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  1. #1

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    Cool A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    We recently got back from a trip to the Disneyland resort for the holidays. One of our friends had never seen Disneyland in Holiday Mode, and wanted to go this year since she had an AP and could take the time off. Never ones to pass up a Disney trip, we went too. I couldn’t get the full time off of work, so I met up with the group half-way through the week. (This was the week after Thanksgiving, which had short hours but low crowds. I guess you pick what’s more important.) Our party consisted of me, my boyfriend, a couple that we’ve gone to Disneyland with several times, and her mom, who was celebrating her birthday.

    They had been enjoying nice weather all week… up until I arrived. They claimed I brought the rain with me, but if they’d seen what was going on in the Bay Area, they’d have counted their lucky stars that I had left most of it at home.

    The weather was still nice enough most days, though cloudy and sprinkling. It was certainly nice enough that when we visited the Jingle Jangle Jamboree in the Big Thunder Ranch I took my picture with Minnie Mouse without a jacket.

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    It was great fun watching Billy Hill and the Hillbillies perform Christmas songs, though that was also a great time to get pictures with the characters, as most of the people were watching the show instead of getting in line. When we were there, it was wet enough on the stage, that the Hillbillies were doing the show from our level, where it was less slippery. It was a lot more fun that way, I thought, more personal – which was better suited to the Christmas version of the show.

    I wanted to be sure to ride Haunted Mansion Holiday, especially since the rest of the group had trouble describing this year’s gingerbread house to me. (It was awesome. It’s Jack’s house from The Nightmare Before Christmas, complete with the mountain it sits on and Zero the ghost dog flying around the top. And there is a train circling the bottom, with the cake on it which you normally see in the Haunted Mansion regular scene. Be sure to watch the candles on the cake: they are lit when the cake comes out from behind the mountain, and then the ghost at the head (or foot) of the table blows the candles out as the train comes around.)

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    It's Zero!

    On the way to HMH, we stopped by the Jungle Cruise, which is always a must – and yet also hit or miss depending on your skipper. This time, we had an unusual skipper. I’m sad that I don’t remember her name. She had some new (to us) jokes, which is always refreshing to a repeat visitor. She also told some of the same jokes, but with such a deadpan expression to her voice that she threw us for a loop and didn’t always get the laughs that one would expect. She had mixed reviews even among our party: I think we were split half and half between preferring her delivery and preferring the more standard slapstick delivery.

    We walked straight onto the Mansion, which was amazing. We had soup at the Harbor Galley, which was a nice way to warm up as the day had turned colder. (I was wearing my jacket again now.) After that, we went on Pirates, which was also essentially a walk-on. We sat in the front row, which I don’t remember having done before. We spent a good chunk of the ride wondering how they could holiday-ify Pirates, though I can’t really imagine the Pirates singing Christmas carols.

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    They look like candy canes!

    That afternoon, we caught one of the last shows of the day that the (Holiday) Dapper Dans performed. It was really nice to hear the blend of traditional Barbershop music and Christmas carols. It made me wonder if I would actually like the boy band songs that are coming with the “Limited Time Magic” promotion, but the jury’s still out on that one. (Yes, I’ve seen the YouTube clips. I’m not going to be able to decide until I see them perform that show live.) We also made sure that the birthday button worn by one of our party members was visible so that they could sing Happy Birthday to her, which they did. Love them.

    We didn’t end up spending too much time in the park that day, though, as we had reservations for dinner at Club 33 that evening. We did stop on our way out of the park to take group pictures with the tree, since I had bought a PhotoPass Plus.

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    Rather a silly group hug...

    (Quick PhotoPass Plus review: if you USE IT, it is worth it. You get two weeks of PhotoPass and ride photos for a flat fee, and if you intend to purchase more than a couple of the digital downloads, you get your money’s worth by buying the PPP. However, make sure you use it. The good thing is that you can combine other PhotoPasses to your PPP, since – as a Cast Member put it – they “know your party’s not going to be able to be everywhere together all the time.” We made sure to combine all of the photos while we were at the resort, but I think you can also do it online when you get home. Just make sure to take full advantage of it.)
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  2. #2

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    We went back to the hotel, changed into our fancy duds, and headed back to the park for our dinner reservations. I’ve been to The Club for lunch, but never for dinner. We all decided that we wanted to dress up even beyond the actual dress code, and let me tell you: one of the most fun experiences I have ever had in Disneyland is walking up Main Street in a dress and seeing people watch us and wonder where we were going.

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    Our experience at The Club was a very good one. The CMs were great, the decorations were exquisite, and sharing the fun with the two members of our party who hadn’t been before was the icing on the cake. Our food was pretty good. It wasn’t the best I’d had there, but still a nice meal. I had a Caesar salad to start (which wasn’t on the menu, but our waiter suggested it and it was delicious), followed by the crab-stuffed lobster (very good, though the pasta it was served over was not what I would have expected… I think it should have been served next to pasta instead of on top of it, to keep the flavors a little more separate), and topped off with an apple crepe. All in all, a very good meal, but not as spectacular as the Chateaubriand I've had there for lunch.

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    the trees decorating the formal dining room at Club 33

    After dinner, the other girl with us said that she and her boyfriend wanted to take pictures in front of the castle and in front of the tree on Main Street for their Christmas card photo. So, off we went to the hub. This was after Park Close, and nearing the time when the shops on Main Street would also close. So, when we arrived at the hub all dolled up, and started taking pictures, we had a security guard escort making sure we didn’t try to go anywhere else. He didn’t try to stop us from taking pictures, though we did get the impression that if we took too much longer he would have asked us to move along.

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    Next was the tree on Main Street. Since the shops were still open, no one tried to hurry us along here. We took pictures of our friends first, and then they said it was our turn and we swapped. After our friends had taken a handful of photos of us (I actually thought they weren’t going to stop until we surgically removed our camera phones from their hands), my boyfriend turned to me and asked me to marry him. I said yes, more pictures were taken, and we headed off to Trader Sam’s to celebrate.

    (I would get more sappy about the actual moment, but it’s kind-of a blur. I do know that I figured out what he was going to ask before he actually did, and probably had a stupid smile on my face. I had been thinking that if he was going to propose, it would be at Disneyland, but I had never expected the tree to be the location he would choose. I later found out that this was on purpose: he had been getting advice about locations before I came down to the park to join the rest of the group. It was decided that Club 33 wasn’t someplace we could easily return to for an anniversary visit, the castle was too clichéd, the wishing well didn’t have good enough lighting and so the “Christmas card” excuse wouldn’t work – plus it is also clichéd – and the tree would be a good backdrop while still retaining that element of surprise. It worked.)

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    I said, "yes!"

    The next day was also a short day in the parks, as we had another off-site dinner reservation. This time, we went to dinner at The Magic Castle. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed beyond the entrance area.

    Our experience at The Magic Castle was incredible. I had very little idea what to expect, except that magicians were involved and Neil Patrick Harris is the President. (He wasn’t there the night we were, though. He was in Disney World.) I am not going to go into a ton of detail, as some of the things should be left unexplained. For those unsure what it is, however, The Magic Castle is an exclusive club that encompasses a restaurant, several theaters for magic shows, and a school for magic. (Their website is here.)

    Dinner at The Magic Castle was incredible. (Though apparently the pasta dish was something that we could have cooked at home. I didn’t order that.) I had a filet, which was cooked to perfection. The service was also impeccable: our waitstaff knew what we wanted before we did, and cleared any unneeded items from the table immediately. It was a lovely experience just for dinner alone, and dinner was only the start of the evening. (Plus, the waiters were in tails. Loved it.)

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    the only picture we were allowed to take at The Magic Castle...

    Then there were the shows. Any fan of magic shows should try to get in here to see them. Some of the tricks were ones I knew the principle behind, but even so it was hard if not impossible to catch any of the magicians at the tricks. They’d have to be good, though, as other magicians made up a part of their audience.

    At any rate, that was an experience I’d gladly repeat if I had the opportunity. It was very fun, and my only regret is that our host member was unable to join us and show us around. We all felt rather lost at first (and I never really got un-lost) trying to figure out where we were and what we were doing.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  3. #3

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Saturday was my only full day in the parks, since both Thursday and Friday included off-site dinners and Sunday was a half-day so it could also be a travel day. (Club 33 might be in Disneyland, but it might as well be offsite.) The thing I most wanted to see was how DCA got dressed up for the holidays, so that’s where we spent the bulk of Saturday.

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    I loved all the decorations they added, both to Buena Vista Street and Cars Land. The BVS decorations were more subtle than the Cars Land ones, though still good. And if you go into the Pig Café (aka Fiddler, Fifer and Practical, aka Starbucks) make sure to take a good look at the garlands hung above the counter and tell me when you get the joke.

    We did manage to ride Radiator Springs Racers. The line was nowhere near as bad as it had been over the summer, though this was partly because of the lower crowds and partly because the weather made waiting in long outdoor lines uncomfortable. I have yet to go through Luigi’s, though. I’ve still always ended up going into Ramone’s. BUT THE TRACTORS WERE WORKING! They actually tipped! That was wonderful to see.

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    I also got to look at all of the decorations I had wanted to see in Cars Land, and saw two Pixar Easter Eggs that I’d heard about but not seen. (The below is one from the Cozy Cone, and there is a certain snow globe inside Lizzie’s shop that I didn’t get a picture of.)

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    Since I had the PhotoPass Plus, we got several shots on Route 66. We found a PhotoPass guy who was heavy on the shutter button… he took 50 shots of us if he took one. We waited for the neon lighting, and though it was really fun to see with the holiday theme and music, it didn’t seem quite right to have any song other than “Sh-Boom” playing. Still, I’m glad we saw it.

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    Goin' my way?

    After the neon, we went back to BVS to see the tree lighting ceremony. I had heard that the bell ringers were going to play music during the tree lighting, and was really excited about that. I was less excited with the “ring-along sing-along” that actually happened, but that was still fun as well.

    And then, after the Buena Vista Street tree was lit, we park-hopped to Disneyland in time to catch most of the first Candlelight Processional of the year. (It was also the only one that didn’t get cancelled that weekend, so I’m glad we made it.) The next stop was Jolly Holiday Bakery for dinner, where we caught the Castle lighting, followed by a ride on small world holiday.

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    Saturday night was really busy, as we also made it over to see both Fantasmic! and World of Color. Both shows were as fun as I remember them, and we had brought my Glow With The Show ear hat to see how it played along with the shows. (Answer: it’s very fun, but works better when more people in the audience have the ears on. Still, it’s amusing, and if you’re familiar enough with the shows that you can sing along with the entire thing, as we can, the Glow With The Show ear hats add a new dimension.)

    On Sunday, we met up with the MiceChat folk for the Noon Meet and lunch. That was a blast, getting to meet new friends and show off my new engagement ring to old friends. We had lunch at the Carnation Café, then headed to DCA for pictures with Santa and in front of the BVS tree. (Again – PhotoPass Plus to the rescue! I just wish I’d caught all of the Santa photos in time.)

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    the MiceChat Noon Meet, December 2, 2012

    Sadly, after the Meet, it was time to go home. I think it’s safe to say, though, that this is one Disneyland trip I will never forget.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  4. #4

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Other, last-minute random food notes:

    Don’t try to eat at the Earl of Sandwich when it’s raining until they fix the outdoor overhang or the crowds go down. The outdoor seating is miserable in the rain.

    The Monte Cristo Bites at the Jingle Jangle Jamboree are wonderful. I hope they become a permanent menu item, but I don’t know where they’d end up. The Mint Julep bar, perhaps?

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    This has nothing to do with my random food notes, but I wanted to add a picture anyway.

    Speaking of the Mint Julep bar, the gingerbread beignets were really good. I got an order of the regular and the gingerbread to share, and everyone enjoyed them. I found the ginger part of the gingerbread ones more noticeable when the beignet was cool, however.

    Broccoli cheese soup seems to be the flavor of the month, but you get the best soup at the Pacific Wharf in DCA. The version at the Harbor Galley wasn’t quite as good, and the version at Earl of Sandwich didn’t have actual broccoli pieces.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  5. #5

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Thank you for sharing your expereince on here, it was so fun to read about!!

    I've always imagined walking around Disneyland all dolled up would be extra fun. One of these days I'm going to do it!

    Points to your boyfriend (now fiance!) for picking the tree as the proposal spot. that's such a good point about visiting for anniversaries, etc... I think you've got a keeper!

    Thank you to Poisonedapples for my awesome signature!
    KellyMcG86's Disneyland To Do List

  6. #6

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Thank you, Kelly! I'm planning on keeping him.

    And I highly recommend dressing up to go to Disneyland at some point in your life. It's quite a different experience.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  7. #7

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Quote Originally Posted by bookwyrm View Post
    Thank you, Kelly! I'm planning on keeping him.

    And I highly recommend dressing up to go to Disneyland at some point in your life. It's quite a different experience.
    Well then you're off to a great start!!

    I'm planning to go to Dapper Day in February, so I'll be dressing up for that. Hopefully one of these days I'll get to Club 33 and I'll definitely be dressing up if that ever happens!

    Now if only I could actually walk in heels...

    Thank you to Poisonedapples for my awesome signature!
    KellyMcG86's Disneyland To Do List

  8. #8

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Congratulations you guys!
    "All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mugen80/
    http://jjhernandez.smugmug.com

  9. #9

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Quote Originally Posted by bookwyrm View Post
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    I love Minnie's holiday dress, so festive. And the one with Zero is priceless!

    Quote Originally Posted by bookwyrm View Post
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    Is that crazylegs I see! with her daughter! I was just wondering about her and look how precious her daughter is!

    Congratulations to you both. These are the wonderful things that I love to see. I can only dream about something like this happening to me but as my years drag on and I get older, I know it won't. But I sure do LOVE seeing stuff like this from others!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. #10

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Drunken_Monk View Post
    Congratulations you guys!
    Thank you!
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  11. #11

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Quote Originally Posted by clara View Post
    I love Minnie's holiday dress, so festive. And the one with Zero is priceless!
    Pictures with the characters in holiday dress was one of my goals for this trip. They all looked so fun and festive!

    Quote Originally Posted by clara View Post
    Congratulations to you both. These are the wonderful things that I love to see. I can only dream about something like this happening to me but as my years drag on and I get older, I know it won't. But I sure do LOVE seeing stuff like this from others!

    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Thank you! This has been a dream of mine for some time, too, and I was starting to wonder how likely it would be... until I met my guy. But he's as much of a Disney nut as I am, so this is perfect.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  12. #12

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    good tripe report thanks.

  13. #13

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Congrats!!!
    Thanks for sharing with all of us...

  14. #14

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Thanks, Rex Dopey & Chadb!
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  15. #15

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    Re: A Disney Engagement (+ Magic Castle, Disneyland Holidays, Club 33) Nov 25 - Dec 2

    Congrates to you 2 !!

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