Totally not a trip report, Trip Report 🤦‍♀️

We have a plane and it’s at the gate!!

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On the plane :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:

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Home!!

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Are your puppies happy to see you? (I know they aren’t puppies anymore, but they’ll always be your babies)

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We have to pick them up later today. Right now we are puppy less :weary:

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image

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Our family is reunited!!! :tada::tada::tada::tada:

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Can’t wait to hear more once you’re up to posting!

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I have just finally finished rough sorting my pictures :tada: :tada:

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Pixar Place Hotel

Aside from the gorgeous view we had, I want to mention some of our thoughts since this is a “new” hotel, and the least expensive of the 3 onsite hotels. Also, we have stayed at the other two. DLH about 15 years ago and GCH in October 2022. We enjoyed DLH when we stayed but the quiet pool that we loved I think is gone due to the new DVC tower. We also enjoyed GCH and will share thoughts about all 3 at some point in this post.

PPH is beautiful, airy and light feeling. The theming is great without being over the top. The CMs are obviously happy and proud of the revamp and deservedly so. The CM outside the front entrance always gave us an enthusiast Welcome Back every time he was there!! I enjoyed many of the little and not so little touches. The mousekeeping there is perhaps the BEST we have ever had at any Disney resort!! Reliable, took care of requests didn’t appear to slack at anything.

The hotel is not finished being renovated. You could see several floors still under construction as you rode one of the elevators. Generally not an issue except for a small weirdness with getting ice that will resolve once the hotel is completely finished.

My only negative is something that I discovered is true for DL in general and that is the music public spaces is too loud for me. It also has too short of loop, same issue in particularly Avengers Campus as well. Seriously, I’m staying away from Pixar stuff for a bit because of over exposure. If the music was just a couple clicks softer, or the loop a little longer or more varied it would be fine. It’s probably just my being sensitive and overall was fine but I wanted to mention it.

The entrance to DCA is fantastic and is the BEST entrance to the parks if you are starting in DCA. The security there is good, quick and fair. We did not try using GCH entrances except the DTD one during the middle of the day. When we stayed there we saw people turned away that were not GCH guests but at another hotel and I didn’t feel it was worth the risk of messing up a RD strategy if there were other options. Also, the GCH lines get loooong and sort of confusing. PPH line may get long as the hotel gets finished but will be much more straight forward.

I do not recommend using the PPH entrance to go through DCA and then immediately hop to DL (tried it and regretted it enough to mention a warning) at that point go to DTD and then to DL. We also got to use the (old and) new Downtown Disney entrance and it is very nice as well but obviously get more traffic and thus longer lines. Those lines moved well though. We did not check out the new bathrooms there but the theming and landscaping were very nice in that new area.

I didn’t like the “feel” of the DLH this trip. With 4 towers it felt like being in a box in the courtyard/restaurant/swim area but also very exposed. I hope that makes sense. GCH is beautiful and I love the wood everywhere, however, it always (in our 2 trips) seemed very aloof and chilly. I know it’s a big space but there is no place that feels cozy there, and it looks like it should be cozy. Also, its very dark lighting and that gets old quickly. Our room there was fine btw no real issues, but for the price…The other thing that I’m not a fan of is all the restaurant entrances being outside (this may be partly a California thing), which I think adds to the problem of the lobby bing chilly because there is a lot of inside/outside traffic there.

Bottom line: if we ever go to DL again and want to stay on property, we will stay at PPH and not just for the price. At least until there are other new places onsite to stay.

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Some pictures are up on instagram but I will be posting some here too. Just have a busy day today :roll_eyes::joy:

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Hotel-ish pics. Just a few more are on instagram, some might be repeats from earlier :woman_shrugging:




World of Color from our room. We watched it twice, the second time we had discovered how to listen to the music through out TV. Amazing!!


Barely could see the ending of Fantasmic! PPH also has a viewing area open to everyone for fireworks!



Joe performing in the lobby of PPH. We only saw him there twice the whole week despite going in and out of the lobby at night etc. Bing Bong was around much more.



2 of the 16 character imprints - the whole set is on instagram. Lots of fun looking for them all!



This masterpiece was at GCH for Season of the Force. So lucky to have been there for TWO special events: Season of the Force and Pixar Fest.

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Food

Our first night we had reservations at Napa Rose. We loved our meal and our server Rodney - he was our 2nd cast complement and we’d only been there a few hours (the other was this delightful CM at PPH who was so sweet and helpful while we were waiting for our room to be ready - not knowing about our upgrade - she had brought us a yummy rice krispy treat to help us wait) he was full of tips about the parks and how to get decent spots for the show etc. delightful human being!! The food was, as promised, delicious!!! The only thing I didn’t understand was how empty the restaurant was considering how difficult ADRs are to get. We were there at 8:30 pm.









@darkmite2 this place is worth the hype and cost if you want a fancy meal - yum

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Other food recs are the chocolate popcorn at the carts in GE I wish WDW had this. Also the Baymax bread in San Fransokyo is yummy if you like sourdough bread.

The raspberry macaron from Jolly Holiday is really good. It’s the mickey shape.


The other is the sea monster parfait which is a Pixar Fest treat. Another Pixar Fest treat was …

also yummy.

Of course specialty churros change but are also very good.

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Our first day was the day we posted all the liner meetups earlier in the TR, though I will repost some of that later. At this point I’m sort of going loosely by theme.

Our second day was our DL Railroad Tour day. We RD DL which involved going to (RD)the DTD entrance by DLH and then “racing” the full length of DTD to RD to get into the park, then RD, as best we could, the area for hotel guests and then FINALLY try to RD a ride!!! :joy: :joy: :joy:


We did fairly well and did many of the Fantasyland rides including the Carrousel for the first time.

We even saw @Julianne_fki , her DD and @Wahoohokie in passing in Fantasyland.

Then it was off to GE to get breakfast at Ronto’s Roaster - yum!! A must do @darkmite2 !! And then a 10 am Oga’s ADR.


Not sure I remember what we ordered but one was alcoholic and one wasn’t and we shared them both. We went in without our ECVs so we could sit in a booth. It was fine but busy and the service left a bit to be desired. Gave them a GC with a hefty balance to pay and it took them forever to get it back to us. THEN, as I was finally able to fill out the slip so we could leave, (and it was obvious that that’s what I was doing, plus DH did have his cane) they came over and told us to slide in so they could seat other people!! I said we are leaving once I finish this and did not move Then once I was finished and my GC safely stored we carefully got up (DH has to move slowly for balance reasons). CM definitely did not read the table correctly because even if we had been staying DH needed to be on an end and would have had to ask the group of 4 who shared our table to slide in. :triumph:

Then we made our way back to main street to go the RR Tour. I’ll make a new post about that because it was an adventure!! :joy:

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Awesome! I need to plan a couple meals that make DW feel like she’s not at a theme park!!

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The actual tour: Meet up was in the Opera House near the main entrance. When we got there we discovered we were the only ones on our 11:30 am tour :scream: :tada:. We met our amazing CM tour guide, Nick, and his assistant, whose name I can’t remember, but she was delightful as well.

We immediately bonded with Nick over Star Wars, I think Nick and @Jeff_AZ would get along really well!!

The tour includes a sweet treat which is always something from Jolly Holiday but only available on tours. It changes periodically. Our treat was a very yummy cinnamon roll with apple compote on top :drooling_face: :drooling_face: yes, it was warmed up and orange juice to keep it healthy :joy:

Once we were finished with our treat and stopped getting side tracked with chatting with Nick about various things, the tour part began. Nick informed us that the tour ran on group participation and since there were only 2 of us we needed to make it count. The participation was to yell/say “All Aboard” so when cued, I hit him with about 2/3 power of my teacher voice!! He, his assistant and a CM just outside the area were all shocked :joy: :joy: :joy: they said that, that was louder than any normal group, his assistant said we had definitely done well enough to go on the tour (the gimmick was if we weren’t enthusiast enough the tour couldn’t run :joy:). I told them I was a retired teacher and that that wasn’t even my full teacher voice. :grin:

I think through our chatting, Nick thought we knew more about Disney history etc than we actual did/do (I get most of my knowlegde from Mammoth Club or here :woman_shrugging:). Regardless, Nick has SO MUCH knowledge!!! For the next 45 minutes or so he took us around the park talking about the history of Walt’s love of trains and honestly there is no way I will remember all that information but will always remember the enjoyable/in the moment presentation from Nick. Btw, I was supposed to get a pic with him (I asked) but in the later issues we forgot, but we will never forget him.

He led both of us on our ECVs around the park, clearing the way for us as only a plaid can do!! He joked he was being a human cow catcher :cow2: :joy: He was completely professional and as I said knowledgeable but because it was only the 2 of us on the tour we made several tangent conversations (in addition to loads of train/disney/walt information) that I doubt would usually happen. DH and I truly felt as if we were on a VIP tour at a super bargain price. That’s how good he was (remember this for later). He was really excited to be able to show us something new to the tour - going backstage to see the round house :scream: :scream: and explaining how it all worked back there. That was incredible. After that we headed to the Toontown Depot. Which is right next to where the big Pixar Fest area is.

Disney Ducks :hearts: :hearts:

This is where/when things got “interesting”. It was about 1 pm (the tour is supposed to be about 2 hours) and the last thing we had left was getting to ride on the Lily Belle once around the park. The LB is enclosed, not AC and can get very warm on even a cooler day and very unpleasant on a hot day.

The TL;DR version is that the train was having a difficult day and we kept getting new updates on when the LB would or would not pull in. The engine pulling her had to be switched etc etc. 30 minutes became and hour and more. Not ideal but completely no ones fault so we sat in the shade by the Pixar sign. As a good liner, I had some snacks, Nick had someone get us water and we listened and watched. Nick started getting things set up to pass us along to the next tour and join them on the LB. He even told us the whole spiel that he would have done on the train. Poor Nick he really tried to get things to happen and keep us updated but eventually he told us he had to leave (completely understandable we were waaaay past what was supposed to be the end of the tour time). He completely went above and beyond for us and truly felt bad (btw there is no guarantee of riding LB even though it’s the big finale) so before we left he did one last thing for us and gave us a super duper redemption pass for anything except RSR and RotR and made it good for a WHOLE WEEK :scream: :scream:. Even before this we were going to tip him and we didn’t let him refuse. He truly made the whole time with him magical, he also was cast compliment number 3 for the trip. Before he left he introduced us to Elli who we would be joining on the LB once the train was cooperating. She was also absolutely wonderful!!!

Eventually we got on Lily Belle - FOUR hours after the start of our TWO hour tour!!!

It was gorgeous!!! We were so happy we finally made it!! :tada: :tada: :tada: :tada:

Until…we got evacuated about 3 minutes after everyone got on. Elli told us to all take pics as quickly as we could in the midst of apologizing for the situation. Again, no ones fault, the train was just having a bad day. We were glad we actually got to go in the LB and see it up close. But Elli wasn’t happy with that and particularly felt bad for us. She gave us each two redemption passes, for again almost anything, they were going to be for that day but once we explained we were probably going to be done once we got back the hotel she made them good for the next day! Cast compliment number 4.

Originally, we had planed to get lunch after the tour at 1:30 pm then go back to the hotel for a nap to recoup, and then come back in the evening. But waiting to get on the LB until 3:30 pm changed things. We were both pretty wiped from RDing etc and after getting a meal, we needed rest and then we would hang around the hotel or do something very minimal. Now I actually don’t remember what we actually did that evening :joy: :woman_facepalming:

Despite how things turned out at the end, it was a wonderful day and a wonderful experience. I 120% recommend the Railroad Tour and am still wondering how we were the only ones on our tour. Also, it was nice to have the CMs so appreciative about our attitude - they mentioned more than once, but it’s sad that we know there is a reason they are. Be kind to CMs. Trains can have bad days just like us.

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This will definitely work for that!! We really enjoyed Napa Rose. I would also recommend Blue Bayou because it’s so iconic, however, as POTC runs next to it you will be reminded you are in a theme park but also in a very nice restaurant. There are also several Mexican restaurants in DTD that are supposed to be good, but we didn’t try them. Don’t bother with the Italian place ebar something. We ate there and while ok food was VERY overpriced even for near Disney.

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Oh @JuliaMc the people at the end of the car in my last LB pic were the seat saver a-holes I told you about.

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Must have been very relaxing, then.

Your very own personal tour. That’s so awesome.

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