Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disneyland > Disneyland Trip Reports
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 11-14-2012, 02:12 PM   #1
WeatherbySwann
Cacaw rawr
 
WeatherbySwann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,193

Talking "Let's Choose a Swinging Car, It Doesn't Look Bad" First-Time DLR TR July 2012

Hi, everyone. This will be a trip report of my family's first-ever Disneyland trip after many Walt Disney World vacations. We spent most of the time at DLR, but also visited the Reagan Library and took Adventures by Disney's Lights, Camera, Magic tour, so those will be included along the way, as well.

The logistics
Who's traveling: Me and my two grandparents
The occasion: My graduation
Accommodations: Howard-Johnson

I will get to the title's meaning eventually in the trip report. It is worth the wait.

Everybody ready? Please take small children by the hand and stand clear of the doors. Por favor mantenganse alejado de las---oh wait, wrong coast...


Table of Contents
Day 1 - Traveling and Downtown DisneyDay 2 - DisneylandDay 3 - Disney California Adventure and DisneylandDay 4 - Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation
featuring D23's Treasures of the Disney ArchivesDay 5 - Adventures by Disney's Lights, Camera, Magic
featuring Hollywood and the Walt Disney StudiosDay 6 - Disney California AdventureDay 7 - Disneyland



Part 1: Be Our Guest
Day 1
Traveling
Downtown Disney


I was thrilled to finally be visiting Disneyland, the place Walt had built, seen, and experienced himself. I was definitely excited to see all of the expansion of California Adventure, but I was more excited for just being in new Disney territory in general. I knew there would be plenty of similarities to WDW, but I also knew there would be many unique things and was so excited to walk through new (to me) Disney parks.



Warning: the first portion of our trip was decidedly unmagical. But thankfully it was out of the way and the rest of the vacation was wonderful. Our flight was on a Monday morning, which unbeknownst to us is typically one of the busiest travel periods of the week. We arrived early enough for most flights, but since it was Monday morning there were delays and crowds, prompting a sprint to catch the plane! [Insert Home Alone music.]

The flight was fine (there were quite a few hidden Mickeys in those crop circles ) and actually turned out being a little shorter than we expected.

Next for the part that made me feel like with a slight touch of : the Disneyland Resort Express. What a fiasco that was. The driver didn't seem to have answers to Guests' questions, some seats on the bus were dismantled and Guests themselves had to put them in place, it seemed like it took forever to leave the airport, and absolutely no welcome video. Compared to WDW's Magical Express, the DLR Express was a joke. Definitely un-Disney service and not a great first impression at all. (Oppositely, though, our ride back to the airport at the end of the trip was the exact opposite and was one of the best examples of the Disney Difference I have ever experienced, so I guess it just depends. I'm very glad the poor service was at the beginning of the trip and not the end, though, because I was so excited that I was going to Disneyland that I somewhat didn't care how I got there.)

Anyway, the first Disney sighting to be had was the Tower of Terror! It was truly like nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.... woah the Tower of Terror, when did that get there?!

After dropping off at the DLR hotels, we headed toward the offsites including the HoJo. It quickly became clear, as I had read on the DIS, that offsite was not the same term I was familiar dealing with in Florida. For WDW, offsite means alienated from the Disney magic as you watch everyone else ride monorails and Disney motor coaches. DL offsite was more like a backyard view of the park even closer than the Contemporary is to the Magic Kingdom! From inside our HoJo room we could hear the train whistle and Tomorrowland background music, which I thought was just awesome. (It was at a level where you could hear it if you were listening, but could easily tune it out if you wanted quiet.) The rooms were comparable to a WDW moderate resort--comfy beds, fridge, coffee maker, porch. I felt the atmosphere was less than that of a WDW value resort, but you're really paying for location (about $150 a night in peak summer when we visited, pretty reasonable especially compared to DLR hotels). I soon grew to love being able to walk 10 mins back to the room instead of waiting for a crowded bus ride like at WDW.


Our first day was meant to be just an exploration day--I didn't want to waste a full Park day with just a few hours, and knew we would want to look around anyway, so we headed to Downtown Disney. Passing through the Esplanade was surreal for sure. It's one thing to drive a couple of hours from home and be in WDW, but an entire other psychological beast altogether to fathom I was at my own house all the way across the country that morning and at that moment I was setting eyes on Disneyland. DISNEYLAND.

We entered World of Disney first. At the beginning of any Disney trip, I feel like you're still pinching yourself that you're actually there, and thus want to take pictures of everything. So I have pictures of things that I saw in World of Disney that I thought were really cool, but didn't want to buy lol






I love this shirt, but... does it really make sense anywhere but Florida? The parade doesn't start at 3:00 in Disneyland! Or did it once used to?


My family has a plush Perry the Platypus that we carry around in the Parks and pose in different fun places, sort of like Flat Stanley. We just think his expression is so funny that it makes any picture of him immediately funny even if the picture wouldn't have been funny in the first place. Perry was very humbled when he saw the display of his merchandise in World of Disney:



We strolled around Downtown Disney a bit more, popping in and out of stores and soaking in atmosphere but not really looking for or buying anything in particular. We quickly discovered that we wouldn't need nearly as much time walking around as we thought... we soon came to the end of all we wanted to see with a few hours to spare before our Rainforest Cafe reservations. I was afraid they wouldn't be able to be changed, but another thing learned about DL--dining is not such a big deal, again as I had read here on the DIS. Not only were we able to change our reservation, but a table was available within 10 minutes of our inquiry!

I like Rainforest Cafe, but eating there this time made me realize it sort of loses its touch after the first visit (for me at least). The food was good--I got the ravioli--but admittedly a bit overpriced and not something I would go back specifically to eat. We ate upstairs, right up close with an elephant.


Even though it was around 4:00 by the time our meal was done, we were dead tired and decided to turn in early for the night. (And without a Park ticket for that day, it wasn't like we could do much more anyway.) We all fell asleep very quickly and probably got close to 13 hours of sleep! The fireworks did wake me up, but I'm not going to lie--being woken up by the sound of a Disney chorus singing "Magical" in the distance is pretty sweet, if one must be woken up. It really solidified that I was actually there and made me smile before I drifted back to sleep.

We woke up bright and early the following morning to head to Disneyland! We chose to use or Magic Morning later in the trip, so for the first Park day we entered at 8 a.m. We ate at Millie's on Harbor Blvd. on the way to the Park... it was good I guess, I honestly don't even remember what I ate because I was so excited. I do remember it was filled with Disney plushes everywhere, though.


I thought it was cool how you can see the Tower of Terror from right outside the HoJo.

We approached the Esplanade... went through the security check... passed through the turnstiles... here it was. Entering Disneyland for the first time is a moment I will never forget. We took our picture in front of the Mickey floral and walked toward the left entrance tunnel, and at that moment an instrumental version of Be Our Guest starts playing on the loudspeakers. Wowww. It was all I could do to keep it together. This was Walt's dream come true. This was the original. This was Disneyland. And I was about to step into its magic for the first time.

__________________

Last edited by WeatherbySwann; 03-14-2013 at 10:08 PM.
WeatherbySwann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
ttig34
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Nevada
Posts: 324

Enjoying your trip so far- looking forward to more.
ttig34 is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 11-14-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
LVdisneyChick
Mouseketeer
 
LVdisneyChick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 286

Luv the title, can't wait to hear the story
__________________
LVdisneyChick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #4
WeatherbySwann
Cacaw rawr
 
WeatherbySwann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,193

Part 2: A Whole New World
Day 2, Part 1
Parks

We passed through the entrance railroad tunnel, Be Our Guest playing on BGM, welcoming us into an almost-empty Town Square. Despite the fact that MM had started an hour earlier and it was now 8:00 opening time for regular Guests, we entered probably around 8:03ish, so we missed the rope drop rush, meaning our walk into the Park was a calm, welcome one and not hectic. Our first stop was City Hall, which my grandparents were a little confused about because they didn't know I was retrieving our celebration buttons for my graduation and my grandmother's birthday. I thoroughly expected mine to just be a generic "I'm Celebrating!" button, as I had never seen a graduation button in the Parks, so I was pleasantly surprised when the CM presented me with a blue "Just Graduated!" button. Cool!

We exited City Hall and I pointed out Walt's apartment to my grandparents. We began to make our way to head up Main Street, when who should walk into Town Square but and ! We followed Mickey to the flag pole and were his first Guests of the day (unless you count the random little boy that jumped into our picture lol). It was the perfect beginning to the day, and a great welcome to the Park.


We headed up Main Street, where a line of Cast Members were In this picture you can see Oscar, the CM who has been at Disneyland since opening day in 1955.



I knew I wanted our first attraction to be exciting, E-Ticket-worthy, something that would blow us away, and something that we had never seen in Florida, and I figured Indiana Jones fit that bill exactly. We all loved it! Such a wonderful attraction. I really like that ride system, which is also used in Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom. While I do enjoy seeing everyone scared silly by the giant dinosaur towering over the car at AK, overall I liked the Indiana Jones utilization of the system better as a whole attraction. (My grandfather brushed his hands in my grandmother's hair when the spiders showed up)
Overall Indiana Jones rating:

We opted on waiting later for Jungle Cruise (which was a mistake, since it was closed for a refurb later in the trip). I was really surprised at the size of Adventureland. I knew it would be small, but it felt sort of cramped and squished to me. Maybe it's just me, though. Next we ventured into Tarzan's Treehouse. Some pretty cool views up there! As you can see, there were not a lot of people in Park yet at all (this was about 8:30 on a MM day)



I like the retro feel of the Swiss Family Treehouse in WDW slightly better than the dense jungle-ish tone of Tarzan, but still worthwhile for the views and fun interactive elements. My grandparents loved looking at all the plants and identifying them.
Overall Tarzan's Treehouse rating:

New Orleans Square was next up. What an AWESOME atmosphere. At this point in the morning, there honestly wasn't much going on there, but later on it would grow to become one of my favorite Disney atmospheres ever. For now, though, we headed into POTC!!! My family loves the Pirates films and of course enjoy the ride, and I was especially intrigued with Disneyland's version being so much longer than WDW's. While I did like the extra scenes (particularly the bayou), I thought the pacing was sort of bizarre. At WDW, you go down the hill and are immediately immersed in the action of the ship battle. At DL, the first drop was brilliant. Go down the hill, and you're in the dark grotto with the Yo Ho song playing joyously. (SO COOL!) But the 2nd drop I felt was awkward. You go down the hill, go through some more dark grotto, and then slowly make your way to the battle scene. Still an excellent ride of course, but I thought that transition was sort of strange.
Overall Pirates of the Caribbean rating:


Moving right along, we went right down the path and continued successively with more attractions, all with no wait at all: Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Winnie the Pooh.

Overall Haunted Mansion rating:
Classic ride, such great fun, loved the exterior.



Overall Splash Mountain rating:
If I wasn't familiar with the WDW version, I would have immensely enjoyed it. However, since I've been on WDW's, I was surprisingly disappointed by DL's. I didn't expect there to be much difference, but I was truly shocked when the log ascended the final lift hill because I couldn't believe it was already over. It felt like it had just gotten started! I also thought the arrangement of Guests in the log was slightly uncomfortable and prefer the side-by-side seating in Florida.

Overall Pooh rating:
The scenes were in a different order than WDW's and while I don't have a problem with the idea of them being different, I thought their order didn't really make sense. It was also unnecessary for the ride vehicle to tilt back and forth the entire ride--at WDW, it only does this in the flood scene, which gives the illusion that you're floating on water, but it completely defeated the purpose with the effect being used for the whole ride. It also diminished the bouncing effect of Tigger's scene.


Next up, Tom Sawyer Island! I guess I was expecting more Pirates presence than there was considering all the hype I had seen surrounding the refurb a couple of years ago, but to me it felt more like traditional Tom Sawyer with the occasional pirate element tossed in--that was completely fine for me, it just wasn't what I expected. We roamed around a bit--so cool being on the Fantasmic stage! Disney does a great job of hiding everything, because there is not a trace of Fantasmic on the entire island. It really made me wonder where everything was stored! Quick question about the island, though--did we miss something? Like I said, I didn't see as much Pirates stuff as I thought, but I could have sworn seeing stuff a while back about Will Turner's blacksmith shop and Davy Jones' chest being on the island somewhere, but we searched high and low for those and couldn't find anything. Are these things no longer there, was I imagining their existence, or did we just not look hard enough?
Overall Tom Sawyer Island rating:





By now, it was about 11 and time for our reservations at Cafe Orleans! We requested a table outside, and I'm so glad we did because it truly opened my eyes to the brilliance of New Orleans Square. At this point there were quite a bit of people in the Park, making our view a busy sea of Guests going to and fro, accentuated by a horizon of landmarks (Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder) + the kinetics of the activity on the Rivers of America (with the Mark Twain and Davy Crockett canoes all gliding across the water) + the ambiance of atmospheric musicians (a jazz band began our meal and was switched out for a rustic pirate band). It is truly every essential element that should be present for an atmosphere to work in a magical capacity.



And the meal itself! My grandmother and I both ordered a plate each of the monte cristo and immediately saw that one plate would have been plenty to split! We brought a lot back to the hotel. The fries were excellent, as well. I would absolutely go back without thinking twice, and unlike Rainforest Cafe, I thought the meaty price was justified by a superb meal.
Overall Cafe Orleans rating:

Next we headed to Big Thunder to use our Fastpasses we had retrieved before lunch. What fun! I have absolutely no way of knowing if this is true, but it seemed like DL's version was faster and longer than WDW's. Also definitely lots more animals! I thought those were neat. One thing that disappointed me, though, was the way you could so easily see some of backstage from various parts of the ride. I know Disneyland doesn't have Utilidors, but surely there is some way to hide backstage from plain view on the rides! I didn't see anything that destroyed the magic (in fact there was really nothing to see at all other than maybe a car or two), but I was onstage and I could see backstage, which shouldn't be the case.
Overall Big Thunder Mountain rating:

We went back to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree to check if any characters were around, and indeed we found three of the Country Bears and Donald Duck standing around with nobody in line to see them! I found this amusing considering on our last WDW trip, I found Wendell the Country Bear all alone by himself in a random part of Animal Kingdom (very strange!), and now here I found him again in an obscure part of the Park with no one around, either. The bears expressed their sadness for not having their show in DL anymore, while Donald criticized my absence of Donald pins.



It was nearing time for our mid-day hotel break, as we knew we couldn't go go go all day every day if we wanted to keep our sanity for the entirety of the trip. We hopped on the monorail "just because," not really for any specific reason other to say than we had ridden it. Fun, but not essential. Great view from the station, though! We made a round-trip since that would be quicker than getting off at the Downtown Disney station for us.


Before exiting the Park, we stopped to meet some characters in Town Square. We caught up with Gepetto (haven't seen him in years!), as well as Chip and Dale. Chip loved Perry, which is cool considering he did the exact same thing in Florida! Must have remembered him.

California:

Florida:




We exited the Park and made it back to the HoJo for a couple hours of naps and rest. We needed our rest, as later we'd need the energy for something Soundsational...
__________________
WeatherbySwann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 07:35 PM   #5
Riniel
Mouseketeer
 
Riniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 183

Great TR so far! Love the creative use of emoticons

One note, the DL Express bus is not actually run by Disney, unlike ME which is. So the employees and buses are not Disney at all. Weird I know, but that probably explains your issues on the first bus.
__________________
Disney Trips: July '94-WDW, July '04-DL, Aug '06-WDW, July '08-DL, Oct '11-DL, Feb '12-DL, May
'12-DL, Aug '12 WDW, Dec '12 DL, July '13 Canadian Club 33 trip!!
Riniel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 01:47 PM   #6
WeatherbySwann
Cacaw rawr
 
WeatherbySwann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,193

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riniel View Post
Great TR so far! Love the creative use of emoticons

One note, the DL Express bus is not actually run by Disney, unlike ME which is. So the employees and buses are not Disney at all. Weird I know, but that probably explains your issues on the first bus.
Thanks!

Hmm, I guess that would make sense. Because it was certainly a bit strange! The ride back to the airport was the exact opposite, excellent service. We were the only 3 people on the entire bus, friendly driver, and a Disney movie playing to boot!
__________________
WeatherbySwann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 03:19 PM   #7
WeatherbySwann
Cacaw rawr
 
WeatherbySwann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,193

Part 3: Let the Memories Begin
Day 2, Part 2
Parks

Back to Disneyland for an evening of fun. I tried to be intentional about our nighttime itineraries and plan fun things to look forward to at the end of the day. Tonight the goal was to enjoy ourselves and spend the majority of the evening on Main Street.

Upon arrival on Main Street, I expected us to eat dinner and then grab a spot for the parade, so I was surprised to see most of the street already filled with Guests waiting at 5:15 (the parade was at 6:30). I guess the mindset I had from WDW was that if there are two parades, then the second will be significantly less crowded, which I guess might be true to some extent in DL but in the busy summer months the crowds will persist anyway. I went to go get the food at Jolly Holiday Bakery while my grandparents grabbed a spot right before the Hub, which would provide a perfect view as the parade came toward us.



I knew I would take a liking to Jolly Holiday Bakery, but I wasn't expecting to thoroughly enjoy it as much as I did. It fits right in on Main Street! A wonderful addition. I really liked the nice Poppins touches everywhere, the background music was spot-on, and the cold, breezy temperature inside was very indicative of a nanny blowing in at any moment (though I'm not sure if that was intentional or not!). The food was great, too. I got the tomato caprese sandwich. It was quite a colossal thing, but not in the sense that the Cafe Orleans meal was. I had to stretch my mouth to fit the sandwich in, but I was definitely able to finish it all. The chips were really good, too--they seemed to be thicker than most chips. We enjoyed the meal so much we came back later in the trip to get the same sandwich. (I recently found a local bread place that has a similar sandwich. Score.) Among the theme, the food, and the very reasonable price, I'd put Jolly Holiday Bakery as one of my favorite Disney restaurants.
Overall Jolly Holiday Bakery rating:


Next up, the parade! The All-American College Band performed before the parade stepped out and they were pretty good. They really got into their performance!

I had heard a lot about Soundsational, mostly glowing compliments, so I was very much looking forward to seeing it in person. I had stayed away from any YouTube videos, though I did see some of it on the ABC Christmas Day broadcast last year, so I somewhat knew what to expect but still didn't know all the surprises. Finally the parade music started on the loudspeakers and..... the parade is coming from the other direction. Still a decent view, but not the awesome perspective I had hoped for. But oh, well. At least I learned my lesson about asking which direction the parade came from (oh wait, no I didn't, I did the same thing later at DCA )

Regardless, the parade was AWESOME. One of the best Disney processions I've seen in a long time. Theme, details, music, characters ....all of it was top-notch and very entertaining. Since for the majority that was the first time we had seen most of those characters on this trip, it really felt like an official welcome to the vacation, as if we didn't already know we were really there. Let the memories begin!
Overall Mickey's Soundsational Parade rating:



I think Simba needs a haircut, though!


After the parade, we took our time exploring Main Street. Very cool to see Steve Martin's portrait in the Magic Shop. After having fun with some of the interactive things in the shops (like the phones, etc.) we headed into Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. No sign of Voices of Liberty unfortunately, I guess they had left for the day by that point. We looked around the Disneyland Gallery and the Lincoln preshow for a bit, but I wish we stayed longer (or at least long enough to see all of the video montage about the Park's history). That's just an excuse to go back, right? I was very impressed by Great Moments moreso that I thought I would be. I guess I just thought it would be restricted to him simply giving a speech and that be all, so I enjoyed everything else. Didn't expect them to bust out Golden Dreams from Epcot!
Overall Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln rating:


Adventure is out there! (Up, anyone?)



George Lucas. The irony.

Next we detoured from Main Street for a while and took the train to check out Magic, Memories, & You. Again, something I thought I would like moderately and ended up loving, especially the soundtrack. The decidedly non-flat surface of Small World made it a bit cumbersome at times, but that was probably because we watched from way too close (right near the Small World gift shop). Didn't see our pictures anywhere (but the trip wasn't over yet... )
Overall Magic, Memories & You rating:

After the show we migrated along with everyone else to grab a spot in front of the Castle for the fireworks. It was a madhouse. People everywhere We nestled into a decent spot right in front of Astro Orbiter, but I was concerned because our view was blocked of the Castle. I guess being a WDW vet, from what I had seen before, the Castle was an integral part of the fireworks show and the Castle with fireworks was practically the face of a Disney vacation. So, we ditched the first spot in favor on another one sort of near Jolly Holiday Bakery where we could see the Castle. Should have stuck with the first spot.

We observed earlier that we really liked the abundance of trees and greenery all over the Park, and that it added a charm to Disneyland that WDW really didn't have. Well, those trees are great during the day, but at nighttime they directly block the fireworks viewing! Most of the fireworks seemed to be based toward the left of the Castle, with the Castle not being the centerpiece of the show--still lighting effects on the Castle and things like that, but not nearly as integral to the show as in WDW and not the focal point of a preferred viewing spot. Here's a quick video to see more of what I'm talking about with the trees...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R42aEE0Bx50

So another lesson learned: when the Hub is a crazy madfest of people and the Cast Members are constantly (and I mean constantly) shouting "There is more and better viewing in Town Square by the flagpole!" what they really means that... there is more and better viewing in Town Square by the flagpole!

Despite my flawed plan, the show itself was great. Definitely did not expect Tinker Bell to flippin' bounce all over the place! That was a nice surprise, I fully expected her to just fly in a straight line. It was especially cool given the fact that fireworks were exploding every which way right around her as she flew in the middle of all of them. The Mary Poppins segment sparked a small, tiny memory from a similar segment of an old WDW fireworks show from when I was really little.
Overall Magical! rating:

Needless to say, we were pretty beat despite our nap earlier. We headed back to the HoJo (no massive post-fireworks line to wait in to get on a bus ) and get some shut-eye. Much awaited tomorrow. We were scheduled to participate in a big local race...
__________________
WeatherbySwann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
heaven2dc
DIS Veteran
 
heaven2dc's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: California
Posts: 3,311

Loving your TR! I have always wondered what the differences might be between WDW and DL on some of the more popular attractions like Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion. I haven't visited DL since 1983 but I did like DL's version of HM better than WDW. Hopefully since I am now living in So California that I can visit DL for Christmas (my kids will all be back East so this will be my first "alone" Christmas and a DL visit would be fun).
__________________
The "C" Family
DM DS36 DGD2 DD34 DGS6 DGD1 DS31 DS27 DS20


WDW Trips: March 1997 (BWV), February 2008 (BWV), December 2008 (BWV), Nov/Dec 2010 (BWV)

Disneyland Trips: September 1983, AP Holder July 2013 (twice), August 2013 & November 2013

All Our Dreams Come True If We Have the Courage To Pursue Them - Walt Disney
heaven2dc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #9
WeatherbySwann
Cacaw rawr
 
WeatherbySwann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,193

Part 5: Welcome to Radiator Springs
Day 3, Part 2
Parks


Walking into Cars Land... talk about surreal. It looks exactly like the movie. The Imagineers have done an excellent job. I know we say it with everything they do, but this time they have truly outdone themselves. Wow.


Crowds were not the sardine mess I expected based on the Fastpass experience.

Up first was just some leisurely strolling and exploring. I didn't want to rush right into the attractions quite yet. And what better way to be welcomed to town than by Mater himself! We stopped and met him at the Cozy Cone Motel. Him and Lightning seemed to switch off pretty much all day long, even well into the night. There was never a time that I didn't see either of them meeting Guests there. They talk, but the dialogue is sort of awkward. It's just random phrases, not live conversation, and the mouths are clearly not moving, so to me it felt like the talking made the characters seem less real than more real. But that's just my opinion, if I was a little kid I'd probably think it was the coolest thing ever. I'm really, really glad Lightning and Mater drive through the town on the way to their meet & greet instead of just staying put all day. It adds an extra level of believability, much like seeing Mickey in Toontown, that makes Cars Land seem all the more real. Hopefully more citizens of Radiator Springs will make their way to the Park soon.


It was so cool to watch everyone's faces as Lightning drove through town.

Still getting over the fact that I was actually in Radiator Springs, we arrived at Flo's V8 Cafe for breakfast. I got the brioche French toast. Very good! Not very filling, but I knew snacktime would be soon, and it was still very tasty. I'd recommend breakfast at Flo's simply to avoid monster dinner rush-type crowds. We ate around 9:30, had speedy service, and were able to choose where we sat from many empty tables. The smaller crowds allowed us to appreciate the atmosphere in a way we might not have been able to do during peak dining hours.
Overall Flo's V8 Cafe rating:




After breakfast, we explored some more for a good 40 minutes. So much fun detail to soak in! We stopped by Ramone's, Lizzy's, and Sarge's. I ended up buying some DCA pins and my grandmother bought the Cars Land soundtrack because she liked the background music so much (GREAT album). We took our time and enjoyed looking around, and even ran into Red the fire truck all by himself over near the path to a bug's land. Even though his show was having issues when we visited (anybody know if it ever get around to performing??), I'm glad Disney still kept Red as a meetable character. I'd definitely recommend some time in Cars Land to not schedule anything specifically, but to just stroll around and enjoy. Not only does this embody the whole theme of Cars, but there is also so much to look at that you'll have lots of fun exploring.




I really didn't understand this hat. I'm all for fun Disney headgear, but... ??? Which brings me to another WDW/DL comparison: I noticed a lot less silly Disney outfits and hats. This might have to do with (though this is just a guess) Disneyland being a more local resort than WDW, meaning WDW Guests are more likely out-of-town tourists who want to buy something and wear it to commemorate their trip, whereas locals to DL don't have a need to buy as many things because they'll be back soon. That's just speculation, though. I saw so little headgear that I felt out-of-place wearing my graduation Mickey hat to the character breakfast on the last day and ended up leaving it in the hotel room, something that I would not have hesitated to wear at WDW because everyone would be wearing similar items.


This was about 10:30, crowds still very reasonable, but keep in mind RSR was still not open.


Next up, the plan was to experience either Luigi's Flying Tires or Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, or maybe both if the lines were ok. Luigi's was 75 mins, so we opted to check back later, but Mater's was 30 so we hopped in line. Ordinarily I honestly would not have waited so long for either attraction if it were just the attraction itself, but I really wanted to experience all that Cars Land had to offer and especially wanted to look at all the details the Imagineers placed in the queue. Lots of fun stuff in both for sure!

Something that really brings extra value to Mater's is the music. It's Mater singing random songs, but they describe his personality to a tee and make for a nice background to the ride as it spins. My grandparents loved the "Big Bulldozer" song and were singing it the rest of the trip. I later found out the Billy and the Hillbillies from Frontierland performed the music for the songs. Very neat.
Overall Mater's Junkyard Jamboree rating:


Next up, we exited Radiator Springs for the time being and checked out the Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar. Before entering, I took a shot of the now-pretty-dense Cars Land. This was around 11:15, just 45 minutes after the previous crowd picture.


I guess I expected the Blue Sky Cellar to be a bit bigger for whatever reason, but in any case I am really glad it's still in use despite the fact that the expansion is complete and there is nothing left still in development. It focuses on the creation of Cars Land, both real in the Imagineering sense and fictitious within the Cars story. You could really spend a long time searching around. The new short Time Travel Mater plays, as do several behind-the-scenes videos. I loved the Radiator Springs newspaper... part of it said, Tow truck Mater said he had never seen a firetruck do anything like that. "Mostly," Mater added, "because I ain't never done seen a firetruck." I had never really thought about the truly colossal amount of work that goes into developing something for the Disney Parks, as the displays here shed some insight on. Sure, I had thought about creating stories and engineering the attractions, but I had never considered that everything down to paint selection and CM costumes' fabric choice are part of it. Lots of hard work!!
Overall Blue Sky Cellar rating:

And now, on to soak in the sights and sounds of California Adventure's other newest crowning jewel: Buena Vista Street.
__________________
WeatherbySwann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2013, 03:02 AM   #10
dgmommie
Mouseketeer
 
dgmommie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 270

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeatherbySwann View Post
[B]They talk, but the dialogue is sort of awkward. It's just random phrases, not live conversation, and the mouths are clearly not moving, so to me it felt like the talking made the characters seem less real than more real.
Last week we were at Disneyland, and wanted pictures with Mater. We stood in line and while there they changed Mater out for McQueen, so that's who our picture was with. I took the picture of my daughter and husband, telling the cast member that I didn't want in the picture. After I took their picture, McQueen nagged me (in a good way) until I got in the picture too. It was hilarious, and definitely not random phrases - it was a live for certain.
__________________
Feb. 1992 - WDW Caribbean Beach, Big Red Boat (Disney cruise), Nov. 2000 - WDW Caribbean Beach, Feb. 2002 - WDW All Star Sports, Polynesian, Sep. 2003 - WDW Polynesian, Dec. 2004 - WDW Pop Century, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Oct. 2005 - WDW Pop Century, May 2006 - Disneyland, Mar. 2007 - WDW Pop Century, WDW Coronado Springs, DCL Wonder, Nov. 2007 - DCL Wonder, Dec. 2008 - Disneyland, Dec. 2009 - DCL Wonder, Mar. 2011 - WDW Pop Century, DCL Dream, July 2012 - DCL Fantasy - GOLD CASTAWAY CLUB MEMBERS NOW!!!, Dec. 2012 - Disneyland, Feb. 2013 - DCL Magic, WDW (cruise stop), Mar. 2014 - DCL Fantasy
dgmommie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2013, 04:07 PM   #11
WeatherbySwann
Cacaw rawr
 
WeatherbySwann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,193

Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven2dc View Post
Wow....I haven't been on that ride yet but Mickey's Fun Wheel (of Death) sure does look scary!! It it supposed to swing like that? I'm afraid of heights and think I would react like she did when it starts swinging
Yes, it is supposed to do that. You can choose swinging or non-swinging. Swinging glides on the rail it's attached to whenever the ferris wheel moves, and non-swinging stays stationary while going around the wheel. We certainly didn't expect it to pack as much thrill as it does!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgmommie View Post
Last week we were at Disneyland, and wanted pictures with Mater. We stood in line and while there they changed Mater out for McQueen, so that's who our picture was with. I took the picture of my daughter and husband, telling the cast member that I didn't want in the picture. After I took their picture, McQueen nagged me (in a good way) until I got in the picture too. It was hilarious, and definitely not random phrases - it was a live for certain.
I guess by saying random I should have rephrased... they said things like "Nice tinted windows" if someone wore shades, or said general things about pictures and smiling and that sort of thing, so they were specific to each person but still sounded soundboard-ish and not able to carry on a fluent conversation. But yours sounds too specific to be that. Interesting...
__________________
WeatherbySwann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #12
julydeya
Mouseketeer
 
julydeya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Mexico
Posts: 148

I think I am going to pass on that wheel. Don´t want to look like that girl and scare everyone
__________________
Julie Ortega °o°
julydeya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2012, 04:35 PM   #13
WeatherbySwann
Cacaw rawr
 
WeatherbySwann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,193

Part 6: I Love to Laugh
Day 3, Part 3
Parks

I didn't allow myself to see too many spoilers of all of DCA's new things because I wanted to leave the majority of it a surprise, but I did do some research about what neat things might enhance our trip. One of these things was Clarabelle's ice cream, specifically the create-your-own ice cream bar. I sent my grandparents pictures of it a few weeks before our trip and we were all really looking forward to it. It did not disappoint! If I remember correctly, I got vanilla ice cream with milk chocolate shell, and then added chocolate chips as a topping. SO GOOD. We decided to eat outside to soak in the atmosphere, and in those moments, I fell in love with Buena Vista Street. Wow. The background music, the trolley gliding past, Chip and Dale making trouble a few paces away, and in the middle of our snack the Red Car News Boys even began their performance. And to top it all off, I was leisurely enjoying these sights and sounds all while taking in the Buena Vista Bugle. Excellent, excellent job with Buena Vista Street. Really one of the best atmospheres in any Disney Park. Food, music, live entertainment, brilliant theming... it's just all there.


Buena Vista bliss

One minor note about the Red Car News Boys... great show, but the constant modern "remix-ish" beat that accompanied almost every song was definitely not needed. To me it took away from the rest of the magic Buena Vista Street tries to convey, and it's a good enough show to not have the need for a modern element to attract an audience. It was still a great show, but the beat was distracting I felt.

After our ice cream, I spotted one of the locals and decided to talk. Donna the Dog Lady was very happy to tell me all about herself and introduce me to her dog, Lady. I introduced her to Perry and she was over the moon about him. She said Lady and Perry could be great friends. Another reason why Buena Vista Street is just brilliant.


We also met up with Mickey in his 1920s attire. In front of us in line was a little boy who was off-the-wall ecstatic about getting to meet the real Mickey Mouse. He kept jumping up and down saying things like, "I can't believe it's really him!" It really reminded me how much of a celebrity the Mouse really is. Also while in line, a family passed by and a child said, "Mommy can we meet Mickey?," to which her mom replied, "No, he's at work right now. We'll visit him later in his house when he's not working." Nice save.

Next up, we hopped on over to Disneyland (Park hopping is so much easier in California lol...). We stopped for a bit to enjoy the Dapper Dans, as I realized that although I had seen the Dapper Dans many times over the years in the Magic Kingdom, I had never actually stopped to watch one of their performances. Well that to change real fast! We caught most of their show, and they even pulled my grandmother into a few of their songs.


But what we were really hopping to Disneyland to see was, in the Mad Hatter's words, the "world-famous Disneyland musical chairs." I've been watching the crazy antics of Disneyland musical chair on YouTube for years, long before I ever dreamed I'd ever visit Disneyland, so the thought of seeing it in person was thrilling and surreal to say the least. The DIS really saved the day on this one. Back in the spring when I was making our trip plans, I asked what time musical chairs started, and just assumed that it would stay the same until our trip. At the last minute, the day before the trip, I asked again just to make sure and wouldn't you know it, the time had indeed changed. It was at 1:00 in July, not sure if that's still the case. But I really would have been bummed if we missed it, so thank you, DISboards!!

Since musical chairs isn't on the Times Guide and is really meant to be something that you stumble upon and not wait for, most people in Coke Corner were minding their business as usual. Eric, alone, approached the ragtime piano and began playing at 1:00. He played for several minutes and nothing else seemed to be happening, and for a second I feared the time had been changed again. Just when I was about to admit defeat and try again another day, I spot something approaching in the horizon... a man with a large green hat and a girl in a popping blue dress. SCORE.


The next 30 minutes was absolutely wonderful. While we weren't part of the game, we very much enjoyed watching the madness unfold. The Mad Hatter had my grandparents and I in stitches. He is such a great character in the Parks... we had breakfast with him in WDW a few years ago, and were glad he could entertain us again. For instance, in the last round, two girls were left and the Mad Hatter instructed them to follow Alice around Main Street and do everything she does. Well they went off, and the Mad Hatter turns around to talk to Eric the pianist. A few seconds later a boy comes into the musical chairs circle and starts dancing to the music, and the Mad Hatter turns around and says, "You turned into a boy!"

Afterward, Alice and the Mad Hatter held a meet & greet. They took their time with each and every Guest, whereas I would've thought they'd rush through everyone quickly since they had already been in the area for a good 30 minutes even before the meet & greet started. When it was my turn, we talked about why Perry wasn't wearing his hat today (Alice seemed very informed about Phineas and Ferb haha), they asked me which of my pins was my favorite, and a few other things. It was finally me who made the "Why don't we take a picture" comment, not them.

Next we headed back to the HoJo for a few hours of napping. I think I had some of the leftover Cafe Orleans in lieu of lunch (because there was certainly plenty of it left!).

After resting up, we re-entered California Adventure... it was Radiator Springs Racers time!!!!!!!! Based on what I had read, I was expecting a bit of a wait even though we had FastPasses... but I guess since the ride opened late on that day things were different, because we literally walked right on!! My grandparents were tripping out about walking right passed the 3-hour line of people waiting. In all honesty, a lot of RSR was spoiled for me ahead of time. Despite my best efforts to stay away, a lot of the details were simply unavoidable in my Twitter feed and such (and in a Disney 365 TV spot when they basically gave away the entire indoor portion of the ride... though I should have known better on that one). In any case, despite knowing what was coming, there were still a few surprises, and RSR is, as I'm sure you've heard by now, stellar. It combines classic Disney storytelling with the exhilaration of a thrill attraction. It’s engaging, it’s exciting, and it’s fun, with brilliant Randy Newman music from the film seamlessly woven into the ride (in a masterful way that I don’t remember ever being done before on a ride) accentuated by incredibly lifelike Audio-Animatronics figures—it’s everything a Disney attraction should be.
Overall Radiator Springs Racers rating:

We had some time to kill before World of Color and I didn't really have anything specific planned, which turned out to be somewhat of a problem because we ended up deciding to go to Little Mermaid, but then had to walk behind the end of the Pixar Play Parade to get there, slowing us down and slightly spoiling the parade when I planned on seeing it later in the trip. Our time could probably have been spent more efficiently elsewhere, but it's all good. Little Mermaid was a walk-on, even with the thick post-parade crowds pouring into it (that Omnimover system is really something!). I didn't really have any expectation for this ride... not sure why, but it amidst everything else in the trip it really wasn't at the top of the radar. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great blend of traditional Fantasyland-style storytelling with 21st-century Imagineering magic. Well done!
Overall Ariel's Adventure rating:



We ate dinner somewhere in Pacific Wharf... nothing great to be honest, in retrospect we should have gone to the Carthay Circle's first floor... I got home and realized we never even stepped foot in the Carthay Circle. Anyway. We still had some time to kill before World of Color, so I checked the Times Guide and saw that Five & Dime had a performance starting really soon. We headed over to Buena Vista Street (it was slowly becoming our favorite go-to spot!) and enjoyed their show. It was really fun, and again another great piece in the grand BVS project. I liked how they incorporated the Three Little Pigs song into their show.


It was nearing 8:00, so we headed to Paradise Pier for our World of Color FastPass return time. However, the moment we arrived around 7:55, I knew I had misjudged the situation and we should have arrived earlier. With all the protocol with RSR, I assumed Disney would be strict about the 8:00 time to let Guests in to grab a spot for World of Color. Not so, because many Guests had already been let in with 8:00 times. We still had an ok spot, but not the best. Pole was in the way... but front row!


Wow. What a show. Since World of Color (for the most part) focuses on the last 20 years' worth of Disney animation, it was practically my entire childhood wrapped up into one show. There were some scenes that I knew were going to be awesome right when they started, like the Buzz Lightyear scene (ASDFKJHSADFKJWAHFRI) and the Pirates scene. EXCELLENT show.
Overall World of Color rating:

World of Color made me realize something about Disneyland Resort that WDW really can't do. Only having two Parks, DLR has a very definitive line in dividng two distinct eras of Disney history. Disneyland recalls the classic stories and characters that gave The Walt Disney Company its groundbreaking start—stories and characters that have been beloved by families around the world for decades and are still just as beloved today. California Adventure, on the other hand, celebrates the modern face of Disney entertainment with stories and characters that fuel the Company’s growth today. It can almost be viewed as Disneyland embodies Walt’s lifetime while California Adventure exemplifies Walt’s legacy that has remained after his passing. Of course, there are several exceptions (like Buena Vista Street, for example), but for the most part, this remains true in a way that doesn't in Florida because of everything being spread out across four Parks instead of two. In this way, Disneyland Resort as a whole—with Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure—tells the complete Disney story to the Guest while Walt Disney World’s four Parks present many individual Disney experiences to the Guest. I felt a wider, more genuine appreciation for the Disney name in Disneyland Resort, perhaps because of the rich history that derives there.

After World of Color, the last thing on the agenda for the night was another ride on RSR, but this time in the single rider line. I knew I would want to ride multiple times, and also hoped it would be a slightly different experience at night. My grandparents decided to wait for me at Flo's. (Let us pause for a moment to realize how cool the essence of that sentence is.)

As I approached the single rider line, a very nice Guest approached me out of nowhere and asked if I was a single rider, to which I said yes. Honestly I thought she was going to ask where single riders were supposed to go, but instead she said she had one FastPass that her family wasn't going to use and asked if I wanted it. Awesome!! The FastPass line was, at this point, no longer a walk-on as it was earlier, but the wait was still reasonable. Probably about 30 minutes? It was insane riding at night, I highly recommend it. The kindness of the Guest giving me the FastPass made me want to be a little nicer to my fellow Guests, as well, so from that point on anytime we got FastPasses but not all of us wanted to ride (mostly for the thrill rides that my grandmother opted out of), I still used three tickets to get three FastPasses so that we had an extra to give away. Something small, and it was hit or miss whether we found anyone who wanted them, but it was fun to spread some magic ourselves, and I think that'll be a tradition I'd like to keep up in future Disney trips.

And Cars Land in general at night... dang. Words don't even describe how cool it is. You are really in the movie. It's unbelievable.

__________________
WeatherbySwann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2012, 02:54 PM   #14
julydeya
Mouseketeer
 
julydeya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Mexico
Posts: 148

__________________
Julie Ortega °o°
julydeya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2012, 09:43 PM   #15
heaven2dc
DIS Veteran
 
heaven2dc's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: California
Posts: 3,311

I can hardly wait to visit DL and CA soon! I love your style of taking in all the best attractions and yet still enjoying relaxing times like on Buena Vista Street. Did your grandparents enjoy the World of Color? How do you think this show compares to Fantasmic? Also does DL have Fantasmic still? (I'm sorry for all of the questions!)
__________________
The "C" Family
DM DS36 DGD2 DD34 DGS6 DGD1 DS31 DS27 DS20


WDW Trips: March 1997 (BWV), February 2008 (BWV), December 2008 (BWV), Nov/Dec 2010 (BWV)

Disneyland Trips: September 1983, AP Holder July 2013 (twice), August 2013 & November 2013

All Our Dreams Come True If We Have the Courage To Pursue Them - Walt Disney
heaven2dc is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:20 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

You Rated this Thread: