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Old 07-04-2013, 02:23 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 317

Trip Report - Disneyland Resort and Southern California Sept 2012

Trip Report Disneyland September 2012

Well after quiet a few months I have finally got time to write my trip report from our trip to the Disneyland Resort and Southern California. In September last year my husband and I spent 9 wonderful days in Southern California with 4 days and the Disneyland Resort, a day at Universal Studios Hollywood and a day at Sea World San Diego. This is me and my wonderful husband, Jared:

The trip was made on the tail end of a trip to Hawaii to attend my brother-in-laws wedding. Since Hawaii has nothing to do with Disney and hence isnt really relevant to this site I wont be reporting on that part of our trip but will just say quickly here that I LOVED Hawaii and thought it was a beautiful place well worth a visit. I am not a huge fan of tropical locations nor sitting on the beach and doing nothing but laze and shop while on holiday (I know its some peoples ideal holiday but I prefer to do and see things) and so I wasnt sure how Id like Hawaii. However, I found plenty of different things to do (we only stayed on Oahu) ranging from historical and cultural attractions, water sports and exploration, movie tours and animal interactions. The wedding was at Paradise Cove near the Aluani Disney Resort (yes, I do wish we had had the funds to stay there!) and was beautiful I will leave you with these few pictures of Paradise Cove before moving on J It was truly a gorgeous place for a wedding!

Arriving in Los Angeles and Anaheim

Anyway after a wonderful time in Hawaii we arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday, 16 September 2012. When we found out that my brother in-laws wedding would be held in Hawaii my immediate thought was, yes, we will have to fly home through Los Angeles so a trip to Disneyland will be totally doable!. I had started planning the trip with most of my excitement focused on Disneyland! Since we got in pretty late we didnt do much but drive down to Anaheim that night. We stayed at the Anaheim Plaza Hotel and Suites which is about a 10 15 minute walk to the Disneyland entrance on Harbour Boulevard. Anaheim Plaza Hotel and Suites do advertise that they are a Disneyland Resort partner hotel but Ive never seen them listed as one on Disneylands website so Im not sure about that but it is a great cheap place to stay when visiting Disneyland, its close to the resort (about in line with the Tower of Terror at California Adventure) and is always clean and comfortable with all the amenities needed. I am a little nostalgic about the place as its where Jared and I stayed on our honeymoon. On our next trip in November this year we will be staying on site for the first time, but I think I will miss staying at Anaheim Plaza a little such good memories J

Anyway, as we were driving in at about midnight along Harbour Boulevard I started to get that indescribable feeling that only comes from being at the Disneyland Resort I love the way the trees along Harbour Boulevard are all lit up at night, its so magical and it kind of felt like they were beckoning me back to my favourite place in the world. We got to the hotel and had that sense that we had arrived in another, more magical place. When checking in I fondly relayed to the clerk that we had stayed with them on our honeymoon and were really excited to be back. I wasnt expecting anything from that comment, I just wanted to share my excitement (as anyone who knows me can attest this is just how I am!) however he informed me that since we were such loyal customers hed upgrade us to a room with a view of the fireworks. Its probably nothing like the view from one of the Disneyland Hotels however we did have quiet a good view from our room (these are a couple of bad photos but it gives you an idea

Last edited by RachelleBeaney; 12-11-2013 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:29 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
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[B]Day 1 – Monday, 17 September 2012 – Driving around Los Angeles[/B]

Day 1 – Monday, 17 September 2012 – Driving around Los Angeles

For the first official day of our stay in Anaheim we had decided to try and see a bit of Los Angeles by driving through some of it’s better known areas. Our first trip to Los Angeles on our honeymoon we also based ourselves in Anaheim with only 1 day to drive into Los Angeles (we stopped at many places in the US on this trip so time was more limited), so we did the ‘tourist’ things and went down to Hollywood Boulevard and the Chinese Theatre and were quiet disappointed with how dirty and seedy the whole thing was. I remember being hugely surprised by the fact that the Kodak Theatre (or Dolby Theatre as it’s known now) was right in the middle of a shopping centre! The whole experience led us to determine that though we LOVED Anaheim and Disneyland, we didn’t like Los Angeles at all. We were probably a bit unfair to poor old LA and so we decided to give it another shot this time around. And I have to say, I really loved it!

Of course, I don’t drive in the US being that driving on the right side of the road would totally bamboozle me! Luckily I have a husband who, having now driven in Boston and New York, believes himself to be a very accomplished left hand drive driver and loves the sensation of being on the wrong side of the road!

See – happy as a clam!

So we drove around Pasadena, Beverley Hills, Downtown LA saw Rodeo Drive and we took a trip around Mullholland Drive for some lovely (if not slightly foggy) views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign

Beverley Hills

Rodeo Drive

Los Angeles from Mullholland Drive Lookout

The famous Hollywood sign

Mullholland Drive also took us to another view point overlooking the San Fernando Valley and all the movie studios!

Warner Brother Studios – we would later visit in person 

Universal Studios Hollywood from afar!

San Fernando Valley

Our travels also took us to the BEAUTIFUL Greystone Mansion – A must for any movie lover as countless movies and TV shows have been filmed here (perhaps because it’s one of Los Angeles oldest properties??).

Want to go to Chilton Academy anyone???

The mansion’s itself is wonderful, but it’s gardens are spectacular!

Our last stop of the day was Yamashiro, a Japanese restaurant in the Hollywood Hills. The restaurant was built in 1914 and was originally a “Mountain Palace” – home to the Berneimer brothers. It was built to reflect the palace located in the Yamashiro mountains near Kyoto. The food was excellent too (sorry I don’t have pictures). The sushi we had as an entrée’ was to die for (best sushi I’ve ever tasted – well, I assume until I taste some in Japan this November) and my steak was cooked perfectly and was delicious! The view was also pretty spectacular!


The gardens

Sunset over LA

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Old 07-04-2013, 02:46 AM   #3
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Universal Studios Hollywood - Part 1

B]Day 2 – Tuesday, 18 September 2012 – Universal Studios Hollywood[/B]

So for our second day in Los Angeles we headed off to our first theme park. This was our second visit to Universal Studios Hollywood, however our first after visiting Universal Studios in Orlando (which in my opinion if FAR superior). We ended up having a wonderful day, even though we were slightly plagued by poor health on my part. Anxiety and stomach problems can be the two biggest mood killers – luckily I am well on my way to getting on top of both! But at the end of the day I like to focus on the positives and regardless of the trip ups – we ended up having a good if not great day.

We got there quite late – probably about 10:30am (we were still a bit naïve about LA peak hour traffic and how long it added to a trip to Hollywood from Anaheim!). I wasn’t too concerned though as it was a weekday and we had front of line passes which would mean our time could be economically spent. Plus Univeral Studios Hollywood isn’t exactly what I’d call a full day park (you couldn’t spend 10-12 hours there) so getting there late didn’t impact our touring too much.

Having been to Universal Studios Hollywood before we knew the highlight was the Studio Tour so we headed for that first. I’d love to say it was as wonderful as I remembered but unfortunately since the last time we were there King Kong 3D has been added and that was what started my day of sickness off. I’m not normally one to get motion sickness but I did on King Kong. Of course not having my anxiety issues fully under control at that stage either I panicked and starting thinking I’d not be able to ride anymore rides that day and that my body was now prone to motion sickness (since most of the rides at Universal are motion based this would mean I’d miss out most of the day!). This panic then led to more problems from my anxiety – had I been as far along as I am now I could have easily calmed myself and told myself not to panic, but unfortunately I didn’t get to that until later in the day!

One thing very different about Universal Studios (being that it was built around there working movie studios) is that it is on split levels, so the view on the way down to the Studio Tour was fantastic!

The DeLorian – my husbands favourite movies of all time are the Back to the Future movies so he get’s super excited and nerdy every time he see’s the DeLorian!

The dreaded entrance to King Kong 3D – those with motion sickness be warned (and those without motion sickness – you may get some on this!)

The ‘Disaster’ portion of the tour – Before the subway station collapses


One Gianormous shark!

Ahh Wisteria Lane
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:52 AM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Universal Studios - Part 2

After the tour I was feeling really ill and we seriously considered leaving at that point – but we had come all this way and I was determined not to miss the new Transformers Ride so Jared suggested we sit for a while and then see how I felt after. So we had an early lunch at Mel’s dinner and then caught the Animal Actors show.

I got to meet these cutie and I calmed down!

After that I felt up to some rides so we headed to the lower lot to tackle Jurassic Park, Revenge of the Mummy and the most anticipated Transformers the Ride

The lower lot

On Jurassic Park

Yes – you get QUITE wet on Jurassic Park!

The new Transformers Ride was indeed AMAZING! If I had been feeling better I would have ridden it a number of times. In fact I was a little disappointed afterwards that I was not feeling well enough to ride multiple times as I felt I didn’t really get a feel for the ride. Now it turns out that the ride has opened in Orlando (which was still a rumour at that stage) so I needed have worried (I did know then that we’d be heading to Universal Orlando in Nov this year – yes I plan very far ahead!)

The giant Starcade escalator’s at Universal Hollywood have always fascinated me! Luckily for you (because my husband tells me not everyone is as fascinated as I am with such mundane things) I will only share the one picture above with you all! Oh and the escalators being on the right was weird (yes, as with roads, our escalators as or the left in Australia!)

By this stage, given everything, I was fairly warn out and just needing some sleep! Knowing we’d go on the Simpson’s in Florida next year (the ride is basically identical) we decided to skip that one. On the way out we got distracted by Waterworld which was a really fun and quirky show!

By the time we left it was only about 3:30pm and having only got to Universal at 10:30am I was feeling as though we hadn’t really got the most out of our day (feeling sick again probably didn’t help!). Looking back though we really got through most of what there is to see at Universal Studios Hollywood bar the makeup show and the Simpson’s Ride and Shrek 4D (all of which we’d done before and are planning to do again this year). So at the end of the day looking back I’m quiet pleased with what we got done and the fact that we stuck it out! After a lot of work I’m much better at controlling my anxiety now and looking back, I think our day at Universal Studios was a great lesson in persistence and positive thinking, it helped me get through the day when I could have easily quit and ended up helping Jared and I make some great memories!
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:17 AM   #5
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Warner Brothers Studios - Part 1

Day 3 – Wednesday, 19 September 2012 – Warner Brothers Studio Tour and LA Beaches

On our third day in So-Cal we decided to try an authentic studio tour. Since Warner Brothers have produced SO many of my favourite TV shows and movies (Harry Potter, Batman, Superman, Gilmore Girls, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, Chuck, Pretty Little Liars, Lord of the Rings, Friends…I could go on but I will stop there!) we decided it would be awesome to take a tour of the Warner Brothers Studio. The biggest draw card for me, and would you believe it, my husband, was being able to visit ‘Stars Hollow’ the fictional town from Gilmore Girls whose town square was set on the Warner Brothers backlot. My husband is unashamedly a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan and we’d always wished Stars Hollow was a real place we could visit. Of course Stars Hollow being a fictional place, this would be the closest we’d ever get so we got very excited about that.

But the Warner Brothers Studio Tour had many other amazing surprises in store for us as well.

The backlot itself was lots of fun – more familiar to me than Universal’s backlot (perhaps I’ve just seen more Warner Brother productions).

And then we went to Stars Hollow!

Miss Patties

Stars Hollow church (sorry it’s not the best photo – we only managed to get one)

Luke’s (it was repainted for Pretty Little Liars I believe)

Stars Hollow High seen in it’s current set up as Rosewood High from Pretty Little Liars

Stars Hollow/Rosewood

Suki’s House

Loralai and Rory’s House

Yes I was super excited

Me in Stars Hollow – if the truck hadn’t been there this would have been perfect

Many of those photos my be familiar to other people from different shows that have used the main Warner Brothers backlot for their town square sets. Two that I can think of that are filming at the moment are Hart of Dixie and Pretty Little Liars.

We also saw the house where Monica and Rachel get ready for the Prom in the Friends episode ‘The One With the Prom Video’ (aka Jack and Judy’s place)

Recognise that staircase Friends fans?

After this we were taken on some actual sets for some of the shows currently shooting at Warner Brothers. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures – boo, but we did get to go on the set of the Big Bang Theory and Hart of Dixie. We were super excited to see the set of the Big Bang Theory which is currently one of our favourite sitcoms. As it's a sitcom the stage is set up like a row of 'doll house' rooms meaning one set is sitting next to the other and all are open to the front of the soundstage. Sitcoms can shoot on multiple cameras as the cameras are only ever in front of the set and never follow the actors into the set. Drama's, however, do shoot on 360 degree sets (sets with 4 walls, sitcoms only have 3) and usually only use a single camera meaning they have to do each but of dialogue from each actor's perspective, in close up, medium range and distance all 4-5 times to make sure they have enough takes to put the scene together! Sounds exhausting! For example, while sitcom actors work Mon- Fri at not necessarily all day (for example the cast of the Big Bang Theory have their script read through on a Wed morning and that's all they are there for that day!) and usually only film for 2-4 hours on set (maybe a few more on the backlot or location depending on the script they are shooting), drama actors work 14-16 hour days and it takes 8 days to film an episode (as opposed to the 5 days it takes to film a sitcom going through all the stuff they have to do). I think i'd much rather be a sitcom actress! Anyway the Big Bang Theory soundstage was so cool....for those of you who watch it Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, the divide between their apartment and Penny's and Pennys’ apartment were all right there. They were the permanent or fixed sets for the show as you see them in every episode. Next to those two sets (they were in the centre of the soundstage), were two swing sets. A swing set is a set that you see relatively often in a show but perhaps not every episode, so these swing sets are changed from time to time as the appropriate set is needed. The swing sets we saw were the University Cafeteria and the Comic book store.

The Hart of Dixie set was very different again – as mentioned above, being a drama, the set was 360 degrees and VERY detailed. We saw Lavon’s mansion as well as Lemon’s apartment and the interesting thing was that they were built on the back of each other as ‘one’ house. You’d walk through the hallway door in Lemon’s apartment and be in Lavon’s living room – the use of space was so interesting! Another interesting thing I discovered was that although all the applicances and electronics looked real, they didn’t work, except in any basic functions they’d need to perform as a prop such as working lights/running water etc.

We did also pass a number of other soundstages known for their famous productions such as Friends, Ellen, Casablanca, ER and many more. The soundstage that Friends shot in for 10 years has been renamed ‘The friends stage’ in honour of the show

Next stop on the tour was the Warner Brother Car Museum. They had all kinds of famous cars/vehicles used in well known movies and TV shows. Our favourites were the batmobile and batpod from the recent Batman movies, the nerd herder from Chuck (which fulfilled our wish to see ANY prop from the Chuck TV show which finished shooting in 2011) and the Ford Angelina from Harry Potter. Another cool prop in this area was the ‘shuttle’ Howard Wolowitz went to space in at the end of the 5th season of the Big Bang Theory.

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Old 07-04-2013, 02:42 PM   #6
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Enjoying your trip report! We are fans of the Big Bang Theory as well. I will definitely have to consider a studio tour.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:11 PM   #7
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Awesome that you got to tour WB Studios! I can't wait for the Disney part of your TR!
I love pirates and princesses and superheroes and Star Wars

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Old 07-04-2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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Warner Brothers Studio - Part 2

After visiting the car museum our tour took us to the props Department and a very special ‘room’ right next to that Department. Yes, F.r.ie.n.d.s, it was the Central Perk set!!! Ekkk – I was so excited! (lots of photos to follow!)

Obviously the set was not set up where they’d actually filmed Central Perk for Friends (that would have been on the Friends soundstage which is now in use for other productions) but it was set up exactly the same as the last episode shoot (including the specials on the board which the props department would regularly change). The most interest thing about the set was how small it was. It used force perspective to make it look longer. The chairs at the back of the room were much smaller than the giant friends couch and because of this, the whole room looks bigger than it is. Apparently, it was also hard for the actor’s when entering the room, as if they’d simply walked straight to the couch, it would ruin the illusion as the door was only about 3 paces from the couch. To remedy this the writers never had the cast entering the door and walking straight to the couch – they would talk or mill, or you’d see them pop up close to the couch without having seen them come up to the couch! Seeing this set was a dream come true for me since I’m a HUGE Friends fan! It was so cool that something from the show still exists almost 10 years after it’s run there.

Our next stop was into the actual props department stores and WOW, do Warner Brothers have an amazing array of props! Apparently they have the largest props department of any of the studios and often rent or loan their props to other studios. After the first World War the Warner Brother's wives apparently went over the Europe to take advantage of the disarray and low prices and by a whole pile of antiques to use for the studio. Some of the things they now have that are actual antiques are an actual throne from Russia, antique Tiffany chandeliers that were worth about $300 000 each! The most valuable props the studio own are a pair of standing chandeliers that used to belong to the Tsar of Russia now worth $3 million dollars each. Sufficed to say, they no longer rent those particular props out and they just sit in the antique props wing, meaning the only people who see them, other than the props workers, are the tour groups going through! Another room in the props department housed hundreds of phones from just about any era you could think of!

Props display for the tour

Antique Tiffany chandeliers

The $3 million dollar chandelier that was the property of the last Tsar of Russia

The only accurate replica of the Presidents desk – Warner Brothers were apparently the only studio allowed in the oval office to take pictures so they could copy it. This desk was used in the movie National Treasure

After that we saw a few more different parts of the backlot

Any other Big Bang Theory fans – don’t you just want to hum the Indiana Jones theme song when you see this? Yes this is the theater Sheldon and the guys run away from after stealing Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark with 22 extra seconds of footage. It was also feature in friends as the theater where Joey has his big movie premier…

The final stop was the Warner Brothers Museum and once again, we couldn’t take any pictures in here! They had a lot of props from Friends (such as the 12 page letter Rachel wrote to Ross (yes someone actually wrote one!), Emma’s birth bracelet, Chandler and Joey’s ‘Best Bud’ braclets, the Candy sign Monica made and the infamous red sweater that identified the father of Rachel’s baby. The second floor of the museum was completely given over to props form the Harry Potter movies – this was cool, but having seen the Harry Potter exhibit in Boston in 2009 I had seen most of what was there before (and much more!) however, it was still cool to see the props (I love the Harry Potter books however I was never too impressed with the movies – but I have to say their artistry was brilliant!). Given that we’d seen the Harry props before we spent most of our time on the first floor of the museum. There was all the Friends props I mentioned (and more), costumes and props from Smallville (another one of my fav shows!), costumes and props from Batman and My Fair Lady (including the new Bat Suit from Christopher Nolan’s batman trilogy, it was very cool!). Anyway you only get approx 30 mins to look around the museum and I could have spent a lot longer than that! I wish we could have taken pictures but it was a great experience and one of the highlights of our trip (other than Disneyland of course!). I’d definitely recommend the tour for any movie/TV fans, especially if Warner Brothers impressive list of movie and TV credits are your favs. Make sure to be vocal on the tour too, our tour guide told us it was basically up to us as to what we could see and do (provided the things we wanted to see weren’t shooting that day!) and by speaking up I got to see a lot of things from my favourite movies and TV shows …everyone is encouraged to have their say but not many people on our tour did, so I hope they didn’t miss out on what they really wanted to see!

Final impressions of the studio – Amazing!

Los Angeles Beaches

Our next stop was the famous Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.

I really like this photo – the guy is very Bay Watch!

Under the Boarwalk…..down by the Seaaaaa – yes that was in my head the whole time we were walking under there – until a giant seagull killed a pigeon! Then I just wanted to get out of there!

Venice Beach

I can’t say that I was too impressed by Santa Monica and Venice. The boardwalk was nice but very basic and the beaches – while huge – were not as nice as some of the one’s I’m used to (we do have fabulous beaches in Western Australia!) but it was nice to visit and say we’d seen them. I’m not a huge beach person as it is but it sort of seemed a bit odd to go to So-Cal and not go to a beach! I did find Venice Beach a little seedy too – not really my thing....well anyway - up next, what you've all been waiting for - Day 1 at the Disneyland Resort!
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:47 PM   #9
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Day 1 at Disneyland - Part 1

Day 4 – Thursday 20 September 2012 – Disneyland

And so we come to the best part – our first day at the Disneyland Resort!

Us very excited 

Since we had (at that stage) 3 day park hopper tickets we were entitled to one early Magic Morning at Disneyland and we decided to use it our first day. We got to Disneyland at about 7:30 and were in the park just after 8 for the early morning hours.

Main Street was decked out for Halloween – indeed we always seem to be at Disneyland during Halloween season (this year we will be there during Christmas season and I’m excited to see the park all decked out Christmas style). But I love the decorations – they are impressive!

Our first stop was Tommorowland. We were planning to go on Space Mountain and then hit the new Star Tours but Space Mountain wasn’t open quiet yet so we rode Star Tours twice and then Buzz once all in the space of about 30 mins. I absolutely loved the Star Tours ride. I am a Star Wars fan and I loved the mix and match of all the different scenes and characters, it was great fun to ride over and over again! The second time we rode Star Tours I was picked as the rebel spy, which was awesome and made me feel very special seeing my face up on the screen as part of the ride! After we’d done Star Tours and Buzz, Space was open so we hopped on. I’ve never seen Space Mountain at Disneyland without it’s Halloween overlay (which I think is great – it still ranks as the best Space Mountain in my opinion!) so I am excited to get to see it in it’s normal state when we go this November and see what difference that makes! The Ghost Galaxy version of Space Mountain is great though and I really enjoy it – especially the spooky soundtrack! After this it was actual opening time for the park and the Fast Pass machine’s were up and running so we grabbed a FP for Space Moutain for later that morning. Unfortunately Indiana Jones was down for repairs while we were there, and while we were disappointed we will see it in Japan and Anaheim this year, and it made one less headliner we had to hit so we could take things pretty leisurely!

Next up we decided to hit the tea cups (a favourite – you have to go on the tea cups) and have a quick look around fantasyland before taking a break for morning tea.

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Old 07-04-2013, 11:12 PM   #10
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Day 1 – Disneyland – Part 2

After Fantasyland we headed back through the hub to Main Street and got some photos with the PhotoPass photographer!

At this point we decided to stop for a break at the Jolly Holiday Bakery and get some form of Mickey shaped treat (twas a success as seen below!). The thing I love about Disneyland is that even in the most mundane places, like an eatery, attention to detail is perfect!

And then thanks to some fortuitous timing – we met Mary and Bert!

It was a pretty quiet day so we new we didn’t need to rush things. Our Space Mountain FP was read to go so that’s where we headed next after a few photos

Given that it was about 9:30 – 10 in the morning Main Street looks pretty quiet

Tommorowland at Disneyland is really the most beautiful I’ve seen (of course, I haven’t been to Paris)

After Space Mountain we headed for the Matterhorn. It was newely refurbished at this point (having only re-opened that June) and so I was excited to see if it would feel different to our last ride on it in 2009. It did, but not for the better…I’m not sure how but I swear they’ve managed to make the ride MORE bumpy and jarring…I’m not one to avoid bumpy rides even and even though I have a bit of a bad neck from cheerleading days I can still handle most of the bumping of any regular ride, but I’d have to say I don’t think I will ever be tackling the Matterhorn again. It’s a pity as it’s such a classic but I was really sore after this one!

At this point, for some reason, we lost our senses and agreed we wanted to try It’s a Small World again! I’m not really sure why – we swore after the first time we couldn’t put up with that song for 20 mins again however we became nostalgic at this point remembering how we’d endured it on our honeymoon and we really should endure it again (I guess time had dulled the hatred of that song!), anyway – what ever the reason – we gave it a go – and this time around it wasn’t as bad! Yes I still HATE that song but the ride itself is very pleasant!

I’m actually not sure what we did next, because the next thing I have in my photo collection is lunch but I’m sure we must have done more between it’s a small world and lunch (perhaps I was running around taking pictures I ended up deleting as they were so bad!). We obviously hadn’t attempted all the headliners before lunch, but as it was so quiet we really weren’t too concerned about getting on rides that afternoon, so rather than running everywhere for fastpasses we took it slow and took in the atmosphere (this may have been a little naïve but we were happy!)

Lunch was at Carnation Café and the food was great – not fabulous but hearty and exactly what we needed 

After lunch we decide to stop and listen to the Main Street Piano player. Jared is a musican, a wonderful one too, and his main instrument is piano/keyboards (he also plays bass, guitar and drums –yes he’s VERY talented) and so he really wanted to stop and tell the piano player how much he’s enjoyed hearing his music. The piano guy was lovely, talked to us a bit about where we were from and the fact that Jared was a musician and played too, we got some photos and then he asked us what our favourite Disney song was and we said ‘A Whole New World’ and he played that for us! It was such a small thing but it really made our day!

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Old 07-04-2013, 11:33 PM   #11
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Disneyland - Day 1 - Part 3

We sauntered through Adventureland next but didn’t stop – the main draw of Adventureland, Indiana Jones, was closed and we aren’t huge Jungle Cruise fans.

Sad face!

We came upon Pirates of the Carribean next but decided to skip it. We really wanted to head onto Big Thunder Mountain, though we took a around about way as I wanted photos of things!

Our next stop was Splash Mountain – Jared’s favourite ride at Disneyland I think (mine is a tie between Space Mountain and Indy). On the way we got some photos of the Haunted Mansion Holiday and New Orleans Square.

When after waiting here for 10 mins I still hadn’t got a shot of the log coming down the drop I should have got the hint there were problems!

An empty log uhoh

It turns out Splash was having lots of break downs that day and we ended up waiting an hour (after a posted 20 min wait) and didn’t get on the ride! That was probably the worst part of the day and I’d started to feel a little sick again which was making me a little anxious. Anyway, after waiting an hour we decided to hop out of the line and head to the Haunted Mansion Holiday. I’m not a huge fan of the holiday overlay but thought I’d try it again. However, it left me feeling even more sick and I think because of that I’ve sworn off the holiday version for a while! Since I wasn’t feeling to great we needed to rest for a while so we sat down in New Orleans Square (I’ve have no photos of any of this as I was a little distracted) to wait for our 5pm dinner reservation at the Blue Bayou! I was really excited about eating at the Blue Bayou for the first time as I’d really wanted to on our honeymoon but we hadn’t made reservations (yes we were naïve back then!) and so we couldn’t get it. I wish I hadn’t been feeling sick so I could have enjoyed it more! And I’m not sure if feeling sick impacted this but I found the food to be pretty average and bland, I had steak and mainly ate the vegetables but what I did eat wasn’t that appetising. The atmosphere however was well worth the only ok food!

(sorry about the quality – our camera doesn’t take the best night shots!)

At this point I wasn’t feeling too good at all so we decided to call it a day, knowing we had plenty of time to come back and enjoy Disneyland in the evening one of the other nights we were there.

But regardless of the unplanned sickness that afternoon we had had a wonderful day. Given that I hadn’t been feeling 100% it forced Jared and I to slow down and really soak up the atmosphere of the park rather than run from attraction to attraction, which was really great and gave us a deeper love for Disneyland and it’s beauty. That being said we did manage to hit Star Tours twice, Space Mountain twice, Buzz Light Year, Matterhorn, the Tea Cups and it’s a small world and Big Thunder Mountain within quiet a short space of time given that most of our day was spent wandering and enjoying the parks atmosphere. If Splash hadn’t broken down we would have seen every major attraction we wanted to that first day (other than Pirates which I didn’t really feel like going on at all while we were there – not really sure why!).

So all in all it was a great first day at Disneyland!
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:26 AM   #12
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
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Disneyland Resort – Day 2 – Disney California Adventure – Part 1

Day 5 – Friday, 21 September 2012 – Disney California Adventure 2.0

Disneyland Resort – Day 2 – Disney California Adventure – Part 1

For our first day at California Adventure we broke all the rules. After a bit of a rough night for me we decided to head into California Adventure at lunch time and just enjoy the park atmosphere and any rides we could get a FP for. We had a reservation at the new Carthay Circle Restaurant at 12:30pm so we new that’s when we had to be there.

We made this decision early morning and I caught some much needed sleep. But we were both a little disappointed, not about missing the park being quieter in the morning (it was a pretty quiet time of year anyway which is the only reason we got away with this!) but because 21 September was the day the Spaceship Endeavour was scheduled to make it’s low fly over of Los Angeles and surrounding arears, including the Disneyland Resort. I love history and thought of seeing the last US shuttle as it made it’s last ‘flight’ was really awe inspiring. The shuttle was supposed to fly over Disneyland at approx 10:30am so we figured we would miss the flight, however when we made our way over to Disneyland at about 12pm people were still lining the street all along Harbour Boulevard, so we thought, hey perhaps we’ve got lucky and the shuttle is late! As fate and timing would have it, the shuttle flew over us just as we were walking only the entrance pathway to the Disneyland ticket booths and, given that we weren’t in the parks surrounding by buildings, we had a perfect and clear shot and even managed to get a great picture

So we had a great start to our day at the new California Adventure park!

The first thing that struck me about the newly re-done California Adventure is how much better it is at creating a thematic experience as you enter! Before, it was kind of bland and there was nothing much to see, now, like it’s sister park Disneyland, you are transported to a different era. And that vibe of all the hope of promise that the 20s brought is right there. As we headed down the street the Five and Dime were playing and the jazz music floated throughout the whole entrance making everything that much more real! It was wonderful!

Our first stop was the beautiful Carthay Circle Restaurant!

Now the food was nothing to rave about in my opinion, but you may have guessed already that I prefer atmosphere over amazing food (which both are preferable atmosphere is more important to me) so I was really happy with Carthay Circle. That’s not to say the food was bad, it was really good – just not fantastic.

Our next stop was the Aladdin Musical show – which we LOVE. The first time we came to the Disneyland Resort in 2009 we weren’t blown away by California Adventure, but noted it did have some really amazing attractions, the Aladdin musical being one of them. The show is broadway quality in every sense (and having seen 11 different musicals in New York, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth I do love my musical theatre!) except shorter and we loved it! The only disappointment this time was that during A Whole New World Aladdin and Jasmine didn’t fly above the audience on a wire rigged carpet like we’d seen the first time we saw the show. I later learned this was due to the fact the rigging broke during one show and Aladdin and Jasmin nearly fell and could have been seriously injured! Still, if they could fix the rig and make it safer I think it would be well worth putting it back in the show – something seemed to be lacking in the A Whole New World scene without the stunt.

And then we sauntered back through the beautiful Buena Vista Street

After this we decided to try our luck getting on Soarin’ and Grizzly River Run. I’m not actually sure how (maybe because our last experience with Soarin in 2011 was at EPCOT and the lines for the ride there are always CRAZILY long) but our wait was only about 15 mins or so at approx 2pm in the afternoon! Anyway, I absolutely LOVE this ride and was so pleased to be on it again! I don’t know why, as I know they are exactly the same, but I like this version much better than the one at EPCOT in Florida. Perhaps it’s because we were actually in California and flying over it made more sense, or perhaps it’s better maintained at California Adventure, I’m not sure, but I just find it a better experience in California! And as always, I cheered along as we flew over Disneyland to view the fireworks.

Next was Grizzly River Run! Since it was a warm day and it was probably the hottest part of the day it was unsurprising that the wait was about 45 minutes. However, we knew the ride had a single rider line so we opted to use that (we aren’t really precious about sitting together on a ride if it means avoiding a long wait) and we got on in only a few minutes!

Yes we got wet!

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Old 07-05-2013, 12:54 AM   #13
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 317

Disneyland Resort – Day 2 – Disney California Adventure – Part 2

More Grizzly River Run – I think this mountain is just so beautifully done – I love how it catches the afternoon sun!

We had decided to sit down and watch the parade as this point, which is not something we usually do when we are ‘commando touring’ but given that this was turning out to be a more relaxed type of trip I thought why not!
We had thought we had decided not to peak into Carsland on our way to Paradise Pier to find a spot for the Parade, but of course, the best intentions often go astray, especially when we caught a glimpse of how awesome it looked as we strolled past!

Given that I love photos and have documented our holidays in ridiculous accuracy (yes, this drives Jared a little mad sometimes - and trust me you are only seeing a small sample of the photos), I asked if Jared would pop down to the pier and get some photos before the parade

We had a great spot for the parade!

Jared thought this guy had a raw deal – he got to play a bugs butt!

After the parade we stopped into the Little Mermaid Ride, which I thought was great. I have to say, I haven't tried any of the Fantasyland dark rides (not really sure why, we've never really prioritised them!) but i really loved the Little Mermaid. Yes it's a simple ride and the story it a bit too squished but it still holds up, and I love the way the music is used to move you through the ride!

The next part of the day is a little fuzzy as the next photos I have are of dinner at Wine County Trattoria which was at approx 5pm so I’m guessing we sauntered taking photos that didn’t make the cut again! Here’s a few that seem to have:

I love Paradise Pier at dusk, it’s so gorgeous as all the lights start to come on and the sun starts to set! It’s surpassed only by the Pier at night which was a truly beautiful and indescribable sight. I was completely lost in the beauty of the place when it was all lit up. It really has that relaxed sea-side carnival feel but with more magic to it, and at night, the place is spectacular. But more on that later!

Anyway – dinner at Wine Country Trattoria was AMAZING! I loved the theme and the Italian Countryside feel of the place and the view back over the park, , but the food was incredible. I hadn’t heard great things about the food at Wine Country Trattoria before trying it myself but we’d picked the place because it was the best place (at the time) to get a World of Colour Fastpass by booking a World of Colour Dining Package. Of course, after we’d booked that we discovered that our reservation at Carthay Circle would do the same thing (if we ordered an entrée and main and/or main and dessert), but either way, I’m glad we ended up trying Wine Country Trattoria. My chicken in Parmesan coated crust with fettuccine side was to die for and Jared’s steak was really well cooked tender and juicy!
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:09 AM   #14
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
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Disneyland Resort – Day 2 – Disney California Adventure – Part 2

Our next stop was into Carsland again for some night shots! (We’d already broken our rule about not peaking so we thought it didn’t matter too much!)

And then we found our spot for World of Colour! We got there about an hour before the show started and we were in the ‘reserved’ show are so we had a really good spot from which to see the show. While we were waiting we got a few shots of the Pier at night – unfortunately our old camera isn’t great with night shots (the new one we bought for our next trip is much better YAY!) so these fews photos don’t really seem to capture the magic of the place at night – but trust me, it was incredible!

What can I say about World of Colour, well it was AMAZING. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me gasp in awe – it was without a doubt the most brilliant thing I’ve seen.

As we headed out of the park, completely happy after such a wonderful day and the perfect end to our evening, the fireworks started going off over at Disneyland! It was a great end to the day!

A happy Jared in his Mickey conductor hat

And so concludes our second day at the Disneyland Resort!
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:30 AM   #15
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 317

Disneyland Resort – Day 3 – Disney California Adventure – Part 1

Day 7 – Sunday 23 September 2012 – Disney California Adventure 2.0 and Disneyland

As there isn’t much to say about Saturday (we rested A LOT – mainly went through our photos, caught up on correspondence – and by that I mean facebook and emails but correspondence just sounds so much more old worldly – and had dinner with Jared’s Mum and Step-Dad who were also in Los Angeles after their trip to Hawaii)

So I will skip to Sunday – Day 3 at the Disneyland Resort! We were determined to be at the park at rope drop as we’d been lax with our early morning touring schedule on the Friday so we arrived at Disney California Adventure at 7:30 for an 8am open.

We had planned to line up for Fastpasses for Radiator Racers, however, the line was already well into the Hollywood Land Section of the park and we figured it would take ages to get a fastpass so we decided to head to the rope drop and use the single rider line to get on the ride and take our changes that after we’d ridden fastpasses would still be available for later on. I’m not sure how this would’ve worked on a really busy weekend day but this Sunday wasn’t too bad and our plan worked out perfectly. I think we were probably about 10-15 people back from rope drop (as most people we in the Radiator Racers FP line) so when we got to the ride the Single Rider wait was only about 10min (as opposed to the almost 1.5 hour standby wait – yes just as the park had opened the wait was already at 1.5 hours – I assume from all the early morning guests who were staying on property).

When we got on the ride we were separated, but it worked out that we were in racing cars which was actually a really good way to experience the ride (hehe pitted against each other!) and it mean’t Jared got a few photos of me on the ride

The ride was incredible! It was the perfect mix of speed and wonder, the animatronic cars were so real looking (by that I mean they just looked like the animated characters did in the films) and the sets were incredible, everything was just brilliant. It’s the type of ride I keep going back to theme parks for. As much fun as a thrilling roller coaster can be a few times, this kind of ride immerses you in a story and helps you visit a totally make believe world and that’s what I look for in the perfect ride!

Next we wandered Carsland a bit, just admiring the details put into it! And yes, we managed to get a Fastpass for the ride for about 8:30pm. We were super excited by this because we had really wanted to ride during the day and at night!

Jared and Stanley

Me and Stanley

Of course we couldn’t pass up meeting Mater!
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