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  1. #1

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    Cool Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Cafe)

    This past weekend, Dave and I joined some friends in Disneyland (and DCA) for a short vacation. We were there only 3 days from Sunday to Tuesday, but visits are much different now that I am an AP-holder. I find more enjoyment in just being in the parks than I used to, and can have a fulfilling day at Disneyland without going on a single attraction.

    That said, there was one attraction that I HAD to go on this trip: Radiator Springs Racers. (We drove down on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, then went straight to DCA in order to make the AP early entry. I have never gone without sleep so willingly.)

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    Everyone was in line for RSR...

    The line was long, but not too bad. It was listed as 45 minutes when we got to the wait time sign, and that was very accurate. And yes, this was having gone straight to the queue with no delays on the way. We weren't running (Cast Members were leading the way, so no one was running) but we weren't slouches either. We actually enjoyed having a short wait (yes, 45 minutes is a short wait for this attraction) so that we could look at the details built into the queue. There are plenty! We found ourselves wondering how many of the things they'd put in the queue were replications from things Pixar had found along Route 66 during prep-work for Cars, and how many things were created from the brains of the Imagineers.
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    I love the details added to the queue!

    The ride itself was fabulous. I'm not going to go into a walk-though of it, as that can be found elsewhere. But I do have to say that I was not disappointed by Racers, and I think it's my new favorite attraction. It has an incredible dark ride mixed with a thrill ride, and set into an amazing backdrop. I couldn't help but fall in love.

    After Racers, the park was almost open, so we got in line to get fastpasses to ride it again. We also rode Luigi's Flying Tires, since the line was the shortest it was likely to be all day.

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    We finally got to ride the flying saucers tires!

    No one in our group had trouble figuring out how to operate the tires. We didn't have any trouble getting them to go where we wanted them to. The only trouble we had was picking up the beach balls during the ride - you have to get them off the ground in order to pick them up, and they're not exactly predictable.


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    Beach ball, or shade umbrella?

    I've been anticipating the flying tires ever since before they were announced. I've wanted Disney to bring back the flying saucers for ages. And then I read many, many pre-view and early rider reports about how they were underwhelming.

    I totally disagree with all those people.

    I had a blast on the tires, and went on them twice in two days because I enjoyed them so much. The first time was about a 5-10 minute wait, the second time nearly an hour. And you know what? It was a blast, and worth it. The attraction is more fun when you are on it with friends in other tires, so you have people to throw the beach balls at to, or bump into.

    The final attraction in the new land, and the last we went on, is Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.


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    I had to get my picture taken with a baby tractor! So cute.

    This was an unexpected hit. I didn't really know, heading into it, whether or not I'd like it. Crazy spinning rides aren't usually my cup of tea. (Speaking of tea, I'm the type of rider who will often go on the teacups and make them NOT spin at all.) So would I like Mater's? I had no idea. And the verdict: I loved it. The only comment I would make is that when you ride this attraction, put your backpack, or purse, or something between you and the wall. Otherwise, you might will run into it at high speed when the trailers whip around. Both times we rode this, we couldn't stop giggling. Well, unless we were shrieking, of course. It was a blast. Loved it.

    After the attractions, we made time for food. There was breakfast at Flo's, and lunch at the new Carthay Circle restaurant. I'm going to start this thread now, and will have a report on the food in a sec.
    Last edited by bookwyrm; 07-11-2012 at 10:38 PM.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  2. #2

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    On to breakfast... We ate at Flo's. Or rather, some of us ate at Flo's. Others went to the Cozy Cone Motel for eggs in a cone. The eggs were reported to be tasty, though no one was really sure what to make of the cone itself. I think the final consensus was that it's like a combination bread-bowl and pretzel.

    I had the French Toast with caramel sauce and bananas. it was quite tasty, though after the first few bites the caramel was WAY too sweet, and I had to cut off the edges with the sauce and just eat the french toast with the bananas. The hot tea I had with it didn't do much of anything to cut the sweetness.

    One of our party had the waffles from Flo's. This came with bacon and fruit, and was (in my opinion) the highlight of breakfast. Why? Well, because of the way the waffles looked. You might expect Mickey waffles, but no. Instead they were Mater & McQueen waffles.

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    And they're tire shaped waffles! How perfect is that?

    Breakfast was a success, and much needed after the long morning. After that, we ended up wandering toward Paradise Pier and riding Toy Story Midway Mania. Always a fun ride, and "only" a 40 minute wait. Some of us rode California Screamin' after that, and we all rode on King Triton's Carousel, simply because we happened to be there.

    The next "new" thing we did was watch the "Instant Concert - Just Add Water." This was a FABULOUS idea. Disney put in all those fountains for World of Color, and so far had only been using them for the nighttime show. Well, the Goofy-led daytime concerts are the perfect use for this spot during the day. It is entertaining, doesn't get in the way of any queues (the way the parades do) and provides a nice mister for guests near the waterline. Very important on hot days.

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    Dancing fountain show, or my own personal mist-maker?

    The next item on the schedule was lunch at the Carthay Circle Theatre. However, we still had some time to kill before that, so we wandered down Buena Vista Street. We got there in time to catch the tail end of the News Boys show on the Red Car Trolley, and get "Suitcase And A Dream" stuck in all our heads for the entire rest of the trip.

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    Wait for me, Mickey!

    We wandered through the shops as well, and generally gawked at the theming and details. Then it was time for lunch! We had reservations, and ate a variety of the food offerings. One of our party is a vegetarian, and was thrilled to hear that the Carthay vegetarian option is for the chef to create something especially for her. (The choice was something like a grilled vegetable stack or a custom-created vegetarian pasta.)

    Among us, we ended up splitting several appetizers, though the overwhelming favorite was the cheese biscuits. They had an incredible flavor! I never would have melded cheese, bacon, or jalapeno with an apricot butter, but somehow combining all of them WORKED. Fabulous dish.

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    Yummy pasta goodness!

    I had a pasta with chicken meatballs for lunch, and it was lovely. Very flavorful without being overwhelming. And the portion size was just right for me, too. Yum yum yum. I will definitely eat here again. It's so nice to see DCA getting some more sit-down food options.

    After lunch, the group split up. Some of us went over to Disneyland, some stayed in DCA, and Dave and I went to the hotel to clean up and nap. (Much needed nap!)

    When we all met back up, refreshed and happy, we did a few things while waiting for the CarsLand neon to light up. This was perhaps my favorite experience of the trip. Made me tear up a little because it was exactly what I wanted it to be.

    Just after 8pm, once the sun had set and the sky was starting to turn towards dusk, all the CarsLand music stopped (as far as I could tell). "Sh-Boom" came over the area speakers, and the neon started to turn on, just the way it does in the movie. We were standing near Fillmore's so that we could see the entire area lighting up toward us. It was awesome. I intend to make it to CarsLand for the neon lighting every trip I'm there. It's something that fits the land so perfectly that I'm surprised it's not listed as an official event (the way the parades and fireworks are).

    The next stop was World of Color at 9. A couple of us had bought the Glow With The Show ear hats, and we amused ourselves by watching the hats light up during the show. (They hats also lit up in time with the neon lighting and Mad T Party, and when nothing else was going on they would sync up with hats of the people in our party. Highly amusing, but rather uncomfortable hats.)

    After World of Color, which I have seen so many times I can sing along with it easily, we went back to RSR to use our fastpasses. The standby line was long, but the single rider line was reasonable and the fastpass line was downright short. We got in the car, but ended up having a Cast Member ride with us. She was checking to see how everything was running. And wouldn't you know it? The ride stopped working properly. We got to the race start, and the car we were racing failed to start when they said "go". Needless to say, we won the race, even though our car stopped several times during the course of the race as well.

    When we got out of our car, one of our party asked the Cast Member at the exit if we could ride again since the ride had been interrupted, and he let us back on. We rode up to the waterfall, and... stopped again. This time for longer.

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    Beautiful view... there are much worse places to be stalled on RSR. Such as directly under the misters.

    When we did get back up and running again, there was a treat in store for us: the work lights were up in the show building! (Non Disney geeks won't understand why this was such a big deal to us. We were in Heaven.) It was great to see the ride with the lights up, especially since this was the third time we'd been on it. (I wouldn't have wanted this experience to be my first on the attraction, no matter how big a Disney geek I am.)

    I've heard it said that Racers is more fun at night, and I think I agree. On the other hand, I have no problem with it during the day - I think it's fun at both times. I have also heard it said that it's weird to walk through Radiator Springs to RSR just to get on a ride and go back into Radiator Springs. I didn't think it was weird at all, because RSR's starting point is NOT Radiator Springs. Its starting point is Wheelwell, the rundown inn that Sally takes McQueen to in the first movie. It's well outside of town. Anyway, I didn't have any issues with the ride's story. It makes sense to me.

    After our nighttime ride on Racers, it was about time for bed. We got tea at Starbucks (!!!!! Yay! Decent tea and coffee in a Disney park!) and then walked back to the hotel for the night. On Monday, we spent the day in Disneyland... more on that in a moment.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  3. #3

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    The first official order of business for us on Monday was breakfast at the newly re-opened Carnation Cafe. We had signed up for Early Entry into Disneyland, but none of us were up for it having gone to bed as late as we did. Instead, we slept in and wandered into the park just in time for our 8:40 breakfast reservations.

    Again: it's wonderful to have the option to sit down and be served at a restaurant in Disneyland. The food was all very good, the service was great, and it was the perfect way to start our day.

    One thing we made sure to get in was the Voices of Liberty.

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    Beautiful singing! Though the costumes looked hot, hot, hot...

    I thought they were going to do more than one song outside the Opera House, but this was not the case. Instead they sang just enough to draw a crowd, and then announced that they would be performing inside the Opera House, followed by a showing of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. They used the air conditioning as a draw to get people inside, so I'm guessing they felt the heat as much as we did - if not more.

    It was great hearing the tight harmonies they sang, and also quite refreshing to see so many people watching Lincoln. I haven't seen so many people watching that show in... well, probably not ever. Very nice to see.

    I don't remember the order of the attractions we rode, but I know we got in all the major ones: Indy, Pirates, the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Star Tours, and Big Thunder. (Yes, I know there's one more major Disneyland attraction, but it gets its own paragraph later.) These are all tried and true rides, and fun fun fun.

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    A Main Street tradition - and always a highlight.

    One particularly fabulous bit about the Disneyland section of the trip was hearing the Dapper Dans sing Happy Birthday to one of our party members. If you have never had them serenade you for your birthday, you should try to make that happen. It's highly amusing.

    Another thing we did was continue to make this the Trip About Food. With as large a group as we had, people tended to get hungry at different times. One way around this, is to get many snacks throughout the day, and to share them. (I didn't mention it earlier, but we've now tried several of the specialty drinks from the Cozy Cones, and they are all great. The Pear-o-Dice soda is probably my favorite so far.)

    An example of the snacking we did? Funnel cakes. I never knew Disney did funnel cakes, and boy do they make them magical. (We got ours at the Stage Door Cafe, if anyone else is craving one.)

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    Have you ever seen such a happy funnel cake?

    For the evening activities, our group split among the people who wanted to see Fantasmic! and those who wanted to watch World of Color again. I went back to WoC, since I wanted to see my ear hat go crazy again. It was still fun.

    And then, to close off the evening in the parks, we headed back across the esplanade to take an evening ride on the Matterhorn. (left side) Wow. I love what they've done to the mountain. It looks great on the outside, and the inside is just as great. The surprise on the left side of the track is also highly amusing. (We should maybe take my niece on the right hand side, just to be safe.)

    The new Matterhorn sleds, however, were a bit of a disappointment. They are not at all comfortable over bumps. They can pick up speed, that's for sure. Either the track has been repaired or these new sleds ride the rails better, because the forward motion was smooth and fun. But when the ride neared the end and there are more dips (such as into the "splash" areas) the cars became much more jarring. It was also disconcerting having the footwells nearly on a level with the seat itself... I can see that this is more "authentic" as a toboggan-style sled, but it was difficult for me to get out of quickly. I'm not sure that these were a good choice of seating vehicle.


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    Sleeping Beauty Castle at dusk... still one of my favorite sights in the park.

    For a very last item of the day, we headed over to Trader Sam's for some drinks and more snacks. That was a fabulous time, though I won't go into detail of it since I'm already tired of talking about food. I decided that my new favorite drink there, though, is the pear-ginger martini... I think I was on a pear beverage kick this trip.

    Tuesday was a partial day, as we all headed home that afternoon. However, we did all pop into both parks for a few more photo ops before leaving. (And a farewell corn dog...)


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    Storytellers statue... the centerpiece for DCA that the sun fountain never was.

    It was a very fun trip, if a bit of a whirlwind tour. I look forward to seeing CarsLand more when I can meander and look more closely at the many, many details. I didn't even go into most of the CarsLand shops, since I was spending too much time trying to soak in the atmosphere of the place. I also didn't get to see the entire News Boys show, or ride the Red Car Trolley. There's still so much left to do at DCA. It's nice to see the park finally become what it should have been.


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    Disneyland... still the Happiest Place on Earth, even after all these years.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  4. #4

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Great trip report, thanks!! You made me even more excited to see the neon lighting in Carsland, and I didn't think I could be!!
    ..:: DLR Trips: 1994, 1999, 2012 ::..

  5. #5

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Thanks for the great trip report and photos! I've been to Cars Land at night, but I haven't seen the actual lighting event. It sounds awesome. And that funnel cake looks scrumptious!

  6. #6

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    Smile Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Quote Originally Posted by bookwyrm View Post

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    We finally got to ride the flying saucers tires!


    I've been anticipating the flying tires ever since before they were announced. I've wanted Disney to bring back the flying saucers for ages. And then I read many, many pre-view and early rider reports about how they were underwhelming.

    I totally disagree with all those people.
    Yay! I am so glad to hear that the Flying Tires are a fun attraction ... and worth a second ride. I've been waiting for another chance to ride the Saucers for decades.
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    I doubt that this will be the same (the original ones were MUCH smaller, lighter, and -- I'm sure -- easier to maneuver) but I am looking forward to it just the same, and now with even more anticipation!

    Thanks for a great trip report ... sounds like it was indeed a great trip.

  7. #7

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Spectacular TR. I really enjoyed your insight!

  8. #8

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Fun report! The food photos have my mouth watering, especially that big sloppy, messy, delicious-looking funnel cake. NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

  9. #9

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    Fun report! The food photos have my mouth watering, especially that big sloppy, messy, delicious-looking funnel cake. NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM
    I know, right? How did I not know Disney did funnel cakes before this?

    ---------- Post added 07-12-2012 at 09:55 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by kayleigh83 View Post
    Great trip report, thanks!! You made me even more excited to see the neon lighting in Carsland, and I didn't think I could be!!
    The neon lighting was on my "must do" list for this trip, and I'm so glad. It was fabulous. Enjoy!
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  10. #10

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Quote Originally Posted by bookwyrm View Post
    And then I read many, many pre-view and early rider reports about how they were underwhelming.

    I totally disagree with all those people.

    I had a blast on the tires, and went on them twice in two days because I enjoyed them so much.

    Totally agree! I'm glad you had fun on them, too.

  11. #11

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Quote Originally Posted by brenden View Post
    Totally agree! I'm glad you had fun on them, too.
    Also, all the puns in the queue for Luigi's Flying Tires! Ugh!
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  12. #12

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Thanks for the report! Definitely checking out the Cars Land lighting next time I have a chance! Also, very jealous of the 45 minute wait for RSR... I'm very much looking forward to a time when 45 minutes or less is normal!

  13. #13

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Thanks for your trip report! I remember my AP early entry experience last month, and I had so much fun at Cars Land. I wish we rode Racers many times that day too like you guys did!

    I am going to Disneyland on my birthday later this month! I was wondering how do you get the Dapper Dans to sing Happy Birthday? Do you just flash them your birthday button? Thank you in advance!

  14. #14

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    Quote Originally Posted by trueBruin86 View Post
    I am going to Disneyland on my birthday later this month! I was wondering how do you get the Dapper Dans to sing Happy Birthday? Do you just flash them your birthday button? Thank you in advance!
    Both times this has happened to someone in my party, the birthday person was just standing near the front where they could see the button. This time they were doing a short bit, but when they do their full showit seems that they sing happy birthday near the end of the set (at least if our previous experience is any indication).

    Happy almost birthday!
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  15. #15

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    Re: Trip Report: our road to CarsLand (w/ meals at Flo's, the Carthay, & Carnation Ca

    What surprise on the left hand side?!






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