March 8, 2005
After I had been home for a while I was talking to my sister on the phone. She had been to Disney World with my brother as a child. I’d yet to go to Florida, but when asking me about Disneyland she mentioned that she’d always had this idea that Disneyland was old, rundown, and not very nice. I had always had the same perception of the park as well. I know that there was a time that some basic park maintenance was let to slip. Also, after reading that one of the reasons Walt build Disney World was because he wasn’t very happy with how everything sprung up around Disneyland after opening, turning the area into a tourist trap that he wanted to avoid.
But what I had seen of Anaheim was nice, and I really enjoyed the Disneyland resort, which looked amazing. Because of the jet lag I woke up fairly early. Seven in the morning early. Not usual for me. Actually, at 7 AM normally I’d just be getting off of work. I asked Jamaal if he wanted to join me for breakfast at the Denny’s across the parking lot but he declined, opting to sleep longer instead, so I offered to bring breakfast back to him.
I was going to call Tina and Bill to see if they wanted to join me since they were at the same motel, but it was early and I figured I’d just call them after breakfast in case they weren’t awake yet. While eating I made sure to call Jamaal’s sister since we couldn’t get ahold of her on Monday to let her know we arrived safely and everything was going well. After getting something to go for Jamaal I headed back across the parking lot. It was getting close to 8:30 AM and Disneyland opened at 10. I wanted to be there at or near opening, so I let Jamaal get ready and eat as I watched the morning news when I finally called Tina.
She said that once they got ready they’d come down to our room since I still had yet to meet Bill in person. A few minutes later as we were getting ready to leave I get a call from Tina:
Tina-“Hey, what room did you say you were in again?”
Me-“Um, 315, I thought I told you.”
Tina-“Well we’re outside the door”.
I opened the door…“No you’re not”
Tina & Bill-(through hysterical laughter) “Oh my, we must be at different Motel 6s!”
Me-“Are you at the one in Anaheim, Tina?”
Tina-“No, we’re near Knott’s Berry Farm, 7 miles away!”.
So there went our morning meet up. We were so sure the entire time that we were at the same motel when we were actually a few miles apart, with us near Disneyland, them by Knott’s Berry Farm. We decided to meet at Disneyland later in the day as Tina and Bill were meeting up with their friend Jodi, the SoCal ACE rep at the time. Just before 10 AM we were finally ready to head to the park. I had ordered special 1 day park hopper tickets for us for $54 a piece, and almost didn’t get them in time. They arrived in the mail the afternoon right before we left, thankfully. After we got directions to Disneyland we got a little turned around, but a few minutes later were entering the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.
We paid to park and headed to one of the parking decks. During the drive to the parking deck you finally come upon the parks and see the Tower of Terror and Maliboomer at California Adventure. It was another exciting moment for me, much like seeing Cedar Point from the causeway for the first time. After parking we went down and hopped a tram to the front gate.
The front gate plaza was very impressive. Downtown Disney was straight ahead, with California Adventure to the left and Disneyland to the right. It was just after 10 AM and everyone had given me the advice to go to California Adventure first since we probably wouldn’t spend too much time there, as the park, though still fairly new, did not have nearly as much to offer. How wrong that advice was! After getting through the gates at California Adventure we headed directly to the Sun Wheel.
Sun Wheel-The Sun Wheel is based on Deno’s Wonder Wheel at Coney Island in NYC. I was excited to see the swinging cars in motion. This was defiantly one of the lowest capacity ride in the park, and the line showed that in how slow it moved. The Sun Wheel could have been a lot of fun, but it was just too slow and it had to stop 2 times during the continuous cycle for scared kids to get off and the like. Woulda, shoulda, coulda been funner. Oh well. I wasn’t upset, it was still fun.
After the Sun Wheel we were close to Maliboomer, a 3 tower S&S shot tower complex. The wait wasn’t long at all even with only one Tower running. Actually so far the park was fairly dead.
Maliboomer-I had been on Power Tower at Cedar Point but I always get nervous on drop rides. I knew what to expect with Maliboomer, however. The air pop at the top was great. Even with the annoying ‘Scream Shields’, the ride was fun and we would ride it again 2 more times during the day.
Next we wandered around Paradise Pier towards California Screamin’. This was a very nice section of the park. In fact, it could have almost fooled you into thinking you were at a small sea side park at the beach. Very nice, very clean, and very friendly. But enough of that, it was time for some more Intamin goodness, this time in the form of a coaster…
California Screamin’–This was credit number 96. The line was slightly long. We quickly got a fast pass for later, since Moosh gave us the secret on how to exploit those, then we got in line. The line was about 20 minutes long, with about 3 trains running and only one side of the dual station. We made our way down to the launch area. One thing I noticed was that the soundtrack was also not playing. Oh well. The launch came and we shot down the launch track and up into the first hill and around the massive layout. The coaster was very smooth and I liked how the LIM lifts had the sound of a chain lift to it. The bunny hops in the latter half gave ample airtime and the loop was fun, with strong laterals thought the ride in the helices. It was a fun coaster, definitely good and worth a few rides. No head-banging, the loop was cool.
Since we had our ride and our fast pass on Screamin’, we had to figure out what to do next. Another quick go on Maliboomer. Then while walking back thru Paradise Pier it was time for another coaster. Mulholland Madness was close by and the only other credit in California Adventure. Even though Jamaal was going to opt out at first, as he said it looked like a kid’s coaster, I explained to him that wild mouse coasters can be terrifying and that it was for adults and kids. The fast pass was not available on this, the line was a little long, but we were able to ride.
Mulholland Madness–Defiantly tamed down, but it was still a really fun mouse. The theming is cool. We were in the front of our car. There isn’t much to say, after a point it is just another wild mouse. I still love ’em, they still kinda scare me. ‘Nuff said.
Heading back through the Golden State then past Sunshine Plaza we headed into Hollywood Pictures Backlot. We checked out the Disney Animation building, but nothing much was going on at the moment so it was on to the next thing that I came to the park for, Tower of Terror. The scenery beside Aladdin’s theater was another forced perspective that was very well done again. Rounding the street towards the ‘Hollywood Tower Hotel’, we got a fast pass for Tower of Terror first before getting in line which, thankfully, was very short. It was nearing noon and still the park was pretty empty.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror-I loved this! I had heard the Florida version was better, so I was excited at the possibility of eventually getting to ride. The tower looked really cool. When seeing it from outside of the park, I couldn’t tell if it was another hotel until we got closer and I recognized it was Tower of Terror. We waited a couple minutes and were led into the first room of the preshow. The effects of lightning and the ‘Twilight Zone’ episode showing the story were both really cool. The boiler room was nicely themed as well. After a few minutes wait we were led to our elevator. I must say, the special effects that did make it to the California version were impressive. The room turning to a field of stars, everything was cool. The first drop caught me off guard, and I was out of my seat almost every drop due to airtime. This was my favorite ride of the trip.
After Tower of Terror, we went back to the Animation building and explored it some more, going thru a few rooms and shows in there. It was a nice break, I highly recommend it for any Disney buffs, and especially artists. Jamaal & I were both Art Honor students so it was right up our alley. Then we headed to Muppet Vision 3D. Being that I had seen a lot of this on TV as a kid so I was interested to see what it was really like.
Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3D-It was cute, I enjoyed it, especially being able to sit down. Matthew said it was about 10 minutes too long, and he was half right. It lasted about 5 minutes longer than I had the attention span for, but honestly, mostly forgettable in the end.
We were getting hungry so we headed over to see what the line for Grizzly River Run was like and hopefully find some food along the way. Then I remembered one thing Matthew had said to do as soon as we got into the park, just before the Sun Wheel, which I had forgotten: Get a fast pass for Soarin’ over California. Oh my! I know wait times on this were outrageous, so we went to get our fast pass, only to find no line at all!
Soarin’ over California-Soarin’ was a neat experience. We didn’t get into the seats we had been told to ride, so there were feet hanging down above us, but it was still a lot of fun. The ride carriage was interesting to say the least, and it was nice to see some of California that I still had yet to venture to. But while I enjoyed it, It wasn’t something I was super eager to have to ride again.
There was a burger joint, the Test Pilot Grill, right beside Soarin’ which is where we decided to eat. Jamaal was kind of tired and his blood sugar was acting up. Since he doesn’t like to get wetI went over to see if I could get in line for Grizzly River Run. Once getting there, I realized that I probably needed a fast pass as the line was too long and I didn’t want to make Jamaal wait that long on me. I unknowingly took the long way around back to the Pilot’s Grill to get my ticket for a fast pass as the kiosks were close. But the Fast Pass kiosks were closed. There was, however, a single rider line.
Grizzly River Run-Yay single rider lines! More rides need these. I got in the line and was able to ride right away. This was the best rapids ride I’d ever ridden. It was very well themed all the way thru. The first drop got me fairly wet and the last drop finished the job. But it was a blast as the day was rather warm and I love water rides.
Okay, so I was drenched but we really needed to get to Disneyland if we wanted to see both parks. Just before we left California Adventure we used our Fast Passes for Tower of Terror. Another excellent ride which I could go on and on about again, but I’ll spare you. At one point, however, I was out of my seat once as soon as the drop sequence started and never touched my seat thru the whole drop sequence. It was definitely the best air I’d ever had.
It was around 2 PM so I called Tina, who was with Bill and Jodi over at Disneyland Park. They were in line for ‘it’s a small world’ so she told us to meet her in front of the Castle. We left California Adventure and headed to the one, the only, the original…Disneyland!