"Let's Choose a Swinging Car, It Doesn't Look Bad" First-Time DLR TR July 2012

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by WeatherbySwann, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

    Joined:
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    Part 10: Poor Unfortunate Souls or Everybody's Got a Laughing Place (depending on your opinion of Mickey's Fun Wheel... )
    Day 6, Part 1
    Parks


    Today we'd be finishing up California Adventure! There was a lot to get to, and I couldn't wait to get started. There is an odd lack of pictures from this part of the day, so I apologize for that. Guess we were having too much fun. :)

    We ate breakfast at Mimi's on Harbor Blvd, and our waitress was hilarious. She was a bit snarky, but in a funny way, not in a rude way. She saw our blatantly tourist attire (Disney shirts, camera, pins), and remarked, "So, today you all are heading to the happiest (not) place on Earth?" Every time she came back to our table to see if we needed anything, she shared something else about her family, how she almost visited them in Europe but made it to New York before turning back around to California ("You think I'm flying across the ocean, you'd better think again!"), and so forth. We laughed and laughed, and families at nearby tables were treated to similar stories.

    We made our way to California Adventure; we could go in at the regular Park opening at 8 a.m. since we didn't have any early entry for DCA, but it ended up being closer to 8:15 once we arrived. We saw the long line of Guests waiting to get Radiator Springs Racers FastPasses and were glad we didn't have to do that again! We would be spending the morning in Paradise Pier.

    I was very hesitant about Paradise Pier, because to me, "seaside boardwalk" calls to mind cheesy, touristy beach and not something that belongs in a Disney Park. I was expecting something along the lines of Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama at Animal Kingdom, but instead the area seemed more akin to Main Street, USA (sort of a coastal extension of it or something). I absolutely loved it. The background music helped a ton, I think--overall the area has very warm, vintage feel to it rather than the tacky tone I expected. It is great that the Imagineers spent time to fix the small things like Paradise Pier's tone while also bringing in the big-scale, E-Ticket attractions for DCA's re-imagining.

    First up was Toy Story Mania, which was a walk-on. Compared to the all-out stampede I was familiar with in WDW, this was pleasant. The queue was pretty boring compared to WDW's large line that winds its way through Andy's room, but with the ride itself being the exact same, of course we enjoyed it. No real surprises here, but an excellent attraction regardless.
    Overall Toy Story Mania rating: :3dglasses

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    It was too early for any of the Toy Story characters to be having their meet & greet yet, but I wanted to come back later to get a picture with Buzz since I brought my Buzz jacket.

    Next: California Screamin'! LOTS of fun. I especially loved the small dips toward the end of the ride. Again, before the trip I wasn't really receptive to a "plain" roller coaster being in a Disney Park without anything extra, but here it works really well if for nothing more than an awesome kinetic inclusion for the atmosphere (both for riders and those watching). The wait was maybe 15 minutes at 8:45.
    Overall California Screamin' rating: :cool1:

    Making our way deeper into Paradise Pier, next was... Mickey's Fun Wheel. Swinging or non-swinging, hmmm. "Let's choose a swinging car, it doesn't look too bad." Well, no. No, it doesn't. It doesn't look bad at all. The swinging gondolas appear to slowly slide their way down their attached railing whenever the ferris wheel rotates. However, glancing at this occurrence from the ground is a lot different than actually being in said gondola. Walking straight onto the ride (which surprised me given the long wait times I had seen on line-tracking sites), we noted how odd it was that a calm ferris wheel had motion-sickness bags. Must be because of how high it was. That Disney, always thinking of everything! Then, well, Mickey's Fun Wheel started to do what it does best, and we realized Disney was only thinking ahead.

    Holy mouse ears, Batman, this thing is vicious. My grandmother's dialogue included sputters of, "Please make it stop!" and all three of us had hurt stomachs from laughing so hard by the time it was over.
    Overall Mickey's Fun Wheel rating: First :rolleyes2 then :scared1: and finally :lmao:

    The ultimate verdict: If you are afraid of heights altogether, by all means skip Mickey's Fun Wheel. If you don't mind heights but are definitely prone to motion sickness, ride but definitely choose non-swinging. If you know you will truly freak out in a swinging car, then also choose non-swinging. However, if you only have a tiny, fleeting caution rather than a true fear... go with swinging. It was one of the best memories of our entire trip, partly because it was so fun and partly because it was completely unexpected. We only rode once, but now I wish we had ridden again. Great fun.

    Continuing along through Paradise Pier, next was Silly Symphony Swings. It's based on the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Band Concert, which is my family's favorite Mickey short back home. Again, big improvement the Imagineers did with this one based on the pictures I've seen of the bizarre orange thing that it was themed to previously. I recognized Corey Burton's voice as the safety instructor... he does a lot of work for Disney, and his voice reminds me of this old WDW Explorer CD-ROM that I used to play, so he's one of my favorite voice actors (he also does Dale, Captain Hook, and Ludwig Von Drake, along with many others).
    Overall Silly Symphony Swings rating: :)

    We opted to skip the Golden Zephyr, but did go on Goofy's Sky School. I go to a local theme park pretty regularly, and it has a madmouse roller coaster like Goofy's Sky School, and I've ridden often enough to tell you that it and Goofy's Sky School have the exact same track. Exactly the same. Right down to every turn and dip, the ride is verbatim. Just a little peculiar. Goofy's Sky School (in its former version pre-Goofy) opened before the local coaster did, but I would imagine that all madmouse coasters like this are all exactly the same, which makes me wonder why Disney wouldn't change it up at least a little bit if their Guests have ridden the EXACT same thing elsewhere. Anyway... I love the ride, but the deja vu took me by surprise. Excellent theming here. All the gags in the queue are brilliant. Very well done, take time to look through them even if there's not a line. (We waited probably 5-10 minutes.)
    Overall Goofy's Sky School rating: First :confused: then :)

    As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed Paradise Pier a lot more than I thought I would. From the music to the architecture to the superb turn-around of the attractions' theming, they got this one right. It's Main Street USA meets Toontown (albeit a more toned-down, not-so-loud Toontown) meets WDW's Boardwalk Resort. I really did not expect to be impressed and completely was.

    On that note, with all the talk that Mickey's Fun Wheel sparked, I'm curious in hearing from you all. What Disney ride (in any Park) gives you the heebie jeebies? Is there a specific memory tied to this feeling, or a memorable experience related to you facing your fear? Or have you always (and always will) avoid it at all costs???
     
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  3. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

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    Part 11: Movin' Right Along
    Day 6, Part 2
    Parks


    So, to recap, we had just explored most of Paradise Pier and it was now about 10:00.

    We hadn't ridden Luigi's Flying Tires a few days ago despite spending several hours in Cars Land, because the line had always been over an hour, so we moseyed on over to see how it was today. 80 minutes. :worried: I decided after thinking it over a minute that it probably wasn't going to get any better (since it was still relatively early in the morning, around 10:00), so we went ahead and got in line. It was the longest wait we had the whole trip, and although I'd like to say otherwise, I don't think it was worth it. Well, I guess it was worth it for the first time, but I would definitely not wait 80 minutes for it again. In hindsight (travel tip!), we probably should have headed straight to Luigi's when the Park opened, then gone to Toy Story Mania. The Toy Story and Screamin' lines probably would have been a bit longer at that point, but overall, total among all rides, our line-waiting time would have been a lot shorter. If you're doing 2 days at DCA and want to ride both Radiator Springs Racers and Luigi's, use the first day to get RSR FPs at opening and the second day to head to Luigi's at opening.

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    I felt Luigi's is sort of a mixed bag. It's a fun ride for sure, but not worth all the waiting that its newness causes. The queue is expertly done--lots of neat details to look at (except for the tires on display... they're all the same even though they have different labels... very un-Disney). There are a lot of really clever Disney references in the queue if you look for them! Just before boarding, the ride broke down. We feared the worst after waiting 80 minutes, but they got things worked out after 10 minutes or so and we didn't have to leave the line (thankfully!). As for the ride itself, maneuvering the tires is a neat sensation and definitely cool technology. (During our visit, the beach balls were still there, so that added a bit of competition to it.) I really feel that you need to ride twice, the first time to get the hang of steering and the second time to have fun now that you know what to do. But, alas, we surely weren't going to wait in the 80-minute line again. This was probably the only attraction that I left wondering if it was worth waiting for, but I think if I hadn't ridden it, I would've regretted my decision. It was part of the Cars Land experience, and I would have been mad at myself if I had not ridden it at least once.
    Overall Luigi's Flying Tires rating: :idea:...but then the ride is over lol. Honestly I got a bigger kick out of the queue than the actual attraction.

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    This picture of Luigi's Mama and Uncle Topolino is in the queue. Topolino is Italian for Mickey Mouse!​

    I still wanted a picture with Buzz Lightyear, but didn't want to go all the way over to Toy Story Mania to check if he was there, as he, Woody, and Jessie all rotate with each other. I knew the Times Guide says the times that the Toy Story characters have their meet & greet, but it doesn't say what times each specific character will be out. It was about this time that @DCAToday tweeted to me (having searched for DCA keywords and seeing my tweets, I assume) and asked if I had any questions. Well, how convenient. I asked when I could find Buzz, and they tweeted back very quickly, but just gave the same general info that the Times Guide said. Sort of a bummer, but let me say I was very impressed with @DCAToday throughout the whole trip. If you have any questions, ask and they will get back to you fast! Also make sure to let them know when you go on Radiator Springs Racers... just sayin'. Since our trip, a similar account called @DisneylandToday has opened for Disneyland. We would check back on Buzz after lunch.

    But first, time to catch the Phineas and Ferb show! Phineas and Ferb is the best thing that's been on Disney Channel in years and makes me laugh every time I watch it. We didn't get involved in the show, but enjoyed watching. When it was time to leave and their car was heading out, both Phineas and Ferb each pointed at our Perry toy with excitement, so... yeah. Day pretty much made right there.
    Overall Phineas and Ferb rating: :banana:

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    Afterward, we had lunch at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. It was sort of spur of the moment since that was the closest thing nearby, but it was great! I wish I had known about it earlier in the trip because we probably would have dined here more than once. Not only was there enough variety (and quality) in the food to merit a return trip, but there was also some unexpected period-specific live music, very similar to our Cafe Orleans lunch earlier in the trip (again, Paradise Pier was proving to be exceedingly awesome).
    Overall Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta rating: :thumbsup2

    I left my grandparents continuing to enjoy the music while I went to grab our Soarin' FastPasses for later. I guess I didn't realize how far away it was. It's kind of a long way away. But in any case, I got the FPs and then we went to go check on Buzz. Turns out he wasn't there, but Jessie was and didn't have a very long line at all, so I figured a picture in my Buzz jacket with Jessie would still be a neat keepsake. We did a space ranger pose, and who should greet me as I walk away but Sheriff Woody! He traded off with Jessie and we got back in line real quick so that we could meet him, and the line immediately after that, once everyone saw that Woody was there, got huge, but luckily we didn't have to wait long. Woody loved my jacket, tried to press the back to see if any wings would sprout out, and then started dancing around all over the place. I didn't know what in the world he was doing until the Character Attendant said that he was teaching me how to be a cowboy. Lol.

    So we ended up not meeting the only one out of the three Toy Story characters that I specifically wanted to meet, but it was still all good. Toy Story is my all-time favorite Disney ever so I was happy. Donald was meeting nearby, but we passed. Duffy had no line, so we met him. I told him we had seen him at Epcot and he got very excited, and played with Perry a little bit.

    The plan for the rest of the day was to go on Muppets, ride Monsters Inc, see the Pixar Play Parade, ride Soarin' with our FastPasses, and then take a hotel nap break before coming back later in the night. This is what we still did, but it was not a very good touring plan in retrospect. We tried to do waaaaay too much before the nap break, and as a result we were really tired. It ended up being around 3:30 by the time we made it back. 7:00 to 3:30 is too long a time to be out and about in the summer heat.

    At this point, the tiredness was starting to settle in and, as much as we enjoyed what we were doing, it felt more like we were checking things off the list rather than really soaking in each attraction. MuppetVision 3D? Hysterical. One of Jim Henson's best works ever, and possibly my all-time favorite Muppet production. Monsters, Inc.? Really neat. Loved the doors scene and the incorporation of the ride vehicle's screen. It seemed a little out of place thematically, but the ride itself is really cool. But, again... sort of just going through the motions at this point. I should have scrapped Soarin', left right then, and come back in time for the 5:00 parade.

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    Sulley had a very short line nearby, and I had never met him before so we did. He is huge! Right after that, we grabbed a spot in front of the Aladdin theater for the Pixar Play Parade. It was just about 2:00, right when the parade was supposed to step off, and we were very close to the parade's starting point. "What luck!" I thought. "Hardly anyone is here and it's almost showtime." Yeah, well... a few minutes passed and I figured we were at the wrong end of the parade route (just like with Soundsational!), and since the DCA parade route is such a long one, it was close to 30 minutes by the time the parade got to us. I fetched us some waters while waiting (again, the heat starting to get to us), but they went fast. The water jets from the parade floats were a welcome gift! Great parade (lots of energy), but I wish we were more with it at that point to enjoy it. So, moral of the story... don't keep going when you're tired and double-check you know which direction the parade is going.

    Overall Pixar Play Parade rating: :cool1: but we felt :scared:
    Loved that Woody's boot actually says Andy on the bottom.


    We really should have left after the parade, but we still had our Soarin' FPs and I didn't want to risk them no them being accepted later on in the day. The queue really needs more space... people crammed everywhere even in the FastPass line. The attraction itself was excellent as usual and in hindsight we probably could have skipped it since we've been on it in Epcot... but, again, like with Luigi's Flying Tires, I probably would have regretted if we didn't do it.
    Overall Soarin' rating: :wizard: attraction but :crazy2: queue


    At this point, we were beyond beat and our hotel beds sounded like the best thing in the world. We headed back to the HoJo for some much-needed rest... there was a magical evening ahead.



    We'll continue with the last post's question: What Disney attraction (it can be in any Park, not just DLR) gives you the heebie-jeebies? Have you ever faced your fear of this attraction, and if so, do you have a memorable story to share about it?
     
  4. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

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    Part 12: Something There
    Day 6, Part 3
    Parks


    After being wiped out earlier, naps provided some much-needed rest to wrap up DCA that night. My grandmother and I headed back to the Park while my grandfather decided to stay at the hotel and call it a day. Later we let him know on all the fun he missed out on--possibly the most of the whole trip. Our evening in DCA went perfect: smooth plans and no stressing out. If you need a touring plan to spend a leisurely evening in California Adventure, steal this one. Looking back, I think what made it so enjoyable was that we had a lot of variety in what we did. It wasn't just "stand in line, ride, repeat," but a mix of different types of attractions.


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    First up on the agenda was the final showing of Aladdin for the day. Like I said before, the smarter thing would have been to catch the 2nd performance of Pixar Play Parade (which starts right near Aladdin), and then proceed to get in the Aladdin line. But, we didn't, so oh well.

    On our way to Aladdin, we tried to catch the Red Car Trolley, but it was full both times we tried (we waited at each stop). Bummer! I then got Tower of Terror FPs for after the show. We actually arrived a bit later to Aladdin than I anticipated, but it worked to our benefit. We had the stubs for priority seating that you receive if you book your DLR vacation with Disneyland.com, but by the time we arrived, the CMs were no longer taking them and we had to get in line for the upstairs seating. (Travel tip ahead!) I was a little disappointed, but once we settled in--first row of the balcony--I think we had better seats than any priority ground seating would have given us! The scope of the show (having elements all over the theater) lends itself well to an aerial view, and the first few rows of the balcony are definitely still close enough to the stage to get wrapped up in the story. We loved our seats.

    A side note about the stairs leading into the theater: what in the world??? Why are they outside? I know DLR has limited space and sometimes visual intrusions from outside the Parks are inevitable (and, as a WDW vet, something to get used to), but this one seems like it really would have been easy to solve. Just extend the theater building so that the stairs are inside the building, not outside of it. Now this would be difficult to fix, but in the construction phases I wonder why they didn't do that. You can very clearly see the busy traffic quite close to you. It's distracting and not very magical.

    Alas, rant over. The show itself: :eek: Woah. Unbelievable. Without a doubt one of the best productions I have ever seen Disney put on, including Parks and Broadway and everything in between. I think it's tied with Festival of the Lion King as my favorite Disney show. Just last week, Disney announced Aladdin will be coming to Broadway in spring 2014, and I can't help but think that without DCA, that project might not have ever happened. Whole New World was certainly awkward without the carpet, but safety is priority. Brilliant, brilliant show. I could tell my grandmother was thoroughly impressed, too.
    Overall Aladdin rating: pixiedust:

    Next up... Tower of Terror! Dark was descending, and the building looked perfectly eerie for an elevator drop. My grandmother waited outside while I rode, but I used her ticket to get a FastPass to give to a random Guest afterward. It's fun to spread your own Disney magic! :magic: Tower of Terror is one of my favorite attractions of all time. It's one of those rides that I absolutely love, but only allow myself to ride once per trip to keep it spooky and thrilling each time. The extended queue in Florida adds a bit of intrigue, but not much is lost in DCA's version.
    Overall Tower of Terror rating: :scared1: but :rotfl: and a bit of :banana:

    Afterward, the not-so-distant echoing of "unz-unz-unz-unz" (that was my lame attempt to scribe a stereotypical techno beat) told us that Mad T Party was in full swing a bit down the road, but.... ehhh no thanks. I fully get that it's a lot of fun for some people, but just not my thing.

    We made our way to Disney Animation. Our priority was Animation Academy, because we really enjoy that in Florida, but I did not expect how completely awed I would be by the rest of Disney Animation. MILES better than WDW's. The WDW version suffered a bit of an identity crisis now that it is no longer a working animation studio, so there's not a lot to work with. It's fun, but underwhelming to what it once was. At DCA, you'll find virtually the same activities (Animation Academy, character personality quiz, voice a character, etc.), but FAR more elaborate, fully-imagined settings. With no constraints of working around abandoned animators' desks, the Imagineers really went all out with this one and it looks fantastic. One of the few things at DLR that has space to be completely fleshed out compared to a cramped WDW counterpart!


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    Animation Academy was great, and again I was impressed with the huge amount of space allotted for the theater compared to WDW's tiny room. We drew Agent P, and we both had lots of fun. While we were in line, I became was captivated with the large screens displaying Disney movie clips and accompanying concept art. That thing is so cool. Possibly my favorite room on any Disney property anywhere.


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    We almost left without going inside Sorcerer's Workshop, but I said, "Well... we can at least see what's inside," thinking it might be neat. I'll say it is! I'm so glad we entered, and can't believe we almost passed it up. I was surprised to turn the corner and find myself inside the Evil Queen's dungeon, and altogether shocked continuing further to be right in the middle of Beast's castle! Wow!! Great stuff back there; again, really the same thing is at WDW, but you're at a kiosk. I'd say Beast's castle is a tad better setting.

    I ended up being most like Jiminy Cricket, and my grandmother was Lady. Since our visit, the activity has been updated to include more characters, including modern ones like Lightning McQueen.

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    Overall Disney Animation rating: :jumping1:


    I love Turtle Talk at Epcot and would liked to have experienced it at DCA, but it was close to 9 at this point, and we would have Magic Morning early the next day, so I decided to skip it since I wanted one last ride on Radiator Springs Racers, since this would be the last time we'd be in California Adventure for the trip.

    We took the Bug's Land path to Cars Land, and briskly passed through, but I wish we had taken time to pay a little closer attention to some of the details. I had dismissed Bug's Land as only having typical kiddie rides you can experience in any amusement park, and while that is partly true, it doesn't disregard everything else about the area. Walking through at nighttime, the lighting was extremely neat and made it clear that while the rides may be passable for someone without small children, the rest of the landscape was not. Guess that's my excuse to go back! :teeth:

    We had looked at Flo's menu online before the vacation and knew we wanted to try the milkshakes, so that was our first stop. We both got strawberry... wonderful! The "road gravel" they put in it is delicious. We enjoyed them outside on the RSR side. It was quite the treat (and so inexplicably cool) to casually sip a milkshake from Flo's V8 Cafe while watching cars zoom by Ornament Valley. I know I already said it, but the Imagineers did Cars Land right. It is superb--not just in the headliner attractions, but also in the quiet moments that the atmosphere lends itself to so well.


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    Since we hadn't been to the Cozy Cone yet, either, we grabbed some cheesy pretzel bites to take with us while we waited in line for RSR. They were ok, nothing to go crazy about, but I've heard some of the more creative things from Cozy Cone are great. We opted for the single-rider line, and the wait was about a 40ish minutes. Excellent attraction; I'm glad we rode it one last time. Overall I had a 3 for 3 winning streak. :car:

    It had been a full but fun day. We strolled down Route 66 and onto Buena Vista Street, soaking up the wonderful sights and sounds for the last time. It was still sort of early (about 10), but we needed our sleep to rise and shine early tomorrow for Magic Morning. We'd spend tomorrow in Disneyland, then the day after that would be our last, allotted for spending a couple of hours in Disneyland while my grandparents visited Little Saigon, followed by traveling back home. The vacation was nearly over, but there was plenty of magic yet to be discovered.


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  5. dhorner233

    dhorner233 Disneyophile

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    18,207
    Hey, Loving your TR! It cracks me up every time I see Agent P in there! :rotfl:

    The only Disney ride in DLR and DW that I will NOT go on again are those swinging gondolas!!!! Should have been a clue when we were in line and someone had lost their lunch in one of the gondolas. Two guys in white hazmat suits came out and cleaned it up. :crazy2: They let that gondola go around one empty then when it came back, they loaded it up :sad2: Yuck! I did not like the ride. Spent the whole time hanging onto the sides of the cage praying for it to be over!

    Now, I have a comment and if anyone wants to flip out, go ahead but, when I go to the Disney parks I rent an electric wheel chair!!!! If you had rented one, you could have taken turns using it and I bet your grandfather (who is probably my age) could have made back to the park for the evening. We take turns and no more blisters and agony. My new motto is "IT'S a VACATION! NOT a DEATH MARCH!" :moped:
     
  6. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

    Joined:
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    Thanks! Yeah, this was the first trip we tried to intentionally find funny places to put Perry and had fun with it. :)

    And I don't think you are the only one who feels that way about the Fun Wheel! :laughing: That's sort of gross about the vomit... I was waiting for a simulator 3D show in a non-Disney theme park once and it was taking way longer than it should have. Asked an employee if anything was wrong and their response was that there had been a "protein spill." Huh? What in the world does that-- ohhhh. Well, take all the time you need.
     
  7. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

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    Part 13: Go the Distance
    Day 7, Part 1
    Parks


    2nd-to-last day! Initially this (a Sunday) was planned to be the last day in the parks, so the plan was filled with things to make it a memorable finale to our trip. When we nixed the extra Hollywood day (for the next day, Monday), I didn't want to devise an entire new touring plan, so we kept everything in tact for Sunday and figured that Monday would simply be an extra day of leisurely strolling without any specific agenda.

    Sunday was also the day we'd use our Magic Morning. I know the tip given is to use MM on your first day so that you will not have to wake up early later on in your trip (after you've been walking around all week), but in this case I wanted to save Fantasyland for last (to have something to really look forward to with excitement), but also knew that the best time to hit all the Fantasyland rides is during MM, and so... we were indeed tired, but, eh, we're in Disney so who really cares.

    It had been really empty on our first Disneyland day, but MM was even emptier than that. Hardly anyone in sight anywhere!

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    And so we walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle and into Fantasyland. I knew it was different from Florida in that DL feels like a storybook setting with architecture that matches each ride's setting rather than FL that has the castle/tent design on the rides (until New Fantasyland). So I knew it would be different, but like many things over the course of the trip, I did not expect how much I would completely love it. Fantasyland is magical, but not in an extravagant, magnificent, "WOAH!" way - but a subtle, comforting, "Ahhhh" way. It is classic, classic, CLASSIC Disney.

    Everything had no line (and by everything, I mean... everything). We counted 8 rides in the first hour: Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White, Mr. Toad, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Mad Tea Party, and Matterhorn - and by 8:00 we were boarding Nemo, so while I can't say we completed 9 rides, we had gone through 9 lines (if you'd even call them that!).

    Overall Fantasyland dark rides rating: :goodvibes
    We went on all the Fantasyland dark rides so quickly that unfortunately that means they all sort of run together in my head and I can't remember distinct opinions about what I liked or didn't like about each one. There are a few thoughts, though, so here's a lightning round of impressions:
    Peter Pan - Same as WDW, but always fun
    Snow White - Glad I could still ride it since it's closed in WDW now, but I'm always scared to death that I'm going to break down in there... don't know why, but I just am. It's the one ride that I think I would be most freaked out in if it ever got stuck.
    Mr. Toad - Don't remember much sadly, but so, so glad I got to ride it after hearing about it for so many years. A real piece of Disney history. Mr. Toad was my grandfather's favorite as a child.
    Pinocchio - All I remember is the very end... Gepetto's house is possibly the coolest scene in any Disney dark ride ever of all time. So cool.
    Alice in Wonderland - Don't remember much other than of course the story...

    So while we got in and out of lines like nobody's business, the result is, as you can see, everything blurring together in my memory. There's always YouTube, of course, but still. If I did it over again, I would break Fantasyland up a little bit.

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    Still before 8:00, we headed to the Matterhorn. I was really excited for this one. REALLY excited. However, I was sadly disappointed. It was really a letdown. It would be a great ride, but it's just so bumpy, to the point of not being able to enjoy yourself because you're being tossed around every which way. I understand it was built in 1959, but you'd think they'd make it smooth at some point over the years. This especially surprised me since it had just opened in June from a multi-month refurbishment. I really wanted to like it, but... I just didn't.
    Overall Matterhorn rating: :guilty:

    And then it was onto Nemo! Here's something I now wish I rode twice. It's a very simple, basic ride that you have to accept for what it is--a vintage ride system telling a new story, but with minimal thrill factor by today's standards--and I guess I didn't realize just how vintage it was. Knowing now that it doesn't get as intense as I thought it would, I could ride again and enjoy it for what it is, but the whole time I was waiting for something else to happen. Very cool to ride in a Disney submarine, though, I will say that. Especially considering Florida's is long gone and I've heard so many stories about it.
    Overall Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage rating: :confused3 but :)

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    Next, it was Space Mountain time! :dance3: A note about Tomorrowland in general first: it's kind of awful. The attractions themselves are excellent, but they seem like a random hodgepodge trying to tell too many different versions of a "space" story without having any common ground. It wouldn't solve everything, but something that would help (and that does wonders for WDW) is the PeopleMover. The way the PeopleMover provides a round-trip tour above and within Tomorrowland is the thread of the area. It’s what gives real purpose to everything else. Without the PeopleMover, Tomorrowland’s other rides are still fun, but they are nothing more than just that—rides. With the PeopleMover, though, Tomorrowland is a genuine intergalactic community in which all of these fantastic experiences reside. This story is of course supported by architecture and many other details throughout the land, but it’s really succinctly defined by the PeopleMover’s insight. It’s something that really shines in WDW and is particularly noticed and missed in its absence at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. I really like Tomorrowland in WDW but was not a fan of DL's. It always seemed confusing to navigate, too, even in the early morning with minimal crowds. (Especially the area surrounding Matterhorn/Pixie Hollow/Jedi Training... :scared1: every time we had to cross those waters.)

    Anyway. Oh, yeah. Space Mountain! I didn't expect there to be much of a difference, but I really enjoyed it. I wouldn't say I like WDW or DL's version better than the other, but I like different things a lot about both. WDW seems to have more fun dips while DL has more of a wind-in-your-face sensation and zippy turns. And Michael Giacchino's soundtrack is awesome. So much fun.
    Overall Space Mountain rating: :cool1:

    We got FastPasses for Star Tours and then headed to Small World. Great ride, of course, a real Disney classic. I was indifferent about the use of characters in each scene... didn't detract from anything for me, but I don't see them as vital to the attraction, either. It keeps your eyes peeled, though, so you pay closer attention to more of the details. The edge that WDW has over DL is larger space. In DL's Small World, each room seemed too narrow and short, whereas in WDW the rooms and waterways are more spacious and immersive.
    Overall Small World rating: :goodvibes

    Next: Toontown! My family loves the vintage Disney animated shorts of the '30s (the 1934 short Camping Out is my favorite piece of Disney animation ever), so the idea of Toontown has always been appealing to us. Admittedly there was not too much to see in WDW's Toontown, but for us it was more about the loss of the toony atmosphere and aesthetic becoming extinct than the content of the land itself back when it closed a few years ago. So needless to say, with DL's Toontown being so much bigger than WDW's was, I was very excited to explore. It was more open than I expected - I pictured more nooks and crannies, but it was still great to be there.

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    A quick rundown of Toontown:
    Roger Rabbit: :confused:
    Much too fast-paced. I knew the overall story of the ride beforehand and I was still confused. I love Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the ride was all over the place.

    Houses: :)
    The details are so fun in all of them. Chip & Dale's and Goofy's were sort of anticlimactic, but I realize they're tailored to the younger set.

    The random corner with the random building with all the toon offices and such: :thumbsup2
    Brilliant. Absolutely awesome. A lot to take in and find. We even stumbled upon Goofy pretending to be locked in the jail, but he got out by the time I had my camera ready. Not sure if I've mentioned it yet or not, but I really like the way characters can just walk from place to place throughout DL. They can't really do that in WDW in most places because of the large demand for pictures and autographs, but the small magical moments with characters we saw throughout DL were really neat.

    Goofy walked over to his house, and we met him there. Minnie was on her porch and Mickey was just inside his house (not in the Movie Barn yet), but we passed for them since we knew we'd have breakfast with them tomorrow.

    [​IMG]
    I love Toontown.​

    At this point, we didn't really have much of a touring plan for the rest of the morning because honestly I did not expect how much we would accomplish in such a short amount of time. We were done with all of Fantasyland, half of Tomorrowland, and all of Toontown. I don't know the exact time it was, but since Mickey was still on his porch and not in the Movie Barn yet, it was relatively early. No later than 10:00 I'd say. This led to rest of the morning sort of scrambling around the whole park without much strategic migration. Not to say we didn't have fun (we did!), but it was a lot of on-the-spot decisions, getting out of attractions and saying, "Uh... I guess let's go to [insert attraction] now since we haven't done it yet!" It made for a lot of backtracking, but it was still a fun morning.

    The first item after Toontown was Star Tours. I haven't ridden the first version of it at DHS in years, so to be honest I really couldn't tell a huge difference (though I know there is!). The rebel spy thing was not as played out as I thought it would be... we weren't sitting near the guy chosen in our ship, and if I hadn't known they choose someone on each ship, I wouldn't have even known it was a Guest. I like Star Tours, but I never really got into Star Wars, so the ride doesn't do much for me, but I do understand the intrigue.
    Overall Star Tours rating: :hippie:

    Then we decided it was Dole Whip time! That is something the DIS turned us onto many years ago and we have not gone a Disney trip without one since. While we enjoying our Dole Whips in Adventureland, a PhotoPass Cast Member approached us and said that she really liked my pirate mouse ears, and asked if I would mind making a pirate pose to use for that night's showing of Magic, Memories, & You. I'm not typically a goofy pose type of guy, but I couldn't say no, right? So she took the picture and sure enough, we saw it later during the show. pirate:

    It was around lunch time and we didn't have anything else on our to-do list before our mid-day hotel break, and knew we wouldn't want to search for food once we had gotten back to the hotel. So, even though we had just had Dole Whips, lunch was next (again, poor planning on my part, but oh well!). We decided on Pinocchio Village Haus for the sole reason that we've eaten there in Florida and have a fun time saying the name back at home lol. On our way to Fantasyland, we see Mary Poppins and Bert tucked back in Casey's Corner at the same place musical chairs happens. I've met Mary before but I've never seen her with Bert, so we hopped in line. Both were very personable, and asked me where I would be attending "university."

    Onto the Pinocchio Village Haus! (See, I told you it was fun to say.) I got a pizza or something I think. At this point Fantasyland was much more crowded and decidedly not as magical as it had been earlier that morning when the number of people inhabiting it had been in the 1-digit range (...practically).

    We moseyed on back to the HoJo for nap time. We would be back later that evening. We didn't know it then, but the best was yet to come.
     
  8. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    722
    I love your title, and had to go read about your experience on that darling wheel of death. If I ever ride it again, you can be sure I will pop half a Dramamine before or something. Only Disney ride I've ever felt really sick on, including the tea cups!
     
  9. Goofy_Mom

    Goofy_Mom Disney Princess

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,541
    I'm loving your report. I'm not a fan of the wheel of death either, once is enough for me. I love coasters and the tower and things like that, though. Can't wait to see how it ends.
     
  10. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4,214
    Thank you! Lol... we had no idea. :scared1: :laughing:
     
  11. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
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    4,214
    Part 14: Part of Your World
    Day 7, Part 2
    Parks


    I will try to have the rest of this completed by this weekend (keyword try... we'll see how that goes lol).

    So after our nap, we returned to DLR for (tear) our final night in the parks. My grandfather decided to stay at the HoJo again, but he missed a great night! Like the previous night at DCA, everything just sort of worked. We were at a slow pace, but still got a lot done. However, unlike last night, there was a lot that played to luck as opposed to good touring strategy.

    I had already sort said my mental goodbyes to California Adventure on the way out last night, not expecting to go back for the rest of the trip. On our walk to DLR, though, my grandmother asked if it would be easy to stop in real quick to ride the trolley. We had tried several times before, but were never able to snag a seat. At first I hesitated, but then figured... :upsidedow hey, why not! One of the nice things about DLR vs WDW: you can make a spur-of-the-moment park change and it doesn't make a huge different in your touring plan. We entered DCA (nice to see you again, Buena Vista Street!), and easily got a seat on the trolley, which we rode all the way to Tower of Terror. Definitely not a headliner attraction, but we had been talking about riding it the whole trip and I'm glad we made the extra trip into DCA one last time.

    [​IMG]

    After that we went to the Esplanade ticket booths to add one more day to my ticket. Tomorrow was originally planned to be a Hollywood day, but we saw so much on the Adventures by Disney tour that we decided if we went back, we'd just be doing a lot of backtracking. So, my grandparents would go to Little Saigon per the suggestion of one of their friends back home, and I would have the day to myself in Disneyland. I had never been in a Disney park all by myself for a whole day, so I was looking forward to it. :) To our surprise, the extra day was a lot less than we expected... around $15 or something like that. Especially for only 1 person, $15 for a whole day in Disneyland is just about as good of a bargain as they come. I had to turn in my Lightning McQueen park hopper in exchange for the newer one which I was a little bummed about, but it was all good.

    [​IMG]

    Upon entering Disneyland, we returned to our favorite spot, Jolly Holiday Bakery, for another caprese sandwich. So good!! Love that place.

    The agenda was pretty loose for the night - the only must-do's were Fantasmic and the Storybook Land boats. Initially we were going to watch Fantasmic twice--the first time near Critter Country so we could see some of the "backstage" stuff and get waves from the characters, and the second time from a regular view. We ended up bagging this and only seeing it once (the later showing to avoid crowds), but I kind of wish we had seen the backstage view now. Oh, well.

    [​IMG]

    About Storybook Land... wow. I really only wanted to do this mark it off the list but WOAH! One of my favorite attractions in all of DLR. Almost like a Fantasyland version of the People Mover. Riding it at night was awesome, especially with the sparkling lights near the Aladdin section. It's such a simple ride, but boy is it a winner.
    Overall Storybook Land rating: :wizard:

    Fantasyland as a whole is just brilliant after dark.

    [​IMG]

    As we exited Storybook Land, I noticed that Magic, Memories, & You was going on over at Small World. I suddenly remembered about the PhotoPass photographer from earlier who had taken a picture of me in my pirate mouse ears and said it had a good chance of being in the show. No more had I verbally expressed this to my grandmother did the POTC music start and there the picture was! pirate:

    Next we rode Casey Jr... not really sure why as it is pretty much the same thing as Storybook Land only in a train and not a boat. The line was longer than we thought and we ended up squished like sardines into one of the animal cages. Not very pleasant, but I can say I've ridden it. It might have been cooler if we hadn't just been on Storybook Land.
    Overall Casey Jr rating: :duck:

    I rode Big Thunder by myself with a FastPass next - awesome! So much fun, and even better in the dark.

    The early Fantasmic showing was just finished at this point, and the fireworks were just about to start, which made it a bit precarious to try to stake out a spot for the 2nd Fantasmic show just yet. It was hard to tell if people had just seen Fantasmic and would leave after the fireworks, or had just gotten their spot for both the fireworks and the 2nd Fantasmic. Rather than get uber stressed, we found a random spot in Frontierland, waited until the fireworks were over, and then tried to stake out a Fantasmic spot (that worked out much better).

    Despite the many, many threads I had read here on the DIS about Fantasmic, when it came to actually choosing a spot right then and there I became a deer in the headlights and completely forgot all sense of Disney knowledge. I should have gone to the area in the daytime, made note of the spot (I forget now where the super thread says the best spot is), and then come back to it later. Since I had no point of reference, it was difficult to know where the best place was in the dark. However... I thought it through and figured we couldn't go wrong by standing JUST behind the sitting section. Boom! Perfect view. Everyone in front of you is sitting down, but you're still allowed to stand. It was just near the Tom Sawyer dock. Here are some graphics I put together of where we were:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The top hat marks the spot!​

    It can also be noted that there was absolutely no one around us for a long time, even though the sitting section was filling up quickly. It was the 2nd show, but still... the area we were in didn't get full until probably 10-15 minutes before showtime.

    The CM standing in that area seemed to be concerned that we weren't getting the best view with the spots that were still open elsewhere, saying that we would be off-center. We didn't really mind, though, and would rather stay put where we were than gain a headache trying to find a better place. Besides, we were used to the amphitheater seating of Florida's Fantasmic. This was not off-center for us!! Our "bad" seat at DL would be considered prime viewing at DHS.

    The show itself: Disney magic at its best. No real surprises since I was familiar with the soundtrack and the DHS version anyway, but that didn't take away from enjoying it. Just wonderful. And the Peter Pan scene makes so much more sense than the random Pocahontas scene in Florida lol. That pirate ship sequence is very well done!
    Overall Fantasmic rating: popcorn:::dance3::sad1:

    It was during Fantasmic that the reality of leaving started to settle in. You know that feeling... your final night of vacation, watching the fireworks or parade or Fantasmic or what have you, and it just hits you: it's almost over. BUT another thing hits you at the exact same time: Disney holds a very special place in the hearts of a lot of people, and while you may be leaving... in this still moment, you're here, with your family, in your favorite place in the world making memories that you will never forget. That's what Disney is all about.

    So yeah. Obviously we passed through Frontierland and walked down Main Street on our way to the exit after Fantasmic, though I have no recollection of the walk. I just remember being in Town Square, standing just before the train station, and looking toward Sleeping Beauty Castle, illuminated in pink hues. My grandmother said something like, "Time to enjoy one last look," as she would not be back tomorrow like I would. It was then that I knew and appreciated that she "got it," that Disneyness that so many of you (I'm sure if you're reading this) appreciate. We stood there for a few more moments and soaked it all in.

    [​IMG]

    We were just getting ready to leave the park, and then I notice in the corner of Town Square... Mickey and Minnie. MICKEY AND MINNIE. As in, together. At 11:00 at night. "Oh, look, Mickey and Minnie are over there." Honestly I wouldn't have said anything else about it after that, as I knew it was late, we had to get up early, and we'd see both characters at breakfast the next morning. But my grandmother can tell when I'm not quite speaking up for myself, and responded by simply asking, "Would you like to meet them?" I really did. It's not every day you find Mickey and Minnie both meeting together at the same time, let alone so late at night AND after such an incredible evening of Disney magic. But... "I guess we ought to get back." She knew better. "Are you sure?" "Well..." "Come on, let's see them!" And she led the way over.

    And I'm so glad we did. I complimented Mickey on his great job in Fantasmic, to which he actually did a few of the hand motions he does at the beginning of the show. :laughing: Then Minnie noticed my graduation button and jumped up and down clapping to congratulate me. It's silly, but looking back it really felt like THE Mickey and Minnie. Especially with Minnie's graduation moment, it dawned on me how much these two characters really do mean to me, how I have quite literally grown up with them. :sad:

    I'm not quite sure how you top that. In fact, afterward I almost was apprehensive about returning tomorrow because I knew that in no way would I be able to do better than what had just happened. Somehow I managed :teeth: But in all seriousness, though, there are sometimes those special Disney moments that you really can't properly describe in words because any written description just doesn't do it justice. That's how that evening was. Serene... incredible... magical.
     
  12. mikamah

    mikamah DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Messages:
    3,760
    I absolutely loved your trip report. I am planning our first trip to DL next summer, and just loved reading all about your trip and memories. My son is 11 and I think and and hope that he will have the love and appreciation of all that is Disney when he is graduating from college too. I'm trying to bring him up right. ;)

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. It made me all the more excited to get there!!
     
  13. WeatherbySwann

    WeatherbySwann Cacaw rawr

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4,214
    Thanks. :) I know you will have a great time.

    I still have 1 more day that I never got around to reporting on, I'll try to get to writing about it soon.
     

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