Our Toy Story Midway Mania Christmas Vacation 12/26- 1/1/2010 with pics COMPLETED

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by tksbaskets, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    It's hard to believe it's almost been a month since our wonderful vacation to Disney Land. We arrived 12/26 and journeyed back home 1/1/2010. I'm hoping you'll enjoy our trip report and perhaps pick up a tip or two to help you with your own magical vacations!

    Our family: DH who is my best friend and humors my planning and DIS board addiction! DSs- "Donald" and "Grumpy" who are 18 yo now and freshmen in college. They say if we keep planning the vacations they'll keep coming. I can't imagine Disney without them. Me - you won't see me in many pictures as I'm usually behind the camera but love Disney and have a special affection for DL! We are DVC owners at the Boardwalk. Best decision we ever made for our vacation dollars.

    Day 1 - Did someone try to light their pants on fire at Detroit Metro Airport??

    We arrived at DTW at 6 am for our 8:55 am flight and could not believe our eyes when we saw the lines for baggage claim and security. Having spent Christmas evening packing (NO one in my family started packing before that) we hadn't quite kept up on national security. After standing in a non-moving line for almost 45 minutes I was lucky enough to secure a sky cap to check our bags. We had just enough time to go through security and pick up a delish - not- breakfast from McDonalds at the airport. Not quite the leisurely breakfast at the Coney Island at the McNamara terminal we were planning on but we were happy to be aboard our flight and on our way to California! :yay:

    Arrival at LAX
    Smooth flight. I had booked Execu-car after reading some reviews here on the DIS boards. When we got our bags I called the number on our information and only waited about 15 minutes to be picked up outside our terminal. We were very pleased with this service and would recommend them to others.

    My guys waiting for our 'town car'
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    Our driver didn't have a personality (I don't think he said two words to us) but the car was clean and we were driven straight to the Grand Californian Hotel!

    We last visited the GCH June of 2008 as part of our land/cruise vacation when the Disney Magic sailed out of California. We stayed this visit on points but not in one of the villas. Now that is is an official vacation club there are some 'welcome home' touches.

    Arriving at the entrance:
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    The car says 'Welcome home' and is decorated for the holidays:
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    We had some holiday magic as our room was ready! We were assigned room 4251 in a brand new section. Some room pictures for you:
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    Doesn't take my men long to get comfy and secure the TV clicker ;)
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    Our view (standard view room)
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    Proof that I do exist as well as showing the great flat screen TV and fridge.
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    Vanity area:
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    Do I need to tell you what this is?? :rotfl:
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    After a short visit by the Disney Security Castmembers we had our safe all re-set, our ipods stowed and were ready to head down to White Water Snacks for some much needed fuel!

    Up Next: WWS, a bit of DTD, dinner at Storyteller's Cafe, and preparations for our first day at DL!:goodvibes
     
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  3. DisneyJenn18

    DisneyJenn18 I am the official tour guide for non-disney soon t

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    I love whitewater snacks! The nachos are amazing there, and there never seems to be anyone there.

    love your pics so far, I've never stayed at the GC, but it looks awesome!
     
  4. onelilspark

    onelilspark DIS Veteran

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    eek! I couldn't imagine flying out of Detriot on 12/26!
     
  5. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    It was an experience I don't care to repeat but I'm all good with getting to the airport 4 hours early if it means my family is safe!

    I see you are going for your first time to DL in a little over a month. You will have a BLAST!!
     
  6. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Day 1 food and shopping!

    Off we went to White Water Snacks. There weren't any hours posted but we knew they weren't open before magic morning. No worries - it was about 2 pm by now.

    Here is the cute tree in WWS:
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    We knew from a previous trip to select your grab-and-go things and order your hot food at the register. Here are your choices:
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    Grumpy and DH and burgers and fries, Donald a pizza and salad, and I had the beef nachos. All were good but I won!
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    DSs went to Downtown Disney (DTD) for the first of many Java Juices
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    DH and I went through the GCH gift shop and then headed to DTD ourselves to meet up with our boys and get breakfast treats from the bakery. We knew from our previous visit that if you did Magic Morning there wasn't anything open for breakfast ahead.

    All my men went back to the room to relax and I enjoyed browsing DTD, went to guest services at DL to get our Holiday Tour tickets for the next day. Highlights included watching little Minnie caramel apples be made:

    First she dipped these chocolate coated apples in white chocolate
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    Then she dusted them with red sprinkle sugar:
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    Finally she added these little polka-dots that I believe are also white chocolate being made by the woman to our left. She is currently busy dusting Minnie's bow.

    All done!
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    It did not entice me to purchase one but it was a fun 15 minutes! I took a few photos down by guest services:

    Through the gate at DL:
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    Fun letters!
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    I headed back to GCH and on my way to the lobby was surprised to see an a capella caroling group dressed in their Victorian holiday attire. They were taking requests and it was great fun!
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    The lobby at the GCH is really beautiful but hard to photograph. Here is my attempt to capture the stunning tree:
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    We had the dinner buffet at Storyteller's Cafe. The food was very good as we had remembered. Here is the rest of today's food porn pics:
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    Up next: Magic Morning at Disney Land and our Holiday Tour
     
  7. mnmrmustard

    mnmrmustard DIS Veteran

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    Well I'm on board! Glad you made your flight despite the lines at security. Nice view from your room and cool shots of the GC. I'm feelin' that Disney Christmas spirit and it has put a smile on my face. Nice little extras like the acapella group :thumbsup2

    Looking forward to hearing and seeing more from your trip! :banana:
     
  8. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your nice comments and coming along for our trip. It's fun to re-live such a fun trip :goodvibes Makes me miss my boys a bit less as they are back at college.
     
  9. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Day 2 - Disney Land and Holiday Tour
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    Magic Morning is where the time change works to our advantage. 5:30 in the morning in CA is 8:30 am in Michigan :thumbsup2 We ate our bakery treats and were at the gate 12 by 6:45 am

    Ready to rock~
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    We entered at 7 am exchanging our internet print outs for real tickets with no problem. A quick couple of photos then off to Adventureland!
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    We hot footed it right through Space Mountain. So much better than the WDW version!
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    Figured out that my Blackberry takes much better photos of the monitors:
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    Next Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters x 2
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    Remember to email your ride photo to yourself - it's the only 'free' photo you'll get ;)

    My men humored me and we rode Peter Pan's Flight (about the same as WDW but one of my favs!) and Pinocchio's Daring Journey (not at WDW)
    Who doesn't get excited when you see this coming???
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    By now it was 0800 and time to double time it to Adventureland and Indianna Jones!

    Not too busy before the regular rope drop!
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    One of our favorite DL rides. We scooped up Fast Passes (FPs) for later and rode the stand-by line. :thumbsup2

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    After riding Indianna Jones exited to the left and rode Pirates of the Caribbean.

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    No fast pass for this but again much better/longer than the WDW version. Again exit and turn left into New Orlean's square and the Haunted Mansion.

    Disney Land transforms (and I mean TOTALLY transforms) the Haunted Mansion to be Nightmare Before Christmas. We could pretty much sing the songs after our trip! Let's enjoy a few pics from outside the HM shall we?
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    We rode this ride twice using the stand-by line without any wait. By this time it was 9:30 am and we were eligible for another fastpass. TIP: you can get another fast pass even if you haven't used the first (or many) ones you got. You can use them ANY time that day after the eligible time! We snagged one for the Haunted Mansion for later :goodvibes

    LOVE the themeing for all the fast pass machines:
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    We then turned right for a change and rode Indiana Jones using our fast passes from the morning. Before our 11 am PS reservations for Carnation Cafe Grumpy and Donald rode Star Tours. While they stood in the S/B line, DH and I got fast passes for Buzz for later (right across from Star Tours). My hubby suffers a bit with motion sickness and fessed up at this point that the combination of a bit of a cold and Space Mountain made him feel a bit under the weather :sick:

    Next up: 'Lunch' at Carnation Cafe
     
  10. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    After a successful flight on Star Tours we headed to Carnation Cafe and found that they were serving breakfast at 11 am :scared1:

    Very nice atmosphere
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    DH had plain scrambled eggs and headed back to the room for a much needed nap. One of the BEST things about DL is that our room was a 10 minute walk. No need to hop a bus and plan transportation time into a schedule. Heaven! :cloud9:

    We had eaten at the Carnation Cafe for lunch before. While the men all said their breakfast was "OK", faint praise, my meal was disgusting :guilty:

    Donald's Bfast:
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    Grumpy:
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    The driest apple pancakes you've ever tried to choke down - not enough syrup in the world to make these puppies slide down. The bacon was fine.
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    While DH was resting the rest of us snagged FPs for Space Mountain, rode the Storybook Land Canal Boats (not at WDW and 'OK') Here are a few pics from the ride:
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    Aladdin's little land
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    We had a blast watching the Jedi Academy in Tomorrowland. Don't miss it!
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    Went back to New Orlean's Square and stood in the 40 min S/B line for Pirates. It broke down when we were in site of the loading area. We persevered and waited in line about 15 minutes more and the ride was up and running again! YEAH!

    We then caught a bit of Tatiana's Showboat Jubilee along the river. Very catchy songs and nice show.
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    If anyone's keeping track we now are the proud holders of fast passes for Haunted Mansion, Buzz, and 3 for Space Mountain.

    New Orleans' Square:
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    We called DH to wake him up and then spent a bit of time enjoying main street and the holiday decorations. Enjoy them with me:
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    Next up: Holiday Tour and dinner at Paradise Pier Hotel
     
  11. Jazziered

    Jazziered Mouseketeer

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    Very nice pictures... You have a very handsome family. :) Looks like you had a great time. Sorry your breakfast wasn't so good... I think "sometimes" the food looks better than it tastes at Disneyland. hope to go to Disneyland sometime during the Christmas Season. Your fastpass accumulation was great.. NMBC is a great ride. I know a lot of peeps don't like the overlay, but I prefer it. I love Storybook Canals.. It is one of my favorite rides.. So cute.....
     
  12. deejdigsdis

    deejdigsdis I

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    I'm loving your pictures! I would say that they are making me miss Disneyland...but I was already missing Disneyland when I started looking at them. ;) That's too bad about your breakfast. Always a disappointment when you don't enjoy your food. Looking forward to more!
     
  13. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    We LOVED the NMBC overlay especially the start when Jack is in the roof! We were quite pleased with our FP strategy. It was a HUGE help with the crowds. Wait to you see what we did on other days ;) Thanks for reading :goodvibes

    I want to go back too.....

    I'm really not a picky eater. I must say it's the first time my family has gone from lunch directly in search of snacks popcorn:: Stuffed pretzels from Tomorrowland for the boys and I had YUMMY popcorn in a NMBC collectible tub. Look who's turning the crank!

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  14. deejdigsdis

    deejdigsdis I

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    And then what happened??? popcorn::
     
  15. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Since you asked....I'll post another installment tonight after our hockey game. We are supposed to get 6-14" of snow .... got about 5 so far.

    Thanks for reading :goodvibes
    TK
     
  16. jnjusoioa

    jnjusoioa I fell in love with DLR, whats not to love. Fantas

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    I am also reading along and can't wait to read and see more. Your title is what really drew me in, love Toy Story Mania so can't wait to see how that all ties in with your trip. Can't wait to see your new installment.:goodvibes
     
  17. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Disney Land Holiday Tour

    DH was refreshed from his rest and ready to meet us for the tour. Isn't it great that the GCH is a leisurly 10 minute walk away? We met at the Tour Gardens. There were three groups for the 3:15 pm tour. Our tour guide was Kirsten. We all had nice headphones so we could hear our guide without her having to shout. The little ones in our group had a bit of a hard time keeping them on.... We were all given a little paper 'ornament' that designated us as a part of the tour - like the blue lanyard and head phones didn't! :rotfl:

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    Off we went down Mainstreet talking about the decorations and the different buildings. Every once an a while Kirsten would play a quote from Walt Disney for us. We also sampled some yummy fudge from the candy store. Here we are in Fantasy Land.
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    Next we went to the Haunted Mansion. I showed you some pictures of the NMBC overlay but what was nice about this tour was walking right on to the attraction. Kirsten checked in with the castmemeber and we followed our little candle right onto the ride. SWEET! We went to see the reindeer and pardoned turkeys and then off to IASW.

    By now it was getting to be dusk. My family would NEVER have ridden this ride if it wasn't for the tour. It was really great! The boats go outside (not at WDW they don't) and the outside overlay turned on right when we approached the castmember outside the attraction for our priority entrance.

    Here is the clock outside:
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    The ride itself was very nicely re-done to include holidays around the world. My pictures were less than great in the ride without a flash but you can get the idea:

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    After we got our group all back together we went to a snack counter for our hot chocolate and gingerbread cookie. My guys all consumed theirs before we we even got to our priority seats for the Holiday Parade. Now here is where reading the DIS boards was a downer. Our mugs were not the adorable holiday red ones I had seen in earlier reports. Sigh, I guess after Christmas they revert to the generic blue Disney Land mugs.

    Our seats were padded folding chairs right across from IASW. My family chose the back row (2 of 2) because we didn't have young children in our party. Happy DISers here!

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    I practiced the utmost restraint to wait to consume my awsome cookie (made exclusively for tour guests) until I could take a food porn pic for my trip report. It was hard because my guys were practically drooling over theirs!

    SUPER YUM :thumbsup2
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    Our parade view:
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    He liked me!
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    My favorite couple:
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    Yes, teens still pose for pictures with their old folks :goodvibes
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    Kirsten gave us each a collectable holiday tour pin while we waited for the parade. The parade concluded our Holiday Tour which was worth every penny!

    Next up: Paradise Pier Hotel for dinner and don't forget our accumulted FPs

    Our next day at Disney's California Adventure begins our personal Toy Story Mania!
     
  18. Littleprincess2010

    Littleprincess2010 DIS Veteran

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    I just love the photos you took of everything. Thanks for sharing!
     
  19. deejdigsdis

    deejdigsdis I

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    I loved hearing about the Holiday Tour! Thanks for sharing. It was also nice to see college age boys having fun with their parents. I have 3 boys (4, 7, and 10) and I just have visions of everything going downhill once they hit teenagerhood...like they won't want to have anything to do with us anymore. :laughing: Can't wait to read more... BTW, how much snow did you get?
     
  20. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Thanks :goodvibes I have about a hundred more pictures to share before we're done. I'm glad you are enjoying them.

    We've been very blessed with our boys and our mutual love of Disney! :lovestruc The boys have always enjoyed and looked forward to our family vacations at Disney. It was an especially great time this trip as the boys are now away at college. It was wonderful to have them all to ourselves for the week. They tell us if we keep taking them to Disney they'll keep coming with us. I bet your boys will be the same way ;)

    Snow report - 8 inches of snow and DH had a 'snow day' today. We have impressive piles after he plowed the drive today!
     
  21. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Dinner at the PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Hotel

    We went back to our room to drop off our new mugs before we headed to our dinner our 7 pm reservation at PCH Grill. I mistakenly thought it was a long walk from our hotel. When we asked the concierge we found it was literally right across the street.

    We checked in and were soon seated. Nice bright atmosphere:
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    DH had his appetite back and we were all pretty hungry. Well PCH Grill gave you a LOT of food. If we went back again DH and I would have split our fish and chips. We did not need to soup ahead of dinner :)

    YUMMY!
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    Both boys got steak and said it was delish:
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    After dinner we went back through our hotel and headed to Disney Land to use our three fast passes!

    First we rode Haunted Mansion. This was fun because the cast member thought that our 8:50 AM return time was PM and told us we were early ;) When he look again he waved us right in!

    Here we noticed another difference between DL and WDW, you can not got through frontier land and circle around - whoops! We did find ourselves ride outside of Winnie the Pooh so we rode without a wait. That's what happens when you arrive during Fantasmic!

    We then went over to Tomorrowland and the boys and I used our fast passes for Space Mountain. What a ride! My guys do know how to cut up for the photos!
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    Next we all rode Buzz Lightyear. We sent our email pics home and made it to Mainstreet in time to see most of the fireworks over the castle and see the 'snow'.

    We were back in our room at 10:15 pm and got ready for our first day at Disney's California Adventure!
     

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