Adult Exclusive- Backstage Magic Trip Report

acndis

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 6, 2012
I also prefer DL Hotel to the Grand Californian. Glad to hear you loved it! I stayed there as a kid so it's nostalgic but with all the renos, it's such a great place. It may be our favorite of all the Disney Resorts. My son is a big fan of the monorail pool!
 

tgeorge

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
That's awesome! I was also lucky enough to get an access code for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the first time slot! We're going in June, and I'm surprising DH, DD and DS with it as a "family" holiday gift. Back on topic, I'm looking forward to this TR. We're finally doing BSM in Aug. 2018 after booking and moving it around a couple of times.
Awesome! We were both so lucky with that first time slot. I heard that it became chaos after. It will be quite the surprise. I can't wait. I've heard it is awesome. Our first night is on my brother's birthday, so that will be fun. I was actually going to go to London to see it, but when this opportunity came up, I had to try.
 
  • tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    That light show looks amazing! We are also doing Universal before our ABD, staying at the Hilton on points. Love your upgraded view :) I plan to book the VIP tour for us, but it is still a little early....
    The light show was phenomenal. I wish I would have thought about it because we could have gone back and watched it again from our room.
    I booked on points too. I'm not sure if the upgrade happened since I'm a diamond member or not, but we were very happy with our view and you can't beat the proximity to Universal and the shuttle. Although, walking is just as quick. You'll LOVE the VIP tour and it is a fantastic way to start off the ABD. I swear I can't travel to a theme park normally again :-) Too dramatic, okay, well, I would really like to always do the VIP thing from now on LOL
     
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    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    I also prefer DL Hotel to the Grand Californian. Glad to hear you loved it! I stayed there as a kid so it's nostalgic but with all the renos, it's such a great place. It may be our favorite of all the Disney Resorts. My son is a big fan of the monorail pool!
    I was actually a little bummed at first with the switch, but we really loved the DL Hotel. Glad to hear that you prefer it also. My brother and sister-in-law want to take my nephew to DL first. They feel the smaller park is better for him (he's 1 now, so it will be in a year or two) and I told them I'd gladly go with them and stay at DL Hotel. WDW will be when he's a bit older, and of course, Auntie Tonia will be on that trip too.
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    ABD Day 4

    When we were all waiting in the lobby at 0640, Michael and Dean were impressed. I think we were all eager to be the very first people into DL. We had to be there by 710 in order to make our photo op, so we were off.

    As they let us in, you can see all the people standing in line wondering what in the heck is going on. The next two days we’d consistently get those looks. People wondering how this group of people can bypass them in the line, etc. I’m not going to lie, it was kind of fun :-)

    As we walked in and saw the lack of people and all of the decorations, we were all elated. There is just something that turn Disney into big kids :-)

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    After our photos in front of the castle, we got to meet the 2017 Ambassadors. It was so much fun to get to talk to them and ask them questions. I was curious what the process was like and they were gracious enough to answer my questions. Then it was time for a surprise….CANDY CANES!!! Now, I’ve read about these famous, hand made candy canes that people stand in line to get a bracelet to have the ability to stand in line to buy one for $12. And they just handed them out to us. Pretty awesome.

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    By that time, people were starting to come into the park, and we headed off to Plaza Inn for our first character breakfast. Another gigantic breakfast buffet and then we were off to ride Matterhorn. Wait, what? I just ate all of this food and you want me to get on a toboggan ride that isn’t quite known for being smooth? Sure, why not! J We had a blast and then we went off to do some more of the parks.

    Of course, the major highlight today was Walt’s apartment. For any true Disney fan, this is just such an awesome experience and knowing that they don’t let just anyone in the apartment is really very special. There were some people who needed a tissue after because it was quite touching.

    Then we got our first behind the scenes tour. We got to see the car in the Indiana Jones ride, how the hydraulics work and various aspects of the ride. Then we got to play with the hydraulics. Very cool! We were on our own for lunch and then we had opportunities to meet up with our guides for a Mickey photo op, Star Tours and the Christmas Parade.


    I left the Christmas Parade early because I had something I really wanted to do. That was the Flag Retreat. Every day, at both Parks, the color guard does a ceremony and it is quite touching. WDW picks a Veteran of the Day and presents them with the flag after the ceremony. At DL, they honor all of the Veterans present. The DL band plays each service song. As soon as your service song is played, you get up and stand along the circular railing. Once all services are present, they play the anthem and bring down the flag. It is very moving. There was a woman across from me who had tears streaming down her face, and I couldn’t look at her. We stood there, at attention, saluting the flag as it was lowered for the day. A very touching experience and one that I will never forget. Once the flag was removed, we went around and shook hands/hugged and asked each other about our service. I met an Air Force Vietnam Vet who was actually at DL the day it opened July 17, 1955. He was a very interesting gentleman and I was very honored to have gotten the opportunity to speak to him.


    Our guides had given us 5 Fast Passes to be used at any time on any ride we wanted. We used a couple, but after walking around all day, we ended up calling it a day by around 9 or so that night. We’d have another 0700 morning tomorrow, which was our last day. How is that possible? It can’t be so close to being over already!
     
  • FoodieFriend

    DisneyFan
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2015
    @tgeorge
    Thank you so much for your trip report. We're doing this same ABD next October. I had a few questions: I've been trying to figure out when we have OYO time because we have family in the area & we would like to meet up with them. From the ABD website it seems like dinner on the Monday (day 2), then dinner on the Wednesday (day 4) is OYO. Also, did you add any nights at the end? I know you haven't got to posting that part of your trip yet, but I'm trying to work it all out since I'm the planner/OVER-planner. TIA.
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    @tgeorge
    Thank you so much for your trip report. We're doing this same ABD next October. I had a few questions: I've been trying to figure out when we have OYO time because we have family in the area & we would like to meet up with them. From the ABD website it seems like dinner on the Monday (day 2), then dinner on the Wednesday (day 4) is OYO. Also, did you add any nights at the end? I know you haven't got to posting that part of your trip yet, but I'm trying to work it all out since I'm the planner/OVER-planner. TIA.
    Yes, Monday and Wednesday night are OYO. Monday everyone was done around 345. I remember because we saw them getting off the elevator as we were heading out to Kimmel. Wednesday we were really done after Walt's apartment (right before lunch). They had some extras: Mickey photo op at 100, Star Tours at 200 and Christmas Parade at 330. Most people chose to come, but some went there own way. Definitely after the Parade (~400) we were done. Either would work depending on where your family is. Monday may be a bit easier since Wednesday you're in the park, but whatever works best for you.

    We did not stay an extra night. We had talked about it initially, but since we did Universal pre-ABD, we opted to fly home on Friday morning. It would have been nice to have an extra night and utilize the extra hopper pass day, but we opted not to. I'm glad now since my husband and I are finishing building our new home (this was a reality LONG after Nicole and I booked this trip) and we close and move on Friday! So, it is a good thing we came home on Friday since I basically had a week to pack the house :-) Another reason I'm trying to get this trip report done soon. I will finish probably by tomorrow, I promise.

    From one over planner to another, you will enjoy this trip! I'm currently in the process of planning our 10th anniversary trip to Paris in March and I will say, ABD makes it SO easy. I'm a bit spoiled now. LOL

    If you have any other questions, let me know. I know many people on these boards have taken this trip, so I'm sure you can get a lot of other information. You're going to have a great time
     

    CaliKris

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2015
    Following along! This trip is on my wish list, but it is hard to justify the cost since I grew up in So Cal and have been to Disneyland many times. Although it is hard to put a price on all the things you get to see and do that aren't possible any other way. It sounds like you had a great time!
     
  • tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    ABD Day 5/6 (since we leave EARLY)


    Today we meet at 0700 at Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel for our final character breakfast. This buffet was probably the craziest breakfast buffet I’ve ever had. SO MUCH FOOD!! Regular breakfast food, pizza, salads, macaroni and cheese, desserts, and ice cream. It was, well, Goofy :-) Breakfast was great and the restaurant is super cute. Goofy has his own ‘kitchen’ in the front for photo ops. At 0745 we were heading off to walk through the Grand Californian and into Disney California Adventure! We walked through the Grand Californian so the guides could tell us where we would be meeting up that evening for our farewell dinner. Farewell, already, how in the heck is that possible? Time always flies when you’re having fun, and this trip was definitely going at super- sonic speed.

    The lobby of the Grand Californian is gorgeous, we found the Christmas tree where we would meet (kind of hard to miss a 20 ft tree) :-) and off we went to DCA!

    We all got through bag check, entered the park and off we went to Paradise Pier. We were going to ride Toy Story Mania. However, we got there a bit quickly, and it wasn’t quite operational yet, so we end up riding California Screamin’ Roller Coaster. Bonus! It was so much fun and definitely unexpected. I’m seeing a pattern here….eat a large breakfast and ride a roller coaster. HA! After we got off, we got right on Toy Story Mania. Boy, are we competitive. Not only were we comparing scores, but accuracy. Every little bit helps, right? After Toy Story we went to the Buena Vista area that is modeled after 1930’s-1940’s LA and got to wander around for 30 minutes or so. Then we got a tour of the Carthay Circle restaurant and saw where we would be having dinner that evening in our own private dining room. This definitely ended up being a good thing :-)

    After our tour, we were off to Tower (err…) Guardians of the Galaxy ride. This ended up being really funny because Michael just couldn’t stop saying Tower. Oh my gosh! Insanity! It starts from the moment –go and just doesn’t stop. It was awesome! We had so much fun and since our entire group took up one ride car, the photo of it is hilarious. There is something about riding this ride with the entire car being people you know. SO MUCH FUN! And, what was even better, we didn’t have to use our ‘special’ Guardians of the Galaxy fastpass Dean and Michael put on our tickets, so we could ride it again whenever we wanted. Have I mentioned how incredible it is to have the guides/security helping you get onto rides?

    Then it was off to Cars Land. First, we went behind the scenes to talk to the mechanics about these cars and how they are maintained. WOW! If I thought the behind the scenes at Indiana Jones was cool, this blew it out of the water. The dedicated staff, the electronics put into the cars, the Imagineering that went into getting silicone lips to move to audio just right, the COST of not only procuring the cars, but maintaining them to the standard in which they are kept. Truly out of this world and it definitely makes you have a new appreciation for the cost of a Disney ticket. You will not see these things at a Great America, etc. Rides, or course, but all of the ‘extras’ that just put it all together for you. It cost them over $300 million to build Cars land and it is the largest man made rock structure. Amazing, phenomenal, mind boggling, okay, I think you get the point :-) Then it was off to ride the ride. He also gave us the inside scoop- if you start losing the race at the beginning, you’re going to win at the end. Hope I didn’t spoil it for any of you. The ride didn’t disappoint. Similar to test track, but better. Do not miss this ride if you go! And, just like Tower (err..)Guardians, we didn’t have to use our Fast Pass designated for this one either, on we went to the front of the line, and we still had a Fast Pass for use again that day.
     
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    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    And we still had….ONE more thing to do with the guides before we were set free for lunch. And we took off Soarin’ through Disneyland. Okay, well, the dramatic effect probably didn’t work as intended, but we got to Soarin’ and we were met by someone from the ride. We went backstage again and he told us a bit about the ride and the exhaust system they use to clean the air of the ‘smells’ that are released at various times through the ride. Then we used the ‘super-secret’ celebrity stairwell to wait for our turn on the ride. We entered, got on the ride, and took off on the new Soarin’ adventure. This was the first time I had seen this new version, so it was fun to see it. After the ride, we were instructed to wait at the front of the theatre for all other guests to leave and then we went underneath the stage and got to watch the show again from behind the screen (we also got to touch the screen to feel what the material is like). This was a pretty awesome viewpoint. The cast member who took us back there said it is a view that few people ever get to see. He said there are people who work on the ride who never even get to see it. Then we exited into their employee hallway and he touched on the locations seen through the film and how each one is important to Disney. Then he passed around the scents, showed us the ‘hidden Mickey’s’ in the film, and showed us how the Imagineers came up with the concept of the ride. I know I sound like I’m on repeat, but it was so incredibly cool and very interesting. You really get to see and understand a different side when given this unique perspective and I’m so grateful I got to do it.


    Then we were off to explore and ride some more. In addition to our specific fastpasses for Guardians and Cars, we had 5 additional that could be used that day. And those can’t be wasted J

    Around 4, we got back to our room, dropped off more bags, because, well, one last bit of shopping had to be done, and we were off to meet at the Grand Californian for our Farewell dinner. Once at GC, we went into one of the conference rooms where Michael, Dean and Danny had put together a slide show for us. They took something like 2000 pictures during our trip, so they had to go through all of those to put this together. It was awesome and we all loved it. Then we were off to Carthay Circle for dinner. The menu was waiting for us and we ordered and they started pouring the wine. Dinner was great, conversation was great, and ambiance was great. It definitely was a great way to end our trip. At that time, in walk the guides with 30 gift bags. They bought gifts for a White Elephant. Hilarity ensued. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Everyone in our group meshed really well. Pair that with a glass of wine, or two, and people were stealing Tinker Bell socks and California lunch bags left and right. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had with a White Elephant gift exchange.


    Given all the winds , we were unsure if World of Color would happen. It is normally canceled if it is too windy. Fireworks every night were canceled (with the winds, wildfires, and close proximity of houses to DL it is understandable), but we made our way over to WOC, just in case. We got to our reserved box just in time and it started. It was gorgeous! I’ve always enjoyed the fountains at Bellagio in Vegas, but you add lights and pictures and it just takes it to a whole new level. After it was over, the ropes dropped and people were off. Some people were around and we got to say our good-byes, but a lot of people wanted to try to get one more ride in on Cars before the park closed. DCA closes a 9pm and DL is open until midnight. I wish they would have been open until 10, but, not a huge deal.

    We went back to the hotel, packed and got ready for our early morning pick up to the airport.

    Our flight was at 905, so the car picked us up at 0600. They pick up 3 hours before. Some other couple had a 0715 flight, so their pick up was at 0415. I’m glad I didn’t goof too much on the outbound flight like I did the inbound. Traffic was light. It only took us 35 minutes to get to the airport, but they said a lot of that has to do with people evacuating up North due to the Wildfires. Got through security and off we went to the Delta lounge to wait for our flight back to reality. Michael and Dean came down to wish us a safe trip. I got one final picture with them and they air dropped me a couple of photos and our slide show, so that was nice. Now we just wait for the access code for all of the pictures to come. They said it will take a couple of weeks with the holidays and with them both heading to do the Danube Holiday cruise. So, I’ll be patient.

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    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    Wrap Up


    I’m sure, if you haven’t already guessed, we loved this trip. It was spectacular and I would highly encourage people to do it. Even those of you who have DL as a home park. I think that there is definitely enough things to make it unique and have an amazing experience. There is no way it can disappoint.


    Highlights:

    Imagineering!!! I’m a science/math geek, so to see all of what it takes to make some of these things work, it is incredible. I’d do this trip again just to go back to Imagineering. That is how much I liked it.

    Behind the Scenes- especially with Cars. This was super interesting and it definitely got my mind thinking in a different way of how even the little things all add up to make it an incredible experience

    Disneyland Hotel was a definite surprise for me. We really enjoyed it and the beds were comfy, which is much appreciated after miles and miles of walking


    Improvements:

    Not a huge fan of the Loew’s hotel. It is in a GREAT location, but I think it was probably just our room. The thermostat wasn’t working correctly so it got really warm and made it hard to sleep. Now, to be fair, I know if we would have said something, Michael or Dean would have fixed it in an INSTANT. We just knew it was a short time and we didn’t want the hassle. So, that’s totally on us, and I take full responsibility. I’m sure if we would have moved, things would have been fantastic.

    Cocktail dinner at DL hotel. I think their idea was super cute. Foods from the park that highly sought after. However, it just didn’t do it for me. Again, I’m not a foodie, so it wasn’t a big deal. I found a couple things I would eat and that was that. After our large breakfast and our lunch at the Disney commissary, I really wasn’t all that hungry anyways. A lot of people seemed to enjoy it though, so maybe I’m just being too critical.


    Final thoughts

    ABD has another fan! As if this wasn’t going to happen :-) I know, you all warned me, do one and you’ll be hooked. Well, I’m here to tell you, you were all absolutely correct. The Guides were, hands down, the best and just made this trip so special. I posted some pictures on Facebook through the trip and now my Mom is asking when here and I can do this trip. I said ‘2019 when Star Wars land opens’, but that may have to go to 2020 since I’m now eyeing one of those River Cruises for 2019 :-) I know where all my annual work bonuses are now going to go LOL

    One final thought. As I was walking around in DL, I came across this plaque. I’ve read this before, but for some reason, being at DL, it really made me stop and think.

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    This man left a little town in Missouri with $40 to head to California. He had a dream, and the courage to pursue it. Now, it is a global company (empire) that everyone knows and so many people get so much joy from it; theme parks, movies, music, etc. Being there, where he started to make his dreams a reality, truly was something special.



    Happy Holidays to all of you and your families! I look forward to reading all of your trip reports in the future! Thank you for making this board fun to be a part of. I've been a part of other boards/forums in the past and people are always so negative. I never see that here. Everyone is willing to answer a question (even if it has been asked in the past) and people are always eager to hear what someone has to say or pass along information. It is so rare anymore, but it certainly is nice.

    Oh, and if anyone has any ideas on what to do with all of the pins you receive from ABDs I'd LOVE to hear them. I hate to leave them sitting in my jewelry box.
     

    TXMemaw

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2010
    Thanks for your trip report! I've done two long weekend ABD's and am trying to decide which of the longer one's to do first. BSM sounds so fun and being a lover of all things Disney, right up my alley. Really appreciate you doing this as you try to move!!!
     

    CaliKris

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2015
    Thanks for a great trip report! I like your idea of waiting for Star Wars Land to open. We are hoping to do this trip with our daughter (who lives near Universal Studios Hollywood) so she won't be going very far. LOL! Our China ABD guide who is a CM at Disneyland said it doesn't matter how many times we have been to Disneyland and Hollywood we will still get a lot out of this ABD.
     

    Chirple

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 30, 2009
    Thanks for this trip report. My husband and I are going to use the money we normally spend on each other at Christmas and put it towards a down payment on a trip. He wants another U.S. based ABD (despite my ever-growing list of trips), and I think we both would enjoy this one. We haven't been to DL since 2001.
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    Thanks for your trip report! I've done two long weekend ABD's and am trying to decide which of the longer one's to do first. BSM sounds so fun and being a lover of all things Disney, right up my alley. Really appreciate you doing this as you try to move!!!
    Did you like them? I'm assuming you did NYC and San Francisco? My husband and I were booked on the San Francisco trip a couple years ago, but he ended up deploying so we canceled our trip. They both look like fun, quick getaways. You'll love the BSM trip!
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    Thanks for a great trip report! I like your idea of waiting for Star Wars Land to open. We are hoping to do this trip with our daughter (who lives near Universal Studios Hollywood) so she won't be going very far. LOL! Our China ABD guide who is a CM at Disneyland said it doesn't matter how many times we have been to Disneyland and Hollywood we will still get a lot out of this ABD.
    We saw them building it, and I'm sure it is going to be awesome. I told my husband we can go to WDW and do the VIP tour with the private guide to do Star Wars Land and Avatar Land there. Then we can go to Kennedy Space Center and do some other things. He can handle Orlando much better than California I think. But, I'd be interested in doing both WDW and DL to compare. Plus, we're huge Star Wars fans, so it would be fun. She wouldn't have far to go at all! Tha's awesome. China is HIGH on my list! That will be a solo trip since there isn't anyone I know who is willing to do China with me, but that's okay, I'll still go.
     

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