Disneyland Christmas 2019 - TR from down under.

sjmac42

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Hi all,

What follows is basically a transcript of a live trip report I wrote on another website while we were at Disneyland over Christmas. We are two 50 somethings from the Hunter Valley, about 2 hours north of Sydney Australia, who have visited several Disney Parks around the world and the California Parks (our favourites by far) several times. As he has lousy timing, my manager had me come to Sydney the day before we were flying out of Newcastle. He is still apologising for his poor timing :). Luckily the trip home just before the start of the holidays was only about 2.5 hours, not the 3 or 4 I had anticipated with holiday traffic, so that worked out fine.

This will likely be our last trip to the USA for a few years at least and I’m not sure Disneyland CA will figure in our future trips at all having visited many times and the increasing costs of this sort of trip for us.

I’ve edited my original report to reflect that this is now a post trip report, not live but, of course, been originally a live TR it is quite detailed.

In other words . . . . . . . Long. Just like this introduction.

So be warned but I hope some of you find it as interesting to read as I did to write.

On with the trip.
 
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sjmac42

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Travel Day, Sat Dec 21st, Midnight . . . . .

Our trip started just before midnight on Friday Dec 20th Australia Time (5am Friday CA time) with a text message from Qantas on my wife’s phone saying our 7-35am flight from Newcastle to Brisbane had been delayed by several hours and we may miss our connecting flight BNE to LAX.

Terrific! Wish I hadn’t watched that cricket match now . . . .

So on the phone for over an hour and we were rebooked on an earlier flight with Jetstar, a LCC, at 6am. The agent said they would transfer our luggage but I was not silly enough to believe them, thanked them for their trouble then had to call my father, who was already awake (it was 1am by now), to let him know he didn’t need to drop us at the airport and organised a taxi for 4am.

It was approaching 1-30am by this stage so sleep was out of the question, luckily there’s always a cricket match on somewhere, no idea who was playing, Pakistan and Sri Lanka maybe.

The taxi arrives on time at 3-45am so we say goodbye to the cat and head off to our local airport, NTL. We check in with Jetstar, “no we don’t transfer luggage sir”, and wait around for about an hour in our tiny airport with a meat pie and pineapple juice for breakfast. My wife, Melissa, had a more sensible coffee (I don’t drink the stuff). They actually have the latest security scanners at Newcastle Airport so no more taking laptops, liquids etc out of your luggage. Just put everything in a tray and walk through the body scanner. Much easier. Once on the plane I realised that I’d left my camera bag in the terminal so had to get off the plane and ask one of the ground staff to retrieve it for me. She did so which was great and I thanked her profusely for her trouble.

Arriving in BNE on time, 6-10am (12-10pm Friday CA time) we collect said non transferred luggage and make our way to the shuttle for the International terminal. We check in for the flight to LAX after a quick coffee and juice and are off to the Qantas Lounge for a few hours to wait for our 11-10am flight (Brisbane time, 5-10pm Friday CA time, 12 hours after receiving the initial text from the airline).

Luckily the rest of the trip was uneventful. The flight went well on the 787 which looked brand spanking new. Entertainment system, food and the cabin crew were great. Watched F&F, Hobbs and Shaw and Toy Story 4 on the plane and managed to get some sleep. My wife also got some sleep which never happens on a plane but been up all but 1 or 2 of the last 30 odd hours before we got on the plane probably helped. Landed in LAX on time (6am Sat), called the shuttle company, Karmel, and were directed to the outer ring just outside where we collected our luggage. The van arrived about 10 mins later. Another Aussie was trying to call dispatch for her shuttle but her phone wasn’t working (I don’t think she had activated roaming with her telco). Our driver asked us if we minded waiting while he tried to call for her. No issues with that of course but mentioned we had waited on hold for about 5 mins. After a few minutes waiting, the driver couldn’t get through and the Aussie said not to worry, she would try calling again. I directed her to the pay phones in the terminal and gave her some quarters and the phone number for Karmel dispatch (she seemed really disorganised) and off we went. The driver had 1 more pick up and by 7-20am we were out of the airport and on our way to Anaheim reaching the Hilton, our home for the next 6 nights, by about 8-15am. We had checked in online while still in Brisbane and picked our room. Our plan was to use the Hotel Gym for a shower and change which we organised with the staff at reception. She was kind enough to give us a room credit that would cover the cost of the Gym and said she would organise a room ASAP. We said there was no hurry as we were off to DCA. It was about 9-30am by this stage.
 

sjmac42

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
DAY 1 - Sat Dec 21st, the actual Disneyland visit begins!

This is turning out to be a very looooong day 1. It’s still Saturday!

So after our 4 esses at the Hilton Gym, we walked up to DCA because the best way to get over that trip is to keep moving until you drop. So that’s what we did.

We arrived at security about 9-45am, went through and joined the line at a ticket booth to exchange our voucher. We did ask the cast member to give us MaxPass for the 5 days we had but she said we may not need it. We went back and forth a bit, I think she was trying to save us some money when she saw my CC was attached to my Disney account so in the end I said thanks and went to DCA, getting MaxPass once through the turnstiles. In the park about 10-15am on about 4-5 hours sleep in the past 48 hours.

We got a FP for Guardians then went to Grizzly River Run which was a walk on because not many people had taken their spoonful of concrete that morning :). Then we went to Incredicoaster and I rode single rider as my wife has some back issues so finds roller coasters a bit too much whereas stuff like Indy, Guardians and the like are fine.

Anyway, took about 10 mins to get on that then headed back to Guardians for our FP. Haven’t done the Guardians version yet since it was ToT. Great reskin, really enjoyed it. Then said happy holidays to the cast member at Monsters Inc. and she gave us a buddy pass so we could bypass the line. Again we were on in under 10 mins so made a point of thanking her when we exited. She offered us another buddy pass but we declined saying she could share the love. Looked around the shops in Hollywoodland and then it was time to parkhop. It’s getting real fuzzy now but I think it was about 12-30pm by this stage.

We had gotten a FP for Buzz Lightyear and were able to stack FP’s for Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder. Then I got a FP for both Matterhorn and Space Mountain for myself as Mel wanted a bit of a rest. While I was in line for Matterhorn, I got a FP for Indy (love that ride) for the both of us. It was around 5pm by this stage so we had a quick look at the shops along Main Street then exited DL and wandered through Downtown Disney. Had a quick look in the World of Disney Store and went to look at the changes at the Disneyland Hotel end of DD. As we were up that end, we just walked back to the Hilton via Paradise Pier and Katella. We were back at the hotel around 6-30pm.

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what a great shirt
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here’s our little trouble maker!

You’ll find a recurring theme in our TR’s, shopping!👍😁

Anyhow, quick dinner at the food court at the Hilton and off to bed as we had well and truly hit the wall.

Day 1, 19,910 steps and 14.7km (about 10 miles).

The plan for the next day was to Rope Drop DL for Galaxy’s Edge and Smugglers Run.

Do we make it??????
 
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  • sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    DAY 2 - Sun Dec 22nd. Did we rope drop?

    Yes, we did 👍👏👌

    I should also say at this stage we have 5 day hoppers.

    Left the Hilton at about 7am, a little later than we intended and headed to the DLH to go through security at that end of DD. It was a breeze as anticipated and were in line at the DL turnstiles just after 7-30am. They opened the turnstiles about 7-40am and we headed for the 8am rope drop at Adventureland so we could finally see Galaxy’s Edge.

    Now I didn’t think the hub was that crowded at rope drop. We weren’t rushing and we were still only about 4 people deep at the rope and the hub didn’t really start filling up until right on 8am. Still wasn’t that full really.

    Anyhoo, headed to Galaxy’s Edge for our first look. Plenty of numpties running of course, cast members should really be allowed to stop these selfish prats IMO. Walked through the entrance to GE just past the Hungry Bear and despite seeing plenty of Vlogs, we were suitably impressed. I really think they have nailed the details for this land, they just need to continue adding the promised interactive elements and more movement generally. But it looks superb.

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    Inside MF SR. What a great queue.

    I made the mistake of heading through the marketplace because I wanted to see it. It was great but unfortunately we were stopped by cast members from joining the line for Smugglers Run and sent back through the Marketplace. This probably added 10-15 mins to our wait time so don’t do that :). Head to the right of the Marketplace to join the line if you’re rope dropping.

    In any case the wait was only about 45 mins which was fine and the cast members were excellent. Got to the briefing room, took a photo at the Dejarik Holochess table and were assigned as pilots (awesome).

    No spoilers but we thought the ride was excellent, I’d easily class it as an e ticket ride. I’m still annoyed that ROTR isn’t open as originally promised despite the fact that it’s running fine and Chapek and Iger rode it in September. We planned this trip over 10 months ago when everything coming from Disney said it would open at DL first “later in 2019” but MFSR was worth the wait. In the end I’ve built a bridge as it’s really just a first world problem. We would have to do that ride again.

    After MFSR we wandered around Galaxy’s Edge a little, checking out the various shops and details in the land. Mel had a bathroom break when Chewy and Rey walked on by. I do a pretty good Wookiee impression so let it rip and Chewy came over and gave me a big handshake, Wookie style! Awesome. Rey told me not to get captured by the first order and I told her I had a fast ship waiting if trouble came. Great interaction, a lot of fun.

    After SWGE, did Haunted Mansion Holiday again (love that ride) and got on the Sailing Ship Columbia for a leisurely sail around the Rivers of America. The just browsed the shops along Main Street, exited and went to Earl of Sandwich for lunch and returned to the Hotel via the Paradise Pier again.

    That evening we had a River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Package. So while we rested up a bit at the hotel, we got a fastpass for Haunted Mansion, returning to DL about 6pm. First thing we did was wander through SWGE, it’s even more impressive at night. Then did our HM fastpass and over to River Belle Terrace for our Dinner. It was fine, my appetiser (Corn Chowder) was ordinary but my main (entree, Short Rib) was great and my desert (Maleficent Dragon) was spectacular. Whereas my wife’s main (entree, Pulled Pork Sandwich) was just OK and the rest (House Salad, Cookies and Cream Pudding) was good. So hit and miss but the service and atmosphere were top notch so I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s good value at $45 plus tax and tip IMO.

    Then we headed to Fantasyland and did Mr Toads and Snow White before heading back through SWGE to New Orleans Square for our Fantasmic show. Great as usual of course and the reserved areas were half empty for all the packages as far as I could see. It meant we had our choice of spot and were able to spread out on the large travel towel we had brought with us so it was a great experience overal. Then we left for some mandatory window shopping and finished the night with a ride on the Jungle Cruise (a walk on by this stage with half a boatload). Then back to the hotel for the evening having lasted until about 45 mins before the park closed.

    Today we did 28759 steps and 22.4km (about 14 miles). Anyone would think we were in our 30’s!!! 😂🤣😂 except our legs. Thank goodness for well worn in good quality walking shoes 👍👍👍
     
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    sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    DAY 3, Monday Dec 23rd.

    Well I’d had this persistent cough for a couple of weeks prior to this trip you see . . . .

    The original plan was for me to go to Knotts this morning, for Melissa to go to the Spa and we would maybe meet for a late lunch somewhere, maybe even Mrs Knotts.

    But this rotten cough of mine hit with a vengeance on Sunday night (started late in the park on Sunday) and wouldn’t stop all night. So as a result, neither of us got any sleep and we were feeling terrible. We knew there was no way we were going to do much so we decided to make lemonade and see the new Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker. We booked a 10am session online, grabbed a Lyft and headed to the AMC 30 at the Outlets at Orange (yes, more shopping coming up), grabbing a quick breakfast sandwich at the Corner Bakery which was pretty good.

    Great movie. No spoilers but I thought it really wrapped up the Skywalker Saga beautifully. Plus even though I had guessed who Rey was way back after seeing The Force Awakens it was still great to see all the “why’s” behind everything. I have zero idea why this movie is getting average reviews. It ties up pretty much every loose thread in the Skywalker Saga for fans really well within a great story. Yes it’s got a similar storyline to some of the previous movies but then again, so does just about every western you’ve ever seen. It is basically a western set in space after all, the ongoing story of good vs evil, redemption and regret.

    So we really liked it.

    Then some window shopping took place, surprise, surprise and while we didn’t buy anything we saw plenty of interest so resolved to return on Boxing Day which is a huge sale event in Australia, not sure about the USA but we will see. (We did and it isn’t).

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    Where we saw The Rise of Skywalker.

    Then got a Lyft back to the Hotel, grabbed lunch at the food court and rested up for the rest of the day after a quick visit to the CVS on Harbour and Katella.

    Suitably medicated, we watched some of the Darts on the iPad but fell asleep before the Aussie, Simon Whitlock, played his match (but he won so all good). Around 7pm we were feeling better so decided to go to Denny’s for dinner (the one on Orangewood). Yes we like Denny’s and were looking forward to a meal there, so sue me. Then back to the hotel for the Harry Potter Marathon on USA I think, correct me if I’m wrong.

    We still had a great day and some much needed rest. Maybe everything had just caught up with us but it just shows the value of keeping your plans flexible. I spreadsheet my holidays with the best of them but am always prepared to adapt my careful plans at any time if needed. Unfortunately I would miss going to Knott’s on this trip.

    Day 3 was a light day, just 9296 steps and 7 k’s (4.5 miles).
     
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    sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    DAY 4, Tue Dec 24th, a big day!

    Well today we had a car to pick up, Radiator Springs Racers to ride, shopping to do and World of Colour to see.

    Most things went to plan . . . . .

    We headed for DCA first thing. This was originally going to be our Magic Morning for DL but we changed that when we heard every day was going to be MM from the 24th through New Year. We would now do our MM tomorrow on Christmas Day.

    Caught a Lyft to the Disneyland Hotel and entered through security at that end of DD. Again, zero line. Once in DCA, got MaxPass and secured RSR FP’s for 9-40am, sweet. Went over to Pixar Pier to see what the line was like at Toy Story Midway Mania but it was too long so I did Incredicoaster single rider.

    At this point I’d just like to say that while Pixar Pier looks great, I thing that Paradise Pier was one of the things they actually got right with DCA V1.0 and I’m not sure the update/overlay/re-theming or whatever you call it was necessary. I don’t object to it, I think it looks great but I just don’t think it was necessary.

    Anyway, that’s just my opinion.

    So headed over to our RSR fastpass and stopped at Flo’s V8 cafe for breakfast. Just some breakfast sandwiches which were fine, bacon, egg, hash brown. Did RSR which was just as good as we remembered. Definitely one of the best rides at any Disney Park we have been to (along with Indy) and it blows Test Track at Epcot out of the water despite been a similar ride system. While in line we got a fastpass for, wait for it, Haunted Mansion Holiday so headed over to DL. It was about 10am by this time.

    Once in DL we did Buzz which was a 5 min wait and our FP window opened for HMH so we got a FP for Indy and joined the line for Pirates. It was showing a 20 min wait but ended up been less than 15 mins. Then over to Haunted Mansion and with our Indy FP window opening, I got myself a FP for Splash Mountain. We rode Indy and as Melissa wasn’t interested in Splash she did Winnie the Pooh at the same time as it was showing a 10 min wait.

    When I got off Splash, it was around 11-45am. Yes, the wait times were that low, FP’s that plentiful and the crowds VERY manageable. A leisurely breakfast, 2 parks, 7 rides (6 for Mel) and some window shopping in basically 3.5 hours without any rushing. 👍👌👍

    As we headed out of DL we did some more window shopping but I had to leave and go pick up the car as they were only working a half a day. Melissa walked back to the hotel while I went and got the car from Hertz on Katella just after Clementine St. Of all things they ended up giving us a VW Beetle. I checked that the boot (trunk) would be big enough and said that was fine. The other choices were SUV’s but I preferred the Beetle as the luggage was out of sight in the hatch whereas the SUV’s had no tonneau cover.

    So back to the hotel I drove (that feels more natural in California), picked up Melissa (I actually beat her back by about 5 mins) and off we drove to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Great Shopping Centre with some wonderful displays including a Christmas Tree which much more impressive than the one at DL (which was great, this one is just better) and a snow scene multi level train set near the carousel.

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    The Christmas Tree at South Coast Plaza

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    The snow scene train set at South Coast Plaza.

    We were actually looking for an Optometrist as Melissa had broken her sunglasses on Day 1 (snapped them in half) so we’re looking for some clip on lenses she could use with her normal spectacles but after visiting several stores, we concluded that just wasn’t a thing in SoCal. Hunger got the better of us (it was after 2pm) so we settled upon an Italian Cafe called Quattro Caffe

    O

    M

    G

    For a cafe in a shopping centre, this place was amazing. All fresh ingredients freshly made, bread not full of sugar, beautiful sauces and seasonings and all cooked perfectly. Melissa had the Ravioli, each piece was about 3” by 3” (7cm x 7cm) and I had the Chicken Panini with roasted Tomato, Asparagus and a light pesto style dressing with Truffle Fries.

    Be-you-ti-ful!

    Then a bit of a shop at Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and a few smaller stores before we decided to head back to the Hilton as we had fastpasses for World of colour that evening. I had also got another FP for Radiator Springs Racers at 7-20pm before we left the parks earlier that day and I had snagged Guardians while shopping for around 6-10pm.

    So back we went to DCA about 6pm and we headed to Guardians, rode and got a different soundtrack which was great (Jackson 5 “I want you back” btw). Then we headed towards RSR for our fastpass but stopped on the way at Crazy Cones for a Churro with Caramel dipping sauce, the best version of a Churro in our humble opinion :). Still had some time so jumped on Mater and got off that ride just in time to hear that WoC had been cancelled “due to technical issues”. It certainly wasn’t the weather which had been pretty good most of the day.

    So with that slight disappointment, I had a look at wait times in DL and saw Pirates was pretty low so we went over and did that before calling it a night (after some more window shopping on the way out of course :)

    Off to bed earlyish as tomorrow we would be up at 5-15am to get ready for our MM at DL on Christmas Day. We were (well I was) anticipating huge crowds so we had a reservation for the Droid Depot and Blue Bayou for lunch. It was an interesting day and I’ll talk about it further in my next post.

    Big day as I said, 33430 steps and 27.41km (just over 17 miles).
     
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  • theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Enjoying your trip report! FYI for any future DLR trips: we also were looking for clip on sunglasses recently and concluded that Amazon.com was our best bet. Someone suggested that we look in our local dollar store, but Amazon.com was reliable and inexpensive. And we like Quattro Cafe at SCP, too. SCP has great shopping and very good food (surprisingly good for a mall!).
    Glad you and your wife had a great time at DLR. :)
     

    sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    Thanks Kangarucci, glad to have you along.
    FYI for any future DLR trips: we also were looking for clip on sunglasses recently and concluded that Amazon.com was our best bet.
    Thanks for the suggestion, we just eventually bought a massive cheap pair from a souvenir shop to wear over her specs when we hit Monterey later in the trip.

    She was not too thrilled with the look but at least the glare was gone 😝👍😎
     

    sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    Day 5, Christmas Day, Dec 25th. WHERE IS EVERYBODY!

    Not at Disneyland I can tell you that. . . . . . .

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    waiting for our MM. Roughly 6-40am.

    We got up early as planned and were walking to the Elevators by about 5-55am. I called for a Lyft and there was one about 25 mins away but there was a Lux only 15 mins away so we chose that one. We were dropped off at the Disneyland Hotel again about 6-20am but this proved to be wholly unnecessary as it turned out there was not much of a line at the Harbour Entrance. No worries, we joined the line (1 other family) at 6-30am for our MM entry. When we arrived, there were less than than 50 people waiting and by the time 7am rolled around, I’d say there were less than 500 people waiting to get in and most of them arrived just before 7am.

    Great.

    So we headed in, bought. MaxPass again (really wish that lady at the ticket counter had sold us the 5 days as I originally asked), got a FP for Haunted Mansion (what else) and headed to Fantasyland. I was a little worried as the only things open were Matterhorn and Snow White. After a few minutes though Peter Pan opened up and we were about the 3rd group in line. Then we did Mr Toads and with Casey and the Canal boats still closed we headed over to Tomorrowland. Hunger got the better of us so we mobile ordered from the Galactic Grill which wasted 10-15 mins of our MM (along with the 5 mins waiting for PP to open) then we did Star Tours, Buzz, Nemo, caught the train to New Orleans Square for our Haunted Mansion FP but we didn’t need it as it was a walk on. Then we did Pirates, headed back to Fantasyland for Casey’s, across to ToonTown for Roger Rabbit, wandered through Minnie’s house, did the walkthrough of the Mickey meet and greet but turned around at the garden before the actual M&G, wandered around Toon Town a bit, saw Pluto and decided to head to GE for my Droid reservation (Mel was just an observer)

    It was 10-06am.

    On Christmas Day.

    Wow. . . . .

    So we headed to the Droid Depot, waited about 5-10 mins and built ourselves our very own BB-8 complete with Resistance personality chip and carry backpack. It’s a lot heavier than I expected, stands about 10” tall (say 25cm), looks to be good quality and should be hours of fun chasing the cat around the house. Also bought a clockwork R2-D2 which looks great and stands about 3” tall.

    It was now 10-36am.

    So we went to Jolly Holiday for a pastry and a drink (juice for me, Hot Chocolate for Mel) using Mobile Order and it was ready while we were still in New Orleans Square so hot footed it and had a little rest while watching the crowds in the hub get bigger but still nowhere what I expected. If there were more than 40000 people in the park, I’d be very surprised.

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    It’s Christmas Day, where is everyone.

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    No really, where are you?

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    Toontown, it’s about 9-15am

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    Well we found some people

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    OK, this is silly. Galaxy’s Edge at 10-36am after we built our droid.

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    I didn’t build that one, out of my price range :-(

    We then ambled back to our 11-40am Blue Bayou lunch reservation and checked out the shops around the restaurant. Bought an enchanted rose hanging decoration for the Christmas tree next year and headed over to the restaurant.

    We were seated in Blue Bayou by 11-45am and both decided on the Surf and Turf which was delicious although Melisssa’s filet was a little dry. I also got a Louisiana Lemonade with the glowy ice cube and Mel just had a Diet Coke. Great fun watching the boats go by and Mel’s phone took some great shots and video in the low light.

    After a leisurely lunch, we ambled back to the hotel and rested up for a while as we had another World of Color and RSR FP. I also got a Toy Story FP for just after WoC (if it was on).
    We napped at the hotel for a couple of hours and got some preliminary packing done then headed back to DCA for our RSR fastpass. We decided to travel light so just took our phones and camera. For dinner Mel got some Chowder from Pacific Wharf Cafe and I had some pot stickers from Fortune Cookie along with an IPA “beer”.

    OMG what a foul concoction that was, dreamt up by someone who hates beer drinkers and Australians. It tasted like bath water that had been shown a picture of some hops once, strained through grandmas pot pourri and gassed with a soda stream machine. Haven’t had such a terrible beer since the pumpkin spiced ale I had in Yosemite 14 years ago. Or my last Budweiser in 1991. I’ll stick with Sam Adams or Corona (no fruit, you don’t put fruit in beer) while I’m here. That was my last of a few failed experiments with “something different” when it comes to beer in the USA.

    At least the pot stickers were good :)

    More crowded by now and as we got off RSR the crowds were beginning to gather for WoC. About 20 mins before the show started, the rain came in. Luckily I had my waterproof jacket on but Mel’s parka was not waterproof. After a few minutes, Mel left to seek refuge on Pixar Pier in one of the shops while I waited in the rain.

    The show was great but I was soaked from the waist down but we did Toy Story anyway and wandered back to the hotel. Time for a shower to warm up, catch up on the cricket and get some sleep.

    We were determined to have a more relaxing day tomorrow!

    21756 steps, 17km (10.5 miles).

    BTW, those are my steps, you can probably add about 20% to 25% for Mel as she is quite petite and has to do more steps than myself who is a tall strapping hulk of a man with a long stride, film star looks and a well adjusted sense of modesty.

    Well. . . . . . . . .

    I’m a 6 foot Aussie with glasses and a beer gut, but you know what I mean.
     
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    sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    DAY 6, Dec 26th, last day, actual shopping and Disney light.

    We had a great sleep the night before, the cough had temporarily abated and we woke up at about 8-30am.

    Not too sure if we would go to the parks but I decided to go down there and scan us both in so we could get MaxPass just in case. Feeling very well rested, I powerwalked it and made it from the Hilton lobby to the DCA turnstiles in 14 mins, a new record. That was catching every light, no delays at security and a pretty clear pathway. Most of the time we were doing it in 17-18 mins.

    So scanned our tickets and started to organise MaxPass when I overheard a family struggling to understand it. I didn’t think the cast member was explaining it very well so I offered to show them the process as I organised it on my phone. They asked a few questions which I answered and I let them know that it included photos which they also didn’t know. Even showed them how to book a fastpass on my phone (well Mel’s phone really). Long story short, they had a teenager who understood everything I had said and already had an account and the app. Dad was a bit worried about the cost but I let him know if they just wanted photos, only 1 MaxPass was really needed as long as they stayed together.

    Back to the Hotel, Mel had done a bit more packing as we were leaving the next morning and we headed out for some actual shopping. Got to the Outlets at Orange and had Brunch at Jonny Rockets which was good plus the waitress wrote her name as well as the smiley faces on paper plates in Ketchup (Tomato Sauce) which we thought was clever.

    Then the serious shopping began. Up until now most of our shopping had been for medications, lozenges and energy drinks (plus BB-8 and R2-D2 of course). But now shoes, shirts and Jackets were on the agenda.

    RANT ALERT!!!!

    You know, shopping is quite simple really. Find something you like, ask the sales assistant on the floor any questions about it, try it on if it’s a piece of clothing then go to the counter, pay the clerk for it and shoot through.

    Not a concept many seem to grasp from my observations on the last couple of trips. People get to the front of that line and monopolise the poor clerk trying to total them up for 10-15 mins (I timed a couple of them). Just pay up and move on, these people don’t get paid enough to have to deal with you whining about not been able to return a pair of shoes you bought at a different outlet store in a different state.

    Anyway, rant over.

    We gathered up our haul and on the drive back, we decided we should try and see the entire Christmas Parade (we had only seen a small part of it on Sunday) so we parked at the hotel, walked to DL and walked straight into Town Square as the first float was coming from backstage. We were right behind one of the park benches, amazing luck. Really enjoyed the parade so once it was finished, we headed up Main Street (via the shops) to see the lighting of Small World. We had seen it already lit up but it was amazing to see it suddenly light up in the darkness. (We did ride Small World at some stage during the trip but I have no idea when. It may have been Christmas Eve?)

    We then headed over to DCA as I had got an RSR FP just in case. It wasn’t until 6-40pm so we wandered into Carsland and did Mater and Luigi’s which were walk ons, wandered around some of the shops and got another Churro with Caramel Sauce.

    Then we heard the news, RSR was down. It wasn’t down for long but it was long enough that all FP’s converted to an all experience FP. We were getting hungry so we headed out of the park to Earl of Sandwich for a light dinner. Halfway there I checked the app and RSR was running again, pretty sure it was still in our FP return window but we had the all experience FP’s showing. Mel said she wasn’t really up for going back which I understood but I decided I would do it after all. So after dinner we walked back through the Disney Home store and the World of Disney, bought a couple of last minute keepsakes plus a new bowl for our cat and Mel headed back to the hotel.

    Once in DCA I thought I’d try it on and use Mel’s all experience FP for Toy Story. Worked fine and I also got my highest score ever (220100). Not that impressive but I was pleased. Then I headed to RSR with my fingers crossed It was operating.

    The other all experience FP (mine) had disappeared from the app so I tried scanning my paper ticket which worked fine and on I went for my final ride at Disneyland Resort for at least a few years, maybe ever.

    Then it was back to the hotel to do some packing and prepare to leave the next morning.

    So that’s it for the Anaheim part of our trip. Much more park heavy than usual for us as we are usually there longer so visit places like Newport Beach but we enjoyed it thoroughly and got some great souvenirs, clothes and toys. Plus I think we were blessed with the crowds. I wasn’t expecting NYE crowds but definitely much worse than we ended up with. I’ve been several times with much heavier crowds (Memorial Day Weekend, Veterans Day WE) so it was great. Probably didn’t need the 5 day pass but it was well worth it anyway.

    26488 steps and 21km (13 miles).

    Total for the week, 139,639 steps and 109.5 km (65.25 miles) in the 6 days, Sat 21st to Thursday 26th Dec at an average of 23273 steps and 18.25 km (10.9 miles) per day.

    We had well and truly wiped ourselves out.

    E1F61FB6-B9FB-4C13-8791-5634E101C9FC.jpeg
    That about sums it up 👍
     
    Last edited:
  • sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    A few thoughts in summary.

    MaxPass is brilliant and I would never visit without getting it. The only thing I would like to see is the ability to modify your fastpass selections. Currently you need to cancel the current FP and select a new one, by which time the FP you saw may not be available. It’s a minor thing though.

    Again on the crowds. I know people will say the week between Christmas and NYE in the busiest week and it is. But these crowds were really manageable and more like an average busy Friday than the days surrounding Christmas.

    When we left (Dec 27th) the roads, footpaths and parking lots around Disneyland were jam packed at 10am so it seemed the crowds had finally descended. I didn’t expect it to be as bad as that while we were there but closer to that than what we were lucky to experience.

    Plus we still really like the Outlets at Orange and South Coast Plaza. If you can’t find a bargain there, you’re not looking properly. I know shopping isn’t everyone’s thing but it’s something we enjoy and frankly, we are really good at it :)

    Hope you found this trip report interesting and I’m happy to answer any questions or read any comments you may have.
     

    StarlitNight05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2016
    Loving your trip report! It's been a wonderful read.

    I’ll stick with Sam Adams or Corona (no fruit, you don’t put fruit in beer) while I’m here.
    This literally made me laugh out loud. Totally reminded me of Hank Hill from King of the Hill (and my DH). I love limes in Corona, but DH always just shakes his head at me in disgust. :sad2: :teeth:
     

    sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    Glad you enjoyed the report StarlitNight105. Thanks for reading and glad it made you laugh a bit, that IPA made me gag 😩😭

    But yes, this fruit in beer lark, well try asking for that in a suburban Aussie pub and see how far you get 😝👎
     

    StarlitNight05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2016
    Glad you enjoyed the report StarlitNight105. Thanks for reading and glad it made you laugh a bit, that IPA made me gag 😩😭

    But yes, this fruit in beer lark, well try asking for that in a suburban Aussie pub and see how far you get 😝👎
    I'll definitely stay clear of that IPA...it was from Lucky Fortune right? It sounds absolutely awful!

    And I'll be sure not to ask for fruit in my beer if I find myself in an Aussie pub! 😂
     

    Montanabel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2014
    DAY 1 - Sat Dec 21st, the actual Disneyland visit begins!

    This is turning out to be a very looooong day 1. It’s still Saturday!

    So after our 4 esses at the Hilton Gym, we walked up to DCA because the best way to get over that trip is to keep moving until you drop. So that’s what we did.

    We arrived at security about 9-45am, went through and joined the line at a ticket booth to exchange our voucher. We did ask the cast member to give us MaxPass for the 5 days we had but she said we may not need it. We went back and forth a bit, I think she was trying to save us some money when she saw my CC was attached to my Disney account so in the end I said thanks and went to DCA, getting MaxPass once through the turnstiles. In the park about 10-15am on about 4-5 hours sleep in the past 48 hours.

    We got a FP for Guardians then went to Grizzly River Run which was a walk on because not many people had taken their spoonful of concrete that morning :). Then we went to Incredicoaster and I rode single rider as my wife has some back issues so finds roller coasters a bit too much whereas stuff like Indy, Guardians and the like are fine.

    Anyway, took about 10 mins to get on that then headed back to Guardians for our FP. Haven’t done the Guardians version yet since it was ToT. Great reskin, really enjoyed it. Then said happy holidays to the cast member at Monsters Inc. and she gave us a buddy pass so we could bypass the line. Again we were on in under 10 mins so made a point of thanking her when we exited. She offered us another buddy pass but we declined saying she could share the love. Looked around the shops in Hollywoodland and then it was time to parkhop. It’s getting real fuzzy now but I think it was about 12-30pm by this stage.

    We had gotten a FP for Buzz Lightyear and were able to stack FP’s for Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder. Then I got a FP for both Matterhorn and Space Mountain for myself as Mel wanted a bit of a rest. While I was in line for Matterhorn, I got a FP for Indy (love that ride) for the both of us. It was around 5pm by this stage so we had a quick look at the shops along Main Street then exited DL and wandered through Downtown Disney. Had a quick look in the World of Disney Store and went to look at the changes at the Disneyland Hotel end of DD. As we were up that end, we just walked back to the Hilton via Paradise Pier and Katella. We were back at the hotel around 6-30pm.

    View attachment 464699
    what a great shirt
    View attachment 464700
    here’s our little trouble maker!

    You’ll find a recurring theme in our TR’s, shopping!👍😁

    Anyhow, quick dinner at the food court at the Hilton and off to bed as we had well and truly hit the wall.

    Day 1, 19,910 steps and 14.7km (about 10 miles).

    The plan for the next day was to Rope Drop DL for Galaxy’s Edge and Smugglers Run.

    Do we make it??????
    Wow! You did all that on your first day! I'm exhausted just reading this :)
     

    Montanabel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2014
    Sjmac42, awesome TR. You and your wife achieved so much (I'm super impressed how many times you did the Haunted Mansion - the holiday version is my favourite). Thank you for including links to various places. I haven't heard of South Coast Plaza before but after seeing your photos, I am going to look into that one for future trips.......

    I'm amazed how light the crowds were for you on Christmas Day. We spent Christmas at Disneyland in 2017, the morning wasn't busy and we got a number of rides done, but then come lunchtime, EVERYONE arrived. You couldn't move in Fantasyland and New Orleans was not much better. We ended up focusing on parades before leaving at 4pm for an early Christmas dinner at Goofy's Kitchen (yum!).

    Thanks for the tips on MaxPass. Did you end up going somewhere else in the USA before coming home?

    And your cat is so cute!
     

    sjmac42

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2017
    Hey Montanbel, glad you enjoyed the TR. HM and HMH are just the best aren’t they👍
    I'm amazed how light the crowds were for you on Christmas Day.
    I was absolutely shocked and it was like that most of the week (Dec 21st to 26th). It really wasn’t until the day we were leaving we saw the expected huge crowds heading to the parks.
    Last time I went at Christmas was 1991 and it was a ghost town, did not expect that this time. I was checking the app and Fantasmic FP’s were still available well into the afternoon.
    Did you end up going somewhere else in the USA before coming home?
    Sure did, 2 nights in Santa Barbara, 1 night at Ragged Point (just north of Cambria), through Big Sur to Monterey for 3 nights, back to Pismo Beach via the 101 for 1 night then LA itself for the last 4 nights.
    And your cat is so cute!
    And the little bugger knows it . . . . . . . .
     

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