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Old 03-17-2014, 12:38 PM   #1
kP72
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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We are NOT here to have fun... we are here to be a FAMILY! DLR TR

Hi All.
Spring Break is over for us so now it’s time to share some thoughts of Disneyland from my point of view.
This TR of our vacation to DLR will be more informative than entertaining…. I think I’m too drained from this past week to be funny and whimsical! After four days in DLR and another four days in Arizona… I’m spent, but didn’t want to wait too long to get this TR out for those who have upcoming trips and had some questions.

Please note I will be sharing the ups and downs of our vacation, so please don’t take any of my less than positive comments as being pissy or entitled, but as being honest. Also remember, everyone has different experiences… just like child labor! We love Disney. We will continue to support Disney parks, and we do take home more magic than not! Regardless of your destination, there will always be pros and cons…. And we definitely had more pros than cons!

March 9-12 (Sunday- Wednesday) we stayed at the DLH in a 2 bedroom suite (#2103) Fantasy Tower.
We: Me (41), DH (42), DS (15, almost 16), DD (10, almost 11), Son’s best friend (15).
This was a first DLR visit for DH and DS friend.

Background: I have been to DLR three times now (1984, 2010) and WDW four times (1994, 2004, 2006, 2008), and DCL once (2009). By no means am I an expert, but know enough about Disney to understand MOST of the in’s and outs and what one can/should expect.

About the TR title…
A few years ago while on vacation at the lake, we heard a mother screaming at her brood of kids “We are NOT here to have fun… we are here to be a family!”, and she was dead serious! After that, we made it our motto, but in a humorous way!

Sunday:
Arrived at LAX from Wyoming at 9:30 AM and our limo from Royal Sedan was waiting. We’ve used them before and they are very good. Nice clean cars and cordial drivers.

We pulled up in front of the hotel shortly before 11:00 AM.

Weather was quite warm that day (aprox 85 degrees) and it felt great!
Crowds were bad, but I’ll touch on that later.

DISNEYLAND HOTEL

Room wasn’t ready of course… too early, but we did leave our bags with bell hop and headed to DTD for a sandwich at Earl’s. Very good. Try their classic beef n cheddar with horseradish sauce!
(5 sandwiches, 1 PowerAde, 2 beers, and one potato chip= $59)

Bell Hop CM’s were great and so friendly. I had to make a few stops at bell hop and it became a running joke for them… “oh, it’s you again!” And yes, they were well tipped! Say hi to Al and Jim if you have the pleasure of meeting them.

It should be noted that I ordered the Mickey’s Grand Welcome package from Disney Florists which consists of minimal room decorating (5 min. tops) of banners and balloons, and a box of gifts, which some were sitting out on display. The gifts were everything Disney Florists said it would be… a great package, if not a bit steep in price ($310), but hey, when in Rome… or Disney! If you ever decide to get the Grand Welcome, be sure to plan accordingly…. The Plushes are huge and take up lots of suitcase room, which I knew and planned for.


When I booked the suite back in September, I requested both rooms to have two queen beds instead of the one king in one room and two queens in the other room. With the sleeping arrangement, I wanted both boys to have their own bed and room, and then DD could sleep in the other queen in my/DH’s room. I really wanted everyone to enjoy the light up headboards, especially DD, and of course, have the living room area open for relaxing with evening cocktails or conversation without worrying about kids sleeping in there. When paying $5400 for a suite (with park tickets) for four days, I at least expected to get this one request. In fact, I was under the impression it was a standard option, not a request.
I was informed at the front desk that it doesn’t work that way… “If a family of eight requests a suite, then they will need the extra beds and your family doesn’t require the extra bed since the sofa couch constitutes as a bed.”
This irked me since they were keeping a four queen bed set up for “just in case” that scenario happened. Chalk it up to travel weary and expecting what I thought I was paying for. Yes, I know requesting certain towers or balconies or views cannot be guaranteed, but amount of beds???? Just FYI for those who do not know this! I always learn something new. LOL. If that’s the way it’s done, I’ll book two connecting rooms next time.

ANYWAY, THAT did not please me, and said as much to the CM. The CM (who was very nice) also said that since we had ordered the Mickey Welcome gifts, “they were already decorating and couldn’t move us”. Keep in mind it’s only 11:00 AM at this time, but I didn’t question it. At no time did I become irate or yell at the CM… I just smiled and went with the flow…. We are on vacation and it’s going to be great!

At the time of booking I made other minimal requests with the knowledge that Disney can’t guarantee certain requests, but it was as if they didn’t take any of my requests into consideration. Everything I did NOT want is what they gave us. I did not request any certain tower, but I did ask for a room with a view of DTD/parks or pool, or at least some nice grounds. Denied. I requested a room with no views of a parking lot. They gave us a room with the view of the front entrance and convention building. The Frontier Tower has balconies on the top level, so I requested a balcony (for Shints & Giggles) and obviously, we did not get one.
Other than that, the room was nice, clean, and comfortable.

Also note that I called Disney a week prior to our visit to confirm my requests and the gentleman read back what I had requested at booking. At check in, they claimed that I had no requests listed.

The CM asked if we were celebrating anything and I did mention that it was a week before our 16th anniversary and she was so sweet about that… told me to wait a minute while she went into the back room to bring out two anniversary celebration pins and a black and white photo signed by Mickey and Minnie. Nice touch.

Also, since we had the room decorating thing going on, they would call us (not text) when our room would be ready. As many of you know, actually receiving that call or text is another thing Disney doesn’t guarantee, so I didn’t hold my breath!

We wandered DTD and hung out at the pool for hours. 1:05 PM I checked on room and was told it was “close to being done”. 2:50 PM, I checked at the front desk again and still no room. The CM (a different one) said that they were decorating our room. Ummm…. I was told four hours ago that they were decorating!
4:00 PM rolled around and we are all hot, tired, hungry and getting quite impatient for our room. I checked at the front desk again and our room was finally ready. No phone call of course.

We were on the 3rd floor in the Fantasy Tower (main tower). I was hoping for a room higher up, but after seeing how slow the elevators were, I was glad to be closer to the ground. And besides, if we were any higher up on that side of the tower, the palm trees would have blocked out less of the ugly view we got to see every day. Forgive me, but I am a hotel room snob when it comes to our vacations, especially Disney vacations. Yes, yes, I know… NO GUARANTEES! But I do appreciate a good room with good views and the view we had was pretty crappy. Many people will let the view go by the sidelines since they “seldom spend time in their room”. Yay for those people…but I wake early and go to bed late and enjoy balconies and views more than the average person. Hey, you try living in cold and windy Wyoming all your life and tell me how important that feature is to you!

Rooms are well appointed. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they reeked of Disney theming… Walt and Disneyland black and whites on the walls are a nice touch and carpet was full of “hidden Mickey’s”. Room coloring was muted, and very comfortable. In the couch cushions, we did find an Ariel head, popcorn debris, and a lanyard… which was found due to searching for my photo pass card, not inspection of cleanliness!
The headboards lighting up and playing “When You Wish Upon a Star” was sweet and enjoyed every night.

The rooms were very quiet. Toilets are loud! That was the only thing I heard from other rooms. And the flush is strong! Important factor for those with teenage boys!
No exhaust fan in bathrooms either.
Lighting was fine.
Hair dryer worked great.
Desk area houses numerous plug-ins for phones and whatnot. Convenient.
Minimal outside noise came through the windows.
The doors close loud, so be sure to catch them during early/late hours.
USA Today was available by elevators.
We did not order room service but I recall the hours being 6AM-Midnight.
Bedding was very nice. Pillows are soft.
Towels were a bit rough, but standard of any Disney resort. Plentiful.
TP was ok. Think Quilted Northern but much thinner and not as soft.
Great shower pressure.
A/C worked very well. I appreciated the three temperature controls so each room could be set at different temps.
Our suite had a mini bar area with fridge in living room that kept things good and cold (beer and wine perfect temps!) I mention the mini bar area since I saw pictures that showed a 2 bedroom suite with what looked like a mini kitchen area, but we did not have that. The set up was fine for our needs though.
Room safe was easy to use (pin code) and held money and smaller things. Probably could fit a laptop in there…
TV’s in all rooms. Not one was turned on during our stay so I don’t know what channels were offered.
The grounds at DLH were impeccable. Very beautiful with a Polynesian flare.

For those who do not know this nugget of info, DLH does NOT have a staircase for guests to use. Staircase can only be used in an emergency. There are three elevators, but only two were working so during busy times, expect to wait at least 5-10 minutes for an elevator.
Once on the elevator, it moved very fast, but waiting was another story.

We had cocktails at Trader Sam’s. The Ka-Bluee (sp??) was tasty, and I’m not a foo foo drink kind of gal. House brews were pretty good…Longboard Lager-good, Kona Firerock- hoppy. Very small bar and the wait for a drink can be quite long. Oh, and bring ID! One lady was 84 years young and was carded!

Right outside of Trader Sam’s there is an outside seating area with fireplace and couch-like seating which was nice. The area accommodates smokers, which was great for me.
One evening we (DH and I) met some great people at that seating area and had so much fun! That evening was probably the best part of our trip!
People, remember you are on vacation and enjoy the small things. That’s what makes for a great vacation! Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with people… you never know who you will meet! It started with just DH and I and one lady from Maine in a leg cast (surgery) and then three other couples, then another couple I had met the night before. Everyone was buying drinks for each other, sharing stories, and causing the random walk-by’s to stop in to join the party! We even met another woman from our town and it became the running joke that 50% of Wyoming was at Disneyland! I’m smiling right now just thinking about that evening!

The pool area was pretty nice. Water slides were fun. Smaller area than what is perceived in photos, but still a lot of fun for all ages. There are two big slides: one loopy one that had a longer wait, and a shorter one that kids could pretty much “walk on”. Two slides are also available for toddlers.

The seating/lounging area around the pools was great…. Lots of shaded areas and plenty of seating. We never had an issue trying to find lounge chairs in the shade to accommodate our group of five.

We were highly impressed with the lifeguards. They were serious about their job and always watching the kids in the pool. I felt very comfortable with my DD playing without me having to watch her every move.
DD said the temperature was perfect in the pools. … Well heated, but refreshing.

There were two hot tubs that I saw. Yes, kids pretty much took over one, but there is another hot tub that the kids didn’t invade so adults were enjoying it.

I saw lots of cabana’s that can be rented out for XXX hours. Many were available, but I’m betting that summer months they book up quick.

There were no CM’s taking drink/food orders in the pool area unless you have a cabana. FYI. Trader Sam’s and Tarragona Terrace are just around the corner so one can easily get food/beverages without having to trek too far.

Gift stores in DLH were nice and had a great selection. Again, CM’s were wonderful and so friendly.

Walking distance to and from DLH from the parks isn’t very long. 10 minutes can put you in at bag check in front of the parks. Of course, this is pending on crowds.

Lots of people were wondering about the monorail near DLH and I would say it’s a hit or miss option for DLR entrance.
Pending on the time of day, using the Monorail can be beneficial, but I would not bank on it mid day or EMH. For those who do not know, you will need to have your park ticket and room card (if memory serves) to get on the monorail in DTD. There is a bag check as well. The line can get long and you could be standing in line for at least 30 minutes for a seat. In that time, you could have walked to DLR and been in the gates… FYI. Also, DLR monorail is not like WDW as you cannot stand in the DLR one, which cuts back on capacity.
Guests are urged to disembark at each destination so others can utilize this means of transportation.
Monorail in DTD stops only in DLR, not Cali Adventure.
Monorail was coming by every 5-8 minutes.

Would we stay at Disneyland Hotel again? Probably not. The kids and I stayed at Grand California last time, and even though I don’t prefer the woodsy/lodge motif while on vacation (looks like my house!), I liked the proximity of Grand Cali to the parks and having stairs available.

Overall, I would probably recommend DLH to others. Our stay was pleasant even with the minor room request mishap.



Next up: The parks and crowds.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:15 PM   #2
kP72
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The Parks and Crowds!

Sunday
Since we arrived on Sunday, we didn’t make too many plans for this day… just dinner at Blue Bayou. We figured by the time our room was ready, we would relax, freshen up, and then hit DLR early evening, take in a few rides, then check in for our 8 PM dinner ressie.

It went pretty much like that, but with fewer rides than planned. The crowds were horrid! I’ve been to WDW during some busier times, but this was ridiculous! There are a few reasons as to why the crowds were so thick….
Lots of conferences going on.
Locals enjoying their weekend.
Start of spring break.
Midnight closing at DLR.
Many rides broke down or being refurbished.
I was informed by another guest that it was the last day for AP holders before blackout dates. Perhaps an AP holder could confirm that??

We did hit POTC before our reservation (50+ min wait for ride, but posted 30 min wait).

We checked in about 30 minutes early for Blue Bayou and did some shopping in the NO Square which was about as far as we could travel with the pager.

After dinner (I’ll share food reviews in a different post), we got in fairly quickly for Haunted Mansion (15-20 min), then stood in line for what seemed like hours (probably 70-80 min.) for Star Tours (posted time was 25 min)… and I hate that ride! Never liked it, so I don’t know what compelled me to actually torture my group waiting for it. Perhaps it was the only attraction that seemed to have a shorter line. Well, it was a short line, but the Fast Pass system in DLR really needs work.

Allow me to explain what I saw, and please correct me if I’m wrong with my analysis!
In WDW, FP holders are integrated in with the stand by crowds more evenly. DL/CA will allow FP holders access in droves to the front of the line. Standing in the standby line at Grizzly River Run, we actually stood in the same spot for 20 minutes (chained off) so FP holders to go… and there were long lulls in the FP line! Same thing with Star Tours and numerous other rides. This may not be the norm… perhaps it depends on the CM, but we did experience the FP/standby fiasco more than once.

Ok, back to standing in line and crowds…
And looking back, I can laugh, but at the time, I wanted to commit a serious crime against the sick couple in front of us! It should be noted that we had been up since 3:30 AM (actually 2:30.. daylight savings), traveling, waiting a very long time in the hot sun for our room, and fighting crowds… so my levels of Pixy Dust were waning!
So, 20 minutes later, we are finally inside the Star Tours building and staring at the large screen for some entertainment. There is a young couple in front of me and they are having a hard time keeping their hands off each other. Ok, new love… no biggie. Well, I wasn’t even looking at them, but they must have thought I was since I was looking directly over their heads at the stupid screen. I felt their eyes on me and I looked at them and they stared at me, and then proceeded to suck face with very loud smacking sounds, for full effect of course. He was grabbing bodily parts on her, and she was reciprocating…. And I’m not talking about butt grabbing either! This was all for my benefit since they thought I was staring at them! I had my back to them for most of it so DH informed me of some of the foreplay going on. This grope-fest went on for the next 30 minutes in front of my kids! (turn around kids!) I didn’t say anything since these are the type of people who are looking for attention and would love nothing more than for me to confront them so they could lash out and receive more attention from others. Longest wait for a ride ever!!!

By the time we got off that ride, fireworks were going off. For those of you who don’t know how this works, forget about trying to get to the main gates. They have CM’s directing traffic and it is nearly impossible to make your way out of the park right before/ during the fireworks. I’m cussing (in my mind) in about four different languages!!! All I can think about is BED but that will not be in my near future!

It was about 11:30 before we made our way back to the hotel, and of course, a 10 minute wait for an elevator!

Good news though… Monday was awesome!

Monday
We did EMH at CA, did the “wide right” for RSR, and were on the ride in 15 minutes. That is a fun ride! IMHO, I would NOT stand in line for more than 40 minutes for it though.
Oh, and as we were leaving the ride, it broke down. A car was sitting with its passengers waiting patiently in the sun. I felt bad for them and hope they didn’t have to wait too long.
We didn’t spend too much time in Radiator Springs… kids were more interested in riding Cali Screamin’….8 times to be exact! But the new addition to CA is very well done and obviously enjoyed by many.

Note to WDW pros: TSM in CA does NOT have FP! Keep this in mind when your spouse says “oh, let’s do Cali Screamin’ then TSM.” Ya… that didn’t work. When we saw TSM, the line was only 10 minutes, but by the time the family got off CS (8 min later), TSM was 40 minutes!!! CS does have FP.

We hit other rides:
TOT- 30-40 min wait
Monsters -20 min
Tough to Be a Bug-walk in
Goofy Flight School- walk on
Muppets- walk in
Grizzly-50-60 min (25 min posted)
At some point I saw TSM was broke down. We never did go on it or Soarin’ which is not a favorite of ours anyway…. But we will be in WDW in seven months, so…

NOTE: The wait times posted outside the rides were seldom accurate. I would have to say they were off 10-30 minutes at least, and not in our favor.

Crowds in CA were not bad on Monday. I suspect most everyone was in RS, which we avoided after RSR.
We stayed in CA most of the day. We took a mid day break and hung out at the pool for a few hours, had some beers, then headed back to CA since DH and I had ressies for Wine Country Trattoria, which I will give a report on later.
We set the kiddos free for a few hours, which they spent most of their time on Cali Screamin’!

We had some Photo pass pictures taken… nothing too special.
Did lots of shopping this day.
Weather was perfect…. About 76 I believe.

This was by far our favorite day! We were well rested, crowds were decent, weather was perfect, and the rides were fun!

Tuesday
This was EMH for DLR. I forgot that they don’t let you into Adventureland or Frontierland until actual opening, which was a bummer since Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were a bust.
Space Mtn –closed
Star Tours- no thanks!
Nemo Subs- refurb
IASW-refurb
Tea Cups- ummm… no
Peter Pan-long line and not a must
Ranger Spin- I like it but no one else wanted to.
Matterhorn-yes, but only one side was working- the “right side” for those of you who know the difference.

Well, Matterhorn ended up being about a 30 minute wait, which was fine with me since it was closed for refurb in 2010 and it’s been 30 years since I was on it. I was determined to get my family on that ride!
Call me old, but I don’t remember it being so jerky and uncomfortable…. But it was still fun and brought back great memories!
Again, be open to chatting with others while standing in line… it makes the wait much more tolerable!

And of course, the minute we are getting ready to board our bobsled, the left lane opened! Later that day, Matterhorn broke down (according to other park goers).

After Matterhorn, we grabbed breakfast at Tomorrowland Terrace. Will report later.

It was about 8:45 AM so we headed over to join the growing line for Adventureland. I would say there were about 40-50 people in front of us. Not bad… and you know the minute they let you through, everyone will be heading to Indy!
Well, that’s exactly what happened and right before we got to Indy (in front of Jungle Cruise) they announce that Indy is broke down!!
We break to the left and jump on the first boat for JC. Not a favorite ride, but we had to get on something! Lol

We hit Splash right after that… practically walked on. DD and I shopped Pooh Corner after Splash while the boys did a second run, which by that time the line had grown…. About a 15-20 minute wait.

After that we hit HM (5 min) and headed for POTC, but it too was broke down. The crowds are getting really thick by this point (10:30-11 AM) because there were no rides to be had!

And of course, BTMRR was still under refurb. They had it running but it was for CM’s only.

DLR was a huge disappointment. We talked to many people who said the same thing.
We did some shopping, DH got his Dole whip fix, and we got the hell out of there!

I headed back to the room to drop off our newly acquired goods and change shoes, then met up with the family at CA.

They had already hit Cali Screamin’ and TOT, and then picked up FP’s for TOT (for me & the teen boys!) and they were ready to ride Screamin’ again!

We got FP’s for Grizzly, had a few beers and snacks and wondered about the park for a few hours.
CA filled up rather quickly when the masses grew tired of DLR and the lack of working rides.

After our fill, we headed back to the room since we all had tired feet and wanted to relax before dinner at Rainforest Café.

This was the evening DH and I sat at the fire pit with the fun crowd!

After dinner, we did some major shopping in DTD. This was to be our last night in Disneyland and so I wanted to get my shopping fix!

World of Disney was busy. I stood in line to check out for about 25 minutes.
Note to self: don’t try to shop when the parks are closing! Lol

Boys hit Ridemakerz and Quick Silver. (I had to spell Quick Silver like that... it blanked it out )
FYI: Ridemakerz is fun, but can add up fast! Three cars with a 10% coupon came to $300. Tell your kids (and hubbies) to start saving now!

Wednesday
I made breakfast ressie at Steakhouse 55 around 9AM.
DD had an appointment at Studio 365 for her makeover at 11AM
We had our brekkie, finished packing and had bell hop hold our luggage since our car wouldn’t be picking us up until 4PM.

Studio 365 is similar to BBB, but more for older girls. No princess makeovers… more along the lines of pop star/diva looks. The clothes are so cute!
We went with the package that includes an outfit (top, bottom, and two accessories) and got 10% off by doing so.
The hairdo DD chose was quite elaborate and time consuming, so the entire ordeal took about an hour. Parents are not allowed to be out of site… don’t plan on going shopping or getting a drink while your diva is getting her makeover! There are no places to sit inside either. If you ask me, it’s a genius move since you are forced to wander about in the store and spend more money!

FYI: Don’t forget to tip the stylist!

$400 later, I had a diva pop star by my side with a new wardrobe (hair and makeup was about $40) and now we are heading to DLR to join the boys.

They had good luck getting on Indy and picked up a few FP’s so DD got to ride with the boys.

We hit POTC, grabbed a bite, then went back to CA for one more ride on CS…. And a few beers.

Starting to get close to our departure time, so we did one last shopping excursion in DTD and got to the hotel right as our car arrived.

With all the shopping, I racked up some serious points on my Disney Chase card, which will come into good use for WDW in October!
And too, the CM’s were great about letting you know about the 10% discount on purchases over $50 when using your card. Never did I have to remind them or double check… they made sure you knew!

Back to the airport, but for more fun in the sun… Arizona!

Overall, it was a fun trip. Three full days is DLR/CA is just about right. I wouldn’t have minded staying one day more so we could sleep in/pool lounge/ and try more eateries (we are foodies!), but we really didn’t go “commando” on this trip either so it was rather easy breezy.

Many people who have never done both WDW and DLR want to know what the differences are.
In my opinion it as follows:
DLR has just a touch more magic (mentally) because Walt actually was there.
POTC is better in DLR. Longer too.
HM is different
CM’s are friendlier in DLR
Crowds are mainly locals in DLR. Perhaps not as friendly since they live there?? All of the fun and chatty people we met were not from the area. This was my experience in 2010 too.
Food options lack, but maybe a touch better in DLR.
Prices seemed higher in DLR.
No need for 180 day ADR’s in DLR.
Walking distance to both parks from hotels in DLR!
This may have been a fluke, but DLR rides were constantly broke down! Four trips to WDW and I have yet to see/be on a broke down ride. I know it happens, but not like DLR!
Line cutters in DLR! OMG, I could not believe the audacity of people cutting in line! I’m not talking about a kid or a spouse joining their party, but entire families just cutting in where they could. Surely that had something to do with the longer wait times too.

Next up:
Food and misc.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info!! We are going in July and I am a little nervous about the crowds but I am also excited
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:16 PM   #4
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Food and Misc.

Blue Bayou:
Dinner ressie for 7:10 PM (I think I said 8PM in the other post). I made the ressie 60 days out.
We checked in early for lack of anything else to do for 30 minutes… and I love NO Square shopping!
The CM checking us in was a doll! So chatty and happy.
We were seated right around our reservation time.
Table was close to kitchen, which was rather hard on the eyes since the restaurant is so dark and the area by the kitchen is pretty bright.
I was told by a CM working one of the NO Square stores that the chef was new and very good. She told the truth!
House salad with the vinaigrette was very tasty. Biscuits and rolls were as well. Wish there was alcohol in that mint julep though!
DS, DH, and I had the surf n turf (filet and lobster). Small portion I thought for the price, but the amount of food ended up being just perfect. Very tasty! I couldn’t finish my steak… luckily I had my teenage son to help me out!
DD had the lamb and she really liked it.
DS’s friend had the slow roasted beef loin strip and he said it was good, but left almost half of it. (His eyes are sometimes bigger than his stomach!)
Service was good, but rushed. Waiters were pleasant, but not overly friendly. This is not a complaint as I know we were there at a very busy time and BB is very popular. Kids and I ate here last time; therefore, I knew how it would be with service.
Expensive, but you are paying for atmosphere too.
Overall, worth the price and a “must try” for those who have not.

Storyteller’s Café:
Had breakfast with no ressies at around 10:30 AM. Waited all of 30 seconds for a table!
Due to my kids’ ages, character meals are not a top priority, but we really wanted a place to sit and relax, and Storyteller’s was the closest. Besides, the kids and I ate here last trip and the meal was pretty good (and so are the bloody Mary’s!)
Storyteller’s was a bit of a wreck… lots of debris, but you can only imagine how it was just a few hours prior!
Instead of buffet ($28/person… no thanks!), we ordered ala carte. I really wanted eggs Benedict!
Kids got waffles and pancakes. DH had Denver omelet.
Food was good.
Characters were bored so they came around a few times. Lol. The raccoon from Pocahontas just about knocked DS’s food over and touched his meal with his paw, which I didn’t appreciate, especially after all the kids he had been visiting that morning. Raccoon sat down next to DS and was pointing to the bacon, but due to the costume, he couldn’t see very well…. That’s how that all went down.
But the characters were funny and we got some pictures.
Service was good. Quick. In and out in about 40 minutes. I’m sure during busier hours that the wait time would be much longer.

Turkey legs:
There is a decent sized following of the Disney turkey leg… and we happen to be some of them!
DD spotted the turkey leg stand in CA by Cali Screamin’, and the next day was planned around those turkey legs!
Due to the size of those legs, we picked up three of them for the five of us to snack on.
Ya…. We didn’t finish all of them and here’s why…..
DH and DD picked up the legs while the boys and I headed over to the Warf area for beers and seating. While snacking on the turkey legs (just pulling pieces off with our fingers; not going Fred Flintstone style!) a lady sitting at a table facing me was obviously commenting to her table mates about the legs… and it wasn’t positive. It was as if she was disgusted and mocking our choice of snack food and making faces like we were animals eating on a carcass. Was she a vegan? Umm… from the looks of the meal she was devouring, I would say not. And even if she was a vegan, who is she to judge us?!? She ruined my appetite and an experience that normally makes my daughter super happy about Disney parks. The boys didn’t see this nor did I bring it to DH’s attention until after we left the area. (He was curious as to why I didn’t eat much.) I wanted someone in our party to enjoy their meal without feeling bad.

But, if you have not had a Disney turkey leg, you are missing out! Seven months from now, we will be enjoying those legs again!

Wine Country Trattoria:
Made a 7PM ressie 60 days out for just DH and myself.
We showed up about 20 min early. Line for reservations was getting long, but plenty of tables to choose from outside.
For those of you who have little ones, please don’t be offended by what I’m about to say. Our children were babies and toddlers once too, and so I think I can speak freely.
Wine Country had many tables with kids outside, and at four of those nearby tables, the kids were crying or running around.
When it was our turn to be seated, I asked for a table that was in a quieter area… a bit more peaceful. The hostess pointed to the nearest table to the screaming kids and reservation desk and says “I was going to seat you there.”
Ummmm… hell No!
I said to her “No, we would like a table farthest from this area which is surrounded by crying kids and away from the reservation desk.”
The lady that was being seated right before us turned around, made eye contact with me, and mouthed the words “I KNOW!!!!” There was desperation in her eyes too!
The hostess did seat us at a quiet table area with a heater right next to us. Heaven!
Waitress was a ditz and not very tentative. Appetizers showed up, but no silverware or napkins, which we had to flag our waitress down for, but the hostess ended up bringing to us.
Food was ok. Nothing to write home about. DH had the shrimp scampi on a bed of noodles and even though it was good, it had hardly any garlic taste, and a bit dry.
I had some sort of chicken on a bed of noodles with a white wine sauce. Noodles were pretty dry… not much sauce or flavor in that sauce.
Overall, a nice evening, an ok meal, good company…. But not a restaurant we will be returning to anytime soon.

Tomorrowland Terrace
We had breakfast burritos here one morning. They were ok and expensive. I want to say $10/ea, but they don’t chintz on the filling.
Lots of tables to choose from.
The ordering/food pick-up area is confusing and congested. While I was waiting, a couple people were confused where to go to order and ended up standing in the pick-up area which made it hard to actually get to the counter to receive your food.

Rainforest Café
The last time in DLR the kids and I ate here and had a great meal. This time the food was just ok. I ordered a new dish which was a mixture of different seafood. Coconut shrimp was bland and the dipping sauce had cumin in it which didn’t compliment the shrimp. The tilapia had some sort of crust on it and it was good, but they served it over BBQ sauce and it ruined the flavor.
Husband had the guacamole burger and said it was really good.
I can’t recall what the kids had, but they said it was fine.
Service was fine. Seated at our ressie time.


Steakhouse 55
We had breakfast here on our last day. I made ressies 60 days out, which wasn’t necessary since there were plenty of empty tables.
Food was good for the most part. I had the eggs Benedict and the English muffin had a burnt taste. It was obvious they toasted it too long and then tried to scrape off most of the black. It wasn’t super bad, but noticeable.
DH ordered a couple eggs over easy and the whites were still clear. He mentioned this to the waiter and asked for new eggs. The waiter said “so, you would prefer an over medium egg.” DH said “no, I would prefer over easy with the egg white to be cooked, not raw.” Ya, when DH cut into the egg, it looked like someone blew their nose on the plate!
Just a bit of attitude over that from the waiter, but everything else was fine.
Bloody Marys are excellent here!
Kids loved the hot chocolate.

Harbour Galley
DH and I ordered a lobster roll to share, but I didn’t eat any of it due to the onions. I hate raw onion! DH said it was really tasty. The lobster pieces were big and plentiful. They make in house chips which were good and had a bit of spice to them.
Seating area here is way too small…. Had to trek over to Hungry Bear to find a table.

Misc.

Von’s Grocery delivery
We ordered some items from Von’s to be delivered on our arrival day. This worked out great!
Considering bottled water in the park costs $1.79, I ordered a case of water at $5.29. We also had some breakfast rolls, juices, beer, wine, Starbucks cold coffee, and a few snacks delivered. Von’s had a promo code for first time users so our delivery was free… but don’t forget to tip the delivery person! All together it was about $130.
They have timeframes in which they can/will deliver so I chose a two hour window between 4-6 PM and they were there right around 4:30PM. And since I ordered alcohol, I needed to sign for the delivery and stay with bell hop for delivery to room.
I would recommend Von’s and will be doing this again!

Photo Pass +
A few months prior to trip, I ordered the Photo Pass + which was on sale for about $65. They send you a bar code coupon that needs to be redeemed at either parks camera store.
The CM who helped me get my PP+ card was a brilliant woman! She highly suggested for me to take a picture of the PP card (be sure you can read the code #) and receipt incase I lose the card.
And guess what… last day of our trip, I lost the PP card!
Luckily, I took her advice and was able to get my photos!
PP+ is great for those who like the ride pictures but don’t want to spend the hefty sum for singles. We had some photos taken in the parks too. After I’m done adding borders and the other fun picture options to the photos, I feel that I got my money’s worth.

I think that about covers it!

Thanks for reading!
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DLR TR 2014
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:11 PM   #5
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LOVED this report!!!

I can't believe how much information/advice you packed into this---Thank you!

I found myself chuckling quite a few times, so you were funny, as well as informative!

What a great attitude you had about all the mishaps---yes, you grumbled a bit, but you didn't let those things ruin your trip---congratulations!

I would have been furious over the room requests---yes, we all know it's a crap shoot, but to not meet any of them??? Ridiculous! And the amount of time you had to wait, to get that room stinks!

I love that you spoke up, and were firm about not being seated by the running/crying children. If there's availability for that, why would't they want to accommodate a simple request and make that guest happy? (I feel for the woman with desperation in her eyes)!

Had to crack up at the egg/nose blow comment---hilarious!

Thanks for the enjoyable and helpful report!
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:47 PM   #6
kP72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luulu1999 View Post
Thanks for the info!! We are going in July and I am a little nervous about the crowds but I am also excited
If you can, partake in the EMH. On our CA day, we got in many rides before the park became too busy. Getting RSR done first thing worked great since we all know that's where everyone will go to first thing. It really made the rest of the day relaxing... getting on other popular rides so quick almost felt like a "bonus"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshirecatty View Post
LOVED this report!!!

I can't believe how much information/advice you packed into this---Thank you!

I found myself chuckling quite a few times, so you were funny, as well as informative!

What a great attitude you had about all the mishaps---yes, you grumbled a bit, but you didn't let those things ruin your trip---congratulations!

I would have been furious over the room requests---yes, we all know it's a crap shoot, but to not meet any of them??? Ridiculous! And the amount of time you had to wait, to get that room stinks!

I love that you spoke up, and were firm about not being seated by the running/crying children. If there's availability for that, why would't they want to accommodate a simple request and make that guest happy? (I feel for the woman with desperation in her eyes)!

Had to crack up at the egg/nose blow comment---hilarious!

Thanks for the enjoyable and helpful report!
Awww, thanks! For the amount of money and time vested in these vacations, I've learned to find the good... with some bumps in the road along the way! But that's life and we learn to take the cream with the crap!
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:38 PM   #7
daisy_77
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I really enjoyed your TR. It was honest, and I love that.

Thanks so much for sharing!
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:51 PM   #8
kP72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daisy_77 View Post
I really enjoyed your TR. It was honest, and I love that.

Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Daisy! Today, I started pondering other thoughts that may be of some use to future DLR visitors that I would like to share. Sometimes being home and actually using/playing with souvenirs triggers the ol' brain!
If I can, I'll add a few pictures. As usual, I'm having a hard time downloading pictures.... Yes, I'm considered a "photo dummy" online!
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:04 PM   #9
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Some afterthoughts…

Now that we’ve been home for almost two weeks now, I have some info I thought may be useful to those preparing for their upcoming trips to DLR.

The Vera Bradley duffle bag is….AWESOME!!! Who would have thought I could love something as much as my children! Whopping price on that bad boy, but with my Disney CC, got a good discount! This bag worked perfectly as a carry-on…and a pillow!

I love buying Disney clothes (Tank tops, T-shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, etc.) and something occurred to me this past visit… they don’t make them like they used to!
My “Pirate Couture” sweatshirt from a NO Square (POTC/HM) shop (zip up and very light weight)… one pocket is already falling off. Not ripped, but unraveling. This happened after first wash.

Another sweatshirt that I just took the tag off has a flaw in the material. In a few washings, I will have a nice sized hole in the front. This happens with any brand, but just look for imperfections before spending Disney prices on something you can’t return.

Trying to find sweatpants was a challenge! Normally, I pick up 3-4 pairs (my “go to” lingerie! Lol), but this time, only one pair was purchased since the options in style were limited. I didn’t want yoga style or elastic leg bands… only one style (straight leg/no elastic ankle band) was to be found in over a dozen shops and it was in black with “Disneyland” plastered in white on the side. They are comfy though. The last pair I bought in 2010 are just now falling apart! Oh, how I love my sweatpants!

That reminds me, someone on the DIS was asking about clothing sizes. I’m a size 10-12 (5’7”, 155lbs) and the sweatpants are perfect in length, but quite large in the waist area… and I am not a slim thing either. Good thing they have ties to synch in! The XL is really closer to a XXL.

Goofy Taffy in the pre-packaged bag has a mixture of new and old pieces. Some are soft, and then others are hard as rocks. Still tasty, but a crap shoot when it comes to finding a fresh piece.

The bacon cheddar popcorn (pre-bagged) is delish! I love me some cheddar popcorn and Disney does theirs perfectly…. And now I’ve got a new addiction… the bacon cheddar! Blast you Disney!!!
BTW: I gave my dad a few bags of that cheese “crack” and a bag of the chocolate carmel corn … he said it’s really good… and he’s pretty picky!

I like the new Disney luggage. The hard sided suitcases are more expensive than the old soft sided style ($200 now), but these ones should hold up much better. (I own more Disney luggage than a human has a right too!) I loved the idea that my Disney prints, breakables, and popcorn would not be smooshed in transit!

If you read through all of my TR, you will know that I really don’t worry about prices… too much. Well, I don’t like paying $10 for a carmel apple, but Sweet Jesus….. that Minnie carmel apple that DD just had to have was worth every cent! I may have growled at DD for the last bite…

Oh, I just printed off our “Death Certificates” …. From HM! Keep track of the time you get off that ride, and then visit Doonbuggies.com http://www.doombuggies.com/media_death_certificate.php to enter your info for a free printable Death Certificate! Such a hoot!

And I don’t know how this mini miracle happened, but I will chalk it up to “Disney Magic”. Going through my Photo Pass Plus photos, I came across a ToT ride picture that I didn’t put on my PPcard. I was supposed to, but totally forgot… it’s of DH and DD. DH gave me the photo #, but I never did add it to the card.
Low and behold, it’s there! Thank you Disney for looking out for me!

On the subject of photos…

I pre-ordered the Photo Pass + which was on sale for $65. We got all our attraction/ride pictures on that card (normally $15/download), and some park photos (about 20), and those photos have been edited to my liking (borders, characters, etc.) All together, I ended up with about 188 photos, which is very minimal for me, but for the price of $65……so worth it!
The CD will be delivered sometime next week. I could have just downloaded the pix, but I like hard copies of pix… just in case!

In addition, many people were wondering where to get “magic shots” (Tinkerbell, Stitch, cartoon balloons, etc.), and when we were there (March 9-12,) Magic Shots were NOT offered to us in Cali Adventure. I was told this by two CM’s who were taking PP shots at the bronze Walt. They told me where I could find Magic Shots in DLR….four different locations to be exact, but we didn’t seek them out in DLR…. Not an important issue for us. We just inquired since we had the chance to ask.
I know one can get Magic Shots in CA, but while we were there, it was NOT offered…. Not busy enough according to a CM.
BTW: we had photos taken at five different locations in CA on three different days (March 10-12)…. NO MAGIC SHOTS.
So, looking past the fact that I was questioned by fellow DISers on this, there were no MS offered AT THE TIME WE VISITED Cali Adventure. Chances are if you are visiting DL during busier dates, then you WILL find Magic Shots. Just ask a CM. They will point you in the right direction.

I’m sure more minor things will come to mind… but that’s all I have for now!
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:09 AM   #10
mickeymom629
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Enjoyed reading your report!

DH, one DS and I went 3 years ago for the first time and really enjoyed DL/CA!
DH, DD and possibly another DS plan to go in November for the Avengers marathon. We are WDW vets, and your report reminded me how much reading/planning I need to do for DLR!

Awesome that you have so many photos! I've never done the photo pass thing, since I take so many pictures myself.
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2014 Nov DL/DCA GCV for Avengers Half!!;2014 Feb AKV/BLT for PHM!!; 2013 Jan ASM/BWV grand villa!!; 2012 April DL/DCA GCV (spring break); 2010 March Princess Half Marathon POFQ/BWV; 2009 May SSR villa; 2008 June OKW; 2008 March (Spring break) BWV; 2007 Dec. Quality Suites; 2007 July POP/OKW; 2006 April (Spring break) Quality Suites/OKW; 2005 June/July ASSp/OKW; 2005 March - (Spring break) OKW;2004 June/July CBR/OKW; 2003 Dec. BWV; 2003 Jan. Wonder Cruise/HH; 2002 Apr. (Spring break) VWL; 2001 July OKW; 2000 Aug. FW cabin/BWV; 1999 Oct./Nov. ASM/ASSp Became DVC owners!; 1998 Apr./May FW Cabin; 1993 Dec. Travelodge
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:03 PM   #11
mikamah
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I really enjoyed your trip report!!

I totally agree, you may not get every request, but so what, you're on vacation and you will make the best of it!

We're making our first trip to DL in august, and it's killing me not to make dining reservations yet, but am trying to believe it's really that different there. lol.

Thanks for sharing!
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FEB 2014-Princesspalooza!!! Can not wait!!!
Feb 2011-Princess half marathon trip!!!
Aug 2010-michael's surprise trip!!!
Nov '09-Pop w/Jim,Beth & Taylor!!!
Jan '09 Pop-just Michael and Mom
April '08- Pop-w/ Jane + Jessa
Dec 06- ASMusic-Michael's 1st time/5th B-day/Xmas trip w/ cousin Taylor etc.
May 2000- ecpot during work conference
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