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Old 10-26-2011, 08:56 PM   #1
Elk Grove Chris
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Oct 21-23 Father Son Trip

Friday,October 21

For the last couple of years I have had a reoccurring conference down south, this year it was at the San Diego Safari Park. Day and a half at the conference and then, yes, I'll have me some Disneyland for a few days.

Thought this was going to be a solo trip for a while until my Son decided he was ok coming down on the plane alone. He is 10, but extremely mature for his age so I knew he could handle it. They gave a special boarding pass to my Wife who was able to walk him all the way to the gate for a handoff to a flight attendant.They gave me something similar when I picked him up Friday morning.

I left Escondido around 6:15 and arrived at John Wayne airport around 7:20, traffic not too bad. Plenty of fog though. Cloudy skies until right about noon. Smooth flight according to my Son, and on time to boot. I let him know that this weekend was all about him, he would get to decide just about everything we did, suffice it to say he didn't stop grinning until around 3:00.

We headed to the Anaheim Plaza Inn & Suites, first time staying there. I would have probably booked Park Vue Inn if I had known for sure he was coming. Asked at the front desk if there was any way of checking in early, real early, no dice. Fortunately they gave me a parking pass and we were able to leave the rental car there. The walk was really only a block to the main crosswalk, less than 10 minutes from the lobby to the Esplanade.

Arrived at DL almost exactly at nine. Not too many people at security in front of us,plenty still pouring into the Parks though. We walked with a purpose to Star Tours to get FP'S's, return time was 11:30. We headed over to the Matterhorn,wait was about 20 minutes (Fantasyland side not open).







We then headed over to BTMRR, taking a swift look at the pumpkins at Big Thunder Ranch, we would come back later when there were more people in the park, which wouldn't take long.




We grabbed a set of FP'S for BTMRR at 9:30 before we got in the standby line. Return time was 10:10, wait in standby was about 10 minutes. The disconnected FP'S forBTMRR was awesome, we utilized it fairly well over the next couple of days.





Headed over to the Mint Julep Bar to share some beignets. So messy, but pretty tasty.Next stop was IJA, wait was about 20 minutes.

Looks like this one got licked already.





We were about due for another FP'S, so we made our way to Star Traders. After looking around for 10 minutes we got a FP'S for Ghost Galaxy at 10, return time was 12:15. First time for my Son to ride GG.

He wanted to head back over to BTMRR, so off we went. You will soon see a pattern forming. Crowds were really noticeable already at 10:30. We stopped for about 15-20 minutes to check out the pumpkin carvers and their impressive art.











We then proceeded to grab another FP'S for BTMRR, return time about an hour. We used our first FP'S, about 10 minutes to get through. Still fairly overcast at 11:30, but warming up.

After BTMRR we milled about Frontierland for a while and Billy Hill and the Hillbillies were playing in front of the Pioneer Mercantile. Farley joined up with them for a few tunes.





We grabbed a corn dog and some chicken at the Stage Door Cafe and went into the Golden Horseshoe. We found a table upstairs and stayed for the first show of the day, standing room only.

Show was great as usual.








We then headed over to get a FP'S for HM around 12:30, return time of an hour. FP'S's we would give away later.

Headed back over to BTMRR for FP'S's again, return time of an hour. Used our second set of FP'S's, about 10 minute wait (we waited for the last cart almost everytime). We then crossed all the way over again to Tomorrowland to use our FP'S's for ST, about a 10 minute wait. Summer like crowds in the park, actually felt busier than when we were here in August.

We then headed over the use our FP'S's for GG. My Son thought the overlay was a little weird, but he likes the ride when it is Space Mountain. We got a FP's for GG, return time of 4:55 at 1:40

Standby line at 60 minutes.

We walked over to Buzz and got on after a 10 minute wait. Decided to take a break and then check in to our hotel. Took the Monorail to DTD and spent about 20 minutes in the Lego store. Not a whole lot of people in DTD, they were all inDL!

Check in at hotel was a breeze, older hotel, showing its age, but room was nice and clean. We both actually took a nap for about 45 minutes, something either of us rarely do. Headed back to DL around 4:15, my Son had his costume in his backpack. He didn't want to wear it until it was dark (he was a glowing alien). Extremely easy to get our wristbands and candy bags when we went in. They had alot of CM's taking care of things.

Walked around a bit then used our FP'S for GG. We had a reservation at Cafe Orleans at 6:00 so we decided to go use our FP'S for HM. FP'S line was almost to Pirates,really? Since we knew we could hit it later during the party or over the next few days we decided not to wait and my Son gave the FP'S's to two young ladies.They were extremely grateful.

Sat down for a few minutes and soaked in all of the humanity, the park was packed before the party started. We had a nice leisurely dinner, sharing a Monte Cristo and Pommes Frites, so good. No room for dessert. Couldn't help but staring at one of the special desserts at the table next to us, the "Jack" cake looked pretty good.





Headed over to the bathroom near the NOS Train Station so my Son could put on his costume.



My Son decided that he wanted to ride Winnie the Pooh, he had never been on it before. It was a walk on at 6:50.





Decided to stay put and hit the three candy stations nearby. CM's being a bit stingy with the candy, maybe 2-3 pieces at each station. I got carrots, should have worn a costume, doh. Hit some candy stations at ROA on our way to BTMRR. Wait was only 5 minutes. Rode again, maybe 8 minute wait second time. Rode again, maybe 5 minute wait again. My Son has never been into the characters so we were doing rides and a few candy stations, his call.





We then headed over towards Big Thunder Ranch, went through the candy stations,maybe 3 of them. Went through the Village Haus, pretty tight inside for those candy stations. We then hit the Matterhorn twice, about a ten minute wait each time.

Sat down on a bench around 8 for a spot to watch the parade, on the east side of the Hub. Not terribly crowded there yet at 8. Watched parade, wish they did more. Honorary parade guests were all dressed as Minions, pretty cool.Big group of Smurfs too, overall costumes were pretty standard. I don't have room to really talk as I went as a Hawaiian dude, minus the grass skirt and coconut shells.















Stayed put for an hour so we would have a good view of the fireworks. Thought I had enough defensible space to use my tripod. Nice family on both sides of us, one had a huge stroller that I pushed my tripod all the way against. One side defended. Or so I thought. I know, there is no such thing as personable space in DL.

I knew it would get crowded around us and it did. What I didn't realize as I was snapping off photos during the fireworks was that the baby inside the bigstroller was rocking back and forth just enough to blur most of my shots. Still a great show though, so no big deal. A few shots were salvageable.














At this point my Son had been up for 17 straight hours and it was starting to show. As much as I want to give him a pep rally for some more rides as half of the crowd left for the night, I stopped myself. He was spent.

CM's had several carts of candy on the way out. They were much more generous than the other CM's at the regular stations. We were able to almost fill his entire backpack by going to three carts.

First CM took his bag and completely filled it up, sweet, literally. Had enough candy to spread the Disneyland joy to my whole neighborhood come Halloween time.

17.6 pounds, I bet 16 of that came from the last three stations. Twas a good day.Hard to tell, but that water bottle would have been covered about 3/4 of theway up in the middle of that pile.


Last edited by Elk Grove Chris; 10-26-2011 at 08:59 PM. Reason: spacing
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:29 PM   #2
canadadisney
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Your fireworks pictures are stunning!
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:23 AM   #3
skiingfast
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Sounds like a great day. Great timing to be back in critter country when the party started.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadadisney View Post
Your fireworks pictures are stunning!
Thanks Canadadisney
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Sounds like a great day. Great timing to be back in critter country when the party started.
Thanks Skiingfast
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:31 PM   #6
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Day Two, Saturday October 22

Plenty of sun this morning.

Got through security around 7:40, gates opened at 7:55. Only a couple of hundred people in front of us at the rope. We made our way to Tomorrowland and for a FP'S for ST, return time of 8:50. Then we went all the way across the park to NOS.








HM was pretty much a walk on, maybe 5 minutes snaking though the line. Gingerbread house was pretty cool. Scooted over to BTMRR, grabbed a FP'S, then made our way through the standby line, about 5 minutes. Crossed all the way back and got a second FP'S for ST around 9:15.



Hopped on to the Double Decker bus, looking to score a table at Carnation Cafe. Not so much, 45 minute wait. Started snapping shots from the higher vantage point and then CF card error. Huh? No moving parts, these things should be bullet proof. Oh well, popped another one into the camera hoping I hadn't lost the shots on the card, no such luck.







Second choice for breakfast was the River Belle Terrace, about a 15 minute wait to get to the goods. My Son had the Mark Twain, it was ok, I had the fruit platter, decent. Coffee, meh.

Hmmm what should we do next? Another FP'S for BTMRR, sure why not. Hopped on the train at NOS, went for the Grand Tour. Did a little window shopping, looking for something for my Wife and Daughter in the Pieces of Eight store.



Walked over and grabbed a FP'S for HM around 11, return time of 1:00. The park was packed. Seriously packed. We then headed over to CA, grabbed a FP'S for Soarin at 11:30, return time of 12:50. Got in the standby line for Goofy's Sky School, about a 20 minute wait. First time on the ride for my Son, he did not care for turns, no rails equals no good in his book.





Gave up on the idea of convincing him to go on Screamin, its only a little faster than BTMRR I said, he wasn't buying it. Phineas and Ferb were doing their thing, whatever that is, as we made our way to the Little Mermaid. Took about 15 minutes to get on.



Headed over to the Pacific Wharf area and to Lucky Fortune Cookery. We shared the Thai Coconut Curry, wasn't as good as last time but still pretty good. After resting for a few, we headed over to use our FP'S for Soarin. We still had about ten minutes before we could use our FP'S, so we checked out a few stores.



Son wanted to go back to DL, so off we went. People pouring in, it was going to be more crowded than Friday for sure. I know there was the Utah School thing going on and Blizzcon, so we expected some crowds, we sure got them.





We hopped on the train to NOS, used our FP'S's for HM. Took about ten minutes to get in.





Yes, you guessed it, headed over to BTMRR for some more FP's. Put Son's AP through machine, score. Mine, the whiff. CM was very helpful, but could not get any of the machines to respond. Total meltdown for all of the BTMRR FP machines. She told me to tell the other CM at the line entrance to give me a FP, which he did. Used some FP's from earlier in the day and got on in around 10 minutes.

Checked out the pumpkins some more, strolled about. Made our way over to the Monorail Station around 2 and rode to DTD. Back to the Lego Store for a small purchase. Hoofed it back to the room around 3 for a break.



Emptied my pockets and saw we had decent evening lined up, FP's for ST X 2, FP's for HM X 2, FP's for BTMRR X 2, would try to get one for GG when we went back.

Headed back around 5:30. Made our way to GG, FP's gone, standby 120 minutes, ew.

Used a set of FP's for ST, about a ten minute wait. Random scenes not so random for us this trip. Got right back on with second set of FP's, took around 15 minutes to get through this time. Same exact scenes three rides in a row.

Did I say it was crowded? Made our way slowly back to BTMRR to grab some more FP's. Headed over to HM and used a set there, about 15 minutes to get through.



My Son wanted to eat somewhere we never had been before and chose Rancho del Zocalo.



We are not exactly food snobs, but with certain ethnic foods we have such excellent choices near home we are a bit jaded, so we have always passed on this place. It was busy, took us about 15 minutes to get some grub. He had a kids burrito, fairly plain. I had the tostada salad and was mildly surprised, it was good when doused with hot sauce.

After settling our stomachs we headed to BTMRR to use some FP's. Took about 10 minutes to get on.





Got smacked by a stroller at the exit, second time today. Ten minutes later my Son had one roll half way up his ankle, fortunately no lasting damage. I would not be so lucky later.

Made our way to HM, took about 15 minutes to get on. Feels like peak summer crowds in the park tonight.





Started to make our way over to the hub to secure a place to watch the fireworks. As I was stepping off of the sidewalk onto the street near the Partners Statue, I got smacked again by a stroller. Third time was a charm, as I tried to make sure I didn't land on the thing and crush a youngling I twisted my ankle. It was a drive by too, no looks, no apologies, just kept on booking. Great.

Fortunately my Son was ok leaving, he has seen the fireworks a plenty. Was not fun getting through the serious crowds right as the fireworks were starting, hopping along. My Son asked if I wanted to go to first aid and get some ice, I told him I would rather get some ice cream.

Fireworks were over just as we finally got to the exit gate. Hobbled across the street to Stone Cold Creamery, ankle was feeling better already.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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Day Three, Sunday October 23

Got up a little early to pack, was worried all of the candy would make my suitcase over 50 pounds (it would). Check out was real easy, the Manager said I could park in the lot as long as I wanted.

Overcast again.

My Son and I shared a breakfast at Denny's on the way to the park. Got through security around 7:45 again. Lined up at rope drop, not nearly as many early people as yesterday. Pretty surprised at how many people that had MM were showing up like 5-10 minutes before everyone got in, maybe only half of them with little guys in tow. Whenever we have MM, we are all over it.



We went and got a FP's for ST, return time of 8:50. We then proceeded on our normal path to BTMRR and grabbed a FP. Walked on after about a 5 minute wait.



We then headed over to IJA, also pretty much a walk on. Climbed the tree house, had not been up there in a while.





Headed back over to get another FP for ST, used first FP. ST broke down right as we got off.

Walked on to Buzz after a 5 minute wait.

Got in line for Matterhorn, about a 25 minute wait. Both sides going this morning. Walked over to BTMRR, got a FP, used a FP. Had a slight delay as the train was picking up supplies according to the CM.

Crowds still pretty low at 10:00. Got in standby line for HM, 30 minute wait. Gave us time to look at all the details in the queue. Sun was out now.









Looked in a few more shops in NOS, had a lunch reservation at Cafe Orleans at 11:30. I asked my Son if he wanted to try something different this time, nope. Talked to a few guys in line at the hostess desk after overhearing their conversation, ST was still down.

No decorations up yet, except in the Court of Angels.





Lunch was great, off to BTMRR again.







Used last FP, 10 minute wait. We decided to go see if ST was working so we could get on one last ride before we did our final shopping and take off for the airport.





We were in luck, it was online. Waited about 15 minutes to get on. Did some final shopping on MS, and headed out the turnstile at 1:15.

Was a short visit, didn't do as much as I had hoped but had a great time with my Son. I think he enjoyed the weekend.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:56 AM   #8
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Lots of great pictures.

Why no DCA? No Screemin or Soarin for DS?
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:27 AM   #9
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Great photo to word ratio. I just love Disneyland during Halloween and your pics capture it perfectly. We've been once before and didn't see the Jack and Sally characters- very cool.
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:28 AM   #10
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Only hit up DCA a little on Saturday. We hit Soarin, LM, and Goofy's Sky School. He is not into Screamin just yet. If my DD was with us, we would have been on Screamin and TOT and much as BTMRR.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:44 PM   #11
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Enjoyed reading about your trip with your son. Your fireworks pics were amazing! I was actually there on my first solo trip Monday afternoon til Thursday afternoon (my last day being the day before your first day). I agree with you about the crowds. I was there in August with a friend and there wasn't as many people then as was in October.
I always enjoy hearing where people decide to eat. Does your family ever eat at Hungry Bear in Critter Country? We love the fried green tomato sandwich with the zesty slaw. Delicious! You just can't beat the feeling of eating a yummy meal while soaking up the atmosphere in Disneyland.
Glad you and your son had such a wonderful time. I don't think I could trust myself having 17 pounds of candy around
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CB Jamboree View Post
Enjoyed reading about your trip with your son. Your fireworks pics were amazing! I was actually there on my first solo trip Monday afternoon til Thursday afternoon (my last day being the day before your first day). I agree with you about the crowds. I was there in August with a friend and there wasn't as many people then as was in October.
I always enjoy hearing where people decide to eat. Does your family ever eat at Hungry Bear in Critter Country? We love the fried green tomato sandwich with the zesty slaw. Delicious! You just can't beat the feeling of eating a yummy meal while soaking up the atmosphere in Disneyland.
Glad you and your son had such a wonderful time. I don't think I could trust myself having 17 pounds of candy around
Thanks CB Jamboree

We eat at Hungry Bear every once in a while. Personally, I love sweet potato fries, have not tried the fried tomato.Great lookout though as you said.
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