"I Think I Might Be a Disneyland Person!" - Feb. 2016 ~ Updated 10/21: A Fortunate Find

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Dugette, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. Dugette

    Dugette DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2009
    Hi, everybody! :wave2: I am SOOOO excited to finally start this Trip Report! :hyper: (I’ve been waiting about 16 months to do so, as I finished up prior reports.) As some of you may know, we are a family of Disney World veterans, but had the opportunity to tack a Disneyland trip onto my husband's work retreat in Palm Springs, CA. We had a fantastic time, as you may gather from the title, and we are pretty much dying to go back (but, alas, too many other travel plans to squeeze it in at the moment :sad2:).

    Who are we?

    I’m “Dugette”, married to “Dug” since 2005, and our daughter Izzy was born in late 2012, so was 3 years old on this February 2016 adventure. Here we are at arrival:


    She was a little grumpy in that one, as she wanted to get into the park and not waste time taking pictures :laughing:, so here are a few happier ones:




    As background, Dug and I had each been to Disneyland twice before. I went as a teenager, along with my dad and step-mom, for one day:


    Dug went as a kid with his uncle and distinctly remembers falling asleep in his pizza at the end of their day there. :lmao:Then, back in 2006, we had an opportunity to go for another day with Dug’s sister and her husband (“Kay” and “Jay”, if you read my recent Hawaii TR), as they were living out in Burbank at the time. Here we are, about a decade younger:


    We had a great time back then, despite the cold day, and pretty much covered the entire park commando-style as Kay and Jay knew their way around and were great guides. :thumbsup2

    So, with that experience behind me, why did I utter the title of this report, “I think I might be a Disneyland person!” during this trip? :confused3 A few reasons, I think:

    1.) No need to waste time in transport! Just walk right over to a park, even from our offsite hotel. I hate wasting time. This was SOOOO nice. And easy to run back to the room. And park-hopping was amazing too. And the lower amount of walking in general was so much better for Dug’s bad back. And no folding up the stroller to get on the bus over and over! This was all BIG to me. ::yes::

    2.) So many novel things. After making oodles of trips to WDW, it was super fun to experience some new/different attractions and, in a way, it felt like the first time all over again. I think this was a major factor for me as well – I was giddy about the new stuff, like Cars Land. I still am, actually. :hyper:

    3.) The old-fashioned Fast Pass system worked out pretty favorably for us, along with the Rider Swaps since we had a less-than-40-incher. We covered a lot of attractions with very few long-ish waits. And I also considered naming this report, “Floor Full of Fast Passes”. :rolleyes1

    4.) The weather! No daily thunderstorms or unbearable humidity. It actually was unseasonably hot part of the time we were there, but it didn’t feel bad at all. :cloud9:

    I think there were a few other factors that came into play (like great food options), but those are the main things that really stood out to me. I find myself REALLY wanting to go back now because Izzy wasn’t 40 inches yet on this trip, but is over that now and could do Radiator Springs Racers. :car: And she is much more interested in the Avengers version of Tower of Terror than the WDW one that scared her. And I’d love to get back while the cheap offsite hotels still have quick park access, as I hear that may change with an impending parking structure. :sad1: Dug does have more work things coming in southern California, though, so if I manage to get an extra $2k or so to fall into my lap pixiedust:, I’d love to return. So would Izzy. And Mommy wants to make her kid’s dream come true. :flower:Hoping that writing this report will help cure some of the I-want-to-jump-on-a-plane-to-Disneyland-right-now fever, as I get to relive the fun we had.

    But, don’t worry, we still consider WDW our Disney “home.” We’re going back there in October, actually (and have Annual Passes). But we definitely want to return to Disneyland, as I guess it’s now our home-away-from-“home”. And, of course, it’s special to be in the place where all the magic began. :smickey:

    And, with that, let’s begin the magic…

    Chapter Links
    Day 1 - Friday, February 5th

    Flying Towards the Fun
    Where's the Bubble?

    Earl of Sandwich
    The Original Main Street
    Crossing the Park
    So Much Fried Food!
    Late Night Adventures

    Day 2 - Saturday, February 6th
    Breakfast with Critters - Part 1
    Breakfast with Critters - Part 2
    Dancing with Daisy
    Being Bugs
    Monsters, Bugs, and a Tower
    Going Hollywood
    Ariel's Grotto
    A Princess Processional

    Racing to Dinner
    Cars Land at Night
    This is the Night

    Day 3 - Sunday, February 7th
    Exploring Toontown - Part 1

    Exploring Toontown - Part 2
    Visiting Minnie in the Garden
    Visiting all the Toon Houses
    Cheering Eeyore and Tiny Towns
    Awkwardly Visiting Trader Sam's
    Fantasyland Fun!
    Another Magical Evening

    Day 4 - Monday, February 8th
    Toy Story Stampede - DL Version
    Woody and/or Jessie

    Dining at Blue Bayou
    Paint the Night

    Day 5 - Tuesday, February 9th
    Morning Magic
    Breakfast at Minnie's
    More Fun Visitors - Part 1
    More Fun Visitors - Part 2
    Dole Whip and More
    From the Castle to Wonderland
    Life Could be a Dream
    A Fortunate Find

    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  2. Dugette

    Dugette DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2009
    Flying Towards the Fun

    I mentioned in the introduction that Dug had a work retreat in Palm Springs that we’d tacked this trip onto. So, he was already in California when Izzy and I were getting ready to go. We timed it so that we’d arrive the day his event ended, so he could drive up from Palm Springs, pick us up at the airport (John Wayne), then we could have a relaxed afternoon/evening together at Disneyland (on a "3" crowd day :woohoo:). So, he has lovely pictures like this of the evening before our travel day:






    Meanwhile, I was home alone with Izzy all week (well, I was going to work and her to daycare, but you know what I mean). The week actually went pretty well and I was feeling fairly good the night before our morning flight out. I’d finished packing and even cleaned the house decently. :cool1: I put Izzy to bed and she wasn’t happy about it, but I think it was normal for her at the time to cry a bit :sad:, then fall asleep. So, I went and took a shower before bed and came out to find she was still wailing. :sad2: Because I am nothing if not a detailed Trip Reporter:rotfl:, I have video (okay, I actually took it to send to Dug for some sympathy :upsidedow):

    [​IMG](click to watch if you enjoy tantrums :rotfl2:)

    I tried to tune it out, as I knew she was okay and just needed to sleep, but after a while, she was still going strong and it was approaching 11pm. :earseek: So, I went in for negotiations. :rotfl:It turns out that she desperately wanted to play with her little “letter computer” toy. I cut her a deal of two minutes of play and then she had to go to sleep. Thankfully, it worked! :thumbsup2

    I was awake around 6am the next morning. Checked the forecast for our trip and it looked about perfect (though actually got over 90, I’m pretty sure):


    Note the warning about a Wind Advisory. This comes up later. :rolleyes1

    I got myself ready and woke Izzy about 6:45am. She was very sleepy, not a surprise given the night prior :rolleyes: :


    I got her up and we did one of her favorite things, which is dressing like “twins”. We actually did this the other day, as she has enacted “Stripe Day” around here, at her whim. :rotfl: So, we both had our black and white striped shirts on today:


    As you can see, I think she got distracted by her toys and was generally hard to move along, but we did eventually get in the car:


    I had her lightweight travel car seat tossed in there and she is in the regular car seat, in case you’re wondering what that thing is.

    We left about 10-15 minutes behind schedule, but I wasn’t too concerned, as I had a buffer built into my timeline. :idea: Unfortunately, that buffer got eaten up when I hit unexpectedly heavy traffic on the way to Kay and Jay’s house :headache: (parking there and getting ride to nearby airport). I tried to exit and get around the worst of the back-up, but made a wrong turn and my GPS kept trying to get me to go the wrong way and there was a bunch of construction that blocked left turns toward their house, so we wasted a lot of time to basically end up where we started in traffic. Ugh. :sad2:

    When we did get to their house, Kay hopped into our car with plans to drive it back home from the airport to stay in their driveway until we returned. Love that they always do this for us! She mentioned that she had a work trip to LA that almost lined up with ours, but not quite (I think it was right after ours?) Would have been fun to spend time with them at Disneyland again. :goodvibes

    We had gotten our tickets free with miles from our Flexperks cards and the flights were on Delta. The nice thing about that is we also have Delta AmEx cards that give you one free checked bag for each person in your party just for having the card. And Flexperks gives you a $25 credit per ticket for any flight-day purchases from the airline. So, since we don’t have to pay for bags, we use the credit for in-flight snacks. (Dug’s company paid for his flights, thanks to his work retreat.) The FlexPerks card also gave me free wifi. :teacher: :thumbsup2

    Anyway, we arrived at the airport and Kay dropped us off. I checked in with the skycap and got our two checked bags taken care of before heading inside. I had also lucked out and gotten TSA pre-check on my ticket (this was prior to us getting Global Entry). For once, security was easy and friendly, even giving Izzy an honorary TSA sticker:


    We made a quick stop at the La Brea Bakery because it didn’t have a line and had milk. Once we obtained Izzy’s beverage of choice for the flight, we made it to our gate and took a seat, waiting for boarding to start.

    And that was when I got the second text on this screenshot, telling us we’d been delayed 45 minutes:


    The nice thing is that this 45 minute delay on the front end was only expected to delay our arrival by 20 minutes, so that was reasonable.

    It also gave us time to eat our breakfast before boarding. I’d gotten some free bagels with some promo that Bruegger’s had the prior day, so I brought them with:


    Yum! This was such a relaxed airport experience compared to what I’ve come to expect. Everything went smoothly, we had plenty of time, etc. :cloud9:

    A peek back at our gate area:


    We made a quick potty run before boarding time, then went up to the desk to get a gate check tag for the stroller. Izzy insisted on wearing her own backpack this flight, which was helpful:


    Because we were on Delta and had a car seat we intended to use on the plane, we were able to pre-board, which is always nice. And, with Izzy carrying her backpack, I only had to carry my small bag, the lightweight car seat, and the bagged stroller down to the plane. We dropped off the stroller, got on, and got the car seat secured. It was about 10am at this point (MN time):


    Well, now that I see the screen shot above, I am realizing how much I don’t miss my old iPhone 5 – the battery power would just randomly jump down to near-depleted. :earseek: Thank goodness I inherited Dug’s 6 Plus now. (I must have used a portable charger on the plane for that old phone.)

    Dug was apparently enjoying a morning walk in Palm Springs at this time:




    While he wandered, we got comfortable on the plane, waiting to depart. Izzy enjoyed some milk from her Thermos. I got her set up with the iPad and headphones as well:



    As you can see, Purple Minnie joined us for this trip too (she got to go to Hawaii the previous month as well).

    While we were waiting for our delayed flight to get going, Dug got a ride over to the Palm Springs airport’s car rental counter and picked up our 1-day reservation from Alamo. He would be driving up to John Wayne Airport to pick us up when we eventually landed. We took off about 10:30am, but still had an 11:50am planned arrival, so not enough of an issue to cause Dug any logistical problems in picking us up.

    Since we had that $25/each FlexPerks credit to use, we cashed in $16 of it for some snacks now with plans to save the remainder for the return flight (that Dug would be on with us). We got a fruit and cheese tray:


    Someone couldn’t wait to dig their little fingers in, I guess. :rotfl2: Oh, you can see it better here:


    We also got a snack box that we packed away for later. And I enjoyed a free can of Diet Coke. :drinking1

    While we were enjoying this:


    Dug was checking the rental car for any scratches and such:


    When I first saw that picture, I thought he was just doing some sort of creative shot. :artist: :laughing:

    Once Dug got on his way, he stopped off at Target for some supplies we wanted for the week and some cash (love that you can pay with the Target Debit Card and get cash back – I cannot remember the last time I had to use an ATM):



    Nice to see the pretty scenery in the background.

    Looks like I pulled out something for Izzy to do:


    Overall, we had a really pleasant flight. Izzy was well-behaved and fairly low maintenance. We had a friendly guy next to us who didn’t mind at all when we had to get past him to take a restroom break (and I think he might have been going to Disneyland too). I even got to read our Unofficial Guide to Disneyland:


    Almost there:



    It was indeed VERY windy as we got into the LA area (remember that Wind Advisory?) The guy next to me commented, as the plane bopped around, that this was our “first ride” and I responded that it was wilder than anything at Disney. I don’t love flying, but I’ve done it enough to stay calm even though I am somewhat terrified, so that’s what I did. I was definitely worried about a rough landing, though. And, though it was nerve-wracking still being tossed around in the wind as we descended, we did land safely. Whew!

    We waited until the plane cleared out before departing. I find that removing the car seat and then lugging all those things down the aisle while coaching a toddler on where to go is easier without an impatient line behind us. Once we got off the plane, our stroller was waiting for us (another reason we didn’t need to rush off – just to wait for it to appear). Izzy carried her own backpack again:


    We got the stroller set up and tossed all our things in it (Izzy wanted to keep walking). Made our way down to the baggage claim:


    I grabbed the checked bags (luckily, both were easy to roll together with one hand) and we went out to meet Dug, who had arrived to pick us up. It was crowded out there, so we had to walk down a bit to get to a spot he could pull over. Then we hopped in (well, installed the car seat and loaded the bags too) and hit the road:


    It was strange for me to be the passenger. I almost always drive when we are together, but he was already behind the wheel and Alamo only had his license on file, so we let it be :drive::


    Don’t worry, Izzy was back there somewhere. :rotfl:I think we had some sort of SUV because it was actually the cheapest option.

    I was loving seeing the snow-capped mountains in the distance:


    Up next: We arrive at the hotel! And head to Downtown Disney for lunch! :cool1:
    DLo, soniam and MeghanEmily like this.
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  4. MeghanEmily

    MeghanEmily DIS Veteran

    Apr 21, 2016
    I'm here! I'm excited to see how your trip to DL went and to experience why you loved it so much. We'd love to get to DL sometime within the next few years :)
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  5. annie170

    annie170 DIS Veteran

    Jun 21, 2013
    Thanks for the heads up! Looking forward to reading about your trip.

    The more Disneyland trip reports I read, the more I want to go!
  6. jessrose18

    jessrose18 ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!!

    Apr 13, 2007
    yes! following.. never been to disneyland. been to the world 15 times. love to see the differences
  7. Verstehen

    Verstehen I break for the Nautilus

    Jul 4, 2008
    Long time lurker, first time responder! I'm so glad I found this at the start. Joining in!
  8. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

    Nov 6, 2010
    I'm here! Excited to read about Disneyland.
    Not taking into account the hectic drive to the airport, it seemed like your departure day was pretty smooth. Your ease at lugging the car seat and stroller through security with a toddler was impressive. I can only hope to be that calm when I travel back to the states. :rotfl2:
  9. purplelover88

    purplelover88 Mouseketeer

    Aug 6, 2014
    I'm here and can't wait to read about Disneyland as we plan to head out there next year for a change of pace from our many trips to Disney World. I hear a lot of people that like it more and I'm sort of worried I will too but we have to fly there and can drive to World so it will be interesting to compare the two.
  10. tac08

    tac08 Earning My Ears

    Mar 19, 2015
    Lurker here who's followed your WDW trip reports. I can't wait to read about your Disneyland trip. I live in AZ, so we go to Disneyland almost yearly, and I've only been to WDW twice (although my third trip is already planned for October!).
  11. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2008
    Here to follow along - got a bit worried by the title that you meant you would be fully converting to Disneyland and not be doing Walt Disney World any more, but then saw your line "But, don’t worry, we still consider WDW our Disney “home.” We’re going back there in October, actually (and have Annual Passes). But we definitely want to return to Disneyland" I think that is how I felt after our Disneyland trip - it confirmed that WDW is our home, but I would be up for another trip to Disneyland .... and actually thinking about one for 2019 connected tot he D23 event as I suspect there will be a bunch of things related to Star Wars Land at that point.

    You always do so good maximizing your credit card benefits and coupons and stuff!

    Seems like a really smooth flight - and definitely smart to just let everyone else clear out before you get off the plane with the car seat, etc.

    good planning to have Dug pick you up at the airport like that - glad things worked out well ... and good to know that Izzy, was in fact, in the back seat of the car ;)
  12. Tracy161

    Tracy161 DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2006
    I'm here, I'm here! Happy to be starting a TR with you, rather than catching up on one! :laughing:

    It really is, isn't it?! :lovestruc

    Stripe Day?! I'm on board! At least half of my non-Disney wardrobe consists of stripes! :rotfl:

    Oh, is that all?! ;) But in all honesty, that's really good! I know how much my sister and brother-in-law travel with with their kids and I would say you were traveling lightly!


    Not your first rodeo, is it? ;) That would be my strategy as well - better to avoid the impatient masses.

    Great start and I'm so happy to be along for another Dugette TR! :goodvibes
  13. shairpdrh

    shairpdrh Mouseketeer

    Aug 7, 2014
    Former trip report lurker and fellow Minnesotan joining in! Your daughter is a few years older than ours, so I love reading your reports to learn more about traveling with a little one.
  14. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

    Apr 23, 2010
    Looking forward to reading about your Disneyland experience! I totally agree with you about how when you go, you just become a Disneyland person even if you're a Disney World "native." :rotfl2: Your points about how close things are and how it is the original just ring true to me in so many ways. It feels so familiar, yet so very different.

    It looks like things are off to a pretty good start. Izzy seems to be a really good travel companion. Getting through the airports and on the plane could be so much harder.
  15. soniam

    soniam Wooden leg named Smith...

    Jun 22, 2012
    Ah, flying with a toddler. I don't miss that. Luckily, since my son was born before Izzy, we weren't always required to have a car seat for plane travel. So we didn't do it all the time. Can't wait to hear more. We have been once and are planning on going back next summer for a few days before we go to Aulani.
  16. cindianne320

    cindianne320 DIS Veteran

    Oct 27, 2010
    Here and ready to learn!
  17. StarWarsMomofGirls!

    StarWarsMomofGirls! DIS Veteran

    Oct 16, 2015
    I love the matching shirts! Glad you had a smooth flight. Flying by yourself.
  18. schmass

    schmass DIS Veteran

    Dec 31, 2007
    I'm here! I think I still need to finish reading your Hawaii TR, too! I've been to DL once but loved it for all the reasons that you mentioned. Plus, the DL Space Mountain is 100 times better than the WDW version.

    Nice that you have a relatively short flight to get there. It's such a long flight for us from Boston.

    I'm glad that Izzy was a good travel companion and that you had a relaxed airport experience!
  19. Frozen2014

    Frozen2014 DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2014
    Great report so far. Your little girl is so sweet.
  20. Jackiemarie21

    Jackiemarie21 DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2012
    So excited to read this one! Sounds like a great start! We spent one day there in 2005 and lived it. We are planning to some day drive across country to Disneyland and check out the west. Or course not while our kids are this young!
  21. Dugette

    Dugette DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2009
    :welcome: I can't wait to share all the experiences with everyone. I keep on trying to come up with ways I can get back there soon for cheap. Hope you get out there as well!

    Haha, that's the problem with trip reports in general, isn't it? I mean, I was looking for information about the Wonder before we sailed on it to the Bahamas last February and looked for TRs...and they were all from its Alaskan voyages...so I read some and now I'm dying to go! :rotfl:

    You made me count - I've got 16 WDW trips, 3 DLR, 2 Aulani, 2 Disney Cruise. :teacher: I've loved all of them and still consider WDW "the" place to go, but DLR is really pulling on my heart right now. I want to go back so badly!

    :welcome: Thank you for joining in! I was a huge lurker here before I decided to jump in, but glad I did!

    Ha, well, I've had a little practice now. For a 4 year old, Izzy's done a LOT of flying. (Hmmm, another opportunity to count things. :teacher: 6 FL, 1 CA, 2 Hawaii, 2 Portland, 1 NYC = 12 flights! :eek:) I'm sure you'll do a great job! I mean, when your first ever flight is moving to Germany and bringing your dog and 2 young kids on the flight...well, it can only get easier from there. :rotfl:

    Ah, yes, that would be challenging to have that travel discrepancy. For us, they both require a flight (or a major road trip) and both are approximately 3.25-4 hour flights. I will say that Disneyland doesn't have Epcot which is a big deal to me, but I really, really loved what they do have there. :thumbsup2

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