"I choose to be Amused!"-An Epic Trip to DL with a side of Oz(3/17-4 NEW POSTS pg17)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Maybe the ride was not operating correctly? I remember them being used a couple of times throughout the ride when we went. Apparently elements sometimes do not work because the first trip in May, Roz didn't talk, so I didn't even realize she was supposed to and was happily surprised by her commentary on this last trip.

    We loved Bugs Land, but then again we had an 18 month old! I can see how it would not be exciting when you are with an older child who you would think would like the attractions aimed at an older audience. The themeing was fantastic in that area, although yeah, the attractions themselves are nothing spectacular.

    Glad DD ended up enjoying RSR!
     
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  3. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    I posted a question on the DL boards regarding this. There was actually a ride there before this called "Superstar Limo", and apparently the ride was completely loathed by all and was closed within 1 year of DCA opening. From the yesterland article http://www.yesterland.com/superstarlimo.html

    It was reopened 4 years later to the monsters inc ride, except the cars were kept the same, only converted from "Limo" purple to "Taxi" yellow. The screen was used throughout the ride in original concept, which explains their lack of use now.
     
  4. Chicago Mo

    Chicago Mo DIS Veteran

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    I LOVE your report so far!!!

    Daughters... ugh... thankfully i have the boys to balance me.. the attitude is getting out of hand...

    Keep it coming!!!!!!
     
  5. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Your wish is my command!
     
  6. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    By now, it was almost time for our 12:30 lunch reservation at Carthay Circle Theatre. I was excited at the chance to eat here – brand-new, high end culinary experience in a Disney Park that also got me Fastpasses for the World of Color show? Sign me up!
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    It’s funny that the Carthay Circle theatre is almost the exact same height as Sleeping Beauty Castle, but I am not sure it’s as noticeable as a “Centerpiece” to the park.
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    There were many different shows going on at Buena Vista Street – not sure of the name of this one, but it was very lively!
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    We went inside the restaurant. Very gorgeous and elegant. They take you upstairs to the dining area. The first thing you notice is the “Snow White” ceiling. We spent a long time debating if it was wallpaper or hand-painted. (I argued for hand-painted.) The manager CM we asked couldn’t answer the question.
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    I called this DW “Birthday lunch”, as it’s the only “fine dining” we had on the trip. Before I go any further, I highly recommend this restaurant, and would also say that I would also recommend going for lunch for those on a budget. We got away with just over $100 for the three of us, but that included appetizer (shared) and desert (shared).
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    One thing that really fascinated me was the wine turneen in the middle of the restaurant. Used for both whites (on ice) and reds (around the outside), this is where your glass of wine would be poured from:
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    We ordered for an appetizer the “Carthay House Biscuits - Stuffed with White Cheddar, Bacon, and Jalapeno, Served with Apricot Honey Butter. $8”
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    The meal also came with a regular bread service, but these biscuits were FANTASTIC. The Jalapeno was just enough to add a tiny bit of flavor but not real spicy. DD even enjoyed these!
    For the main course, I had the “Pappardelle Pasta with House-made Chicken Meatballs - Tear Drop Tomatoes, fresh Basil, and Yellow Tomato Essence. $18”
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    Delicious best describes it! Not a huge portion considering the price, but actually it was plenty to satisfy. The pasta tasted fresh and the sauce was excellent as were the meatballs.
    DW had the “Bacon-wrapped Shrimp - on Summer Roasted Corn, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil Salsa. $26”
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    If anything, this was even better than mine! Perfectly grilled shrimp with the bacon just right. DD had the “Orecchiette Pasta(meaning “little ears”) tossed with your choice of Sauce: Tomato Sauce, Cheese Sauce, or Simply Buttered. $8” This was….pasta. But a good portion of it.
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    We also got one dessert to split. The dessert was probably the least impressive part of the meal, though it was still very good. “Toasted Lemon Pound Cake - fresh Marinated Blueberries, Lemon Curd Cream, and Tahitian Vanilla Chantilly. $12”
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    The pound cake wasn’t that great, but when combined with the blueberries and lemon crème it made for a very flavorful dish. Not NEARLY worth $12 though. In fact, I though DD’s “Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Cookies and Chocolate Dipping Sauce. $4” was a way better selection!
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    The real point of having a dessert though – was these babies! World of Color FP, which we will be talking more about later.
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    A few last shots on the way out…there was a lot of early Disney memorabilia on display…this shot of Walt with Roy and the little girl that starred in the “Alice” comedies.
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    And a lighting fixture in the hallway:
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    Again, an amazing, amazing meal. This was probably the best meal of the whole trip. Not just Disney, the WHOLE TRIP. Though it should be noted we avoided fine dining in Australia as the prices we so expensive. Now, full of food, we were ready for another cool-down period before we came back to see Aladdin. So, back to the hotel for a swim. (No nap today, though!) You can see not quite the morning from yesterday. There was a sum total of 8 rides this morning, plus the drawing attraction giving us 9.

    We'll pick up again after lunch.
     
  7. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

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    Looks delicious and reasonable prices-on an Aus comparison!! and with WoC definitely one to put on the bucket list! I love the decor here.
    OT-Have you seen the arguments re alcohol in DL at the new restaurant. Given its French theme I can't get upset about it -especially with the emphasis on wines - and especially since its only being served with a meal. In France young children drink well-watered wine and my DD grew up with having a glass, watered when younger, with a "nice" meal at home on special occasions. Guess who never got caught up in all the binge drinking hype-it was no big deal to her when she turned 18 that now she could drink if she wished.
    Sorry back on topic-loving the report so far and also looking forward to hearing your impressions, good and bad, of your travels in Aus.
     
  8. Carpgirl

    Carpgirl Mouseketeer

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    Loving your trip report, thank you for writing it!

    I thought I'd read that the biscuits at Carthay Circle didn't count as an appetizer? Maybe they changed this since you ate there:confused3
     
  9. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Love the food porn.


    I think I'm going to have to add CC on my must-eat list next time I'm in SoCal.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    The prices were reasonable compared to Australia, that's for sure! I can imagine when you folks come over here, you are agog at how inexpensive our food is. I still find myself going out to lunch or dinner at home saying "man that was cheap!"

    And make sure to stick around for talk of the WoC location! It's prime!

    I like that DL and MK are "dry" parks, but also have no problem with them serving alcohol in the restaurant. The "dry" thing has been pretty marginal for years. At WDW, only MK is dry, I can go to Epcot and get sloshed. I can even ride the monorail to the resorts and return to MK as drunk as I want. If there was a true follow through of "Walt's Vision" then they would keep all of WDW dry. (Though "Walt's vision" included Club 33, which was NOT dry.) I think as long as they serve responsibly, I don't have an issue with a high-end restaurant serving wine in MK.

    The drinking age in the US does little in my view to reduce drinking, but I think every country has there share of drunks. While I don't serve wine to my 9-year old, I believe in teaching "responsible drinking" as opposed to abstinence. I hope I do this by leading by example, and not being a fall-down drunk in front of my kid. (Though I'm not a fall down drunk anyways!)

    I can't tell you whether they've changed it since then, but on July 23rd they counted as an appetizer. For the WoC package, each person (including the child) needs to order an appetizer or dessert. Truthfully, the appetizers in general looked better than the desserts.

    Mmmmm....I definitely would try it out, as stated above, you Aussies will find the price very reasonable, even having to add tax a tip.
     
  11. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    What an awesome looking lunch, especially your pasta dish! And the biscuits sound good too. Plus, what a nice bonus getting WoC FPs. Although I did notice this trip, those were not the hot ticket items in the morning anymore now that RSR is around. We were able to walk up and get WoC FPs much later in the day and still get a good viewing section. I'm interested in seeing what your WoC vantage point was and what you thought of the show!
     
  12. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Coming right up!

    We did have a target to get back to the park in time to see the Aladdin show at 4:45 PM. We headed back to the parks yet again. DD was excited to see the show, so minimal amount of fighting to get her to go. We got there just as they opened up the gates. By, “open up the gates” I mean let people that were standing out in the street go to standing in the queue in the beating sun. This lasted another 15 minutes, and it was about 4:30 when they finally let us into the theatre.

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    I did not take any pictures of the production because we weren’t that close. It was a very nice production of the Aladdin story, and while I wouldn’t quite call it “Broadway caliber” it was a step above the cruise ship level spectacle of DHS’ “Beauty and the Beast” show. Lots of sets, talented cast, and the genie making lots of very modern quips (even if at easy target like Justin Beiber and the Kardashians). It was a tad long at a full 45 minutes, but really probably the 2nd best stage production at US Disney parks – I still give #1 to Festival of the Lion King. One major complaint – I guess about a year back they had a problem with the Magic Carpet “A Whole New World” scene where it would fly out over the audience where the cast almost fell into the crowd. Well, I understand them shutting down the flying carpet part, but you would think the solution would be “wheel the carpet out on stage instead”. Nope, their actual solution, have the Aladdin and Jasmine sing the song from off-stage while the performers on stage still stage various scenes around the world….it just felt…weirdly off.
    Post this show we wanted to start heading over to Paradise Pier, even though we had quite a while until world of color. We stopped at Clarabelle’s because I wanted a hand-dipped ice cream bar – why oh why didn’t I take a picture! Pretty darn good.
    Here’s our walk over:
    Us: “Do you want to ride Soarin?”
    DD: “NO!”
    Us: “Do you want to ride Grizzly River with our Fastpasses?”
    DD: “NO!”
    So, we got over there pretty quick. Now, I must say clearly 1/3 to ½ the rides in the park must be in the Paradise Pier area. Another sort of Cheap-o themed area. (LOOK – it’s an AMUSEMENT PARK THEME!) it was actually very pretty over there. The first thing we did was ride “The Little Mermaid”.
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    At one point I had campaigned that we DON’T ride this ride, since we’ll be getting our own in MK soon. However, I was outvoted, and we rode. We actually had gotten bonus FPs with our RSR FPs, but didn’t need them, as there was ZERO line. (A super-fast loader with the Omnimove cars.)
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    This was another very cute dark ride – not quite the cutting edge animatronics of RSR, but really a fun sum-up of a classic Disney movie. Really enjoyed the “going under the sea” segments, though as others have pointed out, there were occasional dead-spots when you were looking at nothing more than a blank wall, which was sort of odd.
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    It was riding this ride that it suddenly dawned on me how much this park was “Disney’s Pixar Adventure”. Outside of Aladdin and Ariel, almost everything in this park that is themed to Disney movies is themed to Pixar. There are 4 main movies (Toy Story w/ Midway Mania, Bug’s Life, Monster’s Inc, and Cars) are all featured heavily, with Up also showing up in the Wilderness Explorer area and the main daytime parade. And outside of the two previous mentioned for Aladdin and Ariel, almost no “Disney” product per se. Interesting!
    We started heading around Paradise Pier, with DD saying “NO!” to every ride there was and us just being so sick of fighting it we gave up. (We were starting to think more along the lines of “We’ll just ride it next June!” for many of the rides.) We stopped and had some dinner. DW and I ate Mediterranean Skewers at the Paradise Grill while DD had a Pizza from Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. I must’ve been getting tired, because I didn’t take any pictures. We ate while a South American/Caribbean band played music. Then we moved around the rest of the pier, DD refusing all rides! She just wanted to sit and wait for the show. Well, DW wanted to do a little shopping, and I wanted to ride this sucker:
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    California Screaming is what I would consider Disney’s only true “Thrill” coaster, though RnRC and EE in WDW come close, but don’t really touch CS. This ride has the serious “0-60” launch, as well as multiple steep hills and even an inversion or two.
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    A long ride, it was a lot of fun, and I only waited about 10 minutes thanks to the single rider line. (I never did get on ToT because there WAS no single rider line, and I didn’t realize it until it was too late.)
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    I probably could have and should have rode again, but I met back up with the family, we finally found a ride we could get DD on!
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    She liked it so much, that when she saw I got a pink dolphin, she wanted to go again.

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    It was still almost an hour until the start of World of Color, but we decided we might as well go as we apparently weren’t going to ride anything else, not even Mickey’s Fun Wheel!
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    We were only the second group to enter the reserved area for the Carthay Circle guests, and it just so happens there were TWO benches in the section, and we were able to snag one of them. So, we sat and relaxed, let DD have her DS while we waited, and I actually gave my mom a call. (They are in Carson City, NV at the moment, so the same time zone.)

    Up Next, Night falls on DCA
     
  13. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    So a few people asked me about the Carthay Circle WoC location, and it was PRIME! It was center of the “seating” area. On the third tier. What was really great about it was that it really filled up very late. Whereas the other sections were filling up an hour before the show, there were still spots against the railing up to 30 minutes before the show started, and it didn’t really get crowded until the last 10 minutes – which must’ve been when they opened up the available space to the GP. I would say getting to your spot with the WoC FPs 35-40 minutes ahead would be plenty for good seats.
    Took a few pictures as the sun set.
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    Finally at 9 PM the show started…and WOW!
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    Words and pictures and video do not do World of Color justice. It is an absolute amazing show because the scale of the show is absolutely MASSIVE. Using most of the surface of the lake, and then also using lights on the structures behind it, as well as fire and lasers, it was an incredible production. I think of all the things we saw at DL/DCA, including Cars Land, this was the BEST.
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    To any and all WDW fans debating about a trip out to California, I would say that this alone makes it worth the trip!
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    I would probably want to see it again before making this official, but right now WoC is my favorite nighttime Disney show, just creeping past Wishes. The one bad thing about World of Color, the crowd leaving the show as HUGE, not unlike leaving Fantasmic and it was a real pain moving out of there. DD didn’t want to do it, but we made our way out by passing by Carsland and seeing the “town” all lit up in it’s neon glory.
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    Fillmore’s:
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    Sarge’s, though I was unable to catch it with the blinking military rank:
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    But I did get the little sleeping car on the Cozy Cone sign!
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    Flo’s V-8 Café:
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    I often wonder if at any point during the making of the movie that Lassiter or the rest of the Pixar crew ever thought “Wow, Imagine if they someday build this in a Disney Park”
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    But I can’t imagine they would’ve ever pictured it being this “real”!
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    One thing I am looking forward to on the Backstage Magic Tour is to see if they incorporate Carsland into that tour, and if so, how.
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    It was pretty late by this point, and we were all pretty pooped out. As Disney, there is little rest for the weary, so we headed back to our hotel and got a few hours of shut-eye before our 3rd and final day in the parks.
     
  14. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Oh (w)Ow! I didn't realise that DD had been the little nay-sayer for the rides at DCA. I'm so glad that you and DW have the trip back next year to enjoy it by yourselves.

    Thanks for sharing. I love the night shots of WoC and CL. Lots of colour. :thumbsup2
     
  15. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

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    We never made it to WoC last year when we were there as only had one evening (I can't quite remember why didn't decide to do a meal deal) but looking forward to it more each time I read someone's rave review like yours.

    Pity you had a bit of a grumps/no ride girl along this day-it can spoil the magic somewhat but sounds like you went along with it good humouredly. It happens sometimes.

    I never knew they had cancelled the Aladdin carpet flight over the audience-that was one of the best bits. We must have been lucky as it was only last July that we saw the show. Of shows seen, I agree FOTLK is our favourite too. One day hope to see the different version of it in I think its Hong Kong DL. Lots of people like One Man's Dream in Tokyo DL. We saw it and enjoyed it but it didn't stand out as superlative for us-maybe because like B & B its performed in a semi outdoor theatre-the acoustics aren't as good and costuming as spectacular than in a darkened indoor venue.
     
  16. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Oh, she was brutal the whole trip. All she wanted to do was sit in the room and play her DS. You only got a little taste of it at your house, as she was being a little better behaved (thank goodness) being a guest. She had both of us yelling at her at times. Not the problem today, really, as she just didn't want to ride anything. I really think it was the Indiana Jones experience that really scarred (scared?) her.

    Thanks for the thumbs up on the pictures, some I couldn't get in focus - I really have to figure out how to do night shots with my camera - but others came out really sharp. (The WoC ones were with my camera phone, which seems to handle night shooting better than the point-and-shoot.)

    You definitely should go out of your way to catch World of Color. It is well worth the time needed to get a spot. Actually, if we didn't have DD, the second showing might have been a good option too, though all the people for that show are corralled up the street in a big holding pen, so I don't know how that went exactly.
     
  17. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    So, while I came into the trip with no set plan for our third day, by the time we had actually GOT to that day, I knew I would have a pretty good idea. The plan as we laid it out was to head to DL first and to catch the one character we wanted to meet – Merida, from there we were hit some of the a few rides we missed the first time, and then head to DTD via the Monorail. Having to check-out by noon, we would go back to the hotel before going back to DCA for lunch at Flo’s and hit a few more things in that park, and finally back to DL to use a few FPs we’d gotten in the morning.

    We got up and did some packing, got our breakfast from McDonald’s next door, and got to the park entrance right around rope drop. I have to say, the park was waaayyy more crowded today (a Tuesday?) than either of the previous days, from opening on. I couldn’t figure out why this would be, but we dealt with it. So, the target was for me to swing over to BTMRR and pick up FP, and meet DW and DD at the Merida meet and greet, which opened at 8:30 AM. Well, I got around there, and the others were nowhere to be seen. They eventually got there, but apparently had stopped to ride King Arthur’s Carousel, which was cool with me. I was 2nd in line, and once they got there, DW joined me in line while DD went to a coloring table they had set up for the kids. At first, she was refusing to meet Merida, but on her way out to the M&G, Merida waved to DD, and that made her change her mind. So, we got to meet Merida as well as the bear cubs!

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    As usual, once she’s actually MET the character,she is totally enthused by it, and while we waited in line for the Nemo Submarines, she insisted on drawing a picture of Merida in her journal. We rode the subs after getting FP for Autotopia. After the subs we grabbed more FP (for Star Tours) and I took a few snaps:

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    We went to use the Autotopia FP, but not before a potty break where I took a picture that struck me as a funny/ironic sight in “Tomorrowland”

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    I joked to DW – “more like Yesterland” which she found hilarious, not knowing it was the name of a web-site! We got in line for Autotopia, and they basically said “Oh, you don’t need those” and we got in line. Well we went to the point where the FP and regular lines merged, so he was right, but then waited another 20 minutes AFTER the merge. What kind of FP line is this anyways?

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    I should preface this ride by saying I’ve never, ever ridden the Speedway at MK. I have this same ride at home, why should I waste time doing it here. BUT, we were being a completist and so we rode it. And hated it. The only thing we can figure is that Los Angelinos must think it pleasant versus a drive on the 405 or something, because it basically reminded me of being stuck on a highway. It didn’t help that the guy in front of me was having problems with his car, forcing me to stop about every 200 feet.

    Please, oh please, never again!

    By now, it was coming up on 10 AM, we needed to be out of our room by noon, so we decided to take the monorail over to DTD. Now, everyone says the monorail at DLR “is not a form of transportation –it’s a ride”. Whatever you say, it’s still a form of transportation. The one big difference we noticed – you could ride in the front!

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    And they must train all monorail drivers the same way…because if you ever ask me “who is the surliest group of Cast Members you’ve ever met” I would invariably say “Monorail drivers”, and this driver was no exception, focusing hard on his one button and one switch and not really talking to us. But, for those of you that never got the chance to ride the front of the monorail – DLR is the place to go.

    The ride to DTD actually goes THROUGH the DCA park, which was something that I never noticed the day before. The track is fairly well disguised I guess, but it made for a neat view of that park. Honestly, the WDW monorail is pretty boring compared to the DLR monorail. We were dropped off at DTD and DW went to WoD (where we had 20 % coupons from our QS meal receipts if used before noon) while DD and I went into the Lego store.

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    I was actually surprised how big DTD was, as we had to walk all the way across it. I was also surprised the Grand Californian Resort is actually on top of DTD. In other words, the shops are the bottom layer, and the hotel is the top.

    Again, for those looking forward to shopping pictures, your reading the wrong TR. We met DW and World of Disney and then headed back to our hotel, finished packing our bags, got them valeted to the front desk for storage, and headed back to the parks.

    Next up - back to Carsland (again) for a "Pit Stop"!
     
  18. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    You do know that the locals call the 405.....the 4-OR-5 hours....don't you? :rotfl:
    That being said, your Autopia experience was probably about average for DL.


    Great shot of the 3 of you with Merida. And yes, I love the monorail at DL. The WDW monorail is a longer ride but it really is a form a transport.

    I guess you could say that the DLR monorail is a form of transport, but it really is a ride. ;)
     
  19. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    The DLR monorail is ride that also provides transportation. The WDW monorail is transportation that also provides a ride.

    We never got stuck on the LA freeway system too badly at the last part of the trip, of course we tried to avoid peak hours, and were pretty successful.
     
  20. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    This time, we entered DCA – our first “hop” of the trip. It was lunchtime and we were hungry. We had decided we wanted to try Flo’s V8 Café.
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    Love the Diner feel of the place. Another cool part is the portion of the dining room that looks out over RSR:
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    Isn't this rockwork just simply amazing! I've spent a lot of time in Arizona/Utah, and you would swear this is 100% autentic if you didn't know better. Fantastic job!
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    DW – already tired of the heavy foods, went with a salad – “Citrus Turkey Salad - Mixed Greens, Arugula, Carrots, Cucumbers and Yellow Peppers tossed with a Citrus-Tarragon Dressing and served with a garlic chive roll.”
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    This was a wonderful salad that we would highly recommend. I had the more hearty “NY Strip Loin - with Home-Style Beef Gravy and 2 sides” of which I chose the vegetables and the pasta salad.
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    This meal was also very tasty. I was really happy with my choice. DD had the Macaroni & Cheese, which came with fruit.
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    The only stinker of the bunch was the specialty drink: “Mater's Tulsa Tea - Gold Peak Sweet Green Iced Tea Topped with Tropical Fruit Foam.”
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    This was really just nasty. I later found out that “Tulsa Tea” is the ‘brand’ of motor oil that is stocked at Flo’s for the Cars, and this couldn’t have been worse being actual motor oil. I like Nestle Green Tea, but this was not very good, and the ‘tropical fruit foam’ tasted just plain awful. Yuk!
    Here’s a quick mural of Flo with her “Motorama girls”
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    Afternoon we ran through a few other highlights. Adriana wanted to do Heimlich’s Chew Chew train again (ugh) so we headed for Bug’s Land and ran into Red:
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    I tried to go ride Tower of Terror single rider but it turned out there wasn’t a single rider (and there’s like 12 single rider rides at DLR – why not this one?), so I didn’t get on ToT. Instead, I got Heimlich! We then did the Monster’s Inc ride again, which had a fairly long line (maybe 20 minutes), but again the crowds were large today!
     
  21. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,326
    On our way out of that, we happened upon the Pixar Play parade. The only way I’ll ever see a daytime parade is if we happen to stumble on it. This one was cute, but no better or worse than others. It was this point that it really struck me how “Pixar-centric” DCA was.
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    I liked the way Slinky-Dog brought up the “rear”, with his tail end walking behind the float.
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    As we left there – DD saw the Disney Junior Live building and asked again to see the show. She’s been asking for two days – and I so hate this show and plus its at WDW, but I broke down, thinking “She gonna grow out of this one of these days”. We sat there and watched this show for the 8th (?) time in my life, which is 8 too many. Don’t get me wrong, I like Disney Junior for the kids and don’t even mind some of the shows, but there is absolutely NOTHING in this show to entertain an adult. I swear this is the very last time I will ever sit through this one! (Which I’ve said twice before.) After this DD wanted a frozen lemonade, while DW wanted that same homemade ice cream bar I had yesterday (Again no picture, I’ll have to fix THAT in June!)
    There are times during a trip where I look back and think, why don’t I have any pictures of that? Well, here we are again…we went over to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. “ An extensive kids' play area with a variety of activities including rope bridges, towers to climb, and a swing from one side to another.” That was actually themed behind the movie “Up” or at least the Wilderness explorers from the movie. It was actually just as described and very impressive in size and scope, but for some unknown reason I didn’t take any pictures of it. (I was again getting extremely annoyed with DD who wouldn’t ride anything.) While there I realized something I never read but I’m sure others have thought of:

    “If I am in the back part (Grizzly Peak or Paradise Pier) of DCA, and I want to get to DL, all I need to do is cut through the Grand Californian and head to the monorail!”

    So, since we had two sets of FP I insisted we use at DL, we then did that. It was MUCH less walking that way, though certainly not faster. The Monorail route from DTD to DL goes in a bunch of loops within DL, including circling the Matterhorn, but we were perfectly happy to sit a bit. We got off in Tomorrowland and headed for Star Tours – same ride as WDW, but again we waited more than 20 minutes with our FPs. The lines didn’t merge this time, the FP did skip in front of the entire outdoor queue, but inside the FP line was moving much slower than the standby line. I kept thinking – “What is with it with these Fastpasses!”
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    Then, we skipped across the hub to BTMRR. I tried to get a shot of the partners statue with the Matterhorn in the background, but not so good.
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    The BTMRR fastpass line was the only ones that actually took us to a short line. Less than a 5-minute wait and we were on and riding. By the time we were done, it was getting near time for the shuttle pick-up to the airport. But DD wanted one more attraction…
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    We had enough time, the tiki gods were calling us:
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    This last picture I took right after the tiki room, it was the first time I thought – “Gosh its so crowded today, I should take pictures of the crowds”
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    However, it was now time to leave, so we headed back to our hotel.
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    I can’t remember if I talked about the hotel or not, but it was a decent hotel in a really prime location, and I would definitely stay there again.

    So, to summarize the trip, we were able to ride pretty much everything we wanted, and most of everything in the parks.

    The total sum list of things that we missed completely (not including several stage shows) are:

    @ DL - Snow White, Gadget GO Coaster, Innoventions, Great Moments w/ Lincoln, Tarzans Tree House, Columbia/Mark Twain/Canoes/Tom Sawyer Island, Fantasmic!

    @ DCA – Tower of Terror, Soarin’, Grizzly River Rapids, and most of Paradise Pier rides.

    Of the lot, the only one I really WANTED to go on was GRR, so overall pleased with that. As far as impressions of the park…well, I would say that there is no doubt for me that I prefer WDW to DL. Even though we are going back next year, I would generally say a DL trip would be an “every 5-7 years” type thing, where WDW still remains an annual rite of passage. There are a couple of main reasons, and they are tied to what many consider DLRs greatest strength, which is the compactness of the resort, and that definitely has its advantages, but it’s a big negative for two reasons:

    1) WDWs ability to make you feel like you are incased in the magic. Perhaps if you stay at one of their $400 a night hotels you would feel that way, but I found that once I left the parks, even the central hub between the parks and DTD, it felt very “outside the magic” as did our hotel of course.

    2)The indistinctness of the parks. This is something that I only realized after much reflection. At WDW not only are there four parks – there are four VERY DISTINCT parks, with each having a different feel and leading to a different touring style. At DLR, the two parks, regardless of the “California” theme of DCA, really just feel like one big park in style and in substance. You tour them the same way, whether hopping or not. The addition of “Buena Vista Street” even heightens this, by mirroring Disneyland’s Main Street.

    So, after spending three days there – I felt like maybe I would have liked to have had 4 so we could’ve taken a little slower pace, but overall, I felt I had had enough of DL. And honestly, even though at the end of 10 days at WDW I am usually ready to go home, I still feel like I haven’t had enough of something (usually Epcot). And, I’m sorry, to me, that makes it a better experience.

    That said, any WDW fans out there that have never given DLR a try, I would say “find the time to do it”. Combine it with a visit to Hollywood or other California sites – CA has a lot to offer – but take 3 or 4 days to explore DLR.

    Next post will be across the ocean!
     

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