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Old 07-12-2012, 11:48 AM   #16
Velvetia
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Day three – Universal

A take it easy day - a lie-in then head to Universal Studios.

Ride Transformers and Jurassic Park and Studio Backlot Tour

as long as we can fit in these three things we'll all be happy - we'll just take the rest as it comes here today...

Then return for:
Dinner somewhere in DTD

Day four - DL

Arrive in time for rope drop and get FPs for Space Mountain
Stay in Tomorrowland for Star Tours, BLAB and any other rides we can fit in before attending:
Jedi Training Academy
Head to River Belle Terrace for lunch
Get FP for BTMR when possible
Ride Pirates of the Caribbean Winnie the Pooh/ Haunted Mansion
Head back to hotel for nap

What d'yall thing of it so far? Any recommendations gratefully received...
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:38 PM   #17
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I love that you are thinking about all the attractions you want to see and planning what is important to your party!

I have a logistics question for you - How are your kiddo's going to have characters sign the autograph book when the paper is inside the plastic page? I loved the idea and yours look so cute! I'd love to do that for my nieces if it works well!
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by AuntieKels View Post
I love that you are thinking about all the attractions you want to see and planning what is important to your party!

I have a logistics question for you - How are your kiddo's going to have characters sign the autograph book when the paper is inside the plastic page? I loved the idea and yours look so cute! I'd love to do that for my nieces if it works well!
Hi AuntieKels - the photo albums I got are the kind where you can slide the photo out. So, you can give the photo to the character to sign and then put it back in the album. It helps if the album is hard backed too, so you can give it to the character with the photo on the top of it, so they have something to lean on whilst they sign their name...hope all that makes sense.

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Old 07-28-2012, 09:43 AM   #19
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So - I've got a bit more of the organising done - I've received our PhotoPass+ in the post and I've purchased our Mickey's Halloween Party tickets online which was super easy!

We've been thinking about who we'd all like to dress up as for the party - Granny wants to go as a pirate wench (and try to meet Captain Jack for a photo), DS7 thinks he wants to go as Jack Skellington, DS5 is certain he wants to go as Lightening McQueen and I'm thinking of going as Princess Jasmine...so... we'll be a kind of odd assortment of characters .

Lightening McQueen I'm not sure how we'll do, but I think you can get bought costumes of a Lightening Racing Driver so although I thought we'd make our own costumes, we might just get one of those. I think a Jack Skellington costume will be quite easy to do, DS7 already has an old suit that I can alter and 'pinstripe'. We have heaps of piratey things from when the kids did the Pirates League last year at WDW (it was awesome - I highly recommend it) so that should be covered, and I might just join Granny as a pirate wench, we'll see...

The kids can't believe that you just get given candy for saying trick or treat - here in Scotland when you trick or treat, you have to do a little party piece like sing a song or say a poem before you get given your goodies! However, I've told them that's not needed at MHP - it would really hold up the line if every kid had to do that!!!

We've also had a change of heart about going to Knotts Berry Farm - as I think the kids would get much more fun out of going to Sea World. I've just looked it up and unfortunately for us you have to be 10 years old to swim with the dolphins which is such a shame, my DS7 would have loved that - ah well just means we'll have to go back when he's 10 !!!

I'm looking into the SoCal City Pass which gives 3 day park hopper for Disney and a day each at Universal and Sea World, but I think 3 days at Disney won't be enough for us - does anyone have any experience or advice about whether you can upgrade this Pass for more days?? Or if not any suggestions on what I should do - ideally I'd like 5 days at Disney...any suggestions gratefully received...

I am still waiting (im)patiently for the dining reservations time to open up, I know we are definitely going to do Ariel's, Minnie, Blue Bayou and considering doing the Fantasmic dessert package and the WOC CC package...
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:43 AM   #20
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We've also had a change of heart about going to Knotts Berry Farm - as I think the kids would get much more fun out of going to Sea World. I've just looked it up and unfortunately for us you have to be 10 years old to swim with the dolphins which is such a shame, my DS7 would have loved that - ah well just means we'll have to go back when he's 10 !!!
Joining in on your PTR!

We were at San Diego's SeaWorld in June and had a great time. We watched one of the Dolphin demonstrations (free!) where trainers would go through behaviors and tricks. It also provided plenty of opportunities for our kids to interact with the dolphins where they got to pet a dolphin. DD5 also got to feed one of the dolphin an ice cube and the trainer taught her the hand signal to make a dolphin squeal. She loved it. Just try to position yourself at one of the feeding stations - look for the silver "mailboxes" with a platform.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:31 PM   #21
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Dave - thanks so much for the tip , we'll definitely have to do that. DS7 will love seeing the dolphins so close! Do you remember if they publish the times they're going to do these demonstrations - or how you can get to hear about when they're happening?
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:07 PM   #22
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Dave - thanks so much for the tip , we'll definitely have to do that. DS7 will love seeing the dolphins so close! Do you remember if they publish the times they're going to do these demonstrations - or how you can get to hear about when they're happening?
If I remember correctly, the times were not published on their websites. I think they were available at the park - I want to say they were also listed on the back of the maps they hand out at the park entrance. Seem to remember all of the feeding and show times listed on the back of the park map.
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:39 PM   #23
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Dave - belated thanks for the tip about where to stand at the dolphin-feeding

So, 1 month and 3 weeks to go until our trip!!

I have finally booked our priority dining reservations, boy that 60 days prior mark took a long time coming round!

I've booked to have two character meals:

Breakfast with Minnie and Pals at The Plaza Inn

Lunch at Ariel's Grotto

And I've booked the following meals too:

Lunch at Blue Bayou

Dinner at Big Thunder BBQ

Dinner at Carthay Circle

These are not all on the same day - they're spread over the week that we're there. I am so looking forward to each and every one of those bookings!!

One question for you DisBoarders, though, the Minnie and Pals breakfast booking is for 10.50 with the buffet finishing at 11.30 - does anyone have any advice on that? Is that a rubbish time, should I try and switch it for an earlier time?

I'm also still considering doing the Fantasmic! Dessert Package...
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:10 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Velvetia View Post
Dave - belated thanks for the tip about where to stand at the dolphin-feeding

So, 1 month and 3 weeks to go until our trip!!

I have finally booked our priority dining reservations, boy that 60 days prior mark took a long time coming round!

I've booked to have two character meals:

Breakfast with Minnie and Pals at The Plaza Inn

Lunch at Ariel's Grotto

And I've booked the following meals too:

Lunch at Blue Bayou

Dinner at Big Thunder BBQ

Dinner at Carthay Circle

These are not all on the same day - they're spread over the week that we're there. I am so looking forward to each and every one of those bookings!!

One question for you DisBoarders, though, the Minnie and Pals breakfast booking is for 10.50 with the buffet finishing at 11.30 - does anyone have any advice on that? Is that a rubbish time, should I try and switch it for an earlier time?

I'm also still considering doing the Fantasmic! Dessert Package...
Hi!

Sounds like your dining is all organised! With the Minnie meal, personally, we were there on both of the occasions we went last trip for over an hour. If it was me I would definitely look into an earlier time. This breakfast has THE most characters you will see at any of the character meals. I am sure your kiddos will want to see them all and have the customary autograph and picture taken.

As for the Fantasmic package, we did this last time but will not be doing it again. We are happy we did it just once, but will be using that money this trip to do the Happiest Haunts tour. We found that we did not eat alot of the stuff that was in the box. Also, you need to make sure you go and get in the sign in line nice and ealy so you can pick the front row. We didn't know about that at the time and ended up sitting behind someone who had their child on their knee and it was very hard to see. It is a nice memory, but, not for us again!!!

Just my thoughts though!

Can't wait to hear what you think of the Blue Bayou. We are going there this trip and we are really looing forward to it as we did not get there last time. You will just love the Big Thunder BBQ, it truly is amazing and the food just keeps on coming!!!

I just realised I can actually do ours tomorrow!!!!!!!

Not long to go now. Woo Hoo
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:09 AM   #25
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Your dining plan looks great! I made one reservation for Napa Rose for my trip. Decided to try NR instead of Blue Bayou. Wish I had time to do more.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:41 PM   #26
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Hello, we're going during Halloween time, too and I can't wait. Tomorrow the HM goes down for the HMH overlay! So excited We love the BBQ at Big Thunder, we eat there every time. The kids love it, the food is great and it's all you can eat. We only book two table service places when we go cause we're usually only there for three of four days. We also enjoy the Cove with thier lobster nachos (can substitute chicken if you want) and tri tip sliders. The Cove is in DCA and is attached to Ariels. The Pacific Warf has tasty soups in bread bowls. At the DLH there is Tangaroa Terrrace and Trader Sams. Tagarora serves great burgers and Trader Sam's has some amazing drinks
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:07 PM   #27
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So - we are just days away from our trip...tonight I am planning on putting the finishing touches to my Princess Jasmine costume for the Halloween Party we're going to.

Really can't wait! I am looking forward to all of it! I think I've organised the life out of this trip and have my handy itinerary all done...just a few more days of work and then we will be setting off!
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:14 PM   #28
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Just back!!

Just back from an absolutely wonderful week! Thanks to everyone on the DIS boards for all the fantastic information. I will start a proper trip report when I get over the jet lag, but here are few thoughts in the meantime...

Halloween Party was wonderful! We would have gone again on the Friday had it not been sold out...

World of Colour was amazing.

Fantasmic! was amazing +1 !! The dessert package was worth every cent!

We met so many characters just wandering around.

The Haunted Holiday Mansion was awesome.

We loved pretty much all the rides we went on - favourites were RSR and Little Mermaid and Pirates.

We are all now addicted to Churros!

Carthay Circle was gorgeous.

Park Vue Inn was fabulous!

We all had a fan-tas-tic time and are starting to save up already to go back (may take us a few years of saving !)

As Tigger would say T.T.F.N - will write more and post some pix after a sleep .zzzzzzzzzz...
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:07 PM   #29
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Sunday 14th October - Day One - Getting ready to visit a place we have seen in our dreams

Travelling half way across the world

So after staying overnight in London, we were up early to get a taxi to London Heathrow airport and check in for our 11 and a half hours flight to LAX.

In the airport lounge waiting to board our plane things got a little Hollywood already as Jamie Lee Curtis was a fellow passenger on our flight. The flight itself was really really bumpy turbulence like I have never known and for quite a while, around three hours ! Now we are all calm flyers, my mum (Disney Granny or DG) used to be an air stewardess and DS7 and DS5 though it was great fun, like being on a rollercoaster! There were a few panicky people shrieking around about us, and I couldnt help wondering if up in First Class Ms Lee Curtis was trying out that favourite old Scream Queen shriek!! Probably not, turbulence is probably not allowed in First Class

The worst part of the bumpiness for us was that they weren't serving hot drinks DG and I missed having a cup of tea. Were British, remember a cup of tea is very important to us! The quest for a cup of tea becomes quite a recurrent theme during our Disney adventure!!

The flight landed fine, DS5 falling asleep just as we started to land and getting through passport control and luggage retrieval was fairly swift. We found the Disneyland Express bus stop straight away and were lucky to have the bus pull up almost straight away. The service was very good, the driver very friendly. It was a wrapped bus with the Disneyland Express design all over it. Whilst this looks so pretty from the outside, we found it a little frustrating that we couldnt see out very well, I wanted to get a good look at the Disneyland Hotel when we pulled up there but no dice.

So we pulled up at Park Vue Inn shortly after the Disneyland Hotel and we were all really impressed with this hotel/ motel. I was a little wary as there has recently been a lot of negative reviews of the hotel, actually between me booking it and the time of our trip. However, we found our room on the second floor at the back of the hotel to be super clean and comfortable, and we never had an issue with noisy neighbours. The staff were all really courteous and went out of their way to help us on a number of occasions. And it was just fabulous to be able to walk to Disneyland in 5-10 mins.

So we've all been awake at this point for just about 20 hours and of course the first thing the DS7 and DS5 wanted to do was hit the pool.

It is such a novelty to be swimming outside for them, it just doesn't happen in Scotland! All our pools are inside, its too cold year round for outdoor swimming. The pool area was lovely, although it is in the car park of the motel, its landscaped really well with walls and plants all around so you dont feel you're in the middle of a parking lot. They have lots of loungers (thank goodness, thats where a very tired DM and DG spent the half hour!) and towels, and a nice hot tub and all very well maintained. All in all a great little pool.

After their quick dip, we were all feeling shattered, so decided to venture no further than the iHop next door for our dinner. It was just what was needed, simple food and quick service for the four weary travellers. The kids loved all the Halloween décor in the restaurant.

We were just starting to realize the difficulty of the Cup of Tea quest. Bear in mind we were all tired beyond words! DG asked for tea, clarified she wanted hot tea and was brought a pot of water with Lipton tea bags and lemon on the side. Okay, it's a make your own tea idea we can do that BUT the waitress had gone away before we could request some milk. And of course then there were no waiting staff around for ages. Okay, this tea might be getting a bit strong while we wait. The next waiter to pass took our request and brought a big glass of ice-cold milk - we were in a state of over-tired hysterical giggles by this point. So, with a little careful milk pouring, DG finally got her long-awaited cup of tea. I learnt not to even ask for my favoured Earl Grey!!

We were all too tired to even chat by this point and dragged ourselves back to our room, all thoughts of trying to stay up to watch the Sunday night fireworks from the hotel terrace forgotten. We did hear them though through our sleepy haze - just!

Coming up next - Day Two...Hollywood and Halloween
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:48 AM   #30
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Monday 15th October - Day Two - Part One – Hollywood

The next morning began for us all around 6am - here's the benefit of UK to LA time, we were all wide awake and ready to start the day.

So after 19 years (for me) 10 years for DG and never before for DS7 and DS5, we wake up practically opposite the happiest place on earth, Disneyland, our long wished for and dreamed of destination, and what do we do...

...take a taxi to Universal Studios of course!!

The Reason? - the way I'd worked out our 5-day Park Hopper tickets meant that today was a good day for a half day trip to Universal, returning for Mickey's Halloween Party tonight, and not using one of our 5 days!

We had a great breakfast at the Park Vue Inn, I was really impressed with the selection every day we ate breakfast there.

We pre-booked a car from 4Most Coach Private Transportation and they were great, would recommend them highly. Our driver, named Van, who looked like film star himself, took us to Universal, pointing out sights on the way, such as Beckham's penthouse flat and Ron Howard's new house being constructed.

Now, I don't know if all this was true - I have a friend who used to work as a guide on the London Eye and was quite happy to tell tall tales to the tourists about famous sights to see - but we were in LA and happily (gullibly?) took in all the stories. It was fabulous to see the Hollywood sign too!

We arrived at Universal Studios at around 9.30


We walked the red carpet, and were let in shortly after for a rope drop at the centre of the park.

First stop for us was the Transformers ride which is on the Lower Lot , so we headed straight for the many escalators. The film trivia announcements on the escalators were all about music from the movies "Ragtime did not bother the popular music charts in the 1970s - that was until the 1973 Oscar-Winning movie The Sting made Scott Joplin's The Entertainer popular" Hmmm quite interesting...

We walked right on to the ride. It was absolutely incredible - just amazing, and this comes from a die-hard Harry Potter fan who thought the Forbidden Journey ride couldn't be equalled: Transformers is definitely its equal, they are both just excellent. I'd say you'll get more out of the ride if you've seen the Transformers movie first though, as we had, just so you'd know who Optimus Prime and Megatron are for instance.

And guess who we bumped into outside - Bumblebee!

We were the second to last in the (very short) queue to meet Bumblebee so when his visiting time was up we saw him stalking off up the street. DS7 commented, really seriously, that it would have been easier for Bumblebee to transform into a car and drive up the street, yeah, chimed in DS5, silly Bumblebee. Don't you just love how everything is unquestionably real to kids at this age, I find it wonderful! : and difficult sometimes to keep a straight face!

Next up we walked onto Jurassic Park

We were right at the front of the boat and of course got soaked! It was such a warm day we soon dried off. We had to spend a while in the Jurassic Park shop where DS7 added to his dinosaur toys collection.

We then headed up the many many escalators to make our way to the Studio Backlot Tour. ...Ragtime did not bother the popular music charts in the 1970s,that was until the 1973 Oscar-Winning movie The Sting made Scott Joplin's The Entertainer popular... hmmm...

We were aware that we only had a half day at Universal Studios, and so had pinpointed the 3 things we absolutely had to do and we'd done the first two (Transformers and Jurassic Park) within the first half hour!!

On our way to our no.3 must do, the Studio Backlot Tour we bumped into Homer and Marge Simpson.

Here our luck with no queues ran out, we waited for the Studio Backlot Tour for around 50 minutes actually our LONGEST wait for anything the whole trip! It was do-able though, the DSs were really good at waiting and would watch the tvs along the winding route of the queue. We had some snacks and drinks with us, We even had a visit from Doc whilst we were in the queue.

We finally got onto our tram, our guide was a hilarious guy called Dan, and all those minutes queueing were soon forgotten as the Tour was AMAZING. Do not miss this if you go to Universal Studios. There were a few silent spots as they were filming CSI and a movie called Little Rascals 2. The latter was filming in the town square so I didn't get to see that as it was in Back to the Future, but I did get to see the Delorean!

Coming up next - more Hollywood adventures...
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