View Full Version : Oregon train ride - March 22-26, 2010 - Motel 6

03-30-2010, 09:10 PM
March 22- March 26
Motel 6
Travel by train from Salem Oregon
Dad, 54, single day visits as a child, Son 14, three visits in past, 3-5 days in length

MOTEL 6 Sorry to expose the secret, but Motel 6 has been underrated in the past and is now a great lodging at budget rates. The rooms have recently been remodeled in a California metro style. The wall that braces the headboard is a dull cream orange color and all the accents used in the room are a black lacquer color, the bathroom floor is tiled and the main floor is bamboo. The rugs have been removed and replaced with bamboo or faux bamboo tile/strips The beds rest on a center pedestal, that pedestal being black lacquer wood, so nothing can be lost under the bed. The night stand is also black as is the frame around the flat screen TV on the wall. A vinyl cushion chair is in the corner as is a black lacquer table. There is no dresser or any storage with drawers. Closet is open with steel hangars and midway down is a black lacquer luggage rack with an open space for storage. Towels are stored in a bright cubby holes as well on racks in bathrooms. The floor is the shiny thick tile now found on department store floors. Bathtub is larger round and curtain has rod loops instead of rings and the toilet and sink area is now enclosed with two large doors. My mouth dropped open when I saw all of this glamorous change. New windows may have been added as I did not hear traffic from I-5 on the north tower. New heat/cool system. No clocks in the room and we didnít have a fridge or microwave as it didnít fit our needs for a different reason. My only suggestion is to bring a thin rug for the sink area as the dirt tracked in by shoes becomes visible when the floor is wet. Large open storage area under sink. Also, two ART buses serve the area, 7 and 16. 7 stops at the Marriott Inn on an accessible south side, 16 on the west side of the Motel 6. Route 16 is a long route, going north over I-5 to an RV park and makes its Disney stop further away from the Disney gate. Route 7 is very compact and its first return stop is on the east side of the Motel 6, so if your room is on the east side, a quick step over the shrubs into the east Motel 6 parking lot. There is a shaded bench at Motel 6 for waiting for the ART. We didnít have a fridge because we had ice chests and there is a microwave in the vending area with eating tables. During our stay no one used the lobby microwave while we were eating or cooking. Front desk is manned very well and very courteous folks who made taxi calls, wake up calls, and fast service on other needs. The only drawback to the Motel 6 is the outside structure. Painted recently, it still has cosmetic flaws, like paint over rust, dirt on the stucco surface, no sweeping or litter patrol and failure to clean flower beds of cigarette butts. And Motel 6 is not walking distance with small children, for daily return visits (naps, dry clothes, coats, etc) or if you tire physically. We paid 10.00 each for a 3 day ticket and it was worth the purchase.

TRAIN TRAVEL : If you are on a budget and saved every penny to return to Disneyland then riding the train is a great way to travel. Do not ride the train if you have sleep issues, if it is your first visit to Disneyland, or you cannot afford a fifth night/day to burn your first day near the resort for sleeping , swimming, Downtown Disney BUT no visit to Disneyland the day after arrival by train. Again, do not visit Disneyland the day after your arrival by train. REST.

Train tickets are refundable with a small % non-refundable for cash out or tickets can be saved for a future trip with rules for booking the future trip . I bought the cash value of the ticket in 2008 but had to cancel the trip. I reserved in August of 2009 and continually surfed the Amtrak site and booked even better rates 6 weeks later. We booked the sleeper car so that we could be rested upon arrival. We were not rested upon arrival. First, our train was 2 Ĺ hours late into LA. So we had to take an Amtrak bus to the baseball stadium. Seven families on the bus arrived at the Angel stadium to find no taxis. We had to call and wait for the taxis to arrive. We laid our head down on a non-moving bed at 2:00 a.m. and only that early because I only needed a taxi car and not a van like the families. This was a critical cause for our lack of sleep on our trip.
The sleeper car provides free meals, bottled water, fruit, champagne, ice, towels and face cloths, showers, newspapers and sleeping level bathroom. Also sleeper travelers have a private dome car with very comfortable chairs with arm rests. Electrical outlet for our radio in our sleeper, so we listened to classical music by radio from Sacramento to Santa Barbara (we slept at sunset till Van Nuys). The room has a sliding clear door with curtain. Beds are made up before Santa Barbra so the only flat sleep after SB is the lower bunk converted from the two chairs.

We used coach travel on return north. Train was empty leaving out of LA, so very relaxing with few passengers, not crowded in the dome car. When traveling coach you will need to bring a pillow from home ( I always travel with my own pillow), blankets and water, some of the train water tanks taste awful, some are fine. At Oakland is when it became crowded, many people walking down the aisle, long waits at snack bar car and the wariness of conductors.

The plus of train travel is the refundable ticket, 3 luggage pieces at 45 pounds each and two carry-ons. So this allows for the budget Disney trip to bring ice chests of food, suitcases of food and overhead accessibility of food as well as downstairs carry on access. Plenty of leg room and comfortable up right sleeping or leg rests for small children to sleep on . If you have more then two folks traveling, ask for the seats to be on the same side of the train, so the children can lay flat on the floor under the family seats. Our round trip was 489.00, round trip taxi fair at 20.00, compare to risky airline ticket at 550, 90.00 round trip taxi fair, parking at the airport ( some cities have free train parking) and paying for luggage.

The only negative is the lack of sleep and that can be taken care by booking that extra night, which I did not, thinking that sleeping car would be great for sleeping. The scenery is great and that was part of my problem, didnít want to miss anything. I napped across the Salinas valley as fields of vegetables looks all alike for 75 miles. And I slept well due to exhaustion from San Jose to just north of Mt. Shasta on return trip, waking only to adjust my sore body from sleeping upright. This year was a great March, everything was green and blooming and Oregon was Christmas card white. Saw dolphins in Santa Barbara, turkeys east of Salinas in a wonderful valley pass, Deer and wild pigs west of the chevron oil fields along the Salinas river. And the California ocean, makes you glad that you live the in the Pacific Northwest. Oil rigs, no beaches, RV highway parking and no surf.

Day 1-Tired

On four hours of sleep on a non-moving bed and one bad apple of a train trip, we walked into the Park at 8:05 with no line at the gate. The only line on Tuesday or Wednesday was at security, only one screening tent so lines went out to the bus hub on the east side. Looked through my sling pack of water bottles, snacks and cheese. We caught a ride with Stephanie on MS in the yellow car as she gave a spiel about the car. Walked thru an empty NOS and began fast pass ticket collections and riding. ďLove the smell of Chlorine in the morningĒ as we walked onto splash 3 times in a row. On Thunder we got red carded for Cms to monitor wait times. Rode JC and Tarzan, and walked on to Pirates and HM. Got a barrel of bad apples in the PoC boat behind us as teen girls insisted on screaming the whole trip. We eventually began to sit on benches to wait 7 mins for our next collection of FP tickets. FP collection waits were not long because I think visitors had no idea what or how to use the tickets. This was supported by the duel stairway at Indy. We turned the bend to make a choice of stairwells and no one was using the right, visitors were all using the left stairwell, so we moved on up the right side, empty up and half away across. By noon, Thunder was at 10 min standby and Indy was at 50 min and PC and HM had moving lines with no standing. With 2 sets of FP for every ride and having been on every attraction, it was time to sit in the Golden Horseshoe for an hour and Ĺ to see the only weekday Billy Hill show at 1:30. Tables were filled by 12:30. While waiting for the show, my son stayed at the table and I walked across over to Rancho to use the bathroom. That is when I encountered my first Non Disney Moment. A father had his kids stand in the fountain against the wall, shoes and all, splashing like birds, to snap a photo. Returned to the Horseshoe for my second NDM: four tables had been reserved in the front and the honored guests had not shown up by 1:00. So folks were beginning to sit at the tables to no fault of their own. The reserve signs, which were double sided placards, were not taped to the table, not weighted down or secured by poles. So anxious young children from another crowded party table would sit at the table and knock off the signs to the floor and under the table. The food laden parents had no idea that the table was reserved and sat down to enjoy their lunch. This happen to the tables at each end of the row. So by the time the guests arrived with a Disney vested host, two of the four tables were full of people. The two tables were occupied with children and parents and I watched as the parents conversed with the DL host about how it was unfair to remove a family who had been sitting long before the reserved guests arrived. Eventually the honored guests had to double up at the two remaining tables.
We left the NOS area and noticed that the magic was gone with no steamboat whistle, no river vista and the piped speaker music competing with jackhammers, tractor noises and yelling workers. And do not board the ART between 3:15 -3:45, shift change creates a long wait and maybe not even boarding due to large group of riders stacking up.
We returned to the motel and promptly fell asleep for two hours. Ate dinner and packed our ponchos as our goal tonight was to focus on night time riding, Grizzly at night and Thunder with fireworks. But it wasnít dark yet, so waited with my son on Tower of Terror up to ride loading and then I exited the ride. The TOT queue is worth the wait and walk, very nice theming. We then rode MM, did they put in new cars? Much more comfortable then 2 years ago. Then on To Grizz for four rides in a row in the dark. The first trip was with a family who had no concept of the word wet. Signs everywhere. They walked into the darkness after the ride really soaked. After my son did single rider on Screamin, it was over to DL to ride Thunder during the fireworks. Great booming sounds and each crest has an explosion of color in the sky. Definitely a ride within itself, Thunder and fireworks. And because we exited during the fireworks on the right side we walked up the walkway to see the beauty over the peak. And since everyone was watching, there was no line, we rode again. We still had a set of tickets so we practiced the Disney magic and found a pair of tween boys and handed them the tickets.

Day 2 -Exhausted. ďThere goes the cakeĒ

Its our early morning entry and the only line is at security. Walked onto PP with a 5 min and 15 min wait. AT 7:30, line was at 30 mins, so did Alice twice with quick lines and then off to Nemo for first time visit after securing Space FP. 45 min wait in Nemo line that has a constant cutting in line problem: so a good place to see many bad apples: folks bringing food, Fastpass collecting , children, extended families. The chain area is great for cutting so plan your morning around Nemo chains. Eventually I had enough of the cutting , so I intervened when a non-English speaking eastern Europe bloc group wanted to cut under the chains in front of me to join another large group. The only problem is that they wanted to insert a large stroller into the line. I wouldnít let them in and redirected the family to the front of the line. Well this made the waiting group mad and the big fellow in the group spoke up with very good English and gave me an ear full. My only response, ď They had a stroller, do you see any other strollers in the line.Ē So I meet my first character in the park, which was fine, the park was empty of Disney characters and could only be seen on Main street around the flag pole. Oh, and another character I meet was on the ART bus, father/mother with young boy on their very first early morning. So I advised them to ride PP first, then Dumbo, then catch other rides. Well I saw them pass up PP on my second time in line, a 15 min wait and they passed it up and the horror of it all, walked on to Snow White and her puppet neighbor. Then they bounced all around the park trying to find the ďno linesĒ of early morning entry.
At 9:45 after collecting more FP sets, I headed off to DCA and spent 3 hours on my now 3rd best ride, Toy Story, what a blast!!!!! First wait was 45, second wait 30, then back to 45. What I liked was the hidden bonus features. When I read about toy story here on mouse planet I had no concept of what I was reading. So I had to ride over and over to understand the thunderstorm balloon drop, the larger the bee, the more mist, the cannons and flying UFOs. I didnít mind the waiting as the queues were wide, shaded and the roar of screamin overhead. At night, when the light show kicks in, this will be a great waiting area. Son did screamin and I did single rider on my number 2 favorite, Grizz. Once again families unaware of how wet they would leave the ride, and this was without the geyser, I guess it was broken as it never erupted. DCA was packed by the time I left, Grizz line was out to second bridge by geyeser, soarin had 2:30 FP return. So I needed some sitting time and air conditioning so went to rest in Crush, very refreshing room and time.
Then off to Main street to prepare for the celebration parade. Sat on the bench as I am tired and really needed to sit. So I sat on the benches and saw Disney moments that I had never seen. The firemen band with Characters dancing in the musical acts and the changing of the horses on street cars as the street was being roped and prepared for the parade. But I didnít see a whole lot of folks on empty benches below the Train Station. Well, I asked around and discovered that parade was a shorter route. So I moved to the empty benches by the flag pole at 2:30 and watched the photographer using the celebrate icon for group backdrops. At 3:00, benches still empty and sidewalk empty on sunny side of the street. What gives? I walked over to a chosen spot to stand in the Emporium roof shadow. Once again not very crowded. And then I understood why, it wasnít a parade but staged dancing with props. No Disney music, no heart pulling themes, just dancing with special human effects. My only joy was seeing two rare characters, Wendy and the Chip and Dale girl chimpmunk. Parade did interact with the crowd, pulling youngsters out into the street and adults. Touching characters and lots of color.
Back to the motel for nap and dinner. On return to bus almost saw a tragic moment. A young boy who DID NOT WANT TO WALK AROUND ANYMORE darted from his parents and ran out into scary bus traffic. When caught by parent, the child was screaming and kicking, he did not want to go anymore. As we left the bus stop, parents were still consoling the boy while siblings watched on. A tough call, I never had more than one child with me at Disney, but sometimes children need to be heard or stroller rented, which I did do when my son was five.
On to toy story , again, and bench sitting while son rode screamn. Then off to the fireworks, had a detour because of electric light parade, around Grizz, funny incident is that 95% of the folks were following folks to the right to the east side, thru the trees behind the loading area rather then staying left around redwood creek. Once on main street at 9:10 we found a spot half way up the street to the produce wagon. I thought fireworks were better from this spot then on Wednesday spot. I was surprised to find that as we left main street and head toward TML that all areas were roped off, this backed up folks on main street and we came to standstill. On Wednesday we were on rocket side of castle hub, really close, neck sore close. I wanted closer to see the spinning wheels. Well, one wheel didnít work. On Wednesday, we did feel the heat from the flames. Tuesday night we rode SMW and I was too tired to be beat up by Matterhorn, so I went back to motel, son stayed in park till close.

Day 3 Exhaustion does not take a holiday.

Okay, I have been burning the candle on each end, to bed at 11:00 up at 6:00 to be early. I am so tired, that I think Wednesday is early entry, so my goal is be at the gates by 8:00 to walk in fast. First, there are now two security tents and for once no lines at security that stretch forever. I arrive at 7:50 and no lines!!! There is a rope drop at the castle hub and I make it up to the Clothiers. Wow, this is really cool, Peter Pan again!!! I see a couple in front of me and it is her first time at Disneyland. I suggest PP first, her partner says no way, Dumbo is the traditional first ride. Well the park did its homework right, I boarded at 8:10 and when I came out the wait was at 35 mins. So off to frontier land and rode everything again but INDY, even did splash 3 times in a row without leaving the log. But I was getting tired so I sat on the benches in front of Rancho restaurant, taking in the flowers and manicured landscape, watching hummingbirds dart amidst the red flowers. And then there on the ground, a lizard. Tradition continues, on our last visit we saw a lizard. This time however it was near the painters touching up the area. The younger painter was telling the elder painter that he saw a lizard and the elder said, no way!!!
Off to Toy Story again and this time helped a family with their first time ride and even took their eldest on my tram so he could see Bo Peeps thunder storm, the bursting bee, the firing cannons and flying bursting rockets. I wasnít there for points, but for the extras. Just loved this ride. And even a bathroom is close by at the exit. However, management was correct, Wednesday was the most crowded day as the wait was at 60 mins by noon. My son asked what little mermaid is going to be like, I suggested just like this ride if they want it to be a hit, we toss fish, clams, coins and anchors on to her successful trip from surf to turf. On the next wait in line found a family with Hidden Mickey book and got some tips. On my sonís next visit, he going to buy the book and focus on the hidden mickeys. He went screamn again and I need a good seat, so off to Crush where he really put one jokester in his place with the warm feeling moment. The crowd loved it!!!!! Back to room for rest and dinner. Returned to DCA for tower walk, Bugs life and bench below the vineyard at 45 mins before parade for Pixar parade. My favorite float, the sectioned caterpillar, just a clever idea!!!! Colorful parade and the pre announcement by mike and roz were a kick. Did grizz again with ponchos, though thinner ponchos this time then last, so I did get the bottom of one leg on my shorts wet, But not as wet as the little kids with goose bumps. They were toast for the night. Walked through Redwood creek and my son realized that 10 years ago this would have been his favorite, what a great park for kids!!!! We ate at Whitewater snacks, had the nachos at 9.99 big meal of tortilla strips instead of corn chips, sour cream and avocado and salsa. Son had kids burger meal and kept on looking for the magnify glass to see his burger. Then over to the Sun Wheel/mickey wheel for a stationary ride. Saw the light show in the water so was hard to watch the waterworks and up in the air surrounding lights. So a 2fer1 trip.
I wanted to get a good area for the fireworks so wanted to sit on a bench. It was easy, many empty benches at 8:00 at castle hub. After the fireworks worked way over to NOS, rode pirates just in time as it was being closed due to fire alarm. Which made sense, because as we entered Pirates, there was awful sulfur smell outside in the chain area. FP indy and boy was it a rough ride, this did me in and I said no more riding, that was not fun. So off to do my traditional end of the vacation, good bye ride. Casey Jones, only ride it at night. Rode in the caboose as I wished, It was great. Too early for my son to leave, so we rode Snow White. Guess what, if you are really exhausted and just caní t leave that Disney magic, Snow White isnít so bad at night. At least she got some sleep from a bad apple, all I got was exhaustion.