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Pam Roberts -- October 2004 -- Disneyland (Offsite)


Main Players:

  • Pam, 43: DL veteran and overall Disney fanatic
  • James, 44: Pam's hubby, also DL veteran

Guest Appearances

  • Molly, 5: Great-niece, 4th visit to DL
  • Sarah, 26: Molly’s mom, DL veteran-in-training
  • Rod, 26: Carol’s son & Molly’s dad, DL novice
  • Doris, 62: James and Carol’s mom, DL annual visitor
  • Carol, 46: James’ sister, Annual Passholder
  • Bruce, 58: Carol’s hubby, also AP
  • Jessica, 17: Carol & Bruce’s daughter, AP and DL veteran
  • Ryan, 18: Jessica’s boyfriend, AP and DL nut
  • Clayton, 18: Ryan’s cousin, AP, and DL veteran (I think!)

The Plan

We renewed our Disneyland annual passes during our trip in May 2004, so this was our 2nd trip of the year (we like to maximize our savings!). We know the fall is a good time to visit the resort, for both the weather and the crowds, plus the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay would be up - yeah! We also found out that my mother-in-law (Doris) would be on leave from her job in Canada during this time, so this trip would serve as a family reunion as well as give us a fun place to play for a few days.

As usual, I made reservations at the Anaheim Del Sol Inn on Harbor Blvd. (a 5-minute walk from the parks, total for 3 nights = $210). Sarah decided to try a new place, and ended up staying 2 nights over on Katella (Ramada Plaza Anaheim, I think, but I don’t remember for sure) and then 1 night at the Park Vue Inn on Harbor. Doris was in her 5th wheel, and stayed at the Anaheim RV Park a few blocks away. The others all live near San Diego, and would commute to the parks.

As for transportation, I booked our airfare on Southwest Airlines from Sacramento to Orange County ($283), plus made reservations with Super Shuttle for travel to/from the motel. Everyone else would be driving from various places.

Finally, I went to Lemoore Naval Air Station to buy passes for Rod and Doris (the rest of us are APers)…a 5-day pass for Rod ($100) and a 2-day pass for Doris ($58), which they both ended up upgrading to APs during their visit. We were all set and ready for fun!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I got up at 8am, and James followed at 9am. We did our last-minute preparations, including food, water, and clean litter boxes for our kitty Cyrus, and we were out the door by 10:30am. We parked in the economy lot at the Sacramento airport and took a shuttle to the terminal. At the check-in line, we used a kiosk for the first-time (which was fairly easy to use) and then proceeded to security. I made it through easily, but James was pulled aside to be wanded due to the back brace he was wearing. He decided that on future trips, he would pull it off to go through the machine and avoid the hassle!

I had some yogurt from TCBY ($4) and James read the local newspaper while we waited to board the plane. As usual, the flight was uneventful and we landed a few minutes early. We stopped off at the baggage claim area to get our suitcase and then proceeded over to the shuttle area. Our trip to our motel with Super Shuttle ($23 with tip) was smooth on this lovely Saturday afternoon!

We checked into our motel around 2:45pm and called Sarah on her cell phone to touch base; they were stuck in traffic but not far away so we told her to come over once they had checked into their motel down the street. Doris called us a few minutes later from the RV park, so we gave her directions and asked her to come on over as well.

Once we had all gathered together and greeted one another, we drove up Harbor Blvd. to the El Torito Restaurant in Fullerton. We had an ok meal ($84 with tip after 10% AAA discount), and then drove across the street to the Disney’s Character Warehouse Outlet store. My damages were $35 (after the 10% Chamber of Commerce discount coupon found via MouseSavers.com), which I thought was pretty good! On the way back to the motel, Doris stopped at a gas station and we got some water for the room ($4). Rod, Sarah, and Molly drove back to their motel and Doris took us back to ours. We watched some of Monsters, Inc. on the Disney Channel while waiting for Carol, Bruce, and Jessica to arrive (Jessica had a photo shoot in Anaheim earlier in the evening). Rod, Sarah, and Molly re-joined us and we all walked down to the street to watch the fireworks. Afterwards everyone went their separate ways, and we were in bed by 11pm.

Sunday, October 31, 2004 (Halloween)

Daylight Savings Time ended this morning, so even though the clock said 7:30am, it was really 8:30am to our bodies when the alarm went off. It was nice to have the extra hour of sleep back! Breakfast consisted of Pop-Tarts, fruit, toast, and cereal, and we left the room at 8:40am. Doris drove in as we were walking through the parking lot, so we waited for her to park. Unfortunately, she had lost her cell phone sometime since the previous evening. We helped her search her truck and our motel room but had no luck finding it.

Eventually we gave up, headed on over to Disneyland Park (DLP), and were through the turnstiles by 9am. James and I waited for Doris to visit the powder room and ATM, and then we all walked over to rent a locker off of Main Street ($6). We proceeded down Main Street to Fantasyland and were at Peter Pan’s Flight by 9:15am. After our quick flight to Neverland, we rode Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Alice in Wonderland. When we were getting off of Alice, Rod called to say that they were on Main Street. We agreed to meet outside of Peter Pan’s Flight, so we walked back there to wait for them. Finally the rest of the family showed up, with our sweet Molly dressed as Princess Jasmine for the day!

Everyone except Doris rode Peter Pan’s Flight, and then we all walked over to ride the Storybook Land Canal Boats together (the 10 of us filled up the Flora boat completely!). Ryan, Jessica, and Molly rode the Mad Tea Party (Tea Cups) while the rest of us got dizzy just watching. Some of the group decided to do some shopping in the Mad Hatter, where Ryan bought Jessica a furry white hat. While waiting, James decided to put some suntan lotion on his face and hands, and TweedleDee and TweedleDum walked up and mimicked him behind his back while the rest of us cracked up!

Molly really wanted to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant, so everyone besides Ryan and James joined her for a quick whirl. After taking some pictures of Jessie and Molly in the nearby stationary Dumbo vehicle, we walked over to check out the line for the Indiana Jones Adventure. There was a long queue, so we hung out by the Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition while Rod, Bruce, and James spent a few quarters shootin’ some varmints and Molly got autographs and hugs nearby from Woody and Jessie.

By now we were starting to get hungry, so we walked over to Rancho del Zocalo for some lunch. James and I enjoyed a BBQ beef sandwich, bean burrito, and root beer. We used Ryan’s Premium AP discount to save a couple of bucks too! After satisfying our hunger pains, everyone (except Carol and Bruce) rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (BTMRR) together. This was Molly’s first trip on such a big roller coaster, but she had a blast riding “the wildest ride in the wilderness” in the safety of her daddy’s mine car!

Carol and I hiked over to Haunted Mansion Holiday (HMH) to get FastPasses (FPs) for the group, while everyone else waited for the Mark Twain Riverboat. We rejoined everyone onboard, and found Molly up in the Pilot House steering us through the attraction! She was so excited - it was a huge moment for her (and her proud parents!).

After we disembarked, we walked over to ride Pirates of the Caribbean (PotC) - another scary first for Molly. She had been singing the song for weeks and was really looking forward to the ride, but she is also scared of the dark so this was quite the challenge for her. We all emerged unscathed, so Carol, Molly and I walked over to get FPs for Splash Mountain while everyone else hung out in the little park area in New Orleans Square.

When we were all together again, we used our FPs to ride HMH - still another challenge for Molly, but she was brave! After HMH, we walked over to Critter Country and rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which Molly loved. The Pooh characters were hosting their meet & greet, so we all waited for Molly to get their autographs, plus Jessica posed for pictures with Molly and Eeyore (Jessie’s favorite) as well.

Our FP window was open for Splash, so we all got in line. There were 10 of us and we were able to completely fill 2 logs just with us. Molly, Jessica, Ryan, Carol and Bruce rode in the first log and Doris, Sarah, Rod, James and I rode in the second log. I bought the pictures for both logs ($44 after Ryan’s AP discount), even though there was a shadow across Molly’s face and Ryan had ducked his head down in the first picture! Molly really loved this ride as it turned out, as did her dad (although it was hard to tell from his expression in the picture).

We still hadn’t been on Indy yet, so we walked over to check out the queue. It was manageable, so the brave ones (Rod, Sarah, Jessica, Ryan, James & I) rode while everyone else checked out Tarzan’s Treehouse and Jungle Cruise. We met up again and walked down Main Street towards the exit, with a quick stop along the way at the lockers.

We made our way over to DCA, and got FPs for Soarin’ Over California. Then we walked over to Grizzly River Rapids (GRR) and waited while Sarah, Rod, Molly and Jessica got wet on the attraction. After they were finished, we all walked over to enjoy the Muppet Vision 3-D show (their pre-show is just hilarious!). We grabbed FPs for Tower of Terror (ToT), and then walked over to ride Soarin’ together (except Bruce, who decided to sit this one out).

We were starting to get hungry, so we made plans for dinner: Bruce took Molly over to our motel room for a quick nap while Doris and Carol walked over to Saga Pizza (at the Ramada Saga Inn on Harbor) to get dinner (pizza, chicken wings, and soda) for everyone. In the meantime, the remaining brave ones (Rod, Sarah, Jessica, Ryan, James & I) rode ToT with our FPs. We managed to all get in the front row, and I bought the picture ($13 after Ryan’s AP discount). After we had safely returned to the ground, James went back over to DLP to clear out our locker and then re-joined all of us for dinner at our motel.

After dinner, Doris, Carol, Bruce, Jessica, and Ryan left for the evening and Molly changed into her Cinderella costume (so cute!). We headed back to DCA and hung out in Disney Animation to kill time before Disney’s Electrical Parade (DEP) began. Molly had a good time dancing around the lobby to the Disney tunes and then we went through the Sorcerer’s Workshop into the Beast’s Library. We tried our hand to find out which character we were most like (I was Belle and Sarah was Ariel) and also tried some karaoke in Ursula’s Kingdom (we were pretty bad!).

It was almost time for the DEP so we headed over towards the parade route. Rod, Sarah, and Molly were still a little hungry and stopped along the way for a hot dog, chili cheese fries, and soda from Award Wieners. We enjoyed the parade and then exited DCA as it was now closed.

Rod, Sarah, and Molly wanted to go back into DLP so we said good night and walked over to the lockers located to the left of DLP’s entrance. Carol had rented one here earlier and not cleaned it out yet, so we took care of that for them and headed back to our motel. I updated our trip notes and we were in bed by 11:30pm. A long, but fun, day!

Monday, November 1, 2004

The alarm went off at 8:30am and we were out the door by 10am after a breakfast of Pop-Tarts and pretzels (hey, we were on vacation!). Doris had just driven into the parking lot, so we joined up and walked over to the parks. We decided to get a locker outside (to the left of DLP’s entrance = $6), and we were through the DLP turnstiles by 10:30am. To our surprise, the Christmas tree was up and decorated in Town Square! It was simply gorgeous, and we marveled at how quickly the staff could accomplish things overnight.

We walked into Fantasyland and rode Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, the King Arthur Carrousel and Alice in Wonderland with practically no waits for any of them. We then walked over to Toontown to ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and James rode with his mother so I could spin the vehicle (they both get motion sickness more easily and chose to ride together instead of with me - go figure!).

We called Sarah, Rod, and Molly - they were just checking into the Park Vue Motel so we made plans to meet at the IHOP across the street on Harbor. We got on the Disneyland Railroad at the Toontown station and rode all the way over to the Main Street station before disembarking and exiting the park.

After a tasty brunch (hamburger and pancake combo for us = $23), we took our leftovers to our respective refrigerators and then walked over to DCA. We decided to pose for pictures in front of the big fountain and CM Melissa was kind enough to take them for us with each of our cameras!

We walked over to see It’s Tough to be a Bug, and put Sarah and Molly at the end of the aisle - JUST IN CASE. If you’ve ever seen this show, you know what I’m talking about! Sure enough, Molly freaked during the show and left early with Sarah. Afterwards, we met up and headed over to see the 2:25pm showing of Disney’s Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular! Ryan, Jessica, and Clayton joined us while we were waiting in the queue, and we had good seats together in the Orchestra section (front part). The Genie was very funny (as always), but the flying carpet wasn’t working for some unknown reason (boo!).

After the show we walked over to check out the Mission Tortilla Factory and The Boudin Bakery tours (and enjoy our free samples) and then meandered over towards the Paradise Pier area. Sarah, Rod, Ryan and Clayton rode California Screamin’ while Molly, Jessica, and I rode King Triton’s Carousel twice. We kept strolling along the ‘Boardwalk’ - Ryan won a little stuffed pink ‘Nemo’ fish for Molly and Sarah bought some cotton candy. When we got to the Sun Wheel, James, Doris, Jessica, Molly, Ryan, and Clayton rode while I sat on a bench with all of our gear (Rod and Sarah had kept walking for a bit).

We all met up over by Mulholland Madness (MM), which Jessica, Ryan, and Clayton rode while James, Doris, Molly, and I rode Jumpin’ Jellyfish. Then we switched around and Doris, Molly, and I rode MM while Ryan, Jess, and Clayton walked over to ride ToT. Molly just loved MM, so she and I rode it a second time. I like to scream with every curve on that ride - and so did Molly! However, two times in a row is about all I can handle (oh, my aching bones!).

I needed a breather, so we headed out of DCA via the Grand Californian Hotel (GCH). We were all very impressed with the lobby, and checked it out on our way back towards DLP. I stopped to get our jackets from the locker along the way, while Rod and Doris got in line for the ticket windows to upgrade their tickets to Annual Passes. When they were done, we headed on into the park. We had just missed the train so we hoofed it over to Tomorrowland instead. Sarah, Molly, and I rode Star Tours (ST) while Rod and Doris headed to the passport center to get their AP photos and James just hung out (not a big ST fan).

We were supposed to watch the 7pm Parade of the Stars with Ryan, Jessie, and Clayton, but Jessie had a bad headache and they decided to go home. We said our goodbyes and the rest of us stayed to watch the parade from the hub. Rod was kind enough to buy us all churros (yum!), and we enjoyed them during the parade. Afterwards, we walked over to ride the Jungle Cruise aboard the Nile Princess, and then crisscrossed back over to Tomorrowland to ride Autopia. While waiting for everyone else, I decided to do a little souvenir shopping at Star Traders ($35) and Autopia’s Winner Circle (another $24 - eek!). Maybe I should have gone on the ride instead, it would have been cheaper!

DLP had closed by the time we all met up again, so we headed towards Main Street. We posed for pictures in front of the Christmas tree before exiting the park. We cleared the rest of our stuff from the locker and stopped for dinner at Captain Kidd’s (across the street on Harbor). James and I had chicken strips and spaghetti for about $20, but no one was too excited about their meals here. We were done eating about 10pm, and we headed back to our respective motels. We said our goodbyes to Doris, who was heading down to San Diego the next day, and went to our room. I updated our trip notes and we were asleep by midnight.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

The alarm went off at 8am and we finished packing up our stuff after a quick breakfast. We checked-out of the motel ($210), stored our luggage and walked over to Rod, Sarah and Molly’s room. They also packed up their stuff in their car and checked-out, and we were on our way to the parks around 10:30am. We went through security and entered DLP - what a great day (even though it was the last day of our trip) - attendance was very light all day!

We hopped aboard the train for a quick ride to New Orleans station, and walked over to Critter Country. There was no wait for Splash Mountain, so we rode two times in a row! Molly was so funny - she has this scared look on her face in each picture, but insisted on sitting in the front seat both times. I bought the first picture ($18), and we went across the way to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This is such a gentle ride and we enjoy it, but I know a lot of people are bored by it.

We walked back over to New Orleans Square and caught the next train over to the Tomorrowland station, where we disembarked and headed over to ride Monorail Blue. We respectfully requested to ride in the nose, which Molly really enjoyed! After our round-trip journey to Downtown Disney and back, we returned to the train station and completed our circle around the Magic Kingdom.

We hadn’t visited Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln yet, so we headed into the Opera House to view the Walt Disney exhibits while waiting. It’s a shame that this attraction doesn’t get the attendance it deserves. It was fun to watch Molly’s reaction to the audio portion of the show! When we were walking out the exit, I got a patriotic-style pressed penny with Mickey on it to add to my growing collection.

Right outside the Opera House, Mickey Mouse was greeting guests so Molly got in line. A wonderful experience occurred while she was waiting for her turn - just behind and to the right of Mickey was a young lady in a wheelchair, who had just exited Mr. Lincoln as well. Mickey didn’t see her at first, until he had stepped aside to use the top of a trashcan as a writing surface for an autograph. He immediately went over to the young lady and spent several minutes with her, giving lots of hugs and kisses! She kept smiling shyly at Mickey and was so obviously delighted - it was such a moving experience for everyone who was present. I got very teary-eyed (just as I am as I write this!) and was so thankful to see this little bit of Disney magic.

After Molly was able to get her hugs and kisses from Mickey, we decided to exit the park and head over to DCA for lunch. Everyone walked over to the Pacific Wharf Café (PWC), while I took a side trip to Taste Pilot’s Grill (cheddar burger, fries, and soda = $10 after AP discount). I carried my food over to join everyone at PWC. James had the veggie chili and shared my soda ($8 after AP discount), whereas Rod had the clam chowder and a Coke, Sarah had the corn chowder and a Coke and Molly had the turkey sandwich and chocolate milk. All of the food was delicious, and we were quite full afterwards.

Once we were able to move again, James and Rod waddled over to get FPs for Soarin’ while the rest of us walked over to Paradise Pier. Sarah, Molly, and I rode Mulholland Madness twice (screaming at each wild curve along the way) while James and Rod rode Jumpin’ Jellyfish (JJ). Then Molly and I rode JJ twice while everyone else waited for us! Next we headed over to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Rod and James took Molly through while Sarah and I had a nice quiet break and waited for them on a bench. Molly really enjoyed the tire swing!

When we re-grouped, we headed back to ride Soarin’ with our FPs, although the park was so quiet that they really weren’t needed. After our high-gliding adventure was over, we headed to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot so James and I could ride ToT one last time (this visit!). Molly got Goofy’s autograph while they were waiting for us and then we all headed back over to DLP.

We hopped aboard the Fire Engine for a one-way trip down Main Street - it was such a lovely day and we were really enjoying the sunshine and being together. Unfortunately we were dreading the end of our vacation, which was looming closer every minute! We walked into Adventureland, where Sarah, James, and I rode Indy one last time (this visit!). We next rode PotC, HMH, and BTMRR, with no wait for any of them.

Unfortunately, it was “now’s the time to say goodbye to all our family” - as it was time for us to catch our shuttle to the airport. Rod, Sarah and Molly decided to hang around until the park closed at 7pm before tackling the commute traffic on their way back to Merced. We said our goodbyes and took a quick trip to The Disney Gallery to buy a DLR pictorial book ($12 after the special 50% AP discount), and then headed out of the park around 5pm.

We stopped at a convenience store on the way back to the motel to buy some water ($2) and quickly retrieved our luggage, as our Super Shuttle driver had already arrived! We drove over to the Paradise Pier Hotel to pick up 4 additional guests, and then were on our way to the airport. We arrived around 6pm ($23 with tip) and checked-in for our flight. There was no waiting at security and we headed over to TCBY for some yogurt ($4) and McDonald’s for a hamburger, vanilla cone, and water ($3). Our flight home went smoothly, we collected our luggage and car (parking = $28), and were home around 10:15pm, where Cyrus happily greeted us at the door!

Conclusion

Another fun trip with the family! Our next trip will be when we celebrate my birthday in early December with two friends from college.

Our highlights include

  • Seeing Molly dressed up for Halloween
  • Spending time with James’ family
  • Finding bargains at the Disney Character Warehouse Outlet (as usual!)
  • Watching Mickey Mouse weave his Disney magic for a special young lady
  • Converting our nephew to being a Disney fan like the rest of us (he’s on his way!)
  • The lovely weather and light attendance
  • Just being at Disneyland!

If you would like to email me your questions, please enter ‘DL Trip Report' in your subject line (so I won't mistake your email for spam!) and I will be happy to reply.

Pam Roberts

pammer@go.com


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