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Sunday, September 28, 2014

5 Best Thrill Rides At The Disneyland Resort

Here is a rundown of The Disneyland Traveler's five best thrill rides at the Disneyland Resort:

1) Hollywood Tower of Terror:  High anxiety.

2) Space Mountain:  It's dark in there.

3) California Screamin':  Cadillac of coasters even if there is no theming whatsoever.

4) Thunder Mountain Railroad:  Rollicking fun and beautifully themed.

5) Splash Mountain:  Only one thrill but its a doosie the rest is pure Disney fun.

Honorable Mention:  Grizzly River Run:  You will get wet.

Losing Ground:  The Matterhorn.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Seven Weeks And Counting Down

We just had our first rain of the season here in California's central valley. A most welcome rain indeed as we remain mired in a statewide drought. Down in Disneyland, they are currently decked out in their Halloween best, a sea of orange bunting and pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere. And many days over the past few weeks it has been hotter than the blazes.

But my mind is slowly turning to Christmas at Disneyland because in just seven short weeks, I will gaze at the park's giant Christmas tree, be amazed by the exquisitely lit it's a small world facade, see it snow on Main St., and actually see a parade highlighted by an appearance by Santa Claus.

Yes, I have to admit, the time has come to start to at least begin thinking of preparing for a trip to Disneyland. It starts Monday with a trip to my doctor to ask for a prescription for a nagging arthritis condition that leads to pain and stiffness in my hands and knees. Now one wants to be at Disneyland and deal with pain when a simple pill could help. 

I need shop for a new pair of lightweight walking shoes. I just bought a couple of pairs of shoes but they feel far too heavy for all that walking so I'm looking for something lighter in weight.

I need to get all my photo gear in order. You know, cameras, memory cards, chargers, and a power strip for all the chargers because outlets are in short supply in hotel rooms. Remember when it was just a cameral and film? Of course, besides just camera stuff, there's a laptop and cell phones. Electronics are complicated and you certainly don't want to forget anything.

The details often seem daunting with the perfect trip planning (if there is such a thing) but they can also be quite fun.....

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Trip Disappointment #2 - Disneyland Sneaks In A Food Price Increase

This is probably more of an inevitability than a disappointment but as reported by MiceChat a week or two ago, Disneyland has increased the price of most of its food items in the park. The increase ranges from a coupe of dimes to a couple of bucks. This doesn't effect anything with planning our trip. We will still go to the same places regardless of the prices being charged. We'll just pay the increased prices and complain about it amongst ourselves. A trip to Disneyland and complaining about the prices often go hand in hand.

Maybe we outsmarted them this time. Instead of the deluxe annual pass we usually get, we have invested in premium annual passes which comes with a greater discount on food purchases in the park Wait a minute....we paid how much for those premium annual passes? Somehow the price of the food increases isn't going to equal the increase we paid for the premium annual passes over the deluxe annual passes. Disney wins again. They always. do.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Trip Disappointment #1 - The Mark Twain Closed For Refurbishment

So while we are making plans for our November Disneyland trip, Disneyland strikes back and tells the first thing we can't do. We won't be able make that lovely voyage around the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Steamboat which is now closed for a 3 month refurbishment. MiceChat's In the Parks has the ship setting sail again November 28, about a week after our trip has ended.

You don't really appreciate something until it's gone, and while the Mark Twain isn't exactly a must do thrill ride, what it is - is a quiet and relaxing respite from a place that can get very busy and the few moments of quiet on the voyage are at least be me, greatly appreciated and something I look forward to on every trip to Disneyland.

Yes, I can do without the Mark Twain. It isn't a trip deal breaker. But I will miss the boat ride. Of course I suspect the Columbia will be sailing to pick up the slack but that voyage just isn't the same.

There was just something special about getting one of those chairs on the front of the Mark Twain and settling in to hear a narrative that I've probably heard 100 times before. A trip on the Mark Twain is one of those things that make you say, "yep....I'm in Disneyland." 

No Mark Twain.....no Billy Hill and the Hillbillies......Frontierland is turning out to be a bummer in November.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Captain America Calling

The first Captain America film (Captain America: The First Avenger) was one of my favorites of the Marvel superhero series. That film was long on story and character development and perfectly mixed with action sequences. The other night we finally got around to seeing the second Captain America film (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) on Blu-Ray here in the comforts of the Disneyland Traveler living room. Well, it was rousing couple of hours of some pretty cool action sequences but .......

The plot was confusing and hard to follow and story was secondary to the action that was presented on the screen. Not that the film wasn't good, it just was missing some of the elements which made the first movie so good. The acting was good of enough, there were a few moments of humor and insight, and some of the action sequences were spectacular but still Captain America The Winter Soldier came up a little bit on the empty side. Maybe I need to see it again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At Least It's Not Captain EO

Over in Disneyland's Tomorrowland, the Magic Eye Theater (host for many years to Captain EO and Honey I Shrunk The Audience and most recently the preview of Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy) went under refurbishment once again and there was speculation that the badly outdated Captain EO 3D film would make its way back into Disneyland playing to mostly empty houses in the large state of the art theater.

A few days ago Disney put that rumor on hold and announced in Disney Parks Blog that the theater will, beginning September 26, host a special preview for it's latest animated film effort - Big Hero 6 which premieres in theaters November 7. At least it's not Captain EO showing when we arrive for our trip in November (though admittedly outside of seeing one preview - I know nothing about Big Hero 6).

And what of Captain EO? Maybe we have seen the last of the old film. 2015 brings a new episode of the massively successful Marvel's The Avengers as well as the latest installment of Star Wars. Disney could spend a year or more just showing previews of their 2015 sure fire blockbusters in the Magic Eye theater and it might not be a bad idea so long as the extended previews that are shown are high in quality and designed to be crowd pleasers for Disneyland guests. It beats seeing the tired old Captain EO.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Holidays At The Disneyland Resort Dates Now Set

Disneyland's Winter Castle - A Disney Parks Blog Photo

Disney Parks Blog confirmed this week that the official Christmas Holiday Season at the Disneyland Resort will run from November 13 - January 6. Perfect! Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I are scheduled to hit the resort  for our holiday trip November 15.

No big changes for the holidays, A Christmas Fantasy Parade, Believe In Holiday Magic fireworks, and the rest of the usual suspects make their return and that's just fine. The one holiday spectacle I could pass on would be Work of Color - Winter Dreams which returns from last year. At this point in time, I've pretty much seen enough of Olaf. I've been "Frozened" to death.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Plenty Of Water For Finding Nemo But The Rest Of Us Get Hosed

Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage stands ready to reopen after an extensive refurbishment. The gazillion gallons of water it takes to fill the attraction has taken place and the picturesque lagoon with their bright yellow subs will soon be taking on passengers for a ride that was once serious but has since become an animated cartoon.

I say all this as a backdrop to the fact that we out here in California are facing a serious drought and water shortages. Heck, my lawn and most of my neighbors lawns are dead from the drought and the fact serious penalties can incur if water restriction mandates are not taken seriously. So how does Disney get off filling a lagoon with massive amounts of water when the rest of us look at water as a pretty precious commodity? 

The answer has to do with something does quite well these days - recycling. When Disneyland first drained the lagoon, the water went into an underground storage reserve facility run by the local Orange County / Anaheim water department. When it came time to refill the attraction earlier this month bingo...... the water was there. Doesn't seem to help my lawn situation though. Disneyland seems to have plenty of water for all their attractions. For the rest of us, it's something that is in very short supply.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

New Orleans Style Dining At The French Market

Shrimp Salad Po'Boy - French Market - New Orleans Square - Disneyland

I have to admit that over the years since I've started writing this blog, I've spent very little time talking about New Orleans Square French Market which is an error on my part since the counter service cafeteria style eatery has become a personal favorite of mine. The French Market plays stepchild to the other two New Orleans Square full service dining facilities - the illustrious Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans but food wise, the FM can certainly hold its own with one of the more unusual menus of any Disneyland restaurant.

I say all this as a note to self regarding our upcoming trip: Spend more time at the French Market. Enjoy what Disney passes off as New Orleans cuisine - it's actually quite good. Enjoy a good meal while listening to live jazz. Experience a little bit of the Big Easy right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Disneyland.

The Shrimp Salad Po' Boy was one of my dining highlights from my last trip (not as good as the Harbour Galley's lobster roll but still a very satisfying sandwich). I've had the French Quarter chicken and enjoyed it very much. But there's still cajun style meatloaf and red beans and rice with sausage still on the menu and waiting for me to try.

Take a step out of the ordinary with the French Market. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Disneyland's Worst Named Ride

Let's see - there's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride which really isn't so wild after all. There's Snow White's Scary Adventure which is neither very scary or much of an adventure. And then there's Pinocchio's Daring Journey which is neither very daring or much of a journey. In fact, Pinocchio goes down on my list as the dullest ride in the Disneyland, promising a journey and delivering a snoozer of a ride without much to offer kids or adults of any age. I suppose there's some charm or nostalgia in there somewhere but when most people get off the ride, they hit the exit and not give the attraction a second thought let alone a chance to give the ride a thought of going on it again. It's ride where you check the box. "Yep, went on Pinocchio....moved on".

Of all the Fantasyland dark rides, only Peter Pan's Flight and Alice in Wonderland deliver as advertised. The rest come up short. Supposedly for the 60th anniversary next year, the Fantasyland dark rides will get some new modern special effects. It could only be an improvement.