Hiya- I'm a new member, though I've lurked from time-to-time, and enjoy this site greatly. I figured I would post up my report of my trip to Disneyland- I'd been meaning to for a while (since it was in mid-October when I went , but better late than never. It seems plenty of people do this, though I posted this on another forum I visit a while ago, so there's probably a bunch of explanations you've all heard.
JAB'S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE:
Okay, so I flew into Anaheim on Sunday and got into Disneyland at like 4 pm (it closed at 12 that day, so I figured it was a good use of my 3-day pass... I only had 4 days in town anyways), after having been flying most of the day (I got up at midnight the day before to get to the airport soon enough). I kind of made the trip on short notice, which is why it was at a rather busy time for Anaheim (there was a big conference on, and it was just before Halloween). I was staying at the Grand Californian, because stays in New York have addicted me to nice hotels, plus it was super-close to the parks!
I witnessed utter pandemonium with the crowds on the weekend (I expected that, as proximity to Halloween, the weekend AND the massive 19,000 person convention going on at the nextdoor Anaheim Convention Center was all happening at once). It was SERIOUSLY packed, and pretty much every ride had a 30-minute wait minimum. The worst part of the crowds was that it was hard to figure out where I was- people in every single corner of the park makes it difficult to just sit down and read the map, and I couldn't really make out most of the signs & locations easily anyways. So it kind of sucked at first, but it thankfully died down big-time at night, especially once the fireworks/Fantasmic started. ESPECIALLY since what passes for "cold" in Southern California turned most of the park into a ghost town after a point. Thank goodness I'm Canadian and can take "cold".
I got in again Tuesday morning, doing the early-Magic-Hour thing (since Disneyland Resort guests get into the parks an hour before the plebians who stay at other hotels do), and rode Space Mountain twice in a few hours, requiring almost no wait (the guidebooks ain't kidding when they tell you to get there early- the locals who use their Annual Passes don't come in till later, and most people party too hard to go to bed early enough to wake up that early). Between the quiet Sunday night and Tuesday morning, I did most of the rides a few times over. The only thing I missed out on was The Enchanted Tiki Room, and I remember that sucking from the last time I was at Disneyland in 1998, so it's no big (I wouldn't gone in, but the rides closed at 11 on Tuesday instead of 12 like they initially said- what they REALLY mean is that the stores and shops remain open that long).
There was some stuff closed for refurbishments- the miniature thing (for the Casey Jr. Train and boats) and the Indiana Jones Adventure. The latter is kind of a bummer, but I rode it a LOT at 17 and so I wasn't too upset. I still remember the time it broke down and some guy came to give us a walk-through tour of the thing instead, which is way cooler than the actual ride (I recommend this to anyone, actually- is there a way to get those behind-the-scenes tours?). Overall, Disneyland is an AWESOME experience, and even when it's busy you can just enjoy all the stuff around you- I'd highly recommend it, especially if you're into the neat rides. Were I to make another trip, I'd probably choose a less-busy time (ie. not around a holiday or a major Convention).
It got REALLY busy in the afternoon (I can't imagine eating here that often- short of fast food, you'd be wasting tons of time by sitting down to eat- though I would've liked to go to the Blue Bayou (that restaurant you see in "Pirates" just as you take off), and the post-6 pm "Halloween Theme" night was MONSTROUSLY busy as well- the park was inundated with young children looking for treats, and all sorts of people there to see the Halloween Fireworks. Oh, and also? Anyone who drives "Fat People Carts" all day at Disneyland- Up Yours. Those things are MURDER to get around, and they take up so much space that it's ridiculous they're so common. The whole "Fat People Cart Culture" in our society drives me up the wall.
Critter Country (basically a small lump at one side of the park):
* Splash Mountain- as fun as ever, and I dig the little story and the ambiance of the ride. I never got QUITE as wet as they always warn you (though some people did), and the drop isn't as impressive as it was to 17-year old Jab, but it's still fun. And like I said, the slight breeze kept most Californians away- there was literally almost NO WAIT for all three times I rode it. I could've basically did it again and again if I wanted to. Funny, because this is one of the Super-Headliners of the park.
* Winnie the Pooh's thing- generic, silly ride with less of a story. Fine for kids.
* I love browsing and buying candy and junk, and there's tons of cool art out here (a $37,000 glass Sleeping Beauty Castle in a window is GREAT). Main Street has this great nostalgic vibe, which is funny given how far away most of us are removed from the early-1900s Main Street era.
* The Abraham Lincoln thing- A good, classic bit. Unfortunately there were some a capella singers doing their thing to make the show extra-long, so I kinda got bored (I mean, patriotic American songs to a Canadian really do nothing), and was almost zoned out by the time Abe-Bot started talking. I was a bit too far away to see the detail on him that closely, too. The best part is the whole historical thing showing old Disneyland stuff, and scale models of Sleeping Beauty Castle and The White House.
Adventureland (sort of the "Exciting adventure" attractions- probably the highest population density for crowds)
* The Jungle Cruise- always entertaining, and most people can quote the whole thing by memory, with all of the terrible puns ("there's our... Head Salesman"). The cheapie animatronic animals are now dated as all get-out, though the new "Jungle Cruise" movie scheduled to come out may result in a refurbishment- though hopefully they can fix that rather quickly, since if the movie comes out, the ride will be super-popular again. Though it might ruin some of the fun of the ride to see new animatronics instead of old, crappy ones .
* Tarzan Treehouse- The poor Swiss Family Robinson House is now this- a little thing about the movie, with a few statues (mmm... Jane..., with one heck of a "Come Hither" look too, I might add) and notes about their lives. I guess no kid nowaday shas ever heard of the aforementioned family, so it's no big loss. The updated things are more advanced anyhow- I barely remember the old attraction.
New Orleans Square (kind of a pain to get to, since it's stuck on the edge of two other Lands. Not fun to traverse during crowded times):
* The Haunted Mansion- this was set up with a "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme, and was pretty fun, though I like the normal phase better with it's creepy low-voiced narrator and ghosts. I was never really a Burton-ite, though his fans are probably happier than pigs in excrement with this thing. It's the second most-crowded attraction after Space Mountain, thanks to the current theme.
* Pirates of the Caribbean- Still the major super-headliner, though surprisingly never really busy. The whole "Jack Sparrow" addition is controversial (as is the super-PC "Women With Rolling Pins Chasing Pirates" replacing the "Pirates Trying to Rape Women" thing), and I find it disconcerting mainly for how out-of-place it looks. All the other pirates are quite cartoony and old-fashioned, while Jack basically looks exactly like Johnny Depp as the character. It's like they put Sparrow on with a rivet gun, and centred a few of the scenes around him.
Frontierland (stuff about the Wild West, since Walt built the park when Western stuff was SUPER-popular, and was probably a fan himself).
* Big Thunder Mountain Railroad- not that busy, and still fun. I liked the imagery more than the fairly low-key (though sharp-corner-turning) Rollercoaster. Oddly, they're closing this for the majority of 2013 to fix it up, and I'm not sure with what.
* Mark Twain Riverboat- this is pretty fun actually- I skipped it last time I guess. A big ol' Riverboat reminds me of "The Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck" and it's explanations of them, and there's some cheap-looking old-timey animatronic animals to be seen on the journey around Tom Sawyer Island, which I always get a kick out of.
* Tom Sawyer Island/Pirates Lair- A fun playground for kids, with some cool tunnels not designed for anyone over 5'5" (Seriously- ouch) containing some pop-out skeletons and stuff. A nice way to blow 45 minutes or so, and kids would like it more. Some "Pirates of the Caribbean" stuff has inundated this area, too- I never saw the original Tom Sawyer Cabin or any of that (not that any kids would even know who that is these days).
* Unfortunately the rad Sailing Ship Columbia was set up for Fantastmic & other stuff, so it wasn't used. That thing is a thing of BEAUTY.