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PrincessAurora
02-05-2001, 02:30 PM
Cast:
Pinky (PrincessAurora): Thrill Park Weenie and DCA skeptic
The Brain (Captain Nemo): The faster the better - Just thrilled to be here
Catwoman & Racer X: ThirtySomething screenwriters from South Pasadena. They've worked for Disney, and for network TV. Also INCREDIBLE, fun people! We got in with their Annual Pass!

This Downtown Disney ROCKS!!!!! It is TONS better than the one in WDW. The shops are superior (not as much cheap touristy stuff). They have a Lego Store (OK, the WDW store is bigger and better but this one is still cool), a Le Brea Bakery, a wonderful bath store, The World of Disney store is an attraction unto itself. Everything you can possibly want is here and it's open until 2:00am. and there is sooo much more. The restaurants are great! They have House of Blues, there is a New Orleans Jazz Restaurant which I have to go to later. They serve Beingnet's, Mufaletta, Po-Boys and other yummies from a window at the side of the restaurant as well.

This is also where you grab the monorail. There is no monorail station in DCA. I really enjoyed DTD (in a quiet way) since my feet were hurting so much from walking that I had trouble moving.

I should also put in a blurb about the Grand Californian. I was not impressed. I was under the impression that it would be the CA equivalent to the Grand Floridian. It is done in a Craftsman style but not done really well. It looked more like a dressed up Condo complex than a Deluxe Hotel. It also seems that the noise level for most of the hotel properties would be high since DCA is open until midnight and DTD is open until 2:00am.

So, we went back to the Park for our Fast Pass time and the FAST PASS line was 1 ½ hours long for Soaring over California. We had PS at Avalon Cove at 8:30pm and didn't want to miss dinner. The cast member told us that they would honor our Fast Passes for the rest of the night even past our cut off time, so we went to see if we could get food early.

Avalon Cove is sponsored by Wolfgang Puck and is not only a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Bay through huge windows but has FANTASTIC food as well. This is a 5 star restaurant and the only one of its caliber that I saw in the Park. This blows Blue Bayou right out of the water.

We got in and started with Sour Green Apple Martinis ($7.50). The Jolly Rancher in the glass was a nice touch. The bar is upstairs where you can watch the rides across the Bay, eat sushi or just hang out. You can request to sit outside on the deck as well. As of now, there are no fireworks or evening "top drawer" shows.

There is a VERY limited children's menu as well (spaghetti, fish & chips, etc for a more economical price). The décor was wonderful. It was like you are under the sea and the views are good from anywhere. The room volume does tend to be a bit loud but the food quality makes up for it. The tables are NOT shoved close together which I appreciated.

For starters, Catwoman and Racer X ordered the Calamari ($8.00) and I got to nibble. It was served with an avocado aioli (a dressing made with mayo) and a spicy marinara sauce (a nice bite but not too hot). The breading was light, the fish was fresh and not frozen and rubbery (B+)

Captain Nemo got the Snapper Veracruz ($22.00). It was a tiny bit dry but the flavor was good and he enjoyed it.

Racer X got the Ahi Tuna ($25.00). It was seared rare, had an excellent flavor and wasn't coated in wasabi so you could enjoy the flavor of the fish. Very fresh and excellent.

I got the Broiled Lobster with tomato Béarnaise ($36.00) and Catwoman got the Steamed Lobster with garlic butter ($36.00) and we split it so we each got a half. They were equally excellent. The Béarnaise sauce was creamy but light. It didn't overpower the lobster but complimented it.

Our server Hesham was very attentive. The whole meal for 4 adults with tip and 6 cocktails came to approx. $238.00. I would recommend this restaurant HIGHLY!!!!

We decided to skip dessert and grab ice cream after we rode Soaring Over California (SoC).

Side note of a new things I forgot: First there was an electric fiddle player over at Pacific Wharf that was incredible! We enjoyed that a lot, especially since we didn't have to listen to California Dreaming for the 30th time while we were there.

The Parade celebrated different cultures and was fun. You could tell that the dancers were younger and not as polished as the ones at Disneyland. We did enjoy their enthusiasm.

The Park is also in serious need of trash pickup. Most trashcans I saw were overflowing and there didn't seem to be as many sanitation technicians around to deal with the problem.

Line control is probably the worst issue. Most lines were either not controlled well, were boring ques with nothing interesting to look at or both. There was a lack of creative lines to keep you from being bored.

Last but not least, there is hardly any shade. This is going to be a problem in the summer. I guess you could live on the water ride but you should add a hat, sunscreen and water to your list of things to bring. I think that part of my issue with my feet was standing on the concrete for so long. Benches and shady areas to sit were in short supply.

OK, now onto the #1 ride in the Park! We were all excited. We approach the area and something is really wrong. There is a line of cast members blocking people from entering the "Condor Flats" area. That includes the ride and an adjacent restaurant. We hear that ride broke and is closed "for an indefinite amount of time". Great, the story of our lives. We are glad we ate when we did because if we would have stayed in the line, we never would have made it inside anyway.

We decide to shop and I run into my friend Castmember Jose. He tells me that the word on the Disney radios is that there was a very small electrical fire in the ride and they evacuated the area as a safety precaution. It was not a major deal but they just wanted to be sure. Great, now I'll never go on it. We buy cool things and then decide to take the Ice Cream Ride!

There is a train next to Condor flats that houses some food/bakery areas. We stop by "Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream" for waffle cones (Mine was skimpy, everyone else had a full scoop - Pout - ) It was good and we were tired. We decided to try SoC one more time and it was OPEN! The catch was they were only letting Fast Pass holders in. Yippee!! That's us!

After a small snafu with The Brain not being able to find his Fast Pass after he put it away - we were in!!!! I must say that this is the most amazing, magical, awe-inspiring, religious experience of a ride. I don't have the words to adequately describe it.

You sit in one of 3 rows of seats.. The seats lift into the air in front of an IMAX-type of screen. The rows rake apart (tiered) so you have a direct view of the screen. It then projects views of the sky, pictures of CA while your seats move and dip (slightly) like you are flying! It is amazing to be "flying" over the Golden Gate. You have this feeling of space and height. Also of smell. There are sequences when you can smell pine when you follow this river through the Sierras. It is so incredible it really defies description. You have to experience it. It moved me to tears it was so beautiful.

We all agreed if we were as rich as Bill Gates, we would have one of these in our houses. It was a perfect Disney magic way to end the evening.

Aurora

DL - too many times to count
Club 33 - '91, 98, '99
WDW - ASM '98, PO '00, WL '01
http://disneyclipart.simplenet.com/Movies/Sleeping_Beauty/aurora-phil02.gif

redhit96
02-06-2001, 03:42 PM
I read both of your reports, they are great!

I love the way you write, very humorous and cutting edge.

I think we need a link from the main page to your Trip Reports too!

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benolathe
02-06-2001, 08:02 PM
Thanks so much...enjoyed both part I & part II of your report.

We will be in DL & DCA next month and I hope they don't have problems with Soarin' while we are there because everyone is simply *raving* about that attraction!

Sheila
sheila.bennett@home.com
Wilderness Lodge; Dec 1999
Disneyland March 2001!

Mary Jo
02-07-2001, 10:47 AM
http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/flowerface.GIF <font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#00009c>Wonderful report. Now I'm off to find the other installation. :)

WP sounds like a great restaurant to try.

<font face="Comic Sans MS"><font color=#FF0066>Mary Jo http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/mms.gif
Disneyland Board Co-Moderator
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My Disneyland Site (http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/maryjom/index.html)
My Sequoia/Yosemite Trip (http://www.megspace.com/travel/maryjomw/Sequoia2000.htm)

Dress Up Your Posts (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=165096211&m=065096511)

Kimmyrella
02-07-2001, 11:37 PM
We were there this past Saturday also and generally enjoyed the park. Did you go into "Animation" in the Hollywood backlot district? This was really cool...especially the sorcerer's workshop where you can be the voices of different Disney Characters or find the Disney Character that is most like you (I am Nala and my daughter was Lady from "Lady & the Tramp). Here you can also get a great sneak peak at Disney's "Atlantis". It was really awesome inside too...with all these screens all over the place showing all the classics.

I pretty much agreed with everything you said. I think we enjoyed Paradise Pier more than we thought we would and we loved "California Screamin'" (we went on it 3 times...amazing how low the line was at 11:45 PM...it was a walk on).

One thing I did disagree with was your take on the Grand Californian. We stayed there and loved it. I think it is a beautiful hotel and is definitely very Frank Lloyd Wright inspired. Our room over looked DCA (Grizzly Peak and Condor Flats to be exact) and the sliding glass doors must be triple paned because the noise wasn't a factor for us. In fact, we took a retreat in mid-afternoon for a nap and some noisy next door neighbors awoke me from my sleep...not the noise outside. <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif" alt="red face">)

I agreed with every word you wrote about Soarin....my whole family was in awe. We started the day with it, though, so it made a good impression...but then we were sorta expecting more out of everything else. It would have been cool to end with Soarin'.

Thanks for the report...I really enjoy your writing. Glad to hear about Avalon Cove...we ate at Soap Opera Bistro (SOB...ha ha) and were very disappointed with what you got for your money. Very mediocre food and 104.00 bucks for the four of us....that was with no dessert and didn't include the tip...YIKES!

Anyway...thanks again for the great reading.

<font face="storybook" color=FF0085 size=4><blink>THINK TINK!</blink></font>
http://homepages.go.com/~kimcaligirl/animtink.gif
<font face="pegasus" color=FF0085 size=3>Kimmy's Disneyland Konnection (http://disneyland.isgreat.net)
Come Share the magic</font>

<font color=green>Disneyland - Weekly
WDW - ASMo December 2000
WDW - Contemporary June 2000</font>

PrincessAurora
02-08-2001, 01:29 PM
Kimmy:

Thanks for the feedback. I have a question for you re: the Grand Californian. How did you get in? Where did you park your car? I was wondering how you get into the hotel when the park is closed also are the hotel doors that lead into the Park locked when the park is closed?

Thanks!

Aurora

DL - too many times to count
Club 33 - '91, 98, '99
WDW - ASM '98, PO '00, WL '01
http://disneyclipart.simplenet.com/Movies/Sleeping_Beauty/aurora-phil02.gif

Kimmyrella
02-09-2001, 03:59 PM
Hi Aurora,
We entered Grand Californian from Disneyland Drive after turning off of Ball Rd. The drive forks...you can either go left to the parking structure, or the other sign says, "Hotels and downtown Disney". The entrance is really nice and we drove up to the guard hut and verified we were checking in (I would imagine if you just wanted to eat at the hotel you would have to park in the parking lot for downtown Disney). Anyway, once we were verified we drove right up to the entrance and unloaded. When you are a guest parking is included in your hotel bill. I think it was 5 bucks a day or something like that.

As for the entrance to DCA...the gates are locked when the park is closed, but one real nice thing about last Saturday was that they opened our gates at 7:00 am. That is why we did "Soarin" so early because we only had to wait about 10 minutes.

I can't tell you how cool it was to have access to your room so close. It was really neat too, cuz we could see our room from the park and I waved to my hubby a few times.

Also, just some info...we have two older kids (15 & 12) and one is a boy and one is a girl. Well, they are a little old to be sharing a bed so we asked for the room with a queen and a bunkbed. It was really a great set up and under the bottom bunk was a trundle...so the room could have slept five really comfortably.

<img src="http://homepages.go.com/~dispics/albums/dcapreviewday/thumbnails/gcqueen2.JPG.jpg" width=200 height=150>

Here is the queen size bed. I loved the woodwork and the head board with lights.


<img src="http://homepages.go.com/~dispics/albums/dcapreviewday/thumbnails/gcbunks.JPG.jpg" width=200 height=150>
Looking back into the room from the balcony, you can see the bunkbeds.


<img src="http://homepages.go.com/~dispics/albums/dcapreviewday/thumbnails/grizpeakmorn.JPG.jpg" width=200 height=150>

This was the view off of our balcony at 6:45 in the morning.

If you want to see more pics of the room and of our day you can visit my website at:
Kimmy's Disneyland Konnection (http://disneyland.isgreat.net)
Go to the DCA page.

Happy Day, Aurora!

<font face="storybook" color=FF0085 size=4><blink>THINK TINK!</blink></font>
http://homepages.go.com/~kimcaligirl/animtink.gif
<font face="pegasus" color=FF0085 size=3>Kimmy's Disneyland Konnection (http://disneyland.isgreat.net)
Come Share the magic</font>

<font color=green>Disneyland - Weekly
WDW - ASMo December 2000
WDW - Contemporary June 2000</font>

[This message was edited by Kimmyrella on 02-09-01 at 08:20 PM.]

Marla Hellwig
03-04-2001, 08:48 PM
Sounds like a great dinner and fun for all. Thanks for posting!