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losaitkens
08-17-2005, 09:02 AM
Okay, this is my very first trip report but since I have enjoyed so many of your stories I thought I would share mine.

Sat August 13th
My husband, two daughters and I were a little stir crazy from being stuck inside due to the Vegas heat so at about 9 pm we decided that a spontaneous trip to Disneyland would be a lot of fun. Our 8th wedding Anniversary was also in a few days so we decide this would be a great way to celebrate. We have APs now so I just needed a room and could not believe it when I went online and found the Disneyland Hotel for $169 on Orbitz! I quickly booked the rate for 1 night, broke the news to a very excited 5 year old, packed a suitcase and got everyone to bed for an early departure.

Day 1-Sun August 14th
Left early and found the 4 hour drive to be very easy as we were all pretty excited. My daughters and I had actually just gone to Disneyland 3 weeks ago with my Mom but it was nice to have Daddy along this time and Makenna, my 5 year old, is just crazy about Disneyland and her excitement never seems to fade. The Disneyland Hotel was busy but efficent. My husband, Jon, checked in and they had trouble finding the reservation and almost had to put us in the Grand Californian(yeah!) but eventually it got it straightened out(darn!). Makenna and Sophie (my 8 month old) visited with Goofy while we waited for Jon. We had stayed at the Disneyland Hotel once before and I just loved the feel you get by staying on property. The magic just starts the moment you get out of your car.

Our room wasn't ready yet so we hopped on the monorail over to the park. It was around noon so I was prepared for big crowds. The weather was wonderful! Overcast and not too hot, made the crowds seem more bearable than they were three weeks ago. We immediately got fast passes for Space and had a 5 PM return time. I was surprised there were any left at all! We walked around a little and decided it was just too crowded and that we'd be better off in DCA.

DCA was empty. We got FP for Soarin (my favorite ride). On our last trip the FP were gone for Soarin by noon so I was pleasantly surprised with our 3 PM return time. Walked over to GRR and it was walk on! Jon and Makenna rode this while I hung back with the baby. We then walked over to the paradise pier area and it was a ghost town. Makenna rode the Zephyr and the Orange Stinger a couple times (not our favorites but she enjoys them) and then we swang back to Soarin' and got a child switch pass while Jon and Makenna went through. I really love the child switch system. It allows both Jon and I to ride the ride and Makenna gets to go on everything twice!

After Soarin, we went back to Disneyland Hotel and got our room. I had requested the Sierra tower which they accomodated but we did have one of the smaller, 2 doubles rooms. The Sierra tower was undergoing renovation so the center elevators were closed. This was not that big of deal to us but thought others might want to know. We had a pool view which I thought was a treat as we did not have a view room on our last stay here. We headed to the pool which was not crowded and both girls enjoyed swimming. I love the resort feel of the Disneyland hotel with the music poolside and all the theming. I was so happy we decided to stay here!

Okay here is one of our special "Disney" moments. We went back up to our room and while getting ready there was a knock on the door. My husband seemed very excited and let in a gentlemen delivering a tray with Sparkling Apple Cider, two champagne flutes, strawberries, whipped cream & brown sugar! Turns out Jon had mentioned to Nicole, the girl who checked us in, that it was our anniversary and asked if they did anything special. She told him about this dessert tray and he thought it sounded great and asked how much it cost. She replied it was complimentary! I was so surprised and impressed with the service still available at this hotel. We toasted and shared the strawberries with our girls (little Sophie LOVES strawberries) and could not wait to start out again for our evening. Our trip had really been magical so far..

To be continued- sorry if this is long and rambling. I will try to make it a little more condensed when I post again. ;)

Nicole

oregontraveler
08-17-2005, 12:28 PM
what a great trip, looking forward to reading the rest of the report.

Hakuna Makarla
08-17-2005, 12:35 PM
You got a complimentry desert tray? I never heard of this! so cool!! Loving your trip report, please go on ..........

yellowrosedtxn
08-17-2005, 12:51 PM
Please don't condense it. I love reading the details! That is so cool!

Thanks for writing!

Disney4Me
08-17-2005, 12:56 PM
That is great! What a nice surprise for you. Hope the rest of your trip is great too.

Skunker
08-17-2005, 01:43 PM
Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip with us! I am excited because we are driving out and will be going through Las Vegas...I can't wait!

losaitkens
08-17-2005, 11:55 PM
You got a complimentry desert tray? I never heard of this! so cool!! Loving your trip report, please go on ..........


I know! I was shocked too! I even checked the folio to make sure my husband wasn't crazy but they did not charge us. The woman at check in may have just been being nice as my husband, on occasion, can be quite charming ;)

losaitkens
08-18-2005, 01:02 AM
Thank you to everyone for all the kind responses. I have used this board as an invaluable source of information for the last few months but have only posted a few times. I feel like I know many of you a little already and love how passionate we all are about Disneyland. Here's the rest of my report:

August 14th- Day One (cont...)

After enjoying our desert tray, we got ready to head back to Disneyland to use our Space Mountain FPs. We decided not to ride the monorail as only one was running and collapsing Sophie's stroller was a bit of a challenge. I also love the feel of walking through DTD. We stopped at Build-a-Bear where Makenna built a Rag Doll (this is their new product, called "friends to be made"). It was very busy and they had the 2nd story open which was fun even though it had all the same stuff as the 1st floor. Asked about AP discount (I had read that someone had gotten one there recently) and was told I could get $5 off a $30 purchase. Very cool! My husband Jon was even asking to build his very own boy rag doll which proves he can also catch that Disney disease many of us have where we think everything we see is worth buying! We left our Rag Doll at the store to be picked up later and headed to the main gate.

We entered Disneyland and took time to get a photo in front of the railroad with the 50th flower logo. One of the nice things about having APs for the 1st time is I notice it really slows us down and allows us to stop and appreciate things more because there is no pressure to get it all done. We entered the park as the Parade of Dreams was making its way around Mainstreeet but ended up hitting the Opera house. This was my first time inside since all the 50th displays were added and I could not believe I missed this. Makenna asked the CM (Gordon, I think) lots of questions about what rides were in the park when Disneyland opened and he was very patient and took her to the big model in the center of the room and explained the park layout. He also gave her an honorary citizen sticker. Makenna is only 5 but she seemed really interested in the park history and I was really surprised by how much she took away from the exhibit. The film was cute and we got a few "Magical Milestones" pressed pennies on our way out. Makenna now seemed really motivated to fill the pressed penny collector book we bought her with all the milestone pennies so I was really glad we finally got to experience the displays & film and recommend taking a peak, even with little little ones.

After the film we finally made our way to Space Mountain and it was a lot of fun. We did Child Switch and it was actually faster than the last time as they directed me to use the child switch pass through the handicapped entry rather than the FP line so we walked right on. When Makenna and I got off the ride, I called Jon on my cell phone and he informed me I HAD to come to the Club Buzz stage imediately as there was something very cool going on. It did not take long to figure out what had caught his interest- The Fab Four were performing. My father in law is a Beatles fanatic so of course Jon was raised on Beatles music growing up. I hadn't seen Jon this excited in a while and it was really cool to see. The Fab Four is really awesome. We watched the entire set and took turns dancing with our girls. This will also be one of my fondest memories of our trip, Jon holding Sophie and swaying while I twisted Makenna back and forth to the sounds of "I saw her standing there". I could not have been happier.

After the Fab Four, Jon took Makenna on Star Tours while I went to nurse Sophie at the baby center. Our plan was to meet up on Main Street for the fireworks. Boy was THAT challenging! I did not realize how crazy it would be at the hub and somehow Jon was able to find me AND get us two coffees at the Market House before the fireworks started. We had an okay view of the castle but could not see the matterhorn. I absolutely love this fireworks show and Makenna likes trying to figure out what rides are showcased. I am a little sad they are only doing fireworks on Fri & Sat after labor day as our next trip is a Sun-Tues in November.

After the fireworks we fought the crowds to get over to Big Thunder Mtn, Makenna's absolute favorite ride. It had a 15 minute stand by line so we went through and got a child switch pass as well as fastpasses for a little later. Unfortunately, the ride broke down shortly after Makenna and I rode it and we could not ride it multiple times like Makenna had hoped. Being only 5 and having slept very little, this was the cause of a little mini meltdown that wasn't helped much by the long lines at the Matterhorn and just about everthing else she wanted to do that night. She eventually settled on a turn around the teacups and we left the park around 11 pm, eager to get some rest and take advantage of the Early Entry that was now supposedly available to all resort hotel guests. I was eager to test this with our APs and could barely sleep I was so excited!

rentayenta
08-18-2005, 08:24 AM
Cool. I love reading about other's trips. Thanks for sharing! :)

losaitkens
08-18-2005, 10:03 AM
Cool. I love reading about other's trips. Thanks for sharing! :)

Thanks, Renta. I believe I have read and enjoyed a few of your trip reports too! I really love how welcoming everyone is on this board.

disney jones
08-18-2005, 10:45 AM
...... One of the nice things about having APs for the 1st time is I notice it really slows us down and allows us to stop and appreciate things more because there is no pressure to get it all done. .....exactly. one of the best things i've truly enjoyed in the time we've had our APs is taking the time to see all the great entertainment that DLR rolls out. And the Fab Four is a great example - they were so cool, especially seeing them with my girls who'd never been exposed to the Beatles.

great report!

losaitkens
08-18-2005, 06:41 PM
the Fab Four is a great example - they were so cool, especially seeing them with my girls who'd never been exposed to the Beatles.



I agree. It was so neat to look across the generations and see each age group getting something out of their performance. It was a trip highlight for us as well .

Maus
08-18-2005, 07:34 PM
I'm enjoying your report. You write well and I like reading about what you're feeling!

losaitkens
08-18-2005, 09:05 PM
Okay.. Last entry I promise!

Day 2-August 15th

Woke up early to get everyone ready for EE at 7 am. Tried to arrange for late check out to allow us more time to come back but was told they did not do this when the hotel was sold out so we would have to make the 11am checkout. Downtown Disney was deserted-it was kinda neat to be walking around so early.

Got to the gate at 6:45 am and were only the 4th or 5th family back from the EE gate. As we were waiting we saw the monorail zoom by carrying people so I guess it must transport hotel guests for early entry. We got to see the countdown to opening which I always enjoy and had no trouble using our APs with our hotel charge stub to gain early entry. The CM at the gate was very pleasant and when I showed her my AP she simply asked if I was a guest at one of the resort hotels and I then showed her the charge slip and we were in!

Early Entry is awesome! We headed to the Matterhorn as this was a major source of disappointment for Makenna the previous night and there was NO ONE there. Jon and Makenna got to ride twice without getting off and I then went through TWICE MORE with Makenna and also did not have to get off. We caught up with Jon and Sophie over at Peter Pan and took both girls on Dumbo, teacups and Alice. Makenna and I also took a few turns on Snow White, Mr Toad's, and Pinochio (sp?). After riding so many rides in such a short time, Makenna was in love with early entry and kept asking why we didn't do this everytime we came. It was cool and it truly felt like we had the park all to ourselves (especially on the Matterhorn!) and might make staying at the resort hotels worth it for AP holders.

We had sent Jon & Sophie ahead to get FP's for Splash and met up at Big Thunder which was working, causing great joy for Makenna as there was almost no line and we walked through twice and they allowed her to ride in a car by herself. This made the ride more "thrilling" for me as I sat behind in constant fear she would fly out. I also tried the "goat trick" which I had read about here but it did not work for me :( . My husband kept asking me where I was getting all this insider information and I of course gushed about these boards.

Splash was great as usual and we didn't really need our FPs as the wait was only 15 minutes. It really did not seem as busy as it was a few weeks ago and the weather was still wonderful, chilly and overcast, reminding us of our younger days living in San Diego. The girls visited with the Pooh Characters before walking on Haunted Mansion (I think I prefer the holiday overlay), we each enjoyed a fresh churro and grabbed FP for Indy on our way out of the park to check out of the hotel. It was one of the best mornings I had ever had in Disneyland.

We made our 11 am checkout (barely :) ) and headed back for a 2nd round of the parks, planning to stay only as long as we could take the crowds and heat that seemed to be creeping into the day. We entered DCA and did Soarin one more time and also spent some time in the Animation building. Turtle talk with crush was fun but I think it depends on who is voicing crush as this crush was not as quick with the comebacks or as prepared for the unpredictable responses of children (there was a rather uncomfortable exchange about toliets :) ) as the one I saw a few weeks back. Both kids still loved it though. We of course had to see what characters we were and Makenna got Ariel which made her day while I got Mulan and Jon got Flik for like the 3rd time. Poor guy, I know he is secretly longing for Prince Charming or Hercules but truth is, Flik is perfect for him! On the way out, Makenna got to interact with Cruella which was a hoot as she was her surly self and it was Makenna's first time with a not so nice character. She is still talking about their exchange.

Makenna and I did Soarin while Jon surprised me by getting me a small sterling silver ring with the word "love" with a mickey head in place of the "o". He said it was to commemorate our trip and our anniversary. I was really touched because I wasn't really expecting anything as the trip itself was our present. Disneyland definitely brings out the sentimental side of him.

We went back to Disneyland and used our Indy FP and also rode Big Thunder again for Makenna but we were definitely loosing steam after our 6:45 am start and decided to call it a day around 3:30 or so.

We really had a nice anniversary and though having the kids in tow wasn't ideal, we had just moved to Vegas and have no family there so we did not have a lot of options. Turns out you can still find moments of romance even with the kids around and it was nice to be reminded of that. I am very thankful we decided to take this last minute trip and it may go down as one of my more cherished disney memories even though it was the least amount of planning I have ever done. Funny How that works. ;) Thank you to everyone for listening and can't wait to read about all of your upcoming Disney adventures!

Nicole

nvmom
08-20-2005, 01:47 PM
Great trip report. Thanks so much for sharing!
We went to DLR for the first time this past March and I cannot wait to go back again... it really is a magical place.

nvmom

disneychelle
08-22-2005, 06:30 PM
Great trip report!! I was wondering what you could tell me about the rag dolls or if you have any pictures? That is exactly what my daughter wants to do when we go in Nov any info will help! I'm so glad you had a great trip!!

losaitkens
08-22-2005, 08:38 PM
I was wondering what you could tell me about the rag dolls or if you have any pictures? That is exactly what my daughter wants to do when we go in Nov any info will help!


Sure! The "Friends-2B-made" product is really great! It is similar to the "groovy girls" ragdoll series but MUCH better quality and detail. The Build a Bear ragdoll product is about 4 inches higher than the Groovy Girl ragdolls my daughter owns and also fuller and sturdier. The Face has a lot more detail with colored embroidered eyes and lips. The body also has wire inserts making it more posable than your normal rag doll. My daughter really likes the facts that her dolls arms and knees "bend". The Doll also has pink painted toes, a detail my daughter very much appreciated.

Once you select your doll, the experience is just like building a bear. You select a heart for it and stuff it (though they advise you to go easy on the stuffing pedal :) ), then dress it, name it and collect a "Friendship certificate" (rather than a birth certificate) at the end. The certificate is really cute and they give you stickers to place on the certificate indicating what qualities your friend has. My daughter used all the "qualities" stickers provided and quite enjoyed her roll in "completing" the certificate.

The doll was only $12 and they have a variety of outfits and accessories available. The outfit my daughter selected was $10 and there were some for a little more and a little less than that. They also had shoes that were available for purchase that ran about $4 as well as mini cell phones, purses, etc. It also has its own special box that it goes home in which you can see in the background of one of the pics I linked.

I just took some pictures of my daughter's "Friends 2B Made" and uploaded them to my ofoto account. The link below should allow you to view them without logging in but let me know if it doesn't work and I'll try to get them to you another way.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=vu5uihb.nwr0qpj&x=0&y=-5x2a2r


Hope this helps. Your daughter is sure to have a great time and Build a Bear really does a good job making the whole experience memorable! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Nicole

Crazy4DL
08-22-2005, 09:57 PM
what fun!! and what a great treat to be close enough to just hop up and make plans to go the next day!

I swear we were probably bumping into each other in FL that morning! Early Entry is wonderful, isn't it? :)

losaitkens
08-22-2005, 10:04 PM
what fun!! and what a great treat to be close enough to just hop up and make plans to go the next day!

I swear we were probably bumping into each other in FL that morning! Early Entry is wonderful, isn't it? :)


Yes it really is the best! It is so funny, I almost mentioned your family specifically in my report as it was an example of how easy it was to talk to people that share in the love of Disneyland and how friendly everyone can be but I was afraid to make my already long report even longer :) Yes, it truly is a small world. Thank you also for stopping by to read my report, that was really sweet.

Crazy4DL
08-22-2005, 10:10 PM
Yes it really is the best! It is so funny, I almost mentioned your family specifically in my report as it was an example of how easy it was to talk to people that share in the love of Disneyland and how friendly everyone can be but I was afraid to make my already long report even longer :) Yes, it truly is a small world. Thank you also for stopping by to read my report, that was really sweet.

I love trip reports - I wasn't going to write much of one myself because I can't remember all the details but I have had such fun reading everyone elses that I thought I would try to get the main gest of our trip down.

It is fun to hear everyone's take on things and it does make you feel like you are there for little mini vacations.

We met up with the nicest of people (mostly) and always have at DL. I can't wait to tell my dil and son about you! They have gone to bed already now.

coronado_g
08-22-2005, 10:47 PM
What a great report of a truly terrifc trip experience! It sounds like everything went so well and that you all had a super fantastic anniversary. Congrats!

disneychelle
08-23-2005, 12:25 PM
Thank you so much Nicole for all your help you will have made one little girl very happ tonight when I show her this!!!
Do you recall if they had boy and girl dolls and if they had different colour eyes/hair? Thanks again! :)

Hakuna Makarla
08-23-2005, 12:43 PM
wonderful report!!! just wonderful!! ok, I just got to see pictures now :)

losaitkens
08-23-2005, 02:05 PM
Thank you so much Nicole for all your help you will have made one little girl very happ tonight when I show her this!!!
Do you recall if they had boy and girl dolls and if they had different colour eyes/hair? Thanks again! :)

Disneychelle,

Yes they had boys AND girls and they had various eye and haircolor combinations. They really are adorable. I believe this is a new build a bear concept and they actually have a few "Friends 2B Made" stores in other parts of the country. Not all build a bear stores even carry this product but the DTD store has the space for it. Just let me know if you or your daughter have any other questions.

losaitkens
08-23-2005, 02:08 PM
wonderful report!!! just wonderful!! ok, I just got to see pictures now :)


I will try and get some pics up later tonight as I just figured out how to cut and paste links to my ofoto/ kodak gallery pics. Sadly, I did not take as many as I would have liked but there are some cute ones. Thanks for your kind words.