Get Your Disneyfied Christmas B-Day Fix!

(scroll past the buttons to see the Introduction)

Introductions, a Recap, and the Start of our Adventure!

Howdy All!  It is exactly 3 months since me and mine returned from our most amazing spectacular extra-most-bestest trip to the land that Walt made.  If it was that good, why wait this long to do a Trip Report?  Well, we came back to the standard work and school backlogs along with the holidays and family in town and charity/club endeavors kept me running around quite a bit. 

Beyond that I got overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to organize the pictures!  If you’ve followed along on one of my reports you know that I try to bring humor, tell a good story, and more than anything max out the pic limit!  In the past I would take an average of 1,000 pictures per day on my Canon DSLR and try and cull that down to a manageable amount.

However, with this trip we officially crossed over into the full digital age with my DSLR, which I didn’t even take all of the days we were in the park.  Plus all 4 of our smart phones being used for both pictures and video!  Just getting all of the pics/vids from everyone’s devices to my cloud storage was an undertaking that lasted thru December.  After that I had to start arranging the pics by timeline, rename and resize them, and get them uploaded to my web server.  I’m honestly still working on trying to get it all done.

But enough excuses – you didn’t come here for excuses!  You came here for smiles and laughter and a joyous celebration of the holidays and a late birthday extravaganza!  This I shall deliver in spades, I promise!


First, you’re probably wondering who the heck we are!  To this end I’ll give you a sneak peek of our “Seasons Grootings” t-shirts

From left to right we have:

Mike AKA MnMrMustard – IT Director, Charity-based Beard Club Chapter Captain, Make-a-Wish Volunteer Wish Granter, Disney Addict, and your valiant author

Jinx – my 18yr old Son and college student with a focus on digital graphics and art and an actor in local community theatre

Kyra AKA PumpkinGirl – my 21yr old Daughter working full time and taking classes here and there towards an AA degree with an education focus.  She likes Anime/Cosplay and epic hair and was our birthday girl on this adventure

Roxy – Office Manager, Loving Wife of 24 years, Amazing person and supporter of all of my charity and Disney endeavors

Why, Where and When!

So WHY are we going to Disneyland? We are going to Disneyland because of Las Vegas.

Earlier in the year my daughter started talking about wanting to take a trip to Vegas to celebrate her 21st Birthday at the end of August. Roxy was excited about the thought as she hadn’t been there since she was 16yrs old herself. They looked to me for information as I have been to several IT conferences there, along with going there to visit an Army buddy.

Sadly I am literally and figuratively burnt out on LV. And although PumpkinGirl is interested in drinking she does not want to get too drunk. Nor does she want to partake of any of the more adult-themed shows. Nor does she care about gambling. I warned both of them that they would be dealing with some staggering heat at the end of August and that they need to be aware of the level of drunk weirdos and distasteful flyers that would be handed to them as we tried to navigate from casino to casino. And that it would be a LOT of walking.

When it came down to it she really just wanted to have a couple of drinks and see the Blue Man Group. We went back and forth and I eventually convinced them to go in October when the temperature is a lot more manageable. And one of my wife’s friends had a voucher for a 3 night stay at one of the resorts so I would get to stay home with my son Jinx while they did a girls adventure in LV.

After that I worked on gathering information about the best buffets, things to see and do, and what to avoid. Over this time period my Roxy cooled on the idea of LV, capped by a stop-in to an area Indian casino. Seeing the sad, smoke-filled establishment and watching our money disappear down the electronic maw of a couple of machines was enough for her.

She brought the subject back up to Kyra and again asked what she really wanted to get out of the experience and during the conversation (I kept out of it) they meandered back to thoughts of Disney. As a family we have taken a total of 4 trips, two to Disneyland and two to Walt Disney World/Universal Orlando.

We haven’t been to Disneyland since 2009 other than a solo experience I had last October in conjunction with yet another IT conference. So the last time we were all there they were still building World of Color and Cars Land. California Adventure was a maze of construction walls. We had done that trip in mid-October and did Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, dressing as pirates!

After further conversation Kyra started talking about how much she enjoyed Walt Disney World during the Christmas season. By the end of it all we had decided to do one last blowout Christmastime trip, this time to Disneyland. With that my planning bug kicked in and I started working numbers (I keep multi-tab spreadsheets for DLR and WDW trips among other planning tools). This leads us to…


When I went in October I stayed at the Desert Palms Hotel and Suites due to its convenient location in relation to the convention center and reasonable walk to the DLR entrance. I was very impressed with the comfort, cleanliness, and courtesy shown by the staff of the hotel.

I spent about a month looking at different options for travel and accommodations thru direct book and travel sites. I ended up using my Expedia account and was concerned when I found that I could book airfare for just shy of $2,800, which seemed steep (it is never cheap to fly out of Southern Oregon). But then I discovered I could tie in the Desert Palms with a 5 day stay for just over $2,400 including the premium travel insurance! You got that right, it cost us $400 less to add in a 5-night stay than to just pay for the flight. BOOKED!

As far as the where we will visit, we are just sticking to DL/CA/DTD. Keeping everything within walking distance so we don’t have to rent a car or UBER it. Now on to…


On our big 2012 trip we had great success by traveling just after the Thanksgiving weekend so we went for it again. We will be flying in on the morning of Sunday, November 26th and flying out in the evening on Friday, December 1st. Both are direct flights with only about 2hrs 10min flight time, so that would have us arriving at LAX around 10:30am. I’m figuring we’ll be to the Desert Palms in time to drop our bags (they have a great baggage storage system) and stroll down Katella Ave to Disneyland Drive and grab lunch at the Earl of Sandwich.

So we’ll be there when all of the Christmas/Holiday decorations and events are going on with some of the lowest crowd time-frames available. No marathons, no holidays, no weekend crowds. The parks close a bit earlier but we’re okay with that. And we’re even okay with missing out on having as many fireworks opportunities due to scheduling or weather. The Desert Palms has a great fireworks viewing deck on the roof so we’re golden there if we don’t want to brave seeing them in the parks.

Speaking of weather, we have the benefit of being Oregonians! First, we have REAL PONCHOS! Second, the temp in our neck of the woods averages in the low to mid 40s this time of year. So California getting “cold” and being around 50-60 degrees would be comfortable and the average temp in the low 70s would be like spring break for us.

Our trip way back in January of 2005 happened during some of the worst rains SoCal had seen in decades. There were mudslides in the hills and on our last day the CA drainage system couldn’t keep up – there were literal lakes of water thru some of the paths and my bro-in-law and his older daughter got stranded on top of Grizzly Mountain!

But when it wasn’t raining we stripped off our ponchos and had shorts and t-shirts on underneath and very much enjoyed the average 10 minute or less wait times for even the “E-Ticket” attractions. We just had to have two pair of shoes so one set could be drying back at the hotel if they got wet while we wore the other. We didn’t get fireworks but rode every ride we wanted to as many times as we wanted because the snowbirds and locals all went home. So basically I’m totally fine with it getting “cold” or even wet while we are there.

I think you are all reasonably well up to speed, so let’s get this party started!