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Old 12-22-2012, 12:09 AM   #31
pixleyyy
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Disneyland Day 1, Part 4


"Cars" is the movie we watched most recently before coming to Disney. In preparation for our trip and the awesomeness that I hoped Carsland would be, I had borrowed a copy of Cars to watch with the family. Let me say that having now been to Carsland, it doesn't let me down. They have captured the unique aspects of each little character and building in Radiator Springs in perfect detail. When you walk down the street in that town it is just an awesome site! Amazing work!





The first ride we came to was Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. Brian and I got in line with the kids but then took the chicken exit further on in the queue, once we realized what the ride entailed... spinning, and lots of it. Brian and I watched from a side rail and took photos of the kids riding. They seemed to like it and it did look like a lot of fun.








We decided to trek on down to Radiator Springs Racers, just so see what the wait time was. It was a full 75 minutes, which I just wasn't thrilled to wait in. Brian suggested going single ride. We asked the attendant, who said the single rider wait was under 10 minutes. Yep, that's the way we're going! Carissa and I were lucky enough to get together in a car. We hit it at just the right time, as dusk was among us and everything was just starting to light up outside in Radiator Springs. The ride was wonderful. Not fabulous, but wonderful. It's similar to Test Track in Epcot, but maybe not as well done, in my opinion. It was good and is definitely something we'll do together as a family at some point.

On the way out of RSR we came upon this site... so beautiful at dusk!







Since we single ridered Radiator Springs Racers, we had a little time to wait until Brian caught up with us. He also had the responsibility for getting the ride photos put on our card, so he had to take some time to do that. While we waited I had the kids take a photo with a photopass photographer near the Stanley statue.

I also took a minute to photograph Radiator Springs in all it's neon-lit glory.

While we were walking the road to RSR I saw the Luigi's Tire shop. In my mind I though "gee, is that really just a tire shop for people to walk through? And so many are going?" When I said something to the kids about it they pointed out to me that it was actually the Luigi's Flying Tires ride queue. Doh! In it we went.






The line was short but slow moving. Brian and Tristan rode together, Carissa and I rode together and Chase rode on his own. Some of us got around ok, some of us not quite so well. By the time the ride was over I was sort of frustrated at my lack of control of the tire and the general lameness of the ride.

When we got off the kids pointed out that we had 10 minutes to get to the Oswald animation class. Eeek! We double-time it through Bugs Land, only to get stopped by the Pixar Play Parade. They made us wait for the parade to pass and then we crossed the street, only to walk down a little farther and cross the street again. It was a hustle but in the end we made it. Our feet were sore (and for Brian, still wet), so we looked forward to a length of time spent off our feet. Our Oswald class was excellent and he was a fun character to draw. I love, love, love the animation classes! So much fun!

It had been a really long day for us so we proposed that we peruse the stores, get our stuff from the locker and then head out to find dinner. We walked to Downtown Disney (despite Carissa's grumpy demeanor... apparently she was tired and hungry - not a good combination for her but one that can hopefully be remedied by dinner and a good nights sleep).

We walked the length of DTD looking for somewhere to eat. The first things that came into my mind when we talked DTD - Rainforest and Earl of Sandwich. Right away Brian said EOS, as I've been dying to eat there again (I LOVE EOS when we're in WDW). I got my Hawaiian BBQ Sandwich and it was so good!

Carissa got a kids cheese sandwich (which wasn't enough for her), Tristan got a pizza sandwich, Chase got a chicken and bacon sandwich (which Brian tried and loved) and Brian got a ham and swiss. We all polished off our entire sandwiches. I'm not sure if they were just that good or whether we were super hungry. Maybe it was both.


After eating we headed back through DTD, stopping at a few stores on the way...

LEGO store:





^ This is one of my faves from the trip!

Quiksilver store. I regret not buying these hats for the boys because they are freaking hilarious!:


We spent about half an hour in World of Disney looking at some of the great things they have to buy. We have our eyes on a few things already...

In the end we decided to hold off on purchases for tonight, as we just got a 20% off coupon with one of our meals and we planned on utilizing that for the best deal.

We made our way back to the hotel, got our luggage and room keys, spent some time setting up and organizing things, brushed our teeth, read or relaxed a little and then went to bed. Up next, Disneyland! It doesn't seem real until we step foot in that park. Tomorrow will be here soon, so I better head to bed myself. Can't wait for what tomorrow brings!

Last edited by pixleyyy; 12-26-2012 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:51 PM   #32
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Uggh, never thought about the amount of spinning on the Mater ride. I guess I was thinking whip ride. Maybe that will be my one spinny ride for the day.

Cute pictures all around. Glad the single-rider line worked out for RSR. I'm not sure we can do that with DS7 in tow.

Looking forward to the next day's photos!

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Old 12-22-2012, 01:25 PM   #33
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GREAT pictures and love reading this! We are going next year about the same time, and it seems like you guys did quite a bit so far
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:47 PM   #34
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GREAT pictures and love reading this! We are going next year about the same time, and it seems like you guys did quite a bit so far
There seemed to be a lot of people, especially on Friday and Saturday (our last two days), but the ride lines were fairly short and we took advantage of fastpass so we could get the most done. We really did hit all the rides we wanted to as many times as we wanted, with the exception of RSR and TSMM (wish they'd add fastpass to this!).
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:49 PM   #35
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Uggh, never thought about the amount of spinning on the Mater ride. I guess I was thinking whip ride. Maybe that will be my one spinny ride for the day.

Cute pictures all around. Glad the single-rider line worked out for RSR. I'm not sure we can do that with DS7 in tow.

Looking forward to the next day's photos!

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It is a whip ride but the cars also go around in circles before whipping to the next one. I think I would have been fine but wanted to hang out with DH so we just watched the kids instead.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:58 PM   #36
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Coming up (as soon as I finish resizing the photos) is my kids most memorable moment of the trip.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:25 PM   #37
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Nice update! Now I have to tell myself 'she's a professional' when I see your great photos or I'd not feel worthy

I especially like the ones on Mater's Junk Yard and Luigi's Tires. I like the CarsLand boarders too. Were those taken by Photopass photographers?
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:47 PM   #38
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Nice update! Now I have to tell myself 'she's a professional' when I see your great photos or I'd not feel worthy

I especially like the ones on Mater's Junk Yard and Luigi's Tires. I like the CarsLand boarders too. Were those taken by Photopass photographers?
Thanks for the kind words about my photography. Even with knowledge of photography, I found it challenging to shoot there. It's so much faster pace and doesn't always lend time for changing settings while things are happening. You'll see in the next set of photos... a wonderful moment but the photos didn't come out perfect. Oh well, it's all about capturing the moments for me.

The ones with the borders are from Photopass. We purchased the photopass plus and liked that we could add the ride photos (though several of our ride photos never made it on the card... I wish I'd asked for a receipt for each one and followed up by looking for them on the photopass website each night... but there really wasn't much time for all that when you're on vacation!).

Beyond that, I actually was pretty disappointed in the number of photopass photographers around and the quality of the photos they took. I wan't looking for "perfect" photos, but as you'll see in upcoming photos, they weren't really great. Even now I'm bummed that we never got Photopass photo with the castle in the background.

That being said, without Photopass we would have ended up with only one or two family photos that were taken by strangers I accosted in the park. So I'm glad to have them.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #39
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That reminded me... one more image from last night. I had a Photopass photographer take a photo of my kiddos with Oswald's in the background. He ended up being a family favorite this trip and we brought a lot of him home... from the drawing to pins, hats and shirts.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:44 PM   #40
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Disneyland Day 2, Part 1

I was already awake this morning when the alarm went off. Today was the day we were finally going to Disneyland! Carissa and I jumped in quick showers, we ate our breakfast of Costco muffins and milk in our room then left at 8am to head to the parks for the 9am park opening.

On our walk over I got a text from good friend Melinda saying "What are you up to?" I texted back that we were walking, on our way to the park. She replied with a "Me too" and not 2 minutes later we saw this...

After over a year of talking and planning, we were actually making this happen - her family and my family in Disneyland together! We knew that with 13 people - her family of 6, both her parents and our family of 5 - there was no way we were going to be able to do everything together, but at the same time we really wanted to enjoy some moments with one another. Well, here we go!

We got through security, lined up together and entered the parks pretty quickly once the gates opened. I grabbed some photos on the way...



...and we chatted through our plans for the day - Peter Pan, Dumbo, Matterhorn and fast passes for Space Mountain. We took a spot on the tomorrowland side of the hub to wait for rope drop. We were right up at the rope and both my kids and Melinda's kids were chatting away, excited for their day at Disneyland. My boys and Melinda's boys were all reading the Hidden Mickey book, preparing for the rides we were heading to.





While we were waiting for rope drop I chatted with all the kids, getting them hyped up, telling them that we should get to Peter Pan fast and see if we could be first on the ride. Well, little did I know how much they would take that to heart. As soon as the rope was dropped all 7 kids took off running towards the castle and into Fantasyland.





I yelled for them not to run but by then they were too far away to notice. They were, of course, the first ones through the castle and the first ones on Peter Pan.

I stepped up my speed so I would be somewhat close to them and not lost in the crowd. I looked back and silently hoped the other adults were walking fast too. I saw Brian who waved me forward, telling me to go with the kids. Well, we didn't want to go without everyone else! Thankfully the kids were walking the winding queue line slowly and we were all able to catch up and ride. Score one for the day.


After Peter Pan we walked over to Dumbo and had a very, very short wait for a ride. Melinda and I rode together, the kids each rode with one of Melinda's kids and Brian took our passes and booked it to Space Mountain to get us fastpasses.

^ Cell phone photo, but so glad to have it!






Since we got on Dumbo so quickly we decided to head to Matterhorn, however we noticed that Mr. Toad's queue was almost empty. The kids went on that while I waited for Brian to join us. After their ride I had 6 of the 7 kids pile on poor Mr. Toad's car for a photo (kid #7 was back on Mr. Toads with one of her grandparents).


Next stop was the Matterhorn. I was not entirely thrilled with the prospect of riding this, as I'd last ridden it on my girls trip in 2010 and it was jerky with seats that he me slipping and sliding all over in them. Since then the ride has been outfitted with new ride cars, which are much better than the old ones. I actually enjoyed it this time.


We rode the right side of the Matterhorn queue but couldn't remember which side was supposed to be faster. The best way to find out? Ride them both! It was walk-on on both sides of the ride, so it made perfect sense to do it now. It was unanimous that the left side of the Matterhorn has the much, much, much better version of the ride.





Our fastpass time for Space was rapidly approaching so we thought we'd start to make our way over there. On our way we passed Autopia. We knew Autopia was slow-loading so decided to make a stop there. Who knew it would turn into such a fiasco!

Last edited by pixleyyy; 12-26-2012 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:54 PM   #41
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So was the wonderful moment racing to be first on Peter Pan, or something even more marvelous to come? Being "very first" on a ride is pretty cool!

I am glad to hear the Matterhorn's new cars make a difference. I loved it as a kid but have only been able to stand it once per trip the last few times because it is so jarring. DS7 is not fond of it either, but we'll probably ride it together to see if it's better this time.

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Old 12-23-2012, 11:14 PM   #42
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So was the wonderful moment racing to be first on Peter Pan, or something even more marvelous to come? Being "very first" on a ride is pretty cool!

I am glad to hear the Matterhorn's new cars make a difference. I loved it as a kid but have only been able to stand it once per trip the last few times because it is so jarring. DS7 is not fond of it either, but we'll probably ride it together to see if it's better this time.

PHXscuba
Yes, the kids most memorable moment of the trip was waiting at rope drop and taking off running... being first through the castle and onto Peter Pan. We did a video journal with the kids each night highlighting their favorites of the day and this was everyone's favorite. At the end of the week we did a "top" list of Disneyland and their top moment was that moment. It was pretty great.
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:28 PM   #43
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Just came across your trip report as we were sitting here watching Christmas with the Kranks...where they "cancel Christmas". Great report so far. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:48 AM   #44
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Disneyland Day 2, Part 2

Here we are, back at Autopia trying to take advantage of the short wait time in the early morning. We all got in cars, one after another. There were a total of 13 of us so we had quite a parade of cars.


I was near the end of the pack with Brian and Tristan ahead of me and Garan behind me. Partway through the ride I noticed that the car in front of Brian, the one being driven by Allison and co-piloted by Melinda, had stopped. Then it rolled backwards... halfway off the track.

It had become partially derailed or something, as it was really sticking out to one side. I saw a cast member and told him. He slowly, slowly, slowly sauntered over, walked right past the car and over to chat with another cast member. Then he walked to the car, looked, turned around and walked away. There was quite a lineup in front of and behind us. (That's Melinda's husband Garan behind me in the lineup.)

After a wait of 5-10 minutes we finally had a manager come, supposedly to give the all-clear so we could walk off the ride, however in the end the manger turned Allison & Melinda's car back on and told them to start driving. It went right where it was supposed to and we finished the ride.




It ended up being quite a wait for the others done before us, but they didn't seem to mind.

Since we were finally in Tomorrowland it was time for Space. We saw the posted wait time was 10 minutes so saved our fastpasses to use later in the day. I forget that the queue for this line is insanely long. It took longer to walk it then it did to wait in line. We all rode it and loved it! Soooo much better than the WDW version.

Next up was Buzz Lightyear. Brian whooped me again, as did Garan and Melinda. I don't know what it is about this game but I can't seem to get a good grasp on getting high points. Stupid game! Anyhow, the line was short and the ride was good. Can't beat that.

The Hunters wanted to ride Star Tours next but neither Brian nor I can handle the motion aspect of the ride so we both sat out. The wait was actually longer than posted, taking close to 20 or 25 minutes before they were done. At this point the Hunters needed to eat lunch. It was a bit after 11 and we had lunch reservations for Cafe Orleans later, so we decided to split up. It had been fun to spend the morning with them but I was also looking forward to spending the afternoon with my family.

Since we weren't in a hurry to eat we chose to hike to the other side of the park and start rides over there. We'd been wanting to have a big mountain showdown, to see which Disney mountain we like best of all. We'd hit Space and Matterhorn (which is an honorary mountain for these purposes... even though it's name doesn't have "Mountain" in it). Next up was Big Thunder Mountain. The wait time was short so we rode once, then grabbed Fast Passes for later.








Chase was really excited about riding Pirates so we went there next. This is just one of those classic rides that we just have to ride at Disneyland!


Our last mountain was Splash Mountain, but we stopped first at Haunted Mansion to see, for the first time every, Haunted Mansion Holiday.




It was no wait and we walked right into the first pre-show room.




We all really, really loved this version of HM! I daresay it's better than the original. There are so many little details and we just loved them all. Big thumbs up for this ride!


Now it was time to finish up the big mountain battle royale by riding Splash. We got a car to ourselves. These usually seat 6, so in hindsight we should have all moved back one seat and left the front seat open. But we didn't and oh, did we pay for it!









We loved Splash mountain and the drop was great but Carissa got soaked! That girl has so little fat on her that she doesn't stay warm very well. Add that to wet clothes and very little sunshine today and we had a wet and grumpy pre-teen. She froze for the next hour or two, even after borrowing Brian's coat (in addition to hers) and sitting in the open sun for a while. I'll get to how that affected us all in a minute...


By now it was 12:45. We had ridden Peter Pan, Dumbo, Matterhorn (twice), Autopia, Space, Buzz, Star Tours, Big Thunder, Pirates, HMH and Splash. We felt great about all we'd accomplished in those few hours of time, but now we had to get our rears in gear and get to our lunch at Cafe Orleans.


We arrived 4 minutes late for our PS, I was jokingly told. We got a beeper and I barely had time to step away before it went off. We got seated outside, which I rather like so I can people watch and take in the feeling of the area. While sitting there I chatted with the kids about what we wanted to do next. We had spotted a frozen lemonade stand, a Disneyworld favorite of ours, and decided a stop back for a frozen lemonade would be good. Then I mentioned wanting to go to the Jingle Jangle Jamboree to see Santa. We'd all worn our red and green today so we would look nice for a Santa pic. None of the kids were thrilled with the prospect but knew that it was part of the deal with the trip - Mom needs her pictures! The problem came when I told Carissa that she would have to take her coat off for the picture. That's when the grumping and waterworks started. She was cold, she was wet, she was hungry and she was her normal, emotional 11-year old self. I tried saying "It will be fine, it'll just be for a minute. Just take the coat off for the picture, not a minute before." She just kept getting grumpier and saying "But I'll be cold!". I told her that I thought she could hack it for one moment for a picture with Santa and that I really wasn't asking her, that it was what we would be doing. Well, the waterworks began, the silent tears and the runny nose and the crossed arms. I tried talking her up for a minute but that wasn't working. She just kept getting grumpier and finally I had it. I pointed to a brick wall right outside the restaurant near where we were sitting and told her to go over, take a seat, compose herself and return when she had a better attitude. Low and behold, she sits there crying, probably crying more than she was before at our table. At one point a couple of women came up and tried talking to her but she's got very good stranger training and just ignored the women, turned away and shook her head. I watched this all unfold until they went over to a castmember and explained that they thought she was lost. I jumped in to let them know she was mine and that she was just taking a moment. Our food came and she was still taking a moment. Finally Brian told her to come back to the table, sit down, wipe her face and come eat. She did eventually apologize, but it's tough to deal with these behaviors out in public sometimes. Through it all Chase was at the table with his head down trying to rest. Apparently yesterday's early morning and busy day had caught up with him.


Sorry, off the tangent there and on to lunch. I'd picked Cafe Orleans because I'd eaten here with Bek during our girls trip in 2010 and remembered the tasty garlic fries that I knew Brian would love. I also really, really, really wanted to eat the yummy beignets with berry dipping sauce (oh, and I wanted to share them with my family too) Imagine the momentary panic that set in when I realized that the beignets weren't on the menu. Thankfully I just asked the waiter and he said that they were still offered. Whew! Thank goodness. Lunch was a bit of a mish-mash. We ate here first, all the fried and sweet foods that will one day give us a heart attack (but still taste yummy!), then later went somewhere else for chicken and apples to round out the meal. Brian, the boys and I loved the garlic fries. Carissa liked them some, but the rest of us really enjoyed them. Brian especially loved them and said he could eat them every meal. I knew he'd love them. It's right up his alley!




The beignets weren't as good as when I had them with Bek (or as good as my memory thought they were at least) but the kids seemed to enjoy them and the boys ate the extras Brian and I didn't eat.




We also ordered a monte cristo to share. Chase and I liked it and shared it (Chase's comment: "Jam and ham... ingenious"). Brian had one bite and that was enough. It was just too sweet for him.

After lunch we got second lunch (mentioned above but added here because I knew the kids would love the reference to second lunch, as they all love "The Hobbit"). Then it was time for a little shopping. Carissa needed some slow time to recover, help her sniffling nose and red eyes to go away and to warm up a little more. Up next... big lemonade, Big Thunder and a visit with the big guy.

Last edited by pixleyyy; 12-27-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:34 PM   #45
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We love Haunted Mansion Holiday too! DS7 saw the Haunted Mansion in its holiday show first and still calls it "Jack's House," even though he's seen the original several times since.

I hate riding Splash Mountain in the winter because it is such a roulette if you will get wet. I got really wet once on a water ride at dusk, at about your daughter's age, and I think I was mildly hypothermic that night.

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