The Wettest, Merriest, and Happiest Birthday/First Visit Nov/Dec 2012 TR! 2/13 FINAL!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by danimaroo, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. danimaroo

    danimaroo DIS Veteran

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    Chapter Two: I’ve got a GOLDEN TICKET!
    Day 1: November 29th, 2012


    As we left off, we were FINALLY making our way over to Disneyland!! I was so excited, I could hardly contain myself.

    Now, in Disneyland, it’s a lot more common to stay at a “Good Neighbor Hotel”, meaning an off-site but close-by hotel. Disneyland does not have the space like Disney World in terms of creating more resorts/hotels,

    So, Disneyland instead teamed up with certain hotels, calling them “Good Neighbor Hotels” where you can book Disney packages. We’d considered staying at the Grand Californian.. until we saw the price tag.

    I think the only way we’ll ever stay there is if we buy into DVC, hahaha.

    ANYWAY, the nice thing about our hotel that we chose was the location. It was literally right across the street from the Disneyland entrance. The photo below shows the view from right in front of our hotel.

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    We walked across the street and of course I made us take photos in front of the sign!

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    The walk is maybe 5 minutes, and then you’ve reached the ticketing area, right before you go through bag check/into the parks area.

    We couldn’t go in quite yet because we had a few big things we needed to take care of first!

    We approached the ticketing booth and the CM who helped us was super nice! I wish I remembered her name because she was just so friendly and helpful.

    We told her we wanted to purchase PREMIER ANNUAL PASSPORTS! :yay:

    Okay, for those of you who have been following along with my PTR, you’ll obviously remember how Matt and I made the decision to buy these.

    If you didn’t follow my PTR, Matt and I figured out pricing-wise that we would actually save money between all of the trips we have planned for the next year if we bough the Premier Annual Passport (the AP that gets you into BOTH parks for a year), vs. buying tickets for each individual trip.

    This was a huge decision because of the large amount of money this requires. I mean, these things are not cheap… $850 per pass! :scared1:

    I don’t think people buy these very often because the woman had to go and get them from a different booth or something, haha.

    She handed us the pamphlet that explains what exactly the Premier Annual Passport is, but we’d done our research and knew what we were getting ourselves into, then asked for our IDs.

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    Obviously, like I said it gets us into both Disneyland and Disney World parks, along with all waterparks in Disney World, and Disney Quest. It also gets us a 20% discount on most Disney merchandise, and 10-15% off most food in Disneyland parks.

    Disney World there are less food discounts, but you do still get the 20% off merchandise (which is super helpful, by the way!).

    We were both ridiculously excited, and I just HAD to take photos of the whole experience… because like I said in my intro, I’m a goober.

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    While we waited for her to input all of our info into the system, I was getting antsy looking at the entrance…

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    We told her it was my first visit and my birthday, and she gave me a birthday pin which she decorated all awesomely! Probably the best one I’ve ever gotten!

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    She also gave Matt an “I’m Celebrating” pin, which I thought was pretty cute.

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    Finally, after we signed a few papers and whatnot, we were given…

    THE GOLDEN TICKETS!!!!

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    Oh Mylanta. We were both SUPER excited. I mean, this is the ultimate park ticket right there!

    I don’t think this grin wiped off my face for awhile.

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    While there, she also printed out our Holiday Time Tour tickets for Saturday, as well.

    We thanked her and were finally on our way into Disneyland! Obviously that was our number one stop, since we had to go into the park where it all began.

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    I just loved how they decorated even the GATES. I mean, Disney is just the best when it comes to the smallest details, right?

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    In Disneyland, they scan your tickets VERY differently than in WDW. There are no finger scanners or anything like that; instead, they scan a barcode on the back of your ticket.

    I think this is because there are a lot of locals who go to Disneyland and have APs, so the need to check people’s APs and IDs is much higher.

    The downside to this is the lines to get in move MUCH slower. You often have people who haven't signed the back of the APs, don't have a photo, completely don't realize you need to buy your tickets at the ticketing booth, etc.

    Anyway, when the CM scanned ours, she told us we needed to go get our photo taken with a PhotoPass photographer.

    Basically after they did that, whenever our AP got scanned in the system, our photo would show up on their screen, thus not needing to see our IDs (though ours never showed up because it apparently takes 48 hours for the system to register them or something).

    Fortunately, there was a PhotoPass photographer right near the front entrance by the train station, so we hopped in line to get our AP photos taken.

    The train was coming in just as we walked in, and I was so excited!!

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    I mean, how cool is it to be seeing the original park?! I was in awe, and we hadn’t even made it to Main Street yet!

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    We decided this would be the perfect time to have a PhotoPass photographer take a photo of us looking all pretty, so after we got our AP photos taken, we had him take a few with my camera in front of the entrance.

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    I was pretty happy with how this one turned out below!

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    After we had our photos taken, we headed to Main Street for the first time… I just love this sign so much. I am fairly certain I got a little choked up seeing it.

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    The first thing I saw was the beautiful tree. Oh that tree was gorgeous! This being my first time in Disney during the Christmas season, I was immediately just thrown into sensory overload. Every ornament on the tree was just beautiful.

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    Honestly, you probably would have found me in a coma if I’d walked in at night and seen everything lit up, haha.

    Matt then pointed out the neat gas lamps on the street. I LOVED these, it is just SO perfect. Some of them even had vintage little mailboxes attached to them.

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    Next: the reveal of the castle for the first time ever, and continuing to explore Main Street!

    Continued in next post
     
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  3. onelilspark

    onelilspark DIS Veteran

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    ...Now I want to go back to Disneyland during the Holidays. My husband will not be amused :laughing:
     
  4. DnA2010

    DnA2010 Mouseketeer

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    Awesome update!

    (I was hoping for the "I've got a golden ticket" video tho ;)

    Can't wait to hear more!
     
  5. GrandCalifornian

    GrandCalifornian Can't Wait To Go Back

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    Awesome! We had one of those awesome "golden ticket" moments during our WDW trip when we figured out we could upgrade to Premier passes cheaper than buying Premium Passes for DL by applying the ticket cost from our trip to them. Melissa literally danced away from the ticket booth!

    It is great to read about experiencing DL for the first time, especially from someone who can appreciate it so much. We can't wait for more.
     
  6. marDgreen88

    marDgreen88 DIS Veteran

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    The whole entrance being just right next to the real world really throws me off! It's like HELLO DISNEYLAND. It's so cool though. I would love to be driving down the street on a normal day and just be able to wave to Disneyland or something. So cool.

    The ticket picture system sounds pretty cool! Too bad it took longer to get in though!

    Christmastime at Disney really is a sight to behold, huh? I just love it. That tree looks GINORMOUS! It looks much taller than the ones at WDW parks. :)

    Can't wait for more!!!!!!!!
     
  7. GatorMommy2007

    GatorMommy2007 Mouseketeer

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    Exactly, that is so cool, yet so different compared to WDW!
     
  8. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Oh, I so totally miss our year of golden tickets!!! :sad: But congrats to you guys for taking the plunge to get them, they are so amazing! The discounts alone made them so totally worth it for our trips. We bought SO much stuff with that 20% discount.

    The Christmas decorations there look absolutely stunning!! I'm reading another DLR TR from someone who went for Halloween and was already wanting to go then, now I really want to go at Christmas too! They really go crazy with the decorations there...I love it!
     
  9. danimaroo

    danimaroo DIS Veteran

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    Hahaha, but it's so wonderful! And we haven't even gotten down Main Street yet! :rotfl: I'm sure you can convince him... :goodvibes But seriously, I just adored it.

    Thanks! Hahahaha oh man, I was wondering if someone would bring up the Golden Ticket video! So get this, I actually told Matt hat we needed to take that video, but he was like, "AHH WE'LL GET IT LATER, WE NEED TO GET INTO THE PARKS NOOOOW!" And then we never shot the video. But I swear I sang and danced and it was glorious... and I totally garnered stares, too. :rotfl:

    Heck yes, that moment is a darn good one! I'm with Melissa, because I was so dancing and singing and nothing was wiping that smile off of my face!

    I can't wait to share more here with you shortly!! :yay:



    Okay, so I'm totally going to discuss this more later, but it threw me off, too! It was something I thought was very cool going IN to the parks, but leaving was another story... and I promise I'll discuss it more, haha.

    Yeah, the DL system was definitely different! I just wish our photos had shown up faster because they never did while we were there. Towards the end, this became a pain because we then had to pull out our IDs every time we went into a park. Wompwomp.


    It's cool buuuuut it has it's downfalls, which I will get to in a future update. ;)


    Well thank you! It'll probably end up being the only year we ever do it, though who knows. The discounts were SO helpful, seriously! We bought so much stuff and between merchandise and our food, the discounts really added up while on this trip!

    I absolutely loved the decorations. They were absolutely beautiful. I'm sure Halloween is awesome, too! But the decorations at Christmas, along with Haunted Mansion Holiday and IASW Holiday are just absolutely stunning. Disney really knows how to go all out!! :goodvibes
     
  10. danimaroo

    danimaroo DIS Veteran

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    Chapter Three: I feel like I'm in Bizarroland right now!
    Day 1: November 29th, 2012


    Before we rounded the corner to spot the castle, it felt like I was in Bizarroland... A place that seemed familiar but little things were off.

    Again, I think I was just so overcome by happiness, disbelief I was here, and so many amazing sights that I felt like I was in a dream.

    A happy one, but a dream nonetheless.

    Then I saw the castle and I smiled. I mean, I knew it was going to be smaller, but I was still so happy to see it, and to see it all decorated! It was beautiful... as was the rest of Main Street.

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    One of the first places we actually stopped at was the Magic Shop. Matt had talked about how they once had this on Main Street in Disney World but they got rid of it, so he was very happy to see it in Disneyland.

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    We then stopped by the Emporium and picked out Christmas Disney shirts, along with a pin because we needed to find a special one to commemorate our trip!

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    After looking around a little bit, we finally decided to stroll down Main Street. Another thing that I found need were the little side streets they have. They made such good use out of all the space they can in Disneyland!

    Right as we reached the main hub, I looked to my right and saw the Matterhorn! Now that is a really awesome sight to see... and I just couldnt wait to go on it!

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    We walked over to the Partners statue, and I dont know, it just seemed so perfect. I mean, this TRULY is where it all began!

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    After having a moment at the hub, we decided to make our way over towards the land where our first attraction was! Of course, we ran into one of our good ol' friends, a Disney duck!

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    They clearly have it good.

    Now the weird thing in Disneyland is the layouts are kind of similar, but are also different. When you turn to the left while facing the castle, you will see the entrance to Adventureland on your left, with Frontierland straight ahead. It can kind of throw you off at first, but we figured wed just go towards Frontierland and see where it'd take us.

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    We strolled through, and finally found our destination for our first ride of the trip, over in New Orleans Square...

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    PIRATES!!

    We looked at the wait time of a mere FIVE minutes and were very excited about the shortness of the line!

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    Okay, so, what is super neat bout Pirates in Disneyland is that it sits right under the Dream Suite!

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    The queue is VERY different here. Its mostly outside, and pretty tame outside of the awesome views of New Orleans Square.

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    My mind was pretty blown by New Orleans Square. The decorations and the design of that area were just unreal.

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    But I would explore that a bit more later, so I quickly snapped some shots as we strolled through the queue, and finally found ourselves inside.

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    We hopped onto our boat, with the CMs putting us in the very front row.

    Of course, even in Disneyland, there is NO DANCING ALLOWED. Haha, this cracked me up as it always does!

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    One of the coolest thing we first noticed (and had heard about) was that Blue Bayou looks over Pirates. So as you go through the attraction, you can see the restaurant and it looked beautiful. It got me THAT more excited that we'd be having my birthday dinner there the following night!

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    This part you just float along, listening to frogs croak while the old man plays the banjo.

    Going into Pirates, I knew a few things of it. I'd heard it was overall better than WDW's version, and a bit longer, and it also had more than just one drop.

    As we floated nicely by the old man playing the banjo, I knew the first drop was coming as we suddenly stopped before a dark tunnel.

    Next thing I knew, we were FLYING down the drop, which seemed a little more intense than the one in Disney World.

    As we reached the bottom, I was excited to see everything... and then we were splashed like crazy!

    Oh my gosh, I mean, we were both wet!

    I looked over at Matt and we both laughed but were also surprised as how much water landed on the two of us in the front.

    After we got over our initial shock from the splash of water, we enjoyed our voyage where dead men tell no tales.

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    My first impression? WOW. I mean, some of the rooms I'd never seen before were AWESOME.

    I captured a few, but I especially loved this room below. It just looked so cool, more than anything else.

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    Another fun thing in Disneyland! The mist shows BOTH Davy Jones AND Blackbeard! It keeps everyone happy!

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    Sorry, this shot was a little wonky, so you get half of Blackbeards face.

    I know a lot of people in WDW miss Davy Jones, so maybe they'll go the same way and put in both of these lovely pirates.

    The cannon scene was similar to WDW, but believe it or not, I'd say WDW does that battle scene better. The ship seems bigger, as is the fortress, so it was kind of interesting to see how different the two are from each other, even though its the same scene.

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    For some silly reason, I'd never noticed this scene with Captain Hook and Smees-pirate lookalikes until now. I pointed it out to Matt, exclaiming SMEE! He told me, no, thats not Smee... but then on a later trip on Pirates, he agreed there were similarities because a pirate who looked like Hook was next to him!

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    I don't know, I just think they look too much alike to not be a little nod to those two!

    There were a LOT of extra scenes that you dont see in Disneyland, so I have to give the nod to DL's version of Pirates. It was most excellent and not one to be missed!

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    I will say that WDW has a better queue and a few of the scenes I prefer, but overall, DL has an awesome Pirates.

    (Keep reading below!)

    Continued in next post

     
  11. danimaroo

    danimaroo DIS Veteran

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    Chapter Four: HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!
    Day 1: November 29th, 2012


    Anyhoot, after we got off Pirates, I had to take a photo of Matt and his t-shirt to show you guys the splash that hit us!

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    It might not seem like a lot there, but it really was way more than I was expecting... but this wouldn't be the wettest you'd see us today, oh no, there was something more traumatic to come in the near future... DUN DUN DUN!

    Our next stop was a no-brainer. We'd both been DYING to see this one, in fact, I'd say it was probably the most anticipated attraction for the both of us...

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    Yes, Haunted Mansion Holiday!

    Okay, I will preface this with that I am going to show photos of the inside along with discussion of the attraction itself, so if you dont want to be spoiled on any of it, you should skip all of this. Otherwise, keep reading, because this attraction is something you dont want to miss!!

    Immediately, I was in awe. The outside was just completely decked out for Nightmare Before Christmas. I mean, look at it!!

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    Because this was also my first time ever seeing Haunted Mansion in DL, I was just amazed at how neat the mansion itself is! VERY different from WDW, but yet so amazing in its very own and unique way.

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    I loved how the mansion fits in so very well with New Orleans Square.

    I'm fairly certain I took 8 bajillion photos while in the queue, which was again, a 5 minute wait.

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    Matt was pretty excited to finally get to ride this, as he's been a huge Nightmare Before Christmas fan since it very first came out.

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    We waited for a few more minutes before we were finally let inside the foyer.

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    The first interesting thing I noticed was that while in WDW, there is a fireplace and portrait, you didn't see that here.

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    The décor was still fantastic, again creepy but with that Nightmare Before Christmas flair.

    We were then led into the stretching room, all while listening to a very different narration that they changed for the HM Holiday set up.

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    As we walked in and looked up, the portaits were very different than what you'd normally expect!

    All very peaceful and normal, that is, until the door shut, and the room began to stretch!

    Okay, this part was crazy to me because of how much you can tell that when the room stretches, you are clearly in an elevator! In WDW, you do not go down at all, the ceiling itself moves.

    Anyway, as the room began to stretch, the portraits transformed and I was in utter amazement.

    Then, as we all looked up in anticipation of seeing our lovely ghost host, we were presented with something much more than I could have ever imagined...

    However, I didn't snap a photo of it this ride as I wasnt expecting it, so you'll have to wait and see here in a future update.

    After we walked out of the stretching room, we were brought to the portraits area. Yes, very different from WDW in that you walk past the portraits and also the busts that look like theyre watching you from all angles.

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    And yes, the portraits did indeed change!

    As we went from that room into the queue area, again, my jaw dropped (I say this a lot but seriously, it did). Right before me was this amazing display, and an absolute sight to see.

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    We hopped into our Doom Buggy and were on our way, and guys... this ride was mind-blowing. When they say they transform the whole thing, they are not joking. EVERYTHING was different, and it was unbelievably fantastic.

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    They even had an amazing ACTUAL gingerbread house in the ballroom scene! Apparently every year they make a different gingerbread display for that scene. And get this... It actually SMELLED like gingerbread as you passed by it.

    Oh Disney, you are just KILLING it.

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    They had an amazing animatronic Jack and Zero waiting where the caretaker and his dog usually are, and again, I'm fairly certain if you took a photo of my face through this entire ride, it would be like: :O

    Yeah, my mind was blown.

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    After going through the cemetery with the hill of pumpkins and the pumpkin angels and the pumpkin singing busts, we came upon where you'd normally find the Hitchhiking Ghosts. I found myself waiting in anticipation as we approached to see what they did with this area, and wow. I mean... Wow.

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    They put in the most amazing Oogie Boogie animatronic. This thing looked so real you'd think it was a real-life Oogie Boogie and his lovely wheel of Tricks and Treats!

    We then turned and faced those fun tricky mirrors and they even changed those to be NBC-themed for Oogie's wheel! I think this ride-through we had a candy cane in our Doom Buggy, so we lucked out with a treat... this time anyway.

    We hopped off our Doom Buggy, and went up the little walkway, which is where they put the Mini Leota... only here, it was Sally telling us to Hurry Back!

    She was so cute and just wanted us to visit again. We told her we would most definitely be back, and then walked out... where I promptly stared at Matt and told him that was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

    He agreed, and I could tell he was very happy with everything we'd just witnessed.

    One interesting thing to note; the DL version IS definitely a lot shorter than WDW. There is no staircase room, the corridor with all of the portraits actually you see in the queue line, same with the library/staring busts area... there's no blinking eyes/wallpaper area, and mini Leota is on your walk out, versus before you get off the ride.

    That being said, while the original is still both of our favorites, this NBC was AMAZING and I absolutely loveloveloved it. Going into it I thought it'd only have a few minor changes but this is basically a brand new attraction in itself.

    Now I understand why they dont change it in WDW; you have so many more locals who go to DL, it's justifiable that you makeover the HM to keep people who are there weekly happy... But in WDW, with so many tourists, some of which may only ever get to go once, they want to see the original ride vs. a layover... Otherwise you'd probably have a lot of upset tourists.

    We hopped off of Haunted Mansion, and knew exactly where we'd be heading next... and let's just say it ends up being quite a traumatizing experience.

    Continued in next post
     
  12. Minnie Sue Oz

    Minnie Sue Oz DIS Veteran

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    Oh I can't wait for your next update!

    I must tell you, you have described how it feels to the ride the Mansion just perfectly. It is my all time favourite both decorated by Jack and the original. To read how happy you were seeing it for the first time made me smile:goodvibes

    I can't wait to have the same feelings when I experience WDW for the first time! I will have a few of those on the next trip as we are visiting Hong Kong and Tokyo on the way over!!!

    And golden tickets............way to go:thumbsup2
     
  13. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Bizarroland... :lmao: I know exactly what you mean though! The whole park has a familiar feel to it, but then things aren't exactly where you expect them to be. It feel so disconcerting! After going to DL twice in a row though, I found it a little strange when we finally went back to WDW again. I caught myself taking the wrong way to Space Mountain or looking for Star Tours in Tomorrowland. :rotfl:

    The New Orleans Square decorations look amazing! I really like how they decorate the whole park. :thumbsup2 WDW does a great job with their trees and decorating Main Street, but in the rest of the park, you wouldn't even know it was Christmas.

    That is crazy how wet you got on Pirates!! I really enjoyed their version better compared to WDW's as well. You got some great photos in there! Did they add the mermaids there like they did in WDW?

    LOVE the Haunted Mansion Holiday photos! I have never even seen NBC, but it looks like they really go all out when it comes to that overlay. I didn't realize everything would be changed either! Great photos there as well. :goodvibes I guess if we ever go to DL for the holidays, I'll need to make sure I watch the movie first!
     
  14. marDgreen88

    marDgreen88 DIS Veteran

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    HAHAHA. It's funny that you say 'bizarroland' because the other day my dad said something about something being 'bizarroland' (I forget why) and I was like, "What? Tomorrowland?" Disney brain.

    I know what you mean though. I mean, obviously I've never been to DL but I totally understand what you're saying about Main Street being familiar, yet not.

    THE CASTLE IS SO BEAUTIFUL. I love the different colored bricks. Omg, it's gorgeous. I really hope I'll be seeing that in person someday. :goodvibes

    LOVE the pin you got. AHHH AND A DISNEY DUCK! They know when yall are coming. I bet they do.

    New Orleans Square is stinking GORGEOUS. Wow. I bet that would be my favorite 'land' because it's so completely different than anything in Magic Kingdom. And this Pirates version sounds really cool!

    Oh no... a traumatic experience? That just doesn't sound good. :worried:
     
  15. onelilspark

    onelilspark DIS Veteran

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    I think I described Disneyland pretty much the same the first time I was there :laughing:

    I get absolutely soaked on the WDW version of Pirates! Every time. Without fail. It's ridiculous.

    I've never seen Nightmare Before Christmas ( :eek: can we still be friends??) I'm not sure I would like the Haunted Mansion all changed. It's my favorite ride! I mentioned to my Mom that WDW's Mansion is better because it's longer and she looked at me like I had 2 heads because I noticed the differences. I'm glad I'm not the only one :lmao:
     
  16. mommy2allyandaveri

    mommy2allyandaveri <font color=0066CC>Disney or otherwise. Sucks<br><

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    I'm really enjoying your trip report. I love super detailed ones like yours. You and Matt seem like such a fun and happy couple!
     
  17. Stringbean&Wingnut

    Stringbean&Wingnut DIS Veteran

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    I'm here!!!! :goodvibes I love Matt's Gir shirt from your intro's!! :thumbsup2

    You got the golden tickets!!! Those are so cool-looking!!! pixiedust:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the NBC overlay of HM looks AWESOME!!!! I really wish they did that in WDW, but I understand why they don't, I know, but STILL.
     
  18. nyck

    nyck Mouseketeer

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    I love this thread!!! Thanks for posting! I can't wait to go back there in Feb! I am a WDW addict but there is something special about Disneyland that keeps me going back.
     
  19. luulu1999

    luulu1999 DIS Veteran

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    I am LOVING reading this!! We are going on our first Disney trip ever to DL for Christmas so the pics are really helping me get a feel for stuff!!!
     
  20. DnA2010

    DnA2010 Mouseketeer

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    Just checkin' in!! Lovin' this report! :cool1:pixiedust::cool1:
     
  21. cristyhas3

    cristyhas3 Mouseketeer

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    I'm loving your TR! I went to DLR at Christmas time in 1997. I have very few pictures. This is making me want to go today!
     

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