Wow, it seems like every week now there is something that is getting us to Disneyland.
I've already seen some great trip reports and pictures from ZomBats and Capt Hook and others, but I figured I'd add my whole take on it too.
It's Long Lost Friends week at Disneyland! From April 8th through April 14th, some of our favorite Disney characters who we don't normally see in the park will be out for meet and greets.
They're not Long Lost friends, but the Jonathan and Lacey are joining us at Disneyland today, because it's always better to visit Disneyland with friends.
They haven't been to the park for a while so the Princess Fantasy Faire is completely new to them. Jonathan enjoyed the strawberry twist.
But I don't think Lacey enjoyed the Boysen Apple Freeze. It's just a tad sweet.
This is what I'm really here for today! Time to meet some long lost friends!
The park itself wasn't very busy. Only a 20 minute wait for Indy, 25 for Space Mountain. Pretty good for a Friday in April.
Well not busy except for back at the Big Thunder Ranch Arena. Quite a few people are here and excited to see some old friends.
To deal with all the people, they've got parade tape lining the ground to create the queue. I think this worked really well compared to having barriers set up, and people seemed to be keeping everything neat and orderly.
When we arrived at the arena at 11:50 the characters were only going to be out for another 10 minutes before they switched everything up. The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf didn't have much of a line so they were our first stop. T was actually more scared of Practical Pig than Big Bad Wolf.
I spoke with a cast member and learned that the characters I really wanted to see would be appearing right after Ping and Mushu, so we hopped in their line. And speaking of Ping, she was doing a great job interacting with everyone who came to see her. Everyone got a "manly" handshake, followed by a little back and forth banter. Finally there were various warrior poses for the camera, then a friendly farewell. We kept creeping forward and were only 3 groups from the front when the music started playing and it was time for all the characters to switch.
The entire next set of characters lined up in front of the main podium while the announcer called out their names and what we've seen them in.
Here's the guys I was here to see. Being a child of the 80s, I grew up watching the Disney Afternoon after school. There were the Gummi Bears, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, and Darkwing Duck, but my absolute favorite was DuckTales. When I was meeting Scrooge, I had to wear my Uncle Scrooge hat I got when we visited Disneyland Paris!
And Ludwig Von Drake is cool too I guess.
I overheard that this Disney fan came all the way out from Florida to see Ludwig Von Drake and brought two plush dolls, and she wasn't the only one. Lots of people were wearing their favorite character shirt, or bringing something unique to show their love for each character. I enjoyed not only seeing the characters, but seeing other people's reactions when they got to meet their favorite characters. Theresa probably asked me 3-4 times what I was smiling at. I just liked watching the guests and characters interact and all the magic that was happening.
We didn't have time to get in line for photos with everyone and the timing was a little difficult, since each line took between 10-20 minutes to get to the front. With characters changing out every 30 minutes, you could get in the line to see Pocahontas, John Smith, Meeko and Governor Ratcliffe, only to have them switch out with Jane and Terk from the movie Tarzan once you got to the front.
While waiting in line, the announcer was wandering through the crowd asking people trivia questions. The prizes for answering correctly were extra autograph cards, so nothing that special, but still something. I wasn't asked any questions, but we did hear a few that were asked of other people.
- What is the wizard's name in Fantasia?
- What country is Ludwig Von Drake from?
- What country is Scrooge McDuck from?
There were lots of great characters out for this Long Lost Friends week.
- From “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” – Esmeralda, Clopin and Frollo
- From “Lilo & Stitch” – Lilo and Stitch
- From "Tarzan" – Jane and Terk
- From "Peter Pan" – Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook and Smee
- From "Mulan" – Mulan as Ping and Mushu
- From "The Three Little Pigs" – Fiddler Pig, Fifer Pig, Practical Pig, and the Big Bad Wolf
- From "Sleeping Beauty" – Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather
- From “Pocahontas” – Pocahontas, John Smith, Meeko and Governor Ratcliffe
- From “Robin Hood” – Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham
- From "DuckTales" – Scrooge McDuck and Ludwig Von Drake
The other characters I was excited to see were Clopin and Esmeralda!
I was going for a mean scowl but it didn't quite work so well. I couldn't get the grin off my face.
The fairies are looking great!
Pocahontas was very popular.
And not much longer after that, it was time for another character change.
The very last characters we visited were the gang from Robin Hood. Prince John was off in the back sucking his thumb.
But as we were leaving he came back.
I think it was also a really nice touch to have specific backdrops for each group of characters. Disney could have put each of them in a corner and people would have still come to see them, but I liked how they made new backgrounds for each character.
And it just wouldn't be a visit to Disneyland if Theresa didn't ride Winnie the Pooh.
Looks like we were pretty lucky to be able to ride Space Mountain. The very next day, OSHA shut down multiple rides around the park due to citations. Not only was it Space Mountain, but also Splash Mountain, the Matterhorn, and Soarin' Over California. You can read more on it here.
Another one of the rides affected was Soarin. I hope these aren't down too long. They're some of our favorites.
And one of the final rides of the day was Screamin!
So we had a great time at Disneyland. It was wonderful to see all these characters again and I wish they would do things like this more often.
Hey Disney, how about a return of all the Disney Afternoon characters? Huey, Dewey, Louie, Launchpad, Darkwing Duck, Baloo, Kit Cloudkicker, Chip and Dale in their Rescue Rangers outfits, Monteray Jack, Gadget, plus the gang from Gummi Bears and Goof Troop. Jonathan even suggested Gizmo Duck! Just a thought...
Besides the characters, in just the short few hours, we were able to ride Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Space Mountain, Soarin, The Little Mermaid, and Screamin, plus have a great fried chicken lunch at the Plaza Inn! Hooray for less busy days now that Spring Break is over!