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Old 06-09-2013, 05:37 PM   #1
luvflorida
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A four year old's touring plan. This one's not in the books!

Or another title for this trip report could be, "What? You Want To Ride Mater, Again? Well, let's do it!"

A year ago, my husband and I, along with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids, took a trip to California and spent several days at Disneyland. The main reason for the trip was to see the newly opened Cars Land. I posted a trip report here (Carter Gives Cars Land Two Thumbs Up) detailing our adventures.

At the end of that report, I mentioned that we were planning another trip in the spring. It was going to be a girls' trip (me, two daughters, and granddaughter) and our grandson. Well, when our older daughter found out she was expecting baby number three, and our younger daughter was offered a terrific job doing what she does best (dance, choreography), we postponed the trip.

Fast forward to this year. My husband had to be in California last week for a business convention at the Universal Hilton, so I thought what a great opportunity to take our grandson to Disneyland for a few days. Our daughter and son-in-law agreed, so the plan was set in motion. We left Phoenix early on Tuesday, June 4th and returned late at night on Friday, June 7th. It was the longest that our grandson had ever been away from his mom and dad, and they said they missed him, but said they enjoyed spending one-on-one time with our granddaughter before the new baby arrives.

So, while my husband attended business functions at Universal, I took our grandson down to Anaheim for two days of Disney fun. Carter starts Kindergarten in a few months, so we called this his "Summer Before Kindergarten Disneyland Trip". Carter will turn five years old in August. I plan on doing the same thing with our granddaughter and new grandbaby (and any other grands that happen to come along!) right before they start Kindergarten.

Okay, back to the title of this trip report! My idea was to make this trip all about whatever Carter wanted to do and see. I thought it would be fun and interesting to follow his lead and experience the parks from his point of view and his interests. For the most part, that is exactly what we did. There were a few times here and there, that I redirected or made suggestions. He's still too young to really grasp the idea of Fastpasses and that we couldn't always get off a ride and right back on again.

Long story short (too late, I know!) if you'd like to see what a four year old finds the most interesting at Disneyland, then follow along! If you're looking for a rigid, commando-style, must do everything at Disneyland trip report, this one will probably make you hyperventilate and anxious!

Here we go! Gramma and Carter take on Disneyland! I will start this trip report with a couple pics of us in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. The rest of the pics will feature Carter, since I was the one taking all the pics. A photopass photographer took these two photos with my camera, and there are others of Carter and me on my photopass, but I haven't finished going through those yet. And, Carter is a lot cuter to look at than me!



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Old 06-09-2013, 06:54 PM   #2
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Day One- We left the Phoenix area around 7:30am, stopped in Cabazon for lunch at Ruby's Diner, and arrived at the Hilton before 3pm. After checking in, we took the shuttle over to City Walk.

Carter loved all the ads in the Hilton lobby for the Transformers ride at Universal. Every time we went by them, he had to stop and study them.


Waiting with Grampa for the shuttle to take us over to City Walk. Notice the Transformers pamphlet in Carter's hand. That had to come with us! Ha! Ha!


We had dinner at Bubba Gump. Carter had to test the "run forrest run and stop forrest stop" signs at the table.


Forrest Gump's shoes!


After exploring City Walk, we took the shuttle back to the Hilton. Larry had an event to attend that evening around 7:30, so Carter and I said our good-byes and hit the road. We would meet up again with Larry on Thursday night.

Forty-five minutes later, Carter and I arrived in Anaheim. We had reservations for two nights at the Fairfield Inn on Harbor Blvd., right across the street from Disneyland. I had never stayed there before, but wanted some place close enough to walk to the parks. I had requested a lower floor, and we were given a room on the first floor in the front of the building facing Harbor Blvd. I also chose the Fairfield Inn because we're Marriott rewards members and our stay would earn us points. The only frustrating thing was trying to find a parking space. I must have driven four times around the entire property before I happened upon a car leaving. Check-in was easy and the clerk was very friendly. Being reward members, we received a small bag containing two bottled waters, a pack of microwave popcorn and an almond cookie bar.

The room was clean and the beds were very comfortable. The towels could have been a bit thicker, but other than that it was fine. I would have no problem staying there again. I didn't think to take any pics of the room because I wasn't thinking of doing a trip report at the time, but here is a pic I took the following day right outside our door. We had just gotten back to the hotel to take a rest after spending a morning in the parks.



After unloading all of our stuff we just relaxed for a bit. We didn't stay up too late, since our plan was to be at the gates by 7:30am in order to get in line for fastpasses for the Radiator Springs Racers. Last year, RSR was a HUGE hit with Carter and he couldn't wait to ride them again!
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:55 PM   #3
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Nice start. Looking forward to hearing more.
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Old 06-11-2013, 03:55 AM   #4
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Day Two- We were up and ready to go by 7:15. It was a short walk over to the parks, and we were at the security checkpoint in less than ten minutes. We were starting our morning in DCA, so headed in that direction and waited in a short line for the gates to open. As soon as we got through the gates, I headed right to the fastpass line for Radiator Springs Racers. We ate breakfast (peanut butter crackers, apple slices and orange juice) while waiting in line. It was around 7:40, and as soon as the park opened at 8am, the line started moving. We got fastpasses with a return time of 9:45am-10:45am.

Now, like I've said, the idea was to let Carter choose where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do. Before leaving on our trip, we went over the park maps so Carter could get a feel for where everything is located within the parks. Even before doing that, he had already decided he wanted to do the Radiator Springs Racers first and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree second. And then the racers again and again... I tried to explain how the fastpasses work and that we needed to get to DCA early each morning to get fastpasses so we could be sure to ride RSR each day. So that was our plan for first thing each morning.

After getting our fastpasses, we headed for Cars Land. Carter wanted to ride Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, so that's what we did.

Waiting in line.




One happy little guy!


As soon as we got off, Carter wanted to ride it again. So we did! And again...and again...and again! I believe we rode five times in a row. It IS a fun ride, but I was starting to get a bit loopy.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:39 AM   #5
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After five times on Mater, I suggested that perhaps we try something else, and that we could always come back to Mater later in the day. Carter was happy with that. We looked at the map, and he decided on A Bugs' Land, so off we went.

Before I go any further, I want to mention that I brought a stroller from home and it was the best decision I made concerning the trip. We never could have experienced so much and covered so much ground without the aid of the stroller. It made it so much easier to go back and forth from the hotel to the parks, and to get around the parks. Carter also did a lot of walking, but it was so nice to have the stroller for when he got tired.

So, on to A Bugs' Land!

First up was the Chew Chew Train. Carter loves this ride and we rode it three times. He especially loves the loud burping sounds toward the end of the ride.


Then over to Tuck 'n Roll Drive 'em Buggies. We rode them twice. After the second time, he wanted to go in one car by himself and me in another so he could run into me. Ha! Ha! I'm not sure what the age is to ride alone, but he was too young, so he was ready to move on to other things. I did get a picture of him sitting in a car by himself, which he liked.


It was time to get over to RSR, so we headed back to Cars Land. On the way to the racers, we stopped for a photo with Big Red.


Carter was SO excited to ride RSR! We walked down the fastpass line and within a few minutes, we were boarding our car. Last year, Carter got to ride RSR four times, and loved every second of it. I think the Radiator Springs Racers is, hands down, the best attraction in any Disney Park. The theming is amazing and the ride itself is like nothing else. I am not a fan of roller coasters, or any fast ride, but I really love RSR. It is just so thrilling when you line up with the car you're racing against and take off, zooming around sharp bends and going up and down a series of hills. Both times we rode RSR, we sat in the back seat, with Carter in the middle. And both times, when we were going very fast, I looked over at Carter and he looked absolutely terrified. After the first ride, I asked him if going fast scared him, but he was adamant that it didn't and he kept saying he wanted to go again. He tells everyone that RSR is his favorite ride and would ride it all day if he could!


"I want to ride radiator springs racers again, Gramma!"
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:12 AM   #6
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From RSR, we headed over to Luigi's Tires. Carter rode these last year with his mom and dad, but this was my first time on them. I was afraid the two of us wouldn't be able to move the tire easily, but we did. We made a great team, working together to get that tire to move!


Not sure when they did away with the big beach balls that everyone used to toss around, but they weren't there. It was a pleasant ride without them, though!


Checking out the air coming up from the ground.


I knew Carter wanted to see the Disney Junior Stage Show, so I asked if he wanted to go do that next. He did, so we headed out of Cars Land. On the way out, Carter spotted Lightning McQueen, so we stopped for a picture.


We had covered everything in Cars Land last year and Carter was so excited to experience it all. I was afraid Cars Land might not hold the same appeal and charm and magic for him the second time around. I need not have worried. Carter was just as excited seeing Cars Land this time as he was last time. "I love being in Radiator Springs, Gramma," he told me more than once.

We waited in line for about fifteen minutes at the Disney Jr. Stage Show. Carter had fun playing with a couple of toy radiator springs racers he picked out at Sarge's Hut in Cars Land.


Carter's favorite part of the show- Jake and the Neverland Pirates.


Catching "gold dubloons"!


One of the most magical moments for Carter happened as we exited the show. We walked a short way down the street toward the back of Hollywood Land and kind of stumbled upon Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He was just standing there, no line, nobody waiting to see him. Carter stopped in his tracks and just stared, then ran right up to Jake. It was so cute! I was thrilled, because Carter loves Jake and his pirate friends, and I wasn't sure if we'd see him anywhere.

Probably my favorite photo from the trip!


Look at that smile! Jake was really good with Carter and spent time hugging him, pointing to the Jake on Carter's shirt, flexing his muscles, etc. It was definitely a highlight of the trip and something Carter will remember for a long time!
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:04 AM   #7
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Thank you so much for sharing - I'm really enjoying your TR! I love the photo with Jake the Pirate.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ttig34 View Post
Nice start. Looking forward to hearing more.
Thank you!

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Originally Posted by kylieh View Post
Thank you so much for sharing - I'm really enjoying your TR! I love the photo with Jake the Pirate.
Thanks! I had so much fun following Carter's lead and seeing where he would take us! For sure, a very different approach to tackling Disneyland. It was surprisingly relaxing, too! Definitely not the way to tour the parks on a regular basis, but for our "gramma and me" visit, it was perfect!

Day two, continued- After seeing Jake, Carter and I looked at the DCA park map and he decided he wanted to go to "that area with the big wheel with Mickey on it". So, off to Paradise Pier! Heading back up toward Buena Vista Street, we came upon a character sitting on a park bench. I didn't catch her name, but she was the "dog lady". The lady was very friendly and talked with Carter while he petted and hugged the dog puppet she was holding. Carter is a very friendly little guy and loves to talk to people. All it takes is someone saying something to him or asking him a question, and he's off and running! I think part of it is his personality and part of it is being a four year old! Anyway, he had a nice chat with the dog lady.

Funny story- After Carter got home, he was looking at our trip photos with his mom, and she asked him about the lady and her dog. Carter told her, "the lady was pretend and the dog was real".


Entering Paradise Pier, we came upon Ariel's Undersea Adventure and rode it twice. Not sure why, but I don't have any pics of that attraction. When we exited the ride, Phineas and Ferb's Dance Party was just starting so we stayed to watch it. Last year, Carter wasn't interested in watching Phineas and Ferb, but this year, being older, he enjoyed the show.


By this time, we were getting hungry for lunch. Carter chose Flo's Cafe, so back over to Cars Land. We waited in a short line to order our food, then took it outside and ate on the patio next to RSR. We enjoyed a very relaxing lunch!

Carter got the kids' meal that came in a Lightning McQueen car. How cool is that!?!?! He got macaroni and cheese (which he loved!) apple slices, baby carrots and milk. I had a turkey sandwich, which was tasty.


Carter enjoyed his lunch while watching the racers zoom past at RSR. The weather was nice...sunny and mid-70s, and we were in no hurry.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:54 AM   #9
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After lunch, we decided to go back to Paradise Pier and ride Toy Story Mania.

Carter thought Mr. Potato Head was hilarious. So did I.


The line was at 45 minutes, so we decided to try it later when, hopefully, the wait would be shorter.

One of my favorite billboards in Paradise Pier.


On our way to another section of Paradise Pier, Carter stopped to see Duffy the Bear. I was so glad that Carter wanted to meet and greet characters on this trip. He has always LOVED meeting any of the costumed characters on all of his trips to WDW and DL. He was 17 months old on his first trip to WDW, and we had a hard time holding him back in line to wait his turn. He was just so excited and wanted to run right up to them! The big characters didn't scare him in the least! Anyway, this particular trip, I was worried that he wouldn't care as much about meeting them, because he had figured out the characters aren't "real" and that there are people inside the costumes.

Shorty after last years' trip to Disneyland, he started asking questions about the characters, especially wanting to know why they didn't talk. He wasn't quite four years old yet, but he knew something was up! However, he was still excited to meet and greet various characters along the way on this trip. He did remind me, however, after meeting Mickey in Toontown that, "gramma, the characters don't talk because then you would know there is someone inside the costume." I think he mentioned it at that particular point, because we were the only ones left in the room with Mickey (and the photographers) and it was very quiet!

Meeting Duffy!




Next up was Jumpin' Jellyfish.


View from the top.


As much as Carter loved Jumpin' Jellyfish (we rode it about six times in a row!) he was still thinking about Mater's ride and singing a song with hand motions about Mater!


When we were through with Jumpin' Jellyfish (finally!) the Green Army Men from Toy Story came by, so we watched their performance. Carter was mesmerized!




"What do you what to do next, Carter?" "Bug's Land!" Okay, off to A Bugs' Land, again!
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:57 PM   #10
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So over to A Bugs' Land. I asked Carter he if wanted to see "It's Tough To Be a Bug", and he said he did, so that was our first stop. I wasn't sure how he would react to it, but for the most part, he enjoyed it. He didn't keep the 3D glasses on the whole time, and he wanted me to keep my arm around him throughout the show. When I knew the "bee" stinger was going to poke him in the back, I made sure he was sitting up so it wouldn't touch him. I didn't think he would like that part!

From there we went back over to Cars Land for another spin on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and a visit to Mater's Petting Zoo.


It was getting close to 5pm, and we'd had a busy day, so I told Carter it was time to head back to the hotel for a rest and something to eat. We'd relax, then head back to the parks around 7pm. He was excited to leave the parks for a bit, mainly because he wanted to play with the toys he had purchased earlier in the day.

On the way out of DCA, we stopped to watch a performance by the Red Car News Boys.


Along with Mickey


And Carter also got to meet Mickey.


We stopped for a treat on Buena Vista Street, then walked back to the Fairfield Inn. Mickey Bar!


We arrived back at the hotel, along with our Mouse Ears balloon.


Carter was happy to spend time playing with his new toys. He had chosen two toy RSR cars from Cars Land, and a set of seven Toy Story figurines he picked out by Toy Story Mania in Paradise Pier. It was nice to just relax for a bit. We weren't that hungry, so dinner consisted of fruits cups, peanut-butter and cheese crackers, and milk. That's one thing I noticed on this trip. Big, sit-down meals weren't all that important. Carter was happy to eat on the run.

Around 6:30, we were ready to hit the parks, again. After studying the maps, we decided to head to Disneyland park for the evening. Pirates of the Caribbean was on Carter's list.
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:36 AM   #11
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Around 6:30, we were ready to hit the parks, again. After studying the maps, we decided to head to Disneyland park for the evening. Pirates of the Caribbean was on Carter's list.
I understand going mutliple times on a single ride - we did Pirates 6 times running when DD was just 6. I'm wondering if the same will happen for you!
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:13 AM   #12
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Day two, continued-

Around 6:30, we headed back to the parks and entered DLP.


We walked through the castle and into Fantasyland. Carter tried his hand at the Sword in the Stone.



We walked around Fantasyland and Tomorrowland for a bit. Disneyland Park was very crowded! There seemed to be long lines at every attraction. Carter wanted to ride Dumbo, but it was not running.

We then walked over to Adventureland to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. The line wasn't too bad, about a thirty minute wait.

Despite his apprehensive expression in this picture, Carter enjoyed the attraction! There were a few times when he seemed a bit worried about what was going to happen in some of the scenes we sailed past, but then I'd point out something funny going on and he was fine.


After Pirates, we headed back to Fantasyland to ride It's A Small World. He remembered last year he missed this attraction.


Halfway through the ride, Carter remarked that he could be in the attraction, then proceeded to demonstrate how he could do that. He said something about how all the figures moved the same way. Despite that, he liked the ride.



And that was it for this evening at DLP. Carter wanted to go back to DCA and Cars Land. A few more spins on Mater, then we headed over to Paradise Pier, hoping the line for Toy Story Mania was shorter now than it was earlier in the day. I parked the stroller and we got in line. The line was a bit shorter than earlier, but not by much. It was getting late by this time, and I could see that Carter was getting tired. As we got closer to the front of the line, Carter looked so tired that I picked him up. He put his head down on my shoulder and promptly fell asleep! Right before our turn to get on the ride, I woke him, gave him his 3D glasses and hoped he'd be fine. He rallied enough for the ride and really had a lot of fun on it.

I spent most of the ride helping him learn to shoot his gun, and he was very excited when he hit a target. He liked the ride so much that he said he wanted to go back first thing in the morning.


After Toy Story Mania, we left to head back to our hotel. On the way out, we stopped for a few treats to enjoy. Yes, we ate these sugared treats back at the hotel before going to bed. Not something I would normally encourage, but hey, we were on vacation! And we did save some for the next day!


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Old 06-13-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
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I love your trip report!
My son is 5 and it reminds me very much of our trips!
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Old 06-14-2013, 01:53 AM   #14
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I understand going mutliple times on a single ride - we did Pirates 6 times running when DD was just 6. I'm wondering if the same will happen for you!
As you can see, we ended up riding Pirates only once. Carter liked it, but didn't seem too thrilled to ride again! The line was also quite long, and that might have had something to do with it.

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I love your trip report!
My son is 5 and it reminds me very much of our trips!
Thanks! I'll have to go check out your trip report!

Day Three- We were up and out early again this morning. We arrived at the gates to DCA around the same time as the previous morning. By 7:45, we were in line for fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers. This time we were further back in the line, but for some reason, once the line started moving at 8am, it moved a lot quicker than the day before. We got fastpasses with a return time of 9:25am-10:25am.

Shortly after 8am, we were on our way to Paradise Pier and Toy Story Mania. The line was very short and moved quickly, so it wasn't long before we were on the ride.


I thought he might want to ride it again, but Carter had other ideas. Back to Cars Land!

And the petting zoo!


And Mater's Junkyard Jamboree!


Here he's telling me it was his 10th time on Mater. Honestly, I think it was much more than that!

Next up...back to A Bugs' Land. I sense a theme here.

Flik's Flyers




I love the popsicle stick benches in A Bugs' Land, and want one for my backyard.

I liked the cute, little bugs.


Carter liked the big, fierce bug!


After Flik's Flyers and a trip on the Chew Chew Train, we went to It's Tough To Be A Bug again. After the show, it was time to head over to RSR for our fastpass return time. As we got closer, I couldn't hear the racers zooming around, and knew that wasn't good. Sure enough, the ride was not running. However, there was a cast member informing everyone that it was a minor issue and the cars would be up and running shortly. Less than ten minutes later, all was working again, and we went down the fastpass lane. After a short wait, we were in our car and on our way.

It was hard to get a photo on this ride due to how tight the shoulder belt holds you in. This was the best I could do.


Our car went to the "tire change" area. I tried to take a photo when the curtains parted to show the car, but it would have been better without a flash, which I should have had off anyway! Carter can be seen in the middle of the back seat.


Again, Carter LOVED the ride, and again he wanted to get right back on and ride again. I had to explain that we'd need another fastpass, but there were no more available for that day. I suggested we get a snack, and he was happy with that idea!

Stopped for a photo with Stanley first.


Then we enjoyed a snack.


I told Carter we had time for one more attraction before we had to exit the parks and return to our hotel to check out. He chose the Disney Jr. Stage Show again.

On our way over, we stopped to watch the Five and Dime Jazz performers.


Carter snapped this pic of Jake and the Neverland Pirates on the marquee.


As soon as the show was over, we headed out of DCA and walked back to our hotel. We gathered all our stuff, checked out, then drove down to the Toy Story parking lot. We hopped on the shuttle and arrived back at Disneyland shortly before noon.
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:39 AM   #15
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Day Three- continued

Fantasyland and Mickey's Toontown were on our list for the afternoon, so we walked over to DLP. Before our trip, Carter talked a lot about Peter Pan's Flight, but every time we were near the ride and I asked him if he wanted to ride it, he didn't want to. This afternoon, however, he said he wanted to ride it, so that was the first attraction we hit.

Waiting in line at Peter Pan's Flight. It was a long line! And it always seems like such a short ride. You just get settled in your ship and before you know it, the ride is over!


We then rode the Storybook Land Canal Boats. We were getting hungry, so we headed over to Toontown. Lunch was hot dogs and macaroni and cheese from Pluto's Doghouse. We found a nearby table in the shade and enjoyed a quiet (well, as quiet as can be in the middle of Toontown!) lunch. We were just finishing up lunch when Pluto walked by, so we followed him to his picture spot.

Carter and Pluto.




We ended up spending close to two hours exploring Toontown. Normally, Toontown is a place I don't care to spend much time in, but this trip was about Carter's choices. And, I have to say, I quite enjoyed following him around and not having to stick to a time schedule. I let him go wherever he wanted and explore as much as he wanted to.

We hit all the character houses, the treehouse, the boat, and various other attractions.

Jail time!


Strong boy


Firetruck


Donald's Boat


Meeting Mickey


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