Monday, December 08, 2008

DLR in a Day: Afternoon

This is actually Part Two of a trip report about our day at the Disneyland Resort... Part One is entitled DLR in a Day: Morning. (Go read it now & come back here for more!)

Space Mountain - Following lunch, Collin wanted to try the "other Star Wars ride" (as he calls it). Braeden rode this with Shari last year and we had a tough time convincing him to give it a second chance. Once again, he was brave & gave it a shot... and once again, it's not the ride itself that bothers him but the visuals. (I'm not sure if I was like this as a kid - I know he & I both have vivid imaginations - I'll have to ask Mom when she visits at Christmas.)

I love all of the new effects, the smoother ride, the cool soundtrack (by the same guy who wrote The Incredibles music), the profound darkness (you can't see the track anymore)... they took a great ride & made it amazing. Of course, it's pretty overwhelming, esp. for 3.5 year old kids. Collin wasn't freaked out but he was stunned by it.

And with that, we decided to park-hop over to California Adventure for a major chunk of the afternoon.

Monsters, Inc: Mike & Sully to the Rescue - Our first stop was not a new ride, but it was new to us. (Last year, this was closed for rehab the week we were at DLR.) It's about the same quality level as the Pooh ride, which is to say that it's a sophisticated version of the Fantasyland "dark" rides with a cute sense of humor & some nifty effects. The door warehouse is the coolest - of course, I'm hoping that the "blue sky" plans for a door warehouse rollercoaster for Disney Studios (in FL) comes through.

Soarin' Over California - The boys & I went on Soarin' together while Shari went to see the High School Musical show (moving seats + moving pictures = sick Shari Jo). This was Collin's first flight and he loved it. I continue to be amazed at what a huge effect the ride has on my emotions... it makes me all gooey inside, which makes me sound like a big ol' girl.

HSM3 Show - We got back to Shari just as the HSM3 show was finishing... and we ended up following the stage/float past Grizzly Peak & A Bug's Land on the way to Paradise Pier. I am VERY impressed with the physical conditioning of the performers... they kept going almost the entire way just after doing a 15 minute show at one side of the park - and knowing they were going to repeat the show at the other end of the park! (BTW, Shari said the show was cheesy but good.)

Toy Story Midway Mania - This is the newest addition to DCA... and the best short description of it is "Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin + 3D". That's not entirely fair, of course - the cars spin around in some fun ways, a number of the higher point targets generate effects (the first time I broke the 1000 pt plate & it shot a virtual ball at me, I ducked), and the games are fun to play. Shari & Braeden & I all really enjoyed it - Collin thought it was fun but since he couldn't really operate the pull-string gun very well, he didn't get the full experience.

This was, btw, the longest line we stood in all day - about 25 minutes.

Orange Stinger - Last year, Braeden talked me onto this glorified version of a standard carnival ride which I ought to know better than to strap myself into... but I did. (In my defense, I'd read that this particular version is a "cream of the crop" version, with plenty of "chop" - that's where it feels like your feet are going to hit something - and the neat orange smell & the buzzing.) I ended up green around the gills.

So this time, we encouraged Braeden to ride alone... I walked up & waited in line with him, then walked through to the exit where I took this picture. (He's the kid in the black shirt in the center of the picture with a big grin on his face.) He liked it... but he did say that it made his stomach feel weird.

According to the Blue Sky Cellar displays (more on the Blue Sky Cellar later), this ride is slated for a major thematic overhaul to bring it in line with the rest of the pier... it'll be themed after the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon,
"The Band Concert."

Jumpin' Jellyfish - Braeden told me that he heard someone describe this as "the kiddie version of the Tower of Terror", which is true insofar as it goes up & down at some height. The boys enjoyed it but it's not worth your time unless the line is tiny - which it was.

Mulholland Madness - It looks like this will be re-themed as well... not that the current theme is overwhelming, mind you. It's a pretty standard little coaster with nice cars & a mountain road theme, which works. Braeden loves it - and Collin would as well, but he's one inch too short to ride it.

Braeden & I rode with a young woman & her daughter (about the same age as Braeden). We talked to them about the ride while we were waiting in line... and then I asked the daughter as we left the station if she was going to scream in my ear. At the end of the ride, the daughter asked, "Mom, can we ride this again!?" Mom answered, "Only if your dad or this nice man in front will ride it with you."

Heimlich's Chew-Chew Train - At this point, we cut across the park to A Bug's Land, which is truly a land of Disney magic. Standard carnival rides (twisters, little trains, bumper cars, etc.) are transformed by being dipped in Pixar pixie dust. Heimlich is the best example of this: it's just a little train ride, but the narration (provided by Heimlich) is delightful & funny - and you get sprayed with water (from the watermelon) and doused with fresh cookie smell (in the cookie box). When we took Braeden back in 2003, we rode this 11 times in 3 days.

Tuck & Roll - Nothing real notable here - it's bumper cars, ahem, bugs. The big deal is that Braeden is now old enough to drive his own car!

Flik's Flyers - Now THIS is a spinning ride I can enjoy... it doesn't go too fast & it's over quickly. The boys love it, of course.

I managed to get Braeden to agree not to ride Frances' (a weird figure-8 spinning ride) that made me seriously ill last year in exchange for riding the Mad Tea Party with the two of them when we went back to Disneyland. More on that in a minute.

Christmas Pictures - A Bug's Land is supposed to make you bug-sized - so there are some giant Christmas ornaments... we took the opportunity to take our pictures in front of them. Here they are!

If you haven't guessed, it's tough to get a straight picture of Braeden - he's always mugging for the camera. (I wonder which parent he inherits this trait from?!) He may grow out of it; he may not. I certainly didn't.

Blue Sky Cellar - The wine-tasting cellar has been converted into a new much cooler version of the old Disney preview gallery. (I have strong & fond memories of looking at Discovery Bay concept art there back in the early 80's.) At this point, it's all about the DCA renovations - and much of the art you've seen online if you're a Disney fan. They're going to revamp the entrance area, add a Walt Disney interactive walkthrough, fix up some of the cheesy facades (particularly in the Hollywood area), create a new evening show (the Wonderful World of Color) in the lagoon - which was dry so they could start putting in equipment while we were there, build a Little Mermaid ride where Golden Dreams used to be, spruce up & re-theme chunks of Paradise Pier to make it more Disney... and, most importantly, build Radiator Springs ("Cars Land") in what is now the Timon parking lot.

There was footage of them testing the Luigi tire ride (very cool!), some great scale models of Paradise Pier, and artwork of Radiator Springs that had me salivating - the race ride (slated to combine the sophistication of the Indiana Jones ride with the speed of Test Track at EPCOT) is huge. Anyway, it's supposed to open in 2012.

I'll be back in a day or two with our return in late afternoon to Disneyland...

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