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  1. #1

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    DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Well, I thought I would write a trip report of our recent trip to DL to celebrate DD's 9th birthday. We usually have a big party for her birthday at my mom's community room, but since my mother passed away, I felt we needed to do something very different and special for DD.

    I offered her a trip to DL and to stay in the DL hotel (we always stay in the Harbor hotels since we are on a budget) instead of a party. Then when I went to price the trip it was going to be too expensive ($210 a night) so I had asked for suggestions on how to make a birthday trip special on a previous thread.

    Well, a fellow MC'er (SCUBAbe) gave me a great suggestion to check out AP rates at the DL hotel (my Ap had expired, but I was going to renew them on the trip). I did and got the same rate at the DL hotel that I was paying for a Harbor hotel, so DD's dream of staying at the Dl hotel came true.

    We left Saturday morning from San Jose and made it to Anaheim in record time (about 6 hours). I needed to go to the park first to renew my AP before checking into the hotel. We parked in the lot (and took the parking receipt with us to the park- thanks to a suggestion here), took the tram to the park and went into DL and right to AP processing. The line was 1 1/2 hours long! Good thing we got there early! While I waited in line DH & DD looked at the shops and even caught a performance of the Dapper Dans (DD's favorite). Once we got inside, processing the AP's was fast. We then left the park, took the tram to our car and drove over to the DL hotel to check in.

    No real fanfare upon check in (no characters, etc.). However, the CM was very nice, answered all our questions and gave DD a birthday button (which she proceeded to wear for the entire trip- not just on her birthday!). We had a room in Bonita (I had requested Sierra- due to recommendations here, but didn't get it). We had a view of the parking lot, oh well. The room was basically a standard DL hotel room. It had really nice touches and details, but I'm not sure I would pay $210 a night for it. I missed my microwave, coffee pot and short walk to the hotel that I get with a Harbor stay. On the other hand, the grounds and atmosphere were fantastic, the pool incredible and the staff was very friendly and helpful. DD was absolutely thrilled with the room and everything about the stay at the DL hotel.

    We ended up going off property for dinner after a walk to Downtown Disney and finding it packed. After dinner, we took the monorail into the park. We wanted to catch the fireworks, but they were starting and it was Sat. night so I knew we'd never get a seat. We opted to walk right on Buzz instead. We love that ride. It's so much fun. We then got off Buzz and went over to Thunder Mountain which was a surprise because even though it's DD's favorite ride, she has been too scared to ride it at night until this trip. It was great as always. We then walked on to POTC for a quick ride (we also noticed the missing AA on the bridge- DD said, "Where's the guy with the foot hanging?"). After that, we decided we should go back to the hotel since we were pretty tired. We took the train to Main Street and walked through DD back to the hotel.

  2. #2

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Ohhhhhhh I can not wait to hear more)))))) so good so far, did you get pictures? thank you for doing a trip report, this sounds so fun))

  3. #3

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    On Sunday morning, we did breakfast in the room (we brought breakfast food). DH went to San Diego to meet my cousin's husband for some golf. My cousin planned to meet us at Disneyland. DD & I headed off to DL on the monorail at opening.

    We headed toward Fantasyland and went on the Matterhorn (Fantasyland side). DD had only been on the TL side. I must admit that even though the TL side is supposedly faster, I enjoyed the FL side because it seemed less jerky. When we got off, we ran into Peter Pan and Wendy which was really thrilling because we've never met them before. My girlfriend gave DD a Creative Memories Disney album for a birthday present before we left so DD was using that as her autograph book. The characters talked to her for a long time (since she had her birthday button on and there were really no other kids around).

    We then went on the teacups (which really seemed to have loosened up some- not up to pre-tightening standards, but better than last time). They actually had a sign on the wheel which told you which way to turn it. That was not there the last time we rode.

    After the teacups, we headed to Toontown and rode Roger Rabbit.We then rode Gadget's go coaster and stopped to see Goofy and Pluto. There really were no lines except for Minnie's house so we skipped that.

    On the way back out of Toontown, we went to look at Small World which had a long line. DD looked at the pins at the stand outside of IASW and we bought a pin. She also did a pin trade with the CM there. Another first- she started pin trading this trip- a friend gave her some duplicate pins to trade for her BD.

    We talked to my cousin and made arrangements to meet for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. We met her and had lunch there. Afterwards, we went to Build A Bear. DD has always wanted to do BAB (she never had) and I promised her we would do it for her birthday. She had a blast making her Koala Bear and a dog for my cousin and picking out outfits for both. It was a lot of fun!

    We then headed to California Adventures and looked around. My cousin had never been there. I got fast passes for Soaring while DD and my cousin headed to the Animation building. I met them there and we looked around. We saw Aladdin (with preferred seating for the first time), met Sully, but decided against riding Monsters Inc. since the line was 45 minutes.

    DD and my cousin rode Orange Stinger (one of DD's favorite rides). I rode this ride once and it made me sick so never again. We also used our fast passes for Soaring Over California. We had dinner at Taste Pilots Grill. My cousin left for home as DH returned. We camped out and got seats for the fireworks right in front of the castle. We only had to wait a half an hour and had great seats. The fireworks show was as terrific as I remembered. I love it! We then rode the monorail back to the hotel.

    After we were back at the hotel, we headed to the pool for a nighttime swim and hot tub. The weather was 70 degrees during our whole trip and although it was a little chilly at night, we still could have an evening swim.

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Quote Originally Posted by stitchlvr
    DD and my cousin rode Orange Stinger (one of DD's favorite rides). I rode this ride once and it made me sick so never again.
    Tell your DD if we're ever in DL at the same time, I'll ride Orange Stinger with her. I love that ride!
    Introducing- The Geek Tutorial! The new informational webseries on computers and the geekiness of life.


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  5. #5

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    more more !!!!!!!!!

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Lovin' it so far!
    Good morning, son
    In twenty years from now
    Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
    And I can tell you 'bout today
    And how I picked you up and everything changed
    It was pain
    Sunny days and rain
    I knew you'd feel the same things...





  7. #7

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    I've had way too many margaritas tonight to continue, but I'll try to finish tomorrow. Thanks for the encouragement everyone. Sally, when will you be taking a trip to DL? DD would absolutely LOVE to meet you. She thinks you are the greatest thing ever!!!!! Maybe we could schedule a trip at the same time- AP's are good for something you know!

  8. #8

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Oh Stitch,

    It sounds like a wonderful time! I love that the characters were so interactive with her, super special. I loving reading your report. Thank you for sharing!

    MeiMei
    Boo!

  9. #9

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    On Monday morning, DD woke up with a loose tooth. I mean, the day before -nothing and Monday morning almost falling out. We started the day with breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen.

    The food was very good. We had an 8:20 seating so it wasn't crowded. There was a family there with two young girls who were coughing all over the food and I thought DH was going to lose it. He's convinced that's where I caught the cold I now have. The character interaction was also good. Dale, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Goofy and Max all stopped by for autographs and pictures. They also signed the paper tablecloth. I'm figuring that's because some people have complained that characters have not stopped by so then there will be a record. DD got a birthday cupcake at the end of the meal and Alice and some of the other characters sang Happy Birthday.

    We headed to the Monorail and used our Early Entry. DD & I started on Autopia. The line was probably 5-10 minutes long- amazing. We then got fast passes for Buzz. DD & DH went on Star Tours (DD's first time). She had a lot of firsts this trip. After Star Tours, we picked up fast passes for Indiana Jones and rode Buzz. While we were waiting for the Indy fast passes, we rode the Jungle Cruise, the Tiki Room, POTC and DD & DH rode Splash Mountain (another first). DD loved it. I think it's her new favorite ride. We went back to ride Indy. DD really didn't like it (another first). She liked the movement of the jeep, but the effects scared her so she kept her eyes closed through most of the ride.

    We saw both Woody and Jesse and got signatures and pictures. Something terrible happened when we in line for Woody. DD was next and a teenage girl walked up and grabbed Woody by the nose and shook his head back and forth. Then a boy came up and kicked Woody very hard in the butt. All of a sudden Woody took off running after the boy. I am amazed that he could move so well in that costume- he really ran fast- all the way to Thunder Mountain. I don't know if the kid got caught, but I have to assume security caught him. He was wearing a pretty distinctive shirt. Woody came back to sign DD's autograph. I said something to him about chasing the kid and her showed me his sheriff's badge- never broke character the entire time. It was pretty amazing. DD was sort of upset because the little boy who was seeing Woody when this happened was about 3 and obviously idolized Woody. She was afraid he'd been traumatized by the whole experience.

    We had lunch at Bengal BBQ (since I've never eaten there and I know my opportunities to eat there are now limited). There were no tables so we took the food to the other side of the Riverbelle where almost all the tables were empty. DD lost her tooth during lunch. Now she can say she lost a tooth at DL!

    After lunch, DH headed back to the hotel for a break and to pick up needed supplies (jackets, film, autograph book). We headed to Toontown, saw Mickey in his house. It was Sorcerer Mickey.

    We headed to Fantasyland. DD and a bunch of other kids played a game of tag with Belle and Prince Phillip and a bunch of Pages behind the castle. They had a great time and the game went to the front of the castle where Cinderella joined in. At this point, it got a little scary because when people saw Belle during a break in the game they all surrounded her for pictures and DD & I couldn't find each other in the crowd, plus we were both almost trampled. But, happily, it turned out fine and DD got an autograph from Belle.

    Then we rode Pinnochio, Snow White and Mr. Toad. When DH got back, he rode the teacups and Matterhorn with DD.

    We headed over to DCA. We didn't realize it closed at 6 until it was closed. So basically we got on one ride, the new Monster's Inc ride. As much as I thought I would love this ride, I just thought it was ok. It was very cute and the effects were good, but I just felt it was missing something. I'll probably go on it again, but I wouldn't wait more than 10 minutes in a line to get on it. We headed over to TOT, but the park had closed so we left the park. The lines to get into DL were incredibly long so we decided to head to DTD and get dinner. We ate at the La Brea Bakery and had a great dinner. We decided not to go back to the park and instead went back to the hotel for a swim.

  10. #10

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Finally, the big day was here. Tuesday- DD's birthday. The hotel delivered a signed personalized picture of Pooh and friends and also a few balloons. It was a great surprise! We had breakfast in the room and headed to the park.

    We requested the cone in the monorail, but someone beat us to it. However, what we got to do was just as cool. Because the monorail was in shuttle mode we got to sit in what is usually the front (where the pilot sits, with the pilot) and travel backwards into the park. It was very exciting and I think probably better than the front anyway.

    Once in the park, we got fast passes for Indy again (she decided she wanted to try it again). DD & DH went on Splash Mountain again. Then we headed to find DD's favorites of all times, the Dapper Dans (there is a story behind this). DD is obsessed with them and likes to follow them all around the park for all their performances. They sang Happy Birthday to her and she was thrilled. After their show, we went to City Hall for the phone call from Goofy (a surprise for DD). Again, she was thrilled. We went to the Carnation Cafe for lunch. On the way to ride Indy, we ran into the Dapper Dans again, and of course, DD had to stop to watch their show and follow them from store to store.

    We went to ride Indy. She still didn't like it, but was quite a sport to try it again (it's one of my favorite rides). We then went over to Thunder Mountain and rode it again. I don't know if it was where we were sitting (near the front) or the particular train we were in, but the ride was uncharacteristically rough and not much fun for me although DD & DH still enjoyed it. DD & I headed to the Mark Twain while DH watched a comedy show in front of the Golden Horseshoe. She got picked to help pilot the Mark Twain! It was so exciting. The two pilots were both so wonderful and talked and talked with DD. She got to ring the bell and toot the horns and the view from the pilot house is incredible. After the ride, they filled out a certificate for her. DD was impressed because the pilot used a real ink pen (not ball point) to fill it out. It was fantastic.

    We had reservations for Ariels' Grotto for DD's birthday dinner at 5 so we headed to DCA. Of course on the way out, we passed the Dapper Dans and DD had to stop to watch them. After they finished , she told them goodbye since we would not be able to catch any more of their shows.

    Once over at DCA, DD & I went to see Turtle Talk for the first time. DH went on TOT. He then went on California Screaming. DD & I went to Bugs Land and did some of the rides there. Then we did the Bakery Tour and the Tortilla Factory Tour. DD got a whole package of Tortillas since it was her birthday.

    We met at 5 for dinner at Ariel's Grotto. It was great. Thanks goodness it was not like the Princess Breakfast at the Plaza Inn. Jasmine, Mulan, Cinderella, Snow White and Ariel all came to our table within 15 minutes of our sitting down. We enjoyed our meal there and were absolutely stuffed afterwards. By the time we were finished, DCA was closed.

    DD & I headed over to DL while DH went back to the hotel. We went to use our preferred seating coupons for the Parade of Dreams, but there was no preferred seating due to low crowds so a CM told us where to sit to get a good view of the princess float. We were right in front of IASW. We watched the parade. It was great and believe it or not more than one parade performer wished DD a Happy Birthday while they were performing!

    After the parade was over, we walked right on to IASW. We then headed over to Peter Pan and that was our last ride of the trip.

    The next morning we went to DTD to shop for souveneirs and drove home. All in all it was a really spectacular trip. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

  11. #11

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Awwwwww that sounds so awsome! you all got a lot in on your trip!! I did not like buzz, I am thinking monsters is like that ride. If I had a chance to ride buzz I would pass it up every time. I can not believe those kids did that to woody, that makes me mad. How rude!!! I hope to meet you soon, save up all your loose change
    So you liked Ariels grotto, is the menu the same? I was not to thrilled about the small menu. I loved your trip report, you did a great job!!!
    Next time you go i ( when we meet) f you want I can take some pictures for you and send them to you

  12. #12

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Karla- I'm not sure you will hate Monsters if you don't like Buzz. I think they are somewhat different. I really love Buzz, and Monsters was cute, but it felt like something was missing to me.

    I know what you mean about Woody. It was truely terrible. I hope they caught the kid.

    I'm hoping I can make the April trip. I am one of the few remaining people who do not have a digital camera or a scanner so I'm sorry about no pictures. I'd love to have some if we meet in April. Of couse I'll bring my old fashioned camera too.

    I really like Ariel's Grotto. There are not a whole bunch of choices, but I can always find something I want there. I had the meat loaf. DH had fish & chips and DD had the Octidog and mac & cheese.

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    if you are able to come I will take all kinds of pictures for you. And if you want you can put them in a photo album on line. We have 3, if you want to borrow one let me know! we have one that take pictures on floppy disk, its pretty neat.

  14. #14

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Thanks for the trip report!
    Sounds like a it was a great birthday trip!
    Good morning, son
    In twenty years from now
    Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
    And I can tell you 'bout today
    And how I picked you up and everything changed
    It was pain
    Sunny days and rain
    I knew you'd feel the same things...





  15. #15

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    Re: DD's DL birthday trip-1/28-2/1/06

    Oh Stitch!

    Your daughter will never, ever forget this birthday! I just finished reading the last two days! Wonderful, wonderful! I can just picture your DD following the Dapper Dans. Splash Mountain is one our favorites, we must ride it at least twice a day if not more! Sorry you got sick afterwards (I'm with DH on this one, probably the coughing kids...) Feel better soon!

    MeiMei
    Boo!

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