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  1. #1

    Different things to do

    Hi Everyone

    So at the beginning of April myself and my 14 year old nephew will be going to the DLR. We both have annual passes and go often. However, we will be there for 4 days, 3 nights. This is my Christmas present to him. Just him & I running wild at the DLR! Really looking forward to this trip.

    Since we go often, I am looking for suggestions. What are some unique things that we could do that would be different then the "normal" things? Any dining suggestions that are like "wow". Thanks!


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  3. #2
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    One of the advantages I've found in having an AP and being lucky enough to visit often because of geography is the chance to "do nothing". I've spent a lot of time doing that, and by that I mean anything other than rides. Since you'll be at the resort for a number of days, you'll have time for those as well, but otherwise, here are a few suggestions, of course, depending on the interests of you and your nephew.

    1. Take time to look at the theming and architecture and details all over the resort. Each location has magic little touches that most people don't have time to look at and/or won't notice as they're rushing from ride to ride. Main Street, Toontown, Hollywood Backlot, Paradise Pier area and Carsland are specifically good examples of that. (Do you know about some of the hidden Mickeys in Carsland? There's specifically one that requires looking up when you're near Stanley's statue.) There's a walkway on the side of Sleeping Beauty Castle that runs from in between two of the toy shops in Fantasyland to where Fantasy Faire is now. In that walkway is a window with some nice decorations. Take a raft over to Tom Sawyer Island and explore. There is no concession stand there, so you could even buy a snack on the mainland and then take it with you. Have a seat on some rocks or any of the benches, and you'll have a relatively quiet place to enjoy your snacks, with a beautiful view too.

    2. Take in the various shows available around the resort, like the Soundsational parade, Mickey and the Magical Map, the storytellings for Tangled and Beauty & the Beast at Fantasy Faire, the Dapper Dans and various other street musicians available. I like the Red Car News Boys at DCA, and some people like Five and Dime as well.

    3. Attend some of the character meet and greets available throughout the resort. Fantasy Faire offers the opportunity to meet some princesses, and Mickey and Minnie can be found in their houses in Toontown. The Jedi Training Academy is also a lot of fun - I don't remember if your nephew might be above the eligibility age to participate, but it's still a lot of fun to watch.

    4. Go into the Animation Building at DCA and sit in the lobby for a while, enjoying the movie clips being shown there. You can also do the drawing class or meet Crush (it can be hit and miss depending on Crush's mood and the interaction with the audience but interesting and fun) or go to the sorcerer's area where you can do other things as well. It's been a long time since I've been in there, but I love the Beast's library. Stay in there for a while as the room and the portrait and the magic rose change.

    5. Ride the train and relax and enjoy the views of the park. Same for the monorail.

    6. Wander the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel. We've done a little bit of that recently, and it's nice to see how everything's done. We went into Frontier (I think) Tower and happened to discover the model of Big Thunder Railroad in there. It's pretty awesome to look at.

    7. Go through Tarzan's treehouse and see all of the special touches. Once you get up high, there's a nice view of the park from up there as well.

    Hope that helps! Have a great visit.

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  4. #3

    I don't know what your "normal" things are but I've discovered that my family sometimes gets in a rut regarding our Disney routines. If I were there for that long I would break out the park map and make a game of going on everything. You might rediscover something you've forgotten.


  5. #4
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    Book a tour - Like Walk in Walt's Footsteps. They are great fun.

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    Even go see a movie at the AMC theaters in Downtown Disney. It's not something you'd normally do, but it's a little decadent and nifty to do (decadent because you're normally more pressed for time).

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  7. #6

    Take a look at the map and guide and look for the things you don't normally do. We've spent days trying to do the attractions in certain orders, alphabetical, by land etc. Makes it kind of fun.

    When my daughter was 14 we did our first trip to WDW. She took a small stuffed Bullseye and took photos of him everywhere. When we got back we made up a book of Bullseyes adventures. Made for a nice keepsake.

    My daughter also likes to do the things most guests don't know about. Like asking to ride the Lilly Belle or in the Caboose. Piloting the Mark Twain. Riding in the cone of the Monorail. You may have to wait and they can't always do it but it's fun to do something not every guest knows about.


  8. #7

    Go on your nephew's (or your) favorite ride over and over in a row!


  9. #8
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    1) When you get there, go to the Main Street station and ask if the Lilly Belle is going to be out. If it is, make an appointment and take a ride in Walt's special train car.
    2) Ask to pilot the Mark Twain
    3) Buy one of Mouse Planet's games. It's basically a scavenger hunt you can do together.
    4) If it's in the budget, try to reserve the Chef's table at Napa Rose.
    5) Book a tour that would interest your nephew.
    6) Be sure to get him a birthday button so he'll hear "happy birthday" all day long.
    7) Ask to ride tender on the railroad.
    8) If you see the Dapper Dan's, let them know it's his birthday. They may sing to him. (I haven't had this happen personally, but it was suggested by someone I know.


  10. #9
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    I really like the idea of checking out the Disney hotels this is something we've only done a couple of times and it was awesome. We sat in the Grand California lobby during a hot summer day then checked out the shops and a loooooong time ago walked through the hotel that has Goofy's kitchen and remembered thinking this place is so cool.

    I like this thread I'm going with my sister and will probably get some great ideas.

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  11. #10

    Get a copy of the Hidden Mickeys book and go on a Hidden Mickey hunt. We've had lots of fun with our nephews on our HM scavenger hunts. You can print out old MouseAdventure question sheets and use those to explore the parks. Our nephews LOVE the zoetrope in the Animation Building -- we do, too! Take time to enjoy the live music -- both in the parks and in the evenings in DtD. After a long day in the parks, our nephews liked a sit down dinner at a restaurant in DtD -- we let each one choose a favorite and something new (that covered 4 dinners total). The tours are fun, especially if your tour guide has lots of charisma. Have a great trip!


  12. #11
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    Different things to do

    Writing these down. Thanks for such great tips!


    ...and a month later, back to the World!

  13. #12
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    My kids love the Animation building at DCA; my one son could sit through 2-3 a day. Also they really like checking out the hotels. I wouldn't have thought that my 14 year old son would be that interested, but he just loved seeing the Grand Californian. I don't have "Wow" dining suggestions; we like just about everything.


  14. #13

    As for dining suggestions with "wow" factor" (and not knowing your nephew's taste, these are random):

    Blue Bayou (not so much for the food, but the atmosphere is "wow")

    Carthay Circle Restaurant (better food than BB, definitely "wow" for the main dining room)

    Steakhouse 55 (great atmosphere and service, good food)

    Plaza Inn (fried chicken wows our nephews)

    Big Thunder Ranch BBQ (if your nephew has a typical teen appetite, this AYCE BBQ might qualify as "wow")

    The chocolate cake at the Golden Horseshoe ("wow" -- it's huge!)

    Sundaes at Ghirardelli's ("wow" and yum!)

    Napa Rose (if your nephew likes fine food, this might qualify as "wow")

    Beignets from the Jazz Kitchen (either take out or sit down) while watching fireworks (fun! Watch out for the powdered sugar -- it gets everywhere!)


  15. #14

    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions!


  16. #15
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    They offer a free tour of the Arts & Crafts design at the Grand Californian. I think it's available to everyone, not just hotel guests. Check at the hotel's main desk.

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  17. #16

    Get the beignets from the Mint Julep Bar near the New Orleans Disneyland Railroad Station. I was surprised to learn how many of my friends didn't know these existed. FAVORITE SNACK.

    I also agree with those who suggested Animation Academy and the other things in the Animation building. Because you can draw a different character each time, the experience is never the same. Very fun.

    We like to sit outside Ariel's Grotto's bar area around sunset for drinks and appetizers (probably more fun if you're of drinking age, but could still be good for the food and view).

    One thing I haven't done recently that could be fun is the boardwalk games at DCA. The last time I did this, I spent a total of $5 and won a horse stuffed animal, so it doesn't have to break the bank. Just set a limit beforehand or a challenge of some sort.

    I think the Hidden Mickey hunt would be awesome too :-)


  18. #17
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    Yes, what shortpix said! We love the Cove Bar in DCA. Also we've never played the Boardwalk Games or gone in the Arcade at DL, but I know they would love to do that too.

    I didn't mention ice cream sundaes, because I thought that was just a "given"


  19. #18
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    I love to get a snack (ice cream cone is my favorite) and get on the train. I will drag my whole group on and we go around park at least twice. My kids love the arcade games on the boardwalk, they are not expensive and a lot of fun for them. Our last trip my son won a small stuff animal turtle that his little sister wanted so she played the game. However she did really well and won a big stuff animal. She started crying because she just wanted the small turtle (the cast member was pleased to exchange for the small turtle).


  20. #19
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    If you do the Games of the Boardwalk and are budgeting more than $5 for it, consider getting multiple $5 game cards (the games take no cash - you have to load up pre-paid cards beforehand). There are at least 2 designs, and I suspect there are 4 total since there are 4 different games. It makes for a fun collectible at no extra cost.

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  21. #20

    Trader Sam's is awesome no matter your age!

    Take a stroll over to the DL Hotel, and hop into Trader Sam's for a bite to eat, and a snazzy drink (in a snazzy glass/mug/decanter) The servers have crazy routines when certain drinks are ordered, and the whole place feels like you've wandered into the Enchanted Tiki Room after the boards have gone to sleep for the night! There is so much to take in, from the sinking ship in a bottle, to the "thunderstorm" outside. You guys will have a blast! The food portions aren't HUGE, and you can buy the cool mugs the drinks come in if you like. As an aficionado of all things Tiki, I can't recommend this one enough!

    And they have a great selection of non-alcoholic beverages, so no worries about being too young to have some fun!

    For some fun people watching, head over to the Bengal BBQ one afternoon, and order a bunch of "meat on a stick" and a couple of tiger tails. Then plop yourself down by the Bazaar, and watch the tourists. My wife and I make sure we do this every time we are there. You never know who or what you might see. It's inexpensive, and is a lot of fun!


  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ArtGuy View Post
    Take a stroll over to the DL Hotel, and hop into Trader Sam's for a bite to eat, and a snazzy drink (in a snazzy glass/mug/decanter) The servers have crazy routines when certain drinks are ordered, and the whole place feels like you've wandered into the Enchanted Tiki Room after the boards have gone to sleep for the night! There is so much to take in, from the sinking ship in a bottle, to the "thunderstorm" outside. You guys will have a blast! The food portions aren't HUGE, and you can buy the cool mugs the drinks come in if you like. As an aficionado of all things Tiki, I can't recommend this one enough!

    And they have a great selection of non-alcoholic beverages, so no worries about being too young to have some fun! ...
    Check with Trader Sam's regarding age limits and times -- I seem to remember something about seating inside the bar being restricted to adults only after a certain time. But you could still sit with your nephew at an outside table.

  23. #22

    Make reservations at "Cafe Orleans" and have a Monte Cristo sandwich.
    Ask to ride in the nose or tail of the Monorail.
    Catch the live show at Fantasyland Theater.
    Later at night ask if your nephew can be the "skipper" on the Jungle Cruise. When my son was about 8 he knew the script verbatim and did better than most of the skippers there.
    Go to "Cars" land day & night; 2 totally different vibes.
    Get dinner and camp out by The Rivers of America and watch Fantasmic. If it is still offered and in your budget, do the dessert & reserved seating for Fantasmic.
    Watch "World of Color"

    and ALL OF THE ABOVE IDEAS TOO!!!!! I hope you guys have a great visit.


  24. #23
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    another one of our favorites is closing the park, we try to be one of the last groups on splash with a log to ourselves and get a planned picture. When we get off the park is closed and we walk slowly to main street alone. It really is magical. One time we were fast walking to Splash Mountain at closing and I didn't think we were going to make it and a passing CM yelled run at us and my kiddos took off. We barely made it. So fun.

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