"Let's Ride Every Ride in Disneyland" - An Awesome Daddy/Daughter Spring Break Trip (Finished 9/26)

Greg Lembrich

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Even though you didn't get anything done with the extra hour, still sounds like a productive morning!
Yes, I think we would have needed to arrive earlier to really take advantage of the MM hour. The breakdown at Alice was also bad luck, but after that it was pretty smooth sailing. Crowds at DL and DCA were predicted to be really high during our entire trip, but most days the parks felt only moderately crowded at worst, while other times they felt nearly empty. It was definitely a nice surprise for us. In fact, after despairing that lines were too long during our MM, we didn't really wait on any lines after that for the rest of our trip :)
 

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
I've had your TR on "watch" for a while, but only finally got a chance to read through it! I love all the cute experiences you guys had and how much you were able to accomplish!

My hat's off to you for the intense coasters! I went to MM in middle and high school, but doubt I will return, as even Rock n Roller Coaster is too intense for me!

I had a bunch of parts quoted, but realized it was getting ridiculous, so I'll just have to quote from now on!
 

Greg Lembrich

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Chapter 16: Breakfast with Minnie & Friends

Based on advice from @FeistyDisneyMom , @VandVsmama , and @missangelalexis , we booked Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park at Plaza Inn for mid-morning on our MM. This worked out great since we had a few hours to experience rides and work up an appetite in the morning, then could take a nice break to sit down, fuel up, and meet characters without having to get up from the table. We checked in around 10:15 for our 10:20 AM reservation, and were immediately placed into a short line to have our photos taken with Minnie.





After that, we were shown to our table. I liked our location, in a corner near the buffet. There was lots of variety in the breakfast offerings, and both my daughter and I were able to find plenty of things we liked. There were plenty of characters walking around, and it was nice that they all came to the table and offered hugs, high fives, and photo ops. Max came first, followed by Eeyore.





Tigger was next. He had a lot of energy and ended up being one of my daughter's favorites.







Then came Rafiki and the Fairy Godmother, who was very sweet and had a nice conversation with my daughter.





Next was Winnie the Pooh, whom my daughter declared was the best hugger of all the characters she met (so she went back for seconds).







Then came Dale, who was very playful and asked my daughter to dance. They twirled and swung around together and she really enjoyed it.









Finally Minnie came inside the restaurant to check on all of her guests.





After we finished eating, we ran into Captain Hook on our way out of the Plaza Inn.



We had a really great time at the Plaza Inn character breakfast and I was definitely glad that we booked it. While we usually do multiple character meals each time we go to WDW, this was the only character meal that we did on this trip, so I was particularly glad that we got to meet so many characters and also get pretty good food in the process.

After breakfast, it was already after Noon, so we decided to do a quick park hop over to DCA. Our first stop there was a return to the ride which had been our first at DCA earlier in the week: Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue.





My daughter really likes the sushi restaurant, the doors scene, and seeing Roz at the end. Next we used MP to book a trip on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout for the third time on the trip.





Caroline knows that she gets to pick out only one stuffed animal/souvenir on each trip, so she spends several days scouting gift shops to make sure she chooses wisely. After our first ride on Guardians earlier in the week, she had spotted a Goose the Cat plush and expressed that she thought that it would be the winner for this trip. She didn't like the name Goose, so decided she was going to name hers Lucy, and she talked constantly about Lucy throughout the week. So after riding Guardians this day, I decided it would be a good time to purchase the cat since we were headed back to the hotel anyway. My daughter was delighted with her new pet.

Since we had a late night on Wednesday and had a big night ahead of us, we decided to head back to the hotel on the early side in the afternoon for a swim and a nap. I stacked a few MPs for our return to the parks that evening, and we rested up for the night ahead.

Stay tuned for Chapter 17, where we head back to DCA for another round of rides before enjoying the World of Color Dessert Party.
 
  • Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    I've had your TR on "watch" for a while, but only finally got a chance to read through it! I love all the cute experiences you guys had and how much you were able to accomplish!

    I had a bunch of parts quoted, but realized it was getting ridiculous, so I'll just have to quote from now on!
    Thanks for joining in. Very glad to have you following along!
     

    Tracy161

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2006
    This is precious :goodvibes

    Caroline knows that she gets to pick out only one stuffed animal/souvenir on each trip, so she spends several days scouting gift shops to make sure she chooses wisely.
    I love this - it's such a smart thing to do as a parent (for many reasons!). My parents did this for us when we were kids :thumbsup2 I'd like to think I'm a better decision-maker and money-manager as a result!
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Thanks for joining in. Very glad to have you following along!
    Oh, and we were actually there the same day! I visited with my mom on Dapper Day, though I doubt we crossed paths. We didn't get to Disneyland until you were probably leaving for a break, and we didn't go to DCA at all.
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    I love this - it's such a smart thing to do as a parent (for many reasons!). My parents did this for us when we were kids :thumbsup2 I'd like to think I'm a better decision-maker and money-manager as a result!
    Thanks. We impose very little discipline (fiscal or otherwise) on her, especially on vacation. But this is one rule that my parents had that I came to really appreciate. She knows that she has to choose carefully or she'll regret it. So far she has been very pleased with her choices.
     
  • missangelalexis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2012
    I'm glad you enjoyed the character breakfast! Looks like your daughter had a blast with everyone!

    Sounds like a good time at DCA before your afternoon break!
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Chapter 17: Another Round of Rides at DCA

    After a refreshing swim and relaxing nap, we were back up and ready for a fun night back in the parks. The plan was to head to DCA for some fun in Cars Land, Grizzly Peak, and Pixar Pier before our reservation for the World of Color Dessert Party at 9:15 PM (for a 9:45 show), and then possibly go to Disneyland for a bit after the show. We crossed Harbor and quickly made our way into DCA and into the Grizzly Peak area. Our first ride was one of our many stacked FPs: Soarin'. Soarin' is one of my favorites at WDW and always a highlight of my trips to Epcot, and (even though it's the same show) I enjoy the DCA version even more. I think its location within the park is superior, and the queue and show building are much better than those in Florida, where Soarin' is a bit of a square peg in a round hole. We made it through the FP line quickly and then requested to wait for row B1 so we could be top center for our flight. I know some prefer B2 because it is totally centered for the screen, but I prefer not to have dangling feet in my view, and like that B1 is totally unobstructed. My daughter could take or leave Soarin', so this repeat was mostly for my benefit.

    We had a great flight and then took the quick walk over to Grizzly River Run to ride the rapids while there was still daylight. First, my daughter asked for a picture with the big bear and his paddle.



    We entered GRR through the FP line and were soon boarding our raft. My daughter enjoyed the different experience of riding during the day versus our night ride from earlier in the trip. And we didn't get too soaked, so that was a plus. After conquering the rapids, we were still not that hungry after our large breakfast/brunch at Plaza Inn earlier in the day and our Incredicoaster FP window wasn't open yet, so we decided to explore the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. I had never really walked back there before, and my daughter really enjoyed being able to run free and play on the slides, rope swings, etc. Unfortunately it closed down for the night after we had been there for only 20 minutes or so, but I promised her that we could come back for a longer visit the next day.

    Frolicking among the redwoods built up our appetites, so we stayed in Grizzly Peak and walked over to Smokejumpers for dinner. Mobile order worked like a charm and we almost immediately had our food and a table. I was very glad to be eating somewhere other than Flo's, though I did promise Caroline that we could go there for dinner the next day since it would be our last night. After dinner we went over to Pixar Pier to use our Incredicoaster FP. This was our fifth time on my daughter's favorite ride, and she again opted to wait for the front row.



    Our next destination was Cars Land, where we planned to ride RSS and also enjoy the nightly Sh Boom neon lighting. We arrived before it was quite time for either, so we chose to talk a spin on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree first.





    After that we had to wait just a few minutes for the music and lights to come on and transition Radiator Springs from day to neon night.





    Next stop was our FP for Radiator Springs Racers. My daughter took the lead in encouraging all of our fellow riders to cheer for our car, emboldened by our 3 race winning streak with her strategy.



    Everyone was very excited to give it a try and, lo and behold, we won again! 4 wins in a row.

    It was getting close to the time we were supposed to check in for the World of Color Dessert Party, so we headed over to the Paradise Gardens area. We found the area where we were supposed to line up and check in for the party, but still had some time, so we used MP to grab a quick FP to Goofy's Sky School. After riding that we decided to take a spin on Ariel's Undersea Adventure since it was near our check-in area for the party and there was no line. Unfortunately the ride broke down for a few minutes during our ride, but fortunately we were in the Under the Sea room, so at least we had a delightful view while we waited to move again.



    Soon enough we were moving again and finished our ride. We then got in line to check in for the WOC Dessert Party.

    Stay tuned for Chapter 18, where I'll share our photos and experience from World of Color.
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Chapter 18: The World of Color Dessert Party

    We waited on line to check in for the Dessert Party as a CM came around the line with a tablet to confirm reservations and answer questions. After a few minutes, the line was moving pretty quickly as the guests ahead of us were shown to their tables. My daughter and I opted for one of the high top tables behind a low top table. This provided us with a good, unobstructed view of all of Pixar Pier.







    Our server came just a moment after we'd been seated to bring a basket of bread and take our drink orders. She also informed us that the party was not quite sold out that night, so there would be no one else seated at our table for 4. While we've enjoyed getting to know other guests at prior Disney events, having the table to ourselves was nice too. A few minutes later, our server brought our drinks and dessert plates. The offerings were what we expected based on prior reviews and photos, and I thought everything was tasty. My daughter really liked some items and not others, so I ended up eating a portion of her plate too. She was a bit disappointed that, unlike the dessert parties we had been to in WDW, there was no buffet-type setup where she could choose her dessert options, return for seconds, etc. I agree that makes for a better party, but I understand why it would be logistically difficult given the location of WOC.

    We had plenty of time to eat before the show started, and our server came by several times to get refills on our drinks and offer more bread. Right on schedule, the show began. As expected, our seats afforded us a great view of the entire show and the benefit of being able to sit in comfort throughout. We were close enough to be able to see everything well, but also set back and high up enough to have a full panoramic view with no one blocking our sight lines.

    Neither my daughter nor I had ever seen WOC before, so we were very excited for the show. World of Color itself is very impressive, although there did not seem to be much of a point or plot to it. The water fountains, lights, lasers, and projections all make for quite a spectacle. Overall I am glad that we saw it, but even more grateful that we did not stand around waiting to a secure a good spot and then have to stand throughout the show. I probably would not go out of my way to see it again myself, but would tag along if I was with others who wanted to see it.

    Below is a sampling of our photos from WOC so folks can get a sense of what the view from the Dessert Party area is like.













































    We made our exit quickly after the show concluded, headed across the plaza to Disneyland to enjoy the rest of the night.

    Stay tuned for Chapter 19 to see how we spend the rest of our second to last night in Disneyland.
     
    Last edited:

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Chapter 19: Capping the Night with a Trio of Classics

    We were able to exit World of Color ahead of most of the crowd and get out of DCA pretty quickly, so it wasn't long before we were walking down Main Street back in Disneyland. We had less than an hour until the park closed, but my daughter had three very particular requests before the evening ended. The first took us to Adventureland, where she wanted to see the Enchanted Tiki Room again, except this time with a Dole Whip. Even though we had literally just left a dessert party, I could not deny the child the opportunity to experience one of Walt's most classic attractions the way that it was meant to be seen 😉



    Using mobile order, we were able to basically stroll right up to the counter and pick up her Dole Whip before walking into the show. The theater was practically empty and she chose seats for us in the front row almost directly beneath Jose. She sang along while spooning Dole Whip into her mouth and had a great time.



    Next stop was the Haunted Mansion, though we needed to first fight our way through the crowd leaving the evening's second showing of Fantasmic to make our way to and through New Orleans Square. Once we arrived, the FP we had was completely superfluous as there were only a handful of people in line and the stretching room definitely had more ghosts than guests. It was pretty clear that everyone in the room was a Mansion veteran, so several of us delighted in chanting the Ghost Host's opening monologue (something I would never do when the ride is crowded). My daughter thought it was the coolest thing. We then had a nice trip visiting the 999 happy haunts.

    After Haunted Mansion, the Fantasmic crowds had long since cleared and we were able to stroll through the largely deserted New Orleans Square to our final ride of the night: Pirates of the Caribbean. We walked right on and enjoyed a ride through the familiar waterfalls, grottoes, and burning villages. I noted the calm as we exited, with the park about to close and most of the guests (on an already uncrowded day) now gone, the scene was very serene.



    As we moved towards the park exit, we walked by the Partners statue and paused to capture a photo of Caroline with Walt and Mickey.



    Despite a rough start, it ended up being a really fun and productive day for us. We walked back to the hotel grateful that we still had one full day at the happiest place on Earth ahead of us.

    Join us for our last day in the parks, starting in the upcoming Chapter 20.

    Day 6 Statistics
    Parks visited: DL and DCA
    Rides: 18
    Miles walked (according to my Fitbit): 10.46
     
    Last edited:
  • midnight star

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 11, 2017
    Next we trekked to the far corner of the park to ride X2.
    THIS WAS MY FAVORITE RIDE! lol. What was interesting about the rides at Magic Mountain, X2, Colossus (it was wooden still when I rode it), Superman, Tatsu, were fine for me. It was Goliath that I couldn't handle and blacked out on..lol not fun!

    Caroline knows that she gets to pick out only one stuffed animal/souvenir on each trip, so she spends several days scouting gift shops to make sure she chooses wisely. After our first ride on Guardians earlier in the week, she had spotted a Goose the Cat plush and expressed that she thought that it would be the winner for this trip.
    My parents used this tactic as well.
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Friday April 19 (Day 7)

    Chapter 20: We Only Had Ice Cream Once...For Breakfast

    We had no Magic Morning or Rope Drop plans for our final day at the parks, so woke up casually and went down to take advantage of the free breakfast at our hotel. Neither of us was feeling particularly hungry, so we ended up just grabbing some fruit to go. My daughter was excited because this would be the first (and only) day of our trip where we would be starting the day at DCA. Although we had no specific agenda for the day, she had really fallen in love with California Adventure and was looking forward to spending a few hours there in the morning and then again in the afternoon/evening.

    Now is probably as good a time as any to reflect on how fortunate we were throughout this trip in two major respects: crowds and weather. We came into the trip warned by crowd calendars and Disneyland veterans alike to expect massive crowds, long lines for security and waits for rides, and general congestion everywhere we went. With going the week before Easter, heart of Spring Break season, Dapper Day, Food & Wine at DCA, etc., all of the websites showed our days as red, "packed", "forget about it", and 9 or 10 out of 10 crowds. So we came in expecting to fight through crowds and be subjected to long standby lines, and tried to work this into our planning with RDs, MP strategy, touring plans, etc. As it turned out, while the planning was still valuable, we had nothing to worry about. To our pleasant surprise each day the crowds were completely manageable, and sometimes almost non-existent. Especially on Monday, when we were expecting to get crushed, we looked around several times during the day and asked "where is everyone?". While TP had predicted mostly 9s and 10s for each day of the week, looking back now at their "historical crowds" page all of our days turned out to be 2s, 3s, and 4s. Between the light crowds, MP, our planning and touring strategies, and the close proximity of our hotel to the parks, our time at DLR was both really productive and relatively hassle-free.

    The weather was also gorgeous every day of our trip. This was less surprising given that it is SoCal, but we still considered ourselves lucky that every single day was sunny, but not too hot or humid. We even had a perfectly pleasant day at Magic Mountain, which is notorious for having brutal weather on occasion. Our final day at DLR would be no exception, as we made our way to DCA under sunshine and beautiful blue skies.



    My daughter chose Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue as our first ride of the day. On the way there, she insisted we get a photo of her outside of Award Wieners. She never once expressed any interest in eating there; she just liked the name.



    Kids are funny. Anyway, we had only a short wait for Mike & Sulley (probably 5 minutes at most) and my daughter enjoyed our third ride on it just as much as our first. After that we starting using MP and booked an immediate FP over at Toy Story Midway Mania, so headed over to Pixar Pier next.





    Yet again, I had the much higher score, but her accuracy was significantly higher. I kept telling her that she needs to shoot more. As we got off TSMM, I saw Ron Livingston with his family. I thought about making an "Office Space" reference, but decided to leave the guy alone and let him enjoy the day with his kids without some random guy asking him about his TPS reports :jester:

    Our next ride, also via MP, was a return to my daughter's favorite: Incredicoaster.



    Especially with FP, there was basically no line to speak of and we chose to wait one extra cycle so that we could have the front row.





    We had a great ride, and my daughter's infectious enthusiasm for Incredicoaster continued.

    From there, we decided to go to Cars Land via Pacific Wharf. On our walk my daughter pointed out that (1) Ghirardelli was open, (2) I had promised her a sundae at some point on the trip, and (3) she was feeling hungry for a snack. I told her that it was too early for ice cream and that we would come back later, but her idea did sound tempting. Once in Cars Land, we walked around and explored a bit since it was not crowded, which gave us a chance to really look around and check out all the nooks, crannies, and details. Then we jumped into the short line at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and enjoyed that for the third time on the trip.





    After we finished that ride, I decided to cave and take her to Ghirardelli even though it was only like 10 AM (and let's be honest, I wanted ice cream too). So we basically had sundaes for breakfast.



    It was our last day of vacation. May as well live our best lives, right?

    After that we decided to leave DCA and park hop over to Disneyland. I got a nice photo of Caroline near the fountain on Buena Vista Street before we exited.



    Stay tuned for Chapter 21, where we make our way around to some Disneyland favorites and eat lunch at Ballast Point.
     
    Last edited:

    midnight star

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 11, 2017
    Looking back, I think what helped with your crowd situation was Coachella and the discount tickets were blocked. That was peak spring break time, but since the tickets were blocked, it stopped people from coming. Also Coachella takes many people out of the area. I went to the parks Saturday and Sunday of Dapper day and it only took me 30 minutes to get to Anaheim from LA in the middle of the day. Normally that is over an hour in the middle of the day.
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Looking back, I think what helped with your crowd situation was Coachella and the discount tickets were blocked. That was peak spring break time, but since the tickets were blocked, it stopped people from coming. Also Coachella takes many people out of the area. I went to the parks Saturday and Sunday of Dapper day and it only took me 30 minutes to get to Anaheim from LA in the middle of the day. Normally that is over an hour in the middle of the day.
    Good points. We definitely spoke to locals who said that the fact that many tickets and passes were blacked out for our week was a big factor in limiting crowds. I hadn't thought about Coachella, but that makes sense too, particularly for the weekend days.
     
    Last edited:

    missangelalexis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2012
    What a great time at DCA!

    You had a great view for WoC! I'm glad you made time to see it.

    It would have been a dishonor if you didn't let your daughter get a dole whip for the Tiki Room! You did the right thing ;)

    Sounds like a great morning at DCA! I, like your daughter, really fell in love with that park.

    Ice cream for breakfast is definitely allowed, especially on the last day of vacation!
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    It would have been a dishonor if you didn't let your daughter get a dole whip for the Tiki Room! You did the right thing ;)

    Ice cream for breakfast is definitely allowed, especially on the last day of vacation!
    I'm glad that you agree. You will make a great mom someday :)
     

    caylene44

    Aspiring Disney Travel Planner
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2015
    After we finished that ride, I decided to cave and take her to Ghirardelli even though it was only like 10 AM (and let's be honest, I wanted ice cream too). So we basically had sundaes for breakfast.

    It was our last day of vacation. May as well live our best lives, right?
    Your daughter is my spirit animal. I'm eating a "unicorn" macaron (it's cotton candy flavored) for breakfast right now 😂

    With going the week before Easter, heart of Spring Break season, Dapper Day, Food & Wine at DCA, etc., all of the websites showed our days as red, "packed", "forget about it", and 9 or 10 out of 10 crowds.

    While TP had predicted mostly 9s and 10s for each day of the week, looking back now at their "historical crowds" page all of our days turned out to be 2s, 3s, and 4s.
    So awesome to experience DLR with such low crowds! We were pleasantly surprised on our trip as well. Definitely shows that TP historical crowds are probably a better indicator than any crowd prediction tool (although that might go out the window with SW:GE opening).
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Chapter 21: Flying, Climbing, and Splashing Around Disneyland One Last Time

    With our week winding down, we made our way across the plaza from DCA to Disneyland to enjoy some of our favorite rides for the final time of the trip. While we planned a brief return to DL later in the evening, my daughter had several rides we wanted one last spin on before we needed to go back home.

    Our first stop was Space Mountain, which we rode via MP for the fourth time on the trip.



    Next was Jungle Cruise, where our captain was not as good as earlier in the week, but the wait was short and my daughter enjoyed some different jokes.



    Then we used MP again for a quick ride on Indiana Jones Adventure, which we rode for the third time of the week.



    I grabbed us a FP for Splash Mountain, but first my daughter wanted to explore Tarzan's Treehouse. After walking past it all week, she was curious to climb up and get a peek for herself.







    Overall I prefer the Swiss Family Treehouse at Magic Kingdom, but my daughter liked playing percussion in the "backyard".





    As we were making our way to Critter Country to use our Splash FP, we paused to enjoy the gorgeous day.



    Before riding Splash, we saw that Winnie the Pooh was a walk on, so took a quick ride on that. Then we enjoyed Splash Mountain for the fourth, and definitely the wettest, time on the trip.





    This was the most drenched I have ever seen one log get on Splash Mountain. My daughter and I were in the back, so largely spared, but the folks up front got soaked to the saturation point!

    While I started stacking MPs for the evening, we decided to just walk around the park and explore a bit while letting the sun dry us off. It gave us a nice chance to look around and check out some different areas that we had missed earlier in the week while dashing from ride to ride. We also stopped for a few photo ops along the way.





    While strolling through Fantasyland, my daughter decided that she wanted to ride Mad Tea Party again, so we hopped on a tea cup and took a spin.



    Once we finished there, we made our way down Main Street for a quick hop back to DCA before our lunch reservation at Ballast Point. We got some pictures with the horses and at the firehouse before we left.





    I had promised my daughter the day before, when our visit was cut short, that we could return to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, so I decided that this would be a good place to spend some time before lunch. My daughter really liked having the freedom to run, climb, slide, and explore the various areas along the trail. I enjoyed the opportunity to wander and appreciate the well-themed atmosphere in that area of the park.













    Once the time for our lunch reservation was drawing near, we finished up in Grizzly Peak and exited DCA. We then walked over to Downtown Disney for the first and only time on the trip. Based on my daughter's reaction, she didn't seem too impressed by it, so I'm glad that we didn't devote significant time there. After a few minutes, we arrived at Ballast Point. I have enjoyed several of their beers before, and was looking forward to sampling some new ones with lunch.

    My daughter got the grilled cheese and I had a few small plates, washed down by a few pints.







    Everything was very good, and we enjoyed the atmosphere, as well as one of our few meals of the week not eaten inside a theme park. After lunch we returned to our hotel for one last afternoon swim and nap.

    Join us for Chapter 22, where we'll begin our last night by revisiting some of our favorite rides in California Adventure. Can we run our winning streak on Radiator Springs Racers to 5 in a row? Stay tuned.
     
    Last edited:

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates

    DIS INSTAGRAM

    Top