PHXscuba's Club 33 Christmas

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by PHXscuba, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    Edited Dec. 15 -- Club 33 Christmas TR starts on page 38

    Edited on Nov. 6 -- I get a day at Disneyland for the holidays! Going Dec. 9!!

    Edited on Sept. 25 -- I'm back from the fall trip -- trip report begins on page 33

    Edited on July 30: I get to go to Disneyland for one day in September!! ... News and updates for that trip starting page 30 of this thread

    *****

    We're goin back, baby! The family and I are returning to Disneyland in March 2013 and I'm planning up a storm. Follow along with our slightly Goofy family of six as I plan our trip.

    [​IMG]

    Those of you who've interacted with me on the boards, the wait is over. You no longer need to wonder. This is me, PHXscuba -- squinty-eyed and Mouse-eared. I've been a DISer for several years and a lifelong Disney fan. I was lucky to grow up in SoCal and at Disneyland. More about my Disney history later.

    I'm writing this Pre-Trip Report (and eventual Trip Report) to share my Disney/planning obsession with people who understand. My family likes Disney, but they can only take so much of my blabbering before they threaten to have me committed. Like a pre-Internet pen pal, I promise to write often and hopefully keep it interesting. While it's my TR and you'll have to figure out my style, I'll be asking for your input to make this a super-fun trip and make you feel like you're all there with us!

    Future posts to include: our cast of characters, my previous Disney trips, lots of photos, our plans etc.

    (to quote Peter Pan) And ... we're ... off!

    Pre-trip index:
    Meet the Family: post 4, page 1
    My Disney History: posts 8 and 15, page 1
    The Battle Plan: post 20, page 2
    Cute kids in Disney costumes: post 39, page 3
    Disney Halloween photos: post 41, page 3
    Hotel(s) finally booked: post 59, page 4
    DS7's new Phineas and Ferb room: post 65, page 5
    What's New in Disneyland: post 71, page 5
    More photos from our Oct 2009 trip: post 81, page 6
    Items for our Trip Reveal present: post 82, page 6
    Pix from my holiday 2010 trip: post 93, page 7
    The Kids Know Too Now!: post 106, page 8
    Photos we take over and over: post 135, page 9; post 139, page 10; post 143, page 10
    New T-shirts: post 157, page 11
    I get my AP!!!: post 174, page 12
    More zany photos: post 186, page 13
    Guess how many pennies I have?: post 194, page 13; results: post 214, page 15
    The Accident: page 16, post 294

    Trip report:
    Prologue/disclaimers: page 19, post 285
    Day 1 -- AZ to CA: page 20, post 293
    Day 2 -- Church, check-in, and crowds: page 21, post 310

    Day 3, part 1 -- A Day in DCA: page 22, post 323
    Day 3, part 2 -- A Day in DCA: page 22, post 328
    Day 3, part 3 -- A Day in DCA: page 23, post 339

    Day 4, part 1 -- I know you, I walked with you once while in AZ: page 23, post 342
    Day 4, part 2 -- I know you, I walked with you once while in AZ: page 23, post 344
    Day 4, part 3 -- I know you ... or do I?: page 24, post 347

    Day 5, part 1 -- If you take your Mom to Disneyland: page 24 post 353
    Day 5, part 2 -- If you take your Mom to Disneyland: page 25, post 361
    Day 5, part 3 -- If you take your Mom to Disneyland: page 25, post 369

    Day 6, part 1 -- Kicking and Screaming: page 25, post 372
    Day 6, part 2 -- Kicking and Screaming: page 25, post 373

    Days 7 and 8 -- The Aftermath: page 26, post 378

    Post-trip ramblings:
    Reflections on the trip -- pages 26 and 27
    Possible future trip dates -- page 27, post 398
    My AP bucket list -- page 27, post 399
    The vacation frame photos -- page 29, post 423

    Fall one-day trip with my Mom and our APs:
    NEW fall trip planning -- page 30, post 439
    My SEPTEMBER bucket list -- page 30, post 444
    Updated trip info plus photos -- page 31, post 459
    I'm back from DLR! -- page 33, post 487

    "My September bucket list" trip report
    Part 1 -- I am (for real) going to Disneyland -- page 33, post 491
    Part 2 -- Open, open, open! -- page 33, post 494
    Part 3 -- The Pumpkin King -- page 34, post 500
    Part 4 -- The smell of gingerbread -- page 34 post 501
    Part 5 -- Indy, or not? -- page 34, post 504
    Part 6 -- Parade and galaxy-hopping -- page 34, post 509
    Part 7 -- Night falls as I fail -- page 35, post 514
    Part 8 -- Fantasmic and crazy crowds -- page 35, post 518
    Wrap-up -- page 35, post 524

    Makin' a (AP bucket) list, checkin' it twice
    NEW December trip planning -- page 36, post 526
    The DECEMBER bucket list -- page 36, post 535

    A Club 33 Christmas
    Part 1 -- First look inside the Club -- page 38, post 565
    Part 2 -- The view, and the view of the food -- page 39, post 574
    Part 3 -- More Club photos and general review -- page 39, post 579
    Part 4 -- Rewind to the beginning -- page 40, post 587
    Part 5 -- Magical park and hotels -- page 40, post 589
    Part 6 -- Attack of the holiday overlays -- page 40, post 595
    Part 7 -- Inside It's a Small World Holiday -- page 40, post 597
    Part 8 -- Ending with a thud -- page 40, post 600
    Wrap up and conclusions, page 41, posts 601 and 602
     
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  3. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    I'm here for the trip!
     
  4. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    Thanks for hopping aboard!! I hope you enjoy the ride :thumbsup2

    PHXscuba
     
  5. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    Our remaining cast of characters for the family trip:

    [​IMG]

    T – my bearded DH – likes Tigger, rollercoasters, and taking pictures. Enjoys being at Disney but happy to let me plan 95 percent of the trip.

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    R – DS16 – Likes Wall-E, Star Wars, and the seagulls from Finding Nemo. Band kid – eats, sleeps, and may breathe through his horn. Still game for family Disney trips if there are enough rollercoasters and we feed him well. Eighth trip to DL (including a few band trips without us :sad:).

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    B – DD13.5 going on 16 – Likes the Fab Five, Pooh characters. Dancer and bookworm. Loves anything Disney and already eying Disney’s college program. Fifth trip to DL.

    [​IMG]
    K – DD(almost)11 (I hate paying for her as adult) – Tinkerbell in human form – blonde, petite, and sassy. Tumbler and dancer. Also loves Chip and Dale, and Minnie Mouse. Fourth trip to DL.

    [​IMG]
    S – DS will turn 8 on trip! – loves Stitch, Phineas & Ferb, Nightmare Before Christmas. Will ride almost anything except Tower of Terror. Comedian and picture poser. Third trip to DL; first where he’ll be tall enough to ride everything.​

    (And yes, these were taken at WDW if they look not quite right for DL. We went last fall and they are the most recent pictures of the kids in a Disney setting)

    More to come! Lots of pictures! :wave2:
     
  6. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    What horn does your son play? My kids were all in the band. My oldest daughter played the trumpet and the tuba/sousaphone, my younger daughter played the clarinet and the saxophone and my son played trombone in orchestra, marching and jazz band. We were quite the band family.
     
  7. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    I was a band kid (which accounts for several of my teenage DL trips).

    DS16 plays french horn and the mellophone (marching french horn for the non-band people reading this).

    DD13 plays the clarinet; DD10 just started on the flute. They were trying to play a little duet the other night and it was so cute :lovestruc and slightly out of tune :rolleyes:

    I spent last Friday night volunteering with the marching band and had to sit with the drumline. It re-affirmed my vow to steer DS7 away from percussion. They. Never. Stopped. Drumming. :scared:

    PHXscuba
     
  8. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    My son went through the stage where he drummed all the time and it drove me nuts. I was so glad that he wasn't a drummer, I think I would have gone nuts. I was sad when they all "out grew" band.
     
  9. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    My childhood at Disneyland

    When I said in my first post that I was raised at Disneyland, I wasn't exaggerating by much. I grew up in Huntington Beach, about 40 minutes south of DL on the coast. I am just old enough to remember the individual ticket booths. With young kids (who went through E-tickets more slowly) and cheap admission, we went for lots of occasions.

    [​IMG]
    This photo should look familiar. It was taken on my third birthday (as were the next two) by my Dad. I love the photo, but even more memorable: On the back, in his precise engineer's block printing, my Dad wrote: "Grumpy and Friend." Looking back now as a parent, I'm not sure which one of us he meant to be which.

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    Obviously before character handlers and regimented lines were popular. The floppy-hatted Asian woman photobombing me and Dopey is not my mother.

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    I must have been a big fan ... my birthday cake picture from the same album page is a Winnie the Pooh cake as well.

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    My younger sister and I with Tigger. Love my late-70s fashion choices!! Note old-fashioned Pooh and Eeyore in the background.

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    I was in a precious little children's chorus that performed at Disneyland a couple times (above in Carnatian Plaza). We performed over the Fourth of July weekend once. As it was pre-fast Pass, I think we did about three rides the whole day and spent most of the time squished on walkways. It cemented my vow to never, ever go when it is that busy.

    I went many, many times as a teenager. I know I went to Disneyland for eighth-grade graduation with my friends. I recall a water fight on Pirates of the Caribbean that we probably shouldn't have had. :rolleyes: I was soooo mad at my mother for not letting me spend the weekend in the park when Captain EO originally opened (but mom, all of my friends are going!!)

    In high school the marching band played in a parade every year at Christmastime, then we were allowed to stay in the park for the rest of the day. It explains why "Sleigh Ride" (what we always performed) is one of my favorite Christmas songs and always makes me think of DL. Once I left my purse on Star Tours -- to this day I will not put down any backpack or bag in Disneyland without having a strap attached to my person!

    [​IMG]

    Sadly, with all of the times I went to Disneyland as a teen, the only picture I have from this period is the one above, when I went with my friend's family and her cousin, who was sweet on me. The 35th-anniversary prize machine is behind us.

    I also went to Disney World at age 15 with the band. We spent one day (and performed) at Epcot and one day at the Magic Kingdom. I'm sure I took a camera with me but have no photos!

    DH scanned all of my childhood (and pre-digital) photos a few years ago, which makes posts like this easy. :lovestruc
     
  10. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    What a great trip down memory lane! Your DH rocks for scanning your pre-digital photos in for you. That is on my bucket list.

    Thanks for sharing.

    TK
     
  11. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    I am still at the "beginning stages" and it will be interesting to see who continues. I was the only one of the family who made it out of elementary with an instrument, and I played all the way to college marching band. DD13 is currently changing her mind weekly -- clarinet in the band, color guard for the band, swim team, just all ballet/dance. Maybe by the time out trip comes around next spring she will have decided. And DD10 (the human spring) has been watching the cheerleaders at the football game ...:scared: Really don't know anything about that!

    I am so grateful he did it (for his pictures too). It is so nice to pop a photo onto my blog, or send to someone. I was just noticing while posting these pix how much my sister's DD5 looks like my sister from the Tigger photo.

    I have one more "childhood memory" post before moving on; not sure if I'll get it loaded tonight.

    Thanks for following :wave2: :wave2:

    PHXscuba
     
  12. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    My Dad and Disneyland

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    I was very, very fortunate to grow up with a father who loves Disney and Disneyland. As I posted before, we went for birthday and special occasions often. When my older brother and sister (from my Dad's first marriage) would visit in the summer, they always went to Disneyland or Magic Mountain. He loves rollercoasters. My dad was the type of person who opened and closed DL, often hopping on the PeopleMover right before closing to extend his time in the park.

    I'll have to ask him when his first trip to Disneyland was, but I'd guess early 1960s. One of his favorite Disney stories to tell is the one time he saw Walt Disney, right outside the Treehouse with a group of VIPs. I was the rare child who knew all about forced perspective on Main Street, and that I wouldn't get my hands cut off if I raised them on Space Mountain (Dad is 6-foot-3 and been doing it for 35 years now).

    My father is very frugal, being raised in the Depression. As much as he loves Disneyland, in recent years he hasn't visited much because of the high ticket prices. He was disappointed with DCA when it opened since they charged the same price as DL for half the attractions. He and my mom had SoCal APs for a year about 2007, when they were super-cheap. He would go for several hours at a time in the off-season, using the free parking in DTD.

    He's 78 now and starting to slow down. Walking around DLR for a whole day might be a lot for him and I know he wouldn't let me get him a wheelchair or scooter. But I will still probably ask him and my Mom to join us for a day while we're there.

    PHXscuba
     
  13. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    I remember the 35th anniversary prize machine well - I won some good stuff at that machine/wheel! (There was also a giveaway thing in 1985/1986 - where everyone who entered the gates won something every day, whether it was a collector card or a pin or something else. Do you remember that?)

    Then again, I'm also old enough to where I recall it costing about $15 to get into Disneyland at one point in my life!

    I also remember, of course, the ticket booths and ticket books. Those books were so limiting and annoying. I recall that it was a mind-blowing, revolutionary idea when Disneyland came out with the Passports and did away with the ticket books! Suddenly it was as if a whole new world (no pun intended) had opened up to us - we no longer had to be slaves to the ticket books and how many of each 'letter' we had left (or had to buy). With the Passports, we could go on the rides as often as we wanted, all day long. That was unheard of!

    And then, when Disneyland first started the multi-day tickets for Disneyland (way before the term "Park Hopper" was ever invented), that, too, was a groundbreaking concept! Not only could we go on all the rides we loved as many times as we wanted, all day long, but we could enter the park for several days at a time!

    I love your childhood photos! It's so wonderful to have photos from early Disneyland trips. I am so grateful that I have mine, but I still look at them and wonder where 'the rest of them' are! I know there were other trips. I know there were even a couple of holiday trips when I was very little. And yet, there seems to be a lack of photos. I can only assume that one of the other folks on the trips took photos, or someone was just slacking off with the camera!
     
  14. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    I am a big fan of taking loads of pictures. Digital cameras are the best thing ever invented! I know there are more pictures of my childhood trips sitting in my siblings' and parents' albums, but back then you shot your roll of 24, discarded the blurry ones, and everyone ended up with a couple. I can't believe I never took my camera to Disneyland as a teen, yet I don't know where the pictures are. Same with the Disney World trip. I also know that posing for photos wasn't big on my list as a teenager -- it was all about friends and riding Space Mountain as many times as we could.

    PHXscuba
     
  15. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    Where the title of my PTR comes from

    So I have never had an annual pass to Disneyland. I KNOW if I lived in SoCal now I would have one. But here in AZ it's hard to justify the extra cost. We visit Southern California once or twice a year, mostly to see family, and do the multi-day trip to Disneyland roughly every 2 or 3 years, plus scattered one-day visits.

    I am not going to lay out the math (because I have to pay bills after this and I have a finite capacity for numbers crunched in one day), but getting one Deluxe AP (for me!!) is about $200 more than the 4-day PH I would otherwise buy. My "evil plot" is to find enough savings in the trip (above other discounts like my Disney VISA) to justify getting an AP. That way I can scheme my way into a September birthday trip, and/or a December holiday trip. ;)

    Here's where I've identified savings so far:
    Staying onsite at the AP rate (2 rooms)
    Food 10 percent off almost everywhere
    Souvenirs -- already have the Visa but no minimum purchase with the AP

    If we don't stay onsite, it probably won't happen. I wouldn't have the Magic Mornings like everyone else, and the food/souvenir discounts wouldn't add up to as much. I am kind of waiting to see how the Early Entry stuff and the CarsLand popularity goes to see how big of a "time benefit" staying onsite would give during the busy spring break season. But right now I am leaning toward onsite -- this will likely be our last big trip while all the kids are still home. :sad1:

    I don't think DH would give me much grief about spending a little extra money on "my ticket," but he's smart enough to realize that an activated AP would burn a hole in my pocket and I would need to return. So the savings on this trip have to be independently obvious for him to believe it's not JUST so I can go back. ;)

    I am blocking (la-la-la-la) any rumors that they will raise AP and ticket prices in the next few months, negating all my calculations and forcing me to make a speedy decision, probably without benefit of knowing what the AP hotel rates would be. I may need you all to talk me off a ledge if that happens. :faint:

    So I solicit any and all ideas to get me an AP so I can go to Disneyland more. We all have that common goal, right? :cool1:

    PHXscuba
     
  16. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    Family trips to Disney parks

    DH and I got married during college and spent a day of our belated honeymoon at Disneyland. Shortly afterward, we moved back East for graduate school. I call the next decade the Dark Years (at least for Disneyland). We were broke and far away. I made it to DL with my Dad for one day when I visited, circa 1995. I remember seeing Fantasmic and riding Indiana Jones, which had just opened.

    We started having kids and moved back to Arizona, where DH grew up.

    I have always had the luxury of having my parents as built-in babysitters less than an hour for Disneyland. I know I would be miserable dragging a stroller and baby around DL and missing out on rides. So when our first son was almost 5, we left our daughter with her grandparents for the day and took DS on his first Disneyland trip.

    [​IMG]
    Anyone else remember the Jolly Trolley in ToonTown?​

    DS loved most everything, except chickening out at the front lobby of Haunted Mansion. He saw Autopia early in the day when we rode the train and kept asking when we'd go back. I guess cars are familiar when everything around you is amazing. Near the end of the day we told him he could pick any ride to do again. His answer? See the bottom of this post!!

    We repeated the pattern with each of the kids in turn. Here is a meh picture of DD and DS on DD's first Disneyland trip at almost 5.

    [​IMG]

    DD was normally a very outgoing, brave child. We took her for a car ride that morning and didn't tell her we were bound for DL until we reached the parking garage. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of seeing a short line for Mr. Toad first thing and insisting we ride right then. DD was in tears before we ever boarded the ride! She bawled through that and it took us a good part of the day before she'd trust a dark ride or a dark line.

    Our second DD has always been petite. Turning 5, she was just barely over 40 inches, which to me is the magic height to take a kid to DL. So we made sure she had a nice high ponytail when we went. It didn't help -- she still got measured at nearly all of the big rides.

    [​IMG]

    But she loved everything. After some of the experiences with dark rides with the older two, this was the first time we went on Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion. Little DD was a trooper.

    In September 2008, DH and I were supposed to go SCUBA diving in Key Largo, FL. Four days before we were to leave, Hurricane Ike was bearing down on FL and they had evacuated the Keys. We had plane tickets, a babysitter, and our business was closed for new flooring during our trip. So we had to go somewhere!!

    [​IMG]

    Yes, I went to Disney World on four days' notice!!!:scared1: :cool1: I bought the UOG and read it on the plane. We spent 3.5 days, had a great time and talked a lot about taking the kids when they got older.

    During this time, we were also saving to take my husband's staff to Disneyland as a reward for some big business changes we were making. We decided to go in October 2009 because younger DS would be old enough and we'd have enough money before then. Our family of 6 plus 9 staff and family. This was our first multi-day trip (and first time in DCA) and we stayed onsite at the Disneyland Hotel. DH had stayed there one night as a kid and always wanted to return.

    [​IMG]
    DS was in the "posing" stage. This is what most of that trip's photos look like.​

    We spent three days there and had an amazing time. It was cool and a little rainy, but it kept the crowds down. Over three days we hit nearly everything in both parks. Want to know where we had our family's first character meal (with all 15 people)? Answer at the bottom!

    In 2010 we did the Give a Day, Get a Day promo and earned five tickets (DS was too young). We used that for a "bonus day" in July where we hit the favorites in DL plus the few things we hadn't made it to in the previous trip.

    When I returned for that CA trip, I was recapping with my best friend (also a Disney nut) who had just returned from WDW with her family. We both expressed a desire for MORE Disney that year. She also loves Christmas like I do, so ....:idea: I said, "Why don't we go at Christmastime together for a girls' trip?"

    [​IMG]

    We spent two days munching, shopping, and strolling around DL. We got free tickets from a CM friend who is a former client of DH's and owed us some money. With that savings, we booked the Holiday Tour, which I highly recommend.

    2011 I spent planning for an October family trip to Disney World. By this time our older DS was 15 and I was/am seeing the time until he goes to college slipping away.

    [​IMG]
    This was our Christmas card photo last year!​

    We spent a week there and it was great! I think some of the individual rides are better at Disneyland, but four parks full of Disney, plus waterparks, is incredible! We will go back some day, but it is far and expensive, so I'm very happy to have Disneyland just around the corner.

    2012 is shaping up to be the Year Without A Disney Trip. We went to CA in July, but Carsland had just opened (too busy for me) and the older kids really wanted to go to Knott's. I did a trip report from that day. So barring some miracle trip, our next visit to Disneyland will be:

    March 10, 2013!!! Only 150 days away!!

    Answers:
    A. DS wanted to re-ride It's A Small World (which I don't let him live down now)
    A. Our first character meal was at Goofy's Kitchen!
     
  17. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    ^^That's a great Christmas card photo choice!

    I remember the Jolly Trolley in its mobile days - now it sits in Toon Town as a photo op. It was always kind of a pointless ride - too short to even really bother getting on and off - but it was just something that had to be done.

    I, of course, remember your Christmas 2010 trip! I remember your picture with Santa at his spot at the Disneyland Hotel.
     
  18. PlutoRocks

    PlutoRocks Mouseketeer

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    I'm following along too - I tend to be quiet but I'll be here reading along. As a fellow Arizona person - I can say DL is definitely a bit of a treck but just close enough to be endlessly tempting. ::yes::
     
  19. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    Based on the CM glaring at the camera, I'm pretty sure we actually got the Jolly Trolley in motion. I'm not a ToonTown hater like some, but it seems like they keep taking away from it (Goofy's, the trolley, ToonTown Morning Madness possibly ending?) without adding anything in.

    Yes, the temptation to jump in the car and go ... I can drive to DL in about 6 hours from the East Valley depending on bathroom stops! Other than the boredom factor, it's really not far at all! But the idea of dragging the kids seems to kill the spontaneous trips! :crazy2:

    Thanks for reading!

    PHXscuba
     
  20. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    A little weekend Disney magic ... (aka Disney is everywhere!)

    We had a family movie night last night (with homemade ice cream, yum!) and watched the Muppets. It was the first time for DH because he wasn't with us when we saw it in theaters. Right at the end, they show fireworks, and DH goes, "Hidden Mickey!" I had seen it but was surprised he caught it. I've never been so proud. :lmao:

    Also, in church yesterday, the guy behind me was wearing a tie with some dime-sized Mickey faces in the pattern. I complimented him on it and said we love Disney too. He said he had hoped the tie didn't scream Mickey ... I told him only Disney nuts like me would notice it, so it was subtle enough for normal people.

    Just got DS7's new comforter for his new Phineas and Ferb themed room I am putting together ... pictures to come when I actually get it all done in the next few weeks. I am currently Best Mom Ever with the comforter and the ice cream cone I bought DS while we picked it up. :thumbsup2

    PHXscuba
     
  21. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    The Master Plan

    So re-reading the posts I've done so far, it occurs to me that I have been unintentionally vague about what/when etc.

    Master Plan 1.0:

    Sat. Mar. 9 -- Drive to California, stay with grandparents in OC
    Sun. Mar. 10 -- Church, check into hotel, DTD
    Mon. Mar. 11 -- DS' 8th birthday! Character meal? park hop
    Tues. Mar. 12 -- park hop
    Wed. Mar. 13 -- park hop
    Thur. Mar. 14 -- Disney all day, leave to grandparents' house
    Fri/Sat. -- time with grandparents, drive back

    So that's 4-day PHs and four nights in a hotel to be named later. I have almost totally convinced myself to stay onsite, leaning toward the Disneyland Hotel with its recent redo and slides.

    Part of the attraction to staying onsite is the Early Entry, although I'm waiting to see if they change anything between now and then). It's a spring break week in AZ, less than three weeks before Easter, and I think crowds could be heavy -- Touring Plans currently has each day about an 8/10. If we can get up early (potential 7 a.m. EE :crazy2:) we could play hard all morning and relax/swim/shop in the afternoon before returning for night rides, shows, etc.

    I am thinking Goofy's Kitchen brunch for DS' birthday. Maybe also a visit to Carnation Cafe. Of course, we did those last time. It's so hard to branch out with four kids' opinions on food! But I don't want to eat pizza and burgers for every meal.

    I'd love your feedback, especially if anyone has had a great birthday experience with a meal or elsewhere in the parks.

    PHXscuba
     

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