July 16-21, 2012 - DLR with Tween/Teen - Park Vue Inn - LONG! DETAILED!
Travel dates: July 16-21, 2012
Travel method: Plane from Northern CA
Resort: Park Vue Inn
Accommodations: Queen with Bunk Bed
Ages Represented in Group: 47, 14, 12
Disney Resort Experience Represented in Group: as a family, this is our 7th 5+ day trip to Disneyland
Comments: This trip was centered around DD12s 12th birthday on July 17th, which she shares with Disneyland. We were also there for her 5th (Disneylands 50th) and for her 10th (Disneylands 55th) two years ago. Its awesome to have the whole park celebrating on the same day.
Cast of characters: Mom and two tween/teen daughters, DD12 and DD14. Dad stayed at home he just isn't that into Disneyland and we gals can move a lot faster through the parks plus we have the stamina for many more days without him (sorry Dad!).
I bought 6 day park hoppers for $246 each from Getaway Today before the price increase (the 5 day was $241, so the 6th day was only $5 extra!) but only told my girls we had 5 days. That way, after we picked up our tickets from the ticket booth, Id surprise them by saying we could go into the parks right then! And it would be a bonus 1/2 day rather than only a 1/2 day. I was trying to keep costs down, so we picked Park Vue not only because weve stayed there in the past, but because they were now offering evening snacks that sounded like they could actually serve as dinner, since we always come back to the room in the afternoon to nap, we could grab something savory before heading back to the park. That, plus the generous breakfast and ideal location across from the crosswalk, was going to make the $143/night (excluding taxes) worth it.
I also suggested to the girls something new for this trip. Since we had so much time and the energy of the three of us, to try to ride every ride in both parks at least once. So that became the plan.
Day 1: Monday July 16
We picked DD14 up from her sleep away camp bus at 12:30 and, after pulling out camp items not need for DL (like sleeping bag, flashlight, mess kit, etc) we wolfed down lunch in the car on the way to the airport. We didnt really think through how tired DD14 was going to be after spending 10 days at sleep away camp. She was already a wreck going into the DLR trip, having not slept much at camp. Since Dad wasnt coming with us, I splurged and decided to fly the three of us down instead of driving, which we usually do. My back has been bothering me this year and I didnt want to be the sole driver for 7+ hours before spending 5 days at DL, and then have to drive all the way home being so exhausted, like we usually are at the end! So, we got to the San Jose airport really quickly (it was nearby the camp bus stop) and had no hiccups in making our 2:55 flight to SNA, even arriving a little early at 4:00 pm. It was a bit of a schlep with all of our stuff to get to the taxi stand, but once we did there was no wait and off we went. Its so great having older kids who can haul their own belongings. We also travel a lot so they are used to it. The traffic was heavy, since it was a weekday rush hour and we arrived at Park Vue Inn and were all checked into our Queen with Bunk Bed room by 5:00. I had requested a room close to Harbor Blvd, and they did not disappoint. We were in room 206, really close to the breakfast room on the second floor. It was an ideal location and the beds were very comfy. Upon check in however, I noticed a small sign taped to the counter. The evening snacks had been discontinued! Bummer! Now I was definitely looking at spending a lot more on this trip than I had imagined. I had brought six $100 bills, hoping to keep the spending to $100/day including shopping and eating. Luckily, with some creative eating strategies, I still managed to keep from pulling out the credit card.
All along I had told the girls that Monday we were going to 1. Do DD14s dirty camp laundry, 2. Swim, 3. Eat dinner for free at the hotel, 4. Go get the tickets from the ticket booth. 5. Wander around Downtown Disney and World of Disney store 6. Get to bed early but I knew that wasnt the real plan!!
So, I stuffed all of DD14s filthy camp clothes into her laundry bag and walked downstairs to the back of the hotel and started the load. DD14 crawled into bed to nap. DD12 and I changed into swimsuits and we went for a nice swim/soak as I delt with wash in and out of the pool/hot tub. I put the clothes in the dryer and went back after 45 minutes. Everything was cold and still soaking! I was not going to waste our night waiting for the dryer. So I just emptied it, brought everything back to the room and hung all of her things all over the lamps, bunk bed, etc. Yuk. It was just going to have to air dry! At least her clothes were clean. So we got dressed and since the hotel no longer offered dinner, we were going to Downtown Disney (I knew otherwise) for dinner after we got the tickets. We walked up to the ticket booth around 6:30 and I handed my Getaway Today receipt to the ticket agent and he said Ah! 6-Day Passes! The girls looked at me and each other 6-DAY!?! I said Surprise! He was like Ooops! No biggie! I was going to tell them right afterward anyway!
DD12 wanted to spend all of her birthday in DL, and not even go into DCA, so I suggested that we go into DCA and look around Carsland etc. So off we went!
Buena Vista Street is a huge improvement! I really love the new 30s theming, and it really feels like an entrance to a special place now. DCA is really turning into a nice park to visit, but its still much hotter than DL (fewer trees? More concrete?). We poked around there and then headed to Carsland. We had just re-watched both Cars movies before coming down and WOW! It was really like walking into those movies! The Cozy Cone Motel was my favorite. OMG we appreciated every little detail. Very fun! After that, we walked around the back way past RSR to Paradise Pier and picked up some FP for Screamin and a FP for Goofys Sky School (since I knew Screamin was off network). We had dinner at the new Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta (DD12 and I got the ravioli YUM. DD14 got the chicken pasta also YUM). With drinks, that meal was over $40, so I vowed wed have to figure out how to eat cheaper. Then we hopped on Screamin, just before it shut down for World of Color (I still cant get over that they close so many rides for this show). We noticed this trip that theyve changed the Screamin intro. We loved when it used to say Get ready Screamers! But no more thats a bummer. The new voice doesnt seem that excited.
After Screamin we jumped on King Tritons Carousel since we were doing every ride, we checked that one off the list! Then wandered over to Ariels and there was practically no line. This ride was also new to us, since our last trip was in 2010. We discovered this ride was a great way to relax and cool off there was hardly ever a line for Ariels during our whole visit. And its pretty long and air conditioned! World of Color 9:00 show was just about to start so we walked slowly to the Paradise Pier ice cream stand watching the show as we walked. Got some cones and slooooowly walked back toward Ariels watching the show as we crept back. The CMs directing traffic couldnt say anything because we technically were walking! Then we made our way back to Goofys to use our FP, my back wasnt too happy about that one. Its still scary though! We decided we were pooped and headed back to the Park Vue by way of Carsland to Bugsland to the end of Buena Vista Street. A Red Car Trolley was sitting there waiting for us! We were the last three people on board and we took off down Buena Vista Street. An awesome beginning to our trip and we even got 5 rides in today!
Day 2: Tuesday July 17: DD12 and Disneylands Birthday
DD12 brought her birthday ears from last year, and was sporting a new birthday button we got from the ticket agent the previous night. DL is such an awesome place to have a birthday if you love people wishing you Happy Birthday all day long, which she does!.
We planned this to be our Magic Morning day, so we got up at 5:45 and were out the door at 6:15, in line for the bag check by 6:25. No time for breakfast at the hotel this day since we left before breakfast opened at 7:00. That line was pretty long already and then I noticed they were opening the second bag check tent closer to DL entrance so we boogied over there and were pretty close to the front when it opened. We hustled our way to an entrance gate and were first in line. I asked the CM behind the gate if the one we picked would open and she said If there is a chair there, it will open. We took photos being first in line, but as the lines grew, a different CM came out and told our line that it wasnt going to open and we had to merge into another line. Bummer. So we moved to the back of another line and were in the park pretty quickly after 7:00 am anyway. (We ate a cereal bar in line, since we were planning to have breakfast in the park.) Ran (oops. speed-walked) to Peter Pan and were maybe 3rd on the ride for the day no wait. Then to Nemo, also walked right onto a sub. Hadnt done Nemo since the year it opened, and had also just watched the movie a couple days before coming so it was fun to see again. Then over to Matterhorn where I have to agree that Matterhorn is essentially un-rideable now. You dont even sit on a seat anymore. Just a hard plastic floor with your legs bent and tucked in front of you. I was in serious jolting pain after that one ride. Sorry Matterhorn. Never again. What were they thinking when they re-designed that ride? The girls agreed, but still they went on it a couple more times over the course of our stay. Did they re-do the tracks? They seemed just as bumpy, if not more so.
Anyway, by then it was 8:00 so I grabbed FP for Space at precisely 8:00 and we hustled over to Indy (very little wait in standby). Then we rode Haunted Mansion and grabbed a FP for Splash. If you cant tell, I am a maniac about being AT a FP machine the minute I am allowed to get another FP. That way we totally maximize our rides! After grabbing the FP for Splash we shared a Tigger Tail from the Pooh candy shop and hopped on Pooh. After Pooh we headed to brunch at the River Belle Terrace where DDs both got the pancake/egg breakfast and I got the eggs & potatoes. All delicious! I noticed on the receipt that they were still offering 20% off shopping at the Emporium, Star Trader, Elias & Co and World of Disney on purchases before 12:30 pm. So we planned to window shop for the first few days. The girls were to make a list of items they wanted, narrow down the choices and one morning we would set time aside for actual purchases. I agreed to pay for two clothing items for each girl. Everything else they had to use their own (and DD12s birthday) money.
We then got our next FP from Big Thunder, looked around the shops there, got a couple of leather bracelets made with their names, and went back to Space Mtn and had a great ride in outer space. The park was really filling up by this point so we went over to Fantasyland and were still able to ride Casey Jr (more fun than they expected) & King Arthurs Carousel (very little wait, plus line was in the shade), before going back to Tomorrowland to pick up a FP for Star Tours. We walked back through Adventureland toward Splash and climbed up Tarzans Treehouse. We were super hot by now time for Splash! We love Splash! And it continues to amaze me how many people choose to stand in a 2 hour standby line. Maybe they dont understand Fastpasses?
BTW, our drink plan worked out really well. I bought one bottle of water which we kept refilling. I had purchased individual packets of Diet Snapple Lemon Iced Tea powder. I think I bought 4 boxes of 8 packets each with me. That really flavored up the drinking fountain water (and bonus caffeine kept us energized for the non-stop days!). I highly recommend doing this instead of paying the astronomical prices for drinks in the park! I saw another guy doing this as well.
Grabbed another FP for Star Tours on our way out - we headed back to the Park Vue for naps and showers around 3:00 (helping ourselves to some lemonade and a cookie on our way up to the room). DD12 received a Park Vue mug filled with candy and a certificate for a mini ice cream cake for her birthday which was a really nice touch.
At about 6:00 we headed back to DL during the last parade. We quickly picked up another FP for Space and headed to Fantasyland since everyone was watching the parade. Easily got on Snow White and Pinocchio and were first in line when they re-opened Storybook Land Canal Boats after the parade passed by. We stopped into the Bippity Boppity Boutique to look around and were SHOCKED to see the beauty parlor in the back! It used to be princess story time back there. Lined up in all of the chairs were what looked like BABIES. One dad saw the surprise on our faces and just shook his head as if to say I know, and I cant believe I got suckered into doing this. I just had to take a picture to show Dad when we got home. After that we rode Star Tours for the first time since its been refurbished. OMG!!!! That is the funnest ride!!! We were screaming, clapping, hooting and hollering at the end. It was sooooooo awesome!!
We had dinner at Harbor Gallery overlooking the river. Both DDs got chowder in a bread bowl and I had the steak salad which was excellent! They concurred that they could have easily shared one chowder, which we did later in the trip. Its just way too much bread. Throughout the evening we browsed stores, picked up more FP for Big Thunder (DDs swear its faster at night!) and rode it 3 more times. Took an ice cream break at Gibson Girl. DD12 got the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae, DD14 had a rootbeer float and I had a chocolate ice cream cone with sprinkles. YUM! Headed back to Star Tours again (with the BEST combo of Hoth and Naboo!), happened by Fantasmic and the Fireworks. During the Fireworks we jumped into Buzz because it was the shortest wed seen the line all day. Now that Buzz doesnt have FP (machines are put to a much better use by Star Tours), the line is insane! Then we finished up on Space.
Number if Rides: 20 (including some duplicates) Pretty great for a 10/10 crowd day!
Day 3: Wednesday July 18
Since this was an AP early entry day in DL, we opted to begin our day here, and save our 8:00 entry to DCA for Thursday. Up at 6:30 and first ones into the breakfast room when it opened at 7:00. Park Vue has a great breakfast: make your own waffles, eggs, sausage or bacon, fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, toast, mini bagels, cream cheese, peanut butter, 3 kinds of cereal, oatmeal, juices, milk, chocolate milk, coffee, etc. Got through bag check by 7:30 and the DL turnstiles were already open. So we assembled ourselves close to the rope near Tomorrowland. About 7:55, I left the girls there and walked over to the Adventureland rope so I could get a Splash FP while they rode Matterhorn. We did this trip old-school without cell phones! We just planned to meet between Alice and Teacups, and they could ride them if I wasnt back by then. Its so great that they are old enough now to be more independent in DL.
As the rope dropped I hustled over to Splash it was sooooo cool being the very first person to walk along the river in the morning! I got photos of a totally empty DL. Every other person at the Adventureland rope drop headed to Indy! I got my 8:40 FP at about 8:05 and went back to meet the girls. I got there just as they were riding into the Alice tunnel, so I waited for them to get out and they said that Matterhorn was down so they rode Teacups and Alice. We got on Dumbo (no wait) and walked back toward Tomorrowland. As we were walking by the Matterhorn, a CM motioned that it was open now and the girls were first in line for the day, on the very first car! Awesome! During their trip on Matterhorn I snagged some Space FPs and went back to meet them at the exit and we walked over to Small World to get that over with. I can remember the years we used to do that ride over and over again because it was one of the only non-scary rides the DDs would go on. After a popcorn snack, we headed back to get a Star Tours FP and got on Autopia. This is another ride that desperately needs a refurb. Gas cars are so stinky and so yesterday! It should be solar-electric or something else futuristic but I suppose as long as its sponsored by Chevron, nothing will change.
Hopped on the train for a ride through the Grand Canyon and talked to the CM trainman who stood by us during the ride about the PeopleMover. I am still so saddened by the unused PeopleMover tracks. At least they are still there, so there is hope. He said they are exploring ways to redesign the PeopleMover vehicles so people cant jump between cars, like they used to do (can you believe that?) Also, they have to work out ways to be able to evacuate folks in case the ride breaks down (like stair cases and/or widenening the track) Fingers crossed, some day, they will revive the PeopleMover. The loading area just sits there waiting for the day!
We got off the train got off in New Orleans Square and headed to Pirates (very little wait). We then walked over to Splash to use our FP and pick up another. However, they were having problems on Splash. The logs stopped for a while, then got going again. So we got on and after the big drop, we floated through the riverboat scene and the music was off! The characters were moving, but there was no sound. We got stuck at the end of a long line of logs backed up from the loading area. Then behind us, a CM was walking along the left edge of the attraction with a trail of people behind her. She told us we had to get out of our boats, only one person was allowed to stand up and exit at a time. She did this with each boat in the line and we walked over the bunny on the blanket, and up a set of stairs into the DL backstage area. There were a ton of pumping machines pretty cool! Then she led us back through a narrow passage into the ride area, giving each group a free FP we were told we could use anywhere in DL (bummer we couldnt use it for RSR!). We got another FP for Star Tours before heading over to DCA.
Once in DCA we got FP for both Screamin and Soarin and DD14 just hit the wall with exhaustion. She just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep. It was before lunch, so I suggested she just eat cereal bars I had in the room for lunch. Pretty cool that shes old enough to just send back to the hotel on her own. Shes extremely competent. DD12 and I hung out in DCA and had a really fun time by ourselves. We stood in line for while at the Chili Cozy Cone, but it was so hot and the long line wasnt moving at all. We were going to get chili cones and the orange cone cups for lunch, but we couldnt take the sun and the wait. We made a plan to get the cups another time. So we shared a chimichanga (kinda gross) and a cream cheese filled pretzel (also weird) for lunch. We rode Silly Symphony Swings (too sickening for me, I had to close my eyes the whole time), watched Goofy conduct the water show while we were on Zephyr (surprisingly relaxing!). We also rode Jumpin Jellyfish (lame) and picked up FP for Goofys for later.
We were so baking hot that we wanted to get FP for Grizzly. I was about 10 min too early for that FP so while we were waiting for the FP to become valid, we noticed a bunch of people getting single rider tickets and walking right on. So we decided to do that instead (because the FP return was later in the evening by then and we dont like to get wet at night). We were each on a raft pretty fast. However, we decided single rider isnt that fun since you arent with your friends/family. We watched others get soaked by the geyser for a little while and then decided to get a FP for Tower of Terror instead of Grizzly. Then we headed back to the room for naps and showers.
At 6:00, we had a stack of FP to use in both parks! Two sets of Screamin, Soarin, Tower of Terror and Goofys. And in DL we had Space, Star Tours and Indy. Phew! We had a lot of work ahead of us. So we powered through DL first, dinner was Pizza and Red Rockets in DL single slice each and then we used all of our FPs in DL Then we went into DCA doing Soarin and then we found out that Screamin had already closed by the time we got there at 8:00! So, couldnt use our FPs for that. Apparently they dont open it between the two WoC shows, they only re-open at 10:45 for the last 15 minutes of the day! Odd. So we did Tower of Terror - OMG we had all forgotten how SCARY Tower of Terror was!!! We white knuckled it the whole time. Unreal! We walked out of DCA via the Mad Tea Party (really loud) and rode Monsters Inc with no line. Walking out of Monsters Inc we passed a stand with Mike earflap hats so I had to snap a picture of the girls in them so cute! We crashed into bed by 10:45.
Day 4: Thursday July 19
Finally! Our day to hit the Carsland rides! Again, we got up at 6:30, first in the breakfast room at 7:00 and through the DCA turnstiles at 7:30 am. I fell into line for the RSR FP right smack at the front corner of the Carthy Circle Theater and met a nice family with 7 year old twin boys from Brooklyn spending one day in each park. The girls went off shopping in Elias & Co for that 1/2 hour while I chatted. At 8:00 promptly the line started moving, the girls found me again and we got 11:00 am return time for RSR. We walked quickly through a Bugs Land to the back entrance by Luigis and when we got to Luigis at 8:10, the line was already packed full with a 50 min wait!!!! So we bailed on that idea and hustled over to Maters. Its definitely cool that Maters has two ride areas so it can move people more quickly through the line than Luigis. Also, we loved the fans in the waiting area for Maters, useful even at 8:15 am! Unfortunately, while we were waiting, one of the ride areas broke down and folks who were on that ride were moved over to the other ride area, as were the people queued up for the broken area as well. Anyway, eventually we got on and it was more fun that it looks, but very short.
We picked up some Screamin FP and Soarin FP and walked onto Ariels to cool off. We wandered back to Carsland to see if we could get our cone cups and we walked up to the pretzel cone, which had no line. They were out of cone cups!! Devastating! The CM inside the cone said they just talked to the driver of the truck and it was lost in a little town very similar to Radiator Springs. The truck had tipped over and he was picking up the cups one by one off the road and she didnt know when they were going to get there!!! OMG she totally had us going! If we had only waited yesterday in line! After reading on MP about the shortage of cone cups at the Carsland opening, I was so bummed that we had missed our chance. L
Sad, we headed out of hot DCA and over to DL, where we started to gather up FP there. At 10:00 the Dole Whip stand opened and we got them and went into the Enchanted Tiki Room. Then we walked over to Splash for FP and noticed the Canoes were just opening at 11:00. We got in the first canoe of the day and paddled off with a really funny guide. At about 11:30, we walked back through Adventureland, picked up three Spicy Sausage in Pretzel Rolls near the Dole Whip stand and carried them all the way over to the DCA RSR line. Thankfully, RSR was running and we asked the CM how long we should expect to wait in the FP line. He accurately guessed 15 minutes. We ate our lunch in line wow that is a HOT line. A lot of sun, very little shade. We were so glad we only waited 15 minutes. I would have passed out from heat stroke if I had to wait in the standby line. As a party of 3, we were pulled out of line way before our turn because they needed a party of 3 to fill a car. Awesome. We got the body paint (right) side and really enjoyed the dark part of the ride. Super cute! The racing was fun, but we all wished the cars went faster.
Picked up another Screamin FP and a Tower of Terror FP before heading back to the room for showers and naps. We were really exhausted and our feet were killing us. We face-planted into our beds. Up again at 6:00 and back to DCA. Rode Soarin as soon as we entered and then wandered around Elias & Company to start finalizing shopping choices for our shopping the next day. Picked up a Tower of Terror FP and also rode it. That ride never gets boring! And then Screamin and we went back to Tower of Terror and then over to DL for Indy then dinner at Red Rockets Pizza Port really late at 9:00. We each got the chicken fusilli so delicious, we were so hungry by then. Then we rode Space and Star Tours twice back-to-back. In bed by 10:45, exhausted!
Day 5: Friday July 20
Today we were going to spend most of the day in DL. We needed to get on Jungle Cruise early in the day. Every time we past it, it seemed like the line was 50 minutes long! So, that was on our short list of things to do this morning. The girls again got near the Tomorrowland rope at 7:30 and I positioned myself to dash to Splash for a FP (again, enjoying that part of the park all to myself!). They rode Matterhorn, Alice and we all rode Teacups together (sickening!) when I got back from Splash.
Finally, we headed over to Jungle Cruise and walked on. Our boat driver was terrible! He wasnt funny at all he just pointed out the animals and laughed after he said theres a moose ha ha. It was a real let down. He was either really off his game or I dont know why they had him on that ride! Then we walked on Pirates and picked up Indy FP on the way back to the Dole Whip stand. We enjoyed our Dole Whips while we rode the Mark Twain Riverboat (the DDs DID NOT want to ride this this was the only time they were grumbly the whole trip).
We looked around for pressed pennies in Frontierland. The girls had a lot of pennies from previous visits, but these seemed different, so we decided to start looking for machines. We also decided to do all of our shopping today before 12:30 using the coupons Id been collecting from meals. At 11:00 we stopped at the Emporium where DD12 got a watch, a pack of 5 mickey lollipops and DD14 got a new pressed penny book, all using a 20% off coupon. Then we went to World of Disney where DD14 got an Alice t-shirt, an Ariel t-shirt, a Mickey/Minnie T-shirt, and 5 buttons for $5. DD12 got a necklace, some earrings, a black and white Evil character hoodie jacket, an aqua Mickey T-shirt and 5 buttons for $5. And we got Dad a Mickey-ear popsicle shirt. All with 20% off before 12:00. Then we decided to dip into DCA to get DD14s other T-shirt at Elias & Co since it was still before 12:30 a Bambi shirt she saw at only that store.
Since we were there, we ate lunch at Pacific Wharf Caf in DCA I got the chicken waldorf salad in a bread bowl and the girls split a chowder in a bread bowl. The salad was refreshing but there were only a few pieces of chicken in a huge bowl of bread. I wish I could have just gotten a big salad with no bread. DD14 took shopping back to the hotel and crashed. DD12 and I picked up Screamin FP and went to the Grizzly splash zone (near the big drop) to get soaked without going on the ride. We then rode Zephyr again while we waited for our Screamin FP time. After Screamin, we dipped back into DL to get Star Tours FP and got a frozen snack near Nemo. DD12 got pink frozen lemonade and I got a coffee Haagen Daaz bar (really rich!).
Then we decided to take the train back to the main gate. Bad choice. The line was really long and we had just missed a train. When the next one came, we werent sure if wed get on it, and then it broke down! So after all that waiting, we ended up walking back to the main gate anyway. L We crashed back at the hotel. Returned to DL at 6:00 (we didnt have any FP for DCA, so no reason to go there) and after getting the obligatory Silhouettes (can you believe that lady has been doing them for 36 years?!) rode Splash right away, using a FP of course. Then we got Big Thunder FP and rode Space. Had the chicken fusilli again at Red Rockets and we were stuffed!! Then we rode Star Tours twice (and got Hoth + Naboo YEAH!!!), then Indy and I watched Fantasmic while DDs rode Big Thunder twice back to back.
One snack we hadnt yet hit on my list were the Mickey Beingets but we mistakenly got the New Orleans Fritters instead because I didnt know the Beignets were sold behind the French Market. We arrived at the fritter stand right at the end of Fantasmic working our way through the mass of humanity trying to leave the river area. Luckily, we got a table right there, but the fritters were heavy and disgusting. We were pooped and walked home, however we stopped and looked at the castle artwork in the Disney Gallery on the way out. It was really amazing! In bed by 10:45 again.
Day 6: Saturday July 21
Today we needed to get to Luigis first thing, sacrificing getting a FP for any other ride first. I also really wanted to ride Toy Story one more time, because that line is always insanely long. So we got up at our usual 6:30, breakfast by 7:00 and through the DCA turnstile by 7:30. We were about 5 deep from the rope leading into DCA. At 8:00, the CMs made an announcement that RSR was down and that they suggested people ride other rides. However you could get in line for RSR if you wanted, they just didnt know when it would be running. The CMs formed a tight human chain, all holding a gas nozzle and hose to prevent anyone from charging ahead. They CRAWLED into Carsland and an excrutiatingly slow pace. When we got to Luigis we were already on the left side of the line so we peeled off and were on the ride within 2 turns! PHEW!!! Plan successful! Then we boogied over toward Toy Story (stopping to get a Screamin FP) and I got 143,000. I love that ride. We then picked up FP for Grizzly before heading to DL.
It was 9:00 so the girls made a dash for Matterhorn while I got Splash FPs. We then went to Toontown for the first time this trip, walked on Roger Rabbit and Gadgets and went back to Space to pick up FP. We happened on the Fantasyland name artwork stand across from the Matterhorn and thought it was really cool. My girls both have unusual names, so we never find pre-printed items with their names on them. We asked about what characters they can do (any princess, Nemo characters, pirate, pirate ship, etc.) so we walked away and ruminated about which we would pick. The names are $40 for 5-7 characters. $10 for the mat and $30 for the frame. So $80 each. A custom mat and frame at home would have been more than what they charged. It was hot, so I waited in the air-conditioned Star Trader while they went on Space. When they found me, they said they had run into some friends from school! So we made a plan to all ride Star Tours together at 12:50 when their FPs were good.
We left them, and went to order the names. DD14 got Snow White, Alice, Cheshire Cat, Jessie, Jellyfish, Pirate Ship and Squirt. DD12 got Dory, Jack Sparrow, Ariel & Flounder, Castle, Teacups and Carpet (from Aladdin). We couldnt wait to see how they would turn out! They would be ready by 5:00, they said. Then we picked up another set of FP for Space and went to use our FP for Splash. Had a lunch of Bengal BBQ beef skewers and mango from the fruit stand near Jungle Cruise. The beef was just OK, not great. We met up with our friends and rode their first Star Tours with them, which was super fun. Unfortunately we didnt go to Hoth & Naboo, but still had a good ride to the Wookie Planet and Coruscant. We parted ways and headed back toward DCA when we happened upon a couple on Main Street carrying CONE CUPS!!! We ran up to them and asked if they got them today and they said yes and the line is really long!. Never mind the line we headed straight out of DL to the Cozy Cone! YEAH!!!!! Got a couple of small cone cups ($8.99 each) and bought a Carsland snow globe for DD12 in Sarges Surplus. (DD12 collects snow globes)
We used our Screamin FP and also our Grizzly FP it is so much more fun with family/friends than single rider. However, we didnt get soaked enough so we went to the splash zone and got drenched before heading back to the hotel. I sent the girls on ahead to the hotel and dipped back into DL for a Space FP, so now we had 4 (I didnt ride the first time so we had one extra from earlier), so they could ride it 2 times without me. I got back to the hotel around 4:00, showered and put my feet up for a little bit. Since it was our last day, we really wanted to maximize the last few hours. At 5:45 we headed back, winding through the stores because Main Street was packed for the parade. We picked up some FP for Big Thunder and had dinner at Rancho de Zocalo (ordered two carne asada platters to split three ways meh, not that great). Then we rode Splash and got Soaked! Not great at night! But that was our last Splash L
We decided to look for more pressed pennies. Wandered around New Orleans Square and came upon the proper Mickey beignets, which were delicious!!! We found Haunted Mansion pressed quarters. But were bummed that the Pirates machine was out of order!! We went over to the Castle and asked around. They only said there was a machine in the Small World Toy store so we went there and it was a quarter machine of only princesses. DDs felt they probably already had them, so we didnt get any of those, but did see a really cute Small World Snow Globe that played the song. DD12 considered it but decided not to.
The fireworks were just about to begin and the girls were going to ride Space two times back to back. We found a comfy place for me to wait (my feet hurt too much to stand around in Star Trader and the rocks at the Space exit are so uncomfortable). I sat right at the top of the steps leading into Red Rockets Pizza Port. A padded comfy seat, practically under the spray from the mister to the left. The tables and seats were getting sprayed, so there was no one sitting there. I dried off a seat and settled in. OMG this is the hidden gem of a spot for the fireworks!!! They left to ride Space and I kicked back with a completely unobstructed view of the whole fireworks show, complete with music! I was thinking this was the most ideal way to end the trip. After the fireworks ended, floods of people started pouring out of the Space entrance and a CM was there announcing that flights were suspended and for new arrivals to check back later. My girls were nowhere to be found! I began to worry a little, but then thought power to them for waiting it out they were probably really close to getting on and decided to wait. Little did I know what really happened!!! About 15 minutes later they came bursting toward me screaming how cool it was! They had gotten stuck mid-ride on Space and they turned the LIGHTS ON and they got to see everything and they got to finish the ride with all the lights on! DD14 was soooo bummed she didnt have her phone to take a picture of it to post on Facebook. Both girls were so upset I wasnt with them because they know I would have LOVED THAT. Which I totally would have!!! Ive always tried to imagine how the track was layed out. But Im so glad they got that experience and of course the CMs just let them stay on the ride and ride right away again in the dark.
We finished out Tomorrowland by riding two back to back Star Tours, my favorite ride. First one was Tatooine and Death Star. We still had one more ride to hope for Hoth and Naboo! We got right back in line and we totally lucked out and got both of our favorites for our last ride!!! Stopped in at Gibson Girl and the Candy Palace where DD12 got a scoop of cookie dough in a cup with hot fudge, I got cookie dough on a cone with sprinkles and DD14 got a caramel apple with peanuts. The girls walked over to Big Thunder while I went back to the name artwork stand by Mattterhorn to pick up their names. They turned out so great! Really creative!!! Met up with the girls at the exit to Big Thunder and we dragged ourselves back to the hotel. Crashed in bed by 12:30 am.
Day 7: Sunday July 22
Our flight was at 11:15, so we had arranged for a taxi to take us back to SNA ($45) at 9:15. Quick ride because it was a Sunday morning, easy flight home and we slept all day Sunday while Dad was so kind and did the laundry and made us dinner. DD12 needed clean clothes right away because had to get up at 6:30 am Monday morning to go off to her sleep away camp!
We actually managed to ride every ride except all of Bugs Land and the Mickey Wheel and the Main Street vehicles. In hindsight, we should have fit Mickey Wheel into Day 5, right after Toy Story. We never really stopped moving the whole time we were there I always imagine having time to sit lazily and watch people go by, but we always wend up trying to pack in every ride possible into every day we have. Still an awesome trip with just us girls. See you in two years, DLR!
Last edited by QueenofHearts; 07-23-2012 at 02:13 PM.
07-23-2012 01:45 PM
Sounds like a fantastic trip! You really maximize the FP system!
AWESOME trip report! I couldn't stop reading! What a great memory for the 3 of you! What is a cone cup?
Siggy aka Jill
Thank you for posting! I am planning my first trip as an adult to Disneyland for next summer and the details are really helping me.
I have a question. You say several times that you picked up fastpasses for X and Y ride. Does this mean that you don't have to wait a certain length of time to get more fastpasses?
Also, when you said you had a stack of fastpasses to use was that because they all fell into the same time frame or can you use them whenever?
Thanks SigalTchelet! The Cozy Cone Motel has speciality souvenir cups shaped like orange traffic cones. The small is 8.99 (which we bought) and the large is 12.99.
Originally Posted by SigalTchelet
Here are my girls and their cone cups in front of the Cozy Cone:
Last edited by QueenofHearts; 07-24-2012 at 07:40 AM.
Each Fastpass has a time printed in tiny writing at the bottom that says something like "You can get your next Fastpass after 10:05". So I always timed our travels around the park to end up at another Fastpass machine at exactly that time. That way you maximize how many Fastpasses you collect. And you don't have to use them within the window printed, you just have to go any time AFTER the start time. So if the start time is 8:40 am, you can still use them at 7:30 pm if you want. Also, you can collect more Fastpasses in the morning, especially if you start at exactly 8:00. The time spaced between when you can get another one is shorter than, say after 11:00, when it stretches to a 2 hour gap, depending on the ride you choose. I also found that if you pick up Splash first, the return time (and typically the time you can collect another Fastpass) is earlier (both times I did it, I could get another FP at 8:40) than if you pick up Space first (when I got that one at 8:00, the next time I could get another FP was at 9:00). The 20 minutes to me made a difference in the number of FP I could collect in the morning. We would collect stacks of FP during the morning, and focus solely on using our collected FP in the evening/night when the crowds were insane.
Originally Posted by tinkaparis
Also, Screamin' in DCA is "off-network" so you can collect those at regular intervals (about an hour) separately from other DCA attractions. So, you can really rack up Screamin' FP's if you love that ride.
My strategy was that I NEVER stood in a standby line for a ride that had a FP. There is simply no reason to when you can collect FP's all day long.
And I focused on rides that didn't have FP's early in the day that usually have long, slow-moving lines later in the day: Luigi's, Toy Story, Matterhorn, Nemo, Dumbo, Peter Pan, etc. If you are a night owl, it also seemed that the lines were pretty short for these types of rides in the last hour of the day (11:00-mid), similar to how they were from 8:00-9:00 am. The parks were really packed up with people by 11:00 am.
BTW, sorry about the lack of apostrophes, quotes, dashes and other punctuation - I created this in Word and apparently they didn't transfer over.
This sounds like a great strategy! That makes total sense thanks for the explanation.
Originally Posted by QueenofHearts
Too cute! Love it! I will have to look for these the next time I am down!
Originally Posted by QueenofHearts
Siggy aka Jill
At home in the hills
We noticed a lack of penny machines this trip as well. We even looked in a couple of places that normally have them (like the Tower of Terror shop) and nothing. The girls only got 1 from Splash that N didn't have, and there were 2 machines outside Pooh Corner, one of which ate her money. I was actually talking to a CM at the time it happened, so he went and had her money replaced immediately.
Sounds like a great trip was had by all. I like Kashyyyk (Wookie planet) and Naboo the best.
We tend to go "off-season", so we will grab a fastpass and then get in the standby line if it is under 20 minutes.
Awesome Trip report. Oh the wonderful memories you are creating. Thanks so much!!
It sounds like a wonderful trip! I wish my kids were that jazzed about hitting all of the rides and just want to go go go. But it is usually only me that wants to do as much as possible. Glad your trip was such a great one!
DLR - '05, '06, '07(x2), '09, '12; WDW - '97, '10; Disney Cruise celebrating graduations '13
Originally Posted by candles71
There were no machines at all in DCA - I asked at the Grizzy River Run store and the CM said they removed all of them from DCA and were changing them out, or something like that. Hopefully they will be back soon... maybe with new designs? I was really surprised that there were so few machines in DL. When we came home and looked at their penny collections, they had so many others that we never saw machines for. I think we gathered most them one rainy visit years ago when the Penny Arcade on Main Street was still filled with penny machines.
At home in the hills
You can down load and print a list ahead of time so they know what they have and what they need or want to look for, usually. Or you can get the list from City Hall.
Great report, we were there from the 20th -26th and stayed at the Park Vue Inn also. I was really bummed they no longer serve the social hour too. I was planning on only buying one meal at the parks but the location can't be beat when you have kiddos walking back by themselves. When we arrived on Friday it was so hot and crowded but it either got better or I just got use to it as the week went on. Good job getting to the parks so early, we couldn't seem to get to the parks until after 8:20 except for our EE day. But we didn't get back into our room until 1:00 am most nights.
I will have to remember the soak vone for Grizzly river.
Awesome trip report...thanks for all of the detail. I also collect the snowglobes. Where did your daughter get the Carsland one? How much are they running nowadays if you don't mind me asking?
Fantastic trip report!! I couldn't stop reading!
Thanks! She got the Carsland snowglobe at Sarge's Surplus. I think it was $6.95. It wasn't a glass one (a pretty dismal selection of snowglobes this trip IMHO). Just one of those plastic domed types, but it was the only one that said "Carsland" and "Disney California Adventure" on it, and had some of the characters inside.
Originally Posted by wabby1
Candles71 - do you know where the penny machine list is online? That would have been great to have.
letshavefun - Even though we had stayed at the Park Vue Inn before, and liked it, I thought of switching to Desert Inn because it was less expensive, however I decided to stay at PVI because of the social hour. Oh well, we'll see what happens next time...
At home in the hills
I am dashing out the door to look at reception sites with my daughter, I will track it down for you and post the link, but most likely tomorow. It "hides" sometimes. A search here might lead to an old thread with the link.
I googled it and found this list that was just updated on Saturday. http://www.parkpennies.com/penny-machine-locations.pdf
Siggy aka Jill
OMG! What an awesome list! I soooooo wish we had had that. I had no idea there were so many other machines. And yes, so many used to be in the penny arcade.
Originally Posted by SigalTchelet
Also, correction, the Carsland snowglobe was 8.95, not 6.95.
At home in the hills
This is the Disneypark galleries one. It updates sooner, since it is Disney and not outside. But park pennies is a good site also. The gallery list is the one they give you at City Hall if you go in and ask.
That's an awesome list too! I'll have to make sure I save these links for next time. Thanks!
Originally Posted by candles71