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Old 02-27-2013, 03:41 PM   #16
Happy 2 B Me
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I agree that staying away from weekends could be a good choice. I was at DL this last weekend 2/22-26/2013 and let me tell you it was busy. Felt more like a summer weekend then weekend in Feb.

I might skip the character breakfast because of cost and the fact that getting characters to the table can seem long and some only sign the auto graph books then they are off to another table. Were I to go again I would skip goofy's and do the character breakfast at Grand California. Food is very good for the buffet and at the Grand you can order off the menu too. The Grand's characters are the woodland's friends such as Chip and Dale, etc.

Honestly I know the EVC would make moving around easier but with issues concerning crowds the evc may be an issue as you would be much lower then the people around you. Just take it slow and rest often.

If you have a moment take time to read the Christmas time trip DisNee Luver took with her family. It is in the Dl trip reports section. They live south of Salem. They Drive to DL but do it in 2 days. She found a very nice motel to stay that was a great price. I might use the money saved by not getting the hopper passes for a motel stay on trip down and on trip home. My husband and I drove to DL from Longview/Kelso area before we had children. I have to say 35 years later and I still remember how I hated the long drive.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:44 PM   #17
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Hi there,

We are in similar boats! I am also somewhat terrified of Disneyland because of my anxiety issues. I've been to the park a few times in hopes that it would be fun for me, but it never was. I haven't been back in a little over 2 years.

So- my official diagnosis is panic attacks with agoraphobia, along with some intentional issues like IBS. It's scary for me to leave my house, go on long car rides, be in closed-in spaces, away from bathrooms, and basically in unfamiliar/unknown situations. Disneyland...was not great for me, heh.

What helped me was:
-Making a planning binder, with a full schedule of every day (including meal reservations, hotel information), a list of possible highway stops with bathroom locations, a list of 'chill spaces' at the Park so I can get away from people, and copies of all my reservations, and maps of the park and nearby area.
-Bringing along anxiety medication and stomach medicine like Immodium A-D and Pepto-Bismol. Keep it on you at all times. Try to eat your normal meals as much as possible - new food doesn't do well w/me.
-Take frequent breaks. Such as, once we got into town, I would lay down on the hotel bed (keeping the room dark and cool) to allow myself to rest and prepare for the next trip outdoors. I also took breaks every afternoon and did not over-schedule myself.
-I was too nervous to ask for a Guest Assistance Card (and I didn't go on rides anyways), but you may want to get one so you can wait in line in a separate area, away from the masses of people.

It may also help if you try to think that everything is fun and optional, and you don't have to do anything you don't want to do.

Good luck!
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:31 PM   #18
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We are in Hillsboro (west of Portland) and made this drive last October. I found a book on Pinterest that I bought (you download the PDF) called Ultimate Road Trip Games (http://www.UltimateRoadTripGames.com) that would be great for most your kids. My DB family also traveled there, and we all had binders full of our reservations, maps, itineraries and activities. The kids had journal sheets for each day to keep their memories. They included leading questions to answer, such as What was your favorite ride today? It was great in the car.

As for good break stops, there is the Wildlife Safari in Winston OR (just south of Roseburg), and the Turtle Bay Exploration park in Redding CA was nice. I know that Winston gives us discounts with our zoo membership, and Turtle bay was free with our OMSI pass, so if you have and memberships you might check out discounts.

There is a long section of I5 that there is nothing to stop at or do in CA. I might suggest that you try to drive this section at a time when many in your car might be asleep. I know several people who always drive at night when kids are sleeping as it makes things easier and there is less complaining.

Another thing my friend did was bribe her kids. She paid them $1 for each hour that they did not fight. It was also great as they earned some spending money for the parks. She said it was the most peaceful car trip they ever had.

To finish, just a note on the rest stops. We were pleasantly surprised on the cleanliness and usability of the rest stops along i5. I agree with the PP who said bring hand sanitizer and TP because you just never know, but at our stops we often found employees cleaning and nice grounds. Our DD3 had a great time getting her wiggles out and gathered some rocks and leaves while we stopped. Also made great picnic stops for meals.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:50 PM   #19
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Haven't read all the other ideas, but.....

First of all, way to stretch yourself way beyond what is comfortable for you to do Disneyland with your kids! That is truly awesome and reading your post made me a little teary thinking about what you're doing for your kids, not to mention the personal risk you are taking.

About the stroller, we rented a double stroller from City Strollers back in October when we went with DD 4, 3 and 1 (we also had an umbrella stroller for the little one). They deliver right to your hotel (will be waiting and ready when you arrive) and you leave it at your hotel when you're checking out to go home. Totally easy, great stroller, easy to maneuver, lots of storage...no problems whatsoever. That's the way I would go. Price-wise would be comparable to renting two strollers at the park with the added benefit of being able to bring it back to your hotel at night.

As far as the character breakfast reservation, and any other dining reservations you might want, I would make that as soon as you decide where you want to go and on what day. I think that will be much easier on you than trying to wing it with so large a group when you get there. We did Surf's Up at the Paradise Pier Hotel and loved it, but I know other character breakfasts are highly recommended by others, too.

One thing I like to do when I take trips that may help you out is make an itinerary that has all our information in one place. If we have dining reservations, early entrance opportunity, etc., I put all those down first and map out our plan around those. I write down any times we have to be at certain places, any confirmation numbers, phone numbers for restaurants in case were running late or decide to cancel, any things I want to make sure to remember, and have it all on one (or two) pieces of paper. It makes me feel a little more organized and "ready". I give a copy to each adult in our party and in your case, maybe even to your older kids, too. That way, everyone knows the basic plan.

As far as your unique needs and concerns about being in the park when it's so busy, I don't have much to offer, but a couple thoughts:
1. Talk to the folks at City Hall at DL re. getting a Guest Assistance Card. These are for people who have unique needs and are available to help make the parks doable and fun for everyone. I am sure they will have some suggestions for how to help given your situation. From what I understand, you don't need a doctors note or anything, you just go tell them your needs (as you posted here) and they will help figure out accommodations to help make your trip a success.
2. You will have enough adults in your group to break up into smaller groups (which might make navigating the parks a bit easier). I would suggest trying to do that in the afternoons when the crowds might be biggest so that you're not worried about trying to keep a group of 9 all together all the time. Another thought is that maybe you could just leave the group for a bit and go back to your hotel to regroup during the peak crowd times or if you just feel like you might need it.
3. Before you go, try to schedule a visit with your doctor to see if perhaps he/she can recommend some tips....maybe an anxiety-reducing RX, exercises (breathing, visualization, etc.) you can do while on your trip that will help.

Car ride....good luck! We are taking our three littles on a big road trip this summer, so I'm currently looking up strategies for this, too. Some things I have come across: travel bingo (even with pictures for your five year old), snacks, packing active stuff to do at rest stops (inflatable balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk for hopscotch), alternating activities every 30 minutes or so (ie: watch short video for 30 min, car games - 20 questions, etc., for 30 minutes, read books for 30 minutes, etc). Change up seating arrangement when you stop. That's all that's coming to mind at the moment....

Best of luck to you! .
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:19 PM   #20
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Just to add my 2 cents..


I would not take the friends child... it seems to me that with everything else you are dealing with.. taking someone elses child just seems to be a lot of added stress for you... even if you think it will be good for your older child to have a friend and having an extra 14 yr old to help may be a godsend for some...
With everything you are dealing with even with a helpful child they can still be a stress point that you dont need....


Hope you all have a great time..
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:00 PM   #21
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A pp mentioned staying in Stockton. Over the last 10 years 3 seperate friends and family groups have stayed there overnight and had their vehicles broken into and radios and any luggage stolen out of the vehicle. At the very least I'd take everything you could out of the car into the hotel/motel with you. The police officers they talked to mentioned its a frequent occurrence there, last one was 2 years ago. Considering its only about 5-6 hours from olympia to Eugene, I would agree to pick a city a little further south on I 5 though.

Edit, sorry last issue for us/friends was 2 years ago.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Casemily View Post
A pp mentioned staying in Stockton. Over the last 10 years 3 seperate friends and family groups have stayed there overnight and had their vehicles broken into and radios and any luggage stolen out of the vehicle. At the very least I'd take everything you could out of the car into the hotel/motel with you. The police officers they talked to mentioned its a frequent occurrence there, last one was 2 years ago. Considering its only about 5-6 hours from olympia to Eugene, I would agree to pick a city a little further south on I 5 though.

Edit, sorry last issue for us/friends was 2 years ago.
I second this suggestion. Stockton has one of the highest crime rates in all of California.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:22 PM   #23
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I second this suggestion. Stockton has one of the highest crime rates in all of California.
Actually Stockton now has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. If you're going down 99, I'd stop in Modesto, or actually in Turlock. The hotels in Turlock are newer and they also have some good restaurants at the same exit.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:51 PM   #24
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We stayed at a Super 8 in Yreka and it was perfectly fine.

I agree - avoid avoid avoid Stockton. I had to drive on the way north going to Sacramento and I was tense just cutting over from I5 to 99.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:10 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Casemily View Post
A pp mentioned staying in Stockton. Over the last 10 years 3 seperate friends and family groups have stayed there overnight and had their vehicles broken into and radios and any luggage stolen out of the vehicle. At the very least I'd take everything you could out of the car into the hotel/motel with you. The police officers they talked to mentioned its a frequent occurrence there, last one was 2 years ago. Considering its only about 5-6 hours from olympia to Eugene, I would agree to pick a city a little further south on I 5 though.

Edit, sorry last issue for us/friends was 2 years ago.

Sorry, I knew that. My point was to get further in the trip, not that they had to stay in Stockton. Like said above, Eugene isn't very far into trip.

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Old 02-27-2013, 10:10 PM   #26
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Don't know anything about the drive, but here's a plug for the park hoppers. Sometimes, one park is more crowded than the other, and without park hoppers you could find yourself stuck. That happened to me once at WDW around Easter, and hopping from AK to Epcot was a godsend. Just my 2cents.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:38 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Aspoonfullofsugar View Post
Actually Stockton now has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. If you're going down 99, I'd stop in Modesto, or actually in Turlock. The hotels in Turlock are newer and they also have some good restaurants at the same exit.
Galt has a nearly new Comfort Inn on Twin Cities off 99 and you can walk to dinner (Mexican or Chinese or pizza) in the same shopping center- super safe.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:50 PM   #28
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No advice for the drive or anxiety, but you've got some great suggestions.

I would also advise not stopping in Stockton. It is literally the next town over from me and I try to avoid it at all costs. Just today there has been a kidnapping arrest, a bank robbery and an attempted homicide. Not a place to stop on vacation. The surrounding area is pretty good though, so any of the nearby towns/cities would be a great stop. Just not Stockton.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:02 AM   #29
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I haven't read any replies, but I wanted to tell you that I am one who suffers from anxiety, and I also live in Washington. I also have several kids and we just made the 20 hour drive. I am at the hojo right now.

We live a little farther up north than you and we stopped for the night in Redding at the Travelodge. Got a good deal through Expedia. It is a good halfway point.


To deal with my anxiety I watched a lot oif rides on YouTube prior to coming. I am trying new rides and having a great time. I hope you have a great time too!
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:48 AM   #30
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Your courage inspires me. Only you know if this is something you can do, but I will say, I am really impressed that you would plan all of this for your children. It may not be easy, but in the end I think you will be so glad you made this possible for you and your family.
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