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Old 12-16-2014, 06:42 PM   #1
Joyciemc
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No Potatoes!?! A November 2014 DL trip report UPDATE 12/22

I've never posted a Disneyland report before, so I hope no one minds if I start now...

This is us:



I'm Joyce and I manage an animal shelter. Ben is my husband, he's the sales manager for an environmental egineering company (I think)

We love to travel, and one of our frequent (but not exclusive) destinations is WDW. When Ben's company invited us out to California for the (Early) holiday party, it didn't take us too long to figure out that we could turn this into a trip to Disneyland. We had made a similar decision years earlier, but that was a much quicker DL visit (just one day) and neither of us remembered much from the parks. This would be a mostly new adventure!

We left Boston Thursday November 21st and returned Monday the 24th. Here's the story:

CONTENTS:

We're going to... Agoura Hills!!
Something feels a little off here...
What's the biggest difference between WDW and DL so far? Vanilla ice cream.
I was not expecting goats.

Last edited by Joyciemc; 12-22-2014 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:48 PM   #2
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A super early alarm startled me awake, but it didn’t take too long to remember the reason we were getting up and that added some pep to my step. Ben and I have our early morning departures down pretty well, and we were ready to go when the taxi pulled up outside our house.
We headed out and began to load up the cab, with the driver’s help. I guess we were taking too long and he was getting scared of the dark salt marsh across the street because he suddenly told us to “hurry up before the coyotes get us!” So hurry we did and were quickly on our way.
Since we were travelling on a Thursday and weren’t sure what traffic heading into Boston would be like, we had allowed extra time to get to the airport. This turned out to be unnecessary and we pulled up to the curb well ahead of our departure. After swiping our card, the cabby asked if we’d like to add a gratuity “maybe $10,000?” we laughed and told him a more reasonable number. What a chipper driver.

Our early start meant we were through security with plenty of time to grab breakfast… and a beer. Not because we wanted a beer, exactly, but because we need more airport beers for a badge on Untappd. In case you’re not familiar, it’s an app that tracks beers you’ve had and offers ‘badges’ when you complete certain things, one of which is the Layover badge earned by logging 5 beers at 5 different airports. I need two more to get it, so Ben thoughtfully suggested we get breakfast at the nearby Legal Seafood. It wasn’t until after we sat down that we learned alcohol wasn’t served until 8am and it wasn’t even 7 yet. We went ahead and ordered breakfast anyway and each got the most expensive omelet in the world (this may be an exaggeration, I don’t really know what every omelet in the world costs) at $22 each. They did come packed pretty full of very tasty lobster and we enjoyed our meal, if not paying the tab.

Finally on our way to our gate, we passed one of those ‘shops’ that’s actually just some display cases near a wall with a clerk at a register. This one was selling a whole bunch of beaded costume jewelry and I wondered out loud if enough people really buy that sort of thing in the airport to justify the large inventory they had stocked. Ben somehow misheard me and thought I was suggesting that they raffle off the jewelry, which come to think of it, might not be a bad deal… like, I wouldn’t pay full price for a piece, but I might pay a smaller amount for the CHANCE at getting one.

While waiting to board, I had just enough time to purchase and download a book (Amy Poehler’s memoir, YES PLEASE) to help keep me occupied for the flight. I read, slept, and tried to watch a movie but my screen kept crapping out. Eventually, we landed and it was so nice to be someplace warm!
The rental car situation at LAX is less than ideal in that they are located offsite. After a fairly lengthy shuttle ride (with the fist Christmas music of the trip playing), we arrived at Dollar and Ben sprinted in ahead of the others on our bus and managed to be first in line to avoid a lengthy wait. With paperwork and keys in hand, we were finally on our way to pick out a car. “Pick out” is probably a strong term for what we did, which was to put our crap in the very first compact vehicle we came to- a white Nissan Versa. Spoiler alert: it was fine and did not die on us the way a rental had on a previous trip. We were ready to leave, but found a very long line at the exit. It seemed that every car ahead of us must have had a list of questions/need for directions for the Dollar employee stationed, because when we rolled up he was extremely quick and efficient. We were finally on our way!

But not to Disneyland. We were actually headed north of LA to Agoura Hills, where Ben’s company is headquartered. While he normally works from our home, he was putting in a ½ day of work since we were in CA and not actually headed to DL until Friday. Typical of driving in LA, we ran in to quite a bit of traffic on our way. Thankfully, the carpool lane was moving along at a good clip and we mostly bypassed the traffic.
By the time we reached Agoura Hills, we were both starving. When we found our hotel’s exit, we decided that a gourmet meal would really hit the spot.



We pretty much never eat at McDonald’s but we both found the indulgence to be pretty darn tasty. Not that we’ll be putting it in the normal rotation, but it solved the hunger problem and we were able to head just a few doors over to the Homewood Suites. We checked in and got our room number and keys but we only had them a second before the lady took them back. She tried to send us on our way, but luckily Ben noticed we didn’t have the keys and asked her for them.
Walking into the suite was pretty ridiculous. And not just because there was a razor blade on the table (really, there was)



But because it was HUGE and there are only two of us and we were only staying the one night. After thoroughly photographing our new digs, Ben had to head to the office for a little while.



That one got stretched in a tragic editing accident, but it makes me chuckle, so it's staying.





Lucky me got to climb into bed for a nap. After a couple of hours, Ben texted to let me know he was headed back. I asked him for some coke, since we had the razor blade to cut it and all. Spolier alert: he didn’t bring any, and I didn’t really want the drug, I wanted the soda. In case you were wondering.

Although it was early, we were still on east coast time and ready for dinner. After a quick consult with the internet, I found the Lab Brewing Company nearby and we decided t head over for some food and beer. We arrived in time to take advantage of happy hour and enjoyed a few small plates and a few beers. It was definitely a nice way to spend the evening, but we were both fading fast (despite my nap) and needed to crash. When we got back to our hotel, I wanted to stop into the Trader Joe’s next door for a bottle of wine (yeah, yeah, I drink a lot- at least I don’t do drugs!) but Ben pointed out that it wasn’t necessary and it might be better to get a non-alcoholic beverage… so we grabbed some sweet tea.

According to my notes, I was ready for bed at 6:30pm and felt like it was midnight. Taking into account our early bedtime and our internal clocks being 3 hours ahead, we decided to leave very early in the morning to avoid that notorious LA traffic. We might even make it to Disneyland for park opening!
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:58 PM   #3
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When ‘morning’ (I’m using that term loosely, here) rolled around we both woke up ahead of our early alarm- it wasn’t even 5am yet! Adjusting for the time change, this is when we’d be waking up for work back home… although somehow I was wide awake and ready to go to Disneyland instead of hitting snooze (haha, I just accidently typed ‘snoozie’) a bunch of times and being late. So with this early start, we were in good shape to beat the crazy traffic on our way to Anaheim.

It was 6:45 when we arrived at the Harbor Boulevard exit, and we both felt like it was so strange to be driving right by a Disney Park and to see the Tower of Terror just hanging out with all the regular business and buildings along the road.


Not at all like Disney World in that sense!

We checked in to the Red Lion Anaheim, but of course our room was not ready. But now we had a place to put our car (we just left our bags in the trunk, though they did offer to store them for us as the hotel) and there was an IHOP right next door so we could grab some breakfast… park opening was still two hours away!
We placed our order pretty quickly, but then waited what seemed like forever. We were starving, and both of us were getting pretty grouchy. Eventually, after we finally got our food, a different sever came over and told us our waitress had gone home sick. At least that explained the delay, but this is information that could have been shared a bit earlier. We ate quickly and neither of us was very excited about the food, but at least we were no longer hungry AND we were finally ready to walk to Disneyland!

As we headed out to Harbor Boulevard, we weren’t really sure where to go (we could see the park, but weren’t sure where the entrance was in relation), but we luckily noticed some folks wearing lanyards and walking with a purpose so we followed them figuring they knew what was up. Thank goodness for us, they did! The walk was about a mile, and I still was finding it so odd to be just walking down a regular street (ok, a regular street with a LOT of hotels and restaurants) and suddenly take a left turn into a Disney park.

We had to stop at a ticket booth to exchange our vouchers and the CM told us it was Magic Morning and that Disneyland was already open. Expecting the park to open at 9, we hadn’t really rushed over so we were a little bummed that we’d missed rope drop. So we weren’t terribly disappointed when we realized that the CM was wrong (it was Friday, not a Magic Morning day) and we had to line up at the gate. It was only 8:15, and not too much of a line ahead:



While waiting, I got the first of many comments on my boots. They’re just boots (comfortable, durable boots, but just boots) but for some reason they caught the attention of several people throughout our trip… are boots not common is Southern California? Anyway, this conversation while waiting helped pass the time and pretty soon it was 8:30 and the gates were opening. There was a countdown, and there MAY have been a ‘family of the day’ type deal, but we couldn’t really hear or see anything, even though we were pretty close. Definitely a big change from the WDW Magic Kingdom Welcome Show!



We took our time walking up Main Street, as rope drop was still a half hour away. It was a beautiful morning and we were so excited to finally be there!




The park felt familiar enough to us, that I was marching purposefully to use a restroom that WOULD have been there if we were in Florida, but instead I was stopped by an important looking CM asking where I was going as I approached the Baby Care Center and First Aid place. Ooops. He pointed me in the right direction, and then Ben and I joined the group at the rope kinda between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.
We took a few photos to pass some time, and a nice guy offered to take one of the both of us:



I fixed this one to look more familiar to me:



Knowing the parks would be pretty crowded, our plan was to head right to a couple of attractions that don’t offer Fastpass that are unique to Disneyland and therefore must dos for us- first up was:

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Old 12-17-2014, 08:20 AM   #4
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I'm here!! Great start! Sounds like a long first day but hopefully you were used to the time change by DL day with that long sleep you got the night before! I'd totally have gotten a bottle of wine at Trader Joe's though anything left over would have sat in the rental car the next day. Not sure how hot it was for you but that could have been a sad demise. I didn't get your "coke" joke until I kept on reading.

Can't wait to see all the DL-specific stuff, I am hankering to get back there!
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:42 AM   #5
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Subbing! Planning a DLR trip soon and I need to read some TRs as we are a WDW family!

Love your report so far, you've made me laugh out loud several times already! And I looooove your photo editing! Especially the fun hats on random peoples heads in your photos and your castle edit!
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denovagirl View Post
Subbing! Planning a DLR trip soon and I need to read some TRs as we are a WDW family!

Love your report so far, you've made me laugh out loud several times already! And I looooove your photo editing! Especially the fun hats on random peoples heads in your photos and your castle edit!
Thanks for reading, and glad you're enjoying it! I really wanted that picture of the train station without randos in it, but my editing skills are not good, so I dressed them up instead, haha!

When is your trip to DL? I hope I sneak some useful info in for you among all the rambling!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda67 View Post
Great start
Looking forward to hearing more about your trip
Thank you! Can't wait to post the rest!

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Originally Posted by Imagineer5 View Post
I'm here!! Great start! Sounds like a long first day but hopefully you were used to the time change by DL day with that long sleep you got the night before! I'd totally have gotten a bottle of wine at Trader Joe's though anything left over would have sat in the rental car the next day. Not sure how hot it was for you but that could have been a sad demise. I didn't get your "coke" joke until I kept on reading.

Can't wait to see all the DL-specific stuff, I am hankering to get back there!
The time change definitely worked in our favor! I think we did a pretty good job of cramming lots of stuff into our days.

There's so much more to get to, I better get moving!
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:55 PM   #8
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We walked right onto the Matterhorn and began our... painful journey. We had both ridden this before a number of years ago and neither of us remembered it being quite so jarring. I wanted to like it, knowing it’s a classic Disney ride, but I left just being happy that we hadn’t waited for it. Though I was impressed and surprised by the splashdown into water!

Not wanting to waste our early start to the day, we headed over to Space Mountain intending to grab some Fastpasses before we rode Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Once again we found ourselves heading in a direction we KNEW was right only to remember that we were in Disneyland and did not actually know where we were going. Once we stopped and just looked around, we easily found it (I mean, it’s pretty big and obvious. We just aren’t used to having to look for things in WDW). What we didn’t easily find were the FP kiosks, and when I asked the CM instead of telling us he just told me the ride was a walk on and I didn’t need them. Thanks dude, but where are they because you know; I might want to ride LATER when there is a line? Information dragged out of him, we climbed the ramp and got our FPs and decide to take advantage of the non-line and ride right then. (Sometimes we like to ride things we enjoy more than once… another reason we may have wanted a FP for later even with the short wait Didjya ever think of that, grouchy greeter CM?)

We snapped some photos on our journey through the empty queue:



I really like the load area here for some reason.

Space Mountain is one of my favorite rides and this version did not disappoint. It’s strangely very similar to the WDW version while also being quite different. I don’t know how that’s possible, either, but there you have it.
I had Ben take this picture so that we would remember the paper tickets and traditional FastPasses, since they are a thing of the past in WDW.



With our FPs in hand for a return ride on Space in a little while, we were ready to head back to the Submarines.
I had read that this was a pretty low capacity ride and that the line quickly builds to lengthy wait times, but we both REALLY wanted to ride so getting over there early seemed like a good idea. Tomorrowland was still pretty sparsely populated at 9:30am, so we decided to take a detour and hop on Buzz Lightyear’s shooty ride which was a walk on. I must say that I loved having the guns free from the ride vehicle, and both Ben and I found the targets easier to hit. Of course, I still lost (I always do, pretty much) but did much better than normal on the WDW version.

Now we were finally ready to tackle Nemo, and luckily when we entered the queue, the wait was posted at 15 minutes, which is almost exactly what we ended up waiting. As a side note, the CM here also commented on my boots. I was feeling pretty fashion forward rockin’ my L.L.Bean style.
I had vague memories of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from childhood trips to WDW, but that did not prepare me for clambering down into that sub as a (slightly more than) full sized adult. My 6 year old self remembered having plenty of room on a stool and peering out the window, looking all around. The reality here was that I shared part of my stool with the guy next to me and I had to kind of slouch down to see out of the porthole with a pretty limited view of the scenes outside. I feel like I may be painting the wrong picture here: I DID really enjoy the ride, it was just a bit surreal to have a memory that didn’t match up with what I was experiencing as an adult. Obviously, the ride storyline and scenes were all very different than 20,000 Leagues had been. For those familiar with WDW, it was fairly similar to the Nemo ride in Epcot, but not exactly a copy.

Ben took a bunch of pictures, but I randomly selected this one to include:


We still had a bit of time within our Space FP window, and Star Tours had a short wait. Ben didn’t remember riding the new version at the Studios, so he was eager to check it out here. As we walked up to the line, another group arrived at the same time and they graciously allowed us to go ahead. Right after we entered, the CMs re-arranged the chains, causing that kind family to have to walk around an extra loop of queue. I felt the teeniest (like very, very, very little) bit bad, but when they reached us again, they were gloating about the extra exercise they had gotten and how lucky they were… good sports with a sense of humor AND polite people? They clearly made enough of an impression that I remember them a month later… I guess that doesn’t say much for the type of person I encounter on a regular basis and consider ‘normal’…

Ben and I were about ready to finally see more of Disneyland than Tomorrowland, but not before we cashed in those FPs that we ‘didn’t need’ (yeah, I have a hard time letting things go. I guess seeing Frozen just once was not enough). The stand-by wait was up to 35 minutes now, so we were actually quite pleased with our plan. The only downside was that we were walking through the FP line behind a super talkative kid (he reminded us of Mike Teevee from Willy Wonka) with terrible BO. Honestly, the only part that was a problem was the BO, but I wanted to mention the Mike Teevee thing, so I put that in too. Our second trip to outer space was just as fun, but now we were REALLY ready to move on.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet, but I know I commented to Ben several times on this trip about how nice it was to be in a Disney Park without sweating like a pig… it was comfortably warm in the sun, but a bit cool in the shade and stayed this way throughout our visit. It was lovely!
I mention this now because the next item on our agenda was to see if there were Dole Whips in Disneyland and it was just warm enough now to seem like a good time to check it out. The answer (which I’m sure most of you know) is yes.



BUT. And this is very, very sad-face inducing… they did NOT have vanilla ice cream. My treat of choice from Aloha Isle in WDW is vanilla ice cream/pineapple juice float- it’s like a creamsicle that went to Hawaii (and just the right amount of pineapple). Ben was the one to discover this, as he went to obtain the Dole Whip while I marched off to get us FP for Indiana Jones.
I like to think I took it pretty well when he presented me with the pineappliest of pineapple treats despite my disappointment (Spoiler alert: I still ate it. Don’t be surprised)



I think the added flair I was not used to helped distract me. And I must have been QUITE distracted, as it wasn’t until I edited the photo that I noticed who photo bombed me!
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Denovagirl View Post
Subbing! Planning a DLR trip soon and I need to read some TRs as we are a WDW family!

Love your report so far, you've made me laugh out loud several times already! And I looooove your photo editing! Especially the fun hats on random peoples heads in your photos and your castle edit!
Thanks for reading along! (I'm Ben, the DH )

Since we had long ago been at DLR once for about a minute, and have since essentially memorized WDW, our previous impression was that they were basically identical with respect to cross-over rides and MK/DL layout. Joyce got perhaps slightly tired of my constant comparison, but I was obsessed with noticing the differences! In DLR's HM Stretching Room, the floor goes down instead of the roof going up. Space Mountain is side-by-side and smoother, though doesn't quite feel as fast--and doesn't have the bouncy moving walkway past the alien landscapes at the end, which I really really love for some reason . Splash Mountain has single-file logs and a noticeably different scene layout. (Also, the theming on the final climb seemed super-extra-creepy...). BTM has really cool effects on the second climb which aren't in MK, but sadly doesn't have silhouettes in the town windows at night. Peter Pan was way different. The Jungle cruise had a few unique spots, but also lacked a few from WDW. It was great to hear some new "lame" puns, as well as still getting the classics--THE BACKSIDE OF WATER!

Anyway, I was pretty much playing that kid's game where you find the differences between two very similar pictures, except comparing my brain's picture of WDW with what I was actively seeing at DLR. All in all, I loved the differences between queues, ride vehicles, and other tweaks--not better or worse, just different

Hope you have a great trip!
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:49 AM   #10
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Hahaha you're hilarious I don't really remember the Nemo submarine voyage though I know I rode it like 6 years ago. It was closed in May which I was sad about since I knew Aria would have liked it. Funny about the CM from Space, use your head mister! ugh!

I never ever need to ride Matterhorn again (though prob will with Aria, ugh). It just is not fun - and painful. She'll probably love the darn ride. YES very very good you didn't wait an hour for it! You got a lot done in a short amount of time - looks like November is much nicer than May for crowds?
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:30 PM   #11
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Joining in! We are WDW vets heading to DL for the first time next year, so I have a feeling I will be able to relate to your experience! Love your artist rendering of Cindy's castle and the 3 men and a baby reference had me laughing. Can't wait to read more.
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:00 PM   #12
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Hahaha you're hilarious I don't really remember the Nemo submarine voyage though I know I rode it like 6 years ago. It was closed in May which I was sad about since I knew Aria would have liked it. Funny about the CM from Space, use your head mister! ugh!

I never ever need to ride Matterhorn again (though prob will with Aria, ugh). It just is not fun - and painful. She'll probably love the darn ride. YES very very good you didn't wait an hour for it! You got a lot done in a short amount of time - looks like November is much nicer than May for crowds?
Seriously, the ONLY good thing about the Matterhorn was that we didn't wait. Thank goodness!

You'll see as I keep going that it was definitely crowded that weekend! We made good use of the first couple hours the park was open, and it seemed like no one else went to Tomorrowland first so I think that's why we had a productive morning.

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Joining in! We are WDW vets heading to DL for the first time next year, so I have a feeling I will be able to relate to your experience! Love your artist rendering of Cindy's castle and the 3 men and a baby reference had me laughing. Can't wait to read more.
Thanks for reading! We did focus a lot on differences between WDW and DL, so hopefully you'll get a good idea of what to expect on your trip!

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Old 12-22-2014, 08:27 PM   #13
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After snapping a quick photo to document the (slightly disappointing) Dole Whip, we joined the line for the Jungle Cruise… which was currently the Jingle Cruise!



This was a new experience for us and we enjoyed checking out the décor throughout the line.


A very cute burlap sack snowman and candle-tree!

The set up of the queue here was interesting, as it went up stairs just to come back down again- it seems like they get pretty creative with ways to make the queues at DL long within the smaller spaces they have to work with. We never really stopped moving, though so even though the posted wait was 30 minutes, it didn’t take us that long to board our boat.


I loved the Christmasey updates to the boat names!

Our skipper was pretty good, and I think the holiday overlay was done pretty well… especially the baking smells during this scene:







Once back from our jungle adventure, we had just a bit of time before our Indiana Jones FPs were good, so we took a detour through Tarzan’s Treehouse. It’s not something I would have planned on doing, but since it was right there and we just had a few minutes to kill, it was neat to check it out.
This is where we first noticed the crowds picking up; it seemed like all of sudden people where just dropped from the sky and clogging up the walkways. When we used our Indy FPs (grabbing new ones, first), the stand by line was up to 45 minutes. I had ridden this years ago on a trip to California with some friends, but Ben’s pretty sure we didn’t get to ride it on our last trip to DL together in 2006. I thought the ride was fun, but Ben was underwhelmed. I’ll let him weigh in on that.

We were being pretty efficient in our park touring, sticking to one area at a time without much backtracking. This turned out to be a pretty good idea, and it meant that all throughout the day we would find ourselves in another new area to explore. As we emerged from Adventureland into New Orleans Square, I was struck by how pretty this part of the park is. I love the waterfront area, and I was amazed by the amount of boats tooling around the Rivers of America: the Tom Sawyer rafts were joined by canoes, the Sailing Ship Columbia (which I thought was SO cool looking), and the Mark Twain Riverboat (this turned out not to be operating at the time, but it was docked in full view and added to the busy feel of the water). I don’t know how they fit so many boats in that area without crashing into each other, but it really made it feel real. WDW’s waterways are pretty empty by comparison.

After a little confusion, we finally found the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. The line looked a bit daunting, but the posted wait said 20 minutes, so we decided to try it. We may have actually waited a bit less, or it may have just been the novelty of checking out a different Pirates ride that made the wait seem shorter. The layout of this ride is very different (well, the beginning and the very end is. The middle is pretty much exactly the same) and we were especially curious to get a sneak peek at the Blue Bayou restaurant, since we’d be eating lunch there in a little bit.
Working our way around the park, we were soon at our next destination:




Ben and I were super excited for the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. They really do an amazing job, both outside and in. We are suckers for the piped in smells on attractions, and were pretty wowed by what they did with this one!

With our second Indy Fps now ready, we made a quick stop to grab a couple for Thunder Mountain before heading back to Adventureland. The stand by line was even longer this time, so we were very glad we grabbed the Fastpasses for a second ride on Indy. Once we were done, it was time for lunch… well, almost. I think we actually checked in for our ADR pretty early. We waited in the restaurant lobby for a bit, but were shown to our table before too long.



I remember that the CMs kept wishing us ‘good evening’ which I thought at the time was because they must’ve forgotten what time it was being in such a dark restaurant. But now I’m thinking it was on purpose to keep up with the story that we were eating at night on a Bayou. Thank goodness they didn’t take the themeing too far and add mosquitoes.




Ben ordered the Flat Iron Steak and I had the Monte Cristo sandwich (I had switched from a dinner ADR to lunch to be sure I could get this). He started with a salad, and I had the gumbo. Ben found his meal to be much too salty (AND too peppery- but he hates black pepper, so it may be fine for the average person) but the meat was cooked well. He also got a mint julep which we both enjoyed:



My deep-fried ridiculousness was no joke:



I pretty much just ate the middle, since the outer edges were just batter. The Monte Cristo came with a couple of fruit compotes (at least I think the two were different, it was too dark to tell by the color) and some kind of sweet vanilla-ish sauce. Sorry, I have no clue what it was, but it was pretty good. I’m a big fan of savory and sweet together, so I really did enjoy this dish. It also came with a fruit skewer of very tasty fruit (berries, kiwi, and some other thing I don’t know). I liked it, but I overheard some ladies as we left complaining about how little sandwich filling there was in relation to the batter. I think they’re right about that, but there was PLENTY to eat even with just picking out the filling.

So the food here is overpriced, I think pretty much every review I’ve read agreed on that. But, everyone always says they eat here ‘for the atmosphere’ which is exactly why we ate here, too. And we did enjoy it. The novelty of eating inside the Pirates building really is neat; the bayou scene of the ride is not part of the Florida version and I really enjoyed taking it all in. Service was good, too … (as a side note, our server had the funniest way of saying ‘yurrrr welcome’ that cracked me up every time). If we return to Disneyland, we likely wouldn’t need to eat at Blue Bayou again, but I am glad we tried it!

Leaving the dark restaurant, we emerged blinking and squinting back into daylight. It was time to use our Thunder Mountain FPs, but not before securing another set for Splash Mountain. Stand-by wait times were now solidly in the 45min-1 hour range for the bigger attractions and the walkways around the park were very congested. It seemed the weekend crowds had arrived.

Our Fastpasses let us skip the lengthy wait, and it wasn’t long till we were off on the wildest ride in the wilderness.
When we first sat down in the train, a guy in front of me had his Go Pro on a stick and was videoing everything, including us behind him… I turned to Ben all, “I don’t want to be in his *bleeping* video”, but I’m not sure if I said it loud enough for the camera. Once the ride started, his wife’s hat blew off, but Ben caught it, so he got to give a thumbs up in the video since the guy of course caught it all on camera.
I was not expecting Thunder Mountain to be so different from the WDW version, and we thought it was great! There are some pretty neat effects on one of the lift hills that looked like a new-ish addition to me. I’d say that the extra themeing here gives DL the advantage over WDW.

Somehow, we found ourselves in a random petting zoo neither of us knew existed. For some reason it just really caught me by surprise, even though the whole ranch area was really well themed. I must have been having animal withdrawals, because I wanted to go pet the goats. They were pretty friendly, and Ben waited in a line to get a photo with this one:



Then I noticed that they had name tags, and this was Penny (which is our dog’s name), so I insisted in another photo.



No offense to the goats, but they got boring kinda quick, so we headed out.
We were just waiting for our Splash FPs to be ready, so we kept wandering toward Fantasyland, another new-to-us part of Disneyland! Since WDW doesn’t have a Pinocchio ride, we figured we’d check it out. Unfortunately, after waiting 20 minutes and being almost on the ride, it broke down and didn’t start back up for a bit. So we bailed and headed back to Splash.

On the way, we creeped on Jack and Sally’s greet and snapped a photo. We didn’t want to actually wait in line to meet them, but I was really excited to see them!


I like to think Jack is posing for us in this one.

We eventually did make it to Splash Mountain, and ended up in the front of a log and got pretty freakin’ wet. Ben was on a picture taking tear during this ride, so please enjoy the following:






After this, the crowds were getting to us and we needed a break from the park. (Not gonna lie, I was also very ready for an alcoholic beverage) On our way out, we stopped at the Mint Julep bar for coffees and waited in a not-very-long-but-super-slow line. We watched one guy finally get his order of beignets and actually receive a standing ovation from his group when he made it back to the table. The only good thing was that the Jazz band was playing, and we enjoyed listening to them.
We finally got our coffees (well, Ben had a double espresso) and moseyed back out of the park.
Our first taste of Disneyland had been very successful, and we were looking forward to what would happen next!

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Old 12-23-2014, 07:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BennyFedora View Post
Thanks for reading along! (I'm Ben, the DH ) Since we had long ago been at DLR once for about a minute, and have since essentially memorized WDW, our previous impression was that they were basically identical with respect to cross-over rides and MK/DL layout. Joyce got perhaps slightly tired of my constant comparison, but I was obsessed with noticing the differences! In DLR's HM Stretching Room, the floor goes down instead of the roof going up. Space Mountain is side-by-side and smoother, though doesn't quite feel as fast--and doesn't have the bouncy moving walkway past the alien landscapes at the end, which I really really love for some reason . Splash Mountain has single-file logs and a noticeably different scene layout. (Also, the theming on the final climb seemed super-extra-creepy...). BTM has really cool effects on the second climb which aren't in MK, but sadly doesn't have silhouettes in the town windows at night. Peter Pan was way different. The Jungle cruise had a few unique spots, but also lacked a few from WDW. It was great to hear some new "lame" puns, as well as still getting the classics--THE BACKSIDE OF WATER! Anyway, I was pretty much playing that kid's game where you find the differences between two very similar pictures, except comparing my brain's picture of WDW with what I was actively seeing at DLR. All in all, I loved the differences between queues, ride vehicles, and other tweaks--not better or worse, just different Hope you have a great trip!
LOL! I am quite certain I will be playing the same game too! Good to know your thoughts, so far this day seems to be going very smoothly for you guys so I am definitely taking notes on your touring style, though we have two kiddos with us that do slow us down too.
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Old 12-24-2014, 11:42 PM   #15
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Awesome trip report but now Dying to see your boots!!!
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