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Old 12-28-2013, 12:49 PM   #3331
tksbaskets
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Breakfast at Ariel's Grotto looked good. Looking forward to the best part of your trip (although it all looks fun up till now)

TK
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:06 PM   #3332
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Bret --

I love Tony Roma's! Do they still make that onion loaf, or whatever it was called? Delicious!

That apple/treat was at DLR last month, and last year too. Maybe there were not any fresh batches of them out on display when you looked in November and that's why you didn't see it?

The Ariel's Grotto breakfast looks much better than I would expect and I would almost be tempted to eat there if not for the fact that I have no desire to do a Princess-only meal!

Thank you for posting the photos of the tree and inside decor at Tortilla Jo's! I was excited to see it because it is something I have not seen in the past. I walked past TJ's a couple of weeks ago and almost went inside to check out the tree but didn't.

I know there was at least one interesting tree inside Jazz Kitchen as well, and Catal had a tree. I began wondering if those trees had been there every year, or if Disney kind of 'nudged' the businesses in DTD to decorate more this year to make DTD more festive. I don't think I have ever seen the Catal tree before this year, so that's what got me wondering. If ESPN Zone could put up some wreaths, I can see the other businesses getting on board with decorating too. Everything seemed a lot more festive and holiday-ish in DTD this year.

Now I wonder if I might have missed a tree in Naples? Surely Naples must have one.

Anyway, my browser crashed the last time I tried to get in here and comment but I am trying to hang in here and patiently wait for the big reveal of your special activity in November (gee...wonder what it could be?)...because I wanted to make a specific comment on it, and ask a question, and I can't do that until you reveal the surprise to the other readers!

Have a fun time at DLR, Bret! I hope the crowds are not too unbearable for you.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:38 PM   #3333
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It is very nice to be back after this past weekend in SoCal and in San Francisco yesterday. I will get back to the November trip report when I talk about my trip in December. I got to go back and answer some posts that I have missed since I have left last week.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
I liked the decorations at DLH too. We visited Santa our first night there. Hopefully, there is some proof as I cannot find the PhotoPass card.

Xander likes to ride the monorail, so he made us do it in October. We have not ridden the DLRR in a long time. You're making me want to visit it soon.

Thanks. I am really looking forward to our trip.

I am excited for your trip tomorrow. Have a great time.

Way to leave us in suspense! Cannot wait to read about your surprise.

I wrote more but the system timed out and erased my message. Good night.
That was great that you were able to visit Santa at the DLH at the meet & greet. Hope you are able to find your PhotoPass card.

I love the monorail and it is my must do every time I am at the DLR. It was nice to be able to ride it last month and this past trip. You should ride the DLRR which is a fun ride to go on and it is a nice way to get from one land to another.

We had a great time and I will write up a quick one of what we have done. I still have to finish the D23 Expo and November trip so the December trip report might not happen.

You will love the surprised event that we did that day when I update my trip report.


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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Wow! I was so far behind, it took me forever to get caught up. I'm glad you're at DL now because it gave me some time to catch up on your posts.

It's too bad you DA didn't care for the Minnie's breakfast, it sounded great to me and the characters were awesome! I hope that someday we can relax and just enjoy going out to the park and not having so much going on that we hardly use our APs! I would love to stroll around like you do taking in all the sights and sounds and noticing the decorations. We are usually on such a time frame that I have to hurry here and there and don't get to enjoy the park as much as I would like!
Nice to hear that you are all caught back up on my trip report after being away in SoCal and SF these last few days. The weather in SoCal was great where I wore shorts and shirt in the morning to the afternoon then later on I wore long pants which is great in December. The crowds were insane this trip at DL where DCA was not as bad as I have thought where some rides were in the 30+.

My DA doesn’t like to do character M&G where it is a little more than she is willing to pay. She only did the character meals is that her friend and family were here with us. I have enjoyed the character meals during the November trip as well as this past weekend trip. You and Fran should spend some time at the DLR and enjoy yourself where I would do that if I lived in SoCal. I would go to the DLR at night and enjoy walking around the DLR and taking pictures of anything interesting to see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
I seem to have missed a couple of updates as well!

Loving all the Christmas decorations and trees. Great pictures.
Looking forward to the next update.
Glad that you are all caught back up on my trip report PiO.

It is so fun to look at the Christmas decorations at the DLR. I also have enjoyed going around WDW during the Holiday season but the DLR will always be my favorite resort to visit during any season.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Nice picture of Olaf!

That treat looks great. Is that M&Ms with apple? YUM!
Nice looking food from Ariel's.

Enjoy your day tomorrow.
Olaf at the Frozen M&G is a great place for him to be in FL.

The apple treat with M&M’s looks very nice.

The food at AG during breakfast time was a little better than I have expected. Eating at AG during breakfast is not cheap at $32.99 a person without the AP discount. We did save quite some money on the AP discount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tksbaskets View Post
Breakfast at Ariel's Grotto looked good. Looking forward to the best part of your trip (although it all looks fun up till now)

TK
The food at AG was good and it will be a long time for me to eat there again. You will be surprised during the November trip. The December trip was fun and it was crazy with the crowds where it has been a long time since I have been at the DLR with a lot of people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
Bret --

I love Tony Roma's! Do they still make that onion loaf, or whatever it was called? Delicious!

That apple/treat was at DLR last month, and last year too. Maybe there were not any fresh batches of them out on display when you looked in November and that's why you didn't see it?

The Ariel's Grotto breakfast looks much better than I would expect and I would almost be tempted to eat there if not for the fact that I have no desire to do a Princess-only meal!

Thank you for posting the photos of the tree and inside decor at Tortilla Jo's! I was excited to see it because it is something I have not seen in the past. I walked past TJ's a couple of weeks ago and almost went inside to check out the tree but didn't.

I know there was at least one interesting tree inside Jazz Kitchen as well, and Catal had a tree. I began wondering if those trees had been there every year, or if Disney kind of 'nudged' the businesses in DTD to decorate more this year to make DTD more festive. I don't think I have ever seen the Catal tree before this year, so that's what got me wondering. If ESPN Zone could put up some wreaths, I can see the other businesses getting on board with decorating too. Everything seemed a lot more festive and holiday-ish in DTD this year.

Now I wonder if I might have missed a tree in Naples? Surely Naples must have one.

Anyway, my browser crashed the last time I tried to get in here and comment but I am trying to hang in here and patiently wait for the big reveal of your special activity in November (gee...wonder what it could be?)...because I wanted to make a specific comment on it, and ask a question, and I can't do that until you reveal the surprise to the other readers!

Have a fun time at DLR, Bret! I hope the crowds are not too unbearable for you.
It was nice to eat at Tony Roma’s during the trip which is not too far from our hotel. Tony Roma’s did have the Onion Loaf on the menu when we ate that night. We stayed at the Desert Inn & Suites during this trip since we had more people with us and needed more beds. It has been awhile since I have stayed at a different hotel not named Best Western.

Here are some pictures from Tony Roma's on Friday night during our trip.








I believe you are right that the apple/treat wasn’t out in the displays in November during my trip and all of a sudden are there during this past weekend.

I completely agree that the food at AG was a lot better than I would have expected. It was nice that the food was good during the trip and it was worth it. If I wanted to do it again in the future, one time is enough for me.

Your welcome. It was nice that TJ had the Christmas decorations still up during our visit and it was my first time in a long time since I have at TJ.

This year, DTD has way more decorations then the previous years. Like Winter Village where the theming was way better with the merchandise shacks. It was so neat to see Christmas wreaths at the ESPN Zone on the outside where I don’t see any in the past. I don’t eat at too many different restaurants in DTD and it will be a good idea when stopping in the restaurants to see if there are any decorations.

I would say the same thing that Naples should have one as well.

I would say that you know the surprise for that afternoon and it won’t be too long until I reveal it when I start to upload the photos and write it up.

The trip was not as bad as I have thought when I read and see those pictures from years past during Christmas break. Experiencing for the first time was good and I might not want to do it again in the near future unless someone in my family or friends that want to go to the DLR and can’t go except during that time and I will have no problem with it since I have experienced it. The lines were long as expected where RSR was as high as 3 hours and we were able to do some of the activities that I had planned while some didn’t happen.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:41 AM   #3334
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Happy New Year everyone.

This is a quick update from this past weekend trip. I won’t be writing up a full trip report since I am still working on my D23 Expo trip report as well as the November trip report.

Day 1 – December 26th, 2013

It was the day after Christmas where I was heading back to the Disneyland Resort during the busiest time of the year which is after Christmas to New Years. I mostly never go during this time of the year since most of the schools are out on Christmas break and draw high crowds. But this trip is all about my aunt (not my DA that went with me last month but my dad’s sister) her friend from Texas which will be called Silv and her daughter MP. This will be Silv and MP first time in SoCal and visit the DLR which is a real treat for them. Also my cousin (my aunt son) C is also coming along with us during the trip.

Since Silv and MP are coming from Texas, we plan on picking them up in LAX since it was cheaper for them to arrive in LAX than in Sacramento. That was the best way so we can meet up with them in LA and drive to Anaheim. When we left on Sunday the 29th, we will be taking Silv and MP back with us to Sacramento and they will fly out of Sacramento back to Texas. They just went back today this afternoon and they had a great time with us for the 6 days they have been in California.

It was nice that we are all having a fun trip together and even though we are going during the busiest time of the year to visit the DLR, that wouldn’t stop us from having a great time. Not only we are going to the DLR, we also went to Universal Studios Hollywood which is my first time in years back in the mid 90’s. So it was going to be two places that we are going instead of one.

For our transportation, we rented a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan since we had 5 people in our group and our cars that we have could not carry that much stuff. It was a good thing that we rented the Caravan during the trip since we can carry more things and it was an easy vehicle to use.


My aunt, C and I left Sacramento on Thursday morning at 7am and we head on down to Southern California. We took I-5 down to SoCal instead of 99 (which I usually go down) but my aunt wanted to go on I-5 instead of 99. It took us about 6 hours to get to Los Angeles and at LAX. Luckily when we were driving down to LAX on the 405, we didn’t wait as long as I have thought since going on the 405 to LA is very awful. We waited for Silv and MP where they flown from Texas to LAX and they were excited to see all of us and have a great time in SoCal.

After picking them, we drove straight down to Anaheim and our first day in SoCal has started. We got to Anaheim around 2:30pm which was really fast for us to get to Anaheim from Sacramento to LAX and to Anaheim.

For our stay, we stayed at the Desert Inn & Suites which we got two rooms with two queen beds. This was my first time in a long time that I haven’t stayed at a hotel named Best Western. I have stayed at some other hotels around the DLR and I was amazed of how the Desert Inn & Suites was when we were staying. I will still prefer the Best Western hotels over Desert I&S but it was nice to try a different hotel during the visit.

Also when we checked-in at the hotel in the lobby, we were able to get the ECV for my aunt. We rented an ECV from Deckert Surgical and Homecare on the phone. I want to thank Marblebob and the other DISers that have recommended Deckerts as the place to rent an ECV. The ECV was great and we had no problem with it during the trip. My aunt enjoyed using the ECV so we wouldn’t have to rent an ECV at the DLR. It was also cheaper to rent the ECV at Deckerts than at the DLR which my aunt saved $50 if we rented the ECV at the DLR. We also saved time which was a key factor in getting the ECV at Deckerts where she wouldn’t have to go to the Wheelchair rental area at the Esplanade.

When we got our room at the back end of the hotel, I had to go to a computer store in town since my DB asked me to get some things where they are on sale. The store was called “Micro Center” which is a computer store in Tustin which is about 10 minutes from the DLR. The reason why he asked me to go down to Micro Center is that we are building a customized computer for our father as a Christmas present. A little late Christmas present but it was way better than the one he is using right now.

Picture of the room which I didn’t get the whole room since C didn’t want me to take pictures when he is in the room with me.


So it was a quick trip for me to pick up the stuff. It was a good opportunity for my other party members to rest after the drive and flight. C came along with me to keep me company and we drove to the store.

When we got to Micro Center, I was able to buy a motherboard and processor for the customized computer. There were other things that we needed to buy but we didn’t have the space to bring back more stuff from SoCal and I would get the rest of it back in town.

After C and I bought the stuff at Micro Center, we head back to the Desert I&S to meet up with my aunt, Silv, and MP. Then around 4pm, it was time to head on over to the DLR. My aunt was using the ECV and it was a good thing that she got it so we wouldn’t have to get an ECV at the Esplanade.


When we got over to the DLR, we head straight on over to Guest Relations so my aunt could upgrade her Deluxe AP to the Premium AP. The reason is that the DAP was blocked out during the trip and for her to get in the park, she has to upgrade to the AP. She could have got the blackout tickets, but it would have cost her more to get 3 blackout tickets so it made sense for her to upgrade. So she will have to get one more trip in order to get the full use of the Premium AP. Over at the Esplanade, the turnstiles to go into DL was not that bad around 4pm.

The weather was perfect when we got to SoCal which was around the 70s. That is very nice weather in SoCal in December which it gets cold during this month.

MP and Silv got there first picture at DL and in front of the turnstile.


My aunt, C, Silv and MP went on over to the GR and upgrade her AP and also get the E-tickets so they don’t have to slow down the turnstile when we enter the parks that night.


After my aunt got her AP upgrade to the Premium and everyone got their 3 day park hopper tickets, we head on over to DTD. It wasn’t that busy that night in DTD while we were walking on over to our first activity.


We went straight into the World of Disney store to look at the merchandise. Silv and MP were amazed at all the different variety of choices of the merchandise. They could have spent a lot of time in the WoD store but we told them that we had time to buy it later during the trip. So they agreed that they wouldn’t buy anything until when we call it for the night or close to when we left.



We head straight on over to our destination in DTD which is Tortilla Jo’s. This was my first time eating at Tortilla Jo’s in ages. The reason we chose this restaurant is that C can only eat specific foods which he has a special diet. He loves Mexican food and this was going to be a great for him. We were lucky to make the reservation at Tortilla Jo’s that night where the wait time to get in the restaurant was 30 minutes. We only had to wait about 5 minutes until we were seated at our table inside TJ.


The restaurant was well decorated during the Christmas season. It was so nice to see the restaurant during the Christmas season and it was a great opportunity to get some pictures of the restaurant since I don’t eat at TJ normally.




Our dinner from that night. I got the Shredded Beef burritos. Everyone ordered something different and we all shared each other plates.






Everyone was so satisfy with the food at TJ that night and I was glad that everyone was able to find something that they could eat. C was happy that we ate at this restaurant. I thought the food was great as well at TJ that night. I like to eat Mexican food once in a while but it will be awhile until I eat at TJ again.

After eating at TJ, it was time to head on over to the parks that night. So what better way to go in DL is by taking my favorite ride at the DLR. For the regulars on my trip report, you can tell what ride I am talking about. Yup the Disneyland Monorail is the right answer.

We head straight on over to the Downtown Disney Monorail station and ride the Monorail to Tomorrowland. We all got our tickets and AP scan and went through the turnstile to head on in the DTD Monorail station. Since my aunt was using the ECV, she went on the elevator. When we were up at the top, there was already a line to board the monorail. I can tell that this is going to be awhile to board the monorail and it was going to be even tougher since we are at the DTD station where the guests riding the monorail from TL have the option of riding it round-trip of not getting off at the DTD station. Mostly during the busy times, the CM’s will tell the guests to exit the monorail at either station to accompany all the crowds but during the trip we have seen guests staying in the monorail at the DTD to go round-trip. Since my aunt was using the ECV, we had to wait to board the monorail when the handicapped area was open on Car 4. So it did took a while for us to board the monorail that night.


We waited almost 30 minutes at the DTD Monorail station to finally board one of the monorails and head on over to Tomorrowland. The monorail that we rode at the DTD was Monorail Mark VII Blue. My aunt had some trouble backing the ECV into Car 4 of Blue that night which took a while and she was able to get in the monorail and we are off to DL. Silv and MP were getting so excited to go in DL for the first time.

When we exited Monorail Mark VII Blue when we were in TL, I can tell that most of the queues of the rides were long and it wasn’t a joke during Christmas break at DL. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage queue when we exited the TL Monorail station was already at an hour wait time. The Matterhorn was already at 90 minutes. So those rides were a no brainer to go on that night.

The first thing that we did when we were in DL was to head on over to It’s a Small World Holiday. Silv and MP were looking forward to go on IASWH which is all decorated during the holiday season. The wait time was already at an hour and since my aunt had the ECV, we be in the handicapped queue to go on it. So we head on over to Fantasyland to ride IASWH.

IASWH that night was crowded with a wait time of 60 minutes and the queue was extended to the streets. So we all head on over to the handicapped queue and about to ride IASWH with the 60 minutes. Just when we got closer to the queue, a CM told us that they aren’t allowing any handicapped people enter the queue. I was wondering why they won’t allow any handicapped guests enter the queue and told us that since “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks is about to happen and the ride closes when it is playing. We were given one of those return time ticket so we can come back later that night and ride IASWH. I was a little bummed at first but it did work out later that night and it was worth it. We watch the IASW clock show where the façade of IASWH was projected.


After seeing IASWH clock show, we head on over to our first ride that we went on that night was Storybook Land Canal Boat which had a 20 minute wait time which was not bad that night. It did took a while to walk through the queue to get on the ride. It was nice to go the ride that night. The ride is also decorated during the holiday season with little miniature Christmas decorations on the buildings.




Then we head straight on back towards IASW Plaza to ride IASWH since our return time was around 8:15pm to 9:15pm. It was a good thing that we had some time until the 9:30pm show of “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks. I wanted to have some time in order for us to get a nice spot to watch the fireworks in front of IASWH.

We went in the queue in the handicapped section of IASWH and we waited for about 10 minutes to get on IASWH. That was a short wait time for us and glad that we only had to wait for 10 minutes to get on IASWH.

A few pictures of IASWH ride.










After we rode IASWH, we waited around IASW Plaza for the 9:30pm “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks. I was looking forward to watching the fireworks in front of IASWH that night. But since we were there during the busiest time of the year, there were people already staking out a spot in front of IASWH with 40 minutes to go until it started at 9:30pm.

Just when it was about to start at 9:30pm, the PA announced that Believe might not happened that night due to high winds. I can’t believe that Believe fireworks might not play that night due to high winds. This is exactly what happened and it didn’t play that night. This was just like back in November when the fireworks was cancelled on my first day during the trip due to high winds and it happened again during this past weekend trip. We were hoping that it will be fine later on and this was the only day that was windy.

So we started to walk on out of the park but before we all head on over to Captain EO. C remembered Captain EO back in the late 80s and was surprised that it still exists today. I told me that it is a tribute when Michael Jackson died a few years ago and Disney brought it back. We all went in and watched the show as our last activity at DL that night.

While we were walking on out of the park like everyone else that night, we went straight on over to the Emporium to see the merchandise when we left. Silv and MP bought a few items at the store. They bought some Disney pins and some shirts for themselves. I didn’t buy anything that night since most of the merchandise were the same back in November. Also when we were in the store checking out, we talked to a very nice CM about our day at the park. When I showed them my AP to the CM, the CM thought that Silv and MP were AP holders as well but they told her that this was their first time at DL. Than the CM got out some first time buttons for Silv and MP. They were so happy to get the buttons that they put them on their jackets.



When we finished shopping at the Emporium, we head on out of DL and back to the Desert I&S hotel to call it for the night.

Silv and MP had a fun time for the first day at DL. They were excited to be able to ride IASWH at night with the lights on that night as well as SLCB that night. C wasn’t that excited that night at DL but he had a great time that night with everyone. My aunt was glad that Silv and MP had a great time that night and to have the ECV during the trip. I was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I have thought on a very busy Christmas break. The wait times were in the hour range as I have expected and some of the ride wait times were not as bad.


That is the first day and the 2nd day will be another big day for all of us.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:48 AM   #3335
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love the Christmas decorations. Looks like a great time with the family. Did you like Desert Inn? More importantly, would you stay there again?
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:19 AM   #3336
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Sounds like a great day for first timers. I'm so confused with your report. Do you still need to finish the Expo?
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:42 PM   #3337
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Sounds like a great day for first timers. I'm so confused with your report. Do you still need to finish the Expo?
Alison -

I have to admit to trip report confusion as well! You're not alone.



Bret --

I think that, because you go to DLR so often (and it is very often compared to the average person) and take so many photos on each trip, your Trip Reports are starting to get backlogged, and/or they're starting to overlap. I am losing track a bit as well.

I didn't realize the Expo trip still needed to be finished. I know you jumped ahead and did the Halloween Time TR at one point, and then launched the November TR (and we're still all waiting for the report on the "big surprise" from November), and now the December TR.

I hope you're not feeling pressured in some way to do a full, complete report for every trip you take, or feeling like you have to post photos from each new trip right away instead of waiting until the previous TR is finished. I think that -- as much as everyone here enjoys your reports and photos -- we probably would all be totally fine if you just did one TR at a time, or even just did a "highlight reel" of each trip, if you find that you're getting backlogged or overwhelmed with the full-length TRs.

Anyway, hopefully you don't feel like you have to get certain things posted within a certain time frame because it's really okay to take your time if you have to!

Thank you so much for posting those pictures from Tony Roma's -- now I have a sudden urge to eat there, though I haven't been there in years. The food looks delicious and I miss the Onion Loaf!

Again, thank you for posting the photos from TJ's -- because of your pictures I now want to make a point of going into TJ's and seeing the tree during the next holiday season (I started to say "next year"...but we're already in "next year" now)! I really like the ornaments on that tree, and I am kicking myself for not going in there a few weeks ago when I was actually standing right in front of TJ's and thinking about going in. I don't know why I didn't.

I could see one of the Jazz Kitchen trees from DTD, but it looked like it was tucked away far enough that it was kind of in the dining area. If I'm not eating at a restaurant I don't necessarily want to go to the dining area to get tree pictures, but if a tree is close to the entrance of the restaurant I will go in (that's what I did at Ariel's Grotto, since the tree was right next to the entrance).

It's also interesting to read that the crowds were not as bad as expected in some places on your December trip. The reports I am reading from yesterday in the parks seem to indicate that the crowds were almost manageable -- and that is almost unheard of for New Year's Eve!

So, what I am detecting about this past holiday season -- both from what I observed on my own trip and what others have reported -- is that some of the weeks that are typically less crowded were more crowded this time around, and some of the weeks/days that have usually been more crowded (like New Year's Eve) were considerably less crowded! Also, certain times during Halloween season were more crowded than they used to be.

This leads me to think that people packed into the parks during the weeks that were reported to be less crowded (in past years)...and that, in turn, led to bigger crowds during those times, and led to lighter crowds during the normally super-busy times! It's sort of a reverse/rebound effect, in a way. It's like the whole balance of crowds shifted. Interesting.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:20 PM   #3338
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Hi Bret,
It's great that you got to take another trip to DL right after Christmas. How fun to take some first-time visitors.

Looking forward to hearing all about it.

TK
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:28 PM   #3339
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love the Christmas decorations. Looks like a great time with the family. Did you like Desert Inn? More importantly, would you stay there again?
We had a great first day at the DLR last week. Thursday was way less crowded than the other days during the trip. It just shows you how busy during this time of the year at the DLR can be. I did like staying at the Desert Inn & Suites. The only problem I have with it is that there is barely any parking spots to park the car. One night when C and I drove his friend back home in Los Angles around midnight, we got back to the hotel and there wasn’t any parking available. So we had to park it in valet which we weren’t happy about it since we had to pay for parking and had to pay again. Overall it was good and it would have been nice if our room was closer to Harbor Blvd instead of being in the backside.

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Sounds like a great day for first timers. I'm so confused with your report. Do you still need to finish the Expo?
It was a great day for the first timers at the DLR. They had a blast and can’t stop talking about it since they left yesterday. I know that this was going to be a confused report. It is a quick update of what we have done then from my normal trip reports that I do all the time. Since I am way behind on the D23 Expo TR and still working on the November TR, I am writing up a quick TR for the December so I can get back to the November and D23 Expo TR’s. I am still on the second day (August 10 Day 2) during the August TR and it will take some time to get back to it.

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Alison -

I have to admit to trip report confusion as well! You're not alone.



Bret --

I think that, because you go to DLR so often (and it is very often compared to the average person) and take so many photos on each trip, your Trip Reports are starting to get backlogged, and/or they're starting to overlap. I am losing track a bit as well.

I didn't realize the Expo trip still needed to be finished. I know you jumped ahead and did the Halloween Time TR at one point, and then launched the November TR (and we're still all waiting for the report on the "big surprise" from November), and now the December TR.

I hope you're not feeling pressured in some way to do a full, complete report for every trip you take, or feeling like you have to post photos from each new trip right away instead of waiting until the previous TR is finished. I think that -- as much as everyone here enjoys your reports and photos -- we probably would all be totally fine if you just did one TR at a time, or even just did a "highlight reel" of each trip, if you find that you're getting backlogged or overwhelmed with the full-length TRs.

Anyway, hopefully you don't feel like you have to get certain things posted within a certain time frame because it's really okay to take your time if you have to!

Thank you so much for posting those pictures from Tony Roma's -- now I have a sudden urge to eat there, though I haven't been there in years. The food looks delicious and I miss the Onion Loaf!

Again, thank you for posting the photos from TJ's -- because of your pictures I now want to make a point of going into TJ's and seeing the tree during the next holiday season (I started to say "next year"...but we're already in "next year" now)! I really like the ornaments on that tree, and I am kicking myself for not going in there a few weeks ago when I was actually standing right in front of TJ's and thinking about going in. I don't know why I didn't.

I could see one of the Jazz Kitchen trees from DTD, but it looked like it was tucked away far enough that it was kind of in the dining area. If I'm not eating at a restaurant I don't necessarily want to go to the dining area to get tree pictures, but if a tree is close to the entrance of the restaurant I will go in (that's what I did at Ariel's Grotto, since the tree was right next to the entrance).

It's also interesting to read that the crowds were not as bad as expected in some places on your December trip. The reports I am reading from yesterday in the parks seem to indicate that the crowds were almost manageable -- and that is almost unheard of for New Year's Eve!

So, what I am detecting about this past holiday season -- both from what I observed on my own trip and what others have reported -- is that some of the weeks that are typically less crowded were more crowded this time around, and some of the weeks/days that have usually been more crowded (like New Year's Eve) were considerably less crowded! Also, certain times during Halloween season were more crowded than they used to be.

This leads me to think that people packed into the parks during the weeks that were reported to be less crowded (in past years)...and that, in turn, led to bigger crowds during those times, and led to lighter crowds during the normally super-busy times! It's sort of a reverse/rebound effect, in a way. It's like the whole balance of crowds shifted. Interesting.
You are correct about the TR are starting to get backlogged these last few months. This has been a confusing TR during this past weekend which I don’t normally do on one post where I write up a lot to cover the whole days. It was tough of not writing up the whole trip report for this one which is very exciting but I want to get back on the November and D23 Expo TR’s that I haven’t finished yet. I will still keep writing up the quick updates from this past weekend about what we have done. I know that this isn’t my type of TR’s that I write with all words and barely any pictures where my pictures are my storytelling. This might be the only TR that I won’t write up completely with a lot of posts where I have done in the past. It was tough of not writing up correctly and doing a quick update but with everything going on with me from work, it is tough to write up a third TR in five months.

I still need to finish the D23 Expo trip since I left to the DLR trip in September. I am working on writing up the big surprise during the November trip. I am holding off on the quick update for the December trip so I can focus on the November TR which is a big one.

I do appreciate you, TK, PiO, Alison, and the other DISers that have followed my trip reports over last few years and they have been great to write so I can tell you all about my adventures and how fun they have been. I was going to write up a highlight of the trip from this past weekend where Silv and MP had a fun time just being at the DLR going on the rides, seeing the shows, etc. This TR is the one that will be tough to write with the others still unfinished.

When I have free time when I am home or at work when I have free time, I will be able to work on the trip reports.

Your welcome Sherry. It was nice to eat at Tony Roma’s that night and I might have to eat there again during my next upcoming trip. But I might go back and eat at the ESPN Zone which you know is my favorite sit down restaurant at the DLR since I haven’t ate there during the last two trips. For the price and service, it is a good restaurant to eat off-site.

I need to think about going inside each different restaurants at DTD to see the decorations. You will enjoy going into TJ and see the Christmas tree and all the interesting decorations.

I wasn’t able to see the Christmas tree at Jazz Kitchen in DTD during the trip. Just like you, I won’t go deep into the restaurant to get a picture of the tree unless I eat in there. I was able to get a picture of the Christmas tree in AG during the November and December trip and it is nice.


I was kind of surprised on Thursday when we got to DL. I thought that we might not be able to go in DL from the DTD Monorail station at night when the park was crowded. Luckily it wasn’t at full capacity. But on Friday when we were in DCA that day, I have heard that DL had its turnstiles closed in the morning around 10am when the park was at full capacity and other times during the day. This was a very interesting trip that the crowd levels were manageable. It does seem unheard of during this time of the year.

That is what I have read and have experienced during the holiday season this year when I went in November and last month. It did seem like less crowded days in the past were great and this year it went the opposite way and got even more people. It just shows you when people look at Touring Plans website and look at the crowd levels and see that this day is the best time to visit and when they visit it turned out to be busier than expected. Back in November on my last day of the trip on the 25th, it was busy but not so busy where the crowd level was a 10 but it did seem like it was busy that morning.

What a weird year it has been with the crowds coming on the slower days and it turned out to be busier. Then on the busy days, there weren’t too many people as expected where it was manageable. This trip just shows you that families are taking into consideration of what days to visit the DLR and experience it fully without the heavy crowds. It was still crowded this past weekend but it was manageable where we can at least walk through the park instead of a crawl.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tksbaskets View Post
Hi Bret,
It's great that you got to take another trip to DL right after Christmas. How fun to take some first-time visitors.

Looking forward to hearing all about it.

TK
Hi TK,

It was nice to go back but I would prefer not to go during Christmas break which turned out to be the most crowded I have ever seen the parks. It was fun to take first-time visitors to the DLR and show them everything. 2013 has been a fun year where I have taken two different families to their first visit to the DLR and they were all excited.

Before I get back to the December TR, I still need to finish the November TR as well as the D23 Expo TR back in August. I am so far behind on those TR’s that I should not start up another one. The December TR are quick updates to tell what we have done and our highlights.
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:03 PM   #3340
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Bret --

The Ariel's Grotto tree was one of my favorites from the 2013 holiday season -- maybe AG has always had that tree every year, but this was the first time I'd seen it (when I was on my DLR trip). What I love about it is that it fully commits to the "undersea theme." The way the ornaments and sea grass are arranged on the tree, it looks like schools of fish and seahorses, etc., are swimming together amid the plant life -- just as they would do in the ocean.

The other undersea-themed tree -- the Paradise Pier Hotel tree -- on the other hand, is trying to use its blue-green color as the "ocean" and the clutter around the bottom of the tree is "the beach," but the ornaments on the tree -- seahorses, starfish and shells -- are not grouped together in a way where that it actually looks like an underwater scene.

So, while I love the color of the PPH tree much, much more, I love the cleverness and artful decoration of the AG tree!

What I dislike about the AG tree is that it is located in a spot with that giant window as a backdrop. It makes it hard to get a really, really good photo of the tree in the daytime because of all of that sunlight/daylight behind it! At night it's probably a bit easier.


(Sorry, everyone -- Tree Talk has now ended and I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming! It's just that Bret is the only other person I know who pays as much attention to the DLR trees as I do, and he can relate!)


Bret -- I started a new Christmas/Holiday Season Superthread, as the existing thread was about to hit page 250. Here is the link to the new thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3215593. Be sure to join us when you have time (no rush, though -- I know you're backlogged and busy!). TK, KCmike, Jamie, crystal1313, Gisele and Corinna are all already subscribed, and we can't have a Superthread without you too!
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Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014

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Old 01-02-2014, 05:15 PM   #3341
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Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
Bret --

The Ariel's Grotto tree was one of my favorites from the 2013 holiday season -- maybe AG has always had that tree every year, but this was the first time I'd seen it (when I was on my DLR trip). What I love about it is that it fully commits to the "undersea theme." The way the ornaments and sea grass are arranged on the tree, it looks like schools of fish and seahorses, etc., are swimming together amid the plant life -- just as they would do in the ocean.

The other undersea-themed tree -- the Paradise Pier Hotel tree -- on the other hand, is trying to use its blue-green color as the "ocean" and the clutter around the bottom of the tree is "the beach," but the ornaments on the tree -- seahorses, starfish and shells -- are not grouped together in a way where that it actually looks like an underwater scene.

So, while I love the color of the PPH tree much, much more, I love the cleverness and artful decoration of the AG tree!

What I dislike about the AG tree is that it is located in a spot with that giant window as a backdrop. It makes it hard to get a really, really good photo of the tree in the daytime because of all of that sunlight/daylight behind it! At night it's probably a bit easier.


(Sorry, everyone -- Tree Talk has now ended and I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming! It's just that Bret is the only other person I know who pays as much attention to the DLR trees as I do, and he can relate!)


Bret -- I started a new Christmas/Holiday Season Superthread, as the existing thread was about to hit page 250. Here is the link to the new thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3215593. Be sure to join us when you have time (no rush, though -- I know you're backlogged and busy!). TK, KCmike, Jamie, crystal1313, Gisele and Corinna are all already subscribed, and we can't have a Superthread without you too!
I would say that AG had the Christmas tree during the holiday season every year since we don't go too often in that restaurant. The tree is very nicely decorated with the undersea theme ornaments.

I have not see the PPH tree yet and by seeing the pictures from you and other places that it is not as interesting as the AG tree.

The location of the AG is in a very bad place where the giant window in the background is bright. At night would be great but not during the day.

Sad to hear that not too many people are looking around the DLR at the trees for the quest. Those quests have been fun during the Holiday season where each tree in different places are unique.

I have seen that you started a new Christmas Superthread which I belive is number four and the third one that you have started. I can't believe we are now into number four on the superthread and the third one you have managed. You know me that I will join in on the superthread when I have time. I also saw that you post my previous TR's in the past and I see that you have a separate part of the TR that are current so you got to link my November TR for this year Our 3rd Annual Holiday Trip to DL in November - November 22nd - 25th, 2013 Post #3222

Thank you for all the hard work on the Christmas Superthread and I will look forward to it again.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:08 PM   #3342
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Originally Posted by mvf-m11c View Post
I would say that AG had the Christmas tree during the holiday season every year since we don't go too often in that restaurant. The tree is very nicely decorated with the undersea theme ornaments.

I have not see the PPH tree yet and by seeing the pictures from you and other places that it is not as interesting as the AG tree.

The location of the AG is in a very bad place where the giant window in the background is bright. At night would be great but not during the day.

Sad to hear that not too many people are looking around the DLR at the trees for the quest. Those quests have been fun during the Holiday season where each tree in different places are unique.

I have seen that you started a new Christmas Superthread which I belive is number four and the third one that you have started. I can't believe we are now into number four on the superthread and the third one you have managed. You know me that I will join in on the superthread when I have time. I also saw that you post my previous TR's in the past and I see that you have a separate part of the TR that are current so you got to link my November TR for this year Our 3rd Annual Holiday Trip to DL in November - November 22nd - 25th, 2013 Post #3222

Thank you for all the hard work on the Christmas Superthread and I will look forward to it again.
You're very welcome, Bret -- and thank you for all of your photos and information-sharing in the assorted threads. You're a vital part of the Superthreads!

We only have to wait 7 months for the next Theme Week Countdown!

I will definitely be adding your in-progress November TR to the In Progress TR section of page 1. In fact, what I have been (quietly, behind the scenes) doing is keeping a Word document of other links to other threads, new trip reviews, new trip reports, new blogs, etc., that I want to add in to page 1 of the Superthread. I was originally going to just add in the info to the corresponding posts in the Superthread that I just closed, but I knew we were heading towards the page limit on that one and I figured I might as well just hold off on adding the new stuff until I started a new thread. So I am in the process of trying to make my way through the previous Superthread to grab any links or info that I don't want to forget, so that I can copy it into the new Superthread somewhere. It takes a while because I don't have all day to spend on doing it, but it will get done.

I guess I should really call this new Superthread #3 instead of #4, because the very first thread wasn't really an official Superthread. It was a question thread, in which someone asked about the holidays at DLR, and then a bunch of us just started posting photos and talking about the holiday season! In fact, I don't think the OP ever came back after asking the original question! That thread had no organization to it at all and was a big blur of activity, which is why I started the thread that I called Superthread #2, which was really Superthread #1. The previous thread I just closed was really #2, though I called it #3.

In any case, you know where to find us, whatever number is on the Superthread!
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Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:04 AM   #3343
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You're very welcome, Bret -- and thank you for all of your photos and information-sharing in the assorted threads. You're a vital part of the Superthreads!

We only have to wait 7 months for the next Theme Week Countdown!

I will definitely be adding your in-progress November TR to the In Progress TR section of page 1. In fact, what I have been (quietly, behind the scenes) doing is keeping a Word document of other links to other threads, new trip reviews, new trip reports, new blogs, etc., that I want to add in to page 1 of the Superthread. I was originally going to just add in the info to the corresponding posts in the Superthread that I just closed, but I knew we were heading towards the page limit on that one and I figured I might as well just hold off on adding the new stuff until I started a new thread. So I am in the process of trying to make my way through the previous Superthread to grab any links or info that I don't want to forget, so that I can copy it into the new Superthread somewhere. It takes a while because I don't have all day to spend on doing it, but it will get done.

I guess I should really call this new Superthread #3 instead of #4, because the very first thread wasn't really an official Superthread. It was a question thread, in which someone asked about the holidays at DLR, and then a bunch of us just started posting photos and talking about the holiday season! In fact, I don't think the OP ever came back after asking the original question! That thread had no organization to it at all and was a big blur of activity, which is why I started the thread that I called Superthread #2, which was really Superthread #1. The previous thread I just closed was really #2, though I called it #3.

In any case, you know where to find us, whatever number is on the Superthread!
Thank you Sherry. It is my pleasure to help as much as I can for the Superthreads and will continue.

It won't be to long until we get to the Theme Week Countdown.

Thank you for putting my current November TR in the TR progress. It is a lot of work to maintain the Superthread with all the information. You do a great job of maintaining the Superthreads over the years and this should be another fun thread to go through. I use word document when I do my TR's or posts since writing on the threads, I could lose all the writing if my browser closes. It is disappointed to writ up all the stuff on the thread and lose it when it closes.

You are right that it should be called Superthread #3 instead of #4 since the first one was a question thread where the first post didn't have the information like the last three have.

I am there and enjoying the new Christmas Superthread.


The next post will be up shortly.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:10 AM   #3344
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Day 2 – November 23rd, 2013 – Part 13

Day 2 – November 23rd, 2013 – Part 13

We were now in New Orleans Square and we are ready to have our special event at DL that day. This was a real treat for the two of us since we have never done this one thing at DL.

The special event that day that we were looking forward to the most is having lunch at Club 33. We had a reservation at Club 33 at 2:30pm for lunch that day during the trip. We were so excited to have lunch at Club 33 that day. This is one of the activities that we have never done at DL for all the years that we have gone and we have been excited till that day.

I know someone that is a member and was able to make a reservation for the two of us that day during the trip. They were so nice to be able to make a reservation at Club 33 before it’s renovation in January which is coming shortly. We were so excited to have lunch at Club 33 during our November trip. Since DGM, DM and DD2 went back to the room to rest up, it was a great opportunity for my DA and I to have lunch at Club 33.

My DA and I have never went in the Club 33 or even in Lobby to have a peak which is kind of a surprise to all of the readers. This is one of the places that I have never visited for all the years we have been going to the Disneyland Resort and it is about to be a reality. I have walked by the Club 33 door a lot when we are in NOS and I can tell that when I die one day that I will get the opportunity to go in Club 33 and have a meal. This was by far the best part of the trip for both my DA and me.

We waited outside of NOS until it was time to go to the front entrance of Club 33. When I read the reservation that it said that we should be at the front door exactly at its schedule time instead of being early or late. So my DA and I waited around NOS until it was time around 2:30pm.

Now it was around 2:30, so my DA and I were arriving for our 2:30pm lunch reservation. When we were approaching the Club 33 entrance, a family was right by the Club 33 entrance door and were playing with the Club 33 buzzer. They just kept pushing the hidden buzzer. When they walked away and thought that no one was going to answer the buzzer from the door. We approached the door and about to push the buzzer, the door opened and the CM hostess came up to us. She thought that we were the ones that were playing with the buzzer. We can tell that she was about to tell us not to push the buzzer and about to close the door. She didn’t know that it wasn’t us that was playing with the buzzer but the other family. She didn't know that my aunt and I had reservations that afternoon until I showed her the reservation sheet and she was surprised. She greet us in and we walked in the lobby. The people around us were surprised and we can tell from the look on their faces. One of them said “What about us?”. We came exactly around 2:30pm when we got in the lobby.

When my DA and I entered the lobby of Club 33, I was so amazed of seeing it in person that I took my DSLR and took pictures of it. Since it wasn’t December, there weren’t any Christmas decorations. I have heard from other DISers that the lobby was decorated during December while it wasn’t during our visit. I wasn’t too bummed about no decorations in Club 33 during our visit since it was a real treat to be in there.

The CM hostess told us that we had to take the stairs instead of the elevator since the elevator was not working. She told us that a few days ago the elevator broke down and won’t be in-use during that day. I wasn’t too bummed about the elevator not working since I like to walk up the stairs. So we walked up the stairs to the second floor.




When we were upstairs, another CM greeted us and she took us to the main dining room. We passed by the bar and the dessert table where we will get out dessert later that day.



We were seated towards the back area at a two table. Our waiter for our dining was Jeff who was a great during our meal and you will learn later on what he has done for us later that day.

We were so amazed of being inside Club 33 to have lunch and looking in the main dining room was great. There were areas at Club 33 that needs to be work on like the wooden floors and the walls. But overall, it looks so nice and everyone around us looks like they are having a great time. There were some people in the main dining room while more people came later that afternoon.




The menu at Club 33 during lunchtime.


Talks about Club 33 in the menu which is very nice to read it.






I ask Jeff if the trophy room was being used and he told us that it was being used by a large group of family that had matching shirts. When I saw them in the men’s bathroom, there were about 6 kids and 2 adults so I can tell that there was a big family that was dining that day and they were in the trophy room.

The first dish that we started off with is the Club 33 Cordial: Plateau de Fruits de Mer – Cooked and Chilled Shellfish on a bed of Ice served with Cocktail Mignonette Sauce. It had shrimp, lobster tail and crab claws. Since we don’t eat much seafood, it was nice to try something new and it was delicious. The crab claws were my favorite with the cocktail mignonette.


My DA going through the crab claws and lobster tail. We didn’t get a lot of pictures of the two of us in Club 33 since we were enjoying the atmosphere and getting pictures of the whole place.


Here is my picture inside Club 33


Then our appetizers came and we ordered the same thing which was Butternut Squash and Gala Apple Bisque – Curried Root Vegetable Compote, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Dehydrated Apple. We were so amazed of how good the bisque was that my DA said that it was one of the best bisque that she had in a long time. I was amazed how good it was and glad that we chose this as our first appetizers.


After we finished our appetizers, our entrees came. I had the Filet of Pan Roasted Chateaubriand with winter truffle potato puree, McGrath farm French beans and Cabernet sauvignon demi-glace. The chateaubriand was so good and tendered while the demi-glace made the meat even more amazing.


My DA had the Zahtar Spiced Grilled Artic Char with caramelized forest mushroom, celery root and sweet potato hash and pomegranate jus. My DA like to eat fish dishes when we are at restaurants since she can eat only certain foods. She really liked the Artic Char which was cooked really nice along with the root and sweet potato hash.


The food was so amazing that it was worth every penny during lunch. I haven’t had a great meal at the DLR in a long time and it one that we won’t forget for the rest of our lives.

After we finished our meal, I asked Jeff if it was okay if I could go outside the balcony and he said that it was okay for me to go outside. My DA stayed inside while I went outside and it was so neat to see NOS on the second level. It looks so different seeing NOS from this view. I have seen a lot of people standing on the balcony of Club 33 over the years and it was nice to see it in their eyes.


It was a little busy in NOS that day








When I got back inside, we went straight on over to the Dessert Buffet which had a selection of traditional and contemporary sweet delights. There were a lot of choices at the dessert buffet. I mostly don’t eat chocolate desserts and there were a lot of them.




I have heard that the Valrhona Hot Chocolate drink was a really good one. I didn’t get it since I don’t drink chocolate. My DA didn’t got it either since she was full from the meal.




Crème brulee


I got a crème brulee along with sugar cookies and some macaroons. My DA tried some different variety from the Dessert Buffet.

The Crème Brulee was very good and my DA enjoyed the dessert. We stayed in Club 33 for a while and time went by quickly.

That will be it for this post and I will have more from Club 33 that Saturday.
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:28 PM   #3345
Sherry E
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Oh good! You finally got to the Club 33 section of the TR so I can talk openly about it with you! (Obviously, I figured out what your surprise was way back when you first mentioned there was a surprise last year, so I have been waiting to ask you about it all of this time!)

How far in advance was your reservation made for you? I knew I was going to be going to Club 33 early last year, but I didn't say anything about it publicly until the reservation was made and plans were set, which was in October. Did you know way in advance that you were going, and just kept it quiet too? I am just wondering if we were all keeping Club 33 a secret at the same time!

You took some really great, close-up food pictures, and you captured a lot of desserts that I don't think were there when I was there! By the time I got to the dessert buffet there were too many people crowded around it and it was tough to get a really good look at everything. I had my heart set on the chocolate cake, which I had heard was good, but what I think was chocolate cake looked a little picked over, so I went for the angel food cake instead.

Was there any kind of angel food cake with white frosting at your dessert buffet? It was quite delicious, though hard to slice.

The hot chocolate had a great flavor, with a very slight cinnamon note...but it was not hot. It was lukewarm.

I, too, got the Chateaubriand and it was delicious! How good were those potatoes, right? Yummy!

I am sorry that the restaurant was not yet decorated for the holidays, even though I know it was an amazing experience for you -- one that you will never forget!

I have to admit -- I thought of you when I entered Club 33 because there were Christmas trees everywhere! Not only was there a tree right inside the front door, but trees along hallways, several mini-trees in the Trophy Room, etc. I was surprised at how many trees there were, and I was thinking, "This would be great for Tree Quest." I did not get a lot of tree photos because it was not convenient. I spent more time just soaking in the atmosphere and listening to our server (Louis) give us info than I actually did taking photos, so I was really looking forward to your photos to see if there were decorations up when you dined there!

Also, you sat in the main dining room -- which is not where I was seated -- so I never got a look at the main dining room, and am happy to see your pictures of it! Looking forward to the next installment!
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Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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