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Old 10-22-2012, 09:22 AM   #1
Elk Grove Chris
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Oct 11-14 Father/Son Trip

Day 1-Thursday October 11

Drove up to the land from a conference I was attending in San Diego on a Thursday. Traffic not too bad, made it to Anaheim in about an hour and a half.

Rain came down pretty good in San Diego until right about the time I left at 2.
Checked into Anaheim Plaza Inn and Suites, easy check in and room was ready early. Not the newest place, but clean and close, friendly staff, all good.

Off to the land solo, my 11-year old son flying solo tomorrow to join me.

Made my way to CA to check out Carsland for the first time, made it in around 3:45, rain clouds all around. Not a whole lotta people making their way in, probably already inside (yep).

Kind of just hunkered down on Buena Vista Street to take it all in, vast improvement. I made my way towards the Carthay Circle Theater. Pixar Parade was about to start, so I stuck around to check it out. It started sprinkling.

Parade was kinda cool, glad I stuck around to check it out. It was now raining, put my jacket on, hood to cover camera.

Headed towards Carsland after the parade, around 4:30, still raining. Wow, so much to look at, they really did a good job here.

Got in the SRL for RSR, about 10 minutes in they announced that the ride was down because of the rain. It was coming down pretty good. Decided to head to DL to duck into a dark ride, needed me some HM.

Wait, what, where did all these people come from? It was Thursday, it was raining, don’t these people read the forums? Maybe they did, foreshadowing of the next few days. Headed over to HM, thirty minute wait at 5:00.

Rain had stopped by the time I exited HM. Hmmm, back to CA to see if I could get on RSR and maybe get the fading light on Paradise Pier for some pics.

RSR still down, sea of humanity waiting for it to pop, I’ll pass on the wait.

I was really impressed with the scale and detail of the rockwork. Time to get on a ride; hit SR for Screamin, only about 10 people in front of me. Took 30 minutes to get on the ride, whoah, worse than summer.

Moved with a purpose to Paradise Pier to see what the sky looked like, it was good.

I couldn’t believe how many people were here on a Thursday night. I know some were here early for the MHP on Friday, but man. I made my way back to DL just as the parade was hitting MS.

Not sure what happened here, looks like I am panning the float that is moving by at 2 miles an hour.

Started to just wander around practicing taking night shots, not something I have done a whole lot of. Usually at the parks with the family, so I usually stow the camera once it gets dark. Don’t want to have them waiting for me setting up a tripod and all that, so this was something new. Definitely need to practice a bit more, pretty mixed bag with the night shots, some decent, most pretty bad. I think I need to play more with the bulb setting and use my remote to shoot shorter exposures (2 sec, 5 sec, etc.).

I should have taken a separate shot of the Tomorrowland sign and masked it in, way overblown in this shot. I really like the motion part though.

No one left in Tomorrowland, it was around 9:30, park closed at 9:00. Right after this shot security started sweeping through, time to move on to MS. Took in the shops a bit then headed to my room. Still surprised at how many people were at the parks.

Our next trip, the four of us plus my Mom, was going to be the week of Thanksgiving. Not looking forward to those crowds, but hey, at least we would be back at DL, with more days and hours than this trip.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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Excellent pics!!! I'd love to see/hear more.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:49 PM   #3
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Love your pictures. We were there 10/15-10/17 and I also couldn't believe the crowds, I thought it would be less busy in the Fall (although this was my first trip so I have no frame of reference.)
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by julsmom View Post
Excellent pics!!! I'd love to see/hear more.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jennaw View Post
Love your pictures. We were there 10/15-10/17 and I also couldn't believe the crowds, I thought it would be less busy in the Fall (although this was my first trip so I have no frame of reference.)
Usually that is true, the halloween parties change that a bit, especially the Friday ones. To us it felt more crowded than any of our summer trips, or the one time we were there Thanksgiving for a few days. Will be back this Thanksgiving week, I am expecting massive crowds.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:56 AM   #6
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Day-2-Friday, October 12.

Picking my son up at SNA this morning. Figured I would give myself an hour to get to the airport just in case of traffic. So that was almost a disaster, two accidents on the way and his flight landed 20 minutes early. Security let me though the first class check in line, got to the gate just as he was getting off with his escort, whew.

We dropped off the rental car at the hotel and hot-footed it over to the parks. Oops, U-turn, forgot my rain jacket. Made it into CA around 8:30, park open 30 minutes already. Sun was out, still cloudy, hoping rain would stay away at night. RSR was not open yet, Carsland was PACKED. Photo doesnít do it justice, wasnít aiming over crowds enough, but people were backed all the way up to Sargeís, all the way across the street.

Breakfast it is. We settled on the Pacific Wharf cafť, we both had eggy, cheesy, croissants, which were pretty good.

Headed back over to RSR around 9:20, standby line was way back. We went to see if the SRL was open. We were in luck, on the ride in less than 10 minutes, yeah.

The wait was worth it for Carsland, RSR was awesome, exceeded our expectations.

As we exited we thought about doing SR again but the peeps figured things out and the wait was an hour. So we headed over to Luigiís around 9:30, took about 40 minutes to get on, posted time was right on.

Queue is well themed, seems to make the wait not so bad when they take the care to put in the right touches.

Took us a little time to get the tire moving like we wanted, a bit slow for our taste.

We decided to head over to DL to see how bad the crowds were. Clouds getting darker.

Dl was packed too.

We walked swiftly to grab a FP for Star Tours around 10:30, return time was noon. We made our way to my Sonís favorite ride, BTMRR. It started to rain as we got in the standby line for a 25 minute wait.

We headed over to POC, took about 20 minutes to get inside. A lot of people were headed for the dark rides or other shelter.

Rain had stopped by the time we got off of Pirates. Time for a snack, we shared a corndog from the Stage Door Cafť, tasty fried goodness.

We strolled over to check out the pumpkins at Big thunder Ranch. Grabbed a FP for BTMRR on the way, hour return time.

We then headed over to Tomorrowland to use a FP for ST, took about 15 minutes to go through.

Spent some time in the shop, grabbed a FP for ST around 12:30, return time around 4.

Got in line for Buzz, it was about a 15 minute wait. I got creamed, final score wasnít pretty.

We headed over to CA to use a FP for Soarin we got earlier. We made our way to the show after about 10 minutes. We had also got FPís for Screamin earlier in case I could convince my Son to go on it with me. No dice, he said he would go on it when Mom did, so pretty much never. Gave the FPs to a father/daughter combo, they said thanks.

Spent about a half hour at DTD, mostly at the Lego Store. We both really loved what they did on the remodel to the store. Headed back to the room for some rest and so my Son could put on his army fatigues.

Headed back to DL around 4, long lines on whole right side of the Esplanade. CMs were moving people through pretty fast.

It was pretty crowded as all the party people were coming in and all the day people were still about. It never seemed like anyone left, even after the party started.

Since we had our normal passes plus the MHP passes we both got two FPs for BTMRR. We jumped on the Train at NOS and took it to Tomorrowland. Did I say it was crowded, hard to move in some spots. Hour long wait for HM,no thanks.

We used our FPs for ST, took about 20 minutes to get through the line. Neither one of us believing the randomization of the tours any more, same scenes four straight times.

We had reservations at Cafť Orleans at 5:40; they were not taking any walk-ups, couple of mad couples at that. We shared a Monte Cristo and the Pomme Frittes, always good.

Took our time with dinner, we were checking out all the cool costumes walking by.

Used our FPs for BTMRR around 6:30, rode it back to back, about a 10 minute wait each time. As you can probably tell by now, this is my Sonís favorite ride, followed closely by ST.

CMs being pretty thorough checking wristbands at 7, at all rides, at all lands. Wristbands much brighter this year, all kinds of sparkles. At 7 we rode BTMRR 6 times in a row. We just kept walking straight on through the line to the train. Cool.

Walked over by Big Thunder Ranch, super packed, looooooong line to check out villains. Fantasyland packed, candy line by Village Haus super constricts an already constricted walkway. Same for the candy line by Matterhorn.

Walked over to ST, got on after about a 25 minute wait. 40 minute wait for GG, Son digs that ride too. Still not sure why he wouldnít try Screamin, but I wonít push.

Checked out the dance party at Tomorrowland Terrace, not our scene, we pushed on. Wait for Matterhorn was 45 minutes, hmmm. Ok, we bit the bullet and waited. We have done the MHP the last two years, and it honestly felt like they let in twice as many people today.

We discussed where we wanted to view the fireworks, my favorite part of the party, my Son not a huge fan of fireworks. So as much as I wanted to camp out at the hub again to shoot the fireworks, I let him choose our path. No camping out this year.

We were off to get some candy at the Golden Horseshoe. CMs were not giving out as much candy this year, quality not as good either. Guess where he wanted to go next, yep, BTMRR. Wait was an hour at 8:15, huh? Ok, letís go hit Pirates, seriously, 45 minutes? We lucked out at HM, only about 20 minutes. Heard later that it was boom or bust there, either 20 minutes or 60.

At 9:30, my son was running out of gas, he had been up since 4:30 AM to catch his flight. As I contemplated the extra $120 I shelled out for a measly 2 and a half hoursí worth of party, it wasnít worth sweating over as both of us were wearing thin on the crowds too. We just werenít feeling like sticking around, too much work to do anything. So we headed towards MS to catch the fireworks on our way out. The amount of people around the hub was amazing, looked like something of Christmas or New Years, never been at those times, but have seen the pics.

We grabbed some more candy on MS on the way out. We tucked our tails and headed for our beds. Seriously doubt we will return for a MHP again, never on a Friday again for sure. The prior two years we had a great time, got to do a lot of stuff, just too many people this time. I donít mind shelling out extra cash for a special event; it sure didnít feel special this night. Not sure how much Indy or the rides in Fantasyland being out of commission affected crowd control, but man it was crowded.
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:57 PM   #7
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WOW! What awesome pics. Hope mine turn out half as good.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by arthur06 View Post
WOW! What awesome pics. Hope mine turn out half as good.

Day 3-Saturday, October 13

We had a Magic Morning with our hoppers, this was the day. So we get to security around 6:50, smooth sailing, get in line and wait. And wait. And wait. Turnstiles open at 7:12; guess someone needs to replace the battery in their watch. Overall, it seemed that there were fewer decorations this year at DL, pretty non-existent at CA.

We walked with a purpose to GG, basically a walk on, maybe 2 minutes to get loaded once we made it into the space port.

Next we headed to ST, also basically a walk on. At least we saw a few different scenes today; my favorite middle scene is Naboo and we saw that a lot today.
Tomorrowland was starting to fill up with people so we headed over to Matterhorn.

We had about a ten minute wait. We both like the older sleds better, track feels bumpier to us now with the changes. Paint job looks awesome though.

Fantasyland not too crowded yet, but we were off to explore NOS. We were going to hit POC first, but it was closed. So we went to HM, I think it took us about 5 minutes to get on.

Cake was looking pretty cool this year.

Off to my Sonís favorite next. It took us about 10 minutes to get on BTMRR.

Checked back to see if Pirates was open, arghhhhhhhh. We rode the train from NOS to Tomorrowland, train pretty empty.

Not too many people excited to get on Splash Mountain at 8 in the morning, but there were a few brave souls. It was a bit warmer today, with only a few scattered clouds.

We grabbed a FP for ST, had a return time in an hour. We decided to have breakfast at Tomorrowland Terrace, I would pay for that later. My Son had the breakfast platter, which he thought was quite good. I had to have a few bites for quality control, he was right. I settled for the breakfast burrito, it was pretty tasty. But something wasnít right; it might have been the 6 packs of salsa I used, or something was just bad in the burrito, but later than night I visited just about every bathroom in DL. Good times.

We rested a bit, my Son finished his cocoa. We decided to visit Mr. Toad. Fantasyland was in its usual frenzy by now, 45 minute wait for Peter Pan at 8:30. We got to see Mr. Toad after a 10 minute wait.

My Son suggested we go check out the Jungle Cruise, so off we went. Thirty five minutes later, we were on the ride.

My camera was acting up, popped the battery in and out, it seemed to be working ok after that. Later, it looked like it was fighting with the light for all of the Jungle Cruise pics.

Crowds were swelling pretty good now around 11.

Standby line for BTMRR was 25 minutes so we got in line, pretty accurate wait time.

We went to go see how the other half was doing in CA. A fair amount of people were still making their way into the parks.

We grabbed a FP for Soarin at 11:15, return time was 1:30. SRL for RSR was an hour. We bit that bullet too, actually was around a 45 minute wait. Unfortunately, that was the last time we rode it. Cool ride though. I hope we have a few more chances on our next visit, but I know there will be even more people then.

We took a stroll to the Blue Sky Cellar, we always love the displays and little shows they have.

Time for some snackage, Cove Bar it is. Starting to get a little warm, so some shade and a cold beer is definitely in order, some wings might be ok too. We got there just as they were opening, around 12:30. Our server got slammed with like 10 tables at once, but she kept calm and served on.

We chilled for about an hour, we took in the Midway next. My Son played a few games; he is always up for that, even at DL.

We then kept on walking all the way around and used our FPs for Soarin. We then hopped back over to DL to grab a FP for ST.

I upgraded my hopper, needed the PAP since our next visit was Thanksgiving week. Extra discount on food/merch will come in handy, hopefully make up some of the cost difference. We headed back to the hotel to cool off and take a cat nap.

Well, 3 hours later, some cat nap, we headed back to DL, in the park around 5:45. You may be sensing yet another theme here, it was PACKED!
Made our way through the masses to BTMRR for a FP. CMs were doing a good job at keeping the park clean as we witnessed at least half a dozen people just drop trash as they walked. We shared a sundae at the Golden Horseshoe, pretty good.

Hit up BTMRR, about 10 minutes to get through the FP line.

We walked over through Fantasyland to get to ST, lots of people here too.

I stowed the camera so I could concentrate on the terrible rumbling in my gut. Something was not right, not even close. We made our way through the ST queue in about 20 minutes with a FP, no new scenes.

I asked my Son if he wanted to check out GG, knowing full well I would never be able to wait 60 plus minutes, my back couldnít take 60 minutes just upright. I lucked out when he said he didnít want to wait 60 minutes either, especially since the wait was actually listed at 120. So we headed back to ST to use our last FP.

It was about 7 now, my Son was getting hungry so I let him choose where we would go. He wanted to get a burrito at Rancho del Zocalo. Against my better judgment I gave in and we made our way to Frontierland. It took us about 30 minutes just to get inside and order. My Son got the burrito, I got the tostada. Not two bites into it, I was running, yes, running for the bathroom. I was lucky there was a bathroom that close, too bad there were 3 kids waiting to use the stalls. I will spare you all the details, but our evening at Dl was cut short once again.

Real culprit unknown, was it the burrito? Was it the wings? Not the wings, my Son had no problems with them. Might have been all the salsa on the burrito, but I doubt it. I usually am pretty liberal with salsa and have a pretty much cast iron gut when it comes to spicy, and that salsa was far from spicy. No cast iron gut today my friends, not today. Fortunately, whatever it was, it was through my system pretty quick. Felt ok the next morning.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:23 PM   #9
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Subscribing. Just found your trip report Chris. Love the photos as usual. Your eye for photography is wonderful. I need to work on the night photography too. I don't like bringing a tripod with me. Family doesn't care for it either!
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:51 PM   #10
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Thanks Mike, it is tough to take any decent night shots without a tripod. Even with one I found it pretty difficult.And like you say when you are there with the family, it can really put a damper on the traveling if you whip the tripod out a lot.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:01 AM   #11
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Day 4-Sunday October 14

Last day of the trip.

CHOC walk day, great event, wow, a lot of participants.

Was feeling like my normal self this morning, we even slept in a little because of the event. We ambled over the DL Hotel for breakfast at SH 55. A lot of people were lining up for Goofyís. We were a few minutes early, but were seated right away. Service and food is always good here, today was no exception.

My Son had the eggs benedict; I had the buttermilk stack, yum.

As we made our way through DTD we checked out all of the different teams doing the walk, pretty cool to see such a big turnout. We were held up at a few places as we waited for the walkers to go through.

Got to the esplanade about 9:10, thought we wouldnít have too much of a line on front of us since the gates wouldnít be open until 10. Wrong again. Other than seeing which way the people were facing it was pretty confusing, the people lining up for CA were all the way back to the DL gates. The people lined up for DL were all the way back to the CA gates. We faced towards DL.

We talked to an older couple from Australia while in line, real nice folks. They dad been at the parks for 10 days straight, telling us that it was pretty busy almost every day, except maybe Tuesday and Wednesday morning were nice and quiet.

My Sonís foot had been bothering him, forming a blister, so our first order of action was seeking out First Aid for a band-Aid. Fortunately they opened the gates at 9:35. Real nice CM in first aid, gave us a couple of band-aids and made sure we would hydrate during the day. Rope drop was set up at the Hub.

Right at 10 they dropped the ropes and the Hub emptied quick. We grabbed a FP for ST and made our way to Peter Pan. It took a full 40 minutes to get on the ride. I just love the shapes and angles of the buildings in Fantasyland.

My Son didnít want to stick around Fantasyland, it was severely packed already. We headed to BTMRR and basically walked on. Then we did it again 5 minutes later.

We grabbed a FP for BTMRR as we walked over to HM. HM was also basically a walk on.

It took us about ten minutes to get into Pirates. Crowds were making their way to NOS now an hour after park opening.

We got some FPs for BTMRR. I thought he would be tired of this ride and want to try something different by now, nope. We used a FP from earlier, short wait to get on.

We took a popcorn break. Didnít want to fill up since we were eating a late lunch/early dinner at Blue Bayou before we left for the airport. Made our way to ST to use a FP, contemplated getting another one but the return time was a little after I had planned to leave.

We spent some time in the shops on MS, looking to get something for my Wife and Daughter. They are so hard to shop for, so we just picked them up some small things, they can pick out some stuff in 6 weeks when we are back.
Crowds not as bad as yesterday this time, but not lean by any stretch of the imagination. We ducked into the MS Cinema to cool off and catch some old school toons.

We hopped on the Mark Twain a little after 1, not too many people joined us. I rather enjoy the slow movement along the water, watching all of the people go by.

We used the last of our FPs on BTMRR, back to back rides, short waits. We checked out just about every shop in NOS. Checked in early at BB to see about a table by the water. I overheard that they were not taking any walk-ups today, we waited about 20 minutes for our table.

Great service once again, food was good, not spectacular. We come for the ambience mainly, so if the food is good we are smiling big. My Son opted for the kids mac n cheese, I had the strip loin, which is really a slab of prime rib. Both pretty good. Our server told us about a special dessert, dark chocolate lava cake with pumpkin ice cream. We were intrigued, pretty sure neither of us has had pumpkin ice cream before. So of course we had to give it a go, pleasantly surprised.

We were full, took our time composing ourselves before we made it out of the park.

No issues dropping off the rental car or checking in for our flight. Last year we had so much candy we had to take some out of the checked in bag so it would make weight. Not this time. Still find it silly about the noise ordinance and throttling down once you hit a certain altitude.

Pretty sure I have written off any future Halloween parties, at least any which are on a Friday. Just didnít feel the same as the last couple of years.
We had a few bumps on the trip, just as most do. No game stoppers so, so all good. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend alone with my Son. He told me had a great time, the little hiccups were an afterthought at best for him, good.

See ALL of you at Thanksgiving, save us some turkey.
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