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Old 06-26-2000, 09:39 AM   #1
Rita1965
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Utah
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Parkers visit California-Day 1 Universal Studios and Candy Cane Inn

The Cast
Me - Rita, 34 single mom
DS - Ryan, 10 year old son
DD - Ashley 2 ?? year old daughter
Frank - my 19 year old nephew
Cassie - 26, my best friends daughter

The Planning
To overcome the post WDW/cruise blues we were suffering we decided we needed to go to Disneyland. We came back from WDW on May 5th, and planned our Disneyland trip for June 10-13.

I needed tickets for my son, myself, and my nephew. Frank will only be here until October, so we decided not to get him season passes. DD can still get in for free. Over the Internet I ordered and got 2 Universal Studios season passes for $80 each (read later installment to see why I thought I had been ripped off), 1 1-day pass for Universal for Frank for $40, and 2 Disneyland season passes for $129 each. Frank and Cassie picked up 3 day flex passes at the local Disney store.

We booked our room at the Candy Cane Inn thanks to suggestions on the DIS. I later got a rate for $107 at the Disneyland Pacific hotel, and almost took it, but ended up staying at the Candy Cane. I was very happy with our choice. I paid $68 per night at the Candy Cane with my AAA discount, and a very nice continental breakfast is included.

Michelle, esteemed board moderator, had gotten me the phone number for reservations at Goofy's Kitchen, so we made a reservation for Sunday at 6 PM. Thank you Michelle, it was the best character meal we have ever had.

The Drive

On Friday 6/9 at 10 PM we started driving from our home in Utah to Disneyland. We had DD in the car seat and she was watching Pochahontas on our TV/VCR combo. I could write books of praise to the inventor of the TV/VCR combo for the car. She was quietly watching tv until she fell asleep. Then we moved the TV to the back seat of our van so my nephew and DD could watch movies they brought.

The drive went quickly 10 hours, with 2 stops to fill gas and use the rest room. Instead of driving to Anaheim to check in to our hotel we went straight to Universal Studios. They were not open yet, so we ate breakfast at a Carls Junior. After breakfast we went back to Universal Studios and parked. I really like their parking because it is all indoors.

Universal Studios

When we got to the ticket booths at Universal I got really upset. The offered annual passes for $49. I had just spent $80 per pass, and paid $62 more than I should have. I went to the annual passholders lounge, which is in reality just a small office. Or course there was a line, but we got in after 20 minutes. I told them I wanted my money back, the lady told me my pass included parking, and I told her I did not want to park for $60. She then told me to go to guest services. The lady was nice and said that I could come straight back to her after that instead of having to wait in line again.

I went to guest services and the lady there said she could refund my the difference, but I would lose the parking and the front of the line privilege. STOP, "You said front of the line privilege"? I asked. She then told me "With the more expensive pass that they no longer offer you can show the pass to the attendant at the ride and they will let you in without having to wait in line". Now, this I am willing to pay $60 for. She told me to make sure the pass I got was all black, and not dual colored as the others. This was to good to be true. I carefully noted down her name, because if I did not get this feature, I wanted to be able to find her again. She told me if I had any attendants that would not honor my VIP pass, that I should ask for their supervisor, but the feature was included in this more expensive pass.

I went back to the aip lounge, and went back to the lady that helped me before. I told her I wanted to get the more expensive pass since it included the front of the line feature. She told me it did not. I told her I wanted it anyway, and if there was a problem, I had the name of the lady at guest services. With our passes in hand we were finally able to enter Universal.

DS was by this time bored, and upset about having to wait for the passes. I told him about the VIP feature and asked him to go try it at Terminator 2. I watched him approach the attendant, the attendant saw his pass and had him walk in a side door, bypassing everybody waiting. When my son got out he went straight to Back to the Future and was again sent in a separate entrance, and this time he even got to ride a car all to himself. His sour mood completely gone he asked if we could get passes like this at Disneyland too. I could only wish.

My nephew and DS took DD for a little while and Cassie and I was able to go and see Terminator 2. We got the VIP treatment and was led in a side door to a small room where we another attendant came and got us and took us in to the viewing area. Can't tell you how many people we bypassed. (I love this pass). They had a cute pre show and then we sat down in a large auditorium for the live show. They had 4-5 live actors, and there was always action going on on the screen. The 3d effects were scary enough that I chose to remove my glasses. It was a good show, but I would rather see Honey I shrunk the audience at Disney. Any teenager would like this show though. Lot's of fun surprises.

After Terminator we took the escalators down the hillside. It was nice and warm and I really enjoy the ride down. It is an incredible view. At the bottom I took DD on ET the ride. (Bypassing the crowds with my VIP pass). I love this ride. You walk through a forest and can see ET and artifacts from the movie. It is very well themed. Then you get onto a 9 seat car that is kind of shaped like a bike and you pull down the handle bars which hold you into your seat. The ride is not very fast, compare it to Peter Pan, and you are flying through the air. Children have to be 18 months and be able to hold on to the lap bar to ride.

TIP: As you walk in to the attraction, they ask your first name, type it in and give you a boarding pass. When you get on the ride, they take your boarding pass and swipe it. At the very end of the ride, listen carefully to ET as you pass him. He will say good bye Rita, good bye Ashley, good buy <your name>. It is pretty neat, but most people miss it.

After ET, I let Cassie and Frank take DD through ET again. She wanted to ride it several times throughout the day. While they did ET I went to the line for Jurassic Park. I showed my pass to the attendant and she pointed me to the side door and I went to the top of the line. I was on the ride in 2 minutes. I had wanted DS to go with me, but he declined. I got front seat both times. The 84 foot drop at the end is awesome. I got drenched, but had a wonderful time. This ride beats splash mountain hands down for thrill factor. It is also greatly themed. When you come into the ride you are meeting the friendly dinosaurs, then you go off course and meet the bad ones. You can see a boat that has been attacked and the riders presumably eaten up, and a mickey mouse ears hat with the name Mike on it floating in the water. You also get squirted with water several times during the ride before you start the climb up, and up and up, then down and down again.

After I was completely drenched, (ponchos are for chickens), and after Ashley was done with the ET ride we took the escalators back up the mountain. We had a nice meal at Mel's Diner before we caught the Blues Brothers show. The show was great, love Jake and Elwood. I like the start where they drive up in the car from the movie, talking on the speaker just like in the movie. We had a good time watching them.

I took Ashley to the playground and rested while she played. DS, Cassie and Frank went on some more rides. After they got back we all went on the tram tour. I absolutely love the tram tour. The guides are funny, the sights interesting. There are some unexpected and fun encounters with King Kong and the Shark. I also like seeing all the houses they used in movies, like the Delta house in Animal House, Nancy Drew's house, The Hardy Boys house etc. I think the tram tour is the highlight of my experience at Universal.

After the tram tour we decided to watch Waterworld. I was surprised DD remained next to me and stayed out of trouble during the show. Waterworld the movie was a flop, but Waterworld the live show is incredible. A must see.

After the show it was 6 PM and we decided we had had enough. I had only slept for 2 hours on the drive down here, and I was feeling tired. We got in our van and drove to Anaheim. We hit some traffic, but it wasn't to bad. It was easy finding Harbor Blvd and finding the Candy Cane Inn. Check in was quick and we got a room on the second level. The Candy Cane is so small it does no really matter where your room is.

Our room was beautiful. There were decorative pillows on the beds. Pretty pictures on the walls. The soaps and shampoos had swans on them. Everything was clean, elegant, very nice. We could not have been more happy with the room. The landscaping outside was gorgeous, everything green, clean and beautiful. The pool was fairly small, but it was adequate. There is a hot tub and a baby pool. We unpacked and got settled inn.

It was dinner time and we went across the street to Tony Roma's. We had to wait 30 minute for a table, then 10 minutes for a waiter, then 1 hour for our food. While we were waiting DD got so tired she asked to go to bed. That has never happened before, the monster wanted to go to sleep. I was so mad at the waiter I just left money with Cassie to pay for our food and took DD to the van before our food arrived. DD and I fell asleep in the van and were woken up an hour later by the others. Cassie gave me the money back for DD's and my food. She had talked to the manager and they took it off the bill. The wait was ridiculous. We won't be back.

After Tony Roma's we went back to our hotel and went to sleep
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Old 06-26-2000, 02:38 PM   #2
Michelle
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Rita, thanks so much for the great report, especially for the information about Universal -- I'm so glad those APs worked out for you! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Off to read Day Two.... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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Old 06-26-2000, 04:29 PM   #3
KarenT
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Rita,
Neat report. I can't wait to read the rest.

KarenT

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Old 06-26-2000, 08:55 PM   #4
Molokai Gram
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Thank you for a great report. It sounds like you had a great time. (Although driving 10 hours, I don't know, I can't stand it when I fly 10 hours, I can't imagine driving it! My hat is off to you! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] )

What were the rooms like at the Candy Cane? How many beds? Was there a mini-refrigerator or coffee maker in the room? Did they have suites for families?

Thanks for your info. aloha
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Old 06-27-2000, 07:29 AM   #5
Rita1965
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Molokai: The rooms were very nice. There were 2 queen size beds. There were no refrigerator, but there was a coffe maker and coffee. There is a big vanity/counter with a mirror spanning one wall. They have the tv in a very nice cabinet which also has drawers and hangers for your clothes. I don't know if they have suites at the Candy Cane.

We really enjoyed this place and will definitely be back. I have it booked for October, and will be there unless the Disneyland Hotel opens up. For some reason the Disneyland Hotel is fully booked the weekend we are going in October
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Old 07-01-2000, 08:00 AM   #6
Mary Jo
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<font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#6600CC>Great report, Rita!

Wow, you drove 10 hours and then went to Universal Studios? That is quite a lot.

Sounds like the US pass was the way to go. You got to ride on everything with no wait.

Okay, I'm going to day 2. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

<font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#FF0066>Mary Jo
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Old 03-01-2001, 05:38 AM   #7
Marla Hellwig
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There would have been no way I could have done a park after driving 10 hours. Sounds like your trip is off to a good start thanks for posting!
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