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  1. #1

    • Joe Flowers
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    Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Theresa's sister and her daughter are visiting from Michigan, and what's a visit to California without a trip to Disneyland? On Saturday, we all piled into the car to head to the Happiest Place on Earth.

    Arriving at the parking garage, we were backed up all the way to the bottom of the ramp. This doesn't bode well for the busyness of the park today. It took over 15 minutes to get the car parked.

    The tram was crowded as well, but for some reason, the very back car, just behind where the strollers line up is typically less crowded than the other lines. As the tram drove to the drop-off point, we were having fun with the cast member at the back. Apparently someone had taken his cheat sheet for the announcements.
    Over the PA system: "Be sure to check out our new show, Mickey and the um.... Magic....
    Um... Mickey and the Magic Lamp?"
    Me: "You mean Mickey and the Magical Map?"
    Over the PA: "Yes, be sure to check out Mickey and the Magical Map. Also go see Woody... um, and the Rodeo?"
    Asking me: "Do you know what this one is called? Someone took my sheet with the names on it."
    Me: "Uh, maybe Woody's Round-up behind at Big Thunder Ranch?"

    Once we arrived, he thanked me for my help with the announcements, and suggested that maybe I should work there... Don't tempt me.

    Instead of using normal Disneyland tickets, Rita and Aubrey were going to try to use un-expired WDW tickets to get in the park. Previous guests of ours had just used this same method back in June, so we knew they should likely be able to do it. As soon as they showed the cast member at the turnstile the tickets, he said "Oh, no problem. We'll get you right in. Let me call someone over to exchange them." That was a pretty good sign. Rita and Aubrey waited to the side while me and T stood just inside.

    While waiting, I overheard a father trying to get information from a cast member and sounding like he was getting exasperated. I heard him continually asking where the guest relations location was, and the cast member kept telling him it was back outside the park. Finally after asking and getting the same answer multiple times, he just started walking away. I asked what he was trying to do, and he said he needed a Guest Assistance Card for his autistic son, who I saw was following behind him. I directed him to the Guest Relations just behind Oswald's gas station near the entrance to DCA and he was thankful. If the cast member who was helping him had tried a little harder to figure out what he needed, maybe his day would have started out better. I'm feeling so helpful today!

    Meanwhile, back at the gate, a cast member took one look at the tickets and told Rita they wouldn't work to get in the park. She didn't even take the tickets back anywhere to check them. Just a straight, nope, these won't work. We explained that other family members had done it not 2 months ago, but she was still adamant that it wasn't possible. Okay...

    So you know what that means right? We head across the esplanade to Disneyland and see if someone over there knows what they're doing. While we're in line, we saw a few cast members plus Disney security show up. They weren't looking for us though. Instead, they point out a few other girls in the line beside us and say "Yep, they're the ones." Turns out, each girl was wearing a t-shirt with swear words on it. Security went to chat with them and informed them they won't be allowed in the parks with that attire. +1 for Disney security

    We make it to the front gate and T and I entered while Rita and Aubrey waited off to the side. A cast member was called over and took their tickets to the back.

    Looks like those girls didn't take the advice. Waiting at the front of their line were multiple cast members plus Disney security and once they got to the gate, they were pulled to the side, explained the policy again, and sent away. +1 more to Disney for actually enforcing the dress code policy.

    Just a couple minutes later, the cast member who took Rita's tickets came back with a couple paper tickets. he explained they'd taken one day off their WDW passes, and here's the tickets they can use for the day here. Awesome! Who knows why it works with some cast members but not others. Obviously it can still be done in their system.

    Having a 1 day park hopper in hand, we went back to the park we wanted to go to first anyway. California Adventure. Interesting rumor overheard along the way by some uninformed guests, "Didn't there used to be the word CALIFORNIA out front? Yeah, but Disney takes it down every other year then puts it back up. They can do that? Yeah, they can do whatever they want, they're Disney."

    Happy to not be driving home right now.

    Everyone else headed off to Cars Land while I grabbed fast passes for Soarin Over California then joined back up with them.

    My 12 year old niece Aubrey has been saving money all summer and finally got enough to buy a DSLR and a couple lenses. I've taught her what I know about photography during her visit, and she's been enjoying it so much she decided to bring her camera to the parks today. She caught this candid shot of me walking through the crowd trying to find them as I made my way through Cars Land from Soarin. I actually ended up using a few of her photos in my trip report. I'm putting rounded corners on her photos so you'll be able to differentiate hers from mine.

    Am I really dressed similarly to a cast member today? While hanging out in front Ramone's, a man walks up to me and asks where the nearest restroom is. Maybe I just look like I come here a lot. I directed him just up the street past Flo's and thought to myself that I'm being very helpful today. Time to order that cast member name badge!

    A very happy place indeed!

    Rita, Aubrey and I all jumped in line for Radiator Springs Racers while Theresa sat out. As soon as the baby boy comes in November, I suppose I'll be the one sitting out while Theresa gets to ride. Single rider is actually the only way I've ever experienced the line for this ride. The regular wait was 120 minutes. In the single rider line, we only waited 30 minutes and we were on. It's Aubrey and Rita's very first time on this ride!

    Lookout! It's Minny and Van.

    Mater shows us how to go tractor tipping.

    And the tractors all looked to be working correctly!

    Welcome to downtown Radiator Springs!

    Who are we going to visit today? Looks like it's Ramone and Flo!

    It's time to race!

    Rita and Aub were in the car racing me. All my practice hasn't been paying off though. I lost to the newbies.

    Rita said she has a new favorite ride now. Radiator Springs Racers!

    We made our way back to find Theresa. Initially Aubrey was going to surprise her, but then decided it wouldn't be a good idea to scare the pregnant lady.

    As we were leaving Cars Land, Lightning McQueen was making his way through the town too. How cool is that! Here's my photo of Lightning.

    Aubrey's photo.

    It's lunchtime! Always a favorite is the Hot Link corn dog from the Corn Dog Castle.

    I know the Little Red Wagon on Main Street inside Disneyland has it's fans, but to me, the Hot Link is even better! Yet another picture to add to Kelly's Pointless Fun - A Photo Dare! thread.

    It wasn't exactly eating around the world like in Epcot, but we still all ate what we wanted. Theresa had the Carne Asada from the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill. She thought the meat was a little tough, but still had good flavor.
    Rita and Aubrey both got food from the Pacific Wharf Cafe. I tried a bite of Aubrey's Loaded Baked Potato bread bowl and I think I have a new favorite. It's even better than the Broccoli Cheddar!

    Carne Asada and Chicken Tamale - Marinated and Grilled Beef cooked to perfection served with a Chicken Tamale and warm flour tortillas.

    Loaded Baked Potato Soup and Kid's Turkey Sandwich. I questioned why the turkey sandwich is served on a fish shaped bun.

    And while we were eating, we enjoyed the live music of the Pacific Wharf Mariachi Band.

    Next up, it was time to use our fast passes for Soarin!

    And this is why I don't like sitting on anything but the top row.

    At the exit, an enthusiastic cast member was handing out pins to anyone who was interested for the new Disney/Pixar movie Planes. Makes sense I guess to be handing them out here.

    Coming August 9th! Is anyone really looking forward to watching this one?

    With all we have available, what should we do next? Back to Cars Land!

    We're spending a lot of time in Cars Land today! Next on the agenda was Tow Mater's Junkyard Jamboree! The parade was just about to pass by and the line here was only 2 minutes! We walked right up to the loading area!

    Aubrey and I rode together. And yes, I did squish her quite a bit (maybe on purpose) whenever we shifted directions.

    Look out at the petting zoo! The baby tractors bite!

    Their first time on the Junkyard Jamboree. Always a good time.

    Lightning McQueen making his way back into town.

    Time to collect the third and final ride in Cars Land. Luigi's Flying Tires.

    And after only a 20 minute wait, we were on board!

    A rare photo of me! Great to have a 2nd photographer along!

    Lean lean lean to make it turn! I actually found it easier to steer by riding by myself since I could feel where the tire bottoms out.

    As we were leaving, Mater was making his way through Cadillac Range.


    Ariel's Undersea Adventure was a walk-on, so we rode that next! Rita and Theresa rode together, while Aubrey and I took another clam shell together so we could practice our photography.

    Actually, most of these photographs came from Aubrey!


    The budding photographer at work.


    We're going to visit Ursula!



    A shot from Rita in the shell next to us. Photography is serious business!


    Beautiful photographs Aubrey! And really good results for it being your first dark ride!
    Tune in next time for part 2 as we finish our day at the park!

  2. #2

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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Awesome shots! Looks like great fun!
    Feel free to add me or message me here on Mice Chat!



    "So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned.
    Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land."

  3. #3

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Continuing from Part 1, we're still hanging out at California Adventure.
    Theresa and Rita both get sick on the swings, so it's just Aubrey and me! She surprised me by taking her camera with her! Good girl! Always carry your camera!

    Usually I'm the one taking the pictures!

    These are the best kind of photos!

    After a quick spin on Goofy's Sky School (single rider all the way!), we stopped for a photo in front of Mickey' Fun Wheel.

    Aubrey's photo of the three of us.

    This area has quite a few beautiful flowers. Aubrey really seems to be liking taking photos of flowers. That gives us an idea for tomorrow... Tune in to a future trip report for what we did on Sunday.

    Looking back towards Mickey's Fun Wheel.


    And Theresa even found a pomegranate tree that she's never seen before near the Wine Country Trattoria.

    We had intended to ride Monsters Inc, but when we arrived, we were greeted with a 25 minute wait. Really? For Monsters? I can't remember the last time I've seen the queue extend this far back. We jumped in line anyway, but after 5 minutes they announced the ride went down.

    Alright, let's go see what this Dancin' with Disney is all about.

    It's 3:50pm on a Saturday and the dance floor is dead. Seems like everyone is surrounding the walls as far from the dance floor as possible. The chairs and benches are definitely getting some use, but very few people are actually using the space for what it's intended, dancing.

    Cruella loved seeing Aubrey with her camera and came over and struck quite a few poses for her.

    A few of the more rare characters are here dancing, including Clarabelle.

    And Clarice.

    Some people on the Micechat message board suggested trying the frozen chocolate covered banana. I'm happy to try a new snack at Disney, so I gave it a shot. I was a little wary because you never really know what kind of banana you'll be getting. Too green? Old and mushy? Luckily this one seemed just about perfect. My first frozen banana ever and it was delicious! Not good for those with sensitive teeth though. Biting off chunks would be a bit of a challenge.

    We're wanting to see the 4:45 Aladdin show but we've got 30 minutes to kill. The Animation Building lets you explore at your own pace and it's close by. Perfect!

    Now I come into the lobby quite often during my normal visits, but it's been a while since I've explored the other areas inside the building. Back in the Beast's library, we all took turns finding out which Disney character we were most like. Is this another case of the Pixarification of the parks? Aubrey was most like Eve (from Wall-E), Rita was Mrs. Incredible, and myself, who always enjoys a good villain, was like Syndrome.

    In the next room, we gathered around Ursula's lair and sang along to A Very Merry Unbirthday and The Bear Necessities. It's was a fun interactive exhibit that I haven't done in a really long time.

    Time for Aladdin!

    How these actors keep doing these shows over and over again and still giving quality performances astounds me. I can't count how many times I've seen this shows, and I have never had any complaints about a lackluster performance.

    Touch nothing but the lamp!

    The Genie always steals the show, and this time was no exception. It's always fun watching after not having seen it for a while, because there are brand new jokes!



    Once they got to the Whole New World scene, I was really hoping to see the Flying Carpet soaring over the audience. Way back on Sept 25th, 2011, the carpet flipped over during the show, causing the actors to dangle by their safety harnesses until they could be lowered. No luck for us today though; the carpet was no where to be seen.

    Which is why I was totally unprepared when at the end of the show, Genie flew out over the crowd. Odd they would cut one of the best scenes in the show when the carpet looks to be working fine.

    As we were exiting the theater, I noticed that there is a really good view of the Tower of Terror from the balcony here. Perhaps another visit here closer to sunset in the future.

    Time to head over to another favorite ride at DCA. Toy Story Midway Mania! Along the way, Aubrey got a free ride. Pretty lucky. I don't know many other 12 year olds who get carried like this.

    I had been worried about the parks being crowded earlier this morning, but it truly hasn't been that bad. Toy Story only had a 20 minute wait.

    The best part! I won, though T did have a problem during the Dino Darts section. If I wasn't right beside her watching it happen, I would have said she was making excuses, but I was there and verified that she was pulling the trigger, but there were no darts coming out of the cannon. It was all fixed by the next scene, but that still left her tens of thousands of points behind. Looks like she still had fun though.

    So, having done most everything we wanted in DCA, we asked if they'd like to go to Disneyland now, or ride Radiator Springs Racers one more time. Without hesitation, they both said they wanted to go back to Racers!

    Again, the single rider was a good idea, and sometimes you get lucky and put in the same car anyway.

    The first time they got to see Ramone and Flo, the second time got to see Luigi and Guido.

    As we exited, the neon had come on all around Cars Land and that combined with the beautiful sky made for a beautiful view.

    Aubrey decided to take her first photo set. All the signs around Cars Land.













    Very nice Aubrey!
    For dinner, we headed over to the Pizza Port in Tomorrowland. I really enjoy the Count Down Chicken Fusilli. They load up the plate with pasta, and if you sprinkle some red pepper flakes on it, it's a spicy, flavorful and definitely big enough to split.

    We had great timing and hopped on Buzz Lightyear as the fireworks were going off. The line was so short, we went on it twice!

    Ever wonder how people post those massive scores? On the floorboard, near the center by your foot is a small unassuming button. It's not in every car, but if you happen to get in the car that does, if you hold it down while you're going, all of Ranger 2's points count for Ranger 1's score! Look for the button and try it next time!

    Both riders still have to do pretty well to get your score to add up to the top 10, but this trick makes it so much easier to accumulate points fast. That's us at the number 2 position!

    And.... I was totally lying about that button thing. I got about 550k points and T got 400k points. We were both shocked when we went to email our picture to ourselves and saw that my score didn't count at all and hers was a glitch of some sort. Oh well. Makes for an interesting story though.

    To round out the night, Aubrey wanted to go on Winnie the Pooh. She described it as the ride that you get to go in the candy shop when you're done. Good, only a 2 minute wait. That 30 minute wait just a few days ago was crazy.

    Time for something sweet for Pooh bear.

    And it's time for something sweet for us too.

    T's favorite snack in the park? The milk chocolate and caramel covered marshmallows. Mmm.

    Right after leaving the candy store, we decide to call it a night. Aubrey has had a long day of walking around so I decided to give her a ride on my shoulders, starting back at Splash Mountain. I was thinking maybe we'd get to the trams and I'd get to take her off my shoulders there, but after walking all the way to the trams, we saw quite a line at both the first loading zone and the second loading zone. It would be at least 3 cycles before we "might" get on the tram. So what to do? Keep walking I suppose.

    Along the way, a couple saw me carrying her and gave me props for carrying my "daughter" back to the car after a long day at Disneyland. Finally we made it back to the structure, but should we take the escalator or the stairs? We're parked on level 5. If you said stairs, then you win! Up 5 flights of stairs, then the long walk across the structure to the car. Being curious, I decided to map it out. In all, it was close to 1.5 miles carrying Aubrey from Splash Mountain all the way to the Mickey & Friends parking structure. I'm going to take +5 for that. So who's a good uncle?!?

    We had a really fun day at the parks. I think we got in 12 big rides including Radiator Springs Racers twice, Soarin, and Toy Story. We also saw Aladdin, explored the Animation Building, and saw down twice to eat. Pretty good for only being in the park for 10 hours.
    Time to get home and go to sleep! Tomorrow we've got another adventure planned!

  4. #4

    • formerly very helpful
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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Always love your trip reports, and this was no exception. Your niece seems to have inherited your photography skills. She took some really good pictures. And you should win the uncle of the year award for carrying Aubrey all that distance on your shoulders! I won't even carry my 8-year-old, but then I'm a lot older than you. Ha ha.

  5. #5

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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Aw hardly any time spent at Disneyland, but it looks like you guys had a roaring good time anyway! That Aubrey has a fantastic eye and I'm marveling at her artistic ability with some of those shots!


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  6. #6

    • Sock Puppet
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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    I always love reading your trip reports, they are always so detailed, interesting, and fun to read, and this one was no exception! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  7. #7

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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Great trip report! Wow you had a interesting first day!

  8. #8

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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Great trip report and images, looks like you all had a wonderful day at the resort

  9. #9

    • Disney Fan 4 Life
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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    As always, another winner of a report! Thank you for sharing
    Here You Leave Today and Enter the World of Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy.

    “To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past...and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America...with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” - Walt Disney, Disneyland Opening Day Speech 1955


    View my new Budget Disney Blog here: http://budgetdisneylandresort.blogspot.com/

  10. #10

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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Aubrey has a good eye for photos and a steady hand. Her Ariel photos turned out better than mine! What type of strap does she use? It looks very "cushy".

    Great trip report!


    Donna
    1967, 1973, 1977 - DLR (RV parks)
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  11. #11

    • #bringevilback
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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    I love your trip report and especially seeing you pass along your love and talet for photography!

  12. #12

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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Another great bunch of pictures. Aubrey is a great photographer! She has a good eye just like you.

    Easy to see what a great day you had. I look forward to your next report.
    [Half awake] How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the moon?

  13. #13

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    Quote Originally Posted by sbk1234 View Post
    Always love your trip reports, and this was no exception. Your niece seems to have inherited your photography skills. She took some really good pictures. And you should win the uncle of the year award for carrying Aubrey all that distance on your shoulders! I won't even carry my 8-year-old, but then I'm a lot older than you. Ha ha.
    I told her I expect to get a really good gift this year for Christmas!


    Quote Originally Posted by IzzyInWonderland View Post
    Aw hardly any time spent at Disneyland, but it looks like you guys had a roaring good time anyway! That Aubrey has a fantastic eye and I'm marveling at her artistic ability with some of those shots!
    Thank you everyone who replied. I've been showing your comments to Aubrey, and she's loved reading them!


    Quote Originally Posted by teacherlady19 View Post
    Aubrey has a good eye for photos and a steady hand. Her Ariel photos turned out better than mine! What type of strap does she use? It looks very "cushy".
    Hi Donna! I think what you're seeing is the camera bag we bought for her. It's the Case Logic SLRC-205 Camera Sling. We got it from amazon. With her budget, I suggested the Canon T3i (a few models older but still a great camera), plus the nifty 50mm f1.8 and the Sigma 18-200mm.

  14. #14

    • waitin' to board
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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    ...nice TR....thanks for posting....

  15. #15

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    Re: Joe's 2nd Trip Report this week, a DCA visit with T's family

    awesome report Joe, great pics and always entertaining. If you dont mind me asking, what was her budget, I am considering a full SLR for my wife

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