Lilo's Mom, Dad & Sister Do California

Discussion in 'California & the West Trip Reports' started by Lilo's Mom, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. Lilo's Mom

    Lilo's Mom Mouseketeer

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    The travelers:

    Me, Donna, 46, seasoned WDW traveler. I have a visited Disneyland and the Southern California area a few times, but only as a layover to Hawaii.

    DH, Bob, 46, loves to travel, has embraced my love of all things Disney and is willing to go along with just about anything. One of the things that I love most about my husband is he loves to explore new places and shops. Gotta love a guy who will go shopping with you! :love:

    DD, Kelly, 21, film student at Columbia. I had promised her a trip for her 21st birthday which was actually last June. Kelly opted to wait for this trip because she hadn’t been to California since she was 3 and was dying to go back.

    Trip Background:
    I travel three times a year for work, and my first trip of 2007 was a trip to San Diego. Since Kelly had wanted to go to California for her birthday she decided to wait until I had to travel for work and tag along with me, then extend the trip into an “All About Kelly Week” Any excuse for a trip that will include a stop at anything Disney I am all for. When I told my husband that I wasn’t going to just go and work in San Diego but that Kelly and I were going to head off to Anaheim afterward, he pouted and asked to go along. Since Bob is Kelly’s Step-Dad, I didn’t think he would want to go with “the girls”, but he surprised me and said he would. So I booked the Embassy Suites in Anaheim, rented a car, and started buying tickets for everything we wanted to go to.

    I flew from Chicago to San Diego on Valentine’s Day…which was the tail end of a huge snowstorm here. When I got to the airport there were hundreds of people sleeping on cots and I was really doubtful that I would be traveling at all that day. As it turns out since I was going west and not east where the storms will still happening, I was able to fly out…and just 2 hours later than I was supposed to! Not bad for a snowstorm. I spent the next two days working and DH and DD flew out on Friday night into Orange County. They picked up the car, actually got a free upgrade, and drove to San Diego. They had to amuse themselves on Saturday while I worked…but they love arcades and found one in the mall about a block from where we were staying at the Westgate. When I wrapped up my meetings on Saturday night around 5:30, they called me on my cell phone and sang me a little ditty that they made up about vacation. What can I say? I love them both! They told me to meet them at the movie theatre in the Gas Lamp District to see the 7 pm showing of Ghost Rider…so begins the vacation! We all enjoyed the movie but were starving when we got out, so DH suggests Hooters. Everyone always teases us about going to Hooters, but we actually do like the wings! :) So we grab a quick dinner and walk back to the hotel. On the way back DH and DD decide that we really need to take a trip to Tijuana before we head to Anaheim. I try to convince them that we need passports…figuring if I tell them that, they will not press the matter. Boy was I wrong! These two decided to go to the concierge of the hotel and ask! Damn foiled again! Turns out for $3 roundtrip on the trolley, our driver’s license will get us into Mexico for 72 hours. So we pack the bags up and get some sleep.

    The next morning we checked out of the hotel, had bell services load the car with all of the luggage and told them we would be back around 3 to get the car. They were actually very nice about it and understood why we didn’t want to take the car. So off to the trolley we go and about a half hour later we are at the border. You have to walk up and down a ramp to get over the traffic and over to the Mexico side of the bridge. From there you can either jump in a cab and ask them to take you to the shopping district or take your chances walking. We decided to walk, figuring that DH is 6’2” and will act as body guard. DH went off to find a map and I snapped this picture of DD.

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    When DH comes back DD tells him that she and I have been out of the country together three times now, and this is only his first trip. DD and I went to the Toronto Film Festival together and on the Disney Cruise when she graduated from 8th grade. DH pouts; he now wants to go on the Disney Cruise….twist my arm! With map in hand we are ready to explore Tijuana. Right off the bat I notice that every other storefront sells prescription medication. I remember seeing something about this on 20/20 and frankly it really bothered me that we saw a store that sold Viagra for $2 a pill and $5 a pill for the morning after pill. It sounded really dangerous to me and I was starting to get freaked out. We made our way to the large shopping district and as you are walking people are yelling for you to come in their stores, or eat their fish tacos. Everyone we talked to was very very nice, and if you want to go to a place to barter, this is the place. Still it is heart wrenching to have small children run up to you and grab your hand and repeat “money please” over and over. DD was having issues with the donkeys that were tethered to the street corners so people could take pictures with them. She kept repeating how sad they looked and that they didn’t want to be painted with strips and wear a hat that said “Tijuana 2007”. And to top everything off a woman came out of a storefront, grabbed my arm and tried to drag me in to her shop to get botox injections. DD practically freaked out since she had seen an episode of Tyra about people who had cosmetic surgeries go really badly in Mexico. Not that I was thinking of getting Botox, but since she was going on and on about Tyra we figured it was time to go. We had been walking around a good three hours anyway so we decided to head back to the Trolley. First we stopped and bought a Mexican Wrestler Mask for DS who was home watching the pets….as you can see he loved it! :rotfl:

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    So in order to get back in the US you have to go through customs and show your ID. We gladly give them our ID and they ask DH what relation to him DD is. He tells them she is his stepdaughter…they don’t get it and ask him to explain why we have a different last name than she does yet we live at the same address. Mind you they never asked us what we bought, what was in the bags we had…just why her last name was different. After about 10 minutes of explaining they let us go. They have an x-ray machine set up right before you enter the US, and they asked me to step aside and put my purse through the machine…again nobody asked about our bags, which were all bigger than my purse. They ran it through a few times and told me they had to look inside. Turns out they couldn’t figure out my keychain which is a replica of the key from Davy Jones chest! :lmao: Happy that it is not a weapon they let me back in the country.

    We hop on the trolley and head back to the hotel. Once back we make a quick stop at 7 Eleven for some sodas, grab the car and drive to Anaheim. Since it’s Sunday and around 3 in the afternoon, traffic wasn’t really bad and the rental car had Sirius Radio, (which really came in handy during the coming week) we had plenty to keep us all amused during the drive.

    We got to the Embassy Suites Anaheim North, checked in got our room, and were all settled in time for the Manager’s Cocktail Reception which takes place every day from 5:30 to 7:30. I love Embassy Suites! Having a separate living area in your room is great, especially when you get a microwave and little fridge. The couch in the living room pulled out so DD had her own “space” and with her laptop and wireless internet she was all set!

    Up Next Disneyland and a Surprise for Kelly!
     
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  3. Lilo's Mom

    Lilo's Mom Mouseketeer

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    One of the things I like best about Embassy Suites is that you can get a cooked to order breakfast, which can save you lots of time and money when you think about it. The breakfast at this particular Embassy Suites was really good! We were up at 7 and downstairs by 7:30 to grab something to eat. DH and I both had omelets, a side of sausage and some toast, while DD had a bagel, sausage and a banana. By the time we finished eating it was time to grab the shuttle to Disneyland. As it turned out we were the last ones in line and the shuttle was full, so we ended up having the second shuttle all to ourselves. :goodvibes It took probably all of 10 or 15 minutes to get to Disney and about 2 minutes to get through the bag check. First stop was guest services to get DD a birthday button. She initially put up a fuss about wearing it since it really wasn’t her birthday, just her birthday trip, and she felt like a little kid with it. The very nice cast member who wrote her name on the button added “21” to it, which made DD, feel slightly better about wearing the button. As the day wore on and cast members were wishing her happy birthday, singing to her, high fiving her, she was glad she had the button. Proving that mother knows best! :cool1:

    DH tells DD, “It’s Your Day Kelly, where do you want to go?” Silly man, I knew the answer, didn’t he? For goodness sake, DD was wearing a Captain Jack Shirt! So merrily we make our way to Pirates. The line was blissfully short and practically walked on. I was really excited to see the changes on the ride here. DS and I had made a quickie trip to WDW in December and that was the first time I got to ride Pirates there with the changes. I really like the Davy Jones effect, so I was excited about DH and DD seeing it. As it turned out the audio was working but the effect was not. As we exited the ride I asked one of the cast members about it, and she told me they were shutting down the ride to fix it and to come back later and ride it when all of the effects were up and running. From there we went to Indiana Jones grabbed a Fast Pass, went to the Haunted Mansion, rode that, then headed back to Indy and rode that. DD ending up loving this ride so much we rode it 6 times that day! We walked over to my favorite ride, Big Thunder Mountain and rode that, then headed over to Blue Bayou for lunch. This was the surprise that I had planned for DD.

    When we rode the ride earlier in the day, Blue Bayou wasn’t open yet, so she couldn’t really see anything from the ride and didn’t realize their was a restaurant over there. I had called and made a reservation three months prior to our trip and had told the agent taking my information, that it was a 21st birthday lunch and that I wanted to be by the water. She kindly asked me if I wanted to order a cake or if there was anything else she could do for me. I jokingly said, “Well if you could get Captain Jack for her birthday that would make Kelly very happy”. She laughed and I laughed, and that was all that was said about it. So I go to check in at the podium and the girl checking us in mentions “You have a Captain Jack Fan, don’t you?” To which I answer, “You have no idea!” Now honestly I have no idea if what happened next was from my conversation with Disneyland Dining 3 months earlier, or if it was simply that the girl checking us in noticed DD’s shirt…but five minutes later another cast member comes by, wishes DD happy birthday and tells her to follow her for a minute. Ok, we all follow her to an area where some Pirates are signing and she tells us to just stand there, you are the front of the line. Huh? Within minutes here comes Captain Jack! DD was smiling from ear to ear. The good Captain spent about 5 minutes talking to her…..:cheer2:

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    Then posed for this picture

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    He hugged DD and put his arm around her and yelled “We have a redhead that just turned 21, Get her some rum!” It was GREAT!!!!! I really have to hand it to the cast members who are in character they are really a talented bunch of people!

    We walked back over to Blue Bayou and were promptly seated right by the water. The restaurant earned an “Awesome” from DD, who was still very giddy over Captain Jack. DH and DD are very much alike they are not very adventurous with what they will eat, so I was really surprised that DD ordered Jambalaya. No surprise from DH he ordered Prime Rib, and I had been looking forward to the Monte Cristo for ages, so I got that. We all had the salad, which I really liked and my family thought was just ok. When the entrees came DD kept saying how good the Jambalaya was and how she wants to find some at home. DH said his Prime Rib was just ok…translation, it was dry. After we finished our main course our server brought over a birthday card for DD signed by the staff of Blue Bayou as well as a chocolate mousse for her. DH loves crème Brule so he ordered that.

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    He was most impressed with the little treasure chest filled with cookies. They gave us some chocolate coins and souvenir menus as we were leaving. It was an expensive lunch but so well worth it for the good time we had!;)

    More to come later!
     
  4. Disney owl

    Disney owl DIS Veteran

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    great photos thanks for sharing
     
  5. JennCa

    JennCa DIS Veteran

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    Love the pics, very funny wrestler!

    Glad the bday went so well. I'm not 21 anymore but rum with Jack, that sounds yummy : )

    Jenn
     
  6. sharoncity

    sharoncity Mom of 2; Wishing I was in WDW; I WILL conquer the

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    Great trip report!I am really enjoying it!!! :thumbsup2
     
  7. Mary Jo

    Mary Jo Techarita Moderator

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    What a fun report! I love that creme brulee, too, and had that treasure chest since last year, until we accidentally broke it a couple of weeks ago. I've never heard of them taking a guest like that to meet Cpt. Jack - your daughter is obviously special.

    I haven't been to TJ in a few years. Are you glad you went, or do you wish you had skipped it this time around?
     
  8. Lilo's Mom

    Lilo's Mom Mouseketeer

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    Thanks everyone for reading and all of the kind words! Sorry it has been soooo long since I have updated, what can I say? I am in deep planning mode for our August WDW trip!

    Anyway on to the report!

    After our lunch was finished and Kelly was still basking in the glow of meeting Captain Jack, she decides that we simply must ride Pirates again! So we walk over to the ride only to find out that it is shut down. Wow, I guess it was going to take them a little longer to fix the Davy Jones part! No problem! We have plenty of time to check back later! Kelly decides that we are going to head over to Fantasyland. Now I had mentioned earlier that the last time Kelly had been to Disneyland she was 3 years old. The only memory she has of that trip involves the Big Bad Wolf. Right before we had left for that first trip to Disneyland, way back in 1988, Kelly watched the movie Teen Wolf with her Honey (my mom, Kelly never called her Grandma), anyway the wolf terrified her so bad that ANYTHING with a wolf in it would send her over the edge. In fact for a long time she would cry whenever she saw Michael J. Fox! Anyway we get to our first trip to Disneyland and on Main Street there were lots of characters walking around….3 year old Kelly spots the Three Little Pigs and wants to go over and play with them. So she is holding hands with the pigs and dancing around…then it happens. The Big Bad Wolf comes out! She puts her little hands on her checks, screams at the top of her lungs and goes running down Main Street…..straight into Alice and the White Rabbit. Alice was great, seeing how upset Kelly was she picked her up took her to a bench and sat her on her lap and calmed her down. The White Rabbit walked over to the Big Bad Wolf and shook his finger at him, as if to say “See what you did!” It’s no wonder that is the only thing that sticks in her mind about that trip was this incident.

    Anyway, after lots of teasing about the possibility of Kelly meeting The Big Bad Wolf in Fantasyland, she is still wants to head over there. First thing we ride is Mr. Toad, which amazingly enough she actually remembers! Then we do Snow White, Pinocchio and my favorite, Peter Pan. Did you ever notice that Peter Pan always has really long lines? After that we walked over to Alice In Wonderland, but the wait was 90 minutes, so we passed on that. By this time our Fast Pass return for Indy is coming up so we go over there, get yet another Fast Pass, and ride the ride. Did I mention how much she loved this ride? I love it too, but the next day I my legs were black and blue from being tossled around! By this time I was dying for a Dole Whip so we headed over to get one and decided to go into the Tiki Room. This was another of Kelly’s favorite attractions from when she was little. On a trip we took with her Honey and Grandpa, Kelly made poor Grandpa go into the Tiki Room for four shows in a row! She was so happy to find out that this was the classic show and not the revamped one that is in Disney World. Here is Kelly waiting to get into the show.
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    Once Tiki Room was out of the way, we rode Indy again, and headed over to the Jungle Cruise. I gotta say, Jungle Cruise when it’s dark and you come to the part with the piranha was really fun. None of us expected it and we all jumped then were laughing like crazy. By now we were pretty much all hungry again so we decided to walk over to Golden Horseshoe to eat. There was no show going on while we were there, and the place had maybe 20 people in there tops…and still there was a family that was letting their kids run free on the stage, often disappearing for 10 minutes at a time behind the curtains. I couldn’t believe that not one CM told them to stop or that the parents seemed to be oblivious to the mischief their kids could get into! It was driving DH nuts, finally he very loudly said “If one of those kids cracks their head on that stage, I am going to testify for Disney that the parents are idiots”. Suddenly the mom & dad came out of their stupor and got the kids to sit down and eat. Meanwhile we finished up headed back to Indy to ride one more time before catching our shuttle back to the Embassy Suites. All in All it was a great day!
     
  9. Lilo's Mom

    Lilo's Mom Mouseketeer

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    Since I am feeling a little sentimental about my only baby being 21 here are a few pictures of her first trip to WDW with her Honey, Grandpa and Nana in 1988 when she was 3.

    Grandpa taking Kelly into the Tiki Room yet again!
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    Grandpa, Honey and Kelly at Epcot
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    Four Generations of Women in our family
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    It's sad because they are all gone now. Kelly's Honey, when she was just 5 years old and Honey was 55, just days before Kelly's kindergarten graduation. Kelly's Nana when Kelly was 12 years old, and right before 8th grade graduation. Kelly's Grandpa when Kelly was 17 and right before her High School Graduation. Needless to say Kelly is worried about losing her only living Grandparent when college graduation rolls around in 2008! Anyway on to the trip report!


    First off I’ve gotta that since the majority of the things we wanted to do were located more in the Los Angeles area it was a real mistake to stay in Anaheim….the traffic we encountered every day was terrible. Thank god for Sirrus Radio, the whole Anna Nicole trial over where to bury the poor woman was going on while we were in California, so as we made the 2 hour commute every day to LA we listened to Court TV. That helped to keep the time we were sitting on the road going nowhere a little more entertaining.

    So when Kelly decided she wanted to go to LA, she really wanted to go on the Warner Brothers Tour…Bob and I had done the tour on our honeymoon in 2004, and liked it very much, so we decided to give the Deluxe tour another go. Let me say Wow! The place sure has changed since the last time we were there…they had Starbucks, and an honest to goodness store! As we were getting to ready to walk in and check in for the tour, Bob realized that he left his cell phone in the car, so he ran back to get it. Kelly and I walked in and were almost immediately approached by a guy that saw the shirt she was wearing that day. Here she is in the shirt

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    I apologize for not remembering the guy’s name, but as it turns out he was a writer on Smallville, and a friend of Joss Whedon. Just in case you don’t know Joss Whedon is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, and Kelly’s personal hero. The guy asked her if he could take a picture of her in the shirt and send it to Joss…needless to say Kelly was so happy she could have flown to the moon. I swear we heard her say “Wow, Joss is going to see my shirt!: about 100 times that day. After that chance meeting, we checked in for the tour, Kelly spent money in the store, and Bob found us just in time to see the pre-tour movie. Once that was accomplished it was off to the tram. The driver asked if there was anything anybody wanted to see in particular, and since most of the shoes we watch are not filmed at Warner Brothers we didn’t care where we went…at least we didn’t think we did, until we found out we were on the tram with a ton of Gilmore Girl fans. Let me tell you by the end of the day, Bob was so tired of the Gilmore Girls I thought he was going to pull his hair out. We did get to go around the set and into their house, and we saw a scene being shot, which was cool, but all the focus on the Gilmore Girls was kind of boring to us. The tour did include lunch in, but by that time Bob was not feeling really well. He is diabetic and his eating schedule was off and he was sick to his stomach, and he got more than a little crabby and withdrawn. Kelly and I could deal with it, we get what happens and how he feels, the other people in our group and the tour guide were not so understanding, and kind of avoided us the rest of the time. By the end of the day, Bob was really sick, we had that LONG ride back to the hotel and we were all crabby. I think twice in a lifetime is enough for me on the Warner’s Studio Tour. If we ever get back I would skip it the next time!

    Next Up Universal Studios!
     
  10. Lilo's Mom

    Lilo's Mom Mouseketeer

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    Today starts off much better than the day before ended. Bob is feeling much better, we have gotten a good breakfast in him and have brought along extra meds and a snack for him, just in case the diabetes gets the better of him. Kelly never made it down to breakfast during the entire trip, she was content to eat a banana and a bagel in the room and check her email on her laptop. We grab all the charged cameras and head out to the car for that brutal ride to Universal Studios. We get to our rented Jeep and find that someone has hung a banana from each of our side view mirrors. Strange yet slightly amusing, so we ditch the banana’s in the trash and head off to the freeway. After the two hour trek we make it to Universal. After quickly parking the car, and a equally quick trip to the restrooms, we make the trek into the park…my gosh you sure have to go through lots of retail space just to get there! Once inside the gates we are pulled aside to take a short survey and are given a pass for head of the line privileges for the studio tour, neat!
    We grabbed a map and decided to just walk around a little before we hit the tour. The first thing we came upon were some of the cars from “Fast and the Furious Toyko Drift” heck I want my picture with Vin Disel’s car! Kelly snapped this one of me.

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    After that we went to see Terminator, which if you have seen it at Universal Florida, it is the exact same thing. Here is Bob outside the ride.

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    We do a little more wandering around and we run into Spiderman. Suddenly my husband turns into a 10 year old boy. “Please let me meet Spiderman!” I found this hysterically funny, but how could I turn him down! Here are the series of pictures that chronical the historic meeting.

    So Spidey…have you ever been to Chicago?
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    No Bob, I haven’t I mostly hang around New York…can you show me your web technique?
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    Pretty good, now how about getting into a Spidey pose?
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    Bob laughs and tells Spidey if he gets down into the pose, he won’t be able to get up!

    Spidey poses with Bob
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    Not to be out done by her stepdad, Kelly has found some Super Heroes of her own.
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    Needless to say my little family was a real happy bunch of people.

    Sorry folks that’s all for today! More tomorrow!
     

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