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Old 08-05-2009, 07:51 PM   #61
Desert Dwellers
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Three Days!!! How exciting. Your nephew reminds me of my own DesertBoy who has been falling asleep to the Tarzan soundtrack since he was five. I'm surprised the CD doesn't have grooves etched into it.

And I am seriously impressed with your MIL. Props on her mad puzzle skillz!
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:04 AM   #62
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Three Days!!! How exciting. Your nephew reminds me of my own DesertBoy who has been falling asleep to the Tarzan soundtrack since he was five. I'm surprised the CD doesn't have grooves etched into it.

And I am seriously impressed with your MIL. Props on her mad puzzle skillz!
The Tarzan soundtrack is awesome!

I can't believe we're down to one day.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:39 AM   #63
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Leaving tomorrow!!

We are leaving tomorrow night (well, it's really Saturday, but we check in tomorrow at 10:30p, we leave at 12:30)

So by Saturday morning at 930a, we will be touching down at John Wayne airport! I'm wearing capris and bringing a thin blanket~(the jets can be chilly), but packing my shorts/short sleeve shirt in my carry on so I can change into it when we get there! My sister just gave me 2 pairs of her chako sandals, they are great and they can get wet too...

Well off to pack some more and finish up laundry! We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow, our daughter is completing her summer program in Anchorage so I pick her up (45 minutes each way) drive her home, and then we drive in again to attend a banquet and award ceremony from 5-8p! It's gonna be a loonnnnngggg day/night!!

Have fun Hawleys!!
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:26 AM   #64
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We are leaving tomorrow night (well, it's really Saturday, but we check in tomorrow at 10:30p, we leave at 12:30)

So by Saturday morning at 930a, we will be touching down at John Wayne airport! I'm wearing capris and bringing a thin blanket~(the jets can be chilly), but packing my shorts/short sleeve shirt in my carry on so I can change into it when we get there! My sister just gave me 2 pairs of her chako sandals, they are great and they can get wet too...

Well off to pack some more and finish up laundry! We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow, our daughter is completing her summer program in Anchorage so I pick her up (45 minutes each way) drive her home, and then we drive in again to attend a banquet and award ceremony from 5-8p! It's gonna be a loonnnnngggg day/night!!

Have fun Hawleys!!
Have a great time running around today yupikgal! I love that as is turns to Saturday you're on your way.

We must have the same Disneyland stylist as I'll be wearing capris and chacos too. Same pre-trip task master too as laundry and packing are on my list.

Have wonderful trip and I look forward to hearing about it!
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:46 PM   #65
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I'm jealous ...but right behind you!!!

Hi Hawleys... by the time you read this, you are already on your way to what sounds like a fabulous trip!! I was hoping you were posting while there but,.. that was too much to ask for.

We head to Disney next Sunday, one week from today! I hope your trip is turning out to be a good as planned. Thanks for your great advice! I hope to be as planned and organized as you.

We are "she says with excitement" staying at the Grand Californian. We have never stayed and always drooled at the private entrance to DCA and... we finally get to do it thanks to our Vacation Club purchase. We bought a trip planning book but have not gone on Ridemax.... that is my next stop.

In case you are reading this... you MUST put Soarin' Over California on your top priority list for DCA. It is my favorite adn, if I remember correctly, it starts flying over the Golden Gate bridge... your stomping grounds. It makes you feel proud to be from CA.

We too have BB ressies. We went there for oue second anniv. and this is only other time to get to go! Another place I drool as I sit on POTC and watch the lucky people.

A note about annual passes... we live in San Diego and purchasing passes decades ago changed our Disney life. To luxriously wander through DL without an agenda knowing we can some back at any time made us love it all the more. In fact, some days we just spent time looking for hidden mickeys, riding only obscure rides and eating novelty foods... such a blast!

I grew up in Canada and visited DW at age six and visited DW or DL every year thereafter for my entire life... until three years ago. I haven't gone this long my entire life without visiting. I feel like a crack addict who finally gets to go!!!! I CANNOT WAIT!!!

I hope to read your trip report soon! Hae a great time!!!
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:58 AM   #66
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We are "she says with excitement" staying at the Grand Californian. We have never stayed and always drooled at the private entrance to DCA and... we finally get to do it thanks to our Vacation Club purchase. We bought a trip planning book but have not gone on Ridemax.... that is my next stop.
Welcome mickeymad! Thanks for sharing your excitement. Staying at the Grand Californian sounds AMAZING. You are going to have the trip of a lifetime, especially after three years of anticipation.

I'm sorry that I wasn't able to post from the parks but we were so busy during the day and by evening I was just ready to collapse in bed and sleep. (Too bad my body was way too wired to let me sleep...more on this later). I didn't even find time to write my postcards until we were waiting for the Disneyland Express to take us back to LAX.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:10 PM   #67
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We're back!

We're worn out and dreading going back to work but it was totally worth it as our nephew had a fantastic time with lots of wonderful memories. He was lobbying for a return trip as we walked out the gates for the last time yesterday.

Thanks to everyone for all your advice in planning this trip. I couldn't have done it without the Dis. At some point during the trip my wife told me that when I plan a trip it's like giving her a present as she always knows that we are going to have a great time.

I work from home and I need to start going through my email so I'll give a few highlights and start a real trip report tomorrow. I will do my best to document with pictures but we found out that we are not the picture taking types. Leaving the camera in the hotel two days out of four makes it tough. We did take some crappy pictures on our phones so I will post some of those.

Sadly, I also won't be able to give a minute by minute report of the type that I enjoy so much. I just didn't get my act together to write notes everyday. My massive bout of insomnia also contributed. Some days I remember really well but some are a total blur. Bear with me and I'll do my best.

Highlights for us were the Electrical Parade and Fantasmic!, neither of which I had seen before. The creativity and production value were incredible. I was mesmerized. Our nephew was so into the Electrical Parade and waving to the characters. He enjoyed Fantasmic! as well but we went to the late show on our last night in the park and he was fading fast by the time 10:30 rolled around.

Another highlight was Baedyn himself. He was so into understanding how everything in the park worked and focused on the details in the rides. Here are two highlights. "I think the Yeti on the Matterhorn could use some updated animatronics." "Wouldn't it be awesome if for Halloween they replaced the goat chewing the stick of dynamite on BTMRR with a blackened skeleton of a goat?!"

He was well behaved and just the right age to enjoy almost everything the park has to offer. He loved the thrill rides (BTMRR=7 rides!) but he is still young enough to be captivated by the magic of Small World and Storybook Land Canal Boats. He was a trooper about all the walking and did an excellent job of staying hydrated.

We stayed at the Hojo in a seventh floor room in building one. The skylights were beautiful and the room felt spacious. However, it was just too far of a walk for Baedyn after being at the parks all day. He repeatedly asked me to carry him but after walking all day at the parks there was no way I could give a 70 pound kid a piggyback. We didn't make it to the pool because Baedyn had a major wipeout on a scooter the day before we left (not on our watch). He is missing a two inch chunk over his right hip and was not allowed to get wet at all. The staff at the Hojo were so friendly and very helpful. I highly recommend this hotel and just wish it were a bit closer.

Ok, I said I wasn't going to write much and I've gone on and on. Time to stop.
More tomorrow.
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:05 PM   #68
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Yay! You're back.

It sounds like the beginning of a great trip. I can't wait to hear more!
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:29 PM   #69
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Day 0: Friday August 7th

DW had the day off from work. I work from home. She spent much of the day puttering around making sure we had everything for the camera and music loaded on the ipod. I worked to finish up my last project items. Our nephew, Baedyn, was expected to arrive around 7:30pm so I thought I would have plenty of time to finish up work and pack. Around 4:00pm we got a call from my MIL to let us know Baedyn would be arriving early, closer to 5:30pm. Yikes! We threw the packing into high gear.

Around 6pm we finished up the packing frenzy and realized that Baedyn still hadn't arrived. We called MIL to find out that they were on the way and that she would "give us instructions" when they arrived. Hmmm....something strange going on.

It turns out that Baedyn had a massive scooter wipeout while playing with his cousins. He showed up with a bandaged head and a huge chunk missing from his hip. There would be no swimming on this trip. He seemed to be in good spirits though and we made a fuss over how brave he was.

We had a relaxing evening together, browsing at the comic shop, making grilled cheese, planning our trip and playing UNO. You can see the big bandage on B's head and another one on his elbow.






Put B to bed around 9:50pm for a 5:30am wakeup call. DW and I stayed up a bit later to do some last minute cramming. We had bootstrapped wait times from our Ridemax subscription and wanted to transfer the spreadsheets to the iPhone so we didn't have to carry paper copies. Turns out we hardly used these at all but we sure had a fun time making them.

I would like to say that my night ended with 7 hours of sleep to get our vacation started off right but sadly I had my first bout of trip related insomnia. Does this happen to anyone else? I slept fine until about 3am then tossed and turned until 4:30am or so when I finally gave up and went to take a shower.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:01 AM   #70
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Day 1: Saturday August 8th, Part 1

After a somewhat sleepless night for me, we got up at the crack of dawn to shower, throw the last few things in the suitcases, toast bagels for breaky and jump in our airport ride. Played games on the iPhone for the ride to SFO and checked in without any problems.

Going through security was a bit of an adventure. Trying to manage our stuff and B's too made for a lot of stuff! I don't know how people with several kids do it.

Our plane was on time and before we knew it we were on our way to DISNEYLAND. We gave B thirty Disney dollars on the plane and he was feeling flush as his Grammy and Great Aunt had also given him some cash to spend. Let's see how long this feeling lasts at Disneyland.

Our flight was quick and we arrived early. Unbelievable. Our early arrival meant that we didn't have to hurry to catch the Disneyland Express. The bus came on time and the ride to the Hojo was uneventful. The staff at the front desk was really nice and they happily stored our bags because our room wasn't ready. No problem there, it was around 10:30am so we didn't expect anything.

Next up: Disney California Adventure!
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:41 PM   #71
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Wow, quite a wipeout B had. Well, if you ain't scabbed, you ain't tryin'.

Other than the injury and insomnia, sounds like you had a nice start to your trip. Great that the flight and getting to the hotel were uneventful. No one needs extra stress on vacation.

Can't wait to hear about DCA.
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:31 AM   #72
Hawleys
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Wow, quite a wipeout B had. Well, if you ain't scabbed, you ain't tryin'.

Other than the injury and insomnia, sounds like you had a nice start to your trip. Great that the flight and getting to the hotel were uneventful. No one needs extra stress on vacation.

Can't wait to hear about DCA.
Hi Desert Dwellers! I'm so glad you are reading. Transportation was smooth throughout the trip. DCA is coming today. Review of the Blue Bayou is coming on Sunday.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:13 AM   #73
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Day 1: Saturday August 8th, Part 2--DCA

After leaving our baggage at the Hojo, we made the trek down Harbor for the first time. We waited in line at the ticket booths for a few minutes to exchange our vouchers from Ares Travel and then we were on our way into DCA around 11am!!

Somewhere between the hotel and the parks, we realized that the camera was still in our luggage. Shoot. We took some pictures with DWs phone and I will try to add these.

Entering the park, we still weren't sure what Baedyn was going to be most interested in doing while we were at DLR. But in the first 10 minutes in Hollywood we walked by at least 3 characters, none of which Baedyn was interested in visiting (we did ask!). As a ride person, I was pumped that we weren't going to be standing in line alot for characters. In retrospect, I'm really glad I didn't make a reservation for a character breakfast.

Originally, I had planned to grab a Grizzly River Run FP as soon as we entered the park. But since B needed to keep his scooter wound dry, he had requested Tower of Terror as our first ride. We were saving Grizzly River Run for another day.

The standby line at Tower of Terror was short so we skipped the fastpasses. We all enjoyed the details in the lobby waiting area, especially the creepy doll sitting on the couch. I have to admit that I am terrified of drops so I was pretty anxious for this ride.



Roller coasters get me amped up but drops leave me weak in the knees. Baedyn seemed pretty excited so I enlisted him to keep from being too scared. The ride was better than DW expected because you go up and down multiple times not just one big drop. I found it tolerable because you are inside so you can't tell how high you are. In fact, I would even go again.

After the ride, B wanted to look in the gift shop. Get used to reading this sentence because I am going to be writing it again and again. My nephew LOVES to shop. We convinced him that he shouldn't buy anything until he had a chance to look at the selection of junk (sorry, IMHO) available. And believe me, there is a gift shop after every ride at DLR so he took full advantage of this suggestion. As the trip went on, I really looked forward to BTMRR because it doesn't dump you in a gift shop.

We worked up an appetite on ToT and the churro stand was calling us. B owed DW a churro from our high stakes UNO game on Friday night so we stopped and shared one. Aladdin was just starting but B didn't want to go in so we made our way to Mosters Inc. What an adorable ride! We all enjoyed it. And I found $10 by the water fountain. Then on to Muppets 3D where we couldn't find the entrance. This show was funny and pretty cute but not something I would go out of my way to do again.

Next up: The LONG walk to California Screamin'!

Last edited by Hawleys; 08-16-2009 at 01:46 PM. Reason: Pictures!
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:02 AM   #74
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Day 1: Saturday August 8th, Part 3--DCA cont

All right, after exiting Muppets 3D and checking that my hearing still worked we ambled off to get fastpasses for California Screamin'. Also on the agenda was finding some snacks as it was getting toward lunchtime and we were getting hungry. B vetoed the hot dog stand outside Muppets so we set off though Sunshine Plaza. There was a fruit stand along the way where we bought a banana (for me) and Doritos (for B). DW is on a medical diet and couldn't eat anything from the stand.

It was a long, long walk to California Screamin' even with a banana and Doritos. I do love the view of the Mickey/Sun Wheel and California Screamin' as you come over the bridge. We grabbed fastpasses even though the standby wait time was short (maybe 15 or 20 minutes) because DW needed some food. We found a stand that sold roasted corn for DW. She said it was ok but not fantastic. I had hoped that we would go on Toy Story Mania while we waited for our FP time but B really didn't want to wait in line for 35 minutes so we meandered around Paradise Pier and finally decided to head to the Animation Studio. So much for efficient touring!

Although not efficient, going back to the Animation Studio was a good idea. This building is an air conditioned gem. First, we spent about 5 minutes looking at the zeotrope. So cool! Then we drew our own cartoons in the Sorceror's Workshop. Only DW was successful at this. Her balloon inflating and then exploding is sure to be a classic. Wish I had a video.

Then on to the Beast's library to find our Disney characters. Any guesses?

B: Shere Khan (grrrr)
DW: Dart
Me: Cinderella

Finally, we spent a few minutes doing voiceovers in Ursula's Caverns. We all got a good laugh out of these. Then it was time to draw Minnie Mouse at the Animation Academy. They started the session by showing us the trailer for the new Disney animated film, the Princess and the Frog. This activity was engaging as the animator leading the session gave simple, clear instructions.

Our FP time for Screamin' was up so we skipped Turtle Talk and made the long, hot walk to Paradise Pier. Screamin' was awesome! We all got a big rush and decided to go on again as the standby wait time was only 10 minutes.

B told us that his stomach was a bit loopy after the second ride so we skipped a third and headed off toward the giant hamburger to find some food as we all needed lunch by this point. Giant hamburger is closed. Drat, I should know this from reading the Dis. DW cannot eat anything at Pizza Oom whatever bc of her medical diet. We continue around Paradise Pier, getting hotter, hungrier and grumpier but remembering to grab fastpasses for Mulholland Madness. We finally end up at the Taste Pilot's grill where we rest and share two kids meals of chicken nuggets, fries, apple slices and drink alot of water. Heat, hunger and the grumps recede. The chicken nuggets are ok and we decide that Taste Pilot's is an ok place to eat. This decision would come back to haunt us later.

Our Mulholland Madness fastpasses were up so we walked back to Paradise Pier (grrr) and jump on the ride. Yikes! Not a scary ride but the track is so high and it seems like there is nothing to keep you from catipulting over the edge. That upped the fear factor right there. DW and I spent most of the ride making noises like "Ouch!", "Ooph!", "Uggh!" as we were jerked around. Should an adult venture on this ride, be prepared for a rough ride. If you are taking a nine year old, well, B really enjoyed it.

At this point, we had walked way too much and gotten up way too early so we headed out of the park, stopping to get fastpasses for Soarin' and play in the mister. Back to the Hojo for a 20-30 minute rest before leaving for...


Medieval Times!!!
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:59 PM   #75
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I'm glad you enjoyed the Animation Studio. In my three previous visits, I never made it there, now it's a favorite destination.

I agree with B. I can ride California Screamin' two times in a row, but I need a break afterward. I think three times would give me a headache.

I'm looking forward to your take on Blue Bayou. And intrigued with the Taste Pilot's Grill tease. I've eaten there once, and it was just okay.
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