Disneyland December 2021 Review

Day 2

I had the most amazing trip to Disneyland last week! Here’s my review, hopefully it will help you with some tips, tricks, and advice for your trip! I don’t always reveal some of my best tips until you book with me, so be sure to contact me to book your next trip, and you’ll get in on some of my best secrets! Here is the review from my second day at the Disneyland parks.


Whyyyy jetlag, why?! I was awake by 6:30 AM Pacific time. My co-agent, Alison, with whom I’d be spending the majority of my time, was flying in that morning. She was guessing she would be at the park by about 11 AM, but wasn’t sure. I got ready and was headed to the park by 9:30. I was going to be dropped off at the Harbor Blvd drop off area (this is where I was picked up and dropped off every time for the rest of my trip). Alison had arrived early and would be getting dropped off by Uber at the same spot as myself just a few minutes after me. What luck!

We met up and headed to the park. Security is different than Disney World. At Disney World, you walk through a machine similar to a metal detector, but you just hold your bag in front of you. If they see something concerning, they have you step to the side for a bag search, but otherwise, you are good to go. At Disneyland, they search each and every bag, so it takes a little more time.

When you go through the ticket gate, they will take your photo and give you a card. You can still pull up your tickets in the app if you want, but the card serves as another ticket. The photo serves as an I.D. for any park hopping or future days in the parks that particular trip.

Walking down Main Street is Magical. We saw Mickey and the gang at the train station as soon as we walked in. Be sure to stop at the fire station. Walt’s personal apartment was in the space above the fire station, and it’s said that when the light was on in the window, Walt was there. This trip yielded no light, though, just a festive Christmas tree in the window. The center tree was so large and beautiful, I couldn’t wait to see it lit up at night.

We stopped at Jolly Holiday for breakfast and got a Holiday Sandwich and a Raspberry Mickey Macaroon. The sandwich has turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, with gravy to dip, on a rustic bread. It was surprisingly delicious. The Macaroon was one of my favorite things from the whole trip. I can’t recommend it enough!

Then we headed into Adventureland for our first Adventure. We had gotten a Genie Lightning Lane pass for Haunted Mansion, so that was our goal. But first, we stopped to visit the Little Man of Disneyland. You can read more about him here. Once we got there, the ride was closed down. So we went on Splash Mountain instead. This was one of the few rides that, in my opinion, was not as enjoyable as the Disney World version. When we got off of splash, we happened upon a spot with a Santa Claus meet and greet. It was so cute, and the photo pass photographer did a really great job!

Our time had passed for the Haunted Mansion pass, so it turned into a Multiple experience pass. As we walked past Hautned Mansion again, it had reopened, so we used the pass. What fun it was! Disneyland does a Nightmare Before Christmas layover for the holidays, so it was neat to see something different on a classic. They did a really great job, it seems as though that is how the ride always is, when in fact, it will be changed back to normal after the holidays are over.

We had reservations at Cafe Orleans for lunch. Alison and I split almost everything the whole trip so that we could sample more things while still leaving room for the next treat. So for this meal, we split a Monte Cristo and a Hot Chocolate Creme Brulee. They were both superb! I highly recommend them.

While waiting for our meal, we got a lightning pass for Indiana Jones. This ride has a similar track to Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom, but the story is much different and quite frankly, a million times better. It’s quite fun!

It was time to meet up with the other agents at the castle for some photos. It was so fun to gather all together and meet fellow agents I had not met before. What a great group of amazing ladies!

After our meetup, Alison needed some coffee. I found a spot to watch the parade while she stood in line at the Starbucks location. The holiday parade was truly magical. My words cannot even express what it was like, you’ll have to experience it yourself!

We headed back to Fantasyland, and rode the Storybookland Canal boats before heading to Small World, our next lightning lane. Small World had a holiday layover and was so great! We headed into Toontown, which neither of us had ever seen before. We used a lightning lane for Roger Rabit’s Car Toon Spin. Minnie was standing outside her house, looking adorable as usual, and we had a lovely conversation with her.

We headed back to Fantasyland and hit Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Magical Adventure, and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. All 3 were nostalgic of my childhood when I visited Disneyland often.

It was time for a snack, so we got the holiday version of the grey stuff and a churro. To me, both were just ok. I probably would not get them again. But so many people love and rave about the churros, so you may need to form your own opinion.

We had an upcoming Genie pass for Big Thunder Mountain, but the ride had closed. When it expired, we got a multiple experience pass. Then as we were passing by, right at that moment the ride reopened so we didn’t even need to use a pass, we got right on. This ride was better than the version at Disney World, in my opinion. It was a blast!

We had seen that Pirates of the Caribbean was also closed, so we headed towards New Orleans Square for dinner. Again, just as we passed, the ride opened, and we walked right on. Luck was on our side. And, again as a matter of opinion, Pirates is WAY better than the Disney World version.

We had Dinner at the French Market, corn chowder bread bowls, with some Mickey shaped beignets from the Mint Julep Bar next door. The corn chowder was yummy, and provided some much needed warmth, but was not quite as tasty as the version I’d had the day before at Storytellers Cafe. The beignets were also not as good as the ones I’d had the previous day, even though their Mickey shape made them much cuter!

We wanted to get back to Small World for the fireworks, which were on the edge of not happening because it had started to rain. We made our way back there anyway, and they decided it was safe to put on the show. Seeing it from that vantage point was so unique and beautiful. The projections on the front of the Small World facade are magical, and fireworks are always great.

It was time for Tomorrowland and Space Mountain. We had another Lightning Lane, and it saved us some time here for sure! Space Mountain is different than the Disney World Version. It is much smoother, for one. Overall, I like it way more. I don’t even ride the Disney World version if I don’t have to. Here, we loved it so much, and it was the end of the night, so we decided to ride it again. Our second trip, we got loaded into the train, and then instead of going right on the track to start the ride, our train went off to the left. A cast member came and helped us de-train, we went a short walk back stage, and had to get onto a new train. Disney never really reveals what the root of a problem is, they want everything to be as magical as possible. This means no mistakes, so they do their best to hold up appearances. But the cast members handled it great, and we were able to get back on the ride quickly.

We ended the night with a ride on Buzz Lightyear: Space Ranger Spin, getting some nightime castle photos taken, and purchasing some of the items we had our eye on when shopping earlier in the day.

It had been a magical day, and I was excited to see what tomorrow would bring at California Adventure.

Published by Emily Trempe

I am a mom of 2 boys ages 11 and 14, and have been married to my wonderfully supportive husband, Brian for 14 years. I work full time in the billing department of a large opthamolgy practice in Michigan. I have not just a love for all things Disney that started from birth. My boys sometimes call it my Disney problem, but my husband and I fondly refer to it as my Disney passion. I have a side gig as a travel advisor. I can help plan almost any vacation, but as you can guess, I specialize in Disney and Universal.

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