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Thread: Dec 27-29 Disneyland/California Adventure Trip Report

  1. #1

    Dec 27-29 Disneyland/California Adventure Trip Report

    Travel dates: 27-29 December 2017
    Travel method:car, then monorail, teacup, runaway mine train, spaceships, etc.
    Resort: Disneyland/DCA
    Accommodationsisneyland Hotel
    Ages Represented in Group:8-72
    Disney Resort Experience Represented in Group: Very experienced, the eight year old being the least experienced although he's been around 7 times already



    My son and I flew over to California from New Zealand where we currently reside to stay with my parents and visit other family as we do every year. My son never knows ahead of time if he's going to get to go to Disneyland and my parents surprise him in a different way each year. This year they told him he had to wait until Christmas to find out what Santa says although none of us adults could hold back on the excitement because we wanted to discuss various ride strategies, etc. ahead of time. So my son ended up getting a letter from santa in the mailbox with the tickets a few days before Christmas. We tried, honestly, but who can keep a Disney trip secret?

    We checked into the Disneyland Hotel, where we haven't stayed since I was very young (usually we drive over as my parents live in SoCal, or stay at the beach resort) and it was so great to be immediately immersed in everything Disney with my son sitting on cartoonlike chairs watching Disney cartoons while waiting for us to check in. I love, love, love all the historical pictures and things they have up around the hotel and could easily spend a few hours there just looking at all the details as if in a museum. Our room was great and we loved the carved castle background over the beds with the fireworks effect nightlights.

    So, we spent the first day perusing Downtown Disney and employing our mission to find Duffy the Disney Bear clothes. I posted on another thread here whether or not I could get clothes at the resort and nobody was sure if the Build a Bear had been shut down yet because they are putting in restaurants instead. Luckily for us, they were still there and Duffy ended up with a Stormtrooper outfit among other cute things. My son found some mac and cheese for lunch, as was his objective, and the adults enjoyed various other snacky foods because we were all "saving" ourselves for our character dinner at Goofy's Kitchen.

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    I personally thought the food was even better than last year at Goofy's kitchen. They had turkey and cranberry sauce, being of the season, and other carved meats as well as all the usual offerings including salads and the desert bar from heaven/hell depending on how you see not being able to stop filling your plate. I love that they have kids' favourites down at a lower lever bar. Disney just excel's at these wee details. Not that I need to tell anyone on this forum, preaching to the choir.


    My 72 year old Dad, a trooper and not a person who would EVER miss out on a trip to the parks, was dealing with a kidney stone, so he and my mother slept in a bit later while my son and I legged it to Disneyland for Magic Hour, that you get with the hotel stay, 1 bonus hour before the parks open to the public. Park opened at 8, Magic hour at 7, we went to the security line at Downtown Disney at 6.15 and it was packed!! We had to wait about 40 minutes to clear security. First sign we were there on on of the busiest days of the year. Luckily, and even though we waited 20 minutes, the monorail delivered us right into Tomorrowland. Objective, to get signed up for Jedi Training and then hit the big line rides. Success! We grabbed a Fastpass for Space Mountain, got on Star Tours, conquered the Matterhorn, and legged it to Big Thunder before stopping for breakfast because we were out of steam. My parents met us at this point and we relaxed over food and drink until our Jedi Training slot.
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    Jedi Training: Holy heck, it's the cutest thing you've ever seen! If you have a child in any way interested in Star Wars, or obsessed like mine, do yourself a favour and get in early to sign up. It was booked solid by probably 10am. My parents took video from one angle while I took ten thousand photos from another. Yes, my son defeated Kylo Ren...so don't worry, the galaxy is secure. In case, you know, you were concerned.

    Although extremely crowded, the rest of the day went well and we pretty much shut the place down which turned out to scupper our efforts at catching Magic Hour the next day at DCA so there you have it. You can't win them all. What I didn't know then was that there was already a flu virus silently making our way through our family when we were there which probably explains why we couldn't hack the lack of sleep needed to take advantage of double Magic Hour. Take your vitamins, people, lol. (P.S. We're all recovered now including my Dad with his Kidney Stone which we named Oliver).

    We ended the day with a Fantasmic dinner package with the Hungry Bear. The food was great and it comes packed in a nice brown bag with a handle so you can take it elsewhere to eat. If we'd got it later we could've conceivable eaten it while sitting for the show but our pickup time was earlier in the day. A bit odd. So we ate it in the Hungry Bear outdoor veranda, which is a nice place to sit, and later attended the show after dark. My son and I had seen the show on Youtube but hadn't seen it in person. Nothing prepares you. It was AWESOME! Very Disney. Very well done. Honestly, I never think Disney can surprise me again but then they do.

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    I am the person you will never hear say I had a bad day at Disney, but I will say that these crowded Christmas holiday days do have their downsides. Besides the long queues, we had a bit of a hard day because the Cars ride broke down after we'd waited for almost two hours. There was another 30 minutes of "we'll be testing the track but can't say when we're up and running again" limbo. Many people left, some stayed. Some left and then thought they heard a rumour so ran back to the line again. They finally gave everyone who was there a Fastpass for any ride in the park. Apparently the same thing happened later in the day with another massive group of people, and so we were all moving about the park with these extra Fastpasses. This meant that every other ride ended up having very long lines, including the Fastpass lines since you could be holding any Fastpass that you'd collected PLUS the freebie they gave us from Cars. It was nuts. We really only managed to ride a few rides over all that day. By dinner time, my Dad needed to get back to the hotel and so did my mother as her flu was kicking in, so my son and I went to use up all the Fastpasses we had now acquired while waiting for our Guardians of the Galaxy Fastpass time at 8.20pm. Like Christmas in that we had all these Fastpasses, yet annoying because many of the Fastpass lines were over an hour anyway. Still, my son and I will have fun anywhere on Disney property under any circumstances, so there you have it.

    Last year was my son's first time on Space Mountain, so this year he braved California Screaming. In the queue, I was very obviously more nervous about it than he was. I was even thinking about how I could bow out. Where we got to the front of the line the cast member crouched down to my son't level and enthusiastically said,"Do you want to sit in the front?!!!" I'm behind him miming NO! and my sin is jumping up and down with "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

    We went in the front.

    I survived.

    It was actually great and I'm so glad we did it because they are changing the whole of Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier so our ride is now a part of history.

    Overall:

    Downsides-long queues, overdoing it and missing out on second Magic Hour and also a visit to Trader Sam's for a drink because I was too tired (I've never been! I really want to go!), Cars breaking down all day.

    Upsides-It's a trip to Disneyland. How can we really complain? We are the luckiest people on earth. I wish everyone had the opportunity to go at least once.

    P.S. And for the record, we ate Mickey shaped food.
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    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Alice, Alice in Wonderland

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  3. #2

    Sorry for the image issues!

    I couldn't figure out how to edit them once posted.

    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Alice, Alice in Wonderland

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  5. #4

    Thank you

    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Alice, Alice in Wonderland

  6. #5
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA

    I could sense your enthusiasm when I read your trip report! I'm sorry that you had a few downs due to illness, but happy that you had a wonderful time in spite of it!

    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013



  7. #6

    It really depends on who wants to show up that day for the crowds. We have seen wild swings in just a few days. Gone are the days of old where Disneyland was the only park and DCA was a big parking lot and every ride had 1, 2 and 3 hour waits. The breakdowns really affect the other rides and you cannot (at least in our experience) move them between parks for the comp fastpass. Good deal on Space Mountain and Screamin'.


  8. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Beautiful Orange County, CA

    Great trip report!


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