Traveling Circus- First Trip to Disneyland


Mar 7, 2012
Hi everyone, Trip reports are my favorite so I thought that I would share our first trip to Disneyland.

It has been a while since I posted a TR so I may be a little rusty.

There were 7 of us this trip, hence the traveling circus title. Being out numbered by kids was a new experience but well worth it.

We traveled June, 2nd through June, 8th and stayed in the Courtyard by Marriott Themepark Entrance hotel.

I am H a newly single Mom from the Tx panhandle. I am the trip planner in this group.
My two kids are G, my 10 year old thrill seeking daughter, and B, my much more timid 6 year old son.

The other members of our crazy group are my sister C and her husband J and their two little girls C and B.

Left to right, Little C(3), my sister C, J, Mickey, B(6), G(10) holding Little B (2), & Me H
I have somewhat forgotten how to post pics so I am going to try here and then I will get on with the show.
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Mar 7, 2012
Hooray, I didn't forget how to post pics after all.

I am going to add a bit of background on my crazy crew before I dive into all of the details on this trip. My kids and I moved at the beginning of the school year and really liked our new tiny town and great school. My sister and her husband ended up deciding to move near us as well. In a wacky turn of events their previous house sold ridiculously quickly and their contractors on their new fixer-upper were terribly slow, so they ended up living with me for 3 months. So we have all been together pretty much 24-7 from Easter until after we got home from our trip. Luckily we all get along really well.

Okay on to the fun part.

We fly out of a small airport in Amarillo, Texas on Southwest airlines. I have a SW card and have been saving air miles so our flights were free. My goal this trip was to be thrifty while not missing out.

I am the type A planner of this group and the others were a bit put out to learn that we had to leave my house a bit after 4 am on our travel day. Since the airport is so small there aren't many choices on flights and I chose to go with the option that had the least total travel time since there were so many kiddos involved. It really worked out well. We got to Ama at 5:15 am and for the first time in any of my travels there was a huge line at the 1 security check in. It was a good thing that we got there early. By the time we got everything unloaded (the car seats for the littles were a nightmare to haul around) and through security we had about 20 minutes before our plane boarded.

The little guys all enjoyed the planes. My kids are great fliers, having gone to Florida several times. C's girls had never been on an airplane so we weren't sure how it would go with them Turns out they were awesome too. They loved it and were very well behaved.

As we were loaded B got a great surprise. My kids and I got in the last of the A boarding group and C and her family got to board next with family boarding so we were all heading down the hallway together.
As we were entering the actual plane, the greeting Flight Attendant saw B and asked him to come with her. I had no idea what was going on so I followed. I sent G along with my sister since I wanted to make sure she didn't have to sit with strangers if we could help it. They rows had three seats so G sat with her Aunt and 2 year old cousin.

It turned out that the Flight Attendant was going to take B up front to meet the pilot! My boy was in heaven.

The Co-pilot shook his hand and then got up so B could sit in the cockpit. The Pilot was so nice. They chatted and he showed B all kinds of buttons and controls and even let him touch some things. It was so unexpected and kind.

After their chat he handed B a big handful of candy and he and I went and got a seat.

B was so pleased. It was such a nice treat for him. He happily snacked on twizzlers at 7am and told and retold me all of the things the Pilot told him pretty much the whole flight to Las Vegas.

We landed in Vegas after about an hour and 40 minutes. We had a small layover, about an hour and a half, and then we were on the way to Orange County.

It was a long walk from the gate we landed at to the gate we were leaving from. By the time we got there and took a bathroom break it did not take long before we were loading again.

The flight was short and simple and soon we were in Sunny California.

The weather in CA was wonderful. The day before we left it hit 107 at home. The low 80's temps were wonderful. The time change was a little harder to work with, especially for the little girls who run on a pretty strict schedule. We gained two hours so we landed in CA about 10am local time but it was Noon to us.

I had scheduled a Super Shuttle since this was a DL only trip. Everyone knew lunch would be a super late affair so everyone had snacked on the plane. It was a bit of a walk from our Gate to the pickup which would have been fine except for the carrying. If we hadn't needed those giant car seats we would have been fine. I bet we looked like a traveling circus.

Our experience with the Super Shuttle van was 100% positive. The driver was ready and waiting for us and soon we were loaded up. We booked a private van since there were so many of us and it was just right. Little C (the 3 year old friendliest child ever) made friends with the man in the little booth at the loading spot. As we were leaving she hollered out the door, "bye Gary, see you again when we come home." It was hilarious. That girl makes friends everywhere!

It was not long before we arrived at the hotel.


Mar 7, 2012
W arrived at our hotel a bit before Noon I believe. We chose to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Theme Park Entrance. It is a super nice hotel that is fairly new and has a water splash park. My Parents gifted us with the rooms since he has a Marriott reward card and had enough points so our hotel stay was completely paid for.

When we got there, since it was early the rooms were not ready. We checked our baggage at the valet stand and headed to Downtown Disney for some much needed lunch.

I love reports with food pics so I have a bunch of those to share with y'all.

We all enjoy the new cool food aspect part of vacation very much but we are definitely not gourmets.

G and I have been researching food options so we always had plans. My planning strategy is to be well prepared and always have an idea b ut be flexible. I tried to always find out what was most important to everyone and make sure it happened.

The walk from the hotel was not far at all. Down about a block to a cross walk and then down where the buses drop people off at DL then through bag check. 10 minutes tops and that is with a giant stroller and kiddos.

The Downtown Disney area was fun but somewhat smaller than I expected. We decided to eat at Napolini quick service for lunch.

Before I review the food I will add a quick summary of our group so you know where we are coming from when it comes to food.
Sis, G, and I aren't picky and like new things. J is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. B is my picky kid but he has really branched out a lot in the last year. Little C is very picky and not consistent with it so you never really know what she might or might not eat. Little B isn't picky at all, most of the time.

I should also mention before the food review starts that we had a reservation for 4pm for that evening at Goofy's Kitchen. We wanted to start the trip off in a super fun way. We didn't want to be too full from lunch to enjoy the all you can eat buffet.

We really liked the food at Napolini. The only negative I have is that there was massive construction noise going on right there. Like jackhammers, loud!!

We got two of the tables inside.

I got a slice of margarita pizza. It was huge and delicious, hot and fresh tasting. The kids tasted it and liked it as well.

G went with the kids spaghetti. The kids meals there were really big. They also came with a nice cup of fresh fruit. We all liked this too. The sauce wasn't too flavorful but not bland either. Just right for kids. Note that the kids meals come over from the big restaurant so they took a bit longer but not too long.

B got the mac and cheese. It was a massive amount of pasta. The sauce was rich and creamy. Even though we were all pretty hungry this didn't get finished. We all got water to drink. We try to do this most restaurants on vacation to keep hydrated and to cut costs a little.

I don't always have pics of Sis's families meals if we didn't sit at the same table. I know that they got sandwiches and some pizza with fruit. I think that everyone was pleased with this meal choice.

My guys eat a whole lot faster than the other group and since there wasn't much seating we went ahead and cleared out while the others got done so someone else could have a seat.

We took some pics and explored a bit.

The topiaries were all Pixar themed for the Pixar fest. Very cute.

We soon got word that one of the rooms was ready so C and her family went back to get her kids a nap. Ours wasn't ready so we continued to explore DD.
  • samheatherwhite

    Mar 7, 2012
    I was hoping that our room would be ready in time for us to freshen up a bit before dinner, but it was not. We hung around DTD and shopped around for a while. We didn't buy anything since we wanted to look first.

    We definitely wanted to check out the Lego store. G has a ton of Lego sets both Disney and friends. B has just started to show interest as well. The giant Lego ststues are so cool.

    G wanted her pic. taken with this "friend" whose name I cannot remember. To put it into size perspective G is 5'1.

    B loves all things Marvel. After he took this pic. I turned around and he was giggling and asking me to take another. Here is the jokesters pose idea.

    B has always been a funny guy.

    Poor dears were already getting annoyed with their Momma's constant picture taking.

    They decided that they needed a snack and a rest break. Since our room wasn't ready they chose to grab a fancy macaron and we sat in the Starbucks seazting area in the shade and people watched for a while.

    G went with a fancy smores version. It was pretty good but the chocolate melted so fast it became a hot mess really fast.

    B went with the birthday cake flavor. After sampling them both it was unanimously declared the winner.
    They were too expensive for what you get being 4$ each!

    It was getting hot and our room was still not ready. I remembered that there were cartoons in the DL hotel lobby and since we were eating there later we headed that way to check it out. I always like exploring the Disney hotels, such fun details.

    The pool area and all of the outdoor areas were really well done.

    The kids loved the tea cup chairs in the lobby.

    There was no one in the lobby area so we sat down in some fun purple chairs and watched tv for a bit. They were showing Pixar short films and the first one was Lava which is my super favorite! It was a really nice way to kill some time...until a really badly behaved set of kids joined us. There were 4 of them and they were horrible. The little one who was 4ish kept standing on the coffee table and jumping off. The Dad walked up gave him a drink and then let him keep right on doing it. We finally left as it was getting out of control with the older two kids screaming and fighting over a phone and the 3rd kid dumping his Mom's purse out all over.

    We checked out the well stocked gift shop and then headed out to meet Sis and her Family for dinner with Chef Goofy.


    Mar 7, 2012

    Goofy's Kitchen opens for supper at 4pm and that is the time that I got reservations. I highly recommend that. We were seated quickly and the characters were already out. Never have we received so much attention from characters at a meal. They came and played and then came back and then came again. It was amazing.

    But.. I am getting a bit ahead of myself. I bought Get Away Today character meal vouchers so we could have some meals and tips payed for before we left. They didn't save us any money but they were super easy and very convenient.

    We were the 3rd family called back and we led in to meet Chef Mickey. It is my understanding that Mickey is only at the restaurant for Dinner, not for brunch.

    Mickey was happy to see us and very patient with the little girls who were a little unsure at first. C loved the characters and B was ok with them but would rather eat than chat.

    About 2 minutes after meeting Mickey we were led to a table in a room where we were by ourselves for a good 15 minutes.

    Pluto was there waiting for us.

    Please forgive my picture overload and lack of photography skills. I have a better camera but I chose to use my phone for simplicity sake.

    I was really impressed with how the characters made sure to give each child special attention.

    When Little B was nervous the characters all engaged with her but gave her space. It was perfect. She was able to have fun too!

    Before Pluto even left Dale came by too. We hadn't even really sat down yet. The kids were having so much fun.

    The waiter was also really good here. I highly recommend Goofy's Kitchen.

    Chip came by right away too.
    After this we were able to go check out the food. I did not get pics of the buffet itself but I did get pics of our plates. I'll add those next.


    Mar 7, 2012

    This is my plate. Starting at the top I had some salmon, baked potato pizza, a potsticker, fruit, carved pork, mac and cheese, salad, mixed veggies, and some tomato mozzarella salad.
    My favorite was the baked potato pizza. It was unique without being weird and tasted very good. everything was delicious. My only slightly negative about the food was the veggies were not quite as well done as I like and I didn't love the sauce on the salmon but the fish itself was delicious. This was great food, especially for a buffet.

    This is Gracie's plate. She got starting from the top pork, mashed potatoes, a balsamic chicken leg, a pot sticker, berries, mac and cheese, homemade chips and salsa, and some salad. She liked the chicken leg the best and liked the variety and freshness of the fruit.

    B's plate. He got from the top mac and cheese, salad, a roll, pork, tons of fresh fruit, and a banana. B is my salad kid, he would eat it every meal if he could and he loved this one. He liked everything he chose except the roll which was a little hard for his taste.

    Soon after we got food Minnie came by. Little C loved her and they chatted and even danced for a bit.

    Next to visit was the chef himself. He was fun but not as attentive as the other characters. Little B was a little afraid of him too since he is huge!

    Right after Goofy left music started up and then the characters danced around. They all came through each room twirling napkins and dancing and then split up. Minnie finished the dance in our area and she could really dance, it was a hoot.

    Dale and Pluto came back by several times and would high five the kids or sneak up and tickle someone. The kids were eating it up.

    Minnie even jumped in a selfie with us.

    Before I add the pictures of our ridiculous dessert plates I want to preface by saying that we wanted to try everything and we almost did! Apparently we have no self control.

    We mainly just shared around so we could try a bunch.
    G was dying to try creme brulee while we were gone and she ran into some the very first day. Starting at the top I will try to remember what everything was. Creme brulee was good but not great. The sugar was a little under done with not much crunch. Going clockwise was something that I cannot remember, a mango lime pudding thing that was a bit tart but tasted like lime sherbet, 2 cream puffs that were horrible and super stale, a chocolate mocha thing that was to die for, a berry cheesecake dessert in which the berry part was yucky but the cheesecake part was nice. Next was a chocolate cake thing that reminded me of a little debbies snack cake but in a fresher more homemade way. In the middle is a warm smores cake with melty marshmallow topping.

    I realized that we hadn't sampled the signature peanut butter pizza so I grabbed a slice to share and a piece of cinnamon roll pizza too.
    The cinnamon roll pizza was nice and liked by all who tried it. The PB not so much. It just tasted like warm gooey peanut butter. I would not get that again.

    We all rate Goofy's Kitchen really highly. The food was really good with a ton of variety. There were a ton of things that we just didn't have room to try. Everythiing seemed fresh and clean and the character interaction was phenomenal. It was really a great way to start our trip.

    We wandered through the shops in DTD on the way back to our hotel. We needed to make an early night since we would be hitting the parks early the next day. My touring style is rope drop only. I insist on it since it is so uncrowded first thing. My Sis is not a morning person. I wasn't either until I had B who never sleeps past 6:15am. My guys were rope dropping and any who did not want to could meet up later.


    Mar 7, 2012
    I will add some pictures of the hotel here for anyone that is interested.

    It was a really nice hotel. We got a pool view room next door to my Sister's room on the 6th floor.

    There were 2 really comfy queen sized beds and a set of bunk beds. There was a fridge and a microwave and plenty of room by the door to store luggage strollers and car seats. There was a nice sized table with a booth like seat near the window and the bathroom layout was perfect.

    The main part of the bathroom had a tub on the left with a shower. Two sinks and the door on the right opened on a secondish bathroom that had a toliet and a nice walk in shower. Two showers made getting ready quickly a breeze.

    The lobby was nice and there was water with fresh fruit in it set out daily which was so nice coming back from the parks. There is a starbucks in the lobby area and a small shop that had a nice amount of postcards from the area.

    Here are a few pics from our room which had a small balcony (too small to sit on) which overlooked the pool.

    On the left is a baby wading pool about a foot deep. Then a splash pad and water play ground area.

    There are two water slides and a small pool that was 4 feet deep on the right.

    We could see Space Mt. and a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy ride from the window. The fireworks were also very loud but we knew that going in.

    I would easily recommend this hotel. The staff were pleasant and helpful but it was really so well run that we never really needed anything. Rooms were cleaned everyday and well.
  • samheatherwhite

    Mar 7, 2012

    The parks opened at 8am on Sunday, June, 3rd. We decided to leave by 7:15 and rope drop to get a good start. Being ready by then was no problem at all, it was 9:15 our time.
    We used Pavillion's delivery service and it worked really well. We got 2 cases of water and some gatorade. Granola bars and muffins for quick breakfasts and the littles drink soy milk so C ordered some of that too. It was ready and waiting for us with no trouble. At around 6:45 we joined up in the other room for some giant muffins and soon we headed to DL.

    Full disclosure I know that we did not tour the most effective way. There were just too many variables in this trip. The little guys make it harder and mixed thrill levels do too. Not having the 4th adult also made the logistics a bit more difficult. To save a bit we opted to go without park hoppers and we were going to play the whole Max Pass thing by ear.

    I do not have a bit of regret not having the hoppers. It saved me 120$ and I don't feel like we would have done much differently if we had them. If it was just me and my kids we might have used max pass but I just had too many balls in the air to try to manage all of that for everyone too. Fast pass worked fine and I feel like we did a nice job managing to do what was most important to everyone.


    Bag check was short and soon we were waiting by the gates. J did not appreciate early then wait until I showed him the lines of people streaming in at 10am. My research usually pays off in the efficiency of our plan.

    Soon we were let into the park with cute new Pixar themed tickets. It was easy to keep up with our splits on everything because both groups had 2 adults and 1 child. Since G is 10 she counts as an adult ans since little B is 2 she doesn't need tickets.

    We knew that Fantasyland was going to be the best place for rides that the bitties could do we headed that way to rope drop.

    We got a front row spot and soon we headed in. The bitties wanted to do Alice, since that was what they saw first so we dropped off the stroller and headed in to their first DL ride.

    G was dying for some thrill so she and I ran over to the Matterhorn while C and J took the smaller guys to the tea cups and on Dumbo.
    G loved the Matterhorn and I thought it was fun but very rough. The wait was only about 10 minutes so we headed back to meet the others and caught them on Dumbo.

    The kids and I all wore ride shirts today. I had to ride Mr. Toad with my funny shirt so that is where we headed next. Little B did not really like this one much but the rest of us had fun. The wait there was probably also right around 10 minutes.

    Next the girls wanted a go on the carousel so we went that way. It was walk on

    We headed back towards Alice to grab the stroller and we ran into a meet in greet with Alice and the Mad Hatter.

    They were really fun. I couldn't get friendly C to turn around for a picture, she kept showing Alice her nail polish.

    A few steps past Alice we saw the Evil Queen from Snow White. Villians are my fave so we hurried over to meet her too.

    We met seperately from C and her fam. just in case little B was afraid. The queen was evil with me and my kids and very much less so with the Bitties. Well done.
    We had to bow to her first.

    She told us no smiling for pictures as it gives you wrinkles but I couldn't do it. I was too happy. She seemed pleased that we came all the way from Texas just to meet her.

    Even the Evil Queen had a hard time not smiling at little C when after they met and were walking away she turned and ran back and hugged her legs and told the Queen that she loved her. The Queen replied that of course she did. It was priceless.

    We took a quick bathroom break near the Alice ride and then we headed over to the storybook canals ride.

    The wait was about 15 minutes here and all the kids really liked it. We just wish it was a little longer. A few more castles would be nice.

    Next up was a trip on It's a Small World. It is really pretty area. The little guys really liked this one.

    It was also a walk on and we got our own private boat.

    Everyone was getting a bit hungry and I had a fun plan for where to go.
    Before we left I tried to get a good idea from everyone regarding what foods and snacks and rides/shows were most important to each person. That way I could make sure to squeeze in something for everybody.

    I felt that it was B's turn for a minute so we headed to critter country to get him the snack of his dreams. The boy was dying to try a Tigger tail.

    Another way that I saved a little money was I cashed in my Disney movie rewards that I had been saving from buying so many movies and I used them on Disney Gift cards. They were in 5 or 10 dollar increments so I used them on snacks so most snacks just cost me a few dollars out of pocket. It made a bunch of snacks/treats easier on the budget.

    I walked ahead of the group and grabbed Splash Mt. Fast passes for G, B and I. Then I gathered us back up and we headed into the Pooh Bear snack shop to get a snack.

    In case you don't know a Tigger Tail is 4 homemade marshmallows dipped in caramel, then dipped in chocolate and coated in orange sugar, then more chocolate stripes are painted on. It was really good and B ate every bite.

    I got a similar item, just no sugar. It was awesome too but to my surprise we liked B's better. The sugar added a nice texture to the treat.

    G went with a giant Mickey rice crispy treat covered in chocolate and m &ms.
    These treats all tasted nice and fresh.

    After seeing G's treat little B knew right away that she wanted the same thing. C wanted a giant giraffe cookie. She took one bite and was done but her Mom said it tasted fine. Girl is just picky. I think C either got another or finished Little B's rice crispy and J went somewhere else and grabbed a frozen lemonade.

    We found a nice bench and had a break and then we rode Winnie the Pooh while waiting for our fast passes to be ready for Splash.
    I got to ride with my C Bug. Such a sweet little ride.


    Mar 7, 2012
    After a ride on Pooh, G, B, and I headed over to use our fast pass on Splash Mountain. G loved it and B did not. He is not a brave rider but swore up and down that he super wanted to do this one. I did not pressure him and he was fine until we got in the log. Then he wanted out, but it was too late. He rode the whole way with his eyes covered saying, "when is the drop, is this the drop, tell me when we are about to drop?"
    Needless to say we didn't enjoy this as much as I had hoped.

    I had gotten us a reservation at Cafe Orleans next. C and her family headed that way to check us in. We were able to meet back up before they even got to the check in station. I had gotten us the earliest time for this restaurant as well, 11:30.

    We were seated fairly quickly but I wish now that we had asked to be seated at a better table. I hate being particular but this table was literally in the doorway. All the nice cool air was funneled out the door and people paraded right by us the whole meal. It was a crummy spot but oh well.

    As with most restaurants I had researched and knew what I wanted to eat before we sat down. I ordered a set of pomme frites.

    They really lived up to the hype. Hot and fresh and a ton of food. The sauce was to die for and I was glad that I knew to get extra.

    Uncle J wanted to try the seafood dip so that is what they ordered for an app. The little girls really liked the fries so they shared with us. The seafood dip was served neither warn nor cold which the waitress told us. I think it would have been better warm. It had quite a bit of meat and was good but these didn't get finished. The pomme frites were much more well received.

    B and both of the little girls ordered the kids steak meal. It came with rice, brocollini, and grapes. The steak on all three was burned to a crisp. B didn't fuss until we were almost done and I didn't realize it or I would have sent it back. He was super pleased with the grapes, veggies and rice and ate all of that so he was plenty full.

    G and I shared this masterpiece. I loved this so much. C and J kept saying how gross it sounded until they tried it and then they had food envy. It is a large serving for something so rich. G and I ate all we wanted and gave B some fruit and still had plenty to cut off the others a piece.

    J got the steak and he said it was really good and it was cooked much better than the poor kids.

    C got the chicken and she also really liked her food.

    Overall I was really pleased with this meal. The waitress was fine and all of the food was nice except for the kid's meat. I would definitely eat there again.

    After lunch the little ones needed a nap so they headed back to the room for a break. My guys were refreshed and ready to go play some more, so that is what we did.

    They wanted to explore Tarzan's tree house next.

    It was fun and we spent quite a while looking around.

    One of the things that I really wanted to do was have the kids silhouettes done. They agreed to go do that and then the cool pool beckoned.

    The silhouettes was awesome. There was nobody in line and it took about 3 minutes each. They turned out really well and the gentleman and lady in that shop were so friendly and nice. We had a fun chat.
    These are a steal of a souvenir too. It cost right at 10$ each and you got two.

    Next up we had some pool time before heading back to DL for dinner and some more fun.


    Mar 7, 2012
    We headed back to the park with a specific goal in mind. An early dinner at The Red Rose Tavern. Eating at off times fit our bodies time clock better and it made it so easy to beat the crowds.

    Beauty and the Beast is a big favorite among the group and I was pleased that the overlay wasn't as temporary as we thought.
    We got into line and there was one group ahead of us. Quick and easy with a really nice cast member. Please excuse the quality of pics in this review, it was really dark in there. The overlay was about what we expected. Not too much to look at but fun. It was also way too warm. This was not a place to go to cool off. I don't know if that was normal or not but eating outside would have probably been more comfortable.

    G and I got the Poutine Flatbread. It was really good. We did pick off the onions, there were just too many. The meat was tender and super nice and flavorful. We both really liked this and would get it again in a flash.

    B got the regular burger. He said he was starving so we got him the adult version. It was pretty basic but he ate every bite. Warm and fresh. This came with pomme frites which were fantastic. All they needed was some of that lovely dipping sauce that they serve in Cafe Orleans. G and I helped B finish these.

    C got the beast burger which had some of the same meat on it that the flatbread did. She really liked her meal as well. J got a plain burger like B and thought it was boring but since it was a plain burger I am not sure what he expected. The little girls got kids mini burgers.

    My group also got a Gaston's Brew to sample. B loved it and G and I also thought that it was nice. Not a must do but definitely worth it if you are in there. It reminded me of a more flavorful apple juice.

    This was one of the main reasons that we wanted to eat here. The Grey Stuff was indeed delicious!

    The three of us split this and loved it. The actual gray stuff was super sweet with a nice texture. The cake inside was well done and the little cookie on bottom was just slightly lemony and delicious.
    C's family got one too. J isn't a sweets guy so he didn't try it and the little girls would not either so my kids volunteered to help C. It was loved by all who would taste it!

    We didn't have a big plan for after we ate. B was excited for the Jungle Cruise so we headed that way. The line was about 20 minutes so we stepped in.

    It was corny and fun and perfect for the whole group. The little guys were about done so they headed back to the hotel after our cruise. We decided to hop into the Buzz Lightyear ride where we watched the parade while we waited. The view wasn't great but it was fine and it helped time pass well. It said 20 minutes but was more like 35.

    We enjoyed this ride and then the kids saw the Tinkerbelle meet and greet area and wanted to look. She was done for the day so we made a mental note to try again another day.

    After that we saw that the line for the Tomorrow Land Speed way was like 15 minutes so we hopped into a car. They let us ride 3 in a car. G drove and I helped with the petal. It was fun but we agree with the guests that hate the smell.

    After that my guys were getting tired and the crowds were pretty thick. They decided to call it a night. We got a snack on the way out.

    B chose a cherry Goofy's Glacier drink. He loves all icee/slushy like drinks and this was a hit with him. G and I tried it and also thought it was perfect on a warm day.

    G who loves Disney videos got something to check off a must do on her list. A Matterhorn Macaroon. This was much bigger in person than it looked in videos. It was really good. Sweet but not too sweet.

    I picked this little beauty.

    It was a smore and it was delicious and very rich! The homemade marshmallows at DL are so good and the chocolate seemed decent quality. Both kids helped me with this and we ended up finishing it the next morning. Perfect to share!!
    Next up our first day in CA.
  • samheatherwhite

    Mar 7, 2012

    On their way back from the park the night before the little girls each got Cinderella bubble wands. They had so much fun with those things and B loved following behind them chasing bubbles.
    We were out of the room before 7:15 for a nice walk to CA for an 8am opening.
    My pics this morning weren't very good, none of the littles would cooperate.

    First off we headed to Cars Land. Everyone else went to ride Mator while I went to get fast passes for Radiator Springs Racers.
    By the time we dropped off the stroller and I helped them find it the line for the FP's was pretty short. I got them and was back in time to watch the others ride.

    Epic fail pic, lol. Little C has always been a big fan of Luigi and Guido so we headed to their ride next.

    The line for this ride was also pretty short and the wait was fun with lots of music.

    After this we saw Lightning McQueen meeting so we hopped in that line too.

    This was a cute photo op. Next we headed over to Bug's Land since our fast passes weren't quite ready yet.

    C rode with me on the Heimlich train and then we hit the Ladybug spin. Waits were about 5 minutes in this area. It had a lot of cute details and a ton of nice shade which I felt was lacking in the Cars area.

    Next we did the little take out boxes ride. I have no idea what it was called.
    Little b was so over my camera at this point.

    My bigger kids were getting pretty antsy riding all of the little rides so it was good timing for our fast passes to be ready.
    Uncle J took the littles for a snack while the 4 of us rode the racers. It took us less than 10 minutes to get on. This ride is awesome and everyone loved it. B rode with J using Little C's fast pass (she is way too short for many rides). Since we noticed that the single rider was super short G and I hopped into that. The boys beat us off the ride by about 3 minutes so keep single rider lines options in mind if your kids are big enough.


    Mar 7, 2012
    We were all getting hungry and it was right at 11am local time. We headed to the warf area that has several quick service meals so everyone could get what they wanted.

    G wanted to get a bread bowl with broccoli soup. I was afraid that she wasn't going to like this and I was about half right. She liked it ok but ended up trading me for my half of what B ordered.

    B got a huge turkey sandwich. My original plan was to eat half of this but G liked it better than her soup so we all just shared. The bread bowl was so fresh and good. We liked the sandwich as well though the bread was a little tough. All in all this was a fine meal but I'd probably try something else.

    J ordered mexican food and C went to get her and the girls the chinese option.
    Ours was ready first and J's soon after. The little girls were hungry so they snacked on what we had while we waited forever for their food. C said she was 2nd in line but it took over 20 minutes to get hers. We were all done and the little girls had spoiled their lunch on everyone elses food since it took so long.

    J liked his tacos and both girls liked the rice and beans. B also really liked the rice. J loved the bread bowl and soup. We were a mess sharing all the food but it was fun and kept the little ones from starving lol!

    When the chinese food finally arrived it was really good but didn't get eaten as well since the rest of us were pretty full by then.

    After lunch me and my guys headed out to grab Guardians of the Galaxy fast passes for everyone. J and C took the little ones back to the hotel for a nap and once they were asleep C met back up with us to help me get G on Guardians since B was not interested in it at all.

    We ran into Princess Atta and got some really cool pics.
    Next we headed back near Guardians to see the Star Lord and Gamora dance thing and get in line to meet Groot.

    We just missed Groot so we watched the show and then we got in line by the ice cream cart across the street to be second to see Groot when he came back out.

    A few minutes before Groot C met back up with us. This was such a fun meet and greet.

    Though I was a little lost in how to shake his hand!

    Fast passes were ready so I took G while C and B shopped the gift shop and looked for pressed penny machines. G and I both love this ride. Tower of Terror was G's favorite ride in DIsneyworld when we went when she was 5.
    It didn't take us long to meet back up and trade off so G and C could ride Guardians.
    B wanted to go meet Captain America so we got in line to do that. While in Captain's line, Dr. Strange came up to B and they chatted a bit and got some pics. It was a really fun surprise.

    Meanwhile C and G headed back to Carsland to see if the single rider line was short enough for a quick ride. It was pretty backed up so they got a Red's Apple Freeze from the Cozy Cones and shopped around.
    B was so pleased to get to meet Captain America and he was wonderful. He was fun and had a lot to say which helps as B is pretty shy with characters. He loves them but clams up.

    He had B pose so we could see his Marvel shirt in the pics. The boy was in heaven.


    Apr 5, 2016
    I am loving your trip report! What a great job you did planning your trip and managing to keep everyone happy!

    It turned out that the Flight Attendant was going to take B up front to meet the pilot! My boy was in heaven.
    What a fun surprise! That was very sweet of the crew. And a perfect way to start your trip!

    Little C (the 3 year old friendliest child ever) made friends with the man in the little booth at the loading spot. As we were leaving she hollered out the door, "bye Gary, see you again when we come home." It was hilarious. That girl makes friends everywhere!

    I love reports with food pics so I have a bunch of those to share with y'all.
    I love food pics, too! Your report is great!

    My planning strategy is to be well prepared and always have an idea b ut be flexible.
    It obviously worked. You are so organized and prepared. Your research before the trip really shows.

    They were showing Pixar short films and the first one was Lava which is my super favorite!
    My 14DD is always singing that song.

    Please forgive my picture overload and lack of photography skills. I have a better camera but I chose to use my phone for simplicity sake.
    Trip reports full of photos are the best.

    I couldn't get friendly C to turn around for a picture, she kept showing Alice her nail polish.
    That girl cracks me up!!

    Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!


    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Jul 22, 2005
    All that food is making me hungry! What a lot of fun meet and greets you did!!


    Mar 7, 2012
    We decided that we would all meet back up in the hotel and take a little break. On the way out of the park B and I saw Donald Duck meeting so we hopped in the short line to meet my favorite of the fab five.

    I got some really good pics here. I love Donald.

    We decided to grab some snacks on the way out to share with everyone back in C's room.

    Both of my kids had gotten a bunch of gift cards from family leading up to the trip. B wanted another Goofy's Glacier drink and decided to use some of his money to upgrade to a fun souvenir cup. He still uses this at home all of the time.
    C and G met up with us in the shops near the front of the park and we decided on caramel apples for a snack. c got her group a caramel apple with peanuts and B was dying to try the Lightning McQueen apple.

    It was really cute but I was skeptical going in about how it would taste. I was pleasantly surprised, it was really good. I liked the sugar coating, it gave the apple a unique texture.
    The little girls had woken up by the time we got back tot the room and little B was so happy to see the fun apple that I bought. When I took it out of the sack she said, "oh wow, you share right?"

    She loved this. B, Little B, G and I split this right up. The chocolate covered marshmallow wheels were a fun tasty touch.

    Little C does not really eat different food so she at some of C's apple after she removed all of the goodies.
    The apples were delicious but the red sugar was a hot mess. Both my kids needed fresh shirts after our snack. We freshened up and headed back to the park after playing with the little girls new toys for a bit.
    We wanted to get an early supper in cars land tonight.

    We headed back into CA, the lines were virtually nonexistent to get back through security and soon we were strolling through the park.
    Our other sister really likes Loki and we saw him wandering around so we grabbed some pics to show her.

    Soon we were at Flo's diner. It is really cute. We walked into a super short line, maybe one set of people ahead of us, but it got more crowded up behind us since it took a weirdly long time for our food to come out. They were slow in the kitchen. Not crazy slow but it did seem odd.
    B wanted to watch the cars from Radiator Springs racers race so we headed outside to eat. It had really started to cool off and I realized that I had made a pretty big packing error. I had left B's hoodie at home when we left. G and I had one but poor B did not. As we ate in the shade he got cold so he wore mine and G wore hers. Luckily mine was a gray lion king sweatshirt so it wasn't too embarrassing or him. He has a great sense of humor so he thought it was hilarious.

    We got the fried chicken meal and the club sandwich meal to share. The club was good but none of us really liked the dressing which if I remember was called avocado but did not taste that way. It was kind of bitter. B and I each had a half and we took the piece of bread off with the sauce and the rest of the sandwich was good. The chicken was pretty good but the potatoes were way over salted. The veggies were eaten right up. All in all the atmosphere at Flo's is great and the food was fine but not something I am dying to go back to.


    Mar 7, 2012

    The kids decided that they wanted to go explore the play area next so we headed that way.
    On the way Little C saw the balloons and the person selling them helped us get a cute picture of her with them. She was so pleased but Little B refused to join in the fun.

    We climbed all over the Redwood Trail area. It was super fun for the kids to explore but my tired feet weren't as interested lol!

    We spent quite a while exploring and playing. The Little guys were done after that but my two kids and I had other plans. G and B are both huge Tim Tracker fans and watch all his blogs. They saw the Paint the Night Parade and immediately called it a must do. I told them that I would make it a priority even though I was worried about the timing.
    The time difference makes it hard. The 9pm parade was 11pm our time and B is an early to bed even earlier to rise kind of guy. I was not even sure he'd be able to stay awake but we decided to give it a try.

    I knew that the locals and many others start getting spots for this parade hours before it starts. I decided to hang out near where we wanted to sit so I could see how crowded it was getting to make sure the kids got an excellent spot since this was such a big deal to them. We hung out in the area near Goofy's sky school and hit a couple of the little rides in that area.

    G wanted to try the Jumping Jellyfish and I was surprised when B agreed to as well. There are seats of 2 so I rode with him and G rode next to us.

    I got one of my favorite pics before the ride took off. Glad I didn't wait until it was over, B hated this one. He's a bit scared of heights so this was not in his wheel house at all. He handled it well but as it was going he said that he super hated it and would not be going on it again.

    We wandered around the area for a bit and then decided that we would get a picnic snack and a front row seat since the parade started in aboutnan hour and 20 minutes.

    We sat on a narrow bit of sidewalk in front of where the seating for the boardwalk pizza area food is. There is not room for anyone to be behind you to crowd in and you can lean up against the fencing which was nice. We were across from the beer and pretzel stand and that is where we got our snack. G wanted a mickey pretzel but they sold out like 3 people ahead of us so we got the cream cheese pretzel and the jalapeno one.

    This pic is all I have of the snack. What surprised me the most was that we all liked the jalapeno pretzel best. I figured B would not even try it and he loved it and ate most of it. We chatted and snacked and just rested our feet. It was really nice except for the fact I was freezing. B sat in my lap mainly for warmth as he had on my jacket.

    It was such a pretty area at night and there were tons of people around us to watch so time passed rather quickly.


    Mar 7, 2012
    We had a great view of the parade. We could have touched some of the dancers. The kids insisted that I take a pic of everything to show everyone back home and Aunt C. My phones pics did not do it justice, it is really beautiful with super fun jazzy music. Following is some Paint the Night picture overload.



    B's favorite, Woody riding Slinky dog.


    We followed the parade out of the park and made our way back to the hotel. As we hit the esplanade the fireworks started in the other park so we enjoyed those on the way back to the room.

    I am so glad we did the parade. The kids loved it and I did as well. They were so sweet and we had a really nice visit before it started which allowed me to get a good read on what they loved and needed to do again and what they still wanted to experience. It was a perfect evening and we crashed, glad that the next day was scheduled to be a rest day.


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