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Old 07-06-2010, 05:09 PM   #1
carolinamama
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WDW Vets take on Disneyland/SoCal 6/27 - 7/4

Sunday, June 27

We arrive at our local airport at 5 am for our 6:30 flight. Very, very long story short, we found out 12 hours prior to flight time and 6 hours after doing online check in that United had canceled our original flight out of town to Chicago. United was able to rebook us on American, but the ticket info was really screwy, and it took 45 minutes at the airport for the agent to get everything straight. I could write a book on the reasons I don't like United now! But on the upside, with the change in flight, we were able to get in to John Wayne/Orange County an hour earlier than we planned! We arrived at 11 am, which was 7.5 hours after we left. Whew!

After grabbing a quick lunch, we checked in at GCH. We were pleasantly surprised to find that even though we booked a standard view room, we were assigned a pool view room on the 4th floor. YAY! GCH was beautiful, and it definitely reminded me of the Wilderness Lodge at WDW for obvious reasons, yet it was still different. Our room was larger than the one we'd had at WL, but it was smaller than we'd had at Poly and Contemp. We had two queens and a small balcony. We could see the tops of the PP rides, but we could also hear WoC at night. It didn't bother us as we tried to sleep, but it had to have been crazy loud in the rooms facing PP directly.

We had PS for Ariel's Grotto at 3:30, so we headed over DCA to ride a few rides before dinner (we were still on east coast time!). We met Mickey Mouse, grabbed FPs for California Screamin' and even a turn on Mickey's Fun Wheel before heading over to dinner. At the fun wheel, we saw our one and only celebrity - the blonde from iCarly. I can't even remember her name, and I didn't realize who she was for a few hours. I just kept looking at her knowing she was familiar!

At Ariel's, DD was thrilled to meet Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora. Of the five, Belle was the least talkative and interactive, and that's also DD's favorite princess. I don't think she noticed, though. The food was pretty good. DH had the tri tip. DD had the seashell pasta, and DS had the meatball lollipops. I had the spinach and ricotta agnolotti. It was decent, but don't get it if you don't like a strong spinach flavor!

After dinner, we did our turns on California Screamin', and DD did a few rounds on Triton's Carousel. At this point, we are totally wiped out and headed back to GCH. DH and DS hit the pool, while DD passed out before we even got in the room.





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15 Trips to WDW since 1981 - Bay Lake Tower (2013), Port Orleans Riverside (2013), Contemporary (2009), Polynesian (2008), Wilderness Lodge (1995 and 2006), Caribbean Beach (1995 and other prior dates), Beach Club (1996), Disney Inn (1986), Disney Villas And now a Disneyland trip as well! Grand Californian (2010)
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
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Monday, June 28

This was a non-Disney day. We were still working on east coast time, so we were up at 4:30. We got up and got dressed, then headed north on the I-5. We got through LA with no problem. Our destination was the Reagan Library up in Simi Valley, and even after a lackluster breakfast at Denny's, we were still an hour early. We just drove around a bit, then ended up at a small park with a playground in Thousand Oaks next to Cal Lutheran. After the library we opened, we spent about 3 hours there.

After we left the library, we headed south to Malibu. It was crazy watching the clouds hit the mountains as we drove through Malibu Canyon! We stopped briefly in Malibu, then took the PCH to Sunset, then Sunset all the way over towards Griffith Park. It took us a little while to find the Hollywood sign from a good angle, then we headed over to the GP Observatory. Of course, it's closed on Mondays, but we walked around the grounds and got a great view of LA.

Unfortunately, by the time we headed back to Anaheim, it was just after 5, so it took us 90 minutes to get back. Once back in the DLR area, we had dinner at Buca di Beppo (yum). I am in their e-club, so we had a $10 off our meal coupon, which always is nice!

Got back to GCH, hit the pool again, then went to bed so we could rest for our first full day in the parks!
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:06 PM   #3
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awesome! I need more lol
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:17 PM   #4
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Alright you've got another subscriber. Show me GC!!!! We stay there in 15 days! Any pictures of Reagan Library or Malibu?
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCmike View Post
Alright you've got another subscriber. Show me GC!!!! We stay there in 15 days! Any pictures of Reagan Library or Malibu?
I will put some up tomorrow!! We literally just looked at all 800+ pics, so now I know what I have. More report on Wednesday!
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15 Trips to WDW since 1981 - Bay Lake Tower (2013), Port Orleans Riverside (2013), Contemporary (2009), Polynesian (2008), Wilderness Lodge (1995 and 2006), Caribbean Beach (1995 and other prior dates), Beach Club (1996), Disney Inn (1986), Disney Villas And now a Disneyland trip as well! Grand Californian (2010)
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:13 PM   #6
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Okay, here's some pics of the Reagan Library. We probably took 100, so this is just a super small sample!

They have the old Air Force One in the facility. It dates back to the Nixon years through the first few years of Bush 41.


Marine One



An actual section of the Berlin Wall.



Reagan's tomb. We though it fitting that we had to make this trip since we had also stood in line for 7 hours to pass by his casket in the Capitol in DC when he died.



As we drove through Malibu Canyon, the clouds were rolling in. This picture doesn't do the craziness of the movement of the cloud justice. It was not something we see around here!



We stopped at a little park in northern Malibu near Pepperdine. Here's what was below the park down the cliff.



From the park looking towards the town of Malibu itself.
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15 Trips to WDW since 1981 - Bay Lake Tower (2013), Port Orleans Riverside (2013), Contemporary (2009), Polynesian (2008), Wilderness Lodge (1995 and 2006), Caribbean Beach (1995 and other prior dates), Beach Club (1996), Disney Inn (1986), Disney Villas And now a Disneyland trip as well! Grand Californian (2010)
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:04 PM   #7
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Tuesday, June 29

We originally thought we'd hit DCA first for some strange reason. I even had all my little RideMax printouts for that schedule. But we couldn't wait to go to Disneyland itself!!



We were at the opening for Magic Morning at 7 am. I felt dorky for thinking this, but even before we got in the park, it felt right. It felt like WDW, or I guess WDW felt like DLR! It's not something I can put in words, it just has to do with the ambiance, the music, the sidewalks, etc. Anyway, we got in at 7 and headed straight for the Matterhorn. I'll confess. I didn't care much for the Matterhorn. I don't know what I expected, but I was underwhelmed. It was too jerky for me, and DD3 hated it. From there, we headed back to Fantasyland proper, and we knocked most of it out by the time the gates opened - Dumbo, Peter Pan, Mr. Toad, Pinocchio, Snow White. We finally got over to Alice, and I was surprised that this was my DS's favorite ride in all of Fantasyland, and one of his tops on the whole trip! I enjoyed it, but you must understand that my son is All Boy, so to hear him just go gaga over Alice was funny. We totally loved DLR's version of Peter Pan - it's one of my favorite rides at WDW, but I felt like the DLR version had a bit more magic. I hadn't been on Mr Toad in ages since it's not in FL anymore, so I had forgotten the story completely. I did NOT remember that it ends up with a trip to Hades, so that was unexpected and left DS with a lot of questions we couldn't answer since we don't know the story! I thought Pinocchio was kind of boring, and Snow White was way scarier than in FL (and I was 5 when I first rode it in WDW, and it evidently scared me to death for the rest of the day).

At this point, we head over to get FPs for Indiana Jones, and I was able to get walk up at 11 am and get a PS for Cafe Orleans for 11:30, which was also the time they started serving (I didn't know that). DH had the Monte Cristo, and I had the chicken sandwich. But we started off with the famous pomme frites. Yummy, but my picky DD wouldn't touch them.



We took a break and headed back to GCH for a few hours, then hit DLR again around 5. We did as much as we could the rest of the day. We really enjoyed Indiana Jones. Overall, that was the ride DS was most excited about before the trip, and it was his favorite ride overall at the end. Space Mountain was great - I haven't had a chance to ride the refurbed version in WDW as they were doing it on our last trip, but it is so much fun!! Loved being totally in the dark and not being able to see the other cars anymore. Buzz Lightyear was better in DLR, too, since you could pick up the lazers and actually aim better.

One of the weirder moments of the day was in line for IASW. I was uber excited to be there. When I was a young child, I had a lot of children's books on tape, and one was about IASW. I loved the story, but the building in the book didn't look like the IASW I knew, and so I'd always wanted to see the original. We were in line at IASW, and I was telling DS about the story in the book about how there was a boy and he didn't feel like he knew where he came from, and then he went on the ride. As I'm talking, a guy in the next queue looked at me, pointed and said emphatically, "Bobby!" He had heard me talking, and he also evidently knew the story. Bobby was the name of the boy in the book. He apologized for scaring me, but he said he'd never heard anyone else talk about the book before.



And while we weren't on Main St for the fireworks, we got a good view from the Tea Cups.



And by request, more GCH pics.





And the shower curtain in the bathroom had Bambi and Thumper on it, and it was about the only actual Disney decor in the entire room.
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15 Trips to WDW since 1981 - Bay Lake Tower (2013), Port Orleans Riverside (2013), Contemporary (2009), Polynesian (2008), Wilderness Lodge (1995 and 2006), Caribbean Beach (1995 and other prior dates), Beach Club (1996), Disney Inn (1986), Disney Villas And now a Disneyland trip as well! Grand Californian (2010)
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:20 PM   #8
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I'm on board. We were there the same time and it is neat to see another family's perspective. Great pictures!
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:10 AM   #9
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Just found your TR, we leave in the morning for GCH. I am enjoying your perspective on DLR vs WDW. The pomme fries look so good......
Thank you for the great pictures. We were just at Pepperdine for Graduation in May, what a beautiful view from the University. The ride thru the canyon is so pretty too. The Regan Library looks interesting, too bad you couldn't go into the Griffith Observatory. They had some neat exhibits.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:57 PM   #10
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We are WDW regulars and heading out to DLR/LA/San Diego next month. We too are staying at GCH, very interested in your trip report........
My daughter was in shock when I read the part about your celebrity sighting....she actually screamed.....

"THEY SAW JENNETTE McCURDY!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!! I ENVY THEM!!!!!!!!!!"

Quote written by my 11 year old DD. She is a HUGE iCarly fan!
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickdeb View Post
We are WDW regulars and heading out to DLR/LA/San Diego next month. We too are staying at GCH, very interested in your trip report........
My daughter was in shock when I read the part about your celebrity sighting....she actually screamed.....

"THEY SAW JENNETTE McCURDY!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!! I ENVY THEM!!!!!!!!!!"

Quote written by my 11 year old DD. She is a HUGE iCarly fan!
This made me laugh!! It took me FOREVER to figure out who she was. We saw a CM bring a small group of teens to the front of the line on the fun wheel, and we were like 4 people back from the front. I couldn't help myself. I just stared at her because it was bugging me that I couldn't place her. Then the CM and the group got on, and they resumed loading. An hour later, it hit me! I told DH, and he said yeah, he heard someone else on the ride saying it was someone from iCarly, but it didn't phase him since he didn't know what it was.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:51 PM   #12
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Wednesday, June 30

I promise I'll post more pics soon! It's taking me forever to upload all the pictures we have on to Shutterfly, so once that's done, it will be easier for me to get the right pics!!

Anyway, Wednesday morning, we woke up again bright and early. DCA day! The CM who checked us in told us there was a soft opening at 9:30 for WoC tickets. Even though we had no interest in WoC, we knew we needed to be at that soft opening to make sure we got a good space for the pre-rope drop TSMM line (thanks DISers!). I was somewhat surprised to get downstairs at GCH and see how long the line was to get in the DCA entrance. I'm not sure what I was expecting. We got in line about 9:15, and the line stretched past Storyteller's at the time.

We got in the park, and we decided we'd see if we could snag Soarin' FPs. Yes! The machines were on! We grabbed those, then headed back towards Paradise Pier to get in the TSMM line. No problem. To my surprise, I only saw one man cut in front of about 30 people on the way to TSMM. Everyone else stayed generally put and in line. We only had to wait about 10 minutes once we were actually at TSMM, so not bad! Afterwards, we hit the PP rides we hadn't already hit, like Mullholland Madness, Silly Symphony Swings, Golden Zephyr, etc. Honestly, I was surprised at the height restrictions on Jumpin Jellyfish. I know WHY these are in place, but 40" seemed really tall for such a tame ride. I don't know why they didn't make the ride for the shorter set. DD almost cried because she wanted to ride this ride, but she's only 48.5", and she never cried at the other rides. I showed her that she was just not tall enough with the measurers at the start of the queue. The kind CM gave her a "front of the line pass" - the pass where once she's tall enough to ride, she brings it back and gets to go straight to the front of the line. She didn't really get the concept, but it had Sebastian on it, so it made her happy.

After we finished out PP, we headed over to Tower of Terror. We got a rider switch pass, but honestly, I'm getting to be a chicken in my, ahem, advanced age, so we didn't use it. Next we went to Monster's Inc. We always seem to get involved with the Monster's Inc attractions - in WDW, DH has been That Guy!, and DD last summer was Boo. So at the end of Monster's Inc this year, we saw the interactive Roz, who gave us one of the best lines directed at DS, "Hey, boy in the first row! Stop staring at me!" We loved it and are still saying it.

For lunch, we hit up the Farmer's Market, and I ended up not being pleased with my choice. I had the California Wrap, and I just didn't care for it. But my kids enjoyed eating what I didn't eat, so it was probably just me. I think the best thing we had was DD's corn dog. Yummy!

We really enjoyed It's A Bug's land! The area was so well themed! Today was one of the hotter days of our trip, so we enjoyed the shade trees.

One of the day's biggest frustrations centered around GRR FPs. At the start of the day, the line for WoC FPs stretched all the way back to Soarin'. And all the machines were in use for WoC. DH kept checking back every hour or so. When he checked after 4 pm, some of the machines FINALLY switched over to GRR, and he was able to get one with a 5:30 return time.

We took a break, and we ended up having dinner at Storyteller's. We had the buffet, and DD had chicken fingers. The buffet was pretty good, and we left stuffed!

We went back to DCA for just a bit longer. We did GRR - fun, but cold! In the end, we ended up back in the room a bit early - we left before WoC started, but we knew that we still had a lot of vacation left, and we didn't want to be overly tired.
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15 Trips to WDW since 1981 - Bay Lake Tower (2013), Port Orleans Riverside (2013), Contemporary (2009), Polynesian (2008), Wilderness Lodge (1995 and 2006), Caribbean Beach (1995 and other prior dates), Beach Club (1996), Disney Inn (1986), Disney Villas And now a Disneyland trip as well! Grand Californian (2010)
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:17 PM   #13
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I think the best way to experience TSM is to wait for rope drop, otherwise the lines are so long. It is frustrating about GRR fast pass, I noticed that in the early part of the afternoon they split the machines for WOC/GRR fast passes. The park is pretty large, so I am sure it was frustrating for your DH to keep checking on FP availability. Still never road the ride. I really enjoyed PP, wasn't sure if I would like it, but I thought the theme was cute and colorful. Can't wait to see some of your pictures.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:12 PM   #14
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Great report.

- I agree with DS on Alice. Great little ride & great theming (& not in WDW).

- Good to hear you used the Screamin' / Triton Carousel two step. Great way to keep the little one's occupied while the adults can get their Coaster Fix.

- Disagree with you on Pinocchio (love the ride & especially the story & movie ) & also on Matterhorn....which is an absolute classic imo.

- Good for you on doing FL early....many don't realize how much can be done the first 90 min. after opening.

- Also agree with you on the Bugs Land area & on Monsters.....great areas for kids (of all ages). Did you ride Heimlich?

- & it sounds like we have another Corny Dog Fan.


Thanks for posting.


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Alright you've got another subscriber. Show me GC!!!! We stay there in 15 days! Any pictures of Reagan Library or Malibu?
Mike....i'm very familiar with Malibu. (I've visited every year for the past 15) Feel free to ask or pm if you want opinions.

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Old 07-16-2010, 06:24 PM   #15
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Really enjoying your trip report! We love the GCH (and we are WDW regulars as well) and I agree, its a lot like WL but a lot different too.

My husband has been "That Guy" too and my son was thrilled when one of the jokes he texted got aired at the Laughfloor in March.

The Alice in Wonderland ride is the thing we miss about the most when we are at the MK.

Can't wait to read more!
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