PHXscuba's Club 33 Christmas

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

  1. Minnie Sue Oz

    Minnie Sue Oz DIS Veteran

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    Hi!

    I am all caught up and looking forward to seeing and reading all about your trip!:thumbsup2

    We have had to re arrange out big 4 castle trip until the end of 2015 now due to the DD's education and schooling, but, DH has surprised us by asking if we would like to go back for 2 weeks in September to get some more use out of our AP's???!!! Now who am I to go against him with a fabulous suggestion like that!?

    So, we are back again from September 5 through September 17. As soon as I get some free time I will be finishing off my Halloween report from last year and starting this years PTR!

    So, looking forward to more:cool1:
     
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  3. PHXscuba

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

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    My latest Canon is a little PowerShot Elph 310HS. Its best feature is the tiny size. DH often carries a PowerShot SX30IS, which is a bigger point and shoot with a barrel. He left it home this time because we were doing Photopass.

    I can't say for certain the woman had a bad record, only the kind of insurance that suggests it.:rolleyes: I actually feel kind of bad for her -- her car was likely totaled, her already sky-high rates will go up if she can even keep the insurance. Me, I have different van for a month. In the grand scheme of things it is a small blip for me.

    Those darn kids, always messing with our grand plans! I am so glad you'll get to come in September anyways. I am hoping to go back for my birthday the end of September -- I already have the "to do next time" list in my head. :scratchin

    PHXscuba
     
  4. PHXscuba

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

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    Today I am stalking DS16 via Photopass Plus. :idea:

    I sent my Photopass Plus card back with him on his band trip and they are at Disneyland today. We texted in the early afternoon he was in line for Grizzly River Run and said he had three rides' FPs for later. That's my boy!:thumbsup2

    So I logged onto my Photopass account just to see if he used it at all. Apparently they have made it onto Screamin', Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain so far. The best part -- he's sitting by GIRLS in all three photos!:lovestruc

    PHXscuba
     
  5. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    I would imagine that, for a 16-year-old boy, sitting next to girls could very well be the highlight of the trip!


    I thought of you today, PHX, and your Arizona residency.

    Every so often the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times will include some sort of promotional insert for another state, telling us to "Explore Nevada" or to visit "Hidden Colorado" or something. Occasionally we will get Alaska and Hawaii inserts too. I don't think I've ever seen an Oregon or Washington insert, though you would expect that those would be good states to 'plug' to the Californians who don't wish to travel very far. I'm always fascinated to see how cities and states that are famous for certain things are marketed to other states - I would be curious to see a "Discover California" brochure circulated to Texas residents, for example.

    Today's insert says, "Discover the Arizona Less Traveled," which, I suppose, means all of the other places that do not include the Grand Canyon. The "less traveled" places in Arizona that this insert recommends are Bullhead City, Kingman, Oatman, Lake Havasu (I thought that lots and lots of people traveled to Lake Havasu?), Parker and Yuma. There are also very colorful ads for Williams, Prescott, Bisbee and Cochise County (which is where I was born, but I didn't spend more than a week there before settling in California).

    Are any of those places good to visit, in your opinion?

    Somewhere in this Arizona travel promo it says, "Arizona. A refreshing getaway." What I found interesting is that in all but a few of the photos shown throughout this circular's pages, some sort of body of water is featured prominently. One photo after another shows a lake or river or...Waylon's Water World. It seems to me that the goal of this advertisement is to make sure we know that Arizona is not a completely dry state, and that we can find water there if we choose to leave California. I felt like the ad was really saying, "Look! We have water here too! Never mind that it is blisteringly, searingly hot...take a dip in the river!":beach:
     
  6. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    I have heard that there are more boats (or boat owners or something) in Arizona than in many "water" states. :) There are a lot of water activities almost anywhere you go, including some great water parts, lots of little (very little) rivers and lakes, etc. There are some really cool things in Arizona (like our cabin, which is at an elevation of about 9500 feet), and some really beautiful, interesting places, but we usually vacationed in California. :)
     
  7. PHXscuba

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

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    Sadly, despite living here for 15 years, there are a lot of places Sherry mentioned that I haven't spent much time in. In my defense, I've had little kids that have made some of the areas harder to get to or not interesting for my demographic. I know Yuma (sand dunes) and Lake Havasu (boating/spring break) are big with Californians, especially since they are on the border.

    In the summer, any outdoor activity in this area revolves around water. The reservoirs around here are very popular for boating. The other areas mentioned are smaller and depend a lot on tourists, both in and out of state.

    The Phoenix area does have some great hotel deals during the summer and some of their pool complexes are like water parks. The deals are mostly aimed at the locals for staycations, but I imagine a Californian who wanted a cheap getaway could benefit as well.

    PHXscuba
     
  8. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    I need one of those newspaper inserts!!

    We are thinking of taking a trip to Arizona in early June to do the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert :) The only time I've been in Arizona have been layovers on the way to Disneyland.
     
  9. PHXscuba

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

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    I know you love camping, so AZ is perfect for you! Sadly, I haven't been to the Painted Desert since I was a kid traveling through. Be sure to see the Petrified Forest and the Indian ruins in the area.

    The Painted Desert made me think of "Pecos Bill" from Melody Time. See, everything links back to Disney. ;)

    PHXscuba
     
  10. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Everything does link back to Disney!! Right now, when I think of the Grand Canyon I assume there are going to be dinosaurs there (like the DL RR).

    Really, I just want to take a mule ride down into the Grand Canyon, then my trip will be complete.

    Unfortunately, the Painted Desert will be a quick half day stop on the way to the Grand Canyon, but I'll look into the Petrified Forest and the Indian ruins.
     
  11. PHXscuba

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

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    OK, after a busy weekend I am back with Day 2. Don't worry, we'll get to the parks next!

    Day 2 -- Church, check-in, and crowds (Mar. 10, 2013)

    Most everyone in America lost an hour that night. Not us. Coming from AZ, we were already on the "right" time and didn't reset anything that night when we arrived. Come morning, we were conveniently already on Daylight Savings Time.

    We did let everyone sleep in. My boys (especially DS8) are early risers but the girls are Sleeping Beauties and DD13 was finally pried out of bed for breakfast about 9:30.

    We brought nice clothes for late-morning church with my parents -- Grandma loves to show off the grandkids. Since we had everyone freshly scrubbed, I made sure to get some pictures of the kids and my parents.

    [​IMG]

    I figured I should jump in one picture. I went looking for photos of myself with my mother a few years back and the few I could find from my adult years were usually my mother with me, holding a newborn. Not exactly my best look!

    [​IMG]

    We came home for a late lunch and my kids devoured my mother's kitchen. I always think they are so messy when we travel, but then I remember it's because there's no dog hoovering up the crumbs under the table!

    Before the kids changed, I handed out the T-shirts and got a positive response. Everyone agreed to wear them the next day.

    We repacked everything and finally left for Disneyland :hyper: about 3:00. During the short drive across Katella, I craned my neck to spot DCA, finally seeing a section of the Screamin' tunnel. We got to the Paradise Pier Hotel about 3:45. At the front entrance, I grabbed DS16, DD13 and our luggage (3 big suitcases and a cooler) and went inside. DH got directions to go back to the parking garage.

    There were about 3 people in front of me waiting to check in and I restrained my usual impatience looking around. DH and the little kids had parked (in the surface lot outside the parking garage) and joined us by the time we checked in.

    We got our keys and all was going well until they tried to print the World of Color Fastpasses that were part of the AP rate deal. They finally admitted they couldn't print them due to a system glitch. I wasn't real worried because I didn't need them until Wednesday, so I left.

    Our rooms were on the 5th floor, 535 and 537. That's the north end, sort of overlooking the pool patio (none of which was in use because the pool was closed). I was a little disappointed to not get an upgrade, but it was exactly what we'd ordered. The low floor came in handy in the mornings -- we just went down the north stairs and outside, bypassing the elevators and the lobby.

    The kids had to bounce on all the beds and toss around the beach ball pillows after DH and I claimed our room from the two connecting. We put our cold stuff -- milk, OJ, grapes -- into one fridge and some small electronics into the safe.

    We went downstairs to take a picture with Goofy:

    [​IMG]

    FINALLY, we were ready to walk over to DTD. We thought it would be a good time to test out the shortcut through the GCH (which was readily provided at check-in by the staff with a map and directions). After only one or two wrong turns -- DH was leading at the time, not sure why? -- we emerged into DTD.

    We strolled a bit and then I left the family at World of Disney to go upgrade my ticket to an AP and activate my Photopass Plus.

    The first sign of trouble was the lines at the ticket booths:

    [​IMG]

    For 4:30 on a Sunday, they were long-looking. I was still a little confused about the process, so I went to the gates (20 people deep to get in) and asked how I upgraded. They told me I could go into the park and have my picture taken, but I would still need to return to the ticket booths for the actual upgrade.

    And then I realized -- I didn't even have my Photopass Plus voucher with me! :( It was safely back in the hotel!!! At this point I abandoned my initial plan and returned to the family. I'd have to go back later once I had my act together.

    Sidebar: We'd discussed how we all knew people going to Disneyland that week and made it a little game to see who spotted someone they knew first. DD13 won, in the first hour in DTD, when she spotted someone from school.

    Everyone voted for dinner, despite the late lunch. I pointed out Tortilla Joe's Taqueria (the CS part) and we agreed to find something there. I knew we wouldn't be eating a lot of Mexican food inside the parks, so it seemed liked a different option.

    It was OK. They made our order pretty quickly and I was annoyed I didn't already have my AP for the discount. The quesadillas and DH's steak burrito were good; my chicken tacos were just OK. The kids meal side choices were not as good -- little rabbit DD10 wanted the "salad" and they told her it was just shredded lettuce.:confused3 They got fruit and cookies instead. The cookies were hard and basically inedible.

    We went into a couple more stores, including the newly remodeled Lego store ...

    [​IMG]

    ... but I could tell the family (at least the male half) was getting tired of shopping. It was fairly busy all around.

    We all went back to the hotel so the kids could poke around their room and see what was on TV. I got my Photopass Plus voucher and the gift cards I was going to use for the AP upgrade. DS16 said he wanted to come along, so I told him I would enjoy the company. He is so busy these days that I rarely get one-on-one time with him.

    We fought our way through DTD and went through security. The line for the ticket booths was still as long, but it only ended up being about a 20 minute wait (our first Disneyland line! I told DS). The nametag on the girl at the ticket booth was from Chandler, which is very close to us. She said she had started on a college program but was now a seasonal employee. It took a few minutes for the upgrade and I was then the very proud owner of a Deluxe AP!! :cool1:

    Since DS16 didn't have a ticket, he waited outside on the esplanade while I went into Disneyland to get my Photopass voucher and have my picture taken. I found the camera shop pretty quickly but couldn't resist taking one quick shot of the castle.

    [​IMG]

    Note the mass of humanity in the foreground. I'm glad we didn't try to enter the parks that night. It was busy and we would have been tired and grumpy to start our vacation.

    The Photopass activation went swiftly and then the cameraman right in the store entrance took my picture for the AP (remember this; it becomes a saga later)

    I resisted the urge to do just one ride and rejoined DS. We were glad we had our jackets when it cooled off quickly after the sun went down.

    Back at the PPH, I put together my park bag for the next day and convinced the kids to go to bed at 8:30 since we would be up early. I was worried they would be too hyper to fall asleep, but they all must have conked out quick -- none of them heard the fireworks booms an hour later.

    PHXscuba
     
  12. Minnie Sue Oz

    Minnie Sue Oz DIS Veteran

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    Can't wait to hear about your first day in the park! And a saga too! Wow, this report has everything! Great pics of you and the family!

    Looking forward to more!
     
  13. PHXscuba

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

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    Yes, the Great AP Photo Saga of '1 3 is part of this trip report. More on that later ... :rolleyes:

    GREAT NEWS for my trip report! I just ordered my Photopass CD via digital download and should have it within a few days! That means I should be able to put the photos into the trip report in order as they come! That makes my orderly brain so happy! The other choices were delaying the TR until I got the CD, or putting the PP pictures up later out of order, and I didn't like either option.

    Stay tuned; I promise the next installment will have more photos and less of me yammering!

    PHXscuba
     
  14. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    I love the photos with your parents!

    I've never gotten the Plus version of PhotoPass - only the regular PhotoPass. Are you only getting the digital download versions of the files, or are they sending you the CD in addition to the digital files?

    At this point I almost wonder, what would a trip to DLR be without some kind of saga? I practically expect the sagas on my trips, so I am comforted to know that sagas are occurring on other trips too (though not if they are horrendous events, of course, but just momentary inconveniences!)!

    Did I read correctly that you all took a wrong turn on the shortcut path? I did too, on my very first solo run on the shortcut route back in 2008!:rotfl2: Obviously I made it from the PPH to the GCH just fine - it's hard to miss the GCH right across the street - but I took a wrong turn once inside the GCH and didn't end up where I wanted to be. Then I had to backtrack. (And, coincidentally, it was also when I was headed to the ticket booths to take care of getting my AP!:rotfl2:)

    Of course, once you realize exactly where you're going along the shortcut you never forget it, as I'm sure you discovered! I didn't know that the PPH was handing out maps for the shortcut? When did they start doing that? They used to direct people to take a rather circuitous route that bypassed the GCH entirely.

    Another thing that parallels your trip - on that 2008 trip, when I got lost on my first solo shortcut run, my room was also on the 5th floor of the PPH...facing the pool area!!
     
  15. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    I'm so jealous that you didn't actually have to switch times! That was an issue for us, since our kids normally go to bed at 7:30 (AZ time). With shorter hours already, we didn't feel like leaving before park closing! I'm excited to hear how the rest of your trip went and to see you pictures!
     
  16. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    Nice to hear that you got to upgrade your ticket to the DAP. It looked really busy that day. Can't wait to read your first day at the parks.
     
  17. PHXscuba

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

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    They gave me a resort map at check-in and drew all over it where to go. I overheard them doing the same for another guest when I visited the desk another time.

    As for getting lost, I was lagging behind with little ones while DH and the two tall kids were in front, so when we should have turned left at the lobby, they continued down the hall next to it. We got outside before they/I realized we were headed for the DCA entrance instead of DTD. I think I knew before they did, but I didn't want to yell in the lobby and knew we wouldn't get far if they were lost.

    My kids are a little older, so even the youngest goes to bed 8/8:30 at home. He was a trooper -- even at WDW at 6.5, he did great.

    It was busy that first night. I could tell from the time we got to DTD. I think I entered Disneyland right after the parade (they were still sweeping up on Main Street), which probably made it look even more busy right then.

    ********

    I got all of my Photopass pictures downloaded digitally (only took 1.5 hours to arrive once I ordered it) and I'm trying to get them organized with my trip pictures. I may make a short detour and do a single post on my son's visit to DLR last weekend, just because teenagers are (unintentionally) hilarious and I'm grateful my son still likes Disney stuff.

    And DD10 wants to be Walt Disney for her famous American project at school!! :cool1: Finally, a project I don't mind helping her research!

    PHXscuba
     
  18. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    I got my pressed penny!! I loved how the return address on the envelope was PHXScuba :thumbsup2

    It definitely brightened my dull day to see it, and it is now sitting in a place of honor on my desk :)
     
  19. PHXscuba

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

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    Yay! I wanted you to know who it was from, not some random chain letter (do those even exist anymore or is it all on FB now?) Lynne G got hers too, so mission accomplished.

    PHXscuba
     
  20. PHXscuba

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

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    (A brief detour -- DS16's trip and Photopass pictures)

    I don't usually write trip reports that I haven't been on, but I'll make a brief exception because it dovetails so nicely with our recent trip.

    Less than four days after returning home to AZ, DS16 and 250 of his closest band and orchestra friends packed up 6 buses and went to Orange County for a band/orchestra festival. They competed (and received a superior -- the best rating possible), had a clinic at Chapman College, went to the symphony, visited Newport Beach, and of course Disneyland. I got to see some of the trip through Facebook photos my son was tagged in.

    They got into DCA about 10:30 and FPs for RSR were gone, so they didn't wait standby (good choice). They got on all the "big rides" in both parks. DS and his horn section met up for dinner at Ralph Brennan's. We had looked at the menu together beforehand and I was a bit nervous that he would pay $$$$ for food he wouldn't like -- he's not the world's most adventurous eater. But he had and loved the Southern Fried Chicken. He also ate the churro I didn't get. :(

    I sent my Photopass Plus card back with DS because it was still active and I figured they could get a few ride photos that turned out better than snapping a picture with their cell phones. DS has a goofy old denim jacket of DH's that he wear when he travels, so you can pick him out


    They took up the entire back row in Tower of Terror. I think his friend on the far left was trying the penny trick.

    [​IMG]

    Gotta love the expressions on Screamin. After the many times he rode it on our trip (more on that later), DS is acutely aware of where the camera is.

    [​IMG]

    Seriously, how do you fall asleep on Space Mountain?;)

    [​IMG]

    I saved the cutest picture for last. They didn't realize until they looked at the ride photo that DS' friend had used the opportunity to ask one of the girls in the log to prom! Sweet and stealthy. How adorable.

    [​IMG]

    I have guests in town for a family event this weekend and they will be taking over my time and my home office. I promise I will be back after the weekend with actual park photos.

    PHXscuba
     
  21. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    So fun! I love all the goofy ride pictures. I know where the cameras are, but I don't know people do funny/bored poses on them. On Splash I'm always trying hard to keep my hands up until I see the flash and then I grab on for dear life!
     

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