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Old 06-15-2013, 12:59 AM   #151
emmysmommy
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You never let me down Mr. DDW! You have the answers! I've been watching the Behind the Scenes of Disneyland today since you have me thinking.... There's so much I don't know.

I'm looking forward to your next update.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:54 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by awfullybigadventure View Post
Wow! I have no idea DL's Fantasyland had all those rides! I really must go now!
I know, it's amazing how much DL packed into a relatively small land! That's a pretty common theme throughout DL - the lands are smaller than their respective counterparts in MK, yet they still feel like they have more to see and explore.

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Originally Posted by emmysmommy View Post
You never let me down Mr. DDW! You have the answers! I've been watching the Behind the Scenes of Disneyland today since you have me thinking.... There's so much I don't know.

I'm looking forward to your next update.
There's always so much stuff to learn about all the Disney parks - I wish I could be this committed to non-Disney information! The next update is coming up soon, and it's full of information (but not necessarily happy info).
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Old 06-15-2013, 02:08 AM   #153
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Toontown and Tomorrowland

Nestled behind DL's Fantasyland is another land that MK doesn't have: Mickey's Toontown. Many of you might remember that MK had a Toontown of its own (Mickey's Toontown Fair) until February 2011. However, this land never compared favorably to DL's Toontown. When MK's version opened in 1988 (as Mickey's Birthdayland), it was intended to be temporary, and it always looked that way (especially in comparison to MK's six well-established lands).



DL's Toontown, on the other hand, definitely feels like it was built to last.



The star attraction here is a wild and crazy dark ride, Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin. It's not one of my favorites, but it's still something substantial that you can only find at DL (at least when ignoring the international parks).



That's all I've got for Toontown. I didn't spend much time here, but I definitely believe DL's Toontown does its job extremely well.

And that brings me to Tomorrowland, the last land that I want to discuss in-depth. Between DL's and MK's Tomorrowlands, it's hard for me to pick a favorite...because I kind of dislike both!

Tomorrowland has always been a struggle to maintain due to its concept. It originally represented Walt's vision for the future, but the decision was made to keep updating it so the land wouldn't feel like "Yesterdayland". DL's Tomorrowland received major refurbishments in 1967 and 1998, while MK's Tomorrowland received its major refurbishment in 1994.

Let's start with MK. MK's Tomorrowland had a lot of things going for it, and that's because the 1994 refurbishment was great. This refurb changed MK's Tomorrowland into "the future that never was", a vibrant inter-galactic community inspired by science fiction writers such as Buck Rogers. Tying Tomorrowland together was the TTA, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (aka the PeopleMover), which provided narration telling you where you were (such as the Interplanetary Convention Center or Rockettower Plaza). The attractions were also somewhat unexpected, such as the Timekeeper and the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter (perhaps the scariest attraction ever in MK).

The PeopleMover is still a great place to relax and enjoy the view.



You can even see Cinderella Castle from it!



The 1994 theming of Tomorrowland still exists throughout the land. I love it, and I wish all of Tomorrowland shared this aesthetic.



Eventually, the 1994 theme was diluted. More and more Disney/Pixar toons were added (Buzz Lightyear, Stitch, Monsters Inc., etc). For me, all of these toons take away from Tomorrowland's carefully-crafted theme, with the biggest offender being Stitch.

You see, I loved the attraction that Stitch replaced (Alien Encounter). It absolutely terrified me when I was 7 years old, but three years later it was the coolest thing (complete with marvelous special effects and a captivating story - a perfect fit for Tomorrowland). Stitch does nothing for me at all, and I think he ruined a unique and suspenseful MK attraction.



Then there's Space Mountain. I love Space Mountain a lot, but riding the Disneyland version in '08 largely ruined Florida's for me. MK's coaster is so rough, I'm always worried that the ride will give me whiplash. They could've fixed that by fully replacing the track (DL did this for Space Mountain from 2003-2005, and they're currently doing it for Big Thunder Mountain), but instead, MK's 9-month update focused largely on the queue area (they added simple video games to the queue - yay?).

On the bright side, I've always liked this retro Starport sign that was installed with the 2009 refurbishment.



Another bonus for MK's Tomorrowland is that Astro Orbitor is actually elevated. You'll see Disneyland's version shortly.



Overall, MK's Tomorrowland has quite a few flaws. Space Mountain has a great track layout, but the refurbishment was underwhelming compared to DL's. The 'toons' in the land somewhat bother me, especially Stitch. Carousel of Progress needs an update badly (the last scene is so outdated), and finally, the speedway area is ugly and not very futuristic. The positives, though, are the PeopleMover and elevated Astro Orbitor.

And that brings me to Disneyland. Disneyland's rocket spinner was originally elevated (just like MK's), but that changed with the 1998 update of Tomorrowland. Instead, Astro Orbitor was moved to the land's entrance, so it's quite visible from the hub.



That picture was from our first trip, and apparently the Astro Orbitor has been repainted since then (moving away from the bronze color scheme that dominated Tomorrowland in 1998; even Space Mountain was painted bronze). Still, I'm not a fan of Astro Orbitor's location, since I think it loses something by being placed at ground-level.

So what took Astro Orbitor's place in the center of Tomorrowland? It's this unusual icon called "the Observatron". Personally, I'd rather have Astro Orbitor back up there - I rarely saw this thing moving or doing anything interesting, and I think Tomorrowland could use some more kinetic energy.



Speaking of kinetic energy, guess which classic Tomorrowland attraction is missing from DL? It's...the PeopleMover! DL's PeopleMover is another casualty of the 1998 renovation. It was replaced with a cheaply made thrill ride that was constantly closed due to technical difficulties - it closed after about 2 years, leaving the former PeopleMover track empty. You can still see parts of the track across the land - it's so sad. Videos of this former attraction are available online - it's called Rocket Rods.

Fortunately, DL's Tomorrowland is full of kinetic energy in other ways. The Disneyland Railroad stops here, as does the Disneyland Monorail. You can also see the Autopia (DL's speedway) and the Finding Nemo submarines traveling nearby. Even the Matterhorn is visible from TL (as you can see in the Observatron photo).



Like the toons in MK's Tomorrowland, I don't think Nemo is a great fit. That said, at least the submarines are still operational here! (I'm not a huge fan of the attraction - it feels a bit too long, IMO, but it would be weird to see it removed permanently.)



Nemo isn't the only strange character you'll find in Tomorrowland - the land is also home to Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Captain EO, and (temporarily) an Iron Man exhibit in Innoventions! It might work better if there were more visual elements tying the whole land together, such as this mural.



That brings me to my favorite part of Tomorrowland (on either coast) - DL's Space Mountain. I just love this ride. It's not as thrilling as WDW's, but I think the ride is better in every other way.



The track is smoother. The special effects are better (such as the re-entry tunnel). The ride has a popular Halloween overlay (you know, those magical things that Disneyland always gets but WDW never gets ). Most important, though, is the on-board soundtrack. It was composed by Michael Giacchino, who's also responsible for the soundtracks of The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible III, Ratatouille, Up, and several other blockbusters and TV shows. The soundtrack is phenomenal, and it's perfectly synched to the ride (it's very reminiscent of The Incredibles!). If you want to check it out, click here.

This pic was taken from the queue in the loading area - take a look at the speakers surrounding each seat!



Space Mountain is the best part of Tomorrowland for me. In fact, I'd say DL's Tomorrowland has a stronger set of attractions than MK's. Plus, it's so cool that the monorail actually boards here and takes you directly to Downtown Disney! (If you want to ride from DTD to Tomorrowland, you'll need a valid park ticket.)



So why is it hard for me to say that DL has the winning Tomorrowland? Because I can't get over the flaws it has: the absent PeopleMover, the ground-level Astro Orbitor at the land's entrance, and (most importantly) the lack of visual cohesion. None of the other lands at DL have this problem, which is why it makes Tomorrowland stand out. On the other hand, MK's 1994 aesthetic is actually pretty cool, but I wish the land lived up to its potential with a stronger set of attractions (Stitch and Monsters Inc. don't really cut it, IMO).

Perhaps Tomorrowland will be getting some help pretty soon. I've read rumors of major enhancements coming to DL's Tomorrowland - perhaps an Iron Man attraction, or something Tron-related? If any of this materializes, then I think DL would definitely have the stronger land. Now if only they could bring back the PeopleMover...
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:01 AM   #154
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I'm on the same page as you with Tomorrowland! How is Stitch or Monsters Inc Tomorrowland at MK? And why is Nemo and Autopia in Tomorrowland at DL? (I agree that Nemo fit perfectly for the space and the use of the submarines but still...) My thoughts mirror yours. No cohesiveness, but rather a bit confusing with the selection of attractions for each land. I do love the People Mover at MK though!

The Innoventions pavilion at DL has had some great futuristic activities but then it will throw something in there that is purely sponsor pandering like the lame video games they had awhile back!
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:47 PM   #155
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I'm on the same page as you with Tomorrowland! How is Stitch or Monsters Inc Tomorrowland at MK? And why is Nemo and Autopia in Tomorrowland at DL? (I agree that Nemo fit perfectly for the space and the use of the submarines but still...) My thoughts mirror yours. No cohesiveness, but rather a bit confusing with the selection of attractions for each land. I do love the People Mover at MK though!

The Innoventions pavilion at DL has had some great futuristic activities but then it will throw something in there that is purely sponsor pandering like the lame video games they had awhile back!
I'm so glad you understand where I'm coming from regarding Tomorrowland. It's not that I didn't have fun there - it's just that Tomorrowland is below par when compared to DL's other amazing lands (such as Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, and Main Street).

In a way, DL's Tomorrowland reminds me of the old DCA. It has lots of strong attractions, but the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Some cosmetic updates (and a PeopleMover!) would go a long way in tying the land together - and I wouldn't mind if DL lost Innoventions in exchange for something else.
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:08 PM   #156
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While it would be nice to have more cohesive external architecture/design elements to visually tie in the 1950s vision-of-tomorrow look, I'll disagree as to the appropriateness of the various attractions. Unless you are going to create a separate 'Movie-tie-in Land', Buzz, Monsters Inc, & Stitch do belong in Tomorrowland. Technology moves so fast that without massive annual refurbs Tomorrowland can't offer multiple attractions with new/emerging technology. But one of the great remaining unknowns for the future is going to be the interaction between humans and alien civilizations, whether from other worlds (Buzz, Stitch) or other dimensions (Monsters). I have no intention of ever doing the current Stitch attraction, but I can't say that it doesn't meet the Tomorrowland theme criteria.

Autopia, of course, was part of Walt's early vision. When he was creating the original DL the concept of children being allowed to independently drive motor-powered vehicles was VERY futuristic. ESPECIALLY before they created the middle guide rail system! It would fit better in the current Tomorrowland if its design elements blended better; cars that look more like yesterday's idea of the future or personal rockets or something and a racetrack that was less Nascar and more Galactic. And whether we like it or not, the darned thing is wildly popular; kids will stand in line for hours to ride it despite the heat and the noise and the smells. Or maybe because of them.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:39 PM   #157
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While it would be nice to have more cohesive external architecture/design elements to visually tie in the 1950s vision-of-tomorrow look, I'll disagree as to the appropriateness of the various attractions. Unless you are going to create a separate 'Movie-tie-in Land', Buzz, Monsters Inc, & Stitch do belong in Tomorrowland. Technology moves so fast that without massive annual refurbs Tomorrowland can't offer multiple attractions with new/emerging technology. But one of the great remaining unknowns for the future is going to be the interaction between humans and alien civilizations, whether from other worlds (Buzz, Stitch) or other dimensions (Monsters). I have no intention of ever doing the current Stitch attraction, but I can't say that it doesn't meet the Tomorrowland theme criteria.

Autopia, of course, was part of Walt's early vision. When he was creating the original DL the concept of children being allowed to independently drive motor-powered vehicles was VERY futuristic. ESPECIALLY before they created the middle guide rail system! It would fit better in the current Tomorrowland if its design elements blended better; cars that look more like yesterday's idea of the future or personal rockets or something and a racetrack that was less Nascar and more Galactic. And whether we like it or not, the darned thing is wildly popular; kids will stand in line for hours to ride it despite the heat and the noise and the smells. Or maybe because of them.
I can see why the toons are in Tomorrowland, but I still don't like all of them. Buzz is the one that I think works best, since his attraction has that nostalgic sci-fi vibe that Tomorrowland currently embodies. The Monsters show could be in Pixar Place at DHS, but at least it has an 'alternate energy' storyline that's somewhat futuristic. Stitch is just a sanitized version of Alien Encounter that was supposed to capitalize on Stitch's popularity, except the attraction lost its punch and wow factor as a result (just because they can do a character overlay, doesn't mean they should). And if Alien Encounter had to go (for being too intense), it could've been moved to DHS (as a sci-fi/horror/special effects experience). Nemo is too present-day to be in Tomorrowland, but (as previously acknowledged) at least it kept the submarines alive for a few more years. Ironically, Wall-E would be a great fit - why doesn't he have a substantial presence in the parks yet?

Tomorrowland is never going to keep up with cutting-edge technology; not even Future World at Epcot can keep up. But Disney had found a great solution with the "future that never was" that inspired MK's Tomorrowland redo. They could've kept things retro-futuristic, based on an idealized version of the future that we know won't ever exist. Instead, Tomorrowland ended up getting diluted with present-day characters. That's not changing - I just wish TL had a unifying look to tie the whole land together. This is a bigger problem at DL than MK - DL's Tomorrowland is full of clashing styles (and the lifeless PeopleMover track is a constant downer), whereas the other lands in the park appear more polished and unified. It only stands out because the other lands in the park were such a pleasure to stroll through.

Personally, I have no major issues with DL's Autopia. It's one of those attractions that makes sense for nostalgia's sake - plus, it has an interesting track layout that winds throughout the land (passing sights such as the futuristic-looking monorail). MK's Speedway (with its Nascar theme) strikes me as the bigger problem, but I'm definitely not arguing its popularity.

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Old 06-15-2013, 05:14 PM   #158
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Jolly Holiday Bakery & The Matterhorn

After circling the park, we finally made our way back to Main Street.



My mom still wanted to get a dessert somewhere, so her eyes lit up when she saw this "bakery" sign from across the hub.



It's a Jolly Holiday (bakery) with Mary! Yep, Main Street has a Mary Poppins bakery, right where Crystal Palace would be located in the Magic Kingdom. I went in to find something my mom would like, while she enjoyed this view from the outdoor seating area:



Inside, I waited in the queue and enjoyed the various Mary Poppins details...



Here's the AllEars menu. This place offers sandwiches, salads, soups, and pastries (several of which are available at other DL locations), but I wanted to pick out something unique. As soon as I saw it, I knew what to get...



Behold, the Matterhorn Macaroon! This coconut confection is an impressive, mountain-shaped mound of flaky, buttery goodness. Complete with a snowcapped peak that seemed to be made of white chocolate (with extra coconut flakes to finish it off), this is another item that I regret not ordering for myself. Since my mom loved the pure coconut part but was less enthusiastic about the white chocolate coating, that meant I got to taste some. It was great.

This seems like a good time to discuss the Matterhorn a bit more. Originally opened in 1959, this was the first full-length steel roller coaster ever built.



The Matterhorn's age is impressive, but you can definitely feel it on the ride. This thing jerks you around even more than WDW's Space Mountain - it's more painful than thrilling, IMO. Also, I didn't like the seating layout. This ride received new bobsleds just last year, and I thought that would be a good thing. It turns out that the new bobsleds are similar to WDW's Space Mountain rockets, except the seating was even less comfortable to me. I'm not even that tall (5'10'' or 5'11''), but I think this ride would be a nightmare for people with long legs.

So for me, the Matterhorn is nicer to look at than to ride. But it's a major part of Disneyland's history (and roller coaster history in general), so I still appreciate it.

Plus, the mountain is full of secrets. Apparently there was (is?) a small basketball court inside for certain cast members! Also (this isn't a secret, but it's still pretty cool) do you see anything interesting in this Matterhorn pic?



Mountain climbers can frequently be seen scaling the Matterhorn!



Overall, we had a great time exploring Disneyland Park. The park has so many great things you can't find in MK or WDW, from attractions (Space Mountain with on-board audio, full-length Pirates, Indiana Jones Adventure, Matterhorn, Mr. Toad, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Roger Rabbit, etc) to food (such as Bengal Barbecue skewers, Rancho del Zocalo, Monte Cristo sandwiches, and the Matterhorn Macaroon!). The park might not be perfect, but it's pretty close to it. And as Walt once said, "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."



Next up - we head to DCA for a bite!
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:17 PM   #159
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Just caught up on your review! Just got back from Hawaii, catching up on dis!
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:54 PM   #160
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Just catching up. I missed a lot of great updates, and I also love the non-food pics but you have made me very, very homesick. I'm really looking forward to a trip home at Christmas.

I love that Monte Cristo sandwich you had (last trip?) but you ate it wrong! You're supposed to share the sandwich and a basket of pommes frittes. Then we can talk about decadent!

I'm actually not a fan of the Hungry Bear. I was as a child, but the last time I went I didn't care for my burger so now I tend to go for the gumbo in NOS or tomato soup and grilled cheese at Jolly Holiday. That Matterhorn macaroon looks awesome. I may have to try that!

Speaking of the Matterhorn, I'd hate for them to take it out. We always played "I spy the Matterhorn" on our trips to DL growing up. But it is the jerkiest ride ever. Every time I ride it I say "never again"- until some visiting friend wants to go and give it another try.

I have never eaten at Rancho del Zocalo since I eat Mexican food all the time at home, but I may give it a try since I've seen so many positive reviews on the boards.

Finally, I agree with you about both Tomorrowlands, but DL's Jedi Academy in TL completely pwns the one in DHS for the stage alone.

sorry for such long comments, but you gave a lot to think about! Thanks for the reviews!
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Old 06-16-2013, 12:38 AM   #161
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Just caught up on your review! Just got back from Hawaii, catching up on dis!
Wow! I hope you had a great time in Hawaii, and thanks so much for stopping by to catch up.

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Just catching up. I missed a lot of great updates, and I also love the non-food pics but you have made me very, very homesick. I'm really looking forward to a trip home at Christmas.

I'm so glad to hear you'll be heading back relatively soon!

I love that Monte Cristo sandwich you had (last trip?) but you ate it wrong! You're supposed to share the sandwich and a basket of pommes frittes. Then we can talk about decadent!

Yep, the Monte Cristo was from our first trip, and I was in DL alone for that meal. That sandwich definitely should've been shared with someone! Even though I don't eat pork anymore, I'd love to head back to Café Orleans to try the pommes frites.

I'm actually not a fan of the Hungry Bear. I was as a child, but the last time I went I didn't care for my burger so now I tend to go for the gumbo in NOS or tomato soup and grilled cheese at Jolly Holiday. That Matterhorn macaroon looks awesome. I may have to try that!

Sorry to hear you weren't a huge fan. I can't judge their savory food, but their individual pies looked fantastic. The gumbo in NOS Square sounds great (and I hear they have a vegetarian one!). And yes, you have to try the Matterhorn macaroon - it was delicious and such a fun shape!

Speaking of the Matterhorn, I'd hate for them to take it out. We always played "I spy the Matterhorn" on our trips to DL growing up. But it is the jerkiest ride ever. Every time I ride it I say "never again"- until some visiting friend wants to go and give it another try.

Agreed on the Matterhorn - it might not be my favorite thing to ride, but Disneyland wouldn't be the same without it. Besides, Space Mountain is already there for anyone who wants a super smooth coaster!

I have never eaten at Rancho del Zocalo since I eat Mexican food all the time at home, but I may give it a try since I've seen so many positive reviews on the boards.

Uh oh. I definitely think Rancho del Zocalo is worth a try, but keep in mind that I've never had the pleasure of enjoying West Coast Mexican food. Rancho is great for quick service, but I'm sure your homemade stuff would be better!

Finally, I agree with you about both Tomorrowlands, but DL's Jedi Academy in TL completely pwns the one in DHS for the stage alone.

That's an interesting observation on the Jedi Academy. I didn't get to see the show going on at DL, but I was still impressed by the ample seating nearby (since the stage is adjacent to Tomorrowland Terrace).

sorry for such long comments, but you gave a lot to think about! Thanks for the reviews!
I'm so happy you enjoyed the Disneyland Park updates! It's a truly amazing park, and I could've easily spent days exploring DL further.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:22 AM   #162
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What great reviews! I haven't been to DL since 1991, and now I'm ITCHING to get out there! I really appreciate how thorough you are! Your posts made me smile!
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:41 AM   #163
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Oh my! You have me so excited for my trip in 9 days. I've heard lots of wonderful things about "Walt's Park", but your comparisons and reviews just bring it all home :D I'm sure you have seen this but Jack Spence for allears wrote a great comparison blog of the two parks. http://land.allears.net/blogs/jacksp...ingdom_pa.html

There's a whole bakery dedicated to Mary Poppins!! Fabulous, another thing to add to my must do list. However, I think I may cross off Matterhorn. Might be a bit too rough! -Amanda
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:22 AM   #164
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Your mom has great taste!! I tried that Matterhorn macaroon yesterday and it was awesome! I love your photos of the Matterhorn with the mountain climbers. I think during the summer season they are out. As for the ride itself, it is still a bit of a rough ride (I was hoping they would make it smoother with the recent refurb) but it is such a classic and well deserving of such iconic attraction status! For someone with short legs like me, I don't think too much about the leg room issue.

I heard a "rumor" yesterday about some re-theming that may occur for TL... (I'm going to update my TR with our Walk in Walt's Footsteps Tour from yesterday.)

Looking forward to more DCA fun!
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