow. There was no queue and we met Periwinkle and Tink, who were just lovely, and again spent a good deal of time with the DSs. We hadnt seen the movie at this point so we didnt know the Secret of the Wings

Then we decided to visit the Haunted Mansion. We made our way through Adventureland to get there and noticed that there was no queue for Jungle Cruise so we hopped onto that.







Loved all the corny lines that that the Jungle Cruise Guide came out with - so glad we'd had a chance to go on this without having to queue!

I hadn't brought my jacket with me, so we went to get a waterproof for me from a shop on main street. We had hoped to get some silhouettes done fo the DSs about now. Unfortunately the silhouettes shop was closed  we'd just have to come back another time.

Just before leaving Disneyland, we went to Guest services at City Hall to get our tickets for the Fantasmic! dessert seating.

As we came out of City Hall, the fire truck pulled up, even though we were planning on heading out of the park, we couldn't resist as trip back up Main Street. The driver was charming and took our picture, and the DSs took it in turns ringing the bell - which they loved!

Then we hopped over to DCA...
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:02 PM   #74
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Saturday 21st October - part two - DCA

So when we arrived at DCA we thought we'd have a coffee and then split up - as DS7 really wanted to do Animation Academy but DS5 didn't. The queue for Starbucks was just outrageous - and no Fast Pass - so we nixed that idea. I took DS7 to Animation Academy whilst DG and DS5 headed to Cars Land. DG had a coffee there at Flo's and then they went on Mater's Tractors.

Meanwhile DS7 and I learnt how to draw Goofy and then had a great time in the Sorcerer's Workshop - we hadn't know what to expect but we really loved this whole area.

DS7 did the storybook challenge:

He was most like Simba:



I loved the Beast's library and the portrait above the mantlepiece that changes:



We came out of this area and bumped into Frozone:

We thought we'd have to bring DG and DS5 back to Animation Academy, as they'd love it. So we headed to Cars Land to meet them and had lunch at Flo's Cafe which was great! Loved the jukeboxes:





We sat in the back room overlooking Radiator Springs Racers:




The DSs had the kids' meals in the Lightening McQueen lunchboxes, which they loved.

After lunch we headed back to the Sorcerer's Workshop and this time we met Pirate Jake on the way. Now, DG had never seen Jake and the Neverland Pirates and so wasn't quite sure who DS5 had been dressed up as at The Pirates League a few days ago. Now DG got to meet the real Jake, it made sense to her!!

We all did the challenges in the Sorcerer's Workshop including having to try to sing 'A Very Merry Unbirthday' in Ursula's Cavern which was hilariously difficult!! Then we park hopped back to Disneyland to see about getting those silhouettes...

Coming up: Will we be lucky and get some silhouettes?
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Velvetia

Me DGranny : DS9 DS7

Last edited by Velvetia; 06-02-2013 at 04:58 AM.
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