We were determined to get every minute out of our time at the parks, and so we arrived bright and early to take advantage of our one Magic Morning – allowing us through the gates at 9AM. However, because of parades and various events they had planned for their Christmas specials (that they film in November), we were routed around and around in order to get to our destination – Fantasyland. We had a few rides left to tend to before we could move on to the lanes we missed the previous day. We walked through the castle and even had time to hit the shops and check out the creepy reversible dolls (no legs – just another head under the dress….weird, right?) We were so efficient with out planning, we were ready to head to Frontierland and Adventureland before they were even open to us. Indiana Jones was the first on our list to get to. To we stood by the gate in Fantasyland counting the minutes until they would open it up and let us charge along the Rivers of America towards our ride of choice. We were incredibly efficient, and made it there in a hurry – with a goal of grabbing a fast pass and avoiding the 45 minute line that managed to form in the minutes it took us to run there. However, when we got to the machine, Sarah’s card wouldn’t work. It appeared that when she entered the park, they didn’t scan it properly, and it wasn’t registered as being “entered” (by the way – this is why you also can’t send a “runner” into the park with your tickets to grab fast passes for the whole group). We knew this needed to be done, but didn’t want to waste time walking back to the entrance while the hoards of non-Magic Morning folks were just getting inside, so we decided to make the best of everything we could.
We enjoyed the quiet of Tarzan’s treehouse while waiting the 30 minutes until our fast pass (or my fast pass) was valid and then played ignorant when heading back into the fast pass line – which worked – this time at least. Indiana Jones is a great ride, but not as amazing as I had it built up in my memory from my trip here in 2005. We followed our ride on Indiana Jones with a visit to the haunted mansion. When we left the haunted mansion we ran into Jack and Sally (which I have found out since, are actually only around a few weeks a year). We stood in line to have our photo taken with them. Jack was, well, perfectly…JACK. Every mannerism and nuance. It was amazing. This also started the trend of photos with characters that came to consume the rest of the day and the day to follow. We walked from our photo with Jack into New Orleans Square for a happenstance run in with Tiana before stopping for some mind blowing Beignets. I still dream of these Beignets.
Feeling pretty good about how many things we had checked off the list, we headed back to Toontown to find a few more characters, and to have our photos taken with Pluto and Goofy – both of who we waited for for only a few minutes. We had grabbed a fast pass for Roger Rabbit – and the attendant there was less forgiving about Sarah’s non-working park ticket. However, we left and came back and, again, feigned ignorance of why it wasn’t working, and managed to make the 45 minute line go back down to 5. Gotta love fast passes.
As I mentioned, by now we had the addiction to character photos and wanted to find the princesses, so we headed back and found a handful outside near main street (there is an inside photo opp in Fairytale Hall as well, but this was out in the open under the big tent). I waited in line while Sarah went to obtain us Dole Whip – one of the many foods on our “to eat” list. She stood in line almost as long as I did. I was almost at the front (after 45 minutes of waiting for her to get ice cream), and she got back when we were 3 minutes from having out photo taken. So we took that as 3 minutes to eat our ice cream. I ate it so quickly I’m not even sure if I enjoyed it or not. Outside of Minnie Mouse, this was the longest line we ended up standing in all trip. BUT, remember what I said earlier about Disney filming different events for their Christmas special? I ended up waiting in line while watching MARY J. BLIGE sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” 5 times over while crowds cheered on and pretended it was Christmas day. So that’s definitly a once in a life time experience.
By this point we had done most of what we set out to do and see in Disneyland Park, and so we took advantage of our park hopper and headed over to California Adventure. Seemed this park was much less busy, which worked to our benefit. We walked right on to Grizzly River Run, then onto Soarin’ over California – with next to zero wait. We then headed to Paradise Pier where we walked right not Ariel’s Undersea Adventure mid-Pixar Parade, then to the jumping jellyfish and finally a 5 minute wait for Goofy’s Sky School.
We found Donald Duck on our way Over to get fast passes for California Screamin’, and rode the carousel and enjoyed a churro while waiting to go back with our fast pass and enjoy a good scream. And to answer the question I had been wondering and couldn’t remember the answer to – yes – it does go upside-down. Having conquered Condor Flats and the Pier successfully, we headed back to Disneyland for dinner, and a quick ride on the tea cups before securing our previously scouted spot for the fireworks show. It was relatively quiet when we got there – having a nice seat in the “front row” next to it’s a small world (and a literal seat – not having to sit on the ground – which was awesome). The fireworks that we had seen a spoiler of the night before, did not disappoint. When the fireworks ended, we turned around to see that the light posts in the areas surrounding us were shooting out SNOW. SNOW. In Disneyland! We watched as the locals twirled round and round eyes to the sky in amazement. It was obvious from watching that many of them had never seen snow before. I watched on as people cried tears of joy, hugged their loved ones and continued to spin round and round. This was the perfect way to add just a little more magic to an already magical evening. Well done Disney. Well done.