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View Full Version : DISNEYLAND RESORT THANKSGIVING/CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY 2000 TRIP REPORT!


calbayBWV
12-03-2000, 04:15 PM
Trip dates: November, Tuesday 21st, Wednesday 22nd, Thursday 23rd, 2000.

2 adults, Ages 34,32, 3 kids, Ages 4,5,8

JOHN WAYNE/ORANGE COUNTY AIRPORT AND SOUTHWEST AIRLINES:

We flew on Southwest Airlines out of San Jose, CA Airport. Round trip for 5 of us was $619.00. and $60.00 to park the car in the long term parking lot.

It was a nice flight with curbside luggage and 3 car seat check-in. Southwest also took care of the strollers at the gate and allowed us to enter the plane on priority because we had the kids with us (by the way this is the last trip for strollers of any kind. I was amazed at how far a 4 year old can walk while entertained, but the wife and I carried the 4 and 5 year olds at the end of each evening from the park to our hotel room.

On the way back the Captain of the plane allowed our kids in the cockpit of the plane, without us asking, which they loved. The captain demonstrated all types of the planes warning systems and buttons and such.

The Captain also did a good job of describing to all passengers the peculiar way the planes are required to take off from the runway. I would try to explain it here but don’t want to scare anyone.

I recommend Southwest Air for short California trips.

RENTAL CAR:

We used Dollar rent a car, which stuck us for about $219.00 (61.00 per day for a Dodge Intrepid).

The Dollar counter clerk also tried to pull a fast one on me: he said they were out of the car I requested, and that he had a "friend" from another rental car service that could get me the type of car I wanted (my only request was “full-size”), but without unlimited mileage. I said no, I would take whatever he had available, and suddenly he found the car I reserved. Luckily I had my email printout from my reservation with Dollar that confirmed my reservation, who knows what would have happened without it.

The guy next to me at the counter had his travel agent make his ressies, but had nothing in writing, and since the "computers just crashed" he was left to the whims of the checkout employees.

By the way, the airport was not that crowded, but Dollar rent a car had a long line.

The car was in good shape.

I think I will try another car rental company next time. There are a bunch of them "in terminal" so you get your key and basically use the crosswalk to the parking garage.

The drive is less than 30 minutes to Disneyland from the airport. I experienced little traffic, but I am from the overcrowded Bay Area, so someone from Kansas may think it was a lot.

THE DISNEY’S PARADISE PIER HOTEL:

I was presently surprised and impressed with the hotel. I stayed there many years ago when it was the pre-Disney Pan Pacific and was not that impressed last time.

This hotel has arguably the best views of Disney’s yet to be opened California Adventure. The hotel has essentially 2 sides: one that faces the parks and one that faces the back of the hotel which consists of a partial view of the Disneyland hotel towers, the parking lot and garage, and some power lines. If you are staying here, insist on, or pay for park view, if at all possible. It will be worth it.

We checked in with ease at around 1:00 p.m. earlier than the 3:00 p.m. check in time.

We are members of the Disney Vacation Club (Boardwalk Villas) and used our points (78 points for the 3 nights) to stay at the Paradise Pier. It was great, I checked in and the hostess said simply, “your room and tax are paid for”. Go DVC!

We purchased our 3 day passes at the front desk, upon check-in, and were given all the park scheduling, shows, and early admission times. I think it was around $320.00 for our tickets. The only early admission day during our stay was Tuesday, which we missed, and Thursday, which we decided to not take advantage of.

We were located on the 7th floor with a breathtaking view of the California Adventure. We felt like we were virtually on top of the new park. Lets put it this way, check out some of the views of the new park from some of the websites like <A HREF="http://www.dcacentral.com" TARGET="_blank">www.dcacentral.com</A> and <A HREF="http://www.laughingplace.com" TARGET="_blank">www.laughingplace.com</A> and the photos you see, well at least most of them, were taken from the rooms of the Paradise Pier Hotel.

We had excellent bell service from a gentlemen who had the Disney magical attitude, and utilized valet parking, at $5.00 per day.

The foyer to the hotel is relatively small compared to the Grand Floridian, but grand in its own way with a glass elevator, marble floors, a large wood carved and hand painted sculpture in the center, a concierge/guest services podium (staffed by 3 at the time), and some of the most beautiful Disney art/paintings/drawings you will ever see (if you are a Disney fan) depicting the California Adventure’s Paradise Pier area.


Also in the lobby area is a large well-stocked Disney Gift shop, a candy store with water sodas and such, and an ATM, which would not read my card (but thankfully could read my wives card).

Our remodeled room had security key card entry, newer carpets, nice furnishings, data port at the side of the phone base for laptop hook up (cost me 75 cents to make a local call to check my email), granite countertops in the bathroom, and was very clean and in good shape.

The television cable system could have used a few more channels.

I recommend the Paradise Pier!

ROOM SERVICE AT THE PARADISE PIER:

If you plan on ordering room service breakfast beware of the orange juice.

We unknowingly ordered 5 orange juices with our breakfast, which totaled to a whopping $19.00 (just for the orange juice not including tip and service charge which is added on top of the bill)

That brought our breakfast bill to $72.80!!! And all I had was raisin bran, my wife had bacon and eggs, and the kiddies had waffles!

Well they got us! By the way our dinner at Blue Bayou was cheaper than our room service breakfast!

WHAT TO DO AFTER THE PARKS CLOSE: THE LOUNGE AND THE LOST BAR:

If you want a beer or something after the parks close your options are limited at the present.

With the wife and kids tucked in bed I headed down to the lounge at the Paradise Pier Hotel. It was desolate and deserted and I waited ten minutes for the bartender before deciding to walk over to the Disneyland Hotel to see if anything more lively was going on there.

What I found was a little place called The Lost Bar, which is located near the pool at the center of the Disneyland Hotel complex; the only thing alive, barely, after the parks close.

I ordered a Remy Martin, at $7.00 a shot (what the heck I paid $19.00 for orange juice, right?) and it was served in a plastic cup. By the way, Cognac is not to be served in a plastic cup.

The Lost Bar has one side opened to the outside, which allowed the cigarette smoke of other smoking patrons to permeate the bar area which was quite irritating.

In summary the bar was boring, nothing going on, no food, I give it a thumbs down.

THE DISNEYLAND RESORT, GRAND CALIFORNIAN, AND DOWNTOWN DISNEY:

The Disneyland resort will be a much better place with the addition of Downtown Disney, which is right next to the monorail station (not to mention the California Adventure).

I was able to catch a glimpse through the fence at the yet to be opened gigantic Rain Forest Café which is at least 2 stories high, and the massive ESPN Zone among other additions.

If you have not been to Disneyland in a while you will be blown away by how it all has been developed. Everything is so conveniently located. You are in Disney Heaven.

The feel of the resort can be best explained, if you are a Disney World fan or knowledgeable of Disney World’s layout, by imagining taking the Magic Kingdom, MGM Studios, the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary resort, and Downtown Disney/Village marketplace and placing them next to each other forming a tight circle!

You are submerged in Disney.

The Grand Californian, which is was not open yet, looks beautiful and is right in middle of the action! Take note Florida Imagineers J !

The phrase “Mini-Disney World” sums it up best, but without the long bus rides and commutes of Disney World! You can walk to everything!


DISNEY’S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE:

Wow, not open yet but this place is going to be fun.

It is a wonderful (looking) park, which, ironically at least in the lake area, looks very similar in design and ambiance to Universal Studios Florida’s Fisherman’s Wharf pier areas.

The Malibinger ride looks as if it was manufactured by the same company that built Islands of Adventure’s Dr. Doom’s Fearfall ride.

They were testing the roller coaster with sandbag dummies and actually had real people (I assume CM’s) on the Ferris wheel when we were there.

The park looks beautiful when lit up at night and I am really glad to see some thrill rides Disney style on the way!

I will reserve comment till I go back when the park opens next year!

THE MONORAIL SERVICE TO AND FROM THE PARKS:

For those staying at the Disney Hotels, there is “limited” monorail service.

The reason for this is that part of the track now goes through the Grand Californian lobby and California Adventure and this part of the track is not open yet.

Disney has two monorails going at all times. How this works is that the first train stops at the station, unloads it’s passengers then backs up (now temporarily empty) further down an unused portion of the track, then the second monorail comes and unloads passengers, immediately re-loads, leaves the station, and the other monorail, waiting down the way empty on the closed portion of the track, enters the station loads and leaves the station.

If you happen upon the station while the trains are entering and loading your wait is minimal and possibly shorter than usual, on the other hand, if you happen to come to the station after the second train leaves you have about a 20+ minute wait, if you are at the front of the line.

Also, you must get off the monorail after your one-way trip, there are “no round trips allowed”, however, and you can simply get off and go back in line and get on the same or next train.

By the way, the monorail will now cross the Golden Gate Bridge, which happens to be the entrance to the new California Adventure.

IT’S A SMALL WORLD HOLIDAY:

The It’s a Small World attraction is decorated and lights up for Christmas.

It is absolutely one of the most beautiful Disney Christmas elements you will see in your lifetime of Disney adventures; comparing the exterior of Disneyland’s It’s a Small World to the Magic Kingdom’s is like comparing the architecture of the Taj Mahal to a Wal Mart.

The entire interior of the attraction from top to bottom is decorated for Christmas; even the songs have been modified for Christmas.

Even if you could not bear to ride It’s A Small World again, I would give it a run with the Christmas changes in effect.

BELIEVE IN MAGIC:

The breathtaking holiday firework display is my personal all time favorite firework display.

I held back tears and swallowed lumps in my throat watching it. It is impeccably timed to holiday music and narration with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as its centerpiece.

It filled me with inspiration and reminded me of all the magical holiday times I have had in my life, especially that moment.

There are essentially 3 main places to watch the display (middle of main street, in front of the Castle, or in or about the street area leading to It’s A Small World.) The most popular area and most crowded being Main Street.

At the end of the fireworks it “snows” (the same “snow” used at MGM Studios Backlot during Christmas).

The snow is produced by elevated green-boxed bubble machines, which spray out a sudsy water mix.

I told my four year old “look it’s snowing” and he said it was “spit”, but overall the snow did achieve the desired result, which was a little magic.

To get the full snow effect, be sure to stand in the center of the crowd, surrounded by the barely visible green boxes.

THE BLUE BAYOU:

We were able to make 5:30 P.M. next day reservations at our Disney hotel concierge.

If staying at Disney, take advantage of the reservations amenity, we got in about 10 minutes, and non-resort, non-reservation guests were being quoted up to 2 hours of waiting in the standby line (it looked longer to me).

The Blue Bayou is beautiful.

The clam chowder is excellent and so are the crab cakes. Other dinner items included Prime Rib and Salmon.

The kids got paper Burgerkingesque pirate hats, which they were proud to wear.

The restaurant is essentially inside the queue portion of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. You dine in the indoors’ “night sky” while riders pass by in boats.

I highly recommend the Blue Bayou, to me; it is more than worth the $25.00+ average menu item price. It is a one a kind restaurant (well, the Mexico pavilion at Epcot’s International Showcase is similar, but not the original).

THE AUTOPIA:

The kids had a great time on this revamped attraction. Disney has combined both the Tommorowland and Fantasyland Autopias for a longer ride around the track with all new cars.

There is an “off-road” portion where water shoots out as if going through a puddle.

A fast pass is available and recommended with this attraction.

THANKSGIVING FEAST AT DISNEYLAND HOTEL BALLROOM:

A bit pricey at $46.00 per adult, but heck its Disney right?

It was well planned, while waiting to get sat they had “free” coffee and orange juice and a movie playing (Toy Story 2) for the kids to watch.

The ballroom, which seemed like the size of 2 football fields and about 4 stories high, was roaming with characters (at one time, Jesse, Woody, and Minnie Mouse) and mountains of food and desserts. There was also a live character sing a long which the kids enjoyed

On 3 massive plates my sinful and gluttonous Thanksgiving day dinner consisted of crab legs, prawns, mashed potatoes and gravy, swordfish, ham, turkey, stuffing, yams, roast beef, salad, chocolate decadence pie, chocolate mousse, gummy worms, and coffee (and that was just me, the kiddies were impressed by the dessert buffet and how many desserts they could stack on one plate).

I give marginal thumbs up to this event because you have to actually get up to get more food.

By the way, many of the Disneyland Park restaurants did modify their menus for Thanksgiving to include a Turkey type dish.

DISNEYLAND RESORT SUMMARY:

Disneyland is as alive and as well managed as ever! I could easily go on for many more pages summarizing all the magical details of our trip.

The pre-Thanksgiving crowds were manageable and I highly recommend utilizing the fast pass system.

The park is decorated throughout for the holiday and is absolutely magical from top to bottom.

The Very Merry Christmas Parade was delightful and the kids loved it.

We decorated Christmas cookies.

We were able to go on every single ride, sometimes twice, during our visit.

I can’t wait to go back, next time to the California Adventure.

Disneyland lives on as Walt intended and I eagerly await the birth of a new era with the emergence of the Disneyland Resort’s Grand Californian, Downtown Disney, and The California Adventure.

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Feel free to send me an email :)

If you need help with your Disney problem click here:Calbay's 12 Steps of Disneyholics Anonymouse (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=55009194&m=165091862)

GrammieMame
12-04-2000, 11:13 AM
Thanks so much for posting a trip report. I'm going soon and welcome any detailed information like you provided. Will the monorail problems be eliminated when the new park and hotel open?

calbayBWV
12-04-2000, 04:16 PM
The monorail will be up and running with no problems.

Another thread said possibly by this weekend.

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Feel free to send me an email :)

If you need help with your Disney problem click here:Calbay's 12 Steps of Disneyholics Anonymouse (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=55009194&m=165091862)

Judy from Boise
12-05-2000, 08:59 PM
great trip report ! I enjoyed it a lot.


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Tink33
12-06-2000, 07:28 PM
WOW - what a review. I can't wait to visit this weekend.

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Kelsie
12-07-2000, 08:04 AM
Great Report :) !

Kelsie
Co-Moderator-Disneyland Discussion Board

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Michelle
12-07-2000, 06:50 PM
GREAT report, calbay, thanks for sharing! :)

So, you experienced the "noise abatement" takeoff at John Wayne? ;) I can't get my 7-year-old to fly out of that airport anymore, even though I explained to her what was going on, the whole take-off thing freaked her out at the tender age of 5. She is perfectly fine flying out of LAX, where the neighbors are used to noise. :rolleyes:

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Cruise & Inspiration Board Co-Host
Disneyland Board Co-Host

Mary Jo
12-07-2000, 06:58 PM
http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/flowerface.GIF <font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#006600> Great report!! Thanks for all of the information. The kids liked it, too. :)

<font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#FF0066>Mary Jo http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/mms.gif
Disneyland Board Co-Moderator
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My Disneyland Site (http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/maryjom/index.html)
My Sequoia/Yosemite Trip (http://www.megspace.com/travel/maryjomw/Sequoia2000.htm)

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calbayBWV
12-10-2000, 12:18 PM
Hi Michelle,

The verbal descripton the Captain of the plane made regarding the "noise abatement" take-off sounded like we would practically fall out of the sky.

The fear of what was yet to come was worse than the event.

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Feel free to send me an email :)

If you need help with your Disney problem click here:Calbay's 12 Steps of Disneyholics Anonymouse (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=55009194&m=165091862)

minniecarousel
12-12-2000, 10:21 AM
Thanks for the detailed info - can't wait to go and experience California adventure! I think I'll check our calendars and book now!

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jennybobenny
12-13-2000, 06:16 AM
Loved your trip report Calbay!
I had absolutely no desire to visit Disneyland (haven't finished exploring DisneyWorld yet) but after reading your report I'm actually excited about seeing it all someday.
As for the 'noise abatement' takeoff, please tell me they don't turn off the engine mid-flight or something like that. You've got me curious with your 'fear of what was to come' statement. ;)

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<font face="heather"><font color="800000">Jennybºoºbenny</font></font>
<font color="006400">DVC Member: 3/99</font>
<font color="006400">Onsite: Poly '76, Contemp '98, BWV '99, CBR '00, BWV '00
Offsite: '74 '80 '82 '88</font>
<font color="006400">Next trip: CBR~Jan '01
10th Anniversary trip: BWV~June '01</font></font>

calbayBWV
12-13-2000, 01:18 PM
Hi Jen,

Where is your DW, specifically the BWV report?

I have been looking for it :)

Thanks for coming out to our little DL board, I know its hard to leave DVC and DW :rolleyes:

Yeah, you should check out the DLR (Disneyland Resort-wow, is this the first official use of this abbreviation?.) but not until it is well into full swing. Give it a couple years.

Before you come way out here you should try IOA and Universal in Orlando first :) (you knew that was coming)

The airplane thing is not that bad they just turn down the thrust a bit so you kinda hang in mid air for a second or two, its missing that re-thrust that would be the problem :eek:

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Feel free to send me an email :)

If you need help with your Disney problem click here:Calbay's 12 Steps of Disneyholics Anonymouse (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=55009194&m=165091862)


My recent trip to the Disneyland Resort
Calbay's Holiday 2000 Disneyland Trip Report (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=61209898&m=840099214)

SimbaSue
12-28-2000, 08:19 PM
Thanks for the great trip report! We are planning a visit this spring. I know it's probably too early to let the California Adventure work out the kinks, but we have the opportunity to use business flights and want to take advantage. We are planning to stay at the Grand Californian, so thanks so much for the view tip! We are also DVC members, but are planning on using Cash ressies for this! Thanks again for the info!Sus:)

lawgs
01-17-2001, 11:17 PM
what were the parking fees like at the disney resort hotels....

you mentioned 5$ valet....was that in addition to the "10$ a night fee" i have heard they charge.....

do you have in an out privileges.....

and if you are staying two nights would you get three days of parking....

just some questions i have about parking......since this is not an issue at WDW

redhit96
02-06-2001, 10:45 PM
Hey Calbay,

Where is you DCA trip report?

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Marla Hellwig
03-04-2001, 09:34 PM
Sounds like a great Disney time was had by all. Thanks for posting your thoughts and tips!