Candlelight & Cannonballs! (MANY MARDI GRAS MASK PICS!) Dec. 2012- Start Pg.235/#3524
I am going to take a cue from my friends Jasmine (WazowskiLOVER) and Courtney (Prettyprincessbelle) and make a sort of informal Index here on the first page, just for easy access to different sections of the Trip Report! I may break it down even further at some point in the future, getting more detailed with the naming all the links in the Index, but this will have to do for now:
Introduction/Cast of Characters begins on: Page One
"Lost at the World of Disney & Sleeping in the House of Poo - October 2-5, 2008" begins on: Page One
"Decking the Halls With Mickey - December 19-22, 2008" begins on: Page Seven
"Decking the Halls With Mickey - 12/19/08-12/22/08 - PhotoPass Pictures" begins on: Page Twelve
Pre-Trip Report for - "I'm Old...But I Want My Fun Card...July 21, 2009 - the Trip That Almost Was..." begins on: Page Twenty-Four
"The Thumbs Up Trip - Halloweentime - 10/24/09" begins on: Page Thirty-Seven
"The Thumbs Up Trip - Halloweentime - 10/24/09 - PhotoPass Pictures" begins on: Page Forty-One
"Stop! Or My Scarf Will Shoot! - Christmastime - 12/19/09" begins on: Page Forty-Two
"Stop! Or My Scarf Will Shoot! - Christmastime - 12/19/09 - PhotoPass Pictures" begins on: Page Forty-Five
"So Many Trees...So Little Time - Christmastime - 11/13/10" begins on: Page Seventy Two
"The Evil Chair & The Peppermint Cone of Death - A 2010 Christmas Tale - Christmastime - Sun., December 12 - Wed., 15, 2010" begins on: Page 83/Post #1244 (ends on Page 110/Post #1641)
November 13, 2010 & December 12, 2010 DLR PhotoPass pictures - Page 116/Post #1729
"The Return of the Masked Mouse & His Diabolical Twin - Halloween - 9/16/11 & 10/3/11" - begins on Page 145/Post #2170 (ends on Page 155/Post #2312)
"CARS LAND MANIA (and Buena Vista Street Too)! - AP holder preview - June 9, 2012" - begins on Page 180/Post #2695 (ends on Page 189/Post #2822)
"Aunt Betty's Weepy, Wacky, Wonderful Christmas Trip to Disneyland - Sun., December 4 - Thurs., December 8, 2011" - begins on Page 189/Post #2825 (ends on Page 213/Post #3181)
CHRISTMAS PHOTOS OF CARS LAND and BUENA VISTA ST. - Mon., November 12, 2012 - begins on Page 222/Post #3328 (ends on Page 231/Post #3464)
"Candlelight & Cannonballs! Aunt Betty's Do-Over Christmas Trip -Sun., 12/9/12 - Wed., 12/12/12" - begins on Page 235/Post #3524 (in progress!)
And Some Other Stuff...
"A Trip Down Memory Lane" (featuring assorted pictures from DLR from 1972 - 2009 and random Bret Michaels/Poison photos) can be found on:
Catalina Island pictures, 1988-2003: Page 26 and Page 30
Farmers Market (the Original) and The Grove - Part One - August 28, 2010 - begins on Page 61 - Page 63 - LOTS OF FOOD PORN!!!
Farmers Market (the Original) and The Grove - Part Two - September 6, 2010 - begins on Page 65 - Page 66 - LOTS OF FOOD PORN!!!
Miscellaneous: Page 26
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Cast of Characters:
The evil but lovable mastermind behind it all - ME! (I am hiding behind Goofy's ear because I looked really bad on the trip when this picture was taken  and didn't want to be seen. I was in a lot of pain that whole weekend from my back [disc problem] and legs, so I didn't bother with make-up or anything. I was suffering but trying to be silly and enjoy myself!):
Shawn (my friend of about 22 years) - this photo is actually from another DLR trip, but I am using it for identification purposes!:
Jackie (another friend of about 22 years or so) - this photo is also from a different DLR trip:
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Occasional Guest Stars:
Heather (friend of 35 YEARS!!!!) - she wasn't on the 10/2 - 10/5/08 trip but she will show up in photos from other, previous DLR trips later:
Jenni (friend of 26 years) - she will show up in photos from older DLR trips:
"M" (friend of 33 years) - We met in after-school detention in junior high school (we were there for ditching class!)!! We became friends and worked for Poison together in the '80s, and went on many Disneyland trips together over the years. We've had our share of ups and downs but we are still friends. She will show up later in pictures from older DLR trips:
Joe (former good friend - I have known him for 23 years and wish we were still friends, but probably never will be; Joe was a ladies' man and hooked up with or TRIED to hook up with almost every female friend you will see in my pictures of various DLR trips):
Michelle (friend of 20 years; Joe's former girlfriend):
Laura (friend of 25 years):
Linda (another former good friend - a best friend, actually, but no more; You will find out why we are no longer friends a little later in this thread; I have known her for 24 years):
Julie (friend of 28 years) - one of the best people anyone could ever know; an all around great human being:
I have always loved Disneyland since I was about 5 years old (I am 41 now!), and I love hamming it up with friends. I am nothing if not a goofball! It is never good to take yourself too seriously!
This is a group Disneyland picture from 1986. I am over on the far right, that is Heather holding the bag and that's Bret Michaels from Poison and VH1's Rock of Love on the upper left with the sunglasses on, and Robbie Crane from the band RATT, with Bret on his shoulders. My friend Jenni is in the green shirt:
This is Bret and Robbie about to jump out in the middle of Pinocchio (they ended up jumping into our vehicle and left theirs empty, which had the CM operating the ride irked and befuddled!), also in 1986:
I really love Disneyland at Christmastime - this is my friend M (on the right) and I at the DLH in Dec. 1992:
And this is Shawn (middle), M and me (on the left) at Candy Cane Lane in the DLH in Dec. 1992
I also love hamming it up with characters - notice how I am soaking up all the attention and M is being ignored - this is from December 1992:
And here I am, with my elbow in M's face, hogging the limelight again, in December 1994:
And finally, I left M out of it altogether:
So now you have a sense of how much I love Disneyland
Lost at the World of Disney & Sleeping in the House of Poo - October 2-5, 2008
PART ONE: So here is my trip report for 10/2/08 10/5/08. I spent a lot of time writing it. Not sure who will read the whole thing! I am inserting some photos as I go along, but I actually don't have all of them dveleoped yet (old 35mm film)! Those will come soon enough, but I wanted to write this while things are still fresh on my mind instead of waiting until February 2009 to do a trip report on my October 2008 DLR jaunt! Most of the pictures I took were on some extra 35mm film I was trying to use up before I go all-digital, so I have to get those developed and also order my Photopass CD. I will add in some pictures at a later date, because Trip Reports are so much more fun when they are complemented by great photos!
Anyway, as many of you know, last weeks DLR trip almost didnt happen. I had already cancelled a WDTC-booked reservation for this coming December with a Grand Californian stay when I lost my job earlier this year, and, frankly, when you are unemployed, a Disney trip doesnt look likely. When you most need a dose of Disney magic to lift your spirits, it is practically unattainable. I lost hope. It was solely because of the Disneyland Resort Hotel PIN code discount offer which presented itself to me via e-mail this summer that I felt it could be possible to make a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth in 2008. The room rates were too good to pass up, and I knew I would have enough time to scrape together what I needed for the whole endeavor by October. Even all the way up to October, there were times when I almost had to cancel the trip because of another sudden setback or something requiring money. But I pulled it off, and we were Disneyland-bound on Thursday, October 2, 2008.
I booked my room at the Paradise Pier Hotel (my third or fourth stay there). My friend Shawn (of 21 years) and I arrived in the empty lobby of PPH at approximately 5:45 p.m. or so. Since nobody was in line to check in or out, I walked right up to the front desk. The CM who helped with my reservation info was very nice but not on her game. She neglected to give us our parking pass something that I had forgotten about until Shawn brought it up later that evening and she mentioned nothing of our Early Entry into the park. This was very unusual, as the CMs are always very sharp and attentive when we check in. This was the first time anyone has ever forgotten to give us a parking pass or explain about Early Entry into Fantasyland. Also, we did not get one of those festive pink folders with Goofy on it this time (they always give that to you upon check in), and I thought that was a staple of staying in a DLR hotel, as it contains brochures for guests to peruse! I dont know if they have stopped giving them out, or if this was yet another thing that was overlooked in processing our reservation, but we didnt get it!
One other thing I should mention is in regards to the new Key to the Magic a room key and charge slip all in one. I was under the impression that I would be asked if I would like to attach my debit/credit card to BOTH Keys to the Magic or just my own. And these keys have your name or your guests names printed on them, so they know which one to attach the credit/debit card to. The CM at the front desk DID, indeed, ask me if I wanted to put a card on file (I used my debit card) to attach to the Key to the Magic for charging purposes, and she then just went ahead and attached it to both my card and Shawns. Not that I thought Shawn would go off on a wild spending spree with my card, but still&the CM should not have done that without being certain that was what I wanted. You cant assume that because everybody gets Keys to the Magic that everybody should have access to the same debit card!
Aside from the less than stellar service upon check-in, as for the hotel& now, I like PPH well enough it is nothing snazzy, but it is cute with a surf/ocean/beach mootif and it's on Disney property and has adorable bath products in the bathroom, and it is the least expensive of the three hotels but truthfully, I should have considered a stay at the Grand Californian. When Shawn and I stayed at GCH in December 2007, we were better rested and seemed to get more accomplished in the parks and over the course of the whole trip in general. Not something that was planned, but it worked out that way. Shawn needs to rest a lot, and any extra steps back to any hotel are very daunting. Somehow, when we stay at PPH, our time in the parks is more limited because, I suspect, she is envisioning the looooooong walk back to PPH and wants to get a move on. When we stayed at the ultra-convenient and ultra-costly GCH last year, we stayed in the parks longer and got quite a bit more done and were less exhausted. What can I say? Expensive though it may be, there is a very real and practical element to a GCH stay. DLH might have actually been a little too far for my friend, believe it or not!
So, onward to PPH Room 513& I have since discovered that fellow DISboard member Cseca was in room 514 at the same time, but we never crossed paths knowingly (need I say, its a small world?!). In fact, I must state right here and now that I saw not one single LGMH anywhere at DLR the entire trip, even though there were other DISers lurking around. Back to the room& Once inside, I was rustling through my new Baggallini for the necessary documents, tickets and money needed to purchase my first-ever Premium Annual Pass for the bargain rate of $191. I didnt bother to unpack. I left Shawn at the hotel and took the short cut through the GCH lobby to get to Downtown Disney. Trouble was, somehow I didnt end up saving myself any steps because I took the scenic route all the way to White Water Snacks, which is nowhere near the entrance to Disneyland! Somehow I made a wrong turn, and by the time I figured out where I had gone awry, I was worried that I wouldnt have enough time to get my AP and get to the Disneyland Bank before it closed to have my photo taken. I didnt pay attention to the signs in the hotel, I guess, but I enjoyed strolling around the grounds and through the GCH lobby and fondly recalling to myself how magical it looks during the Christmas season.
There it was my route marker, Libby Lu. The flash of pink up ahead indicated I was on the right path and on my way to the Ticket Booths. And other people clearly had the same idea, as the lines for tickets were long. This seemingly innocent Thursday night appeared very similar to a weekend night, crowds-wise. After getting the AP and heading to the turnstiles (I almost got lost on the way there, too!), I was in the home stretch to the Bank!!!!! I had never walked through the entrance of Disneyland by myself before, and it was a new feeling. Perhaps because I was there on a mission to get my photo taken I didnt get hit with that wave of magic that I usually feel when I set foot on Main Street. And I was very discouraged when I saw the long line at the Bank, filled with all kinds of other folks who were on a mission too. While I stood there, I turned around to look at the backside of the giant Mickey pumpkin and noticed how beautifully everything was lit up. Part of me wanted to mosey down Main Street after I got my AP process completed, but I thought of Shawn, sitting up in the room, and how she was hungry and waiting on me. So when I was finished at the Bank, at about 7:45 p.m., I decided to call her (thank goodness for cell phones) and tell her to meet me in Downtown Disney so we could eat dinner.
I perched myself outside of what I thought would be a perfect meeting place World of Disney. I sat down, next to a young couple, and waited for Shawn. After a while, no Shawn. More time passed and I checked my cell phone to see that Shawn called me. I call her back. Where are you? I asked. I am outside of World of Disney, she insisted. No you arent, I said. I am outside of World of Disney and you are nowhere around, I said. Yes, I am. I am right outside of the entrance, she proclaimed. We went back and forth like this for about two minutes, during which time the young couple who had been sitting next to me got up from their seat and headed off into the crowds of DTD. Apparently, they had overheard what I was saying to Shawn on my cell phone and they passed by her somewhere and overheard her end of the conversation. They then instructed her on where to find me. It seems that I was sitting outside of one entrance to World of Disney and she was standing outside of the other entrance to World of Disney, and it took a total stranger to bring us together! I had forgotten how darn big that store is. I knew you could get lost IN World of Disney (it happened to me before), but I didnt know you could get lost around the perimeter of it!!!
We ate dinner at ESPN Zone, and it was extremely busy, noisy and abuzz with activity. That is one place that definitely requires Priority Seating if you can swing it. Our server was Amy she was a delight. She was nice, helpful, attentive, good at explaining all the good stuff on the menu everything you could want in a waitress. I ordered chicken strips with BBQ sauce off the Appetizers portion of the menu, lemonade and a strawberry shake. Shawn ordered a hamburger and iced tea. My chicken strips (there were 6 to a basket) were delicious and they each were about the size of a small chicken breast. The BBQ sauce was some of the best I have had. I dont know what they did to it but it was thick and delectable! This appetizer was plenty enough for a meal, and the shake was thick and rich. My lemonade was more like lemon water but they refilled it often. Shawns hamburger was thick and hearty and she said it was great!
Back to the PPH. I unpacked and got ready for bed. This is when I noticed that one bottom drawer in the armoire wouldnt stay shut and the water from the bathroom faucet smelled like sulfur&or poo, to be exact! Ick! Imagine having to rinse your mouth with that after brushing your teeth! Gross! Maybe it was a fluke, I thought. It was late at this point and I didnt want to call the front desk and risk having to switch rooms after I had gotten unpacked and dressed for sleep. So I let it go. We kept slamming the drawer shut but it had a mind of its own and insisted on staying open. Inevitably, Shawn banged into it en route to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Part Two to follow!
Day 2- Lost at the World of Disney & Sleeping in the House of Poo - October 2-5, 2008
PART TWO: Friday morning, October 3, 2008 – The faucet water still smelled like sewage. We had a 7:50 a.m. PS for Goofy’s Kitchen, which has been a ‘must’ for every trip we have made to DLR since 1992. Sure, there have been some ‘off’ days when the food was not as good, but this was not one of them. This was probably one of the best meals we have eaten there. We paid, got hustled over to Pluto for the mandatory photo op, and then onward to our table. When the CM came around to show us our (very cute) photo and offer it to us for the bargain price of, gulp, $32, I had to decline. Just not in my unemployed budget to pay the same for a photo that I am paying for a meal at Goofy’s!!! I loaded up my plate with scrumptious, fluffy scrambled eggs and yummy bacon, as well as their out-of-this-world fruit (the fruit is excellent throughout DLR), a couple of pieces of sausage, some mini-muffins and a banana. That is more than I ever eat for breakfast in a full week! Shawn ate the biscuits and gravy, eggs, potatoes, bacon, bagels, mini muffins and the adorable Mickey-shaped peach cobbler!!! The orange juice was perfect and the coffee was hot and strong – too strong for Shawn’s liking, but perfect for me. I was eyeing the pepperoni pizza and the chicken and the waffles and French toast – oh, heck, let’s be honest, I was considering eating ALL of the food choices but I knew I actually had to walk and would not be able to move if I continued on this dire gastronomic path. We had the usual tableside visits from Chip and Dale and of course, Chef Goofy, but Belle and Alice were also on hand, as was Baloo. It is one of the funniest things to observe Baloo doing the Macarena and trying to rotate his ample hips around to the music!!!
Time for Toy Story Mania. We entered DCA through the handy-dandy GCH entrance, and instantly began chatting with a family of four – three men and a grandmotherly-looking type - in the line to get into the park. At one point, it seemed to me that the two adult sons may have either been trying to size us/me up as potential mates for their dad, or Dad was trying to size us/me up as a potential mate for one of the sons. When you are 41 years old, it is hard to tell if you belong with Dad or Junior! In any case, I was not interested in making a love connection or planning an arranged marriage at DLR, and TSMM was my only focus. We took the leisurely stroll over to the TSMM line and we were almost up to the loading area when the ride broke down. All of that good time we made…down the drain. The family of four got out of the line but Shawn and I waited for another 25 minutes or so until it was up and running. It seems two of the game screens had broken down. Finally, I was on the ride I had been waiting for, and it was GREAT! It twists and turns, it puffs air, it spritzes mist, it makes noise, it’s 3D AND you get to shoot at stuff! It is easy for even a klutz such as myself to hit targets…and it is ADDICTIVE!
After TSMM, we made our way around Paradise Pier, browsing in shops for Halloween stuff and stopping at lots of Photopass locations. We went into the Animation Building, wandered all through A Bug’s Land and into It’s Tough to be a Bug (it was alarming to me!), rode on the Mike and Sully ride and on Soarin’. We Fast Passed Soarin’ and the wait was still long. Thankfully, it was not as hot as it had been on the previous day, so I only got slightly sunburnt. We stopped to chortle at the people getting soaked on Grizzly River Rapids.
Here I am with Shawn - this was our very first PhotoPass picture:
At around 3:00 p.m., we made our way back to the PPH for the mid-day rest break. At 5:15 p.m. we headed out to Disneyland, and stopped for some PP pictures by the pumpkin. We had a 6:00 p.m. PS for Carnation Café, but I requested a table along Main Street for people watching, so our wait was long. CC was very busy, as usual, but their service has always been good, except for this time. Our waitress seemed disinterested and inattentive. Shawn and I both ordered the Meat Loaf Stack, which I have always enjoyed in the past. It is described as resting on a bed of mashed potatoes and bread, covered in mushroom gravy, with caramelized onions on top of it. I love the onions on it, and they were missing this time. Also, the gravy was minimal. They skimped on gravy and left out the onions completely! I almost thought I had gotten someone else’s food! When I asked the waitress where the onions were and if the recipe had changed, she tried to convince me that the onions must be there but I just couldn’t see them. She seemed unconcerned with asking the chef or the management if the recipe had changed. She said she would mention it to them later…but not while we were there! For some reason, we thought that ordering dessert may be more successful. We ordered a past favorite – the apple pie a la mode. It took about 20 minutes to arrive at our table and when it did, I noticed my pie was not warmed at all like it should be. The pie was room temperature – almost cold – and the ice cream was straight out of the freezer. It’s not that it didn’t taste good – it’s just that it wasn’t as it had been in the past or as it should be. The pie slices have a crumbly topping of some sort, drizzled with caramel and accompanied by little strawberry slices on the side, which are engulfed in a cloud of whipped cream. The scoop of ice cream is generous. It really is a tempting presentation, and I had no problem with it other than the fact that it should have been heated! The waitress came over with what she said were “extra napkins.” It was one napkin…one napkin for two people. Needless to say, this was not our best Carnation Café experience!
We stopped to pose with the Mickey pumpkin and do more PhotoPass stuff:
We entered Mickey’s Trick or Treat Party in DCA just after 7:30 p.m. I really enjoyed seeing the special Halloween decorations that were up JUST for the TOTP. Love the giant Mickey ghosts. The jack-o-lantern projected onto California Screamin’ is a great effect. We did not go to every treat station but we got lots of candy, some of which was stale, as I discovered much later. At the beginning of the evening, the candy was plentiful. As the night wore on, we got one or two pieces tossed into our plastic bags. The costumes were amazing. I think I saw PRINCESSplazola’s Sister-in-law. I recognize her hair and her outfit. I didn’t see PRINCESS and her adorable son, though! We stopped for photos with Jack Sparrow and Woody. Some of the costumes were so detailed that we had a hard time distinguishing the ‘regular folks’ from the Cast Members. We watched The Incredibles family boogie down, and what was funny was that I couldn’t tell if these were guests dressed as Incredibles characters or the actual Cast Members dressed as Incredibles. Too much for my feeble mind. The Photopass people were out in full force, and they take their jobs seriously. One of the photographers really wanted to make sure the subjects got the best picture possible. He said everyone has to “look like you are fun and interesting people.” He was a man who took pride in his craft, and we appreciated it!!! We rode TSMM again, too, and a guy in line rejoiced above all the other voices, “I LOVE YOU, MR. POTATO HEAD!!” Well, we may all feel that way but we keep it to ourselves!! Possibly, this gentleman had been nipping at some Cove Bar beverages earlier in the evening. TSMM was just as fun the second time and my score improved, though Shawn beat me a second time. Time to head back to the smelly water of the PPH room 513 bathroom and off to sleep. In any event, I enjoyed the TOTP, but a little of it went a long way. We didn’t need to stay there for the full 4 hours. Maybe 20 years ago I would have, or if I had kids I would have, but not now!
I was already tired - see how my eyes were closed (I was getting loopy)?
Part 3 to follow!!
Day 3- Lost at the World of Disney & Sleeping in the House of Poo - October 2-5, 2008
PART THREE: Saturday, October 4, 2008 – We were too sleepy in the morning to use our Early Entry and we had a PS for breakfast at Rainforest Café in DTD at 8:00 a.m., so we just went straight there. I think, food-wise, I prefer their lunch/dinner choices because there are so many of them. Breakfast options are limited. As far as low crowds, breakfast is the way to go! It was so much more pleasant to eat there without all the noise of a full restaurant. We asked for a table next to one of the aquariums, and chatted with a nice Australian family at the table next to us. Our server was very pleasant. The juice and coffee were not as good as over at Goofy’s, but they were fine. Shawn and I both ordered the same eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuit breakfast. I guess I still had the image of the huge pile o’ eggs on my plate from the day before at Goofy’s, so my perception of what a ‘real portion size’ is was all skewed! Shawn seemed to have more eggs and potatoes on her plate than I did, and the bacon seemed wimpy. The biscuit looked just like a biscuit you get from KFC, but not as fluffy. The whole breakfast was okay, but not outstanding, I would say. It was nice to get away from the growling gorillas and sit next to some silent fish for a change.
From RFC, we sauntered over to Disneyland, as the previous day had mostly been spent in DCA. We jockeyed for Photopass picture-taking space with a snarky girl in front of the Partners statue. We got right onto POTC twice in a row, because the lines were non-existent. I scouted for Hidden Mickeys and Goofys in the dark caverns of the ride. I finally saw Barbossa – he is as plain as day – and I have no clue how I missed him last year! From Pirates, we went on HMH, and the line was a little long but not TOO bad. We smelled the gingerbread as we rode past the banquet hall scene with the gingerbread coffin as the table’s centerpiece. The snowdrift Hidden Mickey was gone. I guess everyone was still sleeping (it was around 10:30 at this time, I think) because the crowds were light. Pirate’s Lair was closed due to some Miley Cyrus birthday set-ups, and it had been my goal to get over there. My brain shut down as to what to do next! I lost my momentum! We wandered, we meandered, we roamed, we went this way, we went that way, we went back the way we came…we just seemed to slip into that exhaustion-induced ‘quiet mode’ for a while, where you just don’t feel like opening your mouth to talk but every few minutes you feel like you HAVE to say something to your traveling companion! So anything I said, I felt was unnecessary and just to fill space! We walked past Woody’s Halloween Round-Up, scanning for the elusive Photopass photographers (who were much easier to spot in DCA than in DL), and saw none. In ToonTown, the stand-by line for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (which I love) said 40 minutes. That is the sort of ride that is ABSOLUTELY GREAT to me when the wait is 5 or 10 minutes, but when it is over 30 minutes, it suddenly becomes “not worth it.” So we skipped it this time. I looked for Mr. Potato Head in the Gag Factory and he was not there anymore. Potato doesn’t live here anymore. Actually, I think he has taken up permanent residence at EnginEars. We rode Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and I almost got Shawn on Star Tours (I love that) but she gets headaches from it, so no luck. She wanted to go into HISTA, which bores me to tears, so I declined!!!! No Star Tours, no HISTA!!! Guerilla warfare in DLR! I am playing dirty! We visited Innoventions and that was okay, but anticlimactic.
This is picture is hilarious because I LOVE this ride, but I LOOK bored to death, don't I?! I think what happened was that my hair was in my face and I brushed it away, and left my hand by my face right when the camera caught me! By the way, I left my sunglasses on because they are prescription (I can't see otherwise) and it was too much of a hassle at that point to take out my other glasses and make the switch just to go on the ride. Oh, and yes, my score on this sucks (I have bad hand-eye coordination), but my score on TSMM was waaaaaaaay better than on Buzz! But I still love Buzz!:
Time seemed to be dragging. Shawn likes/needs to rest a lot, so we planted ourselves on a bench along Main Street. A nice CM named Geri or Jeri came to chat with us about HMH, about IASWH, about Gay Days, about the French Market selling HMH gingerbread houses, all sorts of things. She was just a regular CM, not a Dream Squad person or a Magical Moments bestower, darn it! We did not see any Dream Squad people anywhere. At 2:00, it was time to meet up with our friend of 21 years, Jackie, who decided to leave her husband at home. Jackie, Shawn and I went straight into DCA and got on TSMM (third time this trip) and I beat Jackie!!! Wahoo!!! Finally, I beat someone! We had a 3:30 PS at Storytellers Café for lunch, but we lounged around in the GCH lobby for a while, relaxing in those comfy chairs!
The lunch at Storytellers Café was great. I prefer it to their breakfast for sure. The restaurant was close to being empty. I had a hamburger and fries. The burger was pretty thick and tasty and the fries were good. Jackie had the veggie burger which she said was great. Shawn had some sort of big turkey sandwich with bacon. The turkey slices were thick and it just looked TOO good with that bacon piled atop it. Our servers were a hoot! From there, we went into DL and onto Pirates (third time that day). The line for Pirates was very long, and it wound around in all those places it never ordinarily goes unless it is super crowded – the “ghetto of Disneyland,” I called it! But it was one of those rides that is “worth it,” worth the trip through the ghetto, so we did it. But the line for HMH was worse. See, POTC’s line can speed along because they load and unload the boats rather quickly and there is no lengthy stopping, really. However, in the HMH queue, you move and then you stop, you move and then you stop. The problem is that when the people are in the stretching room, the line outside comes to a standstill for a few moments because there is no way to speed that part of the attraction along. So we got in the HMH line at about 6:00 p.m.; and it was a looooong wait. We took a whole different trip through another part of the ghetto for that ride. By the time we got out of the ride, it was probably 7:10 or so.
We had a PS for Blue Bayou at 8:00 p.m., and I was told that if we wanted a waterside table, we would have to wait an additional hour. We nixed that idea, as we were already tired. Jackie had decided to go home because the veggie burger from earlier had started to disagree with her, so Shawn and I stood in the hot and cramped waiting room to be seated for about an hour anyway – even without getting a waterside table. The hostess CM (from Texas) at the front had a bit of an attitude to the guests if they tried to say something to her, but she was very friendly with some Texas diners. Lo and behold, the Texas people got seated quickly after said hostess quietly slipped into the restaurant to talk to the guy who assigned tables. Hmmm…. If I didn’t know better…
Anyway, I ordered the Flying Dutchman cookie boat – which LOOKS like a brownie boat but is really just a giant cookie - and Shawn ordered the chocolate cake. The problem was the waitress – who was a sweetheart - told her it was “chocolate cake,” so Shawn expected the traditional chocolate cake. It was chocolate mousse cake, which she could not eat much of because the mousse would upset her stomach. My cookie boat tasted fine but a little went a long way. It was a lot of dessert. I might split it with someone next time but eating the whole thing got old after a while! This was the restaurant we went to because Shawn wanted to eat there (I had already been to BB about 30 years ago!), and she was pretty disappointed with the wait, with the lack of seating, with the crowded waiting room, with the chocolate mousse cake, etc. She says she wants to go back and eat a “real meal” there, but unless she is treating, no way I am paying $36 for one steak!
We were going to try to hit POTC one more time, but we were just too tired. My leg was bothering me really badly (it is related to a disc problem in my back) and Shawn’s knee was hurting. We crawled back to the PPH, and then slept in late the next morning.
Part 4 - The End - to follow!:cool1:
Day 4- Lost at the World of Disney & Sleeping in the House of Poo - October 2-5, 2008
PART FOUR - THE END!!: Sunday, October 5, 2008 – Time to leave PPH and DLR! I took my last whiff of the poopy water, kicked the haunted drawer one last time and began the laborious task of re-packing. For any of you who struggle to cram things into suitcases, you know what an absolute pain it is to re-pack. Even if you have nothing more to add to the suitcase, it always seems like you do and it won’t close. How I managed to get all of my clothes, umbrella (which I didn’t need), jacket, Halloween candy and whatever else I had with me into one portable lump still amazes me. I hauled that load to the car and hoisted it inside. Then, we went back to DTD and into Department 56, which has the most amazing Halloween village display. I peeked in Marceline’s at the fat pumpkin cupcakes, I grabbed some free booklets from the Walt Disney Travel Company and we checked out the newest critters in Build-a-Bear, but we had an 11:30 a.m. PS for brunch at Naples Ristorante, and we were starving, so that was the mission.
At Naples, Shawn ordered the meatball sandwich, which she described as “good, but different from the usual meatball sandwiches you expect – not a lot of sauce on this one and the bread is different” and I ordered the pepperoni pizza, which was different from the pizza I had there last year. This one was over-baked and the one last year was not baked enough, but they were both tasty nonetheless! The drinks are refilled often and the service was pretty good. I scarfed down what I could of the pizza.
Then came the moment of decision – whether or not to go back into the parks or go home. I was very tired and sunburnt and my leg was really killing me, but I tend to push through the pain to get my money’s worth. Plus, with my current financial circumstances, I never know when I will get back to DLR so I feel like I have to keep doing more and squeeze every ounce of fun out of whatever trips to DLR I am able to take. But I saw the look. The determined look on Shawn’s face that told me she was heading back to the car to take me home and our planned third day in the parks was gone. I couldn’t push her – I know she needed to rest. I stayed silent and just sadly followed her to the parking lot. I realized that last December, when we stayed at GCH, we spent a good three days in the park and stayed only two nights at the hotel. We seemed to be less worn out and got much more done. This time, we stayed three nights at the PPH, which I thought would be better for us, but only spent 2 days in the park, so somehow, we got LESS accomplished with an extra night at the hotel.
All of this was running through my mind. In a way, I could see where Shawn was coming from about wanting to go home. Sometimes, enough is enough. I think, in the old days of our youth, we used to ride a bunch of things and stay in the park until midnight and shop in every store, etc. Go, go, go. Now we are older and we have limits. Sometimes, I just feel like my brain has turned to mush and my body hurts and I want it all to be over. But then, as soon as I get home, I think, “I didn’t get to do this, I didn’t get to see that, I didn’t have enough time.” I try to plan a new strategy for ‘next time,’ where we will get lots of rest and more activities done, but whatever plan I have, it seems I still walk away thinking I needed more time…maybe more time spread out over more days, in shorter increments? But I can’t pay for a 7-night stay at the GCH, so I mean, we just have to make do with the time we have. I would have liked to ride more things, take more photos of bathroom signs and restaurants, spend some time in Fantasyland and Adventureland, see some more of the Halloween stuff that we missed…and the funny thing is, the next time Shawn and I go – no matter who is with us or how I plan it – we will inevitably do the exact same things we did this time in the same period of time. And that is fine, except for that we are missing out on a lot too. Even though I have an AP now, I am not going to be getting back to DLR all that often. Maybe just a couple more times in the next year, and not necessarily with a hotel stay attached to it.
So it leaves me wondering about Disneyland – is TOO much never enough, or does a little go a loooong way? Is it possible for DLR to ‘get old’ in just a few days when you have barely scratched the surface? And if so, then why do I instantly want to get right back to DLR after I leave it?
One thing I was glad about when I came home was turning on the faucet and not smelling poo!!
P.S. I did send an e-mail to Guest Services from the DLR website regarding the poopy water, the protruding drawer and the bad service at Carnation Café. We will see what kind of a reply I get. Hopefully, that wasn’t some kind of health hazard going on in the PPH plumbing!!!
This was a wonderful TR! I absolutely love how detailed you were! Having never been to DL myself I can't answer your question for you buti can definately see your point! Keep us updated on the poopy water email! I would love to know what comes out of that! Did the front desk help you at all?
However, in hindsight, I think that if I had complained while there, we might have gotten lucky and perhaps they would have moved us to a nice view room or concierge room or something. We did have a nice view of the pool - we were almost eye level with it - but we might have gotten something better if I had raised a fuss. I just decided to send them the e-mail through the the DLR website because then I could tackle Carnation Cafe and PPH in one swoop. And PPH had a few problems - the drawer, the poopy water and the absent-minded CM at the front desk who forgot our parking pass and attached my debit card with spending privileges to my friend's room key without checking with me first!!
I will be interested to see if DLR just sends out a typical response like, "We are sorry you were inconvenienced...we strive to provide the best service for our guests..." or if they actually call me back. I expect a generic e-mail or letter via regular mail.
So My family stays att PPH quite frequently. This past April when my mom and I went we stayed there like always. Except our room had not been cleaned! There was dried sticky pop all over the vanity. Gum rubbed into the carpet, broken pistachio shells all around the night stand, and my mom's sheets were very dingy. (They had not been changed!). So my mom called down to the front desk to complain. I think they gave her a $50 credit to the room and said they would clean it the next day while we were at the parks. So whatever we go about our fun filled disney day and such. Tired as dogs we return back to the room to find everything is still a mess! The only thing that was changed were my moms sheets which were now super white and you could see the creases in them. So my mom called back to the front desk and requested the hotel manager on duty. The girl was very apologetic credited us $200 on top of the $50 and gave us a free character breakfast of our choosing.
My mom also had some issues with the barista down at the bar one morning too but i don't remember the specifics of that.
But yeah we won't be staying at PPH anymore. One it's so out of the way from all the other hotels on site and off. and two the fiasco we dealt with in April.
IF ONLY I had the money to stay at GCH every trip. It was so much more convenient for us, we got much more done, and it was lovely. The thing I was most happy about in staying at PPH this time was getting the Mickey-head shampoo bottles!
Welcome back, Sherry E. I love your trip report! Such fantastic details! I have to take notes myself in order to remember anything by the time we get home! It sounds like you had plenty of good times at the park but it's too bad about the disappointing stuff. We have never stayed in a Disney property but I do know I would be pretty aggravated if I had spent that much money and had the sort of problems you did with the room. On the bright side, hopefully the smelly water was just sulfur and not toxic! I do agree that PPH is not the best choice at the end of a long day. It's a long way back there!
You had some great dining reviews to keep in mind. I am definitely going to have top look for the hostess CM from Texas at Blue Bayou and see if she can pull any strings for us! :laughing:
I got a good laugh out of your near "Love Connection" while waiting in line for Toy Story Mania! November will be our first time to ride it so I hope we enjoy it as much as you did. Glad to hear that the targets are easy to hit.
In response to your question "is TOO much never enough, or does a little go a loooong way?" I'm not sure I have an accurate answer but I do know we push ourselves to total exhaustion just to get the most out of our time while we are at the park. At the end of our 2 weeks I am so ready to go home..... but at the same time, still always ready to go back! I can honestly say there is no other place I would rather go on vacation.
Thanks for sharing! Can't wait for the pictures! :thumbsup2
Great trip report! Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see the pictures!
I think my friend envisions the PPH walk as being much farther than it is, but nonetheless, we still got much more accomplished when staying at the GCH last year. PPH is the least expensive of the three hotels but it STILL costs much more than many people think it is worth. It is not cheap, even during 'discount periods.' So to have a piece of furniture jutting out and asking to be banged into and poopy water coming from the bathroom faucet is not okay for a DLR hotel. However, I am discovering in my Have you Ever Sent A Complaint? thread that DLR is not always the greatest when handling hotel and restaurant complaints. Surprisingly, their attitude and customer service is sometimes lacking. In my opinion, I feel like if someone tells you that your food made them sick, you should immediately comp them for the meal or offer another free meal. That seems like good business to me. However, as posters are revealing in that Complaint thread, it usually does NOT happen that way! I mean, I LOVE the Mouse and all things Disney, and that will never change, but they did set the bar for themselves in customer service and they have always risen above every other non-DLR place in that department. I hate to see them not living up to their own standards and basically doing nothing to make it right with the guests.
Yes, by all means, play the Texas card if you happen to see Alyssa (or Lyssa, whatever her name was!), the hostess from Texas at Blue Bayou!! She was a little on the 'cold' side to people until these Texas folks came up to her! If you can make that work for you and get seated sooner, go for it! I don't know for sure that she helped them get seated sooner, but to us, it seemed suspicious! I really think that, with as popular as Blue Bayou is, DLR needs to start setting up real reservations for them and dispose of the PS system there (just in BB). They overbooked guests. That wait is too long, the room is hot, we couldn't sit down, everyone was packed in. And hour is too long to wait to be seated anywhere unless I am getting an excellent table by the water - which we did not! And $36 for a steak is too much for me to pay unless I am getting an awesome waterside table! Then again, we were there at night, on a Saturday. Maybe it would not be as bad, say, during the day, on a Wednesday?? Who knows? Clearly, BB has a lot of devotees so they must be doing something right!!
Yes, that family in the TSMM line was funny. Now, I am far from being a sexpot or anything. In fact, I was probably looking about as schlumpy as I could get at DLR (have to be comfortable). Seriously. I am also, more or less, Pooh-sized right now (but working on it)!! But maybe I look motherly or something. When the two adult sons were chatting, I could tell one of them was kind of making excuses to talk to me and I didn't know why. I thought that maybe it was because he was sick of talking to Dad and Grandma and needed to chat with someone closer to his own age. But, when they got OUT of the line after the ride broke down temporarily, the Dad was the one who dropped some sort of hint to both of us about leaving his e-mail address with us (we didn't take it)! So I wasn't sure if he was trying to get his son(s) hooked up or if they had been trying to find someone to fix Dad up with to get him out of their hair!!! In any case, it all seemed very diabolical, so I wanted no part of such debauchery!!:rotfl: :laughing: :rotfl: :laughing:
I felt really guilty when I was having my moments of "Okay, I am over this...this is getting old..." at DLR last weekend, because it was not the fault of DLR, and though the crowds were pretty thick, they were not as bad as I have seen them, say, in December, for example. I always look back at a trip after it is over to see how it can be improved the next time, to maximize our rest and entertainment. Sometimes I think it may be necessary to stay a full week at DLR just to be able to really take the time to see all the details/things I want to see and look in all the stores for those hidden gems, etc., but still be able to rest a lot. I know without rest, my friend is an unhappy camper. She could rest all day! And after a while, I just get discouraged and think, Well, this is turning out to be a bust. There has to be a happy medium - a good balance between rest and activity that can be reached - where I don't end up feeling exhausted but like I missed out on a lot. Two days is really not enough during a crowded season. Three days isn't even really enough when you take mid-day rests. The only answer I can come up with is to extend the trips and make them longer (when money allows - not now!). Stretch them out by a couple of extra days. That way, there is enough time to do everything without having to cram a bunch into a couple of days, miss a bunch of stuff and burn yourself out!
I was just looking at my PhotoPass pictures last night and applying all the nifty borders, inserting characters and all that! I turned 58 photos into 100 photos just by making different versions of each picture! The $60 CD price is really a GOOD bargain. Almost too good to be true! I don't know if I am getting the CD or if my friend is getting it or if we are both getting one, but once that is worked out then I can start posting. I also took some 35mm pics at Goofy's, etc. on an old camera but those will have to be developed. One thing I noticed is that some of the PhotoPass photgraphers were very proficient and their pictures came out great. Others didn't take such great pictures and I could have done a better job! But it is nice to be in everything this time. Usually, I don't get in too many photos because I am the one taking them! I cannot wait to get back to DLR - even if just for one day - to see the holiday decorations and take more PhotoPass pictures!!!
And I just LOVE those gingerbread men with Mouse ears that are sold throughout the parks! So cute! Gingermice!!!
Oh, gosh, what a fun trip! Sounds like you and your friends had a great time! Despite your leg pain, you got through the days pretty well! I like how you detailed your food and experience at each meal place! It's good to know in advance for when we decide on where to eat and how good it is. I've never been to Goofy's Kitchen before but I hear many good things about it.
And ugh, the smelly water sounds awful! I don't know about that, hopefully they'll get it fixed. And the haunted drawer, ha! It had a mind of its own, though poor Shawn banged into it! Ouch!
As for the last day, sorry you didn't get to go, but really, you probably didn't miss much. It was October 5, the park was closing at 5 for Miley Cyrus' birthday party, it probably would not have been enjoyable. My family and I were in the area on the 4th, but just to shop around DTD.
And I know how it is when you're not sure if too much is enough or a little goes a long way. We get tired in one visit and I want to come back soon, but it's a long drive and it's almost something we should plan rather than up and go. We've done that too, gone on a last minute decision, and we try to make the best of it each time. If it's crowded, we find ways of having fun at the less popular attractions.
Hope you'll be able to come back soon and your leg will do better! :)
I know what you mean about the 'up and go' trips with no planning vs. the 'need to plan' trips. We usually need to plan to an extent - like the PS's for dining and all that - but when we get to DLR and are already tired, and then we seem to 'run out of things to do' (which sounds silly, because there are so many things to do at DLR), then it all kind of falls apart... or fizzle out. I don't want to plan out every second of the day, but it almost seems better if we have an agenda to stick to!
I thought I would be detailed about the food because my TR was lacking photos right now! So what I lacked in photos I made up for in descriptions!!!
Thanks for reading my TR!
But, yes, plans are always a good thing to have if you want to do something specific there! Heh, I guess I loved your food descriptions because it also made me hungry! Yum!
Great report. Looking forward to some of your pictures.
Tomorrow, my DH and I are leaving for Vegas, and then on Friday, going from there to DL to meet my family. We are attending the party that night.
Did you have any favorite parts of the party that we should check out?
Did you see the Beverly Hillbillies? :rotfl:
BTW- My name is Melody.
NIce to meet you! :flower3:
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