QueenDoOver's Completed (REALLY!) TR for Jack and Nathan's Surprise Bday Trip

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by QueenDoOver, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Link to Completed Trip Report Post #50

    Just Kidding! It's not complete yet, but that is where it will be posted very soon. Just sort of Psyching myself up, ykwim??

    Pre-Trip below...


    The Cast:
    Me, Tracey Full-time working Mom, Long-Time Disney Magic advocate

    My son, Nathan, age 6 Has now been to DLR on 3 trips, and loves it as much as his Mom. Seriously, his training is coming along nicely.
    I had to show you this picture, which I just love. From 2007.

    [​IMG]

    My Dear Friend Carrie, Mom to 3 children age 5 and under. Always a working professional, but now a stay at home Mom. She has never been to Disneyland. Her entire family was scheduled to go with us the last time we went for 9 days and had even bought their airline tickets. Budget realities forced the cancellation of the trip.

    Jack, my son Nathan's bff, as he likes to say. age 5, turning 6 in October. He was so dissapointed when the family trip was cancelled. Really, his birthday is the reason that we have been able to schedule this DoOver trip. Oct 9 is his real birthday.

    Here are the two boys, and we expect to see a look something like this when they realize where they are at.

    [​IMG]
    Nathan is in Blue, Jack is in Green.

    When: Originally, I had planned a birthday trip with just me and Nathan on his birthday. When I mentioned to Carrie that I was going to do that, she said she would love to go along and bring just Jack. I thought that sounded really fun, and so we decided to just book the trip on either boys birthday depending on when we could get good airfare,and good hotel rates. Of course the first great airfares to pop up were for Jack's bday, so the date was set. October 8 to October 11th.

    ***I surely did not take into account the Columbus Day Holiday, which I know will make the park crazy busy, but I think I have the knowledge to handle the crowds, and we won't have any grumpy hubby's to work around so should be able to just cater to the boys and go with the flow.

    Where: Well, I am an AP holder, and if by some chance a really fabulous AP rate came out, I may be convinced to stay onsite, but otherwise, I am totally a HOJO fan. That being said, when one poster mentioned the great Super 8 deal on Katella, I couldn't help but check it out. So...it was just too good to pass up. We got our rooms for $34 a night, all taxes included, and also the little breakfast that they do, which is quite sufficient to get us started. This is a major budget trip for us, and the hotel savings allowed us to justify Mickey's TOT party.


    Well, that is enough for now. We have some plans made and I will continue later, but please, feel free to jump in and give feedback and advice. I have yet to plan the perfect trip, but I keep on tryin'.
     
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  3. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    As I mentioned, the determining time was based on great airfares. We actually got Seattle to Long Beach, and then Los Angeles to Seattle on Alaska Airlines for $139 rountrip with all fees. I thought that was pretty darn good! I Love Alaska Airlines and I love Long Beach Airport. I will tolerate LAX.

    The next thing I did was start pricing out how to get to and from the airport. Last year we used a Limo service by Harold, and it was split between 3 families, so was very reasonable. This year, even with two families, it was only about $15 more to take the limo both ways than to take the shuttles! I just love Harold. So, it was a no brainer and we will be riding in style in a Limo, and not sitting around waiting for a shuttle. Hope my son does not come to expect this type of ride or he will be in for a rude awakening. I know it would likely be less to rent a car, and if we were only doing Long Beach, then I may consider it, but I do not want to do any driving in LA.

    In regards to staying at the Super 8. I am concerned about the walk with the kidlets. Thinking we will splurge for a Taxi at the end of the day. We will have strollers, and I think the kids might pass out and nap in them if we stay at the parks all day and skip the mid day nap. Or...I just read about this. There is apparently a free shuttle that goes from the park to The Gardenwalk, which is right next door to the hotel. Anyone know if we might be able to take advantage of that?

    Well, no readers yet, but I am going to just plug away. I will post pictures next time.
     
  4. PrincessSarah314

    PrincessSarah314 Mouseketeer

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    I'm here and I'm reading! I'm sure others are reading too, just not posting! Can't wait to read more!:surfweb:
     
  5. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Well PrincessSarah! Welcome aboard. I am thrilled to see you here, as I was feeling a little bit lonely. I am determined to finish this report though as a matter of personal victory, whether anyone reads it or not. I recently read the term "thread orphan", and I must confess, I was starting to feel like one. But, I do read a lot and not post, as I am sure other people do to. With my new sensitivity though, I am trying to leave a little remark here and there.

    So on with the updates:

    I called Harold the Limo guy back, and gave up the credit card. He is such a sweet guy, I am telling you. He was referred to me by Amy in Seattle and has truly been a gem to work with. He is an older gentleman, and he loves to chat, so I always have to save an extra 15 minutes when I call.
    I know you all are probably dying to know the rates, and I am going to tell you, because I hate it when someone posts that they got a great value, but doesn't say what it is. So....$65 for the 4 of us to ride from Long Beach to Anaheim, and $85 to ride from Anaheim to LAX. Isn't that awesome? Shuttle is $10 per person from Long Beach to Anaheim, and $18 from Anaheim to LA. So it would have cost us $112 to do the shuttles. The Long Beach shuttle would have been fine, but I hate having to leave early to get the shuttle back to the airport. So we agreed that paying $20 (I know it is a bit more than the $15 I had previously mentioned, but I hadn't done the exact math yet!)extra per family was well worth the Limo ride.

    [​IMG]

    Ridin' in Style Baby!

    [​IMG]

    We won't need any of these lovely glasses on this ride.

    [​IMG]
    But we will likely eat a few pieces of the yummy candy!

    [​IMG]

    Our last ride with Harold, but with 9 of us!




    About the planning...did I mention that Carrie has 3 kids, ages 5, just turned 3, and little Maggie just turned 1. She is insanely busy, plus she is one of those Moms that thinks her house should be clean. I try to get her to embrace the idea of practicing the alphabet in the dust, but she just doesn't go for that. So, that leaves me to be the planner. I do send her links to pages to check things out, and I get cryptic messages back. Looks good. OK. Whatever you think.

    So far she has liked the idea of: The Matterhorn Sunday at Carnation Cafe, The Kitchen Sink Sunday at PCH, The cookie Boat at BB (Do you see a theme here?) Actually, she has liked all the food porn that I have sent her. For any of you that have not discovered the food thread, I will post it for your here:
    Click here to see fabulous pictures of favorite Disney Eats
    This is the last page because the thread was started in 2006, and is really long and out of date if you start at the begining, so work your way backwards:)

    I also have been telling her about Jedi Training, because both of our boys are complete Star Wars nuts. In February, we managed to get Nathan chosen for Jedi Training. Here is either a photo or a video. (Not sure how it will show up):

    [​IMG]

    okay, it appears to show up as a video, if you click it, you will see Nathan's moment of glory, fighting Darth Maul. We used the sign trick, and boy was I glad because there was a hord of kids there, all wearing star wars shirts, all looking the same. The Jedi Master has to be able to pick them out and describe them, in order for them to be chosen. Saying the kid with the sign is way easy, especially when there is only one of them. So we will be prepared with signs to make sure the boys get picked. They also will probably have their Halloween costumes on as little Padewans.

    And speaking of costumes...I have never been to the TOT party. So, when I realized that we were going in October, and then saw the dates of the party, I knew that we had to go. Given that we are arriving on Thursday evening at about 6:00 and are on a budget, it didn't make sense to try to buy a park day for Thursday. So it was going to just be a hotel night. Given our hotel, I was not too excited about that anyhow. So...I logged onto the AP website when tickets went up for sale, and yippee!!! I was able to get tickets to the party for our arrival night, Thursday Oct 8th. We will arrive right about the time the party starts, so hopefully everyone will already be through the gates and we can stroll right up and go in. I think the boys will be going on addrenalin by then and will have plenty of energy to make through the night. The other good part, our tickets were $26 each, which I thought was just awesome, and was easy to squeeze into the budget.
     
  6. PrincessSarah314

    PrincessSarah314 Mouseketeer

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    I love seniors. They are so lonely and always appreciate having someone to talk to; even a complete stranger!:lmao:

    I agree about people bragging about great deals and not giving prices. I always try to list prices in my TR's just because what I think is cheap or expensive doesn't necessarily fit anyone else's definitions.:rotfl:

    Really cute video of your son at SWW. Neat idea about the signs! My son always gets picked for things somehow:confused3, so the idea of making a sign has never crossed my mind!
     
  7. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    "plus she is one of those Moms that thinks her house should be clean. I try to get her to embrace the idea of practicing the alphabet in the dust, but she just doesn't go for that."


    :rotfl:



    What Super8 deal? Hmm? Must go a'googling...why? Because my surprisingly-enabling brother mentioned this morning (E and I are still in San Diego) "well you could always go back to Anaheim for a day or two", and I can't get it out of my head. :eek: But the ent dates are DONE for June! :sad1:


    "There is apparently a free shuttle that goes from the park to The Gardenwalk, which is right next door to the hotel. Anyone know if we might be able to take advantage of that?"

    I have no idea. We had the option for their shuttle, but that was b/c we were directed to park there (instead of at the disney structures). We chose to walk, instead, b/c the walkway comes out actually on Disney Way and was a very easy walk.
     
  8. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Hi Molly,
    So glad to see you here! The Super 8 deal is book it by the end of June, and then stay by the end of 09. Thursday to Sunday, or Friday to Monday, and it is 3rd night free. You have to play with it to get it to come out. I never could get Friday to Monday to come out. But what we did get for our trip was super! Of course October rates are way less than summer rates.
    Super 8 is on Katella, but apparently right next to GardenWalk. I am trying to figure out the shortest walk or walk/shuttle experience. Probably we will just end up walking and will splurge for a taxi at the end of the night if necessary.

    I was browsing for hotels for my two night stay that is coming up Oct 21 and 22 that is a layover from a business trip. I don't need anything fancy, but will have friends at HOJO for some of the time and a potential room for the 22nd at HOJO's, but I have not been able to get the entertainment rate and the room alone is more than I want to spend. Anyhow, found a sweet deal at Quality Inn on Manchester which is fairly close to HOJO for $48 a night. So, then I had to put in our dates for the little boys trip and it comes out to be $56 a night. So the dilemna begins: Should we stay at Quality Inn for about $35 more per family, or stick with our fabulous Super 8 deal?? Of course if HOJO offered the entertainment rate for our dates, I would snap that up in an instant! What to do???
     
  9. daisy_77

    daisy_77 <font color=blue>BL II - Blue Team<br><font color=

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    Tracey!

    Lovin' the PTR!!

    Way cute pic of your son in his Mickey costume.:goodvibes
     
  10. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Hi January! So glad you're here. It is fun to browse my past pics to enhance this report. Sort of like a trip report within a trip report.

    Hope to have time to add a bit more soon.
     
  11. BillyFan

    BillyFan <font color=deeppink>My white-trashiest chefy mome

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    Hey Tracey, I'm in for your trippie!
     
  12. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Hi Tina! Welcome aboard. Bring some of your yummy food with you when you come to visit next time:lmao:

    I have been adding pictures slowly, but will add more trippy stuff later.
     
  13. prettyprincessbelle

    prettyprincessbelle <font color=green>I'm just excited for the BBQ! Yu

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    Tra-tra-tra-Tracey!!!

    Nathan is just adorable! ;)

    I'm in for the ride!!
     
  14. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Hi Courtney! So glad to see you. With all my dis diva supporters, I am sure to finish this thing now! Oh, the pressure!
     
  15. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Park Hours and "The Plan"

    Thurs:
    We will only just have time to go to the TOT Party. I will be making a game plan for that, after I do a little more investigating. Suggestions are welcome.

    Fri: Park Hours DL 8AM to 12AM DCA 10AM to 6PM(based on last year)
    I am a big fan of being first in line, as you can see here:

    [​IMG]

    But given that we will be at the TOT party the night before, probably until 10, getting to sleep by 11, I am guessing that we won't be hopping out of bed at 6 the next morning. So, on this day, I will take it easy. I know the parks may be busy though, and will gather up fast passes as our day allows.

    I am guessing we will be at the parks around 9 (but hey, if the kids wake up, we may just throw ourselves together and get down there, even if we aren't in line early). We will go into DL and because it is their first time there, I am planning on letting them dilly dally and get photos and see characters, etc. (but, I think I will take a run down to Space Mountain and grab a set of FP's) I will encourage them to head up to Tomorrowland and probably try to get onto Buzz. Then, since the Jedi Training is such a must do, we will head to the first 10:30 show. Hopefully we will have everyone sitting down waiting by 10:00, munching on some french toast from Tomorrowland Terrace. (I will run for another FP set(thinking Big Thunder?) At this point, I am thinking the kids will have some strong desire to stand in line forever for Autopia, so I am prepared for that if I have to, and Nathan may insist on Space Mountain at this time, but I think we should warm Jack up to that one by doing some other rides first, but we will see how it plays out. I am positive that both of them will insist on Star Tours, and I plan on loading up on the Dramamine so that I can stand it.
    Summary Plan:
    Arrive at will, dilly dally, but gather fast passes
    10:30 Jedi Training, brunch from Tomorrowland Terrace
    11:15 Rides, dilly dally, shooting range, gather fast passes
    Train Ride, snack as needed from bags
    2:30 Musical Chairs with Alice??
    3ish Lunch at Stage Door Cafe as these boys adore chicken nuggets or we may splurge for the BBQ, or we could do Plaza Inn, or I am thinking we may do BB and then Carrie and I could split the surf and turf. Biggest problem is that there is nothing on the menu that the boys would eat. I am thinking of smuggling in some chicken nuggets for them, and then ordering the light up pirate drink and just let them enjoy the waterside show, while we have our delicous adult meal.

    Huh, just had a thought. Should we do the Welcome tour?? I have never done it, and probably don't need to, but would they enjoy it, even with the age of our kids?

    Still thinking about the rest of the day. Honestly, I sort of think that if we have strollers, and seperate and go for a "walk" someplace boring, like the Esplanade, these two will likely go down for a nap for an hour or two around 4, which may be just what they need to be able to make it to the fireworks. I am positive that if we go back to the room, they will not do any resting. If we could get them to sleep, we could then sit down and people watch for a while, so that we Mom's could make it to the end of the night.


    By the time everyone comes over from DCA we will have plenty of FP's in hand to make the crowds and lines bearable, and will do lots of just exploring during this time too. Maybe this is when we will explore pirate's lair, and look in the shops, take the train all the way around, and ride the Monorail, and the boats and whatnot.

    Sat: Park Hours DL 8AM to 12AM DCA 10AM to 10PM(based on last year)

    Carrie and Jack will have a magic morning, so on this day, I will get them there in time for that, to do FantasyLand. Probably not early to stand in line though. Nathan and I will go with them, and see if they will also let us in (I have heard of this happening), but if not, no big deal. We will be prepared for the wait with a Nintendo DS or something. We will be making a PS for breakfast with Minnie and Friends @ 8:00, so we can do that if we want to after MM is done. But I do hate to miss that morning time short ride fun, so may just make do with a faster breakfast, or perhaps we will have donuts in our pockets from the hotel.


    Sunday: Park Hours DL 8AM DCA 10AM (closing doesn't matter to us)
     
  16. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Well, I was just reading Sarah's trip report and she mentioned that she was was ordering her tickets from a convention. I then remembered that Gay Days would be happening around the time of our trip. So, I went and took a look. Woo Hoo! Carrie is going to be loving me. Just saved her around $50. She and Jack need tickets and were looking at $179 and $149 for 3 days. But if I order them from the Gay Days convention center, then it will be $154 and $124. That is about the amount of the Round Up BBQ we were thinking about splurging on...Now if I can figure out how to save myself $50 somehow.

    I know, I won't call and order those wonderful Haunted Mansion Pins that I have been conveting! Yippee! We're going to the BBQ!!

    If you want to see pictures of the BBQ, then click here

    1-714-781-DINE (3463) to make reservations 60 days out or August 9 for us.
     
  17. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Thought of you on Thurs and Fri!

    The way I drove in towards PPH took me along Katella, and omg there is almost no room between Super8 and Garden Walk. I took a pic with my cellphone as I drove out on Fri, but I don't have a way to get it to my computer (no package that includes emailing, no cord to get it onto my computer), but you have super8, then the driveway into the Katella side of the parking lot, and on the other side of the driveway is Bubba Gumps.

    I know that the walkway to the parks, when we parked at GWalk, was on the street parallel to and north of Katella, so if you walk I'd just walk along Katella (can't see it saving time to go through the parking structure), but I imagine you could just walk into the garage and find the buses...maybe, possibly. :)


    I just coudl'nt believe how CLOSE it was, though...so if you guys crave a bit of bowling during your trip, there's lanes at GW. :)
     
  18. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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    Thanks Molly. That is great to know. I am going to plan on walking into the parks, but will perhaps jump on the GW shuttle and take it back for a midday break, if I can force myself to take one. The we will know for sure if it is a time saver.
     
  19. tinkermell

    tinkermell <font color=purple>Th boards are going nuts!<br><f

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    Hi Tracey!

    Finally checking in on your Pre Trippie!! Great so far. Your boys are so cute too!

    I laughed at the part of "the pressure" from the divas!:rotfl2:

    Next.......popcorn::
     
  20. QueenDoOver

    QueenDoOver Dis Diva

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  21. tinkermell

    tinkermell <font color=purple>Th boards are going nuts!<br><f

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    Thanks!

    I'm going to go over the link from allears too. :banana:
     

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