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DDW does Disneyland! - 6/28 Complete w/ Grand Finale of WDW Food Photos!

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by DonaldDoleWhip, May 26, 2013.

  1. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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    Hi everyone! :wave2: Im DonaldDoleWhip, and Im here to share some thoughts on my latest Disney experience. The last time I started a thread like this was almost 10 months ago for our August trip, which was fantastic and included my first ever Dis meet (thank you Brenda for suggesting it!). However, I also headed down to WDW over winter break and sent some updates to the incredible Live Update thread (thank you Barb for keeping it going!). I've really enjoyed sharing so many WDW updates, but this report will be different from my previous ones.

    Why? Well partly because I'm now old enough to drink in the US, which means sampling some interesting Disney beverages for the first time. :thumbsup2 But also because this isn't a WDW report.

    Earlier this week, my mom surprised me with a short trip to LA (one of my favorite places!), including 2 nights at Disneyland. We got back earlier this week. Surprise! :woohoo:

    More updates are coming up soon - I just wanted to kick things off. Can't wait to get started on this report! :goodvibes
     
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  3. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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  4. emmysmommy

    emmysmommy DIS Veteran

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    Yay!!! I'm so here!

    Darn that we missed you since I was traveling in the Midwest at the same time! But heck, I'm looking forward to your reviews!!
     
  5. rachel09985

    rachel09985 DIS Veteran

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    Im in! Glad you got your disney fix in !:goodvibes
     
  6. BlovesC

    BlovesC home is where the Yeti is!

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    YAY! Just when I was saying we were soooo past due for another great DDW review thread! All aboard, captain! :cool1:
     
  7. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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    Yay, you're here! And I know - it was actually the worst timing ever for a surprise trip. :worried: But we'll definitely have to come back again and catch you there. :thumbsup2

    Thanks so much! It feels so good to be doing a Disney report again (even though it'll be pretty short). This past year has been such a huge pain - I've fallen so incredibly behind on the Dis, so now I have to make up for lost time. :goodvibes

    Hahaha agreed - I hinted that a report would be coming really soon, as it's definitely been too long since last time. Hopefully the Disneyland twist will make this one interesting! :)
     
  8. GoofySon'sMom

    GoofySon'sMom DIS Veteran

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    Good to see you Mr. DDW! Looking forward to your DLR reviews! (And hopng there will be a WDW review soon ... maybe mid-August! ;) )
     
  9. jabead

    jabead DIS Veteran

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    Woohoo!!! The gang's all here and ready for a DDW Dining Report! :woohoo:
     
  10. DisneyMamato4

    DisneyMamato4 Disney Obsessed!

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    Love your reports!! Can't wait to read this one
     
  11. MrsB1228

    MrsB1228 DIS Veteran

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    :woohoo: Another DDW thread!! :cool1:

    Signing on and really looking forward to the first update! Like Vicki, I'm also hoping for a new WDW review in the near future. :thumbsup2 :goodvibes
     
  12. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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    Hi Vicki! I'm so excited to get started on some reviews again. It feels like a really long time that I've been preoccupied with school work (and while this summer will still be busy, I'll at least have evenings and weekends to check in here). Also, while I was catching up on some Live Update pages I'd missed, I saw some good news from you. Congratulations on the job! :goodvibes P.S. now that I have my summer work schedule, we're definitely trying to make something in mid-August happen. :)

    Yay, you're here too! This 'dining' report might be relatively light on the food, but I'm going to make up for it with Disneyland pics. :thumbsup2

    Thanks so much! It's so exciting to be doing this again, and I hope you really enjoy both the food and non-food updates. :goodvibes

    Thanks so much for the kind words! An introduction of sorts is coming up really soon. And I think there's a pretty good chance that I'll get to share some WDW updates later this summer. ;)
     
  13. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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    To help get you into the California state of mind, here are some of my favorite pics from our past trips to California. I've always loved the place since our first trip to San Francisco in '07. We headed to LA the following year, and I really think both cities are amazing. (LA gets bonus points for the consistent sunshine and for having Disneyland nearby, but it loses points for the traffic). ;)

    San Francisco

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    Muir Woods

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    Monterey Bay

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    The Original Chinese Theatre

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    Hollywood Walk of Fame - my favorite Disney character has a star!

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    Santa Monica

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    Of course, we stopped at Disneyland for 2 days during our first trip to the LA area. Disneyland Park was definitely worth a visit, with so many unique sites and attractions that make it distinct from MK.

    Sleeping Beauty Castle

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    Matterhorn (the first steel roller coaster!)

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    Space Mountain (I prefer Disneyland's over MK's because of its smoother track and synchronized on-board audio)

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    Indiana Jones Adventure (WDW still needs its own Temple of the Forbidden Eye!)

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    Disney's California Adventure, on the other hand, was another story. To put things in perspective, we visited in early 2008, so while the DCA makeover had been announced, none of the major work had started. (I believe Toy Story Midway Mania was the only new thing under construction)

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    Sunshine Plaza

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    The Sun Icon (I've read that this was supposed to be the park's original icon. Really?!)

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    Paradise Pier from our room at GCH (the construction site in front of us eventually became the Grand Californian's DVC wing)

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    A closer look at the Sun Wheel, Maliboomer, and Orange Stinger, with the Paradise Pier Hotel on the right

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    One of the few redeeming factors of DCA was the Grizzly Peak area, which I've always liked. Also, the park had a pretty strong lineup of attractions, with opening day hits like Soarin' Over California, Grizzly River Run, and California Screamin'.

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    Part of me is still surprised that the DCA makeover actually happened. For starters, it required admitting that DCA 1.0 was basically a failure. However, these pics remind me that the DCA makeover was practically a necessity. Besides a few decent attractions, the park didn't strike me as a very happy place to spend time. And with the Happiest Place on Earth right next door, something needed to change.

    Well, I can happily say with no reservations that DCA (now known as Disney California Adventure - they dropped the possessive!) feels completely different to me now. Between the charming entertainment and nostalgic establishments of Buena Vista Street, the total immersion of Cars Land, and all the placemaking in between, I had no trouble spending more time in DCA than in Disneyland this trip! There's so much to experience now at DCA - wonderful attractions, food, music, architecture, and color. (In fact, I'm listening to the World of Color soundtrack right now!)

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    There are definitely going to be food updates here, but they'll be mixed with plenty of posts on DLR as well (especially California Adventure). I'm still blown away by DCA, so you'll be hearing about it whether you want to or not! :lmao:

    But in all seriousness, I hope you enjoy. :goodvibes
     
  14. MrsB1228

    MrsB1228 DIS Veteran

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    Great intro!! I've never been to California and really loved seeing your beautiful pictures and reading about your overall impressions with DL and DCA. From the pics you posted of DCA in its original form, I can totally understand why you felt it didn't really have the Disney "magic" we expect from anything that carries the Disney name. It looked a little dull and uninspired. Except for the Mickey icon gracing the roller coaster, it really could be any amusement park anywhere in North America. But judging by the final picture you posted, things are definitely looking up. :thumbsup2

    No worries about posting pictures that aren't food-related! Your photos are gorgeous and I'm really looking forward to seeing more! :goodvibes
     
  15. emmysmommy

    emmysmommy DIS Veteran

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    I'm excited to read all about your experiences!!! ::yes::
     
  16. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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    Glad you enjoyed the intro! That's a great way of putting it - the park was lacking in Disney magic. That feeling is largely gone - they've worked on everything, down to the background music! (I really like this Victorian-style music loop that plays in parts of Paradise Pier.) As for Califoria, I absolutely love it. It's a tougher trip for us due to the 5-6 hour flight from NY, but I'd still highly recommend it. :thumbsup2

    Thanks so much! As another teaser, here's the only picture I got from the actual "World of Color" show. :laughing:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. emmysmommy

    emmysmommy DIS Veteran

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    Nope, you were good if you were blue FP, you must just have been at the front of that line. In the front you will get wet! I was determined to video the entire show one time in the front and had to keep wiping off my lens. (Talk about distraction for the video!) They also offer the dessert and dining packages for the show.

    You know so much about these parks, you may know more than me. I had forgotten about the limo attraction! Ugh! One attraction I did like but again, very un-Disney, was Golden Dreams hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. Besides a California history lesson, it was essentially the soundtrack/video from the American Adventure show at Epcot at the end. It is now the Little Mermaid ride (with the boring queue compared to MK.)

    I'll hush and sit back and enjoy you sharing your experiences. :)
     
  18. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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    Thank goodness - glad to hear I wasn't doing something wrong, or else I'd feel guilty about having taken those pics. :laughing: The following night I actually watched WOC from the yellow section and didn't enjoy it as much. From now on, I'll always do whatever it takes to be front row & blue again (even if it means no good photos or videos)! :thumbsup2

    Golden Dreams sounded like a good show, but I never saw it. It's pretty cool that they kept part of its show building for Mermaid, though (the Palace of Fine Arts part). :) DCA's Mermaid queue might be underwhelming compared to Florida's, but you still have Cars Land. :worship:

    And I've definitely learned a lot about Disneyland over the years, but there are still so many details to it that fly completely over my head. I think a lot of this stuff is much easier to learn by experiencing it, so it would take a long time for me to catch up. (Doesn't mean I won't try) ;)
     
  19. DonaldDoleWhip

    DonaldDoleWhip DIS Veteran

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    I'm not really sure where to start, so I'll just go chronologically for now. After arriving at DLR before park opening, I quickly made my way to the DCA main entrance.

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    Apparently there are two ways to start your morning at DCA: (1) head to Radiator Springs Racers, or (2) head to the Radiator Springs Racers FP line. :laughing: Since I didn't have the patience for the latter, I decided to head straight to RSR.

    Being at DCA for park opening is great, because every morning there's a welcome announcement that describes Walt Disney's journey to California. It perfectly sets the stage for all the adventures about to unfold in the park, especially with the Carthay Circle Theatre in full view.

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    The announcement also does the tireless job of reminding guests to walk instead of run, which is especially important since so many people are rushing to the same place:

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    As soon as you turn the corner and enter Cars Land, it feels like you're in Radiator Springs. It generates a very profound feeling as you walk closer and closer to the massive rock work housing RSR.

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    As for the ride itself, I really enjoyed it. It starts with a pleasant outdoor section through some cool scenery...

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    and ends with another outdoor portion: the high-speed race (although it doesn't feel nearly as fast as Test Track's outdoor portion, IMO).

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    However, the action in the middle is what truly caught my attention - I loved the lifelike audio-animatronics. This ride is a must-do for anyone heading to DL, and it's definitely worth it to hit RSR first (or FP it!) to minimize the wait. :thumbsup2

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    My next stop was the World of Color FP distribution over by Grizzly River Run, where I got my FP for the blue area. Then it was time to explore the improved Paradise Pier. After some more rides and park hopping (I love how easy park hopping is at DL!), it was time for a food break. There was a certain bar in Paradise Pier that I couldn't wait to try...

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  20. Linda67

    Linda67 Has a Masters in Margaritas

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    Oh I am so excited to read along with this one !! :)

    Your photos are stunning as always

    Can't wait to hear what your first ever Disney adult beverage was ;)
     
  21. Tracerr00

    Tracerr00 DIS Veteran

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    I haven't been online for quite a while to check out the dining reviews because I started a new job and I can't get on at work and my phone is having major issues. But I'm able to sneak on today only to find a new DDW review!! I'm so excited. And then I leave for vacation for 10 days on Wednesday so I'll have to catch up when I get back. Beautiful pictures so far and I'm super excited to read this as I'll be taking a trip to DL in August for the Disneyland Half Marathon. I pretty much know nothing about DL so your review has come at a perfect time!
     

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