View Full Version : Trip report

10-11-2005, 11:40 AM
It was my first time back to Disneyland in about 30 years and the first trip ever for my wife and two sons, Sean (11) and Dylan (6). There is such a gentle, sweet spirit at Disneyland. Time seems to stand still. Itís an amazing place. Truly magical.

These are the highlights of our trip:

On our first day, we were fortunate to arrive on Main Street just as Mickey Mouse himself was getting there. Hugs and pix, then on to Space Mountain. On our last day, as we were leaving Disneyland, Mickey was in front of the fire station. More hugs, more pix.

Donít remember what it was like before, but SM was very cool. Loved the lights and the effect of spinning on our side. Sitting in front of the ride, the first turn into darkness is like smoothly entering a fantastic dream. The WDW version has more dips, the DL version seems to have more turns, but both are equally fun.

Dylanís favorite was Star Tours. He loved shooting at the bad guys. And everyone else. He thought the ride would be better if Darth Vader made an appearance. He also enjoyed running around Tom Sawyer Island, exploring caves and whatnot. He was excited to find some feathers. On the raft back, some other kid said that meant the bird had been shot. I recall Disney got in trouble some years back for killing off native birds on Discovery Island (I think) at WDW. AnywayÖ

Loved the "Billy Hill & The Hillbillies" show. Those guys are hilarious. It was definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of our trip. I went on the teacups and didnít barf! Yay! My wife went on Splash Mountain and actually wore a poncho. I was so embarrassed, but fortunately we were doing a child-swap thing so I didnít have to be on the same boat as her. She was appropriately razzed by others. Good grief.

I wasnít too crazy about the Haunted Mansion overlay. Would have preferred to see the original version and could have lived the rest of my life without seeing it decked out in the ďNightmare Before ChristmasĒ deal. NBC was a fine film. Iím sure Disney could come up with a fantastic attraction based on that film. Saving Santa or something. Leave HM alone.

I thought DCA looked beautiful, especially at night. From in front of the rocket ships, the lit up Ferris wheel and rollercoaster are breathtaking. We all agreed that Soariní was our favorite attraction (well, except Dylan, the little Star Wars freak). Soariní could have a feature-length film and it would be great. Imagine watching a 90-minute film Ė a CGI film, for example Ė developed especially for that type of arrangement. Itíd be like a next generation IMAX film. That would be awesome.

Some of our best moments came at DCA. My wife, whose greatest fear is the Ferris wheel, screamed so much she was crying. I didnít think Iíd be very comfortable on a swinging gondola either, but it was so funny to watch her freaking out that I forgot my own fears! Captured it all on video, of course.

Perhaps that seems cold, but this is a woman who bought our picture from Tower of Terror because she thought it was cute the way Dylan was screaming out his lungs. And she wears a poncho on Splash Mountain.

The other funny part was on the river raft ride. At the end, the big spurt of water. I thought Dylan and I were going to get it and he HATES getting splashed. But poncho girl (who wasnít wearing her poncho this time) and Sean got it and they got it good. They were drenched.

We stayed at the Paradise Pier hotel. All the girls at the front desk were great. They seemed to genuinely enjoy chatting with my boys Ė mostly about baseball with Sean, a White Sox fanatic who was continuously trying to find Angels fans to debate. One of the girls even tried finding some White Sox baseball cards for Sean.

Obligatory knock against DCA: what a wasted opportunity for Disney. So beautiful, yet so generic. You hear Walt talk in the ďFirst 50 YearsĒ film about why he created Disneyland in the first place Ė so that families can enjoy attractions together Ė and you look at the roster of DCA attractions and itís such a disconnect.

Thereís theming in spades Ė and I, perhaps because Iím not from there, have no problem with the California theme Ė but thereís no story. Let Six Flags be Six Flags; Disney should focus on being Disney and doing what Disney does best. I think most Disney fans would rather half a dozen great attractions than three dozen generic ones. And, please, get rid of those carnival games. What schlock.

The other thing: the sun from the Ferris wheel and the sculpture at front are very cool, but we couldnít find any souvenirs with them. We wouldíve bought T-shirts, magnets, pins and whatnot if they had featured the sun logos. Lots of cultures, particularly Hispanics (of which more than a few live in So. Cal.), embrace the sun. Canít believe Disney is leaving money on the table on this one.

Oh, one more observation: It seems that some DCA employees are a bit edgier than their counterparts at Disneyland. I saw a couple return a product to a cart vendor because they said they didnít like the product and the cast member actually slammed down the product on her cart and questioned why the guest would buy the product if he hadnít ever tried it before. She was really angry. Lots of times, CMs at stores seemed to be more interested in chatting with one another than servicing guests. Personally, Iím not bothered when a CM isnít over-the-top friendly. It gets annoying after awhile. But some, certainly not all, DCA CMs just seemed really unhappy.

WDW comparison: I loved that Disneyland is smaller, more accessible than WDW. Easier on the feet. Itís more intimate. Definitely less is more. I liked going on some of the rides you donít find at WDW: Mr. Toad, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Alice in Wonderland and Indiana Jones.

Most of the attractions that are at both parks, the differences didnít seem all that major. But I was surprised that Tower of Terror seemed to be a cheaper version of the one at WDW. The WDW version is scarier, with the elevator moving on a track and locking into place in nearly complete darkness before the plunge.

10-11-2005, 12:07 PM
Awesome trip report. I really enjoyed reading all of your perceptions of both parks. I agree with you on everthing except, I have to take your wife's side on the Sun Wheel. That thing is PURE EVIL!!!

Glad you had a great trip!

10-11-2005, 12:12 PM
LOVED your report!!

You had me laughing at your "poncho girl" :D


10-11-2005, 03:03 PM
Great report! I can't believe your wife even went in the Sun Wheel if she is afraid of Ferris wheels. I have not been to DCA yest but I know to Staaay Awaaay.

"Poncho Girl" cracked me up too!

10-11-2005, 03:13 PM
~kinglouie~ Thanks for sharing the adventures with us in your trip report. You made a good point about the lack of sun logo merchandising at DCA.

Faith Trust & Pixie Dust
10-11-2005, 03:18 PM
Thanks for sharing your trip report! It's nice that you, too, felt the old-fashioned Disney magic (at least until you got to DCA).

10-11-2005, 04:00 PM
Awesome report! Sounds like so much fun!

10-11-2005, 04:19 PM
Great job on your trip report! Poncho on Splash, have we no shame? ;)