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Old 12-07-2011, 10:39 PM   #1
Sarah_Rose
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"Please stop feeding Rafiki your waffle." - A Christmas Disneyland TR!

It's my first DL trip report! Alright, let's start by introducing ourselves.

Sarah: ME! WDW veteran, runDisney addict, and definitely "the planner" of the family.

James: DH. Not so into Disney as I am, but he's getting there. In fact, I think this latest trip might have solidified the love.

Callum: The toddler. Our 16 month old son.... this kid is crazy active (he started walking at 10 months and can now climb ladders and run as fast as I can), has absolutely no patience, but is just a sweet little social snugglebug.


Here I am taunting the kid (at 5 months old) with a Mickey bar during our last WDW trip in January 2011 (aka The Trip Where I Vowed to Never Travel With a Child Under the Age of 4, EVER AGAIN).

So how did this trip happen?

Alright, so James and I have been traveling to WDW for the last four Januaries, to take part in WDW Marathon Weekend. And every year, we keep saying that we need to go do the DL half marathon to get the coveted Coast to Coast medals (for doing both a WDW and DL event in the same year). We decided that this was the year. My parents came to stay with Callum, and DH and I went down to DL for three nights to run the race. And we fell in love with Disneyland. Absolutely totally head over heels.


Here we are, stopped for a photo with our favorite brothers (ok, so I am REALLY a Fireside Girls fan) during the DL half marathon.

So, we got home from the trip on September 5th. September 13th was my birthday, and it happened to coincide with a great Alaska Airlines seat sale. So I asked, and James said yes, and I drank the Koolaid. We booked our trip for December 3-6 (Saturday to Tuesday).

Do you know what else it coincided with? So, earlier in the day I'd been discussing pregnancy with one of my girlfriends. We were both joking about being pregnant (she has a little girl the same age as my son) and after the conversation, almost as a joke, I took a pregnancy test. I was so sure that I was not pregnant, that I set the test down on the bathroom counter, walked away, and forgot about it for the rest of the day. A couple hours after booking our DL trip (and being totally elated about it!), I walked into our bathroom to get ready for bed and noticed the test. And it was (I'm sure you've guessed by now) positive. So we actually had one more "guest" on our trip - I'm due May 22nd, so I was 16 weeks pregnant on our trip. This changed our plans a little bit.

Our first change was that we decided to book the closest hotel that we could reasonably afford. We got a great rate on Expedia for the Carousel Inn, so we booked it. We stayed at the HoJo on our last trip, so it was awesome to be right next to the crosswalk to the parks.

So, here was our rough itinerary for the trip:

December 3rd:
6:45 am flight from Seattle to SNA - arrival at 9:18 am. Disneyland Express bus (we didn't want to have to lug a car seat to CA) to the Carousel Inn.
Hang out at the parks, hopefully with a nap time break, for as long as Callum reasonably could handle.

December 4:
7:00 Magic Morning at DL (Callum is an early riser, so we figured this wouldn't be a problem)
9:00 Reservation for character breakfast at the Plaza Inn
1:00 - Nap time!!!
Evening in DCA and ElecTRONica

December 5:
9:00 DL for the morning
1:00 Nap time!!!
Evening in DL to appreciate Christmas decorations without the craziness of the Candlelight Processional. We would have loved to have stuck around to see (hear?) this, but Callum would not have had the patience for this.

December 6:
Pack and DTD in the morning
10:40 on the Disneyland Express back to SNA
1:35 flight back to Seattle

So, how well did these plans work? Day 1 is coming up!
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Fort Wilderness May 2014, Inaugural DOPEY CHALLENGE 2014, AoA February 2013, DLR (Christmas trip!) December 2011, DLR (DL Half Marathon) September 2011, AKL Kidani (WDW Half Marathon) 2011, CSR and the GOOFY 2010, WL and the WDW Half Marathon 2009 (2:29), Disneyland Resort Paris 2007, Off-Site 2006, ASMu 2002, Dixie Landings 2000
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Day 1 (Part 1)

So, Day 1 started with the alarm clock going off at 3:00 am. What was I thinking when I decided that a 6:45 flight was a good idea? So, I somehow thought it would take an hour to get ready to leave, but we were dressed and ready to go by 3:20 and sitting there looking at each other like, why are we up? So, I wasted some time on the DIS with a cup of coffee until it was time to pack up the car. Our absolute last step (like, after putting on shoes and starting the car) was to wake up Callum, change his diaper, and haul his poor stunned little bottom into his car seat. The poor kid had no idea what was going on.

We actually live pretty close to the off-airport parking place that we use, so it was a quick drive there, and then we were on our way to SeaTac. We were checked in and through security by 5:00, so we wandered over to the central food court to grab some breakfast. After a kind of gross breakfast of Wendy's (I didn't even realize Wendy's did breakfast... it wasn't very good), we decided to head over to the kids play area to let Callum run off a bit of steam.


Callum thought the pretend airplane was pretty awesome. Why yes, he is wearing his Buzz Lightyear pjs.

The awkward part of this whole experience was that there was a young Asian couple sleeping on the benches in the kids play area. We felt kind of bad bringing our LOUD toddler in to play, but really, it's the kids play area. You should expect kids. After about 15 minutes, another family showed up to play, so we felt a bit less awkward.... but the sleeping couple didn't move the entire time we were there.

At 6:00, we packed up our things, did a last diaper change, and started off towards our gate. We got there just as they were calling for pre-boarding, so we boarded the plane and waited to take off. This was our first mistake. Preboarding is great in that it gives you more time to fold up your stroller and get yourself situated.... but it means extra time sitting in your seat not doing anything. Torture for an active toddler.

Anyway, the flight was pretty uneventful. Mercifully, Callum slept for about 45 minutes of the 2 hour flight, and snacked for the rest of the time.

We arrived at SNA early, collected our luggage, and checked our watches. It was 9:25. We had 35 more minutes trying to entertain a toddler with limited resources before our Disneyland Express bus would arrive. And it left late, because one family forgot one of their bags on the luggage carousel. And then we were the last stop that the bus made. It was 11:15 by the time we arrived at the Carousel Inn and everyone's nerves were pretty shot. Callum was a crying whining mess from having to be contained for so many hours, and I was cursing James for being too cheap to just pay for a rental car. So that's our next "never again" realization for this trip. Next time, we're just going to rent the darn car and haul the darn car seat, and get to the hotel in 20 minutes instead of 2 hours.

We checked in at the Carousel Inn and were told that our room would be ready some time after 4:00. *sigh* We knew this could happen, but have always had pretty good luck at getting our room early. Oh well, nothing to be done. We stowed our luggage with the front desk and headed off to the parks.

Coming up in Part 2 - Our vacation actually starts! No more mundane travel details!
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Fort Wilderness May 2014, Inaugural DOPEY CHALLENGE 2014, AoA February 2013, DLR (Christmas trip!) December 2011, DLR (DL Half Marathon) September 2011, AKL Kidani (WDW Half Marathon) 2011, CSR and the GOOFY 2010, WL and the WDW Half Marathon 2009 (2:29), Disneyland Resort Paris 2007, Off-Site 2006, ASMu 2002, Dixie Landings 2000
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:37 PM   #3
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Great TR so far, can't wait to read more
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrystalS View Post
Great TR so far, can't wait to read more
Awesome! Thanks for reading!
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Fort Wilderness May 2014, Inaugural DOPEY CHALLENGE 2014, AoA February 2013, DLR (Christmas trip!) December 2011, DLR (DL Half Marathon) September 2011, AKL Kidani (WDW Half Marathon) 2011, CSR and the GOOFY 2010, WL and the WDW Half Marathon 2009 (2:29), Disneyland Resort Paris 2007, Off-Site 2006, ASMu 2002, Dixie Landings 2000
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:55 PM   #5
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Day 1 (Part 2)!

So, I realize that I was totally a downer in the last part, but it was like nothing was going right as far as transportation and traveling! Anyway, the negativity ends now!

So, we started heading towards the park entrance. I had pre-purchased our park tickets, but I needed to pick them up at a ticket window. There were no lines at 11:30, so that was a quick job, and then we were on our way to the DL entrance! During the LONG bus ride from the airport, James and I had discussed where we were going for lunch, and the verdict was Redd Rockett's Pizza Port - so, to Tomorrowland we went. As we started walking down Main Street, I was still grumpy and annoyed about having just spent 2 hours in a bus with a screaming toddler, when James told me to just stop and look around. Suddenly, I realized that I was in freaking DISNEYLAND and everything was ok.

We got to the Pizza Port and chose our lunches. James picked a chicken pasta dish, and I grabbed the Pizza Salad that I'd been craving for weeks. For some reason, my number one pregnancy craving has been salami (yes, I know that lunch meat is a "risky item" while pregnant, so I've been curbing the craving as best as I can.... but I figure the chance of getting food poisoning from lunch meat is pretty small) and I had been dreaming about the Pizza Salad for months! We grabbed an order of breadsticks with marinara sauce, a large drink to share, and a milk for Callum, and found a table to eat.

I sacrificed all of my tomatoes to my son (he LOVES raw veggies!) and, to James' horror, the kid wanted to eat all of my olives as well! I love olives, but James HATES them, so he was kind of disgusted by how into the olives Callum was.

Oh, and I will admit right here that I am a DIS-er failure in that I did not take a single picture of our food during our entire trip. It just isn't my thing. So you'll have to use your imagination on that one.

James thought the pasta was just ok, but I was really into my salad. The breadsticks, sadly, were pretty old and had gotten quite hard on the outside. Callum gnawed on one unenthusiastically for a few minutes and then gave up.

With everyone fed and happy, we decided to head over to Fantasyland to check out the wait times. And seeing how long most of the waits were (Saturday afternoon, remember), we decided to head to Toontown. Toontown was definitely one of Callum's favorite parts of the parks - he likes how many areas there were for him to run around and explore.


Callum LOVED this car!


I took some pictures of the Christmas decorations while Callum played at Goofy's house.

The line for Mickey was only 10 minutes, so we decided to go through his house.... of course, it took us easily 45 minutes to get through the whole thing, with a curious toddler stopping to examine every single detail of the house!


Look, mama! It's a silly dog door!

The funniest part was Mickey's phone, which kept ringing and causing Callum to jump back about 3 feet and stare at it in shock. Of course, an older kid would come over to "talk" on the phone and hang up, only to repeat the whole sequence again a few seconds later. It happened about 6 times before we finally ushered Callum on to the next adventure.



We got our picture taken with Mickey, and then were back out in Toontown. At this point, Callum was starting to get wobbly and cranky, so we decided to see if he'd nap in his stroller. We started out walking out towards Fantastyland, and then over towards Frontierland. By the time we hit New Orleans Square, the kid was solidly asleep and we celebrated. Callum has never napped in his stroller EVER, so this was a big thing for us. So how did we celebrate?

We made our way over to the Tiki Room, of course. James got a Dole Whip and I got a Float, and we stood in the park hub for awhile, enjoying our treats and just people watching. By this time, it was getting quite busy on Main Street, with people lined up to watch the Candlelight Processional. We knew that we wanted to be elsewhere when the crowds really began, so we decided to make our run for it now.

We exited DL and walked across to DCA. By the time we had finished the long winding construction entrance, Callum had woken up in his stroller. I grabbed a times guide and we decided to head over to the Disney Junior show that was starting in a few minutes. I use Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as a babysitter while I get ready in the morning every once in awhile, so I thought Callum would be really into it. Unfortunately, he was still tired and cranky and wanted nothing to do with sitting on the floor in that theatre. We made our quick escape just as the show was starting.

We were right in front of the Monsters Inc ride, and it was on our "must do" list for the weekend. We completely missed it on our last trip, and we both really love Monsters Inc. The line was non-existent, so we decided to take our chance with Callum's first ride of the trip. Oh my! That kid's eyes were SO WIDE the entire time.... I don't think he knew what was going on at all! James and I both really enjoyed the ride - it's really cute! The "door room" is particularly cool and well done!

Since the first ride wasn't a complete disaster, we decided to head over to A A Bug's Land to ride some of the "kiddie rides". Callum giggled the whole way through Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, and the Spanish recordings with the German accent kept throwing James and I into fits of laughter. We also rode Flik's Flyers (in the applesauce box!) but it wasn't quite as big of a hit. Also, the spinning motion did not work so well on my pregnant stomach and I was a bit queasy the whole ride. So, no teacups for me!

We were all starting to get hungry, and it was starting to get dark and chilly, so we decided to go over to Pacific Wharf for soup in a bread bowl. On the way, James got distracted by the Lucky Fortune Cookery and decided he wanted Asian instead. We also noticed that there was edamame on the menu and that is totally Callum's favorite food of all time! Yay! Undeterred, I continued on to the Bakery to get my bread bowl. While I was in line, James came in and told me that the Lucky Fortune Cookery was closing - REALLY? It was only 5:00 and the park was open until 10:00. Weird. Anyway, the CMs working there couldn't believe it when he told them that edamame was Callum's favorite food - they thought it was hilarious. Yup, my kid eats his vegetables.... and not much else. So, James decided on the Asian Chicken Salad and I got the Corn Chowder in a bread bowl. I also ordered the Kids Power Pack ($5.99) for Callum.

I didn't realize that James' salad came in a giant bread bowl, too! It's a bit weird, right? Because you finish the salad part and then you're left with a massive dry bread bowl to eat. I mean, at least the soup soaks into the bread and makes it all yummy and soft, but I was a bit mystified by the salad in the bread bowl. My corn chowder was DELICIOUS - totally awesome. The Kids Power Pack came with string cheese, yogurt, Goldfish crackers, apple slices, and a milk. It seems a bit pricey for what you get, but it was perfect snack food for a toddler. He ate everything except for the crackers and the milk (he still had milk left from earlier), which I took back to the room for the next day.

At this point, it was 6:00 and everyone was starting to get a bit cranky. We decided to call it a day and head to the hotel. After getting our room keys and retrieving our luggage, we took the elevator up to the 5th floor and walked halfway down the hall to our room. And our key didn't work. So, I stood there for what seemed like forever, with Callum who was now screaming again, while James went to get a maintenance guy to open our door for us. He determined that the battery on the door lock was dead, so he plugged a laptop into the lock and did some magic to make the door unlock. He said it would take about 10 minutes to replace the batteries, so we told him that we would let them know when we left the next day so that they could replace the batteries while we were out of the room.

Finally! We had our hotel room. The room was small, but it had a fridge and microwave, which was nice for storing and heating up toddler meals. We had packed our Kidco Peapod baby tent for Callum to sleep in, so we had to do some furniture rearranging to get it to fit. And in the end, we ended up putting it in the dressing area next to the bathroom, because the area had sliding doors that we could close to give Callum a bit of dark and quiet to sleep while we stayed up a bit later. We weren't sure how Callum would sleep in the tent - we'd only used it once, a few months ago. But in the end, he was so tired that he was passed out solidly by 6:45.

I spent some time getting our stuff ready for the parks the next day (I had been carrying all my travel stuff around with us to the parks all day) and "blinging" Callum's stroller with some battery operated LED Christmas lights that I had brought.

We were all in bed and asleep by 9:30.
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Fort Wilderness May 2014, Inaugural DOPEY CHALLENGE 2014, AoA February 2013, DLR (Christmas trip!) December 2011, DLR (DL Half Marathon) September 2011, AKL Kidani (WDW Half Marathon) 2011, CSR and the GOOFY 2010, WL and the WDW Half Marathon 2009 (2:29), Disneyland Resort Paris 2007, Off-Site 2006, ASMu 2002, Dixie Landings 2000
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:09 PM   #6
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Great trip report Sarah!!!
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:18 PM   #7
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Well, our plan was to get to the 7:00 Magic Morning.... but Callum decided to "sleep in" until 6:40, so we didn't quite make it.

We got showered, dressed, and then wandered down the hall to the Carousel Inn continental breakfast. The breakfast room was on the 5th floor, right down the hall from us, so it was very convienient. Unfortunately, we had to bring all our park stuff with us (because the batteries to our door lock were still dead so we wouldn't be able to get back into our room) so it was a tight fit cramming our monster stroller into the tiny breakfast room. The Carousel Inn breakfast is nothing to write home about, but they had bagels and cream cheese, so I was set. One of my pregnancy quirks is that I need a decent dose of protein in the morning with my breakfast, or else I feel sick. If I slathered two packets of cream cheese on my bagel, it was enough fat/protein to keep me going for the first couple hours of the morning. Callum was excited enough about UNLIMITED JUICE (he rarely gets juice at home but we let him drink as much as he wanted to keep him hydrated while on vacation), so we were all happy.

We got to the park entrance by 7:40 and were walking down Main Street just as they started letting people in to walk up to the end of Main Street to hold them for rope drop. It meant we got this photo of the castle with only a few people in it, just before the crowds descended.



We walked through the castle and went straight for Dumbo. There were only a few people in line for it, so we quickly entered. Now, the crazy thing is, I had NEVER rode Dumbo before, either in WDW or DL! I was 11 when we went on our first WDW trip so I already thought I was "too old" for Dumbo, and I'd never felt the need to ride it, since. We all thought it was pretty awesome.



The next goal of the day was IASW Holiday. I love IASW and was excited to see the holiday version! They were letting empty boats through when we got there, so we got a whole boat to ourselves! This ride was definitely one of the high points of the trip. Callum was just so enthralled by the whole experience. We was grinning and pointing and dancing the whole way through. I love the holiday touches - they're so cute! I particularly like the rendition of "Jingle Shells" as you pass Ariel and her friends!





I got some fun pictures of Callum with my 50mm f/1.8 lens during this ride, but unfortunately 50mm was just a bit too close up to really capture his reaction. Oh well. I only bought this lens a few days before our trip, so I was really testing it out in the field. It meant that I didn't always get the best photos I might have been able to, but I definitely had more range in dim light than I would have with just the kit lens that came with my camera.

Alright, it was time for one of the reasons that we booked the trip! The Nightmare Before Christmas version of the Haunted Mansion! We're big Nightmare fans and we REALLY wanted to see the overlay. We just hoped that it wouldn't freak the heck out of poor Callum. By the time we made it over to the HM, it was 8:30. We had a 9:00 reservation at the Plaza Inn, so we had to decide whether we could make it in and out with enough time. Oh, what the heck…. The time estimate was only 5 minutes, but we walked right into the holding room before the stretch room, just as the doors to the stretch room were opening.

OMG! This ride is so spectacular! We were just grinning from ear to ear, from the time that the lights went out in the stretch room, to Madame Leota's creepy "hurry back…" as you exit the ride! The graveyard scene is particularly good, but I also love the ballroom scene with the monstrous gingerbread house. Absolutely awesome. This ride was worth the trip, alone. Love. Callum was mostly just confused the whole way through. He had no idea what was going on.

We exited the ride at 8:50 and cheerfully bolted towards the hub to get to the Plaza Inn for our reservation. When we got there, they said that they only had outside seating, so we said we'd wait for a table to open up outside. Callum had slightly blue-ish lips from our morning in the park (even though it wasn't that cold and he was dressed warmly *shrugs*) so we figured being indoors was the better choice. We only waited for about 5 minutes and then they were taking our picture and leading us to our table.

The first step was to get Callum some fruit. That kid could eat an entire watermelon by himself, so he was in heaven with the limitless melon and strawberries. I grabbed eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and a Mickey waffle. James grabbed the same thing. I was tempted by the biscuits and gravy because I've never tried it and have read so many DIS-ers raving about it, but I just couldn't imagine taking any more food!

This character meal is definitely the best that we've ever done - we haven't tried any other DL character meals, but we've done a few WDW ones (Chef Mickeys, Ohana, and Crystal Palace) and the character interaction definitely blew the WDW ones away! For characters, we had Minnie (in her Christmas outfit!), Tigger, Eeyore, Chip, Rafiki, one of Cinderella's mice, and Goofy's nephew.







Callum started out a little unsure, but quickly warmed up to the characters. I briefly offended Chip by calling him Dale - I seriously have mis-identified my Chipmunks all of my life! - but he came back so I could apologize and we became pretty good friends. The funniest moment was when Rafiki held out his hand for Callum to give him a high five…. and Callum looked confused for a moment before cheerfully depositing the Mickey waffle ear he was holding in Rafiki's palm. Rafiki rubbed his stomach a little, but looked a little lost as to what to do with his waffle…. but Callum solved the dilemma for him by reaching out, taking back the ear, and popping it in his mouth! Having shown Rafiki what we do with waffles, he grabbed another sticky piece of waffle to give to Rafiki. The baboon quickly beat a hasty retreat as we were explaining to Callum that baboons don't eat waffles!

During breakfast, Callum also made friends with a couple CMs who were collecting empty plates and trays. One of the CMs realized near the end of our meal that Callum hadn't received a balloon when we entered the restaurant, so she rushed off to get him a green one. That balloon quickly became the highlight of the toddler's day.



Anyway, the Plaza Inn character breakfast was definitely the highlight of our whole trip and we will definitely do it again!

After breakfast, we decided to go visit the reindeer! We let Callum out of the stroller to explore the area, and so we spent a lot of time following him around as he pointed at hay bales.



While we were in the Reindeer Roundup, I went off to use the restroom, and when I came back, James informed me that I had missed Pluto! Apparently Pluto had gone walking through and briefly visited with Callum on his way to his character station. Pluto is my favourite character, so we decided to go find him to get some photos.



Next, we headed off to ride Pirates. Pirates is another one of our favourites, so we wanted to get there before the line got too long. The line was less than 10 minutes, so we got into the queue. Well, I apologize to anyone who was on that boat with us during that ride! Poor Callum was TERRIFIED of the first half of the ride; we thought he would be fine because he handled the Haunted Mansion so easily, but he was really freaked out by the dark creepy caverns. He quieted down once we got to the "town" scenes with the singing pirates, but he was inconsolable for the first half of the ride. Whoops!


The one picture I got before the freakout began.

Well, after torturing the poor kid, it was definitely time for Tom Sawyer's Island… .ooops, Pirates Lair. So, in direct opposition to our experience at Pirates, Callum LOVED all the caves on the island, and we spent over an hour chasing him all over the island. The kid is only 16 months old, but he can seriously RUN and CLIMB and he had a great time climbing through the caves and running across all the bridges.





We finally got to the point, around 12:30, when he started to get wobbly, so we decided to head out of the park for nap time. On our way out, though, we stopped at the silhouette shop to get Callum's silhouette done. Awesome souvenir! The artist really captured his silly curly hair - this is definitely a souvenir we will keep forever. We also stopped and got a holiday cupcake to eat during the afternoon at the hotel.

We got back to the hotel around 1:00 and Callum was definitely ready for his nap. He was out in his tent almost as soon as we put him down! Yay! And James and I might have took a nap as well. I'm pregnant; I don't know what his excuse is!

Coming up: the rest of the day at DCA!
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Fort Wilderness May 2014, Inaugural DOPEY CHALLENGE 2014, AoA February 2013, DLR (Christmas trip!) December 2011, DLR (DL Half Marathon) September 2011, AKL Kidani (WDW Half Marathon) 2011, CSR and the GOOFY 2010, WL and the WDW Half Marathon 2009 (2:29), Disneyland Resort Paris 2007, Off-Site 2006, ASMu 2002, Dixie Landings 2000
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:04 PM   #8
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Love it so far Sarah!! I thought I was too cool for Dumbo. I did go last time since I was with my mom's friend, her girls, her sister in law and her daughter. The girls are 8th grade, 6th grade and 4th grade. I enjoyed going on Dumbo again since I got to choose my Dumbo.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:07 PM   #9
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Just starting this report. Planning on going with my family the same time next year. How were the crowds???
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:53 PM   #10
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Great TR--where's the rest?
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Walt's Park:Two trips as a kid, stayed off-site. Oct '07, 4 days @ DLH, dh, dd & I. May '08, 5 days "girls only trip" @ GCH dm, dd & I. May '09, 6 days @ DLH, dh, dd & I. October '10, 5 day trip, dd and I @ PPH. And 6 days at PPH--December 5-10, 2012 for all 3 of us!

OMG--dare I say it? We went to the World!! Split Stay! CSR May 6-10 and AKL Savannah View May 10-13, 2014 (with a dash of the Darkside thrown in for good measure the 13th & 14th.)
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