PTR - Finishing in December 2017 What We Started in October 2015

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Canadian Harmony, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Hello everyone! I usually don't start my PTRs until I've paid for something, but I won't have the money until April and I'm just itching to get thoughts down!

    So as the title says, we were lucky enough to go in October of 2015 and we caught the beauty of the Diamond Celebration while there, as well as a MHP, some character meals and a tour. The TR is on here, and once I find it, I'll link it for you if you'd like.

    I was just at DLR this past October for a solo trip to celebrate my 50th and it was a lot of fun! I'll link that TR too.

    Well! On to this upcoming trip. When we were enjoying our last meal in 2015 at the Carnation Café, my DD11 (then, she's 12 now!) said she was sad we didn't get to do everything. DD9 (who is now 10!) was falling asleep in her mac & cheese and said she wanted to come back to do Screamin' and all the rides she missed out on. DH said maybe in 5 years. I said, "How about we aim for 2?" and that was it. I was set on going back this year.

    We had taken the kids out of school for this last trip to celebrate their birthdays in the Park, but it was horrible trying to get them back into the swing of school after that, so I had to think of a different time to go this year. We started the girls in a new school this year and it was a difficult transition for them, but especially for DD10. I told DH we'd all go back when school was out - the next day - in June. They get out two weeks earlier than most schools do (up here at least), and we're hoping it won't be absolutely searing hot in June as it could be the rest of the summer as DH doesn't like heat.

    This time around, we're also going to go to USH and HPW, LEGOLAND and maybe Medieval Times for a surprise.

    Here's a favourite photo of mine from our last trip. We were a little soggy from Splash Mtn.

    [​IMG]


    More details in the next bit.
     
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  2. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Now as for planning, this is what I have so far:

    I'm going to have enough Air Miles for a 5 day PH for me. Both kids are now considered "adults", so our tickets will be more expensive than last time we went, however I'm a Veteran and my DH is a serving sailor. My friend who is on ship now, is going to hit the San Diego PX for us and grab 3 adult tickets when she's there.

    She's also going to get me two child and two adult GO Card LA, 3-Day, so this will give us admission to USH and HPW, as well as LEGOLAND and if we decide to use it for a third day, we can maybe hit La Brea or..? Last, she is going to grab two child and two adult tickets to Medieval Times. The military price is about 35% less than regular and it includes a free Royalty Upgrade with it! I have no idea what that means but I'll take it, ha!

    All in all, with her getting us these passes and tickets from the PX, we'll save about $500 if not more. It is great because of the exchange right now is really horrible, so every penny will help us have a great experience.

    So far neither kid (or DH) has asked for a character meal, so we may end up skipping them, unless they want to do breakfast at the Plaza Inn or with the Princesses. One or the other this time, not both (we did Goofy's too last time! Fun but holy pricey!).

    I stayed at the Del Sol Inn on my solo trip. As a returning guest I get 35% off the price - and that is nearly the price of exchange! - so the hotel won't be too expensive at all. I'll book that pretty soon.

    There are two inexpensive flights I looked at - West Jet and Air Canada. While AC is cheaper by about $200, it stops in Vancouver and San Francisco. So for convenience we're going to fly West Jet from Victoria to Seattle to SNA, and then back again.

    I'm trying to decide whether or not to hire a car for the two days we want to go to USH/HPW and LEGOLAND. We can probably get a good deal through Costco or the PX so I'll check into that.

    Ok, I'm caught up now! Whew, that felt great!
     
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  4. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

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    What did you think of the Del Sol Inn on your solo trip? 35% off the room rate is a pretty good deal!
     
  5. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    It worked just perfectly for my solo trip. The only thing I'd suggest is to ask for a non-adjoining room.

    They gave me an adjoining room and it was not good. I was woken up two nights by different customers and had to tell them to shut up at midnight and again at 6:30am.

    They are renovating so I'm sure things will be improved.

    35%off is awesome for us because it's nearl par for us then. Much more affordable. Plus we get a military discount.
     
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  6. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    DH wants to rent a car for our other theme parks so that's what I'm going to look into this week. It'll be for two days.

    I'm thinking if we can do Legoland the day we arrive (should be at the hotel by 3:30) then USH the next day, that will leave us the rest of the week for DLR/DCA.
     
  7. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    After some excellent advice from the board, I'm going to plan this:

    Sunday - arrive and hit the parks for the afternoon til close (or til my kids crap out).
    Monday - rent a car and go to Legoland then dinner at Medieval Times.
    Tuesday - USH for the whole day! Return the car if possible.
    Wednesday, Thurs, Friday - DCA/DLR with a lunch with the princesses one of the days.
    Saturday - depart.

    I will check out car rental places near the hotel so we don't have to go far to get the car... unless I go with Enterprise, ha.
     
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  8. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    I'm such a dork. We're arriving SATURDAY, not Sunday! I have two quotes from car rental places - Alamo at DTD and Select on Harbor. They're both about the same (maybe a $2 difference), but I'd pick the car up on Saturday afternoon from Alamo (and then pay parking for 3 nights) or early on Sunday morning from Select and pay parking for 2 nights). It's not much difference.
     
  9. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Whew, well it took me a while, but I found my old TR and PTRs:

    http://www.disboards.com/threads/pt...tos-update-03-10-15.3377669/]PTR October 2015

    http://www.disboards.com/threads/tr...dlr-4-9-october-2015.3454922/]TR October 2015

    http://www.disboards.com/threads/it...oct.3478751/#post-55378623]PTR Solo Trip 2016

    http://www.disboards.com/threads/tr...shed.3555305/#post-56641214]TR Solo Trip 2016

    So I'm tweaking the schedule and prices right now. The kids have decided to have lunch with the Princesses this time around as we didn't do it last time (and I told them only ONE, not Goofy's and the Princesses and, and, and!

    My friend in the Navy is going to get us 3 adult 4 Day Park Hoppers as my ticket will be paid for by AirMiles (WooT!), Universal APs, Lego 3-Day Hopper (includes the water park), and tickets for Medieval Times (includes a Royalty Upgrade).

    I checked out Costco and can save a bundle on a rental through Alamo, so I will do that!

    I'll use the visitanaheim.org coupon to save $8per person on the Karmel Shuttle each way and print out some coupons for McDonald's and Hard Rock Café...and Ridemakerz just in case DH wants to play.

    I'm trying to find the same deal on Orbitz I found two years ago for Character Meals but I'm not finding it... yet!

    That's the update so far.
     
  10. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    So I wrote a great response and there it is, gone!

    So here are some prior TR/PTRs if you're so inclined:

    Birthday Trip 2016

    Birthday Trip 2016 PTR

    Family Trip 2015

    Family Trip 2015 PTR

    My navy friend is going to get us 4 Day PH for 3 adults (mine will be through AirMiles), Universal AP, 3 Day Hoppers for LEGOLAND (which includes the big water park), and tickets for Medieval Times. She'll be in San Diego this spring. If she can't do it in time I'll order on line through Camp Pendleton.

    Costco has a great deal for Alamo at DTD so we'll go with that, and I can save $8per person on a round trip with Karmel shuttle.

    I'm still searching Orbitz for character meal vouchers like I did two years ago. Great deal those!

    Our trip is now shaping up:

    Arrive Saturday, get the car and hit MT for dinner.
    Sunday LEGOLAND (with an In n Out along the way!).
    Monday Universal (avoiding rush hour hopefully) and maybe the Hard Rock for dinner (coupon on visitanaheim.org). Return the car.
    Tuesday-Friday spent at DLR/DCA with a lunch with the Princesses shoved in there somewhere.
    Leaving on Saturday before lunch.

    It seems busy, but knowing my family we won't get much accomplished at DLR/DCA because of walking, eating, stopping and complaining (from everyone but me of course!). But I made them a deal that if I can go on my own last year, then this year I won't be hustling them around and we can just go with the flow (except for FPs that is) and do whatever catches our fancy. The kids really have some rides in mind though, so we can work around those.
     
  11. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Seems my friend is not going to San Diego on the trip. Hawaii yes, and maybe San Diego on the way back. But if I can get the MT tix before we go, we can swing through Camp P on the way to Legoland and get all the rest then. I'm not too worried, things usually work out.

    The kids are pretty excited about the whole trip. I don't know if they're more excited about USH or DLR!
     
  12. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Wheeee! I thought I needed 2900 Air Miles for a 5 day PH but I only needed 2750 so I got it just now! YAY! That will save us TONS of money! If I can save up 2900 AM between now and April/May, then I can get another PH and save us some more, but I'm not holding my breath on this. Mind you, I usually max out my AM at the store... it can be done... maybe...

    Anyway, I'm so excited to actually have gotten something concrete toward the trip!

    My step-sister the travel agent has us on her radar for flights and even if we get the other tickets in April through Camp Pendleton (or even on our way to LL that day), I'm still happy that we'll save a bunch of cash.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  13. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Quick update. We have a friend of mine who may be joining us. She was going to definitely come but her husband is graduating from his welding course on the 22nd, so she might just go to DL the days we're at LL and USH, and then fly home on the 21st. I told her not to get too concerned - if she comes, great! If not, I have another friend who wants to join us.

    I called Camp Pendleton on recommendation from someone on the board and they will indeed ship my tickets - but not internationally! So I can call on the 14th and have them sent to the hotel so they'll be waiting for us when we arrive! I'll just let the front desk know they're coming and then we'll have our MT tix, LL & USH passes, and the family's DL tickets. DH can use the military pass as he's still in, and the kids tickets are still much less than regular price.

    With the tanking of our dollar, every penny helps us out now!
     
  14. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Well, no trip in June. I made a payment on my credit card, but didn't know it had been canceled due to another card being canceled (long story involving no pay from my employer, on and on). The bank didn't tell me as 'that's in our cardholder agreement' and they don't seem to feel the need to let you know these types of things. I'm gutted. All of our DLR money was on the card, and now... poof! So I need to start from scratch to save $10K all over again. I've been crying all morning and breaking it to the kids is so difficult.

    In the grand scheme of things, we're not dying and the marriage is still together, so that's good. It's just we were really looking forward to it.

    I guess my new goal is Christmas in DLR. I was hoping to hit Hawaii then, but it looks like we'll just move our trip ANOTHER 6 months to the right.

    Man, I'm so sad. :sad:
     
  15. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    So I've tried to make margueritas out of life's limes... or however that goes...

    I'm aiming for Christmas in the parks. 10 days from the 19th til the 30th with the same itinerary as before, only we'll spend 2 days at Legoland/Carlsbad area and 3 days at USH and surrounding area. That way we're not cramming everything in as quickly as we can, plus we'll get 5 FULL days in the parks instead of 4 1/2. I wish I could afford DLH this time around but it's just too pricey for the amount of time we're spending in the area. Switching hotels is completely out of the question as it's a hassle to unpack, then pack and move, two kids and a hubby who doesn't like to travel in the first place.

    As it is, I'll be setting aside an extra $7KCAD just to account for exchange, tips, car rental and gas, taxes, food and merch for an extra 4 days. I'm hoping for some money to come my way this summer from Veteran's Affairs, so we'll see how things shake out from that.

    What are some cool things the parks do on Christmas Day? Are there Christmas parties like at Halloween?
     
  16. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    After talking things over with the family, we decided on Christmas of 19!! BUT... I have a 5 Day PH sitting here.. so, if I can get enough funds together this summer, we'll go over the long weekend in November. If not, I'll sell my ticket and pine...
     
  17. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Well well well things have changed again!

    I meant to take the kids the second-last week of July, but DH was worried about me and two kids running around Disney alone, especially when one kid things rules are just suggestions.

    SO, instead, we went to Calgary to visit family and DH and I decided that THIS Christmas we'd be going back for sure!

    Today, I booked our room at the Desert Inn & Suites for the 22nd-30th December, got us flights through Delta (the cheapest around, even if the times are super early), and reserved a car for a couple days through Costco, and reserved the Karmel Shuttle.

    The hotel will be about $2030 with exchange (as long as it doesn't go too much lower), and the flight is around the same - $2150. The best price I could find over the past few months, so I decided to grab it before it was gone.

    I should be able to save up enough Air Miles for one more 5 Day Park Hopper ticket at least, which will save us some money, and even though we qualify for the military prices, Ares Travel will save us even more!

    We're going to spend the 23rd, 24th, 25th in the parks, then 26 & 27 at USH, then the 28 & 29th back at the parks. We fly home on the 30th, super early.

    Every spare cent is going toward this trip - I'm expecting some back pay (I've already received about half of it), as well as an income tax refund they're taking their time processing.

    I worked out our food budget - it's expensive to feed a family of 4 in the parks for a week! Holy semoleons - over $2500 just for DLR! Over $500 for two days at USH! Not to mention money for nibbles on the way down and back.

    Like I said, every spare cent into the trip.

    But I'm so excited to finally have things paid for!
     
  18. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    So never one to sit around and stew, I looked at ways to lower our costs.

    I'm going to spend money to save money! I'm going to upgrade my 5DPH to a Signature AP after our MM on the Saturday. This way, we'll save on merch, food, and MP/PP+, and it actually puts us into saving money. PLUS, this means I can use my AP if I get a chance to come back again in the year (and I'm going to make sure of that!).

    I'm also going to float the idea of the Holiday Time tour to the family for Christmas Day. It'll cost us, even with the discount, but I think we'll enjoy it. If the family doesn't want to do the tour, no biggie.

    I have my calendars (phone, daily agenda, and work calendar) marked on the days I can start calling for our food reservations.

    Every spare cent we have is going toward this trip, but we're really looking forward to it!
     
  19. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    It's amazing how life can turn in an instant. Just on Thursday, I was realizing that with buying mandatory snow tires, we'd be short a few hundred dollars for the trip. So, I canceled the Holiday Tour, took away Breakfast with Minnie, lowered our daily souvenir money, no WOC dessert, trimmed, trimmed, trimmed... and I was short $200. THAT I could deal with!

    Then on Friday, my birthday, I received a phone call from Veteran's Affairs. I had appealed their decision to not give me grounds-keeping allowance, and I was successful! Not only that, but it was backdated to last December, so I was getting about $1400 this week, and then another $700 in December to help out for six months!

    But THEN, she mentioned I was approved for an elbow claim. I said, no, the last letter in July said I wasn't. She said this new letter dated the 10th said I was! $18,000 coming my way!! :yay:

    I plotzed.

    :faint:

    And then I started to plan!! The holiday tour (if I can book it in time) back on! Breakfast at Storytellers AND Plaza Inn back on! More spending money (mama wants a dress!) back in! WOC dessert party back on! :banana:

    Not to mention we'll be able to pay off some debt, get those snow tires, cover the trailer and winterize it, and clear our gutters!

    We are going to have such a wicked time!!

    I'm still :dance3:
     
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  20. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Here is our basic plan so far. The girls and DH don't want a scheduled trip, but we all know we need to book meals and such in advance, so I'm limiting it to one thing per day:

    22nd: Arrive. Dinner DTD (Rainforest Café probably), exchange Ares voucher for ticket. Early to bed!
    23rd: Magic Morning! Afterward, will exchange my 5DPH for a Sig+AP and purchase MP for the rest of the gang (still up in the air on that). WOC dessert party.
    24th: Breakfast at Storyteller's.
    25th: Holiday tour? Dinner at SH55 OR PGC Grill (if there's a special thing for it going on).
    26th & 27th: USH!
    28th: Breakfast at Plaza Inn.
    29th: Getting ready to leave. Dinner DTD, early to bed.
    30th: Depart.

    We're all pretty happy with our choices. We saw F! last time we were there, so I wanted to mix things up a little this time. We enjoyed F!, but I don't think the girls want to see it again.

    This time we're planning on riding the Mark Twain and the Columbia, trying rides we didn't get to last time - Screamin', GotG, Star Tours, TSMM and BTMRR are top of the list - and visiting the ones we loved before - Splash, RSR.

    The kids want to try for warm candy canes and watch a parade, and I want to see Santa at the Redwood Forest.

    I'm starting to get excited - next week my windows open up for dinner reservations!
     
  21. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    What a weekend! Disney gift cards have made their way North, outside of just the Disney store. The hunt was on as I read updates about the cards in Walmart, Canadian Tire, Superstore, Shoppers. and Rexall in Ontario and Alberta and even Nova Scotia.

    I searched after work on Friday in a Shoppers and two Rexalls, and a Canadian Tire. No luck.

    Saturday, on the way back from two hours in the hair chair, I stopped in to Walmart. They had $25 gift cards! Well, I'd need 153 of them. Not really a viable solution.

    Just down a block in the same plaza (we call it the Man Mall because of the stores there), is Canadian Tire. On the off chance, I went in and found the variable amount cards! I was so happy! I grabbed 11 (needed 12, but that's ok) and went to the till.

    For the first time, I hit my daily Point of Sale limit! I bought 9 of the 11 cards in hand and told the customer service desk I'd be back for the other two.

    Today I went back to finish it off and needed a third because the limit was $500. So this means I now have (in the safe):
    4 souvenir cards
    1 meal card for each day we're there
    1 character meal card for the two character meals we're doing
    2 AP cards which will pay for my upgrade

    I feel a huge sense of relief as now I don't need to incur exchange fees, just the daily rate that will hit when we're there, and I don't need to cart over $3000 in cash over the border either. And the only things the credit card will pay for is the hotel, our Universal tickets and the last park hopper.

    YAY!
     
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