Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Disneyland Trip w/ Homeschoolers

We had an awesome trip to Disneyland for 2.5 days.
We were going to drive up leaving, hopefully at 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning to make the 9 a.m. class and I was stressed.
Geoff said around 10 a.m. on Wednesday to call the hotel and get another night and drive up Wed afternoon. YOO HOOO!!.
So we packed up quick. Loaded most stuff in the truck and dropped James off at Lissa's for Shakespeare class while the rest of us ran to wal mart for groceries.
Pick up James, say our goodbyes and stop by the house for the rest of the stuff.
We got on the road at 3:20. The drive up was absolutely clear. The traffic was null and we arrived at the hotel by 5. Checked in, unloaded the car and ran over to Disneyland for the evening.
One of our goals for the trip was to see Toon Town. Somehow the past few trips we either got there after it closed (for fireworks) or forgot about going there.
So we jumped on the train first thing at the front gate and headed back to Toon Town!

Oh, before the train we went into the Town Hall and requested a Birthday Badge for Katie for Thursday. We were the only ones in there so I chatted with the ladies behind the counter.
We let them know we were there for the next two days. We were going to take the Animation Class in the morning and go to the Minnie & Friends breakfast on Friday.
She gave all of us "Honorary Citizens" Badges to wear!
Then she had Katie pick up the phone on her counter and listen to a special Birthday message from Goofy.

In Toon Town we had a great time riding the Gadget Coaster. Derek was hesitant as we waited for the next train (there was no one in line in front of us!). But when the ride ended, he was the first to ask if we could ride it again.

Next we went to Mickey Mouse's House. We have never done that. We followed the rooms down hallways, past the barn, into another hallway and into a waiting area. We had no idea what we were waiting for. But the line was fairly short and I can imagine that in peak times those hallways and rooms we passed through are the usual waiting areas for this line.
In the end we were taken back into a room and had our picture taken with Mickey Mouse!
**See Photopass link below**

Next we walked over to The Nemo Submarine ride. The line was about 20 minutes. Better than over an hour that it will be during the daytime. The first time we rode Nemo I thought it was worth the 45 minute wait. I really liked it. This time it didn't seem as exciting. But I was paying more attention to the movie details this time to see things we might not have seen the first time we went on the ride.

We left the park when it closed @ 8 p.m. and were very hungry. We crossed the main road and there was an IHOP on the other side. The kids warmed up with hot chocolate and dinner.

We met up with Disney Schoolers and attended the Youth Education Series (YES) class on the history of Animation called Disney Animation Magic.
We had a very animated :) young lady to lead our group of 22 children and a few parents.
The kids were able to:

  • Draw a Disney character - Pooh - using simple geometric shapes.They were guided by a Disney Animator!
  • Demonstrate storyboarding.
  • Create a kineograph.
  • Create a thaumatrope.
Class ended at 1:30. We went back to our hotel, the Fairfield Inn by Marriott and had Pizza Hut that was inside the hotel. This hotel is across the main street and a short walk down. We were very happy with the hotel. The first night was $129. The second night was $139 but included 2 medium pizzas and 4 drinks that we had for lunch.
There is a Mimi's Cafe next door. We went there for dinner.
And McDonald's is pretty much in the parking lot! Of course we went there... Derek's dream come true.

I thought we had to be early at the gate for our 8:30 Minnie & Friends Breakfast so we arrived at 8:15 a.m. The gates don't open until 8:30.
It was exciting though. As they announced that it was time to open the crowd standing in lines cheered! The ticket takers opened the outside gates.
Then there was a countdown to the actual opening..... 5,4,3,2,1 and a cheer and clapping from the crowd. Geoff said, Wow he'd like to come to a job were everyone cheered as you started working!

The Breakfast was AWESOME! We can't wait to do it again.
I read up a lot about it on message boards and blogs so we would know what to expect.
It was very expensive, but this was my birthday present.
For the 5 of us it was $105. I wasn't sure what the food would be like... there were compliments as well as complaints all over the internet.
I thought the food was GREAT. The Mickey Mouse waffles were great. They offered syrup, strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream & butter.
We had made to order Omelets that were delicious. I had spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, green peppers & bacon in mine, oh and cheese too.
Online I found that I needed to try the Latte. (I had 2) There is a machine with all the drinks... water, OJ, coffee, that you push a button for a latte or cappuccino or hot chocolate.

THE BEST PART of course was the Characters. As you see in my photo slide show.
Each Character really took their time with each child. Enough to sign each child's autograph book and take a picture. Then they would often take a group photo with all 3 kids.
They never hurried or felt like they had 100 other people to see when they were at our table.
We loved it!

Friday was crowded though. After breakfast we tried to get on Nemo with Geoff before he left to drive back to San Diego to go to work. The line was already an hour.
We went over to Space Mountain.... another long line. I got FastPasess and we all went into the "3D Honey I Shrunk the Kids". After the show we said Bye! to dad.

We've has great experiences at DL that we have never had to get Fast Passes before. The kids were confused. Did i have to pay for them? No. Why? Because we didn't want to wait in line.
It was a new thing for them. We have rarely had to wait in a line the past 5 times we have been there. So, Note to self, Friday's are busier than other days of the week.

We met the DisneySchoolers in front of the castle @ 2 p.m. for a group photo:

Then we went on the sailing ship and sang a song about homeschooling.

The NEW thing I learned @ DL this trip is the Disney PHOTOPASS.
Next time you go let them take your picture as you enter the gate.
I avoided the photographers before because we would never buy the pictures or even go look at them. I'm not good at saying no when someone wants me to buy something.

But NOW they take your picture and hand you a Disney Photo pass card.
Every time you see a Disney Cast member carrying a nice camera let them take your picture, hand them your Photopass and they load all the pictures on the card. You can go to the Camera Store at the end of Main St. nearest the Castle, right before Plaza Inn Restaurant and see the photos on their screens.
The BEST thing is you can come home and look at them at the

I won't be buying the $50 photo CD or photo book this time. There are only 48 pictures on there. Next time we may get a card and make sure to get LOTs of pictures on there.
The link is below, but we can only view them for a month. I think it is fun that you can email all your friends and post it on your blog for everyone to see.

Thanks for reading about our fun trip. I hope I had some good tips for you.

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