Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Disneyland Review 2013

This was an unusual trip for us, parts of which I hope to never duplicate.  My Mother passed away just days before we left, and the emotions of that played into each member of the family during the vacation.  And a few weeks before vacation time, Jason broke his foot and was put into a cast.  No weight bearing on that foot meant we were looking at using a wheelchair for the theme parks.  I grossly under estimated how physically hard it would be to push him in the chair.

Between sports and other summer activities, the only time we could pull off a week long vacation was around Memorial Day weekend.  I was not excited about the potential holiday crowds, but we went for it, expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

We did our now usual routine.  Some drive, some fly.  It's easier on Lori's back, and Traven does better with a two hour plane ride than a full day of driving.  Friday around 4, Jason, Kaylee, Alyssa and I left for the driving portion.  In my state of grief, I was not thinking clearly when I found us a "bargain" for staying in Mesquite that night.  Rather than a $50 bargain condo, I ended up with a close to $200 vacation getaway.  Flat screens in every room, a two car garage, nice clubhouse and pool, etc.  Definitely way too much for what we needed.

We were up and on the road early, and arrived at our hotel before check in time.  We killed some time at Target, checked into the hotel, then picked up Lori and T at the airport.  We then knocked off one tradition by eating dinner at the Coco's on Harbor.  I'm not sure why, but a visit to that Coco's is pretty much a requirement at this point.

One quick side note.  I took a lot of grief over it, but my Google doc vacation check list worked out great.  We were definitely over prepared!  It's included below.  The mobile phone chargers worked out wonderfully. The schedule changed some, but all in all it was definitely a win to have this thought out before hand.

Sunday was Universal Studios.  The theme to Jurassic Park started playing as we were picking up our tickets, and T nearly exploded with excitement!  He actually attempted some sort of run into the wall, try to run up the wall maneuver that ended with him flat on his back!  We went with the VIP experience, which worked out perfectly.  We did everything in the park in one day, with time to spare.  Here's a quick attraction recap, along with T's take.

  1. Simpsons - still rocks, although T was not a fan.  I really like this ride.
  2. Transformers - freaking awesome, and T loved this.  He did confess that he closed his eyes anytime Megatron showed up.
  3. Jurassic Park - I've done this one so many times that it really does not impress anymore, and T actually hated it.
  4. Mummy - still the fastest, shortest ride around.  I love it, but I would never stand in line for it.  The entire experience feels like it lasts all of 10 seconds.
  5. Water World - let's call this one a guilty pleasure, but it still is fun.  I heard "THIS IS AWESOME!" from Traven several times.
  6. Animal Actors - yeah, the 5 year old loved it.
  7. Special Effects experience - it was decent.
  8. Studio Tour - just for the new 3D King Kong part, this was incredible.  The tour held Traven's attention, although parts were a bit scary to him.
  9. Shrek 4D - how can you not like anything Shrek?
Monday we planned to go to the beach.  Big mistake, as the entire state of Cali must go to the beach for Memorial Day.  After almost getting towed, we did manage to get the girls and Traven to the beach for some photos.  We followed this up with a trip to the factory stores.  We also sprinkled in some hotel swim time, which made T's day.

Tuesday was Disneyland!  This was the day the wheelchair really paid off.  We skipped all the lines at Fantasyland.  Blew through the entire land in a couple of hours.  Let me see if I can list out what we got done on this day.
  1. Tiki Room.  I hadn't done this in years, and now I remember why!  It was fun, but I can wait a few years again now.
  2. Dole Whip.  Over rated.
  3. Indiana Jones.  T secretly loved it.
  4. Jungle Cruise.  Always puts a smile on my face.
  5. Pirates.
  6. Haunted Mansion.
  7. Splash Mountain.
  8. Winnie the Pooh.
  9. Lunch at the Hungry Bear.
  10. Dumbo.  Ask Kaylee and Jason about riding this together.....
  11. Pinnochio.
  12. Snow White.
  13. Carousel. 
  14. Mr. Toad.
  15. Peter Pan.
  16. Tea Cups.
  17. Alice in Wonderland.
  18. Small World.
  19. Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
  20. Fireworks.
  21. Tarzan's Treehouse.
  22. Innoventions (mainly the Iron Man thing, but we could have spent a lot more time in this attraction).
  23. Autopia.
  24. Buzz Lightyear.
All in all, a great day, but an extremely long day! My body was already sore from pushing the wheelchair all day.  For dinner, we just did stuff from the "street" vendors, like chimichangas and turkey legs.

Wednesday was California Adventure.  CROWDED!  And the new Radiator Springs Racers is so fun and amazing that even the FastPass line is a mile long.  I think the passes were all gone for the day before 11 am.  There is no quick way through the lines even with the wheelchair for any rides in this park.  Let me see if I can list out this day.  It's a bit of a blur!
  1. Heimlich's Choo-Choo train (killing time while the girls fast pass Radiator Springs).
  2. Bumper Cars (killing time while I fast pass Soarin.  They allow you to double up when you have fast passes for Radiator Springs).
  3. Soarin (still my favorite).
  4. Tower of Terror.
  5. Little Mermaid.
  6. Everything in Bugs Land.
  7. Muppets (how much longer will this show hang on?)
  8. Monsters Inc.
  9. Aladdin.  Lost Alyssa and Traven for a bit, due to an extremely rude Disney cast member.
  10. Luiggi's Flying Tires.  I hated this, but it might have just been the inability of my tire to go where Alyssa and I wanted it to.  It could not possibly have been our fault!
  11. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.  Probably one of Traven's most favorites.
  12. Radiator Springs Racers.  Well done Disney!  The entire experience is simply majestic!
Thursday should have been a rest day.  When I called GetAwayToday to change our hotel to a more wheelchair friendly layout, they offered me 5 day, one park a day tickets for the same price as 3 day park hoppers.  I listened to them and changed.  This was a mistake.  4 days in a row was simply too much.  Anyway, back to Thursday.  We had our World of Color picnic, so this was another Cali day.  Alyssa was too sick to make it over, so Kaylee offered to stay with her.  It was odd not having them along.  We did Soarin again, then went up to do Toy Story Mania.  It broke right as we got there, so we opted for the Ferris wheel instead.  Alyssa and Kaylee came over for our picnic lunch, but Alyssa was not doing well at all, so she and Lori headed back to the hotel.  The rest of us had a great afternoon.  We did Monsters again, then did Turtle Talk with Crush, Animation Academy, Character Close-Up, Mater again and some misc. Bugs Land rides.  Traven was so cute when we did the animation thing.  He listened so carefully and really tried to draw Pooh just like they told us.    We also did Toy Story Mania, Triton's Carousel and J and K did Screamin.   Oh, and we watched the Pixar parade.  Lori and Alyssa rejoined us, and we had dinner at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, which is probably about my favorite place to eat in park.  It was then World of Color time!  We actually got some prime seating, due to our fast passes and the wheelchair.  I tell you, WOC has never failed to impress me.  Definitely a must do each and every time for me.

By Friday, I was defeated.  The motorized wheelchairs said you had to be at least 18 to operate, and I threw a bit of stink over that with the family.  I thought we should stick by the rules.  Friday morning, with bruised and sore hands and entire body, my song had changed.  Jason was fully mobile for Friday at Disney!

We grabbed fast passes for Star Tours, then watched Captain EO.  We then rode Star Tours.  As we were getting off the ride, I noticed that if we hurried, we could get to Jedi training.  Traven and I hurried over, got there just in time, and he was chosen to participate!  He was so happy, and the rest of us were so relieved we didn't have to go through the drama of him not being picked!  It was a lot of fun to watch him train and then battle Darth Vader!

Did I mention how unseasonably warm it was this trip?  Ugh.  What did we even do this afternoon?  The girls went shopping, and J, T and I took a lap on the train.  I love the train.  T and I did Buzz Lightyear again.  The boys and I ended up seeing the parade again while the girls shopped.  We then split up, with A and J going with Alyssa's friend Merissa.  The rest of us toyed with the idea of watching Fantasmic, but just didn't have it in us to stay any longer.  T did the shooting thing at Frontierland, we had dinner at the Golden Horseshoe, and that was it.  It was time to leave.

Saturday we dropped T and Lori off at the airport, then started the long drive home.  We divided the truck entertainment into 4 parts.  Jason had us watch a couple of Star Wars movies on the way down, the girls had us listening to fun music for their turns.  We got home just after 11 pm, which wasn't too horrible given the number of bathroom stops we had to make!

The Residence Inn was a great place to stay.  Just a couple of blocks from the Toy Story parking lot.  I'd still like to stay within walking distance some day.

If you'd like to see the vacation pics, click here and request access.  I'll hook you up!


It might also be fun to mention the various places Traven fell asleep on this trip!  He was the master of the power nap.  He fell asleep sitting between my legs with his forehead resting on the back of my legs.  He took a rest sitting in a chair with his chin draped across the stroller bar.  He napped through loud noises and shows.  He took his rest when he needed it!
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Crowd forecasts look like we have planned ok.  Memorial day is projected to be crowded, and Friday as well.  Tues - Thurs. are forecast to be “hey, it’s not that bad”.

Thursday / Friday to-do items before we leave:
1) Get instructions to Dillon for taking care of the dog, flowers, etc.
2) Mow lawn
3) Charge mobile phone chargers
4) Laundry

Misc. items to pack for California trip

1)  Zip-lock bags for water rides.
2)  Spare socks and underwear for water rides.
3)  Misc. creams and medicines
    a.  neosporin
    b.  "feminine" supplies
    c.  anti fungal cream
    d.  desitin
    e.  vaseline
4)  Jogger (probably easiest to take a wrench to remove the front tire)
5)  Good walking shoes, broken in
6)  Sunscreen
7)  Hat
8)  Sunglasses
9)  Mobile phone charger (something you can carry in a purse)
10) Earplugs
11) Laundry supplies
12) Quarters
13) Swim suit
14) extra clothes
15) towel for the beach
16) paperwork for Universal Studios
17) Garmin
18) Phone chargers, I”stuff” chargers

Misc. things to do to get ready

1)  Walking
2)  Standing

Proposed schedule
Friday        5/24    5:00 pm        Drive to St. George
              9:00 pm        arrive at Charlotte's

Saturday    5/25     8:00 am        Drive to California
                               389 miles, approximately 5 hours
                              Residence Inn
11931 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Saturday    5/25    4:50 pm        Mom and Traven fly out
Saturday    5/25    5:49 pm        Pick up at Long Beach airport
                       18 miles from hotel to airport
                       4100 E Donald Douglas Dr  Long Beach, CA 90808

Sunday        5/26    Universal    Make sure you bring the printed voucher!!!
                       36.5 miles from hotel to Universal, traffic will be horrible
                       100 Universal City Plaza  Universal City, CA 91608
                       Hours are 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Monday        5/27    Beach
            Factory Stores
            Disneyland open until 11:00 pm
Soundsational Parade (4:00 pm or 6:30 pm)
            Fantasmic! 9:00 pm
Pick up Disney tickets!  Go to city hall and get the disabled pass.
Factory stores
                       20 City Blvd., West Suite C-5
                       Orange  California  92868
                       Has a Disneyland outlet
                       2.6 miles from hotel

                    Huntington Beach State Park, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Might be best to rethink this strategy, as Disneyland could be incredibly busy this day.  If so, we really just need to bump the parade and Fantasmic to another day.

Tuesday    5/28    Disneyland 8:00 am - 11:00 pm, Magic Morning early entry (assuming we have it), rent wheelchair,, fast pass Indiana Jones, Tiki Room, Dole whip
            Eat lunch at Tomorrowland Terrace.  T really wants to be picked for the Jedi show.  11:30 am, 12:40 pm, 2:25 pm

Wednesday    5/29    California Adventure 9:00 am - 10:00 pm, get in line for Radiator Springs Racers, fast pass Soarin or Tower

Thursday    5/30    Late start  day - California Adventure 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
picnic at Sonoma Terrace
Aladdin 2:20 pm
Pixar Play Parade 5:15 pm
Downtown Disney
World of Color 9:00 pm
picnic purchased, Sonoma terrace, bring the voucher!
            World of Color show is at 9:00 pm

Friday        5/31    Disneyland 9:00 am - 11:00 pm, fireworks 9:30 pm

Saturday    6/1        10:15 am    Mom and Traven fly out, the rest of us leave for St. George
Saturday    6/1        1:01 pm    Mom and Traven arrive in Salt Lake

Sunday       6/2        Drive home

Places to eat?
New Orleans Cafe?
Rancho del Zocalo? (Frontierland)
Bengal Barbecue?
River Belle Terrace?
Flo's V8 Cafe?

Show Schedules - appears the same each day we are there, but I did note that fireworks is listed Friday only on some spots.
Fantasmic!  9:00 pm, 10:30 pm
Soundsational Parade 4:00 pm, 6:30 pm
Fireworks 9:30 pm
Jedi Training 10:30 am, 11:35 am, 12:40 pm, 2:25 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:45 pm
Pixar Parade 5:15 pm
Aladdin 12:40 pm, 2:20 pm, 4:45 pm, 6:20 pm

Instructions for Dillon:
Feed and water dog once or twice a day.  If he hasn’t eaten or drank, don’t be alarmed.  He tends to just eat when he wants.  He’ll also just makes a mess if you try to overfeed him.  Probably just a half of the smaller pitcher when you do feed him.

Garage code is xxxx.  Dog food and pitchers for getting water are in there.

The dog is a runner.  Make sure all gates, doors, etc. are closed before you let him out.  He does like to play and get attention, so feel free to do so.  There is a leash in the garage if you want to walk him, but don’t feel like you have to.  He is a bundle of energy and will try to jump up on you.  Feel free to knock him on his rear if needed!

Call 801-699-9837 or 801-380-7864 at any time with any questions.

Water the plants on our porch each day.

I’ll leave you a mail key.  If you wouldn’t mind, just grab the mail a couple of times while we are gone and set it in the garage somewhere.  We tend to get a lot of junk mail and the box might overflow if we don’t empty it a couple of times.  I think we are box #15, in the 3rd set of boxes from the left.

You’ll see my sprinkler pipe temp fix on the basketball court area.  If it looks like it is leaking, please shut off the water.  It should be fine, though.

Monday, please bring in the garbage cans.

Please mow the lawn.  The sprinklers will come on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning, so you’ll want to avoid those times.  Ask your Dad if you can use our gas but your lawn mower.  My mower is falling apart, and requires a certain amount of faith, luck and patience to get it to work.  I have two, 5 gallon containers in my garage, so make sure you top off your mower when you are done.  There’s a bit of funny pipe and a sprinkler head sticking up in one spot over by Seeleys.  You probably should not mow it.  I know, I need to fix it.  It’s on my list!
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1 comment:

Lauren said...

This is amazing! I still want to hear all about this trip in person- maybe a family night sometime? So glad to hear you guys had a good time and next time you go, we'll be there!