Disneyland Trip - December 15, 2002

Our family (myself, husband, daughter 13, son 11) took a trip yesterday to Disneyland/DCA. We are new AP people - so we were anxious to get there. We chose the WRONG day!!!! I have NEVER seen it so crowded at Disneyland, during this time of year! I could not believe how jam-packed the place was. We still had a good time, but it was not nearly as much fun as when you can walk without people ramming into you! I really felt sorry for people with tiny kids or strollers (which were probably the majority of who was there yesterday).

We arrived at the park about noon (first mistake - the park opened at 9am). Upon walking through the entrance and seeing Main Street SOLID with people we knew we were in trouble! We continued over to the Pavillion area where we were to trade in our AP voucher for real passes - this took 45 minutes. We kept our spirits and went to check the board to see how long the waits were for rides - most were over an hour! We decided to grab some fast passes. Disneyland allows you to have one per ride, but you can get them for multiple rides. We got one for Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion (Nightmare Before Xmas themed), and Pirates. We grabbed a quicky lunch (Clam Chowder in bread bowls) and plotted out our day.

Ran from Fast Pass ride to Fast Pass ride.. by about 3:30 we had ridden them. My son wanted to drive the Autopia cars, we slowly made our way to Tomorrowland (slow not by choice). Got a Fast Pass for the cars, and then visited Innoventions. Not much of a line for it. We skipped the tour part and just went and played some games. My kids decided to trade some pins at this point, they took out their lanyards and started with one of the CMs in there. My son loves Pluto so he was trying to find all pins with Pluto (by the end of the day he had traded for 4 of them, and bought one). My daughter loves Tigger, but didnt trade for any Tigger pins, she did trade and get an old fashioned pooh, and a Bambi and a Flower Pin, and some others. They had fun.

We finally rode the Autopia cars. Fast Pass only cut off about 10 minutes from the wait (standby was 45 min & we waited 35 min). This was enough for Disneyland for us today - too crowded!!! The Disneyland Railroad stops right next to Autopia so we figured we'd take a quick ride around the park. There were TONS of people waiting for the train, we stood there about 10 minutes and no train even came - decided it would be much quicker to walk to the exit, and that's what we did.

Went across to California Adventure. For those who have never been there - they share the same entrance area, you can walk right from one park to the next. We wanted to try the Millionaire Play It! game so went there first. It was about 20 minutes until the show was to start so we lined up. My son won a Hot Seat Pass by answering a trivia question outside. The question was "What month and year did California Adventure open?" He knew the year but not the month (so I told him).. So he got to sit in one of the chairs down below. He was quite thrilled! None of our family did very well in the actual game, though. It was fun, a little corny, but fun...

Next we went to ride California Soaring, which is one of our favorites. The line was very long and they had no more Fast Pass being distributed. We went up to the CM at the entrance and asked if they had a line for single riders - he said "Sure, here ya go". Handed us some green sheets of paper and we were on our way in - 5 min max! We ended up all riding in the same group so that was cool...

We had dinner next, if you can call it dinner. My husband had hot dogs, daughter and I had an order of fries, and son had a rice krispy treat! We just weren't very hungry. It was about 7:30 so we went to find a spot for the Disneyland Electrical Parade. This is still my very favorite parade and I couldn't wait to see it! We found some spots, sat down, and waited. It was wonderful, just as it always is!

We left California Adventure after the parade to go back into Disneyland to try to see Santa. I wanted a picture of the kids with him, but he had already left. We did take a family photo on his sleigh, which turned out cute. Now it was time to leave - and go wait in the long line at the tram to the parking lot. I dont think that Disney was prepared for the huge crowds, the CMs kept saying that they got called in, and that they had no idea they'd have to work so many hours, etc.

We had a good time, not as great as we usually have when we go at this time - it is just not as much fun when its so crowded. Weather was nice (cool,probably in the high 60s). Some people were wearing shorts and light tshirts - they must be from other areas! For us Californians, 60s is kind of cool. So I retract my previous statement that this is the ideal time to visit Disneyland (first two weeks of Dec)- it was still magical and lots of fun, just not ideal! I heard from someone that the previous weekend was even worse!

Positive things: Holiday Decorations, Cooler weather, Fast Pass, Great CMs, Rides and Attractions were great as always, Service at all shops and eateries was wonderful, Electrical Parade was great, Family time at our favorite place!

Negatives: CROWDS!!! LINES!!!

Overall: I Would do it again in a second