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Amommy21 12-19-2010 01:59 AM

Suprise Disney Christmas Trip Report!
About a week ago DH asked me, "So what would you rather have for Christmas? Those earrings we saw the other day or a quick trip to see Disneyland?" Was he serious? My reaction was pretty much like my child's (PM me for a link to video). Once I realized he was serious we decided to plan this as a surprise for our little boy. We packed our bags and woke up at 3am. Our son was so sleepy and it wasn't until we were almost to the airport that he started asking questions about where we were going....

And that's the story of our decision to break all our own rules and go to Disneyland at Christmas. 2010 has turned out to be the parks busiest December to date. And because a day at Disneyland can mean at least 10 miles of walking we never plan to visit the park on an airport day. This is not something I recommend doing with young kids or old parents! LOL! After two airports in one day I really prefer a swimming pool, shopping and a nice dinner.

Because we are Annual Pass holders this year we weren't too worried about missing out on anything and knew this would be a great trip since we were really going to visit Santa and see Disney decorated for Christmas. So it was ok for us that this would be less than a 72 hour trip

And although it really was extremely crowded Saturday, Sunday and even Monday, it was warm and sunny... 80 degrees highs! Honestly, we would have loved a little rain because we are so used to rain anyway and rain at Disney means low crowds. But it did feel good to feel the sun on our face!

Saturday ~ Disneyland ~
By the time we checked into the hotel and got over to the park it was about 11 am. First up you gotta get your Christmas Mickey Ears! The Christmas plaid was soo cute!

Disneyland was all decked out for the holidays! The big tree was beautiful! So we had to get a few family pictures.

Although I had seen pictures of the castle at Christmas, I was still amazed at how beautiful it was! At night it looked like an ice castle.

The park was SUPER crowded. And we skipped fantasyland altogether.
Somehow we wind our way through the crowds to Jungle Cruise

Because we had been up since 3am after Pirates we were ready for lunch at the Blue Bayou. After lunch it was time to get this Christmas party started at the Haunted Mansion Holiday. DH made a silly joke and the fast pass attendant sent us through to the front of the line!

Then it was off to ride Big Thunder Mountain or as we call it the Wildest Ride in the WEIRDerness! We spotted Woody and Jesse from Toy Story on the way and we had to get a photo.

And finally it was time to go to the ranch to visit with Santa. The line wasn't too long and Santa's cabin was pretty cute. Our son asked Santa to surprise him! Obviously he is well cared for and doesn't have a want in this world! LOL! Mrs. Claus was also there and we were so looking forward to seeing her. By the time it was our turn she had some cookies burning or something and dissappeared :(

We did get to see Pluto, who was was having and identity crisis. The ranch had some animals including the 2009 Thanksgiving Turkey pardoned by the President. (Did you know they sent them to Disneyland? How do you think they make those giant smoked turkey legs! LOL!) We also saw all Santa's favorite reindeer and our son thought that was a lot of fun. It was hard to take photos because they had set up such a protective barrier to keep them safe from kids I guess...

Fantasyland was a mad house and we headed over to the Matterhorn. When the rickitiest ride in the park breaks down when your in line and you stay in line because that makes it all the more exciting. We enjoyed some treats like a Mickey dream bar and ended up with a pretty resonable wait.

We got off just in time to catch the Christmas Parade from the raised parade viewing by small world. I think we waited longer for the parade to get to us than for any other rides on our trip!

And finally Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear and it was getting dark - time for fireworks! We were looking forward to the special Christmas display. After picking the perfect spot to eat dinner at The Plaza Inn with a great view of the castle we waited and waited and well, 30 minutes after they were supposed to start we found out they were canceled due to winds (which must have been way up high!?!)

All the waiting and well, ourson fell asleep. We decided to call it a day when he woke up and begged to go on Indiana Jones before we left the park. We obliged because we had fast passes. And after a quick ride through Pirates again we finally got back to our hotel about 11pm.

You can see we only managed about 18 attractions. Definately not our usual routine. Did I tell you it was very crowded? But a great first day. The boys fell asleep the moment they hit their pillows. Day 2 -3 coming up...

Dizzy4DL 12-19-2010 02:10 AM

Sounds like so much fun! Can't wait to hear more....:goodvibes

TheColtonsMom 12-19-2010 02:13 AM

WOW those would have to be some earrings to even come close to being in a contest with a trip to Disneyland.

Disney Dreams 12-19-2010 02:24 AM

ONLY 18 attractions?!?!?! That's a LOT!

What a great surprise for you and ultimately for your son, as well. Glad you are having a fun time. Fireworks, take 2, tomorrow night.

Have a great rest of a trip,

Davids-Coco 12-19-2010 02:28 AM

Amazing! Sounds like a blast thus far! What a wonderful surprise.

SnowWhite09 12-19-2010 02:46 AM

Sounds like a great first day. Looking forward to hearing about day 2 and 3! Just FYI, I would have chosen the trip to DL too, but unfortunately living in Australia doesn't allow for 72 hour trips - LOL! :rotfl:

Amommy21 12-19-2010 03:40 AM

They were amazing earrings, but DH scored $50 flights (each way) and pricelined Holiday Inn for $50 a night... so they weren't going to break the bank anyway. We like to stay at The Grand and it was a big sacrifice for me. I almost had a panic attack when we checked in because I am spoiled and have OCD. But when DH told me about the trip we agreed it was because it was a cheap quickie and we wanted to surprise our little one for Christmas time... so I tried not to make too big of a deal about it... though DH said he thought I was totally going to loose it and refuse to unpack my belongings.

So Holiday Inn... it's just around the corner on the back of The Mickey and Friends parking garage. Rooms are ok. I think they could have been much cleaner and although they were supposed to be newly remodeled well... it's not THE Grand! LOL! We did not use any hotel amenities like the pool, shops or cafe downstairs. We literally dumped out baggage and ran to the parks and were only in our hotel room long enough to shower and sleep.

Though it is so close, you cannot easily walk. So we used ART. It is on a 3 stop route and Holiday Inn is the first stop on the way home... But Monday they combined us with route 11 and we waited forever on both ends and had a much longer bus ride. That was frustrating. When we are at the park, we like to be at the park. And we really take advantage of the access at the Grand. Spending lots of time waiting around for transit outside the park isn't worth cheap hotels to us normally.

You can read about our previous trip in Sept here...

We plan to go one more time in February before our passes expire.

MonkeyDishwasher 12-19-2010 04:00 AM


We also saw all Santa's favorite reindeer and our son thought that was a lot of fun. It was hard to take photos because they had set up such a protective barrier to keep them safe from kids I guess...

I don't know if you happened to look at the reindeer, but you may have noticed how sharp and pointy their antlers are. Perhaps the barricades have something to do with that.

jacs1234 12-19-2010 06:45 AM

wow,what a fun trip. How exciting to surprise your son. We surprised our 4 last year, they got up and got ready for school and we told them we were going to Disneyland. I LOVE surprises.

I'm looking forward to the rest of your trip report.

ironpig70 12-19-2010 02:18 PM

Glad you guys had fun. Sounds like lots of fun to be had. We will be there in about 4 days. I cannot wait.

Amommy21 12-19-2010 09:29 PM

After only a couple hours of sleep the night before we got a later start than we planned for Day 2 and by the time we got to Disney California Adventure it was about 10:30. There wasn't as many Christmas decorations because so much of the park is under construction with all the new Cars Land coming 2012. And because it was Sunday we thought there would be lower crowds... no such luck as this really was the busiest December to date.

We waited entirely too long for our Disney Visa Meet and Greet.. come on, can't they bring in anyone else besides Pluto and the Chip and Dale? Maybe change up the characters yearly? After a quick ride through Monster's Inc. and Muppets 3D we were already getting hot and hungry. We didn't pack prepared for the sunny 80 degrees days!

Because it was the holidays we decided to gorge ourselves on a TurkeyLeg! This is a once in a lifetime experience... and I mean, something you need to only experience once in a lifetime! More like turkey ham... not that great. We had one in WDW a few years back... think we don't need to do this again !LOL!

We found Santa on the pier in a beautiful victorian coat. The sun made for such surreal photos! We are used to seeing Santa on a dreary rainy day! And I think even Santa must have been enjoying that warm sun, just looked at his sunburned cheeks! I would have loved to see Santa in an Aloha shirt and this victorian Santa at the ranch in DL.

And that's when we found Duff The Disney Bear! Who went everywhere with us the rest of the trip! (more about him later)

Screamin' was a walk on, but because we were tired and feeling hot none of us felt like going on three times in a row like our previous visit... So we decided to get the big wait over with for Toy Story Mania. Why they can't put this on Fast Pass I'll never know! We should have skipped the Visa Private Meet and Greet and just headed right to Toy Story - live and learn!

By then we were ready for a break and decided to have lunch at Storytellers. I think DH only really loves this place because of the bread... can we say mini wonder bread loaves? I admit I even ate a piece! Awsumb and I love the chicken corn chowder!

After lunch we found Minnie outside Soarin' in her flight get up and used FP to walk onto Soarin' Over California a family favorite.

Our son was begging to go to the Animation Academy. Why have we never done this? Probably because we were in Playhouse Disney! That's the thing about Disney, if you think there is something you have grown out of there is always something to grow into! I have no artistic ability, terrible handwriting and can't even draw a stick figure.

My Mickey was pretty good. Ok, so my Pluto looks more like Goofy! But it was fun. I was suprised how many people threw these out. What fun souvenirs! But we made art perfectly worth framing! This will be a new tradition for us!

That's right, we went to two classes. Awsumb could have done this all evening! But we pulled ourselves away to join the party at ElecTRONica! They were showing a special TRON preview in the Muppets theater. Looks pretty nerdy, but my boys are excited for it.

And finally time for MY favorite ride in the park - The Tower of JOY!

My son hated that ride. He was tired and even more traumatized than usual. So we popped into bugs land to ride the little bug cars. it's simple, but I think he loves it because he can ride in his own car! And even better because Duffy was his passenger!

Back to the ElecTRONica party to get a front row spot to see Laserman! Forget World of Color - Go to Laserman!

We had late reservations at Napa Rose and didn't want to be late to see Auntie and Uncle! We were so glad to see them and have a chance to relax. Dinner was AMAZING, of course! Awsumb didn't make it to dessert, which was too bad for him becase the apricot sorbet was so refreshing!

We made it back to our room after 10pm where we hoped to get some sleep before our last day.

Amommy21 12-19-2010 09:33 PM
The Story of Duffy The Disney Bear
One day, Mickey Mouse was getting ready
to set sail on a long sea voyage.
Minnie Mouse made him a special teddy bear
to take with him so he would never be lonely.
Minnie presented her hand sewn bear
to Mickey in a duffel bag.
Mickey loved the bear and named him Duffy.

As Mickey and Duffy sailed on their journey,
they visited all sorts of exciting places
and make new friends along the way.
At the end of their travels,
they sailed back home
for a wonderful reunion with Minnie.

Mickey and Duffy shared their magical
memories and photos with Minnie,
who was thrilled that Duffy was such
a great friend and companion for Mickey.

Where will you take your Duffy?
Duffy is all the rage in Tokyo. And isn't he so cute? He's soft, cuddly and a classic. We just fell in love with him and had to bring one home! DS carried this giant teddy bear all over Disneyland. He went on all the rides including California Screamin' (which goes upside down), The Matterhorn and Space Mountain.

Because Duffy is new at Disney's California Adventure the cast members give you lots of attention and say things like, "I like your Duffy Bear" or "That's sure a big Duffy Bear." Which of course DS just loved. And if you are lucky enough to get to hold Duffy DS will give you these instructions each and every time he hands him over to you, "Hold him under the arms (I guess so his head doesn't pop off?), rub his tummy and scratch him behind the ears!"

DS sure enjoyed carrying around his new best buddy. And apparently he makes a great pillow if you happen to fall asleep before dessert at Napa Rose with Auntie and Uncle!

Amommy21 12-19-2010 09:34 PM

Day three up next...

TheColtonsMom 12-19-2010 10:01 PM

The pics of your DS with Duffy are ADORABLE. How big is that bear? And how much is he going for? trying to budget one in for my DS.

Amommy21 12-20-2010 01:10 AM

$60 and worth every penny. My son LOVES it! I don't usually let him go overboard with stuffed animals. And he has never had anything big, so it was a special treat. he is 9 and this will probably be the last year he wants to do such childish things, so I went with it. AND because he is 9, he carried it and took care of it the entire day. He went on all the rides and it was a lot of fun for him.

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