Had a blast at DL with the family Thanksgiving week, lots of people there, but still pretty manageable with a little game plan. No real missteps at all during the trip, even got to go solo for part of Saturday while everyone else was Christmas shopping.
We spent the 19th at Universal; I had resisted the pleas of my family to stop there for a day or two for years. I finally caved in and took them. Except for Transformers, found the rides/attractions to be mediocre, and the best part of the tram tour was the Jimmy Fallon videos.
And why do you have to get wet on every single thing you go on?
Overall I am glad we went, we saw something different and had a good time at the City Walk the night we drove down-hmmmmmmmm Karl Strauss Brewery. We stayed at the Sheraton, very nice, close enough to walk, uphill, about 8 minutes to City Walk/Universal.
We left the park around 5, huge mistake. It took almost 2 hours to get to Anaheim.
We checked in to the Park Vue Inn on the 19th, right across the street from DL. Easy check in, rooms clean, unfortunately they didn’t have two adjoining room upstairs like I asked. It got a bit noisy towards the end of the trip.
We had one Magic Morning with the park hoppers we got at Costco, pretty good deal for the 4-day hoppers. Well they had hoppers, I upgraded to a PAP last trip so I wouldn’t be blocked during the holiday.
Now to say that my Wife and Daughter are not early risers is a bit of an understatement, my Son and I usually rise well before the sun makes an appearance. My Mom was with us for this trip too, she doesn’t have a problem getting up early, but needs an hour before her meds kick in, so I had to factor that in each morning.
We made it to the security line by 6:45; the line was half way back to Harbor Street. I was hoping they would let me in with my family for MM with my AP, CM didn’t even blink when I asked, she said come on it. Sweet! I think we made it into DL a few minutes past 7.
I made a b-line to get us some FPs for Star Tours, something we could all go on. My Wife is not the big coaster type; she will do BTMRR, but not Space Mountain. I grabbed the FPs and we all walked on after about 5 minutes through the standy line.
Next up was Space, my Mom loves this one. People were already cycling through for their second and third rides, took about 25 minutes to get on.
We pressed on towards the Matterhorn, I had warned them that I thought it was even rougher with the refurb (on my back anyways) but onward we went, until we encountered the CM who told us the ride wasn’t running yet. We stepped over to Fantasyland.
Peter Pan was at its usual 40 minutes wait already so we hopped on to Snow White. Pinocchio was next, also a walk on.
We made our way to Frontierland for my Son’s favorite ride, BTMRR. By the end of the trip his favorite ride would be Screamin. I think I generally like most of the rides more at night, but this one seems to be my favorite at night.
Haunted Mansion was next, our group is mixed on the overlay, I prefer the original. NOS had a few people in it; the wait was about 10 minutes to get on our buggies.
We then made our way to POC, also about a 10 minute wait.
Breakfast is my least favorite meal inside the parks (love me some Steakhouse 55 though), the offerings are pretty bland. We have not been back to Carnation Cafe since the refurb and menu revamp, the lone bright breakfast spot for me before. Today we settled on the River Belle Terrace since it was close by. The potatoes were good, everything else was average.
While I was off to get another set of FPs for ST, the rest of the family checked out the shops in NOS. I met up with them at the Jungle Cruise. Wait was about 20 minutes. We heard a few new jokes.
We went to go see if Matterhorn was running, yep. Forty-five minutes later we were on, and everyone in our group agreed that the ride was indeed bumpier and shakier. Only ride on Matterhorn for us the whole trip, just didn’t agree with my back or my Mom’s knees and hip.
Crowds weren’t too bad yet, but picking up.
We wandered over to IASM, 60 minute wait, no thanks.
I grabbed a FP for SM as they headed to the Main Street shops. I went to City Hall to pick up our tickets for the Fantasmic dessert package. It was getting on a quarter past noon now, so we headed over to Café Orleans to check in for our reservation. We ordered a regular and cheese Monte Cristo and some pommes frites, more than enough for the five of us. Everything tasted great, they were quite busy, not taking any walk ups.
We needed a few minutes to recover from the feast. We wandered over to the Pioneer Mercantile to check out the holiday offerings. It looked like the merch had been picked over pretty good already. My Wife, Son, and Mom headed back to the hotel for a break at 2:30.
My Daughter and I headed to CA for some Screamin. She was pretty impressed with Buena Vista Street. She did a pretty good job of not looking into Carsland as we walked by, we would all hit that first thing tomorrow morning.
Screamin was packed, standby was 45 minutes, SRL looked like 45-60 minutes. We did get on before several of the single riders we initially lined up behind before we switched to the standby line. We grabbed a FP, return time was 5:45, we could make that.
We made our way to the Tower of Terror, it was about a 40 minute wait at 3:30. My Daughter wanted to do Silly Symphony Swings, so we made our way all the way back to the Pier. It was a short wait to get on, maybe 10 minutes.
Decided to take a break at the Cove Bar. I had a beer, my Daughter ordered some pomegranate juice thing, the CM asked for her ID. We were confused, she’s only 17, looks like she is 14, we didn’t even see that there was an alcoholic version as well. We had a few laughs over it; secretly I am sure she was feeling a bit smug that the CM thought she was older.
Off to hit Screamin again to use our FPs. Got a text to meet them at DL for Star Tours.
Crowds not too bad, I mean there were a lot of people in both parks, but we could move around pretty easy. We all really like the ST queue, so the 15 minutes we waited didn’t seem long at all. We all headed over to SM to use our FPs while my Wife made her way to get our spots lined up for Fantasmic. I thought getting to the podium at 7 would be soon enough, but she wanted to get there just a bit earlier to make sure my Son wouldn’t have to sit behind anyone. He’s 11, about average height for his age, so I didn’t think there would be any problems. She got there at 6:50 and was the first one in line.
The wait for SM was at 65 minutes around 6:30, took us about 25 minutes to get on with our FPs. We started moving towards Frontierland, rode BTMMRR and grabbed a FP for later. We weren’t super hungry since we had a big lunch and we knew we were getting the goods later when we watched the show, so we grabbed two bowls of gumbo and I spelled my wife in line.
Check in was right at 8, we snagged seats 5-9, great seats. We wandered around Critter Country and didn’t get back to take our seats for the show until 8:30. Every seat was already filled except ours when we got back. The CM was great, got us some coffee and cocoa right away. If you can swing the dessert package, I highly recommend it just for the seats alone. I know my back would have been killing me sitting on the ground trying to save a spot for a few hours.
Fantasmic was great as usual, miss the eels. Stayed and watched the fireworks from our seats. I don’t remember that much snow coming out of the machines before, the gingerbread scent a nice bonus.
My Wife and Mom headed to the room after the fireworks. Me and the kids rode BTMRR 2 times and slowly made our way out of the park at 10. Great first day!