Disneyland over New Years plus a taste of Canada and Hawaii UPDATE

OziJo

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Hi Diser's. It's been 2 weeks since we have been a back from our Christmas in Canada, Disneyland New Year, WWoHP visit and Hawaii Recovery trip. I've been wanting to get back here to write a report but haven't had a chance until now.

I do these reports because I have found other reports to be be interesting, inspiring and informative. I have found the DIS to be very helpful in answering my questions. Knowing that there are so many others in the world who obsess about dinner reservations and making the most out of Max Passes as well as dreaming of the rides and worlds - the most amazing places to escape to - makes me feel part of a beautiful world wide community. Mostly though, I do these reports for my own benefit - to re-live the good times, learn from any mistakes and as therapy to help relieve the post-trip blues. In my sig you will find a link to a Pre-Trip report as well as the report of our epic 2012 Disney World trip.

So to introduce the "We". We are from Sydney, Australia. We are me - Jo, DH- Mark and our youngest of 3 DD's - Hannah.


Disney's California Adventure on New Years Eve...
by Joanne Easton, on Flickr


This trip was all about our youngest DD and her was inspired by her semester studying at the University of Alberta in Canada. As soon as we knew she was going for 4 months ending at Christmas, I began to plan a trip that included a White Christmas and a Disneyland New Year.

My first choice was to go back to Disney World. In 2012 we had the most amazing time staying for 11 nights in a Fort Wilderness Cabin. This time though, Disney World was really too far out of the way as well as being a fair bit more expensive. Also our time was limited so we "settled" for DR and just as I was about to settle on 3 day non-hopper passes, our TA came up with a 4 day for the price of 2 park hopper deal! Oh yeah!!!

We decided to stay at the Anaheim Camelot Inn. We had stayed there in 2009 with all 5 of us and it was perfect for our needs. Good sized rooms with a fridge and microwave and just across the road from the parks. The only disappointment was that they no longer included breakfast. Other wise it was just right.


View from Anaheim Camelot Inn...
by Joanne Easton, on Flickr
 
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OziJo

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
This trip was divided into lots of 4 or 5 nights - 5 nights in Edmonton, 5 nights in Banff (plus 1 night in Calgary to allow for an early morning flight) 4 nights in Disneyland, 5 nights in Hollywood (includes Universal) and 5 nights in Hawaii. 25 nights including 5 flights totaling 35 hours of flying time plus about 5 hours of bus travel between Edmonton and Banff the from Banff to Calgary. Not to mention all the to and from the airport trips. Phew! All that travel was exhausting and though I do get anxious we never had any issues despite the US Government shutdown. In fact, going through customs in Canada before leaving meant we were able to walk out of LAX straight to baggage collection like a local. That was a bonus! All this traveling was well worth it for this trip though I plan to make future trips less hectic.

Anyway the main focus of this TR will be our 4 full on days in DR but I will say a little about the rest and post a few fun photos along the way.

So here goes:

Arriving in Edmonton was a surreal experience for us. We live huddled to the narrow coast of a wide brown land and seeing the wide open white fields as we flew into Edmonton was strange. It was night and at first I didn't really know what I was looking at then I realised what the blanket of white surrounded by twinkling city lights was - we were really going to have a White Christmas!

Edmonton is a lovely city. The people are truly polite as they go out of their way to hold doors open for you and always thank the bus drivers. The University of Alberta Campus was stunning covered in snow and Hannah took us on a tour of the University as well as showing us some of the highlights of the town. Here are some of those highlights...


Fun in the Snow...
by Joanne Easton, on Flickr
University of Alberta in the Snow...
[URL='https://flic.kr/p/2d1y9tK']University of Alberta in the Snow...


West Edmonton Mall...


NHL Match Edmonton Oilers v St Louis Blues


Crossing the River...


Christmas Lights Display...


Christmas Lights Display
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OziJo

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
I wanted to post these pictures in a separate posts. They may have been taken in a bakery in Edmonton but they contain all magic of the WWoHP. This was a real surprise as Hannah took us on a bus trip across town. When we arrived we entered at what first appeared to be an ordinary bakery until we were confronted by this amazing creation...

Gingerbread Hogwarts, Duchess Bake Shop Edmonton





Next up I'll post some shots of our amazing White Christmas in Banff then it will be onto DR for New Years.
 
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  • OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    Our next stop was Banff. We took a Red Arrow bus to Calgary Airport then changed to the Banff Airporter which dropped us off right outside our hotel. I love bus and train travel. Being able to look at the scenery go by means that the journey is part of the adventure and not just a means to an end. The travel time overall was about 5 hours but that included about an hour in Calgary airport where we were able to pick up some lunch. Both buses where comfortable with big open windows to watch the world go by. I really want to travel to Canada again but in the Autumn and take the Rocky Mountaineer train trip. That may have to wait until we retire in about 6 years.

    Here we are on the Road to Banff...


    Let us in please its cold...
    by Joanne Easton, on Flickr

    On the Road to Banff
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/23NZq6i]
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2ekRjes]
    A Calgary Welcome
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2eqrzFg]
    Back On the Road to Banff...
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/23NZqSZ]
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2epokXM]
    Here we are in Banff...
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2d1xRYk]
    Banff...
    [/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url]
     
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    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    Banff is a beautiful place to spend Christmas. It's a picturesque little town that when dusted with snow and decorated for the Holidays, is the real Christmas town that I dreamed of all those sunny Aussie Christmas days watching Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. We took the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and looking over the town andwith snow clouds drifting at eye level against patches of blue sky. We took a day trip to Lake Louise where we skated on the frozen river and walked in the Winter Wonderland. We visited Banff Springs Hotel for lunch as it lightly snowed on Christmas day then walked along the beautiful Bow River. We had Christmas dinner at the Maple Leaf Hotel eating fresh Canadian cuisine then walked through the town as the snow fell a little heavier.

    I believe we had the best of the weather. A unaccustomed as we are to snow the previous weeks snowfall laying on the ground along with the light snowfall we experienced was just right for us. We would not have known how to deal with a snow storm - it would have only made it difficult to have all the experiences we wanted. The two times it did snow heavily it was evening and we were having a drink while watching the snow fall from behind a window after a days exploring.

    I'll post a few photos of our time in Banff then I'll get to Disneyland during New Years week.

    Banff Christmas Store... by Joanne Easton, on Flickr



    Banff Gondola...


    Banff Gondola Center


    From the Top of Sulphur Mountain...



    Sky Bistro, Banff Gondola Center...


    Banff Gondola Center Terrace

    Banff Gondola Center Terrace
     
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  • Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    So much fun! I'm definitely along for the ride! It was fun to see all your pictures of Edmonton, Calgary, and Banff in the winter. I have a good friend that's from Calgary, and lives in Edmonton, and I visited her (in my previous life, in college, before children) one summer and we did all that fun tourist stuff! We did Banff, and saw Sulphur Mountain, but we hiked up the trail and then got to take a gondola ride down. I was not in the -best- shape of my life, and it nearly took me out! It was super beautiful though! I would love to see it all at Christmas!
     

    MouseOfCards

    Finally jumped in . . .
    DVC Premium
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2016
    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing. We're hoping to do a Banff trip around our Alaska cruise. Never thought of taking the bus - looks so relaxing. Was the bus part of a tour? Is taking the bus better than renting a car? I'm assuming you also saw Lake Louise and Jasper? Did you stay in one place for your whole Banff area trip?
     

    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    So much fun! I'm definitely along for the ride! It was fun to see all your pictures of Edmonton, Calgary, and Banff in the winter. I have a good friend that's from Calgary, and lives in Edmonton, and I visited her (in my previous life, in college, before children) one summer and we did all that fun tourist stuff! We did Banff, and saw Sulphur Mountain, but we hiked up the trail and then got to take a gondola ride down. I was not in the -best- shape of my life, and it nearly took me out! It was super beautiful though! I would love to see it all at Christmas!
    Hi Jaina thanks for joining in :flower1: We saw people on the trail as we were on the Gondola. There's no way we would have attempted that especially in the snow. We loved Edmonton. The people were so friendly and polite.

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing. We're hoping to do a Banff trip around our Alaska cruise. Never thought of taking the bus - looks so relaxing. Was the bus part of a tour? Is taking the bus better than renting a car? I'm assuming you also saw Lake Louise and Jasper? Did you stay in one place for your whole Banff area trip?
    Hi MouseofCards thnaks for dropping by :flower:

    If you are doing the Alaska tour then you will be leaving from either Vancouver or Seattle right? if so to get to Banff you will either need to fly to Calgary or take the train from Vancouver across the Rockies to Jasper than you take a bus along the Icefields Parkway to Banff via Lake Louise. The Rocky Mountaineer Train does tours that either stop at Jasper or then take you on a bus to Banff with a night in Lake Louise. These tours only take place from mid April to early October. One day I would love to do that tour and incorporate the Alsaka cruise as well.

    We considered renting a car but we didn't have any experience driving in the snow. The buses were all comfortable and convenient even within Banff town though you can walk most of it.

    We took the bus from Edmonton to Banff via Calgary. It wasn't part of a tour. Took a Red Arrow Coach from Edmonton to Calgary, then took the Banff Airporter shuttle from Calgary to Banff. We stayed in Banff for 5 days and did a day bus tour with Banff Adventure Tours to Lake Louise on Christmas Eve (pictures up next :)) which is only about 40mins away. We didn't get to Jasper this time. Our daughter did a trip to jasper during her time at the University of Alberta.
     

    OhioStateBuckeye

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2007
    Banff looked like a great place to spend Christmas.

    Bet it was even more special since you are used to having a warm Christmas.
     
  • Jason2015

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2016
    Enjoying the report so far. Sounds like a great holiday adventure with such differing locations.
     

    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    So it's been ages since I've been here. I stopped updating when I had issues with photos. I think that's sorted now and I've finally come back determined to finish this before New Years. In fact it may be more relevant for those heading to Disneyland this New Years Eve. So I'll add a few photos of our Banff Christmas just to finish it off.

    On Christmas Eve we took a tour to Lake Louise with Discover Banff Tours. Lake Louise was a true WInter Wonderland with a frozen lake for ice skating, ice castles and sleigh rides (which we could see in action but missed out on because we didn't book in advance) and the Chateau Lake Louise all beautifully decorated. Here are some shots
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    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    And a few from Christmas day. A light lunch at The Banff Springs Hotel, a walk along the Bow River and dinner at The Maple Leaf. It snowed a little throughout the day then quite heavily on Christmas night. Very Magical. Our wish for a White Christmas had come true...

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    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    We spent Boxing Day relaxing in Banff town and checking out the Banff Lower Hot Springs. On the 27th, we said farewell to Banff and headed off the Calgary. We spent the afternoon exploring the city before an early night - because the next day we were heading to Disneyland!

    All these months later I still clearly remember, as we settled into our West Jet premium economy seats, turning suddenly to Hannah and excitedly saying "We are going to Disneyland!" It's the best feeling :)

    After an uneventful flight we landed in LAX and since we had already gone through US customs in Calgary, we just had to pick up our luggage, find a taxi and head to the Anaheim Camelot Inn. All went smoothly until the Taxi driver's eftpos machine wasn't working and we didn't have enough cash. Luckily the little shop at the hotel had a cash machine. The driver gave us a little discount for our troubles :) We couldn't check in for another couple of hours so we decided to head straight out for some DL afternoon magic. From now on we were in full on Disney mode!!!

    Friday Dec 29: Day 1 of our 4 Day Park Hopper Pass - No Max Pass on this day so no fast passes. We had to wing it...

    It was a cool but sunny Friday afternoon with lots of people around. We activated our 4 day Park Hopper Pass, made it through security, and were heading down main street before we knew it. The park was quite crowded but not really uncomfortably so. Our first stop was Jungle Cruise. There was a little wait but I love waiting in that line. It feels so Disney with the theming and pleasantly relaxed crowd. It's such a laid back ride. We would have liked to do Indiana Jones next but the wait was too long so we headed to Pirates. That was a long line too but we decided to do it anyway. While we waiting in line we had Churros and a cup of tea. Ahh love the smell of Disney Churros in the afternoon...
    446032446033446034446035446031


    After Pirates we managed to get on Splash Mountain then wandered around and enjoyed the afternoon as it turned into evening. We didn't have any ADR's so we decided to go check in to our hotel then on to Tony Roma's for dinner - it's one of our favourites.

    After dinner we headed back to DL. Main Street was stunning lit up for the Holidays. We headed straight to Space Mountain but the wait was too long. Instead we did Star Tours followed by Autopia. We then went to see if we could get on Big Thunder - as I said we were winging it. Luckily the wait wasn't that long :)

    It had been a long day and it was hard to believe that we had been in Canada that morning! We strolled the park enjoying the festive atmosphere. We stopped in at a store on Main Street to buy some clothing merch to wear for the week. It was quite cool so I bought a Minnie Mouse Ears hoodie. Hannah bought a tie dyed pastel Spirit Jersey. Very pretty.

    After a little shopping we decided to wander a some more and managed to get one last ride on Star Tours. Tired but happy that we had managed so much on our first afternoon/evening, we headed back to our hotel for a well earned nights sleep.

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    Lol Disney Snow...
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    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Thanks for catching up my trip too! I'm glad you mentioned you were updating yours so I could come check it out. I am so busy these days that I don't get to read on here as much as I'd like, and I definitely want to see how it went for you! What a crazy thing to be in snowy Canada in the morning and then that night be in southern California at Disneyland instead! I'm glad you enjoyed your Christmas there. We did Christmas away from home for this first time this last year and stayed at the Grand Canyon. We didn't get any snow (😔 - we live in the Phoenix area, so no white Christmases for us!) but it was really more fun than I thought it might be to be traveling on Christmas. I'm excited to see how the rest of your trip went!
     

    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    Following along!
    Thanks for dropping by :)
    Thanks for catching up my trip too! I'm glad you mentioned you were updating yours so I could come check it out. I am so busy these days that I don't get to read on here as much as I'd like, and I definitely want to see how it went for you! What a crazy thing to be in snowy Canada in the morning and then that night be in southern California at Disneyland instead! I'm glad you enjoyed your Christmas there. We did Christmas away from home for this first time this last year and stayed at the Grand Canyon. We didn't get any snow (😔 - we live in the Phoenix area, so no white Christmases for us!) but it was really more fun than I thought it might be to be traveling on Christmas. I'm excited to see how the rest of your trip went!
    I can understand you being busy with a large young family. Yes, going from snowy Canada to Disneyland in a day was strange but it was actually quite cold in the evenings in DIsneyland and found we had to wear some of our Canadian top layers. By New Years Eve the Santa Ana winds up strengthened andd the temperature was quite low. But more of that later...
     

    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    Saturday Dec 29: Day 2 of our 4 Day Park Hopper Pass - Max Passes at the ready, 2 park's to cover and Downtown Disney for dinner...

    At this point I have to give a shout out to our DD Hannah. I would not be able to remember our schedule if she hadn't taken the time to make a list in Notes on her phone of what we did each day. On top of that she was the Max Pass mastermind organising our Fast Passes and making sure we took a photo of our end of ride shot with order number so we could download them later. She was on top of it all and you would never know that a nasty flu like sickness was starting to take hold. She had mentioned a sore throat and stuffy nose on our flight from Canada and while she was coughing some and blowing her nose she wasn't complaining. It did get worse though and as this day came to an end we realised that she wasn't great when she didn't have much of an appetite. The snuffy nose was making it difficult. I realised that she wasn't well so I made sure we went back to our room for a little Siesta. . Even 20 year olds need their Mums to look after them sometimes :) But I'm getting ahead of myself...

    After a quick breakfast at Panera Bread we headed into Disneyland. Again the weather was sunny but cool and the crowd was starting to build. We got through security quite quickly though and we set our sights on Main Street. As soon as we entered the park with bought and loaded our Max Passes. Then Hannah set to work. Checking wait times she decided it was best to get a Space Mountain fast Pass for later in the morning. In the mean time we decided that we could do Indiana Jones so we got in line. After a couple of minutes they announced that the ride had broken down but it would be up and running shortly. Not a great start!

    Hananh checked wait times and saw that Haunted Mansion's was only 13mins. So we left the Indiana line and headed over that way. It was our first time doing Haunted Mansion dressed as Nightmare Before Christmas. In 2009 we were there too late for NBC and rode HM. In 2012 we were again too late for NBC and arrived just as they were transitioning back to HM so it was closed. I was thinking of our middle DD. NBC is one of her favourite movies and she was quite disappointed to have missed out before. We loved the theming, the ride is such fun! I hope our middel DD gets to go back some day.
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    A glimpse of the App showed us that Splash Mountain was a resonable 30min wait and we still had time before our Space Mountain FP. So off we went for our second and last ride on Splash. I don't know why we only did Splash twice. I suppose we just couldn't fit it in agian. We then had a little time to get to Space Mountain and made it well within the window for our first of 4 rides.

    We just love Space Mountain. On our first trip in 1992 I was just pregnant with our first DD and I didn't want to risk doing Space. In 2009 when that little one was 16 and we had a 12 and 10 year old as well, it was a revelation. I love speeding through the dark and the music is awesome. I remember when we left in 2009 one thought I had was that how sad it would be if I never got to ride Space Mountain again. Despite living so far away we have managed to get to Disney twice more so far and I'm hoping that we will get back there again. It's something that inspires me to keep fit, to keep my joints moving and keep my blood pressure under control. I want to be able to travel and stop in at a Disney Park to ride Space Mountain for many years to come!

    So next up DH and DD decided they wanted to do the Matterhorn. Now that's a ride I could take or leave and I wanted to do IASW which I thought they weren't all that keen on. But DD also wanted to do it DH said he wasn't agaisnt it so while they did single rider line bobsleds, I wandered around and took some pictures.


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    Then when DH and DD caught up with me we headed for IASW. The line was long but it was a pleasant wait and a chance to rest. Again it was the first time we had been there for the Holiday theming. It was nice to have a change of music as well :)


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    We had loaded up a FP for Indiana Jones for later on this afternoon so at this point we decided to give Hannah a rest and head back to our Hotel for a light lunch. Our plan for the afternoon was to use the IJ FP then head over to DCA for the rest of the afternoon. We then had a 6.30pm ADR at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen so we were to spend the evening in Downtown Disney.
     

    DLfan4

    Cant wait for another trip to DLR
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2013
    Ozijo, I am glad that your back writing your trip report. We were at DLR just before you (Dec 27 &28) so I was interested to seeing your report. Also, I wanted to say that I really liked your Banff pictures , as We did a camping road trip to Banff this summer.
     

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