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Old 01-03-2014, 11:24 PM   #1
bellebookworm9
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The Twinsies Are Going West! A May 2014 PTR

The Twinsies have done it now. Gone and planned a trip to the Mother Land. But who are the twinsies and why are the going to Disneyland?
Let me introduce us.

I'm Gretchen. I'm going to be 23 by the time we take this trip. I worked as a WDW cast member for the better part of 2012 on the College Program and then as a seasonal employee. I'm midway through the second year of my doctoral program in Audiology at the University of Buffalo. My favorite character is Belle (obviously).


PB is my "twinise". He is going to be 26 by May. He did three College Programs at WDW from 2010-2013, then began working part time at the Yacht & Beach Club. He now works full time at Magic Kingdom outdoor foods. PB is originally from Ohio and the last time I checked, was studying theater through Kent State.


And we decided we needed to expand our Disney horizons and take a trip to Disneyland, where the magic began!

Our dates are May 18-23, 2014. I'll be out of school for the summer and PB's already got his vacation time approved.

We are going all out and staying in a theme park view concierge room at Paradise Pier. It was fairly inexpensive, the theme is adorable, the views are amazing, and who doesn't love "free" food?! And PB's 50% off CM discount didn't hurt either.

PB can also use his free cast member tickets to get us into the parks!

So we're 4.5 months out. If this were Disney World, I'd have the whole trip planned already, but we're finding out Disneyland isn't that insane. Thank God we won't have to deal with MagicBands and FP+ because I'm leaving for WDW in two days and that stuff is making me crazy! So we are looking forward to being a bit more relaxed with planning.

We both hope to book our flights (probably into LAX) by early next month. He'll be flying from Orlando, me from Buffalo. I'm willing to fly one airline out and another back to get the cheapest rates, but I'd also like the first flight of the day out to Cali and the last one back to NY. PB may stay an extra few days because he wants to go to San Francisco and LA.

So I hope you'll stick with us as we plan our touring options and dining choices. I'm sure we'll want lots of feedback and have tons of questions!
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*1992-Offsite *1994-Offsite *2/15-20, 2007-All Star Music *5/17-28, 2010-Kidani Village @ AKL Dining *10/7-11, 2011-Beach Club Villas Dining *1/10-11, 2012-Old Key West *2/9-12, 2012-Coronado Springs *5/10-5/11, 2012-All Star Music Four Months of Disney Dining *5/22-26,2012-All Star Sports *5/26-27, 2012-Port Orleans French Quarter *12/17-21, 2012-Wilderness Lodge *5/7-10, 2013-Pop Century *7/24-30, 2013-Art of Animation *1/6-10, 2014 -Art of Animation *3/25-29, 2014-All Star Movies *3/29-30, 2014-Boardwalk Villas *5/18-23, 2014-Paradise Pier *8/13-18, 2014-Caribbean Beach *8/18-19, 2014-Grand Floridian Trip Report & Dining *12/15-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23/2015-Art of Animation?? *10/28-11/1, 2015-Disney Cruise Line (Magic)

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Old 01-16-2014, 10:08 PM   #2
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Let's start with rides and plans, shall we?

Plans are obviously subject to change, particularly since DL doesn't publish their hours until 2 months beforehand.

As it looks now, however, we should be able to expect that Fantasmic and Magical will be presented at Disneyland Park on the first night of our visit, and that's it, so we definitely need to be there. Soundsational and World of Color are showing every night, so no worries about those. DCA is also holding grad nights on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, so I want to avoid that park like the plague on those days. With the schedule as it is now, we should be able to do Early Entry once for each park, maybe twice for DCA.

Closures and refurbs are changing faster than anything I've ever seen. Right now it seems that the Nemo subs will be closed, which is a shame cause I've never done them. Space Mountain will, fingers crossed, be open on our very last day. And Soarin' will be down as well, but that's not a big deal because I've ridden countless times at Epcot. Just thought it'd be cool to ride in the original location.

Here's my plan so far.
Sunday 5/18-Arrive at LAX around 10am. That should get me to PPH by 12-ish? Grab lunch from either the Surfside Lounge or see what's available at the Beachcomber Club. Maybe head to California Adventure for a bit? We're cool with the later (10:30) Fantasmic show, particularly if we get to take a break earlier. Magical should be at 9:30.

Monday 5/19-California Adventure with early entry (8am). Do Cars Land, Hollywood Land, Buena Vista Street, and a bug's land. World of Color package, probably at Carthay Circle for lunch. Break in the afternoon.

Tuesday 5/20-California Adventure again, sleep in a bit (arrive around 11am). Do Paradise Pier, Grizzly Peak and Pacific Wharf. World of Color package dinner at Wine Country Trattoria.

Wednesday 5/21-Disneyland, opening at 9am. Complete Adventureland, Frontierland, Critter Country, New Orleans Square, some of Fantasyland. Call it an early-ish night after some time at Downtown Disney.

Thursday 5/22-Disneyland with early entry at 9am. Tomorrowland, Toontown, and the rest of Fantasyland. See "evening" Soundsational at 7pm. Afternoon break.

Friday 5/23-Breakfast at Storyteller's Cafe at GCH. Disneyland to ride Space Mountain and perhaps meet characters that we didn't make it to earlier, or stop back at DCA. Last minute shopping at DTD, then we have to be on the last Disneyland Express back to LAX at 7:45pm.

We basically want to ride almost every ride and experience every show. With pretty much six full days or very close to it, we should have time to knock a lot out.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:43 PM   #3
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Flights

I booked my flights today!

Southwest was the no brainer for Buffalo to Los Angeles. (I decided on LAX vs. SNA because it was cheaper in all cases, by quite a lot of money.) The flight leaves Buffalo at 6am and lands in Phoenix at 7:55am (their time, obviously). Then my connection goes to LAX at 8:35am (hopefully there are no delays because a 40 minute layover makes me a tad nervous) and lands at 10am. Woo hoo! Almost a full day to play, and since I'm sure I'll need a nap after all that traveling, the earlier I get there, the better. The flight was priced at $178 or 8707 Rapids Rewards points. I had 4703 points and to purchase 4500 more was only $123.50, plus the $5.00 tax/fee.

Coming back was a bit more of a dilemma. The latest Southwest flight left LAX at 2:10pm, which would severely cut into our last day of playing, and all flights were more than $300. Moving onto JetBlue. The flight I really wanted had changed in price from $264 to $315. That one would depart LAX at 11:20pm with a redeye to Boston, landing at 7:49am. Then I would get on the plane to Buffalo two hours later and be home by 11:10am.

My other option was a flight from LAX to JFK, 8:39pm-5:00am, then JFK to BUF 6:30am-7:37am. That flight was $264. So I pulled up maps of both the JFK and Boston airports. I looked at the seat availability on all involved flights. JFK looked too overwhelming. The flight to JFK had window seats towards the front available though. The JFK-Buffalo flight did not. Boston looked like I could navigate it with some ease. The flight to Boston didn't have window seats toward the front, but I thought maybe on a long flight like that, being in the back might make it easier to sleep? And the BOS-BUF flight had tons of seats everywhere. So I pondered and pondered and eventually decided on....

the later, more expensive flight. I have seat 13A on the LAX-BOS leg and seat 3D (also a window seat, just a smaller plane) on the BOS-BUF leg. I also booked my roundtrip ticket on the Disneyland Express for $48. I must admit, it DLE makes me a little nervous since you don't need reservations. How can you guarantee you'll make it on the bus you want and won't have to wait another hour?

They pick up on the half hour, with a special pick up at 11am. That's probably the one I'll be on. Having never been to LAX (or Phoenix or Boston for that matter), I'm hoping 1 hour will be long enough to deplane, get my luggage, and make it to the bus. Returning, I'll be on the last bus out for the day, leaving Disney at 7:45pm-ish and getting to the airport around 9, which leaves me almost 2.5 hours to check in, get through security, and to my gate. Is that enough time? I hope?
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:49 AM   #4
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Hope you have a great time!
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
bellebookworm9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyismyheart247 View Post
Hope you have a great time!
Thanks! I'm sure we will have a blast.
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:30 PM   #6
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Day 1 Plans

All right, so for our first day, my flight leaves Buffalo at 6am EST. That means I have to be up by 4 to get to the airport by 4:30 and will owe my eternal gratitude to whatever poor soul agrees to drop me off (either my mom or my friend Matt are the most likely choices). I have a layover in Phoenix and will arrive at LAX at 10am PST. That's 1pm my time so I feel a nap coming on. If I manage to find my bags and make my way out into the hopefully bright California sunshine, I'll board the Disneyland Express and should be at Paradise Pier around 12pm. I can't check in without PB and we aren't sure what he's doing for flights yet. I'll grab lunch at the Surfside Lounge, most likely, and just hang out. He shouldn't be there too much later than me, and may even fly in the night before. So we can relax in the Beachcomber Club Lounge or maybe our room will even be ready and I can take that nap!

We'll head over to Disneyland around 3pm. This will be a pretty laid back day, doing stuff on Main Street, meeting some characters, seeing the parade, fireworks, and Fantasmic, and eating dinner.

Our plan specifically includes:
-Dinner at Cafe Orleans (Unofficial Guide RAVES about the Pommes Frites)
-Explore the Disney Gallery
-See the Walt Disney Story/Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
-Ride the Railroad
-Ride a Main Street Vehicle
-See the Dapper Dans perform
-Meet Anna & Elsa (if they're still around)
-Meet Merida (I've never met her, Anna, or Elsa)
-Meet whatever princesses are in The Royal Hall
-Watch Soundsational (SUPER excited about this!)
-Magical! is predicted to be at 9:30, so we'll catch that. I like it a lot (what I've seen on Youtube anyway, and think it will be a nice change from Wishes). I wouldn't complain if Remember...Dreams Come True is playing though because I adore Julie Andrews.
-Fantasmic! should be at 9 and 10:30 and I'm almost positive we'll see the later one so we can watch both the fireworks and that. But who knows, we may be completely whipped from the jet lag, so we'll have to see!
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:37 PM   #7
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Day 1 Plans, Revised

I'm sorry I've neglected this! As we are now inside the 30 day mark, official park times have been released. I purchased RideMax, since I had great success with them on my first "real" trip to WDW in 2010; just need to wait for them to put in the hours for our dates, which should be within the next two days. Between RM and Touring Plans, we should have very little waiting and a good estimate of character meet & greet lines.

However, because official hours are now out, there's been some plan tweaking. We can now sat with certainty that the Nemo subs, Alice in Wonderland, Space Mountain, and Grizzly River Run will all be closed for the duration of our trip. On the up side, Pirates and it's a small world will be open on our last day, which happens to coincide with the beginning of this year's 24 hour event.

So, Day 1, revised:
-Still planning to get to PPH around 12 at the latest, grab some lunch, relax, etc.
-Soundsational at 4:30pm
-Roundtrip ride on the Railroad from Main Street
-Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
-Dinner at Cafe Orleans (6pm)
-Disney Gallery
-Head over to DCA for the Mad T Party.
-Back to DL for Magical at 9:30pm
-Fantasmic at 10:30pm

Our original plan was to stay at DL for the whole evening. But I really want to check out the MTP and this is the only night it's happening, so I think we can detour over there for a short while between 7:30-8:45 or so. After all, it is just under a quarter mile between the Disney Gallery and the Mad T Party!
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:07 AM   #8
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following along!!! How exciting to be getting to go so soon....we still have a while but hopefully it will go by fast!!
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by luulu1999 View Post
following along!!! How exciting to be getting to go so soon....we still have a while but hopefully it will go by fast!!
We've been planning this out since last July, so we are definitely excited that it's coming soon! And I'm sure your time will fly by as well!
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:03 PM   #10
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Day 2 Plans

Monday morning we plan to be up bright and early! I know the previous night will be a late one, but California Adventure has Early Entry beginning at 8am. Since that's 11am our time, it shouldn't be too much of a problem to be over at the entrance by 7:30 or so.

Destination: Cars Land! We'll ride Radiator Springs Racers together and try to successfully catch some air on Luigi's Flying Tires, then take a spin on the Junkyard Jamboree. We'll probably also take another ride on the Racers using the Single Riders line. PB really wants to explore a bug's land, so our next stop will be the rides over there. He knows it's meant more for kids, but hey, it's our vacation, right? Then we'll drop in to Tower of Terror before heading back to Flo's for lunch.

After lunch we'll spend some time in the Animation Academy. I like the class at Hollywood Studios, so hopefully this one will be cool too. We may skip Turtle Talk with Crush, since we have that in Epcot as well. At some point during the morning, one of us will also grab FPs for World of Color, and we're aiming for the Yellow section, so it might take a little while before all the Blues run out. Finally, we'll make a stop at Monstropolis to ride the Mike & Sulley to the Rescue ride.

Then it will be time for our afternoon break around 1:15. Probably around 5 we'll get some dinner from Tortilla Joe's Taqueria at DTD before going back to DCA. We hope to catch the Aladdin Musical at 6:20, and then some of the DJ's Dance and Drive back in Cars Land at 7pm. When that's done we'll make our way over to Paradise Park to get spots for World of Color. There's only one show that night so we want to get there way early for a good view. This is going to be my night to just watch the show; I'll take pictures the next night! The show will be over around 9:15 then it will be back to PPH for the evening, maybe we'll catch some of the evening Wine & Cheese reception in the Concierge Club.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:52 PM   #11
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Following along

Just to let you know, I'm pretty sure that the PPH concierge lounge closes at 8pm (which is one of the reasons we decided to stay at DLH instead of Concierge at PPH on our last trip.)

Also, if PB really wants to see Bugs Land, he can do that any time, as it's rarely busy there. I wouldn't waste precious morning time there, and that area isn't open during EE. You'll find that there isn't a lot open in DCA during EE, so you may want to do TOT during EE if you have time for it. What I would do for EE is hit RSR then TSMM (I know you've done this before in WDW, but there will be no line during EE and not a lot else to ride). Then Screamin if you're up for it and Goofy's. Then you'll probably have time for TOT, grab a FP for RSR, then do the rest of the carsland rides and then bugs land. By then, you'll be ready for a late breakfast.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:37 PM   #12
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Following along

Just to let you know, I'm pretty sure that the PPH concierge lounge closes at 8pm (which is one of the reasons we decided to stay at DLH instead of Concierge at PPH on our last trip.)

Also, if PB really wants to see Bugs Land, he can do that any time, as it's rarely busy there. I wouldn't waste precious morning time there, and that area isn't open during EE. You'll find that there isn't a lot open in DCA during EE, so you may want to do TOT during EE if you have time for it. What I would do for EE is hit RSR then TSMM (I know you've done this before in WDW, but there will be no line during EE and not a lot else to ride). Then Screamin if you're up for it and Goofy's. Then you'll probably have time for TOT, grab a FP for RSR, then do the rest of the carsland rides and then bugs land. By then, you'll be ready for a late breakfast.
Hi! I totally forgot about how early the lounge closes, so thanks for the reminder! We may not get over there the first few nights, but we'll definitely make an effort on Wednesday and Thursday night, when we won't be at the parks too late. Personally, I'm planning to take advantage of the breakfast offerings more than anything else.

I'm using RideMax and Touring Plans to assist with our touring strategies. RideMax suggests doing RSR, the Flying Tires, TSM, and Junkyard Jamboree. However, we are doing two days at DCA, and plan to do Paradise Pier on the other day (a non EE day). Starting off at RSR, Touring Plans is predicting a 47 minute wait. However, I think that's unlikely, especially if we're able to be at the front of the crowd, and I'm feeling better about the ~20 minutes suggested by RM. So if we do all three Cars Land attractions, and another ride on RSR in the singles line, that will bring us to about 10am. The plans are predicting about 25 minutes to wait for/ride the four BL attractions (don't care about ITTBAB, cause I've seen it at AK and hated it). That brings us to Tower of Terror around 10:15, where the wait is supposedly around 13 minutes. Then at 1pm, Monsters Inc should be less than 10 minutes.

In your experience, do those times seem somewhat accurate? I've done a lot of messing around with the plans to get them how I want. Our general goal is to do Hollywood Land, Cars Land, and Bug's Land on Monday, then Paradise Pier, Soarin', Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (GRR isn't open during our trip ), and the Bakery Tour on Tuesday.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:02 PM   #13
Rubygoose
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Originally Posted by bellebookworm9 View Post
Hi! I totally forgot about how early the lounge closes, so thanks for the reminder! We may not get over there the first few nights, but we'll definitely make an effort on Wednesday and Thursday night, when we won't be at the parks too late. Personally, I'm planning to take advantage of the breakfast offerings more than anything else.

I'm using RideMax and Touring Plans to assist with our touring strategies. RideMax suggests doing RSR, the Flying Tires, TSM, and Junkyard Jamboree. However, we are doing two days at DCA, and plan to do Paradise Pier on the other day (a non EE day). Starting off at RSR, Touring Plans is predicting a 47 minute wait. However, I think that's unlikely, especially if we're able to be at the front of the crowd, and I'm feeling better about the ~20 minutes suggested by RM. So if we do all three Cars Land attractions, and another ride on RSR in the singles line, that will bring us to about 10am. The plans are predicting about 25 minutes to wait for/ride the four BL attractions (don't care about ITTBAB, cause I've seen it at AK and hated it). That brings us to Tower of Terror around 10:15, where the wait is supposedly around 13 minutes. Then at 1pm, Monsters Inc should be less than 10 minutes.

In your experience, do those times seem somewhat accurate? I've done a lot of messing around with the plans to get them how I want. Our general goal is to do Hollywood Land, Cars Land, and Bug's Land on Monday, then Paradise Pier, Soarin', Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (GRR isn't open during our trip ), and the Bakery Tour on Tuesday.
I've never used ridemax or touring plans, so I can't say anything about their accuracy. You'll probably find that they aren't really necessary for DLR. If you plan it correctly, you won't have to wait 47 minutes for RSR. We managed to ride it doing wide right with two little kiddos and a double stroller, and we were in the 2nd run of cars of the morning. Including the time it took to ride, I think we were done in 15 minutes. Mind you, this was at a 7am EE in July. Even in July, we rarely waited more than 20 minutes for any rides because we did most of our rides during EE, took a break in the afternoon, and did mostly shows/parades in the evening. I think I waited longer for my food at Tomorrowland Terrace than for anything else! Plus, you two could just go single rider and you may get in the same car, or even better, you may end of racing against each other.

You'll find that you can get a lot done during EE at DCA. The 2nd day that we were in DCA for EE we didn't go straight to RSR and we kind of ran out of things to do. It was DD's birthday, so we let her ride Goofy's Sky School 5 or 6 times in a row! I would never put Luigi's as my 2nd ride (but, then again, I can't stand that ride! really slow loading and I don't like riding something that doesn't' go all by itself!) There's really no reason to save the paradise pier area of the park for another day. DCA isn't all that big. If you're in cars land, there's a path behind flo's that you can take to get to the pacific wharf area. That's why I'd suggest RSR using wide right, then TSMM, then whatever's open in that area, then back to carsland before the end of EE. Mater's is my son's favourite, and we've ridden it any time of day and always had a 15 min or so wait. There are a lot of tractors, so it loads pretty quickly.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:59 PM   #14
bellebookworm9
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Originally Posted by Rubygoose View Post
I've never used ridemax or touring plans, so I can't say anything about their accuracy. You'll probably find that they aren't really necessary for DLR. If you plan it correctly, you won't have to wait 47 minutes for RSR. We managed to ride it doing wide right with two little kiddos and a double stroller, and we were in the 2nd run of cars of the morning. Including the time it took to ride, I think we were done in 15 minutes. Mind you, this was at a 7am EE in July. Even in July, we rarely waited more than 20 minutes for any rides because we did most of our rides during EE, took a break in the afternoon, and did mostly shows/parades in the evening. I think I waited longer for my food at Tomorrowland Terrace than for anything else! Plus, you two could just go single rider and you may get in the same car, or even better, you may end of racing against each other.

You'll find that you can get a lot done during EE at DCA. The 2nd day that we were in DCA for EE we didn't go straight to RSR and we kind of ran out of things to do. It was DD's birthday, so we let her ride Goofy's Sky School 5 or 6 times in a row! I would never put Luigi's as my 2nd ride (but, then again, I can't stand that ride! really slow loading and I don't like riding something that doesn't' go all by itself!) There's really no reason to save the paradise pier area of the park for another day. DCA isn't all that big. If you're in cars land, there's a path behind flo's that you can take to get to the pacific wharf area. That's why I'd suggest RSR using wide right, then TSMM, then whatever's open in that area, then back to carsland before the end of EE. Mater's is my son's favourite, and we've ridden it any time of day and always had a 15 min or so wait. There are a lot of tractors, so it loads pretty quickly.
Thanks for the tips! We are already planning to incorporate the "Stay to the right" strategy, and even though we'll still do two days at DCA, I'll work on rearranging the plans a bit.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:05 AM   #15
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Day 2 Plans Revised & Day 3 Plans

After taking into consideration Rubygoose's tips, I've done a bit of rearranging. We're still going to be at DCA for Early Entry and will knock out Cars Land first, but then we'll move onto Paradise Pier, starting with Toy Story Mania. If all goes well, almost everything except the Golden Zephyr and Little Mermaid will have been ridden by just after 10am. Then it's over to a bug's land to ride those attractions, followed by Tower of Terror. That brings us to 11:15-ish and time for lunch at Flo's. After lunch, World of Color FPs will hopefully be for the Yellow Section so I'll grab those on our way out of the park for our afternoon break.

After a nap and swim, we'll grab some dinner at Tortilla Jo's Taqueria and be back into DCA by 5pm for the Pixar Play Parade at 5:15. I want to check out DJ's Dance & Drive in Cars Land around 6pm and maybe catch another ride on RSR via the singles line. If the line is too long, we'll skip it. Before getting in line over at WoC, we'll hop on Little Mermaid and the Golden Zephyr (assuming it's running). We'll be in position for WoC hopefully no later than 7:30 for the 8:45pm show.

On Tuesday, we can sleep in a little bit, having knocked out most of the major rides on the previous day. I figure we can lounge around the hotel in the morning then head over to the park around 11:15 or so. Get a FP for Soarin' and another set of FPs for WoC, then grab lunch at Pacific Wharf Cafe. After yummy soup in a breadbowl we can explore the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and use our Soarin' FPs. Monsters Inc is also on the list for today, along with the entertainment and Red Car Trolleys of Buena Vista Street. Also definitely want to see the Aladdin show and check out Animation Academy. We should be able to accomplish all of this by about 4:45.

We originally had the WoC dining package with dinner at Wine Country Trattoria. However, they've recently greatly reduced the menu to a whopping four choices of entrees. I've also done more research on WoC viewing spots and I'm 99% positive we can get good seats with the FPs and showing up mega early. So we canceled the WCT ressie and decided to try PCH Grill at Paradise Pier-way more variety and definitely a bit cheaper as well! We can have a leisurely dinner, maybe even stop in at the Wine & Cheese reception in the concierge lounge, before heading back over to DCA around 7:15 again to see the show, again at 8:45.
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