Our 3rd Annual Holiday Trip to DL in November - November 22nd - 25th, 2013 Post #3416

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by mvf-m11c, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    Day 2 – November 23rd, 2013 – Part 10

    Just when we finished looking around the World of Disney store, we started to walk down in Downtown Disney to look at some of the other Christmas decorations. It is so nice to walk down DTD and look at all the different Christmas decorations. Since we had some downtime that afternoon when DGM, DM and DD2 are taking a nap in their room at the GCH, my DA and I went around DTD to look at the decorations.

    When we were walking in DTD, we stopped at the Marceline’s Confectionery store to see if they had the Mickey macadamia nut clusters which is the store that the CM’s that recommend that we check out to see if they had it or not. I was bummed that most of the stores at the DLR didn’t have the Mickey macadamia nut clusters in the store which I checked online before the trip that they did have it in stock. Maybe since it was during the holiday season, they took it out of the inventory to make way for the Christmas treats instead. I had a feeling that was the main reason they didn’t have the macadamia nut clusters. But in any case, I was still determine to find it until I went to every main treat store at the DLR to find it.

    Over at the Marceline’s Confectionery store, we walked in and got in line to ask the CM’s if they do have the Mickey macadamia nut clusters. Just like everywhere else, they told us that they don’t have any in stock. We asked if they are going to have any during our time and told us that they haven’t made macadamia nut cluster for a while. It was sad that they didn’t’ have them and if they don’t have them, then the whole resort is not selling them. It tough not to find an item that it is popular during the regular season and isn’t available during my trip.

    I was still able to get some pictures inside the store when we were waiting in-line.

    Another Christmas tree for the tree quest.
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    Those are nice salt and pepper shakers of Mickey and Minnie
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    Just like the other stores that they are selling exclusive Christmas treats
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    I got one of those Tigger tails treats that looks like a Christmas tree. I have never got a Tigger tail and it was nice. I have read from other DISer TR’s that everyone really likes and it was very nice. I shared it with my DA.

    We left the store and I had to look through the window of the Marceline’s Confectionery to see all Candy apples that the CM’s were working on. They are really are amazing to look at.
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    We walked down DTD to look at all the different stores that had Christmas decorations.
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    The next store that we walked in was the WonderGround Gallery store which had the latest inspired Disney art work. I have bought art work at the store in the past and they are always neat to look at. They were also decorated during the Christmas season with white trees right next to the entrance.
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    When we left the store, we were close to the AMC Movie Theatre and there were a lot of “Frozen” banners to promote the new movie that will debut in a few days during our visit which is on Thanksgiving Day.
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    Just right by the AMC Movie Theatre, there was a sled and Christmas trees which is a meet & greet area for Santa which is neat.
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    We were now entering the Disney Winter Village which started last year in Downtown Disney as a Holiday theme area. This year is a little bit different from last year where it is better theme with shops and Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink.
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    This time the theme it is way better than last year where there were actual store shacks to buy Christmas merchandise. Last year, there were some areas that sold merchandise like the crate types and the theming was not that great.
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    It was so nice to see a Christmas tree in Downtown Disney where last year it wasn’t up since the ice rink took the spot. This year, they put the tree in the center of the rice rink which is a perfect place to put it. This year’s ice rink doesn’t have a roof like last year’s but I do like it without the roof and the string of lights make it nice to ice skate at night.
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    Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink sign with Olaf in the background.
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    There were a lot of interesting shacks that sold Christmas merchandise.
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    Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink wasn’t opened during my visit.
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    We went around the other side of Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink to see the decorations.
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    Right at the ESPN Zone which is my favorite restaurant as well as my DA and it was neat to see that the ESPN Zone is getting into the Christmas season with a sport Christmas wreath.
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    After looking around the Winter Village in DTD and we had some time to kill until we head on back to DL, we went on over to the Disneyland Hotel. It has been a long time since I have been to the DLH and see the Christmas decorations.
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    So we head on over to the DLH to see the decorations. That will be on the next update on my trip report.
     
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  3. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    I loved the Christmas marshmallow. We got them on the holiday tour, and they were quite good. I have to say that I also finally tried a Tigger tail for the first time last trip. It was beyond good. Because if is a little sweet, I probably would not get it every time whereas the Christmas one was a little minty, thus not overly sweet.

    I have been talking to Crap about missing Olaf's Ice Rink and the lighting of the castle and IASW. He agrees we need to see it, so we are taking a quick trip down there on 01/04/14. We are only staying one night) looks like the APs have been a great investment).

    I love all of the Christmas stuff. Hopefully, there is still a good selection when we get there. I need a new tree topper. Our Minnie keeps falling down. She breaks her nose half the time she falls too. I never really cared for the color of her dress anyway, so I am hoping to find one that suits our theme better.
     
  4. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    That was nice to hear that you had the Christmas marshmallow during your holiday tour. It was my first time having a Tigger tail during this trip in which the treats finally got to me and I wanted to try one. And it was good. I had to get that since the DLR didn't have the Peppermint Ice Cream which was a disappointment that the DLR didn't get the tub size from Dreyer's Ice Cream company for the Peppermint. This was a disappointment that the DLR didn't get the Peppermint Ice Cream.

    That is awesome news to hear that you will be making a quick trip back to the DLR in early January. You will have fun seeing Olaf's Frozen Ice Rink, Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle lighting and IASWH clock show which are things you got to do when you are the DLR during the Holiday season. That's what great about having AP's so you can make quick trips. You have a shorter drive then me where I have to drive 7 hours where you are close to 4 hours which is not a long drive. You and your family have a great quick trip. I can't wait to leave in a couple of days to my trip back to DL during the Holiday season and the massive crowds.

    Hope you are able to find a new tree topper when you go back to the DLR.


    The next post will be up shortly.
     
  5. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    Day 2 – November 23rd, 2013 – Part 11

    When we left Downtown Disney after looking around Disney Winter Village, my DA and I head on over to the Disneyland Hotel. It has been a long time since I have been to the DLH during the holiday season. After seeing the Christmas decorations at the Grand California Hotel lobby, it would be nice to look around the DLH to see if there are any.

    We walked around and head in the direction towards the Fantasyland Tower at the DLH. Since the Fantasia shop which is where we went, it was a good opportunity to look at some of the Christmas decorations inside the store and maybe some decorations inside the lobby area.

    Christmas tree inside the Fantasia shop
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    We walked by the Fantasia shop so we can look at Goofy’s Kitchen and then we head on over to the Fantasia shop.
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    First, we didn’t go inside the Fantasia shop but we did go the side entrance into the Fantasyland tower. When e got in, there were a lot of Christmas decorations. In one area of the tower was a meet & greet area on the side with a sled and a lot of Christmas decorations.
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    After seeing the meet & greet area, we were right by the Fantasia shop and there were Christmas trees right by the entrance. We saw something very interesting next to the lobby entrance.
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    There is another Christmas tree in the lobby area.
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    When you enter the lobby of the Fantasyland Theater is a giant gingerbread castle of Sleeping Beauty with Mickey and Minnie gingerbread. That is one of the coolest Christmas decorations I have seen at the DLR this year during the holiday season in which it really looks like Sleeping Beauty Castle. It wasn’t actual gingerbread but a display that looks like gingerbread.
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    After looking around at the lobby of the DLH, my DA and I head on over to the Fantasia shop in the Fantasyland Tower to find any interesting merchandise. Most of the merchandise were the same as the World of Disney store and we actually bought some items when we were at the store since the CM’s helped us a lot. I bought a few Disneyland Christmas pins when we were at the store along with my DA.
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    Then, we started to leave the DLH and we head on back to Downtown Disney. Since our special activity was going to happen in a few hours, it was time that we head on back to DL and get there on time.
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    When we were in Downtown Disney and heading on back to DL, it was easier to take the Disneyland Monorail while we were in the area since it would be a faster way to get to the park. So we head on over to the Downtown Disney station to ride the Disneyland Monorail.
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    We were now in the DTD Monorail station waiting to go on my favorite ride at the DLR. I haven’t rode the Monorail the last two trips since June with the D23 Expo in August and the DISMeet with PiO & franandaj. So this time, I was determine to go on it before we left during the trip.

    We didn’t wait too long until Monorail Mark VII Orange approached the station.
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    Just when they were letting the guests waiting to get on the monorail, we asked if we can sit in the back and they told us that they aren’t allowing anyone to ride in the back. I was so surprised that the CM’s were not letting anyone ride in the back. For most of the trip when I was looking at the Monorails and at the back, I didn’t see anyone rode in the back. I was wondering why the CM’s aren’t allowing anyone to ride in the back. So we had to ride in the 5th car of Monorail VII Orange. I will always enjoy riding the monorail from any car or view.

    Now we are on our way back to DL that afternoon. Here are some pictures from the DTD Monorail station to the Tomorrowland Monorail station.
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    The Ward Kimball Engine #5 with the Excursion car set was heading towards the Tomorrowland station.
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    Back at Tomorrowland
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    When we got off the DLRR, we head on over towards the Tomorrowland Railroad station to ride the Disneyland Railroad. That was another ride that I didn’t go on during the last trip in September and it was nice to go on it that day before we had our special activity that day.

    Walking down the stairs and we can see the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Lagoon along with Matterhorn Mountain.
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    We walked on over to the Tomorrowland Railroad station to ride the DLRR. The DLRR is one of my favorite rides at the DLR along with the monorail.

    It only took 5 minutes to wait for the train to come and the one that approached the station was the Ernest S. Marsh Engine #4 with Holiday 2 car set which is the cattle car set and the caboose. I haven’t seen the Ernest S. Marsh for quite some time since I have seen the other four engines on the track during this year. So it was nice to ride the train had the Ernest S. Marsh.
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    We are now riding the DLRR and about to enter the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas. That’s why I love the DLRR over the one in the MK where it has the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas.

    That will be it for this post and I will have more from the Disneyland Railroad.
     
  6. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    Day 2 – November 23rd, 2013 – Part 12

    We were now riding the Disneyland Railroad to the Main Street station. But first, we went through the tunnel going through the Grand Canyon and Primeval World diorama. It is so nice to go through the diorama when riding the DLRR.

    Grand Canyon diorama with the animals.
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    Now the Primeval World diorama with the dinosaurs. Some of the photos were not that good since I didn’t set the settings right on the camera.
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    We were now out of the tunnel and heading towards the Main Street station. We decided not to get off at Main Street since our destination was to get off at the New Orleans station.
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    The train stayed for about 5 minutes and we are on our way to New Orleans station as our next stop.
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    We rode the train towards the NOS station which is our stop. While we were in the area and waited until it was time for our special activity, we walked around NOS to get any pictures of the Christmas decorations from the Mardi Gras masks, Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths, etc. It was neat to go around NOS to look at the decoration during the holiday season.

    I went around looking at the Mardi Gras masks on the poles around NOS. It felt that the Mardi Gras masks around NOS have been cut down this year where there were certain areas around NOS that didn’t have the masks from the past years.
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    Even the second level of the buildings of NOS are decorated very nicely.
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    The balcony of the Dream Suites
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    Another look at the giant gold Mardi Gras masks above the alley of NOS which used to be a Christmas wreath. The string of lights were still up again which is up these last couple of years.
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    We walked down the alley of NOS to look for all the different Christmas decorations.
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    Wreath right by Café Orleans restaurant
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    When we were right by the entrance to the Court of Angels, it was all closed off as it is now being converted as the new Club 33 entrance. I was so sad to hear that the Court of Angels is going to be the new entrance to Club 33. I was lucky to be able to see the Court of Angels during the September trip.
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    Another Mardi Gras masks in the alley of NOS
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    It is almost time for our special event during our holiday trip. This was going to be the highlight of the trip over the holiday season in which this will be our first time doing and we were both excited. This is one of the things that I have never done at the DLR even through all the years that we have been going. So this was a real treat.

    You will find out on the next post which is my favorite during the whole trip report.
     
  7. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    I liked the decorations at DLH too. We visited Santa our first night there. Hopefully, there is some proof as I cannot find the PhotoPass card.

    Xander likes to ride the monorail, so he made us do it in October. We have not ridden the DLRR in a long time. You're making me want to visit it soon.

    Thanks. I am really looking forward to our trip.

    I am excited for your trip tomorrow. Have a great time.

    Way to leave us in suspense! Cannot wait to read about your surprise.

    I wrote more but the system timed out and erased my message. Good night.
     
  8. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Wow! I was so far behind, it took me forever to get caught up. I'm glad you're at DL now because it gave me some time to catch up on your posts.

    It's too bad you DA didn't care for the Minnie's breakfast, it sounded great to me and the characters were awesome! I hope that someday we can relax and just enjoy going out to the park and not having so much going on that we hardly use our APs! I would love to stroll around like you do taking in all the sights and sounds and noticing the decorations. We are usually on such a time frame that I have to hurry here and there and don't get to enjoy the park as much as I would like!
     
  9. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I seem to have missed a couple of updates as well!

    Loving all the Christmas decorations and trees. Great pictures.
    Looking forward to the next update. :hyper:
     
  10. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    Thank you Kim, Alison and PiO. :goodvibes I'll get back to your posts later on when I get back or when I have time during the trip. I got back and about to go to bed but I will do a quick update for today along with some pictures from these first two days.

    Just got back from DCA today and boy it was crowded today. The weather was nice which was in the high 70s and high 40s tonight. We were able to go on RSR today thanks to the FP or we would have to wait for 2+ hours through the standby queue. The wait times on average for the big rides were in the 40-60 minute wait time. We got to see World of Color Winter Dreams and see Aladdin the Musical. The only rides that we went on all day today was RSR, the Little Mermaid ride, MFWoD and Luigi's Flying Tires. We got to have breakfast at Ariel's Grotto and the food was nice. We ate at Tony Roma's offsite. But we did spent a lot of time going around the stores at DCA.

    This was from Thursday when we got to the DLR and heading into DL that night looked crowded.
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    DL this morning just before 8am.
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    World of Color Winter Dreams from tonight during the 8:45pm show
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    Breakfast from Ariel's Grotto
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    A new treat that I didn't see last month
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    Tortilla Jo's from last night which we had dinner
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    I will write more and show more pictures from the trip.
     
  11. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Nice picture of Olaf!

    That treat looks great. Is that M&Ms with apple? YUM!
    Nice looking food from Ariel's.


    Enjoy your day tomorrow. :goodvibes
     
  12. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Breakfast at Ariel's Grotto looked good. Looking forward to the best part of your trip (although it all looks fun up till now)

    TK
     
  13. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    Bret --

    I love Tony Roma's! Do they still make that onion loaf, or whatever it was called? Delicious!

    That apple/treat was at DLR last month, and last year too. Maybe there were not any fresh batches of them out on display when you looked in November and that's why you didn't see it?

    The Ariel's Grotto breakfast looks much better than I would expect and I would almost be tempted to eat there if not for the fact that I have no desire to do a Princess-only meal!:rotfl:

    Thank you for posting the photos of the tree and inside decor at Tortilla Jo's! I was excited to see it because it is something I have not seen in the past. I walked past TJ's a couple of weeks ago and almost went inside to check out the tree but didn't.

    I know there was at least one interesting tree inside Jazz Kitchen as well, and Catal had a tree. I began wondering if those trees had been there every year, or if Disney kind of 'nudged' the businesses in DTD to decorate more this year to make DTD more festive. I don't think I have ever seen the Catal tree before this year, so that's what got me wondering. If ESPN Zone could put up some wreaths, I can see the other businesses getting on board with decorating too. Everything seemed a lot more festive and holiday-ish in DTD this year.

    Now I wonder if I might have missed a tree in Naples? Surely Naples must have one.

    Anyway, my browser crashed the last time I tried to get in here and comment but I am trying to hang in here and patiently wait for the big reveal of your special activity in November (gee...wonder what it could be?;);))...because I wanted to make a specific comment on it, and ask a question, and I can't do that until you reveal the surprise to the other readers!:lmao:

    Have a fun time at DLR, Bret! I hope the crowds are not too unbearable for you.
     
  14. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    It is very nice to be back after this past weekend in SoCal and in San Francisco yesterday. I will get back to the November trip report when I talk about my trip in December. I got to go back and answer some posts that I have missed since I have left last week.


    That was great that you were able to visit Santa at the DLH at the meet & greet. Hope you are able to find your PhotoPass card.

    I love the monorail and it is my must do every time I am at the DLR. It was nice to be able to ride it last month and this past trip. You should ride the DLRR which is a fun ride to go on and it is a nice way to get from one land to another.

    We had a great time and I will write up a quick one of what we have done. I still have to finish the D23 Expo and November trip so the December trip report might not happen.

    You will love the surprised event that we did that day when I update my trip report.


    Nice to hear that you are all caught back up on my trip report after being away in SoCal and SF these last few days. The weather in SoCal was great where I wore shorts and shirt in the morning to the afternoon then later on I wore long pants which is great in December. The crowds were insane this trip at DL where DCA was not as bad as I have thought where some rides were in the 30+.

    My DA doesn’t like to do character M&G where it is a little more than she is willing to pay. She only did the character meals is that her friend and family were here with us. I have enjoyed the character meals during the November trip as well as this past weekend trip. You and Fran should spend some time at the DLR and enjoy yourself where I would do that if I lived in SoCal. I would go to the DLR at night and enjoy walking around the DLR and taking pictures of anything interesting to see.

    Glad that you are all caught back up on my trip report PiO.

    It is so fun to look at the Christmas decorations at the DLR. I also have enjoyed going around WDW during the Holiday season but the DLR will always be my favorite resort to visit during any season.


    Olaf at the Frozen M&G is a great place for him to be in FL.

    The apple treat with M&M’s looks very nice.

    The food at AG during breakfast time was a little better than I have expected. Eating at AG during breakfast is not cheap at $32.99 a person without the AP discount. We did save quite some money on the AP discount.

    The food at AG was good and it will be a long time for me to eat there again. You will be surprised during the November trip. The December trip was fun and it was crazy with the crowds where it has been a long time since I have been at the DLR with a lot of people.

    It was nice to eat at Tony Roma’s during the trip which is not too far from our hotel. Tony Roma’s did have the Onion Loaf on the menu when we ate that night. We stayed at the Desert Inn & Suites during this trip since we had more people with us and needed more beds. It has been awhile since I have stayed at a different hotel not named Best Western.

    Here are some pictures from Tony Roma's on Friday night during our trip.
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    I believe you are right that the apple/treat wasn’t out in the displays in November during my trip and all of a sudden are there during this past weekend.

    I completely agree that the food at AG was a lot better than I would have expected. It was nice that the food was good during the trip and it was worth it. If I wanted to do it again in the future, one time is enough for me.

    Your welcome. It was nice that TJ had the Christmas decorations still up during our visit and it was my first time in a long time since I have at TJ.

    This year, DTD has way more decorations then the previous years. Like Winter Village where the theming was way better with the merchandise shacks. It was so neat to see Christmas wreaths at the ESPN Zone on the outside where I don’t see any in the past. I don’t eat at too many different restaurants in DTD and it will be a good idea when stopping in the restaurants to see if there are any decorations.

    I would say the same thing that Naples should have one as well.

    I would say that you know the surprise for that afternoon and it won’t be too long until I reveal it when I start to upload the photos and write it up.

    The trip was not as bad as I have thought when I read and see those pictures from years past during Christmas break. Experiencing for the first time was good and I might not want to do it again in the near future unless someone in my family or friends that want to go to the DLR and can’t go except during that time and I will have no problem with it since I have experienced it. The lines were long as expected where RSR was as high as 3 hours and we were able to do some of the activities that I had planned while some didn’t happen.
     
  15. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    Happy New Year everyone.

    This is a quick update from this past weekend trip. I won’t be writing up a full trip report since I am still working on my D23 Expo trip report as well as the November trip report.

    Day 1 – December 26th, 2013

    It was the day after Christmas where I was heading back to the Disneyland Resort during the busiest time of the year which is after Christmas to New Years. I mostly never go during this time of the year since most of the schools are out on Christmas break and draw high crowds. But this trip is all about my aunt (not my DA that went with me last month but my dad’s sister) her friend from Texas which will be called Silv and her daughter MP. This will be Silv and MP first time in SoCal and visit the DLR which is a real treat for them. Also my cousin (my aunt son) C is also coming along with us during the trip.

    Since Silv and MP are coming from Texas, we plan on picking them up in LAX since it was cheaper for them to arrive in LAX than in Sacramento. That was the best way so we can meet up with them in LA and drive to Anaheim. When we left on Sunday the 29th, we will be taking Silv and MP back with us to Sacramento and they will fly out of Sacramento back to Texas. They just went back today this afternoon and they had a great time with us for the 6 days they have been in California.

    It was nice that we are all having a fun trip together and even though we are going during the busiest time of the year to visit the DLR, that wouldn’t stop us from having a great time. Not only we are going to the DLR, we also went to Universal Studios Hollywood which is my first time in years back in the mid 90’s. So it was going to be two places that we are going instead of one.

    For our transportation, we rented a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan since we had 5 people in our group and our cars that we have could not carry that much stuff. It was a good thing that we rented the Caravan during the trip since we can carry more things and it was an easy vehicle to use.


    My aunt, C and I left Sacramento on Thursday morning at 7am and we head on down to Southern California. We took I-5 down to SoCal instead of 99 (which I usually go down) but my aunt wanted to go on I-5 instead of 99. It took us about 6 hours to get to Los Angeles and at LAX. Luckily when we were driving down to LAX on the 405, we didn’t wait as long as I have thought since going on the 405 to LA is very awful. We waited for Silv and MP where they flown from Texas to LAX and they were excited to see all of us and have a great time in SoCal.

    After picking them, we drove straight down to Anaheim and our first day in SoCal has started. We got to Anaheim around 2:30pm which was really fast for us to get to Anaheim from Sacramento to LAX and to Anaheim.

    For our stay, we stayed at the Desert Inn & Suites which we got two rooms with two queen beds. This was my first time in a long time that I haven’t stayed at a hotel named Best Western. I have stayed at some other hotels around the DLR and I was amazed of how the Desert Inn & Suites was when we were staying. I will still prefer the Best Western hotels over Desert I&S but it was nice to try a different hotel during the visit.

    Also when we checked-in at the hotel in the lobby, we were able to get the ECV for my aunt. We rented an ECV from Deckert Surgical and Homecare on the phone. I want to thank Marblebob and the other DISers that have recommended Deckerts as the place to rent an ECV. The ECV was great and we had no problem with it during the trip. My aunt enjoyed using the ECV so we wouldn’t have to rent an ECV at the DLR. It was also cheaper to rent the ECV at Deckerts than at the DLR which my aunt saved $50 if we rented the ECV at the DLR. We also saved time which was a key factor in getting the ECV at Deckerts where she wouldn’t have to go to the Wheelchair rental area at the Esplanade.

    When we got our room at the back end of the hotel, I had to go to a computer store in town since my DB asked me to get some things where they are on sale. The store was called “Micro Center” which is a computer store in Tustin which is about 10 minutes from the DLR. The reason why he asked me to go down to Micro Center is that we are building a customized computer for our father as a Christmas present. A little late Christmas present but it was way better than the one he is using right now.

    Picture of the room which I didn’t get the whole room since C didn’t want me to take pictures when he is in the room with me.
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    So it was a quick trip for me to pick up the stuff. It was a good opportunity for my other party members to rest after the drive and flight. C came along with me to keep me company and we drove to the store.

    When we got to Micro Center, I was able to buy a motherboard and processor for the customized computer. There were other things that we needed to buy but we didn’t have the space to bring back more stuff from SoCal and I would get the rest of it back in town.

    After C and I bought the stuff at Micro Center, we head back to the Desert I&S to meet up with my aunt, Silv, and MP. Then around 4pm, it was time to head on over to the DLR. My aunt was using the ECV and it was a good thing that she got it so we wouldn’t have to get an ECV at the Esplanade.
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    When we got over to the DLR, we head straight on over to Guest Relations so my aunt could upgrade her Deluxe AP to the Premium AP. The reason is that the DAP was blocked out during the trip and for her to get in the park, she has to upgrade to the AP. She could have got the blackout tickets, but it would have cost her more to get 3 blackout tickets so it made sense for her to upgrade. So she will have to get one more trip in order to get the full use of the Premium AP. Over at the Esplanade, the turnstiles to go into DL was not that bad around 4pm.

    The weather was perfect when we got to SoCal which was around the 70s. That is very nice weather in SoCal in December which it gets cold during this month.

    MP and Silv got there first picture at DL and in front of the turnstile.
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    My aunt, C, Silv and MP went on over to the GR and upgrade her AP and also get the E-tickets so they don’t have to slow down the turnstile when we enter the parks that night.
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    After my aunt got her AP upgrade to the Premium and everyone got their 3 day park hopper tickets, we head on over to DTD. It wasn’t that busy that night in DTD while we were walking on over to our first activity.
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    We went straight into the World of Disney store to look at the merchandise. Silv and MP were amazed at all the different variety of choices of the merchandise. They could have spent a lot of time in the WoD store but we told them that we had time to buy it later during the trip. So they agreed that they wouldn’t buy anything until when we call it for the night or close to when we left.

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    We head straight on over to our destination in DTD which is Tortilla Jo’s. This was my first time eating at Tortilla Jo’s in ages. The reason we chose this restaurant is that C can only eat specific foods which he has a special diet. He loves Mexican food and this was going to be a great for him. We were lucky to make the reservation at Tortilla Jo’s that night where the wait time to get in the restaurant was 30 minutes. We only had to wait about 5 minutes until we were seated at our table inside TJ.
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    The restaurant was well decorated during the Christmas season. It was so nice to see the restaurant during the Christmas season and it was a great opportunity to get some pictures of the restaurant since I don’t eat at TJ normally.
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    Our dinner from that night. I got the Shredded Beef burritos. Everyone ordered something different and we all shared each other plates.
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    Everyone was so satisfy with the food at TJ that night and I was glad that everyone was able to find something that they could eat. C was happy that we ate at this restaurant. I thought the food was great as well at TJ that night. I like to eat Mexican food once in a while but it will be awhile until I eat at TJ again.

    After eating at TJ, it was time to head on over to the parks that night. So what better way to go in DL is by taking my favorite ride at the DLR. For the regulars on my trip report, you can tell what ride I am talking about. Yup the Disneyland Monorail is the right answer.

    We head straight on over to the Downtown Disney Monorail station and ride the Monorail to Tomorrowland. We all got our tickets and AP scan and went through the turnstile to head on in the DTD Monorail station. Since my aunt was using the ECV, she went on the elevator. When we were up at the top, there was already a line to board the monorail. I can tell that this is going to be awhile to board the monorail and it was going to be even tougher since we are at the DTD station where the guests riding the monorail from TL have the option of riding it round-trip of not getting off at the DTD station. Mostly during the busy times, the CM’s will tell the guests to exit the monorail at either station to accompany all the crowds but during the trip we have seen guests staying in the monorail at the DTD to go round-trip. Since my aunt was using the ECV, we had to wait to board the monorail when the handicapped area was open on Car 4. So it did took a while for us to board the monorail that night.
    [​IMG]

    We waited almost 30 minutes at the DTD Monorail station to finally board one of the monorails and head on over to Tomorrowland. The monorail that we rode at the DTD was Monorail Mark VII Blue. My aunt had some trouble backing the ECV into Car 4 of Blue that night which took a while and she was able to get in the monorail and we are off to DL. Silv and MP were getting so excited to go in DL for the first time.

    When we exited Monorail Mark VII Blue when we were in TL, I can tell that most of the queues of the rides were long and it wasn’t a joke during Christmas break at DL. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage queue when we exited the TL Monorail station was already at an hour wait time. The Matterhorn was already at 90 minutes. So those rides were a no brainer to go on that night.

    The first thing that we did when we were in DL was to head on over to It’s a Small World Holiday. Silv and MP were looking forward to go on IASWH which is all decorated during the holiday season. The wait time was already at an hour and since my aunt had the ECV, we be in the handicapped queue to go on it. So we head on over to Fantasyland to ride IASWH.

    IASWH that night was crowded with a wait time of 60 minutes and the queue was extended to the streets. So we all head on over to the handicapped queue and about to ride IASWH with the 60 minutes. Just when we got closer to the queue, a CM told us that they aren’t allowing any handicapped people enter the queue. I was wondering why they won’t allow any handicapped guests enter the queue and told us that since “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks is about to happen and the ride closes when it is playing. We were given one of those return time ticket so we can come back later that night and ride IASWH. I was a little bummed at first but it did work out later that night and it was worth it. We watch the IASW clock show where the façade of IASWH was projected.
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    After seeing IASWH clock show, we head on over to our first ride that we went on that night was Storybook Land Canal Boat which had a 20 minute wait time which was not bad that night. It did took a while to walk through the queue to get on the ride. It was nice to go the ride that night. The ride is also decorated during the holiday season with little miniature Christmas decorations on the buildings.
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    Then we head straight on back towards IASW Plaza to ride IASWH since our return time was around 8:15pm to 9:15pm. It was a good thing that we had some time until the 9:30pm show of “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks. I wanted to have some time in order for us to get a nice spot to watch the fireworks in front of IASWH.

    We went in the queue in the handicapped section of IASWH and we waited for about 10 minutes to get on IASWH. That was a short wait time for us and glad that we only had to wait for 10 minutes to get on IASWH.

    A few pictures of IASWH ride.
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    After we rode IASWH, we waited around IASW Plaza for the 9:30pm “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks. I was looking forward to watching the fireworks in front of IASWH that night. But since we were there during the busiest time of the year, there were people already staking out a spot in front of IASWH with 40 minutes to go until it started at 9:30pm.

    Just when it was about to start at 9:30pm, the PA announced that Believe might not happened that night due to high winds. I can’t believe that Believe fireworks might not play that night due to high winds. This is exactly what happened and it didn’t play that night. This was just like back in November when the fireworks was cancelled on my first day during the trip due to high winds and it happened again during this past weekend trip. We were hoping that it will be fine later on and this was the only day that was windy.

    So we started to walk on out of the park but before we all head on over to Captain EO. C remembered Captain EO back in the late 80s and was surprised that it still exists today. I told me that it is a tribute when Michael Jackson died a few years ago and Disney brought it back. We all went in and watched the show as our last activity at DL that night.

    While we were walking on out of the park like everyone else that night, we went straight on over to the Emporium to see the merchandise when we left. Silv and MP bought a few items at the store. They bought some Disney pins and some shirts for themselves. I didn’t buy anything that night since most of the merchandise were the same back in November. Also when we were in the store checking out, we talked to a very nice CM about our day at the park. When I showed them my AP to the CM, the CM thought that Silv and MP were AP holders as well but they told her that this was their first time at DL. Than the CM got out some first time buttons for Silv and MP. They were so happy to get the buttons that they put them on their jackets.

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    When we finished shopping at the Emporium, we head on out of DL and back to the Desert I&S hotel to call it for the night.

    Silv and MP had a fun time for the first day at DL. They were excited to be able to ride IASWH at night with the lights on that night as well as SLCB that night. C wasn’t that excited that night at DL but he had a great time that night with everyone. My aunt was glad that Silv and MP had a great time that night and to have the ECV during the trip. I was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I have thought on a very busy Christmas break. The wait times were in the hour range as I have expected and some of the ride wait times were not as bad.


    That is the first day and the 2nd day will be another big day for all of us.
     
  16. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    98,075
    love the Christmas decorations. Looks like a great time with the family. Did you like Desert Inn? More importantly, would you stay there again?
     
  17. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    24,268
    Sounds like a great day for first timers. I'm so confused with your report. Do you still need to finish the Expo?
     
  18. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,927
    Alison -

    I have to admit to trip report confusion as well!:guilty: You're not alone.


    pixiedust:pixiedust:pixiedust:

    Bret --

    I think that, because you go to DLR so often (and it is very often compared to the average person) and take so many photos on each trip, your Trip Reports are starting to get backlogged, and/or they're starting to overlap.:rotfl2: I am losing track a bit as well.

    I didn't realize the Expo trip still needed to be finished.:rotfl2: I know you jumped ahead and did the Halloween Time TR at one point, and then launched the November TR (and we're still all waiting for the report on the "big surprise" from November), and now the December TR.

    I hope you're not feeling pressured in some way to do a full, complete report for every trip you take, or feeling like you have to post photos from each new trip right away instead of waiting until the previous TR is finished. I think that -- as much as everyone here enjoys your reports and photos -- we probably would all be totally fine if you just did one TR at a time, or even just did a "highlight reel" of each trip, if you find that you're getting backlogged or overwhelmed with the full-length TRs.

    Anyway, hopefully you don't feel like you have to get certain things posted within a certain time frame because it's really okay to take your time if you have to!

    Thank you so much for posting those pictures from Tony Roma's -- now I have a sudden urge to eat there, though I haven't been there in years. The food looks delicious and I miss the Onion Loaf!

    Again, thank you for posting the photos from TJ's -- because of your pictures I now want to make a point of going into TJ's and seeing the tree during the next holiday season (I started to say "next year"...but we're already in "next year" now:rotfl2:)! I really like the ornaments on that tree, and I am kicking myself for not going in there a few weeks ago when I was actually standing right in front of TJ's and thinking about going in. I don't know why I didn't.

    I could see one of the Jazz Kitchen trees from DTD, but it looked like it was tucked away far enough that it was kind of in the dining area. If I'm not eating at a restaurant I don't necessarily want to go to the dining area to get tree pictures, but if a tree is close to the entrance of the restaurant I will go in (that's what I did at Ariel's Grotto, since the tree was right next to the entrance).

    It's also interesting to read that the crowds were not as bad as expected in some places on your December trip. The reports I am reading from yesterday in the parks seem to indicate that the crowds were almost manageable -- and that is almost unheard of for New Year's Eve!:confused3

    So, what I am detecting about this past holiday season -- both from what I observed on my own trip and what others have reported -- is that some of the weeks that are typically less crowded were more crowded this time around, and some of the weeks/days that have usually been more crowded (like New Year's Eve) were considerably less crowded! Also, certain times during Halloween season were more crowded than they used to be.

    This leads me to think that people packed into the parks during the weeks that were reported to be less crowded (in past years)...and that, in turn, led to bigger crowds during those times, and led to lighter crowds during the normally super-busy times! It's sort of a reverse/rebound effect, in a way. It's like the whole balance of crowds shifted. Interesting.
     
  19. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    4,225
    Hi Bret,
    It's great that you got to take another trip to DL right after Christmas. How fun to take some first-time visitors.

    Looking forward to hearing all about it.

    TK
     
  20. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,419
    We had a great first day at the DLR last week. Thursday was way less crowded than the other days during the trip. It just shows you how busy during this time of the year at the DLR can be. I did like staying at the Desert Inn & Suites. The only problem I have with it is that there is barely any parking spots to park the car. One night when C and I drove his friend back home in Los Angles around midnight, we got back to the hotel and there wasn’t any parking available. So we had to park it in valet which we weren’t happy about it since we had to pay for parking and had to pay again. Overall it was good and it would have been nice if our room was closer to Harbor Blvd instead of being in the backside.

    It was a great day for the first timers at the DLR. They had a blast and can’t stop talking about it since they left yesterday. I know that this was going to be a confused report. It is a quick update of what we have done then from my normal trip reports that I do all the time. Since I am way behind on the D23 Expo TR and still working on the November TR, I am writing up a quick TR for the December so I can get back to the November and D23 Expo TR’s. I am still on the second day (August 10 Day 2) during the August TR and it will take some time to get back to it.

    You are correct about the TR are starting to get backlogged these last few months. This has been a confusing TR during this past weekend which I don’t normally do on one post where I write up a lot to cover the whole days. It was tough of not writing up the whole trip report for this one which is very exciting but I want to get back on the November and D23 Expo TR’s that I haven’t finished yet. I will still keep writing up the quick updates from this past weekend about what we have done. I know that this isn’t my type of TR’s that I write with all words and barely any pictures where my pictures are my storytelling. This might be the only TR that I won’t write up completely with a lot of posts where I have done in the past. It was tough of not writing up correctly and doing a quick update but with everything going on with me from work, it is tough to write up a third TR in five months.

    I still need to finish the D23 Expo trip since I left to the DLR trip in September. I am working on writing up the big surprise during the November trip. I am holding off on the quick update for the December trip so I can focus on the November TR which is a big one.

    I do appreciate you, TK, PiO, Alison, and the other DISers that have followed my trip reports over last few years and they have been great to write so I can tell you all about my adventures and how fun they have been. I was going to write up a highlight of the trip from this past weekend where Silv and MP had a fun time just being at the DLR going on the rides, seeing the shows, etc. This TR is the one that will be tough to write with the others still unfinished.

    When I have free time when I am home or at work when I have free time, I will be able to work on the trip reports.

    Your welcome Sherry. It was nice to eat at Tony Roma’s that night and I might have to eat there again during my next upcoming trip. But I might go back and eat at the ESPN Zone which you know is my favorite sit down restaurant at the DLR since I haven’t ate there during the last two trips. For the price and service, it is a good restaurant to eat off-site.

    I need to think about going inside each different restaurants at DTD to see the decorations. You will enjoy going into TJ and see the Christmas tree and all the interesting decorations.

    I wasn’t able to see the Christmas tree at Jazz Kitchen in DTD during the trip. Just like you, I won’t go deep into the restaurant to get a picture of the tree unless I eat in there. I was able to get a picture of the Christmas tree in AG during the November and December trip and it is nice.
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    I was kind of surprised on Thursday when we got to DL. I thought that we might not be able to go in DL from the DTD Monorail station at night when the park was crowded. Luckily it wasn’t at full capacity. But on Friday when we were in DCA that day, I have heard that DL had its turnstiles closed in the morning around 10am when the park was at full capacity and other times during the day. This was a very interesting trip that the crowd levels were manageable. It does seem unheard of during this time of the year.

    That is what I have read and have experienced during the holiday season this year when I went in November and last month. It did seem like less crowded days in the past were great and this year it went the opposite way and got even more people. It just shows you when people look at Touring Plans website and look at the crowd levels and see that this day is the best time to visit and when they visit it turned out to be busier than expected. Back in November on my last day of the trip on the 25th, it was busy but not so busy where the crowd level was a 10 but it did seem like it was busy that morning.

    What a weird year it has been with the crowds coming on the slower days and it turned out to be busier. Then on the busy days, there weren’t too many people as expected where it was manageable. This trip just shows you that families are taking into consideration of what days to visit the DLR and experience it fully without the heavy crowds. It was still crowded this past weekend but it was manageable where we can at least walk through the park instead of a crawl.


    Hi TK,

    It was nice to go back but I would prefer not to go during Christmas break which turned out to be the most crowded I have ever seen the parks. It was fun to take first-time visitors to the DLR and show them everything. 2013 has been a fun year where I have taken two different families to their first visit to the DLR and they were all excited.

    Before I get back to the December TR, I still need to finish the November TR as well as the D23 Expo TR back in August. I am so far behind on those TR’s that I should not start up another one. The December TR are quick updates to tell what we have done and our highlights.
     
  21. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,927
    Bret --

    The Ariel's Grotto tree was one of my favorites from the 2013 holiday season -- maybe AG has always had that tree every year, but this was the first time I'd seen it (when I was on my DLR trip). What I love about it is that it fully commits to the "undersea theme." The way the ornaments and sea grass are arranged on the tree, it looks like schools of fish and seahorses, etc., are swimming together amid the plant life -- just as they would do in the ocean.

    The other undersea-themed tree -- the Paradise Pier Hotel tree -- on the other hand, is trying to use its blue-green color as the "ocean" and the clutter around the bottom of the tree is "the beach," but the ornaments on the tree -- seahorses, starfish and shells -- are not grouped together in a way where that it actually looks like an underwater scene.

    So, while I love the color of the PPH tree much, much more, I love the cleverness and artful decoration of the AG tree!

    What I dislike about the AG tree is that it is located in a spot with that giant window as a backdrop. It makes it hard to get a really, really good photo of the tree in the daytime because of all of that sunlight/daylight behind it! At night it's probably a bit easier.


    (Sorry, everyone -- Tree Talk has now ended and I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming! It's just that Bret is the only other person I know who pays as much attention to the DLR trees as I do, and he can relate!:rotfl2::rotfl2:)


    Bret -- I started a new Christmas/Holiday Season Superthread, as the existing thread was about to hit page 250. Here is the link to the new thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3215593. Be sure to join us when you have time (no rush, though -- I know you're backlogged and busy!). TK, KCmike, Jamie, crystal1313, Gisele and Corinna are all already subscribed, and we can't have a Superthread without you too!
     

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