My 30th high school reunion brought me to SoCal this weekend and provided a good excuse to stop in at DLR for a few days. We were at DLR Thursday to Saturday (yesterday) so this is near real time. I collected some of my thoughts here for general discussion and info... o Crowds were moderate - not that bad. All our days were blockout days for the SoCal APs. o This was my first Disney trip with a smartphone. I just got an iPhone a couple weeks ago and I am 100% sold on Touring Plans "Lines" app for the iPhone. Wow what useful info! Especially the FP window info. DS19 got MouseWait on his Android phone and he liked using that too. We compared info between Lines and MouseWait a lot over the three days. The data was consistent but I think the crowd forecasts in Lines and general app usability was better. o We flew in Thursday afternoon and I had a WOC dining reservation at Ariel's Grotto that night. We got in a a quick ride on Screamin and TSMM before dining. By coincidence we all decided on the pasta plate. I had the tri-tip last year which was great, and wanted to try something different. So I did the pasta. It was pretty good but not as good as the tri-tip. o WOC was awesome. Again. After seeing it once again from the front of preferred viewing, I am unable to grasp how this show is not everyone's favorite over Fantasmic and RDCT fireworks. It is so good I believe even more strongly now my theory that it is the WOC viewing venue and not the show itself that leads to most of the non-positive reviews. Just like last summer when I saw WOC for the first time I got gooosebumps. o The queue for WOC remains quite confusing. Not so bad as 2010 but still confusing. Now they had folks in a sort of/kind of queue up with all color sections and preferred dining in the same mass, which they did not really enforce. So even though we came to the area 90 minutes before the show, and were in the front of the mass of people, there were still people hanging around the new LM ride who rushed into line at the last minute. So by the time they let us go to the PD section itself we were like 15th in line. We did get to the front rail but off to the right and the view was not as good as the one we had last summer. But close. Why can't they make well-established and clear queues for this show? Even if you spend the time to show up early there is still a chance you could miss a prime spot. Kind of disappointing. There are enough good spots in blue, yellow and red that as long as you are near the front you should be fine. There are less prime spots for the PD section. o The WOC FPs we got for dining at Ariel's said to return 8:30-9PM for the 9PM show. However, anyone following this advice would be behind lots of people who were allowed in on our night at 8PM to the viewing area. o I saw the 9PM WOC and the 10:30PM Fantasmic! on the same night. The two really big things that Fantasmic has going for it over WOC are the Columbia Sailing ship that comes through in the middle of the show and of course the AA dragon Maleficient. They are both powerful parts of the show. IMO WOC has more power, especially after having seen both shows back-to-back. Some people say Fantasmic is better than WOC because it has a story and WOC does not. What I noticed is that most of Fantasmic is just like WOC - no story just lots of Disney characters coming through disconnected to the Mickey dream story. The princess and prince floats just come out for no good reason. There is the story between Mickey and the witch, but most of Fantasmic has no more story than WOC. My two cents. o We rode the Little Mermaid ride twice. We thought LM was a solid ride. Well done, good music, and contrary to some other reports of a too-quick ending, I thought the story of LM was complete. Was the ride a great ride? No. But it was a solid ride. Better than Monsters Inc. Better than ITTBAB. Not in the same league as TSMM, Soarin, etc. o For staying at the GCH we did get two complimentary FPs that we were told could be used for anything at DLR except WOC. We used them all on Star Tours which was a good decision IMO. Do not waste them on Little Mermaid. o We rode Star Tours twice using the comp FPs we got a the GCH. This ride is really good - just like everyone else said. I did have the good fortune to ride the old ST on the final day of operation last July. The old ST regularly made me feel ill so I usually skipped it. The new 3D version does leave me a little light-headed - similar to how I feel after Mission Space at Epcot. But I did not get sick. The lines were extremely long and if you try and ride it first thing and show up early at rope drop on Main Street, they do form a pre-rope drop line on the far right sidewalk. Some people missed this fact and were quite disappointed when they arrived at ST before the queue of people making their way through the rope walkways. We did not ride ST first thing so were not in this line, but could observe it as a non-participant. o Do not miss Laser Man at DCA's ElecTRONica! Totally kewl five minute show! My two oldest (DS19 and DS18) almost skipped going with us to see Laser Man and afterwards were very glad they came. o DCA is a mess as you have read. To get to Paradise Pier everyone has to use the GRR route as the normal route is blocked by walls as has been recently reported. This makes the GRR path way really congested! The DCA entrance is also all clogged up with walls. And according to Al Lutz it is going to get worse before it gets better. I am sure by next June things will all be much better. Also note you can get from ToT to PP using the new BugsLand route. o We rode Little Mermaid Saturday (yesterday) morning at 9:35AM - and they were only allowing Disney hotel guests to ride. We had to show our room key. It was a walk-on. o After LM we got in line at the red tower at the rope at the PP bridge to ride TSMM. We would have been one of the first on TSMM that day and would probably have gotten to ride twice. However the TSMM CMs came out at 9:50 and told us that TSMM would open late that day due to technical difficulties. Bummer! We diverted to ride Screamin and then checked out Goofy's Sky School hoping for a soft opening and it was running at 10:15AM. Goofy's Sky School is a marginal improvement over Mulholland Madness. The ride feels better now - more appropriate for a Disney park. However, this was not a strong Disney ride from the start and GSS really amounts to putting lipstick on a pig. Eventually this ride needs to be removed like Maliboomer. It is better than before but still not right for Disney. o We also rode LM Thursday evening at about 7PM before we saw WOC and the line was posted as 15 minutes but was actually just under 10. o We saw the new SoundSational parade at DL on Friday at 4PM. We got a spot on Main Street. I like this parade. Totally good energy. Lots of good costuming. A few strange choices for the float design themes. o After a midnight departure from DL Friday night we did a bleary-eyed Magic Morning yesterday/Saturday at 7AM. During MM we did 10 rides including Matterhorn twice and Space Mountain. Space was a walk-on as MM ended at 8AM. Everyone else piled into the Star Tours line for MM FYI and Fantasyland therefore had light crowds. o If you have to buy park tickets do not wait until you come in for Magic Morning to do it. The ticket windows did not open til 7AM which threw me off because I needed a day ticket because my Deluxe AP was blocked Saturday. With MM at 7AM and the ticket windows opening at 7AM, you cannot be at the front of MM. o Because of my blocked AP day Saturday I needed to get a day ticket. I have been carrying around a WDW ticket since 2006 when I had occasion to buy a 10 day non-expiring ticket. I only used 9 days of that ticket and wanted to use the 10th day at DLR. No one I spoke to knew how to make this work and all had to leave to talk with someone else to figure it out. In the end we got it exchanged for a DLR day ticket. o I have never ridden Matterhorn both tracks back-to-back before. Yesterday/Saturday we did it during MM. We can now say with certainty that we prefer the Tomorrowland side. o I always love Condor Flats at DCA. The "land" just works so perfectly for a California theme. I hope that some ignorant manager somewhere does not get his or her hands on it and change it. o Also along on this trip Friday/Saturday was my nephew DNe13 who lives in SoCal. He took violin lessons a few years ago from "Farley the Fiddler" who plays in Frontierland. We got to see Farley at his 12:30 show on Saturday and my DNe13 had a fun reunion with Farley and got to be a big part of his show. Fun experience. o I am looking forward to another short visit to DLR after D23 in August!