Day 2: Friday, Apr. 23
Getting up early this morning (partly because of jet lag!), we got ready for Disneyland's early morning. Since we only had two days to do everything, we knew that this was going to be a grueling, yet immensely fun, trip of riding, watching, eating, shopping, and listening. By the time we walked to the front gates, I was ready to go. First off, we zoomed to the Indiana Jones Adventure. That's an amazing ride, my favourite at Disneyland. We rode it twice that morning, and got through the middle door of wealth, and the right door of the fountain of youth. Before our trip was over, I was determined to get through the left door (it took us 6 rides to get through that door!) Afterwards, we went on Alice in Wonderland, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Fantasyland. Disneyland's Fantasyland is so much nicer than the Magic Kingdom's, since the ride facades are beautifully-themed to the ride, unlike The Magic Kingdom's tent-like facades. We rode the Matterhorn next (another great Disneyland-only experience), followed by a breakfast of hotdogs and chips at the Refreshment Corner on Main Street. We saw Honey, I Shrunk the Audience next, which I noticed had a different, and better, preshow from Epcot's version, although that was the only difference. Afterwards, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean, which I found to be enormously better than Walt Disney World's. Next, we rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is always great. A little after 10 am, we made our way over to The Rocket Rods, but were shocked by the huge line, so instead we went and rode Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin. This was followed by a ride on Snow White's Adventure and Pinochio's Daring Journey, and then a trip through the great Haunted Mansion. An odd thing happened in the stretching room at the beginning of The Haunted Mansion. The Ghost Host had finished his spiel and the door was supposed to slide open, but it didn't! For over a minute, we just stood there, in the dead centre of the room, just waiting. Finally, the door opened and we filed out. Afterwards, we made a through exploration of Tom Sawyer's Island. Disneyland's version has so many more caves than Walt Disney World's. By this time, my Dad was getting hungry, so we bought some steak gumbo, and ate it while listening to a great jazz band in New Orleans Square. I wish the Magic Kingdom had a New Orleans Square. We made our way up to the Disney Gallery next, and had a fascinating look at their exhibit on Tomorrowland. The best part was seeing the model for the Space Mountain track. I loved how they had the many theme songs from Tomorrowland playing in the background. As we left the gallery, we heard a couple of Dole Whips calling to our stomachs, so we hurried over to Adventureland, grabbed a couple of the pineapple treats and watched the Enchanted Tiki Room. While I'm on the subject of food, I should also mention that afterwards we went to Bengal Barbecue and had a couple of chicken shish-kebabs. Yumm! Next, we took a ride on the Jungle Cruise and then a relaxing trip around the park on the Disneyland Railroad. We got off the train at Toontown, checked out Minnie's House, and then went atop Donald's Boat and admired the view. After calling my mom at home in Ottawa from one of the neat phones in Toontown, we took a ride on It's A Small World, and then grabbed a spot for the nighttime Mulan parade. I found this version to be a lot better than the one at MGM, particularly because it's at night. After the parade, we enjoyed the Indiana Jones ride one more time, before heading to Frontierland to see Fantasmic! Many people consider Disneyland's version to much better than Walt Disney World's, but I think I liked them about the same. The problem with Disneyland's is that there is no seating, and you have to look around people's heads! Ughh! As soon as Fantasmic! ended, we zipped over to Tomorrowland, determined to ride the Rocket Rods before the park closed in an hour. The wait time said 70 minutes, but in actuality it only took about 40 minutes! The ride was better than I expected, it was great!! Really Speedy! The best part is when you go right by the monorail station, where you can wave to folks. The queue is pretty interesting as well, with the first room full of vintage vehicles from Tomorrowland rides, past and present. The queue then winds through the old Circlevision theatre, which is running humorous old films about the future of automobiles. A very interesting queue, and probably one of the longest! When we got off the ride, the park was still open, so we hopped back in line, and got another ride on the Rocket Rods! A great way to end our great day.
Day 3: Saturday, Apr. 24
We got up early again this morning. We were extremely tired, but the magic of Disney gave us the energy we needed. As soon as we got through the turnstiles, we headed to City Hall and booked tickets for the "A Walk in Walt's Footsteps" tour which started at about 10:45. After booking the tour, we rode our all-time favourite ride, the Indiana Jones Adventure, a couple of times, followed by a few flights with Peter Pan. Just before the rest of the park opened, we lined up outside Frontierland, so we could be first in line for Splash Mountain. The security guard at the rope was very friendly and kept everyone entertained with Disney trivia questions. As soon as the rope dropped, we ran straight for Splash Mountain and only had about a minute wait. I found Disneyland's version to be a lot darker inside than Walt Disney World's and so it was hard to see some things. About 15 minutes before 10:00, we went to see if we could get a ride on the Rocket Rods before our tour, but by then, 15 minutes before the ride opened, the line was already 45 minutes long! Instead, we went and had breakfast at The Refreshment Corner before heading to City Hall for the tour. Our tour guide's name was Karen, and we had about 15 people in our group from all over the globe. There was a couple from Australia, a lady from Malaysia, and us from Canada. We first walked to the main entrance of the park, where Karen talked about the creation of Disneyland. Next, we headed to Town Square and then up to the railroad station. We were going to take a ride on the train, but for the first time I'd ever seen, the train had broken down momentarily. So, we wandered over to the Fire House, where Karen continued to talk about the park's history and about Walt Disney's apartment above the Fire House, which is still used. Walking down Main Street, she told us interesting things about the buildings, such as the upper windows. Did you know that ABC, an original sponsor of the park, has their own window? It's disguised in the form of the Acme Business College! Next, we headed to Snow White's Grotto, where she told us the story of these beautiful statues: they were a gift to Walt Disney from Italy, but Snow White was the same size as the dwarfs, so they hid that mistake using some great forced perspective. As we walked through Fantasyland, Karen pointed out little details that I had never noticed before, such as smoke coming out of the chimneys every once in awhile. We continued on, walking past It's A Small World and the Matterhorn, all the while listening to fascinating trivia and anecdotes about the park. Frontierland was the next destination on the tour, and Karen took us inside the Golden Horseshoe to show us how the inside looks exactly the same as the bar from the movie "Calamity Jane". This is because the designer of the Golden Horseshoe, Harper Goff, had recently designed the sets for that movie. The last stop on the tour was the Disney Gallery, where Karen talked about how it was originally designed as a second apartment for Walt Disney. She also talked about the Tomorrowland exhibit currently on display there, and told us some interesting information about Club 33, the private $10,000 membership club above New Orleans Square. The door to the club is a very non-descript green door, with the number 33 on the side, loacted right beside the entrance to the Blue Bayou restaurant. Since the train was working now, Karen offered our tour group the choice of going with her back on the train to Main Street, or if they had other things to do, they could just go on their own way. Surprisingly, only my dad and I and another couple joined our tour guide for the train ride. This was actually one of the best parts of the tour because we were able to ask her tons of questions about the park, and she told us many funny and interesting little Disneyland stories. For example, when the Indiana Jones Adventure first opened, Harrison Ford was there for the opening ceremonies. A tour guide was showing him around the park and when they got to Star Tours, she began telling him all about Star Wars and the characters including Han Solo. She had obviously forgotten that he had played this role, and so when she had finished her spiel, he simply replied "Been there, done that." When the train reached Main Street, Karen took us back to City Hall, and gave each of us a nice photo of Walt and Mickey, and a beautiful poster commemorating our tour. And that was the final end of one great tour. It was probably the most cost-effective thing we did on our whole trip, and I would recommend it to everyone. The first thing we did after the tour was drop the photos and poster off at our hotel, so they wouldn't get damaged, and then we checked out the preview centre for Disney's California Adventure. This park looks wonderful, and Disney's Grand Californian Resort, designed like the Wilderness Lodge, looks beautiful. Disney's California Adventure will be divided into three sections - Hollywood, which will be like a miniature version of The Disney-MGM Studios; Paradise Pier, an area celebrating the coney island-style amusement parks complete with a Disneyfied roller coaster and ferris wheel; and Golden State, which celebrates the natural wonders of California, including a thrilling white-water raft ride. This new park will be getting a few attractions that are already at Walt Disney World, such as Muppet Vision 3-D and It's Tough to be a Bug. but other than that, everything looks to be new and great. The preview centre is full of beautiful pictures and several models, and it even has a pressed-quarter machine for the new park. There is also an observation deck where you can check out the current construction on the park. As we were leaving the preview centre, we ran into Karen, our tour guide. We got talking about the Rocket Rods and she was saying how, at the grand opening when several astronauts attended, it was her responsibility to organize their flights, hotels, and transporation. She made friends with them all and even got to ride the Rocket Rods with them before it officially opened. After saying goodbye to Karen, we re-entered Disneyland, browsed through a few shops, and then headed over to Innoventions to peruse its many fascinating exhibits. I liked this Innoventions better than Epcot's version. Afterwards, we took a ride on Snow White's Adventure, Pinochio's Daring Journey, and then had our first ride on Casey Jr. Circus Train. Next, we grabbed a couple of dole whips and then went to see the Animazement show, which was pretty good. I felt like making some purchases next, so I headed for the Disneyland Forever kiosks in Tomorrowland to make my own CD's. I didn't have too much to spend, so I had to restarin myself to two CD's. On the first CD, I got the full Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, all of the Haunted Mansion music, and my favourite Disney theme park tune - the Swisskapolka from the Swiss Family Treehouse. On the second CD, I got a couple more songs from the Pirates of the Caribbean, a few safety spiels, and some great background music. I can't wait to go back and buy some more! Afterwards, I picked up a lemonade slush (yum!!), and then we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by strawberry bars and the Country Bear Jamboree followed by the Haunted Mansion. For a late dinner, we ate at Red Rockett's Pizza Port, which is quite an interesting place. Afterwards, we listened to a pop band at the Tomorrowland Terrace for a short time, and then went to check out something a little more classy - the swing band. The band was great and a couple of the people dancing were way beyond excellent. For the last ride of the night, I decided that we had to do my favourite - the Indiana Jones Adventure. After escaping from the Temple of the Forbidden Eye once again, we checked out some of the Adventureland shops, just before the park closed. Meandering out of the park, we looked through a few of the Main Street shops, and then took a quick rest inside The Main Street Cinema. Watching Steamboat Willie is a great way to end a day at Disneyland, and as we walked back to our hotel, we expected this to be our last, but we were wrong...
Day 4: Sunday, Apr. 25
We had planned to go to a church service this morning, at the Crystal Cathedral in nearby Garden Grove, but on checking their schedule we realized that the services started too late for us to catch our 10:45 shuttle to the airport. Fortunatley, we had a 3-day Disneyland pass, so we had somewhere to pass the time. As soon as the park opened, we ran past the crowd to the Matterhorn, and walked right on, and then we rode Big Thunder Mounatin Railroad and Splash Mountain without hardly any wait. Next, we took two rides on Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin, and a zoom on Gadget's Go Coaster. In total, we enjoyed six rides in an hour and a half! Then, we had to hurry out of the park to catch our airport shuttle. On our flight back To Ottawa, I thought about all the highlights of our trip, like the "Walk in Walt's Footsteps" tour, the Indiana Jones Adventure, the Rocket Rods, the yummy food, and the great Disneyland Forever CD's. I will end this trip report, with some of the funniest things we heard at Disneyland:
1) "Pirates of the Caribbean? It's like It's a Small World, but it's much bigger; and it's with pirates."
2) Overheard at 11:00 pm: "We've been here since noon, and we've only done four rides."
3) "Woah, what are we in line for here?"