Let's Book a Disneyland trip...that's 3 weeks away! (Halloween time!) COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by whitneyebz, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Hello all! I am not really new to this board, but I am mostly a lurker and really only come here when we have a trip planned (I need to change that!) I love to write, though, so I thought I'd start a PTR. First, I will introduce myself!

    I'm Whitney, age 33 and have loved Disney parks since my first (and only) trip to WDW when I was 14! (I turned 14 on that trip...I'll never forget it).


    upload_2018-9-27_16-44-4.png

    Okay, so that's me and my DD, age 9. It's not the greatest picture of me, but it's at Disneyland (well, our hotel). So background on me- I went to WDW when I was 14, as I mentioned. It was the only time my parents took us (they're not really Disney people). However, we moved to Paris a year later and I went to Disneyland Paris frequently! I was there when they opened their second park. At this point, it's still the park I've been to more than any other. I got married in 2004 and my husband and I went on a one day trip to Disneyland early on in our marriage (it was completely unplanned, we happened to be in CA). In 2012 we took our 2 oldest for the first time, and my husband was officially converted to a Disneyland fan! We have taken them a few times since then (about once a year) and have gone with some of DH's family, too, and now they are also huge Disneyland people. That's why we are even going on this trip (you'll see...)

    Oh, and we're from Phoenix. It's about a 6 hour drive (thanks to LA traffic...yuck...) but that's like a mini road trip for us. We take a lot of road trips. I love that Disneyland is close enough for a weekend trip, and just far away enough for it to feel like a fun vacation!

    Next, my husband, Adam!

    upload_2018-9-27_16-49-40.png

    He's 34 and loves the rides. It's alll about the rides. We have never sat down and watched a show because of this (yeah, that's changing this trip). And he only barely tolerates character pictures. But he is a big kid at heart and really enjoys being there!

    And the kids!! Here you go-

    upload_2018-9-27_16-52-55.png

    I had to crop this one because I don't know how else to make the files small enough! Our oldest, Odin, is 11. Ally is 9, Jude is 7, Eli is 4. They love Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Avengers, etc. Ally is not as into it, she is more a Descendants fan- sadly she kind of grew out of the princess phase but we all love the animated films too. My personal favorites are Tangled and Beauty and the Beast, and Mary Poppins.

    Alright, so that's my family. But, we are traveling with a big group!! I won't post their pictures for privacy reasons, but we are going with my husband's 2 sisters and their families, and my MIL and FIL. I am a bit nervous about how to navigate maxpass and all that with so many people.

    Alright, so here is how our trip came about!-

    We already knew one sister was going (I'll call her A) and her husband and our nephew. They had been wanting to go during the Christmas season, and we said there was just no way- we shouldn't be spending money on a Disneyland trip this year (well, we CAN but we are Dave Ramsey followers and are sticking to a budget). A couple weeks ago, they were talking about it again, and the subject of fall break came up...and it so happens that our nephew and our kids have a monday off that Dh's other sister's kids also have off (I'll call her J). J's kids have that entire week off...we get a 4 day weekend. Well, once they decided to go, we said we needed to go too! We've never gone with them!

    So, we frantically started looking at hotels and let me tell you, it was NOT easy to find a hotel that we liked for big families (2 of our families have 6 people each!) We really wanted walking distance, but that did not work out. We ended up with the Anaheim Majestic Garden, which we have stayed at before, and it has a free shuttle and was within our budget. Also, with the income I am making this month (I got a job this year and my money goes to extra stuff), and my husband making some extra next month, we should be able to do this without touching savings! We are only doing 2 days this time (I know, not enough!!) but it's better than nothing.

    Did I mention the trip was 3 weeks away from when we booked it? Yep, it's just over a week away now. I have never booked a Disneyland trip this close. I am a total planner.

    I got our park tickets from LMT, and will head to target tomorrow and grab some gift cards there (5% off with my redcard). Those will be for food in the parks. The kids have their own money for souvenirs.

    Okay I think that's it for now! My next post will probably be just before we leave, and I will include some pictures of the few things I bought for the kids (and me!) to wear. Mostly just accessories...I am being frugal and wearing t shirts from my last couple trips, and DD will wear her lularoe Disney stuff (I sold mine, but I have some other shirts I got on etsy and a local t shirt shop).

    Thanks for reading! Now I should try to figure out how to make a signature...
     
    Jaina and AuntieMe3 like this.
  2. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    7,074
    But, you are walking distance (!), just not on the Harbor side of the parks. :) Don't forget that you'll be about a 10 minute or so walk (maybe a little less?) to M&F where you can go right through bag check (usually short/very short lines) and hop on the tram! Exit your hotel, cross Ball Rd. going south on Disneyland Dr., cross at Magic Way (the next light) heading west, enter the path to M&F that is right there on that corner! So you can still walk from your hotel or you can take the hotel shuttle. Personally, if everyone is up to it, I would walk to M&F. The bag check there is consistently quicker than the Harbor bag check (which can be quick or can be very backed up). Even if the lines look long at M&F, they move fast.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. Jaina

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

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    I'm excited for your trip, and that you're doing TR! And if you struggle with pic sizes, I just got a free account on imgur (when Photobucket became evil) and you can set the "auto resize" on the right before you upload (you just have to set it once each time you start uploading). I usually set mine to "message boards" or 15-inch-monitor to keep the file sizes down. Then you just click on the picture, and hit copy next to BBCode (message boards & forums) and then paste it into where you are writing. Let me know if you have any questions about that, if you want to go that route!
     
  5. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    That’s awesome!! I’ll show this to my husband. I guess I had it in my mind that you can only walk from the hotels on Harbor. Love the idea of a quicker bag check!
     
  6. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Thanks!! Yes I’ll check that out. I used to use photo bucket...how sad that we can’t anymore :(

    I love your trip reports, btw!
     
    Jaina likes this.
  7. Jaina

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

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    Thanks! I was especially sad that all of my trip reports from previous years no longer functioned, thanks to Photobucket. I had to go back through and re do all the pictures, and it was a pain!
     
  8. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Alright, so I am going to write up some of our plans! We really don't have many (which is crazy, I am such a planner I get anxiety just thinking about it!)

    We will drive from Phoenix on a Sunday (about 5-6 hours, my husband is a pretty fast driver. We'll see if he will be willing to drive at the same pace as the other 3 cars, lol!!) We will leave around 9-10am, which is a nice change from grabbing our kids from school on a Wednesday and getting in at midnight (which is what we've done in the past). We should arrive around 4. That's enough time to settle in and then walk around Downtown Disney. I want some actual decent time to look in the shops for once, and not be rushed. I am thinking Earl of Sandwich, but the rest of the group will want a sit down restaurant, I'm sure. And that's fine, but Rainforest Cafe is gone and I am not sure where else I want to eat there! Suggestions welcome.

    Both parks open at 8am both days we are there (is this a Halloween time thing?? We usually go during the week in Jan/Feb!) I would LOVE to get there at park opening, and it's definitely possible...for me. I already get up super early (I teach English online to kids in China). My kids don't get up early. My husband doesn't either. They're up at 7 for work/school but not willingly! On weekends we all sleep in, but I am so used to early hours that I can easily get up at 6:30 and be at the gates by 7:30 (we're fast). So...I am optimistic that I can make my husband and kids do this. But, I cannot make any of the inlaws do this. And they won't want to. Which is fine, because they can join us later...but will this mess up maxpass times? We want to coordinate and go on rides together. All the kids can ride almost everything (except Indiana Jones and Incredicoaster- man it feels weird to call it that). My youngest is about 42 inches, and one of my nephews is less than 48 inches, I think. So, no real need for rider switch! Unfortunately I doubt we will have time to all get together and make any plans!!

    Places I want to eat-
    Rancho Del Zocalo (a personal favorite)
    Smokejumpers Grill (or whatever it's called, by Soarin)- last time we all loved it.
    Beignets, dole whips, a mickey pretzel!
    Snacks at the Cozy Cone

    Other than that, I am flexible. We won't likely do any sit down meals, and we don't do character meals at all (I'm not opposed to them, but no one has a strong desire to do them).

    I want to see Fantasmic and the Paint the Night Parade.

    If we can meet the Incredibles, that would be a dream come true. Dh and I are HUGE fans! We are still scheming to dress like them for Halloween one year, but we have an extra kid.

    I bought 2 of my boys wallets today, since they were the only ones who don't have any- Star Wars and Avengers. I gave DD some Mickey head earrings I got on etsy, and she is thrilled! She's the only one who knows we are going, but she doesn't know when. I gave the boys their wallets but haven't told them what they're for. I also got some hydration packs since we want to skip water bottles this time, and that also means the kids can have a place for their wallets. Since we won't have a stroller (first time ever!!) I am not sure what to do about souvenirs. Buy them at the end?? I don't know. I'll have my trusty crossbody bag I bought from Thirtyone years ago. It can be wiped clean and hasn't failed me yet (and it's not huge!)

    Alright, that's it for now!
     
    Jaina likes this.
  9. Jaina

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

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    Earl of Sandwich is also currently closed. :P There were some good options at the Jazz Kitchen Express and La Brea Bakery Cafe Express. And I saw Mr. Incredible meeting between the Incredicoaster and TSMM Monday. It is rough to go without a stroller when you're used to having it to hold your non-valuables, haha! We take pictures of the things they're interested in buying, and then we buy them at the end of the day.
     
  10. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Yes, I did know it was closed but my friend (a local AP) told me it is opening again on Oct 1!! So it will be open when we go. And thanks for the tip on the Incredibles! That's my main character-meet goal.
     
    Jaina likes this.
  11. Jaina

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

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    That’s great! I hadn’t seen that date, and didn’t know it was so soon! :-)
     
  12. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    I'm still here, I promise! We leave for Disneyland in 3 days. My husband is going on an overnight hunting trip 2 nights before we leave...sigh...he will be back Saturday night, but it still stresses me out!

    So, we were trying to surprise our kids, since we hadn't even decided to go until about 3 weeks ago, lol, but our daughter heard us talking about it, so she has known the whole time. And then our nephew told her when we are going...really??? We wanted to at least keep that a surprise. I asked my husband if we could just tell the boys, since she already knows, and he said no, let's wait until Saturday. Unfortunately, we had a church thing last night and our other nephew said something to my 7 year old, and then he told his friend, and that friend told my 11 year old. I think maybe the 4 year old still doesn't know:rolleyes:. So much for the surprise! Funny thing is, I told my 11 year old that he won't be in school Tuesday so he needs to turn in a thing that is due that day, and he still asked why he won't be in school. I don't know kid, I don't know. :rolleyes1

    The teachers have been notified of absences, things we need are ordered and here, but that's about it. We still don't have a plan for anything. My sister in law suggested eating at the bowling place and going bowling the first night at Downtown Disney...but no thanks. I'll go shopping, you guys have fun. (I don't want to spend a fortune on an activity I'm not there for, lol!) And I'd rather eat at Naples or Tortilla Joe's or something. JAzz Kitchen is not my kind of food (except beignets, but I'll get those in New Orleans Square).

    Guys, I am starting to really worry about the crowds. We always go when it's lower crowds (like 5/10) but I'm seeing 9/10 for crowd predictions!! We might as well have gone on a weekend! Either way, though, we will have a blast I'm sure. I mean, it's Disneyland! pixiedust:
     
    Jaina likes this.
  13. Jaina

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

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    I am so excited for your trip to happen! I hope the crowds aren’t too bad, and you’ll have to give me all your tips for managing them if they are. It will be great even if it’s busy! Sorry it doesn’t really get to be that much surprise for your kids. Isn’t that how things usually go?
     
  14. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Yes, lol, but I am really ok with it! It's not their first trip, and we go every year so we can always surprise them next time! When we do WDW in a few years, it'll be a one-time thing, so I for sure want to make it a BIG surprise.
     
    Jaina likes this.
  15. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    990
    Can't wait to hear about your trip. I grew up in Florida and have gone to WDW since it opened. We have 3 older kids and took them and then we have our youngest daughter who has had season passes her entire 16 years of life. We love Disney and all things Disney. This past summer we took our first trip ever to Disneyland. We loved it, I mean loved it!!! So much so we made a whirlwind weekend last month for Abbey's 16th birthday trip. You will have a great time. We do last minute trips all the time to WDW. Sometimes, they are the best ones!!!! Have fun and can't wait to hear all about it.
     
  16. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Oh it always makes me happy when WDW love Disneyland! I know it’s not as grand, but it’s awesome. WDW was my first Disney Park, but it was the only time I went...just after animal kingdom opened! I have great memories of it. Already researching hotels for our future trip (still at least 3 years away, lol!)

    Okay so we are on the road! Almost there, in fact. An easy 6ish hour drive. The weather is amazing (it was rainy and cool in Phoenix which was nice too!) I’m feeling a little queasy though, which sometimes happens on road trips. I’ll come back when the trip is over to do my report!
     
    Jaina likes this.
  17. Jaina

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

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    Yay! So awesome that you are on your way! And yes, the weather here is DIVINE today! I hope you have great weather for your visit there too! Actually my only visit to WDW was also shortly after Animal Kingdom opened, in 1998, when I was 15! I'd love to go with just my husband someday. I have no interest in taking my kids. Flights would be so expensive, and frankly, the level of planning ahead needed for WDW is overwhelming to me!
     
  18. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    What? No way! I went in November that year...crazy how we were both there and about the same age :) We will definitely do it, but the main issue is honestly plane tickets. We won't do 10 days or whatever some people do, probably just 5. I wish they had maxpass there...the whole booking your fastpasses months in advance just seems dumb to me.
     
    Jaina likes this.
  19. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    :DWe got back last night! We slept in and left the hotel around 10 and got back at 5. Just enough time for me to go get groceries before getting the kids dinner and to bed early!

    You guys, the trip was awesome!!! Weather was perfect (if a bit warmer than I'd like, but not hot, thankfully!) and crowds were higher than I'm used to, but maxpass made things go smoothly. I must be getting old, though, because by the end of day 2 I was glad we weren't doing our usual 3 days. Also, I wore new shoes (whoops!) and had a blister on one of my toes so that made it hard. My feet were killing me!

    Okay, here are some thoughts before I start the actual trip report (hopefully later today!!):

    1. Get Maxpass. Just do it. I don't care if you are going for 1 day or 5, it's so worth it. It's expensive for our family because there are 6 of us, but for 2 days it was essential.
    2. Columbus Day was nuts. I still wouldn't use extreme words like "insane" or "so packed I couldn't move"- because that's just not true. But the crowds were higher than we'd ever seen. Only because we usually go in Jan/Feb when it's slower. But we were mentally prepared for a busy day and it was still awesome.
    3. I really do love the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel...the only downside is it's not walkable. But their free shuttle service was amazing. It's much nicer than the motels near the entrance. Our kids love that it looks like a castle! And the fireworks view from the pool is fantastic.
    4. Like I said before, I think 3 days would have been too much for me this time. Two days was perfect, and we got almost everything done- I would for sure do 3 days again, but would maybe consider taking a break in the afternoon (which we never, ever do). It would have been nice to watch some shows, meet characters, etc.
    5. Yeah, we didn't see any shows. I wanted to...but...we were with a group of 17 and it was really difficult to organize anything like that. I suppose we could have gone off on our own but my husband isn't into shows. If we had had 3 days, I would have insisted. But there were more important things on our agenda. I did see some glimpses of Paint the Night, which looks like a fun parade, but I think I'd enjoy Fantasmic more, or on of those royal theatre shows like Tangled.
    6. I love photopass pictures! I wish we would have done more! Again, a 3rd day would have been great for things like that. But we did get a few and I have all my ride photos.
    7. MOBILE ORDERING!!! We didn't try it until the 2nd day and I am hooked. We joked that next, they'll be delivering food while you wait in line for a ride.:D
    8. Shopping- another thing I wanted more time for. My oldest only ended up with one souvenir (they brought their own money) because he was so indecisive and we only had so much time!

    Okay, those are some of my thoughts and next up, will be arrival day!!!
     
    AuntieMe3 and SeiterClan like this.
  20. Jaina

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

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    Yay! I'm excited your trip went well, even though it sounds like it was a super busy weekend! And I can hardly even imagine a group of 17 trying to coordinate things!
     
  21. whitneyebz

    whitneyebz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Guys I am having technical difficulties. I can't remember how to upload photos! And I tried copy and pasting and it won't let me. Ugh. I think I might have to do a photo hosting website. But please stand by I will figure something out!
     

Share This Page