A Return to the Happiest Place on Earth

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by annmarieda, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    What a great way to kick start your arrival. Lunch sounds fab and I can't wait to see your pictures (which I can't see right now - bummer). Mac and cheese pizza - sounds like a carb lovers dream.

    Good plan to redeem your PP certificate, even though it didn't quite work. Still, so great that all the pictures go on the same PP CD.

    I hope your room is ready.
     
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  3. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    Oh no, I hope you can see the pics now?

    Mac and Cheese pizza was really good... I only had one piece..but I loved the one I had.

    Yes, even though getting that voucher exchanged did not work out at Goofy's, it was still great that all the pictures made it onto my pp cd.
     
  4. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    7/6 - Our Room Ready or Not, Here We Come!

    After lunch, we strolled back through DTD. (which requires bag check before entering back into the esplanade)

    I am not sure we really stopped anywhere but maybe the Disney Store, and that was brief. Lunch had taken a fair amount of time so I was hopeful that we could get our room assignment.

    We arrived back to the hotel at 2:30pm. Not being 3pm, we still could not get into our room. :confused: So now what? I certainly did not want to walk any where else. I didn't want to get our luggage out of the lockers. I didn't want to do anything other than go into the room.

    That was until I realized there was one area that might be a bit a a refuse and one we would need to check out.

    The roof of the hotel!
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    The problem was it was EXTREMELY hot up there. A staff member had just finished hosing it all down when we arrived and the small pools of water were quickly evaporating as we sat there.

    I did think the view was quite amazing so I took some pictures.
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    I just knew that viewing the fireworks from up there would be awesome!

    Just as a sort of compare and contrast though, if you notice, you can see a busy street and the roof tops of other hotels. When looking out at the "sky line" it was very "city looking" unlike WDW where a view of Space Mountain will not have much other than WDW in it. It was an odd difference. Subtle, but there. I love how close it is, but EVERYTHING is close. It was hard to fall into that mode of letting the real world fall away when it was very present all around us. In fact, (and I am only sharing here because it is a side note on happenings that I can't remember the actual day or time of) but there was often some sort of "vendor" or pan handler right at the cross walk. Nothing like someone shouting "just $2..come on, its just $2... you want one" or better yet someone shouting "just a couple bucks so my wife and I can get something to eat" to make you NOT feel like you are in a fantasyland.

    Once the heat was just too much to stand, I went down to check on our room ONE... MORE... TIME.

    :woohoo: 3pm so we were able to get our room! We were on the 4th floor (so yes, if we looked out through our window we could see space mountain) Incidentally, it was such a perfect room number for us. We were all so tired, but the room number was the same number as our home street number!!!

    Zoe in the living room

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    A very blurry shot with her now standing near the refrigerator and microwave stand. To the right of that was a dresser with a tv on top.
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    And the first thing Steve always does when we enter a hotel room. :rotfl2:
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    The bathroom
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    All in all, I really liked the room. It was large enough for us to spread out and clean. Even though everything was in really good shape, it did remind me of a small apartment with fixtures and moldings from the 60/70s I think of all the places we have stayed in Anaheim though... this would probably be the one I would go back for, if only for that view!!!

    After we all got into the room, it was time for a nap (finally) Course, I being mom, didn't nap long. :scratchin maybe 30 minutes or so. While everyone else slept, I unpacked. Zach was also now awake and so I went out to "his room" once I had unpacked. He and I decided to take a walk to see what was near us and ended up at McD's where he bought me a soda and him a smoothie.

    Once we were back to the room, Zoe and Alex were waking up. The kids got ready to swim and I went with the three of them to the pool. (sorry, no pics) Zach is very much like a large puppy..always overly playful. Once in the water with Zoe, all he wanted to do was "play" and splash and jump. Good grief. :rolleyes:

    It wasn't long and we were starting to get hungry. I wasn't sure what we wanted to do for dinner. I wasn't STARVING since lunch had been huge, but I knew I had to eat something. I waffled on the original idea of using the Dominos pizza gift card I that I had got for staying at the hotel near the airport. Steve was out for the night (yes, he slept the entire way on the plane only to crash by 3:15pm) I tossed around the idea of taking the kids somewhere on Harbor BLVD. In the end though, I placed an order with a Dominos that delivered to our room. We got a couple pizzas and some bread sticks and a 2 ltr soda. Cheap eats! After they took off the gift card and I paid tip, it was only like $15.

    We ate and watched a bit of tv. Soon it was getting close to the time that the fireworks would be starting. Alex went ahead to get a spot. Zach was just beat at that point and decided to call it a night. Zoe and I then went up to meet Alex. There was barely a person up there and as we sat and waited, I wondered if we missed it or had the right time. We were just about to leave when someone told us that we had not missed it and that we would know when it was becausethe fireworks would be large in the sky. (I wondered if we would barely see them)

    They were right, the fireworks were huge.
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    It was quite nice to see the show from up on the roof, but of course, there is no music. I can not even remember what the music that accompanies the fireworks at DL is. Once the show was over the three of us made it back to our room to sleep. We had an early morning ADR that I wanted us to make.

    Next Chapter:7/7 - Magic Morning and Minnie
     
  5. dizneeat

    dizneeat DIS Veteran

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    Oh Ann, I DO remember that view!
    And then I remember that they were very strict about checking in too. We were not allowed to park our car before three and had to remove it before 12 on our check out day. :rotfl2:
    But the view from the rooftop is awesome! :thumbsup2
    And the rooms don't seem to have changed at all - well maybe the bedspread and blanket. :lmao:

    I am now working on our 2014 itinerary and am planning on two visits to DL, a 4 night Grand Californian stay and a three night Desert Inn and Suites one (need to save some of those DVC points ;))
     
  6. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    I would love to stay at the Grand Californian some day. Will that be a DVC stay? I could not believe how expensive our 4 night stay would be there (granted, it was with a concierge room...but...total was more than our 11 night stay at WL)

    Yeah, not sure what is up with Desert Inn and the check in/out time Just strange.

    Now to go back and finish that update. My computer started to lock up and I didn't want to lose the part I had done...so I clicked submit just to get it there, figure I could edit it easier than retype it. :rolleyes:
     
  7. dizneeat

    dizneeat DIS Veteran

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    I have wanted to stay at the GC since it has first been opened, BUT I nearly fell over backwards when I saw how much they charged. :scared1:
    So yes, this visit will be on DVC!! And IF you can make it to Disney when we are there you can at least be our guest and visit. :thumbsup2

    Even the prices they have for the DL hotel and the PP hotel are out of my league. ;) We stayed at the DL hotel once, a long time ago, when I still used a TA and whilst we were promised a "wonderful view" by the TA we had a fun view of the multicoloured cars of America, AKA the parking lot. :rotfl2: The rooms were nice though - we loved it there. :love:
     
  8. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    I can't see most hosting site pictures at work. It's a bummer because most people use photobucket and that's totally blocked.

    I did read your latest update before I left for work and went back and saw your character pictures. They are GREAT! Everyone looks so happy. Tired, but happy! :goodvibes

    Yeah for finally getting into your room. I have had hotel stays like that were there is no chance of getting in before 3pm and don't even ask unless you like hostile stares.

    So cool to be able to watch the fireworks from the roof. Wow. Now that is definitely a benefit.

    :cool1: Woo hoo for a pizza gift card.

    Looking forward to your morning ADR and pics of the park!

    So great that Zoe donated her hair. I always wanted to do that but I have crappy hair that I could never grow long enough.
     
  9. EastYorkDisneyFan

    EastYorkDisneyFan DIS Veteran

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    Wow that is a great view from the roof both of the fireworks and of the DLR itself.

    Also as for the decor of the hotel yeah it does seam to be stuck in the 70's /80's kind of like how the contempory was at one point 5too. The first time i stayed at the desert inn there I found a burn mark from the iron on the carpet. It looked like someone had dropped it with it on.

    As for the fireworks show the music for the one they have been doing in the summer isn't all that good apparently, it has some very slow sections compared to Remember which is the second best Disney Fireworks show in my mind at least.

    Also your fireworks pic remind me of my first time seeing a Disneyland fireworks show. I was staying at the Disneyland Hotel and had gotten upgraded to a park view room in what was then the Wonder tower, now the Frontier land tower I think? Anyway I had just gone to bed when I heard some loud explosions from outside and I opened the curtains and opened the large patio door and stepped out onto the tiny balcony and watched Remember Dreams Come True from there after I realized the noise I heard was fireworks.
     
  10. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    I actually came close to booking at Paradise Pier using the military discount. It would have only made it a bit more than what we paid for Desert Inn. Then there was all the mess with "will Zach go or not.." and so I didn't give it much more thought. I am actually glad I didn't cause the amount we saved paid for Goofy's Kitchen... and I suspect we had a bit more room.

    Some day...maybe I will stay at one of the DLR hotels. Those military discounts can be quite good... or at least they were this year... so who knows. If not though... I will just have to come see you :wave2:

    We were all tired, but yes... very happy. It was such a neat feeling as we walked in front of the entrance to DL and the sites, sounds and smells... just made each of of grin from ear to ear. I was NOT expecting that reaction from my boys.

    I think the roof top of that hotel is quite the benie! It was nice to go up there even during the day and we only did it that one day because or room wasn't available. So I guess it was a blessing we couldnt get into our room... even if I think the only reason we really couldn't was because it wasn't "officially" check in time.

    I have a hard time keeping the names of the shows/fireworks straight at DLR. I think some of that has to do with the fact they change it up. Remember... Magical... :confused:

    How cool you got a park view room! I bet that was such a neat surprise!!!
     
  11. oceanwave

    oceanwave Mouseketeer

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    Just found your trip report. All caught up!

    What a great view from the roof. Awesome views of DL and the fireworks.

    Lunch looked yummy. Also such a great selection of characters.

    Looking forward to hearing more :)
     
  12. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    I cannot believe I am two updates behind again. :scared1:

    Oh my....Goofy's kitchen looks like so much fun. I can't believe all the different characters that you saw. I about spit out my soda when I saw the picture of the family with Goofy and the look on Alex's face. :goodvibes

    Great room, and great view of the fireworks. :thumbsup2
     
  13. tffnyjean

    tffnyjean Mouseketeer

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    Enjoying your TR! :thumbsup2
     
  14. DisneytheKid

    DisneytheKid A bad attempt at Billy the Kid

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    Wow! Thanks for the Great TR! I've really enjoyed reading!:cool1:
     
  15. EastYorkDisneyFan

    EastYorkDisneyFan DIS Veteran

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    Yeah it was very cool.
     
  16. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    Kinda bumned. I had my next update almost all done... had just a couple more pics to add and my computer locked up. :mad:

    Oh well... comments first and then I will come back and do the update.

    :welcome: So glad you found my TR.

    The view was pretty nice. Even the view from our room was nice... just wish the blinds were able to be opened all the way.

    Lunch was one of our favorites (and by our I include my dh in that:thumbsup2)

    We were all so tired. Alex always has a "look" but even Kira noticed some more extreme ones in the pictures. One picture I took of him... she about spit out her soda and said "what did you do to him to make him look so angry at you" I don't know... maybe take his picture? :rolleyes:

    Even though, Goofy's was expensive we would do it again(if we were to ever go to DLR again). The food and characters were worth it. In fact, between the two character meals we had... we did not stop for any in the parks.

    Thanks! :goodvibes I will post some more updates soon.

    :goodvibes You are welcome. Hopefully, now that I am to the point where we are headed to the park it will get even more interesting.

    I notice your ticker is down to a week until you will be at DLR. I hope you have some pixie dust then too
     
  17. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    7/7 - Magic Morning and Minnie

    Due to all the "will Zach and Alex go or not go" drama prior to the trip. I purchased only "regular" tickets for Steve, Zoe and I. (Zach and Alex had military tickets) Now, Zach swears that his tickets also had magic morning, but I didn't think they did. However, the regular tickets for sure did and so when making plans this is what I considered.

    I had read that if you have a reservation for the Plaza Inn before the park opens (kinda like pre RD in WDW) you can get in early and not use your MM credit (we had just one) I made only 2 ADR's for the trip and the Plaza at 7:30am was one of them. However, even before the trip was underway, I could tell that it wouldn't make much of a difference to save the MM credit. After all... it was unlikely that we would go to DL early on either of the other two mornings.

    So when we arrived at the gate at 7:15am, I didn't hassle with having the cm not use our credit. (although she did note that if I had told her before she scanned our tickets it would have been no trouble to NOT use them - something that seems to be a bit of a debate on the boards)

    Once inside DL we headed up main street.
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    We went directly to
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    I took a couple pictures in line
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    Then it was time to go to our breakfast, however since I had preordered the pp cd and not just the regular one but the plus... when we came across a pp photographer we had to stop.
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    Then we hustled over to the Plaza Inn. (just across the hub from the castle)

    We checked in for our reservation and we got to have our picture taken. This is the picture that then comes out in a photo package. (the one that I would get because of the pp+) Yes, notice the lack of character (except the one I added :rotfl2:) and the actual lack of lining the shot up. :confused3 I have since read that these are common complaints with this character meal. There were not other guests waiting behind us, so I am not sure what the "rush to position and snap the picture" was all about.
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    Something else, that I wanted to note when it came to the character meals at DLR vs. WDW. You pay up front tip and tax included. Plaza wasn't too bad..only about a $10 tip on $60. (two adult breakfast and one kid) However, no one "serves" you. You get your own drinks even...and if memory serves even silverware. But..there are a ton of characters so maybe that is where they factor it in? :confused: At Goofy's, the price between list of meal and amount of tax and tip added in is larger. (adult is $26 but after tax and tip is $38) You are brought drinks and utensils there.:rolleyes:

    Basically, the meal is just ok. There really is not a lot in the way of selection...especially since it is a buffet. If I remember there were a couple salads and some fruit. Then they have some pastries in a minimal variety. (couple different kinds of muffins and danishes) OH... and that brings me to something.... pastries and goodies. CA does not allow a certain amount of transfats in food served. This (IMHO) makes all the muffins and cupcakes and candies NO WHERE NEAR as yummy. (just wait till I get to my tangent on Pooh's Corner - a candy shop in Critter Country that was once my very very favorite place for a certain treat :sad2:) Back to the buffet... then you have some eggs, sausage and bacon (but OMG... somehow it is REAL bacon not the stuff in WDW - not sure how THAT works with the "no transfats" thing.. maybe good bacon has none? :confused:) there were some pancakes and of course Mickey waffles (no transfats strike again though... they certainly have a different texture here) We ate, but definitely did not leave feeling stuffed. In fact, I remember forcing myself to go back for a second plate and thinking "but I really don't any more of this"
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    We didn't necessarily come for the food though. We came for the experience. Sadly, one thing that is also different here in DL over WDW is the use of latex balloons. WDW we never worry. Even the actual latex - mickey shaped ones are in a non latex one. Here though... at the Plaza Inn, each child gets a Mickey balloon. They are everywhere with them. Of course due to Zoe's allergy, she could not have one and it made her sad. All the loose particles in the air were also starting to affect her. It made me worry, it made her have a hard time. In the end, aside from the food not being worth staying, we didn't linger because of the "not fun" we were having.

    However, when I say "not fun" I don't mean that we were not having a good time. We were just having some challenges. We did have a chance to meet quite a few characters.

    Which characters? Well... here we go...
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    And because she was super sad when he came around, Max came by a second time.
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    When we did decide to leave, we had the issue of the pp+ entitled photo package. Unlike at Goofy's where they put the pics on a regular card and told us to have the photo shop on main street print them out, the cm at the Plaza had them printed and told us that they would hold them until we were back with our card. (I have also read that if you purchase them to take with you then and there, you can have it refunded to you once you exchange your voucher)

    Next Chapter: 7/7 - Morning before the Boys Show Up
     
  18. dizneeat

    dizneeat DIS Veteran

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    It's amazing how small that castle is in comparison to WDW or DLRP!

    I love the pics you posted and Zoe looks just too cute to be true in her outfit! Shame about the balloons though. :sad2:

    Yoou got to see a lot of characters that day, but I have to agree with you, the food does not look all that yummy. ;)

    Can't wait for more! :thumbsup2
     
  19. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    A fun update, Ann (well, besides the problem with the balloon and the fact that the PP Photogrpaher didn't center you guys). I do like the picture of you, Zoe and Steve...it's a good family shot.

    But my favorite is the picture of Zoe with Minnie...they look so cute together. :goodvibes
     
  20. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    7/7 - Morning before the Boys Show Up

    I don't think the boys slept in that much. Zach took Alex out for breakfast at... :scratchin I think IHOP...maybe Denny's :confused:

    Meanwhile, once breakfast was over the three of us continued on. Steve was actually a really good sport. He was willing to take direction and follow a plan.

    With that in mind I told him he should take Zoe over to get fast passes for Splash mountain while I went to FINALLY exchange my pp+ voucher. (the Main Street photo shop was right next door to Plaza Inn)

    With Steve and Zoe off on their way, I went inside. The first cm was completely confused by the voucher and called over a "supervisor". She too was confused. Neither knew what exactly to do. They had the product (cd, lanyard, card) so they knew how to ring it up. The voucher and the regular card from Goofy's were complicating things. I told the "supervisor" I did not need the bonus cd since I pre ordered and had it at home already. I only needed the lanyard and card as well as the hard copy from Goofy's. She then called over her "supervisor" to work on getting the package from Goofy's while the other cm tried to help me ring up my "order" :rolleyes: Now, I don't think it is that hard to realize... but I will just say maybe it is because I use coupons that I notice that the voucher has a bar code on it. I told the cm that if she rang it up and then scanned the voucher it would act like a coupon and take the amount off. She could then "deposit" the voucher into her till. She was hesitant because she didn't not want to invalidate my voucher. I urged... she proceeded and we all (other supervisors included) got a laugh at the fact that I don't work there... but could instruct on how to do something... because of course, what I instructed to do worked. :rolleyes: Next it was just a matter of getting the photos from Goofy's printed. I think the hold up on that had more to do with finding the package folder (which, btw is super neat... has removable recipe cards. If anyone is actually interested in seeing the folder I can take a picture.. if not, trust me when I say it is pretty cool) With photos in hand and lanyard around my next, I needed only to retrieve the photos from Plaza before meeting up with Steve and Zoe.

    When I went to retrieve the photos, the cm there said she also needed to add them to the card since I am not only entitled to the printed "best pic" but all the ones they shot there. :headache: This made me realize that I had to go back to Main Street Photo. When I mentioned this to the cm at Plaza Inn, she seemed a tad grumpy. Said..."come with me" and we went out a side door of the Plaza and into a side door of the photo shop. She then keyed in some codes to get herself into their system and started asking time and date we were at goofy's. Then she proceeded to bring up other photos until we got to ours. She confirmed they were of us...scanned my + card and voila, it was done. I wonder if she is the ONLY cm aware of what to do regarding the pp + cards/ :rolleyes:

    By this time, Steve and Zoe had not only got the fast passes, but they were at our meeting location. (Mr. Toad's Wild Ride) They had just rode when I arrived, so I went solo. I liked going solo because Steve is very anti take pics on a ride..even with no flash.
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    Since I was still on when they got off, they went a second time. Why not? There was little to no line and we really don't go to DLR often and this ride is not in WDW. I do like the ride. Steve got a cute picture of Zoe in the photo op spot.
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    Now that we were together again we went on Pinocchio’s Daring
    Journey. I tried to take pictures. It is another wonderful dark ride that I miss in WDW.

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    Then we went on Casey Jr. Circus Train. I took some pictures along the way with my phone since my camera battery died.
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    Next we went on Indiana Jones Adventure. I am not sure what is happening with my phone, but if I use it for a shot that needs flash... it makes the photo look all cloudy. Sooo ... no pictures. Which does make me sad since the queue is one of the best in all the parks! I remember when the boys were younger they pulled a pole and the ceiling shook like it was going to come down. The father behind us in line was so freaked out!!! He yelled at his kid(s) not to touch ANYTHING.

    At this point, Zach was texting me to say they were in the park and asking where to meet. Next on my list was to go to POTC, so I said to go there.

    When we arrived, there was no line so we went on ahead of the boys.
    Again, no pictures :sad2: And with the start to the ride being so unique... it really makes me sad. I love floating through the restaurant and in the "bayou" The old man who rocks in a rickety old chair outside a shack is my favorite!!!

    Once we were off, the boys were just about off too.

    Next Chapter: 7/7 - Someone Needs a Nap!
     
  21. annmarieda

    annmarieda DIS Veteran

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    I know.. I try not to be to sound judging when it comes to the castle. It is a wonderful little castle. But..it is definitely smaller. The view down main street just doesn't seem right... however.."right" is only what I am used to. WDW has a castle that has a perspective that makes it sit high at the end of the street.

    I know maybe I shouldn't be so proud, but that is yet another dress I found second hand...had cleaned up and pressed and voila... I think is cute. It is funny... in DLR (and probably, maybe because so many locals go) there isn't the number of little girls in dresses. In fact, there are pretty few. I only packed this dress for Zoe since we only had 3 days and I knew it would be hot... but she did get some "ooh isn't she cute" comments.


    Thank you. :goodvibes I think it is a pretty cute pic too. I just wish that Minnie was in the photo from the photo package. After all.. the meal is called "Minnie and Friends"
     

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