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Old 12-14-2006, 09:22 AM   #1
jwsqrdplus2
I suddenly got inspired
Can you believe that he Actualy Demanded breakfast?
No garlic eyes yet!
Looking for the Toy and Towel Fairies
 
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A Diva and a Daredevil take on DLR (finished)

Cast of Characters:

Me (38), Disney Obsessed, and can’t wait to see Disneyland in its holiday décor
the Human ATM: DH (39) along for the ride, self professed portable ATM whose only job is to spit out money!
Diva: DD1 (turns 8 on this trip), she is reason we are going (she is dancing in a parade), gets to spend her birthday at DL and isn’t letting us forget it!
Daredeveil: DD2 (5), hasn’t met a thrill ride that she didn’t like and gets royally pissed when not tall enough. Easily distracted by ice cream though!



Pre-trip:

I am a veteran of WDW as are my girls. Being military, we have moved frequently, but have not lived this far west in over 10 years. We have lived closer to WDW, so that has become our family destination of choice. The last trip to DL we made was in 1995. We went for 1 day after our honeymoon cruise before heading back to Idaho (where we were stationed at the time). DCA was non-existent, I really didn’t know about the need to plan trips, and obviously, no kids! We are currently stationed a 7-hr drive from DL, so it is now our more realistic destination.

This trip started out in early summer as a surprise Christmas present for our girls. We were going to “give” it to them Christmas morning, get in the car and drive to DL. I had made hotel reservations (using points), was researching dining options, researching touring plans, getting the whole idea on track. The Human ATM was OK with the idea initially, but eventually got totally into the surprise aspect.

Then in August the studio that both my girls dance at (Diva is in the competitive/performance company and Daredevil is a recreational dancer) decided to give company members the option to perform in the Disneyland Holiday Spectacular parade on Dec 9. They did this last year, but we were unable to participate due to work schedules. So I double checked my work schedule, and the Human ATM checked his. This year we were able to do it. Now came the big decision:

1. Keep the Christmas trip and do not do the parade.
2. Keep the Christmas trip, and Diva and I do a whirlwind trip for the parade
3. Keep the Christmas trip, and the whole family does a whirlwind trip for the parade
4. Dump the Christmas trip, and the whole family does a longer trip surrounding the parade.

I weighed the pros and cons of all the options, and drove the Human ATM nuts discussing the options. We ended up choosing option 4 for two major reasons: crowds (or lack thereof) and Diva’s birthday was Dec 7. The major con of the earlier trip was removing the kids from school (something I really try to avoid). Fortunately Diva’s teacher also loves Disney, so she was very understanding. And Daredevil is only in pre-K, so I wasn’t really worried about her.

So now I make new reservations (I even got an extra day at Disney with the new plan!!), cancel the existing ones, and it is no longer a surprise. Since Diva is performing, she has rehearsals and obviously knows we are going. We decided to drive to Anaheim on Wed, Dec 6 after school got out, so Diva could spend her b-day at DL. Then we would drive home on Mon, Dec 10. The girls would miss 3 days of school. In the planning process, we discovered that one of the girls that Diva dances with who was also participating in the parade had the same birthday as Diva. Diva was turning 8, and her friend was turning 6. That family was doing the exact same thing as us, so their daughter could spend her b-day at DL. So we made plans for the 2 families to meet for dinner on Thurs night to celebrate the birthdays. I really wanted to go to Ariel’s Grotto, but DCA closed at 6pm on Thursday, and the last seating for Ariel’s Grotto was 3:30, which was too early for both families. So we decided on Goofy’s Kitchen which ended up being a blast!

So, without further ado…off to Disneyland!
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:40 PM   #3
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:40 PM   #4
Madaboutthemouse
The frozen Bacardi ones are really good!
I had fun guessing!
So my whirlwind of a day is finally over
 
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Great start Jess!
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:06 PM   #5
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Great start, Jess. Can't wait to hear more!!
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:05 PM   #6
jwsqrdplus2
I suddenly got inspired
Can you believe that he Actualy Demanded breakfast?
No garlic eyes yet!
Looking for the Toy and Towel Fairies
 
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Moving *bleep*
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Travel Day

Cast of Characters:

Me (38), Disney Obsessed, and can’t wait to see Disneyland in its holiday décor
the Human ATM: DH (39) along for the ride, self professed portable ATM whose only job is to spit out money!
Diva: DD1 (turns 8 on this trip), she is reason we are going (she is dancing in a parade), gets to spend her birthday at DL and isn’t letting us forget it!
Daredevil: DD2 (5), hasn’t met a thrill ride that she didn’t like and gets royally pissed when not tall enough. Easily distracted by ice cream though!


We left Tucson at 2:30, about 30 minutes later than I wanted to due to the Human ATM and a very slow moving train between us and the highway!! The drive took a little over 7 hours including several bathroom stops for Daredevil. I had both mapquested and AAA tripticked this trip. Both sets of directions were identical, so we figured we were good to go. We ran into 2 snags on the drive. The first was we hit rush hour traffic in Phoenix (used the Phoenix by pass coming home since we were slated to hit Phoenix at the same time of day). Got through it, but it delayed us probably another 30-45 minutes. Second problem was in CA. There is a lot of construction where we switched from one highway to another, and signs were non-existent, and we hit this area after dark. There was one sign that mentioned taking the second right off a certain exit. We did that, and fortunately ended up going the right direction on the right highway. Some friends of ours were not so lucky, and ended up getting lost and going the wrong direction at the exact same interchange.

We got to our hotel: Embassy Suites South (about a mile south of DL on Harbour). The Human ATM travels quite a bit, and lucky for us, he participates in Hilton Honors. And because he travels so much, he is diamond level (highest level and serious VIP treatment). We were able to stay 5 nights on points, so no hotel costs. When I made the reservation, I had requested a Theme park view, but we all know how requests go. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t! So when we checked in, they give me the key cards and Suite number. The Human ATM heads out to the car with bell services to get our bags while I head up to our room. I come off the elevator and start looking for our room number. I see it, and I start thinking, “Wow, we got a corner suite this time.” I walked into the room, and I was right. We had a beautiful corner suite, and we could see Space Mountain, the Matterhorn, California Screamin’ and the Mail Boomer from our room! And we found out later that we could also see the fireworks.

The Human ATM and bell services show up with our bags at which point we put the girls to bed. They had fallen asleep in the car, but when we got off the highway the last time they woke up. It was way past their bedtime, and they needed to get back to sleep. The Human ATM and I crashed about 10 pm local (11 pm on the body clock).

Next up…how a Diva spends her birthday (and mom gets a huge headache)!
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:18 PM   #7
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Wow, what a view! Looking forward to reading the rest.
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:32 AM   #8
jwsqrdplus2
I suddenly got inspired
Can you believe that he Actualy Demanded breakfast?
No garlic eyes yet!
Looking for the Toy and Towel Fairies
 
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Day 1, otherwise known as Diva's Birthday

Cast of Characters:

Me (38), Disney Obsessed, and can’t wait to see Disneyland in its holiday décor
the Human ATM: DH (39) along for the ride, self professed portable ATM whose only job is to spit out money!
Diva: DD1 (turns 8 on this trip), she is reason we are going (she is dancing in a parade), gets to spend her birthday at DL and isn’t letting us forget it!
Daredevil: DD2 (5), hasn’t met a thrill ride that she didn’t like and gets royally pissed when not tall enough. Easily distracted by ice cream though!


Daredevil is our perpetual early riser, and today she does not disappoint. At about 6am, I hear her talking to herself in the outer room (the girls are sleeping on the pull out couch in the living area). The Human ATM had closed the door to the bedroom (something we never do at home), and the sun hadn’t come up yet. Needless to say, it was VERY dark in that suite. I go out into the other room to tell Daredevil to go back to sleep. On my way back into the bedroom, I walk straight into the now partially open bedroom door. I hit my head directly above my right eye so hard that 6 days later there is no bruise but the area is still tender. I also let loose with a very colorful verbal barrage that the entire hotel probably should have covered their ears for! Now the whole family is awake! The Human ATM gets me some ice, and I lay back down with ice on my head while he gets the girls dressed. About 30 minutes and 800mg of Motrin later, I feel much better, and we are ready to face the day. And today is Diva’s birthday!! So we head downstairs to grab some breakfast (love the free breakfast at Embassy!) and off to DL.

We used ART for transportation (worked out great) and we got to DL right after opening. After going through the gates, we went to City Hall to get to get Diva a birthday button; the wonderful CMs at City Hall also gave Daredevil a Princess Fantasy Faire button so she wouldn’t feel left out. We then proceeded to walk on to just about everything!!!!! The park was absolutely empty. We hit Buzz, Star Tours, Space Mountain, Teacups (just missed Mickey and Pluto; they rode with kids on the ride after us. Just missing will become a common theme with us!), Alice In Wonderland, Small World Holiday (very cool; the Human ATM and I liked the holiday version much better), and Roger Rabbit. The girls played around in Toontown for a while, and we almost lost Diva, then to lunch at Village Haus. The Human ATM and I were fine (he had the cheeseburger with fries, and I had the Pepperoni Pizza with a garden salad; both were OK), but the kids wanted the Mac and Cheese kid’s meal which was a HUGE ripoff. For $5.49 each, they got 4 ounces (maybe ¼ cup) of Mac and Cheese, baby carrots and a drink. I ended up sharing my pizza with them, and the Human ATM shared his fires. While I did return there for a quick to go meal later in the trip, I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.

After lunch, we rode Pinnochio, Big Thunder Mountain (that hurt! Trying to hang on to Daredevil when the restraints stop at my lap is not fun or easy on this ride), ice cream dessert/snack, Pirates (I love all the new additions!), Splash (better at WDW), Haunted Mansion Holiday (awesome), and we tried to do Indy, but it was down (in fact, it was down a good prtion of the trip.) We headed back to Tomorrowland for Astro Orbiter, then a popcorn snack. At that point Daredevil wanted to do Space again, and Diva didn’t, so divide and conquer…the Human ATM and Daredevil to Space, and Diva and I to Autopia. We met up with an Omnibus (double decker) right at the entrance to Tommowland, so hitched a ride to the front entrance.

At this point, Diva had been getting lots of attention from CMs thanks to her birthday button. Lots of “Happy Birthday Princess!”, a couple of trips down the FP line instead of the standby line, and even other guest seeing the button and saying Happy Birthday. In fact, Diva wanted to take the button off because she was tired of saying Thank you all the time!

We hopped to DCA just for TOT. As we were walking towards TOT, a CM saw Diva’s button, came off the curb and stopped her for a lengthy conversation. It was pretty funny. After that, Diva moved her button from chest level to waist level so fewer people would see it. Then we get heading towards TOT. We ran across the other family we were meeting for dinner that night (their DD was turning 6 that day so we planned on Goofy’s Kitchen for the b-day dinner). Their DD had decided not to ride TOT, so Diva decided not to also. But Daredevil was begging to ride, so divide and conquer again! The Human ATM took Diva to the bathroom, then to ride Monster’s Inc while I took Daredevil on TOT. While in line, other guest kept looking at Daredevil and asking me if she was really going to ride. Daredevil LOVES this ride. She rode it for the first time at WDW when she was still 3 (1 month shy of her 4th b-day). She laughed and giggled the whole time. The other adults in our elevator were amazed!

After that, we met back up with the Human ATM and Diva to head out to Downtown Disney for a leisurely walk towards the Disneyland Hotel. We shopped along the way, going to World of Disney, Basin, the Lego Store and a few others. We got to Goofy’s Kitchen about 45 minutes early and Thank Goodness we did. 60 days ago when I made the PS, I ordered a cake for our 2 b-day girls. I checked in about 40 minutes early and asked about the cake, and guess what, the cake order was MIA. So when the CM told us that the order had been lost I mentioned 2 b-day girls who would be very disappointed, I was bumped up to a manager. Lillia was AWESOME!!! She immediately comped us Princess b-day buckets for both girls (~$10 each) and then attempted to figure out what happened with the cake order. Bakery did not have a cake the size we ordered available, but had the next size up. So Lillia made sure we got that cake at the price of the smaller cake. I cannot say enough nice things about her.

In the meantime, Pluto was literally turning cartwheels in the lobby for Diva, Daredevil, b-day girl #2, two other dance friends and assorted siblings. Ashlynn got b-day gifts from her 3 friends (rather unexpected since she was not having a party per se. One of her other friends and her family also had reservations around the same time as us, so we all partied together in Goofy’s Kitchen. They came over when our cake was brought out and helped us sing to the girls, and everyone had cake. I am glad I had actually ordered the smaller one because the one we ended up with was huge. We had about 1/3 of the cake left and that was after cutting 12+ generous slices!

Another unexpected treat: the Human ATM and I had each gotten a glass of wine from the bar outside GK while we were waiting. When we were seated we each asked for another glass. Our server brought them, but when he brought our bill at the end of dinner, he said he couldn’t find the right button on the register so “Mickey comped us” for the wine (~$9 a glass). We ended up giving him an extra tip on top of the 15% included since we were a party of 8. All in all, a great birthday and dinner for Diva and the other birthday girl!!

Since ART picks up at the exact opposite end of the DLR complex from where we were, we opted to take a cab back to our hotel. We got up to our room just in time to pull up a chair to watch the DL fireworks. Then we bathed the girls and all of us crashed for the night.

Next up…another near miss in Fantasyland then on to DCA
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Old 12-16-2006, 05:47 PM   #9
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Thanks for sharing
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Old 12-18-2006, 02:37 PM   #10
jwsqrdplus2
I suddenly got inspired
Can you believe that he Actualy Demanded breakfast?
No garlic eyes yet!
Looking for the Toy and Towel Fairies
 
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Moving *bleep*
Posts: 5,269

Cast of Characters:

Me (38), Disney Obsessed, and can’t wait to see Disneyland in its holiday décor
the Human ATM: DH (39) along for the ride, self professed portable ATM whose only job is to spit out money!
Diva: DD1 (turns 8 on this trip), she is reason we are going (she is dancing in a parade), gets to spend her birthday at DL and isn’t letting us forget it!
Daredevil: DD2 (5), hasn’t met a thrill ride that she didn’t like and gets royally pissed when not tall enough. Easily distracted by ice cream though!


We took our time getting started today. We had breakfast at hotel, then caught the bus to parks. We planned on spending the day at DCA, but since it wasn’t open yet, we headed into Disneyland. We had pretty much neglected Fantasyland yesterday, and Daredevil was begging to ride Dumbo. While we were in line for Dumbo, Mickey, Goofy and Pluto appeared and started working the crowd. Three lucky kids were chosen to ride with the characters, and they were on the same ride as us, so we were closer this time, but still another near miss! After Dumbo we moved on to Snow White, Peter Pan, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, King Arthur’s Carrousel, and another trip thru the Haunted Mansion Holiday.

By then, DCA was open so we hopped over to there. We rode Soarin’ over California, then had lunch at Taste Pilot’s Grill (BBQ Chicken sandwich (Human ATM), loaded fries (me), 2 chicken kids meals). After lunch, we started wandering towards Paradise Pier, and the girls decided they wanted to ride Grizzly River Run. It was comfortable in short sleeves and jeans, but getting wet was not something I was looking forward to. The Human ATM refused to even go on the ride!! Fortunately, we had a relatively dry ride; we ended up in a raft with a pregnant (8 months!) mom and her 3 kids, so we were a total of 5 kids and 2 adults. I think our low weight definitely worked for us! Everybody got a little sprinkled on, but nobody got soaked! We continued mobbing towards Paradise Pier and hit Mulholland Madness, Jumping Jellyfish (totally LAME) and Golden Zephyr. Then Diva wanted to ride Orange Stinger and Daredevil is not tall enough), so the Human ATM and Diva ride that while I distract Daredevil with a Mickey ice cream sandwich!

We wanted to ride California Screamin’ but it was down. We were heading for the Sun Wheel, but then we heard the announcement for the High School Musical Pep Rally, so we did a little window shopping heading back towards the Pep Rally location. Watched the Pep Rally (girls LOVED it), then headed towards TOT. Stopped off at It’s Tough to be a Bug (hate that stink bug!), then Monster’s Inc (cute, but nothing spectacular). Saw several folks from the dance studio on way to TOT. Diva was happy to see her friends. They were headed for CA Screamin’, and when I mentioned it was down, they said they had just gotten a phone call from someone else saying it was running again. So we did TOT (Diva freaked a little which was weird). Then we did the divide and conquer act again. Diva and I headed for CA Screamin (twice!) while the Human ATM distracted Daredevil with another Mickey Ice Cream sandwich. Then they rode Mulholland Madness again and saw the HSM Pep Rally again.

We met up right after the Pep Rally, and headed for “a bug’s land” to kill time before dinner. We covered all the attractions (Flik’s Flyers, Francis’ Ladybug Boogie, Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies and Hemlich’s Chew Chew Train), then headed to the Wine Country for a sampling before dinner. I checked in for dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria, and ran into another problem. Our original PS was for 6:30, but that morning I had called Disney Dining and changed it to 5:10. The CM at checking guests in did not have either PS on file; she also mentioned that Disney Dining messes up their PSs all the time. I was not overly impressed with Disney Dining in California. Fortunately it was a slow night, so they got us seated and a little early at that, and we chowed down. The Human ATM had Chicken Alfredo lasagna (said it was a bit dry) and shared a house salad with Daredevil. I had the Tuscan Salad (minus beets and olives) with a cup of Minestrone Soup which I ended up sharing with Diva. The girls both had grilled cheese sandwiches, and they were a little surprised the sandwiches didn’t come with fries. That did not stop them from devouring the grapes though! The Human ATM and I each had another glass of the same wine we sampled outside.

After dinner, I started back towards the front gate with the girls while the Human ATM paid, and we got waylaid by the Block Party Bash procession. We stood on the sides (pretty much by ourselves) and jammed to the procession. We waved to everyone, and a couple of the characters who were walking/dancing beside the floats played with us. The Human ATM caught up with us just as that finished. We headed towards the gate and stopped off to shop for a bit. A Santa Mickey hat (me!), Santa Minnie hat (Diva), an orange and green Santa Tigger hat (Daredevil), and a remote control Pluto and a Mickey Fleece blanket (Christmas gifts for Daredevil) later, we headed back to the hotel.

I cycled Diva though bath, then started working on her hair for the next day. The Human ATM cycled Daredevil through bath while I was setting Diva’s hair in curlers. Both girls were sound asleep by 7:30! But that is good since my day starts at 6am and Diva’s shortly thereafter! The Human ATM and I ordered Silent Hill (freaky deaky movie!!!!!) from the hotel, and then we called it a night. We did watch the DL fireworks from our room at 9:25 though!

Tomorrow….Diva dances down Main Street USA and Daredevil finally gets a hit!
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:08 AM   #11
jwsqrdplus2
I suddenly got inspired
Can you believe that he Actualy Demanded breakfast?
No garlic eyes yet!
Looking for the Toy and Towel Fairies
 
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Moving *bleep*
Posts: 5,269

Cast of Characters:

Me (38), Disney Obsessed, and can’t wait to see Disneyland in its holiday décor
the Human ATM: DH (39) along for the ride, self professed portable ATM whose only job is to spit out money!
Diva: DD1 (turns 8 on this trip), she is reason we are going (she is dancing in a parade), gets to spend her birthday at DL and isn’t letting us forget it!
Daredevil: DD2 (5), hasn’t met a thrill ride that she didn’t like and gets royally pissed when not tall enough. Easily distracted by ice cream though!


Today was a complete divide and conquer day. Diva had dress rehearsal, pictures, a short break then call time for the parade. I was up at 6:00, and she was up shortly after. And not one to be left out, Daredevil got up too, so that meant the Human ATM did too much to his chagrin! I took Diva’s hair down, finger combed all the curls, then fixed it in the prescribed style (half up, half down, hairpiece secured). Then she and I went down to breakfast. The Human ATM and Daredevil joined us. After breakfast, I did Diva’s make up (gotta love stage make up on an 8yo), packed our bag for that night (she and I stayed at the DLH that night), and we headed to the DLH for rehearsal. It was totally insane there! I finally get her dropped off, and after I feel comfortable, I head to the front desk to check in. Of course my room is not ready, so I drop my bag with Bell Services, and head over to DL to meet the Human ATM and Daredevil. They had just finished something (Buzz or Star Tours), so I met up with them in Tomorrowland. I had about 90 minutes before I had to get back to Diva, so we decided to ride HM Holiday again. Then I went back to the DLH to get Diva. Our room still not ready, so we find a bathroom to change back into her street clothes (Disney wanted them to change into costumes backstage), then head for lunch. We make a stop at Jazz Kitchen Express for some redbeans and rice and po boys, and we are fueled for the afternoon.

So Diva and I head for the Entrance Plaza. After getting through security with Diva’s dance bag and costume, we get through the gates. Where did all these people come from??? Just as I said to Diva, “We need to call Daddy to find out where he and Daredevil are,” my phone rang. It was the Human ATM asking me where I was. I told him we had just gotten in the gates, and were getting ready to cross under the tracks to get onto Main Street USA. He told me I needed to hightail it to Astro Orbitor, or I would miss Daredevil riding with MICKEY!!! Yes, after 2 near misses, Daredevil finally gets a hit! She was randomly selected to ride with a character on Astro Orbiter, and since she was the first kid chosen, she picked Mickey! Needless to say, I fast walked (not quite running, but close) down Main Street USA dragging Diva behind me. I made it and got to see my little ham being the center of attention. It was pretty cool standing there and having all these other kids and parents pointing to and talking about how lucky Daredevil was! We took about 1000 pictures, and Diva was even jealous despite the fact that her big event was coming that night!

This is how Daredevil got picked according to the Human ATM (I wasn’t there for this):

The Human ATM and Daredevil had finished lunch and Daredevil decided she wanted to ride the "rockets," so they headed to Astro Orbitor. This was Sat, so lines were pretty long. They were near the front (one or two rides away from riding) when Mickey, Goofy, Baloo, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum suddenly showed up and started working the crowd. The next group gets on the ride, and the Human ATM and Daredevil are the first people that don't make it. While they are watching the characters, the handler comes up to them and asks Daredevil if she would like to ride with a character. She said yes, so the handler asked which one. Daredevil said, "Mickey!" (Haven’t I trained her well?) She was the first kid asked, so she got first choice of characters. The next kid also wanted Mickey, but the handler said he as already taken, so he picked Goofy. Shortly after that is when the Human ATM called me.


After all of that excitement, we only had about 2 hours to do anything before I had to drop Diva off again. And it was crowded!!! I have been very spoiled visiting WDW (and DLR to a much lesser extent) in the off season. I have NEVER seen crowds like this. It was wall to wall people. This was the first time I had ever really realized the importance of get there early and use Fastpass. I had to drop Diva off at 2:30. On the way to the drop off point, we passed Indiana Jones (had been down a lot, but was currently running), so I decided to pull Fastpasses. I figured we could go on it after I picked her up. It is a good thing I did. At 2:10, my return window was 7:05 to 8:05pm which would work out great because I had to pick her up at 7:10.

Anyway, we had 2 hours and a very crowded park, so we opted for a couple of relaxing circuits around the park on the DLR Railroad. That gave us plenty of time to do a little shopping in New Orleans Square (got a set of wine glasses with Mickey and the DL logo on one side and our names etched on the other side), me to touch up Diva’s makeup (and reapply her false eyelashes), and to get to the rally point. At this point I said bye to the Human ATM and Daredevil again. They headed to Star Tours while I dropped Diva off near Big Thunder Ranch. After that, I headed into Fantasyland where I found people already lining up for the 3:30 parade, so I found a great spot behind Alice in Wonderland opposite the Matterhorn and staked my claim. The Human ATM and Daredevil showed up about 3 minutes before the parade started which was perfect timing. We watched the parade, then as the crowds dispersed, we worked our way through Fantasyland towards It’s a Small World Holiday. We found a churro stand and stopped for a snack, and I scoped out the immediate area for a good place for the later parade to see Diva (her parade ran right before the 6:30 parade). As we finished our snack, I saw several other moms from our dance studio staking their claim about 15’ away from the area I had scoped out, so we moved down and hung out with them for the next couple of hours. A portable coffee/hot chocolate cart set up right next to us, so we had hot drinks (it was cooling off!) and great people watching. The Human ATM headed back to New Orleans Square to pick up the wine glasses while I stayed with Daredevil and the other dance moms. Daredevil entertained us all pretty well while waiting. We also got to see IASW Holiday light up at sundown. It was pretty amazing to see that as well as the holiday montage that plays every 20 minutes or so. The Human ATM came back with our wine glasses (and apparently some additional Christmas gifts for me!), and I took Daredevil to the bathroom, then a quick stop by a Turkey leg/chimichanga stand for dinner. The Human ATM, Daredevil and I munched for a while then started hearing the announcements about Diva’s parade. Then we started to hear the song they dance to (“Let It Snow” by Jessica Simpson). Then all the dancers start coming down the road. Our girls were the 2nd group in the 2nd “half” (there as a break to allow crowd movement). They did awesome and we still full of energy despite it being near the end of the parade. Diva had a smile on her face a mile wide, and it was not a stage smile; it was real!! We were all whooping and hollering for our girls. We got some great pictures of that moment.

After the dance parade finished, the Human ATM and daredevil headed back to the Embassy Suites, and I headed to the pick up point to grab Diva, stopping to get her some dinner on the way (Village Haus, kids chicken with fries this time; much better deal). Pick up was a complete nightmare!! Between the complete and total lack of organization (changed plans midstream) and 2 mothers from my dance studio creating massive drama (catfighting that included name calling in front of their kids), I was ready to be out of that mess. I finally got Diva, and she starts devouring her chicken and French fries. We started walking towards Indy, and the heavens opened up. It was pouring huge, cold rain drops. I tucked my arm around Diva and asked her if she wanted to leave or ride Indy. She chose Indy, so we headed over there. In line we ran into a dancer from a different studio who had also been in the parade. So we chatted with them while we wound our way through the line. We rode Indy, then headed for the gate. We strolled through DTD, picked up some kettle corn, then got to the hotel. We went up to the front desk to get our room number and key, and while in line ran into the director of the entire dance parade production. So we chatted with her for a bit, and she praised our studio and its directors (who we love!), so that was nice. I get our key, then Diva and I head up to our room. I was less than impressed. Let’s just say that I will not stay at the DLH again. I’ve stayed at several WDW resorts as well as hotels around the country when traveling (Embassy Suites is our preferred hotel with the girls). WDW value resorts are nicer and better maintained than the DLH. I scrub Diva’s makeup off, and she takes a shower. While she is showering, I make a quick run downstairs to get something to drink, and when I get back to our room, my key won’t work. So I head back to the front desk to get a new key. When I get back to the room, Diva is finishing up her shower. She finally winds down about 9pm and falls asleep. I watch the DL fireworks from my bed (the only positive thing I can find about our room), then I fall asleep around 10pm.

Up Next...Disneyland defeats the Diva and the Daredevil!
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:49 AM   #12
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Cast of Characters:

Me (38), Disney Obsessed, and can’t wait to see Disneyland in its holiday décor
the Human ATM: DH (39) along for the ride, self professed portable ATM whose only job is to spit out money!
Diva: DD1 (turns 8 on this trip), she is reason we are going (she is dancing in a parade), gets to spend her birthday at DL and isn’t letting us forget it!
Daredevil: DD2 (5), hasn’t met a thrill ride that she didn’t like and gets royally pissed when not tall enough. Easily distracted by ice cream though!


Diva and I wake up around 7am, and I take a shower. After my shower, I try to dry my hair with the hairdryer in the room, but it shorts out complete with sparks and smoke! I then give up and try to go find breakfast. My only choices were room service, sit down, coffee and pastries or go into DTD. There was no way to get anything but coffee and pastries without resorting to table service or room service. So we split a bagel and a Danish (not what either of us wanted), then checked out and headed to DL. The Human ATM and Daredevil were right behind us from the Embassy, so Diva and I headed for Fantasytland and rode Mr Toad’s Wild Ride one more time. As we finished, the Human ATM and Daredevil were in the park headed for Astro Orbitor (Daredevil was hoping lightning would strike twice!!). We met up with them, and while the Human ATM and the girls rode Astro Orbitor, I went and pulled FPs for Space. Didn’t really need them right then, but I knew we had other things in mind. I got back to Astro Orbitor just as they were landing, so we headed to Buzz. And Daredevil started melting down. At first we attributed her meltdown to too much Disney, but by the time we sat down for lunch, we realized it was more. We rode Buzz, then headed for Autopia, and rode Autopia after a bathroom/water beak.

After Autopia, we went to Space, and I got to have a lot of fun! We are going up the FP side which is side by side with the Standby side, and this mom and her probably 8 yo daughter were just ahead of us on the Standby side. This mom is practically running up the line and her daughter is not keeping up very well. We get to the point where FP goes immediate left, and Standby goes right and around through some more lanes. This mom jumps the chain into the FP lane instead of following the signs for the Standby lane. Her daughter tries to follow and gets totally tripped up and falls. Nothing serious, but mom barely gives her a glance as she picks her up and starts hauling through the line again. Then she gets to the CM who is collecting FPs and gets stopped. The CM is trying to explain to her that she was in the FP lane and needed FPs just as we walked up with our FPs. She indignantly asked where she was supposed to go, and I very politely responded, “Right where you jumped the chain, you should have gone around to the right.” The woman huffs off with her daughter, and the CM (who is trying to not to laugh), nodded his thanks, took our FPs and let us go by! Not only was that fun, but the ride was too (DL’s Space is MUCH better than WDW’s).

Diva was hungry at this point so we decided to stop for lunch at Pizza Port. I realize that Daredevil isn’t just melting down, she actually is not feeling well, so we decide to take her back to the hotel. She wanted daddy, so the Human ATM go collect the car (I had driven it in yesterday) and head back to the hotel while Diva and I stay for a while longer.

We wander down Main Street USA doing some shopping, then we head over to DCA. Diva wanted to ride TOT and California Screamin’ one more time, so I figured why not. We get to DCA, go pull FPs for Soarin’ Over CA, then ride TOT. After TOT, we head towards California Screamin’, but it was not operating. She wanted to try Mailboomer, but she was an inch too short (52” restriction), so we rode Mulholland Madness instead. After that, we wandered back to Soarin’ Over California and used our FPs. After we finished, I knew we were leaving the park, but I pulled 4 (I still had the Human ATM and Daredevil’s tickets) more FPs anyway (standby was 45 mins). Then Diva and I stopped at the bakery for snacks all around. I called the Human ATM, and he said Motrin the wonder drug had Daredevil back to normal so we got her a snack too. On our way out of the park, I looked for and found a family of 4 heading in and handed them the FPs. They were very appreciative; I hope they had a great ride! Diva and I headed back to the hotel, and that is the end of our Disneyland adventures for this trip.

The Human ATM watched San Diego beat his beloved Denver Broncos while I typed this TR and the girls played together. The plan for our last night is dinner then a quiet night of packing. The next morning we had breakfast, loaded up the car and headed home. Daredevil's problem ended up being overindulgence and not enough bathroom stops (probably TMI, but she was fine once she evacuated!)

Final thoughts:

As a WDW vet, I was well prepared for DLR.

WDW vets need to give DLR a try. It is different and smaller, but it is the original! I thought I might be disappointed, but I was not. I really enjoyed my visit.

Small World Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday are pretty cool.

DLR at the holidays is magical.

DLH is highly overrated (IMHO).

Disney Dining in California needs work, both on the phone and with a better selection of restaurants.

Shorter hours are definitely a trade off during the low season, but totally worth it; we got everything we wanted to and more done on Thurs and Friday. We were ready to leave the parks by the time they closed!

If your child ever gets a chance to perform at DLR or WDW and you can swing it, go for it!! It is a memory we will have for years.


I hope you enjoyed our trip. We sure did. Happy holidays to all!
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:13 AM   #13
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Great report Jess! I totally agree about Space Mountain being better at DL than at WDW. Glad you had a great time!
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:23 AM   #14
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I thorougly enjoyed reading your report. Where do I find one of these Human ATM's? Must be very handy!
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Old 01-05-2007, 05:23 PM   #15
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Loved your TR! What a thrill for your girls; one gets to ride with Mickey, and one performs in a parade! And I got a chuckle out of the woman caught jumping into the fastpass line. Hee hee hee!

Glad you had a great trip.
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