Travel dates: February 17th - February 20th
Travel method: Peninsula Tour Buses
Resort: Anaheim Plaza Hotel
Accommodations: Standard Room - Twin Beds
Ages Represented in Group: 5, 12, 13, 40 something, 40 something, 50 something
Disney Resort Experience Represented in Group: First Timers - Seasoned Veteran
Comments: This was a school band trip, about 300 kids went. I will talk about only our group of 9.
Cast of characters: Pete (chaperone), Chesire (myself), Enzo, Kiernan, Eric, Michael, Hector, Raul, Irvin, Kenny (uncle), Jo-Anne (aunt), and Becky (cousin).
I got up at 6:30 AM, bought some coffee, and was at the group meeting place by 7:15. We all loaded our buses with our various instruments and suitcases, and were on the bus by 7:30. Everyone was ready to go at that time, but it seems as if our buses needed to wait till 8:15 to start driving, which is funny because our music teacher made such a big deal about the buses leaving at exactly 7:30 and needing to be there at that time. We were promised Wi-Fi on the bus, which ultimately didn't work, which subsequently had me go over my data plan more than once. Our buses stopped at a Rest Stop around 10, I grabbed a Monster, everyone else grabbed ice cream, which they all regretted when it started spilling on their stuff in the bus. Lunch was at 12:30. There was nothing big to comment on here, just a normal lunch, did grab a VERY strong cup of joe at Starbucks that was near our lunch eating area, that helped me through the day. We got back on the buses, this movie about a kid becoming a full fledged adult with the help of a fortune teller played, I watched the first 20 minutes, deemed it stupid, and tuned out of everything with the music from my iPhone and the amazing scenery you get going down Highway 5. This is when things started to go a little nuts, out of nowhere some maniac starts playing Madonna full blast on an iPad, a huge roll of orange duct tape got passed around and everyone started wrapping themselves in it and had a good time, and we all started singing "Life is a Highway". Once we hit L.A. traffic though, everyone was basically in a FML state, after starting to go into a sugar coma, and the first good movie of the day started playing - Yours, Mine, and Ours. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and only didn't pay attention to it when we saw something we've been waiting for for 9 hours. A sign of Disney. The Tower of Terror! Everyone started screaming, and there was not one face in that bus that wasn't grinning from ear to ear. We got out of the bus once we reached Anaheim Plaza Hotel, unpacked, freshened up, changed, and made our way back to the buses for Medieval Times. The food was good, but only a few of the acts of the show are actually entertaining, and they try to incorporate some story line into the show thats just a big confusion. I think we were all dead tired after the show, from the bus, getting up early, and the show, so all of us just collapsed in our beds, dreaming dreams of turkey legs and Splash Mountain drops.
I woke up around 5 AM, for the feeling of going to Disneyland couldn't allow me to sleep in. I showered, got dressed, and watched a good chunk of the news before anyone else was even up. We left for the continental breakfast (which was horrible, by the way), at 7:30, and after that we all gathered in the parking lot to get our tickets, food passes, and meet up with our 8-9 person group. In our group, Irvin, Raul, and Hector (the Three Musketeers, as Pete called them), Eric, Kiernan, Noni, Michael, Chesire (myself), and Pete, our chaperone. After the walk down, security, and the turnstiles, we were walking down Main Street by 8:30.
Michael and I took a quick detour to get some more food (remember, the breakfast at the hotel was not good) at the Blue Ribbon Bakery, and caught up with everyone else in the Star Tours line. The time said 35 minutes, but we got through the line in 15 minutes flat. Since I was the only one who'd been on the new Star tours, the whole group was practically squealing with excitement. Irvin was the rebel spy, and I was happily surprised with the three scenes we got, ones I can't remember, but I know I didn't see before. I suggested Captain E.O., and we practically sprinted to get in before the door closed. We all decided to do Space Mountain at the end of the night, and we were done with what we wanted to do in Tomorrowland for now. Fantasyland was next, and I was sad no other 12 year old boys wanted to go on Peter Pan or Mr. Toads. While we were walking through, Eric, who has a great eye, noticed that the TEACUPS had NO LINE. This was unheard of. Some brave souls (including me), chose our teacups, and had one of the best times of our lives, spinning wildly and screaming our heads off. I truly felt like I was in Disneyland at this point, forgetting all inhibitions, and staring up at the Smurf-blue sky with the Matterhorn in my peripheral vision. Slightly dizzy, we walked along, with no real purpose, till Enzo suggested Small World, which we can't leave the park without riding. After traveling around the world in a boat for the past 10 minutes, we had to go watch a performance by the Chamber Orchestra at our school, which only took about 20 minutes out of our day, which was nice. We got FastPasses for Big Thunder earlier, so we decided to use those before we had to go back to the same place to watch the Jazz Band perform. The ride was amazing, as usual, but it'd get even better the next night, which i'll get to later. Jazz Band was performing next, and we literally had to run to get there on time. Everyone there was already eating, so we figured we should go eat lunch after the concert. Walking over to the other side of the park was a hassle, but the hot dogs at Toontown are so good, I wasn't complaining. Some of us had pizza, but I was sticking to my guns with the hot dogs I look forward to every time I go to Disneyland.
After lunch, we decided to take the train around the park once, and stop in New Orleans for Pirates and Mansion. Once we got off, we all got some churros, and I stuffed some Bacon Cheddar Popcorn in my backpack for later because I just couldn't resist trying it. Mansion was exceptionally fun, because I scared my roommates half to death the night before while showing them the Hatbox Ghost story on YouTube. Pirates was next, just the normal fantastic Pirates, nothing big, and then Pete got FastPasses for Splash Mountain while we rode Pooh. Our backstage recording session was in 30 minutes, and we had some time to kill. I wanted to go on Astro Blasters, but everyone else wanted Jungle Cruise, which I was fine with, but wanted to do at night! The elephant at the end of the ride almost killed my phone. I had always thought the elephant has someone controlling it so they don't squirt the passengers on the boat. I must have been wrong, because when I held my iPhone out to take a picture, the water came right at me and my phone. The phone was fine, but it definitely scared me. One thing I wish Disney made different on the Jungle Cruise was where the animals are placed. I felt like the right side of the boat is where the animals are predominately at, and besides a couple hippos and piraas, we don't have much to see without heads in front of us. It was finally time for what we actually came down here for, the recording session. My whole band met up at the ToonTown Entrance and we were taken backstage behind the ToonTown hills. It was really cool! The band took a picture, and we were escorted inside a huge recording room, with a man named Doug, who was the former Head of Entertainment at WDW, and the voice of Donald Duck for 5 years, standing on a podium waiting for us. We played selections from Emperors New Groove, Lion King, and Atlantis, and they recorded us and played our music over the original animation, which awed every single one of us. Muhammad, the guy who was running all of this, gave us an exclusive pin only available to people who have done the recording session, and a free t-shirt, which is just another example of how amazing Disney is.
When we got out, it was dark, and we were in ToonTown, a sight I've never seen. I can now say I love ToonTown at night, it feels like everything is glowing, and its just the coolest thing. Pete remembered we had FastPasses for Indiana Jones, so we made the trek across the park to Adventureland. Indiana broke down (no surprise there), and we had a big fight over what to do next and where to eat. In the midst of the arguing, I saw people walking in, so we all shut up and started walking. The funny thing was, the FastPass line was getting long because of the people with the FastPasses, but we decided since it just opened, the line would be shorter in the stand-by line. We were right, and were in our cars in 10 minutes. I loved Indiana Jones... till it stopped. Right in the middle of the tunnel scene with all the bugs! It was a good 10 minutes till we saw some sign of life tell us we'd be running soon, and in 5 minutes we started off again with the lights on, and it was a while till they turned them back off. We thought we were home free when we got to the boulder scene with Indie... nope. Our car stopped again, the lights came back on, and this was a 20 minute wait till we started going again. Pete brought up the possibility of us getting FastPasses for any ride in the park once we got off if we complained enough, but all we got was one more ride, with no flaws, which was nice. Since we didn't expect another 35 minute wait on the ride, we were starving. Space Mountain was gonna be next, so we ate at the Tomorrowland Terrace with some random band singing "Under the Sea ". I got the Bacon BBQ Cheeseburger, which was horribly dry, and I threw out. So while everyone was eating, I went to Frontierland to get those chicken strips and french fries I love so much. They did not disappoint.
The wait for Space Mountain was 2 hours, but we really didn't care. We all had our phones, so we prank called, prank texted, and versed each other in games, and Kiernan and I ducked out of the line for 20 minutes to watch the Fireworks from the little courtyard near the Space Mountain line. Everyone loved Space Mountain, and we agreed we'd go on more than once the next day, which we did. With a majority vote, we decided to go on Splash Mountain with our FastPasses. I've only been in the early evening, and it was eye-opening seeing the park all lighten up at night. After getting soaked, we called it a night, and went back to the hotel, just making the time everyone was supposed to be in their rooms. I was surprised how much we got done. It was Presidents Day weekend, and we did have 8 conflicting personalities, on top of all the music stuff we had to do. I changed, ate some chocolate parfait and bacon cheddar popcorn and died in the bed, fantasizing about the next day.
California Adventure day! I slept in, because I knew the breakfast was horrible, and ate some peanut butter pretzels I brought from home. We started out earlier than the previous day, getting to Disneyland at about 8:15. Since we wanted to do some more things in Disneyland today, and there was an early morning concert, we saved California Adventure for later. Minnie was out, so we decided to take a quick group picture with her. Space Mountain had barely any line, so we did that quick, and then to get us all awake, we walked on Splash Mountain and got DRENCHED! I swear, they make the ride so much more aggressive and wetter during the morning. We rode again since everyone loved it, and were able to get to where the Symphonic Band was performing at the right time. As we were leaving, Pete remembered he left his hat on Space Mountain the night before, so we waited on one of the benches in-between parks while he claimed his Giants hat. California Adventure had a really long line to get in, which was weird because all the lines were pretty short. I was leaving the group for about 4 1/2 hours to go be with my uncle, Kenny, aunt, Jo-Anne, and cousin, Becky, in the park, since I don't see them often, later, but while we were waiting for them, we rode Soaring. The wait said an hour, but we were on in 20 minutes. They need to add new scenes, I'm kinda getting tired of the same scenes every time.
The group took another picture with Mater, and I met up with Kenny, Jo-Anne, and Becky. Becky's only 5, so we wouldn't be going on any big rides, but that was fine with me, I needed a break from the thrill. Kenny is a Disney expert, so we were talking about the updates to California Adventure while we walked to "It's Tough to Be a Bug". Since I do theatre, I loved seeing the parodies of all the musicals they had posted. This was Becky and I's first time seeing the show, and we both loved it. It was about 11:30, and everyone started to get hungry. But before we went to eat, I wanted to try the Golden Zephyr, a ride I've never been on. It's so short, my god! I was just starting to take in the views, when we came to a stop. Anyways, we went over to Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, which was surprisingly delicious. Last time I got a flatbread pizza at the Disneyland Resort, it was at Trader Sam's, which had thee worst pizza I have ever had in my life. This flatbread pizza, was beyond good. One of the best things I've had at Disneyland, I highly recommend it.
I've never been on Ariel before, so I really wanted to go on it, and I knew the others wouldn't want to, so I took advantage of being away from the group, and we rode it. The animatronics are a little awkward on that ride, the ones in Fantasyland are so so so much better, except Ursula, they did a great job on her. Next was Hollywood Backlot, Becky, Ken, and I went to Turtle Talk with Crush and all the other fun things in there, while Jo-Anne shopped and rested outside. Becky wanted to do Monsters next, but the line was atrocious, so my last ride with them was Heimlich's Choo Choo Train, which I still love every second of. After we said our goodbyes, I was back with my group.
Enzo, Kiernan, and I grabbed some frozen lemonades, and we made our way over to some Incredibles Interactive Parade thing, and watched that for a bit. Our Twilight Tower of Terror FastPasses weren't available for use for a while, so we went on Monsters. There was still time before Tower of Terror, so we decided to go to Paradise Pier, and ride Toy Story. The line was long, but moved pretty fast. It took us about an hour in all to get on, Kiernan won in our group. Our FastPasses were ready to use at that point, and we were in the boiler room in 10 minutes. I was beyond excited, this was gonna be my first time! We took our seats, and to be honest, I really didn't know what to expect. I was kind of tuning out, while watching that thing, and all of the sudden, we drop. My stomach gave out, and I was screaming like a Banshee, I could literally feel the seat belts holding me back. Just like the Golden Zephyr, I wish it was longer! We then had to find some of our group that didn't go on, and once we found them, we went to dinner. Since we all love the hot dogs they serve in Disneyland, we decided to grab a quick bite at Award Wieners.
TRON was doing some frisbee thing as we started to walk out of CA Adventure, and make our way over to Disneyland for a couple more rides. Pete did some shopping at the Emporium, which left us some time for ourselves! Irvin, Raul, and Hector went to go do some shopping, while Eric, Michael, Noni, and I got in line for Big Thunder. Pete joined us halfway through the line, and Irvin, Raul, and Hector just made it to where they could meet up with us. This was probably the funnest time we had in the park. It was night, and we got put in the very back of the train, which made for a really fun, wild ride. Pete, Raul, Irvin, and Hector went for some more dinner, since they didn't like their Award Wieners, while Eric, Noni, Enzo, and I got in line. We met this really nice family from Gilroy that was behind us, and the little kid in their group made fun of me because my voice was completely demolished at that point. Space Mountain was fun as usual, but then, as we came out, I noticed something weird... our photo wouldn't appear. I asked the photo guy, and he said he wouldn't show it because of people in my rocket flipping the camera off. Real mature. We had to go back soon, but we had a little time we wanted to make the best of, so we went on Astro Blasters quickly. Noni and I shopped around a little bit at the Emporium, and we had to go back.
That was such a fun trip, I'm happy that we got on so many rides and our chaperone wasn't a stick in the mud, and that I got to see some of my family and spend half the day with them.
Next Trip: June 2012