WE'RE CANCELLING CHRISTMAS (Take 2)- Dec. 4 to 8, 2012 TR (Day 5, Part 2 Posted)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by pixleyyy, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Now, I should probably start off here with an explanation of the title of this PTR/TR. In 2009 my hubby and I decided that we'd rather take a family vacation and have a very tiny Christmas, so that's exactly what we did. The kids got only a few books, some PJ's and a gift from Santa. But in exchange we all got to go to Disneyworld! The TR for that trip was called "WE'RE CANCELLING CHRISTMAS", so it was only natural that we call this the same name (Take 2), since we had decided on a similar situation.

    Here's the link to that trip report, in case you want to read up a bit on who we are, how I write and what I like to share.
    The Disney Finale: WE'RE CANCELLING CHRISTMAS. Now you might note that this was actually titled "The Disney Finale: WE'RE CANCELLING CHRISTMAS" because we had decided that we needed to take the kids somewhere other than Disney (gasp at the thought!) for a vacation, so we fully intended for this to be the last family Disney trip. Well, push comes to shove and where do we decide to go on our next vacation... Disney, of course!

    Index of Posts:
    Disneyland Day 1, Part 1
    Disneyland Day 1, Part 2
    Disneyland Day 1, Part 3
    Disneyland Day 1, Part 4

    Disneyland Day 2, Part 1
    Disneyland Day 2, Part 2
    Disneyland Day 2, Part 3
    Disneyland Day 2, Part 4
    Disneyland Day 2, Part 5

    Disneyland Day 3, Part 1
    Disneyland Day 3, Part 2
    Disneyland Day 3, Part 3
    Disneyland Day 3, Part 4
    Disneyland Day 3, Part 5

    Disneyland Day 4, Part 1
    Disneyland Day 4, Part 2
    Disneyland Day 4, Part 3
    Disneyland Day 4, Part 4
    Disneyland Day 4, Part 5

    Disneyland Day 5, Part 1
    Disneyland Day 5, Part 2

    OK, on with the cast of characters:
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    • Myself - Annette, age 38. I was named after Annette Funicello, so I think I was born with a love of all things Disney. This will be my 10th trip to a Disney park and I fall a little more in love with it every time. I own my own portrait photography business, work part-time for a local credit union, design scrapbook pages for magazines and manufacturers, read a ton, craft a lot and really enjoy spending time with my family. Life is busy and chaotic at times, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it. It's been quite a ride and I can't wait to enjoy this next adventure.
    • DH - Brian, age 38. We've been married 18 years and have been through a lot together. He's my soulmate and I think he's absolutely the best man alive. He's in law enforcement and sometimes works crazy hours to help support our family and our community.
    • DS - Chase, age 16. This one inherited my red hair and my love of Disney. He's just as nuts for it as I am and he can't wait until he's in college so he can apply for the college summer program. He grew up wanting to be an Imagineer, though reality has set in a little and he's now aiming for either Engineer or something in mathematics. He's an absolute braniac and amazes me with his mind. He's an Eagle Scout, runs cross country and really enjoys theater. He's also a Mindcraft fanatic. As a side note, on our last WDW trip he purchased the "hidden Mickey" book and literally walked around with his nose stuck in it for days. I got him the DLR one for his birthday last month, so I think we'll be finding lots of hidden Mickey's this trip.
    • DS- Tristan, age 14. He's such a fun, loving kid! He hit a growth spurt and is now right at 6 feet tall (with still many more years of growing ahead of him). He loves sports and plays football, basketball and track field sports. He's also my taekwondo extrordinaire, having participated for 5 years. He should be earning his black belt next year sometime and I'm so excited for him! He's also on his last rank before Eagle Scout, so I think I'll have another Eagle in the next year or two. He loves to play trombone and Minecraft. I love taking him to Disney because he laughs and chuckles through every ride. It's just so much fun!
    • DD - Carissa, age 11. Our little girl, so carefree and wild. One minute full of laughter and fun, the next full of crossed arms and stomping feet. We're quickly learning what an adventure raising a pre-teen daughter is. She loves all things girly and will probably be wearing a skirt or dress every day of the trip. She absolutely loves to ride horses. She plays flute and basketball. She doesn't take anything too seriously and just likes to have fun.

    Here are a few photos of our family from our last Disney trip, WDW in 2009. Keep in mind, they all look so different now!
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    There's more to come, so stay tuned...
     
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  3. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Details time! Here's what I've got planned thus far.

    Leave PDX from Portland, OR at 7am on Tuesday. We're flying JetBlue into Long Beach, arriving at 9:17am. We and are still undecided if we'll just take a cab or set up a shuttle service to take us to our hotel, the Best Western Park Place Inn. We chose this hotel because of it's proximity to the parks and the ease of being able to go to and fro any time we want and without transportation.

    Tuesday we'll hit the parks once we arrive. We'll have all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the parks. Saturday will be our final day at DLR and we'll have to leave by 4:00 (or earlier) so we make it to LGB and check in before our 6:16pm flight back to Portland.

    We're still waiting for details on park hours but I have made reservations at both Cafe Orleans and Goofy's Kitchen. The kids requested that I make reservations at Rainforest too, so we may do that. We've even planned on returning to the room and ordering Marri's Pizza one evening, to give ourselves a break before returning for a late night in the park. Other than those we'll probably eat counter service.

    I ordered my Photopass Plus last week and got it yesterday, and I'm so excited for it!

    More details to come as the trip gets closer.
     
  4. PHXscuba

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

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    Sounds like you have a fun trip planned! You are going to love Disneyland at Christmas -- although it's not as big, it's WAY more decorated per square foot. I was there in 2010 about that same time and it was amazing.

    You gotta take these trips while the kids are still around -- my DS is 16 too and I fear our trip next March may be the last one with the whole family. Worth canceling Christmas for!

    PHXscuba
     
  5. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Oh, I just can't wait!!! Have a great trip with your teenager.
     
  6. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    I just realized that I haven't posted anything new here in a while. Yesterday was our 3 week mark. I'm getting so excited but feeling so unprepared. It's been a crazy month for me. It's a whole story but since you're here and my captive audience, I'm going to share it with you...

    DH and I decided to do this trip cash. It's the first trip we've ever done cash and we are so proud of ourselves. Believe me, if you knew where we started and where we've been you'd be proud too. Well, then fate comes along and throws a kink in our plan.

    First our dishwasher goes out. One Sunday the pump just goes out. Well there are 5 of us in our family (and 2 teenagers who eat all day to boot) so we go through SOOOOO many dishes. We couldn't live without a dishwasher. So we dip into our Disney food and souvenior fun and buy a new dishwasher. Not so disastrous. We can live with that.

    Exactly one week later, almost exactly to the hour, we go to make dinner and the oven won't work. The entire computerized panel has gone out... and they don't make them any more. *sigh* Another, more substantial, dip into our Disney fund.

    And did I mention that my precious Nikon d7000 has developed focusing issues and had to be sent back to Nikon for repair. $250 later it's on it's way back to me and will be back before our vacation. *whew*

    Oh, and the lawnmower just kicked the bucket. Halfway through mowing the lawn it just made thse horrid noises and ceased working.

    Oh, and the toaster went out too.

    The good news is that I've been working extra and we'll still make it just fine on cash. Wish there was a little more than what we'll end up with, but we'll make it work.

    So there... that's my crazy month.

    To top it off it's crazy busy for me. I'm not only working my regular job but it's also the busy Christmas card photo season for my photography business. Multiple shoots every weekend and hours and hours of editing each week. At least that's been good to help offset the cost of all those freak replacements.

    Beyond that, things are going well. I've picked out some coordinating clothing for our trip. My matching DIS-signs t-shirts got nixed this trip. Apparently teenagers dressing the same as their parents isn't cool or something. :confused3 It's fine, I wasn't that set on it. But that means finding other ways to make us look good together.

    For my part I've nixed the kids and their cartoon shirts. Cause really, Einstein as an MC (my 16yo, proud-to-be-a-nerd son's favorite shirt) doesn't really go with the Disney theme.

    I really am anxious to get an idea of what the weather will be. Do I need to plan for cold weather with gloves and thick coats? Or rain with rainproof gear? I'm personally hoping for some sun during our trip, but we'll take Disney however we can get it! :dance3:
     
  7. PHXscuba

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

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    Sounds like your appliances have ganged up on you! I'm glad you were able to make it all work and still do the trip.

    I hear you on the non-matching thing. I think any trip with teens is a just a goal to not clash. I hate being the drill sergeant mom telling everyone what to wear and on what day, but they also see the great pictures afterward.

    I always plan the majority of my clothes for whatever the weather *should* be, but pack at least one thing for when the weather changes (i.e. one shorts for a winter trip, one long pants for a summer). Coming from Portland it will most likely be warmer at DLR, but most us don't spend the entire day and night outdoors (I end up chilled). I find renting one locker and stuffing jackets in it during the day is worth the investment.

    PHXscuba
     
  8. sftoanaheim

    sftoanaheim Earning My Ears

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    Sound fun, I'm on board! We leave in seven weeks! :hyper:
     
  9. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    We leave in 8 days! This time 8 days from now we'll be strolling through California Adventure after riding our first ride - Screamin'!

    The first ride was chosen by the kids. I texted them all and asked what they wanted to ride first - any ride in DL or DCA. All three were in agreement - Screamin'! Now there's a little story behind this too. My DD was 5 when we went to DL last time... and she was too short to ride Screamin'. She cried! In Disney! All because she couldn't ride. She had to sit out with one of the adults while the other adults and the boys got to ride. And she has never let us forget that she never, ever got to ride Screamin'. So I think it's a good choice and one we're all excited about, especially her.

    Besides, Screamin' was one of the big reasons we decided on DLR this time around instead of going back to WDW. The kids all miss Screamin'!

    Now, I will say that I'm getting a little down about the possible weather. I know it's so far out and I hope that things change, but for now it's looking like possible rain for the first few days. Our last trip it poured one day and it really wasn't that far. I know I'm an Oregonian and I'm used to the rain, but the lack of drainage in the parks means that you're slogging through standing water all day. Not fun at all. So I'm hoping things change or that the rain isn't the torrential downpour we got last trip. So good thoughs for good weather would be appreciated.
     
  10. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Holy moly, just 5 days left here in Oregon before we head off to Disneyland! Can't wait!

    So, last update had me harried and frantic and stressing it all. I'm still there but in a different way. The weather, thankfully, is looking better than before. That's what I get for even looking at weather 2 weeks out. I should know better...

    Right now what I'm stressing is getting everything here done. I finally had to bite the bullet and close my photography business down for a few weeks. I hate turning down the money, but I just can't fit anything more into the next few days. I do have one senior session to finish editing and posting. They're of this beautiful lady:
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    I can't wait to edit them, I just wish we had a few more hours in each day. After that I just need to get some product to two other customers. Other than that all loose ends of the photography business have been tidied up and I think I'll be ready to put it aside while we go on vacation.

    Here's the other stressful part for me - packing. Generally it wouldn't be stressful. I actually enjoy all the tidy piles of clean clothes packed neatly away, but it's hard to enjoy it when you haven't started it! That will be my Saturday plan, as on Sunday we're watching my daughters performance with the local Childrens Choir and taking a trip to the in-laws house so they can watch these adorable grandpuppies while we're gone.
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    I really am excited about the trip, I just tend to be a bit of a stresser when it comes to all the planning and preparation parts. (And to top it all off, my planning notebook went missing yesterday! I know it's got to be around here somewhere...)

    The happiest parts of my day right now... DH has been texting us all pictures of the Disney parks each day, usually 3 or 4 a day to try to get us all in the Disney spirit. I love that and it brightens my day each time I get one!
     
  11. PHXscuba

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

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    Ooo, good DH to get you all excited with pictures. :thumbsup2

    Cute dogs! We have a black Lab (and a turtle) and always have to find care. My sister-in-law is not a dog person or my brother in law would totally take her, so we usually just board her at a free-range place. We call it her "doggy vacation" because she gets to play with so many others. I think she comes back as tired as we do!

    Good luck with the packing!

    PHXscuba
     
  12. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Thanks. I still have yet to start it, but I did get my last photo edited and all my lose ends tied up for my photography business. Check that off my to-do list!

    And on a good note, I did find my planning notebook. Somehow it got under the things that have been piling up near my sewing machine, so I can mend them before our trip. Ugh. Add that to my to-do list. I'm not sure I'm getting ahead here... LOL

    If not for the in-laws, we'd totally do the free-range thing. There's a little place nearby that does that and I always thought that at least the dogs would be happy and out instead of cooped up. But I'm happy to save the money and glad my in-laws have 2 fenced acres for them to run in (and 3 additional dogs for them to play with)!

    OK, off the computer and on finishing laundry so I can finally pack!
     
  13. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    60 more minutes of work and then I'm on vacation! Just had to share that.

    We're all packed and ready to go. Tonight will be showers and tooth brushing all around everyone and then the last of the toiletries packed. We're up bright at early at 4am so we can drive to the airport and catch our 7am flight to sunny California! :yay::dance3::cool1:
     
  14. PHXscuba

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

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    Have a great trip and share when you return. Safe travels!

    PHXscuba
     
  15. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Just a short note to say that we've arrived safely and spent our first day at DCA. Carsland and downright amazing. Just the coolest feel to the entire section of the park. We rode tons of rides, got totally soaked, ate some tasty food and enjoying time together. Can't wait for tomorrow!
     
  16. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    We have returned! We had a wonderful time. Some good things, some not as good. Lots of pictures coming up and full, detailed trip reports (that I wrote each night while the family was sleeping).

    I was pretty sad today when I had to edit my signature and take off my ticker. *sigh* Post-Disney depression sets in...
     
  17. PHXscuba

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

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    Glad you had a great time. I'll look forward to reading the trip report! I hate PDD! :sad1:

    PHXscuba
     
  18. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    OK, I guess I've had enough downtime to recuperate from Disney (and to somehow squeeze in Christmas shopping and decorating!). Now... on to the trip report!
     
  19. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Our morning started bright and early at 4:15am. The alarm rang and immediately Chase poked his head around the corner into our room and said "We're going to Disneyland!" Brian woke up Carissa and I woke up Tristan, saying "Time to get up... we're going to Disneyland!" I think we expected some sleepy little cheers from them but I guess it was a little too early for that. Oh well, we were all still little excited.

    We didn't get out of the house as quickly as we would have liked this morning. Brian and I are slowly realizing that time is of no consequence to teenagers. Everyone was moseying about the house, chatting and not really getting their butts in gear. So by the time we got out of the house we were 15 minutes later than we'd hoped.

    The drive to the airport was clear but Brian and I were both silently watching the clock, knowing that we could be pushing it close if the airport was busy. We did arrive in plenty of time, however. Brian dropped me and the kids off at the curb with the luggage while he went and parked the van in the long term parking and then took a shuttle back to the terminal. The kids and I walked right up to the JetBlue counter and checked our bags, though we had to keep Brian's with us until he could personally check it in. Thankfully his journey went quickly and he was back at the terminal within about 20 minutes of leaving there.

    Next up was the dreaded security... and I do mean dreaded. Brian and I both commented, again, on how security is probably the most stressful part of our vacation. It's just no fun at all and trying to keep everyone and everything in line was quite a hassle. I did have a small moment of panic when I got my shoes and all my other assorted gear (especially my precious camera!) back on and then realized that I'd left my phone in a bucket at the scanner. Oh no! I hadn't walked too far, but my heart skipped a beat until I found it. *whew*

    By now the time was 6am and we hiked it down to gate c6. We knew the plane would board about 6:30, so I went and got some juice and water and Brian and Carissa hit the bathroom. Then it was just sitting and waiting while we munched our breakfast of Krispy Kreme donuts (which we also hauled through security... maybe we need to rethink how much stuff we are bringing with us!).

    Anyways, 10 donuts and 30 minutes later we were laden with sugar and ready to board the plane. We were flying JetBlue, an airline the family had never flown. I had flown them once before, in my girls getaway trip with Beks back in May of 2010, so I knew that I wanted the family to fly JetBlue. There's something about those TV's in the back of the seats that really make the flight seem so much quicker and easier! Of course, the fact that it's only 2 hours to California (as opposed to 8 hours to Florida) might have something to do with it too.

    We arrived in Long Beach safe and sound and our driver met us at the baggage claim area. We prearranged service from DK Livery and it was great (at least this leg of it was). We even got a short stop at a grocery store to pick up some water, milk and apples for the room.

    We got to our hotel, the Best Western Park Place Inn, and were pleased that it was exactly where I envisioned it being... directly across the street from the park! It is such a quick and easy walk to the park from here and I love that! Anyways, when we arrived the clerk asked for my voucher for the hotel room. My reply was something along the lines of "voucher? I don't have a voucher!". My internal panic set in for a little while, thinking that the only possibly place it could be was back at home in Oregon with the bits and pieces of the travel packet that we didn't take with us. Oh no! For a moment there I really thought they were going to tell me that I'd have to pay for the room again! I did ask if they could maybe call Disney Travel to verify that we did indeed pay for the room and they said they would, however when we checked back later to pick up our room keys I asked and they still didn't have anything. We'll see how that works out. (Edited to add: When we checked out the final day no one said a peep about not having the slip, so in the end I guess it all worked out).

    Now that we were check in, had our luggage stowed in the hotels luggage room and were generally all done with travel for the day, we headed straight to the parks!
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    We arrived about 11:30am and headed straight for the lockers, so Brian could put the backpack and coats in there. I waited in line to trade my Photopass Plus pre-purchase voucher in for the actual Photopass Plus lanyard and card at the photo center. This took FOREVER! Like 20-25 minutes. They only had 3 people working the photo kiosks and the customers they had were apparently very needy, as not a single transaction was completed in the first 15 minutes of my wait. Eventually my turn came though and I got my Photopass Plus lanyard. While I was waiting (and waiting), Brian and the kids ran to the Blue Sky Cellar to trade the vouchers for free lanyards and pin that we received as part of our package. Now Brian and I actually have pin trading necklaces. We even both traded today.

    Our original plan was to head straight to Screamin', but I wanted to grab a Soarin' fastpass on the way, so we took the longer route from Blue Sky, which took us past Soarin'.
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    We stowed the fastpasses and then tried to get fastpasses for GRR, as I thought they were not connected to the fastpass system. Wrong. My bad. No fastpasses. But the standby line was only 5 minutes long so we got a locker for all our gear and went on our first ride of the trip - Grizzly River Run. First stop was the lockers to drop all of our stuff except Brian's phone in it's waterproof case and Chase's waterproof camera. Which means we actually got to take a few photos on the ride!
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    We had fun in line and laughed at the misfortune of others... like when they got spayed with water or the tube kept spinning (as kept happening with us... btw, spinning rides are NOT Brian's forte). Then we loaded up for a little Disney fun. See how excited the kids are?
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    ^ Remember that pose from Tristan. You'll be seeing a lot of it. LOL

    Brian got hit by a huge wave
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    And the kids got some residual wetness
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    Somehow this ride did not do me any favors today. I left with a grossly wet backside, as an entire wave made its way directly down the back of my pants and soaked right in. Just great.

    Chase got out relatively dry, as did Tristan. But not the rest of us. What a way to start the day! LOL

    After our ride we collected our gear and set back on our way, towards Screamin'. We met a Photopass photographer on the way and got our first round of group shots this trip. See how wet we are?

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    (They snuck this creepy dog into our picture! I'm sure it's probably Frankenweenie, but when I got the pic it sort of freaked me out. Where did it come from?!? LOL I had to add more cartoons to it so I could hide it a little!)
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    Just wait... it only gets wetter...
     
  20. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    So frustrating! Spent most of my night fighting with Photobucket and my computer, who didn't want to play nice. Grrrr. So we only got a little TR tonight. Plenty more to come...
     
  21. PHXscuba

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

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    Good for you getting the boys to all wear black so your pictures would turn out cute! I am waffling on the PhotoPass Plus for our spring trip and will be interested to see what you thought of it overall. The long wait to activate it would make me impatient (rides! now!)

    DD13 just cleaned out her room and gave me her "matchy" Disney shirt from our last trip. She told me she doesn't want to match on our next trip. :sad: So I guess a realistic goal will be "not clashing."

    PHXscuba
     

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