The WDW Vets Head West! A DL May 2012 TR - Complete!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by khertz, May 23, 2012.

  1. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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  3. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    First, a little bit of an introduction. Here’s a picture of us from Mother’s Day this year, the day before we left for California.

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    And now for the trip details!

    WHO?

    There are three players in this TR!

    First up is me! I’m 26 years old, and a pediatric nurse dreaming of being a Disney Travel Agent. :love: I love planning Disney World trips, and had a blast planning our very first family trip to Disneyland this time around. I have been to WDW 9 times with my 10th time coming up later this year in October, so I was more than a little excited to be able to visit the original park.

    Next up is my wonderful DH! He was 27 at the beginning of this trip, but turned 28 on the day we were leaving DLR. He’s an electrical engineer by trade, but also a fantastic husband to me and dad to our little boy. His favorite Disney character is definitely Donald Duck, without a doubt, and he also enjoys collecting and trading Vinylmations. This was his second visit to Disneyland park, but his first visit to DCA and his first long trip to DLR.

    And last but certainly not least is our adorable little boy Paxton! He is currently 19 months old, and has been to Disney World once at 12 months old, but this was also his first visit to Disneyland Resort. What an entirely different experience! It was a little more difficult this time around to keep him occupied in ride lines and to move around with him in general because he’d rather walk than be held or in the stroller most of the time. He loves Elmo & Mickey Mouse about equally these days.

    WHAT?

    4 days and 4 nights at the Disneyland Resort. DH and I used our Premier Annual Passes for the second time. We flew in on Delta airlines and had a rental car to get us around from Advantage.

    WHERE?

    DH and I are Wyndham owners, and we were able to book a 1 bedroom unit at the Wyndham Dolphin’s Cove Resort, just a couple of blocks away from DLR. I think when I timed it, the drive to the Mickey & Friends parking structure was about 6-7 minutes total, which made it great for going back to the resort for a midday nap.

    WHEN?

    Our trip went from May 14-18. We had a little time in the park on Monday afternoon after we arrived, and three full days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before flying out on Friday.

    WHY?

    We took this trip for a couple of different reasons. What started it initially was about a year ago when DH was in California for work and took a day trip to DL when he had some downtime. When he came back, he started talking with his dad about us all visiting Seattle sometime this May for his grandmother’s 75th birthday. This sounded great because DH’s family in Seattle (my FIL’s mother, sister & her husband, and brother) had never met Paxton, and DH’s grandmother is now too sick to really travel at all. As we thought about it, DH thought that if we were already making our way across country from Louisiana, might as well take advantage and add on some DL days to make it a long vacation instead of flying all the way to Seattle just for a few days. After talking with his dad, who said anytime in May was fine, we settled on our dates. Fly in to LAX on Monday the 14th, stay through Friday the 18th when we would fly from LAX to Seattle, stay the weekend, and fly home from Seattle to New Orleans on Monday the 21st.

    So those are the basics for this trip! I hope you will join me as I share my very first Disneyland experience with you! I will also most likely make a couple of posts to share some pictures and videos from our weekend in Washington state to round out the vacation, but you are more than welcome to ignore that if you are only interested in the DLR portion. I won’t be offended! Lol
     
  4. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    DAY 0: Sunday May 13th

    As a little precursor to our trip, we celebrated Mother's Day with my family in the New Orleans area. This served 2 purposes, the first of course being to celebrate Mother's Day, and the second to be closer to the New Orleans airport where we'd be flying out from the next morning. I started off the day with some Mickey shaped eggs and a biscuit from my wonderful DH.

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    We finished packing up our last minute things and got all of our bags into the car.

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    Luggage wise, we had one large and one medium suitcase to check, one carry-on suitcase, two backpacks, a camera bag, an overnight bag of stuff to use that night at my mom's house, plus our stroller, DS's carseat, our cat in her carrier, and flowers for our moms for mother's day. All squeezed into our little Honda Civic along with the three of us for the two hour drive to my parents' house! It was quite a smushed ride, but we made it.

    DS had fun playing with my cousins, which was wonderful because it got him thoroughly tired out for that night in preparation for a VERY early morning!

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    We got him to bed a little later than normal, around 9 pm, in hopes that between that and getting up early, he'd sleep for most of the flight. DH and I went to bed not long after and definitely did not get a good night's sleep! Unfortunately, this is pretty typical at my parents' house for me, so I was not surprised. I don't know what it is about their house, but I cannot sleep well there! At 11 pm I was getting up to disable their two automatic fragrance dispensers because the little puffing noises every 9 minutes were driving me crazy. I think I fell asleep somewhere around midnight. And just in time, because our alarms were set for 4:30 am!

    DAY 1: Monday May 14th

    Our alarms went off not-so-bright & early Monday morning, and we immediately jumped into action. DH and I quickly got dressed and brushed our teeth before waking up DS. We got him dressed and made him a cup of milk and a piece of toast to take in the car, and we left for the airport by 5 am. My dad drove us in our car, so I was squished in the backseat next to DS in his carseat. It was a little uncomfortable, but it made it easier to give him the toast without making a mess!

    We arrived at the airport at 5:30 am and it was a total mess! The line to check bags was stretching way out of the switchbacks and the nearby security line looked outrageous. I didn't think there was any way we'd make it on our flight! But we printed our boarding passes, checked our bags, and actually found out we needed a different terminal than the one with the insane security line. When we went over to the other terminal, the security line was MUCH more manageable! We made it to our gate with about 5 minutes to spare before family boarding started at 6:35 am. Just enough time to get a gate check tag for the stroller and fill Paxton's sippy cup with water from the fountain.

    The three of us got onto the plane with family boarding and DH quickly got DS's carseat strapped into the window seat of our row.

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    Mr. Cheesy at 7 am!

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    Just as the plane started to take off, our hopes and dreams came true, and DS conked out! I was still pretty tired from running off just 4 hours of sleep, so I closed my eyes and tried to nap too. It was all going according to plan until about 30 minutes into the flight when the guy in the seat behind DS got up by pulling on DS's seat and woke him up. :mad: Then he was awake for the rest of the flight, which was a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes. Luckily I had a backpack absolutely busting with stuff for him to do!

    We worked our way through a couple of the toys, and he watched some Sesame Street on the iPad. After a little bit I had to switch seats with DH so that he could entertain DS and I could get more sleep because I was quickly running out of gas and I wanted to be able to enjoy our first day in Disneyland.

    He got a little cranky on descent and absolutely refused to drink from his sippy cup, so that was a little frustrating, but we finally landed a little after 9 am California time. We took our time getting off the plane, and let most of the other people get off first since we had to unbuckle the carseat and get all of our bags. When we got off the plane, the three of us took a bathroom break since I had figured taking DS out of his carseat during the flight would be a bad idea unless absolutely necessary. By the time we made it down to baggage claim, the carousel had stopped running and our bags were nowhere in sight!

    After a bit of a panic attack, we finally found an airline attendant off to the back who had pulled them off the carousel and was holding them there. Relieved, we gathered up our bags and headed out to wait for the shuttle to our rental car counter. Just as we were starting to think one was NEVER coming (meanwhile about a dozen buses for Hertz, Avis, National, etc had come and gone), an Advantage shuttle finally arrived and we were on our way...only to stand in ANOTHER long line to get the rental car! So long in fact, I had time to feed DS his lunch and he fell asleep in the stroller while waiting for DH to get through the line and finish the transaction.

    We got out to the parking lot to find our car, a Nissan Altima.

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    At this point, the stress of trying to get all of the luggage and stroller to fit in the car was starting to get to DH. And unfortunately, I forgot to remind him to grab the directions to the resort from his backpack, and he had to practically take everything out of the trunk that he had just figured out how to get in to get them from his backpack. Oops. :guilty: But he was able to get everything to fit, and we were on our way to our resort.

    It was about a 40 minute drive out to Anaheim, and DS slept for the last half. We actually passed Disneyland on the way to the resort, and it was so strange to see Tower of Terror and other attractions from the street! So different than WDW.

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    We arrived at Dolphin's Cove, and since DS was still sleeping, I stayed in the car with him while DH went inside to check-in and find out if our room was ready. Luckily, it was!! We drove around to our building and found our room on the second floor. DS was a little cranky to wake up, but he perked up as soon as we set him down inside and let him have run of the place!

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    The master bedroom

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    Living room

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    Living room, dining room, and small kitchen​

    It was not a huge unit by any means, but enough space for the three of us and our stuff, and it had everything we needed (except a dish sponge! One of these days I will remember to pack my own because so few Wyndham resorts have them!).

    After unpacking our clothes and toiletries, we made a quick run to Target for groceries and stopped at Jack in the Box for lunch for myself & DH on the way back to the room to drop off the food. We repacked my backpack with stuff for the parks, and it was time to head out for our first look at Disneyland!

    UP NEXT: A spooky start to the vacation
     
  5. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Great start! Too bad Paxton wasn't able to sleep for a little bit longer. It could have been worse though...

    I look forward to reading about Disneyland through the eyes of WDW veterans!:thumbsup2
     
  6. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Oh yes, it definitely could have been worse, and I'm thankful it wasn't! We actually got at least one compliment on how well behaved he was on every flight. He definitely has his moments, but he is pretty good considering.

    Glad you made it over here!
     
  7. disneybarbie

    disneybarbie Disney Princess

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    Subscribing! Can't wait to hear about your Disneyland trip :goodvibes

    Btw I like the 'California' licence plate on the rental car :cutie: .. I think it's so nice that each state has its own design, here all cars just have the same style lol.



    Emma princess: x
     
  8. Joyciemc

    Joyciemc DIS Veteran

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    Great start- can't wait to see what Paxton thinks of DL!
     
  9. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Too funny about the license plates! :laughing: I am so used to all of the states having their own design, I think it would be funny to see them all the same.

    Thanks for joining in!
     
  10. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    I am so in on this!

    No comments yet, though...
     
  11. KTgE

    KTgE Mouseketeer

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    Subscribing! I've been off the last two months and just got caught back up on your WDW PTR and decided to hop over here. :)
     
  12. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Welcome aboard!

    Glad you made it! I'm still trying to catch up on everything I missed being gone for a week. :goodvibes
     
  13. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Is that a Hidden Mickey in the living room I see? UGh...Disney on the brain.
     
  14. ash-n-brensmom

    ash-n-brensmom DIS Veteran

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    Hey! I am here and loving every scrap of info so far...I know, not much yet, but as a fellow Wyndham owner I was so interested in seeing those pics!:thumbsup2 The unit looks well maintained and very neutral in decor...right up our alley...just might have to think about going to DL/DCA soon!

    Can't wait to read more and more and more!;)
     
  15. ash-n-brensmom

    ash-n-brensmom DIS Veteran

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    I see it, I see it!!:lmao:
     
  16. Imagineer5

    Imagineer5 DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! But not reading yet....have to get through the long weekend first! Will be back next week! So glad you started! :cool1:
     
  17. Disluvney

    Disluvney Earning My Ears

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    Subscribing...Can't wait to hear more about your trip :)
     
  18. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    A friend on Facebook said the same thing when she saw this picture!

    The unit was just perfect for our needs. The only thing I was not crazy about was the window air conditioner unit in the living room. Our problem was that DS was almost always either napping or sleeping for the night in the living room, so we'd have our door closed to our bedroom until we went to bed at night. The living room would be nice and chilly while our bedroom would stay warmer for awhile until the air was able to circulate through when we opened the door. We like to keep our house cold at night, so this was a big change! We only had a 1 bedroom so I'm not sure if the bigger units have more than one window unit.

    We also had a small balcony, which I forgot to get a picture of! And the units were outdoor facing, which I have never liked as much as WBC with their indoor corridors. But in all honesty, there wasn't much noise coming from people walking past the door, most of the noise was from the construction they were doing on the street. We would be happy to stay here again, if for nothing else than the quick access to DL!

    Understood, just happy to see you here! :goodvibes

    :welcome: Happy to have you along!
     
  19. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    DAY 1 Continued: Monday May 14th

    Once we had taken everything out of my backpack that we had packed for the plane and replaced it with our park gear, we got back into the car and made our first trip to DLR! We did not have big plans for the afternoon since we were coming off of a very long morning and DS still had not really gotten a good nap, but we were itching to see the parks! And with our PAP's burning a hole in our pocket, we were just too anxious to not enter a park on our first day.

    We drove the few minutes to the Mickey & Friends parking garage and parked the car, loaded DS and the bags into the stroller, and were on our way. I had been trying to imagine the parking set up off of what DH had told me, and what I saw was much better than I had pictured! Basically when you park in the garage, there are separate escalators for each level that all drop you in a small plaza (plus there's a couple elevators for wheelchairs & strollers). This was really great for coming back because you just hopped on the escalator for whatever level you needed (Daisy, Mickey, Goofy & Donald I think?) instead of having to take multiple escalators to get up to your level.

    Once in the plaza, the trams were to our left and to our right was the walkway to the parks. We opted to walk this time, which turned out to be about a 10 minute or so walk. The weather was nice and we were happy to get some fresh air after so many hours in the car or on a plane today!

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    Couldn't help getting a picture of Disneyland Dr.!​

    Soon enough, we were passing Downtown Disney and I snapped a picture of the place where I knew a lot of our money would be going.

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    We went through the bag check (for you fellow WDW vets, this is great! You go through bag check once, then enter the plaza where DL is on your left and DCA on the right, so you don't have to go through bag check again as you enter either park, just through the turnstiles) and saw this beauty!

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    Yikes! (Apparently this is a CA thing, not a DL thing though!)​

    Where to go first? DL of course! I mean, is there any other choice? lol But first, we needed to stop at the ticket booths to get checked in for the AP event that night.

    Before leaving for our vacation, we got an email about a DL Passholder event happening the first two nights of our vacation for the 20th Anniversary of Fantasmic! Since F! was not showing during the week, this would be the only way we could see it. We hemmed and hawed over it for awhile, trying to decide if we should bring Paxton with us and go on the same night and just hope he slept in the stroller, or go separate nights. We ended up deciding on the separate nights. DH was positive he wanted to go but I was a little unsure. He volunteered to take the "crappy night" on our arrival day and I could go Tuesday if I wanted to. So we stopped at the ticket booth to get his wristband for the event. We asked the CM checking us in about Birthday & 1st Visit buttons and she gave us a nice little tip! Instead of getting them from City Hall where she said there is always a line, she instructed us to go to a little booth next to City Hall labeled for Guided Tours and get them there. She was right! We were able to walk right up and get a birthday button for DH and 1st Visit buttons for myself and DS.

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    Finally, we were going through the turnstile to Disneyland! This proved to be an interesting experience since they don't use the fingerprint entry like WDW does. We were constantly chided for not having our photos attached to our PAP's every time we entered and had to show photo ID. I swear, we were told that by every CM who let us through all four days! But since we use our passes mostly at WDW who uses the fingerprint instead of relying on the photo, we didn't bother and just showed our ID's when we entered.

    DH wanted to head up to the train station to take some pictures first, so I stayed with DS in stroller and got a few from the ground with the P&S camera.

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    And here's DH's photos.

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    Main Street USA

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    Looking back out to the plaza with DCA across the way.

    We started heading down Main Street and it was the weirdest feeling in so many ways! It felt so familiar, but at the same time, was SO different from Main Street in WDW. Things you expected to see when you turned the corner just weren't there, like the Chapeau and Crystal Palace. The other thing that felt different to us was we were looking for Photopass photographers and expected to see them all lined up down Main Street like they are at MK, but they were nowhere to be found. Then it dawned on us, that is probably because you can't really see the Castle from the opposite end of Main Street like you can in MK!

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    Nevertheless, we did find a couple of PP photographers further down the street, so we stopped to have them take our picture using our camera also. We did get a card in case we took a lot of PP pics and decided to get the CD, but they were pretty sparse from there, so we decided the CD wasn't worth it. Luckily we ALWAYS had them take the picture with our camera also!

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    I have to add here, DH read somewhere that there are a couple interesting things at DL that he wanted to get pictures of throughout our stay. Each popcorn cart in each land has a different character turning the popcorn, and a lot of the attractions have themed weather vanes on top. Because of his hard work and dedication, I'll post them in the TR as well. lol We walked through Sleeping Beauty Castle to Fantasyland and found our first popcorn cart.

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    However, our first stop was not in Fantasyland, but in New Orleans Square. We started off our first WDW vacation with DS with a ride on the Haunted Mansion, so we are trying to keep that as tradition for as long as possible. The wait was 15 minutes, so we jumped in line.

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    Are you sure about this, Mom?

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    The line waiting experience was a little rough. It was hot, we were all pretty tired but especially DS, and he was happily letting us know he did not feel like being held! He settled down once we finally made it into the attraction and cooled off a little. It was neat that the stretching room is actually an elevator! Otherwise, we decided we enjoyed the WDW version better since it's a little longer than the DL version. However, I would love to one day see the holiday overlay and that might change my opinion!

    After the ride, we put Paxton back in the stroller and kept walking without a real destination in mind.

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    New Orleans Square

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    New Orleans Sqaure HM Popcorn Guy

    I think we started heading in the general direction of It's a Small World, but as we were approaching they had some loud show with music going on, so DH ran ahead to peek at DS and found him crashed out sleeping, so we turned around and had to figure out what to do next while he napped. We decided instead of taking turns riding attractions DS couldn't ride, we'd just shop. And we shopped. And shopped. For almost an hour and a half!

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    I loved this bag but ended up not getting it, so I thought a picture might be the next best thing.​

    Continued in next post...
     
  20. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Everytime I see Main Street pictures of DL, it always makes me feel like something's missing without seeing that big castle towering over everything. I actually kind of like how it just looks somewhat modestly understated at the end of Main Street in DL though.

    That's really cool that you kept your tradition of riding HM first, even in DL. I'm not sure I could handle the hour and a half of shopping though. I think I would have had to find a snack and a shady spot to sit down.:thumbsup2
     
  21. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    DAY 1 Continued: Monday May 14th

    Besides just shopping, we also enjoyed just walking around the park and taking in the scenery. At one point, we came down the side of the Castle and found this beautiful little Snow White fountain.

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    Although it is not as huge as Cinderella Castle, I found Sleeping Beauty Castle absolutely charming and beautiful!

    We took the opportunity to walk around Fantasyland and DH was excitedly shooting pics of the plethora of weather vanes on the attractions there!

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    King Arthur Carrousel

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    Peter Pan's Flight

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    Pinocchio's Daring Journey?

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    Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

    I know, that's more weather vanes than you ever wanted to see! :rotfl: I don't think there are as many going forward from here. Here's a few more pictures from our wanderings around, mostly Fantasyland.

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    Oh, Matterhorn, one day I will back and able to ride you!

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    I really loved the front of Tomorrowland with the Astro Orbiters

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    Main Street Popcorn Guy

    The only things we ended up buying was a scrapbook kit for myself and a 2012 Disneyland t-shirt for DS. I'll have to get pics of all our souvenirs for a post at the end of the TR because I forgot to do it!

    We eventually decided we were ready to start heading in the direction of the resort, so we exited the park and made our way to World of Disney to shop a little more. We figured if DS stayed asleep, we'd just walk back to the parking garage instead of taking the tram but he ended up waking up while we were in there. It was getting to be around 5 pm, so when he woke up we took the tram back to the parking garage and headed back to the resort to figure out what to do for dinner. We had bought a couple toddler meals at Target for an instance such as this, so we were able to feed DS as soon as we got back.

    DH decided to just eat something at the park when he went back for the AP event, so it was just me that needed something. I looked through the book Wyndham provides of local vendors and decided to have some chicken parmigiana delivered from Marri's Pizza & Pasta. We got 15% off for being a Dolphin's Cove guest so it was only $14 which was the cost of the meal before tax, plus a tip. And it was a HUGE amount of food!! There was no way for me to eat the whole thing myself. I felt like I was eating pasta forever and I barely put a dent in it. But it was delicious, and I'd recommend it if you are in the area and want something delivered! The portions are just gigantic, so two people could easily share an entree.

    DS was up and perky, finally getting to run around and explore the unit. He has an obsession with cleaning equipment, so he was pleased as punch to discover the broom in the closet!

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    DH helped me bathe him and get him ready for bed before he left to get back to DL for the Fantasmic! event around 7:30 pm. I had some time to snuggle with DS and read him a couple of books (our bedtime routine at home) before putting him to bed at 8 pm. Unfortunately, that was the only night we were able to do books because the rest of our vacation consisted of late nights where we put him straight to bed! He was asleep in no time, and I think I got in bed for about 8:30 and was definitely asleep by 9!

    I told DH he will need to do a quick post of his night at the Fantasmic! event, so the next update will be from him! Hopefully I can get him to do it soon. :rotfl:

    UP NEXT: DH's Fantasmic Night
     

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