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Old 09-28-2009, 12:32 PM   #1
Katiebell
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Katiebell and Son - Fly Away Home

Hello! I've been to Disneyland more times than I can count, but this is my first ever official Disneyland Trip Report. But as many times as I've visited, it's always fresh, always new, always magical. Hope you enjoy reliving my trip with me.

Cast of characters:
Katiebell (me) -- just turned 46, but when I get to Disney, I'm about...8.
Mike (my son) -- 23, has only been to DL twice -- when he was 7, and when he was 13. He needs a Dis name, so I'm going to call him... Mikey Mouse -- MM for short. He can be Mickey's long-lost nephew.

Please note: MM is half my age. You will be reminded of this later.

I seriously needed a magic refill, which absolutely requires a trip to Disney. I'm calling this TR "Fly Away Home" because just like ladybugs fly away home, every once in a while I need to fly home to Disneyland. I was born in the Los Angeles area, and grew up going to DL. I love WDW and look forward to my next visit, but DL really feels like home to me. When I walk under the arch on to Main Street, I feel like I'm back in my hometown.

I had some vacation time scheduled around my birthday, and it seemed like the perfect time to go. My husband was unable to travel this time, so I considered making the trip alone, but decided to ask one of my sons along. My oldest is out of the Air Force, but going to school full time and working part time, so he has no time My youngest just graduated high school and is looking for work, so no time and no money either But my middle son -- he has been on his job for a while, so he had vacation time AND money -- ding, ding, ding, we have a winner, folks! Perfect traveling companion

The hardest thing for me about a trip to DL is the drive -- particularly the drive home. At least on the way there, you have something to look forward to, but that 6-8 hour drive home, knowing you are leaving the magic, is bleak, desolate, and seemingly endless...

This time, we decided to try flying Jet Blue. 2 RT tickets from Sacramento were just under $300 with tax (could have got a better deal but didn't buy at exactly the right time). There and back, about an hour each way -- We got a shuttle to and from the Long Beach airport, so we didn't even need to rent a car. Deal at the Paradise Pier -- buy 3 nights and 3 day hopper passes, get 2 nights and 2 extra days on the passes free. Score!

Time off work -- check.
Plane tickets -- check.
Traveling companion -- check.
Sweet deal on hotel and tickets -- check.

So please...remain seated with your hands, arms, feet and legs inside the vehicle...and enjoy the ride!

Last edited by Katiebell; 09-28-2009 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:12 PM   #2
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9/17 - What Do You Mean, You're "Not *Totally* Packed"?

MM picked me up at my house about 8 am. His best friend would meet us at his place and drive us to the airport so we didn't have to leave a car in long term parking.

MM was not packed! He had just got back from a visit with friends in Monterey the night before, but holy cow, we were supposed to be at the airport in about an hour! So he sorted through his clothes, trying to figure out what to take, and I followed him around coaching him, "Swimsuit, walking shoes, flip flops, ID, credit cards, cash, PJ's, clean underwear..."

What can I say, I'm a mom through-and-through.

Finally got out the door and to the airport, with plenty of time to spare. Jet Blue was a great idea Efficient, friendly, plenty of leg room (and butt room ). We were impressed, and will definitely fly with them again. I like that we could fly into the Long Beach Airport, which is small and easy to navigate, rather than LAX. It would have been cheaper to drive, but with gas over $3 a gallon (price has inched down a little since), wear and tear on the car, the loss of 12-16 precious vacation hours driving, the hassle of driving in LA, and the huge "no-more-magic" crash on the lonnnnnnng drive home...yep, overall, it was worth it.

We checked into the Paradise Pier about 1 pm. I almost always stay at the DL Hotel (or the HoJo across the street if we are doing a budget trip). But they were booked for the special so we went with the PP instead. It's the cheapest of the three DL hotels, but we liked it a lot. It's located directly across the street from the Grand Californian and DCA, so it wasn't really any farther to walk to the parks than from the DLH.

The PP is CA beach themed, nice decor and beachy blue and sand color scheme:





Which one is Goofier?



We headed over to Downtown Disney, grabbed a late lunch/early dinner and drinks at the House of Blues -- I had a "Walk the Plank" -- Captain Morgan, Sprite, and cherries, yum

After browsing through some of the shops on the way, we finally made it to the park! As we walked under the plaque that reads, "Here You Leave Today and Enter the World of Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy", I savored the moment, and made sure that MM paid attention and felt the magic happen (yeah, I'm kinda weird like that )

We rode the DLRR, circling the park 1 1/4 times (and saw scary PRIMEVAL WORLD!), and got off at New Orleans Square. Rode Splash first thing, then Winnie the Pooh, Pirates, grabbed FP's for Indy, and settled down for a defining Disney moment -- Dole Whip floats at the Tiki Room.

We went back to Indy, then caught the train to Tomorrowland, the Monorail to DTD, and walked through the Grand Californian back to our hotel -- that turned out to be the fastest way "home" for us from the park.

We found out from the front desk that there is a small market, Wonderland Market, that delivers free to the Paradise Pier (free only to the PP, not the other hotels). Very handy! They have everything from cereal to shampoo to milk, bread, peanut butter, candy, chips, water, soda, even "grown up" beverages. The prices weren't really much higher than any other convenience store, and they were quick and accurate with our order. Oh...but their beautiful full color glossy advertising card had some serious...and unfortunate...misspellings. Like if you ordered cereal and milk, they could also include spoons and -- I kid you not -- "bowels".





After laughing our heads off over the interesting typos, we called and got some stuff delivered. A swim, a dip in the jacuzzi, and we called it a night.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:51 PM   #3
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Loving your TR already
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becpee View Post
Loving your TR already
Welcome aboard becpee Here I am complaining about the 6-8 hour drive from Northern CA (depending on traffic), but you have a LOT farther to go! Will this be your first Disney trip, or have you been there before?
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:25 AM   #5
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Hi again Katiebell
This will be my second trip to DL but my DH's and DS3 first time, we're basically tacking it on the end to our smallish road trip taking in San Diego, Vegas and parts of LA then 7 nights at PPH
We did originally book a direct flight but the airline changed it so we have to stopover in Sydney then an overnight flight to LAX, 14 hours with a 3 year old on a plane, i'm sure it will be wonderful
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:49 AM   #6
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Sounds like it will be a great vacation, though! Hopefully, since you have an overnight flight, your little guy will sleep through most of it Do you have any character meals planned for your trip? We went to the Lilo and Stitch breakfast on our last day and it was a blast...
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:14 AM   #7
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Yay for a new trip report!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited to be reading along- to see how I "Should" have done DL.
Next time, I'll know better.


Great so far-- and hey- I'm all for trying new and exciting things, but I think I'd draw the line at the "Bowels", even if they were free. I prefer to eat my cereal from a mug, Thank you very much.


Oh- and I know where PP is! We parked there one morning and went into DCH to have breakfast before we headed to Hollywood.


More please-- I know you have a little thing called work to attend to-- but really- don't leave us hanging.


Jo
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
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Hey KB!!!

Good job on the trip report today! LOL on the Wonderland "bowels" typo. How is the pool at PPH? I have never see it before. I will have to explore the hotel the next time I am down there.

Sea
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:41 PM   #9
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Hey KB! I can't wait to hear about all of your adventures!

How could MM not be packed??? I would have lost it!
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Old 09-29-2009, 03:38 PM   #10
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Hey, great to see some of my Mayer friends have popped in!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoBird View Post
Yay for a new trip report!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited to be reading along- to see how I "Should" have done DL.
Next time, I'll know better.


Great so far-- and hey- I'm all for trying new and exciting things, but I think I'd draw the line at the "Bowels", even if they were free. I prefer to eat my cereal from a mug, Thank you very much.


Oh- and I know where PP is! We parked there one morning and went into DCH to have breakfast before we headed to Hollywood.


More please-- I know you have a little thing called work to attend to-- but really- don't leave us hanging.


Jo
I won't leave you hanging too long, Jo...but my notes and pics are at home, so I'll try to post a new installment tonight or tomorrow morning. Yeah, there were tons of typos in that ad -- you could order "balogny" for sandwiches, or "banans", but that one was the most unfortunate...and the most hilarious

Quote:
Originally Posted by seacrestpromo View Post
Hey KB!!!

Good job on the trip report today! LOL on the Wonderland "bowels" typo. How is the pool at PPH? I have never see it before. I will have to explore the hotel the next time I am down there.

Sea
The PP actually started out as a different company's hotel, but then Disney bought them and gave it a Disney "makeover". We really did like it, and for the difference in the price, I'd stay there again for sure. The pool was nice, kind of small, but clean and well-kept. But the Neverland Pool at the DLH really can't be beat =) Never stayed at the GC, but someday...

Quote:
Originally Posted by trixiequilts View Post
Hey KB! I can't wait to hear about all of your adventures!

How could MM not be packed??? I would have lost it!
Normally, I would have lost it, but you know...I was so thrilled to be going to Disney that I just sort of sailed through the whole thing on pixiedust...

Just wanted to add...some people (NON-Disneyfreaks) have asked me, "What on earth are you going to do for 5 days at DL without a car? Won't you get sick of it? How much can you possibly find to do?"

We found that 5 days was just about perfect. The schedule was a slower pace than *I* normally do but it was a bit much for poor MM But we did different things every day, and still had plenty of time to go back to things we wanted to experience again.

OK, will try to get more posted tonight...
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:50 AM   #11
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The best laid plans of mice and moms...

Friday morning, I was awake at 6:00, ready to start the day!

MM...was not.

So I got up, got my shower, got dressed, read the paper, twiddled my thumbs, and finally woke His Highness up. "C'mon, we are at DISNEYLAND -- LET'S GET GOING!"

The Plan: healthy breakfast of smoothies at Jamba Juice, then head into the park.

The Reality: MM had a craving for biscuits and gravy.

The Idea: maybe Carnation Cafe on Main St. serves them? But maybe not.

The Recollection: Rain Forest Cafe had biscuits and gravy on the menu last time I had breakfast there.

So we trudge away from Jamba Juice's rainbow-multicolored-healthy-fruity wonderland away from the entrance to magic and toward the jungle known as Rain Forest Cafe.

The Horror: they no longer have biscuits on the menu.

MM is disappointed, but likes the breakfast menu anyway and ENOUGH OF THE MORNING IS GONE NOW, so we decide to eat there. Breakfast is tasty, coffee is strong, waitress sat us by the waterfall, and MM has never been there so the whole rainstorm effect with thunder and lightning and the animated animals is a surprise and he enjoys it. The manager (we think) came by to apologize that there were no biscuits on the menu. She brought MM a complimentary HUGE plate of toast with gravy (?) which he thanked her for, and kind of felt obligated to eat even though he'd just finished a sizeable breakfast, since she went to all the trouble. Oh to be 23 and 6' 5" and able to eat like that

So....STUFFED, we finally head toward the park. And got sidetracked at the pin shop.

When you buy a Disney package it often comes with a lanyard and a commemorative pin. We have some cool pins from those past vacation packages, like one from the 50th anniversary. And a lanyard is a handy way to carry your pass...but...

The lanyards are always made of a heavy scratchy material that tends to chafe your neck. The pin shops sell lanyards that are MUCH nicer, softer material, nifty designs, and you end up buying a better lanyard. And then...that one little pin looks all alone, and wow, there is an awesome pin with the Cheshire Cat balancing teacups on his head and paws, or Mulan with a parasol, or Mickey as Steamboat Willie, or....

Well, by then, you are hooked.

MM wanted a "theme" for his lanyard, and couldn't decide on "Villains" or "Disney Babes" . Now, something about MM: he can take forever to make up his mind if he is given a choice. When he was little, if we went to Baskin Robbins, we would shove him to the front of the group to contemplate the flavor combinations while all of the rest of us ordered, and when it was finally his turn, he STILL didn't know what he wanted!

He finally went with a split decision -- the Cheshire Cat was too cool to pass up and he got all four slinky Jessica Rabbit pin designs they had.

Finally...full of adventurous jungle breakfast and decked out in appropriately Disney-geeky bling, we made our way to the park...

Last edited by Katiebell; 10-01-2009 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:06 AM   #12
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Oh my. No Biscuits and gravy! What's a kid to do??

I can't believe you got a slow start. Oh well- Rainforest was fun, I know.

MM sounds SO MUCH like my Drew. Takes two hours to make his mind up. I will usually say "Okay- you have ten minutes. Choose or leave." Most of the time, he will walk out of a store without buying something b/c the decision is too great a task and it drives him bonkers.


Can't wait to get inside the park.


Jo
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:18 AM   #13
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not as early a start as I wanted...

I love to get to DL for opening, or even better, for early entry. There are three rides with no FP's that are so hard to get on later in the day, so if you don't ride them first thing, you have to forget it or prepare for a long wait: Matterhorn, Peter Pan, and the Nemo Subs. It was after 10, so I mentally scratched those off the list for the day. We grabbed a locker on Main St, and I put in 2 $5 (it was $7 and was supposed to give change), but the machine didn't register the second $5. I put in 2 more dollars, got the locker open, and went to City Hall to get my lost $5 refunded -- which they did cheerfully and without hassle.

It was just about time for Jedi Academy to start, so we hurried over to Tommorowland to catch the show. Well, I hurried, and MM just walked his normal lonnnng stride, which comes in very handy at DL. We sat and arranged our new pins on our lanyards while we cheered the young Padawans who saved the world from Darth Maul and Darth Vader



Next we grabbed FP's for Buzz Lightyear, then walked on the ride. MM was new to the whole FP concept and didn't understand why we got them when the ride was a walk on. "Ah, young Padawan, do not question the Disney Master...all will become clear in time..." We then walked on to Star Tours, and when we got off there was at least a 20 minute queue for Buzz, but we walked right back on with our FP's. "Now you are beginning to understand the ways of the FP..."

Space Mountain was closed for the Halloween overlay (next time, I want to go AFTER my birthday, around the beginning of October, so HM and SM are both done with the Halloween makeovers and I get to enjoy them).

We headed over to Fantasyland:



When there are only two of you on the trip, most of your photos will not be of the two of you together. Not everyone knows this (I know most seasoned Dis fans know, but maybe some newbies will read this TR) so here's a good tip -- any CM with camera around their neck will take pics with your camera if you ask them. So you can get pics of your whole family or group on your own camera taken by a professional Disney photographer who knows how to take decent pics! We sometimes do the PhotoPass pics too, because they can do cool effects like the pics with Tink in your hand...

The lines for Nemo, Peter Pan, Alice, and Matterhorn were all too long -- and no FP's for them. We took a spin on the Tea Cups, and headed toward Small World and Toon Town. And it was starting to get really hot...
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:33 AM   #14
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I am so glad that Mike has learned the ways of the Disney Master...

Enjoying your report!

Sea
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:09 PM   #15
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they changed IASW???

I was actually aware of and excited to see the changes that had been made to the Small World. For those of you not familiar with the controversy, here's the condensed version:

http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal...orld-rid-1530/

IASW had been in need of an overhaul for quite some time -- fiberglass repairs to the outsides of the boat hulls made it hard for the boats to fit through the narrow waterways (especially if there were heavier guests on the boats). While they were at it, the Imagineers decided to add some Disney characters in key spots on the ride, and do an expanded America scene. There was a huge outcry from Disney purists and the family of Mary Blair -- the original artist whose work the ride is based on. I understood their point -- it's a classic, and a piece of Disney history...sort of one big kinetic sculpture, so why mess with it???

There was particular concern about a rumor that the rain forest scene would be ripped out and replaced with a "rah rah yay for America" scene...which, if you think about the symbolism -- gutting the rain forest to show how great the US is -- yeah...not such a great idea.

However, after seeing the changes, they are actually really cool. The rain forest hasn't disappeared, and the America scene is tasteful, not vulgarly nationalistic, and includes Native Americans from several Southwest tribes, which is a nice touch. The Disney characters added are in their appropriate lands (Alice and the White Rabbit in UK, Lilo and Stitch in Hawaii, Nemo in Australia, Pinocchio in Italy, etc.) and they are all in the original Mary Blair style and blend in with the rest of the ride beautifully. I understand they used Mary's original artwork for Alice:

http://www.amazon.com/Walt-Disneys-A.../dp/1423107284

I didn't get pics of ALL of the characters, but here are a few:

Cinderella in France:


Alice and the White Rabbit:


The Three Caballeros, Mexico:


Lilo and Stitch:


America farm scene:


Ariel in the mermaid scene (my favorite scene!)


So...all in all...I liked the changes. And get this...

When we get through with the ride, MM says, "Wow...you know...when you ride that as an adult, you really get a feel for the detail and the artwork in there...didn't really appreciate it as a kid, but that was very cool!"

YESSSSSS! By George, he's got it!

Last edited by Katiebell; 10-02-2009 at 07:40 AM.
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