Cast: Me and my 14 y/o daughter Jennifer.
Original plan: Drive out Saturday, go to Disneyland Sun, Mon... Drive to Bakersfield after DL closed Monday night (Arriving Bakersfield 1:30 AM or later), then into Sequoia National Park on Tuesday morning.
Modified plan: Add Friday night stay at the hotel. Pay $120 to upgrade my DAP voucher to a PAPs, buy my daughter a block out day pass, and go Sat, Sun, Mon... Leave Monday about 8:00-8:30PM so that we arrive in Bakersfield by 11:00PM or so.
Called Anaheim Plaza and asked to make the 2 nights into 3 nights by adding Friday night. Sorry, Monday night is booked… Umm, no, “Add Friday, not Monday” (as I think to myself “If Monday is booked, Friday must be too.” Response was, “Okay, I’ve added Friday at the same $59 a night rate you have for Saturday and Sunday”. Odd, I think, but did not realize the implications for Disneyland crowdedness.
Slight additional change in plans. I hoped to get off work by 3:00, putting in Anaheim by 9:00ish. Maybe catch fireworks, process APs, ride one or two things Friday night. As it turned out, I got stuck in meetings until 3:45, didn’t get out of work until 4:00. Drove home, loaded up the pick-up, and hit the road at 4:21…. Turned off Ball onto Harbor as the first fireworks started to pop…. Good thing I had to work late because…..
Arrived at the ticket booth at 7:45 Saturday morning. 5 minute wait later, and asked if I had to pay to upgrade my DAP voucher to a PAP there, or buy a block out day ticket and have that reduced from the price of upgrading…. NEITHER. If your first day of use is a block out day, you can get in WITHOUT upgrading OR paying for the block out day. Sweet……
At 7:55 we were looking to get into a line into Disneyland (that were 2/3rds of the way back to DCA). I (as I always do) scoped out the front of the lines to see which were blocked by a planter and thus would feed 2 gates from one line…. Lo and behold, here is one of these 2-gate feeder lines that is half as long as all the other lines… Some big families were standing very wide and blocking this short line from the view of newly arriving guests…… Now, if I were a good person I would have informed others already in lone about this shorter line that was going to move twice as quickly, BEFORE getting into that line. But I’m not. So first I got into line, THEN I told others that the line was there and was going to move twice as fast as the other lines. As a result, I was in the park at 8:03 while others that had arrived at the gate before me weren’t going to be getting in for another 10 minutes….. I suck, but I’m not stupid.
So, we busted a serious commando on Disneyland. Splash twice, Indy 3 times, BTMRR twice, Jungle Cruise twice (gold boat once with the best skipper ever, dang, wish I could remember his name…), Mansion, Pirates twice, Matterhorn (once per side), Buzz, Auto-topia, Star Tours, Twain, Toad, Small World, Snow White, Tiki Room, spent quite a bit of time on TSI, Monorail, the Gallery, and even managed to find time to process our APs… Split an order of Chicken Fossili (SP?) from Red Rockets for lunch. Split chili fries while watching Billy Hill. I had a corn dog and daughter had chili dog for dinner while waiting for fireworks. My daughter, and EVERYONE around us, really loved the fireworks. After fireworks we did the penguin shuffle with 10,000 of our closest strangers as we shuffled across the hub, into Frontierland, and into New Orleans. As we arrived n New Orleans, the CMs dropped the rope on the seating area right in front of Pirates… We had a great view of the stage from about 3 people back of the waterfront, but did have a light pole dead center of the water screen. After Fantasmic!, we hopped into line for Pirates while the mass exodus occurred. We did some shopping on the way out before heading to the hotel. Crashed about 12:30, very tired after a long day.
Sunday was not nearly as Commando. We arrived at DCA at 9:50 and were in the gate for rope drop. Like half of everyone else, we headed for tower, grabbed FPs, and got into line… About mid-point of the initial rush. They were only running 2 of 3 drop shafts, so the wait was about 25 minutes. We then rode Screamin’ (25 minute wait because they were running half capacity), grabbed FPs to the mad mouse, then spent a half hour playing in Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. We then used out Tower FPs. Even with FPs it took 25 minutes because they were still only running 2 shafts. Guess this is how they make the park more than a 4-hour park.
After 2nd trip on ToT, we went over to the hub and met up with about 8 fellow MiceChatters. We spent four hours hanging out and having fun. We then split from the group, did the 50th exhibit/movie and headed to DCA to watch Block Party Bash (snooze), ride the mad mouse, watch bugs, go through Animation, and catch the Electrical Parade. Having done ToT and MSEP (and now too late in the day for GRR) it was actually kind of tough finding enough in DCA to fill the time between BPB and MSEP. (yes, yes, I know it is now Disney’s Electrical Parade, but it will ALWAYS be the Main Street Electric Parade to me).
After MSEP we headed back to DL, and to avoid fireworks and Fantasmic we rode the train from Main Street to Toon Town… Where I decide I need to use the restroom. Restroom by the Fantasyland Theater is closed. The whole walkway between Matterhorn and Fantasyland (castle bathrooms are closed). Fantasyland and Big Thunder train is a mess with everyone from first Fantasmic! pouring out. Ended up at the bathrooms next to the Tomorrowland train station…. Should have stayed on the darn train! Rode Autopia and Buzz, and the park closed…. What, I thought it was open until midnight… Nope. 11:00PM.
Monday was to be our nice relaxing day. Sleep in, have breakfast with the princesses at Plaza Inn, ride a few rides, catch the 7:45 PoD, then drive to Bakersfield. When we arrived at Bag Check at 9:45, lines were very long and they only had 2 of 3 stations open. 20 minutes later we cleared bag check and found even longer lines at the gates of Disneyland. Another 20 minutes later we entered Disneyland and rushed to Plaza Inn 20 minutes late for our character breakfast. We were one of the last parties seated right at the 10:30 deadline. Princesses (Snow, Jane(she’s not a Princess) were already finishing up their rounds and departing. We got Aladdin at our table. Snagged Beast as he was headed out, then had to hunt down Cinderella and Belle (HOTTY)…. All in all, a major waste of $45. I’m sure it would have been better had we arrived a half hour earlier as planned.
By the time we finished breakfast, the park was PACKED!!!!! MUCH worse than Saturday or Sunday. Grabbed FPs for Buzz that were 5 hours away. Splash was spitting out FPs for 8PM before noon. Matterhorn line was twice as long as Saturday had been. We did HISTA, Tiki Room, (Roger Rabbit with Fast Passes) and Pooh because those were the only things that didn’t have lines too long. We decided to do the 4:45 parade and just leave.
To avoid downtown L.A. traffic, leaving DLR at 5:45 on a Monday, we took the long way around: 57-210-5. Since this took us 100 feet from the high school I graduated 20 years ago, I made took my daughter for a QUICK trip through the neighborhood I grew up in. Past the house I lived in, and had dinner in the McDonalds where I flipped burgers 22 years ago. Made Bakersfield by 9:00.
Next 3 days were spent in Sequoia National Park. We hiked to Tokopah Falls (beautiful with the heavy run off), went through Crystal Cave, hiked around the big trees, cooked lots of meals over the camp fire, saw a bear and lots of deer (squirrels (grey and ground), a chipmunk, birds, and LOTS of bugs), cooked smores, and did all the regular camping stuff.
Friday we drove back to Hollywood and wandered up and down Hollywood Blvd. WHY didn’t I know about the Minnie and Mickey soda fountain right next to the El Capitan??? Because it just opened last week!!! My daughter and I split a banana split there after checking out the Guiness World Records museum (I give it a D), before the wax museum (D also). But $15 for both “attractions”, so can’t expect much anyway.
Saturday we did USH. Arrived at 9:00 opening and had done EVERYTHING by 7:00 PM. Some of the stuff is SOOOOO WAYYYY BEYOND being out of date. The falling bridge, jaws, King Kong (so out of date it is back having just been remade yet again). And the fist half of the tour…SNORE!!!!! “Here is a big ugly building that XXX, was filmed in. Here is a big ugly building that YYY is shooting in. “ You can’t see in, but there are the big ugly buildings…. I give USH a C compared to DCA’s D and DL’s A++++.
We went to Santa Monica beach Sunday morning, walked the pier, soaked our feet in the freakin’ freezing ocean (don’t know how I played in the ocean when I was a kid. I certainly got spoiled by Hawaii when I lived there for 4 years.) Got home last night about 6:30PM… Desperately need a week to recover from vacation.