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Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

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  • Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

    I thought I'd post my trip report for anyone planning on going in the near future. This is kind of long to cover the high points, but if anyone needs more specific info just PM me..

    First, the background: We were traveling as a family group of 5 from Portland, Or -- 3 adults in their 40's, and two our two daughters 12 and 16. If you ask me about California Adventure, I'll try to be diplomatic and not say anything bad about it...<Laughing>. We used to live near Camarillo when I was growing up, and the first Kodochrome slides we have are of me at Disneyland in 1963, and I can't tell you how many times we've been since. Since moving to the PacificNW about 15 years ago, our most recent trip was in early 2001, about 3 weeks after Calif Adventure opened.

    We flew into SNA on the morning of Jan 1, easy flight, and rented a car from Alamo. Easy. We weren't sure if we were going to need a car, it turns out we didn't, so on our next trip we'll probably just get a larger taxi for all of us.

    Our room wasn't ready until 4pm on Jan 1, but Fairfield Inn let us park our car on their lot (no charge) and we walked to the the park - about 8 minutes from the hotel lobby to the park. This doesn't sound like much, but at the end of the day it seems like a really long ways, since the hotel is right across Harbor Blvd from Tomorrowland. So bring some decent shoes.

    The hotel itself was fine, except for Thursday and Friday night the fire alarm kept going off. Otherwise the rooms were clean, no weird odors, showers hot, Internet access worked, and there is a Millie's (like a Denny's or Shari's) restaurant in the parking lot, and a McDonalds next door. The rooms were fairly quiet except for the couple having marathon sex next door, but even that died down after a bit. I guess the only surprise is the hot tub area at the swimming pool: It is sized for 5 (small) people. So if you want to take a soak, take a look before you head down to the pool to make sure not too many folks.

    As far as the park go, Disneyland itself was great, except the the horrendous crownds on Jan 1 & 2. It dind't even die down at midnight, and the line for Nemo stretched well over past the Matterhorn. It was to the point that with that many people in the park, and the cost of the entry tickets, DL becomes a huge rip-off. At least that's what you feel like when a freakin' stroller rolls over your feet for the 97th time in 2 hours....

    We were getting pretty depressed by Weds afternoon, as there were so many people in the park you literally couldn't walk anywhere. And what is it about these HUGE strollers rude people think they need? My wife and I raised two daughters with nothing more than a simple folding umbrella stroller, and we never used it in crowded stores. On thing that really struck us is the bigger stroller, the ruder the idiot driving it...like WE have to get out of HER way because SHE has this stroller the size of an SUV. C'mon folks...show some courtesy and quit rolling your equipment over my feet!!!

    Our Park Hopper tickets allowed us one early entry, which we used on Thursday. We were at the gates at 6:30am, and the line to get into DL was already very long, and by the time we got to Nemo the wait time was already an hour. What was funny is that we cam back to Nemo about 9:30, and we waited about 10 minutes to get on. Nemo was great, and enjoyed by all. So I would say that Early Entry is kind of a help, but not 100% necessary to have a good time.

    About 11am Thursday, we were over in the park by the New Orleans Square train station, and kind of by Haunted Mansion. 2 men and 2 women wearing suits came up to us (Cast Members) and gave us all Dream Fast Passes. WAHOO! This is essentially a fast pass with a tear-off fast pass for each FP ride, good at any time. The only thing is, they are good for only one day.

    BUT: If you wear your dream fast pass, what we found out was that cast members will congratulate you wherever you go, and if we went on the rides that didn't have much line anyway, the CM's there would just tell us to not tear off the fast pass stub if we wanted to ride again. The kids loved this.

    Otherwise, with the heavy crowds on Weds and Thursday, the dream Fast Passes really were a godsend. By Friday the crowds were more manageable, and Saturday morning the crowds were non-existent.

    Impressions of Disneyland: Extra Beautiful with the Xmas decorations. The soap suds snow was a bit gimicky, and Tomorrowland still needs a lot of help..."Innventions" is still a total dud, and "Honey I Shrunk the Audience" is a waste of time, at least for me. AstroBlasters went "101" on us, twice, and we were escorted off the ride, twice. But the rest of Disneyland was beautiful in the gorgeous decorations (Although when it rained Friday night most of the wreaths on Main street shorted out, and then sections of the Xmas tree started going out, until they just gave up and turn off the Xmas lights by about 7pm).

    Impressions of California Adventure: I promised I wouldn't say anything bad. All I can say is despite the disjointed theming, and the fact it is kind of "Any park USA" we did immensely enjoy California Screamin' and th Alladin show at the Hyperion. If CA went away tomorrow, I don't think any of us in our group would shed a tear.


    A couple of last tips:

    It seems like you always need your park ticket. You have to have your park ticket to get in. You need it to get a fast pass. When you leave DL to go to CA (and back again) you need a hand stamp AND your ticket. I saw people with thise ticket-holder lanyard neck-strap thingies that seemed pretty handy.

    Going to the park early on busy days is a good idea. We found that going back to the hotel around 2pm and swimming around for a while, then heading back to the park about 5pm worked well.

    On those busy days, forget Fantasmic! 9pm show. On Weds evening we ate at the Blue Bayou (reservations suggested) at 7:30, then as we were walking out of the restaurant at slightly after 9pm, we were stopped by a CM security guy who told us "Be smart and just stand right here, and don't move...I need you to be my corner post" and put us in a perfect position kind of right on the front corner of Blue Bayou. We had a perfect view of Fantasmic! and the fireworks, and didn't even have to wait for 4 hours... Yahoo!

    All in all, despite the crowds and strollers, we had a great time - because we found these special moments anyways. We forever love this place, even though we moved two states away...

  • #2
    Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

    Hey, great TR Applegeek. Thanks for the input on the hotel as well, it's always great hearing about a hotel off property to file for later use (next trip)...

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    • #3
      Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

      Thanks for the report and welcome to MC.

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      • #4
        Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

        Sounds like you had a great time! Good old Disneyland does it again.

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        • #5
          Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

          Glad you survived! Sounds like you still had a good time. The lanyards with the pass holders are great, just beware that they do have a tendency to tear, as they are just plastic, and if you lose your ticket, it's pretty much gone.
          sigpic
          Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

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          • #6
            Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

            Originally posted by BFJen View Post
            Glad you survived! Sounds like you still had a good time. The lanyards with the pass holders are great, just beware that they do have a tendency to tear, as they are just plastic, and if you lose your ticket, it's pretty much gone.
            Good point... Like make sure the plastic holder thing is really reinforced and can't come loose! What a drag that would be...

            I was always worried I'd loose my Park Hopper ticket, and at $189, its an expensive little card... And I made the kids give me theirs...

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            • #7
              Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

              Originally posted by Applegeek View Post
              Good point... Like make sure the plastic holder thing is really reinforced and can't come loose! What a drag that would be...

              I was always worried I'd loose my Park Hopper ticket, and at $189, its an expensive little card... And I made the kids give me theirs...
              LOL! I always carry the Passes. I'll get the fastpasses, just don't lose the passes!

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              • #8
                Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

                Thanks for the trip report. Glad you had a good time AND got Dream passes. We flew into SNA and rented the car a couple years ago and had a good experience as well. Would do it again. We stayed at the Clarion Inn a few blocks away, but want to stay closer next time.

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                • #9
                  Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

                  Nice lil' report with good tidbits. Thanks for sharing.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Trip Report - Jan 1 thru Jan 5 / Fairfield Inn

                    Thanks for posting your report. Ooh those evil strollers!

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