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Old 12-01-2013, 12:24 PM   #1
HydroGuy
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Mini-Report on Saturday trip after Thanksgiving - Winter Dreams, Crowds and More!

I was in SoCal for Thanksgiving and decided to make a day trip to DLR to experience the holiday version.

o We debated going Friday or Saturday and let the weather dictate the choice with Saturday weather better so we went Saturday. I got one-day parkhopper tickets. I was with a friend who had never been to DCA and not at DL for 15 years. Since it was EMH/MM at DL on Saturday we decided to go to DCA first.

o Given the uncertainties of freeway travel and parking structure backup, we left early and made good time and arrived at Mickey & Friends at 6:40AM. We made it to the DCA turnstiles ay 7:05AM for an 8AM opening. This allowed us some time to use the restrooms and put our backpack in a locker before they opened the turnstiles at 7:30AM.

o I planned to spend the first couple hours at DCA, then hop to DL, then back to DCA in the evening for WOCWD (Winter Dreams).

o We decided to take a shot at riding RSR first and then if that did not work out go to TSMM

o We were in pole position for RSR () right at the rope on the far right side. Sure enough an RSR CM came out to say RSR would not be opening on time. So we diverted to TSMM and doggonit TSMM was closed as well. That double whammy did in my primary plan and backup plan - all within 3 minutes. Bummer. As a result we never did get to ride TSMM yesterday.

o We ended up getting FPs for RSR at 9AM with about a 5 minute wait in the FP distribution line and got FPs just before they ran out - for a window of 8:20-9:20PM. RSR broke down in the evening again but we got to use ours after getting in line about 8:35PM and waiting 30 minutes in the FP Return line to use our FPs.

o Weather was gorgeous for a SoCal final day in November. Mostly sunshine and mid-day temps of 75 degrees. We wore shorts and tees all day and used a light sweater early morn and evening. That was nice after the rain on Friday.

o Crowds were pretty heavy - definitely more than when I visited early August this year.

o We liked WOC Winter Dreams. It was my friend's first time at DCA and she has never seen WOC at all. She really liked WD too. IMO WD is not nearly as good as the regular WOC but a nice change for the holiday times and worth seeing. We saw the Frozen movie on Friday and I think that definitely made the WD show better - as half of it revolves around the movie characters. I did not think I was going to like Olaf but I did. For those who say WOCWD is just an advertisement for Frozen I say get real. All of DLR is an ad for its movies - and vice versa. It is called Synergy and it is what Disney can and should do - tie together it's offerings.

o We saw the 7:45 show of WOCWD and I really wanted to get Yellow FPs. I stopped by the FP distribution three times and they were giving out blue FPs until at least 10:05AM when I needed to give up on the yellow plan and just get blue FPs. We showed up 75 minutes early to see WOCWD and sure enough there was a pretty big line already. I know it was TG week and all but those who say you can come "15-30 minutes" before WOC and get a good spot would have been extremely wrong last night. I wanted to get there 90 minutes early but it took a little long to grab some Pacific Wharf Cafe breadbowls for dinner so we were a little late.

o In the end I asked a Blue FP CM if they would let me go to Yellow anyways and she said that would be fine. So I went around to Yellow and they let me use my blue FPs no problem.

o We decided to go to the front of the wet zone and in the end got a good spot on the very front rail on the water near the show centerline. And did not get wet at all - just a little whoosh of mist at the very end of the show.

o Got to ride IASWH around 1PM with a posted 40 minute wait I did not believe based on my visual of the queue. It ended up taking 25 minutes. I have always liked IASWH much better than the normal IASW.

o Did not make it on Jingle Cruise. Between that and TSMM those were my two disappointments about yesterday. JC had a posted 40 minute wait and we could just not make it work

o Had the odd experience of having an attraction malfunction on Great Moments with Abe Lincoln of all things. So we almost missed that. We got to hop back into DL after WOCWD and RSR to see it at about 10PM.

o We dedicated some time to ride Nemo Subs with all the rumors of a permanent shutdown next year this might be our last chance to ride the subs ever. That was a 25 minute wait at about 10:30AM.

o Saw the Christmas Fantasy parade and it was cute as always

o Used the chance to hop in line for StoryBook Land right after the parade ended to ride it with no line - we got on the first boat after it re-opened after its parade break.

o Did get to see ImTooExcitedToSleep (Tom of DISUnplugged) to get a pin. At DCA in the morning. Always nice to see Tom. Thanks for the pin!

o Was disappointed that the ornament shop in NOS was closed. Wanted to shop for some Christmas ornaments and that has always been my "go to" place. Why in the world would they have that closed at that time? Finally got some ornaments at one of the Main Street shops.

o All in all a very fun and tiring day. Got off to a disappointing start but other than that the weather was great and we had a ton of Disney fun!

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Old 12-01-2013, 01:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
I was in SoCal for Thanksgiving and decided to make a day trip to DLR to experience the holiday version.

o We debated going Friday or Saturday and let the weather dictate the choice with Saturday weather better so we went Saturday. I got one-day parkhopper tickets. I was with a friend who had never been to DCA and not at DL for 15 years. Since it was EMH/MM at DL on Saturday we decided to go to DCA first.

o Given the uncertainties of freeway travel and parking structure backup, we left early and made good time and arrived at Mickey & Friends at 6:40AM. We made it to the DCA turnstiles ay 7:05AM for an 8AM opening. This allowed us some time to use the restrooms and put our backpack in a locker before they opened the turnstiles at 7:30AM.

o I planned to spend the first couple hours at DCA, then hop to DL, then back to DCA in the evening for WOCWD (Winter Dreams).

o We decided to take a shot at riding RSR first and then if that did not work out go to TSMM

o We were in pole position for RSR () right at the rope on the far right side. Sure enough an RSR CM came out to say RSR would not be opening on time. So we diverted to TSMM and doggonit TSMM was closed as well. That double whammy did in my primary plan and backup plan - all within 3 minutes. Bummer. As a result we never did get to ride TSMM yesterday.
That is a big bummer. TSMM opened initially but went down fairly quickly on Thanksgiving morning. We actually got to ride once while DH was getting FPs for RSR. The boys and I boarded TSMM a second time and got to the Little Green Alien game when all of a sudden the lights went on and that was it. We got walked off at that time. That actually worked out since we got a return pass that we all got to use that evening after dinner. We only tried TSMM twice last week, each day at opening because the line wait varied from 45-75 minutes every time we checked after 9 AM, so I can see why you didn't make it back.

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Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
o We ended up getting FPs for RSR at 9AM with about a 5 minute wait in the FP distribution line and got FPs just before they ran out - for a window of 8:20-9:20PM. RSR broken down in the evening again but we got to use ours after getting in line about 8:35PM and waiting 30 minutes in the FP Return line to use our FPs.
The FPs were running out between 9:30 and 10 AM everyday we were there. I suppose they ran out so much faster yesterday since no one could ride and simply diverted to grabbing a pass. Glad you managed to get that at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
o We liked WOC Winter Dreams. It was my friend's first time at DCA and she has never seen WOC at all. She really liked WD too. IMO WDW is not nearly as good as the regular WOC but a nice change for the holiday times and worth seeing. We saw the Frozen movie on Friday and I think that definitely made the WD show better - as half of it revolves around the movie characters. I did not think I was going to like Olaf but I did. For those who say WOCWD is just an advertisement for Frozen I say get real. All of DLR is an ad for its movies - and vice versa. It is called Synergy and it is what Disney can and should do - tie together it's offerings.

o We saw the 7:45 show of WOCWD and I really wanted to get Yellow FPs. I stopped by the FP distribution three times and they were giving out blue FPs until at least 10:05AM when I needed to give up on the yellow plan and just get blue FPs. We showed up 75 minutes early to see WOCWD and sure enough there was a pretty big line already. I know it was TG week and all but those who say you can come "15-30 minutes" before WOC and get a good spot would have been extremely wrong last night. I wanted to get there 90 minutes early but it took a little long to grab some Pacific Wharf Cafe breadbowls for dinner so we were a little late.

o In the end I asked a Blue FP CM if they would let me go to Yellow anyways and she said that would be fine. So I went around to Yellow and they let me use my blue FPs no problem.

o We decided to go to the front of the wet zone and in the end got a good spot on the very front rail on the water near the show centerline. And did not get wet at all - just a little whoosh of mist at the very end of the show.
I am not at all a WoC fan but actually really enjoyed this holiday version. We watched from yellow the first time and had an obstructed upper railing view that wasn't great but was better than nothing. I've never been excited about being up close to the water since I so dislike getting wet. The way the winds were that night, we wouldn't have gotten wet up close. The second time we went, we got blue passes and arrived about 1/2 hour before the show. We had a really nice upper railing view that was a much better viewing experience than earlier in the week. Based on wind direction that night, we probably would have gotten wet up close, so I was pretty satisfied with my choice.

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Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
o Got to ride IASWH around 1PM with a posted 40 minute wait I did not believe based on my visual of the queue. It ended up taking 25 minutes. I have always liked IASWH much better than the normal IASW.
Agreed. We do that queue evaluation too. :-)

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Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
o Did not make it on Jingle Cruise. Between that and TSMM those were my two disappointments about yesterday. JC had a posted 40 minute wait and we could just not make it work
I personally wasn't all the impressed by Jingle Cruise. It usually had a wait of around 40 minutes when we were there except for the first couple hours in the morning. We rode in the morning once and that was enough for me. I didn't find it to be enough of a holiday or even different experience that I needed to repeat it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
o Was disappointed that the ornament shop in NOS was closed. Wanted to shop for some Christmas ornaments and that has always been my "go to" place. Why in the world would they have that closed at that time? Finally got some ornaments at one of the Main Street shops.
I read somewhere that the ornament shop in NOS is closed permanently as part of the Club 33 expansion. I think that only leaves one place on Main Street as year-round source of Christmas ornaments. I was disappointed about the NOS shop closure too but must admit that ornaments were in more than plentiful supply elsewhere in the park this trip.

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Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
o All in all a very fun and tiring day. Got off to a disappointing start but other than that the weather was great and we had a ton of Disney fun!
Glad you had a great time!
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for the great report!

I have to agree -- I enjoy IASWH more than the original IASW too. I know, I know. I shouldn't. I should be loyal to tradition and history, but apparently I'm not (I think I also like HMH better than HM )!

It sounds like you must have gotten your ornament from either the China Closet or the Showcase shop.

I didn't know that the ornament shop in NOS was closed? Could that somehow have something to do with the Club 33 work that is about to take place?

I was also thinking of making a point to get on the Subs on this upcoming trip for the same reasons you did -- the possibility of an upcoming closure. It's not my favorite ride, but just in case...

You said that you rode the Storybook Land boats. I didn't even realize that those were open right now, as I know there was some sort of refurb/closure planned. Were there tiny Christmas decorations on the cottages, or was it just the regular ride without the decor?
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
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You said that you rode the Storybook Land boats. I didn't even realize that those were open right now, as I know there was some sort of refurb/closure planned. Were there tiny Christmas decorations on the cottages, or was it just the regular ride without the decor?
Yes, SBLCB were running and yes I was surprised to see tiny decorations on the trees in the scenes.

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Old 12-03-2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the update. Might try to hop aboard the canal boats after the parade break - we normally skip it but, as we are visiting with first timers they will probably want to try it - do you recall about how long that might be? Say 30 mins from start time?
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:53 PM   #6
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Nice report sir. We did a one day visit back in 2010 but stuck with Disneyland only for Christmas as we didn't arrive till noon. Interesting mix of on your report. We just got back a few weeks ago as we went for a long weekend and got to see everything and we really felt rushed. I can't imagine going commando for two parks from bell to bell.

I have to say I'm really shocked that you liked WOCWD. We found it to be a complete letdown especially since Steve Davidson had his handywork in it. As you know I think the original is fantastic but was very underwhelmed with the new one. I also thought Frozen the movie was a step down from Tangled. It was ok but I thought we might get more from it. I wish they would bring back the hand drawn animation like Princess and the Frog. There are elements that I thought were fun but for the most part I was looking at my family like "That's all of it?" They immediately gave me the same puzzled look. To have all five of us same the same thing confirmed my opinion.

Everything else was in order for us. My favorites of our time there was Mickey and the Magical Map, a visit to Club 33, seeing Billy Hill one last time, and the overlays of Haunted Mansion and IASM. I have to say that Mickey and the Magical Map is one heck of a show. A real complete surprise!

Anyways thanks for the mini trip report. I always value your input.

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Old 12-03-2013, 11:06 PM   #7
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Thanks for the report.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for the detailed trip report. I'm glad to hear the feedback surrounding WOCWD, we're going to miss it by a couple weeks and I was curious to see people's reactions to it.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:25 AM   #9
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Great report
This may be answered in one of your threads:
Do you prefer yellow passes or was this just for the WD version? Last time I felt blue was a real cattle car. We had yellow a couple years ago and I recall we got a pretty good spot without much stress. That was pre-Carsland though.

Thanks, nice work!
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:29 AM   #10
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Great report, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the day.
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:09 PM   #11
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This may be answered in one of your threads:
Do you prefer yellow passes or was this just for the WD version? Last time I felt blue was a real cattle car. We had yellow a couple years ago and I recall we got a pretty good spot without much stress. That was pre-Carsland though.
I like the yellow section for WOC better than blue. IMO there are mroe good viewing spots - especially those physically closer to the show as I prefer.

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Old 12-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #12
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I have to say I'm really shocked that you liked WOCWD. We found it to be a complete letdown especially since Steve Davidson had his handywork in it. As you know I think the original is fantastic but was very underwhelmed with the new one. I also thought Frozen the movie was a step down from Tangled. It was ok but I thought we might get more from it. I wish they would bring back the hand drawn animation like Princess and the Frog. There are elements that I thought were fun but for the most part I was looking at my family like "That's all of it?" They immediately gave me the same puzzled look. To have all five of us same the same thing confirmed my opinion.
With WOCWD I guess I had my expectations adjusted down by the early reports. I was not expecting something of the caliber of the normal WOC. And this wasn't.

The normal WOC gives me goosebumps every single time (I have seen it 10-12 times now) and I feel emotionally pulled in. WOCWD did not give me goosebumps and the emotional connection was not all that strong. But it did a nice job of using the WOC water and lights to celebrate Christmas and I liked it.

We thought Frozen was quite good - the music was spectacular, the characters were real, the animated scenery was excellent, and the story was strong. In my book better than Tangled, on a par with Little Mermaid, definitely a notch below Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The movie made Olaf to me seem more lovable - the previews did not. So he worked in WOCWD for me. The Let It Go song from Frozen and also played in WOCWD is up there as one of the best Disney songs ever. I saw it performed for the first time publicly at the D23 Expo by Idina Menzel and that was awesome. It gave me chills.

I like that Disney is taking chances with WOC and mixing things up. I think WOCWD could be better if they worked more Disney characters into it somehow.

My two cents!

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Old 12-04-2013, 09:24 PM   #13
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With WOCWD I guess I had my expectations adjusted down by the early reports. I was not expecting something of the caliber of the normal WOC. And this wasn't.

The normal WOC gives me goosebumps every single time (I have seen it 10-12 times now) and I feel emotionally pulled in. WOCWD did not give me goosebumps and the emotional connection was not all that strong. But it did a nice job of using the WOC water and lights to celebrate Christmas and I liked it.

We thought Frozen was quite good - the music was spectacular, the characters were real, the animated scenery was excellent, and the story was strong. In my book better than Tangled, on a par with Little Mermaid, definitely a notch below Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The movie made Olaf to me seem more lovable - the previews did not. So he worked in WOCWD for me. The Let It Go song from Frozen and also played in WOCWD is up there as one of the best Disney songs ever. I saw it performed for the first time publicly at the D23 Expo by Idina Menzel and that was awesome. It gave me chills.

I like that Disney is taking chances with WOC and mixing things up. I think WOCWD could be better if they worked more Disney characters into it somehow.

My two cents!

Glad you had a good trip, Trey! I definitely agree with your assessment or WOCWD...it's just not as emotional. I did love the Let It Go section. I think it's also difficult to incorporate more Disney characters when very few movies have any kind of relation to the holidays. The Toy Story Nutcracker is fun, but a little forced IMO. But as the first complete divergence from the regular WOC format, I'm excited for what they will do in the future.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
With WOCWD I guess I had my expectations adjusted down by the early reports. I was not expecting something of the caliber of the normal WOC. And this wasn't.

The normal WOC gives me goosebumps every single time (I have seen it 10-12 times now) and I feel emotionally pulled in. WOCWD did not give me goosebumps and the emotional connection was not all that strong. But it did a nice job of using the WOC water and lights to celebrate Christmas and I liked it.

We thought Frozen was quite good - the music was spectacular, the characters were real, the animated scenery was excellent, and the story was strong. In my book better than Tangled, on a par with Little Mermaid, definitely a notch below Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The movie made Olaf to me seem more lovable - the previews did not. So he worked in WOCWD for me. The Let It Go song from Frozen and also played in WOCWD is up there as one of the best Disney songs ever. I saw it performed for the first time publicly at the D23 Expo by Idina Menzel and that was awesome. It gave me chills.

I like that Disney is taking chances with WOC and mixing things up. I think WOCWD could be better if they worked more Disney characters into it somehow.

My two cents!

Good stuff sir. Always respect your opinions. I do like the Let it Go song very much. Idina Menzel was the lady that sang the parts in the fireworks Magical I believe as well as the stage show Wicked. I really like her alot. I wonder how much WOC will change for next Christmas? I think they have to be careful with these overlays as they have set the bar very high with the Haunted Mansion and IASM.
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