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Old 12-10-2012, 09:29 AM   #1
disneymom0104
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Just back- observations and thoughts

Just back from a 6 day trip. This is our second 6 day vacation to DL and I really can't imagine anything less. I really hope they bring back the 6 day PH at some point. With the ID checking, I would think that it cuts down on ticket sharing and fraud.

We were in the parks Sunday 12/2 to Friday 12/7.

We had a FANTASTIC time! The holiday season might be my absolute favorite. It was SO magical and so beautiful. Disney does a wonderful job with everything.

Small World Holiday was a favorite for my family. I thought it was breathtakingly beautiful. My son's (almost 3) favorite ride is IASW and his favorite Christmas song is Jingle Bells-so this was a perfect combo for him.

We all loved seeing the Haunted Mansion overlay again. I think it is brighter and less scary than the regular Haunted Mansion, which was great for my son.

Pirates was down when we went last year, so this was my family's first time experiencing the DL version. I had done this ride many times during my childhood but my most recent memories were that of WDW. There were a few things I remembered (like floating past Blue Bayou) but I didn't remember any of the specific details but wow- I was blown away. SO SO much better and more amazing that WDW's version.

We thought all the CM's were friendly and great. Last year we had a couple instances where we thought WDW was better in the CM dept. but this time I felt they were equally great.

Fastpasses- We used some FP late every day and nobody ever said a word about it, nor were we ever warned that a change was coming. This was at all rides spread over both parks. I really love being able to use FP late- it makes for a much more relaxing time (IMO). I am sad that it will likely be different in the future.

Crowds- Overall we did just fine. Some areas were more congested than others, but by getting to the parks early and using FP we had no trouble getting all the rides in. Another reason I appreciate being able to spread everything out over 6 days- it would have been tough for us to squeeze in everything we wanted in 3 days. That being said- I felt Sunday had much lighter crowds than I was expecting and that may have had to do with the rainy weather. I thought Monday and Tuesday were quite crowded. Wednesday was okay (or we were getting used to it). Friday (especially in the evening) was crazy. We saw the 10:30 Fantasmic that night and wanted to ride IASW one more time- got over there at about 11:15 and the line was the longest we had seen all week!

I found that when the parks open at 8am and there is no MM/EMH you can get the most done in the first hour. We experienced this Sunday and Friday. When the parks open at 9am, a LOT more people are able to make rope drop. We started at DL on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. We started at Calfornia Adventure on Monday and Thursday. Monday was a resort EMH day. My DH got in line for RSR FP and we ended up with a return time of 12:05-1:05. Because of the resort EMH even though we walked straight back to TSMM the line was already 40 mins. RSR was down most of the day- I don't think it came back up until 3 or 4pm. We took an afternoon break and I took my girls back around 4pm- the FP line was around 45 minutes, which wasn't too bad. We loved the ride but we all thought it was a little short. (I read another report that had a comparison to Test Track- I do agree Test Track is longer and actually both of my girls prefer TT to RSR) We all thought it was super cute. Our other rope drop there was Thursday and again they were making announcements that RSR would not be up until after 12 pm. We were just planning on spending the AM there- so DH opted not to get FP. (and Wed. afternoon my DH and girls rode with the single rider line so we had each done it once and the girls had done it twice). TSMM was a much better wait on the morning without EMH. I wish we could have done RSR more, but it was down so much which made it tough.

I thought our MM was not nearly as nice/effective as the 8am openings (even though the MM was at 8am, too). In fact, I may just skip our MM in the future and go to California Adventure where there is no EMH. I felt our MM was alot like an early morning EMH at WDW, which we avoid at all costs. It was crazy, crowded and congested since they only have FL and TL open for that hour. We waited in FL lines that we did not have to wait in on Sunday or Friday (or Wednesday with the 9am opening). I think we would have been able to ride more had we been at California Adventure. I know that MM has been a great perk- but I think with the EMH changes (and I know resort guests have always been able to get in to DL every day MM was offered- I think combined with the fact that DL only has 3 a week now, and only part of the park is open) it is more crowded and crazy than WE prefer in the mornings.

SO happy we were able to ride Indiana Jones on Friday! We didn't have to wait very long and just loved the updates. California Screamin' was also closed when we were there last Oct. and this quickly became the favorite ride for both of my daughters (10 and 8). They rode it over and over and I loved that the lines never got too long- with both sides running it made the line move so fast!

PP+ was a GREAT investment. I loved getting the photos from Goofy's Kitchen and Plaza Inn and all the ride photos- it is sometimes a pain to have to wait in line to get the photo put on the card (I waited 20 minutes for a Splash picture one day) but most of the time it was very easy and I love being able to have all those pictures. We will always do PP+ from here on out.

I thought the Visa Meet and Greet was just okay. This was our first time doing that, we got there as Stitch was switching over to Minnie. We had met Minnie multiple times by that point, so it wasn't super exciting for my kids. I didn't think it was any different than a regular meet and greet anywhere else in the park, but the 5x7 print was nice. I wish she would have been in a different dress or Christmas attire or something different than everywhere else, but oh well. I probably would not do that meet and greet again.

Anyway- this is getting longer than I was thinking. We absolutely loved our vacation. Loved the Christmas parade and the fireworks. We did not make it to WoC this time- just too hard with the 2.5 year old. I think we were able to ride everything, and many rides MANY times. DL is my most favorite park of all the Disney parks and California Adventure is right up there, too. Carsland was fantastic. The more time we spend at these parks, the more we prefer them to WDW.

Oh- we stayed 7 nights at the Hojo in a Kids Suite. This was our first time not staying on Disney property. I thought the Hojo was nice- loved having 2 rooms in the Kids Suite and thought they were decorated and updated very nicely. The rest of the hotel felt older and more drab than I prefer, but really we did not spend much time there other than to rest/sleep. That walk at the end of the night is killer. Overall I would stay there again, but I did miss the magic and beautiful details of the Disney hotels. Unfortunately we just can't afford to stay in the DL resort hotels for 7 nights on a regular basis.

This is getting long- sorry for jumping around. I would be happy to answer any questions if you have them!
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
luulu1999
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Thanks for the info!!...I love reading trip reports!! We will be going on our first trip ever to either Disney park for Christmas I am a little nervous because I know its going to be crowded and we only get to do three days but I am soooo excited I have a 4 and 5 yr old and I can't wait to see their faces!! I had a hard time deciding about the pp+ but decided to go ahead and get it so I'm hoping we can get lots of pics!! I have been trying to read as many reports and post as possible so I can be somewhat prepared!! Thanks so much!!!!
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
Blue32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneymom0104 View Post
I thought our MM was not nearly as nice/effective as the 8am openings (even though the MM was at 8am, too). In fact, I may just skip our MM in the future and go to California Adventure where there is no EMH. I felt our MM was alot like an early morning EMH at WDW, which we avoid at all costs. It was crazy, crowded and congested since they only have FL and TL open for that hour. We waited in FL lines that we did not have to wait in on Sunday or Friday (or Wednesday with the 9am opening). I think we would have been able to ride more had we been at California Adventure. I know that MM has been a great perk- but I think with the EMH changes (and I know resort guests have always been able to get in to DL every day MM was offered- I think combined with the fact that DL only has 3 a week now, and only part of the park is open) it is more crowded and crazy than WE prefer in the mornings.
This was our experience as well when we were in the parks the week after Thanksgiving. Our MM was super busy and compounded by the fact that the hours were later(regular opening @10) and the fact that they did a rope drop at the end of MS for our MM. Depending on what time of year we go to DLR next time, I will consider not using our MM and starting at the other park. I feel that maybe MM has lost some magic especially when the hours are anything later than 8 am opening.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It's great to have the extra days to make sure you can see all you want!
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:03 PM   #4
disneydeb64
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We were at the parks 11/28 to 11/30, and were also disappointed with the new ticket policy MM procedure. Granted it was a later MM time of 9 AM, but even still, there was so much unorganization. We arrived at the turnstiles at 9:10, and got in the Magic Morning line. It wasn't moving and we waited an additional 10 minutes before a CM walked up and asked, "Magic Morning?" We said yes, and he said, "You're in the wrong line - the line you want is the one here next to you." We were at the turnstile station marked Magic Morning, lines 11 and 12, standing in line #11. We pointed the signage out to him, and he said it was for regular entry. The party behind us weren't too thrilled to hear this either. We asked him why then was the line marked Magic Morning? He then said "well just go on through I guess" and waved us off - very strange and borderline rude. As we approached the turnstile, a CM came up and turned the sign. A mistake on their part that cost all those in our line to miss about 30 min. MM time.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:31 PM   #5
disneymom0104
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I agree that the MM day was crazy- it was by far our craziest day (other than our morning in California Adventure that had an EMH that day). There were so many people utilizing MM/EMH that by only having part of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland open it was just congested and crowded. I am not sure we will do one again.
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C- Mom to K , A , O and baby B
yearly trips as a child to DL, and also multiple visits to Tokyo DL and WDW
May 2007- Boardwalk Villas 8 days
Sept. 2008- Pop Century 11 days
Sept. 2010- Carribean Beach 12 days
Oct. 2011- Free Dining at Paradise Pier at DL! 6 days
Dec. 2012- DL- Hojo Kids Suite 7 days
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:51 AM   #6
mshrm
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I've been wondering if we should do our MM but after reading your post I think we will just do dca that morning instead. Thanks for a great trip report, it's been helpful.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:08 PM   #7
rramstad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mshrm View Post
I've been wondering if we should do our MM but after reading your post I think we will just do dca that morning instead. Thanks for a great trip report, it's been helpful.
It's certainly something to consider.

We had the same issue as the PP when we used MM in the summer. We had a very crowded messy MM at DL one morning, and conversely, the very next day we simply hit DL at rope drop and found the place blissfully empty.

Basically our worst morning, in terms of lines, when using a 6 day park hopper through the week (Sunday evening, then Monday through Friday) was when we did MM early in the week at DL. Every other morning was much better, simply by going to the park that didn't have EMH or MM.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:14 PM   #8
Jaina
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This is super interesting to read. Do you think MM might still be crazy in the off season (late Feb, for example?) That's always been our go-to time to hit Fantasyland... :-/
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:17 PM   #9
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We didn't use our MM. It just didn't make any sense since we had the CityPass and Universal had extended hours on Saturday compared to Sunday, while DL had the same regular hours on Sat and Sun. In fact I think it might be better because the crowds are typically smaller on Sunday.

I'm wondering if the concept of early admission has sort of served its purpose and they should rethink it. How "Magic" is it when there are so many other people trying to extract that extra hour? Without it, there would probably be fewer people crowding into the turnstiles at the exact time and distributing their entrances over a few hours.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaina View Post
This is super interesting to read. Do you think MM might still be crazy in the off season (late Feb, for example?) That's always been our go-to time to hit Fantasyland... :-/
We went "offseason". The week after Thanksgiving. It has historically been a very low crowd week to go. Not on our Tues. for MM. It was busy.

I have no proof but it just sounds like with the way Disney is pushing the EE more so than in the past, the Resorts being busier because of Carsland, and the offseason hours being later, MM just is not what it has been for some people in the past.

Friday was our "true MM" of the trip. Got to the front of the turnstiles before the 8am opening and it was a super great morning for getting on rides.

I wish there was a way MM and EE could be seperated...
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