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Mike's Novebmer 16-18, 2017 Solo Birthday Trip

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  • Trip Report Mike's Novebmer 16-18, 2017 Solo Birthday Trip

    Disneyland 2017 Trip Report

    I’m back Stitches!! Get it. Stitch. Disney. Ha, I kill me. Maybe it is the 10+ years of lack of sleep that make me so funny.

    Anyway, I am back win an unexpected trip report. Why is it unexpected? Well, that was because my trip was unplanned. And since I plan all of our Disney trips, nothing gets by me.

    Until October 10th.

    Dateline: Phoenix, AZ

    While out to dinner for MY WIFE’S Birthday, she proceeds to ask what I wanted for my birthday the following month. I told her nothing as we were saving for our 2018 summer vacation. She countered “How about you go to Disneyland?” Cue the “are you joking” remarks. When she said no, I told her yes and that I would have reservations the following morning.
    The next morning, I hurredliy took care of dining, hotel and ticket reservations for my November trip. And since Mickey and I have the same bday, I would get to spend it with my twin brother.

    Fast forward to November.

    Matt aka Whoever on Micechat agreed to lend me his 24mm 1.4 lens for the trip. Oh, I was stoked now. Ultra photography on dark rides was going to be my focus on this trip.
    With lens secured and bags packed, I set out on Thursday morning at 6:15am. The sun was at my back while I headed west on the 10. The miles flew by as I did my best impression of the Millenium Falcon heading to lights speed. Ehrenberg arrived at 8:20 and I was out of there 10 minutes later and officially in California.

    Yeah, the heart beats a little faster once you cross the border as you know you are that much closer. I was making good time as I pulled into the Burger King at the I-10 and Washington St. exit. That is the same Burger King I have been going to for 20+ years since I went back and forth from ASU. Nothing says 9:00am (thank you gaining an hour from the time change) like lunch.
    Next stop Disneyland!

    Traffic was acceptable for the rest of the trip. The only problem was people kept driving in front of me. Didn’t they know I was on a mission? Get out of my way!

    By 11:00 I was doing back flips as I pulled off onto Katella and headed to my hotel, the Ramada Inn. It was undergoing refurbishment and I got a good rate. Not that I would be there during the daylight while they were working on it.

    A few minutes later and there I was, at the Pearly Gates! YESSSSS!!!

    Once through, the air smelled cleaner, the sky was brighter and life was even more exciting. Now everyone out of my way as I have a theme park to catch. Pirates, you are first.

    It was surprisingly warmer and more humid than I was expecting. In line for pirates, I waited about 30 minutes. While there I utilized MaxPass for the first time to secure some advance fast passes. I should tell you all it is terrible and not to use it. That way no one else will be able to take advantage of it and it will be all mine!

    I grabbed my usual seat at the front of the boat and did my best Al Bundy impersonation, “Let’s rock!” Off I went. While I hated the drops as a kid, I have come to love everything about the entire ride now. The detail is amazing.

  • #3
    Thanks for sharing - Love the photos!!!
    Hidden Mickey - Tower of Terror

    Hidden Mickey's here:
    Check out my Wal't Apartment tour here:


    • #4
      Originally posted by whoever View Post

      I've always struggled with this one. Nice crisp capture. I've been waiting for this TR for a while, glad to see the strong start. Great pics, keep it coming.
      Thanks matt. I have taken probably 60-100 pictures of that scene on both coasts and finally got a decent one.

      Once I figured out a workaround for photobucket I could start posting pics again. I will try and work on more segments during the holidays.


      • #5
        With Pirates taken care of, I had some time to wait before my Haunted Mansion fast pass came open. I tried to do something bold. Something daring. Something I haven’t done in 9 years. That is right, I am talking riding Indiana Jones. That is right, the last time I rode it was in 2008. Since then, my kids were either too young or too scared to go on it. Last year when I was on another solo trip, every time I walked by the ride to go on it, it was broken and shut down. Just my luck.

        Well, no this time!!! I was going to single rider that bad boy. Watch out crowd because I was coming through. With single rider pass in hand, I made my way down into the belly of the beast. Easily snaking through the queue and dodging exiting passengers, I finally arrived at the temporary stop point where they balanced out the riders. There I was, only a few moments from riding it. Armed with the ultimate lens for dark rides, I was ready and rearing to go.

        Then the lights started flickering and the ride shut down. Seriously. Nine years and I still wasn’t going to get on the ride. I was starting to feel like Charlie Brown. Not having anything pressing going on, I decided to wait for a while.

        After 20 minutes, it was fixed and I could finally proceed. Up the elevators and down again, I came out ready to ride. Luckily the gods had pity on me and blessed me with a front row seat. No one was going to be blocking my shots.

        It was fun to ride on it once again. I actually thought it was less bumpy than I remembered it. As I snapped away, I realized halfway through the ride that I accidentally nudged one of the switches on the lens and altered the settings. While I was happy with several shots, I messed up a few others as a result.


        • #6
          Fantastic photos, amazing job at capturing those shots. The new Indiana Jones effects they did are the coolest.

          One of these days i'm going to have to meet up with you and Whoever since we all live in the same area haha.
          KA CHOW


          • #7
            Originally posted by 1LE McQueen View Post
            Fantastic photos, amazing job at capturing those shots. The new Indiana Jones effects they did are the coolest.

            One of these days i'm going to have to meet up with you and Whoever since we all live in the same area haha.
            I didn't realize you were from AZ also. What part of town are you in?


            • #8
              Having shown Mara where he could stick his curse, I was off to my other hot spot, the Haunted Mansion. Because of our family trips and the timing of when they occur, we almost always are there during Haunted Mansion Holiday. In fact, the only times my boys have seen the regular version was on our trips to Disney World in 2014 and this summer. Oh well. By now, I am kind of used to it.

              In fact, with all the fall trips we have taken, it almost doesn’t feel like Halloween of fall without having seen Jack.

              There is just something right in the world once you get near the mansion and start hearing the durge music. The haunting melody just soothes the soul.

              With the mansion done, I had one more conquest to knock out. Oh no, it was not a ride. Foolish mortals. Rahter, I have been eye balling a certain tasty morsel for months. After having seen the summer and holiday menu items plastered all over the web, there was no way I was going to deny myself this time. I was here for me and me only. That means what I want to eat, when I want to eat, calories be damned (of course I will pay for that later).

              Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Milk and Hunny Funnel Cake!

              I have not had a funnel cake in decades. Not since the teenage years of going to KNotts with friends have I had one. Maybe I got burned out on them. I am not sure. I did feel like a changed man over the summer at Epcot when by the American Adventure they had a cookies and cream funnel cake that looked unbeliebvable. However, after standing in line for 20 mins and not moving, it was not mean to be. But after seeing those pictures of the Milk and Hunny, there was no way I was missing out.

              And yes, I made it all disappear. PS it was mighty tasty.

              Now with a really fully belly, what better thing to do than hang out with Winnie the Pooh. We commiserated over being stuffed with honey treats while I checked out his digs.
              However, over the years, I have learned that being 6’5” does have its disadvantages. That means anything that has a seat is normally too small for me. This ride is one of the tightest for my knees. Oh well, it is still a visual feast.


              • #9
                great trip report with some fantastic photos. Can't wait to see more.

                No matter where you go, there you are.


                • #10
                  I am back after vacation with more updates.
                  With the whole west side "must-dos" taken care of, it was time to go to Neverland.
                  Before heading to Peter Pan, I had to leave New Orleans Square. As I passed by Café Orleans, I paid homage to my 2016 trip. I stopped for a minute outside the windows above Café Orleans and looked up. There it was, the windows to a whole new world. It really was filled with shining, shimmering splendor. Oh how I wish I could go back in again some day.
                  It is funny how until I had gone, I had never noticed the windows, balcony and anything really up there. Even after seeing pictures, all the Micechat updates during the renovation, etc, I had never stopped and looked up. Now I felt like the only person walking around the park who knew it was up there.
                  Until then, Club 33. Until then.

                  Since I arrived midday, it was a 45 minute wait instead of the 5 minute wait at rope drop I am now used to. Peter Pan is one of my favorite rides. It goes back to when I was a kid. The whole visual experience of it makes it great. To be honest, if the other Fantasyland dark rides had to be sacrificed to make this ride truly what it should be, I might be ok with that.
                  One thing to note is that the WDW version is better. Having ridden it again over the summer, it was longer and smoother. The ride didn’t feel as rushed and I was able to get more photos on the WDW version than I previously had at Disneyland.
                  With that being said, time for the goods.


                  • #11
                    Why can I not see any of your photos?
                    BGood! It's not just my motto its my name!


                    • #12
                      Beautiful pictures. Thank You for sharing.


                      • #13
                        Having sailed off to Neverland, it was time to head on over to Fantasyland. For me, that means two things, Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear.

                        I will never get enough Star Tours. I can ride it all day. While most people I know hate the motion rides like that I can’t get enough of them. My family can’t stand this ride. Oh well. I guess that puts me not liking roller coasters in perspective. Many I know can ride coasters all day but tremble at the thought of Star Tours.

                        Once again, single rider had its benefits. I got to skip the second half of the line. I skipped the first half thanks to Max Pass (again, you shouldn’t use it. Don’t tell your friends how good it is. Avoid it so I can be the only one to reap the benefits )

                        Since this was only a couple of days since Mark Hamill’s surprise visit, I was hoping a little bit of the Force would still be hanging around and bless me with an opportunity like that. Alas, it didn’t happen. Maybe someday. Or, I would at least settle for being the rebel spy.

                        With Star Tours done, I headed over to the Star Wars Launch Bay. Being a scale model builder myself, I am always deeply interested in the models and detail that go into them. The Launch Bay is a great opportunity to see just that. But, this time, the Star Wars models were not my main goal.
                        Nope, it was time to put Max Pass to its real use for me. I was here to get free photo downloads. Yep, that is how I was going to make Max Pass pay for itself on this solo trip. No more $15 per photo download for me.

                        Last year, I got pictures with Kylo Ren because the Chewbacca wait was too long. Not this year.

                        Yes, I am the same size as a Wookie.

                        After leaving the Launch Bay, I headed over to It’s a Small World. This is a special ride for me. First, I can hear the song all day. I have seven versions on my phone. Second, this was the ride that changed my life. It was the first ride we took my oldest on when we made our first family trip to Disneyland. He had never seen anything Disney before. I still have the pictures of his eyes wide as basketballs taking in all the kids, lights and music. From that moment on I became a Disnerd after seeing what magic truly looked like.

                        It had been years since my last holiday visit and that means it was years since the last time I rode the Christmas version of the ride. I forgot how much I love it.

                        Yes!!!! I made Santa’s nice list!!!

                        Ariel singing “Jingle Shells” made me laugh.


                        • #15
                          Where did you get the "Nice work, Pal" shirt???