Our Family's First DL/DCA Trip! June 29-July 6, 2019! WDW veterans, but DL rookies!

mickeymom22

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Family on this trip: DH, DD1, DD2 and Me (Mom). We know WDW so well, but we are looking forward to experiencing DL/DCA! Our niece and nephew joined us too!

June 29, 2019


We flew from the East Coast into SNA. We had a layover in Las Vegas and our flight got delayed there. We almost didn't get to come in that night because Santa Ana has a noise ordinance that won't allow planes to land after 10:00 pm. I think our plane landed at 9:55 pm! Because of the time difference, I knew we would be tired so we stayed at the Hilton/Irvine right by the airport. By the time we got our luggage. the airport was closing and our hotel's shuttle wasn't running. A nice man from the other Hilton shuttle service took us to our hotel. Off to bed!

June 30, 2019

We made our way over to the Enterprise car rental at the airport and picked up a car. We loaded up and headed to Laguna Beach. Still on east coast time, we were there super early and found a great parking place. We ate brunch at Las Brisas with a beautiful view. We spent time here walking on the beach, climbing on rocks, and looking into the tide pools. We headed back to Anaheim. Since it was Sunday we needed to get the car back by 4:00 pm. We got a text that our room was ready so dropped off our luggage and headed to the car rental drop off. We then took a walk to meet up with my niece and nephew in Downtown Disney who live nearby and would be joining us for our DL/DCA portion of our trip. We ate dinner at White Water Snacks at the Grand Californian. I wanted my daughter (DD1) to try to the avocado toast (her favorite). Sadly, we did not like it. This meal was probably our least favorite of the trip. Hubby said his burger was too dry. We then just walked around DtD soaking up the Disney vibe and getting excited about the idea of being in DL tomorrow!

Super easy walk back to the Tropicana Inn & Suites. I love listening to the Disney music as you walk past the shuttle stops!

First impressions of DL/DCA: Love love love the weather and closeness of the parks! I also like the smallness of Downtown Disney. Disney Springs is just too big now and doesn't feel like "Disney" anymore to me. I can't believe you can stay within walking distance of the parks and have such a nice "small" bill at the end of your trip. Our room was great at the Tropicana Inn & Suites. We didn't keep our car so I can't comment on parking. We did enjoy the pool/jacuzzi after walking around Downtown Disney. The Cove Market was a great place to buy a snack/waters to have while waiting for rope drop. Everyone working at the motel and Cove Market that we encountered were super nice and friendly!


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Laguna Beach...so pretty!




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We made it! We are really here!
 
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mickeymom22

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
July 1, 2019

We got to through security and to the turnstiles by 7:15 am. DL opened at 8:00 am. The lines didn't seem too long. We watched as they let people into DCA which made us get even more anxious to be walking down the middle of Main Street USA!

When they let us in, we followed the stampede towards SWGE. We stayed to the right and it was the best position to be in as our side basically turned into the queue for MFSR. CM's were only allowing people to enter SWGE via Frontierland. We weren't able to soak up any Disney vibe until we actually were in line for the ride. As we were walking I was making fastpasses and reservations for Oga's Cantina. We got a 2:50 pm reservation. Chewie was working on a spaceship as we came into SWGE and Rey was out meeting guests. Stormtroopers were on roofs looking down at us, and there were some walking around and interacting with guests. Lots of CM's were milling about as if they were just living in the land of Batuu. We probably were in line for no more than 30 minutes. (I really need to look at the times more often to get an accurate estimate of wait times!) The line just kept moving. Hubby and DD1 were the pilots, DD2 and myself were the gunners. Some random dad and son were our engineers. It was a great ride! Loved it! We walked around the marketplace and through Ronto Roasters. The theming is awesome! They really have done a remarkable job!

We then walked onto Haunted Mansion. We couldn't believe how uncrowded the park felt. I believe we rode Hyperspace Mountain and then the Matterhorn. We then met up with my nephew and niece. It was my niece's first time at DL so I got her a button marking the occasion to match ours. I don't remember in what order we enjoyed these attractions, but here is a list: Indiana Jones (twice), Pirates, Big Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, Buzz, It's a Small World, Sleeping Beauty walk-through, walked around Toontown, and rode Disney Railroad from Toontown to New Orleans Square. We also walked around SWGE for a bit before our reservations at Oga's. We also shared some things from Bengal BBQ. We really didn't like the meat skewers that much. The hummus trio and veggies were a nice change of pace from french fries. My daughters also at some point had a Dole Whip. We also introduced my niece and nephew to these yummy concoctions!

Oga's was amazing! I ordered the Fuzzy Tauntaun. I didn't realize it had a numbing agent in the foam at first. After I realized I wasn't having an allergic reaction to the drink, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Other alcoholic drinks that were enjoyed in our group: Jedi Mind Trick and Jet Juice. My daughters had a non-alcoholic drink that was super fun to drink and watch: Jabba Juice. We also ordered some Batuu Bits. While we loved the atmosphere and the drinks, we were given a stand-up table. It would have been nice to be able to sit down for a bit. Also, our server was the rudest CM we have ever been around. We tried to give him the benefit of the doubt as the place was swamped, but it was hard. Also, standing out in the blazing sun for 20 minutes past your reservation time was no fun. I am sure it will get better after the "newness" wears off. We were told we could only order 2 drinks a piece and we could only stay for 45 minutes. They were also out of all their "food" except for the Batuu Bits by the time we got there.

I am not really sure what we did next. I feel like it was a ride with the Pirates. We had tried to ride it earlier and we made it all the way up to being the next to load when the ride went down and they told us they had no idea when it would be going again.

We had 5:00 pm reservations at Orleans Cafe. We were seated right at 5:00 pm. We sat outside. (This is so different than WDW! The weather is so pleasant! It was great to be outside eating and soaking up all the Disney vibes!) My husband and I both ordered the shrimp and grits. They were AMAZING! DD2 didn't really like her steak. She got it off the kids menu. It looked really dry to me. The pommes frites were yummy! Niece and Nephew both ordered the Monte Cristo, but I think my nephew was overheated from being out all day with no sunscreen and he just couldn't eat and wasn't feeling too well. He toughed it out during dinner, but they called it and left the park right after dinner. We also ordered Mickey beignets. I was so full. I only had a small bite of an ear...tasty! :tongue:

After dinner, I wasn't feeling the best. I wanted to go back to the room to chill a little, but the girls begged to stay so we sent them up a tree...Tarzan's tree! Hubby and I just sat for awhile so I could rest. The girls were speedy quick climbing that tree so I said let's find something I can do sitting down. We ended up on the Jungle Cruise. We had a great skipper. I was feeling better, but hubby said he needed more time just sitting...so we rode the entire loop of the Disney Railroad. I didn't know we would be seeing the Grand Canyon or dinosaurs, but we sure did! I almost fell asleep, but after that we were good to go!

We all ended up riding Hyperspace Mountain, Star Tours, and Nemo Subs. Both times we rode Star Tours, DD1 was identified as the spy! She had a different seat the 2nd ride...so she must really be one! Haha! After that I said let's find our fastpass viewing area for Fantasmic! It was getting dark and I had no idea where to go. We ended up by the River Belle Terrace. We enjoyed the show. There was a really rude family beside us that kept trying to push us out of our spot, but I held my ground! There was still 2 more hours of park time available, but we were beat so we left the park to go pass out in our warm little beds.

Thoughts about today: I think I love DL as much as WDW! The weather was so great! I think Hyperspace Mountain beats Space Mountain! SWGE is AMAZING... can't wait to ride Rise of the Resistance! Sleeping Beauty castle is really small! The Matterhorn is terrible for your neck! Dole Whips are just as yummy in CA as they are in FL! Love love love the closeness of the parks and the ability to get a room close enough to walk that doesn't cost that much!



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mickeymom22

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
July 2, 2019 DCA Day!

We got through security and the turnstiles around 7:15 am. Really low crowds! Yay! I made fastpasses for RSR for 8:30 am and World of Color while we were walking in. Yesterday we nibbled on left over lemon poppy seed bread from our Laguna Beach brunch while we waited in line to go in, but today we didn't have any snacks so we went to Flo's to have breakfast. There was probably only five other families eating in there with us. We just couldn't get over how nice the crowd level was! Hubby and I shared an American Breakfast plate and DD1 and DD2 shared a breakfast tamale plate. DD2 doesn't like scrambled eggs so the CM told her she could have extra potatoes instead! We all really enjoyed our breakfast. It was nice that it is served on real plates with real utensils!

I know we rode RSR first and then made our way over to the Incredicoaster. When we were walking out of Carsland we saw Lightning McQueen driving down the road. We rode that once and then just walked onto Toy Story Midway Mania. We couldn't believe we just walked on...that never happens in WDW...TSMM always has a long line! After that I believe we rode the Incredicoaster again. This and the Indy Jones ride quickly became our two favorite DL/DCA rides! We also just strolled around Pixar Pier. I know we looked around in Bing Bong's store. I know we pin traded some too. We had 11:50 am reservations at the Lamplight Lounge. We met my nephew, niece and now her brother for lunch there. We all really enjoyed our meal there. I tried ratatouille for the first time. It was really good! We had excellent service and the atmosphere of this restaurant is really cozy. After lunch, our nephew, niece and her brother went back over to DL. They wanted to show her brother SWGE and try to ride MFSR before their afternoon reservation at Oga's.

We continued our exploration of DCA. I don't really remember the order of how we rode things, but here are the attractions we enjoyed: Monsters Inc. ride, Soarin', Golden Zephyr, and Animation Academy. We got to draw BB-8. The girls rode Goofy's Sky School. DD2 loved it! DD1 did not! DD1 and I rode Guardians of the Galaxy. I don't know the story line of Guardians. I realized it is the only ride at DL, DCA or WDW that I don't know the characters or story! At some point we had our picture made at the Disney Visa meet and greet. We got to meet Stitch. I was hoping to meet Minnie! The kids really wanted to ride the ferris wheel. I hate ferris wheels, but at Disney I will try any ride once. I told them we would ride it at night, but by the time we got back the wait time was just too long. I really was going to ride it, and I hate that we missed it...not sure if my kiddos believe me or not...

We decided to hop over to DL as Indy and HyperSpace Mountain was calling us. Once inside DL, we rode Indy (twice) and Hyperspace Mountain. We met up with the rest of the family and walked through the Launch Bay and were the first in line for the Disney Visa meet and greet there. We met with Darth Vader. He told DD2 he could tell she was sympathetic to the Dark Side. She agreed with everything he said. We teased her later about being easily swayed to his side. She said that was her plan all along...just to "act" like she was on his side, but not really be on his side! We separated ways again. Nephew, Niece and Brother off to explore, and we headed to Fantasyland. The girls rode the Tea Cups. After their ride, we came upon Belle and the Beast strolling through Fantasyland. The Beast stopped and spent a lot of time with DD2. We think she looks a lot like Belle so maybe that is why he kept kissing her hand and making a heart with his claws! We headed over to New Orleans Square and shared some beef stew in a sourdough bowl. It was really nice to sit outside and people watch for a bit while we were eating. The girls also wanted just one more Dole Whip so we headed in that direction. The Tiki Juice Bar had a really long line so we made our way into the Tropical Hideaway. There were only 3 other people in there, and they were already sitting down eating. Again, we just couldn't believe the crowd levels. The CMs actually looked bored! Haha! We sat in there while the girls ate their Dole Whips and I just kept trying to soak up the Disney vibes....tiki torches look so much more magical on Disney property!

After that I think we took our 4th and final ride on Indy! We really liked that ride! Can you tell?

We spent time looking through Jolly Holiday Bakery and the shops on Main Street USA. We bought our souvenirs. If I ever get back I want to eat something from the bakery! I had been stalking fastpasses for RSR after it got dark. I scored one for 8:15. We started to head over to DCA, and as we were taking pictures in front of the train station and the Mickey in the flower bed, Snow White appears. We just had to officially meet a princess so we fell into line to meet her. She spent a lot of time talking with us about our adventures. She says she doesn't like the roller coasters, but the dwarves do.

We made it over to Carsland and enjoyed taking pictures of all the lights. The theming in this land is AMAZING! We rode RSR and were lucky enough to get the other side. Our ride in the morning, we got the side that gets new tires. This time we got the side that gets a new paint job! This ride is so pretty at night! DD1 and DD2 also rode the Mater ride.

We also had to ride the Incredicoaster at night. The effects on the ride are so much better all lit up! We gave in and bought a cookie at Jack Jack's. It was getting cold so we decided to head over to our viewing area for the World of Color. We were in the blue section. We overheard the CM telling a family that he liked to watch it from the railing and not to go all the way down near the water when they let us out of the holding area...so that's what we did when they released us. We stood behind a railing above the dessert party. No one would be able to stand in front of us. It was a great spot. It got cold waiting for it to start. We were there about an hour early. We ended up sitting on the pavement. The pavement was still warm from the sun. I soon got jealous of the people at the dessert party...sitting in their chairs and sipping hot chocolate! :-)

We really enjoyed World of Color...beautiful show!

Again, I offered to go back to DL...and party until midnight, but we were all beat so after the show, we just headed across the street to our warm little beds!

Thoughts from this day:

I like using the Max Pass service, but I don't like having to pay for it. I wish it was more like WDW's app where you have several options for times for your fastpass return window. It was nice there are no tiers for the attractions so you can choose any ride that has a fastpass available. Now that the kids are older, we don't spend time in character lines, but it was nice to get some spontaneous interaction from the characters today. We love the Incredicoaster and the Indy ride! So much fun! While I love the theming of RSR, I like the feel of the ride on Test Track better. It feels like it goes faster! Enjoyed the orange and pine smell on Soarin'...gets me every time! Lamplight was a great place to have lunch! Lost my pink Minnie ears, but I filled out a claim online and they said they found them and will mail them to me!

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  • mickeymom22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2012
    July 3, 2019

    We didn't set an alarm, but of course the trash guy came early and that sound woke DH and myself up. We got the girls up and packed. We walked to get the car and brought it back and packed it and made our way over to the Garden Walk. It was time to get DH his souvenir...a shirt from the Harley store! We also ate at the California Kitchen there. Then we headed south. We stopped in San Juan Capistrano and looked around a bit. There were a lot of accidents on I-5 so we stayed off it a bit and took the scenic route through Carlsbad and Encinitas. We made it to our hotel in San Diego. DD1 had to take a final for her online course so we just hung out in the room for a bit. After she was finished we walked to the Gaslamp District and ate at El Cabron. It was super yummy. Then back to the room.

    July 4, 2019

    This morning as we were planning our day, we got to experience our first earthquake. Our room was on the 8th floor. By the time we realized what was happening it was over. It felt like the entire building was swaying. On this day, we walked down to the Seaport Village and ate some food that wasn't very good. We should have waited because as we walked down toward the USS Midway there seemed to be a food festival going on, and I would have loved to try some of it. We took lots of pictures by the water and then we walked back to the room. We hung out a bit there, and then we decided to drive to Balboa Park. We didn't go into any of the museums, but we enjoyed looking at the architecture and those amazing trees! The roots are enormous and the canopies are beautiful! We also drove over the bridge to Coronado, but it was very crowded so we just stayed in the car and drove around for a bit. We took the car back to the hotel and then proceeded to walk to the Old Spaghetti Factory. We had a nice meal there and it ended perfectly for us to walk over to the Convention Center and stake out a spot to watch the fireworks from. We got there an hour before the show so we got to sent on a terrace at a table with real chairs! I was so happy! There were probably about 100 people around our area, but after the show when we left and we rounded around the corner of the building we were met with a crowd of thousands! We just moved as a mass of people. We had to shuffle with the crowd up stairs and down stairs and across the street and the train tracks. I was amazed there were no police officers directing anyone. Once we made it across the street to the Gaslamp Quarter there were two! It really did my heart good that during this mass exit everyone got along really well. No one got upset or loud as we moved as one mass of people!

    We just headed back to the room.

    July 5, 2019

    We left our hotel to head north back to the Hilton/Irvine. Our flight leaves at 6:45 am on the 6th! We tried to drive through La Jolla in search of a place to see the seals, but it was so very crowded and we didn't want to get stuck there forever so we aborted that mission. I had enough time to see some of those houses and decided if anyone would give me one, I would take it! We ate lunch at the Studio Diner. Guy Fieri had it on his show. We ordered the Boob sandwich and a cheeseburger. We were disappointed. It didn't taste very good!

    Before we got back to the hotel we had to find and In and Out Burger place so we could try one. They were good, but not so good that I absolutely have to have one the next time I am in CA.

    Once we got back to the airport, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel and returned our car. We hung out by the pool. DD2 talked hubby into getting in with her while I wrapped up in towels to stay warm. There was a cool breeze blowing. We ended up having street tacos they were serving on the patio. They were super yummy as well as the blood orange mojito!

    Back to the room and into pj's just in time to feel the 2nd earthquake. It was much longer and stronger than the first. Long enough for me to make everyone get dressed in case something happened. I slept in my clothes, and hubby kept watching an earthquake app he had on his phone for the rest of the night! We were thankful our flight was the first one out in the morning. Hubby and I didn't sleep too well that night!

    July 6, 2019

    Up super early and all of us on the 5:00 am shuttle back to the airport. So tired! Our plane left without a hitch and we made it back home nicely!

    Thanks for sticking with me and my trip report! I hope to have some closing thoughts tomorrow!
     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    So glad you and your family enjoyed your trip! SWGE really is amazing, isn't it? All that detail! Another WDW vet posted recently about his trip -- I think you'll enjoy the following posts about SBC ;) :

    I do have a bit of a funny to add. Of course, one of the biggest complaints you will hear from some WDW people is that the castle is so small. Well, it is... But that became our family joke every time we finished the next awesome thing. After riding Hyperspace Mtn, which blows away the one at WDW, it was “yeah, but the castle is small”. RSR is an awesome ride, but the castle is small. What’s great is that we LOVED the fireworks, especially Nemo trying to go through the ring of fire. And of course, that is right under the “small” castle. I think the best thing about the small castle is that our room in DLH had a picture of Walt standing under the castle. I think that’s good enough for me. :)
    So glad you and your family had a great trip! We love that photo of Walt and his castle! The size of SBC makes much more sense when you realize that at DL, the Matterhorn is our visual focal point, not the castle. We are used to getting our visual bearings from that snow capped peak. And when you stand back and see SBC with the Matterhorn rising up behind, things make sense. Because how many castles do you know that are bigger than an alp?! :)

    (HT: Google)
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    mickeymom22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2012
    So glad you and your family enjoyed your trip! SWGE really is amazing, isn't it? All that detail! Another WDW vet posted recently about his trip -- I think you'll enjoy the following posts about SBC ;) :
    We really enjoyed our trip, and of course I am ready to come back again! Each park has it own uniqueness! Yes, the castle is small, but the magic was large!
     

    mickeymom22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2012
    Final Thoughts about the trip:

    DL and DCA now hold a special place in my heart! The weather of So Cal can't beat when you compare it to the humidity you battle while at WDW! DL/DCA/DtD win hands down on the ease of getting from point A to point B. Hyperspace Mountain beats out Space Mountain. Cinderella's castle beats Sleeping Beauty's castle...but the walk through telling the story of Princess Aurora is pretty cool! Incredicoaster and Indiana Jones are the best! WDW wins in the quality of food and number of choices! Cars Land has the best theming! For the feel on the ride, Test Track beats RSR for me, but I love the story and details on RSR!

    I can't wait for WDW to open their version of SWGE! It is an amazing place to explore!

    No park totally beats out the other one...just like I won't pick a favorite among Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom...

    A bit of a bummer that I didn't get to try...a ride on the monorail, something from Jolly Holiday Bakery, a ride on Pixar Pal-A-Round, Socerer's Workshop, and closing down a park...just a little bummed as it doesn't even come close to negating...our truly magical experience!
     
  • theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Final Thoughts about the trip:
    ...
    A bit of a bummer that I didn't get to try...a ride on the monorail, something from Jolly Holiday Bakery, a ride on Pixar Pal-A-Round, Socerer's Workshop, and closing down a park...just a little bummed as it doesn't even come close to negating...our truly magical experience!
    Don't think of it as a bummer -- these are just reasons why you'll have to come back! :)
     

    mickeymom22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2012
    Matterhorn's vehicle and track are a bit similar to Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain's. It does hurt your neck a bit
    Yes, the last time I rode MK's Space Mountain, I deemed myself too old to ride it anymore. I think the Matterhorn is now in the same category! 😜
     
  • wbl2745

    Pointless infinite loops are prohibited.
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2010
    I had to laugh about being on the 8th floor of a hotel when one of the earthquakes hit. In (I think) 1994 my wife and I with our daughters were in San Diego. As we were checking into the hotel they said that our room would be on the 9th floor. My wife didn't like that since she doesn't like earthquakes and is afraid of being high up in a building for fear of a quake. I said that the probability of there being an earthquake on that every night was so low to be ignored. At about 5:00 AM I woke up to the hotel room swaying back and forth from the North Ridge earthquake in LA. I very quietly whispered "Are you awake?" not wanting to wake her up if she had slept through it. "Yes, I am awake," she responded. I was in so much trouble...
     

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