Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback TR (Complete)

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Feb 20, 2012
Hello DISers, Liners, Box People, and whoever else I can coerce into reading! Welcome to my second ever trip report. This report will actually be a little different in that it is a PREQUEL to the other report I currently have going. You can find that report here:

Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish
That report looks back at our May 2012 trip to Walt Disney World that we won from WDW Radio and their partners at MouseFan Travel. We stayed at a Port Orleans Riverside Royal Room, were Grand Marshals of a parade, had all kinds of magical experiences, and ate lots of great food.

I’m currently writing about our third to last day of that trip and realized that I’m really enjoying sharing all of the memories. I don’t want the fun to be almost over, and I figured out a way that it doesn’t have to be. You see, September 17-22, 2011, we took a trip to Disneyland—both of our first trips to that park in over fifteen years. Since I have an impeccable Disney memory (despite usually having no idea what I had for lunch today), and since I have well over a thousand pictures from that trip, I thought now would be the perfect time to start a new report. For now, I’ll be calling it:

Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Throwback Trip Report

Now, before I get too ahead of myself, perhaps some introductions are in order. If you really want a full length intro, I’d suggest reading the opening post of the aforementioned other trip report. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Welcome back. Okay, just in case you didn’t catch all of that, didn’t want to click the link, or just have a bad short term memory, here’s an abridged version.

I’m Taylor. I’ll be your host as we explore the park that Walt built and everything else in the Disneyland Resort. My Disney history begins at Walt Disney World. I’ve been on seven trips there over the years and have always considered it to be my favorite place on earth. My Disneyland history before this trip was relatively brief. When I was five, my family had done a typical “southern California vacation” that included visits to the beach, Knotts Berry Farm and, of course, Disneyland. Since it was the early nineties, there was only one park at Disneyland at the time. It was really the first Disney parks experience I can remember because my first trip to WDW had been when I was three and I truly can’t remember any of that. Certain moments stick out in my mind more clearly. For example, the Disney movie being heavily promoted at the time was Aladdin so there was an entire parade devoted to the film. I also remember that being the only trip when I was big on getting character autographs, and that was made easier by the fact that it was a time in Disney history when characters roamed more freely and spontaneously. I must have loved our day at Disneyland, because I was so sad to leave that Mickey called our hotel that evening and invited us to come back again the next day. At least, that’s what my family told me had happened! Our two days in Disneyland almost twenty years ago certainly aren’t among my most vivid Disney memories, but they helped lay the foundation for my love of the parks. Here are some of my Disney stats:

Favorite Disney Movies: The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 101 Dalmatians, Dumbo
Favorite Pixar Movies: Toy Story 3, Up, Finding Nemo
Favorite Disney Songs: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Feed the Birds,” “Out There”
Favorite Disney Characters: Pluto, Winnie-the-Pooh, Dumbo, Nana
Favorite Disney Princess: Belle

This is my wife, Tracy. Her Disney-going history actually starts at Disneyland. She had been once before this trip, when she was in third grade. That family vacation was really the source of some of her first concrete Disney memories. Since then, she has gone to WDW twice before our lives intertwined and we’ve gone together three times (though as of this Disneyland trip, we had only been to WDW together twice. Confused yet?)

Favorite Disney Movies: Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Hercules
Favorite Pixar Movies: Toy Story 1-3, Up
Favorite Disney Songs: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Go the Distance,” “I See the Light”
Favorite Disney Characters: Pluto, Eeyore, Dumbo, Meeko
Favorite Disney Princess: Belle

Here’s some more of our history as a couple, since I didn’t include too much at the beginning of the last trip report. We started dating in March, 2005. We were high school sweethearts. Here’s a photo from our senior prom.

After graduating high school, Tracy went to college in Colorado while I went to school in New York, so we dated long distance for three and a half years. We clocked literally thousands of hours on Skype and between the two of us flew on 63 flights visiting each other. It was hard, but we made it through. And we still found the time to have lots of good times together despite living separated.

We took a road trip to Seattle.

We explored the sights of New York together.

In August of 2009, we got engaged at the same place where we had our first kiss over four years earlier.

We got married in 2010. I know I’ve already shared that fact, but I just like any excuse to include another wedding picture…

And now between this and my last report, you know us pretty well. How this Disneyland trip came about was a little unexpected, so we’ll start with a pre-trip report. Then once we get to California, we’ll relive some great times at Disneyland. We got several extra touches of Disney magic that I’m excited to share, and, of course there will be a slew of food pictures. What we didn’t realize going in is just how hard we would fall in love with Disneyland. I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say that this trip literally changed the course of our lives. How’s that for foreshadowing?

Now I invite you to join me on a trip back in time. We go now to a time when Disney’s California Adventure was still a huge construction site with Cars Land and Buena Vista Street taking shape behind walls; a time when Disney was still hoping to bounce back from disappointing reviews of Cars 2 with the release of John Carter; a time when Regis was still sitting next to Kelly every morning; a time when people could only dream of how successful Facebook would be once it started trading publicly; a time when practically no one had ever heard of Tim Tebow, Gabby Douglas, or Missy Franklin; a time when the idea of Snooki being pregnant was about as realistic as—you get the picture. We’re now entering 2011…



Earning My Ears
Mar 31, 2011
I love your other trip report, so its a no-brainer that I will follow along with this one!!

Out of curiosity, when you were up here in Seattle, did you try out any of our good burgers? (Dick's or Red Mill)


Feb 20, 2012
EliS15 said:
I love your other trip report, so its a no-brainer that I will follow along with this one!!

Out of curiosity, when you were up here in Seattle, did you try out any of our good burgers? (Dick's or Red Mill)
Glad you're following along! :)

We didn't try either of those places in Seattle. My aunt actually used to own a restaurant in Seattle (Bing's in Madison Park) so we ate most of our meals there since we got them for free haha...

We loved Seattle though, and obviously since we have family there we'd love to go back sometime soon. Now I know to put those restaurants on our list for next time!
  • tayalltheway

    Feb 20, 2012
    Chapter 6
    Strangers in Paradise

    No longer in a rush, we were able to give our new home a full once-over.

    We started in the lobby and greeted the big, surfing Goofy.

    Next we went back up to the third floor, which, in addition to housing our room, was also where the pool was located.

    We thought it was funny that at Disney the Coppertone baby isn’t allowed to show her butt…

    Heading back into our room, we noticed these nice Hidden Mickeys in the hallway carpet.

    As we got back to our room, World of Color was going on right outside our window. Since the view of it wasn’t great, however, and because we didn’t want to spoil the show before we saw it properly for the first time, we took this opportunity to kill a little more time wandering the lobby and other parts of the hotel until the show was over. Finally coming back to our room, here was the post-World of Color view out our window.

    As we got ready for bed, I took a few pictures of all the great furniture with its Disney touches.

    We loved all the lamps in the room.

    Here’s Tracy with our balloons.

    And the signed picture of Mickey and Minnie.

    We liked the beach ball pillows on both the beds as well as the duvet runners with Hidden Mickeys all over them.

    Here’s our little couch in the corner.

    There’s the moon hovering over DCA.

    The sun-shaped mirror was fun too.

    And here’s one final picture as we prepared to hit the hay.

    We both fell asleep pretty immediately after our heads touched the pillows. It had been a VERY long day. We were so excited for what the next day would bring with our first foray into Disneyland!

    Overview of September 17, 2011

    - Exploring L.A. with Steve as a fantastic tour guide
    - Seeing the real Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and all the hand/footprints
    - Arriving on Disneyland property
    - Exploring the West coast Downtown Disney
    - Reaching our new temporary home

    - Waking up SO EARLY
    - Feeling bad en route to the airport
    - The LONG flight

    High 70s and Beautifully Sunny

    Food of the Day
    Double Double from In ‘N’ Out Burger

    Continued in Next Post


    Dec 16, 2011
    I'm really enjoying your trip report! Can't wait to see how your first day in DL goes :)


    Feb 20, 2012
    kaci said:
    I'm really enjoying your trip report! Can't wait to see how your first day in DL goes :)
    Thanks for reading!! We've got lots of good stuff in store once we get into the parks.
  • tayalltheway

    Feb 20, 2012
    September 18, 2011

    Chapter 7
    Quivering from Anticipation, Shivering from Cold

    We woke up early for our first day in Disneyland. One perk, however, of coming to the west coast from out east is that “early” in terms of Pacific time is actually mid-morning in the time zone your body is used to. Between that fact and the comfort of the Paradise Pier beds, we were well rested and ready to go. Unfortunately, the wake up calls at the Disneyland resorts aren’t even anything exciting! I’m pretty sure when I picked up the phone there was just silence on the other line instead of Mickey telling me to get up…

    Getting out of bed, we opened our curtains to reveal our view, seen for the first time in daylight.

    DCA was still there right outside our window, though we wouldn’t be visiting it today. We started getting ready for the day as quickly as possible. I put on my new Happy Anniversary button as we got dressed and ready.

    Tracy and I figured out how to operate the coffee maker.

    Then we each ate a granola bar—the breakfast food of choice for this trip. We moved pretty quickly knowing we wanted to get moving toward the parks, and soon we were ready to go.

    I donned the fanny pack that has seen us through every Disney trip for the last four and a half years, and we headed out.

    Having looked up the smarter way to get to Downtown Disney and the esplanade between the parks on the DIS the night before, we made our way out of Paradise Pier and toward the Grand Californian.

    We still weren’t quite sure where to go, but a family with a precocious young girl asked where we were heading when we looked lost, and they pointed us in the right direction! Soon we were in Downtown Disney again. The World of Disney decorations are so fun and were even more exciting in daylight.

    We were still pretty hungry and also pretty early, so we decided to stop for a pastry at La Brea Bakery.

    What we didn’t realize was how much of a rip-off this place was even by Disney standards. We bought a Chocolate Croissant to split and it was something like four dollars! We thought we were in for an expensive set of snacks until we realized later that practically everything sold IN the parks was actually cheaper than that! At least it was tasty… Finally, we made our way to the end of the Downtown Disney shops and into the esplanade where the Disneyland sign was waiting to welcome us to the Happiest Place on Earth!

    We got even more excited as we approached the gates and saw all of the Halloween decorations decking out the entrance to the park!

    One of the things we had been most excited about when this was supposed to be a WDW vacation was the chance to see the parks all decorated for Halloween and to go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. When we changed our plans to Disneyland, we were sad that the Halloween party there doesn’t start until October, so we wouldn’t be able to go… Luckily, Halloween was still in full force at the end of September, so we got the full flavor minus the party.

    These character head pumpkins are so cool!

    One thing we were not ready for having always gone to Disney World during the late spring/early summer is that the mornings at Disneyland could be COLD! It was probably in the low 60s, but since we were wearing shorts and t-shirts, that was enough that we were shivering constantly from the minute we arrived and lined up at the gates.

    Unbeknownst to us at this point in time, we had already made our first rookie mistake of the trip. Part of our package (as explained to us in our travel documents) included one Magic Morning at Disneyland where we could get in an hour early. That’s how the package put it—ONE Magic Morning. Apparently that IS the rule if you’re staying at one of the Good Neighbor hotels, but if you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you’re actually able to get in early on every morning a Magic Morning is offered. No one explained this to us, nor did I find out about it online until after we had missed the Magic Morning hour on this first day. We had planned on using our hour on Tuesday morning, so we weren’t intending to get in early on Sunday. Lo and behold, we could have. The upside to this, however, is that regular park hours on this first day were 8am to midnight. We were planning on being there for that entire day, so adding on an hour less of sleep to this day probably wouldn’t have been the best idea anyway! Nonetheless, people were streaming into the park all around us going in for Magic Morning. We, meanwhile, were let through the turnstiles at around 7:45. We made our way down Main Street to where there was a rope holding us back from entering the park.

    It was honestly thrilling getting to walk through the gates and onto this ORIGINAL Main Street, U.S.A.

    It was ALL decked out for Halloween.

    And there in front of us was Sleeping Beauty Castle. It may not be as majestic as Cinderella Castle, but it has a charm of its own that sets Disneyland apart as its own entity.

    We waited right at the rope until 8:00 came.

    Suddenly, the announcement boomed over the speakers welcoming us to Disneyland! As the rope began to drop, we readied ourselves for our first day in the magic.

    Continued in Next Post


    Feb 20, 2012
    Chapter 8
    Disney Differences

    As anyone who has read my WDW trip report (and had a very good memory for small details) will know, Tracy and my first ride of any trip is always Pirates of the Caribbean. Listening to Lou’s podcast about what not to miss in Disneyland, he and his buddies agreed unanimously that Pirates is the ride on both coasts where the Disneyland version blows the WDW version out of the water (semi-literally being that we’re talking about Pirates here). So imagine our disappointment learning about three weeks out from our trip that both Pirates and the connected restaurant Blue Bayou were going to be down for refurbishment for the length of our stay… Oh well! When it comes to Disney, there’s really nothing you can do about refurbs. This left us with the need to pick a different first ride, however.

    Well, as the rope dropped, we headed to the right of the hub. We saw the Matterhorn looming in the distance.

    But then we kept going to Tomorrowland. The other Disneyland ride that is perhaps equally lauded as being superior to its Florida version is Space Mountain. We decided to make this our first stop, and were extra excited when we learned about its Halloween overlay, Ghost Galaxy.

    Despite the crowds that were already in the park from Magic Morning, there was basically no wait as we streamed through the queue into Space Mountain.

    We stopped to take a quick self-take knowing we couldn’t exactly take one on the ride.

    As we moved inside, the queue became similar to the one in WDW but without the interactive games. I’ve never quite understood the point of the games there anyway because they usually end up lasting much longer than the amount of time it takes for the queue to move, so people just end up getting passed if they choose to play…

    The Disneyland mountain interior is a little more colorful than the one we were used to.

    I’ve never quite understood what all the space-gizmos overhead are supposed to be, but they set the scene well.

    Reaching the front of the queue, Tracy and I were excited to get to sit next to each other instead of single file. We got a place in the front row of our spaceship. Getting fastened in quickly, we were ready for takeoff.

    This Space Mountain is quite a ride! Between the fact that it is truly pitch black in many places, the smoothness of the ride, and the Ghost Galaxy overlay, there really wasn’t the same sense of whimsy that's present in the WDW version. This mountain is actually a thrill ride! It was extremely cool. The “ghost” is more than a little scary, and I found my stomach dropping plenty of times in a way that I wasn’t used to in the WDW version. All in all, we really enjoyed the ride! The one downside is that I definitely felt a little sick. The present day me is screaming at the past version saying that all I would have needed to do was eat a snack and I would have felt better, but I didn’t know that at the time…

    After returning to Earth and unloading, we headed back out into Tomorrowland.

    We grabbed Fastpasses for the other most popular ride in Tomorrowland, Star Tours, and then we made our way back to the hub.

    Here we found our first Photo Pass photographers of the trip. We had preordered the CD, so of course we pounced on every photo opportunity we got!

    Right off the bat, we even got a photographer who wanted to do magic shots.

    Finishing up our photo shoot for the time being, we headed toward Fantasyland next.

    We got our first up-close look at Sleeping Beauty Castle.

    Knowing that it was one of the most popular rides at Disneyland that doesn’t offer Fastpass, we got in line for Peter Pan’s Flight while it was still early in the morning and the line wasn’t too bad.

    We did have to wait for almost ten minutes, but the line certainly wasn’t as bad as we would see it be later in the day.

    At least the queue area has great artwork to look at.

    As we got to the front of the line, we encountered these chaps as we waited to board our ship.

    Climbing aboard, we started the ride with the most depressing part (saying goodbye to Nana).

    Then we were off! The Disneyland version of Peter Pan’s Flight is SHORT. And that’s saying something when the WDW version is pretty dang short too. There are just so many fewer scenes in the Disneyland version that it’s crazy when you compare average wait time to ride time. This Peter Pan was a lot of fun though. We loved the star field as we flew over London. It was like something out of Spaceship Earth and adds so much to an already fantastic scene. Once in Neverland, the rest of the ride goes pretty quickly, but it’s just such a fun ride apparatus and a great nod to one of our favorite classic Disney movies that we really enjoyed ourselves.

    Continued in Next Post


    Living the California and Disney Dream
    Feb 24, 2012
    I'm so glad I found this trip report! Great job, so far! Your report is VERY interesting. Can't wait for more!


    Feb 20, 2012
    disneyismyheart247 said:
    I'm so glad I found this trip report! Great job, so far! Your report is VERY interesting. Can't wait for more!
    Thanks!! I'm glad that you're enjoying :)


    Feb 20, 2012
    Your TR is making me really miss Disneyland!
    Haha, hopefully that's a good thing...? I see from your signature that you get to go next year at least! :thumbsup2 And I'm extremely jealous that you get to stay at the Grand Californian. That's a dream of mine. We LOVED walking through there.


    Feb 20, 2012
    Chapter 9
    Black Lights Everywhere

    Exiting Peter Pan, Tracy and I both took a turn trying to pull the sword out of the stone.

    Sadly it was to no avail. Next, since we were already in a relatively empty Fantasyland, we decided to take a spin on our first ride unique to Disneyland—Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.

    This was one of those rides that I had no idea even existed until it was mentioned on Lou’s Disneyland podcast.

    We actually re-watched Pinocchio for the first time in YEARS before coming to Disneyland with the anticipation of riding this ride.

    The movie holds up fantastically and the ride was really fun. We got a vehicle featuring both Figaro and Cleo (our two favorite characters from the film).

    We didn’t even know what to expect as we went towards these doors.

    The result was a great Disney dark ride full of all kinds of good (if basic) audioanimatronics. I really enjoyed it. Next, since Pinocchio had been literally a walk-on, we decided to continue through Fantasyland before it got more crowded. Our next stop was Snow White’s Scary Adventures.

    There’s something reassuring about the fact that even though Snow White is gone from WDW it still exists in Disneyland. I’ve always enjoyed the ride and would have been sad to actually bid it farewell.

    Our car was Sneezy.

    Say hello to the woodland creatures and here we go!

    This Snow White was quite similar to the one we were used to in WDW. Neither is particularly scary despite the name. Luckily the Snow Queen died in the end and we got to live happily ever after!

    I think it’s funny that since Snow White originally wasn’t in the attraction—as you were supposed to BE Snow White—the whole ending sequence was added on later so the happily ever after is depicted mostly through paintings.

    While there would have still been PLENTY to explore in Fantasyland, we decided to head out of there for now and toward Frontierland. It’s weird not having a Liberty Square to pass through, so suddenly we were there!

    Frontierland was the most elaborately decked out land for Halloween. They had Halloween decorations everywhere!!

    Suddenly, we caught our first glimpse of Tracy’s favorite mountain anywhere.

    We wanted to stop in at Big Thunder Ranch because it was one of the Disneyland-specific areas we were most excited about visiting, but it was still too early. The ranch wouldn’t even open for another hour or so.

    I just love jack-o-lanterns and was excited to see them everywhere in this area.

    I want to take a 10-cent surrey ride!

    Disneyland’s Frontierland would become one of our favorite places to wander during this trip mostly because of how tranquil and peaceful it always seemed to be. We always felt like we were the only ones there and we were able to appreciate all the fun theming.

    This Halloween-themed photo spot would be a big Photo Pass area later in the trip, but for now we were the only ones around.

    We also loved noticing all the abandoned mine train tunnels in Frontierland. It's almost as if it were a place where you could board a runaway mine train!

    Rather than riding Big Thunder just yet, however, we continued passing through Frontierland.

    We were actually heading to New Orleans Square—an entirely new land to us—and the holiday attraction we were most excited to see here at Disneyland.

    Continued in Next Post


    DIS Veteran
    Aug 18, 2009
    I'm really enjoying your TR

    It's getting me very excited about my forthcoming trip :)
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