This is how 1 San Diego day became a 4th Disneyland day.
Long after we planned our trip, Disneyland FINALLY released their schedule – including the holiday season. Which now started 1 day after we were checking out. Clearly, I didn’t go all the way to California to miss Christmas by 1 day. So, we drove from San Diego to Disneyland on Friday.
The drive was only around 2 hours and traffic wasn’t bad! Since I really just wanted to see the Christmas parade, Christmas fireworks, holiday themed ‘It’s a Small World’, plus a handful of rides we held off on riding, we knew getting there early afternoon would be just fine. Which left the morning open for the beach!
We saw the Christmas parade which was, admittedly, disappointing. There was a lot of dead space and the soundtrack is literally just 1 song, over and over again. But I’m glad I saw it!
I really wanted to see the show “Mickey and the Magical Map” since it’s a Disneyland exclusive. It was so good!! We especially loved how they used characters you don’t see all that often (Mulan!) + some fun special effects.
After dark, the exterior of It’s a Small World is lit up for the holidays. Pictures don’t do it justice!
Every so often, there is a projection show on the facade. Y’all, it was just gorgeous.
The counter service lines earlier in the week were pretty long so I went ahead and made a dinner reservation the night before at Carnation Cafe, on Main Street. Seeing how crowded it was, this was a great idea 🙂 It was so busy, in fact, that they were turning away anyone without a reservation which was fairly unusual at Disneyland (definitely not unusual at WDW!).
While we were waiting on our table, they did a short castle show where Aurora lit the castle Christmas lights. The best part was that it snowed on Main Street! So we got to step out of the restaurant and experience it. I wasn’t expecting it so it was fun to stumble upon. The snow is hard to see but I promise it’s there 🙂
After dinner, we wandered over to New Orleans Square area to hit some of the shops and we stumbled upon the door to Club 33!
Fireworks at Disneyland are rare. Er, perhaps not rare but not scheduled nightly year-round and often canceled due to wind. I love Disney fireworks and I couldn’t wait to see the holiday ones. I knew there was a possibility that they’d cancel them but I had my fingers crossed! We joined the gobs of people in the fub and got as close as we could to wait. The space to see them is much more limited than WDW because of the layout of their hub (and all the trees!).
Finally, it was time!
And then it stopped. 5 minutes in. The lights came up and the announcement said the fireworks had to be canceled for the night.
Y’all, I was beyond sad.
And so were the families who had camped over for over an hour to see the fireworks!
A cast member later said it was due to the winds. Whatevs.
The cast members quickly removed all the ropes keeping the cattle, ahem, guests corralled and it quickly became a mass of humanity. We tried to get back to Fantasyland but they had the castle pathways closed due to the fireworks. So we skirted our way over to Tomorrowland to ride Jason’s favorite, Buzz Lightyear.
Hyperspace Mountain (Space Mountain with Star Ways overlay) had a super long wait the entire week we were there so we grabbed fastpasses when we arrived around 2:30pm and didn’t have a return time until 10:30pm!
It was WAY better than the WDW version, which Jason will never ride again due to the ride vehicle, plus I loved the overlay (and I’m not a Star Wars fan). I’m so glad we finally rode it!
We rode a few more things and then started to head out of the park, stopping at the gorgeous castle for more pictures.
We attempted, again, to get a selfie in front of it and a sweet cast member on her way home saw our struggle and offered to take our picture.
I had all the feels on the way out of the park for the last time.
We got to our car around midnight and then drove the 2 hours home… wiped out!
The next morning was our last so obviously my rear was in the sand. Plus I had to soak up some of that heat – it was going to be a 50 degree difference once we stepped off the plane in Charlotte!
While we flew into LAX, we flew out of San Diego, and just dropped the car we picked up in Anaheim at the San Diego airport. Easy peasy! San Diego airport is quite lovely, actually, much more so than LAX!
All in all, a fabulous trip that checked off several “bucket list” items. Can’t beat a trains, planes, and automobiles sorta trip!