Monday, September 23, 2013
Hello GDB readers; I am putting my half-assed trip report at the end of this post so that you can easily skip it if you want to.
Walt Disney hated it when employees left a 1950's pickup truck parked in his 1870's Frontierland, but he didn't seem to mind it when an aluminum boat with an outboard motor was in plain sight. Because they show up in a surprising number of old photos! Maybe those rocks did a better job of hiding it than it seems. A workman in white coveralls is on his way to do something. BUT WHAT? The Indian Village looks pretty sleepy here, even the taxidermied buffalo is drowsy.
There used to be a few bears living along the river, fishing and scrounging for pic-a-nic baskets. They would usually be spooked by passing watercraft, and ran away, yowling like a whiny teenager who doesn't want to mow the lawn.
Awwww, isn't he adorable?
AND NOW, the moment that two of you have been waiting for... a trip report!
September 20th was the last day of Summer, and somehow that seemed like an appropriate time to visit Disneyland. It's been a while! A number of things that were new to me are old news to the annual passholders out there. This was strictly a DIsneyland trip, we did not venture into DCA; hopefully we will manage to go there and dedicate an entire day to the park early next year.
The weather was nice as far as I was concerned…. overcast all day, but never cold; we arrived shortly after the park opened - we would have gotten there earlier, but traffic was heavy-ish and for some reason we were routed to the Simba lot instead of the main parking structure.
Cast members told us that they often close the parking structure in the morning on days that they expect to be busy, and then reopen it for later visitors. We felt as if we were being punished for showing up in the morning, but whatever. It worked out OK, since we already had our tickets; we were able to hop onto the Monorail near the hotel and arrive at Disneyland in futuristic comfort and style!
The park was busy, but for the most part it wasn't a problem. We rode everything that we wanted to ride, and in most cases did our favorites multiple times with lines moving quickly. Probably one of the longest waits was for Casey Jr., because they were only running one train.
Here are some random impressions from that day:
Space Mountain's "Ghost Galaxy" is such a fun Halloween overlay, I love that ride! The nighttime projections on the exterior are cool as well. Early in the day the queue wasn't too bad. In general, the lines continued to get longer and longer as the day progressed, which is typical - all the O.C. locals come over for the fireworks, Fantasmic!, and a churro.
The exterior of the "Alice in Wonderland" attraction is a mess, I hardly recognized it with all of the tarps, railings, and the leafy shapes that were supposed to be half decoration, half camouflage. It looked more like a temporary ride at a cheap carnival; hopefully somebody is working on a way to improve this embarrassment.
While riding "It's a Small World", it seemed to me that there have been many MANY significant changes to the various scenes over the years (and I don't just mean the additions of the Disney characters or the new "America" scene. I wish I could somehow compare the ride from the 1960's to the way it looks now, scene by scene. The façade of IASW was surprisingly grimy due to the soot from the stacks of the Disneyland locomotives; perhaps it will get cleaned up when the attraction closes for its Christmas makeover?
Speaking of the Railroad, I always love taking a ride or two on the Grand Circle Tour. The trains looked beautiful, and we had a fun conversation with a pair of little boys who enthusiastically told us about all of the rides that they had been on so far. They were having a swell day!
SO…. I rode the new, much-maligned Matterhorn Bobsleds. And you know what? They were FINE. I am over six feet tall, but I had no problems; yes it was a snug fit, but my knees were unscathed at the end of several rides. I was relieved, and a little bit puzzled about all of the very negative comments. Maybe we have a lot of VERY tall Disneyland fans out there?
The voice of Mara in "Indy" seemed to be the same as it always was, so I guess the change (to a female voice?) was not well received.
The Haunted Mansion was busy busy busy all day, I don't recall waiting in such long lines before. It is the 13th anniversary for the holiday overlay featuring Jack Skellington, and I loved the new fun effects that were added this year. I won't spoil them for you, because I was glad that I hadn't been spoiled.
I finally saw the "Soundsational" parade, which was lots of fun. The fireworks were nice, but as far as I could tell, they haven't changed for a while.
After the fireworks, the crowds became absolutely insane. Amy and I looked from the castle down toward the Train Station, and I don't believe I have ever seen it so crowded. It probably wasn't even that unusual by today's standards, but even so, it was at that point that we started thinking that it might be time to leave. We thought we'd try one final ride on the Mansion, but Frontierland and New Orleans Square were completely jammed because of the upcoming showing of "Fantasmic!". Instead we bought churros at the hub and relaxed as the teeming masses swarmed around us, and then shopped on Main Street (I didn't find anything I needed).
After that, we hopped back onto the Monorail for the trip back to the Simba lot, and on our way back home. It was a great day, but my feet were glad it was over!