Family of 7 Goes to DLR 2/4-2/10/18 *update 9/9* - “Final Thoughts”

RedHotMama

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
(Table of Contents in post #2)
Then Pre-Trip Report
(Official Trip Report starts on Post #50)


My first report!

My husband and I are taking our 5 kids to Disneyland February 4-10! We are so excited!!! Well, DH, our oldest, and I are - the rest don't know yet!

The last time we were in Disneyland was 4 ½ years ago. The kids know we're going sometime next year, but think we're leaning towards September. We'll tell them on Christmas that our trip is only 6 weeks away!

The Family:





T - My hardworking DH that makes these trips possible. Luckily, he loves Disney as much as I do. He's a fun dad who likes to tease and play tricks. T is happy to let me do the planning, but will contribute when I press him. :)

R (me!) aka RedHotMama - I'm a blessed stay-at-home mom who homeschools the 3 oldest. I love making stuff (crafts, baking, etc) but don't have as much time or energy as I'd like for those things. I really like being creative to make holidays and events special. I'm an over-planner. Pouring over the pre-trip details is almost as much fun as the trip.


E (14) - E is a creative, sweet, girl. She's a book reader and writer. She loves and helps with her younger brothers a lot. She's my partner-in-crime and has worked with me in planning the trip. She would much rather plan for things than be surprised. E’s favorite ride is Splash Mountain and we really hope it isn't closed when we go.


J (12) - J is full of energy and enthusiasm! He is up for anything and is almost always very cheerful and helpful. He is also very sweet with his little brothers and loves to play with them. J loves being spontaneous. He gets overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation so it's best not to dwell on things with him too far in advance.


N (7) - N is our bright bubble of joy. (But can be horribly dramatic.) She loves to make people happy, especially the baby. She barely remembers DL but her favorites were Small World and Pirates. (Also hoping those aren't closed during our trip.)


S (3) - S is independent. He insists on doing things his way. He's very logical, though, so if you take the time to explain things, he can be reasoned with. He's never been to DL, but S LOVES Mickey Mouse and Lighting McQueen. We're only doing one character meal, and it will be Surf's Up for S. He has no concept of time so I'm hoping that having a visual countdown will help him after our Christmas announcement.


P (now 18 months, will be 20 months during trip) - P is a super sweet, cuddly baby. He is a little behind developmentally. He's just started to walk, and doesn't say many words. Part of it is his personality, but we haven't determined if there is also more to his delay.


So that's us! I can't wait to share our Disneyland plans with you!
 
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RedHotMama

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Table of Contents

Family Introductions
The General Plan
Christmas Surprise!
Must-Have Foods
Plans for Day 1 (Monday 2/5): Disneyland
Plans for Day 2 (Tuesday 2/6): California Adventure
Plans for Day 3 (Wednesday 2/7): Disneyland
Plans for Day 4 (Thursday 2/8): California Adventure
Plans for Day 5 (Friday 2/9): Last Day/Park Hop
Pre-Trip Preparations
The Kids Were Busy Pre-Trip, Too!


Official Trip Report:

Sunday 2/4 Travel Day - "I have already failed" Part 1
Sunday 2/4 Travel Day - "I have already failed" Part 2

Monday Morning 2/5 Disneyland! “Google fail” Part 1
Monday Morning 2/5 Disneyland! “Google fail” Part 2
Monday Afternoon 2/5 Disneyland! “Google fixed” Part 1
Monday Afternoon 2/5 Disneyland! “Google fixed” Part 2
Monday Evening 2/5 Disneyland! “Fantasmic! impresses”


Tuesday Morning 2/6 California Adventure! “Life is a highway” Part 1
Tuesday Morning 2/6 California Adventure! “Life is a highway” Part 2
Tuesday Afternoon 2/6 California Adventure! “Flashback, Animation adventure, Shboom!” Part 1
Tuesday Afternoon 2/6 California Adventure! “Flashback, Animation adventure, Shboom!” Part 2
Tuesday Afternoon 2/6 California Adventure! “Flashback, Animation adventure, Shboom!” Part 3
Tuesday Evening 2/6 California Adventure! "A cozy, colorful evening"


Wednesday Morning 2/7 Disneyland! - “A whirlwind through space” Part 1
Wednesday Morning 2/7 Disneyland! - “A whirlwind through space” Part 2
Wednesday Afternoon 2/7 Disneyland! - “Conquer your fears, and have a dole whip!” Part 1
Wednesday Afternoon 2/7 Disneyland! - “Conquer your fears, and have a dole whip!” Part 2
Wednesday Evening 2/7 Disneyland! - “A quiet night in Fantasyland”


Thursday Morning 2/8 California Adventure - “Feelin' the magic again" Part 1
Thursday Morning 2/8 California Adventure - “Feelin' the magic again" Part 2
Thursday Morning 2/8 California Adventure - “Feelin' the magic again" Part 3
Thursday Afternoon 2/8 California Adventure - “Right here!” Part 1
Thursday Afternoon 2/8 California Adventure - “Right here!” Part 2
Thursday Afternoon 2/8 California Adventure - “Right here!” Part 3
Thursday Afternoon 2/8 California Adventure - “Right here!” Part 4
Thursday Evening 2/8 California Adventure - “Ending a perfect day”


Friday Morning 2/9 Disneyland - “The beginning of the end” Part 1
Friday Morning 2/9 Disneyland - “The beginning of the end” Part 2
Friday Morning 2/9 Disneyland - “The beginning of the end” Part 3
Friday Afternoon 2/9 Disneyland - “Cell phone fiasco- again”
Friday Evening 2/9 Disneyland - “Exhausted”


Saturday 2/10 - “Surf’s Up!” Part 1
Saturday 2/10 - “Surf’s Up!” Part 2


Final Thoughts
 
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RedHotMama

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
The General Plan

We live 6 hours away, which I completely expect to take 8 ½ hours for us to drive with stops.

We're staying at Desert Palms Hotel and Suites.



We insist on staying within walking distance of the parks because folding a double stroller onto a shuttle would be a pain and I don't want to depend on their schedule. Desert Palms is the farthest I would want to stay. I expect it to be about a 15 minute walk in the mornings, and at least 20 coming back in the evenings. lol. kind of.




But there are a lot of us and I'm trying to stick to a budget, so our choices are slightly limited. Also, it was really important to DH and me to have a separate room from the kids. You know, for our sanity, and stuff.



So we chose this 2 bedroom suite and the kids have already started fighting on whether the boys or girls get to sleep on the top bunk of the full-size bunk bed (during our “hypothetical” planning with them).




We also really appreciate that a hearty breakfast is included each day, and parking is included.





Sunday, February 4 will be our travel day.

We'll have 5-day hoppers and we'll be in the parks Mon-Fri.

Monday - DL (Adventureland, NOS, Critter Country, Frontierland)

Tuesday - DCA (Cars Land, Hollywood Land, WoC)

Wednesday - DL (Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, parade if there is one)

Thursday - DCA (Pier, Grizzly Peak, WoC again?)

Friday - probably some of both parks, mostly DL (Fantasyland, Toontown, shows, Fantasmic!)

On Saturday, we'll have a late breakfast at Surf's Up! and begin the long drive home.


I thought about doing one-park-per-day tickets, but I wanted to be able to stay flexible and spontaneous. Because as much of crazy planner and (let's be honest) control freak that I am, I want everyone to have a ton of fun! If we decide we're done in one park and want to move to the other, or if one park closes earlier than the other and we want a few more minutes of Disney, I don't want to feel restricted.


Especially on this trip, I want to really be immersed in each land. We'll do each attraction, and have meals/snacks in one area before moving on to the next land.


I really want this trip to be about the experience. I want to have little moments of noticing details. I want to soak up the atmosphere of the different lands. I want to enjoy my kids enjoying Disneyland. I want to take the time for them to show me what they see.


So, our touring plan will be pretty relaxed (although organized). I don't plan on rushing around getting as many rides in as we can. My goal isn't to be efficient. To help with my trip goals, I plan to get Maxpass for each of us. It might seem unneeded since we have 5 full days in the off-season. But I don't want to be running ahead to get a fp and miss my little guys’ first view of Adventureland or Cars Land. I want to be there for every moment.


We'll see how that goes.
 
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  • minnieralyks

    Mysteries & Magic, Visions Fantastic
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2016
    The way I read your title, I thought you were staying there from February to October and I came to say JEALOUS! lol

    We love the Desert Palms. One of the better hotels around Disneyland, IMO.

    MaxPass is excellent! We were really happy to take full advantage of it.
     

    RedHotMama

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2016
    The way I read your title, I thought you were staying there from February to October and I came to say JEALOUS! lol
    Lol. Rookie mistake. I guess I should figure out how to edit the title. :)

    We love the Desert Palms. One of the better hotels around Disneyland, IMO.
    So good to hear! It has mixed reviews on yelp. But my sister, who has stayed in several of the hotels nearby (she's an official Disney Vacation Planner), strongly recommended it. She said when she's not staying on property, this is favorite.

    MaxPass is excellent! We were really happy to take full advantage of it.
    Yes, I hope it will be worth it to us. It'll cost an extra $300 for the week. We'll see if we choose to do it again.
     

    RedHotMama

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2016
    Well, I'm sick! Started with the 3-year-old Sunday night, then the baby, the 7-year-old, now me. I had so much I needed to do today to get ready for Christmas, but had to stay in bed.
    But! When I wasn't feeling so crummy, I prepped the vinyl for shirts I'm making for the trip. These are supposed to be in the Surprise-Christmas-Present-Disneyland-Announcement box.

     
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    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    It sounds like your trip is going to be awesome! I'm going to have to look at Desert Palms next time. Finding a place to stay for a big family that isn't super expensive is no easy feat! My family (I'm the oldest of 5 too) stayed at the Desert Inn & Suites the last few family trips, which was super nice location-wise, but pretty basic hotel-wise. And because of location, it's still expensive. :) I hope you guys love it!

    I hope you're all well soon. That is the worst! Hopefully everyone will be all set by Christmas. :)
     
  • RedHotMama

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2016
    Can people see my photos? I'm using Google Photos. Someone commented on my poll thread that they can't see them. Maybe I can only see them because I'm logged in.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    I can see part of them, and it seems like I can see certain ones and then the next time I look it has the grey block out symbol.
    Right now I can see everything except the White or Black poll photos (but I could see them yesterday) and the photo on post #6.
     
  • RedHotMama

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2016
    I can see part of them, and it seems like I can see certain ones and then the next time I look it has the grey block out symbol.
    Right now I can see everything except the White or Black poll photos (but I could see them yesterday) and the photo on post #6.
    That is very strange! I'll have to try to figure this out.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    I wonder if you have data caps with google photos (ie after so many people have viewed certain pictures they can't be viewed anymore until it resets?)? Photobucket bombed and I recently switched everything to imgur. It has been working great so far. It was a TON of work with the several trip reports I have on here though. :P
     

    RedHotMama

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2016
    Well, I'm a dork. I realized that our Google Photos account is set to private. That would keep people from seeing the photos I've posted from there. I don't know why the images would be visible at all on the first day, and not after. But I've created an album that is public and updated all the photos. I hope that worked.

    The kids were SO excited when we told them today! I'll post about the surprise with pics tomorrow.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    There is only one pic that is invisible to me now. One of the hotel pics.
     

    RedHotMama

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2016
    Christmas Surprise!

    Christmas Eve night we opened our traditional PJs. This year the theme was Mickey Mouse.


    And on Christmas morning, the last of our gifts was for all of them.





    Included in the box was a countdown, Mickey madlibs, park maps, shirts I decorated for the trip, and calendars to mark the trip dates.


    Thanks for the maps, @WonkaKid !


    So glad I don't have to keep that secret any longer! And the kids are super excited!

    Even better, we told them that we're going in February, and again in September! Yay!!!
     
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