Thanks Steve and Mckayla! Glad you hear you like it so far :)
Thanks Steve and Mckayla! Glad you hear you like it so far :)
Wednesday, March 14
Day started as a bit of a bummer as Nate woke up with an excruciating migraine and didn’t have it in him to join us for the day. He is never one to spend the day in bed, especially on vacation, so we all knew he was feeling terrible. So mom, dad, sis, & I headed out without him through DTD and back to DL. Once in, the trolley was waiting right at the start of Main Street, so we hopped on and let Dave the horse lead the way down the street (Dave had his own Disney nametag inside the trolley!). It was fun ‘cause it was a new experience for all of us. Got a better look at Main Street this day, and I now understand where people’s descriptions of “quaint” and “charming” come from when describing DL. That is really how Main Street felt. Lots of details on the buildings and, to me, it felt like there were more building facades here than in WDW. I really loved the feel of it, as Main Street is one of my favorite places to explore. I, again, almost want to say that MS had more detailing in DL than WDW just as I had noticed about Adventureland. I would also have to say the same about Fantasyland, as far as the buildings go. Anyway, we enjoyed our ride up Main Street by Dave the horse and disembarked at the castle. It was the first time we actually got a really good look at it. It really didn’t feel small to me, as I expected. Yes, it is a lot smaller than WDW’s, but it fits in perfectly and it didn’t feel any less impressive than Cinderella Castle. So pretty to just look at and one of those “I have arrived” moments. I noticed the golden spike driven into the ground as we walked through it.
Our goal was to hit smaller, less popular rides in the time that Nate wasn’t with us. We started off with the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through. Just a cute retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, but you really don’t have that “oh my gosh, I’m in the castle” feeling. Next we hit the carousel, just a simple classic that we usually try to hit once every trip. I asked the CM where Julie Andrews horse was and he pointed it out to me.
This was taken in a little alcove area of the castle.
Next was Mr. Toad, something my sister was dyin’ to do. I have vague memories of it from our first WDW trip, but my sister didn’t remember it at all. She still proudly sports a Mr. Toad shirt that I found for her while I was on my CP though, lol. Line was short and we were on it in no time. Fun little journey to nowhere in particular with the not-so-classic Disney ending. Next up the Storybook Land Canal Boats—not exactly a thrill ride, but it is something I have wanted to do for years and I really enjoyed it, as did my mom. I actually think it was one of her favorites. The one thing I didn’t expect though was the Jungle Cruise-type jokes, thought it would be more of a quiet little ride through. Didn’t mind though because our boat driver was pretty funny.
Decided to do Dumbo afterwards, just because it is classic Disney and the wait was short. Not something we do with a long wait, so we took the chance. Just your typical elephant flight, but still fun, even though the wait did end up being longer than posted.
*As a side note, I thought the posted wait times all across DL were a bit odd because they were so dang small. You had to walk right up to the actual sign to be able to read it, and sometimes we didn’t notice the signs at all because they were so small. Just really strange considering Disney knows that tons of people are going to be looking to read those each day...you’d think they’d make them easier to read & more accessible. I also noticed that the park always felt really crowded, IMO, but the wait times didn’t reflect that at all. We had hardly any waits all week. I assume it is just because of the small size of the park that it felt congested? Don’t even want to know what it would feel like on a day where the wait times are really long.
It was nearing lunchtime one we got off Dumbo so we looked for some food. Stopped at Troubadour Tavern, right across from the entrance to Toontown. They served some different kinds of stuffed baked potatoes. I was going to go with the typical cheddar, sour cream, bacon, & chives potato, but a BBQ chicken one caught my eye. I decided to go for it. It was so dang good that mom & sister decided to get one too. Sooo yummy and gigantic. Definitely enough to constitute for a whole lunch. In fact, they were so good that my mom experimented and made them for dinner one night once we got back.
We hopped on the train after lunch since we were right by the Toontown Station. It was nice seeing the park from the train. Also kind of cool how the train rides right up against IaSW. Interesting passing through the Grand Canyon and Dinosaur scenes…it was a little odd since you go through them right after Tomorrowland? They were a bit outdated, but still nice to pass by. We got off at New Orleans station, and then walked into Adventureland to do the Jungle Cruise. Again, short wait. Skipper told some of the same silly jokes they tell in WDW, but different for the most part. The piranhas at the end of the ride were a new surprise, other than that, same classic that I am used to.
We decided to head out of the park after that; dad was going to go back to the room for his afternoon nap, while mom, sis, & I were going to explore our resort. Checked on Nate first, but unfortunately no improvement so he continued to sleep. We then headed to the Fantasy Tower, checked out the gift shop and all the artwork on the walls. Walked by the restaurants and checked them out & then walked by the ballroom. Also stopped at the front desk and talked to guest services. I explained to them how someone in our family was sick and missing out on park time and was wondering if they had some sort of get well card. The CM told me he’d be right back and returned with an autographed photo of Mickey and friends in an envelope with a get well sticker that he had just created on the computer. The ink on the autographed photo was fresh & wet; it wasn’t even photocopied, which was nice. A big thank you to the CM for a bit of Disney magic for Nate. We delivered the envelope back to the room and set it out next to him while he was sleeping. Then we went back out to explore the hotel more. Got a good look at the pool, which is themed soooooo great! Then we went into the Frontier Tower to have a look at it. It has a really great model of BTMRR in the lobby that we looked at for a bit. Walked the grounds a bit more and then decided we’d hotel hop over to Paradise Pier and have a look at it.
We shopped & explored Main Street on our way out of the park.
Us with Coke Corner
And here is a photo taken of us this past summer with the real Coke Corner in Marceline, MO that DL's was based off of.
We met Gepetto on the way out too!
Here are the pictures from once we got back to our hotel.
Nate's autographed photo
Us in an old Autopia car in the Fantasy Tower
There were a lot of nice murals/artwork on the walls.
Pool was awesome!
Model of BTMRR in the Frontier Tower
Okay- off to Paradise Pier next.
It was a nice hotel, I wanted to check out the rooftop pool but we couldn’t figure out how to get to it. We ended up on some random floor of the hotel and looked out a window…turned out we were looking right down onto the pool! But it was under refurb so we couldn’t actually go outside to it. We decided we were done at Paradise Pier and walked over to the Grand Californian.
Very cool view of DCA from a window at Paradise Pier
The Grand Californian definitely felt grand. In some ways it is similar to the Wilderness Lodge, but the atmosphere felt completely different. The lobby is very impressive…very big and open. It is gorgeous inside and out. There was also a piano player inside the lobby. My mom got a phone call while we were in there so we just sat down on one of the comfy couches for a bit while she talked and we enjoyed the atmosphere. We went outside after that and admired all of the scenery and flowers, and then we took the private entrance into DCA.
Didn't get a good shot of the GC, so this will have to suffice.
DCA is a very interesting theme park in that it really doesn’t resemble any other Disney theme park I’ve ever been to. I really enjoyed my time inside it attraction-wise, but thought it really lacked in other areas. It seemed to be missing that overall distinct and unique atmosphere that every other Disney theme park has…I don’t really know how to describe it, almost like it lacked personality. I think the opening of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street is going to be great, but still don’t see how that is really going to finish off what the park is missing…it’s not that it doesn’t have enough to do, in fact, I thought that there was plenty to do already and that is without the two new additions that are coming. It is kind of disjointed and needs something to tie it all together and finish it up…something that makes it distinct and really gives it its own feeling. I know it is supposed to be based off of all of the areas/history of California, but I just didn’t see how it all tied together, especially with areas like It’s a Bug’s Land & Cars Land thrown in. And I think the park icon is a bit odd also—don’t get me wrong, it is not that it isn’t cool to look at, but every other Disney park icon allows you to orient yourself with your location within the park. I didn’t really feel like Grizzly Peak did that…it’s almost like no matter where you are at inside the park, Grizzly Peak always feels kind of far off and didn’t really serve the purpose of telling me where I was at. It’s also a bit different in the fact that you can’t physically go up and touch it like every other icon…like you can’t walk up to Grizzly Peak and have your photo taken with it. It’s almost as though it isn’t as “personal” as other park icons, if you get what I’m saying. Of course these are just my opinions; maybe others disagree with me completely.
Anyway, once we got inside DCA, the first thing we came across was the Blue Sky Cellar, which my sister was really excited about since it has all of the upcoming plans done by the Imagineers (she is an engineering major who is determined to be an Imagineer upon graduation). We explored inside there for a bit and checked out all of the upcoming plans for Cars Land and also found a few hidden Mickeys. It was cool to see all of the planning and models for what is to come but didn’t really provide any information that we didn’t already know. There was also a movie playing that we watched a few minutes of. After that, we headed for A Bug’s Land to do It’s Tough to Be a Bug, something we always like to catch when we go to AK. Although you don’t get to walk through the Tree of Life and admire all of the animal carvings, the inside is themed just as well and still really feels like you are inside a tree or underground. Very similar to WDW and the film is obviously exactly the same. We all always jump at the end when the bugs scurry across the seat even though we’ve done it tons of times. Funny.
Vineyard we passed on the way to the Blue Sky Cellar
We were all kind of tired since we’d been going all day, so we kind of just wandered the park and checked it out. We decided to do the new Little Mermaid dark ride next, which we all really, really enjoyed. Definitely an update from the old dark rides that we are all used to, with the exciting, bright colors and catchy music from the Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie so I was excited to ride and will be happy when it opens up in WDW. Before we loaded, I noticed that there were sea shells embedded into the pavement of the queue. Nice touch. We also noticed that the AAs inside were updated from what we are used to seeing…their skin was made out of some new material that I haven’t ever seen used before on an AA. Almost like a stretchy rubber, but it looked soft…kind of hard to describe. Anyhow, it looked good. We all liked the ride and hoped to do it again before our vacation was over but ran out of time.
Next we wandered into Paradise Pier. We were going to do Goofy’s Sky school but the wait was too long. We did get to see Goofy in his pilot gear though, which was funny and cool. We got in line for Jumpin’ Jellyfish instead. Definitely more of a kiddy ride but it still looked fun so we went for it. It was enjoyable and provided us a good view of the construction on Cars Land, but was by far the shortest Disney attraction that I have even been on…couldn’t have lasted more than 2 minutes, if that. Definitely wouldn’t wait over 10 minutes for it (which we didn’t). Paradise Pier kind of reminded me of Dinoland in AK with the selection of simple children’s rides, carnival-type games and not very intricate theming. Not really my thing, but some of the rides were still really fun (but that comes later on in the report). We kind of accidentally wandered into the Redwood Creek Trail Challenge area after that and tried doing some of the activities, but they were closed for refurb. Looked like it would be a good place to let kids run off their energy when it is open, though. After that we decided we were done in DCA for the day since we wanted to save the rest of the attractions for when the whole family was together. We exited through the Grand Californian again and then were going to enter DTD to get back to our hotel.
Outside of the GC, I saw nothing I have ever seen before on Disney property, a stray kitty! I later learned that this is apparently a not-so-rare occurrence in DL, but it really bothered me. I’m a sap for animals and hate to see strays. So we turned back around so I could tell a CM at the GC entrance. He didn’t seem too concerned but assured me that he would contact the correct department to come and get the kitty. Hope they found it. We continued into DTD after that and made it back to our hotel. Once we got back, Nate was finally moving around a bit and was happy about the get-well card Mickey had left for him. Still wasn’t 100% though, so my parents drove out to Walgreens to get him some medicine the doctor had called in for him. Sister decided to go explore DTD and I stayed in the room to give Nate some company. After what seemed like forever, my parents finally returned, and we were all starving…it was far past dinner time. My parents, sister, and I decided we would go down to Tangaroa Terrace (the QS restaurant at our hotel) and grab some dinner. It was very similar to Captain Cook’s at the Poly, which was fine with me because I love Captain Cook’s. We all ordered and took the food back to the room so Nate wouldn’t be alone. Everyone really, really enjoyed their food…I would recommend Tangaroa for a tasty counter service. Dad just had a boring ol’ cheeseburger, mom had a pineapple burger, sister had some sort of chicken dish & rice, & I had a BBQ pulled pork flatbread. Very yummy. Nate asked for fruit so we brought him back a fruit tray.
Afterwards everyone minus Nate headed back to DL Park to catch the 10:15 showing of Fantasmic. I got super bummed that he stayed back at the room because Fantasmic is one of his very favorite things to do in Disney. We got in the park about 9:30 and expected to have to go grab a seat for Fantasmic before there weren’t any left, but it turned out the first showing of Fantasmic was still going on, so we went to the Tiki Room instead. This was my parent’s & sister’s first time seeing the original, I had seen it in January on my trip to WDW. Sooooooo much better than the Under New Management version. Thank goodness that is gone. My sister and I enjoyed the show, but I think my parents were a bit bored with it. I think it is an attraction that a lot people have to have a personal interest in Walt in to fully enjoy…not saying that others don’t enjoy it, but I would guess that people who are more aware of the attraction’s history get more out of it. My sister was so excited to get a Dole Whip while the pre-show was going on… kind of cool how you are able to grab one from right there.
After the show, we went to get our seats for Fantasmic, which was starting in only 20 minutes and I was surprised to see that there was still plenty of open seating for people to grab. We got a spot front and center. Before we knew it the show was starting and it was great. This is another thing that I can’t say is better on one coast over the other. Both DL’s version and WDW’s version are really good. Pretty much the same show with a few changed elements. No Pocahontas or Lion King scenes in DL, they do Jungle Book and Peter Pan instead. The Peter Pan scene was pretty cool because the Colombia came out on the Rivers of America and had all of the Peter Pan characters doing stunts from the boat…swinging on ropes & jumping from high places, etc. Fun to watch. There was a giant crocodile AA in the water following the Colombia in the water. They also had the eels Flotsam and Jetsam come across the river at one point during the show. Cool stuff. It is so strange how they are able to conduct the show using elements that are all available to the guests during the day, like Tom Sawyer Island and the Colombia. The dragon used in DL’s Fantasmic is quite a bit different that WDW’s (and just by looking at it, it didn’t look like it is as prone to malfunction). Not quite as large, but still impressive. It is more of a solid looking figure with a whole body…kind of hard to explain. I have no idea how they made it appear so quickly or store it during the daytime. Loved the show, loved the fireworks, and LOVED the characters all coming out on the Mark Twain at the end. There was something really impressive about seeing so many characters flooding the giant and & elegant Mark Twain. That is one part of the show that I do have to say DL exceeds WDW in. The mountain that Mickey appears on at the end of the show is not nearly as tall as in WDW, but not any less exciting. Overall, the Imagineers did an awesome job of creating such a huge show and figuring out how to make it work in such a small place. Once the show was over, the whole family was super tired, so we walked toward Tomorrowland to board the monorail and head back to the hotel for some sleep.
Thursday, March 16, 2012
Nate woke up feeling much, much better today (hooray!!), so we were all able to head out to the park in the morning. My sister got up early because she wanted to be at DL for opening to see if they had a morning ceremony to watch (turns out they didn’t). That was my intent also, but I got a slightly later start. Even though it was still early by the time Nate & I left the hotel room, everyone else was already gone (parents were wandering DTD and sister was waiting at DL entrance for us). Nate and I stopped at a coffee shop in DTD right outside our hotel and grabbed some coffee and donuts that we ate on our walk to the park. Caught up with the family and we all entered together. Our plan was to do some popular attractions while there were still no lines since it was so early. So the family headed over to Space Mountain while I ran over to Indy to grab us some FPs. I always enjoy the few moments when I am able to go and grab a few minutes of park time by myself to really take it all in.
Coffee shop we stopped in right outside our hotel
By this time I had spent a decent amount of time in DL Park and was starting to get used to it…and I really, really loved it. It is such a fun, carefree, and quaint place. Before we arrived in California, I really expected DL to resemble MK a lot more, and even though it has the same lands and a lot of the same attractions, they are really nothing at all alike. There was not one time in DL that I felt like I was in MK…they have completely different atmospheres, everything; and they feel like their own unique places. Really wish I would have had more time to get to know DL, but from what I saw of it, I loved.
Anyway, grabbed our Indy FPs then met up with everyone back at the SM entrance, which said it already had a 45 minute wait (the park had only been open about 30 minutes). It felt so strange being in the queue outside…which is on a roof. Plus SM is located in a different area of Tomorrowland than it is in WDW, so it really felt foreign. Turned out we only waited in line 15-20 minutes, so we were happy about that. I have to say that I enjoy the WDW queue more, but the actual attraction in DL is fantastic. We did all notice that there was music missing from the queue, which actually really kind of bugged me (and Nate, as he says Space Mountain plays his “happy” music, lol). It is one of the only times that I can remember where music was not being played in a Disney park…it is something I never thought I would notice, but once it wasn’t there, it seemed so obvious that something was missing. Another thing I noticed on SM, which I noticed on a lot of DL attractions, was that the CMS were only using one loading platform to get guests onto the ride. There are four loading platforms at SM in WDW…I am assuming this is just because of DL’s age and the designers didn’t realize that they would need more boarding areas? Once we actually got on the ride, we loved every minute of it. Such an upgrade from what SM is in WDW…the cars ride soooo smooth and it is so dark inside. The Imagineers really did a great job on plus-ing this ride, I would not mind at all if they did the same kind of upgrade in Florida. SM in WDW is Nate’s very favorite ride on property, and he came off DL’s Space Mountain all smiles…he said that, in his opinion, DL’s Space Mountain is far better than WDW’s. We are really liked it, and my dad was super happy that it did not hurt his back as it usually does on the east coast. Only thing we thought it was missing was one decent drop… I know there aren’t any super big drops on SM in WDW, but there are still more than what DL had. We grabbed FPs to ride again later as we exited the ride.
We headed back toward Indy next. Dad sat out due to his back issues. Indy was a lot of fun, but I really think that I needed to ride again to be able to give a good review of it. It went by so fast and had so much detail that I have a hard time recalling all of it now. I was impressed and remember thinking that the show building for the attraction must be totally huge, because it felt like we were in an enormous temple. Very fun ride, I just can’t recall all of the details.
We headed out of DL after Indy and went over to DCA since we had spent barely any time there yet. Goal was to do the major attractions early before crowds got bad. Once we got in the entrance, we all got FPs for Soarin’. I told everyone to head back to TSM while I got us FPs for World of Color later that night. We got to the park about 5 minutes after opening and TSM was already reporting a 45 minute wait. Ended up being about 40 but still passed fairly quickly. The queue for TSM was nothing special, WDW beats it by far. Ride was the same, but of course lots of fun. Another favorite for the guys in our group.
We slowly walked Paradise Pier and checked it out some more. Nate, sis, and I stepped into the giant action figure box and posed. We were already able to get more FPs, so everyone else went to get in line for Mickey’s Fun Wheel while I went to get us FPs for California Screamin’ (it was reporting a 1 ½ hour wait time, so I was thankful for the FPs). I never knew that there were two options for riding the Ferris wheel- I knew that there were the swinging cars but didn’t realize there was the standard non-swinging gondolas available also. We opted for the swinging gondola and totally didn’t realize the thrill that we were in for. Holy cow…those things are wild!! It took us all by so much surprise that I think everyone was fearful at first, but after that it was SO much fun…one of the highlights of the trip actually (I know, who woulda thought we’d be so excited by a Ferris wheel?!). We were all just totally cracking up and screaming. Mom captured the whole thing on tape and we still can’t watch it without bursting out laughing. Such a great memory. The views up there were great also, you can see pretty far out into the city of Anaheim, so obviously you can see the all of the DL property. Cool stuff. We all got off in a great mood and headed over to California Screamin’ to use our FPs.
California Screamin’ was another great ride. Super fun coaster (and I found a hidden Mickey while in the middle of riding it). The take-off is not as intense as Rock n’ Roller Coaster, but still fun. Lots of fun hills and drops too. Another ride we wish we would have been able to do twice.
Views from Mickey's Fun Wheel
(Notice the Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Grizzy Peak, Grand Californian...all of the pavement you see in the front is where you view WoC from)
Walked all the way across the park once we got off the coaster so that we could use our Soarin’ FPs (mom’s favorite). Who doesn’t love Soarin’? The music is great, the smells are great, the views are great, and the whole attraction is just totally relaxing…it would be the perfect way to end everyday if I could ride it from home, lol. The queue theming for Soarin’ in DCA is very aviator themed, much different than in WDW. I enjoyed it more than the interactive games that are offered in the queue in Epcot. Once we got off Soarin’, it was lunch time.
We headed into a food court type area in between the Hollywood Backlot and Paradise Pier and ate a Mexican QS restaurant. Can’t remember what it was called, but food was good. I just had a taco meal, but it was tasty. A few other family members had some more adventurous dishes, and they also said they were good. The meat and rice were both fairly spicy though, which I wasn’t expecting. Once we were nice and full, it was time for more attractions. We wanted to do ToT, but the wait was long, so we grabbed FPs instead and then walked over to the Muppets. Dad has always thought the Muppets are hilarious, so my family has grown up loving them. Even though the film is older, it is still enjoyable and I don’t even really think it needs updated. Enjoyed the show as usual. My dad decided to go back to the room for a nap after that, while the rest of us wandered into the Animation building.
The Animation building is actually really cool. You walk into a massive lobby type room that has a bunch of movie screens lining the tops of the walls with movie clips playing and there is catchy music playing. There were a lot of couches for people to sit down on and relax. Then there were a few different rooms branching off from the main room with different activities. We went into one that featured a zoetrope (it’s a device that shows you how animation is done) and we were all instantly mesmerized…we stared at it for WAY to long, but it was just so dang cool. It was Toy Story themed, and when it was sitting still there were various figurines inside of it of all of the characters. For instance…there was Woody riding Bullseye, but there were a bunch of models of it, all of them slightly different. The same went for Jesse, Buzz, the Army men, etc. Then the zoetrope would start spinning and when it reached top speed, you couldn’t tell that it was spinning at all but it looked like the characters inside were performing an action…like it looked like Bullseye was really galloping and Woody was waving a lasso on his back. It was SO cool, probably much cooler than it actually sounds. My sister was especially intrigued, as she is really into drawing and interested in animation.
We entered into another room after that, where you could make your own zoetrope. Sister and I both did it. My lack of patience got the better of me before I finished, but my sister completed hers and it actually turned out really good. We followed a path into the next room which was the Beast’s library from Beauty and the Beast. It was an interactive room where you could put yourself into a story and answer some questions, and then the book would tell you which Disney character you were most like. We all did it (I got Nala). There were a few more rooms after that, but I don’t remember them as well. They also had the Animation Academy like they have at DHS, but we didn’t do it.
Once we got out of the Animation building, we exited the park and went back into DL. Headed back to Fantasyland once again. DL’s Fantasyland really has a completely different feel and set-up than WDW’s. Not necessarily better, just different. And they have quite a selection of dark rides. We got in line for Pinocchio’s Daring Journey first, which had maybe a 5 minute wait, but wow, it is cramped in that queue. You can tell it is pretty old by the very small size and narrowness of it. Would not want to be stuck waiting in that on a very hot and busy day. The ride was fun, but simple of course. We moved on to do the Alice in Wonderland dark ride next. Waited about 20 minutes. I am an Alice fan so I really liked it, there were a few elements and effects inside that were really cute. And while I thought the part where you go outside was kind of cool, it didn’t really seem to fit in to me…made the ride feel kind of disjointed.
View of Snow White's Grotto as we passed through the castle.
Mural inside Pinocchio ride
My dad was going to meet up with us again at this point…we told him we’d be waiting at the entrance to Toontown. We all got a Mickey Premium and then hung out on a bench while we waited. I think we were all looking forward to Toontown because of what an upgrade we’ve heard that it is compared to WDW’s old version. Dad finally showed up and we went in to explore. It’s a fun place, for little kids and adults. There some really funny sight gags in there, as well as funny plays on words. We were going to do Roger Rabbit first, but the line was long, so we skipped it and just started checking out all the toony buildings. There was a school, dog pound, five and dime store, a few places to eat, gas station, and various other buildings. It really is a real town. Next we went inside Mickey’s house (yay!)- I miss Toontown in WDW even though it was small…it was still fun to be able to see where the characters lived. So it was fun to be able to check it out once again. Mickey’s house is much larger in DL and was laid out nicer, IMO. It wasn’t gated off as it used to be in WDW and there were a lot of rooms to go through. He had some funny novelties in there, like his baby shoes and some other funny things.
We went to Minnie’s house next. Once again, it was fun to be in her house, but I was less impressed with hers…it was tiny and only had 3 rooms. WDW definitely had the better version for her home. The three rooms that were in there were very similar to what was in WDW though, it was more familiar feeling than Mickey’s house. We wanted to check out Toontown some more, but had our Space Mountain FPs from earlier that day and needed to go use them. Had another great ride on that…were just as impressed with it the second time around (wish I could go again right now).
After that we hopped back over to DCA since our FPs had matured for ToT…park hopping is so convenient in DL!! We went straight to ToT and were in the library in no time, I actually wish I would’ve had a few more minutes to check out the lobby. Nate and I were searching the library to see if it had the same sheet music that mentions Mickey Mouse in it that WDW has…sort of a hidden Mickey in text version. We didn’t see it, but instead found one that mentioned Rod Sterling so that was kind of cool. We had a spooky bellhop in the library with us who was giving me the heebie-jeebies, but good job to him for being a great CM. Went into the boiler room next. At first we thought the line in the boiler room was super long, because we were in a queue sort of suspended up in the air, and there were tons and tons of people in line below us. I figured out after a minute though that all of the people below us were in the stand-by line…apparently the stand-by line passes through the boiler room before you ever even enter the hotel. Thought that was kind of cool…but then again maybe it takes away some of the spookiness before boarding the elevator because you have already been watching people do it for so long while you waited in a long stand-by line?
I expected ToT to be very similar to WDW’s, but once you are actually up in the elevator there are some different effects, which are actually super cool. Don’t want to give them away. I thought I had some more time before we would drop, as I am used to WDW’s ToT, but I was SO wrong. We plummeted all the way down when I was least expected it, didn’t see it coming at all (neither did anyone else in my family)! Well ToT scares the living daylights outta me every time I ride, so taking me by surprise like that REALLY terrified me. I always say I hate, hate, hate that attraction, yet I ride it every single time my family suggests it. Have no idea why. So you can imagine I was screamin’ and hidin’ in Nate armpit like I wasn’t gonna survive. So scary, but at least I always provide an amusing picture for the rest of the family to look at once we get off.
After ToT, it was time to head over to use our World of Color FPs and grab a seat. We were in the yellow section, which was pretty center to the show so I was happy about that, but I really, really wish there was permanent seating for this show. It’s really hard to see with the way things are set-up right now unless you manage to get in the very front row and stand against the railing…which isn’t ideal when it is a chilly night out because you get decently wet. The night we watched the show was definitely chilly. We had standing room pretty close to the front, but still had a hard time seeing some parts just ‘cause of the people standing in front of us. We got over it though and still definitely enjoyed the show—it is totally impressive (and I love the music!). Sooo many fountains shooting water up at all different heights with different colors projected on it as it dances with the music…it was really mesmerizing. I actually noticed myself laughing out loud at it, not because it was funny, but because you can’t help but be happy when you watch it, I was just like a little kid being awed by it. I looked around and noticed everyone else in my family smiling as they watched it too. It was just a spectacular show, I can’t imagine how great it would’ve been if we could have had a clear field of vision to see it all. They do a lot of video projection onto the water, like in Fantasmic. It may have just been me, but I thought that the images weren’t as clear as they are in Fantasmic. Still pretty good though, and fun to see some of the newer movies incorporated into the show. I would love to see it again. No matter how much I describe it, I won’t be able to capture how great it is, so I’ll just leave it at that and urge everyone to go see it themselves.
We left the park after WoC through the Grand Californian and headed into DTD. Dad was done for the night and headed back to the room. The rest of us walked over to ESPN Zone for a late dinner. There was a 45 minute wait but we decided we’d wait it out. Nate stayed inside the restaurant so he could rest his feet and hear when our name was called while the gals walked over to World of Disney to do some shopping. World of Disney was PACKED. I was getting frustrated in there from all of the people who weren’t watching their children as they wreaked havoc throughout the store, running into people, knocking things off shelves, and making a mess everywhere. Ugh. The store was big, not as big as in WDW, but still had a lot of things inside. I thought it was packed too full of stuff and hard to navigate through (but that is also partially due to the ridiculous crowd that was inside)…but overall just not as organized or well set-up as it is in WDW. Nate called after about 30 minutes and said the table was already ready. Mom and sis headed back to the restaurant while I got stuck paying for everyone’s stuff…oy. The line took a ridiculously long amount of time which didn’t help with my already agitated mood (I’m not the most pleasant person when I’m hungry, lol), so I was super happy to get out of there after our items were finally rung up…I had to have been waiting close to 20 minutes.
Walked over to ESPN Zone and was thrilled to be able to finally sit down and sip on a lemonade. Nate and I split a slab of ribs and french fries, mom had chicken alfredo, and my sister had some kind of chicken dish. All of it was super yummy and service was good—I’d go back again and recommend it to others (as a side note- ESPN Zone at the Boardwalk is also really good). It was a quiet meal; I think we were all overtired from our busy day. Paid the bill once we were done and only had to walk a few steps before we were back at our hotel…yay once again for the convenience.
awesome report amanda!!! :) i missed soo much when we visited dl/dca.....definatly have to get back!
Last time I stayed at DL hotel, the monorail proximity was the HUGE plus. That, and the nightly cookie and milk service, which is a fav memory of the last stay.
Your trip sounds amazing and fun. And your mom-awesome. Lucky girl.
Wow, you all really got a lot done in your alloted time.
Your trip report is fantastic.
So much information and excellent reviews on each thing. Since DL is my "home" park, WDW always seems crazy big, and just not as uniquely Walt (lacking a better way to say that) as DL.
Both are, however, awesome and visionary.
Agree with so many of your observations/opinions in regards to comparing WDW and DLR. :yes:
Just one bein' the smoothness of SM at DLR. It was the first thing I said to DS when we got out of our rocket.
Great report! Waitin' for the rest... :cookie: :D