A mom & a dad take their 2 princesses to DL for the 1st time - PTR!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by VandVsmama, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    We are taking our kids to DL for the first time ever this May. YAY!!!!!

    Cast of characters:
    Me: turning 40 next month! I/T project manager by day, mom & wife 24x7
    DH: will be 41 when we go to DL. I/T guy by day, husband and patient dad
    ODD: 6, turning 7 in June, finishing up 1st grade, believes that the princesses live at Disneyland
    YDD: 4, turning 5 in June, entering kindergarten this fall

    It has been about 12 years since DH & I last went to DL, so we have never been to DCA! This is also our kids’ first trips to DL! I am so SUPER MEGA EXCITED I can hardly stand it and it’s only 2 months away.

    So here is our current itinerary:

    Thurs 5/23:
    School year ends, pack up the car after kids are in bed

    Fri 5/24:
    Drive to San Diego (actually La Mesa). Stay with BIL & SIL & their 2 kids. I hate driving at night since my children are not the sort that will sleep in their carseats. Nor do I want to deal with San Diego rush hour traffic the day before a holiday weekend, so I am hoping that we can be out the door here in Tucson (Marana actually) by 9am, which would likely get us to La Mesa by 4:30pm-5pm (if you factor in pit stops).

    Even though my kids are out of the toddler stage now, we still bring a kid port-a-potty with us on our drives out to San Diego. Why? Because I guarantee you EVERY SINGLE TIME we have just left Gila Bend on I-8…a few miles past the sign that says “No services for next 60 miles,” one of my kids says, “Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.”

    This results in us stopping off on the side of the road, the kid dropping her trousers, and peeing in the port-a-potty and I chuck the pee in the desert. This is also why I stock the car with bottles of water (to rinse the thing out – ick) and flushable wipes (to wipe bottoms, which then go into a ziplock bag to toss).

    Sat 5/25:
    Spend day w/BIL, SIL, DNiece, DNephew. Don’t really have any formal plans and I don’t want to bother with Sea World or any place expensive since we are saving our $$ for Disneyland!
     
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  3. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    ...continuing the itinerary:


    Sun 5/26:
    Spend day w/BIL, SIL, DNiece, DNephew, Daunt, DUncle
    Maybe go to the San Diego zoo, but it would also be kind of nice just to hang out for a change and do nothing, let the 4 kids (our 2 and their 2) run around and play.

    Monday 5/27:
    Hang out in a.m.
    Pack up the car
    Leave BIL & SIL’s house, tell kids that we are driving home but head north to Anaheim instead.
    While we are on the road, I’m going to whip out a couple of gift bags to give the kids. Each will have a small stuffed Mickey doll in it, some Dollar Tree Disney princess odds & ends, a Disney gift card with spending $$ on it, and a note from Mickey. Haven’t decided yet what the note from Mickey will say.

    I totally want to record their reactions when we tell them that instead of driving back home to AZ, we are going to Disneyland instead! All they know is that we are going to DL some time this year. They just don’t know exactly when.

    I haven’t quite decided when to leave La Mesa for the drive up to Anaheim on Memorial Day. Nor have I decided which route we’ll take (up I-15 or go I-5).

    When we get to Anaheim, we’re checking in at the Disneyland Hotel! YAY! :cool1: No way I could afford the DLH normally. The hotel stay was a very generous 2013 birthday gift for 4 of us from my sister. I figure that we’ll settle into the hotel room, maybe take the kids to the pool, and go eat somewhere in Downtown Disney.

    Character meals are DEFINITELY not in the budget. It’s either pay for a character breakfast or have a 3rd day at Disneyland and I’d take an extra day at Disneyland over a character meal any day of the week!

    With the hotel room, my sister also threw in 2-day 1park/day tickets for all 4 of us, so I want to upgrade them to 3-day park hoppers with Disney gift cards (I’ve been squirreling away money every 2 weeks on a Disney gift card so we can pay for it w/the gift cards instead of with cash or a credit card).

    Does anyone have ideas for good eats in the area?
    I don’t want something that will break the bank and it needs to be a place that is family friendly (aka has kids meals), so I was seriously considering Rainforest Café or the pizza place.

    Then the plan is to hopefully get ODD & YDD to bed at a decent hour for…
     
  4. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    Tues 5/28:
    FIRST DAY AT DISNEYLAND!!!

    We are planning on being there when the DL gates open for EMH. DH is not an early riser, so he is not going to be too happy but eh – he’ll live! Your kids only get one “first day ever” at Disneyland, right?

    We are definitely renting a stroller…haven’t decided between:
    1. Borrow a stroller from a friend – stroller is rated for up to 50 lb, but ODD is now 59 lb! She’s pretty tall, too. ODD is 50 lb & 44” tall. Cheapest option, but I don’t want to break my friend’s stroller
    2. Rent a stroller from www.citystrollers.com. Convenient because they’ll deliver to the hotel & pick up @ end of your stay. Will have benefit of not carrying a 50-pound child from DL or DCA to the DLH after a long day at the parks.
    3. Rent a stroller at Disneyland itself. Cheapest @ $15/day

    I am leaning towards renting one from City Strollers. We want to take full advantage of our EMH hour, so that’s another reason to not rent a stroller from DL!

    Wed 5/29:
    Hit up Carsland first thing during EMH, then also do:
    Soarin’ Over California
    Goofy’s Sky School
    Rides in Bugs Land
    Maybe see Aladdin
    Then hop over to DL to maybe see Merida or Tinkerbell

    Thurs 5/30:
    Check-out day! BOO!
    Try for EMH again, but after 2 full days, I don’t think we’ll make the beginning of EMH at DL.

    DAunt & DUncle have a cabin up at Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino, so I am waffling between staying w/them Thurs night @ their cabin, staying w/a friend of mine in Riverside, or staying w/DAunt & DUncle @ their house in northern San Diego county.

    Stuff we haven’t figured out yet:
    1. Whether to drive back to AZ on Sat 6/1 or Sun 6/2 (which is YDD’s actual birthday).
    2. What time on Tues 5/27 to schedule the kids’ BBB appointment, considering we want to take advantage of early a.m. hours for maximum rides & short lines.
    3. Maybe do a family birthday party for YDD on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend?
    4. Grocery shopping list for snacks & breakfasts
    5. Where can I upgrade our tickets the day before we actually use them?
    6. Do I spring for the $70 PhotoPass Plus or just stick with our 6-yr-old digital camera & my cell phone camera?
    7. Can I pay for the DLH parking $15/day with my Disney gift cards? How does that work @ check-in?
    8. What time of day to leave DL on Thurs 5/30 so we don't end up in 2 hours of rush hour traffic? Stay until 7pm or leave about 2pm? :drive:
     
  5. Moodyzblu

    Moodyzblu DIS Veteran

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    Hi, joining in !
    I just took my boys (and my grandson) to DL for the first time in October.
    We've done WDW many times and coming from Massachusetts was a very long trip .. but well worth it .. we loved it !!
    My guys are 8yrs old (ID twins) and I ended up renting a stroller .. they had to switch off because they only rent single strollers (which I find weird and inconvenient :confused3).
    Our hotel was directly across the street from the parks (VERY cool !) so that was a huge bonus for us .. made getting back at night very smooth (it was a 4 minute walk :thumbsup2)
    I'm happy to see you are adding an extra day to your tickets .. we had 4 day tickets .. and even that wasn't enough !! I had totally underestimated how much there was to do there. I would have loved at least 1 more park day.
    Next time for sure !
     
  6. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Joining in. :)
     
  7. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    Awesome that you had such a great time! We are just going to do a single stroller instead of a double and the girls can switch on and off. I think that I need to start exercising more so I can be prepared for all of the walking we'll be doing!
     
  8. Moodyzblu

    Moodyzblu DIS Veteran

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    So funny you mentioned this .. my daughter and I started a walking routine about a month before our trip so we could prepare ourselves ! :thumbsup2

    Depending on your girls size .. they may even be able to ride together. My boys are tiny and one would sit on the others lap. I know it's a little awkward .. but hey .. you gotta do whatever works for you ! :goodvibes
     
  9. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    I just learned this afternoon that if you sign up for the email list with the Patina Group, they send you a $30 gift certificate to use at the restaurant of your choice! It's good for use for your birthday month and the month afterwards!

    YAY!!!

    So I just signed up because my birthday is in April and we're going to DL in May. This means that we'll get $30 off of our dinner at Tortilla Joe's in Downtown Disney!

    I picked Tortilla Joe's because: (a) we love Mexican food; (b) it's in DTD, so we won't have to get in the car to drive to dinner; and (c) they have vegetarian options.

    The vegetarian thing (preferably vegan) is something DH & I just started doing a few days ago in order to help DH lose some weight & eliminate his need to take cholesterol meds. Plus, his doctor told him that he's prediabetic and DH HATES taking any sort of medication. And since he knows what his fate is going to be if he doesn't do anything, then he just decided one day last week to start eating differently.

    So that's what we're doing.

    I've already decided that we're going to be eating breakfast in our room at the DLH. I kind of recall somebody on these boards saying that the rooms have a minifridge in them. If so, that'll come in handy because we can stock it with stuff like instant oatmeal, soy yogurt, almond milk. I got a new cookbook for this whole mega-fruit-and-veggie eating that we're doing and it has an AWESOME recipe for granola in it and it takes <5 minutes to put together. I mean...holy cow....this cereal makes me not hungry for 5 hours and it tastes good.

    I looked at the Tortilla Joe's menu and I've already decided that I want to have their fajitas, but without the meat....just the fajita-grilled vegetables, beans, rice, etc. YUM.

    Oh yeah - I almost forgot! DH squirreled away the rest of the $$ we need for our trip! So financially, we are all set for our DL vacation!
     
  10. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    Sounds exciting! We just went with our 6, 5, and 2-year-old for the first time (an extreme budget trip for us too) and it was amazing! You can save a lot by preparing ahead of time with souvenirs and tons of snacks! I hope you have a wonderful time, and I will look forward to hearing more!
     
  11. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    WOOT! I just called Disneyland today and made our reservations for:

    • dinner at Tortilla Joe's on Monday 5/27 (Memorial Day). Made the reservation for 5:30pm.
    • reservations for ODD-6 & YDD-4 at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for Tues 5/28 at 10:40am. This will be our 1st day at DL! YAY! Ordered the Coach package; I'm going to paint their nails the night before in the hotel room while they watch TV. I have found that this is a perfect way to get my kids to settle down & chill out for awhile. Mickey is going to be giving them some new nail polish in a gift bag that Mama here is sneaking into the room. ;)
     
  12. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    Just went to the Disney Store at our local mall and plunked some more $$ on a Disney gift card for our trip! YAY! $70 more to put on a gift card and we are all set!
     

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