View Full Version : Andy Dannelley - June 1997

Trip Reports
10-16-2005, 06:14 PM
* Time of Year: Summer
* Travel Method: Personal Car
* Resort: Disneyland Hotel
* Accommodations
* Ages Represented in Group: Adult
* Disneyland Experience Represented in Group: Veteran
* Comments: Andy's report covers alot of details about the hotels, the park, and Light Magic -- Disneyland's newest nighttime spectacular parade.

Our trip June 6, thru June 8 was a late Christmas present. As part of our Christmas present to each other we decided that we would like to have a weekend at Disneyland and stay at the Disneyland Hotel. We go to DL at least twice a month to dance on Saturday nights. But because of our busy schedules, we just don't have the energy to stay up late, so we often leave between 9:30 and 10:00 PM. Not really a late evening date. So, we try to stay overnight at the Disneyland Hotel at least once or twice per year, to give us a chance to enjoy the hotel, the park, and dance as late as we want.

Well, this was our weekend. I am going to organize this trip report into three sections, the hotel and dining, the park and dancing, and Light Magic.

Dining at the hotels:

This section is about the hotel and dining. Frequently when we go down for an evening of dancing, we will go early enough to have dinner at a nice place at the hotel, and most often that is Stromboli's. We really like Stromboli's, they have a great menu, good service and pleasant atmosphere. Because we go to Stromboli's so often we decided to try some new places this time.

We decided that we would have a dinner in a nice place Friday night, try to make tea reservations for early Saturday, and have a dinner in a different nice place Saturday night. Well, we started by making reservations for Yamabuki at the Disney Pacific Hotel for Friday, and tried to get reservations for tea Saturday. I called about 4:00 PM Friday, and found out that there were no openings for tea for anytime Saturday, bummer. Oh, well, it gives us something to look forward to for our next overnight. During the day Saturday we decided to go to The PCH Grill at the Pacific for Saturday night.

Friday evening we ate at Yamabuki. This is a traditional Japanese restaurant, located just outside the front door of the Pacific Hotel. They even have a special traditional Japanese dining room (if you like) where you take your shoes off and sit on the floor. We may try that sometime. The menu has some traditional Japanese items, such as yakitori, sushi, sashimi, and tempura. We decided on the fresh fish combination. The fresh fish of the day was a choice of white cod or salmon. We had the salmon, it was grilled and served in a wonderful sauce. The combination also included soup and Japanese salad (great!) some tempura (vegetable and shrimp) and three pieces of California roll. The meal was $22, which I consider a great value for the quality and quantity. For desert we had a Japanese ice cream treat which was two flavors of ice cream (red bean and green tea). The ice cream was frozen in a ball and covered in a sweet rice mixture. We both liked flavors, the red bean best, but the green tea was ok, just a little strong on the green tea for us, but still very good.

Saturday night we ate at the PCH Grill in the Disney Pacific. The PCH Grill is in the location formally occupied by the Summertree restaurant. The PCH has been open for a month or so (according to a CM I spoke to) and has a great menu. There also appears to be a number of far east menu items with a Japanese flair. We had a hard time deciding between the appetizers, so we decided to have a couple of appetizers and one entree to share. We had Chicken Yakitori (skewered chicken strips served with a pineapple slice with a spicy peanut sauce, Moo Shu Duck Quesadilla with Hoisen glaze and for the entree we had Seared Ahi Tuna. The appetizers came out and were great the pineapple was slightly grilled, and the peanut sauce was great on both the chicken and pineapple. The Moo Shu Duck Quesadilla was great, while I couldn't quite imagine a marriage of a southwest dish (quesadilla) and an oriental dish Moo Shu Duck, it was also quite good. Soon the Ahi arrived. I had not though about it, but seared tuna was just that, seared, not grilled. Well, anyway it looked a little rare for me, so we sent it back for a little more "searing". When it came back it was still medium rare, and very good, also served with steamed rice. The Appetizers were $4.95 and $5.50, the Ahi was $14.50. All in all a great value for the dollar. Plenty of food excellently prepared and quite good. Also if you go to the PCH, save some room for desert, they have some real interesting desert items.

I hope this has given you a "flavor" for the Yambuki and PCH, I look forward to going back to each of these restaurants many times.

My Light Magic observations:

We attended the first showing of Light Magic at It's A Small World on Friday the 6th.

My first observation was crowd control. The crowd control CM's are in need of much more training, direction, and numbers. There just aren't enough CM's to properly keep things running smoothly. The walkways on the upper tiers appear to be laid out to cause traffic blockage, rather than enhance traffic flow. But if this is what the CM's have to work with, they need a few more CM's to help keep traffic flow happening smoothly.

My second observation on crowd control concerns sitting and standing on the planters. The guests are instructed not to sit or stand on the planters, but some people think it doesn't apply to them, so they sit or stand on the planters anyway, but after a discussion with the CM, guests would finally get down, only to get back up as soon as the CM's back is turned. If the original guest did not get back up, someone else who came up after the CM left would immediately see the empty space on the planter and proceed to stand on the planter. It may take one guest falling from the planter 4 or 5 feet up and opening his or her skull or injuring someone below before this is corrected. This is very dangerous, I hope they get this one fixed soon.

Soon it was time for the show. The floats, I mean stages rolled in , and after jockeying around a bit the stages were in place and the show started. The technology was great. The computer controlled fiber optics were great. The technology behind LM is functioning, but that appears to be all the show has, technology. The show opened with a dance number, very well choreographed and performed, the performers did great, but the show appears to be without meaning, it seems to be one long dance number. Light Magic, the Never Ending Dance.

I watched and listened, but the show just wasn't there. At the end of the show I watched and listened to the crowd, there were no cheers, no applause, just people leaving the area with a "is that it?" "is this all there is to LM?" attitude. If there were applause it was very scattered, and I couldn't hear it. The performers were great, but they are in desperate need of decent material.

Light Magic needs one of two things. If it is going to be a stage show, they need seating areas for spectators. If people have to invest several hours waiting, it should be more comfortable with better viewing. The only good viewing is right at the edge of the street, only there do you get a place to sit. Most of the viewing area is standing only. If this it to be a stage show, make it a stage show, and put it in a stadium.

If it is not going to be a stage show, make it a good parade. I personally feel that LM would be a better parade than a show. If it were a parade the spectators would be spread out over all of the parade route from It's A Small World to the end of Main Street. If done like a parade more people could see and enjoy it at each showing. Drop the movie scenes, they don't really add to the show. The movie scenes are done better in Fantasmic, and the water screens still have that "Wow! How did they do that?" appeal. With LM, everyone knows how they did it, it's a movie on a screen.

The parking lot was only half full, yet the viewing areas on Main Street and It's A Small World were extremely crowded. If LM were done as a parade then the crowd would be spread out. I wonder what the park is going to be like when summer season gets into full swing and summer crowds are there? With the current crowd control it is going to be a real problem.

After Light Magic, we decided to go to New Orleans Square and get a fritter. We waited for the LM crowd to clear, and the vacuums and blowers to come in to get rid of the confetti (good luck! CM's) . We walked over to New Orleans Square while Fantasmic was still going on. Wow, talk about alot of crowd control CM's, Fantasmic has about two or three times as many crowd control CM's as LM and they are organized! I hope some one is learning from the Fantasmic crowd control and planning do to something similar with LM.

Anyway, we got over to the little window below the Gallery, by Pirates to get our fritter. We got there before the Fantasmic was done, got our treat and found a seat where we could catch a glimpse of the Mark Twain with all the characters at the end of the show. When the show was over there was a thunderous applause, and a deafening cheer for the show, this only made the lack of applause and cheer at the end of LM more obvious. The only applause from Light Magic I remember hearing was the applause on the sound track of the show.

Confetti and pixie dust:

When the show was over, there was a tremendous amount of confetti. Does tons of confetti make up for lack of show concept? Anyway, the next day at 9:00 AM while riding It's A Small World I noticed confetti in the topiary around the attraction. There was confetti in the grass, confetti in the bushes confetti in the trees, confetti in the flowers, confetti in the street. confetti in everything, everywhere. We saw people all day long (Saturday) cleaning confetti from the previous night's performance. They cleaned by hand, they used broom and dust pan, they were even using rakes in the grass and planter areas. I couldn't believe how far the confetti traveled from the show location. Later it came to me... There is a bright side to the confetti, *summer jobs* In order to clean up all the confetti, Disney is going to have to employ an army of custodial staff. So, tons of confetti translates to many young people getting a college education. Go Disney!!

Final thoughts:

* The show technology is OK, but it would be a better parade than a show.
* The performers did a great job with the material they had, unfortunately they don't have enough material.
* Back to the drawing board. Make LM a parade, make the floats all different, eliminate the movie sequences, get a better story, and define the story better.
* I think the most charitable thing I heard about Light Magic was "It's just so boring" The technology is done well, but the story is boring.

Well, these are my thoughts on Light Magic. I don't think I'll waste my time again in the near future. I just hope they improve the crowd control and confetti removal.

At the park:

We went to the park Friday night primary to see Light Magic, we didn't really do anything else other than The Haunted Mansion, so see the part of the trip report on Light Magic for that part of the report.

Upon checking in, we found that Disneyland has started a new early entry program, where anyone staying at the Disneyland Hotel can get early entry to the park on certain days with any valid passport and your hotel key. Well, we decided to go for it. EE was at 6:30 Saturday, but we thought, we could go in, ride a few rides, and then take a rest break in the afternoon then be fresh and ready to go dancing.

Well, we stayed out until 11:00 PM Friday night with Light Magic and all, then by the time we got back to the hotel and to our room it was close to midnight. We decided we would still try the EE anyway, so we set the clock for 5:45 AM. We got up made a pot of coffee (we always take our 4 cup coffee maker, cause room service can be slow early in the AM) and had the cinnamon roll we bought from the bakery the night before. Well, anyway, we had 45 minutes before the start of EE, we got showered, had coffee and the roll and we were at the Monorail Station in time to catch the second train of the morning.

We got to the park about 6:45, and since most of the Fanasyland rides were open, and Indiana Jones and Pirates, we decided to ride the Fantasy land rides. There was absolutely no lines anywhere. We rode Alice in Wonderland first, then Dumbo, the Carousel, Mr. Toad's Wild ride, Peter Pan's Adventure, Pinocchio, and Snow white. Wow! we did all of Fantasyland and it was only a little after 7:00 AM, now it was a challenge, how many rides could we do before 9:00 or it started to get too crowded? We went on to Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates, then over to Storybook Land, It's a Small World, and Cartoon Spin. In all we did what, 12 rides, and it was just barely 9:00 AM. Normally we don't ride more than 1 or 2 rides (except at ng meets), so this was really something for us. when else can one do 12 rides in 2+ hours? (Whew!)

About then the park started to get crowded and the cinnamon roll was starting to be a distant memory, so we decided to go to River Bell Terrace for a proper breakfast. Well, they had "proper" breakfast on the menu, eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc. But that was it. When you order, your food spends too much time under a heat lamp before it is served, and consequently it just isn't up to what I would like. Well, we ate it anyway, the wandered around the park for awhile. The longest line we encountered was at the River Bell Terrace, and that was only about 15 minutes. I'm sure the ride lines got longer, but we didn't hang around. We just wandered for about an hour or so, and then got back to the hotel for our rest break. We got back to our room about 11:00 AM and set the clock for 3:00 PM (just in case).

Well, We didn't sleep 'till 3:00 PM, but we did sleep until 1:30 PM. We got up, got dressed and left for a cup of mocha at the Coffee House. Did I mention that they make great mocha at the Coffee House? Well, they do. Anyway, we had our mocha, then just wandered around the hotel grounds for a couple of hours. Long came 4:30 and we decided to go back to the room, get cleaned up, and go to dinner at 5:30 at the PCH Grill, dinner was great! (see trip report section on restaurants).

We then went to the park for an evening of dancing. We go to the Carnation Plaza Gardens about 7:15, (dancing starts at 7:30) and immediately noticed about 40 or 50 very young people, clean cut, just waiting. They must have been junior high age (13-15). Just waiting for the music. Wow, we thought it is going to be crowded on the dance floor tonight. We were right, when the music started, some of the regulars went on the dance floor, then the young people went, very quietly and orderly o the dance floor. Wow could they swing. We later decided that they must be from a dance class or part of a school activity. We watched for awhile, deciding that it was just too crowded at the moment. We did notice one thing, at the end of each number, most of the kids would exit the dance floor, wait by the entrance, then after the next number started, they would go back on the floor.

Well, we thought it just might be too crowded to dance tonight, but if we want to dance we better find a place. We decided to go out between numbers, just as the band decided to play a cha cha. Yes! We like cha cha, and it normally causes even some of the regulars to leave the dance floor. Well, some of the regulars left, and most (if not all of the kids). We had a great cha cha, then the next number was a swing number, so most of the dancers returned to the floor. Did I mention that the kids were very well behaved, and observed appropriate dance etiquette? Well, they did. I really think it is great to see a new generation coming up to enjoy swing and ballroom dance.

We finished off the evening dancing and left for the hotel exhausted, our las night at Disneyland (this trip). Well, we had a great time, and now we are just looking forward to our next trip and our trip to WDW next month.


Andy Dannelley