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Old 11-22-2011, 11:17 PM   #1
deesquared
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Disneyland - it's just like a donut...

We are counting down the days until our upcoming trip to Disneyland, so I thought I'd start a Pre-Trip Report so you could all join in the fun!

Here's our countdown calendar that I made...with a little help from the paint department at Home Depot...ahem...

So in under 2 weeks, our family will be at Disneyland!
We will be staying at the Desert Inn and Suites, in a nice big Family Suite with 4 queen size beds. I'm almost as excited about the hotel room, as I am about the parks. I hate being crammed in a tiny room, so this will be a nice treat!

Here are the players in our adventure:
Me - Dianna, a recent DisBoard Diva tripper, a mom, a conservationist that works at an Aquarium, and a Disney lover (of course!)
DH - my hubby, an engineer who just can't say no to me, so allows me to plan these fun Disney trips with little or no interference (except to request WOC Preferred Dining - YAY!)
DD1 - Emma, whose favorite ride on our first trip was California Screamin'...when she was 7...I'm so proud!
DD2 - Izzy, who promises to go on HMH this time. Promises!


So let the fun begin!
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:48 PM   #2
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Dianna your girls are soooooo cute, how old are they??? Also what dates are you going to be there??? I'll be there the 6th, 7th & part of the 8th!!
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Road Trip 2014HEREClub 33HEREWDW TRHEREOct PTRHERE 2013 Divas #3HERE2012 Holiday Trip HERE
WDW Dec 12 PTR~Cancelled: HERE 2011 Holiday Trip: HEREDivas, Take 2~2012: HEREDiva's TR~2011: HERE
10 of Us Summer Trip~2010: HERE 25th Anniv.TR~2009: HERE

DLR: 1967, 1972, 1984, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2013 WDW: 2013


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Old 11-23-2011, 12:04 AM   #3
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Hi Laurie!
The girls were 4 and 7 in that photo. It's from our first Disneyland trip in 2008.
Now they are 7 and 10! ()

We are at the parks from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9, so maybe we'll see you!!
Do you have any meal reservations? We are going to Cafe Orleans on the 6th for lunch, Wine Country Trattoria on the 7th for WOC dinner, and Blue Bayou for lunch on the 8th.
Maybe we can find a time and place to say hi!
I'm going to post more of my itinerary soon, so you can see if there's a good time to meet up!
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by deesquared View Post
Hi Laurie!
The girls were 4 and 7 in that photo. It's from our first Disneyland trip in 2008.
Now they are 7 and 10! ()

We are at the parks from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9, so maybe we'll see you!!
Do you have any meal reservations? We are going to Cafe Orleans on the 6th for lunch, Wine Country Trattoria on the 7th for WOC dinner, and Blue Bayou for lunch on the 8th.
Maybe we can find a time and place to say hi!
I'm going to post more of my itinerary soon, so you can see if there's a good time to meet up!
No I didn't set any meal ressies.....hopefully I can run into you.....what are your times for Cafe Orleans & Blue Bayou....maybe I can do a walk in near the time you're there. Just not sure what I'm doing about meals this trip.....kinda winging it!
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Road Trip 2014HEREClub 33HEREWDW TRHEREOct PTRHERE 2013 Divas #3HERE2012 Holiday Trip HERE
WDW Dec 12 PTR~Cancelled: HERE 2011 Holiday Trip: HEREDivas, Take 2~2012: HEREDiva's TR~2011: HERE
10 of Us Summer Trip~2010: HERE 25th Anniv.TR~2009: HERE

DLR: 1967, 1972, 1984, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2013 WDW: 2013


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Old 11-23-2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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Hi Dianna! I'll keep an eye out for ya too. I, like Laurie am winging the meals. I only have one day. I'll be there 12/6 then going to a Disney conference on 12/7.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MommyWithDreams View Post
Hi Dianna! I'll keep an eye out for ya too. I, like Laurie am winging the meals. I only have one day. I'll be there 12/6 then going to a Disney conference on 12/7.
Only one day at Disneyland? That would be heartbreaking! I'm already having a hard time thinking about what we will do on our last day, because it makes me too sad...

I've been making up an itinerary for our trip. There are lots of things that we want to be sure to see for the first time (Aladdin, World of Color) and some favorites that we want to be sure to do again (Santa at Big Thunder Ranch, Billy Hill).

I also made reservations at some restaurants for this trip. We did lots of counter service dining on our previous trip, which was fine, but I do remember trying to get into Cafe Orleans for lunch, and they were all booked up.

So here is an outline of what I have planned:

Sunday night - arrive at our hotel around 6:30pm.
- Walk to GCH to see if Santa is there, and have dinner at Storyteller's Cafe.

Monday - start the day with Breakfast with Minnie & Friends!
- explore Fantasyland, Toontown & Princess Fantasy Faire
- after an afternoon break, explore Tomorrowland, and maybe catch the parade.

Tuesday - Magic Morning & Candy Cane day! If we get one, that's great, but I'm not too worried about it.
- explore FL, visit Santa at BTR
- after a break, explore Critter Country & NOS and catch the fireworks

Wednesday - DCA day!
- I'm sure we'll hop between parks, but today is focused on DCA.
- Explore DCA all day, and have dinner at Wine Country Trattoria
- Catch WOC in the Pref. Dining area.

Thursday - Another Candy Cane day, but no MM for us.
- explore Pirate's Lair (we totally missed this on our last trip!)
- Lunch at the Blue Bayou!
- Billy and the Hillbillies
- Fantasmic Dessert Seating!

Friday....I still haven't planned anything other than lunch at Carnation Cafe, and catching Aladdin at DCA.

I've started gathering things to pack, and now I'm getting a bit nervous! But still excited, of course.
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:30 AM   #7
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Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

I think I've packed everything I possibly can...
Tomorrow morning, we'll be off!

Laurie, here's our ressies:
Cafe Orleans - 11:30 (Tuesday)
Blue Bayou - 11:30 (Thursday)

I made a LGMH for my backpack, so keep an eye out for us!
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deesquared View Post
Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

I think I've packed everything I possibly can...
Tomorrow morning, we'll be off!

Laurie, here's our ressies:
Cafe Orleans - 11:30 (Tuesday)
Blue Bayou - 11:30 (Thursday)

I made a LGMH for my backpack, so keep an eye out for us!
Today's the day!!! I will keep an eye out for you!! Janelle & I are trying to meet up for lunch at Cafe Orleans.....but thinking since we'd only be in the parks for about an hour at your ressie time.....we might not catch you then. But I'll be looking for you!! Have a fantastic time!!
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Road Trip 2014HEREClub 33HEREWDW TRHEREOct PTRHERE 2013 Divas #3HERE2012 Holiday Trip HERE
WDW Dec 12 PTR~Cancelled: HERE 2011 Holiday Trip: HEREDivas, Take 2~2012: HEREDiva's TR~2011: HERE
10 of Us Summer Trip~2010: HERE 25th Anniv.TR~2009: HERE

DLR: 1967, 1972, 1984, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2013 WDW: 2013


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Old 12-13-2011, 11:26 AM   #9
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We're Back!!
Phew, what a week!
We had lots of fun, and did most of the things we set out to do.
On the plane trip home, I started to get sick, so I haven't been able to get started on my trip report until now. I had a really bad sore throat, then I started getting chills on the plane. I could hardly stand up and walk off the plane when we got to Seattle. When we arrived home, I fell into bed and slept for about 12 hours!
Atleast I'm up and about today, but still not feeling 100%.

All my photos are on my husband's laptop, which is with him in Calgary today, so I can't add any pictures yet. BOO!
Instead, I'll just give a brief comparison of our trip this year and our trip three years ago...

2008 trip
- kids were 4 and 7, much easier to direct them to certain activities
- we went back to the hotel each afternoon for a rest, which helped tremendously.
- trip was just after Thanksgiving, no crowds at all, but also no parades or fireworks except on our last day.
- C.A. was much easier to access, but no W.O.C, Ariel, Electronica.
- we mostly did quick-service meals on this trip. No reservations, no sit-down meals except for one character meal.

2011 trip
-kids are 7 and 11 - OMGoodness...the whining...the complaining...it made me so sad. We had major issues this trip with my oldest DD questioning everything we did, but she does that at home too. She also was very focused on shopping. She would rather go to Downtown Disney than Disneyland, but that wasn't in my plans.
-we went back to the hotel at some point in the day to rest/swim, but the kids refused to even try to nap, even when Mommy and Daddy were totally exhausted. We got very burned out because of it.
-trip was first week of December, so all Christmas decorations were up, and there were parades and fireworks everyday, so that was a nice bonus.
-we noticed the crowds much more on this trip. Using FastPasses wisely saved us lots of time in line-ups.
-we did lots of sit-down meals and special dining packages (WOC & Fantasmic). It was actually a better value to get a nice meal at a sit-down restaurant, than to pick up some chicken strips/ burgers at counter service places. (the WOC meal at Wine Country Trattoria was incredible!)
-CA was a bit unappealing this time, simply because it was such a long walk through the plywood walls to get to anything, especially Hollywood Backlot.

All in all, I think if I was planning another Christmas trip, I would go right after Thanksgiving. The only reason I didn't do that this year was because there were no cheap flights for that time.
I don't think I'll be planning another trip anytime soon though. I'm going with the Divas in February, and then hopefully DH and I will have a more relaxing holiday by ourselves in 2012.
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:49 AM   #10
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Sorry to hear you got sick on the way home......the other 2 gals & myself all ended up with nasty colds too.

Bummer your 11 yr old wasn't as cooperative & "fun" this time around. It's always disappointing when you envision in your mind how you want the trip to go & then reality sets in & it's not as *+*+*magical*+*+* as we hoped. Hopefully the positives far outweighed the negatives!! I found the crowds on Tuesday pretty big, but Weds & Thurs. each got less crowded. I didn't do a whole lot of rides, so I wasn't affected too badly by the people.

I went over to Cafe Orleans prior to their 11:30 opening & stood around for 15 mins or so looking for you....did you change your ressie for the Tues. lunch or did I totally just miss you in the crowd?? I ended up going back & eating there myself later.....it's so darned good!!

Sorry we didn't run into each other.....but I'll see you in February!!
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Road Trip 2014HEREClub 33HEREWDW TRHEREOct PTRHERE 2013 Divas #3HERE2012 Holiday Trip HERE
WDW Dec 12 PTR~Cancelled: HERE 2011 Holiday Trip: HEREDivas, Take 2~2012: HEREDiva's TR~2011: HERE
10 of Us Summer Trip~2010: HERE 25th Anniv.TR~2009: HERE

DLR: 1967, 1972, 1984, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2013 WDW: 2013


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Old 12-15-2011, 11:42 AM   #11
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Oh Laurie, you got sick too? I'm sorry to hear that. It's not the nicest way to end a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth!

I'm really sorry I missed seeing you at Cafe Orleans. They took us in right away when I checked in, so I might have just walked past you without knowing it! Did you have your little ones with you? I was keeping my eye out for a double stroller, so maybe that's why I didn't spot you!

I did meet one other DIS'er at Soarin. DISNEYXIAO spotted my LGMH, and introduced herself. Turns out we live very close to each other, in neighbouring cities!
I also thought I saw VINTAGEDISNEYRULES aka Trudi at Fantasmic on Thursday, but I'm not positive. Trudi, were you at DL that day??

Well, DH downloaded all my photos yesterday, so I'm getting started on my TR today! YAY!
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:02 PM   #12
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On Our Way to Disneyland!

Here we go!!
Sunday, December 4th, we were on our way to Disneyland!
We flew out of Bellingham, which is only a 20 minute drive across the border for us. We got the car all packed up, and headed out at about 10:30am.



I followed the example of another DIS friend, KindaKrazy, and stopped at Sonic for a delicious, greasy, pre-flight lunch. We love Sonic!
So after we loaded up on Tots and Slushies, we drove the last few minutes to Bellingham Airport.
The girls kept busy with some special magazines I bought for them, as well as their DS's (you know, the Nintendo thingy?) on the flight. We switched planes at Seattle, then flew down to SNA.
At SNA, we caught the Disneyland Express Bus to our hotel: The Desert Inn and Suites.
I like the Disneyland Express. It's easy, not too expensive. However, we did have a long wait, as it was only leaving every hour. My husband said that he would rather have rented a car or taken a taxi, just to save some time. Maybe next time!

We checked into our room, which was HUGE! I was so happy we got the Family Suite, which is essentially two connected rooms, for $99/night. Such a great deal! Everyone had their own bed, there were two bathrooms, two tv's, a fridge, microwave. Lots of room to spread out, which my family really needs. I was very happy!


This picture shows the room the kids were in. There was a small table where I was sitting to take the photo, and also a desk and a dresser under the tv. The bathroom is a the back.

I'm going to continue this report a little later when I can figure out how to resize my photos on photobucket.

Up next...Dinner at Storytellers Cafe!
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:26 PM   #13
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Sunday, December 4th

After we dumped our stuff at the hotel, and got changed we quickly headed over to the Grand Californian to see if Santa was there.
My original plan was to browse Downtown Disney for a while first, but we just didn't have time. I had made dinner reservations at Storytellers for 7:30, and it was probably around 6:45 when we left the hotel.

I was excited to see the new entrance to California Adventure as we passed by:

We had a nice visit with Santa, and got some photopass pics done. I don't have those yet, so here's one from my camera:


We then headed off to Storytellers Cafe. I was so excited to be going to a restaurant in the Grand Californian! I am SUPER cheap, so this was a big splurge to start off our Disney Holiday!


It was quite busy at Storytellers, but we only waited around 5-10 minutes for our table. The girls were amazed at the giant gingerbread house!

I really enjoyed the ambiance of Storytellers, but I felt like I had to explain it to the kids, so they didn't really 'get' it. They probably would have been happy to go to Rainforest Cafe again, but I wanted something different. Maybe I should have chosen something more "In-your-face-Disney" for our first meal? Goofy's Kitchen? Surf's Up? I'll have to check these out for next time!

Izzy enjoyed her kids cheese pizza:

They would have charged us an upcharge of $3.00 for Emma to order off the kids menu, so we split a steak. It was delicious, and enough for the two of us. Daryl had the Sonoma Chicken, and said that it was 'okay'. It looked good!


As we walked through the Esplanade, we saw many of the cast members who were in the Candlelight Processional mingling with family and friends. They were all so excited!

Tomorrow: Breakfast with Minnie & Friends and our first day in Disneyland!
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:01 PM   #14
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Yay....nice to see you back on here Dianna!!! Storyteller's is a nice restaurant. We did a lunch here in 05 & then did the character meal in 10....we enjoyed it both times....funny that we don't plan it in more often......lol

Looking forward to seeing more!!
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Road Trip 2014HEREClub 33HEREWDW TRHEREOct PTRHERE 2013 Divas #3HERE2012 Holiday Trip HERE
WDW Dec 12 PTR~Cancelled: HERE 2011 Holiday Trip: HEREDivas, Take 2~2012: HEREDiva's TR~2011: HERE
10 of Us Summer Trip~2010: HERE 25th Anniv.TR~2009: HERE

DLR: 1967, 1972, 1984, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2013 WDW: 2013


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Old 01-02-2012, 03:56 PM   #15
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Monday, December 5th

Hooray! It's our first day in Disneyland!


We had PS ressies for 9:10am at Minnie & Friends, so we didn't have to rush to the parks too early. I also wasn't worried about being first in line at the gates since we were going for breakfast first. It made for a nice, relaxing way to start the day!
There were lots of Cast Members out with the Mickey hands. I've heard they do this at WDW, but I don't remember seeing it on our last trip. It's so cute!


Minnie's was the perfect Character Breakfast to start our Disney holiday! There were lots of our favorite characters like: Minnie, Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Chip, Hook, Fairy Godmother and Eeyore. The food was nice, and we always like buffets where everyone can have their favorites.

Hook nearly sliced me up with his hook...

After breakfast, I ran to Indy for Fastpasses, while Daryl took the girls to the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough. This wasn't open on our last trip, so they were excited to see it. Isabel really enjoyed it, and would have liked to walk through it again, I'm sure!
We met up on the drawbridge, and made our way to the girls favorite 'first' ride: King Arthur's Carousel. It's a fantastic first ride because there is never a line up! Isabel always tries to get on Jingles, but someone else had already claimed him. Oh well!


We had a great time exploring Fantasyland, with very short waits for most rides. Emma refused to line up for anything that had a long wait, so this meant Peter Pan was out for today!
We enjoyed Pinocchio, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Teacups, small world holiday, and Mr. Toad before we stopped for lunch.

I wanted to try Troubadour Tavern for lunch, but it was not a hit with the family. Daryl wasn't hungry, Emma didn't like the menu, so Isabel got a kids power pack, and I got a brat...which I didn't like very much. Something unappealing about a whitish hot dog. LOL.

I hoped that Princess Fantasy Faire would have something going on while we ate, but no such luck. Daryl and Emma just stared at us while we ate...

We caught the train to New Orleans Square so we could use our Indy Fastpasses. This was Isabel and my first time on Indy. It was fun, but not my favourite! I think I was just so worried about Isabel being scared, that I couldn't enjoy it. It was pretty bumpy and jerky!
Jack and Sally were out and about:
Sally had to leave, but Jack was awesome!
We were able to catch the Tiki Room (Yay!), Haunted Mansion Holiday, Splash Mtn, and Space Mtn before we headed back to the hotel for a break.

Summary of our first morning...
We got a LOT done in one morning! Everyone was having such a good time that they didn't want to take a break. This was a mistake!!! We got very burnt out by the end of the week!
Fastpasses were our friend on this trip! Fastpassing Indy, Space and HMH this morning saved us lot of time.
It wasn't as far to run for fastpasses as I thought. Indy was much closer to the Hub than I anticipated! The maps make things look more spread out.
We started using the Railroad a LOT on this day. In fact, we hardly saw Main Street because we would just catch the train to Main Street when we wanted to head back to the hotel.

Next up: A Windy Night
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