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My Disneyland Park Experience, 5-19-21

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  • Trip Report My Disneyland Park Experience, 5-19-21

    12:30pm, taken upon entering the park.


    My wife "surprised" our family with 3 tickets for our family of 4, which includes a 5 year old, and an almost 2 year old a couple weeks ago. Initially we had told each other we wouldn't return until the new AP Program is announced, but she wanted to celebrate our almost two year old's bday there, and that was that. I hadn't been to the park since 2017 when I let my Deluxe AP lapse, plain and simple, I was over it. Too crowded.

    On to yesterday. My wife is down to go from open to close if possible, me on the other hand, not so much. They arrived at M&F around 9:30, only waited about 5 minutes to pay and then another 5 to 10 for bag check. I opted to arrive at noon, no wait to park and no bag check wait at all. Upon passing through the turnstiles, I will admit, it hit me harder than I expected. I got a tad choked up, no tears, or anything like that, but rather a "wow, I'm actually back" and a wave of memories flashed before my eyes as I gazed at the floral Mickey and the train station. Per my usual, I passed under the eastern tunnel and proceeded to Town Square. Chatted with a few CM's for a couple minutes at the base of the Main St. Train Station stairs, and was being waved at by Pluto whom was at the top of the stairs, Chip and Dale were also up there waving. After a brief interaction with them I saw the Fire Truck was heading towards its stop along the curb, and no one was waiting....so I walked over, and hopped on once it was safe to do so and enjoyed my ride on it solo down Main St. Rang the bell a few times and then it was time to exit. My wife and daughters were at IASW, so I walked slowly through the Castle (soaked in Wish Upon A Star) and made my way back to IASW.

    Main St. Station


    As I walked towards IASW I had a weird feeling pass over me. It was hard to pinpoint, but it all felt so familiar, but so different. Almost like when you hang out with an ex-signficant other. You recognize them, but so much time has passed, and your relationship with them is different. In my case, the relationship was me being there without an AP (sounds silly, but its true). But DL was also different, the mask thing (yes I'm used to wearing them), the 99% of the queues being outside thing, the what felt like 99% mobile order thing, etc.. In my mind I couldn't help but wonder, "Will I get my money's worth?" After all, I couldn't just "come back and ride such and such next time" like I could with an AP. Soon enough I was at IASW and my family was just about to exit the ride. My mind was quickly back to the family and the classic "What should we do next?". Kiddos wanted to head to ToonTown, so we did. We sat on a "Designated Dining Area" bench that lined the sides of the walkway into the land and ate. We saw Marie from Aristocats was at the gazebo and my oldest loves her so we walked over there to interact and get a few pix. We also saw Pluto and then Mickey, all great interactions. From there we headed to Galaxy's Edge, which was my first time in the land. While it is very impressive, I still wish they built it elsewhere and kept Big Thunder Ranch there, I digress. Wife and oldest did RotR while I saw with our youngest. I tried the Blue Milk, it was pretty good!

    NOS taken at 4:40pm


    We left GE and then meandered around. NOS was the mess that everyone else has described. POTC line reached the edge of the Mark Twain loading area at one point, and this was after it stretched towards the HM. At one point as we ate our beignets near Fowlers Harbor, the HM line had stretched along the lower walkway closest to the ROA and ended on the bridge where you watch the drop at Splash Mountain! We inquired about getting in line, but the CM said that they are closing off the line from anyone else getting in at the moment. Prior to that I didn't realize that you needed to be in a queue to get a table outside the French Market/Mint Julep Bar seating area...that was a bummer, which is why we ended up at a table along the ROA. Backtracking an hour or so, we were at the Tropical Hideaway, excited to order a Dole Whip and a few other items, but that joy quickly turned to disappointment when at 3:30pm the earliest return window to pick up your items was at, I kid you not, 7:30pm!!!

    Lines typically weren't as long as the app stated, BTMRR was listed at 30 minutes, however it took us 18 minutes to go from the end of the line which was about 20 yards past the exit, to boarding the train. Peter Pan stretched through the Castle, wrapped around towards the Matterhorn, listed at 30 minutes, only took 20. Pinocchio and Toads were only 5, and not much of a line at all. Alice stretched along the side towards the bathrooms, only took about 10 minutes. Snow White however, went through the western Castle corridor towards Frontierland, snaked around the Princess Fantasy Faire area, out towards the Hub and down Main St. a bit (this was around 6:30pm). We opted to pass on SW.

    Back to the food situation, finding a table was tough. We felt like a cat stalking a bird, getting ready to pounce on an unsuspecting family as they were packing up. Rarely did we see any CM's wiping down tables, but we brought our own wipes (which we did pre-covid).

    All in all, it was awesome to be able to experience going on BTMRR with our 5 year old for my first time (she had been on it once before the shutdown with my wife). We went on it twice. We also went on Splash Mountain for the first time together around 8:30pm, there was no one in line when we got back to the loading area, so they let us go again...and even asked if we wanted to go a third time when we returned from the second trip; to which we cordially declined. We speed walked to HM to get on it one last time at 8:57pm and were let in the "chicken exit" entrance for the second time of the day, that was pretty cool! We ended our night by eating ice cream from the Gibson Girl (mobile ordered at 7:30pm to be ready at 9pm) on a bench at Town Square...which is a tradition of ours. When we were done with our ice cream, it was 9:45pm and then it was time to walk the tram route back to M&F.

    It did take some time for the "magic" to seep back in, after I had put aside all the "negatives" (things that were different, or non-existent) I was having a blast. While maybe I "didn't get my moneys worth" because we paid full price for lets just say, 2/3 of a product (the lack of live entertainment, no fireworks, etc,) the experiences I got to share with my kids were in fact priceless!

    Will I return soon? Not until I see what the new AP Program or whatever its called is laid out.

    Sorry if this was all over the place, but I just wanted to let people know how it went for us.

    And here are the attractions I/we did in no particular order:

    • Main St. Fire Engine
    • Winnie the Pooh
    • Tarzan's Tree House
    • Haunted Mansion (x2)
    • Splash Mountain (x2)
    • Big Thunder Mountain (x2)
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Alice in Wonderland (x2)
    • Tea Cups
    • Its a Small World
    • Pinocchio
    • Mr. Toads
    • Rise of the Resistance
    • Tiki Room
    • Gadgets Go Coaster

    9:45pm, just before exiting the park.
    Last edited by BigThunda; 05-21-2021, 11:24 AM.
    Big Thunder Ranch > Galaxys Edge

  • #2
    Nice write up...glad you had a better experience then my family and I did. As we were also AP's in early 2018. And like you said...yes it felt very familiar but different. Honestly by the end of the 2nd day I was so over waiting in every type of stupid queue via the app that I was just over it...too much hassle and annoying as all hell. And like you...def wont be back until they figure a lot of things out. Even after Covid this place is going to be a zoo for years to come.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by YeaDZNY View Post
      Nice write up...glad you had a better experience then my family and I did. As we were also AP's in early 2018. And like you said...yes it felt very familiar but different. Honestly by the end of the 2nd day I was so over waiting in every type of stupid queue via the app that I was just over it...too much hassle and annoying as all hell. And like you...def wont be back until they figure a lot of things out. Even after Covid this place is going to be a zoo for years to come.
      Thank you. Reading your recent posts about your experience is what prompted me to write mine.
      Big Thunder Ranch > Galaxys Edge

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      • #4
        Thank you so much for sharing this trip report. I don't have children of my own yet but reading your words, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside imagining what it must have been like to share attractions with them for the very first time. It's something I hope to experience myself, someday.

        I think your assessment about the offerings and "moneys worth" is fair. While technically there's less to do, when you've been away for so long from something you love or are experiencing something unique for the first time with someone special to you, the worth has this way of sort of materializing on it's own. Or that is, we don't really think too hard about it because we're just enjoying ourselves so much.

        That's not to say though, that it wouldn't wear thin if one repeated the available experience at the current price point too many times. When I walked away from our last visit, my thought process was something along the lines of "Wow, I had a lot of fun and didn't really care so much about the price vs. offerings given the situation of the world but I definitely wouldn't keep paying this much for this experience long term without more external circumstances pushing me back in". Basically, in the parks current form, it definitely felt like a "once in a while" sort of deal instead of "frequent visit" one because of the presented issues.

        Would you say you felt similar? I don't want to put words in your mouth but it sort of sounded that way because of your desire to wait and see what the future of the AP program is.
        "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Blurr View Post
          Thank you so much for sharing this trip report. I don't have children of my own yet but reading your words, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside imagining what it must have been like to share attractions with them for the very first time. It's something I hope to experience myself, someday.

          I think your assessment about the offerings and "moneys worth" is fair. While technically there's less to do, when you've been away for so long from something you love or are experiencing something unique for the first time with someone special to you, the worth has this way of sort of materializing on it's own. Or that is, we don't really think too hard about it because we're just enjoying ourselves so much.

          That's not to say though, that it wouldn't wear thin if one repeated the available experience at the current price point too many times. When I walked away from our last visit, my thought process was something along the lines of "Wow, I had a lot of fun and didn't really care so much about the price vs. offerings given the situation of the world but I definitely wouldn't keep paying this much for this experience long term without more external circumstances pushing me back in". Basically, in the parks current form, it definitely felt like a "once in a while" sort of deal instead of "frequent visit" one because of the presented issues.

          Would you say you felt similar? I don't want to put words in your mouth but it sort of sounded that way because of your desire to wait and see what the future of the AP program is.
          You are very welcome, I'm hoping my report will help shine some light on what it was like for a family with young children, that used to frequent the park rather regularly.

          Regarding your question. If this makes any sense, once we were sitting down and eating, and on the attractions themselves, that all felt similar and familiar. However, reaching that point of familiarity often felt unfamiliar. The ability to do most things that we used to enjoy on a whim have been taken away (hopefully only temporarily). That made it feel unfamiliar, and a bit disheartening. It almost felt as if we had to relearn the park experience, and not in a good way. We (and I'm sure many) are the type of people to just let the Disney winds carry us throughout the day...you want to get in line for a Dole Whip, well, lets go do it...but now, you have to plan it, and hope you don't have to wait HOURS to get it. Oh, you want to enjoy that pretzel or churro while its hot, well, I hope you can find a "Designated Dining Area" to sit down (or stand) within a few minutes or you risk it getting cold. And last but certainly not least, good luck finding a spot to sit down and take a load off your feet due to the physical distancing guidelines. It wasn't even that hot yesterday, but finding a spot to sit in the shade was almost like finding a table to sit at....scarce.

          Hope that helps.
          Big Thunder Ranch > Galaxys Edge

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          • #6
            Getting snack or dining in the park sound miserable...

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            • #7
              Thank you for sharing this. It's really nice to hear your honest experience presenting the good and the bad, it helps as we plan to go back.
              You know, I have the strangest feeling that I've seen that ship before. A long time ago, when I was very young. ―George Darling
              It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell. ― Walt Disney

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DLR92 View Post
                Getting snack or dining in the park sound miserable...
                It is...its a total cluster

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DLR92 View Post
                  Getting snack or dining in the park sound miserable...
                  You would think that they would have quickly solved this issue because selling dole whips, as well as any small food item, on-demand rakes in the profits.

                  Also again, mobile ordering sounds like such a pain. I've only done it once for Stage Door Cafe and once I discovered you have to wait in a long line to pick up, I was like.... "what's the point?"

                  I appreciate your trip report, BigThunda! Happy to had a good time. Besides the food chaos, the rest sounds typical by today's standards but pleasant.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DLR92 View Post
                    Getting snack or dining in the park sound miserable...
                    You aren't wrong. My wife packs snacks like no ones business, so we were set. However, if you don't plan accordingly, you could be in for an interesting day. We did get a churro in Fantasyland and that wait wasn't anything out of the normal 5-7 minute range.
                    Big Thunder Ranch > Galaxys Edge

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Captain Andy View Post

                      You would think that they would have quickly solved this issue because selling dole whips, as well as any small food item, on-demand rakes in the profits.

                      Also again, mobile ordering sounds like such a pain. I've only done it once for Stage Door Cafe and once I discovered you have to wait in a long line to pick up, I was like.... "what's the point?"

                      I appreciate your trip report, BigThunda! Happy to had a good time. Besides the food chaos, the rest sounds typical by today's standards but pleasant.
                      Thank you.

                      I feel like the mobile ordering concept is cool with me under normal circumstances, since it allows you to not have to wait in a long, slow, sun exposed line. However to have it be the only option for the most part right now is tough. Especially with the insane return windows to pick up your food. And like you said, having to wait an extended period of time to pick up your food, blows.

                      You would be correct in everything else being the status quo in todays environment. Would I have preferred to have my first visit back to the park in over 3 years be under normal circumstances, absolutely....but it is what it is and I wouldn't trade the experiences I got to share with my girls on Wednesday's visit for anything!
                      Big Thunder Ranch > Galaxys Edge

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                      • #12
                        This was a great read! I hope my experience is as magical as your trip was. I'm set to go next weekend for my wife's birthday. And then again in late June.

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