WDW Vets Take on DL and Hollywood!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by dougsmom98, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    I did like the music in Space Mountain in DL and I think that definitely adds to it.

    We did get to see the fireworks show on the last night. We liked it a lot - the storyline, music, Tink, the lasers... In terms of actual fireworks though (large showering fireworks that fill the sky), it was slightly disappointing. I will say, i think the smoke/cloud cover that night had something to do with it. It was still amazing and it was the PERFECT way to end our vacation.
     
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  3. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    :wave: If you ever make it to Hong Kong, and have a side trip to the Disneyland there, the Space Mtn there is even smoother than at DL.
     
  4. KCmike

    KCmike Never have fallen asleep on any

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    It would obviously be a dream of mine to see all the Disney parks. I've always heard that Disney's Tokyo Sea is one of the best as well. How many parks have you seen?
     
  5. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    3 castles so far. I've got a very very small glimmer in my eye for Tokyo next year. But I need to print money because I'm doing a Gamer DisMeet at WDW in October (naturally I'll be stopping in Anaheim to check out Carsland on the way through). Paris is on the plan in late 2014 or 2015.
     
  6. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    Tuesday, April 17 - First day in Disney's California Adventure

    After a long first day at DL, we decided we were not going to use our Magic Morning on Tuesday. I had originally thought that we might do the Magic Morning on Tuesday and get a few hours in at DL before heading over to DCA, but we decided after two very busy days under our belts, we thought we ought to get a little rest. So, we slept in until 7:30 and had breakfast in our room. Our hotel had a small coffee pot and supplied coffee and powdered creamer. We tried drinking it the first morning but after that, we couldn't stomach the coffee. So the second day, my DH went to McDonalds for coffee. On this day, my DH decided to try the 7-11 just down the road. It was good coffee and convenient. This is where we got coffee every day after that. They also had great glazed donuts for 50 cents each. We got a half dozen of these several times throughout the week.

    We made it to the gates shortly after 9 am.
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    They didn't open officially until 10 but we had read that they let guests in at 9:30 to get WOC fast passes and sometimes to ride Soarin. At 9:30 we were let in. We didn't look at the map too carefully and our plan was to ride Soarin and then get a WOC Fast Pass. We followed the crowd because I was sure they must have the same plan as us and we walked for a while and realized that we were not going to Soarin. I have no idea where everyone else was "rushing" towards, but we back tracked, got our WOC fast passes and then made it to Soarin. I couldn't believe that there wasn't a huge crowd here already. In WDW, the line for Soarin would have been building already. We were held inside and they didn't start the ride until 10 am. We rode Soarin and headed over to Screaming Fast Passes and then got in line for Toy Story Mania. Again, I was AMAZED that the line for Toy Story Mania was reasonable. It is complete chaos getting to this ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. We only waited 5 minutes!
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    We had a great ride and decided with such a short wait 10 minutes, we would go again.

    We got a picture with Mr. Potato head afterward:
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    We ran into Goofy on the way to Goofy's Sky School
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    There was no wait for Goofy's Sky School. My daughter loved this ride. I HATED it. It reminds me of Primevil Whirl in Animal Kingdom only it is even more herky jerky. My DD also loves that ride too.

    Here's a picture of my DH and Matthew on Goofy's Sky School. Notice the lack of leg room for my DH:
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    Trey and Diane on the ride:
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    Next, I went to the Little Mermaid Ride. We really enjoyed this ride I love how elaborate it was.

    After this ride, it was time for our Screamin Fast passes. We went towards Screamin and couldn't help but admire the scene before us. I just loved how beautiful Screamin and Mickey's Fun Wheel are off in the distance.

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    The second purpose in coming this way was to check out the WOC seating area. I knew with blue FP, I would want a spot on the bridge or by the fire hydrant. So, we checked out both those areas and decided they would be fine. I just hated not knowing how far in advance I would need to line up. According to the WOC super thread, we could probably get the fire hydrant without lining up too far in advance. I was satisfied with the view there so that made me feel better.

    We made our way to Screamin. My DD didn't want to ride, but I bribed her with cotton candy if she did it. So, she road it and hated it. I was glad I rode it once, but had no desire to do it again. The boys loved it, so they rode again since the line was only 5 minutes.

    Up Next... more DCA
     
  7. Minnie824

    Minnie824 DIS Veteran

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    Loving your trip report! We're going to Bev Hills/Hollywood/DL for the first time this summer and you're heading to a lot of things on my agenda. Can't wait to read more.
     
  8. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for following along. After I finish this DL day, I will start our second day in Hollywood. One resource that helped me plan a few things was the GO LA CARD site. We did not buy the Go LA Card but it was helpful to see what attractions were in the area. I clicked on the links of attractions to learn more about them and then I went to tripadvisor to research them further.
    http://www.smartdestinations.com/los-angeles-attractions-and-tours/_d_Lax-p1.html?pass=Lax_Prod_Go

    The reason we didn't buy the card was that we didn't think we would make it to enough attractions per day to make it worth the money. We went to Madame Tussauds and the Hollwood museum. That cost us less than $40 per person and they took us a lot of time. If we had purchased the card we would have felt like we needed to rush. I think it is probably a good deal to get the card if you are going to do more days in LA or some of the other parks in the LA area.

    This person's trip report really got me excited and I felt like I became more well informed about some of the hollywood options.
    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1348401&highlight=hollywood

    Happy Planning!
     
  9. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    DCA Continued...

    After Screamin, we decided to slow down and just hit things in that area. First, John ran to get Grizzly River Rapids Fast Passes. We went on the carousel, then Mickey's fun Wheel. This was one of the longest waits we had all week. It was about 15 minutes. We chose the moving ferris wheel cage rather than the stationary one. The was a mistake. I felt so sick on this ride. At one point, I was rifling through out backpack looking for a plastic bag - just in case... Turns out we noticed there were bags provided and they were located to the left of where I was sitting.

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    We went to the Symphony Swings. After the moving cages on the Fun Wheel, most of us couldn't stomach this ride. Matthew and Diane decided to give it a try. My DH was anxious to run and get a fast pass, so we sent him to get a Tower of Terror Fast Pass. The rest of us sat in a bench in the shade and had a snack. We continued around the lagoon and went on the jumping jelly fish. It was a cute ride but very quick. When we finished the jelly fish ride, we came upon these guys.

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    They asked for the kids to join in, so Melissa went out.

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    We headed towards Tower of Terror because my DH said that the wait was only 10 minutes when he had grabbed the fast passes. That is unheard of in WDW, so we wanted to take advantage of the low wait time.
    We took this photo along the way:
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    We got on Tower of Terror very quickly. The line wasn't even 10 minutes long. It was more like 5. My DD, Melissa, did not want to go on this ride, but I wanted to go on it at least once, so she did it for me :cloud9:

    Here is a picture of us on the TOT. We are in the back two rows on the left side of this photo. I am busy looking at Melissa in the back row because she was terrified. I was screaming and laughing myself silly because of the look on her face. It was a great ride.

    After that ride, we got a photo in front of the street scape backdrop.
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    We wanted to go to the Monsters Inc. Ride since WDW doesn't have this ride. We thought it was so cute. By this time, we were starting to get hungry and tired. We decided we would go back to the hotel for a swim and some lunch after we used our Grizzly River Rapids fast pass. This is where we hit a bump in the road. We had our fast passes and the fast pass line was non-existant. Diane used a scooter on this trip because he has a bad back and can't stand for long periods of time. She is able to walk and transfer to rides without an issue. The person at the entrance told us to go right in with the scooter. Well, the handicapped entrance sent us to the right and the fast pass line went straight. There were 3 other people in front of us in the handicapped entrance. Apparently, there are only 1-2 boats that they use for handicapped riders. We waited in line here for 45 minutes. We were hot, tired and cranky. We were frustrated because the normal fast pass line was less than a minute wait and Diane could have easily walked from the entrance to the boat. By this time, there were people behind us in the handicapped line and we couldn't even get out and not ride, even if we wanted to. We finally rode and had a great time. We got completely soaked though. We were glad that we had planned was to go back to the hotel afterward because we wouldn't want to walk through the park soaked like that.
    On the way back to the hotel, my DH went to McDonalds to get the kids some lunch, and I grabbed some Chinese food next door to our hotel for DH and myself to have back at the room. We all ate and then DH and I were tired, so we took a nap while the kids chilled out in their room watching TV. We had set our phone alarm to make sure we woke up early enough to head back to the park around 5:00.
     
  10. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    I had the rest of this day all written up and I thought I posted it, but I guess not.:( So, here goes again.

    We returned to the park after a nap around 6:00. We went right to the Aladdin show. I had heard great things about this show and the performance of the Genie on these boards and I was really looking forward to it. We stood in line for two minutes before they let us in the theater, so we had great timing. We really loved this show and the Genie's performance did not disappoint us.

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    After the show, we saw these guys and got our picture taken with them.
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    After the show, John and the boys wanted to ride Screamin with their fast passes.

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    When the boys got off Screamin, they wanted to do it again because the wait was so short. I really wanted to get to WOC because people were already started to wait in that area, but I didn't want to spoil their fun. So, they rode again while Melissa and I went in a few shops.

    We got over to WOC around 8 pm. Trey and Diane were already in the handicapped area. They CM told them we could watch from there if we wanted. I was hesitant because I hadn't done any research regarding that section because I didn't think it would be an option for us. I was afraid that the kids wouldn't be able to see. So, we opted for a spot on the railing of the bridge. I was honestly surprised at the amount of room we had on the bridge. I thought they would pack us in like sardines. Only one family came in and stood behind us. I looked down at the other blue area and it was a sea of people. I was thankful not to be there. The family behind us had two younger kids and we had enough room so that they could get up to the railing when the show started. I recommend the bridge viewing area in the blue section. We had a great view of the show. My only complaint was that the angle made it difficult to see what they were projecting on the loop of Screamin. We didn't even realize that there was anything projected there at all until half way through the show.

    I LOVE the view of the fun wheel at night.

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    After the show, the kids wanted to ride Toy Story Mania. We weren't sure if it would be open so we asked a CM. She didn't think it was, but we decided to check it out just in case it was, and it was!:thumbsup2 So, we rode Toy Story Mania three times in a row with only a 5-7 minutes of waiting.

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    At this point the park was closed except for the late showing of WOC. Trey texted me to let me know that the CMs were allowing people to go into the viewing area without fast passes and they were going to watch it again. We didn't feel like dealing with what looked like a big crowd, so we decided to pass. As we walked past the center of the viewing area, we saw a family sitting up on the ramp of the Little Mermaid Ride. We stopped for a minute to see the show and realized what a FANTASTIC spot this was to watch the show. So, we stayed.

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    I am so glad we saw this from this area. I liked the show even better than I did from the bridge. After the show we left the park and walked back to the Castle Inn and Suites happy after having such a great day.

    Up Next - Hollywood and Santa Monica
     
  11. tessieg

    tessieg Mouseketeer

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    Still reading and really enjoying the report!
     
  12. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    Wednesday, April 18th -

    We decided to leave our hotel around 9:30. We needed to stop at Wal Mart for a few groceries on the way, and we also needed to buy a new charger for the GPS because our cord broke on Sunday's trip to Hollywood. Our plan was to go to Griffith Park first, then Westwood Memorial Park, and then the Santa Monica Pier and beach.

    The Observatory at Griffith Park didn't open until noon. It would have been nice to go inside but we were mainly going for the view and we didn't want to wait around until that time to go into the observatory. The ride to Griffith Park was pretty easy and uneventful. Unlike on Sunday, we were able to drive right up to the parking lot at the top of the hill in front of the observatory. We didn't even need to leave the parking lot to get some great views of the Hollywood Sign. We took tons of pictures at Griffith Park it was gorgeous!

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  13. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    Wednesday April 18 continued...

    It was almost noon time and we took one last picture at Griffith Park. I'm not sure whose idea it was but we built a pyramid.

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    We decided to hit the road and go to Westwood Memorial Park. The kids weren't that excited to go to a cemetery but it was the only thing that Diane had asked for so we were happy to oblige. It was only 8-9 miles away so we punched the address into the GPS and headed on our way. The drive wasn't too bad at first, but then when we got to the center of LA, we hit every light. It took us an hour to go the entire way to the cemetery. Along the way we saw a few things:

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    It also wasn't easy to find the cemetery, especially since I had the wrong street address. It was 1218 Glendon Ave. and I wrote down that it was 218. Regardless, even when we were right near it, we didn't see it. It is between the Westwood Public library and another building. When you pull into the alley between the two, it looks like you are going into a parking garage. Just before you enter the parking garage, there is a right hand turn and there it is.

    It is a quiet cemetery. You can print off a list of who is buried here online. Trey forgot his copy at the hotel, but many were right there where we pulled in and other helpful people led us in the right direction to see others.

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    We saw all we wanted to see in 10 minutes. The kids didn't know most of the stars buried there and they were anxious to get to the beach. Trey and Diane stayed at least another hour after we left though. We made our way to Santa Monica. It was a quick 15 minute drive from the cemetery. We were going to park on 4th or 5th street as was recommended on trip advisor, but we ended up parking right on the lot on the pier. It was a $6 flat rate for the day.

    Up Next...the beach.
     
  14. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    We parked and changed in the free public restrooms. We walked on the pier first to get an idea of the view.

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    We saw some street performers:
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    We saw the sign for the end of the line of Route 66:

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    We had lunch on the pier. Some of us had food from the pier burger place. It was good. Melissa and Douglas got a personal pan pizza from pizza hut express.

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    After lunch we headed down to the ocean. My goal was to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean because we weren't sure if we would ever get the chance again.

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    The kids decided to get wet all the way.
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    Before we left, we decided to make our second pyramid of the day:

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    We changed in the free public restrooms and left Santa Monica Pier. We looked at the clock and it was 4:50 on a weekday. :( We knew traffic wouldn't be good but we didn't know what else to do. So we thought we would brave it. It took two hours to get back to the hotel and it was stop and go traffic. It seemed longer though because the plan was to go to DL when we got back. We wouldn't have except we bought five day hoppers and I was bound and determined to get the most for my money and I wasn't going to let a day go unused.

    Final Thoughts about this part of the day:
    Griffith Park was a highlight of our trip. It was definitely worth going to and we would do it again. I want to do it at night next time and go to the observatory.

    Westwood Memorial Park was nice if you like that kind of stuff and you had extra time. Our family would have preferred to get to the beach sooner rather than later, but Diane loved it here and I am glad she got to do this. You might want to avoid driving in LA in the middle of the work day to go here though.

    Santa Monica Pier was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. We saw it most recently in the Hannah Montana Movie and it looks so much bigger! I am glad we went there so the kids can tell their friends that they have been there when they see it in a movie or on TV. The pier and the pier food was a little disappointing though. There is a pier in Old Orchard Beach in Maine that we go to and the food is awesome if you like fried dough, pizza, fries, burgers, fried fish, onion rings... Santa Monica Pier doesn't compare in the food department. The beach was fine. If we were to go to a beach for the entire day, I might choose somewhere else, but we got to see the famous pier and go in the ocean so it was a win, win situation for us. I had forgotten that this was the end of Route 66 too, so that was a cool surprise. We had a great day overall except for the traffic to the cemetery and the ride home.

    Up next...Our night at DL.
     
  15. KCmike

    KCmike Never have fallen asleep on any

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    Thanks so much for this trip report. Even though we have been to SoCal for the past several years we are trying to finish up our bucket list of things to do. Santa Monica Pier was one of them and it was nice to have you take on things.

    I also want to visit the Observatory and look out of the "most viewed telescope".

    I love the idea of writing in the sand with you guys behind it. Nice touch.

    Really enjoying the report! Thanks so much.
     
  16. loveysbydesign

    loveysbydesign I can pinch a penny so hard you can hear it scream

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    OMG....love all your pix and it looks like you had so many great days on your vacay! Was the water cold at the beach???
     
  17. tffnyjean

    tffnyjean Mouseketeer

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    Looks like you guys had a blast! Loving all your pics!
     
  18. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    Glad you are enjoying the report! Thanks for following along.
     
  19. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    We had great weather the entire trip and we had so much fun! The water in the ocean was cold and my cousin warned me that people in CA think it is so cold that they wear wet suits. We are used to the cold water on the coast of Maine, and it didn't feel any worse than that water. I think most people would say it is cold though.
     
  20. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for following along!
     
  21. dougsmom98

    dougsmom98 DIS Veteran

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    April 18th continued...

    So, after 2 hours in traffic, we made it back to the hotel, changed and walked to DL. Our plan was to head to Toontown.

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    We loved how much there was to see in Toontown. We are sad that WDW doesn't have Toontown any more, so this was a treat. Even the older kids enjoyed "playing" here.

    Mark at Donald's Boat:
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    We hadn't seen Mickey yet, so this was a great opportunity.

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    In addition to trying out the buildings, we got to try Roger Rabbits Toon Town Spin ride which was cute and the small roller coaster in this area which was really quick.

    After we left Toontown and headed towards Tomorrow Land. On the way we got to admire the facade of It's a Small World at night.

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    We ended up riding Nemos Submarines because we hadn't done that yet and the wait was 10 minutes. The effects in this ride were cool, but I did not like the smell or the claustrophobic feeling I had in the sub. I started to feel queasy and I will not ride that ride again. I am glad I did it once though. We also rode the Storybook Canal boat. I loved this ride. It was so cute. After seeing it at night, I knew I had to see it during the day. After those rides, I was done. I was really tired. Melissa, Douglas and Matthew were tired too but Mark wanted to ride Space. So we walked back while John and Mark did a few more rides. We got Subway for a late dinner and then went to bed.

    Up next...Magic Morning and DL.
     

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