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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?

Thanks!

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
While relaxing by the pool at SS, I decided to see if I can make a panoramic shot of Downtown Disney using the photo-stitch function. It came out rather well. I have to reduce the size of the file quite a bit to upload to here, so the picture quality isn't as good as the original, but you get the idea. It will be small and wide, I'm afraid.

Downtown_Disney.jpg


Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
BTW, I forgot to mention one thing. Thanks to the info that I got from someone on here, I bought and wore the t-shirt that said "Please Stand Clear of the Doors" (and the Spanish version on the back) today while at Disney/MGM Studios. At least 3 cast members stopped me asking where I got that t-shirt. :)

I'll be wearing the lime-green one tomorrow to Epcot.

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We are back from our morning excursion, completely exhausted. Instead of going to the parks, we went with our cast members friends to a cast member pin event at the Wide World of Sports. It was a ZOO!

They were selling pins, Mickey/Donald "Suitcase" Figurine+Pins, lanyards, jumbo pins, etc. for 75% off! We were like kids at a candy store. We were loading up on pins, stocking them up for pin trading, and for the Sept. pin event. You don't want to know how much we spent.

We are now back in our room, sorting things out, and getting things together to have them shipped home - there's no way we are hauling them back ourselves.

We're going to rest up for the afternoon, and then go to Epcot for the evening.

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
jvrabel said:
Pics are great! You make me want to go back to DL sooo bad. But remember, AK is not-a-zoo! :hammer:

Oh yes it was, at least last Wednesday!

:)

More pics are coming...

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just a few pictures from this morning. This was where we had the Cast pin event, at the Wide World of Sports complex.
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This is the picture during the day of the view from our balcony.
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At the cast pin event, they were giving out this lovely "poster". Cast members are certainly the ones who create the Magic!
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We're off to Epcot.

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Epcot and a few observations

Spent a lovely afternoon and evening at Epcot. We got there around 4:00 pm and went straight to Soarin'. The stand by line was 30 mins, and no fast pass was available anymore. So we stood in line. As I've said earlier after riding the original at DCA, the Epcot version of the queue line is the "sleek", modern version, whereas the DCA version feels more like fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of setup. I like the Epcot version better. It gives it a more modern feel to it. Besides, Patrick looks better on flat panel widescreen monitors than the old standard CRT that they have at DCA. :)

We then did Figment (still don't like it and this hasn't changed my mind), and then we crossed over to the other side. Test Track was down when we walked in, but it was running by the time we got there, so we went on the single-rider line. Took barely 10 mins to get into the vehicle.

We then did Ellen's World of Energy. Haven't done this is quite a while, and it was OK, but nothing I would really recommend.

We then went into Innovations and did the quick intro to the Segway. It was fun! I didn't fall flat on my face, and it fact it was quite easy to use. We then went over and did the character greetings. Took pictures with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Chip N' Dale, and Goofy. Where's Donald, damn it?! Minnie spotted the "Stand Clear of the Doors" T-shirt and ran after us to point it out to other cast members around her (the t-shirt got a lot of attention elsewhere among other guests and cast members).

We ate at our favorite counter service in all of WDW - Sunshine Seasons at The Land Pavillion. Then we stake our place for Illuminations. This is the first time I'm seeing it with the Inferno barge in about a year. They still didn't have it working in early January. No matter how many times I see it, it still brings chills to me. I LOVE this show.

A few observations. First, someone must have dropped the ball. The men's washroom right next to Soarin' (right across from where you sign up for the Behind The Seed Tour) was not taken care of. There were 4 paper towel dispenser, and 3 of them were empty. The 4th was stuck full of paper towel, but none comes out when you cranked the handle. Highly annoying.

Secondly, and this has been an issue (at least with me) since forever. When you walk into the World Showcase Lagoon, to your right, the first restroom area you find (right behind the cart that sells popcorn) has got to be THE smallest restroom in all of WDW! It has 2 stalls and 1, ONE, urinal! This is INSANE! This is a very busy area, specially when people are leaving the Lagoon. Besides, how could anywhere in a Disney theme park can someone in their right mind design a men's washroom with just ONE urinal?! C'mon now!

Lastly, I wish the cast members who are monitoring the raised pavillion area right at the entrance to the world showcase would not congregate right in the middle of our viewing area while they wait for word to see if they'll let people sit down in that area. I was trying to get a direct snap shot of the American Pavillion across the lagoon, and for the life of me, these people just stood there, chatting away. I've seen this happened many times. I can understand if they're doing their job, but I think if they're just standing there having a conversation (there were at least 5 or 6 of them), the least they could do is consider that there could be people who are thinking of snapping pictures.

OK.. enough ranting for one evening. Illuminations was still spectacular. We didn't bother videotaping or trying to take pictures because we just wanted to enjoy it with any distractions.

Tomorrow, we will do the Magic Kingdom, which promises to be verrrrrrry interesting. It will be a long day since we will follow that up later in the evening with the party at Disney-MGM Studios.

Pictures to come soon.....

Zz.

P.S. Forgot to mention that during Illuminations, Morocco didn't light up when it was supposed to. Is it undergoing some renovations?
 

DDuck1974

New Member
ZapperZ said:
P.S. Forgot to mention that during Illuminations, Morocco didn't light up when it was supposed to. Is it undergoing some renovations?

Thanks for the great trip report. Sounds like you had a great time.

As for Morocco, I always thought that Morocco was one of the two countries that did not light up during Illuminations (along with Norway) because those were built after the original 9 and did not get the light treatment. Am I wrong about that? My wife and I were there in early May and saw Illuminations, but I guess I was not paying enough attention.
 

Dagger

Member
Thanks for the pics and information. What a great review. I can't believe you went to Disneyland and then off to Disney World. Then again, I can't believe a lot of things since I discovered these forums yesterday. I am totally envious!

As for the "Please Stand Clear of the Doors" thing....I must've missed something/am obviously not a CM or I'm too young? I'm curious now, though!

It's interesting because I find most people that've been to Disneyland actually prefer it to WDW but I think a lot of it must have to do with which your first love was. I'm sure I could appreciate things in Disneyland but to me it'd be hard to forgo all the Disney property and all it entails, as you said, as well as the void there'd be without having the 3 other parks.

BTW, you should've asked those CMs standing in front of the view to America to MOVE (and then grinned, of course) :D
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Dagger said:
As for the "Please Stand Clear of the Doors" thing....I must've missed something/am obviously not a CM or I'm too young? I'm curious now, though!

It's the phrase used repeatedly while you ride the Monorail here at WDW! :)

It's interesting because I find most people that've been to Disneyland actually prefer it to WDW but I think a lot of it must have to do with which your first love was. I'm sure I could appreciate things in Disneyland but to me it'd be hard to forgo all the Disney property and all it entails, as you said, as well as the void there'd be without having the 3 other parks.

Yes, I tend to agree with you on that. I fell in love with WDW first, and the size issue seems to be the factor that I consider quite a bit. However, I won't diss Disneyland Resort, not even California Adventure, because on any given day, I'd rather be at a Disney park than anywhere else.

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Pictures from yesterday afternoon and evening at Epcot.

The entrance to Epcot is decked with floral arrangements and topiaries for the Flower and Garden Festival.
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The queue line and setup for Epcot's Soarin' is much more slicker and modern than the DCA version. I like this better.
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Minnie was flirting with us after we took pictures with her. It was when we turned away to walk next to Pluto that she noticed the t-shirt and chased after us.
IMG_3518.JPG


These were the Segway on display while we wait our turn to be briefed on how to use them.
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More garden-related stuff for the Festival. This is right at the entrance to the World Showcase.
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People waiting around 10 minutes before the start of IllumiNations. We were seated at our regular, favorite place.
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As we were exiting Epcot after IllumiNations, they projected things on Spaceship Earth, including a reminder to people that Siemens is now the sponsor of IllumiNations. Sorry for the blurry picture, but I didn't want to stop and set up a tripod just to snap this.
IMG_3614.JPG


Off to The Magic Kingdom!!!

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Magic Kingdom was HOT, HOT, HOT, and HOT! We left around 2:30 pm because I could fry an egg on the pavement already.

We started off the day by watching Cinderellabration. Y'know, this show has never taken off with me, I don't know why. Maybe I prefer Disney animated characters more than princessess.
IMG_3633.JPG


We then went to Splash Mountain and it reconfirmed my earlier comparision - you get wetter at Splash in Disneyland! It also helped that we stuffed the "channel" right in the middle of the log in which a lot of the water tends to get in during the trek to the last drop. So consider that as a hint.
IMG_3666.JPG


We then did Thunder Mountain Railroad again. What are those kids in front of us doing?
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We did It's a Small World (I like this version better - especially in FL where you don't have to battle the elements), Mickey Philharmagic, and then Buzz Lightyear. I don't like the ride vehicles here. The guns are attached to the vehicles, rather than something you can pull out at the one in Disneyland. So the ones here some time give you a limited range of angles, especially if your target is too high or too low. A few times we got too close already to a high target and can't shoot at it.
IMG_3702.JPG


On our way out, we were serenaded by the Barbershop quartet. They were VERY good, especially on a hot day like today.
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We also bumped into the Mayor of Main Street taking pictures with a few of the guests.
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This is the final look at Main Street and the castle. If you haven't guessed already, today was "Red Shirt Day" at The Magic Kingdom. The crowd was festive and lively.
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We're resting a bit before a late night at MGM Studios. The party starts at 9:30 pm and goes until 2:30 am. But you can bet that I would be wilting by midnight (I'm not a night person). So depending on my energy level when I get back, I'll try to post some pictures and report. If not, this may be my last report from the Happiest Place on Earth. We leave for home late tomorrow afternoon, but we're checking out in the morning. We will be spending the last day at Epcot with a few other friends.

I will post some closing thoughts and pictures after I get back and have time to recover. It has been a tiring but highly satisfying trip, and I'm very glad to had the chance to do Disneyland Resorts while they still have their Golden Celebration. That made it extra special.

Thanks for reading, everyone! If I don't post later tonight/morning, I'll see you back in Chicago!

Zz.
 

Dagger

Member
*applause* looks great and thanks for sharing! I feel like I'm there with some of these reports.

What is the red shirt thing for?
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Dagger said:
*applause* looks great and thanks for sharing! I feel like I'm there with some of these reports.

What is the red shirt thing for?

The "Red Shirt Day" is, I believe, Disney's code name for the privately-organized GayDays at the Magic Kingdom. So I've been using it ever since since I overheard it one day.

Here are some more pictures from the One Mighty Party at MGM tonight. It started at 9:30 pm, and they initially had the entrance by the cast member entrance way since there were still park guests making their way out from the main entrance. During the party, Gloria Gaynor performed for about 20 mins, and she was mighty fine!

They had two dance area, in the plaza in front of the hat, while the other in the area right in front of Rock N Roller Coaster.

IMG_3821.JPG


IMG_3791.JPG


Rock N Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours were running non-stop for the party goers. There is a completely different atmosphere when you get into the Tower of Terror elevators with people who have had a bit of alcohol in their systems! :)

At around midnight, we had a huge fireworks display.

IMG_3862.JPG


IMG_3896.JPG


We left at around 12:30 am. even though there were still people arriving.

So this will be my final transmission from the Happiest Place on Earth. I had a blast of a Mini Grand tour. I will try to post more after I get back to reality.

Zz.
 

Dagger

Member
After researching, the red shirt thing is definitely Gay Day although I'll admit, most of what I found at first was just silly puns about Red shirt day definitely being the "happiest place on Earth"
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm back home, tired, exhausted, sad, and happy, all mixed together into one large headache cocktail.

We spent our last day at Epcot. Did test track again, Maelstorm, walked around World Showcase, had pictures with Minnie, Pluto, Big Bad Wolf, Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh (which is unusual because they very seldom feature him), and finally, DONALD! They were hanging around close to the Japanese pavillion.

We then did the short Segway ride again, so that one of us can take pictures/videos of the whole thing. We then did the Disney Visa character greeting, and this is where we were disappointed. When this first started, you can expect 2 or even 3 characters all in one place. I have a picture with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy all in one picture from this meet and greet. Today, there was only Minnie. Nothing to sneeze at, but compare to what we had before, this was a letdown. Even the Visa Meet and Greet at DCA had 2 characters (Mickey and Goofy). I hope they revamp this if they're going to continue with it and have at least 2 characters available.

On the way out, we did Spaceship Earth (took pictures of the exit area where they're promising new stuff from Siemens. The sound of the narration was kinds low (at least for my "time vehicle"). At many instances, the sound from the display and the music drowns the narration.

We also stopped by the Camera and picture pick up store to get our free 5x7" disney visa meet and greet picture, and I also bought a CD rom of all our Photopass pictures for this WDW trip (Note: DVC member gets 10% discount only through June). I like this since I will get to print them myself.

Anyway, will post more pictures tomorrow after I gather all of them, and recover a bit from this trip. Next trip to WDW will be in Sept. for the Labor Day week.

Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
More pictures from the final day of our Mini Grand Tour. We were doing Epcot, all decked out for the Flower and Garden Festival.
IMG_3963.JPG


This is in front of the China pavillion.
IMG_3985.JPG


We also notice a few cast members hard at work on a hot and muggy day. This must be the lagoon cleaning crew.
IMG_3986.JPG


Bumped into some friends along the way and took pictures with them. How they could stay out there in that weather still amazes me.
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.. and in case no one believed me of our spotting of Rabbit, here he is!
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We also did Test Track again. So here's me trying to snap a picture while going around a banking curve at close to 60 mph.
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Right before we left Epcot, we went on Spaceship Earth, and was promised this future renovation.
IMG_4050.JPG


Zz.
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Mini Grand Tour Summary 1

I think it's time to conclude this thread. It has been fun sharing it with all of you. I certainly had a lot of fun with the thread and of course, living through it. Who knows, I may get to do this Mini Grand Tour again in a couple of years.

Unless there's any specific request, these will be the last set of pictures I will post from this trip. Anything else will be submitted, hopefully, for the photo contest. :)

When one walks into Disneyland, this of course is the obligatory picture one must take.
1.JPG


The next obligatory picture is of course, Sleeping Beauty Castle. I still can't get over how small it is, since I'm used to Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. It is, nevertheless, impressive, especially when it is all decked out with the golden anniversary decor.
2.JPG


This is the much-malligned California Adventure. It does not feel like a Disney theme park, and I suppose that is the problem, but I still had plenty of fun in it and would certainly go back. It just needs to be "themed" with a more coherent idea.
3.JPG


The DCA's Tower of Terror is, of course, one of the major attraction at this theme park. It just misses on an important part of the setup leading to the screaming drops.
4.JPG


California Screaming would be the other screamer ride. While the theming is weak (a problem that is consistent with every ride in Paradise Pier), the designer certainly made the ride very visible to park goers, especially the launching area. It's perfect people watching.
5.JPG



[cont...]
 

ZapperZ

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Mini Grand Tour Summary 2

[....cont]

We now switch gears to WDW, which I consider to be my home base. And what represents WDW more than the impressive Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom?
7.JPG


The iconic Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, which, contrary to their claim, is a zoo of people after the opening of Expedition Everest.
8.JPG


The Hat, at Disney/MGM Studios, with preparation for the One Mighty Party.
10.JPG


Epcot was all decked out for the Flower and Garden Festival.
9.JPG


[cont...]
 

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