Last week mistakes were made. We didn't set an alarm and as a result got to the parks too late.
This week things would be different. We left the house when we intended, made good time to the resort, and pulled into the parking garage at 7:40am. Just what I was hoping, barely any cars in front of us.
After parking and walking over to Downtown Disney security, I was happy to see no lines here either.
Just as we got to the Monorail entrance, cast members were taking down the Hotel Guests Only sign (since it was Magic Hours at Disneyland this morning). We sped through the entrance, up the elevator, and found a monorail with its doors open and waiting for us. We're speeding through everything so far. Quite a change from last week.
Taking a peek into the park as the monorail passes the front entrance.
Ian had wanted to ride Autopia last week, but the line was already pretty long by the time we had arrived. Today it's showing just a 5 minute wait!
Oh yeah. The hats! Theresa and I are sporting classic Mickey and Minnie Santa hats. I got them from Disneyland years ago.
The kids have matching Prep and Landing hats and let me tell you, even though the last new Prep and Landing episode aired in 2011, they are still super popular. We couldn't have been 10 steps getting off the parking garage elevator when someone said "The Prep and Landing Elves!" They got comments on the hats the entire day (and it's really going to be tough for me to put them in any other hats this Christmas season).
The hats themselves came out around 2011 as a Hallmark exclusive. The only place I know of to find them these days is eBay.
The line should have only been 5 minutes long, but instead of running multiple lanes, only 1 was going. According to the timestamps on my photos, it took about 20 minutes to board. We spent the time in line chatting with a family visiting from Canada who were on their very first Disneyland trip.
Ian in his red sleigh. He's really gotten much better at driving. There's a lot less banging around back and forth now.
Since everyone is dressed up, I was hoping to get a good family photo in front of the castle. As we were waiting in line, one of the Main Street horses pulled up. Since we've been singing Christmas songs for a week or so, Ian immediately thought of the "One horse open sleigh". He wanted to know what the horse's name was, so I gave him permission to go find out. It Chief!
Our turn! And now that we're at the front of the line, I'm realizing this isn't such a good idea right now. The sun is pretty low on the horizon and pointed straight at us, making it really hard to keep your eyes open for the camera.
The kids making the best of it.
A squinty family photo.
And a squinty pair together.
Trying a 180. That's the best we can do for now.
With just a little bit of time to kill before our first fastpass, Casey Jr was looking like a pretty short line and a good ride to go on. Alli went straight for the pink cage, while Ian ran back to the caboose.
Last week we missed out on it's a small world holiday, so I wanted to make sure we got to it today. This early in the morning, our fastpass was worthless. It took us longer to scan the fastpass and walk up than the people just going through the normal queue. Ian wanted to know why the face had a hat on. Because it's celebrating Christmas too!
Wow. Where has the year gone? 2019 is right around the corner.
Ian must have been really really good this year, making his way onto two nice lists.
I love the gingerbread archway.
Theresa does too. She told me that this is how she wants our house to look eventually when we decorate for Christmas.
It's always nice to see The King back in Hawaii for Christmas.
Both the kids were amazed and excited when we entered the final room. That's a giant snowman!
Both were clapping along and singing to the combination of the songs Jingle Bells and it's a small world.
And here's the reason we're here today. It's time to meet Santa!
Santa was arriving in Critter Country promptly at 10am, so we made sure to get there a little early. We hopped in the line that was waiting to get in the Santa line at 9:55am.
Alli was ready.
And by 10:15 it was just about our turn to meet Santa. One of Santa's helpers came out and prepped the kids a little bit, asking their names and what they were going to ask Santa for.
Waiting patiently for their turn to go up. When it was time, she introduced them. "Santa I want you to meet Ornament (Ian's Prep and Landing call-sign today) and Present (Alli's call-sign)."
Of course the kids loved it. And I like how the photopass photographer was snapping away the whole time.
Ian was in awe.
Santa - You must be part of my Prep and Landing team!
Love how Alli makes her 3 sign when people ask her age. She made it the same way when she was 2, so whenever you ask her, she always holds up 2 first then remembers that third finger needs to go up too.
And what do you want for Christmas?
When we were driving to Disneyland this morning I asked them the same question. Ian said he wanted Santa to make him taller so he could ride the big rollercoaster ride. Hearing that, Alli wanted to be 42" so she could ride Goofy's Sky School.
But once Santa asked them, they forgot all that. Ian wanted a toy car you can drive. Alli didn't know what she wanted so Santa told her once she figured it out, to think really hard before bedtime and wish it to him.
And one more with the whole family.
I was really impressed with everything here. I didn't feel rushed and Santa took over 2 minutes with us. The kids loved it for sure.
There's one more Christmas character back here in Critter Country that I wanted to visit. And I made sure to bring coordinating hats.
Let's see, I've got 2 adult size hats and 1 kid size hat. Alli which character do you want? Alli - Pooh! And Ian which character for you? Ian - Tigger! I should have guessed that. That leaves me trying to squeeze my head into the tiny Eeyore hat.
As soon as we got to the front of the line, Pooh's tummy was a little rumbly so he had to get a smackeral of honey. The kids got to check out the decorations on the tree in the meantime. He's got carrots on there!
Alli asked if Pooh washed his hands after eating the sticky honey. Pooh loved their hats.
Hmm. I never realized Piglet was in Slytherin.
The kids had to have a picture.
While we're here, a ride on Winnie the Pooh is a must.
Ian was confused why no one was going inside Pooh Corner after finishing the ride. It's tradition. Our treats today will be coming from somewhere else.
I had a fastpass for the Holiday Haunted Mansion, but it was closed. Instead Buzz Lightyear was pretty quick. Perhaps it's time for a refurb on this one. You know the trick about aiming your gun at the wall so you can see how the aim is. I pointed it at the wall and saw... nothing. Hmm. After a few more times, I finally saw a very dim spot that I guess was mine. Cleaning the front of the gun did nothing, so the rest of the ride I was aiming blind and was just happy to hear the feedback that my gun hit anything.
Theresa of course cleaned up all the targets I missed, scoring 789k and placing 16th for the day so far.
By noon the parks are starting to get crowded so it was time to go on ride that didn't have long queues. Since Ian got to pick the color last week, this week it was Alli's turn. She wanted a pink one, so she and Ian discussed how he was going to run really fast and get her one.
And he did! She was happy.
Mommy getting some photos from the sidelines.
The carrousel had the extended queue up, but it is also a good one to ride when the crowds are high. Alli was scoping out that pink and purple horse that she keeps trying to ride. No luck again today for her, but we'll keep trying.
Ian found this Christmas horse and named him Donner.
I was happy to see that our fastpasses for Mansion turned into Anytime Fastpasses since it was broken down earlier. The fastpass queue moves so much faster than the regular queue...
I don't typically take photos of the stretching room, but when I do, I make sure the back screen of my camera is set to black. Some people however aren't as considerate, holding their glowing phones above their heads during the dark transition. Should I tell them that they forgot to push the "record" button on their video or just let them figure it out for themselves later.
For now, all four of us can ride in the same Doom Buggy. It's getting tight though.
We won! Seeing Lock, Shock, and Barrel makes us winners.
Time to walk out. Waving goodbye to Lucky the Christmas horse.
On the walk out, Mommy stopped by the Jolly Holiday bakery to get a Christmas cookie for everyone to share.
Share amongst themselves apparently. The kids devoured it.
It was fun day at the parks. Seeing all the holiday decorations and meeting Santa was great! Let the Christmas season begin!