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  1. #1

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    Arrow An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    P A R T 1

    Introduction

    I guess you can say I am a WDW veteran. I've been visiting WDW every year since I was born, so I've grown to become a big Disney fan. I've wanted to visit Disneyland and Southern California in general for a while now, and this year I finally convinced my parents to go. While in Southern California, we went to a taping of “America’s Got Talent,” visited O.C. beach towns (Newport and Laguna Beach), went to San Diego, Santa Monica, L.A., Hollywood...but I’ll only talk about my adventures at the Disneyland Resort here.

    A day at Disney's California Adventure

    First Impressions

    We stayed in the Candy Cane Inn, which is a very nice motel located behind DCA, a short walk away from the parks. You'd think that because it is a motel, it would be dirty and run down, but this is not the case with the Candy Cane Inn. The rooms are very clean, the hotel is beautiful with vines, gardens, and fountains everywhere, and on top of that, it’s inexpensive and includes free wireless internet, breakfast, and shuttle to the parks. It can't get any better than that. I like it that with DLR, you don’t have to stay at an official Disney hotel since there are lots of other great hotels nearby. DLR being a smaller resort than WDW was also better to us, because we could easily walk between both parks and Downtown Disney without having to worry about taking busses or driving all over the place. It really let’s you relax and enjoy things more, having everything so close.

    A park hopping day at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure
    Anyways, we decided to visit DCA on a Sunday because it was the only day during our trip that Aladdin was playing. Since we arrived early before DCA opened and had park hoppers, we started the day at Disneyland. We entered the park and took some pics with Cruella on Main Street (the characters at DLR seem more as if they were simply wandering around the parks rather than at a scheduled greeting, Cruella even told me "Ah yes darling, tell everyone I'm your girlfriend"--funny), then took the train to New Orleans Square where we went on Pirates and Haunted Mansion. Wow, both rides were amazingly better than their Florida counterparts. We also attempted to go on Splash Mountain, but it was closed down.


    Afterwards we headed over to DCA expecting big crowds since it was a Sunday, but that really wasn’t the case and the crowds were very manageable. Now, coming to DCA and being a long time reader of MiceAge and all the Disney fan sites, I came to DCA with low expectations after having heard such negative things about Disneyland’s second gate. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually a really great, fun park. Being a tourist coming to California for the first time, I liked how the park was themed. My only issue with DCA is not the theme, but the visual intrusions from outside the park. You can see outside buildings like the Anaheim Hilton and the Convention Center from inside the park, which definitely ruins the magic and escapism that you come to find in a Disney theme park. Other than that, I loved all the areas of the park and any additions they make to the park in the future will just make it even better.

    I’m a fan of old seaside amusement parks, so I liked Paradise Pier. California Screamin’ is so much fun, and the views from the Sun Wheel are great. Grizzly River Run was one of the best raft rides I’ve ever been on (better than Kali River Rapids at AK), and Soarin was fun as usual (although there was a strange black mark on the screen, and the queue showed some wear and tear but the aviation theme is better than Epcot’s version).

    We ended up in the Bakery tour randomly, and we were surprised to find that it was actually fun. When we walked into the bakery, they told us “You have been selected for a special surprise during our Year of a Million Dreams celebration.” They gave us this fun hidden Mickey challenge, and told us we would get a prize at the end if we finished it correctly. I eagerly found all the Mickey’s quickly, not paying attention to Rosie’s cheesy jokes, hoping to get something cool like a Dream fast pass, a stay in the Mickey suite, or some free mouse ears. They ended up not checking our answers at all and gave everyone the prize anyway, which was Mickey Mouse shaped sourdough bread. I was disappointed that I didn’t get a dream fast pass, but hey- I got some cool bread (Do they usually give everyone free Mickey bread?). We also tried the Tortilla factory, and after being tortured by watching that movie, we were awarded by some tasty fresh tortillas.

    In the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, we ate some expensive hot dogs at Award Wieners, and then lined up in the mezzanine level queue for Aladdin at the Hyperion Theatre. This show was amazing, on the same level of a real Broadway musical, nothing like your typical theme park show you’d find at Walt Disney World. The quality of the performers and everything about the show was amazing. We especially loved the carpet flying and of course the genie. After, we tried the Tower of Terror. We enjoyed the DCA version because of its newer, up to date special effects, which made the overall ride experience better than WDW’s tower. We were also lucky enough to get a really good CM; he really played the role well unlike previous Tower CMs we’ve gotten in Florida.


    Monster’s Inc: Mike and Sully to the rescue was a great, fun dark ride and it was fun to see Muppets and Bug’s again. Overall, I really enjoyed DCA. I like the atmosphere and theme of the park, and I’d take DCA over Disney-MGM Studios any day. We ended our day watching Disney's Electrical Parade while eating dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria. Afterwards, we went over to Disneyland to see the later showing of Fantasmic and ride Indiana Jones Adventure. I enjoyed Fantasmic much better at Disneyland, and Indy was an amazing ride, so much better than Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom.

    Last edited by WDWizard; 08-26-2007 at 07:15 PM.

  2. #2

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    Part 2

    P A R T 2
    A day at Disneyland

    Impressions on Downtown Disney Anaheim

    On the day we did Disneyland, we overslept after a long day in San Diego. Also that other night, we explored Downtown Disney for a bit and ate at the Catal Uva Bar. Downtown Disney was nice, but not as big and grand as Downtown Disney or Universal’s CityWalk in Florida. Later on in our trip we had also visited Universal Studios Hollywood’s CityWalk, and it seemed much bigger, flashier, better, and more impressive than Downtown Disney Anaheim, although Downtown Disney had a lot more landscaping, gardens, and fountains. I had fun browsing the cool shops like World of Disney, Starabilias, going to ESPN Zone, and walking around the Grand Californian, but there just isn’t as much selection when it comes to shopping and dining compared to Downtown Disney’s Florida counterpart (and its competition in Universal Hollywood). Once Anaheim GardenWalk opens, Downtown Disney is going to have even more competition so I hope they expand it in the future!

    A day at Disneyland



    Anyways, we entered Disneyland on a Tuesday afternoon and were surprised to find that the park seemed busier than when we were there Sunday morning as we walked through Main Street and admired Sleeping Beauty Castle for a while. The castle here is of course smaller, but its still a charming Disneyland icon and it looks so great with the Matterhorn right beside it. Afterwards, we headed for Tomorrowland, and the entire area was very congested. The line for Buzz and Star Tours were 30-35 minutes, Space Mountain was 60 minutes, both sides of the Matterhorn were 30-45 and Nemo was 2 hours. We did Buzz and Star Tours, then got fast passes for Space to ride later on in the day. Star Tours was the same, but we liked Disneyland’s Buzz better because you can pick up the gun and the targets flash when you shoot them. We decided to go on It's A Small World later, which was a "walk on." The outside loading area and facade was nicer than at WDW's, and it was fun to experience the original. The ride did seem a lot longer than the WDW version, which can be a good thing (or a bad thing, lol )

    After separating from the parents for lunch, we headed to the other side of the park and had a nice lunch at the Hungry Bear restaurant. The burgers here were great, and it was nice to relax and eat lunch here while looking down at the river as the canoes passed by. The in-park food at the Disneyland Resort seems much better than the counter service food we’ve gotten at WDW. My mom went to the Pacific Wharf for lunch and had some great soup and salad inside bread bowls.

    After lunch, we decided to go on Splash Mountain. The line was 70 minutes long (second longest wait time in the park), so we got fastpasses to come back later on that night and headed over to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain. It’s hard to compare Big Thunder here from the one on Florida, since they both seemed very similar- but Disneyland’s version seemed to have a lot more themeing with that old western town scene towards the end. We had planned on taking the rafts to Pirate’s Lair at Tom Sawyer’s Island afterwards, but the line seemed a bit long and we decided to ride POTC again instead.

    Afterwards we met back up with the parents and decided to go into Fantasyland to ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride since I heard that everyone was so upset when it was removed here in Florida to make way for Pooh. It was an ok ride, but mostly your typical short old-fashioned Fantasyland dark ride with painted flats… I wasn’t impressed. After this, we split up from the parents once again and used our fastpasses for Space Mountain. This ride was amazing-- the special effects, the music, and the actual ride was much faster and better than the aging 1970’s era Magic Kingdom version.

    We then decided to take a ride on the Tomorrowland side of the Matterhorn. It was a very fun old fashioned coaster, and the views from the top of the mountain were great. My brother got freaked out when the Abominable Snowman popped out of nowhere!

    A quick escape from the crowds to DCA
    Later we met up with our parents again at the Golden Vine Winery at DCA, where we took a break for a while before heading over to ride Tower of Terror again. Then, we checked out the Animation building and saw Turtle Talk with Crush for the first time. Crush was so funny how he interacted with the audience and it was all very well done. We later checked out the other areas of the Animation building, like the Sorcerer’s Workshop and acted out with our voices in Ursula’s grotto. This was one of the most amazing hidden treasures of the entire resort, and the Animation building here is much better than the one we have at the studios in Florida.
    Last edited by WDWizard; 08-27-2007 at 05:27 PM.

  3. #3

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    Part 3

    P A R T 3

    An evening at Disneyland
    As the sun set and night fell we went back to finish our day at Disneyland Park. Our first mission was to go to Critter Country and use our fastpasses for Splash Mountain. We arrived at Splash Mountain to find a CM telling other guests that Splash Mountain was closed down (Wow—we’re having so much luck with this ride, come once- broken down, come second time- 70 minute wait, come third time- broken down). The CM looked a bit overwhelmed because she was being hounded by angry guests upset that they had fastpasses to go in or that they had been waiting for an hour and couldn’t go on. I asked her an estimated time for the ride to come back, she said she didn’t know so we took the train to Toontown to attempt at riding Rodger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin. We get there- the sign has 70 minute wait posted. We weren’t going to wait 70 minutes for it, so we instead walked around Toontown a bit, took some pictures, and left to ride the other side of the Matterhorn. The line was not bad at all, and the views from the park as it lit up before nighttime were amazing. The ride was very fast and rough, but lots of fun. Afterwards, we went back to Toontown to attempt Rodger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin once again. Lucky us, closed down. The CM was telling guests to come back later even though Toontown would be closing soon… and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go on. Such a shame, I’ve heard great things about CarToon spin and I felt like I was missing out (maybe I should’ve gone on this instead of Mr.Toad’s earlier).

    Camping out for Remember Dreams Come True
    At this point, it was almost completely dark out and we did not have enough energy to walk all the way to Critter Country to check on Splash Mountain, so we camped out in front of the castle for Remember… Dreams Come True. We sat in front of two older women who cracked jokes to pass the time, and thank god that they were short (better view for me, I’m tall). As the show was about to begin, we heard “Ladies and Gentlemen, due to current weather and wind conditions, tonight’s presentation of Remember… Dreams Come True might be cancelled. A final decision has not been made.” Everyone in the crowd was booing and moaning, and I would’ve died if they didn’t show it since every night when we drove by the park the fireworks were going on (and they have to cancel it the day I come). I thought to myself, “They’re going to have a long line of angry guests at City Hall tonight if they don’t show those fireworks, and I’ll be one of them!”

    One of the crowd control cast members in front of the castle told us that we would have to stand when the show started, which was strange because I was hoping we would sit so everyone could get a good view. By making us stand, I’d get a decent view but what about the 5 year old girl behind me? In Illuminations at Epcot, some areas near the lagoon are sitting only. Anyway, after eagerly waiting for the final announcement, they said “Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight’s presentation of Remember… Dreams Come True will be shown in 5 minutes,” and I was filled with happiness as the crowd around me began to cheer and applaud at the news. The show began as planned, but the flow of people walking in front of the castle right in front of us did not stop. This definitely ruined our view big time by people walking in front of us and stopping to look and take pictures! The crowd control CM’s were doing their best to get everyone moving along, but I think they should really stop the flow of people in front of the castle for the duration of the show. I had been waiting for over an hour in my spot, and my view was obstructed by people walking in front of us. Regardless of this, I tried to block the passing crowd from my eyesight and enjoy the show. The show was amazing, the best Disney nighttime show I have ever seen. Until watching it, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth was my favorite but after that day RDCT was my new favorite. All the effects, the Matterhorn, the fireworks all around you, lasers, the music- it was the perfect way to end a great vacation.

    A last attempt at Splash Mountain
    After the show, we met up with the parents and attempted at Splash Mountain for a fourth and final time. We were happy to see that it was back open and running but still had a 70 minute wait that late in the night. We didn’t have to worry about that though, because we used or fastpasses and got right on. The log seating was fun, made the ride seem more realistic and it was great to be going through the mountain as we saw Fantasmic below. Our log went down the big drop just as the fireworks were blasting off in Fantasmic’s finale- perfect timing!

    Ending the day finding Nemo

    After Splash Mountain, our family met up once again. Everyone was very exhausted, but we couldn’t leave just yet—we hadnt been on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Nobody wanted to wait in the long line for Nemo with me, so we took the train to the Toontown station and I got off to get in line for Nemo as my parents continued to take the train to the Main Street station. The line was definitely shorter than it was earlier in the day, about an 1 hour and 15 minutes long. It also helped that it was nice and cool out, and I didn’t have to wait in the hot sun. While waiting, I did the VMK Finding Nemo quest about 5 times, ate some crumbled crackers I had, and took some nighttime pictures of the lagoon. When we reached the end of the line, I was tired to the point that I couldn’t move after walking all over Disneyland for the entire day but the hope that I had finally reached the submarine gave me energy to keep on going, and we finally boarded the sub ("EXPLORER"). The FNSV was a great ride, the effects were very well done and it was so fun to experience since I had never been on a submarine or a Disney submarine ride before. The ride is unique and something that the entire family can enjoy, I'm glad I finally got to ride it.



    It was past midnight when i exited the subs, and I walked out of the park past the castle and down Main Street for the last time. I exited the park and reached the bus stop just in time to catch the last bus of the day back to the Candy Cane Inn down the street. I came back to our room to find some In’N’Out burger. The burgers and fries were great, now I know why so many Southern Californians say so much good things about this fast food joint (and what Al refers to when he suggest Disney pay as good as In'N'Out Burger...I noticed their motto is "Quality you can taste,"-the food was great and the employees were great too.)

    In Conclusion…
    We had a great time at the Disneyland Resort. The service, the friendlier people, the nicer weather, the convenience of having everything so close, and the higher quality of attractions and entertainment made my experience here better than any WDW vacation. WDW now pales in comparison to the DLR in my eyes. Even my parents- which I expected that they would walk out hating me for making them spend all that money and fly all the way to California to see a “smaller Disney” were very impressed by the Disneyland Resort; they liked many aspects of it better than WDW. Being so close to Southern California’s amazing destinations and attractions definitely makes up for the fact that there is no Epcot, MGM-Studios, Animal Kingdom, or water parks.

    I’m not the only one that realizes this. I’ve heard of so much WDW veterans going to DLR for the first time this year and having the same impressions on it as me. WDW really needs to step their game up, on the outside and on paper WDW looks better but DLR really is.

    When we arrived back in South Florida, coming from the cool SoCal weather, I couldn’t breathe because of the heat and humidity I felt stepping out of the airport and driving home, not seeing any hills or mountains in the distance was really strange. It really made me think that Southern California is an amazing place and I envy anyone who lives there! (OK well...maybe I don’t envy the traffic ) We really can’t wait to go back; it’s definitely worth spending the extra money on airfare than going to WDW.
    Last edited by WDWizard; 08-27-2007 at 05:40 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    I'm glad you had fun! And I'm really glad you liked DCA!

    To be fair, I really liked Florida when I visited. And it is really humid out there.

  5. #5

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    i love DCA or exactly the reasons you listed. its a great place to escape crowds
    Angels Fan, born and raised.
    Come on you Galaxy.


  6. #6

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    DCA's crowds were samller than the crowds Disneyland had, but maybe it is due to the fact that DCA's walkways are much wider. DCA itself is a nice park, Its nicer than the studios here in Florida (I compare it to the studios because both parks are similar).

    EDIT: Pictures added to trip report, still adding..
    Last edited by WDWizard; 08-26-2007 at 01:55 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    Excellent fully detailed Trip Report


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  8. #8

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    WOW! One of the most enjoyable trip report I've ever read!!! So glad you love DLR!!.

  9. #9

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    Great TR. Hope you had fun!

  10. #10

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    I am someone who calls Disneyland "home" so I am SO glad to hear that you had such a wonderful experience! WDW is amazing, but we still love and prefer the intimacy of DLR.

  11. #11

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    Great trip report. You stated almost all of the reasons why I love DL so much. WDW is fun, but DL is pure magic. Glad you enjoyed!
    Let's put the Walt back in Disney!





  12. #12

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    Awesome trip report! Its not to hear a tourists view of so cal, its so easy to take this place for granted but it is great. Glad you had a good time.

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge..."
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  13. #13

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    Terrific TR!!! I really like the way you compare your thoughts of both parks! Glad your visit went well and you all had a great time!!! Come back soon!!!
    DisneyBroad54

  14. #14

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    Great trip report! Some nice pics too.Sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time.

    We will be making our 7th trip to Disneyland Sept.3-14. It seems everytime I tell someone we are taking our trip they assume we are going to Disneyworld. Never been there and really have no plans to because we love Disneyland so much. Your comments, comparing the two parks, just helps to reinforce that we have made the right decision to stick with Disneyland.
    Me,DH,DS-23 ,DD-14



    Our Long Awaited, Long Awaited Trip Report November 2010
    http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...post1056434199
    Our First Trip to WDW December 2009
    http://micechat.com/forums/walt-disn...16-2009-a.html
    November 2008 trip report! Updated 1/13/09!
    http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...23-2008-a.html

  15. #15

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    Re: An amazing first-time trip to the DLR (8/3/07-8/8/07)

    Fantastic trip report. Glad you had such a great first visit to Disneyland!

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