Sunday, March 16, 2008

Disneyland & DCA

California Trip Report: Part One

This is the first part of three trip reports i am going to type up here on the blog. I got into California on thursday evening and pretty much picked up my rental car, drove the half hour to my hotel in Anaheim and went pretty much straight to bed. This trip like others i never got a whole lot of sleep. Got to bed at midnight and woke up at 7 to heads over to Walt Disney's Original Magic Kingdom.

Going to try and do both all of Disneyland & DCA in one day is always something I thought about doing in my dorky little mind. I mean seeing all of DL in one day is tough, but I wanted to do both!!!

Thankfully my hotel was only a whole 7 minutes away from the disneyland resort and i was at the Mickey & Friends parking structure when it opened. I wasn't parked in the garage (which i think might be the largest parking garage in the world) but the parking lot right next to it. You really can't see the parks to well from the road I came in on and at the parking garage, so the disney anticipation was in full force on the tram. I got in line at the gates to be one of the first one in disneyland after buying my one day hopper (for $91). The crowd on Main Street waiting for rope drop was of pretty good size, so i feared crowds could be an issue. The welcome music played and the entire crowd darted off to the parks newest attraction the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I got on about the third sub of the day and was very impressed. The ride is very long (about 14 minutes) and the ride right off the bat with the giant lagoon where you can see underwater for a long way, which is fairly breathtaking. All the elements in the show building were both very well done and very colorful. Disney really has a winner on there hands with this one.

Next i headed over to the other side of Tomorrowland to grab a fastpass for Space Mountain and went to another mountain. This is where I learned something about disneyland, and thats the fantasyland side of the matterhorn has a shorter line in the morning then the tomorrowland side. Matterhorn is a fun ride, not to fast or wild but the views are great and i like the ice caverns look. It wasn't time for my fastpass yet so i took a ride on the Buzz Lightyear ride and it was better then the orlando version that i have never been to fond of. The ride has guns you can hold like most "shoot em up" style dark rides and i think updated lighted targets that wdw doesn't. After the ride you get the chance to e-mail your on ride picture, FOR FREE, a cool touch.

Space Mountain fastpass was next and this was i think the biggest surprise of the trip. I haven't been on the 'new' space mountain since they changed it, and WOW what an incredible ride. The sound systems in the car are blasting, the star field is really incredible and the effects are truley top notch.

After grabbing a fastpass for Indiana Jones I rode probably the two biggest attractions at any disney park and that is of course the new orleans square duo of Pirates of the Carribean & The Haunted Mansion. Pirates at Disneyland is one of the greatest attractions ever built, it has it all, great effects, great audio animatronics, a few drops and is about 15 minutes long. I have never eaten at the Blue Bayou and certainely wasn't going today when i had so much to see. I thought the addition of the great captain jack sparrow was done better then floridas version, cause you get to see the third jack (the one that talks) up close. Haunted Mansion was great as always, its really deceiving at disneyland because Pirates & Mansion have such small entrance areas that the unknowning guest would have no idea that these are truly massive dark rides.

After grabbing another fastpass for Splash Mountain, it was time for Indy. The Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple Of The Forbidden Eye is by far my favorite Disney attraction, anywhere, i love it. And i have been one every major disney ride in the US and this wins easily. The adventure starts with the queue, outdoors you got the jungle cruise floating by and this ominous temple standing there. And then the interior queue, is a spectacular cave-ruins theme (and is really long), until you eventually board the EMV. Then from there the ride is just as its name implies, an adventure. The sets are massive, I don't think any ride has the 'WOW' effect of your jeep vechicle coming up to the bridge room with the fire and the idol. It truly feels like your in a movie and after 14 years later still looks great.

Another great audio animatronic spectacular was next with Splash Mountain (The one in orlando was closed when i was there, so this was more of a treat). Next up was one of the few dissapointments of the trip and that was Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyers Island. Same old boring Tom Sawyer island with 2 neat tricks in the cave, a band and a Jack Sparrow meet and greet. Not worth the hype and bearily worth the trip over there. After this I enjoyed a French Dip lunch in New Orleans Square followed by a (almost) grand circle tour on the Disneyland Railroad. The disneyland railroad is always worth a trip for the Primeval World dinosaurs between tomorrowland and main street. After the train I enjoyed the 50th anniversary exhibit and film, both enjoyable for a disney dork like me. And being a disney dork i went over to the Disneyanna store and dropped $120 on two attraction posters for my apartment. Next up was one of the great surprises of the trip. Walt Disneyss Parade of Dreams was by far the best daytime parade i have ever seen. The floats were the best and a lot of them had acrobats on them. It was truley a blast to watch, and i tend to hate all daytime parades.

Then it was around 4 o'clock and time for the trip across the esplanade to DCA. The difference between the two parks is vastly obvious when walking between one and the other, and I can see why they are re-doing the entrance area of cali adv because the current one is pure crap it is akin to the entrance area of a nice Cedar Fair or Six Flags, no where near disneys standards. I immeadiately headed over to tower of terror to grab a fastpass. And i give the imagineers credit cause the Tower looks great at DCA. I darted over to the monsters inc ride which was new to me and very enjoyable. The line was about 15 minutes (i think it was the longest i waited all day thanks fastpass). Monsters was a fun ride, with some neat effects and done in true 'fantasyland dark ride style'. I never had 'the pleasure' of riding superstar limo, but i think mike & sully are probably superior.

Then thanks to the single rider lines i got on Soarin' & Screamin really quick. And then went to ride Tower of Terror. The ride is different then its orlando counterpart and like most of DCA looks like it was done on the cheap. The boiler room / load area is 2 stories and is neat, but the ride itself without the 5th dimension room is truly lackin, but the guests in my elevator seemed to enjoy it. Next up was one of my favorite parts of california adventure, the animation building. There is dones to do in there and some of it (toy story zooatrobe and sorcerors workshop) are really neat. And after 2 hours and 4 rides i was done with all i wanted to do at DCA and returned to adventureland for some fun.

Once arriving in adventureland, I had a great refreshing break over at the enchanted tiki room. The way it works at DL is that you can buy your dole whip (greatest theme park snack ever) in the outdoor preshow/garden area and take it inside to enjoy the show, which while outdated is a classic. Then it was time to set sail on the jungle cruise, now i been on the jungle cruise a lot and normally know most of the jokes, but this skipper got me good. He set up for the back side of water joke but instead said, LOOK TO YOUR RIGHT AT THE FRONT SIDE OF ROCK. I was dying with laughter. Then i enjoyed a nightime ride on Big Thunder, which is a different beast at night.

By now night has fallen and it was time for the nighttime spectaculars, which i absolutely love at the disney parks, it's something that really separates them from the rest. I was over at DCA to catch the first half of the Main Street Electrical Parade (best music ever!!!) before heading back to the original to grab a spot for Remember Dreams Come True fireworks spectacular. Which after viewing was my favorite out of the disney fireworks for two reasons, one it had the 360 fireworks being launched all around the hub and the music it was choreographed to was to park audio and history. Then i made the pilgrimage with the rest of the crowd to the rivers of america for Fantasmic, the most magical and greatest of all disney shows. I love the disneyland version, one of my favorite places on earth is watching fireworks/fantasmic with a big bucket of popcorn (which always tastes better on main street then anywhere in the world). Fantasmic is my favorite out of all the disney nightime shows, the magical transformation of the rivers of america to incredible, technologically advanced, multimedia night time show is breathtaking. The use of the sailing ship columbia as a stunt scene with peter pan and the sailing ship columbia as steamboat willy in the finale, is what really separates this from the rest, AND THEY LIGHT THE RIVERS OF AMERICA ON FIRE!!

After the show i had an hour left to re-ride a few of my favorites (pirates, space mountain and buzz) before closing time at midnight. I got on Mr.Toad at some point too.

I did it 15 hours of disney, road all the big rides and saw all the nighttime shows. But i was tired (almost as tired as writing this rediculously long TR) and had to be at knotts early the next morning, so it was bedtime.

Ride Count

Disneyland Railroad
Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years
Haunted Mansion
Pirates of the Caribean (2x)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyers Island
Splash Mountain
Enchanted Tiki Room
Indiana Jones Adventure
Jungle Cruise
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Mr. Toads Wild Ride
Pinocchio's Daring Journey
Buzz Lightyears Astro Blasters (2x)
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Space Mountain (2x)
Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams
Remember, Dreams Come True
Animation Building
Monsters Inc. Mike & Sully To The Rescue
Soarin' Over California
California Screamin'
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Main Street Electrical Parade


Anonymous said...

Hi, I was with my family at the same time as you were.

Anyway, I wanted to ask if you also noticed a faint humming around the French resto. in New Orleans Square?

Is this an effect or was I hearing things?

Please send you reply to

Pat McCabe said...

Hmmn I can't say i remember any faint humming in the New Orleans Square area. Did you think you heard it in the little street area? Cause i could see some ambient sounds being in there.

I know where i ate lunch at the counter service area in new orleans square they were playing instrumental music from the pirates ride and movies.