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Old 10-16-2014, 12:11 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 95

A Nightmare before DIsney: The BEST trip that SHOULD have been the WORST TRIP (PT 1)

This is my first trip report so bare with me…actually this first part is more of a pre-trip report.

First, I titled it this way for a good reason; have you ever had one of those times where you planned something – Reaaaaly wanted it to happen but it seemed like everything in the universe was conspiring against you to prevent it? And, because you wanted it so bad and BELIEVED it was meant to be, you forged through, adjusted fire at every undulation, and make it happen anyway…and later ended up regretting it and wishing you would have listened to all the “signs” fate seemed to be throwing at you to leave it alone?

Well this trip was something like that –EXCEPT it didn’t end the way I expected. I’m a Taurus and though I don’t believe in the whole “stars” thing, I absolutely fit the ‘stubborn bullheaded’ designation astrologists would apply to me. In my life I HAVE tended to force things once I have decided its what I want- despite all hurdles or warning signs. Sometimes that works out for the best, other times (like my marriage)-not so much, lol.

Well with all the missiles fired at me in the planning of this trip, I fully expected to be dead at the end of it- IF it took place at all. The night I finally loaded myself, my son and his best friend into the car to leave, I honestly wasn’t sure we would get to Anaheim or if we did, if we would make it back alive or in the same vehicle; I fully expected a breakdown or and accident of something because of all I had been through to get to this point. All the signs pointed to “You are NOT supposed to go on this trip” but my Taurus nature angrily and stubbornly stuck to it…and as I sit here today, I am GLAD I did because It. Was. AWESOME!

I have to say I have NEVER had this much trouble and drama planning a Disneyland trip- EVER. But I also never had so much fun…


I posted on here that I was planning to take my Mother and Father to Disneyland because my father had just beaten terminal cancer and on a recent and rare visit to my house (they live in AZ- I live in TX) he was lamenting about how long it had been since he had been to Disney (Over 20 years). I decided then and there that I wanted to get him there- and my mother and brothers to0. My father is the one who “introduced “ us all to Disney- he took my mom there for their honeymoon over 30 years ago and it became a family destination throughout my childhood. My mom is a Disney fanatic and sometimes would muse about how great it would be for all of us to go there together once more- sort of a reunion. So with that in mind, and the fact that we rarely see each other and my dads near death experience reminding me how little time we had together, I set out to make it happen- come hell or high water, and I turned to this site for advice on how to do it on the cheap (Thank you to those who introduced me to GetAwaytoday).

So after settling on Getawaytoday as the cheapest and most convenient option, my FIRST dilemma arose with the dates. Ugh. Just when I finally got my parents availability to align with mine and my brothers, my research on forums like this one and Mouse Ears alerted me to events like Gay Days and the NotSoScaryHalloween party which would make the parks super crowded and close DL early on some nights. I ended up changing the dates 2 times before I settle don days that would be tolerable crowd-wise and still fall into all of our availability dates; October 9-12. I was kinda bummed that I still couldn’t get around at least one night of early Closure at DL but figured we would migrate to DLCA in that night. (*THANK you to all the people who informed me of these events and prevented me from planning the trip during the busiest days).

My SECOND dilemma arose when I discovered a 3 day park hopper was a better deal than the 2 day PH I was originally planning- and that given all the new expansions to DLCA since I had been there last in 2010 (Carsland etc…) I would probably need at leas t 3 days to see it. So though originally I had planned our arrival day (Thursday) to be a relaxation day and go to the parks Friday and Saturday, with the 3-day tickets, I needed Thursday to be a park day. This meant taking an extra day off work so I could get to AZ Wednesday night and leave to Anaheim with family early Thursday morning (6 hour drive) so we would have most of the day left in the park and not end up wasting a whole day that I paid for.

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Old 10-16-2014, 12:12 PM   #2
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Part 2...

My THIRD dilemma arose when the number of people going changed. It went from my son, my parents, one brother, and me to adding another brother, possibly my daughter, and my son’s best friend. MY MOM told me that she invited my other brother (I didn’t invite him only because he had just got a divorce and I wasn’t sure he could afford the trip) and he said he was going. (REMEMBER THAT…my MOM said…)

OK, cool- the more the merrier but these additions forced me beyond my budget, and into changing my reservations at my original hotel (Desert Palms Inn ) and trying to find one that would accommodate 8 people. NOT easy. Again, I hit the forums and Trip Adviser and Yelp and settled on one of the few places that had everything I was looking for- including free parking and hot breakfast 

So September 2nd I called GetAwayToday and told them about the necessity for a bigger suite. Since I had opted to pay the trip insurance fee (GET IT, PEOPLE!!) the change didn’t cost me anything and I was soon booked at the Best Western Raffles in And Suites “Family Suite”- Two rooms, two bathrooms, two TV’s, two queen beds, a sofa bed, and a bunk bed- enough accommodations for 8.
Also, I now had to rent a bigger car. I decided it was more economical for us all to take one car rather than pay for gas for two cars but now I needed something larger- like a mini van or full sized SUV because my Jeep Liberty only seated 5.


My FOURTH Dilemma arose when it came time to decide what to do with my baby girl. Having been to Disney many times, I always felt a mix of sympathy and mild contempt for people who brought newborns with them. I felt bad for the baby and the parents but also sometimes mad at the parents. There really isn’t anything for a newborn to do at Disney – most of the time it seemed like they were just sitting there in the heat sleeping or soiling themselves. It wasn’t like they would remember any of this or there were any rides for them that they would enjoy of understand. And the adults were prevented from doing things or had to constantly have someone “with the baby”; plus I thought it was just mean for the baby- when you think about it, its 16hours sitting in a stroller in the sun… I always vowed never to do that to my kids and have a certain “age” where I will take a child to Disney- not below that. I took my son (now 15) and daughter (now 18) when they were 4 and 7; my new baby has just turned a year so I didn’t want to put her through Disney yet.

My husband and I don’t live together AND because of school and other circumstances, he wasn’t able to go on the trip with us (long story- don’t ask) but he’s very involved with us and his kids so naturally, he would be the first choice to leave the baby with.

But, I didn’t ask him right off because in the very beginning, while I was tossing round the idea of doing this trip, Ii was talking to my sister in law who was lamenting how she had yet to see her “beautiful niece” (she has a 2 year old boy but this woman wants a baby girl so bad I believe she would kidnap one if she thought she could get away with it). OS when I asked her what she thought about my brother and her going to Disney, she jumped at the opportunity. She said she couldn’t take the time off but my brother could go and since I would be headed that way anyway, she would keep my daughter as it would give her a chance finally to spend time with her.

So we settled on that plan. WE…two ADULTS…settled on this…TOGETHER…
I emphasize that point to YOU all because I’m too good of a daughter to say it to my meddling parents …

2 days after us two grown women make our decision, I’m coming out of the gym and get a text from my mom telling me, “ Your brother and **** got evicted from their apartment so **** wont be able to watch ****(my baby), NONE of us are going now! SORRY BABYGIRL!!!”


You can imagine my dismay! This came way out of left field, and very sudden. After all my planning, and I had already paid for everything. Even though I had trip insurance (GET IT, PEOPLE) and could still get the refund, I had already told my son and he was already excited and frankly, so was I. Plus, I had NO missed calls of text messages from my sister-in-law saying there was any change in plans so I was confused- and a little irritated that she wouldn’t tell me herself and would send my mom to give me the news.

So I text my mom back and asked her what my brothers eviction had to do with her and my DAD not going since THEIR trip was paid for (I bought my parents tickets) and THEY still had a home? Also, that I hadn’t heard anything from *** telling me about the change of plans.

Right after I sent that text, my sister in law texted me and said “ ME and *** (my brother) had to move into a new place but DON’T WORRY, this doesn’t change anything!! I still want to keep ***(my baby)”.
Now, completely confused, I call my sister in law and tell her what my mom had said. She is totally baffled- she NEVER said anything like that! Turns out my mom had just decided that for her and everyone else without asking anyone…UGH!

So I txt my mom and tell her my sister in law has NOT changed her mind and doesn’t know what she’s talking about and my mom says “Oh ok, well, we’re all still going! Yaaaay!”


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Old 10-16-2014, 12:13 PM   #3
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Part 3

My FIFTH Dilemma happened mid-September when my mom texted me that my dads mother had died. I immediately called him, fully prepared to cancel the trip and help him get to the funeral in Wisconsin if he needed it but to my surprise, he seemed OK and said nothing about going to the funeral Now, admittedly my Step Grandmother wasn’t the nicest person- she made my moms life hell and practically disowned my dad; my parent’s protected us from a lot but from what I did know of her she was a mean spiteful person and my dad raised himself since he was 9 years old. I asked my dad if there was anything I could do but he said for me not to worry. He said yes it was his mother but the never had a relationship- that she sent him off to boarding school when he was 9 and to live with his aunt who raised him, and that she always blamed him and hated him for her husband leaving her even though he left her because he came home from WW2 early and found her in bed with another man- she always told him it was HIS fault. I felt sad learning all of this and sad that my dad couldn’t mourn his mother but I understood because when my own biological dad passed, I didn’t feel anything either because had no relationship with him. My dad reminded me when he said, “ The way I feel about my mom is the same way you felt when I called you years ago and told your father was dead. Do you remember what you said to me?” I said I didn’t and he said, “You said, NO he isn’t, I’m talking to him right now”…

So when he said that, I understood and knew the trip was still on :P


My SIXTH dilemma was actually a little scarier and almost canceled the trip.

A week before departure day, I get a text from my mom asking us all to pray for my dad and that she is taking him into the mayo clinic that afternoon.
So naturally we are all worried and I call my mom straight away.

She tells me, “Its his heart” and that they are prepping him at that very moment to go into surgery for a pacemaker. I talk to my dad briefly- he’s in good spirits as always and tells me not to worry- that his heart rate was like 30 and it’s a good thing he went in when he did because he could have dies but the pacemaker was very routine and he should be up and about very quickly.

So While he’s in surgery I research and ask around to people who knew people with pacemakers and they all assure me it’s a common procedure and that my dad should come out even healthier than he went in and enjoy a normal quality of life. Phew. But I make mental plans to cancel the trip anyway….

My dad calls after the surgery and tells me he cant go – which I understand completely. But he tells me to give his ticket to my brother (the one who just gto evicted) s I agree.

I go home and break the news to my son. He is upset his grandparents aren’t going but he understands and is relived that at least his uncles are still going.

The next day my mom texts me (she is BIG on texting) “ We are STILL GOING!! DON’T GIVE MY TICKET AWAY K??


So I tell my son his grandparents are going after all. He’s Happy again.

The next day, my dad calls and says they are not going and to give their tickets to each of my brothers and go have a good time.

So I go tell my son his grandparents aren’t going. He’s bummed again.

UGH! Parents!!!

My SEVENTH dilemma arose when my sister in law asked what the dates were that we were leaving. Keep in mind, I had told her and everyone else the dates about five thousand times over the last month- I don’t know if they all have Alzheimer’s or their text messages auto-delete so they are unable to just scroll through the history and READ the dates again…

Anyway, I tell her (again) and she says since its during the week, she wont be able to watch the baby after all because she cant take that many days off work.
This doesn’t start out as a problem because I figure I can leave baby here with her dad. Sister in law asks if I trust her to leave baby with HER son’s sitter that watches him while she’s at work. I say its OK if its ok with my brother. It is. So we TWO GROWN WOMEN make our OWN decision to do this.
Like I said, this “dilemma” doesn’t become a problem until after this next one…
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:14 PM   #4
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Part 4

EIGHTH dilemma. Ok so now its just a couple days before we leave.
I go online to look for a mini van and hit my next big hurdle. I can’t rent one! Ugh! Apparently it slipped my mind when I closed my bank account in San Antonio 8 months ago that I might possibly NEED a checking account in the future. I’d had that bank account 20 years and very rarely used it in the past 7 years; I don’t write checks and I had a savings account here in the city I live in which is a good 800 miles from San Antonio. Over the years it was more and more frustrating doing transfers and such because of the distance- the final time when my inability to actually go into the bank and talk to a real person caused my paycheck to be delayed a whole month, I decided to close it and have all my money deposited into my savings account here and get a checking account here. I was pregnant at the time so I put off Bank-shopping for a new local bank and just used a pre-paid card when I needed to pay bills. I don’t have credit cards either those get me into trouble lol) so here I was, no Debit card, no credit card and you need one or the other to rent a car. Blah!

So I’m thinking now I have just two days to rush and open a checking account somewhere (an idea I HATED because I don’t like doing anything without plenty of research first) with no guarantee I would get the debit card the same day or if it would be “mailed” to me which would do me no good. Even that idea had to be nixed because I work until 5pm and by the time I got off, all the banks would be closed.

So the next idea was to ask a friend to rent for me. But even when I told them I would pay for the extra insurance and the extra fee to add a second driver so there would be no risk to them, none of m “friends” would do it. Honestly I couldn’t blame them on one hand- it was a risk I’m not sure even I would take- on the other hand, I have rented cars a million times in the years they have known me and taken this same trip and never once had any incidents or accidents so their mistrust of me was kind of offensive and irritating.

So I called my parents and asked them if their Van would make the trip because we would now have to take two cars. They said they didn’t think so but that my sister in laws car was bigger than mine. Remember that….THEY brought up the idea of using my sister in laws car…

So I call her and tell her what’s going on. She says her car is big enough and we should just swap cars when I get to AZ; she takes mine and I take hers. She just needed to put a new tire on hers. SO I tell her that’s a good plan and that I will pay for her new tire when I get there. So WE TWO GROWN ADULT WOMEN decide that’s what WE are going to do.

I make the MISTAKE of calling my parents and telling them our plan. My dad says it sounds good and that he and my mom will pay to put a new tire on my sister in laws car.

THE NEXT day- ONE day before we leave, my dad calls me at work and tells me “Yah, me and Ma were talking and you cant take ****’s car.”


By this time I have to admit I am P.O’d! I wont lie- I was literally biting my tongue and talking through my teeth…

I say as evenly as I can while gripping the phone the way I wanted to grip my parents necks, “What? Whats the problem now?”

“Yah, she don’t have any insurance for it…”

“She HAS insurance dad…”

“Yah but not for YOU. You’re not on her insurance so if you get pulled over there in California they impound the car!! In California the OWNER of the car has to be present if you get a ticket or they impound it and only the owner can pick it up—she’ll have to come all the way from Arizona and pay a huge feel just to get her car out of the impound!”


What kind of far-fetch scenario??? Are my parents just sitting at home TRYING to think of ways to ruin this trip??

I tell my Dad that I have never heard of anything like that (The jury is still out on whether he was accurate or not since I’m not from California and neither is he)..
I also tell him that here in Texas I have let people use my car and if they get a ticket (my daughter did once) THEY get the ticket- not me, and my car was never impounded even though I’m the owner and the only one listed on the insurance.

My dad says “Well, this is California, not Texas and they have different rules there…”

I tell him that even if that WERE true, I’m a good driver and I’ve made this trip a dozen times and have never gotten into any driving trouble. Also that my car was as much at risk as her was since we were going to be swapping cars- she would be driving mine around in Arizona while I had hers in California.

My dad says yah but **** can’t afford to go all the way to California whereas I would be in AZ anyway, “ Oh, and w me n ma will go pick up your brother and bring him here”, (my parents live in Scottsdale and my brother and sister in law live in Flagstaff), “Yah so she won’t be able to watch **** (my baby) either now since you don’t have any reason to go to Flagstaff anymore”.

I’m angry now. I mean, I know my dad just had a pacemaker put in but right about now I’m feeling like I need one too…

I’m trying less successfully now to keep the aggravation out of my voice and ask my dad, “ Look, whose idea was this?”


“I mean, who thought of this whole insurance scenario? Was it **** or YOU?”

“Well…I did…”

“See, dad, why would you do that? Why would you just sit around thinking of wrenches to throw in the trip?”

“I’m not doing that, but I’m not gonna let ****’s car get impounded just so you can go to Disneyland…”

Still trying to be civil I grind out, “Dad, me and *** already decided that’s what we were going to do. And you and mom keep going behind us and making changes without asking any of us. Like when *** and I decided together she was going to keep the baby and this is the second time YOU and mom have changed that …”

“Well, she doesn’t know any better and why can’t ****(my husband) watch the baby? What kind of father can’t keep his own child for a couple of days? That guy is a LOSER…”

Right there I cut him off. I tell him my sister in law ASKED, no, BEGGED to keep her niece because she had never met her and this was her opportunity and that my husband was MORE than happy to keep his baby and didn’t know about the arrangement I made with my sister in law until AFTER we made the plans. This shut my dad up and he kind of sheepishly backed off of that but said, “Yah well, anyway so yah, you just come here and can pick up your brothers here and let **** (my husband) keep ****(baby).

I told my dad how frustrating all these changes were—what I REALLY wanted to tell him was that he and my mom needed to butt out and stop going behind me and making decisions for us; that my sister in law and I were two GROWN women who had made our decisions and they had no business or authority making changes to that; that this trip STARTED out as a trip for my Dad but since he was no longer going, he didn’t have any say in how we went about it; that all these back and forth changes in plans were irritating not only me but my brother who was already threatening to back out because they kept changing everything and if one brother backed out- the other one would, and I would be stuck having spent over $2000 for nothing AND my son was disappointed enough that his grandparents weren’t going but if they didn’t BUTT OUT, he would lose his uncles as well and it would be their fault for meddling…


But I didn’t say any of that. I just said, “Ok, fine. But do me a favor, if you two think of anything ELSE or any MORE changes you want to make, please tell me BEFORE I leave tomorrow…” *click*
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:15 PM   #5
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Part 5

Dilemma NINE. That afternoon I’m shopping and my daughter texted me begging to go with us. I didn’t include her because she is well- going through a “bad choices” phase which is why she no longer lives with me and has a pot-head boyfriend who has her convinced she can’t go ANYWHERE without him. I knew she wouldn’t go unless he could go and there was no way in Gods beautiful planet earth I was having that loser in my car with me. Earlier she confirmed my assumption when my husband told her about the trip and asked if she wanted to go- she said “no thanks”. But now she changed her mind- which would have been OK except now that I was taking my own car I only had room for 5- she made six. Also, I hadn’t budgeted for the extra person and had given my parents tickets to my brothers. So I had to text my brother and ask him to pay for his own ticket so I could give his to my daughter. Then I had to cut way back on the luggage so my daughter could fit in the back of the Jeep.
Dilemma TEN…
So now the plan is to leave my baby with her dad. There’s only one tiny problem- he goes to school during the day and has a bunch of mandatory classes he has to do during the day. My daughter has a very good nanna who keeps her during the day but my husband has no drivers license (don’t ask) and lives about 13 miles from the sitters house. He would have to take the bus but logistically he would never be able to make it work- busses here are sloooooow. So I had previously asked my “Best friend” if she would keep baby until Friday evening at which time my husband could take over IF for some reason the sister-in-law fell through. She said sure unless she was out of town or something. So texted her and asked her. She replies “Sorry, we can’t- too much going on”.
I’m NOT happy! Now SHE’S backing out on me?? Its only two stinking nights- she can leave her with her nanna during the day! I asked her to reconsider and tell her how much it means and I might have to cancel- or bring baby to Disney with us which I couldn’t do because once we got to AZ my five seater jeep would be carrying SIX people and luggage and there wouldn’t be room for a car seat.

She texts back “Sorry…still can’t”

I’m not going to type the name I was calling her in my head…let’s just say “Minnie Mouse”. And even as I’m writing this I haven’t spoken to “Minnie Mouse” or replied to her texts.

So I leave the store and go to pick up my baby from nanna. Her nanna is amazing- my baby girl LOVES her and she treats my baby like she’s her own. It occurred to me that I could ask nanna. Im a little nervous to- three days is a long time to ask but Imo out of options. I don’t know if my desperation was showing in my face or what but I didn’t even finish the sentence before she said “Whatever you need! I would LOVE to! Don’t worry about a thing!” *phew*!!
Awesome lady! See, that’s the kind of response you’d think I would have got from “Minnie Mouse”, my so called “Best friend” of 8 years.


My FINAL Pre-trip dilemma arose that night –the night before departure. One of my brothers texted me, “Nah, I’m not going- too much $$$ “


Oh heck NO! I was NOT having ONE more change- NO WAY.
I told him his ticket was paid for (my daughter had backed out again) so the only $$$ he had to worry about was his spending money and that could be as little or as much as he wanted. Plus he was not married and had no kids and had a ton of money in savings so I knew he could afford the trip.

He said he never really wanted to go in the first place. I asked why he told my mom he wanted to. He said he didn’t- that she asked him to go and he said “yes” just to make her happy but since my parents weren’t going anymore there was no reason for him to.

I was so mad I think I blacked out and some otherworldly creature took over my fingers and started texting my brother. I can’t relay what I said to him (cuz, like I said, it wasn’t ME texting) but needless to say the end result was that he decided the healthy choice was to go on the trip. Yay him.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:16 PM   #6
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Part 6

So after all of that, when I finally backed the car out of the driveway at 11:30pm on Wednesday October 8th, I said a sincere prayer over my jeep and double checked to make sure I had said “I love you “ to the people I was leaving behind. With all the wrenches fate was throwing at me to prevent this trip from happening, I was 98% certain we would get in an accident, of lost, or the engine would drop out of my car while going 70 miles an hour down I-10. Seriously, the whole way to phoenix (yes, my parent s changed the place where I was to pick up my brothers last minute. Actually, that was probably a GOOD thing because I probably didn’t need to see them the way I was feeling towards them at that moment) my heart was beating in my throat with high anxiety. It rained most of the way and I fully expected to go skidding off the road or for something horrible to happen.

But it didn’t. And once we got to phoenix and picked up my brothers, my brother took over driving and I relaxed a little more.

The actually vacation was amazing! I expected everything to go wrong but we had an awesome time. The only two minor things was that on the first day the Disney people couldn’t find our tickets (figured that would happen) so I had to call GAT and they spoke with guests services and resolved it. That was maybe only a 20 minute delay and we had our tickets.

The second minor issue was on our last day. My son’s friend LOST his ticket! He thinks it fell out whist he was purchasing a turkey leg. SEE? See everyone? THAT’S why I told everyone to let me hold their tickets but does anyone listen to me? Noooooooooo….

This would have been an easy fix had I purchased his ticket along with ours but he paid for his own and I bought it for him at our hotel.
NO, I didn’t have the receipt and I wasn’t happy about the idea of going all the way back to the hotel to look for it- IF I had even saved it. It was looking like either we were going to have to pitch in and buy him a one day park hopper or he was going to have to sit at the hotel all day and live vicariously through us…

BUT as luck would have it, it was a DISNEY employee that saved us- unintentionally and to her detriment but she saved us, Lord love her.

Security people sent us to Lost and found to see if anyone had found the ticket and turned it in. So I dragged my son’s friend over there and told them the story. The girl seemed non- helpful- not in a mean way but like she only never ONE resolution and that was it and if that didn’t work, she was out of ideas lol. She looked his name up and told us no one had turned it in but she took my phone number and said if anyone did, they would call me.

That’s it?? So what, we just walk around outside all day with our fingers crossed?
I asked her what we could do in the meantime- was there ANY other way to fix this? She told us to go to guest relations and if we had any pictures or video of him being in the parks they could probably help us.

See? Seeeeeeee everyone? Everyone was teasing me for always having my phone out recording everything and taking pictures every five seconds…NOW who’s laughing? Ha!

So we go to guests services and I explain to the lady there what the lady at Lost and Found had advised us. She looks at me like I have rabbits coming out of my ears. “She told you that???” I’m like, “well, yeah. She said if I had pictures or video I could show you and…”


Clearly the Lost and Found Lady had given us bad info. So the GS lady asks me if I had the name of the person who told us that. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble but I also don’t want her to think I was making up stories so I hand her the card the Lost and Found lady gave us. GS lady immediately gets on the phone and talks to the L&F lady’s supervisor. Pretty much chewing her out and informing her that one of her employees just sent a guest over telling them that if they had photo or video proof of being in the parks, they would give them a complimentary ticket.

I’m feeling bad knowing that the L&F lady is probably get her butt chewed but I can’t stop the flood now.

So GS lady hangs up and goes back to Pleasant Disney-Lady and smiles and says “I’m sorry. You were given wrong information- that woman is a new employee and she should not have told you that. BUT it isn’t YOUR fault and since the mistake was on our end I’m going to go ahead and issue him a one day park hopper for today”.

Other than that, everything went smooth and we had an awesome trip!
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:17 PM   #7
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The actual TRIP was SO much fun!! It was me, my 15 year old son, his best friend, and my two brothers.

I would like to say that the only thing BETTER that your FIRST trip to Disney is TAKING someone to Disney for THEIR first time. My son’s friend had had to watch him go to Disney world and Disney land over the years- waiting back at home for his best friend to return and then listening to the stories and watching the videos. Since I wasn’t sure if my daughter would go this trip or who from my family would make it, I told my son he could invite his friend- so long as his friend’s parents paid for his ticket and gave him spending $$$. I didn’t think he would be able to go- not only was it expensive but he would have to miss 3 days of school and most parents would balk at that. (My son goes to year round school and was on an Intersession so he didn’t have to miss any school). But his mom surprised me when she gave it the OK after his father (they are divorced) gave him the $. So This was his first trip and it was fun seeing him have such a god time- he had his phone out all the time recording and taking pictures of EVERYTHING. His “first time” excitement was contagious and I felt good that we bright him, knowing that if we hadn’t, the odds were, he never would have seen it- at least not until he was an adult and could take himself.

I think that every kid should experience Disney at least ONCE in their childhood before they turn 18 and the adult world closes in. I think it makes a huge difference on their enthusiasm fin life and the kind of parent/adult they become. Just my OP.

Anywhoo, I did a ton of research and question asking before I went on this trip because it has been over four years since I’ve been to DL and there were a lot of additions since then (cars land etc..), also this was my first time going during a “Holiday” season- I always do Disney in the Spring or summer months.

So I turned to this forum and of course, Trip advisor for tips and info. I have to say I am very glad I did because I would have missed a lot of stuff. I filed away all the advice on where to go, and what to fastpass etc… and it really helped.

The first day was really a half day since we didn’t get to the parks until around 3pm. First thing we did was FP Space mountain- uh, “Ghost Galaxy”. Then we tried to FP Start Tours but couldn’t. I guess the rules have changed? I was at DW in2012 and I remember being able to get 2 FP’s in succession before you had to wait 2 hours to get another one. So we hit the Matterhorn. Now, both of my brothers are younger than me and haven’t been to Disney since the 90’s. One was so young then, he doesn’t remember anything. So it was kind of like THEIR first trip too. The one that is 5 years my junior was aggravating me because he immediately started complaining about the lines. Its DISNEY! What did you expect?? I was really getting aggravated with his crossed arms and grumpy face- someone like that can bring down the whole trip. My other brother who is 12 years my junior was better and ragged on my grumpy brother so much pretty soon we were all joking and laughing so it got better.

My first brother (the grumpy one who almost didn’t go) only “liked” a few of the rides. He laughed and stuff but was like “meh” it was OK for most of them. He wasn’t too impressed with Matterhorn. But they both really liked Star Tours. We hit some more of the big rides that day-including POC and The Haunted Mansion. I have to say, I t was my first time seeing the Halloween overlay and I really liked it and took lots of pics but I honestly like the original better haha! I was also kind of bummed my sons friend didn’t get to see the original version. My son LOVED space Mountain Ghost Galaxy! He loves that ride anyway but he absolutely became obsessed with the creepy ghost –thing! We got off the ride and all he did was talk about it / He took pics of it with his phone and changed his avatar on KIK to the Ghost face lol! He went on that ride 8 more times the rest of the trip just to see the ghost again and scoured every store looking for merchandise that had the image of the Ghost on it—he didn’t find any which I thought was weird…

Indiana jones was down when we went to redeem our FP for it and stayed down the rest of the night so we did it the next day.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:18 PM   #8
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PArt 8: The actual TRIP -day 2

The second morning we were there, I took the advice I got here and got us all up and out early to head straight to the Radiator Springs racers Fast Pass (thanks to my research, I was able to locate the kiosk- I would NEVER have found it). There was a line already for the passes lol! But we all got one and were able to ride the racers at 11:30am. We only did it once but I was glad we did. My youngest brother has a 2 year old and, like me and my son and his friend, had seen the Cars movie and really was amazed at how realistic CarsLand was. Of course “Grumpy” had no kids and had never seen the movie so was like “meh”. But he did love RSR.

I was glad I had brought BOTH of my brothers because they are really close and one always kept the other one laughing and mellow. We are all a bunch of jokesters, but it’s my “grumpy” brother who is the professional stand –up comedian so even with his occasional “meh” attitude, he kept us all laughing. One thing I DIDN’T like about bringing those two was they spent the whole trip checking out chicks. Especially my Childless- newly divorced brother. He actually was instigating most of the leering. Every five minutes it was a nudge to my other brother and pointing out some “hottie” and making some comment. I was like, “Geez, do you EVER turn off? Its Disneyland-it’s not like you’re gonna take any of these girls home, ugh!”

California Screamin, Splash Mountain, Start Tours, RSR and the Tower of Terror were some of the rides my hard-to please brother really liked. It became apparent to me that he needed thrill rides and constant entertainment- not really a “show” or “parade” or “explore and relax” dude. I dreaded getting on TOT . I HATE that ride! I love the beginning but the end terrifies me! Nevertheless I get on it every time I’m at Disney because my pride demands it.

My son rode it ELEVEN times during our trip. I did it twice. Haha! I bought the picture because the face me, my youngest brother, and my son’s friend are making is priceless! My “meh” brother was sitting literally with his hands folded neatly in his lap, smiling like he’s listening to a Keynote speaker at a Tire convention! How do you sit like THAT in the middle of a TOT drop?? SMH…

Anyway, I’m skipping a lot to keep it “short”…
That night DL closed early because of the Halloween party. I mentioned it to my son- and when I explained what it was and that you could dress up and go Trick or Treating he was like, “Whaaaa????” He REALLY wanted to go, which surprised me- I didn’t buy tickets because it would have been too expensive to get one for everyone plus I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to go but now I regretted not asking him

So he begged me to check and see if there were any tickets left – of course there weren’t so he didn’t get to go which was a bummer. But we crossed over to CA and he soon forgot the party and was happy when I let him and his friend go off on their own.

My brothers perked up when I let them know there was “Alcohol” at this park and took them to Pacific warf lol! Amazing what a couple cold one can do haha! I pigged out on a tamale plat that was waaayyy too much food but I made sure to get a to-go-box haha!

I broke away from the group in the evening to go visit the mad hatter tea party- that was cool- getting my “party” on in the middle of Disney haha! I saw people walking around with drinks that had lite-up ice cubes and immediately ordered one lol! I didn’t know what it was or what was in it but I was gonna make it part of my experience  I went to “Drink Me” and asked for “one of those glow in the dark drinks” haha! Im such a light weight…
One the plus side, she carded me!

My son and his friend joined me later and of course had their cameras put recording the two girls on the trapeze…psssh..boys!

I saw “some” of the WOC. Earlier in the day I spotted the FP kiosk for it and remembered forum members saying to get a FP for it to get good viewing but I stopped short of getting it because I had my brothers with me about to go on Grizzly River and since they were more into being “thrilled” I didn’t think they would be interested in WOC.

So I ended up standing on tip toe in the back of a taped of section, just catching glimpses of it over the heads of a group of guys standing in front of me. I’m not sure it was a good show or not since I couldn’t see most of it. My sons friend found me and was able to see most of it because he’s like 6’2 – he liked it so much he waited for the second show to record it.

It was this might that my sons friend lost his ticket. Our first day at DL I had introduced him to my MUST HAVE Disney treat…the TURKEY LEG!! Seriously, that thing is worth the price of admission alone. (That and the sadly overlooked, apple pie Carmel apple) I let him have a few nibbles off of mine and he was hooked. He had a bad habit of stopping do “Do” or “buy” something RIGHT before we were getting in line for a ride and this time, as he and my son were rushing to TOT, he suddenly detoured to a turkey leg stand. Of course my son was irritated “Really?? You have to get that NOW??” and was rushing him so I think his ticket fell out of his wallet as he was hastily pulling dollars out to pay for his turkey leg.

I sent him back to look for it and ask the Vendors if anyone had found it and they said “No” so we had to wait until the next day to figure it out which kind off bummed out the rest of his night.

So much so that he came back to the hotel early after me. My brothers had left around 10…I left at 11 and my sons friend cane in shortly after. My son stayed until almost 1 until the rides stopped, riding TOT over and over and over… haha! He was determined to get the most out of these 3 days possible.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:19 PM   #9
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Part 9: tha actual TRIP- day 3

On our last day I finally got a break from my brothers. I had my son’s friend to thank. My son when ahead into DL on his own and my brothers went to ride Screaming in CA while they waited for me to handle the lost ticket debacle. Once we fixed that I walked my sons friend in to DL to help him meet up with my son. I rode Space Mountain with them and then the plan was for me to go meet up with my brothers in CA but I realized I finally had an opportunity to slow down and do what I WANTED lol! So I blew my brothers off and headed out around DL on my own.

It was awesome!

I shopped- got to browse the stores at my own pace; This trip I had a list of FOOD that I wanted to make sure I tried based on the rave reviews I had read and I was determined to try all of it even if I had to roll myself home. So I ate my way through DL- and later CA, checking food items off my list.
Red Wagon Corn Dog- Good
Plaza Inn Fired Chicken- OK but geez, with all the hype I expected way more
Pacific Warf Broccoli Soup- I just wanted to eat soup from a bread bowl! The bread was AMAZING!!!
Turkey leg- Well, I always get one of these but it deserves a mention
Dole whip: My mom’s fav. So I got one in her honor and took a pic and sent it to her. I don’t get the big deal with those though.

It was our last day and I hadn’t got any pictures with any characters- a SIN for me- especially leaving without a picture with “The Man”…Mickey. But keeping my brothers constantly entertained didn’t allow me time to watch parades or hunt down characters so this was my chance. I remembered reading on this forum about the Big Thunder Ranch and the carnival that was there so I headed that way. So glad I did! Within 30 minutes I had pics with Mickey, Goofy, Minnie, Woody, and Maleficent! I sent the pics to my son and others- my son was like , “Lucky!! I’ve been LOOKING for characters!!” I told him if he spent less time riding the same rides over and over and actually did some exploring he would find them haha!

After that I rode the ship “The Columbia” because I’m a huge pirate fan and wanted to get on it and imagine I was a Bilge Rat on a treasure-bound ship lol! I could never have done it if I had my brothers with me…too ‘slow”.

I then remembered seeing something about the Avengers being at Innovations and texted my Son and brothers to meet me there.

I didn’t expect much- maybe some games of exhibits but it was AWESOME!!! The minute we went in and saw that Iron Man display we were all crazy lol!

And may I just say… Captain America and Thor…Hoooooooooooooot!! And REAL muscles! Not padded suits!…marry me <3 <3
Seriously, they were so good they had my son and his friend all-star struck- and me blushing, I’m ashamed to say :-[

Before we went in the Start Wars music came on and I told my sons friend he might want to stop and see the Jedi Academy- which he did- and he LOVED! It was really fun watching a 6’2 15 year old get star struck with his mouth hanging open “meeting” so many “Celebrities” in one day lol!

My brothers were creeped out by ASIMO…especially when he started running and climbing stairs haha! I could just see visions of Terminator and I-Robot going through their heads lol! My son loved it! As I type, he is back at school showing the video to his friends who didn’t believe him.

Oh, and my son and his friend DID finally get a pic with “The Man”- he was at the entrance by the huge pumpkin just as we were leaving DL to cross into CA. We also finally got to see the “Remember” fireworks which was important for me for my sons friend to get to experience before he left.

Anyway, like I said, I left out a lot but bottom line, we had FUN! It was such an awesome trip, you would never believe it started out so badly and almost didn’t happen! Every night we went back to the hotel with sore feet that I could barely lift. We packed so much into every day that it felt like 5 days instead of 3. The hotel was great too. I was glad it had separate rooms because my sons friend was pretty sloppy and his feet smelled up their whole room haha! The pool was pretty small but we only used it once- the first day while we were waiting for our room to be ready. I was glad the breakfast was hot- I saved %$$ feeding four guys every morning. It wasn’t “awesome” but it did the trick.
The hotel staff was awesome too…have to leave them a good review on trip report.

Speaking of TRIP ADVISOR...
I don’t know how many remember but I was a little worried about encountering rude cast members ion our trip since I had recently ready a few reviews saying there was a decline in DL cast member service lately.

NO PROBLEMS! In fact, the cast members were all very friendly and enthusiastic and sociable. Have to give them all a gold star! Only “rude “people encountered (and not by me- by my brothers) were the actual guests. I read that some APH’s could be difficult and kind of snobby to deal with and maybe there’s some truth to that – or maybe it’s just some people who live in SO Cal and go to Disney so much they kind of lose the “magic” ? We were in the FP line at SM and this lady was walking up the Stand-by line shoving her young son and saying “Hurry the h*ll up, sh*t!”. (I didn’t hear this part- my brothers, who were behind me, did and told me later). Well, my comedian brother was talking to my other brother and did one of his random impressions- imitating the lady. I guess she heard him because she came back and was “Did you want to say something?” THIS part I did see and I didn’t know who she was talking to or what she was talking about until I saw she was talking to my brother. Now here I got nervous because my two brothers are NOT shy about speaking their mind but they didn’t embarrass me. They told her to “never mind and keep moving”- which she did- in a huff.
Later my brother said he could tell she was one of those people just looking for a fight and he already felt bad the way she was treating her son at Disneyland- a place where he was supposed to be happy, and he didn’t want to ruin his trip more by cussing out his mother lol.

Other than that, like I said, I personally didn’t have any run ins with anyone- a couple of line jumpers but for the most part people were friendly and social and the cast members were excellent.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:20 PM   #10
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Part 10 : END and a lttle sadness :(

The only sad part about the trip- other than it ending- was that my daughter didn’t go. Like I said, I knew her possessive and clingy BF would guilt her out of going if her found out so I had tried to keep him in the dark by waiting until the last second to tell her and not texting it to her because he always had her phone. Communicating with her via her Facebook, she wanted to go and was literally bombarding me with messages asking to- I said yes. But I had to leave her instructions where and when to meet me so we could grab her on our way out of town and she wasn’t checking her FB fast enough so I had no choice but to text her. I Then she called and suddenly wasn’t “sure” if she could make it because she had “a lot of stuff to do”. I knew that was BS and that her BF must have seen the message and was probably right there whining and laying another guilt trip on her. She LOVES Disney. Every trip she is the most excited and enthusiastic and bugs me every year asking when we are going again. There’s NO way she would turn a free Disney trip down. And she and him live with a single mom and neither of them has a job so I couldn’t imagine what “important stuff” she had to do.
But even though I tried to talk her into it and told her I knew it wasn’t HER choice to stay and that she could still meet me at her dads since we would be stopping there before we left, she didn’t go. I was tempted to go to where she was staying and drag her with us and have my son and his friend keep “Mr wonderful” out of the way but my husband said she was an adult and I had to let her make her own decisions bad- or good. And that this might be a good thing because she would regret not going and maybe start seeing her relationship with this guy a little differently.

On our second day there, she DID call me while I was waiting for the trolley at CA. She was sobbing—I mean SOBBING- the kind of crying that makes a mother panic and think irrational thoughts like “I’m getting on a plane and flying back to Texas and brining her back here with us!!!”. Turns out she WAS regretting not going and had woke up missing us and missing me and really wishing she were with us. I felt horrible for her and comforted her as much as I could until she settled down. Her uncles got on the phone and talked to her too. I told her I’d bring her back something- I did, some Minnie ears, a giant lollipop, and a TOT pin (TOT is her favorite ride). My brother told me not to let myself get all depressed- that she was an adult now and has to live with her choices- same thing my husband said. So I perked up – at least on the outside- so I wouldn’t bum out my son and his friend.

Too bad she didn’t go though- she is more like me in that she loves the parades and shows and we two girls could have paired off and did our own thing . Oh well. Maybe next year…

We went to Newport beach Sunday morning after we checked out of the hotel. It was fun. Not as fun as Disney but my “Grumpy” brother said he liked it better than Disneyland! !!!!
I have officially disowned him.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:37 PM   #11
Sherry E
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I moved your trip report over to our Disneyland Trip Reports forum. The main Disneyland forum is for trip planning-related threads and discussion!

I don't have time to read your trip report right now, but the title has me intrigued! I'm glad that what should have been bad turned out to be good. I'll try to come back and read it later.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
I moved your trip report over to our Disneyland Trip Reports forum. The main Disneyland forum is for trip planning-related threads and discussion!

I don't have time to read your trip report right now, but the title has me intrigued! I'm glad that what should have been bad turned out to be good. I'll try to come back and read it later.
Thanks! I knew there was a "trip report" section in the WDW forum but I didn't see it over here for DL. Appreciate that
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:55 PM   #13
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Great report, glad it worked out off you!
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:30 PM   #14
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Glad it worked out.

Future trips, maybe end the agita over baby care? When babies, we go where the parents go. Babies like being with parents. And parents enjoy being with their babies. Babies have fun at Disney (and at the mall and store and etc). Very few parents spend 16 hour days at Disney when they have infants.

And that's why they made child swap, so it's a little easier to split up on the bigger rides. When DS was 17 months then a year later the time DH and I got to spend on a ride was a good amount of time that my brother and his wife got to spend with DS. Perfect amount of time for all three of them.

My brother lives in CA, he lets me drive his car all the time when we are there, and there is no worry about me not being on his insurance.
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:40 AM   #15
Todd Lee
Sloooowly making his way "there"
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Great trip report, I read the whole thing!

I'm glad it worked out in the end. My wife and I left our 2.5 year old home for one of our trips. It made for a different trip for us, better? maybe not, but we've taken him 3 times since then!
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