December 2017 (meant to post this months ago!)
We travelled from Belfast, thank goodness the flight took off as there were a lot of cancellations because of the snow! It was me, my husband, our 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son. We took two buggies, lots of snacks in our suitcase, and pre-bought presents from Amazon all wrapped up as a treat for the kids. We got a Royal Transfer taxi to the hotel Santa Fe, it was fine but next time I’d go with Prestige again to have the movies to watch. We were quite surprised by the lack of security at Santa Fe as we had everything scanned going into Hotel New York last year, after a long wait for check in we finally got to our room at about half ten, so the kids were straight to sleep and I unpacked. The room at the Santa Fe was ground floor, two double beds, basic but absolutely fine and suited us well.
I set the alarm with the intention of getting to the Extra Magic Hours but everyone was exhausted so we slept in until 8.30am, got washed and dressed, had an ok breakfast (not much choice and to be honest I wouldn’t pay for it again, we’d be as well taking a box of cereal in our suitcase) and then got to meet Mickey Mouse in the hotel lobby which was a lovely surprise. We walked along the river to the Disney Village, it was cold and raining but we knew to expect this and were well prepared, it only took about 15mins at the most and is a nice walk. We went to the Donald Duck office to get my green pass and then went to Disneyland Park, the magic and Christmas feeling walking up Main Street and through the castle was amazing. We took the kids to the Carousel and Dumbo, using the green pass for the first time. The staff were so courteous and helpful and not having to queue was a real blessing as my arthritis was really flaring up in the cold weather. We then went to the tea cups, and It’s a Small World which had been a firm favourite last year and it certainly didn’t disappoint! We were lucky with timing and saw the Christmas Parade as it was beginning, it was magical and we loved it. We then went to Buzz Lightyear, my husband and I used the Parent Swap at Space Mountain and we went up to Disney Village for some food in King Ludwig’s. We headed back to the park and went to Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s A Small World again, then saw the parade although the crowds were crazy and we didn’t see as much as we’d hoped. We decided not to stay for the Illuminations show as the kids were exhausted and the rain was getting heavier, so we walked back to the hotel and got some crisps and drinks in the bar then got an early night.
I was struggling with fatigue so we didn’t rush to Early Magic Hours, we got a leisurely breakfast in the hotel and then met Goofy in the hotel lobby. We walked to the parks again and it was cold but dry, we decided to go to Walt Disney Studios to make the most of the weather. We went straight to Slinky Dog which the kids loved, then the Toy Story soldiers Parachute Drop which both kids got to go on this year and really enjoyed. My daughter was tall enough for Crush’s Coaster this year and she is a daredevil at 4 years old so she went on it with me, then we used Parent Swap and she went on with my husband. We then went on the Flying Carpets, the Cars and then stopped in the cafe for some food and warmth and got to listen to the band playing. We then gave Tower of Terror a go, we missed this last year, so my daughter went on with me then we switched and she went with my husband. It was brilliant! But after the terror we needed fun so we headed back to Crush’s coaster and used parent swap again. We then decided to go to Disneyland Park, and headed to our favourite Its A Small World. After that we tried the petit train which the kids loved, and the boats and then we watched the parade again. This time we got a really good position near the start and lots of the characters came over to my daughter and interacted with her, she was delighted. We went to Buzz Lightyear to fill in time and then watched Mickey’s Big Band in Videopolis before heading to the Illuminations show which was fantastic, I am so glad the weather stayed clear and dry for us to enjoy it. We walked back to the hotel and were straight to sleep!
We had a quick breakfast and skipped the character in the hotel as the queue for Pluto was crazy. The weather was terrible again, on the walk to the parks we stopped and bought ponchos! We went to the Disneyland Park first and got to see the dragon under the castle which was open for the first time since we had got there, then we went to Its a Small World and put our daughter’s name down for meeting Cinderella that afternoon. We went to Pirates of the Caribbean which both kids lives, then on Peter Pan’s Flight and then stopped off to watch the Christmas parade, again there was lots of interaction and we really enjoyed it. This year my daughter was tall enough for Big Thunder Mountain so she went on with me, loved it (as did I, it was my favourite as a kid) and we used parent swap for he to go with her dad. We then went back to meet Cinderella at the allotted time, my daughter had a princess dress with her and Cinderella was very good with her. We got some lovely photos. We then went to Indiana Jones for me and my husband, we both think it is great. We made it to the Frozen Sing-a-long where we got into the princess seats as my daughter was dressed up, it is a fabulous show, and then we went to the Haunted House which both kids actually enjoyed. Again the weather was terrible and we had to pack the suitcases so we headed back to the hotel, although this time we stopped in at the train station to get some wine for the room and got the shuttle bus back, it wasn’t too packed and was quick enough although we enjoyed the walk more.
Last day, so we wanted to cover our favourites and what we had missed. We checked out, skipped meeting Mickey Mouse in the hotel, left our luggage in and walked back to the parks (in the rain again!). We went to WDS first and my husband and I did RC Racer, what a way to wake up! We then went to Rocknroller coaster and really got an adrenaline rush! Adult rides done so we used the parent swap at Crushs coaster and then had another go on Slinky Dog, then left WDS to go to Disneyland Park. We went to see the dragon again, went to Pirates of the Caribbean, had another go at Thunder Mountain to keep my daughter happy! Both kids wanted to do Haunted House again so we did that then went to Buzz Lightyear and one final go on Its A Small World. We were soaked so went up to Disney Village and got a pizza and a drink, then walked back to the hotel to get our transfer to the airport.
We had a ball. I was so worried about the trip because of my illness, I thought I’d be a real burden on my family and ruin it. But thanks to the priority pass and parent swap we were able to go at a slow pace, rest often, see the shows we wanted and get on all the rides we wanted. We are already planning our return for next year. And although we liked he Santa Fe ok we think we will try the Cheyenne. See you next Christmas Mickey & pals!