Tami Olson -- May 2006 -- Disneyland (Offsite)
Accommodations: Camelot Inn & Suites (Formerly Park Inn)
We absolutely loved our hotel. We had never stayed here before. It was always just a bit more money and we didn’t think it was worth it. But, this trip was planned just a few weeks before and we only paid $91.75 – when most other hotels were $120. Maybe it was cheaper because of the name change?? The rooms were much nicer & felt clean in comparison to other hotel rooms nearby. McDonald’s is also next door and that’s very convenient. The pool looked nice even though we never went in. Unfortunately, I think we are hooked on this hotel even though it cost just a bit more!!!
Pre Trip Planning:
In January my husband’s brother & his family started planning a family vacation for the end of May. My husband and his brother both work at the family business – so we have never been on a vacation together because it’s hard for my in-laws to run the business without both of them. But, we finally convinced in April them that we could both take the time off. The plan is that Troy & his family will leave Saturday morning and go to Legoland, then do Legoland for half a day on Sunday. We will leave after work on Saturday and drive all night and be at Disneyland on Sunday. Troy & family will meet us about dinnertime on Sunday at DL. Then, we will go home on Tuesday and Troy will go home on Wednesday.
The Friday before we were scheduled to leave, my husband talked his parents into another day…so now we can both come home on Wednesday – it will make our vacation much better!!
Saturday – May 20, 2006
Bobby went to work today while I stayed home and did a TON of stuff…I didn’t think I had that much packing & stuff to do. But I finally got the car all packed up and ready to go by about 3:00. Bobby got off work at 4:00 and called me while he was driving home. I got the cooler packed up and the kids cleaned-up…we were on the road by 4:15!! We didn’t have a hotel reservation for tonight. The hotel in Anaheim was pretty expensive for Saturday night – and we don’t really want to drive that far. We ate McDonald’s on the way to Phoenix and both kids were already asleep!! It was only like 5:00 – but I didn’t put them down for naps today. I saved some chicken nuggets for them for when they woke up. Dinner for all four of us was only $11!!
We kept driving and a little ways outside of Phoenix I started sneezing, really, really sneezing. I used up an entire box of Kleenex on the drive!! We stopped in Indio and I got some coffee, hoping the hot drink would help my headache from all the sneezing. I also got a bottle of water and a package of toilet paper (they didn’t carry Kleenex and I was out!!) - $4. Indio looked a little run down, so we kept driving even though it was already 10:30. We got to Banning about 11:00 and checked a Best Western hotel – it was $125 and was a smoking room with only one King bed…so we kept driving. We got into Riverside and checked out another hotel – they only had the Jacuzzi suite available with one King Bed – it was $150!! But, just two doors down the street we found the perfect hotel. It was a Comfort Inn - $89.99 for a double queen with a great continental breakfast – it was 11:40 and we got the last room available!! I was in bed by just after midnight after unloading a little and getting the kids tucked in. They had been asleep since about 9:00 and didn’t really even wake up as I put them in bed!
Sunday – May 21, 2006
We got up about 7:45 and had everyone out the door and dressed by about 8:30. Since we were staying in a hotel for just Sat night – I packed everyone’s clothes for Sunday into one backpack. That way we just unloaded the one backpack & the bathroom bags. It really helped with the loading & unloading time!! We went over to the continental breakfast…it was great!! The kids & Bobby had donuts and apple juice. I had a Belgian waffle – it was wonderful. We ate quickly and were on the road by 9:00.
We arrived at the hotel about 10:00 – and they had a room ready!! We had just planned on getting a parking pass and checking in when we got back from the parks. This worked out much better – we got all situated and our luggage wasn’t in our car all day. We were in line at DL by 10:45. Our first stop was Buzz – like always. Then Brice’s next choice was to go over to Snow White. After that, we were getting hungry – so we ate in the Village Haus in Fantasyland. We love the décor in here, but last time our meal wasn’t so good. But, we decided to give it another try. I got a cheeseburger & fries & Bobby got a Turkey Club Sandwich with chips. It was $17 with one drink after the AP discount. I brought in a Lunchable for the kids to split – and then they eat my fries & some of my burger. We found a round table that was pushed back in a little alcove with windows – it was like our own private dining room.
After a quick stop at the bathrooms we were off to Haunted Mansion. The kids didn’t really remember this ride since the last two times we were here it the Holiday was either being put on or taken off. They were both scared in the stretching room – but got over it quickly. Next we headed to another favorite of ours – Pooh. We only got past the Blustery Day section and the ride shut down. The lights came up and they came and had us walk back out of the ride! It was interesting – I had never done that before, but it took a lot of time to unload everyone from the cars because the CM had to push a step stool up to each row to let the passengers out. We were all getting a bit tired from our late night last night and decided to take a small rest at the hotel since we would be at the parks until closing tonight. We slowly walked back through New Orleans Sq and checked out the temporary location for Pieces of Eight. We stopped to go on Jungle Cruise, and then the Tiki Room then checked out the Gallery on Main St. – and finally got back to the hotel about 2:30.
Troy & family called us at 4:00 – we hadn’t expected them so early. They headed into DCA to Soarin’ while we packed up and tried not to wake Megan up from her nap…but that didn’t work. We met in front of Soarin’ and all got Fast Passes (FP) for 6:45. Then we took them over to Turtle Talk with Crush. They had never even been in this building…didn’t even know it was there. Crush talked to Brice…actually all Brice would say was his name. He didn’t answer where he was from, or who he was with…so Bobby raised his hand and talked to Crush!! It was a good show. At the end Dan & Martha were really curious about how it worked, so they went up and asked the Cast Member. His answer was “Well, Crush can see right through the glass of course!” Next we took them through the Sorcerer’s Workshop and had a bunch of fun. Lindsay is most like Belle & Erin was Mulan. They thought that was great. Then Lindsay & Erin did the singing & acting for Ursula.
Next we headed to Muppet 3D. This was Dan’s first 3D movie!! As we were walking in, we noticed that Brice was dancing a bit – so I headed over to the bathrooms with him. There was 9 minutes until the next movie. We thought we would definitely make it – but the Aladdin show had just let out and there was a line for the bathrooms…on the way back I noticed that Monsters was down. Brice & I made it back for the Muppet Show just as the doors were opening and we all sat in the front row to see Sweetums. Monsters were back up and running when we left Muppets– so we got in line, about 15min. As we were walking through the entrance arch – Brice was looking behind him and ran straight into it – really hard, he actually fell down and got a big bump on his forehead.
Troy & Kim were a little confused about the queue themeing – they didn’t think it was very ‘Monstery”…so we explained that it is just basically the limo ride with Monster’s added to it. Everyone liked Monsters – I wish we had had time to ride it again. The next stop was Tower of Terror – it only had about a 15 min. wait. I had never been on this ride since Bobby doesn’t like this type of ride. So – Lindsay, Erin, Kim, Dan & I went on the ride. The lobby theming is great and I really did enjoy the ride.
By the time we got off it was about 6:00 and I was starving!!! Troy & Kim’s group had eaten lunch late at about 1:30 – but we had eaten at 11:30!! We decided to eat at Taste Pilots Grill and then we could all use our FPs for Soarin’. But, walking past Award Wieners changed Bobby, Troy & Martha’s mind. Bobby got a chili dog & chili fries for $8. I got a Fried Ckn Sandwich, Diet Coke & Chicken Poppers Kids Meal for $14 at Taste Pilot Grill. The kids really loved the happy face fries!!
After dinner Bobby waited with Megan while the rest of us went on Soarin’. This was Brice’s first time. He was tall enough last time but wasn’t sure if he would like it because you feel so out of control. He was terrified as we moved into position – we were on the second level – but after that thought it was great. He kept talking about the golf ball that almost hit us!! After a quick stop at the bathrooms we headed back to the Pier.
Lindsay, Erin & Brice wanted to ride the Jellyfish – but they needed one adult, so I got nominated!! I wasn’t feeling very good though – I had really bad hiccups. So, I begged off and traded with Kim and went to go get a latte – it helped with my hiccups. We headed down to the Orange Stinger – Lindsay, Erin & Kim rode on it. By now it was a little after 8:00 and we recommended going to find Electrical Parade seats. The plan was Electrical Parade 8:45, Fireworks 9:25 & Fantasmic 10:30. We have been warning them that it was a very tight squeeze and would be super crowded to get all that done. We told them to sit at the entrance to DCA where the parade would start so we could get out in time to see the fireworks. Well – Disney outsmarted us. We found out that the parade now goes the opposite route – starts back in the Pier – so that it doesn’t end until the fireworks are scheduled to start!! Troy & Kim were really bummed – but good thing we didn’t skip the Electrical Parade, because the fireworks were cancelled due to wind. The parade was great and I got out the package of glow sticks that I got at the dollar store…they had connectors and we made them into necklaces for the kids. After the parade, the lines into DL were really long – but we finally got in and headed straight for Rivers of America. Bobby & I suggested that we go find seats now – at 10:00. Good thing we did, we got great sitting seats in the section row, just to the right of center – and it filled up fast after us. I left to go get some strawberries while we were waiting. Brice had fallen asleep on the way into DL – but Megan was still wide awake since she had a small nap at the hotel. Brice slept right through the whole thing. Megan watched the first half – but when the “evil” part started, she buried her head in my lap and pulled my arms over her head and went to sleep.
The park was officially closed when Fantasmic finished, so we all headed back to our separate hotels with plans to call each other about 8:30 the next morning to meet up.
Monday – May 22, 2006
I was up about 7:30, showered and headed down to the McDonald’s next door for breakfast. I got Bobby a Sausage McGriddle, a Sausage Breakfast Burrito for me – and then a few hahsbrowns to go. I stopped at the continental breakfast on the way back and threw a few muffins & danishes in the bag for the kids and a coffee for me. The breakfast here was actually pretty good. They had two kinds of juice, milk, 4 kinds of coffee – some flavored!!, cereal, instant oatmeal, tea, danishes, muffins, croissants, apples & oranges!! It’s much better than some hotels.
I took breakfast up to the hotel and got everyone ready and out the door by about 8:30 – called Troy & Kim and agreed to meet them at the crosswalk in a few minutes. Brice wanted another donut – not one cut in half – he was very adamant about this. So, we stopped and he picked out a croissant. We all got into the parks and headed for Indy first. But, it was closed down, so we went on Jungle Cruise. Indy was back up by the time we got done so I stayed with Brice & Megan while everyone else went. Today was my Mom’s birthday – so we called her while we waited. They all got off the ride and walked back out to me and Dan realized that he had forgotten his camera bag in the Indy car!! So, he walked all the way back and the car was just coming around and it was still in there!!
The next stop was Haunted Mansion. We almost walked right on it today. It’s neat being able to walk right up onto the porch and into the ride. Brice went with Lindsay & Erin so Bobby & I were able to ride together with Megan. Today was cloudy and overcast. Yesterday was down right cold too!! I was trying to enjoy it because I knew it was 100’ at home in Tucson!! So, our next stop at Splash Mtn was a walk on ride too!! Kim waited with Megan since she didn’t want to get wet. She took Megan on Pooh while she waited. After we got off of Splash Mtn – we all headed to Pooh again.
When we got off we saw the Pooh characters were out – but they were under the porch of the shop – probably because it was almost raining. Unfortunately this way there were three lines – one for Pooh, one for Eyeore, and one for Tigger. We waited in the lines for Eeyore & Tigger – but passed on Pooh since the line was so much longer. We got some cute pictures of all the kids together.
It was about 11:30 and we stopped for lunch at Hungry Bear restaurant. I got the fried chicken sandwich and a French Vanilla Latte, and Bobby got a cheeseburger for $17. The kids split a Lunchable like yesterday. The chicken sandwiches here are no where near as good as the one’s at Taste Pilots grill…it was overcooked & about ½ the size. After lunch and bathrooms – we headed over to Big Thunder RR. Brice has always refused to go on this – he calls it the “Fast Train”. Bobby & I waited with Brice & Megan after we grabbed a Baby Pass while everyone else went on it. The line was pretty long, so I took Megan over to browse in some Frontierland shops. The cowboy fiddler was out singing and he sang a bunch of songs to Megan – Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Old McDonald… She tried not to look at him, but enjoyed it. When I headed back to Bobby – Brice was gone. When the group came around the line, Brice had decided to go with him, so they grabbed him over the fence. He came back and said he had a great time!! Bobby & I went back through the exit and went on it together – for the first time in 4.5 years!!
The girls wanted to go on Dumbo next – but the line was really long, so I talked them out of it and took all four kids on the Teacups – which had a 5 min line. It actually made me just a bit sick near the end!! I must be getting old. Next, everyone else went on Matterhorn – I waited with Megan and we got a frozen lemonade and looked the name things they are selling back near the lagoon. They are neat – but too pricey if you get them framed…$59!! After they found Megan & me reclining on a bench eating our lemonade – we all headed to Small World. The line was small, like most lines today and we all had a great time. The sun had just started to come out and it was getting a bit warm. While we were waiting to get off the boats – we pulled the kids undershirts off (they both had turtle necks on under a shirt). The next stop was ToonTown – CarToon Spin was too long of a line, so we got FPs for about 30 min later then we all went and got snacks. Erin & Brice got cotton candy $3 each!!! Lindsay & Martha & Dan got frozen yogurt. Kim & I just got Diet Cokes. We still had some time on our FP, so Kim took Lindsay & Erin on Gadgets-Go-Coaster. Brice was too scared to go on it, even though he was on it when he was 2! Megan fell asleep while we waited and we all sat next to the fountain in ToonTown and dripped water on each other when our backs were turned – it was getting really warm. When they finally got done – it took about 30min! – we all headed to CarToon Spin. Troy didn’t want to go on it, so he waited with sleeping Megan.
The girls wanted to go on Autopia – so Kim got three FPs for them and Dan and we all got FP for Space Mtn. Then everyone else went on Buzz while I stayed with Megan, since she was still asleep. She woke up while they were on the ride and was a little grumpy. Troy & Kim waited with a grumpy Megan (I warned them) while the rest of us went on Star Tours.
Dan & the girls used their FP for Autopia. Lindsay came back a little upset because she rode alone and it was really hard for her to push down the gas. Next we all headed to “Honey I Shrunk the Audience”. Bobby & I don’t really enjoy this – but I hadn’t realized that Brice has never seen it!! He thought it was neat, but I think he was too short for the mouse effect. Next, I can’t remember who, but someone waited with Brice & Megan while the rest of us went on Space Mtn. When we got off Space Mtn it was about 5:00. Troy & Kim’s group were about done for the day…we suggested Rainforest Café for dinner. So, we walked all the way down to Downtown Disney only to find out that they can’t seat groups bigger than 8 people together. They can’t even guarantee that we’ll be near each other or seated at the same time. So, we gave up and headed back to the Jazz Kitchen. Bobby & I had eaten there once a year or so ago and it was pretty good. And we often eat breakfast there. But, it was a little pricey - $20 adult and $10 for kids. As we were walking in DD, Dan realized that he didn’t have his cell phone. Kim remembered seeing it hanging off his belt when we left Honey I Shrunk…so we all guessed that it was probably in Space Mtn. We stopped by lost & found on the way off property. (I also showed Lindsay where the brick that Bobby & I got for a wedding present is.) Troy’s group was talking about pizza – but we didn’t want that. Then we saw IHOP right in front of us, so we all decided on that. Not only could they seat us together, but the kids’ meals were free!! It was about 6:00 by the time we finally got to IHOP and sat down. Bobby got a chicken strips meal, I got a ham & cheese omelet & it was $31 with drinks….pretty pricey for having the kids meals free. I ordered Megan the Rooty Tooty breakfast because it had scrambled eggs…I didn’t read the whole thing, so I was surprised when she got a pancake with strawberry and whipped cream on it. She had a great time playing with it!! I ordered Brice pigs in a blanket…but didn’t read it either, I thought it was hot dogs – not sausages wrapped with pancakes – oh well, they both sort of ate it.
We usually take a trip to the Character Warehouse store and had always told Troy & Kim about it but they had never made it there. After dinner, we decided to head over there and Kim came with us. Troy & the girls went swimming while Dan & Martha crashed I think!! We only got two things this time…sometimes we find a bunch of stuff, and sometimes nothing. Brice got a kid’s Captain Hook hat that’s really cool for only $7. I got a pink velour hooded zip up jacket for $30. I actually really need a jacket like that – the other one I have is really beat up. Kim got a shirt for her and a shirt & sweatshirt for each of the girls.
We dropped Kim off and Bobby was saying he wanted an ice cream float. So, he dropped me off and I got him a large coke and $1 Sundae at McDonalds’s and mixed them. I forgot that the coke fizzes that much – so it got everywhere. They didn’t have any napkins outs – but I grabbed a wet rag someone had left and cleaned some of it up. I also got myself a chocolate shake - $5 all together. We headed up to the hotel and put the kids to bed. Brice slept in one bed by himself – but we had Megan sleep on the floor with a bunch of blankets and a pillow. Last vacation she kept rolling off of the bed in the middle of the night, and she really doesn’t need a crib. We used to bring a playpen, but it takes up so much space!!
Bobby left and walked around the hotel a bit – shopped for some new sunglasses and a bracelet for himself. I wrote some trip notes and then read my novel while he was gone. I drank some of my shake – but it made me a little sick so I threw most of it away.
Tuesday – May 23, 2006
We woke up at 8:00 this morning – a little late. We were so glad that we had another day in the park and didn’t have to go home today. I just grabbed donuts for everyone else and coffee for me this morning. I had a breakfast bar that I had brought for myself. We called and met and were in line for DL about 9:15. While Kim & I waited for strollers (free courtesy of Disney Visa!!) (we brought a stroller for Megan and just got one for Brice in DL each day – the double stroller is just too big and heavy) Dan & Martha headed to the shops by Indy to look for a hat for Dan – and everyone else headed to Dumbo. Kim & I got the strollers & Bobby was there waiting for us. We thought he had gone ahead to Dumbo. He told me that he made it to the flag pole and turned around – he just couldn’t walk up Main St without me!! How sweet!!
I bought some grapes half way down Main St – they weren’t too good, but I didn’t have much for breakfast. We got to Fantasyland just as they were getting on Dumbo and snapped a picture. Brice was crying that he wanted off – but had a great time once they got started. Next we headed to Peter Pan before the line got too long – it was already bout 25 min. Then we did Carousel, Mr. Toad, Alice, Tea Cups Snow White & Pinocchio quickly. We also got a picture of Lindsay, Erin, Brice & Megan in front of the pink door – the traditional picture. By the time we did all that it was about 11:30 and we were thinking about lunch again. When Kim found out there was Mexican food in DL we just had to eat there – she loves Mexican food. So we stopped by the bathrooms and then ate at Rancho Zocalo. We got a Roasted Chicken Meal & an Enchilada platter and split it between the four of us - $21.01 with a drink. It was pretty good – Megan got covered in rice though!! We started making plans for DCA – but wanted to do the train & Splash Mtn before we left. So, we stopped at New Orleans and took a round trip on the RR. (We saw the Lillie Bell attached to one of the trains this time!!) On our ride we saw that the line for Splash Mtn was pretty long – probably since it was warm. So, we decided to skip it. This morning we had promised Brice a hook to go with his new hat – so we went back to the Pieces of Eight shop. Brice picked out a pirate gun instead - $10, instead of $3 for the hook – but it’s pretty cool. Actually – it cocks, makes all kinds of noises and also shoots a picture of a skull & crossbones when it’s dark out (we didn’t know it did that until that night in the hotel room!). Then it was over to DCA and the GRR. Kim waited with Megan the first time (the line was only 10 min). The second time Troy, Bobby and Martha waited. The raft spun around a bit too much and made Troy sick. The second time I got soaked…I was lucky the first time!!
Next Dan & the girls went on Mullholand Madness while Kim took Brice on the Jellyfish again. I went over to the Sunglass Hut and got some sunglasses $16 – I think I lost mine yesterday sometime. The first pair I tried to buy, the nose piece fell out as she took off the tag, and the next pair had a big scratch!! I went over and bought a pretzel for Brice & I – it was absolutely terrible – dry and hard to chew…Brice only had a little bit. It was hot, so we all decided to get a snack and we got 3 McFlurries and each family split one ($4). We kept walking down the Pier and Lindsay wanted to ride the Maliboomer – by herself!! She was just barely tall enough and went in the single rider line. She had a great time!! We finally got down to California Screamin’ and waited 20 min. Bobby waited with Brice & Megan and Martha. It was about 3:00 when we got off and we decided to go to Bug’s Land. I grabbed a pickle & water on the way - $5. The water park wasn’t working – it looked like they were working on the other side. The kids went on a few rides & then we all went on Hemilich’s Chew Chew Train. It was almost 5:00 and we all headed back to our hotels. I was still a bit wet from the rapids. So, we all changed into pants for the evening and rested for just a few minutes and were headed back into the park at 5:45. Troy & Kim were going to eat pizza in their hotel room and would call us later.
We headed straight into Fantasyland because there is a shop there that does family crests and it was closed this morning. But, it was closed when we got there – must have just closed on us. So, we went over and I got to take Brice on the Matterhorn this time. Then we walked by the new bathrooms by Fantasyland to see the new rabbit from Alice in Wonderland that was relocated…and saw that they were already roping off for the parade. We were going to eat and then watch the parade, but I had heard that next to the Matterhorn is one of the best spots to see this parade because it stops there twice. So, we spread out jackets and strollers to save a big spot for everyone and I ran over to Stage Door Café to grab dinner. I got 6 Ckn Strips with fries, 6 Ckn strips without fries & 6 Mozzarella Sticks with fries. I figured we could all share for dinner. It came to $21.01…the exact same amount as lunch – wow!! Anyways, it was way too much food – we ended up throwing away a ton of chicken because the kids barely ate. But we did manage to spill the little dip containers 3 or 4 times!! The parade was great – but we were down just a bit too far, we should have been directly across from the Matterhorn in front of the bathrooms to see the float stops well…but it was great anyways. Troy & Kim had called us and came to sit with us a few minutes before the parade started – Dan & Martha stayed back at the hotel.
After it ended we all headed over to get FP for Autopia - we got 6 since we had Dan & Martha’s tickets. Then we headed towards Space Mtn to get FP too – but they were out already. It was a 45 min wait so we decided to skip it. We all went on Buzz instead and then got in line at 8:30 for Autopia. Even with the FP it takes 30 min to get through the line. Autopia really isn’t that fun! The little kids had fun though – the gas pedal really is hard to push down! The park was closed and so we headed to Main St. We were going to do some shopping, but Troy & Kim didn’t really want to, and there was nothing we really needed!! On the way out we did notice that the 50 Years Movie was still open in the Opera House. The last showing was at 9:20 and we just made it. It was the perfect ending to the vacation. We all headed back to our hotels with plans to meet for a swim the next morning.
Wednesday – May 24, 2006
The next day I woke up a bit before 8:00 and went down for McDonald’s breakfast again and grabbed donuts & coffee on the way back up to the room. Kim called us – they decided against swimming this morning and would rather get home early…we agreed. So, we all got packed up and checked out by just after 9:00. We met at a gas station just over the I5 freeway. The rest of the way home was pretty uneventful. Except that Troy & Kim lead us to Del Taco for lunch– we had never eaten there. Pretty strange having good Mexican Food & Hamburgers. The combo meals even serve French Fries with the Mexican Food dishes!! Brice dumped a bag of Cheetos when he picked it up upside down in the car…then I slept for an hour or so and we stopped to get ice cream at Dairy Queen just outside of Tucson…