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Old 05-01-2010, 01:46 AM   #76
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On with the planning...

First thing was to find a place to stay. We ended up going the route of Yahoo Travel and booking the flight/hotel combo. For our dates, the Hyatt Regency Orange County was cheaper than ANY of the Harbor Blvd. places from Hojo to Fairfield to Tropicana to Best Western Park Place, etc. etc. And seeing that we were celebrating our 11th Anniversary a few months before our 16th Anniversary...we wanted to stay in a place that was on the nicer side. So the Hyatt it was.

We had our flights and hotel taken care of, now it was time to buy tickets. I had been reading about Last Minute Travel here on the DIS with some mixed reviews, but deals always catch my eye, so I looked into it a bit and in the end decided to buy 3-Day Parkhoppers online from them. They were $148 and some odd cents each. Other than a bit of confusion as to what the actual ticket voucher was that we needed to present at the ticket booth, everything about the transaction was smooth. They emailed the voucher 6 days before we left and we were set to go.

Let's see...what else? Were we going to do any PS? We were a little torn on this as it can get a little tricky to not eat when you're actually hungry because you have PS in another hour or two and it is really far from where you are when you are hungry etc. We decided to do a lunch at Blue Bayou. We had only eaten there once -- almost 14 years ago -- and we were seated by the kitchen with lots of clanking of pots and pans going on. It just wasn't fun at all. All that commotion killed the atmosphere for me. So...again, being that this was an anniversary trip, it seemed like a must. Plus we'd never take our kids there, so it was the perfect time to go. I also wanted to do a breakfast at Carnation Cafe. I enjoyed my lunch there so much last fall, I wanted to give the breakfast a go. And it didn't hurt to know there might be another Meet-n-Greet with Chef Oscar.

Flights. Check. Hotel. Check. Tickets. Check. PS Arrangements. Check.

Oh yeah... how are we getting from/to the airport??? I've never flown to DL before, so this was a new one for me. Thanks to the DIS I learned about Super Shuttle and the discount code and booking each person separately so you can each get the discount and the option to pre-pay online including tip and how great John Wayne airport is and ... I was sold.

OK, I think we're set. Weather is looking a little crazy so I pack for warm weather and cooler rainy weather. My parents come and settle in with the kids and we're off! Disneyland here we come!

I remember looking out the window thinking, "I can't believe I woke up in my own bed this morning and I'll be at Disneyland the same day! I can't believe I get to ride the REAL Haunted Mansion again after almost 14 years! (The holiday version wasn't my favorite, to say the least.) This is so exciting!"

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Old 05-01-2010, 01:13 PM   #77
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Looking forward to hearing more
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:31 AM   #78
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Looking forward to hearing more
Yay! Glad to have you along!

Backtracking just a bit... At some point we had to tell the kids (3 boys, ages 10, 7, and 4) that we were going to Disneyland without them. We took them to Disneyland for the first time in Nov. and it was so fun. Now, here we are 5 months later, having to tell them that we are going back and they aren't. I was dreading the moment, that's for sure. My husband broke the news to them when we were all sitting around one night, about 1 month before we left. Their responses?

DS10: "Oh. Did I tell you what happened at recess today?!? ........"

DS7: Silence. A few tears in his eyes. Not tears of sadness that he wasn't going to Disneyland. Tears of anxiety that we were going somewhere and I wouldn't be here to walk him to his classroom each morning. That's what he was worried about.

DS4: "Will you bring me a Tigger Tail?" Then carries on with what he was doing, as if nothing about Disneyland was mentioned at all.

DH and I looked at each other. We were expecting at least a little disappointment about the "we're going and you're not" news. Nothing. I had myself all worked up over the announcement for nothing. They were totally fine with it.

Bringing us up to speed...we're now landing at SNA. The airport was very easy to navigate. (This coming from someone who hasn't flown since 1996. I'm not a fan of flying. Turbulence terrifies me. My husband had sore arm muscles to prove it. )

We make our way out to where we were supposed to meet SuperShuttle with no problems. We get "checked in" and hop in the van. For some reason there was a bit of a hold up. All I know is the driver was pacing around with his little clip-board. I'm not sure what he was waiting for. The van was full. We saw 4 SuperShuttle vans drive away before we did. Finally we were on our way, hoping we had a room ready so we could change. It wasn't nearly as warm as we were expecting. There was one drop-off at Residence Inn, and then it was our turn. We're here!



We thought the hotel was beautiful! More pics to come later.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:10 AM   #79
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Yay! Glad to have you along!

Backtracking just a bit... At some point we had to tell the kids (3 boys, ages 10, 7, and 4) that we were going to Disneyland without them. We took them to Disneyland for the first time in Nov. and it was so fun. Now, here we are 5 months later, having to tell them that we are going back and they aren't. I was dreading the moment, that's for sure. My husband broke the news to them when we were all sitting around one night, about 1 month before we left. Their responses?

DS10: "Oh. Did I tell you what happened at recess today?!? ........"

DS7: Silence. A few tears in his eyes. Not tears of sadness that he wasn't going to Disneyland. Tears of anxiety that we were going somewhere and I wouldn't be here to walk him to his classroom each morning. That's what he was worried about.

DS4: "Will you bring me a Tigger Tail?" Then carries on with what he was doing, as if nothing about Disneyland was mentioned at all.

DH and I looked at each other. We were expecting at least a little disappointment about the "we're going and you're not" news. Nothing. I had myself all worked up over the announcement for nothing. They were totally fine with it.

Bringing us up to speed...we're now landing at SNA. The airport was very easy to navigate. (This coming from someone who hasn't flown since 1996. I'm not a fan of flying. Turbulence terrifies me. My husband had sore arm muscles to prove it. )

We make our way out to where we were supposed to meet SuperShuttle with no problems. We get "checked in" and hop in the van. For some reason there was a bit of a hold up. All I know is the driver was pacing around with his little clip-board. I'm not sure what he was waiting for. The van was full. We saw 4 SuperShuttle vans drive away before we did. Finally we were on our way, hoping we had a room ready so we could change. It wasn't nearly as warm as we were expecting. There was one drop-off at Residence Inn, and then it was our turn. We're here!

We thought the hotel was beautiful! More pics to come later.
Glad the boys handled the news well. What fun - a romantic trip to DL What airport is SNA? LAX is a madhouse and I'd love to fly in somewhere else.
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:25 AM   #80
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Glad the boys handled the news well. What fun - a romantic trip to DL What airport is SNA? LAX is a madhouse and I'd love to fly in somewhere else.
SNA is John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. I meant to comment on it in your TR when you were talking about your experience at LAX on your way home. That just sounded so crazy! Anyway, just to give you an idea of the easiness of it, we were picked up at our hotel by SuperShuttle on our last day at 3:55 pm. We were dropped off at the airport, through security and all checked in and waiting at the gate by 4:30! Sheesh, if we had known it was going to be so smooth maybe we would have stayed in the park a bit longer!

Moving on...

I realized that Hyatt picture I posted was not from our arrival. It was gray and cloudy when we arrived, so this photo was most likely taken on our last day. Check-in was smooth and we were glad that a room was ready so early for us. We headed on up to the 15th floor (of 17) and I snapped some pics before our stuff got scattered around.



It was actually a 2-Queen Standard room that came with our Yahoo Travel booking. We could have upgraded to a King for a fee, but we weren't interested.













There wasn't a fridge or microwave. I believe we could have gotten them for an extra fee. Again, not interested. We were only going to be there for 2 nights. Here's the view from our 15th floor room:





It was around 10:40am by the time we got to our room and I wanted to catch the 11:00 shuttle to Disneyland. I snapped these pics while waiting for the shuttle in front of the hotel.





The shuttle to the park runs every half hour on the hour. It is shared with Crowne Plaza across the street. When I had called about the shuttle before our trip, I was told they share it with a 3rd hotel as well, but that wasn't the case while we were riding. The shuttle was right on time at 11:00, we stopped at Crowne Plaza, and then we were off to Disneyland! We were dropped off about as far as possible from the entrance, in the Silver area if that means anything to anyone. It's right on the other side of the bushes from the city bus stop on Harbor, across from the Tropicana area.

No wait to get through security. Next stop, the ticket booth to redeem our Last Minute Travel voucher for the 3-day hoppers. No wait there, either. We had our actual tickets in hand within 2 or 3 minutes -- I would definitely use this company again. Our tickets were a great deal. Now on to the turnstiles. Again, no wait. Yay!

It's sinking in that I'm at Disneyland again...



Now I really know I'm back!



More later!
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:44 AM   #81
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I didn't have a whole lot of priorities this trip. In my eyes, it was a complete bonus trip. Unplanned and unexpected. Instead of looking at it like, "Bummer...we only have most of Tuesday, all of Wednesday, and half of Thursday at Disneyland...", I looked at the situation like, "Wow! I can't believe I get to back so soon! It will be so great to just kind of wander and do whatever we feel like..."

My list of priorities included:

* Ride The Haunted Mansion lots and lots of times. It's been nearly 14 years since I've ridden the original and I could. not. wait! I wasn't a fan of the impostor holiday overlay that had taken over the mansion in November. I ended up closing my eyes and picturing the REAL thing as I rode along in my Doom Buggy.

* Ride Jungle Cruise at night.

* Watch Aladdin before it goes away. I had never seen it. I had a time picked out to watch it last fall, but I ended up being in Tiana's Showboat Jubilee instead. I figured this was a one-time chance to do that and that Aladdin would always be there the next time we returned...in maybe 2 years. Little did I know.

* Arm myself with the Hidden Mickey book I got for Christmas and take pictures of Hidden Mickeys -- at the request of DS10. It was the least I could do.

* Watch the Flag Retreat Ceremony, another thing I'd never seen.

* Ride Tower of Terror. I didn't get to do this last fall either. The plan was for DH to ride with DS10 first, then I'd ride with DS10 later. Well...DS10 ended up hating it. It really freaked him out. I had no interest in going alone, so it just didn't happen.

*Spend a lot of time just sitting on Main Street, preferably in those wooden chairs on the front porch. I've wanted to sit in one of those chairs my whole life, but they were always occupied when I walked by. Oh yeah, and eat ice cream while I'm sitting there. If it's during the day. If it's at night, the plan was to be sipping hot chocolate.

So that was my list. Anything else that happened beyond this list would be even more of a bonus.

Let's close this installment with a couple of Hidden Mickeys, shall we?





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Old 05-04-2010, 08:22 AM   #82
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My list of priorities included:

* Ride The Haunted Mansion lots and lots of times.

* Ride Jungle Cruise at night.

* Watch Aladdin before it goes away.

* Arm myself with the Hidden Mickey book I got for Christmas and take pictures of Hidden Mickeys -- at the request of DS10. It was the least I could do.

* Watch the Flag Retreat Ceremony, another thing I'd never seen.

* Ride Tower of Terror. I didn't get to do this last fall either.

*Spend a lot of time just sitting on Main Street, preferably in those wooden chairs on the front porch.

So that was my list. Anything else that happened beyond this list would be even more of a bonus.
A great list it is! Watch Aladdin for sure! We loved it when we saw it in December. I'd suggest getting there early so you can get a seat on the main floor. Can't wait to hear all about your trip and if you did everything on the list. Back to the second picture to see if I can find the Mickey.
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:26 AM   #83
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Found it, very cute
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:15 AM   #84
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A great list it is! Watch Aladdin for sure! We loved it when we saw it in December. I'd suggest getting there early so you can get a seat on the main floor. Can't wait to hear all about your trip and if you did everything on the list. Back to the second picture to see if I can find the Mickey.
Actually we've been back from our trip for 5 days now. Whether or not we made it to everything on THE LIST remains to be seen. And speaking of the list...I can't believe I forgot to include another important "must do" -- find Max, Buff and Melvin (from Country Bear Jamboree) in the Winnie the Pooh Ride. I was very excited to hear that they were still "hanging around."
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:08 PM   #85
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Actually we've been back from our trip for 5 days now. Whether or not we made it to everything on THE LIST remains to be seen. And speaking of the list...I can't believe I forgot to include another important "must do" -- find Max, Buff and Melvin (from Country Bear Jamboree) in the Winnie the Pooh Ride. I was very excited to hear that they were still "hanging around."
What a tease you are Standing by!
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:23 AM   #86
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OK, so we've arrived at Disneyland and it's around 11:30am.

I guess now would be a good time to mention that all the pictures I post will be ones without us in them. Given that my husband runs a s** offender treatment program in a prison, he prefers as much privacy online as possible when it comes to our family. One day he happened to notice my avatar and started to get a little panicky, wondering why I would post pictures of our children online. I calmly reminded him we have 3 children, not 5 children...and we have no daughters, therefore it couldn't possibly be our children. The picture was taken in 1979. I'm on the far left.

OK, back to 2010... We knew we'd be arriving around lunchtime but didn't decide on a place to eat ahead of time. We thought about using our $25 House of Blues G.C. that we bought for $2 on restaurant.com, but I knew it wasn't in me to finally get to Disneyland and not actually go INTO Disneyland for lunch. So House of Blues would have to wait until later. Our first matter of business was to collect Space Mountain FPs, and then just see where we went from there. We moseyed down Main Street, headed into Tomorrowland, grabbed our Space FPs, and then headed toward the Matterhorn. The line was crazy-long so we just kept walking. I decided I wanted to head over to IASW. As much as I loved the holiday overlay we experienced in Nov., I was really excited to see the original again. So that was our first ride.





It was about a 2 minute wait. I love that ride! When we got out, we were really feeling the need to eat. I knew my husband would enjoy Big Thunder Ranch BBQ, so I called Disney Dining to make PS for about an hour later. We shared a churro while we made our way through Fantasyland. The churro just wasn't cutting it, so we headed over to the Ranch to see what kind of wait we were facing if we tried to get in earlier. It was noon, afterall. Let's just say there were maybe 6 tables occupied. We were shocked. We went up to the counter and mentioned we had PS for later, but wondered if we might be able to get in earlier. The CM said, "Well, we ARE pretty packed, but we'll see if we can fit you in..." So funny! So we were seated right away.



We've never eaten here before. It was very laid back and relaxing.



My husband is a big meat fan, so I knew he'd get his $19.99 worth. I'm not much of a "eat meat off the bone" kind of a girl, so I was a bit hesitant about spending the money for me to eat there. But...I was so glad I did. It was so good! The meal is described as "all you care to enjoy" (doesn't that sound a little nicer than "all you can eat"???) ribs, chicken, cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans, served family-style.



Here's my plate:



I'm OK with eating ribs...due to the "clean break" of the meat off the bone. No yucky stuff to sift through to get to the meat. Sometimes I do OK with chicken breasts. These ones were great! I'm not usually a huge coleslaw fan, either, but I must admit...I ate the entire bowl myself! I thought it was THAT good! (Boy, after reading this paragraph, it was quite the gamble for me to try this place for lunch, huh. ) Anyway, lunch was a huge hit for both of us. There was a bit of down-home entertainment as well. I felt a bit bad for the performers, as the very small audience wasn't getting into it that much. We saw a fancy-dressed Disneyland guy sitting off to the far side with a clipboard, making notes. We were wondering if he was somehow "judging" their performance, audience participation, etc. When they would finish a set the 3 performers would go back into the kitchen area and the fancy-dressed man would follow. Then they'd all come back out after about 15 minutes for the next round.



As we were eating I looked up and noticed this cool light. I decided I would make it my mission to take lots of pictures of the cool lights around Disneyland.



After we sufficiently stuffed ourselves, I took this picture on our way out.



Here's something we weren't expecting to see...the turkey pardoned by Pres. Obama. It seemed a bit funny to have this guy situated so close to a BBQ place.



So what's on the agenda after lunch??? Well, for sure not Space Mountain after all that food... More to come later.
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:01 AM   #87
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What a great start to your trip report! I love your pictures especially the one of the moose outside IASW. We've never eaten at the Ranch. How did that escape my watchful DIS eye?? Sounds like the type of food all my boys would love!

Waiting to see how SM was...
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:52 AM   #88
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What a great start to your trip report! I love your pictures especially the one of the moose outside IASW. We've never eaten at the Ranch. How did that escape my watchful DIS eye?? Sounds like the type of food all my boys would love!

Waiting to see how SM was...
Thanks! Yes, we loved the BBQ. It's funny, that's one of the memories I keep going back to now that we're home..."Mmmmm...wish I could have that meal again right now."

So we mosey on out of the Big Thunder Ranch area. This is what we see after passing the turkey...



I have to remind myself, "This is a bonus trip. This is a bonus trip. This is a bonus trip. It's OK...." I love BTMR. AKA the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness. Kind of funny that I still think of this as a relatively new ride.

Another cool light.



This was fun to see. They were painting the fence to make it look old.



The sign on BTMR recommended we visit another attraction in Frontierland. Here's what we came to next.



Another suggestion to visit a different Frontierland attraction!

So we visited these striking red bushes or trees. Not sure which. But I learned on another thread that they grow wild in California. So beautiful!



My husband wanted me to change the setting on the camera so that just the red colors were picked up. I had no idea that was an option, but OK...





I wish I had these growing in my yard. I know I already used the word "striking" but that's exactly what they were. I wonder if I would have noticed them if we weren't in mosey-around-mode. Hmmm.

Another light.



Our next Frontierland attraction was a coin press machine. At the boys' request. I had to take a picture of this sign on the machine.



When we went to DL in November, my kids were really excited about pressing pennies. DS10 learned in school that it was against the law to "deface" money. That wasn't the exact word that was used...but something along those lines. He was very concerned that a law was being broken at Disneyland. We didn't notice this sign while we were there then -- I know it was there, but again, it's interesting what you notice when you're in mosey-mode as opposed to rush-around-with-3-kids-mode. Anyway, I took this picture just for him.

OK, we've been at Disneyland for more than 2 hours by now and have only gone on one ride. It was time to pick up more FPs -- Indy, to be exact -- and then find another ride to go on. Oooohhh...what will it be??? Seems like a good stopping point for now. Later.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:59 AM   #89
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So it's 1:30pm-ish and we're ready for our 2nd ride of the day! After picking up our Indy FPs we headed to my favorite ride -- which I didn't really realize was my favorite ride until this trip. Pirates of the Caribbean! It's always been a favorite. I've never been able to pick JUST ONE favorite...but during this trip I decided if I ever had to go to Disneyland and ride just one ride, this would be it. We practically walked on. I just love the sights, sounds, smells, feel of the water spray you get during the drops and during the battle scene...all of it. I guess I covered all the senses but one: Taste! Hmmm...how could I work that one in??? After Pirates we headed over to one of the things I was most excited about...



Yay! After nearly 14 years I was finally going to get to see the original again. Two of my favorite parts are missing in the Holiday overlay. The floating candles down the hallway, and the "Hurrrry Baaaack! Hurrrry Baaaack! Be sure to bring your DEATH certificate...if you decide to join us..." Oh yeah, and the hitchhiking ghosts. Totally miss that in the Holiday overlay.



We walked right into the lobby area for this one. A much as I enjoy minimal waits for rides, I really missed walking around and seeing the graveyard area. It was pretty much walk-on back in November, too. Anyway, I had a huge smile on my face as we rode along. It felt good to be "home."

After HM we walked toward Splash Mountain and picked up FPs. There was very little difference between the Stand-By wait and the FP Return Time. Like 5 minutes, I think. I was wondering if a lot of people don't know about Fastpass. I was schooled here on the DIS before going in November, as it didn't exist the last time I went before that. I would assume all the locals are in the know, but wow... our whole trip it amazed us how many people were in the long stand-by lines. So we picked up our FPs and glanced over at the Rivers of America...

I spy Sailing Ship Columbia



Even the walls have great theming...



A peek at the bare ground and track...



On to Pooh...



... and to hopefully check something else off my LIST: a Melvin, Buff and Max sighting! I asked here on the DIS exactly where to look for these guys. I was told that as soon as you leave the heffalumps and woozles room, look behind you and up. And it's easier to see if you're in front -- probably wouldn't see them from the back row. So that's what I did, from my front row seat. And there they were, hanging on the wall! They were easier to see than I was imagining. It's funny how happy it made me. Like seeing old friends. Man, I miss the Country Bear Jamboree. I hopped right back on Pooh for a second time, just so I could see them again. My husband sat this one out and snagged another light picture.



And this one.



It wasn't quite time to hop on Splash yet, so we meandered into Pooh Corner and watched the candy-making.











Finally it was time to use our Splash FPs. Funny...at this point our longest wait was waiting for our Splash FP window to open! When we got in the FP line, the CM handed my husband this to wear:



We only waited a few minutes before hopping in a log. The Stand-by line was 45-ish minutes. As we passed people I wondered if they wondered what we were doing. It was crazy.

Splash Light in line, which I barely had time to take because of our next-to-nothing wait. Being a party of only 2, they pulled us out of line when we were about 8 people back from the front.



Splash Light in the loading area.



So up to this point we've been on 5 different rides: IASW, POTC, HM, Pooh, and Splash. Considering all of our wait times...we waited in line for an average of 1 1/2 minutes per ride!

After Splash we realized the kids were home from school, so we decided we'd give them a call. Surely they would be missing us so very much and would be dying to talk to us... or so we thought. I talked to DS7 who has a bit of separation anxiety occasionally. "Hi honey! What's going on?" Him: "Good. (I guess he thought I asked how he was doing.) Um...can I go eat now?" I was interrupting his Lunchable time. I had told the kids they could eat a Lunchable when they got home from school the first day we were gone. They don't have them every week or anything, but it's not something that's off-limits either. For some reason they were just really excited about their Lunchables. Going back a bit further... one morning before our trip DS4 was sitting on the toilet and called out from the bathroom, "4 more days 'til you leave!!!!!!!!!!!!" He was very excited. Then he said, "Then it will be 3....then 2...then 1...then it's the day! I wish it was 1 day 'til you leave. No, actually I wish it was 0 days 'til you leave." Me: "Why do you wish it was 0 days?" DS4: "Because then I get my Lunchabbbbbblllllllllle!"

So back to DL... the kids weren't really interested in chatting, so we moved on with our day. We headed right back to Haunted Mansion. I "hurried back" just like I was told.



More later.
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:41 AM   #90
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After our ride through the Haunted Mansion we headed over to Adventureland and used our Indy FPs that we picked up after lunch. Another ride I just love! It's so fun. I still think of this as being a new ride as well. The first time I rode it was the summer of 1996. I remember standing in line for 2 1/2 hours. Those little IJ decoder cards from AT&T kept us busy, though. I still have mine from back then. Anyway, no 2 1/2 hour wait this time! Again, I felt sorry for those poor unfortunate souls in the stand-by line. Unfortunately I didn't get any pics around Indy. After Indy we browsed in the area shops for a bit before heading to Town Square for the Flag Retreat Ceremony. Actually we made one more stop before heading to Town Square...



This always seems to be the restroom we end up using...the one across from the Tiki Room. This has been the case my entire life...for some reason this is the restroom we are almost always near when someone realizes they need to use a restroom. So there are a lot of DL restrooms I've never seen. Anyone else have a go-to restroom? Weird question, I know.

This hasn't been the most interesting of updates. Time to upload some more pics to photobucket...
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Done! It's 4 Trips in 1! Christmas, Spring, Halloween... Then Went Back For Ice Cream!

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