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Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

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  • Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

    Well I hadn't been to Disneyland for a couple of years (last time I went the Castle was covered by a blue tarp ) and don't get to go as often as I'd like but I really wanted to see the 50th before it ended. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area and having a new daughter (14 months old) I didn't think I'd get the chance again until she was 3 or 4 years old and could tolerate the trip.

    I've been a long time off and on reader of MiceChat (i.e. lurker) but only started posting recently with questions about bringing young children to Disneyland. After reading all the trip reports and seeing all the pictures and videos I knew I had to some how make it down there and soon.

    I work for an animation company in the Bay Area that has its headquarters in Southern California. Occasionally I have to fly down in the morning for a meeting and then fly back that afternoon. I had a meeting coming up on a Friday in September and hatched my little scheme. I would drive down in the morning, go to the meeting, stay the weekend and go to the Parks then drive back on Sunday. I called AAA and booked a trip with an enhanced Fast Pass and early entries to help me with what limited time I had.

    On with the trip report:

    I packed the car the night before and parked it on the street as I would be leaving early the next morning to make the meeting and didn't want to wake up my wife and daughter.

    I woke up at "O-Dark-Thirty" as my friends in the military say, showered shaved and jumped in my car.

    I punched my destination into the GPS and took off into the pre-dawn darkness.

    Being the Bay Area I ran into some traffic even at this early hour. A little behind schedule and just after sunrise I made it to Casa De Fruta for breakfast and to top off my gas tank. This is a great little place to stop for a breakfast and to check out the fruit stand. I had the best steak and eggs here, more accurately it was grilled tri-tip and eggs. So Good!

    Thank God for my XM Radio to help pass the time through the lush, fertile expanse of Central Valley full of green pastures and, er . . .

    To help the meager gas mileage my car gets I had the cruise control on and the air conditioning off. It was too early to be hot but it was getting a bit warm and dry so I reached back into my small cooler for a chilled bottle of water only to find it had frozen into a solid block of ice!

    Eventually the hot, flat expanse of the Central Valley gave way to the hot, hilly terrain that is . . .


    I made good time and got to the campus in time for lunch at noon.

    It is a beautiful campus. I had a nice lunch and a boring meeting made better by the fact that I'd soon be at Disneyland!

    I left the studio around 2pm and since hotel check-in wasn't 'till three I thought I'd take a little detour and check out the Disney Soda Fountain Shop and El Capitan Theater.

    The shop is pretty small but cool just the same and the El Capitan was beautiful. I would have loved it if I had the time to see The Little Mermaid on the big screen once again!

    I didn't want to linger too long so I got a malt to go and walked around Hollywood Blvd a bit checking out Manns Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame and the new Kodak theater where I ran into this pair from a movie with which I am very familiar.

    It turns out my side trip was ill concieved and my GPS led me astray onto the long narrow parking lot that is the 101 freeway. I was low on gas and stuck in traffic so I was forced to turn off my air conditioning in the 90+ heat of late afternoon :sweat: .

    Gradually I made it back to I5 and to a gas station near my hotel, the Paradise Pier Hotel.

    Considering the overall expense and the fact that I wasn't planning on being in the room much I booked the cheapest one available. While in line at my late registration (5pm) I considered asking for an upgrade to a park view room or maybe just a room high up with a view. Since I was by myself I figured I'd just take what they gave me and leave the upgrades to families with children. Well I was very surprised and delighted when the woman checking me in told me they had upgraded me to a park view room on the 11th floor!

    Although some poeple don't seem to like this hotel very much, at least compared to the Grand Californian, I found it very nice. It was clean, bright, nicely appointed, well laid out and had a very freindly and helpful staff. The room had some nice little "beachy" touches such as lamps and wall hangings, even the bathroom amenities.

    There was a brand new looking Pack-n-Play crib already in the closet along with a safe and a decent sized fridge. I even thought I found a surf board in the closet but it turned out to be an ironing board .

    The best thing about the room though was the view I saw as soon as I walked in the door.

    I showered and changed out of my "less than fresh" road clothes and headed over to Disneyland around 6pm. I didn't even take my camera. I figured I'd be lucky to get on a couple of rides but my priority was to see the fireworks show as I was only there two nights and the forcast was for "late winds."

    Well just about everything was walk on! I don't think I waited more than 10 minutes for any ride, even Indy and Space Mountain! I had the enhanced Fast Pass option but never even bothered getting one. I loved the new attic and bride in HM and the new Davy Jones waterfall effect and new large canon ball splashes and whooshes on Pirates. Jack Sparrow was very realistic but I have to agree with what someone else mentioned on the board about him looking out of place among the stylized Marc Davis pirates.

    The highlight/lowlight of my night was my 1st ride on Splash Mountain. I asked the CM for a single rider pass but she told me I wouldn't need one. True to her word I quickly walked to the front of the line and got on the first boat, in front. . . The sun was setting over the park as my log climbed higher and higher onto the wettest of Disneyland's four mountains. The ride was fun and uneventful but when my log plummeted down the chute things took a turn for the worse. When my log reached the bottom the nose dug deep into the water kicking up this shimmering column of liquid beauty, back lit by the warm yellows and orange of the sun setting over the Rivers of America. As this vision of golden wonder in danced in front of me . . . I plowed right through it . . . head first . . . It was like diving into a pool, I was THAT soaked. Oh, did I mention the setting sun? Yeah when I got off the ride and left a trail of water behind me I stepped out into the park at night. I rode the Pooh ride for a blustery blow dry and and Mr Toad's for the warm embrace of hell to help dry me off.

    Only slightly damp and deeply chilled I ate dinner at the Bengal BBQ (bacon wrapped asparagus, YUM!) after a lack luster ride on the (new to me) Jungle Cruise with a CM who was seriously phoning it in. I grabbed Dole Whip Float and a spot in front of the Hub 90 minutes before the fireworks were scheduled and spent my time people watching and playing Texas Hold 'em on my cell phone. A little before 9pm they made an announcement that the fireworks may be cancelled due to winds at higher elevations. They made three more such announcments over the course of the next 30 minutes but the fireworks started right on time and went off without a hitch.

    Wow! I can honestly say that was the best fireworks show I have EVER seen. I don't know how they can top this. After the fireworks and everyone was heading for the Main Gate (the park was set to close at 10pm) I went the opposite way to Big Thunder Mountain. As I was getting on the train I saw Sadako getting off the same train several cars ahead of me. After my ride was over I heading towards Main Street where I saw Sadako again. I went over and introduced myself. She was with a family of gypsies or should I say Gypsy and her family.

    We all hung out and chatted until the park closed and then I walked Sadako to her car in the parking stucture while gypsy went back to the hotel looking for Mr. Gypsy. Sadako gave me a lift back to the Paradise Pier Hotel in her very shiny, very new and VERY nice black Prius. We exchanged cell numbers and planned to meet up in the Park on Saturday. I also found out how she can take so many pictures and videos with her camera. She has a 4GB memory card! I guess earlier that night she had just recorded most of Fantasmic on it.

    I went back to my room at took out my nicer of the two cameras that I brought with me. It is a Canon G6 that I am using to teach myself photography. Here are some night shots I took from the room while palying with the aperture and exposure.

    The next morning I woke up at 6:30 so I'd have time for breakfast and my early entry to Disneyland. I ate at the PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier hotel where I enjoyed a nice (albiet sweet for children) buffet and had some fun interaction with Lilo, Stitch and Minnie.

    I got to Disneyland's front gate about 10 minutes before early entry at 8am and was soon in the park which was very empty considering high season is pretty much over.

    I also spotted a very scary sight of the potential evil that I would face thoughout the day.

    All the rides in Fantasyland were open and pretty much empty except for the Canal Boats, Train, Small World and of course Matterhorn which were closed. Several rides at Tomorrowland were also open I rode all my favorites in both lands multiple times and wanderered around a bit.

    I came across the statue or Ariel which had aged in such a way that made it seem like she was melting!

    When the Park opened for the general public at 9am I went over to Toon Town for early entry there.

    Where I saw what I think is the most clever sign in Disneyland

    Toon Town was not crowded at all and I rode Gadget's Coaster and Roger Rabbit multiple times.

    As Toon Town opened for the rest of the park visitors I headed out and used a combination of single rider and enhanced Fast Pass to ride all the rides I wanted to at both parks including my first rides on TOT (OMG! ) Monster's Inc and GGR. I actually got less wet on GGR than my first ride on Splash Mountain the night before. DCA was pretty empty so I was able to see just about everything in a couple of hours.

    I also saw a sacriest sight in DCA outside the Hyperion Theater

    Okay, maybe someone can answer this for me? Do you think the design of the restroom sign across from Soarin' was intentional? I mean this is a silhouette of a P-38 . . .

    I had a dinner of Clam Chowda (for you folks back East) in a bread bowl by the water at Boudin and then headed back to Disneyland to stake out a spot for the parade. I parked my . . . er, self on the curb on Main Street about 45 minutes before the start time. While I was waitingI got a call from Sadako saying she was on her way although she didn't think she could get to the park until after the parade. After the parade and while I was waiting for Sadako I tried to take some night shots with my cheap little point-n-shoot camera while using rocks, rails and short poles as makeshift tripods. A couple turned out okay although I'd wished I'd gone back to the hotel as I'd planned to get my G6.

    Sadako met me at Carnation Plaza and used her amazing influence and celebrity to get us front of the line passes for Indy and fast passes for Splash Mountain (which we chose NOT to go on considering the time of night and that we we both wearing light daytime clothing.) We had fun chatting up some MiceChat Lurker CMs in Adventureland while taking shelter in the fall out zone from the fireworks. Then a ride around the Park on the DLRR which was running with its lights off due to the fireworks. It was a neat experience circling the park during the fireworks show. Later we ran into Crazy Legs, Wolfie & Wolfette as well as a few other MiceChat regulars thoughout the Park.

    We met a teary eyed CM at the last showing of Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years who was sad as it was her last show and last night as a CM as she was going off to college. We shouted out a thank you to her at the end of the show which brought more tears to her eyes. It was getting cold so Sadako and I went to hell, no not A Small World (although I made her ride that with me too) but back to Mr Toads.

    The Park closed at Midnight and Sadako and I checked out the shops until about 12:30 when I once again walked her back to her car while chatting about this and that and she kindly dropped me off in front of my hotel.

    So I got to the Park at 8am and left at 12:30am so that was something like 16 straight hours in DL and DCA. Whew!

    Sunday I got up early again and checked out the Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian. I had a light breakfast and
    Beignets outside Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney and got to the Park before opening and checked out the shops.

    Micechatter Prizilla met me late morning and we rode HM, Indy and Pirates and then made our way to the hub for our first noon Micechat meet. There we met several familiar faces and I had some nice conversations including one with Al who I later figured out was Al. It was fun to watch the jaded MC crew as Mickey "once again" scaled the Materhorn. I wish I could have stayed for lunch to spend more time talking face to face with so many of you that I "see" on the boards every day. Prizilla and I got a Dole Whip and Dole Whip Float and chatted near the front gate for the last few minutes before I had to leave to drive back.

    I made it back to the Bay Area after braving a grass fire on the Grapevine and the ennui of driving nearly straight for 5 hours, uh straight.

    Thank you to everyone who was so gracious, hospitable
    and so very friendly from MiceChat who I met while I was down in Disneyland especially Sadako and Prizilla who made special trips to meet up with me. I will try to make it back to Disneyland regularly to see you again and meet more of you. If you are in the Bay Area please look me up so I can return the hospitality you showed me.

    Also thank you to everyone who made it to the end of this VERY long trip report (even those who just looked at the pictures and skimmed to the end )

  • #2
    Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

    I think I had the exact same room you had at PPH when I stayed there back in Feb. When I went to check in the lady also surprised me with "we have upgraded your room with a view".

    Very nice. Thanks!


    • #3
      Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

      ok, this was an amazing report. thank you for it it made my day!!
      two questions, where is the king triton ? I never saw that before, is it a float? it looks like its in water.
      And is the wave working in DCA ? again thank you so much ,I loved this report!


      • #4
        Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

        Originally posted by hakuna makarla View Post
        ok, this was an amazing report. thank you for it it made my day!!
        two questions, where is the king triton ? I never saw that before, is it a float? it looks like its in water.
        And is the wave working in DCA ? again thank you so much ,I loved this report!
        King Triton is to the right of the Castle


        • #5
          Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

          very nice trip report - loved your discriptions!


          • #6
            Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

            Nice report.

            Love that scenic!
            Originally posted by Grumpee
            I only care for Disney bling!


            • #7
              Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

              Great report! I was there on the 9th.


              • #8
                Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                Great report and pics. It was nice meeting you, if only for a few seconds. Next time your down we'll have to connect!
                Mom, remember, it's not what a person is like on the outside that counts,
                it's what they are like in their HEART!

                - Wolfette


                • #9
                  Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                  Thanks for the great report and pictures.


                  • #10
                    Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                    Sounds like fun!!! You had some really nice pics too.

                    P.S. I too love my XM radio- and I really like the Paradise Pier.
                    Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!


                    • #11
                      Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                      Originally posted by Sully View Post
                      Living in the San Francisco Bay Area and having a new daughter (14 months old) I didn't think I'd get the chance again until she was 3 or 4 years old and could tolerate the trip.
                      You should just go ahead and take her. You will have a blast. We already been to Dland 3 times and Disney World and our daughter is only 16 months. She just loves it.
                      2003-Now DL Annual Passholders
                      5/2005 WDW- Port Orleans Riverside
                      5/2005 Disney Cruise
                      6/2006 WDW- Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa


                      • #12
                        Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                        Originally posted by Sully View Post
                        I woke up at "O-Dark-Thirty" as my friends in the military say, showered shaved and jumped in my car.

                        I take back my question in that other thread.


                        • #13
                          Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                          Great pics and report! Glad you had a good time... and it sounds like you picked a good time of year to go, light crowds, but still got to see all of the shows/fireworks that you wanted to.

                          I also like the Paradise Pier Hotel, I think it's just under rated by a lot of people. Even though I live in Anaheim, I've stayed with visiting friends there quite a few times and never had a problem.


                          • #14
                            Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                            that was GREAT!! I especially loved seeing the LA pics. I want to go to the Disney soda fountain shop!! Thanks for the pics of dreamworks as well. I have 23 days until my next trip, which will be the first time back to Disney (and LA) since 1992!!

                            Originally Posted by Disney Wrassler
                            Tassie, I found a quote for ya :lol:!

                            "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia."

                            Charles M. Schulz
                            Originally Posted by MWalton
                            :lol: Did the pages take that long to reach around to your part of the world?!? :lol:


                            • #15
                              Re: Sully's Trip Report 9/8 - 9/10 **Long w/ Pictures**

                              Originally posted by Sully View Post

                              Glad you had such a great and wonderful trip. I really liked these two night shots you took.


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                              Most users ever online was 3,719 at 08:15 AM on 07-20-2012.