Annual Birthday Trip Report - 5 Crazy Days

Canadian Harmony

DIS Veteran
Jan 23, 2015
Here's my trip report. It's a little late and I may not get it all finished in a timely manner as I'm also finishing up 4 university courses these next couple weeks, but here's what I can do. Oh, and it'll be photo heavy, so beware!

The day has arrived!

I and my friend J had been planning this trip since what seems like forever. This is J's third time going to DLR this year, and I was last there at Christmas wit the family. J and I met while performing Oliver! and it turns out we're both big Disney fans.

J suggested we save half off our hotel and stay at the Clarion, across the street from the Toy Story parking lot. Hmmmm... more souvies? OK! We flew down via WestJet because we're both sick of running from one end of Seattle Int'l to the other, and took Karmel to the hotel (using the code which saves $8 each way).

We flew out of Victoria International and left the house at zero-dark-thirty. The airport was quiet but I ran into one of my old Army instructors as he was on the same plane to Vancouver with us. Turns out, he was in the same row, and switched seats with J so we could sit together.

It was sunrise as we flew into Vancouver, and it was gorgeous above the clouds.

We arrived about 15 minutes early into Santa Ana and our van was already waiting for us. Within 30 minutes we were at the Clarion. We were on the top floor, right by the elevators. Super awesome - no one stomping above us and not far to go once returned from the parks! We had gotten maybe an hour of sleep on the flight down so we were tired, but also very excited to get to the parks!

Once we dropped our stuff, we headed to the TS parking lot and hopped a bus. It was a new experience for me and I loved how easy it all was. We waited our 5 minutes in the security line, then went through the detectors without a problem. Off we went to the ticket booths to upgrade our tickets to Signature Annual Passes with MaxPass.

Turns out, even though the 3 Day Park Hopper I had was purchased at full price, the price recognized was the Canadian Discounted price. That meant I had to use even MORE of my gift cards. The exchange rate was horrible - $500CAD got me $384USD. Two and a half gift cards later, I was the proud owner of my very first ever Annual Pass!

Finally, the PARK!! We decided to start our afternoon in DLR as we had dinner reservations at Lamplighter later on. J had never been to the Parks at Halloween Time, so she was in love with the pumpkins over the gates.

We had our photos taken and headed into the parks on the right. Of course, we stopped for a quick snap.

Given so many choices of things to do, we decided on a train ride over to TomorrowLand and our first FP was Buzz, for just before we had to leave.

The lines at the gate around 5pm weren't all that bad, and it was probably the last time we'd see them so small.

J loved Buzz because she had a trick to get the high score. I like Buzz, but my favourite ride in TL is Star Tours. But, I'm always up for a try to get Zurg.

We walked through the store afterward and I grabbed a 2018 Halloween Party pin for my lanyard. I wanted some Wookie Nookie, so we headed over to the Launch Bay to meet Chewie. J had never met him, so this was a great meet for her.

Then we headed over to DCA for our dinner date.

Oogie says things like, "oh! All these people here to see.... ME!" as you're waiting in line. It's funny to hear the lines they have him saying.

I hadn't been to DCA decorated for Halloween before, so I was really happy to see the decorations. As DLR is all orange, DCA is purple. Bats were a theme on the banners as well as coming out of Carthay. Very cool. Purple lights in the trees lined the street and it made for such an awesome atmosphere.

We had JUST enough time for a ride in the Single Rider line for Racers, and so we did. And we won!

I wanted pictures everywhere, but we did have a reservation. And good thing we did too! Walk-ins were told at Lamplight that they couldn't sit downstairs, but they could sit upstairs in the lounge. We still had to wait for 20 minutes, but there were lovely paintings and drawings on the walls and the light in the foyer was gorgeous. Plus, the windows loved over the lagoon and Pixar Pier. Instead of a pager, we were texted on my phone. Made life a lot easier than carting around a pager, which we did as recently as December!

Downstairs, where we used to meet Ariel, there was a stunning mirrored-lit wall of the Pixar Ball. We waited there until my name was called and we were taken to our table against the wall. The wall was covered in different Pixar memorabilia and though we asked for the back room, you need a party of 8 to get in there. Still, I was facing the wall, J was facing the bar and the view outside. There are sofas and comfy chairs around low tables down the middle between the wall tables and the bar. The outdoor patio was packed too!

I asked if they still had the Fun Wheel drink - they do, but it's smaller than it used to be. I ordered it. It was okay. My meal was the Lobster Nachos... of course! I liked them. VERY spicy (for me), but I enjoyed them nonetheless and can now say I have had them.

Btw, this trip, I brought a reusable straw and a plastic spork. J brought paper straws with her. We both felt really good about lessening our footprint in the parks and it really wasn't a hassle at all. Of course, in restaurants with silverware, I left the spork alone.

Never one to pass a bathroom, I loved the wall going to them downstairs. I had to take some photos.

As we came out, it turns out Paint the Night was starting. We stood on the bridge to watch a little. My photos aren't all that great but we were planning on seeing the parade on Saturday, so we weren't too concerned.

We were quite tired by this time, so we decided to head back. We were behind the parade and ended up in the crowd going to the gate as DCA closed. We saw some fireworks above DLR as we came into the esplanade and it just set our whole day off nicely.

We got a bus back to the TS lot, walked across the street, and made it up to the room no problem. The vending machines say the water is $3.75, but it's only $1.50USD and you can use your credit card, so that's cool. Make sure you press the COMPLETE button though before you leave. After we watered ourselves and brushed our teeth, it was close to midnight, and we'd been up for about 19 hours by that time, so we were definitely ready for bed. The alarm was set for 6am, and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Next up: Friday hijinks - DCA, DLR, and a soggy Halloween Party!
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Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Jul 22, 2005
Looks like a lot of fun!! I like the decorations in the Lamplight Lounge. I hadn't seen those yet.

Canadian Harmony

DIS Veteran
Jan 23, 2015
Hi Jaina! Thanks for following along! The decorations were incredible! I only wish I could have walked around and taken photos every 3-5 feet just to get all the pictures of the walls.
  • Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    Friday! Halloween Party Day!! We had checked the weather religiously, and it fluctuated between rain and no rain, so we just had to suck it up and wait.

    So, after 6 SOLID hours of sleep, we got up, got ready, and left the hotel at 7. On the Toy Story bus by 7:10, and away to the gates. The line ups weren't bad, but they were line-ups, you know. Our plan was to start in DCA and then head over to DLR. J wanted a Villains dress for her costume, and mine squished into a bag, so we rented a locker and headed off to our first FP at Guardian's. First, a smooch (much to a lady's... chagrin... she was waiting for her son to come over to her, and I just wanted a quick selfie, so I popped in before the boy was even near the statue, but the look on her face said she wasn't my biggest fan...)!

    We ran into a Photo Pass Photog and had some fun first!

    The fun part of having two musical theatre actresses do photo shoots, is you get REALLY good reactions to things that aren't there!

    I love this line up! The themeing is so cool. Having FPs meant we didn't have to up stairs - and as I've always done FPs, I didn't even KNOW there was an upstairs until J pointed it out to me.

    J's the one 'sleeping' in the corner. She does all the cool looks in our photos. I totally suck at it, but I'm working at getting better! The lady in the striped shirt beside me was terrified, so I tried to make her laugh instead. She said she had a great time, mostly because Elvis was singing. I agree - Elvis makes everything better.

    We were hungry, and I know we ate at Flo's but for some reason, I have no photographic proof of that. At any rate, we had an Incredicoaster FP to make! (Pretend you don't know my real name, k? LOL)

    This lineup was great too - and it's a real joining of movie and ride. As it should be too! Disney has enough money to give us an immersive experience and they sure came through on this one.

    This wall tho! Just LOVE it!

    (for some reason, this photo didn't show up in my PP in the app. I didn't realize until just now, but meh, this'll work)

    The archway is so pretty.

    And while we were in the neighbourhood....

    We then headed to the end of the Pier and found the Winged Wall (I don't know the real name, so I'm calling it this) and took the obligatory photos.

    I feel so trendy.

    Then we looked around and enjoyed the familia references. I would have stopped to make a butterfly in the remembrance booth, but I would have liked someone there who knew what to do to help me through it. I was really missing my father and I think it would have been nice to remember him in some way.

    We came out the pier and headed toward Grizzly Flats for our Soarin' FP. I wanted to hit Racers once more, and our feet were already sore, but we persevered and went forth from the front of the park to the back and back again.

    I'm about at my max for this post, so I'll continue in the next one!

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    Right! Grizzly Flats! And of course, we found a PP Photog (but no Goofy this time). It was around this time:

    The Photographer was pretty innovative and I liked her ideas.

    And everyone online is looking for these pins (top left), us included... so we found them! Right across the way. And I promptly bought a set. I kept 3, and gave the balloons to J. I love them.

    Now, off for one more race! The posters change each season, and Halloween had some awesome ones. We saw them at Christmas and they were funny then too, so of course I had to get the ones for Halloween.

    (Amok! Amok! Amok!)

    One of the many things I love about this place is the attention to detail. Even the licence plates have 'car themed' name places. Just fab.

    Can you hear the music? I can hear the music.

    Tractor Tippin'. Hahahahahahah.


    The ride photo didn't link... but as we were in a red car, we won the race (red cars go faster, right?) and then we headed off to DLR. The decorations in Carsland were amazing and I was so impressed with them.

    We popped into the Dress store for J and I went up to the Lego Store for my kids. By the time I got back, J had bought her Villains dress for that night's festivities and we headed to DLR for our ADR at Carnation Cafe. First, a trip to the lockers to put our stuff away and then blessed air-conditioning. The hostess took one look at my red face and told us to sit and wait for our table. It was a good thing we made an ADR because all the walk-ins were told they weren't taking walk-ins, only reservations. We were quickly shown to our seats (again, the hostess was amazing! I wish she was our server) and ordered our yummy food.

    The shrimp salad was super yummy and it was exactly what I needed. I also used my Halloween cup for the cold ice water I received and kept that handy all afternoon.

    After refreshing ourselves, we hit Tomorrowland for my favourite ride in the area!

    According to the photos, we blew off BTMRR (my other absolute favourite), but ended up running over JarJar in Star Tours.

    Follow me to the next post...
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    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015

    We made a Splash FP because... SPLASH!!

    We decided we wanted to meet some characters, and the line up at Fantasy Faire was nearly invisible, so off we went! First up...

    Then our hostess...

    And finally...

    I got autographs from all and had lovely conversations, as usual.

    We headed back out and I had to get some kind of photo with Flynn.

    We waited in line for a PP Photog outside the castle.

    I had a secret... I had NEVER ridden Dumbo!! We set off to change that immediately!

    Then we decided to hit Casey because it was close and there was no line. We had a short wait and off we went!

    We sat in the caboose.

    The back view of the park is so cool.

    We headed back over for another spin on Buzz, and we saw Pinocchio come out and start walking around! He was followed by a little boy, so he stopped and turned to him. We left before we saw what happened afterward, but it was pretty cool seeing him at all!

    First Buzz...

    And then Splash...

    She's making it look like she's grabbing her ears, but her hand is covered. As is my face by buddy in front. I need to learn how to ride photo better.

    And then time to get changed and off to the Halloween Party!

    We squelched across the park to the lockers and here I will leave you until tomorrow as it's late and I'm tired. I'll be back when I can to finish off the Party.

    Hope you're enjoying the report so far!

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    We ducked into the bathroom behind Carnation Cafe to get changed. When we came out, the ground was soaking wet. We'd missed the first downpour of the evening. Spoiler - it wouldn't be the last.

    Our feet had swollen, not to mention J's left ankle had twisted sometime yesterday and was swollen up. We went to first aid to get a tensor bandage, but they couldn't give her one. I did get a couple of bandaids to help with my blisters on my right big toe joint, and J had a bit of a rest while I went off and did a couple rides, but we had things to do, so she didn't rest for long. We walked to the Main Street Station and I saw the Lilly Belle! I was pretty excited to ride in her tomorrow.

    I got a few blurry photos of SW:GE scaffolding and spires on our way by.

    We headed into ToonTown, but it was already dark (I must be missing some photos...) and we noted how the rain had moved things away or inside. We saw Daisy and Donald and hopped into one of the two lines formed by the City Hall. We were warned that by the time we got to the front we may be meeting Mickey and Minnie, and though J was disappointed (huge Daisy fan), I was okay with either group.

    We had a drink while in line and the rain was drizzling here and there, but nothing my light cloak couldn't handle. It was soon our turn to meet Zorro Mickey and Candy Corn Minnie. It was a lovely meet - I told Minnie how much my daughter loved candy corn and how much she loved her too.

    We left Toon Town and headed toward the Hub, heading for the Princesses. Along the way we saw some lovely sights. Small World had a lovely overlay.

    And the lights at the Teacups are always gorgeous at night.

    The castle was gorgeous. My phone didn't have the flash turned on, but the photo turned out kinda cool. Then we noticed the overlays on the castle and had to take a few shots of that too.

    As J had never seen the pumpkins at night, we stopped for those too!

    We hit Fantasy Faire as the Princesses had moved indoors. The square was quite empty.

    First we met Belle (who had her own PP Photographer).

    Then Tiana, who did not! My wig kept slipping. Ugh.

    Then Cinderella AND Aurora! Aurora is my all-time favourite and I had to show her my 3 Fairies Pandora charm in her honour (from my family trip in 2015). They had a photographer, thankfully. We got some really good photos out of the visit, but here are a couple of my faves.

    We told Cinderella we were hoping to meet up with her step-family later. She suggest we ask them how the dancing was coming along. And then I got a sweet hug from her at the end of our visit.

    Simply wonderful!

    Next up - we don't tan here - we rust!
  • Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    We were hungry now, so we hobbled over to the Stage Door for a bite. We waited to meet up with someone we'd met online from a different group, and when she arrived, we considered the Trick or Treat Trail through the Golden Horseshoe, or standing in line for Jack Sparrow, Hook, Wendy, Smee, Peter... but that line up was too long for them, so we joined in the back of the ToT line and went into the Golden Horseshoe. I'd never been in there, so this was pretty cool for me. Lots of spooky decorations as we got some candy.

    We decided then to head over to Adventureland to meet Terk, Louie, and Baloo. All of whom I had wanted to meet and get autographs from for a long time. Well... one out of three ain't bad I suppose....

    Terk was lovely and her handler was very funny.

    Then we waited just a few minutes with some other fans and got to meet Jane Porter! What a great surprise!

    We had a great chat about how Tarzan doesn't meet the dress code and would probably send older ladies into the vapours should he show up in the Park.

    Again, I wish someone had told me to pull down my wig a little.

    I wanted to wait for Louie and Baloo, but J wanted to see villains in Town Square first. So off we went to the front of the Park.

    The rain started up and we ducked into the Emporium and bought a few things (tee shirts for my kids). I loved how even the upper parts above the cash stations were decorated for Halloween.

    J was really upset there was no parade and no fireworks. When we were in the store, one of the CMs mentioned we should go to City Hall and complain. So we did. We waited in line for about 20 minutes and saw a really nice girl behind the counter. She was a little, "well what do you want?" They decided on maybe a one-day ticket. J wanted to know if she could give it to someone else (as we already had APs), so the girl went into the back to ask. While she was away, we heard the lady beside us ask for anytime FPs.... hey! There's an idea!

    Our girl came back and said the ticket was non-transferable. So then we asked for the anytime FPs. SURE! How's 5 each? Good for ONLY Saturday though. Well, ok! So we got them linked to our APs and left. J was still really disappointed, but honestly, how were we to know in JULY that that specific Party was going to be a dud? You pays your money and you takes your chances.

    We headed to the Opera House for their Trick or Treat Trail. My favourite part was the seating area. J told me to sit while she 'went and did some stuff'. I didn't argue - I sat down and it was heavenly. My feet had swollen up and the bandaid I had earlier wasn't doing much for me as my feet were also soaked. It wasn't cold, but it was very wet and I was very very tired. J ran off and I dozed a little waiting for her. After an hour I texted her and asked if she was coming back.

    Unbeknownst to me, she had run off to ride Buzz yet again. The ride had stopped for a long time and by the time she got off, she had reached a new personal best in her score. Then she went to Jolly Holiday to get a Cruella Brownie, and they gave her a raspberry mickey macaroon for free as the ear was broken. She came back to get me and we decided to head to the hotel. As we came outside, we looked to our right and saw the Tremaines!!

    Well, that energized us right up! We hopped into line and waited. Just before us, there were two little girls dressed as Anastasia and Drizella. The two big ones knelt beside the small ones, chatted a bit, and then Lady Tremaine got our attention to prepare us to applaud.

    The four of them (mostly the big pair) sang, "Sing Sweet Nightingale" at the top of their lungs and we dutifully applauded. It was awesome.

    Soon it was our turn. J showed off her skirt ("at least someone had the good taste to put us on fabric") and the sisters posed as their images on the skirt. My turn next...

    As you can see, I'd given up on that darn wig, and didn't really care at all. I remembered what Cinderella had said, so I asked, "A relation of yours asked me to ask you how the dancing was coming along..."

    "Girls, let's show her, shall we?"

    Before I knew it, the girls were stretching and warming up.

    She did her twirls and then asked me to dance. I said, "Nope, not in this dress!" and we got ready for our photo. Then I mentioned to Lady Tremaine, "Oh, it was Cinderella who asked..." and then I got this look from her.

    So fun. Then we found that Maleficent was appearing next. So we waited as she is my favourite. As I was the first in the line, I got the worst photos because the photographer forgot his flash!!

    Needless to say, I was not happy when I saw that the next day.

    This is why I should never break my rule of ALWAYS having my phone take a backup photo.

    As we were waiting for Maleficent, we noticed Gaston heading into the Opera House. So, one more tour through the ToT Trail and near the end, we saw him hanging out at the ropes.

    By this time I was wet, tired, in extreme pain from my foot, and ... nervous to meet him! I was hoping he wouldn't turn me away, but instead of saying, "Hey, can we take a photo?" It turned into, "C'mere! Let's have a picture!" As you can see, he wasn't impressed.

    And had I been less tired and soggy, I would have been more polite, but he did finally smile for me because I said, "Look, I"m not going to ask you to sign my autograph book because books are for Belle."

    Then, when J said, "hey how about a selfie?"he replied, "At least someone asked."

    No one snarks like Gaston...

    So, that's was it for us. We'd had enough and I had to get up for a tour at 7:45. We made our slow way to the busses and back to the hotel. It was around 1am by the time we were in bed asleep. So much for leaving early. But tomorrow's another day...

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    Day 3 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEEEE! My birthday dawned wet and grey, but that's okay - I'm from the We(s)t Coast, where we don't tan, we rust!

    I made it through the gates in plenty of time to get to the Tour kiosk as today was my Grand Circle Tour. But, on the way, some birthday photos!

    In the tunnel where I'd be dry.

    And even with the rain, it was still getting to be a crowded Saturday in the park!

    I went to the kiosk as was told that the Tour would still happen but the Lilly Belle wasn't taken out in the rain, so my options were to cancel, take a different tour, or reschedule for tomorrow. I was a little put out that I woke up early for no reason (I was SO tired from last night), and I seriously considered taking Walt's Footsteps tour, but I wanted to honour my father's love of trains, so I rescheduled for the next day. I was asked to enjoy some hot chocolate and the donut provided if I'd like.

    I didn't eat the donut - just the chooclate train and Mickey head - because diabetes.

    :rolleyes1 It never rains in Southern California... but when it does, it pours... oh how it pours... :rolleyes1

    Instead, I texted J and waited for her in the tunnel - and copped a photo of the new Star Tours poster while I waited.

    We met up and hit Jolly Holiday for my favourite in-park breakfast - Abuelita and the breakfast croissant! I re-used my Halloween mug for all my drinks and my spork instead of the plastic cutlery. A little change but I felt good about lessening my toe-print in Disney by a little.

    The food and drink, as always, were superb, even if our butts got wet.

    We decided to head into Adventureland and maybe take a river cruise...

    Yep! Little line up at this point, so we walked the lines and headed into the jungle.

    I had to remember to get our map once we left - and I did, and we did, and I'm so happy to say it's now safe in my scrapbook!

    It was at this point we made Fps for Indy - our window opened in 3 minutes, plenty of time for a cruise before the Temple.

    We had an awesome female skipper - Sarah? Maybe? I forget. She was funny and we really enjoyed our trip with her.

    I just love the details I keep discovering each time I go on this ride.

    I love how the real ducks just don't care about the fake animals anymore.


    We got our map and saw the drawings on the wall for the new area they're building where Aladin's used to be. I thought they were gorgeous.

    I'm SO looking forward to this!

    more in next post.

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015

    And as you get closer to the Tiki Room, some drawings of the birds appear too!

    It was now 20 to 10, so we headed to the Temple to see a forbidden goddess.

    We successfully avoided death and headed toward the Haunted Mansion to use our first 'anytime' FP. On the way, we hoped to see Sally and Jack,but they weren't due out for a while. Instead, I took a quick photo of their backdrop.

    1030 - our first use of the five FPs. It was great to just walk up and 'ping' our pass to go in. Felt like a rock star.

    I need to use a better camera

    SO glad they're keeping the Hatbox Ghost around for a while longer.

    more in the next post.

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015

    Our hitchhiker today

    We'd made FPs for BTMRR, so it was our next stop. Probably my favourite roller coaster in the park is this one. J and I had a talk about what park we preferred. I said I liked DCA slightly more, and she was surprised as she prefers DLR. My favourite rides were mostly in DCA - Guardians, Racers, Incredicoaster I could do all day repeatedly. I love the character meets there, especially the Marvel guys (still tracking down Sully tho). I love the food in Flo's (the theming of Carsland ALONE just blows my mind) and Carthay, and the ability to grab a beer while I wander around is awesome! I love the Animator's Studio where I can get my artsy side on, and I find so many things to explore in the park every time I go.

    Not to say I don't like and appreciate DLR itself - BTMRR, Indy, Alice, Star Tours are all my repeat rides. The food at the Taverne, Jolly Holiday, Zocalo, and Carnation keep me coming back for more. The characters are awesome, and when I need a bit of love the princesses are happy to oblige. I enjoy M&MM for a fun entertainment break and I always seem to remember Roger Rabbit when I get home.

    BUT... if given a choice, I'll take DCA any day.

    However, it was going on 11 and we had a FP to make before the mountain blew up!

    Our ride arrives!

    Front of the train - a little sad because we prefer the back, but any ride on BTMRR is a good ride!

    Got me some good shots of the trip though!

    And of SW:GE!

    Silly goat!


    We had a Buzz FP to make but first a few shots in the Hub.

    My hair was a mess so I put it in a pony tail for the day. Humidity/wet and curly hair don't mix if you forget the anti-frizz stuff.

    My Fave magic shot!

    Feeding the ghost puppy some ghost snacks.

    Then we headed off to save the galaxy again, just after noon. My score was okay, but J's was really good!

    We decided to get dry in the Launch Bay and see who was there. The Storm Troopers were interrogating this little boy. Looks like he's holding his own though.

    Our first visit was with Rey. She was super great and noticed how we like to scavenge too based on our pins!

    Then the big bad guy himself. When told to join the dark side, J talked about cookies and got 'the look' even from behind the mask.

    Me trying to use the force. Not successful.

    J went off to meet Kylo while I ran to meet Boba Fett. He sold me to get closer to him. I asked if he always went to bars to pick up women. That earned me a "enough of that" from him and a smirk from his handler.

    We were hungry by this time so wandered over to the Rose Taverne for food. I got the burger, J got the poutine but I had to order it 'just so' for her. I got the black rose dessert and it was just as yummy as the lemon one, and made my mouth and teeth black.

    We wanted to meet up with T and a friend of hers, and we knew they'd be wherever the Dapper Dans were, so we found them on Main Street.

    And they sang happy birthday to all of us in the crowd who were celebrating... and made us stand with them!

    Ans we ended up with a nice group shot afterward.

    I used my next anytime FP for Star Tours while J went off to take a spin on Space.

    continued next post
  • Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015

    Then we headed over to DCA for Frozen. I'd made dinner reservations at Trattoria, so we decided to visit DCA for a while beforehand. Frozen is J's favourite and she'd seen it so many times on her prior trips, she had a favourite Anna, Elsa, and Sven, and because she's a musical theatre performer too, she and I could really appreciate the hard work all the cast and crew do every day to put these shows on so well.

    This time I had enough time to take photos of the cool poster artwork in the line up area as we made our way to the theatre's interior.

    We snagged some skookum (local slang for 'awesome') seats up front. J went off and got herself some popcorn and me a Mickey Bar while I waited.

    My iPhone takes 'live' photos and this was one of the amazing live ones I took. It's stunning as it unfolds and lowers.

    And these two also were live, showing how Elsa transforms.

    Buddy in front of me was filming, and I managed to get his screen in my shot too.

    Sven was awesome.

    As was Anna and the whole cast.

    We used our anytime FP (3/5) for Guardians After Dark!

    It was just going on 10 past 6 at this time, so not technically "dark" but it was getting dusky. We were looking forward to being scared this time around!

    It was ok. I prefer the original only because the soundtrack is so much better. I'm in the back pretending to be asleep but it looks like I'm dead. I need classes.

    We came out and found a couple of photo walls we'd been hoping to see.

    (Time watch)

    It was time for dinner at Wine Country Trattoria. We had a bit of a wait then they took us to a table DIRECTLY under the air vent. It was a coldish night, had been raining the majority of the day, and yet the cold air vent was going full blast. We sat there for about 5 minutes and I couldn't take it any longer. My food would have been frozen within minutes, so I asked the server if we could move. I wanted to stay in her section, but they ended up moving us one table back, and we got a different guy.

    I got the Osso Buco and it was amazing. The server - not as amazing. He was fine, but just overly chatty and didn't know much about the wines... just generally not as good as I had hoped. Plus, everywhere we went, they saw my birthday button, but no 'magic' anywhere. Last time I was surprised by a cupcake. This time... not even a happy birthday, even when the reservations stated I was there for my birthday. Ugh. It's hard when Disney is like a regular restaurant.

    We took a spin on Ariel because we hadn't had a chance to yet today.

    And then - Incredicoaster at night!! I was so excited! BTMRR is so much more fun at night, I just knew this would up the adrenaline levels for sure!

    But as we made our way over from the bathrooms, we found more walls.

    Our fourth anytime FP was used for Midway Mania at around 8:35pm.

    And our fifth and final FP was for Incredicoaster at night, around 9pm.

    last couple in the next post.

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015

    We wandered out past Carthay. Oh, I forgot. When we were on the way to Trattoria, we stopped into Carthay to ask if they had any purple poison apple cubes. All sold out (I KNEW I should have had my drinks on the first night!), so when at WCT, we asked again. They had two - the red one or a multi-colour ice cube. I bought both.

    Anyway, Carthay looked awesome all coloured up.

    And I had to get a photo with the horseman all lit up.

    And that was my birthday. My feet hurt, I was damp, and my hair was horrible - but I had such good food, good times, and a good friend with me.

    Tomorrow - the REAL Grand Circle Tour and Fantasmic!

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    Day 4 - A Tour and a little Alone Time!

    WooT! Weather broke!

    I was nervous about missing it, but a nice plaid, Jack, came to meet us to the left of the LOOOOONG lines at the gates, and then took us to the Tour Gardens, where another donut was waiting for me (didn't eat it) and hot chocolate and coffee (had the HC). I met some lovely people who would be on the tour with me and our plaid took a nice photo of me to start the tour.

    We received headphones and a receiver thingy, which was new since I'd last taken a tour. This made it so the guide could talk normally into his mic and we could hear him over the usual park noise.

    We also received a lanyard (scrapbooked, naturally) and on the back was a listing of other tours. I'm leaning toward the Happiest Haunts tour for next year.

    I'll try to remember as much as I can, so follow along if you'd like.
    First, we went out to the front where we were shown a wee slideshow about the trains Walt loved and why he designed the train station as he did.

    Then we went into the Opera House and saw the original map with the idea for the original train. I was thinking of my father all through this tour as he was a real train guy too - had friends with the small ride-em trains, models, and was an engineer at a local 'Forestry Museum' where they run old logging trains around (and a speeder too) a track. I could go on, but suffice it to say, I know more about steam engines and railroads than I really care to know, and this tour was a great way to remember my father. It brought back many memories for me, especially regarding the narrow gauge railways Walt and his friends used to ride on in the back yard.

    We saw the window dedicated to the chief engineer and good friend of Walt's, movies of the opening day, and learned how the rail cars were meant to mimic the way cattle rode in cars so that people could get a feeling for how they were transported. Now, of course, they took the front sides off, but left the back on as an homage.

    We hit the movie theatre (HI MILLIE!)

    and learned how many of the early movies Walt made included steam engines.

    We came back to the station and took a photo. The weather looks crummy but it was actually clearing up, which meant we go the Lilly Belle!


    Lillian Disney decorated, but over the years, things get worn or faded. Some furnishings were saved from a cruise ship (Queen Mary maybe?) and there's a chair or two which were recovered in the deep wine fabric you see.

    Art deco everything! So nice against the wood.

    This was the Lilly Belle before she became the beauty she is today. A 'saloon' car, many of the chairs were saved, but more were taken out to create space.

    Quick photo op, as the plaid went and took our photos for us.

    Other way.

    The roundhouse was pointed out to us - dual rail - one above for the monorail and one on ground level for the steam engines. Very cool.

    I got a lousy photo of it. Twice. This was the best I could do.

    With Walt and Lillian.

    And as we weren't bothering other guests, I finally got some decent shots of the dinosaurs!

    We then went into the station and saw the original railroad tickets.

    And then, we found out, that the Disneyland Railroad map in the station is LIT UP! And where the lights are, that's where the trains are on the track!! How. Cool. Is. That?!

    Back outside, we saw Jaffar. We yelled at him. He motioned to us to 'zip it'.

    (Better shot of the round house)

    So, my scrapbooker's heart is happy - a lanyard and tag, a Lilly Belle ticket (!), and a map like the one in the station! So. Happy!

    Then, I waited two turns and got a ride in the tender of one of the engines. I talked trains with the engineer and fireman the whole way. I think they appreciated the fact I could talk about stuff with them. They also gave me even MORE info on the engines (Baldwins), and how long it takes to come to pressure (about an hour), and stuff like that. Oh, and they run on biodiesel now! I like that.

    The tour and my bonus ride over, J and I decided to meet up for dinner at RBT later. I went over to Jaffar, but he was just leaving. He did, however, kindly sign my autograph book. So I took a sneak selfie with him.

    I noticed on the app that Cruella was coming out! I heard she wasn't returning after the holidays and I really wanted her signature, so I waited and was finally rewarded!

    She led us to the fire hall (where we all walked like her, swinging hips and hands), and I took photos for the guy in front of me, and he took photos for me.

    "I see you like my friend Malifecent. Do you want to know a secret? Why she's green?"

    "Is it because she's jealous of your style?"

    "well of course, darling. And my good looks."

    Now I was hungry, so I popped over to Zocalo for some eats. It took me no time to get my burrito (the most expensive dish but I polished it off quite quickly I was that hungry), but it took a LONG time to get my dessert and drink because they were in the same line as the salad line and EVERYONE wanted a salad!

    Had to try the holiday Horchata and it was super yummy!

    Of all the times I'd been, another thing I hadn't tried was the shooting gallery. So, I sidled up, popped some quarters and had a great time! The sights were perfect and I hit everything I aimed at!

    next post please

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    I wandered through Zocalo Park and after I took photos for some nice people, they took mine!

    I checked my app and the Doctor was in, so I headed over to meet him. Smooth as silk as usual.

    Then I joined the Jack and Sally line. It was an hour minimum, but it was worth it. I met some lovely people in line and had a great conversation about hockey teams with a guy from SoCal - who is ALSO a Canucks fan, YAY! - and his wife and I chatted about kids and sports. Their daughter was dressed as Sally and she was a big hit. Finally, after about an hour or so, it was my turn to meet them and they were so awesome.

    I stopped outside of Club 33 and had a sad.

    Then I sat for my pastel portrait. Karen was lovely and we had a great conversation. I try to get at least one 'hand made' item when I go each time. Last time it was silhouettes of the kids. This time, my pastel. Next year, I'll get my silhouette! It was held at the kiosk for me - I'd have to get it before 11pm. No problem! (remember that)

    By now it was 10 after 3 and I had a FP for HMH to get to before dinner at RBT for our Fantasmic! meal.

    I love puns.

    I went over to RBT and waited for J. She was over in DCA and it took her nearly 20 minutes to show up for our 4pm meal (only time I could get). We soon settled in and got our tix for the early showing. The meal was fab - I had the corn chowder and half chicken with the Maleficent Dragon dessert. Yum.Mo!

    We decided to go our separate ways and meet up at the show. J was really liking the whole 'solo' thing more than she'd expected, and I needed some time on my own. I had a FP for Indy so I trotted off (well... not trotted exactly... more like a quick limp) and rode into the Temple again. It was around 10 to 6.

    (I keep thinking it should read, "Do not disturb: bats!" and I wonder who exactly is bats? Ha)

    I do every time. Nothing happens.

    Where to go... where to..OH! Pirates! It was only a 15 minute line and I hadn't ridden it yet, so off I went.

    One day!! ONE DAY!!

    Saw my old favourites...

    and a NEW visitor! Sweet!

    Hey Redd!!

    to be continued.

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    I had a FP for BTMRR and it turned into a ME FP at around 7:40pm, and as I was hanging out in the Launch Bay buying an expensive sweater (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE), I decided to hit Star Tours again.

    That took me to the time I needed to head toward NOS for F!. I had to walk AAAAAAALLLL the way down to the far end and walk AAAAAAALLLL the way back to just past the middle for my area to sit. I got a good spot and held it for J. The show started at 9, promptly, and we settled in for a good show. We were not disappointed!

    And half an hour later - it was done! Great show as usual, and then, instead of waiting for the fireworks, I headed over to BTMRR and used my FP!

    I was seated in the back row, and saw the fireworks as I came over the top. It was fabulous!

    I saw a PP Photog and asked her for some photos at the Halloween Tree. She obliged.

    I texted J to let her know I was headed to the front for some photos with the pumpkins. It took a while in line, but Chad, the photographer was AMAZING! I gave him a tweet-shout-out after.

    (growling seemed to be a popular pose with the photographers this year)

    Then I remembered I had to be in NOS before 11 to get my drawing!! And it was 1040 by the time I got my turn in line! ACK! I did make it though, just, and got my drawing. Then I slowly headed back to Main Street to get my photo on the OTHER side of the pumpkin. This was a long line too - almost an hour - and I saw J on the other side waiting her turn with Chad. She got some sweet photos from him and said it was totally worth it (which it was).

    (I wish she'd told me my horn wasn't showing)

    Then, as we were about to leave - MICKEY!!

    And that was it! I was wiped out, and had to get back. By this time, it was going on park close anyway, but J wanted one more turn on Buzz. I took off and made it back about 30 minutes before she did and by the time she arrived, I was in bed and out like a light!

    I'll finish off our last morning when I get the chance. Hope you're enjoying the trip so far!

    Spencer Wright

    Constantly craving a zebra dome...
    Jul 31, 2017
    Following!! I am now learning about more about DLR, and your pictures confirm it is absolutely stunning.

    So cool to have Pinocchio walking around!

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    Following!! I am now learning about more about DLR, and your pictures confirm it is absolutely stunning.

    So cool to have Pinocchio walking around!
    Thanks! It was REALLY cool to see Pinocchio. Next time, I'll try to get his autograph, but this time around I was headed another way.

    I'm glad you're enjoying the tour. I love taking photos for my scrapbooks, and when I go on rides like the Jungle Cruise or Pirates, I try to take photos I haven't taken before. Not bad for an iPhone camera!

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    Monday - not a Fun day. It was the Last Day. Waaaaaah.

    Well, J and I decided to meet up at the hotel and just enjoy our morning solo. She had a few more turns on Buzz and some shopping to do, and I needed to hit DCA and then get the girls their Lego at the Lego Store.

    So - over to DCA I went. Line up wasn't too terrible at gate open.

    Bat close up

    The Santa Ana winds had kicked up considerably. It made for great photos though - I felt like Bey!

    See - "grrrrr" was the pose of the season it seems.

    BTW, this is my new Star Wars sweater. I love it. Love Love Love LOVE it!

    And the "wide arms" pose was also a go-to for the photographers.

    We were stopped along the road until the rope dropped. I bundled up (I was so tired) and leaned against the lamp post while I took the odd photo here and there.

    I love the decorations at Carthay so much!

    You can't tell, but those tree tops are REALLY waving around like crazy.

    Hmmm... how can I do the same for my house next year....?

    ROPE DROP! I headed for my first FP of the day - Incredicoaster. But needed photos first, because photos!

    Nothing like high speed turns to get the blood pumping, right?

    Then Cars Land!

    I call this one, "OMG STOP making me "grrrr"!"

    And I'm hungry, so I grabbed some food at Flo's... but took photos first. Natch.

    Wide arms, again.

    No, I'm not trying to strangle the photographer, but how many of these do I need in my collection!?

    After breakfast, I got some more shots. I love these ones with the range in the back.

    Did I say it was WINDY out? Cuz it totally was!

    Another spin around Radiator Springs...

    continued in next post.

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 23, 2015
    We win AGAIN! I love being in the back behind kids so my face isn't obscured and I"m not blocking anyone else.

    After my ride, I wandered down the main drag for photos.

    I noticed Cruz was next after Lightnin', so I hopped in line and waited.

    A witch's hat on a pole? These guys are amazing.

    So... next year, I just need some cones, a couple of white walls, two hub caps, two mufflers and six wrenches so I can have awesome decorations too! Good to know!

    Finally my turn with Cruz. She asked if I was a model. I laughed, but with the wind, I felt like I had my own machine, LOL.

    Then I went over to see the sugar skull car.

    Felt like Vanna White!

    Yeah, I'm cool. What's it to ya?

    And one last fun pose with the wind in my face!

    Oh, I forgot two from earlier - my Incredicoaster photo from this morning:

    Again, I need better photo faces because this is silly.

    And one last pat to Zero from before rope drop.

    Alright, back to Cars Land. I was a sad panda walking out of there.

    I headed to the Animator's studio to see if I had time to draw. I didn't, but I will next time I go in February for sure!

    So this is me in ballet class (the one on the top).

    One more Fast Pass before heading to the Lego store.

    Ok, I was done, and my feet were starting to hurt again. I headed through the Grand Californian to get to DTD, and made a point of seeing the amazing pumpkin in the lobby.

    I made it up to the Lego store and grabbed the two largest boxes... uh oh! I don't think my suitcase will hold them. So, I wandered back down toward the gates, and thought, "Hey! WoD would SURELY have suitcases! I'll just buy a carry-on one."

    Along the way, I saw these sweet banners.

    Aaaaaand.... WoD was CLOSED til noon! Well that wouldn't do, not at all! I headed into DLR and hit the Emporium. Surely THEY'd have a bag, no?


    But, she gave me a HUGE bag for the three car antenna balls I bought to try to help me out. Which was super kind of her.

    Well, nothing to do about it but leave as my time was up. So, a sad selfie in front of DLR...

    And a sad selfie in front of DCA...

    And that was it! I hobbled over to the bus, and got back to the hotel. I had left my bags at bell services, so grabbed them while I waited for J. I took the boxes of Lego apart, and rolled the bags into the DLR bag and hoped that West Jet wouldn't charge me for another bag. One set fit into my backpack, the other set sort of fit into the suitcase, but there was still enough stuff left over to make the DLR bag filled with souvenirs and such.

    J arrived and she re-packed a couple last minute things too, and we had about a 20 minute wait for the shuttle. He was a super nice guy and the other couple we picked up were really nice people from... Oklahoma? Michigan? I can't remember, but super nice anyway.

    We got to the terminal and checked in. Our bags went away (thank you Veteran's status) without us having to pay, and then we stood in the long security line at SNA. But, after about 30 minutes (so still shorter than most stand-by lines) we were at the cool Ruby's restaurant for an awesome burger and milk shake for lunch.

    Our flight was leaving at 2:30, and as J was in a lot of pain and hobbling, she managed to get both of us on early.

    I was looking forward to watching the rest of the movie I had started on the way down, but it wasn't to be - the movie thing froze on me. And there was no movie from Vancouver-Victoria, so I had to wait til I got home to finish it.


    So that was my birthday. A few lessons learned:
    - unless you're with family, you'll want to alternate days with your buddies just to get some alone time, or just go 'solo' and meet up for meals.
    - MaxPass again - worth its weight in gold.
    - AP is AWESOME and I never ever want to go without one again. Exchange rate be darned!

    I'm going back again in February/March for the Dis Diva trip and I'm really excited about that. Before that, though, the family and I are going to Hawaii where we're staying in Waikiki.

    BUT, I found a smokin' deal on Go Oahu Cards through groupon, and we'll save enough money that we can go to the Aulani luau! THAT is something I'm really looking forward to as well!

    Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I enjoyed re-living it.


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