Sunday, October 02, 2011

2 From Fantasyland 1958, and a trip report!

Here's a commonly-seen view of the Mad Tea Party (I tend to just call it the "Teacups") as seen from the Skyway. With the colorful spinning things down below (including the Carousel), and the old dark ride fa├žades, and the oodles of people, it would be hard to NOT take a photo of this scene.

A ride on the Storybook Land Canal Boats also tended to produce photos of familiar views, such as this shot of Toad Hall - maybe tied with the miniature Cinderella Castle as the "most photographed" feature of this attraction. Buzz-cut kid is looking at Moley's waterfront shack. Up above, Casey Jr. affords a different perspective on the same scenery. In front of Casey, you can see the tips of three Atlas missiles that were just launched from the secret underground silos in Fantasyland.


For those who might be interested, here is a report of my visit to Disneyland on Tuesday, September 27th! Sorry about the lack of photos; I am just not a camera guy (unlike Daveland, aka "Weegee Junior")!

My friend Amy and I managed to get to the park just as it opened, and walked through the east tunnel (after admiring the Halloween-themed Mickey flower portrait) at about 10:00 AM. Folks were crowded around the giant pumpkin Mickey head in the center of town square, all trying to get that perfect family photo, while the buildings had orange bunting (an unusual look) on them.

We noticed that a large portion of the crowd headed up Main Street was turning right into Tomorrowland, so we figured that we'd better get our Fast Passes for Star Tours. Little did we know that we'd have to stand in a 10 minute line just to get our passes! Since we couldn't hop on to Star Tours until 11:30, we headed straight over to Space Mountain, and waited in a very short line. The "Ghost Galaxy" overlay is a fun change, though I am hoping for future additions to the gags and effects.

After that we decided to check out Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, something that Amy had never experienced (both of us had abysmal scores!) Since we still had more than an hour before our Fast Passes would work, we walked over to Fantasyland, and rode on the Dumbo attraction. A first for me! And it was fun, whaddaya know. Then we made a beeline for Mr. Toad, which had a fairly short line. I love that ride! We would have done Peter Pan, but took one look at the queue, and decided that we could wait. So we hopped on to the Snow White ride, and then we rode the Teacups, spinning that darn wheel as fast as we could. What a workout!

By now it was time to check out Star Tours. I enjoyed checking out the revamped queue, which had enough to look at that it made the wait seem shorter. I sort of miss the baskets full of robot parts that used to constantly move overhead, but it's not a big deal. Anyway, our first journey took us to the Wookie planet, and then we went to the Death Star. The motion simulator seemed to move more gently than it used to (or am I imagining things?). The screen was bright and sharp, and the 3-D was pretty good, but overall we walked off the ride thinking that it wasn't as amazing as we'd hoped.

After a ride on the Matterhorn we decided that we needed to see the Haunted Mansion, so we walked across the park and after a brief wait in line went into the foyer area, and then into the elevator with the stretching portraits. Complaint time: there must have been half a dozen people who were staring down at their phones, texting and tweeting with their brightly glowing screens. Seriously? You can't stay off your phones for a few minutes on the Haunted Mansion? I can only imagine the important messages that were sent. Also, EVERY time the lights go out, somebody (mostly a 20-something dude) thinks it's hilarious to scream loudly. How I would love to taze them! I didn't notice much new stuff in the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, except maybe the giant "living" gingerbread house (that smelled of fresh gingerbread!) down on the ballroom floor.

I'm going to take a few shortcuts now, just to keep this from becoming a novel. We hopped on to the Disneyland Railroad at New Orleans Square/Frontierland Station, for a grand circle tour, which was fabulous as always. Then we visited Splash Mountain, which had a very short line in the morning. Later, the line was pretty long! We hit the Winnie the Pooh ride, which Amy had never seen.

The Mark Twain was being refurbished at Fowler's Harbor, which meant that the Columbia was out and about. Having never been aboard that venerable ship, we took a sail around the Rivers of America. So... another first for me!

We had lunch, then rode the Jungle Cruise and climbed Tarzan's Treehouse. Heading back over to Tomorrowland, and got in the standby line for Star Tours. It only took about 20 minutes to board our spacecraft. This second experience was WAY better than the first one! First of all, my photo showed up on screen as the rebel spy! Then we found ourselves in the middle of a pod race, and after that we wound up under the sea, zipping through the Gungan city, and then were terrorized by several giant, scary fish. The effect of being caught in the jaws of one of these creatures (and the 3-D effect of its tongue against the view screen) was fantastic! Also, the finale, in which the pointy end of a parked spacecraft crashed through our viewscreen, pointing right at us, was similarly great. This time we walked off the ride very enthused and impressed!

During the rest of our visit, we check out "It's a Small World", and we rode both the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain twice more. Our final Mansion visit, 15 minutes before the park closed, was the best. There were only five or six other people in the elevator with us, and they weren't rude jerks!

That was about it for rides! We missed a few favorites (some of the dark rides), and didn't get around to the Monorail or Autopia, and I wanted to head over to Tom Sawyer Island, but Amy wasn't interested. Neither of us cared about Captain Eo! I did want to see Lincoln and the Mary Blair exhibit, but we just ran out of time, since the park closed at 8 o'clock.

After the park closed, we had a quick dinner in Downtown Disney, and then had a traffic-free ride home. Overall we had a
great day, and I was regularly impressed with the cast members, particularly the ride operators. A+!


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

I knew you were a rebel spy! I'm glad you got a good run on the new Star Tours - some of the "adventures" aren't as cool as the others.

Sounds like you had an awesome day with a few "firsts" too!

You got a lot of rides (sorry, attractions) in! Ghost Galaxy is cool but already needs +ing huh?

Do not get me started on "smart" phone usage within the attractions, its an epidemic, I bet half the "texter's" are texting someone right next to them, they don't even speak anymore!

Oh, great pics today too!

Davelandweb said...

Major - Thanks for sharing - always great to hear someone else's perspective on DL. I had forgotten about the overhead conveyor belts from Star Tours. Yes - that little bit of motion was a nice touch! Texters, strollers...let's get a campaign to keep 'em both out of the park!

Connie Moreno said...

I looked up the definition of "oodles of people" and guess what? Photo #1 was in the dictionary! I enjoyed your trip report and I almost spit out my coffee when you said "How I would love to taze them!"

LOL LOL LOL, Go, Major! Now you've given me a great idea - I own a tazer!

Major Pepperidge said...

VDT, I admit that I was pretty tempted to by the "I AM a rebel spy" t-shirt in the gift shop! But then I calmed down, ha ha. Ghost Galaxy is fine, I just always want more, more, more! The phone thing is not just a Disneyland phenomenon... Amy and I noticed parents and children in line, and the parents completely ignored their little kids while texting or checking messages. In the Jungle Cruise queue, two little guys ran wild, annoying everyone, while their folks were oblivious.

Daveland, the strollers *were* crazy; there's an area outside of the Astro Blasters where they are lined up by the dozens (I'm sure you've seen it). Even though they are annoying, I can't get too mad... if a person has kids, a stroller would be a necessity. Steel-toed shoes are the answer.

Connie, I was exaggerating of course. OR WAS I ?? It just really bugs me when people are so rude and clueless. They're lost in their little worlds, and don't care if what they do bothers anyone else. In addition to a "Dapper Day", how about a "Courteous Day"?

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks for the trip report, Major. The underwater sequence on Star Tours is the best one, in my opinion. After seeing that one, the other endings seem a little anti-climactic. A ten minute wait just for a Fastpass? That sounds like Tokyo Disneyland!

I wish you HAD tazed those people and made an example out of them. They also have their phones out in the darkness of the Tower of Terror elevator. RUDE, CLUELESS PEOPLE! Maybe Connie will taze them all for us.

Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, I'm glad I saw the best Star Tours destination! The Wookie planet was just so "eh". And do you agree about the Star Speeders not moving quite so extremely now?

We were lucky that the lines were generally quite short when we wanted to hit certain rides. A lot of stuff broke down during the day (Indy, Space Mountain, and I even saw a Submarine at a dead standstill in the lagoon), but they seemed to get everything back up and running.

Cell phones are a miracle, but they are also a big fat nuisance.

Nancy said...

there is a time for everything, but i totally agree that cell phones are for when you are alone and bothering no one else. that was COMPLETELY rude.

glad to hear you had a good day. i cant wait to get back there some day soon. no fair, tho, when they close so early even tho you have to pay the price when they are open till 11 or midnight!!

lots of people enjoying Fantasyland in that first portrait...nice! i am one who does not mind the big crowds so i would be very happy there in the middle of all that magic :)

fuzzhead said...

Can't wait to go even more now, next year when cars land is done. Thanks for the report & blog.

Is the old peoplemover track still looking like an ancient ruin, littered with leaves & debris?

Nancy said...

i forgot to say that i didnt realize there were different itineraries on Star Tours....its kind of like Horizons choose your own ending....WAAA! now im sad thinking about that but glad to know i have something interesting to look forward to on our next Disney trip ;*)

Debbie V. said...

Sounds like a great day!

210Frwy said...

The pics were fun today. Speaking of the Mad Tea Party I was watching some of the little documentaries that come with the film The Parent Trap today and there is a great bit of footage of Walt riding the teacups with Hayley Mills!
I’m afraid screaming in the stretching room has become a tradition now. I don’t remember that so much in the early days of the mansion.
You didn’t ride Pirates? For shame!
On my last visit to Disneyland I didn’t even set foot in Tomorrowland except to ride the subs. It used to be my favorite land. Anyway thanks for the great report.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I don't know if I noticed any difference in the movement. I'm sure they rehabbed the simulators, so it's possible that they are all smoother now.

I still need to see the Death Star sequence. I've seen all the destinations except that one!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, I didn't know that you could choose your own ending on Horizons. How did that work??

fuzzhead, I didn't get a good look at the Peoplemover track, since I didn't ride the Monorail. I'm told that the Rocket Rods overstressed the old concrete. Since it is up away from most people's eyes, I would not be surprised if it was not cleaned very regularly.

Debbie V., it was a great day!

210Frwy, I think maybe I've seen that footage of Walt with Hayley. We didn't ride "Pirates" because it is down for rehab, and apparently will be down for quite a while.

TM!, I'll have to reread the possible destinations, I'm curious about how many I still need to see.

Nanook said...

So the way the ending "choices" worked in Horizons were passengers choose from three different "flight paths" back to FuturePort. Contained along a narrow ledge at the front lip of each vehicle were four lighted touch panels containing buttons labeled: Space; Desert or Under Sea. As the spiel stated: Everyone can choose. Majority rules. Now, if I can only remember what happened technically after the decision was made...

JG said...

Wow, great post. How did I miss this?

Thank you for the trip report. I noticed a lot of the same things, texting, and (my son's term) SUV Strollers. Also, lots of breakdowns, usually restored same day, but annoying. One day, the whole west side was shut down except for the Jungle Cruise, no pirates (refurbishment), HM(refurbishment), splash mtn, winnie, etc. Something about a transformer failure.

My son and daughter got the same Gungan ride on Star Tours. He was the rebel spy once too. We rode that about 7 times and never got the same trip twice. Very well done.

I owe you my report, its all written, just getting sent...