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Old 08-05-2014, 11:30 PM   #1
HydroGuy
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Smile Thoughts and Observations from Late July Trip

We had five days at DLR last week. Thought I would share some of the things I encountered...

o I relearned something I already knew which is no matter how many days you have at DLR it is never enough. We had four full parks days, and I thought maybe this would be the trip I would get to do everything I wanted. Nope. I missed the Soundsational Parade and still have never had a chance to check out the Princess Fantasy Faire. Never made it to Pirates Lair on this trip either and I promised myself I would. At DCA I did not have enough time for street characters or music. Only caught Five and Dime. Never made it to ToonTown.

o Did the new Disney California Story tour on Day 3 and will write a blog on this soon. Cool tour.

o Stayed at the DLH for the first time and paid for the Deluxe room - which means a room typically in the Adventure Tower with a view of DTD and the parks. We typically pull into DLR in the afternoon but in this case we showed up around 11AM in order to enhance our chance of getting a room on a higher level floor with the best view. We were successful and had a great view from the 8th floor.

o We planned to skip the parks on arrival day (which we almost always do) and instead have a restful day at the hotel and DTD. Since we arrived so early we had way more time to do things we usually need to skip. We spent several hours at the game area in the ESPN zone and did some shopping at some of the DTD stores. We all agreed we really enjoyed the early arrival and may try harder to do this in the future.

o Dined at Rainforest Cafe on arrival day which we always love and we enjoyed it again. Got a Volcanooooo for the first time in probably five years.

o Dined at the Blue Bayou. We had a party of 5 that day and the best I could get was an 11:40 res. We showed up at 11:10 and I requested a waterside table. They actually seated us at 11:25 and we got waterside. The food seemed especially good this time. I tried a new dish and have new favorite for BB - the Flat Iron steak was delicious!

o For the first time ever we watched the DL fireworks from the hotel room with the track from the TV on. It was pretty cool and we could ever so barely see Dumbo. We did catch the full show on a later night.

o The 7AM EMHs are hard to do. We actually did three of them, but the kids only did it on Day 1 at DCA. Unless you are really die hard Disney hotel people I am leaning strongly towards going to the park opposite the EMH and staying at a good neighbor. That way then you only need be at the gates by 8AM rather than 7AM - which helps after too late a night on the night before.

o At DL EMH on Day #2 I saw something at the gates I have never seen before - a gate dedicated to non-EMH guests with a sign - and all before EMH started.

o DCA on Mon/Wed was surprisingly lightly crowded and DL was more crowded than I have seen in a long time during the summer on Tue/Thurs

o Due to a wake up alarm malfunction we overslept and arrived at DCA EMH on Day 1 late. We had planned to leave the room at DLH at 6:30AM but instead did not get out until about 6:55AM. We had planned to ride TSMM during EMH and I figured we missed our chance. We did nto get to TSMM until about 7:20AM and there was no line. We rode it twice. Never seen that before! That was awesome as we had two in our group who had never been on TSMM before.

o Got to the RSR FP machines about 7:50AM. Non-EMH guests were allowed into DCA and held at a rope at Carthay Circle. The CMs did not allow a line to form for RSR FPs. My tip is to position yourself more to the left as they set up the ropes as the rope entrance will be to the left. When they finally allowed folks into the RSR FP queue it was like 7:58AM. Got a FP right away because I wanted a FP window early so I would not be blocked for two hours from getting other FPs. I got a FP for 8:50-9:50AM.

o Aside from RSR FP we did not need FPs this day at all except for GRR. Weird.

o Afternoon breaks rocked. It was a bit warmer (89-90 degree highs) and more humid than any of my summer visits since about year 2000. We spent time at the hotel swimming a couple times, in the air conditioned room just relaxing, and sometimes napping. This was for any time from 2-4 hours a day.

o World of Color rocked! Again. Ariel's Grotto for WOC preferred viewing did not. We have done AG/WOC three times in the past and AG was always great. This time we were very disappointed in the service and food. It will be a long time before we go back to AG again.

o The queuing for WOC reserved dining area was better than in past years with an actual queue forming. However, it did not have a rope and some folks who showed up late just cut into the line rather than go to the back. I would have said something but it was hard to tell if they were joining a person already in line are just taking cuts. But it looked like cuts to me. We showed up 90 minutes early and were about the 20th people in line. I thought our chance of getting my favorite spot at the elevated front rail was at risk but everyone ahead of us went to the wet zone at the very front and we got our favorite spot with no problem.

o Saw the late Fantasmic show on Day #2 after seeing the Magical fireworks and fighting the crowds to Fantasmic. We easily got a spot in the center about 5 ft back from the rails. Great show!

o Got Tigger Tails not oncee but twice!

o Rode BTMRR 3-4 times and it does not feel smoother to me. But the new effects were very cool. We rode BTMRR on our final ride of the trip and timed our FPs to ride it during the fireowrks show. We nailed it and it was a hoot.

o Right before BTMRR we rode Splash with FPs and I had the wettest encounter in probably 10 years. I and DW were in seats 3 and 4 to try to avoid the worst of the Splash. I got one splash directly in my lap in one of the small bumps inside the mountain. During the big hill I saw a huge wave come up and over the two seats in front and hit me right in the chest and head. We were so wet it felt like we had just jumped into a pool. Fortunately we only had one more ride to experience that night. I think it might have had something to do with the fact that I wore my Splash Mountain Tee Shirt that day!

o Definitely noticed a lot grumpy CMs at DCA especially during EMH and the morning hours. The DL CMs overall seemed happier.

o Got to dine at the Napa Rose for the first time with my sweetie. Very nice!

o Aladdin show still rocks. Had not seen it for the last few trips. I think three years,

o Things I learned or re-learned - make less dining reservations. I made lunch and dinner reservations on two of our days and it really cramps your touring. Better to make one sit down res and lean on walk up or counter service for the other meal. More flexible.

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Old 08-05-2014, 11:52 PM   #2
allsaintsatx
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Been waiting to hear about your trip - thank you! We are heading to Disneyland on Monday for five glorious days and I was curious about a few things - RSR fast pass times, TSMM waits during EMH, so your post was very beneficial.

We will be going on BTMRR for the first time ever (1st few times DS was too young, last two times it was closed) and we are really looking forward to it! I have a feeling we will try to go on it as many times as you, fingers crossed!

And we have never gotten wet on Splash Mountain! How is that possible? Hoping to get seats 3 and 4 so we can get nice and soaked!!

Thanks again for the very informative and fun post.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:20 AM   #3
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Incredibly useful information. Thanks to people like you, I actually feel pretty prepared for this trip in October. Much appreciated!
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:25 AM   #4
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Thanks Hydroguy--great thoughts and perspective. I copied your whole post for my on-line Disney file
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:49 AM   #5
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Great post Hydroguy! I always enjoy reading your posts.

We did 4 days M-Th 2 weeks ago, and loved the breaks during the day! The long hours were fantastic with the kids DD8 and DS9 getting a bit older now.

Even getting to the parks by 8 wasn't that easy.

Our last morning we hit Huntington Beach rather than the park. We took a nap, and closed the parks down. Loved the effects on BTMRR as well. We easily rode that 10 times
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:12 AM   #6
Mary Jo
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Nice summary, Trey. Glad you had such a good time this trip.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post

o DCA on Mon/Wed was surprisingly lightly crowded and DL was more crowded than I have seen in a long time during the summer on Tue/Thurs

I was at Dland the week before you Hydroguy and stayed at DLH too. My main observation of the week was that Tue/Thurs EMH at DL was significantly more crowded than in the past. We used easily to be able to knock out all of Fantasyland in that first hour with everything except PP being a close to walk-on, but it was packed from the get go on our Tues EMH, and 30 minutes in you already had that hard to navigate crush of people feeling in the Fantasyland walkways. I was really surprised. Similar to you, I found DCA EMH much lighter and crowds there seemed a bit more distributed (not so totally focused on Carsland as in the past.)
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:48 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing your trip! People never understand when I say we go DL for four days and don't get it all done. Most of my friends go for one or two days.

It's nice to hang out on the DIS where people get it!
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
o Due to a wake up alarm malfunction we overslept and arrived at DCA EMH on Day 1 late. We had planned to leave the room at DLH at 6:30AM but instead did not get out until about 6:55AM. We had planned to ride TSMM during EMH and I figured we missed our chance. We did nto get to TSMM until about 7:20AM and there was no line. We rode it twice. Never seen that before! That was awesome as we had two in our group who had never been on TSMM before.
This is how I always do EMH at DCA (when I do it.) I am usually walking thru the gates at 5 mins after the start. And I usually walk on TSMM.

Also, I always see the gates for Non-EMH in the AM for non-guests so they know where to line up. Usually the 2-4 gates to the far right are used for EMH, and other gates are marked for non-EMH guests.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:28 AM   #10
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Great post, Hydro. Agree with so much, having just been a couple weeks ago.

But this MAY be the best. advice. ever. which is exactly what we did. (Best Western Park Place ROCKS!)

o The 7AM EMHs are hard to do. We actually did three of them, but the kids only did it on Day 1 at DCA. Unless you are really die hard Disney hotel people I am leaning strongly towards going to the park opposite the EMH and staying at a good neighbor. That way then you only need be at the gates by 8AM rather than 7AM - which helps after too late a night on the night before.

TOO often to count at WDW, we've done EMHs .... because we can ... (we always stay on-site at WDW) ... which wasn't always the best idea .... with one or more cranky kids or moments. Doing late nights with EMHs isn't always cool, especially when a kidlet reminds you that "we're on vacation, mom!"

\o Definitely noticed a lot grumpy CMs at DCA especially during EMH and the morning hours. The DL CMs overall seemed happier.

We've also noticed this a lot at both WDW & DL. Has there been a change in upper-management that has filtered down through the ranks??
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:10 AM   #11
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Funny, we were at DLH last week too. We found the crowds at DL EMH on tues much busier. Thurs was quieter for some reason.
I also found the CMs at DCA grumpy.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:11 AM   #12
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Sounds like a fantastic visit! BW Stovall's was just right for us early last month (:
We used our PH MM day one *DD's birthday* - started in DL day two, EMH day at DCA that day; day three *last day :/ we started over in DCA, EMH day over in DL.

More days would've been lovely, but with two driving days *there, and back* and 11 days for WDW this October, I needed to conserve leave.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:18 AM   #13
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Thanks for the recap and great tips!
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:59 AM   #14
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Sounds like you had a great trip!

We were there July 21-23. We hardly got wet on Splash and were really hoping to get more wet because we were super hot from the humidity!
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:04 PM   #15
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Thank You Trey, for the very thorough report as always.
Happy you and your HydroGal had a nice trip.

Did you like the DLH better than the CCI, besides it being onsite for the perks?
I have reservation's for July 2015 for the CCI, have stayed there before on your recommendation, and enjoy it very much.

Thanks again,
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