My Mini Grand Tour

My mini Grand Tour is about to begin starting tomorrow.

We will be flying to LA in the morning, and will be spending 3 1/2 days at the Disneyland Resort. I'm very excited about this because, while I've been at WDW many times, this is my very first visit to Disneyland. I thought I'd better go now while they are still celebrating the Golden Anniversary.

Then on Tue, we fly to Orlando to continue with the rest of the week at WDW.

I'll try to post pictures during the trip.

BTW, does anyone know if it is worthwhile to make a trip to Burbank to go to the Disney Studios? I know they have a store there, but is there something else we can do, such as take a tour, etc?




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the studios are pretty far from Disneyland... dunno if you can actually take a tour either, im not sure. there are security posts at all the entrances. they are pretty to look at from outside though haha.

You should have beautiful weather! It's been really nice, not too hot.


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The ZapperZ finally made it to the Disneyland Resort!

It's great to be here. We spent the afternoon in Downtown Disney District, had a terrific lunch at Naples (they really do have authentic Neopolitan pizza), and did pin shopping and pin trading at the Pin Trading store. We are not going into any of the parks since we are saving the 3-day park hopper for Sat, Sun, and Mon.

Will post a few pictures later this evening after some evening shots.



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Pictures from the first day at the Happiest Celebration on Earth.

The main entrance to Disneyland Resort from S. Harbor Blvd.

The main entrance to Disneyland.

The plaza in between Disneyland and California Adventure, showing the banners celebrating the Golden Anniversary.

Entrance to California Adventure at night.

Today, we will do full, frontal attack on Disneyland and California Adventure. I'm looking forward to riding the Matterhorn, and then see how different Tower of Terror is than the one at Disney-MGM Studios.

More pictures later.



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A long, tiring, but satisfying day.

We started off in Disneyland and did the Materhorn. I know there are people who love this ride, but I didn't. It was very uncomfortable - I kept finding myself slouching in the seat, which isn't good for my back either.

Things got better after that. I love Space Mountain. It feels faster than the one in Magic Kingdom. Will try to get on it again tomorrow. We also did It's A Small World, Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones (It's the Dinosaur ride, really), and Mr. Toad. Thunder Mountain railroad was closed that early in the day, but we were told it was to open later in the day. We didn't get a chance to do that, but will try tomorrow.

We then hopped over to California Adventure. Did Tower of Terror. Now it is OK, and it feels like you drop a lot further than the one in Disney-MGM, but it doesn't have the part where you move forward into the elevator shaft, because essentially, as soon as you load up, you're really already in the main drop shaft. I thought the part where you move forward was one of the most unique experience of the Tower of Terror in MGM.

We also did the new Monsters ride - nothing to shout about. I don't think it was worth the 30 minute wait. We then went to Paradise Pier and of course, did California Screaming. Who said that Disney can't do straightforward rollercoaster? However, I can see why Disney purist would not like this theme park, especially paradise pier. The theming is weak, very weak. But all themes get thrown out of the window when you're screaming your head off when you take off for that first climb.

We then did Soarin' Over California. As people have said on here, the queue line for the attraction at Epcot is a lot better and conveys more accurately the spirit of the ride.

We then went back to our hotel (only a 10 min walk from the park entrance) and took naps (we were exhausted). Went back to California Adventure in the evening for the Electrical parade. Maybe it's the electronic music that was getting to me, but it wasn't as good as SpectroMagic, which definitely had better music that tends to be float-specific. We then tried to rush out of the park to see if we can get into Disneyland for the fireworks, but for some really odd reason, there were only two small exit areas with throngs of people trying to get out after the parade. I thought this didn't make any sense at all. So we didn't have time to run into Disneyland and watched the fireworks from within California Adventure. We will have the chance to see it completely tomorrow evening.

The parks were busy, but for a holiday weekend, they weren't as busy as I expected at all, especially California Adventure. Many counter service eating places were not even open.

Here are the pictures from they day part of today's adventure. The evening part will be uploaded later.


Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The Rededication Ceremony

It's A Small World

Paradise Pier


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These are a few pictures from the Electrical Parade last night at the California Adventure.






Today will be a long day at Disneyland. We are going to try and do everything that's open, and do the VMK park Quest. We are also going to stay for the fireworks tonight. Wish us luck that we don't drop dead by the end of the day.



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As expected, it was a long, tiring, but satisfying day.

We started out at Disneyland, and went on Space Mountain again. Then went on Splash Mountain. Let me tell ya, you get WETTER on this one than on the one at Magic Kingdom. We then went on Indiana Jones ride again. This attraction gets better each time. And the Haunted Mansion is definitely more interesting here.

We then hopped over to California Adventure again. We got our free Disney Visa pictures at our special Character Meet and Greet. Then went on California Screaming again, Tower of Terror (yes, again), and Soarin' (again). We then had lunch and went to the Sun Wheel ferris wheel. While we were on it, the California Screaming Coaster got STUCK during launch. It stopped as it was climbing up the first hill. We saw them releasing the seat harness and letting people off the coaster one by one.

We then jumped back to Disneyland and did the VMK Quest. We got 2 "free" fast pass for doing it, and used them to go on Autopia and Buzz Lightyear. Why is Autopia so, so much nicer than the lame one that they have at Magic Kingdom? There's no excuse.

We then stayed for Fantasmic. Again, this is way better than the one at MGM (which I have refused to see again after seeing it twice). We then saw Fantasy in the Sky. While it is very well done as far as the fireworks in concerned, I like the "theme" of Wishes more.

Will put up pictures later. Tomorrow is a 3/4 day at Disneyland before we drive off to a hotel close to LAX in the late afternoon. This is so we don't have to wake up ungodly early on Tue to catch our early flight to Orlando.



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Pictures from today.

Splash Mountain

Haunted Mansion, Disneyland Version.

The coater on California Screaming is STUCK. They are getting people out of the vehicle.



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More pictures from yesterday:

Mickey and Goofy were in their nautical/beach attire when they greet us for the special Disney Visa character greet and meet at Ariel's Grotto. We got plenty of pictures.

The afternoon parade

We're checking out of our hotel this morning before spending the morning and part of the afternoon at the Disneyland Resort. We're doing all of our shoppings today and having them shipped home. So there will probably be no more report till we either get to our LAX hotel tonight, or when we get to Saratoga Springs late Tuesday.



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Spent a lovely last day at the Disneyland resort. I do have a complaint about this place though, but I'll save it till the end.

Started out at Disneyland, and took more pictures, especially the castle.

We then did the Dumbo ride (I didn't get the gold Dumbo), and then rushed to the Carousel, where I DID get the gold horse!

We then went on the Storybook Land ride, which is fun since this is not available at the Magic Kingdom. This is the entrance to the ride, and any VMK'ers would recognize it. And yes, you do go right into the whale's mouth.

We then did a bunch of other things, such as riding the Thunder Mountain Railroad, the real railroad train around Disneyland, and then we did again the Pooh ride, which I think I am beginning to really, really love.

On the way out, we went into the Disney "Museum" to view historial pictures and items before viewing the documentary on Disneyland 50 years. This is the actual model of Disneyland when it opened.

It was a very satisfying day. We did a lot of shopping. We bought Mickey ears hats with the pirates theme, and we plan on wearing these hats when we go to the sequel of Pirates of the Caribbean when it opens. It will be a hoot.

On the way back to the hotel to grab our car back to the Marriott near LAX, I took this shot.

I had a lot of fun the 3 full days I was here. I certainly would come back, especially since I didn't get to do Pirates this time around - it is still under renovations.

My only complain about the whole resort is that they do not open enough bag checking tents. Today, and like yesterday and the day before, they opened only ONE bag checking tent, where a total of 3 cast members were checking bags. This is unbelievable considering that the line was VERY long and it was the holiday weekend.

All in all, I am glad I made it to my very first visit to Disneyland especially during their Golden Anniversary celebration. And now, off to Orlando and our "home" tomorrow morning.



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Parting Comments

Some parting comments before we leave for the airport to fly off to Orlando...

I am beginning to love Disneyland Resort. I can see why people can really get attached to it. The managable size is certainly an advantage. You don't have to go or walk that far to get around, or even to hop from one park to another. Certainly, there are many attractions here that are noticeably better than the same ones at The Magic Kingdom.

However, for me, the reality is rather hard to divorce. At the Magic Kingdom, you have to drive AWAY from "civilization" to get to a theme park. There is this process, whether intentional or not, that forces you to accept that you are going somewhere different, and that you are leaving reality behind you. I know getting to the Magic Kingdom, for example, can be a tedious process especially when it is crowded. It takes a while to board the monorail, or get on the ferry (unless you stay at ... what, the Contemporary and can just walk over?), but that whole process, to me, forces you to be in a frame of mind that you're going somewhere "far" that's different than where you came from. It forces you to divorce yourself from reality.

You don't get that here. Civilization and reality is only across the street! I find that even after I walked through the front gate, I keep thinking that this was only a few steps away from the corner where some people were peddeling their homemade music and a homeless woman was sleeping at a bus stop. Now it doesn't mean this feeling stays with you all the time, because they do a good job making you forget that you are really in the middle of aneheim. But still, there wasn't that "buffer" zone that provided you the transition from one to the other.

I certainly would love to come back and spend more time here. Maybe in a couple of years we might do our "Mini Grand Tour" again.

Here are some parting pictures from the Disneyland Resort.


I waited until the hour when the doors to the It's A Small World facade opened.

Being launched into California Screamin'. This is a screamer!

The Electrical Parade.

See you in a several hours at the Walt Disney World!



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We are at our "home" in Saragota Springs. We are staying in Congress Park with a room overlooking the lake right across from Downtown Disney. It's a lovely view, and only barely a 5-10 minute walk to Marketplace.

This morning we are going to rush out to Animal Kingdom since they have the Extra Magical Hour this morning. We want to do Expedition Everest again and see how much the queue line has been vandalized by other guests since the last time we rode it during the DVC/Passholder preview. :) We also have to get a stamp on one of the VMK Quest at the Kali River Rapids. So this is working out really well.

We might hop to another park this afternoon, but we haven't decided where. Will report on our activities today later in the evening.

And oh, for those of you who are thinking of reusing the refillable mug at Saratoga Springs, they have a new mug now. It is no longer Chip N' Dale. :)



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First of all, this is the pictures from last night right outside our room at Saratoga Springs.


Animal Kingdom was PACKED this morning. Even the extra magic hours didn't help.

So we went on Expedition Everest twice. Lines were about 30 minutes long for standby. So this is one of those obligatory pictures one takes at EE.


But this is the pictures from the view as you are droping down this hill.


We're back in our room, resting a bit since AK was a zoo. We plan on going to either Epcot or Magic Kingdom tonight for the evening shows.

We are also kicking ourselves for not buying more of the Disneyland pins. The handfull that I took out of my bag today were soon traded by several pin collectors who devoured them like peanuts! We traded those for cast member pins that we were looking for, but we could have traded even more had we bought more Disneyland pins. Oh well, live and learn.



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A long and tiring, but satisfying evening spent at the Magic Kingdom. We thought it was going to be very busy, but the afternoon showers may have chased a few people away.

We did Country Bear Jamboree, which we didn't get to do when we were here during the first week of January, did Thunder Mountain Railroad (I'd call it even between Disneyland and MK's version), and Haunted Mansion (I like Disneyland's better, but only slightly). We then stayed for SpectroMagic and Wishes.

There's also something that either I've missed before, or something that is really new. As we were walking out of MK, there's Mickey on the Railroad level waving us goodbye and tell us how glad he was we came to visit him and MK. It was so nice that many people stopped on their way out just to take his pictures, etc. We did too... and sat down a while to avoid the massive exodus out of the park.

Tomorrow, we do Disney-MGM Studios, and maybe hop over to Epcot later that afternoon. We have a dinner reservation at Boma tomorrow evening, something we try to do on every trip down to WDW. So it promises to be another full day.



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Pictures from yesterday before we head out this morning.

We stopped by Downtown Disney on our way back to Saratoga Springs to do some shopping (of course). They have really done up World of Disney with many stuff, including a whole Pirates themed room. These two are pictures from that room. The first one is actually an aniatronics figure that moves and talks every few minutes.



Picture of the castle while we waited for SpectroMagic.

Mickey in SpectroMagic.

Mickey waving us goodbye at the closing of the Magic Kingdom.



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We are back at our resort for a short rest before heading out to Boma for dinner tonight.

Spent the morning and part of the afternoon at Disney/MGM Studios. Did Tower of Terror, of course, and it confirms my earlier comment about the difference between this, and the one at California Adventure. The missing part at DCA is an error on their part. It does make the whole ride goes faster, but the added element of the elevator car moving forward is missing.

This is the picture outside of Disney/MGM Studios advertising their Star Wars Weekend.

The hat has a lot of "stuff" in front of it. They are already almost set up with the lights and stage in front of the hat for the White Party private event on Saturday night (which yours truly will be attending).

We then did The Great Movie Ride. They now have people entering the building from the right side as you can see from the picture. Before, you enter right from the middle, front entrance through the now-closed doors

This of course is from that ride, a scene from Casablanca.

We also went into the Disney animation. Saw the Oscars that Walt has received.

More later... we're off to Boma.



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We had a wonderful time at Boma. The food was still as terrific as always. I have one complain though. They no longer carry my favorite tea there. African Autumn is no longer available at Boma, which is sad since I've recommended this tea to many people on here if they ever go to Boma. We even got the same waitress as we did last January who recommended us that tea (she did remember me), and even she didn't know initially that they no longer carry it. So she was very apologetic when she discovered that they don't have it.

Other than that, the food was excellent, and we even had time to look at the animals around the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The giraffes came VERY close (I'll post pictures in a few mins).

We were thinking of going off to Epcot for IllumiNations tonight, but decided against it and will just be spending some time by the pool at Saratoga Springs, maybe walk to Marketplace to do some more shopping. It's one of the luxury one has when one visits this place a lot, that there's no rush to do everything all the time. We will do Epcot tomorrow.

Off to the pool!



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Pictures from this evening's trip to the Animal Kindom Lodge.

This is the view from the wildlife area of the main lobby.

One of the occupants that you can view at the AKL.

A couple of the giraffes got VERY close to the viewing area, one even proceeded to have a snack right in front of us.

One of the things we did early in the day at Disney/MGM Studios was to do the Disney animation studios, and we went in for a quick lesson on how to draw a Disney character. As luck would have it, we get to learn how to really and properly draw Mickey! Here was my attempt. It doesn't look too bad, does it?


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