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Old 11-14-2009, 09:01 AM   #1
Peri


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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Trip Report Nov. 3 - 10 = Great time!

We got back from our fabulous family Disneyland trip - 7 days at Paradise Pier in connecting rooms - myself, DH (old folks), our daughter and her husband, and our two granddaughters, ages 4 and half and one.

I have some health issues and retire about 7 pm most nights, so I rested when the granddaughters did and stayed with them at night - this left time for the other three adults to do night stuff without strollers - yay!

Tuesday - We flew over (usually drive) and arrived around noon on the 3rd - rented a van at John Wayne Airport, lunch at In and Out burger, and a quick stop at Trader Joe's and RiteAid for various stuffs, including diapers and water. Got to the hotel about 1 pm and shopped a bit before we could check in. That evening we went to Garden Walk (walked there - it was no problem) and had early diinner at bubba Gump shrimp - the wait staff was SO NICE - and a giant character shrimp was outside. Since the place had just opened, there were few customers and this character shrimp was one of my DGG's favorite encounters - LOL - could have saved all that money at character meals! (just kidding). They have a big bucket of crayons and their other kid friendly ideas seemed a cut above most chain restaurants.

Wednesday, DGD and I went to Toon Town at opening, the others ran off to do Space and other "big kid" rides that I don't like, so this all worked out well for us. The Toon Town Morning madness was a huge disappointment for us; I have read so many mixed reviews, but really wanted to try it. The seating was terrible, could hardly see, although we did sit on the left. The "show" was hard for a small child to understand, yet was clearly intended to draw younger kids. The characters were great and after the show they were supposed to be here and there to meet but only Minnie and Mickey were really there! We saw no one else during the time. I will confess I BOUGHT the tickets on Ebay because I was so determined to do this activity - it was a huge waste of too much money for us! If you can get in free, then I would do it, but otherwise, no way. By the time we left toontown and had visited everyone's house and stuff, it was late, like 11, so we rode teacups (our first ride!) and then headed off to meet everyone for lunch in Adventureland - but oops, Gran (me) forgot and left the brand new autograph book in a teacup - arggh - had to sprint back and collect that, then on to Adventureland. My new cell phone would not work so it was sheer luck we just bumped into DD over there - then all gathered for a quick and very tasty lunch at Bengal Barbeque. With the four adults together at last, we really got going and rode Jungle Boat, Pirates and the HM (with Nightmare overlay). The park was virtually empty, everything was walk on except Jungle boat and that was maybe a three to five minute wait. The guys went on Splash Mountain while I rode Pooh two times with DGG and my DH sat with the baby (who had such a fun time - she is a sunny personality and just loved looking at everything). A mandatory stop at Pooh Corner for candy - the men took DGD to Tigger and Eeyore for autographs. There was another quick split up and DD and I went to the Tiki Room - afterwards, we got Aladdin's signature in his tent - we were number two or so in line. An early dinner was eaten at Plaza Pavillion - a buffet and stopped at Marcelines on the way back to the hotel for some gingerbread Mickeys with ears dipped in chocolate - Yum!

Thursday was early entry and we headed in - Dumbo was ridden twice, as Peter Pan was not working, at about 10, I went downtown to the flagpole area on Main Street to meet my dear friend, who lives in Simi Valley and was joining us for two days - we united and went on Buzz, which she had not seen before. Then off to our priority seating for The Celebration Barbeque - this was GREAT!! The entertainer was a man who was very quick and good and very sincere. He went table to table and sang western songs to everyone. The food was good and there was a LOT of it - the waiters offered more of everything. Barbequed chicken and the ribs were tasty with lots of meat. The cornbread was very sweet and cakelike. There was a vinegar based slaw and there were baked beans. We unanimously loved this place, and would not have needed any reservations as even as we left, it was just beginning to have customers. A gem, in my opinion. Woody and Jessie were around outside the "corral" where you eat - we saw them come and go but didn't get their autographs until later in the trip. After lunch we went to DCA, where my friend had never been - and saw Muppets 3D (I still like that one) and Monsters Inc. Took my friend through the TOT entryways to the chicken exit - I would never ride that scary ride - total coward - ha ha. But the theming is so great . . . The guys all rode it, of course - all walk on. Had about a 25 minute wait at TSMM - such a wonderful ride. Then some ice cream at Brrr Bank station. DD took DGD to see Lightning McQueen and Mator, over at the gas station and we all rode Soarin'. Most of the rides in DCA were new to DGD, too and she really liked the 3D and talked about the effect quite a bit. (From Muppets, that is). It was getting really late and I was so exhuasted and grumpy (sorry, family!!) so we split up to get some rest - DH, my friend and I had supper at the Pier place with the clam chowder in bread bowl. I thought it seemed a bit bland, but it was okay. My friend drove all the way home because her husband was out of state and she had to feed her five cats, two dogs, and take care of the horse!! Yipes, busy life!

We took Friday off and DH, DD, DSIL, and the girls all went downtown in LA to see the La Brea tarpits, the Asian museum and the modern art museum. My friend drove back over about 11 am and we did laundry over at the Disneyland hotel whilst playing cribbage. The laundry was empty except for us - but I wondered if it got crowded (it was a small building with about 6 machines) at times when more people were outside the parks? This is the only laundry I know of for all three resort hotels! Later we met up with the others and after the girls had a quick swim with their parents, we had a WONDERFUL dinner of sushi and tons of delicious Japanese and other Asian foods at ToDai Orange, a sushi buffet I learned about here on the boards! Thanks, DIS - what a find! They had it all from lobster tails (yes!) to more mundane California rolls and more adventurous fresh water eel, lots of "just fish" with no rice attachments, etc - not a dud in the bunch. The place opened at 5:30 and within minutes it was packed (and it was a big place). You did have to drive there - we took a GPS with us on the trip and it was invaluable in the rental car. After dinner, we saw my friend off from the garage and retired. DD and DSIL had a nice late evening in the lobby at GCH - they talked with the piano player (they are amateur musicians so much exchanging of information).

Saturday was Early Entry - and also the first day of taping of the Christmas parade. We saw all the cameras set up as we came into the park - but fantasyland was empty again and we rode Peter Pan, teacups, Alice, Dumbo, the carousel, Snow White, Mr. Toad, Pinnochio and the Matterhorn with the other adults making runs to the Matterhorn now and then.

DD, DGD and I went to Pixie Hollow just as it opened - no wait of any sort, I think we were fifth or so - only Tinkerbell was there, but it was a Huge Hit with DGD. We worked our way out of the park to DCA, catching a look at some of the parade set up, and riding Monsters again. Then DD, DSIL and the girls went to Ariel's for lunch while DH and I went to Whitewater snacks and stuffed ourselves on Nachos. Thanks again to DIS for recommending this gem of a meal! DGD loved Ariel's, of course, and saw the Mermaid herself, as well as Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, and Snow White. We (the women) were all tired so we went back to the hotel while DSIL and DH ran around doing their thing. Later, we re-entered DL and toured the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through, which we love even more since the enhancement - we had missed it in the morning because it was roped off for parade taping. We had a light dinner at a walk up place by the Golden horseshoe - they had a good children's snack pack with cheese, apples, etc - not so fatty. Then I was pretty tired and we headed back to drop off the kids so the other adults could return. On the way out, we stopped for the celebration parade - prior to it, they had all the dancers, in costume, from the morning parade taping, move non-stop past all the viewers - the kids were so cute, in holiday outfits and waving their pom poms. DGD got chosen to participate in the street dance during the celebration show; this is another one that gets mixed reviews, but I thought it was great and even got a little weepy as it ended! Then off to bed for Gran!

Sunday was an early entry day, but instead, we took advantage of our reservations at Goofy's Kitchen - the dis tipped us off to this - we had always gone to Minnie's before (we also like Minnies) but the food at Goofy's was much better and, again because attendance was so low, we got lots of very positive and caring attention from the characters - Baloo, Jasmine, Chip, and another princess, I think it was Aurora. After eating, we went to DCA and saw Playhouse Disney, talked with Crush
the Turtle, went on Monsters (again), and then I walked over to the Grand Californian to meet up with my brother and sister in law who flew in about noon. Good thing I went over there, as by now, many of our cell phones were not ringing or working correctly - lol - we began to revert to setting meeting times, just like the old days. My Brother and his wife and I went into DCA for Soarin, Toy Story and Monsters, then I went to rest, after they joined up with DH, DD and the others. In the evening the four old peeps had a raucous dinner at ESPN zone - which was very tasty, indeed! Big mai tais - yipes!

Monday Our last day at the parks - but not sad, since we were so tired (but happy). We had breakfast at Whitewater snacks, then all headed over to the park. My SIL and I shopped (there had been much shopping all along) and bought a ton of stuff at the big store on Main Street - it was so much to lug around, we dropped it off for free pick up later at the merchantile in frontierland - that was very convenient. SIL got her mandatory turkey leg (she had not had breakfast, just coffee) and enjoyed that, then we met up with the others adn went to Tom Sawyer's Island. While we were on the Island - the Princess Tiana show began and watched the "other side" of the showboat from the Island. It was cute and lively. When we returned to the "mainland" - the guys with my DB and DSIL in tow, went off to DCA while DD and I got a lunch at the Orleans (can't recall name of it, but it is outside looking over at the Island) we had pommes frites (thanks DIS for mentioning these ) to share and also got a monte cristo and i had a ceasar salad (huge) The portions were really just so big but all was tasty. While we ate, the showboat Tiana show came by, so we saw it from the front and it was nice and enticing - made us very eager to see the movie! After lunch, we got Tiana's signature - DGD was First in the line! The cast members that assist the characters were so nice to her and we got many good photopass pictures there. The prince was there too. After all this, we shopped a bit and staggered back to the hotel after picking up all the packages. More Christmas taping was going on, including the teen girl star and the man host, I dont recall their names. DB, DSIL, DH and I had dinner reservations at Napa Rose - it was so fine! A friend had given us a gift card toward the meal - we all ate so well. About ten minutes in, however, the fire alarms went off and all of GCH was evacuated out to the pool area! That lasted about 15 minutes or so. Everyone was glad to return to a wonderful dinner. I had a fuzzy orange naval and it was good - I only like girly drinks and don't like wine!) - DH had the tasting menu and the flight of wines - he loved it and it brought us all an "amusee" that was a tiny taco (really tiny) filled with amazing ingredients that just popped in your mouth. Of course, DH had also ordered a gin and tonic prior to choosing his meal, so he was very happy after dinner! I had a mushroom soup (Portabella Mushroom bisque) served in a white cup - it was heavenly, like liquid mushrooms - so good. Then I had the lamb, which was also most excellent. My brother had the swordfish and was raving about that - SIL had a beautiful "side" salad and the portabello ravioli, which she really enjoyed, paired with a wine. We had a side of truffled mac and cheese which my brother adored but I thought it was very bland. Dinner took over two hours (including the evacuation - lol) and was just wonderful. We returned to the hotel to find DD and DSIL in our room finishing up a bottle of wine from Trader Joe's. They then dashed off the the jacuzzi.

Tuesday We had not really planned Tuesday morning very well - our plane did not leave until 2:30 so we sort of dragged around, checked out, drove to the Santa Ana Zoo and wandered around outside it - DSIL, DH and DGD rode a little train around the perimeter, and we had a brunch at Mimi's (but not the one at the park). Then to the airport and home - yay!

It was all so fun and grand - I loved the early mornings when the baby would wake first and my DD would come into our room and we would chat on the couch while DH was downstairs in the business center and DSIL and DGD were still snoozing. We had so many fun family moments - Disney is sheer magic!
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:02 AM   #2
LifeIsTinkIsLife
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Wow it sounds like everyone had a great trip! Thanks for doing a TR! I love reading these so I can get ideas on what to do on my trip too. I was wondering though, what/where is the Celebration BBQ? It sounds so good!
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:56 AM   #3
DLtorgo
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It was so good! The BBQ is right behind Big Thunder Mountain. I really don't understand why it isn't packed. They have lowered the prices and with the great entertainer there it is a wonderful experience. I hope it stays for a long time.
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:12 PM   #4
LifeIsTinkIsLife
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Ah I figured that's what it was! They lowered the prices? I was there October 2nd and we found it and the prices were I think $20-30 a person. What are the prices now? I guess it isn't packed because not very many people know about it.
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Old 11-14-2009, 01:12 PM   #5
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They started as 30$ adult and 20$ kids, but had Jessie and Woody inside the BBQ like a character meal. Now they are outside periodicaly, and the prices are around 20$ adult and 12$ for the kids. I don't remember exactly.

I wanted to add what we did when wonderful Gran was watching the girls at night. On Saturday we were able to go see Fantasmic. We tried the lightpole trick but there must have been lots of folks in the know and we ended up being on the side of the light pole. We had a great view so thanks Dis!

Sunday we watched the Remember fireworks. It was so wonderful to see this show again. The only thing I noticed was missing was the shooting gallery section. The other nights we would go over to the GC lobby and listen to the piano player. So relaxing and wonderful. It was a great trip!
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