DisneySuiteFreak's Summer Nightastic Photo Intensive Trip Report; updated 3-17-2010!
Hi everyone, and welcome to my first T/R on the Dis. Sorry this is so tardy, but I got sick (again) this time after my trip. So I went on vacay from June 11-26 worked for a few days, and then had to stay off work for another week and a half because of bronchitis. :sick::sad2: Needless to say I had lots of work waiting for me when I got back. :scared1:
I’m not as witty and talented as some of you when it comes to retelling the story of what we did, so I’m going to do more of a photo T/R and use as few words as possible. I know some of you post photos of yourselves and your families on this site, but I am not comfortable doing that on pretty much any site because we come from a small town where everyone knows everyone, or everyone knows someone that knows everyone; and that’s all I need is for someone to recognize me as the slacker who posts all the time on the Dis boards! Ha-ha! Ummm...yeah, I cherish my anonymity. I’ll refer to my son as DS and my husband as DH. :) Simple enough. :goodvibes
My family and I go to Vegas and/or Disneyland at least once a year. This year we went to Vegas and Disneyland twice because we bought discounted APs through the DL website. :yay:
I’ve been going to DL off and on since I was a kid. I was too young to remember my first few trips. I know I went because I’ve seen the pictures. ;)Anyway, our first trip as a family was back in 1997 when my DS was just 8 years old. It was the perfect age to take him because he remembered everything and because remembered and loved everything, he became my official ‘Disney Partner’ after that trip. For a few years he was just as obsessed w/ all things Disney as I was…Now he’s kind of grown out of it, but he still likes Disney and is still my DL partner, just not as obsessed about going as I am I guess. :sad: (Oh well, they have to grow up sometime I guess…) We’ve gone to DL and Vegas every year since 1999, and in 2001 we went to WDW! One day I would like to go back there, but I have to say after being in WDW in the summer and being in DLR this past summer, DLR beats WDW hands down! It’s miserably hot and humid in WDW. California has really nice weather compared to WDW where you spend half your time trying to find a way out of the extreme heat and humidity. We normally go to DLR in the winter for the Holiday overlay. We went a couple of times in October and it was pretty busy, hot, and the wildfires were burning which bothered my asthma. We prefer the winter to October because of the fire thing and because the parks are just magical during the holidays. Unfortunately, the last few trips that we’ve gone during the holidays, I’ve gotten extremely ill, probably from the combo of asthma/allergies, thousands of people and dirty hands in the parks, flu season, and it was extremely cold and sometimes rainy. So we decided that since we have APs we should take a trip in the summer and that’s how this trip came to be. :banana: This was our first trip as a family during the summer to DLR. We really enjoyed the ‘June Gloom’ weather! It was perfect! Cool in the mornings, warm in the afternoons and cool/cold at night.:yay: Honestly, I didn’t get sick on this trip. I got sick after I came home. :sad2: Some people on the plane and also at work were coughing and ill and I think that I caught it from either of those 2 places. Oh well. At least I wasn’t sick on vacay!:cheer2:
Our first trip this year was in January. If this T/R generates enough interest I may work backwards and post some info about our DL Holidays trip, and maybe even do a walk down memory lane like Sherry did (Hi Sherry!) or a never ending T/R like PPB or Wazowskilover. (You all are my heroes for putting in so much work on your T/R's.) :worship: But for now this T/R will cover what we did from June 11-17, 2009 in DL. I’ll probably link to a Vegas T/R later as soon as I finish this T/R.
I guess I'd better leave some room here for any future linking that may need to be done...
Day 1, June 11 is below on page 1 or
Part 1 Beginning, Magical Fireworks take one
Part 2 Main Street shots and
Part 3- End of Day 1 & beginning of Day 2 -Barona Casino, Joes Crab Shack and Do we make it to DEP?.
Day 2, June 12
Part1- Disney's Electrical Parade
Part 2- DEP continued
Part 3- Nemo's Submarine Voyage
Part 4- Tomorrowland & Main Street Long Exposure shots and
Part 5-End of Day 2
Day 3, June 13 Seaworld
Part 1- Beginning, Food Porn, Dolphin Discovery Show
Part 2- Dolphin show, Flamingos, Cirque De La Mer
Part 3- Fishtanks, Sea Lions Tonite Show
Part 4- Ignite Show
Part 5- Shamu Rocks
Part 6- Shamu Rocks continued
Part 7- Drumline & Dancers
Part 8- Shark Encounter
Part 9- Electric Eels, Piranhas & end of Day 3
Day 4, June 14 Disneyland - Pirates, Fireworks, Fantasmic, Indy and Ice Cream...
Part 1-Entrance & Pirates
Part 3- Magical Fireworks take 2
Part 4 - Fantasmic
Part 5 - Fantasmic
Part 6 - F!, HM, and Indy
Part 7, Gibson Girl Ice Cream and Main Street
Day 5, June 15 Long Beach Aquarium aka Aquarium of the Pacific and Knotts Berry Farm
Part 1-Entrance, Sharks and Sea Lions
Part 2-Touching tanks, Friendly Manta Rays, and Shorebird Santuary
Part 3-North Pacific Diving Birds, Jelly Fish and another touching tank
Part 4-The Untouchables, Sea Otters, Shrimp and Crabs
Part 5- Knotts Berry Farm First Impressions and rides
Part 6- Knotts Berry Farm Ghost Town and Ghost Rider - Aaack! also Kiddie rides...
Part 7- Knotts Berry Farm More Kiddie Rides and reflections on our day
Day 6 Disneyland all day and night!
1. Entrance, Pirates
2. More Pirates
3. Yes, even more Pirates!
4. Haunted Mansion
5. More Haunted Mansion
6. Some Fantasyland shots, IASW
7. IASW 2
8. IASW 3, Toontown, Castle Area and Snow White's Grotto
9. Hub area, DCA, HM exterior queue shots, DCA again
10. Busy shots, Theme Parks are Busy, Celebrate a Street Party shots, Roger Rabbit, Toon Town and the Golden 1/2 hour or what's left of it
Our trip started off in Vegas baby! We left home on June 9 and pretty much arrived in Vegas in the wee early morning hours of June 10.
Unfortunately the airlines lost my DH’s luggage, so we spent an extra couple hours waiting around the airport hoping in vain that it would magically appear on the luggage carousel. That didn’t happen. :sad1: We had to file a claim with the airlines, wait while they did all their paperwork, etc. From there we went to the Rent-a-car facility where we spent an extra 45 minutes in line waiting because there were only 2 people working, so no separate express line even though we were express members of Dollar RAC.
So since my DH is not a Disney Freak like DS and I am, the deal is he gets one whole day in LV and then we drive to DLR. After DLR, he gets an extra week -10 days in Vegas. So because our flight came in late, our luggage got lost, and the RAC facility was slow, we ended up having to stay in Vegas a little later than I had originally planned. Luckily for DH, I am not too anal about plans and am open to flying by the seat of our pants. The main thing is we get there in one piece! So instead of getting to DLR in the early am on June 11 as I had hoped, we ended up getting there in the late afternoon/early evening hours. After getting settled at the Fairfield Inn which we highly recommend , we just made it in to the park to see the new fireworks show for the Summer Nightastic promotion they had going on. I believe it’s called Magical. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong; it’s been awhile since our trip.) :rolleyes1
So these were my first 2 photos on the way to DL: http://suitefreak.smugmug.com/photos...84_uc5CF-L.jpg
This is when you know you're really there!:yay::cool1:
We thought it would be crazy busy in the parks because this was the day they had the VIP viewing going on and Grad night happening later that night, but actually it was fine. There were a lot of people there, but not as bad as the days that were to come. There was a VIP section set up in a mini stadium type seating right on Main Street and the singer who performed the songs in the fireworks show was there along with a bunch of other VIPs. We managed to walk right up and get a space right in front of the hub, in front of the Partners statue. It was a decent spot. Then people started edging their way in and a guy put his daughter on his shoulders. I mean, I understand that happens, but it just doesn’t look good in the photos.:rolleyes1 Unfortunately for me, I am short, so it’s difficult for me to avoid getting people’s head/body parts in my shots if they step in front of me or in my field of view. I won’t be able to shoot over their heads and see through my viewfinder. :sad1: I couldn’t move back because people were packed in between me and the stands where the VIPs were. I hindsight, I should have just ignored the castle and shot higher up in the sky so I would have gotten better photos and that probably would have solved the issue of people’s heads and body parts in my photos. (Although I think I did try this and I still had issues w/people’s body parts in my field of view, so I kind of gave up on getting good shots this night…) I needed to go wide and high, but couldn’t go wide because some person’s arm kept getting in my field of view. I think I decided to just suck it up and try to see if I could post process it out later, but I’m not that good at PP, so it hasn’t happened yet. :rolleyes1 On a regular night, I would have had better shots from further back on Main Street or anywhere else but right in front of the hub. Oh well…
I had heard that the shells for this show seem to be shot off further to the left and that is correct. Most of the fireworks seem to be further to the left than I remembered from any other fireworks show I have seen at DL. This is FYI, for anyone who is concerned about photo taking, not that I’m an expert or anything (because I’m still learning); just sharing my experiences.
To make matters worse, in the middle of taking photos my battery died! I knew it was low, but didn’t realize how low. I had a spare battery, and should have swapped it out before the show, (duh!) but I thought it would last. I thought wrong. So I ended up missing quite a bit of the show because I had to remove the camera from the Quick Release plate on my tripod (which was anything but quick!) and then swap the batteries, put it back on the QR plate and then connect all that back on the tripod and put away the dead battery so I wouldn’t lose it. What a :headache:!
Anyway, this is some of what we saw, straight out of the camera, no PP…
No hands or body parts where they don’t belong (excepts for heads or course)
And then suddenly, ‘the hand’ appears…and pretty much stays there for the rest of the show…
<Sigh> I hate when that happens...
‘The hand’ was why I couldn’t go wider. If I went any wider, I would’ve had their whole body in the shot. :rolleyes1
Anyway, it was beautiful, magical, wonderful! I teared up when Dumbo came floating out! I always tear up at the first Fireworks show I see at any Disney Resort! Nobody does Fireworks like Disney! That's all I can say. Hands down, Disney wins every time. I still think RDCT and the Holidays fireworks shows are better, but I still enjoyed this one. I wish they could find a way to incorporate Dumbo into RDCT and that they bring it back. I believe they will from what I've heard. I also wish they would've sold the music for this fireworks show in DLR -- I totally would have bought it!
After the fireworks, we turned around, and this is what we saw:
Yep, it’s summer alright…
So instead of fighting the crowds, I decided to stay and take some photos of the area…
Turned around, and it was still crazy crowded, so I decided to take a few more…
This is getting long and I'm getting tired so I think I'll end here and post some more later...
Hi, DisneySuiteFreak!!!:cool1::cool1: I was so pleased to see I got a mention in your TR!:banana: Yep, I was time traveling down memory lane to DLR and other places in photos, and then I jumped forward again for a Pre-Trip Report for a trip that never happened! (I was supposed to go to DLR 3 days ago on my b-day and the plan fell through at the last minute, so basically I did a Pre-TR for nothing!!) So now I may have to step backwards in time again in photos a bit to fill the gap before moving ahead to the next DLR trip, which will likely be Halloweentime and then Christmastime!!! So I am all over the place. Somehow, at some point, several of us must have decided (like PPB and Wazowski) that doing a never-ending TR with little blasts from the past would be a good idea, because we can just keep adding to it when we take new trips to DLR, and then all the photos past and present and all the info are in one place and easy to find! So I think you can tell how much everyone here likes Trip Reports and likes pictures of DLR, whether old or new, so yes, by all means, when you are done with the TR for your June trip, please share with us your recaps and photos from trips past! I know I would love to see them!!
I must say I was really looking forward to your Trip Report and was hoping you would do one soon because I KNEW your photos would be amazing and you did NOT disappoint! Love, love, love those fireworks photos - even with the hand!! The things that you, WazowskiLOVER and Nostalgic Dad can do with those Nikons are just incredible!! Really, your photos are so crystal clear! I had to chuckle about the body parts getting in the way - which is one of the annoyances at DLR that we can all relate to. Last December, I was trying to get a nice nighttime PhotoPass shot in front of IASW Holiday, but there was a line of hundreds of people in the shot (very cluttered looking) and the photographer was very concerned about making sure that one person's Mickey balloon got out of the frame! He actually had our whole line of PP customers waiting for this person with the balloon in the IASW lilne to move! Never mind the 200 other people in our photo as they wait for IASW Holiday - let's get that evil balloon out of the way!!!!:rotfl::rotfl: That is one of the most spectacular and photogenic nighttime sights in DL, and there is no way to get a clean shot without people in it unless you happen to be there after the park closes! Arrrgggghhhhhh....
Anyway, I am glad you are feeling better, and I can't wait to see more of your great pictures!!:yay:
Wonderful pictures! I look forward to seeing more!
Thank you DisneySuiteFreak, those are absolutely fantastic photos, sure wish I could take pictures that nice ... :thumbsup2
You are the reason!!
DisneyFreak, your pics are AMAZING! You are the reason we decided to stay at the Fairfield, you made it look soooo inviting! I hope you know that your pictures were the deciding factor?? Anyway, what a camera and what skills!
I love it!! Tell us more, we want more!! :worship:
:cheer2: :banana: :yay: :woohoo: :thumbsup2
End of day one, part of day 2 DH Birthday!
When I last posted, we were still in the park taking photos and waiting for the crowds to clear. I forgot to mention that the fireworks show started pretty late this night. I figured it was because of all the hoopla involving the VIPs, but wasn’t sure. I was surprised because F! was supposed to show this night at 9pm due to the VIPs & Grads. I remember reading all about various people who had managed to book F! for the dessert seating at 9pm when everyone was supposed to clear out at 9pm due to the Grad night that was supposed to take place. Well, at 9pm, fireworks were still going off. It finished shortly after 9 and then there was the whole parade of thousands of people that sadly, slowly, and reluctantly filed out of the park. Anyway, it was funny because the CMs were hurrying to clean up the area and clear people out, but not one CM said a word to me about leaving. I took just those few photos I posted because I knew we had to get out of there. But before I could pack up and leave, I saw a large group of people walking en mass towards Adventureland. It was interesting, because immediately following the show, I didn’t see where they all went (they disappeared or were moved), but wherever they were, they re-emerged and now were going to get settled for F!.
I posted a question on the DL forum back in June about whether or not anyone got to stay for F! dessert seating at that time, but I don’t know if anyone responded…So we started toward the front gates, and it was pretty weird to see all the stores closed up, but they were. They all had roll up doors that were closed or were locked up tight with no one in sight.
Here’s a pretty horrid snapshot, but you get the idea.
We slowly made our way to the front and I managed to snap a few photos. Mind you some of these are yucky; just quick snapshot type shots, nothing artistic.
There were a ton of people (of the few people left in the park) vying to get a shot with this display, so I just took a quick snapshot.
Stopped to take a few more shots…
We were bummed because the Opera House was closed during our trip for renovation and, believe it or not, we never got a chance to see the show w/ Steve Martin in all our prior trips! We just never made it a priority thinking it would be there for a while, and now it’s not. :sad2:
We saw the graduates being allowed in to DCA:
For some reason there were cars parked here, I don’t know why. I didn’t even notice it until I got home and opened up the photo. I was trying to get a shot of the Celebrate flags.
The display that was set up to promote the movie UP:
People were coming in as we were going out. Lucky for them, sucky for us…
And of course the Summer Nightastic sign:
We went over to McD’s so DS and DH could grab some cheap and quick meals for themselves.
When we got back to the room, DH asked me if I wanted to go to San Diego with him to Barona Casino for a little bit of fun and gambling. At Barona there is no alcohol, so anyone over 18 can play in the casino. DS didn’t care to go. He said he’d rather sleep or go on the computer and play games. So DH and I went and played. While we left DLR, we saw the fire and lasers from F! going off and this was at around 10:30pm, so I'm guessing that either they did 2 shows of F! or the one show they had was really delayed. Not sure which, but I was surprised to see the lasers, smoke and fireworks since only the 9pm showing was listed.
Anyway, Barona was pretty fun! For a Thursday night, there were a lot of people there playing, but not to the point where it was oppressive and you couldn’t move. We had a lot of fun! I got on a Blazing 7’s machine that kept paying me and paying me. I put in $60 to start with and immediately got some 7’s. Mixed 7’s are worth $200 and solid 7’s are worth $300. I played it up and down and up and down. My DH was worried I would give it all back, but in between I had been cashing out. I took home $1900 from that machine. I felt badly for the people around me because they were not winning and had been there on their machines well before I ever sat down on mine. They kept freaking out every time I would hit the 7’s. Poor things, they couldn’t do anything on their machines… Meanwhile, DH was on another machine and hit for $1000 on it, played a little more and cashed out another $300. So it was a fun/productive night. It was a sufficiently long 2 hour haul from DL though since it’s on the outskirts of San Diego in the boonies. Most of it is on the freeway, but to get to Barona, there is a long and winding road that you must drive through. Once you do it a few times, it’s fast, but if you haven’t done the drive in like 10 years like us, you have to feel your way around and go slowly so as not to run into anything on that long and winding road. By the 2nd time we went (later in the trip) we did the return trip in 1 hour 45 minutes.:woohoo: We liked the casino. Everyone was very nice and friendly. It reminded us of how the Vegas casinos used to be before they got all corporate and concerned more w/ shareholders ROI than treating their players well.
At around 3:30am, we decided we needed to eat and got a comp from the casino. The food was really good, the server was nice and friendly. We had breakfast and rushed through it because we needed to hurry to beat the rush hour LA traffic. We left around 5am and got back to Anaheim just before 7am. Then it started raining. I told DH, there is no way in heck that we would buy umbrellas in DLR because it's expensive. So I made him take me to a Walgreens and we got 2 for $8 or something like that. In DL it's $10 each, IIRC. We got stuck in the rain on our last trip and had to buy some. Due to the weight limits on luggage, I didn't want to bring them with us. While driving to WG, we saw a whole bunch of buses w/ Grads in them going home. They must've been exhausted.
By the way, it’s now June 12, 2009, day 2 of my DL TR… So you know what happened next???
We slept in! :scared1:I was surprised because even our DS slept like a log. None of us woke before 2pm. All I can say is that those blackout curtains in the room at Fairfield Inn work really well!! :teeth: We had no concept of what time it was. We laid around for a bit and then realized OMG! It’s 2:00pm!!! Half the day was gone! Oh well, we had fun anyway…I guess we were more burned out than I thought we were from traveling, being in Vegas the first night (and you know we didn’t really sleep there), driving to Anaheim and then going to Barona! Hello? What were we thinking? Well, I won’t cry over spilt milk, and we did make enough money to pay for our trip, so I’m not going to complain about that. We do tend to go, go, go on vacation and then totally crash and burn. So I wanted to take it a little easy on this trip and rest when needed because I really didn’t want to get sick again on my vacation! Unfortunately, we went, went, went, and then we crashed and missed out on some Disney time…<sigh> Okay our sleep schedule is whacked due to the time difference anyway; so we rolled with it.
Today, however, was a very special day! It was my DH’s birthday! I couldn’t get irritated on his birthday…And that’s another reason why we planned this trip – so that he could get his Birthday Fun card! :yay: Yay! Right? Right….
Except that the birthday boy decided he really didn’t want to go to DL right away. Uh, uh. Instead, he wanted to go to a clam bake somewhere. I had posted on the Dis looking for a place that served a clambake a few months ago didn’t get much of a response. Well, the closest thing to clambake was the steam pot at Joe’s Crab Shack in Garden Grove. So after making me do a last minute internet search again, we found that Joe’s has the kind of food he wanted for his birthday. So that’s where we went for lunch. After we woke up, got ready, etc., it was almost 3pm by the time we piled into the car! Good grief!
We loved Joe’s Crab Shack and decided we will eat here at least once a trip. We ordered 2 steam pots and shared everything famiy style. It was more than enough food for the 3 of us. We had Lobster, Crab Legs, Mussels, Clams, I think there were oysters, potatoes, onions, corn cobs,, etc. There were different types of flavored butters to go with the food which Dh liked. To me, the food had so much flavor that I didn’t need the butter. DS didn’t either. I believe they season everything w/ Old Bay and there are some other choices too, IIRC.
I forgot to take picture of the food, but trust me, it was really good. Even my picky DS liked it.
For what we paid, we got so much food and the quality blows away anything you could get in DL or DCA. IIRC, we paid about $90 including non-alcoholic drinks for 3 and the 2 steam pots full of seafood, then add in tip. I think DH also ordered a side of corn. He said that if you go and order extra corn, order it with the food because it wasn’t a tasty as the other corn cobs because it wasn’t steamed with the Seafood and all the flavoring/seasoning.
DH birthday continued...
So before we go to DCA, we have to take the car back to the hotel. We do this, find parking with no problem and head out to DCA intending to catch the DEP. It’s now 7:50pm. We head straight to the Guest Services. DH got his gift card. The gal working behind the counter was very happy that we had registered in advance and it was pretty quick. There was no one in line at DCA guest services, so if you have to do this, I would suggest going to DCA to get it, as DL City Hall can get crazy busy. Coming up…We’re late, we’re late, for a very important date…and did we make DEP or not???
I heard about your Birthday trip being canceled and I was sorry to hear that! :sad1: That sucks when plans fall through like that at the last minute. NostalgicDad is the bomb with photography. I can only hope to one day be as good as he is. I get a lot of clunkers too as you will see from my DH birthday post above!:sad2: I know Jaz is studying graphic arts so she's obviously the bomb too with a great eye for photography. I wish I could be as knowledgable a those two! But thanks for lumping me in there with them! :banana:You made my day!:yay:
It is hard to get great photos when the park is crazy busy and you and I tend to go when it's crazy busy like during the Holidays, so I hear you on the Photopass thing. At least you had a good photographer who wasn't just rushing you through it. We didn't do any photopass on this or any trip. Everytime we go, it seems the parks are so busy that you just can't find them anywhere, and when you do find them, there is a looooooooooooonnnggg line of people waiting. The few times we did get our photos taken, there were other people behind us in the shot and I thought why should I pay for that? So we just don't do it. I've had a few Photopass photogs take our photo with my camera and that's great that they'll do that. I was thinking that it would be fun, if I have time, to keep this thread going with photos from previous trips. I just wonder though...At a certain point I'm going to run out of photos without us in it and then I'll have to reveal myself! :lmao:
DisneySuite, I totally get what you are saying, and no, I'm not thinking it's going to be the Taj Mahal! ha ha!! I've stayed at budget/moderate and nice hotels, I'm just happy with clean sheets, good air conditioning, safety, and proximity to the hotel! The lemon water looks great too! ; ) I also like that it's close to restaurants, especially McD's for my son who has to have his fix!! Thanks for the "warning" about the reality of it all though! lol...
Great start - your pictures are lovely, especially the evening ones from after the fireworks. :)
Just found your TR. I'm on board. Great pics so far. I understand how you don't want your personal information out there. My wife doesn't like it for me to show our family on the web and especially the kids. We stayed at FFI on our first visit to DLR and we enjoyed it.
Can't wait to hear more!!
Love your fireworks pics!! They are awesome. How fun to go down to a casino?? I never thought of doing that. :goodvibes
I'm loving your TR and your pics are wonderful! Looking forward to reading more! :goodvibes
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