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  1. #1

    • Disneyland Dreamin'
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    Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    First off, I would like to start by saying thanks to all the folks who answered the many questions I (and others) asked on MiceChat before our trip. All of your tips and pointers were a big help. Much appreciated!

    For our first “real” vacation in over 10 years and our first visit in 13 years to Disneyland (our first visit with our kids - 9 yr old daughter and twin 8 yr old boys), I have decided to attempt my first trip report!

    This will get a little long-winded and is photo-intensive but it’s been a long time since we've been and I want to remember it all and share it too! As it got longer I decided to split my report up into parts: Travel and accommodation (for those who care) and Days 1-4. I will try and post each part as quickly as possible! For reference, the last time we were there, DCA looked like this:



    Quite a difference between then and now:



    Bear with me as this may tend to go on a bit and I do have around 400 photos to pick from! On to the report!

    Back in November, my wife and I talked about getting back to Disneyland sometime and as the kids, especially my daughter, had been bugging us for a while and a were about the perfect age, we were really trying to figure out a way to get there sooner than later. As it involves a fair amount of money and travel for us, it was not a simple matter. Just before Christmas, an opportunity came along that I couldn’t pass up and next thing you know, we were booked!

    The trip was a surprise for the kids but we ended up telling them about 3 weeks before we went. We booked a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite with full kitchen (ideal to save a buck or two on meals) at the Dolphin’s Cove Resort (we have access to a timeshare),about one mile away from the park. It was close enough to walk but after long days at the Happiest Place On Earth, I guessed (rightly so) that the kids wouldn’t exactly be the Happiest Kids OnEarth if they had to walk a mile back every night, so after researching online a bit, I found a great little alternative. More on that later...

    Our flight was at 11:30am from Vancouver, so our ride arrived at the house bright and early at 8:30. Of course it was no trouble getting everyone up on time! I had one more surprise and we were on our way!



    "Our surprise chariotawaits…"
    Check in and security was a breeze and then we waited. We even got a little taste of Disney before we left Vancouver. These displays were at the terminal our flight was leaving from!









    After a quick 2 ½ hour flight, we arrived at John Wayne Airport. What a way to arrive! Not too crowded, close to Disneyland, easy to get around… LAX never again!



    We arrived at our accommodations and settled in. A trip to load up on groceries and we were ready for our adventure to begin!







    And our first Hidden Mickey! (sort of)



    After dinner, the boys stayed with mom and went to the pool while my daughter and I decided to get a “sneak preview” and walked over to the park to check out Downtown Disney and pick up our tickets for the next 4 days!



    “It’s up there somewhere”

    As we approached the main gate and passed under the Monorail, the music and the sounds and lights hit us and we both stopped and soaked it up for a minute. While standing between the two parks in the Entrance Promenade, I turned to my daughter and asked her what she thought. “This is amazing”, she said in awe. “Way better than the pictures!” I had to agree. 13 years and I was finally back! For me, it was like seeing it for the first time again, with so many changes.

    After a short shopping trip through Downtown Disney andWorld of Disney (where we found Perry!), we headed back to our hotel.


    "Downtown Disney"



    “Hey! Where’s Perry?”

    I decided to confirm a shortcut that I read about to get back. I am not sure if I should let the cat out of the bag but suffice it to say that for the next 4 days, we had a free ride to and from the park via the Toy Story shuttle and not once were we told we couldn’t ride. At the end of a long day, it definitely saved a lot of steps. I do imagine though that if more people exploited this, Disney would figure out a way to stop it.



    “Waiting for the shuttle bus.”
    Back at the suite, it was time to pack it in for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a big day! We were going to Disneyland!

    Next up: Day One - Disneyland!

  2. #2

    • Familymemories
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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    Good for you!! Great photos so far. The last time we went to Disneyland it was in 1996. Our two youngest had not been born yet. It was the last trip with our son who passed away a few years later. It had been 10 years (2006), since we had been back and the first trip for our youngest children (boy and girl). Bitter sweet trip, BUT amazing seeing the look on the faces our our kids. That is something my husband and I will NEVER forget. Since 2006, we have been back several time.

    When there is a long time span between, I truly believe that you appreciate the magic of the trip more. Can't wait to see more
    Vintage Jewelry Converted Into Wearable Pieces Visit My Etsy Shop3 Kid Crop Shop

  3. #3

    • Disneyland Dreamin'
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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos... PART 2

    DAY 1 - DISNEYLAND!

    Our first day was Sunday, April 14th. The morning greeted us with some cool weather and cloudy skies but it didn’t dampen our excitement. We ate breakfast and headed out to Disneyland for our first day. I wanted to make it for opening but unfortunately I had to wait for the car rental place around the corner to open first to return our car. I wasn’t too worried though as the park was open until 11:00 that night and we had plenty of time. We got through the gate at 9:45 and we were in!


    “Gloomy skies didn’tkeep my daughter from enjoying her first sight of Mickey and the Main Street Station”




    “We’re goin’ in!”



    “The famous plaque”



    “And we’re in!”


    "Wait a minute! Happy, smiling kids? Wow, it really is magical here! "

    In what has become a bit of a tradition over the years of visits to Disneyland and Disneyworld, our first order of business always ends up being a ride around the park on the train. The refurbished station looks beautiful and there was no wait to get aboard the E.P. Ripley.








    “Not too many people around yet.”

    As we rolled back into the Main Street station, we decided to head down Main Street and see what was new in the shops. A quick pit stop at City Hall for 1st visit buttons for the kids and away we went. I am still impressed to this day with how clean and tidy everything looks. I had read many comments about things going downhill but we honestly didn’t see anything to complain about. It surely is impossible to keep every inch spotless at every minute of the day, but it looked pretty darn good to us!


    “Walt’s room”

    After a quick stop at the Market House for coffee (on its last day open before refurbishment into a Starbucks) we pushed ahead.
    At the hub, the kids were asked where they wanted to go first. Overwhelming votes were given to Star Tours (all big Star Wars fans) so we headed over to Tomorrowland. As FastPasses were not really something we tried last time (they were still very new in 2000), and we saw the standby time was 35 minutes, we chose to stand in line. The kids didn’t want to wait for the FastPass return time in an hour. LOL. The line went fast and we were on our first ride of the trip! And what a ride it was! The random storylines and new 3D effects were very cool compared to the “old” Star Tours. Over the 4 days of our visit, we came back 2 more times (using FastPasses after figuring out how to best use them) and managed to see several different segments. Awesome.
    After Star Tours, we headed over to one of my favorites, Space Mountain. This sadly was one of only 2 real disappointments during our whole time there (the other being Soarin’ closed). I knew beforehand that Big Thunder was down for refurbishment, but to miss Space Mountain? Yuk. I can see though where safety comes first and while too bad, I saw no reason to get upset over it. Too many other things to see and do in 4days!


    “It’s lonely in Space”

    From there, we went and shot some stuff up in Astro Blasters, where I managed to hit a target that gave me 400,000 points at one time. Just as well as I could only hit about 50,000 on my own

    After a visit to Star Traders and wandering Tomorrowland and around the Matterhorn we could see the crowds starting to pick up a bit. We decided to have some lunch and headed out of the park. We packed our own lunch and left it in a soft-sided cooler in a locker for convenience and were back in the park within about 45 min. There was no shortage of space to sit and eat and relax. This is one of the reasons we decided on a 4-day ticket. We probably could have“squeezed” 3 days but I am not one for rushing from place to place just to see it all. The whole time was much the same, without ever feeling like we were running out of time (except for about an hourbefore closing on the last day!)

    We headed back through the gates and back to the Hub where once again, the question was put to the kids “Where to next?” to which the reply was “Where’s Indiana Jones?” Off to Adventureland!

    “Partners Forever”



    “Gawrsh! Where to next?”



    “Adventureland!”

    After grabbing a Fastpass for Indy, we went over and waited for the Tiki Rooms next show. As it is the Tiki’s 50th anniversary this year, we celebrated with the much talked-about Dole Whip. It was actually my first one! I love pineapple. I love Dole Whip.

    “It’s the Tiki TikiTiki Tiki Tiki Room!”

    After the show, we had time to take a Jungle Cruise before heading to Indy. Our cruise guide was funny enough, but the ear piercing scream she let out at one point near the hippos (I think) nearly made everyone jump out of the boat! I could have done without that! LOL

    “Making sure this guydoesn’t ‘drop’ anything while we are waiting!”

    We climbed through the treehouse to kill a few more minutes and enjoyed some of the views…









    Indiana Jones was next and the kids loved it. It was much like I remembered, although to me it seemeda little rougher than before. I must be getting old!

    After Indy, it was time to head back for something to eat. We left the park around 5:30, caught the shuttle and were sitting down to dinner at our place by 6:30. After relaxing for a bit, it was back at it. We got there around 7:45 and had plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the night. I love Disneyland at night - such a different feel with all the lights and displays. I don’t have the best camera so the night pictures aren’t great but still fun to look at and remember!








    Our first stop after getting back in was to Pirates of the Caribbean. One of my very favorites tied with Haunted Mansion. We timed it just right, with crowds getting spots for the fireworks, we walked right on. In fact we went on Pirates and Mansion 3-4 times each during the 4 days and the longest we waited for either was probably 10 minutes. For most of our visit, the wait for any attraction was fairly short, enough so that Fastpasses didn’t come into play that often. The longest we waited was 75 minutes for Radiator Springs Racers but I’ll get to that story for Day 2!


    “MMM, smells good!”




    “And you thought you were having a bad day!”

    Next up, Haunted Mansion! Once again, we pretty much walked right in and it was as good as ever! We walked through New Orleans Square and saw the fireworks from a bit of an odd angle but still enjoyable for the kids. After, we made our way through there and across to the hub again, and after a ride on Finding Nemo we decided it was a good time to take a night time monorail trip. This was the first time since 1987 that I have been able to do a full circuit because in 1999-2000, it was not passing through the future California Adventure. One thing that struck me was how fast it seemed to be. I had forgotten and it was pretty cool. It also gave us our first glance of DCA. Very exciting day coming tomorrow!




    “It’s 10:59pm. Do youknow where your kids are? Not too many people left in here!”

    After getting off the monorail, we headed over to the Matterhorn and waited to get on. Now, I love rollercoasters and thrill rides but my kids haven’t been on anything like it before. They were not worried in the slightest and were getting more excited as the screams of other riders wound them up more! I was a little concerned about riding because I have a bad back from an injury in hockey about 3 months ago. I had been reading about how bad the new bobsled seats are and was prepared for the worst, especially after hearing that Matterhorn was closed earlier and may close again. I wanted to ride! I am 6-1 and about 225 and I had a great time! The seat wasn’t too bad, the ride didn’t aggravate my back and life was good. I am not sure what all the fuss is about, but I seemed to fit with no ill-effects. Fun! Of course the kids wanted to go again but itwas getting late and we had had another big day tomorrow. All together we were at the park for just under 11 hours on the first leisurely day. The kids trooped right along with the best of them but now it was time for some sleep. We walked out at just after 11pm and I realized what magic really means… that you actually can getyour kids to listen and walk for extended periods of time! You just need a Disneyland!Next: On to Day 2!

  4. #4

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    Ain't no such thing as a too long report or too many pics. Bring it on!!




    EDIT: I tried to get this in before part 2. I was too slow.

  5. #5

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    DAY 2 – Disney California Adventure

    Our second day began on a strangely quiet note. Usually our kids are up with the birds and having quiet past 7-7:30 is a rare thing… not today! After 8am and still snoring away!







    Soon after these pictures were taken, everyone was up,breakfast was had and we were pretty much ready to go. The plan for today was to hit Disney California Adventure at opening time at 10am and head straight to Radiator Springs Racers. After researching standby wait times and FastPass availability, we decided to wait until getting to the park to see which one was the best option to choose. I had peeked outside earlier and was surprised to see rain but it didn’t bother us. Believe me, when you have as much rain in the winter as we do in Vancouver, it’s not a problem. It was still warm enough for shorts so I was fine with it.

    We got to the gate about 9:30 and were in ten minutes later. This was all-new territory for us now as DCA wasn’t here last time we were. I love Buena Vista Street and looking at photos from before, I can see the improvement. Very cool take on 20’sand 30’s architecture. I didn’t take much time yet to snap any pics because we were on a mission, but we would come back later and give the area the attention it deserves. We wandered over to the Carthay Circle area and waited for the rope to drop into the rest of the park. While we waited, I realized the line for RSR FastPasses was off to the left and wrapped around the corner and down the“block”. I don’t know how long this equates to time-wise but we chose to go stand in line at the ride itself.

    The drizzly rain came and went and as 10 o’clock came around, the clouds parted a bit and we headed in to find CarsLand! We went with the herd and as I suspected, most were headed to the same place we were. I was impressed at how well organized the area was, to get everyone going to RSR into a line somewhat out of the way. As we passed the FastPass area for RSR, I noted the return time was for 5:45-6:45pm. For us to plan that far ahead with three kids and dinner, etc, we felt we made the right choice to go stand-by. We walked all the way to the queue area and the sign said 90 minutes. We were waiting thereapproximately 10 minutes when an announcement came on saying the unknown technical difficulties were causing an indefinite delay. We were welcome to stay in line though. We decided to stay and wait, but a huge number of people walked out. We moved forward and got to the area that goes under the track and stopped again.


    “No racing right now!





    “Gloomy”




    We waited here for about another 15 minutes and another announcement came on, basically repeating the first message. The family behind us was debating about whether to leave or not. The guy said basically in the 4 days they were here, this was the closest they got before they ran out of patience and kept giving up. They left, as did many in front of us again and again we moved up a fair distance.





    Here is where we stood for the longest amount of time, about20 minutes, looking at the oil bottle walls… close to decision time now. Do we stay or do we go?



    “Do I see some brightening skies?”

    Another announcement and another mass exodus and ahead we went again. All of a sudden a cheer rippled through the line and we were told the ride was almost ready to go! A test lap or two and we were almost on!


    “Test run…all systems go!”

    We got on in the next few minutes and it was awesome! I felt bad for the guy at the loading area who left with his daughter and 5 minutes later we were loading, but just a little more patience…

    All in all, we were in line, on and done in less than 90 minutes and now were free to enjoy the rest of DCA at a more leisurely pace without having to worry about coming back later at a specific time. Radiator Springs Racers is a great ride with some awesome effects and thrills. Is it slightly over-rated? I think maybe yes, but only because of the still massive wait times. I can’t believe how busy CarsLand is in general, almost a year after opening! Still,it is a feast for the eyes and very true to the feel and detail of the movie. I won’t go into whether it belongs in “California” or not but in my opinion it is every bit as immersive as Adventureland or New Orleans Square. RSR is absolutely the centerpiece of the land, but I won’t wait again for more than 20-30 minutes max. Even FastPasses are still crazy! Single rider line seems to be the way to go? Anyhoo…

    It was on to explore the rest of CarsLand and DCA. We ran into an interesting guy as we leftRSR…



    Not as shy as he used to be! I really like these characters, but it’s too bad they couldn’t do themouths like the awesome animatronic cars in RSR. THAT would be something, especially with Lightningand Mater, but still fun.


    “Dadgum! Mater’s a popular guy!”



    “Still trying to brighten up”

    After browsing some of the other shops and sights, we found a quiet corner to eat some lunch. Aftera short break it was Mater time! We headed over to the Junkyard for our next ride…


    “And the sun finally makes an appearance!”



    “Some of the many alter-egos of Mater”





    “All these little details from the movies and Cars Toons. Really cool!”






    There are cool little details everywhere. Nothing seems generic here, even down to the actual radiator caps on the tops of the queue chain posts. Unfortunately one side of the ride went down but it still wasn’t a terrible wait. Hearing Mater singing “Dadgum, dadgum, dadgum! Sumpim, sumpin,sumpin” and “Junkyard Jamboree” over and over started to get a little tiring after the 10th or 12th time but it was still funny. I wouldn’t have minded had the ride been working properly but what can you do? Oh, and the ride itself? Fun forthe parental units and the kids loved it.

    Before leaving CarsLand, we took a spin on Luigi’s FlyingTires. Not sure what happened to the pics but the ride was actually more fun than I thought it would be. For anyone who doesn’t know, it is basically a reincarnation of the original Tomorrowland Flying Saucers from the early 60’s. The theming in the queue again is really good but the ride itself is more of a nostalgic nod to the past. One time was enough for us and the kids.

    At this point, we decided to head back towards the front of the park and spend some more time getting immersed in the feel of it all rather than the mad dash we got caught in earlier.

    I’ll say it again – I love Buena Vista Street. I never saw DCA 1.0 but from the photos I have seen, “tacky tourist” comes to mind? The angles and the way they blended all the styles together to fit a theme, even stylized, just looks so… comfortable.


    “Love the look”






    We wandered back down the street, in and out of shops and made a stop at Clarabelle’s for ice cream for the kids and Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café and Bakery (Starbucks) for coffee for mom and dad. Strangely, the coffee here was less money and better than the Market House in DL yesterday!

    From here we headed over to Condor Flats. I have wanted to try Soarin’ Over California ever since I heard about it but sadly, our second minor disappointment, was closed for the same reasons as Space Mountain. Again, I understand the reasons, but it is too bad that for those who can’t get there very often, to miss out on some of the headlining rides because of some lapse on one side or another. Oh well…onward and upward! Upward indeed. The kids’ next choice was Tower of Terror, a ride which none of them had ever seen the likes of before, nevermind ridden!

    We headed through HollywoodLand and down Hollywood Boulevard towards the tower. Nice area, but I immediately noticed the difference from Buena Vista Street to here once we got to the area around Muppets and Monsters Inc. Not terrible, in fact I also really liked Hollywood Boulevard, but the larger warehouse buildings in the “backlot” area seemed really barren compared to the rest.



    Oops, no pictures of the backlot area… not too fascinating I guess. We got over to the FastPass area for Tower of Terror and got ours, good to come back in an hour or so. We went over to Muppets 3D (showing its age,but enjoyable for the kids. If they redo this area, I can see it probably going away though) and the stood in a short line for Monsters Inc. What to say…loved the movie. The ride? Not so much. Even the kids weren’t that impressed. Some upgrades to the animatronics, like moving mouths, would do wonders.

    Wait! I found a picture FROM the backlot area, Monsters queue to be exact…


    “Not much of a line for, sadly, not much of a ride.”

    It was time to head over to the Tower. I couldn’t wait as I had ridden the one in Florida about 11 years ago and had a lot fun on it. I heard the ride system was changed and randomized so I was excited. I found out later that the DCA version was not random but still enjoyed a couple different visits. My two boys were bouncing waiting for the elevator to open but my daughter nearly hyperventilated once we got seated. I think she held her breath the whole time but did manage to belt out a few screams before it was all over.


    “Almost there…”



    “Almost there...”



    Kind of imposing dontcha think kids?”

    After we got off the ride, all I heard from the three of them was “Let’s do that again!” I guess it was a hit!





    We did wander through A Bug’s Land (didn’t really stop), and around CarsLand once more but it was getting close to dinner time. We headed back to our condo and ate, relaxed and after some discussion (and a glass of wine and a couple of beers later) decided to call it an early night after the long day yesterday. The kids complained for about three minutes but when their heads hit the pillows at around 7:30, there wasn’t a peep to be heard. I swear Disney needs to bottle this stuff! We had Early Morning entry for Disneyland tomorrow so it was for the better.

    Bring on Day 3!

  6. #6

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    Sounds like an amazing trip -- one your kids are going to remember fondly FOREVER! You seem to've done such smart planning and time/energy management (i.e., knowing when to call it a day, stop for a meal, or sleep in, plus allowing enough days so you could take your time and not feel pressured to "go! go! go!" every single second). It must've been really disappointing to find some of the marquee rides closed, but it's nice to hear such a balanced and thoughtful response. All-in-all your family seems to've really found the recipe for a magical visit to Disneyland. It's been really fun to see your pix and read your report.

  7. #7

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    What a great trip report! I feel like I was there with you. I'm anxiously waiting for Day 3.

  8. #8

    • Disneyland Dreamin'
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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    DAY 3 – WE BEGIN IN DISNEYLAND TODAY!

    For our 3rd day, we had Early Morning entry so we headed out around 8:30. This was the first morning of glorious sunshine and we were well refreshed after good nights’ sleep. We entered just after 9 and enjoyed a leisurely stroll down Main Street in the sun. Not too many people around made it really quiet!


    “What a beautiful morning!”



    “Sunshine!”



    “A much nicer day!”
    We headed through the Early Entry area and went over to check out the new Fantasy Faire. We found that although it was colorful and outside the castle walls, it didn’t really intrude that much into the hub and Main Street like many have complained about. Inside the actual area itself was really nice, but ultimately for us, a short walk-through. Our kids, daughter included, are not really princess fans!


    “Enough trees to camouflage it a bit”



    “The crane adds so much!



    “On the right is the passage to Frontierland and the tasty Rancho del Zocalo Mexican Restaurant”











    “A quiet morning in the grotto”

    Once we got into Fantasyland, we found the crowds. All the Early Entry rides were waits of at least 40 minutes. We passed on through until we got to It’s A Small World. There was no line at all so on we went. Let me make it clear… It is a classic and all but I wouldn’t wait in line for it anymore. The kids thought it was ok but annoying! LOL! I guess I know what card to use as punishment for misbehavin’!




    “It’s (still) A Small World After All”

    Next, it was back over to Star Tours to see which adventure we got to go on this time. Did I mentionI love the new Star Tours? So do the kids! The Star Trader has the new Droid Assembly station but for $12.95 for one, it seemed a little (lot) steep! For a custom 2.5” “Disney” R2-D2 looking droid with funny hat, I could spend 4 or 5 bucks each but I did see many people buying so I guess they know what they are doing!


    “Oops, bad pic, butthe Droid thingy is down there on the left”

    We had planned on using Day 3 to cover much of the stuff we didn’t get to on the first 2 days. Some sightseeing and another visit to Pirates and Haunted Mansion (no waits)!


    “Never really stopped to look at this before!”



    “It’s almost 12:30. Still not many people!”



    “Yo ho ho… arrr, er nevermind”



    “I think New Orleans Square is probably one of the best areas, atmosphere-wise, along with Adventureland, Buena Vista Street and CarsLand”



    “Why can’t my kids be this happy all the time? Oh. Because Disneyland”

    After those rides, and scenic stroll, it was time for lunch and to head back over to California Adventure to see the rest there. We still hadn’t been to Paradise Pier (or Pierre as one of my sons called it, not sure of the connotation! Ladies?) Also on the list was Grizzly Peak and Wilderness Explorers. Back down Main Street and who is there??


    “Is that Mickey?”



    “Yep! It’s Mickey! Note the happy children again.”

    Once we had lunch, we decided to head back into Disneyland and visit Mickey’s ToonTown. Probably should have done that later as it was really, really packed with strollers and kids! Another scenic walkabout and we were there. For some reason Roger Rabbits Cartoon Spin was closed so we saw the sights and carried on with our day. I guess the kids are getting to the “that’s for little kids” stage but they still had fun poking around.



    “Scenic Tour Photo #1”



    “Scenic Tour Photo #2”



    “Scenic Tour Photo #3”



    “Scenic Tour… ah you get the idea!”



    “Figuring the best angle to get wet”



    “Just fun”



    “OOOH it says picture spot. Better take a picture!”



    “What does this do? Let’s see…”



    “Har har har”



    “Wow. So strong.”



    “Great. Broke the windshield.”





    “I need this sign for work”



    “Gotta love Goofy! Always been my favorite.”



    “Love the details”



    “Main Street again…Note the flags at half-mast. Our thoughts go out to the people and victims of the terrible events in Boston”

    It was time to head out for dinner around 4:45 so we could get back to DCA and have lots of time to explore until closing time at 9pm. Out, fed and back by 6:30 and we’d be good to go!



    “We’ll be back…”


    Inside the gates of DCA and over to Paradise Pier to ride California Screamin’! The kids were excited…my wife, not so much.






    “Refreshing”



    “Checking in at CarsLand… Yep! Still busy!”

    Sunset and night time look really cool here! When the sun starts to go down and the lights come on, the whole character of the area changes. I think it looks warmer and more inviting than during the day.



    “Very Pacific coast-y, er Wharf-ish. Actually reminds me a bit of home near Granville Island. Except for the scary tower in the background. And the palm trees. LOL”




    “OOOOOOOOOH”



    “AAAAAAAAAH”



    “Oooo and aaah”



    “What a gorgeous night”







    “Mickey lookin’good!”

    We went around the pier and rode California Screamin’ which was great fun. As it was the kids’ first full-fledged roller coaster, I was a little concerned. In fact, my daughter seemed to get cold feet about 5 minutes into the line and said she needed to go to the bathroom. My wife took the opportunity to bail out and they stood and waited for us to finish. As the line moved, my daughter appeared and said she really didn’t want to miss it and braved the whole rest of the wait and buildup to the ride. She did great, screamed at the appropriate times and put her hands up when I did. The boys, of course, are fearless. It was a blast! The Golden Zephyr was next and I am pretty sure I got airsick. Follow that up by getting seasick (LOL) at Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and we were in time to catch World of Color. The kids were not that interested and we got away from the crowd.

    Gotta save something for next time I guess! The rest of this evening was dedicated just browsing the areas of the park that we hadn’t seen at night yet. Even though I don’t have any kind of setup for night pictures, I’ll let the photos talk for a bit…





    I really wish the CarsLand photos turned out better. It is absolutely gorgeous and amazing at night. Between the neon and the lighting on the rocks it is STUNNING! Again, some pictures to get the idea across…















    Really cool flower arrangements…



    It was getting close to closing time so we started toward the exit and took our time soaking in the sights.





    The animation building was actually a neat little highlight for us. My daughter is a HUGE Perry the Platypus fan and spends a lot of time drawing him in various ways. When she saw that you could go and learn to draw Disney characters from an actual Disney artist and saw that Perry was on the list, we had to go in. It is a really quick art class and we all got to keep our drawings afterward. The instructor noticed my daughter wearing her mini stuffed Perry figure and gave her the original drawing that the artist did too. Kinda cool!

    Back to the bus and our home away from home for the night. Our last day was nearly upon us. Time for sleep!

    Next: Day 4!

  9. #9

    • i believe in faeries.
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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    awesome TR! loved the positivity through the commentary!

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    I am absolutely loving your trip report. By the way, I have also stayed at Dolphins Cove. In fact, I am staying there again come October. I look forward to reading the rest, and by the way, your photos are great. Your kids are adorable.

    By the way, ask the Photopass people to take your picture, with your camera, and then the entire family can be in the picture. Did you do that? Did I miss that picture?

    I usually buy an ART Pass, and it leaves me off in front of the Doubletree, which is a very short walk to Dolphin's Cove. Of course, I understand free is better than a "fee".
    My Next Disneyland Vacation - ​May 29, 2014 - June 5, 2014

    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
    Pop Century Resort

  11. #11

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    DAY 4 – HERE, THERE and EVERYWHERE

    Today was the day we had planned to do anything we may have missed, as well as repeat visits to some of our favorites. It was a beautiful, warm day and we got to DCA at 10:45am.



    This was the extent of our walk in the mornings… the shuttle bus is up there on the left somewhere. This was about a 12 minute walk from our door and saved a lot of walking and MUCH complaining! We headed back to Paradise Pier to see it in the daylight and to ride Screamin’ again.







    I definitely think that DCA, or at least this part of it, loses some of its charm in the daylight. No real atmosphere like Disneyland. I do think, however, that the Grizzly Peak area is well done. The national park, mountain and pine tree feel to the area is really great and really reminds me of places like Yosemite. The highway signs are a neat touch. It was warm enough today to not worry about getting soaked so off we went to brave the rapids! The River Run is fun but I thought it a little bit short. Overall though, I really liked this whole area.




















    We figured it was time to go back over to Disneyland for a bit so, after a few more photo ops, we headed out.





    “There must be something wrong here. Happy kids again?”






    “Just a wall. Kind of caught my eye.”





    “Still pretty quiet around here.”

    Meanwhile, back at Disneyland…



    “MMMM lunchtime!”



    "Ooooooo again."

    I was pretty impressed by the food here. Both the quality and flavor as well as the quantities were really good. We avoided eating out pretty much the whole visit to save costs but we figured that on the last day we would splurge. Denny’s forbreakfast (whoa) and Rancho for lunch, where would the craziness end!!? I even had (gasp) A CHURRO! After lunch, Tomorrowland beckoned yet again so off we went on another short scenic walk.












    “Mine! Mine!Mine! Where is that monorail?”





    After a drive around Autopia we really hoped that Space Mountain was secretly open again, but no such luck. We did however find no line to go and see the Ironman display. I love IronMan and it was cool-ish but I wouldn’t have waited to see it. From what I heard, there were waits of over an hour at times to get in. I wonder if those folks wanted a refund on the hour-plus of life they spent. As for the rest of Innoventions… meh. Still, had to take some photos.









    The rest of the afternoon was filled with repeats of Pirates (4th time), Haunted Mansion (3rd time), Indiana Jones (3rdtime), Star Tours (3rd time) and of course Splash Mountain then over to DCA again for Tower of Terror and a check on RSR (still too busy but at least we got our one ride in). Just a few more random photos of the last few hours…











    And this pretty much brings us to the close of our adventure. We had an excellent 4 days and enjoyed every minute of it. Of course there were some minor disappointments and some sore feet but in the grand scheme of things, I count any of us extremely lucky to be able to experience the wonder that is Disneyland. I am probably with the majority in saying that I prefer the classic Disneyland over DCA but either way, we had a great time and managed to fill our 4 days easily. The fact that as soon as you walk through the gates and forget the real world is out there means they’re doing something right and I for one would take a bad day at Disneyland over a good day at work anytime!

    Did we see everything? No. Am I sorry for that? Nope. Just gives us a reason to get back sooner than later. And that is something I plan to try and do very soon!

    I think I can say I still love Disneyland and now our kids are a part of the memories. I hope I didn’t bore everyone! Thanks for reading this and your comments are welcome. I will try to answer anyquestions I can as soon as I can.



    “A fitting end to an amazing adventure”

  12. #12

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    Quote Originally Posted by familymemories View Post
    Good for you!! Great photos so far. The last time we went to Disneyland it was in 1996. Our two youngest had not been born yet. It was the last trip with our son who passed away a few years later. It had been 10 years (2006), since we had been back and the first trip for our youngest children (boy and girl). Bitter sweet trip, BUT amazing seeing the look on the faces our our kids. That is something my husband and I will NEVER forget. Since 2006, we have been back several time.

    When there is a long time span between, I truly believe that you appreciate the magic of the trip more. Can't wait to see more
    Thank you for the kind remarks. I am glad you still found happiness at a tough time! I don't know if I can wait another long time. Feels like it's time to start planning again!

  13. #13

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    Quote Originally Posted by emwhysee View Post
    Sounds like an amazing trip -- one your kids are going to remember fondly FOREVER! You seem to've done such smart planning and time/energy management (i.e., knowing when to call it a day, stop for a meal, or sleep in, plus allowing enough days so you could take your time and not feel pressured to "go! go! go!" every single second). It must've been really disappointing to find some of the marquee rides closed, but it's nice to hear such a balanced and thoughtful response. All-in-all your family seems to've really found the recipe for a magical visit to Disneyland. It's been really fun to see your pix and read your report.
    Thanks! Yeah, the point of going for 4 days was to make sure we had time without being stressed out. It worked!

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomorrowland67 View Post
    What a great trip report! I feel like I was there with you. I'm anxiously waiting for Day 3.
    Thank you! Read on!

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    Re: Our trip April 14-17, 2013! Long and many photos...

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaraann View Post
    I am absolutely loving your trip report. By the way, I have also stayed at Dolphins Cove. In fact, I am staying there again come October. I look forward to reading the rest, and by the way, your photos are great. Your kids are adorable.

    By the way, ask the Photopass people to take your picture, with your camera, and then the entire family can be in the picture. Did you do that? Did I miss that picture?

    I usually buy an ART Pass, and it leaves me off in front of the Doubletree, which is a very short walk to Dolphin's Cove. Of course, I understand free is better than a "fee".
    Thanks so much Barbaraann, I appreciate that. I was inspired by your reports! (Most recently WDW which I would love to get back to)

    Believe it or not, all of my photos were taken with my cell phone. I had decided I didn't want to carry around a bunch of stuff so it worked well. My kids have another 300-350 pics that I will choose the best from add to this thread soon (they used real cameras lol)

    We did have some Photopass pictures done, but frankly I was not impressed by any of them. There is one I might be able to justify but pricey!! Having them take a picture with your camera though is a great idea for everyone to follow!

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