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Old 10-22-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
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DisneyJamieCA's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 3,075

Mini-trip report 10/18-10/21

We are just back from a long weekend trip to celebrate my daughter's 7th birthday. We actually drove down after school on 10/17, arrived at the Carousel Inn, checked in without problem and went to bed. We originally had planned to go down on the 18th, so this was only a one night stay at the Carousel. We ate their breakfast the next day, which was decent.

Our plan of attack to was to hit parks opposite of EMH days. So the 18th we started at DCA. We got to the front gates about 8:15am, for a 9am opening. They opened the gates (we were about 4th family back in our line) at about 8:30, scanned our tickets before the countdown and once that was done, we were off. Thanks to the DISboards, I was able to tell DH exactly where to go for the FP line. He got in that and was the 7th or 8th peron in line. The rest of us went to the cattle herding area and waited Before the trip we had thought about trying to do the wide right trick, but ultimately decided we didn't want to risk the ride being closed and then missing the FP opportunity. As it was, DH was out of the FP line and met us at Luigi's right as we arrived. So we all rode that and then Maters. Did the M&G with Mater and then went to use our FP (9:40 return time) only to find the ride broken. It would be down the next 3 times we tried during the day. We did other stuff during the day and had a nice day. I checked MouseWait at about 5:15 and saw it was back up, so we hustled back over, got on and barely made our dinner reservations at Goofy's Kitchen. This was DS's first trip over 40 inches, so it was a big one for him. I have to say, I love all the rides in Carsland.

Goofy's Kitchen, as I stated in another thread, was "meh" for us this trip, after years of loving it. We got seated right away, so I give them credit for that. And we had an amazing table. However, they brought DD's birthday cupcake 10 minutes after we sat down. It's hard to be too upset because it's free and it was timed perfectly to have both Minnie and Alice there to sing to her. But I would have liked to have fed them some dinner first. The food was ok, the character interaction was decent, but they didn't do the dance party. It didn't seem to run as smoothy as they have in the past.

The next morning, we were at DL before opening and did the usually FL rides and Finding Nemo (DS & YDD had never been on it). We had breakfast ressies at Minnie's at 9:50. When we got there, we were taken to the outside patio and asked if we wanted shade or sun. I said shade and then we were told to find our own table. My mom found a table she liked and we were told the characters wouldn't come over there, to the other side of the patio we went. We were assured the table we had chosen would have the characters come by. An hour into it, we hadn't had a single character come to our table. I went and asked the lead about it, she assured us they would and she would get some to come over. That did happen, but they were so quick at our table, it felt awkward. 45 minutes later, we had only seen 2 characters, so we went to ask again. She did get more to come by our table, however by this time people were starting to sneak up the side entrance and were using it is as M&G. There weren't any handlers out there, so the characters allowed it. I finally went and got somebody who moved the characters along. I actually liked sitting outside, but I was so disappointed and frustrated by having to do all the work, that I left feeling really upset by it.

Our next trip, I think we will try Storyteller's. I know there aren't as many characters, but at this point, for the money, I'm interested in something with better food and service. At this point, I have no interest in doing Goofy's again. I'm split on Minnie's - only because they have a ton of characters and some harder to find ones.

Friday night, we did the Halloween party. We got there just after 4 and the process to get in was easy. We had PS for Cafe Orleans and after that went to use our FP at Autopia (one of DS's favorite). As we were getting off of that, the line had started for the Innovations TOT and M&G with Phineas and Ferb. The line moved quickly and after waiting about 10 minutes for P&F (no autographs), After that we used our FP for SPGG, then walked on Star Tours and BLAB. As we left Tomorrowland, the cavalcade was starting and we ended up with excellent seats. We headed over the Matterhorn and did the TOT stations there. We watched the fireworks from there, which wasn't great, but since my kids don't love the loudness, it wasn't a big loss. We headed down to Main Street (2 sleeping little kids at this point, despite naps that day) and did the TOT stations there and saw all the villains, which is what my oldest wanted to do the entire trip. I would have loved to see NOS, Frontierland, ect but that area gets so crowded and it hard to maneuver with the stroller, I didn't even want to attempt it during the party.

Sat was back to DCA and we headed straight to TSMM and rode it 3x times walk on, which was a first for us! It was so nice. We also did the carousel and Screamin' 2x. I don't remember in what order we did all the rides, but I do know we got on everything during our stay. At some point we hopped over to DL for awhile, but it had become very crowded, so we eventually took the train from NOS to Tomorrowland and then the monorail to DTD and had an early dinner at the Jazz Kitchen. Sunday, DH took the 3 older ones to the park (DL) while I stayed with the baby and packed. I know in the 2 hours they were gone they did Splash 2x (didn't get off), HM, POTC, PP, MTWR, BTRR (not in that order).

Overall it was a great, laid back trip. We will be back next month, staying onsite, for a week, so we had freedom with this trip. We stayed in the kids's suite at Hojo which was nice, except the safety rail on top bunk rattles every time the person rolls over and the pull out couch was really squeaky. But no major complaints

The parks were perfect in the morning and got very crowded in the afternoons. We've gone during peak summer and this was still crazier. But with kids it's easy to get up early, do everything we want and then take it slow (or do shows, shopping, etc) in the afternoon and call it an early night. Besides the character meals, my one big complaint was the Big Thunder Round-up area. The Villain thing is neat, but is only one villain at a time. They do have characters (Fab 5 for us) in costume which was fun, but getting any of them to stop for a picture was near impossible. And it was hit or miss. We couldn't get Mickey to stop for us, but would for another family. We got Goofy to stop for us, but another family couldn't. Minnie was the only one who stopped for every family that asked. I get they move around and run and play, but it's very hard to explain to little kids why Mickey doesn't want to see them.

I enjoyed Halloween time there - in all of our trips, it's our first time, but I am much more excited for our holiday trip coming up!
Me , DH , DD(10), DD(9) , DS (6) , DD (3)

DL Onsite - Aug. '06 (GCH), Dec. '06 (GCH), Dec. '07 (GCH), Feb. '12 (DLH) Nov. '12 (GCH), Nov. '13 (DLH), June '14 (PPH), Oct. '14 (DLH), Nov. '14 (GCH)

DL Offsite - Sept. '07, Aug. '08, Aug. '09, Nov. '10, July '11, June '12, Oct. '12
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:57 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: The West Coast
Posts: 77

Thank you for the terrific report. I will be there on Friday and Saturday, so your report is absolutely perfect for trip planning purposes.
~The arc was built by amateurs~

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Old 10-22-2012, 11:29 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 646

Nice report, thanks for sharing. We are going in Feb...I am getting worried about all the crowds. I am used to a week in Feb being a really slow time and it sounds like really slow times are scarce now.
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