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Trip Report First Weekend December 2021


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  • Trip Report Trip Report First Weekend December 2021

    We were at the resort this past weekend, and did the parks Saturday through Monday. We booked well in advance of processional being announced and we weren’t interested in seeing it so it actually kind of borked the weekend in terms of crowds.

    This was our first family trip in 2 years and opportunity for my parents to use DVC reservations they had to cancel/move twice previously during closures. (Parents are DVC members and they and my two siblings and their fams with little ones stayed onsite. My family and I stayed offsite.)

    As admitted “expert” fastpass users we really missed the service and were bummed Genie + hadn’t launched yet. (It’s been announced for 2 days after we leave!) While standby times are “reasonable” compared to old standby times, we waited far longer for all rides than we have on any other trip for the last 20 years. Our old rule was “we don’t wait 30 minutes for anything other than Peter Pan” and never longer than that for anything except - perhaps - a parade. 30 minutes was instead our average and we waited more than that multiple times. It’s now impossible to ride everything in a day.

    Worst of all, the wait for food and drink - even with mobile orders is as bad as micechat has reported. For mobile orders, from the time your mobile order arrival window opened and you hit “i’m here” to actually receiving it - could be 30 minutes and we found few locations accepting walk-ups anymore. (The app doesn’t make it clear that X location is *only* accepting mobile orders, just whether it does accept them. It’s safer to assume that mobile order means mobile order only.) Only food carts consistently accept walk up, and those lines looked like old character meet and greet queues.

    If you want to eat at 11, you’d better snag a window before 10. In DCA, Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Pig and in Disneyland on Main Street, the Starbucks locations no longer accept Starbucks app mobile orders and also don’t participate in mobile order through the Disney app. (If you want Starbucks specifically, your best bet is still the downtown disney location near old AMC building. We just wanted anything hot in the parks.) After 30 minutes in line at the Joffrey’s cappuccino cart our mobile return window at Flo’s opened. It was the better bet to get black coffee and hot chocolate. Overall it was 45 minutes for coffee. For food overall we were lucky to have made a few strategic dining reservations right at 60 days out so we had at least one meal each day.

    The walkways still feel just as crowded to me - especially with all the giant strollers still in play (I know the size is limited, but the size is still enormous and the parking is ridiculous. There has got to be a better way.) So I don’t buy the argument that keeping people in lines makes the park feel less crowded. When all the ride lines are snaking outside of their buildings with multiple switchbacks, and every food location is also backed up with lines, choking walkways, what’s the win?

    A couple of things we learned the hard way for others to learn from our mistakes:

    Even though our Sunday park hopper reservation had us starting in DCA, the dining system allowed us to place a reservation at Disneyland Blue Bayou before the 1 PM switch time. (I had requested 1 PM which wasn’t available, and it showed me 11:10, which I took and which it let me book, and I assumed meant we’d be able to enter specifically for that meal.) It was a birthday meal for one of the kids and we opted for the celebration cake for the table. We didn’t realize there was an issue until we tried to get into the park. We lost the reservation and I assume incurred the cancellation fees. (And we had to scramble for other food instead since mobile order at lunch times is difficult.)

    We were in DCA on Sunday at rope drop. Radiator Springs Racers was temp closed (and didn’t open for a few hours as sometimes happens with that ride) so we opted to divert to WEB Slingers since it was new to us. When we got in line just outside avengers campus in view of the WEB slingers exit, the app said 30 minutes. We waited 80. The entire queue is outdoors and almost all of it is routed in backstage areas. The line barely moved and it was freezing. I can’t imagine it on a midsummer day broiling under the sun. Once you step into the building you’re in a preshow briefing room and have maybe 5 minutes of queue before boarding vehicles for what is essentially a less fun version of midway mania meets home VR game. Maybe 2 minutes long. We will literally never do it again and it’s going to age terribly if they haven’t budgeted to re-up it after the next movie.

    We were at Disneyland before rope drop on Monday, lined up toward Frontierland for Rise of the Resistance. Much of our time “in line” was simply being moved into position. Cast members did an amazing job keeping everyone moving and in the right place lined up along the Rivers of the Americas. People who rushed up from other directions to what looked like the end of the line were not allowed to join - they were directed to the true back of the line way back at the entrance to frontierland. If we count the line as starting at rope drop - 8 am - we waited an hour, but we were moving almost the entire time slowly walking which really helped the feeling of progress. From the point of walking under the main ROR entry we waited 30 minutes (including some expansion queue that snaked over by Hungry Bear and then back into the main queue). Unlike WEB slingers, 25 minutes of the queue was in wooded outdoor line with shade or in the building itself. And of course the “ride/show/experience” was about 22 minutes. We waited about 50. Not a bad return on investment.

    Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run was a 5-minute wait multiple times over the weekend. We did it once. The ride was a new one to us and a disappointment, but the queue and walk through the Falcon was geekworthy. Still not worth more than a 15 minute wait. (As has been mentioned elsewhere, if you’re even the tiniest bit prone to motion sickness on simulator rides, this one is a doozy. Take your dramamine. One member in the family was out for the count.)

    Final note - cast members were really lovely and helpful and I noticed them repeatedly going out of their way. They were also diligent about reminding people to wear their masks. I wish them far more than their mere $3/hour raise. (Don’t forget that you CAN leave tip money on every table, including grab and go seating.) Here’s hoping for a return to normalcy in future.

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing your trip vraquel! I felt like I was there with you.


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