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Old 18 Sep 16, 10:47 AM  
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nanasamboy
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Halloween, Haunted Mansion Holiday and Happy Birthday! - the pre-trip report

I was going to wait until 30 days to write this pre-trip, but I am so excited and just can't wait!

This trip is a lifetime dream for me. Since going to WDW as a kid, I've dreamed of going to Disneyland. The first park, the original park, the place where Walt dreamed, designed and walked. To say this will be a pilgrimage for me, is an understatement. I am fully expecting to spend a lot of my trip crying haha. The thing I am most excited about, is seeing the original Haunted Mansion! I'm a big HM fan and seeing the original is top of my list. Throw in the fact it's also going to be Haunted Mansion Holiday and I can't contain myself. I remember seeing a behind the scene of HMH when I was younger (perhaps on a The Nightmare Before Christmas VHS?) and never thought I'd get to experience it myself!

I am also beyond excited that our first trip will be at Halloween time! Eeeeeee! Another dream - to see the parks at Halloween!

I'm 30 this December, so wanted to take a special trip to celebrate it. I am going to wear a button and pretend it's my birthday the whole time I'm totally not one for milestone birthdays, but I felt it was the perfect excuse to take an extravagant trip. We’re going in October half term, as my mum is off school and will be looking after Alice for us. Adult only trip! This will be the longest we’ll have left Alice for :/ we won't see her for 5 days *cries* At the time we booked the trip, I felt no guilt at going to Disney without her, but then she went to WDW for the first time and absolutely loved it. Cue guilt. I feel less bad, now we’ve booked a little trip to DLP at Christmas. (Three trips to three Disney Parks this year! Go big, or go home!)

For those of you who read my WDW report you'll know a little about me already. But for those of you who don't, here’s a little bit about us.



Me - Sam, 29. Almost 30 and a grown up! I work in the library of a government department in South Wales and am studying a degree in Library and Information Studies, so I can be a real life Giles. I've been married to Gareth (G/Bear) since April 2013 and we've been together almost 6 years. We have one little one, Alice, who is 2 and will be 3 in December.

I'm a self-confessed nerd, loving all things Harry Potter, Buffy, comics and, of course, Disney. I've been a lifelong Disney fan and my love of Disney Parks was sparked at 7 years old when my mum and step dad took us to Florida for the first time. I've been lucky enough to go several times since and pretty much set on it being the main place we go on holiday forever, with a few other places thrown in here and there.



G - also known as Bear. 34. Also works in a government department, but does some sort of maths/programming malarkey that I don't understand. He's worked with me for 4 years and I still have no idea what he does! G has always enjoyed Disney films, but got thrown headfirst into the Disney life after we went on a trip to Disneyland Paris. Another DLP trip under our belts, I convinced him we absolutely had to have our honeymoon in Florida. It didn't really take that much convincing and now he's more than happy to throw all our money at Disney holidays he’s not as emotionally invested in this Californian pilgrimage as me, but he's enjoy seeing my little face as I squeak, show him a picture/video of something Disneyland and/or Halloweeny online and start crying with excitement haha. (I told you there'd be crying! I cried at a video of the Halloween parade, recreating the ballroom scene from Haunted Mansion the other day haha!)



We’re cramming a lot into a three and a half day trip (I have been called crazy by several people!), but I am prepared to be tired and jet-lagged for the whole trip. I think excitement will see me through.

I've worked out a rough itinerary for our trip, which is mainly confirmed except for needing to book our tours.

Day 1-2 - travelling

We’re flying from Heathrow on the Saturday morning, so will drive up the night before. We've had some good experiences booking parking and hotel deals with Holiday Extras, so did that again. We had the option of booking a ‘mystery hotel’ so took a risk. It turned out to be the Hilton, so that'll be a nice start to the holiday

In the morning, we’ll get a transfer to the airport and catch our first flight to Zurich, where we’ll transfer to LAX. This is my first ever indirect flight and I'm terrified something will go wrong! I always fly direct, but it was a few hundred pound cheaper this way. We have a direct flight home, at least

We’ll arrive in LA at around 4pm local time and have tickets booked for the greyhound out to Anaheim. We're staying in the Hotel Ménage, which is a good neighbour hotel and only a 10 minute walk/5 minute bus ride from Disneyland. My plan when we get to the hotel is to quickly change, jump on a bus or walk to Downtown Disney, grab a snack and try and do the majority of the shopping I want to do. I’ve been spoiled staying on site at WDW, having all my shopping sent to my room! So hopefully I won't have to lug a load of stuff around the parks/back from collecting at the gate.

After that, I'm hoping to watch the fireworks from the pool Apparently our hotel has a great view of the fireworks from their heated pool. How magical does that sound?!

Day 3 - Disneyland

We have an early breakfast booked at the Plaza Inn. Character Breakfast! Yay! (I may or may not have booked 4 character breakfasts, across 4 days…) then I'm hoping to be able to do the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour, which I can book in a few days. Eek! Wish me luck!

Then we had lunch booked at the River Belle Terrace. I cancelled it last night though, as I realised we’d tried to squeeze too much in that day and I wasn't sure when I'd find time for rides! Also the fact that the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour includes lunch and we’d have been bursting at the seams. We’ll have saved about $70 by cancelling too, so will have more money to spend on snacks and essential souvenirs

We have a dinner reservation at the Blue Bayou in the evening, hopefully finishing in time for the nighttime parade and fireworks. (I should really check the times of those…). I am so excited about this meal - I've wanted to dine there since first hearing about it. G is just excited about gumbo haha.

Day 4 - Disneyland

Another jam packed day! We are starting with breakfast at Ariel’s Grotto (need to nip over to California Adventure for this), which will probably be the most expensive meal of our trip. Those princesses gotta pay for their dresses and jewels somehow! We’ll be that table of grown adults with no children, squealing over princesses

Then back to Disneyland, hopefully to do the Happiest Haunts tour. I am super excited about this one as it goes through the history of the Haunted Mansion and some of the spooky goings on at Disneyland. Also, you get a super cool pin!

After that, we have a late lunch at Carnation Cafe. They serve vegan burgers - yay! Then we’ll race back to the room and change, as we have tickets for Mickey’s Halloween party! Yay!

Halloween festivities over, I'm hoping to squeeze in a quick visit to Trader Sam’s to get some Tiki glasses. I may also partake in a cocktail or two

Day 5 - California Adventure

We’re starting with the Surf’s Up! breakfast at the PCH Grill. I basically just want to see Mickey’s weird toes in his flip flops

Then a full day at California Adventure, with no other plans or reservations. I'm hoping to see Frozen: Live at the Hyperion, if we can get seats. I also absolutely cannot wait to see World of Colour!

Day 6 - coming home

I booked breakfast at the Storyteller’s Cafe as I thought a character breakfast would be a nice way to soften the blow of leaving. We have a flight for 5.45 pm, so will catch the greyhound to LAX after breakfast and mooch around the airport until it's time to catch our flight. With the time difference, we’ll land in London at lunch time.

(Oh ≈≈≈! As I was writing this, I thought I better check our flight time back to make sure we’d absolutely have enough time to have a leisurely breakfast, then make it to the airport with plenty of time. I checked the flights on my google calendar view and it said 1.45. I panicked, logged into the Disneyland app and booked another breakfast slot for 8.15 am as there'd be no way we’d make our flight with a 10 am breakfast. Then realised why would I have booked at 10 am breakfast in the first place, checked my flight ticket and yes it was 5.45 pm. Bloody hell! So logged back in and changed the reservation back to 10 am. You couldn't get away with that kind of chopping and changing with character breakfasts at WDW! I also just changed our lunch reservation time for Carnation Cafe too. What is this madness?! Haha!)

When we land, we’ll scurry to the car and drive straight home to pick up our monkey from my mum’s. I am envisaging coming home, bearing lots of Halloween treats for her as she's obsessed with Jack Skellington (that's my girl!)

Eeeee! I'm so excited! I guess that's enough waffling for now. I'll keep you updated with how I get on with booking the tours.

Sam x

Edited at 08:30 PM.
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Old 19 Sep 16, 07:52 PM  
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disneyangel
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I'm so excited for you. MY DD (13) , Mum and I went to disneyland at Easter , it's always been my dream to go to the original park too. I would love to go back and would Definitely want to do it at Halloween next time.

We did two character meals both breakfasts , one at the plaza gardens type place and one at surfs up . We love stitch. DD was born the year the film came out and has always had a thing for him . She also loves Jack and Sally and at MNSSHP we have spent a long time in queues waiting to meet them (she was dressed as Zero) .

It's much easier to navigate between the parks in California , more like DLP . I can't recommend paint he night and world of colour highly enough.

You will have a blast !
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Old 20 Sep 16, 08:10 AM  
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nanasamboy
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Originally Posted by disneyangel View Post
I'm so excited for you. MY DD (13) , Mum and I went to disneyland at Easter , it's always been my dream to go to the original park too. I would love to go back and would Definitely want to do it at Halloween next time.

We did two character meals both breakfasts , one at the plaza gardens type place and one at surfs up . We love stitch. DD was born the year the film came out and has always had a thing for him . She also loves Jack and Sally and at MNSSHP we have spent a long time in queues waiting to meet them (she was dressed as Zero) .

It's much easier to navigate between the parks in California , more like DLP . I can't recommend paint he night and world of colour highly enough.

You will have a blast !
Oh, I'd love to go at Easter - the parades and decorations are so cute! Was it really busy? I know WDW is rammed over Easter, because of the two weeks off school.

How were the breakfasts? I shall be spending most of the halloween party queuing for meet and greets - so many rare opportunities! But I'm fine with that

Paint the Night is gone now

Thanks for reading x
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Old 20 Sep 16, 01:50 PM  
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pinkstargirl
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Hope you enjoy! It looks like I'll be there just after you!

Look forward to reading your trip report, I enjoyed reading your WDW one!
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Old 20 Sep 16, 03:10 PM  
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disneyangel
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It was busy but we tended to do mornings come out (as we were literally just across the road at the park vue inn) and go back in the evening .

I wanted to do a tour but my Mum wasn't so keen and the trip was for her birthday /retirement ( we did 5 days in NYC too) so I felt I was pushing my luck and there's always a next time , DD and I decided that one day 1 lol.

We loved the parks and tried all the different things ( Matterhorn , toad etc) . IASW and Haunted mansion and space mountain have their own spin too . We did a power of walking as they still had the old FP system .

We loved radiator springs , you have to go at night to see how cool it looks in the dark. And I'd ride single rider as the queues are huge all the time .

We stood in the wet zone for world of colour and as we were just across the road it was fine . We had FP too. You also get extremely wet on grizzly peak (the universal rapids kind of wet)

I will dig out some pics for you as we didn't do a trippie .

Talking of triples I just ready your wdw one. Your little girl is a cutie and definitely not the only one to throw a tantrum in a park. My dd threw a huge one in DLP as she took ice cream off a push up lolly that had smarties in the handle to get to the smarties then was cross the ice cream wouldn't go back in . She was also wary of characters at first but came round .

We liked both breakfasts . The paradise pier one edged the plaza inn one because of stitch but we met the best most gloomy eeyore ever in plaza inn.

We also met Oswald who was fab

Edited at 03:13 PM.
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Old 20 Sep 16, 04:04 PM  
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disneyangel
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Some pics from Easter

Meeting Oswald ..

Mickey and Stitch at Surfs Up



Gloomy eeyore at Plaza Inn


radiator springs and the grinning ghosts at world of colour




Beignets


Front/Back of the monorail seat (just ask :-) )


The magic
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Old 20 Sep 16, 04:14 PM  
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disneyangel
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If you ever go back to WDW l the marceline to magic kingdom tour takes you backstage at HM. DD and I did it on our last trip . It was fab !

This is us at MNSSHP . Im Sally and DD -Jess is Zero
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Old 20 Sep 16, 08:15 PM  
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nanasamboy
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Originally Posted by pinkstargirl View Post
Hope you enjoy! It looks like I'll be there just after you!

Look forward to reading your trip report, I enjoyed reading your WDW one!
Thank you Oooh exciting! Are you doing the party or any tours?

Aww thanks

Originally Posted by disneyangel View Post
It was busy but we tended to do mornings come out (as we were literally just across the road at the park vue inn) and go back in the evening .

I wanted to do a tour but my Mum wasn't so keen and the trip was for her birthday /retirement ( we did 5 days in NYC too) so I felt I was pushing my luck and there's always a next time , DD and I decided that one day 1 lol.

We loved the parks and tried all the different things ( Matterhorn , toad etc) . IASW and Haunted mansion and space mountain have their own spin too . We did a power of walking as they still had the old FP system .

We loved radiator springs , you have to go at night to see how cool it looks in the dark. And I'd ride single rider as the queues are huge all the time .

We stood in the wet zone for world of colour and as we were just across the road it was fine . We had FP too. You also get extremely wet on grizzly peak (the universal rapids kind of wet)

I will dig out some pics for you as we didn't do a trippie .

Talking of triples I just ready your wdw one. Your little girl is a cutie and definitely not the only one to throw a tantrum in a park. My dd threw a huge one in DLP as she took ice cream off a push up lolly that had smarties in the handle to get to the smarties then was cross the ice cream wouldn't go back in . She was also wary of characters at first but came round .

We liked both breakfasts . The paradise pier one edged the plaza inn one because of stitch but we met the best most gloomy eeyore ever in plaza inn.

We also met Oswald who was fab
Thank you for sharing your pictures, they are great! I fancied some tours on our last trip, but felt guilty about leaving G with Alice. I definitely need to go behind the scenes at HM so maybe next trip - hoping to go in 2019 (so far away!)

Top priority for me is to get the disneyland only rides done and then squeeze anything else in. I am super excited for Radiator Springs! I might give Grizzly Peak a miss though - I'll wait and see how hot it is!

Thanks for reading She is a cutie, I'm not sure where she got it from! Thank you

I am SO excited to meet Oswald, I'm a big fan!

Thanks for reading and commenting x

PS - you all look FAB at the halloween party!
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Old 21 Sep 16, 05:18 AM  
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disneyangel
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The only disneyland only attraction I would avoid is the submarine . It's an extremely slow loader and really the ride is not worth it
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Old 23 Sep 16, 10:45 PM  
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nanasamboy
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Update

So we got the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour booked! Hurrah! I had a very stressful hour or so, but we got the time slot we wanted - the second at 10.30 am.

I couldn't find what time the phonelines opened, so aimed for 8 am. Last time I phoned Disneyland, I had an extra £15 on my bill. Eek! So wanted to make sure I didn't have to phone too many times. But got to 7.50 am (LA time) and panicked, so dialled. I figured at worst, the automated recording would tell me what time the line opened. When I dialled, it answered and said there was a queue of at least 15 minutes. I panicked and hung up. Then realised if there was a queue already, I'd probably miss out on tickets. So called right back and was on hold for 12 minutes, when someone cut me off. I was sooooo maddd! I tried ringing another twice and both were cut off. GRAAAAHHHHH! So phoned again and waited in the queue for about 17 minutes before someone answered.

Luckily there were tickets left and we had the choice of the 9.30 am or 10.30 am. I went for the 10.30 am, to make sure we had enough time after our 8.10 am breakfast reservation.

So once everything was booked and confirmed, I asked very nicely whether I'd be able to book for the following day too and explained that I was calling from the UK and that it had taken me 5 attempts to speak to someone. She was really apologetic and said no, I'd have to call back. Was worth a try! I normally stay on the line and do the survey afterwards, but I hung up as quickly as possible, knowing how much my bill would be.

I made the mistake of looking up how much calls to the states from my mobile are and worked out I'm gonna have an extra £51.50 on my bill. Wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't got cut off on the second call though

My lovely friend Corey lives in Canada (and featured in my Florida report) and offered to call to book tomorrow for me as it'd be massively cheaper for her. Then she suggested Skype. SKYPE! Why didn't I think of that today?! I tried to call the number to see if I could wangle it for free, but the app said I'd need a £3.99 credit. That I can do!

So tomorrow I'll try calling from the Skype app! And if that doesn't work out, I can always dial and remortgage my house to pay for the phonebill.

Will update again tomorrow to let you know how I get on

Sam
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