A BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov&Dec2010 @ VGC & AKV... 2 UPDATES 3/6 Post #85 & 86

Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by stopher1, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    For those of you who have experienced my other TR’s, or have encountered me on various threads, you’ll probably know that I am a bit of a fortunate guy in that I like to tack on time (when possible) to do something fun. If I can’t tack on a day at the beginning or end of a trip, I’ll definitely try to at least seek out something fun in the area I’m in… for example – when in NYC, I love to see a show, or a Yankees game, or ride the subway, or take the Staten Island Ferry, or, or, or. When in Philly, I enjoy seeing some of the historical sites. Everywhere has something to see or do, if you only take the time to explore. Some places just happen to have the best themed experiences on the planet… Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong – and if I’m “in the neighborhood”, you’d better believe I’m going to tack on some time and go see some old pals and enjoy some great architecture too – sometimes even have a great meal. SOLO. Because I’m comfortable enough traveling & touring on my own (that and I can’t always afford to bring the family along on a work trip!)

    So with that in mind, it’s time once again for a SOLO adventure by stopher1 (vs. my FAMILY adventures when at least one other member of the family gets to go with me). I travel a lot for my for work, and those travels just happen to include both California (headquarters is located in Orange County – the home of Disneyland, and a few other things in case you were somehow not aware) and my regional territory (24 states on the eastern half of the country) naturally includes Florida (the home of Walt Disney World – again, just in case you were somehow not sure where that plane takes you each time you go to the World! ;) )

    This trip report is actually the compilation of 2 individual trips that were made within one week of each other – to opposite coasts and resorts… and has lots of DIS meets in it as well!! Filled with the parks, resorts, old friends, family, friends from my DL CM days via a reunion of Carnation Plaza Gardens friends, WL Groupies and DISDads… so why have 2 separate reports, but rather lump them together into 1! It’s more fun that way – especially since within this single report you will be able to see some of the Christmas decorations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in one…without the personal expense of flying there yourself!

    We’ll begin this tale the day after Thanksgiving 2010, as I prepared to fly west for my company’s annual “end of year” meetings where we go over the current year, and do some planning for the upcoming year. Everyone in the company is there, regardless of where they reside in the nation (there are only 41 of us in all on the team… about half are regional folks in 4 offices around the country). I normally don’t like to fly the day after Thanksgiving, typically the Saturday or Sunday after, but that was the plan this year – and hey, the airport was extremely light! Practically everyone was already where they wanted to be. Upon arrival at John Wayne airport in Orange County, waiting for my bag to come off the conveyor, I was greeted with this SIGN – probably about 6’x9’ in size (or bigger) on the wall of the airport.

    [​IMG]

    I can't wait to stay at Aulani!


    I would not be checking in to the Grand until Saturday afternoon so that Friday night I was able to go down to our family retreat house… my FIL’s condo overlooking the beach in San Clemente and spend some time with him. He was diagnosed with cancer this past summer, and time with him is precious. Here’s the view from his living room window, which can never be obstructed since there is a public access staircase from the bluff his condo is on down to the actual beach below.

    [​IMG]


    He insisted on taking me out to dinner that evening, so here we are at Islands, one of my favorites from So. Cal.

    [​IMG]


    This is a view from the top of the stairs in the morning. Notice the train tracks near the water’s edge? Amtrak’s Surfliner runs right along the coast for quite a stretch there from Dana Point on south to Oceanside. It’s a fun sight to behold when the train goes by, and you can hear the horns blaring all through the day and night when it is approaching / passing.


    [​IMG]


    Here's a view looking south along the coast, with the Pier in the distance. It's a nice walk from his place.

    [​IMG]


    It was an absolute delight being able to spend my evening and the next morning with him. It was just the two of us, and in the 19 years I have known him, it was honestly the nicest, most open and caring ongoing conversation we've ever had. It was neat.

    I left my FIL’s place around noon, had a quick bite for lunch and proceeded north along the 5 to my destination.

    [​IMG]


    For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of staying at the Grand Californian, the hotel was built literally adjacent to Disney California Adventure, with a private entrance leading directly INTO that park, putting you just steps away from both Grizzly River Run (like Kali River Rapids) and Soarin’ (Over California). Both theme park and hotel were built on the original Disneyland parking lot. Parking for the Grand is either via Valet (with underground parking under the new Villas wing), or self-parking, across Disneyland Drive. That’s the route I took, being the relative cheapskate that I am. After checking in, I drove over to the lot, and then walked back to the hotel. This is the view of the hotel from across the street, specifically the new wing opened in September 2009 with the 48 DVC villas in it. The rooms you are looking at here are all hotel rooms for cash guests. The DVC villas are on the other side, either looking towards the pool complex, or over and in to DCA.

    [​IMG]


    Since it was just me, naturally I didn’t need anything larger than a Studio. I had requested an “upper floor, theme park view” room. The hotel is only 6 floors high. I got level 3. So the first park of my request was sort of honored, but not fully. I did get a theme park view…but the room itself was way down at the end , next to the GV that looks out over DCA’s Paradise Pier… so the GV juts out further than the rest of the rooms do… so my view was of the park, but not very good – at least for seeing World of Color. But that’s okay. There would be ample opportunity to see it later on, as you’ll see.


    I was in

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are a few quick pics of the room itself.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]


    Any the view out my window. Straight on is Paradise Pier… kind of blocked by trees. WOC is really off to the left. I could only see a tiny bit as seen in this view later that evening… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

    [​IMG]

    Up next… DTD, old friends time in Disneyland itself. See ya real soon.
     
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  3. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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  4. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Ok, I'm jumping in here, too... although I think you missed an opportunity to combine this with your other ongoing TR into one big schizophrenic report. :rotfl:

    Can't wait to see more of the Grand Californian! It looks awesome! (like its cousin, the WL)

    Of course, the view from your FIL's place is pretty sweet, too.
     
  5. BigEeyore

    BigEeyore DIS Veteran

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    Two TR's going at the same time? That is ambitious!
    I think I've mentioned to you before that I used to be a CM at Carnation Plaza Gardens in DL over the summers of 1990-91, also worked at Village Haus. When were you there? I heard about that reunion. I'm sure we know some of the same people!
    We stayed at VGC back in May and loved it! Absolutely hands down the best DVC property yet! We just missed the opening of WoC, got to see them testing it in the evenings (sort of, had an obstructed view like you). Look forward to more! :goodvibes
     
  6. lakelandgal70

    lakelandgal70 Life is too short for fake butter, cheese or peopl

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    Can't wait to see more pics!
     
  7. kikiq

    kikiq DIS Veteran

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    Ohhh, it's my DisDad of the Year...don't you love that sign at John Wayne...it's a "sign" anyway you look at it. Can't wait to read your report.

    AND I love the GCV rooms, if they sold that 2 bedroom villa as a condo, we would have sold our house and moved;)
     
  8. KeepSwimmingDory

    KeepSwimmingDory DIS Veteran

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    Love it!

    I really hope we get to stay at VCG sometime. Trying to get that in the plans!
     
  9. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    Oh my golly, me too! I loved it when we were there in a dedicated 2BR last week...but that's a 3rd TR that has yet to be started.

    Oh and of course it's a SIGN. I meant to say that... really I did. I was still thinking of the poster sized sign inside the elevators at VGC that I saw so many times last week while there... now I'll have to go back and correct the original post so it's correct there too. Sign. Of course it's a sign. ;) Believe me, I do know it's a sign. I was a Signage manager/purchaser for my former employer's stores across the country for a couple of years... I do KNOW it's a sign.
     
  10. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    I enjoyed your last solo TR, so I've been looking forward to hearing about this one. As confusing as it the whole bi-coastal bit sounds, I think this has potential to be a very informative and interesing trip report for those of us who haven't made it to both parks.
     
  11. dvczerfs

    dvczerfs DIS Veteran

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    im in stopher!!!:thumbsup2 great shots again!! glad you got to spend time with your fil. hes in our prayers. he looks good for eveything thats going on. cant wait for another update. on a side note, i dont see a ticker in your sig.?:confused3
     
  12. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    Welcome Mark! So glad you could join in the fun. :)

    Yeah, I kind of thought of making it all one big report, but then it would really be a mess - and I'm a bit too much of a neat freak to have a mess like that on my hands... so I figured what they heck, go with two...


    Oh, and it IS awesome too. The Lodge is definitely my favorite resort at WDW... but I must say, that the Grand is actually my favorite resort by Pete Dominick. Side by side, the Grand wins for many reasons, though I do love the themeing of the Lodge. Let's just say thank goodness there are a few miles between the two or I'd have a hard time choosing which one to stay at if they were both at WDW.

    Oh yeah, the beach place is great. I could live there full-time and never get tired of that view. Definitely the reason he snapped it up all those years ago when it was available.


    And a bit crazy... especially when I finish sorting out the pictures from the trip the entire family just got home from last week... back at DL and the Grand, in a dedicated 2 BR...with my SIL and nephews along. I hope to have 3 going in a week or so... :scared1: But WELCOME! Nice to have you here. :)


    Yes, I believe you have mentioned that before. I was at CPG from 87-89. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see if you do recall/know any of the same people, since a photo or two could be surfacing in the not too distant future.


    Ooooohhhh - I will agree with this statement 100% (sorry Groupies reading along.... )


    And I can't wait to share some more! Welcome! Glad you could join in. :)
     
  13. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    Welcome Dory! :) I hope you can get to stay sometime in the not too distant future. It really is a wonderful place. It definitely has the feel of the Lodge, but a somewhat different vibe too. A bit more subdued elegance and grace, and a little less rustic charm. But just as cozy, if you can imagine it. The fireplace is fabulous too.

    And I'm happy to share! Welcome! :) Glad you came along. I literally was on both coasts within a week of each other... less really. In DL and the MK less than 1 week apart. Kinda fun, kinda crazy. Definitely kinda ME! I hope I can provide something useful and informative... but I guess only time will tell, and you of course can be the judge of whether or not you find anything useful. ;)



    Great to have you here Dave! Welcome!! :)

    Thanks again. He's doing alright. This was at the end of November though. He's gone down hill a bit since then, unfortunately. If I get my 3rd TR started, you'd see a difference in anything I happen to post with him in it (he DID make it to DL with us on that trip at the end of December... so he might show up again... we'll see)

    Good observation! :rotfl: I've been meaning to put it up again, but just haven't yet. With 3 trips on my rotating ticker that were completed in November and December... it was hopelessly outdated. And I figured I'd rather sort through pics and start my TR's first, and then get around to putting it back up later. But just in case you're wondering, there's a visit to WDW planned for April, and October, and back to DL at the end of November again... and who knows, there could be another something sprinkled in along the way to either coast depending on work travel needs. It'll be back up soon enough though.
     
  14. dvczerfs

    dvczerfs DIS Veteran

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    we will be there the last week of sept and the first week of october.:thumbsup2
     
  15. FreezinRafiki

    FreezinRafiki Cold enough for ya?

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    I'm here, Stopher! I'm so far behind on everyone's trip reports it just isn't funny. I see you posted an update to your Daddy/Daughter adventure - and if work and life ever slow down just a bit I'll actually be able to read it.

    Now this sounds familiar, but I can't quite place from where...:thumbsup2

    And if you're insane enough to have 3 or 4 or 5 TRs going at once, I'm insane enough to read them!
     
  16. dwelty

    dwelty "God Bless 'em, let 'em pee"-Roy Disney

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    Fellow former DLR Castmember checking in. Adventureland-Frontierland Attractions 1988-1991!

    Can't wait to read more. I am lucky to live an hour from DLR, but have been known to schedule client visits in Central Florida with a DVC stay included! Great minds think alike.
     
  17. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    :thumbsup2

    I think I just am that insane Barry... now to just see if I can actually accomplish it. Birthdays and other celebrations this weekend have gotten in the way... hopefully tomorrow I can have something for this one and the other one in the way of an update.

    Welcome! Glad to have you here. Which attractions were your favorites to work while you were there? And which weren't?
     
  18. dwelty

    dwelty "God Bless 'em, let 'em pee"-Roy Disney

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    My favorite, Mark Twain, it was relaxing and laid back. Least favorite, Jungle Cruise, always on for 8 hours was exhausting. I also liked Tiki Room. Air-conditioned and you could catch a few zzz's during the show ( I was a lazy college kid). :rolleyes1
     
  19. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    That's cool. I love the Mark Twain, and got to pilot it once myself, though that wasn't while working there. That was pretty cool. Oh yeah - and I love going in to the Tiki Room to this day... though I do like the show too - but the a/c is terrific. And taking a Dole Whip in with me makes it quite nice as well.
     
  20. Wherem I Now

    Wherem I Now DIS Dad #30

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    Wow Stopher, Three trips in two TRs at the same time?

    Then knowing that you work, travel, have three kids, I have one question... Do you SLEEP???

    I can't seem to keep up just reading and you're writing two TRs and posting other stuff as well. :worship::worship::worship:
     
  21. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    subbing in even though I can't keep up with all the TRs that I'm in on! :lmao:
     

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