A Year of Disney: Nov 16th, 2019 - Mother/daughter trip (PTR)

Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
So last week I bought my very first AP. A Flex pass, but I am so, so excited! I have been waiting for a time that I wasn't pregnant or had a baby and could also afford an annual pass for like 15 years! :) I am planning to use it a lot this year (even though I live in AZ), but most of my trips will just be 1-2 days. I'm hoping I can keep up with little trip reports along the way, because I love to look back and see what we did on our trips.

So I bought my Flex Pass online already, and reserved Nov 16th. My daughter (J, almost 12) and her friend (A, also 12 next month) have been planning this trip and saving up for it for the last year. A has never been to Disneyland, and my daughter has been filling her head full of (Disney) sugar plums for the last two years. Her mom (K) decided to join us too, which will be fun, and yay for not having to do all the driving myself! These girls are best friends, and we carpool all the time, and I like her and her mom, so it should be fun. Her mom has been to Disneyland several times, and likes it. I already warned them that when we do a single day like that, we tour guerilla-style. :)


We are planning to leave the Phoenix area early Friday morning (around 6:30) to hopefully miss the worst of the traffic, and get into the Anaheim area around 12:30 local time (we're an hour ahead of California now since AZ doesn't do DST). DF11 has never seen the ocean, so we're hoping to go walk along a beach for a couple hours. Then we'll probably check into our hotel. We're staying at the Quality Inn & Suites in Buena Vista, mostly because the price was really good. I figure we'll be driving early enough (park opens at 8 am, so we should be on the road shortly after 6) and late enough (after midnight) that traffic shouldn't be bad.

After checking in, we might leave K at the room to relax (she's not at all into shopping she says, and has a crazy hectic schedule most of the time, so she might be ready for some quiet!) and take the girls to DTD. They are super excited for this. We'll window shop like crazy, hopefully get our parking validated, and I will go to the ticket booths to get my physical pass as well.

We'll try to call it a night fairly early (by 9 or so) so we can get up and on the road by 6-ish. I like to be at the gates early! I know it's an MM day, but we're planning to head for Adventureland first and do IJ anyway (grabbing a FP with MaxPass for Space on our way, probably) so it shouldn't be bad. That's the plan so far! We're very excited!
 

Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
We are starting to pack, and getting excited for our trip next Saturday. However, I am a bit nervous about the crowds I was seeing on the app this weekend. :-o I am trying to be positive, and know that I have the experience to make it a great day no matter how busy it is, but I'm hoping it's lighter, not heavier than the opening weekend of the holiday season. I guess we'll see! Maxpass will help, as long as it doesn't go back, and I'm armed with ideas from Casey at Disneyland Daily if we get to a crowded/hot afternoon and are feeling frustrated. (It's supposed to be in the 80's Saturday. :P) I know we'll have a good day, as long as I can get us to the parking lot by like 6:30 at the latest Saturday morning. We don't have EE, but we're planning to grab a FP for Space Mountain first and then head left to hit Indiana Jones first, since DF loves those movies. After that we'll probably head over to Tomorrowland and either ride Star Tours (K gets motion sickness on that one though, so we also might save it for a little later. We'll have to see what the lines are doing after we get off IJ. It's gonna be fu-un!
 

theluckyrabbit

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
I think this past weekend was a combination of Opening Weekend of Holiday Time + 3 Day Holiday Weekend + New Holiday Merchandise Released (e.g. popcorn buckets, sippers, etc.) + Opening Weekend of Holiday Festival of Food + Not All the Lower Passes Being Blocked (Deluxe/Flex/SoCal) = Very Crowded Parks! Next weekend should be a bit better because some of the initial hoopla should have calmed down. Even today was better than yesterday! You are absolutely right, though: it is going to be FUN!
 
  • Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    I think this past weekend was a combination of Opening Weekend of Holiday Time + 3 Day Holiday Weekend + New Holiday Merchandise Released (e.g. popcorn buckets, sippers, etc.) + Opening Weekend of Holiday Festival of Food + Not All the Lower Passes Being Blocked (Deluxe/Flex/SoCal) = Very Crowded Parks! Next weekend should be a bit better because some of the initial hoopla should have calmed down. Even today was better than yesterday! You are absolutely right, though: it is going to be FUN!
    That's what I'm hoping. We will have fun either way, but I'd love if it's just a little calmer this Saturday. Everyone stay home and watch Disney+! 🤣
     

    StarlitNight05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2016
    Joining along! Sounds fun. Congrats on becoming an AP. DH and I just got flex passes too! It kind of takes the sting out of leaving -- you know you'll be back soon! :D
     

    mel2014

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2014
    We are starting to pack, and getting excited for our trip next Saturday. However, I am a bit nervous about the crowds I was seeing on the app this weekend. :-o I am trying to be positive, and know that I have the experience to make it a great day no matter how busy it is, but I'm hoping it's lighter, not heavier than the opening weekend of the holiday season. I guess we'll see! Maxpass will help, as long as it doesn't go back, and I'm armed with ideas from Casey at Disneyland Daily if we get to a crowded/hot afternoon and are feeling frustrated. (It's supposed to be in the 80's Saturday. :P) I know we'll have a good day, as long as I can get us to the parking lot by like 6:30 at the latest Saturday morning. We don't have EE, but we're planning to grab a FP for Space Mountain first and then head left to hit Indiana Jones first, since DF loves those movies. After that we'll probably head over to Tomorrowland and either ride Star Tours (K gets motion sickness on that one though, so we also might save it for a little later. We'll have to see what the lines are doing after we get off IJ. It's gonna be fu-un!
    We were there this past weekend and I can say that if you know what you're doing with MaxPass, you can still get a ton done even on a crowded day. We did have the benefit of MM to tackle the Fantasyland rides, but during regular park hours on Saturday we did the following with a sit-down lunch at Cafe Orleans and a 2.5 hour nap break at our hotel (roughly in order):

    Buzz -- Standby line
    Star Tours (FP)
    Hyperspace Mountain (FP)
    BTMRR (standby -- 15 minute wait)(this was a strategic error, we should have done POTC during this time, since the waits were crazy later in the day and most of the day Sunday, we finally caught it with a 20 minute wait during Fantasmic on Sunday)
    BTMRR (FP)
    Haunted Mansion Holiday (FP)
    Splash (FP)
    Churro break
    IASWH (FP)
    Playing in Toon Town
    Roger Rabbit (FP)
    Browse Galaxy's Edge for the first time -- 45 minutes
    Cafe Orleans lunch
    Tom Sawyer Island -- 45 minutes
    Hotel Break
    Indiana Jones (FP)
    Incredicoaster (FP)
    Guardians (FP)
    Dinner from Red Rose Taverne
    BTMRR (FP)
    Browse Galaxy's Edge more (my 9-year old son was obsessed with the Datapad App)
    Smugglers Run (standby wait was posted at 60 minutes, we waited 35)
    Storybook Land boats during fireworks
    Left around 10
     
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  • Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Almost show time! Have a great trip! :)
    Thanks! We hit Huntington Beach yesterday, and Downtown Disney last night, where I picked up my Flex Pass! We are up and ready to have a great day! Wish us luck!!
     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Hope you guys are enjoying the magic! Isn't it a great feeling to have a DLR AP in your wallet? :)

    ETA: So, how'd it go? Hope you had a great day!

    ETA2: Just an idea for future DLR trips -- if you know you'll be visiting however many times during your AP year, you might want to think about joining a hotel loyalty program and trying to stick to one hotel brand for your visits. For example, Marriott has numerous properties around the parks now since they bought Starwood: Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, Fourpoints, Sheraton, etc. That would include Anaheim, Garden Grove, Fullerton, etc. Some people choose Hilton, others IHG -- whichever chain works best for you. (Be careful about using Expedia or other sites like that because those bookings don't always earn loyalty points.) Those loyalty points really add up (especially when you sign up for the bonus offers), and the free nights sure do come in handy! Free nights mean more money to spend on tickets and/or in the parks.
     
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  • Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Here we go! It was a fast, busy trip that I'm still recovering from! :)

    Friday morning, after a short delay because of misplaced keys, we picked up DF and K and headed out of Mesa, AZ just after 6:30 AM. We ran into just a little traffic through Phoenix, and a bit here and there once we got into Orange County, but nothing bad. We stopped at a random Wendy's for lunch, and then made our way to Huntington Beach. We were on the northern end by a pretty pier, and on a mid-day Friday in November, it was pretty quiet, which made parking lovely.
    The girls asked about switching into swim suits, but DF hadn't brought one, and it wasn't even 70º. Surely it would be fine for them to just get in to less than their knees? False. By the time I had paid for parking, taken the ticket back to the car, and joined them down by the water, their shorts and their bums were already wet. Just get in then, I guess... 🤣 (but the water was sooo cold!) We stayed for about an hour and a half, and would have stayed longer, but I was a bit worried about sunburn since it was just after noon when we started. Ain't nobody got time for a sunburn with a full Disney day scheduled the next day, amiright?






    We drove up to Buena Park and checked into our motel, the Quality Inn & Suites Buena Park Anaheim. It was just 2 queens and a bathroom. Nothing fancy, but the area was just down from Knott's Berry, well-lit, and the beds/pillows were very comfy. There was a lot of road noise. If I had to do it again, I might ask for a room facing the pool instead of out. Or better yet, on the back side. It could have been a tiny bit better maintained/needed a little scrubbing, but otherwise no complaints, since we paid a total of $164 for two nights with free parking and breakfast. Since we were driving on non-rush-hour times, it was super easy and fast to jump on the 91/5 and jet over to Disney. Driving time to Disneyland Drive was like 6-8 minutes. The girls got some showers, and we washed their beachy clothes at the motel. Bad idea. Everything ended up with tiny bleach spots. :-(

    K was ready for some down time, but I took the girls over to Downtown Disney, and we got some mini beignets at the Jazz Kitchen Express (always a good idea), Wetzels Pretzels for dinner (their choice, and they were overdone, but at least they validated our parking), did a lot of window shopping, and I stood in a 15-20 minute line to get this exciting little nugget of joy:



    We also walked around in the GC lobby and checked out this year's gingerbread house, they split a Sprinkles cupcake (pumpkin, yay!), and enjoyed a swing band.




     
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    caylene44

    Aspiring Disney Travel Planner
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2015
    I've been SO absent from the DIS but I'm here! Excited to hear how your crowd levels ended up being and whether your daughter's friend had an awesome first trip!

    We leave tomorrow, haven't stalked crowd levels at all lately so I'm feeling a little discombobulated but I know it will still be fun.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    (I had to leave this post open on my computer, because I started it yesterday morning, but for an early Christmas present for the kids, we spent last night at the new Great Wolf Lodge here in Scottsdale, and just got back late this afternoon. It was super fun, and so impressive ("pack members," customer service, etc. was all very Disney-esque, and I think the rooms were easily as nice and bigger than the ones at the Grand Californian). They were doing a half-off rate for weeknights for opening, and it was a pretty decent deal at that price for a family of 7. Sadly, we were a family of 5 the whole time, because DD9 was sick, and DH stayed home with her. He wasn't sad about that, though I know he would have loved the hotel. He's not so into water parks though. They acted like they'd be willing to give us free day passes if we want to bring her another time to check it out. I don't know if they meant just for the two that missed out, or for the whole family (which is what it sounded like) but either way, I'm excited. She was so sad, even though they had a fun movie/smoothies/Xbox night together.)

    I didn't sleep terribly well Friday night, and woke up a lot, even though the bed was comfortable. A mix of it being a bit noisy (even with a sound machine) and anticipation of our day at Disney! So I was up by 5 local time, and hung out on my phone until other people started stirring. My alarm went off at 5:30. We meant to leave by 6, but it was more like 6:20. Which was fine, since I had built in plenty of cushion time. It worked out, because the parking lot started letting people in right about 6:30, and we were already waiting for a minute or so. That drive is super easy before 6:30 in the morning, haha. We were parked by 6:37 (way over in the new lot) and we were at the gates before 7 AM. Most of the gates were early entry, and there was just one designated "Entrance." We were about 15 people back, but by the time they converted a few lines to regular entrance, we were first in line at one. :) That makes me so happy, and was pretty much impossible during our April trip with 5 kids...



    They scanned us in right about 7:30, and I made a maxpass selection for Hyperspace Mountain, which was already returning about 8:35. We took our time making our way to the Adventureland rope drop to head for Indiana Jones first. It was giving fastpass return times in the app, so I hoped that meant it was going to be open at the start! I know it's coming up for a big refurbishment, so I hoped that didn't mean the ride was going to be running on fumes, repairs-wise. I haven't headed for IJ first since it first opened, so that was different. :)





    Indiana was great. Everything seemed to be working pretty well, except there was very little fire. I love the fire. It was fun riding it with DF for the first time and hearing her scream at all the startling parts. There are actually a lot of rides K had never been on either though. She had only been twice before. Once was in high school with a performance thing, and somehow the girls she ended up with had all been to Disneyland multiple times, and were more interested in shopping than riding anything. The second time was about 8 years ago when she and her husband did a park hopper in one day for their 10-year anniversary. She had ridden IJ before, but only once. She has also been to WDW last year, but only Epcot and Animal Kingdom. (Her favorite ride there was Expedition Everest)

    I had been watching these boards and the wait times/fp return times off and on the last few weeks, and knew if we wanted to ride the Matterhorn without much wait we'd need to make it an early-in-the-day priority. We actually meant to jump on for a hopefully-quick ride on BTMR right after Indy (we got off at 8:20, I think), but it was currently closed. So, anticipating our Hyperspace Mountain FP being ready in about 15 minutes, we decided to jump in the Matterhorn line, since it said it was 15 minutes. Mmm, not. It didn't look that long, but they were letting a lot of FP people in already or -something-, because we were in that darn line for a solid 30 minutes. Everyone here probably understands how I felt about using 30 minutes of the first hour after opening on any single line! I wish we had knocked out a couple of Fantasyland rides instead, and DF was not impressed with the wait. This was the first theme park she had ever gone to, so she hadn't really done lines... :P Thankfully, she at least enjoyed the ride. I don't love that one, because it's rough and Harold 2.0 scares the pants off me, but it's so traditional Disney...


    We already had FP's set for BTMR, but it's return time (9:05) was already up when we got in line for HSM, so I was able to get another for Star Tours that was a return time in like 10 minutes. It actually ended up taking more like 25 min to board and ride HSM because they had a short shut down as soon as we got into the line. They said it would only be 5-10 min, so we opted to stay. And I don't think they were giving other return times because it was a short shut down. I'm glad we stayed, even though that was two frustrating line situations very early in the day. I was a little nervous about what it meant for the rest of our day, haha. DF loved this one though, and was very excited about it. Sadly, the pictures weren't working. :P

    We hurried over to ST and rode without K (she is prone to motion sickness, and she has done that one before with bad results.) My daughter loves ST, but DF was not impressed and said it was "boring." Aw, the soul-crushing that can happen when your friends don't care for things that are dear to you! I had to discretely give her a little extra love so she wouldn't be sad about that for too long. We got on ST at 9:47, and were over in line to use our 9:05-10:05 return time for BTMR at 10:04. 😬 Even though I know there's a short grace period after the return time is up, it still makes me anxious to cut it close like that. Thankfully, DF enjoyed that one too, since BTMR is one of our absolute favorites. I don't think DD11's heart could have taken another disappointment! (Laughing, but at the same time, totally understanding those emotions!)


    The girls were very much wanting one of the Christmassy snacks they had been drooling over for weeks, so we looked for Santa's Milk and Cookies churro, and headed over to Fantasyland, taking this picture on our way. But can anyone guess what we found at the end of our search?
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    I've been SO absent from the DIS but I'm here! Excited to hear how your crowd levels ended up being and whether your daughter's friend had an awesome first trip!

    We leave tomorrow, haven't stalked crowd levels at all lately so I'm feeling a little discombobulated but I know it will still be fun.
    How exciting! I hope it is good for you! It was very busy for us, but not nearly as busy as the Saturday before, according to wait times. We were able to do a lot of what we wanted, and didn't wait more than 35 minutes for anything. (That was a choice though. Lines were much longer than that much of the day.) I hope you have the best time, and I will have to go catch up on your recent trip!
     

    disneymouse16

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2011
    I loved that the girls played in the ocean despite the temperature! Kids just don't seem to care like adults do.

    I'm sorry there were a couple rough lines so early in the morning! But looks like it was shaping up to be a great day!
     

    Mopedmom1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2017
    Joining in. Looks like a fun start!

    DH and I were at DL the week before you for the first time in 26 years. We upgraded our tickets to the FlexPass and look forward to traveling from Oregon for the next year. Flying though!
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    I loved that the girls played in the ocean despite the temperature! Kids just don't seem to care like adults do.

    I'm sorry there were a couple rough lines so early in the morning! But looks like it was shaping up to be a great day!
    Kids are crazy. Especially my little ocean-loving ones! Yes, most of the frustrating stuff happened early in the day. It's always exciting to take someone that's never been before, but I also put a lot of pressure on myself to plan well and make sure that they have a good day, and lapses in judgment like that stress me a little!

    Joining in. Looks like a fun start!

    DH and I were at DL the week before you for the first time in 26 years. We upgraded our tickets to the FlexPass and look forward to traveling from Oregon for the next year. Flying though!
    So awesome! Were you there on Veteran's Day weekend when it was so crowded? I hope you have lots of wonderful trips this year!
     

    Mopedmom1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2017
    So awesome! Were you there on Veteran's Day weekend when it was so crowded? I hope you have lots of wonderful trips this year!
    No we missed it thankfully! We went home Thursday the 7th. We have reservations for December 14-16 and I'm trying to plan for early Jan and late Feb/Mar as well as my birthday in Sept and one last trip in Oct before our passes expire. Whew, I think I will need more Southwest Air miles!
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Well, anyone that guessed that we found another line was so right. 🤣 The girls were unimpressed. I recommended that they ride something like the carousel (one of my favorites, not only because of its generally short wait) while I waited in line, but motion-sickness-prone K suggested that SHE wait in line. Which made my daughter happier, because she knows I love the carousel. :) It was really no big deal either way to me, since I know I'll have plenty of carousel opportunities this year. (Yes, I will ride that one by myself, as an adult, and attempt to get Jingles any time I might be towards the front of the line...) But we went on King Arthur's Carrousel (just before 11 am) without any kind of wait, and the girls seemed to enjoy it.




    When we got off, they worried, "How will we find her?" "Well, A) She has a phone and so do I, and B) Pretty sure she's still in line..." I was right on the line, of course, and sent the three of them to ride Snow White's Scary Adventures while I waited. My daughter really wanted to go on that one since it will probably be closed for a while by her next trip. I told them I'd pay for a couple dollars of their churro if they shared it with me, but I was kind of hungry, and doubted my self restraint, so I also got a normal one for myself. I don't remember, but I think my AP discount worked there? I can't remember. There was one place it didn't work... (OH. So I was all excited about my new Disney Visa, and the Darth Vader Meet and Greet, right? Guess who left it in my purse in the car accidentally. Yep. But I thought it was back at the motel in my shorts pocket from the night before, which was even less useful, so... I was at Disneyland with no credit card, just my ID, my AP, and about $50 in cash. Not a huge deal, and it actually worked out, because I had my Disney Visa linked to my Disney account, so we were able to use it for mobile ordering anyway, and K just gave me cash for their portion. But STILL. I was super annoyed with myself.) Anyway, the Santa's Milk and Cookies churro was UH-mazing, but I limited myself to two bites and ate my own boring churro. 😝 It was funny to hear K's reaction to the admittedly-unsettling SWSA ride, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed their treat.


    This was right about 11:30, and we had about 25 minutes to kill until we could use our IASW Holiday FP. We thought about ordering some lunch, but the line at the Red Rose tavern was actually pretty long, and their mobile ordering wasn't working. :P Sad, because we wanted some of the Grey Stuff! I need to make a list for my solo trip in 2 weeks of things I want to try, but I'll probably mostly do holiday stuff since the grey stuff will be available later... We finally decided to do a mobile order at (why can I never think of the new name of the Tomorrowland Terrace??) Galaxy Grill or something? that would be ready right after we used our second Hyperspace Mountain FP after IASW. By the time we got all of that figured out, it was time to ride! I think they liked it. I don't really remember. I always enjoy the holiday edition. And a picture of my cutie-pie-Disney-lover-who-is-getting-close-to-not-being-a-child-anymore...



    On our way over to use our next FP, we checked out some of the plants in Tomorrowland, since I had shared with them the interesting tidbit about all/most of them being edible, and K identified a bunch that I didn't even realize were things I'm familiar with, like this rosemary. :) Time for the trip favorite: Hyperspace Mountain! We were hoping the photo would finally be working this next time!



     

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