James Rao

Published: November 6, 2013 at 9:23 PM

Finally!!!! ;)

Well, gang, the journey is over and now I am faced with the glaring realization that it will probably be many years before the Rao Family can return to Disneyland again. How sad.

I just want to say that I very much appreciate all the comments, agreements, disagreements, corrections, and kind words you have provided throughout this five part saga. It has been a real pleasure sharing my family's adventures with a community of true theme park fans. I look forward to reading about all of your theme park adventures in the very near future. Let's keep the TPI fire burning!

"Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world." - Walt Disney.

Rob Pastor

Published: November 6, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Great series. But I'm sad to see it end. Looking forward to a Orlando report from you the next time the financials allow.
Jack Hammond

Published: November 6, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Loved this series. We need more posts like this on this site. It's so refreshing to hear an honest review and experience of this fantastic resort. I too would love to see you do a Walt Disney World trip report in the future.

P.s- I went to my first Not-So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom, and it was absolutely fantastic. The fireworks were the best I have ever seen Disney do, the Boo to You parade is probably my favorite Disney parade, and the decorations and atmosphere were fantastic! I highly recommend you eventually experience this version of the Halloween Party whenever possible!

Thanks again for a wonderful report!

Published: November 7, 2013 at 5:30 AM

Jack Skellington looks like a grey alien and it terrifies me.

Great trip report though! I hope some day that I can make it to the Disneyland Resort.

Kelly Muggleton

Published: November 7, 2013 at 5:34 AM

This just brought some SoCal sunshine into my grey dreary London lunch break.

(@Jack - so glad you loved Boo To You! Best parade I have ever seen)

Anon Mouse

Published: November 7, 2013 at 8:36 AM

You done everything that should be done. 5 thumbs up. I went there two years ago for the Halloween Party. I usually brought the reusable Trader Joe bags. Each person held two bags. They never hesitated in filling two bags for each person. I didn't focus on the candy. I went on rides and the treat stations alternatively. The thing is you will still end up with lots of candy and you just can't take more. It is harder to go on the rides with the candy. I took advantage of the stroller to store the candy when going on rides. I will probably go again next year when my kid is 5 years old. I hope I don't need the stroller, but it is nice to have it around.
Tad Daily

Published: November 7, 2013 at 9:38 AM

James - Thanks for bringing us along on your family trip!!! It was fun!

Published: November 7, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Did you get a chance to try the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney? We went to DL in the spring with a group of cast members from WDW and they said that all the WDW managers said it was a must stop on any DL trip. Was so good we went twice.
David Brown

Published: November 7, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Truly excellent article James. From a guy who may never get to Disneyland you made it come alive so many thanks.....
Ian Robinson

Published: November 7, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Glad it's not just me who thinks the Jack Skellington costume is freaky. Looks more like a Marvel villain or X-Files monster than a Disney character.
Mike Gallagher

Published: November 7, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I haven't commented before, but I've been reading every word, Awesome stuff, Mr. Rao. I loved the pic of your kids with the candy pile..I'm jealous as heck, and I'm ALREADY diabetic! I went to Disneyland only once, as a 14 year-old in 1979. Obviously much has changed, but you really make me feel like I was with your family. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to provide us with such an informative, descriptive, and entertaining trip report.

AJ Hummel

Published: November 7, 2013 at 11:04 PM

This whole report was excellent! I wish there was more. Anyway, if you can only visit the Disneyland Resort once, this is the way to do it. It sounds like you got your fill of everything you wanted to ride (well, except Big Thunder Mountain Railroad since it's in refurbishment) and managed to avoid most of the crowds that sometimes plague the resort (typically due to Passholders coming in the evenings). Who knows, maybe you'll get a chance to return sooner than you think.

One thing I've found about Disney parades is that they are insanely popular but most of them are forgettable. The only parade I've ever found memorable was the Main Street Electrical Parade, and even though I've seen most of Mickey's Soundsational (the park's current daytime parade, likely the one you saw day one) I found it fairly dull and a general waste of time. From your report, it sounds like the Mickey's Halloween Party parade is skippable as well, which is a shame as Boo to You actually looks like it could be spectacular. The firework shows, on the other hand...I prefer Fantasmic, but I haven't seen a Disney firework show I didn't like (although Remember...Dreams Come True is my favorite).

Finally, I have to ask: Assuming the same length and same expense for each visit, would you rather do a return visit to Southern California or to Central Florida (or would it depend on the status of X2)? I've never been to Florida, and although it is near the top of my theme park destination list (and I will get there one day) it seems hard to justify the expense with Disneyland as one of my local parks.

Samantha McCrae

Published: November 8, 2013 at 7:21 AM

I have very much enjoyed reading about your trip! Great to get a good insight into the goings on over in the West :)

P.S Your older son is gorgeous btw xD Sorry, I had to say something! Haha :)

James Rao

Published: November 8, 2013 at 10:10 AM

@Rob, Jack, Kelly, Anon, Tad, David, Mike, AJ, Samantha, and anyone else who said something encouraging to me during the course of this five part therapy session: THANK YOU!

@Rob & Jack The soonest the Rao Family might be traveling back to Orlando would be sometime in 2015, which works out nicely since by then the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Potter 2.0, and Falcon’s Fury will not only be running, but the initial crowd rush should be over. Now, whether or not I will subject my TPI family to another 21 page moment-by-moment diatribe of the Rao’s journey remains to be seen, but right now I think I will attempt to be a bit less verbose going forward!

@anon poster & Ian I thought Jack Skellington was very cool. We actually did run into him as he was walking back to the offstage areas, and he was very funny and engaging as he interacted with guests. I think I will have to get the Disney Infinity Skellington figurine for my son Jeremy who now loves the character.

@anon poster Nope, we did not get a chance to visit the Jazz Kitchen. The only place we ate that I did not cover in my report was the Earl of Sandwich and we only ate there because it was very late and the line was short. I am not a huge fan of the Earl, as I think there are far superior sandwich places in almost every city in America, but, in a pinch, when everyone is tired and hungry, the Earl is fine.

@AJ Overall, I think that Central Florida is the better “resort-style” vacation destination, but thankfully it never has to be an either/or proposition. I plan on revisiting both coasts on trips in the future (there is a LOT I missed in SoCal that will have to be rectified at some point). You are very lucky to live so close to so many wonderful parks and attractions (and coasters).

@Samantha I’d like to think Jacob gets those great looks from his Dad…..whoever he is!!!! j/k =)

And remember, everyone needs to be posting their trip reports! For the next couple years I will need to live vicariously through your theme park vacations while I save up for the Rao Family's Next Great Adventure!


Mike Gallagher

Published: November 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

James, you could LITERALLY make it a Great Adventure and haul your butts out to Jersey! I'd be glad, proud,honored, and humbled to be the Rao family's guide.
James Rao

Published: November 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Sounds like a plan! If only it were true that spending lots of money helped people (and governments) stay out of debt! ;)

Published: November 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Thoroughly enjoyed the series of your Trip Report! Not all of what you said I agreed with, but it has to do with my personal experiences at the Resort. I've been to Disneyland 10 times in the past 12 years, with the most recent trip being in September of 2012. Your Trip Report definitely brought it all back, and motivated me to get back...however if I even suggest such an idea to my wife at this point, she would strangle me! "There's other places to go besides Disneyland!" That's true, but I'd rather go back to Disneyland. I'm a confirmed addict of the place. Thanks again for posting your report. What a nice family!
James Rao

Published: November 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM

^Thank you!

Understand about your wife... mine put her foot down when I originally wanted to do nothing but theme and amusement parks for two weeks in SoCal. "I'll visit Disney," she said "but all those coaster parks are the same!" ;)

Jay R.

Published: November 8, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Cool great trip report!! DLR is my local park, but it's cool reading the recaps & first impressions of attractions, etc.

Just as curiosity, after visting DCA & DL, if you were to rank all 6 US Disney parks, how would you rank them? I know overall, WDW wins as a resort, but I'm talking individual parks.

James Rao

Published: November 9, 2013 at 8:03 AM

I guess I would go with the following list...

Magic Kingdom
California Adventure
Hollywood Studios
Animal Kingdom

Off to see Thor 2 and give Disney even more of my money. Have a good weekend gang!

*Edit 11/9 - Thor 2 was a rollicking good time. Check it out, Marvel fans!

grant crawford

Published: November 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Thanks for some great reads James. It makes me want to go back sooner, even despite having a 3 year old and 11 month old.