Disneyland Princess Paparazzi Trip - Jan 26-30 2013

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by kim532, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    Hi all!! This is my first Disney trip report so I hope you enjoy it. We are headed out to Disneyland in just 10 days!!!. This will be our first trip out west. We are WDW veterans and DVC owners and are so excited to be headed out to the original park.

    Introductions:

    Here we are at Hong Kong Disneyland in Feb 2012. Both of my boys are China natives and this picture was taken only 2 weeks after adopting the youngest into our family.

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    Me: Kim 37 yrs old. Mother of 2 wonderful boys. Working mom and love our Disney time to reconnect as a family.
    DH: Ryan 37 yrs old. Hard working father and husband who seems to love Disney as much as I do.
    DS1 : Evan 6 yrs old. My princess boy! He is the inspiration behind the trip report name that I will get into later.
    DS2 : Joel 5 yrs old. He is my basketball star and takes a shine to princesses as well (especially Merida and her archery)

    This trip has a mission. To meet as many princesses as we can. Evan is all about princesses. princess: He loves their movies, books, castles. Everything about them. His favorites are Rapunzel and Merida, but if you ask him he will say he likes all the princesses the same. ;) Normally we would book a princess meal to ease our task, but we are going to just stand in line to save money. So anyone following this report, we would love tips on getting to them all.


    Itinerary.
    We fly in on Saturday Jan 26. Staying at the Grand California in a DVC studio. Going to the parks on Mon-Tues with 3 day park hoppers. Then we are flying home on Wednesday.

    My goal is to post every day of the trip. We are taking the laptop and it is fun for me to re-live the events of the day at night once the boys go to bed. :thumbsup2

    Kim
     
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  3. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    Saving this for any links I may want to add later.



    :)

    Kim
     
  4. Pesky

    Pesky "Who's the monkey?!"

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    Definitely check the character sheets at the Main Street CoC every morning. The princesses often appear on the side areas of the castle with little wait time, versus the lines of PFF. Now Merida and Rapunzel are not included in that category yet as each have their own special M&G so I'd probably say to hit that the first or perhaps use the wait as a nice break towards the end of the day. I do know that if Flynn is with Rapunzel, be sure to ask him what's in the satchel. Oh and Rapunzel and Merida are two of DS's favorite princesses too! He also LOVES Sofia the First which is now on Disney Channel -- FYI, she is being incorporated into the Disney Junior show in DCA so something to think about if your boys like her as well. Oddly, she seems to appeal to a lot of boys so worth checking out if you haven't!
     
  5. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    My boys love Sofia too!. I hope she has been incorporated into the DCA show! They will love that!! We will go see it even she isn't there yet, but that would be icing on the cake!

    Kim
     
  6. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    I am so excited to be 8 days out!

    Today's topic trip planning. This will be our first trip to DL. We have been completely overwhelmed by how we should approach things. Luckily for us some things were easy.

    Time of year: Honestly this was chosen because in 2012 we used all our vacation adopting our second child. So we wanted our vacation as soon as we had more vacation time available. So January it was. I have a lot of work at the beginning of January so we chose the last weekend in January. My lack of investigation of other happens made us clueless to the fact that the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention is going on. 89,000 people flock to Anaheim for the convention. We are betting that they are too tired from working at the convention to make thier way over to the parks.

    Hotel selection: As DVC members it was a no-brainer. We would be staying at the Villas at Disney's Grand Californian (VGC) and using our points. As this is a small resort and we heard it can easily fill up, we booked it exactly at the 7 month mark. We chose a studio which is a big down-grade for us. We usually stay in the 1-bedroom to have the full kitchen. In the studio we have the mini-fridge and microwave which we will try to use to save some dining dollars. On our WDW trips we try to eat in the room 2 meals and eat out only once per day. This trip we are going to try to eat in the room one meal and out in the parks for 2 meals per day.

    Airfare: With 2 little boys, we wanted a non-stop. So that made our choice easy.

    Transfers to hotel: We are using the Disneyland Resort Express. Our boys seem to get a kick out of being on a bus, so we thought they would think this was awesome. Plus we didn't need a car, so this is it. My concerns are the return. I think they will make us arrive at the airport way early for departure and we will have a ton of time to kill.

    Now to the fun topic. The actual itnerary. We have 3-day park hoppers, but as of now we only plan on hopping one day.
    Saturday - Arrive. Dinner with cousins that are coming in to join us and meet the boys.
    Sunday - Disneyland
    Monday - California Adventure
    Tuesday - Visiting favorites at each park.
    Wednesday - Flying home

    What is so hard, is I am so excited I can't stand myself. My boys I guess are still so young they don't realize how close we are to going. So they are indifferent. 8 days may as well be 8 months to a 5 & 6 year old.

    This weekend we will start packing and getting the house clean. I can't stand to come home to a messy house. I really should go on vacation more often so my house gets clean more often.

    Kim
     
  7. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    We are only a couple of days out!!! My husband is obsessed with the weather forecast. A couple of days ago we had 60 % chance of rain each day. So we went on to LL Bean and bought raincoats for the boys. A size larger than they usually wear so hopefully we will get a couple of years use out of them. Now the forecast is at 30% chance of rain. I can live with that.

    Speaking of the boys, I wanted to share a picture of them from when we went to see Brave this summer.

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    I am sure this is common in many families, but whatever one child is doing the other wants to do as well. We were planning to take one stroller from home for our younger son, Joel. He definitely couldn't handle the walking required for the days in the parks. He is 5.5 but in size and development more like a 3yr old. My older son, Evan, could do it, but I already know that once Joel is in a stroller, Evan will have a fit until he gets to ride in a stroller too. So we ordered a rental stroller today from http://www.citystrollerrentals.com I talked with the lady on the phone cause I was debating buying the insurance. She was a hoot. Telling me all kind of tips on how to keep someone from walking off with my stoller. The funniest was putting chocolate pudding in a diaper and leaving it laying on the seat! :rotfl2: Anyway, she talked me out of the insurance. I thought that was nice, cause I am certain that is a huge money maker for her.

    Anyway, we are getting all set to go. Nothing packed. House dirty still. But it will come together. It always does.

    Saturday can't come quick enough.
     
  8. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    Today was travel day and we are here at the wonderful Grand Californian. It was a pretty busy day. It is 8pm and all are crashed in bed. The only reason I am up is I went past tired to over tired and my body won't settle down.

    So I thought I would jot down todays events and initial opinions.

    Should have known it was going to be an interesting day when the shuttle bus driver from the off-site parking tracked us down in the check-in area of the airport to give Ryan back his car keys. Ryan was wearing a different coat than he normally does, so he figures he put it in the pocket and they just fell out. Ryan tipped the driver well when we initially got off the shuttle, so Ryan was thankful for that. It is one of those things. If we would have been cheap with a tip would he have hunted us down? Like to think so, but who knows?

    Flight went well. Joel napped for an hour and my Nook kept Evan entertained when he wasn't watching a movie.

    We used the Disneyland Resort Express to get from LAX to the hotel. It was awesome and so easy. Check-in at the hotel was easy, but here is the one item we forgot about in planning arrival day. Rooms aren't technically ready until 4:30. We arrived at 2pm and said we would be texted to tell us our room number. We had 2.5 hours to kill with tired boys.

    We spent 30 minutes in the lobby where the tv was set up to entertain the kids during check-in. They have the cutest little rocking chairs there. Evan and Joel became entertainment for the lobby as they were rocking as fast as they could. When the rocking quit and they were actually watching the TV they were giggling like it was the funniest cartoon ever made. Several people commented to me how much they enjoyed watching my boys have fun.

    Since Downtown Disney is literally right outside the hotel doors, we walked around there. This was a good an bad strategy. Good in that we got out and about. bad in that tired boys want to buy everything and didn't understand that we shouldn't spend all out money the first day.

    There was an Airforce band playing and Evan and Joel danced around while they played. These are the reasons you spend thousands of dollars on these trips. My boys dancing to the band, these are priceless memories to me.

    Room was ready at 4pm. It was nice as all Disney hotels are. Joel went into meltdown. We finally realized he wanted to go home and didn't want to be here. A little cookies and cuddles made him fell better.

    By this time it was meeting up with our cousins Jason and Bernadette for dinner at Storyteller's Cafe. We don't get to see them much and this was thier first time meeting our boys. Dinner was fine. All the adults got the buffet and the kids ate off the kid menu. The food was good. Our service was medium. They were busy and the dirty plates weren't removed from our table as they should. So much that Ryan just started stacking them. For the prices we are paying you shouldn't have to do that. The food was good. Above average, but nothing special.

    We have some fun pictures that I will try to post tomorrow. I gues now it is bed time for me too.

    Kim
     
  9. jenpace

    jenpace DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying your trip report, your boys are adorable :) Looking forward to your next entry!
     
  10. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    4am wake up call from Joel started the day. "Mommy...Sleep all done." OK it was. Then I look in the mirror to confirm what I already was feeling. Pink eye. Day 2 started off with a bang to say the least.

    Me and the boys ate leftover McDonald's for breakfast. Ryan went to White Water snacks for breakfast to bring back to the room. He liked it alot and it seemed a good value.

    Since we were up bright up and early we made our way over to 7am early entry to California Adventure. Even though this was a last minute plan, and we entered the park at about 7:10, we got to ride the main ride Radiator Springs Racers with only a 10 minute wait. The weather was cool and sprinkling so maybe that kept the crowds down. We then got to ride Mater Jamboree 2 times with no wait. The boys loved it! We then went back to the hotel for a 20 minute break and to check on a couple of personal items.

    Now we headed over to Disneyland to start the Princess picture hunt. We met Periwinkle in Pixie Hollow. Then Aurora, Cinderella, and Snow White at the Princess Fantasy Faire. Then we met Merida. You would think with all this princess action the boys would be ready for some rides. Nope. Joel was screaming for Rapunzel. Then at the Princess Fanatsy Faire we saw Ariel and Belle walking over. Then Joel screamed for Ariel. We held firm and headed over to ride the teacups, then Dumbo, the carousel, and Mr Toad's Wild ride.

    So being extremely exhausted at having accomplished so much and it only being 10am, we went and ate a 2nd breakfast at the Carnation Cafe. Again, I thought this place was only OK. The place wasn't crowded but it took FOREVER for our food to come. It was nice cause I needed the rest, but the boys can only sit nicely in a restaraunt so long.

    At this point the sun started coming out and I think so did the rest of Anaheim. It was 11:30am and the floods entering the park was crazy. We went to see the New Orleans Bayou Bash with Tiana. It was cute and the boys liked it. With the park getting crowded, we headed back to the hotel room for an afternoon rest. I love those.

    We headed back to Disneyland and watched the Soundsational Parade. We watched it on Main Street and loved watching from there. The boys loved the parade!! We debated whether to go further in the park. But ultimately decided we were still tired from the 4am wake up. So dinner and back to the room would have to do.

    We ate dinner at Tortilla Jo's in Downtown Disney. It was the best meal and service we have had. Ryan and I stuffed ourselves and the boys ate good. I think they would have ate more, but ultimately were to tired to eat more.

    We headed back to the room. Joel was asleep within 10 minutes and Evan within the hour. I hope we are not setting ourselves up for another 4am wake up call.

    Ryan headed out to meet up with his cousins at DCA. They were planning on the thrill rides and World of Color.

    BTW - My eye is still red and a tad oozey. But I am hoping I can just wait this pink eye out. Tons of hand washing by our crew to not spread it. So much hand washing Evan almost washed his return entry stamp off. The cast member was nice and could tell we weren't pulling a fsat one to sneak someone into the park, but she was searching for his stamp for a while.
     
  11. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    The boys cracking up in lobby. Making a big scene, but in a way people thought was funny.
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    These look so yummy. We haven't bought them yet, but plan too.
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    Me and my boy on Mater. They loved this ride so we rode it twice. Walked on both times.
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    All of us.
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    Joel with Periwnkle. Evan was too shy to talk to her. It was funny cause Joel kept calling her Tinker Bell. They are so awesome. She just kept chatting. OH Tinker Bell is my sister. Is this your brother? Were you born of the same baby's laugh? you know that is how Tinker Bell and I are sisters? LOL.
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  12. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    Ryan and Joel on Dumbo.
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    Cinderlla was the best princess encounter we had today. She really took her times and wanted to chat with the boys. Joel is hard to understand, but she handled it beautifully. Evan told Cinderella that she was Joel's favorite princess, so I wonder if effecrted it in any way.
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    I just liked this picture Ryan took of the teacups. I am so used to the Florida version. It is so weird seeing it without a cover.
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  13. DharmaLou

    DharmaLou Once a Princess, Always a Princess

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    love the photos so far!

    Keep an eye out for princesses near Snow White's wishing well and that path - we saw many there!
     
  14. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    DharmaLou - Thanks for the wishing well suggestion. We are heading to Disneyland tomorrow and will check it out.

    Todays Events.

    We got the 4am wake up call again. But today we wouldn't let him up until 5am. So much for sleeping in on vacation. Good news / Bad news on the health items of the moment. My pink eye seems to be the mildest pink eye I have had. Oozing all done and only a little pink. My eye aches a little so I know it isn't 100 % but I am optimistic that this is going to be gone tomorrow. Ryan however seems to be fighting a sinus infection. He isn't 100% and I think staying out late with his cousins last night may have been a bit much on his immune system

    So today was California Adventure day. Since we had hit Carsland yesterday morning we took the road less travelled this morning. We went and rode the Ariel ride. I think we were the only people on it. We got to go around again without getting off. They asked us if we wanted a third time around, but we decided we needed to go see some more sights. We headed over and rode Toy Story Midway Mania. Walked on. Then Ryan rode California Screaming and said I needed to also. So I did. It was great. I love Rollercoasters, but my Pooh size prevents it on most coasters. This one was fine. Plenty of room. Then Joel goes into meltdown mode. At first we thought it was because I had taken off by myself to ride. But then we had realized that he was mad that he couldn't ride the roller coaster. ;) My no fear little boy.

    Today was about as near to perfect as we could want. We rode everything we wanted and had minimal wait. Evan, my more reserved child in the thrill department, LOVED Soarin. I thought he would freak, but he kept trying to look down to see the ground and how they were doing it. We caught Minnie Mouse and Joel loved it. I don't think I mentioned but Joel's souvenir for the trip is the mouse ears with a Minnie Bow. He likes her alot.

    We saw the Alladin show and it was awesome. Road all the kiddie rides in a Bug's Land and then went and hung out some more in Carsland. Looking thru the gift shop. Eating at the Cozy Cone.

    We finished off the day playing in the Wilderness Adventure area. The boys loved it. Ryan was manning Joel and I had Evan watch. Well me and Evan got separated. It took us several minutes of me running around like a crazy lady to get re-connected with him. I decided then we would wait by the strollers for Ryan and Joel.

    We then had the exciting evening of dinner in the room (leftovers) and me running up and down to the laundry room doing our laundry. :laundy: Don't know why but it is a vacation tradition. I always do laundry at some point on a trip. Since we were in a studio I had to use the common laundry room, but at least it was free. I just had to go to the front desk to get tokens for the machines.

    Tomorrow is Disneyland again!!! Can't wait to go princess hunting some more!
     
  15. jenpace

    jenpace DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a really great day! Glad your eye is getting better, hopefully your husband feels better in the morning :)
     
  16. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    We ate breakfast this morning at White Water Snacks again. Everything we ordered came with fruit. Ahem. Grapes. How many grapes does this place go thru in a day?
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    Me on California Screaming.
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    Joel Crying cause he wasn't on California Screaming.
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    Minnie's Fly Girls
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    Joel was so excited meeting Minnie.
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  17. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    Joel joinind the show.
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    Alladin Show
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    How much can I fit in my mouth at once?
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    Got to love this sign!
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    The boys were in no mood for this picture, so we told them to make as silly a face as they wanted.
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    Joel climbing the ropes. I love my little boy getting so big and strong.
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  18. puppytrainer

    puppytrainer Mouseketeer

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    Sounds like you are having so much fun Kim!! Loving the trip report. Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip. Hope you all are feeling better.
     
  19. wiscbugs

    wiscbugs Loving everything Disney!

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    Love the real-time photos...keep them coming!
     
  20. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    Yeah for a 5:45 wake up time. I can't beleive we slept in so late!!!

    Today has been about as perfect as we could hope. We ate a pre-breakfast in our room of some leftovers we had accumulated. Mostly Chicken nuggets and grapes. ;) Then we headed out to Disneyland for early entry. We had breakfast at La Brea Bakery (think I spelled that wrong) :confused3 It was good and I think a very good option. Wished would have eaten there the other day over White Water Snacks.

    We were at the gates to Disneyland 20 minutes before opening. They let us thru about 10 minutes till. They held us at the end of Main Street for actual opening. Our plan for the day was to use the Lines app and the Dumbo or Die in a day touring plan. That only lasted for the first hour and then we quit and did our own thing.

    The park was more crowded today than I expected. That being said, we still didn't wait more than 20 minutes to ride any rides. However we waited 45 minutes to see Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. We got their 15 minutes before her scheduled time and waited a little over 30 minutes then to see her. It was worth it. They were great and I love thier set-up. Flynn was so nice and really encouraged my shy boys to talk to Rapunzel.

    I haven't commented to much on the WDW vs DL comparison. I can say that DL has such a charming little ride in Alice. I loved that. And Pirates of the Caribean is not even a contest. DL's version is so much better as well as Winnie the Pooh. The 2 parks while similar are so different I can see having a hard time deciding when our next trip planning time comes around.

    We were wanting to wind down our day at California Adventure so we left DL around 4:30. Evan wanted a Piston Cup ( a little antenna topper) he saw the other day. So we went over to Carsland again. I am so glad we did. It was the most awesome end to our trip. We bought the $7 antenna topper and it was broke 2 minutes later. We should have spent the extra to get the sturdy $20 cup. Lesson learned. Anyway we walked onto Maters Jamboree. Our favorite ride of the vacation. Then we got to see the DJ car dance show (we saw it yesterday). As soon as Joel saw the car he knew he wanted to watch it again. Then about 15 minutes later the NEON CAME ON! I loved it!! My heart lit up and we just sat on the bench listening to the song Life Could be a Dream, bouncing and cuddling my boys.

    We walked out the back side via Pacific Wharf (Spelling again?) That view is just spectacular. And even better at night. We walked on to Ariel's. Then here we are back at the hotel. Ryan went to get us Earl of Sandwhich for dinner and I got the boys ready for bed.

    Tomorrow is going home. :( I am happy to be going home, but sad to leave the fun.
     
  21. kim532

    kim532 DIS Veteran

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    These are in no particular order.

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    In Toontown. Speaking of... That Roger Rabit spin ride was way too scary for my boys. Both didn't like it.
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    Waiting in Line for Autopia. This is how to burn some energy from ice cream we just ate.
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