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Disneyland at Christmas- a 2nd Spoonful of Sugar

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by , 01-28-2009 at 06:45 AM
[SIZE=3]After a pretty terrific but exhausting day at [I]California Adventure[/I], I came home to tell the rest of my family what my daughter and I had discovered- huge crowds all day long. Giving everyone the option of an early arrival and therefore shorter lines for major attractions or sleeping in and staying late with long lines all day, they wisely chose the former.

[/SIZE][SIZE=3]Due to the numbers in our group, we split into two cars and headed to the resort. Our car had arrived at 7:10 for the 8:00am opening, sleepy headed young adults in tow. Of course, due to traffic lights and patterns, our caravan unintentionally split up. Without our cel phones on, we quickly discovered our car was at the parking lot, while my wife’s car headed to the Harbor Blvd. entrance. This was a direct reflection of her not going to Disneyland since 1997- and me not remembering to tell her about the parking garage. Hopefully, the rest of our day would not continue in the same vein!

[/SIZE][SIZE=3]Our passengers jumped on the tram, figuring the best place to see everyone else would be by the security gates. The backsides of the backstage did not provide magical views of the resort! Indy’s building badly needs more trees, a new photo wrap or a paint job or something. Looking into employee areas is a poor show- especially to what we had witnessed in Orlando or Paris. Maybe the proposed expansion of Downtown Disney will provide a better view in the future!

We reunited -and it feels so good ;) - around 7:35am, quickly going through the security gates and getting into line with our previously purchased tickets in hand. The lines at the ticket booths were already very, very long. Magic Morning Hour was in effect, so the entry gates were closed tight to us common folk not staying on the property. At 8:00am sharp, folks started in.

Main Street was stunningly beautiful dressed in its Christmas garb, tree sitting majestically in the square. I savored the view, and that of Sleeping Beauty Castle, but turned directly left into Adventureland and right toward Indy- along with just about everyone else. Sending one of us with our passports, we gained Fastpass tickets for another ride, meeting up in line not too far away from where we began.[/SIZE]

The rest of it and all the photos are on my [URL=""]Insights[/URL] blog now- or you can wait for future installments!

Mark [URL=""][/URL]

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  1. mark's Avatar
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    Snaking through the exterior queue (pun intended), we enjoyed the experience. The sound effects were on, Jungle Cruise boats chugging by, the vegetation lushly providing the right vibe: our first time explorers and old timers alike were wide-eyed. Inside the temple, I was gifted by rattling the infamous bamboo pole at just the right time, sending the ceiling dropping down on us. Never happened to me before although I’d seen it occur. Great way to start our adventure.

    Once on our “troop transport”, our journey was exciting but I realized several effects needed to be brought back into the mix. Why does Disney spend all this money to build a world class attraction then neglect it instead of maintaining it in the highest operating mode? Frustrating. Our adventure was terrific to all- and only the most discriminating Disney fan was left realizing the shortcomings. (We gladly experienced the attraction later- to the seemingly same journey…)

    Our plan was firmly in my mind, and we ventured on to Pirates of the Caribbean, my personal favorite Disney attraction ever. Almost a walk on, we set sail, and visions of a non-existent $250 lunch swam through my head as we glided past the Blue Bayou restaurant.

    As has been written much before, Pirates at Disneyland is a much richer version than its Florida counterpart. The attraction looked terrific- and sounded terrific as well. However, the recent addition of characters from the popular movie seemed to widen the gap between versions. The California build-up to seeing Davy Jones is much needed, and the more intimate last view of Captain Jack is up close and personal. Additionally, the audio in Florida is noticeably inconsistent and weaker in result. For all the accolades I could heap upon California’s pirate adventure, I will proudly admit Disneyland Paris has the ultimate representation of this classic. (Look for my trip report earlier in this blog.) It is a version that is currently without Jack Sparrow…

    Exiting the attraction, New Orleans Square delighted me with its holiday garishness! We wandered through its back streets taking in the décor and enjoyed Christmas classics with a jazz twist. Even a much needed bathroom break yielded a bit of treasure- a nice view of this mural (above) and a chance to grab some additional photos. I planned to return later in the evening to enjoy a nighttime visit to a now lost New Orleans of long ago.

    We wandered past the train station to the Christmas version of the Haunted Mansion. It too, was almost a walk on. I was the only one of our group to experience this version in the past and quickly explained the story behind the transformation before we entered.
    More to come!