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Old 03-27-2014, 02:04 AM   #1
dedesmith32
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It's a Jolly Holiday Surprise! December 2014 - Trip Report

So I've been a lurker on here for a few years, but I've decided to change that and actually post! I realize that my vacation isn't for over 8 months still, but I am so excited about it that I just can't wait to post! So I'm going to post all my plans too and would love your advice and tips and comments!

So I'm DeDe. I've been to Disneyland a total of 4 times (when I was 10, when I was 17, when I was 20, and in 2009-when I was 29). I will be 35 by the time we take our trip in December. I love Disney. I love all the movies and I love Disneyland. I wish I could afford to go to Disneyland every year - but alas that hasn't happened for me. I just love the magic of Disney so much. Can't wait for this magical 5th Trip!

Then there's my DH (Joey) who is my best friend. He has been to Disneyland once - with me in 2009. He hates crowds but tolerates them for me. He enjoys Disney movies and the rides are just okay with him - but this trip was mostly his idea!

My oldest is JJ (12) - he is autistic and loves Disney - especially Star Wars and Cars. This will be his second trip to Disneyland and he has a hard time with crowds and such, but really wants to see CarsLand and do the Jedi Academy.

My daughter Beth (will be 9 in April) is the ultimate Disney princess. She still loves dressing up as the princesses and loves all the movies. I dread the day when she will be "too old" for this princess stage of her life. She loves Anna and Belle the best.


So this is my family in Disneyland in 2009 (Goofy's Kitchen):


It will be over 5 1/2 years since then when we go in December so a lot has changed with us! Here is us now:




TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Last edited by dedesmith32; 11-15-2014 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:33 AM   #2
dedesmith32
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So we've booked a room in the Disneyland Hotel from December 6-13th - 7 nights of magic! I have never stayed on-site before and I couldn't be more excited! Out of all the planning and such that is the only real thing that my DH wanted to do - stay in the Disneyland Hotel. I of course agreed wholeheartedly.

Even though we are only in Utah - my husband would rather not drive in California so our plans are to fly JetBlue from Salt Lake City to Long Beach Airport and then take a shuttle to the Disneyland Hotel. I'm actually happy about this because I love flying and I haven't been on a plane since 2001. Plus my kids have never been on a plane so it will be a fun experience for them. Here's hoping to find a good deal before then!

Oh and this is a SURPRISE TRIP! It will be our Christmas and I can't wait to surprise the kids. They are going to be thrilled. I hope I can keep it in for that long! My DH and I are celebrating our 15th Wedding anniversary this year in June and we have decided to forego any celebrating plans so that we can afford to go all out for this trip.

So we are saving like crazy and going to make this happen!
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:04 PM   #3
dedesmith32
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So it's been about a month since I started planning this vacation and I have been reading through these boards and tips and just kind of going crazy over this Disneyland planning! I've got several things already decided and I've already started ordering and gathering stuff for our trip. I'm basically obsessed. I'm not sure how in the world I'm going to wait 8 more months for this trip! Is anyone else as obsessed about planning as I am? I just want this to be the most amazing trip with my family!

So here are some of my plans and questions - please feel free to give me input!

First of all - I have booked (through a TA) the Disneyland Hotel from 12/6 - 12/13 in a standard room. I would like to do more, but I think the budget isn't going to let me. Hopefully maybe I'll get an upgrade or something, but I shouldn't plan on that. Do you think that its worth it to buy travel insurance? I haven't bought that yet, but I'm wondering if it is worth it. I just can't decide.

I haven't booked flights yet - waiting for it to be a little closer and hope I get a deal.


I made a list of all the food places I wanted to try and fit most of it in. We are planning on most of our breakfasts to be in room (going to order some groceries from Von's) and some lunches, plus bring in some snacks. Of course, I have to wait for a long while before I can make reservations.


I am using touringplans.com to plan out my days in the parks and still working on getting that right.


Here's my schedule so far:


Saturday (Dec 6th)- Travel
Breakfast at Home
7:00am - Early Christmas Scavenger Hunt to find custom book (my husband and I are collaborating and writing and designing a custom book that shares chapter-by-chapter of our vacation - surprising our children once we get to the Disneyland hotel. We haven't figured this one out exactly yet, but we think it should be fun).
Last packing and off to the train station by 8:00am
Take frontrunner/trax to airport - Need to be there by 10am
Flight to California - 11:30am - 12:18p (this is the current times that the flights are available - this could change)
Lunch at Airport
Take Shuttle Or taxi to Hotel
Check into Hotel - Get Settled
Change into Smith family Jolly Holiday Shirts (Will be getting these special shirts from Etsy and we will wear them after the kids find out what this surprise vacation is all about)
Check out the hotel trivia challenges and other adventures and get info/register
Shopping in Downtown Disney
Dinner in Downtown Disney - ESPN Zone
Maybe go see a movie in Downtown Disney


Sunday (Dec 7th)- Relax Day
Wear Mickey ears Wreath shirts (I am making these shirts)
Breakfast at PCH Grill (Surf up with Mickey Breakfast)
Lunch - Earl of Sandwich (Downtown Disney)
Shopping and Browsing in Downtown Disney
Tour the other hotels
Special Hotel Activities
Swimming
Dinner - Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)

Monday (Dec 8th)- DCA
Breakfast in Room
Wear mickey ears - broncos/queen/Perry/belle shirts (more shirts that I am making)
Redeem photopass+ card at Kingswell Camera Shop
Get World of Color fastpasses
Start at Cars Land and try to get to as many of the rides at CA as we possibly can today
Get family photos at entrance of DCA
Lunch - Corn Dog Castle
Snack - Pretzel Bites & ice cream from Cozy Cone Motel
Dinner - Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta
World of Color Show

Tuesday (Dec 9th)- Disneyland
Breakfast in Room
Wear Blue-Brown tie dye shirts (ordered these from etsy and love them)
Get family photos by Castle
We are going to do as many rides as we can in TomorrowLand, AdventureLand, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country
Lunch - Cafe Orleans
Snack - Dole Whip
Holiday Tour - HMH, JC, IASW, Christmas Parade
Watch Fireworks
Late Dinner - Plaza Inn

Wednesday (Dec 10th)- Disneyland
Breakfast in Room
Wear mickey ears Vader/Anna Parents- mary Poppins/Elsa anna (more shirts from etsy
Lunch in Room
Get family photos at entrance
Going to do as many rides as we can in FronterLand, FantasyLand and Toon Town and
Snack - Mickey Ice Cream
Dinner - Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Thursday (Dec 11th)- DisneyLand
Breakfast in Room
Wear JJ-*Jedi academy Beth-*Disney Princesses. Parents-*Jack/*Rapunzel (More etsy shirts)
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for Daughter
Shopping at the Star Trader for son
Royal Theater shows
Jedi Academy for son
Winter Parade
Do our favorite rides again and any that we missed
if needed break & snack in room
Lunch - Hungry Bear Restaurant
Last Shopping at Disneyland
Dinner - Carnation Cafe

Friday (Dec 12th)- Mostly DCA, but some DisneyLand
Breakfast in Room
Wear rainbow tie-dye shirts (etsy shirts)
Lunch in Room
Aladdin Show
Do favorite rides again or any that we missed
Dinner - Flow's V8 Cafe
Last Shopping at DCA
Fantasmic Show and Fireworks - contemplating getting the Dessert package for this - what do you think?

Saturday (Dec 13th)- Check out
Breakfast at Steakhouse 55
Wear 2014 Disneyland shirts
Last shopping at Downtown Disney
Lunch in Room with last of Groceries
Pack up and check out
Shuttle or taxi to airport - need to be at airport by 2pm
Flight to SLC - 3:21pm (if the flights times change, we'll have to adjust)
Take trax/frontrunner to Provo
Dinner at home or on road




Okay I'm an overplanner aren't I? It's fun to have this all down though and I'll make changes as needed! What do you all think?
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Disneyland Trips:
1989, 1997, 2000, 2009
and the best of all to come - December 2014 in the DLH


Last edited by dedesmith32; 04-27-2014 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:39 PM   #4
TreeDharni
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I am extremely impressed by your details. We are also from Utah and planning a trip for that week in December. Can I ask what your budget for your trip is?
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:17 PM   #5
dedesmith32
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My budget is about $6000 for rooms, flights, food, and souvenirs. That does not include the extras to get ready for the trip - like the new shirts and new luggage and such. Its a lot of money but we want to do this trip while our kids still love Disney and before they are teenagers. I doubt we will ever do another Disney trip again after this so we are going all out! This is our Christmas and our anniversary trip too.

Are you flying or driving for your trip?
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:52 PM   #6
TreeDharni
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Originally Posted by dedesmith32 View Post
My budget is about $6000 for rooms, flights, food, and souvenirs. That does not include the extras to get ready for the trip - like the new shirts and new luggage and such. Its a lot of money but we want to do this trip while our kids still love Disney and before they are teenagers. I doubt we will ever do another Disney trip again after this so we are going all out! This is our Christmas and our anniversary trip too. Are you flying or driving for your trip?
I completely understand. I am really torn between a budget trip and an extra magical resort trip. To my surprise my 13yo daughter and 14yo son are extremely excited. I feel like this is my last chance disney trip with them untitled they are adults.

I would love to fly but that will only happen if I can find a Southwest or Jet Blue special of $79 or less each way pp. I'm hoping for $49 each way pp. The flights at those prices are usually only to Long Beach. I am 95% sure I will find the cheap flights. If we have to drive, we will drive the 11 hrs straight to Anaheim but spit the drive home with a night in Las Vegas. The cost of the drive vs flying will be the same if I can get less than $79 each way pp.

When I started planning details about a month ago I thought I was a bit crazy for obsessing so far out, but then I found this site and realized it's quite normal.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:34 PM   #7
TreeDharni
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Love this site for info and tips.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:35 PM   #8
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:05 AM   #9
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This year will be our third Disney Christmas. It is truly magical. I have a couple suggestions for you to consider.

First of all, you might want to think about moving your relaxing day to the middle of your trip. On the first day you will be filled with excitement and energy. You will want go hit the parks. A relaxing day might be more useful after a few days when you are tired.

My family loved the holiday tour. We have done it twice and plan to take it again this year. You get to go on three rides, get snacks, get parade seats right in front of IASW, get a holiday tour pin, and the tour itself. It is so worth the money for us. Maybe instead of so many shirts that you will only wear once, you could consider the tour.

Photo pass Plus is also somethingbyou will want to consider, especially since this is a very special, once in a lifetime trip. You can get it for a good discount before you leave.

Enjoy the planning. Eight months will fly by. Keep an eye out for the Christmas super thread by SherryE. She starts special themes in late summer.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:50 PM   #10
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We are going a few days before you, but we are overlapping on the weekend. It is our first family trip there, though my son and I have been back in 2006 over the same weekend. I loved the holiday overlays they do. Like the above poster said, we will be doing the Holiday Tour. I have a friend who did it, and it is worth every penny!
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:02 PM   #11
dedesmith32
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Loving all the suggestions! Thanks so much!
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Old 04-13-2014, 02:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucysmom View Post
...Keep an eye out for the Christmas super thread by SherryE. She starts special themes in late summer.
Thank you for the shout out, lucysmom!

dedesmith32 -- I think you may have already found the Disneyland at Christmas/Holiday Season Superthread to which lucysmom is referring (??or maybe not, and I am imagining things??), but just in case you haven't -- or in case you came across an older version of it -- here is the latest version: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3215593.

The first 12 posts on Page 1 of the Superthread cover pretty much every aspect of the holiday season at DLR (and beyond) that you can imagine. I am in the process of going down that page and adding to/updating the existing posts. I have managed to get the first 5 of them done. I have 7 more posts to go -- but there is still lots of information there right now, even before I add things in.

There are also photos on some of the pages of the Superthread (some posted by me, some by others), but as lucysmom mentioned, in late July or early August I will be kicking off our 4th Annual Theme Week Countdown -- which will be a 3 month+ parade of photos, leading up to the start of the season in early November. I will be giving away a gift card or two, to both a photo contributor and a non-photo contributor. So please feel free to join in and chat with us, or ask questions anytime you want! Also, I have a lot of experience with the time frame in December that you are going, so if I can shed light on anything or help in any way, let me know!

By any chance, have you ever read any of DizNee Luver's (Laurie's) Trip Reports? I try to hook up people on this board with various threads and TRs that I think will be of use or of interest to them, and I think you would really enjoy hers.

Specifically, Laurie's December 2012 report is what I am thinking you might enjoy. On that occasion she went for a full week (just like you will be doing) with the family (including young kids of different ages) and stayed onsite (at the PPH, though they have stayed at the DLH in the past) -- right around the time you will be going in December, more or less. Laurie is a great, detailed planner too! I keep telling her she should go into Event Planning, or work for a travel agency or something. (I would link her 2012 TR for you here, but I always hesitate to post links to one person's TR in another TR without knowing if it's okay first! Anyway, I think I have a link to her 2012 TR in the Trip Reports and Reviews section on page 1 of the Christmas Superthread!)
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Pumpkins, Peppermint, Pastels and...Club 33!!! - (A new chapter begins... Many photos and wacky tales, coming soon to a Trip Report thread near you!)
And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014

Last edited by Sherry E; 04-13-2014 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 04-13-2014, 05:33 PM   #13
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We are going the week of Thanksgiving and have already been planning. My husband thinks I'm crazy for planning 7 months in advance.

Wish we could stay on property though but my budget is already at $7000 for 5 people...
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Old 04-13-2014, 11:38 PM   #14
dedesmith32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
Thank you for the shout out, lucysmom! dedesmith32 -- I think you may have already found the Disneyland at Christmas/Holiday Season Superthread to which lucysmom is referring (??or maybe not, and I am imagining things??), but just in case you haven't -- or in case you came across an older version of it -- here is the latest version: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3215593. The first 12 posts on Page 1 of the Superthread cover pretty much every aspect of the holiday season at DLR (and beyond) that you can imagine. I am in the process of going down that page and adding to/updating the existing posts. I have managed to get the first 5 of them done. I have 7 more posts to go -- but there is still lots of information there right now, even before I add things in. There are also photos on some of the pages of the Superthread (some posted by me, some by others), but as lucysmom mentioned, in late July or early August I will be kicking off our 4th Annual Theme Week Countdown -- which will be a 3 month+ parade of photos, leading up to the start of the season in early November. I will be giving away a gift card or two, to both a photo contributor and a non-photo contributor. So please feel free to join in and chat with us, or ask questions anytime you want! Also, I have a lot of experience with the time frame in December that you are going, so if I can shed light on anything or help in any way, let me know! By any chance, have you ever read any of DizNee Luver's (Laurie's) Trip Reports? I try to hook up people on this board with various threads and TRs that I think will be of use or of interest to them, and I think you would really enjoy hers. Specifically, Laurie's December 2012 report is what I am thinking you might enjoy. On that occasion she went for a full week (just like you will be doing) with the family (including young kids of different ages) and stayed onsite (at the PPH, though they have stayed at the DLH in the past) -- right around the time you will be going in December, more or less. Laurie is a great, detailed planner too! I keep telling her she should go into Event Planning, or work for a travel agency or something. (I would link her 2012 TR for you here, but I always hesitate to post links to one person's TR in another TR without knowing if it's okay first! Anyway, I think I have a link to her 2012 TR in the Trip Reports and Reviews section on page 1 of the Christmas Superthread!)

Thanks so much! I am really loving these forums. Thanks so much for your wonderful superthread and all the amazing info!
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Old 04-13-2014, 11:41 PM   #15
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We are going the week of Thanksgiving and have already been planning. My husband thinks I'm crazy for planning 7 months in advance. Wish we could stay on property though but my budget is already at $7000 for 5 people...
So glad to know that I'm not the only planner! Money is so hard! There is so much I would love to do and can't afford it! I guess we just have to remember how magical and wonderful a trip can be and that whatever we can do is enough!
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