November 2019 TR: First trip with the kids

noodle73

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Hello everyone! I’m Kelly, aka Noodle. Welcome to my first trip report!

MY DISNEY HISTORY:

I grew up in southern California and my family went to Disneyland a couple times a year until we moved away when I was 15. Crazy story: My brother WON a car on his 5th birthday during the 30th anniversary celebrations in 1985. I was younger so I don’t remember much about it except that I got to drive home in the car with my dad and was very impressed by the pop-up headlights. My favorite ride, then and now, is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

After we left California I went to DL once in college, and then after college I moved to Orlando for three years and discovered WDW. I was lucky enough to win an annual pass one year at my office Christmas party! My favorite ride was Expedition Everest. Before I moved away, I went to AK and did it ten times back to back through the single rider line.

Since then, DH and I went to WDW on our honeymoon in 2009, and we did one day at Disneyland in 2013 when I was newly pregnant with DD, and last November we did our first family trip with the kids.

IMG_9244.JPG

WHEN:
November 3-7, 2019. The kids’ birthdays are in late November so they were not quite 6 (DD) and 4 (DS).

TRAVEL:

We flew from Denver to John Wayne on Monday morning. Our flight arrived on time at 10 a.m. and we caught the 10:30 Disneyland Express. We were the only ones on it so we went straight to our hotel. We stayed at the Cortana Inn & Suites. Even though we arrived at 11 a.m. they let us into our room right away which was great because DS needed a nap. It was so nice having a completely separate room (with bunk beds) for the kids.

After DS woke up, we went to Downtown Disney. We met up with my BFF and her two kids who live in San Diego. The kids loved the World of Disney store and we spent a good hour at the LEGO store. They also loved all the fountains. We went to Black Tap for Crazy Shakes. DD has been obsessed with getting one since I went to the original Black Tap in NYC last year.

IMG_9296.JPG

DAY 1: CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

We decided to go to DCA on Tuesday because it was early entry at DL. Neither DH nor I had been before so we were excited to check it out, and most of the kids’ favorite movies are Pixar so we thought they’d like those rides the best too. The kids had bagels and fruit for breakfast from the free hotel buffet, and then we walked from our hotel to the Toy Story lot and took the shuttle up at 8:15. DH and I grabbed a coffee from Starbucks in DTD, and we entered the park around 8:40. (It opened at 9). We had MaxPass and I immediately made a reservation for Radiator Springs Racers at 9:40. We walked slowly up Buena Vista Street and headed to Cars Land at rope drop. Our first ride was Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree which was more fun that I anticipated! We did it again right away, and then we did Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, which was OK. Then we browsed around Cars Land until it was time for RSR. What a fun ride! Everyone loved it. We went through Luigi’s side.

IMG_9242.JPG

IMG_9250.JPG

Next, we walked over to Pixar Pier and did Jessie’s Carousel, the Pal-A-Round, and Inside Out. We did the swinging cars on the Pal-A-Round which were super fun! Then it was time for lunch. We picked up pretzels and beer from Bayside Brews and corn dogs from Corn Dog Castle. The jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel was delicious! After lunch we went on the Jumpin’ Jellyfish, and browsed through Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff. DH bought some taffy which is his favorite Disney treat.

IMG_9252.JPG

IMG_9246.JPG

Then we went on the Little Mermaid. It was about 1:30 by then and I had a FP for Soarin’, but when we got there the FP line was really backed up so we skipped it for ice cream at Clarabelle’s. Next, we went on Monsters, and then Mater’s again, and then it was time for our second FP on RSR. We went through Ramone’s side that time. We picked up some popcorn from the Cozy Cone and then we went to the 3 p.m. show of Frozen at the Hyperion, which was great! The effects are so neat, and it was nice to rest our feet for a while.

After the show DS wanted to go on the Pal-A-Round again so we did that then had dinner at Pacific Wharf. I had the bacon-cheddar ale soup in a bread bowl which was delicious. We thought the kids would be pretty much done by then but DD kept suggesting another ride and everyone was cheerful and having fun so we did the Little Mermaid again, the Golden Zephyr, the Silly Symphony Swings, Jessie’s again, and then it was time for a 6:45 FP to Soarin’ that I’d made earlier but didn’t think we’d get to.

IMG_9251.JPG

In total we did 18 rides! DD’s favorite ride was RSR. DS’s favorites were the Pal-A-Round and Soarin’. We passed a few characters throughout the day and asked the kids if they wanted to wait in the line to meet them, but they always said they wanted to do more rides. DH and I are very much all-about-the-rides people so we were glad the kids seem to be the same. I’ll do a show now and then – I loved Bear Country Jamboree! – as long as I can sit down. But mostly we like to do rides and more rides. I think the only TS meal I’ve ever done at DL is Blue Bayou in 2013. Growing up at DL that was always on my bucket list so it was fun to make it happen.

I’ll be back soon with Day 2!
 

noodle73

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
DAY 2: DISNEYLAND

The morning was pretty much the same as the day before. DH went to the free hotel buffet to get bagels and fruit for the kids. They ate and watched Disney Jr while DH and I got ready for the day. We walked to the TS lot and took the shuttle up, then got coffee from the Starbucks in DTD, entered the park at 8:40, and walked up Main Street. I thought we were pretty close to the front at rope drop but I guess we don’t walk fast enough because by the time we got the Peter Pan the line was backed up through the castle, so we went on Pinocchio, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the carousel, and Snow White. DD got to ride Jingles on the carousel! Both kids loved “driving” the cars in Mr. Toad.

IMG_9243.JPG

IMG_9245.JPG

Then, we walked over to Big Thunder Mountain. The stand-by wait was 10 minutes so we did it once on stand-by and then once on FP. Then we did Pirates, browsed through Pieces of Eight, walked through Tarzan’s Treehouse, and did the Jungle Cruise. Then we did Splash Mountain, which DS loved, but DD didn’t want to get wet (although we only got a few drops on us during the first ride) so DH and DS did Splash again while DD and I did Winnie-the Pooh.

IMG_9248.JPG

For lunch we went to the Hungry Bear. The loaded fries were great and we split a watermelon freeze. It was really peaceful towards the back of the 2nd floor seating with a view of the river. Then we hopped on the train around the park to Main Street and headed back to the hotel so the kids could nap. They both slept from 1:30-3:30, then we headed back to the park.

DD and I had a FP for the Matterhorn at 4 p.m. DS is just barely under the 42-inch limit so he went on the Teacups with DH, and then we all went on the Teacups again together. Then it was time for a FP at Hyperspace Mountain. I like the regular Space Mountain better than the Hyperspace version. (We are not really Star Wars fans). Since we were in Tomorrowland, we did the Finding Nemo Submarines, and then walked back to Fantasyland for dinner at the Red Rose Tavern. After dinner we had another FP for BTMRR and then went to the Gibson Girl Parlor for ice cream. Finally, we did Dumbo, Mr. Toad again, the Storybook Land Canal Boats, and the Teacups again. It was about 8 p.m. by then so we decided to call it a night. Our kids are NOT night owls so this was late for them!

IMG_9247.JPG

DD's favorite ride was BTMRR, and DS's was Splash. I think Mr. Toad was 2nd place for both.

On Thursday morning went to IHOP for breakfast and then caught the Disneyland Express back to the airport. DS was thrilled when the driver suggested he honk the horn.

IMG_9325.JPG

I heard that the DL Express service is being discontinued, and I can see why, since we were the only ones on it both ways. I know it’s faster and cheaper to do Uber but we can’t stand to fly with car seats. Do you people with small kids bring the car seats on the plane just for the Uber ride, or is there some other strategy I’m missing?

I wish we could have done Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, but the lines were always too long. (We didn’t want to wait more than 15 minutes for anything). We also didn’t make it to Toon Town or Tom Sawyer Island. Next time we’ll do three days with two days at DL, but one day at each park was enough for this trip. The kids were super exhausted and ready to go home. They were both SO grumpy all day on Thursday which made the travel really difficult and unpleasant at times.

Overall it was a fabulous trip. We had so much fun and made so many great memories. I am already planning our next trip… PTR to follow!
 


Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
So glad you had a great trip and that things worked out pretty well for you! Definitely make it to both Toon Town and Tom Sawyer next time. Kids that age usually love those! :)
 
  • noodle73

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2019
    So glad you had a great trip and that things worked out pretty well for you! Definitely make it to both Toon Town and Tom Sawyer next time. Kids that age usually love those! :)
    My brother and I had the best times on Tom Sawyer Island when we were kids! I was 12 when Toon Town opened so a little too old to really love it, but I know the kids will. We had planned to go there but they really needed the nap instead.
     

    rndmr2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2009
    Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a fun trip, you really saw and did a lot! We are planning our first DL trip for September and I am really excited. I have been scouring the boards and Trip reports in my research. I have been to WDW a bunch of times and DL in Paris this past November - actually just after your trip.(TR's below). It has been really cool to see what is the same (at least sort of the same) and what is different at each park. I think I am most looking forward to seeing CarsLand. We are still researching Hotels, how did you like the Cortana?
     
    Last edited:

    noodle73

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2019
    Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a fun trip, you really saw and did a lot! We are planning our first DL trip for September and I am really excited. I have been scouring the boards and Trip reports in my research. I have been to WDW a bunch of times and DL in Paris this past November - actually just after your trip.(TR's below). It has been really cool to see what is the same (at least sort of the same) and what is different at each park. I think I am most looking forward to seeing CarsLand. We are still researching Hotels, how did you like the Cortana?
    I would LOVE to go to DL Paris someday! Going to read your TR about it right now.

    The Cortana was fine. Nothing special and seemed a little... tired, but we didn't spend much time there and wasn't too pricy, so it worked. We are looking to stay someplace else for our next trip though because I thought the walk was too far even with the Toy Story shuttle. I really like having the two room suite though and that's harder to find.
     

    StarlitNight05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2016
    I would LOVE to go to DL Paris someday! Going to read your TR about it right now.

    The Cortana was fine. Nothing special and seemed a little... tired, but we didn't spend much time there and wasn't too pricy, so it worked. We are looking to stay someplace else for our next trip though because I thought the walk was too far even with the Toy Story shuttle. I really like having the two room suite though and that's harder to find.
    If you're looking for a two room suite I'd check out Desert Inn & Suites. It's also very basic, but great prices and it's right across the street.

    Grand Legacy also has some two room configurations, as I believe Hojos does. All are within reasonable walking distance (~10 minutes or less). I've also heard (from another TR) that Desert Palms has two room suites as well -- but that one is slightly further, I'd say 12-15 minutes or so?
     
  • noodle73

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2019
    If you're looking for a two room suite I'd check out Desert Inn & Suites. It's also very basic, but great prices and it's right across the street.

    Grand Legacy also has some two room configurations, as I believe Hojos does. All are within reasonable walking distance (~10 minutes or less). I've also heard (from another TR) that Desert Palms has two room suites as well -- but that one is slightly further, I'd say 12-15 minutes or so?
    Thanks for the hotel ideas - I will check them out for our next trip!
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates





    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.






    Top