Well, I just got back from the Happiest Place on Earth. My wife, my two and a half year old son and I arrived at the Resort on the 23rd... and entered the park on Christmas Eve. I'll post the highlights...
Trader Sams: On the eve of the 23rd...we visited Trader Sams. This was my first visit and aside from a timing snafu, it was a great one. We arrived at 7:45pm, later than I had planned, and it was a poor choice because you can't have a little one with you in the bar after 8pm. Not wanting to miss some of the effects they do when you order certain drinks... I quickly ordered the Shipwreck and the Volcano. Great effects, fun atmosphere and the drinks were tasty. My wife also bought me another glass...so I left the inside of the bar with three commemorative mugs. We enjoyed some food and wonderful music outside on the patio as the "other" effects of drinking those drinks in rapid succession began to set in. Really glad we went... really glad I was able to walk upright on the way back to the hotel.
Goofy's Kitchen: The next morning, I took the family to a VERY early breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen. We had been there before, and I must say the food seemed less enjoyable this time around. The wait staff was wonderful and the Characters were the best, but the food was disappointing. (with a couple of exceptions, this will be a recurring theme)
Pirates of the Caribbean, take one: We had been to the park with my son two other times. The first, he was tiny, it was more for us than him, and he liked the lights. The second time was about 6 months ago, and when we rode our favorite ride POTC, he was scared...partly because of age, and partly because the people in the boat with us were screaming most of the time. This time around, I had high hopes. After taking him on the Jungle Cruise as a warm up, we thought the timing was right for a ride on Pirates. We did our best to prepare him for the drops, and the darkness, but he was a bit scared...yet curious. He LOVES pirates, we have pictures and music and I even put together a pirates exhibit a year ago and he loved everything he saw... anyway, we figured we were going to be around for a few days, we'd try again.
Ariel's Grotto: As this was Christmas Eve and we wanted to splurge a little for dinner, we made reservations at AG for some dinner. Our waiter was great, and once again the characters were lovely, but the food was only okay. My drinks (another recurring theme?) were delicious however. That was our third visit to AG, and I think we are over it. Did get the kiddo a Ariel light up straw holder, it's a lovely green light and added to the lights we attached to his stroller. There will be pics of this added soon...stay tuned.
Carthay and Cars Land: We didn't get to ride a whole lot in Cars Land, but I was really impressed with the work done on Carthay circle as well as Cars Land. Completely changes my experience of DCA and makes me want to explore more next time.
Early Entry Fun: Christmas morning we entered early for our Magic Morning. (The wife was none too pleased that I got her up at a very early hour for Breakfast on day one, and then again for Early Entry on Day two... I'm a fanatic, what can I do?) Straight shot to Fantasyland, and Peter Pan. The boy LOVED it... he was less thrilled with Mr. Toads, but then it's always that way. Starts out great, then...Good lord, we end up in HELL...what kind of ride is this??? lol Good times. A quick ride on the Carousel and then the Storybook Canals. We then popped over to Nemo and my kid was thrilled with the morning thus far.
Breakfast Burrito: That's right people my next highlight is not an imagineering accomplishment but instead is the chorizo breakfast burrito at the Tomorrowland Terrace. Seriously, I think this may have been one of the best things I ate at the park. If you like a good breakfast burrito, you MUST grab one of these next time you are there.
Jungle Cruise: We had early lunch reservations at the Blue Bayou... so on the way, another ride on the Jungle Cruise. I really LOVE this ride. I think we may have ridden it three times during our stay this time, and each time we had a great skipper and everything looked fresh.
Blue Bayou: The place was packed, but we had reservations and didn't wait for long at all. Ended up at a waterside table. We were there for two reasons. Love the atmosphere...and... three years ago we chose the BB as the place we would open a scroll that told us if we were having a boy or a girl. (Long story...but essentially rather than find out this info at the ultra sound appointment, we saved it for a special moment) So we were back again, this time with our son, to open another scroll. In June we will have a little girl. We had the staff bring us two champagne glasses and sparkling cider. The unveiling was great, the atmosphere was lovely as always, the food...well..it was decent, not great. We did get our son the Pirate Punch, so he had a light up skull and crossbones to add to his lit up stroller (pics to come...how's that for a continued teaser?)
Fantasmic! We had premium seating for the 9pm show. I arrived at the line to check in at 7 just to see if there was already a line...and there was already in fact a lengthy line. So, the family ate dinner at the French Quarter, and my wife brought me a cup with my French Onion soup. Got decent seats and the family enjoyed the show. They cut out the water snakes that swim around during the villain from Little Mermaid's song (can't remember her name), and there may have been a couple of other edits, but otherwise it was a good show. Stayed for the fireworks which were a highlight for my son. He LOVED LOVED LOVED the snow.
Pirates of the Caribbean, Take two: We got on POTC pretty quickly following the show and my son identified where we sat from earlier that day. It was a nice moment. We sat up front, and having a better view of it, as well as it being the second time, my son liked it a bit more. We had bought him a light up pirate flintlock and I think shooting back at the pirates gave him a nice sense of interaction...lol
Breakfast with Oscar: I saved this for the 26th because I assumed Oscar would be off on Christmas. He was. It was wonderful to see him again and breakfast was decent. My son seemed to like him and he hung out for a bit. I love getting to say hello to a living part of Disneyland's history. I will be sad when he finally retires, but I will be happy knowing I got to meet him on a number of visits.
Disneyland Railroad: My son loves trains. We rode the train on the fist day, and he enjoyed it, but today we rode in the caboose. I had been in the Lilly Belle which I love, but I have to say, I really like the caboose. With the windows open and the speakers inside you get the same feel as riding in one of the cars, but a special atmosphere. I don't think the Lilly belle has speakers inside, that's not the experience one is meant to have in the Lilly Belle, but I was glad we had them in the Caboose. We took a full round trip from main street to Main Street... and then switched to one of the other cars to ride to Toontown.
Mickey's Toontown: Disney had sent us a promo booklet that my son loved looking at prior to our visit. In that booklet, my son spotted the firetruck in Toontown and he insisted he needed to sit in that. So when we arrived, we headed straight for it. He was in heaven. The other things he loved in TT was the doorbells, boxes, explosive plunger, etc. He had a ball with all of that. We rode Roger Rabbit, he was not impressed, it scared him. It was Mr. Toad's without an actual hell, but close enough for him. Still, great time at Toontown.
Lunch at Club 33: This has been a bucket list item since before I knew what a bucket list was. A lovely friend managed to get us reservations and we arrived, dressed up, (Pictures to follow...lol) for our 12:45 reservation. It's SUCH a cool feeling to push that button and be let in to the Club. Rode the elevator and was escorted to the formal dining room. I did take pics in the Trophy Room where I really wanted to sit...but our table was just as lovely. Our waitress was less than attentive, which was the ONLY disappointment of this experience. Being able to look out of those windows that I had only been able to look up at before was a heady experience. I found it a tad sad that most folks don't really dress up for the experience, even spotted a number of people in just tshirts... but I was glad we were doing it right. The food was pretty good, although not excellent, which I hope for. My mint julep however was amazing. The second one as well. Coffee and desserts were delicious. We wandered around and took pictures outside. Had our picture taken outside as well and another family shot in the elevator. I bought a lapel pin. I don't know that I would rush back, but I really enjoyed the experience.
Pirates of the Caribbean, Take Three: After heading back to our room and changing back into comfy clothes. We came back and made our way to POTC. We sat up front again and my son seemed pumped for this trip. He knew what was coming, and really watched all the different aspects of the ride. He pointed out things, and laughed at others. I think he may want to head there again...which, let's be real, he never really had a choice...lol But I think he will be a POTC ride fan for life. Which is good, he can remain our son.
Indy: I rode Indy twice during our visit... and it looked GREAT! A couple of ride glitches, but most every effect was working well. I'm really glad they did the refurb, it really did look fantastic. Finally saw Eyeore. (sp?) I used fastpass both times, and I must say, I'm going to really hate when they start enforcing the times on that.
The Shops at California Adventure: I stopped by CA on our way back to the hotel. I wanted to see if there was a fastpass available for RSR, but sadly they were all out. So, on the way back to the entrance, I stopped in the shops along Carthay... I absolutely loved the details they put into those shops. It was really a great experience looking around and enjoying the atmosphere.
Quick shout out to Anaheim Plaza Hotel and Suites: We have stayed there probably three times now... and every time we have, it's been a great experience. It's SUCH an easy walk and the staff is so friendly. Yes, the rooms are outdated, but they were clean, comfy and we had a great little patio to take a break on. Such a great bargain for a really decent stay.
Well...that's it. I will try and post pics soon. If you're still reading this...I hope you enjoyed.