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JoAnne Webbal -- April 2005 -- Disneyland (Offsite)


First an introduction. I am JoAnne, a 38 yo SAHM to our 18 month old toddler Ryan who has been to Disneyland quite a few times, in utero and out, lol. My partner Mary is 42, and works as an ER nurse. Yep, Lesbians, lol. We go to Disney as often as we can, are Deluxe AP holders, and live in nearby Riverside.

Our toddler Ryan loves Disneyland already, waking up in his carseat in the Mickey and Friends parking structure gets a special sort of smile. He is wary of non-face characters, and gets a little weird on the dark rides, but loves the place and we already have lots of fond memories there. I went there was a teen, and my partner has been there as a small child. Her mother visited two weeks after they opened and has lots of stories on the old days.

We usually do three kinds of visits. The first I call down and dirty, a short trip into the park where we spend no less than two hours, usually no more than six hours. We do a few favorite rides and have a meal somewhere. The second I call Atmosphere, we just go to hang out, watch the crowds, maybe a parade (after sitting on a bench for more than an hour of crowd watching), enjoying the day, the gardens, and hardly ever go on a single ride. We don't do many of these trips as we have the toddler now and sitting isn't his favorite thing, and following him all over the park is tiring! Though just after this trip we talked of going to the park as a couple, and leaving the toddler home with grandma. The last trip type is the hotel trip, we get a cheap 3-star room on priceline (the Hyatt if we are lucky) and stay for two nights. We spend time in the park, see a big show like Fantasmic or the fireworks, spend time in Downtown Disney, swim in the hotel pool and take things REALLY easy. We really love to do this in the winter off season, on a weekday if we can. Great fun, very relaxing.

This trip wasn't any of these. Just a day trip, arriving early in the morning, and leaving after dinner. It was Tuesday, April 26. We have a hotel trip planned next week for the 50th grand opening.

This is my first trip report, I have been going to Disney forever but just recently found these boards!

So the plan for this trip was to get some rides in before we attend the big 50th opening next week, spend some time as a family and just enjoy the day. With me was my partner Mary and our son Ryan, 18 months old, who first came to Disney when I was pregnant (many times), then when he was 2 months old (first big excursion out of the house while on maternity leave), and has been numerous times since. I swear the kid is gonna end up being a CM.

Anyway, we arrived early, getting into the park before 9, the security line was wonderfully short, as was the tram line. No hopes that will happen next week, lol. As we entered the park, it was obvious there was a lot of landscaping work going on, as the giant Mickey was shrouded. I was giddy when I saw the train pull up to the station, its been awhile since I have had a ride. My first stop was the Mad Hatter shop to get a pair of classic Mickey ears for my toddler. His first pair, with his name on the old embroidery machines, came out great and he even wore them a good part of the day. Not bad for a toddler who insists on taking his hats off. We then went and got coffee and a cinnamon roll and planned out our day. We decided not to go on rides that the kidlet couldnt ride, so that meant no Splash mountain for me. My kid would so love that ride, but he needs to grow about 7-8 inches first!

The park wasn't overly crowded, but obviously many must have been on spring break? We had left the stroller at home and relied on our carrier and my toddler walking a great deal. This is our plan for next week, still thinking on it though, it will be a long day, and if we do a tour, we might need one.

So then its off to get fast passes for Buzz, my partner hasnt ridden it, I did last week with the kidlet, it was a lot of fun, but I had few memories what it actually looked like as I was so intent on shooting, lol. Upon completion of this task, we go to Fantasyland, and ride one of our all time favorites (and obviously everyone elses) Peter Pan. Great as usual. Though my poor kid screamed at one point, I think the darkness and part where you go down in the boat scared him. He was okay, and I think he still enjoyed it. Me, I had never noticed the mermaid in the water below the mountain. After this it was off to the beloved Carrousel. My kid loves them! So he got to ride it twice, both times waving at everyone as he passed them, with a total look of joy on his face. The first time I got some great pics of him on the horse, with my kid wearing his mickey ears, adorable! The second time I got pictures of him with mommy, and he seemed so happy and surprised to see me every so many seconds when he passed me! Fun.

We then went back to Buzz, with my baby loving the baby ducklings in Tritons pond. Great fun, and this time we got stuck several times so I got my score up to 50,000 something, much better than my 10000 my first time.

I didnt realize the last time that the car spun with the controller, so that was cool. My kid loved the ride, again!

So then we left to go walk around and enjoy the day. Was thinking about an early lunch when I saw the Mark Twain coming in, and decided to try to get up in the Pilot's room, after reading about it on these boards. So we went, and were like the last in the line, so I was worried we might not get a chance. The pilot saw me, and I pointed to me and to up there, and he smiled real big and motioned to come up. Turns out not many know about this I think, and we went up. It was GREAT! Great views, my kid was amazed and my partner even more amazed I knew anything about this. We signed the guestbook, and enjoyed a great 360 degree view of the surroundings and river. Never saw one view before, of the castle sideways against the backdrop of the Matterhorn, only viewable from up there I think? Great view, and we got lots of pictures (that I will get developed today). Got talking to the captain about how things used to be, how things are now. I never knew about the War canoes, and shooting arrows, he never knew about the first day and how the paddlewheeler took on water from all the guests who got on. He told me about how when they get to capacity and come to the end of the trip, and all the people go to get off the boat lists to the one side! He also told me that there are plans to make the fort (obviously after its rebuilt in some capacity) into a restaurant, sometime in 2006 or 07? After a recent thread talking about how great a cafe would be over there I think this is a great idea. I imagine myself drinking a lemonade while my then 5 year old plays on the island. I am always looking for a good place to sit over there, while my toddler climbs all over (being followed by my partner, we take turns at this, its great to let him run around and not have to worry quite so much). My only complaint was I wish there were a spot with grass so I could have let him crawl around when he was younger (and for the remaining kids I have planned for the future). No free to roam grass in the entire park. darn.

So after this highlight of our trip we decided to investigate Little Patch of Heaven on the map, never seen it before, and it turned out to be great fun. Coloring for my toddler (who wouldnt share crayons, how fun, not!), petted the pigs, cow, and goats and loved it. Nice rest for us on tracking our toddler without a stroller! Then it was off to have lunch at Rancho del Zocalo, our favorite, great fish tacos, and my kid loves, loves, loves the fruit plate. He had a blueberry that looked like the product of a nuclear experiement, it was as big as a small strawberry. He chowed down, and we were all happy and fed, and it was obvious he needed a nap. So I got him settled in my baby sling, nursed him and he was out like a light. So we went over and saw the Fantasmic photo mural, really, really cool. There was no line for Haunted Mansion, and we were happy campers. It's my partners favorite, so we went for a ride, all while the baby slept, THE great thing about baby slings! He slept the entire time and my partner got to see some of the small changes to the Hauned mansion. Now I might be crazy, but I don't remember the fact that the crystal ball floated free around in the air, without a table just last week? It looked really, really cool. I know there was a trick somewhere, but I sure didn't see it. It just looked to be free floating right in front of my face. Loved it.

After the Haunted Mansion we poked around the shops, salivated over beautiful antique jewelry, and bought a Mickey photo frame pin for my partner to wear on her lanyard she wears in the ER, she wanted one to put a pic of our kid in. Looked for toddler Skellington shirts, none to be seen. Have to make a comment at City Hall I think. The CM said she gets requests for them all the time. Spied a really cook lunch box, tempted to get it for my kid when he gets older, my weird kid with the Jack Skellington lunch pail, lol. I chatted with the CM about the demise of Tom and Huck on TSI. She wasnt aware and shared a story with me about how they would steal stuff from the store, and she would say go ahead, its okay. Then they would huff it was just no fun if they were allowed to steal. Aw shucks. I sure miss them, wasn't able to confirm their demise, but I really loved those two. I miss the days when character interaction just happened, it still does, but to a lesser degree. The lines to see a character just seem to take the fun out of it. I will never forget a previous visit where Goofy just acted goofy arond Town Square, while I sat on a bench watching as my kid slept. Cute as heck. The pilot of the Mark Twain seemed to think they would be back for summer, but me, I am not so sure.

Anyway, back to our trip. So after some browsing and shopping, we decided to head on over to DCA to use our priority entrance to the Playhouse, my kid hasnt seen it, and I am sure he would love it. So we decided to take the train around the park, so I could sit and the toddler could sleep, figuring he would be awake by the time we got to DCA. Bad idea. Huge line to get on the train, and it took three trains before we were able to board. Of course so many people crowded towards the front, and got past us in the line, miffed me a little. When we finally got on, we enjoyed the trip to Toon Town, but not the mom and kid behind us who wouldnt move her butt over to let others on (it was the passenger cars that face forward to the engine). So many people wanted on, but those who wouldnt move over really spoil it. Anyway, by the time we got to tomorrowland it was obvious we werent going to make the playhouse on time, so we got off and headed for Innoventions.

Now I know many on this board don't really like this attraction, but with my kid I need a place where I can let him wander around with me following close behind, so he can let some steam off and his moms can catch a breather. He had a great time, especially at the music stations. He and several cast members had a GREAT time dancing at the place where they mix music. My kid LOVES music, and LOVES dancing. He was just so cute, and attracted some other toddlers to come dance. Everyone had a great time. I guess the CM's did too, as one actually tracked us down before we went to leave to give my kid a special sticker and wrote coolest dancer ever! on it. LOL

Bad part was that when we went to the restrooms afterwards we realized my partner had lost her pass clip, and I was missing my whole lanyard! A quick return got us both, though I think I was missing a $20. Not a worry, I was okay with that. Teaches me to keep better track of it. Gotta wire those mickey clip things to the lanyard!

So then were starting to run out of steam, it was late afternoon, and we decided an ice cream break would be nice. Soon I was enjoying a yummy sundae while starting at a HUGE green glass elephant. I never realized it was SO big when hearing about it on this board! My kid loved the little bites of ice cream he got, and my feet got a rest.

We looked around a bit in the shops, discovered the little music shop, NEVER seen it before! The music was cool.

Then my partner said she wanted to see the newly renovated Tikki Room and patio. We got there in time to see the Tikki gods outside, and I waited on the patio while they enjoyed the show. I had just seen it last week and resting my feet on the patio sounded more enjoyable. It was. I chatted with the CM, talked about bathrooms, and rested. They loved the show, my kid and his music! She said he was rocking the whole time. After they were finished my kid took a tumble and hurt his cheek, poor little guy. Still learning how to use his feet and legs.

It was almost closing, so we headed for a bench in the hub, but saw Johnny on the piano and decided to listen. My loved this as well, attempting to climb the riser the piano sits on, and dance. I went to stop him, but Johnny said no problem, its okay. Ahhhhh, what a joy! My kid danced to the music, then Johnny went and helped him play a song with him, sitting on his lap, cute as heck. Nice photo opportunity as well! Lots of great ammo for when he wants to quit piano lessons years from now, lol. At one point he just pounded on the keys while Johnny played approvingly. What a treat for a toddler and for two tired moms who are always keeping him from getting into stuff. Disney was then officially closed, Johnny closed up the piano, and we went to look in the stores again. Bought a red Mickey shirt for out little one to wear next week with his ears, he has the matching sweatshirt, but it will be warm next week.

The line for City Hall was long, so I will have to make my comments some other time. I wanted to compliment all the wonderful CM's who made our day so special. This board has made me more appreciative of their hard work, and to actually let someone know how I feel. I feel bad so many CM's seem to dislike AP'ers. I never see myself as those stereotypes.

So as we left with the crowd and spilled into DTD I saw a long line for entry into DCA? Not sure what it was, but it was long! Anyone who has the 411, please fess up!

We were hungry for dinner, with a tired toddler, so we tried to think of a place to go. La Brea Bakery sounded good to me, but my partner wanted a nice sit down meal and their patio looked full. So she suggested Storytellers. When we got there it was a ZOO! Long line, lots of kids, very hectic and loud. So I sheepishly suggested Napa Rose? She went for it (we have eaten here before, BK, before kid). Nice and quieter, not full at all. A lovely meal to end a lovely day. They were very accomdating, though I think I surprised the lady working the front while waiting for my table. I was nursing my kid in the waiting/bar area (there was no one around) and my table was ready. My partner wasn't back from turning in the electronic thingy yet, so I waited. So the meal was delightful, we split an appetizer, soup and salad (did I mention we were hungry?) and Rib eye steak. They presented them beautifully and didn't charge us for the split. I had a glass of wine (even subsituted a pricier brand when my request was all out). My kid did okay, the waiter was wonderful, and thought of every detail to keep him and therefore us and everyone around us happy. He fell asleep before my steak came and I had him in the sling by this time, so all was well. I think it would have been a mistake for us in Storytellers, my kid would have been climbing the walls from all the overstimulation of all those people and noise. The quiet atmosphere in Napa Rose soothed him, and us. He didn't even disturb any of the other diners. Mind you we have attempted to teach him how to be in a fancy restaurant, its working for the most part. There are moments however, just not that day.

Great, GREAT meal. Paid for it dearly, but a lovely treat. Great day in the park, well needed for our family.

Off to home, beat, very beat. Looking forward to a short visit with grandma and the kid on Thursday (she wants to see the Tikki room and a few other rides, she has only been once since my partner was a kid, and we just bought her an AP so I can have company when I take the kidlet on days when my partner is working). Then its back for us as a family next week for the big 50th opening!

Tips from the Lesbian Mom?

  • Use a sling if you can for naps, that way you can go on rides while the baby sleeps!
  • Visit the Pilot's room on the Mark Twain!
  • Use priceline for cheap hotels off property, that way you have more money for meals.
  • Take turns being what I call PIC, parent in charge. That way the other parent can get a break from parent duty, and enjoying the park kid responsibility free. No sense both parents doing duty when it takes only one.
  • DON'T attempt NOS train boarding unless you have lots of time!

Another Disney Fan,

JoAnne Webbal

jwebbal@aol.com


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