This is my first trip report, and I'm writing it mainly to thank everyone on the boards who have offered great tips for a day at Disneyland - thank you!
We planned on getting to the park at 9 but without traffic on the 5 we arrive around 8:15. It was the first time I had been to Disneyland almost immediately after park opening; originally my boyfriend was very apprehensive about the joys of being one of the first in the park, but now I have him totally sold. We rode SM twice within 10 minutes and really appreciated how quiet the park was! The park was actually pretty quiet most of the day - the longest standby line we witnessed was 65 minutes for Splash Mountain (and I'm sure that was because it was down for a large chunk of the morning) and 60 minutes for Star Tours.
We had never experienced the Mark Twain before, so we decided to check it out midday and take a break from walking. I've read on a few different threads that you can ask to ride in the wheelhouse with the captain, but completely forgot about it. We headed up to the top deck when I passed two CM's discussing something, and one CM pointed to me and said "maybe she'll help you out!" They asked if we wanted to help out in the wheelhouse and we enthusiastically said yes! What a great experience. I loved the vantage point (and getting to blow the whistle), the guest book, and the photos of Walt, but I also enjoyed chatting with the CM who told us about prior attractions around the island, how old some of the animatronics were, and discussed the Big Thunder refurb with us. What a great experience!
We also ate at Carnation Cafe for the first time, sat outside, and happened to be seated right as the parade began. Neither one of us are really into parades, but it was a great vantage point as we could see all of the floats. The food was also fantastic. I highly recommend it!
A few little random observations/questions:
- We stumbled across Mary Poppins completely by accident while exiting the refreshment corner, and decided to get our picture taken with her. I've only met her once, at Epcot, and when I did, she was lovely and very chatty. The family in front of us pointed out that she was missing Burt, and she made some sort of excuse for his absence, but at the same time began to look behind us. I noticed he had been stopped on the street by other guests, most likely trying to make his way over to where she was. By the time I got to her, she only asked where I was from, and then immediately went into picture pose - it was a little disappointing. She seemed very distracted by the fact that Burt still hadn't arrived, and it showed. Has anyone else had a less-than-stellar character interaction?
- We also took in a Billy Hill & the Hillbillies show (one of my favorites!) and it was sadly not very busy. It seemed most of the crowd was there to see Woody and Jessie, who made an appearance towards the end of their show with a new character (?) Buckaroo Bob? The first time we caught Billy Hill was almost 3 years ago, back when they were at the Golden Horseshoe, and the room was crowded. Although I love their new home at the ranch, I can't help but wonder if its doing a detriment to their attendance. Anyone have a different opinion? I'd love to hear it.
- Sadly, Indiana Jones was not operating at its best. We rode twice, and the door was stuck open (so you could see the vehicles in front of you), and the audio cut out three or four times. We also got stalled near the boulder briefly where the audio repeated itself. Bummer.