Well I have been back from another lovely trip to the mother park for a few days now. The bags are unpacked and the memories are too. It was a really nice trip. Before I left I may have mentioned I was accompanying, for a fifth time, a WDW cast member on their first visit to DL. Hindsight I realize this is number 6, not number 5.
Upon Driving to the resort on the airport coach, he was shocked, as always. They know Disneyland is in the middle of the city. BUT really, they only *think* they understand this until they actually see it. And as he could now see the spires of Space Mountain, and Peaks of Grizzly and Matterhorn Mountains, and other landmarks, he started to comment about how he didn't know if he was really ready to see it like this. So that part was normal. I've seen that happen before five times.
Check into the Disneyland Hotel… and off to Disneyland. No monorail, not because it wasn't working but because it was his first time and I have a rule for first time visitors. First entry must be through the main entrance, and the first ride is a round trip ride aboard the Disneyland Railroad. Not sure.... anyway... It didn't take long really, we entered and he noticed the brick floors as oppose to the slab concrete, the tinker bell / Mickey floral, we paused to watch Parade of Dreams and he noticed how rich the sound system was compared to MK's. After the parade we took a ride on the Disneyland Railroad. A fairly rude conductor named Moe was leading the trains. No please or thank yous, just barked commands "Sir your child cannot stand on the bench, must be fully seated on your lap or on the benched." in a harsh tone, while the trains was still in the process of loading. A please and a thank you could have gone a long way to soften that approach…… Anyway…. We get off the train and he is just really impressed with how clean Main street USA is, especially knowing that 20 minutes earlier the parade had just gone through here. He loved the color of the building and felt that the entire street was more rich in detail and immaculately clean, and the shops had variety. We watch the first 50 years with Steve Martin and then headed down to the hub. He sighed and just said " I love Disneyland".
I smiled. The park was working its charm again. Only this time no comments about the tiny Castle. It didn't seem to matter to him. It stead of saying how small it was, he just mentioned how Cute it was and that it was neat that it had a real draw bridge.
Now I don't know for sure, as Dane is a Disney Purist. He doesn't, compare, but rather goes into everything with an open mind. He loves WDW like only a few can, usually buy's into the company line as gospel, and I am convince with his always well spoken manners, is destined to be a WDW Ambassador. That said his reaction to Space Mountain was slightly out of character for Dane. As our rocket screeched to a halt and returned to the load station, Dane turned and looked at me:
"Soooooo Much Better then Ours…… @#$%ing ridiculous."
Fantasmic!'s lighting and sound system blew him away, and he liked that DL's version because it did not relay on the mist screens as strongly as DHS version does. After Fantasmic he just sighed in frustration at how good this park really is and some comment about how WDW missing the mark and needs to improve.
Pirates was another experience, from the size of its flume drops to its extra show scenes, clearly superior. That said.....
I will tell you that after I talked so much about how Disneyland runs the mansion better the WDW, DL proved me wrong. We were loaded directly into the stretch room and the spiels already running and the noise level so high you couldn't really hear what he was saying anyway. This is a frustration I have with WDW's mansion that I don't remember the same happening at DL's but it did both times we rode it. Because of the way they load it the groups don't quiet down until well after the stretch room has begun to stretch. Your suppose to wait for the group to all be in the lobby, hear the spiel, then the doors to the strechroom open and the show really begins. Doing it the other way is kind of like watching Beauty and Beast from just after the opening number. Sure you'll still get the entire story, but you've still missed the opening experience,the setting if you will. Anyway, while impressed with how much more the stretch rooms exaggerated at DL, overall he like WDW's Mansion better. Not a landslide victory for WDW, but I would agree, the after rehab version of WDW's mansion does have a couple extra wow moments. I too now favor WDW's Version.
Overall though, the parks did their magic. More so DL then DCA, which he described as a Downtown Disney with rides. I don't agree. I *can* understand anyone that says it has a "Universal" Feel to it, but to me it feels more like Disney's Hollywood Studios at WDW. Some parts a bit better(Grizzly peak area is very well themed), and other parts lacking a bit (Burger Invasion corner of the park), but overall, they could so get away with calling it Disney's California Studios. (and I suspect one day they will) But honestly As for DL, he actually said "now I've seen how the Magic Kingdom should be." Which, for how well spoken he always is except for that moment on Space Mountain, this is about as close to saying DL is better the MK then I would expect him to say. Truthfully, it was a lot more then I expected. He later even added, he would never want to work at DL, as he wants to keep it that very special place were he can be the Disney Guest, and not the castmember. So I don't know if that truly counts as six for six...... more on that in a bit.
As for me, a friend arranged two very special surprises for me and Dane got to benefit from this as well. One a tour of the Dream Suite and two… Lunch at Club 33. Both amazing and when I get a chance, maybe I'll send some pics. yes... Dane got to see and eat in Club 33 on is very first trip to Disneyland. And to be honest, I don't recommend it. I don't really think he truly understood the signifcance of this event. Did he enjoy it? yes. But for as much of a Disney Purist that he is, I would have suspected near tears if he truly understood Club 33 and its history.
Later in the trip we rode RT on the Lilly Belle. Sadly there are now NO pictures of Walt or Lillian in car. But Dane love it none the less. I had made him intimately aware of is storied history prior to our trip. Kind of wish I had done the same for Club 33. Ok so on yet another day, we did a cab ride in Engine #2, E.P. Riley. In which I ask him if he remembered the movie with Steve Martin and the scene were Walt has a Mickey out the window of the cab. He suddenly realized this was the very engine and he was on the very spot. He was so thrilled to be were so many picture had documented Walt being.
I showed him Jingles in Fantasyland. And on the last day we took a ride in the Pilot House of the Mark Twain. But not before I gave him a tour of the entire boat, which fortunately DID still have the pictures of Walt.
So today Dane and I spoke today and he said he was so depressed to be back at work. Then commented again that he would not want to work at DL, so that he would have someplace Special and yet Disney for him to vacation at. He added seeing what Disney can be has inspired him to make WDW better. Wow Hes purist and I love him for it. Go Dane go. He concluded, that Disneyland had totally "taken me by surpise, and I am still in awe of the wonder of it all."
Six for six? I think so
Now how in the heck do I post these pics???? lol oh well.