Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback TR (Complete)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by tayalltheway, Sep 7, 2012.

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  1. oypoodles

    oypoodles Earning My Ears

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    It totally is! haha Oy with the poodles already

     
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  3. oypoodles

    oypoodles Earning My Ears

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    Good luck on your upcoming move! :shamrock:
     
  4. kate14

    kate14 Earning My Ears

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    Gah! Love the GG reference- one of my favorite lines from the show! That and Lorelei's scolding Luke for trying to add things from his to do list to her to do list.

    And copper boom.

    I'm a dork, ignore me :-)
     
  5. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Glad you're still enjoying :) We're excited to make it back to Big Thunder Ranch and visit all of our furry friends (note the title of this TR!)

    Haha, awesome! It caught my eye right away.

    Thanks!

    I like it. When I was stuck mostly at home while I was feeling particularly bad this summer, I watched almost the whole series of GG on DVD in like a week. It helped pass my boring days quite well.
     
  6. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 16
    Itty Bitty Living Space


    We continued our tour of attractions unique to Disneyland by getting in line for the Casey Jr. Circus Train.

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    Our new bat friend was pretty excited to ride.

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    While we were waiting, we noticed Alice and the Mad Hatter having a tea party across the way. Thats one of those cool things that the characters only do in Disneyland which really adds another layer to the character experience! We had fun watching while we waited for a few minutes. When the train pulled up, we opted for one of the more traditional cars rather than one of the animal cages.

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    We actually ended up in the front row, which was great except that we were right behind the engine, so the exhaust was more than a little stinky.

    The train affords great views of all the miniatures from the Storybook Land Canal Boats.

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    I also like the random maze of hedges that you go through on the train. If any attraction in the Disney parks resembles what I imagine the railroad in Walts backyard was like, this is it!

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    The tunnels are the most fun.

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    Considering we really didnt expect much from this attraction going in, it ended up being a really fun experience!

    After getting off the train, we noticed that the tea party was still going on.

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    We stood around and watched for a few minutes. Alice and the Mad Hatter have to be spot-on with improvisation, because they just kept going on and on! Speaking of tea parties, youll notice that one attraction we have never posted pictures of us riding is the Mad Tea Party. This is because rides with the much spinning threaten to make both Tracy and I ill. But at Disneyland, they have a faux-teacup you can sit in, so we finally got this picture at least!

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    The bat and I enjoyed our ride more than Tracy did.

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    Logically, our next stop was the Storybook Land Canal Boats themselves so we could get a better view of the miniatures we had seen from above on the train.

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    The bat was pretty excited.

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    I love that this attraction has a live cast member narrating it. I prefer the live guides to the generic audio that replaced them in such attractions as Living with the Land.

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    After we boarded our boat, which feels a little more dangerous than the loading process of practically any other Disney attraction, we were on our way. Unfortunately, Monstro took a bite out of us first.

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    We enjoyed passing by all the miniatures, and associating them with their owners.

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    We liked the caves and tunnels. This one must be the Cave of Wonders&

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    I also love the majesty of this castle.

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    We also liked the little cottages of some of our favorite characters from a variety of movies.

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    Its great that they put Pinocchios village such that the Matterhorn is looming in the background.

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    I'm so excited to visit this castle in real life at the Fantasyland expansion in WDW!

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    In Jim Korkis book The Vault of Walt, he devotes an entire chapter to the history of the Storybook Land Canal Boats attraction. My favorite story from that chapter is about how Disneyland went through a period when it was overrun by feral cats. At least one of those cats apparently made it into this attraction and was roaming around the miniatures, so he looked like a giant! I would love to have seen that in real life.

    On the whole, we really enjoyed this ride. A Lilliputian Land was in the original plans for Disneyland, so obviously Walt felt very attached to miniatures. This whole ride, therefore, is one of those pieces of Walt Disney the man that can be felt here in his original park.

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    Continued in Next Post
     
  7. oypoodles

    oypoodles Earning My Ears

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    I can't ride the teacups either. It gives me a headache.
     
  8. Belle83

    Belle83 DIS Veteran

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    It is :thumbsup2 We are only able to stay at the GC because my mom offered to pay for a big family trip, and I don't think she's yet realized how $$ it is (despite me protesting...a little).

    Your HM pictures remind me that I need to get around to watching Nightmare Before Christmas. Not sure how I missed that one...

    And OMG the goats! So cute :love:
     
  9. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    I assume it would give me a headache too these days, but it's my stomach I'd be more worried about... I don't want to know how many people lose their lunch on that attraction daily.

    Hey, if your mom wants to splurge on the GC it sounds like a good idea to me! It's so pretty there.

    I definitely recommend watching Nightmare. I watched it for the first time like ten years after it was released, and I enjoyed it. It's definitely one of those weird Tim Burton movies, but it has a lot of heart.

    And yes, the goats were awesome!! :)
     
  10. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 17
    Villains and (Speed) Demons


    After our trip aboard the Canal Boats, we decided to take some time to meet and greet with the Disney villains who were playing a prominent role around the park for Halloween. There was an entire stage area set up for them in Fantasyland. When we got in line, the ones currently out were Jafar, the Red Queen, and Gideon the cat from Pinocchio. While we were in the twenty minute queue, however, there was a changing of the guard, and these villains were switched out for Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. I was floored by the fact that the Sheriff was even a meet and greet character in Disneyland. I had NEVER seen a relic of Robin Hood in a Disney park before.

    When we got to the front of the line, we met Cruella first. Since we were wearing our Happy Anniversary buttons, she latched onto that in the same way many of the characters did for a talking point.

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    Cruella was funny! She reminded us a lot of Lady Gaga in looks. We had a sad chat with her about her quest for puppy furs (she was particularly intrigued by my hat), and then we posed.

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    We moved onto the Sheriff of Nottingham. It was clear that he wasn’t a character who appeared too often, because his mannerisms weren’t too fleshed out. He shook his money bag at us several times trying to make us pay up before finally agreeing to pose without receiving payment.

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    Finally, we got to Captain Hook. I don’t remember what our interaction with him was like, but it’s clear from the picture that he took an interest in Tracy and tried to shove me aside.

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    After we moved on from these villains, we noticed that the other set was coming out again. We were tempted for a minute to get back in line to meet these ones. We were especially interested in Jafar, because I’d never seen him out and about before and because my uncle is friends with Jonathan Freeman, the voice of Jafar, so I thought my uncle would get a kick out of it if we got a picture with him. Alas, the line had gotten even longer since our first time through it, and we didn’t really want to spend another half-hour waiting for character meets. We made the tough decision to skip the villains for now, and go for another ride. Heading to Tomorrowland, our next stop was Autopia.

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    We were pretty sure we knew what to expect from this ride having been on the Tomorrowland Speedway in WDW many times.

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    The line moved pretty quickly, which was good because I don’t like waiting in long lines for this kind of ride amongst all the exhaust fumes.

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    As we got to the front, we were excited for our spin around Autopia.

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    We liked that you are given driver’s licenses on this attraction. They must give out SO MANY of these per day! We were glad to have the souvenir.

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    We got to the front of the line and our car pulled up.

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    As I explained when we went on the Speedway in my other trip report, Tracy is always the driver, and she’s a SPEED DEMON.

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    Starting on our way, it became clear that this incarnation of the ride was different than the one we were used to. At WDW, the Speedway seems more like a racetrack, but Autopia is more of a drive through different landscapes. We liked all the road signs and different environments we got to drive by.

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    The whole experience of Autopia makes you feel a little removed from the rest of Disneyland, which I really liked. It felt like a more complete attraction.

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    As we pulled back into the station, we hit a bit of a traffic jam and had to wait for a while to disembark.

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    Getting back to our parking spot, we unloaded and headed out. We decided Autopia beat the Speedway hands down. Now it was off to Adventureland so we could continue our great adventures!

    Continued in Next Post
     
  11. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 18
    The Spirit of Adventure


    Cutting across the park from Tomorrowland to Adventureland, we decided to check out Tarzans Treehouse.

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    Since theres never a line for the Disney treehouse attractions, we were able to start right up without any sort of wait.

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    One of the absolute best parts of both this Treehouse and the Swiss Family Treehouse in WDW is the views that they afford.

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    We were able to see clear across Disneyland.

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    This treehouse was fun because I actually know the movie Tarzan while Ive never seen Swiss Family Robinson. I did my best Trazan impression.

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    Go away you Leopard!

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    Luckily, our protagonists appear to be safe.

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    There were more fun views as we started the descent.

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    And more show elements.

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    I did my best Tarzan yell into this, but I didnt hear it echoing&

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    We always love water features in the Disney parks, and the ones around the Treehouse were some of our favorites in Adventureland.

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    After climbing down from Tarzans Treehouse, we decided it was time for a snack. And not just any snack, mind you, but one of the Disney signature snacks.

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    It was Dole Whip time!

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    Since it was the height of the day in terms of heat, the line for the Tiki Juice Bar was LONG. It was easily the longest line we had waited in all day. Tracy wasnt sure it would ever end.

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    Luckily, we finally made it to the front and ordered our Dole Whip Float.

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    While delicious, of course, the Disneyland Dole Whip Floats are slightly inferior to their WDW counterparts in one respect: Disneyland only gives you the option of pineapple Dole Whip on your float, whereas at WDW we always get pineapple/vanilla swirl. The vanilla cuts some of the sweetness of the pineapple, and makes the whole thing just a little tastier. Still, I would rather have a solely pineapple Dole Whip Float than no Dole Whip any day!! We devoured our float pretty quickly. It was hot and we were thirsty. We hadnt gotten the hang of getting free water from the counter service restaurants, so we probably werent as hydrated as we should have been.

    After slurping down the last of our pineapple juice, we decided to ride another of Disneylands unique attractionsone that I had been looking forward to riding for at least ten years!

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    When I was a kid watching the Disney Channel, I was fascinated when they would do spotlights on Disneyland and the new attraction Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. This looked like my kind of thrill ride. Everything from the vehicles to the track to the storyline seemed so cool to me, and I dreamed of the day when I could ride it. But we never went to Disneyland after my first trip at age five. I always hoped the attraction would come to Walt Disney World, but it never did. So now, here I was finally getting to go on this attraction so many years later, and I only hoped it would live up to my expectations.

    We began heading through the queue pretty quickly. Im honestly not sure if we had grabbed Fastpasses a little while earlier or if the standby line was just short.

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    I had heard this queue raved about for years as one of the best Disney has ever done, and it really didnt disappoint.

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    We got to the front of the queue and boarded our vehicle in the front row. Tracy was the driver. The whole ride was just awesome. Its definitely one of Disneys best attractions of all time. All of the movements of the car were familiar (though I didnt realize at the time that the track is identical to that of Dinosaur in WDW), but there was something about the storyline of this attraction that was just thrilling. I also loved the use of space throughout the track. The cavernous room with the bridge and the flames was one of my favorite elements of any ride Id ever been on. Tracy loved it too, so even as we were unloading at the end, we were already getting excited to ride again throughout the trip.

    Continued in Next Post
     
  12. Velvetia

    Velvetia Mouseketeer

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    Really enjoying your trip report - unfortunately the Casey train, Storybook Canal Boats and Indiana Jones were all being refurbished during our recent visit - so thank you for your reports - I have been enjoying them here vicariously! :thumbsup2
     
  13. disneyismyheart247

    disneyismyheart247 Living the California and Disney Dream

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    Yay for Indy!
     
  14. Belle83

    Belle83 DIS Veteran

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    Indiana Jones is awesome! The queue is pretty cool too.

    So much better than Dinosaur ::yes::
     
  15. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    So glad that you can experience those attractions at least somewhat through the trip report! That stinks about them being closed while you were there. Refurbishments are such a double-edged sword. I want the rides to be in top condition but HATE when they're down when I'm visiting. Both Pirates and California Screamin' were down while we were there last year, and it was so sad walking by the closed attractions every time.

    Hooray! :cheer2:

    We love Dinosaur too, but were REALLY impressed by Indiana Jones.
     
  16. Aussiesalad

    Aussiesalad Totes Mcgoats

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    Ahhh I love Indy so much! Such an incredible ride :goodvibes

    Um what is that goat wearing and more importantly, why did we not see him when we were there?? We have been to Disneyland a bunch of times during September and yet there have been no dressed up goats! Ripped off :rotfl:
     
  17. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Real Life Update
    November 12, 2012


    Attention Readers: Tracy and I are on our way to CA. I'm live-tweeting the road trip at @tayalltheway and live Instagram-ing at @tayalltheway87 if you want to follow our adventures!

    Update 11/18: We're here in Orange County. Look for a new trip report starting soon-ish (though I should probably work on finishing these ones first!)
     
  18. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Indy was awesome, and I can't wait to see it all refreshed once it opens from the long refurb they've got it under now.

    I don't know exactly what the goat was supposed to be dressed up as, but we certainly approved!! There was a big "Day of the Dead" exhibit near Rancho del Zocalo, so maybe it had something to do with that? Or he just felt festive!
     
  19. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 19
    Fantasies Come True


    Our first stop after riding Indiana Jones was back in Tomorrowland.

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    We must have gotten some Fastpasses for Space Mountain again (I find myself not remembering when we got Fastpasses and for which attractions since its been a while since this trip&)

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    I know we really liked Ghost Galaxy each time we rode. Once the whole ride wasnt a surprise anymore, we got to enjoy the overlay a little more. Its definitely spooky!! Still in a roller coaster mood, we headed to the majestic Matterhorn next to take a ride on the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

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    This was one of those rides about which I only had the vaguest of recollections from my trip when I was five. It was probably one of the first roller coasters I had ever ridden at that point, and I remember it being pretty scary. This time we were a little scared of it as well, but only because wed read in advance that it was supposed to be one of the roughest rides in the park, and neither of us wanted to hurt our already injured backs/necks.

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    Still, we decided to ride at least once to get the experience, and decide from there if it was a ride wed be frequenting on the trip or not.

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    The queue for the Matterhorn Bobsleds was relatively long, stretching all the way back around the mountain itself, but it moved very fast. I dont think we were waiting longer than ten minutes before it was time to board.

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    We chose the left side of the track, not having ever heard if one side was better than the other. We laughed at the ridiculous seating method and seatbelts. Im not at all surprised they changed the configuration of the cars in the refurb right after our tripIm more surprised that it took them so many years to change& In a matter of moments, we were off! The ride was definitely fun, but rough is an understatement. It definitely took a toll on my back and neck, mostly because of how low down you are in the car. I could really feel EVERY bump. I was a little glad to get back on solid ground after the trip around the mountain was over. Unfortunately, I didnt foresee myself riding that one again any time soon. Tracy fared a little better than me at least, so she was game to ride again sometime.

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    Staying in Fantasyland, we decided to hit some more dark rides. First, it was time for a spin on Alice in Wonderland.

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    Its been a really long time since Ive watched the movie Alice in Wonderland, though Ive been meaning to revisit it. All I remember from when I last saw it some twenty years ago is that its one of the more bizarre Disney movies. The same could certainly be said of the ride. While being a classic Disney dark ride, Alice definitely has a very quirky feel to it. My favorite part was probably when the ride goes outside simply because I know its the only dark ride that does that!

    After returning from Wonderland, it was time to revisit a ride I hadnt gone on since the Disney World version closed many years agoMr. Toads Wild Ride.

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    This ride would actually have held the blame if I had grown up not liking the Disney parks. When I went to WDW when I was three years old, my parents took me on this ride and I was TERRIFIED of it! I dont know if it was the trip to hades, or the wildness of the journey, but I hear the story all the time that after going on this ride I thought everything would be scary and was even scared to go on the PeopleMover. Luckily, I overcame my fear by the time I went on my first trip to Disneyland two years later. I know I had to be talked into riding, but I also know that I did ride. I remember the ride as being both thrilling and very fast. I think I also rode in WDW when I was eight, but by the time we went again when I was ten, Toad had been murdered by Pooh.

    So those were my Toad memories coming into this first journey to nowhere in particular in over fifteen years. We actually watched The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad about a week before our trip. I was well acquainted with The Wind in the Willows having played Badger in a production of the musical when I was eleven, but I wanted to be reminded of how Disney handled the story.

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    Tracy had never seen the movie before, and later admitted she was glad we had watched it beforehand so she had some idea what was going on in the ride.

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    We made it through the queue pretty quickly and entered Toad Hall.

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    We were excited when a Cyril car pulled up for us because he was probably our favorite character.

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    Lo and behold, my younger self had greatly exaggerated the memory of the wildness of the ride. Its actually pretty tame. I do understand how I might have been scared of it as a three year-old, however. You do get hit by a train and die after all& On the whole, it was fun, and Im really glad that Mr. Toad (like Snow White) still exists in Disneyland.

    Our next stop was King Arthur Carrousel.

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    I love that the carrousels never have much of a line, because theyre a great spur of the moment attraction when you happen to be in the mood. We got on and grabbed some good horses.

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    And we were off! We spun around for a while and enjoyed the simplest of Disney rides immensely. Having knocked out a good portion of Fantasyland, we decided to head back to New Orleans Square via Frontierland.

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    The Columbia was in action and we thought about riding it. In the end, we wished we had because it turned out it only ran during the weekends and this was our only weekend day&

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    We were on our way back, of course, for another ride through The Haunted Mansion Holiday. Number two of MANY.

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  20. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 20
    Deep-Fried


    I think we must have had Fastpasses for this go on the Haunted Mansion, because the standby line looks pretty long in these pictures.

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    I know we only waited a few minutes, but I took several pictures of the queue area because it was just so well done.

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    Unlike the mansion in WDW, I think the Disneyland mansion looks like a house Id actually like to live in. The outside looks stately rather than too spooky.

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    Once again, we liked being able to see the pet cemetery a little better.

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    We quickly got to the front of the line and thoroughly enjoyed our second ride through Jacks mansion. Every time we rode we found new details. It was also fun noticing some of the elements we recognized from the regular mansion and how they are tweaked for this version.

    After exiting the Mansion, we went over to another unique Disneyland land for the first timeCritter Country.

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    We decided to get in line for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

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    Only there was no line! In Disneyland this ride seems to always be a walk-on, solike Lou Mongellowe walked on Pooh.

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    I would have to rate the Disneyland version of Pooh well above the WDW version. I dont know what it is about the ride, but it feels much more complete here. I also prefer these ride vehicles, though neither park holds a candle to the videos Ive seen of the Pooh ride in Tokyo. There the ride is trackless and looks awesome. Anyway, I digress. We enjoyed our trip through the Hundred Acre Wood as I knew we would. We love Pooh and all his friends, so whats not to like about this ride?

    Having survived a very blustery day and encounters with heffalumps and woozles, we returned to Critter Country. It was starting to get dark and we were starting to get hungry. Even though we were still a little more than a half-hour early for our first priority seating reservation, we decided to start walking toward our dinner locale.

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    Arriving back in New Orleans Square, we checked in early at Café Orleans. Our reservation was still just under a half-hour away, and they told us we would be seated in about a half-hour& Sometimes it doesnt work to be early. Rather than wander too far off, however, we settled on some benches in New Orleans Square while we waited.

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    And right at our reservation time they called us to be seated.

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    Sitting outside on the patio seemed like a good idea at the time. We wanted to be able to people-watch during dinner and to enjoy the ambience of New Orleans Square. Unfortunately, as it got dark, it also got chilly, and we hadnt gone back to grab our sweatshirts from our hotel room yet. We quickly began shivering in our t-shirts and shorts, but there really wasnt anything we could do. Even moving inside wouldnt have helped too much, because we noticed on our walk through the building to the patio that it was heavily air conditioned in there! Instead we did all we could to try to get warm, including laying our napkins on our laps before the food came out in case that little amount of covering warmed usspoiler alert: it did not help.

    Luckily, it didnt take that long for our food to come out, and nothing warms you up like stuffing your face with delicious, fried food. Since it was our first visit to Café Orleans, we had to try the signature dishes. For a starter, we ordered the much-raved about Pommes Frites.

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    These were DELICIOUS. They were everything I could expect from French fries and more. The seasonings were just great, and we devoured a huge percentage of the fries very quickly. But then, not more than a few minutes later, our main course came out. We had decided to split the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich. Now, I have to say that I went against my better judgment even ordering this sandwich. Id had a Monte Cristo once at a Bennigans in Colorado, and I really didnt enjoy it that much. Im all for eating fried foods, but an entire deep-fried sandwich is just a little gross. I decided that since its so popular, however, the Disney version must be somehow better. And it was. But it was still a Monte Cristo. It was only our first day at Disney, and with this sandwich, I was already starting to get a little sick of fried food. Uh oh. Tracy and I both enjoyed our first segments of sandwich, but after that we started feeling overfull, and didnt think it was wise to try to finish. I wasnt in the habit yet of remembering to take pictures before eating, so heres my half-eaten Monte Cristo.

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    In the end, we were a little sad because we had hoped wed have room for beignets at the end of this meal, but we just couldnt stomach the thought of more fried food at that moment. I think I have to admit that Monte Cristos just arent for me. The exception, however, might just be the Monte Cristo Bites theyre currently offering at the Jingle Jangle Jamboree. In small portions, I think I would enjoy the overall flavor. I just dont think Ill be ordering the whole sandwich again. And so, we settled our bill without even getting dessert, and we moved back out into the park.

    Overview of Café Orleans Dining Experience
    Service: Decent, though I remember when we had finished eating and just wanted the check so we could go, our sever was nowhere to be found for at least ten minutes. 3.5/5
    Atmosphere: Since we sat out on the patio, its hard to rate the actual ambience of the restaurant. The theming is well done, though, and I had nothing to complain about (except the cold). 4/5
    Food: The fries were great, and the Monte Cristo was what we were expecting, so it wasnt their fault that it made us overfull. 4/5

    Will Return?: I would definitely come back if I noticed something else on the menu I wanted to try. At the very least, Id stop in for a lighter meal of Pommes Frites and Mickey-shaped beignets!


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  21. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 21
    Duffy Does Disneyland


    We left Café Orleans and decided it would be dumb for us to go any longer without changing into some warmer clothes. We exited the park and walked back to Paradise Pier. This time we followed the directions given us by our precocious young friend that morning, and I dont even think we got too lost as we walked through the Grand Californian and across the way to our hotel.

    After both changing into long pants and grabbing sweatshirts, we quickly turned around and started heading straight back toward Disneyland. Our night was far from over! It was at this point that we made the most important purchase of our trip, and I dont even have a single picture to document it. On our way back through the Grand Californian, we stopped at Acorns Gifts and Goods to buy some mouthwash. While we were there, we noticed that they sold Duffy bears in the corner of the shop. We knew we planned to purchase a Duffy on this trip having become enamored with him already, but we had assumed it would be an in-park purchase a little later in the trip. Since we were there, however, we just decided to pick one out now. We found the best Duffy, bought him, and brought him back to Disneyland with us!

    As we got back to the main gates, we got a good look at all the Halloween décor lit up.

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    We entered the park and enjoyed seeing Main Street all lit up as well.

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    We decided to pose for some Photo Pass pictures in front of the Mickey pumpkin with Duffy in tow. Heres our first family portrait.

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    And heres our first family self-take.

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    We made our way toward the hub to get a good look at the castle all lit up.

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    I posed real pretty with Duffy.

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    People were already starting to stake out spots for the fireworks, which is what we were back for as well, so we grabbed a good spot and started waiting.

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    Since this was the only weekend day of our trip, we were faced with a conundrum of sorts. Being early fall, they only offered both fireworks and Fantasmic! on the weekends (when crowds are high enough to justify it). We, therefore, needed to figure out a way to squeeze both into the same night. I had asked ahead on Lines chat about whether this was possible and the best way to go about it, and the advice I received was: Watch the fireworks from the hub near the entrance to Frontierland. Then, after the fireworks, immediately make your way into Frontierland. At some point, you will encounter cast members who will hold you in place until the audience from the first Fantasmic! show is done exiting the area, then they will let you in and you can grab a good spot. So, did it work?

    Well, we accomplished the first part of the plan without any issues. Our spot for the fireworks gave us a spectacular view and was right next to the entrance to Frontierland. When the fireworks started, I was treated to a new favorite show. As Ive said, I LOVE Wishes (and always cry during it), so I was glad that this show was basically Wishes-plus! Remember Dreams Come True was the current fireworks show when we were there. It had just replaced Magical, which apparently runs for most of the summer. The core of the show is Wishes, but it features a Julie Andrews introduction about Walt Disney and a tag paying tribute to each of the lands of Disneyland in turn. It was great!! My camera is good for many things, but fireworks pictures is not one of them. Here are a couple of them anyway.

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    Right as the fireworks were coming to an end, we started walking toward the Frontierland entranceit was apparently a popular idea, as we certainly werent alone. Walking quickly, we didnt get too deep into the land before we met the cast members holding us there until the Fantasmic! area cleared out. We waited for about five minutes before being allowed to pass, at which point we made a beeline to the Rivers of America. We took seats in the rear-middle of the seating section for Fantasmic!, which was exactly what we were going for. Next began the half-hour of waiting for the show to begin. I often start feeling dizzy if I have to sit on an uncomfortable surface for too long, so the ground seating for Fantasmic! wasnt ideal. I just sucked it up as best I could because I wasnt about to miss this show!

    As show time approached, we started to get really excited. We had heard how much better the Disneyland version of Fantasmic! was supposed to be over the WDW version and were wondering how that could be possible considering how much weve always loved the WDW show. We decided to stay as spoiler-free as possible, so other than knowing about the new(ish) dragon animatronic, we had no real idea what to expect. I can say that I was blown away even more-so by the Peter Pan sequence than the dragon. The Pocahontas sequence has always seemed a little out of place in the WDW version, and I think Peter Pan and Captain Hook fighting on the Columbia is so well done. One of the pluses about Disneylands show is just how much more it feels like you are a part of the show because of how close you are to the action. It feels really immersive as opposed to the theatre at the Studios where you very much feel like the action is going on further away from you. Of course, the trade-off is that the seating is so much nicer at WDW, so I guess neither version is perfect. On the whole, I would have to rate this Fantasmic! a definite step above the WDW version, while still saying that I love both shows.

    Part of the reason I love Fantasmic! so much is the incredible soundtrack, so Im glad that was still present in this version. Here are the couple pictures I bothered to try taking during one of my favorite musical sequences.

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    After the grand finaleand what a finale it is!we joined the throngs of people remaining in the park for a little while longer. On the one hand, this was our first day, and we knew that both opening and closing the parks wasnt the best idea if we wanted to keep our stamina. On the other hand, however, this was the only day of our trip that the parks were open past 9:00, so we wanted to get our fill of late-night Disney.

    Our first stop after Fantasmic! was in Tomorrowland. We needed to use our Fastpasses for Star Tours that we got way back at the beginning of the day.

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    This was going to be Duffys first ride, so we had to document the moment.

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    Luckily, he was well-versed on how to properly wear his 3D glasses.

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    What a pro! Once again, we blasted off into space, and once again, we got our soon-to-be-famous Hoth/Death Star combo. We were a little disappointed to have gotten the same two destinations on our only two rides this day, but we told ourselves, Oh well, we still have plenty more opportunities to ride and experience all the different options.

    By now, it was already starting to get close to the midnight closing time, but we wanted to re-ride another of our favorite attractions now that it was dark. We walked back to Frontierland and got in the very short line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

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    We could see the illuminated Mark Twain from the queue!

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    This ride at night is one of Disneylands hidden treasures. I highly recommend riding it when its dark out, because its an entirely new experience. The ride is masterfully lit, and the combination of dim lights with the caves being almost pitch black makes the attraction just a little spooky and really fun.

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    We were still on board the train as the clock ticked to midnight and the park officially closed, so we had to start making our way toward the exit. On the way, we saw the Matterhorn with the moon shining brightly overhead.

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    When we got to Main Street, it was like the otherwise empty park came to life again as we caught up with all the families slowly exiting.

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    We were tempted to wait around on Main Street until they kicked us out, but we had to draw the line somewhere in terms of how late we wanted to stay out. We still had an early morning the next day, after all. So we walked toward the exit gates, taking a few pictures of the Emporium windows on the way out.

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    Getting back to Paradise Pier, we realized we were exhausted. This had been an extremely long day. We had started our days in the parks with flair, however, being there from open to close, and we had already started making some fantastic memories. After showering and getting ready for bed, I think we both were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

    Overview of September 18, 2011

    Highs
    - Getting into Disneyland for the first time on this trip!
    - All the new (to us) rides and different versions of old favorites
    - Meeting Pancho
    - Buying Duffy!
    - Cramming fireworks and Fantasmic! into a night full of spectaculars
    - Being in Disney from open to close
    - Seeing all the Halloween decorations for the first time

    Lows
    - Not understanding that we could have used Magic Morning
    - The cold moments (at park opening and dinner)
    - Not meeting the villains we had been in line for

    Weather
    Mid 80s and sunny (though it was around 60 at the cold times of day)

    Food of the Day
    Pommes Frites from Café Orleans


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