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Old 10-21-2012, 07:52 PM   #226
DaveinFallsChurch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuzu03 View Post
Wow, I LOVE all of your photos! I really need to go back to California now!!! It's been too many years and Emma hasn't ever been, soooooo...

Thanks for sharing your live TR and I look forward to seeing all of your pics and hearing about your trip in detail!!!!
Thanks! Will start posting a detailed TR here soon! I also need to start on my PTR for January as well.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:20 PM   #227
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Most Disappointing Ride: Matterhorn. I had such fond memories of this ride the last time I rode it which was 28 years ago. This time, I was too busy getting bruised up to enjoy it.
This is how I felt on Space this July.....it sure hurt alot less 20 years ago!

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Of course, there were some rides that made me feel a bit more awkward riding alone such as Snow White and Alice in Wonderland!


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Well, hopefully I can start writing the TR here soon!!
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:38 PM   #228
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This is how I felt on Space this July.....it sure hurt alot less 20 years ago!
I think the combination of having a backpack in front and me being in the backseat really made things worse. The guy sitting in front of me was not being rattled around as much.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:39 PM   #229
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Part I: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Ok, Here we go with my TR!

Tuesday, October 16th

I headed out to BWI Airport at 6:45am trying to beat the morning rush hour traffic. I didn’t want to get stuck on the beltway and miss my 9:30am flight. I had been anxious about my travel plans for the day mostly because I really wanted to spend a few hours in DCA and any delay could completely wash those plans out. The first leg of the trip was simply getting to the airport in time. Fortunately, there were no backups on the freeway and I was at the airport within an hour. I had fit everything I needed into a duffle bag and a backpack, so I had no luggage to check. After parking the car in the long term parking garage, I took the shuttle to the airport and got through TSA security uneventfully.

View of Terminal A at BWI - Southwest Airlines have become synonymous with Disney travel for me


A 5-hour flight with a three hour timezone change can get tricky in terms of planning out meals especially since there aren’t many options on board the plane. I picked up some breakfast from McDonalds in the terminal, temporarily becoming frustrated by the extremely slow pace one of the employees took in getting my soda ready. It’s not everyday that the food comes out first and then I have to wait another three minutes because the drink wasn’t ready at McDonalds. I got through those extra minutes by thinking about the friendly CMs at Disney and reminding myself that soon I will be at DLR.

At the gate, I saw one of my colleagues heading to the same conference in San Diego with her husband and her one year old daughter. We knew that we were on the same flight but I was assigned a far earlier boarding number under Southwest’s system so I got to board first. They were able to still get good seats but they volunteered not to sit next to me because they didn’t want their toddler daughter “bothering” me. I wouldn’t have minded at all – crying and temper tantrums usually don’t bother me on planes as I’ve learned to tune them out. Plus, I thought it would be far easier for them to have someone they know sit with them rather than a complete stranger. AND, it turned out for this particular flight, the couple that ended up sitting next to my window seat turned out to be far more distracting than a toddler. They were in their late 40s to early 50s and they were clearly in the earlier stages of dating based on the, ummmm, physical “closeness” they exhibited. I am not exaggerating when I say that they NEVER broke physical contact during the ENTIRE flight. And that included his hand a little too inside of her thigh if you ask me for public display. In any case, I tried my best to ignore the two love birds by watching a movie on my ipad and taking a short nap. The views from my window seat were great. Clear skies for the whole flight!



And as the captain made his overhead announcement that we were about to make our descent into San Diego, I looked out and I could see in the far distance, Los Angeles. I strained my eyes to see if I could find any structure that might belong to Disneyland, but I was probably being a bit too optimistic.

Our plane landed 10 minutes early! I was in good shape so far. I rushed out of the plane, headed for the exit of the airport to look for a cab.

San Diego Airport!


San Diego airport is a small airport relative to the size of the city it serves which meant that I was able to find a cab in less than 10 minutes after exiting the gates. The cab took me to the Amtrak Santa Fe Station in downtown San Diego.

View of San Diego downtown from my cab


I was going to take the Pacific Surfliner from SD to Anaheim starting on 1:40pm. I arrived at the station at 12:15am. Checked my Amtrak app on my iPhone and the train was still on schedule. There was a Starbucks across the street from the station where I sat down to get a quick bite of a sandwich and a cup of coffee. The weather was really warm. Anaheim was forecasted to be in the upper 80s for its high! After finishing my small lunch, I walked back over to the front of the station where there was a fountain. I sat by the benches and just took in the view and the sounds.

Santa Fe Station




The city’s trolley would pass through with its horns and bells every so often. And there were several families that were coming into the station. The station was beautiful. I could see the Surfliner parked on the far track. After taking a few snaps on my camera, I headed in to the restrooms to change into some shorts. I didn’t think I could make it much further in my jeans given how high the temperatures already were. Then I found a seat on one of the benches inside the station. A father and his 12 year old son were sitting behind me, tossing a football back and forth. Back at home, this may have bothered me as I watched the son almost careening straight into a woman walking by as he lunged for the ball. But my mind was already in a very relaxed and happy state that I was able to enjoy watching them.

Inside of Santa Fe Station


I had never taken a train before, so I wasn’t familiar at all with the boarding procedure. I had my e-ticket printed out. But I didn’t know when and where I was suppose to line up to board the train. I went up to the information kiosk inside the station to ask those questions, and the gentleman was very patient with my questions. About 10 minutes later, the line formed on the platform and there were of course signage indicating where to line up.

View of the Surfliner from where we lined up.


I purchased a business class ticket which in Amtrak terms means that you get a guaranteed seat. I guess if you have an economy ticket, and the train is packed, you could be standing for a good portion of the trip. I don’t think that was an issue given that I was traveling mid-day and San Diego is the southern starting point for this route. In any case, I still went with the business class just to ease my anxiety about trying something new. The station made an announcement to board, and we crossed the tracks to reach the Surfliner.

On our way to board the Surfliner!


I picked a seat on the left hand side of the car to make sure I would get a good seat for the coastal views. After the conductor made the final call, we were on our way. The ride was very smooth – I think I had expected a lot more clunks. Shows how little I know about modern rail. The two conductors for our car came by to scan my e-ticket. They placed a colored card on luggage rail right above me which I’m sure was coded to indicate which station I was getting off. Our car was fairly empty. Funny enough, the father and son who were playing football found a seat behind me. They chatted with a another group of tourists across the aisle. Turns out they were visiting from Seattle and they had been visiting SD to watch the Chargers’ Monday Night Football game, and now on their way to watch the Lakers play an exhibition game all in celebration of the kid’s birthday. Thought that was a very cool way to treat him for his birthday! The seats were very comfortable with PLENTY of leg room. For business class customers, they offered free snacks and beverages, including alcoholic drinks. I had a big afternoon and evening planned so passed on the drinks.

View of the seats on the Surfliner (I took this one on the return trip)


It only took about 15 minutes before the train made its way out to the coast and from there on, the views were gorgeous! The sights of surfers up and down the beach was just another reminder that I was finally in Southern California. The beach scene was so relaxing to look at. Even when we hit a foggy patch along the coastline, felt very serene and I just couldn’t take my eyes off the views for most of the trip.









Hitting the foggy coastline







When I wasn’t gazing out the window, I was using my iPad to do some last minute research and preparations for the late afternoon tour in DCA. The train had free wifi and even an electric outlet, so I recharged up my iphone and ipad. Looked up wait times posted on the MouseWait app. Checked the temperature again. Looked at my touring plan again which by this time I had pretty well memorized. Looking at the map for DCA. It appeared that the train would arrive on time at Anaheim Station around 3:40pm. So, feeling optimistic, I went ahead and thought about what I would like to squeeze in to my touring plans IF I found myself ahead of schedule. I decided to go for the Aladdin show and pulled up the showtimes to see where I could fit it in.

Next Up: The Long Awaited Visit to Radiator Springs!
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:14 PM   #230
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Great first post Dave!
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:48 PM   #231
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Great first post Dave!
Thanks Charity! More to come soon!
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:24 PM   #232
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Sounds like so far the trip was good...
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:54 AM   #233
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I would love to try a trip on the Pacific Surfliner one day soon! We went down to San Diego a few weeks ago to visit the Zoo and my son's gf told me about the train. She said it is so relaxing and you can't beat the view!

Thanks for sharing some great pics! So glad your TR got started
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:46 AM   #234
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Sounds like so far the trip was good...
Had a great time at DLR! Going through my pictures to make the next post.

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I would love to try a trip on the Pacific Surfliner one day soon! We went down to San Diego a few weeks ago to visit the Zoo and my son's gf told me about the train. She said it is so relaxing and you can't beat the view!

Thanks for sharing some great pics! So glad your TR got started
It was extemely relaxing and a great way to bookend a trip to DLR! I had read some complaints on other travel website message boards about rudeness of conductors, but all of the conductors I came across were extremely friendly.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:47 AM   #235
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Started a PTR for our Jaunary trip to WDW!
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:51 PM   #236
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What a beautiful way to get to Anaheim! Beautiful views of the coast. Looking forward to your time inside the parks!
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:04 PM   #237
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What a beautiful way to get to Anaheim! Beautiful views of the coast. Looking forward to your time inside the parks!
Shouldn't you be doing all things Disney at WDW instead of checking in on my measly TR? I'm happy that you did though. Next update will be tomorrow. Hope you're having a great time and can't wait to see some of your pics from your trip!
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #238
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Shouldn't you be doing all things Disney at WDW instead of checking in on my measly TR? I'm happy that you did though. Next update will be tomorrow. Hope you're having a great time and can't wait to see some of your pics from your trip!
We have nice looong breaks at the resort while DS naps for me to catch up on TRs!
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:24 PM   #239
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Getting my kicks on Route 66!

With the "perfect storm" or "Frankenstorm" bearing down on our region in the next couple of days, I suspect I won't be able to post more updates for awhile. So here's another post!

Tuesday October 16th

The level of excitement and anticipation went up another notch as the train began slowing down for the Anaheim Station and the announcement was made for the next stop. I grabbed my duffle bag and backpack, and headed down stairs. Chatted about the baseball playoffs briefly with the conductors who were manning the doors as the train pulled in to the station. I think the conversation started because the train station is right in front of the baseball stadium for the Angels. Once the doors opened, I stepped out and scurried over to the front of the station to look for a cab. As I approached the curbside, I spotted only one taxi waiting. There was also a woman who was walking a good 20-30 feet in front of me and clearly headed for the cab. Disappointment started to sink in as I realized I would have to call a cab over, and that would take some extra time  so much for Aladdin. The cab driver saw the look on my face and asked me where I was headed. I told him that I needed to get to the Disneyland park entrances. He told me he could take me there if the woman didnt mind sharing the cab. She said it would be fine, and I probably had a grin from ear to ear at that point. I hopped in and we were off. She was headed to the convention center so the driver decided to drop me off first. She and I chatted about our plans and she told me that she was attending a conference, then THE banquet in the parks afterwards. As the cab turned down Harbor Blvd, I was beyond ecstatic. Followed the beams of the monorail until we reached my drop off point. Paid off the cab with a very generous tip and then I was practically skipping my way towards the gates. Of course, I couldnt literally skip thanks to my heavy duffle bag, but you get the idea!

First stop was the bag check. For some reason, I had pictured that the lockers would be available before the bag check area, but this made more sense. So I plopped both backpack and duffle bag onto the table. I could see that the CM was not amused when I opened up my duffle bag which was packed with 5 days worth of clothing. I had to help her out a bit by moving the stuff around so that she could see the bottom of the bag. Probably the least friendliest CM I encountered for the whole trip, but hey, I understand. Its almost 4pm. Its been hot. And here comes this guest who brought bags as if he were planning a sleepover in the parks. Next up, ticketing. Bought a 2-day 1-park ticket. Then I found the locker area located on the far left of the DCA gates. I purchased a Large locker at the electronic kiosk to store my duffle bag. It looked a bit questionable whether the bag would fit. But after some cramming, pushing, and squeezing, it was in! I headed to the gates for DCA. Instinctively, I looked for the slot to slip my ticket into and the fingerprint scanner lol. The CM took my ticket, scanned the code, and I was in!!

I took a deep breath in as I entered DCA. The red Buena Vista trolley was parked right there welcoming me to the park I had never set foot on before.

Beckoning me for a ride but I had my mind set on Carsland!



I wanted to take the scene in but my feet had other ideas as I found myself at a brisker pace. First I needed to grab FPs for ToT. The streets of Buena Vista were roped off for the parade.



So I ended up making my way to ToT through A Bugs Land which turned out to be a very pleasant diversion. None of the rides were on my to-do list since they are primarily designed for younger children. But I thought the theming was excellent.

I think Dot is spying on me.



Flick manning the gates.



One of my favorites were the theming for the streetlights.



Thought the watermelon was hilarious. Hmmm, I wonder who could have taken such a big bite of it? A very hungry caterpillar I suppose



And I wouldnt have minded to have taken a ride in one of these with my kids although Im still not sure how this is aerodynamically possible!



The passageways were fairly crowded but easily maneuverable since I was walking solo without a stroller. After getting my FP, I backtracked again through A Bugs Land towards Carsland! As I approached the entrance for Carsland, I got a good view of Maters Jamboree.



I was completely mesmerized by Carsland. Ive seen many pictures but it still didnt prepare me for what I was seeing. Every detail added to the overall effect of being immersed in the movie world. The single traffic light continuously blinking yellow, the souvenir shop, the leaning tower of tires! And Stanleys statue with the small fountain! Well except this area had been turned into a stroller parking lot due to its proximity to the entrance to Radiator Springs Racers. Thats no way to honor the towns founder!













After admiring Stanleys shiny golden tooth for a couple of minutes, I made my way over to the single rider line for RSR.



The good part about using the single rider line was that the wait was only about 25 minutes. The bad part was that I was missing out on some of the theming and decorations that were only available on the stand by queue. Dont get me wrong  25 minutes is nothing to complain about especially for this popular ride!



I was assigned to a car with family of 5 which included a 4 year old boy who was celebrating his birthday. I sat in the back row with his two aunts so couldnt see the reactions on the little guy. One of the aunts asked if I had been on this ride before, and I excitedly told her it was my first time. She told me that they were trying to get her nephew to try Splash Mountain and this ride was sort of a warm-up. I wished him a happy birthday as the our car started making its way out towards the tracks. Not knowing how fast or rough the ride would be, I had tucked my camera away in my backpack, but looking back I could have easily taken some good pictures right before our car lined up at the starting line for the race. Not sure if the waterfall was out of commission as we crossed the outdoor bridge  felt like there should have been a waterfall there but it was dry. Other than that, the rest of the ride was a hoot. The first half, things were pretty slow with the various Cars characters approaching us to prep us for the race. The race part was definitely the highlight of the ride as we lined up side by side with another car with a set of guests riding it. Our car lost the race, but I dont think anybody in our car noticed. As I was getting out of the car, I noticed the birthday boy appearing a little shell shocked. He had the same look our DD had when she went on Test Track at WDW. His mom decided that Splash Mountain was probably not going to happen.

The views along the exit path from the ride was equally pleasing to the eye. I waited around to see a pair of cars speed around the curve.



After I exited the ride, I took the path that wraps around RSR towards Paradise Pier. I was able to take in the scenery that had previously zoomed by in a blur while on the ride. And I loved how the setting sunlight accentuated the orange and brown colors of the canyon. It looked really good.













Next Up: A visit to another dimension followed by Screamin
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:16 AM   #240
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Carsland just looks so amazing! Disney really knows how to do it, don't they?!
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