Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by PrincessInOz, Dec 14, 2010.
Good morning and I am caught up on your TR.
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PTR/TR Nov 2012: Another Mad Dash And so it Begins
Today I bought a ticket to fly across the pond. Afterall, its only a measly 14 hour flight. Whats 14 hours of flying if I get to see my mate Mickey?
okay! Its another Mad Dash for this Aussie
.but its gotta be worth it, right?
My travel dates: 1 November 9 November.
My travel companion: DH
.but really its all about ME!!
My DisMeets: 2 so far
My equipment: Canon 7D and a whole bunch of lenses.
My funding: Dont ask
and I wont have to tell no lies.
My babies left at home (so sad) : DS12, 2 furbabies
The back story?
This trip was never on the cards.
My eyes have been firmly set on the Gamers DisMeet in 2013 (PTR
.blog in progress) and Ive already got my Disney fix for this year by heading to Hong Kong (PTR/TR completed).
DH had a 1-week work trip planned to NorCal for October. I did look hard at the timing but it really wasnt feasible for me from a work perspective. He had his ticket all booked and I was looking forward to being a single mom for a week. Ive even been preparing meals in the freezer to simplify meal times at home.
And then the impossible happened.
DHs work trip got shifted to early November. Early November
where the Melbourne Cup public holiday falls. Yes
.we actually do have a public holiday day for a 3 ½ minute horse race. All of a sudden, the timing started to look positively delicious!
And then the miracle happened.
I was chatting about the possibility of a trip to NorCal when franandaj tempted me with the thought of hitting CarsLand.
Ill admit that the thought did cross my mind but as quickly as it crossed my mind, I dismissed it. Afterall, I was supposed accompanying DH for a weeks worth of shopping and time in my favourite city. But when franandaj raised the thought, everything fell into place, like a neatly packaged gift.
Ill be flying out solo and stopping in LA for 2 nights and then meeting DH at LAX when he heads on over. We will then continue on to SFO and spend the rest of the time there.
DS? Hell be home with the grandparents and has resigned himself to the week of pampering.
DH? Hes hard to read
so I think hes happy to have me along.
Me? Im so happy to be doing this trip but so sad to be leaving DS behind.
There probably wont be a lot of PTR chatter
..plane ticket, ESTA, credit card and hard currency will travel. Im not even sure how much of a TR there will be but Im sure Ill find something to write about.
About the second hardest decision to make so far (the first being to leave DS behind) was if I was going to add this trip to my Jan 2011 PTR/TR or to start a new thread. In the end, it kinda made sense to keep all the DLR/California travel in the one spot.
Hope youll stick around for this mad dash!
About Tickets, Credit Cards and ESTA
Have you noticed how much information you’re asked to provide on-line these days?
Your full name, address, contact details, gender, birth details, credit card number….and have you realised how it is all interconnected?
A single wrong digit or letter can mean the difference between a completed form in bits and bytes….
A frustrating trip into the Ethernet.
And so it begins….and so it was with me when I tried to purchase my air ticket.
(NOTE: For those of you who want the abridged version, I have my e-ticket in hand. For the rest….read on.)
You know that feeling of excitement when you sit down in front of yet another electronic form to complete that will suck a wad-load of dollars out of your credit card at the end?
Well….I sat in front of the screen tonight with the carrier without in-flight entertainment of not choice. I am Flying the Friendly Skies because DH is flying with them.
Their purchase system is a 5 step multi-field data entry system. No biggie….about the same as the rest of them.
I tippie-typed away, filling in field after field of information and then had to pull out my credit card to enter more numbers.
Some 24 keystrokes later, I hit the button to submit only to find out that I needed to provide a validation number which was going to be delivered by SMS.
I don’t recall, in all the 5 step multi-field data entry, providing the Ethernet Friendly Skies with a mobile (cell) phone number.
But I hit the button anyway to “Get Validation Number”….
…..and ran to get my mobile…..
….and logged on to the email account that I provided……
I hit the button to “Get Validation Number” again…..
NADA! Both times!!!!
The system timed out on me.
THE SY$TEM TIMED OUT ON ME!!!!!
All those keystrokes, all my personal information, all those numbers that I had to get and diligently type out….
Somewhere in the Ethernet Unfriendly Skies! No reservation number, no confirmation number…nothing.
I’m a natural cynic. So, when this happened, my first instinct was to run to my on-line netbank and check my credit card.
Yup. Payment pending to United Airlines! Sitting there….mocking me!
Have you noticed how that there are call centres all set up to do outbound calls to you….calls that you don’t want to get just as you’re sitting down for dinner?
Well……these call centres….seems like inbound calling is a shrinking business.
I tried to call the United number in Australia; except that it is opened 7 am - 7 pm. I was not in the open for business time frame.
But never fear….in this global environment, there has to be a call centre opened…somewhere in the world. Particularly when it involves sucking money from you!
So, I called the American number. Had to get past Mr Recorded Voice Announcement Recognition System first. I got about 3 minutes into the first call and realised that I had gone down a Voice Recognition path that was leading me nowhere fast. So I hung up and called again….this time taking the path to a real live person sitting in Tampa!
Can I just say….that I was so excited when she told me she was in Tampa? That’s the closest I’m getting to Orlando this year!
It took Ms Inbound Tampa about 5 minutes to sort things out for me and to assure me that that pending payment was NOT going to go through because there was no corresponding validated authorisation number.
And once real payment was made, I am now the proud owner of an e-Ticket….printed out in hard copy. Yes….what a delightful world we live in. A HARD copy of an ELECTRONIC ticket that will be required to be produced at check-in time.
Oh....and that validation number? Turns out I used the joint credit card that DH and I share and the validation number got sent to HIS mobile. Talk about being able to access information from one US system to one Australian system! Makes you think, doesn't it?
One form down….another to go.
For travellers travelling into the US, you are required to complete the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). This electronic application costs $14 for a 16-digit code that gives you the right (but not the obligation) to walk onto the plane providing that the flight details of the flight in the system stored on the Ethernet matches the flight details you’re about to board. It does NOT give you the right to enter the United States. That right belongs to US Customs and they are not obliged to let you enter the country.
Despite declaring that I am of sound mind, body and spirit on-line, US Customs will still be asking me the questions….and taking my fingerprints. The same fingerprints that are on file…somewhere in the Ethernet….that I’ve provided at least once a year for the last 10 years. Getting a set of my fingerprints again will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I AM of sound mind, body and spirit...in person.
At least the ESTA e-form is a 3 step process and with a few less keystrokes required.
So, tonight…I have plane ticket and ESTA completed. And as I also have a credit card, it’s just currency to go…and I’m all set for this trip.
And I have no doubts that I’ll be asked to provide the same set of personal information again…and volunteer another set of fingerprints....once I get to US Customs!
I, for one, am counting down the days!
Sorry you had such difficulty booking tickets, but glad that you are all set! Let the fun planning begin!
Well, I hope we are worth all that effort...but Whoo Hooo!
Nice to hear that you will be coming to California in early November.
How exciting! Glad you got to join DH after all, AND managed to fit in a quickie visit to DLR
Yay for a surprise trip!
Yay PIO is coming to NorCal.
Jo - you are always worth the effort.
Thanks Bret! Not what you might be hoping for ... but I hope the weather stays warm for a bit in your part of the world.
I'll all for a quickie......visit.
Long time between drinks! How have you been?
And looking forward to meeting you in 3D!
Converting 2D friends-in-a-box into 3D friends-for-life
In this 2D box world that we occupy on the Dis, the words that we type are the only tools we have to craft connections with others. If you’re really lucky, your words might strike up a chord with someone else who then posts words in response to your words.
So it has been with me, as it has with many other Dissers….connections are formed, bonds are created and all of a sudden….we’ve become what I call 2D friends-in-a-box.
I don’t know about you; but hanging out with my friends-in-a-box is part of my everyday 3D life now. The friendships I form on the Ethernet are as real to me as they are with my 3D friends. Granted….there is always that stranger danger involved with being on the Net; and there is always the possibility of trolls. But then…..there are no guarantees in real life either.
Nevertheless; since de-lurking and joining the Dis, every time I’ve headed over to the US, a DisMeet or two has always been involved. The two that we’ve got planned (so far) for this trip will take me to 9 DisMeets in the last 2 ½ years.
Why do I DisMeet?
I guess it is always nice to be able to put a face to the on-screen persona and I’ve found that when you do finally meet a Dis-ser in 3D, the conversation just picks up from where we left off on-screen. There doesn’t seem to be all that awkwardness involved when meeting someone and there is always something to talk about and share a laugh with.
On this trip, I will be spending the bulk of my time in SoCal with franandaj. We’ve already had a DisMeet in 2011 and I’m looking forward to firming up the friendship even more on this trip.
The majority of my time on this trip will be spent in NorCal and I have a DisMeet lined up with usnuzulose and ACDSNY for when I'm in San Francisco.
Usnuz and I met in Monterey in 2011 and I’m looking forward to more corn and all the fixin’s with her again.
And this will be the first 3D meet with ACDSNY…so I’m really looking forward to being able to put facial expressions and voice intonations to her typed words!
I am also hoping that mvf-m11c will be able to work out his schedule so that he can come join us for the San Francisco meet. But if it doesn’t work out for this trip, maybe next time!
And you might have noticed that I’ve posted about the DisMeets ahead of my itinerary and plans. I guess it’s a measure of how much I’m looking forward to converting 2D friends-in-a-box to 3D friends-for-life!
PIO you've hit the nail on the head with this post. When I started on the DIS I never imagined friendships would be a part of DISing, I was usually searching for info for upcoming trips. Now I find myself coming to the DIS to see how everyone is doing and less for trip planning. It's a wonderful community feeling. I'm so looking forward to our DISmeet in SF.
I'm not sure what I expected coming over to the DIS, but certainly never so many friends and meets, so far I've met PIO, ACDSNY, mvf-m11c twice, Unsnuzulooz, Lesahface, and I don't know how many people we got together at the D23 Expo, but at least a dozen!
This will be so much fun!
About Whatnots and My Travel Plans
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Dis-ser in the midst of preparing for a Disney trip, must be in want of a good plan.”
In order to be considered ‘good’, the plan must, of course, cover the itinerary of each day so that everyone in your travel party will know when restroom breaks have been scheduled in order for them to accommodate around those important times and stick to the schedule. In addition, every detail of what to bring or what not to bring, whether to go commando or laid back should be considered and posted about during the planning period.
Afterall, that’s what you’re all here to read about, right?
For the first part…Sadly for me, my stomach and bladder do not understand the importance of adhering to schedules and I have long given up on this time-honoured tradition of being a Dis-ser with decent planning skills.
That’s not to say that I’m not a good Dis-ser…. I tend to plan, plan, plan the heck out of things before travelling and then go with the flow when on ground. It is nice to have a plan to fall back on but sometimes really is all about the meandering than the destination.
As for the whats and whatnots….everyone has their own preferences but this is what I know about my travel style and what suits me…
(…and don’t mind me…I’m a bit of a stirrer…plus I’ve travelled regularly the last 10 years so I’ve pretty much got my travel routine down pat….)
I tend to travel at what others consider commando speed. I can’t really tell if it is commando speed or isn’t. From my perspective, I travel at my pace and given that I’m doing most of this trip solo, I guess the pace will always be right for me.
Which bag I take is not as important to me as what I put or don’t put in the bag. For the record, I am not planning on buying a new bag for this trip out. And for those interested, I will have two pieces with me – my camera bag, which I will carry-on; and a check-in luggage piece. However, I cannot say the same for the trip home. To date, I’ve brought home at least one new piece of luggage on every trip to the US I’ve been on for the last 10 years.
Similarly for which shoe I wear. For me, it has to be comfortable for the entire day. It would help if it were fashionable as well. For those interested, I’ll probably be taking my walking Sketchers with me…although…. The alternative is the Geox walking shoe that I bought in Hong Kong because the Sketchers got soaked in a downpour. The Sketchers are much more comfortable but the Geox seem to provide much better walking support. It will be one or the other; not both. About the only other footwear I’ll bring along will be my crocs. I can guarantee that I will be shoe shopping and pending an absolute shopping disaster, I fully expect to be bringing more shoes home than I take with me.
I’ll be packing layers and will bring clothes in two colour tones….blue and black. I am traditionally a light packer and I doubt that this trip will be any different. My philosophy is simple….bring enough clothes to cover 3 days plus 1 day spare. Just as well that I’ll be the one behind the camera as I have no issue with wearing the same clothes two days in a row! The exclusion to this is underwear and socks. I pack lots! I do normally throw in something decent as well in case we go somewhere fancy for dinner but I figure I might not need to do that on this trip. Afterall, it just means the opportunity to shop for something should I need it.
Starting a weight loss and exercise program will remain between me and the WISH sub-forum of the DisBoard. For the record, I’ve tried and dismally failed for every other trip I’ve been on….I do not expect this non-track record to change for this trip.
There will be the normal pre-trip shopping to do. Things like travel size shampoo, toiletries, legal-over-the-counter medicinals, camera memory cards and the like. Again, I’ll spare you the details as I’m sure you’re aware that I’ll have this covered as well. Afterall…. if I’ve forgetten something, it’s not as if I can’t run down to a shop of some description in California.
There will also be the normal wash and de-fluff involved before the trip. You know…the girly things of waxings, washing the grey out of my hair and the like. Suffice to say, that if my DH doesn’t need to know about these things, I probably won’t be sharing them on this thread either.
Of the essentials – valid passport, valid ESTA, legal currency, valid credit card, travel insurance, eTicket, accommodation, car hire, DFAT registration….well….I’ll spare you most of the details. I only have two items out of the essentials left to do and expect that everything will be ticked off in the week before I go.
So, unless something of an unexpected nature happens and I can share a laugh with you over the experience, that about covers my list of WhatNots.
Still….. from experience, I know that franandaj will be asking me to put forward a day by day view of what I’ll be doing….so….Alison….just for you ....
Thursday, 1 November
I’ll be jumping out of my skin on this day. We’ll drop DS off at school and then head to the airport. DH will be dropping me off at the airport and I’ll be checking in for my flight across that pond. I’m currently booked in for standard economy but am giving serious thought to paying the extra $$ for a premium economy seat. Afterall, it’s just me and what DH doesn’t know won’t hurt him (much).
It’s been a while since I’ve travelled by myself but I’ll probably enjoy the feeling of not having to worry about DS or DH and keeping “together” as a group. Conversely, it will be strange to have to be more alert about to-ing and fro-ing around me to make sure I’m aware of stranger dangers.
And for those who like to know….my carry-on will be my camera bag….a functional, not very attractive or fashionable, black bag that will be overstuffed with lenses and my essential documents and purse. I am not planning on taking much more than a notebook to jot thoughts down and will probably pick up some magazines at the airport.
I’ll be arriving in LA on the same day and pending successfully clearing customs, I will be heading to my place of abode for the two nights.
I’m hoping to buy a micro SIM card for my phone, preferably from AT&T because DH still has a working service with them, and connecting to a GoPhone prepaid plan ($2 per day unlimited talk and text option).
franandaj and I will hang out together for as much as possible today. I may well crash!
Friday, 2 November
This is Disneyland day. Park opening hours are 9 – 11 pm for DL and 9 – 9 pm for DCA.
Despite my earlier views, the exception to meandering and going with the flow is when the destination is a theme park. In these cases, I do tend to plan the heck of the day and try to follow it with some precision (bladder and stomach accepting).
I’ll be spending time with franandaj again today….as much as possible….and I have hopes of a fun filled day. Franandaj is as much of a planner as I am (despite what my earlier view may or may not convey) and we’ve already mapped out what we’d like to do for the day.
My must do’s:
CarsLand and everything in it
Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
Star Tour v2.0
World of Colour (there may only be an 8 pm show on this day)
There will be a bunch of rides and attractions that I’d like to see and do; but the above are my must-do hit list. If I’m still awake, I was also wondering about Fantasmic! But it really isn’t necessarily a must-do. I’m also aware that I may well flake out before WoC; so whilst it is on the must do list, I won’t fuss too much if I don’t make it to the show. CarsLand is the priority, so we’ll be hitting that in the morning.
We might wander over to DLR and check out a few rides there and then head back across to DCA for an afternoon showing of Aladdin. It will be nice to put our feet up for a spell or two in the afternoon and see how we feel for a WoC evening.
I’m hoping for good food and if we make it across to DL, I’ll be putting a Dole Whip Float at the top of my list. And some of those Tigger Tails I’ve seen in so many TRs. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to checking out all the new establishments in CarsLand and Buena Vista Street. There looks like some yummy food and yummy stores to take a look at merchandise.
Saturday, 3 November
I’ll be boarding a flight to SFO today. I’m booked on the same flight as DH from LAX to SFO so it will be lovely to catch up with him and find out how the last two days went at home. I wasn’t able to get the seat next to him on this flight but I’m in a seat about 2 rows back from him. No biggie.
DH will have cleared customs at LAX so we normally just walk out of SFO, pick up our bags and then head on out to their automatic trains to the hire cars. We’ll pick up the hire car and go to the nearest Wholefoods to pick up basic groceries.
After that, we will check in to the usual hotel near his work. We normally get a 1-bedroom suite and it is a lovely place to have as a home away from home. The suite includes a full kitchen and there will be hot buffet breakfast included every day. So, we will mostly get nibbles, water, fruit etc from the supermarket.
DH has advised me that he wants to go check out musical instruments after we check-in. Sounds like music to my ears is on the cards.
I suspect DH will crash early; so I’ll just play this day by ear and see how we go.
I am hoping that before DH crashes that we might go have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I think DH will feel the same way.
Sunday, 4 November
DH and I both have family in SF. We traditionally reserve this day to catch up with them. I have no idea if they will be free and what we might do.
If they are free, we tend to meet them for a picnic lunch.....and this is probably the only day that DH will have to do a little shopping for himself.
We’ll see what unfolds.
It might be that we head into the downtown area. There is a favourite guitar store in the city that we always go check out. Whilst it is a guitar centre, they have a big range of drums and cymbals. DH will definitely want to check those “bongs and gongs” out.
Monday, 5 November to Thursday, 8 November
There are 4 full days here for me to do as I please. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing on which day but my plans are as follows:
1. Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum and DisMeet with usnuzuloose, ACDSNY and mvf-m11c. I think we’ve locked in a day for this one.
2. A day in downtown SF reacquainting myself with my favourite places and shops. I do like wandering down Union Street (not the square) and also spending time in that tourist trap of Fisherman’s Wharf. If I feel like it, I might jump on a ferry and head across to Sausalito. If not, I’ll spend time looking at shops in the downtown area.
3. Head to Half Moon Bay and drive along PCH1. I think I’ll go seek out a lighthouse or two and the elephant seals this time. And if I hit the right time schedule, I might go to Felton and take a steam train ride through the redwoods.
4. Shopping. This might be spread out over the 5 days. The places I want to go to include Stamford Mall, Hillsdale Mall, Keeble and Shuchat Photography in Palo Alto, Santana Row, Town and Country Village, Milpitas Warehouse Outlets. I probably won’t get to every single one of these shopping places but I’m going to try. I need to buy jeans, shoes, business suits and blouses.
5. Pending time, I’d like to visit a few nature reserves and/or gardens around Silicon Valley. I keep trying to visit the Filoli Gardens…but I’ve never quite made it there. And sadly for me, as I’ll be there in November, I don’t think the Filoli will be opened at this time of year. It’ll have to be another trip.
For the NorCal locals reading this…..if there is anything that you think I should be experiencing during this time, please post and let me know. I’m definitely up for local experiences!
Friday, 9 November
On the 9th, we will be flying back home. I guess I’ll be packing and will have to keep myself in the area. I still expect to have the entire day to myself and will just see how I feel as to what to do on this day.
When I go pick up DH from work in the late afternoon, we will most likely grab a shower at his workplace before we leave. And we will probably also stop by Wholefoods for a light soup dinner before making our way to the airport. I’ve booked seats next to DH; so we’ll be able to reminisce over this trip together on the way home.
Our flight back is via Sydney…and as we cross the international dateline, we will arrive back home on Sunday, 11 November.
It will be lovely to see DS and the furbabies again!
And I KNOW I will crash early on Sunday night.
That’s about it for my known itinerary for this trip. We’ll just have to wait to see if the reality matches up to the plans when I start the TR.
Thanks for the plans! I'm a very linear person and it helps me to wrap my head around the whole thing! Once you leave, you can do what you want in any order. I just like to have my part figured out!
And of course we can throw the whole plan out the window, like if RSR goes down that morning.
Also keep in mind that there are Magic Mornings at DCA the morning we are there, even if you aren't a hotel guest, they let everyone into the park to start queueing up for the RSR FPs. We should probably ask on the DL boards about a week prior if they still have the crazy lines like they did last summer.
I'm hoping before you crash that my Shabu shabu place will have opened and we can go out and enjoy a nice meal there. If not there are tons of other great places we can enjoy.
As for Nothern Cal, one place I particularly enjoy is visiting the Ridge Winery in Cupertino. I like to go there for the wine tasting, but also the spectacular view of the South Bay. I don't have any pictures to post, but it's also a nice drive up the mountain...
Your plans sound great and you'll have a nice week unwinding from all the stress of work and your daily routine!
Of course, I am last to get in the PTR! Better late than never! Everything sounds good so far!
I am so excited to see you again. I am sure we will all have a great time!
The pre-trip report looks good. Can't wait to meet you and the rest of the DISers that day.
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