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. tinkerbells mum

    tinkerbells mum DIS Veteran

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    Really enjoying this trip report. We've been pretty much snowed in for the last few days so I've spent the time reading all about your trip. I've never been to Disneyland so it's nice to hear all about it and see some great photos. It's amazing how different the rides are between Disneyland and WDW are. We found the same between WDW and Disneyland Paris. I don't like WDW Space Mountain but I love the Paris one, it corkscrews and is really cool!! Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the trip xx
     
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  3. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Glad to have you on this TR now that the other one's done! We were definitely surprised by how different DLR and WDW are. We thought we would know everything coming in because we were so well-versed in WDW, but there was (and still is) a lot to learn! Now it's still a dream of our to make it out to Disneyland Paris someday. I've been looking at all the pictures Disney has been posting of it all brushed with snow, and it looks beautiful. Hope you keep enjoying this report, and best of luck keeping warm!
     
  4. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    September 20, 2011

    Chapter 32
    It’s a Magic Morning


    We woke up extra early for our third day in the parks.

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    After donning our hats and getting ready to go, we put Duffy back to bed. We gave him Bullseye too in case he got lonely while we were gone.

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    And just like that, we were on our way to our third morning starting out at Disneyland. This one was a little different, however, because this was our Magic Morning! I already pointed out in my update about our first day that I had been confused about Magic Mornings. I had read that our tickets would allow us one day of early entry on our trip, which apparently would have been true had we been staying at a Good Neighbor hotel. Since we were at a Disney hotel, however, we would have been entitled to go to the Magic Morning any day it was offered. Regardless, here it was the only remaining day of our trip with early entry possible, so we were excited for it!

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    There weren’t very many people ahead of us at the turnstiles, so I was able to get up extra close and get some good pictures of the character jack-o’-lanterns adorning the entrance to Disneyland. We loved these. They were definitely one of my favorite parts about the Halloween decorations.

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    Confirmation that we were in the right place!

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    There was a much more informal process of letting us into the park once the clock ticked to 9:00. In fact, they were about five minutes late letting us in at all.

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    Because of this, we encountered no rope at the end of Main Street, but instead were allowed to proceed as we pleased. Tracy and I made our way to Tomorrowland first, since it and Fantasyland were our only options.

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    Our first stop was Star Tours, as it was one of the rides whose Fastpass time would tick up most quickly once the park was open.

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    I don’t know for 100% sure that we got our standard Hoth/Death Star combination this time around, but it seems pretty likely, as that’s what we got every time except one on this whole trip.

    After returning from our space flight, we moved from Tomorrowland over to Fantasyland. We hit the bathrooms, and I took a few pictures of the empty area around there.

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    I really liked these flowers.

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    As you can see, it was another classic California morning complete with overcast skies that would need to burn off.

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    In Fantasyland, we decided to take a spin on Dumbo.

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    The line wasn’t too long, which rarely ever happens at this popular attraction.

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    Tracy really wanted a Dumbo with a purple hat, so we made a beeline for one as we were released from the queue.

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    Success!!

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    We took off and enjoyed our flight! I took a picture of the Dumbo behind us, who also had a purple hat.

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    Then after the ride, we took pictures in the ride vehicle next to the attraction. He also had a purple hat.

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    I really like all the ride vehicle photo opportunities scattered throughout Fantasyland. I think it’s a fun picture to be able to take. And now, wouldn’t you know it, we decided we were done with Fantasyland for the time being. So that meant... back to Tomorrowland!

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  5. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 33
    Astro Everything


    As we passed the castle, we stopped at the wishing well.

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    I don’t think we took the time to make a wish even though we probably had some pennies and quarters in the fanny pack from our constant pressed penny search. I liked all the Snow White characters spread around this waterfall.

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    I feel like whenever they show Sleeping Beauty Castle on TV, it’s always after you’ve just seen Cinderella Castle, and it looks so small in comparison. When not up against a castle that is so much taller than it, however, this castle is pleasant in its own right. I came to like it very quickly on this trip.

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    Reentering Tomorrowland, we continued to try to hit rides that we hadn’t gone on so far. We started at Astro Orbitor.

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    We always enjoy making fun of this ride at WDW, but at least it has a bit of a thrill factor there due to its sheer height. Here… it’s just a little pathetic.

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    Without the height and views afforded by the WDW version, the Disneyland Orbitor is just another Dumbo, but without the elephants.

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    The only difference is that the spinning on Astro Orbitor is much more violent than that of Dumbo. We were both slammed into the side of the rocket for our whole ride, so we exited this one a little worse for wear.

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    After our ride on Astro Orbitor, the park officially opened to the rest of the public, so our hour of private magic had come to an end. Luckily, there was still practically no one in Tomorrowland yet, so we walked onto Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

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    I keep going back to it even though I’m really terrible at it. I just always think it’s a pretty fun ride!

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    Still celebrating the defeat of Emperor Zurg, we decided to follow the logical path from Tomorrowland… back into FANTASYLAND!

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    Honestly, looking back at this morning a year and a half later, our path just seems ridiculous. We were just bouncing back and forth between these lands as many times as possible. At the time, however, it must have worked for us!

    We decided to hit one of Disneyland’s most overlooked attractions—the one that takes place in that beautiful castle that everyone stares at, but few people enter.

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    The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough is actually a fun attraction to go through. All the little murals and scenes are really well done, and it’s fun getting to actually be inside the castle.

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    On the way out, we passed by the sign for the Enchanted Chamber hanging outside a closed door, and it made us wonder where it led!

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    After exiting the castle, it seemed only appropriate that we get a couple PhotoPass pictures in front of it.

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    And now it was time for our first official meal of the day! I don’t know why I failed to take a picture of the restaurant, but we were heading to the Plaza Inn for breakfast with Minnie and Friends!

    As we approached the entrance and prepared to check in for our reservation, a PhotoPass cast member took our picture in front of the restaurant. Before I could ask her to take one with my camera, however, the next family came up, so we had to move along into the restaurant.

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    I took a look at the buffet en route to our seats.

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    We reached our table and settled in for a breakfast filled with lots of character!

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  6. tinkerbells mum

    tinkerbells mum DIS Veteran

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    Glad you got to do to Magic Morning in the end. I love the castle photos, if you ever do get to Disneyland Paris you'll have to remember to go in the dungeon of the castle there a lot of people don't know it even has a dungeon so gets missed a lot to the time, you can go inside and upstairs in the castle there as week, it's really cool!! Looking forward to hearing about breakfast with Minnie and friends xx
     
  7. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    I was glad we made it to a Magic Morning too! And I'm glad you liked the castle pictures. I've heard such positive things about the Disneyland Paris castle! Between the dungeon and the dragon, I think it sounds awesome. From the pictures I've seen, it looks like that is probably the prettiest of all the Disney castles around the world as well. I really want to get out there!
     
  8. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 34
    Plaza Inn Sans Minnie


    First things first, upon sitting down, we immediately got back up again and grabbed lots of food.

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    My first trip to the buffet yielded Biscuits and Gravy (you’ll remember from the WDW trip report how much Tracy and I both love biscuits and gravy, and these were delicious), Bacon (Disney bacon is never the best, but I keep getting it), Sausage (better than the bacon), a Chocolate Croissant (this was really yummy), and, of course Mickey Waffles. I had to take a close up of those bad boys.

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    Everything tastes better when it is shaped like Mickey Mouse!

    Soon after we sat down, our first character came around, and we were excited that she was one of the rarer characters to meet— The Fairy Godmother!

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    She was really fun! I don’t think either of us had ever gotten to meet her before.

    Next up was Tigger! He was another really good character. He had so much energy, and was just really interactive with us whereas a lot of the time we’ll meet characters and they won’t really know what to do with us because we’re two childless adults.

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    Tigger wanted Tracy all to himself.

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    I think Tracy asked if they could bounce together, so they did for a while.

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    Soon after Tigger, another rare character made his way over. Mr. Penguin from Mary Poppins!

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    We’d met him once before during Characterpalooza at Hollywood Studios, but there definitely aren’t too many places that he regularly appears.

    Our next visitor was Chip. We wanted to make sure we got the chipmunks’ names correct so as not to offend anyone, so when we saw the first one coming toward us, I took out my phone and Googled how to tell the difference between them. After that we’ve never gotten them confused again.

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    By this point, Tracy and I had both decimated our plates of food.

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    We were still only about halfway through the characters stopping by, but we were pretty full. We were starting to get excited for Eeyore to come back inside and come to our table. When we had been up at the buffet, Tracy had seen him walk by and, in a bit of an outburst, had yelled “Hi Eeyore!” He slowly turned around and did a little Duffy-style wave before moving along.

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    Here’s how I felt about Eeyore coming over.

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    First, however, Dale had to come to our table to complete the chipmunk set.

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    I’ve come to really like both chipmunks. They’re fun to meet!

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    The next character to stop by the table was actually Captain Hook. Our interaction with him did not go very well, however. Since he’s a villain and a bit of a dolt, we were trying to play along with him so we (rather rudely) said “Oh hi, Captain Hook…” as he came over. Apparently he didn’t like our tone, however, because he simply moved along, skipping over us. We thought he was just playing hurt and would come back around in a few minutes, but he never did. Oh well… At least we’d gotten to meet him a couple days before!

    Luckily, to make up for being slighted by Hook, Eeyore showed up at our table just a few minutes later! Tracy was so excited to meet him.

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    And I was too! Eeyore’s just so loveable.

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    We looked behind us and saw that the last character still in the dining room was Rafiki.

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    He was making really slow progress toward us, and we were afraid we would have to wait a long time if we wanted to meet him at all. Luckily, as he came into our section of the dining room, we grabbed him for a quick picture on the way out of the restaurant.

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    Now, you will notice something about this meal—it’s called Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie and Friends, but Minnie was nowhere to be found! We truly never saw her anywhere in the restaurant during our whole meal. When we got up to go, breakfast was just coming to an end, and the characters were making their way backstage, so it was clear that Minnie wasn’t about to come out. I have no idea where she was this morning… Maybe there was an emergency in Toontown that she just had to deal with. We also missed out on Brer Fox, even though we passed by some people meeting him on our way into the restaurant. I think that because we were there right as breakfast was ending, some of the characters were going in, so it was lucky that we got to meet as many as we did.

    It was also nice that this meal was covered by the other set of character meal vouchers that came with our package! We may have paid for the meal as part of the package, but since Disney doesn’t show you a per-item price breakdown, it felt like the meal was free!

    Overview of Plaza Inn Dining Experience
    Service: I think it was pretty good. At a buffet like this, they really don’t have to do much, so I honestly can’t remember our server at all. 4/5
    Atmosphere: There’s something so great about character meals at Disneyland. The way that this one was structured where they just seemed to release whatever characters were there that day was really fun. We had no idea who we expected to meet going in, and I’m sure if we went again, we’d meet at least a few totally different characters. 5/5
    Food: The reviews I’d read about the food here were a really mixed bag. I definitely thought all the offerings were really good as Disney buffets go! It would have been nice if our reservation had been slightly earlier so everything was fresh out of the kitchen, but on the whole we really couldn’t complain about any of the food. 4/5

    Will Return?: I think the next time we come to this restaurant, we’d like to try it for lunch or dinner. I’ve heard many glowing reviews of the fried chicken! While I think it would be fun to do the character breakfast again, I think we’ll make hitting some of the other character meals like Goofy’s Kitchen and Storytellers Café a priority before we return here.


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  9. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 35
    Where’s My Pancho?


    After breakfast was over, we started to make our way toward the side of the park that hadn’t been open yet during our Magic Morning. Going past the Rivers of America for the first time since we had seen Fantasmic!, it was amazing to realize how complete the transformation for that show really is. It’s almost unrecognizable as being the same stage.

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    We rounded the bend into Frontierland.

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    Passing Rancho del Zocalo, I liked the horse on the sign, so I took a picture.

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    I also really liked these ducks that were hanging out on some of the props adorning the Rivers of America. I love it when animals make themselves at home in a Disney park. These ducks literally get to live the dream of having their whole lives take place in Disneyland.

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    The Columbia was down for a quick refurbishment for the rest of our trip, which made us sad because we had wanted to go for a ride on it.

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    Of course, one of our first post-brunch rides had to be The Haunted Mansion. This was already our third time riding on this trip, and we weren’t anywhere near done.

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    It was probably much the same as it had been the other day this time around, but we still enjoyed it a lot. One thing that was very different about this day compared to our other full day in Disneyland was that this was a Tuesday while the other had been a Sunday. That meant the crowds were significantly lighter all over the park. It was so nice being able to wait in almost any standby line we encountered and not have the wait times exceed 10 minutes.

    Our next stop after the Mansion was one of our favorite areas of Disneyland—Big Thunder Ranch! We entered hurriedly, hoping to see Pancho waiting to greet us and have his ears scratched, but… he wasn’t there. Instead, there was another donkey in his place.

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    This is Pocahontas. She was definitely cute, but much more standoffish than our best friend Pancho.

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    She generally liked to stay out of reach while we were there, though I have no idea if we just caught her on an off day. Not that I can blame her—if I were a donkey I don’t think I’d like to be poked and prodded by kids all day either.

    We went back a little further into Big Thunder Ranch and found Woody and Jessie hanging out back there!

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    There wasn’t a character attendant or PhotoPass photographer with Woody, so Tracy took my picture with him.

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    After that, I think he must have moved on to another family before I could get a picture of Tracy meeting Woody. Luckily, Jessie had a PhotoPass photographer flanking her.

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    She’s certainly got a slight case of the ceiling-eyes, which was more obvious in this picture…

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    After meeting the Toy Story crew, we exited Big Thunder Ranch back out into Frontierland. There was a PhotoPass photographer at the Halloween backdrop this time, so we posed for a few pictures.

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    Next, we wandered over to Adventureland, and found that the standby line for Indiana Jones was posted at only about 10 minutes.

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    We made our way through the queue.

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    When we got to the last room of the queue, there was an option to go left or right to form the two loading lines. I don’t remember which way Tracy and I went, but it was definitely the better option. No one else seemed to be going in our direction, and we were able to breeze right up to the boarding area and get on right away. Tracy was once again in the “driver’s seat.” We still loved this ride as much as we had on the first day. It’s simply one of Disney’s best attractions.

    Tracy actually has a funny history with this ride. As I’ve said, Tracy had been to Disneyland once before with her family. She was definitely young and didn’t meet the height requirement for Indiana Jones. Since this was the early to mid-90s, there was no fancy “child swap” or any of the smart procedures that Disney has in place now. Tracy was simply asked to sit on one of the crates next to the loading area while her parents and brother rode, and then they would meet back up with her when they got off. The only problem was that this was when Indiana Jones had just opened and had a tendency to break down. A lot. Of course, there was a breakdown while Tracy’s family was on the ride and she was sitting there waiting. According to her, it was something like 30 minutes between when her parents’ car started out on its journey and when it returned. While they were stuck on the ride, they didn’t know what they'd find of Tracy when they got back—they were certain she would think she had been left behind and wander off on her own. Luckily, Tracy stayed brave in the face of abandonment and kept her butt glued to that crate for the entire time. When her family’s journey through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye was FINALLY complete, they came out to find her still waiting for them, and looking something like this:

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    After our ride aboard Indy was complete, we started in the direction of Critter Country.

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    I had decided it would be a good time to ride one of my favorite rides at WDW. I use the singular tense rarely in these trip reports, but it’s applicable now because Tracy will have nothing to do with Splash Mountain.

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    She hates Splash Mountain because she can’t stand the drop, and mostly because she can’t stand the buildup to the drop. She went on it once on our first trip in 2008 and I think literally cried during the ramp up to the final drop, so she’s opted out ever since. I still wanted to see how one of my favorite rides was done here at Disneyland, however, and since the single rider line guaranteed I could walk right up and immediately board, I went for it.

    I liked the ride, though the WDW version is definitely better because it's longer and feels less crammed in. But in the end, my riding was a mistake unfortunately. The ride isn’t really entirely to blame, as the time of day and the fact that we hadn’t eaten in a while were negative factors as well, but when I get to that point where I’m prone to start feeling bad, adrenaline becomes my number one enemy. The rush that accompanies the final plunge was enough to wipe me out a few minutes later because the adrenaline causes a vasovagal reaction. Again, hindsight is much clearer, so at the time I didn’t know what to blame. I just knew that within a couple minutes of getting off Splash, I was not doing so well.

    Tracy had been smart and gotten in the long line for the Pooh meet and greet while I was riding Splash Mountain, so by the time I got off she was almost near the front.

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    I joined her in line, and as I was standing there feeling worse by the minute, I really just hoped I wouldn’t pass out while taking a picture with Pooh. If only this honey had been real rather than cleverly hidden Disney speakers, I could definitely have used some…

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  10. Aussiesalad

    Aussiesalad Totes Mcgoats

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    :rotfl2: Bahaha ok it might just be me but with Tracys hand where it is, it totally looks like the pumpkin man behind you is real and trying to get in on the action!!!!

    That story about Tracy is adorable and I love the reenactment!!
     
  11. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    You beat me to posting these 2 pictures! I was going to go the route of...geez, is that pumpkin man creepy, peering out behind you in the first picture like that.
     
  12. Belle83

    Belle83 DIS Veteran

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    I had to google 'vasovagal' to find out what it meant, lol. That stinks you weren't feeling well. I used to be like Tracy with Splash Mountain, couldn't stand the drop or the anticipation leading up to the drop. When I was a kid, I tried climbing out of the log on Splash Mountain because I was NOT going down the drop, and the CM had to come over the loudspeaker to tell me to sit down. :guilty:

    It's gotten better now that I'm adult, and I even went on Tower of Terror last trip. If she ever wants to give Splash Mountain another shot, keeping your eyes open and staring down the hill (instead of straight across the park) actually helps, for me at least.
     
  13. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    I wouldn't be surprised if Tracy had been reprimanded like that on Splash Mountain too. She tells me that the first time she rode with her parents, she thought the first little drop was the big one and screamed bloody murder. Needless to say, it was all downhill from there.

    She's actually been saying that she might try Splash again sometime soon, so she'll have to see if your advice helps. Here's hoping! :thumbsup2
     
  14. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Chapter 36
    Under the Sea


    We made it to the front of the line to meet and greet with Pooh and Tigger. I was holding up all right, all things considered, and was able to at least smile for our pictures.

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    After our character interaction was complete, we moved back into Frontierland. Big Thunder Mountain was a walk-on, but I wasn’t really up for riding, so I waited while Tracy rode.

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    While I was out front, I got a good picture of the Hidden Mickey cactus.

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    I was actually paying close enough attention to the trains going by that I got a picture of Tracy as she rode by. I know the people look extremely small in this photo, so kudos to anyone who can pick her out from the crowd.

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    And now, unfortunately, I really couldn’t keep standing for any length of time. Once Tracy got off Big Thunder, I told her I needed to head back to the hotel and lay down for a few minutes. I wasn’t doing great as we arrived back at our room, but luckily it didn’t take too long for it to pass and I started feeling less dizzy and more capable of returning to the park. Even though our timing wasn’t ideal, since it was still mid-afternoon, we used this as our one detour back to the hotel for the day and changed into pants. We brought our sweatshirts back with us and tied them around our waists until they were needed.

    As we left Paradise Pier to return to Disneyland, I took a picture of one of the hundreds of birds of paradise outside the hotel. We liked how much they really looked like birds!

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    Back on track, we returned to the park and passed the majestic Matterhorn.

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    Tracy was actually keen to ride this one again, though I’d found it too rough on my neck the first time to want to give it another go. She went through the line quickly and enjoyed herself.

    Now, we decided, it was time to queue up for another attraction we hadn’t ridden yet but were excited to try—the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

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    I honestly don’t ever recall having gone on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Disneyland or WDW. There’s a chance I may have ridden Disneyland’s version when I was five, but I don’t have any clear memories of rides from that trip. Anyway, having heard such positive nostalgic reviews of the WDW version for so many years, I was excited to see what all the fuss was about, even if the storyline had changed slightly.

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    A substantial contributor to the closing of 20,000 Leagues in Disney World is rumored to have been the long loading times, which translate to long waits in line. Judging by our experience waiting this one time, they’ve never really figured out a way to fix that issue. It takes so long for everyone to descend into the sub, take their seats, and eventually get underway, and we definitely had to wait for at least two or three subs to depart before it was our turn to board. When it was finally our time, we walked down the steep stairs and grabbed our seats.

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    The entire load-in again seemed to take forever while we were waiting to get underway, but we finally left the port.

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    The ride was definitely fun, and I liked the Nemo elements, but I think it was just a bad time in the day for us to be doing this ride. The seats are so uncomfortable, and we were feeling pretty worn out, so the ride just seemed to take forever. This is one of those rides that I’ll definitely want to try again sometime, and I’ll withhold real judgment until then. After our voyage was complete, we emerged from the depths.

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    As we walked away past the lagoon, we could see one of the subs going by. It’s almost as if we never actually went underwater at all!!

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    We now left Tomorrowland, and crossed the park over to Adventureland.

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    It was time for a snack!

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    We sidled up to Bengal Barbeque and chose our selection from the menu (which is packed with delicious-looking items). Of course, we had to try a Mickey Pretzel.

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    This was delicious. Easily the best pretzel I’d ever had. And the cheese sauce just added to the perfection. Everything tastes better when it’s shaped like Mickey Mouse.

    After finishing our pretzel, which we ate sitting on a wall near the entrance to Indiana Jones, we went back into… Critter Country.

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    It was time for…

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    Just kidding. I wasn’t going to make that mistake twice in one day. Actually, it was time for another snack, of course. We had heard all about the treats in Pooh Corner, so we had to check them out.

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    We started off with a pot full of honey.

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    We headed inside and I loved all the Pooh-related theming throughout.

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    Now, what to choose…?

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  15. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Hahaha :rotfl: Never noticed that pumpkin man before! What a creeper!!!
     
  16. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

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    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    Chapter 37
    All Aboard!


    Our decision in Pooh Corner wasn’t actually that hard.

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    I’d been advised on Lines chat that the snack we had to try here was the Tigger Tail.

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    We ordered and were given our treat, so we left Pooh Corner and went back out into Critter Country to eat it.

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    Here’s the before picture.

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    And here’s after (actually during).

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    It’s hard to describe just how much we loved this Tigger Tail. It is without a doubt the best candy-based snack I have ever had. I love marshmallows and chocolate and caramel, and this blended them all together seamlessly into deliciousness on a stick. When we dream about finally getting to go into Disneyland sometime in the near future, our plans always include rushing back to Pooh Corner to get another Tigger Tail ASAP.

    After we were done in Critter Country, we cut through Frontierland. We saw one of the PhotoPass photographers hanging out by the Halloween backdrop, but since we’d already gotten a few pictures there, we asked her if she could do any fun magic shots that we hadn’t had taken yet. She brought us over to a bench and told us that Mickey would be added next to us in the picture, so she had Tracy blow him a kiss and me wave. The funny thing was that when we got home and checked out the pictures on the PhotoPass site, it was really Minnie that had been added to the shot!

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    We continued into Fantasyland and saw the Queen of Hearts returning to a backstage area to take a break. Hopefully this coming Halloween we’ll be able to meet all the villains, her included, that we missed this time around.

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    There were very few rides in Disneyland at this point that we hadn’t gone on at least once, but there was one very important one we still had to take a spin on.

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    I knew It’s a Small World was supposed to be really good here at Disneyland. I had actually snuck a peek at videos of the attraction long before I knew we’d ever make it out to CA because I wanted to see the integration of the Disney characters.

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    For the queue alone, this version had already blown the WDW version out of the water for me. We loved the topiaries.

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    And, of course, the Mary Blair façade/Rolly Crump clock.

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    The line was pretty long, but we stuck it out because we were in the mood to ride. Finally, we made it to the front and boarded our boat.

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    I thought the ride was really great. I’m a fan of It’s a Small World despite the catchiness of the song, and I really liked the Disney characters scattered around. It added a whole new dimension to the attraction for me.

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    The hippo is always our favorite character on the ride, so I had to try to snap a picture of him.

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    I also really like the indoor/outdoor element of this ride. Whether it’s Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh or this attraction, I’m a big fan of how Disneyland doesn’t have to be afraid to put portions of its dark rides outside because the weather is much more trustworthy here than in Florida.

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    After our trip around the world, we decided to take a trip around the park in Walt Disney’s railroad. We picked up the train in Toontown.

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    Some of the views it afforded of the park were just great as we passed through Fantasyland.

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    We actually rode the train all the way to Main Street station. I was taken completely by surprise by the journeys through the Grand Canyon and the Primeval World. These were both hidden gems that I had no idea even existed!

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    We hopped off the train at Main Street.

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    We were excited to see Mickey and Minnie posing for pictures in their Halloween costumes in Town Square, so we quickly got in line! This probably ended up being my favorite character photo from the whole trip.

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    And now, we decided we might as well ride the train some more, so we headed back up to Main Street Station and started waiting. While up there, I took a few pictures of Main Street itself in its Halloween glory.

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    Loving that view at dusk! At this point Disneyland was really starting to feel like home in the way that only a Disney park can.

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  17. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    Chapter 38
    Closing Down the Park


    As we waited at the train station, we could see the Tower of Terror looming across the way at DCA. Obviously, this is one of those sightline issues in Disneyland that WDW doesn’t have to worry about as much. When the parks are right next to each other, there are some places where you can see into the other park.

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    We also got a glimpse of the backsides of the pumpkins flanking the main entrance.

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    Before too long, the train approached.

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    We completed the grand circle tour that we had started earlier by riding the train from Main Street back around to Toontown. I tried to take some pictures of the show elements we passed on the way, but we were just moving too fast!

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    We walked from the Toontown Station back into Fantasyland to take another spin on some of our favorite dark rides. First was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

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    Next was Snow White’s Scary Adventures.

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    Both were as fun as we expected! Now, since dusk was falling, we took advantage of one of my favorite parts of the day to get some good PhotoPass pictures.

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    Now it was time for The Magic, the Memories and You to start over in Fantasyland, so we went back to see if we wanted to spend the time to watch the show. At the time, I knew very little about it, and we didn’t really want to scope out a seat in advance if it wasn’t going to be worth it. We got to that part of Fantasyland right as the show was starting and caught the first few minutes from afar. We thought it was fun, but we weren’t into it enough to plant ourselves and watch. Instead, we went back and got some more castle pictures because it was now fully dark.

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    The park was actually closing in a few minutes—8:00 closing seems SO EARLY—but we had time for one more ride if we hurried and queued up. I snapped a few quick castle pictures while we walked.

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    The Carousel looked so pretty all lit up, but it was not the ride we were going toward.

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    Instead it was Peter Pan’s Flight that we wanted to make the last ride of the night.

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    Since it doesn’t have Fastpass, Peter Pan is so consistently busy during the day that we had only gotten to ride once on this trip. Right at park closing, the line still claimed 30 minutes but was more like 5-10. Flying through Neverland was such a fun way to finish off the night.

    After disembarking from our ship, we wandered back toward the front of the park.

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    We loitered on Main Street for a while because it was emptying out quite nicely and was very enjoyable.

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    Eventually, we exited the park. Our night still wasn’t over, however. In case, you hadn’t noticed, we still hadn’t eaten dinner!

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  18. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    Chapter 39
    A Rose by Any Other Name


    When we were planning this trip, we knew we’d like to hit at least one of the “fancy” restaurants at Disneyland despite our limited budget. We had heard such rave reviews about Napa Rose that we knew we wanted to try it out.

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    We made our reservation for right at the end of the night because we wanted to take advantage of as much park time as possible. When we arrived, we were seated and immediately brought this delicious bread.

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    There was both regular bread and a crusty, seasoned, almost cracker-like bread, and both of them were delicious. Here I am thoroughly enjoying some.

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    We liked the rose vase on our table and snapped a picture.

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    We checked the menu and decided what to order.

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    We decided to split the Crack Pepper Grilled Beef Filet Mignon with Olives, Pancetta, and Crushed Summer Tomato Sauce. Always in the mood for a good steak, we thought this was definitely the best option. I didn’t get a picture before we split the entrée over two plates, but here’s my plate before I dug in.

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    This was absolutely delicious. Everything from the steak to the sides went perfectly together. We quickly found our plates looking like this.

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    Our server brought out the dessert menu, but we didn’t really want to spend any more money on the night. The filet, even split, had been more than we try to ever spend on a meal, but we were glad to splurge. Looking a little perplexed when we refused dessert, our server disappeared for a few minutes before re-appearing with this plate with some boxed truffles for us.

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    We had notated that we were celebrating our anniversary when we made our reservation (which we were, just a few months late), so the plate must have been prepared for us in the back, ready for our dessert. At least with some quick thinking on the part of either the server or the chef, it didn’t go to waste!

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    We didn’t eat our truffles right then because we were quite full, but I snapped a picture of them before we devoured them a little later in the evening. They really were delicious.

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    On the way out from the restaurant, we passed by John Lasseter’s signed collection of Pixar wines proudly on display.

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    Overview of Napa Rose Dining Experience
    Service: I remember our server being really good. You expect a certain level of snobbishness at a restaurant of this caliber, but he had none. He didn’t make us feel bad at all about splitting our meal or forgoing dessert. 5/5
    Atmosphere: This restaurant is really nice, but it achieves being fancy without feeling stuffy. I thought it was a great place for us to have a romantic dinner. 5/5
    Food: The food was really delicious. We enjoyed everything we got! Obviously it would have been nice if it was slightly less expensive, but it was a fancy restaurant in a Disney hotel, so we got what we expected. 5/5

    Will Return?: I’d love to return here. It would be nice if it was sometime when we could afford to spend a little more, but if it came down to it, I’d gladly come back and split another meal!


    When we returned to Paradise Pier, we took the glass elevator up to the top floor of the hotel, as had become our new custom, just to get a good view of DCA. The World of Color fountains were going even though the park was closed, so we weren’t sure if they were just testing/doing some work on them or if there was a private party in the park getting their own show.

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    Regardless, it felt to us like we were getting our own private performance of World of Color, so we enjoyed it.

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    Once the fountains turned off, we admired the park in its lit up beauty for a few more minutes.

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    Then we went back to our room and hit the hay. We had our last park day ahead of us in the morning, but we were refusing to let the end-of-trip blues hit us just yet.

    Overview of September 20, 2011

    Highs
    - Getting to experience a Magic Morning
    - Meeting lots of rare characters at Plaza Inn breakfast
    - Trying some unique Disneyland snacks
    - Closing out the park at Disneyland
    - Late-night dinner at Napa Rose

    Lows
    - Minnie skipping our breakfast
    - Not feeling well after the Splash Mountain debacle
    - Pancho having the day off

    Weather
    Low 70s and sunny after the morning clouds burned off

    Food of the Day
    Tigger Tail from Pooh Corner


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  19. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    September 21, 2011

    Chapter 40
    The Old DCA Morning Rush


    We woke up for our final day at the parks and I donned my Pluto hat for the last time (for a while).

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    The bed we weren’t using continued to acquire more and more stuff on it each day.

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    Today, we left Duffy with his new friends, Bullseye and Zero—who we had bought the previous evening at the cart by The Haunted Mansion.

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    This was the view outside our room as we headed out for the day. It was another lightly foggy day, but it was already starting to burn off.

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    I took another picture of our friends, the birds of paradise.

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    Now, we crossed the street and went over our well-worn path into the Grand Californian.

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    This morning was a little different, however, in that we headed to the Grand Californian’s private DCA entrance.

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    It seems like ancient history now, but while DCA was a big construction site, the “thing to do” was head in a half-hour before the park opened because both Soarin’ Over California and The Little Mermaid opened early most days. We decided to head to Soarin’, so we made our way from the park entrance through the Grizzly Peak area.

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    We stopped for a few pictures.

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    This bear is just so giant.

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    We arrived at Soarin’ Over California to find it practically empty.

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    We got to soak up some of the queue environment—which I still love so much as compared to the Epcot version.

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    Our ride was fun (as always!).

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    Now it was already time for us to park hop for the first of many times on the day.

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    By this time, Disneyland had been open for about fifteen minutes, so we didn’t have to wait with the crowds at the rope. We weren’t even rushing to any rides this morning anyway. Instead, we booked it to the Blue Ribbon Bakery.

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    Our granola bar breakfast was already not doing a great job holding us over, so we decided to get a snack. As usual, everything in the case looked delicious.

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    We settled on this Pumpkin Muffin for two reasons: first, because we thought it was very pleasant and Halloween-ish, and second, because we love all pumpkin-flavored treats.

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    The muffin was really delicious, as was the white chocolate pumpkin on top. Good start to the day!

    Our appetites sated for the time being, we headed into Fantasyland to take advantage of the still-light morning crowds. We hopped in the walk-on line for Pinocchio.

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    While all the dark rides, except of course the ever-busy Peter Pan, were still pretty empty at this time, we had other very important places to be, so we started toward the Big Thunder Trail to see if we could meet up with our very good friend this morning.

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  20. tayalltheway

    tayalltheway Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    415
    Chapter 41
    Reunited


    We arrived at Big Thunder Ranch, and who should be the first animal we saw??

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    Pancho, of course! We were so excited to get to see him again before the end of our trip. The way he reacted to getting pet in this photo is just a visual representation of why we loved him so much.

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    It was at this point that one of us uttered the title of this trip report, “Can we move here and be Pancho’s handlers?” It was mostly a joke at that point, but we were serious about wishing we could live at Disneyland and play in the parks (and with Pancho) whenever we wanted.

    While we were back in Big Thunder Ranch, we noticed that Woody and Jesse were meeting and greeting together, so we had to stop for a picture.

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    Now, we continued back out onto the Big Thunder Trail.

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    And we decided it was time for a ride aboard our favorite railroad.

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    This time we requested the back (very brave of us!).

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    It was a lot of fun, as always.

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    Exiting back out into Frontierland, we continued walking until we reached New Orleans Square. I liked this fountain.

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    Outside of The Haunted Mansion, we saw a sight neither of us was expecting—Jack and Sally were out doing a meet and greet. We hadn’t seen them thus far in the trip and didn’t even know they were ever in the parks, so of course we got in line.

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    Jack was easily the best face character I’ve ever met. He was both extremely fluent in his personification and really witty. He must have known that movie very well. Sally was good too, but she was definitely a little outshined. There was also the fact that Tracy and I had only seen The Nightmare Before Christmas once, years before this trip, so we were a little rusty in our knowledge about the movie and characters. Now that we know the film a little better, I’d like to get to meet Jack and Sally again.

    Naturally, we followed up meeting the characters with another ride thru the Haunted Mansion.

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    I have to admit, I’m already getting excited for this version of the Mansion to return in six months.

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    After the Mansion, we headed over to Adventureland and saw that there was no line to meet Aladdin. He was definitely a little goofy.

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    Now, we headed back to the hub.

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    Our PhotoPass photographer tried to position my hat so you could see Pluto’s face a little better in the picture, but the trade-off was that my face got really shadowed.

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    At least he took his time with us and got a bunch of good shots.

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    We continued the photo shoot in front of the castle, and got some of my favorite pictures of the trip.

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  21. tinkerbells mum

    tinkerbells mum DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    1,033
    I love the photopass photos in front of the castle. It always amazes me how different all the castles are. Glad you got to see Pancho again, he really looked like he loves getting attention from you both xx
     
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