Tami Olson -- March 2005 -- Disneyland (Offsite)
Accommodations: Penny Saver Hotel
We planned this trip a little last minute. We sold our house and moved into a new one March 3rd. I had wanted to go to Disneyland for my birthday for a while, but we couldn’t plan it without knowing what was going on with moving and selling the house. We sort of squeezed it in right before the official “Spring Break” time – so it wasn’t too busy. However, our last day, the 18th, the hotel prices were like four times as much as the rest of the week. Friday was my birthday and the only day that we would be able to see the fireworks, so I really didn’t want to leave earlier. So, I found a hotel that was about half price of the hotels across from the tram drop off that we usually stay at – the Penny Saver Inn. I didn’t tell my husband the name of the hotel until we were on our way to Anaheim.
Tuesday – March 15, 2005
We checked into our hotel, hauled all of our luggage up to the room and organized enough to get packed to go to Disneyland. The hotel was a little farther than I was expecting. I knew that it was down the street from Mimi’s Café, but it was about 2 blocks down the street, around the corner, and facing the freeway. The hotel was nice and clean even though it was run down. .For the price, it was definitely worth it at the peek season prices, but I don’t think we will opt for the longer walk at normal cheap season prices again. The hotel tried hard: had a nice pool, and gave a free newspaper on your doorstep each morning. Our room was in the back, away from the freeway noise. The one really funny thing about our room was that the new toilet that they put into the bathroom didn’t quite fit when the door closed – so they cut a half moon shape about 3” by 1/2” out of the door to allow it to close. Most of the space with covered by the door jamb, but Brice loved to stick his fingers in the hole!
We were on our way by 3:30. We have our Annual Passes, so we went straight into Disneyland! We were getting hungry, so we stumbled over to Tomorrowland Terrace just in time for the Buzz Lightyear show to start. So, we grabbed some hamburgers & Cokes ($13) and watched the show. We usually just share some of our food with the kids. I also bring string cheese, lunchables, applesauce, etc. in for the kids so they will eat something other than French Fries. We had never sat down and watched the Buzz show before – we’d see bits of it as we walked by. I’m glad we got to see it before it was cancelled. I was very impressed with the show – I hope they replace it with something good.
Then we headed over to Pirates, Haunted Mansion, & Winnie the Pooh. Nothing was too busy, nice and relaxing. We then headed over the Fantasyland and went on the Carousel first, (Brice was asking to go on Dumbo, but it’s a super long line, so we tried to distract him), then Pinocchio & Snow White. Brice still remembered Dumbo, so Brice & I went on that. He picked out the yellow one (yuck, boy colors, I can’t wait until Megan is older!)
By now the kids (& us) are getting really tired. So we wander around Main St. for a while. I bought my pair of Mickey Mouse tennis shoes. I bought a pair about 2 years ago when I was getting blisters from the shoes I had brought. They must have pixie dust in them; my feet never seem to hurt much in them. Then over to the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney and back to the hotel for some sleep.Wednesday – March 16, 2005
The kids wake up at normal time, 7:30am (which is 6:30am in California!). The park doesn’t open until 9am, so we take our time getting dressed. Then we grab some breakfast and look through the gift shop and buy a few postcards. Brice ‘signed’ the postcards. Brice loved to eat ‘nuthins’ (muffins) every morning for breakfast. We headed over and got into Disneyland about 8:30 and went to buy some stamps to mail our postcards to the grandmas.
We headed over to Fantasyland before it got busy and was able to do Peter Pan, Alice, and Storybook Land Canal Boats quickly. (Brice has been talking about wanting to “get in the boat and the whale will bite us!”) We looked in the Mad Hatter for a hat for Megan – she didn’t have one and it was getting warm that day. I didn’t think she would keep her hat on, so we moved on. It was about 10:30 – we headed over to Tomorrowland and made a phone call home and looked around some shops while we waited for Pizza Port to open at 11. Bobby got two slices of pizza and I got a coke ($13). I wasn’t too hungry yet, so I just had a granola type bar. We had to stop and play with the marble water ball. Megan didn’t like it, too cold I think. It’s starting to get hot, and we can’t find our sunscreen. Everyone was wearing long sleeves in the morning because it was a little cool out, so no one had any on yet. We think that Megan threw it out of the stroller. I headed into Star Traders to buy some – $10!! We covered everyone with sunscreen (we’re all pretty blonde!) We headed over to do the Buzz Lightyear ride and waited about 20 min. The ride is very cool, so is the ride queue. Brice is starting to really love Buzz by now. On the way out we saw the talking garbage can. I mentioned to Bobby that there was a cast member in the audience controlling it. He looked at me a little strangely, and then I realized that he was standing right in front of us. They do a good job blending in with the crowd – the giveaway is having their hand in the duffel bag to control it.
Megan fell asleep as we headed across the park. We stopped at Tiki Room and Megan slept through the whole thing. The place looks great since they cleaned it – the best part is that the flowers don’t make clicking noises when they sing. Megan was asleep, so it really narrowed down our options. Indiana Jones & Big Thunder both had really long lines. I was getting hungry so I bought a Turkey Leg ($6) & we headed over to the petting zoo for Brice. On the way out of Disneyland for nap time, we stopped and bought a sunhat that ties on for Megan ($15) and got her name embroidered on it for free!
After naptime we headed to DCA. As we entered Hollywood – I noticed that Megan no longer had her hat! Megan had thrown that out of the stroller too! I ran back and looked everywhere, even outside the park. We know that she had it at the security check point. We couldn’t find it anywhere, so we found out where Lost and Found is and planned on checking later in the day. Bobby & I were really bummed – it was such a cute hat, and we didn’t want to buy another one and find it later that day.
We headed over to Animations and looked around the Sorcerer’s section. We didn’t do too much – it was kind of busy and we didn’t want to wait since we were holding the kids. Then we headed over to Off The Page and looked around for a while. Then over to It’s Tough To Be A Bug. Brice does well with it because his dad talks him through the scary parts. Megan just hugged me the whole time, I covered her ears and she did well too. Not her favorite ride though, just too loud I think. We headed into Flik’s Fun Fair and did Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train; we waited about 7 minutes – the longest we have ever waited! That’s about all there is to do for little kids there, so we left in search of some dinner. Fried Chicken sounded good, so we headed over to the Plaza Inn in DL. Dinner is always good here, and the restaurant looks nice too. We both got the Chicken Dinner ($27 with out 10% AP discount, the price went up again) – I got double green beans instead of mashed potatoes & I shared by biscuit with the kids.
After we finished dinner we got a Buzz FP and then headed over to ride on Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and the Pooh. We still had a while until our Buzz FP at 8:30pm and we were afraid that the kids would be asleep by then. We shopped around New Orleans for a little while. I saw a ring in the Crystal shop on Main St that was a Mickey head made out of a bunch of little crystals, but it wasn’t priced. The shop in NO had the Mickey and also a Minnie ring. They were only $19.50. I went back and forth between the two and finally decided on the Minnie ring (my birthday present to myself!). Then we headed to Main St. to do some shopping, Bobby got a root beer float and I got sugar free ice cream (the only flavor was Butter Pecan, it was OK) and it was time for Buzz, and the kids were still going. After Buzz we headed to the Lost & Found outside of DCA. Believe it or not, it was there!
Thursday – March 17, 2005
Megan and Brice woke up at 5:00am California time today – I turned a movie on the TV/VCR that we brought and went back to sleep. I got up at 6:30 again and we all got ready and ate a little. We headed to DL at 8:30 again and looked around Main St. Buzz was officially opening today, we asked around and heard that the opening ceremony started at the castle at 10am. We went over to the Matterhorn before the line got too long. Bobby took Brice first. Brice is tall enough – it really surprises me that the height limit is so low. Brice seemed to enjoy it. He knew that there was a “Monster” on the ride and had watched the ride on the website dozens of times in the past week. After they got done, and it was my turn to get in line. Brice walked with me until we stopped to wait. Then he calmly said “I want to go back to Daddy”. I was very impressed that he didn’t freak out and get really scared. I got pulled out of the line since I was single rider and got done very quickly. I really enjoyed it; I don’t think that I had been on it for 3 or 4 years between being pregnant and all the repairs it has been under.
After that we went back and did Small World, Toon Town was still closed, and then went back to the castle at about 9:40 to wait for the Buzz Ceremony. We got great seats almost right in front of the castle. Well, 10:00 came and went – it actually started at about 10:35. The best part was the green army men. Buzz came out and talked to the recruits, then a bus full of students from Green Elementary School (it was St. Patrick’s Day) followed him to battle Evil Emperor Zurg. We were a little disappointed, there wasn’t too much of the show at the castle, we were expecting a big fight, but I guess the ride is the fight. But it was pretty neat to be at the opening of a ride.
As Buzz, and everyone else, headed into Tomorrowland, we headed over to Adventureland. We walked through the Tarzan Tree House. Brice didn’t really enjoy this, I was a little surprised. We didn’t like it because of all the steps holding the kids. Then we saw the Columbia was sailing and just missed it. We asked how long the trip took, they said about 20 min. so we waited until it came around again. By the time that we got on the Columbia it had been about 30 min. The cast members were moving slowly. We had a reservation at 11:50 for the Blue Bayou – it was only about 10 minutes away by now, so we got off the Columbia before it sailed and headed over for lunch. We got right in at the Blue Bayou, but got a table by the kitchen door. I had been planning on going ‘off’ my low carb diet for this meal because I keep reading rave reviews about the Monte Cristo Sandwich & it was my birthday, almost. The sandwich was wonderful, but I couldn’t finish the whole thing and brought half back to the hotel. The kids had been up since 5am, so by noon they were really cranky. It was a very nice lunch, except Megan wanted to put everything on the floor. The kids got neat paper Pirate Hats. I was getting ready to pack everything up and all of a sudden a couple of Cast Members came out with a cake & candle. I didn’t realize that it was for me at first! It was a chocolate mousse I think. Super rich, I only had a bite or two. Bobby & I were talking and when we looked down, Brice had just about finished it off! We were getting the check and packing up as Megan, who is in my lap, grabs a bread plate and throws it on the floor, breaking it, directly in front of an employee and a manager. They were very nice about it – but it was very embarrassing. It was $40 – lunch is much better priced & the food’s always good.
After that display, we headed back to the hotel for naps. We actually packed the kids up into the car and let them sleep while we shopped around. We found a few ads for interesting stores – a mall that has only vintage toys – Barbie, Star Wars, My Little Pony, etc. I stayed in the car and read a book while Bobby looked around. Then we headed to the Disney Outlet Store at Harbor & Orangethorpe. It sells all the discontinued items from Disneyland. Bobby took a nap while I shopped. We ended up with a Buzz shirt for Brice ($6!), two shirts for me: a Bashful shirt & a Mickey icon shirt. Bobby found a shirt that he loved, but they only had it in Small.
By the time we got back to the hotel, the kids had had a pretty good nap. We headed into CA and got to the Aladdin Show about a half hour before show time. The only level open was the very top one. We didn’t want to walk up all the stairs and the kids really like to see the elephant parade up close. Sooo, we headed back over to DL and went to get a Buzz FP and then happened to be just in time for the Buzz show. This time we sat down on the floor so Brice could do the dancing. He really like it this time and still makes us do the “To Infinity (stomp, stomp) And Beyond….!!) As soon as it was over I ran up to where I saw Buzz after the last show we watched. We got the second place in line. Brice was overwhelmed and we got a great family picture with Buzz. We were heading over to Pooh via Fantasyland when Bobby saw people climbing the Matterhorn. They seemed to be going very slowly. Finally Mickey popped out and was climbing too. Bobby was trying to get good pictures of it – so the three of us had a rousing game of Peek a Boo going on. I even got out the camcorder and video taped Megan – so cute!
We stopped by Stage Door Café on the way to Pooh. Stage Door Café is a tradition on our vacations. On one of our first visits to DL as a couple we ate there for lunch & dinner one day. I was shocked when I saw that they had changed the menu – no more delicious hot dogs & cheeseburgers! I had noticed the past few days that it didn’t have the normal lines, even at lunch time. The new menu must be the reason. Bobby got the six chicken strips and fries, I think, for $11! It wasn’t much food for the price, although he did say it was good. I couldn’t eat anything there and didn’t feel like another Turkey Leg. I just had a meal bar – I wasn’t very hungry.
We finally made it over to Pooh, after we went into the Pooh Shop and found Brice the greatest, cheapest souvenir, a Tigger Flashlight Key Chain for $5. Brice thought it was wonderful and even got his own little DL bag to carry it around in. Then we went on Pooh again because I had finally, accidentally, spotted the three Moose heads from the Country Bear ride and had to show Bobby. I haven’t been able to find any ‘hidden’ things on this ride and always forget to get info about the stuff until we are there (www.hiddenmickeys.com has a bunch of great Hidden Mickey, etc. info).
It was starting to get late, so we headed over to Fantasyland. It had thinned out a bit and we quickly went on Pinocchio, Carousel, & Snow White. Bobby & Brice went on Snow White while I got Megan changed into PJs and got her bottle made – she was very sleepy. We headed to Main St., got Brice some milk at Coke Corner, and Bobby a Root Beer Float. Then we got the kid’s Silhouettes done ($14). Brice has one from a year or so ago, we’re going to get them done every year so we can see them grow up. Then we looked at the watches across the street and had an ‘argument’ with a cast member about the “Original” Art Watches. Bobby was asking how they made them. She explained (like we had guessed) that the artist did the watch design, and then they scanned it into the computer and made it small enough for the watch. Bobby said, so it really isn’t original. She said, well, yes it is, because then we destroy it – no on else has the same watch. It seems a little pricey to me. When we got to the hotel – I was a little hungry and so I finished the Monte Cristo sandwich. It wasn’t nearly as good warmed up.
Friday – March 18, 2005
Today was very gloomy – raining on and off. It was my Birthday!! Today was the ‘start’ of the Spring Break Season. I think that the rain helped to hold down the crowds some, it wasn’t too crowded.
We had a reservation at 8:20 at the DL Hotel at Goofy’s Kitchen. We were running a little late and didn’t leave our hotel until 8:00 and we just made it. We got put all the way in the back of a room. We did get a few characters – Goofy, Dale, Baloo, Genie & Donald. It was pretty good. There was a lot of food – but the sausage was chicken sausage or something else strange. It wasn’t very good, actually kind of sweet! Most of the food was pastries and such. Breakfast for the two of us was $55. It was priced higher than what I had seen on line and I wasn’t expecting it. The food was good, but it was quite overpriced.
We left and headed to DCA, it opened at 10 and we got there about 9:30 and looked through some shops. Even at 10 most things weren’t open. We finally did go on King Triton’s Carousel – which Brice thought it was cool that he could ride a whale. We headed back to the Muppet Show. We sat near the front so the kids could see Sweetums come out with the flashlight. Muppets was a little too loud for Megan too. As we left we noticed that they were cleaning the Limo Ride Sign. We grabbed lunch at Award Wieners. Bobby got the Chili Dog & I got a Sausage without the Fries ($15). Brice & Megan shared a lunchable & our food. When we were done, we waited for the Aladdin show for about an hour. We got some good seats right behind the main isle on the bottom floor. The kids could see the elephant and camels real well. They did good at the show, Brice kept asking for the elephant to come back. There are a few slow, romantic spots in the show that the kids got antsy. Brice also got his first kiss from a little girl next to us. They were playing with the chairs, pushing them up and down and Bobby happened to glance over as she grabbed both sides of his face and gave him a kiss! She was about 3.
We headed over to DL and Bobby got another Root Beer float. He decided to get one every day. Since he missed the first day he was going for two today! He also grabbed a Hot Dog from Coke Corner. I don’t really love Butter Pecan Ice Cream, so I settled for a low carb candy bar. It was really cold and windy. We hadn’t brought any blankets for the kids – we were late leaving and a little rushed. So we grabbed a Buzz FP for later and headed home for a short nap and to grab some blankets & warmer clothing.
When we got back into the park, Buzz was broken down. We headed over for pizza again ($18) and then had to touch the ball again! Then we headed back to Fantasyland and rode on Pinocchio, the Carousel, Dumbo, Snow White and back over to Small World again. There’s so much to see in this ride, I actually enjoy it once or twice a trip. Megan doesn’t seem to care much – Brice loved it at this age. This time on Small World there was a bunch of 13 or 14 year old girls behind us ‘flirting’ with Brice. They started doing the little dance that the Hawaiian dolls do and Brice was playing with them most of the ride.
After the ride we ran into Toon Town quickly, it closed at 8:30. We got to go on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and look through the Gag Factory before it closed. We didn’t get to spend much time back here this trip. The kids are really too young for a lot of the stuff though. We were all pretty tired, so we headed to camp out for some good Fireworks seats. We had been worried all day that they would be canceled. City Hall said that they would be cancelled if it was raining. It hadn’t rained for an hour or so, it was just cold and windy. We got a seat on a park bench almost directly in front of the castle, on the Tomorrowland side. I left to go to the bathroom. I also got Bobby his root beer float ($6). Then I headed over to the Blue Ribbon Bakery and got myself a decaf grande coffee with sugar free vanilla ($5). It was wonderful. I got back about 10 minutes before the fireworks started. Brice had played with a little girl on the next bench the whole time and Megan had slept. Megan actually slept all through the fireworks. Brice thought it was great. It was the perfect ending to the vacation and my birthday. We slowly walked down Main St. and out of the park.
Saturday – March 19, 2005
Today we started the monumental task of sorting through and packing up the hotel room. We got done in pretty good time and headed home by way of San Diego. It was still pretty cold and rainy. We had originally planned on visiting one of the zoos. We headed to Balboa Park, go the kids all packed up in the stroller and looked at the map of the Zoo. We decided it was just too much to do in one very cold day. We walked around Balboa Park, looked at the fountain and all the great buildings. We found a miniature train museum, bought Brice a train eraser for $0.80. Then we got on the 8 Freeway and headed home. We stopped at McD’s after we got out of the city a little ways. The kids were asleep. So about an hour or so down the road we stopped at Carl’s Jr. for cokes and Chicken Stars for the kids. This is where we saw someone with way too much money. There was a huge, expensive RV parked behind Carl's Jr. They were towing as their extra car, a Hummer H2! And of course it had nice rims & tires, lifted 8”, a $10,000 custom paint job…… Bobby took half a dozen pictures of it – even I have to admit it was pretty cool looking. The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful except at the top of the mountain range where the road winds it was covered in fog. All the weather had made the visibility horrible. Sometimes all we could see was 5’ in front of us and a few brake lights. We saw an accident on the road below us, heading toward San Diego. We got home late, about 11pm.Tami Olson