Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Jaina, Oct 5, 2018.
The revised ears/hats look great.
I like what you did to improve the ear hats! They look really cute! Make sure to post photos of both of you wearing them.
I guess things have been too busy to think about updating here! I am actually already in California, even though we don’t go to Disneyland until Monday. Last week one of my friends who lives here lost her dad to a heart attack. :-( He was only 59, and it was a real shock. I knew that since I was already planning to be out here later this weekend, I needed to try to come for the funeral, which is this morning. So after driving 3 hours home from where we spent Thanksgiving yesterday, I jumped back in the car and drove the 6 hours to CA. At least traffic was fairly light much of the time. I am staying at my other friend’s house in Anaheim (my first friend lives in La Habra) and getting to snuggle her sweet new baby. So feeling somber today, but grateful to be able to be here to support my friend (and to have such a great husband to keep the kids again for almost 5 days...). I am excited to see my sister tomorrow (she’s renting a car and driving out to meet me) and start our Disneyland fun then. It’s been a very busy week already!
So sorry to hear about your friend's loss, but she is blessed to have such good friends like you who are willing to go the extra mile (literally!) to be there for her during this hard time. Have a great time with your sister -- looking forward to your trip report!
Super awesome trip completed Tuesday night! I had the best time, and it was pretty great. I will try to get it all reported soon here. Trying to catch up on "real life" this week, and December is looking to be super busy!
Great news! I was wondering how your trip went. Glad you and your sister had a magical time together.
Traveling and the First Few Days in California
Thanksgiving was good. Busy, but I enjoyed walking the Turkey Trot that morning, and having two different Thanksgiving gatherings. We also took some pictures with MIL and SIL/niece afterwards, and grabbed a quick one of just our family.
Friday morning we left our hometown about 9:30 and made the drive back to the Phoenix metro area where we live. And then about 1-2 PM I left for Anaheim. The drive wasn't bad. Busy sometimes, but clear often, and very little standstill. It was quiet, thankfully, and preferable to driving with 5 somewhat whiny children. I guess we'll do that in May... The only really stressful part of the drive is when I realized I couldn't find my credit card (the one we had just gotten that week) and trying to figure out where I last used it. Pretty sure I dropped it getting back into the car at the gas station before I left town, because when my husband called to check on it (bless him) it was being used, both locally and online. I don't understand people. :-( Of course Chase is great, and we won't be liable for any of those charges, but it made me feel a little yucky, and was inconvenient, since I had just added it to my Disney account, my hotel booking, etc. to try to get enough points to get a buddy pass on Southwest next year. Thankfully I had another credit card with me (and my sister) so it wasn't a huge deal.
It was so nice to see my friend's sweet newborn baby (she was 2 weeks) and I was so grateful I could be there for my other's friend's dad's funeral and lend support to her and her family. It was hard, but very good, and I was so happy I could make it work out since this trip was already happening. It's always so good to see them and spend time with them.
Sunday evening we had little bits of excitement as I picked up my sister from the John Wayne airport, where she dropped off her rental car, but we made it to downtown Disney without too much stress. We also parked in the "extra" parking for DD, which was a little further to walk, but not a bit deal. We had a great time exploring the Disneyland Hotel first, then checked out almost every shop in DD. She was very in love with all the rose gold stuff, but not with the price tags.
My sister is so enjoyable to window shop with, and we had a nice time. We had a 5:30 reservation at Tortila Jo's, and split the taquitos appetizer and steak nachos. Which was more than enough food for us! They were good, but I wish I had asked for the nachos without black beans. I didn't realize they would be the refried variety instead of whole beans, and I'm a little picky that way. The rest of it was tasty. The wait staff was great.
These are my favorite, but also not paying like $30 for them. At this point.
We explored the lobby of the Grand Californian, and got to listen to one of the singing groups for a few minutes. They were right in front of the gingerbread hotel, so it kept us from getting a good close-up look at the front, but they were enjoyable to listen to. It is so beautiful in there!
After we were done checking out the shops, (about 7:30 pm) we walked over to the esplanade between the parks, and my sister got really excited. It was so fun to do this whole trip with her, since it's been forever since she's been to CA, and only one trip to DL in the last 10 years. And that was with 4 small boys. She was especially excited about the balloons. I thought that was fun that they were selling those out between the parks. It definitely added to the fun atmosphere. It was so fun to be there knowing we would actually get to go into the parks the next morning! We had considered staying to watch the fireworks, but she had been up since about 3:30 CA time, and I hadn't been sleeping well either, so we decided it was a better idea to find out motel and get some rest before our big day.
There was an 80's cover band playing on the stage on our way out. They were very... entertaining. This is my sister's face at some of the moves the 50-ish lead singer was doing... (Also, does anything know what that red plastic hat on his head is about??)
So we stayed at the Anaheim Lodge with an amazing rate ($105 total for two nights!) and it was basically a straight shot down (up? over?) Ball to the resort. It was a fine drive, maybe 12-15 minutes with no freeways. And for the price, it was fine. There was a touch of confusion with check in, but he said my card (the stolen/missing one) had gone through, so I figured it had charged the night before or something with booking . com. The parking lot was well-lit, and it wasn't too sketchy. The room was somewhat updated, fresh-ish linoleum instead of carpet, un-scary shower, etc. The pillows were dumb, but we had our own. The beds didn't feel very comfy from pushing/sitting on them, but they actually slept comfortably. I don't know how loud it was, since we sleep with white noise. I did hear people coming home (probably from Disney) around 11:30 on the second floor. I was having a hard time sleeping, since we were going to Disneyland the next day!
That's an energy dome, Devo wore them.
Can't wait to read about y'alls day in the parks!
Haha, thanks for the answer! We were completely clueless. (And I don't know that the name "Devo" is even familiar to me. I was born in 1982, but didn't have any older siblings, so the music of the 80's is still partially a mystery to me. )
With visions of Disneyland dancing in my head, I got to sleep pretty late, and was probably awake by 5:30 local time. My sister was up by 6, and we were pretty excited! I had found out from FB groups that I could "get in line" at Mickey and Friends quite a bit before it opened, so just after 7 we were on our way! We had decided to leave our coats behind, since my sister was wearing long sleeves under her shirt, and since I had a shrug. We both had scarves too, because if your neck stays warm, it's much easier to feel warm! And it was supposed to hit 80 that day, so we didn't THINK the temperature would be much colder that day than it was already. We got into the garage about 7:25, and turned our car off, preparing to wait until it opened at 8. (There were quite a few other cars there already; I'd say we were 7-10th at one gate) But at 7:30, it started letting people through, even though it was an EMH at California Adventure! Does that usually happen, or was it abnormal? Does anyone know?
We excitedly made our way to the gates, traded bathroom breaks, and then waaaaited until around 8:30 when they opened the gates. We were the second group in line at one. We did take turns using the restroom over at La Brea Bakery Express while in line, which saved park time. We went directly over to Soarin', but did have to wait in line there (we were second) until the park opened at 9. There was a set of brothers that were also waiting, because they didn't realize they still needed a room key to get on Soarin' and they couldn't get a hold of their mom. They also wouldn't be let back through the rope drops without it. I hope they found her; how frustrating!! I was considering asking for B2 (or whatever middle-top is, since this was probably the only time we'd be on Soarin', and since it was my sister's first time seeing Soarin' Over the World, but decided not to wait another cycle since that first hour of park time is so precious! But we got assigned to middle-middle!! I was so excited! She loved it, and said she enjoyed it even more than the original. I disagree a bit, but since she hasn't ridden it in 13 years, it's probably hard to compare.
I had grabbed a MaxPass for TSMM while we were walking to Soarin', but of course I couldn't -quite- get MP to work again before I descended into the dead zone that is Soarin'. Annoying, but we grabbed another MP for Incredicoaster as we were exiting the ride at about 9:20. We were in line for TSMM by 9:27 and on the ride at 9:34. We got on slightly sooner since we were a party of 2, and they were looking to fill seats. She enjoyed that one too, and is excited to take her boys on it sometime. I beat her, but just barely!
Next up was Incredicoaster! We were both excited about this one, since she loves roller coasters, and since I was excited to check out the new theming. We asked if we could wait for the front row and the CM was kinda difficult and said "Well, you might have to wait a while..." We told her that was fine, but she was kind of a grump about it, honestly. :-/ Which was completely silly, because they had both sides running already, and we only waited like one extra vehicle. Totally worth it for the first ride, and to make sure we got a good picture. My sister said she also enjoyed this re-theming more than the original, since she liked the storyline and dialogue and special effects more than just the music from before. I have mixed feelings (because I tend more towards nostalgia) but I thought the retheming was really good too.
That's all I have time for right now! We had maxpasses for Guardians (my FAVORITE) so it was time for a power walk!
We zoomed over to Guardians (pausing for a couple pictures - love the decor in Hollywood Land!) and the FP return line looked a little daunting. We got in line at 10:05 and weren't on the ride until 10:30. It was a good one though, and we had a great time! My sister loved it, and we were happy that we had grabbed a 20-min return time to ride it again while we were in line the first time! We asked to wait for the front row the first time, but ended up getting the exact same seats for the second ride. That was fun. I always like waiting to be seated on that ride, and often having conversations with the people around us, especially if they're acting nervous. I really love that ride. Quite a bit more than the previous ToT theming, actually... We were on it for our second ride by 10:55, so the FP line went a little faster the second time through. After we scanned in that second time, at like 10:50, we grabbed our RSR fastpass (for like 6 pm that night!)
We had grabbed -another- maxpass for Incredicoaster, so we hurried back over there to use it. I seriously feel like I spent half the day running between those two rides! I finally found someone to drag ME around Disneyland (usually) I'm kind of dragging my companions behind me, but my sister was super excited to be there, and she has longer legs than me. The weather was really beautiful, though it was already starting to feel warm in the sun. Our picture wasn't any good the second time, even though we ended up in the first car again - yay! The guy in front of me had very large hands! No big deal, since we already got a good picture.
We decided to head over to Disneyland, but stopped to go the Little Mermaid on our way out, since that was my sister's favorite movie growing up, and since she hadn't been on that one either. Seriously, the longest I've ever waited for TLM. I was not excited! We waited nearly 20 minutes(!) and this was how I felt about it.
Devo's famous for the 80's song "Whip it".
I'm born in '89 but like 80's music. Devo sang Whip It, pretty classic 80's song.
Love the photos -- you both look so happy! The Santa Ear Hats turned out great!
Thanks! It really was a great day!
We hopped over to Disneyland right at noon, 3 hours after the parks officially opened and picked the "wrong" line, so waited 5-6 minutes to enter. It's always exciting to enter Disneyland for the first time in a trip!
I asked my sister, "left or right?" and she chose left. It was time to use MaxPass, but since there was nothing else really available that was a good FP time, we picked Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin, which had a return like 5-10 minutes from then. My sister couldn't remember if she had ever gone on that or not. We decided a great way to open the park that day was a circle tour around the parks on the Disneyland railroad! We just had to wait for a train to arrive, and though it was busy-ish, easily found a seat. I love riding the train, and it was fun to do it with my sister, who hadn't been on it in 13-ish years. (It was down for the be refurb the last time she was there) The lady behind us was not as excited as us. :-D We also grabbed a FP for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad while on the train, which I think was a cancellation, because it was going to be available in like 15 minutes I think.
This was a little weird at the Toontown station: a water cooler and cups and whatnot out there "on stage." I was curious what their story was. It wasn't a hot day...
We got back off at Main Street and walked all the way back to Toontown. I love Toontown. It's just so cute and different. I'm glad they haven't decided to take it out (and doesn't seem like it's going anywhere with the new Mickey/Minnie ride announcement). We didn't have our kids, so decided to not spend extra time exploring, but I'd definitely like to do that in May when I have DD-almost-3 and DS5 with me. Roger Rabbit was fun. I don't see it as a for-kids ride necessarily, which matches the movie... my kids only know who Roger is from watching the old Sing-a-long Songs in Disneyland from the late 80's. But it's a fun ride, especially if you only wait 4-5 minutes. It's not worth a 10+ minute wait for me, especially since I remember standby line being a touch claustrophobic.
And had to snap a picture of this, since it will soon be no more!
We hurried over to BTMRR via the Fantasyland shortcut and had just scanned into the FP line when they announced that it was closed, and it might be a while. As we were leaving, they were scanning everyone's phones/tickets that had already gotten in line (on the FP side), but I felt like it only registered one of our tickets. I asked about it and they said it should show up in a bit, but to come back and they'd get it fixed if anything was wrong. I can't remember what we pulled a FP for at that point, but I think it was Small World, and it wouldn't be good until about 3:15 (it was now 1:25). I'm annoyed that I forgot to screenshot every time we made FP selections this trip. It would have been nice for reference.
Anyway, we had some time to kill, and wandered over, through the Golden Horseshoe (because my sis had never been inside, and the first time I'd been inside was my recent Halloween Party), and decided to brave the "30 minutes" Pirates line. I was a little nervous, because it looked possibly longer than that. They had it routed all over the upper river front, in front of all the restaurants, over the bridge, etc. But actually, it moved pretty fast, and we thoroughly enjoyed waiting in it. There was a lot to see, and it was mostly out in the open air, and the weather was beautiful. When the line split, we decided to choose "right" and marked our place in the other line by a man in a neon jacket, to see who would get on first. It ended up being really right about the same, even though the lines did very different things. Disney is good at that! Somehow, on the ride though, I completely missed "the Redhead." I thought the new scene was up and running, and looked for it, but still didn't see it! No idea...
The wait had been right about at 30 minutes, but when the Multiple Experience FP popped up on my app, it was just for one person... So we walked back over to BTMM and CM Matt helped us figure out which ticket still needed one, plus gave us an extra ME FP to make up for having to come back and get it fixed. That was super nice of him, and was actually a very nice little bonus for us, especially at that point in the day, as FP's were getting more scarce. I sent a nice e-mail about our experience with him to customer service when we got back, since the line looked long at City Hall later.
I'm thinking when our MaxPass time hit, that we must have grabbed a cancellation for Space Mountain, because we actually rode that next before Small World. On our way to Space we finally saw two different Photopass photographer with a short line, and stopped to get some iconic Disneyland shots:
(obviously I thought something was supposed to be IN my hand here... )
We got in line for SM at 2:45 and were on the ride by 3 PM. It was a great ride, and I like the classic version much more than Ghost Galaxy. But NOT as much as I enjoy Hyperspace Mountain. I'd be thrilled if they brought that back in the spring for our May trip before Galaxy's Edge opens! I love my sister's face in our picture.
Our return time was immediately open for IASW, so we headed over there by way of the lagoon. I enjoy the regular Small World if I have kids with me, but I love the holiday version at any time. My sister super loved it too, so I'm so glad we went on it! It was fun to help her find all the Disney characters throughout the ride. That's another one that was down the last she visited, so it had been 13 ish years and she hadn't seen those new additions. We laughed about the poor guy in the last pic that couldn't avoid the photobomb. We joked with him that we'd remember him forever.
We had grabbed another FP over in CA for something. I'm not sure what, and were just killing time before our 4:30 reservation at Cafe Orleans. I was -starving,- having just had pieces of a protein bar and some cashews all day, and we'd been moving a lot! We wandered through Fantasyland (and got a few photopass pics), I showed her the new Fantasy Faire area, then we went up for the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough, which she had last seen in the 90s when it was actual dolls.
After hitting the bathroom just outside Zocalo's, we wandered through New Orleans a bit. My sister is not a Haunted Mansion fan in any capacity, and said she only wanted to ride it if I really wanted to. Luckily for us, I didn't care to see it again either so soon, because I feel like it was down much of the day when we walked by. At this point, Jack and Sally were just inside the closed gates, interacting with guests. I thought that was cool.
We checked into our reservation early at 4:15-ish and were seated with 5 minutes (outside as requested) I think. Guys, I have been itching for this Monte Cristo for like 6 years! It's just never worked out timing- or money-wise. And when I say money-wise, we usually do our family trips on a pretty close budget, so a sit down meal with all 6/7 of us isn't usually in the cards. Plus, it sounds a little stressful, and my kids don't really want to sit around for a while when they can be -doing- stuff. Maybe in a couple years. But unlike a regular sit-down restaurant, they brought our food out super quickly! We got pommes frites and a Monte Cristo both to split, and intended to get beignets. But we couldn't even finish our food! My sister took half of her Monte Cristo and over 1/2 of the fries to go.
With the super quick service, we were DONE with our meal 15 minutes after our reservation time was supposed to be. That was almost faster than counter service! If I knew it would always be that fast, I wouldn't hesitate to eat table service with my kids so much. What have your experiences been in that area?
Anyway, it was time to head back over to close down California Adventure for the night, and we thoroughly enjoyed all the lights having just come on (It was 4:50 PM) as we hit the hub and Main St. My absolute favorite time of day for sure! It made me happy that our trip didn't end up being during the Candlelight Processional weekend, so we could enjoy Main St that much more.
What fun you both had! Such magical memories and great photos! I'm so glad that you were able to make this happen for your sister.
You ladies look like you had a blast!
But did you freeze later on?
We actually didn't! It never really got very cold that night! With my little shrug and her long sleeves (and our scarves a few times) we were totally fine!
Thanks for anyone following along! I thought I would gete all of this done a lot faster, but it's that crazy season, and there has been so much been going on with Christmas concerts and parties and prep that it's hard to find time to fit these in!
We headed back over to California Adventure just shy of 5 PM. I loved walking in and seeing it all lit up! So, so awesome. We never did get any character photos. We really didn't SEE many characters, and the ones we did see, there lines were always closed by the time we realized they were there. Kind of sad, but again, no kids, so we were able to push past our disappointment pretty quickly. We took a few of these kinds of shots:
We took a fast left into a beautifully lit Carsland, and rode both Mater's Jingle Jamboree and Luigi's Joy to the Whirl. I think both of these rides are more fun at night anyway, especially if there is much wait. The wait was the shortest I've personally seen it for Mater's. I looked at my time stamps, and it was 8 minutes! Score! The shorter the wait for those "little kid" rides, the more I find myself enjoying them!
The line for Luigi's was longer, at 21 minutes, but I like that line, especially at night. It's fun to watch the cars do their thing. We enjoyed that one, though I would have liked it to be about 30 seconds longer, and with more spinning. Every trip is different, of course.
It was about 5:50, 10 minutes before our official check in time for our Radiator Springs Racers fastpass check in, but with the line waaay out by Luigi's, I thought we'd be okay getting in line already. (Oh, and we took another "character photo" for my sister's 4 boys. )
Separate names with a comma.