We said goodnight to Michelle and Leandra and headed inside. So the plan was to not go to sleep the whole night...
We'll see how that works out. Previously I had thoughts of just sitting out on the balcony and watching all the goings on of Disneyland at night. Sadly though, the balcony is locked and won't be opened until morning. The windows have curtains across them that we probably could have pulled back and stared out, but that's not exactly the same as standing on the balcony.
We'll have to just enjoy the inside of the suite, and of course we had to experience the amazing master bathroom. Theresa and I drew a bubble bath and soaked in the hot water, enjoying the jets, and loving the ambiance of the room. Just gazing up at the stars and listening to the calming music was wonderful.
Theresa - Ever since I saw the pictures of the Dream Suite, I knew that I wanted to take a bath in the bathtub there. Now, normally, I am not a bath girl; I prefer showers, but the bath in the Dream Suite looked amazing! I saw in the pictures that it was a deep jetted tub with surrounding blue tile, a tiled picture, and a stained glass window. Although it was 3:30am, and I was dead tired from a night of fun and frivolity, I had to take a bath in the amazing bath tub. When I saw the tub in person it exceeded all expectations! The tub had all of the amenities aforementioned; however, it also had this amazing “stars” button next to the tub that changed the scene in the bathroom to a “night scene.” The stars setting revealed “star” lights hidden in the tile along with a hidden mickey constellation and hidden speakers which started playing wonderfully soothing music. The tub itself was the biggest, deepest jetted indoor tub I had ever been in, with strong jets and bubble bath that made a ridiculous amount of bubbles!! It was just pure luxury. To sum it all up – Best Bath Ever!
We were able to get the bubbles up pretty high.
And with the tub lights glowing and the lights off, the whole room just looks magical.
A quick rinse off in the shower, then we joined everyone else in the parlor.
Ruston was ready to go to bed and took his leave. Jacob, T and I sat up a little longer, and read books for a while, but it was getting late and it was hard to focus.
Time to do something more active! We pulled out some card games. I was wondering if anyone else has played Uno or Phase 10 here. If not, then let it be known, Jacob is the Uno champion of the Disney Dream Suite.
And let it be known that Theresa is the Phase 10 champion.
So after a few games, it was just getting to be too much. We were still super stoked to be here, but after a full day of excitement, we had to get a few zzzs.
I think we ended up turning the lights out around 5am. I don't think the lights were out for more than a couple minutes before we were both asleep. The bed was amazingly comfortable and we both slept sound. And also, that jungle music that plays in Adventureland and Tarzan's tree house, continued all night. I don't mean to make that sound like a complaint though. The constant background noise reminded us exactly where we were sleeping the tonight.
The next morning, we had a special wake-up call at 7am. We were all fast asleep when the Tiki birds start singing. None of us were in the parlor at 7am; we were sleeping soundly in our beds, but we picked up the phone and asked Karen if we could see the wake-up call again.
Ruston - I loved that I could just pick up the phone and ask for things, and most times the answer was “yes”, “I’ll take care of that for you,” “I can make that happen”. Other times they’d tell us “That would be nice, wouldn’t it” which still made me feel pretty good.
I was feeling rested enough, so right after the wake-up call, I went around the suite and started taking photos of all the things I hadn't done yet. Theresa was out soon after, and Jacob joined us at 7:20am. Ruston obviously likes his sleep and slept in all the way until 7:45am!
At 7:30am, the park was still closed, and the balcony still locked, but Theresa and I tried the front door and it was open. We stood out at the top of the stairs gazing over the empty park and marveling at how people just add a whole dimension to it.
A few more shots throughout the suite.
Everyone is awake, but maybe not rested.
We picked up the phone and spoke with Karen. We asked if she could come show us anything else we might have missed in the suite. Were there any hidden Mickey's or any other details we might not have seen. She said that there weren't really many hidden Mickeys here, and that it was mostly the Disney "D" that was spread throughout the suite. It didn't stop us from looking for them though.
She asked if we'd like coffee or tea (meh, none of us are real coffee drinkers), or hot chocolate. Hot Chocolate? Yes, please!
And she suggested we could even put in some of the chocolate clock pieces we had left to make it extra chocolatey. Great suggestion! It was like drinking melted chocolate bars, which it just how I liked it!
Karen also opened up the balcony so we could sit and reflect on our whole visit.
Such a great view.
What a great experience.
I love this picture of all of us.
Karen offered to take a few more photos of us before we had to leave.
But before we left, we have to sign the guest book. It was all too much to express in just a few sentences.
And I finished it up.
The guest book.
And our entry. We decided to leave an invitation. No one else who had signed the book left any mementos, so we thought this would make ours extra special.
Before we leave, Ruston said there's one more thing he had to do!
Ruston - I have to go make snow angels in the carpet of our room!
At the Dream Suite, the earliest you can check in is 2:30pm and you're supposed to check out by 9am. With the exception of dinner, we stayed in the suite as long as we possibly could.
We all organized our luggage in the hallway to be delivered to the Grand Californian after we left.
Ruston's Duffy was sitting by the door, ready to go.
We called Karen to let her know we were ready to go and she just happened to walk in to the room while the timer on the camera was counting down and we were posed like this without moving or speaking. She walked in to the parlor and was wondering what in the world was going on here. It was really funny, but maybe you had to be there.
No! Don't make us leave!
Ruston, you have to leave!!!
Likely the last time this panel will turn green for us.
One final shot together at the entrance.
And our last trip down these stairs.
Ruston - I knew the weekend was going to go quickly, so I tried to recognize, capture and enjoy each moment as it happened. It seemed like there was a bit of magic at every turn. I'd really been looking forward to staying in the Dream Suite, and at one point during the night it hit me that chances were very slim that I would ever return. I tried to not let this get me down. After we'd checked out and were walking to breakfast the next morning I had an 'a-ha!' moment. I was so fortunate to have this experience and to share it with my friends, and I will now always have this experience with me. I will always be one of the lucky guys who got to stay in the Dream Suite, and that instantly cheered me up. As hokey as this might sound, the dream didn't end.
As part of a way to make the pain of leaving the Dream Suite not so bad, all the overnight guests are treated to Breakfast with Minnie. Karen walked us over to the Plaza Inn and made sure we got checked in okay. She'll meet us later today at 11:30am after we've wandered around the park.
There was one more little bit of magic that Karen had up her sleeve for us.
She had heard about how the day before, we had tried to ride Radiator Springs Racers but weren't able to after the ride went down. She was able to get us a readmission pass so we could walk up the fastpass entrance and try again! Thanks Karen!!!
We grabbed a photo before breakfast.
Used the free vouchers we got from Karen.
And then settled down for breakfast.
Looking back, we should have asked to be seated more towards the middle of the aisle. Sitting on the wall, you don't really get any characters come to visit you.
As we were leaving, Eeyore was coming down the aisle, so we grabbed a few photos with him.
And he just so happens to be one of Jacob's favorite characters! Double Score!
Walking out Main Street was bitter sweet. This amazing day was finally starting to end.
Walking out of the park after staying inside it overnight.
On the way over to California Adventure, we stopped by and checked on our stone.
One of Theresa's favorite movies. Do you recognize it?
Back down the beautifully redone Buena Vista street.
And hooray, we're getting back on to Radiator Springs Racers!
Ruston and Jacob sat in the front seat, while Theresa and I sat in the back.
Look out for Frank!
And it just so happened that on Ruston's very first trip on Radiator Springs Racers, he won!
Again, Ruston hasn't been here all summer so we had to go see some of the new places. We went to the Ghiradelli chocolate shop and hung out through the whole cycle of items you could order.
And then, because Ruston hasn't seen the back story for Radiator Springs, we went to Blue Sky Cellar.
Sitting down to watch Time Travel Mater.
Sitting? I meant laying.
Then we headed back to the Grand Californian to meet Karen. Our luggage was with the bellhops and the cars pulled up shortly with the valet.
Karen was the only one of our hostesses who was with us when we left, but from all of us to everyone who made our stay magical, we really want to say thank you so much for everything you did. The park itself is beautiful, but it's the people who make it truly special. You are the ones who show the true Disney spirit every day that make us all love this place so much. You've given all of us something we'll never forget. And so to Chelle and Karen (our daytime hostesses), Michelle and Leandra (our nighttime hostesses), Dave (who helped book our stay, answered every single question we had before we came, and fueled our excitement every time we heard from him), and Toni (who helped organize the Admin Day and awarded Ruston this prize), from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.
Our thoughts on the experience.
Theresa - Have you ever felt a day of pure joy - a day where everything goes right and you wonder how the world could be such a wonderful place?!? A day where your heart feels as light as a feather but also full of happiness, gratitude, wonder and amazement?!? Well, I had one of those days and that day was July 14, 2012.
Thank you, Ruston, for being such a wonderful friend. Thank you, Walt, for following your dream. Thank you, Disney, for making this dream a reality for me. And thank you, Joe, for documenting this incredible experience and being the best husband ever! To quote my good friend, Rapunzel, “Best Day Ever!”
Joe - Describing our experience in detail hasn't been too hard, but explaining my feelings about this day in words is more difficult. Visiting the Suite was something I wouldn't have ever thought possible in my wildest dreams. Being able to stay in it overnight just threw everything completely over the top. It was everything I could have imagined and more. Disney outdid themselves when they created this room and everything about it was amazing. Hopefully you can see my feelings about the room itself well enough throughout all my posts.
Our hostesses were incredible. They were always smiling, cheerful and seemed as excited as we were about going around with us. They embodied the Disney spirit and always made us feel special.
Thinking back about just being able to experience this with friends just gets me choked up. My eyes are literally misting up as I'm typing this. The Dream Suite was beautiful, but it's the experiences with people that I'll have the fondest memories of. From entering the Dream Suite for the first time with 3 of my best friends, yelling and calling for everyone to come whenever someone pushed the Goodnight Kiss button, watching Fantasmic! and fireworks with an amazing group of friends, our amazing after hours tour through the park, taking a bubble bath in the beautiful master bathroom, and finally just relaxing on the porch, taking a quiet moment with the people who mean so much to me.
Ruston, I don't think I can ever express my true appreciation for being able to join you on this trip. It was one of the most memorable and magical days I could ever experience. Thank you seems like such a small thing to say after being given such a wonderful gift, but when I say it, know that I truly mean it. Thank you.
All totaled up, I took over 2800 photos in less than 24 hours, and filled up over 65GB with photos and videos. Sorting through photos, correcting them, fixing video, organizing it all into something intelligible, and writing up multiple pages of trip reports has been a total labor of love.
And with that, I'll end this completely epic trip report. Hope you all enjoyed reading it.