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Old 11-20-2011, 01:11 AM   #1
StyledSugar
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Halloween, Paradise Pier, Desert Inn and Suites, Our Trip

Hi all,

Well we visited the park October 31 to November 6th, headed home on the 7th

Our trip actually started on October 26th when we headed to Vegas. It was great and we all had a fantastic time! Our group included myself, my 2 kids (13 DD and 8 DS), my bf and his parents. I won't go into detail about our Vegas portion since this is a DL site but it was great, we stayed at the Paris hotel and we really enjoyed it even though this was the first time we've taken the kids to Vegas. It was different compared to our solo trips but they really enjoyed it. Plus on October 28th he proposed to me! So yes, Vegas was good!

Then on to Disneyland!! We headed out fairly early, rented a sweet SUV and off we went! The drive was very easy and didn't take too long at all -- we left at 10:30am and arrived at our hotel at 4pm. We did stop once for breakfast in Primm and then again for a quick bathroom break so total driving was about four and a half hours.

We stayed a total of 7 nights in the DL area. Our first 5 nights was spent at the Desert Inn and Suites. We had one of the family suites that was basically 2 rooms connected. They were clean although a bit dated in my opinion. With four adults and two children the rooms felt a little cramped -- at least our side was. We found it pretty difficult with all of our luggage. Anyways, we didn't take advantage of the free breakfast very often and it certainly wasn't anything to write home about. The danishes were stale at best and the options were very limited. Yes, I know those type of breakfasts are usually like that but I found the one at the Ramada Inn Maingate better the last two times we stayed there.

One complaint was our second to last morning when we were all totally exhausted and 15 minutes late for the breakfast. My bf had gone down to see if we could still have access to the breakfast room to toast some bagels that we had bought. The lady in there said no, it was closed. He stated that we just wanted to use the toaster, not to take any of the food or juice. She said no. When he came back to the room the kids were pretty disappointed because we wanted to eat something before the park. Well, my daughter decided she was going to do something about it and called the front desk. She politely asked if we could use the toaster because we had slept in and missed breakfast. The guy at the front desk was great and said no problem. They all went back down and the door was now locked but he came to let them in. So while it was a complaint, it was definitely fixed by the great guy at the desk!

Okay, onto our trip!

As stated, we got to the hotel at about 4pm on Halloween. We checked in and changed into our "costumes". Our costumes only consisted of homemade Halloween tshirts for everyone but they looked cute. We got lots of compliments on them! One person even asked where we got them in the park! lol



The family -- minus me.



There's a shot of the back of them. We had them all individually numbered with our names.

We made it to the park at about 5ish, just as the parade was going on. We didn't want to miss taking advantage of some of the rides before the party started so we skipped the parade and made it over to the Jungle Cruise (for whatever reason it is always our first ride at DL on every trip and it's usually the only time we ride it too lol). We also made sure to eat so we stopped in at Cafe Orleans. It was fairly good but I hate to admit it because I know how popular they are around here buttttttt I wasn't a huge fan of the Monte Cristo. My BF and I split that and a bowl of the Gumbo which was great! I loved it!

After dinner we headed out for the party. Wow, I can't say enough about how fantastic it was! If you've never been to DL at Halloween time YOU MUST GO!!!



One of the decorations up for the party.



Here is one of the treat trails. It had at least 4 treat stations (that you can see in the picture). The candy that was given out was crazy! You got the good stuff and LOTS of it!

We missed the parade (lost track of time) but we did manage to squeeze in to see the fireworks. They were good but it was soooo busy! Kinda took away from the whole thing but we still enjoyed them.

After the fireworks we hit some more treat stations even though at that point it was getting pretty chilly out. We closed the park down that night, spending the time after the park "closed" wandering the shops. We finally headed back to our hotel to weigh our candy and get ready for bed. We managed to collect............51 POUNDS of candy!!! Needless to say we didn't manage to get it all back home on the plane. lol



Our candy haul. Amazing!

Overall the whole Halloween Party was a great experience!! If you are on the fence about doing it in 2012 then I strongly suggest you find the time and go!

To be continued....
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:59 AM   #2
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We spent the next day at Knott's Berry Farm. Sigh, not impressed. Maybe it's because it was sooooo empty. Just seemed like a ghost town to me which took away from the whole thing I think. I doubt I will go back.

We did go to the Joe's Crab Shack for dinner that night so not all was lost!! Love that place!!!

On the Wednesday (Day 3) we went back to Disneyland. We did the Minnie and Friends Breakfast in the park which was great, as usual. It was the first time for my BF's parents and they really enjoyed themselves. I always find the food is fresh and quite tasty. Definitely one of our favorites!!



My son's breakfast -- the first serving.

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon going on rides in DL before heading over to CA for the rest of our day. We had reservations at Wine Country Trattoria for the World of Color dining option. The food was very good and my daughter loved it! -- my son, not so much. He wasn't impressed but we did enjoy it. Before that though we wandered CA quite a bit while the kids went on Screamin' a bunch of times. We did the normal rides and I finally got to see The Little Mermaid ride. LOVED IT!! I'm a huge LM fan though but I thought it was very well done. I love the dark rides!

Anyways, we headed over for our dinner and then off to World of Color. Loved the dining option! No line and our view was great! The show was very good but I do prefer Fantasmic better as far as DL shows go. As far as water shows go -- I like the Bellagio fountains more. There is just something about those beautiful fountains in Vegas.



We headed back to the hotel after the show and the kids spent the rest of the evening swimming before going to bed.

On the Thursday (Day 4) the kids and my BF's parents went to San Diego to visit Sea World. Unfortunately most of us had come down with a horrible cold -- my BF, his mom and myself being the hardest hit, the BF and I had tickets to go to Hollywood that day but we decided to skip it and have a relaxing day instead. We didn't do much -- except go shopping! We went to the Garden Walk and really expected more shops. lol I've never been there before but I thought it was full of shops. It wasn't. We then caught a quick cab ride to the Outlets at Orange and I must say, I was in outlet heaven!! We got some great deals and had a very nice "relaxing" day and some alone time.

We headed back to the hotel and waited for the kids to get back before heading over to DTD to the Rainforest Cafe for a late dinner. My BF's parents decided to skip it -- they were exhausted but they did manage to go there for dinner the next day. As usual our service and food was great there. We really enjoy that place! The wait to get in was about 40 minutes but it was worth it. Plus the kids had some time to go and do the whole Build A Bear thing which they love!

Everything was closed when we were done so we went back to the hotel to rest up for our last day at the park with my BF's parents who were leaving us on the Saturday morning for some of their own alone time for the remainder of their trip.

We got up Friday (our bagel toasting vs. the lady in the breakfast room day lol) and after we finally ate our bagels we headed over to the park. It was a rainy, rainy day in DL. My BF's parents decided to wait it out in the hotel but we headed over to the park anyways. I've NEVER been in DL when it was raining so it was a new experience. lol After purchasing our DL ponchos we wandered some of the indoor things we've never seen before. We did the Lincoln thing (sorry, can't remember the name of it right now), Captain EO, among other things. It really didn't ruin our day at all since we got to see stuff that we probably wouldn't have otherwise seen!

After Captain EO it was still pouring and since we are HUGE horse racing fans and the Breeders Cup was on we decided to go over to the ESPN Zone to catch some of the television coverage of the races. We caught the monorail over there which was our first time on it! We got to sit in the very back and I must say it was a neat experience and much easier than walking all the way over there in the rain!!



The kids and I in the monorail. I must say, those ponchos are not very flattering. lol

We had a great lunch in a very cool booth with our own tv. Very neat place and a good chance to get out of the rain!

After our late lunch we got ahold of my BF's parents who ended up meeting us back in the park. We got a little side tracked on our way though -- at the pin trading store in DTD. Baddddddd place for us and we should have just kept walking when we saw it! It was the beginning of our really bad habit....errr I mean hobby at DL. After spending a small fortune, the kids were set up and ready to start pin trading with the cast members! I must say though, if you can afford it then do it! It's so much fun and we found we explored the park differently while searching for cast members with pins. We had so much fun with the kids that *sigh* we started doing it with them. A small fortune is an understatement on what we spent. lol

So we spent the rest of the day/night in the park. Since we had such a late lunch we did not need dinner -- unless you count popcorn and churros as dinner. lol His parents ended up going to Rainforest Cafe and met us back in the park later that night. We had a great time even though the start of our day didn't start out all that fantastic.

There were no fireworks that night due to the Christmas Parade taping that weekend but the park was open late. But we made sure we took my BF's parents to see Fantasmic since they've never been. They loved it! It's such a great show!! Once again -- we shut it down. This time it was because we were busy looking for pins with the kids (we had not yet started our own pin obsession at this point lol).

The next day we were off to the Paradise Pier for our last two nights!!

To be continued....

Last edited by StyledSugar; 11-20-2011 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:42 AM   #3
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On the Saturday morning (Day 6) we headed over to our room at the Paradise Pier for our last two nights. We were so excited and looking forward to taking advantage of the conceirge service we got. We were NOT disappointed!! What a fantastic place to be! I can't say enough about it. From check in to check out we never had one complaint. The staff was amazing, we ended up getting a free upgrade to a family suite and never even asked for it! It was soooo worth it!





Check in was quick and easy. We had to wait a bit for our room to be ready so we headed up to the concierge suite to have a bite to eat. I wish we would have taken pics but we completely forgot! It was a good little selection for the afternoon snacks. We were only in there for about 45 minutes before getting a text that our room was ready. We went down and got our keys since they switched us to a different family suite because it was the one ready then headed up to our room.

Here are some pics of it:











You may notice there are no Mickey shaped shampoo bottles. They were the Spa brand, not the Mickey ones I had seen in reviews here. Not sure if it's a permanent change or not though. It was our ONLY disappointment with this hotel but come on, it's a minor one forsure. lol

Sorry if those pics are a little grainy, we took them with our iPad.

Our view:







While more Disney addicts would hightail it back to the park -- we were tired. It had been a long trip so far and we needed to relax for a bit. The kids went to the pool for awhile and then came back and watched some tv while we watched the final day of the Breeders Cup. Once it was over we were all ready to head back to the park!

We went through the Grand Californian Hotel -- wow, it is beautiful!!! If it wasn't so expensive I would definitely stay there some day! Maybe when I win the lottery!

We cut through the CA entrance and the kids wanted to do Screamin' a few times and while they were doing that we --- started our own pin obsession. So expensive but so much fun! The kids were delighted when they got off their ride to find out we were going to do the pin trading with them! A family of Pin Traders!

So off we went to trade some pins. It is too much fun! Yes, I'm a dork! After awhile we headed over to DL to finish out the evening. We managed the get on quite a few attractions. The park wasn't overly busy the entire trip with the exception of the Halloween Party. Plus there were Christmas decorations starting to go up which was fun to see. We headed out as soon as the park closed that night instead of wandering shops (we did that early) we headed back to the hotel so we could make it back in time to order some room service for dinner. Now, that wouldn't sound overly exciting to most people but we never do it with the kids (it's strictly a business trip thing for me, not a family vacation type of thing) so they were pretty excited to do that.

When we got back to the hotel we had a great little surprise (well, for the kids because the bf and I knew about it).....rice krispies and chocolates!!







Pretty nice little treat! So we ordered our food and sat down for our late, late dinner:



It was actually quite good and enjoyed by all!

Off to sleep we went and boy, did we ever need it! The beds were super comfy -- the best our entire trip I think and we slept like babies!!

The next morning was the start of our last day in the park....

To be continued.....

Last edited by StyledSugar; 11-20-2011 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:01 AM   #4
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Our last day at the park was overcast. Not a great day but we didn't care, it was our last and we were going to make the best of it. We got up and had the breakfast in the concierge room before making our way over to the park. It was rainy but not pouring like it had been on the Friday. They were filming more of the Christmas Parade that day and while we walked through the Grand Californian we noticed they had a stage set up. My daughter asked a CM who was performing but she said she did not know. I said jokingly, oh it's probably Christina Aguilara......I was right. We didn't stay for it since it was going to be about a 3 hour wait but it sure would have been fun.

We made sure to get on all of our favorite attractions that day and do some major pin trading (it's an obsession, I know. I'm working on it lol). We had lunch/dinner at Redd Rockett's Pizza Port which was pretty tasty. Not the best food in the park but not bad at all.

That was pretty much how we spent the day -- wandering the park, doing the rides, trading pins and just enjoying our time.

We went back to the hotel so we could take advantage of the dessert portion of the conceirge service and we were glad we did. They had some very tasty treats on there! We took them up to our room and relaxed for a bit after we ate and then went back to the park at about 9pm for the last two hours. We made the most of it though and didn't get back to our room until after midnight. Although it was pretty chilly, we had a great night for the last one!

All in all we had a fantastic trip. Things we learned this trip:

1. Nothing beats the Disney hotels. If you can afford it then do it!

2. A rainy day at DL is better than no day at DL. It gives you the opportunity to see things that you might otherwise pass by.

3. We are obessive pin traders and loved it! No, we will never be like the people we saw standing outside the pin store in Adventureland (those guys are hard core!!!!) but we enjoyed it nonetheless. We will be obtaining a second mortgage on our home to fund our habit for the next trip.

4. The monorail is a great way to get to DTD. We'd never used it before but certainly took advantage of it as much as we could this trip!

5. The Halloween Party is so worth it. Go!!

6. We had a small taste of Christmas in DL and, well, we are hooked and will be spending Christmas in DL next year!

Well, that's my report. Hope I didn't bore you too much. lol This is the first time I've ever written one and I found as I wrote it, it got me thinking about our 2012 Christmas trip already. I can't wait to go back!!!
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:35 AM   #5
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Thanks for the fun and informative review. There's nothing like the magic of Disney at Christmas. This is my second Christmas, first was 13 years ago and we've been trying to get back ever since. When it works, there is nothing like it!
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:02 AM   #6
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Loved your trip report. Just enough details and great info. I'm looking into booking the Paradise Pier for our spring trip. Would love to do concierge for the food and drinks.

Can you tell me about the rooftop pool at the PP? How is the slide for a 14 and 11 year old? Would my kids enjoy it or is it more for little kids? Thanks!
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:08 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great trip report and CONGRATULATIONS on your engagement - very exciting!
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:59 PM   #8
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I moved this thread over to the Trip Reports section.

I had a question about the Paradise Pier suite. I've never stayed in one of their suites - only in random standard rooms or park view rooms.

I've heard that the suites have 2 bathrooms, 2 TV's (one in the bedroom and one in the living room), a bedroom with 2 beds and a daybed/sofa bed and a separate sleeping area in the living room with another type of sofa bed. Is that what your PPH suite had?
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larina View Post
Thanks for the fun and informative review. There's nothing like the magic of Disney at Christmas. This is my second Christmas, first was 13 years ago and we've been trying to get back ever since. When it works, there is nothing like it!
I remember bits and pieces of it back when we went when I was a child. At that time you could reserve a sitting at the DL Hotel and have your own turkey to carve with all of the trimmings. I don't remember the whole thing even though I wasn't too terribly young at the time (12 I think) but my mom still says it was amazing and worth the money. Don't think they do anything like that now, do they?

I can't wait to go to DL next Christmas. It will be different because it will be our first time away from the family during the holidays but it will be so much fun!
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkmcan View Post
Loved your trip report. Just enough details and great info. I'm looking into booking the Paradise Pier for our spring trip. Would love to do concierge for the food and drinks.

Can you tell me about the rooftop pool at the PP? How is the slide for a 14 and 11 year old? Would my kids enjoy it or is it more for little kids? Thanks!
My 13 year old thought it was great. It's not some extreme slide or anything but my kids both enjoyed it and would have spent a lot more time there if it hadn't been so icky during our stay.
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TahoeMom View Post
Thanks for the great trip report and CONGRATULATIONS on your engagement - very exciting!
Thank you very much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
I moved this thread over to the Trip Reports section.

I had a question about the Paradise Pier suite. I've never stayed in one of their suites - only in random standard rooms or park view rooms.

I've heard that the suites have 2 bathrooms, 2 TV's (one in the bedroom and one in the living room), a bedroom with 2 beds and a daybed/sofa bed and a separate sleeping area in the living room with another type of sofa bed. Is that what your PPH suite had?
Yes, you're right and that is the suite we had. We walked in and there is a bathroom to the left with a shower, then you go ahead and there is the living room portion with a table and chairs, a large sectional sofa (I think there was a sofa bed in it but we didn't check it out), living room table and then the tv. The bedroom was to the right and when you walked in the bathroom in there was to your right which was a full bath and the two beds were straight ahead and the tv as well. It was a very nice suite with TONS of room. We loved it!!
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:56 PM   #12
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Sounds like an awesome trip - thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:49 PM   #13
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This is a small world. I know your dad and he has been telling me about your trip to disneyland. And now I stumbled upon your trip report. Too Funny.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inluvwithbuzz View Post
This is a small world. I know your dad and he has been telling me about your trip to disneyland. And now I stumbled upon your trip report. Too Funny.
Your comment would have been extremely creepy if my dad hadn't called me at work today to let me know you had found my trip report. He refers to you as the girl that goes to Disneyland all of the time and told me about you going to the Halloween party and how great it was! As you can see we had a fantastic time as well. So much fun!

I see you have another trip coming up. How often do you make it to the park?
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Old 11-24-2011, 09:39 AM   #15
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Loved it!!
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