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Old 02-19-2013, 12:09 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
MileHigh's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21

First Solo Trip! A Disney Holiday Adventure.

Greetings to all! This is my first time posting a trip report so bear with me if things are a little rocky. First off a little about me and how my trip came to be: My name is Nick and I live in Denver, CO, my whole family is pretty high on Disney and we have taken many trips to the parks together over the years since our first visit back in 1998 (I was 11). My mother and Sister are keen on most things Disney while I (possibly my father as well) can really take or leave anything Disney outside of the parks. I do have an obsession with ESPN, however, so I guess that counts as Disney? Now this whole trip started in the spring of 2012 when my girlfriend and I where planning a trip to DLR for the holidays. She was a big time Disney nerd as well and we had taken several previous trips to the DLR and WDW together. Well long story short, this trip was derailed by our breaking up during the summer. So with that behind me I decided it would be fun to plan a trip with my cousin (like a brother to me) and sister. This was going smoothly until my cousin couldnít get the time off of work and my sister became caught up with a new guy in her life. I was at this point thinking about canceling the whole thing and moving on, besides I had a ski trip planned out to Lake Tahoe with a bunch of buddies at the end of the month and didnít really need to go. I ended up deciding to take a few days at the first of December because itís Disney and I just canít not go right?? I decided this after reading a lot of great things about solo trips here on the boards so thanks for that!

With all the ups and downs of the planning process over with I finally had a plan: Flying into SNA Saturday, Dec. 1st, departing on Wednesday, Dec.5th staying at the Hyatt Regency in Anaheim. So it beginsÖ

Day 1 Saturday, 12/1/2012
Saturday was my travel day, the plan was to check into the hotel and then just explore DTD until bed. My flight was scheduled to leave Denver at 11:45am arriving at John Wayne or SNA at 1:20pm. The trip and subsequent check in at the airport was as uneventful as it ever is and I killed about an hour before my flight grabbing something to eat and a coffee. The flight landed on time and I was ready to go! I had set up a reservation through Super Shuttle which was very easy online and IMO pretty cheap, it was $21.24 for my round trip res. The Shuttle was full and I was of course the second to last person to be dropped off but I did not expect it to be a straight shot and total travel time was about 45 minutes, not terrible since I was in no hurry. I chose to stay at the Hyatt over other closer area hotels purely on my preference to the brand. I travel a lot for work and have a nice loyalty membership going with them. Check in was quick and easy and I was up to my room at just around 2:45 I think. I got settled in and took a quick shower to refresh.

I thought this picture was odd given the geography of the hotel and all.

View of the lobby and atrium from the room.

After a while I headed downstairs to purchase my ticket for the shuttle they offer and head over to DTD. I liked the Hyatt shuttle because it is disconnected from any other hotels so it is straight shot from hotel and parks and back. The shuttle picked up at the 15 and 45 of every hour at the hotel and the top and 30 of every hour at the parks. I found it to be very reliable over the course of my four days. I believe it started an hour before openings and ran an hour after park closings. I took a quick stroll through DTD and ended up at my final destination which was Trader Samís at DLH. I had been looking forward to checking this place out after reading much about it online and it did not disappoint. I had not seen the DLH since its renovation was over and I really liked it. The lobby was pretty modern which I thought was going to take away from some of its old charm but overall I really thought they did a nice job. Now Trader Samís was really great, I sat at the bar and started with the Hippopata Mai Tai which was suggested by the couple next to me and downed way too quickly! The bar itself is very well themed mostly getting a lot of inspiration form the Enchanted Tiki Room and The Jungle Cruise respectively. There is so much to look at all over the walls and in every nook and corner, plus a volcano ďeruptsĒ every once in a while which is fun entertainment! I sat there for a while just taking it all in while ordering my second round which was the shrunken zombie head, another winner and strong. I ended up conversing with the couple next to me (I want to say from long beach?) for most of my visit while enjoying the drinks and eventually food. I went with the bbq chicken sandwich and again enjoyed it pretty well I took it upon myself at this point to order my third drink as well (yes I know) the Ritaís Marg.

These are terrible I know but the only interior shots I bothered to get of Trader Sam's.

After I was all done there I browsed through the rest of DLH and stopped to watch the lobby carolers for a while. It was a good night but I was getting tired and had my first full day at Disneyland ahead of me so I grabbed the 10pm shuttle back to the hotel, watched a little SportsCenter and hit the sack. Heads up- this report may ramble as I tend to do so I will be including any pictures I took to distract you from this. Hope it helps.
Some random pictures of the hotels on my first day:

Coming up next- first day at Disneyland!
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:49 AM   #2
Loving everything Disney!
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I'm on board!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:30 PM   #3
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Location: Melbourne Australia
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I loved my solo trip to DLR

Can't wait to read more about yours

2014 Hong Kong Disneyland - Photo Thread - Trip Report - 2012 - Disneyland Paris -Newport Bay Club - Better late than never? - 2009 - Disneyland - Desert Inn and Suites - 2007 - Disneyland - Anaheim Plaza Inn - 2005 - Disneyland - Super 8 on Katella - 1998 - Disneyland Paris - Hotel Santa Fe

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Old 02-20-2013, 02:18 AM   #4
Earning My Ears
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21

Day 2 Sunday, 12/02/2012

Now there was a lot of talk here on the boards about the Candlelight Processional this year and the mystery surrounding who would ultimately get the chance for seating. Well in the end Disney sort of pulled a 180 on their originally announced plans for a dinner package option and just opened up an AP lottery. This was somewhat disappointing to me as I had hoped to see it this trip. No worries though, I just called up Disney Tours and booked the Ultimate Holiday Tour that they were offering that first weekend. Basically the tour was the same Holiday Tour they always offer with the added benefit of obtaining a seat at one of the candlelight shows that weekend (for a higher fee of course).

I was excited because today was the day that I had booked my tour. The tour was at 1:15pm so I had plenty of time to enjoy the parks beforehand. I made it sort of a late one this morning. I donít remember the exact time I was up but I got ready, had breakfast at the hotel, bought my 3-day hopper in the lobby and was on the 9:45 shuttle to the parks. Made it to the esplanade around 10 and decided to first head over to DL. It was overcast this morning and there was rain projected for this afternoon. I was slightly worried about this because I knew the night before they had to cancel the CP due to rain and well it was definitely going to rain again. The question was when and for how long? Fingers crossed on the weather I made my way over to Adventureland, I always start this direction, and headed for the Jungle Cruise. It was good but my boat did not have a lot of people willing to give into this corny affair, Iím not sure if it was that they just didnít get it or were generally unamused. In either case it always makes for a slightly awkward ride as you find yourself looking around at everyone after each joke to see if they got it or not, like ďcome on guys that was funny rightÖ.right??Ē After that I headed on through to POTC (Indy was down for refurb this trip) and rode that and then knocked out the HMH. I really enjoy the HMH overlay as I rarely get to see it and think itís a nice change of pace but I can see how some could be disappointed if they are in no way fans of Nightmare. The crowds were not horrible so far this morning and I breezed through the lines fairly quickly, which is good because one the main things I was worried about being solo was what the heck I was going to do with myself in any long lines (thank god for smartphones) ha-ha. I went back for another spin on POTC before heading across the hub to check out the new Star Tours. No one in my family was ever a huge fan of the old ride and I have to say that it is greatly improved IMHO! Really enjoyed this one and it would end up as one of my more frequent stops on this trip. I blasted a few things on Buzz and then headed out to see the new DCA.

Weird truth about myself time: I was one of the FEW people that have always really enjoyed DCA since its opening. Yes even as a younger person I thought it was a fun park. I canít really put a finger on it but I just always liked it, so much so that it was always one of my favorite Disney parks! This makes me a big minority, I know, and I do think that there was plenty they could have done to make it better in the beginning but I also find Epcot to be to most enjoyable park at WDW so there ya go. Anyway the new park is awesome! I love Buena Vista Street and say that it is now tied as my second favorite theme park entrance (Iím a big fan of Islands of Adventures entrance) they did an amazing job on everything. The overall feel and complete body of work that the park now exists as is really great and I hate to say it but I think DCA is preferential to me over even DL!

I made quick work of checking out BV and headed back to Cars Land.

This was another winning addition! Another quick admission: I never saw the movie Cars and even leading up to this trip I never bothered to watch it. It just never looked like something I would be into. Well if you are going to Cars Land and have not seen the movie you really should. While everything is really well themed, you cannot fully understand the true scope of the recreation until seeing it on screen. I did watch the movie when I got back and was like ďholy crap I was there!Ē plus it turned out to be a pretty decent movie. I went ahead and jumped in the single rider line for RSR which I think was about 25 or 30 minutes. This was a really great ride. I donít want to go into detail for those who have not ridden but it is really fun. Itís not the most exciting ride or anything but Disney blends excitement with brilliant story telling better than anyone and this is a shining example! After that I went on Screamin and then TOT which is my all-time favorite. It was lunch time by then so I headed over to Garden Grill and had the chicken w/ Moroccan chili. I had almost an hour to kill until my tour check-in so I went over to the Cove Bar and had a beer while enjoying the sights of Paradise Pier.

I checked into my tour around one I think and just hung out until it was time. For the life of me I cannot remember what our tour guides name was and I didnít bother to write it down but he was very good. We looked at all the holiday things in DL and DCA, he shared some stories along the way and we rode HMH and IASMW. Now it was while we were in line for IASMW that the rain had started to come. Our guide was over discussing with a bunch of other CMs about whether or not the parade was going to be canceled. It was decided that the parade was going to be delayed so we went on the ride. As we were getting off however the parade was going on so it was slightly disappointing to watch some of the parade while standing across the way from where our chairs were. They did bring us our hot chocolate over to drink and I enjoyed that while watching the parade finish up. Afterwards they had us all move over to sit in our seats while another CM explained how the CP would work that evening and what would happen in the event that it was canceled. We got our gingerbread and pin and I was on my way. I went back to the hotel after the tour to refresh and have dinner, my CP time was for the 7:30 show so I had plenty of time. When I got back to DL the rain had stopped so I was feeling optimistic about things. That optimism was swiftly killed however. I was seated and excited and ready to go and then the show began. This was my first time seeing the CP and I was liking what I saw so far as I watched the choirs come down Main Street and take their positions on stage. This eveningís guest reader was Dennis Haysbert (youíre in good hands) and he came out started reading the first few lines, then suddenly stopped and abruptly sat down. Seconds later over the loud speakers they announced that the performance was being canceled due to the weather. This was unfortunate but what can you do? So I followed my previous instructions and headed over to the tour check-in kiosk to reschedule for one of the next two nights. I was one of the first people there and the same CM that had talked to us earlier was manning the booth. She was very nice about the whole thing and I got rescheduled to come back to see the later show on Tuesday of that week. I was fine with this, thanked her and was on my way.

A picture I took while at my seat for CP. **Please note that all my pics were taken with the high tech of my cellphone camera and all the careful skill of a child opening a present on Christmas.**

I went over to DCA rode RSR and TOT again and then watched some of the band over at the Mad Tea Party.

*Pictured: NOT the Mad Tea Party

I ended up back at DL where I rode BTMR and Star Tours. Closed down DL, browsed a bit at the emporium and was back to the hotel by 1am.

Few thoughts on the day: I really liked the new DCA as you all know but it needs to be said again! The holiday tour was ok for me, interesting but nothing that I would feel the need to pay and do again. I mostly booked it for the chance to see CP. The rain did sort of suck but nothing to ruin my day about.
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