I went to Disneyland: A Trip Report

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alicemouse's picture
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I went to Disneyland: A Trip Report

Wow! Life sure does take funny twists and turns. There's some sort of travel conference/training at Disneyland in April. Originally, the owner of our company was slated to go, but he has been having some medical issues and he was advised last week that it would be irresponsible for him to fly. So he offered up his registration to anyone who could use it at our team meeting last week. At first I said no way. I listed all of the reasons that I shouldn't go--it's too soon, I just got home, I have plans that weekend, etc, etc. But the reason that I should go--I love DISNEYLAND..er..um..it's an excellent learning opportunity--kept nagging at me, so I started exploring how I could make it happen.

The only issue (other than taking off work AGAIN) is that it was a Wednesday-Friday...of the week of my mother-in-law's wedding. gaah So I emailed her and asked how upset/disappointed she would be and if it would throw a huge monkey wrench in the plans if I went to the conference and missed all aspects of the rehearsal. She gave me her blessing and I'm off and rolling! It's going to be a fast trip and I have no idea what to expect. I have no itinerary other than I know that there's a welcome dinner and a farewell breakfast and some sort of learning opportunity happens on Thursday. Apparently there is some time in the parks built in.

Then came the decision about how to handle airfare. The most comfortable return flight from the west coast for me is the one that leaves at 1:10 and returns about 9:30, but since I was already missing everything on Friday night if I chose that flight and the Alaska Air red eye was $100 cheaper, I'm now on the 10:05pm flight...landing in Baltimore at 6:00am. Hopefully it's late enough that I can get a full night's sleep on the plane. Is there an OTC product that I can take to relax me enough to sleep or should I plan to have a drink or two at the airport bar before i get on the plane?

I figure less than 60 hours isn't enough time for me to fully adjust to California time and honestly, my schedule is kind of odd by East Coast standards. In California, I sleep when normal people sleep. My regular 2am-9am at home is 11pm-6am in California, so there's not much of an adjustment in theory. It just messes with me because I wake up in the dark in California. It's light out by the time I wake up at home most days. Also I'm kind of wiped out by the time World of Color is over.

I still can't believe that this trip came together and that less than 30 days out I found a roundtrip flight for $227. I can barely fly to Florida for that anymore!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Don't you just love how life happens!!! So excited for you!

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The unplanned trips always turn out to be the most fun.

BTW, I find flying to LA from EWR cheaper than flying to MCO.

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OMg! yay How fun! Disneyland is the best muchlove

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yay yay yay yay yay Woohoo!!!

alicemouse wrote:
Hopefully it's late enough that I can get a full night's sleep on the plane. Is there an OTC product that I can take to relax me enough to sleep or should I plan to have a drink or two at the airport bar before i get on the plane?

I don't know about any products actually designed to make you sleep, but 2 Benadryl usually knock me out for the night.

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alicemouse wrote:
Hopefully it's late enough that I can get a full night's sleep on the plane. Is there an OTC product that I can take to relax me enough to sleep or should I plan to have a drink or two at the airport bar before i get on the plane?

I don't know about any products actually designed to make you sleep, but 2 Benadryl usually knock me out for the night.

Depending on your tolerance of Benadryl, that will be good. Some people have trouble shaking it though.

If you want to go a more natural route, try Valerian root or Melatonin both of which you can get in pill form at just about any pharmacy. They even come in gummy form if you go to Target. If you just need something to relax you vs. put you to sleep, try chamomile & lavender tea (you may even be able to find some with valerian in it). Some lavender scented oil on an eyemask or pillow helps. If you have a music player you take with you, download something with isochronic tones and delta waves.

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Jeez are you ever on a roll, Holly! laugh yay

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Allie wrote:
Jeez are you ever on a roll, Holly! laugh yay

I know! After this I seriously need to stay home and work for awhile. There's probably not much free DL time involved and it's a super quick trip, but I'm still excited about it. I'm guessing that there will be an emphasis on the 60th anniversary, so I'm hoping for a preferred viewing of Paint the Night and I know that there are at minimum a breakfast and a dinner provided--hoping that they're different restaurants than we chose last year so I get to expand my knowledge base. Fingers crossed for Storyteller's Cafe. I wanted to eat there last year, but we were there for such a short time and it got cut in the interest of time and budget.

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Awesome!!! Congrats!! I know you will have a blast!! clapping yay

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yay yay yay yay great news!!!!!!

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Well a few more details have emerged...

I now know that I have a 3-day park hopper and I have free time after 9:00 on Wednesday night, after 5:00 on Thursday night, and from noon until presumably 6:30 or 7:00 when I'll have to catch DL Express to the airport.

We do have a character breakfast, but the location is not identified. I'm hoping for Storyteller's, but I'm banking on PCH Grill. We have one meal each day that's listed as "hosted". I feel like that's code for "we're dropping off a plate of wraps and a bag of chips in the conference room". laugh

I have at least 1 lunch and 2 dinners that I get to choose, but one of those dinners is on a voucher, which probably means that it's valid for a quick service location...hmmm...Plaza Inn or Rancho del Zocalo? I can't decide--I love them both! Also, from what I'm reading, Friday seems to be considered a "weekend" day for the purposed of determining when food & wine is open at DCA, so lunch and dinner that day might have to be at the festival. I do kind of want to experience Blue Bayou for myself even though from the criticisms I've heard, I'll probably conclude that I prefer other DL options.

There are a few semi-disappointing refurbishments, but not too bad. I did want to ride Autopia because I skipped it last year. Jungle Cruise, the Monorail, the Railroad, and Silly Symphony Swings are all down. I'm kind of glad that BTMR is down. I don't like the DL version, but it's one of my favorites at MK. So now I won't feel weird about skipping it.

Best case scenario, I've got somewhere between 8-12 uninhibited park hours. The "must do" attractions list is Alice in Wonderland, Storybookland Canal Boats, Animation Academy, TSM, Star Tours, Peter Pan's Flight, Soarin', Snow White's Scary Adventures, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, Radiator Springs Racers, and IASW. Not sure if I can talk myself into getting on the Matterhorn or not. I hear it's really rough. And I want to do Space Mountain again, but I'm afraid that I just hit it on a day when I was super brave and this time it will be scarier than I remember! eek

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Wow, what a week. Or two. Maybe it's been two. Grandma's health took a nose dive three days before I left for California--I briefly considered not going, but I decided that since I had been fortunate enough to spend a lot of quality time with her throughout her life, I could leave her in my mother's very capable hands for a few days. She ultimately passed away this past Sunday. The funeral was yesterday and I was in charge of music, so there were a lot of preparations to be made in a very short time. In between the trip and my grandmother's passing, my mother-in-law got remarried and business has been insane--I've picked up four new clients since I returned home last weekend. I do have something resembling a trip report, although I took ZERO notes. Here goes...

Wednesday, April 13 - Day 1

Another early departure for the airport, but not as early as usual. I think I left around 4am. I decided to try out the Express parking lot at BWI and I'm impressed. I think it's faster than parking in the garage and it's $2 cheaper per day for more personal service. Bonus. My AlaskaAir boarding pass did not have a gate assignment and the AlaskaAir terminal is at the international security area, but since my flight was domestic, I had to go across the airport to the A-B-C concourse security area. I feel like I could have just used the security checkpoint where I was standing because I think that everything connects, but the nice man that I asked said that I needed to go wait in the 45 minute security line instead of the 5-minute security line that was right next to the AlaskaAir desk. *suspicious* Security was uneventful and I decided to forgo my Starbucks stop in hope of staying tired enough to grab a nap on the plane since it would be 10am when I landed--typically the start of my day, but by the time we landed, I would have been awake for 10 hours. That plan did indeed turn out to be successful.

The flight was decent. I hadn't been looking forward to sitting in the back of the plane, but luckily, I had been able to upgrade from row 31 to row 10 at check-in. Bonus. I had a very nice fruit & cheese tray for breakfast. It was $7.50 and had ample apples, grapes, cheddar, brie, and one other cheese that I can't remember. The complimentary snack was a very nice sunrise blend raisin-free trail mix. Our flight arrived nearly an hour early, which meant that I was able to catch the Disneyland shuttle at 10:10 instead of at 11:10! As a point of reference, the shuttles leave from terminal 1 at LAX on the :45's beginning at 9:45, but since I was arriving at terminal 6, I knew that I would have an extra 20-30 minutes until the shuttle reached my location. Terminal 7 was our last stop and we were off to Anaheim!

The drive was much less boring than I remember from the first time. We passed Knott's Berry Farm, which I hadn't realized before, and I met two other women from the conference on the bus. So not only was the ride actually faster because the bus wasn't broken this time, but it seemed fast because I had new people to get to know. We arrived at Grand Californian at around 11:00 and my dear friend Linda was at work at the front desk. Ok I've only met her one other time, but she is a treasure. Benn and I talked to her for an hour the first time we met her and today was no different. She's one of those Cast Members who you're not really sure if she actually remembers you or not, but she'd never let you think that she's forgotten you. She was getting ready to end her shift and she waited until she had checked me in. We chatted and she caught me up on all of the can't miss 60th anniversary happenings. I listened like I had no idea what was going on. wink Talking with Linda is great. She's so enthusiastic and she made sure to check my room assignment so I would be able to put my things down in my room right away instead of checking them at Bell Services. I received my 3-day park hopper at check-in and I was in the park by about 12:15, which gave me a solid hour and a half until I needed to be at the conference welcome session. Since the conference was AT the Grand Californian, I was in good shape. By the way, the diamond details are EVERYWHERE.

Linda!

Diamond details everywhere

My room

View

Lobby

By this time, I had been awake for about 12 hours and I was starving, so first up was lunch at Jolly Holiday Bakery! had the Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese. I think I preferred the salad that I had there last year, but this was good, too. The 60th anniversary bakery items were adorable! There was a "teenage" duck strolling around and seating area--too big to be a baby, but with a little bit of baby duck fuzz left amongst the feathers. By the time I finished lunch, I figured that I had time for one ride, so of course I chose Alice in Wonderland!! Afterwards I had a little bit of time to kill, so I did the castle walkthrough before returning to the conference.

view from my table

Real working drawbridge

Alice in Wonderland

Castle walkthrough

Our first conference session included a backstage Disneyland tour with...WALT'S APARTMENT and THE DISNEYLAND DREAM SUITE! eek clapping yay So of course I only have the group photo because photos aren't allowed in those spaces, but what a cool surprise! It turns out that the chairs in Walt's apartment are the parlor chairs from the set of The Happiest Millionaire and we got to sit in them--which means, I got to sit in Fred MacMurray's chair!! silly The apartment is VERY small--just a living room with convertible sofa beds and a bathroom. Also, from Main Street, if you look up to the patio to the left of the Fire Station, that's the terrace for the apartment. Originally the fire pole extended upstairs to the apartment until an enterprising young boy scaled the fire pole and scared Lillian half to death. The floor was closed around the pole and steps were added to access the terrace.

In Walt's Apartment

Dream Suite entrance above Pirates

Patio and view

I was in the Dream Suite on the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour last year, so there's a detailed recounting of the features in my Disneyland 2015 trip report. It was nice to be in the suite again having been there before because I really had time to drink in all of the details and it's so overwhelming that I still can't remember it the way that I want to! The Frontierland suite is still my favorite. I love the train that goes around the top of the room and the balcony that overlooks the Rivers of America.

Dinner was at the River Belle Terrace. This is a restaurant that I had overlooked and I won't make that mistake again! Wow. I had the Grilled and Chilled Shrimp appetizer, which was phenomenal. Last year I had reviewed Carthay Circle and I was disappointed in the price of my shrimp entree versus the quantity and quality of the shrimp that I had received. There were only 4 shrimp on this appetizer for $12 and if was so good that I ALMOST put in a second order. The salsa under the shrimp was delicious in it's own right--fresh, chunky grilled vegetable salsa. For the main course, I had the smoked BBQ rubbed 1/2 chicken with green beans and potato salad, which was delicious, but nowhere near as amazing as that shrimp. Other folks at my table tried the River Belle Chopped Salad (looked delicious) the Wedge Salad (looked fine, but not a go-to for me), and the Beef Brisket I think (also not something I would typically try, but it looked decent. For dessert, I tried the butterscotch parfait (good, but butterscotch is not my favorite flavor. I just really didn't care for any of the other options). Others tried the fried cheesecake and the apple, maple, bacon bundt cake. Once again, not really things that I would probably care for, but those who ordered them were pleased.

Onto the evening entertainment, we had a reserved spot for the Paint the Night Parade and Disneyland Forever Fireworks. Well, the parade is every bit as amazing as advertised! There's enough light that you can actually take pictures that look like something and the floats are great. My favorite was the winding double helix looking thing on Mickey's float at the end of the parade. Also Slinky Dog was amazing. His body looks like it's made out of CD's. Sadly the Santa Ana winds were blowing too hard in the upper atmosphere and the fireworks were canceled, but on the plus side, we got a bonus 20 minutes of park time! I chose Star Tours for my ride as the rest of my group headed to the Matterhorn--I'm still not sure if I feel brave enough to ride that one!

After the ride, I bought a 2nd pair of BB8 mouse ears. Benn and I had made a deal. He bought me a pair for my birthday and I wanted to wear them in Disneyland, but I didn't want them to get crushed in my suitcase. We decided that I would buy a new pair in California and that those would be Benn's ears. Not wanting to make the same mistake I had made the month before in waiting to purchase the ears only to find them sold out everywhere, I bought a pair in the Star Tours shop. On leaving the park, I walked out the opposite direction to check out the bus depot area and check the pedestrian friendliness of the other side of the park. I'm pleased to report that pedestrians can delight in entering via both sides of the Disneyland parks concourse area. I took a stroll through Downtown Disney before collapsing in a heap after 21 hours awake with absolutely no trip notes written whatsoever.

DL's version of Casey's Corner

Exit to East side of park

Across the Street

Standing in the middle of the concourse without moving or zooming...

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney monorail station

Build-a-bear options

Grand California pools (view from 5th floor hallway)

BB8 ears acquired!

A gift from mousekeeping!

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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My condolences on the loss of your Grandma, Alicemouse. sad and great pictures.

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Vettelover wrote:
My condolences on the loss of your Grandma, Alicemouse. sad and great pictures.

Thanks, Vettelover. She was a unique lady and I'm really lucky to have had 35 years with her. She was diagnosed with diabetes more than 30 years ago, but she was fortunate that her doctors were able to manage it and give her lots of quality time. Four years ago, she refused the recommended amputation and her stellar doctors and nurses at the assisted care facility did amazing work to rehab her and to get her walking again on her own legs again. Her last two weeks were wrought with pain as the collapsed arteries in her legs finally caught up with her and medical science had no more tricks in the bag to give her any more quality time. I'm glad that once the end was inevitable, she was able to let go relatively quickly and she was spared the excruciating pain that would have come.

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Sorry for your loss. bighug

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So sorry for you loss.

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Thanks for the warm thoughts, everyone.

Day 2 - Thursday, April 14

This morning began with character breakfast at Storytellers Cafe! I knew it was a character breakfast, but we din't know where and I was THRILLED that this was the chosen location. As far as food, it was standard fare Disney breakfast buffet--mickey waffles, make-your-own omelet station, fruit, eggs, breakfast meat. I did find the quality of the food to be above average even though breakfast is far from my favorite meal. The character interaction was fantastic! Meeko, one of the bears from Brother Bear (I don't know who's who--I skipped that one), Chip, and Dale were the characters. Dale was the best. He decided that our breakfast looked better than his acorns, so he sat down to join us. laugh The theme of the restaurant is Californian folklore and the restaurant is decorated with folktales and novels that are particularly important to California history and culture. The one that stood out to me was The Island of the Blue Dolphins because I remember reading it in middle school. There are two benches at the entrance with carved sayings that I thought were particularly poignant. The first was "The life so short, the craft so long to learn" and the second was "By hammer and hand do all things stand."

After breakfast, we attended morning session and to save time, we were treated to an onsite lunch on the terrace of the Trillium room that was absolutely excellent. I was so impressed by the quality of the fruits and vegetables in California. Last year we were almost a moth earlier and I don't remember having the same experience. We wrapped up sessions for the day around 3:30 and we were on our own until the parks closed at 9! Woohoo!! A lot of people decided to tour in groups, but with having no add-on days available to me, I needed to make the most of my time. I decided that since I would have slightly more time on Friday, that Thursday would be my DCA day. I needed to do a current price check on Ariel's Grotto for a friend, so I headed toward Paradise Pier first. Toy Story Mania was about a 40 minute wait, so I decided to hop in and try for that 250K level to see if I could get a deer. Well, no such luck. I had kind of a rotten game and I couldn't even replicate my 200K from last month.

I wanted to spend more time on the pier, but it was going to be tight to get in all of my priority attractions, experience Food & Wine, and make it to World of Color by 9:00, so I headed back toward the food booths at Wine Country Trattoria. A few words on the Food & Wine "Festival"--the culinary demonstrations occur only on the weekends, but the food booths are open daily; when they say "festival", we're talking 6 food booths; Even though the number of options is extremely limited, the quality is quite good. My first booth was By the Bay, a natural choice because I love seafood. I tried the cheddar bacon soup (delicious, but the Boudin Bakery bread bowl was chewy) and the crab and shrimp cocktail (fabulous. Easily the best thing I ate anywhere in Disneyland. The downside is that I'm still craving another one and they're in California...). My next stop was Gold Rush, where I tried the Chicken Macaroni & Cheese. I expected it to be mediocre and for the chicken to taste bland and overly processed, but this dish was really delicious! My last stop was LA Style for dessert, where I tried the Chocolate Caramel Torte. Wow. Rich, but light enough that I seriously considered going back for seconds. I would put the portion sizes on par with our Food & Wine Festival, but the item prices seemed to be higher on average. Fortunately, with fewer dishes to try, this wasn't too much of a problem. I was full enough with my four samples.

My next priorities were Soarin' and Animation Academy. I checked in at Animation Academy where I was informed that a class was starting in about 15 minutes, but that the subject was Minnie Mouse. Now I have nothing against Minnie Mouse, but she's reasonably easy to draw and I draw Minnie and Mickey All. The. Time. The attendant told me that Baymax was up after Minnie, so I booked it to Soarin', ecstatic that I was going to get to ride the California version one more time before the new film drops. DCA has a single rider line for Soarin', something that I wish we would implement! It doesn't command the same sort of wait times because there are so many other choices, but it was so nice to be able to be on and off the ride in about 35 minutes with no FastPass at 6:00 in the evening. I love the queue at DCA with it's tribute to California aviators. It's such a warm contrast to the sterile queue at Epcot. The only downside--no scents!! No pine, no saltwater, NO ORANGE GROVES! sad Someone in line said that they had been in the attraction initially, but that they had been removed. I assume that it has something to do health or environmental concerns. I made it back for Animation Academy only to learn that I should have drawn Minnie Mouse. Baymax was easily my greatest drawing fail ever. He's has scrawny arms and a lopsided head.

I spent a little bit of time roaming around on Buena Vista Street where I picked up a BB8 rice crispy treat for Benn and got a photo with Flapper Girl Minnie. Next up, I wanted to devote some time to A Bug's Land and actually experience some of the family-friendly rides. First up, Flik's Flyers. Very cute--a cross between Dumbo and the Silly Symphony Swings. Next was Heimlich's Choo-Choo, which is an adorable little train ride through Heimlich's favorite foods. Neither attraction is particularly thrilling, but both have a lot of thought and imagination in their design and can definitely be appreciated by adults as well and children for their adherence to story and ability to immerse you in A Bug's Land.

Finally I was ready to finish our my evening with Cars Land. I had been watching the wait time on Radiator Springs Racers all evening and this seemed as good of a time as any. I started with Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, an attraction that we had skipped for being to "kiddish" last year. Well kids can certainly ride it, but it was at least mildly amusing for adults, too. It's similar to a slow motion scrambler ride. If nothing else, I found it fascinating to watch how the cars move on their circular "track". The line for Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters was long (it just recently replaced Luigi's Flying Tires), so I could only chose one ride between Luigi's and Radiator Springs Racers. If you are ever faced with this choice, it's RSR all the way! Fortunately, RSR has a single rider line, so it's a very attractive option to use. As is typical, my car lost again. I don't think I've won a race yet! Even though I wasn't hungry at all, I really wanted a mac & cheese cone and an ice cream cone from Cozy Cone. I'm glad I stopped (mostly) because I met a delightful cast member named Jorge. He was curious about Disney World, so we chatted for awhile. The mac & cheese cone wasn't as awesome as I had hoped, but it was decent enough. The ice cream cone was soft serve perfection.

I considered going over to Disneyland Park to watch the Disneyland Forever Fireworks, but if the winds had canceled them again, I wasn't sure if I could make it back in time for World of Color. Sure enough--I decided not to go and right on the dot at 8:40, brightly colored bursts lit up the sky. gaah I didn't actually care for WOC last year, so I wasn't even looking forward to seeing it that much, but they're changed it for the 60th and the Neil Patrick Harris narration of Walt's life is awesome! Of course since I was trying to maximize my time, I didn't exactly get a prime viewing location, but I could still see almost everything even though I couldn't capture it with the camera as well.

I'd run out of time for Grizzly Peak, but Downtown Disney was still open, so I set out in search of 60th anniversary pins! They were all very cute and it was hard to narrow them down, but I finally settled on Minnie in front of the castle, The "D" emblem with a number 60, and a bedazzled ear hat with a "60". I also found two adorable toys that I will probably add to my collection at some point in the future--a Dug with a cone of shame and an Anger "Flashlight". I went back to the room intending to make notes and I crashed hard!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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I love the Dug dog, I got him for a friend of mine.

I love scrolling thru and catching a glimpse of my friend Kristy. LOL

Looks like you got a lot packed it. I can't believe how "empty" it looks in so many of the pictures.

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Great trip report. Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure seem to have more single rider options than Walt Disney World.

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JMed wrote:
I love the Dug dog, I got him for a friend of mine.

I love scrolling thru and catching a glimpse of my friend Kristy. LOL

Looks like you got a lot packed it. I can't believe how "empty" it looks in so many of the pictures.

I still can't believe that we ended up at the same conference, JMed!! And that I happened to be in Betsey's group and that she happened to post our photo--otherwise, we might never have realized the coincidence!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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JoAnn C wrote:
Great trip report. Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure seem to have more single rider options than Walt Disney World.

I agree JoAnn and I think that the single rider options at DL/DCA are more useful for actual single riders because the standby waits are nearly as long on most attractions. Since I was in the shoes of a "legitimate" single rider this time, I was really paying attention to it and it seemed like almost everywhere where I looked at the wait time and though 'eh, I don't want to sacrifice that much of my precious park time', there was a single rider option available. I was especially appreciative of this phenomenon because I was not able to go to the parks in the morning due to the conference sessions and because FastPass is very limited at DL, many of the attractions that were must-do's for me are standby-only. In fact, the only FastPass that I pulled for the entire trip was for the Haunted Mansion.

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Day 3 - Friday

Lat day already! Sad( Breakfast this morning was hosted in the conference room and then we had a brief session before dismissing around lunch time after a surprise meeting with Mickey Mouse! I had a complimentary transfer via DL express that I could use, but the last bus left Grand Californian at 6:00 and my flight wasn't until 10:00. So I decided to try SuperShuttle. I will probably use them from now on. One way on DL Express is $30 ($48 roundtrip) and my fare on SuperShuttle was $20.06 including tip. It was a shared ride van, so we did make two other stops, but they were convenient stops and SuperShuttle runs a much longer schedule, so I was able to catch a 7:10 shuttle, which gave me a whole extra hour in the park and still dropped me at the airport in plenty of time.

Today was Disneyland Day and immediately after I arrived, I headed straight for The Plaza Inn. It's a counter service location in Disneyland and for a reasonably crowded Friday afternoon, I didn't have to wait very long for my delicious fried chicken. I love the plaza--it reminds me of the Tencentennial Celebration and Date nights at Disneyland from the early days. Not that I remember those events first hand of course, but I have the "Disneyland, USA" Disney Treasures DVD and it's one of my favorites of that series. Having lunch at the Plaza Inn is like stepping into that DVD in my mind.

One of my favorite things on Main Street DL--the magic shop!

Castle shot just because muchlove

After Lunch I walked through Adventureland to New Orleans Square. I had a few agenda items in that area, beginning with Haunted Mansion. I did bypass Pirates because it looked like a circus. I did grab my one and only FastPass of the trip for HM. I knew that the DL Railroad was down due to Star Wars Land construction, but the train was in the station and tons of people were on the platform, so I stopped by to see what was going on. Oh wow! I got to sit in the conductor's seat and a Cast Member who was a fire tender told me all about the operation of the train and some great little stories. I was onboard the E.P. Ripley, which is one of the engines that Walt built himself! My Photopass photographer Jenna took some cool shots for me and even took a selfie with my camera! I got to walk over tot he other side of the tracks and blow the train whistle!! This is definitely near the top of my list of all-time favorite Disney experiences! I only wish that my dad could have been there to enjoy it with me!!

I still had some time to kill before my Haunted Mansion FP, so I grabbed a Mint Julep (I love these things!) and walked over to Critter Country. CC was closed last year. No great loss to me since I'm not a huge fan of Splash Mountain or of Winnie the Pooh ride, but I did want to see the area. Splash was down today anyway.

I had stalled sufficiently long enough that it was HM time. I like the plantation house vibe on the exterior in DL, but I miss the painted library flat from WDW and I don't like that the busts and some other effects are in the loading area. They were doing the same thing at DL today that they were doing at WDW last month--pushing groups through the stretching room into a horrible overcrowded and uncomfortable secondary queue. I find this practice very irritating and I hope they can get better control of the situation. The ride stopped a bazillion times while we were waiting to board, but at least it only stopped once during the actual ride.

I got stopped at the end near the hitchhiking ghosts, though I missed a golden opportunity to snap a pic of the hatbox ghost!

Walking through New Orleans Square, I took a minute to stop in some of the shops. I love the artists in the Disney shops and I happened upon a gentleman who was doing glass etching. Using only a small rotary sander and touching the glass to the sander at intervals, he was etching the word "Disneyland".

door to Club 33

Next up, Fantasyland! I love Fantasyland at Disneyland. It's so rich with dark rides and has only 5 attractions in common with WDW. Even among the "copycat" attractions, I like the DL versions of Mad Tea Party, It's a Small World, and Peter Pan's Flight better! I love the roving characters and the fact that DL has two stage shows in open air theaters. Snow White's Scary Adventures is still scarier than I remember it at WDW. I actually screamed at one point! laugh And of course the fact that DL still has Toontown and that it's so much more robust and detailed than ours ever was...bonus!

Alice in Wonderland dark ride

Snow White

Jingles!

For dinner, I headed over to one of my other favorites--Rancho del Zocalo. I completely forgot about the amazing taco salads. If you go, they're way over on the left away from the two hot food areas. I had a burrito instead and even though I wish I had remembered about the taco salad, the burrito was awesome. There was some confusion in the kitchen coupled with guests in front of me being indecisive, so I lost quite a bit of time here. I chickened out and didn't ride the Matterhorn. Maybe next time. I needed to give myself time to go back though DCA on the way back to the resort, so I had time for one more ride. I had wanted to ride Storybookland Canal boats, but I had forgotten that it's one of a handful of attractions that closes during the parade. Fortunately after dinner, it was open again and I was able to hop on in about 15 minutes.

I completely forgot to stop at the Main Street Train Station on my way out of the park. sad I caught a few minutes of the Dapper Dans and said a sad goodbye to Disneyland Park and walked back across the concourse with the goal of checking out the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. This is the beauty of the Grand Californian. I had to leave myself enough time to walk into the resort (about 200 yards) and collect my bag from Bell Services (5 minutes or less in most cases) before my SuperShuttle pick-up time. I was receiving text alerts from Super Shuttle with my van's location. Those alerts started about 30 minutes before my pick-up time. It was so super convenient. Redwood Creek Challenge Trail was very cool! It was super adult friendly except for the zipline area.

My ride on SuperShuttle was great. We made two other stops and it was funny--both of the couples that we picked up were Australian. I had a very nice chat with them and we made it to the airport in about 35 minutes from our second stop, which I believe was at the Fairfield Inn on S. Harbor Blvd, across the street from Disneyland.

My flight home was not great. The flying itself was fine, but with a 10pm flight on my way to my mother-in-law's wedding as soon as we landed, it was rather critical that I slept on the plane. I bought one of those memory foam neck pillows thinking that would help and it did--I think I slept for about two hours. Our flight attendants were awful. They were waking people up to ask them if they wanted snacks. There was a woman in front of me who stood up while the seatbelt sign was on and it was obvious that she wasn't feeling well--in fact to look at her, I would have thought that she was possibly having a heart attack. The flight attendant yelled at her to sit down! I had woken up not feeling well, myself. Nothing awful just a burning sensation in my stomach and I was getting very stuffy like I was getting a cold. Well trying to sleep at that point was useless. Once I was off the plane for an hour or so, I was fine. Tired, but fine.

The wedding was beautiful and I'm so glad that I was able to do both! Here are a couple of pics of my dear mother-in-law and her new husband.

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Before I write anything else, I'm so sorry to learn you lost your grandmother. Happy you had her in your life for so long.

Okay, you are seriously making me want to go back to Disneyland. I don't see it happening anytime soon, though.

On Toy Story Mania, why are you complaining? You got the kitty! That's the best one. Don't need a higher score than kitty score.

I think your Baymax looks pretty good.

We caught the new World of Color last year and thought it was awesome. Glad you had a chance to see it this time.

That Dug stuffy is adorable!

Honestly, I never cared much for WDW's Toontown - it was a stroll through on the way to the train station - but the Disneyland version is awesome! So much more interesting and entertaining. I also agree that DL's Small World is better than WDW's. All in all, DL's Fantasyland is better IMO.

Cool wedding photos. Love the red accents in their attire. Wishing the couple much happiness.

Is this your last Disney trip till October?

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crazycatperson wrote:
Before I write anything else, I'm so sorry to learn you lost your grandmother. Happy you had her in your life for so long.

Okay, you are seriously making me want to go back to Disneyland. I don't see it happening anytime soon, though.

On Toy Story Mania, why are you complaining? You got the kitty! That's the best one. Don't need a higher score than kitty score.

I think your Baymax looks pretty good.

We caught the new World of Color last year and thought it was awesome. Glad you had a chance to see it this time.

That Dug stuffy is adorable!

Honestly, I never cared much for WDW's Toontown - it was a stroll through on the way to the train station - but the Disneyland version is awesome! So much more interesting and entertaining. I also agree that DL's Small World is better than WDW's. All in all, DL's Fantasyland is better IMO.

Cool wedding photos. Love the red accents in their attire. Wishing the couple much happiness.

Is this your last Disney trip till October?

Thanks for your thoughts, Jan. So many things to consider. I'll miss her of course, but I'm so glad that her suffering is over and I'm so grateful for the amount of time we got to share together.

We were just talking today about when we can go back to Disneyland because Benn wants to go also and the logistics just didn't work out for him to go along this time. We'll have to see how the year goes, but we might even try to do the Southern California Adventures by Disney trip. I want to do one so badly and that one has a TON of awesome backstage stuff AND it's one of the least expensive ABD trips.

laugh The kitty IS awesome, but I want to beat the game! (I feel like if you beat the game, you should get stuffed versions of all of the prizes.) I was off kilter and a little slow on the trigger from lack of sleep, so I was annoyed with myself because that was not my best effort. Plus the 3-D messed up a little bit. They probably would have let me ride again because they've done that before when we've had a 3-D problem, but it was a very small glitch and I felt bad making someone else wait longer for what mostly boiled down to my aim being crappy!

Agreed. Fantasyland is my favorite thing about Magic Kingdom and DL knocks Fantasy out of the park!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Sorry to hear about your grandmother. bighug and congratulations to your mother-in-law and her new husband.

I have really enjoyed your trip report for all you were there for a conference you seemed to have fit so much in! and those food pictures are making me very hungry. I didn't know much about DCA until now! I love how much detail and all the lovely photographs you took. Thank you for sharing

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Thanks on all counts, Danielle! Based on DCA, I have very high hopes for the Hollywood Studios upgrades. The park entrance has a somewhat similar feel and the Imagineers have managed to pull the very diverse concepts from that park together in a reasonably cohesive way. Also, the high attraction count makes it easy to entertain yourself there for quite some time! That's a feature that I'd like to see replicated at DHS...

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Is this the wedding you purchased the red shoes for her??? Did they work???

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"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

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JMed wrote:
Is this the wedding you purchased the red shoes for her??? Did they work???

It is and they did!! Did I tell you that she broke her foot like 3 days after I bought them and thought she was going to have to be in a boot for the wedding?? Crisis averted. She was out of the boot two days before the wedding...which MIGHT have been against doctors' orders.

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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I may have come out of my boot for the Disney wedding I was in a few years ago eek ... But, I did wear the boot in the parks laugh

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"I do not like the cone of shame."

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell."

"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

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JMed wrote:
I may have come out of my boot for the Disney wedding I was in a few years ago eek ... But, I did wear the boot in the parks laugh

awesome

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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So sorry for your loss and congrats to your MIL.

What an awesome report! You and Jmed are going to make me spend all my money with these reports.....I need to get to Disneyland AND on a Disney Cruise!!!