The Last 5th Birthday Trip Report (June 5-19, 2022) - Completed 7/7/22

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Welcome to my 2022 last 5th birthday trip report! We’ll cover the who, what, when, where, why and all the details of what might possibly be our last epic road trip to DLR as a whole family. I’ll break up my updates into sections with lots of pictures, and add to a table of contents as I get the sections in.

If you have read my PTR, the Who through Plan & Budget sections are nearly identical, but have pictures associated now. The itinerary detail pages include the finalized plan in italics, and the reality in regular font (sometimes the editor here is making everything italics and not letting me change it, so... just go with it).

For anyone looking for a quick breakdown/summary of what we were able to accomplish each day and what LLs we got, check out Activity Summary in the Conclusion post!

Who
What & When
Why & Background
How & Where
The Plan & Budget
Itinerary Days 1-3 Getting There
Itinerary Day 4 Disneyland - Part 1
Itinerary Day 4 Disneyland - Part 2
Itinerary Day 4 Disneyland - Part 3
Itinerary Day 5 Rest Day
Itinerary Day 6 DCA & World of Color - Part 1a
Itinerary Day 6 DCA & World of Color - Part 1b
Itinerary Day 6 DCA & World of Color - Part 2a
Itinerary Day 6 DCA & World of Color - Part 2b
Itinerary Day 6 DCA & World of Color - Part 3a
Itinerary Day 6 DCA & World of Color - Part 3b
Itinerary Day 7 DL & Fantasmic! Part 1
Itinerary Day 7 DL & Fantasmic! Part 2
Itinerary Day 7 DL & Fantasmic! Part 3
Itinerary Day 7 DL & Fantasmic! Part 4a
Itinerary Day 7 DL & Fantasmic! Part 4b
Itinerary Day 8 Last DCA Start - Part 1a
Itinerary Day 8 Last DCA Start - Part 1b
Itinerary Day 8 Last DCA Start - Part 2
Itinerary Day 8 Last DCA Start - Part 3a
Itinerary Day 8 Last DCA Start - Part 3b
Itinerary Day 8 Last DCA Start - Part 3c
Itinerary Day 8 Last DCA Start - Part 4
Itinerary Day 9 - Beach Day
Itinerary Day 10 Last DL Start - Part 1
Itinerary Day 10 Last DL Start - Part 2
Itinerary Day 10 Last DL Start - Part 3
Itinerary Day 10 Last DL Start - Part 4
Itinerary Days 11-15 Heading Home - Part 1
Itinerary Days 11-15 Heading Home - Part 2
Itinerary Days 11-15 Heading Home - Part 3
Conclusion/Final Thoughts
 
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FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

Who:​

Party of 7! My family alone counts for all 7 of us. Originally, my best friend’s family of 8 was going to join us, but sadly health concerns forced them to cancel just a few days before the trip. We continued on and kept them in our thoughts, and got continuous updates. I am happy to report that things worked out great, and recovery is progressing well!

With that said, here are some details!

Me aka The Planner:​

44 yr old mom of 5, currently living in the Dallas, TX area; working from home and the family's resident Disney fan
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DH:​

44 yrs old, enjoying his work from home lifestyle but eager for travel to pick back up, and to be able to support his wife's Disney habit.
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DD #1:​

DD15: Her 5th bday started it off for our family; she’s a bit angsty these days and more into anime and K-Pop than Disney, but she likes Avengers stuff and is looking forward to thrill rides.
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DC #2:​

DC12: Is starting to enter some angsty phases of their own. They used to love all of it: Mickey & friends, Pooh, princesses, super heroes, Star Wars… These days, they’re a bit more interested in YouTubers. They can be the biggest cheerleader and happy camper in our group, until they aren’t. When they get overtired, or hungry, or hot, or cold, or uncomfortable (I just don’t like the way these shoes feel on my feet), it can be challenging since they are super stubborn. They are generally the peace-maker and truly just want everyone to have a good time. Shares a bday with DS (exactly 2 years apart), and got a 'bonus' birthday trip in 2016 when they turned 7. DC12 is a bit emo and angsty these days, but we love them anyway.
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DS:​

DS10: Happy go lucky lil guy who freaks out a little sometimes during transitions. Balancing out the sugar intake with protein and setting some expectations ahead of time usually helps. He is looking forward to doing thrill rides and Galaxy’s Edge. He loves watching YouTube Disney ride videos, and frequently discusses favorites. Most likely to follow in my Disney-planning footsteps.
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DD #4 -​

DD8: She was the guest of honor for our last trip in 2019. She lives life at volume 10, and has been looking forward to this trip pretty much since we got home from our last trip 3 years ago. If we make sure she drinks enough water and avoids too much junk food, she will be a delight. If we don’t…. Well, I try not to think about that.
Then (almost 5 - and yes she did her bangs herself):
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Now:
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DD#5 -​

DD5: Her actual birthday is in March, but we waited to fully celebrate Disney style until June when her siblings were out of school. She’s still the wild card! She was a very calm and sweet infant, but she learned how to assert herself as a toddler. She’s got a stubborn streak and strong personality when it comes to outfits, songs to sing and pretty much everything including food now. She used to be easy going and eat anything, but now she’ll refuse to eat something if she doesn’t like the way it looks.
Then (nearly 2):
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Now:
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FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

What:​

We celebrated DD5’s 5th birthday, making it the 5th and last time we have celebrated a 5th birthday in the park. When I say celebrate birthday, I actually mean in honor of the birthday - first trip was in a June after a May birthday, second trip also June in advance of a September birthday, only our third trip saw a kiddo turn 5 in the park, and his big sister who has the same birthday got a special treat too!). Last trip was spring break shortly after kiddo turned 5.

When:​

Near the start of summer break: June 5-19. All of my kids are in the same school district, and we’ve enjoyed early June trips in the past. I’d probably have pushed this to a week or two later if I had realized our year end dance recital was June 5 instead of the 4th, but it just means we had a full day and the kids were worn out enough to sleep during the drive. Our park days were June 8, 10-12, and 14.

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FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

Why:​

A little bit of our Disney experience and history explains why we'd make a trip with so many kids!

I went as a teenager with a highschool group for a basketball tournament in the mid 90s. DH and I were treated to WDW by his family in 2005 (before kids!) as part of a long Christmas trip to Florida and saw MK, Epcot and what was then MGM, but the REAL history started when I had just had our second daughter, and I was thinking about how to keep things special for our first daughter. I decided we should do a family trip to Disneyland for her 5th birthday and started some planning and saving in 2010 for a trip in 2012. Well, life threw several curveballs at us during those two years, including DS surprising us in 2011! Nevertheless we made a big trip for then DD5’s birthday, and were joined by most of my family (mom, brother, cousin, sister & SIL). It was one of those magical trips and practically perfect in every way!
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(DH is directly behind me, partially hidden, guest of honor DD is in the Rapunzel dress, skipping next to him).

At that point I knew we *had to* go for our now middle child’s birthday, so I immediately started planning & saving for our second trip in 2014. This time around, my DH’s family joined us (FIL, MIL & her 2 yr old granddaughter, SIL & her at the time fiancee now husband) and maybe not so surprisingly our 4th baby. It was a blast - we rented a house versus doing hotel packages this time, which really maximized our ‘together’ experiences. This was especially important to DH, as his family all lived in Texas and we lived in WA State at the time. Both groups drove, and met at the rental. The drive was great - the baby was NOT a great traveler, but we were able to set things up in our minivan so I could sit next to her car seat and nurse her. This trip was fun, but not quite as magical as that first trip. We had some adversity - DS apparently caught a tummy bug on the way down, and we had some pretty gross pit stops. Initially thinking it was car sickness, we were not prepared when the bug spread. Toddler cousin, MIL, myself and worst of all the guest of honor (DD #2) all ended up pretty ill by the end of the 2nd day. While the rest of the crew hit the parks on day 3, the 4 of us sick ones spent a day at the house. Little one missed her special princess breakfast (which as it turns out was the last one our family was able to do before the Grotto closed), but she kept her spirits high and said to me at one point, “Mommy it is ok. I’d rather be here with you than anywhere else”.
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Before we even started that trip I was already planning trip #3 (because we couldn’t exclude the only boy - he was already left out of so many things his sisters did), and knew we’d have a 4th trip to go after that (you can’t do it for 75% of your kiddos and just leave one out). Trip 3 for our son’s 5th birthday was magical in its own way. Our first trip without any extended family to help us wrangle kids was a bit intimidating but turned out great. We did a vacation package and stayed in a suite at Camelot Inn. After booking the trip, we discovered that we’d have a stowaway with us (surprise!!! Baby 5 on the way!!), and while it definitely changed things, the trip was great. Our oldest got to do all the thrill rides (minus matterhorn which just looked too scary to her), and I stayed with the others. We discovered RS for the first time (previous 2 trips there was always an adult with no interest in any given ride that the littles couldn’t go on so we never even thought about it). This absolutely made the trip for the bigger kids by going on rides back-to-back! DH decided it was the perfect time and place to announce the pregnancy, and took great delight in picking out matching ears for us to get embroidered, with one saying ‘? 2017’. We had a few minor issues that trip: I fatigued easily and had some pretty significant all-day sickness to contend with, plus DD #3 had a few EPIC meltdowns - unlike her siblings who all had napped peacefully in strollers during our previous trips, she struggled with that, and we failed to move back to hotel quickly enough to soothe her - that girl has LUNGS, and I’m pretty sure everyone in the park knew she was totally DONE as hubby power walked the stroller and shrieking child back to the hotel! But one of my most cherished moments of all time (Disney or otherwise) is an impromptu family dance party on Pacific Wharf our first morning in DCA. Something about that specific moment in time, and the pure joy of the kids jumping around and shaking to the music, plus DH’s happy place of coffee and chocolate will always hold a special place in my heart. We had the area all to ourselves that morning!
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Our 4th trip I documented much better and even has its own trip report. Short story - we drove 10 to DLR, spent spring break there with 4 day park hoppers, included a beach day for the first time, and utilized MaxPass and RS for a jam-packed trip.
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That brings us to this trip - the last 5th birthday, which of course we had to do, and I started planning and saving before the 4th trip was even done. I knew I wanted to make this one memorable, because I don’t know when we will be back as a full family.

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CandyMouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Beautiful family, looking forward to the rest of your trip report. Sounds like a lot of fun and I love how you've done 5th birthday trips for each child!
 

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Beautiful family, looking forward to the rest of your trip report. Sounds like a lot of fun and I love how you've done 5th birthday trips for each child!
Thank you and welcome to the journey! Now that I'm out of 5th birthdays, I'm going to have to come up with another reason to go!
 

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

Where & How (aka travel plan & more backstory):​

We are driving a 12-seat passenger van from the Dallas, TX area with a daytime stop in El Paso, and then spending 8 nights at a VRBO house within walking distance of DLR, and driving back.

If that plan leaves you wondering the following questions, you are not alone - I get asked quite often: Why is anyone crazy enough to drive a passenger van 21 hours with 5 children? What’s the deal with those VRBOs, are they legit fun? Hopefully this can explain things a big more for anyone interested, otherwise feel free to skip ahead to the next comment!

How:​

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The passenger van is actually my primary vehicle these days - I got tired of never being able to take kids’ friends with us, and always having to have multiple cars when we did group outings with friends and family. I really just wanted a minivan with a 4th row of seats, but those don’t exist - and the benefit of tremendous headroom was a bonus. We got the van at the end of October 2018, and DLR 2019 was our first family road trip and the time we discovered what DEF was.

This trip we drove across Texas, with a stop in El Paso to visit with various family members on our way to Disneyland, and took a more leisurely trip home, stopping in Tucson, AZ and El Paso again before getting back to Dallas.


For most of our previous trips we were living in the inland pacific northwest (Spokane, WA - it’s the dry, east side of WA state). We flew twice and drove once. Then we did the epic drive in 2019 for the 4th 5th birthday.

Where:​

We’ve had quite a bit of fun in a VRBO in 2014 and again in 2019. This trip our house was Castle House 1. (These pictures are taken from their site; the castle mural is sadly no longer there, but the rest of the rooms looked the same.)
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DD5 picked Rapunzel and DD8 bunked with her, leaving Tinker Bell for DD15!
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DS got Cars:
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DC got Toy Story:
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Nobody ended up in the classic Mickey room, but it was cute:

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DH & I took Aloha Mickey - not pictured are the cute pictures from the Aloha Disney cartoons, featuring Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Minnie.
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FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

The Plan:​

Two travel days (Sunday, Monday), a day to settle in and maybe explore Malibu (Tuesday), 5 day park hopper with a rest day and a beach day/rest day thrown in there, a farewell morning and three to four more travel days to get home, with a stop at Tucson and grandparents’ house.

Well in advance I paid for the rental, bought tickets and made our reservations. We did 4 day hoppers w/ MP last trip and felt it was worth it. This time, I went with 5-day hoppers with G+ added. Originally I planned on simply adding G+ to at least one reservation per day for the Photopass benefit, and maybe add it for everyone else if we felt like we needed it. But because at DLR you can only add it after scanning in, I decided that it would be worth it to simply budget for the expense and pay for it early and save those precious first few moments in the park enjoying my surroundings instead of clicking through my phone. I tend to be very high-strung first thing into the park as it is!

The final planned itinerary with reservations is as follows:
Day 1-2: Travel
Day 3: Arrival/Malibu/Settling in/DTD
Day 4: DL start (Wednesday)
Day 5: Rest Day
Day 6: DCA start (Friday)
Day 7: DL start (Saturday)
Day 8: DCA start for us (Sunday)
Day 9: Beach Day/Rest Day
Day 10: DL start (Tuesday)
Day 11: Farewell brunch/Travel to Tucson
Day 12-14: El Paso
Day 15: Arrive Home

We had the following reservations:
  • Minnie Mouse & Friends @ Plaza Inn
  • Brunch at LL
  • Dinner at WCT
  • WoC Dessert Party
  • Fantasmic! Grab & Go @ Hungry Bear
  • Goofy’s Character Dinner
  • Lunch at Carnation Cafe
  • Storytellers Character Breakfast

I wanted to add River Belle Terrace as we have never been there, and unlike previous trips I have no clear idea when we will be back. But I didn’t want to spend too much time at table service or stretch the budget any further.

Last time, I experimented with DIY vacation journals, autograph books, matching shirts, decorating the van, stockpiling current year pennies for all the penny press stands, Disney jammies, outfits to go with their BBB makeovers, an instant camera to create immediate souvenirs, rain boots or covers, slickers, sunglasses, and activity books for the drive. My ambition always surpasses my ability and I only I got 5 of those things done. This time, I planned on the following
  • Journals (HUGE hit last time!)
  • Outfits, jammies & new swim suits
  • Decorated van (still done since last time and makes me happy every time I see the stickers)
  • Pennies for penny press
  • Instant camera & lots of film & extra batteries, plus a photo album to keep the pictures save and organized as we go
  • Sunglasses
  • Activity books for the drive
  • Snack bags & activity bags for the drive

Reality: This time I got 6 things done!
  • Journals
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Sample pages

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  • Outfits, jammies & swim suits (too many for me to picture here - most of them show up in park pictures)
  • Decorated van (ok, this is basically cheating since it was still decorated and I did nothing)
  • Instant camera + film + album
  • Activity books for the drive
  • Snack bags & activity bags for the drive
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The budget:​

Budgety stuff for people who are interested in numbers:

Initial rough budget was 15k, which gave me $700 of wiggle room if we stuck to the following:
  • 5000: lodging (6 bedroom rental house)
  • 4000: tickets (5 day hoppers + genie at the $20 rate purchased online)
  • 3700: food (this includes all the foods from travel snacks to character meals to dining/show packages)
  • 1000: souvenirs
  • 600: fuel (this was a wild card)

This budget was a bit crazy to me, because I'm pretty sure for our first trip our entire spend was $5500, and that included airfare!

The reality: We broke this budget. I completely forgot to include kennel costs for the dog (we didn’t have her last DLR trip, but we DID our last road trip, so I really should have included it). That was an extra $1k, as we included grooming while we were at it. Additionally, you will notice I did not include any budget for ILL$. We ended up doing all 3 ILL$ rides once, for an additional $320, and we also did not account for the extra souvenirs we bought for our friends who couldn’t make it - roughly $150. I also under-budgeted for food; there were just so many delicious snacks and beverages I wanted to try! We were on track with our souvenir budget and our fuel budget, but only if you don’t count the items I pre-bought (outfits, jammies, snacks, activities, and journals). We also added in a hotel stay in Tucson for an additional $200. So all in all I did an ok job of planning, but a sub-par budget. I haven’t done a full accounting yet, but I believe we were closer to 20k than 15.

Next up are the day-by-day details!

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FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

Itinerary Day 1-3 Getting There​

Day 1: Sunday June 5​

  • DD5 and DD8 have a dance recital during the day, and DD8 and DS have a Cub Scout meeting.
    • Successfully did both!
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  • Our family will be all packed up and loaded and kids in jammies and ready to leave town by 5.
    • HAHAHAHA! This turned out to be a silly idea anyway - it is a 10 hr drive to El Paso, and we ‘gain’ an hour with a timezone change, and it would have meant arriving near 3am. Instead we left at the much smarter time of 10pm nearly on the dot.
  • Travel activities, possibly including vacation journals will be given to kids.
    • Done!
  • First stop: dinner. We want to be back on the road by 7:30pm.
    • As noted above, that was a silly plan. We instead finished off the last of our fresh groceries at home.
  • Next stop: El Paso!
    • Success! We arrived just before 9am local time.

Day 2: Monday June 6​

  • Arrive in El Paso in the morning and do brunch with MIL/FIL. Drivers hopefully can nap while kiddos hang out and work off some energy.
    • Success, kind of! DH had a great nap, but I struggled to sleep more than 45 minutes.
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  • Dinner as a big family, and then back on the road by 8pm to drive through the night to Anaheim.
    • Dinner was great!
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  • We left at 9pm instead - once again, with another 1 hour time difference it seemed better to leave a bit later, and gave us a chance to rest again after dinner.
  • About 6 hours into the drive, near Tucson, AZ, DH and I realized neither of us had repacked his laptop bag with all our electronics and chargers. So much for my fuel rods I bought on Amazon! That left us with zero wall plugs, and only the cables in the car. Thankfully DD15 and DC12 had brought their wall chargers, and we knew we could pick up something in Anaheim.

Day 3: Tuesday June 7​

  • Arrive in Malibu area and eat at the same place as 2019 (Malibu Farm Cafe).
    • Sleeping beauties early that morning:
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  • Arrived at Malibu Farm Cafe around 9:30am local time. It was excellent as usual!
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  • Check out the ocean! Play on the beach (Malibu is the leading option)! Do touristy things!
    • DH had 2 work calls he needed to take that morning, so I explored Malibu pier and beach with the kids while he used the van for his calls. It was a little foggy/June gloom in full swing, but our spirits were undaunted!
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  • The kids ran through waves, and DS, DD8 and DC12 got pretty wet. We also found out later that DC12 dropped her phone and headphones in the ocean briefly! It doesn’t seem like there is any significant long term damage, but they say the camera doesn’t quite look right anymore.
  • Grocery shopping (Costco and/or Target)
    • Drove to Anaheim and hit Target up about 2pm and got almost everything we needed, including a wall plug and an external battery.
  • Maybe meet up with other family in the general SoCal area - TBD.
    • Did not happen this day.
  • Check-in to rental house around 4pm.
    • We tried for early check-in, but it was not available, so we picked up more vape juice for DH since that also had been left in the laptop bag. Checked in right at 4.
  • Head to DTD for early dinner (leave about 4:30, get there about 4:45)
    • We didn’t make it quite that early, but we did leave the house before 5!
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  • We arrived at DTD about 25 minutes later - DD8 was not thrilled with the heat and was getting cranky.
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  • DH and DD15 got Nashville Hot chicken from a food truck. DC12 didn’t want anything and I figured I'd finish whatever the kids didn't eat. DS, DD8 and DD5 got pizza from Napolini with very little line, after being scared off of Black Tap’s line. DH was shocked but happy that his chicken was in fact hot, but I was a bit disappointed in the pizzas. Not really any flavor, and DD8 did not care for the ham.
  • We need autograph books and maybe a few other souvenirs if anyone sees ears they love at WoD. Either way, my group will leave DTD by 8:30/8:45
    • We did pick up autograph books, and a couple kids saw ears they wanted, and DD5 got a sun hat. She wanted one like mine, but they don’t sell them anymore. One of our on-going jokes was how I was looking for Disney-themed water bottles and couldn’t find any I liked, so of course I had to buy the one I found at WoD!
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  • We also browsed the Star Wars store before heading back to the house. It took about 30 minutes to get back.
  • Possibly see fireworks from the rental house!
I don't think fireworks ran that night because we didn't hear anything.​
Kids did NOT want to go to sleep! Too excited I suppose. We finally got everyone quiet and in beds and falling asleep by 10:30pm.​
I was also too excited to sleep, and poured over my plans again and didn't get to sleep until midnight.​
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Last edited:

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

Itinerary: Day 4 - DISNEYLAND FINALLY! (and maybe DCA?)​


Day 4: Wednesday June 8
Park hours: DL: 8am-midnight; DCA 8am-9pm

General plan: Hit DL early and stay late!

Reality: We got there about as early as could be hoped for, didn’t end up hopping, did lots of attractions but went home a little earlier than I expected. I’m breaking this up into multiple parts so I can post lots of pictures!

Morning:​

  • Rouse the troops - this might be easier for my family because of our 2 hr time difference
They woke up pretty ok. It wasn’t as early as I’d like and it took longer than I wanted to get out of the house, but I knew we weren’t really going to make rope drop at all, and just wanted to be as close to opening as possible.
  • Feed light breakfast snacks to avoid any hangry issues.
Kids grabbed Chewy bars (the ones from Quaker), and veggie/fruit pouches. Only one kid decided to have a bowl of cereal.
  • Walk to the park - need ideas on where to get coffee instead of DTD Starbucks, preferably somewhere with mobile order!
DH was one of the slowest to get moving, and did not have time to make coffee at the house before I made everyone leave. I made him skip the Starbucks because lines were long, and sent him to find coffee after a few rides in Fantasy land that he didn’t want to go on. We scanned into the parks at 8:08am.
  • Explore Main Street & Fantasyland & book LLs using G+.
We did not do any exploring on Main St, but we did head straight to Fantasyland and were rewarded with shorter lines.
  • DD5 (guest of honor) will pick our first priority ride, and currently wants the Tea Cups, but I’ll be encouraging her to pick Alice in Wonderland.
We got lots of rides! Teacups - walk on:
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Alice - 10-15 minute wait
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Dumbo - 10 minute wait (during which DH snapped this candid of us in the queue and then got coffee for both of us)
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At this point, DD5 wanted to do Snow White and the rest of the crew wanted to do Matterhorn and needed bathroom breaks. They went there, and then were discouraged by the line, but I got to be a ‘hero’ and book a LL while in the Snow White line. Fairly terrible selfie shot from Snow White - happy to say DD5 was satisfied with the ride. She did cringe/hide when the witch appeared though! I think the original would have scared her quite a bit, so I am thrilled with the Enchanted Wish makeover!
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DS was the big winner - he managed to do both Snow White (5 minute wait) AND Matterhorn (LL about 9:15 - nobody there took pix).

After Snow White DD5 and I did Carousel and saw Mary Poppins & Bert getting on as we got off.
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Next we met up with the Matterhorn crew who had seen Alice, Mary Poppins and Bert while looking for us. We did Tea Cups again (5 minute wait but only because half the group walked right by - would have been walkon otherwise), and stopped by the Sword in the Stone.

DD5 enjoys being silly!

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DS tries with all his might!

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DD8 gets serious, but one-handed.

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DC12 shows off a Turning Red backpack and elven ears during their attempt.
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DD15 Refused to pose with the sword, but I demanded a picture. She was ready for breakfast and annoyed at the delays.
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DH also didn’t want to do the Sword, but my prince took a selfie with the castle
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Once we were done playing around we headed to Plaza Inn. All told DD5 did 6 attractions (7 if you count the Sword) in 2 hours and was quite happy.
  • Minnie & Friends Plaza Inn breakfast buffet 10:20am
We checked in for breakfast at 10:15, and went straight to Minnie for autographs and pictures. They only did two poses this time; I suppose I could have asked for more, but I didn’t think of it. They also never offered actual prints - we only got them through PP, which I didn’t even think of until just now. I have our previous prints displayed in the living room, so I’ll have to get this one printed and find a suitable jacket for it. Before we even got there, the kids were all asking if we were going to do that buffet breakfast and meet Minnie Mouse again - it really is a tradition at this point. Even DD15, who struggles to get enthusiastic about this kind of stuff, was asking about it. Breakfast was great as usual. We met Minnie of course, and inside we saw Pluto, Perla (mouse from Cinderella), Pooh, Tigger, Chip, Dale, and Daisy Duck.

DD5 was looking down when DC12 had eyes open. The only one with everyone looking at the camera DC12 had eyes shut. Oh well! I kind of love these not-so-perfect family pictures because they feel more representative of our lives.
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DS, DD5 and DD8 were the most into characters this time, unsurprisingly. Just look at that joy!
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But I got into the act too! I love the interactions!
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I know I already used this one to introduce DC12, but it bears sharing again - they are absolutely loving Pooh right now, and this was the only character they got excited about!
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DD15 wanted me to take this picture to document how much she loved the breakfast itself!
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Tigger used my head to balance the autograph books and then posed for this pic, in which I could NOT get all of them to look at me at the same time!
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Chip had some great interactions with the entire table; even DD15 and DC12 got into the act, but the pictures didn’t turn out. Everyone was busy eating, but DS just HAD to have an individual photo:
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Dale was actually our last character of the morning, but I’m putting him here to be with Chip. We even got DH and DD15 to pose in this one!
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I’m not the best at selfies, but Daisy looks great from any angle!
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That wrapped up our morning! We did all our bathroom breaks (4 separate trips) during the breakfast, so at 11:20 we were ready to head out for some midday fun!

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FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

Itinerary: Day 4 - DISNEYLAND FINALLY! (and maybe DCA?) - Part 2​


Day 4: Wednesday June 8
Park hours: DL: 8am-midnight; DCA 8am-9pm

After a brilliant morning, how did our midday and afternoon stack up? Let's find out!

Midday:​

  • Pixie Hollow & iasw if we missed it in the morning
We skipped both of these at this time - the kids were ready for rides!
  • Maybe the princesses meet & greet, depending on lines
We skipped this as well - kids wanted rides.
  • Since I got G+, I’ll be doing LL for something; Space Mountain is my first choice, but DD5 really wants to try Splash Mountain so we might head to Critter Country. We can also stack some DCA rides and put those hoppers to use later.
Splash was the priority, and I was able to grab a LL for 12:20pm. We made our way to Adventureland, so I could scout out the line for Jungle Cruise. It looked a bit too long so we continued to Critter Country, admiring the sights as we went. The kids were a bit sad that Tarzan Treehouse was gone, but the sadness passed quickly as we continued on. We got to Critter Country and found a good place to park the stroller near Winnie the Pooh, and the line looked good - less than 10 minute wait. DD15 opted to sit on a bench in the shade and play with her phone while the rest of us went on the ride.

I sat with DS10 - he was thrilled to have some mom time.
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DC12 and DD8 got some sister time - those two often don’t get along so it is great to see them both happy.
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DD5 rode with DH - father/daughter time for the win!
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Everyone enjoyed the ride, and we did some shopping in Pooh Corner afterwards. DD5 found a TukTuk shoulder pet and fell in love, and DC12 found some lollipops. Unfortunately they couldn’t find the weighted Pooh Bear they really wanted, but the lollipops were a decent consolation prize.

Next we collected DD15 and headed to the LL for Splash - it was quite long! We got in the queue and it took about 5 minutes to even scan in. After roughly 20 minutes in line, we got to the front and discovered my dreams of having this be a full family photo were dashed. They no longer allow two to sit in the back row, so all 7 of us could not ride one log. We split into two groups - DD15, DC12, DS10 and DD8 in one log, while DH, DD5 and I wanted for the next log.
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We sent our kiddos off and then trouble struck. They did not let us board - the ride got stuck! DD8 had been confiding in me how scared she was for a ride to break down while she was on it, and sure enough it happened. Given how emotional she gets, I was pretty concerned for her and the other passengers near her - especially since DD8 being loud and crying typically sets off DS10 to freak out a little and loudly tell her to stop, which upsets DC12 and annoys DD15. DH, DD5 and I all departed the line after a 10 minute wait while they tried to get it running again. We were given MEP for all members of our party. At that point, we were uncertain where our other children were and how we would reunite. Both DC12 and DD15 had given me their phones to keep dry during the ride, so we had no external way of communicating with them. I soothed DD5 who was pretty upset at first to not get to do Splash after weeks of talking about it, but was distracted quickly by a duck foraging near our stroller. DH meanwhile tried getting information from CMs, but it was not reassuring - the kids would either exit through the entrance or the exit. So he went back and forth between both for the next 30 minutes, getting more and more anxious as the minutes ticked by. Thankfully, they emerged unharmed and in relatively good spirits. DD8 did cry quite a bit when it broke down, but the others were able to reassure her and comfort her, and she held it together. She cried again when reunited with me, but then decided that she was no longer afraid of ride breakdowns since it had already happened and things turned out ok!

  • QS lunch/snack around 1
The kids continually grazed on the snacks I had brought, so no one needed a specific snack break.
  • We may end up going back to the house for naps/downtime. We never have before, but there is always a first time for everything!
After our experience with Splash, we decided to head back to the house for some downtime and to escape the heat and crowds for a little while.

Afternoon:​

  • Afternoon in Critter Country & Frontier land catching LLs. The kids would love to meet Tiana and do the Riverboat.
We had had enough of Critter country, and opted to skip Frontier land for now.
  • Tom Sawyer’s Island (which we’ve never done),
Sadly, we never did get to Tom Sawyer’s Island.
  • Hop to DCA if we feel like it;
The day was full enough without hopping, so we stuck to DL.
  • Pixar Pal Around is a priority for DD5, so we will likely explore Pixar Pier if we do hop
Instead of hopping, we headed back to the house as mentioned earlier. DH and I thought it would be great for everyone to nap, but DD5, DD8 and DS10 thought swimming was a better idea! DH did take a nice long nap, while I watched kids in the pool. Various floating toys and vests were available, so I didn’t even need to get in the water this time!
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Pool picture from VRBO site - shallow end:
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Picture from VRBO - slide and deep end (8 feet deep):
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At 4pm we started getting ready to head back to the parks, and were out the door by 4:30pm and ready for an evening full of fun! How did our evening turn out? Read on to find out!

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deejdigsdis

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 28, 2009
Your hat is so cute!

We moved to Spokane about 24 years ago. We were only there for 2 years while my husband went to grad school at EWU. I had my first baby at Sacred Heart and we STILL talk about how good the cookies were in the hospital cafeteria. 😄

I can't believe how much the vacation price tag has increased! I was telling my family the other day that my family (that I grew up in) -- 2 parents/6 kids -- could go to California for a week on $600. And that covered 3 Disneyland days, Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, all hotels/food/gas. Granted this was decades ago, but still.

That's good to know that Splash Mountain doesn't allow 2 in the back seat anymore! I was already planning on riding back there with my just-turned-6 daughter who has never ridden before and doesn't like getting her face wet. She watches the ride on YouTube and we have our poncho coverage plan in place. Hmmm.

Enjoying the report! So many great pictures!
 

Gypsybear

It's all about the Villains
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
Great start to your trip........we also live in Dallas, and make that drive. Our preferred overnight stop is in Scottsdale (timeshare). Keep it coming...enjoying it alot. Also, thank you for using the preferred pronouns. That was wonderful to read.
 

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Your hat is so cute!
Thank you and welcome to the trip report! It was my first souvenir purchase during our first trip as a family to DLR back in 2012. This trip we realized it is starting to show its age - there are two holes that are noticeable up close. I wanted to replace it, but there is nothing like it available right now.

We moved to Spokane about 24 years ago. We were only there for 2 years while my husband went to grad school at EWU. I had my first baby at Sacred Heart and we STILL talk about how good the cookies were in the hospital cafeteria. 😄
All 5 of mine were born in Sacred Heart! What a small world! And yes, I also enjoyed those cafeteria cookies!

I can't believe how much the vacation price tag has increased! I was telling my family the other day that my family (that I grew up in) -- 2 parents/6 kids -- could go to California for a week on $600. And that covered 3 Disneyland days, Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, all hotels/food/gas. Granted this was decades ago, but still.
Right?! It seems like prices for this kind of trip have gone up faster than inflation for sure. I'd love a $600 dollar vacation - but that would barely even cover the fuel these days 😅

That's good to know that Splash Mountain doesn't allow 2 in the back seat anymore! I was already planning on riding back there with my just-turned-6 daughter who has never ridden before and doesn't like getting her face wet. She watches the ride on YouTube and we have our poncho coverage plan in place. Hmmm.
It was a major bummer for us for sure. Spoilers, but DD5 did eventually get to go - will share the details when we get there!

Enjoying the report! So many great pictures!
Thanks! It is funny when/where I took a lot of pictures, when DH did, and when neither of us managed to capture anything. It definitely helps jog the memory to see them though!

Great start to your trip........we also live in Dallas, and make that drive. Our preferred overnight stop is in Scottsdale (timeshare). Keep it coming...enjoying it alot. Also, thank you for using the preferred pronouns. That was wonderful to read.
The Splash debacle notwithstanding, it really was exactly how I hoped the trip would start, and even that wasn't very bad. Happy to meet another person brave (crazy?) enough to do this drive! Most of our friends here end up doing WDW, and fly. I'll have to look at Scottsdale as an option if we do this again! DC12 announced their pronouns just a short time ago, so there has actually been quite a bit of editing to stay accurate. I will say it is easier in text than in real life since I don't have a backspace on my mouth!
 

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019

Itinerary: Day 4 - DISNEYLAND FINALLY! (and maybe DCA?) - Part 3​


Day 4: Wednesday June 8
Park hours: DL: 8am-midnight; DCA 8am-9pm

With the drama of the afternoon done, how did evening stack up? Turned out pretty good in my opinion, but was not without its share of controversy!

Evening:​

  • No dinner reservations. It’ll be CS for my fam. I pretty much like all the foods, and would love to use mobile ordering. We’ve got no real food restrictions this time (only lactose intolerance, and we’re bringing oodles of Lactaid pills for the trip). If in DCA, looking at Angry Dogs (DS’s favorite), anything in Pacific Wharf, or Flo’s. If in DL, looking at Rancho Zocalo, Bengal BBQ, Jolly Holiday or French Market primarily but could end up a combination of places if people want different things.
I grabbed a LL for Space for 5:45pm while lounging by the pool, so we headed to Tomorrowland when we got the DL. It was so relaxing to not be in a rush - part of me was antsy to be pushing harder, but I could tell how much more relaxed everything else was, especially DH. His afternoon nap really refreshed him!

On our way through DTD, we picked up another repeat souvenir - one of the great balloons! DD5 got to pick, and we attached it to the stroller from then on. There was an ongoing struggle between DH and the balloon as it loved to bop him in the face. It made the stroller easier to identify and the kids loved the hilarity of DH vs the balloon!
9a8vp-RFJ9S1qyb4H4MIpfChJAOleqyFkjRH6pRM8JH5M7op3jHOGMWdixmlrzUYMv1pTCgr18ThO1H482-KYDW9FpEG2M-sbt5URUkyvpwqIIfR_4e16UnCWfYMm9TLJFKdCXEU0gIPe8bZAg

  • Evening if in DCA exploring probably entirely focused on Cars Land. Might shell out for RSR ILL$. If in DL, will check out the Pixar Pals Dance Party in Tomorrowland, and try to ride a few things.
Since we stayed in DL, all our DCA plans were shifted to our DCA start day on Friday. We did not manage to catch the dance party, but we did enjoy the rides!

This was DD5’s first time on Space Mtn, and truly her first real roller coaster ever. I wasn’t sure how she would feel about it. It was also the first time for any of us to be on Hyperspace Mtn (Space with the Star Wars theming). I enjoyed it, but do prefer the original a bit more.

DC12 & I sat in the back, DH was alone in the middle, and DD8 & DS10 rode in the front of the first car. This is one of the few ride photos where we can actually see DD8!
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DD15 and DD5 rode in the front of the second car. As we loaded, I was so excited DD15 was going to be with DD5, but as the ride progressed I got a little anxious: was DD5 freaking out? How would DD15 handle it? It definitely impacted my ability to just enjoy the ride, but I’m a worrier so I’m used to dealing with such thoughts. DD15 reported afterwards that the ride itself didn’t seem to bother DD5 at all, but the loud sounds and some of the flashing lights startled her. DD5 seemed perfectly happy afterwards!
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Next was a LL for Star Tours, which I had booked while in the queue for Hyperspace Mtn. The standby line wasn’t terrible (20-30 minutes), but it was great to have a more concrete schedule, and I was quite pleased there were nearly instant return times available!

We took up an entire row of Star Tours!
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Everyone enjoyed the ride, but things got a little hectic afterwards and we had our second crisis of the trip (the first was the debacle with leaving the chargers and laptop bag in El Paso).

DH had received a work call as we were about to board Hyperspace, and needed to call back afterwards (he started a new role shortly before our trip, or he would have been more unplugged). He let me know he was stepping out of the gift shop to take the call and I assumed he was going out the exit right by the stroller. I browsed some merch with the kids and then we all exited to meet up at the stroller. DH wasn’t there, and DC12 started freaking out - she realized she had left her Turning Red backpack on Star Tours! DD15 had headed to the bathroom, so that left DS10, DD8 and DD5 at the stroller with no real supervision if I left to help DC12 get her bag back. I messaged DH to return to the stroller immediately and attempted to call him, but he was still on his call so he didn’t answer. I made the command decision to go ahead and leave the 3 alone, and headed back in the exit of Star Tours to ask the CM near the glasses return what we should do about the backpack. Another CM came up just then, who had just finished a lost and found mission, and volunteered to take us up to see if it was still on the ride. The ride had just started again, so we had to wait through a cycle, but sure enough - the bag was right there, and DC12 described it and got it back. They were so relieved but still a little shaken, and I am glad I went with them and gave them extra attention. When we returned, DD15 and DH were both back at the stroller, and the crisis was over with no lasting damage!

Before the drama had ensued, I had secured a LL for Buzz. Once again, the standby wasn’t terrible (30 minutes), but the ability to get a nearly instant return time was valuable for our plans. At this point though, we were hungry, so I canceled the Buzz LL, mobile ordered at Alien Pizza Planet with a nearly instant return time, and booked a Buzz for after we had eaten.

I did not grab any pictures of our food this time! Bad trip reporter! I am happy to say that my pasta dish (Tomato Cream Pasta: Italian Sausage and Bell Peppers served on top of Chef's choice of Pasta tossed with Blush Sauce - $11.99) was fantastic and I was so pleasantly surprised. It had a full flavor and the bits of sausage gave it a little kick without being too spicy for me. DH got a couple slices of Mega Pepperoni pizza and while they were fine, he was unimpressed with the price ($8.49 each). DD15 & DS10 also got pizza (Mega Pepperoni and Hawaiian-Style respectively). DC12 got the other pasta dish (Count Down Chicken Fusilli: Fusilli Pasta topped with Seasoned Grilled Chicken, a Parmesan-Pesto Cream Sauce with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Shaved Parmesan Cheese). DD5 got the Kid-sized Cheese Pizza ($6.99) with carrots, a cutie orange and milk. DD8 got the Space-ghetti with Meatball ($7.99), also with carrots and a cutie but with juice instead. This was WAY too small - it was a toddler size meal, not a child 3-9. Thankfully I also had two orders of Garlon bread ($4.99 each), which helped tide her over. Overall, I thought the meal was a good value and we would do this again, but DH would probably get the pasta instead and we would not get a kids meal for DD8.

Once everyone was happily fed, we headed to our Buzz LL. DS10 begged to go with DD8, and confided in me it was because he wanted to demolish her in Buzz. I rolled my eyes and said whatever, and they ended up together. Cue the next disaster of the day! DD8 beat DS10, and he was so upset he was sobbing before he even got off the ride. We’ve worked with him on being a good sport, and showing sportsmanship, but this was such a blow to his pride he was inconsolable and ugly crying. That subsided fairly quickly but triggered his odd transition/freak out behavior. He became sullen, grumpy and uncooperative - at one point he attempted to sit down in the middle of the walkway as we were walking and we bumped him with the stroller, which did nothing to improve his mood. I nabbed a LL for iaws for 10 minutes in advance (7:15), but wasn’t sure if we’d end up having to leave the park for DS or not. We started making our way from Tomorrowland to iasw, but I was definitely feeling anxious.

  • Back to DL to head to iasw to wait for the 8:45 MSEP. Plan is to meet at 7:45 to get a spot. We will stay in place to see the Encanto projections and then check out fireworks at 9:30. I’m keeping my eye on info about viewing and snagging good spots. If we strike out the first night, we can always try again - and we’ve got more chances as the week continues.
We ended up in my targeted MSEP watching spot near iasw about 7:10pm, and all the best spots were already taken! I ditched the LL for iasw, and we settled into a spot on the raised area across the way from iasw. DS10’s outbursts were slowing down as his bad mood subsided thankfully, so we decided to stay. Neither DH nor I had really planned on waiting more than an hour for MSEP, but we were there, had a pretty good spot first at the rail, and didn’t have anything better to do. DH went to acquire some snacks, and when he returned I took DD8 and DS10 (who was mainly upest with DH for some reason at that point) to the restroom, and we chit-chatted with people near us. DD5 made friends with a similarly sized child right in front of us on the sidewalk level. They played with her TukTuk, letting it ‘climb’ the railing using the magnets, and in general just did little kid stuff. We devoured some popcorn, much to the chagrin of my DD15 who has braces and is forbidden to have popcorn. DH took her to get her own special treat. He also came back with an Elliott popcorn holder - I hadn’t realized that merch would appeal to him so much, but he loved it and took great delight in showing me how it would light up, and where the popcorn box would go, but he wouldn’t allow actual popcorn anywhere near it.
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The kids started getting restless by 8, and I busted out the glowing things. DS and DD8 took turns playing with his light sabre (built in Tomorrowland during our 2019 trip), and DD5 played with the bubble wands. Unfortunately, one of the wands refused to work at all, and the other stopped working about 10 minutes in. They were both older (one from 2014 I believe, and one from a 2018 trip to the zoo), but I had made sure they worked before we left home. I was bummed, but DH opened up the surprise glow sticks, and we spread pixie dust for our kids and the surrounding guests as we handed out sticks and connectors to make bracelets and necklaces! It was a huge hit and I am so glad we did it. The 100 piece pack was only $12.99 at the time, and is even cheaper now! Great value for the joy it spread, and we still have a lot of them left.

Finally we heard the announcement we were all waiting for - MSEP was about to begin! At that point I realized that DD5’s view would be obstructed by the rail, so I made the decision to hold her the entire parade. This was worth it, plus I got to see her reactions and literally FEEL her excitement throughout the parade, but meant I didn’t get any pictures and ended up with quite a nice bruise on my hip. DH snapped some though, and my hip was a small price to pay for her joy.

MSEP starts!
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The turtle!
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A family favorite (we watched Pete’s Dragon the night before leaving for the trip, so it was fresh in the kids’ minds):
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Not pictured is the adorable final float - this was DD5’s favorite. Repeatedly through the parade she asked me when Elsa was coming, so she loved seeing Elsa on the final float along with so many other characters from the shows she has watched recently. I wish I had captured an image of that, but her reaction and the sound of her joy will stay with me forever.

The area started clearing out as soon as the final parade end banner carriers danced by - I was quite impressed with their steps and choreography. It cannot be easy to do the whole parade route carrying the banner like that! We made our way against the stream to cross over to iasw and go walk on. We struggled to get to the proper stroller parking, and DD15 just wanted to lay down. I made her go on the ride with us anyway. DC12 complained that I should have done a LL, but I had made one for BTMRR just in case anyone wanted to stay later, and walk on looked totally open. They were nervous because several people ended up in front of us, but I reassured them that the ride moved very quickly and there would be little to no wait. I was right - we walked right on and immediately got a boat. We all enjoyed the ride and the downtime, and DS kept pointing out the ‘hidden’ suns and moons in each display. As the boat pulled into the dock, we heard the familiar sounds of MMM! This was one of the biggest highlights from 2019, and my kids STILL listen to the music and dance along at home. They immediately started singing along and watching the projections on iasw. We had to really encourage them to pay attention to get off the boat! Because of the show, noone lingers in the gift shop this time, and we all rushed to the stroller. It wasn’t the best position, the speakers with the music were facing the other way so it was hard to hear, but the projections were lovely. DD15 laid down on bench, DC12 complained it was too quiet, but the other 3 sang and danced along.

  • After fireworks, almost certainly some of the group will head back to the house for bedtime. I hope to stay until park close though because I am a crazy lady. Most likely DH will head back with the littles so I can park storm with the bigs (what we call our littler and bigger children respectively).
After MMM, it was nearly time for our BTMRR LL. I asked who wanted to go and who wanted to stay, thinking DD5, DD15 and DH would want to go and I could just take DC12, DS10 and DD8. However, DD5 really wanted to stay with us, and seemed to be going strong still. DH didn’t want to leave me alone to push the stroller all the way home, so he parked and sat with DD15 on a bench while the rest of us went to BTMRR. We were early, so I used the MEP we had gotten earlier for Splash. They wouldn’t work on Space, which was the only other major ride the kids would have been interested in that really needed a LL, so I figured why not! We scanned in and were on the ride in 5 minutes. Once again I was a little nervous for DD5, who sat next to me. She LOVED it. Just when I was most worried, her little voice called out loudly ‘YEE-HAW’! DS10 loved saying ‘the wildest ride in the wilderness’ in the funny voice, and the rest of the kids loved it. As we got off, DD5 said ‘AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN!’. We made our way back to DH, let him know we were going again, and went off to adventure! We were STILL early for our LL, but it apparently hadn’t used the MEP up, so we scanned in that way again. It was about 5 minutes again, and the same reaction - they simply loved this ride! Unfortunately my only picture document this time of night was from DH, who captured DD15’s feelings accurately:
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At this point I had a hard call to make - DD5, DD8 and DS10 all wanted another ride. DC12 was ready to join DH & DD15 and head home. My heart wanted to indulge the little ones, but my head told me it was 10:30pm but after midnight in our home timezone, and the littles would likely crash soon and we still had the 30 minute walk to the house. I decided we all needed to leave, and it was a great decision! DD5 fell sound asleep on the way home, and DD8 and DS10 did some minor complaining as it was.

So it turned out it was my littles that wanted to go late, and the bigs that wanted to call it a day early! I was surprised, but hey - you’ve gotta go with it. We got DD5 onto the couch, and the rest of the kids tucked in and asleep shortly after 11pm. Would this late night ruin moods the next morning? Stay tuned to find out!

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deejdigsdis

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 28, 2009
I love all the details! You remember a lot!

I was going to ask how long the walk was between the house and the parks. Couldn't remember if you already mentioned it. The house looks really neat. I don't know if I could do that far of a walk, though.

And that is so crazy that we had babies at the same hospital! Did they ring the chimes when your babies were born?
 

Gypsybear

It's all about the Villains
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
Most of our friends here end up doing WDW, and fly. I'll have to look at Scottsdale as an option if we do this again! DC12 announced their pronouns just a short time ago, so there has actually been quite a bit of editing to stay accurate. I will say it is easier in text than in real life since I don't have a backspace on my mouth!

We used to fly, but then covid hit, and we began driving. We've driven both directions. The drive to Scottsdale is 15 hours, so we usually start at midnight and drive until we get there, then stay at our timeshare (we get it for 2 weeks). We unload what will NOT be continuing on with us to CA, and the next morning, we head to Disney (it's a 6 hour drive from Scottsdale). Spend a few days at the parks, and do some other CA stuff, then head back to Scottsdale for the remainder of our 2 weeks, and decompress/relax. The drive to FL is shorter, but only by about 2 hours. So we usually stop overnight in Pensacola.

Yes, it's taken an old man like me (I'm nearly 60) a bit to get used to preferred pronouns, but it's becoming easier to do. And I'm sure they appreciate your effort.
 

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
love all the details! You remember a lot!
It helped that I had my custom journal that I wrote in nearly each night, took lots of pictures with timestamps, and did somewhat live updates for my family who was following along in our family chats. Plus it is still fresh in my mind! I didn't do as thorough a job on the last couple days, so those will probably be shorter.

I was going to ask how long the walk was between the house and the parks. Couldn't remember if you already mentioned it. The house looks really neat. I don't know if I could do that far of a walk, though.
Distance-wise it was about half a mile. Definitely longer than the walks we'd had from Harbor, but shorter than the walk from the last house we used in 2019, which was closer to 3/4 of a mile. It really made it a tough decision for me about afternoon breaks, and there were some unpleasant moments on the way home at night as kids were tired and sore. I wish I had made them 'train' more for the trip by walking more daily!

And that is so crazy that we had babies at the same hospital! Did they ring the chimes when your babies were born?
Yes! I loved the chimes so much. Definitely a positive experience all 5 times for me.

We used to fly, but then covid hit, and we began driving. We've driven both directions. The drive to Scottsdale is 15 hours, so we usually start at midnight and drive until we get there, then stay at our timeshare (we get it for 2 weeks). We unload what will NOT be continuing on with us to CA, and the next morning, we head to Disney (it's a 6 hour drive from Scottsdale). Spend a few days at the parks, and do some other CA stuff, then head back to Scottsdale for the remainder of our 2 weeks, and decompress/relax. The drive to FL is shorter, but only by about 2 hours. So we usually stop overnight in Pensacola.
That's a long straight drive. We did the full Anaheim to Dallas drive in 2019 and it nearly did me in. With 7 of us, flying is expensive but so is getting a rental anywhere too so it just hasn't made sense. I like how you embed your Disney vacation in a longer vacation - it probably makes it more relaxing and gives you a chance to catch your breath before coming home!
 

CandyMouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
So funny you both( FeistyDisneyMom and deejdigsdis) have lived in Spokane, I've lived here all my life! Love your trip report, you're so organized! So many great pictures, looks like a great time! That house you stayed in looks great, love the theming in the bedrooms. I'm glad everything worked out with your kids getting stuck on Splash Mountain, how scary for them and you and your DH! Looking forward to more of you report.
 










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