When Can We Do This Again? May 2018 Hey, I updated! 1/13 Our Last Day, Part 1

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by BrerMama, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    An Introduction

    Hello, my fellow trip report readers. Thank you for joining me in my story. My favorite thing to do when I’m planning a trip is to read trip reports and I have read and loved so many while planning this trip, so I hope someone enjoys this as much as I enjoyed the many I’ve read in the last year or so.

    And let me tell you the best part of this story… it is actually all completely written, I just plan to edit as I post and expect new updates to be spaced over a few days each time. So you don’t have to worry about me dropping the ball… just that I might get busy with school and not have time to edit.

    So, Hi. I’m Kim. I’m going to turn 48 in about six weeks and I’ve always been a fair weather Disney fan. I do this thing where when I’m planning a trip where I’m all Disney all the time. And when I’m not planning (which is more often than not) I turn it off and step away. It always breaks my heart a little bit to hear what’s opening and new and know I’m not going to be there, so it’s easier just to stay out of it.

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    Teaching is sort of a big part of my life. I teach a self-contained special education classroom for pre-K students. That’s a lot of words to say that I basically teach 3-5 year olds with severe disabilities. It’s challenging and I love it. Plus, I get paid to sing “Wheels on the Bus” and read Pete the Cat books and play superheroes. I was born to do this.

    So that’s one part of me, but there’s also the mom to young adults who has always been a memory keeper. It all started back in December of 2000 when I decided I needed to teach myself to scrapbook to document our WDW trip. Since then I went fully digital, then started Project Life and did that a couple of years, and then the last couple of years I haven’t scrapbooked much but kept a daily planner where I wrote memories. I have always created a scrapbook for our Disney trips and this trip is no different. I’m going digital, but writing this trip report is my first priority and then I plan to use the trip report to help me create the scrapbook.

    My favorite Disney movie is Hercules (it’s just something about the story and music) but my favorite character in the Disney universe is Sully. I have a serious thing for huge creatures. I have half a dozen stuffed Abominable Snowmen and Sully fits right in with that obsession. I’m not much for Disney princesses, but due to my job, I can sing “Let It Go” pretty well. My main goal for this trip was to have fun. (Which… check. Done.)


    As a planner girl, I’m also the one who organizes our lives, knows the details, and keeps us all running smoothly. So, you know, I’m the one who planned this whole trip. My daughter is a YouTube addict and she watches a lot of Disneyland vloggers plus a lot of Disney College Program vlogs, so she kind of kept up on things that way and helped provide input, but my husband by choice didn’t have a lot of input.

    Speaking of my daughter and my husband, let me introduce them.

    Although we have three children, only the youngest went on this trip with us. Chesney graduated from high school a week before the trip and this was her present. Some parents give their kids a car. She got our hand me down minivan and a trip to Disneyland. She was a valedictorian in her class and she loves theater tech stuff.

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    Chesney has been going to Disney parks since before she was a year old. Her favorite character is Stitch and her favorite princess is Tiana. She loves music and her friends and was a very busy girl in the two weeks leading up to the trip. She wanted magic this trip (and I think she got it).

    My husband is a couple years older than me and is one of those kid at heart men. He makes a lot of dad jokes and loves thrill rides. He wants to ride the rides. That’s all he wants to do. He does not like characters. An actual tweet from me this trip:

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    He actually was very indulgent of Chesney and I meeting characters and he got pretty good with my phone and portrait mode. You’ll see lots of his photography as the story unfolds.

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    And not to slight my other two children…

    Our oldest, Brady, is a PhD student in Information Sciences. He graduated with his Master’s this month and went right into his PhD. He’ll be a professor some day. He did not go on vacation with us because he sort of doesn’t enjoy the same kind of vacation as us, plus he’s presenting at three library conferences this summer. In fact, he presented at a conference Atlanta while we were on our trip, so we had family members in 3 different time zones that week. Here he is after his presentation.


    And our middle is Mykiah. She just graduated with her BSN -- all 3 of our kids graduated in the same weekend before our trip -- and instead of going to CA she stayed home with our dachshund Jake and studied nonstop for her NCLEX (national nursing test to get her license). She already has a full time RN job lined up for after she passes the test and is engaged to be married in approximately a year. She did a great job taking care of the dog. We required her to send 2 proof of life photos per day of Jake the doxie and she did a good job with it. She even took him on walks, which we’re not brave enough to do most of the time. Last time I tried to take him on a walk he got out of his collar and ran circles around me for 20 minutes. The guy who drove by stopped and laughed because he thought it was so hilarious. I did not, and therefore I do not walk the silly dog.

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    So that’s us. And now join me as we begin our trip from the prairies of Kansas to the happy place that is Disneyland...
  2. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
  3. Avatar


  4. StarlitNight05

    StarlitNight05 DIS Veteran

    Oct 6, 2016
    Following - can't wait to read this! I loved your PTR :-)
  5. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Thanks! Getting ready to start....
  6. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Day One
    There ain't nothing gonna stop me now cause I'm almost there

    One thing I hate about getting older is that I have a horrible time sleeping. I take an assortment of sleep aids, but I still struggle with shutting off my overloaded brain and going to sleep on the regular. So if you think I was getting any sleep the night before leaving for Disneyland, you’d be wrong.

    I should also mention that I was sick with a cough and upper respiratory stuff starting about a week before we left. About 10 days before we left, I spent most of a school day (two sessions of Pre-K each day) standing in heat and wind and holding a hose while spraying down kids during our Fun Day. The most fun I’ve had in a long time. I love Fun Day and fully believe that kids should spend the day getting as messy as possible that one day each year.

    Anyway, I have horrible allergies and we had a big weekend with the 3 graduations and me choosing to be the holder of the hose. As we came out of that week, I had a constant cough. I did actually speak to a doctor, but the doctor was convinced it was the tail end of a virus and prescribed me some cough suppressant pills and told me to take some Sudafed. (Spoiler alert -- I wasn’t on the tail end of anything. I lost my voice while at Disneyland and ingested packages upon packages of cough drops. It was annoying.)

    Anyway, Dan gets up way too early every morning and I was no sleep Kim, so we were both up pretty early on May 19, the day in big red letters in our countdown for almost a year. This was the morning that Prince Harry and Meghan were married, so I crawled out to my loveseat spot, drank some iced tea and watched the royal wedding.

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    Most of our conversation went like this:

    Dan: Where’s all her bridesmaids?
    Me: I don’t think she has any. Just the kids as attendants. Harry has William.
    Dan: Then why does Kiah need 45 bridesmaids? If kids are good enough for a princess…

    [She has like 3 attendants, by the way. Dan is prone to huge overexaggeration.]

    Our flight didn’t leave until 11:25 and our airport is small and we only needed to get there about 90 minutes early, but we’re kind of psycho about being early to things, so we left our house about 9 am. Kiah drove us. In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’m a bundle of anxiety normally and letting my daughter drive me anywhere is not exactly going to help me settle down. To avoid being the nagging mom about her driving, I pulled out my phone and played on it. This became pretty much my go-to during the trip when I was getting anxious.

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    She dropped us off curbside, and we went in and checked our 5 bags (three were carryon size but I decided to check them because we had free bags with Southwest and I didn’t particularly want to cart them around the Phoenix airport when connecting). I had TSA PreCheck for security but Dan and Ches didn’t and while Ches could probably have gotten through on her own, Dan is not organized and gets confused easily (he’s a man and lets me worry about details) so I went through the regular screen with them. Which managed to really confuse the TSA agents, even though I had a neon pink sign to show them. The difference between precheck and not precheck? I didn’t have to take off my shoes and just walked through a regular metal detector. Dan and Ches had to remove their shoes and went into that body scanning science fiction tube. And just to show why I went with them… they told Dan to remove everything from his pockets and put it in the bin. Dan apparently didn’t think this meant his wallet, so he had to do the scanner twice.

    We were through security pretty quickly and our gate was right across from security so it’s not like we had a long way to walk. There was a Dunkin Doughnuts right there, so Ches and I grabbed some doughnuts. Dunkin is my fave and although we have 2 of them in town, they’re both a 20 minute plus drive, so it’s a treat. Dan didn’t want sugar so he passed on it. We settled into some seats and played on our phones to pass the time.

    You should know this -- and I’m sure if you’re hanging in here, this won’t be a surprise -- I’m a nervous flyer. It’s not my favorite thing in the world and I only endure it for Disney. In fact, I hate it so much that originally we were going to drive to CA. I had this whole road trip thing planned that included a stop in Vegas and another in Colorado, but Dan talked me into flying and somehow he also talked me into connecting flights. That morning I tried to take it back. Like changed my mind, I’m willing to drive for 24 hours straight, let’s not do this changed my mind. Since that didn’t work with either of my travel companions, I took half a Xanax about a half hour before the plane was to leave. Then came the dreaded announcement…

    Our plane had a mechanical issue and the maintenance person was 10 minutes out but as soon as he got there and looked at the issue, they’d update us.

    Gah. I had to take the other half of the Xanax. I immediately pulled up the customer service number for Southwest and started checking rental car places in Phoenix. Because if we’re delayed, there’s a good chance we’re going to miss our connecting flight. We miss that flight, we might as well rent a car and drive to California. This is how my very overactive and full brain works.

    Dan decided this was a great time to go to Chick-Fil-A and get a chicken biscuit. So not worried at all.

    Luckily, it was only about 15 minutes later when they announced the mechanic had signed off and given the OK to fly and they started boarding. We had a two hour layover in Phoenix, so we should be OK there. I had bought Early Bird so we were in the mid-A boarding group and only a few rows back on the plane.

    As an adult, I know the best way to deal with my anxiety is to keep my mind busy, so I immediately took out my Kindle and started reading the latest John Sandford book. I love Sandford, I love Lucas Davenport, and I was looking forward to losing myself in the story and maybe taking my mind off the flight. The book had been out a few weeks and although I’m quite the avid reader (keep the mind busy, remember) I had saved this as my reward for being brave enough to fly.

    I was a little excited to see that in the beginning of the book Lucas is flying out of the same airport I was. And it did pretty much work. It was a great book and the time went quickly while flying. I checked on our flight progress several times using the Southwest app, Dan watched a movie (I think Deadpool) and Ches did whatever she did. To be honest, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to them except to force Chesney to hold my hand during take off and landing.
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    We had two hours to Phoenix, got off the plane and bought turkey sandwiches at a Noca Wich in the airport. They were fine, but not amazing. Phoenix airport was so busy. I mean, maybe we were spoiled by Wichita and Santa Ana being smaller, but Phoenix pretty much was just crazy. We found a little place to claim and ignored everyone else until the started boarding our next flight. That Phoenix to Santa Ana flight is less than an hour and it seemed like we barely took off when we were coming back down.

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    We hopped off the plane, went to baggage claim where Dan and I argued about what our bags looked like -- he was right -- and then I used Uber for the first time to request a ride to our hotel. I was pretty nervous about the whole using Uber thing (I’m way too addicted to true crime to not be a little cautious when getting in a stranger’s car) but it was painless. I sat in the front seat because I get motion sickness, Dan and Ches sat in back, and I once again played on my phone because the traffic was crazy and anxiety. You think I’m anxious driving with my adult daughter (who has only had *two* accidents she’s proud to say) in our fairly small town, imagine what it’s like driving with someone I don’t know in a town where there are six plus lanes on each side of the road. Insert wide eyed emoji here.

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    The Fairfield Inn Anaheim was our destination for the week. I’m not even real sure why we picked this one except we like Fairfield Inns in general and we had stayed at this one on a trip in 1998. So twenty years ago. Our last trip to California we’d stayed at HoJo Anaheim but we didn’t need the water park and we could save a few steps by staying at the Fairfield. I have a little store on Teachers Pay Teachers and when I realized I was doing well with it last year, I also upgraded us to a premium fireworks view room because why not? I mean, I hate heights and I knew those rooms were on the top 3 floors, but I figured it was a nice little extra for Dan and Ches.

    So we arrived at Fairfield, grabbed our luggage and went up to check in. Our room was in Dan’s name, which was strange because I made all our reservations and my name was first on everything, so they had to add me to the reservation even though Dan was standing right there. I was a little nervous because the lobby was pretty full of people sprawling all over that I assumed were waiting for their room to be ready and by this time it was almost 4 pm California time and past check in time, but the nice young man working the desk hit a few buttons, checked with housekeeping and assigned a room that had literally just been cleaned. By the time we got to the 6th floor and found our room, the housekeeping supervisor was just coming out from approving it for check in.

    Having a premium room meant we had a super snazzy mural wall and we could literally walk out our door and see the fireworks at night. Or be awakened by our room shaking and car alarms going off at 9:30 every night. Depended on how tired we were.

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    This picture cut it off, but there was a fairly nice chair next to the window (which also folds out into a twin size bed). I spent a lot of the time we had in the room curled up in that chair reading.

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    I do like a vanity outside the toilet/shower room. On the right, there were two floating shelves and on the left was a fridge (maybe microwave, too... we never used that) and a safe that was still locked when we arrived and security discovered that it was also not working correctly after they unlocked it, so we couldn't use it until after engineering had come in and fixed it. There was also a place to hang clothes and room to store our luggage. The TV was a big flat screen and allowed guests to sign into Netflix and a couple other services for the duration of our stay, which was a nice bonus. They also had pay per view movies on it, but the choices were awful.

    Next up: Dinner in Downtown Disney!

    Attached Files:

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  7. Jaina

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

    Jul 22, 2005
    I'm excited that your trip report is up and running, and that your flying was more or less painless. :) I love flying, but my husband gets a little nervous. I've done 24 hour+ drives way too many times to ever do it when flying is a financial option!
  8. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    I suppose the short trip was worth it, but now DH is talking that we should go to Disney every year and I'm not sure I can do it every year... it took me six years to gear up for it this time...
    Jaina likes this.
  9. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Day One Part Two
    There ain't nothing gonna stop me now cause I'm almost there

    On check in day? We were tired. It was only 4 in California, but it was 6 back home. We’d had some sandwiches, but we were still pretty hungry. We unceremoniously dumped our stuff in our room, took some quick pictures before we messed it all up, and set off for Downtown Disney. I don’t remember there being a big line at bag check and we were walking across the Esplanade fairly quick after check in. And arguing about where to eat. I wanted pizza (pretty much always), Dan didn’t, Ches didn’t care. I sort of wanted Earl of Sandwich, but it seemed like an awful long way to walk -- which in retrospect seems kind of silly because we walked SO MUCH -- but I remembered Jazz Kitchen Express was up ahead and led us there. Ches and I got the Chicken Po Boy and Dan ordered the BBQ Pork Po Boy with no onions. He hates onions and they still put them on there and I was willing to go back and get it made right, but he picked them all off, grumbling under his breath (which is so much better than just letting me get him the correct sandwich) and then he and Ches ended up swapping half their sandwiches anyway. I really liked the sandwich and they ate all theirs and then we had a six pack of beignets. They were delicious, but we were full. Probably should have gone with the smaller size.

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    Chicken Po'Boy and Cajun Fries

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    Still… super nice to be sitting outside eating, which we can’t do much in Kansas because WIND, listening to the atmosphere music and enjoying food we don’t usually eat. We window shopped our way back to the hotel, walking through the Wonderground Gallery (want it ALL) and World of Disney and picking our favorite things.

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    I tried to talk her into buying this hoodie -- I don't think we even realized how cold it was going to be this whole trip -- but she ended up with a couple of different long sleeve options.

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    This is the cute Sully I'll mention again on the last day of our trip. It was stinking adorable, but I really don't need yet another Sully stuffed animal...

    Then it was back to the hotel. As we walked back, I checked my Prime Now app and saw that our order was about to be delivered. We got back to the hotel and sat on a bench under the entrance area and watched a very confused man pull up to the valet. There was a huge group of teenagers milling around (I’ll guess going to grad night that night) and he just looked lost. I finally decided to go help him out and asked if he was with Prime Now. He was, but was still very worried because we had ordered very big things. This was my first time using Prime Now, so I dunno, maybe most people order small things, but I needed big things. I think the poor man was trying to figure out how he was going to carry it all, but Dan had already gone in to get a luggage cart, where we stacked our 3 cases of water, juice boxes, vitamin water, protein bars and a box of Pop Tarts. Breakfast had arrived.

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    On our way back to the hotel, we stopped to take a selfie in the Esplanade...

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    Our first glimpse of Disneyland...

    So I could unpack, I sent Ches and Dan to take the luggage cart down to the lobby again. She was apparently so tired she sat on the cart and had Dan push her to the elevator. There’s a video of it. And girl, you don’t even know tired yet. I stayed in the room and unpacked as much as I could (I let them do their own clothes unpacking) and set up the vanity area. I had booked a Disney Travel Co package because 1) I could use our Disney visa rewards to make a payment on it, and 2) I could make monthly payments on it. At check in, we’d been handed our very nice little package with coupons we forgot to use and the main thing -- our tickets. That evening while Dan was figuring out how to use Netflix on the TV at Fairfield (which was cool and we watched The Office several afternoons), I scanned our tickets into my app on my phone. We actually had hard credit-card type tickets and as I scanned each one, it let me name them which would be helpful for when I didn’t want to ride something with them. I also sent Dan down to the lobby shop to pick up a lanyard to put his in because I just thought it would be easier to wear them and scan them… and it super was. I can’t tell you how many groups we passed in the fast pass scan line because one person had all the tickets on their app and the scanners aren’t real great at reading phones in the first place, but then you have to swipe each ticket for the group to go in… it just wasn’t nearly as fast/smooth as each of us wearing a lanyard with our ticket in a pouch and scanning in. I had a Vera Bradley lanyard and zip card holder I wore, but the fabric on the wallet covered just a hair of the bar code and I ended up buying a clear pouch from Disney our first full day. Also, I gave Ches my sign in to the Disney app so she could use it at the same time as me -- which really helped when she and Dan did something with Photopass -- and ended up downloading it for Dan and signing into my account on his phone because he asked way too many questions in the parks about what I was doing. Downloading the app for him meant he stopped asking questions, but he also didn’t use the app either.

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    The view from just outside our room. You can sort of see the Matterhorn over the trees. Directly across from us -- looking straight ahead -- was the waterpark for the newer Courtyard hotel. Outside we could hear the noise, but not when our door was shut. Also, it was cold, so there were a couple days when I'd look over and feel sorry for the poor lifeguards wearing hoodies supervising an empty water park.

    We ended up falling into bed pretty early CA time. Until 9:30, when the explosions started and I remembered it was fireworks, and then 20 minutes later we finally got to sleep. Well, I didn’t, but Dan and Ches did. I didn’t get more than six hours a night the whole trip, but I function pretty well on little sleep.

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    We were about to start the heart of our trip, and boy, did we fit a lot into that first day...
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  10. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Day Two, Part One
    I Can Go The Distance

    According to my Fitbit, I woke up at 5:41 am on Sunday, which is actually pretty good considering that’s my usual wake up time here and it was two hours earlier in California. Dan was already up and he quickly learned to set up his breakfast stuff the night before -- putting an energy drink mix (the kind you pour into a water bottle and shake, that was our caffeine this trip) and protein bar on the little fridge area in the bathroom alcove. There was actually a frosted sliding door to partition off the vanity/bathroom area and he’d get up, grab the desk chair and sit in that area with the light on so Ches and I could get a few more minutes sleep. It was very nice of him, since we’re both lazy morning people. I’m usually awake but will take an hour to get out of bed.

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    One thing I should mention -- it was COLD in California. I always say I’m loving it best here in Kansas when it’s in the 60s and 70s, but in California I didn’t have access to my many hoodies and piles of blankets. The beds just had a thin blanket between two sheets on them, and many nights I had to wear socks to bed and turn off all the a/c in the room in order to be able to sleep. So dressing each morning was an adventure because -- do I wear a hoodie/long sleeves and then worry about what to do with it later when it gets warm? Or do I just tough it out in short sleeves and freeze all morning? Since this was the first day and I was still in denial about the weather, I went with short sleeves. Rookie mistake.

    I took a little traveler’s notebook with inserts on our trip and one insert was specifically for Disney trips. Every day it had a space for our Top 5, Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snack and a column to write notes about the day. I never kept my notes within that area and also used a dot grid insert for continuing my notes (as well as using the notes app on my phone when I had a few minutes in the parks because I didn’t want to forget anything).

    For this day’s entry, the first thing I wrote was “Wow. We did way too much.”

    MaxPass is great, but it’s addicting and I’ll warn you that it’s very tempting to overdo it.

    So let’s get started…

    Beauty and the Beast was apparently on TV while we were getting ready. I wore my Sully monster shirt/ears combo and Ches went for her Mountain Ears Co baseball tee and our rose gold ears. We were at the park gates by 7:15 and took a few pre-entry, it’s our first day pictures.

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    I took a tip from Disneyland Daily and we started at California Adventure, which had early entry for Disneyland Resort guests, which we were not. However, they let us in the park a half hour early (7:30) and took our pictures to link to our passes. If you’re wondering if they actually check those things… yes, they do. At one point when we were entering a park, the lady in front of us scanned her ticket and the CM working the line immediately stopped her. It had both gone red and the picture was the wrong sex and race. The lady immediately pulled out a ragged Get Away Today envelope and swore she bought it from them. The CM told her she’d have to take it to guest relations, reached around her and started scanning our tickets.

    Anyway, I bought MaxPass as we were walking down Buena Vista Street. Booked us onto Radiator Springs Racers for around 8:30. We took a right as soon as we could and walked right onto Soarin Around the World.

    One thing you should probably know about me is that I’m afraid of heights. Like won’t walk up stairs that have the space between the stairs kind of afraid of heights. Soarin’ has never been my favorite ride, and most of the ride I spent the whole time petrified and/or fighting motion sickness (which I also have). We walked right on this, buckled right in and oh my gosh, I loved it. Like seriously loved it. Wondered out loud why this version was so much more enjoyable than the previous, California only version. Maybe acknowledged that a bit of my anxiety on previous rides was due to my anxiety for my children (Brady has the same issues as I do), and that this time I could just relax and enjoy the ride and not worry about my family.

    And maybe it was just the high of being on my first ride at a Disney park in 6 years. Regardless, we enjoyed it, maybe a little more than the CA only version. It was a great way to start the trip.

    Got off and the park was just starting to open so we walked over and right onto Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.

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    Super cute ride and Dan loves hearing the corny songs Mater sings. Once off that ride, we walked down Route 66 to Radiator Springs Racers and had what would be our first of many rides. As soon as we scanned in, I got Guardians Fastpasses for Dan and Ches. We were quickly in our yellow car and off to ride. Pretty sure we lost this one. Which… who cares, but Dan actually kept track of how many wins we had vs how many losses, so apparently Dan did. To me, the best part of Racers is being immersed in the movie. Driving past the waterfall with the same music playing, tipping tractors, getting new tires or a new paint job, and then that full speed race. It’s just a complete package and I love it so much.

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    I think I took a picture almost every time we pulled up to the seat belt check station. You'll see this view often...

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    We got the tires side way more than the paint job side.
    Oh, tip -- if you have MaxPass and want your ride photos, just snap a quick photo with the number on it and when you’re sitting a taking a break later in the day, you can enter those numbers into the app and get your pictures then.

    For us, that was what I did while Ches and Dan rode Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. I went over and sat on a bench by the exit store and read via the Kindle app on my phone. I did quite a bit of waiting for them this trip and tried to make the best of it and at this point, I still hadn’t finished my Sandford book, so I read.

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    As soon as I saw they’d scanned into Guardians, I grabbed RSR for us again. When they got off, we walked over to Monsters, Inc, where I took a photo in front of Boo’s door because I was looking adorable.
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    It was drizzly by this point (because it never rains in California, but always rains when we’re there) and so we went over and ducked into the Little Mermaid ride, which was cute. Then Dan and Ches walked onto Goofy’s Sky School, which actually took longer than the sign said, but I sat under a table with an umbrella and it was fine. I read again. I made a lot of progress in that book this day.

    It was still wet and cold and we still had some time before our RSR pass, so we wandered our way over to Radiator Springs and the Cozy Cone. We got 3 cones of pretzel bites, which in retrospect we should have just gotten two because I didn’t eat that much on this trip. We also got a Redd’s Apple Freeze and three straws plus some bottles of water. I was coughing fairly often on the trip, sucking on cough drops constantly, and the freeze was good on my throat, even though I’m not a huge fan of apple anything. Pretzel bites were pretty much the same as you’d get at the mall, maybe slightly bigger, and maybe slightly more annoying because they’re served in a cone which required us to hold it with one hand and eat with the other. We actually went across the street and sat in front of Flo’s under awnings because there’s not a whole lot of seating at the Cozy Cone (never saw empty seats there) and it was wet.

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    We still had time before our MaxPass, so we took the path to Bug’s Land, turned left and rode Heimlich. It’s a very cute little ride and I’m a little sad it will be leaving because A Bug’s Life was one of my kids’ favorite movies and it’s adorable little area. Then again, we only ventured in far enough to ride this ride and to walk through to Guardians during the whole week, so I can’t really argue it should stay.
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    As we scanned into RSR, I booked a MaxPass for Indiana Jones, so after a second ride through Carsland, we headed over to enter Disneyland for the first time. I have some serious feelings for the experience of walking into Disneyland for the first time and walking under that plaque that says “Here you leave today…” because isn’t that what it’s all about? Leaving the real world behind and entering the Disney bubble?

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  11. Jaina

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

    Jul 22, 2005
    How I wish I was there today! Especially with some rain! (Being from AZ, we tend to over-romanticize anything that has to do with water falling from the sky and grey clouds...) I'm glad you enjoyed Soarin'! I miss the CA version, but I liked Soarin' over the World. I love that last picture of the two of you on Heimlich's. That is the ride I will miss the most from Bug's Land. It is so cute when you have littles with you! And I love the scale of the whole thing.
  12. PlutosRHM55

    PlutosRHM55 Pluto's Prince (Haters back off!)

    Sep 14, 2010
    Just got off one busy shift at good ole DCA and thought I'd see if the TR was posted and lo-and-behold it was! I'm so excited to hear about EVERYTHING. :mickeyjum
  13. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Well, I'm in Kansas and we haven't had rain in weeks so we're hoping for it, too. I love cool weather and didn't mind buying 2 long sleeve shirts to wear in addition to the hoodie I brought at all. My husband's photography skills really got a workout this trip... we were always telling him to take pictures of me.

    Boy, your Insta is killing me. It makes me miss DL so much and you are so living a good life. All those characters... Sigh. Ches is getting tired of me asking if she's seen your latest picture. Hope work is going well!
  14. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Day Two, Part Two
    I Can Go the Distance
    So we went chugging into Disneyland, hooked a left at the end of Main Street, walked up to use our Indy MaxPass and… “sorry folks.” Indy had just gone down. I pulled out my phone and got the notification that they had made changes to our Indy Fastpass, but this also meant we now had multi-experience fastpasses plus I was able to grab Big Thunder Fastpasses. We decided to wait and come back to Indy when it was back up.

    We apparently then walked over and rode Pooh according to my notes. I tried to take a picture of some part of every attraction we rode, but this one I just have a selfie of the three of us smooshed into a seat on a ride so I’m thankful I wrote these notes because a couple of weeks later, I do not remember that. I like Pooh fine, just kind of at the point where dark rides aren’t so much fun. Pooh’s great when you have small children, not as exciting when you’re all adults.

    Still had some time so I suggested we watch the Tiki Birds. Ches knew there was a bathroom in the waiting area -- go Ches! -- so we did that and then Dan started looking at the yellow ice cream place and said something about wanting one. Seriously folks, my husband knows nothing about Disney. I had to explain that they were famous Disney snacks called Dole Whips, that it was a nondairy pineapple frozen treat (Dan has issues with some dairy, mostly when we’re on vacation and eating a lot of frozen dairy) and that the line was short and he should get us one. So he did and in my twenty or so years of sporadically visiting Disney parks, I finally had my first Dole Whip. You’d think birds would start singing or something...

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    A funny thing happened while the flowers were crooning… I suddenly got teary. It’s an old show and it’s corny as heck, but sitting there in the air conditioning while my family was on either side of me, I felt tears spring to my eyes. Despite all the puns and simple songs, there is just something so uniquely Disney about the Tiki Birds. We had been running full tilt all morning and this was the first chance I’d had to sit and breathe and it all hit me at once. The week before we left, Ches and I would talk about how unreal it that we were going to Disneyland and that it hadn’t yet “hit us.” About the time the tiki gods started pounding their drums, it hit me like a freight train. We were in Disneyland and we were doing all the things.

    Came out of that theater and Indy was back up so we walked onto it. We walked right over after our ride and onto Big Thunder.

    Let me tell you something about Big Thunder… it has been YEARS since I have rode a roller coaster. We go to theme parks all the time and the closest I’ve gotten was taking my cousin’s 4 year old on a caterpillar themed kiddie coaster. For some reason, I did not sit out Big Thunder and told myself to give it a try.

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    I stinking loved it. In fact, it became my favorite ride in Disneyland. It is so smooth, the theming was immersive and I loved the feeling of the wind blowing past me. I surprised myself which I rarely do because I think I know everything and am stubborn so I don’t try things I think I won’t like, but for some reason I just let myself get swept up in the going on rides thing and next thing you know, I’m on Big Thunder with the goofiest grin on my face loving every minute of it.

    When we got in line for Big Thunder, I had picked Buzz as our next MaxPass ride, but when we got off Thunder, I had a notification that Buzz had converted to a MEP. Which was strange, because I was able to grab another Buzz MaxPass for 10 minutes from the current time, but I’ll take it. We wandered over to Tomorrowland and I suggested that Dan and Ches could use that MEP for Hyperspace Mountain, so they jumped in line. I don’t do any form of Space Mountain because I just don’t feel that being hurled through the dark is entertaining or fun in the least and this time I didn’t tell myself to just give it a try. Instead, I grabbed myself a Vitamin Water, walked through the big shop right at the exit and found a shirt I had to have, and then found a spot on a bench at the exit. It takes awhile to get through that Space Mountain line. Just for a time reference, it was about 1:00 in the afternoon according to my photo data. We had done a lot in that time.

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    They came off the ride eventually and I showed them the shirt I thought I needed but didn’t buy because we have a no shopping on the first day rule. Which I’d break in about two hours. Then we walked over and right onto Buzz using our MaxPass.

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    It cracked me up that this was the picture of Ches & I on the ride.

    And then we hit the wall. We were six hours into our day, running from one attraction to the other, crossing parks, my feet were killing me and I hadn’t thought to bring moleskin into the park with me -- I ended up with a blister on the inside of my big toe, which is the strangest place I’ve ever gotten a blister -- and we were beginning to not even like the smell of each other. We decided to give ourselves a break and wandered into some stores on Main Street. I suspect I also grabbed a MaxPass for Haunted Mansion because that’s the next ride we rode.

    Here’s a lesson learned -- we let them put all 3 of us in one doom buggy. Never again. From then on, when we rode something like that, we told them we were a group of 2 and then a group of 1 because there is nothing fun about being smooshed into a ride vehicle with people who are starting to annoy you.

    Came out of Haunted Mansion and I have no idea how, but we found ourselves sitting on a bench just under the castle next to a trash can staring at each other for the next half hour. I’m pretty sure that at some point here I grabbed a MaxPass for Roger Rabbit, but mostly we sat and played Emoji Blitz and/or people watched. For longer than you would think. I managed to get sick to my stomach during this time and ran for the bathroom, but the first Pixar Play parade was about to start and I got all lost trying to find the bathroom and then the parade made it difficult to find my way back… it was just one of those moments where in hindsight, we should have gone back to the hotel and taken an actual break rather than pushing onward.

    At some point, we managed to get ourselves up and walk back to ToonTown where we rode Roger Rabbit’s Acid Trip. That is quite seriously the strangest ride ever. I’ve seen the movie enough that I know the plot and I still couldn’t make any sense of that ride. I mean, we were pretty punch drunk by this point, but it seemed like I’d had one too many jumbo margaritas and tried to make sense of a nightmare.

    We still had a little bit of time before our dining reservation, so I suggested we meet Mickey. There was a posted 30 minute wait at the start of his house, but I assume that included time for people to explore the house, which we did not. We just walked through, back to the movie barn, waited in line for maybe 10 minutes and….

    It was magic.

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    There was a family with two small boys in the room in front of us and those boys were so cute with Mickey. But the true magic happened when we got to meet the big guy. He immediately spotted Chesney’s “just graduated” button and pointed to it and congratulated her. Then he saw my Monsters Inc shirt and start acting like a monster. It was precious and everything we needed to get the energy to finish out the night. After we took a family photo, Mickey wanted one with just Ches, which resulted in her being surprised and this classic photo:

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    Oh look, we did get the good photo!

    Next up: Fantasmic Dining Package at Riverbelle Terrace
    and will we ever see Fantasmic and be able to follow the plot?!?
  15. Jaina

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

    Jul 22, 2005
    YAY! Big Thunder Mountain is my favorite! I convinced my husband to give it another try this last trip too (It used to hurt his back) and he liked it! I was so happy! Also, yay for Emoji Blitz, haha. :) I'm sorry you weren't feeling good though, that's the worst at Disney! (Disney does have very clean bathrooms for this need though... ask me how my 6-weeks-pregnant self found this out a few years ago...) And I had to laugh about RR's Acid Trip...
  16. buteraa

    buteraa DIS Veteran

    Feb 19, 2008
    Great trip report so far.
  17. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Big Thunder is the best. I've had stomach issues for over a year, ever since I got my gallbladder removed. I seem to get stomach flu at the slightest exposure. It's not my favorite.

    Thank you!
  18. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    By the time we left Mickey, it was time to check in at River Belle Terrace. Fantasmic was only running today, Sunday, and then on Friday, which was the last day of our trip. I had discussed our plans with both Dan and Ches (although Dan would not remember any of this) and we decided to go for a full day in the park on our first day, including the Fantasmic dining package so that we’d be sure to see it at least once. In retrospect, probably not the smartest thing for our family. We really aren’t all day in the park kind of people, but I was worried about it being a Sunday. Knowing that the parking lots had closed every Sunday for a month prior to our trip, I was worried about crowds if we left and then came back in. We’d decided that we were all adults and could just take a break in the parks and we didn’t need to go back to the room, which would only add a thousand more steps to our step count. Which is how we had ended up sitting on a bench in the castle that smelled like trash. Staying in the parks all day, which we did twice, was probably my biggest regret. However, we did it. So...

    Checking in at River Belle Terrace was a little tedious and then we had to stand in what was an awkward little waiting area. I had said I didn’t care if we were outside or inside for dining, and I really didn’t, but I wasn’t sad at all when they called our name and took us inside. We had a small table next to the windows that are huge and offer a view of the patios. Our waiter Daniel introduced himself and talked us through the dining package.

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    Dan and I both went with the salad appetizer -- House Salad with Arugula, Apples, Gorgonzola, Dried Cranberries, Candied Pecans and a house made apple vinaigrette. It was really good, the vinaigrette was the perfect acid next to the sweet apples and pecans. Dan said, “I’m not sure what that was. It felt like I was eating grass. But it was good.” High praise from a man who thinks fancy dining is going to Applebees and springing for an appetizer and dessert.

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    Ches had the summer corn chowder. She loves corn in any form and really enjoyed the soup.

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    For entrees, we each tried something different. Ches wanted to try the half chicken, Dan went with the pork spareribs and I went with the Fried Chicken sandwich. Dan cleared his plate (and named this as one of his favorite meals of the trip -- but almost all of them made that list), although I helped with a few bites of the mashed potatoes. I ate about half my sandwich, which was very good but I have really been trying to teach myself that I don’t have to eat everything on my plate just because it’s there. The texture of the chicken breast was different. Like… I know how a fried chicken breast on a sandwich should feel in my mouth and it was just a little too chewy or something. I think it was the thickness that through me off. It was about twice as thick as I expect a fried chicken sandwich to be. Ches liked the chicken and baked beans although she struggled with how to eat the chicken. She swears I never taught her how to use utensils properly. I’m just… huh. If you’re 18 and can’t figure it out by now, then I don’t think the lack of proper instruction when you were 2 or 3 is the problem. The seasonal vegetables were carrots and brussel sprouts. She’d never had brussel sprouts but tried them. Said they tasted like broccoli, which she likes, and she ate most of it. The baby carrots were a hit for her.

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    My fried chicken sandwich.

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    Dan's ribs

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    Chesney's half chicken

    The best part of the meal was Daniel, who spent quite a bit of time talking to us about our trip -- everyone was always a little amazed when we said we were from Kansas -- and dessert. We all had the Butterscotch Pudding Parfait with pieces of sugar cookie. I’m not much of a pudding eater but this parfait was everything. Not too sweet, just the right touch of crunch and smooth. Just really, really good.

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    We walked out of the restaurant with more energy and ready to go. Seriously, we had to go. So we went to the restroom just down from RBT and used it, then noticed Jungle Cruise had a 15 minute wait. Might as well knock that out, right? We had the corniest of corny guides and I’m pretty sure the dude made a RuPaul’s Drag Race joke at one point. So extra credit points for him.

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    We were on Jungle Cruise about 5:45 pm, so we walked off it and over to Main Street. We were lucky enough to duck under the rope right at the corner in front of the Refreshment Corner, right behind some people on the curb. As we reached our spot, we heard the announcement that the Pixar Play parade was about to start. Hooray! I am all about parades and dancing and music. So pretty much we spent the next half hour with me and Ches bopping and singing and waving at characters.

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    I don't snapchat, but Ches sure does.

    And with that, I'm out of photo space, so to be continued...
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  19. Jaina

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

    Jul 22, 2005
    Oh my goodness, those pictures of your food are going to do me in! (Mostly since I'm trying hard to lose another 10 lbs before I go to Hawaii in 2 months, and have been avoiding beautiful indulgences like that.) I totally hear you on trying to not eat stuff just because it's there. I'm super guilty of this with my kids when they don't finish perfectly good food, but I have to remember that I am not a trash can!
    I like parades a lot, but we never watched them when I was a kid. My dad had zero interest in anything but the Main Street Electrical Parade, I think. Also, I really really love both of your ears...
  20. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    I reformed believer in not eating just because it's there, but that was some good food. I just got the first half of our trip album printed and my husband was even nostalgic about how good the food was.

    Our ears were ordered from Etsy sellers. I have a serious love for a couple of them and still want to buy new ears and we aren't going anywhere for years...
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  21. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

    Apr 4, 2000
    Day Two, Part Four
    Fantasmic, Finally

    It’s a pretty cute little parade and that whole 5-4-3-2-1-Let’s play! Song will get stuck in your head.

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    I've never seen Inside Out, but Joy is my Disney Emoji Blitz favorite. And she waved.

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    Heimlich is the most adorable Pixar character ever. I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my class every year and always end with "He was a beautiful butterfly."

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    Hey guys!

    We still had quite a bit of time before we could check in for Fantasmic, so we went back and did some actual shopping. I bought a Millennial Pink spirit jersey and put it on because it was starting to get cold. We watched ducks. Seriously. There were ducks everywhere. It became a running joke for us, especially after I was pretty tired and loopy and said, “Look, it’s a deer.” So every time we saw a duck we’d call it a deer. Lots of ducklings and a few geese and goslings. Sometime around 7:30 we ended up over by Haunted Mansion in a loose line that had formed for Fantasmic seating. Closer to 8, they seperated us into lines according to restaurant. River Belle to the right, Blue Bayou in the middle, Hungry Bear on the left. They took Blue Bayou first right at 8, then our River Belle group. They let the Fastpass people in simultaneously with us and some of them sort of overlapped into our seating area and nothing was said so we still got front row but if I had the choice, I might have sat a little farther down against the rail (because I have personal issues and really didn’t want to sit beside the people who were waiting in front of us). Anyway, we settled into our spot and Dan grumbled constantly about having to sit on the concrete. We were pretty good about not using our phones much on this trip, but at times like this where we were sitting and waiting for a show, we did play Emoji Blitz or check social media (although Dan doesn’t have social media so he just played games).

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    Yes, Dan, we have to sit on the ground. I'm a pre-K teacher. I do it for a living. You could be standing...

    Wasn’t too long and they made the announcement that Fantasmic was about to start, the lights went down and off we went. Truly the best part of Fantasmic was looking over and watching Chesney’s face. She was so into it and when they brought out the pirate ship, she jumped a little because she wasn’t expecting it.

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    It's a ropes course. On the boat! My family (i.e. not me) loves ropes courses!

    It was all going so wonderfully, tears in our eyes, Rapunzel and Flynn dancing right in front of us…

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    and then the water screens started showing the Fantasmic logo and they announced the show had ended early due to technical difficulties.


    At this point, we’re stinky and tired and our feet are killing us (I didn’t know I had a blister on my toe at this point, but I knew I was in pain). We could have stayed there to see the fireworks, but I wasn’t even sure if they would show the projections due to the Fantasmic technical difficulties. So… I took this as a sign from the universe that we had done enough that day and we should head back to the room. I already planned to see fireworks from Main Street another day, so we just needed to go back, get off our feet, and regroup.

    We followed the crowds through Adventureland, were diverted backstage behind Main Street while the fireworks started and then dumped out at the end of Main Street. We walked back to our hotel while the fireworks went off overhead. I had decided I needed some NyQuil because I had slept pretty bad with the coughing the night before so I popped into the lobby gift shop to buy some.

    $15. For NyQuil. That is some serious robbery going there, and I didn’t have enough pills to even get me through more than 2 nights. However, I had it and I could sleep that night and get up ready to go the next morning. Ches jumped in the shower, Dan and I crawled into bed and that was it for day one.
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