TR With Photos! A Very Magical Minnie Christmas 2017

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Canadian Harmony, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    I have finally uploaded all my photos to Facebook and made the album public, so with luck you should all be able to see the photos. If you can't, please let me know and I'll try to find a different (and free) webhost.

    So, setting the scene a bit: I had managed to use my Airmiles to get two 5 Day Park Hoppers, but they were expiring on the 13th of January, 2018, and although I know that we could still use them and pay the difference in ticket price after that date, I wanted to use them prior to expiry. I had originally planned on taking the kids with me for a week in July, but DH was worried about me traveling alone with the kids - two girls ages 11 and 13. I saw his point as DD11 is impulsive and would be the most likely to bolt away on me.

    So I said, "How's Christmas for you?" and he sighed and agreed that we could go there for Christmas! I immediately began planning! Airplane tickets through Delta were purchased end July and after that, I was concentrating on saving up enough Airmiles for one more 5DPH and then purchase the last one before we left.

    Procrastination paid off, as the Canadian Resident offer came out in the fall, so that worked to our advantage, as well as Disney Gift Cards being available outside of a Disney store across Canada, so in October I dropped a bunch of money on the gift cards at Canadian Tire and managed to get Canadian Tire money for them too (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's like a 2% cash-back on purchases in that store which can only be used there. After a year of saving up, you can usually get some good stocking stuffers or something cool for the gear-head or camper in the family).

    As the days grew closer, things mostly came together, and the torturous Pre-TR can be found here if you're so inclined. Also, the As-It-Happens Trip Report can be found here, but there are no photos in that one. I will be repeating some of the written stuff in this TR, but I'll try to freshen things up too.

    I'm not good at games like other awesome reporters are, but I'll do my best to load this with photos and funny things. Are you comfy? Good, I'll begin....

    The day had arrived!
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    The weather had turned cold before we left, and we got snow the week we were leaving, and they even got more while we were away! We picked a good week to go away, that's for sure. Here's our deck the morning we left.

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    We left our house around 8:30 for a 12:57 flight out of Victoria. We live about an hour away so we wanted to get around any potential problems. Good thing we left early - there was a school bus which hit black ice and took out the trailer of the Canadian men’s Olympic rowing team! One of their sculls went through the driver’s window and he ended up in hospital with a broken arm! Lucky guy. None of the kids were injured and the rowing team made it to the lake for practice, but we weren’t going to wait in a long line, so we turned around and went a different route.

    A few km down the road, there was tree falling going on, so we were stopped for 10 minutes there. Thankfully, it was clear sailing to the airport.

    We were first in line at the Delta desk and the sweet agent waived our baggage fee as DH is RCN (Canadian Navy). She didn't have to do that, so it was definitely some Christmas Magic to start our trip off. We made it through security easily and had about an hour to wait, with a 2 hour connection in Seattle. Turns out, our incoming flight was delayed out of Seattle and instead of leaving at 12:57, we left at 2:25, when our Seattle flight to Santa Ana was boarding! Delta assured us if we missed the flight they would reschedule us on another flight. There were 21 people who needed to make that connection.

    After landing, then going through customs and security and the train... the 21 of us found ourselves waiting for the 6:50pm flight. My family grabbed a bite to eat at an African themed restaurant, where I ordered the largest beer I could to try to make things better. DD11 was so hungry, she gobbled her burger down in record time and pronounced it the best burger ever.

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    I canceled our Rainforest Cafe reservations, moved the Karmel pick up (and was assured of pick up... an hour after landing), and then waited for our flight to board.

    Once an attendant was behind the kiosk, I talked to her about our boarding passes. Turns out they had placed as many of the 21 passengers throughout the plane, and we were in FIRST CLASS!! They asked for some volunteers to stay overnight with an offer of a Delta credit, and a hotel and food voucher. Had I been traveling alone I would have taken it, but we held fast and ended up sitting in the first and third rows of First Class! It was awesome and DD11 was pretty chuffed. MORE Christmas magic, right there!

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    I was thirsty.

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    We landed and Karmel had the van right there! We were soon at the Desert Inn & Suites hotel and checked in. Room 320 - second set of elevators and down the back. It was quiet once we were inside and cold that first night, until I figured out how to turn on the heat!

    We crashed HARD as it had been a long day of travel.

    Next up: First day in the parks! Wheeee!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018 at 3:53 PM
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  2. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    hPretty standard Hotel room: two queen beds, bathroom, vanity outside of it, etc etc.

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    Day 1 in the Parks! I had to try out my DSLR and get some snaps of the front of the hotel on our way out.

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    The weather is deceiving. It was cloudy and a little cool in the morning, but by 10am, we were taking our sweaters and scarves off to enjoy a t-shirt day!

    While waiting at the red light, I saw the welcome sign!

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    We got to the gate and I sent DH and DD11 through the "no bag"security line, and DD13 and I went through the bag line. DH and DD11 were then just waved right through to the other side of the barriers, but DD13 and I had to go through the machines. We finally met up and looked to our right:

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    And then looked left

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    so we decided to start in DCA.

    Once photo'd and through the gate, I bough MaxPass for the day. I booked our first one - RACERS! *note - the time says 10:34, but I booked this at around 8:30. I took the screen shot at 10:34*

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    We walked up to the giant tree and had our photo taken. My goal was to get Christmassy photos taken throughout both parks and then we'll use those as our Christmas photos for next year. DH said he'd like a collage photo created of all those photos, so I get to be creative with a photo editor!

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    Then there was a PP photographer by Walt & Mickey, so we had a photo taken there too.

    This is the magic shot they do. The little video they do is cute too.

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    Mickey came out to meet people at the fountain, so while waiting for our photo with Mickey, I caught this pretty artsy shot of Carthay and the sunrise behind it.

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    We were making our way to Flo's for breakfast. We had a few photos taken (and took a few) on the way.

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    Finally breakfast! I wish I could buy the soundtracks to FLo's, Cars Land, and Smoke Jumper's.

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    I've hit 20 photos. I'll continue on the next page.
     
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  4. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    After a filling breakfast watching the cars zoom over the track, we had a bit of time to waste. First up - Luigi!

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    It's hard to see, but in the hole up top there, a little bird had flow in and was definitely making a nest inside the hedge.

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    And then of course, the tire topiaries were priceless.

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    Do you have a bunch of old rims around your home you can't sell? Here's a decorating idea for you!

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    We wandered down to have some fun on Mater's Jingle Jamboree. But first, we took more photos and then got to meet Lightin'!

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    I've probably hit my photo limit. Continued next.
     
  5. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    We had a few more minutes before Racers, and I had grabbed a MP for Screamin', so we wandered over to Paradise Pier and only DD11 and I went on the ride. DH doesn't like roller coasters and DD13 isn't as adventurous as DD11 and I. This was a priority for DD11 as we didn't get a chance to ride it last time and she'd been aching to ride it for two years!

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    I didn't get a chance to grab our photo from the ride, but DD11 joked she'd blinked and wanted to ride again for a better photo. I wasn't crazy about it at first, but it grew on me, and I decided by the end of the day that I'd do it again. I DID buy a CS pin for my lanyard though. DD11 LOVED this ride. She was in heaven.

    NOW we could go back for Racers, so we headed up to the end of the park. While in line I booked a MP for TSMM.

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    (excuse the bit of foreshadowing there).

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    I have scads of photos from the lineup which I won't post because we've seen them before. But, here's our winning photo. This is when I realized I need to tie my hair back for most ride photos.

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    A priority ride for DH was the Fun Wheel. He and I took the non-swinging side. The kids took the Death side. We got on before they did and had a great ride around. The views were amazing. But first, obligatory photos from the Pier and the PP photographer.

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    Lunch was at the Pier with all of us having different things and I had a lovely margarita.

    We hit our Toy Story Mania game once we were done eating.

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    My kid has better accuracy than I do, but I still beat her!

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    We wandered down the boardwalk where I donated $20 to the games. Naturally, if you're not the youngest at the game, you're not going to win and after doing 4 or 5 games, we headed off toward Hollywood Land. We noticed that a Coco preview was showing in the Bug's Land theatre and the kids had never been there, so we walked with purpose (until we came up behind someone who wasn't) to try to make the showing. We just squeezed in (and had to get rid of the drink I'd just bought, ugh).

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    We LOVED it! We made a point of trying to get to the show as soon as we could (spoiler - that happened once we were home on the 31st).

    We carried on, and on the way, there was a Dance-Off!
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    With a guest star - Groot!

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    Of course I stood in the line to meet him after the show. This was weird though. He was meeting in front of the GotG ride, and there were maybe 3-4 people waiting there, but the remainder of the line was across the street, so the CMs were continuously telling people to line up OVER THERE. Once I was over, DD11 came over and I said she couldn't join me. The CM said it was okay so I told her she was super lucky! This was so that she wouldn't get used to waiting and then joining at the last second, which I know is ok, but I personally find really annoying. If you wanna have the fun, you gotta stand in the line, IMO.

    Aaaaanyway, we had an awesome meet with Groot.

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    He noticed her charm bracelet and his handler said, "Looks like she's a collector too!" And then he freaked a bit, until we assured him that she wasn't THAT kind of collector!

    The PP photographer got some great shots of this interaction.
    <sidebar> Notice my kid wearing snowboots? Yeah, well BOTH of them only brought these or sandals, no runners. It was 20+degrees Celcius all week and they're wearing SNOW.BOOTS!? Ugh. Parenting fail. We fixed it eventually, but honestly... snow boots. :sad2:<end sidebar>

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    After that, we headed to visit Metropolis!

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    The geek inside me loves this.

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    A sunset drive continued in the next bit.
     
  6. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    According to my photos, I missed a couple things!

    First, we made an evening Racer's MP for a sunset drive:

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    Then we headed to TSMM from the back way, listening to Elana sing and her friends dance:

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    Once done, we headed to Monstropolis, but learned about the wine grapes beside Trattoria on the way:

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    Once safely through Monstropolis,

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    we headed into the Animator's Studio where I showed the girls the Beast's Library as we'd missed it last time:

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    DD13 got "Pocahontas", DD11 got "Alice", and I got "Ursula" because I'd rather eat nice people for lunch :rolleyes1

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    THEN we were able to make it for our ride!

    And we won again!

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    Because we were riding at sunset, we missed the light-up but it's still impressive even after it's happened.

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    On our way to grab a bite for dinner, we found another PP photographer and had a bit of fun.

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    We had time to kill before our GotG MP, so we wanted a bite to eat.... As we saw 5 & Dime perform, I asked the door ladies at Carthay if the lounge was available. It was! So after we saw some great performances, we headed in for a little something off the menu.

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    Sorry it's sideways:

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    The girls had a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese. DH and I each had the Vietnamese Twice-cooked Beef Tacos.

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    Deeeeee.lish!! Here's where Christmas Magic #3 happened: Our bill was something like $95 give or take (two Shirley Temples for the girls and a couple glasses of wine for us added up I guess), and I handed our AMAZING server two gift cards to take care of it. I was expecting to put a tip on the second card but when the receipt came back, the bill had jumped to $120, with some bourbon put on there... Uh... Nope. I called our server over and explained this wasn't our bill. She was horrified, and took off with the receipts and such. When she came back, I checked again - price was about right... but the stuff on there wasn't ours at all! She had dropped it and said, "Turns out there was a glitch" and then left. She had returned two gift cards to me, instead of one... now I'm REALLY confused!

    When I saw her, I said, "This isn't our bill either..." She said, "Don't worry about it. It's cheaper, the extra money has been returned to your card, and my manager has had a rough night. Enjoy your World of Color Dessert!" and ran off... Oh. Okay then! A spare $20 on the card and a great first experience at Carthay Circle!

    It was time for our GotG MP. DH and DD13 declined and said they'd run back to the hotel to grab a coat, so DD11 and I went together. The theming is awesome and I loved this ride! The handles to hang onto are a nice touch as you're getting air between you and the seat, I must say!

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    The only down side to a FP is that the line moves too quick to get decent photos!

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    After about 20 minutes give or take, we were put into the elevator (Rocket was hilarious) and off we went! DD11 and I loved the ride!

    We're in the middle row on the left... beside the dabbers (so last year).

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    DD13 and DH still weren't back, so we headed toward PP to wait for them and line up for our WOC Dessert Party. Hmmmmm... what to do... The line up hadn't formed yet.... ARIEL!

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    THEN we waited.

    Dessert to follow.
     
  7. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    DH and DD13 finally arrived and we waited a bit for WOC to open up for us Dessert Partiers. We weren't first, but we weren't last in line. As we got closer to the seating area, I asked a CM for a high table in the back, and we were seated in a pretty good spot.

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    As you can see, there is no one in front of us. The show started at 9:30, our line up was at 8:15, and we were in line around 7:30, so that made for a long sit. Which was nice after a day of perpetual forward motion. But sitting made it a little chilly, and DH didn't bring ME a coat, so I had to keep warm by eating (but I was full), and drinking (not a problem).

    I'm trying to cut down on carbs, so I said I was gluten free. They made our whole party GF, and we all got the same stuff. Which isn't so bad in the grand scheme of things because everything we ate was yummy (soooo full from those tacos still!), but it would have been nice to have the other plates for the kids.

    As it was, I couldn't eat everything on my plate. The girls had a sprite or something then a hot chocolate, and DH and I had the Color Wheel (?) special blue drink which was super yummy, and tasted like another one.

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    Our plates had this on it:

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    I managed to eat the Brie, the custard (SO CUTE!), the grapes, the strawberry parfait... and that was about it! I was sad I missed the strawberry, but the girls and DH assured me it was delicious. The raspberry coulis in the middle was yummy, but I honestly could only get one spoonful in me before I felt like I would bust. The menu is supposed to be:

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    Which I know the girls would have loved too.

    I didn't eat the bread, but they assured me they were ALL delicious! (spoiler - by the end of the trip I was eating carbs again, but in small quantities).

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    Our server was kind enough to take our photo.

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    NOW you can see the crowd in front, but the seats were perfect and we had a great view of the show. It was nice, but I didn't get the same feels as the last time - the 60th anniversary show.

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    As we left the park, we could hear then see the fireworks from Disney. A group of us went out the gate then stood in the esplanade and watched the last few fireworks before we headed off to the hotel for the night.

    That's our first day! Day 2 to follow along when I get time to post.
     
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  8. RedHotMama

    RedHotMama Mouseketeer

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    Yay! I read your PTR and AIH reports. Now it's so much fun to see it all in your photos!
    A great first day. I loved the photo shoot with your daughter and Groot! And I'm glad your WoC seats worked nicely! I do think it's strange that they brought your whole table gluten-free just because you asked for it for yourself. But it seems to have worked out fine.
     
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  9. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Great! Glad you're following along. Those PP photogs are awesome and really know how to get great shots.

    The food was good, as always, but I thought it was weird we all got the same stuff too.
     
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  10. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Welcome back! Day 2 - DISNEYLAND DAY!!

    Up around 7, we headed down for our free breakfast at the hotel. It's pretty basic and VERY carb-y: toast, danishes, bagels, mini-muffins, cereal (including Froot Loops!), tea, coffee, milk, boiled eggs (ONLY protein there), oranges, and apples. The kitchen ladies take really good care of it and garbages get emptied really fast. It's open 7-9:30am every day and was always well attended without being overly busy, no matter the day we went.

    We wandered over, made it through the security and stood in the gate line up for a little bit.

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    We were through front gate line-ups by 8:05 and I took a deep breath and smiled, because

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    First thing DD11 saw was the lineup for Daisy!

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    Our autograph books are small sketchbooks. The girls and I drew little things on each page which reminded us of that specific character, then we'd ask the character to sign the page and we'll put that into our scrapbook with the photos. Daisy's had her shoes, a bow, and was super cute. DD11 mentioned to her that she was wearing a sweater with her BFF Minnie on it. Daisy loved it!

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    And then she signed the page "Love Minnie". Daisy was beside herself! She showed the Handler and me, and I said it was okay, she had her friend on her mind, and I flipped to a blank page and had her sign there instead. Kind of funny.

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    We did a total of 17,135 steps (11.5km) the day before! DH and the kids were asking if we could take more transport to and from, so we hopped on our first horse trolley and had Danny take us up to the Castle.

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    We never did get an official castle photo, but I did get a couple this morning.

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    Peter Pan was too long of a wait, natch, so we headed to the carrousel. I was really hoping for a ride on Jingles, and I was literally FIRST in line. Didn't matter though - a little girl around 5 ran past me and took her. I was not impressed at all. DH took one look at my face and said we'd come back for our Magic Morning and I could ride it then.

    I took photos of the girls and texted them to their riding instructor and said they were getting a ride in, ha!

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    Our first MP was for Big Thunder, so we went on that and the girls loved it as much as I do! DH... not so much. His tummy can't handle roller coasters, so he was not impressed that I didn't explain it well enough. But he did it, so there's that at least. I got a decent photo of SWL/GE being built:

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    Then we noticed there was NO WAIT on Pirates! Off we went!

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    Yes, I got the "We Wants the Redhead" pin for my collection.

    The parrot has returned to his sandy perch.

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    When we exited, who was coming down the street, but Jack Skellington! I wished him a Merry Christmas and I don't know why, but I was surprised when he wished me a Merry Christmas back! I always expect him NOT to talk, but of course he does, and he's a great conversationalist.

    We had a breakfast date with some critters, so we took the trolley back down to the main area.

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    Like looking in a mirror.... Actually, the girls and I were admiring the decorative braiding on the horses. They do such a great job with that.

    On our way to Storyteller's, we had to stop to see the gingerbread house in the lobby at GCH. I had wanted a photo in the big chair, but it always seemed to be filled with someone else getting a photo done, so we settled for the house. It was incredible and beautiful. We didn't find all the hidden Mickey's but we did our best.

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    No sooner had we been seated, than Dale came by for autographs and hugs!

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    Then it seems Kendai (?) came by for a photo/sign op:

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    And Pluto - with his original signing style:

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    I went over to the omelette station and had a delicious made-to-order omelette while chatting in line to nice people. The food was delicious and it didn't seem rushed or crowded.

    The interaction was incredible. I ended up with a small video of DD11 having a dance with Chip too! The kids were into the whole thing and even Pluto came back and tried to tickle DH's head with his whiskers! We loved our breakfast.

    After paying, we headed back to the DLR gates.

    Then I realized my error. The lines had grown HUGE while we were gone. And we had an Indy MP... oh well, we had slightly over an hour to get there, so it shouldn't be a problem, right? *disclaimer - the photo was taken at a different time the MP was made*

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    I anxiously watched as we DIDN'T move and our time slipped away. The kids and I ended up seated on the flower things while DH stood in the lineup for us. We joined him when he got closer... around 11:15. To ease our disappointment, we made a MP for Buzz instead.

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    Slight sidebar here... my right knee has been acting up for about a year, and progressively getting more and more painful. I've been going to physio to help, and it worked for a few months, then it started again, around October/November. I started at physio again, and my doc gave me exercises to do every morning. When I do them, it really helps and I'm not in pain.

    Well, I conveniently forgot to do them this morning. So now, it's after 11 and my knee is starting to hurt. Really hurt. Like my eyes are tearing up and I'm hobbling around like I'm 110 years old hurt. I had also not taken an Aleve so I get to REALLY suffer for my stupidity. What this made me do was walk MUCH slower than I usually do, which wasn't too bad actually, but I also couldn't make fast moves to get out the way of things.

    We hit Buzz and out of the 4 of us, I won. I have the proof, but the photo is blurry, so just trust me on this. Naturally we hit the gift shop and DD11 bought herself the largest Stitch she could find.

    The family was not into walking, so I suggested the Monorail as we hadn't done it last time. They loved seeing things from above and I loved sitting and resting my knee.

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    DD11 dropped about $125 in that store... she was happy as a clam.

    We had a lunch date with friends (who we were supposed to have dinner at RFC with on Friday but didn't make due to delayed flights and such) and were meeting them at NOS train station, so we decided to take the train around and then again a bit to NOS station. I hadn't seen the new track as it was under construction last time I was down by myself, so we disembarked the monorail and went around the corner to the train station at Tomorrowland.

    As we were riding, I made a MP for HM as we all love Jack and Sally.

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    and at some point before I was 'allowed to' I had the MP for Star Tours!! We missed it last time and I wanted the family to experience it.

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    We enjoyed the train ride and I thought the new part was very interesting and they seamlessly integrated into the ride as a whole. We disembarked at NOS and waited for our friends for about 25 minutes or so, in the shade as it was getting hot out! When they arrived we were hungry and suggested the Rose Taverne. They hadn't eaten there yet, so off we went. There were 4 adults and 4 kids, and we managed to find two tables beside each other, so we put the kids together so they could catch up and then I went off to get the food for our family. The girls had kids meals and I got the poutine. I can't remember what DH had at all, but I bought the Grey Stuff for the kids, and one for me and DH to share, as well as a Rose cake for he and I to share.

    The poutine was really good - the curds are MUCH larger than we're used to and the gravy is spicy which I wasn't expecting, but the beef was delicious.

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    The grey stuff and rose cake were delicious too. The grey stuff wasn't as sweet as I had expected, and the rose cake was moist and subtle in taste.

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    After a nice catch-up chat with our friends, we said our goodbyes, and we hit HM at 2:27 (according to my photo)

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    Appropriate we rode this ON Christmas Eve!

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    Then I made an Indy MP as consolation for earlier.

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    After our visit with Jack and Sally, we took the kids into the universe! No photos this time around but I LOVED the new scenes from the new movie. Loved. It.


    Continued next post.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  11. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Messages:
    1,174
    We had missed riding the Mark Twain and Columbia last time, so we headed back to Frontier Land for a tour. I couldn't go up the stairs on the MT, so I had a great chat with the engineer. My dad was a locomotive engineer, so I had a great chat in between bells.

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    Got a few good shots from the lower deck of the route.

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    The duck sitting on the moose's caboose had me laughing.

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    Duck don't give a .... care.

    I loved the wreaths all around the parks, representing their "land".

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    DD11 and DH ran off to Zocalo for the restroom, and DD13 and I waited for them. The line bathroom line was long so they suggested DD13 and I not wait for them, and to get in line for the Columbia. They were actually out in time to come join us near the front of the line. There was a little boy hanging off the balustrade in the line-up, and my DD11 said, "Excuse me" to get by him as he was between she and I. His mum spoke to him in Spanish, and I caught the jist: "Get out of her way! She said 'excuse me'! Pay attention!" and then she grabbed him. I smiled at the mum and dad and said, "My kids don't listen either". The dad looked surprised and asked me, "Do you speak Spanish?" I said, "No, but I'm a mum too. It's kind of an international thing." The dad smiled and nodded, explained what I'd said to his wife, and then we all stood there laughing and sharing exasperated parent looks between us. I love Disney.

    We were the last Columbia cruise of the day. It was interesting and as I'm exNavy and DH is still serving, we had a good laugh with all the pretend orders we heard over the tape. Nothing made sense, but it sounded good.

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    The kids saw Tom Saywer's Island and we made plans to go there before we left at the end of the week.

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    How's SW/GE coming along?

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    Had to crane my neck for this one :rolleyes1

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    By this time, my knee was excruciating, and the kids wanted to shop and swim at the hotel, so we headed back out the gate around 4/4:30.

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    The parade was on, so we caught a dance or two, and made a note to catch the whole thing on Thursday.

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    Obligatory Partners photo

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    The kids wanted to shop their way back to the hotel, and I wanted to get a silhouette done. Two families were before us - each with about 20 kids - then a young couple, THEN our turn. The amazing Steven cut our kids and did an incredible job.

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    Sorry for the sideways.

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    We finally left the park, and my knee was really hurting. I asked DH to run down to CVS/Walgreens and pick up a few things. Also, it seems DH13 had 'forgotten' her bathing suit at home, so she was swimming in a skort and t-shirt every night. We added a swim suit to the list.

    DH came back with stocking stuffers and info on suits for DD. We wanted a nice Christmas Eve dinner, so we went two doors down to Tony Roma's, where everyone else decided to go too. We were blessed with Christmas Magic #4 - no reservation needed! We had a yummy dinner and then I hobbled back to the hotel while the girls and DH swam in the pool for a bit. They would have stayed longer, but a bunch of young kids were screaming and yelling, while the one 'adult' was blasting music in the pool. It was so loud you could hear it outside the glass, and the kids couldn't function with the loudness, so they came back nearly immediately. We would run into them again a couple days later.

    Once the kids were asleep, I put a couple little things in their stockings and DH put his things in, and we went to sleep, dreaming about a Disneyland Christmas!

    Steps taken:
    12,202
    Distance: 8.7km
     
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  12. RedHotMama

    RedHotMama Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2016
    Messages:
    176
    :rotfl2:

    :crutches:Wow! And with you with your bum knee. You're tough! I sure hope it felt better the next day!
     
  13. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    So, I didn't make my Indy MP the night before, but I was okay about it because I woke up and DID MY EXERCISES! No more knee pain, please! I popped an Aleve and the kids woke up finally. We opened stockings and I got a sweet surprise from DH:

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    I had warned the girls that their present was this trip and the spending money we gave them. They seemed okay with it.

    DD13 bought me a new pin for my lanyard (it's hard to see - it's a red guard)

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    We skipped breakfast as I wanted to eat at Jolly Holiday, so headed right in. We ended up at the security gates around 7:15. The line up for those with bags was very long, so DD11 and I went through the no bag line while DH and DD13 ran back with the backpack to the hotel for her meds.

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    I told them which line we were in and I kid you not - we were just about to go through the gates when DD13 and DH came running up to us in line! Perfect timing!

    We used my phone to scan our tickets at the wicket but when I went to buy MP for us, my ticket wasn't scanned? I refreshed a couple times but nope, not showing me in the park. So, I spent my first hour standing in line at City Hall with DD13, while DH and DD11 went off and met Donald. I took a few photos here and there while waiting, and then told the people behind me all about MP and why it's awesome.

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    "Mum, can you PLEASE stop taking pictures of everything?"

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    "Nope"

    I was finally officially in the Park, and we had our photo in front of the amazing tree.

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    I look a little weird there because the photog took it with my phone on 'pano', and I probably moved my head a bit. Still, it was cool getting the whole tree in.

    Here's a better photo.

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    While waiting, I got our Indy MPs done.

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    We wandered up Main street, while the kids looked in the magic windows and I enjoyed the sights.

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    We finally arrived at Jolly Holiday for a fab breakfast of their breakfast sandwich and Abuelita hot chocolate (of which I'm a fan and have some in my pantry at home).

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    I won't!

    We then had time for a Jungle Cruise before our Indy FPS kicked in. I was hoping for Jingle Cruise this year, but no luck. DH loves this ride, complete with bad jokes. Best one for me, so far, was last October (2016), when our female skipper said she knew how to scare off the hippos, and shouted, "I want to move in with you!" When they sunk, she said, "See, they'll leave every time!"

    The smile on that rhino gets me laughing all the time.

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    We came off and Moana was meeting. The kids went over to the store while I waited and got to meet her. She was awesome but the kids didn't seem too broken up about missing her.

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    While in line for Indy, I made our next MP selection - Small World Holiday. The lines were insane for this ride, so I'm glad they FP'd it.

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    Finally off on an adventure with Dr Jones! DD13 and DH did it this once but not again.

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    We made our way to Small World Holiday, but did the Castle Walk-through first as the kids hadn't done it.

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    We had the girls try to pull out the sword, in case we were secretly related to royalty.

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    We're not.

    By the time we headed to Small World Holiday it was about an hour on standby. Thank goodness for MP/FP! I’m not usually a Small World person - once a year or less is good enough for me - but the holiday overlay is gorgeous and I love it! I t seems while we were in line, I made a MP for Star Tours... so I guess we didn't ride it the other day like I thought because we only rode it once this trip.

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    Anyway, the weather was perfect and we were glad to take a trip in the cool.

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    Seems the kids wanted to ride a ride, so we went to Toontown and they rode the Gadget Go-Coaster while DH and I sat at the fountain for a bit.

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    I made a MP for Buzz and by then we were hungry so we had a bite at Galactic Grill while the wee birds helped themselves to fallen fries.

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    We decided to head over to the Launch Bay. Which I'll show you in the next post.
     
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  14. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    I should mention, when I said Steven 'cut' our kids, I meant he cut out their silhouettes. Not actually CUT them, iykwim. Ha. Oh, and around 8:30/9am, my knee 'popped' in the back and I was no longer in pain for the rest of the trip! My physio has no idea what it was and though it stopped the pain, the swelling started after that, so I have no idea what I did.

    The Launch Bay has a model of their new Galaxy's Edge, which we all call Star Wars Land anyway, and I took tons of photos of it while my family's eyes glazed over.

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    The only thing not right about it, is that there are NO PEOPLE. Like there will be so many people we won't be able to see the ground. We all know that. It's like the model makers said, "Ok, we'll put 12 people here, and 10 there, and 5 or 6 over here..." and the rest of us are, "You're so cute."

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    And no lineups anywhere? As. If.

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    I can hardly wait. I might just cry when I first go there.

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    Well, on at least ONE planet I'm sure they're legal drinking age....

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    Careful, the Wookie cheats.

    While waiting to get some Wookie Nookie, I made another MP selection:

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    It was our turn and Chewie came around the corner to scare us, but I just said, "Hi big guy!" and we got our awesome squishy hugs.

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    DD11 said he does give the best hugs. Yes, he does.

    Meanwhile, DD13 and DH caught the movie in the launch bay and after we found them, we headed off for Buzz, then immediately after, Star Tours!

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    I LOVE the new ST!! It’s right out of the new movie and just awesome!

    Then we decided to take the train around the park and then to ToonTown for our Roger Rabit MP. The train was pretty packed, but we took the tour anyway for a rest.

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    This is the Christmas Day crowd around 2:15 or so.

    I'm listing a bit to starboard here, but we took on water at NOS.

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    We had our spin in the car and then let the kids loose in Toon Town for a bit.

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    I must have made a Big Thunder MP while in line.

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    See that pink thing in DD11's arms? Her name is Angel and she's Stich's cousin? Girlfriend? She's just as big at the other Stitch stuffie purchased yesterday. At this rate, our suitcases are going to need to turn into TARDISes.

    We had one last ride on BTMRR for the day. Just the girls and I, DH sat it out.

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    It was time to head up and over to the Paradise Grill for dinner with Mickey! We wandered up Downtown Disney hitting, the Dress Shop where I tried on three dresses, and then the Lego Store so DD11 could decide which ones she would get. Then we realized she couldn't use her Disney Gift Card there, so she immediately fell into a funk - grumpy and grouchy - because she didn't get what she wanted at that.very.second! I told her I'd give her cash for her gift card (YAY! I'm getting a dress!) when we returned to the hotel. She was still grumpy, but got over it for the most part.

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    First up was Goofy by our table.

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    My kid is buried in there somewhere.

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    Then before DD11 and I went up for dinner, Mickey came by with hugs for all

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    And after we returned, Minnie popped by for hugs too!

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    Dinner buffet was great! Desserts weren't replenished very quickly but that's ok, I didn't need too many of them!

    There was ham and/or roast beef, different salads and potatoes and starches, all the good stuff.

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    Pluto popped by too!

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    This was also in chocolate... but not by the time I got there.

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    This beer was from Oahu and was delicious! Tasted just like our beer here at home, so that was a nice plus!

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    Pluto came by again and tried to compare hair styles with DD11. He could handle his ears better, so he had better options.

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    We decided to walk back down the street instead of DTD. It took the same amount of time, except without the crowds. We considered stopping at CVS for a suit for DD13 and a couple little things, but decided to go back to the hotel and the girls hit the pool for a bit before bedtime.

    It was a great Christmas day!

    Next day when I have time to post.
     
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  15. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    I'm baaaaack! BTW, our step count for Christmas Day: 14,832 steps, or 9.8km.

    So now, Boxing Day! Our Universal Studios day! I had rented the car through Costco and the cheapest place was Enterprise on Katella. The place opened at 8, so we made sure to get there by 8. We had a quick breakfast at the hotel and off we went. We walked down to the first set of lights off Harbor, turned left, right again on Clementine, and at the corner of Clementine and Katella, there it was! We were not first in line. I honestly don't know who scheduled the place, but whoever it was should shake their head. Four people: one dedicated to serving customers, two taking them outside to look at their vehicles, and one more behind the counter serving customers and answering phones at the same time. Of course, we got him and ended up waiting for an extra 10 minutes while he helped the phone customers. Ugh.

    ANYway, we ended up with a cute little Kia Soul after 20-25 minutes or so.

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    We hopped in and settled ourselves. I set up my Google Maps to get us to USH and we were off! There was TONS of construction that the app was trying to get us around, but DH didn’t bring his reading glasses and he was my navigator so I missed a turn, but it wasn’t a big thing. "Recalculating"

    We ended up at USH after about 45 minutes and I asked the parking guy if my disabled parking placard was good in Cali. It’s not, but he gave us Frankenstein parking for only $25 - Christmas Magic right there! Plus, the parking spot was skookum (awesome): RIGHT in front of the elevators! We weren't allowed to park in the blue reserved spots, but there were plenty of spots even though it was slightly past park open.

    We walked around to the security then to the front where pictures were taken by me, and then by the professional. I didn't buy these ones. Why? Because the ONE I did buy later in the day cost me $25!! :crazy2: So, no. We're good.

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    We were waved through to the middle ticket lines as we only had single day passes. This meant I forgot to ask about the Front of the Line upgrade which I had been considering (and should have TOTALLY bought, btw). Finally we were in! Here's what I had hoped to do today, and remember, these times were at 10am:

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    We headed straight for Harry Potter. My DD13 and I were in heaven!

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    This is when I realized I should have really investigated the Front of the Line passes. It was a 2 hour wait for Forbidden Journey!

    But the look on DD13's face...

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    DD13 wanted to do the wand ceremony so we stood in a 40 minute line for that. Made for good photos in the back at least.

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    DD11 was grumpy because she didn’t want a wand and so I told her if on the odd chance she was chosen, to say she didn’t want a wand but her sister did. I told her we'd go on a ride with a long wait time to even things out. She was still choked. Finally, though, it was our turn and we made it in as the last four of the group going in.


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    "I am The Wandmaster. You may call me.... The Wandmaster." He was awesome.

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    He came around and talked about muggles and such. The parents were in back, the kids up front. He wandered around and sure enough, DD11 was chosen! He ended up right in front of her! When the Wandmaster asked her if she was there for a wand she said, “No, but my sister is." He seemed a little taken aback, but like any theatre professional, remarked that the magic was floating between the two girls and then he said the magic was strong in them both. He said he doesn't often do this, but it seemed he should - and they were both chosen!! He gave one a birch wand and her flower spell made them droop. He fixed it. He gave the other one an elm wand and she ended up with lighting when she did her spell.

    He then asked my oldest, "When's your birthday?" She said, "October 5th," then he asked DD11, "When's your birthday?" She replied, "October 7th." The lady beside me gasped in shock. Yup, two years and two days apart. Fortunately they're both girls so hand-me-downs are a thing. The Wandmaster didn't break stride and he remarked how the cores of the wands were from the same animal, and in effect, were 'sister' wands. He then gave the oldest the elm wand and the youngest the birch, and voila! PERFECT for each other!

    It was around 10 minutes all told and it was absolutely magical. No pun intended. So yes, they spent $55 of their spending money on sticks that only work at USH. I spent $48 on a stick that doesn't work anywhere. But we don't care because we had a great time and DD11 couldn't stop talking about how HER wand was chosen for her, and she was taking it out and trying all the spells in Hogsmede. She had fallen for the Harry Potter magic, real or fake, doesn't matter. Her grumpiness disappeared.

    We then did a bit of shopping in the various stores. I was eyeing a Slytherin scarf (my house), but at $38 plus tax, I decided I'll grab it next time.

    We went to Filch’s Emporium in the bottom of Hogwarts where the girls were put under the Suggestive Sorting Hat (go to the far row of tills on the right of the store) and DD11 used $9 of her money for a metal bookmark from her house.

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    We wandered back to the other stores where you could buy robes, clothes of all kinds, brooms (that don't sweep or fly, so why bother?), key chains, post cards, quill pens, empty journals (for $12? Srsly?), on and on. The merch was awesome, but you'd need more than $75 to get all the cool stuff IMO.

    We saw the magical spell book, and it would spin, growl, and snarl at you if your finger went too far inside the cage.

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    We hit Honeyduke's for a treat before going to the Three Broomsticks for lunch. DD11 got herself a chocolate frog with a Grindewald card in it, and DD13 picked a cauldron cake. The cauldron is silicone so we can use it again when we're baking at home. Both were $10.99 each, taxes extra.

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    The thing on the top row, far left, is marketed as "No Melt Ice Cream". It's buttercream icing. :sad2: The Witch Hat Cupcake is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing, and more icing in the shape of a hat. :sad2: Everything (except the Cauldron Cake) was $9.99. :crazy2: I mean, they all looked delicious but talk about a cash grab!

    Now we were hungry! We stood in a quickly-moving line for an early lunch at the Three Broomsticks.

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    Yes, it moved.

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    These didn't.

    We decided on the Great Feast. DH had a real beer. DD13 had a room-temp butterbeer, and DD11 and I had a frozen butterbeer.

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    It's very yummy. It tastes like a Vanilla Bean Frap from Starbucks with a shot of caramel in it. Ordering is interesting. A server/host will send you to a numbered till where you order and pay. They give you the receipt and send you to a pick-up window marked with the same till number you ordered from, except this time, there's two tills at the same window. So, if you're till #12, you go to pick up window #12, which is also the window for till #11. You hand the receipt to the server behind the counter and they give you your drinks and in our case, the salad (usually you'd get your whole order here) with plates. KFS, napkins, etc, are along the third wall to the right of the pick up windows. Then you enter the hall where you find your own seats. We found a table (wobbly. sigh) in a little alcove in the middle of the room, which afforded some privacy, but cut out a lot of the light, making it darker. It wasn't well lit to begin with (yay 'atmosphere'!), but we were out of the hustle and bustle for a little bit. We were also given a table number holder thingy for the 'chef' to find us when the rest of the Feast was ready. We put that on the outside of the table and hoped for the best as we settled in for our salad.

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    It comes with the balsamic vinaigrette on the salad already. Everything was fresh, though, and quite tasty. Soon, the Great Feast came to our table:

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    The whole thing came to about $112 with taxes. That was three butterbeers, a real beer, and a Great Feast. No dessert, btw. There was A LOT of food there, and we couldn't eat it all. DD13 ate a corn cob. :sad2:DD11 had a rack of ribs. I had a chicken quarter, ribs, and some veg. I flagged a server/chef down and asked for a take out container. She said they don't have them :confused3 but she'd get us some new plates and foil. This tin foil was heavy duty stuff! She gave us a lot! So, we took our plates (fake pewter. They were plastic and would have been thrown out) and put corn and potatoes in one, ribs in another and chicken in the third. We plonked the fourth plate on top and placed it carefully into the backpack, which we'd emptied and redistributed into other pouches. Then we decided to explore the rest of the Park. So too, it seems, did 1/2 of SoCal. By this time, it was just after 12, and the place was packed!

    We headed to the tram tour through Springfield.

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    They had Krusty out visiting for photo ops, and a couple of the other characters too, but we didn't bother waiting in line.

    Turns out, it was a 50 minute wait for the tram tour, but I really wanted to do it so we waited. No one was really impressed with my choice, but once the lines started moving, they moved quite quickly.

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    The Grinch came down to make those at the front of the lines laugh.

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    If you find it hard to see him at first it's because we were VERY far away from the front of the line. It took us at least another 30 minutes to get there. But we were FINALLY at the front, and if you like to take photos, go in first so you get the seats close to the rails. Otherwise, you'll be like me - turning, craning, trying and failing. I got a few good snaps, only because I was in the last row and could usually catch a shot as we were leaving. Usually.

    The tour was great as usual. I haven’t been to USH in about 17-18 years or so, so the new King Kong thing was awesome, as was the Fast & Furious bit. The guy who was playing in the Psycho set was incredible and held his character until we were out of sight.

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    We came back and the lines were 40 minutes or longer for all the rides. I got the shooting schedule, which was pretty cool.

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    I'll continue our Who-Bilation in the next post
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  16. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    We decided to wander around in the Upper Lot and checked out the Who-Bilation

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    It too had a large LARGE tree.

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    And there was a funny spot for photos. A CM was very helpful and took lots for us, and had us do silly poses too.

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    The line up for the Grinch was long, but there was no line for Max as he hadn't come out yet. The kids got some snack (mini donuts I think) and we were first in line to see Max!

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    He came out - he was so still and calm I wasn't sure if he was real or not. He licked DD11's hand and then let us pet him and sat completely still for his photo. I don't know if he was old or drugged or what, but he was unlike any other dog I've ever met. A sweet boy though, all things equal.

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    Well, I couldn't NOT get a photo with the Grinch, but the family didn't want to wait for 30 minutes (closer to 20), so I sent them off to Jurassic Park while I waited. There were a few acts going on in the square while I was waiting. Good dancers and singers, all in Who makeup.

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    It was my turn! The Grinch was so funny!

    "HELLO!!!"

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    "It is SUCH an HONOUR for YOU to meet ME!"

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    Professional photog took my phone for me, which was nice.

    I wished him Merry Grinchmas! And he said, "See how EASY that was?! NO ONE does that!" The experience was excellent! The photo part after... ugh... so they had a 'special' on for that day (suuuuure), and it was $25 for the photo - no frame, that costs more - and unlimited downloads for a year. Ho.Ly. I bought the photo because it was good, but in order to see my OTHER photos I'd had taken throughout the day, I would have to go to the camera/photo shop toward the gates. Uh... after that price? No. THANKS!

    I texted the fam I'd be on my way to meet them in the Lower lot for JP. I must have confused DH as I said our dinner was at Hard Rock, so he thought that meant NOW instead of later, so he pulled the kids from the line and started up the escalator just as I was coming down the last one. :dance3:

    We decided to do one more ride and the kids wanted Flight of the Hippogriff. It was a 40 minute wait but they didn't care. DH sat on a bench outside the ride and waited while we went through the line. It moved fast though as it was a 2 1/2 minute roller coaster and could seat 22 (DD13 counted). Good stuff to geek out about in the line though.

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    When it was our turn, I was seated with a Mexican aunty who only went on the rides for her nieces/nephews. DDs were seated together in front of me and the Aunty's family behind us. She kept her eyes closed for most of the ride (made it scarier, actually) and said, "Oh! Uh! I hate this!", and I talked to her the whole time, while her sister laughed so hard she was crying. By the end I was laughing too and it was the funniest 2 1/2 minutes of my day.

    As we were leaving for the day, that's when DD13 came clean - she'd lost her little Nikon Point & Shoot I'd loaned her at some point during the day. I needed a moment.

    We remembered her having it out at the 3 Broomsticks, so we went there to see if it had been handed in. The guy we talked to wasn't quite switched on. I had to explain to him repeatedly where we were sitting, and ask him to look DOWN to see if he could see the case. No luck, so he suggested Lost and Found at the entrance. On the way, we went through some other parts of the park we'd missed. And as it was sunset, we saw some pretty lights come on.

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    We wandered through SuperFunLand and then found ourselves outside of Gru's house. Gotta be sad. *not our stroller. Oh, and the line up for the ride was at 40 minutes.

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    We then wandered up to the Lost and Found where I placed a claim.

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    While describing the camera case, DD13 turned to her father and cried in his arms, "I also put my Disney ticket and gift card on the clip on the outside of the case to keep them safe." This info was relayed to me. I needed another moment.

    It hadn't been handed in but Lost & Found guy said it could be later that night, or tomorrow... or even up to two weeks. They'd mail it to me free of charge in Canada if it was found. The camera was one thing - photos DD had taken from her perspective. The ticket wasn't even that great of a loss because it was on my phone in the app. It was the $150 on that gift card that was getting to me. But, all things are teachable moments, right? So here's what I learned:

    1. When your kid has anxiety, ADHD, etc - inspect her daily stuff to make sure she's not bringing extra things like park ticket and gift cards that have nothing to do with where you're going that day.
    2. When you activate the gift card, take a photo of the back of it so that when it gets lost, you can get it canceled and re-issued.
    I didn't lose my mind... on the outside. I had to ask for a minute or two to work through my anger - at myself and at her a bit - but then it was time to head to the Hard Rock for a bite to eat. I let L&F guy know we'd be in the general area tomorrow and I'd call to see if it was there tomorrow morning. Now food. And a drink. I needed a drink.

    Our reservation was for 5:30 at the Hard Rock, and we were half an hour early. Hard to miss - just look for a large Fender with a Van Halen paint job.

    [​IMG]


    They weren't packed, so they fit us in early, near the back, but a great view of lots of memorabilia.

    [​IMG]
    Poignant.

    [​IMG]

    We got to explain a lot of rock history to the girls. I hope some of it stuck.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It spun around above the central bar, where videos were shown of the songs playing. Great tunes too!

    So, when I was in the Navy, we'd go all over the place and often there was a Hard Rock Café so we'd always stop in for decent grub. I collect things, and in HRC's I'd collect the Pilsner glasses. Unbeknownst to me, when DH was sailing around the world, he also would collect glasses from the HRC - but his were the Hurricanes. When we met, our two collections melded perfectly, and it was just a quirky thing. At this HRC, we naturally wanted to get glasses as a souvenir, but they'd stopped selling Pilsner glasses. Instead, I got a drink in a mason jar (super good. One with Southern Comfort in it. Just what I needed) and then we took our receipt to the gift shop for clean glasses of our choice. DH got the Hurricane and I chose the Mason Jar. Complete with lid with a hole through the top for my straw (that I'll get tomorrow).

    Here's my drink.

    [​IMG]

    The kid's meals were served in these cute guitar plates. I wanted one for myself but I figured as drinking alcohol, I'd better adult at some point. DH and I had a burger and it was exquisite. Could have been the booze, but it was a good burger.

    [​IMG]

    I miss Prince so very much.

    [​IMG]

    Once dinner was done, we went next door for the kids to get some Menchie's for dessert. Our local franchise had closed in October (just after I'd spend $60 in gift cards from the place :sad2: ), so they were jonesin' for some. I called L&F again and nope, still not there.

    We headed back to the car, the long way around.

    [​IMG]

    I plugged in the phone and put 1600 S Harbor into Google Maps. I guess it didn't get the 'S' part, because we ended up in North Anaheim on Harbor. I swung into a near-by CVS, bought some stuff and reprogramed the map app. 25 minutes later, we were finally at the hotel.

    Valet parking? Yes please, seeing as how it was included in the $12/day parking fee whether we used it or not. We headed to the pool for a bit... er, the KIDS and DH headed to the pool. I headed to bed.

    Tomorrow was our Autry Museum day and a special surprise for the family - Medieval Times! DD wrote us a note apologizing all over the place for losing her camera and g/c, saying she didn't deserve the trip. She woke me at 10:30, crying that she wanted to go home. I told her to chill and we'd sort it in the morning. I think it's a lesson she's learned and with luck we won't be repeating that gong show anytime soon.

    Total steps taken today: 12,098 or 8.5km.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  17. RedHotMama

    RedHotMama Mouseketeer

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    Why were you sad about Gru's house?

    Those are great lessons for us all! As an adult, I sure make plenty of dumb choices.

    Aww! Poor thing. (Since I read your AIH, I know the rest of the story.)
     
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  18. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,174
    Because, according to the kids, Gru doesn't like happy stuff, so to show you're happy, you act sad.


    Gosh! Me too! I think I put way too much pressure on myself to be perfect, and I just need to realize I only have to do my best. The military taught me to 'see around corners', but I have blind spots when it comes to my kids.


    Yeah, it was rough. It's good to know her conscience is running at top speed though, I guess.
     
  19. minnieralyks

    minnieralyks Mysteries & Magic, Visions Fantastic

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2016
    Messages:
    533
    Great TR! Loving all the photos!

    Just as a future FYI, Desert Inn will take off parking if you notify them you do not have a vehicle. At least that's what we did a few years ago, so maybe things have changed since. That parking fee really adds up, especially if you're not using it! :)
     
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  20. RedHotMama

    RedHotMama Mouseketeer

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    Ah, of course!
     
  21. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Messages:
    1,174
    Oh yeah, I had that taken off when we arrived as we only needed parking for one night.
     
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