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Old 02-22-2013, 01:38 PM   #1
Brummig
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DS 10th birthday trip (that makes 16)

So, as the title says, this trip was for DS 10th birthday. After the pre-Christmas trip with Nana and staying at the Sequoia Lodge, we were back on familiar ground - our campervan in the Disney car park.

The cast: Me (42), DH (49) and the birthday boy (9 when arrived, 10 when we left).

I must admit that I wasn't as excited about this trip as some, as we had only been 8weeks before, and that trip hadn't been the best (not Disney's fault), however we had promised DS we would go for his birthday and so had to stick to it. The weather forecast was pretty bad - very cold, and rain - and after last visits hyperthermia I went prepared!

So, we travelled through the night on Thursday, setting off from home at 9.00pm. We got to the tunnel (lovely Tesco vouchers) at 1.00am, and got a bit of sleep before the 3.20 am crossing (straight back to sleep once on train!). Once in France we drove about an hour, before stopping for a couple more hours at a services (about 6.00am when it was nearly light), then cooked some breakfast, and carried on to the park arriving at about 12.30. Few tidying jobs in the van, and then into the park for 1.30pm. For once, we all had valid APs, and Disabled Access pass so went straight onto the park.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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So, as is our normal routine we headed straight for BTM (DS favourite!). As it was an off season Friday the park was fairly quiet (there were still fastpasses at 2.00pm, although the queue time was still 70 minutes! So we used the Disabled Pass system (DS has autism). As I said in my previous post we find the system for BTM very chaotic and beset with all kinds of problems, people often miss their slot because they can't hear. On this occaision it wasn't too bad, so the boys went on, and I went to get fast passes for later (about 4pm). Then to Peter Pan (via Pirates to prove to DS that it was really closed), and then Pinnochio. Then it was time to return to BTM for the fastpasses. While the boys were riding I went to have a look around Woodys Round Up. We were dissappointed that the Tarzen show wasn't on, as DS has talked about it lots.
After BTM we headed to Buzz. As ever DH trounced me on the scores! Then over to Star Tours. It was the first time in ages we walked through the full ride, rather than the disabled route, partly *** DS was scared about seeing real robots for ages. He was a bit nervous of R2D2, but did okay,and we all enjoyed the ride from the front row.
It was 6.00 by then and park closed at 7, so we headed to BTM for one last ride.
Despite the weather forecasts the day had been dry, and the boys assure me reasonably warm (about 8 degrees), I took no changes and stuck with my sheepskin gloves and double layers of coat! Then back to our van for homemade pasta and meatballs, and then DS went to bed and we watched Dreams through the front window, followed by an early night all round.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:15 PM   #3
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Saturday - the birthday day!!!! Despite us all being awake reasonably early, it was still about 10.30 when we got onto the parks. We breakfasted at the van (despite some disappointment in the beans in tomato sauce that we had bought at the hypermarket the day before because I forgot to pack any! They were nothing like Heinz, and DS refused to eat them - I don't blame him!)
I'd got DS a large birthday badge to where, but turned out not to be a badge but more to stand on a desk. We converted it to a bling necklace with use of a shoelace, and it did the job perfectly all day.
I had a bit of a panic on the way in. Even though I had checked blackout days twice, I was still a bit nervous that I had got it wrong, and so when the first AP was rejected on arrival I really panicked!!! The CM fiddled with the control pad, and then waved us through. This caused further panic later when I went to get fastpasses for BTM, and (after 20minutes queueing for these) it gave me a ticket which said "This ticket is invalid". This was because our cards hadn't been activated when we went in. The CM just gave me 2 valid passes.
As it was Saturday the park was much busier. Weather was still pretty good. We were immediately stopped by a CM asking if we'd do the survey when we got home. That's when I worked out the scary fact that this was trip 16!

So the birthday boy went first to BTM, and I queued for the fastpasses. Then, again to Peter Pan. The CM on Peter Pan wished DS Happy birthday, and got all the others to do the same. By the time we'd found an open toilet (one's in fantasyland were closed), and stopped to see Captain Jack (he saw DS badge and got the crowd to sing Happy birthday to him!) it was time to head back to BTM. I remembered that I thought I had read on here that you could go to City Hall and get a call from Mickey, so I headed over to City Hall to check it out while the boys rode. I met them back at BTM, then went for a ride on Snow White. We realised that for once the Storybook ride was open so off we went. It's a lovely ride, and one we've only done a couple of times.
We have to keep getting DS to try different rides because otherwise he will only do BTM, Pirates and Peter Pan, so we went to Phantom Manor. We used the Disabled Pass again, but there was some confusion about where to go. We got there eventually, but sure if we were at the right door!
Then we went into City Hall.

Last edited by Brummig; 02-22-2013 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:56 PM   #4
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There was quite a queue but we waited, and got DS to go and tell the CM it was his birthday. First he was given his birthday sticker, then the CM said there was a phone call for him and passed him over a phone handset. It was a bit of a shame for DS that it wasn't in a different room as I think they sometimes do as it was very busy and noisy, and finds the phone difficult anyway, but he did speak to Mickey (and was pleased when he wished him Happy birthday), and said a lovely thank you to the CM.

Ooh forgot, after the train we went to Cafe Hyperian for chips. Queue was awful - 30 mins - but DS was ademant he wanted chips, or hot dog, and none of the stalls outside had either, so we waited (how do they make fast food so slow?). We normally watch the cartoons, but they were stopping you taking food in that area. There were hardly any seats and we ended up sitting on the floor.

So, after the birthday treat, we went over to the studios. We just missed a showing of cinemagique, so went to Cars first, and the to the carpets. DS loves BTM, was nervous of the carpet! Then time for Cinemagique. DS loves this, and can tell you all the minor changes (like who's behind the doors on the Titanic) - but he can't do 3 times table!

We came out, and went straight into Animagique. We all love this too, ds is mesmerised by the fish, and it gives us all a chance to sit down! Then it was 5pm and time to head to Cafe Mickey which we had booked for 5.30. DS was very anxious to get there, so we were the first to be seated.
As ever the service was a bit mixed - quick to take order, but even though we ordered desserts at the beginning this seemed to get lost. We ordered a birthday cake for DS. We ordered him an ice cream too, as the cake was a surprise, but they brought it literally a minute after the ice cream! Despite this DS loved it (we went for his birthday 2 yrs ago, and I didn't order cake, but they started to sing for someone else, and ds thought they were coming for him and was so excited, then disappointed - I felt really mean!

Last edited by Brummig; 02-22-2013 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brummig View Post
So, as is our normal routine we headed straight for BTM (DS favourite!). As it was an off season Friday the park was fairly quiet (there were still fastpasses at 2.00pm, although the queue time was still 70 minutes! So we used the Disabled Pass system (DS has autism). As I said in my previous post we find the system for BTM very chaotic and beset with all kinds of problems, people often miss their slot because they can't hear. On this occaision it wasn't too bad, so the boys went on, and I went to get fast passes for later (about 4pm). Then to Peter Pan (via Pirates to prove to DS that it was really closed), and then Pinnochio. Then it was time to return to BTM for the fastpasses. While the boys were riding I went to have a look around Woodys Round Up. We were dissappointed that the Tarzen show wasn't on, as DS has talked about it lots.
After BTM we headed to Buzz. As ever DH trounced me on the scores! Then over to Star Tours. It was the first time in ages we walked through the full ride, rather than the disabled route, partly *** DS was scared about seeing real robots for ages. He was a bit nervous of R2D2, but did okay,and we all enjoyed the ride from the front row.
It was 6.00 by then and park closed at 7, so we headed to BTM for one last ride.
Despite the weather forecasts the day had been dry, and the boys assure me reasonably warm (about 8 degrees), I took no changes and stuck with my sheepskin gloves and double layers of coat! Then back to our van for homemade pasta and meatballs, and then DS went to bed and we watched Dreams through the front window, followed by an early night all round.
We were given exit passes to use on 4 rides on Saturday, its the first time we've used them and I also was very confused by them on BTM - we all had to find the CM, give him our passes and how many it let on the ride, then he gave us a state name and we had to wait for that to be called out - but there were loads of people just hanging around the area, so it did seem very disorganised.

I'm enjoying your report - I agree with your boys, I didn't think it was cold on Friday, we were in fleeces all that day .
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:39 AM   #6
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Thanks DLP Steve. BTM is always busy (obviously!) but now in the same area there are all people using the Disabled Pass and Baby Swap (so usually severa; wheelchairs and buggies, and the VIP thing, plus all people taking photos of the ride, waiting for friends (often people with prams/ pushchairs), so its very busy, and confusing, and can get very stressful for DS, who is now sure we have missed our go! Please don't get me wrong - we are very grateful for the system and not having to use the proper queue, but for us the old system was much better when you were given a time to go back later.

Anyway, back to Saturday. Cafe Mickey was lovely. Characters came in promptly at 6. We saw Goofy, Pluto and Tigger. We were at the same table as in December so right where the characters come in. DS was hungry and got stuck straight into the bread. He gave me a bit of a fright, when half way through main cause we went really quiet and stopped eating, then said he had tummy ache and wanted to go home (this has happened a couple of times before and then he's been sick). He went to the loo twice, and I was starting to think we might have to cancel the cake, but then came back second time full of life again, and demanding dessert. He was fine after that - kids! DS got his ice cream, and as soon as he started to eat it, the music came on, and the cake came out. He was very excited that Mickey brought the cake, as we hadn't seen Mickey til then, and although he went a bit shy I think he really enjoyed everyone singing and clapping for him.

So, we asked DS what he wanted to do, but now fully revivied said he wanted to go back into the park for a three more rides. So, I took the cake back to the van (terrified all the way I was going to drop it!), while the boys headed back to BTM. We agreed we'd meet there an hour later, or if we hadn't found each other after 90 mins we'd meet back at the van. Sounds daft, but we have usually been in at night when all Christmas stuff is up, and it makes it a lot lighter, so was surprised by how dark it was round BTM and was worried we might not find each other. I waited 10 mins, and was just going to give it another 5, when they can out.

We asked DS what he wanted to do next, and surprise surprise he chose Buzz and then Peter Pan. Pinocchio was nearly empty and I was tempted to go on, but as DH said we had agreed 3 more with DS, and it was nearly 9 by then, so we walked past. He was right - I often push it with 'just one more' and then it ends in tears as ds gets past himself - this time ds made it to the last of the walkways he cried "where's my van" and sat down. Thankfully you could see it by then, and we kept him going with the promise of birthday cake.

One last this we did though before we left the park. We always get DS to say thank you to CM when we leave -it helps him with his communication, and we want him to appreciate how much people like CMs do to help him. This time we went back into City Hall. There was a small queue, but a new CM came out and asked how he could help. We had rehersed a line with DS, but he was away, and told the CM "Thank you for letting me come. I had a lovely birthday. I liked it when they sang happy birthday with Captain Jack and at Cafe Mickey, and I like BTM..." The CM was quite new I think, and was very pleased, but unsure what to say. Another CM had come in at the desk, and was telling him stuff. He checked R had got his birthday sticker and phone call, we said thanks again, and were about to leave when he called us back and gave us a voucher for a helium balloon! I thought that was a lovely touch of the Disney Magic.

So then (after getting the balloon) we headed back to the van. After cake ds was asleep in minutes - he wanted to watch a dvd and was asleep before the ads finished!

So overall a fab trip. Weather was kind - even on Saturday night I didn't have my gloves on all the time! Loads of people gave DS attention with his badge, and we really felt the magic. Yes, several things are closed, and that's a shame, but it is off season. I'm sure Dreams is fab, but not all our kids can stay up til closing time so particularly at weekends its not feasible, so I think its a shame if other things are being cut to focus on Dreams. Look forward to seeing Pirates after the refurb. All in all, after Dec trip, my love of Disney is fully restored!

Last edited by Brummig; 02-23-2013 at 02:46 AM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:33 PM   #7
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It sounds like you had a really lovely trip, and especially that your DS had such a good day
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #8
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Sounds like an excellent Birthday trip.................Thanks for sharing
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