1. Welcome to the Inside Universal Forums! Make sure to sign up and join the community! It's fast, free, and easy! DO IT!

Tobias's 1st time to DL (Trip Report)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports, Planning, & Questions' started by Tobias, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Tobias

    Tobias Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    969
    So last weekend I finally visited Disneyland for the 1st time, something that I felt was a long time coming since while I've been to WDW three times, the last time I was there was Spring Break of...2005. Add in the fact that DL is far closer (and cheaper), and with the opening of Galaxy's Edge, I figured this year was the time to finally go. So what did I think and how does it compare to WDW for me? Let's start at the beginning...

    Friday was a travel day for me, arriving at Santa Ana late at night and being greeted with the news of another earthquake that happened earlier. Not the news I wanted to hear, but I wasn't gonna' let that deter me. I headed off to my hotel to check in and attempt to sleep. I stayed offsite at the Park Vue Inn, something that was recommended to me by one of my Dad's coworkers. Now I'm normally used to the Orlando parks where staying on site is the way to go, so it was a bit of a shock to stay off site...yet be just as close -if not closer- to the park than the on site hotels! Just cross the street and you're right there! The hotel is worth it just for that convenience, and on top of that the hotel was quite nice.

    Saturday was jam packed, starting with a Magic Morning at Disneyland. Now I heard that Magic Morning/EMH's at DL are really good. More so than WDW's which always felt like a waste considering that the crowds are big enough to the point where it doesn't feel like you're getting any advantage at the park. So combine that fact with DL's abnormally lower crowds, I was stunned arriving around 30 minutes early and the turnstiles were only tens of people deep!

    Once I was in, I joined the throng of people in powerwalking the heck down Main Street. Admittedly it was funny as heck since you could clearly sense everyone wanted to flat out run, but we all knew we couldn't. It was also really nice seeing a bunch of management/higher ups doing their walks around the park as well.

    After I made it into Fantasyland, I proceeded to ride the following rides in rapid-fire succession...

    Peter Pan's Flight (1st person on it, too!) - This was my first Disney ride at WDW, so this was a fitting 1st in DL. I did like this version more than WDW's, though I will admit PPF is a little on the overrated side as the ride feels too short for how long you're usually waiting in line for.

    Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - This was completely new for me as Pooh was already in at WDW, and I can now see why those in Orlando miss this ride. This ride is pure, zany fun! I was laughing the whole ride through, and this quickly became one of my favorite fantasyland dark rides. As for another one...

    Alice in Wonderland - Dang! This is a fantastic example of a dark ride getting plussed. The addition of the animation/screens/projections really enhanced the ride, a great example being the flower scene where both the animated and practical set's blended perfectly together. Just like Mr. Toad, this quickly became a favorite.

    The Matterhorn - While I've heard mixed reports of people thinking it's rough or not, I personally really enjoyed it. The yeti AA is quite nice, and the single rider line made this coaster a breeze to hit up again and again.

    Hyperspace Mountain - Couple things here. When it comes to WDW's SM, I really do like the track layouts/ride, and I still do. DL's kicks all sorts of @$$ in more ways than one. It feels way faster, wilder, the effects are better and the on-board soundtrack is a plus. It also helps that the Hyperspace Mountain overlay is downright awesome. I love how the ride just gradually ramps up till you have laser fire whizzing by in all directions. This ride just packed a punch, and like with the Matterhorn, single rider was the way to go to get a whole lot of rides in.

    Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters - This is always a enjoyable little ride, and this is instantly better than WDW's as you're able to freely aim your blaster a la' MIB.

    Star Tours: The Adventure Continues - So this was brand new for me, and I liked the updates for this. The 3d was good, I liked the different scenes and oh yeah, I was the Rebel Spy in my first ride so that was a sweet way to get things started.

    After Star Tours, they were just about ready to open the rest of the park. So in that Magic Morning I was able to get 7 rides in, which I never even got close to doing that in WDW. I legged it to New Orleans Square to join the mob heading into Galaxy's Edge, where my thoughts on that are in the GE thread. (In short, I liked it!)

    After G.E., I went all over the park.

    Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye - Going into this trip, there was a lot of hype for this ride. An I'm very happy to say this ride lived up to that hype and then some. My 1st ride I was the driver of the jeep, and I was blown away. The ride is awesome, and for me this is one of the GOAT's of modern dark rides along with Spider-Man at IOA and WDW's Tower of Terror. An oh look, another single rider line to make great use out of!

    Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin - Loved it! An I'm really happy knowing it's not getting removed to make way for M&MRR, since this is a unique dark ride that's a step above some of the other fantasyland rides. Plus I never expected this ride would have a "How'd they do that?!" effect with the portable hole.

    BTMR - Like with WDW's version, this coaster is proof you don't need to be the tallest or fastest to be flat out fun. An while I give the edge to WDW's with a better layout, I noticed a lot more theming on DL's, plus it has the awesome third lift effects with the blasting tunnel.

    After a good chunk of rides, it was time for a snack. So I went down to Main Street to see what all the fuss was about with the corn dogs coming out of a little red wagon. An now I'm a believer as that was a dang good corn dog!

    With my snack acquired, I figured it would be a good time to visit DCA. An it's also a good time for me to end Part 1 of my TR. Part 2 will cover a bit of DCA, explosive ice cream bars, nighttime spectacular's at DL, and when boat rides turn into Omnimovers!
     
    Skold, snayberry, belloq87 and 3 others like this.
  2. Tobias

    Tobias Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    969
    Part 2 - A bit of DCA, and DL at night.

    When it comes to getting around the resort, it's actually easy to park hop considering the entrances are right across from another. An once I crossed over to DCA...

    First there's Buena Vista Street, which I honestly a really nice entrance land. I loved the look, the music and even the period clothes that Mickey, Minnie and Goofy are wearing. It has a lot of charm to it. Then you enter Hollywood Land, which greeted me with thematic whiplash. So I'm fine with the look of the land, it does seem like something you'd see in Hollywood Studios in WDW. Maybe a little more with the awesome façade of the Hyperion down the street. The whiplash comes in the form of the music, as Marvel music was blasting through the land. Yes, you have the Hero meet and greed's in this area, though those alone also add to the hodgepodge of stuff in the land, making it feel like there's a case of a identity crisis. Monster's Inc: Mike and Sully to the Rescue being tucked away in the corner just adds to that.

    Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! - So this attraction has quite the history, now does it? First it was DCA's ToT, which was quickly dinged as a lesser tower compared to WDW's. Then came the rumors it was getting turned into GotG which seemed crazy, then came the announcement and concept art which looked crazier. But then the ride opened, and people were admitting it not only worked...but it also worked -better- that ToT! For me I felt I was gonna' enjoy the ride at the very least. Now did I expect to enjoy the ride so much that I'd be going on it over and over? No...

    ...but that's what happened. 16 times to be exact.
    Without a doubt, Mission Breakout was the biggest surprise of the trip. This ride is just plain fun from beginning to end, from all the nods and easter eggs in the entry room, to messages from Howard the Duck in the exit corridor. The Rocket AA is impressive, and the drop sequences mess with you in ways the Tower of Terror never did. Be it the constant darkness save for the screens and photo op, to the lighting above and to the sides of the lift which were used to great effect.

    The only downside was I only missed one song/sequence, and that was Free Ride. I'm a little bummed about that since I've heard that sequence is awesome. But that doesn't change the fact that I downright loved this ride. Now for me, WDW's ToT is still one of the GOAT's. It's a masterful slow burn of a attraction that gradually builds suspense till you reach the drop shaft, where it will scare you good. Conversely, Mission Breakout is fast-paced, frantic and fun. (Which fit's perfectly with the GotG.) Both towers work incredibly well with the direction they go in, and while DCA's ToT was always compared to and dinged against WDW's tower, Mission Breakout proudly stands on it's own. Yes, the building itself is certainly...a lot. (An boy does it stick out in other areas of the park!) But what's inside is flat-out fun, and that's what honestly matters the most.

    After a awesome time with the Guardians, I hopped into Cars Land which is a impressive land in it's own right. I may not be the biggest fan of the franchise, but the land looked really good and that Cadillac range is one heck of a backdrop!

    Radiator Springs Racers - While it may not be as fast as Test Track, overall this ride is way better. The dark ride segment is really nice with some killer AA's, and the racing finale is a lot of fun with some nice pops of airtime in the mix. An hidey ho, another single rider line which was the way to go on avoiding a consistently busy line.

    Next up was Pixar Pier, which may be the most hodgepodge-y of all the lands with the various clashes of styles in theming.

    The Incredicoaster - I'm in the boat this overlay wasn't needed, you're essentially slapping on a story to something which never told one to begin with. That said, the coaster itself is really good! Some nice pops of air, a nice sense of speed throughout, plus some of the tunnels did have nice effects. That and the soundtrack was really good, too. Hey, there's a single rider for this, too!

    Goofy's Sky School - A simple Mack wild mouse, fun enough for what it is. Especially with little to no wait via the single rider.

    TLM: Ariel's Undersea Adventure - This feels like a larger scale fantasyland darkride, complete with shortened storytelling of the movie. None the less, it's a nice attraction with some sweet AA's. I also spotted the Mr. Limpet figure which was a nice touch.

    Soarin' Over California - As usual, a wonderfully relaxing flight simulator with a GOAT soundtrack. As well as your daily reminder that Patrick Warburton is the man.

    With all that rides and the weather heating up, it was time for another snack. For this I went to Clarabelle's where I tried the hand dipped ice cream bar. This is a wonderful snack, especially with the customization of what ice cream, chocolate and toppings you can use. I went with vanilla bean ice cream, dark chocolate and as for toppings, I went with "The Whole Herd", which is a bit of everything, including a nice amount of pop rocks which lead to this...it didn't take much moisture to set the pop rocks off, so once I started eating the pop rocks exploded and sent the various toppings flying everywhere! It was the first time food started attacking me, which was quite amusing and absurd. None the less, it was a great snack.

    After that, I went back to DL where I re-rode some rides, and went on the Haunted Mansion which is always a classic. (For me it's a toss-up between this one and WDW's. Both are plenty good, and I loved both the Hatbox Ghost and the floating Madam Leota in DL's.)

    Eventually it was time for my Fantasmic dinner at Blue Bayou, and that was really good. Had the house salad which was above average compared to other salads in restaurants, The Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb was quite tasty and the Sorcerer Mickey dessert was a nice finish. Also had a Mint Julip over there which was very refreshing! Another nice touch to doing the Fantasmic dinner at Blue Bayou is they also give you a keepsake custom seat cushion considering you have to sit on the ground in the reserved section.

    Fantasmic! - Wowza, that just stomped all over WDW's. Orlando may have the nice amphitheater to sit in, but that's about it. DL's was way bigger in scale, more up to date and was a treat to watch from beginning to end. It didn't feel like any segment dragged, either. (Unlike the Pocahontas and bubble mist segment from WDW's.)

    After F!, I scrambled back to DCA for a fastpass'd night ride on Mission Breakout. (Thanks in part to the backstage exit at Main Street, boy did those Jungle Cruise skippers take quite the turn to end up there.) Then it was back to DL for more re-rides, and night rides on Jungle Cruise (shorter than WDW's, but still plenty of fun. Skipper Gabby had some wonderful zingers I've never heard before!), as well as Casey Jr. and Storybook Canal Boats. (Both very cute and charming rides which are a great way to rest one's feet.)

    At this point the lines were so short, I even went on Dumbo. Never went on it once at WDW, but here it was a walk-on for me! I also hit up Pirates of the Caribbean, and while WDW may have the themed queue, DL has the better ride. Now the new Redd scene didn't turn out as bad as I thought, but it's a scene that's just kinda' there. Now my ride here was made a little more interesting as our boat caught up with the one in front at the town, and after a bit of knocking together we found ourselves in a omnimover of boats for the rest of the ride. I know Pirates has a fantastic capacity, throughput, but that was ridiculous! XD

    So with all that and a few more rerides, Saturday was over. It was a packed to the gills and quite the first impression of the park for me. Part 3 is Sunday (probably Monday, too), and the following posts will be on the shorter side since I've got most of the ride comments out of the way.
     
    Nick, belloq87, Mad Dog and 1 other person like this.
  3. Tobias

    Tobias Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    969
    Part 3 - Sunday Funday

    Since my first day was mostly at DL and a bit of DCA, Sunday I spent a lot of time at DCA with a bit of DL here and there.

    I started the day off with waking up on Mission Breakout, which was the 1st of NINE rides that day alone.
    I also took the opportunity to make use of the small lines to hit up something which usually doesn't have them for most of the day....

    Toy Story Midway Mania! - This was another ride new for me, and I enjoyed it quite a bit! I did like how the projectile's changed as well as how they shot, and I found this ride just as addicting (if not a bit more) as Buzz Lightyear.

    Besides the other rerides, I hit up...

    Mater's Junkyard Jamboree - This ride was another little surprise! It packed a bigger punch then I thought it would, the various songs were charming and Mater/Larry the Cable Guy giving the Spanish safety spiel was something I never knew I wanted til I heard it.

    Grizzly River Run - Upon discovering there's free for 2 hour lockers nearby, I decided to give this a shot. I'm glad I did since this a better whitewater raft ride compared to AK's Kali River Rapids. The boat I was in spun a lot which made it unpredictable, the ride also had a acceptable amount of wetness. A nice splash here and there, but nothing that'll drench you to the core. (Granted, we missed the geyser's at the end which clearly looked to do the most damage.) I also loved the final drop which does the genius move of spinning your boat, a real fun way to finish the ride.

    The Sun-wait no. Mickey's Fun Weel-nope. Pixar-Pal-Around! - Weird name aside, I gave the swinging car a shot and that was pretty fun. Though I was caught off guard how fast and far those cars can swing!

    Silly Symphony Swings - I've always liked these wave swingers, add in some classical music and a nice high vantage point, and that's worth a spin or two.

    M.I.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue! - So this was a cute lil dark ride, has some nice effects in there, along with the interactive moment with Roz. (She wanted to trade glasses with mine.)

    After some rides, I stopped by the Cozy Cone Motel to try a Chili Cone Carne (The pun game is strong on this one.) and that was a good portable snack right there. Later on I went to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain for a delicious Muir Woods sundae. To which I'll add that the soda fountain is one of the many places where the wonderful smell will hit you good when you're nearby. Also, the interactive mural in that shop was a really cool touch as well.

    Later I went back into DL, and after having a drink in Oga's Cantina I rode what most adult's probably wish they had before or during while riding this...

    It's a Small World - Drinking jokes aside, I actually have no problem riding IASW due to this fact, the song -does not- get stuck in my head. I think I prefer this one over WDW's, and I did like the addition of the Disney characters to the ride. Some may be a little blatant in their placement, but others you have to look for. Also, I wish they sold a plush/figurine of the White Rabbit in this ride. The design is friggin' adorable and I. Want. That.

    Autotopia - Plain and simple, this is lightyears ahead of WDW's. It's a nice, long and relaxing ride through the woods, up and over bridges and underpasses etc. It's everything WDW's should've been.

    The Disneyland Railroad - This was another relaxing trip, enhanced pretty nicely with the Grand Canyon/Dinosaur's segment which took me right back to Universe of Energy. (Just without the long wait to get to them.)

    Back at DCA, I had a interesting moment after leaving one of my many rides on Mission Breakout. Walking down the street I came across a big wad of money, I looked around to see if anyone was looking for it but found nada. I turned it into guest relations and was given a free anytime fastpass, which I promptly used on Mission Breakout. Being a good person in general pays off!

    I also did get some pictures with a couple characters, one was Mickey in his Newsie's getup. The other was Nick and Judy from Zootopia (Which considering I'm in the Furry fandom, that was a no brainer.), who were wonderfully animated.

    For Dinner, I made a same day reservation for Carthay Circle, and that was another great meal. Had a nice Old Fashioned, the Firecracker Duck Wings lived up to their name and then some, and the Chicken Meatloaf was quite filling.

    Afterwards was another nighttime run through DL, hitting up more attractions I've yet to hit.

    Finding Nemo Submarines - A classic ride system used for a quite cute attraction, definitely not for the claustrophobic, but a night ride like this gave plenty of space. An since it was mainly adults on the sub, we had some...choice words during that anglerfish scene. XD (I wish we've would've gotten that Atlantis overlay, a Alien Encounter-ish experience on the subs would've had the chance to be amazing!)

    Pinocchio's Daring Journey - A nice simple fantasyland dark ride which sure wasted no time in going sinister. Happy Puppet Sh-DARK.

    Snow White's Scary Adventures - Here's something you can no longer do at WDW! It seemed like you saw the witch a lot more on this one, and I was pleasantly surprised by the projection mapping addition to the Queen's transformation!

    I finished the night off with something that I've always wanted to do, once park closing drew near I got in line and had myself a Midnight ride on the Haunted Mansion. One of the better ways to end a night for sure!
    That also ends part 3, part 4 is gonna' be the final part which is the last bit of fun on Monday and my final thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
    Nick, belloq87 and Mad Dog like this.
  4. Tobias

    Tobias Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    969
    Part 4 - A Case of the Mondays and my Final Thoughts

    Monday was essentially a greatest hits run since I was only there for a partial day before I had to head back to the airport. Amongst the rerides I hit up a couple more attractions I've yet to hit over the weekend.

    Splash Mountain - This is always a favorite of mine, and while I do give the edge to WDW's for being bigger and grander, I still certainly enjoyed this version. I'm also quite glad I had my phone and wallet in plastic bags since this version nails your lower half pretty good! In certain ways I think you get a bit wetter on this than WDW's version, heck I got wetter on this than Grizzly River Run! Also, hooray for another single rider line!

    The Enchanted Tiki Room - This show is downright delightful! An I was quite happy it wasn't interrupted by Iago at any point in the show. It's a bona' fide classic in every way.

    Now before the Enchanted Tiki Room, I took advantage of the Mobile Ordering to pre order some skewers from Bengal Barbeque that have been teasing me the entire weekend. Seriously, anytime you pass by that place the smell hit's you and it's so tempting. After the show, I got my order in no time flat. I took the advice of getting a tiger tail breadstick to help take care of any excess sauce, and that was a most excellent choice. These skewers are like the perfect snack for me.

    After a bit more rides and shopping, I was on my way back to the airport.

    Final Thoughts

    I'll be honest, before this trip I was wondering if the Disney Magic was still there for me. I haven't been to WDW since 2005 and between then and now there's been the ups and downs of what's been added to the parks, changed, removed etc. In ways, I was feeling a bit jaded.

    But once I arrived, got greeted by the friendly CM's, took in the atmosphere and rode a couple rides, it quickly hit me the Magic was still there. In fact, it never left. I was in a good mood the entire weekend, and that's what any park should aspire to. You enter the grounds, go through the gates and you escape from the outside. Any stresses or worries go out the window and you go into a place where you have a good time.

    I was really impressed with Disneyland, with everything so close together, I say it's akin to Universal Orlando in that regard. I really prefer this compact layout compared to the very spread out format which takes a bit of time to get to anywhere. Another thing I appreciated was the sheer amount of single rider lines at the attractions, not only did I get a lot more rides in that way, but it also shortened the number of Fastpasses I needed to get. Speaking of Fastpass…

    MaxPass - This is honestly brilliant. It made my trip stress-free with the ability to get whatever FP's I needed from anywhere. An the unlimited PhotoPass downloads with it makes it even better! If you're ever going to Disneyland, this is totally worth the extra money. Even if you may not be using FP's that often, the PhotoPass downloads alone make it worth it.

    So that's that, my 1st Disneyland trip is in the books, and I already wanna' go back. Thankfully it looks like I am, since I did notice this trip did bump up my miles into the range of comping a flight. Not to mention I know several friends and family member's who're wanting to return as well. The main thing I gotta' wait for is Rise of the Resistance to open, and then I can start making plans!

    -Tobias
     
    Skold, Nick, belloq87 and 2 others like this.
  5. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    15,736
    Likes Received:
    23,949
    Location:
    Pittsburgh area
    Nice trip report. I was impressed by the sheer number of single rider lines at Disneyland like Universal Orlando has. At Universal, when we don't have a deluxe hotel with Express Pass, the single rider lines almost make up for it. I believe WDW only has 3 or 4 single rider lines at the entire resort, and the CM's don't even make an effort to get the line moving, so they're rarely short. Seems like single rider really made your vacation. You rode a lot. :thumbsup:
     
    Tobias likes this.
  6. belloq87

    belloq87 Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2,944
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    Location:
    The middle ground between light and shadow...
    Great report, @Tobias!

    You're definitely helping light a fire under me to make my first Disneyland trip a reality sooner than later!
     
    Tobias likes this.
  7. snayberry

    snayberry Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    1,756
    Location:
    Miami
    Awesome report, glad you had fun. This makes me want to visit DL, I've never been.
     
    Tobias likes this.
  8. Tobias

    Tobias Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    969
    Yeah, all the single rider lines where such a huge convenience, add in MaxPass and I was able to ride more than I ever did at WDW.

    It should also be mentioned that ops/crowd control were fantastic at DL. They were doing their best to fill any train/car and dispatch asap. An as for C.C. one of the best examples was my first ride on Smugglers Run where the main queue went into the backstage overflow. Without any ropes, the CM's back there got the whole crowd in a smoothly moving set of switchbacks and even expanded it a couple times with no hiccups.
     
    Mad Dog likes this.

Share This Page