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Old 01-25-2012, 08:42 PM   #1
tksbaskets
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Our Disneyland New Year's Park-Hopping Half-Marathon! 12/31/11-1/7/12 Complete!

The Plan
Cast of characters:
Me - TKsBaskets, DISer, DVCer, planner, lover of all things Disney - especially Disneyland at Christmas
DH - AKA Sarge
DS - 20 AKA Grumpy
DS - 20 AKA Donald

Sarge is a teacher and our sons are in college so we vacation during PRIME TIME. This year the school break for DH was pretty late so we thought we'd go the week beginning with New Year's Eve and see if the crowds were less than our usual week between Christmas and NYE. If you hang out long enough during the TR you'll find out if our hypothesis proved to be true.

Did I tell you I was a 'planner'?


Accommodations:
We had reservations using our DVC at The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian in a 1 bedroom villa. This would be our third stay at DGC but our first staying in the villas.

Tickets:
We needed 7 days worth of park hopping tickets. One of the best things about DL for our family is the ability to go from DL to DCA with ease. Annual Passes didn't work for us as we'd need the highest level. I armed our crew with 6-day park hopper passes purchased on-line (the most days you can purchase) and the research from the DIS boards that we may/should be able to upgrade the extra day for <= $20 per ticket.

Transportation:
YIKES airline prices . It was about $200 less per ticket to fly with a stop and fly into Santa Anna airport instead of non-stop from Detroit to LAX. Non-stop is about a 5 1/2 hour flight so we all said the stop was worth the savings. We'd never flown into SA but we figured anything would be better than LAX.

From my research it seemed taxi was the way to go for our family. I really don't like cattle call shuttles that wait until they are completely full to leave.

Enough of the pre-trip report. Here we go!

Last edited by tksbaskets; 02-24-2012 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:49 PM   #2
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Rise and Shine!
One advantage to delaying our trip a week was having a relaxing Christmas and a week to pack. Sarge blew revelry at 0400 and we were on our way to DTW by 0445 so we had plenty of time for our 7:20 am American flight.

We were quickly through our luggage drop and customs (one advantage of being there before the sun was up) and had a little breakfast at the Coney Island. We always like to start spending wild amounts of money for food at the very start of our vacation!

Donald and Grumpy armed with thick novels for our 7 hours of travel:


Sarge and me. Any idea my favorite college sports team? Our allegiance is to the Maize and Blue.


After an hour delay sitting parked at the gate before departing Dallas we arrived at Santa Anna/Orange County airport around noon. There is a three hour time difference from Michigan to California (3pm at home by now) and our bazillion dollar breakfast had long worn off.

Guess what else the airport is known as?


We grabbed our four checked bags and headed across the street to the taxi line. BEAUTIFUL weather. The 'manager' of the taxi line felt the four of us and our 5 bags would fit nicely in a regular sized taxi sedan.

I politely asked if we might have the van taxi that was a bit further down the queue as I didn't care to have either my luggage or my son in my lap on our journey. After a few minutes and seeing my three 6 ft + men he agreed with our spacial assessment and summoned the van taxi. We were on our way! The taxi ride from John Wayne/Santa Ana/Orange County to the GCH was $40.56 plus tip. Good deal for our approx. 20 minute ride!

We all agreed that this airport was so much better than flying into LAX (and closer) that is was worth the lay-over.

Pictures hardly do the Grand Californian Resort and Spa justice. I'll have a few later in the trip. By now my family was tired and HUNGRY. They settled into comfy seats in the lobby while I waited in the registration line to check in. The day was magical - our room was ready .

Quick - let's dash to the room to drop off our bags and snap a few pics before heading for lunch.

Next up: A room with a view!
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
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Hi there

I just lurve me a good trip report! I have just read your Halloween solo report and enjoyed it so am definitely along for the ride on this one!!! I am just finishing off our TR from Christmas 2010 as we spent a whole month in the USA ( we are from Australia! ) and will be getting a start on the PTR soon

My DD and I are off to DL for 16 days for Halloween later this year. This will complete the "set" for me as I have been non holiday and for Christmas. Can't wait to see DL for Halloween and reading everyones trip reports keeps me inspired!!!

Looking forward to more
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:16 PM   #4
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One Bedroom Standard View Villa



We thought the regular rooms were nice but check this out!

We've been in DVC since 2006. The great thing about the VGC is that the 1BR has two full baths. It's the first 1BR villa we've stayed in that did. The bedroom has a king-sized bed and the living area a queen sofa sleeper and a pull down bed under the TV. It was funny to see Donald and Grumpy swapping between the two each night!

Let's take a tour shall we? I'm standing near the sliding glass doors looking past the living room to the kitchen and a fine looking Sarge!




For scale Grumpy is 5'11"


Not the master bath. It was really nice to have two full baths this trip.


Looking through the master bath. It cracks me up that the massive tub has a 'pass through' window to the master bedroom!


In this bed you are practically in a different zip code from your partner. SO comfy!




TK's iPAD/journaling spot and one of the reasons Sarge loves DVC - his OWN TV




I step out onto the balcony and was shocked at our wonderful view. This became my favorite 'thinking' spot.


These room pictures were all taken pretty quickly as the consensus was to go to White Water Snacks for lunch!





We remembered from our previous trips that you order hot food at the register and they bring it to your table (even if you are carrying out) and the grab and go items you put on your tray before check out. Don't forget to pull out your DVC membership card or Annual Pass - you get a percentage off

Three cheese burgers and one beef nachos. YUM!




Next up: Would our ticket swap be successful? Will our family ring in the new year in the park for once? These and other questions answered in the next installment.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie Sue Oz View Post
Hi there

I just lurve me a good trip report! I have just read your Halloween solo report and enjoyed it so am definitely along for the ride on this one!!! I am just finishing off our TR from Christmas 2010 as we spent a whole month in the USA ( we are from Australia! ) and will be getting a start on the PTR soon

My DD and I are off to DL for 16 days for Halloween later this year. This will complete the "set" for me as I have been non holiday and for Christmas. Can't wait to see DL for Halloween and reading everyones trip reports keeps me inspired!!!

Looking forward to more
Happy to have you along! You'll love DL at Halloween. Such a beautiful time of the year and one of my favorite holidays. Be sure to let me know the link to your trip report when you get started.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:27 PM   #6
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I'm here TK for your TR.

You have a great schedule planned for your days at the DLR. It was also great to hear that you were able to save some money by going in a different direction on your flight.

Great photos from your room at the GCH. I just don't know how your sons slept on that pull down bed.

The food from WWS looks so good. I got to go there during my March trip.

Great start to your TR.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mvf-m11c View Post
I'm here TK for your TR.

You have a great schedule planned for your days at the DLR. It was also great to hear that you were able to save some money by going in a different direction on your flight.

Great photos from your room at the GCH. I just don't know how your sons slept on that pull down bed.

The food from WWS looks so good. I got to go there during my March trip.

Great start to your TR.
Hi Bret,
I don't know how they slept their either! No complaints from either of them though.

Glad you found my report. I will post another installment after work tonight.

TK
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:26 AM   #8
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I'm here! Wow, your room looks great! What a dream it would be to stay there. I was also wondering how your sons slept in that bed. I'm glad you liked SNA. J and I flew into SNA on our last trip and they had added on to it since the last time I flew in there -- so within the past year. Those nachos look so good.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by deejdigsdis View Post
I'm here! Wow, your room looks great! What a dream it would be to stay there. I was also wondering how your sons slept in that bed. I'm glad you liked SNA. J and I flew into SNA on our last trip and they had added on to it since the last time I flew in there -- so within the past year. Those nachos look so good.
Hi Deej, I'm glad you found my TR. The next installment has something just for you Any guesses?

The nachos were delish. I'm at work and wish I had some now.

More tonight.

TK
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #10
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WOW! You lured me in so far! Your room looks amazing...and that view?!! Holy wow! Waiting on baited breath for more!! Thanks for sharing with us! :D
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tksbaskets View Post
Hi Deej, I'm glad you found my TR. The next installment has something just for you Any guesses?



TK
A lamppost, perhaps? Or you saving a spot for me on the Front Porch?
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honeybee1983 View Post
WOW! You lured me in so far! Your room looks amazing...and that view?!! Holy wow! Waiting on baited breath for more!! Thanks for sharing with us! :D
The room was wonderful! The view and the 80 degree weather to enjoy it were great. More today!

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A lamppost, perhaps? Or you saving a spot for me on the Front Porch?
Perhaps...
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:49 PM   #13
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NYE in DCA
Our bellies full of satisfying food from WWS we headed through the lobby of the GCH to head to the main ticket booth at Disneyland.

One casual observation: I wondered with the 'Holiday Time' at DL extending into the first full week in January if the theming would be full on Christmas or not. I did notice the absence of the Victorian Carolers at the GCH.

Normally we'd take the private DCA entrance right at our hotel but we needed to tag on the lucky 7th day to our park-hopper tickets.

(... PSA..stop me if you don't know the abbreviations, I'm happy to expand...)

We need a picture! Here is DTD at 1:30 ish...


After the bag check we did have a short wait to get to the ticket window. I was helped by a new castmember who had to confer with his supervisor. Sarge and I nervously waited not wanting to jinx ourselves saying "Hey we heard it should be less than $20 each on the DIS boards". Soon the CM had me write down all of our names and he printed the super-special 7-day Park Hopper tickets complete with our names. Drum roll.....very happy....TOTAL additional price of our 4 upgraded tickets....$20. More than once during our multiple visits with ticket-taking castmembers did we get comments about 'we don't see these very often'.

I'm really liking the new front entrance to DCA.



A little back story...for those of you who read my one-day October adventure to DL you know I was solo after a conference. An entire year has passed and my guys still give me a hard time for seeing WOC when they hadn't. Obviously this egregious wrong needed to be righted ASAP on this trip. Our first stop was to pick up NYE WOC FPs. E-nough abbreviations in that sentence??



We have spent NYE at WDW or DL for the past 5 years. Each previous trip NYE came pretty late in our trip and being the extra magic fiends....OK we've never seen the fireworks or 'ball drop' at the park because by midnight we are sawing logs and preparing for the next day.

This trip the guys promised we'd ring in the new year watching the countdown and seeing the special midnight presentation of WOC at DCA. I promised we'd work in a nap. DEAL!

While Grumpy and Donald got our FPs, Sarge and I enjoyed the band playing by Grizzly River Rapids. They were really good


Sarge now wants to take up the bango after college. If it's good enough for Steve Martin....

Guess where we hotfooted?? Since our WOC FPs didn't count against an attraction FP we picked up FPs for this great ride.



Then off to wait in the 45 minute line for Toy Story Midway Mania~ It's our favorite ride and the wait was OK with us. I used a new app on my iPhone this trip - Walkee - I works because other Disneyland guests put in the wait times they experience in the application too. You can even put in if the attraction is down. We found it very helpful.



One to prove I'm here too:


I rode with Grumpy who was nice enough to say I did a good job helping him unlock the Easter Eggs although I must admit it took me a bit longer to break the plate thrown up on my side...





I want to be able to just once watch the people play who score 500,000+ points. Are they cyborgs or something?

Next up...my men humoring me...again.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:38 PM   #14
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The Little Mermaid had opened since our last trip. TLM holds a special place in my heart as when I was pregnant with our boys I spent a couple of weeks in the hospital. On the hospital TV was TLM and Uncle Buck. I can pratically quote both 21 years later.

Lucky for me there was only a 5 minute wait so the guys humored me and we got in line. The queue was moving so quickly I felt like I needed to put my camera in sports mode!

I am always amazed at Disney Imagineer's attention to detail Here is walk-way to TLM.



Thought of a certain DISer when I saw the light that looks like seaweed.


The cars remind me of the Haunted Mansion:


I put my camera flash to 'off' so here are a few 'don't do the ride justice' pics. It really was fun but for my family once was enough this trip.







Admit it....you're now singing "Kiss the Girl"!






Still on our minds was our aborted Aladdin viewing of 2009. (see my former trip report for details) We had decided that we would see Aladdin The Musical on our first day in case there were 'issues'. By now we were on track for the 6:20 pm show.

We circled by Soarin' for FPs for later. With the construction going on there really is a lot more walking. Also it seems a bit more congested when you are walking between the construction walls.



There seems to be a big "Tron Legacy" push at DCA. Luckily my sons liked both movies. This area was set up for the NYE celebration!


We had time to sneak into one of Grumpy's favorite attractions. If you haven't seen the new Muppet movie in theaters it's well worth going!


We arrived in plenty of time to be one of the first in line for our show.


The theater really is beautiful. We were able to secure seats in the orchestra section right behind the first break. We remembered that the cast members use this during the performance. We loved the show! The genie was wonderful and adds up-to-date jokes. We had references to Lady Ga Ga.



Luckily the show went without a hitch. One change from last time was that Aladdin and Jasmine don't fly on their carpet from the ceiling. Perhaps the youtube I watched with the carpet flipped upside down led to some changes?





We headed back to our room for a short rest.

Just wait until you see the great pics from our NYE celebration!!
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:14 PM   #15
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Ringing in 2012 at Disney California Adventure

At 10pm we headed back to DCA and our first ride of the trip on Soarin'. This became a tradition to have Soarin' be our last ride of the day. It was still fairly warm as we walked over to the World of Color (WOC) viewing spot. It became clear (pun intended) that the fog had rolled in and the viewing was going to be less than ideal OK, here I've talked the whole family into staying up and ringing in the new year with some spectacular fireworks and basically we couldn't see them.

We think there was a DJ out over the WOC lagoon although we really couldn't see him either. I will admit that the noise makers were not as obnoxious as in years past.



No, that isn't smoke from the brilliant fireworks display....This is fog over the WOC lagoon.


We joined in the count down to the new year and then heard some impressive booms and some white lights right after. We are assuming they were spectacular fireworks!

The special edition of WOC was pretty much a blurr too. At this point we had to laugh!

I had read so many trip reports commenting on the great corn dogs at DL. We stopped on our way back to our villa to try one. I must admit...they were delish! Crunchy on the outside but not burnt, corn part cooked, hot dog really hot. Drool..... Can you hear the fog horns??



Back to the room at 1 am (it was 4 am Michigan time).

Next up: Lace up your running shoes - it's time to park hop!
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