Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by pixleyyy, Oct 11, 2012.
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Hidden Mickey! Awesome trip report, I love to see all the Christmas decorations.
Tristan had made a run to the fastpass machines for Soarin' earlier in the day so we headed there for one of our favorite rides. We saw a Fastpass photographer so stopped for some photos, though the sun was apparently in our eyes as almost every photo had someone's eyes closed.
This time at Soarin' we asked for a front row and were reminded why we do that. Having nobody's shoes in your view makes all the difference! Brian is absolutely in love with the smells on the ride, specifically the smell when you fly over the orange tree orchards. Yummy! He wishes they would bottle that up and sell it, as he'd buy it! It's just such a wonderfully done ride and we enjoy it each time.
We wanted a chance to see Aladdin today so we headed that way. We had preferred seating tickets so got in the correct queue area and just waited for time to pass so we could choose our seat in the theater. The wait wasn't that long, maybe 15 minutes, before the preferred seating guest were allowed to enter. We chose seats along the aisle in the orchestra section, about 10 rows from the front. They were pretty great seats. Brian sat next to the aisle and appreciated being able to sit down and rest his weary feet as well as stretch his legs out. The kids really enjoyed the show and kept repeating the genie's jokes later in the day... "the dork knight" (for "the dark night"), "I found Nemo. I found him delicious. Nah, he was actually quite greasy" and tons of jokes about the Disney company recently paying billions of dollars for the rights to Star Wars. I was really glad that we took time to see this show again.
As soon as the show let out we went to Tower of Terror. It was a very short wait time and such a great ride. Brian and I both think it's better than WDW's, in that it doesn't seem as jerky or something. I felt soooooo ill after my last ToT ride in WDW, but I've ridden here twice now and it's been just fine for me.
We took a stroll through Bugs Land on our way back to Cars Land. Nobody expressed an interest in the Bugs Land rides. I think we've just moved beyond that point in our lives. Carnival rides are no longer fun! LOL
We were heading for Ghiradelli for the much-awaited ice cream. On our way through Cars Land we admired how Carissa's ears started glowing and flashing to the music there. So neat! I didn't get a photo there but have some coming up from World of Color. I did get this photo though... inside Cars Land looking at Grizzly River Run.
Our Ghiradelli ice cream was great. We got more samples of the peppermint bark and spent a ridiculous amount of money on ice cream (It was $34 for us all!), but it was another relaxing and tasty moment.
Brian's hot fudge sundae with almonds:
Chase's rocky road in a chocolate and sprinkled waffle cone:
Tristan's cookie dough in a chocolate and sprinkled waffle cone:
Carissa's cookies & cream in a cake cone:
My rocky road in a chocolate and peanut dipped waffle cone:
Our original plan was to head to GRR next, but the wind had picked up some and we were we knew we were going to be out late, so being wet for the rest of the evening wasn't a good choice. We decided to not go today. Surprisingly the one who grumbled about this was the one who would have been the coldest and grumpiest had she gotten wet - miss Riss. She really wanted to ride.
Instead the kids took some time on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, running around, playing on the rope bridges and huge outdoor play things. They seemed to have fun. Carissa was the only one who could go on the rope swing but the boys ran about playing and looking for hidden Mickey's.
See the hidden Mickey?
By this time it was almost 5. We had a 6:20 reservation for Goofy's Kitchen, so we started meandering our way towards that. We left using the GK hotel exit, passing by their beautiful lobby. If we'd had more time we probably would have gotten our picture taken with the Santa by the big tree, but there was a line and we wanted time to stroll Downtown Disney before our reservation.
The walk to GK was slow and leisurely. We stopped at a few stores, the pin booth, the Lego store and the candy store (where we found this hidden Mickey).
We didn't buy anything but just enjoyed looking around.
I still have 11 months for our trip, but your report and pictures just make me even more excited!! I look forward to hearing about Goofy's Kitchen...I am contemplating that on our arrival night.
So excited for you! This was an amazingly fun trip for us and it's so much fun to visit any Disney park at Christmastime. My Goofy's experience is coming up and I think it will give you more to contemplate...
Enjoying your report. It is very well written and pictures are amazing. We are considering a trip this summer to CA and it is interesting to read about your experiences. It's been 10 years since we've been to DLR/CA and it has changed a lot! I am interested to hear how WOC was!
We have been to WDW the past 2 Decembers and it is wonderful! Next it is time to head West. I look forward to reading more!
Nice installment! We love Soarin' too. I like the pine tree scent as we raft too.
So how "short" do you have to be to do the stuff in Redwood Creek like rope etc.? I think my two youngest would be able to if your daughter did.
I can't remember if you gave a verdict yet on whether you felt the Photopass Plus was a good value. I am seriously considering it for our March trip.
Carissa is just shy of 5 feet and is about 70lbs. I think she was somewhere near the high end of the cutoff for the rope swing. The boys are 5'7" and 6' and both in the 120-ish weight range, so they were out. Not sure if that helps you but there you go.
I don't know that I gave a definitive answer on PP+ yet, but here's a quick rundown of our experience:
There were not a lot of PP photographers out, at least not when we wanted photos. For instance, we could not find a PP photographer outside the castle at night for photos. We looked on several different nights and at different times but found none. And since we don't wait in line for characters (where there usually are PP people) we got many less photos then previous trips.
The PP photographers that were out there (with the exception of one... which you'll hear about later in the TR) were really not good with their equipment or posing. For instance, I had one that posed us all in CA with the tree behind us. They should have been great photos except she put one son behind the other, so he's missing half his face in the photos. I had a lot of darker, underexposed photos (which I fixed as best I could in Photoshop) and photos where they only included portions of the park icon we were trying to be photographed with.
I did like the ride photos option on the PP plus. It's great to have those photos
I should have known better, but I didn't check my ride photos every day when I went back to the room. There's just so much going on while on vacation and I didn't want to spend more time each day checking all our ride photo receipts (which we also weren't great about keeping track of) vs. what showed up on our PP. For that reason we missed many, many ride photos. For instance, we only ended up with 2 from Space Mountain and we rode it at least twice as many times.
All that being said, I DO think PP+ is a great thing and I'd do it again. If not for PP I would have hardly any family photos from our trip... just one or two that I accosted strangers and asked them to take. And the ride photos are a good plus at a decent price. So yes, I'd recommend it but just be aware of my experiences and plan accordingly.
That's one of my favorites!
We got to Goofy's Kitchen a little early but checked in anyways. We got our pictures taken with Goofy and our name was called as soon as that was over.
Dinner there was really not that good. Thank goodness we didn't pay out of pocket, as it would have been over $200! Instead we used the passes that came with our package. Even then, after this visit, we all would have chosen to use it elsewhere. None of us found the food very tasty. Tristan did try the PB&J pizza and liked it. He was excited when we got the recipe for it with our PP+ picture package. Dessert wasn't much better. When teenage boys leave dessert on their plate you know it isn't good.
The only positive part was seeing characters, which we didn't take time to do in the parks. We were able to see several characters, some of them multiple times. Minnie in particular came by a lot.
But we saw a few other characters too.
We laughed at Chip, who was trying to jump so he would be taller than Tristan and who danced with Carissa.
Later Dale came by and tried to push Tristan's head down so he wouldn't be taller.
Minnie came by a second (or was it third?) time and held out her hand to Chase, who tried to shake it. She then proceeded to point at her hand until Chase kissed it. He was smiling but embarrassed. Even when we mention it now he smiles and blushes.
Up next... our first time seeing World of Color.
When dinner was over we meandered our way back to CA to see WOC. Melinda and her family had shown up quite early and saved us a pretty decent spot further back in the blue area but right up against the rail, so no one would be directly in front of us. We arrived about 7:30 for the 8:15 show and chatted with the Hunters while we waited for it to begin. None of us had ever seen this and didn't quite know what to expect. It was actually little scenes from some of our favorite Disney movies, with lots of music and songs. More than once Chase, Carissa and I were singing along to the music. Tristan and Brian aren't the singing types as much, but the rest of us belted out several great songs and smiled the whole time. At one point Chase was dancing to the music from the show and said quietly to himself "this never gets old". Ooooooohhhhh! Carissa's "Glow with the Show" ears were so cool and I got a few photos of them lighting up during the show. When "So Close" from Enchanted (a song I love!) came on I put my arm around Brian. He pulled Chase close and I pulled Tristan close. Carissa was right between them and we just stood there together and enjoyed the moment. It will be one of my favorite memories of this trip, I'm sure.
Here's a few of my favorite photos from the show.
World of Color lasted about half an hour. The kids and I really liked it a lot. Brian was less enthusiastic but thought it was ok. When the show was over the park was closed so we slowly meandered our way out (there was a lot of meandering today) and through Cars Land so we could see the lights on at night once again.
We walked through the stores, finding several items we plan on purchasing tomorrow with our 20% discount coupon then headed back to our room and quickly fell fast asleep.
I am excited to see World of Color for the first time when we visit. I just have to figure out how to get a good spot so my short kids can see (one is about 50 inches and the other 52 inches).
I love the song from Enchanted too.
I love your DD Mickey ears! Can't wait until I can see Carsland too.
Our day started early this morning, as I couldn't sleep so got up early to shower and get ready. In turn, everyone else was up early. We hadn't planned on making it to the 8am park opening, but since we were up early we decided to go for it. Our plan for today was to take it easy and just enjoy the park. We also wanted to hit those attractions we hadn't had a chance to see. We had made a list of those last night and that's what we were working off of this morning.
We arrived at rope drop in much the same spot as we had the day before, up front in the line leading towards Fantasyland. We headed straight for the tea cups. They were tinkering with the door on one of the teacups when we arrived and I thought for a moment that they weren't going to open it for my kids, however they quickly quit tinkering and loaded the kids on the ride. Since my kids were the only ones riding this morning they each got their own teacup (pink for Riss, orange for Tristan and red for Chase) and got to ride all by themselves. It was sort of fun.
They quickly got on the nearby Alice ride. Brian had run to get us SpaceMountain fastpasses so I stood out and waited for him while the kids walked right on and rode. They loaded up and Tristan looked and me and yelled "I'm cramped!" Yup, those ride cars are TINY. I'm glad I didn't go.
Since we were right there we decided to go on the Matterhorn, however it was down at the moment. This would be a common sight today. Instead we went to the Mad Hatter store in Fantasyland and Tristan finally picked out some Mickey ears. He got sorcerer Mickey ears with his name on the back.
We also found a hidden Mickey in the floor of the store.
Now that they all had their hats I had to take some photos of them.
We only had two more fantasyland rides to ride, Snow White and Pinoochio. Boy, are those rides outdated! Sooooo boring! Glad we didn't have to wait for either of them. At least we got to do them though so the kids wouldn't feel like they missed out.
None of us have ever seen the Holiday version of "It's a Small World" so we headed that way. We got a boat to ourselves and we all enjoyed the ride.
It was nice not to have "It's a Small World" playing every single second of the ride. Having it interspersed with the Christmas music was perfect. And the switch from one song to another was seamless. So well done. While riding this we pointed out characters from Disney movies or hidden Mickey's that we found on the way. It was relaxing and slow-paced, just like our morning.
It was 8:45 by the time we disembarked and we were so close to Toontown that we decided to go. Even though we didn't have a lot of time left, we decided to use our Toontown Morning Madness coupons. The cast member at the entrance said there were all sorts of characters inside, but when we got there we saw only Minnie out in the street. There was a line for Mickey but I really wanted to make sure we got a photo with him so we waited it out. It ended up taking about 15 minutes before Mickey returned so we amused ourselves in whatever way we could. I took photos of Toontown.
The rest amused themselves by taking turns doing the "Tristan"... the pose he kept doing in photos.
Then it was time for the "Chase", that I'm-too-cool-I-can't-smile look.
Then little Missy decided to just make funny faces at me and laugh at herself about it.
Absolutely loving your trip report!
So much for the early entry, as we spent it all waiting on Mickey to return so we and the 10 families ahead of us could get photos with him. And then there was no fastpass person to take photos... and the place he was standing (inside his house by the stairs) was really not well lit for good photos. Oh well, at least we completed that goal.
While in Toontown the kids rode Gadgets Go Coaster (which was deemed boring and not big enough for a 6 foot tall 14 year old to ride) and Roger Rabbit (which brought about some grumbling about how you were supposed to spin the car). Brian and I stopped at the shop back in Toontown and were just walking around when I saw them, beckoning to me from the back of the store - the silicone Mickey head potholders that I wanted more of but had not been able to find this trip. We grabbed two more of them to join the two we already use and love. Score!
We took the obligatory photos in the jail, with the dumbbell and on the car.
The kids rang some bells and blew stuff up, then we walked our way out of Toontown and right onto the railroad. We rode it all the way to New Orleans Square, glad for the chance to relax our feet as much as we could. All this walking had been hard on them!
Once in New Orleans Square we grabbed fastpasses for HMH, as it was down, then headed to Splash for an early morning ride. Walking the queue took longer than actually getting seated for the ride. We got a log all to ourselves and strategically placed us all one seat back, so the front seat was empty. We thought maybe this would keep someone from having to get so soaked by riding up front. Lousy strategy, I tell you. Doesn't work at all. Tristan did man up and ride in front. He even turned down the use of a poncho. In the end he got fairly well soaked, but never once complained about it.
On the way back down HMH was still down so we headed to Pirates but the line didn't seem to be moving and was all the way out in the walkway. We decided to come back later, though each time we checked it was down (are you seeing a pattern here?). Instead we walked on Big Thunder Mountain with very little wait then hoofed it over to Space Mountain to use our fastpasses. I know I've said it before, but fastpass is the way to go for Space. The standby line was 35 minutes at this time but we were on in less than 10 with our fastpasses. Plus we got to avoid that terribly long walk through the outside queue.
Have you noticed the coordinating-but-not-matching clothing we've been wearing? The kids requested no matchy-matchy or homemade Disney shirts, so we've done coordinating instead. Today was grey and black day so this morning I told everyone to wear those clothes. So imagine my surprise when Tristan takes off his hoodie for the first time in the morning and I see that he has put on a navy blue shirt instead. Navy blue and black together are a pet peeve of mine. Hate it! Think it looks horrible and always give the kids a hard time when they wear them together. So now here we are, ready to have out photographs taken with 4 people in black and one in navy blue. *sigh* What to do other than grumble over it for a few seconds and then move on. Oh well. Off we go...
We walked back towards Main Street and finally took the time to have some family photopass photos taken in front of Partners and the castle. I had heard about a Photopass photographer who really takes time to get lots of different photos. Dave must have been that guy because he did a great job. I have yet to see the photos but he took several of the family and both posed us and had us make different motions to the camera. He included the magic Tinkerbell photo. Then he got photos of just Brian and I together (which we never get... we never think about it) and photos of just the kids together. He probably snapped 15-20 different photos. I can't wait to go home and see them! (Edited to add: Now that I've seen them I'm less impressed. I really had hoped to see more of the park icons in the photos, especially the castle as there was no Photopass photographer there. Then again, it would help if the castle were bigger. *sigh* Oh well, we still think Dave was pretty fabulous!).
Over the course of our trip we had collected several of the 20% off merchandise coupons (which have to be used at particular stores and only before 1pm). We'd done some browsing so we had an idea of several things we wanted to purchase. I can't pass up a deal, so now was the time to do it all. Our first stop was California Adventure, as we'd all located things there yesterday that we wanted to purchase. Brian ended up with a pen and a hoodie, Chase got an Oswald shirt and a Jack Skellington hat and Tristan got a Jack Skellington shirt. Super-picky Carissa had picked out a hoodie yesterday but when we got there we realized that it was way too big, even in size small (it was adult sized). She was totally bummed, though she did pick up a Vinylmation Minnie ornament that smells like pie. Brian lined up to pay and I decided to take Carissa around the corner to Gone Hollywood, which sells a lot of Mad T Party stuff since it's the closest store to the venue. We looked around for kids stuff but didn't see anything. We asked a cast member, who didn't know of kids Mad T Party gear, so she asked another cast member. That CM showed us the two things they have for kids - a t-shirt and the exact hoodie she had picked out in adult size! Wahoo! Thank goodness for small miracles. Getting this girl to like anything is difficult enough but then not being able to purchase what she wanted was heartbreaking. But all ended well and she walked away with an adorable Cheshire Cat hoodie, which you can sort of see right here. (By the way... nice face Carissa!)
On our way back to meet the guys Carissa and I stopped by a lonely photopass photographer near the tree and got some pics of just us girls together.
Our next stop was the World of Disney store in downtown Disney. There we picked up this Mickey Mouse and Police Officer statue that Brian had seen...
... a hoodie and retro Disney purse for me and 9 pins, one for each kid for each park as well as one to represent the entire Disneyland resort - all of which will end up on their pin canvas wall hangings back at home.
We stopped at Marceline's Confectionary next where we each got a treat (except Brian... he'd get one later). Chase and Tristan went for the Goofy Candy Company fill-your-own sour candy tubes. Carissa got a crispy Mickey head with chocolate drizzle and mini M&M's. I got another marshmallow skewer covered in caramel then dunked in milk chocolate and cashews. Yum!
At this point we were walking around with two full bags of merchandise and had been on our feet for hours. We were all tired and getting hungry and we just needed to keep our feet moving until we could sit down for lunch. And since we were in DTD I knew just where to go - EoS! The line was long but the food was good, though they messed up for Brian and Chase's sandwiches (minus the sauce and veggies). We had to send them back twice before they were correct.
We sat and ate a leisurely lunch before jumping on the monorail about 1:30pm and heading back into Disneyland. We got to sit in the back or the monorail, so we had a great curving seat and got to see out huge windows most of the way around. It was pretty neat. From our vantage point we could see the lines coming into Disneyland and they were pretty long. The monorail was a great choice!
I really like your PP pictures in front of the quaint Sleeping Beauty castle. I LOVE the one of you and your hubby
Your navy blue wearing son reminds me of my youngest. Sounds like something he'd do.
Thanks for sharing. I'm enjoying your TR.
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