A Christmas with Characters

Posted by on December 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm :: 1 Comment

The company that Jason works for holds their Christmas party each year in Disneyland. Every employee’s family is invited and the trip is completely paid for from airfare, to park passes, to rooms at the Grand Californian. Before you start saying your “no ways” let me assure you that I am not exaggerating or imagining. Feel free to begin muttering now about how your employer sucks.

Sleeping Beauty’s castle was all aglow with twinkling lights and fake snow.

Jason’s company hosted a lunch with yummy food and Disney characters one afternoon.

Since Jason switched jobs less than a year ago this was our first corporate Disneyland trip so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Here’s the scoop on how it all went:

Weather: When the temperatures back home are in the 30s or 40s anything feels comparatively nice and 73 feels amazing! I wore shorts for nearly our entire vacation. Even when the sun went down and things got a little chilly I largely refused to cover my legs. After all, it’s not every day a Utah resident gets an opportunity to wear summer attire in December; chances like that are not to be squandered. One afternoon I even read a book by the pool in my tank top while the pervasive sunshine made me nice and sweaty. It was an unseasonal miracle. The only hint of winter’s presence during our trip was the darkness that hit suddenly every evening at 4:45. That premature setting sun made keeping track of time difficult but I was too overjoyed by the generally pleasant conditions to care.

Main Street was nostalgic and cheery.

Our hotel lobby was filled with a massive Christmas tree.

Parks: The Disney parks are always amusing that’s probably why they’re called amusement parks. We thoroughly enjoyed spinning on Space Mountain, shrieking on California Screamin’, giggling through the Pirate’s Lair, and plunging on the Tower of Terror. Jason and I have never been to Disneyland near Christmas so it was a treat to see Main Street decked like the halls and “it’s a small world” transformed into a winter wonderland. The Haunted Mansion Holiday, with its seasonal spook scenes, was Jason’s favorite out of all the rides we went on.

We scrambled around the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail until an accident involving my finger, Jeremy, ropes, and high speeds made a Band-Aid necessary. Blame shall not be placed here because it is clearly implied.

Silas loved this nameless dog.

Crowds: Saturday the masses were a mess. The rest of the time the hordes were manageable.

You’re never too big to ride a revolving sea creature.

I had a great time exploring the Pirate’s Lair with Milo and Silas.

Company: Jason works with a couple of our buddies, Jeremy and Adam, so they went to Disneyland with us. We screamed, laughed, and waited much of our time together. This was generally a good thing.

The outside and innards of “its a small world” were altered to reflect the season. It was an adorable change.

Jason and I hung out in California Adventure one evening by ourselves. We had a fabulous time eating hand-dipped ice cream bars and watching packs of people hustle by.

Food: On Disneyland vacations past, getting good food hasn’t been a top priority for us. That’s why I’m pleased to report that this time we got some excellent grub. We ate a yummy lunch at the Blue Bayou, that cool restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It was a hard place to get a seat at. We made reservations weeks in advance and yet only a few timeslots were available. The food was tasty but not as gourmet as I was expecting. However, whatever the meal lacked the atmosphere made up for. With glowing lanterns hanging from fake trees illuminating an artificial sky, it was as serene as a mosquito-free fabricated swamp gets.

I like a wild ride.

Jason caught Eden giggling at the Disney cartoons playing in the hotel lobby.

Napa Rose, the fancy restaurant located at the Grand Californian, was another place we tried that’s worth mentioning. We decided to sample this popular spot even though we couldn’t get a reservation, which meant we had to sit in the lounge to eat our dinner. It wasn’t as secluded as a reserved table would have been but the delightful cuisine was worth putting up with some nearby neighbors for.

In my opinion, both of these restaurants are worth checking out if you happen to be in the area.

Duffy, Disney’s teddy bear, was as cuddly as his stuffing would suggest.

Few things are as glorious as basking by a pool when temperatures in the 20s await you at home.

It’s hard to find complaints about a vacation you didn’t have to pay for so you will get none from me. The weather was lovely, the company was more than plentiful, the crowds were mostly manageable, the decorations were festive, and the food was better than anticipated. Since our expense to amusement ratio was very favorable, I’d say we got a good bang for no bucks.

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