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Summer 2012 Trip to the Land


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  • Trip Report Summer 2012 Trip to the Land

    I just got back from my normal summertime trip to SoCal, and had the good fortune of spending some time in Carsland as well. I always say that I'm going to L.A. to visit family, but the more time in Disneyland the better!

    I told the family that I was arriving on Friday July 13th, but I actually hit town on the 12th (Shhhh - don't tell 'em!). I checked in at the Alamo Inn (basic older hotel, cheap but a nice room with a comfy bed), and headed into Disneyland. I started with lunch at the Plaza Inn (love that pot roast!), and then wandered about for a few hours. I moseyed over to Frontierland and New Orleans Square for Pirates and the Haunted Mansion.

    I went up through Fantasyland, but all the lines were of course way long for a summer afternoon. I was happy to see the line for Roger Rabbit was only 30 minutes long. I never get enough time in this queue, so I jumped in line. Well, the line was moving MUCH slower than I expected, and at one point stopped completely. After 15 minutes or so CMs came through the line handing out universal FPs for any FP attraction at any time that day, but they still didn't say what the hold-up was. Turns out that a child, tired of the slow moving line, dropped trow and did his business right there in the line! CMs had to clean up the toxic waste and then we all had to wait till it dried before they'd move the line again. Total wait time was well over an hour. I said to one CM "well, at least it was just a kid", to which she replied "Last time this happened it WASN'T a kid!" Very strange!!! Ah well, at least it gave me a FP which I promptly used for my first ride of the weekend on Star Tours.

    By now it was time to head to one of my favorite pubs on the planet, the Uva Bar in Downtown Disney. Justin was there, just as he's been since the place opened in 2001. Great drinks, excellent food (I did a couple of appetizers - small shrimp in a spicy sauce and some calamari), and a fine time with some old friends. I made it back into DL for the 8:45 showing of The Magic, The Memories, and You (which I think is a better show than the main fireworks!), then over to the fireworks show, and finally into Frontierland for the 2nd showing of Fantasmic! Still a great show, but that Ursula part is awfully dull without either the big Ursula float or even the Flotsam & Jetsom jet-skis that they did for a while. Somewhere in there between shows I had time to grab a tasty corndog from the red cart on Main Street (yum!). That's enough for a first day, so off to bed.

    Friday morning and I'm still on my own - the family doesn't expect me till late morning. So I hit DL at rope drop, did all the Fantasyland dark rides, and then took in the new Matterhorn. I was all ready to poo-poo the complainers, but I have to say that this new vehicle is really uncomfortable. I couldn't even put my feet in the stirrups - they were just too wide apart! I had to curl one leg under me and ride that way. Very rough, very unpadded, and the low-down seat was tough to get up out of. Not an improvement, IMO - I do like the single rider option, though. Next I picked up a FP for Star Tours, and then did the Nemo Subs (many people give mixed reviews, but I really like what they've done with the Subs). A quick spin on Buzz Lightyear, then FP ride on Star Tours (I think I got 4 rides in this weekend!). Over to Frontierland again for Big Thunder Mountain, and then lunch at the Rancho del Zocalo (great taco salad, although for some dumb reason they call it a tostada salad). Time to go catch up with the family for the rest of the day.

    More . . .

    ---------- Post added 07-25-2012 at 05:54 PM ----------

    Saturday morning was my planned AP early entry into DCA, and mainly into Carsland. My gosh, was I impressed! The deal at the front gate with the checking of the AP and the putting on of the wristband could not have been done any better - no hassle at all, very smoothly done. They of course walked us somewhat slowly into CarsLand, with Mater leading the way. A 4 year old boy was behind me, up on his daddy's shoulders. The kid asked at one point "Daddy, what's Mater doing up there?" Daddy responded "He's taking us to the rides". The child thought about this for a moment, then announced "Daddy, we have to thank him! When I see him I'm gonna say TOW-MATER - YOU ROCK!!" Very cute!

    I had about a 20 minute wait for Radiator Springs Racers, which was cool as it gave me a great look at the queue. Disney does such a great job with queues, and this one was no exception. The ride itself exceeded my expectations, from the dramatic first movement leading up to the bridge and waterfall, then inside to some totally cool AA figures, and then outside for the big "race". Overall MUCH better than Epcot's Test Track in almost every way.

    Next I waited about 10 minutes for my first ride on Luigi's Flying Tires. I've been reading a lot about how some folks don't like this ride, can't get the tires moving, etc. Well, not only did I not have any trouble moving my tire, but I had a TERRIFIC time doing it. Very fun - can't wait to do it again (and I never touched a beach ball!). Then over to Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, the sleeper hit of the land. Simple but fun attraction with a great soundtrack from Larry the Cable Guy (I mean MATER!). I wasn't exactly sure where this ride was within Carsland, so I actually had to pull out a DCA map and find it. Being the Disney park veteran that I am, having to look something up on a map is actually a fun experience. A friendly CM wanted to help me, but I was having fun doing it myself!

    Breakfast was at Flo's Cafe, and some kind of chicken tamale and scrambled egg thing. A bit small, but very tasty. And the outdoor eating area was practically on the RSR track - extremely cool! I liked watching the cars go by so much that I went back after breakfast and got in the 50 minute single rider line. The line seemed to move along pretty well, and I enjoyed my 2nd ride on RSR just as much. SPOILER ALERT!!! There are two experiences on the inside part of the ride - the left side goes through a tire change scenario, while the right side paints your car. I was lucky enough to get BOTH sides within my two rides - very very cool, and something that will increase repeat ridership.

    Time to leave Carsland, and I was in such a good mood that I decided to do something I'd never done before, in all the time that DCA has been open - I rode California Screamin'! Now, I've always loved roller coasters. But I'm severely claustrophobic, and I don't like over the shoulder restraints. But I decided to suck it up and give it a try. When it was done I don't think I was ready to just jump on again, but I did have a good time, and now hopefully I'm over my phobia of Screamin'. Next was Little Mermaid with NO line, Soarin' in the single rider line with about a 10 minute wait, and then up to the Animation building for some quality time in the lobby and with the zoetrope. I did a daytime wander through the backlot and the Mad T Party setup - looks cool. Monsters Inc. with about a 5 minute wait, and then for my first visit to the FFP Cafe. Great reuben sandwich and chips, in a really nice restaurant. And that was all for the day (dang that family needing so much of my time!!!).

    more . . .

    ---------- Post added 07-25-2012 at 05:55 PM ----------

    Saturday I finished up with family stuff in time to enjoy a couple more martinis at the Uva Bar. Or at least that was the plan. 2 or 3 martinis later and it was time for World of Color, so I went in to enjoy, stopping in wine country for a fine glass of vino. After the show (great as always) I went back to the HPB to see the Mad T Party in action. I'm sure this is all very well done, but it just isn't my scene - very loud, lotsa flashing lights, lotsa smoke - not for me. I should have gone home at that time, but I wasn't tired yet, so it was back to the Uva Bar for some more martinis and calamari. I think I left around 12:30am for the long walk back to my hotel. And of course I woke up the next morning promising never to drink again!

    I spent most of Sunday just resting and recovering. Went that night to the Gibson Amphitheatre for Chicago with the Doobie Brothers (really great concert!).

    Monday was my last day in town, with a flight out that afternoon. I had scheduled my AP early entry at DL for that morning, but there was no way I was gonna park storm after about 5 hours of sleep. So I hit DL later in the morning, like 9:30 or so, and enjoyed a fine day hitting some things I'd missed earlier, like Space Mountain, Pooh, and yet another trip through the galaxy via Star Tours. I really wanted to catch a set from the west coast chapter of the Voices of Liberty. They do one number outside the theater, out in the street, to bring people in, then do about 20 minutes standing on stage in front of the curtain. I've loved VoL in Epcot for years, and this DL group can also really bring it. The only critique I had was that they were just a bit TOO smiley. It's one thing to look happy and engaged in your performance. It's quite another to do it a bit too much - you just look fanatic, kinda crazy-eyed. Maybe this is just the newness of it all, and they'll settle down in a few months. Anyway, excellent show! Once around on the train and it was time to head to the airport.

    So there's my trip - my summer 2012 trip to the Land!

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