The Marathon Homeschool Trip - 12 days of Travel (8 at DLR)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Escape2Disney, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Escape2Disney

    Escape2Disney Friendly Neighborhood Disney Fanatic!

    Feb 24, 2009
    It was time again for Not Back to School Days! Last year I had every intention of writing a trip report, but only managed to finish the pre-trip-report! I took notes most every day this time to be sure I posted a TR. I'll upload pictures over the next few days...

    Cast of Characters:
    • ME (39) - Disney lover who has been to the park a dozen or so times.
    • SD (2) - My awesome service dog
    • DD (16) - Disney lover who has been to the park a dozen or so times. This trip was planned for her so she could attend a homeschool conference and homecoming dance.
    • DF1 (Promised I wouldn't say) - Relatively new to Disney - 2nd time with us
    • DF2 (again, can't say) - Also new to Disney and 2nd time with us
    • DF3 (39) - Hasn't been since before DCA
    • DF4 (9) - Only been one other time
    • DF5 (19) - Not sure if/when she attended before
    • DF6 (Not sayin') - Not sure if/when she attended before
    At 7:00 Am, we started our journey with a drive it Sacramento. DD took the first leg of the trip because it was most familiar to her. Once we hit the Siskiyou pass, I took over and got us to Redding.

    Once again, DD drove since I was falling asleep at the wheel. She got us to the airport exit, and I took us the rest of the way into town to meet with friends.

    DD spent 2 hours with her friend while I saw my friend . Once we left there, we headed to where we were staying for the night. We shared dinner with some friends and got to bed early so we wouldn't miss our 9am flight.

    It was a LONG day of traveling! We got up at 5 to make a 9am flight. Our friend was kind enough to get up with us and drive the 45 minutes to the airport. When we arrived at the airport, we found out that our flight was cancelled! We were placed on the one leaving at 1:22 instead. At this
    point, our friend had already left. Sitting in those hard, airport chairs was becoming painful, so we called another friend to come hang out with us. We left the airport and went to Mimi's for breakfast. It was nice to catch up with her, especially since she's moving across the country soon!

    Once we boarded the plane, all was good. It was a smooth ride, and we arrived a few minutes early. SD handled the trip like a trooper. He wasn't thrilled about the takeoff, but all in all it was just fine. Our friends DF1 and DF2 picked us up and drove us to their place in Oceanside. The ride was
    uneventful (aside from a few carsick moments).

    DF2 and DD went to get chinese food for dinner while DF1 kept me company while I tried to rest my back. It was a pretty painful day, but that's expected with the travel. We turned in early to be ready for the next day.

    For some strange reason I was up at 4:30! Good news is it gave me a chance to watch the sun rise and spend a little time with SD. Everyone else woke up around 7. We were slow to get ready, which was just fine with me! It was nice to have a leisurely morning with friends who understand it takes me a while to get going.

    We headed down to Ruby's on the pier for lunch, and spent a couple of hours at the Oceanside Art Museum. Every time we've ever gone they have had a wonderful display! When we left the museum, DD and DF2 went down to the beach (DF2 on a boogie board and DD swimming) while DF1 and I had a frozen yogurt. I was EXHAUSTED, but happy to see DD having a good time! It was also nice to catch up with friends.

    We headed back to their house and had dinner before turning in for the night.

    Last night I had a better night's sleep. We decided to go to Balboa Park to see some of the international houses and museums. We got there a few minutes before they opened, so parking was a breeze! We took a stroll around the rose garden, then dropped DD and DF2 off at the science museum to watch the IMAX movie about the hubble space station. DF1 and I checked out a flower display and did some window shopping while waiting. We started going through the international houses until the Ukranian performance started.

    DD watched and got some great pictures! I found a nice shady spot for SD and I to hang out while she watched. We went to dinner at Soup Plantation before going back to the house to call it a day.

    First day at DISNEY!

    We arrived at Disney's Grand Californian. I love the check-in process at this hotel! So smoothe and so courteous! It's a wonderful way to start a vacation. The room wasn't ready when we arrived at 10AM, but was by noon. We decided to start our day in DCA. This is the first time I didn't start a Disney trip by going through the front gate of Disneyland. It was
    fast, but it just wasn't the same. We stopped for breakfast at the foodcourt where DD and I had scrambled egg bowls from Pacific Wharf, and DF1 and DF2 had a chicken burrito plate from the Mexican restaurant. Not wanting to endlessly navigate construction walls, we decided to head over to Walt's Park!

    There is something calming about walking into the park - even on a rediculously crowded day! We decided to stick with the smaller, less populated rides. We quickly discovered there was no such thing today. Even Winnie the Pooh ride had a long line! We started with Mr. Lincoln, then took a spin on Buzz Lightyear. Next we shot across the park and ended up on Winnie the Pooh. Our origial plan was to ride the canoes, but
    the line was simply too long. We all took a trip through the Tiki Room next. To get out of the sun we headed over to Innoventions. Unfortunately Asimo wasn't up and working yet for the day, so we'll have to go back later in the week (never actually accomplished this).

    At this point it was time to say goodbye to our wonderful friends. We headed back to the hotel for a nap while they made the long drive back to their house. We'll miss them, but surely do this again some day.

    We took a nice long rest and then headed back to the park to make our 6:30 reservations at Cafe Orleans. We started with Pomegranite lemonade and pomme frittes. DD had the Ratatouille and I had the chicken Crepes. I'm I was so stuffed I could hardly move! We headed over to the Jungle
    Cruise next, where the skipper kindly agreed not to fire the gun during the ride. This was SD's first ride after a LONG weekend, and I was afraid he'd start barking. He was a good skipper - funny and energetic.

    We took another round on Buzz Lightyear and both improved our scores (yeah!). By that time it was 8:00, and the fireworks start at 9:30. We decided to opt out of the fireworks since that are pretty difficult for SD. He could handle them on a good day, but the first day at the parks is something to get used to. Instead we took the monorail to DTD, grabbed an ice cream on the way back to the room, and decided to call it a

    Crazy, crazy day! Not Back to School Days starts tomorrow, so we focused on getting participants registered today. DD and I took advantage of Early Entry to spend an hour in the park before it was time to get to work. We managed to ride everything that was open in Fantasyland other than the carrousel and matterhorn in 45 minutes! What a HUGE improvement over yesterday! I'm so happy the holiday crowds were gone. SD got into a routine quickly and knew where to lay down on each ride. He seemed to really like the breeze on Dumbo (It must have felt like riding in the car). It really felt like a Disney trip once we were on Peter Pan.

    The conference check-in process was busy, but organized. It was fun meeting other homeschooling families! While I worked, DD spent some time in the parks with teens from other families. When they got back, they played cards until around 10. A few of us worked till 11 on conference paperwork before crashing for the night.

    EARLY morning! The conference MICKEY breakfast and late registration started at 7:30, so we had to be downstairs at 7. We had a good routine, which was good because there were hundreds of people going every direction! DD checked in for her Leadership Y.E.S. class at 9, and the class lasted longer than usual. Thankfully we had some groceries in the
    room because she missed lunch. She had a good time in the class. I had to take a couple of naps today because my body seemed to be protesting the long hours. Today was all about the conference and resting - no time in the parks. I'm hoping my back doesn't get in the way the rest of the week!

    DD took a long rest in the afternoon, then helped me at the conference until about 6. Then it was time for her to go back to the room and get ready for the Homeschool Homecoming Dance! What a great activity and all of the teens seemed to have such a wonderful time.

    Another early morning. The conference princess breakfast at 7:30, so back down to the registration table at 7. DD was in her YES class, and I was busy working with scavenger hunt participants. No park time today.

    Thankfully it was a short conference day! DD and I were really missing eachother! After taking care of the breakfast/lunch check-ins and scavenger hunt distribution, we spent a few hours together in the park. We had a nice dinner at Wine Country Trattoria and rode a few rides. DF3, DF4, DF5, and DF6 showed up in the evening. DD and DF4 graciously agreed to do laundry and chit-chat while DF3, DF5, DF6 and I went to Jazz Kitchen. Since DD and I had already eaten, I had a couple of Binnets while they ate dinner. It was nice spending time just hanging out with them. We came back to the room so I could get off my feet for a
    while and fell asleep around 11.

    We got up at 6 to attempt early entry. We didn't quite make it by 7, but still managed to beat the majority of the crowds. Mr Toad and Snow White were both down, so we rode Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Dumbo, Tea Cups, and Alice. DD and I headed back to the hotel to distribute more scavenger hunts while DF3 and DF4 road Space and Matterhorn. We met up a bit later and all 6 of us rode Pirates and Jungle Cruise. We had
    a nice lunch at Carnation Cafe before I had to get back to the hotel for a rest...I was fading fast! We got up at 2 so DD could make the talent show sound check. Unfortunately my body wasn't cooperating, so I headed back to the room to rest my back. Very frustrating since we finally had some time to hang out at the park!

    Thankfully the meds and rest did a bit of good and I was able to go to the talent show in the evening. DD did a great job with her kata, and I was able to say goodbye to some of the families we met.

    We woke up early this morning to go to our 8:10 AM reservation for Minnie and Friends. It's so much fun to hang out with the crazy characters at that restaurant! They were full of energy since we were with the first seating of the day. We saw Minnie, Chip, Fairy Godmother, Captain Hook, Pooh, and Eyeore. We were able to go on a few attractions before taking a rest, though I don't remember in what order. They included Tiki Room, Pirates, Canoes (just DD), and Winnie the Pooh. DF3 and her family opted to go on more adventurous rides while we were going on Cannoes and Pooh. Then we went to see Bill Hill and the Hillbillies. It was such a funny show! We love it every time we see it.

    DD and I were getting tired, so we got a Jamba Juice and headed back to the hotel for a nap. When we woke up, we rode Soarin' and Monsters Inc before meeting the rest of the group to watch Drawn to the Magic. We all spent some time in the animation building before heading to dinner at WCT. DD and I enjoyed the meal, as did DF3 and DF6. DF4 and DF5 were restless though.

    After dinner we split up - DD and I went back to Disneyland for a bit, then back the hotel to rest up before our Fantasmic show @ 10:30. We rested for a while, then DD went to check us in. It's so nice to have a teenager who can navigate the park! She came back for a bit, then we headed over to watch the show while DF3 hung out with SD in the hotel room.

    We had so much fun at the show! Maybe it was because we were so tired, but we giggled for a 1/2 hour before the show started! It was a great show, but no dragon. She broke down a couple of weeks ago, and they don't think she'll be operational before the holidays. No big deal - we got to see her last year!

    By the time the show was over, it was really late. We headed back to the hotel. SD had had a little mishap. Apparently the fireworks were really loud tonight. He got spooked and darted under the bed. We let him sleep there until he calmed down. Unfortunately some time in the middle of the night he got stuck. DF3 and DD had to pick up the end of the bed for him to get out. He never went under the bed again the entire trip!

    Our friends left this morning, so it was time to say goodbye to them. Hopefully we'll be able to see them soon. DD and I headed to the park about an hour after opening. We took some pictures with the characters. Last year, SD was terrified of any of the fully costumed characters. This year they were able to pet him without issue! We got some great photos of him!

    We rode (in no particular order) Pirates, Jungle Cruise, and Indy (DD only). We went to Rancho for lunch before heading back to the hotel for a nap.
    We headed back to Disneyland mid-afternoon and rode pirates again and went window shopping for a bit before our 5:30 reservation at Cafe Orleans. Both DD and I had Ratatouille.

    After dinner we window shopped some more and rode our way through Fantasyland before it was time to go back to the hotel. We spent the evening packing our bags so we could go to the park for a bit in the morning.

    With bags packed, we were free to spend time in the parks this morning. We had our bags taken downstairs and hurried off to Early Entry. DD rode the Matterhorn, then we both rode Alice. She took a spin on Tea Cups before we went on Dumbo.

    We took one last trip on Peter Pan, she got to do her last trip on Indy. We rode Jungle Cruise, then finished our shopping on Main Street. We finished the morning with an early lunch at Cafe Orleans. We took the monorail back to DTD so DD could buy a purse and sunglasses she's been waiting
    for. The bell hop at the hotel got us a cab quickly, and we were at the airport by 1:00. It was too early, but we didn't know how long it would take to get a cab.

    Now we're waiting in the airport for our flight home. It was a great trip, but now I'm ready to go home and sleep in my own bed!

    Pictures to follow soon....

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