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Old 08-13-2010, 05:40 PM   #1
PigletSeeker
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Family with 3 Little Ones Trip Report 8/10-11

I’m by no means a Disney expert, but thought I’d share our trip report as I learned so much from everyone else’s. We have 3 young children, so took a slower pace than some. We went to the Magic Kingdom in 2008, and let me just say DLR was so much easier and less complicated! Especially the stroller parking. At WDW, cast members are constantly rearranging parked strollers. At DLR, mine was always exactly where I left it…so nice! The weather was awesome- mid-upper 70’s in the day…cool enough to warrant a jacket at night.

My family of five (me, DH, DD6, DD3, and DS1) drove from Vegas and met my parents who flew in from Arkansas. We arrived on Sunday, August 9th and stayed at the Park Vue Inn. We got to the hotel around lunchtime, and my parents were able to store their bags in the lobby until the 3:30 check-in. We walked to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch (on Katella) and then drove to Huntington Beach for the afternoon. We arrived back around 8:30 PM and got checked in. Our kids were thrilled that there were birthday balloons, candy and presents (coloring and painting books) waiting for them. And we were happy to find wine and fruit for us! We went ahead and purchased 2 day Park Hoppers for our family. Then we went to the breakfast terrace at 9:30 and had an awesome view of the fireworks! Our kids were really wound up and didn’t get to sleep until almost 11, so I knew we wouldn’t get as early a start on Monday as we’d like.

Monday morning we had free breakfast at the hotel and then made the quick walk across the street and entered Disneyland. I believe it was about 9:30 AM. We headed back to Fantasyland and waited 10 min for Dumbo. Then we walked right on the teacups. Next it was time to suck it up and stand in line for the most important event of the day: meeting the Princesses. The “boys” found a shady spot at a nearby snack stand and us girls got in the 45 minute line at Princess Fantasy Faire. We were so excited that both my girls got to meet their favorite Princess. Tiana for my youngest and Jasmine for my older daughter. Ariel was also there. This was their first time meeting each of these characters…at WDW they met 3 different princesses. When we were done here it was almost 11, so we got the kids a snack and watched a little of the Princess Show going on nearby. Next up, was It’s A Small World. I’d say we waited less than 10 minutes to get on. It was so much cuter than what I remembered from WDW. Love the addition of the characters! Everyone had a good time (well, except for DH who kind of loses his mind on this one!) Also, there was no gridlock with the boats at then end like at WDW.

We then made our way over to Tomorrowland to get FP for Autopia. Our return time was only 45 min away. We took that time to go back to FL and ride the carousel (very little wait). Then we moseyed back to TL, decided Nemo line was too long (45 minutes) and went and got Space Mountain FP for DH and me for later…return time was 5 PM. (It was about 12:30 at this time). Went back and got in line for Autopia with our 2 girls…even with FP we still waited about 25 minutes to get on. After that we decided to take a break and leave for lunch and a rest. On the way out as we turned left towards the exit on Main Street we saw about 6 characters come out of a white gate in a corner. The CM said the characters were going to find a shady spot and we could follow them. My girls took off running after Pluto and got a picture with him.

We walked down Harbor to Subway and then attempted to get our kids to nap. Didn’t happen-LOL. We got back to DL around 5:40. People were already lining Main St for the 6:30 parade. This seemed like a huge waste of time to us so we went to use our Space Mtn FP. My parents stayed with the kids and we were on the ride in about 25 minutes. (They were also out of FP at this time and stand-by was at 75 minutes). My only experience with SM was 20 years ago at WDW. This was sooooo much fun. Smooth as ice! Highlight of my day.

After that, we walked back to Fantasyland and stood on some stairs not too far from IASW plaza and had an excellent view of the parade which arrived at that point about 7 PM. Kids were able to go and dance in the street. After the parade we went to Toontown to ride that Go Coaster. 45 minute wait. It was almost 8:30 when we left Toontown and headed towards Critter Country for Winnie the Pooh. We walked into Frontierland and once we got past the Riverboat were met with crazy crowds waiting for Fantasmic. While trying to fight our way through we discovered we were right in front of Pirates of the Carribean and there was virtually no line. My DD6 was adamant about not riding it, so I fought the crowds with her and the baby in his stroller and found a bench right by the ride exit. About 20 minutes later my family came out stating the ride was awesome. I was disappointed I didn’t get to go because I’d heard it from this board that it was better than WDW.

We went on over to Critter Country and walked right on Winnie the Pooh…this was the first ride at DL that I thought was not superior to WDW…no Tigger bouncing the honey pot! It was 9:15 at this point and Fantasmic had started. My DD6 was terrified of seeing the dragon and didn’t want to walk by it, so we hopped on the train and rode all the way around the park back to Main St…got to see the Grand Canyon and the dinosaurs which seemed so random, but fun. Got off at Main St about 9:35 and stood at the station for an incredible fireworks view over the castle. I couldn’t believe how much the music and castle added to the experience (remember we’d seen them from our hotel the night before). Couldn’t see Tink or Dumbo, but other than that this is a perfect spot. We were able to leave at the end and be in front of the crazy mad dash out of the park that follows the fireworks. So there’s my big Disney tip…if you’re planning to leave after the fireworks, take the train from wherever you are around 9 PM and you’ll have a great spot to watch.

After fireworks we called it a night. I'll post Day 2 in separate post.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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Day 2

Day 2:

We were all dragging after a full Day 1. Made it to DCA right about 10 AM. We were amazed at the light crowds and took our time walking to Paradise Pier. We were amazed at the different vibe at this park. Just didn’t have the Disney magic in our opinion. My parents weren’t with us yet, so we decided not to get WOC FP right then. This was a mistake. We walked past Mickey’s Fun Wheel with just a 5 min wait…probably should have done that then too. Then we came to Toy Story…already a 65 minute wait! This is where all the people were, apparently. Madness I tell you. We kept walking and came to Screamin’. DH and I decided to do Single Rider so one of us could stay with the kids. Each of us had to wait about 5 minutes. So much fun!!! Just a fun, smooth, satisfying coaster. My parents arrived about the time we were done with this. We rode King Triton’s carousel with no wait and then decided we’d better just bite the bullet and get in line for Toy Story. DH and my dad waited with the baby because I couldn’t see holding him in line for over an hour. Mom and I rode with the girls. It was well over an hour before we got on the ride. It was very, very fun, but I really think they need to figure out a fast pass plan because the wait is just nuts. My 3 year old (almost 4) didn’t like it….she got thrown around on the turns and kept banging her head.

While we were in line DH and my dad went to get WOC FP. All that was left was for 10:30 or later and they decided not to get them because they knew that was too late for the kids. So instead they got 6 Soarin’ FP for 2:40.

When we got off TSMM we were all ready for lunch. Walked around the Wharf area and couldn’t agree on anything, so we headed over to Taste Pilot’s Grill by Soarin’. Pretty decent burgers there. After lunch we walked over to the Hollywood Backlot area. Saw that a Playhouse Disney show was about to start, so Mom and I took all 3 kids in. Cute, interactive show for the kids. Even the baby loved it. After that we walked in just in time for Turtle Talk at 3:00. We sat on the Lillypads in the front. Pretty cute, but probably not something kids over 10 would care anything about. As we left some character I didn’t know came up to the girls…Max? Maybe he’s Goofy’s son? Whoever he was, he wasn’t very cute-LOL.

At this time, we were able to go back and use our Soarin’ FP. My youngest DD was not tall enough so DH and I went with older DD and my parents stayed with the other 2 kids and had ice cream. We waited about 10 minutes to ride. We all loved it, so convinced my mom she needed to ride and DD and I rode again with her…only a 5 minute wait this time with our remaining FP. I think standby was saying about 40 minutes. My parents left at this point and went back to DL to souvenir shop.

It was about 4 PM at this point and we were really about park-ed out. 2 days with very young kids is exhausting! Honestly, we would have been ok with just the one day at DL, even though was still plenty more to do. DCA didn’t hold the same appeal for the kids. We decided we’d do Bug’s Life and then Fun Wheel and leave.

We went to Bug’s Land and rode 2 of the little rides back there: Ladybugs and Flik’s Flyers. Virtually no wait on these rides and they were cute and just right for the little ones. Then we stopped in a shop to buy the misting fan my older DD had been begging to have. We made our way to the Fun Wheel and got in the non-swinging line which said 15 minutes. We were in line 30 minutes and then someone got off the swinging side and said someone had vomited. They had to stop the ride and wait for the clean up crew. Then everything just stopped and people were whispering to each other and then getting on the phones….people were still in the gondolas on top, mind you. They made an announcement that the ride had to be powered down and closed. When we inquired further…we were almost next in line…we were told that the “mess” had gotten into a place that could affect the electrical system and it had to be shut down to be safely cleaned and then tested. Glad it happened before we got stuck at the top! After that we rode the carousel one last time (still no wait) and call it a day. My youngest daughter was pretty much melting down. It was 7 PM. We ate at IHOP and then put the kids down.

My mom wanted to go back and see the 10:30 WOC, so after the kids were asleep, she and I went back over to DCA. It was kind of confusing as to where to go without FP. Finally we were let through and told we could go over by TSMM and the wheel or over in the wharf area, which was on the other side. We cut through by the Jumpin Jellyfish in the pitch black dark…all of the lights were off, which I thought was really unsafe to allow people to meander around that area in the dark. It was a little creepy. We watched from the area in front of TSMM…the ride was still running with a 45 minute wait! We couldn’t really see the animation, but the water show was still just amazing. Afterwards we decided to go back to DL so I could ride Pirates. It took awhile to fight through the WOC crowds and we made it back to DL at about 11:20. Still a lot of people over there. I couldn’t believe all the babies and kids still wide awake! We hopped on the train at Main St to get to NO Square and walked on POTC. Had a boat to ourselves! Fun ride, far superior to WDW with 2 fun drops, but I was glad my 6 yr old didn’t ride earlier. It was too intense for her…she’s very sensitive and I know would have had nightmares. My 3 yr old did ride it, but DH said he managed to distract her from the skeleton scenes. When we got off, I wanted to take my mom on Peter Pan so we made our way to Fantasyland. There were no lines anywhere in FL EXCEPT for Peter Pan which said 30 min wait…it was 11:55. We hopped in line and people kept filing in the line until 12:03 when they roped off the entrance. We got on about 12:15. My mom didn’t care for it at all…thought it was too rough. It wasn’t as fun as I remembered it from WDW, but still a cute ride.

That concluded our DL experience. Lots of fun memories. So glad my parents came. It would have been a lot harder managing our 3 kids on our own.

We spent our last full day at Corona del Mar Beach. Highly recommend this beach for families. Gentle waves and tons of other families with young kids! The last night, at 9:30, we of course sat on the hotel terrace and watched the fireworks!
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing your trip! How was the Park Vue Inn? I heard that they added some things to the breakfast!
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:18 PM   #4
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We were happy with the Park Vue Inn. The breakfast was good: eggs, bacon, waffles, in addition to normal continental fare. Location can't be beat!
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:56 PM   #5
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Enjoyed your report! I'm glad you were able to get on Pirates. I've never been to WDW, so I don't know what I'm missing (or not missing ), but I absolutely love that ride. I can ride it over and over and never tire of it.
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