Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's starting

Me and the kid go to Disneyland every year - or as close to every year as I can get. Right around now (6 months) is when I start getting the itch to go back. We typically go in October since the Summer crowd is gone, it's sunny and warm but not hot, and last but not least our birthdays are both in October. Last October we stayed in a nice hotel that was not on Disney property - we won't do that again unless we have to. The hotel was nice enough but we spent too much time coming and going to and from the park. Lots of time is spent shopping, last year I swore I was not buying another Disneyland mug but alas... they had the perfect mug for me. I bought (as usual) a gold charm for my charm bracelet - gold Mickey ears. My dream charm is the Cinderella coach gold charm. Oh my god. I will have it someday. I can't remember exactly how much it costs - somewhere around 1K. Remember - October is my birthday and it's the Cinderella Coach charm, gold.


Gawfer said...

Ahh; the itch of the mouse, I know it well. You are almost smack dab perfect with your timing, (you get a bye because of your birthdays). The absolute best time to visit D’Land, is Labor Day Monday and the subsequent week. Here’s why:

90% of the nation is back to school, and the other 10% is getting ready for back to school, so Labor Day is the only holiday that one can enjoy the park at about 25% capacity (it’s also the only holiday that is open to So Cal annual pass holders). On top of that, it’s the last day that the park operates all the rides on the summer schedule, so there literally are no lines. Tuesday, the rides go to winter schedule which means there are fewer vehicles to ride and fewer employees, slightly increasing the line wait, but nothing to warrant ‘fast pass’ usage. Wednesday and Thursday are similar to Tuesday, but Friday is the beginning of the weekend, and every weekend at Disneyland is a bother.

2 years ago, Mrs. Gawfer and I bought So Cal Annual passes for the family (6@$149.00 each). I added parking ($10.00) to mine and her pass, so I could leave from the office and meet my family at the park. Most of the summer is blacked out, but who wants to be with 100,000 screaming Mexicans and Asians who are rude and impossible to understand? Anyway, we had over 25 days in the parks which made the cost per visit about $6.00. Since we live about an hour from the park, the convenience of sleeping in our own beds after spending the day at ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ was really worth the $36.00 a day fee.

If my fellow infidel were to phone when visiting this year, the Gawfer might find his way to Downtown Disney for a libation before home one evening… just a thought.

Kelly said...

Sure Gawfer - once it gets closer I'll let you know the details. I'm so jealous that you and the family are so close. Last Oct. it was raining and we had to run to Tomorrowland to buy some Disney ponchos. Those ponchos are such a good look. We got pretty wet but who cares!!!

Rex Zeitgeist said...

Disneyland would be fun. Never been

Gawfer said...

Also Kel,

Have you visited during the Christmas season? They decorate the park so well; you'd think you walked into a Norman Rockwell painting. Main Street is incredible, and after fireworks in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle, they play White Christmas while it begins to snow!

Man, I’ve got quite a few stories about the things that have happened to us during our visits before we relocated to Southern California. From surviving a major earthquake (7.1) 10/16/1999 just before 3am and being in the park when Big Thunder Mountain railroad claimed the life of a young man 9/5/2003 (my eldest daughter and I were heading to the ride, but decided to catch up with the family first at the very time the crash occurred) to being soaked to the bone during our Christmas visit 2001 (we too, headed to Tomorrowland and camped out in ‘Honey, I shrunk the Audience’) and living through a hotel fire in the utility room (that only effected our suite!). Yet we continue to thrive at that place and have learned many of the secret places to eat and shop.

Yes, we are Disney junkies, and will always be so. I am contemplating using our ‘stimulus’ check to buy another set of annual passes… we’ll see. If you’d care to know, I can point you to the best deals and food.

Kelly said...

Wow - you guys have been through a lot there! Feel free to give me any tips you have! I read a story somewhere a while back that a woman wrote about being there on 9/11. I can't imagine how weird that must have been. The park closed down but she talked of walking around the hotel in a daze.

Yes, we are Disney junkies too - as much as we an be in Seattle.

Kelly said...

Rex! You should try to make a trip out there sometime.

Gawfer said...

OK then, here we go.

Even in October, Southern California can get hot. So a great place to take a respite from the heat is the animation attraction in California adventure.

Not many are aware of it so it’s rarely crowded and VERY air-conditioned. We have enjoyed learning to draw various characters, and venture through at our pace.

Overall, The best value we found for food was at the Taste Pilot’s Grill in California Adventure:

Avoid McDonald’s at all cost. It is WAY over priced. Areil’s grotto is another restaurant to avoid because of the price, though they do have character meals.

In the magic Kingdom, we found good value at the Golden Horseshoe restaurant and around the corner on the outside.

I also live for the BBQ’d turkey legs and Churros.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Billy Hill and the Hill-Billys, that is a must see show.

All the restaurants in Downtown Disney are pricy, but we enjoy the rainforest café. They are a chain of restaurants at least is So Cal and are pretty good.

The other trick Mrs. Gawfer uses is to bring an enormous amount of food in and then get a locker for (10 bucks I think) just outside the main gate of the Magic Kingdom near the bathrooms, and then we utilize the picnic grounds on the other side of the bathrooms. Everybody carries their waters, and nobody dehydrates.

Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disney Hotel by far has the best food and character breakfast. It’s pricey but if your package includes the character breakfast, go there.

I can keep going if you'd like... Your wish is my Command!

Kelly said...

Thanks! We've not seen the animation thing and will check it out. Also, we haven't ate at the Pilot place either. Have not seen Billy Hill and the Hill-Billys - do they play at the .... I blanked on the name of that place.

We have gone to the Rainforest Cafe - they have those in Seattle too. It is expensive but we had a great dinner there last Oct.
Have been to Goofys Kitchen many times - I think the kid is too old for it now though. At $35 per person it is too much to go there now since she doesn't flip out over the characters anymore.

Considering we live in WA state we know a lot of the ins and outs of Disneyland. What to avoid etc... I think our (me and the kid) fav thing is Fantasmic. We'll watch it on one night then take advantage of everyone else watching it on the other nights.

Kelly said...

and oh yeah.... we have been at Christmas time. It is really great. Love the carolers!!!! Looks like that is spelled wrong but whatever.
We talked about going down at Christmas time - and may still do that. Right now, today the flights are $300 pp down to Orange County - that is a great price!