Here are the first couple of days of our trip report. I have it typed, I am just tweaking the other days.
Cast of Characters:
Dad – age 61, 4th time to Disneyland
Me – age 41, 5th time to Disneyland
DD1 – age 16, 5th time to Disneyland
DD2 – age 12, 4th time to Disneyland
DS – age 11, 4th time to Disneyland
19 Dec – Wednesday – Travel/First Day
The day started at 2:30 for me. I really didn’t want to get up because I just gone to bed around 11:30 the previous night, so with that amount of sleep really had me wondering why I keep choosing these really early morning flights. After my shower, I made sure dad was up; which he was. He then got the kids up around 3:00 am. Everyone made it into the van and off we started (around 3:25). Our flight didn’t leave until 6:15 but I wanted to make sure we were there in enough time to get there. It was a good thing we left early because it was foggy. In addition to it being foggy out I wanted to be prepared because you never know what you might run into. Fortunately we got there safely but as soon as we were parked and dad was trying to get the luggage out, my DS got sick in the parking lot. He warned me at home that he wasn’t feeling very well. He said he felt like he was going to that. After all of that, we got through security rather easily and headed to where the plane was going to take off.
Our flight wasn’t scheduled to take off until 6:15 am but we had to board the plane at 5:55. Usually I remember to bring food for the plane ride, but being so busy with getting ready and for Christmas, I actually forgot. There was nothing open to get any kind of food except Starbucks and the line to that was horrible. Everyone was hungry too. We finally get ready to board the plane and they tag our carry on luggage because not only are we in a little plane, but you have to walk out on the tar mat to get too it! Next time we fly United, I am going to make sure we don’t leave before 8:00 am because the stewardess said that is when the bigger planes start taking off.
We are in the air to Denver, my son gets sick. Poor little guy doesn’t have much left got get sick on, but he manages it a couple of times just going to Denver. Later I found out there are absolutely NO snacks on this flight. No peanuts, no pretzels or no anything. We did get a drink, which did not help Josh. Keep in mind, the plane only has four seats across and I am sitting by myself (well with someone else who is not in our group). Everyone else is sitting behind me. The girls are together, and my dad and DS are together.
When we get to Denver we find out that we pulled into gate B84. Our next gate out? B18. I thought with an almost two hour lay over we would be going from one gate to another. Man, I didn’t expect to have to walk that whole way. I didn’t realize how big the Denver Airport was. About half way down to our gate, I couldn’t take it any more. I was starving and so were the kids. There it was a McDonalds and a few other places to eat. I am not a HUGE McDonald’s fan, but my kids like it. Dad refused to eat there. So, for the sake of my stomach and for the kids in the long line I go. I finally get up to the counter, get the food only to realize that we have about 30 minutes until we board the plane AND we still have a long ways to go to get to the gate. We pack up everything we own and head down to the gate so we can sit down and FINALLY eat.
We are fed, fat and happy. Ok, well maybe I was the only fat one but at least my headache was going away because I got food. My son ate, and so far he kept it down. Our turn comes to get on the plane; we are told that when we go to board the plane to please, don’t take a lot of time with the putting your luggage in the over head bins because the walkway to the plane can get very cold. I am thinking “No problem”. We give them our tickets, head down the walkway, gets all the way down to where you board the plane and had to stop. I mean a dead stand still. Please don’t take this wrong, I think everyone has the right to fly, but if you have people that are in wheel chairs or special needs people or even people with small children, then they should be boarded first, get them safely to their seats, THEN start boarding other passengers. But no, we are all standing out in the walkway area as they help three people in wheelchairs to board the plane. It was cold inside that walkway, as was previously stated by the stewardess, but after standing there for a while you don’t really notice it. They finally get the people that need assistance on the plane. Again, I don’t have a problem with people who need assistance, but don’t sit there after keeping everyone standing in the cold walkway for such a long time and tell everyone else that you are on a tight schedule so get your luggage stowed so we can go-kind of thing. That is what the flight attendant started saying to us after we finally started to board the plane. “If you can please stow your luggage quickly because we have people standing in the cold breeze way” and “We are going to lose our place in line on the run way if you all don’t hurry.” That kind of thing. That made me so mad because I am thinking YOU all are the ones that took forever to even LET us start to board!
This time everyone in my party was sitting together. I sat between DD2 and DS, at DS’s request. Remember he had eaten while we were waiting to board the plane, but that didn’t last long as we went into the air and hit turbulence. Poor guy looked white as a sheet and next thing I know I am looking for the sick bags. After a while, I finally got him to rest for a little while. He started to feel better by the time we landed.
Then we had to figure out how to get to the hotel. I have never used Super Shuttle or any other shuttle service, after we get our bags, we go out to the curb and ask the lady there how to get our the shuttle. She was very helpful with getting them to pick us up. I thought I paid for an exclusive van on the website, come to find out, that wasn’t the case. I told him that when I made the reservation online it showed that it was exclusive. He said that a lot of people were having problems with online orders, he said that the best way to be sure would be to call Super Shuttle to verify the reservation. I was thinking I have to figure out how to get that changed for our return flight because I really wanted to be able to spend time in Disneyland before heading home on the 26th. My dad and I were talking about calling United to find out how hard/expensive it would be to change our flight out of Ontario, on the 26th.
Once we got to the hotel though, everyone was really nice and helpful. Our luggage got stored, I made sure we had our tickets to get into Disneyland; I went to stand in line to check in. We got checked in and a room was already available. Please keep in mind that we paid for a resort view. I decided we needed to check out that room to make sure it would be what we really wanted. What I found was not what I wanted. When you stepped out onto the balcony (I believe it had a balcony but I did not stay in the room long enough to really look around) the only thing you could see was the hotel across the way. If you looked down, I believe there was a garden. If you looked to the right, I believe you could see California Adventure off in the distance but you also got a nice view of a crane and blue tarps. I was not happy. I immediately went down to the desk, stood back in line (because you couldn’t just go up to the counter to talk to anyone – even though I had just left there five minutes prior) which took away from my time of going into the park. I asked if we could possibly be moved to another room with a better view. I showed the desk clerk where I wouldn’t mind having a room, preferably a resort view because that is what we paid for, but I would take a Down Town Disney View and as high up as possible so we could view the fireworks.
The cast member looked over the rooms and showed me room number 3435 but said she could only get us the third floor because everything else was taken. I then asked her if all the resort view rooms were taken as well, and she said yes. I said if that is all that you have left I would take it. Then I asked if they had a roll away bed because there were five of us staying in the room, she proceeded to tell me that the only thing available was a sleeping bag with a mat. I was shocked at that because even at the Disneyland Hotel you could get a roll away bed. Therefore, not only did I not get the room I wanted/paid for, I had to sleep on the floor for the whole week. (I wouldn’t allow my dad to sleep on the floor, and I didn’t want my kids to get sick sleeping on the floor either.) I expected more out of a hotel that you pay a huge amount of money for especially at Christmas time. (Now I knew going into all of this that we would get a sleeping bag, but at the same time I hoped for more.)
After getting the room switched, we headed for Disneyland. I brought my little video camera to capture the moment. We got through security with little to no problems. Then it was through the front gates. The excitement was building, especially for me, because I have waited for so long to be able to do Christmas at Disneyland. The tree was beautiful and I love the Castle! I like the decorations on the street lights and down the streets. I loved seeing the decorations in New Orleans Square. Keep in mind that our day started our rather early so about this time though we were all getting pretty tired. My dad decided to he would head back to the hotel so when the room was available he could get in there and try to get rid of his headache. Starting around 3:00 I called the hotel to see if the room was ready. It was not. I kept calling the hotel every 20 minutes or so after that first time. Finally, right around 4:00 the room was ready, or so we thought. They gave us the room number, told us how to get there but when we did get there, the ladies cleaning the room were not done. They did hurry though to get done; shortly there after we were in the room.
The room we were in was over World of Disney, which was ok, but when you looked out the balcony window, you got a nice view of a sculpture. If you looked down, you got a nice view of a roof. I really would have preferred being on a higher floor. But at least I was able to see fireworks – when they had them. We got our luggage and I set to work with getting our little tree set up. DD2 helped me with getting it set up and decorated. It was just a ten dollar-32 inch fiber optic tree that I got at Wal-Mart before we left and brought it along, with some decorations, but it turned out cute.
For the most part the first day was shot after that. Everyone was tired. I fell asleep right around 8:00 pm (which was almost 10:00 in Texas time) and after being up at 2:30 am and traveling, I was beat. From what I heard my kids finished watching the new Bring it On movie, and then they fell asleep around 9:00 pm.