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Old 12-23-2012, 01:38 PM   #31
WeatherbySwann
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Originally Posted by heaven2dc View Post
It's too bad Adventures by Disney is discontinuing this tour. Is there another way to tour the Walt Disney Studios?
Fortunately there is! D23 hold several events at the Studios open to all members throughout the year. They have "50 and Fabulous" screenings of 50th-anniversary films for $5 (the screenings simply take place in the Studio theater but do not tour the Studio), or "D23 Day at the Walt Disney Studios," which is $60 and has a two-hour tour. I would imagine that D23 Day is very similar (if not shorter) than the tour we had on Lights, Camera, Magic.
Info about 2013's D23 events: http://d23.disney.go.com/events/


Adventures by Disney also hosts "Backstage Magic," which is a very, very expanded version of the tour I experienced. It's 6 days, 5 nights, and includes trips to the El Capitan Theater, Jim Henson Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering (!), and Disneyland. The price is a bit meaty at around $3,000 per person. More info: http://www.adventuresbydisney.com/me...ornia_Trip.pdf


My guesses for why Lights, Camera, Magic is being discontinued is either that not enough people are booking it, or lots of people are booking it instead of the more expensive Backstage Magic. For us, we also wanted more time to spend in Disneyland being our first trip, so pair that with Backstage Magic being so pricey... and LCM's $200 option was a no-brainer. And unfortunately that might have been its fall.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:02 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by WeatherbySwann View Post
Fortunately there is! D23 hold several events at the Studios open to all members throughout the year. They have "50 and Fabulous" screenings of 50th-anniversary films for $5 (the screenings simply take place in the Studio theater but do not tour the Studio), or "D23 Day at the Walt Disney Studios," which is $60 and has a two-hour tour. I would imagine that D23 Day is very similar (if not shorter) than the tour we had on Lights, Camera, Magic.
Info about 2013's D23 events: http://d23.disney.go.com/events/
Thanks for this info! I'll def look into this and D23. It would be fun to take the two-hour tour and treat myself
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:10 PM   #33
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Part 9: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Day 5, Part 2
Adventures by Disney: Lights, Camera, Magic


Just another note that this contains all spoilers for this ABD experience. If you are taking Lights, Camera, Magic or Backstage Magic (the extended, multi-day version of LCM), this post will ruin all the surprises (and trust me, you will want to be surprised!).

I think it's safe to say that everyone onboard the bus was with a dash of as we pulled into the Walt Disney Studios. To know that there is so much history here... it was a bit difficult to fathom that we were actually there.



Visible immediately when we got off the bus were many landmarks: the water tower, ABC's headquarters, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Unfortunately the tour's schedule doesn't allow for visits to ABC or WDAS, but I was a little surprised that the Adventure Guides didn't even point them out until after we were back on the highway at the very end of the whole tour. They were like, "Look over there, it's Disney Animation and ABC that we were right near but didn't show you." They didn't say it like that, but... they might as well have.




However, that is my only complaint of our entire time at the Walt Disney Studios: that we were busy seeing so many brilliant things that tour doesn't have time to get to everything. That's a good problem to have.

I saw this... I couldn't help but wonder who was parked there!


Our first stop was the famous sign at the intersection of Mickey Avenue and Dopey Drive. Robin explained that the sign was first assembled to add a fun background prop for a promotional film in the '40s, but it was so well-received that it stayed there permanently and has since become a landmark of the Studio. (A replica--with the alteration of Dopey Drive to Minnie Lane--is near Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios in WDW.) Right under the sign is Pluto's Corner, complete with a fire hydrant and three pawprints in the cement... so you can guess what Pluto was doing!


Everyone got their picture taken with the sign... at first ours was a regular picture like normal, and then Robin was all, "Wait! Where's Perry?" So then this happened:


One of the first buildings we entered was the old Animation unit, where every Disney animated film from the '40s through the early '80s was made. We didn't get to see any actual animation offices, but rather went down a long hallway that was lined with artwork (originals!) from the many movies that were made here. Now the building is contracted to other small animation studios to use, since Disney has a newer, bigger building that they use elsewhere on the Disney Studio lot.


Next we went down a flight of stairs and entered what is called the "morgue" because it used to be where old sketches, prints, paintings, concept art--basically everything--from each animated film would be tossed whenever the film wrapped production. There was very minimal care taken for the pieces and many of them became lost forever. Everything that used to be in the moruge (and things from current films once they are finished) are now preserved with extensive caution and care in the Walt Disney Archives and in the Animation Research Library.

We were not allowed to take pictures in the morgue, but essentially it was just a very dark, depressing hallway. It looked like the basement of a warehouse or something.

Next we had a tour of much of the rest of the Studio campus, passing by a lot of things but not entering. We saw what was once the ink and paint building, where still in the windows are the actual color recipes in jars used for things like Ariel's fin and Simba's mane. We passed by a few warehouse-type buildings where large garage doors were open and things seemed to being built, not sure what for. One of the highlights of this walk was seeing the soundstage, the coolest of which was definitely the Julie Andrews Soundstage. It was used for the filming of the Mickey Mouse Club in 1995, as well as for both Mary Poppins in 1964 and The Princess Diaries in 2001, hence its name. Another soundstage we passed was the special effects one, used for the squid monster sequence in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Various productions that have used some of the other soundstages over the years include Home Improvement, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the orchestra scenes for Fantasia.


Our assistant Adventure Guide Natalia had taken the helm for this part of the tour, and when Robin caught up with us again, she told us she had just gotten clearance for us to enter one of the soundstages. She had arranged for a Walt Disney Studios employee to guide us into a nearby soundstage, which apparently doesn't happen on every tour, but schedules worked out for it to happen today. The employee (whose name I forget, but she was excellent) told us one of her favorite memories from her time here was seeing Johnny Depp in full Captain Jack regalia take a smoke break amongst regularly-dressed employees.

The soundstage we entered was completely bare. Nothing in it whatsoever, just a big, open room with black floor. The employee said it would soon be prepped to film a pilot for a new ABC show premiering in early 2013. For the life of me I cannot remember what the show is called or what it's about, but I guess it's getting ready to air soon! She pointed out where a studio audience used to sit for previous ABC sitcom filming, but that the audience area had since been dismantled and wouldn't be used for this new show.

We spent maybe 10 minutes in the soundstage and afterward applauded the employee for showing us inside and her great information. Robin and Natalia then led us into the Frank G. Wells Building, named after the former President of Disney during the Michael Eisner era. Wells unfortunately passed away in an accident in the mid-'90s, and the building named in his honor now houses the Walt Disney Archives and Walt Disney Television Animation. I was disappointed to find out we wouldn't be entering either the Archives or Television Animation (seemed to be a trend), but we would get to see the Archives entrance. Very cool to stand where so much history is kept! Apparently the displays outside the entrance change every now and then, but I was thrilled that the current display had John Hench's original Mickey Mouse birthday portraits. To see them in person was a wonderful surprise.


Right near the Archives entrance is the Studio's Starbucks location as well as an employee tech support center (clever themed to Muppet characters Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker). Another highlight of this area was a real multiplane camera on display that was once used to composite multi-dimensional scenes in Disney animated films.


My grandparents and I joked to each other that we had seen more of the Archives at the Reagan Library than we did at the Archives itself, but I understand the scheduling constraints. Next was maybe my favorite part of the tour, the finale reception in the Disney Legends Plaza. The area is right in front of the Michael D. Eisner "Team Disney" Building (aka the Seven Dwarfs building... which was astounding to see in person in the first place) and displays every single Disney Legend award ever presented. There are handprints of all the Disney Legends (or a simple plaque if the recipient had been awarded posthumously), a large-scale replica of the statue the Legends are given, the Partners statue of Walt and Mickey (the same that is at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom), and the statue of Roy and Minnie that's in FL's MK but not Disneyland.


The reception was actually quite nice and upscale for the brief amount of time we were there. There was plenty of great food (most of it small, hors d'oeuvre-type food, but all of it delicious), and waiting for each family was the framed picture of their "star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from earlier. Robin did stress that we didn't have much time, so I spent most of the reception period walking around trying to see as many of the Legends awards as I could before it was time to leave. I figured I could eat anytime, but how often are you in the Disney Legends Plaza??? I was surprised that most people weren't looking around too much. My favorites to see were definitely the (married!) voices of Mickey and Minnie, Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor. Their awards were presented less than a year before Allwine passed away of diabetes, and to say that his voice defined my childhood would be an understatement. It is wonderful that he was recognized before his death.


I noticed that the awards did not include the most recent round of Legends (like the princess voices, Jim Henson, Regis, and others) that were awarded at 2011's D23 Expo. I thought that was sort of strange considering almost the Expo was almost a whole year before. But the ones from the 2009 Expo were present.

Our final stop was a quick trip to the Studio Store. We had 15 minutes to browse around. It was basically a glorified Disney Store, but of course with quite a few exclusive items only available here. I got a Mickey Avenue pin and a Walt Disney Studios long-sleeve t-shirt. My grandparents surprised me later with a Director Mickey Vinylmation that's only at the Studio that they had bought right under my nose.


The store was decorated really cool. This picture was hanging up that I had never seen before, and it might just be my favorite picture of Walt Disney ever.


And, unfortunately, now was the time to say goodbye to all our company. It was a magical day that I will never forget. On the ride back to Disneyland, we had the choice of watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua or Cars 2. Thank goodness the vote was for Cars 2! It was really neat watching it after just having been to Cars Land. My grandparents hadn't seen the sequel before and loved how Mater-centric it was; he is their favorite character. Heading back in the middle of traffic, the ride took the entire duration of the movie and a little more after it was over. Overall a wonderful, wonderful day at an excellent value. Thank you, Adventures by Disney, for a supercalifragilistic day, and I sure do hope you reconsider your choice to discontinue this tour because it's a real winner and I know lots of other Disney fans would thoroughly enjoy it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:27 AM   #34
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:15 PM   #35
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I love your title... had I done a trip report for my October 2011 trip with my DH I could have called it the same thing... or Mickey's fun Wheel of Death as I now call it... Terror absolute TERROR
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:10 PM   #36
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I love your title... had I done a trip report for my October 2011 trip with my DH I could have called it the same thing... or Mickey's fun Wheel of Death as I now call it... Terror absolute TERROR
Lol that thing is not what it looks like. That'll be in the next part of the trip report.

But in the meantime... skip to the 2:15 mark in this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ4FRiFiQfw
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:41 PM   #37
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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
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:02 AM   #38
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[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.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:07 PM   #39
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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!

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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...
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #40
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I think I am going to pass on that wheel. Donīt want to look like that girl and scare everyone
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:18 PM   #41
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Part 10: Poor Unfortunate Souls or Everybody's Got a Laughing Place (depending on your opinion of Mickey's Fun Wheel... )
Day 6, Part 1
Parks


Today we'd be finishing up California Adventure! There was a lot to get to, and I couldn't wait to get started. There is an odd lack of pictures from this part of the day, so I apologize for that. Guess we were having too much fun.

We ate breakfast at Mimi's on Harbor Blvd, and our waitress was hilarious. She was a bit snarky, but in a funny way, not in a rude way. She saw our blatantly tourist attire (Disney shirts, camera, pins), and remarked, "So, today you all are heading to the happiest (not) place on Earth?" Every time she came back to our table to see if we needed anything, she shared something else about her family, how she almost visited them in Europe but made it to New York before turning back around to California ("You think I'm flying across the ocean, you'd better think again!"), and so forth. We laughed and laughed, and families at nearby tables were treated to similar stories.

We made our way to California Adventure; we could go in at the regular Park opening at 8 a.m. since we didn't have any early entry for DCA, but it ended up being closer to 8:15 once we arrived. We saw the long line of Guests waiting to get Radiator Springs Racers FastPasses and were glad we didn't have to do that again! We would be spending the morning in Paradise Pier.

I was very hesitant about Paradise Pier, because to me, "seaside boardwalk" calls to mind cheesy, touristy beach and not something that belongs in a Disney Park. I was expecting something along the lines of Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama at Animal Kingdom, but instead the area seemed more akin to Main Street, USA (sort of a coastal extension of it or something). I absolutely loved it. The background music helped a ton, I think--overall the area has very warm, vintage feel to it rather than the tacky tone I expected. It is great that the Imagineers spent time to fix the small things like Paradise Pier's tone while also bringing in the big-scale, E-Ticket attractions for DCA's re-imagining.

First up was Toy Story Mania, which was a walk-on. Compared to the all-out stampede I was familiar with in WDW, this was pleasant. The queue was pretty boring compared to WDW's large line that winds its way through Andy's room, but with the ride itself being the exact same, of course we enjoyed it. No real surprises here, but an excellent attraction regardless.
Overall Toy Story Mania rating:




It was too early for any of the Toy Story characters to be having their meet & greet yet, but I wanted to come back later to get a picture with Buzz since I brought my Buzz jacket.

Next: California Screamin'! LOTS of fun. I especially loved the small dips toward the end of the ride. Again, before the trip I wasn't really receptive to a "plain" roller coaster being in a Disney Park without anything extra, but here it works really well if for nothing more than an awesome kinetic inclusion for the atmosphere (both for riders and those watching). The wait was maybe 15 minutes at 8:45.
Overall California Screamin' rating:

Making our way deeper into Paradise Pier, next was... Mickey's Fun Wheel. Swinging or non-swinging, hmmm. "Let's choose a swinging car, it doesn't look too bad." Well, no. No, it doesn't. It doesn't look bad at all. The swinging gondolas appear to slowly slide their way down their attached railing whenever the ferris wheel rotates. However, glancing at this occurrence from the ground is a lot different than actually being in said gondola. Walking straight onto the ride (which surprised me given the long wait times I had seen on line-tracking sites), we noted how odd it was that a calm ferris wheel had motion-sickness bags. Must be because of how high it was. That Disney, always thinking of everything! Then, well, Mickey's Fun Wheel started to do what it does best, and we realized Disney was only thinking ahead.

Holy mouse ears, Batman, this thing is vicious. My grandmother's dialogue included sputters of, "Please make it stop!" and all three of us had hurt stomachs from laughing so hard by the time it was over.
Overall Mickey's Fun Wheel rating: First then and finally

The ultimate verdict: If you are afraid of heights altogether, by all means skip Mickey's Fun Wheel. If you don't mind heights but are definitely prone to motion sickness, ride but definitely choose non-swinging. If you know you will truly freak out in a swinging car, then also choose non-swinging. However, if you only have a tiny, fleeting caution rather than a true fear... go with swinging. It was one of the best memories of our entire trip, partly because it was so fun and partly because it was completely unexpected. We only rode once, but now I wish we had ridden again. Great fun.

Continuing along through Paradise Pier, next was Silly Symphony Swings. It's based on the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Band Concert, which is my family's favorite Mickey short back home. Again, big improvement the Imagineers did with this one based on the pictures I've seen of the bizarre orange thing that it was themed to previously. I recognized Corey Burton's voice as the safety instructor... he does a lot of work for Disney, and his voice reminds me of this old WDW Explorer CD-ROM that I used to play, so he's one of my favorite voice actors (he also does Dale, Captain Hook, and Ludwig Von Drake, along with many others).
Overall Silly Symphony Swings rating:

We opted to skip the Golden Zephyr, but did go on Goofy's Sky School. I go to a local theme park pretty regularly, and it has a madmouse roller coaster like Goofy's Sky School, and I've ridden often enough to tell you that it and Goofy's Sky School have the exact same track. Exactly the same. Right down to every turn and dip, the ride is verbatim. Just a little peculiar. Goofy's Sky School (in its former version pre-Goofy) opened before the local coaster did, but I would imagine that all madmouse coasters like this are all exactly the same, which makes me wonder why Disney wouldn't change it up at least a little bit if their Guests have ridden the EXACT same thing elsewhere. Anyway... I love the ride, but the deja vu took me by surprise. Excellent theming here. All the gags in the queue are brilliant. Very well done, take time to look through them even if there's not a line. (We waited probably 5-10 minutes.)
Overall Goofy's Sky School rating: First then

As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed Paradise Pier a lot more than I thought I would. From the music to the architecture to the superb turn-around of the attractions' theming, they got this one right. It's Main Street USA meets Toontown (albeit a more toned-down, not-so-loud Toontown) meets WDW's Boardwalk Resort. I really did not expect to be impressed and completely was.

On that note, with all the talk that Mickey's Fun Wheel sparked, I'm curious in hearing from you all. What Disney ride (in any Park) gives you the heebie jeebies? Is there a specific memory tied to this feeling, or a memorable experience related to you facing your fear? Or have you always (and always will) avoid it at all costs???
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:55 PM   #42
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Part 11: Movin' Right Along
Day 6, Part 2
Parks


So, to recap, we had just explored most of Paradise Pier and it was now about 10:00.

We hadn't ridden Luigi's Flying Tires a few days ago despite spending several hours in Cars Land, because the line had always been over an hour, so we moseyed on over to see how it was today. 80 minutes. I decided after thinking it over a minute that it probably wasn't going to get any better (since it was still relatively early in the morning, around 10:00), so we went ahead and got in line. It was the longest wait we had the whole trip, and although I'd like to say otherwise, I don't think it was worth it. Well, I guess it was worth it for the first time, but I would definitely not wait 80 minutes for it again. In hindsight (travel tip!), we probably should have headed straight to Luigi's when the Park opened, then gone to Toy Story Mania. The Toy Story and Screamin' lines probably would have been a bit longer at that point, but overall, total among all rides, our line-waiting time would have been a lot shorter. If you're doing 2 days at DCA and want to ride both Radiator Springs Racers and Luigi's, use the first day to get RSR FPs at opening and the second day to head to Luigi's at opening.



I felt Luigi's is sort of a mixed bag. It's a fun ride for sure, but not worth all the waiting that its newness causes. The queue is expertly done--lots of neat details to look at (except for the tires on display... they're all the same even though they have different labels... very un-Disney). There are a lot of really clever Disney references in the queue if you look for them! Just before boarding, the ride broke down. We feared the worst after waiting 80 minutes, but they got things worked out after 10 minutes or so and we didn't have to leave the line (thankfully!). As for the ride itself, maneuvering the tires is a neat sensation and definitely cool technology. (During our visit, the beach balls were still there, so that added a bit of competition to it.) I really feel that you need to ride twice, the first time to get the hang of steering and the second time to have fun now that you know what to do. But, alas, we surely weren't going to wait in the 80-minute line again. This was probably the only attraction that I left wondering if it was worth waiting for, but I think if I hadn't ridden it, I would've regretted my decision. It was part of the Cars Land experience, and I would have been mad at myself if I had not ridden it at least once.
Overall Luigi's Flying Tires rating: ...but then the ride is over lol. Honestly I got a bigger kick out of the queue than the actual attraction.


This picture of Luigi's Mama and Uncle Topolino is in the queue. Topolino is Italian for Mickey Mouse!

I still wanted a picture with Buzz Lightyear, but didn't want to go all the way over to Toy Story Mania to check if he was there, as he, Woody, and Jessie all rotate with each other. I knew the Times Guide says the times that the Toy Story characters have their meet & greet, but it doesn't say what times each specific character will be out. It was about this time that @DCAToday tweeted to me (having searched for DCA keywords and seeing my tweets, I assume) and asked if I had any questions. Well, how convenient. I asked when I could find Buzz, and they tweeted back very quickly, but just gave the same general info that the Times Guide said. Sort of a bummer, but let me say I was very impressed with @DCAToday throughout the whole trip. If you have any questions, ask and they will get back to you fast! Also make sure to let them know when you go on Radiator Springs Racers... just sayin'. Since our trip, a similar account called @DisneylandToday has opened for Disneyland. We would check back on Buzz after lunch.

But first, time to catch the Phineas and Ferb show! Phineas and Ferb is the best thing that's been on Disney Channel in years and makes me laugh every time I watch it. We didn't get involved in the show, but enjoyed watching. When it was time to leave and their car was heading out, both Phineas and Ferb each pointed at our Perry toy with excitement, so... yeah. Day pretty much made right there.
Overall Phineas and Ferb rating:


Afterward, we had lunch at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. It was sort of spur of the moment since that was the closest thing nearby, but it was great! I wish I had known about it earlier in the trip because we probably would have dined here more than once. Not only was there enough variety (and quality) in the food to merit a return trip, but there was also some unexpected period-specific live music, very similar to our Cafe Orleans lunch earlier in the trip (again, Paradise Pier was proving to be exceedingly awesome).
Overall Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta rating:

I left my grandparents continuing to enjoy the music while I went to grab our Soarin' FastPasses for later. I guess I didn't realize how far away it was. It's kind of a long way away. But in any case, I got the FPs and then we went to go check on Buzz. Turns out he wasn't there, but Jessie was and didn't have a very long line at all, so I figured a picture in my Buzz jacket with Jessie would still be a neat keepsake. We did a space ranger pose, and who should greet me as I walk away but Sheriff Woody! He traded off with Jessie and we got back in line real quick so that we could meet him, and the line immediately after that, once everyone saw that Woody was there, got huge, but luckily we didn't have to wait long. Woody loved my jacket, tried to press the back to see if any wings would sprout out, and then started dancing around all over the place. I didn't know what in the world he was doing until the Character Attendant said that he was teaching me how to be a cowboy. Lol.

So we ended up not meeting the only one out of the three Toy Story characters that I specifically wanted to meet, but it was still all good. Toy Story is my all-time favorite Disney ever so I was happy. Donald was meeting nearby, but we passed. Duffy had no line, so we met him. I told him we had seen him at Epcot and he got very excited, and played with Perry a little bit.

The plan for the rest of the day was to go on Muppets, ride Monsters Inc, see the Pixar Play Parade, ride Soarin' with our FastPasses, and then take a hotel nap break before coming back later in the night. This is what we still did, but it was not a very good touring plan in retrospect. We tried to do waaaaay too much before the nap break, and as a result we were really tired. It ended up being around 3:30 by the time we made it back. 7:00 to 3:30 is too long a time to be out and about in the summer heat.

At this point, the tiredness was starting to settle in and, as much as we enjoyed what we were doing, it felt more like we were checking things off the list rather than really soaking in each attraction. MuppetVision 3D? Hysterical. One of Jim Henson's best works ever, and possibly my all-time favorite Muppet production. Monsters, Inc.? Really neat. Loved the doors scene and the incorporation of the ride vehicle's screen. It seemed a little out of place thematically, but the ride itself is really cool. But, again... sort of just going through the motions at this point. I should have scrapped Soarin', left right then, and come back in time for the 5:00 parade.




Sulley had a very short line nearby, and I had never met him before so we did. He is huge! Right after that, we grabbed a spot in front of the Aladdin theater for the Pixar Play Parade. It was just about 2:00, right when the parade was supposed to step off, and we were very close to the parade's starting point. "What luck!" I thought. "Hardly anyone is here and it's almost showtime." Yeah, well... a few minutes passed and I figured we were at the wrong end of the parade route (just like with Soundsational!), and since the DCA parade route is such a long one, it was close to 30 minutes by the time the parade got to us. I fetched us some waters while waiting (again, the heat starting to get to us), but they went fast. The water jets from the parade floats were a welcome gift! Great parade (lots of energy), but I wish we were more with it at that point to enjoy it. So, moral of the story... don't keep going when you're tired and double-check you know which direction the parade is going.

Overall Pixar Play Parade rating: but we felt
Loved that Woody's boot actually says Andy on the bottom.


We really should have left after the parade, but we still had our Soarin' FPs and I didn't want to risk them no them being accepted later on in the day. The queue really needs more space... people crammed everywhere even in the FastPass line. The attraction itself was excellent as usual and in hindsight we probably could have skipped it since we've been on it in Epcot... but, again, like with Luigi's Flying Tires, I probably would have regretted if we didn't do it.
Overall Soarin' rating: attraction but queue


At this point, we were beyond beat and our hotel beds sounded like the best thing in the world. We headed back to the HoJo for some much-needed rest... there was a magical evening ahead.



We'll continue with the last post's question: What Disney attraction (it can be in any Park, not just DLR) gives you the heebie-jeebies? Have you ever faced your fear of this attraction, and if so, do you have a memorable story to share about it?
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:56 PM   #43
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Part 12: Something There
Day 6, Part 3
Parks


After being wiped out earlier, naps provided some much-needed rest to wrap up DCA that night. My grandmother and I headed back to the Park while my grandfather decided to stay at the hotel and call it a day. Later we let him know on all the fun he missed out on--possibly the most of the whole trip. Our evening in DCA went perfect: smooth plans and no stressing out. If you need a touring plan to spend a leisurely evening in California Adventure, steal this one. Looking back, I think what made it so enjoyable was that we had a lot of variety in what we did. It wasn't just "stand in line, ride, repeat," but a mix of different types of attractions.




First up on the agenda was the final showing of Aladdin for the day. Like I said before, the smarter thing would have been to catch the 2nd performance of Pixar Play Parade (which starts right near Aladdin), and then proceed to get in the Aladdin line. But, we didn't, so oh well.

On our way to Aladdin, we tried to catch the Red Car Trolley, but it was full both times we tried (we waited at each stop). Bummer! I then got Tower of Terror FPs for after the show. We actually arrived a bit later to Aladdin than I anticipated, but it worked to our benefit. We had the stubs for priority seating that you receive if you book your DLR vacation with Disneyland.com, but by the time we arrived, the CMs were no longer taking them and we had to get in line for the upstairs seating. (Travel tip ahead!) I was a little disappointed, but once we settled in--first row of the balcony--I think we had better seats than any priority ground seating would have given us! The scope of the show (having elements all over the theater) lends itself well to an aerial view, and the first few rows of the balcony are definitely still close enough to the stage to get wrapped up in the story. We loved our seats.

A side note about the stairs leading into the theater: what in the world??? Why are they outside? I know DLR has limited space and sometimes visual intrusions from outside the Parks are inevitable (and, as a WDW vet, something to get used to), but this one seems like it really would have been easy to solve. Just extend the theater building so that the stairs are inside the building, not outside of it. Now this would be difficult to fix, but in the construction phases I wonder why they didn't do that. You can very clearly see the busy traffic quite close to you. It's distracting and not very magical.

Alas, rant over. The show itself: Woah. Unbelievable. Without a doubt one of the best productions I have ever seen Disney put on, including Parks and Broadway and everything in between. I think it's tied with Festival of the Lion King as my favorite Disney show. Just last week, Disney announced Aladdin will be coming to Broadway in spring 2014, and I can't help but think that without DCA, that project might not have ever happened. Whole New World was certainly awkward without the carpet, but safety is priority. Brilliant, brilliant show. I could tell my grandmother was thoroughly impressed, too.
Overall Aladdin rating:

Next up... Tower of Terror! Dark was descending, and the building looked perfectly eerie for an elevator drop. My grandmother waited outside while I rode, but I used her ticket to get a FastPass to give to a random Guest afterward. It's fun to spread your own Disney magic! :magic: Tower of Terror is one of my favorite attractions of all time. It's one of those rides that I absolutely love, but only allow myself to ride once per trip to keep it spooky and thrilling each time. The extended queue in Florida adds a bit of intrigue, but not much is lost in DCA's version.
Overall Tower of Terror rating: but and a bit of

Afterward, the not-so-distant echoing of "unz-unz-unz-unz" (that was my lame attempt to scribe a stereotypical techno beat) told us that Mad T Party was in full swing a bit down the road, but.... ehhh no thanks. I fully get that it's a lot of fun for some people, but just not my thing.

We made our way to Disney Animation. Our priority was Animation Academy, because we really enjoy that in Florida, but I did not expect how completely awed I would be by the rest of Disney Animation. MILES better than WDW's. The WDW version suffered a bit of an identity crisis now that it is no longer a working animation studio, so there's not a lot to work with. It's fun, but underwhelming to what it once was. At DCA, you'll find virtually the same activities (Animation Academy, character personality quiz, voice a character, etc.), but FAR more elaborate, fully-imagined settings. With no constraints of working around abandoned animators' desks, the Imagineers really went all out with this one and it looks fantastic. One of the few things at DLR that has space to be completely fleshed out compared to a cramped WDW counterpart!




Animation Academy was great, and again I was impressed with the huge amount of space allotted for the theater compared to WDW's tiny room. We drew Agent P, and we both had lots of fun. While we were in line, I became was captivated with the large screens displaying Disney movie clips and accompanying concept art. That thing is so cool. Possibly my favorite room on any Disney property anywhere.




We almost left without going inside Sorcerer's Workshop, but I said, "Well... we can at least see what's inside," thinking it might be neat. I'll say it is! I'm so glad we entered, and can't believe we almost passed it up. I was surprised to turn the corner and find myself inside the Evil Queen's dungeon, and altogether shocked continuing further to be right in the middle of Beast's castle! Wow!! Great stuff back there; again, really the same thing is at WDW, but you're at a kiosk. I'd say Beast's castle is a tad better setting.

I ended up being most like Jiminy Cricket, and my grandmother was Lady. Since our visit, the activity has been updated to include more characters, including modern ones like Lightning McQueen.



Overall Disney Animation rating:


I love Turtle Talk at Epcot and would liked to have experienced it at DCA, but it was close to 9 at this point, and we would have Magic Morning early the next day, so I decided to skip it since I wanted one last ride on Radiator Springs Racers, since this would be the last time we'd be in California Adventure for the trip.

We took the Bug's Land path to Cars Land, and briskly passed through, but I wish we had taken time to pay a little closer attention to some of the details. I had dismissed Bug's Land as only having typical kiddie rides you can experience in any amusement park, and while that is partly true, it doesn't disregard everything else about the area. Walking through at nighttime, the lighting was extremely neat and made it clear that while the rides may be passable for someone without small children, the rest of the landscape was not. Guess that's my excuse to go back!

We had looked at Flo's menu online before the vacation and knew we wanted to try the milkshakes, so that was our first stop. We both got strawberry... wonderful! The "road gravel" they put in it is delicious. We enjoyed them outside on the RSR side. It was quite the treat (and so inexplicably cool) to casually sip a milkshake from Flo's V8 Cafe while watching cars zoom by Ornament Valley. I know I already said it, but the Imagineers did Cars Land right. It is superb--not just in the headliner attractions, but also in the quiet moments that the atmosphere lends itself to so well.





Since we hadn't been to the Cozy Cone yet, either, we grabbed some cheesy pretzel bites to take with us while we waited in line for RSR. They were ok, nothing to go crazy about, but I've heard some of the more creative things from Cozy Cone are great. We opted for the single-rider line, and the wait was about a 40ish minutes. Excellent attraction; I'm glad we rode it one last time. Overall I had a 3 for 3 winning streak.

It had been a full but fun day. We strolled down Route 66 and onto Buena Vista Street, soaking up the wonderful sights and sounds for the last time. It was still sort of early (about 10), but we needed our sleep to rise and shine early tomorrow for Magic Morning. We'd spend tomorrow in Disneyland, then the day after that would be our last, allotted for spending a couple of hours in Disneyland while my grandparents visited Little Saigon, followed by traveling back home. The vacation was nearly over, but there was plenty of magic yet to be discovered.



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Old 01-26-2013, 03:44 PM   #44
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Hey, Loving your TR! It cracks me up every time I see Agent P in there!

The only Disney ride in DLR and DW that I will NOT go on again are those swinging gondolas!!!! Should have been a clue when we were in line and someone had lost their lunch in one of the gondolas. Two guys in white hazmat suits came out and cleaned it up. They let that gondola go around one empty then when it came back, they loaded it up Yuck! I did not like the ride. Spent the whole time hanging onto the sides of the cage praying for it to be over!

Now, I have a comment and if anyone wants to flip out, go ahead but, when I go to the Disney parks I rent an electric wheel chair!!!! If you had rented one, you could have taken turns using it and I bet your grandfather (who is probably my age) could have made back to the park for the evening. We take turns and no more blisters and agony. My new motto is "IT'S a VACATION! NOT a DEATH MARCH!"
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:18 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhorner233 View Post
Hey, Loving your TR! It cracks me up every time I see Agent P in there!

The only Disney ride in DLR and DW that I will NOT go on again are those swinging gondolas!!!! Should have been a clue when we were in line and someone had lost their lunch in one of the gondolas. Two guys in white hazmat suits came out and cleaned it up. They let that gondola go around one empty then when it came back, they loaded it up Yuck! I did not like the ride. Spent the whole time hanging onto the sides of the cage praying for it to be over!

Now, I have a comment and if anyone wants to flip out, go ahead but, when I go to the Disney parks I rent an electric wheel chair!!!! If you had rented one, you could have taken turns using it and I bet your grandfather (who is probably my age) could have made back to the park for the evening. We take turns and no more blisters and agony. My new motto is "IT'S a VACATION! NOT a DEATH MARCH!"
Thanks! Yeah, this was the first trip we tried to intentionally find funny places to put Perry and had fun with it.

And I don't think you are the only one who feels that way about the Fun Wheel! That's sort of gross about the vomit... I was waiting for a simulator 3D show in a non-Disney theme park once and it was taking way longer than it should have. Asked an employee if anything was wrong and their response was that there had been a "protein spill." Huh? What in the world does that-- ohhhh. Well, take all the time you need.
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