Travel dates: September 3-5 2011
Travel method: Car
Accommodations: Sheraton Anaheim
Ages Represented in Group: 8, 10 & 40+
DLR Experience: Infrequent visitors
Cast of characters: Me, DH, DD (10) and DS (8)
This is the story of our Crazy last minute trip to Disneyland for Labor Day Weekend! On Tuesday my mom asked what we were up to for the weekend. This gave me the idea to head to Monterey for a night to do some beach/bike/aquarium fun. While looking for hotels it occurred to me that Hey, we could go all the way to Disneyland for the weekend. I had been trying to schedule a Halloween trip for early October but it was not going to fly to take days off of work so, even though it was going to be a holiday weekend this seemed like the perfect time to visit. It had been over 2 years for us and that was too long. It took a couple of days to convince DH but he finally said yes. I kept telling him we needed to to it to prove we are still young and spontaneous even though we have 2 kids and are usually pretty predictable! I booked the Sheraton Anaheim and got a free night with Hotels.com points, nice. I figured it would work ok for a quick trip. We had stayed there in 2007 without the kids and the rooms are nice and big. I did not realize until the next day that the Half Marathon was this weekend and walking distance to the park would have been better but we would just have to make due.
Now, I am a big planner. I usually use Ridemax and had bought a subscription to Touringplans.com when I was trying to plan the October trip. This was going to be a new experience for me, since I had nothing planned. To make up for that I did make one reservation at Ariels Grotto for the 9 pm WOC show on the Saturday night. The rest we would figure out on the fly.
The one logistical wrinkle was that DD and I had tickets to her very first concert on Friday night Taylor Swift so we could not leave Fri. night and I knew we would be exhausted Sat. No worries, I am going to make this work, so the kids were packed before we left for the concert and I was all geared up to set the alarm for early. The concert was great! Tomorrow will be even better because we will be in Disneyland.
Day 1 Sat 9/3
We got up super early and left Oakland at 5:45 am to drive down. Made pretty good time and were checking into the hotel by about 2:00 pm. DD and I took a quick shower to help with our tiredness and we got the 3:00 shuttle to the parks. We rented a scooter for me because I have a chronic foot injury that makes it hard to walk long distances. There were some drawbacks but I was glad to have the option as I would not have been able to do the trip without the scooter. Now into the parks we go!
- Buzz Lightyear this tends to be our first ride in the park, perhaps because it is the first one we come to that we all love? Who knows. I got a personal best score sweet! I decided that the best thing for me to do is park my scooter and stand in the regular line with the family as long as I did not have to stand for over 20 minutes so we started that here and it worked well.
- BTMRR a family favorite. It is fun now that the kids are big enough to ride with each other and I can ride with DH once again.
- Pirates said hi to our friend the crab!
- Got Indy Fastpass
- Jungle Cruise
- Tiki Room Maynard was the host/announcer he was AWESOME! I had read his name on the boards before but I did not know why he was so great. His spiel before the show was hysterical. He is very theatrical and a hoot. I told him so after the show. That is one great CM!
- Indy The more I ride this ride, the more I enjoy it. It is still a little too much for DS, however. I think it is the combo of the loudness, all there is to see and the jerkiness of the jeep. He was fine but I do not think he would have ridden again if given the chance.
By this time we were hungry and there was some time until our 6:45 Ariels Grotto/WOC dining time so we headed to DCA. Once there we decided to bail on the PSs because the kids really wanted to do rides AND we were all running out of steam. DD was really tired and was even asking to go back to the hotel. I felt 3 hours of just dining and waiting and WOC would not mesh well with the tiredness and their desires to get on the rides so we decided to get Goofys Sky School FPs and then hit Paradise Pier for dinner. On the way there my scooter totally ran out of power, even though the gauge said it had plenty of battery left. I was stranded in between GRR and Redwood Creek so DH went to RC to get the CM to call for another scooter. The kids took the opportunity to go on the zip lines in RC a fav for them. Finally my replacement scooter arrived and it was off to dinner. The food at Paradise Pier Grill was awesome. We loved the kebabs (especially with the chicken with tzatzki sauce) and the pizza that the kids had was good too. Also DD perked up once she had a full belly. Woo Hoo time for more fun!
We hit GSS (fun but cramped) and it was going to be one ride on GRR then back to the hotel. Well there was NO line on GRR and it was really fun to ride at night. I was not up to a repeat performance because I thought I would get too cold but the kids were. They rode a total of 6 times, a couple of those times it was without even getting off! Then back to the hotel to dry out and pass out.
Day 2 Sun 9/4
This was going to be our early entry day but there was no EE due to the Disney Half Marathon. This bummed me out but oh well. We ordered a nice room service breakfast and decided to get the earliest shuttle and try to make it to rope drop. No such luck. We got to the lobby 10 minutes before the bus was scheduled and it had already filled up and left. They put another bus on so we did not have to wait long but then it took FOREVER to get to the park because the driver did not know how to drive to get around the Marathon street closures. A 10 minute bus ride ended up taking close to 40 minutes and he had to drop us at the Grand Californian instead of the usual bus stop.
We rented my scooter and hit DL first. Once we got into Disneyland the morning was plagued by ride closures. We were a little disheartened but we had a great day anyway especially by evening. This morning we:
- Tried to get ST fastpasses but it was down
- Got SM FPs
- Rode Nemo
- Rode the Matterhorn the line was really long because the Tomorrowland side was down. We could see them testing trains and working on the track while in line. DH did most of the waiting as he sent the kids off to ride the teacups while mom tried unsuccessfully to get ST fastpasses and successfully to get churros yum. The kids also tried to get on Alice but it broke down while they were in line so they came back to wait at Matterhorn with us.
- Tried to ride SM using our FPs but it was down.
- ST still down no fastpasses to be had
At this point DH decided to go collect fastpasses to some other rides for us so he went to Roger Rabbit got em - and then took the DLRR over to Splash which was also broken down. That makes 4.5 rides down this morning and they were not reflected in the Lines app I had until a long time after the fact. I will have to check into some other apps next time.
Meanwhile, the kids and I did some shopping (ear hats!) and rode small world. Next we went to Toontown and played around with all the fun building effects while waiting for DH to come with the FPs. I do not know if the kids had ever done this by the Roger Rabbit ride so it was fun for us all. (great pictures!) When DH showed up he had brought Mint Juleps and beignets for us and an iced latte for mom what service! We then rode RR and decided to head out of the park for a nap.
Since folks were ready for that nap and I had some energy from riding the scooter, Dad and Kids sat in plaza while I went to DCA to grab some FPs to Soarin (went unused) and WOC 10 pm show. We turned in the scooter to be charged and picked up later, got the shuttle back to the hotel, had sandwiches in the hotel deli and took naps. Zzzz.
Well, I roused the troops with some difficulty but we were able to get back to the parks by about 6pm. Star Tours was finally up and running but as expected FPs were gone for the day and the line 55 minutes. Too long for me to stand so for the first time I got a guest assistance pass, which was like a FP but had a specific time to return to the exit area. In the meantime we decided to use our SM fastpasses. Again, because of the long walk in the queue we decide to use the HC entrance. I was surprised at the length of the line down there. Luckily they took our fastpasses so we did not have to wait long. I really love SM! Next was to Star Tours in which we got to go to Tatooine, just what my son was hoping for. How lucky for him, our resident Star Wars Fan. DH got a kick out of the Rebel Spy thing. Thumbs up for ST from us!
So now we wanted to go to DCA and use our fastpasses from earlier. By the time we got to the end of Main Street my scooter was running out of batteries again! They told me they would recharge it while we napped but I guess not. I see why people suggest using Deckerts. Anyway, I made it, barely, to the rental place and got another scooter. The kids were hungry so we beat a path to our new favorite restaurant, Paradise Grill. Chicken Kebabs with Tzatzki x4 please! So good!
By this time the 9 pm WOC was almost starting. We checked out TSMM line and it was too long so we headed back and took a ride on Ariel. I really enjoyed that. Then we were heading to see what the 10 pm WOC line looked like. It was the Blue Section line to get in line and it was HUGE. Just before the line started moving a CM came up to me and told me I should be waiting in the HA area so I did. While I waited the kids went to Bugs Land and rode some rides (do you know I have NEVER been to that part of the park? They always seem to go without me) When we were let in they led us pretty far down in front and the kids got some great railing spots out of it.
I must say that I hate waiting in line with a bunch of people like that. It is really too bad that there is no easier way. I do my best to avoid crowds and lines whenever possible and there is really very little to be done about that with the WOC show. That being said, WOC was incredible. Even hard-to-impress DH thought it was spectacular. The best water show, the best light show, a great clip show all rolled into one. It was the highlight attraction of the trip. Well Done, Disney!
After WOC we decided to go to the very end. I had to turn in my scooter before midnight so the last hour or so I was walking and slow but we still managed to ride Storybookland Canal Boats. This was so great at night and I think it was the kids first time on it. They were taking boats out of circulation for the night, through a cave with a waterfall and my son was convinced we were going to get wet. No such luck. So, after that we had to hit the last DL ride that was really high on our list Splash Mountain! It was 11:45 so we had the kids run ahead to make sure we were in line by midnight since I was a slow-poke. We made it and were one of the last logs of the night! A great end to the day!
We had a nice stroll down Main Street and made a stop at the Candy Palace to get a midnight snack. Then back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
To Be Continued...