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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010 in the Vacation Planning forums; So, I woke up before my alarm went off – when I turned over to check the time, I was horrified to see it was only 4am! Try as I ...
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    missbounce's Avatar
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    A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010

    So, I woke up before my alarm went off – when I turned over to check the time, I was horrified to see it was only 4am! Try as I might, though, I couldn’t get back to sleep – the joys of jet-lag! I gave up trying to get any more snooze-time and decided to make use of the early morning by unpacking my suitcase, e:mailing my hubby back in England (to let him know I’d arrived in California safely) and having a nice long soak in the bath. Even with all this, I was still ready way ahead of plan and by 6.45am I was twiddling my thumbs and trying to decide what to do with myself. The parks weren’t opening until 10am that morning (Magic Mornings were available, however, I wanted to save that for Sunday which was my last day in LA). I thought it was probably a good opportunity to suss out the area and find my way to the parks. I was not aware at that time that the parks were just a ten minute walk from my room. In fact, as I turned the corner out of the hotel car-park, I could clearly see The Matterhorn and the monorail line running parallel to the main-road. Making the most of the early morning, I spent the next hour or so clicking away on my camera and taking video footage of the Disney courtyard between the two parks and Downtown Disney.



    There was barely another soul in sight, so I got some lovely unobstructed shots of all the buildings and the entrances to Disneyland and California Adventure.

    As I left the Downtown Disney area and moved towards the Disneyland Hotel, I was approached by a stern looking lady who introduced herself as the head of Disney Security.


    She asked if she could have a quiet word with me and advised that I had been spotted by several Cast Members taking lots of pictures and using my movie camera around the resort. I had obviously sparked some suspicion among the staff and the Security Manager was alerted to my presence. I was super-embarrassed that she would think I was some kind of nut-job lurking around the parks early in the morning. But after explaining to her that I was just suffering from jet-lag and just trying to kill time before the parks opening, she was more than happy for me to continue with my over-enthusiastic picture-taking. Even so, I was a bit self-conscious and decided to keep my head down for a bit by grabbing some breakfast at the Coffee House in the Disneyland Hotel. I was joined by about 13 hungry looking sparrows who gave me big ‘feed me’ eyes and generally made me feel guilty about now sharing my cinnamon roll. Once the park finally opened, I got in line and stepped in to Disneyland for the first time – I was so excited and kept having to remind myself that this was the place where it all started – Walt had personally walked these streets – it was a surreal thought. My very first stop before anything else was at the Main Street Fire Station where I said ‘hello’ to Walt in his apartment and got a little lump in my throat as it finally dawned on me I was really here.

    Then I went next door to get my ‘1st Visit’ pin from the Town Hall. I spent the next hour and a bit touring Main Street (my absolute favourite place in the Disney Parks) and enjoying the ambience.

    I didn’t want to get too involved in any attractions as I had plans to meet Jeremy (Jaxum on the boards) at 11.30am at the Blue Bayou for lunch, so stuck to people watching, exploring the shops and snapping away on my camera. 11.15am came and I had no trouble finding my way to New Orleans Square. Jeremy was already there and had checked us in to the restaurant for our lunch – we were met there by his friends Sandy and Scott. After being ushered in to the restaurant, we were sat at a table next to the lagoon and I had a delicious meal of Gumbo and Jambalaya. It was a lovely place to eat lunch and great fun watching the guests float past on their Pirates of the Caribbean boats. It was already nice to meet fellow Disney fans – whilst I have no problem with hanging out at the parks on my own, it’s always nice to chat with other like-minded people and we were all attending Lou’s meet that evening in California Adventure, so it was nice that I would know some people when I got there. After we finished our meal, we headed back out in to the afternoon heat of New Orleans Square (blinking as we left the perpetual twilight of the restaurant) and I was invited to join my new friends on a commando-style tour of the park. We started off by heading over to the Haunted Mansion where the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay had been installed about a week earlier and I was amazed by how the attraction had been changed. The detail was fantastic and the ginger-bread house in the ballroom scene smelled delicious!

    Next stop was Pirates of the Caribbean, which is hands down, the best Pirates attractions at all the parks I’ve done so far (Orlando, Anaheim and Paris). Again, the detail was superb and I’m never one to complain when an attraction is longer than expected – great stuff. Next stop was Fantasyland where we had a date with Pinocchio and Snow White. Then it was over to Space Mountain where the queue for Halloween’s ‘Ghost Galaxy’ overlay was a mere 15 minutes. We jumped right on board and again, I was really impressed with the theming on this ride. The whole thing was really creepy and thought it was a great take on the original concept for the ride. Finally, we headed over to the Matterhorn, where I was warned I should hold on tight as the ride was notoriously rough – good advice indeed. It was superfun speeding down the mountain in our Disney bobsleds and I got a buzz out of knowing I was on the world’s first tubular steel coaster ever created. Very cool. After the Matterhorn, I bid a temporary farewell to Jeremy, Scott and Sandy and spent some time on my own indulging in my camera addiction and getting pictures of the park. In the process, I was also able to jump on board the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride and the railroad. Around 5pm-ish, I left Disneyland and strolled across the courtyard to Disney’s California Adventure.


    I was already prepared for the amount of structural work going on in the park, so didn’t take a lot of notice of all the constructions walls surrounding the walk-ways.

    I spent the next couple of hours strolling the paths and taking in the sights and sounds. I checked out the Monsters Inc ride and admired the wonderful zoetrope in the animation building, which was just amazing. I finished up in Paradise Pier watching guests fly along the track of California Screaming and whizzing around on Silly Symphony swings. I had a bit of time to kill before meeting Lou at Condor Flats, so decided to take a nice relaxing ride on the Mickey Fun Wheel which overlooked the World of Color lagoon.

    I’m not normally one to get freaked out by heights, but I have to say that I had slightly sweaty palms when I reached to the top of the wheel. The views were spectacular, but I was a bit unnerved by the swinging of my gondola – I just thank goodness I chose a static one and now one of the fear-inducing swinging cages. They looked awful!

    After getting back to solid ground, it was time to head over to Soarin’ where Lou’s group was meeting up. We were there for around 15 minutes before being asked to follow some Cast Members with red torches to the World of Color lagoon and in to our VIP viewing area. We had a really nice spot right in the middle of the action and before long, the show was underway. I was familiar with the soundtrack, as I’d been playing it non-stop on my iPod since I found out I had a place confirmed at Lou’s meet, but wasn’t very familiar with the show visually as I didn’t want to spoil things too much… I was completely blown away and it’s firmly up there was one of my favourite night-time shows. The fountains are absolutely beautiful and it amazed me how the imagineers were able to program all the patterns and ‘dances’ performed by the water with the help of lights and lasers. A wonderful 25 minutes – good job Disney!! After the show ended, we waited for the crowd to leave the viewing area and then our group headed over to a surprise… an after-hours ride on Soarin’! This is one of my favourite Disney rides of any park and it was great being able to ride it actually in the state where the footage was filmed. I still get choked up at the end when you fly over the castle – magical! From our trip over California, we headed over to The Golden Wine Vinery where Lou and Beci had laid on a dessert party for us all – unlimited puddings including cup-cakes, pies, tarts and delicious pots of mousse with mint and banana. We all tucked in heartily.

    The night was scheduled to end at 10.30pm, but at just 10pm, Beci called for our attention and were led once more to the World of Color lagoon. As a surprise, Lou and Beci had arranged for us all to meet three of the imagineers responsible for creating World of Color (including Steven Davison).

    It included a lagoon side view of some of the water-fountain effects and a question and answer session. We were all wowed with the up-close demonstrations and even got to see the entire Pocahontas/Spring Sprite segment in full again.

    The 30 minutes flew by and we all agreed that it was a superb end to a brilliant evening. I managed to blag a photograph with Lou and afterwards with Steven Davison – my first photo with a Disney imagineer (now exciting!!) – it’s fair to say I was more than a little star-struck!!

    (John Tartaglia stood in the background!)

    It was the end of my first full day and I was completely buzzing from everything – I finally got to bed around 1am, with visions of fountains and bobsleds whizzing around in my head. Tomorrow – the first day of Destination D!
    Last edited by missbounce; 09-29-2010 at 04:52 PM.
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    Re: A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010

    Sounds like a really awesome time...I would love to see World of Color, it sounds fantastic!
    -Amanda


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    Re: A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010

    Wow!!! What a great day!

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    Re: A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010

    Thanks for the great pics and all the detail. Love the reports so far.

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    Re: A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010

    AWesome!!
    Tiffany~šoš ~ D23 member

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    Re: A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010

    sounds like a completely awesome day
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    Re: A Brit-Chick Goes Solo in Disneyland – Thursdasy 23rd September 2010

    Sounds like a wonderful day! I can't wait to read (and see) more.
    *Jennifer Lynn*
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