"Let's Ride Every Ride in Disneyland" - An Awesome Daddy/Daughter Spring Break Trip (Finished 9/26)

Greg Lembrich

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Greetings fellow DISers. This is my second ever trip report, and it will chronicle the adventures that my daughter and I had on our recent Spring Break 2019 trip to Disneyland, California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm, and Six Flags Magic Mountain. I hope you will come along for the ride(s).

The story of this trip begins last year in April 2018 when my daughter Caroline and I took a 4 day trip to Walt Disney World during her school's Spring Break. Our goal was to ride all 46 rides operating in the four parks, and we were successful in doing that and so much more. In fact, everything about that trip went exactly according to plan and was "practically perfect in every way". Here is a link to my TR from that trip: "Let's Ride Every Ride in WDW" - The Trip Where Everything Went Right.

After returning from that trip, we immediately began planning to go to California to visit Disneyland and DCA for Spring Break 2019. This was especially exciting because my daughter had never been to the West Coast before, and she was looking forward to trying all of the rides at DL and DCA that don't exist at WDW, as well as seeing the California editions of some of her Florida favorites. One of our goals for the trip would, of course, be to ride every ride in both Disneyland and California Adventure. We also both love roller coasters, so we decided to add in day trips to Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Much of my pre-trip planning is memorialized in my PTR: Daddy/Daughter Spring Break Trip to Ride Every Ride at DLR (and more).

I am an obsessive planner, especially when it comes to vacations, and I truly go into hyper mode when it comes to Disney. DLR presented some challenges that were different from my prior WDW trips, including mastering MaxPass, as well as the lack of FP+, more limited ADR options, etc. But while I found that these differences frustrated me in the planning process, most of them made it much easier while we were actually on the trip. Overall, I found DLR pretty simple to navigate and manage, and (even though not everything went exactly as planned) we had an awesome time. I welcome you to come along as I recount our journey, with lots of recaps, reviews, tips, and photos along the way.

Here are the basics for our trip:

Who? Greg/Dad (41) and Caroline/Daughter (8), from New Jersey



When? April 13-20, 2019. We departed from Newark early morning on Saturday April 13, and flew back from LAX the following Saturday (the day before Easter).

Where? We stayed at the Anaheim Desert Inn on South Harbor for our whole trip. It was recommended by fellow NJ DISer @missangelalexis, and we loved the very close proximity to the DLR entrance, which allowed us to easily walk back and forth between the hotel and the parks, including for our daily afternoon pool and nap breaks.

How? We flew on United from Newark to LAX, where we took an Uber to the Anaheim Desert Inn. We also used Uber on our Knott's Berry Farm day since that was close to Anaheim. I rented a car for the day we went to Magic Mountain.

What? We spent 5 full days at DLR, parkhopping and MaxPassing each day. Our goal was to ride all 48 operating rides at DL and DCA, including multiple rides on our favorites, as well as to see all of the major shows. We also spent one day at Knott's Berry Farm and another at Six Flags Magic Mountain, mostly focusing on roller coasters and other thrill rides at those parks. We toured hard, but also took liberal afternoon breaks at the hotel nearly every day to swim, rest, and recharge before heading back out for the evening.
 
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  • Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Saturday April 13 (Arrival Day)

    Chapter 1: From New Jersey Darkness to California Sun

    After making sure we were all packed up for the trip, we had gone to bed early on Friday night in anticipation of our 7 AM flight on Saturday morning. Unfortunately my wife and I were awakened around 2 AM by an iPhone alarm on her phone that we concluded she must have set while on a prior international trip. We both had a hard time going back to sleep, but I managed to rest a bit before my actual alarm went off a little before 5 AM. My daughter, who is normally NOT a morning person, was already up and ready to go. The adrenaline was clearly pumping for Disneyland! I took a quick shower and made a few last minute preparations, then ordered an Uber to take us to the airport (my wife was fortunately able to sleep through us getting up, so we let her sleep rather than driving us herself). At 5:30 AM, we walked out into the cold, rainy New Jersey darkness with our luggage and got in our Uber. We live just a few minutes from EWR, and there was no traffic before dawn on a Saturday, so we made quick time and were soon checking in for our flight.



    I didn't fly much for work last year, so I have no status on United this year. This meant no upgrades to better seats or early boarding for us. Quite a contrast for my daughter compared to when she flies with my international road warrior wife, but we are exposing her to both ends of the commercial air travel spectrum :) We had checked our large bags, so I was not too concerned with lack of overhead bin space despite the fact that we were in Boarding Group 4. It was still dark and dreary as we boarded around 6:30 AM. As luck would have it, there was actually a completely empty bin over our row. Our plane had tv screens on the back of each seat with a large selection of free movies, TV shows, and games to choose from, so my daughter was well entertained for the cross-country flight.


    Despite the rain, our plane pushed back from the gate on time, we took off almost immediately, and made great time across America, arriving at LAX over 30 minutes early. This was especially great news for us since our plan was to have a full day in the parks. My original plan was to drop our bags at the hotel, get through security, and get into Disneyland by around 11, or by Noon at the absolute latest. We had a 12:30 reservation at Cafe Orleans, and were hoping to enjoy a few rides beforehand.

    Our bags came quickly at baggage claim, and we cheerfully made our way out into the gorgeous California sun to meet our Uber driver for the trip to Anaheim. Saturday morning traffic was light and we made good time on the drive. My daughter loved seeing the roller coasters at Knott's Berry Farm in the distance on 91 before we got onto I-5 for the last few miles. She then got even more excited as she spotted the Matterhorn and the Guardians tower out the car window.

    Our Uber dropped us off at the Anaheim Desert Inn. I knew that it was unlikely that our room would be ready since it was only about 10:15 AM, but I was a little disappointed that we needed to pay to store our bags in lockers at the hotel rather than having them held behind the front desk. Fortunately I had plenty of quarters on me and the process did not take long. Our luggage now secure, we were ready for our park adventures to begin. Having woken up 8 hours before and 3000 miles away, we were now just steps away from Disneyland! :yay:


    We hurried across Harbor and quickly passed through the "Guests without bags" security line (thanks to my cargo shorts 8-)). I had purchased our 5 day park hopper tickets with MaxPass online months earlier to avoid the price hike, and it was easy to pull them up on my phone so we could be issued our paper tickets as we passed through the turnstiles. We entered Disneyland at 10:35 AM and were soon making our way down Main Street. After nearly a year of planning, it was hard to believe we were finally there! :woohoo:


    I instantly checked MaxPass to make sure that Radiator Springs Racers was still distributing FPs, and was pleased to see that the return times were still mid-afternoon. My daughter and I really wanted to do RSR on our first night, so I was glad we would get the chance without having to wait in the standby line. Since the return times were still during daylight, however, I grabbed us a Roger Rabbit FP with an immediate return time. But our first ride would be one that my daughter was super excited to try, the Matterhorn (ride #1). The standby line was over 30 minutes, but the single rider line was practically empty, so we hopped into that since you can't sit next to each other on that ride anyway. Less than 5 minutes later, we actually found ourselves on the same bobsled car heading up the mountain for our Yeti greeting.


    Next we wandered into ToonTown to explore a bit and also use our MP for Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin (ride #2). While I remember enjoying the movie 30 years ago when I saw it in the theater, Roger Rabbit doesn't do much for me as a ride. But my daughter really enjoyed it. After the ride, we left ToonTown and walked through Fantasyland and then the Big Thunder Trail. Since my daughter had never been to DL before, I was giving her a little tour and pointing out some of the differences from the Magic Kingdom. By this time hunger had started to set in, but we still had more than an hour until our Cafe Orleans reservation, so we grabbed some popcorn at a cart near the Mark Twain Riverboat dock.popcorn::
    Since we were already near New Orleans Square, we decided to ride Pirates of the Caribbean (ride #3). Pirates is one of my daughter's favorites at WDW, and she was really looking forward to seeing the original at DL.


    It did not disappoint. She loved the bayou, the extra skeleton scenes at the beginning, and all of the other additional touches that make the California version distinct. I remain loyal to the Magic Kingdom Pirates, but realize I am in the minority on this one. pirate:

    Stay tuned for Chapter 2, where we I finally try the Monte Cristo sandwich at Cafe Orleans, we ride more classic DL attractions, and my daughter gets her first glimpse of California Adventure before we finally crash...I mean check-in to our hotel.
     
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    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Chapter 2: Beignets, More Rides, and a Whole New Park

    After riding Pirates of the Caribbean, we were too hungry to do anything but go to Cafe Orleans and hope for a table even though we were more than 30 minutes early for our reservation. While they didn't have any availability immediately, we waited in the shade for about 10 minutes and then they were able to get us in. I had heard for years about the magical Monte Cristo sandwich in Disneyland, but had never tried it myself. I was starving and decided to wait no longer. It was delicious! Turkey, ham, and melted cheese wrapped in what is essentially a beignet sandwich? Yes, please :worship: They were serving it that day with a maple dipping sauce as opposed to the usual berry puree, and I thought it was great, though maybe a tad overkill to add more sweetness. My daughter had the cheesy macaroni and then wanted an order of beignets (the whole reason she had picked this restaurant for our arrival day lunch to begin with). She liked the regular beignets, but neither of us particularly enjoyed the chocolate/coffee ones.

    While on line for Pirates before lunch, I saw on MP that FP return times for RSR were starting to creep into the evening, so I grabbed one with a window that would allow us to ride after dusk. After lunch, while waiting to book another MP, we decided to make our way to Adventureland and another non-WDW ride my daughter was really excited to try, Indiana Jones Adventure (ride #4). It was the middle of the day, so there was a crowded standby queue, but it moved quickly and we were on our jeeps after just 30 minutes of waiting. My daughter loved the ride and we knew we would definitely be coming back.



    After leaving Indy, I saw on MP that FPs for all the non-RSR rides at DCA were still offering afternoon return windows. Since our plan to to focus on California Adventure that night, my plan was to stack as many FPs as possible there for after dark. Since availability there was still robust, I booked us a FP for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (ride #5), and we went there next. While similar to the WDW version, my daughter and I agreed that we like the DL version better (although MK has the superior queue). Next I was able to get us a FP at Haunted Mansion (ride # 6) with an immediate return window, so a visit with the happy haunts was our next stop. While we both enjoyed the DL version, we agreed that we prefer the Haunted Mansion at MK a bit more.

    After socializing with the grim, grinning ghosts, I went on MP and saw that return windows for Toy Story Midway Mania were now available for the evening, so I continued my effort to stack FPs for our night at DCA to come. While we were getting tired and looking forward to a rest after our long trip, it was not quite check-in time at our hotel yet, so we decided to head across the plaza and briefly check out California Adventure.


    It was love at first sight for my daughter! While Disneyland seemed very familiar to her after all of her visits to the Magic Kingdom, DCA was a completely new environment and she adored every aspect of it.


    We decided to just do one ride before heading to the hotel, and she picked Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue (ride #7). She is a big Monsters Inc. fan, loves the Laugh Floor at MK, and had repeatedly watched YouTube videos of this ride, so was really psyched to go on it. From my perspective, there is really not much to it as a ride, but several of the scenes are really detailed and well themed. My daughter really enjoyed it and said it would be definitely be on her list to come back and ride again.

    By the time we finished the ride it was 3:00 PM and time to check-in to our hotel. We had been up since before 5 AM on the East Coast and jet lag was hitting us hard. We definitely needed some rest before we came back out for our evening at DCA. So we took the short walk across Harbor, checked in, grabbed our bags from the lockers, and went to our room.

    Overall, we were really pleased with the Anaheim Desert Inn. The room was a good size for the two of us, with two queen beds, a small table, refrigerator, microwave, flat screen tv, and a decent size sink and dressing area separate from the bathroom. We had a third floor room that was a bit of a hike from Harbor and the front desk area, but was pretty quiet. Once we settled in and unpacked some basics, we both crashed in our beds for a much needed nap. I made sure to keep taking advantage every time we were eligible to make another MaxPass selection, even if it meant setting a little alarm for myself so I wouldn't sleep through it, and continued to strategically stack FPs to use at DCA that night.

    Stay tuned for Chapter 3, where we explore Pixar Pier, Cars Land, eat dinner at my daughter's new favorite restaurant, and dash around DCA trying to hit every FP ride in the park before it closes at 10PM.
     
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    missangelalexis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2012
    I love early morning flights out of Newark- no traffic and the airport is always empty!

    I'm sorry they made you pay to store your luggage. I remember when I went they stored our big bags and we only had to pay for lockers for the carry ons. I guess policy has changed!

    The Matterhorn is a good choice for first ride! And great that you still ended up in the same car!

    Sounds like an awesome start at DL! I regret not trying Cafe Orleans when I was there. Glad you were making good use of MaxPass too!
     

    Cloe Colton

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2018
    Wow reading about only your first morning with maxpass and its making me excited to try it out in November! If you had a return time for a ride for like 6-7PM for Radiator Springs could you make another one for 6-7PM for Toy Story Mania once you were eligible to make another MP? Or can you not have times that overlap?

    Sounds like a great morning so far!
     
  • Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    I love early morning flights out of Newark- no traffic and the airport is always empty!

    I'm sorry they made you pay to store your luggage. I remember when I went they stored our big bags and we only had to pay for lockers for the carry ons. I guess policy has changed!
    Yes, it is always nice to start a trip with minimal hassle at the airport. Especially at EWR Terminal C, the only time to reliably have manageable security lines is before dawn.

    The lockers were not a big deal. I had just never stayed at a hotel that wouldn't hold your bags until check-in. I didn't mind the $1.50 as much as the precious minutes that lugging the bags to the lockers cost us as we were trying to get to the parks. Turns out we had plenty of time. I also didn't love that we had to go to the front desk to get towels for the pool (rather than there just being a stack poolside), but that also wasn't a big deal. These were really my only complaints at the Anaheim Desert Inn; otherwise I was thrilled with it, especially for under $100 per night during Spring Break. The time from leaving our room to entering either park was consistently under 10 minutes, which was great!
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Wow reading about only your first morning with maxpass and its making me excited to try it out in November! If you had a return time for a ride for like 6-7PM for Radiator Springs could you make another one for 6-7PM for Toy Story Mania once you were eligible to make another MP? Or can you not have times that overlap?
    MaxPass is amazing! So many cool advantages once you learn the system. One of them is that you absolutely can make overlapping FP reservations for multiple rides. As you'll see in my upcoming Chapter 3, we had six of them within a 2.5 hour window at DCA our first night. I spent the day stacking them so that we would have one after another. We spent our night hustling from one ride to the next, going quickly through the FP line for each and then moving on. The only exception is that you can't hold multiple reservations for the same ride. So, once you make one RSR FP reservation, you have to use it or cancel it before you make another.

    MaxPass worked like a dream for us on this trip. We literally used 50 FPs booked through MP over our 5 days in the parks. And that doesn't count the several I ended up cancelling and not replacing because we changed our minds or decided to call it a night earlier than expected. The ability to make the reservations for rides at either park regardless of where you are (even poolside at the hotel) is so convenient. Our stacking strategy basically ensured that we barely had to wait on any significant lines during any night of our trip. I think you'll really enjoy it.
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Chapter 3: Our Mad Dash Around DCA

    By around 6 PM, we were up from our nap and raring to get back to the parks. Over the course of the day I had used MaxPass to stack FPs for us on RSR, Toy Story Mania, Guardians, and Soarin' for that night, and I knew that I could also grab Grizzly River Run and Goofy's Sky School once the right FP windows opened up later in the evening. We headed straight across the street and back into DCA. Even though the park itself was only moderately crowded, the ongoing Food & Wine Festival made it so that certain areas were packed with people, including the main corridor that leads from Buena Vista Street to Cars Land and Pixar Pier. Once we maneuvered through the mob, we decided to take a leisurely ride on The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure (ride #8), which was a walk on.



    It is basically the same ride as at Magic Kingdom, but it's always a pleasure to enjoy one of the great Disney soundtracks, and the Under the Sea room is delightful. Next we decided it was time to ride Incredicoaster (ride #9). My daughter is a huge roller coaster fan, so I had a feeling this one would be a hit, and I was absolutely right. We didn't have a FP, but the line wasn't too bad and within less than 30 minutes we were taking our preferred seats in the front row.




    She loved it! She instantly declared it her favorite ride in the parks, and she stuck with that opinion all week. We would be back many times.


    After Incredicoaster, we passed Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats and my daughter became obsessed with trying the Pixar Pier Parfait - lemon soft serve with blue raspberry slush. We were on our way to dinner, however, so I told her dessert would have to wait. Next stop was Cars Land.



    This was one of the moments of the trip I was most looking forward to. When we walked into Cars Land at night and my daughter saw Radiator Springs in real life before her, it was pure magic! It was cool to be in Disneyland earlier in the day, but this was truly an experience you can only get in California. We walked around in wonder for several minutes.

    It wasn't quite time for our RSR FP yet, but hunger had set in. My daughter really wanted to try Flo's V8 Cafe, and I was eager to give mobile order a spin. It worked great, and within just a few minutes we were sitting at a table with our burgers. My daughter LOVED Flo's V8! I mean to an irrational extent. She declared the burger the best she has ever had (it was fine, but she has objectively eaten many better) and even raved about the baby carrots (which came in a prepackaged plastic bag). I think she really just loved being immersed in Cars Land.

    Next it was finally time for our RSR FP. While I don't particularly enjoy Test Track at Epcot, I think RSR is one of the best rides in any Disney park. The setting is incredible, the theming is amazing, and the ride is just really fun. It is particularly gorgeous at night, so one of my biggest priorities for our first day was to ride RSR after dark. We made our way quickly through the FP line and were soon ready to board our racecar. It was at this point that my daughter shared with me her theory that the way to win the race was to cheer really loudly for your car. I told her that I was pretty sure the results were random, but she insisted that the car that cheered loudest would win. I figured it couldn't hurt to humor her, so we encouraged all of the other passengers in our car to cheer their heads off during the race and they were very glad to play along. Radiator Springs Racers (ride #10).




    Sure enough, our car won! And my daughter was very proud of our efforts.


    By this point, we realized that it was well after 8PM and the park would be closing in less than 2 hours. We still had 5 FPs to use at DCA, so my daughter agreed to accept a raincheck on her Pixar Pier Parfait and we went straight to TSMM. As we found throughout the trip, this was a ride where the FP line frequently backed up, sometimes being completely clogged. This was generally only a minor frustration, but was putting our chances of finishing all the FP rides in DCA that night before the park closed in jeopardy. We finally made it on to the ride a little before 9, and enjoyed shooting, tossing, and flinging our way through the games. Toy Story Midway Mania (ride #11).


    As usual, I finished with the higher score, but my daughter had the better accuracy. Next we made our way around the pier to Goofy's Sky School (ride #12). My daughter loves these jerky rides, mostly (I suspect) because she enjoys how miserable they make me :P


    Then we hustled into the Grizzly Peak area, which is also really cool at night. Our first stop there was Grizzly River Run (ride #13). We didn't get too wet and it was a fun ride, but my daughter decided she did not like it quite as much as Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom (I agree). Next we proceeded to Soarin' (ride #14). Park close was fast approaching, but fortunately the FP line was short and we were almost immediately ushered not only to the theater, but placed in Row B1. Great luck, followed by a great flight.

    By the time we exited Soarin' it was 9:56 and the park was closing in 4 minutes. I wasn't sure we could make it to Guardians to use our last FP, but my daughter said she really wanted to try. Through a combination of jogging and sprinting, we made it right at 10:00 PM (ok, maybe 10:01). The CMs were no longer allowing guests into the standby line, but were letting folks with FPs still enter. We scanned our tickets, high fived, and then had a few moments to catch our breath before being welcomed into the Collector's private office. Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout (ride # 15) is a definite crowd pleaser.



    My daughter is a big Tower of Terror fan, so I was pretty sure she would like Guardians, and I was right. She especially enjoyed the music and all the drops. After our ride, we strolled through the now mostly empty Hollywood Land that we had been dashing through just minutes earlier.



    We were having a great night, the adrenaline was pumping, and Disneyland was still open for 2 more hours, so we decided to head across the plaza and keep the party going. Stay tuned for Chapter 4 to see how we spent the rest of the night.
     
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    mamamary

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2006
    I’m really enjoying reading your trip report. We are hoping for our first DL trip in the fall. I’m just starting to do research and came across your report. Looking forward to the rest!
     
  • Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Chapter 4: Closing Down Disneyland

    More than 20 hours after starting the day in cold, rainy New Jersey, we passed through the turnstiles at Disneyland and were yet again strolling down Main Street. Crowds were light and MaxPass showed ample FP availability for most rides in the park. I had already snagged us a FP for Space Mountain while we were back at DCA, but our return window wasn't open yet. Instead I was able to grab an immediate Splash Mountain FP, so we walked over to Critter Country. On the way we passed the second showing of Fantasmic!, which was just starting. The walkways from Adventureland and through NO Square get a little tight during the show, but once we made it through and past the F! spectators, Critter Country was pretty deserted. The Splash FP was largely superfluous as the standby line was basically empty, but we scanned in and "pretty good sure as you're born" we were soon on our log through the Briar Patch on Splash Mountain (ride #16).



    Our splashdown photo did not come through (system was down), but we didn't get too wet. This is one ride where I think the Magic Kingdom version is clearly superior, but DL Splash Mountain is infinitely better than no Splash Mountain at all. This ride always makes me happy. And since the drop at the end is the same on both coasts, my daughter was happy too.

    After Splash, my daughter reminded me that she did not get dessert at DCA and it was time for me to make good on my ice cream promises. This presented a great chance for me to continue exploring my new love affair with mobile order, so I pulled up Gibson Girl on my app and, lickety split, I had ordered our scoops. In making our way back to Main Street, we stopped at the nearly empty hub so I could snap a picture of Caroline with Walt and Mickey.


    Once we were walking down Main Street I tapped the "I'm here. Prepare my order now" button in the app, and just moments after walking into Gibson Girl a CM was calling our names at the counter to come pick up our ice cream. There were probably two dozen people in line waiting to order, so using mobile order was clearly a huge win. Seriously can't recommend it enough to anyone going to Disney, on either coast. Mobile order can be your best friend in the parks.

    We found an empty table outside Refreshment Corner to sit down and enjoy our ice cream. It was nice to spend a few minutes off our feet. I asked my daughter if she wanted to call it a night and go back to the hotel, but she fiercely declined and said that she still needed to ride Space Mountain and Star Tours. At this point our Space Mountain FP window was open and I was able to reserve a Star Tours FP as well via MaxPass, so we headed over to Tomorrowland.

    Space Mountain (ride #17) is one of my daughter's favorites at Magic Kingdom, and I have been telling her for years that Disneyland's is even better, so she was really looking forward to this ride. She loved the music and the fact that we could sit in seats side by side; I enjoy how smooth it is compared to the WDW version. In any event, it was a big hit.



    Despite our jetlag, our fellow riders were apparently even more tired than we were :rotfl2:

    As midnight (and park close) was fast approaching, we walked next door to Star Tours (ride #18) for our flight with the rebel spy.



    An oldie, but a goodie. And I like how they keep adding new scenes to keep the ride fresh. Once we exited Star Tours, it was midnight and the park was closing. We made our way down Main Streets to the exits more than 22 hours after our day had begun on the other side of the country.


    It was an awesome first day. We got to spend quality time in both parks and experience nearly all of the "big" rides. In fact, largely with the help of MaxPass, we were able to ride all of the FP rides at DCA and nearly every one of them at DL (all but Buzz and Small World). Not too shabby for folks who arrived at LAX after the parks opened that morning and took a 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon. ::yes:: We were very grateful that we had such a short walk back to our hotel (from Main Street to our room in just 10 minutes) and both of us crashed immediately into our beds. After all, we were planning to be at the front of RD at DL the next morning and needed our rest.

    Stay tuned for Chapter 5 to hear about our Sunday morning visit to Neverland and beyond.

    Day 1 Statistics
    Parks visited: DL and DCA
    Rides: 18 (all different, no repeats)
    Progress towards goal of riding every ride at DLR: 18/48
    Miles walked (according to my Fitbit): 13.55
     
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    whoever

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2013
    Awesome TR, but when I read the title, I thought..."Isn't that going to be a short trip?" There's only one ride in Disneyland.
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    I’m really enjoying reading your trip report. We are hoping for our first DL trip in the fall. I’m just starting to do research and came across your report. Looking forward to the rest!
    Thanks @mamamary . We are East Coasters and usually go to WDW, but this was such a nice change of pace and scenery for us. My daughter loved California Adventure, and I found MaxPass to be easy to use and really helped us maximize rides on our trip. Happy to help with any tips or advice as you're planning for your trip if I can be of help.

    Awesome TR, but when I read the title, I thought..."Isn't that going to be a short trip?" There's only one ride in Disneyland.
    @whoever :rotfl:
     

    mamamary

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2006
    Thanks @mamamary . We are East Coasters and usually go to WDW, but this was such a nice change of pace and scenery for us. My daughter loved California Adventure, and I found MaxPass to be easy to use and really helped us maximize rides on our trip. Happy to help with any tips or advice as you're planning for your trip if I can be of help.



    @whoever :rotfl:
    Thanks Greg for the offer of help. I am an east coaster also and have only done WDW. When planning those trips I’d always use easywdw for trip planning. Is there a similar sight for Disneyland that has all information in one place? Thx
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Thanks Greg for the offer of help. I am an east coaster also and have only done WDW. When planning those trips I’d always use easywdw for trip planning. Is there a similar sight for Disneyland that has all information in one place? Thx
    @mamamary , I have looked for such a resource for DL and haven't found it. I had to gather information from several different places. I have found the boards here quite helpful, particularly @HydroGuy 's A DLR Guide for WDW Vets. I would definitely read through that if you haven't yet. While there are several really good websites for WDW, I think the same caliber of site is missing for DL, perhaps largely because it is more of a "local's park" than WDW, which is mostly a tourist destination.
     

    mamamary

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2006
    @mamamary , I have looked for such a resource for DL and haven't found it. I had to gather information from several different places. I have found the boards here quite helpful, particularly @HydroGuy 's A DLR Guide for WDW Vets. I would definitely read through that if you haven't yet. While there are several really good websites for WDW, I think the same caliber of site is missing for DL, perhaps largely because it is more of a "local's park" than WDW, which is mostly a tourist destination.
    Great. Thx so much. Starting to get excited even though we are in the very beginning of planning!
     

    Greg Lembrich

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    Sunday April 14 (Day 2)

    Chapter 5: A Sunday Morning in Fantasyland

    After several hours of satisfying sleep, we were back up before dawn to go to Rope Drop at Disneyland. The plan for the morning was to be among the first into the park and make our way through most of the rides in Fantasyland before the lines got too long. Not only was it the heart of Spring Break season, but it was also a Dapper Day and Food & Wine was still going on at DCA, so we were anticipating significant crowds in the parks. I was also planning to keep one eye on the ongoing Masters as well. I am a big Tiger Woods fan and was excited that he was in contention going into the final round. With rain predicted later in the day in Georgia, tee times were moved up and (with the three hour time difference), I knew that most of the action would be taking place during our morning of touring around DL.

    We breezed through security and arrived at the DL entrance around 7:00 AM. While we were definitely not the first to arrive, we were at the front of our line at the turnstiles. Off to a good start.



    Once the gates open we moved efficiently through Main Street and were front and center at the rope to the right of the Hub, well positioned for the dash to Fantasyland. Based on the great advice from Rob (@WonkaKid ), we had a strong strategy for getting to Peter Pan as quickly as possible. Once the rope dropped, everyone around us took off in a sprint. No one around us was even pretending to speedwalk, and no CMs were saying anything, so my daughter and I ran as fast as we could. We were not the first to arrive, but we arrived ahead of most of the stampeding herd and had no wait to board Peter Pan's Flight (ride #19). After our journey through Neverland, we proceeded directly to Alice in Wonderland (ride #20).



    My daughter really liked Alice, and was especially entertained by the Unbirthday Party scene. Next we walked over to the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (ride #21).



    We wanted to do this ride early since I know that lines can really build later in the day since the subs can take awhile to load. My daughter enjoyed being in a "real sub" and going underwater. After resurfacing, we decided to visit Toad Hall. On the way there, we ran into the real life @WonkaKid , and my daughter and I had a quick chance to thank him for his RD advice and mailing the park maps to us a few weeks before. He was on his way to Buzz to rack up some high scores, of course.

    We had a delightful trip on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (ride #22), and my daughter expressed surprise that the Magic Kingdom ever would have removed it in favor of Winnie the Pooh. I couldn't help but agree. We had left the hotel that morning before the free breakfast was open, so we were starting to get pretty hungry. I ordered our breakfast via mobile order as we waited for our turn on Dumbo (ride #23).





    After our elephant came in for a landing, we walked over to Red Rose Taverne for our breakfast. It was ready for pickup right away, and we both enjoyed our pancakes, bacon, and eggs.

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    Now that we were feeling fueled up, we continued our touring next door at Pinocchio's Daring Journey (ride # 24), which was a walk on. With that ride complete, we had now experienced half of the 48 operating rides at DLR. 24 more to go!

    Our next stop was the Storybook Land Canal Boats (ride #25). My daughter loved sailing into Monstro's mouth and also admiring all of the small fairy tale villages.



    We then made our way to It's a Small World (ride #26), where we used our first FP of the day. While similar to the WDW version, my daughter liked how the DL Small World incorporated some Disney characters into the ride.



    Once our cruise was complete, we walked into Tomorrowland and used our next FP at Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (ride #27). Neither of us has ever really had much success on the Magic Kingdom version of Buzz, and our luck proved no better at Disneyland. I attribute my failure to my lingering bitterness over Buzz replacing Delta Dreamflight at WDW :sad2:



    Next up was a return trip on the Matterhorn (this time via FP), our first repeat ride of the trip. We ended up on line in the middle of a large group all dressed up for Dapper Day, which was fun.



    While certain parts of the park were feeling crowded, it wasn't too packed, and the lines were still all very reasonable. I think most of the folks there for Dapper Day were not too focused on rides, especially ones that would be difficult with their attire. There was also ample availability for all rides on MaxPass, so I grabbed us a FP for Space Mountain to use before lunch, at which point I planned to again start stacking for the evening.

    Along with many others in the park that day, I was also closely monitoring the events going on across the country in Augusta, Georgia. I became a golf fan because of Tiger Woods, and have been rooting for his comeback efforts for several years, so I wanted to keep at least one eye on the Masters as he was in the hunt on the final day. Fortunately I was able to keep up with the leaderboard, and even pull up live action from the CBS Sports app. I always carry two smartphones with me while touring the parks, so I was able to have the Masters on one and my Disney-related apps on the other without missing a beat.

    It was a gorgeous day and, because of the early tee times that day, Tiger and the other contenders were coming into the final few holes. I wanted to be able to watch most of the rest of the action, so I deliberately looked for a ride with a long line that we had not gone on yet. Autopia was the winner. The wait time was 40 minutes and I would get to spend that time basking in the sun and watching golf. An all-around win. :sunny:

    My daughter and I had previously agreed that Tomorrowland Speedway is the worst ride at WDW. She had been very excited to drive it for the first time on our previous Spring Break trip, and was very let down by how slow it went and how difficult it was to steer. I told her that Autopia (ride #28) would be a little better, but not much. So at least she went in with reasonable expectations. By the time we climbed aboard our car, Tiger had taken the lead.





    My daughter was again frustrated by how difficult it was to steer the car, but she at least preferred the scenery on Autopia. I also think the ride reeks a bit less of gasoline than its Florida counterpart.

    Stay tuned for Chapter 6, where Tiger wins, we celebrate with a ride through space, and then have adventures on and around Tom Sawyer Island.
     
    Last edited:

    WonkaKid

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2009
    Sunday April 14 (Day 2)

    We wanted to do this ride early since I know that lines can really build later in the day since the subs can take awhile to load. My daughter enjoyed being in a "real sub" and going underwater. After resurfacing, we decided to visit Toad Hall. On the way there, we ran into the real life @WonkaKid , and my daughter and I had a quick chance to thank him for his RD advice and mailing the park maps to us a few weeks before. He was on his way to Buzz to rack up some high scores, of course.
    Great post! Thank you for the shout-out and for taking the time to say hello at the park. It was great to meet you both. Glad to hear you had a great time!
     

    momtohms

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2012
    Loving your TR so far! Especially hearing all of your experiences with max pass & mobile ordering - it sounds like both are the way to go! Looking forward to reading more :)
     

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