The Yr of the Annual Pass-COMPLETED-Oct '10-Oct '11 **BONUS TRIP 1/5/12

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by jforever52, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Hi all! I'm taking another stab at at trip report. If you are interested, my first report is referenced in my signature ("Back to the 'Land After So Many Years"). Over the past several years my family has become Disney Obsessed (which is not too terrible of a thing to be in my opinion). Since we ponied up for annual passes in October 2010 we have been going to DL as often as we can (have to get our monies worth). This TR will cover the following trips:

    October 15-18, 2010
    Day 1-Part 1, Part 2
    Day 2- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
    Day 3- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

    February 11-14, 2011
    Day 1-Part 1, Part 2
    Day 2- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

    Day 3- Part 1, Part 2

    May 8-15, 2011

    PTR Updates- 3/22/11, 4/6/2011

    TR-

    Day 1- Sunday, May 8th- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

    Day 2-Monday, May 9th- Part 1, Part 2

    Day 3-Tuesday, May 10th- Part 1, Part 2

    Day 4-Wednesday, May 11th Part 1, Part 2

    Day 5-Thursday, May 12th

    Day 6, Friday, May 13th Part 1, Part 2

    Day 7 and Day 8- May 14th and 15th

    October 6-9, 2011 (Same thing, only this is me and my hubby only!!! I'm SUPER excited about this trip)

    PTR Updates- 6/16/2011, 9/29/2011

    October 6th- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
    October 7th-Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
    October 8th-Final Part and Overview

    BONUS TRIP-Part 1, Part 2

    Anyway, here's a picture of us from this trip:

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    As you can see there is me (33 years), DH (33 years), DS (7 years), and DD (a little over a year at the time of this trip). This was taken on our first day at the park right outside of Pirates of the Carribean. Traditionally, my family has ALWAYS tackled frontierland first thing. This usually results in POTC being one of the rides we hit up early on the trip. This trip was no different as you can see by the obvious enthusiasm in all of our faces...no worn out, tired of the crowd's smiles...we are one happy family!

    In July 2010 we purchased a DVC at the Grand Californian here in California. Excited to use our newly acquired purchase, we immediately booked a trip from October 15th to October 18th. Unfortunately there were no rooms available at the Grand Californian for this trip. We ended up booking a room at Paradise Pier. Overall PP was very nice. I especially enjoyed the fact that they left a voicemail informing us of activities at the hotel including a scavenger hunt and a makeup session with Sephora which was free to all guests. We participated in the scavenger hunt (more on that later).
    The weather was not great during this trip. There seemed to be a constant mist the entire time we were there, but we still managed to go down the water slide, which DS loved!

    Here's a picture of DS standing by Goofy at the entrance:

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    And here is the ONLY room picture I took (I completely forgot my obligation as a DISer to take tons of photos...):

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    I think this photo was taken the day we left. Doesn't DD look Disney'ed out? I especially love the crazy hair!

    So anyway, on this trip we celebrated my :grouphug: 33rd Birthday. I have always wanted to see Disney during Halloween and this was the trip!! On the agenda was the Haunted Mansion, buying annual passes, World of Color (for those who slept through it, or were sick the last time we ventured to the park...more on that later), and riding the Lilly Belle.

    Would we accomplish everything on the list? I guess you'll have to read to find out. :banana:
     
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  3. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Day 1-Our arrival at Disneyland (October 15, 2011)

    So the morning started early for our family. At the time, my DH was working nights (he's a deputy sheriff), so we had the BRILLANT idea that we would leave when he got off of work. I would drive the majority of the trip while he and the kids slept. So the night before I packed up our bags, loaded everything in the car and tried to sleep so I could pull the first driving shift. DH got off of work at 1:00am and we were on the road by 1:30.

    I have to admit that driving in the middle of the night with everyone around you sleeping is just NO FUN! Brilliant idea aside...I was bored out of my mind...I-5 drives me crazy as it is, but driving it alone at night is torture. Anyway, DH woke up about 6:30am and took over driving duty for the last three hours (he basically got us over the grapevine and through LA traffic, which I hate driving in).

    We arrived at Paradise Peir at 9:30am. I assumed that it was WAY to early to get into our room, but I thought I would a least check-in. To our surprise they had our room ready to go!

    We quickly got our stuff out of the car and into the room, showered...and realized that I had forgotten to pack DH any socks, and DS any underwear!!!! Now had this been Disneyworld it would have been a problem. Luckily DL is located by tons of shopping establishments. We decided to make a quick run to Target to cure my packing deficiencies.

    After our run to Target (and hitting up Burger King) we went to purchase our annual passes. First we tried the front desk, but they were unable to give us the DVC discount. They referred us to the DVC center. We walked there and were told that we had to purchase them at the park. So we walked to the park. By this time DH was getting a little miffed at the wrong information being provided. So, when we approached the ticket counter and were told that the monthly payment option was only available to Southern California residents, DH blew a gasket!!!!!:mad: Admittedly, I had told him that the monthly payment was an option available to us...how wrong I was...Regardless, we purchased our annual passes because we knew that we would be coming back to DL in May and it was cheaper to buy the annual pass than to buy park tickets on these two occassions.

    So, passes in hand we entered the park!!!!! We went straight to the annual pass center to get our pictures taken. How funny is it that they have a posted wait time for the annual pass line!!!:laughing:

    Once we finished up with the passes. We went straight to Indiana Jones. DS had requested we ride it first. Here he is at the wheel:

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    While DH and DS tackled Indiana Jones I snuck a ride on POTC with DD!!!! After they finished we opted to go ride POTC together before we used the ride-switch pass.

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    After POTC we went back to Indiana Jones and then went to the Tiki Room. I have always loved the Tiki Room...but I worry about it since it never seems to fill up. We sat in the front row and there was only about 20 other people in the show with us. The line for the Dole Whips had more people in it than the line for the show!:rotfl:

    Speaking of Dole Whips, after the show we got one to split and then headed to see Jack.

    Up next:

    The Haunted Mansion---we finally get to see it dressed up for its big holiday!!!
     
  4. TheColtonsMom

    TheColtonsMom DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a great first day especially on a day that started out with a trip through time...I will be at Disneyland in October 2011 maybe I will bump into you guys! Just kidding I am guessing that was a typo and you actually visited in 2010. but it was good for a laugh since I came in thinking I was hitting the PTR of someone who would be there when we are going :rotfl2:
     
  5. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Ha! :rotfl: So I just fixed the typo in the title.

    Although technically we are going back to DL October 6-9 in 2011...Maybe my TR should also be my PTR. :goodvibes When are you heading down?
     
  6. TheColtonsMom

    TheColtonsMom DIS Veteran

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    I am currently still working on an epic TR of our trip Christmas 2010 (after 8 years away yikes!) our next trip is Oct 11-18 2011 so we will just miss you but you might be back in time for us to see some of your TR! I am just tacking on our next PTR to our current TR. I have seen others do this and it is nice and easy to follow someone through multiple trips without having to go search out all their TRs.
     
  7. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Good idea. Technically I have to TR to do still from a quick trip we took in February 2011 as well. Maybe I'll just make this "The Year of the Annual Pass Never Ending PTR/TR":laughing::laughing: Once we bought those annual passes we have been looking for every excuse we can to go to DL...just trying to get our monies worth I guess (well at least that's how I justify it to DH:rotfl:)
     
  8. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Day 1 Cont.-The Haunted Mansion

    So after the Tiki Room and Dole Whips I could wait no longer. It was time to check out the Haunted Mansion!!! I have always been a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The song "What's This" was sung repeatedly in our home when DS was a toddler, mostly because he would point and say "what's this?" and I would immediately bust into song:confused3

    Anyway, we walked over to The Haunted Mansion. It had a 40 minute wait...which is the longest I've ever seen it. We decided to brave the wait because Mama could wait no longer!!!

    Here's some pictures of the cue:

    Jack himself:

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    The Mansion:

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    I totally want to do this to a hill we have on our property:

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    Finally, we made it inside. Let me tell you Disney did not let me down. The changes made to HM for the holidays are amazing! The attention to detail, the music...I could gush and gush. We were told not to take pictures, but DH snuck some anyway:

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    The Gingerbread house:

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    So after HM the park was gearing up for the Halloween party. We had not planned on attending so we booked it out of DL and headed over to DCA for dinner. We ended up eating at Cocina Cucamonga. DH and I both really enjoyed the food. It was decent quality and with the AP discount only ended up being about $35.00 for the three of us, which I don't think is too bad. After dinner, we walked around DCA for a bit and then decided to head back to the hotel. The long drive had caught up with us all and it was time to get some shut eye.

    Up next-Another day at DL with villains and the Lilly Belle
     
  9. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Okay, so quickly before I pack up "working" for the day I thought I would post some of the plans we've made for our May 2011 trip. We are traveling to DL May 8th through the 15th. We will be staying at the Grand Californian in a DVC Studio. This is the first time we are staying at our "home" resort since purchasing into DVC and are really excited about it. Tentatively the schedule is as follows:

    May 8-travel day-I am flying down with our DD (currently 18 months). We will be taking the shuttle from Orange County to the Grand Californian. DH and DS are having a "man trip." They are driving down and will probably get on the road right when they drop me off at the airport.
    We opted to fly DD down because historically the trip back from DL has been unbearable with her. By the end of the 8+ hour drive she is done, we are done, everyone is DONE!!!!...and by DONE I mean screaming, crying, yelling, pleading...so flying it is. Timing wise DH and DD will arrive and the hotel about two hours after I do; I plan on chilling out in the lobby till they get there. DD and I will probably explore the hotel a little bit too.
    May 9-That night we are going to see the Anaheim Angels (oh, sorry Angels of LA) play
    May 10-
    May 11-
    May 12-DL closes early this day. We are considering a trip to the aquarium.
    May 13-This evening we are going to a Dodger game. We purchased tickets in teh "all you can eat" section. Includes all you can eat hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, peanuts and sodas. I have a feeling we will all have stomach aches before we get home.
    May 14-AP blockout day. We are planning on going to the LA Zoo. They have a morning program for cubscouts were they can earn a Zoo patch. It only costs $10 so I think we are going to enroll DS.
    May 15-Travel home

    As you can see I still need to plan our dining. We are planning on eating one meal per day in the parks. I also need to firm up what main attractions/rides we want to accomplish on which day. I usually don't like to overschedule the attractions, but a game plan is definetly needed.
     
  10. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Day 2-Surf's Up

    The next morning we woke up bright and early for our 7:50am reservation at "Surf's Up with Stitch and Friends" at Disney's PCH Grill.

    We stopped for our obligatory picture with Mickey:

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    Then we were seated. We sat in the far back left hand side of the restaurant and had a waiter who did not seem to really care about our table at all. I like to think that we are not a high maintenance family...but still I would like to have a refill of my drink at least once during a meal! After we were seated we juggled character meet and greats with the buffet.

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    After we had seen Minnie, Goofy and Daisy it was time for DS to get his surf on!!!

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    Stitch came to visit right after the surfing lesson:

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    And then it was time for DH to get her groove on. She heard the music and beelined for the front. I have the cutest video of her dancing....this picture will have to suffice:

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    After we all were full of food and had met all the characters it was time to pay the bill and get ready to go to the parks! DH had to waive a different waitress (other than the waiter assigned to our table) down to get someone to print our bill out. She left, found our waiter, and brought him back to the table. At that point we told him we had AP's and asked for the 10% discount. He took DH's card as well as our debit card to finalize the bill. When he came back he placed the black folder with our receipt on the table without a word and headed off again. Low and behold DH's AP was NOT in the folder!!!
    We then had to flag another waiter down who had to go find our waiter. Our waiter then proceeded to argue with DH over the fact that the AP was not in the folder. He told us that it was...while we assured him it was not and that he needed to find it. We had to ask him to go in the back and look for our AP, which he begrudingly did. I kid you not...he came back about 15 minutes later with DH's AP in hand. He did not even acknowledge the fact that it had been misplaced. He simply handed it over and walked away.
    Total meal time: 45 minutes
    Total wait time after the meal for check and other issues: 30 minutes

    Let's just say it was a frustrating beginning to our day! I do have to say this is the first time we have had any kind of negative encounter with a CM. I like to think that this waiter was just not having a good day.

    In typical fashion though...we shook it off and went back to the room to get ready for the parks.

    Up next: Villians and Trains!
     
  11. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Day 2-Continued

    After breakfast we headed back up to the room to finish getting dressed for the day. We packed up all of our gear in the stroller and headed out to the parks. One of the great things about driving to DL is that we can bring our own stroller...now don't get me wrong in Florida we always rented strollers, which worked out beautifully, but I LOVE the storage capacity in my stroller. DL can be done hand's free whereas we always have a backpack when we've been to Disney World (which can be a bit of a pain on rides etc.). I know...its the little things in life that make me happy.:rotfl:

    Before heading over to the area in DL where the villians are staged for meet and greets, DS wanted to ride Indiana Jones again. This was DS's first official "roller coaster" in DL when he was tall enough to meet the height restrictions. Because of this we seem to go on this ride a lot! Every time I ride with DS he reminds me to close my eyes so that I don't accidentally look into the eyes of the statue at the beginning and he always tells me to duck before the arrows start shooting. He is so stinkin' cute...I hope he stays that way a little longer; he'll be 8 this summer, so I think we have a couple more years before he hits the tween stage.

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    After Indiana we walked to over the villians. We did stop and ride the rides on the way, but I failed to take pictures of it...you'll just have to take my word on it!

    I want to say it was about a thirty minute wait for the characters and they switched them out at least once on us while we waited. DD did not care for the villians at all. I personally thought the Queen of Hearts was hilarious. She kept pointing her finger at DH while we were in line...I guess she just knows he's a trouble maker!

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    Next up was Captain Hook:

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    We also met the Evil Queen (in hag form), but I don't think we took a picture...it's missing from my photos. As you can see they switched her from hag form to her normal appearance; it may be that we just got to say "Hi" before she went back stage to transform.

    The park was REALLY busy this day (and stayed busy on Sunday as well). We noticed a lot of people wearing BYU shirts and finally we asked what was going on. A nice family told us that this weekend was "BYU Invasion," an informal weekend where BYU students and their families road trip it down to DL. Now my family is Mormon and we like to play a little game when we are on vacation called, "spot the mormon." It's kind of like I Spy...anyway this game was like shooting fish in a barrel this weekend!!!!:lmao:

    We continued to brave the crowds for awhile, but eventually decided to take a break. DS wanted to try the water slide at Paradise Pier even though it was NOT warm outside and there was a perma-mist in the air. On the way out we stopped at the train station to inquire about whether the Lilly Belle (aka the trolley at the end of some of the trains) was running. The conversation went something like this:

    DH: "Hi. We were wondering if the Lilly Belle was running today?"

    CM: "It is."

    DH: "It is possible to ride it?"

    CM: "Yes. Anyone can ride it."

    DH: "How to you get to ride it?"

    CM: "You have to ask."

    DH: "Who do I ask?"

    CM: "Any cast member who is working at the train station."

    DH: "Can I ask you?"

    CM: "Yes."

    DH: "Can we ride the Lilly Belle today?"

    CM: "I have a 4:15pm available."

    I don't know why I thought this conversation was so funny, but it was!!! Talk about taking the long way home! So we signed up for our 4:15 ride on the Lilly Belle, were given our special tickets for the ride, and then went back to the hotel to take a break at the pool.

    Just in case you don't know, the Lilly Belle was designed by Walt's wife and was originally used to transport dignitaries around DL. It has the original furnishings in it. There is a guest log you get to sign and you travel with a CM who tells you the history of the trolley. I totally geeked out when we rode the trolley!!:worship:

    Here are some pic's:

    Waiting for our ride:

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    On the Lilly Belle:

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    Hidden Mickey:

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    Furnishings:

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    I felt honored to get to ride in the Trolley! It was a wonderful experience...we learned some new facts about Walt Disney, DL and its train system. I would reccommend this to everyone. One note of caution though: the Lilly Belle does not run every day so if you want to ride in it I suggest you check in the morning with the CM's and sign up early.

    Next Up-Ariel's Grotto and World of Color
     
  12. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Day 2-Continued

    After taking a break at the hotel to ride the water slide (which by the way was AWESOME according to my DS). We headed back to the parks for our reservation at Ariel's Grotto. We had reserved the World of Color dinner package. In June we had visited the park and got the picnic lunches in order to obtain our fastpasses to the show. The meal, frankly, was nothing to write home about. I had received a disney gift card as a present and decided I wanted to use it for dinner at Ariel's Grotto this time around. The menu was prefixed with several different options. Overall the meal was fine. DD was NOT in the mood to sit at dinner and so DH and I took turns walking with her outside in the gazebo area while the other ate. The best part of the Grotto in my opinion is sitting outside. Our reservation was around dusk and so we got to enjoy the lights of PP while we ate.

    After dinner we headed over to the reserved area to wait for World of Color. The reserved area for the dinner is the big round section; we were lucky enough to get a standing spot at the front of the ropes. The goal was to keep everyone awake...in June DH was sick and didn't get to see World of Color and DS fell asleep.

    Here is me and DD waiting for the show:

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    Here she is mid-kiss...she looks like she's going to attack me!

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    About 20 minutes before the show DS fell asleep again!!!:scared1: Given the drama that occurred when DS learned he missed the show the first time, there was no way we were going to allow him to sleep through this. When the show started DH picked up DS and forced him to stand up. DS, was a little bit disconcerted, so he turned and hugged a total stranger, thinking it was me!!! Luckily it was a good disney-mom who hugged him right back!:love:

    The show was just as amazing the first time as it was the second. DH videotaped the whole thing. When we got home I got to see the show from his 6'5" perspective. Let me tell you, this show was met for tall people! He had an unobstructed view of the entire panaramic show. His view made me appreciate it much better. I've asked him to download it so that I can post it here to share. Once he does it I will post it on the boards.

    After enjoying the show we headed back to DL to ride the haunted mansion at night (It seems like the majority of the pictures we took were HM related...I think it was because we had never seen it dressed up for the holidays before).

    We walked through frontierland and checked out the "Dia de Los Muertos" exhibit:

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    This section of the park was fun during the day. They had live music and free :eek: facepainting!

    Here are some night pictures of the mansion:

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    After hitting up the Haunted Mansion we decided it was time to get the kiddos to bed...we had early morning extra magic hours to contend with!
     
  13. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Day 3-Extra Magic Morning Hours and California Adventure

    We started day 3 off early so we could take full advantage of extra magic morning hours (is that what they call it at DL?). Bright and early we arrived at the park and noticed characters out on main street...DS wanted to get some autographs in his book so we stopped to meet Donald:

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    While finishing up with Donald we saw Pluto walking about. DS and I walked up to get his autograph. There was no CM with him and no clear line to wait for his autograph. We waited for two other smaller children to get their pictures with Pluto. Then, right as DS was walking up, some teenagers ran up to Pluto to try and take their picture with him. Pluto put up his hand to stop them and motioned for DS to come over. I was super-impressed with Pluto...he may be my new favorite character!!!

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    You may notice in the background there are a bunch of people looking at clipboards. Mouse Planet had a scavenger hunt going on in DL this day. There were TONS of teams racing in the park, trying to complete the challenge. It looked like a bunch of fun.

    After taking pictures we hit up Blue Ribbon Bakery for some cinnamon rolls. I purchased two rolls for us to split and boy were they delicious! We were running high on sugar for awhile after eating those puppies.

    First on the agenda was Ghost Galaxy (aka Space Mountain). We had been trying to ride it all weekend, but everytime we got to it the fast passes were already gone and the stand-by time was over an hour. So, we bee-lined to the Galaxy. The wait was 10 minutes so DS and DH rode it first and got a rider-switch pass. Then DS and I rode it. We checked the wait, saw it was still 10 minutes and rode it again! :laughing: I liked Ghost Galaxy...the eyeball thing that followed you everywhere was a little bit freaky...I think I prefer Space Mountain the way it normally is! I will say it was fun to see the lights on Ghost Galaxy at night. We stood and watched the Galaxy trying to escape for several minutes one night.

    After Ghost Galaxy we rode the Mattahorn and then went over to ride Its a Small World.

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    About that time the park was opening to the general public so I left my family to ride some of the fantasyland rides (I think they did Alice in Wonderland) and I went to get fast passes for Ghost Galaxy. When I got to the fast pass machines there was a wait of 20 minutes. I LOVE it that there is a wait to get FP's to ride a ride later!!!:laughing: So, I got our FP's (which were for later that afternoon) and met back up with the family. At this point we knew we wanted to go over to California Adventure so we left the 'land and headed over.

    We first stopped to get our pictures taken with 'Mater and Lightening McQueen.

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    DS and I headed over to Tower of Terror, while DH and DD rode Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. DH told me there was NOONE in line for it and that the CM just kept running him through the line until he told him to stop. He said he probably rode the ride 4 times before he had had enough. DH loved it though.

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    They also took a spin on Flik's Fyers:

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    Tower of Terror accomplished, we then took our turn on Tuck and Rolls Drive'em Buggies:

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    After the bumper cars we walked over to Paradise Pier to ride the more traditional carnival rides. DS really wanted to try the Silly Symphony Swings. He was uncertain about riding it solo and he was too tall to ride in the tandem seat. I thought maybe the CM wouldn't notice if we got in a tandem seat anyway...:rolleyes1...no shock there that they did. The CM was very nice and told DS that he would be fine but that he absolutely did not have to ride the ride. He was patient with him and let him make up his own mind. There was an empty seat right over by a nice family that said they would watch out for him. DS agreed to ride solo and LOVED it.

    After the swings we decided to ride Mickey's Fun Wheel in a free-mounted gondola!

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    This was a football weekend!! Here is DH checking his fantasy football scores...and he told me he just didn't want to ride the ride!!!:rotfl:

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    The "free mounted gondola" scared the crap out of me!!!!! There is something about slowly descending freely to your impending doom that really got me scared for my life!

    We also rode the Golden Zephyr, California Screamin' and Toy Story Mania again before heading back over to DL for the afternoon.

    Up next, back to DL to meet Jack Skelington and the fireworks!
     
  14. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    After getting our fill of California Adventure we headed back over to Disneyland to use our Ghost Galaxy Fast Passes.

    After Ghost Galaxy went walked back over to New Orleans Square to see if we could meet Jack Skelington. We had seen him out several times that weekend and wanted to get a picture with him before we left. A line had already formed (with no character) in the spot where we had seem him the two days prior. After confirming with a CM that Jack indeed would be there in about 20 minutes we got in line.

    Right next to the line was a guy in a mad hatter hat. Periodically, groups of people would come up to him and he would take their picture. Finally curiousity got the better of us and we asked what he was doing. It was at this point we learned about the MouseEars scavenger hunt. It looked like so much fun!

    Jack finally arrived and we got our pictures:

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    After getting our pictures we decided to take a break from the park. It was PACKED!!! We headed back to the hotel to swim and rest.

    I hadn't made any dinner plans this night. DH wanted to go to ESPN zone, so while everyone else was napping in the room I went down to ESPN to make a reservation. At that time I was told that they didn't take reservations and that there was currently a 120 minute wait. I asked to be put on the list. They gave me a voucher and told me to come back in a half hour and I would then be given a buzzer. I went back to the hotel room and told DH about the wait. He wasn't enthusied about the idea, so I called reservations to see if I could get us into the Carnation Cafe. Fortunately they had a 7pm reservation!! I signed us up and we rested for awhile until heading back to the park.
     
  15. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

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    Day 3-Continued

    The End of our Time at Disneyland (for now)


    After resting up a bit, we headed to Carnation Cafe for dinner. DS had a kid's meal and DH and I each had a bowl of gumbo. Yum! It was delicious and the perfect amount!

    I love Disneyland in the evening and it was relaxing to just sit and people watch for awhile at the Carnation Cafe.

    After dinner we headed over to Dumbo because DD hadn't been able to ride it yet. Seriously, what kind of parents would we be if our 1 yr old didn't take a mandatory ride on Dumbo?

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    DS wanted to ride Big Thunder Railroad one more time before we left so we headed in that direction. The wait was only about 15 minutes so DS and DH took off. DD was falling asleep so I waited on a bench located off to the side of the attraction. While waiting the fireworks started....low and behold I had an AWESOME view of the fireworks with virtually noone around!

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    DH and DS joined me after taking a spin on the RR. They were both super excited when they met up with me. They had gotten to see the fireworks go off while riding the ride. I remember getting to see this as a kid...the experience is magic!!! I'm glad they got to see it too.

    It was clear that we were all tired and it was time to go back to the hotel. We had a long drive ahead of us tomorrow. So we started back to the room...but not before taking in the Tiki Room one more time!

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    The next day we drove home, which I am not going to justify with its own post...it was long, loud, and labor intensive (i.e. keeping everyone happy).

    What I especially enjoyed from this trip is the feeling that we did not have to do EVERYTHING. Because we have purchased a DVC membership we now know that we will be coming back. Things that we didn't do this trip will get done in the future. We spent a lot more time just hanging out and much less time stressing out trying to get the most done in the limited time we were at the parks.

    So that about sums up our October trip to see DL in its Halloween glory...and guess what? We are going again in October to see it again!:woohoo:
     
  16. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    278
    Trip 2 on the Annual Pass-February 11-14, 2011

    Right around the first of the year we decided to take a weekend trip to Disneyland with my parents in February. The Monday before we left for Disneyland my dad got some bad news...his cancer had returned! About 5 years ago my dad was diagnosed with non-hotckin's lymphoma. This is a very treatable type of cancer; however, chemo-therapy really did a number on my dad last time around...it aged him quite a bit, weakened his bones causing additional surgeries. Anyway, this news put us all in a funk to say the least. My mom suggested canceling the trip, but my dad decided this was not an option. He wanted to go to Disneyland with his grandkids BEFORE he had to start another round of treatment. Needless to say, I was meloncholy for a lot of this trip. We had celebrated my dad's remission of cancer by going to Disney World and now we were avoiding thinking about the enivitable treatment of the cancer in Disneyland!

    Here's a picture of the group (notice the matching shirts...my dad owns a t-shirt shop...matching outfits have been a standard for the family since I was tiny):

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    On the 10th me, DH and the kiddos drove to my in-laws house (which cuts off about 2 1/2 hours off the drive). My parent's opted to drive to Fresno and get a hotel. The plan was to meet up at Disneyland at the same time the next day relatively refreshed and ready to hit the parks!

    We got on the road around 5am on the 11th. We had timed it so that my parent's needed to leave at 7am (they were driving down on Hwy 99 and we were on I-5). At 7am we coordinated and were on our way...or at least we thought...about an hour later my parents called to tell us that their check engine light had turned on!!!! The Garmin was telling them that the nearest Mini Dealership (of which they are required to take their car to) was 2 hours away in the opposite direction. They opted to keep driving to LA. A Mini Dealership was about 15 miles from Disneyland.

    We arrived at the Disneyland Hotel (oh, did I forget to mention we were staying at the Disneyland Hotel with a premium view?) at around noon. DH got us checked in while I changed DD out of her PJ's. DS also changed into regular clothes. We changed in the car because I was expecting them to tell us a room was not available and we wanted to go to the parks. DH came back to the car about 15 minutes later and announced the room was ready to go! We got everything out of the car and booked it up to the room.

    Here's the view:

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    My parents arrived about 1/2 hour later. After getting everyone settled in DH and my dad took off to take the Mini to the dealer (where it stayed until we left on Monday...no worries though a gas line needed to be replaced). My mom and I took the kids to Tortilla Joes to get some lunch while they were gone. I had the fish tacos which were SPICY!!! Both times I have eaten at this restaurant the food has almost been too spicy for me to eat.

    Here we are walking back from lunch:

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    And here are the kiddos meeting (DD wouldn't get close to the character's this time around) character's in the Lobby of the Hotel while before walking to the parks:

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    Up Next: To the Parks!!!!
     
  17. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    278
    Day 1 Continued-To the Parks!

    After squaring away the car, lunch and the room we finally headed through Downtown Disney to the Parks. DS had decided to save his money so that he could buy something either at the Lego Store or at Ridemakers. This boy worked hard! We had him picking up pinecones on our hill for a dime a piece; he took care of the recycling; he worked at my parent's shop. Anyway, that little guy ended up saving over $50!

    So we stopped at the Lego Store to see if we could spend some of that money that was burning a hole in his pocket:

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    After carefully combing through the entire store he ended up picking out some Ninjagos. Even after getting what he wanted he still had about $30 dollars left. Grandpa decided that if DS was willing to pony up the $30 dollars he would cover the rest to experience Ridemakers; however, we decided to save that for another day...we wanted to get to the parks!

    So, purchase in hand we walked over to Disneyland. FINALLY! :rotfl: As per our custom, the family immediately took a left after Main Street and headed to frontier land...Tiki Room here we come! After watching the show, we took a ride on the Jungle Cruise:

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    Jungle Cruise completed, we then sent the boys over to Indiana Jones--of course they got rider-switch passes for us while we waited. The ride was running a 25 minute wait time...so we snuck over to Pirates of the Carribean while "waiting" for the boys to finish up! The timing was perfect! We were walking back to Indiana Jones just as they were walking out.

    As my dad was walking out of the exit he ran into a friend of his from high school (who currently lives in Las Vegas)! They haven't seen eachother for about 5 years. So they caught up with eachother while DS, grandma and I rode Indiana Jones. They continued catching up, while we waited at the exit for them...and they continued catching up while we gently reminded him that we had 5pm reservations at the Big Thunder BBQ....:rolleyes1

    Catching up completed, we headed over for dinner at Big Thunder BBQ. My mom is a vegetarian and they were very accomodating. They brought out vegetable shish-ka-bobs, which I tried and were delish! We've eaten here before and I love the BBQ. It has ribs, chicken, sausage, cornbread, beans and coleslaw. You need to be hungry for this dinner because it is a lot of food!

    After dinner, my parents offered to hang out with the kids so that DH and I could spend some time alone in the parks! :dance3: DH and I headed over to DCA to ride Toy Story Mania, while my parents took the kids on Its a Small World:

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    After Toy Story Mania, we were wanting to hang out the family again. We knew that my parents were going to take the kids to the room to watch the fireworks and we didn't want to miss out on the action. So, we surprised them by showing up just in time for the fireworks (my parents thought we were crazy since we had only been out for about 2 hours without the kids). Here's some pictures of the fireworks from the room:

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    Downtown Disney at night:

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    The kids ready for bed:

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    After the fireworks (which was amazing to watch in the room by the way...an experience I will never forget) we decided to hit the sack. My parents offered to watch the kids if we wanted to go back out, but we opted to go to bed. We knew we were going to extra magic hours the next day and we wanted to be rested so that we could go on as many rides as we could.
     
  18. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    278
    May Dining Update

    We've decided that we are going to try and save money this trip by eating in our studio as much as possible. With that in mind I am only planning on one park meal per day...We'll see how well that works out!!!!:rotfl2:

    Here is the tenative schedule:

    May 9th-breakfast at River Belle Terrace (the kids need their Mickey Waffle Fix)

    May 10th-lunch at the Hungry Bear (I'm excited to try the Fried Green Tomato Sandwhich)

    May 11th- Dinner at Rancho Del Zocalo

    May 12th-Lunch or Dinner at Lucky Fortune Cookery

    May 13th-Dinner at Naples Ristorante (mmmm...pizza)

    May 14th-LA Zoo day and BBQ at the Grand Californian in the evening

    Any thoughts on these choices?
     
  19. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    278
    Day 2-Extra Magic Morning

    We all go up early on February 12th to take full advantage of extra magic morning hours. Here are the kids waiting patiently for us to get out of the room:

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    After walking through Downtown Disney and the park entrance we made a beeline for Space Mountain. Here is DH, DS and me in the cue:

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    The first ride of the day:

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    After our ride through Space we switched out riders. DH, DS and my mom went back in to ride while DD played peek-a-boo:

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    Space mountain completed, we then walked over to Fantasy Land. First up, the teacups:

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    DH doesn't like the teacups at all, so he got in line for Dumbo while we road it. After we were done spinning I plopped DS in line with DH and watched them fly through the air on an elephant:

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    Then it was time to take a Wild Ride with Toad:

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    We then went on Snow White and Peter Pan. After finishing up the major Fantasy Land rides we decided to walk over to Big Thunder Mountain, but not before we tried our hand at removing that stubborn sword in the stone:

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    Up Next-Big Thunder, Family Fun Weekend and Pasta for Everyone!
     
  20. jforever52

    jforever52 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    278
    Day 2 Continued-Family Fun Weekends

    After finishing up with Fantasy Land we headed over to Big Thunder Railroad to see what the wait times were...only 15minutes! DH, DS and my dad rode the railroad while me, my mom and Maizy looked for a place to eat lunch. Unfortunately we were at that aukward time of the day where breakfast was finishing up and most of the lunch places were unavailable. River Belle Terrace was still in breakfast mode, the Golden Horseshoe wasn't open yet etc. We settled for some popcorn while we waited for the railroad to end. After the first group got done with the ride DH, DS and I went on it again!

    About the time we were finished was the time we had been told the quick service restaurants would be available. So we walked over to Village Haus Restaurant for some lunch. Lunch consisted of burgers and pizza, which were not memorable, just okay. We were seriously hungry so I don't think it mattered much what we ate at all.

    After we ate we decided to check out the festivities at the Family Fun Weekend Event that was occurring in the area just besides the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. This weekend was a celebration of Lunar New Year. On the way over we ran into Woody and Jesse:

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    Before we left Woody and Jesse decided to have a shoot out! It was really cute and there was a lot of smaller children around who thought it was the funniest.

    Next up we walked into the Lunar New Year Celebration. The event had local vendors selling arts and crafts and there was a stage set up with performers. There was also a bunch of seats set out in the shade so that you could watch the festivities. We watched the program for about a half hour. They had some really pretty different dances that occurred with ribbons and fans...and swords!

    We also met Mickey and Mickey who were all dressed up for the occasion:

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    The official Lunar New Year Celebration, led by Mulan, started. The group needed helpers with the ribbons, drums and umbrellas. DS got picked to help with the ribbons:

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    After the celebration ended. Mulan and Mooshoo stuck around for a meet and greet. Mooshoo (am I spelling that right?) is my husband's favorite character, so we HAD to meet them:

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    Family Fun Weekend finished, we decided to tackle the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Carribean again. By this time the park was getting a little bit packed so we decided to head back to the hotel to try out the pool. On the way out we ran into these guys:

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    Before leaving the park DH ran up to the railroad station to see if Lilly Belle tickets were available. The CM told him that all the rides were full for the day but that it would be running tomorrow. We were told to go to the station first thing to get signed up. With that information in mind we headed back to the hotel!

    Up next-California Adventure
     
  21. DizNee Luver

    DizNee Luver Luver of all things Disney!

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    9,792
    Just got done reading your report(s)!!! Your kids are cutie-pies!!

    So a question......if the GCH doesn't have DVC rooms available, do they offer you rooms in the other resorts for a discounted price or even points?? I may have just mis-read.....but I thought this past trip you were doing the DVC studio.....but maybe that was for your next trip. We're kinda looking at the DVC but not sure we could really get our money's worth from doing it. The villas at the GCH would cost us 390 for a week. We could never buy in for that much & usually try to go yearly.......so still in the thinking it over process.

    Great shot with Pinocchio & friends!! We've seen 3 of them, but not the cat on the right. Awesome to get multiple characters in one shot!!

    :scared1: You did the Mickey's Death....I mean.....Fun Wheel!! EEK......I won't go near that thing!!

    So a question on the baby swap. We're going late November & have twins that can't/won't be doing a number of the rides. Which means my hubby & I are going to have to take turns taking the 6 & 10 yr old on our favorite rides. Our twins will be 4, but are delayed & autistic.....so rides aren't their thing at all. They'll tolerate IASW, the Teacups & POTC (just don't like the drops). I hate to think we have to go thru the long lines twice.

    I'm so sorry to hear the news about your dad......my step-mom has been fighting cancer for 30 yrs.......not too many people can say that. Unfortunately, she's losing this last battle. I hope treatment is going well & pray for only good news!!! :hug:

    Look forward to reading & seeing more!!
     

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