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Old 02-21-2006, 03:16 AM   #1
Vexorg
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Things to Do in Disneyland When You're Dead (My Trip Report, Day 3, 4 and conclusion)

Previously on Vexorg’s trip report, a not-so-torrential downpour threatened to wash the Disney magic away. Braving Many Misadventures on Winnie the Pooh and the Fabulous Five-Minute Fantasmic (perfect for when you really need to go ride the Haunted Mansion again,) our hero witnessed the spectacle of the rarely seen (for a good reason) Mickey’s Rainy Day Cavalcade Parade. What adventures await on our last day of Disney? Will our hero’s ill-fated quest for cash and fabulous prizes result in nationally televised tragedy? Find out the thrilling conclusion to Vexorg's Disney adventure as we explore…

Things to Do in Disneyland When Your Dead
-- And --
The Guy Who Came On Down From the Cold

Previous days:
Day 1: Keeping the Magic to Myself
Day 2: The Soggiest Place on Earth

Day 3: Sunday, January 15th 2006

To be honest, I'm pretty sure I wasn't actually dead (I can't think of a better post title right now though, so that'll have to do) but two previous days of constant walking in the parks (combined with the lack of places to sit down due to the rain) and a less-than-great night's sleep (the bed was OK, I was about a pillow or two short though) had left me a little bit groggy and more than a little sore throughout the day. The system that had brought yesterday's rain seemed to have disappeared as quickly as it came, and we woke up without a cloud in the sky. We were up by about 8am, but nobody seemed to be in a real hurry to get into the park. In fact, our first order of business was to get in the van and make a trip out to the Target on Harbor Boulevard for some T-shirts to apply the customary "suck up to Bob Barker" iron-ons to for tomorrow. I wasn't entirely certain of the battery situation for my digital camera, so I picked up an extra pack of batteries for backup (I ended up never using them.) After this, we picked up a quick breakfast at the McDonalds on Harbor before returning to the hotel to prepare to enter the parks.

We arrived at DCA via the Grand Californian entrance around 9:30 or so. We were with my Grandma now, who at age 82 is a bit slow and not much of a thrillseeker. Since I hadn't had much opportunity to talk with her so far, I decided to sit with her and talk for a while while the others rode the Grizzly River Run. After this, we all went over to Soarin', which was a walk on at this point (which thoroughly impressed everyone, even though by now I had been on it several times.) After this, my Grandma decided to go off on her own, while the rest of us headed over toward the Tower of Terror. I decided to skip this one as well, as did my Grandma's friend. We waited outside while the others waited in line. A number of characters passed by during this time (I saw Chicken Little and Sullivan, and a couple of others I can't immediately recall. I suspect I'll probably not see a Chicken Little character the next time I make the trip down to Disney...) After they got off the ToT, I decided to break off from the group to go take some pictures in the animation building (and try to decide if I really wanted to spend $550 on an animation cel... I decided to pass.) After this, I wandered through the park for a while, somehow taking a wrong turn and ending up in A Bug's Land. I'm prety sure that by riding the Chew-Chew Train I didn't help the situation any. The CMs running the ride informed us, in an appropriately sarcastic tone, that we had just experienced the most exciting ride in the park. I see a rewarding future on the Jungle Cruise for them...

After I found my way out of A Bug's Land, I went over toward Paradise Pier, where I eventually caught up to the others at the Maliboomer. At this point it was time to think about lunch. We ended up ordering way too much food from the Strips Dips and Chips stand on PP (pretty good stuff actually.) After this, we headed back over to Soarin', where we met my Grandma again. She wanted to go on another ride on this, but by now the line was 45 minutes, not something she would be able to handle at this point. My mom asked the CM what we could do about this, and we were told she could sit on a nearby bench and join us when we got inside the building. We decided this was acceptible, and began to head over to the line. It was at this point that another CM (the supervisor, I think) came over, asked how many people we had with us, and proceeded to lead our group directly to the front of the line. I don't know exactly who was in charge that day, but major kudos to the CMs for that one. After this, my Grandma prepared to head back to the hotel, but not before somehow being convinced to take a ride on GRR! I have absolutely no idea how that happened, but I stayed behind mostly to take pictures to prove that it actually happened.

After GRR, I wanted to head over to DL to take more pictures while the others went back toward Paradise Pier (I later heard that one of my aunts absolutely freaked out on one of the swinging gondolas on the Sun Wheel.) Upon entering Disneyland again, I decided to take a round trip on the railroad. When I got off of this, it was just in time to grab a spot on Main Street for the parade (the real one this time. Fortunately, it appears that they don't have a Mickey's Sunny Day Cavalcade prepared for such occasions...) The parade was quite impressive, with the highlights being the Alice in Wonderland float with the trampoline in the center and the dancing flowers (where do I get a pair of those jump shoes they use?) I took quite a few pictures (the costumed CMs were very cooperative with this) and found the parade to be a lot better than the one I saw yesterday. By the way, as a relatively normal, well-adjusted single male, is it OK if I happen to think that Tinkerbell is cute?

After the parade, I wandered around the park for a while to take pictures. The lines for most of the rides were fairly long, and I didn't exactly feel like waiting in any of them. As the sun went down, the temperature went down with it, and it started to get a bit cold for my liking. I decided to take a trip on the Mark Twain to get a few more pictures before returning to the hotel o change clothes, but when the Columbia got held up in the dock for some reason, I decided to just head back, which I did via the monorail (thank goodness for the hotel guest express line, the regular line was pretty long at this point.) I got back to the hotel and ended up unexpectedly zonking out for about an hour (which probably did me some good, given the relative lack of sleep over the past couple of days.) Returning to the land of the living, I changed clothes and returned to Disneyland by monorail. When I got back, I caught up with the others in Adventureland, at which point we went for one last ride on PotC (after which I picked up a T-shirt from the Pirates gift shop) before staking out a spot for Fantasmic. There was still 45 minutes or so before the show, and I needed to pick up a postcard or two, so while the others waited I headed over to some of the gift shops on Main Street. Upon returning, my Mom decided that she was just going to head back to the hotel, since tomorrow was going to be an early day. This time, they actually managed to get all the way through Fantasmic (very cool), but before the show warned that they may not be able to run the fireworks show due to wind conditions. About 10 minutes after the end of Fantasmic, they confirmed this, much to the chagrin of the guests (at least I got to see it once on my first day.) Those of us remaining decided that heading back to the hotel was probably not a bad idea at this point. We wandered through the Main Street gift shops on the way to the exit, and through the World of Disney store in DTD (I picked up the "Then, Now and Forever" book here, a very interesting read) before retiring to the hotel for a short Winter's nap, bringing to a conclusion the Disney portion of my trip. I think at this point I was ready to leave and not sure if I would have been able to handle another day of Disneyland, but I realize that there's a lot of stuff that I missed on this trip, which should leave plenty to do for the next trip.
----

Day 4: Monday, January 16th, 2006 - The Price is Right, going home

As mentioned earlier, yesterday was the end of the Disney portion of the trip, and today we would be returning home. Before doing so, the plan was to go up to CBS Television City in Hollywood in order to watch a taping of The Price is Right, a show which I have spent many an hour watching over the years, but my job situation hasn't left much opportunity to watch it much in the last several years. In the course of preparing for the trip, I had spent a fair amount of time doing some research on the show (golden-road.net is a very good site for everything TPIR, and has tons of backstage pictures and daily show summaries,) and found that little has changed over the years anyway. Following the taping at 1:15pm, there would be a couple of hours to kill before it came time to catch a 6:30 flight from LAX back to Seattle.

The alarm on my PPC woke us up at 4:00 in the morning (I actually figured out how to set it correctly this time.) It took us roughly an hour to get everything packed back up, and we were checking out of the hotel by about 5:15. The drive from Disneyland up to CBS Television City took roughly 45 minutes, and we got there at roughly 6. At this time, people are lined up on the sidewalk outside the studio waiting for order of arrival numbers to be assigned. The numbers we got were in roughly the 290 range (the studio has a seating capacity of 325, give or take a few depending on needs for the taping.) After we got these numbers, we were told to be back by around 7:30 for priority numbers (the numbers which actually determine who is admitted to the taping) After getting these, we found a nearby McDonald's for some breakfast (I didn't particularly feel like eating anything there at that time, so I just had some orange juice) and afterward returned to the studio. Although the sun was out, it was still rather cold outside, and since the benches where people wait outside the studio are in the shade, it was going to be cold for quite a while. There are some propane heaters provided in the line, but these are somewhat sparse. Since my Grandma and her friend were going to be driving home after the show, they drove up in their own car, which had a handicapped parking placard. We parked their car in the parking garage at the nearby mall (where people normally park for TPIR tapings, then used the placard on the van in order to be able to park in the CBS lot. Upon returning, we lined up according to the assigned order of arrival numbers.

Although the order of arrival numbers show where you are in line, they don't necessarily guarantee admittance into the show, because any large groups of 15 or more are given first priority for any taping, followed by those in line. It was for this reason that all of the priority numbers for the morning taping (The show is taped four days a week, with two episodes taped on Mondays) were gone quickly, and by the time they got to us we had numbers 35-41 in the standby line. After this, we didn't have to be back to the line until 10:30 (people with priority numbers have to be there earlier, standby numbers can show up later.) This gave us some time to run a couple of errands and grab some pastries from a neaby Whole Foods Market. The fact that we had the handicapped placard to park in the CBS lot meant we could also wait in the van with the heat on until the time for the standby line arrived. Due to our position, I had doubts that we were going to make it into the first taping (the other taping would be too late for us.) The number of no-shows in the large groups, combined with one person who got a whole group kicked out for violating the strictly enforced "no cameras allowed" policy (they need to equip the pages with keychains that play the "you lose" horns for such occasions) meant that we just barely managed to get everyone in for the 1:15 taping (I ended up with priority number 326 out of a total of 330 allowed into the studio. This meant that we had some time to wait while the pages came around to check IDs (a social security number is required in order to be awarded prizes if you get on) and to write the names on the famous yellow name tags. They do have a small concession stand available for the people in line (I don't know exactly what they have there, I didn't get a close look) and a small gift shop that sells various TPIR and other CBS souvenirs. Eventually, you will be led from the benches to another area nearby where some of the producers will do brief contestant interviews to decide which audience members will be called down to contestant's row. Since we were right near the end of the line, we were among the last to be interviewed. There is another set of benches right next to the studio entrance where people would wait to get into the studio, but we entered directly into the studio.

The Bob Barker Studio (as it was renamed on the occasion of the 5,000th show) turned out to be a lot smaller than I imagined it to be. The perceived size of the studio as seen on TV is largely the result of camera angles. We were in the back of the studio, and it was somewhat difficult to see some of the action on stage. Just before the beginning of the show, Rich Fields (the announcer) came out to warm up the crowd in preparation for the "come on down" sequence and Bob Barker's entrance. It still seems a little weird to have him as the announcer (back when I watched the show on a regular basis Rod Roddy was still the one at the podium) but he seems to do a good job with it. When they film the show, they do it in "real time" (which means that they treat the taping as though it was happening live, right down to the commercial breaks,) and during the breaks Bob and Rich interact with the audience (and presumably Bob answers the same questions he's been getting for years.) Naturally, I didn't get picked, but I wasn't really expecting to anyway. To be honest, I don't think the prizes offered were really all that exciting (after all, when all is said and done, we're talking about what basically amounts to just another episode of a long running daytime TV gameshow.) Even so, I enjoyed it, and it's a relatively inexpensive (albeit time consuming and sleep depriving) thing to do when you're in the area if you have either an all-adult group or other arrangements for the kids. Just make sure you get there early enough if you want to get in (I've heard that there are hotels nearby that actually do a nightly presentation on how to get on the show, and will do wake up calls when it's time to get in line. The really dedicated TPIR fans will actually camp out in front of CBS Television City though. I seriously doubt I'd ever be that crazy...)

Anyway, it was about 2:15 when Bob sent us off with the usual reminder to help control the pet population, which gave us a couple of hours to kill. We dropped my Grandma and her friend off at their car and parted company, then we went off in search of an In 'N Out Burger. This resulted in a sightseeing drive through Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We went down Rodeo Drive, and my aunt claimed to recognize some celebrities, but I'm the type of person who could be in a room packed with movie stars and wouldn't recognize any of them. I did recognize the fancy cars though... This was the day of the Golden Globe Award ceremony, and as we drove near the Beverly Hilton we saw quite a few Limos in the area. The traffic in the area was predictably horrendous (not surprising, the whole place seems to be one endless trainwreck these days...) and we eventually slogged our way through stop-and-go freeway traffic to an In 'N Out Burger near the airport. Having never had one before, I was interested to know what all the fuss was about (To be honest, I still don't know. The burger was pretty good, as were the fries, but nothing that I'd ever go out of my way for. The shake, on the other hand, was horrible. I think I'll just stick with Burgermaster up here in the Seattle area.) Once we finished our food, it was time to drop off the rental car and head for the airport to catch our respective flights home. The trip back up was uneventful, other than some weather issues that delayed the landing in Seattle for a little while, and another delay at the baggage claim.

This concludes the trip report. I'll add a few general thoughts and tips later on, as well as possibly a few pictures.

Last edited by Vexorg; 02-27-2006 at 03:46 AM. Reason: Added day 4
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Old 02-21-2006, 07:13 PM   #2
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love it love it!!! cant wait for day 4
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Old 02-26-2006, 11:55 PM   #3
Vexorg
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Day 4 has just been added to the post above. I'll probably add some closing thoughts (and maybe some photos) later.
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Old 02-27-2006, 10:26 PM   #4
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Enjoyed your reports !
BTW.....did I ever mention I won a sailboat and a car on TPIR? Really.
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:29 AM   #5
Vexorg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy from Boise
Enjoyed your reports !
BTW.....did I ever mention I won a sailboat and a car on TPIR? Really.
Do tell... Even though I didn't get on (and to be honest, I haven't even seen the episode yet, it aired on January 31st) it was still a lot of fun, and definitely something I'd consider doing again (Hopefully I'll get another chance to do so while Bob Barker is still around...) My mom and the two aunts I was with on this trip actually managed to get on Family Feud a few years ago, along with their brother and my late grandmother. They made it to the Fast Money round, but didn't win the $10,000.
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Old 02-28-2006, 12:51 PM   #6
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now we just need a secret handshake or sign...
...because I'm special like that
 
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I really loved your tr...it made me laugh tons....thanks for doing one
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