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Teknik_DC2 01-26-2009 01:05 AM

My Huge California Trip Report (Disney, Universal, Knotts, Vegas) 500+ Pictures
Hey everyone. I introduced my self in another thread but I thought I would share with you the trip report I wrote up covering me and my wifes trip to Southern California last month. In a week we visited Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm, and also a night in Vegas. The reason for the trip was cause this was our Christmas to each other this year. My wife has always wanted to see Disneyland when its all decorated for Christmas and I havn't been to Disneyland in over 13 years so we decided to make a big trip out of it while we are still young and have money and no kids lol.

I must warn you that this is a very long recap. I discribed my experinaces of each ride and also gave somewhat of a review of each attraction on the trip. So there is alot of reading. However if you don't want to read there is over 300 pictures included in this Trip Report. Anyways I hope you guys find this bennifical as I wrote it in my perspective of not visiting these parks in a very long time to those who also havn't visited in a long time and are considering if it would be worth it or not. Anyways one last thing. I run the SMF software on my own website and when I posted this up there I reaced the post limit so I had to devide the post into two posts. I hope that this will be ok here also. Anyways with that being said I'll post days 1, 2, and 3 of the recap today with more to come later on. Anwyays enjoy:

Day 1: The Drive

Well we left on our trip last Sunday the 30th. We went to church that morning cause we had to teach our Primary class that week so we didn't end up leaving until around 1:30. We decided to drive instead of fly to keep the cost of the trip down. Plus with how gas prices are right now we did the whole drive for less then $100 for the trip. Theres nothing too exciting to tell about the drive. We drove until we got to Vegas where we stayed the night. I have family in Vegas so we crashed there. We were going to go out that night but instead we decided to go get some In-N-Out burger and stay in and watch a movie.

Day 2: The Drive Part 2

The next day we randomly woke up sooner then we were planning so we decided to go ahead and get ready and get out of Vegas sooner then we planned. I make many Vegas trips a year so i'm pretty familiar with the area. But I havn't driven to California for over 13 years. Lucky for us my Wifes Dad let us borrow his GPS to help us get around. I can't tell you how thankful I was for that GPS all week long. I don't know how people get around Southern California without one. But anyways I got that all hooked up and we were on our way to our hotel just outside Anaheim.

I made a quick stop in Baker, CA on our drive so we could see the worlds largest thermometer. It was such an amazing site to behold. Ok i'm lying. It wasn't too impressive and the town has nothing there other then a few fast food joints and gas stations. So after about 2 minutes we were back on the road.

Our next stop was in the town of Barstow. Manily cause we needed gas. But also because of a tradition my family had when we would drive to California when I was little. We would always stop at the Barstow Station McDonalds to eat. So I told Kiera that I wanted to keep doing that too. So we did. She isn't a fan of McDonalds at all but lucky for us there are more places to eat there now then just the McDonalds. So after some Panda Express that we ate in one of the train cars we were back on the road non stop to our hotel.

When we finally got into the city I became very greatful we had that GPS cause I don't know how I would have found our hotel without it. But we did. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn of Placentia and it was very nice. Our room was very clean and even had a fridge and microwave. Plus the hotel offered an excellent contential breakfast each day. The only thing it was missing was a hot tub. But oh well. We decided before we left on our vacation that to help save money we would take our own lunches to the parks each day. So after we got settled into the hotel we found the nearest Ralphs (I work for a Kroger owned store) and got the rest of the food we would need to make our lunches each day.

After we got our food and stuff I wanted to go drive around the Disney Resort so we headed that way. We also decided to check out the new GardenWalk complex thats right across the street from the Disney resort. Basically its a outdoor shopping complex with many resteraunts and a movie theater similar to the Gateway in Salt Lake. GardenWalk is only a few months old and I heard it was very slow but i was shocked at how dead it was there. It felt like a ghosttown. Like me and Kiera were the only ones there. I didn't take many pictures here except for there Christmas tree that was made up of all poinsettas.

After that we just went back to the hotel room and relaxed. I watched my two TV shows (Chuck and Heroes) and then it was off to bed to get some rest for our busy week.

But thats it for now. Heres a preview of whats to come later in Day 3. And there will be tons of pictures in my next post.

Tasscrapper 01-26-2009 10:02 AM

Nice start . . . waiting for more. :)

So that McDonalds is conected to the Panda and Quiznos? Can you order everything at the same place or do they have different counters? Is it pretty easy to find?

Teknik_DC2 01-26-2009 01:16 PM


Originally Posted by Tasscrapper (Post 29901850)
Nice start . . . waiting for more. :)

So that McDonalds is conected to the Panda and Quiznos? Can you order everything at the same place or do they have different counters? Is it pretty easy to find?

Everything is at different counters but the seating area is all the same. It is pretty easy to find since its right off the freeway. You can see it coming into Barstow from Vegas.

Teknik_DC2 01-26-2009 01:18 PM

Day 3: Universal Studios Hollywood Part 1

Our first park we would be going to was Universal Studios. Out of all the parks this was the one I had most recently visited. That being 11 years ago when I flew to Cali for a few days with my dad and brother. I don't know what it is but I love Universal Studios. I know theres not much there and its pretty expensive now but I always have a good time when I go. Also my wife has never been to a Universal park before so I made it a priority to go to the park. To make it even better I bought a $20 off coupon per ticket from ebay.

We started the day early so we could get to the park around opening. We were staying about 35 miles away from the park and I had no clue how traffic would be so we just we left about an hour before the park opened. To my suprise the freeways weren't bad at all and we made it to the park barely after it opened. Last time I went to Universal City Walk hadn't been built yet so it was fun checking out the shops and stuff they have there.

We finally made it to the gates of the park. What I found funny is how the tickets sellers kept trying to sell us on the better tickets. For example the guy who sold us our parking pass tried convincing us to buy the "Premium" parking pass over the regular one cause it would save us a "12 Minute Walk". We laughed at this considering it took us maybe 5 minutes to walk thru City Walk. And then when we buying our tickets to get into the park the ticket seller tried convincing us to buy a front of line pass. Which we laughed about later in the day cause the park was so dead the longest we waited for any attraction was like 3 minutes. We walked onto everything in the park.

Our first attraction of the day would be non other then what Universal Studios is famous for. The Studio Tour. To our luck we got onto a tram about 2 minutes before it departed. First they drove us thru the soundstage area of the lot. I'm not sure who it was but there was some celebrity that was waving as we drove past that many of the people on the tram were trying to get a picture of. We then drove past the area that was burned in the fire. It looked liked they were re-curbing the area and getting it ready for construction again. It made me sad to think that King Kong as I remember it was now gone forever as that was one of the attractions on the Studio Tour that I always looked forward to. I also loved going thru Courthouse Square (even if it doesn't look like I remember it) since Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies. After that it was on the Collapsing bridge. Once again another classic attraction on the Studio Tour. I guess they recently did some work on the bridge and it had been closed for some time. But I was happy to see (and go over it) again just like I remembered as a kid.

After that they took us thru a new area that they have added in the last few years. First they had many of the famous movie cars thruout the year. Including The Delorian and a few others from Back to the Future, Some of the vehicles from the Jurassic Park movies, and also some of the cars from The Fast and the Furious movies. They then took us into the area where The Fast and the Furious attraction takes place. I thought this was kinda cool and really lame at the same time. basically they have 2 Volkswagon GTI's placed on robotic arms. I thought it was cool cause they kinda simulated an explosion and when the vehicles were thrown up it really looked like the explosion thru them into the air. But then it got lame cause they then started bounching around and spinning to simulate like they were "dancing" to some lame rap music. I totally didn't think that was needed but whatever.

After the Fast and the Furious thing they took us thru a mock up of Jurassic Park. I thought this was pretty well done with some of the props from the movie as well as anamatronic dinosaurs that would pop up and spray you with water. After that it was on to the area where the simulated "flash flood" happens. Once again this was exactly as I remembered and I still think its pretty cool. After the flood area we went thru the old western sets. I don't know if this was set up or not but they had some guys setting up for a stunt sequence. They said they were just practicing and actually performed the stunts in front of us. I'm not sure if it is part of the tour now but it was kinda cool.

Next it was on to the spliting of the red sea. But I guess they don't refer to it as that anymore. especially since the skull island minature used in the new version of King Kong sits right next to it. I still think the sea spliting is pretty cool though. Then it was onto Amity Island to have an encounter with Jaws. Once again this is another classic attraction they still have on the studio tour.

Next they would usually take you thru the Desperate Housewifes set but they were filming that day so they just drove past it. After which we went past Whoville and the Bates Motel where they even had an actor playing Norman Bates putting a body into the back of a car. He then noticed us and came chasing after the tram with his knife. We then went thru the plain crash from War of the Worlds. I thought this was pretty cool cause it looked so real. The last attraction on the studio tour is something to do with the mummy. It use to be the snow cave that spun around and made you feel like you were spinning around. Now its different and only spins for a little bit. I honestly miss the old attraction. All and all though the studio tour was as good as I remember it being. One thing I did miss going in though was the "Earthquake" attraction. We drove past it and could see inside but they were doing some work on it and had it closed off.

Teknik_DC2 01-26-2009 01:19 PM

Day 3: Universal Studios Hollywood Part 2

Since we were in the area we decided to head over to Shrek 4D. This was our longest wait of the day and I thought it was a pretty decent show. On our way there though we ran into Curious George and Sponge Bob on the way out. It was also nice to see Jaws is still hanging up posing for photos.

Next we headed to the new Simpsons ride. I was looking forward to this ride the most. The old Back to the Future ride was my favorite one at Universal and I was very sad when I heard it was leaving. I too am a big fan of the Simpsons so my hopes were high that this new ride would be a worthy replacement to BTTF. I must say that I was very impressed with the ride and do find it was a worthy replacement. I loved this ride. We ended up riding it twice. Just everything about it is so well done. They also have a video that plays in the ques while you wait in line that pretty much makes fun of theme parks and such as you wait. We pretty much walked on though so we didn't get to see the whole que video. We even ran into Homer, Marge, and Bart as we walked off the ride.

After Simpsons we went down to the lower lot where we first rode The Mummy ride. Once again this ride is a replacement for one that was there last time I went to Universal. That ride being E.T. I loved E.T. but I diffenitly loved the Mummy even more. Its an indoor launched rollercoaster that takes you thru high speed banking and also in reverse. It was short but fun. There was no wait for the ride so we rode it 3 times. After that we headed to Jurassic Park. This ride was pretty new still last time I went but its just as I remember. My wife didn't want to get wet so she wore a poncho but i decided to brave it without one. Lucky for me alot of the extra water features were turned off so I didn't even get wet on the ride. We also did Jurassic Park twice. We also did the Backdraft thing while we were down on the bottom lot.

We then went and watched the Water World show (after we attempted to run up the stairs instead of the escalaters I don't recommend it). The show was alright. Not as good as I remember it being but still better then the movie. We also walked around the rest of the upper lot as well and went to the Termonater 3D show. I thought this show was pretty cool. They mixed in alot of real life acting with the 3D film. I just thought that was neat. It was my first time seeing this show even though it was there last time I went. We also ran in to Shrek.

On our way out they were getting all the final things ready for the big Grenchmas thing they do for christmas. The actors were practicing for the show so I snapped a picture and then we were out. We had alot of fun at Universal and I look forward to going back next time i'm in the LA area. We ended our night by heading over to WestWood to get some ice cream sandwhiches at Diddy Reese (these things are amazing and only $1.50) and then we cruised around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Figured we were in the area so why not. We also went to a big mall in Beverly Hills that was pretty cool. But that all for day 3.

And lastly here is a preview for what Day 4 will be covering:

albertamommyof4 01-26-2009 01:29 PM

great pictures , thanks for sharing your trip

Mary Jo 01-26-2009 02:24 PM

I'm loving your report so far. I haven't had a chance to see the pictures, yet, but will when I get home. What did your wife thing of Universal Studios?

Teknik_DC2 01-26-2009 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by Mary Jo (Post 29907339)
What did your wife thing of Universal Studios?

Overall she enjoyed the park. The only problem with it she had was the price. Even with our $20 off coupon she felt the price was too high for the lack of attractions there. Which is understandable. We kinda wish we would have paid the extra buck and got there annual pass. That way if we ever find ourselves in so cal again in the next year it could have been a nice little stop for very cheap. But oh well. I personally love universal though almost as much as the disney parks. I'd much rather take it over knotts or six flags.

BillyFan 01-26-2009 08:01 PM

I'm really enjoying your TR so far!

Teknik_DC2 01-27-2009 03:08 PM

Day 4: Disneyland Part 1

We arived at the Disneyland Resort shortly before the park opened. However due to parking and the wait for the tram we didn't get into the park tell about 1/4 after its opening. We parked in the Pinochio lot and then caught the tram to the park. Thats where I finally got my first glance into the Disneyland Resort (Last time I went only Disneyland was there). We bought our tickets a few months before the trip so we went right to the gates and were in the park. We wondered Main Street for a little checking out the Christmas tree and decorations that were all set up.

Once we got to the Hub it was time to decide where we would be heading first. I already knew where I wanted to go. And that would be the last ride I rode on last time I was at Disneyland 13 years earlier. That being the Indiana Jones ride. The last time I was at the park was the summer Indiana Jones opened. At the time I was only 12 and me and my younger brother waited over 3 hours to ride it. All I can remember about the ride is that the wait was worth it. So I wanted to do that first thing to see if I still agree with the ride being so great that it would be worth a 3 hour wait. I must say it didn't disapoint. I loved the ride just as much now as I did that long time ago. I was also pleased that we waited about 5 minutes to ride it. Now that i'm older I don't know if I could ever stand to wait in a line for 3 hours again. But this ride is awesome and I loved it.

While we were in Adventureland we decided that we would start that and work our way around the park. So after Indy we made jumped over to Jungle Cruise. I never cared for this ride when I was younger. In fact it really bored me and I hated going on it. However now that i'm older I picked up more on the humor and how well themed the attraction is and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunatly with it being foggy still that morning and ride being pretty dark with the trees covering what light made it into the Jungle Cruise my camara was having a tough time capturing good pictures. The darkness would fire the flash on the camara and then it would blur from the movement of the boat. Oh well.

After Jungle Cruise we went to Tarzans Treehouse. Last time I went this was still the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. I have many fond memorys of it and always looked forward to going thru it when I was a kid. I remember hearing they changed it to Tarzan and thinking that might be pretty cool. But I was disapointed with it. I miss the simpleness of the original tree house and the feel that the Robinsons invited you to tour there house instead of filling it with life size cartoon characters. I think the Tarzan theme had good intentions but it was just executed poorly.

After the Treehouse we were done with Adventure land and it was on to New Orlenes Square. Of course the first thing we came to was Pirate of the Carabian which is a must ride. I was additionally shocked when we litterally walked right on to the ride. Admitadly I don't really remember this ride from the last time I rode. I have a old home video of it from like 1988 but other then that I didn't remember the full ride. They have added a few elements and characters from the Pirates of the Carabian movies also in the last few years. From what little I remember of the original attraction I really liked the new elements that they added from the movies. I thought they fit well with the theme and was glad to see they just added the movie characters to the story of the ride instead of turning the ride into following the plots of the movies. I unfortuantly didn't take any pictures of the ride though. So after Pirates we wondered thru new orleans square a little. We really liked there Christmas decorations and liked how this area was decorated the best.

Our next stop was at the Haunted Mansion. This is one of my favorite rides. During Halloween and Christmas though they redue it for the holidays to a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. A part of me was sad because its been so long since i've experianced the normal Haunted Mansion but the Holiday version didn't dissapoint. We enjoyed it and thought it was pretty fun and different. I would still perfer the original version though over the holiday version.

After the Haunted Mansion we headed into Critter Country and I Knew right where I wanted to go. That being my favorite ride as a child. Splash Mountain. Today I still love this ride. Maybe even more so then when I was a kid. Theres more drops and such inside the show building then I remembered and the ride is just a pretty good rush. My wife was prepared again with her poncho so she wouldn't get wet. But i decided to go without cause I couldn't ever remember getting wet on Splash Mountain. Well I got wet this time. Luckly it wasn't bad though. Just a few wet spots here and there. I really wish we could have gone on it again but we never got back to it.

Next was to the other ride in Critter Country. The Winnie the Pooh ride. I've seen a youtube video of this ride before so I was ready to feel like I was on drugs. Sure enough I felt like I was tripping out lol. It was just really really weird. My wife loves it though but i'm guessing thats cause shes a Winnie the Pooh fan. We never made it out to Tom Sawyer Island or even on the Mark Twain River Boat but I did take a picture haha.

Teknik_DC2 01-27-2009 03:10 PM

Day 4: Disneyland Part 2

We then made our way thru Frontierland. Unfortunatly Big Thunder Mountain was closed while we were there. I was pretty sad about it cause thats one of my favorite rides. But oh well theres not much I could change about that. Next time i'll make sure its going to be open before we go lol. We also went to Big Thunder Ranch where they had it done up as Santas Reindeer Roundup. Here we meet Santa as well as his Reindeer. They had the area done up nicely for Christmas time. We also ran into Woody and Jessie from Toy Story here.

Well we finally made it to Fantasyland. We caught our first glimpse of the Matterhorn (from fantasyland) and after that I attempted (and failed) to pull the sword out of the stone we started hitting the rides. First was Ponochio and Snow White. I don't ever recall riding ether of these rides in the past. And now I know why. I didn't care for ether of them. I thought they were pretty boring but I could imagine they were probably pretty cool at the time they were built. We also walked right on to both of them. I do appreciate the archatecture and design of fantasyland now that i'm older too. It looks really good.

We then saw that the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk thru was open. I guess this was an attraction before 9/11 happend also but I never remember doing it when I was younger. Anyways the new one just opened a week before we went so we checked it out. I thought it was pretty cool and the diaramas had some cool effects to them. I've never seen the Sleeping Beauty movie so this was my first real introduction to the story. I didn't take any pictures inside though cause it was way to packed in there. But heres a picture of the castle lol.

After the castle we then went and waited in our longest line of the day. And that was at the Peter Pan ride. We waited about 30 minutes to get on the ride. But I always enjoy this ride and its diffenitly one of my favorite dark rides in the park. After Peter Pan we rode Mister Toad which I too enjoy alot. I completly forgot about the "hell" part at the end and thought it was pretty funny cause I never knew that when I was younger. It was way hot in that section of the ride too.

We then headed over to Its a Small World. I always dread this ride. Its so annoying and boring to me. But with it done up for the holidays I figured it wouldn't be too bad. And suprisingly it wasn't. Its still not my most favorite but its not bad ether. They referbished the ride recently so the thing looked brand new. Plus with the christmas theme it had a few christmas songs thrown into the mix as well.

Teknik_DC2 01-27-2009 03:12 PM

Day 4: Disneyland Part 3

Next we went to Toontown. Toontown was only a couple years old the last time I went but I still enjoyed it. However I was sad to see all the lawyers taking out alot of the fun. For example the ball pits being gone at chip and dales house, Goofys house not being a bounch house anymore, and the trollys not running across the town anymore. But oh well. Roger Rabbit was still a blast and probably my favorite Dark ride in the park. Its so unique that you can make the ride be however you want just by how much you spin the car around. I also rode Gadgets Go Coaster for the first time. Yeah its a kid coaster. But its the funnest kid coaster i've ever been on. Even better the Knotts Jaguar coaster lol. We also went by Mickeys house and ran into Minnie and Goofy on the streets of ToonTown.

After Toontown we headed back to Fantasyland where we went on the Storybook Land Boats, Tea Cups, and Alice in Wonderland. Storybook land was cute. I liked how they added a few suttle christmas decorations to the mini houses. I also love the two Alice rides. I think Alice and Peter Pan rival for my favorite Fantasyland Dark Ride.

Our last Fantasyland is by far its best. That being the Matterhorn Bobsleds. I've always loved this ride and still do. We rode it on the tomorrowland side and enjoyed everyminute of it. I have a love for rollercoasters and the Matterhorn is ton funner then what I remember it being. It was one of the rides we tried to ride twice but i'll tell more about our second attempt in the next recap I do of Day 5.

Next stop was at my favorite land. Tomorrowland. I was anctious to see how the "new" tomorrowland looked sinse the remodel took place 3 years after the last time I went. I must say it was bittersweet. Its still my favorite land. But there were things I don't like. I guess first we will go over what I liked. It gets ridiculed alot but I thought the paint themeing worked well. It truely made me feel like I was in a land of the future. I also thought the Neon lights and bright colored lighting worked well too. To me the looks of the area worked well with one another. But there were things I didn't like as well. The land looks naked without the Rocket Jets atop the old People Mover platform. Thats the thing I remember most about tomorrowland. The Rocket Jets replacement now sits in the entryway to Tomorrowland which just seems to get in the way. It looks great but its just in the wrong location. Get rid of the satalite thing from the top of the platform and move the Astro Orbitor up top where it belongs. I also miss seeing nothing on the People Mover tracks that run all over Tomorrowland. They need to put something back up there or remove them all together. But other then that I enjoyed the things we did in tomorrowland. Now onto the attractions.

Sinse the parade was about an hour and a half away we decided to get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain. So after that we decided to hit rides with smaller waits. First we hit Star Tours. Man I love this ride. I'm a big Star Wars fan. It was exactly as I remembered it. But after riding newer simulators like the Simpsons Ride at Universal I saw how badly Star Tours needs to be updated. But it was still fun. Then we went across the way to Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. i had alot of fun on this ride. It was my first time experiancing a interactive dark ride and thought it was way fun. I thought I was doing pretty good cause I was beating Kieras score but then out of nowhere she beat me pretty bad in the last area. Oh well I guess i'll get her next time.

We still had about 40 mintus to kill before we could use our Space Mountain Fast Pass so we decided to go do the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I know it has a bad rep but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was tons better then the original Submarine Voyage. Yeah they could have done a better story but I thought it worked well. I really liked the new way the animation was done other then fish on strings. I don't know if I would wait for over 30 minutes to ride it but I thought it was pretty good and well done.

Right when we got off the Subs we could finally use our Fast Passes for Space Mountain. I looked forward to this the whole day. The last time I went to Disneyland it was broken that day so I didn't get to go on it. It had probably been 18 years since I had rode the Disneyland Space Mountain. I was happy we got the Fast passes cause we pretty much walked right on. maybe had a 5 minute wait. This ride was awesome. So much cooler then I remember it being. Everything was done perfect on this ride. It was one of the few that made me wanting to ride it again the moment I got off of it. But we had a parade we had to make it to.

So it was off to the parade route for the Christmas Fantasy parade. We found a spot right by the Castle. So since we had some time to kill before it started I snapped some pictures of the Castle all lit up in its Christmas lighting.

Teknik_DC2 01-27-2009 03:14 PM

Day 4: Disneyland Part 4

The parade was pretty cool. I like how it was all a Christmas/Winter theme. There was also a Bolt preparade for the new Disney movie.

After the parade was over we went back over to Tomorrowland and rode the Autopia. Also one of my favorite attractions when I was younger and I still loved it today. We then started making our way back to Small world to see it all lit up for Christmas. But before we got there we stopped and rode Dumbo. As we were walking to Small World they had there fake snow turned on. It was a pretty cool effect and the music they had playing with it fit pefectly. We kinda laughed seeing all the people playing in the fake snow cause we are use to having real snow since we live in Utah. But it was fun. I thought it was cool that the foam stuff they were using looked just like snow from a distance. After I snapped some pictures of Small World we started making our way towards the exit of the park. I don't know why but it seemed like only 2 trams were running so we waited forever to get out of the park.

A few people have asked me if Disneyland was as fun being an adult as it was when I was a kid. The answer is yes it is. I had a blast. Yeah there are some rides that now that i've gone on them I don't care to again until I have children of my own. But between Disneyland and California Adventure there are plenty of Attractions to keep an adult occupied. If you have the chance to go do it. Let the inner kid come out in you and have a blast. Going to Disneyland brought back so many fond Childhood memorys that I have. This time of year was the perfect time to attend the park. Yeah it was busier then I thought it would be but it wasn't bad at all. The longest we waited for a ride was about 25 minutes. Plus the oppertunity to see the park all done up for Christmas is an added bonus.

Anyways thats it for now. I will write up and upload Day 5 sometime tomorrow. So heres a preview of whats to come.

Teknik_DC2 01-30-2009 02:06 PM

Day 5: Disney's California Adventure Part 1

For our 2nd day at the Disneyland Resort we would be going to the resorts newest park California Adventure. We arived at the resort once again a little bit before opening. This time they parked us in the HUGE parking garage called Mickey and Friends and we parked on the 3rd level called Mickey and were lucky enough to park right to the escalaters to take you down to the trams that shuttle you to the parks.

California Adventure opens an hour later then Disneyland does so we went into Disneyland first to kill some time tell California Adventure opened. My wife is a fan of the Enchanted Tiki Room and I had never been in there before so we went there first. We saw we still had about 30 minutes tell the show started so We walked over to Tomorrowland so I could snap some pictures and also maybe ride Buzz Lightyears Astro Blasters again until the Tiki Room opened. Unfortuanatly Buzz was having problems and wasn't opened. So we walked around for a short time and headed back towards the Tiki Room.

When we got back to the Tiki Room they were finally allowing people in so we went in and found our seats. I found the attraction interesting. The technology was pretty cool with how many anamotronics and such that are in there. But overall I can only take so much of singing birds and flowers lol. I did like the singing tiki masks and stuff though. I think it lasts the perfect amount of time and it was alright. Not my favorite.

After the Tiki Room was over we decided to go ride Haunted Mansion again. Which we walked right onto. After that we went over to the Train station and rode the Train around Disneyland Back to the Main Street Station so we could head over to California Adventure. I had only rode the Train maybe once before so even though it would have been faster walking I really wanted to ride the train.

We got off the train and then headed strait across the main plaza over to California Adventure. This park was another reason for Us deciding to go on vacation when we did. The last time I attended Disneyland the area that California Adventure sits on was still a parking lot. So I had never seen it before in person. Also last year Disney announced that they were doing a huge rennovation on the park changing almost the majority of things there. So we decided to go when we did so I could still experiance the park how it was originally built. The signs were everywhere that the renovation was underway but I still got the idea of what it must have been like without the construction going on.

When we got into the parks "Sunshine Plaza" we had to decide which way we were going first. Kiera wanted to head into the Hollywood Pictures Backlot and make our way towards the Tower of Terror but since we were right next to it (and the restrooms) we decided to head to Condor Flats and the attraction "Soarin' Over California". This ride we walked right onto with zero wait. It like the Simpsons ride or Star Tours is a motion simulator which simulates like your paragliding over many of the areas that California is known for. I thought it was pretty cool. I thought it was going to have more extreme movment but I guess when your paragliding the movements arn't real extreme. I enjoyed how they had wind blowing in your face and you could even smell the differnt scents of the areas you were going over. The thing I really liked though is that the screen that the movie is being projected onto wrapped underneath you so when you would look down you would see the movie too like you were really looking strait down.

After Soarin' we continued heading down the runway into an area that resembled the backwoods of California. The major attraction here being the Grizzly River Run. Basically its your typical raft ride thru the backwoods of California and around the parks "Grizzly Peak". I was extremely impressed with this raft ride and I have never seen one this well themed or extreme. The ride is long and has two pretty big drops that can give you a pretty good adrenaline rush. This was also the ride where I finally wore my Poncho as well as Kiera wearing hers. And we are glad we did cause we would have got soaked had we not.

Teknik_DC2 01-30-2009 02:10 PM

Day 5: Disney's California Adventure Part 2

After the river run we went to the Challenge Trail. Basically its like a little kids play area thats themed to the Brother Bear movies as well as teaches about nature and animals and things National Park rangers use. We strolled thru here and played on some of the rope next things and bridges and such. I also got what I consider my best picture at the Disney Resort in this area.

The next are we came into had the parks Christmas tree set up as well as a few other decorations. I also got my first glimpse of the Paradise Pier section of the park. Which looked like a baron concrete waistland. Thats because this area of the park is where all the work for the renevation is taking place right now. The lake is drained and the Sun Wheel is hiding behind a bunch of construction platforms.

We headed down towards the west end of the pier first. The first ride we came to was the Golden Zepher. Its a version of alot of the swinging rockets that were popular in the early 1900's. It was different but nothing too exciting. Just think of it as like swings in a rocket. We the went to the Orange Stinger. Which is just a typical Swing ride inside of whats suppose to be an Orange. I guess your suppose to feel like your a bee or something. I don't know. Across from that is the Mulholland Madness Rollercoaster. It was closed at that time but we would make our way back to it later. Then it was onto a ride called the Maliboomer. This being your typical shottower. I'm guessing the theme for it though is that your the ball or whatever it is on one of those test your strength games where you hit the botton with a mallot and see how high it will go up a tower. Anyways these things always give me a rush. Even though this one isn't near as high as the Rocket is at Lagoon. I enjoyed this while I could cause the Maliboomer is one of the attractions being removed for the renovation of the park.

Next we headed down the middle of Paradise Peir where the bulk of the consruction is taking place. As I said the Sunwheel is closed because its being renovated and turned into "Mickey's Fun Wheel". I didn't lose too much sleep over it being closed cause it would have scared the crap out of me anyways. I hate tall Ferris Wheels and then to add too it the cars you would sit in roll around a track. Also have the games were closed cause they were reduing them all to a victorian themed building look. But we then went to the newest Ride in the whole Disneyland Resort. Toy Story Midway Mania. This was our longest wait for our whole 2 days at the Disneyland Resort. We waited about 25 minutes to go on it and we figure it had the longest wait since its the newest ride. They also have a huge Mr. Potato head out front to talk to you and tell jokes lol. But it was worth it. I really enjoyed this ride. Its along the same idea as Buzz Lightyear. Where its a dark ride and you have guns to shoot things to score points. The difference is this ride is done in 3D and instead of having figures to shot at like Buzz you pull up to movie screens that look like you pulled up to a carnival game. Theres 5 different stations you go to and the ride is just a blast. We also liked how the car would spin around as it took you to the next stations. Unfortunatly Kiera really killed me this time. I wish we could have gone on it again but unfortunatly time just didn't allow it.

After getting my butt handed to me at Toy Story we then headed to the California Screamin' Roller Coaster. To our suprise the wait was only about 5 minutes for it. Wow I loved this coaster. It was probably my favorite coaster of the entire trip. I really liked how big it is and it was like all over the place. Running from end to end of the pier multipule times. It starts out as a launched coaster which is always a rush but it also has a lift hill half way thru. It also has speakers in the seats which plays a song while its going. Other then Space Mountain i've never seen that used before and thought it was cool and added to the experiance. However I thought the song could have been better lol. I had so much fun on this coaster that when we got off we went around and did it agian a second time.

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