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Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

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  • Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Here we go, another Whoever Trip Report. This one is our annual (looking to actually do it annually) family week-long vacation from Arizona to Disneyland. For those who don't know the players, there's myself, Matt (aka; whoever), my wife Amy, my oldest Katherine (nearly 8 as of this trip), Charlotte (5.5 as of this trip), and Victoria (barely 2 as of this trip). Accompanying us are Lindsey and Reese (5ish), who are good friends and have accompanied us on Disneyland trips of past.


    Said in my best Peter Pan voice "Here we go!!!"


    10/20/2014...05:13. Pulled out of the garage after a WAY TOO LONG getting everybody up and into the car debacle. We can't ever seem to leave on time, and I had hoped to be on the road by 04:30. The sooner you check into the hotel, the better your chances for your sleeping arrangement request (for us, a queen and bunk beds) and potential for pixie dust upgrades to the room location or view. The kids were pretty zombie at this hour of the morn, but none were deciding to sleep.


    The children's tablets engaged their eyeballs at 05:38 after we were half way across the valley. Around 6AM, we encountered some slowing and traffic near exit 81. A tractor-trailer had overturned in the left lane and was being righted. At 07:00, we pulled off for our usual fuel stop at the Flying J while still in AZ. California fuel is easily a dollar more per gallon just a few miles down the road to best to keep the tank topped in Arizona (smell the freedom!!!).





    At 08:44, Victoria had given up the fight and decided to take a nap. The girls ate lunchables (or more accurately made a mess with lunchables). Right about this time, we were coming up on the windmill farms. They looked to be getting a decent breeze. Shortly afterwards, we entered the Moreno valley. We engaged in a debate as to the nature of the visibility obscuring material floating everywhere. Was it smoke? Fog? Smog? A quick google weather check indicated it to be "intense fog", and it was thick. I'd never seen it this thick in lower CA in fact. For desert dwellers like us, fog is something we only see locally maybe once or twice every ten years (thankfully).





    Around twenty-four past nine, we passed the Rubidoux exit. We both said it simultaneously... Rubydoo!!! (Yes, it would be Ruby-dough, but it wasn't for us right then and there). The Ruby-Doo was Amy and my favorite beverage during our last dining experience at Club 33.


    Just two minutes past ten, we were sitting at Ball Road and State College Blvd. There were some road flare ashes from what must have been an accident the prior night. Katherine having an overactive imagination and propensity for creativity said they must be a beignet trail. It would henceforth be referred to as "The Great Beignet Mystery".


    At a quarter past ten, we had disembarked the vehicle (no minor feat given the Tetris-esque packing routine) and were checking in at the front desk with Kiki.


    Tetris Volvo as pictured:







    She looked long and hard and after probably ten to fifteen minutes we finally were guaranteed a bunk-bed room. They would text us with the room number later (we've always received it at the desk in the past, so I don't know if they just didn't know which would be ready first). The girls had established themselves in front of the TV watching Pluto or Goofy shorts on the lobby TV.








    After check in, I headed over to the concierge to inquire about the Art of Craft tour. I was informed there was no tour today contrary to the schedule I had been provided. Not to be stymied, I booked a Friday tour for 1PM.


    By 10:49, we hit Downtown Disney. We were going to head over to Trader Joe's for lunch. A brief stop to oogle the Lego store and we were on our way to the Disneyland hotel.















    They were working on the sorcerer hat, so we jogged left, went by the smoking area for the Adventureland tower, cut through it, and made our way over to Sam's. We arrived and were told they didn't open for another half an hour (11:30 opening). Grr... We made a snap decision, and went for Tangaroa Terrace. I grabbed two salmon meals for the girls, some shrimp tacos for Amy, and I got the Ahi. The Ahi was great!! Much better than the last time I had it. Amy's shrimp tacos must have been equally good because they disappeared in short order, and the girls devoured their salmon like nobody's business.









    Satiated, we decided to head back towards DTD, but first we would make a stop into the Frontierland tower to check out the scale model of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Afterwards, we headed through the Rose Court to see where the girls will get married someday. They decided to show us how they would walk down the aisle... or not walk...


















    Afterwards, we made our way back to DTD and hit the Lego store. It was the least crowded I had ever seen it. You could ACTUALLY MOVE. I really liked a few of the kits, but they were several hundred dollars, and that wasn't in the budget. I'm kind of surprised Disney hasn't bought Lego or at least licensed Disney Parks to them as building kits. That would be a mega money maker. We split at World of Disney. Having a Premium Annual Pass, I was able to enter the parks this day even though I hadn't purchased tickets for the family other than the Halloween Party ones for later that day. I headed through bag check, and into DCA to hit up Katz Camera where I would redeem my voucher for my physical Photopass Plus. This was my first time using PP+, and I was eager to see if it was worth it. Ended up being a fraction of a dollar per picture from either the park attraction cameras or the Disney Photopass photographers. Once I download them (part of the package, or you can request a CD), I'll see if they compare to my camera's shots from the same operator. I don't shoot a flash pretty much ever, so there's always a risk of not having as good of a shot. Afterwards, I met back up with the girls in World of Disney and we headed towards the hotel to take advantage of the pool.






    Last edited by whoever; 10-26-2014, 08:23 AM.

  • Treasure
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Great TR........Thanks for posting.

    Leave a comment:


  • cinderella2u
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Oh man! You nailed another one.
    Splendid! Super entertaining and detailed, all the best of any trip report. I just can't seem to figure out how you know the exact times you did things or are things to the MINUTE! You must keep written notes!
    Now I'm sad...can't help it. We went in April of 2014 and December 2014. My husband said we are not to go in 2015, that he needs "a break". Gah! I should've married a Disney nut!!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    OK... next topic for this Trip Report.... In-room Sitters.


    The Disneyland resort will not provide sitter information for your upcoming visit unless you have a liability waiver FAXED (yes, the only form of delivery offered) to you, signed, and faxed back. Once that is done, they will FAX (yes, a fax, I know... ) a sheet of paper with the following on it:


    The Disneyland Resort does not approve or recommend any particular child care company or sitter agency.


    Child Care and Sitter Agencies
    All around the Clock Sitters: (949) 551-5111
    Destination Sitters: (888) 748-5439
    Kid's Nite Out: (800) 696-8105
    Anywhere, Anytime, Sitters Unlimited: (714) 758-5645


    ** Please note that this hotel DOES NOT assume liability for the babysitter, or for the service provided, since this service is rendered by an agency not affiliated with this hotel.

    And that's the end of it...






    We ended up selecting Destination Sitters partly because of previous reviews on various Disney internet forums. Amy called, arranged the sitter for the specific day and time, and we were emailed (at least Destination Sitters is in the 21st Century) a bio of the sitter we were to have and an invoice as seen below. They under quoted us on the first invoice and quoted $20/hr, but quickly corrected it with the $26/hr actual rate for the four children and our sitter Martha.







    You can see our experiences up in the Trip Report above, but let me say here and now, it was a great experience. Extremely worth what we paid, the kids were happy, and most importantly we were happy with some much-needed adult time. All in all, I'd use them again without a thought or worry. I hope I can save somebody some trouble I went through with Disney trying to get a sitter agency and I highly recommend Martha from Destination Sitters.

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by KellyMcG86 View Post
    Considering the condition of CA's freeways compared to our's in AZ... I'd say the tolls are a fail.
    Pretty much anything .gov in CA = fail.

    Also, if you turn your yard into the Tiki Room courtyard, please invite us over for a BBQ!
    No plans for tiki room patio yet, but I did build my daughters a Jungle Cruise queue treehouse.

    Leave a comment:


  • KellyMcG86
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Considering the condition of CA's freeways compared to our's in AZ... I'd say the tolls are a fail.

    Also, if you turn your yard into the Tiki Room courtyard, please invite us over for a BBQ!

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by KellyMcG86 View Post
    Still following along. Love it! We haven't been forced onto toll roads yet... Hopefully we never will since we never have cash on us. Ugh.
    Thanks!! They just take a picture of your license plate and there's a website for you to pay on. Very irritating. Last toll roads I had to deal with were in Texas and Ohio. I'm torn on toll roads. In theory they are perfect, in practice... money grabs.

    Leave a comment:


  • KellyMcG86
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Still following along. Love it! We haven't been forced onto toll roads yet... Hopefully we never will since we never have cash on us. Ugh.

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    The Challenge Trail worked up an appetite, so we headed over to Pacific Wharf where Amy had some power packs waiting for the girls. I grabbed a Carne Asada and Chicken Tamale from Cocina Cucamonga and a Tower 10 from the Karl Straus truck for myself. Victoria was crabby, so Amy took her for a walk while the rest of us finished our meals. We wrapped up lunch around 13:53 and headed over to Cars Land. Amy and Victoria were over in Bug's Land on Heimlich's so the girls and I had a snack at the cozy cone. Grabbed them a Pretzel bite and a soft serve cone and we grabbed a precious spot at a picnic table in the shade.


    Once everybody had finished their snacks, we headed over to Bug's Land and jumped on Flik's Flyers. We regrouped with Amy and Vic and jumped on Heimlich's for another trip through some giant food...










    Next up was Francis' Ladybug Boogie with Charlotte and Vic... three times... while Amy and Katherine did Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies. While the little girls and I were still waiting for Amy and Katherine to get done, we played in the Princess Dot Puddle Park. Victoria got pretty darn soaked. We jumped on Flik's Flyers one last time to get dried off.




    As it was getting later in the day, we headed over to Disneyland for a few last attractions and some food. We made a bee line for the Tiki Room and a round of Dole Whips. I always love the outdoor show nearly as much as the indoor show. How awesome would it be to have a replica tiki patio like this in your back yard complete with animatronics?

















    One thing I've always found interesting is how effectively Disney manages to separate the lands. You often have smooth and unassuming transitions which within a few steps take you from one theme to another seamlessly. The Tiki Room waiting area is one of the only areas in the park where the juxtaposition of MainStreet USA comes face to face with the South Pacific..







    Time to get the show going...












    Finished with our cooling treat and wonderful show, we decided to hit Toon Town for our last attractions of the trip. That's one thing I really love about Disneyland, you can get from one corner of the park to another in very short order.


    Gratuitous castle shot while walking.







    We saw the Mickey M&G was going on, so we jumped in line, made our way through the house, and ended up watching some shorts in the barn while we waited at 16:32.





    The girls all went for a spin on Gadget's Go Coaster while I amused Vic. I tossed her up on my shoulders, which made it easy to keep her entertained and get some shots of the girls on the attraction. Not my best work, but not bad I guess while balancing a toddler on my shoulders.













    Katherine had a new-found fascination with Chip and Dale on this trip, so a trip through their treehouse was a necessity.










    Victoria REALLY loves Mickey and Minnie.





    We made a trip through Donald's Gag store and was glad to see the conveyor was working today.


    Time for our annual Jack O lantern pic from Goofy's playground.








    It was getting late, so time to start heading back. We swung by River Belle Terrace at 17:32 for a quick dinner so we wouldn't have to stop on the way home and then made our way slowly down Main Street and to the Grand. The Valet never seems to be all that speedy or well-timed with Bell Services when checking out. Shame you couldn't just give the tickets to one person and they'd arrange both car and luggage arriving simultaneously. We were waiting for our bags/vehicle at 18:11 and wouldn't end up pulling out of the Grand until 18:32. I always hate that part of the trip. The Grand is our home away from home and I never want to leave.


    The ride home ended up with us on some toll roads due to construction (rip off), but the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. We made a food stop for the adults at 20:03 in Blythe, and pulled into our driveway in Phoenix at 23:57. A little slower than we usually do it, but the toll road detour and more stops than we usually make slowed us up by a good 20-30 minutes.




    Stay tuned for my reviews of both Photo Pass Plus and Sitters International.

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Amy took Victoria for a few Ariel ride-throughs while the older girls and I went for the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. We've never successfully done every one of the challenges, so this was going to be the day for us. We WOULD become WILDERNESS EXPLORERS.







    For the zip line, both girls got queued up at the same time, so I had to go left/right/left/right to see each of them as they stick the parents in this tiny boxed in area to keep us safe from those adventurous kids.



























    A quick photo op with Doug. Again, pick the PP+ pic vs. mine














    The Tracking challenge is one of the hardest. It is SOOO hard to find Kevin's tracks. Here's a hint... if you go left instead of right upon entering the trail, you'll find them.











    The girls always love the rock wall climb. I think this was Charlotte's first time being tall enough to actually do it.


























    CRAZY HAIR...







    The rope bridges always cause issues... small feet going through the ropes. Katherine rushing ahead because she's extremely fast at EVERYTHING and getting lost from her party.









    And finally at 13:00... we had a full set of merit badges completed and were ready to get our Wilderness Explorer badges through the WE ceremony. KEW having been a Girl Scout for 3+ years now took everything VERY seriously













    Kevin even popped in for a visit





    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    We made our way out of DL, and headed for our room. By the time we hit the room at 10:40, it was pretty close to checkout, so we packed up the final items, and the girls left while I dealt with Bell Services. It took forty minutes from when we hit the room for us to pack, get Bell Services up, and me out of the room. I triple checked everything as I normally do and with a sad heart, closed the door to the room. I always hate checking out of the Grand. It's just such a homey type of place.


    We headed for DCA after check out, and over to Goofy's Sky School. I did Victoria duty while all the girls did GSS. While waiting I again hung out over at the DVC cart, and put another sticker on the end of my lens cap. We caught a quick parade before rejoining the girls.

















    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    While in New Orleans one HAS to partake of some beignets and Mint Juleps. Being 10:01, it was just the perfect time for a mid-morning treat. Just don't inhale lest you choke on the sugar.














    There were some interesting advertisements hanging


    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Being in New Orleans, we decided to visit one of the local plantations...It appears to have been taken over by some Christmas loving entities...






















    Somebody needs to really evaluate the maid's work. She's slipping on her dusting









    That's quite the treat pile for Zero








    Woah... somebody made a mess..







    Is that guy shooting at me?














    That gingerbread house looks angry... I guess if you were filled with peppermint spikes you'd be angry too.












    Lots of presents in the attic. Looks like Amy is getting one.




















    Jack is looking festive





    As is the cemetery





    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by lnpowers20 View Post
    Don't tempt me!
    We were discussing who'd have to double up this morning.

    Leave a comment:


  • lnpowers20
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by whoever View Post
    It's not too late to buy tickets for Dapper Days!!!

    It will be tight, but I bet we could sleep seven in the room.
    Don't tempt me!

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by PhotoMatt View Post
    You're mixing attractions, Sallah. .
    I'm glad someone can appreciate that. Goes over most people's heads when I use it in every day conversation.

    Leave a comment:


  • PhotoMatt
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by whoever View Post
    Auctions... very dangerous... you go first.
    You're mixing attractions, Sallah.

    Originally posted by whoever View Post
    I wonder what the P.B.S of A is?

    I'm not sure, but my guess is it stands for "Pirate Benevolent Society of Anaheim."
    Last edited by PhotoMatt; 02-16-2015, 05:36 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by lnpowers20 View Post
    I am and teared up a little bit at the part when Reese and I had to leave. It was a great trip
    It's not too late to buy tickets for Dapper Days!!!

    It will be tight, but I bet we could sleep seven in the room.

    Leave a comment:


  • lnpowers20
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by whoever View Post
    Thanks! Glad I could provide some entertainment. I was wondering if anybody was even reading this thing anymore.
    I am and teared up a little bit at the part when Reese and I had to leave. It was a great trip

    Leave a comment:


  • whoever
    replied
    Re: Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

    Originally posted by justingoodger View Post
    Man, I gotta say reading trip reports (especially yours with such detail and great photos) is what I've always loved about this site and community. I don't see too many anymore, however yours are a treat and a lot of fun to read. Really makes me excited for the next time I get to visit.
    Thanks! Glad I could provide some entertainment. I was wondering if anybody was even reading this thing anymore.

    Leave a comment:

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