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Old 10-31-2014, 09:34 AM   #1
eandesmom
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He's with the Band! a DL Performing Arts TR- 11/21 Spinning Tractors and Flying Tires

Welcome to another eandesmom Trip Report! This time we are headed to Disneyland, which for some of us was either the first time in a VERY long time, or the first time others could even remember.

This was a bonus trip. A trip that was, to an extent, handed to us and one that we found we HAD to go on.

Even if we really had no business going to Disney AGAIN as some might say.

But first things first.

Our cast of characters for our California Adventure. The WHO.

Myself

First up, me. Cynthia. Certified Disney "freak" as I am affectionately called by many in my real life. The good news is that I am surrounded by them, both at home, on this trip and even at the office. The ones at home include my husband Jeff, our kids Taylor (22), Kendall (18), Evan (15) and Eric (14). We are a blended family but to me, its all family. Jeff's kids get a "bonus" mom (me) and mine well, they get a dad, period. We are very blessed to have 4 amazing kids that get along, love and support each other and most of the time actually like each other. It's been a transition year at our house as Kendall finished high school and is now in college, we have a weird empty nest thing going on. Not that it is empty but Taylor goes to school in our city whereas K moved to California. It's just...odd. Really odd. And weird, and hard and cool and exciting all at once. But I digress (I do that a lot).

I fell in love with Disney when I was 10, thanks to my mom. Who is technically my stepmom but holds the full mom ranking in my heart and every way that matters. You'll meet her on this trip if you haven't met her already. It is her second appearance in a TR. While dating my dad, she somehow convinced him to take his 4 kids, in one small car, on a road trip to California. We camped on the way down and in the days before seatbelts, I sat on her lap the entire way there and back. Not only did we all live, she survived the whole thing so well he proposed on the trip and I fell in love with Disney. I am a full time working mom, in sales and marketing for a forensic engineering firm. Which may explain a lot. While not an engineer, I like the geeky side of things and like to think I combine that aspect, with the marketing stuff and as a result have special affinities for things like fuzzy Disney math, spreadsheets and a little graphic design on the side. I can honestly say after this year I am starting to lose count of how many times I've been to Disney, although interestingly enough I have been to WDW far more times that DLR, which is odd, given that we live in Seattle! As I've aged and injuries have forced me to change activities, I've taken up running in the last couple of years and added runDisney to my list of things I like to do, completing my first half marathon ever last month, at the Disneyland Half. I love my girls trips, my family trips and last month for the first time, my DH Jeff and I had our first adult only Disney trip! I love to hike, have coffee on the verandah, curl up with a good book, and get outside any way I can. I'm quite late in starting this trip report because well, I've been too busy going to Disney since it happened to write about it! That and a pretty busy job and a TR from New Years that I just now finished. I know, excuses excuses!









Next, my kids! Two of them anyway





Evan, DS 15

Evan was actually 14 when this trip happened; I'm a bit behind on getting this TR started. He is the reason this trip happened at all! Evan is our renaissance man and our "tester", always seeing what the limits really are in all areas of life. Questioning. At all times. He is a good student, an avid musician, he likes to cook, enjoy the theater, build things and do a little sports on the side. What that means is this year as a sophomore he is involved in Jazz band as a trombonist, and obsessed with all things Jazz, Symphonic Band, marching Band, he is on Stage Crew for our very active and prolific Drama Department where he's moved up to lights this year, and he is pretty happy about that. We really think he should be actually IN the productions, he’s a natural and loves it, he built a whole trip this summer around seeing productions in NYC with my folks. When asked if he was excited about the bump up to lights (follow spot for those who get into that kind of thing) he said yes....and then also said he thought it might be because he talks to much when he's a grip. Shocker. But maybe now that he will actually get to see the entire production from up above instead of being behind the stage, he will decide to give it a try. It's been a fun fall for him as with this new "job" they are asking him to do more and more for non-theater events to work the lights, and he likes that a lot. He also took over doing sound at church for my dad this summer while my dad recovered from a catastrophic knee injury. Fun and educational for him and a great help to our little church community. This fall he decided to play Tennis for the first time, with the HS team and had a ton of fun (even if the nickname the coach gave him was the Rouge). Other than all that he's very involved with our youth group, babysitting the neighborhood to save up for a car (except he spends it all on clothes) and keeping up with a very heavy homework load. He can't wait to start Drivers Ed....but I'm not in a rush to sign him up!







Eric, DS 14

Like Evan, Eric was younger on this trip, 13.

Eric and Evan are very different in both temperament and looks. Eric is going through many of the same things his brother did at that age....and is giving me grey hair. Or not, I had it already but oy! I think he is trying to see just how far he can push, and still pull things off. He has become quite the procrastinator in school and it’s incredibly frustrating. Why? Well, he is our true academic, very cerebral and currently his goal is to teach Theoretical Physics when he grows up. Of course he will have to turn in his homework to make that happen! He is also active in music playing piano and trumpet and boy scouts where he spends a lot of time camping and hiking. He did a "50 miler" this summer with his scout troop, pretty cool stuff. He’s also becoming quite the runner. Eric has never been known for his athletic ability but last year did Cross Country and Track, usually coming in almost last, and having a blast doing it. I loved his attitude and the simple fact he was out there moving, and having fun. He did his first official race last spring and got the bug, and learned a valuable lesson…no giant chocolate donuts before a race! This summer he got involved with the HS running club. While it was hard, and he was often left behind (which made me a nervous wreck) it really made a difference. This year he improved so much he made it far out of the back of the pack, to the front of the middle and into the district championships! He wants to run with us over the winter, it will be interesting to see how that goes but I finally broke down and ordered him a road ID (and one for me too) so I'm not freaking out that he will get lost at a race, at running club or if he does join us on any of our nighttime runs.







My parents

Kathi, my mom is an avid scrapbooker, card maker, generally crafty person. She has a huge passion for Girl Scouts and travel.

Tom, my dad is very involved with our church, geneology and giving tours down at the Science Fiction museum here. He loves his sci fi!

Both are huge arts and sports fans, with season tickets to the Sounders and Mariners and attending lots (and lots) of plays. More than anything though, they love to travel! They are gone at least 2 months a year, sometimes more. They took Evan on his NYC adventure this summer and will be doing the same for Eric this summer, though he chose DC. My mom is pretty much a type A when it comes to travel, my spreadsheets have nothing on her. Dad....is along for the ride. When they heard about this trip, and why we had to go, even though they had just been with us to WDW over New Years, they wanted along for this ride too! They didn't do much planning on this one as they had a bunch of travel before this trip so basically just showed up!

They love their Disney as well.









There is more to my clan than this, I have 2 step children but at the time of this trip they were either busy in college or busy in high school. Because we are a blended family, break schedules don’t exactly line up and it wasn't a trip that it made sense to try and pull my DSD out of school for, especially during her senior year. My DH Jeff was also unable to join us. He was out of vacation days and while he says he was Disney'd out, the reality was around this time he jumped on the idea of some adult only days at the Food and Wine festival in WDW and was recently toying with the idea of somehow fitting a DL day in on a recent LA/San Diego weekend trip we had. He is all talk! He’s my travel partner, my running partner and my best friend. He is also an aerospace engineer who’s building a plane in our garage. He won't really make an appearance here other than in chatter but his support was a big part of this trip.







A must do trip. The WHY.

A funny thing happened last year. We had been planning an epic New Years eve trip to WDW with my side of family, that was in the works for almost 2 years. The last thing on my mind was a trip to DL. However, Evan started high school last year. The Marching Band at his school does one trip per year. Historically it has been up to Victoria BC each spring to march in their Victoria days parade and then every 4 years they go to Ireland. This year the band director decided that it needed mixing up, that 3 years in Victoria was too many. They wanted the band to march in Disneyland. It would include a recording session that sounded incredible as well as the marching experience.

There was NO way my kid was going to march down main street (or through California Adventure, we wouldn't know which park until about 2 weeks out) and have me not be there to watch. NO WAY. They timed it over spring break. Which meant I HAD to take Eric. It would be wrong not to. Even if he will get the same thing in 4 years himself. So of course, I had to come up with a plan, a big fat plan (or BFP).

The BFP. The WHAT and The WHEN.

I found out about this trip in June 2013. The trip would be in April 2014. What I didn't realize, until late August of 2013 was that the trip would fall over Easter. Our spring break had never fallen over Easter before, it was always past it, the 3rd week of April. This year, Easter was late. Really late. I had hoped to use our DVC points to stay at the Grand Californian. Once I learned about the Easter aspect, my hopes plunged to the floor. We don't own at the GCV which means I would have to wait until the 7 month mark to book. The 7 month mark would be about 2 weeks after school started. All I knew is that the band trip was planned as follows for the kids.

• Saturday. Band flies down, hits grammy museum and the beach
• Sunday. March OR have recording session
• Monday. March OR have recording session
• Tuesday. Fly home

I wasn't crazy about the idea of missing Easter at home. We usually host. However we wouldn't know whether or not the band was performing on Easter itself, until about 2 weeks prior to the trip. I wouldn't be going as a chaperon, as that was all handled by school employees, so I was not tied to their schedule. However, leaving Saturday just made sense to be safe. I didn't want to book an Easter flight, and miss their performance time.
At seven months I got online and immediately booked 5 nights in a studio. Given that it was Easter and we were doing the giant NYE trip, I really didn't think my parents would want to go. But they did. After much chatting we decided I'd upgrade to a 1 bedroom for 4 of the nights so we could all stay together, and they would pick up the flights for Eric and I. Much as I would have loved to treat them, using up those points was a pretty big upgrade that would impact other future trips and I really couldn't "afford" to do that, and buy flights. It also let them stay with us, in the park, for a lot less than if they’d have booked on property on their own, and less than most of the offsite options. Being so close, on this trip in particular, turned out to be a godsend. Since we wouldn't have Evan for the first 3 nights and I didn't have enough points for all 5 nights in the one bedroom, this seemed doable. Amazingly I was able to make the switch, luckily the 1 bedrooms don't go quite as fast as the studios. Over the course of the next few months we watched flight prices, jumped when they were right and were able to get tickets for about $180 each into the airport of our choice and a great deal on a car rental.

And then we didn't do a thing for the trip (other than me making payments on Evan’s portion to the school) until the 60 day mark! At that point we made a few dining reservations and....that was it! At least until I found a sunrise service on the beach for Easter itself. Although it cut into park time, it worked with the released band schedule and it became a plan.

Our LSP (little skinny plan) looked like this

Saturday: Early am, Evan flies out with the band. Afternoon, Eric, myself and my folks fly out. Check into studio at GCV, eat dinner somewhere in Downtown Disney, preferably Trader Sam’s. DISmeet scheduled, upgrade my park ticket.

Sunday (Easter): Sunrise service on the beach, run on the beach for me. Check into 1 bedroom, breakfast at Ralph Brennan’s. See the orchestra play (they got to go too), hang in California Adventure, head to DL and watch Evan march down main street! After band marches, do whatever we feel like in whatever park we like and counter service dinner somewhere in one of the parks, or cook dinner in the villa

Monday:
No park day (the folks and Eric would have 4 day tickets), head to long beach for breakfast, pool or beach time.

Tuesday: Park morning, pick up Evan from the band before the rest of the band leaves, dinner at Mrs. Knott's.

Wednesday: Park morning, lunch at Blue Bayou, DISmeet, park afternoon and evening, counter service dinner.

Thursday: Storytellers café breakfast, park morning/afternoon, late counter service lunch, fly home.

Come march with us!
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Last edited by eandesmom; 11-21-2014 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:53 AM   #3
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Just caught this waiting for my shuttle to the cruise terminal. Subbing in. Will be back to read and comment!
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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What a fabulous trip!!! I'm so glad you decided to do a TR, can't wait to hear all about it!
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:55 AM   #5
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Great intros!

I love how Jeff claims to be "Disney'd out". Yeah, right. We all know better, pal.

And I'm totally with you. My kid's not marching through Disneyland without me!
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:36 AM   #6
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I'm here and I can't wait to hear all about it!

Jill in CO
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:47 PM   #7
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I'm here!! Just when I was looking for a TR to read too. I burst out laughing at the LSP - I think I prefer the BFP myself!

Let's start marching!
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Old 10-31-2014, 02:03 PM   #8
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Can't wait to hear about your trip!
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Old 10-31-2014, 03:29 PM   #9
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Just got back on the DISboards after getting caught up at work after our trip and you've got a new TR! Perfect timing! Can't wait!
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Old 10-31-2014, 04:10 PM   #10
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Joining in.

When I was younger my parents were very involved in our local community theatre. My mom on stage and my dad back stage. I did some acting and even participated in drama in 5th and 6th grade, but high school I was known to proclaim that I would never set foot on stage again. Then in my early 20s my mom had a part that I loved and had to have surgery so I, knowing all her lines from working on them with her, took over and remembered what I once loved about acting.

My husband, also an Evan, started out working backstage in High School, moved onto lights and by his Senior year was the guy that everyone came to when they needed to do something on the stage. He tried acting later in life and we met acting in a play together.

So maybe some day your Evan will step out on stage and realize how amazing it is.
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Old 10-31-2014, 04:15 PM   #11
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Securing my spot! Now going back to read! Thanks for posting the link, Cynthia!
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Old 10-31-2014, 04:39 PM   #12
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Woo Hoo! Another trip in the making! This one sounds so special. That would be so cool to see Evan march!

And I think I made page 1 on one of your threads.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:13 PM   #13
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Joining in
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:40 AM   #14
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Joining in! And I'm going to try reeeeally hard to keep myself up to date this time!
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:41 PM   #15
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Yee-ha! I'm in!

Love your intro.


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