Just the 3 of us… almost. Nov '09 TR ~ Update 7/10

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Sunset Cliffs, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Ok, so I know the title is weird but give me a chance to explain. We are planning a trip to Disneyland for the few days before Thanksgiving. We are already going to be in southern California for the holiday so we decided to attach a few days to the parks ahead of time. The real question is…who is actually going on this trip with us?

    Let me start with some intros.

    Alison, me, 35 – planner of most trips and also the most hooked on all things Disney. I have been writing a TR of our trip to WDW (last June), and I am getting close to the end of it. I’m so glad that we decided to go to DL for Thanksgiving (for many reasons), but one of those reasons is that I was starting to get a little sad that I was close to finishing my last TR.

    Todd, DH, 35 – my wonderful husband who loves Disney (almost) as much as I do, thanks to my gentle persuasion over the years. He leaves the planning up to me but definitely has opinions about things like rides & restaurants.

    Dylan, DS, 2 – Our son who just turned 2 and who we took to WDW last June for the first time. He had a great time and hung in there with us when we had some long days in the park. Basically, he will have no choice but to be a Disney fanatic as he grows up. ;)

    [​IMG]

    We have been fortunate to go on a lot of trips to Disneyland over the years. We used to live in southern California and we were AP holders during that time. Since we live in Nor Cal now, it is harder for us to get there. We still have family that live down south, and we always try to go to DL for at least a day since we are already down in the area. What usually happens is that we will mention that we are going, and all of a sudden our group will get larger as other people will decide to join us. We LOVE that because we enjoy spending time with family & friends, and there is no better place to do that than at DL. We have many wonderful memories from these trips with so many different people.

    My only problem with it is that I am a planner, which means that planning for a big group is much different than just a few people. By the end of it, I wind up being more concerned about details than anything else. For the past few years, every trip that we have been on (regardless of where we go) has included other people.

    So for this November, I have asked Todd if we could have our time in Los Angeles be a trip only for the 3 of us. For some reason that just seems important to me. It will be much easier to plan and it will be nice to go with the flow, rather than stick to a more structured schedule. One small problem….we have had 2 separate groups of people already ask to go with us. We have tried very hard to say no the nicest way possible (& normally we would be thrilled to have these people go with us), but we are sticking with the plan so far. I’m not sure it will last, but as of right now it is still just the 3 of us.

    That’s probably enough for now. Thanks for reading and please feel free to give any input! I am always looking for new things to experience at the DLR, especially now that we have a toddler. TIA!

    UPDATE!! I will be starting the TR for this very soon & will just attach it to this PTR. I will add links to the bottom of this page for easier access. Thanks for reading!

    PTR Chapters
    Details, details
    Character Meal
    Schedule
    What are we doing?
    This is it!


    TR is started!!
    Really? This had to happen today?
    Griffith Observatory
    Are we there yet?
    Our first ride!
    A whole new land to explore
    Where is everyone?
    Wrapping up a perfect evening
    Change of plans
    A little bit of everything
    Getting into the holiday spirit.

     
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  3. PrincessKell

    PrincessKell <font color=deeppink>Disney Princess Wanna be<br><

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    I know that feeling too about planning and then when plans change I always have to try to fix them to make sure everyone is included or having a good time. Its great to have family around but there is something special when its just you, dh and the kiddo. Really is.

    This year its just me and my dd (since there is no dh in the picture anymore) so its gonna be super exciting for me to enjoy it with her.

    Sounds like you will have fun with you family! and what a nice looking family you have too!
     
  4. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Hi there! Thanks for your comments. You are right about "fixing" things when plans change. I always end up feeling responsible for everyone's happiness. You would think that I would learn!

    How fun for you to have a trip alone with your DD! That would be a lot of fun to do with Dylan when he gets older. Are you doing a PTR?
     
  5. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    We are planning to actually be in the LA area from November 21 – 25, although we are not really sure what we are doing on any of those days yet. We will be driving to LA on Saturday morning and then leaving some time on Wednesday to drive to Todd’s parents house for the Thanksgiving weekend. We have to be sure not to leave too late on Wednesday because of the holiday traffic as everyone is trying to get out of town. We have gotten stuck in that traffic before and it took us 2 hours longer to get to our destination that usual. I really hope to avoid that now that we will have a 2 year old in the car with us.

    We are staying at the Howard Johnson for 4 nights. We got a great rate through Mousesavers and I think we got a King room for about $320 for all 4 nights, including tax & fees. We have stayed there before and really like how close it is to the main gate. Staying at the HoJo will save us money since we don’t have to pay for parking when we go to the parks, and we also walk by a couple of places that are easy to pick up breakfast on the way. I would love to stay at a Disney hotel some day, but it’s hard to justify the money when this hotel is a good substitute for a lot less.

    Here is a picture of Dylan at the HoJo last year when we stayed there. This is one of the only pictures that I have of the hotel.

    [​IMG]

    We are trying to figure out what kind of park tickets we are going to buy. Originally we were only going to buy 2 day park hoppers, since we plan on doing other things in the LA area. Lately we have started talking about buying an AP because we have a feeling that we might be back in the area next summer and it will be easy to go back again at that time. What we really need to do is decide what other things in LA that we want to do and figure out how much time we are actually going to commit to doing those other things. Does anyone have any suggestions for not-to-miss things to do in LA?
     
  6. aaaateamsgrandma

    aaaateamsgrandma DIS Veteran

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    I followed you over here Alison. I've never been on this side before. It's kinda exciting. Good plans as usual. I'm always ready to see pictures of that sweet Dylan.

    That time will be here before you know it.

    Ginny
     
  7. LilAnn

    LilAnn DIS Veteran

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    I followed you over here from your TR as well! I've never checked out this side before either. Hoping to visit DL one day so I'll be interested to see what you and your adorable Dylan end up doing!
     
  8. figment41

    figment41 Mouseketeer

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    I am loving your other trip report and had to come sub to this one. Dylan is so cute. Can't wait to read more.

    As far as traveling with others when you go alone it will be like you are on vacation. The only schedule you have to follow is your own. It is so much more peaceful. There is no one else to try and make happy except yourselves. Have fun planning!!:wizard:
     
  9. sharonW

    sharonW DIS Veteran

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    I'm a follower also, Allison!! Unfortunately, I have
    no suggestions as I've never been to Ca, though
    it is a dream of mine.
    I'm excited to hear all about the before and after
    disneyland visit and still patiently awaiting who the
    celeb is on your WDW visit....so its double the fun!!:goodvibes
     
  10. ladybugmom

    ladybugmom DIS Veteran

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    I'm here, Alison!! Can't wait to read all about your planning!!
     
  11. jordanyosh

    jordanyosh DIS Veteran

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    HoJo is sooo close to DL. You could pick up an Egg McMuffin on your way over to the park.:thumbsup2

    The AP sounds like a good idea, they are just getting so dang expensive.

    We head to Vista everything Thanksgiving and that traffic between Orange County and San Diego is ridonkulous!
     
  12. tinkgurl

    tinkgurl DIS Veteran

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    I'm here!
     
  13. wdwgirl03

    wdwgirl03 <font color=red>I'm just a big Disney Freak! :-)<b

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    Followed you over from your TR. I am so jealous you are going to Disneyland! Can't wait to hear about your plans.
     
  14. Raecheal

    Raecheal DIS Veteran

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    I'm here, I'm in...popcorn::
     
  15. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Thank you to everyone who has jumped over to read this from my other TR. I was not expecting so many of you and I am overwhelmed at the support that everyone gives each other here on the Dis. :goodvibes Now I've actually got to make this worth reading! Thanks again everyone.

     
  16. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Now that we are about a month away from our trip, the Disneyland website FINALLY posted the hours for the days that we are going to be there. It is very frustrating to know that you can make a PS at 60 days ahead but have no idea where you will be on certain days because the hours have not been posted.

    We are going to be there from Saturday 11/21 until Wed 11/25, and the hours posted are the same every day. We were thinking that we would have to go on the weekend days to take advantage of the longer hours, but now that all days are the same it is more flexible. My first priority is to figure out if we want to do a character meal, and if so, which one?

    We had a great experience with Dylan at WDW at a character breakfast, and I would love to do another one but I’m confused… I want to do a meal with the characters that he knows. From my research it seems that DL is very different from WDW, where it is very clear who all of the characters will be at each meal. At DL, it seems like the characters rotate at all of the meals, and there are no meals that have Mickey Mouse at them, which is his favorite character.

    There are other good options, but it seems like there is no guarantee that the same characters will be at each meal. We are not interested in the princess meal at Ariel’s.

    So that leaves 4 options :
    Minnie & Friends at the Plaza Inn,
    Goofy’s Kitchen at DLH,
    Storytellers Café at GCH, or
    Lilo & Stitch Breakfast at PCH Grill.

    I’ve read some reviews on All Ears, and all of them say that there are random characters at all of the meals….Captain Hook, Brier Bear, Baloo…I’m concerned because Dylan doesn’t know any of those characters and I don’t want him to get scared. He was not too sure about the Winnie the Pooh characters last time, and he knew exactly who they were.

    Does anyone have an opinion of what we should do? Right now I am leaning towards the Lilo & Stitch breakfast because I heard that Minnie Mouse is there, plus the food looks like it is different than the regular breakfast food. We also have enjoyed Storyteller’s Café in the past and we like their food. We have never had breakfast there though, and we would be willing to give it a chance. I would love to hear from anyone who has done some of these meals and what their impressions are.

    My favorite picture from our last character meal. :love:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. ladybugmom

    ladybugmom DIS Veteran

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    Sorry I can't be of help--I know nothing about character dining @ Disneyland! I look forward to what others have to say!
     
  18. jordanyosh

    jordanyosh DIS Veteran

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    You would think a former DL Cast member and Annual Passholder would be able to give you advice.

    I have not been to any character meals at DLR.


    I would go with Storytellers..because it's the newest restaurant and being in the Grand Californian has the most WDW-like atmosphere.
     
  19. *dreamit*doit*

    *dreamit*doit* Mouseketeer

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    Also following from your TR! Never been on this side either - can't wait! :goodvibes
     
  20. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your input anyways! Glad you are checking in over here. :goodvibes

    Wow! I can't believe that. No character meals, huh? Well, maybe you will learn something new from me! Ha! We really enjoy Storytellers as well. It gives us a chance to hang out in the GC lobby too.

    Thanks for stopping in!
     
  21. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Finally, another update. I have been slacking on this because I didn’t realize how busy life really was. Now that we are getting down to crunch time, it is becoming more urgent to figure out what we are doing.

    First off is a very loose schedule. I am trying to fit in all of the things that we want to do in a short amount of time. We want to explore some new parts of LA that we have never done before on previous trips. I am trying to keep in mind that we will have a toddler with us, so some things just wouldn’t be practical on this trip.

    This is what we have so far.

    On the Friday before Thanksgiving, I will work like usual and we will get on the road as soon as we can. The drive to Todd’s parents house is very long and we will probably get there late at night. We will stay the night there.

    Saturday morning – have breakfast w/ his family and get on the road. They live north of Disneyland so we are going to take the opportunity to stop at the Griffith Observatory in Hollywood. The pictures of this place that I have seen look amazing and I can’t wait to see the views for myself. The admission and parking is free, so it seems like a good thing to do for an hour or more.

    Here are some borrowed pics off the internet of the Observatory.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We might try to find some other things to do in Hollywood, since we will already be in the area. Any suggestions?

    After that we will drive to Anaheim and check in to the Howard Johnson. The rest of the day will be spent in DTD or in one of the parks (depending on what type of park tickets we decide to purchase).

    Sunday – We will spend the whole day hopping between Disneyland and DCA. Still working on the list of must-dos for both parks.

    Monday – The goal is to drive to Newport Beach and explore the area. It seems to be one of the closest beaches to Anaheim and we want to let Dylan play on the sand for a while. I know the water will be cold, so no swimming will happen…just letting him play in the dirt and see the water for a while.

    We also want to explore some shops & restaurants, and maybe walk on the pier. Again, still details to work out.

    The Anaheim Gardenwalk is something else we’d like to do this day. There is a Cheesecake Factory there, which is what would be nice for a late lunch. Then we will check out the shops. We’ve eaten here before but never wandered around the mall itself.

    [​IMG]

    The rest of the day is open. We might go back to a Disney park for the evening or try to find something in the area to do.

    Tuesday – Back to the parks for a full day. Hopping between both.

    Wednesday – After a lot of debating, we decided to do a character breakfast after all. We chose to go with the PCH Grill with Lilo & Stitch because it sounds like the food is slightly different from other places. It will also give us some time to wander around the Paradise Pier hotel, which we haven’t done in quite some time.

    We will need to check out of our hotel by noon and then we will probably finish up with shopping in DTD. We need to get on the road fairly early because we have been stuck in that traffic going north on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and it is crazy. It took us twice as long to get where we were going, so I’d like to avoid that.

    So that’s the basic plan. Next up will be our must-do’s for the parks.
     

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