View Full Version : DisneyMom4Life - June 23-26, 2010 - Grand Californian Hotel

06-28-2010, 02:49 PM
Cast: Ivy, 33(Me, Disneyland veteran); Cody, 36(Husband, also a Disneyland veteran); Kari, 6(Daughter, LOVES Mickey & Friends and the Pixies); Mia, 3(Daughter, loves the princesses); {Beth, 46(neighbor) & Nick, 16(Beth’s son)} on the 24th.
Dates: June 23-26, 2010
Hotel: Grand Californian Hotel
Transportation: Car
Disney Resort Experience: Cody, Kari, and I have been AP holders for three years and this will be Mia’s first year as an official AP holder!
Comments: My baby girl, Mia turns 3 years old and we finally see World of Color!


Another excuse to go to Disney, right? Well, World of Color is finally open and my daughter is turning 3! Perfect timing! Now that it’s summer time, we’re finally splurging and staying on property, which means Magic Morning! A great time was had by all! The weather was gorgeous! We were able to see World of Color for the first time and Fantasmic for the first time since Christmas. It was great to have our neighbors join us for Mia’s birthday! Great trip!

Day One: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

6:30am, got the girls up, we got ready, locked up the house, and were out the door by 8am. After an hour and a half ride with some very excited and chattering daughters, we finally arrived at the Grand Californian Hotel at around 9:30. We love this hotel, it’s so nice inside and we love the special DCA entrance. When we checked in, they had a birthday button ready for Mia and they upgraded us from a standard view room to a theme park view room! Wow, what an awesome start! The room was ready, so we parked and took the luggage up to the room. Ah, how I love the rooms! Mia’s first instinct when we got to the room was to go and jump on hers and Kari’s bed while Kari went and looked at DCA as soon as we got in. After dropping the suitcases, Cody and I joked about leaving them in the room, and the girls immediately were out of there within seconds. Off to the parks!

Well, actually, Mia and I did not go to the parks immediately. I sent Cody and Kari to Disneyland while Mia and I went to Guest Relations to get her an AP. We got it after a little wait and then it was off to Disneyland! I didn’t have to use Mia’s AP till the next day, so I figured I’d enjoy one last day of taking a child in for free. So happy to be back on Main Street! When we got to the hub, Mia wanted to take a picture with “Mickey and the tall man” a.k.a. the partners statue. So, I took a picture of just her and then a friendly cast member offered to take a picture of both of us. Sure, why not? By this time, Cody called me and told me that him and Kari had just gotten done riding Haunted Mansion and that they’d meet us at Riverbelle Terrace. Okay, sounds good!

Mia and I made our way through Adventureland and made our way to Frontierland. After we met up, Kari wanted to go to Tom Sawyer’s Island since we hadn’t been there in a long time. Okay, why not? We took the rafts to the island and went exploring. Mia kept looking for bears in the caves (think Brother Bear)and ended up never finding any. We did find some treasure in Dead Mean’s Grotto. I know the girls like finding the pirate treasure, but I have to say I prefer the original island. Oh well. We also went climbing around the rocks (oh how I love that tilting rock!). After we were done with Tom Sawyer’s Island, we went into Adventureland to hang out there for a while. Kari and Cody had Indiana Jones FP that they were waiting to use. We went on the Jungle Cruise, and then looked around the shops a bit. Finally, Cody and Kari went on Indiana Jones with their FP while I took their tickets and got some Splash Mountain FP. While in Critter Country, Mia and I rode Winnie the Pooh.

After Winnie the Pooh, we walked through the Pooh store. Mia wanted to get a treat there. Okay, after we have some lunch. The four of us met up again and decided that I’d take Kari on Big Thunder. The two of us a wild time on the ride and then met up with Cody and Mia at the shooting gallery. Now, it was time to find someplace for lunch. We haven’t seen the Billy Hill show in a long time and it was playing that day, so it was off to the Golden Horseshoe! The girls and I got a table while Cody went and got food for us. He came back with chicken strips for Kari and I and fish ‘n chips for him. The show was great! I forgot how funny it was! We were sitting in one of the front tables, so Billy shot a “call me” face at me just before the show ended. It was funny!

There was a little time to kill before it was time to use the Splash Mountain FP. We went into Fantasyland and decided the lines were too long, so we went into Tomorrowland instead. This was going to be our last time riding Star Tours before it closes for its update to Star Tours 2. We decided on a stroller switch. Kari and Cody rode once and then I rode with Kari. Boy, as outdated as it is, I’m going to miss the original Star Tours. Afterwards, we rode Buzz Lightyear. This time around, I scored around 120,000 actually, for the first time in a long time, Cody didn’t break 200,000 points. He wasn’t too happy about that.

Kari and Cody were ready to go on Splash Mountain while Mia and I left the park to go back to the Grand Californian. We got ice cream cones on the way out. Time for a nap. I wasn’t tired, so I lay down in the room and took trip report notes while Mia slept. I had given all four Splash FP to Cody and Mia, so I figured they’d use all of them. They did. By the time Mia was awake, I offered to go swimming and she accepted. After getting changed, we went down to the pool. I called Cody and told him that we were down at the pool. By the time we hung up, they were back at the room getting changed into their suits. Kari jumped into the pool with Mia and I while Cody worked on his tan. Boy, what great weather we had.

After swimming in the pool, it was time to head back to the room. We planned on relaxing until the early evening since we planned on going to Disneyland for Magical. Cody went to Whitewater Snacks for a couple of drinks while I hung out with the girls and enjoyed the view of DCA. Kari napped for a little bit (she actually had a cold this past week and was almost over it the night before). After Kari slept for about a half an hour, we got ready to head back to Disneyland. Cody came back to the room and we were ready to go.

First thing we did was grab a seat for the Celebrate Street Party. As I mentioned in my last trip report, I don’t care much for the street party, neither does Cody, but the girls love it, so we don’t have much of a choice here. As much as I would rather have a regular parade, I will admit, it’s great watching the kids have a great time dancing with the characters. By the time the street party was over, the kids were really hungry, so we went to the Plaza Inn for dinner. Not my favorite place to eat, but we were all starving at this point in the day. Cody and I had chicken and Kari had some pasta. After dinner, I thought it’d be a good time to try and squeeze in a couple of last minute rides before Magical started.

We started off with a stroller switch ride on Matterhorn (Mia didn’t want to try it when I asked her about it). Then, I sent Cody and the girls off to do a couple of Fantasyland rides before they close while I grab a spot for the fireworks. I enjoyed some buttery popcorn while waiting. It was crowded on Main Street by the time they got back. Kari told me that they rode Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Tea Party. After waiting a little while longer, Magical began. I thought it was better done than last year. Dumbo was so cute and seemed to move a lot better than he did last year as well. The girls went nuts for Dumbo! Definitely an improvement for this year’s promotion!

After the show, we were all tired. Time to go back to the Grand Californian for bed. I think we were asleep at about 10:20.

Day Two: Thursday, June 24, 2010-Mia’s 3rd Birthday

Today, was our Magic Morning! The alarm went off too early at 6am! I got everyone up at that time as well and we were all ready to go by 7am. We were happy to be at Disneyland just a little after Magic Morning started. Beth called and told me that she and Nick would meet us at the RiverBelle Terrace after opening. Okay, cool! During Magic Morning, we started off with a trip to Neverland! After Peter Pan, we rode Mr. Toad, Cody and Kari rode Matterhorn while Mia and I rode Alice in Wonderland, then we concluded Magic Morning with the Nemo subs.

By the time Nemo was over, it was time to eat breakfast. We went to the RiverBelle Terrace for our Mickey Mouse pancake breakfast. Ah, you gotta love those mouse shaped pancakes! Beth and Nick arrived there before us, so we all got to eat together. How fun! Afterwards Kari, Nick, and Cody rode Big Thunder while Beth and I took Mia over to the Big Thunder Ranch to look at the animals. It was quite cute. We went back to Fantasyland and rode the Carousel, Storybook, and the Matterhorn.

Everyone else went on over to DCA while Mia and I stayed at Disneyland for our appointment for the Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique. This was a birthday present since she’s been wanting to be a princess. It was great! The ladies were so nice to her and did a great job! They made her hair look really pretty and she chose an Ariel dress to wear. She was the prettiest princess around by the time her makeover was done! It was so worth paying all that money and Mia LOVED her makeover! Now that her appointment was done, it was time to head off to DCA!

We grabbed FP to Soarin’ first. Afterwards, I found everyone getting off of Soarin’, so now I had a couple FP to use for later. Then, I sent everyone except Mia and I on Grizzly River Run while we grabbed the World of Color FP. We got FP for the yellow section for the 9pm performance (YES!!!!), which was awesome because I heard that yellow’s a really good section and because I have two young kids that need to be in bed at a decent hour, so the fact that we got the 9pm performance was awesome! While everyone was having fun on Grizzly River Run, we walked past the Little Mermaid construction and enjoyed Paradise Park. Mia even ran through the fountains a couple of times. By the time everyone else got off of Grizzly, we made our way through Paradise Pier over to Ariel’s and rode attractions on the way.

Toy Story had a wait, but it wasn’t too bad, so we decided to ride it. I’m not sure what everyone else thinks, but I prefer the new Dino Darts game to the sheep balloons game. It just seemed more fun. A great time was had and Nick and Cody walked off the ride having the highest scores in our party. Afterwards, Nick and Cody went to ride California Screamin’ while us girls went to ride Mickey’s Fun Wheel. It was a nice relaxing ride after that hectic Toy Story Mania ride. The boys met up with us after our rides were done and Beth and I decided to go ride California Screamin’ ourselves while everyone else hung around Paradise Pier. When Beth and I got off, we found them at the Boardwalk games. Nick, Beth, and Cody then decided they wanted to ride the Maliboomer. I took the girls over to ride Triton’s Carousel. Afterwards, we met at Silly Symphony Swings.

Then, Cody and Mia headed off to Ariel’s while Beth, Nick, Kari, and I rode Silly Symphony Swings. Kari’s too short to ride solo, so we had to ride the tandem swings, which was fine. Silly Symphony Swings is MUCH BETTER than that stupid Orange Stinger attraction that was once here! Love the classical music that’s played and the Mickey that’s on top of the canopy is too cute! Another great improvement to a lacking attraction! By the time we were done, it was time to check in at Ariel’s.

We had a fabulous lunch. Nick braved the princesses when they came to visit our tables. All of the cast members and characters were good with wishing Mia a happy birthday. Mia’s favorite princess is Ariel, and due to Ariel not having her meet ‘n greet grotto at Disneyland anymore, it was great seeing her again. Since the grotto closed we’ve only seen Ariel one time at the Princess Fantasy Faire. I miss Ariel having her fins, but it was nice to see her anyway. Anyway, Mia had a ball meeting with Ariel and Ariel even complimented on how pretty Mia’s “fins” were. It was so cute! Kari was also able to update her autograph book. Other than Ariel, we saw Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, and Aurora. They were fabulous as was everything else. We ordered the birthday cake for her and they sang happy birthday. It was really nice! The cake itself was alright, not the best. Mia enjoyed it every much, though.

After lunch, we were ready for more. Beth and Cody went on Mulholland Madness with Kari and Nick while Mia and I had a bathroom break. Then, we walked around while waiting for everyone else to get off the ride. Then I realized that we had to get back so Mia could nap before World of Color. We headed back to the Grand Californian after everyone got off the ride. Mia took a nap and I worked on my trip report notes. While Mia slept, Cody and Kari came back so they could change to go swimming for a little while. Beth and Nick went back to Disneyland to do some more rides there and told Cody that they’d meet us back at DCA for dinner. When Mia woke up, we went down to the pool to join them. Mia didn’t feel like swimming, so that saved me time on getting her into a swimsuit.

Kari swam for another half an hour and then we went back to the room so she and Cody could change to head back to DCA. This time, we used the special hotel entrance. We actually could’ve used the regular entrance since the first thing we wanted to do was use our Soarin’ FP, but when I called Beth to let her know we were back at DCA and told her we were planning to use the Soarin’ FP, she asked if we’d wait for her and Nick to return to the park so we could all ride together. So, Soarin’ was put on hold and instead, we went to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. We saw the MuppetVision 3D show and rode Monsters Inc.

Then Beth and Nick met us at Sunshine Plaza so we could use our Soarin’ FP. Since Cody and I had to do a stroller swap, he hung out with Mia and I rode with everyone first, then Cody rode with the group. So everyone except for Cody and I got two rounds of Soarin’. Great deal for them! After Soarin’, we looked for someplace to have dinner. Beth and Nick ate dinner at Disneyland, so they weren’t hungry. We decided on Pacific Wharf Café. While we ate our dinner, Beth and Nick went and rode California Screamin’ a few times. I had the clam chowder in a bread bowl (yum!) and Cody had a roast beef sandwich. There wasn’t anything that Kari wanted on the menu, so while I waited in line to get our food, Cody went to Taste Pilot’s Grill and got some chicken nuggets for her.

After dinner, we had about 45 minutes left until we could get into Paradise Park to claim our seats for World of Color. So, we headed off to a bug’s land to hang out over there. While over there, Beth suggested we take a picture of Nick and the girls with the Hopper display at It’s Tough To Be A Bug. So, they got with Hopper and I took my camera (that I wear in a case that goes around my neck) to take the picture only to discover that… THE WORLD OF COLOR FP WERE MISSING!!!!! Crap! Don’t panic! Too late! I started panicking and I continued panicking for about five minutes until Cody finally calmed me down. I have a lanyard with a little pouch that I carry my AP and all our FP in and it was missing from my neck! Now as I’m writing this report, I give great thanks to him because thanks to him calming me down, I was able to trace my steps and remember what happened to my lanyard!

I sent the rest of the group to go on some rides in a bug’s land while I made my way over to the Grand Californian. As I made the nervous trek there, I prayed with all my soul that my prediction was correct. Thankfully, it was! Just as I thought, I left my lanyard in the hotel room when I lay down on the bed to rest earlier in the afternoon. Phew! Yes! World Of Color was still on for us! I called Cody and told him that I found them and I’d meet him at Paradise Park. By this time, it was about 7:15, 15 minutes till the earliest time we could get into the viewing area. By the time I got there, I calmed down and was ready to enjoy myself again.

After handing off our FP, we claimed our AWESOME seats in the yellow section! We knew that it was standing seating only, but I figured it’d be okay if the girls sat down for a little while. We waited for about a half an hour before Beth and I and the kids decided to make our way to Sunshine Plaza to get some ice cream. We also checked out the Glow Fest that was going on a little. Looks fun, but maybe next time. Right now, we had World of Color waiting for us. While waiting, we enjoyed the pre-show with the large character puppets. I thought it was cute. We had Lumiere in our section. When the pre-show ended, the show began.

In one word, World of Color is…AMAZING! The fountains were amazing! The lighting and laser effects were amazing! The music was amazing! The seating was not so amazing. I’ve watched Fantasmic at least once a year since it first opened in 1992 and even though I’m still, after watching the show for eighteen years, not a big fan of sitting on the ground waiting 3+ hours for the show, I’d rather set a blanket down, send Cody and the kids to go on rides, and sit down relaxing while saving our seats. Here at the Paradise Park, it’s a different story. It’s all standing. After returning to our spot after getting ice cream, the girls got tired of standing and waiting that I had to put Mia in the stroller, and Kari had to sit down at my feet so we wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. I understand that if they want to fit all 9,000 guests in the viewing area, everyone has to stand, but I guess it’s just one of those “I hate it this way. I wish it were that way.” thoughts that I had on the viewing area.

World of Color is an amazing show as I just stated. However, one thing that the show lacks that I think is critical in a Disney show is story. I’d have to say that World of Color is more similar to a fireworks show but with water instead of pyrotechnics. Fantasmic is more like a theatrical production that has a story, actors, and special effects. I’m pretty sure that World of Color and Fantasmic are bitter rivals, but as amazing as the technology in World of Color is, I’m going to have to say this. If you have one night at the parks and can only see one show, Fantasmic or World of Color, I’d have to say Fantasmic wins my vote. Needless to say though, we all really enjoyed World of Color and it’ll be a show that we’ll have to see over and over again (despite the terrible seating).

After World of Color, we bid farewell to our neighbors and split up. Beth and Nick started heading over to the regular entrance to exit while the rest of us headed over towards the Grand Californian entrance making our way back to our room. Tired from the long day, we crashed at our room. Cody and the girls fell asleep at around 10:15pm.

Day Three: Friday, June 25, 2010

Disneyland didn’t open until 9, so we slept in a little. I got up at 7 and then got everyone else up at 7:30. We were ready to go at about 8:45am. It was rope drop time by the time we arrived. We went to the bakery and had cinnamon rolls for breakfast because the girls needed food or else they’d be grumpy. Then, we shopped around Main Street. We originally wanted to do some rides, but decided we wanted to get to Toy Story Mania and not have to wait a long time instead. However, while shopping, Cody did make the long trek to Space Mountain to get FP. At the Emporium, Mia got a stuffed white kitty. I think her name is Marie. She’s from The Aristocats. Kari decided she wanted to start pin trading. So, we got her a starter kit that came with four Tinker Bell pins. After we were done shopping, we went over to DCA to hit Toy Story Mania. When we got there, I was tempted to jump into the World of Color FP line, but tonight was Fantasmic. Next trip!

Thanks to getting to the park at opening, we didn’t have to wait that long compared to the day before when we hit the ride after opening. We spent a lot of time in Paradise Pier the day before, so we made the long walk over to Hollywood. We grabbed Soarin’ FP on the way. Cody went on Tower of Terror by himself while the girls and I did some character hunting. We rode Mike & Sulley and saw MuppetVision. It was warm out, so after Cody came out, we went into the Animation Building to cool off. While in there, we saw the Turtle Talk With Crush. Then, we learned how to draw Pluto!

Back to Disneyland! We had noon reservations at the Big Thunder BBQ, so we wanted to hang out over near there. Cody and Kari went to grab Splash Mountain FP while Mia and I went to check in at Big Thunder BBQ. After checking in, Kari and Cody came back and I took Mia to the bathroom to change. She was wearing her Ariel dress that she got the day before at the Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique and I didn’t want it to get ruined, so I had her change into regular clothes. We were seated as soon as we came back out. Boy, the food here is REALLY good! We ate so much and were so full after lunch! The girls and I had a potty break and changed Mia back into her Ariel dress while Cody went and got in line for Dumbo. We promised Mia we’d ride this since she’s been wanting to for a long time. By the time we got done with the bathroom, we were half way through the line and then it was finally our turn. Mia and I rode in a purple Dumbo while Kari and Cody rode in a green one. Long line, but it was worth seeing Mia happy.

After Dumbo, we rode the Carousel a couple times to kill some time. We were actually waiting for the Coke Corner show to start at Main Street. Then, we went and watched. Peter Pan, Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts were all entertaining people with jokes and musical chairs. It was great because Kari got pulled into the game. She had a great time playing and it was funny to watch Peter Pan constantly try to steal her seat and boot her out of the game. After the show, we decided it was time for Kari to make her routine visit to Pixie Hollow. She had a thank you card that she made for Terence for when we almost forgot her autograph book on our last trip and he rushed it out to us (see my May 7-9 trip report). So, she was hoping he’d be out. First fairy was Silvermist. She remembered the girls from our last visit, so that was really nice. Then it was on to see Tink and yes! Terence was there too! Kari happily greeted them with hugs and gave Terence her card. He was thankful for it and complimented her drawings.

Once we exited Pixie Hollow, we grabbed Indy FP and headed back to DCA so we could use our Soarin’ FP and watch the Pixar Play Parade. We staked out spots for the parade and then took turns riding Soarin’. Kari and Cody used two of the FP and then Kari and I used the other two. We also went to Greetings From California and bought matching World of Color T-shirts. I heard about pins, but couldn’t find them. By the time we got done, the parade was about to start, so we joined Cody and Mia at the curb. The parade was fun as usual and Kari got squirted with water! After the parade, we went back over to Paradise Pier. Kari and I rode Mulholland Madness and then we all rode Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Lastly, I rode California Screamin’ via the single rider line. Cody and the girls watched the launch, which was cool! Afterwards, we headed back to Disneyland, where we made our way over to Frontierland to stake out spots for Fantasmic. Kari and I used the Splash Mountain FP while Cody and Mia saved our spots. When we got back (after riding it twice thanks to having four FP), Cody went to the Stage Door Café to get dinner. Oh, how I love Disney’s corn dogs! We also got some Mickey ice cream bars from an ice cream cart.

We passed on going on any rides so that we could rest. Today was a big day and we still had FP that we had to use. Cody was exhausted (work had been rough for him for the past week) and so was Mia. They both lay on our blanket while waiting for the show to start. At 9:05, precise, Fantasmic began. Kari and I love Fantasmic, Mia will watch, but doesn’t really understand what’s going on, and Cody uses the show as a chance to take a break, but enjoys it. Yeah, my decision was right. Fantasmic, in my opinion, is better than World of Color. Kari loves the dragon and the finale. It’s just an amazing show and I don’t think anything could ever replace it. After Fantasmic, we watched Magical from the Rivers of America. I definitely prefer the show from the castle, but it’s better than skipping it completely.

By the time Magical was over, Mia had fallen asleep in her stroller and Cody was so exhausted. So, he took Mia back to the Grand Californian while Kari and I decided to stick around the park and go on a few more rides. We rode Indiana Jones twice using the FP. Then, we went back into Frontierland and rode Big Thunder. We would’ve ridden Big Thunder first, but the crowd control cast members were herding us out through Adventureland. After Big Thunder, we went through Fantasyland and into Tomorrowland so we could use our Space Mountain FP. We rode that twice and decided that for our last ride of the evening, we’d ride Peter Pan. The wait wasn’t bad at all, maybe 15 minutes.

It was a little past midnight by the time we got done with Peter Pan. Tired, but satisfied, we slowly made our way out of Disneyland and back to the Grand Californian. By the time we got back, Cody and Mia were sound asleep. We changed and crashed that night. We were asleep by about 12:40am.

Day Four: Saturday, June 26, 2010

Today, our passes were blocked out, so no going to the parks that day, which was quite nice, actually. Kari and I didn’t wake up until about 9:15am while Cody and Mia were up by 7am. When we got up, they were just getting back from having breakfast at La Brea Bakery. Darn, they went without us! Oh well. We were ready to go at about 10:30am. We checked out of the Grand Californian and went into Downtown Disney. We pin traded with a couple of cast members and went to World of Disney to look around. Kari and I continued our search for the infamous World of Color pins! I asked a cast member and as it turned out, they’re only available at Paradise Pier in the park! Darn it! I wish that we looked there too! No biggie, though. I did end up ordering them online when we got back. We also shopped at Build-a-Bear workshop so Mia could make a bear for one of her birthday presents from my parents. She made a princess bunny.

After shopping, Kari and I were starving, so we decided to go to Rainforest Café for lunch. We got in after waiting for about 5 minutes. Cody wasn’t that hungry since he had a good size breakfast, so he just got Lava Nachos from the appetizer menu. I got Fish ‘n Chips and Kari had pepperoni pizza. For dessert, we tried the peanut butter pie. It was really delicious! After lunch, we decided to leave since we wanted to get home before traffic started hitting. So, we got in the car and drove on home.

Talk about a fantastic trip! Kari and I got to close Disneyland for the first time ever, we were satisfied with World of Color, Kari and I are now pin trading partners, Mia is now an awesome three-year-old, and we had a ball spending one of the days with our neighbors! So sad that it’s over now, but we’ll be back in August with my sister, brother-in-law, and my two nephews!

06-28-2010, 03:16 PM
Fun report! Thanks for writing it! Sounds like a really awesome trip. :) I like your screen name, too!

06-28-2010, 05:42 PM
That's a great trip report! Looks like you and your family had an awesome time at the parks:)

07-02-2010, 09:24 AM
Sounds like a great time!! :D