High Season DL Adventures--Aug 09 TR--Complete!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Hawleys, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    I have been lurking on these boards for about 10 months while planning our August 8-11 Disneyland trip. All the folks who have posted such fantastic trip reports have inspired me to start my own! :thumbsup2

    Cast of Characters:
    Hawleys: I'm 31 and live in Berkeley CA. I have been to Disneyland just once, for one day and I am really looking forward to having several days to explore. I am a ride fanatic.
    DJBelou: 30, DW, grew up in Washington state and has been to Disney as a kid and on our one day adult trip.
    Baedyn: Our 9 year old nephew, loves Star Wars and manga. Easy going and tons of fun.

    Here we are in DL in 2007 with our friend Ross (I'm on the right, DW is on the left)
    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of DW and DN from 2007.
    [​IMG]

    Now, I know that some folks will say we are crazy to go to Disneyland in August so let me tell you how we ended up with these dates.

    About 10 months ago, my DSIL asked us if we would babysit my wife's nephew while she attended a conference in San Francisco. DW has been promising to take DN to Disneyland for years and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. We have a long-haired cat and since DN is very allergic there was no way he could spend 4 days in our house.

    I travel quite a bit for work and we had enough miles to get all three of us to LA and back. We were going to Disneyland!

    Next up: Where to stay?
     
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  3. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    Yay - how exciting!

    We will be leaving Disney on August 8th and you will be arriving... can't wait to see how your plans progress...

    :banana::banana::banana:
     
  4. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Whoo hoo! My first reply ever! You are coming much farther than we are...are you staying in CA for a long time?
     
  5. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    I read Hydro guys tips on how to get the most out the parks during peak season. I tend to be a "go-go-go" type and I sometimes wear out the DW (and myself) when we are on vacation. So his idea of staying within walking distance of the park so that we could plan an afternoon nap/pool break was appealing. DW totally agreed! :goodvibes

    After looking at the pictures of the water area at the Hojo, I was hooked. I found a 15% discount from another Disneyland community site and made my reservation...8 months in advance.

    Can folks who have stayed at the Hojo tell me about their convenience store? We plan to have early breakfast in our room most mornings and I was going to buy milk and cereal. Will it be super expensive?

    How do I get one of the fancy countdowns for my signature? They are so :cool1:
     
  6. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    You can get a countdown timer by visiting: http://www.magicalkingdoms.com/timers/

    They will give you a HTML code for the timer you create and you can copy and paste it into your 'signature' of your Disboards profile!


    We are coming to the States for 4 weeks total, visiting LA, Vegas, San Francisco and New York.

    While i haven't stayed at the HoJo before, there is a 7/11 that would be about 10 mins walk from you away...
     
  7. basketballmom

    basketballmom Living in the Happiest Place in Texas!

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    I just had to reply and say.......YAY August!!! We are going too! August 8-13.

    Our last 3 trips were the last week of July, 2005, first week of August, 2006, and the weekend after Labor day, 2007. I will say that we LOVED being there in the summer! We are get to the parks at opening kind of people, and also the go-go-go type! Yeah, it is busy, but everything is open, the park hours are longer.....and you can take a 3-4 hour afternoon break and still get tons done!! Also, breaking up walking and riding with a show is a good way to cool down and rest your feet! Aladdin, Billy Hill, Turtle Talk with Crush....and others....good way to take a break!

    We stayed at the HOJO in 2006. I don't remember the convenience store being super shocking expensive....I do remember it was nice and had lots of stuff! Milk, fruit, snacks, drinks....I think we even needed something random like nail clippers and they had them. The walk to the park was nice too.

    So what are we down to?? 67 days??:rotfl:
     
  8. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    I lurked here for a long time too before ever posting. The sense of community on this board was a deciding factor to finally post. We're going in July, so I am also wary about the crowds, but I think it's doable with all the great tips and good planning.

    Your nephew has pretty cool aunts!!:)
     
  9. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the tip on the countdown Maryr1oz. Turns out I can’t put it in my signature until I have made 10 posts. Inspiration to keep working on my PTR right there. :)
     
  10. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    We tend to snack more on vacation then eat big sit down meals so I hadn’t planned on making any dining reservations inside the park. Then I found out that DW is just wild to eat at the Blue Bayou. Was she able to convince me? Of course! I am hoping to get a lunch reservation. The Disney website says that you can make dining reservations 60 days in advance. Do they mean two months (June 9th for August 9th) or exactly 60 days? Any recommendations for meals at the Blue Bayou?
     
  11. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Yes, people are very friendly on these boards and all the good advice has made me feel like we will be able to have a great time, even if the park is busy. And we will get to see all the parades and shows.

    Just FYI, we are aunt and aunt, not uncle and aunt. We are still really really cool though!! I had planned to include a picture in my initial post but have to wait until I have more posts. :sad2:
     
  12. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    A few months ago, DSIL was telling me that our nephew (who is coming to DL with us) was disappointed because he wasn’t able to have his birthday party at Medieval Times. Hmmm…maybe his really really cool aunts will take him as part of his DL trip!

    Medieval Times is a very pricey event, even with the free child with paying adult coupon that I found online. I am trying to justify the expense by reminding myself that besides the Blue Bayou we won’t be doing any other expensive meals. Transportation is maybe a problem as well. We are not planning on renting a car. We don’t own a car and neither of us thought that driving in LA sounded like fun. Has anyone taken the public bus to Medieval Times? I’ve read some posts saying that it is easy. We take public transport all the time in the Bay Area so we just may give it a try!
     
  13. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Yea for the the Hojo! Yea for August! I think we are at 66 days now. Time to start my packing list.

    A big yes to taking breaks to cool off. I have a made a promise to myself that I will not push too much on this trip, even if that means we don't see EVERYTHING. If we miss some things, well, that means we will have to go back.

    One cooling off activity I am excited about is the Animation studio in DCA. Our nephew draws nonstop and I just know he will love learning to draw a Disney character.
     
  14. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Shuttle Pickup: Crack of dawn

    Depart SFO: 8am

    Arrive LAX: 9:24am—I am just crossing my fingers that we will be able to catch the Disneyland Express at 9:30am so we don’t have to wait a whole hour for the next bus. I don’t know if I will be able to stand being so close to DL and having to wait some more! Does anyone know if the bus usually runs on time?

    Arrive Hojo by 11:30am and try to check in. Probably we will just have to leave our bags and come back later.

    Quick bite to eat somewhere along Harbor (Mimi’s?) or in DTD. If we have time, I would love to take the nephew to the giant Lego store. I’m sure that his Mom and Grandma will be gifting him some souvenir money. :thumbsup2

    I bought our park tickets from Ares travel so we also need to stop at the ticket booth and trade our vouchers for park tickets. Crossing fingers for short lines.

    Bus to Medieval Times: 2:00pm or so

    Medieval Times: 3:30pm show and then bus back to DL around 6:30pm.

    In my ideal vacation, we would go to the park for rest of the evening, check out a few rides and see Fantasmic. Reality check is that we may all be exhausted from traveling and ready to head back to the hotel.

    Are we crazy to spend almost a whole day in Anaheim and potentially skip going to DL? I keep telling myself that Saturday will be crowded and that we’re better off going to Medieval times. Originally, I had planned to buy a 3-day park hopper so skipping DL on Saturday made sense. Then Disney came out with the 5 for 3 hopper. :goodvibes
     
  15. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    It was hard work but I have updated this PTR enough to have a timer in my signature. Whoo hoo :woohoo:

    Believe me, I will be checking everyday. :)
     
  16. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Itinerary: Day 2 (Sunday)

    Wake up at the crack of dawn (wait, I’m sensing a pattern here…isn’t this supposed to be a vacation? :) )

    Early Entry at 7am (whoo hoo!) First up is Peter Pan (thanks to the Hound for this tip). Then both sides of the Matterhorn as this is DN’s favorite ride from his trip to DL at age 6. After that, I’m hoping to drag him on some of the Fantasyland rides that I have never been on (Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio). He will be almost 10 in August so we’ll see if he can be convinced. He may think he is too big. :rotfl: Then some of the other rides that are open during EE (Buzz, Space?).

    After EE is over, we plan to ride a whole bunch of rides and collect a whole bunch of Fastpasses (I said I was a ride fanatic, right :thumbsup2). I am looking forward to Space Mountain and DW has told me that we are going to ride Splash Mountain everyday, no ifs ands or buts. Fine with me!

    Fingers are crossed that we can get an 11:30am reservation at the Blue Bayou and spend some time relaxing over lunch. DW is really excited about this meal. I hope we will be able to get a waterside table. Any meal recommendations?

    Post-lunch we may use a Fastpass or two and then head to the hotel for a nap or a swim.

    After rest time and an light dinner we will head back to DL to ride more rides of course! We will finish the night with Fantasmic or the fireworks. Would love to stay in the park until midnight but I know that I will be tired from getting up at the crack of dawn for two days in a row.
     
  17. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for edit Desert Dwellers! :thumbsup2 Now I have some pictures up, too.
     
  18. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    I could go on rides all day and I work as a statistician so when I read about Ridemax I knew there was no way I was going to DL without it. Ridemax has caused a bit of tension with DW as she is more laid back in the planning department.

    On our honeymoon, she instituted the “planned, unplanned time” rule which required that some part of each day of our honeymoon remain as free time. This compromise worked really well and we had an awesome trip.

    DW is desperately afraid that Ridemax is going to plan every moment of our vacation. I think that the compromise will be to strictly follow Ridemax plans in the mornings so that we can collect many Fastpasses. Afternoons and evenings will be more freeform, using our Fastpasses and also using Ridemax to tell us which rides will have reasonable waits in the evenings.
     
  19. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    Algorithms are cool! I love RideMax, esp. in summer. We pay so much to visit Disneyland, I want to make sure we are efficient in our touring. But I want to have fun, as well.

    Just plug in those attractions that are absolutely must do. It will increase your enjoyment because your wait times are minimized. Schedule in large breaks during the day to allow for free time and exploration. RideMax can work, even with different vacation personalities.
     
  20. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    Like you said, I think we can make Ridemax work with our different vacation personalities. I was showing DW how many rides we are going to get on using Ridemax and she was starting to get into it. Splash Mountain twice a day? We can do that!

    I wrote to Disney Guest Communications a few days ago and they sent me a paper map of the parks. We had such a good time looking at the map and DW was asking about a bunch of rides that I didn't think she was interested in at all.

    She is so pumped to go on Heimlich's Chew Chew Train! :goodvibes Now, I know this is a "kids" ride but have been dying to go on it and now DW has put it on the "must do" list as well. Such a good match. :love:

    Next up: PS at Blue Bayou...tomorrow is the first day we can try to get them. I will keep you all posted.
     
  21. Hawleys

    Hawleys DIS Veteran

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    I called on Monday for a Blue Bayou reservation for August 9th. No dice until Tuesday. Tuesday was an all day event at work. I would be away from the house from 7am until 11pm. :sad2: As I got on the train, I was thinking all kinds of anxious thoughts. What if I didn't get a chance to sneak away for a few minutes and make a call? What if by the time I called there were no reservations left?

    I called at 10:25am and was put on hold...couldn't wait, too busy at work. Biting nails until lunch time when I can make another call. Finally get a CM who asks for name (Hawleys), date (Aug 9), lunch or dinner (lunch), time (11:30am), party size (3), adults (2), children(1), highchair (no) and boom...I've got a PS! :banana::banana::banana:

    I told the DW this morning and she is very excited as this it the one restaurant that she really wanted to visit.

    I think that all our reserved activities are set up. Now it is time to start my TO DO lists. Getting so excited.
     

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