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Old 01-06-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
I have plenty of hill left to climb thank you very much
 
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A BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov&Dec2010 @ VGC & AKV... 2 UPDATES 3/6 Post #85 & 86

For those of you who have experienced my other TR’s, or have encountered me on various threads, you’ll probably know that I am a bit of a fortunate guy in that I like to tack on time (when possible) to do something fun. If I can’t tack on a day at the beginning or end of a trip, I’ll definitely try to at least seek out something fun in the area I’m in… for example – when in NYC, I love to see a show, or a Yankees game, or ride the subway, or take the Staten Island Ferry, or, or, or. When in Philly, I enjoy seeing some of the historical sites. Everywhere has something to see or do, if you only take the time to explore. Some places just happen to have the best themed experiences on the planet… Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong – and if I’m “in the neighborhood”, you’d better believe I’m going to tack on some time and go see some old pals and enjoy some great architecture too – sometimes even have a great meal. SOLO. Because I’m comfortable enough traveling & touring on my own (that and I can’t always afford to bring the family along on a work trip!)

So with that in mind, it’s time once again for a SOLO adventure by stopher1 (vs. my FAMILY adventures when at least one other member of the family gets to go with me). I travel a lot for my for work, and those travels just happen to include both California (headquarters is located in Orange County – the home of Disneyland, and a few other things in case you were somehow not aware) and my regional territory (24 states on the eastern half of the country) naturally includes Florida (the home of Walt Disney World – again, just in case you were somehow not sure where that plane takes you each time you go to the World! )

This trip report is actually the compilation of 2 individual trips that were made within one week of each other – to opposite coasts and resorts… and has lots of DIS meets in it as well!! Filled with the parks, resorts, old friends, family, friends from my DL CM days via a reunion of Carnation Plaza Gardens friends, WL Groupies and DISDads… so why have 2 separate reports, but rather lump them together into 1! It’s more fun that way – especially since within this single report you will be able to see some of the Christmas decorations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in one…without the personal expense of flying there yourself!

We’ll begin this tale the day after Thanksgiving 2010, as I prepared to fly west for my company’s annual “end of year” meetings where we go over the current year, and do some planning for the upcoming year. Everyone in the company is there, regardless of where they reside in the nation (there are only 41 of us in all on the team… about half are regional folks in 4 offices around the country). I normally don’t like to fly the day after Thanksgiving, typically the Saturday or Sunday after, but that was the plan this year – and hey, the airport was extremely light! Practically everyone was already where they wanted to be. Upon arrival at John Wayne airport in Orange County, waiting for my bag to come off the conveyor, I was greeted with this SIGN – probably about 6’x9’ in size (or bigger) on the wall of the airport.



I can't wait to stay at Aulani!


I would not be checking in to the Grand until Saturday afternoon so that Friday night I was able to go down to our family retreat house… my FIL’s condo overlooking the beach in San Clemente and spend some time with him. He was diagnosed with cancer this past summer, and time with him is precious. Here’s the view from his living room window, which can never be obstructed since there is a public access staircase from the bluff his condo is on down to the actual beach below.




He insisted on taking me out to dinner that evening, so here we are at Islands, one of my favorites from So. Cal.




This is a view from the top of the stairs in the morning. Notice the train tracks near the water’s edge? Amtrak’s Surfliner runs right along the coast for quite a stretch there from Dana Point on south to Oceanside. It’s a fun sight to behold when the train goes by, and you can hear the horns blaring all through the day and night when it is approaching / passing.





Here's a view looking south along the coast, with the Pier in the distance. It's a nice walk from his place.




It was an absolute delight being able to spend my evening and the next morning with him. It was just the two of us, and in the 19 years I have known him, it was honestly the nicest, most open and caring ongoing conversation we've ever had. It was neat.

I left my FIL’s place around noon, had a quick bite for lunch and proceeded north along the 5 to my destination.




For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of staying at the Grand Californian, the hotel was built literally adjacent to Disney California Adventure, with a private entrance leading directly INTO that park, putting you just steps away from both Grizzly River Run (like Kali River Rapids) and Soarin’ (Over California). Both theme park and hotel were built on the original Disneyland parking lot. Parking for the Grand is either via Valet (with underground parking under the new Villas wing), or self-parking, across Disneyland Drive. That’s the route I took, being the relative cheapskate that I am. After checking in, I drove over to the lot, and then walked back to the hotel. This is the view of the hotel from across the street, specifically the new wing opened in September 2009 with the 48 DVC villas in it. The rooms you are looking at here are all hotel rooms for cash guests. The DVC villas are on the other side, either looking towards the pool complex, or over and in to DCA.




Since it was just me, naturally I didn’t need anything larger than a Studio. I had requested an “upper floor, theme park view” room. The hotel is only 6 floors high. I got level 3. So the first park of my request was sort of honored, but not fully. I did get a theme park view…but the room itself was way down at the end , next to the GV that looks out over DCA’s Paradise Pier… so the GV juts out further than the rest of the rooms do… so my view was of the park, but not very good – at least for seeing World of Color. But that’s okay. There would be ample opportunity to see it later on, as you’ll see.


I was in





Here are a few quick pics of the room itself.














Any the view out my window. Straight on is Paradise Pier… kind of blocked by trees. WOC is really off to the left. I could only see a tiny bit as seen in this view later that evening… but I’m getting ahead of myself.



Up next… DTD, old friends time in Disneyland itself. See ya real soon.
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 03-06-2011 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:54 PM   #2
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
I have plenty of hill left to climb thank you very much
 
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A BI-COASTAL Adventure continues...

Update 2: "I'll Take a Lamplighter, a Coke and a Hot Fudge Sundae, please"
Update 3: Mostly Pictures with Less than Normal Dialogue
Update 4: Disneyland After Dark
Update 5: Monday, Monday...
Update 6: A Work Week Begins
Update 7: Meetings, Meetings & More Meetings - Anybody Want Another Meeting?
Update 8: Coming soon...




OTHER ADVENTURES


A Daddy Daughter Adventure
SOLO Adventures: WDW June 2010
It WAS Live: Triple Whammy...THV/AKV/VWL January 2010
SOLO Adventures: DL November 2009Father-Sons Adventure: Star Wars Weekend May 2009
SOLO Adventures: DL May 2008
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 03-06-2011 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:21 PM   #3
Captain_Oblivious
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Ok, I'm jumping in here, too... although I think you missed an opportunity to combine this with your other ongoing TR into one big schizophrenic report.

Can't wait to see more of the Grand Californian! It looks awesome! (like its cousin, the WL)

Of course, the view from your FIL's place is pretty sweet, too.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:33 PM   #4
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Two TR's going at the same time? That is ambitious!
I think I've mentioned to you before that I used to be a CM at Carnation Plaza Gardens in DL over the summers of 1990-91, also worked at Village Haus. When were you there? I heard about that reunion. I'm sure we know some of the same people!
We stayed at VGC back in May and loved it! Absolutely hands down the best DVC property yet! We just missed the opening of WoC, got to see them testing it in the evenings (sort of, had an obstructed view like you). Look forward to more!
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:33 PM   #5
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Can't wait to see more pics!
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:35 PM   #6
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Ohhh, it's my DisDad of the Year...don't you love that sign at John Wayne...it's a "sign" anyway you look at it. Can't wait to read your report.

AND I love the GCV rooms, if they sold that 2 bedroom villa as a condo, we would have sold our house and moved
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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Love it!

I really hope we get to stay at VCG sometime. Trying to get that in the plans!
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:53 PM   #8
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
I have plenty of hill left to climb thank you very much
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiq View Post
Ohhh, it's my DisDad of the Year...don't you love that sign at John Wayne...it's a "sign" anyway you look at it. Can't wait to read your report.

AND I love the GCV rooms, if they sold that 2 bedroom villa as a condo, we would have sold our house and moved
Oh my golly, me too! I loved it when we were there in a dedicated 2BR last week...but that's a 3rd TR that has yet to be started.

Oh and of course it's a SIGN. I meant to say that... really I did. I was still thinking of the poster sized sign inside the elevators at VGC that I saw so many times last week while there... now I'll have to go back and correct the original post so it's correct there too. Sign. Of course it's a sign. Believe me, I do know it's a sign. I was a Signage manager/purchaser for my former employer's stores across the country for a couple of years... I do KNOW it's a sign.
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 01-06-2011 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:55 PM   #9
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I enjoyed your last solo TR, so I've been looking forward to hearing about this one. As confusing as it the whole bi-coastal bit sounds, I think this has potential to be a very informative and interesing trip report for those of us who haven't made it to both parks.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:32 PM   #10
dvczerfs
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im in stopher!!! great shots again!! glad you got to spend time with your fil. hes in our prayers. he looks good for eveything thats going on. cant wait for another update. on a side note, i dont see a ticker in your sig.?
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:16 PM   #11
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
I have plenty of hill left to climb thank you very much
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Ok, I'm jumping in here, too... although I think you missed an opportunity to combine this with your other ongoing TR into one big schizophrenic report.
Welcome Mark! So glad you could join in the fun.

Yeah, I kind of thought of making it all one big report, but then it would really be a mess - and I'm a bit too much of a neat freak to have a mess like that on my hands... so I figured what they heck, go with two...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post

Can't wait to see more of the Grand Californian! It looks awesome! (like its cousin, the WL)

Of course, the view from your FIL's place is pretty sweet, too.
Oh, and it IS awesome too. The Lodge is definitely my favorite resort at WDW... but I must say, that the Grand is actually my favorite resort by Pete Dominick. Side by side, the Grand wins for many reasons, though I do love the themeing of the Lodge. Let's just say thank goodness there are a few miles between the two or I'd have a hard time choosing which one to stay at if they were both at WDW.

Oh yeah, the beach place is great. I could live there full-time and never get tired of that view. Definitely the reason he snapped it up all those years ago when it was available.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEeyore View Post
Two TR's going at the same time? That is ambitious!
And a bit crazy... especially when I finish sorting out the pictures from the trip the entire family just got home from last week... back at DL and the Grand, in a dedicated 2 BR...with my SIL and nephews along. I hope to have 3 going in a week or so... But WELCOME! Nice to have you here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEeyore View Post
I think I've mentioned to you before that I used to be a CM at Carnation Plaza Gardens in DL over the summers of 1990-91, also worked at Village Haus. When were you there? I heard about that reunion. I'm sure we know some of the same people!
Yes, I believe you have mentioned that before. I was at CPG from 87-89. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see if you do recall/know any of the same people, since a photo or two could be surfacing in the not too distant future.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEeyore View Post
We stayed at VGC back in May and loved it! Absolutely hands down the best DVC property yet!
Ooooohhhh - I will agree with this statement 100% (sorry Groupies reading along.... )


Quote:
Originally Posted by lakelandgal70 View Post
Can't wait to see more pics!
And I can't wait to share some more! Welcome! Glad you could join in.
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:26 PM   #12
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepSwimmingDory View Post
Love it!

I really hope we get to stay at VCG sometime. Trying to get that in the plans!
Welcome Dory! I hope you can get to stay sometime in the not too distant future. It really is a wonderful place. It definitely has the feel of the Lodge, but a somewhat different vibe too. A bit more subdued elegance and grace, and a little less rustic charm. But just as cozy, if you can imagine it. The fireplace is fabulous too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
I enjoyed your last solo TR, so I've been looking forward to hearing about this one. As confusing as it the whole bi-coastal bit sounds, I think this has potential to be a very informative and interesing trip report for those of us who haven't made it to both parks.
And I'm happy to share! Welcome! Glad you came along. I literally was on both coasts within a week of each other... less really. In DL and the MK less than 1 week apart. Kinda fun, kinda crazy. Definitely kinda ME! I hope I can provide something useful and informative... but I guess only time will tell, and you of course can be the judge of whether or not you find anything useful.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dvczerfs View Post
im in stopher!!! great shots again!!

Great to have you here Dave! Welcome!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvczerfs View Post
glad you got to spend time with your fil. hes in our prayers. he looks good for eveything thats going on.
Thanks again. He's doing alright. This was at the end of November though. He's gone down hill a bit since then, unfortunately. If I get my 3rd TR started, you'd see a difference in anything I happen to post with him in it (he DID make it to DL with us on that trip at the end of December... so he might show up again... we'll see)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvczerfs View Post
on a side note, i dont see a ticker in your sig.?
Good observation! I've been meaning to put it up again, but just haven't yet. With 3 trips on my rotating ticker that were completed in November and December... it was hopelessly outdated. And I figured I'd rather sort through pics and start my TR's first, and then get around to putting it back up later. But just in case you're wondering, there's a visit to WDW planned for April, and October, and back to DL at the end of November again... and who knows, there could be another something sprinkled in along the way to either coast depending on work travel needs. It'll be back up soon enough though.
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:14 AM   #13
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we will be there the last week of sept and the first week of october.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:29 AM   #14
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I'm here, Stopher! I'm so far behind on everyone's trip reports it just isn't funny. I see you posted an update to your Daddy/Daughter adventure - and if work and life ever slow down just a bit I'll actually be able to read it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stopher1 View Post
That’s the route I took, being the relative cheapskate that I am.
Now this sounds familiar, but I can't quite place from where...

And if you're insane enough to have 3 or 4 or 5 TRs going at once, I'm insane enough to read them!
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:50 PM   #15
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Fellow former DLR Castmember checking in. Adventureland-Frontierland Attractions 1988-1991!

Can't wait to read more. I am lucky to live an hour from DLR, but have been known to schedule client visits in Central Florida with a DVC stay included! Great minds think alike.
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