View Full Version : A Tale of Two Cities - Day the Sixth - Disneyland!!!!!

01-12-2009, 04:56 PM
I woke up very early and in an excitable mood, ready for my first day at Disneyland. Skipping breakfast, I headed straight to the park entrance, where I lined up in from of one of the ticket windows, waiting to exchange my voucher for the 3 day ticket I had pre-booked.
The ticket windows opened a little before the park official opened, which meant that I had time to collect my ticket before joining the queue to enter the park.

I (of course) chose to enter the original Disneyland Park first, so walked through the gates, under the arches underneath the railway station and through onto Main Street.

As I wasn’t sure how busy the parks were going to be, I made sure that I had a set of guides prepared, which ended up proving to be extremely useful in guiding me around the park in order to try and avoid the queues as much as possible. So, my first stop was Tomorrowland, where I worked my through most of the rides there – starting at the orbitron, before heading to Autopia. I was pleasantly surprised by Autopia as it felt much longer than the version in our own DLRP, as well as having a much more varied route, including a short off road section and a section containing a lot of very quick left and right bends.

After autopia, I headed to Space Mountain. I was actually extremely surprised by Space Mountain. Space Mountain in DLRP holds a special place in my heart as being the ride which sparked my interest and addiction to rollercoasters. As such, although it’s getting quite rough as the years go by, I’m always more than happy to ride it and thoroughly enjoy it every time. I was well aware of the fact that the DL version of Space Mountain was a much simpler track, with no launch, loops or major drops to speak of. Despite this, I actually preferred the DL version, as I found it a lot smoother, plus it also felt faster as the speed varies quite a lot along the DLRP Space Mountain, where as the DL version seemed to be accelerating right the way through.

After SM, I headed across to the opposite side of the park towards Splash Mountain. As I was well ahead of schedule already, I took the chance to stop off at the Haunted Mansion, which was decorated for the Haloween and Christmas season with its annual Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. This made a nice change to the traditional insides and I felt that the overlay had its own unique charms, although I would never want it to replace the traditional theme for too long.

I then carried on round towards Splash Mountain. This was probably my favourite ride when I visited WDW about 12 years ago and I’m pleased to say that the DL version did not disappoint in any way, quickly becoming one of my favourite rides in Disneyland as well.

The next stop round was a visit to The many adventures of Winnie the pooh. This is something I’d quite like to see introduced to DLRP, as theme inside seemed to be done very well and made for a fun ride, if a little short. DLRP is missing a major WInnie the Pooh attrction in my opinion and this could fill that gap quite nicely.

After taking in opposite ends of the park, I was forced back to main street by my feet. I made the foolish decision of trying to wear a pair of crocs around the park, but they were just rubbing my feet and causing blisters. A short visit to the shops later where I bought a pair of socks and an autograph book (the most important purchase of the trip as we have autograph books from both WDW and DLRP, so there was no debate about buying one for DL as well), I was free to head back off into the park again.

I headed back the way I’d come, and headed for the area of the park that is traditionally my first stop and would have been had I not have been loosely following the plan I had – Frontierland.

As the Mark Twain was in the dock, I decided to take a quick trip around the Rivers of America, which in DL is a simple boat ride and does not go around Big Thunder Mountain.

Talking of Big Thunder, that (of course) had to be the next stop on my tour of the so-called happiest place on earth. Yet again, I was pleasantly surprised by BTM in DL. I was expecting it to be much worse than our own version in DLRP. The DL version is not situated on an island of its own and also does not appear to be as large or fast. Despite both of these, I felt that the original BTM matched its younger brother at every turn. I can’t say I particularly missed the separate island that the DLRP version has and I certainly didn’t notice any difference in speed – in fact, the DL version felt a little faster to me, mainly because the DLRP version seems to have small breaks placed at the top of every small bump or drop, which the DL version did not.

With the two main rides of Frontierland now sampled and enjoyed, the next stop was Mickey’s Toontown. While there, I took the chance to do a small amount of autograph hunting, collecting a number of different autographs including Minnie, Pluto and Mickey. I then headed for Gadget’s Go-Coaster – a small rollercoaster designed with children in mind (think Casey Junior, but a little larger). This was quite fun for what it was, although it was over very quickly as although the track was very short, you were still only allowed one trip around which was a shame. I also took the chance to ride the other major ride in Toontown – Roger rabbit’s spin. This is another simple ride aong the lines of snow white or pinnochio, but with more modern theming and based upon the Roger Rabbit film. There is an added twist with Roger Rabbit, however, as you’re able to spin your car in the same way that you would spin a tea cup. It didn’t seem as easy to spin as the tea cups, but it still added a fun extra to the ride.

By this time, I was starting to feel rather hungry, so I had a gradual walk around while I thought about what to eat. I decided on a whim to try the Blue Bayou (very similar to the blue lagoon), which turned out to be the best food decision that I made all holiday. There was a bit of a wait for a table (about 30 minutes), but it didn’t seem to take that long and I was eventually called and shown to my table, which was right next to the water’s edge, giving me a great view of the passing boats from POTC.

I was extremely impressed with the level of service provided at the Bayou (and indeed the other restaurants I visited on the next two days), as there was always a glass water produced within minutes of sitting at the table, which was replaced as soon as it was finished without having to even ask. The bread rolls were the same, I was given one, which was replaced as soon as I was finished with it and the same was also true of my sprite.

I was torn between the chicken or steak, but eventually (with the help of my waiter) decided on the steak, which was very nice and cooked exactly how I asked for it. The waiter also took the time to pop back to my table every so often and keep me informed that I hadn’t been forgotten about (I like my steak well done, which takes a while to cook that way). After my steak, I was then offered the dessert menu, which I had no choice but to accept. I chose the crème brulee, which turned out to actually be three crème brulees – a full sized vanilla one, with a small chocolate one and a small passionfruit one laid out to make a mickey shape on the plate. A small chest of cookies were also provided which were really nice.

Overall, the meal came to about $50, which was about £30 at the time, which seemed extremely reasonable for the quality of the meal.

Feeling a little full from my meal, I came out and headed for the Enchanted Tiki Room. This was the first ride we did at WDW and I was tempted to make it my first at DL for the sake of tradition, but chose to stick with the plan instead. It’s a fairly simple show with some animatronic birds and flowers. It’s nice enough show and has an important place in Disney history, being the first animatronics ever used. Having said that, I’m not sure I would want to watch the show more than once in a trip.

It was then time for another kind of show – the parade! I headed back to main street and took my place on the edge of main street, on the main roundabout next to the fire station. The parade felt like a slightly inferior (though not by much) version of the Once Upon a Dream Parade, although I rather liked the lead float, which was modelled on the entrance to the Disneyland Park, containing a train and building representing main street station. The rest of the parade felt quite similar to the OUAD parade, although it was a little different at the same time.

After the parade, I decided to take a break from the main park and head over to California Adventure. I had a wonder round for a while and tried out some of the rides in the Paradise Pier area of the park which were all good fun. Also tried out the river rapids and Soarin’ over California (a ride which DLRP would really benefit from as the technology behind Soarin’ is wonderful and is a far better simulator type ride than Star Tours).

As it started to get dark again, I headed back over to the main park once more and took a ride on Indy (this is a very complex dark ride in California, rather than the roller coaster that we have in DLRP). While I enjoyed the ride, I didn’t find it to be quite as enjoyable as many people say it is and it didn’t really seem worth the huge queues it gets at times. There’s a lot of discussion at times about Indy or Splash possible coming to DLRP and I certain know which of these two I would choose given the choice of just one.

After Indy, it was time to go and take my position for the fireworks, where I managed to get a reasonable view on the centre of main street. They took a while to start as there were strong winds blowing high in the sky (strong enough that they threatened several times to cancel the whole thing) but when they did finally start, they were amazing.

I love the Enchanted fireworks, don’t get me wrong, but the Disneyland fireworks completely outclassed them in my opinion. They went on for much longer and some of the firework effects were very good, including fireworks which burst into smiley faces and stars. The idea of touring around the park was a nice one as well, with the fireworks visiting each land in turn. I actually prefer the soundtrack of the Enchanted fireworks though, although the use of the recording of the original Disneyland dedication as part of the Disneyland soundtrack did send a chill down my spine to hear Walt’s words straight from the man himself.

After the fireworks, I took in a couple more rides in the dark (including Big Thunder out of tradition and needing to compare) and also trying out the Nemo Submarines which were very good, though again I’m not sure they’re worth the huge queues they get during the day.

I also took the time to observe some of the entertainment laid on around the park, including a small concert in Tomorrowland and the dancing which was going on. I also took the chance to take some photos of the park at night, especially around Main Street which looked lovely when lit.

I finally left the park at closing which was about 10 or 11pm – a very long and tiring day considering I’d been in the park since opening.

I decided to head straight back to my room as I knew I would be up very early the next day. The park was due to open at 6, so I wanted to make sure I was up in time for opening to make the most of the empty park that comes with such an insane opening hour.

01-13-2009, 02:56 AM
Wow. Great day and fantastic photos - I really like the Pinnochio float and the use of Walt's voice during the fireworks must have been fantastic. :goodvibes

01-13-2009, 07:01 AM
You've made me want to go there now! Sounds wonderful, and your report is very informative too, thankyou. Waiting patiently to see if you got in the park for 6am (??!!) the next day...

01-13-2009, 08:33 AM
You've made me want to go there now! Sounds wonderful, and your report is very informative too, thankyou. Waiting patiently to see if you got in the park for 6am (??!!) the next day...

you might have to wait a while for that - I try and write this TR when I get the chance but it tends to take me a long time as things keep cropping up that mean I don't have time.

01-13-2009, 08:35 AM
you might have to wait a while for that - I try and write this TR when I get the chance but it tends to take me a long time as things keep cropping up that mean I don't have time.

I quite understand. :goodvibes So put me out of my misery then did you get in for 6am and why on earth was it open so early?

01-13-2009, 09:05 AM
I'll be nice then - yes I made it.

It was open that early because one Miley Cyrus was holding a birthday party which meant the park was closing at 4pm - they'd kindly opened the park very early in the morning to compensate.

01-13-2009, 09:23 AM
A very busy day. Love the photos:goodvibes

01-13-2009, 09:44 AM
great pics. looks like you had a great time

A Small World
01-15-2009, 02:26 AM
Thanks for taking the time to write this Rob - even though we had to wait it was worth waiting for.:goodvibes

You sound as though you had a great time and your pics are great

01-15-2009, 07:13 AM
Fantastic...absolutly fantastic.

It's made me want to go there asap! Disneyland looks amazing, I'm not too sure on California Adventures but your Disneyland pictures took my breath away. The picture of the Fire Department with the little light on in Waltz apartment almost brought a tear to my eye.

Oh and OMG the park opens at 6AM!!!!

01-15-2009, 09:58 AM
Fantastic...absolutly fantastic.

It's made me want to go there asap! Disneyland looks amazing, I'm not too sure on California Adventures but your Disneyland pictures took my breath away. The picture of the Fire Department with the little light on in Waltz apartment almost brought a tear to my eye.

Oh and OMG the park opens at 6AM!!!!

Only on special days when they have to close late.

California Adventure is ok, but nothing special - a little like the studios in that sense I guess as the main park is far superior. California Adventure is in the middle of a huge overhaul though, so it might be better once that's finished.

I have to admit, it's a very close call as to whether I prefer DL California or DL Paris.

01-16-2009, 05:42 AM
Love the photos! I am planning on a Disneyland California trip once the majority of the rehab on California Adventure is complete - and the cars and little mermaid ride has opened :)

01-16-2009, 06:23 PM
Enjoyed reading about your first day. I was there 22 yrs ago, but sadly don't remember much about it so it is nice to read your report & see how it differs from DLRP.

01-18-2009, 08:59 AM
Wooohooo, I am loving this trip report. DL is my fav park in the whole world. And DL has THE BEST fireworks of all the parks too. I cannot wait to read more (glad you ate at the Blue Bayou - always has been my fav).