I'm still in the midst of unpacking and catching up on laundry, but I thought I'd take a break from that and highlight the good, bad, and ugly from our DLR visit, 5/7 - 5/11 and 5/14 - 5/16. THE GOOD *Despite a definite feeling of crowded-ness in walkways/shops during our first Mon. thru Thurs., ride lines stayed nice and short in most cases. *The weather was beautiful! It was warm enough for water rides every single day of our visit. For the first time ever, I was the one in the raft to get absolutely drenched. We also got hit with the geyser on one run...and I got the worst of that, too. It was so fun! And on our last day, we were riding Splash, and the ride stopped while we almost to the top of the incline belt for the big drop at the end. We were stuck for about 3 minutes, but when the ride started up again and we went down the hill, this HUMONGOUS wave of water engulfed the entire front of our log and my DH, DS14, DS7, and DD's boyfriend got absolutely soaked to the bone. My DS14 had been hoping to get drenched on the water rides but had somehow managed to miss getting very wet for the duration of our visit ...being in the front on that last trip on Splash, he was nothing short of thrilled that he finally got soaked. *We got to see Alladin again, this time from the mezzanine. We loved it, again. It was a different actor playing Genie from the other time we were able to see the show, which surprised me. He was great though, as were all of the other actors. *We decided to take a chance on Rancho Del Zocalo again (we hadn't tried it in about 10 years because the one time we'd been there years ago, we thought the food had been really cold, and way too salty...), and we were not disappointed. My son and I shared the red enchilada plate there a few times during our stay. The enchiladas are gluten free!... and the chef was super nice when he came out to help us identify and order other gluten free items. *I got to see one of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies shows for the first time. It was the one where the men just come out and sing and say some funny things...I had my 7 and 11 year old with me at the time, and they begged to leave about halfway through the show...but I enjoyed the portion that I saw. My DD20 and her boyfriend saw a different version, and said it was good, as well. *We encountered many more pleasant/cheerful CM's on this visit than on our last few trips. There were some who were not, of course (in fact, at one point, while waiting in line to ride Soarin', my DD's boyfriend commented about the CM running that portion of the line..."Wow, that guy sounds like he hates his life"....), but for the most part, the difference compared to our other most recent DLR was noticeably better. *We got to ride in the very last car of the monorail. My kids thought it was great, but I personally didn't love how far it leans on turns, lol. *The duck families that hang around the Hungry Bear seating area downstairs were such an unexpected highlight of our trip. There were LOTS of baby ducks, and the all of the ducks would come very close to people sitting at tables. Each day, we would take a snack break in this area and my kids absolutely LOVED getting to visit with these ducks. *This was the first DLR trip where we spent more time in DTD than just a quick run through on our way to the security tables in the mornings, or for a quick stop in World of Disney for last minute souvenirs before jumping on the trams. Our 7th day at DLR, we opted to hang out in shops during the hottest part of the day. My DD7 and I had SUCH a great time at the Lego store! We worked hard to fill in every tiny bit of space in one of the large pick-a-brick containers, and had so much fun with it. My son was SOOO excited at all of the pieces he could choose from. I wish I'd known about the huge pick-a-brick selection they had at the DTD Lego store (we've always done PAB online...), because honestly, that experience was the best 2 hours and $15 I've spent in a long time, lol. We did a LOT of shopping on this trip....Croc flip-flops, mugs, pins, lanyards, embroidered blankets, jackets, hats, etc. I generally avoid theme park shopping like the plague (lol), but for some reason, I didn't hate it quite as much on this trip as I normally do. *We also spent a lot of time in the Wilderness Explorer area. My DD11 and DS7 simply could *not* get enough of those rock climbing walls! They climbed them over and over on a couple of different days. We did the map thing and the badge ceremony with Russell from Up on one of the days, too, and my DD7 really enjoyed that. The zip lines were a hit, too. *This was DD20's boyfriend's very first trip to Disneyland, and he had such a good time. I think the sheer size of the parks was a little overwhelming for him, and by the end of each day he was exhausted, lol. But he was soooo happy to be there and really loved it. We were able to do every ride except the 2 that were closed, plus Nemo, and Toy Story Mania. When all was said and done, he said that Space Mountain was his very favorite ride. This was also his 1st time to SoCal, so on the weekend we also took him for a drive along PCH to Ventura (where all of the boys in our group were thrilled to see a red ferrari, lol), hung around downtown Ventura, went to the beach to play in the water, and to see Olvera Street and Union Station in Los Angeles. In addition, we had dinner with friends in Ventura, visited family in Ojai. I also visited my Dad's grave for the 2nd time...which was sad, of course, but I'm glad we went. The last time we drove through in January, I just couldn't muster up the emotional strength to go see him, and I had felt badly about that. Cemeteries are never fun places to find yourself, but I needed to go. THE BAD *4 of our days had much longer lines than I'd hoped for. *We got stuck on a few rides. The only one where it really became an "issue" was on Space Mountain. As we were headed up that first hill in the tunnel, the ride suddenly stopped. The lights came on, and CM's were frantically rushing some cars off the track to some area beyond the loading zone and to the left. When one of the CM's came over to where we were, she asked if everyone was alright, and I asked what the problem was and she said, "I just forgot to put the bars down". We were like, "Okay ". The lights went back out and we expected the ride to start back up but then there was yelling, confusion, and the same CM came back and turned the lights back on. I noticed that she looked very nervous and was actually shaking. So, that's when we all opted to get off the ride. We were stuck on that hill, so we had to climb out of the trains as they were slanted up the track, and jump out. Then they directed us through a narrow staircase through a door in that tunnel, and we ended up in the exit area. It was both nervewracking, and disappointing...but stuff happens. I was grateful we'd been in an area where it was easy to leave the ride. There was a train actually stuck in the main section of the coaster, sitting in there with the lights on. I sort of have an unspoken fear of getting stuck in a place on a ride where we can't get out quickly or easily, and then somebody in my group needing to *really* use the bathroom. LOL!!! *The kids got sick. Again. THE UGLY *There's no way to put this mildly...people were jerks. We encountered a consistent barage of rude, inconsiderate, intolerable behavior on most of the days we were in the parks. Examples: Every single day that we lined up for rope drop, people cut in front of us. It was really pathetic...I mean, these were adults. On one day in particular, I was standing at the rope with my DS (we'd shown up extra early to be in that spot). Some guy, probably in his 40's walks up, wriggles in front of us appearing to want to pin trade with the CM's at the rope. Since it seemed he just wanted to trade I didn't say anything. But it quickly became obvious that he was only pretending to trade in order to cut in front of us because he barely glanced at the CM's lanyard for like, two-tenths of a second. So, I asked politely, "Sir? Are you waiting for your family?" He replied that no, he was not. I said, "Well, did you realize that you cut right in front of a child waiting at the rope?" So, he pretends to be all surprised and says, "Oh, well go ahead then". We were already standing just mere inches from the rope and I didn't particularly *want* to hug the thing, so I said, "Actually, we're going to stay where we are, but that doesn't mean you get to cut in front of a little boy whose been standing here for half an hour waiting". So he again tells me to have my son stand against the rope. I decline, and say, "Just because we don't want to move 3 inches, doesn't mean you don't have to wait your turn. Are you really going to cut in front of a 7 year old?" So, being the bada$$ that he was , he wittingly replies, "You know what, yes I am - if you're going to be a smarta$$ about it". (This is where he was VERY lucky that my husband was not standing there with me...) So I answered, "Well, you're being a jerk? " and then this ridiculous loser stares me down and says, "F*** you"..... to the mother of the 7 year old he just cut in front of! (And this is where he should be thanking his lucky stars that I didn't text my husband, who was sitting about 5 feet away on a bench with our other children - because DH would have absolutely ripped this guy apart at this point). We finally just stopped going to rope drop. That's just one example. We had people cutting in front of us in lines every day (and these were adults with young children - not the teens from Grad Nites or school groups). But the very worst experience happened at Taste Pilot's Grill.... ...it was very crowded when we went for lunch. As DH ordered with our older kids, I took my DS7 with me outside to try to find a table. We finally found one, outside, over where they have those fabricated rock formations that separate the TPG seating area from the main walkway? So, we're waiting at the table, and DD20's boyfriend is kind of back-and-forth, bringing out napkins and utensils, etc. After waiting at that table for about 5 minutes, the children from the family a couple of tables over wriggle past our table in order to climb on those rock formations. The way our table was situated, there was almost NO space between the table and the rock formations...this 4-5 year old girl had to squeeze in between our table and the formations, that's how close it was. So, she's up there climbing (which isn't something they're supposed to be doing, anyway...) and her and the mom are kind of having a back-and-forth conversation over us - annoying, but not necessarily cause for anger or anything. So, the kid is like up and down, up and down, repeatedly squeezing past us, bumping into us, yelling over us, etc., and the mom is just totally ignoring the fact that we're going to try to be eating in this spot momentarily. Anyway, there are tables lined up against this fake rock formation thing all the way down. And now the girl is climbing across to the other side of it as well. So then, just as DH and kids are bringing the food to the table, the ginormous Dad of this girl, brings her toddler sibling over, and crams himself between the part of the table my husband and I are sitting at in order to STICK HIS TODDLER SON up on this rock formation to climb as well! These things probably are about 8 feet high at their tallest, with nothing but concrete below...I mean, if the kids fall, they're going to get injured - especially that toddler. So, at that point, I realize I need to wash my kids' hands so they can eat. So I send my 14yo off to the men's room, and run my two youngest over to the ladies restroom across from Soarin' to wash up. Halfway through washing our hands, I get this "feeling"...lol. I hurry them up and head back to the table just in time to see my husband flying towards the Dad of these kids! The man's wife, and presumably his mother or mother-in-law, plus some other woman that was with them, plus their kids, are swarmed around our table and my family, and it's obvious that it's going to turn in to a full-blown brawl any second. I run over, squeeze myself between my family and theirs, and tell them to "just go!" The mother-in-law is like, standing over my DD20 who is sitting at the table, just yelling in my daughter's face. It was so entirely ridiculous and I feel bad for the neighborhood that has to live near those trashy people. Evidently, what happened, was that the man had repeatedly bumped into my husband without so much as an excuse me, while my husband was sitting at our table just trying to eat lunch, and then the man stepped on our bag, which was halfway under our table, and it had our camera in it, so finally my husband was like, "are you serious? you're stepping on my bag", and the guy says, "Yeah, you should move that". It was UNDER *our* table! So at that point, the man started to back up, but DD20 *knew* her Dad was about to blow (DH and I have been together since I was 19, and he used to brawl at the drop of a hat - so as the years have gone by, at my request, he has avoided any physical altercations for a long, long time - and the last one was when he was just stopping some guy who was beating his wife...) . So, DD20 tells the guy, "You need to just go sit down". And he turns to her and calls her a tramp - which is when I happened to look up as we walked back from the bathrooms to see my husband going for his throat. By that time, their entire family was swarmed around our table, yelling at them. My DS14 was sitting in the middle of it through the entire thing...and it's almost comical now because nothing bad happened, but we're like, a Christian, homeschooling family...my kids are simply not accustomed to scenes like this, LOL. DH and I grew up in some rough-and-tumble families, but our kids really haven't been around that kind of thing. The offending family all left when I told them to go, but not before that big ogre told me to shut up and told my oldest daughter "you're ugly". What a dork. I mean honestly, the best thing he could come up with was to tell a 20 year old she was an ugly tramp? And actually, we've been joking about it ever since because she happens to be the absolute opposite of his remarks. Anyway...we haven't been treated that way in....I don't think we've *ever* been treated quite like that. So, being that it happened at DLR - while a CM stood nearby and knew what was happening and should have nipped it in the bud from the beginning by having the parents bring the kids down off of the rock formations and evidently did so at some point, but not until after things had already become very heated (3 days later we were in the same place and kids were climbing on them and the CM was ordering them to get down) - definitely made the place not feel so magical, to say the least. I'm not sure if the guy was drinking or if he's just that obnoxious all the time....I seem to remember seeing drinks on their table, but I can't be sure. SUMMARY So there it is..the good, the bad, and the ugly. We learned that 8 days is entirely too long for us personally (we had planned for 9, but left a day early...). And after dealing with so many obnoxiously rude people in one place, we're all agreed that DLR just isn't the place for us that it used to be. We're sad about that, but are going to focus on getting excited about other destinations to travel to from now on. We may use our AP's one more time before they expire just to see Cars Land and the new Matterhorn cars, but I think there's a good chance that we will decide in the end that it isn't worth the trouble.