Five Days in Disneyland: A Brief History


DIS Veteran
Sep 9, 2012
We just got back from 5 park days, December 1-5. Crowds were AWESOME. I was expecting it to be a bit crazy but we had no issues.

^^^^ Awesome, right?

Maxpass is amazing. I don't know how I'll ever go back to FP+ at WDW. I remember our last WDW trip just not being able to do anything at some points because the lines were so long and all the fastpasses were gone. That definitely wasn't an issue at Disneyland. With a bit of planning ahead of time, we were able to do whatever we wanted.

We flew in and out of SNA and oh my gosh that is so much better than LAX. The weather on our departure day (December 6) was awful so our take off was super bumpy. That plus what seemed like an accelerated take off from SNA made that experience unsettling but we survived.

We used Lansky for transportation to/from the airport and it was a great experience. The driver was waiting at baggage claim and handled our bags for us. We had a Suburban that was nice and clean. The driver was polite and knew his way around. We stopped a grocery store with no problem. The driver called the night before our departure and suggested an earlier pick up time since it was going to be raining in the morning. That was appreciated. We definitely needed it. I really enjoyed their services and not having to lug a car seat through the airport was priceless.

We stayed at the Tropicana. We had a bit of a mix up with the room. We booked a room with a sleeper chair and did not receive one upon check-in. They were able to remedy that quickly and we ended up with a first floor room near the front of the building. The room was clean, but smaller than I expected. One day I'll learn that internet pictures make rooms look bigger. When planning the trip I had a hard time decidign between Tropicana and Candy Cane. I was glad I went with the Tropicana when it came time to walk back to the room. My group would have been grumpy about walking further or having to wait for a shuttle. The water pressure in the shower was lacking but that was our only real issue. Last trip we stayed at Best Western Park Place Inn. I think I'd probably go back to BWPPI over Tropicana next time but it'd be a close call.

We had so much fun at the parks. It was so nice to leave the worries of everyday behind and just spend some quality time with the family.

My youngest was just tall enough to ride the Incredicoaster, which he did willingly... one time. He says never again. It was nice not having to mess with parent switch and strollers. Yay, big kids!

If you're reading this you probably already know the headliners and their popularity but I wanted to point out some "hidden gems" that we enjoyed:

Luigi's and Mater's (sure they're no RSR but we had so much fun whipping around on these)
Autopia ("Yo Soy Bird" became our catchphrase)
Silly Symphony Swings (great views)
Turtle Talk with Crush (Crush asked my husband what his hobbies were. He said "hunting and fishing" without even thinking about where he was. That became the running joke for the rest of the show. "Squirt, stay away from Texas!")
Sorcerer's Workshop (my kids went down there twice to play with the animation things and take that silly quiz. They loved it)

We did two table service meals while we were there. Blue Bayou Fantasmic package dinner and Goofy's Kitchen breakfast.

Blue Bayou: I really enjoyed the ambiance (of course) and the meal was okay. I had the surf and turf and loved the potatoes and vegetables. The steak and lobster were mediocre but not terrible. The gingerbread creme brulee was good but I would have preferred regular. My daughter, who usually likes steak, took one bite and didn't eat the rest (yay $72 meal). She didn't like the potatoes either so she just ate the lobster and veggies. My son had the kid's mac and cheese and seemed happy. He didn't like his chocolate mickey dessert at all though and shared my creme brulee. The service was great and my kids loved waving at the boats passing by. We asked for a waterside table and waited a total of 2 minutes to be seated. Our reservation was for 4:30pm. We'd go back but not with a Fantasmic package.

Goofy's Kitchen: I mean it is what it is. The characters were fun. We had Chip and Dale, Donald, and Pluto w/ Goofy at the front of the restaurant. No Mickey or Minnie. The food was run of the mill buffet. I enjoyed the chicken and waffles pizza. Our reservation was at 10:30, so when were going back into Downtown Disney afterwards, the security lines were very backed up. For some reason I wasn't thinking about having to go back through security, so that was a bummer. We're probably good with not going back here.

We ate at various counter service/snack locations throughout our stay.


Jolly Holiday Bakery (Reuben was great and the tomato soup was delicious)
Flo's V8 (loved the Tuna sandwich)
Bengal BBQ (you HAVE to get the pork belly skewer)
Bing Bong's (slow burn memory refresher... we had it twice it was so good)
Pooh's Corner (my kids had a great time making jelly bean bags and getting Tigger Tails)
Clarabelle's Ice Cream (the hand dipped ice cream was great)
Corn Dog Castle (hot link corn dogs all day. They had problems with their fryer so opened later than normal and we opted to wait around for them to open.. worth it. I also ended up buying sunglasses from the Sunglass Hut right there while we were waiting. They had a $35 off of polarized lens special going.. in case you're in the market for new shades).

Pizza Planet (we should have known better. I think our total was like $62 for bleh pizza)
Cozy Cone Churros (the churros were fine but the poor guy in there by himself moving at negative speed kind of ruined it)
Chocolate covered pineapple skewer (good in theory but blegh)

All in all, we loved the counter service options at Disneyland.

Now for the nighttime entertainment... so basically Fantasmic and the Fireworks. We had the Blue Bayou Fantasmic package and lined up at 8pm for the 9pm show. There were some ladies in line being very territorial about their spot in line by telling anyone who walked up there was a line. I didn't think it was that serious and it turned out it wasn't. There was plenty of room. We ended up basically right in the middle next to the railing. My kids started melting down waiting for the show to start because they were tired and cold. They enjoyed the show but we don't feel the need to ever do it again. We stayed after for the fireworks and they were kind of torture. Fireworks set to Christmas music just don't do the same thing for me as shows like "Believe" or "Wishes". So we were just cold, getting sprayed on by the water screen, and stuck there because of the mass of people behind us.

On that note, it was COLD while we were there. We live in Texas, so take this how you will but I wish I would have packed heavier clothes. We had light jackets, scarves, hats, etc. but were still cold at night. If I could do it again I would have packed puffer jackets (not the super heavy ones but the lighter ones). I think those would have been just right for the nighttime.

Overall we had a great time and made some amazing memories. I think our next Disney trip will be to Walt Disney World in 2020 so it could be a few years before we make it back to Disneyland. Next time we'll probably do 3-4 park days instead of 5 and take some time to see more of Southern California. We'd also try to go another time of year. I missed hearing the normal Esplanade music. I didn't get my fill of "All in the Golden Afternoon" from the Storybook Canal Boats and Alice. Plus Haunted Mansion Holiday just isn't our jam. It's a Small World Holiday was beautiful though.

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DIS Veteran
Jul 14, 2014
Thanks for sharing your trip take! Looks like you guys did have a great time! Although idk if you’ll want to cut your trip back if you come back in a few years. Adding Star Wars Land and Marvel Land to the mix will probably add a day’s worth of stuff since your kids will be of size/age :) Too bad you didn’t get a chance to see WOC.

The cold- I hear you! It can get very cold down there, it can be a damp cold and when that happens it just goes right through whatever you’re wearing.
  • ashnjam

    Howell, Michigan
    Jan 15, 2012
    Great report! Curious to why flying in/out of SNA is so much better oppose to LAX? Is it smaller?
  • deannaf87

    DIS Veteran
    Sep 9, 2012
    Great report! Curious to why flying in/out of SNA is so much better oppose to LAX? Is it smaller?
    It is much smaller and closer to Disneyland. Last time we flew into LAX and it took about 2 hours to get to our hotel. It was during morning rush hour though. We booked our flights this time with points, so LAX and SNA were the same point totals. When we use cash though, SNA tends to be a few hundred dollars higher per ticket. So depending on how many is in your party it might be worth it to use LAX for the savings.


    Howell, Michigan
    Jan 15, 2012
    It is much smaller and closer to Disneyland. Last time we flew into LAX and it took about 2 hours to get to our hotel. It was during morning rush hour though. We booked our flights this time with points, so LAX and SNA were the same point totals. When we use cash though, SNA tends to be a few hundred dollars higher per ticket. So depending on how many is in your party it might be worth it to use LAX for the savings.

    Got ya! The wife just told me that they never used to have direct flights from Detroit to SNA so that’s why we have only flown into LAX. We just checked Delta and it looks like they offer a direct flight now to SNA so we will definitely look into that. Thanks!
  • RainyDayPixie

    Jun 10, 2007
    Sounds like a great trip! I agree, I prefer to visit DL NOT during holiday season. I like the regular DL. I love Christmas. I love DL. But, for me, together it is too much! Though IASW is so beautiful!

    I would definitely feel differently if I visited more than once a year.


    Not of This World
    Feb 18, 2014
    I love reading these! Great looking family. The Turtle Talk incident is hilarious! Those are the things that you talk about long after a trip. A ride is a ride, but an interaction like that makes the best memory.

    Yes, the Trop has small rooms. We stayed there once on a whim trip and it definitely didn't fit the 5 of us very well. Luckily it was only one night. We usually stay at the HoJo. Bigger rooms, even if you get a longer walk. Just wish those Disney hotels were cheaper...or at least in the price range of the WDW mods.

    I'm with you on the table service at DL. Seems like a lot of money for meh food. The CS are so much better - which is opposite of WDW.

    As for the cold weather, that was pretty weird for SoCal. I was watching it and I couldn't believe how cold and rainy it was there. Usually, you just need a sweater for the evenings...and sometimes, not even that on some winter evenings. Just bad timing on the weather.'s still better than a Florida summer day!!!

    I'll split with you on the Christmas season at DL. But for different reasons. In the offseason, the only time you can get nightly fireworks (if they aren't cancelled by the wind) is Christmas season. I got used to WDW doing fireworks every night at 3 of 4 parks. So doing DL with no nighttime spectacular is a lousy deal to me. That's why we usually go during the Christmas season. But I definitely "get you" on the music thing. I love walking into MK or Epcot and hearing their respective music loops and getting that Disney feeling. But at Christmas time, it seems it's the same Christmas music loop at MK, EP, and DHS. When I go to Florida (it's been a while), I prefer the non-Christmas music and fireworks for sure.

    Post more pics! I missed my usual trip this year, so I get my fix through these posts and pictures.
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