Travel dates: August 14th-August 18th 2007
Travel method: Airplane, Taxi
Resort: Embassy Suites Garden Grove
Accommodations: 1 bedroom suite
Ages Represented in Group: 63, 33, 5, and 3
Experience: Pretty much all veterans
Cast of characters: myself, my dad, my daughter and son. My dad’s best childhood friend joined us for a day and a half
Tuesday August 14th:
The alarm went off at 5 a.m. and I was up and in the shower in no time! There is nothing like a trip to Disneyland to get your butt out of bed fast! I showered and got ready and then got the kids up and ready. In the meantime my hubby was getting up and ready for work. The poor guy had to stay home and work while we went to Disneyland. By 6:15 a.m. we were out the door and on our way to the airport. Our flight left at 8:15 and after a layover in Oakland we flew into John Wayne Airport at around 1:30 p.m. My dad’s flight got in one hour after ours did. And by the time we got our luggage he was just a few minutes behind us. It took a while to get our luggage and I was starting to get nervous, but all of the bags finally arrived. My two car seats were nowhere to be found though. After waiting for ages I went and checked with the lost luggage people and they pointed me to the oversize baggage area where my two car seats were waiting. Phew! Minutes later my dad arrived and we went out and got a cab and were at our hotel within about 20 minutes. The cab was $37 before tip.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Garden Grove based on the recommendation of a friend. And it was a nice place to stay. We had a one bedroom suite with a king bad and a fold out couch for $159 a night. This included a full (and very delicious breakfast) plus a manager’s reception in the evening with free drinks and snacks. I would stay at this hotel again. But it is about 3 miles from Disneyland so the shuttle is a must. And it is quite noisy as all of the rooms face an atrium that is filled with people, elevators moving constantly, etc. In the bedroom it was fairly quiet, but for my dad who was sleeping on the pull out couch it was noisy. The shuttle costs $3 per day per adult and is supposed to come every 20 minutes on the hour. This worked fairly well, but they were late and early quite a bit. And I can not get over how rude some of the other hotel guests were in pushing their way onto the shuttle even when they were clearly at the back of the line. Not to sound high and mighty but I really do have a hard time understanding how grown adults can be so rude. I had to bite my tongue on a couple of occasions. Getting into an altercation just wasn’t worth it. For the most part though, people were very nice, friendly and courteous (inside and outside of the park).
After we got settled in and unpacked we realized we were starving and headed over for an early dinner at Bucca Di Beppo. I had never eaten there and heard great things about it. It was really good food. And I would eat there again. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went swimming in the pool. After that we showered off and headed to bed early since we knew we had a big day ahead of us and we were exhausted from our early wake up.
Wednesday, August 15th:
This was our first day in the park. I have to say I was a little nervous about visiting in the summer after reading about how horribly hot and crowded it is during summer on the MousePlanet boards. But I have to say it was a dream and not nearly as crowded as I had expected. By getting there early and using Fast Passes we never waited more than 15 minutes for anything. And many rides were near walk ons. The last two times we have visited (last October during “Halloween Time” and prior to that at Christmas) it was crowded beyond belief. So I was expecting it to be a total zoo. Mind you many of my best childhood memories were going to Disneyland during the summer. I remember the hot days and cold ice cream, staying late at night, etc. I would go again in the summer in a heart beat. You just have to play it smart. Get there early, drink lots of water, go back to rest and cool off during the day, and head back at night for more fun.
We got up early this morning so we could get a good breakfast and be at the park at least a half hour before the gates opened. I had debated about which ride to take the kids on first. We had an early entry for Thursday so I thought that would be a good day to hit Fantasyland. I opted for Space Mountain. This would be a first and a last for my 3 and 5 year old. My 3 year old boy hung in there fine. My daughter on the other hand was horrified and practically kissed the ground when we got off. We hit Buzz after Space, which was much more their speed. And then hit Star Tours (which they loved) and the Astro Orbiter. The Matterhorn was closed last time I was there and the time before that I was pregnant, so I was eager to ride. I never wear baseball hats, but decided to wear my husband’s favorite Disneyland hat on this day. And wouldn’t you know it blew right off on the Matterhorn. I almost went over the back to get it, but it was gone baby gone! 2 days later when I checked with lost and found they had the hat! It was so mangled, muddied, ripped and dirtied it is hard to believe they kept the darn thing! Shoot! I had to go and buy him a brand new replacement hat! I brought the mangled one home to show him. It was hilarious!!!
I am already starting to get fuzzy about what we did next. But I know we did hit The Enchanted Tiki Room. And of course we had a Dole Whip while we were waiting. Delish!! We did the Jungle Cruise, POTC, HM, and Splash Mountain. Splash is my all time favorite and I really wanted to get my kids on it because I knew they would love it. As a parent I hate to admit this, but yes I did bribe them with a small treat if they would agree to try it. My 3 year old was all for it. My 5 year old, not so much. We had fast passes and as we approached the loading area she started to freak out. I am sure people were looking at me like I was a really bad mother for coercing my child onto the ride. But what do you know? She loved it, declared it her favorite ride and begged to go back again and again. I knew once she tried it she would love it. And she does sometimes need to be pushed to try new things. We ended up hitting the Hungry Bear for lunch and then headed back to the hotel for a swim. I should have pushed more for a nap more than a swim, but the kids wanted to swim of course. After that we got freshened up, grabbed a slice of pizza at the manager’s reception at the Embassy and headed back to the park. We caught the Parade of Dreams, which was great. And then cruised around hopping on lots of rides before watching Fantasmic and the Fireworks, before calling it a night.
Thursday, August 16th:
This was our second day in the park. We had planned on using our early entry this day, but when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. I just didn’t have the heart to wake the kids who were so tired and sleeping peacefully. I shut off the alarm and went back to sleep until 7:30. It was hard for me to do, but I am so glad I did. We decided to head to DCA that day and were at the gates shortly after 9:00 a.m. They were scheduled to open at 10:00, but low and behold they opened at 9:30 and we headed straight over to Soarin’. Last time I rode it the scents were not working, which was a major bummer. But this time I got the whiffs of all of those beautiful smells. From there we hit Grizzly Rapids and then headed into A Bug’s Land. We hit all the rides in there and then went and got in line for Aladdin. It was a great show and I am really glad we saw it. The kids loved it. After that we went to lunch at the Taste Pilots Grill. I love their ribs, criss cross fries and chocolate shakes. Yummy!
After lunch we headed back to the hotel for a nap. My dad’s friend was meeting us late in the afternoon and I wanted us to all be well rested. The kids and I napped for 2 hours and then got ready and headed back to the park to meet up with my dad’s friend who had driven in that day. We all met up at around 5 or so, and headed in to Disneyland. We hit Buzz, POTC, Splash, HM, Jungle Cruise and more. We watched Fantasmic and the fireworks again and then headed back to the hotel.
Friday August 17th:
This was our last day in the parks. We made it to the gates at 8:00 a.m. and headed straight to Fantasyland for Peter Pan, Dumbo, Alice, Tea Cups, Storybook Canal, the carousel, Mr. Toads, etc. I think we hit pretty much everything in Fantasyland in under an hour. We cruised around the park some more hitting lots of different rides and then headed over to DCA. We hit Soarin’ again and then cruised over to Ariel’s Grotto for our lunch at 11:50. I have to say, we did this last time we were there and getting to sit and eat while the princesses come to you is the bomb! I have friends who have waited 2 + hours to see the princesses at the Fantasy Faire and I just don’t get it. The food is great, the prices reasonable, and you don’t have to stand in line! Sign me up! We saw Ariel (of course), Princess Aurora, Snow White, Jasmine and Belle. Ariel and Princess Aurora were great and interacted beautifully with the kids; the other three were so so. They basically just stood there waiting for me to snap the obligatory picture. I can imagine that would be such a hard job! They probably need a stiff drink after an 8 hour shift!
After the princess lunch we hit some rides in DCA (the carousel, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Golden Zephyr) and then headed back to the hotel for a nap. We all reconvened at around 6 p.m. and watched the Parade again. We cruised around Disneyland for a bit and did Buzz again, the Tiki Room and Splash. And then we headed into DCA to claim our spots for the Electrical Parade. I have not seen this in ages, so I was so excited! What a blast from the past. After the parade we headed back to Disneyland and hit POTC, Splash and a few others. We sadly left at around 11 p.m. Boo Hoo! Time sure does fly when you are having fun!
Saturday, August 18th:
This was our departure day. We slept in a bit and then got up, had breakfast and headed over to Downtown Disney for some shopping at the World of Disney. After that we headed back, got packed, called a cab and headed to the airport to come home.
All in all we had a wonderful trip. As I said earlier I would visit again during the summer in a heartbeat! The kids had a blast and got to interact and take pictures with countless characters. We did not ride the new Nemo ride as I was not willing to wait and have heard the ride is mediocre. We will wait for our next visit.
And of course there was lots of food, glorious food! Here is a short list of all the yummy treats we indulged in: tigger tail, caramel apple, popcorn, churro, Mickey rice krispie treat, Dole Whip, Mickey ice cream sandwich, sorbet, chocolate covered pretzels, frozen bananas, suckers, and more.
MousePlanet has been a great forum for me and I am grateful for all of the Disneyland wisdom I have gleaned from being a part of these boards.