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  1. #1

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    Help for an Old-Timer

    I pretty much grew up in Disneyland, at least my teens and college years in the 70s and early 80s. I did go back several times in the 90s but the last time I've been to Disneyland was in 1997. I have been following Al since then, starting with D.I.G. and have kept up on the many news and changes. It is one thing to read about them but yet another thing to experience them. After all of these years, I am taking my son to Disneyland (he's 12 now), along with my brother's family (they have two boys about the same age). We are going to be there for 4 1/2 days (since it was so cheap). So here's my question:

    For those that knew DL back in my days, what is the experience like today? In other words, it's like a What's New for those only familiar with an older version. I know about the new rides but what I am after is comparing and contrasting a Day in the Park from, say, 1995, versus 2009. Thanks.

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    Whatever may come and go at Disneyland, the feeling in the park is the same to me. A month ago, my sister and I took our mom to the park after she hadn't been in about 25 years. Other than some new rides, it was the same park to her! I imagine the biggest difference for you will be going with your son and experiencing everything with him for the first time.

  3. #3

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    I agree with bee, for the most part it will very much still feel like the same park. As much as people complain about the changes, the reality is that when you first come back after some time away I think most people feel like not much has changed. It really takes a little time to really see everything and notice how much actually has changed, but the park still always produces the same feeling of excitement and happiness that it has always given me. Honestly, its the old timers who never had time away from the park that are the harshest critics of the changes. I agree with them that many of the changes aren't up to the standards that Disney is known for, but the impact that has on a trip to the park gets really exagerated on the internet.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
    -Walt Disney

  4. #4

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    Thanks bee and Bob, that was exactly the kind of response I was looking for. It seems the only things I have to learn are 1) how to get to and from the park(s) since everything outside of the park appears to have changed (like seeing DCA in the parking lot) and 2) how FastPass works and the strategy for such.

  5. #5

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    There was a 13 year gap for me from visiting DL as a kid and visiting as an adult. My last trip as a kid was only a couple years before the OPs so he'll probably have a similar experience to what I did when I finally went back.

    Everything around DL looked so different. DCA, DTD, the lack of a parking lot in front of the main gate, Anaheim in general. That was all new and exciting. Once I passed through the main gate and under the berm however the timelessness of DL was instantly evident. Some things have changed a bit at DL, but overall it is the same place I used to love visiting as a kid and is not as different as you might think. On that first trip back (which was also my 30th b-day) it felt like re-acquainting myself with an old friend. I started down Main St., looking in the windows here and there but pretty much fixated on the castle. I made it to the hub and headed straight to POTC by way of Adventureland. After 13 years, my favorite ride still didn't disappoint. I spent the rest of the day revisiting old attractions and experiencing a couple new ones (Indy wasn't there yet the last time I was in DL as a kid so I was definitely blown away by it). It was just like it was for me as a kid. I got the same snacks (Frozen Bananas and churros), ate meals in the same places (The Mexican restaurant by Big Thunder has changed some but over all it's the same kind of food and atmosphere), and rode mostly the same rides.

    Tomorrowland however is the place where the differences are the most obvious to me and I think needs the most attention. The rides that were missing to me were the Peoplemover / Original Rocket Jets, the skyway, Mission to Mars and America Sings (Yes I know, America sings closed long before 93' but having Innoventions in its place makes me long for its previous resident). I do like most of the rides currently in Tomorrowland (Except for Innoventions), it's just the missing rides that stick out and the TL 98 look to things that is odd to me.

    Overall to me, DLR has more to offer than DL by itself did back then so it's the same DL plus more rides, more dining and more fun. It will be great. Welcome back.
    Mike_M

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  6. #6

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    Thanks Mike. It appears you and I have similar experiences since my first time was 1976 and went there a lot up to the mid 90s (which as you said, was pre-DCA, pre-everything outside of the parks and pre-TL98). But it is also coincidental that during this long break, I did manage to go to WDW in 2000 for the first time, as you had.

  7. #7

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveColorado View Post
    It seems the only things I have to learn are ... 2) how FastPass works and the strategy for such.
    You're going for many days in a row, so you won't have any problem seeing everything, but Fastpass still can come in handy. Here's the basics, which are covered in the sticky Fastpass thread, I'm sure.

    When you get your first FP of the day, you'll see it is printed with three times: 1. The earliest you can use the FP
    2. the latest you can use the FP (which you can ignore - FPs don't actually expire)
    3. The time you got the FP (small print on the bottom).

    You can get your next FP to another attraction when:

    A. Your first FP becomes valid, or

    B. 2 hours have passed since you printed the previous FP,

    whichever comes first. Roger Rabbit and the CA water ride are not linked into the system so you don't have to wait before getting FPs for those rides. (Note that you can get a 2nd FP to the same attraction only after the first FP becomes valid.)

    At the beginning of the day, the return time is usually less than 2 hours away, so you can get your first 2 or 3 FPs quite quickly. I usually have 4 by lunchtime.

    At Disneyland, I recommend making your first stop getting a FP for either Space Mountain or Splash Mountain. These rides are the most popular for FPs, so they get grabbed quickly. The quicker the FPs are taken, the later the return time gets and the longer you have to wait (up to 2 hours) to get your next one.

    On your multi-day trip you won't have to worry about maximizing your FP efficiency, but on a one-day trip I arrange the first half of my day to getting FPs even though it means we walk all across the park a number of times. If I'm planning on riding Splash I start there to get a FP, then ride Haunted Mansion, or Pirates, and the Jungle Cruise, then enough time has passed to get a Space Mountain FP. Then whenever the time comes to get another FP, I go get one.

    The most-effective FPs are: Space, Splash, Indy (you do not want to wait in those switchbacks for an hour!), Soarin' over CA and Tower of Terror.

  8. #8

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    Just got back from spending 5 days at DL/DCA (from last Wednesday through Sunday - Father's Day). Being away from the park for so long, I was absolutely amazed at the changes (and growth). Not only the addition of DCA (much, much larger than I had expected) but the parking garage and Downtown Disney. Everything seemed to have been on a much bigger scale compared to when I was younger - like many of the trees, walkways, not to mention all the new stuff on Harbor and Katella. Overall it was a great time and I really appreciate the advice and help on the FASTPASS. That was a huge time saver to where we never had to wait more than 25 minutes for any rides (and got to ride many multiple times, plus going on Splash and Grizzly during the hot part of the day). One final thing. We saw the fireworks and Nightastics the last night and they were the best things I had ever seen in my life. That's saying a lot coming from a cynical 50-year old.

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    oh, here is a secret,most of the time CMs will accept a late fastpass!One time we used a 3 month old pass for space and indy,and they were accepted!!
    Disneyland's closed for all of 2011. See you in 2012. Snow White is now a water ride, Matterhorn has a fullsize basketball court where the Clippers have relocated to, and King Arthur's Carousel is suspended 250ft. in the air.
    Enjoy it while it lasts! LOL!

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    What happened to the old Disney movie opening? The new ones just too long and not classic.

  10. #10

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    I grew up in Anaheim, so we went to the parks at least 2x a year since 1972.

    Disneyland is still really wonderful to me, and one of my most favorite places to hang out. Its really, really different now. Part of it is my own perception, so I dont think it would be fair to talk about that, and maybe influence other peoples experience.

    Despite the many changes, both good and not so good, I still enjoy myself alot.

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    There are lots of beautiful places in the world not just Disneyland, you should try those places which are not familiar to you, try to search on the web for certain places that catches your interests.

  12. #12

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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    I guess I qualify as an old-timer, since I was 5 when Disneyland opened, and I've been going ever since. The only advice I can add to that already given is go in early in the day, take a break in the afternoon when it's most crowded, and come back in the evening.
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.


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    Re: Help for an Old-Timer

    Quote Originally Posted by rickysymo View Post
    There are lots of beautiful places in the world not just Disneyland, you should try those places which are not familiar to you, try to search on the web for certain places that catches your interests.
    Don't worry. I'm always encouraging vistors to Disneyland to explore the surrounding area. For example you'll see in many of my posts I will often advise people to go to the beach if they have the time. Disneyland is amazingly close to the beach.

    In my opinion, Disneyland is just a part of the Southern California experience. It is the most important part of course, but it is just one of the many things that make Southern California unique.

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