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Sarah Stroud -- March 2006 -- Disneyland (Offsite)


Cast Members:

  • Me (Sarah) – almost 16 years old; self proclaimed Disneyland fanatic and lover of all things Disney; the “Fastpass Queen”

  • Eleonore – my mom; 51 years old; driver of 800 plus miles to Disneyland; scared of Disneyland rides with sudden drops, stops, and plunges

  • Ron – my dad; 59 years old; extremely good sport and financier of all DLR trips; accompanies me on all rides that my mom is too scared to go on

Background:

Let me begin this trip report by saying I AM A DISNEYLAND FANATIC!!! Good, now that’s out and you can better understand this report!!! Even though I live 800 plus miles away in West Texas, my parents and I are no stranger to Disneyland trips. This trip would be my 9th to Disneyland, my mom’s 11th, and my dad’s 10th. To give you an idea of how much I LOVE DISNEYLAND, consider these facts: I was there on July 17, 2005 (the actual 50th anniversary of Disneyland) and stood in line for 8 hours to buy the special merchandise, I have close to 120 pins from Disneyland, and once took a tour in Disneyland and corrected the tour guide after he gave wrong information (sorry, Trevor!) Oh yeah…and my dream is to work for the Walt Disney Company.

Planning:

Like any Disney fanatic knows, Disneyland fun starts with planning. Our last trip to Disneyland was during Christmas 2005. Spring Break for us this year fell in early March. Hoping to avoid later Spring Break crowds, it seemed the perfect time for a visit. Actually, anytime is the perfect time to visit Disneyland! Also, my 16th birthday was in early April, so this trip was an early birthday present for me. We had been there only 3 months before, but, remember – I am a fanatic! Back in January, I made reservations at the Candy Cane Inn (CCI) for 5 nights during Spring Break. My parents were less than enthusiastic about going to Disneyland since we were there only 3 months before, but we proceeded with the trip because they admit that they are only “along for the ride.”

We had stayed at CCI 3 times before and loved it. I have also stayed at Best Western Park Place Inn, but CCI is far superior. The rooms are small, but cozy. They all have down comforters and are very clean. Also, the grounds of CCI are gorgeous. There are tons of flowers. It almost looks like a Disney property, but cheaper, closer to the parks, and with free continental breakfast! CCI is a 5 min. walk to Disneyland, but the hotel has its own shuttle that runs every half hour. The shuttle driver is very friendly and we often took the shuttle back at night.

Back in January, I booked a standard room at CCI for about $114 a night at the AAA rate. The room has a refrigerator, iron, two double beds and a table. We usually stay in a slightly larger and more expensive deluxe room, but the standard room was fine for the three of us.

Travel Day – Friday, March 10, 2006

Unlike our other Disney trips, I had to go to school on the day that we left. I was antsy all day, knowing that we were leaving for Disneyland that afternoon. I sat through my classes hoping that my parents were at home packing. I was presently surprised when I came home that afternoon to a packed car. (Of course, I had already packed my things the night before!) We dropped our cat off at my grandma’s house and were on the road at 5:43 pm. (Yes, I do keep a trip log while we are traveling. I know that we left our house at 5:43 and not 6:00 and that we checked into our hotel at 10:43 pm not 11:00. What can I say, fanatics do stuff like this!) We drove from our house to Tucson, AZ, checked into a Best Western, and ate dinner at Cracker Barrel. (CB is a very good place to eat while traveling. They serve you even if you arrive 2 minutes before they close.) Moving right along…

Disneyland Resort (DLR) Day 1 – Saturday, March 11, 2006

Disneyland Day!!! We left Tucson at 9:30 am (rather early for us because we are not morning people) and were in California at 1:15 pm. Lucky for us, we gained an hour with the time change. Not wanting to starve when we arrived in Disneyland, we grabbed dinner at an Inn-N-Out Burger outside Palm Springs, CA. (For anyone who doesn’t live in CA, Inn-N-Out is a real treat. It’s fast food, but it’s fresh. Not like nasty McDonald’s.) But let’s stay on topic…We arrived at CCI at 5:15 pm. We only got lost for 5 min. on the way to CCI. Why are CA interstate signs so confusing? This was the first time that we had arrived at CCI during the daytime when it was still light outside. My dad and I checked in – always speedy check in at CCI – and found our upstairs room. My mom rested in the room while my dad and I unpacked the car. (Gotta love my mom for driving 800 plus miles to Disneyland!!!) I practically ran from the car to the room because I was so anxious to get to Disneyland Park (DLP)!

Okay, okay. Now we are actually in DLP. No more “boring” notes about trip planning. We always begin our vacations in DLP park. We left CCI by 7 pm and walked to Disneyland (DL). Even though it was early March, the highs for that week were only in the low to mid 60s (of course I had checked the weather forecast before leaving Texas). We all bundled up for the walk. Can’t let cold weather slow us down. Okay, really…no more trip planning talk!!!

“We’re heading for the gate, oh please don’t be late. With ticket in hand, we’ll take a stand to Disneyland….Disney is calling me, oh please I hear the plea. Don’t deprive me of my Disney!” (Sing to the tune of “Heigh Ho” from Snow White. Yes, I have my own walking to Disneyland song!)

Ah, Disneyland Park. My favorite park of all Disney American theme parks (WDW included!) By the time we entered the park, Main Street was completely lit up. It was so nice to “come home.” Not wanting to see Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams that night, we headed to Fantasyland. (One more note about myself: I am a real stickler for correct Disney terminology. It’s the Mad Tea Party, not the tea cups; it’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, not the castle; etc.) However, I do use abbreviations when appropriate!) The lines in Fantasyland were quite manageable. Waits seem to have decreased in the last few years at all rides in Fantasyland. Our first ride was Dumbo with about a 5 or 10 min. wait. Dumbo is a relaxing and magical ride, but it was cold! Brrrr…But, cold weather can’t bring me down. We headed to King Arthur Carrousel with no wait.

By that time, we were all hungry. One of our favorite restaurants in DLP is Redd Rocket’s (RRPP) Pizza Port in Tomorrowland. I sat at a table while my parents got dinner. Actually, the park wasn’t that crowded for a Saturday night. I was able to get a table with no problem. I also noticed Space Mountain (SP) only had a 40 min. wait, which is short for that ride. My dad and I ate pasta and my mom had pizza. We all shared a salad. The pasta is good and the pizza slices are huge. The salad is also good and has fresh vegetables, not the traditional “side salad.” Our meal came to $25.05 after our 15% Annual Passholder (AP) discount.

Next, we went to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Buzz is a favorite of everyone. We walked on twice with no wait! I must admit that my parents are much better scorers than I am. I can get 20,000 points on a good day. My parents are generally in the 100,000 point range. Oh, well. The ride is fun for everyone and VERY ADDICTIVE!!! After Buzz, we shopped at Star Trader and the Emporium. I got some pins and later snacked on popcorn in a souvenir bucket featuring Boo and Sulley from Monsters, Inc. (Surprise, I also collect popcorn buckets!)

Although DLP was open until midnight, much to my mom’s insistence, we were back at CCI by 10:30 pm because we wanted to get up early the next morning. I usually like to stay at DLP up until closing. You can walk on at least 5 rides from 11:45 pm to 12:00 pm. Cast members (CM) will let you get in line at 11:59 pm for any ride. (Not that it affected us, but fireworks were canceled that night because of high winds.)

DLR Day 2 – Sunday, March 12, 2006

So much for getting up early; we left CCI around noon. (Well, that’s okay. We were very tired because we had to go to work and school right before we left for DL.) We decided to head to Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) that day because it was going to be a shorter day than usual for us. We were starving so we headed to our favorite restaurant in DCA, Taste Pilot’s Grill (which is really the only place we eat in DCA). The food is yummy. All three of us ate the Alpha Bravo Chili Burger, which comes with waffle fries. The burgers are gourmet burgers and the restaurant has a great toppings bar. You could really make your own salad! The meal came to $26.60 after our AP discount.

After we ate, it was time for our first Fastpass (FP) of the trip. I am the Fastpass Queen and got us a FP for Soarin’ Over California from 4:20 – 5:20. (It works much better if one personal is designated as a FP retriever for everyone, instead of having the entire group go get their own FP.) We then waited for the 2:00 show of Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular in the Hyperion Theater in Hollywood Pictures Backlot (HPB). We always like to sit in the mezzanine. When we first arrived, CM were only seating people in the orchestra section, so we waited until they opened the mezzanine. That really is the best place to sit if you want to see Aladdin and Jasmine fly in their magic carpet. Aladdin is always a good show, but the CM in the show weren’t quite as good as usual. (Yes, I do know all of the different actors and actresses in the show.) Aladdin and Iago were good, but Jasmine and Jafar were not the best actors that I had seen previously. Still, this show is comparable to Broadway and probably the best attraction or entertainment in DCA. After Aladdin, we headed to the Animation Academy (AA) and learned how to draw Goofy. My mom and I had never visited the AA before this trip, but my dad had. The CM break the drawings down into very simple steps, but all of our drawings still looked horrible! (Note to us: don’t quit day jobs!)

I wanted to ride Monsters, Inc. – Mike and Sulley to the Rescue now that it was officially open. (We were lucky enough to be in DCA in December during a soft opening for the ride.) But now, the line for Monsters was 70 min. long!!! Nope, too long for me!!! It was really cold outside so we headed to the Mission Tortilla Factory in Pacific Warf and took the tour. The tour only lasts 5 min. and isn’t really worth going out of the way for, but it was warm inside and we did get free tortillas. I didn’t want a tortilla, but my mom made me get one anyway so she could eat it!

Then we headed to Paradise Pier. I am critical of this area of DCA because it is exactly what Walt Disney didn’t want DL to have. Oh well, some areas of Paradise Pier are cute. I rode King Triton’s Carousel while my mom took pictures and both my parents ate ice cream cones. (Go figure, the first time they ever got ice cream cones was a day were it was 50 degrees outside!) My dad and I then rode Jumpin’ Jellyfish with about a 5 min. wait. It goes higher than it looks and is my substitute for the Maliboomer, which is much too scary to try! California Screamin’ and the Orange Stinger are two other rides that I have deemed to be “too scary.” We usually ride the Sun Wheel, which terrifies me, but it was just too cold this trip. I got a FP for Mullholland Madness before we left Paradise Pier.

We then headed back to Golden State to ride Soarin’. With the FP, there was only about a 10 or 15 min. wait. Soarin’ is a good ride but something that I only want to do once a trip; definitely not worth the usual hour wait. The best part of Soarin’ is when you “fly” over the orange groves. (No, you aren’t imagining the smell. The ride really pumps out an orange smell!) Of course, flying over DL at the end is my favorite part.

Next we headed to Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. This was an area that I had not visited since 2001 or 2002. This is a good area, especially for little kids to unwind. We didn’t see the Magic of Brother Bear Show, but we did climb the whole trail. (Careful on the rope bridges!) I wanted to go on the tire swing on the lower lever of the challenge area, but to do so I lied and said that I was 12 years old because there was a maximum age limit. The swing was quite fun and you traveled about 50 feet. (My mom was rather disappointed that I lied about my age, but oh well!)

Time for our Mullholland FP. This ride normally scares my mom, but I “reassured” her that it wasn’t too bad so she would come on with me and my dad. We were able to walk on with the FP. The vehicles hold four people, but they stuck another single rider with us. That person must have thought that my mom was crazy because she screamed the entire time! I must admit that the top of the ride is scary because it looks like you are going to fall off of the track. To top things off, it was very cold because it was getting dark and the ride moves fairly fast. Mullholland is a bit like SP without the darkness.

I wanted to ride Monsters. so we headed back to HPB. However, it was broken and the line was backed up outside of the queue area. We went to Muppet Vision 3D next door and just missed the start of the show. That’s okay because the pre show is fun!!! (Especially when Rizzo comes dressed up as Mickey Mouse!) When you walk into Muppets, just outside of the area where they give the 3D glasses, look under the rug by the door. The sign says that there is a key under the rug and there really is one! Gotta love that Disney attention to detail that only fanatics like me notice! Muppets is a funny show but only one that we like to see every other trip or so. My dad is completely tired of Muppets after seeing it so many times in the Disney-MGM Studios in WDW! But, that’s the way that most of the things are in DCA – you can see the same things in WDW.

Monsters was now open. The line was 40 min., but I figured that the line wouldn’t get any shorter since it was a new ride. We got in line even though it was cold outside. Actually, the line moved pretty fast. The ride is very elaborate and pretty long for a dark ride. (I don’t understand why they didn’t build the ride so that they could load more than one cab at a time…?)

It was dinnertime so we ate at Taste Pilot’s Grill…again. (I said that it’s the only place we eat in DCA!) This time our total was $26.96 after our AP discount – a 36 cent difference from earlier that day, although I don’t know exactly why since I think we ate the same food. After we ate, my mom wanted to go back to CCI since she was cold, but I insisted on checking the line for Monsters since I liked it so much. Much to my dismay, the ride was a walk on. We rode it three times consecutively. I was a little angry that we had waited 40 min. earlier to ride! We left DCA around 9:45 pm (it closed at 10:00 pm) and were back at CCI around 10:00 pm. Another early night for us!

DLR Day 3 – Monday, March, 13, 2006

I woke up around 7ish because I was determined to get to DLP when they opened at 9:00 am that morning. I got ready and then got my parents continental breakfast to speed up time. We left CCI at 9:30 am (we can never get there right when they open!) and waited to get into DLP. Today seemed more crowded than on the weekend. I ran ahead to Space Mountain to get a FP with an 11:45-12:45 return time.

I met back up with my parents in the Matterhorn line on the Tomorrowland side. They never change the wait time sign so it always says 35 min. I have found, however, that the wait time is usually only 20 min. The Tomorrowland side is shorter and rougher and you see the Abominable Snowman twice; while the Fantasyland side is smoother and longer and you see the Abominable Snowman three times. After the Matterhorn, we went on “it’s a small world,” which is always very relaxing. We waited only about 5 or 10 min.

Then we headed to Mickey’s Toontown. In December, Goofy’s Bounce House was closed for refurbishment. (I was always too tall anyway and couldn’t lie about my age there!) Now, it appeared to have reopened as Goofy’s “Playhouse.” The only major difference I noticed was that now you walked through Goofy’s house rather than bouncing through it. The guide map for DLP does not list Goofy’s Playhouse on the map, it just says “stay toond’ for something fun.” Maybe Imagineers are planning to change it further? Donald’s Boat, next door, also needs updating. You can’t even climb the staircases like you used to be able to. Like Chip and Dale Treehouse, Donald’s Boat should either be completely taken out of Toontown instead of closing off only parts of it. We shopped at the Five and Dime in Toontown, which is a cool shop that carries little knickknacks that you can’t find anywhere else in the DLR.

We went back to Tomorrowland to use our FP for SM. Before, however, the FP Queen (moi, as Miss Piggy would say) got a FP for Autopia. I am obsessed with FP and try to collect as many as possible at one time. (If only I had the unlimited FP through AAA that you get when you stay at a DLR Hotel…!) Although my mom thinks it’s “creepy,” she did got on SM with me and my dad. The standby line for SM was 70 or 80 min. Why don’t people use FP??? With FP, we waited less than 10 min. I don’t pity the standby people – FP is available so use it! We ended up buying our SM picture. I looked like I was having fun on SM; while my mom looked scared and my dad looked constipated. (They look the same way in Splash Mountain pictures as well!) Space Mountain is a great ride. Although I never went on it before it was redone for DL’s 50th Anniversary, so I don’t know what it was like before.

After SM, we ate lunch at (surprise!) Redd Rocket’s. Our meal was a little more expensive this time at $33.19, probably because of an extra bottle of water or something like that. Not wanting too much vigorous activity after a big meal, we boarded the Mark Twain Riverboat in Frontierland. The boat was packed on the top level, so my mom and I stayed on the middle level. For half the trip, we were convinced that my dad was left back at the dock, only to find that he had been on the first level the entire time inquiring to a CM about how the engine worked!!!

After a relaxing ride aboard the Mark Twain, the FP Queen got a FP for her favorite ride, Indiana Jones Adventure, or as she likes to call it – Indy. (She’ll stop talking in the third person now!) We rode the Haunted Mansion (HM) with about a 15 or 20 min. wait, which was one of the longest waits we had, especially for that ride. After enjoying HM Holiday so much, my mom was rather disappointed to see the HM without Jack Skellington. I guess we’ll have to take another Christmas trip to DLR so that she can see HM Holiday again!

Wow! It’s definitely time for another FP. This time I got one for Buzz before using the FP that we had already gotten for Autopia. Of course, our wait was minimal. Gotta love FP!!! I generally have pleasant rides on Autopia, but this time there was a crazy driver in front of me. I realize that the speed limit is only 6.5 mph, but this person was going 1 mph. Needless to say I was forced to slow down to her speed, as were my parents in back of my car, and the people in back of their car. After about half of the ride, I disregarded the Autopia rule, bumped their car, and literally pushed them so that they would be forced to go my speed. Ha ha ha! They never turned around so I can only assume that either a little kid who was too short was driving or that a parent was trying to prolong the ride for their little kid.

We had always wanted to see Billy Hill and the Hillbillies inside the Golden Horseshoe (GH) and thought that now would be a good time. We arrived around 4:30 or 4:45 pm for the 5:15 pm show. We went inside and ordered food before the show started since there was no line. The GH serves food all day, even when a show isn’t in session. They serve mostly chicken strips and fish sticks inside, but we all ate chili in a sourdough bread bowl. The chili in the bread bowl is pretty good, but I must say that it is probably the most overpriced food item in the park. Oh well, we didn’t come to DLR for a bargain. After all we were there mainly for the show, not the food. Our GH meal total was $31.91. Because we were there early enough, we sat in a balcony table right next to the stage. We finished our food before the show started and had a tasty funnel cake for dessert. I had never seen Billy Hill and the Hillbillies before, and my expectations were rather low. However, I found that the show was silly, but also very funny. The best part of the show was when the “Billies” did their Beatles imitation.

Even though our stomachs were full, we decided to use our Indy FP. Luckily, they sat us in the front row. I generally prefer the back because it is bumpier and more thrilling, but in this case, it was better that we sat in the smoother front row. We started our journey by entering either the chamber of future knowledge or the chamber of eternal youth. I know that there are three different chambers at the beginning and always argue this point with my mom; what I don’t know is where the jeeps merge from the three different chambers.

We concluded the night by using a FP for Buzz. Sadly, another low score for me. (Although, my parents aren’t up in the 300,000 – 600,000 range that they used to be.) The ride is fun no matter what your score is! We didn’t feel like camping out on the sidewalk to watch the Parade of Dreams, so we viewed it from the Disneyland Train Station. Someone complained that we stood in front of the bench that they had been waiting on for two hours. Use common sense – if you don’t want people to stand in front of you, stand right by the railing, don’t sit on a bench. Parade of Dreams is nice to view from a higher level because the floats are so elaborate. It is definitely the best parade that I have ever seen at DLP, much better than the Parade of Stars which it replaced. Again, another early night for us. We were back at CCI by 8:30 pm, most likely because of the cold weather.

DLR Day 4 – Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I got up at 6:45 am that morning, got ready, and went on my usual breakfast run. We left CCI by 9 am and were in DLP by 9:30 am. I sent my parents to wait in line for Peter Pan’s Flight; one of the only rides in the park that has a consistently long line no matter what time of day. I went to get a FP for Splash Mountain (SM). I walked by Indy and saw that like SM, it only had a 15 min. wait. I was tempted to get into both lines except for the fact that my parents were in lines for Peter Pan. Remember, I love getting FP and consider even 15 min. to be a rather long line when a FP is available! The line for Peter Pan was probably about 20 to 25 min. long, which is fairly normal for Peter Pan. The line moved faster than it usually does. After Peter Pan, we went to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. In the queue area, I noticed that the nose of Angus MacBadger was still missing. It has been missing for over 2 years now! (Yes, I have been keeping track…) After Mr. Toad, we rode Snow White’s Scary Adventures. The line was very “long,” at almost 10 min. (Snow White usually has no line at all.) Pinocchio’s Daring Journey also had a “long” line.

We headed to Critter Country because it was time to use our FP for SM; but we first rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with about a 5 min. wait. My mom refused to ride SM with me and my dad, saying that it was just too “creepy.” (I don’t know how cute Audio Animatronic critters singing “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” can be “creepy”…?) Anyway, my mom stayed behind to hold our stuff and to try to take a picture of us as we were coming down into the Briar Patch. She told me to call her when we got on the ride. The standby line was already 75 min. long…silly standbyers! We walked right on SM in less than 5 min. The line moved even faster because the CM loading SM called for a party of two to stick in the back of the log, and there we were! My dad and I were able to bypass people waiting in front of us. I tried to call my mom to tell her that we were already on the ride, but didn’t have cell phone service because we were partly underground. I was starting to shake with anticipation of the big drop, and wonder why I went on the ride in the first place. (Incidentally, I always seem to regret going on the ride until the big drop, when I feel a sense of accomplishment!) I spent half of the ride trying to call my mom, eventually reaching her when we were making the climb to the top of the mountain. We didn’t really get that wet on SM because we were sitting at the back. We also didn’t buy the picture because I was blocked by the person sitting in front of me.

You work up quite an appetite after plunging down 55 feet into a Briar Patch; so we went to Frontierland and ate brunch at the River Belle Terrace (RB). RB has the best location of any restaurant in DLP and is a good place to sit on a nice day and watch people walking near Rivers of America. This proved to be our most expensive meal of the entire trip because we got food from so many different places. When we got to RB, my mom got breakfast there, which consisted of some pancakes, sausage, and potatoes. She also got another side of potatoes for me and a fruit plate for us all to share. This came to $18.29 after our AP discount. I went to get a chili bowl and funnel cake at the Golden Horseshoe (which serves lunch very early) which cost $12.35 after our discount. Then RB started serving lunch, so my dad ordered a turkey sandwich (and maybe a bottle of water) which came to $12.59 with a discount. However, he was still hungry so he also got a $6.00 turkey leg from a food cart in Frontierland (no discount there!) Whew! Our nearly 2 hour meal came to a total of $49.23, with all of our discounts applied. But, it was a nice meal in a nice atmosphere.

We eventually finished eating and shopped at Masquerades in New Orleans Square for a birthday present for me. I decided on a beautifully framed golden painting of Sleeping Beauty Castle that included 50th Anniversary pins of the Fab 5, Daisy Duck, and Tinker Bell. This came to about $150, but was worth it because it is a keepsake and will probably be a collector’s item one day (plus, we had a 20% of a purchase of $100 or more coupon!) The box that the painting came in was too big to carry around all day and was certainly too big to fit in our tiny locker.

My mom decided to go back to the hotel to drop the painting off. However, I had a sudden urge to go on Grizzly River Run (GRR) in DCA, and thought that we should all go back to the hotel together to change out of our possibly wet clothes after riding GRR. We went ahead and left DLP, crossed over into DCA, and walked toward Grizzly Peak. My mom said someone needed to stay behind to hold the painting and my dad said it was too cold to go on GRR. I was about ready to ride by myself until I saw the 55 min. standby line and felt a sudden chill in the air. We decided to wait on riding GRR until summer when it was warmer. My mom went back to CCI while my dad ate his “traditional” Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar as we walked back toward Disney Animation in HPB. I wanted to go back to the Animation Academy and see if I could improve my pathetic drawing skills. This time, the CM was teaching us to draw a profile of Winnie the Pooh. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out much better than my Goofy! By that time, my mom met back up with us and took pictures of me with Abby Mallard from Chicken Little and with Stitch inside the Meet a Character section of Disney Animation. For some strange reason, we all wanted to go back to “class” to horribly draw another classic Disney character. This time, it was Mickey himself. You would think that Mickey would be easy to draw, but try it sometime…he’s not!

The Block Party Bash (BPB) was starting in about 45 min., so we found a bench on the sun between A Bug’s Land and the Bay Area and waited for it to start. I knew that the BPB was only passing by our area, not stopping, but there was no seating in the areas where it was stopping. My parents held the bench while I went to get my second funnel cake of the day from Strips, Dips, n’ Chips in Paradise Pier. The line moved impossibly slow. (All DLR restaurants on this trip seemed to be understaffed and only have one food window operating.) I barely made it back to our bench in time before that area was closed off for the parade. The BPB passed by for less than 5 min. It’s not worth the wait unless they actually stop, which I quickly realized. We then moved to the Paradise Pier area and got a good view of the BPB acrobats performing.

After the BPB, we saw the 6:00 pm showing of Golden Dreams. The outside dome was undergoing major refurbishment and the show wasn’t running continuously like it usually does. Golden Dreams is always a touching show to see. (I noticed that the ending of the show had been updated with more current events.) By that time, we were all hungry and headed to, yes, you guessed it…Taste Pilot’s Grill! Unfortunately, it was dinnertime and the restaurant was packed. There were “waiting lines” for all of the tables inside. There was plenty of seating outside, but it was just too cold.

We headed back to DLP and went to Redd Rocket’s. (Before we ate, I stopped to get a FP for Buzz.) It was also very crowded inside, but after some waiting, we did manage to find an inside table. After dinner, my mom was tired and cold and went back to CCI. My dad also wanted to make it an early night, but I wanted to stay so he stayed with me. (What a trooper!) We waited for the Matterhorn on the Tomorrowland side. The line moved fast because the Fantasyland side of the line was closed but both sides of the ride were still loading. As luck would have it, we were about halfway through the line when a CM called for a party of two! We again bypassed half of the line and rode in the front of the toboggan. Then we rode Casey Jr. Circus Train and had one of our longest waits (about 20 min.) because only one train was operating.

I wanted to see fireworks that night but also wanted to avoid the crowds in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. I opted to view the “Remember…Dreams Come True” fireworks from the back of the castle. You only have to wait about 30 min. for a “front row view” and get the best view of Tinker Bell in the park. My dad wanted to ride Buzz at 9:00 pm and then come back in time for the 9:25 pm fireworks, but I vetoed the idea. (He just cuts things too close!) We were at the very front of the rope near Mr. Toad. This was also a prime spot to get in line for Peter Pan. (Snow White, Pinocchio, Peter, Pan, Mr. Toad, and King Arthur Carrousel all close during the fireworks. About 20 min. after the fireworks are over, these attractions open back up. However, the line for Peter Pan forms behind the rope immediately after the fireworks are over.) Actually, the CM working during the fireworks told me when it was a good time to get in line for Peter Pan! My dad and I ended up in the third pirate ship on Peter Pan; which happens to be my dad’s favorite ride in DLP. There is something very fulfilling about walking through the whole empty queue to get to Peter Pan. I’m stickin’ it to the Mouse!!!

After Peter Pan, we used FP for Buzz. Towards the end of the ride, I hit a blue, lit up target worth 100,000 points! My total score was 110,500 – an all time personal high for me!!! By that time, the park was getting ready to close and Buzz was a walk on. Trying to relive the magic of that high score, we rode Buzz again. Sadly, my score was back to its under 10,000 point range. Oh well…at least I emailed my Buzz picture home to prove my high score. (My mom would have never believed me otherwise!)

DLP closed at 11:00 pm that night. We did a little shopping at Star Trader and the Emporium and then took the 11:15 pm shuttle back to CCI. We were back in our room by 11:30 pm only to find that my mom was already asleep. Our noise eventually woke her up and I excitedly tried to explain my high score on Buzz to her while she was still half asleep!!!

DLR Day 5 – Wednesday, March 15, 2006

OUR LAST DAY! (tear, tear, tear…)

Since it was a rather late night for my dad and I, I didn’t wake up until 7:45 am that morning. I got breakfast and we left for DLP around 9:55 am. The line was very long to get into the park. I headed to get a FP for Space Mountain when I saw that it was broken. Not wanting to wait around for it to get fixed, I got a FP for Autopia instead and headed back to meet my parents on Main Street. A model was doing a photo shoot in Central Plaza next to the Partners Statue, but I don’t know what it was for.

Since SM was broken, we decided to see the 50th Anniversary rededication ceremony for Disneyland in Town Square. Apparently they are doing this everyday in DLP now. (This is something new that was not here in summer or during Christmas 2005.) The ceremony included the mayor of Main Street, the Fab 5, and several other random Disney characters. The ceremony was nice, although I’m not sure why they didn’t have it in 2005…?

After the ceremony, we went on the Storybook Land Canal Boats. We waited about 20 min., which was one of our longest lines. We rode on Alice and our “skipper” was very funny and entertaining. By this time we were hungry and opted for brunch at River Belle. Again, my mom had a breakfast plate with sausage, potatoes, and eggs; and she got a side of potatoes for me. I had a chili bowl from the Golden Horseshoe; and my dad had a turkey leg from Frontierland. (He is the only person I know who would eat a turkey leg with utensils and without the skin! That’s the best part!!!) This meal total came to $25.57 after all of our AP discounts.

After we ate, I couldn’t decide what to get a FP for – Space Mountain or Splash Mountain. In the end, I went to get a FP for Space, because it was a little too cold for Splash. Then, we took the raft to Tom Sawyer Island and walked around for a little while. (If you climb to the top of the treehouse, you can see a hidden Mickey on the top of the chimney.) Then we sailed back and headed to Tarzan’s Treehouse. It was a nice day and I would have liked to go on the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, but they are a seasonal attraction and were not open at that time. Then we went on the Jungle Cruise. (The piranhas are a nice and fairly new addition.) There was still 20 min. before I could get my next FP – just enough time for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. (I love the Tiki Room – my parents don’t.) Needless to say, I sang along the entire time – even before Jose, Pierre, Michael, and Fritz told us to!

After the Tiki Room, I got a FP for Indy. Then we used our FP for Autopia and SM. Our Autopia return time was around 11:00 am, but we used it several hours later. You can always use a FP AFTER the return time, but NOT BEFORE. My mom sat out for SM while my dad and I rode. (No call for a party of two this time.) We still only waited about 15 min. though.

I hadn’t been on Star Tours (ST) in a few years and I remember not liking it that much. (The only ride in DL that I don’t like!) My dad and I decided to standby for ST even though the wait was 20 min. FP was closed on this attraction. My mom deemed this ride…yes, you guessed it – “creepy” and said it reminded her too much of Mission: Space in EPCOT. I noticed that both sides of the ST line seemed to be open, but everyone was only in one line. My dad and I followed a few other people in the second line. I figured that we must be in the wrong line when we bypassed 100 people to get to the front of the line; but we continued on anyway. The CM at the front of the line said the line that we entered should have been closed. I figured that they would let us stay where we were and admit us to the ride after the people who were standing in the correct line. However, a CM came to escort us to the back of the line! The people in front of us were very irate saying “this is not our error!” Needless to say, they left ST. However, my dad hates conflict and confrontation, and I didn’t feel like arguing either, so we just stood in line like we were supposed to. ST makes a person very dizzy. I felt dizzier after this ride than I ever have on Indy or Space Mountain. Also, I don’t understand the story of Star Wars, so the ride didn’t make much sense.

It was now time to use our FP for Indy. The standby line was only 30 min. – too long for me – but one of the shortest Indy lines that I have ever seen. My mom joined back up with us and we were seated in a jeep in the first row. (My dad got to “drive.”) The people sitting in back of us screamed the entire time! I don’t know if it was their first time on Indy or if they just enjoyed screaming!!! After Indy, I got a FP for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Usually we are able to walk on Big Thunder in 10 or 15 min., but this trip the lines had been unusually long.

We were headed to DCA to eat dinner at Taste Pilot’s Grill, since it had been too crowded to eat there the night before. On our way out, we stopped at the Main Street Photo Shop and bought one picture of us in front of the flowers out front and one in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The CM who “helped” us wasn’t much help at all. She completely ignored us, talking to another CM the whole time. It wasn’t even crowded like it is late at night, so I don’t know what her excuse was! We went to DCA and ate dinner at our usual place. There were plenty of tables inside because we got there just before the dinner rush. Our meal was $28.16 after our AP discount. I checked the Monsters, Inc. line, but the ride was broken (it had been for an hour) and the line was backed up outside of the queue area. (All of the strollers…!!!) We went to Greetings From California (the Emporium of DCA) and I bought a Tinker Bell snow globe for my room that played “You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly.” We said bye to DCA and headed to DLP.

Hoping to avoid the Parade of Dreams crowd, we saw Disneyland: The First 50th Magical Years inside the Main Street Opera House. We got there just as the show was starting. I love that show (which I have seen at least 10 times). Steve Martin is so funny! Unfortunately, the parade was about to start after the show. However, we were able to cross the sidewalk and get to Frontierland (after a little pushing and shoving). We used our FP for Big Thunder and we were seated in the first row of the train. The line moved fast because at least three trains were operating. Big Thunder is a ride that is much prettier, exciting, and more thrilling at night. I liked Big Thunder so much that I got another FP. Not that many FP had been issued, because the return time was only 30 min. later.

Speaking of Big Thunder…This reminds me of an interesting story. We were taking the shuttle from CCI to DLR one morning. The people next to us were talking about what they wanted to do that day. Apparently their son wanted to ride “Lightning Mountain.” LIGHTNING MOUNTAIN#*@!% (Remember, I am a stickler for Disney terminology.) What is Lightning Mountain? It’s Big THUNDER Mountain Railroad!!! To make matters worse, his mom wanted to go to “California World.” These crazy people must have been going to a different theme park than we were. I have visited Disney’s California Adventure and have ridden Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in DLP….but I have never been to California World or ridden Lightning Mountain!!! Also, the dad wanted to visit Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in DCA, which has been closed for at least a year. (I didn’t say anything to them…some people are just beyond help!) Okay, glad to get that out of my system…

IT’S CRUNCH TIME!!! Only three more hours before DLP closes! We walked around Big Thunder to Fantasyland and rode Alice in Wonderland with about a 20 min. wait. (We were seated in a pretty caterpillar – not one of the ugly brown ones.) Then we rode the Mad Tea Party and got to sit in the golden tea cup. I wanted to ride the Matterhorn on the Fantasyland side, so my dad and I rode while…surprise…my mom sat out. (By this time, both of my parents wanted to go back to the CCI early. Go back before closing on our last night…NEVER!) This was fine with me because she went to get FP for Buzz and get me a Jiminy Cricket souvenir popcorn bucket from Main Street. We finished the Matterhorn and stood by (gasp) for Autopia because it only looked like a 15 min. wait. Apparently the line was very long for popcorn because I called my mom and she was still in line. However, by entering through the exit, my mom was able to join us on Autopia just before we entered the cars. Remember…Dreams Come True fireworks were starting just as we got off Autopia. There was no line so we rode again. The CM at Autopia was having fun by repeating the exact dialog of the fireworks through the speakers. (You can see the fireworks from Tomorrowland, but you can’t hear very well.)

After Autopia, we used our FP for Buzz. (Sadly, another low score for me.) Then, we went to Frontierland and used our FP for Big Thunder. On the way over, I noticed that the popcorn cart on Main Street was open and had no line…oops! (Sorry, Mommy for making you wait in a 1/2 hour line!) My mom was freezing so she waited at a table near River Belle while my dad and I rode Big Thunder. This time, we got seated in the very back row – which was much bumpier than the first row. (I was glad to see that they added bags to each row to store your belongings in, even though they were very small.)

With only less than 30 min. until the DLP closed, I made a very unusual decision to take a break and eat a funnel cake. Luckily, the Stage Door Café was still open for business. At this late time, the Rivers of America area was almost completely empty. I started to eat my funnel cake while deciding what my next (and probably last) ride would be. Indy had a 20 min. standby line, and I had just eaten a funnel cake, so I opted not to ride. I ate the rest of my funnel cake en route to Central Plaza. I couldn’t decide rather to ride Buzz or head to Fantasyland. Eventually, we decided that Peter Pan’s Flight was a “fitting” way to end our trip. The line wasn’t too long for Peter Pan, so we got in line just a few minutes before DLP closed and they cut off the line. I finished my funnel cake and then sailed over London and “off to Neverland.” The last ride…(tear, tear, tear, SOBBING…)

Yes, alas, it was time to leave the Happiest Place on Earth. We walked toward the Main Street Train Station to exit. I kept walking backwards so that I could keep Sleeping Beauty Castle in view. (I always leave DLP in this same dramatic way.) My parents were only too happy to leave…and had been ready to do so for at least a day! We walked back to CCI and were in our room by 11:40 pm.

Leaving Days – Thursday, March 16, 2006 and Friday, March 17, 2006

We checked out of Candy Cane (sigh) by 11 am and headed back home to Texas. We did some shopping in an outlet mall in Cabazon, CA. That night, we stayed in Chandler, AZ (outside of Phoenix) in a very creepy Red Roof Inn because it was all that was available. (Yes, this time it really was “creepy”!) The next day, we did some shopping in Tucson, AZ and arrived back in Texas that night. Of course I was sad, but it is always nice to come back home after leaving my other “home” (Disneyland).

Summary:

All in all, this was a very nice trip to the Disneyland Resort. We went at the start of Spring Break season, and while it was more crowded than I thought it would be, it is still more crowded during the summer time. This was definitely our coldest trip. We wore double jackets during all nights. (This is a very good tip: Wear one jacket during the daytime and put the other jacket in a locker. Then, at night, you will really warm up when you put both jackets on.) Our longest line at either DLP or DCA was probably about 45 min. (Monsters, Inc.) There were long lines, as always, but we just didn’t wait in any of those lines. There’s no secret – we didn’t use ridemax.com or a touring plan – we just used FP…A LOT!!! Since we have Premium Annual Passes, we will be back in late June when Pirates of the Caribbean opens back up. (I really missed it this time!) Until then…

M-I-C…See ya real soon…K-E-Y…Why? Because we like you…M-O-U-S-EEEEE!!!

Sarah Stroud

rstroud1@elp.rr.com


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