Disneyland Traveler Blog Sites

Friday, December 27, 2013

Disney Released Films - 2014

If you look over to the right hand column you will see some new posters and theater release dates for three of the Disney (and Marvel) films in 2014.
First up is the Muppets Most Wanted as British comedian Ricky Gervais joins our life long pals for a European set adventure. Gervais can be a vile, profane, and contemptible character in real life. He can also be hysterically funny. Hopefully Kermit and the gang can keep Gervais tongue in check and the comic brings some much needed zing to the franchise. And hopefully Disney will do a better job of marketing the movie than the last lackluster effort back in 2011.
The first big release is Captain America: A Winter Soldier. I really look forward to this one as the first Marvel Captain America film is one of the best Marvel film releases. And even veteran war horse actor Robert Redford joins the cast in this one.
A big deal is made about Maleficent film with Angelina Jolie in the starring role as the evil whatever. I'm not much into classic Disney characters so the subject matter is kind of foreign to me. For the longest time I was thinking this was an animated film but no, this is live action with real actors performing. Refreshing. This movie is supposed to be a huge blockbuster. So was the Lone Ranger.
I didn't put up the posters for the Disney Nature film on Bears or another release due in the spring called Million Dollar Arm (which has a title that says flop written all over it - I could be wrong). Also coming up on August 1 is Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy as new characters are introduced to public for the first time including a well chiseled Chris Pratt who was last seen as a dufus in the TV series Parks and Recreation. Some of these "Guardians" are completely CGI animated and just use actors voices (Vin Diesel for one). It will be interesting to see if this Marvel effort catches fire like the rest.
Not sure about Disney releases next fall and winter yet so more movie information is coming. I do know Tomorrowland starring George Clooney and directed by Brad Bird is in production for a May 2015 release. The movie is not about the land in Disney Parks. Hopefully the movie has a little more cohesiveness than that piece of real estate.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Disneyland Christmas Fireworks Show Kind Of Fizzled

(Internet Photo Source)

We had our fried chicken dinner at the Plaza Inn Restaurant on Main Street on Saturday night, the night we arrived. We finished our dinner a little before 9:00 pm. Hey.....the fireworks start at 9:30 and the crowd was just beginning to gather around at the hub in front of the castle. So even though we were tired after a long day of traveling, and an appointment with a mattress and pillow was in my future, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I decided to wait for the fireworks. And so the wait began.

Thirty minutes isn't a long wait by Disneyland standards but when you are dog tired, it's long enough. And promptly at 9:30, the Believe.....In Holiday Magic fireworks display began. I know of two who were glad the fireworks only lasted 10 minutes - my left foot and my right foot. Other than that, I thought the holiday fireworks display was a bit of a disappointment. I remember back in 2005, the Disneyland fireworks shows came in at a whopping 20 minutes. Ever since then, they seemed to have scaled it back to about a 10 minute show. Granted, fireworks are hugely expensive and the one way Disney can add to their bottom line is to cut back on displays such as fireworks.

As for the snow on Main Street - well I'm not too sure about Main Street itself, but for those of us gathered at the hub, we looked up and saw the "snow" blowing out of the machines. The substance then dissipated for the most part before it came anywhere close to the ground or the people for that matter. Again, less of a magical moment than previous years.

In the end, instead of triumph, the fireworks kind of fizzled for me. I was glad to be heading back to the hotel room warmly greeted by a mattress and a pillow.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Very Merry Disney Christmas

Merry Christmas 2013 from us at the Disneyland Traveler Blog. Sorry - haven't posted much lately but this Christmas stuff has you on the run for sure. More postings coming soon.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fried Chicken At The Plaza Inn Restaurant

Beautiful Christmas Tree Inside The Plaza Inn Restaurant

I got to cross 3 things off my Disneyland Bucket List on this trip, 3 things I've always wanted to do but just hadn't gotten around to it yet. I got one bucket list item crossed off the night we got there. After a 4 hour detour because of the closing of the grapevine due to snow, we arrived at our hotel at 6:40 pm and hungry as all get out. By the time we got settled in and headed to the park it was closer to 8:00. We needed dinner and I pointed us straight to the Plaza Inn Restaurant dodging Candlelight Processionalers along the way.

I'd always heard how great the fried chicken dinner was at the Plaza Inn for years now but for various reasons, I never made it a priority to go in and try it. This time it was a priority and the chicken did not disappoint in the least. For Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and myself, this may have been the best fried chicken we have ever tasted including what they serve over at Knotts Berry Farm. It definitely beats KFC by a country mile. Tender and moist, crispy skinned and wonderfully seasoned, this chicken is simply the best. It was so good we made it back a second time to the Plaza Inn and contemplated a third visit during our stay. High praise indeed.

Just for comparison we also ordered the pot roast and this was quite good as well, extremely tender and richly flavored. You can't go wrong with either the pot roast or chicken but in the end, the chicken gets the winning vote. The Plaza Inn will be on our must do list from this point going forward in future trips and a great thing to cross off the Disneyland Bucket List. 

Jingle Cruise Didn't Exactly Jingle All The Way

Jingle Cruise False Advertising
For the 6 days we were at the Disneyland Resort, the lines never wavered a bit for the renamed and re-themed Jungle Cruise now known for the holiday season as the Jingle Cruise. The lines were always long, often longer than the neighboring epic Indiana Jones Adventure attraction. The lines were typically in the 30 - 60 minute range for a ride when outside of the Christmas season is usually no more than a 15 minute wait.

But to say the ride was re-themed on the scale of the Haunted Mansion or it's a small world would be a very large stretch. A few Christmas decorations were added to the queue line (with the lines so long I saw parts of the queue line I hadn't seen in years, especially on the upper level), some Santa hats were added to the ride characters that are encountered, and the legendary Jungle Cruise skippers added some holiday shtick to their comical narration. In the end it adds up to very little and certainly didn't equal that wait time it took to get on the ride.

The whole idea of the Jingle Cruise, while a good idea, seemed rush and half hatched. It could have been thought out better and delivered more. I must confess I went on the ride during the day when maybe the after dark cruise would have been preferable but I'm sure the lines would have been even longer. In the end, it was still the same Jungle Cruise ride everyone knows with a couple of Christmas twists along the way. The Jingle Cruise just wasn't a very big deal unfortunately.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Disneyland Souvenir - Coming Back With A Cold

Mickey Mouse with a cold - A Disney character

What do you get when you are at Disneyland sharing the fun, happiness, and good times with 50,000 other people? Well if you are me, more often than not, you come home with a cold - especially if you are visiting the resort in the cooler times of the year. I can't tell you how many times I have come home from a trip to Disneyland with a cold. Seems to happen almost every time. But even down with a cold this week, it sure beats the time I came back and needed prostate surgery.

That being said, I am getting better and with time off for the holidays looming, get ready for a barrage of new posts about our latest Disneyland trip.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Ups and Downs of the Jolly Holiday Bakery

When the lines at the new Disneyland Market House Starbucks are just ridiculously long, it's just a short walk away to the Jolly Holiday Bakery. The coffee beverages are not as good as what Starbucks serves up but these days, the wait is much shorter. And it's a bakery! Now, the bakery items are admittedly hit or miss in their taste and quality. Some are good (the brownie and Christmas sugar cookie for instance) but some have been a major disappointment.

Which brings us to the sad tale of one of Mrs. DisneylandTraveler's favorite seasonal treats - the pumpkin muffin and how it has gone from a favorite to a 30 minute rant on the pumpkin muffins loss of quality from when it was served in the old Main St. Bakery during the fall and winter months. Mrs. DLT hated the new version and new recipe for the what is now called a pumpkin - golden raisin muffin and hate may not be a strong enough word for what she thought was an abomination. The rich pumpkin spice flavor had been replaced with some kind of bland spiced cake mix flavor that had no character whatsoever. I took a couple of bites and agreed. It tasted like a cheap cake mix rather than a richly spiced muffin. Since I am not a pumpkin fan, the loss of quality didn't affect me like it affected her but rather, I had to listen to what started as a great Disney day and quickly turned into a rant because what was a hopeful treat turned into a major disappointment.

The pumpkin muffin

I had the quiche. You can't go wrong with a quiche from the Jolly Holiday Bakery. It is consistently good and really a can't miss food item in my Disneyland menu rotation. Besides the quiche, the JHB also serves up one of the best roast beef sandwiches around complete with caramelized onions and sinus opening horseradish sauce. Good stuff here.

The Jolly Holiday Bakery is a frequent stop on our trips to Disneyland. You just need to be prepared that among the jewels that are served up also comes some disappointments.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Look Back at Disneyland's 2013 Candlelight Processional

I guess it was always Walt Disney's intention that the Candlelight Processional was for Disneyland sponsors, VIP's, and regular park supporters, but now that the number of Annual Passholders is somewhere around 900,000 (and almost all of them think they are special), the Processional (which ran about 50 minutes or so) has taken on a different aspect. Yes, the VIPs still get ushered to their seats. Those seats that aren't filled are given to standby's who put their name in when the park opens. There is some bench seating but again, those benches were claimed at 8:00 am for a 5:30 performance on a first come, first served basis. For everyone else, the Candlelight Processional becomes another Disneyland waiting game like Fantasmic or World of Color on a busy night. It's an ordeal.

We waited out in front of the Disneyland Opera House for about 4 hours to listen to grand music of the holiday season and for actor Kurt Russell to narrate the same story of the birth of Christ that Linus recites in about 2 minutes of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The processional as a spectacle is nothing short of moving as orchestra and choir put everything they have into the beautifully arranged music. The Candlelight Processional was a wonderful highlight to my holiday season but was it worth the 4 hour wait?

Yes, but as Mrs. DisneylandTraveler said, we probably wouldn't do it again. We are at an age where we are beyond the point where we follow the Disneyland custom of sitting on the ground to wait for something. I did that a few years ago for Fantasmic and swear it was the starting point of some of the arthritis areas I now have. So if you don't sit on the ground, you stand, and stand, and stand some more. Sometimes you can find something lean against and I will be forever grateful to a garbage can in front of the Lincoln theater which helped prop me up.

And after 4 hours, I did get to within about 50 yards of Kurt Russell who just happened to be the star of one my all time guilty pleasure movies, Captain Ron. In his early 60's now, he still looks in great shape and gave a good (but not great) reading of the Christmas story. Glad I saw it. Won't do it again if the opportunity comes up in the future. The waiting is a killer.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Disneyland Traveler Runs Out of Gas

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. After wandering the grounds of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks for 4 straight days, often without a plan, rhyme, or reason, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I were literally beginning to feel the pain. We ain't as young as we used to be and there are limits to everything - including having fun. Admitting we were just too flat out beat down to endure the countless lines, we did another necessary Disney task - we shopped. Or rather I should say Mrs. DLT shopped as I followed. The one label I never want to have put on me is that of being a shopper.

But the family back home needed their souvenirs and Mrs. DLT insisted that I needed something though what she picked out and what I would have picked out are completely different. She thought I needed a new set of Mickey Mouse lounge wear and a hat. I had my eye on that wooden Tiki Room statue with its $95 priced tag (about the cost of my pajamas and hat).

Anyway, we returned back to the hotel room last night quite early with bags and bags of stuff, the same as everyone else who visits here. Hopefully a good nights sleep will refuel our gas tanks and we will be ready for a full day of activity. This is our last day here after all. It can't go to waste.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Best Bad Way To Begin My Disney Day

A typical hotel coffee pot set up

"So...Mr. Disneyland Traveler sir - how do you begin your day at Disneyland?"

Oh let's not be formal here. You don't have to call me sir. I'm just some guy writing stuff about mostly Disney. Some of it makes sense, but on other matters people have differing opinions - like this...

I love to begin my Disney day with that horrid coffee they have set up in hotel rooms. Why you ask? Because nothing says you're on vacation like starting the day with coffee put together from a dozen different packets (coffee, sugar, creamer, stirrer, etc.). Does it taste bad? Well not that bad and it all says I am here and hopefully great things are going to happen. Hotel room coffee is fuel for wishing for the best day possible.

Being good coffee is irrelevant. Being here is..

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

More things the Disneyland Traveler will ponder when he returns from this Disneyland trip.

  • Saw Billy Hill and the Hillbillies yesterday. Will see them again before we leave as the clock is ticking before Disneyland executive chowder heads send them to.... (probably Knotts Berry Farm).
  • Long wait for the "Jingle Cruise". Was it worth it? (no)
  • Finally saw the "running of the goats" - real cute. Cross off bucket list.
  • World of Color Christmas show - it helps to know Olaf and see Frozen first.
  • The Disneyland Traveler's experience with lunch at the Carthay Circle Restaurant.
  • It took 3+ days of being here before setting foot in DCA. For me, that's about right.
  • Still looking for that perfect souvenir or two.
  • And still continuing to lose at both Buzz and Toy Story Mania to Mrs. DLT.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Disneyland Traveler, Kurt Russell, and the Throngs of Others

Actor Kurt Russell prepares for the Candlelight Processional
(Yes.....he put on a tux for the performance)
So the Disneyland Traveler and Mrs.DisneylandTraveler are actually in Disneyland this week and where this is being written. Here are some story lines that will be covered in upcoming posts.

  • Was the Candlelight Processional with official Disney Legend actor Kurt Russell worth the 4 hour wait?
  • Dang it's cold here!
  • New food items on the menus and one very old one that I never tried - the Plaza Inn chicken - maybe the best fried chicken ever.
  • The ruination of one of Mrs. DLT's favorite Disneyland seasonal treats - a horrid pumpkin muffin.
  • A 10 minute Christmas fireworks show?
  • So far, heavy crowds, even on Monday.
  • Very little buzz in the resort about the World of Color Christmas show though we haven't seen it yet.

Still so much to do. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A "Wouldn't It Be Great?" Candlelight Processional

Wouldn't it be great if Kurt Russell did his narration of the Candlelight Processional on Sunday night as his Captain Ron character?

Slowly Working Our Way Towards Six Flags Over Anaheim

So I've been pretty cheesed off that Disneyland has decided to bring an end to the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies Show. The Billy Hill shows inside the Golden Horseshoe were performed before packed houses with a great time to be had by young and old alike. Let's get rid of it. Knuckleheaded decision if there ever was one that I'm sure was driven by financial reasons.

Now comes the story that the abandoned Skyway Station in Fantasyland is due to be demolished after the first of the year. Granted, the place hasn't been used for 20 years, but it's just such a rich piece of Disneyland history. A show of hands, how many people took a ride on the Fantasyland / Tomorrowland Skyway with their parents?  And how many took that ride with parents who may have passed on? Bam! Another memory blown away, just like the Market House, or the Court of Angels. Mrs. DisnsyelandTraveler and I have all but decided not to renew our annual passes when they expire next spring. Disneyland is making the decision quite easy.

P.S. I shared this link in a previous post when I first found out that Disney had decided to "retire" the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show. It is a petition to Disney requesting they reconsider that decision. To date, it has already collected over 2,400 signatures. If you haven't done so already, please sign the petition (and be sure to ask everyone you know to do the same).



Monday, December 2, 2013

The Return Of The Tomorrowland Money Pit

Tomorrowland - Where the Future Is Now
So wherever MiceChat gets their information from (and its usually pretty good sources), their current report (rumor) now is that the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction is closing for extended refurbishment after the first of the year.  And that refurbishment could possibly be indefinite.

The closure is not unexpected, as Al Lutz reported on its closure several months ago (even though the ride is still extremely popular).  The problem with the Nemo Subs is that it is also the most expensive attraction in the park to keep in running operation.  The decision a few years ago to convert the classic diesel propelled subs to environmentally friendly battery operated subs was met by green types with rousing appreciation. The only problem is that those expensive batteries have a notoriously short lifespan, and the batteries get very hot which causes them to occasionally, eh, - catch fire.  Yep, the photogenic subs are fraught with technical issues.

Al's bigger point is that the subs (most of which are in an underground show building) and Autopia running on top of it while residing next to the adjoining Innoventions building, occupies a massive amount of Disneyland Tomorrowland real estate.  The real estate was once thought to be the launching place of Marvel attractions, then Star Wars attractions, and finally, the no one really knows attractions.

The one thing that is known is whatever is done with Tomorrowland, (whether it be Marvel based, Star Wars based, or a combination of both franchises), the price tag will be very, very expensive. Expensive to the point that Disney seems content to continue to bring in Cars Land profits which is already paid for and turning a handsome profit.

The other thing that can cause Disney to wait things out is the construction of Shanghai Disneyland. This is one of those partnerships (similar to the Tokyo Disney Parks) where the Disney Company is only part owner. They license the rides, characters, and attractions (which they also build) but, the company is not on the hook for picking up the whole tab. Great arrangement here which is why people speak glowingly of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney SEA.  Most of the development costs are funded by the Japanese owners.

Tomorrowland is a Disney money pit waiting to happen, but I'm not sure during whose lifetime it will take place. It's also Disneyland's right armpit if you count the poorly conceived Frontierland as the left armpit. There's work to be done here people!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The First Stubbed Toe In Planning for Disneyland

Well a week from now, we'll be in Disneyland. Yesterday, our first trip toe stubbing took place when I couldn't find the the charger for the camera batteries. I thought a quick trip over to Wal Mart would bring and easy solution - and it did - to the tune of about 30 bucks for the charger by itself. The one (actually I had two) used to have looked like it was about a 10 buck item. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler was not too pleased when she got the final bill (I added in a 16 mb card but that was half price). I'll check into finding my old charger(s) today with more time but there is a lesson in here.

When it comes to planning a trip to Disneyland, or even being in Disneyland, everything costs twice as much as you think it should in the end.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Disneyland Traveler Wakes Up Early

Pyramid Lake - L.A. County
Who gets up out of bed on a cold Saturday morning at 6:10 am with nothing to do? Someone who is heading to Disneyland exactly one week from today, that's who. There's not a lot of planning involved. We make these trips so often that it's almost second nature but still, there are a few things that need to be done. Can't find my camera battery charger, a trip to Fry's Electronics will fix that (and a new camera card to go with it couldn't hurt). We've got plenty of power strips and extension cords but with Christmas coming, we'll probably take new ones on the trip. So there will be things to do throughout the week.

I wish I would have dropped 25 lbs before the trip and got my running mileage up to about 5 miles from its customary 0 but, oh well. With Advil and Aleve, I will survive somehow. And now looking forward to it.

My room awaits

One of these will be much needed and much appreciated

Friday, November 29, 2013

My Last December Day in Disneyland - !!@$# It's Cold Here!

I remember it like it was yesterday, the last day I walked out of Disneyland on a December night. It was December 15. 2008. By the time we left it was pouring down rain, the wind was howling, and cast members outnumbered guests by about 2 to 1. All night time festivities were cancelled and the park was shut down 2 hours ahead of the scheduled closing time. And it was freezing cold. We left for our Northern California home the next morning by an altnernate route because the "grapevine" was closed due to snow.
This is a cautionary tale for those who say Disneyland is great place to go in the rain. Well friends, there is rain, and then there is RAIN. And if it is raining hard enough in Disneyland, it is not much fun at all. Many rides systematically shut down. Breakdowns become common. The small world boats had about 4 inches of standing water in the bottom.
Yep, Disneyland in the rain can keep the crowds down. It can also keep the fun out if it rains hard enough.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Disneyland Traveler Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from The Disneyland Traveler and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler. Sorry, but the ultimate animation for Thanksgiving belongs to Charles M. Schultz and his Peanuts gang. 

The countdown is now officially on - 10 days until we leave for Disneyland.

Going to be tough, we are leaving this little guy behind.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Disneyland Candy Cane Curmudgeon

Here's an entry from The Disneyland Traveler's "I Don't Get It" catalog. I don't get the endless fascination with the hand made Disneyland candy canes. People line up for hours to spend 15 bucks on one of these things and even at that, you are only allowed a certain number. It's a Candy Cane for goodness sake - sugar, oil, maybe some stabilizer, and essence of peppermint. I think that's about it for ingredients. Now I understand that these are made by old world professional candy makers and their craft approaches an art form but we are still talking about a Candy Cane here. Disney raises the stakes by making the candy canes available only about 20 days during the Christmas season split between the DL and DCA candy shops so the demand is heightened even more.

Still it's a Candy Cane. We used to put candy canes on our home Christmas trees as a kid. When the tree got tossed out on New Years Day, so did the candy canes. Back at work,when the company I work for actually cared about Christmas spirit, the company vice president would dress as Santa Claus on one day during the Christmas season and walk around handing out candy canes to all the workers. Silly, but still a nice Christmas tradition. That was back in the day when it was thought celebrating Christmas wasn't counter-productive (I guess). One year, V.P. Santa gave out pure white candy canes. That was the beginning of the end as the running joke became the company got so cheap with Christmas, they didn't even want to pay for stripes on their free passed out candy canes. As for company Christmas parties, forget it. Haven't seen one of those in years.

Anyway, I'll be in Disneyland two weeks from today and nowhere near a Candy Cane. Now peppermint flavored Ghirardelli chocolate? That's a different delicious story altogether.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Disney Christmas Puppy - What's In A Name?

Cute as all get out but needs a name

We lost our lab mix dog (lab shar-pei of all things) about 4 years ago now. She was around 13 years old when she passed away, about average for a dog who was in the 80 lbs range. About 6 months after Sasha died, Mrs DisneylandTraveler was ready for a new dog and Jasmine came into our lives, a purebred American Eskimo. The Disney portion of our lives was already into full effect when we got Jasmine, hence the Disney name.

I've got a trip to Disneyland staring me in the face in about 2 weeks. I've got no business thinking about anything else except that upcoming trip (and well maybe, a little bit about work). But life trips us up sometimes. There's always a banana peel somewhere, One of my co-workers lost her Golden Retriever to complications relating to cancer about 2 months ago. Her dog was about 11 when she died. The death of anyone's pet is heartbreaking, especially when pets become such a big part of our lives. Indeed, pets should always be thought of as family members. That's what they think after all.

So my co-worker began researching and found a family of newborn Golden Retrievers.  She began sharing her excitement as she attempted to temper the profound sadness of losing her beloved pet. And she showed pictures of the litter of newborn puppies, and having a Golden Retriever at one time in my life, my heart began to melt as well when I stared into the adorable sweetness of baby Golden Retriever face.

As I stated above, with a trip to Disneyland coming up, I've got no business thinking about dogs but, I also began thinking that as Disney trips come and Disney trips go, a family pet lasts for a considerably longer period of time and  becomes a family member that you interact with on a daily basis. For all I know, my next trip to Disneyland could be my last but a new dog? He'll be greeting me in the morning and welcoming me home at night for years to come. 

I said "he". The Golden we picked out is a male. Since we already have Jasmine who is a princess in every sense of the word (diva is more like it), we had heard that life tends to be less competitive in a dog's world if the dogs in the house are of the opposite sex. I'll buy that. We haven't gotten our dog yet since he just hit 7 weeks old and has some more shots to go through next week. But by the Friday after Thanksgiving, we'll have our new family addition.

So now we are working on a name - a Disney name, of course. Far easier to come up with a female Disney name for sure. There are just so darn many princesses. There was one female left in the litter and if we would have gone with the female, we would have named it Belle (a no-brainer to go along with Jasmine). But a male Disney name? Everyone keeps throwing out Max but it's such a common name for a dog that we may be forced to go with a non-Disney name (Toby is the current leader). Darn it. We got a week to work on it.

I forgot to mention. We already have a cat named Herbie. So that name is already taken.

Suggestions? Add a comment or send an email to disneylandtraveler@gmail.com.


Herbie the Cat

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wishing for Disneyland's Own Festival of Lights

Several months ago, I was a contributing writer to a very nice Disney website called Disney Dose which covers activities in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. That was back when I had more time (B.F. - before father-in-law came to live with us). I barely have time for this site now, but I keep it going to keep me sometimes smiling in a world that is sometimes lacking in heart. 

Anyway, one of the things I was writing about in Disney Dose was comparing the attractions in WDW and Disneyland. They are becoming more similar all the time but because there is so much more space in WDW, the scale of the place is incomparable. Two of the things I mentioned that I wish Disneyland had that WDW does have, is the ride Expedition Everest - a themed coaster of epic proportions. I also wish Disneyland had something approaching EPCOT's World Showcase where other cultures could be grandly displayed and celebrated.

Well, as the Christmas season is upon us, I sure wish Disneyland had something approaching Disney Hollywood's Studios Osborne Festival of Lights where the sheer power of small electrical light bulbs is put on display in powerful, miraculous ways. It is a spectacle and the Disneyland Castle Lighting and the it's a small world facade can't even remotely compare with what WDW does.

Someday I hope that changes. A lot that goes on in the Disney California Adventure Hollywood Backlot / Hollywoodland area is a waste. Think of that massive time waster ElecTRONica they put back there a few years ago. Think about taking nonsense like that, with its massive lighting structures and projection screens out, then covering the backlots with Christmas lights. That would pack people in of all ages, not just the Glowfest, ElecTRONica, Mad T Party kids which only seems to serve a a flimsy facade to serve elaborate overpriced alcoholic beverages.

Jennings Osborne passed away a year or two ago. Get on the internet or Wikipedia and read about this remarkable man who left a lasting Disneyland legacy mostly as a gift.

Monday, November 18, 2013

And Just Like That The Dec Disneyland Trip Takes a 180

So the plans were put in place, the reservations were made, and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I had our December Disneyland trip ready to head into high gear. EXCEPT. My sister and her husband kind of wanted to go and down deep, I think we really wanted them to go with us. So now our quiet trip for two has turned into a Christmas Festivus for the four of us. Looking forward to it actually as we discussed plans today.. As I said before, two people make Disney memories. Four people create Disney stories that will last for years and years,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Disneyland On The Other Hand

I got the dreaded call from the back bedroom the other night. "Can you come here???" Never mind the fact that I was right in the middle of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption - the call was made and off I went to answer Mrs. DisneylandTraveler's summoning.  This wouldn't have happened back in my dad's day. My mom would have never bothered him during his Bonanza or Gunsmoke viewing.  One little invention changed everything - the Pause Button.  Just about everything in life can now be set to pause.

Anyway, with my show on pause, it was now time for third degree questioning.  For our upcoming Disneyland trip, what did I want to do?  Where did I want to eat, and where should we make reservations? Disneyland is now like it's WDW counterpart, insisting on a credit card to secure the reservation rather than the honor system.  Apparently, credit cards work better than the simple "I promise to show up (unless I have better things to do)" approach.

I'm not really a detail guy.  Mrs. DLT is free to pick out every meal if she wanted to.  I'll show up.  The choices just better be good.  That's the unfair part of it.  If a meal sucks, the blame is best shared.  Luckily, after years of trial and error, we do pretty well picking out places to eat.

So while my life was still on pause - it became Monday, lunch at the Carnation Cafe and a chance to once again have a cordial exchange with Chef Oscar, Disneyland's longest tenured cast member somehow surviving around 58 years. I'm not really sure what Chef Oscar's job is anymore other than making sure everyone around him feels valued and welcomed - an admirable quality in any job.

Tuesday is the Carthay Circle (bucket list item), Wednesday - Steakhouse 55, Thursday - Cafe Orleans (we tend to alternate between Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans) and finally Friday, (don't laugh) - Big Thunder BBQ.  Really it's not that bad and there's plenty of food.

So food plans are made. Christmas celebration plans are made, joy is everywhere and I am back to the TV in about 45 minutes.

And then the changes begin. My sister and her husband want to join us for a few days.  Of course that alters the plans already in the books but not necessarily in a bad way.  Mrs. DLT and I love taking trips to Disneyland by ourselves.  Eliminated is the constant battle of competing agendas and hurt feelings. But here is the real deal...

When Mrs. DLT and I go on our trips by ourselves, we come back with pocketful of Disneyland memories. When you come back from going with others, you come back with stories. Sure sometimes the stories get embellished a bit, but they tend to have a way to make it into personal Disneyland legend and lore. 

If my sister wants to come, God bless her. We'll have a great time even if four people do end up fighting for the same shower time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Disneyland Day In A Life

Family gathering 2002

There's a small outcropping of rocks in Frontierland that circle a tree and a flagpole and separates Frontierland from Adventureland. Savvy Disneyland veterans are quite familiar with the spot especially since it is conveniently located in the midst of some prime shopping areas and some of the most heavily utilized restrooms in the park. The two pictures here are separated by about 7 years. Sometimes 7 years seems like a lifetime and in the case if these two pictures, it was.

Family remembrance 2009

My sister Joyce (seated in the middle of the family shot at the top of this post) with the jeans and short hair never lived long enough to make it to Disneyland with her family again, dying from a massive stroke in 2006. She was kept alive on life support but the she not only lost her Disneyland memories, she lost all memory of those she loved and cared for so deeply. "To everything there is a season...and a time for every purpose under heaven."

But even though my sister passed away at a far too early age, her life was never without purpose. This isn't a story about sadness, being maudlin, or an attempt at some redemption of pity. For this is a story of joy. My sister loved her family; both immediate and extended as her mother did before her. They meant everything to her and on this trip to Disneyland, there were no exceptions (except for the time she got lost from the group and began to cry).

On this trip to Disneyland, she did everything possible to keep a group of about 14 people together - no easy task when there are probably at least a dozen different agendas. She picked up the tab for lunches or dinners at the Blue Bayou and Rainforest Cafe but most of all, she was there when people needed her, which is what she did best.

I walked in with her to see The Enchanted Tiki Room, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and Aladdin. And that is why it pisses me off to no end that Disney has decided to remove a show like Billy Hill. "I saw that show with my sister Jack! I will never get to do that again and you want to take that memory away and make some kind of change that I am sure is designed to turn a another Disney revenue stream?."

Whatever Disney does in the future, please respect the past. The personal investment in people's lives that matter is just too great for monetary profit.