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Old 05-12-2009, 07:29 PM   #1
WA Kay
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Four Sisters & a Nephew ~ June 2009 ~ TR w/Pics

Because I appreciate the efforts of others that have written trip reports (they are both inspiring and informational) I have decided to take a stab at writing one myself with a small pre-trip to start. Those that have come before me have left some pretty big shoes to fill but I will endeavor do my best.

First let’s take a look at the players. In my family we have what we refer to as non-related relatives. Friends so close that they are considered family. I explain this only because I am not actually related to any of these fellow travelers and it will help you understand one very shocking fact. You may want to sit down before reading this. My “nephew” (age 9) had never heard of Disneyland until I told him about it last year. No blood relative of mine would be unaware of the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

So here is a picture of my nephew Benj on a camping trip last summer. The inspiration for this trip.


This is our little group, starting with me:
Kay (age 48, 20+ trips to Disneyland)
Sandy (age 45, 5 trips)
Kerin (age 48, 0 trips)
Randi (age 47, 0 trips)
Benj (age 9, 0 trips)

My mother grew up in Norwalk, Ca, married my dad (he was in the Navy at the time) and followed him back to his home in Washington. We drove down to see mom’s family almost every year growing up so Disneyland was a big part of my youth. I have two adult children that we took several times when they were kids and then when they got bored with Disneyland I started taken “nieces & nephews”. I understand that to many this will sound surprising but after my last trip to Disneyland in December 2002 I, like my kids, became completely bored with Disneyland. I was kind of sad at the time because it had always brought such joy. I decided to take some time off and do some cruising (which I love) for a few years. It worked. After 6 years I started missing Disney.

I am an over planner and find spending an entire year working out all the details to be ½ the fun. I am pretty good at it and can happily go with the flow if things don’t work out the way I hoped they would. A little over a year ago, about the time I found out Benj had never heard of Disneyland, I decided that it was time to plan the next trip. Within days I had set the date and called to invite Benj and my sisters.

I have created a trip planning binder, read the “Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2009” & Birnbaum's Disneyland 2008”, and spent far too many hours here on DisBoards. I made hotel reservations at HoJo’s last August and ordered all my tickets and transfers a few months ago. Now all that is left is to put together my LGMH’s, do a little shopping, and pack.

I have read many times over the last year of several Disers who were excited to see but to shy to approach other Disers with LGMH’s proudly displayed at Disneyland. Trust me when I say that if you see me I welcome an introduction and on the flip side, if I see any of you I will come and say hi.

The current plan is to spend 5 ½ days in the parks and take one day to go to SeaWorld. I am not quite as young as I used to be so I intend on slowing down my typical “commando pace” this trip. Of course I say that now but the minute I cross under the train tracks all I want to do is sprint to the nearest ride. Yes, I know that you should not run in the parks but I still think about it every time.

I have to say that I am getting pretty excited because there are several new attractions that I have never seen. Monsters Inc, Toy Story Mania, Pirates Lair, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Pixie Hollow, Finding Nemo, and TOT were all added after my last trip.

OK. Time to hit the laundry so that's all for now.

Last edited by WA Kay; 03-08-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:35 AM   #2
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Our schedule so far

Sat. ~ Arr Orange County Airport 3:30pm, check into HoJo’s, and head to DL.
Sun. ~ DL for MM / Lunch at BB (Celebrate Benj’s 9th birthday)
Mon. ~ CA / Dinner at Wine Country Trattoria (Celebrate Sandy's Birthday)
Tue. ~ SeaWorld
Wed. ~ DL / Breakfast at Carnation Cafe & late lunch at Cafe Orleans
Thu. ~ DL / Lunch at Hungry Bear (love sitting downstairs)
Fri. ~ DL & CA / Lunch at White Water Snacks (heard good things)
Sat. ~ Sleep in, pack up, and fly home.

We are having groceries (breakfast foods and bottled water) delivered to the hotel. That way we can save time by eating a quick breakfast in the room. We are having lunch together as a group in the parks and will be breaking up into smaller groups to have dinner wherever we want.

My family has always been so commando about rides that we rarely take much time to see the entertainment side of the parks. We are the ones that don’t go to the parades because the attractions lines are so short during them. This trip we are planning to do a nice mix of both. One of my sister’s has a mobility issue so we will be forced to a slower pace anyway so the different shows seemed like the way to take frequent rests.

The youngest sister is a little sneaky though. She is famous for telling us, during breaks, that she has to go to the bathroom. Then she runs off and goes on her favorite ride; Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This would make more sense if she was a kid but come on….she is in her forties. Does she honestly think I don’t know what she is doing?

Oh darn. It just hit me that with all my planning I completely forgot to call and get PS’s for several places. I was sick for three weeks, first the flu and then bronchitis, and I didn’t think about the trip once the whole time. I have never been that tired from being sick. Now I am playing catch up on my life in general. I hope I am still going to get the reservations I was planning on. Aaarg.

Last edited by WA Kay; 05-18-2009 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Lunch plans changed
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
WA Kay
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Yah. I was able to get the P.S. times that I wanted for BB, Cafe Orleans, Carnation Cafe, and Wine Country Trattoria. So happy.

Last edited by WA Kay; 05-18-2009 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:15 PM   #4
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Hi! Sounds like this will be a fun trip for you. Not long to wait now!!
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Old 05-15-2009, 03:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blabbermouth View Post
Hi! Sounds like this will be a fun trip for you. Not long to wait now!!

Thanks for stopping by. I can't believe it is a little over a month away. I started planning so long ago. There was always plenty of time and now I am scrambling to get the last minute things done.

We are all getting pretty excited and seem to be spending a great deal of time talking food and where to eat. I think it may be all these great trip reports with food pictures.
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:11 AM   #6
WA Kay
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Sandy (my closest friend of 38 years) and I live just north of Seattle and the other 3 live about 30 minutes North of Spokane. Sandy and I went out to breakfast today at our favorite “joint” and were working on scheduling for the trip. In particular, how to squeeze in all the entertainment that we want to see. I noticed that some things are not scheduled everyday even in summer so I wanted to be sure to plan accordingly. We both enjoy working out these details so it was a nice morning.

Here is Sandy. Not the best picture but I will find another later.


At one point we started talking about the other two sisters and their planning style. We agreed that they have none. Sandy and I have taken a couple of road trips over to Spokane this last year so we could all work out some details together but overall it is all done “long distance”. This has been a real challenge because they believe real planning happens a couple a days before you leave as long as I have made all the arrangements (ie. hotel, air, tickets, and transfers).

Here is a photo of Randi & Kerin.


The first/only trip they have made with us was a cruise about 18 months ago. I had every single detail and reservation made 18 months prior to the trip but somehow “time got away from them” and Randi ended up on the ship with a sports bag full of wet laundry. Now, this might have made sense if she had a busy life but she does not. Her children are grown and gone and she has no job. So you have to wonder just what could possible prevent her from drying her clothes? Did you ever just want to beat your head against a wall? Make a list of things to do and check it a couple of times. Sisters, you gotta love them. Or do you?
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:01 AM   #7
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Im enjoying your PTR. I agree with you on how some people can be just like family! You girls look like a fun group and your 'nephew' will have so much fun! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:21 AM   #8
WA Kay
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shishigirl View Post
Im enjoying your PTR. I agree with you on how some people can be just like family! You girls look like a fun group and your 'nephew' will have so much fun! Can't wait to read more!
Thank you for your kind words and reading my pre-trip. I am so excited to be taking Benj. I met him a couple of years ago and he has spent 6 weeks with me the last two summers. My kids are grown so my husband and I have had great fun doing all the "kid stuff" with Benj.

It is amazing how much us girls all drive each other nuts but then can have such fun together.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:42 PM   #9
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I have a rule.

A little back story on who is who. Sandy and Randi are actually sisters and our two families have been very close for almost 40 years. Randi met Kerin (who was pregnant with Benj at the time) right about the time that Randi got divorced and Kerin left her husband. They have been friends ever since and are living together. Benj grew up with Randi as acting Nana. Have I confused you yet?

Anyways…. back to my “rule”. I love to take vacations with children. They always bring such joy and enthusiasm with them. Sometimes we forget the stress that they too suffer in their daily lives. They need time off just like adults do. So my rule is, and this is non-negotiable, no yelling, scolding, or snapping at kids while on vacation. None.

Now before you scold me please understand that I do not condone bad behavior. If they are in a position to cause harm to themselves or others I would put a stop to it immediately and if they behave in a way that just can’t be ignored then it is back to the hotel room until they can get it under control. What I am talking about is all the little stuff that can drive you buggy but really does no harm.

In 25 years of traveling with kids of all ages (including my son with ADHD) I have never come to regret the rule and have never had to discipline any of the kids. I have been lucky.

Everyone who travels with me knows this rule and while I have not had too much resistance I was worried about this upcoming trip. Benj is an active boy who loves to talk. He never stops and I mean never. I love this about him. He wants’ to understand things and there is no end to the questions. This, however, can wear on you day after day so Randi & Kerin are not always patient with him and when you add the normal stress of travel to the mix I know that he will push their "buttons" to no end.

So, I made the decision (yes it was I and yes I am the bossy one ) that Benj would be staying in Sandy and my hotel room. I do not believe that Randi and Kerin can be counted on the follow the rule. He can, if he chooses, go stay with his mom and nana at any time but I wanted him to have a “buffer” when needed.

I mean really…. how can you not want this boy to have the best time ever.


When I informed his mother of my decision I was met with some resistance but in the end she agreed. After all, Benj would normally be staying at my house during late June and July for summer vacation anyway and, according the Benj, I am the "cool aunt". See how I twist things to get my way. I am really not that spoiled but I believe in “the rule.”
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:23 AM   #10
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One month to go and I am practically beside myself with excitement.

I am having a hard time figuring out how to get in all the entertainment into this trip. With parades, Fantasmic, Jedi Training, Billy Hill, Fireworks, etc. there are just not enough hours in the day.

I started out thinking four 1/2 days in the parks are enough but now I am starting to wonder. Of course how can I complain. I am going to Disneyland in a month. Yipee.

Last edited by WA Kay; 05-21-2009 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:01 AM   #11
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Wow. I am in a very strange place right now. I have been planning this trip for about 18 months. No detail left to chance and every day planned including planning free days. Yes it is true I am a planner.

Now I am down to less than 3 weeks and can’t seem to get myself going on wrapping things up. It is like I have lost the drive to worry about much of anything regarding the trip. Looking for motivation and inspiration I decided to purchase RideMax.

For many years we have always had our own version of a “trip planner” and have done very well with it. Taking advantage of MM, Fast Passes, and understanding when to ride what has served us well. So, I went looking to RideMax more for motivation than need. I figured that for less than $15.00 it would be no great loss if it didn’t turn out to help.

I have to say that there were a few “quirks” to getting it to do what I wanted but it has been fun playing with it. I have made a few schedules for fun, adjusted them slightly to meet my needs, and will give them a try on the trip. It did do what I hoped it would as I am starting to feel a little more pre- trip drive.

I have pulled out the luggage and started to search for warm weather clothes. UPS called today and left an auto message that I will be receiving a delivery tomorrow that requires a signature. That will be my Passport Plus tickets from Walt Disney Travel Company. I have my LGMH’s but I need to put them together and I will be cutting out some big heads for my window at HoJo’s. There are several Disers in the June list staying at HoJo’s the same time as me. It would be fun to meet some of them.

My nephew is getting pretty excited about the trip even though he still does not quite understand what Disneyland is and compares it to a seasonal carnival. He has decided that if Aunt Kay loves it then it must be great. This will also be his first flight so he is looking forward to that also. He did not get that from me. I hate flying.

During my last few trips to Disneyland I have not been very good about taking pictures as it is kind of a hassle to carry around and try to remember to use a camera. Because this is Benj’s first trip I have decided to take a nice selection of pictures to create a scrapbook for him. I will try to remember food pictures to post here for all you foodies. I know how much I like to look at food porn. It really does help give me a better idea of what the different food choices are and portion sizes.

We always eat a light breakfast in the hotel room (thanks to grocery delivery) because I hate giving up park time to eat but now I am wondering if I should schedule in a character breakfast. Benj loves going to a buffet in Spokane because he likes the ability to choose and get his own food. I am pretty sure he would likely get a kick out of the characters. I just can’t decide. Any opinions on a character breakfast for an active 9 year old boy?

Last edited by WA Kay; 10-18-2011 at 01:41 AM. Reason: Spelling.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:02 AM   #12
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Yes I am the odd neighbor...

I was chatting with my neighbors at our streets version of the water cooler (mail boxes) when I saw the UPS truck had pulled up in front of my house. “Got to go. That man has something I want” and off I ran. I am thinking I may have to explain at a later time because they probably think I am nuts and may start hiding their kids when they see me around. We are not friends’ just casual neighbors so they definitely have no clue about my Disneyland obsession.

I purchased our Park Hopper Tickets, ART passes, SeaWorld tickets, and airport transfers through Walt Disney Travel Company and they sent us luggage tags. I have a collection of these tags from many years of trips and I have to say that these are quite the upgrade. They really are cute. I will not be putting them on my suitcase as I am not sure they would survive the beating. Maybe I will hang it on my shiny new lime green Baggallini. Now the trip is starting to get real. I will try and get pictures of the tickets etc tomorrow to share.
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:39 PM   #13
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Ticket Pics

Here are a few pictures of our documents for the trip. Sorry about the picture quality. It is too dark inside and the flash causes a glare on the glossy tickets and it is way too bright out side. There is this strange ball of fire in the sky above Seattle. Not sure what it is but it may have something to do with the fact that we are all melting here.

Clockwise from the top left (roughly) are the ART tickets, 6-Day Park Hopper passes, information brochure for Gray Line, vouchers for the airport transfers and Seaworld tickets with free transfers, Downtown Disney Fun Card (discounts), and luggage tags.


Here is a close up of the Park Hoppers and ART passes. I was surprised to find that the Park Hoppers were made of hard plastic. I used to get heavy paper ones from Walt Disney Travel Co. but it has been years since my last trip.


These are the luggage tags that turned out to be very cute.


Now I need to get cracking on the packing but it is just too hot to do much here. I could use just a little ac right now.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:08 AM   #14
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Kay I am really enjoying your PTR. Getting me excited for my own planning. Keep the updates coming!
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:50 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting the pictures of your stuff from WDTC!! Those luggage tags are sooooooo cute! I am extra glad now that I booked through Disney.
I am enjoying your PTR....thanks for sharing with us!
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