Carsland, Candy Corn, and Caramel Macchiatos

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by teacherlisa1978, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    To all who come to this happy place, welcome!

    This is my pre-trip report for our much anticipated first visit to the DLR since Christmas 2009. Best of all, it is my first trip to the Land with my 3 year old Lightning McQueen fan, Michael. We had a great extended family vacation to WDW last summer (and another planned for 2014) but can't wait to take our first Disney trip as a family of 3. :dance3: Disneyland was the location of my very first childhood Disney trip and it has always held a very, very special place in my heart.

    Here I am a few years ago-I'll always miss these letters and can't imagine seeing the Esplanade without them again!
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    And here's my sweet boy and his Daddy last summer.
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    And one of my favorites-we had a great Princess dinner in Epcot and my little guy was way, way more into the princesses than I expected. And I think Snow White kind of liked him, too!
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    This trip will have many firsts-our first visit to Carsland, first Halloween trip, and maybe, just maybe, my first Starbucks caramel macchiato inside Disney? (If I'm willing to brave the line, which I'm not sure I will be!)
     
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  3. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    The When:

    We'll be heading to Anaheim after work on October 17th, a Thursday, and staying until the following Tuesday. I've never gotten to see the parks decorated in their Fall Finery and have always wanted to, so that was definitely part of the motivation. Also, because my husband started a new job last winter he wasn't eligible for anything more than a day off here and there all summer long. Which kind of stinks when you're a teacher with 2 months off but we've made the best of it with some long weekends of camping and beach trips. But! He can finally take a few days off in October and I knew where I wanted to go right away.

    Then, when I found out we'll be there for the Halloween party on Monday the 21st I was really excited. I've never been to a hard ticket party at Disney and this seemed like the perfect chance. Plus, my son was absolutely thrilled with Halloween last year at 2 years old and I know he will have a blast celebrating in the park.

    So, here's the nitty gritty:
    Fly from SEA to SNA on October 17th and...somehow...get ourselves to the Embassy Suites Anaheim South. We've stayed here 3 times and love it so that was an obvious choice for us. Free hot breakfast, 2 rooms to spread out in, and we don't mind taking the bus since we are used to it at WDW-just feels like what you do on a Disney trip.

    But-the question is, how do we get from the airport to the hotel? We are still trying to figure that out. Our flight arrives late in the evening so it looks like the DLR Express is out, and we could take a cab, which means we have to bring our car seat. I don't know about SNA but in my experience cabs at airports like to load quickly and take off-installing a car seat is not quick for us, at least. I am kind of skeeved out at the thought of using a car seat from the cab company and expect that would increase our wait anyway. So, I'm looking for suggestions if anyone has any...we have a lightweight Cosco scenera seat to bring and don't mind hauling it with us.

    Once at the Embassy we'll take their shuttle to the parks each day. Last time we were there it was run by ART but I guess now the Embassy has their own shuttle. I've been trying to find out information on this (how often it runs, mainly) and haven't gotten very far so I have a little detective work to do on that.

    We plan to take a break at the hotel every afternoon as our son is still a pretty good napper and stroller naps don't work very well for him. Plus, I like to sit down in a quiet hotel room and just relax after everything that goes into a busy Disney morning. So hopefully the shuttle will allow us to do that. If not, we'll figure something out.

    And then I still need to figure out how to get us BACK to the airport late afternoon on Tuesday. I figure we'll do the same thing we did to get us FROM the airport I just need to figure out what exactly that is!

    Next up: day by Disney day...
     
  4. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    You all know how it is...how the fuzzy Disney math creeps up on you.

    We were originally taking this trip because we wanted a short, relatively budget trip in the Fall since, due to my husband's job, we couldn't take any vacation time this summer. And we really wanted to ee Carland too, of course. But. We were really pretty bummed because we adore WDW and those trips are the ones that really feel like a true vacation to us. Don't get me wrong-we love DLR too, but it's different and feels more like a long weekend destination to us rather than a true vacation.

    After seeing Kevin Rafferty speak in June at the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meetwe began to get really excited about going to the Land.

    Last week I started working on some of those last nuts and bolts for the trip-transportation here and there, mainly. We were pricing out rental cars versus shuttles, with parking fees at the hotel and the park and it started to add up. Finally my husband turned to me and said, "What's it going to take to get us on property someday?"

    Excuse me, what? You have to understand-my husband is a penny pincher, bean counter, accountant by trade, and while we always stay on property in Florida it hadn't even really occurred to me to try it in Anaheim. It just didn't seem fiscally sound. And we've truly loved staying at the Embassy Suites. But we started doing the math and it really wasn't going to be all THAT much more just to stay at Paradise Pier. Just a couple hundred more dollars.

    And then when I realized we'd get an Extra Magic Hour (that IS what they're calling them now, right? So hard to keep track!) every morning I was really excited. We're very much morning people and love that first hour when the park isn't crowded. And we started thinking it through-not losing the time where we'd have to wait for a shuttle, get our son back and down for a nap, when we can just walk to our room and put him down. One of us can stay in the parks later if we want to do some single rider lines, or shop in Downtown Disney. Getting back to the hotel after the Halloween party, Fantasmic, and World of Color will be a breeze now. We are so excited that we made this change.

    Of course, by the time we STILL add in the costs of our transportation to and from the airport, and add on the Surf's Up breakfast (how can we not? We'll be staying right there in the hotel and our 3 year old is crazy for the characters!), the money savings over renting a car is pretty much gone but we are choosing not to focus on that aspect of it right now. My husband and I are so much more excited for our trip and I have a feeling it will be very hard to go back off property after this!
     
  5. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    Lisa --

    I was lured in to your TR because of the clever title and reference to candy corn -- I knew it meant that there was a Halloween trip in the works!

    Your little guy is adorable, and I think he will love the Halloween party as well as Halloween Time in general! (And Cars Land will be a huge hit, as McQueen rolls through the streets of Radiator Springs every so often.)

    You mentioned always wanting to "see the parks decorated in their Fall Finery." I will forewarn you, just so you know what to expect -- there is almost nothing in the way of Halloween decor in California Adventure at all...which is sad. There used to be actual decorations in DCA (Candy Corn Acres was very cool, and the Halloween party used to be held in DCA) but when the construction walls went up for the billion dollar makeover, the traces of Halloween faded away.:sad1: In 2011 all that was in DCA that was even remotely Halloween-ish was Duffy's photo spot. Last year there were a couple of "Frankenweenie" things specifically tied into promoting that movie, but that was it. You will see Halloween goodies in the DCA candy and bake shops, though, and Halloween merchandise in some of the DCA shops.

    I really think that Disney could do so much more with DCA for Halloween Time, as they have done for the holiday season. They could add some retro/vintage Halloween decor to Buena Vista Street and some whimsical, automobile-influenced decor in Cars Land. But, alas, it is not to be as of yet.:sad1:

    Disneyland is where you'll find the bulk of the Halloween/Fall fun. Main Street and Frontierland are basically the hubs of Halloween decor/activity, and then, of course, Haunted Mansion Holiday is in New Orleans Square and Ghost Galaxy is in Tomorrowland.

    Check inside the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney as well -- I think they put up a Halloween decoration or two here and there.

    Halloween Time is a great, fun, festive time to be at DLR and I think your family will really enjoy it. I look forward to following along with your report as plans evolve!:cheer2:
     
  6. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you Sherry E! We are very excited. 63 more days!

    As far as decor goes I just really want to see those cute smiling pumpkins at the front of DL. I've seen pictures for years and can't wait to finally get a picture of us in front of them!

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  7. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along. :)
     
  8. tlovesdis

    tlovesdis <font color=purple>Disneyland Obsessed!!!<br><font

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    Following along too! I will be there the 23rd-27th of October! I love trip reports and PTR as well! Hmmm maybe I should do one???
     
  9. BeautyAndTheBeast22

    BeautyAndTheBeast22 Mouseketeer

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    Following along. Your little guy is SO cute. Loving the Snow White Kiss photo, too cute!
     
  10. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you all for following along! As I'm a teacher and just finished my first week of school I haven't had much time to "think Disney" lately, but when I found myself getting stressed this week I remembered that we are only 6 weeks out from our trip! Almost time to start packing! ;)

    That said, I did just call Paradise Pier Hotel. I dread making phone calls in the worst way. But I wanted to link our two reservations-our room only for the night we arrive (I figure we'll be lucky to be at the hotel by 11pm and have us all asleep by midnight-yikes! Then it's up for Surf's Up Breakfast at 7 the next morning!), and our package which starts the next day.

    Did I mention how much I detest making phone calls? I'd already begged my husband to call our vet back about an issue our dog is having so figured I'd used up my good will for phone call favors for the weekend. So I bit the bullet and called. Holy cow, how easy was that? The cast member understood exactly what I wanted to do, ensured that it would be no problem for us to keep the same room for the entire stay and the whole thing was complete in under one minute. If only all phone calls were this easy! Magical!pixiedust:
     
  11. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    I loved being able to make all of our dining reservations over e-mail for Disneyland. As I've said before I truly dislike phone calls. I've liked using the online reservation system for WDW (even if I do have to get up at 2:45 am since I'm on the West Coast and don't want to take any chances and missing out on my 180 day mark!), but e-mails 60 days out are way easier. The first day, I didn't realize they'd need my phone number to be able to make the reservation so I had to get back to them later, but I still got my reservation as requested and it was no big deal.

    Here's what we have going:

    Friday morning: we arrive late the night before but decided to do Surf's Up Breakfast at 7 am since we'll already be at the PPH. Then we'll spend the morning in DL until we're tired and ready for naps. I'm thinking some corn dogs will be a great lunch treat. That night it's dinner at Goofy's Kitchen since DL will be closed for the Halloween party.

    Saturday: we'll have muffins or granola bars, something simple in the room for breakfast, and then have an early lunch reservation at Blue Bayou. Monte Cristo sandwich, here we come! That night we either want to try the Jazz Kitchen Express or Earl of Sandwich.

    Sunday: We'll have a simple in room breakfast again and then we're dining with the princesses at Ariel's Grotto for lunch. Our last trip (2009) we all really enjoyed the meal here so we're looking forward to it.
    I know we'll leave for a while for our son's nap but I'm hoping to get back in time to see Carsland light up in the evening. Dinner will be at Pacific Wharf-love the Crab Louie in a bread bowl!

    Monday: Another simple breakfast and then we want to do lunch at Flo's. I'm actually not that excited by the menu so I might wander over to get something from the Cozy Cones and eat at Flo's with my family. I know our son will like the kid's meal in the Lightning McQueen box and my husband has several things he's excited about. I'd do the veggie tater bake but I believe it has soy crumbles or something in it? I don't do fake meat...

    That night we're attending the Halloween party! Either Earl of Sandwich or Hungry Bear will be on the agenda for tonight. We definitely want to eat at EOS at some point on the trip so if we haven't gotten to it yet this will be the night. If we've already gone there, we might try Hungry Bear since I've read such good things about their menu which is quite different than our last visit. I also really like sitting by the water there.

    Tuesday: Simple breakfast in the room again, then we'll be hitting our favorite rides and attractions this day. Not sure what we'll eat or if we'll just snack our way through the day. Our flight leaves around 6 pm so we'll have the morning and early afternoon time at the parks.

    We realized that we're only doing 1 dinner reservation on this trip. We're actually really pleased with how it's working out. It's always seemed so rushed when we have to get to a dinner reservation, especially when you take naptime into consideration. This way we can let him nap as long as he needs to, and get up and go when we're ready. We've also found that with dinner reservations we don't end up seeing much of the parks in the evening, so we like the freedom this will give us.
     
  12. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    Today's the day! Leaving for the airport in 3 1/2 hours. I've been packed since the weekend. Get home, change clothes, surprise my son with his new Mike & Sully jammies (hoping wearing Pajamas might encourage him to sleep on the plane!), and go!!!

    Here's where the really interesting part happens. My husband can't get off work early tonight so he's meeting us at the airport later. I'm going early so I can get the luggage checked, get through security, and get our son some dinner before the flight. Hopefully we'll be about halfway through dinner when my husband meets us.

    So I'll be loaded up with a GIANT rolling suitcase to check, my backpack and purse to carry on, my son's small backpack, the stroller (gate check), and the car seat. And a 3 year old. Yikes. I am checking the car seat only because I simply can't manage it all if I don't. It's going to have to be one of those trust things. It's not ideal but it's what's happening.

    I'm hoping to update from the parks this weekend!

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  13. dizneefan13

    dizneefan13 Earning My Fins

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    Hope everything went smoothly with your flight. Right now you must be about to enter the parks for Day One! Have a wonderfully magic day!
     
  14. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! Flight went great. Michael is an awesome little flyer. Watched Monsters Inc, read 2 books, a little Angry Birds and time to land!

    DK Livery was great with pickup too. My not so handy husband had some trouble installing the car seat but the driver helped and it was okay.

    Check in at PPH went not so great but it's a long story...all has been worked out now. I'll fill in later. We had a wonderful breakfast at Surf's Up this morning, a fun few hours in the park, and then swimming. Michael even went down the slide! He's finishing a nap now then it's off to Goofy's Kitchen for dinner. Can't wait!

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  15. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    We are back! What a wonderful time we had with only a couple of tiny hiccups along the way. My son keeps telling us "I need to go back to Disneyland right now!" We are toying with the idea of going back to Anaheim instead of Orlando with the extended family this summer. Needless to say, a wonderful time was had by all.

    We got through security and the wait for my husband to arrive...I never could find the play area at SeaTac and couldn't ask anyone because then my son would hear me asking for the play area and insist on finding a play area right now...for the sake of peace in the fmaily we ate ice cream instead!

    As I posted earlier we had a very nice flight. Michael ate some snacks, watched Monster's Inc., played with some of those "Imagine Ink" books with the "magic" pen and played Angry Birds on my husband's phone before we landed.

    We were the last ones off the plane since we were sitting at the very back and had a lot of gear to gather so we let everyone else off first. We picked up the stroller from the gate check area and my husband had trouble getting the cord un-knotted (as he was cursing this situation out he apparently didn't realize that his darling wife was the one who knotted it!). I was talking with another family and my son starts to run off down the long hallway at SNA. He thought it was funny, wouldn't stop, and I ended up sprinting after him down the long deserted hallway. Which resulted in him having a time out, and two airline employees suggesting the use of a monkey backpack/leash. Nice start to the trip.

    Then, because we were so delayed in getting to baggage claim there was no more baggage on the carousel. We saw our driver from DK Livery holding up the sign with our name on it so my husband went and flagged him down, while I saw our luggage being carted away. Eek! I didn't realize we'd taken quite THAT long to get down to baggage claim. And I guess SNA is just way more efficient than what I'm used to at SeaTac.

    So, we got things all sorted out and our driver helped us get to the parking lot and the SUV we'd be riding in. I think it was a Tahoe. It was quite big, very clean, and really comfortable. My husband had trouble installing the carseat (I love him dearly, but he always has trouble installing the carseat), and the driver assisted. Soon we were on the way and made it to Paradise Pier in probably about 20 minutes. We were very happy with DK Livery's service and helpfulness. I've always disliked taxis in the past because I don't always feel safe in them. That was not an issue with DK Livery at all.

    When we got to Paradise Pier with 7 pieces of luggage plus a stroller we were all tired and eager to get to our room as soon as possible. Darling husband dropped the luggage sort of in the middle of the lobby and followed our son around while he explored. Which was fine, there was no one else around, but I felt like I had to keep turning around to check on the luggage while also trying to check us in. A lot of paperwork was getting shuffled around-we had our room only reservation for Thursday night, along with our Costco package starting the next day. Lots of things to sign and review. I asked about our Fantasmic! seating and the clerk assured me she had the vouchers and would hand them to me. Then a lot of papers were given, she told us our room number, assured me we would not have to change rooms the next day or go to the front desk (yay!) and we were all set.

    As we gathered everything up I had this nagging feeling that I did not get vouchers or tickets or anything, but I figured they were in the big pile of papers I'd been handed. We got to the room, and Michael was super excited to see the Donald Duck picture on the wall, the Mickey lamp, and especially the beach ball pillows. I was really happy with how well maintained and perfectly clean the room was. Mildew, holes in carpet, chipping paint all really, really upset me. I had zero issues and that's really rare for me in a hotel.

    As we settled in I started searching for our mysteriously missing vouchers and came up empty. I emptied out every nook and cranny of every piece of luggage (including car seat bag and stroller) I'd touched since arriving on property. Nothing. My husband (Dean) went down to the front desk while I continued furiously searching while trying to mellow out an excited 3 year old and get him ready for bed. Dean came back and told me the front desk said they didn't have them but I could go to guest services at the park the next day and have them reprinted. Not what I wanted to do, but at least they weren't gone for good.

    Finally, around midnight we were all settled in (my son loved that you could pull down the back of the couch and make a twin sized bed that was the perfect size for him) and going to sleep.

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    Next up: Surf's Up Breakfast and on to Disneyland!
     
  16. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    Friday morning started off just great! We were up and at 'em bright and early ready for our 7 am reservation at Surf's Up Breakfast downstairs in the PPH, and then going on directly to Disneyland from there.

    This was probably the very best character meal we've ever had-and we've gone to many of them at both DLR and WDW. I believe we were the 2nd or 3rd family seated. After our photo with Mickey we were barely seated before the characters began coming around. Minnie, Daisy, and Pluto all came over numerous times. They'd dance with Michael, play with him, pose for many photos, and Minnie even tried to help encourage him to eat his breakfast. Later, Stitch joined in on the fun too. There were 2 or 3 occasions where the characters had a surf/dance party up front and invited all the children in the restaurant to join in. So much fun. Minnie was so sweet with my boy that I actually teared up. She is his absolute favorite and she was just so sweet and loving with him. To top it off, the food was all delicious. There was an omelette bar, smoothies, a yogurt parfait bar, and lots of hot and cold food. The pastries looked like your typical mass produced and pre-packaged type, but everything else was wonderful. For the rest of the trip, every time we'd walk by the PCH Grill on our way back to the room we'd look at it wistfully, and came *this* close to booking another meal there our last morning. (Sleep won out!) It was wonderful and is going on our "must do" list for future trips.

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    Afterwards, we headed over to Disneyland. We used the shortcut through the GCH, following signs to the business center and popping out in Downtown Disney. We enjoyed this walk so much more than when we've taken a shuttle and had to walk through all the buses to get to the Esplanade.

    We are pretty die hard rope drop people so I wasn't sure how it would be arriving after opening, but we still rode Dumbo with only a short wait, and were able to experience Buzz, Autopia, Mickey's House, Roger Rabbit (which turned into one of our son's absolute favorites ever, for no reason we can figure!), Gadget's Go Coaster (his first roller coaster and he loved it!). Michael also toured Donald's Boat, the treehouse, and experienced quite a bit of ToonTown. I took him on the subs (he's a huge Nemo fan and loved this!) and then on Astro Orbiter while Dean went to ride Star Tours.

    The lines were practically non-existent this day, and it was wonderful. This made it hard to stick to the "plan" I'd created as everywhere we walked there were short lines! So why stick to the "plan"? Because I knew Saturday would be very crowded and I was trying really hard to save attractions for Saturday that would work better in crowds. But it was hard to restrain ourselves!

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    At 11 we went to the Little Red Wagon for the world's best corn dogs. My husband was quick enough to snag us a table. Our son was pretty much only interested in eating chips, but we didn't push the issue. It's not like corn dogs would be that much healthier. He'd eaten a lot of fruit and yogurt at breakfast, so we quickly decided on our vacation eating plan-"it all averages out over the course of a day." Chips for lunch was fine as long as he included lots of healthy choices later.

    After lunch we hiked on over to Winnie the Pooh, hoping to fit in a couple more rides before an afternoon break. My husband and I were happily chatting, taking it all in, and arrived at Winnie only to realize our boy was asleep. Very, very asleep. We changed course, and Dean took him back to the room to hopefully continue a nap (because a day without a nap is guaranteed to be not a very good day in our world), and I stayed in the park.

    I tried to ride Indiana Jones single rider-they weren't operating single rider. So I went over to Star Tours-no single rider. (I thought I'd read that this was sometimes an option-I guess I had read wrong.) Luckily, I was able to get on Matterhorn with a less than 10 minute wait. All those reports I'd read about how jerky it was post-rehab were oh so true. I was glad they'd raised the height restriction as there was no way I'd feel safe with my little guy on it.

    Some Disneyland popcorn in a Halloween container was in order then, and I decided I needed a little pick me up so I checked out the Markethouse and did indeed get my Disneyland Starbucks Caramel Macchiato! I decided that Starbucks just tastes better in Disneyland. There was literally no wait-I walked right up to order. I'm sure it's different in the morning but at 1:30 in the afternoon it was great. Then it was off to City Hall to try to track down our Fantasmic! tickets. After a long wait (over a half hour) in the sun I was finally inside. It seemed as if most people in line had questions about the new DAS program. The wonderful Katie was able to sort out the issue after another 20 minutes and a long phone call to Paradise Pier. She was confused because I kept talking about my "vouchers" which is what the gal at check in had called them the night before. Once she explained that I should have been given tickets we realized I hadn't misplaced them, they'd never been given to me. She had trouble getting through to the people at PPH, but was finally able to come back and assure me that my tickets were being held at the front desk. She was great, and told me if they still had any problems they could call and speak to her at City Hall and she'd get it straightened out. Phew.

    Oh so tired at this point I headed back to PPH. Along the way I found out Michael woke up as soon as Dean got him back to the room, and they also discovered that the room hadn't been cleaned and was scheduled to be taken care of in a half hour after the housekeeper's lunch break. Okay, so they headed to the room with the cartoons off the lobby (cute and a nice feature), where I delivered their popcorn bucket. I went to the front desk and after more explanations and some more confusion, I finally had our Fantasmic! tickets for the next night in my hot little hands.

    By this time our room was clean and we were able to go up and get ready to hit the pool! California sunshine here we come!
     
  17. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    We were thrilled with this pool area! For a hotel pool, we found it very nice. No, it doesn't have the themed area of the DLH or GCH, but compared to what we are used to at WDW (POFQ) it compared favorably. Cushy loungers, a pool bar, a very fun slide, and a kiddie pool fit our needs perfectly. Michael had a fabulous time with the other kids, the adults had a couple of smoothies, and we all went on the slide-even Michael! I wasn't sure he'd go since he couldn't go down with one of us, but he's a daredevil. The life guard was nice enough to help me catch him at the bottom. We all went on it several more times over the trip and really enjoyed it. At this point we realized how nice the warm California sun was feeling. What a nice change from Seattle, which was experiencing a pretty scary "fogmageddon" and temps in the 40s. It made waiting to take our "summer vacation" in the Fall seem very worth it.

    Around 4:30 we headed back up to the room and were able to get Michael down for a nap. I shopped in the gift shop a bit and we all rested. We had 7:00 reservations at Goofy's Kitchen and headed over for the short walk. Since Disneyland was closing at 7 for the Halloween party we figured it would be crowded-and it was-but I don't know if it was any more crowded than it would usually be on a Friday night at 7:00. After a few minutes of waiting I checked in and used our vouchers from our Costco package to pay. This was a very nice feature of that package. In a couple of minutes we were up to meet with Goofy, and we got some cute pictures of all of us and just Michael. The photopass photographer happily used our camera as well.

    When we sat down the Mad Hatter came over almost immediately, and Minnie was there soon after. Dean went to get a plate of food for Michael, and then I sent him back to take his time getting his own food. I enjoyed sitting down with my happy boy and a nice cold Diet Coke. I like the way Goofy's is set up with little alcoves so although it's big and busy it didn't feel overwhelming. When I went to get my food Chip came by. The rest of the night Michael kept asking where "the other Chip" (Dale, if you couldn't figure that out!) was. We decided he was gathering nuts for the winter. Soon, Aladdin came over, and we kept seeing Pluto wander by but he never made it to our section, sadly. Minnie came by more than once.

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    We found the food to be just fine, but nothing special. The temperatures were fine, the salad bar was good, everything was clean, and the desserts were probably our favorite part. Michael, of course, enjoyed the mac and cheese pizza. Yep, there's that health food we'd been waiting for him to eat all day. Sigh.

    We were there for over an hour and we had a tired boy on our hands after a long day so we decided to leave before seeing Pluto. The photographer hadn't even brought our picture over for us to purchase, but we were done. So that was disappointing. I'd probably give Goofy's another try but it's not a must-do. If we could only do 1, I'd pick Sur'fs Up breakfast for sure.

    We enjoyed the quick walk back to the hotel through the DLH grounds (beautiful!) and then it was bath and bedtime. The next morning would have us ready for Extra Magic Hour at Disneyland on what we knew would be a busy day and we were excited!
     
  18. blair_ranea

    blair_ranea Earning My Ears

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    Loving your report & taking notes! Finally have talked my husband into a Disneyland trip. Your son is absolutely precious.
     
  19. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! It was a truly magically wonderful time!

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  20. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    602
    We were up and ready to go for an 8 am Extra Magic Hour this morning. I got up early (5:30 am on vacation!), had my trusty Starbucks Doubleshot (I am very picky about coffee...so, yes, I travel with those little canned Starbucks Doubleshots in my checked luggage, wrapped in several ziplocs for safety...call me crazy but this way I'm guaranteed a familiar shot of caffeine to start my day which is really the best for everyone!), a granola bar, and got myself ready.

    After I was ready I ran downstairs to the Surfside Lounge and bought a bottle of water to start our day and a bottle of chocolate milk. They only had large bottles but luckily I'd brought a sippy cup so I put some of it in there and had the rest in our handy fridge for tomorrow. Michael really enjoyed the Disneyland highlights channel on the TV as well as the Princess Bedtime Story channel. It was a nice relaxing start to an early morning.

    This morning as we left the room we remembered to put out the "Housekeeping please" sign on our door. I love it when hotels give you those.. .and I can't emphasize enough how awesome it was to just walk to the gates at Disneyland. We arrived around 7:30 and were about 4 or 5 groups back from our gate. It was also great to just let Michael eat an applesauce pouch and a bar as we strolled in. He's an extremely slow eater so having him contained in the stroller with nothing else to do ensured he got some breakfast in him.

    At rope drop we headed right for Peter Pan. We misjudged the stroller parking situation and that slowed us down a little (we decided our next DL rope drop, Dean would carry Michael on his shoulders so they could jump in line while I parked the stroller), but we were still on the ride within about 10 minutes or so. After that we went to Dumbo, where I think I was more excited than Michael was! When we got on the ride, he very sweetly made sure his stuffed Minnie Mouse was buckled in first. My good heavens, I love this boy.

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    We explored the rest of Fantasyland then-Snow White, Pinocchio, Mr. Toad, Alice was down, but we finished up It's a Small World just as EMH ended. We got in line for Storybookland Canal Boats then-the line for this is always so darn long. We felt it slowed down our morning. We headed over to Jungle Cruise and also experienced Pirates and the Casey Jr. Railroad for our train crazy little guy. I'd hoped to do Haunted Mansion but the line was of course very long. We also never seem to find time for Tom Sawyer Island or the Riverboat on any of our trips. I think if Michael hadn't fallen asleep so early the day before we'd have gotten to them, but it was definitely more important to let the little one sleep than to fit in more attractions. I've learned that lesson!

    We checked in for our 11:30 Blue Bayou reservation and were pleased to have a waterside table. We traded picture taking duties with the couple at the table next door to us.
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    Our waitress came over to compliment Michael's good behavior right after I was reprimanding him for some behavior related issue...I think he was annoyed that his plate with carrots, celery, and ranch were on top of his placemat that he was trying to color on. Oh, the horror! I just remember having all my plates pushed all over the place and about to land in my lap while feeling slightly annoyed. We recovered with a delicious lunch-the famous Monte Cristos for me and my husband and a kid's macaroni meal for Michael. This was, as always, a great relaxing break in the middle of the day, especially with the waterside table. We missed the delicious potatoes that used to be served with the sandwich, the fruit was fine but I think I may have liked the potatoes more than the monte cristo (blasphemy!). I meant to order one of the light up drinks for Michael but I felt a little hurried when we got here (not the restaurant's fault-just the need to feed a hungry boy on the edge of crankiness) and forgot. A great meal as always and one we will certainly return to in the future.

    After lunch we had time for Winnie the Pooh and the Tiki Room. We discovered a very short line for Dole Whips on the inside of the waiting area and couldn't resist splitting a float between the 3 of us. Michael enjoyed the Tiki birds so much he danced through the entire show...to the point where a woman sitting next to Dean got up and moved halfway through the show. Oh dear. Michael is very enthusiastic, happy, excited, exuberant even. It is extremely important to me that he doesn't disturb or bother people around him. So I was happy he was enjoying the show and dancing, but sorry if he disturbed others. He wasn't making noise, we'd never allow that, but it's hard to tell him not to dance! Maybe the other gal just wanted a different view. Sure, let's go with that! I did have one woman in the airport security line tell me, as I apologized for his singing, "Those are happy sounds! Anyone who complains about those needs to think again. Would they prefer a tantrum?" I hope to always travel near people with this positive outlook!

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    This afternoon Dean was on his own while I went back for nap time. I had a hard time getting him down but did eventually succeed. Dean rode Indy, the Matterhorn, and hopped over to DCA for his first ride on Racers, which he couldn't stop raving about. When Michael woke up I took him to the pool where he did the slide some more, and we enjoyed more warm sunshine.

    Every afternoon there was a pool party. Michael was too young to really understand the rules of the games they were playing but he was an enthusiastic participant, especially in the dancing. The recreation staff was absolutely spot on with redirecting him gently and kindly when necessary, without getting in the way of his, or anyone else's, fun. This was a great experience for him. Dean met us down here when he was done with the parks and we traded off.

    I headed back to Disneyland to try for a single rider chance at Splash Mountain, and to use the FastPass I'd pulled for Indy earlier. I got there within 1 minute of the end of my return time-success! I had forgotten how much I enjoy this ride. When I got to the Splash single rider line I found 23 people in front of me. In the 20 minutes I waited there they took 1 person from single rider. So, I gave up. We had had high hopes that using the single rider lines would be the way to go for us on this trip but we quickly discovered that we preferred the certainty of getting on in a reasonable time frame with a Fast Pass. It required a little more careful planning but it ended up working best for us.

    I grabbed a Lobster Roll from Harbor Galley (I was disappointed, I so wanted to like this...) and got in line for the Fantasmic seating. It got more and more crowded...the area reminded me of our trip in 2009 the weekend before Christmas when the waterfront area was downright scary crowded. Dean brought Michael back and I urged him not to come anywhere near where I was. They ended up riding the railroad full circle for a while-which made Michael very happy. I was wishing my own feet were getting the nice break theirs were, but oh well.

    Finally it was time to get to our seats. We had 1 first row and 2 in the second, so when the show started Michael sat in Dean's lap and had a great view. As much of a pain as tracking down our tickets and waiting in line for them was (why can't they assign seats when you make the reservations?) I think we'd do this again in the future. I don't relish staking out a spot on hard, cold pavement for hours ahead of time, and it was nice to have a seat for the show and the fireworks, and to have food and drinks brought to us. Spendy, but a nice treat.

    Michael loved the show-we were afraid he'd think parts were too scary but he really ended up liking it all. It was a late night to bed afterwards, with an early morning to follow (7AM Extra Magic Hour on a Sunday!) but it would be well worth it.
     
  21. teacherlisa1978

    teacherlisa1978 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    602
    We were up bright and early once again Sunday morning for a 7am EMH opening at DCA. We couldn't believe there'd be too many intrepid souls there this early in the morning and there weren't. We were the first ones at our ticket gate!

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    Just before opening a CM announced that Racers was not operating right away. Shoot. That wasn't part of our plan but we knew it would impact the others around us. So we high tailed it to Toy Story like practically everyone else in line, and were on within a couple of minutes. Michael was very interested in King Triton's carousel next door, and since the crowds were really small we went ahead and did it. Dean even rode a seahorse, which really tickled Michael. We went over to Carsland then-Michael and I were blown away. It really DOES look just like you've walked into the movie. Wow!
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    We rode Mater's junkyard jamboree which was cute and an interesting design the way the the circular plates intersect. We did the Flying Tires next which I have to say is a real dud. I wanted to like it but it was just kind of boring. Every other ride we went on during the trip would have Michael saying "That's my favorite! Let's do it again!" Given that this is the ONLY one he didn't say that about, well, that's telling. I definitely agree that they needed something besides Racers and Mater in Carsland to start, but I hope they come up with something better soon to replace the tires.

    It was park opening then so Dean went off to get fast passes for Racers. While he did that, I took Michael shopping for a hat in Carsland. Of course he selected two toys as well...you can't get Lightning without Mater...or vice versa. You just can't. ;)
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    We headed over to Bug's Land. We rode the Ladybug Boogie which neither of us were in love with, but the Tuck N Roll bumper cars were more fun. Although we felt sorry for the poor cast members that had to move all the extra cars by hand to the edges of the course, as only 3 of us and our children were actually riding. Then it was the Chew Chew train which is always one of my favorites. Love the watermelon smell!

    Dean was done with the fast passes by then so we headed to Ariel's. This opened at WDW just after our last visit so I was really looking forward to experiencing it. We all really enjoyed it, even more than we thought we would. Michael and I were dancing throughout. At some point I hopped over to Soarin' for a FP. Dean doesn't love this ride so he opted to skip it. We went and rode Monster's Inc., which our Mike Wazowski fan was head over heels for. By then it was just about time for the Disney Jr. show so we went in to laugh, clap, sing, dance, and collect some gold dubloons. Loved the additions of Jake and Sophia to the show. Then it was time to ride Soarin' so I did that while the boys went back to Bug's Land and snacked on some caramel corn.

    I high tailed it out of there to go ride Soarin', (and purchase some pretty fancy new Cinderella mouse ears!) and when I got back it was time for our Racers fast passes. Dean rode first and Michael was asleep in the stroller so he and I sat down on a quiet bench next to Schmoozies.

    We traded off and after I rode Racers, which I of course absolutely loved and immediately added to my list of Top 5 Best rides ever, we met up at Ariel's Grotto for lunch. We really liked the 7am EMH as we felt like we got SO MUCH done this morning!

    We apparently checked in 3 minutes too early for our lunch reservation and were told to come back. of course at that moment the 3 year old bladder kicked in and I ended up hiking down to the restroom next to King Triton's carrousel with him, only because I knew there was a restroom there and we didn't have a lot of time to lose. Now sweaty and out of breath we joined the long line to check in for lunch and see Ariel.

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    Coming Soon...what we thought about the changes to the menu at Ariel's, dining at Flo's, and World of Color!
     

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