DLRP Trip Report 3B – Disneyland Park

So let’s start this report from the very front of the park…the first attraction you come to…which is the Disneyland Railroad. For this you really should get in queue for it at ‘rope drop’ or chances are you’ll never get on. You can either do the full round which will return you to Main Street or you can get off at one of the other stations which are in FantasyLand, DiscoveryLand, FrontierLand and AdventureLand.

Another form of transportation on Main Street is the horse-drawn trolly and the antique cars. We’ve never managed to get on either of these however, but one day we will. Almost got onto the fire engine but it’d just stopped its services due to the Showcase Spectacular about to start. We always stop into each and every shop along Main Street anyway there’s nearly no point in us riding any of these.

Speaking of shops…the Discovery Arcades!! Now this isn’t a GAME Arcade, these are passageways on the other side of the shops along Main Street. True you can get into the shops this way as well as get out of crowds at night. They are also cool because along inside them are scale models of some of the world’s greatest creations such as (my fave) the Statue of Liberty…which makes sense as the French were the ones who built her for the Americans back in 1886.

A lot of other things take place on Main Street apart from shopping such as the Character Express that choo-choos its way up Main Street and stops in front of the Castle and its passengers hop off to meet the masses for photos and autographs. We love catching the Character Express as many times as possible, not only will the song get stuck in your head but it’s also very exciting…especially when you catch Eeyore doing the Robot Dance.

Character Express on Main Street USA

We watched the Showtime Spectacular 3-4 times because we enjoyed it SO much and it takes place on the stage in front of the Castle. Mickey & Friends welcome their ‘new generation’ pals (even though some like Buzz and Woody have been around for 15yrs now…) in this very entertaining dance party with the Fab Five, Buzz, Woody & Jessie, Mike, Sulley & Boo, Chip & Dale, The Incredibles, Stitch, Lilo & Angel, Emile & Remy and of course Princess Tiana and Prince Naveem. I’ve talked about this before but will say again that what you need to do here is have your autograph book, pen and camera ready and as you watch the train approach the Castle pick out 1-3 characters you HAVE to meet, the most important first. As they disembark the train follow as closely as possible your #1 character because it does not take long for a crowd to form. There are no queues with this its everyone for himself so you can not afford to be shy!

Main Street USA is also host to two lovely parades…Once Upon A Dream & Fantillusion (nighttime light parade) and for these you should get your spots on the corner a good 30mins before the parade is due to start. If you need to save a spot for someone you need to put bags there, stretch your legs across it…just put it in lockdown because as people start to join you on the street curb, they will push and shove for a place to sit down. Also, remember to keep your feet off the street and on the curb or a CM will tell you off!!

Fantillusion Parade

As you walk through the castle…after you go below it of course to visit the sleeping Dragon…

You will enter into FantasyLand where you will find Dumbo, Mad Hatters Tea Cups, Peter Pan’s Flight, my son’s favorite It’s A Small World and much much more. To bypass the 3hr ‘right of passage’ wait for Dumbo, get there during EMHs (Extra Magic Hours) and do it first.

There are also two hidden little gems between The Old Mill and Alice’s Curious Labyrinth…Casey Jr and Storybook Land these are GREAT for small children and the big kids.

Then venture into FrontierLand which holds one of my favorite rides…The Phantom Manor, as well as Big Thunder Mountain and the Thunder Mesa Riverboat. For Thunder Mountain I highly suggest getting Fast Pass Tickets…even the FP queue has some great theming. I do love this ride even though when I go through the pitch black caves I duck my head out of instinct! Plus if it goes 101 (breaks down) while you’re ontop of the mountain like I saw happen to a group of people…do notice that is is a PERFECT photo spot for that area.

The Phantom Manor…don’t sigh if you see a long queue for this ride…the line area is part of the experience from the gazeebo with the tea service inside to the fountains and greenery. You may notice the differences in this mansion and the one in WDW (I’ve not had the pleasure of venturing into the one in Disneyland CA just yet) such as the story and the stretching room. It stretches faster and farther than the Haunted Mansion in WDW. I won’t go into too much detail as I’ve already done a post on this ride but take notice that the town is Thunder Mesa, the Thunder Mountain to the left during the old west town scene as well as the mansion on the hill above you as you exit that scene. Yes the baddy in this story is the father of the bride who owns all of Thunder Mesa. I will say I was disappointed with the CMs working the PM while I was there. Like the ones at ToT, they were not in character at all, did not display a creepy personality or helped spook you into the mood which is a real shame as the CMs that work rides DO add to the experience.

This was the first time we’ve done the Riverboat and it was lovely. Great theming all around and its just a relaxing cruise, we even got a sneak peak of a new riverboat being built. I also noticed a LOT of ducks in that river that just came right up the boat throughout its voyage.

Also tucked away just past the Thunder Mountain where the old Critter Coral used to be is the new Woody’s RoundUp which is a 3 person M&G with Woody and two of his pals (we had Minnie & Mickey). There is still a lot of unused space back there and I hope they use it to enhance Woody’s RoundUp area because right not it’s quite sparse.

In AdventureLand you of course have the Pirates of the Caribbean which floats past the diners of the Blue Lagoon Restaurant. An always classic ride which three, and soon to be four, movies have been based on. Let’s face it…who amung us has not wondered through AdventureLand singing “yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me!”?? I can’t remember if there is a Fast Pass ticket for Pirates but the queue always move fairly quickly anyway.

One ride I do not care for at DLRP is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. I can’t wait to ride Indiana Jones in California but this one is a track rollercoaster, very jerky and basic. I think I’ve ridden it once in all the times we’ve been to DLRP, gave me such a headache.

Pirates Beach/Adventure Isle is great for kids…our son loves playing here and its a good place for some gold exploration as well and lovely family photos.

Finally we have DiscoveryLand which has our son’s other fave ride, Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast. Definately get Fast Pass Tickets for this as the queue gets very long, very quick and moves slowly. While in the queue however there are some Hidden Mickey’s and of course the wonderful Buzz animatronic which tells you about your mission for Star Command.

Sadly Autopia does not do Fast Pass Tickets because its just a slow ride, although I think the cars do go slightly faster than those at WDW. This is another ride I’d highly suggest to get to first thing during EMHs. The course is a lovely and fun one however and is a great drive through tomorrow.

I did not ride Space Mountain: Mission 2 this time because the last time I did it left me with such a headache…I found it a great ride in itself but so jerky. My head was just all over the place and I just never really enjoyed it. I think the one in WDW is much smoother.

And Star Tours is still open at DLRP, I’m not sure when this one is due for its updates but it’s still a great ride and next to it is the re-released Captian EO which I saw for the first time this year! I remember seeing it advertised in WDW when I went YEARS ago as a kid but just didn’t care to see it. I found the pre-show a little boring, maybe I was just tired, and the staff were so busy doing so many other things (I think it was the last showing) it was like “just get on with it!” I really enjoyed it though and am glad I got to see it for the first time with our son whose first time it was as well.

I know there are rides that I’ve left out, there are just SO many I wanted to touch on the main ones. I hope you’ve enjoyed my LONG and hopefully helpful trip report. Now to get ready for WDW and The Wonder Cruise Ship in December 2010 – January 2011!!

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