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Old 11-18-2009, 10:35 AM   #1
Yakety76
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TR- A 5 Day 5th Birthday Celebration- Day 3 is now finished

November 8-13, 2009
Our trip was a highly anticipated 5th birthday celebration for my darling daughter, Riley. My mom and dad were planning on joining us, so the whole family was going to Disneyland. Woo Hoo!

The cast of characters:
Me, Trudy: 34 year old stay at home mom. I love Disneyland. It was an important part of my childhood. We drove from Colorado every year to visit my grandparents for one week in June. These visits always included a one day trip to Disneyland. I have vivid memories of walking down Main Street at night and stopping for rock candy before driving back to my grandparents’ house.

DH, Bob: 33 year old in the agriculture business. His job requires a lot of travelling- including international. This has been a little difficult on us as a family, but the frequent flyer miles are great. My husband had a very deprived childhood. His first trip to Disneyland was with me in 2008. He hadn’t even watched most of the Disney movies until he watched them with me- shocking. He has made up for it, though and now loves Disney and Disneyland almost as much as me.

DD, Riley: Turns 5 the first day of our trip!! 5 year old adventurous, fun loving girl. My Riley is ready for about anything. Right now she is going through a Nightmare Before Christmas phase. This was triggered by our Halloween 2008 trip. She was Sally for Halloween this year and loves singing along to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack in the car. Her favorite track is “Kidnap Mr. Sandy Claws” as performed by Korn. Something a little wrong with that maybe??

DS, Kaleb: 3 year old shy but Disney-loving boy. He worships his sister and goes along with what she wants most of the time. He dressed up as Barrel (one of the trick or treating kids from Nightmare Before Christmas) for Halloween. He loves the Buzz ride and seeing the sights of Disney. He is hit or miss with the characters and rides, so we just take his lead. He has a lot of fun on our Disney trips, but tends to want to do things his way.

DGma, Carla and DGpa, Jim: My parents. They moved from Colorado to Idaho when we had the kids. They are all about being near their grandkids and experiencing things with them. My mom came with us on our Halloween trip last year, but my dad has not been to Disneyland in about 20 years. My dad has bad feet that hurt him when he walks too much, so we tried to keep the walking under control.

For this trip, we decided to try out the HoJo based on reviews found here on the Dis. On our previous trips we had stayed at the DLH in a two-bedroom suite and a one-bedroom suite. We reserved two NQQ2 rooms at the HoJo for our group and requested that we have connecting rooms. I was a little nervous about the hotel being off-site, but we really liked it. The service was great. The beds were super comfortable. The walk was actually very nice. The only thing I didn’t love was the lobby. The DLH lobby is so magical that you start to feel the magic right when you pull up. The HoJo lobby was just a lobby, so no magic. However, for the price, we are willing to delay our magical start.

Thanks for coming along on our trip report with me. I have lots of pictures, some very cute happenings and even some celebrity sightings. Stay tuned for more.

Last edited by Yakety76; 12-04-2009 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
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I cant wait to read more, we were there at the same time!
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:40 PM   #3
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Thanks for reading Letthembelittle. I will have to check out your TR.
I ran into a Dis family Tuesday in Toontown. Was it you perhaps?
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:52 PM   #4
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Sunday, November 8- Riley’s 5th Birthday!!

We had tried to have a birthday party for Riley on Saturday. However, all her friends called in sick to the party. They had everything from Scarlet Fever to H1N1. We had become complete germ-a-phobes in the weeks prior to our trip and, thankfully, were illness free.
Our plan was to have the car loaded up and on the road to the airport by 7:00 am. My kids are early risers, so this was not a problem for them. Riley dressed in her special birthday shirt that I ordered off Disneystore.com. I got the idea for it from the Dissigns forum. It said “It is my 5th Birthday…Feel Free to Treat Me Special”. It was pretty cute.
We have a Ford Taurus with a third row for seating, so all six of us were able to squeeze into the one car. The bags were loaded and we were off. My mom was having a difficult time leaving our dogs. They have two dogs and we have two dogs. Our neighbor was taking care of our dogs and my parents hired a dog-sitter. It was hard to leave them behind, but they were in good hands.
Riley’s special treatment for her birthday started at the airport. The ladies checking us in noticed her shirt and started chatting her up. Riley was telling them all about her favorite things at Disneyland. One of the ladies ended up also working our gate and wished Riley a happy birthday and invited her to board early. She again had everyone wish Riley a happy birthday before we landed at LAX. Riley gets a little shy with special attention, but it was really nice how the stewardess kept going out of her way to wish Riley a happy birthday.
We arrived after a short flight and caught the Disneyland Express. It took us to the DLH which had the kids confused because we had told them we would not be staying at the “Mickey Hotel” this trip. After a short stop, we were off the HoJo. We checked in and left our bags. We also reminded the desk that we were expecting a grocery delivery and that we would like connecting rooms. They were super nice and said it would not be a problem.

So…Off we go into the park. We had been forewarned that the Christmas Parade filming was going to be going on Sunday and Monday so we were prepared for crowds. We got in line at a ticket window to exchange our vouchers that we purchased on Ares.com and to get Riley’s birthday gift card. The line was much shorter than I had anticipated and we were soon walking into Disneyland shortly after noon. Riley’s first purchase with her fun card was an autograph book.


I think this picture is actually from later in the day because there is no crowd in front.

We walked down Main Street and noticed a mob of people in front of the castle. We also heard some really good music. And who do we see? Stevie Wonder!


Bob took a couple of pictures and then we were off to ride our first ride. Kaleb has been set on his first ride being Buzz. I was shocked to see that it was a walk-on at 12:30.


Notice I had the high score. I will leave out the fact that the ride got stalled at a great place for me to earn lots of points. Oops...I guess I didn't leave that out after all.

We road Buzz and then Riley had to go on one of her most anticipated rides…Space Mountain. I rode Buzz again with Kaleb while Riley road Space with my parents and husband. Her reaction to Space was priceless. She gets off and starts doing fist pumps in the air and screaming “yes!” “Again, Again!” Space Mountain ended up being her favorite ride this trip.

We decide it is time to head over to NOS and ride Pirates. My favorite and my dad’s favorite- although he had not yet seen it with the Captain Jack changes.

We all loved it. We were really excited to float through the beginning because we had reservations at Blue Bayou for lunch tomorrow.

Kaleb and I got in about 5 rides on Pooh while Riley and my parents rode Splash.
I think Bob was collecting fastpasses. Kaleb was a little hungry, so we went to Hungry Bear and got some nuggets and watched the Mark Twain and the canoes. What a great place to relax.


More of day 1 coming soon....
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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You did such a better job of taking pictures then I did!! And nope it wasnt us, I was so sick before we left that I didnt get a chance to go to Home Depot! I love that your dd liked Space Mountain!! What a brave girl!!
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Old 11-19-2009, 12:40 AM   #6
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Can't wait to hear more about your trip! We leave in three week and will be celebrating DD's 5th b-day while there, and also have a DD3. I've seen an "it's my birthday, feel free to treat me like a princess" DISign, I'd love to see the shirt you got for your DD. I also want to make a shirt for DD3 that says "it's my sister's birthday, but feel free to treat me like a princess too"
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Old 11-19-2009, 12:26 PM   #7
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I can't wait to read your report... My family and I just returned from DLR on Tuesday and we had a great time... I am hoping to post some sort of report soon.
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Old 11-19-2009, 12:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letthembelittle View Post
You did such a better job of taking pictures then I did!! And nope it wasnt us, I was so sick before we left that I didnt get a chance to go to Home Depot! I love that your dd liked Space Mountain!! What a brave girl!!
My report actually doesn't have as many pictures as I was planning on using because my camera was lost/stolen while we were at DCA. I am still really bummed about it. Although my dad and husband both took pictures and we are getting the photopass CD, I still want the pictures that I took. My goal for this trip was to take more time to notice the little details and now all those pictures are gone. Nothing I can do about it, but it still makes me upset

She loved all the roller coasters. She was definitely a thrill seeker this trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wannagoback View Post
Can't wait to hear more about your trip! We leave in three week and will be celebrating DD's 5th b-day while there, and also have a DD3. I've seen an "it's my birthday, feel free to treat me like a princess" DISign, I'd love to see the shirt you got for your DD. I also want to make a shirt for DD3 that says "it's my sister's birthday, but feel free to treat me like a princess too"
I love the idea of a shirt for your 3 year old. I thought about getting Kaleb one, but he really doesn't like to be singled out.
I think I got most of my ideas from Natalie's page. She wasn't making any new images at the time, so I just borrowed her wording and found an image I liked on the Disney Store custom t-shirt site. It was really easy to do on there although they don't have the selection of images that the DISign forum has.
I don't know if we got a good picture of the shirt, but I will take one and upload it soon.

Thanks for reading!! I love sharing my trips because it is a fun way to keep the vacation going. Please leave comments, suggestions or questions. That is part of the fun of doing a trip report.
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Old 11-19-2009, 12:36 PM   #9
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Thanks for reading AZbeth. Glad you had a great vacation. Cannot wait to read about your trip!!
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:59 AM   #10
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Day 1: November 8 continued

Sorry for the delay to anyone who is reading. The holidays and holiday shopping are taking up some of my spare time.

And now on with the trip. When last we met, Riley was braving Splash Mountain and Kaleb and I were trying to set a record for the most times on Pooh in one day.
Riley was now done with her trip through the briar patch and wanting to ride Pooh. We met up and did yet another ride on Pooh. I think Kaleb and I had the heffalumps and woozles song stuck in our heads the rest of the trip.



We make our way back to Main Street for the Celebrate Parade. We ask quite a few CMs if the status of the parade has changed because of the Christmas filming. We get a different answer from every CM we ask. We decide to stake out a spot, just in case it is still on. While waiting, my mom and I grab some treats from the Blue Ribbon Bakery: a Mickey head cookie for the kids to share, a pumpkin muffin for Bob and a kid’s turkey wrap for my mom. The pictures of these yummy treats are on my missing camera…sorry, no food porn to see . Bob liked the pumpkin muffin much better than the pumpkin cupcakes. I found the Mickey head cookie to be dry and pretty tasteless, but the kids enjoyed it.


Papa and Kaleb waiting for the parade.

While eating our treats, they announce that the parade will start in 15 minutes. It was just a little behind its 3:30 start time- if I remember correctly. We enjoyed the parade. Riley was chosen to dance and do the conga line. She didn’t participate in the dancing, but I think she liked being chosen. My dad especially liked this parade. It was one of his favorite things about the trip. He actually saw it a couple of more times because he enjoyed it so much. I found it to be fun, but I did miss having a “real” parade.


Riley refusing to join the CM in doing the twist.

After the parade we make our way back to NOS. Next stop is Haunted Mansion. Riley is going through a Nightmare Before Christmas phase brought on by our trip to Disney during Halloween last year, so she has been looking forward to this ride. Kaleb was too scared to go on this ride our last trip, but he has said he wants to go on it this trip. I have my doubts, but we give it a go. We wind our way into the stretching room. Kaleb is in my arms and holding tight. I warn him about the big Jack on the ceiling and he does just fine. He actually enjoyed the ride itself. He liked Lock, Shock and Barrel popping up at the end. My favorite part was the ballroom scene. The gingerbread was a carousel this year. It smelled and looked so yummy.

Now we have to go back to Main Street for our dinner P.S. time at Carnation Café. They got us right in which was good as we were all pretty hungry. I ordered the Café Chef Salad with the raspberry vinaigrette. I split this with the kids. My mom and Bob both ordered half a turkey sandwich with a cup of the loaded baked potato soup. My dad ordered a full turkey sandwich. Bob was in heaven eating the soup. He was very thankful to me for telling him to order it based on reviews I had read on the Dis. The kids and I enjoyed our salad very much. It was a very big salad and plenty of food for the three of us. We also got the kids the light up souvenir cups. Our waiter brought out a cup of vanilla ice cream covered in whipped cream and sprinkles for Riley. Riley was nice enough to share with Kaleb.

After a very yummy dinner, it was time for me to go to HoJo with Kaleb. It is time for the little guy to go to bed. Riley gets a very special birthday present. She is allowed to stay up past bedtime! She was so excited. My parents, Bob and Riley headed off to ride Riley’s new favorite ride- Space Mountain. They then rode Star Tours. She enjoyed this too although she was disappointed there were no Ewoks. They then went to Fantasyland and did Dumbo and the Tea Cups. It was after 7:00 at this point, so they took their blanket to stake out a spot for Fantasmic! They were one row back from the rail. While waiting, they took turns riding Haunted Mansion and Pirates.

Fantasmic hasn’t been showing on our previous trips, so this was Bob’s first chance to see it. He loved it. Riley enjoyed it, but it spooked her a little. My dad said he enjoyed the Celebrate parade more. They stayed and watched the fireworks from their spots and then Bob rushed Riley to the hotel to get her to bed. My parent’s stayed and rode Indy and then made their way back to the hotel.


And that is the end of day 1. It was a very long day, but we had a great time. We had been worried about the Christmas parade filming, but the crowds were not bad at all.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:21 AM   #11
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Day 2: Monday, November 9

The kids slept until the reasonable time of 7:00 or so. We got dressed and headed out.





Disneyland didn’t open until 10:00 so we went to wander the Grand California lobby and had breakfast at Whitewater Snacks. We got two breakfast burritos for us to share. The kids were already having a bit of a hard time with sitting still, so Bob took them out by the pool. The grounds were beautiful and I am glad we walked through. After breakfast, we made our way back to the gates to line up.

We took a little while with breakfast and were not near the front of the line. I stopped to get a stroller for Riley using my Disney Visa. I miss the free stroller, but $7 wasn’t a bad deal. While walking towards Main Street we met up with some characters. The kids had to stop and take pictures and autographs.





There was a voice coming through letting everyone know they were taping for the Christmas parade and that Ryan Seacrest was going to be there.



We left the crowds already staking their spots out for this and made our way towards rope drop. Bob cut through the shops so that he could get fastpasses for Space Mountain. The rest of us waited for the rope drop and then headed for Peter Pan. We were a little ways back in the crowd, so Bob was actually able to join up with us and ride Peter Pan. I pointed out the Evil Queen in the window of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Kaleb made it his mission to tell us all every time she reappeared. Again, the pictures are on my missing camera.





After Peter Pan, we rode Dumbo and Snow White. We had fun taking turns touching the apple in front of Snow White. Kaleb made it inside the building and saw the dungeon. He quickly backed out and Grandma took him to do other things. I later found out she told him Pinocchio and Mr. Toad were not scary and took him on them. Yeah, I don’t think he will be trusting her judgment for awhile as he found them both pretty scary . Riley braved her way through Snow White. After the ride, she told me that it is a daddy and mommy ride. Snow White is still a little too scary, even for my thrill seeking Riley.
While Mom and Kaleb finished up their rides, Bob and Riley tried their hand at pulling the sword from the stone. Neither of them is King of all England.





Riley and I took a couple of spins on the carrousel. Riley was able to ride Jingles. She was pretty excited about this…as was I. A ride on the Tea Cups concluded our stay in Fantasyland.



We had a P.S. at the Blue Bayou, so we made our way towards NOS. After a short wait, we were shown to our table. I didn’t ask for water side because there were 6 of us and I didn’t want to wait that long with the kids. We were one row back from the water- which was really quite nice. Blue Bayou was a bit much for my kids. They didn’t like how dark it was. I was very thankful to a table full of ladies who were having a very good time. They were laughing and chatting and having a nice lunch together. Their noise helped my kids relax a little bit- the hushed atmosphere that we started with was a little too quiet for my kiddos.
We all enjoyed our lunch. My mom and I split the chicken and salad. The kids split the children’s chicken. Bob had the gumbo soup and jambalaya. My dad made the best choice of entrees by choosing the beef short ribs. These were soooo good. He also had the gumbo. Both he and Bob really enjoyed the soup. Bob also ordered the crème brulee. It was just one serving of vanilla, but it was really yummy. Riley was given a bowl of chocolate mousse. She and Kaleb shared that. I enjoyed the food, but I don’t think we will be returning until the kids are older. It was a stressful lunch for me. Kaleb really didn’t like how dark it was. I actually had to engage in some questionable parenting tactics and bribe him with a Tigger Tail to stay and let me finish my lunch.



After lunch we went to get Kaleb his Tigger Tail and rode Pooh a couple of more times.



Riley, Bob and I took a spin through the Briar patch and then my dad, the kids and I explored Tarzan’s Tree house.



My mom and Bob went on Indy. The kids have never been through the tree house before and enjoyed it. Today was supposed to be the warmest day of the week, so my mom, the kids and I headed back to HoJo to play in Castaway Cove. My dad and Bob headed over to DCA to ride rides and take pictures. On our way out we ran into a ton of characters. It was right around 3:00 in front of the Mickey head. We saw Cruella, Rafiki, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Chip and Dale. Riley took a picture with Cruella and then waited in line to take one with Rafiki before changing her mind. A break was needed by all at this point, so we quickly made our way to the hotel.

I will update with the photopass pictures as soon as I get my CD.

I do not have pictures of the kids playing in Castaway Cove, but it was so much fun. It was in the high 70s, so it was much too cold for swimming. That didn’t stop the kids. They played for about an hour and a half and had a blast. The water area was busy with kids our whole stay- even when it was dark and therefore much cooler. The Garden Pool also always had swimmers. Our room overlooked the Garden Pool and we could hear people swimming well into the night every night. So come prepared with swim suits no matter the weather.

Here are some pictures of my dad and Bob playing at DCA.




Bob forgot about the single rider line, so they waited about 30 minutes. Not too bad, though.


Dad refused to do this one.
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Old 11-23-2009, 09:04 PM   #12
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Thanks for reading Letthembelittle. I will have to check out your TR.
I ran into a Dis family Tuesday in Toontown. Was it you perhaps?
I think that was us. It was outside Goofy's house. You (or whoever it was) was the only DIS person we saw on our trip, I was expecting to see more.

Your DS 3 reminds me of my DS 5, very similar personality only he was completely miss with the characters, wouldn't go near them. Your review of BB made me glad we decided to skip it. I love BB but I just didn't think it would work for my family this year. DD9 and I were disappointed, but I think it was the right choice.

I haven't finished reading your TR but I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

And so sorry about your camera
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:10 PM   #13
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I think that was us. It was outside Goofy's house. You (or whoever it was) was the only DIS person we saw on our trip, I was expecting to see more.

Your DS 3 reminds me of my DS 5, very similar personality only he was completely miss with the characters, wouldn't go near them. Your review of BB made me glad we decided to skip it. I love BB but I just didn't think it would work for my family this year. DD9 and I were disappointed, but I think it was the right choice.

I haven't finished reading your TR but I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

And so sorry about your camera
I didn't see any other lime green Mickey heads on our trip either. I don't have one on any of our bags- it is always on my too do list, but I have never managed to actually do it yet .

The only reason we actually planned on eating at BB was because my dad specifically asked to eat there when I asked what he would like to do/see at Disney. He had memories of wanting to eat there when we would go when I was a kid, but they could never afford it. I really wanted him to have this experience.
My kids behaved fine, but it was still really stressful to me. I am still glad we took my dad since it was something he has always wanted to do, though.
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Old 11-25-2009, 08:44 AM   #14
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Monday Night- Girls' Night Out

The guys joined us back at the hotel and we had a makeshift dinner made up of some of the things we ordered from Von’s. We had planned on going to Mimi’s, but I didn’t feel like getting the kids dressed for dinner. The kids were quite happy with their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, veggies and fruit. Ordering from Von’s was such an easy thing to do. The hotel was great about accepting the order and even putting it away for us. When we stayed at DLH we had to be there ourselves to accept the order, so this was so nice. We ordered coffee creamer, carrot sticks, veggie packs, apples, bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, jelly, wheat bread, and two cases of water. We used up all the food and ended up having to buy more bread and creamer in the HoJo gift shop. I was surprised to find the gift shop reasonably priced.

After our dinner Bob told my mom and I to go have a girls’ night at Disney. I was really not up for this as I was so tired and ready to go to bed. Bob was pretty insistent that he could put the kids to bed by himself (he has never even done this at home ). Therefore, Mom and I made our way to DCA to ride a couple of rides before it closed at 6:00. Once I got out, I woke up a little and had a fun time with my mom. Our first ride was Tower of Terror. There was a bit of a wait, even with fastpasses. It was so worth it though. This was my first time riding it-ever. I LOVED it. What a fun ride. It did leave me a little nervous about Riley riding it though.

DCA was just about 5 minutes from closing, so we hustled over to Soarin’ and used our fastpasses to ride. We were boarded right away and enjoyed our trip. This is a favorite of ours.

We hopped on over to Disneyland. The lines to get in were surprisingly short. Our first stop was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We didn’t have fastpasses for this, but the wait was only about 15 minutes. I haven’t been on this roller coaster since I was a kid. My mom was so funny while we were riding it. She was giggling like a little girl the whole time. My mom is a huge roller coaster fan.

We wandered through the back walkway to Fantasyland. I pointed out the smoking area in case my mom needed a cigarette and was told that she had quit two months ago. What a nice surprise that was. My mom is a super long time smoker and she always had an excuse for why she couldn’t quit. I am so proud of her. I do wish she had told us so that we could support her, but she probably didn’t want the added pressure of us knowing.

Since we were in Fantasyland, we decided to do the castle walkthrough. How fun that was. I remember it being little figures before. We enjoyed it and were glad we did it without the kids as it would have been too much for Kaleb.

We decided to make our last ride of the night Indy. We got in line with our fastpasses. I don’t know what was going on, but the wait was horrible. It was at least a 30 minute wait-even with fastpasses. I was really tired, so this annoyed me more than it should have. We did enjoy the ride, but I was Done by then so we headed back to the hotel. We stopped at McDonald’s and got a couple of cheeseburgers for the guys on our way back. We told them about our night and we all crashed.
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:36 PM   #15
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We decided to make our last ride of the night Indy. We got in line with our fastpasses. I don’t know what was going on, but the wait was horrible. It was at least a 30 minute wait-even with fastpasses. I was really tired, so this annoyed me more than it should have. We did enjoy the ride, but I was Done by then so we headed back to the hotel. We stopped at McDonald’s and got a couple of cheeseburgers for the guys on our way back. We told them about our night and we all crashed.
The first time I rode Indy it was with a fastpass and the wait time, with the fastpass, seemed to match the time posted for the stand by line. I was so turned off about how long I had to wait I have only ever riden it one other time, as single rider. That is the only way I would ride it now. I wonder if a super long wait with a fastpass is common
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