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Old 07-07-2009, 06:42 PM   #1
S. S. Columbia
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June 27 - July 5 : I hope your trip has low crowds too. :)

Thank you, DISers.

We visited DL/DCA from Saturday (June 27) to Sunday (July 5), with 6-day parkhoppers.

I thought we were supposed to avoid weekends at DLR?
Both Sundays of our trip (June 28 and July 5) had surprisingly low crowd levels.
And there wasn’t a single moment during our entire trip where we saw crazy crowds.

Enchanted Tiki Room
It was nice to see the original. Last year at MK we saw the Iago version.
The lines to buy Dole Whips are much shorter on the Tiki Room side (and not the
Adventureland side), and you can take the Dole Whip into the Enchanted Tiki Room
if you want to.

Aladdin’s Oasis
Aladdin’s Oasis was being used as a Meet & Greet for Jasmine and Aladdin.
(With a PhotoPass photographer.)

Electrical Parade
We enjoyed it! They supposedly made changes to the soundtrack,
but it still sounded good to me.

Haunted Mansion
Madame Leota’s head was stationary.
At least it makes it easier to videotape her.

Magic Morning
Magic Morning on Thursday (July 2) was super. We arrived at the security tent
at 6:30am, and the MM had low crowds. Peter Pan was a walk on, and we waited
half a cycle for Dumbo. Then we visited Alice, Matterhorn (TL-side), Mad Tea
Party, Mr. Toad, Pinocchio, and the King Arthur Carrousel. (Snow White was still
down for refurb that day -- otherwise we visited every Fantasyland attraction
that was available during MM.) When the rest of DL opened at 8:00am, we first
rode Casey Jr., then we only waited a few minutes for Storybook (because we
missed the first boats of the day). And then we went to IASW and we had our
own boat. We entered ToonTown when it opened at 9:00am, and (after waiting
a couple of minutes) Mickey greeted us at the front door of his house for autographs
and photos – although there was no PhotoPass photographer. We walked on to
Gadget’s Go Coaster, and we walked on to Roger Rabbit twice. DL was nice and
cool at 7:00am, even in the summertime.

Billy Hill
We finally saw the Billy Hill show! It’s a fun show, and the Golden Horseshoe
is a nice place to cool down in the summertime. We went to the 2:35pm show. When we
arrived about 30 minutes early there were plenty of seats, but I observed that
most seats were taken about 15 minutes before the show started. We saw the
show again on Sunday (July 5) –a very slow day -- and some tables were still available
at show time. The GH seemed to be two-thirds full, but Billy Hill seemed a bit embarrassed
that the show wasn’t completely full.

The Billy Hill show’s schedule wasn’t included in the Times Guide, but its show times
are 11:15am, 1:00pm, 2:35pm, 4:00pm, and 5:15pm.

Pixie Hollow
On Thursday (June 2), Pixie Hollow only had a 30 minute wait at 12:30pm.
DD6 met Fawn and Tink, and they were very friendly.

Pixie Hollow at night
Pixie Hollow at night: “Meh.” Maybe I missed something, but IMO Pixie Hollow at night
had nothing “-tastic” about it – it was just some colored fountains. I’m glad they
did it, but to include it with the new flying Dumbo and the (alleged) new 40-foot
Fantasmic Dragon seems like Marketing Gone Wild.

Breakfast in DL
We had breakfast at the Carnation Café. The computer was down when we checked-
in for our 10:00am PSs, but we were still able to be seated in a few minutes.
And it was a pleasure to meet Oscar again.

We also had breakfast at the River Belle Terrace at 9:30 one morning.
Gotta have some Mickey Mouse pancakes. And we also ordered the Mark Twain.
It was a slow morning, so having breakfast at the RBT was really easy.
The outdoor seating at the RBT has a great view of Frontierland and New Orleans Square.

Blue Bayou
On Sunday (June 28), our PS time for Blue Bayou was 11:30am.
I checked-in at the front of the restaurant at 11:20am.
I politely asked for a Waterside Table, and it worked out very well.
I enjoyed the Monte Cristo, even though I couldn’t finish it.
DS7 and DD6 had the roast beef from the children’s menu.
And they loved the Cookie Boat dessert.
The Blue Bayou has been getting some negative reviews,
but I liked the service and the food! (I’m glad I didn’t cancel. )

Toy Story Zoetrope
We finally saw the Toy Story Zoetrope in DCA’s Animation Building
(Character Close Up). It only take a couple of minutes to see,
and it’s very interesting. It’s definitely worth a look.

Celebrate “Parade”
In 2007 we saw the Parade of Dreams and it was excellent.
Celebrate A Street Party is… not.
The CMs work hard, and there are many characters.
And some of those outfits, in the summertime, must be just plain hot.
But Celebrate is just o.k. Even DD6 mentioned that she liked the PoD better.

Fireworks
Magical : Remember = Celebrate : Parade of Dreams
(Magical is to Remember as Celebrate is to Parade of Dreams.)
I enjoyed the Magical fireworks, but they lacked the “Wow” that Remember had (has).

Fantasmic
On Tuesday (June 30) at 5:00pm a couple of people had started to wait for the
9:00pm Fantasmic show. Completely on a whim, at 5:00 we sat down at the rail
that’s next to the Rivers of America – directly in front of the Fantasmic stage.
At 5:00 the area was still wide open, so DW held the spot and I had no problems
taking DS7 and DD6 to ride PotC and HM. I went to the Stage Door Café and picked
up some basic grub – fried mozzarella sticks w/ marinara sauce; fish and chips;
chicken strips, etc. The time flew. IMO sitting right next to the rail wasn’t necessary,
as the rail can slightly block your view of the show. Everyone in our area stayed
seated throughout the show, and I think that any spot in that general area would
have been very good; and getting a spot farther back would have been easier
to get. When our section was full the CMs blocked off the area, which was great.
Believe it or not, our seating area was full, but it didn't feel packed.

At the beginning of Fantasmic, when Mickey raises both arms, Mickey’s arms (hands)
didn’t spray out any “sparkles.” Oh well. And as expected, there was no dragon
– just “Maleficent on a stick.”

Although the projection screens weren’t changed, the projection screens looked
larger because of the new digital projectors; the projections used to have more flickering.
The projections definitely looked better than two years ago.

After watching Fantasmic, we didn’t move and we stayed in the Fantasmic area
to watch the Magical fireworks. The view for the fireworks was excellent, and they
played the fireworks soundtrack in the Fantasmic area. The only downside was
that we couldn’t see Tink or Dumbo fly.

I think the middle tower trick would have worked that night. About 15 minutes
before the 9:00 show, the people standing behind the middle light tower were only
“one deep” and there were still open spots behind them.

Soarin’
Both times we saw Soarin’ we were offered seats in section C,
but we politely asked to sit in section B.
We sat in section B-2, although we could have sat in B-1 if we wanted.
The waiting time for Soarin’, using FastPass, seemed to be too long (30 minutes).
I think it would be quicker to see it between 9:30 and 10:00am.

Big Thunder BBQ
Lunch at the Big Thunder BBQ wasn’t cheap, but we enjoyed the experience.
If you are expecting the world’s greatest barbeque, or you’re from Texas, you might
be disappointed with the BBQ; but I thought the ribs, chicken, cole slaw, corn,
baked beans, corn bread, etc., were very good. They put on a small show with
Sasparilla (sp?) Sam playing piano. But I do have a bone to pick with the way
the PhotoPass photographers are set up. At Big Thunder BBQ the PP photographer
will take photos of DS7 and DD6 with Woody (or Jessie, I guess), but the photos
will only be added to your PP card if you buy the ~$29 photo package. Considering
the prices at the BBQ, you would think that they would cut you some slack with
photos. (We did pay the $$$$, and later we went to the Kodak Photo Center on
Main Street and had the photos added to our PhotoPass card (it’s easier if you
bring the receipt). Unfortunately they did the same exact thing at Lilo & Stitch’s
character meal at the PPH.)

Disney Visa Card
I got the Disney Visa credit card a couple of years ago, and I used it to get
two free stroller rentals each day! (This is only true for DLR, not WDW.)
I didn’t think that I had used the card that much – I did use it for a few business trips –
but at Guest Services (to the left of the DL turnstiles) I got a
Disney Visa Rewards Card worth… drumroll please… $100. One hundred smackers!
And spending the $100 using the Disney Visa Rewards Card was easy –
the reward card was accepted at many places inside DL.
I bought DS7 a very nice Indiana Jones hat with part of the $100.

Howard Johnson
We really enjoyed our stay at the HoJo, building #2, for eight nights.
We got the Entertainment Rate ($69 + 15% tax) for five of those nights
and the other three nights were $75.66 (+ 15% tax)
so the entire stay was $660 for 8 nights.
DS7 and DD6 loved the Garden Pool and the Pirate’s Cove water play
area. Pirate’s Cove is much better than the photos.
And yes, the front desk asked to see the Entertainment Card.
(The Entertainment Card was $2.99 on eBay.)

FWIW, here are some of the fairly low wait times:

Sunday (June 28):
BTMRR ………………….… 5 minute wait @ 2:00pm (standby)
Mad Tea Party ……….. 3 minute wait @ 3:00pm
Matterhorn …………... 20 minute wait @ 3:00pm

Tuesday (June 30)
Screamin’ …………... 15 to 20 minute wait @ 11:00am
Toy Story Mania …... 30 minute wait @ 12:00Noon

Thurs (July 2)
Pixie Hollow w/ Tink. 30 minute wait @ 12:00Noon

Friday (July 3)
RRCTS…………………….. 5 minute wait @ 11:00am
Pixie Hollow w/ Tink. 30 minute wait @ 11:00am

Sunday (July 5)
BTMRR ……………………. 5 minute wait in the middle of the afternoon (standby)

We visited A Bug’s Land on Friday afternoon (July 3). DS7 and DD6 actually like
the Tuck & Roll’s buggies, so that was a 10 minute wait, and the rest of the rides
in bug’s land were 5 minute waits that afternoon. Not bad at all.

A CM told me that DL was super-crowded on Friday (June 26) because it was the last
day for some of the SoCal APs (before the summer blackout).
The CM said that DL had 64,000 Guests on Friday (June 26).

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Old 07-07-2009, 07:52 PM   #2
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What a great trip report!

Thank you very much for taking the time to post such great info!

I was thinking that going the week leading into the holiday would have been a nightmare--from what it sounds like, it was a great time to visit!

Thanks again!
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:23 PM   #3
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thank you for the detailed report! As always you have provided great information!!

I am pleased beyond words that the crowds are not unbearable! I am crossing my fingers that they remain that way, our trip starts in 5 days! Woo hoo!
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:44 PM   #4
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What a fun trip! I'm so glad the crowds cooperated and stayed away, for the most part. Madame Leota's head was stationary on 6/20 as well...I wonder if it will be down (literally!) until the Haunted Mansion overlay.

Did you stay for the "show" at Pixie Hollow at night? It was nothing amazing--just a very small water/light show--but I found it somewhat enjoyable. Of course, between the crowds we'd faced during the day and standing through the fireworks show THREE TIMES before we finally saw Dumbo fly, a little show that runs more or less on schedule looks a little better. If the park had been a little less crowded, though, I reckon I would've felt like I was cheated out of time to do other things, true enough.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info! I'm glad you had fun!
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:42 PM   #6
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What a great trip report I really appreciate the format very easily read! Love it.
Sounds like you had a memorable trip. got to love the low crowds on weekends too
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing!!

Please tell me about this 'middle tower trick' you spoke of for Fantasmic. I'm not aware of this.
Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:34 AM   #8
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I love your review! I'm glad you had good crowds. We missed so much last summer due to only having a day and a half at DL and one at DCA. Next summer we are staying 4 or 5 days for sure.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:45 AM   #9
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Your trip report was great - I really enjoyed reading it and it had a lot of great information!
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S. S. Columbia View Post
A CM told me that DL was super-crowded on Friday (June 26) because it was the last
day for some of the SoCal APs (before the summer blackout).
The CM said that DL had 64,000 Guests on Friday (June 26).

Yep, we were there on Friday and it was PACKED! I'm glad you had a wonderful time and very nice report!
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:49 AM   #11
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Great report ~ I'm glad you had a good time!

Hmmm perhaps DD will get to vist DLR for her B~day at some point (her BIG day is 7/3) maybe we'll plan an early July visit next year (but bummer her B~day will be on a Sat. next year).
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:07 PM   #12
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Lots of good info in this report.....thanks for posting this S.S. Columbia.

Comments in post below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by S. S. Columbia View Post
Thank you, DISers.

We visited DL/DCA from Saturday (June 27) to Sunday (July 5), with 6-day parkhoppers.

I thought we were supposed to avoid weekends at DLR?

Both Sundays of our trip (June 28 and July 5) had surprisingly low crowd levels.


That has been my experience on Sundays.....but others recently have reported that Saturday has been less crowded than Sundays. (I think because of SoCal AP blackouts) Was SoCal blacked out on your Sunday?

Anyone else have a new opinion on the Sat. vrs. Sunday question (at least thru Labor Day)??



And there wasn’t a single moment during our entire trip where we saw crazy crowds.

Enchanted Tiki Room
It was nice to see the original. Last year at MK we saw the Iago version.
The lines to buy Dole Whips are much shorter on the Tiki Room side (and not the Adventureland side),....


A tip that can never be repeated too often.



....and you can take the Dole Whip into the Enchanted Tiki Room
if you want to.


Aladdin’s Oasis
Aladdin’s Oasis was being used as a Meet & Greet for Jasmine and Aladdin.
(With a PhotoPass photographer.)

Electrical Parade
We enjoyed it! They supposedly made changes to the soundtrack,
but it still sounded good to me.

Haunted Mansion
Madame Leota’s head was stationary.
At least it makes it easier to videotape her.

Magic Morning
Magic Morning on Thursday (July 2) was super. We arrived at the security tent
at 6:30am, and the MM had low crowds. Peter Pan was a walk on, and we waited
half a cycle for Dumbo. Then we visited Alice, Matterhorn (TL-side), Mad Tea
Party, Mr. Toad, Pinocchio, and the King Arthur Carrousel. (Snow White was still
down for refurb that day -- otherwise we visited every Fantasyland attraction
that was available during MM.)


Don't you love the FantasyLand (suggested) Tour?? Always a few steps ahead of the crowds at PP, Dumbo, Alice & Matterhorn.



When the rest of DL opened at 8:00am, we first
rode Casey Jr., then we only waited a few minutes for Storybook (because we
missed the first boats of the day).


S.S. Columbia, do you think that "the first boats" for Storybookland were filled & went out at 8:01 - 8:04am? If one didn't care about Casey, when would you line up for Storybookland (7:50? 7:59?). & on NON MM days, when do you think the line starts building for Storybookland?

I always seem to miss this favorite because i'm touring elsewhere & when i return, the line seems to long (for me). Thanks!



And then we went to IASW and we had our
own boat. We entered ToonTown when it opened at 9:00am, and (after waiting
a couple of minutes) Mickey greeted us at the front door of his house for autographs
and photos – although there was no PhotoPass photographer. We walked on to
Gadget’s Go Coaster, and we walked on to Roger Rabbit twice. DL was nice and
cool at 7:00am, even in the summertime.

Billy Hill
We finally saw the Billy Hill show! It’s a fun show, and the Golden Horseshoe
is a nice place to cool down in the summertime. We went to the 2:35pm show. When we
arrived about 30 minutes early there were plenty of seats, but I observed that
most seats were taken about 15 minutes before the show started. We saw the
show again on Sunday (July 5) –a very slow day -- and some tables were still available
at show time. The GH seemed to be two-thirds full, but Billy Hill seemed a bit embarrassed
that the show wasn’t completely full.

The Billy Hill show’s schedule wasn’t included in the Times Guide, but its show times
are 11:15am, 1:00pm, 2:35pm, 4:00pm, and 5:15pm.


Great info on the Billys....I'll try them on our next visit on a Sunday.

Pixie Hollow


On Thursday (June 2), Pixie Hollow only had a 30 minute wait at 12:30pm.
DD6 met Fawn and Tink, and they were very friendly.

Pixie Hollow at night
Pixie Hollow at night: “Meh.” Maybe I missed something, but IMO Pixie Hollow at night
had nothing “-tastic” about it – it was just some colored fountains. I’m glad they
did it, but to include it with the new flying Dumbo and the (alleged) new 40-foot
Fantasmic Dragon seems like Marketing Gone Wild.

Breakfast in DL
We had breakfast at the Carnation Café. The computer was down when we checked-
in for our 10:00am PSs, but we were still able to be seated in a few minutes.
And it was a pleasure to meet Oscar again.

We also had breakfast at the River Belle Terrace at 9:30 one morning.
Gotta have some Mickey Mouse pancakes. And we also ordered the Mark Twain.
It was a slow morning, so having breakfast at the RBT was really easy.
The outdoor seating at the RBT has a great view of Frontierland and New Orleans Square.

Blue Bayou
On Sunday (June 28), our PS time for Blue Bayou was 11:30am.
I checked-in at the front of the restaurant at 11:20am.
I politely asked for a Waterside Table, and it worked out very well.
I enjoyed the Monte Cristo, even though I couldn’t finish it.
DS7 and DD6 had the roast beef from the children’s menu.
And they loved the Cookie Boat dessert.
The Blue Bayou has been getting some negative reviews,
but I liked the service and the food! (I’m glad I didn’t cancel. )


Great to hear about BB.



Toy Story Zoetrope
We finally saw the Toy Story Zoetrope in DCA’s Animation Building
(Character Close Up). It only take a couple of minutes to see,
and it’s very interesting. It’s definitely worth a look.

Celebrate “Parade”
In 2007 we saw the Parade of Dreams and it was excellent.
Celebrate A Street Party is… not.
The CMs work hard, and there are many characters.
And some of those outfits, in the summertime, must be just plain hot.
But Celebrate is just o.k. Even DD6 mentioned that she liked the PoD better.

Fireworks
Magical : Remember = Celebrate : Parade of Dreams
(Magical is to Remember as Celebrate is to Parade of Dreams.)
I enjoyed the Magical fireworks, but they lacked the “Wow” that Remember had (has).

Fantasmic
On Tuesday (June 30) at 5:00pm a couple of people had started to wait for the
9:00pm Fantasmic show. Completely on a whim, at 5:00 we sat down at the rail
that’s next to the Rivers of America – directly in front of the Fantasmic stage.
At 5:00 the area was still wide open, so DW held the spot and I had no problems
taking DS7 and DD6 to ride PotC and HM. I went to the Stage Door Café and picked
up some basic grub – fried mozzarella sticks w/ marinara sauce; fish and chips;
chicken strips, etc. The time flew. IMO sitting right next to the rail wasn’t necessary,
as the rail can slightly block your view of the show. Everyone in our area stayed
seated throughout the show, and I think that any spot in that general area would
have been very good; and getting a spot farther back would have been easier
to get. When our section was full the CMs blocked off the area, which was great.
Believe it or not, our seating area was full, but it didn't feel packed.

At the beginning of Fantasmic, when Mickey raises both arms, Mickey’s arms (hands)
didn’t spray out any “sparkles.” Oh well. And as expected, there was no dragon
– just “Maleficent on a stick.”

Although the projection screens weren’t changed, the projection screens looked
larger because of the new digital projectors; the projections used to have more flickering.
The projections definitely looked better than two years ago.

After watching Fantasmic, we didn’t move and we stayed in the Fantasmic area
to watch the Magical fireworks. The view for the fireworks was excellent, and they
played the fireworks soundtrack in the Fantasmic area. The only downside was
that we couldn’t see Tink or Dumbo fly.

I think the middle tower trick would have worked that night. About 15 minutes
before the 9:00 show, the people standing behind the middle light tower were only
“one deep” and there were still open spots behind them.

Soarin’
Both times we saw Soarin’ we were offered seats in section C,
but we politely asked to sit in section B.
We sat in section B-2, although we could have sat in B-1 if we wanted.
The waiting time for Soarin’, using FastPass, seemed to be too long (30 minutes).
I think it would be quicker to see it between 9:30 and 10:00am.

Big Thunder BBQ
Lunch at the Big Thunder BBQ wasn’t cheap, but we enjoyed the experience.
If you are expecting the world’s greatest barbeque, or you’re from Texas, you might
be disappointed with the BBQ; but I thought the ribs, chicken, cole slaw, corn,
baked beans, corn bread, etc., were very good. They put on a small show with
Sasparilla (sp?) Sam playing piano. But I do have a bone to pick with the way
the PhotoPass photographers are set up. At Big Thunder BBQ the PP photographer
will take photos of DS7 and DD6 with Woody (or Jessie, I guess), but the photos
will only be added to your PP card if you buy the ~$29 photo package. Considering
the prices at the BBQ, you would think that they would cut you some slack with
photos. (We did pay the $$$$, and later we went to the Kodak Photo Center on
Main Street and had the photos added to our PhotoPass card (it’s easier if you
bring the receipt). Unfortunately they did the same exact thing at Lilo & Stitch’s
character meal at the PPH.)

Disney Visa Card
I got the Disney Visa credit card a couple of years ago, and I used it to get
two free stroller rentals each day! (This is only true for DLR, not WDW.)
I didn’t think that I had used the card that much – I did use it for a few business trips –
but at Guest Services (to the left of the DL turnstiles) I got a
Disney Visa Rewards Card worth… drumroll please… $100. One hundred smackers!
And spending the $100 using the Disney Visa Rewards Card was easy –
the reward card was accepted at many places inside DL.
I bought DS7 a very nice Indiana Jones hat with part of the $100.

Howard Johnson
We really enjoyed our stay at the HoJo, building #2, for eight nights.
We got the Entertainment Rate ($69 + 15% tax) for five of those nights
and the other three nights were $75.66 (+ 15% tax)
so the entire stay was $660 for 8 nights.
DS7 and DD6 loved the Garden Pool and the Pirate’s Cove water play
area. Pirate’s Cove is much better than the photos.
And yes, the front desk asked to see the Entertainment Card.
(The Entertainment Card was $2.99 on eBay.)

If you’re still reading this, and you care , here are some of the fairly low wait times:

Sunday (June 28):
BTMRR ………………….… 5 minute wait @ 2:00pm (standby)
Mad Tea Party ……….. 3 minute wait @ 3:00pm



Those wait times are amazing.....good to know.


Matterhorn …………... 20 minute wait @ 3:00pm

Tuesday (June 30)
Screamin’ …………... 15 to 20 minute wait @ 11:00am
Toy Story Mania …... 30 minute wait @ 12:00Noon

Thurs (July 2)
Pixie Hollow w/ Tink. 30 minute wait @ 12:00Noon

Friday (July 3)
RRCTS…………………….. 5 minute wait @ 11:00am
Pixie Hollow w/ Tink. 30 minute wait @ 11:00am

Sunday (July 5)
BTMRR ……………………. 5 minute wait in the middle of the afternoon (standby)

We visited A Bug’s Land on Friday afternoon (July 3). DS7 and DD6 actually like
the Tuck & Roll’s buggies, so that was a 10 minute wait, and the rest of the rides
in bug’s land were 5 minute waits that afternoon. Not bad at all.

5 minutes for Heimlich's Choo Choo is time well spent.


A CM told me that DL was super-crowded on Friday (June 26) because it was the last
day for some of the SoCal APs (before the summer blackout).
The CM said that DL had 64,000 Guests on Friday (June 26).

Thanks for all the great info S.S.
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Hound's One Day Commando Tour thru DLR. 38 rides, 6 meals & 6 snacks.

Not for the faint of heart, but LOTS of info for the WDW Vet visiting for one or two days:


http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1975805


Last edited by Hound 109; 07-08-2009 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:14 PM   #13
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Thanks for the report SSC. I cannot believe the wait times you saw, especially on BTMRR. Wow!
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:24 PM   #14
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We were there on Sunday June 28th too. And I couldn't believe how light the crowds were! The Wed, Thurs, Friday before that were packed so Sunday was great. It was our best day there, even better than the following Monday, Tues or Wed. I still can't figure out why that was, but it was great!

Guess I missed you there too! Sure were a lot of Diser there at the same time and I never spotted another LGMH. Glad you had good time.
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuLusApple View Post
What a great trip report I really appreciate the format very easily read! Love it.
Sounds like you had a memorable trip. got to love the low crowds on weekends too
I totally agree, VERY easy to read! Thank you, seems like you had a great time!
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