The Super Bowl's here, what are you going to do next?! - a Feb DL PTR (UD 8/10)

PxyShan

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
We’re going to Disneyland!
I think...
(ETA: we're going for sure! Woo!)
Welcome to my first DIS trip report of any kind. I’m really starting it off strange by putting the cart before the horse because my DH and I haven’t decided if we’re actually going to be able to take this trip. We live and work in Minneapolis, MN so our dream is to take a trip to Disneyland Resort over Super Bowl week/weekend to avoid all the craziness and crowds here. :upsidedow But I invite you if you dare to join in and see where the financial winds take us. We’ll get to DLR eventually, it just may be a longer pre-trip report than planned.

Before I confuse you even more, let’s start at the beginning and dive into introductions!

Hello! I’m PxyShan, long time lurker and infrequent poster to the DIS.

pxyshan2.jpg
I live in Minnesota and grew up going to WDW with my family.
I’m a WDW CP alum from the 2004 Fall program where I lived at Chatham and worked in Entertainment. I was a seasonal employee and college program campus rep from 2005-2006. I also lived with my sister in CA during the summer of 2005, where we made regular trips to DLR with my then 8-9 month old niece. The last time I was at Disneyland was in 2014 for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend where I ran my first ever 10k with my sisters. My favorite WDW ride is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and my favorite Disney movie is Sleeping Beauty.

Coming with will be my family:
DH -

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My DH also grew up going to WDW with his family and we’ve been going on WDW trips together since 2003 (list in my signature if you’re really curious). He proposed to me in August of 2006 on the Shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon by Narcoossee’s. His favorite ride is Haunted Mansion and his favorite Disney movie is Peter Pan. He’s never been to DL and it’s taken me YEARS to convince him to go.

DS -

disney jim.jpg
Next is my DS who turned 5 in March. This will be his fourth (!) Disney trip, first time to DL. He asks regularly to go to Disney. His favorite ride is Splash Mountain and his current favorite Disney movie is Cars, followed closely by Moana and Peter Pan.


DD -

disney eva.jpg
The last one joining is my DD who turns 2 at the end of December (so just two if we do end up going to DL over Super Bowl weekend). This will be her second Disney trip, also first time to DL (noticing a theme?). What a blessed life we lead! If I had to guess, her favorite ride is It’s A Small World and for sure her favorite Disney movie is Moana. She just can’t get enough Heihei.


That’s all of us this time around, and that’s as far as I’m going to go with this update.


Up next I’ll take you through the why’s of the trip and the potential road blocks of getting this thing to happen. If all goes well, I’ll be looking for any and all advice as I plan how to take my WDW veterans to the Happiest Place on Earth!
 
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PxyShan

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

This trip to Disneyland will be essentially everyone’s first time. But wait, haven’t I already claimed I’ve been there multiple times before? Well yes, yes I have.

But every time I’ve been to DLR, I’ve been with my sister who knows the ins and outs and has pretty much taken care of the planning. Throw in SWL construction and a developing FP+-esque transition and I feel like I’m in all new territory here. o_O


So here’s what I know so far.

DH is not fully on board with going to DL over WDW. There are a few sticking points. One is a lack of the Magical Express. He’ll be the one hauling the luggage while I wrangle the kids, so that one is a valid concern. Another is not knowing the parks inside and out like we do at WDW. I’ve tried to express how it’s similar to Magic Kingdom, but still different enough that he should go. It’s a balancing act. But I think we’ll be able to get over his anxieties about it all and book the trip.

We’re pretty sure we’re going to stay at a Good Neighbor Hotel. I would LOVE to be able to afford to stay at the Disneyland Hotel and give the family the full immersive DL experience, but I don’t think the pricing is in the cards.

We’re looking at Camelot Inn or the Castle Inn right now, though I’m open to any of the Harbor Blvd options within walking distance. We’re going to be going back to the hotel in the middle of the day for naps and such, so I want to be as close as possible. It’s why we stay at the Contemporary when we go to WDW. We like the control of being able to get where we want to go at the speed of our walk (which is pretty fast when we’re at Disney).

We’re talking over if we should try to visit any other LA tourist destinations or even trying to ski for a day or two while we’re in CA. My son would LOVE to see the Space Shuttle if we went to the Science Center, and I think it would be fun to take the kids to the beach, probably around Santa Monica. And we’re big downhill skiers, so the draw of fresh powder on the mountains is strong with us.


Here’s what I don’t know.

Any sort of package pricing for this time of year. Come on Disneyland, release the prices already! Sheesh.

How many days to spend at the parks.

What on Earth the fastpass system is looking like.

Crowd levels – I’m really going to have to start doing some research on this.

Dining reservations – again, going to have to look into how this all works again.

Referb schedules – please don’t close BTMRR or RSR while we’re there! BTMRR was closed in WDW for a referb the last time we went, when my son would have finally been tall enough to ride on it. And what 5 year old boy doesn’t love Lightning McQueen, so RSR is a huge MUST DO for this trip.

And of course, I don’t know what I don’t know. What big planning pieces do you think I’m missing so far?

That’s all for now.
 
  • PxyShan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2010
    It’s happening!
    pixiedust:
    Cue the music; bring on the confetti; start the fireworks!

    WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!!:hyper:

    But let me back up just a little to how much of a roller coaster this decision turned into.

    So last I posted, DH and I were still trying to figure out if we could afford this trip and if he was comfortable enough going to DL over WDW. We were pretty close to making a decision, when we started talking to my sister about timing on a Disney trip with her and our family together. DH and I knew we wanted to keep the same timing of a February trip (Super Bowl = must get out) but if we were going with a big group we wanted to go to WDW. Familiarity = less stress.

    Well, my sister was already in the middle of planning a WDW trip for her family for September and included inviting her in-laws and my parents. So then the discussion became can we do a February WDW trip with my family (DH and two kids), her family (DH and four kids) and our parents. And if we do that, should we invite our other siblings too (Brother + DW + baby and Other Sister + DH + four kids)?

    You guys. This could have turned into a MASSIVE family trip.

    Then two days after my sister, husband and I were having this discussion, my brother sends me a text out of the blue asking if we should take a trip together to WDW in the fall of 2019 before his daughter turns 3 (Our girls are 9 months apart in age so we’d have to pay for my DD since she would already be 3, but we’re cool with that).

    That one little text turned out to be the deciding factor in all this dreaming and planning. It made the pieces of the puzzle fit together for us pretty nicely:

    · DH and I would take our own family vacation to DL in February.

    · My sister would have her September trip with her in-laws this fall and not have to strain her budget to make a February trip work.

    · We can take a big family trip with my parents one last time and everyone can be invited and have time to save up and plan for fall of 2019 to Walt Disney World (Did I mention my other sister lives in Japan right now? More time to plan and save would be much better for them).

    Sure, that vacation still needs a lot of planning, and I’m not entirely sure my brother had a big family vacation like that in mind when he sent the text, but it’s what we’re going to have to plan on for now.

    The back and forth on all this was so stressful.

    Thankfully all of these conversations happened before they released package information for Disneyland Resort.

    Coming up next I’ll let you know the details on the trip including where we landed with the ever important “which hotel” debate!
     

    TEAMJACOB

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2010
    Things have a way of working themselves out. Sounds wonderful because now you can make plans for two trips. When you get home from Disneyland you at least have another trip to look forward too. The withdrawals won't be as bad.
     
  • mnmrmustard

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 21, 2007
    Huzzah for your first PTR! My kiddos were about your kiddos ages when we took our first family trip to DLR way back in 2005! Fun ages for the parks as far as really feeling that Disney magic.

    I’m with you on the uncertainty about the new FP system, at least the dust will have settled by the time my fam & your fam make it there. And I’m with your DH about not having the WDW-style Magic Express. But you are going at a good time of year as far as crowds go, no holidays or anything around that time-frame. The only downside is that the parks don’t stay open quite as late, especially during the week.

    Agreed on the $$ for staying on property, Good Neighbor hotels work just fine for down there :thumbsup2

    The only thing I’ve heard in relation to BTMRR is it closing for a few days this August. You may cut it close for Jungle Cruise & IASW as they both close down in early January to remove the holiday stuff and reopen in early February at the latest. Splash Mountain traditionally closes in mid-January thru February for seasonal refurb/cleaning of the waterways. Also PotC did a big refurb Feb/March of this year, hopefully that isn’t something that will repeat for you. And in CA Grizzly River Run goes thru a similar refurb schedule to Splash so it may also be down.

    Whoop for the trip being officially on – looking forward to hearing your plans! :goodvibes
     

    PxyShan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2010
    Things have a way of working themselves out. Sounds wonderful because now you can make plans for two trips. When you get home from Disneyland you at least have another trip to look forward too. The withdrawals won't be as bad.
    Yes! After trip withdrawal - the struggle is real! This will be the first time in a long time I will know when I'm going back to the Mouse House after a trip. :)
     

    PxyShan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2010
    Huzzah for your first PTR! My kiddos were about your kiddos ages when we took our first family trip to DLR way back in 2005! Fun ages for the parks as far as really feeling that Disney magic.

    I’m with you on the uncertainty about the new FP system, at least the dust will have settled by the time my fam & your fam make it there. And I’m with your DH about not having the WDW-style Magic Express. But you are going at a good time of year as far as crowds go, no holidays or anything around that time-frame. The only downside is that the parks don’t stay open quite as late, especially during the week.

    Agreed on the $$ for staying on property, Good Neighbor hotels work just fine for down there :thumbsup2

    The only thing I’ve heard in relation to BTMRR is it closing for a few days this August. You may cut it close for Jungle Cruise & IASW as they both close down in early January to remove the holiday stuff and reopen in early February at the latest. Splash Mountain traditionally closes in mid-January thru February for seasonal refurb/cleaning of the waterways. Also PotC did a big refurb Feb/March of this year, hopefully that isn’t something that will repeat for you. And in CA Grizzly River Run goes thru a similar refurb schedule to Splash so it may also be down.

    Whoop for the trip being officially on – looking forward to hearing your plans! :goodvibes
    Thank you!
    Good points on all the other ride closures - I'll have to keep a close eye on those. Especially for Splash as it's my son's current favorite ride (though we'll have BTMRR and RSR too.) And I've never ridden IASW at DL, so that streak may continue if it's closed for the holiday takedown. Hmm.
    But I have to admit I'm actually a little excited for earlier park close times - we try to maintain close to normal bedtimes on vacation for the kids and it's a lot easier to do when the fireworks and park close aren't at 10 or 11 at night.
    You seem quite the DL vet, so I'm excited to hear any advice you may have for us!
     

    PxyShan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2010
    And the winner is...

    We looked over the options, crunched the numbers and we decided to book

    The Disneyland Hotel!

    I know, I know, a Harbor Blvd option would have been less expensive, but the prices were "reasonable" enough to go all out for my dream hotel. Plus once my DH saw the light up headboards, he was won over. Considering that our DS's middle name is Walt for Walt Disney, it seems like the right choice for our family to stay in a hotel with so many pieces and pictures of the man himself.

    So we'll fly out on Superbowl Sunday and fly home on February 9. We went a head and bought park hoppers for 5 days. Depending on our flight times we'll do a half day either on arrival or departure day, so we may get some time to walk around and explore Downtown Disney instead of just walking through it on our way to the parks.

    We are keeping an eye on airfare to try and get a good price. I'm fine with flying in and out of LAX, but DH is less enthused with that option and would prefer John Wayne since the ride to DL would be faster. He also wants to do the Resort Express, which may run only out of LAX, so I guess we still have some details to iron out for our travel.

    I know the kids will really like the pool at DL Hotel. And I would like to look into eating at Goofy's Kitchen since we'll be right there.
    But maybe I'll save the rest of my thoughts on dining and touring options for the next post.

    See ya real soon!
     
  • aussiejen

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2010
    Im Joining :wave2:

    Were coming from Australia and love reading everyones PTR, it helps me with my planning & different options. Im definately checking out all the onsite hotels this time round. This will be our 3rd trip to DL and i have never walked through the onsite hotels.
    My family will be in the DL 25th Jan 18 - 9th Feb 18....this is my first PTR

    WERE ALL SO EXCITED :mickeyjum:dumbo:

    Look forward to your PTR....especially with you having young ones ..
     
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    PxyShan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2010
    Im Joining :wave2:

    Were coming from Australia and love reading everyones PTR, it helps me with my planning & different options. Im definately checking out all the onsite hotels this time round. This will be our 3rd trip to DL and i have never walked through the onsite hotels.
    My family will be in the DL 25th Jan 18 - 9th Feb 18....this will be my first trip

    WERE ALL SO EXCITED :mickeyjum:dumbo:

    Look forward to your PTR....especially with you having young ones ..
    :welcome:Glad to have you!

    Wow, two weeks at Disneyland! That sounds like so much fun. Are you going to check out any of the other Southern California destinations while you're there?
    I've stayed at all three of the onsite DL hotels, and I would recommend at least a night or two in one if you can afford it just to have that Disney touch. I'm excited to hear more about your plans too!
     

    PxyShan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2010
    A related interruption...

    I'm taking a quick detour of the PTR to share the SUPER COOL exhibit we went to last weekend at our local Science Museum. I present to you...
    The Science Behind Pixar!
    It looks like Minnesota is the only place in the country with the exhibit right now (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada has one too). If it comes to your town I would recommend stopping by. It was pretty cool to see. It had a gift shop before you exit (of course!) with some stuff I've not seen before. Thankfully (or not) we're saving up for our DL vacation, otherwise I probably would have bought a lot of things there.

    Anyway, it's a pretty hands-on exhibit that takes you through the different stages of Pixar's animation process using examples from their movies. They have life size statues of a lot of the characters for photo ops, which was nice for my kiddos who I think were a little too young to get much out of it otherwise. My DS (5) liked some of the modeling displays, camera positioning, and rendering samples. He gravitated to the Cars portions, which is no surprise to us.

    You can get a good feel for what it all covers on their site - http://sciencebehindpixar.org/
    It even has the videos you can watch in the exhibit if you're really curious.

    I can't tell you how much fun it is to be driving though Minnesota roads and seeing Buzz and Mike Wazowski on giant billboards around town - I'll be sad when the exhibit is gone and it's back to the boring ones.
    I'll leave you with some pictures from our exploring. (Sorry about the poor quality - I only have my phone for pictures and there was very poor lighting in there, leaving very grainy pictures.)
    Here is DS and Buzz. (DS is in the phase where he won't smile normal for pictures. He's a goofy kid. :goofy:)
    Buzz.jpg

    DH and DS playing with the stop motion set up with a Luxo stand-in.
    Luxo.jpg

    The family at Paradise Falls. :love:
    Paradise Falls.jpg

    DS, DD and me at class at Monsters U. DD didn't trust them - she didn't like being so close with her back to them.
    Pixar Monsters.jpg

    DD with Wall*E - all she wanted to do was hold his hand. It was so sweet. (DS is aka Eva, so it was doubly sweet for me.)
    Wall.e.jpg

    DS was Wall*E for Halloween last year - I guess you could say we're big fans of the movie.
    Walle.jpg

    That's all I got while we were there.

    FYI, My busy season at work is officially here. :sad:
    I'll try my best to post regularly, but the reality is that I will be working 50+ hours a week until December so the DIS will fall down the priority ladder for a while.

    Just know that I haven't forgotten about you all and I'll be posting here and there as I can.

    See ya real soon!
     

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