Just back from three days at DLR (four nights in the Grand Californian) – a trip for my son’s fourth birthday. We had AAA park hopper passes and spent the entire time at the resort.
First, my son had a blast. It was his first trip to Disneyland (and my first time there since before DCA opened). I was sad that Pirates was closed, but I’ll get over it. Eventually…
Funny – after the first day (when we rode the Monorail out of DL, and took a peek through the fence at the submarine lagoon), whenever we asked my son what he wanted to do next, he always had the same answer – “Look at the submarines!” It was his favorite part of the trip. Goofy kid. I’ll have to take him back when the ride opens.
His second and third favorite parts were Tom Sawyer Island and the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at DCA. He went nuts at both places – running through caves on the island and scrambling across the nets at the Challenge Trail. I liked both of them too – I always thought Tom Sawyer Island was a great place, what kid can resist tunnels and tree forts? Growing up in Northern California and spending a lot of time as a kid in the real Redwood parks, I thought the whole Redwood Creek attraction was very well-done. I loved the Ranger HQ. Didn’t watch the Brother Bear show though.
Soaring over California was my favorite DCA ride. More than anything, I loved the novelty of it. Monsters Inc. was really weak. I was amazed at how cheap they went on the Animatronics. I think I could have done a better job in my backyard with most of the scenes, and I’m not exaggerating. The only half-decent effect was a disappearing-Randall in the locker room (a Pepper’s Ghost, I think). And that shared the scene with an “animated” Mike that was nothing but a green plastic ball with an eye painted on it rocking back and forth. Seriously, very weak. Monsters Inc is my son’s favorite movie right now, and he wasn’t very impressed (me: “Do you want to go on the Monsters Inc. ride?” him: “No – wanna go look at submarines!”).
The Buzz Lightyear ride was fun. The Buzz AA in the entrance queue was excellent – they should take a cue from it over at Monsters Inc. I liked the blaster/score system. I wouldn’t want it on every ride (for example, adding it to the Haunted Mansion would be a travesty), but it made a nice distinguishing characteristic on the Buzz ride. I say that even though on five trips through the ride, I couldn’t beat my wife’s score once (but I was a dead-eye at the Frontierland Shootin’ Expositon).
Tomorrowland needs more umph. It seems cramped and empty at the same time. Maybe I’m jaded. But I think opening up the Sub lagoon will help immensely! As a kid, that was my second favorite ride (after Pirates), so maybe it’s genetic that my son was so fascinated by it. During the Innoventions, ah, “ride” when they were talking about the old “House of the future” I couldn’t help thinking I’d rather have the house than Innoventions. But the Asimo show was great – more of that please!