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Disneyland At Christmas 2002

Trip Report

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Disneyland and Balboa Pier/Harbor Cruise
December 12, 2002 - December 21, 2002

Left Home: December 12 at 6:09am

Arrived Anaheim Park Vue Inn: December 12 at 2:00pm

Weather: Foggy all the way there and cold. Sunny at Disneyland, warm

Traffic: Not too bad, commute traffic until Sacramento, some traffic through LA, but nice drive, not bad at all

Travelers: Ryan (nephew) and I


The Details/Day1:

Got to the Park Vue Inn and checked in, front desk staff friendly. I didn't know they charged a $2.00 energy surcharge, so that was a surprise. Room was ready so went up. Clean room but it did have a big red stain on the carpet in front of the TV. Cleaned up and headed to Disneyland around 3pm. Was expecting to meet Lori and her daughter sometime during the afternoon, so had my phone in case they called. Purchased a S. Ca. Passport, $105.00. The lady said anyone can buy one it is just called a S.Ca one because it is more convenient for them. No lines at the ticket booths. Went in to Disneyland and over to get my picture for my passport, no lines again. Did the Nightmare Before Christmas then over to DCA as I had in mind what I wanted to do first. Did Soarin' Over California and had forgotten a lot of things about this ride, it was great! We had been in 2000 to DCA for a preview day. Then we did Screaming, wow what a ride!! Then over to the Sun Wheel which made my knees weak and we didn't even do the moving ones. Checked my phone and Lori had called while we were on Screaming so called her and they were at Disneyland so we agreed to meet around 6:30pm at the Bank on Main St.

Thought we would go to Mc Donald's for dinner, wrong idea. Some lady had her order mixed up and they never waited on us until I asked, "Are you going to wait on us?" Ryan got mad and left, I got mad and left taking our food on the tray they gave me since I didn't have a way to carry it back to the motel, we never went back there. I could picture the cops following me for stealing a tray but I was so mad I didn't care.

Left for Disneyland after eating and it was VERY crowded. Saw Lori and Tamarin right off standing on a bench by the bank. It had been 11 years since we last saw each other. Have been friends for over 37 years or so.

Tamarin and Ryan went off together to ride some rides, Lori hadn't eaten so we went over to Plaza Inn and she had some pasta and I had some carrot cake, way too big of portions, but the cake was very good. Watched the parade some, what we could see of it and them browsed through some shops.

The park was SO crowded. You could barely walk. Watched the fireworks and got snows on, which was very nice. Took some pictures. The fireworks are great! Headed back to the motel to visit and look at some pictures she had brought with her of her family. I am so glad Lori and Tamarin were able to make it, was so good to see them and to visit.

Then to bed around 11pm, very tired.


The Details/Day2:

The beds in our room were so hard I woke up with my back killing me. I had a great pillow though and that was good since I had forgotten to bring my own. I got up, showered and went to the breakfast room and got coffee and some pastries and a banana. Lori called and we met for coffee from the motel's sun deck. Took some pictures, fed the birds and then headed out for Disneyland around 9am.

Got a fastpass for Indiana Jones and went for breakfast at River Belle. Breakfast is always good here. I always have the Mark Twain and orange juice. Pirates was closed for some reason so we did Indiana, Lori's first time riding it. Then we did Haunted Mansion and split up, Ryan and Tamarin going on their own and planned on meeting at 1pm at the Walt statue.

We took the train from NOS after waiting forever for one to get there. Got off at Toontown. Did Small World, Go Coaster, long line, short ride, but fun and Roger Rabbit. Got our picture taken with Santa Goofy. Headed over to meet Ryan and Tamarin.

Sat by the statue and had diet cokes and watched people go by. Had Lori go over to the right side of Walt and look, she was puzzled at first and then cracked up laughing. It was funny.

Ryan and Tamarin came so we headed down Main St stopping at the candy store to get some toffee as it was too crowded last night. Watched them make candy canes, very strange looking. Headed for DCA.

At DCA did Soarin', Lori loved this ride, was her first time. Grizzly River Run, got wet, of course. My hair was soaked. Watched Ryan and Tamarin do Grizzly. Went on the Sun Wheel in a moving car, I didn't care much for this... Did Screaming, Lori didn't care much for this ride as going upside down doesn't agree with her much. So she wasn't feeling too great right after this ride. Walked around and listened to some musicians. Had dinner, Mexican food. Chicken Taco's, very good. I can't remember the name of the place. Tamarin didn't care for the music here so we had a good time watching her dance and make faces at the music. Also had fun watching her dance out of there. She's a beautiful girl and quite a character. We had a lot of fun with them. Then we did It's Tough To Be A Bug, Muppets in 3D. We went into Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, very fun show to watch and try to guess the answers to. Then to Flik's Fun Fair. It is very cute, small area with 4 rides for the kids. Ryan and Tamarin rode the Lady Bugs and the Bumper Bugs. Tamarin played in the water some, then we watched a little of MSEP. Tamarin wasn't feeling well and neither did Ryan so they headed back to the motel and Lori and I headed for Disneyland.

Disneyland was SO packed, just could not believe how many people were there.

We did Pirates, fastpass for Thunder Mountain which was a good idea as the line was over 45 minutes and we passed up a bunch of people waiting to get on. It was Lori's first time and we rode in the dark, was fun. Did some shopping when we could fit into the stores as they were so packed. Watched fireworks in front of Thunder Mountain, ran for the lockers before the fireworks ended while Lori shopped. I got out of the lockers just as 50 million people were heading into them, whew...

Sat and watched the crowd until Lori got there, she was going to buy one more thing but was just too crowded in the stores.

So we headed out along with 100 million other people.

The crowd was shoulder to shoulder, strollers hitting ankles, people shoving, what a mess! Then as we got to the gate to go out on the left side, they closed it!! Luckily they had opened the center gate so we didn't have to fight through to the far right gate. Then went back to the motel hungry so we got Ryan and went to Denny's which was very crowded and took forever to get our food and we were SO tired. The food was good though. Went out to my truck and got the sleeping bag I had brought and put it on my hard bed to sleep on. To bed around 11pm or so.


The Details/Day3:

This is a Non-Disney day.

Woke up at 7am again, bed much softer with the bag or I was just too tired to notice it.

Took a shower and the handle came off in my hand. Called the front desk and said they would send someone right away. Ryan hadn't showered yet. Waited about 30 minutes and no one came so Ryan went in to wash up. Called the front desk and said to wait, don't send anyone until later after we leave, then get a knock on the door and they were there to fix it. Asked them to come back as Ryan was cleaning up.

With Lori driving the rental car we left around 9am for Newport Beach. Actually went to Balboa Pier, not Newport like we thought. Balboa Pier has some beautiful homes facing the ocean all in a row. Tamarin had fun playing in the ocean, Ryan on the beach. Lori and I walked down the pier, stopping to call her mom and let her hear the ocean, then down to Ruby's Diner. Got a cinnamon roll and coffee, Lori got some Ice Tea. Walked back down the pier and sat and watched Tamarin and some surfers while eating my cinnamon roll which was very good. Tamarin then went to change out of her wet clothes and Lori did her customary walk in the sand barefooted.

Then met up at the car and headed for the boat docks and the tour booths as we were taking a cruise around the harbor and seeing the stars homes and the sea lions. Looked through the many shops on the way to the tour booth.

Got to the booth and got our tickets ($8 each)and had some time so we looked around some more, stopping for mocha's and pizza.

Got to the boat and we were the only ones on it so we went to the upper deck. The tour was great, we didn't see many sea lions, but saw some great homes and only wish I could remember now who they belonged to...

Then we drove up the coast on hwy1 to Seal Beach where we stopped, walked the pier, watched the many surfers and had dinner at Ruby's Diner. Ruby's is great, Lori and I had clam chowder in a bread bowl and it was so good, much better than Disneyland's. Ryan and Tamarin had chicken strips.

Walked back to the car, it was freezing outside, and headed back to the motel to drop off me and Ryan. Lori and Tamarin were heading home. Got back around 5 pm, very tired. Said our good byes, very sad to see them go, time went by so fast while they were with us. But we had a great time and I am so glad that they came. Hopefully we can do it again next year, but not in December.

Ryan and I were too tired so we hung around the motel watching TV. Also walked down to Maingate Saga Inn and Ryan got some Chinese food. I stopped by Denny's and got a whole strawberry cheesecake ($8) (which we ate through the week) and back to the motel. Denny's was kind enough to give me plates, forks, knives and napkins. I meant to watch the fireworks but was too lazy to get up to walk out and see them, we had a great view from the motel balcony and sun deck.

This was a great break away from the parks, very fun day. Newport/Balboa are only about a 20 minute drive away from Disneyland.

So Lori and Tamarin left. Tomorrow Sinda, Tom, Jason, Holly, Isaiah, Micah and Josiah are coming!!

To bed around 7 pm this night.


The Details/Day4:

I woke up at 7am (again). The bed was killing my back. Showered, made coffee, got some fruit, wrote the past few days trip notes. Ryan woke up and we thought we would walk down to Mimi's for breakfast. I had heard it is good. It is a long walk to Mimi's. Further down than I thought and it was packed. The waiting would be around 20 minutes, so we left and went to IHOP. IHOP was good, large portions but cost almost $30 for two breakfasts with coffee. Too expensive, we didn't go back.

We had decided not to go to the parks today until everyone else had arrived, so we weren't in any hurry to do anything.

Then went back to the motel cause we knew his mom and dad would be arriving around 12 pm. Watched from the sun deck awhile then went to the lobby and read some magazines and waited, then back up to the sun deck and saw them at the stop light. Took a picture and saw them drive in so we went down to greet them. They arrived around 1 pm, guess there was a bad wreck on I-5 and traffic was stopped.

They checked in and got their room keys, one for them and one for Jason and Holly and kids.

We went to check out their rooms and they had better beds, better vanity and large closet door mirrors. They also had better TV reception.

Jason's room was not cleaned yet but we looked to see if it was the same and it looked like someone was still staying in it. Mentioned it to housekeeping but they said to tell the front desk. Ended up that the room was occupied so Jason ended up next door to me and even though Sinda could have moved down near us she knew she had a better room and had already unpacked and moved in. So she and Tom stayed down there.

We walked out of my room and heard little ones screaming Carrie, Carrie!!! It was Micah, Isaiah and Josiah running towards us, they had just gotten there.

So we checked out their room, same as ours. We didn't have connecting doors. So we just walked outside and knocked each time we wanted something.

They unpacked and we all got ready to go over to Disneyland and get their S. Ca. Passports. Christmas gift from Sinda.

Tom went ahead so he could get the kids on tape first coming through the gates at Disneyland. The ticket booths were all crowded so we walked through Downtown Disney towards the Monorail so they could get their passes at the ticket booth there. Holly, the kids and I waited by the shooting water while Jason and his mom went to get the tickets. The kids had a good time watching the water and waiting for it to shoot out again. Josiah didn't care much for it, it made a popping sound when it shot out. They came back with envelopes for the kids with their names on the outside and their tickets on the inside, good idea but... they were upset that they couldn't hold onto their own tickets. So each time they entered a park they were allowed to hand their tickets at the gates and then give them back to their mom or dad, they were happy with that. Micah got a kick out of how they pronounced her name different each time. I think they only got it right once.

We were all finally inside Disneyland, did some pictures by the Mickey flowers.

The park was pretty crowded. Made our way towards Small World. Jason and Isaiah rode the Astro Orbitor while we went and got fastpasses for Small World. Ryan and Tom took off on their own. Jason and Isaiah went on Star Tours while Sinda, Holly, Josiah went to wait for Club Buzz and Micah and I went to ride the train from Tomorrowland. Wrong idea. That was the longest line I have ever seen in my life for the train at that gate. It took forever to get on a train and by the time we did Micah wasn't so thrilled about riding it anymore. I was determined to ride it after waiting that long. Every train stop had a very long lines. We made the complete loop and met everyone back at Club Buzz. Headed for Redd Rockets for dinner, another great idea.

Redd Rockets was SO crowded, there were no tables anywhere in the place, as we were giving up, Tom found a table. We had to wait in very long lines to get our food. I had a Mouseketeer Meal of Ravioli's, Sinda just had breadsticks, kids had pizza and Jason and Holly had the Chicken Caesar Salad drenched in dressing and cheese. Don't remember what Tom and Ryan had.

We then made our way to Small World which was a nightmare because so many people were blocking the path because of the parade starting soon. We had to climb over people and they were a little rude about it. You could not get through and there was no one there to help us clear a path. I think they thought we were going to take their spots, we just wanted to get over to the Small World line. Sinda, Holly and I did Small World with the kids, they loved it. Jason waited for us by the toy shop. Guess he had found a great spot for the parade but we didn't see him so he left it to find us.

Next we headed over to get their pictures for their passports, another very long line. Josiah had fallen asleep so Sinda and I got a table and chairs for all of us where we could see the fireworks and waited for them.

While they were in line I guess a lady in a wheelchair got mad cause they wouldn't let her in before those in line. So a nice guy in front of Jason and Holly told her she could go in front of him. She said ok, let me get my husband and got out of the chair, ran and got her husband, got back in the chair and went in.

The kids were really excited about their pictures, Micah said they called her a princess.

Watched the fireworks which were great and then got a little snow. Josiah slept through it all.

Headed out of the park with another 50 million people.


The Details/Day5:

Got up around the same time, back still hurting from the hard beds.

Waited for everyone to get ready and headed for Disneyland.

Went straight to Fantasyland. Holly, Sinda, Isaiah and I rode Mr. Toad while Jason, Josiah and Micah got in line for Dumbo. Isaiah wasn't too sure about Mr. Toad. After Mr. Toad we headed for the line to Dumbo. Holly got Josiah from Jason, her, Sinda, Josiah rode together and Isaiah and I rode together. I was going to ride alone and tape them but you aren't allowed to ride single. We then went over to the Dumbo thingy and took pictures of Tom with Josiah and Isaiah in it.

Casey Jr. was next. We all went to get on and there were no more seats where everyone else sat, so I sat up front with another mom and her kid. It was too hard to see anyone in the back to get any tape of them.

Then we went over to the Tea Cups. Isaiah wanted to spin so he went with the guys, Jason and Ryan. Holly, Micah and I went together.

Next we went over to Toontown. Holly and Jason took the kids to Goofys Bounce House while, Tom, Sinda, Ryan and I all got hot dogs from Pluto's Dog House, very good hot dogs. I got the kids meal. I would have skipped the chips if I had known then that I could. Found out when Jason came to get a hot dog that you could and it was a little bit cheaper. From then on I asked for no chips with the meals that came with them.

I reloaded my camera while they all headed for The Trolley. I took pictures as they passed. Sinda took the kids to Mickey's house, Micah wanted to leave so I stayed with Isaiah while Sinda went out with Micah. Isaiah got to meet Mickey and he was very excited about that, got a picture of it. They really rushed us through here, barely got the picture and it is so dark in there. Sinda, Holly and all of the kids went through Minnie's House. Jason left to go get the coats and ponchos from the lockers as it had started to rain. I waited for them under an awning by the phone booths. When they got out of Minnie's house we left to meet Jason at the French Market for lunch. I had the cold shrimp and an ugly spider cheesecake that I got just so the kids could see it. It was a spider made out of rice crispy treats, black, on top of a cheesecake. People would walk by and look at it. It also turned my mouth and teeth black, tasted good though. Sinda and Holly, Jason had skewers from Bengal BBQ. Some of the others had Clam Chowder in a bread bowl. Can't remember what the others had. I was in line so long for my food everyone was almost done when I got there.

Jason walked Holly back to the motel for naps while we headed over to DCA where we all planned on meeting when Jason got back. Sinda and I shopped at The Emporium, she bought a Tinkerbell sweat jacket. Then we looked outside and oh boy was it pouring down rain. We were almost soaked by the time we got to the Newsstand right by the exit so we broke down and bought the blue ponchos, even though we both had one at the motel, plus I had an umbrella there too. Put those on and headed over to DCA, still getting soaked even with the poncho. Went into DCA where they called us die hard Disney fans at the entrance. Could not find Jason or anyone. They always have someone by the Golden Gate bridge offering to take your picture, I said, lets do it, kind of a rare opportunity to get a soaked pictures, so they took our picture and then they disappeared, stopped taking pictures. They were soaked also. It was very windy too.

Finally saw Jason and Ryan outside the gate so we went out after them. Met up with Tom and we all headed over  Grizzly River Run since we were soaked already figured it couldnt get any worse. And we got even more soaked. After that we headed to do California Screamin' in the rain, Sinda sat this one out. Wow did that hurt. Rain hitting you in the face stings. I had to put my head inside my poncho. Jason and Tom went for a second ride. Then we headed for the Sunwheel. Sinda hadn't done this yet so talked her into the stationary ones while Tom, Ryan and Jason went on the swinging ones. This is where we lost Jason, made him sick. So they got off before us and Jason and Ryan headed for the motel. Sinda didnt like this ride and wanted off when they kept us on for a second round. Tom said he was glad he had his poncho on just in case since Jason was feeling sick. We were so drenched, feet were soaked and squishy, but we weren't cold yet. So we headed over to Disneyland figuring everyone must be gone by now because of the rain, they weren't. Pirates still had a long line, so did Indiana as both would though out this trip. So we headed to Splash Mountain figuring it couldn't hurt anything and there wasn't a line. Got even wetter and it was so funny when we tried to find our picture. Everyone else was wearing blue ponchos too, so we all looked alike. After this we started to get cold, so we headed for the motel around 6 pm, stopping at the bakery for Sinda and Tom to get sandwiches to take back for dinner.

Back at the motel, changed into nice warm dry clothes. Stopped to see how Jason was, he was fine. Him and Ryan were going shopping at Target down the road. He needed new shoes as his were soaked and so Tom needed some too. They went shopping and brought back happy meals for the kids. Sinda and I watched the kids in their room while Jason, Holly and Ryan went out. Once the kids were asleep, around 9 pm, I went back to my room and to bed. By that time I was hungry and wishing I had brought some food back. I had the heater turned up high and it felt so good after being out in the cold wind and rain. For once I don't think I even noticed how hard the beds were.

The Details/Day6:

Woke up around the same time, showered. Made coffee, watched the news to see how the weather would be today. Guess the Grapevine closed last night because of the storm and snow.

Looked outside and it was wet but not raining.

Once we were all ready we headed over together to eat breakfast at the Riverbelle at Disneyland.

Stopped by the bank so Sinda could buy the kids some Disney Dollars and tried to use the penney machine but it was broken, they said they would have it fixed by the end of the day. It wasn't ever fixed before we left.

Kids got a couple of autographs and we went to Adventureland. The Riverbelle was closed. Jason decided to take the kids and go on the Jungle Cruise. Sinda, Holly and I decided to go to the bakery to get cinnamon rolls, Ryan and Tom went to Indiana Jones, long line. I gave Jason my camera and we were going to meet up in awhile, keeping in touch with the radios.

We got to the bakery and there was a line. I got the sticky bun, Sinda got the cinnamon roll and Holly got a muffin, I think..., got a table and sat down to eat. Sinda's cinnamon roll was fresh out of the over. Mine was cold and hard, I was disappointed. Coffee was good though.

When finished we wandered through some shops and stopped to meet everyone at Coke Corner. It had started to sprinkle and people were putting on their blue ponchos. Jason and the kids got there and Jason was telling us how they got scared by the tiger in Tarzan's Treehouse and he got it all on tape. Isaiah was upset because I laughed so I promised him I would cut that part out of the tape so no one would ever see it.

It was almost time for lunch and we had reservations at The Rainforest Cafe, so we thought we would head that way and stop to let the kids spend their money at the Disney Store. Gathered up all of the ponchos just in case it rained like yesterday. Went through the Disney Store, Micah and Isaiah picked out what they wanted, Barbie for Micah and Buzz something, can't remember, for Isaiah, which Josiah really liked and Isaiah was kind enough to let him play with it.

We went on to the Rainforest while Holly and Jason looked through some stores with the kids. Looked around the Rainforest store waiting for Jason and the kids, then went up for lunch.

They had given our table away so we had to wait a few minutes, then were seated, same spot we sat last time I went in 2000.

Josiah fell asleep. Ryan and the kids colored. I decided to have a fancy drink, one of those that have the umbrella and lots of fruit on a stick stuck in it. I can't remember the name of it but it was delicious, cost almost as much as a lunch. Rainforest Cafe is great! It has very good food, atmosphere is great with the storms and animals coming to life, gorillas, elephants, huge aquariums with unusual fish.

I had two pork chope with asian sauce, so good. Sinda has fish and chips, Ryan had a cheeseburger, kids had nuggets and cheeseburgers, I think. No idea now what everyone else had, memory is poor. But I know it was all good and we got a n annual passport discount. The prices are not that much higher than Disneyland and the food is worth it.

Did some more shopping at the Rainforest store, Sinda buying Bradley a shirt, Tom buying Sinda some socks. Then we walked through Downtown Disney stores and stopped at the Lego Man to take lots of pictures and headed to DCA.

Stopped on the way to take a group picture at the waterfalls in Downtown Disney.

Got to DCA and headed for Bug's Land. Kids went on all of the rides. I think we all did Muppets 3 D too.

Then we headed over to Wine Country and staked out a spot for MSEP. Had a great spot and sampled some wine while we watched the parade, got the whole parade on tape.

Kids were tired, especially Isaiah, he just wanted to go back to the motel and sleep. Headed back to Disneyland for the fireworks and snow. Got a spot on main Street.

Isaiah fell asleep on the curb and we could not wake him up, he missed the fireworks and snow but had seen them the night before. Played in the snow and headed out of the park with Isaiah not waking up so we had to carry Josiah and put sleeping Isaiah in the stroller.

Back to the motel for the night.




More later...









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