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Old 06-20-2013, 01:42 PM   #1
skier_pete
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A Fistful of Fastpasses: Disneyland with the DIS and ABD! (Final Day post #205-10/4)

Hello, and welcome to our trip report. For those that haven’t already been following along in my PTR, I am skier_pete and I’ve been on these boards for seven years now. I am married to a wonderful Disney addict and we have a wonderful Disney addict 10 year old daughter. We’ve done 7 trips to WDW in the last 6 years and last year took our first trip to DL.

DW and I have been wanting to join in on the DIS-exclusive Backstage Magic tours for quite a few years – since they started doing them – and we finally got the opportunity and the funds to do so this year. It was also a chance for DW and I to do a Disney trip just the two of us for the first time in 13 years. DD was left behind with Grandma, and was not told that Disneyland would be involved. So, it was an “adults only “ trip!



The trip lasted from Saturday, June 8th through Saturday, June 15th, and the ABD portion only ran from the evening of June 9th to the morning of June 14th, so I will also cover the “on-our-own” time.

So, let me start off by saying that this trip report is going to tell a lot of details from this trip, but it will NOT cover any of the special backstage stuff that you might not know from reading something as basic as the trip description. One thing that Pete Werner and the DIS crew stress is that we do not want to provide spoilers for those that might go on this trip in the future. So, details about what we saw behind the scenes at Disneyland, at the Studios, and at Imagineering are going to be glossed over pretty heavily.
However, there will still be lots of stuff about this trip here, so I want to warn anyone that is planning on doing this trip in the next few years – you should STAY AWAY. I personally think it is more fun to be surprised on the trip. There are things that I will talk about here because they are fairly common knowledge that I think would’ve been even more fun had we not known about them in advance. In addition, the things we got to do are NOT the things that you might get to do. So, my recommendation would be to treat this entire TR as a big pile of SPOILERS and simply GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!














OK – what are you still doing here – I said GO AWAY!!!!!














Good, they’re finally gone. For the rest of you, please enjoy “A Fistful of Fastpasses”

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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK

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Old 06-20-2013, 01:54 PM   #2
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Table of Contents / Links

Day 1
Arrival / Griffith Observatory / Hard Rock Universal

Day 2
Warner Brothers Tour Part 1 - 6/25
Warner Brothers Tour Part 2 & LA Farmer's Market - 6/25
Day 2 - Welcome Dinner - 7/1
Day 2 - Celebrity Spotting Part 1 - 7/1
Day 2 - Celebrity Spotting Part 2 - 7/1
Bonus Day 2 Pix - 7/2

Day 3
Day 3 - El Capitan Theater tour - 7/9
Day 3 - Henson Studios & Tam O'Shanter - 7/9
Day 3 - The LA Steamers- 7/12
DAy 3 - Back to the El Cap -7/15

Day 4
Day 4 - Imagineering - No Spoilers! - 7/17
Day 4 - Disney Studios Tour- 7/17
Day 4 - Legends Plaza - 7/17
Day 4 - Arrival at Disneyland - 7/24
Day 4 - Fantasmic! - 7/24

Day 5
Day 5 - Entering the park early - 7/26
Day 5 - In front of the castle - 7/26
Day 5 - More empty park pics - 7/26
Day 5 - Walking through an empty park to - 8/2
Day 5 - Club 33 - 8/2
Day 5 - Club 33 continued - 8/2
Day 5 - Backstage, Lunch & Walt's Apartment - 8/7
Day 5 - Disney Dream Suite Part 1 - 8/9
Day 5 - Disney Dream Suite Part 2 - 8/9
Day 5 - Mickey's Soundsational Parade - 8/15
Day 5 - Magical Fireworks and an evening wrap-up - 8/15

Day 6
Day 6 - DCA in the AM - 8/22
Day 6 - Welcome to Radiator Springs! - 8/22
Day 6 - Evening at Carthay Circle - 9/16

Day 7
Day 7 - Early Entry to DCA -9/19
Day 7 - Disneyland and Grand Californain Review - 9/27
Day 7 - Final hours in the parks - 9/27

Day 8
Day 8 - Breakfast Steakhouse 55 and final summary - 10/4
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK

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Old 06-20-2013, 02:17 PM   #3
skier_pete
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Left our house around 8:45 AM, we dropped our car off at a friend’s house near the airport. Our flights were uneventful, in both cases we got two aisle seats across from each other. I mostly did puzzles, listened to music and took a short nap. Sat next to an older couple heading to Ontario, CA for the first flights. The 2nd flight I sat near a lady from Pittsburgh going to visit her brother and a job interview.

Arrived in LAX about 3:20 PM, no problems with the luggage. Got to the rental car which had been picked out, but they gave us a hatchback, so I had to change cars to one with a trunk. This took about 20 minutes, so by the time we got to our hotel and parked it was probably close to 5 PM. Surprisingly we were not really hungry so “relaxed” a bit before getting dressed. A quick exciting shot from our hotel room at the LAX Hilton.



I'll give a quick review of the hotel. We stayed at the LAX Marriot last year for about $110 a night. This time we save $10 at the Hilton. The Hilton was NOT very good. I would choose the Marriot next time.

It was about 6:30 PM when we left and decided to go with our primary plan, which was to drive up to Griffith Park Observatory. The freeways were crowded so we asked the concierge for the best route, and he sent us up Cienega Boulevard to Sunset Boulevard. We passed Randy’s Donuts and I snapped a picture. You may remember a certain Marvel Superhero hanging out here a few years back.



The drive was interesting enough, though it made me comment what I almost always think when in Los Angeles. “The image of Los Angeles is so much nicer than the reality of Los Angeles”, which I guess makes perfect sense for a town all about images.

We made our way to Griffith Park and found that there were TONS of people going to the observatory. People were parking a good mile + down the winding road. We pulled over to take a quick snap shot:





It was already like 7:30 PM by this time, and we weren’t about to walk that far so we kept driving. I got lucky and got a spot about ¼ mile down the hill. The observatory itself was really amazing and well worth the trip.

The views were pretty good even though it was pretty hazy out. I used my gorilla-pod tripod to grab a shot of the Hollywood Sign. Remember, this sign was about a 1/2 mile away and it was nearly dark out...so I thought my little Nikon Coolpix did a pretty good job of pulling that one off!









For those that don't remember, Griffith Observatory (named after Griffith J. Griffith, who donated the land) has featured prominently in several Hollywood movies, perhaps most famously in Rebel without a Cause, but also The Terminator, Earth Girls are Easy, The Rocketeer (DISNEY CONNECTION!), and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. For the Mystery Science Theater fan - also featured in War of the Collosal Beast! Some more shots of the observatory:













Some inside shots:



__________________

1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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Late dinner at the Hard Rock / Universal

From there we made our way up to the Hard Rock Café in Universal Citywalk. DW has a collection of shooter glasses from Hard Rocks around the world, and we had never made the LA locations. Since we would be staying right next to the Hard Rock in Hollywood, we decided to try this other one.









Disney (Rock and Roller Coaster) connection: Aerosmith tickets from the seventies:



We had an appetizer dinner because it was now 9 PM at night. DW got her shooter glass



and we had the Jumbo platter and an order of nachos.





Unfortunately, for how good it looked, the food was somewhere between luke-warm and cold, surprising considering how fast it came out. However, it was plenty and we were too tired to return the food. By the time dinner was up it was 10 PM and we were exhausted, so we just headed by down to our hotel. Now that the traffic was lessened (still a lot of cars but at speed anyways) we took the Ventura Freeway to the 405 and were back to our hotel in 30 minutes and asleep by 11 PM. A super long day (about 21 hours since we awoke), but a good start to the trip.

Because of the name of my trip report, I thought I would end each day with a summary of The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY

GOOD: Griffith Park Observatory and a good parking spot
A successful flight is a good flight

BAD: Food at Hard Rock
Our "Express" check-in with Hertz

UGLY: A "clean" drinking glass with Lipstick on it in our hotel room!
The door to the bathroom that would slide shut and pinch your finger if not done exactly right.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK

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Old 06-20-2013, 03:27 PM   #5
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I'm here & ready for the Adventure.
I like your good, bad & ugly concept.
I really wish we had been able to make it into the Observatory this time, but I think I told you that we had the same experience you did the next day with the traffic & no lucky close spot to park, so we just kept driving.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:03 PM   #6
ymxbfalcon
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Great start, Pete! I'm looking forward to reliving this trip through your report.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:52 AM   #7
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i'm in Pete

it's exciting as it all seems a bit of a blur so will be good to get it back in order. thx
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:21 AM   #8
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Great start, Pete!

I'm definitely in for the good, the bad and the ugly!
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:11 AM   #9
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Great start to a trip report!!!!

Griffith Observatory was on my list of things to take the girls to when we went in 2011- only we never made it because I was flying solo and chickened out driving there by myself with the girls- so it's HIGH on my list to get to next time I'm in LA. Your Hollywood sign shots turned out awesome!

LOVE DW purse!

Can't wait for the next installment!!!

Oh. and ewwwwwwwwwww about the lipstick stain on the glass!
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:34 AM   #10
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OK - you first three were all on the trip ....so NO giving anything away ahead of time! Of course, if I MISS something, feel free of chime in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneygrl36 View Post
I'm here & ready for the Adventure.
I like your good, bad & ugly concept.
I really wish we had been able to make it into the Observatory this time, but I think I told you that we had the same experience you did the next day with the traffic & no lucky close spot to park, so we just kept driving.
Yeah, I never pictured it being SOOOO crowded. There were people walking a LOOOONNNGG way up that hill in the dark, I also forgot to mention the Back to the Future 2 tunnel that they made us drive through on our way out!




Quote:
Originally Posted by ymxbfalcon View Post
Great start, Pete! I'm looking forward to reliving this trip through your report.
I only hope I can do it justice. Geez, with all these fellow ABDers reading my TR, I'm not going to be able to say anything bad about anyone! But seriously, it was a great group of people and it seemed like we got a bit of a chance to get to know almost everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneykiwi View Post
i'm in Pete

it's exciting as it all seems a bit of a blur so will be good to get it back in order. thx
It was definitely a go-go-go trip. I didn't have too hard a time with it, but we also took advantage of a mid-day break most days, which let us keep going until late.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Great start, Pete!

I'm definitely in for the good, the bad and the ugly!
This was definitely a warts and all trip. I would say that not everything was all sunshine and lollipops. I am sad to say while the good outweighs the bad and ugly, it won't be that hard to find either of those each day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinker326 View Post
Great start to a trip report!!!!

Griffith Observatory was on my list of things to take the girls to when we went in 2011- only we never made it because I was flying solo and chickened out driving there by myself with the girls- so it's HIGH on my list to get to next time I'm in LA. Your Hollywood sign shots turned out awesome!

LOVE DW purse!

Can't wait for the next installment!!!

Oh. and ewwwwwwwwwww about the lipstick stain on the glass!
I would recommend doing the drive early in the day. Just in general, LA was pretty insane traffic/driving wise. Not surprised at all by it, but I just kept thinking "You would either need to leave 90 minutes early to get anywhere or you would simply need to not care when you got there!"

I'll tell DW you liked her purse.
__________________

1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:24 AM   #11
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Joining in! Great start so far, and I look forward to everything you CAN share with us about the trip!
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:51 AM   #12
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I'm joining in too!
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post
I would recommend doing the drive early in the day. Just in general, LA was pretty insane traffic/driving wise. Not surprised at all by it, but I just kept thinking "You would either need to leave 90 minutes early to get anywhere or you would simply need to not care when you got there!"

Yup! I live in So Cal and we always plan at least an hour to an hour and a half to get most anywhere!

Looking forward to hearing about this trip. So how does one get on one of these DIS exclusive ABD Backstage Magic trips? I've been considering doing it to see all the backstage stuff, I've followed a couple TRs from folks who did these tours.
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:53 PM   #14
skier_pete
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khertz View Post
Joining in! Great start so far, and I look forward to everything you CAN share with us about the trip!
YEAH!!! Though I know you were following along on facebook there will be WAY more pix there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burly View Post
I'm joining in too!
and thanks for joining in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Yup! I live in So Cal and we always plan at least an hour to an hour and a half to get most anywhere!

Looking forward to hearing about this trip. So how does one get on one of these DIS exclusive ABD Backstage Magic trips? I've been considering doing it to see all the backstage stuff, I've followed a couple TRs from folks who did these tours.
Hi there franandaj! I think we are already 2nd-degree of separation DIS friends as I know you are good friends of PrincessInOz, so welcome along!

The DIS exclusive tours are usually posted on the podcast page. It seems they booked them around June each year for the following year. You can check, but I know the 2014 trips are almost full. While you don't necessarily get much extra on the trip, you KNOW you'll be travelling with a group of like-minded individuals - I think that was really the best part of doing the DIS thing.

For everyone else, expect an update tomorrow. I am working on it whenever I can!
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post

The DIS exclusive tours are usually posted on the podcast page. It seems they booked them around June each year for the following year. You can check, but I know the 2014 trips are almost full. While you don't necessarily get much extra on the trip, you KNOW you'll be travelling with a group of like-minded individuals - I think that was really the best part of doing the DIS thing.
I'm pretty sure that the December 2014 trip was completely full and the one for July was almost full (and could be completely sold out by now), but I think there was a third trip in the winter (February, maybe?) that still had spots open. I agree with Pete, though; this is an amazing trip, but the main benefit of doing a DIS exclusive one is the other people you meet. There would be plenty of other dates available through Adventures By Disney if the DIS exclusive dates didn't work for you, and while there are a few "extras" that Dreams Unlimited Travel very generously provided for us, most of our itinerary was the same as an "ordinary" ABD trip.
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