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Old 06-27-2013, 10:29 PM   #1
Nahoku
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PTR: From Hawai'i to Disneyland! Updated 9/4 Trip Report Started!

Hi there!

I have been a long time lurker of the boards (about 10+ months), and have found everyone's trip reports oh so helpful in planning our August/September Disneyland 2013 vacation, so I figured I would start my own trip report thread to share the Disney magic with others.

A little background, my husband and I married on September 1st, 2012 after having been high school sweethearts for 11 years. To cut costs, we decided to do a staycation honeymoon at Disney's Aulani. We figured we'd get to save the costs on a rental car/air fare but still have the feel that we were somewhere else for a week. After an AMAZING honeymoon at Aulani, we (read as I ) became hooked on all things Disney. I always had a fondness for Disney, but my obsession, if you will, grew substantially after our stay at Aulani, and I absolutely, positively needed to visit the place that started it all . . . Disneyland! We decided that we would spend our first married anniversary in the "happiest place on earth." We are trying to make this as memorable trip as possible, since future visits will probably not be for as long a duration. We've also set a WDW on the horizon of end of 2014/beginning of 2015, so we really wanted to make this Cali trip pop!

The first few posts will be an Introduction to who we are/our experience with Disney, itinerary, and planning ideas, but I promise that when we return, I will flood this thread with pictures galore!

Let's start with some introductions!

Cast of Characters

Alyssa & Cliffton

I (Alyssa) am 26 years old, and am a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic. I have gone to Disney many times as a child, but my last trip was in 2000, before Disney California Adventure Park was even open. So, I'm very excited to see all that DCA has to offer as well as the countless changes Disneyland has undergone over the years. Cliffton is 27 years old, and is such an easy going guy and will gladly go with the flow. He likes Disney primarily because I think it makes me happy. :-P He has gone to Disney a few times, but just like me, he hasn't seen DCA and hasn't been to Disneyland since about 1998.
We got married on September 1st, 2012 after having dated for 11 years. At the time of our trip, we will be celebrating 1 year of marriage!

Nicole

Nicole is Cliffton's sister. She will be 20 years old at the time of our trip, and is going to be missing her first week of school (3rd year of college) to come on the trip with us! Yikes! It will be her first trip to Disneyland since 1998 as well, but of course, it will be a very different experience since she was only about 6 years old on her last trip there.

Taryn & Mark

Taryn & Mark are two of our close friends. We've been close to them since our late teens/early twenties, but this is our first time ever going on a trip with them. They are both 28, and have been to DCA & Disneyland in the later half of 2012, but they only spent a half day at both parks, so they were unable to see any of the shows and ride many of the attractions. So, in a way, I think they will still be newbies to both parks.

Now that you know who I will be talking about, here's our tentative schedule. We had our first trip planning meeting and came up with a basic itinerary of where we will be on what day. We bought 5 day park hopper tickets, so that should give us enough time to cover both parks and do everything we'd like to do.

ITINERARY

August 26th, 2013
Fly out on the red eye from Honolulu to LAX.
August 27th, 2013
Downtown Disney
August 28th, 2013
DL/DCA
August 29th, 2013
DL/DCA
August 30th, 2013
Universal Studios
August 31st, 2013
LA/Beverly Hills/Santa Monica
September 1st, 2013
DL/DCA
September 2nd, 2013
DL/DCA
September 3rd, 2013
DL/DCA

Last edited by Nahoku; 09-04-2013 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:46 PM   #3
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Awesome! It would be cool to hear about your experience at Aulani too.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:31 PM   #4
Nahoku
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I still have all of my photos from Aulani on my hard drive, so if I have some extra time, I'll gladly post up a report. : It was such a great experience. We spent 5 nights there (checked in on Sunday 9/2 and checked out on Friday 9/7), and surprisingly found ourselves filled with things to do. It is truly a magnificent resort, with a plethora of activities for both kids & adults!
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
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Dining

We are at the point in our planning where we are able to make our dining reservations! I only have a few in mind, but I am very open to suggestions, so if anyone wants to suggest a place, feel free, too.

We are currently looking at Goofy's Kitchen, Plaza Inn, Blue Bayou (for our anniversary dinner), & Ariel's Grotto.

We are also contemplating doing the World of Color and Fantasmic dinner package.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:00 PM   #6
Nahoku
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Reservations

I am happy to say that we are now officially booked for all of our dining and special reservations for our upcoming trip! How exciting!!!

This is the list as follows:

August 27th - 11:30 am Lunch at Rainforest Cafe

August 29th - 10:00 am Character Breakfast at Plaza Inn

August 29th - 2:00 pm World of Color Lunch Package at Wine Country Trattoria

August 31st - 7:30 am Character Breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen

September 1st - 9:50 am Character Breakfast at Ariel's Grotto

September 1st - 5:30 pm Anniversary Dinner Celebration at Blue Bayou

September 2nd - Fantasmic Dessert Package

September 2nd - A Walk in Walt's Footsteps Tour

We also have two in room celebrations booked, one for my sister-in-law and one for our anniversary!

Very excited to experience all of these wonderful things!

Last edited by Nahoku; 08-24-2013 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:03 PM   #7
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Where are you staying? Sounds like a Disney hotel if you're planning in-room celebrations.

Good luck and aloha. We were vacationing on Oahu/Maui last September for OUR 20th anniversary!

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Old 07-29-2013, 11:20 PM   #8
Nahoku
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHXscuba View Post
Where are you staying? Sounds like a Disney hotel if you're planning in-room celebrations.

Good luck and aloha. We were vacationing on Oahu/Maui last September for OUR 20th anniversary!

PHXscuba
Yes! We will be staying at the Disneyland Hotel.

I hope you had an amazing time! Did you have a chance to visit Aulani while you were on Oahu?
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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We didn't get to Aulani. We only a had a couple days there to hit the highlights before going to Maui for a week. It was very beautiful in HI and I am already scheming some way to get back sometime soon!

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Old 08-01-2013, 10:13 AM   #10
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Subscribing! Can't wait for your trip report!!
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:08 AM   #11
Nahoku
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHXscuba View Post
We didn't get to Aulani. We only a had a couple days there to hit the highlights before going to Maui for a week. It was very beautiful in HI and I am already scheming some way to get back sometime soon!

PHXscuba
I definitely recommend it! I'll try to post some Aulani pictures when I finish this report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tlovesdis View Post
Subscribing! Can't wait for your trip report!!
Yay! So happy to have another subscriber!



Today's update is a really minor one, but it is also a very exciting one! We received a wonderful care package from our travel agent, and we also received all of our Disney documents. Tomorrow we are 17 days out from out red eye flight!
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:51 PM   #12
Nahoku
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We leave on Monday! bags are almost packed, travel docs are in, and i am absolutely ready to be on my way! Any last minute tips, suggestions, or must dos?

I hope to start my actual trip report filled with photos on the 4th! So keep an eye out.

Thanks to everyone who has posted trip reports. You have all helped us plan our trip!
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:12 PM   #13
Nahoku
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We are back from an AMAZING vacation, and I'm so sad that it is over. My big hope is that we will be able to go for a quick trip early next year because there were quite a few things there just wasn't enough time to do! I thought I would be able to knock everything out in 5 Disney days, but I was very, very wrong. Every single time we entered the park I would see something new that I would want to check out, or a character I would like to have gotten an autograph/photo of. In a quick review before I start my detailed trip report, going for 7 days was just the right amount of time for us to be on a trip. The 5 day park hopper was great, and because we were hotel guests were able to take advantage of the wonderful benefit of early entry every single day of our stay. Early entry was a thumbs up experience. Another favorite aspect of our trip was the fastpass system. It helped SO much when it came to getting on rides, and would often save us upwards of 20 minutes. Staying on property at the Disneyland Hotel was wonderful, but we spent such a limited amount of time in the room that I wouldn't mind booking a good neighbor hotel for our next trip, or even staying at the Paradise Pier Hotel just to get the early entry. Crowds were manageable, and even though we went during the Marathon weekend, I didn't find it overly crowded until maybe the Sunday & Monday of our trip. Otherwise, we were able to ride various attractions with a minimal wait. The longest we waited for an attraction was probably about 30 minutes, and I believe that was for Toy Story Midway Mania, which to my understanding, consistently has long lines. There were a few ride breakdowns during our stay, and of course there were two major rides down for refurbs, so I was a bit disappointed about that.

We left the Disney Bubble during 2 days of our trip, and I have to say I preferred our Disney bubble. We went to Universal Studios and did a day trip to the Hollywood/Beverly Hills/Santa Monica area, and honestly, I wish we had just did Disney for all 7 days. The atmosphere and customer service outside of DL threw us for a loop. We didn't encounter many enthusiastic employees at Universal or Santa Monica, and the Hollywood area wasn't all the glitz and glam we had expected it to be. We were ecstatic to return to our Disney bubble! I think that is all the general points I can think of right now. I'll probably add a few blurbs in when I look at my trip notes as I update! With that, let the trip report begin!

August 26th, 2013 - Travel Day

I had been packed and ready to go for at least a week prior to our departure day, but my husband, ever the procrastinator had waited until the morning of our travel day to get all of his essentials together. I opted to work that day as opposed to taking a vacation day because I knew I would need an extra day or two to recover from jet lag and adjust from the time difference when we returned home. Plus since we were doing an overnight flight, I figured I would be able to sleep on the plane. It was a typical day at work, but I was bouncing with anticipation at the prospect of leaving that night!

Upon getting home, my husband and I threw a few things into our carry-on bags, dressed in our "I'm Going to the Disneyland Resort" shirts, and he drove us to my in-laws' house to meet my sister-in-law who was just as excited as we were. I kept meaning to get a photo of all 3 of us in our t-shirts, but alas, with all of the hustle and bustle of heading to the airport it slipped my mind, but in a few photos of our arrival day you will see us individually in the shirts. My mother-in-law had been kind enough to offer to take us to the airport (and pick us up!), so we all piled into her car to pick up our other two friends along the way. When she picked them up, we head to Zippy's (a local restaurant) to pick up a few meals for our plane ride. We arrived at Honolulu International Airport a little after 8:00 pm. Because we had done online check-in, we just needed to check our bags. The process was extremely quick, and all five of us were done within ten minutes. We would be flying with Hawaiian Airlines as it was an airlines we were more familiar with.



Our flight left on time at around 10:10 PM Hawai'i Time, and was smooth sailing from Hawai'i to LAX. We arrived earlier than expected. It was a bit difficult to get sleep like we all had planned. We may not do the red-eye flight again for this reason. We were all exhausted by the time check-in time came around.

We arrived at LAX a little after 6:00 AM LA time. After grabbing our check-in bags, it was still too early to catch the Disneyland Resort Express, so we opted to head to Starbucks for a quick snack. My husband took a photo of one of the poster signs he found interesting there.



We headed toward the DLR Express pick up area a little after 7:15 to be ready for the 7:30 pick up. It was running a little late, and we were passed several times by another shuttle company with a similar name which confused us a little. The guy stopped a couple of times to see if we wanted to ride with him instead. It wasn't large shuttle van, but a smaller express style van. I didn't think it looked as reputable, so we politely told him we already had vouchers. He was a bit persistent though. Our driver arrived at about 7:40, and we all loaded in prepped for the 45 minute drive to the resort.

At this point, we were all exhausted and fell asleep on the shuttle. LOL. For some reason it was much more comfortable than the airplane seats.



I loved the DLR Express. It was convenient, comfortable, and the fact that we were able to book its services through WDTC was great. The vouchers allowed us to check out easily once we arrived. I would definitely consider using them again. I also would consider using their other shuttles should we decide to do other attractions in the area in the future.

Within 45 minutes we were close to the resort and started to see Disney signs everywhere! Talk about increasing the anticipation!






To Be Continued
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:21 AM   #14
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:32 AM   #15
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Following along!
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