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  1. #1

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    Trip Report 11/17-11/20 (in progress; long already but with pics)

    When I was younger, my mother, brother and I made annual pilgrimages to Disneyland. But between college and work, I hadn't been to Disneyland since a one-day visit (courtesy of a friend who was a CM at the time) in July 2000. But my mother insisted on going for her 50th birthday year (since she was born in 1955 too), and I decided it was high time I made it back to the park too! So we got our reservations and plane tickets, bought our 4-day park hoppers, and made our way to Disneyland!

    We flew in to Anaheim late Wednesday night (my mom couldn't get off work any earlier) and stayed in the Ramada Plaza Anaheim, which is only a few blocks from Disneyland. The room was fine; the maid service was slightly spotty, and the desk had its quirks...(it came that way...)



    We took the ART in to Disneyland on Thursday morning (11/17), which was a bit of a mistake IMO because it took 30-40 minutes to get us to the front gates, since we were the first stop. But it was probably good for my mother, who can't last as long as I can, so a bit of a rest probably helped her. They had the heater on for some reason, but other than that the trip was OK.

    I was under the impression that only Fantasyland would be open for Early Entry, so I wasn't all that keen on getting there early (even though I know a serious tourist should make every effort to be in the park at opening!). But to our delight we found that Space Mountan and BLAB were both open, and we rode each. Space Mountain was as good as ever (though I kind of miss the glow-in-the-dark cars). I wasn't really wowed by BLAB; I can see where it would be fun for smaller kids but I'm not very good at shooting and the sets were a bit cheap. Still, the kids like it and I have nothing against it. It's neat that you can e-mail your photo to yourself. We then went on the Matterhorn (did anyone ever notice one of the shields has a priest that looks an awful lot like Michael Jackson?). And I apologize a million times to anyone we accidentally cut in front of, but the cast member didn't seem to be directing anyone so we just filed in... ^^;;;;;; I felt guilty for the whole ride which almost spoiled it. My mom got bruised so I don't think she'll be doing it again. And after that my mom was tired so while she rested I showed off my laughable dancing skills in the Starcade. (I can pass almost any 7 foot song and some 8s, but in the arcade I usually only do 5 or 6 footers, which is good because I was sweaty enough after 3 of those. :P )



    We then rode Space Mountain again, courtesy of the magic of Fastpass. We did Indy on standby (only about 10-15 minute wait), then went to New Orleans Square for some delicious fritters. My mother adored the Christmas decorations there. We followed that with the Haunted Mansion, which I thought was quite neat...the first time through I hardly even noticed that it was overlaid the existing attraction, so much of it seemed to belong. My mom liked the colors so much she was tempted to actually watch "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (though that didn't happen :P ). Then we did Pirates of the Carribean, which can never be ridden enough. In retrospect, since Thursday was such a light day traffic-wise, we probably should've saved the Disney Gallery for later, but we were in the area so we went up to see the exhibits. (It was a little crowded up there, but when I went on Sunday it was almost empty, go figure.) Somewhere in there, we did the Pooh ride, which was better than I expected. From all the negative reviews I'd expected it to be bad, but it was nicer than most the Fantasyland dark rides. I guess the problem is that it's not as good as Tokyo's, and a dark ride doesn't seem right in Critter Country... But I thought it was pleasant enough.

    Then we walked on to Big Thunder Mountain. We went all the way back to Main Street to shop I guess, and had lunch at the Blue Ribbon Bakery (pretty decent but expensive). I got a few pressed pennies at the Penny Arcade and we did some shopping. After that, we did the Jungle Cruise (it had been on my mom's "list", and it said wait time 5 minutes, though it was more like 15). I don't even know when the last time I went on was, probably 10 years ago. The pirhana effects were quite nice and our skipper was pretty funny. We then went on the Mark Twain near dusk and I got some nice video footage of Frontierland and NoS on my little digital camera. In this still regular shot you can see how relatively empty the park was.



    We went to Toontown and then got some pictures. Then we saw the projections on It's a Small World (very cool, though I personally think it's a little odd for people to clap for a light show that doesn't have any live performers, unless someone has to flip the switch to turn the music and projections on). Then we saw the Parade of Dreams from the area. The parade was very nice, though I got distracted because my camera couldn't take good pictures due to its recharge time and the fact that we were too close to the street. Oh well. It was very pretty, though I wish I would've just put the camera down to look at the detail on the floats.



    Though everyone else had the same idea, I suggested we then go to It's a Small World. We waited in line behind a lovely Japanese couple with a little boy who loved the ride so much they'd been on it 5 times that day. THAT'S sacrificing yourself for your kids! I still find it a bit creepy to see and hear all the little international dolls singing Christmas songs in English, but it's not bad.

    Then we took the last train of the day (except the sweeper train) from Toontown to Main Street. I'd heard what a great spot the train station is to view the fireworks from, but and hadn't quite reckoned on the Christmas tree, which obscures the entire castle area. So we made our way to the hub. We were somewhat in front and to the right of the Partners statue in the hub itself; unfortunately there was no place for my exhausted mom to sit during our 40-minute wait. They warned the fireworks may not happen and then said they were delayed, and I knew from reading MiceChat that they might be cancelled due to wind--and I think my mom was just getting more and more annoyed with having to stand and wait, and I got more and more worried that they might not happen. But they finally started! The view was quite good, and it's a very good thing I forced my mother to see it because they didn't run the fireworks again our whole trip! She said it was the best fireworks show she'd ever seen. My tastes may not be refined, but I found the very beginning a tiny bit dull. Once Tink came out and then they did the attraction fireworks, though, it was spectacular, and definitely worthy of all the hype! And my mom was glad I forced her to watch them. My pictures turned out terribly; my silent video was just slightly better (if I'd had better skills I could've done better; it's not a bad camera).



    It snowed (not quite as sudsy as I'd been led to believe from some of the threads here, but thick enough--luckily we weren't really in the path of any of the machines, so we just got light bits of foam that the breeze sent gently towards us, instead of being blown by mechanical fans). We walked back to the hotel at the end of the night.

    All in all, the crowds were quite light, and I'd go so far as to call it a perfect day! The weather was a bit chilly at the end of the day (not like the rest of the trip, which was hotter than Phoenix :P ). And the crowds were light enough, I actually saw some CMs talking amongst themselves since they had no guests to wait on. I was glad to see that because I know they've been overworked lately. They were all polite too, and I think the day (week?) might have given them a tiny bit of a rest which they definitely deserve.

    I'll probably type up the rest of the days' reports later, for my own memory, but not sure if anyone else is interested; I guess I'll post if I feel like it.

  2. #2

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    I glad you had a great visit with your family
    aka Sara




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    isn't pictured,

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  3. #3

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    Ya me too! Do you have anymore?
    Putting the um in forum. Um...


  4. #4

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    cool report thanks Glad you had fun


  5. #5

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    very good!!! So how'd you like tinks amazing new flight?






    ~ Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday tomorrow and fantasy
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  6. #6

    • Im Mrs Americain Dream
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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    Awsome report
    ~I Am Finally Just Me~

    My Youtube Video Blog

  7. #7

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    As some of you nice folks at least seemed to enjoy reading Day 1 (thank you for the kind words!), I'll now present Day 2. First, though, Tink was just marvelous in the fireworks show! My one regret actually is that I spent less time watching her, and more time trying to capture her on my camera. That's kind of a recurring regret through the parades and shows, actually. If I lived in CA and had an AP I would definitely have sat down and watched all the parades and the fireworks at least once through before trying to take pictures. But I knew my time was limited and tried to do everything at once (never mind that I'm sure dozens of people have posted pictures better than the ones I could get). But I did get plenty of use out of my new digital camera at least.

    OK, hang on to your hats and glasses!

    When my mom and I walked to the front gates around 9 AM on Friday morning (11/18), we saw that Ryan Seacrest would be filming. (Series of horrified photos omitted.) The fairly-well-known Christian band Mercy Me was performing the traditional Christmas hymn "Jingle Bell Rock" as we walked down Main Street. (I mean no offense or mockery towards the band; in fact, I sort of like the song "Spoken For." I just wanted to use that snarky line. ) Anyway, they were good and the people gathered around seemed to enjoy it, which was even better. And if you squint you may be able to see a bit of the band. :P They were pretty well roped off so it was hard to get a good view; if we would've been there earlier maybe we could've gotten closer.



    I had woke up before my alarm even went off and was extra-excited the whole day because I was meeting my best online friend at the park! (I will call her M in case she doesn't want referenced by name. ) My mom was looking forward to doing a lot of sitting while me and my friend went off and did stuff. The first thing I did was go to a locker ($6; everyone I've mentioned this to pretty much said I got fleeced :P) to stow my jacket, since it had been so cold the night before. And M got caught in traffic on the 5 (doesn't help that she was coming from Ventura and passed the fires). But I was still thrilled, because that meant, for the first and only time in my life, I got to play runner! I took Mom's ticket and mine and got Fastpasses for Space Mountain. I was going to go right back to my mother but had told her I could be a while, so I saw there was a 5-minute wait for Star Tours, and I went for it. For some reason simulation rides really didn't draw me in this trip; they just didn't seem very real to me. However, I was seated next to a cute little girl who had probably never been before; she was all smiles the whole time, which was fun for me. Then I went back to meet Mom for a bit, and decided to really start using my digital camera and got a pic of a painting of kitties in the window near the lockers.



    Then my friend was still stuck in traffic, so I went and got us each Fastpasses for Indy. Then M texted me to say she was near the park. (Yes, if you nearly got hit by someone with a fancy phone that opens to reveal a full keyboard, that was probably me. Or the other girl with the same model of phone I saw on Sunday.) So I went to the gates and waited, donning my Gadget ears to make sure she'd recognize me. (No pics of those this trip; sorry; you can explore my Rescue Rangers webpage if you really wanna see. :P ) Then we finally met up! She was wearing a PotC shirt that got as many compliments as my homemade ears, and never once got mistaken for Dumbo as I did. ;P

    ANYWAY, then we circled back to my mom. Thanks to Mom's generosity, M and I had the opportunity to use my Fastpass and Mom's to ride Space Mountain! Then we waited a few minutes so we could all three get Fastpasses for Space Mountain again, and then walked to Indy. Mom sat down and struck up a conversation with a stranger (she's quite good at that) and M and I used Mom's FP and mine to ride Indy. I think M got jostled pretty good on Space Mountain and Indy both. :P But she hadn't managed to ride Space Mountain in Orlando (either in a very long time, or ever; I forget which) and hadn't been on Indy at all, so they were both things she wanted to do! Then we circled back to Tomorrowland so all 3 of us could ride Space Mountain again. M had a nice pose, but mine was awful and I hadn't thought of using my digital camera to take a picture of the screen, so it's lost for good, sigh.

    Next, we made it back to Pirates of the Carribean (another thing on M's list). I think M and my mom both started singing. Heh. Afterwards we went to Big Thunder Mountain, which was listed at I think at 20 minute wait, but we got on in about 5. By that time Mom and M were thirsty, so we wound up at the corn dog cart and they bought sodas. (I'm far too cheap to buy a soda at DL, though I guess I could buy one in a bottle and then refill with water...instead I wound up buying a water bottle and using it 'til I lost it...as another aside, I also vowed not to buy a hot dog inside the park, since it's around $6 for a hot dog and chips (which I don't even like), or you can buy better/bigger food for a couple dollars more. OK, end diversion.)

    My mom wanted to rest, so we left her back at Main Street near the Baby Care and First Aid centers. I know she was working on ideas for an article for her job, but it must've been excellent people-watching; I saw about 6 CMs go by in the 5 minutes we hung out there...she also saw quite a bit of the Christmas parade filming that took place around the hub during the day. She said she saluted to one of the toy soldiers and he saluted back.

    Anyway, Roger Rabbit's CarToon Spin was on M's list too, so we had to do that. She bragged that she'd never been on a ride that broke down, so you can guess what happened. We were probably stuck about 10 minutes, and I admit I snapped some pictures, until someone on the intercom said that photography was prohibited and they'd confiscate our film. Then I put my camera away. :P



    A couple CMs finally came by and yanked the cab door open and we climbed out and had to jump over the orange (?) line in the center of the room, which has a couple-inch wide crack in the middle, for the ride mechanisms, I'm sure. They told us to stay away from that line. Then we got to walk through the half of the ride we'd already been in, stopping in each room to rescue another stranded party. I wish they would've taken us the other way so I could've seen the hole effect up close, but oh well. (It proved the truism, that a real Disney freak gets *excited* when they're on a ride and it breaks down!) I don't think I'd ever noticed the vast array of mirrors in the china room. And I was careful not to step in the Dip on the way back. We had to wait another 10 minutes or so in the queue before they got the ride up and running again. It was kind of odd to be there without any motion or wacky sounds going on; I guess the ride and queue noises are tied together. When it got noisy we knew the ride was running again! They had to cycle it through at least once, maybe twice, before they let us on for another ride. I cheered when we made it past the electrocution scene.

    After that, we went on the Matterhorn; I think the seating arrangements freaked M out a little bit. I don't know that they'd design a modern ride with that straddle option (well, except flume rides of course). I got a bit upset that the placard in front (I guess it's on most or all of the rides) indicated that we should hold hands. :P Anyway, we took the right side (which I almost never take for some reason) and it was fun, though a bit bumpy.

    We had made reservations weeks in advance for lunch at the Blue Bayou, so we headed over to NOS. We did a bit of shopping since it was only 2:20 or so and our reservation (as per the advice of MiceChatters) was for 3 so we could have a huge meal. (Can anyone explain to me why Disneyland doesn't sell pirate socks in Pieces of Eight? Or Aztec gold (that I could see)? I don't think they even had any PotC shirts. Agh, they're missing out on sales!)

    We claimed our reservation at about 2:45 (the people up front were very friendly, and recognized my ears!) and requested waterside seating. We were seated just yards away from the banjo player at a couple minutes before 3:00! Here are the lovely front-people from the back, because I'm not going to show you a pic of me and M posing in the restaurant.



    I got the Monte Cristo, which I'd always wanted but never had at DL, and to my surprise I even liked the jam! I don't really like berries in general, but this was good. My mom said it was like breakfast, lunch, and dessert rolled into one. I frankly adore anything fried, so it was a no-brainer. My mom and M both got Caesar salads. (M is from Florida and said she hadn't had a salad in about a month because of the power disruptions. :P ) Our waitress was very nice, and we only had one or two boats heckle us the whole time. And yes, the Monte Cristo was so big I couldn't finish it. I like Caesar salads and I had a bite of my mom's, but I wasn't impressed. Maybe it didn't have enough dressing, though; she got it on the side. (I think the waitress just overheard M say she wanted more dressing and came back with a side of dressing for her too!) We got the Raspberry Jack Skellington cake for dessert, which I recommend IF you like raspberries. I don't, so I only had a bit of cake, some frosting, and well over half of the white chocolate disc that is Jack's head. All in all, it was a wonderful meal!

    M's friends were coming to pick her up sometime soon, so that was pretty much the end of our time together; we did some shopping and then had to head back to the convenient drop-off area. Meanwhile, my mom staked out a place to at least lean, maybe sit, in the hub, for the Christmas parade. Ideally I would've made it back to her for the parade, but M's friends took longer than expected to pick her up. I waited with her. I find the pick-up area a rather strange place; it's very pretty, but bizarre and semi-depressing to see all the CMs in costume waiting for their rides. Many of them are probably fairly young and waiting for their parents to pick them up, and I know carpooling is healthy and everything, but it just makes me feel that these people should be getting paid more...I saw someone in a Blue Bayou uniform for goodness' sake!

    ANYWAY, once M had caught her ride, I made my way back into DL and tried to get back to my mother. The parade had already made it almost to the end of the line, so I abandoned that idea and found myself in an adequate viewing position, near the Walt Disney Story or whatever they call the attraction-formerly-known-as-Lincoln, and watched the parade. It was quite pretty, although it was dark, and only with very liberal brightness/contrast adjustments and cropping was I able to make any pictures look even mediocre...



    I figured it'd be pretty much the same as the last Christmas parade I saw (probably 6 years ago; it was the year before they started with the snow). So I was wondering where the ice-skating Beauty and the Beast float went (never mind that that direct-to-video film wasn't very good; it was a nice float ). I wonder if they modified it for Mickey and Minnie or other skaters...hmmm... Anyway, it was nice; I personally liked the Parade of Dreams floats better though. But when I'm at Disneyland I actually want to see Disney characters; I don't need to see Santa...

    My mom was still quite tired, and after the parade I made my way back to her, and suggested we take the Monorail (on my list) to Downtown Disney (I'd wanted to see World of Disney and a few more shops, and she definitely wanted to see the shopping area). Actually, her lips were chapped, so first we went to the Baby Care center to ask if they had any Vaseline. They didn't but they suggested the First Aid Center just a few steps away. The First Aid Center was very nice (I was going to take a picture but I was lazy), and they were able to help Mom out right away! And then we were set to head to the monorail, and off to Downtown Disney! I hadn't been on the Monorail for well over 5 or 6 years (it wasn't running on my last trip or two). Of course I hadn't ridden it since California Adventure got put in, so it was a much more interesting trip leaving the park than it used to be. Once at Downtown Disney, I gravitated towards the Lego store, though we eventually did it all. My mom got her picture with the giant Lego giraffe, though I was more taken with the tiny model of the Lego store...



    My mom finds Anne Geddes stuff rather freaky (as do I), but it was weird how after a few minutes in the store, she started to become One of Them, even musing that she could buy an $18 keychain and replace the photo in the front to make something cool... We did escape Anne's evil clutches, though. I think all we bought in Downtown Disney was a little gingerbread suit at the Build-a-Bear shop (it fit my mom's bunny at home perfectly) and some pretzels and bottles of water. I hated to shell out $4 for a bag of pretzel bits, but it was a bag nearly the size of a lunch paper bag, full of pretzel pieces, with the tub o' cheese added for free! I couldn't eat them all and took them back to the hotel, where they're probably still sitting in the refrigerator. (Kidding...at least, I HOPE they cleaned it out... )

    Anyway, the fireworks were cancelled that night so we were able to take the monorail back fairly early. The CM on the intercom was amusing and fairly punchy; he'd say things like, "Hm, what's that just ahead and to the right of the train?" Then he'd let the recorded narration answer, "Just ahead and to the right of the train, is one of Disney's most beloved attractions, it's a small world." (thanks, http://sorcerersworkshop.org, for the direct quote). It was rather funny.

    I had to go get my never-used jacket from the locker ($6 for in-and-out priveleges isn't bad, but if you're just stashing something for the day, it's not so good; oh well). And then according to my records, we then proceeded to go back to the hotel. (My poor mom was exhausted!) I believe we just managed to squeeze onto a crowded shuttle, and since we were the first stop, it wasn't bad at all. Another wonderful day! The park was definitely more crowded than Thursday, but not bad at all.

    Next time, Gadget finally meets DCA! And probably rambles even more! Stay tuned!

  8. #8

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    Mom was tired on Saturday morning (11/19), after we had a fairly long night on Friday. I had toyed with the idea of getting to DL at the 8 AM opening and riding some rides before we did DCA, but yeah, that didn't happen. We walked to California Adventure and made it to the Golden Gate Bridge at about 10:15.

    Right away, we meandered over to Soarin' and debated waiting in line (it was marked as 20 minutes but a CM came on the intercom and said it would be 30 minutes; I don't understand why they didn't just change the sign...). So we got Fastpasses. On our way to Paradise Pier, we neared the theater where Golden Dreams is shown, and this friendly Australian couple came by and asked us if we knew what was inside there. I explained to the best of what I knew (Whoopi Goldberg in a very unpopular short movie about the history of California) and they thanked me and went on their merry way. If I would have actually seen the film, I might have omitted the word "history" in my description, but more on that later.

    So we finally came to Paradise Pier. I actually liked the look of it, more or less; the look of the rides is all fairly solid (except the Orange Stinger, ick!). It's just the buildings that are pretty hideous. The Golden Zephyr was running and I'd heard it was down for wind a lot (and Friday was actually fairly windy), plus it's similar to the old '20s rides, so I definitely wanted to do that. It was nearly as gentle as all the reviews I'd read said it was...more of a pleasant diversion than anything else. But no complaints, since I'm cowardly about heights.



    Then we went to the Sun Wheel. I knew it was a must-see, but I don't like heights or ferris wheels...even though you're in a cage, I got nervous when my mom shifted the car even a little bit. I know we should've taken a sliding car since those are only in a few ferris wheels anywhere, but I don't think I would've liked that one bit. So we had a regular car and a very nice view. I managed some pictures by pressing my camera up directly against the small-mesh caging...



    Mom wanted to do the Orange Stinger or whatever it's called, and we probably should've, but I honestly don't like swing rides all that much (the height thing again) so I was a terrible human being and talked her out of it.

    By then it was time to go back to Soarin'. We passed Mulholland Madness on the way and wanted to Fastpass it, but it was down at the time, and then we kind of forgot about it. The wait for Soarin' was longer than I'd expected, since we had Fastpass and all. I think they could use some major theming in the last room of the queue; I would've loved to read about historical pilots but we bypassed much of that section of the line and found ourselves waiting in a not-very-charming hallway. (On the way we also helped explain to a couple in the non-Fastpass line what a Fastpass is; I'm afraid tourists who don't actually read guidebooks or carefully examine and read their map STILL have no clue on the matter.) I said above that I wasn't really drawn in by simulator rides this trip, and sadly, Soarin' was no exception. It was kind of neat but it didn't have a storyline and I didn't bother to actively imagine myself flying, so I didn't find it to be all that impressive. My mother liked it quite a bit, though, and if it wouldn't have involved a fair amount of walking (or even had time permitted) she probably would've snuck over to DCA on Sunday to do it again.

    Our next thought was to see the Aladdin show, and we got there about 10 or 15 minutes before showtime, but they only had balcony seating available, so we passed. Mom got a drink at Award Wieners. (By the way, I would like DCA a LOT more if they would restrict the store- and ride-puns to perhaps one per land, at the most. I'm sure some people find them witty, but I found them tiresome, even obnoxious!)

    Since we were in the area, we did the Muppet 3-D movie next. It was quite cute, though it would've played much better to a bigger crowd (there were maybe 50 people there?). And though the movie was cute, what I saw of the pre-show was IMO funnier. (Ditto for the movie posters at the exit, which was of course formerly the entrance.) The movie relied a bit too much on the 3-D effects. It's cute, but definitely not something I'd really go to see again unless I was tired and/or hot and needed a place to sit down.

    We had heard we needed to be at the Aladdin show 30-45 minutes in advance to get Orchestra level seating (less stairs), so that's what we did next, catching the 2:00 show. I remembered reading mixed reviews on the show, but I thought it was excellent. The Genie was hilarious, and the Magic Carpet was every bit as cute as a puppy. It was fascinating how the musical numbers just kept getting better and better, too. It wasn't a perfect show; I felt the story was chopped up too much and left out a few significant parts, though I could have just missed them. The effect of a tiny Jasmine and Aladdin flying across the sky was hokey enough to make me laugh (though the living Jasmine and Aladdin on the carpet seconds later shut me up, never mind they were different actors :P). We were in a great place because we got a good view of the carpet (the balcony above us didn't obscure our view at all) and a wonderful view of the stage. And it's nice that there's a special song for the show, and Jasmine sung it very well, but I didn't feel it was particularly necessary, and lacked the amusement factor of the other songs. Despite those issues, it was a beautiful show and well-worth seeing; I'd definitely watch it again if I were in the area.

    (Oh, the extra in a wheelchair didn't surprise me since I'd read about her online, but my mom just didn't "get" it; she asked me in a hushed voice afterwards, what was up with the person in the wheelchair. I only mention this because my father/her husband is a double amputee who relies on a wheelchair to get around. So I wonder how many other people had the same (or worse) thoughts! I'm sure my father would've liked to see that part though!)

    My mom had wanted to eat at the tortilla factory (I'm serious; we all have our quirks ) so we headed to the Cocina Cucamonga. Tempting as the tacos were, I got the tortilla-less steak nachos. The regular cheese wasn't melted at all (I know, I know, I could've taken it back to get it re-heated :P ) and the chips were pretty mediocre, and there was convenience-store nacho cheese on it too (not classy, but I do like that sort of thing so no complaints!). It was still a decent value, and I was quite full afterwards.

    Unfortunately, since we were in the right area, I insisted we do the tortilla factory and bakery tours (partly to say I had done it, partly because they were on my mom's list). So I ate a full tortilla (not the crumbs and bits I had heard about) and two delicious slices of sourdough bread, making myself fuller. My mom wanted to get ice cream after (her carnitas tacos weren't nearly as big as my nachos) but I put my foot down at that.

    We headed over to a bug's land because I'd wanted to see the Christmas decorations. They were very cute. I insisted we see the "It's Tough to be a Bug" show and it was quite funny, though dependent on the effects. I had a vague recollection of what happened from reading online, plus, I'm just not a very flighty person, but my mom yelled a couple times.

    The queue was very long and detailed and empty, which was sad (though the theater was surprisingly full). All the empty queues drive home the truth, that DCA is a park that just dreamed too big and expected too much. I actually think it will grow into a very nice park someday, much like Disneyland did. But right now, it's kind of sad.

    We went over to Catch-a-Flave (ugh, another pun) for ice cream because I'd wanted to try it. It was too melty, but at least it was bubble-gum flavored (my favorite!). Not a bad price but I don't think I'd get it again. I'd DEFINITELY not sit near the stand on Paradise Pier to eat it! I don't know how long their loop of California pierside-carousel-style music is, but ugh. Hearing the same Beach Boys song twice is at least one time too many. I think that was the point when I started to get marginally annoyed with the park. I don't HATE California, per se, but the park sort of hinges around the idea that California is the greatest place in the world, and if you don't agree, it's sort of tiresome. (And my favorite thing in California is directly across from DCA, so I couldn't quite fall in love with a park that spotights everything else in the state!) Anyway, yes, people CAN get tired of fake-Hollywood sets and tinny songs about California.

    OK. Anyway, I thought some of the theming in the shops in Paradise Pier was nice.





    (and then I stopped taking photos because the CM thought I had gone mad :P )

    I didn't like the carnival games, though; they struck me as less interesting than similar setups at Cedar Point and Knott's. Not gaudy enough? I don't know the reason, but, I hate to suggest Disney put MORE shops in, but it'd be a better place if they removed those games and put in another shop. :P

    Moving on, I prefer the DCA Christmas tree to DL's, because I like how colorful it is, and I like the Tink "star" (though I was disappointed that it didn't turn during the lighting; I thought it should have). Plus it doesn't obscure the castle like DL's does. Here is the obligatory shot...



    Then we lined up to see the Block Party (I had mixed feelings about seeing it but figured my mom might like it). We were right across the scariest thing in DCA...



    Fearing this attraction would meet the same fate as Superstar Limo, and that I may never have a chance to see it again, I took a deep breath and went for it. I mis-heard the CM and so wound up waiting about 10 minutes to see the show; blast! I was alone until the last 3 or 4 minutes, when a group of English-speaking women and then a group of I think Japanese women came along. There were about 9 people in the theater. I don't wish any harm on the CM who was just doing his job by announcing the film as award-winning and exciting, but I thought it would've been really funny if some young men had been suckered into going and then threatened the CM afterwards for lying to them.

    Anyway, the film....yeah. I could pretend to buy it until the water came through the floodgates to supply LA only AFTER Califia crossed her fingers. WHAT??? No, it had nothing to do with engineering; it was Califia?????? The history pages I found online didn't mention any kind of trouble with the aqueducts either. Bleh. (I had no idea that the man who did that was named Mulholland, though...so legitimately, the raft ride in DCA should be called Mulholland Madness? ) I also had no idea that California let Japanese men bring their wives to America; I know for the Chinese, they actually had to be merchants before they could bring in wives... And Califia gives a white prospector gold, but all she offers to the Japanese lady are a few encouraging words (in a language the poor woman probably doesn't even understand???) Ugh. But at least that was marginally educational. When I see Whoopi-fia chomping an apple, I'm wanting to throw things. And then being trapped in the room for what felt like half an hour while some kind of inspirational California song is playing and celebrities with California ties are projected onto the screen...OK, by that point I was just texting M. (I was in the back so I didn't distract the other 8 people who may have liked the film, no worries.) Yeeeeah. I could've had grand fun if I'd been in the theater with no one but a few friends to make smart-aleck remarks to, but it wasn't any fun by myself. I just about ran screaming out of the theater when they finally let us out.

    I made my way back to my mother and we watched the Block Party Bash. All the performers worked very very hard and the audience seemed to be having a good time. We were in front of the Bug's Life float; I was a touch disappointed since that was my least-favorite Pixar movie. The Incredibles float (I guess there's supposed to be one; they mention them on the website) was absent altogether??? Anyway, I don't know if I've ever seen performers work so hard; we were at the last stop and the men fairly glistened with sweat by the end.



    At that point my mom was tired and decided to go back to the hotel.

    And at this point if you're reading you're probably wondering why I didn't ride, you know, the other decent rides in DCA. Mostly cowardice. :P I would love to do Tower of Terror, since I love the theming of a 1930s-style hotel. But I cannot drop 13 stories, no way. I don't actually LIKE the drop on Splash Mountain (though it doesn't make me sick or anything). But I know I wouldn't have any fun at all on Tower of Terror. My mom didn't want to do Grizzly River Run, and I wasn't so sure I could do it myself either. And I really should have done Californa Screamin', but (besides the icky pun name) I was afraid the drops would be too much for me, plus I likely would have had to go alone. (The loop wouldn't have upset me.) Next time I'll at least read up on Screamin' to see if I think I could take it or not.

    I didn't want to go back yet, so I stayed in the park alone. I went to the Animation building and visited the art display, then what the heck, I went to the animation studio workshop and "learned" how to draw Pooh. I got a few more shots of DCA before crossing over to Disneyland.



    I realized that I definitely needed to see the Disneyland movie and exhibit that night because I might not be able to see them on Sunday, so that's what I did. The movie was wonderful (funny AND informative!), and so was the exhibit! I then headed to IASW in case they actually ran the fireworks. Of course they didn't, so I just got to see some snow. I was a little surprise there was no rioting, but the snow really calmed everyone down. I took a pic of my favorite animated Disney movie's collage once the crowd dissipated.



    There was no walking away from the IASW area, but I caught the train from Toontown to NOS. I definitely could've got a good spot for Fantasmic! but after reading about how the show keeps losing elements I thought it would be too depressing, so I went and rode PotC again, instead. When I got out the show hadn't started and in retrospect, I should've found a place to stand and watched with a semi-obstructed view; I regret not doing that. But I was tired, and so I worked my way back to the front gate.

    I also realized that I probably wasn't going to have time to get a Dole Whip on our final day, so at 10:20 at night, when it's probably in the 60s (I'm from the Phoenix area so that's cold!), I picked one up. (The line was only a few people long though!) I'm afraid that was definitely a mistake, because I was far too cold to enjoy it properly, and I actually CAUGHT a cold that I'm still recovering from, I'm sure in part because of that Dole Whip. But it did taste good!

  9. #9

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    Great pics. Thanks for sharing.
    You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to quit thinking.



  10. #10

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    Re: Trip Report 11/17-??? (long already but with pics)

    Love the journal of your trip very nice! Glad your family had a great time.
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