Walt Disney World Free Dining Promotion Announced for 2018

June 2017 Trip Report – WDW vets reflect on their first DLR trip

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Khokhonutt, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,223
    Fun trip report so far! I have to say that I laughed the most at the "Arizona hates your pets" part because I'm from AZ. Arizona hates people too! (There are a larger than average number of critters here that can kill you, and if they don't get you, the heat might!) This is making me want an adults-only trip sooo bad. Our last one was in 2009, and when we took our 5 small kids last November, it was not exactly fun for us. :) (Good, but we were exhausted, and your trip sounds way more relaxing so far!)
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  2. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Day 3 in the parks! ...With a special surprise...

    Welcome to Wednesday and our 3rd day in the parks. We started both days so far in Disneyland, today we started in California Adventure.

    First job of the day was a Mom suggested fix to my daughter's Minnie ears. I don't really fault the maker of the ears, but both sets were a little worse for wear over the course of the week. Taking them off and stowing them in a hurry for the thrill rides didn't play well with them. My daughters started separating along the headband on one side, so my wife suggested a hair band.
    [​IMG]

    I teased my daughter and told her it looked like she was now saying, "no Lion King." But the fix held the rest of the trip!

    Our first ride was Mickey's Fun Wheel, or what I've heard it referred to as, "Mickey's Wheel of Death!" And yes, my wife talked me into riding one of the swinging gondolas first.

    Here are the kids.
    [​IMG]

    Here I am with a firm grip on the seat. Remember, heights are not my thing, but I'm usually ok on regular ferris wheels. I'm pretty sure my butt tried to take a bite out of the seat on the first swing and I had marks on my fingers from where I was gripping the edge of the seat, but overall I handled it well. The good news on the swinging gondolas is that you never achieve the full height of the wheel before you start swinging. If you're prone to motion sickness you probably won't like the swinging, but I've spent enough time on the ocean that I was not too bothered by that. Ultimately, I made it and I'm glad I did it.
    [​IMG]

    At my request, we also went straight back and rode a stationary gondola. I wanted to take pictures off the top. Here are some shots of the wheel from the ground.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And here we are at the top of the world. I really wish we had done this at night. Another, we'll do that next time ride.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After the Fun Wheel, we did Goofy's Sky School and the Jumping Jellyfish. My wife said the Jellyfish would be good prep for Guardians of the Galaxy. Riiiiight!!!

    After those rides, we got our first ride on Radiator Springs Racers. We only rode this ride with a FastPass, so we must have grabbed one before heading over to the Fun Wheel.

    I see you eyeing us back seat single rider girl. :)
    [​IMG]

    We really loved this ride. We've been fans of Test Track, but this is Test Track with improvements. The way they bring the characters to life, the details on the meandering drive and Radiator Springs in general are phenomenal and the fast part of the ride is flat out fun!
    [​IMG]

    We don't look nearly as entertained as we really were in this picture.
    [​IMG]

    Roaming around Radiator Springs we saw Lightning McQueen at the Cozy Cone.
    [​IMG]

    And Mater arriving shortly after.
    [​IMG]

    Someone said they had seen Larry the Cable Guy in Cars Land while we were on Radiator Springs Racers. I don't get too excited over celebrities, but I would have geeked out if I'd seen him. I'd like to show him this picture of my wife and I on Halloween from a couple years ago. She's a nurse and I'm complaining about a recent exam.
    [​IMG]

    Now that's funny right there. I don't care who you are. :)

    After our ride on RSR, we went over to pick up an evening FastPass for Guardians of the Galaxy, then it was time to head over to Disneyland for a special surprise. We stopped for a picture picture with our favorite storyteller on the way out of California Adventure.
    [​IMG]

    Well, I'm being told that I need to split this post up, because I've gone picture happy. End of park Day 3, part 1. To be Continued...
     
    Laurajland and TEAMJACOB like this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Day 3 in the parks continued... That special surprise!

    We had a little extra time, when we got over to Disneyland, so we caught a ride up to the castle on one of the Main Street USA Transportation vehicles. We rode to the castle on the Horse-Drawn Street Car.
    [​IMG]

    Then rode back on the Jitney. The Jitney driver was full of information and tips. We really enjoyed our ride with him.
    [​IMG]

    My wife snapped this nice shot of the Jitney as it drove away.
    [​IMG]

    But then it was time for a surprise I didn't tell the family about until we got to the Disneyland Resort. We were going to take the "Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps," tour.
    [​IMG]

    I'm a huge fan of the history of Walt Disney. I've enjoyed movies like Saving Mr. Banks, The Boys & Frank and Ollie for their historical inside info. I felt like I knew a lot about what Walt had in mind when planning Disney, but I thought this tour would be a must for our first visit to the park he had a personal hand in creating.

    We each got our own personalized name tag at check in.
    [​IMG]

    Then they took our lunch orders and set us up with our headsets, so we could listen to our tour guide.
    [​IMG]

    Our tour guide's name was Jeff, so I had an easy time remembering his name. :)
    [​IMG]

    We started at the Fire House, then moved over to some of the displays in the Disney Gallery, then worked our way around the park from there. At each location Jeff shared stories and sometimes old audio from Walt. We got VIP FastPasses (Jeff basically brought us to the head of the line) to ride Alice in Wonderland (so THAT'S why we missed it yesterday). We then made our way over to Frontierland. We stopped by the petrified tree stump that Lillian donated to the park, then we saw what ended up being the highlight of the tour.

    I've heard the tour rotates between seeing Walt's apartment above the Fire Station (which I would also love to see), occasionally seeing the lobby of Club 33, but for this tour we saw what is now being called the Royal Suite, above the Pirates of the Caribbean. Recording and photography was limited on this part of the tour. All I can say is if you get a chance to see the suite, do it. I thought we'd be touring a very nice suite of rooms, which we did. What I didn't expect were what they call "Goodnight kisses." In the master bedroom, when you push a button, the Adventureland themed room comes alive with music and mermaids appear in the waterfall/lake picture above the bed. In the master bathroom, above the bath tub, the ceiling lights up like stars in the sky, complete with a Mickey constellation. In the sitting room, which is Cinderella and castle themed, when the clock strikes 12, the room comes alive, Cinderalla and her Prince dance (on top of a music box) and a crystal slipper lights up. Then in the guest bedroom, a model train takes you on a tour around Disneyland as it rides around the room.

    I always say, it's the details that I love about Disney. This suite shows off the details in a way I never imagined. They took pictures of us in the sitting room. In the picture below you can see the curio cabinet on the left where the Cinderella music box spins and the crystal slipper (just to my right) lights up. Notice the detail in how the castle painting on the opposite wall is framed in the mirror. The castle in the picture is one of the inspirations for Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture of us in front of the stairs going up to the suite. Now we just have to come up with the $15,000 we were told it takes to stay there.
    [​IMG]

    After the Royal Suite tour, we got another VIP pass to ride the Haunted Mansion. I liked how they sprinkled in the rides during the tour. It was a nice touch.

    We then returned to the tour gardens for our "lunch" from Jolly Holiday Bakery and Cafe.
    [​IMG]

    We enjoyed a sandwich, side and drink and a Matterhorn macaroon. Yum!
    [​IMG]

    Here we are with Jeff.
    [​IMG]

    I would absolutely recommend this experience, if it's something that interests you. While not everything on the tour was new to me, it was fun and interesting to hear the shared stories and insights. As an extra bonus, I guess our tour ran long, so they took each of our tickets as we ate and added a super FastPass of some sort that would allow us to ride a ride of our choice. Bonus!

    I thought the tour would be the highlight of the day, but Disneyland had more in store for us.

    It was getting close to retreat time, so we walked over to the flag pole to ask when it would begin. Some of the security folks were there and we chatted with them. The topic of us being a military family came up and we explained that both my wife and I, our daughter and our son have either served or were currently serving. If you've never seen the retreat ceremony, we really recommend it. The security folks lead a formal retreat ceremony, complete with the Disneyland band, the Dapper Dans and an honoring of each of the military services. It's a very special and moving ceremony.

    What I didn't know is they coin a family before retreat and today we were chosen to be coined. I accepted the coin on behalf of our family, in honor of our service, and even now it chokes me up. We were very touched with this honor.

    Here's a picture of me receiving the coin.
    [​IMG]

    And here's a picture of the security folks and our family with the coin.
    [​IMG]

    Here are close ups of the front and back of the coin.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are a few more pictures of the ceremony. At one point they play each service hymn and have current and former veterans come up to the flag as their service song plays. Then they sound retreat and play the national anthem as the flag is lowered.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This would have been the perfect ending to a great day, but there was more to do. It was time for us to head back to California Adventure and ride the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride.

    I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but I had never ridden Tower of Terror. The idea of the drops didn't appeal to me, but with the GOTG re-theme, I was interested in giving it a try. Whether our pictures from the ride show it or not, I actually enjoyed it. Our first ride was the "Hit me with your best shot" soundtrack and here's the picture.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, I'm holding on for dear life, but I'm smiling. :)

    After that ride, we all felt like we deserved some alcohol, so we proceeded to the closest beer and wine vendor.
    [​IMG]

    Yes!
    [​IMG]

    Next, we found the tunnel entrance to Cars Land. I just can't say enough how impressed we were with this part of the park.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had some time, so we rode Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters. This cute couple kept waving at us.
    [​IMG]

    Our point to making it over to Cars Land was to watch something I heard about, in our research for this trip. Every evening at sunset, this happens...


    After watching the "show" in Cars Land, we went back over to Disneyland to ride the Matterhorn, using our super FastPass. Again, it was pretty bumpy, but the night views were very cool, so it was worth the night ride for sure. We had pretty much run out of gas by that time, so we headed out of the park. We watched the fireworks as we left the park and walked to the hotel, then it was off to dreamland after a wonderful day.

    Tomorrow morning we'll cover why I like the "old style" relaxing touring of Disneyland versus Disney World. Good night!
     
    RedHotMama, TEAMJACOB, Spyral and 2 others like this.
  5. jcc0621

    jcc0621 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    12,293
    You got a ton done in two days, but nothing seemed really rushed. That is what I am hoping for our trip. A bit more laid back than WDW.

    Edited to add - you posted Day 3 at the same time I posted above LOL

    You got a ton done on day 3 too!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  6. AuntieMe3

    AuntieMe3 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2016
    Messages:
    226
    How awesome to be chosen to receive the coin at the flag ceremony. My daughter and I love watching the flag retreat anytime were in the park, it makes me teary every single time. My husband is a Marine and his brother is Army, they watched but wouldn't get up to participate last time we all went together and we (DD and I) were so bummed. LOL
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  7. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    I get that different vets choose to react differently to recognition. Vets I've known from the Viet Nam era are especially quiet, for good reason. Others have their personal reasons for not wanting to be the center of attention. My wife and I don't necessarily advertise our time in, but we are very proud of our kids, so it comes up. It also figures into my wife and I's "how we met" story (she was checking my ID at the building we worked in, when we were both in), so it usually comes up then as well. Either way, I appreciate the way Disney does the retreat ceremony. If you're comfortable with coming forward you can, if you're not, it's not a big deal. Whether I went forward or not, I'd be proud to see good old fashion respect for our flag as it's displayed in this ceremony.
     
  8. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Day 4 in the parks. Holy crap! Time is flying!

    So as some of you have pointed out, one of the things we loved about this trip is how a laid back approach can still yield a ton of stuff getting done. This is my primary resistance to FastPass+ at WDW and why we have not been back to those parks since it's inception. How we've approached this trip is how we approached our previous big trips to WDW. I do a bunch of research to understand what our options are. I keep the family in the loop on (most of) my ideas. We have a general idea on which parks we may hit each day, but that's subject to change. About the only thing that ties us down to being in a place at a specific time is a dining reservation.

    I understand from some folks that the approach in WDW with FP+ is just different and if you embrace it, it's no so bad. I just can't wrap my head around planning what day I'm going to be in what park, 6 months in advance. This day in the parks is a case and point. While I totally understand this is a pretty extenuating circumstance, my wife was looking to find a job closer to home during this vacation. We ended leaving town a little late to accommodate a last minute interview and she ended up scheduling two phone interviews on our Day 4 in the parks, Thursday morning. She was stressing out about losing interview opportunities and I told her not to stress, schedule the interviews and we'll work around it. As I understand FP+, depending on what we had planned, we could have been screwed had this trip been to WDW. At DLR, we went with the flow and still had a great day.

    Moving on... So my wife had two interviews to start our day. One at 7am, California time and one at 10am, California time. With that in mind, our plan for the morning was to have breakfast together, then leave my wife to prep and do her first interview. We didn't want her to miss out on the fun stuff, so the rest of us made our way to Disneyland where we had plans to do some shopping. Some of the "shopping" included the boys doing the build your own light sabers. Yes, we're star wars geeks and yes, we had fun. :)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My wife met us just as we were finishing up our toy building/shopping. We continued on down to Main Street for more shopping and browsing. Then moved over to California Adventure. We wanted to catch another session at the Animation Academy and see what the list of characters they were doing would look, but we were still early, so we killed time looking at some of the art in the California Adventure shops.

    Did I mention my wife loves Cinderella? :)
    [​IMG]

    We also enjoy the various Walt and Mickey art.
    [​IMG]

    And Lion King, of course.
    [​IMG]

    My wife also loves Precious Moments figurines. Disney has no shortage of ways to separate you and your money. :)
    [​IMG]

    After our art exhibition, :) it was time to go to the Animation Academy. Here's a picture of the schedule they have.
    [​IMG]

    And here was my attempt at the mouse in charge!
    [​IMG]

    Again, I give total credit to the artists and the way they do their instruction. He ain't perfect, but I'm pretty happy with my non-artist's rendering.

    After doing our drawings, my wife headed back to the hotel for her next interview and the kids and I went to Downtown Disney for some more shopping. We successfully completed most of our souvenir hunt in the World of Disney and met my wife just in time to go get in line for lunch at the Cove Bar. My wife and I got in line for a table and we were guessing (based on what I'd read) that we'd be in for a 30 minute wait for a table. With that in mind, the kids went for margaritas, so we wouldn't dehydrate in line. We had to laugh because the line went so fast and the margaritas took so long that we had our table before the kids returned. I got brain freeze a couple times trying to finish my frozen drink, so I could move on to the secret menu items. :)

    Here are a couple of pictures from our wait in line.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hidden Mickeys in the seats.
    [​IMG]

    And here we all are in our seats.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And here's the food.
    [​IMG]

    We had the sliders, the fajita quesadilla rolls and of course the lobster nachos. I have to admit, I wasn't as worked up about the nachos as I thought I would be. I'm sure I just worked them up in my head based on all the raving people do about them. Don't get me wrong, they were good, but me and my daughter's boyfriend enjoyed the sliders and quesadilla rolls a little more.

    I believe this is the Magical Star Cocktail, that my wife got and liked very much.
    [​IMG]

    I got the Earthquake off the secret menu. It was delicious and lived up to it's name. :)
    [​IMG]

    I'm gonna blame the rum on why I can't remember what the kids got. I think they got the Fun Wheel off the secret menu and maybe another Earthquake? But I wouldn't bet any money I had to keep that I'm correct on that. They seem to be enjoying them either way.
    [​IMG]

    Finally, a little Disney/DIS magic... I got a tap on my shoulder asking if I was Khokhonutt from the Dis Boards. 3TinksAndAnEeyore had recognized us from our posts in the June 2017 discussion thread and came over to say hi. It was fun to chat and meet her husband. My daughter kept calling me a celebrity after that. Not quite, but it was super fun to meet someone I'd been in discussions with many times on the boards.

    Here we are. Live DIS people in the parks!!!
    [​IMG]

    After the Cove bar, the next photo evidence I have is from a visit to the restroom (imagine that).
    [​IMG]

    P.S. My wife took this, not me. :)

    Then the kids wanted some lovey dovey pictures of their shirts that my daughter's boyfriend had made.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you missed it in the earlier pictures, they say Beauty and Beast on the front of the shirts.

    My wife wanted to draw Tigger, so we did the Animation Academy one more time. Here's a group shot we got right outside the Academy and in front of the Guardians ride.
    [​IMG]

    We also got to hold Baby Groot.
    [​IMG]

    We then walked down the street and more or less walked into the Frozen show. Here we are in line. I didn't get the message that we were being gangster. That's fine, I do goofy better than gangster anyway.
    [​IMG]

    We walked into the cattle processing area, picked a section and were inside sitting down with what I thought were decent floor seats in less than 15 minutes. I've said it before, I'll say it again, I'd rather be lucky than good any day.

    After the show we took advantage of an available PhotoPass photographer.
    [​IMG]

    It's hard to see with the lighting, but here we're holding the roadsters we rode on the Luigi ride earlier this week.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a close up that shows the cars better.
    [​IMG]

    Hmmm, note to self, clean your nails before more hand close ups. :)

    We got another FP for RCR. Check out the kids neckin' in the back seat.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of our tired feet in the middle of the courtyard between the parks.
    [​IMG]

    I guess we made it back to the room one more day. Because I have photo evidence to suggest it. I'm sure we rode more rides and did more stuff than is mentioned here. I suppose if I'd carried the video camera all day, I'd have better recollection, but I'm still happy with our spur of the moment approach even if it lacks some video. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure we went back to the room after we rode Grizzly River Run. I have always been the one to get soaked on the Animal Kingdom version of that ride. This time it was my wife and the lady next to her. We went back to the room after that to swap out for dry shoes (and clothes) as needed.

    On the way, the kids did some more neckin'. (And I dip, you dip, we dip.)
    [​IMG]

    We got FastPasses for the late WOC color show and did another ride on Soarin'. It turns out we were way over prepared for the late viewing of WOC, at least for the night we were there. We showed up an hour early and a CM said, go have fun. You can show up about 5 minutes before and you'll be fine. She was right. We wandered around a bit, showed up about 5 minutes early. It looked like there would be a crazy line, but there was not. We literally walked to an empty spot. I intentionally stayed a little higher up, in a spot pointed out in HydroGuy's WOC superthread. I just tried to look that info up and I see he may be caught up in the PhotoBucket paid hosting thing. Either way, it's called the hydrant spot in the Blue area (although I couldn't actually find the hydrant). We were right up against the rail and it was a perfect spot to see the entire show, due to the small crowd we had no issue seeing the entire show and we were far enough back that we hardly had anyone around us.

    This showing was what I referred to earlier in this report, when we did the dessert party. I think the dessert party viewing is very good. But if I'm being honest, there's a bit of the bottom projections and lake that you miss from that location. It could be the increased crowd, it could be the location, I'm not sure. But note in this picture how we can see the individual fountains at the water level in this picture.
    [​IMG]

    World of Color was spectacular again. I can't say enough how much we all enjoyed this show.

    So ends another fantastic day in the parks. I don't have as much ride information, but I'm sure there's other stuff we did. I'm pretty sure by this day we had also discovered the Bakery Tour. At one point my daughter's boyfriend and I looped through the tour for the free bread a couple of times, just to see if they noticed or cared. After that we started stopping through every time we were in that area for a little warm sour dough snack. I feel like there's so much I've missed, but I'll try to wrack my brain before our next installment. I can no more believe we're almost to the end of our trip again than I could on this evening as we headed back to the hotel. It's been good, though and again the beds were a welcome sight.

    Join us again next time as we tackle the LAST DAY IN THE PARKS... (Booo...)
     
  9. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Thanks. I do say that in jest. We've loved the time we've spent in Arizona and have seriously discussed a move out there. I hate the cold so I'd gladly deal with the heat for a milder rest of the year. Our son lives near Tucson, and we visited him there last summer. We saw 115 degree temperatures and I still loved the visit and the stuff we saw.
     
  10. wishiwasindisneyjen

    wishiwasindisneyjen Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    67
    I'm loving your trip report, can't wait for the next installment. So happy you got to be a part of the Magic Kingdom ceremony. Such a special addition to your trip.
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  11. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Day 5 in the parks. Our last day already?!?!?

    I find it amusing how I can get almost as disappointed writing this as we were our last day in the parks. My wife told me she enjoyed reliving our trip so far. I guess we have to go through the end again as well.

    As we started Day 5, we really felt like we had done well. We had ridden pretty much everything we had wanted to in Disneyland, a few of our favorites twice. As I mentioned earlier, we didn't really attempt any of the rides in ToonTown. The only rides we skipped in Fantasyland were Dumbo, the Carousel and the Tea Cups. I like the Tea Cups, but the rest of the family can do without my awesome spin cycle. The only thing in Fantasyland that I really missed us doing was the Mickey's Magical Map show. I think we saw part of it when we did the Castle walk through, but our timing just never synced up to catch that show.

    In Tomorrowland, although I didn't call them all out specifically, we rode everything but the Astro Orbiter. That one's never been a big draw for us. I do wish we had taken more opportunities to ride the Monorail, but that's my only mild regret there. I would have liked to ride in the front or rear of the Monorail as well, but the night we rode it, they had stopped allowing folks to ride in the front and rear for the night.

    We did everything we could in Frontierland, Adventureland, New Orleans Square & Critter Country, only missing a visit to Tom Sawyer's Island and obviously riding the Rivers of America boats and the Disneyland Railroad, because they were closed. Those last few will bring me back to the parks for sure.

    Over in California Adventure, the only attractions we missed that we would have liked to have done is the Monster's Inc. ride (we tried to get on it once, but it was down) and It's Tough to be a Bug, which was down for refurbishment. We didn't ride either of the swing rides in the Paradise Pier area, but we didn't consider that a big issue.

    So as we entered the parks for our last day, we were right on schedule for what we had planned. We like to make our last day in the parks a revisit our favorites day, then if possible, see the fireworks one more time to close out the experience.

    We started our day in California Adventure, by having some pictures taken. This spot is a great location for pictures.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What those hands... :)
    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure what's going on here, we just fed him breakfast...
    [​IMG]

    This one is a good way to cap off a theme for our week. I had no idea what celebrities we would be with the PhotoPass people with our "antique" PhotoPass+ card. This photographer suggested we take a picture with it.
    [​IMG]

    We first used PhotoPass on our 2011 trip to WDW. We really liked the nice quality photos and I especially liked that my wife didn't have an excuse to take the picture rather than be in it. The fun pictures, the magic shots and the ride photos also make the investment well worth it for us. I'll be interested to see how this offering changes with the advent of MaxPass. Something to research for our next trip.

    It's hard to make out, but I'm peaking through the whole in the net here. That's what my daughter is gasping about.
    [​IMG]

    And here I am with the kids.
    [​IMG]

    We wanted to ride Toy Story Mania one more time and managed a couple of fun shots before we went gaming.
    [​IMG]

    Not in focus, but fun...
    [​IMG]

    My daughter decided to sit out California Screamin' with me. While we waited on the others to ride, we noticed the inspection crew for Wold of Color included divers. They swam by us on their way back in from their work.
    [​IMG]

    My daugther's boyfriend's ride photo game is flawless. Here he is sipping a spot of tea. :)
    [​IMG]

    I wanted to grab a "souvenir" World of Color FastPass and my wife spotted Baby Groot hanging out on the FP distribution machine.
    [​IMG]

    Next we used another FastPass to get in one more ride on Radiator Springs Racers. This fountain is in the ride queue. Details, details, details...
    [​IMG]

    A couple of funny notes about this ride photo. Notice the kids "LOVE" gang signs. And then the older Asian guy next to me and his wife joined us as single riders. I'm not sure if it was his first ride on RSR, but at one point on the high speed hills, he went to grab my leg. I'm guessing he didn't speak English well, because when we slowed down, he looked at me and patted his heart as if to say, "Sorry, that was a little scary." We laughed. Fun is fun, not matter what language you speak.
    [​IMG]

    We had some final pictures taken in Cars Land.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cars Land really makes me excited about Star Wars Land and Pandora and any other rumored lands yet to come. Say what you want about Disney's other properties being included in the parks, but what they've managed to pull off in Cars Land is spectacular and I expect nothing less from the new lands.

    We had been wanting to find a photographer in front of the Grizzly Peak waterfalls and finally did. This was another incredible feat of imagineering.
    [​IMG]

    We also asked for a couple of shots with our Mickey bars.
    [​IMG]

    After Cars Land we went over to pick up one more Guardians of the Galaxy FastPasses. Then stopped through the Summer of Heros area, where we tried unsuccessfully to ride the Monster's Inc. ride. Instead we did some hero shots.

    I think the kids pulled their off well.
    [​IMG]

    My wife may not be serious super hero material, but that laughing smirk makes me smile every time. :)
    [​IMG]

    The Mighty Four!!!
    [​IMG]

    Once again, I'm being told I overachieved with my picture count. We'll take a brief break here, then continue in the next post...
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    TEAMJACOB likes this.
  12. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Day 5 in the parks. Our last day already?!?!? (Continued)

    Next we headed over to Disneyland, took one more ride on Big Thunder Mountain.
    [​IMG]

    Rivers of America, so close, but "Missed it by that much!"...
    [​IMG]

    Our last table service meal was lunch at the Cafe Orleans. We finally got to try the famous Pommes Frites, another round of Gumbo and the Monte Cristo. They were all delicious, but the star of the show was the Beniets. Oh my goodness these were wonderful and that vanilla-ish sauce in the lower right could be served as a drink. Once again, our waiter really made the experience that much better. I can't say enough how much we do enjoy the interaction with the staff at the counter service restaurants.
    [​IMG]



    After lunch, we rode Splash Mountain one more time. I'm expressing my typical "excitement" about falls, my wife is having fun and the kids are play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Even the girl in the back it throwing up ride gang signs. Classic!

    [​IMG]

    After Splash, we got in one more ride on the Haunted Mansion. Then we got in one more magic moment. When we rode the Jitney, the driver told us that Walt's favorite was the Fire Engine. He said he had actually driven that vehicle many times and if you took a ride from down by the flag pole to the castle, you could ask for pictures of you sitting in the driver's seat in front of the castle. That made this a must do for us.

    Here we are on our ride.
    [​IMG]

    And here we are, sitting in a seat Walt sat in, holding a steering wheel he once used to drive one of his favorite vehicles... Disney Magic...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We did the castle walk through, then had to take a picture with my wife's favorite princess. They all play their parts so well.
    [​IMG]

    Next we went back for a ride on Indy. I took this right before we boarded the car.
    [​IMG]

    We went over to the Star Wars Launch Bay, in a effort to see Chewbacca, but the line was longer than we hoped, so we gave up and wandered elsewhere.
    [​IMG]

    We made our way back over to California Adventure to use our GOTG FP. Everyone's having fun and I'm still holding on for dear life, looking like I'm in the restroom struggling with a diet consisting of too much cheese. I'm having fun, I promise. Some people just show their emotions differently. :)
    [​IMG]

    We made our way back to Disneyland. On our way to take another ride on Space Mountain, I took the requisite balloons with the castle in the background picture.
    [​IMG]

    Here are our ride photos from Space Mountain. The kids rode through most of the ride in this position, just to get this shot.
    [​IMG]

    Now that's commitment.

    And here's commitment of a different kind. Again, I'm having fun. Sort of...
    [​IMG]

    Time for one last flourish. For a couple of minutes we thought we would not get our final fireworks show in. They made the high wind announcement less than 5 minutes before the show, then the show went off as planned. You remember what I said about being lucky? It's still true.
    [​IMG]

    Walt appears to be bidding us goodbye. All good things must come to an end, unfortunately.
    [​IMG]

    At this point, my wife and I followed the crowd heading out of the parks. We wanted to get a head start on packing, so we could set out early in the morning.
    [​IMG]

    The kids wanted to stick around for part of the second parade, so they did.
    [​IMG]

    So ends our last day in the Disneyland parks. I think I'll end this installment here, then I'll do some final thoughts in my for real last installment. In short, we loved DLR. I can in now way say one set of parks is better than the other. If anything, this park visit peaks my interest in seeing the other parks around the world. I'm sure we will make a trip back to DLR. While I am perfectly satisfied with what we were able to get done on this trip, there are several things we missed that would make me come back, along with several favorites that would also draw us back.

    For now, we'll wistfully sign off. Watch for one more post, hopefully very soon.
     
  13. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Now it's time to say goodbye...

    ...And for some final reflections on our trip.

    First I'd like to give a couple of shout outs.

    To HydroGuy, your A DLR Guide for WDW Vets really was the inspiration for us considering and making this trip. I think it helped that you and I seem to view the parks and our days in the parks similarly, at least from what I can tell in your posts. I ran across your post when I was over on the WDW side of the boards by accident, read it "cover to cover" and used it as a basis for our planning for this trip. I've shared the DLR Guide for WDW vets many times, and I highly recommend it for those of us familiar with the east coast parks, heading west for the first time.

    To 3TinksAndAnEeyore, thanks for starting the June 2017 Disneyland Check In!!! thread. And thanks to the members of that "group" for the discussions that helped us answer questions and explore other ideas.

    In general to the DIS community. Between the general discussions board and the trip reports, we were able to plan out and execute a great trip. I did visit some of the other sources, like other boards and youtube, but in my book the DIS Boards are the best single source for Disney planning.

    I went into this trip not wanting to compare parks. I realize that's a natural by product of visiting in both locations, but I didn't intend to establish which is better. I'll say mission accomplished there. I'll never replace (or try to replace) the Florida parks' place in my heart. They were the parks I visited first and they're the parks where we've enjoyed some of my favorite family vacations. Now, though, we have a new favorite on the west coast. I enjoyed DLR first and foremost for Disneyland's direct link to Walt's history. For a Walt Disney fan, there's no replacement for seeing the place he had a physical hand in making. That said, I find the similarities between DLR and WDW to be confirmation that the spirit of his work lives in both places.

    I can't say I found any real disagreements with the ride comparisons most people make. I loved the "original" Tiki Room (and the Tiki bar at the Disneyland Hotel). The finding Nemo submarines were a happy reminder of the now defunct 20,000 Leagues ride that was a childhood favorite. The DLR Pirates does edge out the WDW version, but that ride will remain a favorite on both coasts. I do think overall the second chance to create better queues is an advantage WDW generally has over DLR. That is especially evident when the weather is fairly warm.

    Speaking of weather, I'll be a broken record and say I'd rather be lucky than good any day. I saved off a screen shot of the historical weather data for our week in DLR.
    [​IMG]

    I know folks from the great white north and other cool locations will say this is hot. Having done WDW in July, I'll say this was spectacular weather. The low humidity and zero chance for rain was just wonderful. It was a nice break for the east coasters on our trip to get away from the humidity and it was a welcome break for the Vegas folks to get out of the 100+ days they saw before this trip.

    I will reiterate that staying at the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn & Mini Suites was a great decision. I really stressed for a while if we'd be missing something by not staying on property. I would have liked to have early access to the parks every day, but I'd still have a hard time justifying the additional expense of the Disney Hotels in DLR just for that. I'll be watching closely how the bridge project affects access to the hotels on Harbor Blvd. If access isn't restricted, I can see us staying at this Best Western again, for future trips.

    Food, food, food... You can see from my pictures that I don't miss many meals. In fact I do most of the cooking at home and I'm a pretty adventurous eater. That said, I'm not a huge fan of blatantly fancy restaurants. Don't bring me a shrimp with a sprig of green onion pointing to the sky for $50 and tell me it's something special. 1-2 lbs of fresh gulf shrimp in a spicy boil is special. We've eaten at the majority of the restaurants in WDW, so I was very interested in what DLR had to offer from a food perspective. We were very happy with the 3 table service meals we chose. We were also happy that we only chose a few table service meals. Our last trip to WDW, we tried one of the meal plans and while it was fun to knock some of our WDW restaurant bucket list items off, we really felt tied down to a schedule of being in a particular place at a particular time. As I suspected, at DLR we ran out of meals before we ran out of places we wanted to try. We didn't eat in California Adventure as much as I would have liked, but it just didn't work out this time. We did knock a few of the "must try" items off the list. I've had a DLR churro (good, but not something I'd base my park preference on). I've had a corn dog from the red cart on Main Street (again good, but not spectacular). I did really like Bengal Barbecue (I didn't like having to walk by it many times and smell it :) ). We didn't make it to Jolly Holiday, other than our meal on the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour (the Matterhorn macaroon was all it was cracked up to be). We did have several samples of the sour dough bread from the bread tour, but totally missed having soup in bread bowls in that area. Let's say we left plenty of things for next time.

    We found California Adventure, in general, to be a very pleasant surprise. We thoroughly enjoyed the rides, the attractions and just the overall feel. Here's one place where I'll say California Adventure is what I wish Disney Hollywood Studios would be. Maybe with Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, it'll get closer. I do think you can tell CA is a newer design. We never felt the salmon fighting it's way upstream feeling you get in some parts of DL. Although I have to say we had prepared ourselves for the worst, based on some descriptions and we only really ran into congestion around Adventureland and some in New Orleans Square. That said, they completed the work around Bengal Barbecue while we were there and that really seemed to help. It was also nice to have a seat to eat there. During parades and fireworks it got a little congested, but really I didn't think it was any worse than we've seen during the busy seasons at WDW.

    I feel like I'm leaving stuff out, but that's about all I can think of right now. Overall we had a splendid time. We will be back to Disneyland Resort, especially if we've got the kids in the area.

    So for our trip back to Vegas, we got up early (6am or so) got ready, grabbed breakfast, packed the car and checked out. Traffic on the way home was a little more congested as we went through Barstow, but he rest wasn't bad. When we got close to Vegas, we stopped to check out Seven Magic Mountains. They call it an "art installation". It's a pretty interesting series of piled up boulders that are painted in neon colors.

    [​IMG]

    I had to make a trek off the beaten path to check out one of the "pokey trees" I'd seen on our trip.

    Yep, they're pokey alright.
    [​IMG]

    Squinting in the sun.
    [​IMG]

    So for those who saw any of my other posts, there was one other "change" that happened when we got back to Vegas. This happened.
    [​IMG]

    So I called our daughter's now fiance her boyfriend through this trip report, so as not to spoil the surprise at the end. To say the least, we are pleased with this. Our future son-in-law is a great guy. He takes great care of our girl and now he's certified in Disney. :)

    A couple more final notes before I close out...

    First, our Walk in Walt's Footsteps souvenir pins were not available for our tour, so they took our addresses and shipped them to us. We received them the day we arrived back home. They really are a nice souvenir of the tour.
    [​IMG]

    We also got ourselves a couple of mugs that I really like. We find we don't need much in the way of souvenirs, but we like our coffee cups as a way to remember stuff as we begin our day each day.
    [​IMG]

    That's pretty much it for the Disneyland Resort part of our trip. We spent most of the following week visiting the kids, then we drove home. The only incident we incurred was the A/C going out in our original rental car. We rode most of the way between Oklahoma City, OK to Fort Smith, AR without A/C. Fortunately the folks at the Fort Smith airport were quick to swap us out for a Hyundai Sonata and we were on our way. We made pretty good time, taking three slightly more leisure days to get home.

    If you're interested, here's the link to our full gallery of pictures from this trip: 2017 DLR Family Trip
    Also, if you're interested, our pre-trip report can be found here: June 2017 Pre-Trip Report – WDW vets make their first DLR trip

    I hope you've enjoyed tagging along on our trip. More importantly, I hopes this helps someone planning a trip to DLR in some way.


    M I C - See you real soon, Disneyland! K E Y - Why, because we had a great time! M O U S E...
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  14. Jfsag123

    Jfsag123 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,661
    Loved your report! You had so much magic crammed into this trip! The Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour was a great surprise and how amazing to have been able to sit in the driver's seat of the fire engine. I wish we'd known that! We also missed the flag retreat, which makes me sad. I enjoyed getting to experience it through your report. Great final thoughts as well. I'll be interested to see how we WDW feel when we're a little further out from our Disneyland trips and are trying to plan the next vacation. Congratulations on your daughter's engagement!
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  15. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Thanks!
     
    Jfsag123 likes this.
  16. jessrose18

    jessrose18 ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,035
    thanks for the great report!
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  17. jcc0621

    jcc0621 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    12,293
    Thanks for an awesome report. It has made me really excited for our trip in 24 days! :yay:. I am also going to go check out the DLR Guid for WDW Vets thread, so thanks for that tip.
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  18. mnmrmustard

    mnmrmustard DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,146
    WOW! You really know how to knock out a TR :thumbsup2

    I started it a few days ago and then my DD went in for surgery and I was AFK. When I made my way back you were DONE!

    Let me see ...loved the Route 66 shots on the way out, especially the comparison shots between the RL locations and the interpretations at Radiator Springs. And the Eagles spot in Winslow was very cool. Nice to see a full family that served (I'm ex-Army) and that you got the coin during the flag retreat. It is a ceremony that I try to catch at least once whether at DLR or the Magic Kingdom. Props on the stars and stripes ink on your forearm.

    For the trip itself I liked your approach to the trip and am focusing on the same for my fam's trip later this year. Know some high-points to hit but keep it generally relaxed. Great pics and interactions with the CMs overall and a great cross-section of food. It really seems like you were able to do good coverage of both parks. And awesome that you did the "Footsteps" tour got to go thru the Suite.

    I'm interested in that spot you viewed WoC the second time, the "hydrant" spot, it looks like a good location for sure. And the old school PhotoPass situation was great, glad you got to take advantage of the older/better package. I'll have to look out for that ex-Marine PP photographer. Great staged shots.

    Cool to see some more "grown-ups" getting out there and enjoying a couple of drinks at the parks. I'm planning a Disneyfied pub crawl (see PTR link) for my soon-to-be 21yr old daughter. Certainly going to try out a couple of items from the "secret" menu during it.

    Big congrats to your daughter and her guy on the proposal! Nice to know she is with such a good guy.

    All the best to you and yours and thank you for sharing your fun!
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  19. Khokhonutt

    Khokhonutt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    847
    Thanks for the kind words mnmrmustard. In regards to the hydrant location. I searched for a picture and amusingly found the picture from HydroGuy's WOC thread, shared on another site (disneytravelbabble.com). I'm borrowing it, so I can share here.

    [​IMG]

    The area by the number 9 in the picture with the yellow star is where we viewed WOC on our second night, when we saw the late show. I can't speak for regular shows, but in our case, everyone was so focused on running down to the front that we quite leisurely walked to that spot from around the number 14 where people had gathered for the late show. We were there alone for quite some time before one, maybe two other families joined us. If memory serves the area just below us is where they seat for the dessert party. There didn't appear to be any people doing the dessert party that night and eventually it looked like they opened that area for others to stand.

    I would think in general if you positioned yourself for the hydrant spot in advance and made your way there, for the most part you would only compete with those with this knowledge. The rest are cattle driving towards the front spots. The only question I'd have is whether the dessert party tables would block this view for earlier shows.

    I hope this helps.
     
    jessrose18 and mnmrmustard like this.
  20. mnmrmustard

    mnmrmustard DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,146
    You're very welcome Jeff! And I appreciate you finding that picture and info (and of course HydroGuy's legwork too). We plan on doing a later show if possible and will probably see it more than once.

    Oh, and thank you for the video of the lights coming on in Cars Land. I understand that when we are there they have a "holiday-style" song playing instead of Life would be a Dream, which was kind of let down to hear.
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.
  21. azdisneylover

    azdisneylover DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,241
    Great trip report! Congrats to you and yours with the engagement. Maybe you can plan a trip around Dapper Days and stay on site.
     
    Khokhonutt likes this.

Share This Page