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Old 06-07-2014, 12:14 AM   #151
rentayenta

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Wow Bret, your photos are gorgeous and dinner looks incredible. Maybe we'll shoot for the Chef's Counter at NR in December. I am thinking about there or Steakhouse 55.
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Old 06-09-2014, 01:23 AM   #152
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Great dinner, Bret. I enjoyed vicariously licking my screen when Alison posted it and I'm doing the encore with yours. Love the food porn.

And good on ya for treating Alison and Fran.
Thank you PiO. The dinner was nice and this might be the only time we ever eat at the NR. To try it was one of our goals of the things to do at the DLR and it was nice to do the Chef's Counter with Alison and Fran.

It was nice to treat them that night.


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Originally Posted by tksbaskets View Post
I read the link at the top that said 'Last Installment of the trip report' and thought that meant it was the last installment. I'm so glad it isn't!

Thank you for the review and pictures of NR. I agree with your DAF it looked like a lovely meal and event but for our family of four the cost would be over $200. Now I feel like I've been there myself through your report.
I see. I have those links on top of each posts of where the last update from my trip reports. Sherry mentioned this to me where it would be easy for the DISers to find the links to my previous updates so they won't be behind or looking for the start of the trip report.

Your welcome and glad you enjoyed it. It was a nice experience to eat at the NR and I don't think we will ever eat there again unless it is a special event. The food was great but the price was so high even for just an entree or appetizer. I believe we spent over $300 for the four of us that evening. It was not a cheap dinner but it was nice.


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Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Yes, we did. But it wasn't quite the normal trip.
Did something go wrong when you were riding the Monorail's? It almost feel like the Mark VI are breaking down more and more every time I go to WDW. They are over 20 years old when they debut in the early 90's and still looks like the future of transportation to me.


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Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
Wow Bret, your photos are gorgeous and dinner looks incredible. Maybe we'll shoot for the Chef's Counter at NR in December. I am thinking about there or Steakhouse 55.
Thank you Jenny. it was a great dinner and glad that Alison and Fran were able to join us that night. The Chef's Counter was nice to be able to watch the chef's cook in the kitchen. Whichever the two restaurants you are thinking about for your December trip, they are good choices. My aunt and I are thinking about eating at Steakhouse 55 for our November trip after eating at the NR this past trip.


For a quick update for my trip in a few weeks, we made reservations at the Blue Bayou on Tuesday June 24th at 11:30am. DAW (my dad's sister) enjoyed eating at the BB during our trip last year in June when we ate at the BB and she wants to eat there again. So this time, we will be eating during lunch in which I haven't done in ages. I will continue to update during our pre-trip plans.

During this past week, I was in San Francisco with DAW and DD4 and went to the SF Zoo. Here are some pictures from the Zoo.







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Old 06-09-2014, 01:32 AM   #153
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Welcome back. Seems like you had a good time at SF. Nice pictures of the animals.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:10 PM   #154
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Welcome back. Seems like you had a good time at SF. Nice pictures of the animals.
Thanks PiO. It was nice to go to the SF and the weather was cold. I would rather be there in SF right now instead of being here in Sactown with the hot weather.


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Old 06-10-2014, 09:21 PM   #155
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Day 2 –April 26th, 2014 – Part 5

Last Installment of the Trip Report

Day 2 –April 26th, 2014 – Part 5

Maleficent Sneak Peek, Shopping & Nighttime Photos

After we finished dinner at the Napa Rose restaurant with Alison (franandaj) and Fran, we head on in Disney California Adventure from the Grand California Hotel. The only problem that night is that DAF couldn’t go in the park since she had the Deluxe Annual Pass. But she had no problem that night and told me that I should go with Alison and Fran that night in DCA. So she went straight back to the room while I joined them in DCA that night.

When we were in DCA, we head straight on over to A Bug’s Land so we can see the Maleficent Exclusive Sneak Peek at It’s Tough to be a Bug theater. Since the Maleficent movie is coming out one month after our trip in May, it was neat to see a clip of the movie. I have seen clips from Disney movies at DCA when the theater was at Muppet Vision 3D for TRON Leave a Legacy.





We were seating in the way back of the theater.


After watching part of the movie in the Bug’s Life Theater, I knew that I wanted to see the movie when it comes out. So when the movie came out on May 30th, I had to see it and it was a very interesting movie. There have been a lot of mixed reviews of this movie but overall it was good.

When we finished watching the Maleficent Sneak Peek at a Bug’s Life Theater, we head on over to Hollywood Land to go in the “Off the Page” store which sells paintings, movies, cels, etc. We went to the store to look at the paintings. Off the Page store doesn’t have many paintings like the Disneyana Shop in DL, but it is one of my favorite stores at the DLR.

Since Fran didn’t find anything at the Off the Page store, we head on out of DCA and over to DL that night.

When we were walking on out of DCA, the 9:30pm Remember Dreams Come True fireworks was going on that time. We didn’t stop to see the fireworks until we were in DL.


We watched the fireworks right on MS close to Town Square which was very far back.


After RDCT fireworks was over, we head straight to the Disneyana Shop. I remember back during the September 2013 trip when PiO and her family were there and Fran was in the store for a long time looking at all the different art work and bought a lot of stuff that night. Just like this time, Fran was able to find a lot of interesting paintings in the store. I believe Fran must have bought over 5 different paintings that night and she had a CM go with them to take it back to her car.

It was getting late for Alison and Fran, so they head on out of the parks and back to the car. I decided to stay in the park that night and get some nighttime pictures. So we parted ways that night. I had a great time with Alison and Fran when we had dinner at the Napa Rose and walk with them in the parks and look at all the different paintings.

Now I was by myself and walking around the park to look for nice spots to get some nighttime pictures of the park. I have brought my tripod with me when DAF and I left our hotel and it was nice to carry it on my bag instead of carrying another bag with me. It made it easy for me to take pictures while walking around that night and it was easy to access the tripod when I want to get a picture that night. The park was not that crowded that night since the fireworks was over and it was almost around 11pm.


I head on over to Frontierland to get pictures of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night. When I got there, there were no mine trains running and a lot of bright lights were on. I looked at the queue and they told the guests that the ride was down and the guests were leaving the queue. So it was broken that night. It was a shame for the guests to wait in the queue to get on the ride and find out that it is down. So I was able to get some pictures but not the ones that I wanted to get.

Some of these photos you seen are with the tripod on my camera since I was trying out long exposure shots. I have done long exposure shots for the fireworks but I have never done this for different areas around the park so it was nice to try something new during my trip.




After looking at BTMRR for a while, I decided it was time to head on back to the room and call it for the night since it was a long day. The River of America was quiet since both Fantasmic! show are now over.








I can never get tired of seeing Sleeping Beauty Castle at night but it is even more amazing during the holiday season when the decorations are up.


This was my first attempt of taking a long exposure picture of Astro Orbiter with the light trail.


It was 20 minutes until midnight, so it was time to head on out of the park and back to the room. The park was semi-busy that night which there were quite a lot of people walking on out of the park.


I head on out of the park and my last picture that night was to get a picture of DCA turnstiles. With the Tokina lens, I was able to get up close so I was able to get the whole entrance. I was so impressed with the Tokina 11-16mm lens where I had to get up close to the entrance to get the whole thing where other lenses I have used in the past where I had to be way back in order to get the whole entrance.




I than head on back to Best Western Anaheim Inn where DAF was just resting until I got back.

This concludes the Saturday part of the trip. Stay tune for the next day at the DLR.


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Old 06-11-2014, 02:04 AM   #156
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I finally just sat down and got all caught up on your report. Thank you so much for dinner that night. It was wonderful as was the company. I really enjoy fancy meals like that.

Im glad you and your DA had a good time shopping at MoG. We found a lit of things that were not at the Expo on our trip yesterday. I think we might have gotten the same jacket as your DAF.

It was fun going through the park and seeing the preview with your we have yet to see the movie. I'm glad you were abke to go through the park and get some nighttime shots after we parted. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:51 AM   #157
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Good for you, Bret. Those are very impressive pictures.

I think you should keep that Tokina.
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:22 PM   #158
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Hi Bret,
Your super long exposure shots are stunning .

TK
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:06 PM   #159
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BTW how long were your shutter speeds on the long exposure shots? They look really cool.
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:33 PM   #160
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Bret --

I am definitely noticing a difference in your photos with the Tokina lens -- it has changed the look and feel of a lot of your shots. I agree with PiO -- You should keep it!




(By the way -- the Theme Week Countdown begins in the Christmas/Holiday Superthread on Monday, July 21st and ends with the final theme on Monday, November 3rd! (There will be 22 themes in total this year, instead of 20, and there will be 2 brand new mini-daily themes added in, while one of the old daily mini-themes is graduating to a full weekly theme.) I will see you there!
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Old 06-14-2014, 08:12 PM   #161
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Wow on the Astro Orbiter photo. Its amazing.

We saw Maleficent but not in 3D. How did you like 3D? It generally gives me a headache though I was tempted.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:42 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
I finally just sat down and got all caught up on your report. Thank you so much for dinner that night. It was wonderful as was the company. I really enjoy fancy meals like that.

Im glad you and your DA had a good time shopping at MoG. We found a lit of things that were not at the Expo on our trip yesterday. I think we might have gotten the same jacket as your DAF.

It was fun going through the park and seeing the preview with your we have yet to see the movie. I'm glad you were abke to go through the park and get some nighttime shots after we parted. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!
Your welcome and glad that you and Fran were able to join us that night. Maybe we can do it again during our trip in November. But we might think of going earlier depends on work from both of us. The meals were very nice and fancy and it will be a long time until we eat at the NR again. The next fancy restaurant on-site might be Steakhouse 55.

She had a great time shopping at the WDI store where I was a little disappointed of the choices where half of the stuff is where I could get at any Disney park or store. And the other was that the WDI merchandise were the same during the MoG store at the D23 Expo last year. She bought the WDI jacket which is around $100.

It was nice to go with you that night and see the Maleficent Preview. Every time I see any preview at any Disney park, I just have to go and see it. I was able to spend some time that night after we parted ways at the Disneyana store.

Thank you Alison for a great time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Good for you, Bret. Those are very impressive pictures.

I think you should keep that Tokina.
Thank you PiO. The shots are getting better and better with every trip.

As you already know that I did buy the Tokina lens from my friend and I will be happy with using it more and more in the near future.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tksbaskets View Post
Hi Bret,
Your super long exposure shots are stunning .

TK
Hi TK,

The long exposure shots were just as good as I have thought. I got to thank the DISers on the Disneyland resort PotD thread where I got the idea of the long exposure shots. I will be looking forward to taking more long exposure shots during my upcoming trip which won’t be too long. I can’t wait to leave in 9 days until DAW and I are back in SoCal.

Thank you TK.


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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
BTW how long were your shutter speeds on the long exposure shots? They look really cool.
Most of the shutter speeds were set at 6 to 30 seconds. You have to lower the aperture and ISO if you want to take long exposure shots. When I left the aperture high (f/2.8 on my Tokina lens) and ISO it became more bright or even show a white picture. But if you lower the aperture and ISO, it can become very dark. You just got to get it at the right settings or it won’t turn up as is. All the long exposure shots were taken with my tripod. It was nice to use my Lowepro Pro Runner backpack with the tripod attached to it where I don’t have to carry another bag with my trip.

Thank you Alison.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
Bret --

I am definitely noticing a difference in your photos with the Tokina lens -- it has changed the look and feel of a lot of your shots. I agree with PiO -- You should keep it!




(By the way -- the Theme Week Countdown begins in the Christmas/Holiday Superthread on Monday, July 21st and ends with the final theme on Monday, November 3rd! (There will be 22 themes in total this year, instead of 20, and there will be 2 brand new mini-daily themes added in, while one of the old daily mini-themes is graduating to a full weekly theme.) I will see you there!
Thank you Sherry. The Tokina 11-16mm lens make such a big difference in my photography where I can get much more in the picture where the other lenses that I have used don’t get as much. I’m glad that I purchased this lens from my friend and will be using it a lot for upcoming trips. But I will be testing other lenses to show different pictures.

I did see your post on the Christmas Superthread. I will be read and looking forward to the Theme Week Countdown. It has been a few years since you have started it and a lot of DISers have joined in since you started it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
Wow on the Astro Orbiter photo. Its amazing.

We saw Maleficent but not in 3D. How did you like 3D? It generally gives me a headache though I was tempted.
Thank you Jenny. The trails of AO are very neat with the long exposure shot.

Glad to hear that you were able to see Maleficent. When we watched it at Bug’s Life Theater it was great and the seats in the theater during the preview were in use as well just like It’s Tough to be a Bug show. I have no problem watching the movie in 3D. But it can give you a little headache when watching it too long. I don’t even like to play my Nintendo 3DS on the 3D mode since it does give me a headache.
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Old 06-15-2014, 12:04 AM   #163
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Day 3 –April 27th, 2014 – Part 1

Last Installment of the Trip Report

Day 3 –April 27th, 2014 – Part 1

Getting FP’s, TSMM & BTMRR Finally

It is now our third day of the trip. Mostly we always leave on Sunday during our trip to Anaheim, but we pushed it back one more day so we can relax and enjoy DL where part of the day yesterday we were in Glendale during the WDI shopping and dinner at the Napa Rose with Alison and Fran. So we pushed it back one more day which does make sense for us so we can enjoy a full day at the parks.

It was early Sunday morning and we were excited to go to the DLR that morning. Since DAF AP is not blocked that day where she was blocked on Saturday, it was time for the two of us to enjoy another great day at the parks. We got up early that morning so we can head on over to the DLR early that morning in order to DCA so we can get FP’s for RSR and WoC.

We didn’t leave the hotel until 7:40am which was a little late but it was enough time when the parks open at 8am. So we rushed on over to the DLR so we can get to DCA.

DCA was open when we got in before 8am so we head on over to the RSR queue in order to get the RSR FP’s. I always have this weird way of not riding RSR first thing in the morning because when I try to ride RSR first thing in the morning, the ride is broken down and I have wasted part of the morning in order to do other things instead of waiting in a queue for the ride to be open.


There wasn’t a huge queue for the RSR FP’s so we were lucky that it wasn’t that busy but it was busy for the guests to go through the standby queue.


When we were in the queue for the RSR FP’s, we didn’t have to wait long which was a real shocker. I thought that we would have to wait later that day in order to ride RSR. But when we got the FP’s, the return time was not until 11pm which was a great time to return to ride RSR.

After we got our FP’s for RSR, we head straight on over to Grizzly River Run to get the FP’s for WoC. Interesting is that there was only one WoC show that night. In the past during the weekends and Friday’s, WoC was running twice a night. I looked on the schedule and saw that there was only one WoC a night at 9:45pm which was kind of late.

We were able to get the blue section for the 9:45pm WoC show.

After getting the WoC FP’s, DAF wanted to go on TSMM. It has been a while since I have been on TSMM. This is also a good opportunity to do two things at once. The first is riding TSMM, the second is that a DISer ask me to get a picture of the floor on TSMM.

It wasn’t that busy in Paradise Pier that morning where most of the guests are at Cars Land.


When we looked at the wait time, it was already at 20 minutes. But we didn’t mind waiting that long. TK - I know that you would easily go on TSMM with that wait time.




For our score, I got 174,200 while DAF got 114,400. Not one of my best score but it was one of DAF best scores on TSMM. I really need to work on my arms so they won’t be tired of pulling the string.


Talk about a low score when you compare it to those other scores on the ride.


We got off the ride and now upstairs.


Here is a picture of the floor in the store after you get off TSMM.


After we finished riding TSMM and have some time until our FP’s are good for RSR, it was a good time to head on over to DL in order to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We weren’t able to ride BTMRR for the first two days of the trip so it was a good idea to head on over to DL and ride it. We didn’t spend too much time in DCA that morning but we were able to accomplish some of our goals.


After walking all the way from PP, we were now out of DCA and heading on over to DL.


We walked all the way over to Frontierland all the way to BTMRR. When we got over to BTMRR, the wait time was at 20 minutes which was not that long. But overall, it did felt like it was a 15 minute wait when we were in the standby queue.


Walking through the queue of BTMRR was very nice especially with it being down for over a year. When we looked at the town of Rainbow Ridge, it was all nicely done with new paint and the queue mostly looks the same as it was.


Before we got on the ride, I was testing out my GoPro on my head with the head strap. This was a nice way to record the ride while I was able to use my DSLR in my hands. So I was able to do two things at once.

Here is my video of Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on April 27th, 2014 when I had it on my head while I had my DSLR in my hands.

Here are pictures of BTMRR with the Tokina lens.


The cave scene during the first chain lift was enhanced and more looks like a cave.




Now this was the highlight of the ride which was the dynamite room which is changed. The effects shows like how the dynamite being light up and about to explode.








The top area which had broken tracks from the old BTMRR, was took out and had dynamites.


Now backoutside






The new BTMRR is very nice and it was great to ride it. It was not as rough like the old version and it was smoother. Even though I do like the new version, it was sad that the old one is now gone. I don’t like the new tracks where it looks new where the old ones look like old tracks. DAF had a great time riding it and it was worth the 15 minute wait.



That is it for this post and stay tune what we have done later that morning at the DLR.


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Old 06-15-2014, 01:01 AM   #164
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Love the BTM pictures, Bret. Almost like being on the ride myself. Almost.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:08 AM   #165
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Hi Bret,
You are helping me get even more excited for our trip in 3 weeks Indeed my family would have love a 20 min wait for TSMM. We found on our December trip that going there first was the best thing for us as most head to RSR. I think your tip is a great one - many times RSR takes a bit of maintenance in the morning. We get our Fps when the park opens (after early entry time is up)

BTMR looks nice. It's on our list of 'must do's'! I loved watching your gopro youtube. Thanks for posting it.

TK
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