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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    All of your pictures look so nice! Those fries look delicious!
     
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  3. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! The fries were SO good! I want to get some again ASAP.
     
  4. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    September 19, 2011

    Chapter 22
    A Late “Early” Morning


    Waking up after a very good night’s sleep, Tracy and I quickly got ready so we could make rope drop. Duffy enjoyed his first night with us.

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    Tracy enjoyed some coffee.

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    And Duffy decided to go back to bed.

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    Donning our hats, we made our way downstairs.

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    This time, we were pros at going through the Grand Californian into Downtown Disney.

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    The Grand Californian is just so incredibly pretty. Having spent a lot of time there over the last couple weeks, I’ve become very fond of the place, and the detours through the hotel on this trip were a nice introduction.

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    Arriving back at the esplanade, we noticed how much nicer the weather was this morning than it had been the day before.

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    We didn’t have to wait for the clouds to burn off, and enjoyed some nice sun instead! Having spent our whole first day in Disneyland, it only makes sense that we would spend this day in… Disneyland?

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    No. We were, in fact, planning to spend most of this day at Disney California Adventure, but we had a stop to make in Disneyland first. As we queued up at the gates, the Disneyland Marching Band played a song in front of the entrance.

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    One of the things I came to LOVE about Disneyland is just how much live music there is at any given time. I know it’s all scheduled, but it always felt so impromptu, and it always came as a fun surprise.

    We were let through the gates after the band finished playing, and started walking toward Main Street.

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    The throngs of people were all waiting for rope drop just as they had been the day before, only this day didn’t have Magic Morning, so everyone was being held this time.

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    Our spot amongst the crowd was a little ways back from the rope, but we knew we were heading somewhere that not many other people would be going, so we didn’t mind.

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    Besides, there were still PLENTY of people behind us.

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    At 10:00, the announcement played welcoming us all to Disneyland. 10:00 felt SO late for a rope drop! Before this trip, I think the latest we’d ever had a park open before was 9:00 at WDW… Once the park was officially open, we started to walk back toward Fantasyland.

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    By the sheer fact that we didn’t have children in tow, Tracy and I moved much faster than most of the families around us, and soon found we were among the head of the pack as we entered Fantasyland past the Matterhorn.

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    We weren’t simply going to Fantasyland, however, so we kept walking, even past It’s a Small World.

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    This was actually our first real sighting of the outdoor façade for It’s a Small World, however, so we did stop for a second to take some pictures with the topiaries.

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    As we kept walking to the edge of Fantasyland, we continued outside the berm to our destination for this morning. We were the first to arrive at Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness!

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    Continued in Next Post
     
  5. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 23
    Personalized Disney Magic


    Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness, for those of you who have never experienced it, is offered as a part of certain vacation packages. I have no idea if it’s basically only through agencies like Costco Travel and AAA or if normal Disney travel agencies include it. Since Toontown typically opens one hour after Disneyland, Morning Madness allows you to enter Toontown during that first hour when the park is open. On our day, there were probably only about 50-100 people taking advantage of Morning Madness. This allowed for VERY low crowds to meet characters and explore Toontown.

    Upon turning in our Morning Madness tickets, we were allowed to burst in. It was almost unnerving how empty it was there. The characters were all waiting to greet us!

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    Remember that cast member in the picture with Minnie, as he’s about to become very important to this story. We met Minnie and took pictures with her.

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    The cast member had us do a fun, crazy pose as well.

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    Next, Pluto burst out of nowhere, so we took pictures with him.

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    Mickey was a little more dignified, so we had to actually walk up to him to take pictures.

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    By this point, a few more families had started filing in, but it was basically empty. We got as much time as we wanted to interact with each character. It was really special!

    Suddenly, as we were waiting to take a picture with Donald and Goofy, the cast member who greeted us as we came in asked us if he could talk to us for a minute. Pulling us off to the side, he explained to us that as part of Morning Madness, every day they picked a family to be the Honorary Toontown Family of the Day. There was to be a ceremony in front of Toontown City Hall in a few minutes, and if we were interested, he thought we might like to be this morning’s family.

    We were beyond excited! Having never been picked for anything like this before (remember this was several months before our being made Grand Marshals in Disney World), we thought this was so cool. Of course we said yes, so he took down some of our information. Mostly he wanted to know our names, where we were from, and what anniversary we were celebrating. Having written all that information down, he introduced us to the cast member who would be our “handler” during the ceremony. Basically, since we would have assigned seats, she would make sure they didn’t get taken, give us our cue to go up on stage, and take pictures for us during the ceremony. We thanked both of them and again reiterated our excitement.

    It was still about fifteen minutes from when the ceremony was to start, so we went back to meeting and greeting characters. We started with Donald and Goofy.

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    Next we saw Chip and Dale running around.

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    We posed with Chip, but never did corral Dale.

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    We were mostly just so excited about our stroke of Disney magic this morning.

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    As the time approached, we headed over to City Hall and found our seats.

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    The family sitting in front of us was the epitome of the ugly American tourist. They were rude and obnoxious and had no control over their kids. They had taken our reserved seats, so our cast member attendant had to ask them to move. Unfortunately, they didn’t move too far, but luckily we could still see pretty well.

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    We realized that Toontown had gotten a little quiet as the characters had gone back to prepare for the Town Meeting. Then suddenly, music started playing and everyone burst forth out of City Hall.

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    The ceremony started out with a song and dance routine featuring the fab five plus Chip and Dale.

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    The Deputy Mayor of Toontown also came out to serve as our master of ceremonies.

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    After welcoming us all to Toontown, Mickey and the Deputy Mayor announced us as the honorary family of the day! I handed over my camera to our cast member helper and Tracy and I went up onstage.

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    We were given these awesome sashes denoting our honorary family status.

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    Next the Deputy Mayor had us introduce ourselves.

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    He asked us our names and where we were from, and then he told the audience all about how we were celebrating our anniversary.

    Next, Mickey handed us a scroll and asked us if we would like to become honorary citizens of Toontown.

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    Of course we said yes!!

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  6. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 24
    Dual Citizenship


    First, we had to take the citizenship oath.

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    We did the best we could, but some of the lines we had to repeat were a MOUTHFUL!

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    After we were made honorary citizens, the deputy mayor asked if everyone present would like to be made citizens.

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    Of course everyone obliged!

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    Luckily, everyone else just had to take a much-abridged oath.

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    Finally, the deputy mayor thanked us and we shook hands before returning to our seats.

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    The ceremony then wrapped up with another song, and the characters ran back off leaving Toontown to us for another short while.

    The final reward for our being family of the day was to be the first ones admitted through Mickeys House for the day, and hence the first ones to get to meet and pose with Mickey. The cast member who had been taking care of us this morning led us to Mickeys House and made sure we got in line. Then, sadly, she asked for our sashes back& We had been a little hopeful that we would get to keep them, but I guess theyre expensive. We were all given Morning Madness buttons, at least, so we donned those with pride.

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    While we waited to be let into Mickeys House, I took some pictures of the doormat and front door.

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    Then the door opened and Mickey himself was there to greet us!

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    Mickey didnt seem to remember us as I thanked him for our honorary citizenship, and then I realized he was also wearing a slightly different outfit from the one during the ceremony. I guess there must have been a Mickey-switch somewhere in those five minutes&

    We decided to really take our time going through Mickeys House this morning because we had the luxury of Toontown still being so empty. I took lots of pictures as we walked through.

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    I struck up a song on Mickeys piano.

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    Tracy had to lay out on Plutos bed like I had the previous day.

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    Mickeys calendar is slightly out of date&

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    We found Plutos doghouse!

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    This time when we took a picture of ourselves in the mirror, we remembered to turn the flash off, so it came out a little better.

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    We enjoyed Donald and Goofys commentaries as we walked through the movie set area.

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    And, of course, noticed a few more small details.

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    Since we had already met Mickey, there was no need to wait to meet him yet again in the theatre, so we just skipped that part and headed outside.

    Once outside, we looked around in Mickeys garage.

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    Mickey has a pretty sweet ride.

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    Once we were outside Mickey's House, our moment in the spotlight as the honorary family was over, so we went back to our day. At least we had our scroll and lots of pictures to remember the morning's events!

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  7. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 25
    To Be a Toon


    We were down to about the final fifteen minutes of Toontown Morning Madness, so we picked up our pace a little and went around trying to see as much as possible before the crowds increased as the public was let in. First we went over to Minnies House and took a picture of Tracy with her mailbox.

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    For some reason, we never went into Minnies House on this trip despite being in Toontown several times. Well have to make it a point to go next time were in that land. Since we had a picture of Tracy with Minnies mailbox, we went back over to Mickeys House to get a picture of me with his mailbox.

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    This time, Mickeys car was empty so I got in and took it for a spin.

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    Our next stop was Chip n Dales Treehouse.

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    We went up and explored it. It was fun to see all the little details like these pots.

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    Next, it was over to Donalds Boat.

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    I yelled into this periscope, but in the picture it looks like Donald is eating Pluto.

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    I liked the waterfalls at Donalds Boat.

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    Of course, its the S.S. Miss Daisy.

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    The boat also afforded great views of the rest of Toontown.

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    Unfortunately, we were a little tall for the Captains Quarters.

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    Heres the view of Goofys House from the boat.

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    That was our next destination. Unfortunately, Tracy drove Goofys car right into his mailbox.

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    This Mickey fountain was straight out of Epic Mickey, so we thought it was fun.

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    Next, we decided to ride Gadgets Go Coaster.

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    I had no idea who Gadget was. Im sure I watched some Rescue Rangers when I was younger, but it stands out less than most of the other Disney Channel shows from my childhood. There was literally no one in line for the coaster as we walked through the queue, and I took lots of pictures because the area is actually really well-themed.

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  8. disneyismyheart247

    disneyismyheart247 Living the California and Disney Dream

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    Score on the honorary citizens awards!:woohoo: Toontown is so cool, one of the best themed lands in the park.
     
  9. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! We were pretty excited about it! :cool1: I honestly loved Toontown. It's one of those lands that I feel like only Disney could pull off. Everything about it is just so fun!
     
  10. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 26
    DCA Bound


    We got on Gadget’s Go Coaster and it was actually a lot of fun. Much like The Barnstormer, it packed a little more punch than I was expecting. It may only have one drop, but it still gave me the typical “roller-coaster feeling” in my stomach.

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    I’d definitely ride again sometime! Especially if there was no wait again. We exited the coaster area and moved across Toontown.

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    We stopped in at the Post Office and checked all of our friends’ mailboxes.

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    It was at this point that we probably should have ridden Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, but honestly I forgot that it existed. It wasn’t until after our whole trip was over and I was reviewing what we had ridden that I even realized we had missed that ride! Oh well… next time.

    Now Toontown was finally open to the public, so we took that as our cue to move out.

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    We were actually about ready to be done with Disneyland for the day and head over to DCA. First, however, we had to stop for a couple Photo Pass pictures.

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    On the way down Main Street, we realized we were hungry for a snack. Entering the (now extinct) Blue Ribbon Bakery, we were immediately intoxicated by the delicious smells wafting at us.

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    We queued up and tried to plan what we wanted to get.

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    Getting to the front of the line, we decided the Cinnamon Tiwsts looked very good, so we got one to share.

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    It really was delicious. Really flaky with just the right balance of cinnamon to sugar, we both really enjoyed it—and gobbled it right up!

    Now it was time to actually exit Disneyland. Almost to the gates, we paused to take a couple Photo Pass pictures with the train station. First, the typical shot.

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    Next, the magic shot! I love the balloons magic shot. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

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    Once we were done posing, it was ACTUALLY time to move along. We exited Disneyland, walked across the esplanade, and were at DCA in a matter of moments.

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    Perhaps this is where I should take a moment to praise one of the things we loved about Disneyland. It was SO NICE being able to walk between the parks. Of course, I love the blessing of size in Walt Disney World. The immersive property and monorail between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are all fantastic. That being said, you lose A LOT of vacation time in transit between destinations at WDW. At Disneyland, everything is so walkable. You can actually “hop” between parks. You can go back to your hotel for a break in the middle of the day without having to schedule up to two hours of travel time. The compactness of the resort definitely has its pluses.

    Anyway, this was both Tracy and my first times in DCA, and we were excited! We were, of course, aware that we were here in the middle of the biggest expansion ever to hit the west coast, and knew there would be some sacrifices involved with visiting a half-open park. This became totally apparent the second we walked through the gates. Rather than walking into the beautiful Buena Vista Street that greets guests now, we walked in and faced construction walls as far as the eye could see. We had to detour either left or right depending on where we wanted to go.

    Since we already had World of Color Fastpasses taken care of this evening (stay tuned for that), we were able to avoid the dash to those machines. Instead, we were able to choose the ride we wanted to hit first. We decided to go to Condor Flats and experience the original version of one of my favorite rides in WDW—Soarin’ (Over California).

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    The theming for Soarin’ Over California at DCA is much more immersive than at Epcot. You can very much tell that they just shoehorned the attraction into The Land pavilion there. At DCA, however, the building is perfectly themed as an airplane hangar.

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    The other noticeable difference, of course, is that the DCA Soarin’ Over California isn’t the most popular ride in the park. Hence, there aren’t ever the wait times of two hours or more that you always see at Epcot. This morning, the wait said 15 minutes, so we got in the standby line!

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    The queue inside matches the building, and is themed to show the history of flight.

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    Soarin’ is one of those rides where waiting in line becomes more noticeable purely because of the fact that you have to wait five minutes in between moving at all. Then when you do move, you move quite a bit as another entire theatre is filled. The three or so spans of five minutes felt longer as we were left standing in place each time, but luckily, that was as long as we had to wait.

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    Making it to the front of the line, we were assigned our place. I think on this ride, we got section B, row two. We prefer row one, but didn’t want to wait another five minutes for the spot. We filed into our places in the queue, and were of course excited to see that Patrick and the entire preshow video are the same as the one we love at WDW. Next, we went into the theatre and boarded our aircraft. The ride was spectacular as always! I just love this ride. Everything, from the music to the visuals to that inimitable feeling of flying, makes it one of my favorites. It was one of those rides that really made me feel like I was home!

    Upon exiting Soarin’ Over California, we walked past Grizzly Peak en route to our next destination.

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    We took our first look at the Grizzly River Run, though it was certainly not on our to-do list this early in the day.

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    Instead, Tracy posed for a picture with the Peak.

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    We love bears, so we really liked this park icon.

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  11. Velvetia

    Velvetia Mouseketeer

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    So cool that you got to be Honorary Toontown Citizens! still really enjoying your report. I hope that your move to CA has been going okay. You mentioned you'd spent a deal of time at the Grand Californian recently - does that mean that you managed to get a job there?!
     
  12. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Glad you're still enjoying reading along! We were really excited about being Honorary Citizens. It was a lot of fun!

    The move has certainly been an adventure. I'm going to start a "trip" report about it soon so I can share all we've been up to. Not working at the Grand, unfortunately. We've just found ourselves living ten minutes from Disneyland without having the money to go into the parks. Consequently, we've spent a lot of time hanging out at the resorts/Downtown Disney to get our Disney fix.
     
  13. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 27
    A Mouse and His Bear


    Our next stop on the journey through DCA was the section after which our hotel took its name: Paradise Pier.

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    We caught our first glimpse of another of the park’s largest icons, Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

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    And we walked under the arch into this section of the park.

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    Now was the time, however, to meet up with one of the characters we were most anxious to see in person. We had bought his likeness the previous day after all. That’s right, it was time to meet Duffy!!

    The setup for the Duffy meet and greet was all themed for Halloween. It was Duffy’s Pumpkin Patch, and he was dressed in his pumpkin costume.

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    We met Duffy and gave him big hugs. This was the first time we had met him, so we didn’t know what to expect from his character. As we hoped, he just turned out to be a simpleton. He waved, he hugged, and that was about all he really knew how to do!

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    We were still enamored though!

    Having met Duffy, we now went over to meet his owner—Mickey Mouse. Obviously, we’d already seen Mickey several times on this trip, but this time he was Sailor Mickey.

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    This Mickey was probably the best character we encountered on this entire trip. He was SO interactive, and you could tell he just loved trying to relate to the guests through mime. When we occasionally had some trouble figuring out what he was trying to “say,” we were lucky that the handler and the Photo Pass photographer were good at intervening and interpreting for us.

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    An example of this was when Mickey was asking us about our anniversary buttons and trying to get me to pose on one knee. All of us, including the handler, were a little flummoxed at first while Mickey grew more and more animated, but we finally understood what he was asking.

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    Then he had lots of fun posing with us.

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    After meeting Mickey and Duffy, we were feeling pretty immersed in the magic. We noticed on the times guide that the characters from Toy Story were supposed to be doing meet and greets in Paradise Pier and made our way in that direction. We must have just missed them, however, as their location was empty. Instead, we posed in the big toy package.

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    Now, we decided, it was time for another ride. Tracy was really excited about Mickey’s Fun Wheel, being a big fan of Ferris wheels, so we went in that direction first. Having watched the swinging version of this ride, we had decided in advance that it wasn’t for us—seriously, I get a little queasy just watching people ride that—so we got in the line for the non-swinging cars.

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    The loading process for this ride—as for any Ferris wheel—is quite slow, so we waited as cars went whisking by, then a few stopped and were loaded in a pattern that must be quite complex for the ride operator.

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    We kept hoping that we would end up with a Pluto car.

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    In the end, I think we got a Mickey car, which is still pretty exciting. Even more exciting was that we got a car all to ourselves!

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    This is apparently quite rare as we would find out later in the trip. Within a few moments, we were airborne.

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    One thing that can certainly be said about the Fun Wheel is that it affords some fantastic views!

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    We could see our room in the hotel!

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    And there was the granddaddy of all construction sites: Carsland.

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    Enjoying the rest of the views as we circled around (and reaffirming that we had made the right decision with a non-swinging car), we had a really fun time on this ride. There’s something so classic about a Ferris wheel that has allowed them to stand the test of time. Like the carousel, this ride isn’t necessarily anything special, but it’s a central element of the theme park experience.

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  14. Belle83

    Belle83 DIS Veteran

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    That's a really cool picture of the Cars Land construction.

    You guys got some great PhotoPass pictures!
     
  15. EliS15

    EliS15 Earning My Ears

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    Mar 31, 2011
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    11
    Thank god you said this! I was worried as soon as I saw the picture of Mickey's Wheel of Death that you might have taken one of those swinging cars.

    I did that once with my Dad a few years ago...never again!!
     
  16. oypoodles

    oypoodles Earning My Ears

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    OMG! Family of the day. How cool :)
     
  17. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Glad you like the pictures! We were quite happy with them :cool1:

    Ugh, that sounds terrible... I feel like I've never heard a positive review of the swinging cars, but there's always plenty of people in line for them! :confused3

    It was really cool! A nice dose of Disney magic to start off our day!!
     
  18. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 28
    A Royal Lunch


    Back on solid ground, we walked through Paradise Pier to get better acquainted with this part of the park.

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    We snapped a few pictures of the under-refurbishment California Screamin’.

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    And we made our way over to our luncheon locale for today—Ariel’s Grotto.

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    We checked in for our reservation and were given our pager. We were told it would still work anywhere in the immediate vicinity, so we went outside again to enjoy the beautiful weather while we waited.

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    Duffy had just gone on break, so his pumpkin patch was vacant. We were taking a couple pictures with the backdrop when his Photo Pass photographer asked if we’d like a picture together.

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    After about ten minutes, our pager buzzed to let us know our table was ready!

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    We headed downstairs, and were immediately greeted by Ariel, who posed with us for a photo. After taking the picture that would be available for purchase, we asked for them to take one with our camera.

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    Next, we were led to our table and Tracy was given a princess crown to decorate. She was pretty excited!

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    I was even more excited when we were given our first food of the meal, even if it was just rolls.

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    They were fresh and tasty! While Tracy was still hard at work applying stickers to her crown, our server brought us our appetizer platter.

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    This massive tower of antipasti included: Salami, Marinated Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Gherkins, Olives, Red Pepper Bracelets, Chilled Vegetables with Pesto and Ranch dips, and "Jewels of the Sea" Fruit Gelatin, String Cheese, Seasonal Fruit, and a Mixed Greens Salad served with Ariel's Grotto House Vinaigrette. We were especially fans of the meats and cheeses as well as the olives, but we sampled some of everything.

    Tracy finished her crown just in time...

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    ...because a princess was about to stop by our table!

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    Seeing that we were without a photographer, a nice lady at the table next to us offered to take our picture together with Cinderella.

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    We found that the princesses didn’t quite know what to do with us, a pair of twenty-somethings without kids at this character meal, so none of them really stayed with us for too long. We usually got one of the character-specific one-liners out of each of them before they were ready to pose and move along. That level of interaction was fine with us though—we were just excited to briefly meet and get some pictures!

    Belle was next. She had a little case of the ceiling-eyes going on…

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    Soon after Belle came Snow White.

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    And soon after Snow White came… our food! We had ordered our entrees before the princesses started coming around, and now they arrived. Both Tracy and I ordered the Santa Maria Style Tri-tip (slow roasted over rock salt and smoked with red oakwood. Served with Cheddar-herb mashed potatoes and a medley of seasonal vegetables)

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    The meat was really good, but what I remember most after over a year was the vegetables! They were each extremely flavorful and very well-cooked. I don’t often find myself remembering sides, so they must have been good.

    Mid-way through our entrees, the final princess showed up—Aurora.

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    Judging by the fact that my plate was almost entirely clear, you can be pretty sure I enjoyed it!

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    The last course to come out was, of course, the dessert tray.

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    It included Lava Cake, Chocolate-Chip Strips, French Macaroons, S'more Chocolate Bites and a White Chocolate Conch Shell of fresh Berries. Everything on this plate looked so delicious, but we were stuffed! We made a point to sample a little bit of each dessert, but couldn’t do much more than that. Our favorites were probably the lava cake for the flavor, and the conch shell for the sheer ridiculousness of it! Here’s Tracy taking a bite.

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    One of the best parts of the meal came next when our server brought us the check. We handed over two of the character meal vouchers that had come with our vacation package, and that took care of everything—tip included!

    Sad to be leaving so many delicious desserts behind, we practically rolled our stuffed selves to the exit.

    Overview of Ariel’s Grotto Dining Experience
    Service: I don’t remember much about the service here, but I’m pretty sure we were satisfied! I know we didn’t have any problems. 4/5
    Atmosphere: This restaurant is fun. The character interactions were pretty brief, but we were okay with that. I’m sure they fawned more over the kids. On the whole, I was pleased with how everything went. 4.5/5
    Food: I’ve heard some negative things about the food here, but we had nothing to complain about! Everything was really tasty, and obviously we got a TON of food so we couldn’t finish it all. 4.5/5

    Will Return?: That’s a tough question. If we hadn’t had our character meal vouchers, this restaurant definitely would have been pricey! Since we’ve had the experience, I’d at least say we’re unlikely to return in the near future.


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  19. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    Hi everyone! Happy New Year! I hope all of your 2013's are starting out great. I just wanted to let all of you faithful readers know that I've started a new trip report covering our move to California and our constantly evolving new life ten minutes from Disneyland! The new report can be found here:
    We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

    I'll still be working on this report and soon finishing up the May 2012 WDW report as well, so I'd love to see you in all of those places. Hope you enjoy reading everything as much as I enjoy writing it!


    Chapter 29
    Step Right Up


    Exiting Ariel’s Grotto, we found ourselves back near Paradise Pier, so we started walking back in that direction. In the water in front of Mickey’s Fun Wheel, the water fountains were sticking out as I assume they did some prep for World of Color.

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    We walked into Paradise Pier.

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    Arriving at our destination, we queued up for a ride with a longer posted wait time than we’re accustomed to accepting.

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    Toy Story Midway Mania is definitely not the same animal here as at Hollywood Studios. No Fastpass, no two-hour waits, and no endless queue. The ride is treated much the same as many others here at DCA. It definitely still draws a crowd, however, so I think the posted wait was either 30 or 40 minutes. We decided it probably wasn’t going to get shorter this afternoon, so we sucked it up and got in line.

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    The line felt… long. When you make a habit of hitting rope drop, using Fastpasses, and skipping over queues of longer than fifteen minutes, spending a solid thirty minutes in line makes you remember why you usually do all those things. There was an older couple in front of us who were friendly and talked to us for a while throughout the queue. They were from somewhere relatively nearby, so they visited Disneyland about once a year. Neither of them had ever been to Disney World, so they were fascinated by the fact that most of our Disney experience had come from there. They were saying they would like to get out to WDW sometime, but had heard that it was so big and you needed several days to see it all! How true, especially compared to the compactness of Disneyland. They asked us which hotel we were staying at, and when we told them we were at Paradise Pier, they said that was where they had been planning on staying. They had noticed, however, that the price to upgrade from Paradise Pier to the Grand Californian wasn’t too bad, so that’s where they ended up. Needless to say, we were extremely jealous.

    Finally, the queue finished its many switchbacks and we made it to the front. I must say, the queue here can’t hold a candle to the well-themed version at WDW. As we stood on our numbers at the loading area, a Rex car pulled up and we climbed aboard.

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    I always really enjoy Toy Story Mania, and this was no exception. As always, however, my wrist was not happy by the end. Tracy and I both went all out, and while I got the highest score in our car, Tracy wasn’t far behind. We both got Beavers as our rewards. As we pulled up to the unload area, I took a picture of Slinky’s corn dog stand. Slinky is one of our favorite Toy Story characters, and we like corn dogs, so we appreciated it.

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    Exiting the ride, you pass through a house-themed area en route to the gift shop. There sits the Midway Mania game that we just finished being shrunk down to the size of. I thought it was a fun, subtle way to reiterate the story behind the attraction.

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    We kept walking through Paradise Pier, looking at some of the other rides we hadn’t hit yet.

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    Coming around the edge of the water, we approached the newest addition (as of our visit) to DCA—The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

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    Knowing this ride was practically brand new and supposed to be a fun new dark ride, we were expecting there to be somewhat lengthy lines, but as we walked up to the queue, you could barely even tell that the ride was open. It was deserted and as we walked to the front of the line, we were able to board the first clamshell that passed.

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    Honestly, this ride didn’t make the best first impression, but mostly it seemed to be due to bad luck. We got stopped for a few minutes at least three times on this first go around. Each time the ride shuddered to a halt and Sebastian let us know we would be moving shortly, it really took us out of the mood of the ride. Having this fun three-minute dark ride turn into a ten-plus-minute experience with a lot of sitting and waiting wasn’t the best. We decided, therefore, to withhold judgment until we could ride again later.

    Going back out into Paradise Pier, we saw the Green Army men driving by and chanting a marching song.

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    Now, we decided to ride a few of the “carnival-style” rides in this section of the park. We started with the Silly Symphony Swings.

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    As we walked up and waited on the platform to board the Swings, we had a great view of Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

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    We also had a good view of the swings above us while we waited in line.

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    Boarding our swings after a couple rounds of waiting, we found that they were really fun. This is another one of those amusement park/carnival rides that we’d been on many times before in other places, but just being in Disney and having the music playing made it feel more special. I love the feeling of the wind whipping around you on these types of swings. We had fun!

    Climbing down from the Swings platform, we queued up for the Golden Zephyr next.

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    From the Zephyr queue, we had a great view of the Swings.

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    We started off this ride all smiley and happy.

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    Then we took off. Between the centripetal force and the wind that day, the ride was extremely shaky. We were also scared we were going to lose our hats—and not in a fun Star Tours-esque way—so we had to hang onto them for the whole ride.

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    We weren’t sad to get back on the ground. Our next stop was Goofy’s Sky School.

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    This ride looked like fun, though it also looked a little wild. It had been down most of the afternoon, and just come back up, so there was no line.

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    This ride turned out to be a bit of a mistake for me… It flings you around so much that it definitely hurt my neck. I had fun at the time, but regretted it soon after… Oh well. Live and learn!

    Once we were down on the ground after that interesting flying lesson, we decided to take a short break from rides for a while. We thought it might be fun to play one of the carnival games on the boardwalk at Paradise Pier. We chose our game wisely—Bullseye Stallion Stampede—and bought our card so that we could play. The problem was that we really wanted to win a prize after laying out the money for the game, and that would only be guaranteed if we were the only ones playing our game. It was an extremely light day in the park crowd-wise, so there weren’t that many people playing the games. But each time we were about to start a round with just the two of us playing against each other, someone else who looked like they would certainly beat us came up and sat down.

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    We withdrew from the competition several times until finally, we were able to sneak in and play a round all for ourselves. After all that, I don’t really remember whether Tracy or I won, but I do know that we won a mini Bullseye plush—just what we had our eyes on!

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  20. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    Chapter 30
    A Picnic in the Park


    Having won Bullseye, we started walking toward our next destination.

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    Tracy wanted to make sure that you all know that it was SHE who won the game, and hence SHE who won Bullseye. I apologize for not giving her credit in the last update.

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    On the way to our next stop, we passed by the entrance to the Cars Land construction. There were walls obviously blocking it off, but Lightning and Mater were also out front to pose with.

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    Next, we continued past Grizzly River Run.

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    And we found ourselves at the entrance to Hollywood Land.

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    The Pixar Play Parade was just starting to roll out as we reached the end of the street.

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    We were heading to the theatre behind the parade, however. I wanted to catch the next show of Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, and Tracy had reluctantly agreed. She’s not always the biggest fan of taking the time out to watch shows in the middle of our park days. I can understand that—they take up a whole lot of time between getting there early enough to get a seat and then watching the show—but I was excited to see Aladdin, and at least our vacation package had provided us with an incentive. One of the pages of our little booklet that came with our package had tickets for priority seating for several of the shows at Disneyland and DCA. Aladdin was among these shows, so all we had to do was present our stubs to the cast member working the entrance and we got to wait in a special section that would be allowed into the theatre first. Pretty fancy. From our spot waiting to get into the theatre, we had a great view of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

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    Bullseye and I were excited to get inside.

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    Entering the theatre, we were able to quickly file into seats in the center of the front row! This seemed absolutely perfect, and I was excited for the show to start. When the show started, we really enjoyed it. It was all really fun, a lot of the actors were great—especially the Genie—and I was impressed. Then, about halfway through the show, I started feeling bad. I got dizzy really quickly and just was feeling bad overall. I wanted to stick it out as best as possible, but it wasn’t going away. As a result, I motioned to Tracy that I needed to get out of there. Always a good sport beyond what I have any right to hope for in these situations, she stood up with me in the next blackout and we made our way toward the exit. I felt really bad, since I had been the one to insist on us going in the first place, but we both knew there wasn’t really anything I could do about it. Mostly, we were just sad we missed “A Whole New World” since we really wanted to see the flying Magic Carpet. As a whole, this show will definitely be one we need to see in full now that we’re local.

    It was getting toward the end of the afternoon, and we would need to go back to the room to change into pants and grab sweatshirts at some point anyway, so we decided this would be a good time for that. We quickly made our way out of DCA through the Grand Californian entrance and found ourselves back at Paradise Pier pretty quickly. I still wasn’t feeling great, so I decided to lie down for a few minutes. Luckily, this helped—though I know now that eating a snack would have helped more—and before too long I started feeling okay again.

    As we started to prepare to go back into the parks, we woke up Duffy from his slumber. Tracy put her ears on him.

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    We decided to bring him to DCA with us for our evening.

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    And we were off again. Back to the Grand Californian entrance into the park—gotta love that entrance as a Disney hotel guest!

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    As we walked past the construction walls again, Tracy tried to emulate Pluto’s pose on one of the posters.

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    We walked alongside some of the falls that adorn Grizzly Peak.

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    And now it was time to grab our dinner for the evening.

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    We had preordered World of Color picnics several weeks before our arrival. While it probably wouldn’t have been that big of an issue during this low crowd season, we had heard how much of a necessity it was to race to get World of Color Fastpasses right as the park opened. To avoid this, we thought the picnic sounded like a good idea when we first read about it. We ordered two picnics in advance: The European Antipasto and The All American. Once we found where we needed to go to pick them up, the process was quite easy. We showed our printed receipt and were handed a souvenir World of Color reusable bag with the two picnic meals inside as well as two Fastpasses for the Yellow section.

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    We found seating right by where we picked up our meals, and we dug right in. I forgot to take a picture until we had basically massacred the food, but here’s one of the carnage.

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    The All American meal included cold-honey stung fried chicken, green and red cabbage cole slaw with apple cider dressing, old fashioned potato salad with sweet onions and dill relish, and apple pie. I don’t know how we didn’t notice the fact that “cold” was in the description of the fried chicken when we were ordering the meal, but it still came as a surprise to us. Luckily fried chicken isn’t bad served cold, but it wasn’t really what we were in the mood for. The sides were all pretty good at least. The European Antipasto consisted of cured meats, regional cheese, pepperoncini, artichoke heart and sun-dried tomatoes, Carr's water crackers, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, caprese salad skewers, fresh mozzarella and baby heirloom tomatoes, and chocolate-dipped tiramisu. This one was good. We like salamis and cheeses, so since they were the base of the meal we were pretty happy.

    For the most part, though, neither of these meals was really anything special, so they’re not all that memorable. For the cost, we definitely would never consider doing the picnics again, especially now that World of Color is less of a hot ticket since Cars Land opened. We probably preferred the European Antipasto, and it looks like that one’s not even offered anymore. Not only that, but the Fastpasses we got weren’t even in the best section. You would have assumed that since you were paying a high price for the package that they would give you a spot that’s slightly better than the Fastpasses anyone could grab. The whole meal would probably fall under the category of one where being slightly ignorant about the World of Color process hurt us, but luckily it’s more in retrospect that I feel that way. At the time, we thought our meals were decent, and we were glad to have gotten Fastpasses without having to burst in at rope drop. I guess that’s really all that matters!

    Here’s the view from where we sat to eat. Dusk falling on Paradise Pier.

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    Right after we finished eating, it was basically time to line up for World of Color to start.

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    We found the line for the yellow section and began our period of waiting around.

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    The sunset was beautiful, and I had fun taking several pictures of Mickey’s Fun Wheel as it lit up.

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    I played with a few of my camera’s settings while waiting—we got bored quickly—and liked how this one in “miniature mode” turned out.

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    And this one in “fisheye mode.”

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  21. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    Chapter 31
    A Carousel of Color


    When we were released from our line into the actual viewing area, there was a veritable stampede toward the best spots with unobstructed views. We ended up finding a place along the ropes at the front of our section. We were pretty sure it would be a decent spot.

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    And then the waiting continued… I took a picture with Duffy. Unfortunately, the bright flash kept giving me crazy eyes.

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    The viewing area was definitely filling up as we got closer to show time.

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    Despite the fact that there were a lot of people, I’m pretty sure this World of Color crowd was nothing compared to what there are at the busier times of year. We could definitely still move around between the crowds to go to the bathroom as needed, and in the viewing areas behind ours, the mobs were only a few people deep.

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    After a lot more waiting, show time approached. And what a show it was! I’ll admit that when I had no inkling we would ever go to Disneyland, I snuck a few peeks at videos of World of Color online. Even so, however, it’s the kind of show that you have to see in person to appreciate! Everything about it was so classic Disney, and I just thought it was so great. One of my favorite parts about the show was that it used some slightly more obscure songs and clips interspersed with some of the usual classics. “So Close,” from Enchanted, for instance, is one of my favorite songs from any Disney movie, and I loved that it was utilized. I’m always a sucker for fountain shows—as you’ll see on our trip through Las Vegas in my other trip report—so that part made it a guaranteed hit with me from square one! The one negative about World of Color, and it’s a big one, is that the standing situation is just awful. It’s a long show to have to stand for, especially when you’ve had to stand waiting for an hour in advance to save your spot. I would think that Disney could figure out some way to bring in some sort of seating to make the whole experience more comfortable. Anyway, I didn’t take any pictures during the show because I was too busy watching, but here are a couple right as it finished.

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    Now what took me slightly by surprise after World of Color was over was the fact that both parks were actually closed. It was only 8:45, yet it was time to vacate DCA. The previous night’s jaunts until after midnight had me on that schedule—the one we’re used to at Disney World—so it just felt weird returning to our hotel so early. In a way, it was a good weird, because we would actually be able to get an adequate amount of sleep on this Disney vacation, but it was weird nonetheless.

    So we went back to Paradise Pier, and were almost about to go back to our room. But instead, we decided to take the special glass elevator to see what kind of views we could see from it. This is one of Paradise Pier’s hidden gems. As you come shooting up from the lobby floor, you can see out into DCA perfectly. Then, if you get off on the top floor, you have a great vantage point for whatever happens to be going on in the park. In fact, you can even see World of Color pretty well from there. FORESHADOWING! Anyway, this evening, we just saw the park as it emptied out, but the lights in the Paradise Pier section were still blazing.

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    After we got our fill of looking out the window, we took the elevator back down to the third floor, got ready, and were in bed with enough time to get a full eight hours of sleep before our wake-up call. When does that ever happen in Disney? As we drifted off, we reflected on how nice our first two days in the parks had been, and how much we still had to look forward to over the next two days.

    Overview of September 19, 2011

    Highs
    - Being chosen as the Toontown Morning Madness family of the day!
    - Venturing into DCA for the first time ever.
    - A fun character meal at Ariel’s Grotto
    - Meeting Duffy!!
    - Playing the system so we were guaranteed to win Bullseye.
    - Experiencing World of Color for the first time.

    Lows
    - Feeling bad and missing the second half of Aladdin.
    - The World of Color picnic not being the greatest investment.
    - Standing around waiting for World of Color

    Weather
    Mid 70s and gorgeously sunny

    Food of the Day
    Santa Maria Style Tri-tip at Ariel’s Grotto


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