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Old 01-13-2013, 04:51 PM   #1
DizMe
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Just back. FANTASTIC trip! Upgraded at GCH

I just got back yesterday from a quickie trip. We flew down Thursday morning and came back Saturday, spending 2 nights in a hotel. We had so much fun!! I went with my sister and our 2 adult sons. Three of the four of us had birthdays so we had a great celebration!

I had points and a gift card for Marriott so we had 2 rooms at the Anaheim Marriott the first night with their Discover Disneyland package. The perfect thing about that was that the rooms didn't cost me anything and we got a $100 Disney gift card for each room, so it was like getting paid to stay there! The hotel was beautiful and had every amenity. It was farther away from the park but not bad at all. The package included free parking (which we didn't need) and free shuttle passes on ART (which we didn't use).

The second day we headed over to GCH to check in early so we could use the magic morning perk (which we didn't end up using after all). After a bit of a wait at the desk, the manager came out to tell us we'd been chosen as the Celebration Family! I had booked a standard room with a discount code on Orbitz, but they upgraded us to a suite! I'm very glad because all 4 of us in one room would have been a lot less comfortable, LOL! We got a lovely card from the hotel and a signed character picture.

I had a bunch of cost-cutting tricks to stretch our food budget and wow! That worked out better than I expected! I had signed up my sister for the Landry's club (Rainforest Cafe), which gave us her $25 sign-up bonus and another $25 since her birthday is in January. I'm already a member and they gave me my $25 birthday bonus since my birthday is also in January. I also had 2 gift cards I'd gotten by cashing in some Mypoints. So, after checking in to the GCH we headed over to eat breakfast at RFC. Well, we didn't end up using the gift cards at all because the manager at RFC came over and told us that the computer had, for some reason, given us each another $25 to spend! The only catch was that we had to spend it right then. So we all ordered fancy mocha milkshake things and we got 2 huge fruit platters to go, which we took back and put in the fridge in our hotel. The breakfast was delicious and the staff were beyond excellent. I can't say enough about how nice they were! We felt like we were cheating the restaurant but they insisted we spend the money and were helpful and fun. We each had a big breakfast & all of the other things and the only money it took was the tip! We did leave a great tip after all of that.

I also signed up my sister and me for the simplypatina email list, and again, since our birthdays are both in January, we immediately received $30 each to spend at one of their restaurants. We decided to use it in a DTD restaurant and chose Naples (they also have Tortilla Jo's and Catal). We had a giant pizza and some pasta with chicken and again, other than the wine, it was free! I had called ahead to the corporate office to see if we could use both coupons at the same time. I got a call back from the manager to tell me that we could, so I kept her name and number just in case. The manager at Naples came over and asked me for the manager's name and that was that, though they did split the bill into two so the computer could use both certificates.

We rode RSR single rider and it took about 25 minutes. The regular line was 106 minutes and the fps were gone. TOT had no line and most ride lines were short throughout the parks. The weather was cold!!! We were fine because we had planned for it, but it still was weird to be so layered up for DLR (I wore running pants under my jeans, 4 layers of shirts with a coat over the top, a hat and gloves).

We were 4 adults so we spent more time together having fun than going from ride to ride. We rode our favorites but did shopping/browsing and restaurant exploring more than anything else I think! My sister and I ate a lunch at Carthay Circle (excellent!). We just ordered an apple salad and a glass of wine. Both were $12 and we decided to skip dessert because we were going to have it later. The waitress was wonderful and when she brought our bill, I noticed she hadn't charged us for the wine so the bill was only $25. I called her over and told her she'd forgotten to put the wine on the bill and she almost cried! Her eyes were teary, she was so grateful. She was so thankful not to have a ding on her record, or whatever the consequences would have been, that she brought us each 2 special truffles on china plates. I didn't think of it as anything special we did, but it made me feel good.

We had our birthday dinner at Blue Bayou, which was excellent! We had a waterside table and the food and service were wonderful. My sister and I split the Surf and Turf, my nephew had the same thing and my son had the Buccaneer Short Ribs. My sister and I paid the $12 split plate fee this time rather than doing it ourselves so we each had a full helping of sides and they did the splitting in the kitchen.

The park was closing when we finished so we did a little shopping and then went over to Napa Rose lounge for dessert. We sat next to the fireplace and had some amazing things. I ordered a hot chocolate that came with 2 special doughnuts. Mmmmm! The cocoa was made out of 5 different bars of chocolate and the doughnuts were delicious. My sister had butterscotch bread pudding with a little scoop of praline ice cream or something like that. It was just ok. My nephew had a "S'more", but not like the campfire type! It had a broiled brownie crust, homemade marshmallow filling with fudge and I don't know what else. It was amazing. My son opted for a scoop of homemade Scharfenberger (sp?) chocolate ice cream. We all had coffee, my nephew's with Bailey's and whipped cream (yes, in addition to the S'more). Yowza! We spent almost as much on dessert as we'd spent on dinner!

What a great trip. The only bad thing happened after dessert at Napa Rose lounge. We went back to our hotel room and I couldn't find my cell. I had sent some pictures from the lounge so I know I had it then, so I figured I'd left it on the table or something. But the next day it hadn't been turned in and I found out that someone began using it for data starting at 3:55 AM and continuously after that, so I suspect an employee found it and kept it. We were about the last ones in the lounge that night and it closed shortly after we left so unless it dropped out of my purse (doubtful), it was taken in the lounge. Our very nice waiter assured me the next day that nothing had been left on the table so who knows? Luckily, I have unlimited data so I didn't have to pay for that. I just have to buy a new phone and I'm ready for one anyway.

I got a flat rate taxi voucher from Guest Services at GCH when we checked in ($35) so we'd be ready the morning we left. First we went over and bought Jazz Kitchen beignets which we took back to our room to eat since it was FREEZING, and then we grabbed our bags, went outside and stepped into one of the waiting taxis! Off we went to the airport, easy as can be.

I wish we'd had more time but we sure did a lot of fun things in the amount we had. I don't think I've ever had friendlier CMs and staff members, including the taxi drivers and Marriott workers. Magical!!!
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:41 PM   #2
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Just WOW! What an amazing trip! Soooo happy for you! Thanks for sharing. Yay for adult fun at Disney!

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Old 01-13-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
brendahamlincoln
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What a great report, thanks for sharing your trip with us! Too bad about the phone :T I've now made it my mission to get some beignets ASAP when I get there in a few weeks!
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizMe View Post
The second day we headed over to GCH to check in early so we could use the magic morning perk (which we didn't end up using after all). After a bit of a wait at the desk, the manager came out to tell us we'd been chosen as the Celebration Family! I had booked a standard room with a discount code on Orbitz, but they upgraded us to a suite! I'm very glad because all 4 of us in one room would have been a lot less comfortable, LOL! We got a lovely card from the hotel and a signed character picture.
That's a great upgrade, although I'm surprised you were not given access to the concierge lounge
Where your room keys gold colored?
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:49 PM   #5
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Thanks for a wonderful trip report--fun to hear all you did, how well you were treated and what a great job you did saving money!
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:04 PM   #6
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What a great trip report!
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:10 PM   #7
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Sounds like an amazing trip!
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:12 PM   #8
DizMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonsuch View Post
That's a great upgrade, although I'm surprised you were not given access to the concierge lounge
Where your room keys gold colored?
No, they were the standard ones. We were on the 4th floor, right over the monorail...it came straight toward the room and went underneath us. Concierge would have been great as my nephew eats like a HORSE!!! LOL!! I'm not complaining, though. Have 2 bathrooms was a huge upgrade, and if we'd had concierge we probably would never have gotten my nephew out of the lounge
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizMe

No, they were the standard ones. We were on the 4th floor, right over the monorail...it came straight toward the room and went underneath us. Concierge would have been great as my nephew eats like a HORSE!!! LOL!! I'm not complaining, though. Have 2 bathrooms was a huge upgrade, and if we'd had concierge we probably would never have gotten my nephew out of the lounge
What do u get as apart of the concierge package? Sorry, DL newbie!! Sounds like an awesome trip!!! I can't wait for our first trip in 3 weeks!!!
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:40 AM   #10
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WOW! What a great trip..thanks for sharing
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:03 PM   #11
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Sounds like a lovely trip! So sorry your phone was taken, that really really sucks:-(

Can you say more about the flat rate taxi voucher? Is it just for guests or can anyone go to the desk at GCH and get one?
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:13 PM   #12
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I am also curious about the voucher, stayed there many times and never been fortunate for an upgrade. Great trip report.

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Old 01-14-2013, 06:33 PM   #13
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What do u get as apart of the concierge package? Sorry, DL newbie!!
The main feature is the 6th floor lounge, which has various light snacks (beer and wine in the evening). Concierge has a dedicated registration / guest services desk (just outside the lounge).
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:10 PM   #14
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The taxi voucher is offered at the Guest Services desks at the DLR hotels. That is NOT the registration desk--in GCH, it's across from registration near the outside entrance. You just walk up and ask for one. I was once asked for my room number but they didn't ask for a name or anything, and since then I've never been asked at all. In fact, I stayed at PPH last year and their guest services person was out of vouchers so I went over to GCH and requested one. I actually got an extra one later for a future trip I had coming up. There is nothing on the voucher that says it is specific to a resort hotel, it just says the Disneyland area to SNA.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:55 PM   #15
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Sound like a great trip with lots of pixie dust
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