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Old 08-08-2015, 10:07 PM   #1
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First Ever Disneyland Trip Updated 10/13

Our Party: me, Cam (57; 21 trips to WDW, but first to DLR) and Luke (54 until day 3 of the trip when he turns 55; 21 trips to WDW, but first to DLR)

Our Journey: Tuesday, October 6 through Monday, October 12, flying on Southwest Airlines

Our Resort: Grand Californian, using DVC points for a one-bedroom villa­­
Our Special Plans: Luke has made two requests for his birthday that I’ll share later, but the whole trip is at his request for his 55th birthday. We will also be attending Mickey’s Halloween party. Truthfully, the whole trip feels special since we’ve never been before.
­­­­­­­
As little kids while watching the Mickey Mouse Club and Wonderful World of Color, Luke and I dreamed of one day traveling to California to visit Disneyland. But sadly, neither of our parents could afford that kind of cross country trip. Neither of our families traveled to Disney World either, so our first visits there were in 1980 on our college spring break. We traveled down to Orlando together, but did not visit WDW on the same day. We often suggested to Stefanie that we could skip WDW one year and fly to California to visit Disneyland. But she didn’t want a thing to do with DLR. We thought she’d be more interested after Cars Land opened. Unfortunately, it opened too late for her to go with us. Luke and I have continued to toss around the idea of going, so this past spring he decided this was the year and that what he most wanted for his 55th birthday was a trip to Disneyland/California Adventure. In all honesty, at first I was disappointed as fall is my favorite time to visit Disney World. But Luke never asked for much, so within seconds my answer was yes. And a new trip was born.

After 21 trips to Disney World, my planning is rather easy and simple. Disneyland is all new to me. Several times I’ve almost panicked as I feel I’ve not done anything to prepare. The most obvious example is dining reservations. Normally, I’ve made those before we even leave for our May trip, but ADRs can’t be made for DLR until 60 days prior to the trip, and then only one day at a time. My word, I felt I had stepped back in time to my early days of planning our WDW trips. So I’m going to start this PTR a little differently than I would my WDW PTRs because finally yesterday I could begin making dining reservations. That simple fact has gotten me excited about this trip because up until now all the plans had been done by Luke (flights/resort – these are his usual jobs). I had done nothing, so I just wasn’t feeling the excitement I usually do. So I’m beginning these updates with each dining locations as it is booked. We both separately perused the PassPorter, Disney’s website, and several boards to pick where we wanted to eat. Then we combined our lists. Actually, we had picked out the exact same restaurants, which is very typical of us. Last week, I took our choices and plugged them in to each day of our stay. Luke checked over it, and we tweaked it because I had forgotten about the time of our flight home. With the revised list, I was ready, but had to wait a week before I could book the first one online. We’ve been told that reservations quite possibly aren’t needed, but we’ve agreed that we like the security of knowing that we have a place to eat each day.

Yesterday, I booked Tortilla Jo’s for our first night, Tuesday, October 6 at 6:00 PM. We both love Mexican cuisine so this one was a no brainer once we’d looked over the menu.

Today, I booked Café Orleans for Wednesday, October 7 at 3:30 PM. Currently, only lunch times are available. I’m thinking that might be because there is a Mickey’s Halloween Party this night. A funny story on this one, Luke and I both love Monte Cristo sandwiches and beignets, so it’s no surprise that we selected this one. A few days ago I was reading an article on the Top 10 Food Items at Disneyland on Disney Parks Blogs or some other board. The Monte Cristo was mentioned and I quickly wrote down the restaurant name. Then laughed at myself when I realized we already had it down. Newbie mistake!

NEXT: Thursday ADR
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:19 PM   #2
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Always love your trip reports, signing in
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:36 PM   #3
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I think you'll love DLR. DH and I actually prefer DL to MK at WDW. Maybe because we spent so much time there when we lived in LA? Not sure, but it is a great park. We've only been to CA twice, as that opened after we moved to DC.
Looking forward to hearing all your plans!
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Old 08-08-2015, 11:25 PM   #4
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Can't wait to read more. Just checking in for now.
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Old 08-09-2015, 01:14 AM   #5
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Oh boy, do I hear you about how different planning for Disneyland is than planning for WDW, as I've been having that problem over the last couple of months and I hear you about not feeling the excitement you usually do. I still can't believe we miss each other by about four weeks.
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Old 08-09-2015, 02:29 AM   #6
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Joining in. Can't wait to read this pre-trip report. We've never been, so will be very interested to read your planning and about your trip
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:00 AM   #7
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We also loved Disneyland at least as much as WDW and certainly much more than DLP. I find it hard to compare with Orlando as they are both so different.

I hope you love The Grand. I can't wait to stay there next week.

For meals we really liked the storytellers cafe and we like the look of Ralph Brennan's. We also like the way DTD was situated between the parks and the hotels.
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:47 AM   #8
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Here I am. I'm in for this trip!
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:30 AM   #9
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Signing on. Can't wait to hear all about your plans!
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:40 AM   #10
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Hope you get everything you need/want for dining reservations!
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:57 AM   #11
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Great start! We're thinking of heading out west next summer and hopefully going to DL. Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:22 AM   #12
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YAY - so excited that you started your PTR!!! I felt the same way about planning for DL 10 years ago as I kept reading Steve Birnbaum's DL book over and over again but I would imagine there is a lot of Disney websites with more information now! We're planning on staying at the Grand Californian too so I'm so looking forward to your thoughts on it!
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:30 AM   #13
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I haven't been to DL since I was younger & my parents took me. I really don't remember too much about that trip except the castle & IASW.

Your upcoming trip definitely sounds a lot different than your WDW trips. I don't like the ADR process there at all. You have to wait a longer time to get excited about the trip especially since you can't book dining 180 days in advance. I can't wait to read more about your planning!!
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:40 AM   #14
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I've been looking forward to this PTR, Cam! I never really had to do much planning for DLR because my trip in 2012 was with ABD. Naturally, I looked at maps and webstes and PassPorter obsessively for months before the trip, but I still got disoriented frequently when things weren't where they were "supposed" to be. It all looked so familiar, but so different at the same time. I absolutely loved DL, loved DCA much more than I expected to, and loved the short distances between parks, hotels and DTD. I'm looking forward to the planning process in this report!
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:52 AM   #15
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Can't wait to read this. DL is DH's request too. It's a few years out but I'm looking forward to hearing about your planning steps since it's so different.
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