Very Long Trip Report: 12/11 - 12/16
Promised myself I would finally write a trip report so here it is!
Cast of characters –
Me – Disneyland fanatic and passholder, DH – a muggle who I am hoping to convert; DS – almost 10 and also a Disneyland fanatic and passholder and our close friends – Geoff, Sue and their 2 boys – ages 10 & 8.
Day One – Sunday, December 11th
We arrived at SNA airport around 12:30. Went down to baggage claim and got a nice surprise. Our friends who had driven down on Sat where there to pick us up! Got to the DLH and check in. We had requested connecting rooms in the Sierra Tower – we got connecting rooms but in the Marina Tower. No problem, it was more important to have connecting rooms. Decided to unpack and go hang out by the pool for a few hours.
We went into DL via monorail and got most of the group in the front with the driver – our friends had never done it! Based on various discussion board reports, I knew the park would be crowded so we were not going to be in a big rush. It was crowded so we got fastpasses for Buzz and walked around enjoying the Christmas decorations then noticed – no line for Matterhorn – everyone was lined up for the parade! So hopped on Matterhorn – Tomorrowland side – love that ride at night!
Our fastpasses were up for Buzz so walked on. I did my best ever – 494,000 (we had a ride stop which helps!). We walked over to the Reindeer round-up. Don’t think I have ever seen real reindeer – they are fascinating to watch. Then saw no line for Pirates so decided to go.
After that, we were hungry so got chili bowls at the Golden Horseshoe – no one was in there! Finally got to do Jungle Cruise at night… and we got the golden boat! The skipper was excellent – cracked some jokes that I had never heard! Our friends had picked up Space Mountain fastpasses earlier and generously let my husband and son use them with their two boys.
Time to call it a night so we went back to the hotel. As we were leaving the park, I noticed that the benches at Main St. train station were empty and it was almost time for the fireworks so we stopped up there to watch them. Not as good as the hub but still and great place to watch without the crowds.
We got back to the hotel - I had ordered the Disney basket from vacation planning for both of our rooms. WOW! I did not expect so much food! It had apples, bananas, an orange, four kinds of cheese, a box of crackers, shortbread cookies, a lollipop, goofy gummies, some chocolate bars, grapes and a DLR mug and it was delivered with 4 tuxedo strawberries and 2 rice krispy mickeys and some milk! We had snacks for the whole week! We let the kids play some games and we enjoyed a bottle of wine and food from our baskets and relaxed. Tomorrow – early entry!
Day Two – Monday, December 12th
Well – we were a little slower than we thought this morning. We got the wake up call from Mickey at 7 am but it took a while for us to rally so we did not get to the Monorail line until around 8:15. Oh well, at least we are still beating most of the crowd.
Hit Space first – I love the new effects! Then went over to Buzz – this time, I was the 4th highest scorer for the day! But I figured it was so early, it would not last very long! It was now 9 am so went and got fastpasses for Space – already a return time of 10 am! Went and did BTMRR – “The wildest ride in the wilderness!”. Walked right onto Haunted Mansion Holiday! As we came off, we saw no wait for Splash so dashed on over. Did not get very wet…which was fine with me! Went and did our one time obligatory ride on Pooh. Our fastpass time for Space was up so went and did it again. Decided to take an early break – all kids have homework they need to do this week since we took them out of school. While everyone went back to the hotel, I got more fastpasses for Space, Roger Rabbit and went to DCA and got Soarin’.
After homework time, went swimming and played a mean game of Marco Polo with another family at the pool. The hot tub was temporarily closed – bummer! So we came up for some hot showers. Had to do a little work in the room so did not head back to the parks until around 5 pm. Went to DCA to Soarin’ to use our fastpasses. Half of the group had never been before. We got front row (yeah!) and everyone loved it! In fact, it is my husband’s favorite ride (gonna convert him yet!).
We started to leave DCA and caught the last of the Block Party Bash Party – told everyone we have to see the whole parade. Went over to DL along with most of DCA! We had 6 pm priority reservations at Blue Bayou so we went to check in about 10 minutes early to see about a water table. They said it would be between 15 to 30 minutes so we decided to wait. After no more than a 10 minute wait, we were seated. Now the last time I had gone to BB was 4 years ago and had a horrible experience so had been reluctant to go again. I am so glad I tried it again! It was wonderful having a waterfront table and service was fantastic! Two adults had the Tri-tip, one had the shrimp and one had the Pork tenderloin. Everyone was very happy with his or her meal. And they do a great job on the spices! Since we had been waving to all the boats while we ate, we had to take a last ride on Pirates. As we came out of Pirates, the fireworks were showing so decided to get a jump on the exiting crowd. Crowd control had the traffic moving quite well and we had no problems leaving…but then again, we were one of the few groups actually moving, everyone else was standing still watching the fireworks! Got back to the room to enjoy another bottle of wine and try and make a dent in our food baskets!
Day Three - Tuesday, December 13th
Got moving on time this morning and we were out the door about 7:45 for early entry. The line for the monorail had not even started through the bag check so we walked to the main gates. Got there just as they did the countdown and were in the park within five minutes. Our kids were getting tired of riding Space Mt. (go figure!) so we went straight to Matterhorn. We walked on the fantasyland side. Since no one was in line, we went to the tomorrowland side. We all decided we like the tomorrowland side – seems faster! Went over to Peter Pan and waited in the longest line yet – 15 minutes! Then straight to Mr. Toad. By now, it was park opening so we went over to Adventureland and went on Indy – still think that is one of the best themed rides! Our friends had brunch reservations at Carnation Café so we got fastpasses for Buzz. My DS then spotted “Push” and we spent 15 minutes watching and laughing at everyone’s reaction to a talking trashcan! Some kids ran away from Push while others ran up and gave him a big hug! Sometimes it is so fun just to sit back and people watch! Our friends then left to eat and DH, DS and I went on Roger Rabbit then took the train back to Main St. I showed my husband our 50th brick and took a picture of it. DH & DS went back to the room for homework time, nap time (for my DH, not my DS!) and some swimming – at least the hot tub was working today!
I went over to DCA to Tower of Terror. It was about a 15 minute wait and they did not have the fastpass machines on yet so I decided to go through the line. I ended up in an elevator where most of the people had not ever ridden the ride. There was a group of younger kids from a basketball team (maybe Jr. High). I was one the end of row 3 and when we did the first drop, the kid across from me was so scared that he reached out to grabbed something and ended up grabbed my mouth!! By this time, I was laughing so hard at everyone’s reaction that I thought I was going to start crying. I have never enjoyed that ride as much as I did that time! I decided to do one more ride before going back to the room and went through the Single Rider entrance at Screamin’…got to love a ride that turns you upside down!
I went back to meet up with everyone at the hotel and relax for a little bit. We had tickets for the 4 pm Holiday Tour so we headed back into the park. There were two tours going out. We were in the second tour group – we had 7 in our party and there were 3 other couples so we had a total of 13. Now, I had taken this tour last year and loved it! Our tour guide then was very high energy, had the kids helping her out as “honorary tour guides” and had us saying “Happy Holidays” to anyone wearing a holiday hat in the park. This year’s tour guide was more low key and did not really try to get the kids involved much. He even had a very slow walking pace which kept making me feel like he was stalling in between his stops where he told us bits of holiday history (his slow pace may be why we had problems at the end of the tour). At first, it bothered me but then I decide to just enjoy and not worry. He had some interesting things to say about all the different holiday celebrations and how they are incorporated into Disneyland’s decorations. I had been looking forward to getting a sample of fudge on the tour like last year but when it did not happen, I ask our guide and he said that they fudge tasting had been “moved to the Welcome to Disneyland” tour! We boarded both Haunted Mansion Holiday and It’s A Small World Holiday through the exits. I actually saw the “Elvis” in the tree in IASW! It really is there!
Now IASWH was where we ran into problems. It was very crowded and the boats came to a stand still quite a few times. I could tell our guide was getting worried. Sure enough, we were about 6 boats from unloading and we could hear the start of the Christmas Paradel. The tour includes seating for the parade, hot chocolate, a rice krispy treat and a pin, Well, we finally got out of the boat and our guide took us to line up at the rope across from our seats. During a break between floats, a CM held up the rope and we ran across and flung ourselves into our sets! Our guide had said that they were going to work on some compensation for the problem so we enjoyed our treats and the rest of the parade. I mentioned maybe seats at Plaza gardens for the firworks but alas, it was not to be! After the parade, he announced that each person would get two fastpasses and a coupon for a gingerbread/sugar cookie. It wasn’t firework seating but still a nice gesture.
We decided to use our Buzz fastpasses (not one of my better scoring rounds) and then headed out of the park back to the hotel. On the way back, my DH stopped at House of Blues to check out the music lineup – he is a big blues fan. And guess what, all the bands playing at the House of Blues are heavy metal or punk rock! No blues at the HOB! Bummer!
Got back to the room and ordered room service. They said 40 – 45 minutes but our dinner came within 30 minutes. Like most of the meals in Disneyland, the entrees are huge and plenty to share. We had Caesar salad, Tequila pasta chicken, and spaghetti. All were very good. Had some wine with our meal, relaxed and hit the sack.
Day Four – Wednesday, December 14th
This is our day to relax and not go into the parks. We had 9:40 ressies at Goofy’s. While standing in line, we noticed next to us a guest checking in. She had PS’s but was adding people to the group. The CM very politely said that it was fine to add but they would have to wait. The guest looked straight at the CM and said “You are a pain in the …”. Whoa! The CM’s jaw dropped along with mine. She quietly stepped aside and got her lead who took over. I don’t know what transpired next since the conversation switched to Spanish but the guest obviously got what she wanted and was seated rather quickly. I waited until she had left and went up to both the CM and the lead to let them know that I personally thought that the CM was very polite and did nothing wrong. Both of them thanked me for my comments. I really don’t like to see CM’s being treated unkindly, especially when it was not deserved.
We are going to catch a matinee of “Narnia”, then do some swimming and shopping… watch out World of Disney, here we come… credit cards in hand! Some local friends are joining us tonight for dinner at Hook’s Pointe and we will probably hang out at Lost Bar while the kids go to the arcade. Tomorrow we do DCA!
Day Five – Thursday, December 15th
Today we went in to DCA at 9:30 (30 min before it opens) since DLR hotel guests are allowed in through the GCH to ride Soarin’. We got front row seats – always the best – and this turned out to be my husband’s favorite ride! As we exited the ride, my friend’s husband that we had dinner with last night, was standing there with another friend. So we grabbed them and headed to Tower of Terror, which was a walk on. Then over to the Animation Building. Turtle Talk was not starting for 20 minutes so we went into Beast Library so everyone could find out what Disney character they are – I am always the same – Mulan. In Ursula’s Grotto, the kids sang and acted out the different stories. It was time for Crush, so we went and lined up. It was “Totally Awesome, Dude! Cha!” Headed to Paradise Pier and Screamin’ only had a 5 minute wait so, of course, we rode it. Turns out the picture of my husband, son & I was really good of all of us so I bought it! Went over to Mulholland Madness – another walk on. Got to say, I think that as I get older, the “crazy mouse” type rides are hard on me then roller coasters! Most of our group was ready for a break so they headed back to the room. I stayed with my other two friends. We had lunch at Concina Mexican Grill – good tacos! Headed over to Disneyland to check out Space Mt. As we were going through the gates, the family ahead of us – mom, dad, 2 kids – one in a stroller – who were there with a larger group got turned away at the turnstile. Seems they forgot to check their passes which had expired! What a letdown for the kids!
Space Mt. had a 45 min wait so we got them fastpasses and I showed them how to tell when they could get another one. I decided to head back to the hotel since my DH was not feeling well to check up on him. He was resting and was not up to going back into the parks. So I went a did a little more shopping :) and then we decided on an early dinner. I ordered room service which lots of hot tea for my husband for dinner and the rest of us went to the PCH Grill at the PPH – it was absolutely empty! Dinner for 6 of us was only $80 – not bad. I took everyone up to the pool to watch the fireworks. Someone was having a private dessert party complete with heat lamps – too bad we couldn’t crash. The pool at the PPH is a great place to watch the fireworks. As we left, we noticed a shadow projected in the pool. Turns out, it is a silhoutte of Mickey swimming. So of course we checked out the DLH pool when we got back and saw a large color projection of Tinkerbell! Someone had mentioned that in a posting and I did not know what they were talking about – is it new or have I always missed it?
Day Six – Friday, December 16th
Guess we were all tried after the long week because everyone slept in! DH was still under the weather so stayed home and we took the monorail in around 11 am. Got to talking with a family that had just arrived and checked into the PPH. They said the front desk CM was “discouraging” them from trying to ride Space Mt. Went we got to Tomorrowland, SM was 2 hr standby and they were not distributing fastpasses – in fact, the monorail driver made that announcement as we approached the station. So we went and got FP for Buzz. We starting walking towards the Hub and did something I have never done – rode the double decker bus! It is a nice, relaxing way to people watch. Since we had already done everything that we wanted to during the week and we knew it was going to be a busy day in the parks, we just decide to enjoy the holiday spirit. So instead of rushing off to the next ride, we took a leisurely ride around the park on the Train – my friends had never gone completely around the park. Got off at NOS and decided to use one of our preissued FP’s from the Holiday Tour. The boys wanted to do BTMRR again so we walked over there – it was temporarily shut down but the CM told us to wait a minute and sure enough, it opened and we were the first ones to walk one. We also wanted to get our holiday cookie (coupon from the Holiday Tour) so went to Santa’s Reindeer Round Up. I got the gingerbread – everyone else opted for the sugar cookies. We decorated them and ate them for lunch! Talk about a sugar high! We went and used our FP’s for Buzz and then took the Monorail back to the hotel. Hubby was feeling a little better so we did some quite time in the room – homework for the kids and reading for the adults. I went downstairs to Guest Services and had them print my boarding passes for the next day. The CM there told me that they had closed DL to new admissions for a few hours.
We had 5 pm ESPN Zone ressies so headed over for dinner. Hubby had a quick dinner then went back to the room to rest up for Fantasmic! We let the boys play games for awhile – sometimes, I think this is the highlight of the trip for my son! As we walked back to the hotel to get my husband, the front desk CM said that they closed DL again for new admissions but that we would not have any problems since we were hotel guests. We took Monorail in and started to head over to check in for Riverfront seating. Got delayed a little by Parade but not too bad. I checked in and everyone else went on Pirates since there was not wait.
Got our seats – about as far center as they get at the Riverfront so was very happy! With our tummies full of goodies and sipping hot cocoa or tea, we started to enjoy Fantasmic! Unfortunately, about 7- 8 minutes into the show, a speedboat went racing across the ROA, then the show went dark. They then announced that the performance was cancelled! I have since found out that the Columbia had no power so was relieved that no one was hurt. While we were disappointed, everyone had a good attitude – after all, we got great desserts and drinks and then got our money back. They did offer to reschedule but we were leaving the next day and could not take them up on it. Getting the refund was a snap – all of five mintues at City Hall.
We flew home the next day and I discovered that my husband gave me an early Christmas present – his illness!! Finally feeling human again so figure I should finish the trip report.
All in all, it was a great week. My husband had not been in six years and kept telling me how much he enjoyed it since I knew so much about DL now. Got to say, all the info that I have learned from various boards really helped! Thanks to everyone for always answering questions! Now, I just have to figure out when I am going next!
Re: Very Long Trip Report: 12/11 - 12/16
Really nice trip, report SN. It is nice to hear the trip went well and kudos to you for backing the CM at Goofy's. :)