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Old 10-11-2012, 05:26 PM   #16
Sherry E
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Originally Posted by PHXscuba View Post
Family trips to Disney parks

DH and I got married during college and spent a day of our belated honeymoon at Disneyland. Shortly afterward, we moved back East for graduate school. I call the next decade the Dark Years (at least for Disneyland). We were broke and far away. I made it to DL with my Dad for one day when I visited, circa 1995. I remember seeing Fantasmic and riding Indiana Jones, which had just opened.

We started having kids and moved back to Arizona, where DH grew up.

I have always had the luxury of having my parents as built-in babysitters less than an hour for Disneyland. I know I would be miserable dragging a stroller and baby around DL and missing out on rides. So when our first son was almost 5, we left our daughter with her grandparents for the day and took DS on his first Disneyland trip.


Anyone else remember the Jolly Trolley in ToonTown?

DS loved most everything, except chickening out at the front lobby of Haunted Mansion. He saw Autopia early in the day when we rode the train and kept asking when we'd go back. I guess cars are familiar when everything around you is amazing. Near the end of the day we told him he could pick any ride to do again. His answer? See the bottom of this post!!

We repeated the pattern with each of the kids in turn. Here is a meh picture of DD and DS on DD's first Disneyland trip at almost 5.


DD was normally a very outgoing, brave child. We took her for a car ride that morning and didn't tell her we were bound for DL until we reached the parking garage. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of seeing a short line for Mr. Toad first thing and insisting we ride right then. DD was in tears before we ever boarded the ride! She bawled through that and it took us a good part of the day before she'd trust a dark ride or a dark line.

Our second DD has always been petite. Turning 5, she was just barely over 40 inches, which to me is the magic height to take a kid to DL. So we made sure she had a nice high ponytail when we went. It didn't help -- she still got measured at nearly all of the big rides.


But she loved everything. After some of the experiences with dark rides with the older two, this was the first time we went on Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion. Little DD was a trooper.

In September 2008, DH and I were supposed to go SCUBA diving in Key Largo, FL. Four days before we were to leave, Hurricane Ike was bearing down on FL and they had evacuated the Keys. We had plane tickets, a babysitter, and our business was closed for new flooring during our trip. So we had to go somewhere!!


Yes, I went to Disney World on four days' notice!!! I bought the UOG and read it on the plane. We spent 3.5 days, had a great time and talked a lot about taking the kids when they got older.

During this time, we were also saving to take my husband's staff to Disneyland as a reward for some big business changes we were making. We decided to go in October 2009 because younger DS would be old enough and we'd have enough money before then. Our family of 6 plus 9 staff and family. This was our first multi-day trip (and first time in DCA) and we stayed onsite at the Disneyland Hotel. DH had stayed there one night as a kid and always wanted to return.


DS was in the "posing" stage. This is what most of that trip's photos look like.

We spent three days there and had an amazing time. It was cool and a little rainy, but it kept the crowds down. Over three days we hit nearly everything in both parks. Want to know where we had our family's first character meal (with all 15 people)? Answer at the bottom!

In 2010 we did the Give a Day, Get a Day promo and earned five tickets (DS was too young). We used that for a "bonus day" in July where we hit the favorites in DL plus the few things we hadn't made it to in the previous trip.

When I returned for that CA trip, I was recapping with my best friend (also a Disney nut) who had just returned from WDW with her family. We both expressed a desire for MORE Disney that year. She also loves Christmas like I do, so .... I said, "Why don't we go at Christmastime together for a girls' trip?"


We spent two days munching, shopping, and strolling around DL. We got free tickets from a CM friend who is a former client of DH's and owed us some money. With that savings, we booked the Holiday Tour, which I highly recommend.

2011 I spent planning for an October family trip to Disney World. By this time our older DS was 15 and I was/am seeing the time until he goes to college slipping away.


This was our Christmas card photo last year!

We spent a week there and it was great! I think some of the individual rides are better at Disneyland, but four parks full of Disney, plus waterparks, is incredible! We will go back some day, but it is far and expensive, so I'm very happy to have Disneyland just around the corner.

2012 is shaping up to be the Year Without A Disney Trip. We went to CA in July, but Carsland had just opened (too busy for me) and the older kids really wanted to go to Knott's. I did a trip report from that day. So barring some miracle trip, our next visit to Disneyland will be:

March 10, 2013!!! Only 150 days away!!

Answers:
A. DS wanted to re-ride It's A Small World (which I don't let him live down now)
A. Our first character meal was at Goofy's Kitchen!



^^That's a great Christmas card photo choice!

I remember the Jolly Trolley in its mobile days - now it sits in Toon Town as a photo op. It was always kind of a pointless ride - too short to even really bother getting on and off - but it was just something that had to be done.

I, of course, remember your Christmas 2010 trip! I remember your picture with Santa at his spot at the Disneyland Hotel.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:54 PM   #17
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I'm following along too - I tend to be quiet but I'll be here reading along. As a fellow Arizona person - I can say DL is definitely a bit of a treck but just close enough to be endlessly tempting.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #18
PHXscuba
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
I remember the Jolly Trolley in its mobile days - now it sits in Toon Town as a photo op. It was always kind of a pointless ride - too short to even really bother getting on and off - but it was just something that had to be done.
Based on the CM glaring at the camera, I'm pretty sure we actually got the Jolly Trolley in motion. I'm not a ToonTown hater like some, but it seems like they keep taking away from it (Goofy's, the trolley, ToonTown Morning Madness possibly ending?) without adding anything in.

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Originally Posted by PlutoRocks View Post
I'm following along too - I tend to be quiet but I'll be here reading along. As a fellow Arizona person - I can say DL is definitely a bit of a treck but just close enough to be endlessly tempting.
Yes, the temptation to jump in the car and go ... I can drive to DL in about 6 hours from the East Valley depending on bathroom stops! Other than the boredom factor, it's really not far at all! But the idea of dragging the kids seems to kill the spontaneous trips!

Thanks for reading!

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Old 10-15-2012, 06:00 PM   #19
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A little weekend Disney magic ... (aka Disney is everywhere!)

We had a family movie night last night (with homemade ice cream, yum!) and watched the Muppets. It was the first time for DH because he wasn't with us when we saw it in theaters. Right at the end, they show fireworks, and DH goes, "Hidden Mickey!" I had seen it but was surprised he caught it. I've never been so proud.

Also, in church yesterday, the guy behind me was wearing a tie with some dime-sized Mickey faces in the pattern. I complimented him on it and said we love Disney too. He said he had hoped the tie didn't scream Mickey ... I told him only Disney nuts like me would notice it, so it was subtle enough for normal people.

Just got DS7's new comforter for his new Phineas and Ferb themed room I am putting together ... pictures to come when I actually get it all done in the next few weeks. I am currently Best Mom Ever with the comforter and the ice cream cone I bought DS while we picked it up.

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:14 PM   #20
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The Master Plan

So re-reading the posts I've done so far, it occurs to me that I have been unintentionally vague about what/when etc.

Master Plan 1.0:

Sat. Mar. 9 -- Drive to California, stay with grandparents in OC
Sun. Mar. 10 -- Church, check into hotel, DTD
Mon. Mar. 11 -- DS' 8th birthday! Character meal? park hop
Tues. Mar. 12 -- park hop
Wed. Mar. 13 -- park hop
Thur. Mar. 14 -- Disney all day, leave to grandparents' house
Fri/Sat. -- time with grandparents, drive back

So that's 4-day PHs and four nights in a hotel to be named later. I have almost totally convinced myself to stay onsite, leaning toward the Disneyland Hotel with its recent redo and slides.

Part of the attraction to staying onsite is the Early Entry, although I'm waiting to see if they change anything between now and then). It's a spring break week in AZ, less than three weeks before Easter, and I think crowds could be heavy -- Touring Plans currently has each day about an 8/10. If we can get up early (potential 7 a.m. EE ) we could play hard all morning and relax/swim/shop in the afternoon before returning for night rides, shows, etc.

I am thinking Goofy's Kitchen brunch for DS' birthday. Maybe also a visit to Carnation Cafe. Of course, we did those last time. It's so hard to branch out with four kids' opinions on food! But I don't want to eat pizza and burgers for every meal.

I'd love your feedback, especially if anyone has had a great birthday experience with a meal or elsewhere in the parks.

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:07 PM   #21
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I pick Goofy's Kitchen for the birthday meal. To me it's just more festive.


As far as hotels I had the good fortune to stay in the Disneyland Hotel in 2011 right after they finished the refurb on two of the towers. The room was amazing so nice. One of the things I love the most about the DLH versus PP and GCH is the room size. The rooms in the PP are nearly as big but not quite.


But, if I may share in February my DH and I celebrated our 20th anniversary and we stayed at the Ayres Hotel on Katella. We absolutely fell in love with the place. From hominess of the place to the wonderful breakfast they served. It is off of the beaten path and I really liked that aspect of it. At the end of the day it was nice to relax away from the hubbub. The ART stops right in front of the door of the hotel and it is the second stop after the Amtrak station so normally it is empty when it picks you up. I really enjoyed our stay.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
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I pick Goofy's Kitchen for the birthday meal. To me it's just more festive.


As far as hotels I had the good fortune to stay in the Disneyland Hotel in 2011 right after they finished the refurb on two of the towers. The room was amazing so nice. One of the things I love the most about the DLH versus PP and GCH is the room size. The rooms in the PP are nearly as big but not quite.


But, if I may share in February my DH and I celebrated our 20th anniversary and we stayed at the Ayres Hotel on Katella. We absolutely fell in love with the place. From hominess of the place to the wonderful breakfast they served. It is off of the beaten path and I really liked that aspect of it. At the end of the day it was nice to relax away from the hubbub. The ART stops right in front of the door of the hotel and it is the second stop after the Amtrak station so normally it is empty when it picks you up. I really enjoyed our stay.
Part of the appeal of staying onsite (besides the EE) is being close enough to leave the parks and walk back to the hotel. One thing that makes DL so much easier than WDW is not having to take a bus to go anywhere.

I see us going back after lunch to enjoy the room and the amenities. Here's what would likely happen if we do:

DH would take a nap
I would try to shop through DTD
The girls would want to swim
The boys would play their Nintendo DSs

So we would all be rested after doing something different.

I had forgotten that the DLH rooms are the biggest -- this is a big plus for me with four kids sharing a room. My 6-foot DS16 and wiggly DS7 don't share a bed well, which means a cot or something on the floor. So we use every square foot!

I need to do a little more research on the DLH since we stayed there pre-reno.
--I like the menu for Tangaroa Terrace.
--The pool time is iffy in March (we're AZ wimps who are used to warm pool water).
--We got the back tower last time and I'd prefer something a little closer.

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Old 10-19-2012, 09:01 PM   #23
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I know that there are couches in some of the rooms that turn into beds so that might help.


Going back to the room is a plus especially if it is hot and you are having long days. The ground of the hotel are so nice too.



You can find menus for all of the restaurants here.

If you call you can put in a request for a certain tower. I did this once and got the tower I wanted and the next time it didn't work so it is hit or miss.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:50 PM   #24
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I know that there are couches in some of the rooms that turn into beds so that might help.


Going back to the room is a plus especially if it is hot and you are having long days. The ground of the hotel are so nice too.



You can find menus for all of the restaurants here.

If you call you can put in a request for a certain tower. I did this once and got the tower I wanted and the next time it didn't work so it is hit or miss.
Good thought on the couches! I just bookmarked the DLH superthread and when I have a block of time I'm gonna learn more about the room types. Last time we stayed there it was with a big group so I was just happy to have connecting rooms (overlooking a parking lot)! Our travel agent never put our connecting-room request in, and luckily I called the DLH the day before confirm. So no special views last time.

I guess I never think of Disneyland as "hot" because we are in AZ, where it's still 95 degrees here this week! I think spring break should be pretty nice weather; it's more the "long days" I worry about.

I have the AllEars menus permanently bookmarked

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Old 10-20-2012, 10:00 PM   #25
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Good thought on the couches! I just bookmarked the DLH superthread and when I have a block of time I'm gonna learn more about the room types. Last time we stayed there it was with a big group so I was just happy to have connecting rooms (overlooking a parking lot)! Our travel agent never put our connecting-room request in, and luckily I called the DLH the day before confirm. So no special views last time.

I guess I never think of Disneyland as "hot" because we are in AZ, where it's still 95 degrees here this week! I think spring break should be pretty nice weather; it's more the "long days" I worry about.

I have the AllEars menus permanently bookmarked

PHXscuba

The last time I stayed there my bff and I were in what they are calling the Frontier Tower now. The furthest one out and we had a parking lot view, but we were way up there so it was kind of fun too. My favorite tower used to be called Magic, no clue what the new name is. We have had both a pool view in that tower as well as a view of DTD. We liked both. In 2007 we stayed in the main tower with a view of the pool. It was a great fun view.


Yeah, I can see where heat wouldn't be a concern. Bumbershoot (Molly) was there recently and it was 105 degrees in Disneyland. I cannot imagine Disneyland being that hot. We were there for spring break a couple of times and one time it was miserable! There were cheerleaders there, and it was a crowded mess. Plus it was hot, and it made for a miserable trip. But, we went again in 2007 and it was amazing! It was warm enough to swim and no cheerleaders!


I have Allears favorited too! I love check to see if menus have changed and honestly to have an idea of meal costs.
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:40 PM   #26
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So I just read about Disney's new promotion "Limited Time Magic" next year, with every week having a new theme. Some of them seem obvious, like the Fourth of July week, or villains on Friday the 13th in September.

But I am wondering (the over-planner part of me) what we will get? The blog mentioned the Golden Horseshoe Revue coming back for a month, which I would like. It also mentioned "the Dapper Dans sing boy bands." Really? That's a theme week? I can only imagine the brainstorming sessions ...

So I will give Disney some potential other ideas for mid-March:
Hippity Hop week -- tied into Easter coming and some fab music
St. Patrick's Day -- Irish step dancing and lots of green treats
Daylight Savings Time -- begins March 10 -- keep everything open one hour later (earlier? I get confused because we don't switch time in AZ)
World Kidney Day (March 14) -- umm, I got nothing!

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Please give me a fun and amusing theme for the week, but not something SO fun that every AP holder in California will make a special trip just for this and drive up the crowds so I can't ride Radiator Springs Racers.

Sincerely,
PHXscuba


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Old 10-22-2012, 08:02 PM   #27
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Dapper Dan's sing boy bands? Oh my goodness, I can see it now. It's getting late and they need just one more idea and someone comes up with the idea, "I know let's have the Dapper Dan's sing boy bands. Everybody will love that."


I am sure that there are many of us that can give them much better and fulfilled ideas.
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:20 PM   #28
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Dapper Dan's sing boy bands? Oh my goodness, I can see it now. It's getting late and they need just one more idea and someone comes up with the idea, "I know let's have the Dapper Dan's sing boy bands. Everybody will love that."


I am sure that there are many of us that can give them much better and fulfilled ideas.
I know, right? That totally sounds like I made it up!! But it's real, right here!! Must have been a sleep-deprivation idea.

I'm sure someone has already started a thread on the DL or WDW board about "Ideas for Theme Weeks." I am excited to see what they come up with, but a little scared based on that particular gem. I don't envy them trying to come up with 52 GOOD ideas.

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Old 10-22-2012, 10:36 PM   #29
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I know, right? That totally sounds like I made it up!! But it's real, right here!! Must have been a sleep-deprivation idea.

I'm sure someone has already started a thread on the DL or WDW board about "Ideas for Theme Weeks." I am excited to see what they come up with, but a little scared based on that particular gem. I don't envy them trying to come up with 52 GOOD ideas.

PHXscuba

No I don't envy that job either. I am still laughing over the boy band thing. I am envious of the Valentines week. When we went for our 20th anniversary over Valentines day this year they barely even decorated. Boo!!
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:04 PM   #30
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DS16 is currently on his way to California with the marching band. He just texted me that the McDonald's in Blythe has been remodeled and looks nice. He picks the weirdest things to text me with, but I'm glad he does it at all!

The last two years the band has gone to DLR for an afternoon/evening -- first DL in November and then DCA last October. This year, due to time and money, they are taking the band to Medieval Times (poor, poor, knight ). I'm secretly kind of glad he's not going to DL this fall so we can experience the new DCA stuff together as a family next spring -- does that make me a selfish mom?

Of course DS also just gave the thumbs-down to a Mickey-Mouse themed bathroom when I renovate the boys' bathroom over Thanksgiving. He wants something boring like squares or stripes. Where did I go wrong?

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