Thank you, DISers. We visited DL/DCA from Saturday (June 27) to Sunday (July 5), with 6-day parkhoppers. I thought we were supposed to avoid weekends at DLR? Both Sundays of our trip (June 28 and July 5) had surprisingly low crowd levels. And there wasn’t a single moment during our entire trip where we saw crazy crowds. Enchanted Tiki Room It was nice to see the original. Last year at MK we saw the Iago version. The lines to buy Dole Whips are much shorter on the Tiki Room side (and not the Adventureland side), and you can take the Dole Whip into the Enchanted Tiki Room if you want to. Aladdin’s Oasis Aladdin’s Oasis was being used as a Meet & Greet for Jasmine and Aladdin. (With a PhotoPass photographer.) Electrical Parade We enjoyed it! They supposedly made changes to the soundtrack, but it still sounded good to me. Haunted Mansion Madame Leota’s head was stationary. At least it makes it easier to videotape her. Magic Morning Magic Morning on Thursday (July 2) was super. We arrived at the security tent at 6:30am, and the MM had low crowds. Peter Pan was a walk on, and we waited half a cycle for Dumbo. Then we visited Alice, Matterhorn (TL-side), Mad Tea Party, Mr. Toad, Pinocchio, and the King Arthur Carrousel. (Snow White was still down for refurb that day -- otherwise we visited every Fantasyland attraction that was available during MM.) When the rest of DL opened at 8:00am, we first rode Casey Jr., then we only waited a few minutes for Storybook (because we missed the first boats of the day). And then we went to IASW and we had our own boat. We entered ToonTown when it opened at 9:00am, and (after waiting a couple of minutes) Mickey greeted us at the front door of his house for autographs and photos – although there was no PhotoPass photographer. We walked on to Gadget’s Go Coaster, and we walked on to Roger Rabbit twice. DL was nice and cool at 7:00am, even in the summertime. Billy Hill We finally saw the Billy Hill show! It’s a fun show, and the Golden Horseshoe is a nice place to cool down in the summertime. We went to the 2:35pm show. When we arrived about 30 minutes early there were plenty of seats, but I observed that most seats were taken about 15 minutes before the show started. We saw the show again on Sunday (July 5) –a very slow day -- and some tables were still available at show time. The GH seemed to be two-thirds full, but Billy Hill seemed a bit embarrassed that the show wasn’t completely full. The Billy Hill show’s schedule wasn’t included in the Times Guide, but its show times are 11:15am, 1:00pm, 2:35pm, 4:00pm, and 5:15pm. Pixie Hollow On Thursday (June 2), Pixie Hollow only had a 30 minute wait at 12:30pm. DD6 met Fawn and Tink, and they were very friendly. Pixie Hollow at night Pixie Hollow at night: “Meh.” Maybe I missed something, but IMO Pixie Hollow at night had nothing “-tastic” about it – it was just some colored fountains. I’m glad they did it, but to include it with the new flying Dumbo and the (alleged) new 40-foot Fantasmic Dragon seems like Marketing Gone Wild. Breakfast in DL We had breakfast at the Carnation Café. The computer was down when we checked- in for our 10:00am PSs, but we were still able to be seated in a few minutes. And it was a pleasure to meet Oscar again. We also had breakfast at the River Belle Terrace at 9:30 one morning. Gotta have some Mickey Mouse pancakes. And we also ordered the Mark Twain. It was a slow morning, so having breakfast at the RBT was really easy. The outdoor seating at the RBT has a great view of Frontierland and New Orleans Square. Blue Bayou On Sunday (June 28), our PS time for Blue Bayou was 11:30am. I checked-in at the front of the restaurant at 11:20am. I politely asked for a Waterside Table, and it worked out very well. I enjoyed the Monte Cristo, even though I couldn’t finish it. DS7 and DD6 had the roast beef from the children’s menu. And they loved the Cookie Boat dessert. The Blue Bayou has been getting some negative reviews, but I liked the service and the food! (I’m glad I didn’t cancel. ) Toy Story Zoetrope We finally saw the Toy Story Zoetrope in DCA’s Animation Building (Character Close Up). It only take a couple of minutes to see, and it’s very interesting. It’s definitely worth a look. Celebrate “Parade” In 2007 we saw the Parade of Dreams and it was excellent. Celebrate A Street Party is… not. The CMs work hard, and there are many characters. And some of those outfits, in the summertime, must be just plain hot. But Celebrate is just o.k. Even DD6 mentioned that she liked the PoD better. Fireworks Magical : Remember = Celebrate : Parade of Dreams (Magical is to Remember as Celebrate is to Parade of Dreams.) I enjoyed the Magical fireworks, but they lacked the “Wow” that Remember had (has). Fantasmic On Tuesday (June 30) at 5:00pm a couple of people had started to wait for the 9:00pm Fantasmic show. Completely on a whim, at 5:00 we sat down at the rail that’s next to the Rivers of America – directly in front of the Fantasmic stage. At 5:00 the area was still wide open, so DW held the spot and I had no problems taking DS7 and DD6 to ride PotC and HM. I went to the Stage Door Café and picked up some basic grub – fried mozzarella sticks w/ marinara sauce; fish and chips; chicken strips, etc. The time flew. IMO sitting right next to the rail wasn’t necessary, as the rail can slightly block your view of the show. Everyone in our area stayed seated throughout the show, and I think that any spot in that general area would have been very good; and getting a spot farther back would have been easier to get. When our section was full the CMs blocked off the area, which was great. Believe it or not, our seating area was full, but it didn't feel packed. At the beginning of Fantasmic, when Mickey raises both arms, Mickey’s arms (hands) didn’t spray out any “sparkles.” Oh well. And as expected, there was no dragon – just “Maleficent on a stick.” Although the projection screens weren’t changed, the projection screens looked larger because of the new digital projectors; the projections used to have more flickering. The projections definitely looked better than two years ago. After watching Fantasmic, we didn’t move and we stayed in the Fantasmic area to watch the Magical fireworks. The view for the fireworks was excellent, and they played the fireworks soundtrack in the Fantasmic area. The only downside was that we couldn’t see Tink or Dumbo fly. I think the middle tower trick would have worked that night. About 15 minutes before the 9:00 show, the people standing behind the middle light tower were only “one deep” and there were still open spots behind them. Soarin’ Both times we saw Soarin’ we were offered seats in section C, but we politely asked to sit in section B. We sat in section B-2, although we could have sat in B-1 if we wanted. The waiting time for Soarin’, using FastPass, seemed to be too long (30 minutes). I think it would be quicker to see it between 9:30 and 10:00am. Big Thunder BBQ Lunch at the Big Thunder BBQ wasn’t cheap, but we enjoyed the experience. If you are expecting the world’s greatest barbeque, or you’re from Texas, you might be disappointed with the BBQ; but I thought the ribs, chicken, cole slaw, corn, baked beans, corn bread, etc., were very good. They put on a small show with Sasparilla (sp?) Sam playing piano. But I do have a bone to pick with the way the PhotoPass photographers are set up. At Big Thunder BBQ the PP photographer will take photos of DS7 and DD6 with Woody (or Jessie, I guess), but the photos will only be added to your PP card if you buy the ~$29 photo package. Considering the prices at the BBQ, you would think that they would cut you some slack with photos. (We did pay the $$$$, and later we went to the Kodak Photo Center on Main Street and had the photos added to our PhotoPass card (it’s easier if you bring the receipt). Unfortunately they did the same exact thing at Lilo & Stitch’s character meal at the PPH.) Disney Visa Card I got the Disney Visa credit card a couple of years ago, and I used it to get two free stroller rentals each day! (This is only true for DLR, not WDW.) I didn’t think that I had used the card that much – I did use it for a few business trips – but at Guest Services (to the left of the DL turnstiles) I got a Disney Visa Rewards Card worth… drumroll please… $100. One hundred smackers! And spending the $100 using the Disney Visa Rewards Card was easy – the reward card was accepted at many places inside DL. I bought DS7 a very nice Indiana Jones hat with part of the $100. Howard Johnson We really enjoyed our stay at the HoJo, building #2, for eight nights. We got the Entertainment Rate ($69 + 15% tax) for five of those nights and the other three nights were $75.66 (+ 15% tax) so the entire stay was $660 for 8 nights. DS7 and DD6 loved the Garden Pool and the Pirate’s Cove water play area. Pirate’s Cove is much better than the photos. And yes, the front desk asked to see the Entertainment Card. (The Entertainment Card was $2.99 on eBay.) FWIW, here are some of the fairly low wait times: Sunday (June 28): BTMRR ………………….… 5 minute wait @ 2:00pm (standby) Mad Tea Party ……….. 3 minute wait @ 3:00pm Matterhorn …………... 20 minute wait @ 3:00pm Tuesday (June 30) Screamin’ …………... 15 to 20 minute wait @ 11:00am Toy Story Mania …... 30 minute wait @ 12:00Noon Thurs (July 2) Pixie Hollow w/ Tink. 30 minute wait @ 12:00Noon Friday (July 3) RRCTS…………………….. 5 minute wait @ 11:00am Pixie Hollow w/ Tink. 30 minute wait @ 11:00am Sunday (July 5) BTMRR ……………………. 5 minute wait in the middle of the afternoon (standby) We visited A Bug’s Land on Friday afternoon (July 3). DS7 and DD6 actually like the Tuck & Roll’s buggies, so that was a 10 minute wait, and the rest of the rides in bug’s land were 5 minute waits that afternoon. Not bad at all. A CM told me that DL was super-crowded on Friday (June 26) because it was the last day for some of the SoCal APs (before the summer blackout). The CM said that DL had 64,000 Guests on Friday (June 26).