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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss California 2012 Trip Report in the Vacation Planning forums; Once we were done there, it was back in the car to drive to Burbank, where we would be staying for the night. It was a 6 hour drive from ...
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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Once we were done there, it was back in the car to drive to Burbank, where we would be staying for the night. It was a 6 hour drive from where we were. We took Highway 1…wow, so scary, yet so amazing. Again, Google some pictures if you don’t know about Highway 1. You are literally driving on the edge of a cliff of a mountain with no guard rails and the ocean hundreds of feet below you. Definitely had some of the best views I’ve seen in my entire life, but it sure keeps you alert! We got to Burbank at 12:30 am and checked into the Ramada Hotel that we had previously booked for the night. We were all super tired so we were asleep very quickly after we got there.

    Tuesday, March 13

    We awoke pretty early and got ready for the day. I had a list of places that we wanted to check out in the Burbank/Hollywood area, so that is what we set off to do. It started off with the Walt Disney Animation Studios, which was right down the street from our hotel. My sister and I were so excited…we have seen so much footage of it over the years, a lot of it with Walt, so it was a really great thing to be able to see in person. Unfortunately, guest aren’t allowed inside, which we knew, but we had a great time checking it out from the outside. Hopefully one day I will be able to join D23 on one of their exclusive tours inside of it. The buildings were very cool, especially the one with all of the dwarfs, and the grounds looked pretty.







    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report



    We headed to breakfast at a Denny’s across the street after that, and then crossed into Glendale to drive by the WDI headquarters, which looked like it was going under some major construction or expansion. The address of the building was plated on a big Disney nametag-shaped plaque, but other than that, I don’t think the average person would know it was a Disney building…it really wasn’t obvious. Still cool to drive by though.



    Next up was Griffith Park. I wanted to ride the carousel that Walt’s daughters rode every weekend as he dreamed up Disneyland. Griffith Park was gigantic…it had so much inside of it. Pony rides, an actual trail riding area for horses, large children’s park area, lots of open green space, the merry-go-round, a miniature train type museum, and the LA Zoo. Huge. Unfortunately, the merry-go-round was closed! Only open on weekends apparently, so that was a bit disappointing. Had to improvise with a photo of it all closed up. Then we headed over to the train portion of the park, which was also closed. It looked like it would really be a cool place to visit when it is open though. It is where Walt Disney’s barn from his Holmby Hills home is now located. He built the barn in his backyard & it is where the Carolwood Pacific was built...it is now known as the birthplace of Imagineering. Since the whole exhibit was closed, we sadly could not go in the barn, but were able to get a picture of the outside of it. After that we left Griffith Park and headed for Hollywood.

    Closed up carousel






    Walt's Barn
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Of course traffic got bad as we approached Hollywood, but once we finally got there, we were able to park right off of Hollywood Blvd. I have heard that Hollywood really isn’t that great to visit and isn’t what it is made out to be, so we were all prepared before we got there. We didn’t spend too much time there, but did have fun. We walked the walk of fame and got to see all of our favorite stars. Got to see the Kodak & Chinese theatres which was very cool, and had fun putting our hands in some of the famous handprints outside the Chinese theatre. We stopped in the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store and a few other stores very quickly. After that we decided we were done, so got back in the car. Overall, it was a fun time, definitely something you should do once if you have the chance to be in the Hollywood area. After the first time, there is really no need to go back. Expect it to be crowded with lots of people trying to sell you things or take pictures with them if they are impersonating someone famous. Can be a nuisance but not too bad if you don’t pay any attention to them.











    Just one example of the many hand & feet prints we saw.






    Capn' Jack!








    Disneyland is the only actual place to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Wow amazing trip report. But a 32 hour drive is crazyyy!!!

    California looks beautiful, but then so does Utah and Wyoming


    IanVicky


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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Great trip report Amanda!
    "You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway."

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Looks like you had a wonderful trip!
    Cara
    @MissBounceUK

    *** PROUD CHARTER-DAY GOLD MEMBER OF D23! ***
    ***DISNEYLAND ANNUAL PASSHOLDER***







    MY DISNEY TRIPS:
    October 2012 - Walt Disney World (Coronado Springs) Halloween, Food and Wine, Christmas Season ***UPCOMING TRIP***
    August 2012 - Disneyland California (Quality Inn and Suites) D23 Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animation ***UPCOMING TRIP***
    August 2011 - Disneyland California (Quality Inn and Suites) D23 Expo
    May 2011 - Walt Disney World (All Star Sports) D23 Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary
    November 2010 - Disneyland Paris (Hotel Cheyenne) Bonfire Night Celebrations and Halloween Season
    September 2010 - Disneyland California (Disneyland Hotel and Quality Inn and Suites) D23 Destination D: Disneyland 55th Anniversary
    February 2010 - Walt Disney World (All Star Music and Polynesian Resort)
    May 2009 - Disneyland Paris (Hotel Santa Fe) Mickey's Magical Party
    October 2008 - Walt Disney World (All Star Movies, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans Riverside, Polynesian Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge) Halloween and Food and Wine
    January 2008 - Disneyland Paris (Hotel Cheyenne) Christmas Season
    June 2007 - Disneyland Paris (Newport Bay Club) Disneyland Paris 15th Anniversary Celebrations
    January 2006 - Disneyland Paris (Hotel Santa Fe) Christmas Season
    September 2004 - Walt Disney World (Pop Century) Honeymoon

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Thanks guys About to add some more now!
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    We decided we would take a quick drive down Rodeo Drive since we were so close. Oy, that was a mistake. Rodeo Drive was only 6 miles away from Hollywood Blvd, but it took us an hour to get there with all the crazy traffic! So annoying and definitely not worth the few minutes you spend driving down the street. We were still in good spirits though because it was finally time to head to Disneyland!!

    Driving down Sunset Blvd...lined with palm trees just like at Hollywood Studios, but no Tower of Terror at the end!










    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Only took about 30 minutes to get to Disney from LA. We got so excited when we started seeing the signs on the highway, and before long we were pulling into the Disneyland Hotel! Hooray! We went in and checked in. Lobby was nice with a great giant picture of DL Park waiting for you right when you walk in. The tea cup chairs in the lobby are a fun touch. The main building with the lobby is also home of the rooms residing in the Fantasy Tower. There were two gift shops, one bigger one with your typical souvenirs and then a smaller one with snack items and a few DL goodies…very similar to the way the two gift shops are set up at the Poly. Goofy’s Kitchen, Steakhouse 55, and the convention center/ballroom were also in this building. We ended up totally loving DL Hotel. I missed the resort feel that WDW offers, but still totally enjoyed DL Hotel. We found out we were staying in the Adventure Tower, with a view of DTD (yay!). It was super convenient because DTD was literally right outside our tower and the monorail station was also very close. Even though our tower was closest to these amenities, none of the towers would have been a bad location because the grounds are not super big, so everything is a fairly quick walk away.

    The Adventure Tower


    Entrance to DTD right outside our building!


    Part of the view outside our window


    Our headboard


    The headboard lights up and twinkles and plays "When you wish upon a star"




    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    After a quick stop in the room, it was off to DL Park! We walked through DTD to get there, but honestly didn’t pay too much attention to it on our first walk through because we were so focused on getting to the park. It felt so surreal when the train station finally came into view! I kept thinking about how Walt got to see the park from groundbreaking to finish and was able to walk through it so many times. I expected the train station to look tiny to me compared to WDW’s but it really didn’t. It fit in just perfectly. We passed underneath it and entered Main Street, which was super crowded and noisy, due to the parade that was going on. We made a stop into the Opera House and saw a Griffith Park carousel horse (at least we got to see one, lol) and the actual bench that Walt sat on in Griffith Park while he watched his kids ride the carousel. I read in The Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis that the bench is actually on loan to DL from Imagineer Tony Baxter . It was cool being able to see the bench and horse since we had been at that very carousel earlier in the day.



    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    We then smooshed through the parade crowd to the other side of Main Street to make a stop at the fire station. I found out after we got home that my mom caught me on video saying, “Hi Walt! We love you!” at the fire house, lol. I was just so excited. And a cool memory for her to have captured. We stared at his light in the window for a few moments and then went inside. Checked out the fire pole and the other details inside, and then decided we would cut through the shops on Main Street to avoid the parade crowd in order to get through to the hub. Made our way into Adventureland ‘cause we were trying to cut over to PotC. It was so strange entering the lands that I am so familiar with but them looking so different. The Enchanted Tiki Room is on your left side and is actually placed before you cross under the Adventureland sign. We were all impressed with the detail in Adventureland…I hate to do a lot of comparing about what is better between DL and WDW in my trip report because they are both so great and totally different, but there are some things that really stand out in one park, more so than the other. In my opinion, the detailing of Adventureland in DL was more intricate than WDW…the buildings were so delineated and the entrance to the Jungle Cruise and Tiki Room were both great. It was a pretty small land though and kind of just abruptly ended with Tarzan’s Treehouse plopped down right in the middle of the walkway. It was an area of really big congestion the entire trip. On the other side of the treehouse was New Orleans Square. I thought the smooth transition into a new land was lacking, which is something I noticed in other areas of the park as well.





    New Orleans Square is very pretty and a land that I really enjoyed. It is also home to one of the stops on the railroad, instead of Frontierland, like I am used to in WDW. We took some time to explore the details and walkways of New Orleans Square before finding the entrance to Pirates. We were looking for Club 33 and quickly found it. It is totally unnoticeable unless you know what you’re looking for. We got on Pirates after that…lots of fun. It has sort of become our inaugural attraction to go on once we enter the Magic Kingdom, so we carried the tradition over. Wait time was less than 5 minutes. As other people have said over and over, Pirates in DL is so much longer than in WDW. It was great to be able to see all of the extra scenes and detailing. Only thing I noticed was the Captain Jack animatronic at the very end, where he is in the room with all the gold, was placed too close to the boats so he didn’t look as realistic as he should. His face was very shiny and fake looking. I think if he was placed farther back it wouldn’t have been so obvious. Other than that, we really loved it. Also cool to pass through the Blue Bayou restaurant. The Imagineers did an awesome job of really transporting you to another place and time.



    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Haunted Mansion was up next since it is right next door and also had no wait. Really strange seeing HM look not-so-haunted from the outside, but cool to have a different experience. Ride was pretty much the same classic that everyone loves in WDW, except the ride is lacking the scene with all the staircases. It definitely felt a bit shorter. Madame Leota’s crystal ball had a wider range of movement here, instead of just floating up and down, as it does in WDW. No Hidden Mickey plates on the table in the ballroom. The stretching room also stretches much more, due to your movement underneath the DL railroad tracks; it felt like it was going to go on forever! I like that part more in DL. I do have one complaint about the attraction though- the ballroom scene with the dancing ghouls was not dark enough or something. The effect of how it is done was given away because the guests were able to see too much. I don’t want to comment on here about it so I don’t ruin the magic for anybody else, but it was disappointing. I don’t know if it was just an issue that was going on right then, but I hope it is not an ongoing problem…it definitely needs to be fixed. I was excited to see my old hitch hiking ghost buddies at the end of the ride, I miss the old effect. The new one in WDW is great and more relevant to the times, but I have to say this is one place where I am a bit nostalgic for the old way.



    Did Big Thunder next—a favorite for everyone. Waited for about 20 minutes but didn’t mind because we were checking out the queue (sis & I have read a lot about Rainbow Ridge, so we were into looking at all the buildings), it is nothing like WDW’s…and it turned out the ride wasn’t either! I can’t even compare which Big Thunder is better than the other…riding it in DL was like riding a totally different coaster than I am used too. It was such a fun ride and the fireworks started going off while we were on it! We all really loved it, as we do WDWs. They are two totally different experiences, fantastic on both coasts!



    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    We walked through Fantasyland next but didn’t do anything because a lot of the attractions were not running due to fireworks. Kind of strange that almost the whole land shut down for them. So we kept walking until we hit Tomorrowland. Wanted to do Space Mountain but the wait was over an hour, so we got in line for the submarines. We all ended up totally enjoying it…I’d even say that it was one of my favorite things that we did while we were there. The Finding Nemo aspect of it is fun, but not over done or in your face. It was so relaxing and actually a really long ride. Good way to wind down since it was getting to be really late. I wish we would’ve had a chance to do it again later in the week, but that didn’t happen. The atmosphere of the area is also really cool, having the monorail pass over the lagoon. Not to mention the look of the monorails is also very impressive and fits into Tomorrowland well (I don’t know that the subs fit that well into Tomorrowland, but they were great none-the-less).



    We decided we’d do one more attraction before calling it a night and walked over to Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters…something that my dad always enjoys. I’m not really a fan of Buzz in WDW, but I enjoyed it here. You can actually pick up your gun and move it freely, and it lights up when you hit a target, as does the target, so you actually know if you’re aiming correctly. It was fun. It was about 11 pm once we got off, so we walked over to the monorail and took it back to the hotel. Nicer than walking back (or standing on a bus!) at the end of a long day. One strange thing I did notice about the monorail stations all week though was that they were really lacking in CMs compared to WDW. The monorail pilot had to disembark the monorail each time he pulled into the station and open all the gates for guests and get them boarded. Took quite a bit longer than WDW and just strange, IMO. Once back at the room we were all asleep in no time.
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    I have only been able to read through some (customers) of the NoCal part of your TR, but if the rest is as good as what I've seen so far...WOW!

    I lived in San Jose back in the day from '68-'76 and wow did the memories come flooding back! We were all over that That part of CA as well as a lot of the rest. We had a Truck camper back then and used to camp at the beaches on Monterey Bay!

    Can't wait to read the rest!
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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    I love your TR so far. I cant wait to get over to that side of the country.
    Mckayla
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