Gayle Firth -- October 2002 -- Disneyland
October 10-14, 2002
I started planning for Brendan's first trip to Disneyland about 10 months ago. We are Disney Club and AAA members. After searching the internet and calling the Disney Club and AAA, we found a great package through AAA. We definitely wanted to stay onsite at a Disney hotel since Brendan was still taking afternoon naps. I thought we got a great deal, with 4 nights at the Disneyland Hotel (buy 3 nights, get the 4th free), 5 day park hopper passes (for the price of 3), either the 3 or 4 day meal plan for Dale and I, lots of little extras like free parking, lanyards, pins, free breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen, free character breakfast at the Plaza Inn, and a Magic Morning Breakfast for about $1000. Brendan really got prepared for the trip by watching the free vacation video from Disney and the singalong video of Disneyland park. He was so happy to see the characters, he wouldn't believe that he would be seeing it all in person!
Day 1 - October 10 (Thursday)
We left Sacramento at 8 am and with 2 stops, we arrived at the Disneyland Hotel at 3 pm. Brendan's first character sighting was Goofy in the lobby! He didn't know what to make of it at first, so he stayed a safe distance and waved.
We got a standard room with a view of Croc's Bits and Bites, very nice with distinct Disney touches. We asked for a rollaway for Brendan, unpacked and decided to head for Disneyland! We walked through Downtown Disney and hopped on the monorail. The lines were not too bad, and the security checks were very quick. Brendan loves anything with cars, trucks, trains and planes. He thought the monorail was a train and loved riding it! Since we were already in Tomorrowland, Dale took one of the pre-issued FP and rode Autopia. Brendan couldn't reach the pedal or steering wheel but was a happy passenger. When the finished the ride, we looked at the "drivers license" they give you, and Brendan won a free Autopia car from Chevron! Score! After Autopia Brendan and I went inline for the Astro Orbiter. We waited about 20 minutes, I thought it would be pretty mild for me, since I was still a little queasy at times. But, no, my son was so excited, he took the handle and shot us right up to the top and wouldn't let go and just laughed and laughed.
After that, we had to take a walk down Main Street and out to our 5:30 reservation at Goofy's Kitchen. Dale and I were a little nervous about how Brendan would enjoy the characters, after being a little shy, he loved giving them a high five. We saw Pluto, Minnie, Chip & Dale, Aladdin & Jasmine and Goofy. The highlight was when Brendan was dancing to the music near our table and Minnie came up behind him and started dancing. He got a big hug for that one! Good thing we videotaped the whole thing. Dinner was great and seeing his face each time he saw a character was priceless. After dinner, we went back to DL and were able to catch great seats for the parade of stars, Brendan loved seeing all the characters. After the parade, we went to Toontown and Dale and Brendan walked on to Roger Rabbit cartoon spin. After, we found out Mickey was still at his house so we went to walk through his house and we got some one on one time with Mickey for pictures, it was wonderful! Then off to Fantasyland and rode Snow White and Pinocchio (I couldn't believe he wasn't scared at all! He just liked looked at everything). We headed back to the hotel to get ready for our first full day at the park!
Day 2 - October 11 (Friday)
DL opened at 9, so we munched on grapes while we waited for the rope to come down at Main Street. We first headed to Tomorrowland to get the Magic Morning breakfast; the food was already packaged and was not bad, we got the french toast sticks and the croissant sandwich meals with the fixings. . After breakfast, Brendan saw the cars and he and Dad rode Autopia again and got another free Autopia car! After Autopia, we headed off to Fantasyland again and we rode the teacups with a 5-minute wait, then on to Dumbo (25-minute wait). Had to take a diaper break, went to the Baby Center which we loved! Thanks Mouseplanet for the helpful info! We headed toward my two favorite rides-Pirates and the Haunted Mansion. Dale saw that they were loading a raft to go to Tom Sawyers island so he and Brendan jumped on that and explored the island for around 15 minutes. We were hungry for lunch by then and decided to eat at the River Bell Terrace, they were just finishing up serving breakfast at 11:45. Brendan had cute Mickey-shaped PB&J sandwich with Mickey tortilla chips, Dale had the veggie soup in a breadbowl and I had a club sandwich type with chips. When using vouchers, you do not get change back, so use them wisely. I ended up spending around $5.00 of my own money + vouchers. We ate out on the terrace and people watched, the park was getting much more crowded. We finished lunch and went to ride Pirates with a 15-minute wait then to my favorite ride-the Haunted Mansion-holiday style. I was really looking forward to it and just loved it! Brendan was getting very fidgety, and fell asleep right when we got into our doom buggy! Loved all the details they put into it-great job! After that, we walked back through Downtown Disney and to the hotel. After a nap, Brendan said he wanted to see "Dinneyland". It was our 5 year anniversary so we decided to make reservations at the Blue Bayou. We made our 5:30 reservation, but waited about 20 minutes for a waterside table. By then Brendan was really hungry and did not make a pleasant dining experience. I think he woke up every firefly in the place! Dale had the roasted pork loin, I had the crab cakes and Brendan had the chicken nuggets and got mickey jell-o for dessert. The service and the food were wonderful. Other than Brendan's unpleasant yelling in the start, we had a really nice anniversary dinner. After dinner, went on It's a Small World (15 minute wait), and what turned out to be Brendan's favorite...Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which he nicknamed "Toady". He loved that he was able to steer the car himself like he was really driving! After that, it was back to the hotel for a good nights sleep, another full day!
Day 3 - October 12 (Saturday)
DL opened at 8, so we got there around 8:15 and headed to the Plaza Inn for the character breakfast. We had a really good time here, not only did we see Pooh, Eyeore, Tigger, and Piglet, They came around in good intervals and spent a good amount of time for pictures and video, the food was really good as well! After breakfast, we headed straight for Fantasyland and hit all the rides. After breakfast we rode the Storybook Land Cruise (2o minute wait), which Brendan loved. The park was getting crowded, so we headed to DCA, which we have not been to yet. We first went to Soarin' and did the single rider line, which was faster than the Fast Pass I think, Dale and I were both able to do it within 40 minutes, it was awesome!!! After, we went to Flik's Fun Fair, I wasn't that impressed, there was a long line just to get in, since it just opened that week. Dale finally decided to get in line for Heimlich's Chew Chew train. Let's just say that after 45 minutes, the ride lasted maybe a minute. Brendan liked the short ride though, it sprayed scented watermelon water on him! We quickly left bugs land and went to see Muppets 3-D, I think Dale and I saw it at WDW, Brendan didn't care for it , but he wouldn't wear his glasses either to get the 3-D effect either. We were hungry and tired, so we decided to head back to the hotel to relax. We stopped at Downtown Disney at Naples and got a great deal for $5 a big piece of pizza and a drink. We got our food and walked back and ate in the room. Brendan was tired, so he took a nap from 3-6. Brendan was ready for Fantasmic that evening. I decided to splurge and not wait for hours and do the Premium Viewing Area in front of the Haunted Mansion (the balcony was filled up when I called). After having dinner at the Plaza Inn, Dale had a great cobb salad while Brendan and I each got Mousekemeals of pasta and bread. We got to the viewing area around 8:40, gave our name and were seated about 8:50, seating was in the order you arrived. Luckily, we were able to the get the in front, right before the party of 10! We were asked what we would like to drink, and even got Brendan bottled water when we didn't pay for him. Dale and I got dessert boxes with chocolate dipped strawberry, a couple of big cookies, mints and chocolates, a fruit tart, and a big piece of biscotti. My appetite was not very big on this trip so Brendan and Dale happily dove into my box as well. The seating was great, but we were right near the speakers that made it very loud. We were given earplugs for Brendan but refused to wear them. A few times, we covered his ears for a few seconds until he pushed them away. Some parts were scary, but he loved it. He watched the whole thing intently and loved seeing Mickey. He just started clapping at the fireworks and danced around while we waited for the crowds to fade out. I thought it was definitely worth the money, and would probably pay for it again. By then, we walked around the park for a bit and then took the monorail back to the hotel. I liked that there was a preferred line for hotel guests in the park, why won't they do that for downtown Disney as well? Brendan was pretty wired after all the desserts and didn't fall asleep until midnight.
Day 4 - October 13 (Sunday)
We wanted to ride the rides we missed for Fantasyland so we grabbed some fruit to eat on the run for breakfast and we jumped on Peter Pan first, it was always so crowded so we walked on that first, then Toady twice. Daddy and Brendan did the teacups, I'm glad I videotaped it, because you can hear Brendan cackling the whole ride yelling "Daddy, teacups go round and round!" After teacups, we went on Alice and Wonderland and after that to Casey Jr. Circus train and a Small World (again), all were walk-ons. Since none of the rides in Fantasyland have FP's, it's best to head there first if you've got children. We then went to Toontown again and visited Mickey and Minnie. Brendan loves birds so we headed to Adventureland and went to the Tiki Room, we all loved that show, unfortunately, the Dole bar was not open to get a Dole whip. The park was getting crowded, so we headed to DCA again to check out Paradise Pier. Dale wanted to do Soarin' again, so he did the single rider line in about 20 minutes while Brendan and I munched on popcorn. We went to Paradise Pier and grabbed FP's for Screamin. While waiting we rode on King Triton's carousel, which Brendan loved, we rode on it 5 times while Dale rode Screamin, he said it was awesome! Very fast and cool. He used the other FP and rode it again with little wait. We walked about the Pier and decided to have lunch at the Soap Opera Bistro café. I was very good, we ate at the General Hospital set and Dale had "One Leaf to Live" salad, I had a bowl of minestrone soup, and shared Brendan's chicken nugget meal, he also got pudding for dessert. We really enjoyed lunch there and the little acting was a nice diversion for Brendan. We later learned from the waitress that they will be closing on November 5 and replacing it with Playhouse Disney show. Dale took Brendan back to the hotel to take a nap, while I did all my shopping at World of Disney. I wanted to look at the stores and wait until after dinner, it was back on the monorail to DL. We ate at the Village Haus, where Dale and I were dying for a hamburger. Brendan had a hotdog; the only thing was that bothered me that at dinner time, there were 7 people in line and only 1 cashier, very slow moving. After dinner, we were still tired, so Dale and Brendan rode Toady two more times, while I picked up the pictures we took in front of the castle earlier in the day. Brendan wanted to ride Autopia again, there was no line, so he and Dad rode it again, took the monorail back when Brendan crashed early so we were able to pack up to go home.
Day 5 - October 14 (Monday)
We were kinda sad to have our last day, but very tired. We had our 7:30 breakfast reservation at Goofy's Kitchen. Goofy, Baloo, Alice and the Madhatter, and Gepetto were there. We had a good breakfast and hit the park for our last day. Brendan wanted to ride Toady one last time, so Dale rode Toady twice with him while I went to get FP's for both Pirates and Haunted Mansion to ride again. The CM at Pirates told me that they're the only FP machines not hooked to the rest of the FP system so we can get 2 FP's at once...cool! I think with the Columbus Day Holiday the park was very crowded. I was able to rest, while waiting for Dale and Brendan. All the walking was really making me tired. So, we rode Mansion and Pirates again. We all loved both rides and decided it was time to go check-out. I had to browse the shops again in case I saw anything I missed, I decided I bought enough! We had two $5.25 snack vouchers left so we got the souvenir bucket of popcorn and bottled water for the road. I got late check-out for 11:30 and we were on the road back home by 12:00 and home to Sacramento by 6:30. Brendan kept saying "No home, stay with Mickey and Mimmie".
We had such a good time, no major problems or meltdowns. We did a lot of walking, and taking naps with Brendan helped me keep up my energy since I'm pregnant. Brendan did so much better than we ever thought! He wasn't scared of anything, and just loved the magic of it all. We probably will be making our net trip in a couple years when the new baby is Brendan's age. We were able to do everything Brendan could do at his age and couldn't wait until he got older to ride other rides. It was just a whole different and wonderful experience seeing the Disney magic through a child's eyes.