Day 3 - Park Hop

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Disney Visa - Private Photo Op with Chip & Dale

A little cloudy and we wanted to wear our sweatshirts with all the fast rides and water features on this day.

And of course, Totally Awsumb Ears
We missed the preferred seating for Aladdin, it filled up fast and ended up way up in the balcony. We were first row, so it wasn’t so bad for US, but having always sat in that preferred seating I was shocked how easily my mind wandered away from the show. That upper seating is terrible. Most of the rows had bars in front of them that I am sure blocked kids view. I would rather skip it that sit up there again.

It was more crowded and as it was Friday you could tell when all the locals got off school and work. That was a bit frustrating. Tomorrowland turned into a teen hang out.

But we still had a great time. It did rain, but right when we were sitting down for dinner and fireworks... so we just hung out under our umbrella table and enjoyed our dinner and were excited they didn't cancel the show! The little one was rejuvenated and begged to do a few more Tomorrowland rides.

On our way out we shopped our way out of the parks to end up at Lincoln and the highlight of the day, Mickey and Minnie, together, just hanging out before Lincoln with just a few of us. Highlight of our trip! I think it was to keep them out of the rain. The two were so cute together and we should have video taped the whole thing. I am not sure if they do that often, but they did have a bit of a routine down. The little one had fun playing with them and watching them when they showed the Walt Video.

So, our final day ended up 16 hours!

Day 3 – Friday – Park Hop

Disneyland Early Entrance 7am
Toon Town - Morning Madness 8am
(Traditionally Kenneth and Awsumb do this on our 3rd day while I sleep in an extra hour!)

Go Coaster, Roger Rabbit
Donald's Boat, Goofy's House
Minnie and Mickey's House

Finding Nemo
Star Tours

Park Hop to California Adventure by Monorail
Visa Photo with Chipmunks

Muppets 3D 11:30
Aladdin 12:10

Park Hop back to Disneyland

Rancho Zocalo for lunch 2:00
Haunted Mansion

Big Thunder Mountain x2
Churro / Mickey Bar
Jungle Cruise
Indiana Jones

Train from New Orleans to Tomorrowland

Autopia (Saw schoolmate and chatted)
Space Mountain 40 min
Star Tours
Dinner at the Plaza Inn 8:30
Fireworks in the rain 9:25
Star Tours
Astro Orbiters
Shop Main Street
Magic Shop
Mickey & Minnie visit / photo op
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Walk back to room 11:30

DAY 4 - Do it again!

Because Annual Passes ended up being the best value for us this year, Awsumb and I went back for Day 4 later in the week. I let him choose where we went or what we did. Which basically meant we did Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates, Indiana Jones, Star Tours and Space Mountain over and over again! On the way out of the park we rode the Blue Monorail and got the caboose! Awsumb fell aleep in the lobby of The Grand Waiting for Kenneth and Auntie to pick us up.

Awsumb just discovered pretzels (yuck!) So of course he had to get a Mickey Pretzel

I'll have a Dole Whip please!

Totally Awsumb Disney Day

Day 2 - California Adventure

Awsumb Soarin' California!
We always take this day a little slower as this park feels more like EPCOT or the MGM (or whatever they call it now) in WDW. The entire main street of Hollywood is currently blocked off and really takes away from the experience as it leaves narrow corridors to walk down and between the World of COlor construction and some other midway stuff being redone... it felt a little odd to say the least, but we had a good time.

Oh, and Aladdin wasn’t showing this day, so we had to plan to come back Friday for that, which really messed up our last day plans.

We had to wait almost an hour for that new Toy Story Mania or whatever it was called. I can't believe how many people but in line in front of us to catch up with their "group, family, etc." That was my big complaint of the trip. I can't figure whey they didn't put Fast Pass on this ride! We also had to wait 30 minutes for Mulholland Madness, not sure that was worth it. We usually skip a lot of that midway type stuff in CA because we didn’t think the theming or anything was special enough. So we are excited for the big changes they are making in California Adventure. We’d rather do Soarin’ (one of our fav’s) multiple times. But as you can see we only made it one once on this day.

Then we went DL to upgrade our "Give A Day" vouchers for annual passes. Kenneth ended up upgrading our 3-day park hoppers and GAD vouchers to get annual passes because we know we are coming back at least once this year.

We went on Star Tours (which seemed like the umpteenth time, I am not sure I even got them all in the list… but it was such a short wait and the little one kept asking). Then we rode the Blue Monorail and sat with the drive to Storytellers for dinner.

By then we were done for the day. And Awsumb was asleep so we actually took a cab from The Grand to our hotel to get home quickly. Worth every penny.

It was a little more overcast, but not cold.

Day 2 – Thursday – California Adventure

Breakfast from MC D's before we left for the parks arriving about 10 am
Visa Photo op with Pluto
Monsters Inc.
Muppets 3D
Playhouse Disney
Turtle Talk
Tower of Terror

Cars Photo Op
Soarin’ Over California

Storytellers for lunch 1:00

Think about Big Rapids – Decide it's too wet for today's weather
Brother Bear Playground (meet friends from Kirkland)
Brother Bear Photo Op

Mulholland Madness 20 min
Firehouse Playground
Toy Story Midway 60 min

California Screamin' (single rider line!)
Carousel (Awsumb enjoys this while Kenneth and I take turns on California Screamin')
Tortilla Factory (gotta get your hot tortilla!)

Bugs Life
Flick's Flyers
Frances' Lady Bug Boogie

Tower of JOY!!!! (I had to trick Awsumb to do it again!)

Shop through CA mainstreet shops, pick up Free Disney Visa Photo

Walk through Disneyland Mainstreet and Celebration parade crowd
Buy Annual Passes

Star Tours
Blue Monorail with engineer
Lego Store at Downtown Disney
Storytellers 9pm
Cab ride from The Grand to room

Day 1 - Disneyland

First, this trip was a little different for us. We usually stay on property and prefer to stay at The Grand. But it was a last minute trip and we were a little more frugal this time. We stayed at the Fairfield just across from the main entrance. It was the worst Marriott property I have ever been to. I admit I am a bit of a hotel snob. It was clean. But it feels like families of kids pack 10 to a room in there every week all year. Not really my style.

Also we like to make use of the private entrance at The Grand and the Monorail stop at the end of Downtown Disney, which makes staying on property even better. We also usually eat at Blue Bayou every day for lunch, but just ended up skipping out on our reservations for day 2 and 3 as we were busy doing other things.

Also having never stayed off property I will say that you really do loose a little of the magic as you leave the park, walk though the transportation pick up and out onto a busy street with beggars, cars, etc. Much less charming than walking through Downtown Disney.

And because we didn't "feel" close to Downtown Disney even though we basically were staying at the entrance we didn't go there on our arrival or departure day like usual. So we really didn't do any shopping other than check out the Lego store on the way to dinner. We have a Lego store in our hometown... but the little one is a big fan and wanted to make sure to see any different displays they would have at Downtown Disney.

Here is a little trip report including a list of the attractions we were able to do each day. Most were walk on or fast pass. I noted the few long waits that we did have.

Maybe I will post a few photos another day when my Photopass CD arrives. For now you get Iphone shots!

Awsumb Teacups
Gotta have comfy shoes! Crocs and Socks - We can because we are from Seattle! (notice mommy is not a total nerd!)
Awsumb at the Blue Bayou (salmon and noodles for lunch)

Awsumb buying fruit

Day1 – Wednesday - Disneyland
Sunny, warm, but not hot. We had virtually no wait times and most often were walking right onto rides. We waited the longest for the Storybook Boats (20 min) and at the end of the day had done all the things we wanted to, but our Space Mountain FP weren’t until 9:10, so at 8:30 we waited 30-40 min for the ride then walked right back on with our FP before having dinner and heading back to our room. We were able to get in 25-30 attractions depending on what you count. I haven’t written a trip report like this up since we did WDW since DL is such a regular thing for us as we go annually. But it was fun to see all that we accomplish in one day.

As you can see we always start off in fantasyland and go right for Dumbo. I'll know the little one is growing up when we skip that one! We like to wander around to Adventureland in the afternoon and save Tomorrowland for night time. Kenneth and Awsumb always do Toontown together on their Morning Madness day (an hour before the park opens) and I get to sleep in a bit extra that day.

9am Start - Bananas and Granola Bars for Breakfast

Mad Hatter and Crew Photo op
Tea Cups
Small World
Storybook Boats (20 min)
Mr. Toad
Peter Pan
Skipped Snow White (I am always reminding people not to skip this! But we had an emergency restroom stop? I think someone was scared!)

Blue Bayou for Lunch 12:30
Pirate Band and shops
Haunted Mansion
Shooting Range
Big Thunder Mountain x2
Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Awsumb & I)
Splash Mountain (Kenneth)
Pooh Characters Photo Op
Pooh's Corner Treats (gotta get a tiger tales! or at least something hand dipped in chocolate!)

Tree House
Indiana Jones (Awsumb's first time!)
Jungle Cruise
Dole Whip Break (YUM!)

Shopped down Main Street trying to find a sweatshirt in Awsumb’s size (not in the plan, but it was getting cool)

Train to Tomorrowland
Buzz Lightyear
Star Tours x2
Space Mountain x2
(40 min wait, back through with fast pass)

Dinner at the Plaza Inn 9pm
Walk back to the room

The Happiest Place on Earth

I don’t care for Disney fairytales. I won't allow my child to wear character clothing. So why do I love Disneyland? Simply because it's "The Happiest Place On Earth!" Kenneth believes it is so much so, that he wants to retire as a bus driver at Disney World! "Imagine..." he says, "picking up happy families, excited to get to the park in the morning. And although tired at the end of the day, happy.” All I can think of with a job like that is all the cooties you would have to deal with every day and kids throwing up on the bus! So, no, he won’t be retiring to Wally World... with me anyway!

And while we are on the subject, let’s talk about Disney World. When Kenneth decided to plan a trip there a few years ago I had no idea WDW was four totally different parks! I was totally overwhelmed. Although we had a great week and hope to go back again someday, it’s not Disneyland. The Magic Kingdom just doesn’t have the same charm as the original. Bigger isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just bigger! And I think it might actual contain LESS attractions.

Kenneth and I have been going to Disneyland together just about every year for the last 15 years. Although we don’t consider ourselves true Disney Dorks (if you are, own it with pride!) we might admit to being DisNerds. (Because we all know being a Nerd is better than being a Dork!LOL!) Every year Kenneth checks out the latest edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland from the library (and sometimes the Disney World book just because!) The book has a great sense of humor and if you want a guarantee to hit the highlights, it has touring plans (in a couple varities) to optimize your trip. Although we don't use the touring plans, with this book we have never had a need for the Ride Max trip planning program. In fact, I find that too rigid for the way we do Disneyland (more later). The thing about Disneyland is that you have to have a plan, and then be prepared to change your plan.

“But I hate amusement parks, crowds or standing in line!” Good, because that’s not what Disneyland is. That’s why I can enjoy it without being a sucker for every Disney cartoon with changed endings. Disneyland is about the experience. Once you enter through those gates and into the burm of Disneyland you no longer exist in the real world.

I will spare you the “how to” but if you are planning a trip soon and don’t know about fast passes, babyswapping, park hopping, morning madness, character dining, etc. You might want to find out what those are.

We usually go off season. January through March are great months to visit Mickey. And if you’re lucky, it will lightly rain and everyone will leave! Then you get the park to yourself and absolutely no wait times! Love it!

Accomodations:  We prefer to stay "on property" (or in a Disney hotel). They are more expensive, but for us they are worth it. We never schedule a travel day (airport  or driving day) to be one of our park days.  There are plenty of other things to do outside the parks like swim in the pool (Disney has fantastic pools!) or shop and dine in Downtown Disney on a first or last day.

Food:  For little kids I find it's best to feed them a little bit all day long.  The Food 4 Less on Katella Ave. is an easy place to pick up a few things (water, juice boxes, string cheese, crackers, apples, etc.).  I load them in a backpack each morning and pass them out while waiting for attractions  But I am also not afraid to pay a hefty price for a real piece of fruit or non junk food in the park.  Then we like to have one nice sit down meal each day. We never miss eating at The Blue Bayou and Storytellers.  It’s great to sit down, cool off, have someone bring you a drink and eat some real food. No one wants a sick tummy at Disneyland!

First Aid and Guest Services:  Another thing we have done a lot at Disney Parks is go to First Aid! Although First Aid at Disneyland doesn’t really provide more than a place to rest, a Band-Aid or some Tylenol, they will give you a place to rest a sick child. And if you’re lucky they will bring in a character to comfort your little one!  If you ever have any special needs including dining, etc. Guest Services always has a solution.

Other books you might enjoy are:

Walt Disney: An American Original written by Bob Thomas. This biography was written with full access to Disney records and is a must read for any Disnerd!

The Mouse Tales series by David Koenig
are a fun behind the scenes collection of behind the scenes stories often from past cast members.

Other Links from Kenneth:

Mouse Wait for you Iphone SO that now - WHEREVER YOU ARE in the world you husband can say, "They wait time for Indian Jones is only 10 minutes!" Yeah, helpful if you are in let's say SEATTLE!

And look what my very own DisNerd just ordered for me! Limited Edition Disney Dooney and Bourke Tote!

Because the DisneyDorks on the DisneyDork message boards love posting trip reports and I have sometimes found it interesting to see how other people do Disneyland, I will give a sample of three of our days in the next couple posts. It's not totally inclusive and I probably even missed a few things. It's interesting to see what other people miss or choose to skip.

How do you and your family "Do Disney?"

Turn Off the TV!

As a child I enjoyed TV, but I would rather do other things than watch TV. My cousins told stories about how I would switch the TV to "buzz" to make everyone go out and play. Oh, we watched plenty of family shows and Saturday morning cartoons. And of course there were the video rentals. But it certainly didn't consume my day as a child. We didn't have cable and I am pretty sure my when my parents divorced they still owned the first color TV they had purchased and had been our main TV.

Somehow a few years later I must admit I fell in love with TV. Was it cable? Was it the DVR? Which, by the way I invented! That's right, I loved watching The Facts of Life and Little House on the Prairie, but thought it would be so great if I could watch them when I wanted to. So, I dreamed of the day when the networks would just mail a video tape of the days episode! LOL!

And now at 35 I officially watch too much TV. I pop the on button while I cook dinner, do house work, etc.

Thankfully, somehow my little boy has not grown up as a TV junkie. I am sure this is mostly because I cannot stand kids shows and simple didn't offer them when he was younger. Sure he watched Bob the Builder or another kids show while eating his cheerios, but then the TV went off for the day. That is until around lunchtime when I flipped it on to watch decorating shows. Awsumb was more likely to ask to watch baseball than TV. And movies were reserved for family movie nights.

These days Awsumb might watch a cartoon before school or while eating a snack maybe once or twice a week. Because he just started something from the DVR or On Demand he never knew what time his favorite shows came on or the daily TV schedule. Of course our family will often watch something together later in the evening.

I have never used the TV as a babysitter. I figured because I couldn't stand to hear kids TV in the background I would have to teach my child to play so I could cook dinner or other things.

Besides kids shows just being simply annoying I read these stats recently in Nurture Shock. Education TV can actually be worse than cartoons. 96.% of all TV includes verbal put downs. Kids shows spend more time setting up conflict thmt solving problems... and it's the conflict that the kids absorb. Just something to think about.

I was thinking about this today after I read about the couple in Korea that neglected their baby while they played video games. I have heard before about Koreans addiction to the online world, how they fill 24 hour Internet cafes and play to the death.. literally. When this was forwarded to me today with a plea to turn off the computer, set down the phone.  Seriously how does someone fo on such a TV binge they forget their newborn?

So for today anyway,  it's time to turn off the TV!