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Old 02-01-2010, 08:39 PM   #16
Hawleys
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We're back and our trip was fantastic! DFM and DFC were great sports and we had so much fun dragging them around the parks to all our favorite things.

Highlights were riding BTMRR while the fireworks were going off, relaxing in the jacuzzi at the Grand Californian and riding TSMM.

Blow by blow trip report to follow in the coming weeks.

Cheers!
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:05 PM   #17
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I'm in - we loved our DLR trip and GCH!!! You would never get me on that Maliboomer or TOT but can't wait to hear about your rides!
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:06 PM   #18
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Glad you had a great time - can't wait to hear more details!!
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:58 PM   #19
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Thanks for the comments you guys! I'll try not to keep you waiting too long.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:45 AM   #20
Hawleys
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Jan. 28--Day 0: Departing the Bay Area

Thursday morning found DW and I packed and ready to go! Too bad we had to work. DW headed out the door with her suitcase; I stayed home to take conference calls and do some last minute shopping and cleaning. My work load was light and I even managed to get a nap as I had been battling a cold for a day or so.

For once I wasn't rushing around at the last minute to get things done and the day seemed to drag by. I just couldn't wait to get to the airport! Finally, 6pm rolled around and I trundled out the door with suitcase and backpack. Even though this was only a three day trip, we had filled our bags with all kinds of snacks. DW is on a strict medical diet which really prohibits us from eating at any TS restaurants. Also, DFM and DFC are on a strict budget because DFM is a post doctoral fellow at a Bay Area university which must standardize their pay scale nationally for government funded positions, ignoring cost of living differences. San Francisco ain't cheap! The food at DLR is (IMHO) overpriced and mediocre (with some shining corn dog exceptions) so we were all planning to eat lots of food from home.

Back to our journey. DW met me on the train in Oakland and our BART ride to SFO was smooth. DW's homemade roast chicken sandwiches *yummy* were scarfed down while we waited to board. I took some cold medicine, crossed my fingers that my ears wouldn't bother me on the flight and we were up in the air and down at John Wayne before we knew it. Love the short flight! BTW, does anyone else feel like they are entering a cheesy club when they get on a Virgin America flight? There always seems to be pink neon lights along the walls and techno-ish music in the background.

We waited maybe 15 minutes at the airport before our Super Shuttle van left but we were the first one dropped off at the Hojo. Yes, the Hojo! Don't worry, we stayed at the Grand Californian, too, but couldn't justify the cost for Thursday night when the plan was pretty much to go immediately to bed and try and get a good night's sleep before hitting the parks hard on Friday. With the Entertainment rate, the cost at the Hojo was about 1/4 of the Grand Californian.

Check in at the Hojo was smooth and they had the box of food we had mailed ahead. The box included a full selection of minibar sized liquors. DW went a bit wild at BevMo! and came back with about 12 different things.

During our August stay, were were in Bldg 1, in a seventh floor Disney view room which I personally found to be a bit noisy for sleeping because of the highway. This time I opted for an NDD1 and we were placed in Bldg 3, directly behind the lobby building. It was a blissfully quiet and our room was spacious with a balcony, skylight, tons of drawers and an extra big closet with a cot where we could easily have stored our suitcases if we were staying for a few days.





Mini fridge, microwave, Kuerig coffee maker and small safe were all there. There were two sinks, one in the bathroom, one outside which was great for getting ready in the morning.





The interior of Bldg 3 was a bit more beat up than Bldg 1, with noticeable scrapes in the stairwells especially. I'm sure this is from people moving their suitcases up and down as there is no elevator. Not a problem for us but if you had a large family or lots of luggage it could be a chore. The Hojo is so accomodating that I'm sure they would find someone to help with luggage if needed. The bathroom in our room was also a bit dated, sporting some retro grey and pink tile (I'll post pics soon). Our room had two oversized double beds which are supposed to be only 6 inches narrower than a standard queen. They looked awfully small to me and DW commented that if we had been staying here with DFM and DFC we would have had to get a room with 2 queens. DFM is a big guy and I just know he would be uncomfortable on that bed. Overall, I give the Hojo two huge thumbs up. Great value, great service, comfortable beds, close to the park and sparkling clean. Just don't go expecting super luxurious digs and you won't be disappointed.

Once we stowed our bags, we popped down to the convenience store to buy some mixers for our minibar. Good selection and prices were comparable to a corner market or gas station. Did you know that the Hojo offers a 10% discount at the market if you are an AP holder? Sweet!

Back to the room to get ready for bed. I took some Nyquil for the cold and to help battle my Disneyland insomnia. I just get so excited about being at the parks that I can't sleep very well. We tucked in around 11pm. I woke up around 4:30am but managed to sleep on and off until about 6:15am. I know I slept bc DW told me she woke up around 5:30am and asked if I was awake yet...no response.

We had set the alarm for 7am, figuring that would give us plenty of time to check out at the Hojo, check in a the Grand Californian and hoof it to park opening at 9am. But at 6:15am I woke up to find DW awake and ready to get moving. I was so excited that she was excited. I know she enjoys our DL trips but here was physical proof that she couldn't wait to get to the parks. DW is NOT the type to get up before her alarm, like, EVER.

Last edited by Hawleys; 02-05-2010 at 02:03 AM. Reason: Added pics!
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:58 AM   #21
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Jan. 29--Day 1, Part 1:

We showered and got ready, then walked to McD for buy one, get one free Egg McMuffin. Back to the Hojo where DW indulged my curiosity and we walked back to take a peek at the garden pool. Pool looked nice but no hot tub.
The grounds staff was out in full force, clipping, sweeping, watering, etc and the grounds looked very well maintained. We also noticed that Castaway Cove was closed for renovations. You can see the caution tape in this photo.



We checked out of the Hojo and headed down Harbor toward DL. DW was fretting about taking our bags through security check to get to the GC. It was no problem at all do this. Security had a cast member escort us across the plaza and we didn't have to open our bags at all. The CM who escorted us was very shy. Now, DW and I are pretty shy, especially in situations with lots of new people but this young woman took the cake. DW tried to ask her about the possibility of Captain EO opening and got nothing at all. Sigh.

We meandered through DTD, excitement mounting, I couldn't wait for my first glimpse of the GC lobby. Wow! It did not disappoint. I was however, totally disoriented by the positioning of the registration desk. Somehow in all the pictures I had seen, I expected the registration desk to be opposite from the entrance with the sliding stained glass windows. But since the registration desk is on the same side of the lobby as the entrance and street, I got toally turnd around. It's a good thing DW knew where she going.

Totally sleep now...more tomorrow.

Last edited by Hawleys; 02-05-2010 at 02:05 AM. Reason: Added pics!
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:44 AM   #22
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Nice report so far! How funny about the shy CM. I'm shy too but at least I can answer questions...though I reckon most people on the DISboards know about as much about Captain EO's opening date as quite a few CMs do.

As for the beds at Hojo, I think oversized doubles are the same WIDTH as regular doubles, but are LONGER. I've always thought double beds were too NARROW more than too SHORT, so they looked outright tiny to me too!

I found that I would not want to share such a small bed with someone (if I had a husband it might be different, but I still have that kind of "invisible line" idea like I did when I was a kid in hotels, that you can't touch your travel partner and have to stay on your side of the bed!). We booked 2 queens for our next trip, even though it's more expensive.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Eeee-va View Post
Nice report so far! How funny about the shy CM. I'm shy too but at least I can answer questions...though I reckon most people on the DISboards know about as much about Captain EO's opening date as quite a few CMs do.

As for the beds at Hojo, I think oversized doubles are the same WIDTH as regular doubles, but are LONGER. I've always thought double beds were too NARROW more than too SHORT, so they looked outright tiny to me too!

I found that I would not want to share such a small bed with someone (if I had a husband it might be different, but I still have that kind of "invisible line" idea like I did when I was a kid in hotels, that you can't touch your travel partner and have to stay on your side of the bed!). We booked 2 queens for our next trip, even though it's more expensive.
Hi Eeee-va!
Your explanation about the oversize doubles being shorter not narrower makes total sense. I must have misunderstood the Hojo video. No wonder they seemed so tiny! To tell you the truth, we didn't even share a bed because I had a cold. (Hope that's not TMI. ) We're staying in the same room type in June and we'll see if the bed is big enough. If not, well, I can always sleep in the other one.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:27 PM   #24
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Jan. 29--Day 1, Part 2:

Checking in at the GC took some time. Not because the CM was slow but because I was interested in a very specific view of Paradise Pier. This is what happens when you hang around the Dis too long. I asked for a room in the new wing which we were assigned but with a pool view. I expressed some surprise because I thought we had paid for a park view. The CM helping us told me that pool/park view were the same category. So I asked if we could have a Paradise Pier view instead and showed her on the map where we wanted to be. The CM helping us might have looked a tiny bit grumpy at this request. However, she did find us an awesome room (4252). It took about 10 minutes and she had to go to the room behind the registration desk, I think to ask her supervisor about releasing the room to us. The CM was training a new person as well. DW commented that I was the perfect example of a difficult customer and a fantastic training opportunity. I had to laugh at this and the trainee cracked a smile but the CM looking through each room individually to see if it would accommodate us did not even blink. Stone cold.

Once we had a room, the CM gave us our Keys to the Magic (room keys with Magic Morning and charging privileges) and took our cell phone number so that the GC could text us when our room was ready. No problem there as it was getting close to 8:40am and I desperately wanted to be at the gates for opening. We checked our bags with Bell Services and they let us know that we didn't need to come back to the bell desk, just call from our room once it was assigned and they would be delivered. Nice!

We stopped at the restroom and then hustled through DTD to get to the gates. There were pretty long lines already (5 or 6 families) so we used another Dis trick and lined up at an entrance behind a planter where there were only 2 families in line. The CM scanned our passes so we were all set to go in as soon as the park opened. We all counted down from 10 and yelled out "Let the Magic Begin" or something similar. I'm a ashamed to say that I couldn't count or yell very loud because I was tearing up at bit because we were finally going to Disneyland!

The man in front of us pushed his stroller through the gate making us the second party through the turnstile. Then it was a walking footrace to our first destination; Space Mountain! Our touring style definitely tends toward commando and the plan for this morning was to ride a bunch of non-FP rides before the lines got long and collect FPs as efficiently as possible. First stop--FP machine, return time 9:40am--sweet! We rode Space with almost no wait at all.

We debated going on Nemo as there was no line but it's such a long ride that it eats up precious minutes of uncrowded time. We will have to ride Nemo one more time on our final (sniff) Year of a Million Trips trip in June. (That's what I've been calling the 12 months that we have our APs. Catchy, eh?) During our Oct trip, we were at the gates for opening with plans to grab Space FPs and ride as soon as the park opened. DW's medical condition was acting up and she couldn't walk fast so she sent me ahead. I was super annoyed because Space was down but thought it would be a good opportunity to ride Nemo, which we had missed in August. There was no wait so I called DW to let her know where to meet me. Waited and waited some more for her. Called again and found out she had stopped for a bathroom break. I hung up the phone in a huff asking myself "Why didn't she take care of this at the hotel? Doesn't she know the morning hours are golden touring time, not to wasted on bio breaks, eating, taking pictures or meeting characters!?" Turns out she had stopped to buy me some Disney dollars. Long story but my sister gave me Disney dollars for my birthday in July and instead of spending them, I just gave them to our nephew for our August trip. Of course, my sis asked what I bought and I had to tell her nothing. She was a bit peeved as apparently the Disney store is FAR away from her house in MA and she had to send our Mom on a special trip to get them. Ok, that was long story long. Well, after grousing at DW, she pulled out the Disney dollars. Boy did I feel terrible. Especially because the awesome CMs held the boat for us and we got on a sub immediately. Then, when we were sitting in the dark on the ride, I felt DW take my hand and put something in it. I looked down and it was a rainbow Mickey head pin (we were there for Gay Days). Of course, I got all choked up and felt like an even worse wife for grumping about the "bathroom break". So...that's why Nemo will always have a special place in my heart, even though I think the ride is just ok. If you look closely at the pictures for the TR, you will be able to spot my one and only pin. It like a Hidden Mickey for all my readers.

Ok, back to my TR for real now. We decided to ride the Astro Orbitors.




You may recall that one of our Year of a Million Trips (YOAMT) goals is to ride every last darn attraction in the parks. Here was our first "new" attraction of the trip. We waited through one ride cycle before boarding our rocket. The CM asked if we wanted one rocket or two. We opted (unfortunately) for one, thinking it would be like Dumbo and we could ride together. Didn't work so well; those suckers are NARROW. Now, I'm a bit plumper than I would ideally like to be but those rockets were just not designed for people with hips. DW was half laughing, half yelping in pain when I squeezed in. I was afraid they would have to get me out with a shoehorn! Since I was in front, I got to control the up and down motion of the rocket. Feels higher than Dumbo and going up and down makes you feel more like your going to fly out of the rocket. Two big thumbs up.

Last edited by Hawleys; 02-05-2010 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:28 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Hawleys View Post
We will have to ride Nemo one more time on our final (sniff) Year of a Million Trips trip in June. (That's what I've been calling the 12 months that we have our APs. Catchy, eh?)
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:17 PM   #26
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Jan. 29--Day 1, Part 3:

After our spin on the rocket ships, we walked on Buzz so that DW could trounce me as usual.



It was fun to be early enough in the day that we were ranked, even though our scores were not that high. We got better as the trip went on.

Next up was the Matterhorn, where we rode both sides. Fantasyland side seems smoother and slower to me. DW thought it would be fun to try riding with no hands...not recommended. She was tossed all around, banging into me and after about 3 seconds she was gripping the handles again.

I just love this pic that DW took. It captures all the things I love about the Matterhorn, snow, waterfall and toboggan. I should make a disclaimer here that DW takes almost all of the pictures in my TR. Please direct any compliments or complaints in her direction.



We wandered over to Fantasyland to hit Casey Jr. (another new ride) before the line got too long. We waited about 10 minutes and ended up in one of the cages. Of course we had to do our best monkey impressions. I'll spare you the pics.



That little train goes faster than you would think. I read in "The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland" that it was originally designed to be a roller coaster. Ok, I have to confess that I read it in the preview pages on Amazon. But I'm planning to buy, borrow or steal this book somewhere. If you truly want to look at the miniatures, and you should, they are lovely, don't bother with Casey. Ride the Storybookland Canal Boats for a closer, more leisurely tour.

We struck out the back way from Fantasyland toward Adventureland so that we could visit the petting zoo (another must do for the YOAMT, although this is not technically a ride, it is an attraction and hence goes on the list). I argued that once we cross that line it means we have to visit Fairy Hollow and the Princess Fantasy Faire and see Playhouse Disney. DW disagrees, mostly because she doesn't want to go to PFF. Neither do I for that matter but I'm a completionist (is this even a word?). Convincing arguments for either side will be duly considered so send 'em in.

We spent a few happy minutes petting the goats and chatting with a nice CM who told us about the DL herd romances and who might be pregnant with whose kidlet.

DL goat stud: Pongo (spelling?)


Hands washed, we took a moment to email DFM and DFC to let them know how excited we were that they were joining us that evening. Oh, and to send DFM a close up pic of Pongo since he has a goat phobia (small child with ice cream cone + hungry goat=lifetime of terror). Aren't we good friends?

Last edited by Hawleys; 02-06-2010 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:26 PM   #27
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Jan. 29--Day 1, Part 4:

From the petting zoo, we circled around to BTMRR where we got a FP and went for a ride. DW took this lovely picture.



If it weren't for the evergreens peeking through, I would totally believe this was a picture of Arizona or Utah. Ok, maybe the fossilized dinosaur eggs would give away the DL location as well.

There was hardly any line so we asked the CM if we could wait for our favorite spot on the ride:



I just love the extra bit of speed you get in the last car!
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:37 PM   #28
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Glad you had a great trip! Can't wait to read more. Nice shooting on Buzz.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:32 PM   #29
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great start
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:15 PM   #30
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I love the last car on BTMRR too!
Love your DW's BTMRR picture, she really caught a neat sky with that one!
Your DF's goat story is hilarious - I would have done the same thing (sent the goat picture)!
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