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Old 06-07-2013, 12:54 AM   #256
tayalltheway
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Originally Posted by laur roo View Post
TEACUP CHAIRS!!!!!!!! I want one, I want one! Those are probably the coolest Disney chair I have ever seen. Can you steal one for me? Well, not really cause I don't want to get you in trouble with Disney. And that is so cool that Goofy just plopped down with you in the teacup chair! What a fun little treat!

Do I sense some kitty foreshadowing? I mean, stray cat in DL, meow bumper sticker (even though not directly related to kitties with your explanation), and the fact that kitties are cute and irresistible?? I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Looks like you guys had an awesome Christmas, even if it was gift-light. It doesn't matter how many presents you get, as long as they're good, and in your case, Disney gifts are about as good as they come, so you made out pretty well. I love the matching Pluto hat for Duffy! I have wanted a Duffy for quite awhile now, and since he's all over your TR, I keep thinking about getting him. I wanna dress him up all cute and stuff, but I don't think I would get him a bjorn either, just cool outfits so he can travel in style.

Looking forward to more updates to see what the new year has brought you guys out in Cali!
We LOVED the teacup chairs. I so want one for our living room. If only... We also loved how much time we got to spend hanging out with Goofy. He was a lot of fun.

You definitely sense some kitty foreshadowing, but I guarantee it's not the kind of foreshadowing you're expecting. Remember, I'm really allergic to cats, so we can't actually have one (plus our lease forbids it). Just because we can't get one doesn't stop them from finding us, however. You'll see.

We definitely weren't disappointed with our gift haul in the end. Everything was really fun, and Duffy got what he wanted! You should definitely get yourself a Duffy. He's a very pleasant sort.

Hope you keep enjoying reading about our exploits

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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
What a sweet Christmas you two had! You two are really cute! Such thoughtful gifts that you gave each other too!

I do not tweet, so I don't follow the cats on Twitter, maybe if they had a Facebook page, I might.
Aw, thanks! We did enjoy our Christmas very much.

As for the cats, they are on Facebook too (facebook.com/disneylandcats) but the page is having some technical difficulties.

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Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
That's a wonderful Christmas you two had. I love your gifts to each other.

And I agree with franandaj....the two of you are soooo cute!
It was definitely a great Christmas. And we were quite all right with it not being a white one!

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Sounds like you guys had a great Christmas. I love that they were almost entirely Disney-related gifts. And love the santa ears.

Shockingly, I've never been to that zoo. Unwittingly, I'd skipped irvine regional my whole life and only rode the train this Easter. We used tickets we bought as part of a booklet for kids Easter activities. I wouldn't have paid $20 either.

Be sure to catch the Orange Street Fair at the end of the summer. Super crazy but tons of food booths etc. Go earlier in the day for fewer drunken college students.

And I haven't been to the Disneyland hotel since they had dancing waters there. Love the teacup chairs.
For almost all of our holidays, our gifts are pretty much entirely Disney related! That's just how we roll, I guess.

You should definitely check out the OC Zoo. Very fun and SO cheap. That whole park just makes for a fun way to spend an afternoon. I'm jealous you got to ride the train. Maybe someday we'll find a way to make it much less than $20.

We are definitely looking forward to the Orange Street Fair. I feel like a few random people have told us about it when we tell them where we live, so we'll have to go.

You need to pay another visit to the Disneyland Hotel, if for the teacup chairs alone! They're the opposite of comfortable, but boy are they fun!
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:12 AM   #257
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Chapter 35
…and a Happy New Year


Between Christmas and New Year’s, we actually accomplished quite a bit. We got a plant for Tracy’s pot.



And we bought a grill! My mom gave us money to get one for Christmas, so we spent our Boxing Day buying and assembling the grill so we could cook something ASAP.



As we prepared for New Year’s Eve, we tried to formulate a plan that would involve minimal expense and maximal fun. We knew we wanted to head to Downtown Disney and try to catch some fireworks, but we didn’t think we wanted to try to brave the midnight crowds. Our plan, therefore, was to head over in the early evening and watch the normal Believe fireworks from somewhere in Downtown Disney, and then head home in time for the actual New Year’s countdown to watch New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and drink our champagne at midnight. Tracy painted her nails to look all festive for the occasion.



As we headed out the door, we were still deliberating about what kind of jackets and any other accessories we wanted to wear to Downtown Disney. It was getting really COLD in the evenings—colder than we realized it ever really got in SoCal—so after much scoffing on my part, we got our heavy winter jackets out of the garage. I can say now that I would go on to eat my words after saying we were going overboard. We also brought hats, scarves, and gloves “just in case.”

When we arrived at the Downtown Disney parking lot, we saw a very unwelcome sight. Instead of offering the usual three free hours of parking, Disney was treating the evening as a “special event,” and everyone was being charged $20 to park regardless of how long you intended to stay. We were a little mad that the first portion of our plan was being ruined, but we coughed up the money and just decided we’d rather pay and be able to enjoy the festivities than turn around and go home. The cast members at the entrance to the lot were telling people that if they ate at one of the sit-down restaurants in Downtown Disney, they could get their receipt validated and their parking refunded. We had already eaten at this point, though, so we weren’t planning on hitting any of these restaurants.

We parked the car and walked through Downtown Disney trying to kill time until the fireworks. We went to sit in the Grand Californian lobby for a while and look at the tree, but Tracy started getting really bad stomach cramps while we were there.



She was feeling pretty miserable leading almost right up until it was about to be fireworks time. The only thing I could try to do to cheer her up was to try to find us a pair of the plastic “Happy New Year” top hats that everyone around Downtown Disney seemed to be wearing. Apparently they had handed them out in the parks earlier in the day, so every cast member we asked seemed to be pretty clueless as to whether we could get them anywhere in Downtown Disney. After asking the fifth or sixth cast member and coming up empty, our chances were starting to look pretty slim…

Tracy started to feel a little bit better when it came to the time when we would need to go stake out a spot for the fireworks. We decided the Esplanade seemed like a pretty good place to watch from, so we went through bag check and found that there was an entire section of people who, like us, wanted to take in the show without forking over any money to Disney.



Everything was looking fun and festive as we huddled together and waited for the show to start.





Duffy was pretty excited too.



While Tracy wasn’t feeling well at the Grand Californian, I had gone up to a cast member at the front desk and asked if I could get a birthday button for her. Since it was about to tick over to January, and that’s Tracy’s birth month, I thought it would be an appropriate time for her to start wearing her button.



Suddenly, as the clock ticked to 8:30, the fireworks show began.



Unfortunately, the music was not pumped into the Esplanade (probably to deter people from doing just what we were doing), but it was still fun to see some fireworks.



We moved forward a little and found slightly better spots to stand.



Nothing was going to come close to the magic of being in the parks, but we still had fun ringing in our own private “New Year” a few hours early. After the fireworks were done and the smoke had cleared, we walked up to the Disneyland gates and longingly took a couple pictures of the train station through the bars.



Now, we walked back out through the Esplanade and back into Downtown Disney. We weren’t quite ready to call it a night yet after all.



The ticket they had given us upon parking in the Downtown Disney lot made it very clear that we would have to go to a sit-down restaurant in order to get our parking validated and be refunded our $20. It did not, however, specify how much money we would have to spend at said sit-down restaurant. We decided, therefore, to see if we could walk up to any of the participating restaurants and simply get some dessert. We would likely spend less than $20, and we could then get a good portion of our parking money back.

The only restaurant that didn’t have a ridiculous wait was the La Brea Bakery Café. We decided to put our names on the list and see if we could get a table fairly quickly. We were quoted about a 20 minute wait, and this turned out to be just about accurate. Once we were called, we asked for seats out on the heated patio.

We were immediately brought a basket of delicious, warm bread.



This was just what we were in the mood for after we had gotten a chill in our bones while waiting for the fireworks.



For dessert, we ordered the Rustic Cherry Tart with Gelato on top.



The dessert was so good! We devoured it quickly, paid our bill, and were all ready to head back out into the cold, crowded Downtown Disney. We immediately resumed our quest to find the “Happy New Year” hats. Even though there was really nothing too special about them, by this point it was much more about finding them than actually having them. We asked several more cast members who told us that the hats had been distributed at two places in the parks earlier in the day, but that we were unlikely to find them anywhere in Downtown Disney. We asked again at the Grand Californian, and the cast member told us basically the same thing. She also said, however, that there was a party going on at Paradise Pier Hotel and she thought there was a chance they might have them there.

We had nothing better to do at this point—it was either go over to Paradise Pier or head home—so we made the trek over to the hotel. We waited in line to ask the Guest Services cast member and made it up to the desk after a few minutes. We explained our search for the hats and how we had been unsuccessful finding them thus far. She said she thought there might be some somewhere in the lobby area and went off to look for them. Tracy and I started to get our hopes up that we might finally be successful! After being gone for several minutes, the cast member appeared again carrying our prize: two “Happy New Year” hats!



Donning our new prized possessions, we decided to stick around Paradise Pier for a little while longer. We rode the glass elevator to the top floor and were very excited to see that a showing of World of Color was just starting. We staked out some places by the window and watched the show. The angle wasn’t great, but we could hear the music blaring from across the street, so it was actually a pretty decent place to watch from!



Mostly, it was just exciting to feel like we were getting access to one of the coveted Disney nighttime spectaculars in our typical renegade fashion.



After World of Color finished (notice we had now officially watched the fireworks as well as this show without paying a dime of park admission), we headed down to the third floor of the hotel. I had read earlier on a DISBoards post about how one of the best places to watch fireworks from outside Disneyland was the third floor of this hotel. Apparently, if you went out to the pool area, they would pipe in the music from the fireworks show and you could watch from one of the many sets of comfortable chairs. We had said that if we had any interest in staying for the midnight fireworks, this would probably have been the best place to watch them. In fact, as we stood out there, several people began to come down from their rooms and stake out spots for the fireworks (by now, it was about 10:45pm). We felt a twinge of jealousy at those people who would ring in the New Year watching the fireworks show, but it was SO cold, and we were getting tired after our long night. We also just couldn’t imagine fighting the traffic to get out of the whole Disneyland area after those fireworks concluded.

We headed out, therefore. Taking our receipt from dessert over to the booth specifically set up to give parking refunds, we handed it over to be validated. The cast member scrutinized our receipt for a few seconds (obviously not liking the fact that we had spent less than $10).

“You didn’t go to the sit-down restaurant, did you? You just went to the counter service,” she inquired/accused.

“No,” we insisted, “we went to the sit-down restaurant.”

She made some sort of non-committal grunt and handed over our $20 bill. Success!

Now we walked back to our car. We had just sat down and begun taking off our layers when we looked at the clock on the dashboard. It was already about 11:15pm. We were so close to making it to midnight. “Do you want to just stay for the fireworks?” Tracy asked.

I replied, “Kind of… It just seems like a waste not to at this point. And even if we do get stuck in traffic afterward, I’m sure it won’t be THAT bad.”

So we got back out of the car and re-wrapped ourselves in our scarves, hats, and gloves. We also grabbed the blanket out of the trunk for good measure.

We power-walked back over to Paradise Pier, took the elevator up to the third floor, and went outside to see pretty much the same crowd that had been there a while earlier. We dragged two chairs over to the edge of the balcony where we would have the best view and started waiting.

Even though it was only about a half-hour until the show, it felt SO cold to just be sitting still that time seemed to take forever to pass. We took it in turns to get up and walk around for a few minutes each, but mostly, we just sat there shivering.



Even our iPhones were both basically dead, so we couldn’t rely on them for much distraction. The parties in the parks were loudly raving, so we kept hearing the DJs yelling things in between breaks in the music.

As midnight approached, we tried to get together some sort of countdown, but before we were to “zero,” the fireworks began. And what a show it was. I got a few pictures but they absolutely couldn’t do the show justice.





The Fantasy in the Sky show has to have SO many fireworks packed into such a short amount of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of actual fireworks is equal to the shows like Remember, which is 20 minutes long, but this show only lasted about 5 minutes. For the first minute or two, we watched the fireworks, but something must have been malfunctioning in the sound system because the music wasn’t being pumped into our area as promised.

Then, all of a sudden, right before the grand finale, the music started blaring from behind us. The combination of Disney music and patriotic tunes while the finale erupted in a series of explosions that lit up the sky unlike any other fireworks show I can remember was such a great way to welcome in the New Year.

When the fireworks were done, we booked it out of Paradise Pier as quickly as possible. We wanted to beat the crowds and the traffic as much as we could. When we got back to Downtown Disney en route to our car, the mobs were definitely moving.



We made it to our car in record time, however, and by 12:20, we were on our way out from the Downtown Disney lot. Beating traffic, we made it home by about 12:30! On the whole, the night just felt so magical. Despite not being able to be IN the parks, we had really had a Disney New Year. 2013 was going to be OUR Disney year—we just knew it—and our whole experience was just such a great way to get it started.

Overview of December 2012

Random Photo of the Month



When we were at the Grand Californian while they were setting up for Santa, this guy was looking for a nice chair to settle down in and read his book. Even though there were all these cast members milling around setting up the camera and lights for Santa to come out, the guy settled into Santa’s chair. We thought it was funny. When he realized he needed to make room for the big guy, at least he was jovial about vacating.

Christmas Classics We Watched Again This Year
Elf (“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”)
Home Alone (“KEVIN!!”)
Love Actually (“Eight is a lot of legs, David.”)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (“I never thought it was such a bad little tree.”)
The Santa Clause (“Elves with attitude.”)
A Christmas Story (“He looks like a pink nightmare.”)

Christmas Movies We Watched for the First Time
Arthur Christmas (This one was really enjoyable! It’s definitely one I’ll want to watch again)
Prep and Landing (This was cute, and I liked it for what it was)
Bad Santa (Not really our cup of tea, and probably won’t be making another appearance next year)
Holiday in Handcuffs (Actually, we had already seen this one and watched it again this year. Sometimes those ABC Family movies are just what you’re in the mood for!)
The 12 Dates of Christmas (Starring Amy Smart and Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell, this one was actually really fun. ABC Family strikes again!)
Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (We have probably watched every Buddies/Santa Paws movie there is even though they are genuinely awful. We like to look at the cute puppies, but this one was ALMOST unwatchable.)

Christmas Movies We Usually Watch That Didn’t Make the Cut This Year
The Holiday
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Home Alone II: Lost in New York
It's a Wonderful Life
Miracle on 34th Street
The Preacher’s Wife

Disneyland Cat Sightings
1 (But boy, would this number start to increase soon)

Favorite Disney Snack
Gingerbread Man Cookies (This was more about the ambience of eating it surrounded by Christmas decorations, though the cookie was definitely very good!)

Favorite Disney Meal
Holiday Sandwich from Earl of Sandwich (This time the Holiday Sandwich won by default because it was the only Disney meal we ate this month. It was still really good though, and we enjoyed having it with our Broccoli Cheddar Soup.)

Favorite Guilty-Pleasure TV Show
Pretty Little Liars (This obsession was nothing new as Pretty Little Liars has been one of our favorite shows to watch for fun since it debuted several years ago. Since the second half of the third season was set to premiere in January, we went back and watched the whole show from the beginning on Netflix looking for clues we may have missed the first time around. It was a lot of fun revisiting those first episodes again.)


Continued in Next Post
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:23 AM   #258
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Sorry that Tracy wasn't feeling well.

Looks like a fantastic night to see Fireworks and WoC for free.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:33 AM   #259
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Wow I didn't realise it cold in California! Glad you managed to stay until midnight to see the fireworks and you beat the traffic home I'm so jealous that you only live 10 minutes away, really hope you manage to get some park time soon xx
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:54 AM   #260
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Your renegade New Year's Eve sounded so fun! Glad you guys got to see 3 different "shows" to have the maximum Disney experience for only a few bucks for that dessert! It must be fun to write your updates and get to remember/relive the fun stuff you and Tracy have been doing since you moved. I know you're only updating about the fun trips and cool Disney stuff that is happening, and not the days where you work or do laundry or grocery shop and such, but it still seems like you guys are having a blast!

And I watched through PLL on Netflix too, but I didn't have that channel on tv, so I've still only watched the first two seasons. Such a guilty pleasure show for sure!! I'm sure I'll marathon through season 3 whenever it gets to Netflix!
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:47 PM   #261
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Hi Taylor,

I just wanted to officially check-in to say that I've been following your grand adventure from the get-go, but have never commented.

I give you and Tracy a lot of credit for following your dreams! Your report continues to be very interesting, and a good read. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:24 AM   #262
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I am really enjoying reading about your move and your adventures since then. We were at the Disneyland Hotel on New Year's Eve, staying at the hotel, and we didn't stay awake for the midnight fireworks. However, the sound did wake me and I watched them from our window. It was nice to hear about them from you. I look forward to all the updates and your continuing Disney adventures. I think it's fabulous how you find ways to enjoy Disneyland without being able to go in the Parks. Please keep writing. It is a way for me to get a little Disney every day too.

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Old 06-08-2013, 09:29 PM   #263
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The Preacher's Wife?!? I must stop this travesty! Try the original if you haven't -- The Bishop's Wife. David Niven, Cary Grant and Loretta Young are such a hard group to beat.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:59 PM   #264
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Alison - If you don't already do so, you need to check out Grumpy Cat on FB.
He was amusing....I'm picky about what I like and don't cause of all the invasive marketing.

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And I haven't been to the Disneyland hotel since they had dancing waters there. Love the teacup chairs.
Wow you need to go back! Those were there on my first trip, and I'm not saying how many years ago THAT was!


Sound like you had a great NYE! I've been in the parks before on NYE and it is just packed and even worse leaving after the fireworks. After a couple years of doing that we gave it up. Maybe once we feel better we might try something Disney again, but you're right, it gets REALLY cold out there. You wouldn't think so, but it does.

Looking forward to hearing about your 2013 adventures and especially what you get for jobs and how you end up getting passes!
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:57 AM   #265
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Sounds like you had a magical New Years Eve!

Whilst I just love love love Christmas, I tend to be a bit of a "Grinch" about New Years Eve, preferring to stay home and avoid all the crowds! I am pleased that you guys made it a Disney night to remember. You guys are having so much fun and you haven't even got your AP's yet ... can't wait to hear about your adventures once you actually get into the park!

Also, I do enjoy hearing about what you are reading and watching. I am currently addicted to an American series that wasn't ever shown on our main-stream TV channels in Australia - Friday Night Lights! I have been watching on DVD and am totally addicted ... that's my guilty pleasure!

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Old 06-10-2013, 12:47 PM   #266
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The Preacher's Wife?!? I must stop this travesty! Try the original if you haven't -- The Bishop's Wife. David Niven, Cary Grant and Loretta Young are such a hard group to beat.
Oh yes! DO try this one--it is lovely and we watch it every year without fail!

Our very favorite is "Scrooge" with Albert Finney--it is FANTASTIC!!!
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #267
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Isn't it great when you can find something that is little or no cost and you have such a wonderful time. I'm so glad Tracy felt better by the end of the evening. Sounds like so much fun. My best New Years Eve moment was the year when we had been married only a few years and my husband and I went ice skating at a local park. There is a gazebo there with a water moat around it. We were the only ones there, it was a full moon and it was magical.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:47 AM   #268
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Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us! I love California and the Disneyland Resort, it must be great to live so close to the parks. Please keep telling us about your adventures. Greetings from Germany!
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:05 AM   #269
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Sorry that Tracy wasn't feeling well.

Looks like a fantastic night to see Fireworks and WoC for free.
Luckily she started feeling better in time for all the festivities to actually begin! We certainly loved our free New Year's celebrations.

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Originally Posted by tinkerbells mum View Post
Wow I didn't realise it cold in California! Glad you managed to stay until midnight to see the fireworks and you beat the traffic home I'm so jealous that you only live 10 minutes away, really hope you manage to get some park time soon xx
We didn't realize it ever got that cold here either! We had packed away our winter coats thinking we'd really never need them again. Luckily, we hadn't given anything away! We were really glad we stayed till midnight as well (and that there wasn't traffic). We can't get over living so close either. And don't worry, park time is coming up before too long

Quote:
Originally Posted by laur roo View Post
Your renegade New Year's Eve sounded so fun! Glad you guys got to see 3 different "shows" to have the maximum Disney experience for only a few bucks for that dessert! It must be fun to write your updates and get to remember/relive the fun stuff you and Tracy have been doing since you moved. I know you're only updating about the fun trips and cool Disney stuff that is happening, and not the days where you work or do laundry or grocery shop and such, but it still seems like you guys are having a blast!

And I watched through PLL on Netflix too, but I didn't have that channel on tv, so I've still only watched the first two seasons. Such a guilty pleasure show for sure!! I'm sure I'll marathon through season 3 whenever it gets to Netflix!
We definitely made the most of our almost-free New Year's! We loved doing as much as we could at Disney for free, especially during those first few months here. And you're right that we really have been enjoying ourselves. Honestly, even those days grocery shopping and doing laundry inevitably are filled with some sort of adventures too.

ALERT! Season 3 of PLL is on Netflix now! We re-watched the last few episodes in preparation for the Season 4 premiere tonight! So there goes your next 24 hours... You're welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by gardengirl2790 View Post
Hi Taylor,

I just wanted to officially check-in to say that I've been following your grand adventure from the get-go, but have never commented.

I give you and Tracy a lot of credit for following your dreams! Your report continues to be very interesting, and a good read. Thanks for sharing it.
Thanks for finally coming out of the woodwork and commenting! I'm glad that you've been enjoying reading along Hopefully our adventures will keep being entertaining.

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Originally Posted by RWathen View Post
I am really enjoying reading about your move and your adventures since then. We were at the Disneyland Hotel on New Year's Eve, staying at the hotel, and we didn't stay awake for the midnight fireworks. However, the sound did wake me and I watched them from our window. It was nice to hear about them from you. I look forward to all the updates and your continuing Disney adventures. I think it's fabulous how you find ways to enjoy Disneyland without being able to go in the Parks. Please keep writing. It is a way for me to get a little Disney every day too.

Ryan
I'm so glad you're enjoying reading about our shenanigans! Your Disneyland Hotel New Year's sounds pretty awesome as well. We definitely did our fair share of exploring Disney before we could get into the parks! Hopefully you'll enjoy hearing about our adventures once we got our passes just as much. I'll certainly keep writing about them as long as there are folks like you out there who are interested in reading about them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pesky View Post
The Preacher's Wife?!? I must stop this travesty! Try the original if you haven't -- The Bishop's Wife. David Niven, Cary Grant and Loretta Young are such a hard group to beat.
Okay, this one should have had a caveat. The Preacher's Wife was one of the movies Tracy's family always watched when she was young, and she and I watched it once a couple years ago. At the time, I read on Netflix about the original and made a mental note to rent it one of these years. Now that I know it's highly recommended, I'll have to follow through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
He was amusing....I'm picky about what I like and don't cause of all the invasive marketing.



Wow you need to go back! Those were there on my first trip, and I'm not saying how many years ago THAT was!


Sound like you had a great NYE! I've been in the parks before on NYE and it is just packed and even worse leaving after the fireworks. After a couple years of doing that we gave it up. Maybe once we feel better we might try something Disney again, but you're right, it gets REALLY cold out there. You wouldn't think so, but it does.

Looking forward to hearing about your 2013 adventures and especially what you get for jobs and how you end up getting passes!
I honestly don't think it would be that fun to actually do New Year's IN the parks. It's just got to be so crowded and claustrophobic... We liked our little renegade celebration at Paradise Pier quite well, and we might watch from there again on the 4th of July!

Hopefully you'll enjoy hearing about our 2013. I can tell you that so far it has been QUITE action-packed. Looking forward to sharing all our new adventures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieDisneyNut View Post
Sounds like you had a magical New Years Eve!

Whilst I just love love love Christmas, I tend to be a bit of a "Grinch" about New Years Eve, preferring to stay home and avoid all the crowds! I am pleased that you guys made it a Disney night to remember. You guys are having so much fun and you haven't even got your AP's yet ... can't wait to hear about your adventures once you actually get into the park!

Also, I do enjoy hearing about what you are reading and watching. I am currently addicted to an American series that wasn't ever shown on our main-stream TV channels in Australia - Friday Night Lights! I have been watching on DVD and am totally addicted ... that's my guilty pleasure!

It really was a great New Year's! In the past, we have absolutely been the type to stay home to celebrate as well (we were in NYC for at least 3 New Year's Eves and never once thought of going to Times Square). We definitely made this one a fun introduction to our new Disney year though. Hopefully you'll enjoy our tales from the park as much as all these renegade experiences!

I'm glad that you enjoy my updates about what we're watching/what I'm reading. We have been meaning to watch Friday Night Lights for years. It's come so highly recommended from so many people, and I'm sure we'd really enjoy it. Maybe one of these days we'll actually start watching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshirecatty View Post
Oh yes! DO try this one--it is lovely and we watch it every year without fail!

Our very favorite is "Scrooge" with Albert Finney--it is FANTASTIC!!!
We'll definitely try to watch The Bishop's Wife this year. I've also never see Scrooge, though I LOVE almost any movie based on A Christmas Carol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RI Disney Star View Post
Isn't it great when you can find something that is little or no cost and you have such a wonderful time. I'm so glad Tracy felt better by the end of the evening. Sounds like so much fun. My best New Years Eve moment was the year when we had been married only a few years and my husband and I went ice skating at a local park. There is a gazebo there with a water moat around it. We were the only ones there, it was a full moon and it was magical.
I think it was extra fun making the most of our night while spending as little money as possible. Between sneakily watching all the shows and going on the quest for the hats, we just had a great time and laughed a lot. Your New Year's Eve spent ice-skating sounds absolutely wonderful. Those types of serene moments are so rare, and it sounds like a great way to ring in a new year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orbitron View Post
Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us! I love California and the Disneyland Resort, it must be great to live so close to the parks. Please keep telling us about your adventures. Greetings from Germany!
I've said it before, but I think one of the coolest things about sharing our experiences here is having people read about them around the world! I'm so glad that you're enjoying reading along. Hopefully you'll enjoy the tales of our times in the parks just as much
__________________
1987 - WDW Visit in the Womb * 1990 - First WDW Visit * 1993 - First DLR Visit * March 1996 - Family Reunion at Treehouse Villas * March 1999 - Family Vacation at Treehouse Villas * March 2005 - One Day at MK with Friends * May 2008 - First Visit with then girlfriend (now wife) at POP * June 2010 - Disneymoon at Best Western LBV * Sept 2011 - Return to Disneyland at PP * May 2012 - Grand Prize WDW Radio Trip at POR Royal Room * November 2012 - Move to CA to become DLR locals!

Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:11 AM   #270
tayalltheway
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Chapter 36
Christmas is Over?


The Christmas season was officially over, but you never would have guessed that to be the case if you stopped by our house in the first week of 2013. We always keep our decorations up until around Tracy’s birthday in the middle of the month, so not too much changed despite January’s arrival. I realized I never posted any good pictures of how we decorated the balcony, so here they are (if a little late).









Disney, it seemed, agreed with our desire to stretch the holidays out as long as possible. When we arrived for our first visit to Downtown Disney since the new year began, our favorite trees outside the Grand Californian were still aglow.



Alas, the same could not be said for our favorite Christmas tree. It disappeared from the lobby almost immediately after New Year’s.



Luckily, however, the Grand Californian lobby is plenty phenomenal even without the holiday decorations. It was the perfect place for us to enjoy another great Disney snack. On our first visit to Marceline’s Confectionery in 2013, we were craving another Red Velvet Cake Pop.



Unfortunately, they were out of Red Velvet, so we had to settle for a Chocolate Cake Pop instead.



When it comes to Disney snacks, at least, “settling” is never really a bad thing. It was still delicious!

Since Tracy’s birthday was now only about a week away, she continued to proudly sport her birthday button on our visits to Downtown Disney. We popped into World of Disney to do a little pin trading, and one of the cast members there let Tracy choose an extra pin off her lanyard as a birthday treat. Here she is with her prize.



The actual point of this trip back to Disney just a couple days after our New Year’s Eve exploits was to see the Believe fireworks (with music) before they went away for the year. We headed back up to our new favorite non-park viewing area, Paradise Pier.



We grabbed some seats along the edge of the poolside balcony and waited for the show to start. Even though these fireworks were nothing more special than the ones that were happening daily, they still drew a fairly large crowd to this viewing area. I would guess that 50% of the people watching were vacationers/hotel guests and the other 50% were locals.

The show started, and this time the music started with it! We got to enjoy the whole show from a pretty decent perspective.





On the whole it was… all right. A little underwhelming, especially in comparison to the show we had seen a few days earlier. I want my Disney fireworks shows to pack an emotional punch, and this one achieved that to a certain extent, but nowhere near as well as Remember or Wishes. The Christmas music was a fun touch (we always love some good Christmas music), but it definitely didn’t make for the most majestic accompaniment for fireworks.

On the whole, we were glad we had gotten to see the show, but I’m sure we still didn’t get anywhere near the full effect. When you’re on Main Street and there is snow falling, I’m sure it is much more exciting. This coming Christmas we’ll get to see the show as it’s meant to be seen, and I’m excited for that.

While we were wandering around the Grand Californian before we went to watch the fireworks, we had decided to go in the opposite direction from our usual path. This had taken us over by all the restaurants. Even though White Water Snacks was closed for the evening, we saw that they had Mickey Pretzels on their menu. We had been going this whole time thinking that was the kind of snack we couldn’t find outside the parks, so we decided heading back there soon would be at the top of our list. A few days later, we made good on our goal.

We arrived at the Grand Californian and walked straight back to White Water Snacks. I say “straight back,” but in reality, we definitely wandered around lost for a while. Despite now knowing that hotel pretty well, we can never seem to find the restaurants on the first try. Walking in, I liked some of these details.







We walked to the back of the restaurant and found what we were looking for—the pretzel spinner! Unfortunately, all the pretzels in there looked like they were hours old. I may have poked one to confirm my suspicions. Tracy reprimanded me later, saying that I probably could have found a more hygienic way to figure out that the pretzels were stale. The point, however, is that these were not the Mickey pretzels we were looking for. We wanted a fresh one. So I went up to the cast member at the register and asked if they could make a fresh batch. Since we were literally the only ones in the whole place, she quickly obliged and asked the kitchen staff to start working on some new pretzels.

We waited for a few minutes while our pretzel got heated up. Here’s the (now empty) spinner after the cast member threw away the old pretzels.



Finally, out our treat came. It was piping hot, and we had to wait for it to cool for several minutes before digging in. Of course, we got the requisite side of nacho cheese to dip it in.



To say this was a glorious snack would be a gross understatement. At the time, we were swearing it was the best possible thing we could imagine eating. Disney food does that to you, and we had been deprived of this kind of snack for far too long. We gobbled down our pretzel and then didn’t stay too much longer at Downtown Disney.

At home, we were doing a few fun things during these first weeks of 2013. We had bought a set of Disney puzzles from Target. We started with this princess one.



It was pretty easy and only took us around a half-hour. There are other puzzles in the same box, however, that are up to 500 pieces, and we haven’t attempted those yet.



We also loved all the new Valentine’s Day merchandise that was showing up at Target. We got two of these awesome dachshund tumblers because they reminded us of Stupey Doodle.



We also discovered this cool thrift store near us that is run by two of the people on the show Storage Wars. We had never seen the show, and then we happened to catch an episode about a week before we accidentally found this place.



On our first visit, the display that caught our eyes most quickly was several Disney pins priced very reasonably (about $3 each). This was obviously a collection that someone had prided themselves on at some point. We jumped at these really cool Autopia driver’s license pins as well as this cool Minnie nametag cast member pin. We later looked them up on eBay to see if we had made some good finds and they were selling for over $50 each. Not that we were looking to sell. We just thought they were really cool, and they cost us less than $10 total.



These were actually the last few days of maintaining the routine to which we had become accustomed. The times, they were a-changin’ starting the very next week.

Continued in Next Post
__________________
1987 - WDW Visit in the Womb * 1990 - First WDW Visit * 1993 - First DLR Visit * March 1996 - Family Reunion at Treehouse Villas * March 1999 - Family Vacation at Treehouse Villas * March 2005 - One Day at MK with Friends * May 2008 - First Visit with then girlfriend (now wife) at POP * June 2010 - Disneymoon at Best Western LBV * Sept 2011 - Return to Disneyland at PP * May 2012 - Grand Prize WDW Radio Trip at POR Royal Room * November 2012 - Move to CA to become DLR locals!

Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

Last edited by tayalltheway; 06-16-2013 at 03:06 AM.
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