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skier_pete 08-19-2012 05:47 PM

"I choose to be Amused!"-An Epic Trip to DL with a side of Oz(3/17-4 NEW POSTS pg17)
Hello everybody and :welcome:. It is official, I am starting the TR for our Epic Adventure.

Here we are at DL.

The members of our trip:

Me - SkierPete - Like most here a hard-core Disney fanatic that does enjoy traveling elsewhere as well. First went to WDW in 1972. Been many, many times. Never been to DLR.

DW - Also infected with the Disney obsession, I took her for her first trip in 1997. We've done 9 trips total to WDW since. Never been to DLR.

DD (9) - Of course seriously into Disney. She also loves Animals but has three major flaws when it comes to traveling. (1) She is stubborn as all hell, (2) she doesn't like to try new rides, and (3) these traits get worse when she's tired. Also, never been to DLR.

So - for those that are just joining, DW has a close friend that married a guy who was from Australia, and in her younger days traveled there 3 times. Since we met, I agreed I wanted to go, but only when our kids were old enough, and only if we could go for a longer trip. Our original plan was a six week sojourn that got cut back due to time and budget constraints to four weeks. Because of the flying time from Buffalo, NY to Sydney, I insisted we have a stopover in California in both directions. And if we are going to stop in California for a few days, well, what better opportunity to take a look at the "other" park - Disneyland!

So, this TR will start out talking about DL, but will go on significantly longer - 26 days in fact. So, you can join in for the short version where the WDW vet looks at DL, or you can stay for the whole ride, up to you.

I want to right now give a shout out to all the Australian DISers that helped us plan this trip. I've been posting on the "Other Lands" board for more than a year getting lots of great information from the "natives". I'll say right now that our trip was absolutely spot-on, and it was in large part thanks to the advice from those DISers, so for any of you reading along - THANK YOU! :cool1:

I will try to update once or twice a week as I can, the TR may go on for a while, but I do always finish my TRs, so that's at least a good thing, first "real" update will be later this week.

skier_pete 08-19-2012 05:49 PM

2nd Post - Table of Contents
For those that join late, or come back infrequently, here I will post direct links to the various posts in which I make ACTUAL updates. Please feel free to correct me if a link is wrong, as happens frequently.:rotfl:

Day 1 - Traveling to California

Day 2 - Disneyland - Early Entry is EARLY!
Day 2 - Disneyland - Nemo and Toon Town
Day 2 - It's a Small World
Day 2 - Fantasy and Adventure
Day 2 - Lunch @ the Hungry Bear
Day 2 - Dinner @ Cafe Orleans
Day 2 - Critter Country and Enchanted Tiki Room
Day 2 - Wrap-up

Day 3 - Carsland!
Day 3 - Bugsland and Disney's Hollywood
Day 3 - Back to Radiator Springs
Day 3 - Carthay Circle Lunch
Day 3 - Aladdin and Paradise Pier
Day 3 - World of Color and Nighttime Carsland

Day 4 - Morning in DL / DTD
Day 4 - Mid-day at DCA
Day 4 - Afteroon on a hop

Day 5 & 6 - Travel to Sydney

Day 7 - Sydney Aquarium & Darling Harbor
DAy 7 - Sydney Harbor & Luna Park

Day 8 - Sydney tour, Bondi Beach, and southern outskirts

Day 9 - Pancakes, Church, and the Aroma Festival

Day 10 - Sydney Opera House Tour
Day 10 - Opera House Tour (cont) and travel to Melbourne

Day 11 - Melbourne Zoo
Day 11 - Melbourne Zoo (cont) and DISMeet

Day 12 - Skiing @ Mount Buller

Day 13 - Downtown Melboune and DIS meet with Princess In Oz & Family

Day 14 - Phillip Island Wild Animal Park
Day 14 - Penguin Parade

Day 15, 16 and 17 - Weekend with friends / travel to Cairns (NEW Nov 27th)

Day 18 - Kuranda Scenic Railway (NEW Nov 27th)
Day 18 - Kuranda / Birdworld (NEW Nov 30th)
Day 18 - Skyway and Tjapakia (NEW Nov 30th)

Day 19 - Relaxing in Cairns (NEW Dec 4th)

Day 20 - Mossman & Daintree (NEW Dec 12th)
Day 21 - Travel to Airlie Beach(NEW Dec 12th)

Day 22 - The Great Barrier Reef (Part 1) (NEW Dec 21st)
Day 22 - The Great Barrier Reef (Part 2) (NEW Dec 21st)

Day 23 - Travel to Eungella (NEW Jan 11th)
Day 23 - Eungella and the wild Platypus! (NEW Jan 11th)

Day 24 - Fly to Brisbane and the Glasshouse Mountains (NEW Jan 24th)

Day 25 - Australia Zoo - Pt 1 (NEW Feb 12th)
Day 25 - Australia Zoo - Pt 2 (NEW Feb 12th)

Day 26 - Buderim Ginger Plant plus last day! (NEW Feb 12th)

Day 27 - The Longest Day EVER! (NEW March 5th)

Sidebar - Downhill Cosume Parade and PTR announcement

Day 28 - Legoland Pt 1.
Day 28 - Legoland pt 2.
Day 28 & 29 - Legoland Pt 3 and wrap-up

BecBennett 08-19-2012 07:19 PM

Yaaay! :cool1:

PrincessInOz 08-19-2012 08:21 PM


mickeystoontown 08-19-2012 09:08 PM

Joining in! I can hardly wait to read all about your adventures!

battymum 08-19-2012 10:17 PM

I'm here!

Ozdisneydreamin 08-20-2012 02:06 AM

Looking forward to hearing about your vacation

khertz 08-20-2012 09:33 AM

So excited to read about this trip!!!

Chicago Mo 08-20-2012 10:51 AM


skier_pete 08-21-2012 11:07 AM


Originally Posted by BecBennett (Post 45874203)
Yaaay! :cool1:


Originally Posted by PrincessInOz (Post 45874881)


Originally Posted by mickeystoontown (Post 45875433)
Joining in! I can hardly wait to read all about your adventures!


Originally Posted by battymum (Post 45876113)
I'm here!


Originally Posted by Ozdisneydreamin (Post 45876836)
Looking forward to hearing about your vacation


Originally Posted by khertz (Post 45880501)
So excited to read about this trip!!!


Originally Posted by Chicago Mo (Post 45881730)

Glad to see some of my regular DIS friends coming along. I guess I didn't bore you too close to death with my PTR. First posts are coming momentarily! Only took abour 1300 pictures, so they might be a little bare. (Har har!)

skier_pete 08-21-2012 11:12 AM

Day 1 - First of many travel days.
Day 1: Our first day started out with us doing the last minute packing preparations for the trip, though most was done the night before. This was because we had invited a few friends over to have a brief celebration, for today was DW’s birthday! We got a pizza and a cookie cake and had a combination birthday/bon voyage party with two other couples and their multitude of kids.
After that we were given a ride by one of our friends to the airport and we were off on our adventure.
A statue of a Buffalo by the entrance to our beautiful airport:
I took the title of our trip report from something I said that first day: “I am not going to get stressed out about all this traveling – instead, I am going to Choose to be amused.” We sort of took “Choose to be amused.” as our mantra when things occasionally got frazzled, though I can’t say we were always successful at it!
After 8 hours, and stops in Chicago and Las Vegas, our plane arrived in Orange County. We got our bags and found the super shuttle, which left within minutes of us getting on. We traveled to the Tropicana, which would be our home base for the next three nights.
I have to say that I really liked this hotel. It was nothing fancy, but it was clean, the staff was very friendly and helpful, and the location was practically to die for. This shot was taken from front of the Tropicana. Right in the middle of the picture is the street corner where you cross to get to the entrance to Disneyland. On the right is the Tower of Terror.
It was pretty late by the time we got in about 8:00 PM (11:00 PM East Coast Time). DD wanted to take a short swim, and while DW was putting her down to bed, I wanted to go over and pick up our tickets. As I headed over, the first thing I noticed was that as soon as you cross the street to get into the park, they placed large hedges at angles such that it doesn’t restrict movement into the Disney area, but as soon as you get through them, the outside world has been quickly “sealed” away. I was able to pick up my passes after some confusion about where to go. In the meantime, the fireworks in DL had started, and were booming through the plaza. I got back and did a quick swim with DD, and then we all headed to bed. A big day in the parks was coming tomorrow.

(Note: my DW wrote the following note…she was going to type notes on each day, but this was the only one she actually ever wrote: Reflections of the day - traveling on 7/21 was ok. only a 10 minute delay departure out of Buffalo. We were at the back of the plane. I got a free birthday drink (Bailey's on the rocks). When we stopped in Chicago, so many de-planed we could've sat in the front row. We chose the second row so that we could keep some carry-ons under the seat vs storing all in the bins. I didn't try to get any more free birthday drinks, but as we landed in Vegas, the crew had everyone sing Happy Birthday to all of the Birthday People. They did not mention me by name, but DH pointed to me as the stewardess made the announcement, so that she understood it was mine too & grouped me in as a 'couple of others' in the greeting. Vegas to Orange County was quick, obviously no seat change. OC airport wasn't crazy full of people so we caught our shuttle to the hotel pretty quickly. We almost lost The Binder, but we realized it on the way to the shuttle but DH ran back to get it before it was truly lost. DD held up well during the flight.)

skier_pete 08-21-2012 11:21 AM

Day 2 - We're at Disneyland!
We were all very excited to see Disneyland, and we were fortunate that our 3 day hopper passes allowed us to get into the parks at 7 AM that day. We had decided that we would head right into the parks and hit the rides hard for the first hour, and then take a break and have some breakfast.

Before I get into this report, I just wanted to make a little comment of the whole DLR vs WDW. I personally am sick of the whole “which is better” debate. My observations were that DLR is different from WDW, and that’s a GOOD thing. If they were both the same, why would anyone want to go to both of them. DLR is a different entity, and for that it should be celebrated, and all Disney fans should at one point in their life get to both. That said, I will certainly be comparing the two as part of this report, specifically similar rides, and where I fall in opinion between the two.

A second note, we were originally planning that this would be our one opportunity for DL for a while, but DW and I decided to sign up for the ABD Backstage Magic tour with the DIS Podcast group next June! (A clever observer might notice mention of this with the new ticker.) We will be doing this without DD, which we are absolutely thrilled about, as she can be a real pain in the butt especially with going on the more "adult" rides, and so we were able to take an attitude of...well, if we miss something, we'll be back next year. That made it a little bit easier, but we still wanted to get to see as much as we could.

Anyways, off to Disneyland!

So, we were up early, and at the gate in time for rope drop. Based on the (good) DIS advice, we used the EE hours to take on as many rides as possible, we headed straight up Main Street, taking quick note of the teeny tiny castle,

and headed here:

Peter Pan is one of our favorites at WDW, and while slightly different, its pretty close in style here. After PPF we hit the other slow loader, Dumbo:

Unlike the usual rush at WDW, there was no wait at all at Dumbo, even after having done another ride first. We got our Dumbo’s and got ready for our flight.

Checking out the Dumbo test car!

Third up was a ride on the old classic that USED to be at MK: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride:

This is just as bizarre as I remembered it being, and while it only has the one track instead of two, the DL version is pretty similar to the old one. Never was a favorite at WDW, but still was very cool to get a chance to ride again. After that we headed around the corner to the Alice grouping. Fourth up was the Tea Cups:

Again, very similar to both WDW, and 1,000 other variants around the world. I have to comment right now on Fantasyland, it was amazing how many RIDES they packed into what felt like a very small space. The area is probably half the size of MKs Fantasyland, yet somehow managed to have more rides.

After getting off the tea cups, we skipped over to the other Alice ride, the first truly “new” ride of our experience here…though certainly a prototypical dark ride, it was very cool in that the caterpillar ride vehicle both loaded outside, and also spent a portion of the ride driving outside. I liked this ride a lot, especially the effects with the cards near the end.

DW made a good point about dark rides here at DL. For one thing, there is a lot more use of swinging “doors” between scenes. These doors give the rides a cheaper, high school play production feel, and may be due to the older style of the rides. Secondly, she thought that the animatronic mechanisms at DL had a greater sense of movement than at WDW. Once she pointed it out, I noticed it as well. I don’t know if this is due to the greater humidity in Florida or what.

DW got a kick out of the nearby toilets, which continued the Alice theme, with the stall doors being playing cards:

I personally preferred the white rabbit statue waiting outside the bathrooms, I hope he’s not timing how long I take in there!

Last in Fantasyland (for now) was Pinocchio’s ride.
We headed out to the Matterhorn (actually, perhaps that still counts as Fantasyland). I was really looking forward to checking this one out, as this was Disney’s first ever “Mountain”.
It must have been truly spectacular back in the fifties when it first opened. DD was a little leary riding, and then there was some really loud dark parts early on, and the yeti popped up. She apparently kept her eyes closed the whole ride, so she didn’t see the yeti. She didn’t like it very much. DW and I thought it was OK, but not worth a second ride, even on the other track.
So, we next headed over to the Nemo / submarine ride. Unfortunately, it wasn’t yet open due to technical problems. So, I grabbed some FP for Autotopia (which was at 7:55 AM, but still gave me an untimed FP) and instead we headed to Buzz Lightyear. Just as we were entering the line, the surge of regular rope drop people were coming through the park, but we were still able to walk onto Buzz.
Again, very similar to the MK version. I thought the detachable shooters on the ride would make it better, but in fact it really didn't make much of a difference.

At this point DD was getting hungry and whiney and wanted to stop for some food. So I ran over to Space Mountain to get more FPs, and we started walking back to main street when we past by Astro Orbiter and saw there was essentially no line at all. In all our trips to MK, I have never ridden the Florida version, but we wanted to see everything we could here, so we hopped in line. Since it is on the ground instead of mounted on a building, it was sort of a waste of time. Plus it tilted inward, so it was more awkward to ride in the Dumbo.

We got some breakfast at the Jolly Holiday bakery. A little disappointed in this, the only selections were muffins, croissants and a few pastries. Since we didn’t want to keep searching for other options, we just ate here. Sorry, somehow no food porn. It wasn’t that great anyways! (Really the only poor food we had at DLR.)

So, quick recap, at only 8:30 AM, we had already ridden 9 (!) rides and had FPs for two more.

Next up - when will we be able to finally find that pesky Nemo!

khertz 08-21-2012 03:03 PM

Wow, that is pretty amazing for your first morning! It really is crazy how many attractions they have packed into Fantasyland, but I do noticed that the area seemed more congested than WDW's version because all of the attractions are SO close together. Well, except for Small World. But I really like those old school dark rides, so I really enjoyed FL in DL myself.

I'm hoping we'll have a similar experience with our AP early entry this weekend, but now with the resort guests getting the same access, I don't know if it will be quite so empty. Possibly at DL, but I doubt it will be over at DCA!

skier_pete 08-21-2012 07:47 PM


Originally Posted by khertz (Post 45897327)
Wow, that is pretty amazing for your first morning! It really is crazy how many attractions they have packed into Fantasyland, but I do noticed that the area seemed more congested than WDW's version because all of the attractions are SO close together. Well, except for Small World. But I really like those old school dark rides, so I really enjoyed FL in DL myself.

I'm hoping we'll have a similar experience with our AP early entry this weekend, but now with the resort guests getting the same access, I don't know if it will be quite so empty. Possibly at DL, but I doubt it will be over at DCA!

This weekend! That's right I forgot you were going to be there so close to us. I have to stop over at your PTR again. Have a great time.

It did get REALLY crowded in FL later in the day. There is definitely less open space.

disneykiwi 08-22-2012 12:44 AM

I'm here now.

Looking forward to reading along.

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