Adventures by Disney Backstage Magic & Bonus Disneyland time - COMPLETE

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alicemouse's picture
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Allie wrote:
The Pirates premier sounds awesome! So I noticed there are a lot of candid photos of the group throughout the tour. Did one of your guides take those and you were provided them afterwards?

Yes!! Both of our tour guides had camera in hand at all times and they got all kind of cool shots that we never have an opportunity to get--us in non-selfie mode, right after loading onto rides, fun actions shots, set-up shots that I think I took until I get home and realize I don't have them. I think we had about 1500 pictures in all that we could access within 10 business days after we returned by using a trip code to identify our group. It was like PhotoPass, but with way more photos. The quality isn't as good as PhotoPass because they weren't lugging around DSLR's, but the variety is much better--the photos tell the story or the trip really well.

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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DAY 3: Imagineering the Magic

Today was the day that I was most looking forward to. Once again, breakfast was at the hotel and it was better than the previous day because I didn't waste time on things I knew weren't my favorite from the day before. We assembled in the lobby at 8:15 and boarded the motor coach for the Walt Disney Studios. On the way, we passed Warner Bros. Studios, which was nice for us because it landmarked everything since we had just been there on Sunday. Just before entering the Studios, we passed by St. Joesph's Hospital where Walt Disney passed away. It was a very sobering experience in a way that I absolutely did not expect. There was something about seeing the edge of the studio lot in the shadow of that hospital that just hit me. It was just a regular, normal hospital, but knowing about the conversations that went on there between Walt and Roy Disney in the final days and thinking about what they must have been thinking and feeling--that history was etched in this place and I could still feel the gravity of that event over 50 years later.

When we arrived at the Studio, there was some sort of press event going on. The first two building that we encountered were the Studio Store and the event building--both were moved intact from the Hyperion Studio. eek Photos were mostly unlimited at the Studio, which was really cool considering that there is no public access. Like Jim Henson Studios, that meant that there weren't a ton a spaces that were displayed just for us, but there were a few gems. The first place we visited was the street corner of Mickey Ave & Dopey Drive. Because I've seen this sign in footage of the Walt Disney Studios from several different sources, I naturally assumed that all of the Studio "streets" were marked this way. Nope! This is the only one and the sign is just a prop. None of the directions on the sign are accurate. It was placed on the lot for Reluctant Dragon, which told the story the making of an animated film by following it around the studio. On the curb below, "Pluto's Corner" is spray painted and there's a great example of Disney humor that is not quite family-friendly enough for the parks that pops its head out at places throughout the Studio. There are just three paw prints in the concrete beside Pluto's fire hydrant. silly

From our family photo at the *fake* signpost, we entered the animation building. We didn't get to see any work being done, which honestly bummed me out a little bit because that was one of the elements of the old Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios that stands out the most to me as a child--staring at the animators and ink & painters in the goldfish bowl. The halls are covered with a huge collection of Disney Animation artwork. We did get to go through the secret tunnel between the Animation and Ink & Paint buildings. The tunnel existed so that on the two days/year it rains in SoCal that the drawings wouldn't get ruined transporting them from one building to the other. laugh We learned that this tunnel was the graveyard for a lot of original animation cells because after a film was "in the can", the animators would through the cells onto the ramp and make a slip & slide of sorts. eek The tunnel was also used to shoot the sewer scene from Alias. The tunnel was flooded for the shot. Ink & Paint used to employ over 600 painters. Now there are just three. sad Just across from Animation is the Disney Music Group (DMG) building. Both the monorail and Peter Pan's Flight were built entirely inside that building!

The buildings of the campus were meant to be just that--a campus. When Elias Disney visited the Studio, he expressed concern about what would happen to the property if this movie making thing went belly up. Walt assured him that it was constructed the way it was so that it could be sold to a hospital or university. Not sure if that was just storytelling or if it was in fact a very real back-up plan, but Walt did make good on his promise. The buildings were used to create Midvale College and Medfield College for Merlin Jones and The Absent-Minded Professor, respectively.

Our next visit was to the Archives. The Archives are located in the Frank G. Wells building and if you're not familiar with Frank Wells, he was the co-pilot under Michael Eisner. Frank was killed in a helicopter crash while on a mountain climbing trip. He was a window on Main Street alluding to that fact. If you're never read "Disney War" but James Stewart or seen "Waking Sleeping Beauty", they are both worth a look. They give a very interesting perspective about how the Eisner-Wells partnership reversed the fate of the company and how Wells' premature death rocked the fabric of the Disney leadership. Here's one place that didn't match my expectation, but what was there was better than what I pictured. I assumed archives in the sense of rows and rows of shelves with cataloged items with sign-out sheets, but in reality, those archives span 26 buildings, so there is a rotating Archives Exhibit at the Studio and it's much nicer because you can actually see all of the items. Meaning, we only got to see a fraction of the Archives, but what we saw, we actually got to focus on and pay attention to. There are some photo albums I would have liked to have had more time with, but there was just so much to look at. We did each get to take a picture holding one of Walt Disney's actual Oscars. There are only 3 original mulitplane cameras remaining--the one at the Archives, one in the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, and one at Disneyland Paris. (OMG--it just occurred to me that I'll be visiting all three in the span of one year!) The one at Hollywood Studios is a replica.

We stepped out of the Frank G. Wells building and into Legends Plaza, which spans between the FGW building and the Michael Eisner building. I'm really not sure how I feel about the name of that building. This is the iconic building that you think about when you think about Walt Disney Studios--you know, the one with the dwarfs as pillars. Michael Eisner did some amazing things for Disney and despite losing touch later in his career, his vision opened the door for Disney to become what it is today. But for this building in the studio that was built on the back of Snow White's success to be named after a non-Disney family member just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But, it's hardly more than a momentary distraction because...LEGENDS PLAZA! What a cool place! Handprints and foot prints of people like Bob Gurr, Fred MacMurray, Julie Andrews, Marc Davis, Mary Blair...just a fantastically awesome place to be. And it's like a little park. It has the bench with Roy and Minnie Mouse and a Partners statue. Cool story--Blaine Gibson asked Walt if there was anything he could change about himself, what would it be. Walt's replied that he would like to be an inch taller. So Blaine obliged and on the Partners statues, Walt Disney is an inch taller than he was in real life.

Roy E. Disney had very tiny hands

Next up was lunch at the Studio Commissary. On the way, we walked past the building where Walt and Roy's office were held and the Julie Andrews Sound Stage where both Mary Poppins and The Princess Diaries were filmed. Lunch was comped by AbD and while we technically got an entree, side, drink, & dessert, it was basically a free for all. Benn and I got nachos, which was the daily special, but we also got a bowl of Walt's Chili. We have some Ohio friends here, so maybe some of you have had Skyline Chili? Walt's Chili tastes just like Skyline! (I think--I've only eaten each once, but I'm pretty sure it was dead on.)

After lunch, it was shopping time! I wish we had been more conservative here. The front of the store was a giant Disney Store (though it did have pins) and the back was where the exclusive merchandise was at. The exclusive merchandise here was a huge letdown. I ended up buying a few pins--one of the Roy E. Disney Animation building and an LE Moana set that for the price versus the edition size, I think I overpaid for. But c'est la vie.

Next stop: Imagineering!!!! yay muchlove yeah banana If you visit Glendale, you can tell the Imagineering buildings by the cream colored tops, rust colored bottoms, and green striping and trim. The campus is enormous and we only got to see a very small, carefully cultivated section, but it was still pretty awesome. As you can imagine, there are EXTREME photo restrictions here, but luckily the guides are above the rules and get to snap a few pics.

The main building

1401 is used in much the same way in Disneyland as A-113 is used in Pixar movies.

We visited the auditory lab first, where our step-on guide was a little lackluster, but the technology was really cool. Using a special sound mapping headpiece, they were essentially able to record sound in 3D. We listened to an interaction and you could tell exactly where a speaker or a noise were positioned in the room relative to you. Our second stop was the sculpture room where all of the bust models are kept. There were Presidents, Haunted Mansion residents, hairless Captain Jack Sparrow...you name it. There were also first mach up models for things like the giant Tramp from the 50's section at Pop, models for the Tiki birds, and woodland creatures. We got to take photos with the original marble Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that live in the Wishing Well courtyard at Sleeping Beauty Castle. The specs on the model were given the the Italian marble company incorrectly, so to cover his mistake, John Hench told Walt that they were a gift and then ordered some additional figures and arranged all of them using forced perspective to cover up the measurement boo-boo. The other cool thing in this room was Blain Gibson's original scale model of the Partners statue that portrays Mickey holding an ice cream cone. Most Disney sculptures are done in miniature like this so that changes can be made before the final version is complete. In this case, the ice cream cone was scrapped because it was thought to make Mickey look too juvenile.

Our Imagineering Guide, Ann

Mickey's of Glendale in the background

We also visited the model shop where attractions are created in miniature and figures are created out of foam. We don't have any pictures from that area, but we did get to walk through the new Beauty and the Beast ride that is slated for Tokyo! muchlove The last place that we went was to the "dish", where you can stand in a 3D virtual reality environment of any Disney theme park. We each got a turn to "walk around" Magic Kingdom. That was really awesome, but when they switched over and let us do a ride through of Radiator Springs Racers in 3D VR, I only lasted about 10 seconds before the motion sickness kicked in and I had to close my eyes. Sick After our tour concluded, we were let loose in Mickey's Glendale with a 40% off coupon each for any one item. I picked up some killer exclusive pins and Benn and I each used out 40% off on coordinating Imagineering thinsulate jackets. We only really had 30 minutes to shop, which was VERY stressful! When I go up to our Disney outlet store, I'm never out of there in under an hour and this was maybe a once in a lifetime shopportunity.

We boarded the bus clutching our treasures and headed for Disneyland!!! On the way, Abby & Michael sent the snack basket around and put on the Disney Treasures: Disneyland DVD with the Disneyland Tencennial celebration. I have this DVD at home and I absolutely love it. When that was over, we were still crawling down the freeway--remember when I said that there was no reliable way to guarantee an arrival time in SoCal--so Michael put in his favorite Disney movie, Peter Pan. Our trip from Disneyland to Hollywood on Sunday morning had taken roughly 50 minutes. Today it took 2 1/2 hours. There was no rhyme or reason and there was nothing to do about it. Luckily our bus driver had the patience of a saint.

We did finally arrive at Disneyland Hotel and we were quite ready for dinner! We checked in and went to our rooms to await luggage delivery. Abby & Michael made sure that our extra luggage that we had checked on Sunday morning was going to be included in the delivery. Our room was lovely--the details of the rooms at DL Hotel are on a post on page one of this report. I Not having a balcony doesn't feel very deluxe to me, but there's no denying that the location is great and the pool and water slides are fantastic. Here's a cute little story that I think really illustrates how much the AbD guides care about the guests. We returned to the lobby early because we wanted to see if it was going to be possible to stay in the same room fro the extra two nights that we had added on. Abby saw us in line and came scurrying over to make sure everything was ok. We assured her that everything was wonderful and we were just checking on our post-AbD arrangements. The CM who we spoke with was so sweet to go ahead and do our second check-in awhile. We were going to be able to stay in the same room and we just had to remember to switch to our new room keys on Friday.

Our dinner for the evening was in the Blue Sky Suite. I don't believe I talked about this in the food post, but if I did, here goes again. I think the space was awesome, We were in the former owner's suite in the penthouse of the Fantasy Tower. It was roughly equivalent to the E-Ticket club lounge in the Adventure building (we did not have access to the lounge and honestly I think having that access would have been appropriate, but we didn't spend much time at the resort anyway and our meals were provided, so not a huge deal). The menu was "A Taste of Disneyland" and included Plaza Fried Chicken, BBQ Shrimp & Grits from French Market, Chicken Caesar Salad from...I forget, Corn Dogs from the Red Wagon, and assorted non-churro desserts. I was disappointed in the chicken--it didn't taste like the Plaza's. The corn dogs and salad seemed like kind of a cop out. The BBQ Shrimp & Grits were amazing. I'm hoping to get a full order on the January trip.

After dinner, we went to Disneyland as a group and were escorted directly to our reserved viewing area for Main Street Electrical Parade. The parade does have a few changes from WDW--it's led by Mickey and Tinker Bell is a float halfway back the route. They've added "Disneyland's" to the drum and I think there might be an extra in-betweener float or two. It seems longer. Of course the parade itself was less spectacular for most of us than it was for Abby & Michael since we've been enjoying it at WDW for years, but honestly, seeing their excitement made it exciting for me. After the parade, we received a FastPass that was good for any ride, so we used it to ride Star Tours since we had missed our FastPass return time on a previous day. I think we did Pirates, too before packing it in, but we should have gone home after Star Tours. We both started getting cranky about halfway through the line and we were coming up on another early morning with our "East Coast time advantage" slowly eroding.

Next up: Disneyland Day!

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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I am really enjoying this trip report I think its one of my favourites! I love how much detail you have went into and the photos are amazing! I can't wait to read more.

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danijrod wrote:
I am really enjoying this trip report I think its one of my favourites! I love how much detail you have went into and the photos are amazing! I can't wait to read more.

Thanks, Dani! I love writing these and I always get kind of bummed out when I get to the end. Although I spend most of the time I'm working on them annoyed that the realities of daily life are interfering with my trip report! laugh

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

Find me on Facebook

Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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DAY 4: Walt's World

Oops...forgot to mention that when we returned from Main Street Electrical, these were in our room:

Today's Theme was "Walt's World", so guess where we were going! Disneyland!! I don't remember what time we met this morning, but I want to say it was like 7:15? Michael & Abby were Disneybounding as Mickey & Minnie today. Our day started in an *almost* empty park because it turns out that we were sharing the honor with a newly married couple. There were a TON of wedding going on this week. The Wedding Pavilion at DL is at the DL Hotel and we saw multiple changes to the bridal party welcome sign during the week. So it was kind of cool to share the park with the bride and groom, but I felt kind of bad for them that a tour group was hanging out for their wedding photos. Still there's only so much time available for private morning park time, so everyone has to share! We took pictures on an empty Main Street, in from of an unobstructed castle, at the Wishing Well by the replica statues of the Snow White models we had seen at Imagineering, and on the Fantasyland side of the castle, where we had an opportunity to mimic the classic Walt pose of nonchalantly strolling through the castle. It was marvelous. This was probably one of my top 3 experiences of the trip just because we had so much fun doing silly poses and taking in all of the detail without the crowds rushing by. A few fun facts that we learned during our photo shoot: 300 baby chicks are born every year at Disneyland. That has nothing to do with the castle; our group was just enamored with the baby chicks. Sleeping Beauty castle is 72' tall. For the Diamond Celebration, 1 million stones were individually glued to the turrets. Unfortunately, one of the turrets cracked, so the stones will remain until it can be repaired later this Fall. There really is gold leaf on the castle turrets.

On the bus ride from Imagineering, we had watched the Disneyland, USA video and in particular, the segment with Julie Reihm, who was the first Disneyland Ambassador, a distinction that is intertwined with VIP tour services. Well, this morning, we met Alexa Garcia, the current Disneyland Ambassador. It was small, but it was a really significant thing because on the video, Julie and Walt are discussing not only the beginnings of the Haunted Mansion idea, but also the coming of Pirates of the Caribbean. Well, Pirates turns 50 years old this year and here we were meeting the person who currently occupies the role that Julie began 50 years ago. Also, when Walt was having trouble envisioning what the Imagineers had in store for the Pirates attraction, Harriet Burns sat him down in a rolling chair and wheeled him past the mock up scenes in order, almost the way that we had walked through the models for the Beauty and the Beast attraction. Any time a new Pirates opens, water from all of the existing Pirates attractions is collected and poured ceremoniously into the new attraction.

Alexa Garcia

Exit? Not for us!!

Our breakfast this morning was at the Plaza Inn. The review for the Plaza is on the first page. Suffice to say I've never been to character meal with such depth on the roster. We met a full dozen characters. It was fantastic. The restaurant itself has some interesting foibles as well. The center section was actually a personal residence in LA and Walt had it moved and added onto to create his restaurant. After breakfast, we headed straight for the Carrousel, which was a particularly cool contrast to riding the Griffith Park Carrousel. Of course, this one is styled more similarly to the other Disney Carrousels, but at 130 years old, it is the oldest. All of the horses are painted white and the top speed is 4.5 mph as opposed to Griffith Park's homicidal 25 mph. The "front" horse on the carrousel is Jingles and she is located directly behind the sleigh. Well, usually she is. She was off being repainted during our trip. Bummer.

Because Fantasyland is entirely FastPass-free at DL, you really have to rope drop to stand a chance at doing everything without going crazy from the wait times. Luckily for us, our guides walked us on Peter Pan's Flight and Pinocchio's Daring Journey through the exits. They told us about the Fantasyland redesign in 1983 when the "circus tent" motif was scrapped. According to Disney legend, the Imagineers, looking at Fantasyland, the crown jewel of Disneyland, in shambles post demolition had a very nervous moment when they said to themselves, "What. Have. We. Done." After Fantasyland, we did walk-ons for Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. On our way to the Tiki Room, Abby & Michael offered everyone a complimentary Dole Whip. After the show, the CM's held the next show for us and Micheal brought out Ophelia the Orchid, who is retired from the show and we weren't able to touch her, but we did get to see her mechanisms up close. It takes 60 hours to re-feather a Tiki Room bird.

After the show, we walked up Main Street where we split into two groups--one to go to Great Moments with Mr Lincoln and one to go to Walt's Apartment. This was one of my key reasons for signing up for this tour as it is currently the ONLY way to get into Walt's Apartment. I was fortunate to go up last year through a training program, but Benn hadn't been and I really wanted to share this place with him. I also wanted another peek because there was too much to take in all at one time! There were details I missed last time like the fact that the owners of a restaurant on Main Street used to get annoyed at Walt ambling out of his apartment before park opening and wandering into their restaurant in hi bathrobe to use their juicer for his orange juice, so they bought him one of his own. He continued to use theirs, but the one they bought him is still in the apartment. The original furniture is at the Walt Disney Family Museum, but the replacement pieces are similar to what would have been there. There is an antique Regina Music Box and a phonograph in the 50 sq. ft. apartment. The phonograph was to replace and update the music box, but the music box still works. The phonograph, not so much. There is no bedroom in the apartment. The two futons in the living room convert into beds. Picturing Walt sleeping on a fold out sofa in his apartment that he built in his park paints such a humble picture of him--that he would do without to make his dreams a reality. Me, I'm too attached to comfort in my life I would have wanted the Dream Suite, but he was happy with his apartment. Cool coincidence here. Out setp on guide for the apartment was Phillip, who was our guide for the Walk in Walt's Footsteps your two years ago. I remember him because he's the best in-park tour guide we've ever had. This was his first time giving the tour of Walt's Apartment. Once again, only our guides were allowed to take photos, but they were generous enough to encourage us to spread out as wide as possible to get as much of the apartment as we could in the shot. Clever devils. When we left he apartment, we happened upon Goofy.

After the apartment tour, we were invited to a private meet & greet with Mickey at his house without waiting in the 60-minute standby line. Cool. And then we had reserved viewing for Mickey's Soundsational Parade. But, before turning us loose, our guides gave us a FastPass for Star Tours PLUS 5 anytime, anywhere FastPasses. The only caveat was that we had to use them on FP attractions. By this time, we had become quite good friends with Kathy and Kevin, two of the folks from our table the first night at dinner, so we all decided to expend our FastPasses together in between our optional group activities. I don't really remember the order of events from here, but I know that we did both he Mickey meet & greet and Soundsational, which even though it's a smidge cheesy, it's one of my favorite Disney parades. I love the selection of characters and I adore the Mary Poppins is in a place or honor as the last act.

During the parade, Abby & Michael brought us another treat--a Grey Stuff cupcake from Be Our Guest. This is where my too many sweets critique comes in. I've been on a self-imposed eating plan lately of unlimited vegetables and portion awareness on all other foods. I was not getting anything close to things that were normally on my menu and I was really starting to feel sluggish because of it. It was a wonderful gesture, but I'm not much of a cakes and icing person to start with and then to have so much of it readily available...it wasn't really my speed. After the parade, we continued on our FP mission. For rides, we ended up doing Matterhorn (well, Benn and Kathy did. I took one look at the entrance to the tunnel and decided to go wait with Kevin), Hyperspace Mountain, Star Tours, Haunted Mansion, and Buzz Lightyear. We gave out last FP away to a couple sitting near us at dinner. We lucked into a really great thing at some point in the afternoon. We ran into a senior CM in the Alice in Wonderland restroom area who noticed Kevin's military hat. Because he was also a veteran, he wrote Kevin a FP good for up to 6 people on ANY attraction, even Fantasyland attractions!! So since this was Kathy's first time at DL ever, we decided that we should use it to take her on Alice in Wonderland. Bonus, the Alice CM let us keep the FP so we could use it again! So we went over to Storybookland Canal Boats. Same deal! Then we went to Mr. Toad where the mean old CM took our magic pass. Sad( luckily the wait was short for Snow White because we thought it was important for Kathy to ride that as well. We parted ways with our friends at dinner. I had made reservations for us at River Belle Terrace and they weren't hungry, so I left it as a reservation for 2. Again, the review of that experience is on the first page somewhere.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel to relax since DL doesn't do fireworks on school nights. I wanted to go to the pool, which was open until 9, but I really wanted to check out the water slide. Bad news. Water slides close at 6. Huh?! Needless to say, I wasn't a happy camper about that little discovery. So we decided to check out Trader Sam's. We are not huge bar people, so maybe this is partially just us not knowing how things work, but there was no hostess or "check in with bartender" sign or "seat yourself" sign, so we wandered around looking lost for like 5 minutes and no one bothered to fill us in on the protocol or even greet us. When we did find a server, who confirmed that we could just sit down, I looked at the menu--pineapple everywhere. There were literally two mixed drinks without pineapple. One I think had blueberry in it and the other was a margarita, which I just wasn't in the mood for. Not a big deal. I just asked our server if they could swap the pineapple juice for orange juice on the drink I picked. She informed me that it was impossible because the drinks are pre-mixed. I'm sorry. If I'm paying $12 for a shot of alcohol and some fruit juices that any bar should have in stock, you can mix it fresh with the alterations I asked for. So we left Trader Sam's. It's a shame because it was a cute place, but I don't pay a premium to vacation at Disney to be made to feel like no one cares if I'm there and for a bar to not be able to handle a simple request that I've literally never had a bartender turn down before. No problem.

We went to the Steakhouse 55 lounge instead and had a fabulous time. I found a drink that wasn't sullied with pineapple and we got a cheese plate. To be honest, I thought the cheese plate on Alaska Airlines was slightly better, but it was tough competition. I know airlines aren't known for great food, but that cheese plate on Alaska is killer. While at the lounge, we saw Abby frantically rushing around to get a bag of rice. Why? Because Abby is an extra mile kind of person and one of our group-mates had taken quite a splash on Splash Mountain and her phone was toast. While she was waiting for a bag of rice from Steakhouse 55, she sat and chatted with us a bit. She is such a warm, funny, and interesting person. I feel lucky that we got that little bit of 1 on 1 (or 2 on 1) time with her. As we were finishing up our drinks, another group at the bar invited us to have some cake with them. They had ordered this like 7 layer chocolate cake and couldn't eat it all. O. M. G. I'm no cake eater, but that cake was phenomenal. It was like those lava cakes, but not hot and not so moist that it's slimy. And the icing was light and delicious, not that sugar shock garbage that makes my throat tingle. I wish we had met these people earlier in the evening because they were a lot of fun, but by this point, it was time to rest up for our last full day!

It doesn't look like much, but it tasted good!

Oh and one last thought about Disneyland vs. WDW: Dear Walt Disney World, this is called a BENCH. Take notes.

Next up: Disney's California Adventure!

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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So much awesomeness in your Adventures by Disney experience. Except that carousel; those horses are so creepy, they belong in a horror movie. I would not have ridden them. eek

I would love to see the Main Street Electrical Parade again. I think it will always be my favorite.

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Loving this trip report, Holly!

amy1989's picture
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absolutely loving your report Holly! I'm loving hearing all your experiences its truly amazing!

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Day 5: Adventure Is Out There!

Our day began with breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen, for which the review is on the first page. The down side of starting with that lovely meal is that we weren't able to get into the park much before opening. We still got some reasonably exclusive photos, but of course it's not quite as magical as getting the whole park to yourself for a half hour. At our first photos stop, we talked about California Screamin' and how the scream guard (the blue tunnel) not only acts as a sounds barrier for the community, but also intensifies the sound of the screams inside the park to lure visitors towards it. I feel like if Monstropolis had a scream guard that they could have collected energy much more efficiently... The coaster has enough steal to stretch from Anaheim to San Jose. There are only two "fun wheels" in the U.S. and what makes it a fun wheel is that fact that at least some of the gondolas swing. Luckily this one as least has some stationary options. We hopped on our first ride of the day and since we were already at Paradise Pier, where better than Toy Story Mania! It was really neat because our step-on guide for the parks (because apparently Abby & Michael can't be trusted to be on their own inside the parks with a tour group even though they both started out at DL and that's where their offices are located sarcastic ), Dori, is a CM at Toy Story Mania, so it was fun to share her home attraction with her. We did a good job of unlocking the Easter Eggs, but we weren't able to capitalize on them, so this was one of those rare occasions when Benn beat me. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation--I was on the wrong side. This is going to sounds stupid, but I have figured out that I play better when I'm on the left hand side of the car. When my right arm is ended in, I'm more accurate. When I'm on the right hand side of the car, my unrestricted elbow goes all over the place and I can't hit the broad side of a barn.

Our first touring event for the day was Carthay Circle. At first, this seemed very out of place because we were scheduled to eat dinner at Carthay later in the evening, but when Abby and Michael told us to go somewhere, we went like good little soldiers. There is a photo in Carthay circle of Walt Disney holding a cigarette that wasn't released to the public until 2012 and it is the first photo where Walt is shown to be smoking that was ever seen by the public. I seem to remember some video footage of Walt smoking, but maybe this is the first still shot. Just before you go up the stairs to the dining room, there is a photo of the Donner Party prior to their expedition. A few more interesting tidbits...The seven special statues for the Oscar for Snow White is the first and only time the Oscar statuette has ever been modified in size. The restaurant is split up into sections and main area is called the Enchanted Forest and the Evil Queen's face is etched in the woodgrain of the tables. There is a private dining room and it is the only space in the restaurant that can be specifically reserved. It's called the Premier Room (inside the "tower") and it aligns directly across the concourse with Sleeping Beauty Castle. Lunch carries a $750 minimum and dinner carries a $1000 minimum. The table in the Premier Room is perched upon a wishing well replica. The first and last pictures of Walt with Mickey are located in this room.

Following our tour of the Carthay, we walked next door, where we were escorted into Club 1901. This is the "Club 33" of DCA, but unlike the real Club 33, apparently the members don't pitch a fit when tour groups get to see their super secret special space. I was shocked to learn that Club 33 has a 60-day reservation window, just like any other restaurant. There is also a feeling among some of the CM's that we spoke with that the new chef is not as well favored as the old chef. The old chef now oversees Steakhouse 55, which is why you may spot a celebrity or two there occasionally because the members were apparently quite attached to their chef. The lodge was very nice and it sported a set of directors chairs with Walt, Lillian, Roy, and Edna inspired on the back. Every 5 minutes or so, a shadow projection of Walt Disney would appear on the wall. A lot of people that I've mentioned that to have commented that it was kind of creepy, but I thought it was pretty cool. The lounge was a very comfortable space and it was neat to get to go in there, but the bar wasn't open or anything, so we just milled around looking at all of the little details and letting everyone take a very exclusive restroom break.

Walt is watching you...j/k it's really not creepy in person.

This Tiffany bird lamp was my favorite thing in the room. It's a nice little nod to the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Our next stop was Soarin' and this is also in the running for my favorite bit of the trip. This was Benn's first ride on California Soarin' because the last time we had been to DL together, it was closed for refurb. It has of course also changed to Soarin' around the World and it sports the same warped perspective issue that our Soarin' has, but we were informed that the Imagineers are aware of the problem and they think they can solve it by reshooting pieces of the film *cough cough* Eiffel Tower sequence *cough cough* with a Fisheye lens. The original fils was shot using drones and a helicopter. India pulled the permits about a week before filming, which is why the Taj Mahal is CGI. We started out backstage where our step-on guide Trent cautioned us that backstage photos are a fire hazard--that taking them could get him fired. laugh Originally, the powers that be forced the Imagineers to excavate to build Soarin so that it wouldn't destroy the skyline aesthetic of the park...and then ToT was built. laugh The original film reels only last about 6 weeks each due to the heavy volume of the attraction, so the images were quickly switched to digital. We were escorted in through a back entrance to the B section. Unfortunately, Benn and I were in the last row, but having done the attraction so many times, it really wasn't critical. There are 3 hidden Mickey's in the new version: The balloons, the rocks on Fiji, and the fireworks. I was glad to hear this because I've been looking for the 4th one since the old film has 4 and there are in fact only 3. Glad I'm not crazy. There is also allegedly a hidden Captain Jack Sparrow walking on Fiji, but even after you know, you can't tell that it's him. After the ride, we actually got to walk behind the screen. The screen is a dome, but they shine the blue light on it to make it appear flat. I really never thought it was flat because you can see the curvature of the edges, but from the back, the dome is a lot more of a 1/3 ball shape than a lens shape like it appears to me. There is a metal webbing that backs the screen. The screen doesn't need support, but the webbing protects the screen in the event that you don't stow your carryon luggage appropriately and it falls. It's not very loud at all behind the screen because all of the sound is projected forward. You can see the images, but of course everything is very distorted and the ride seems much longer when you're watching from down below. It was really cool to watch the people on the ride through the screen. Backstage, Trent showed us (sort of) the erector set that Mark Sumner used to construct the ride mechanism. He has the original, but when the people who sell the erector sets heard about what he did, they figured out what parts he used and sent him replacement pieces so his set would be complete. He paid it forward and built a replica for DL. He also had the scent bead canisters of the current scents (grass, roses, and ocean) and one of the old scents...ORANGE GROVES!!! My day was made. Instead of ending over Sleeping Beauty Castle, each film now ends in its home park except for Shanghai, which wasn't complete when the filming was done. I don't believe they told us what Shanghai's ending scene is, so we'll have to wait on Dee's trip for that insider intel. Oh! And it didn't happen this day because we had a closed-toed shoe requirement because of going backstage, but at DL, they won't let you just leave your flip-flops on the floor like at WDW. You have to sit on them or put them under your seat.

I LOVE the airplane hangar motif at DCA that celebrates the history of California's aviation industry. I wish our queue at Epcot was more like this.

Trent & Dori, our step-on guides

Why do I look scared to ride Soarin'??? laugh

We took a lunch break (that was our Flo's V-8 lunch with our buddies Kathy & Kevin) and then reassembled to tour Cars Land. Of course, we had done a VR ride of Cars Land at Imagineering, so it was especially cool to see the faces of the first timers when we got to that area and they saw everything in person for the first time. We went straight to the backstage area and let me tell you...it was a HIKE. One thing that I prefer about WDW to DL is that we get in way more miles on any given day, Not today! Our backstage activity was located in the maintenance bay for Radiator Springs Racers and this place was fascinating. I'm not a car person. I don't know a carburetor from an oil filter, but the maintenance bay was full of logistical fun facts. There are two hidden mickeys on each car--one on the taillight, the other is a cylinder inside the "trunk" of the car. The motor used $125,000 worth of parts and each car costs a million dollars. This goes for Test Track, too. The default for the brakes is "closed" the "engine" forces air through the brakes to force them open. Stop the airflow, stop the car. The "engine block" space is filled with half computer, half battery. Test Track is responsible for sending hardware updates and then RSR has to retrofit them for their model of cars. The attraction runs 36 cars, each of which is on a 2-year maintenance cycle. Each car runs about 48,000 laps per year, which is just over 50,000 miles per year. Every 100,000 miles, the car has to be stripped down to its chassis and rebuilt. When a car needs to be pulled off the track to check it's function, it's pulled to the "kidney bean" a bean-shaped track loop that's used for diagnostics. If serious repair is required, it's moved to a Jiffy Bay. There are 3 (I think) giant realtime status screens that show the location of every car on the track. On the off chance that an evacuation is necessary, it sometimes requires assistance from the fire company because the upper side of the high banked turns do not have available exit routes. John Lasseter is responsible for the last dip in the track because he thought the ride needed a little bit more WOW factor. The attraction allegedly has a 96% up time and spends about 100 hours up per week and 3-4 down. I cry foul on this one. I've seen this ride down A LOT. In fact, it was down while we were backstage and Abby and Michael were crossing their fingers that we would even get to ride.

Luckily, we did get to ride as a group, which I was grateful for because this is one of my favorite rides in DCA. After we finished, Abby and Michael distributed our FastPasses for the day including 1 for a RSR re-ride and 5 anytime, anywhere (except RSR) passes. We used our passes on more Toy Story and Soarin' rides and again ended up with 1 left over basically because we ran out of time to back to TSM one more time. laugh I redeemed myself on TSM and broke 200,000 for the second time. I was pretty excited. I would have pushed for a ride on Grizzly River Rapids, but no one would have wanted to get wet because we wouldn't have had time to change before dinner.

Our meeting place for dinner was in the lobby of the Grand Californian. While we waited for the group, we chatted up a group of local pin traders who had just popped in to borrow GC's air conditioning. We were telling them about AbD and looking at their pins. I told the one girl that I wished I had my traders on me and she asked me which one I would have traded for. I pointed out a pair of Peter Pan mittens with little pompoms on them from 2015 at the Grand Floridian and she just gave them to me! eek I didn't have a pin to trade, but it was at that moment that I realized that we still had 2 FP's left, so we gave them to her and her friend. I love Disney people. The reason that Abby & Michael had brought us to the Grand was to watch a slideshow of our trip that was basically a big Thank You card. It was really sweet. They also airdropped a few photos to us so we didn't have to wait for them to be processed. They gave us a code for the AbD photo site that allowed us to download all of trip photos within 10 business days after our trip. This gave us about 1500 extra photos of angles that we missed, shots we couldn't take, exclusive location photos that we wouldn't have been allowed to take, etc. It was like PhotoPass on steroids.

We really hoped and thought (and continued to think as we were walking to dinner) that they were going to take us to the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride as a farewell surprise, but Michael told us that they tried, but they just didn't have the right connections to pull that one off. One of our group-mates did score a connection that got them in the following morning, but the rest of us missed out on the opportunity. There were people in the group who were actually mad and I think it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of Disney's corporate structure. AbD may have offices at DL, but AbD does not = DL. Out in the real world, it's perfectly understandable that although the guides are great, there are certain luxuries that are out of even their reach. At DL, it feels like because it's Disney, they should just be able to do anything they want and you would think that all of Disney's sub-companies would work together for the betterment of each other, but that's not the case in reality. There's a lot of posturing and pride that gets in the way. Not that I would have ridden the ride, but I would have liked to see the queue. I did have a non-trip friend who got invited to the press event and we met up with her the following day. She said that she felt like the mechanism shoots you up more than dropping you and that when the doors open now, you see scenes from the movie. She said it was great and rode like 4 times in a row. We tried to ride it on opening day--not sure if I posted that experience or not yet. If not, I'll put it in my DL clean-up post.

So our evening instead was to have dinner at Carthay Circle. (Again, review on page 1.) It was an enjoyable experience for us, not just for the food, but receiving a pair of "Glow with the Show" ears (they have a new name now, but it's not as good and I can't remember what it is) was an awesome quasi surprise (I knew about it, but I totally forgot until we walked into the restaurant) and in addition to Kathy & Kevin, we got a chance to sit with some of the couples that we hadn't seen much of during the week. Following Carthay, we went to World of Color as a group. I won't say I was dreading this evening because that's far too strong, but reading through the itinerary, it was the most lackluster segment of the trip for me. It actually turned out to be very nice. The food was better than I expected and I loved the ears. And the reserved viewing for World of Color made all the difference in the world. I loved last year's 60th anniversary show, but otherwise, I don't particularly care for WOC. I think it's kind of disjointed. Seeing it from dead center right beyond the splash zone/ dessert party area was incredible. We had watched it a few nights earlier from the balcony at GC and it was ok, but not worth standing in your spot for an hour to see it. Vantage point is everything here. I don't think I'll see it again without booking the dessert party. I don't even care about the desserts. I think the viewing angle made that much of a difference. So it really turned out to be quite a nice night.

On the way home, we took advantage of the Grand Californian park exit and popped across the street to DLH. This is the one time where Paradise Pier has a location benefit. It's rubbish in the morning because you have to walk from PP to DLH to use the DTD entrance, but coming home from DCA in the evening, it's only marginally less convenient than staying at GC. Of course a lot of our new friends were very sad to be leaving the following day. We were staying until late, late Sunday night. I'm really glad that we added so much extra time because it was nice to step down from AbD to vacation mode rather than deal with the culture shock of AbD to home. laugh We still had nearly 3 full days remaining at this point.

These are our pins of the day for this trip (except the Jim Henson 60th Anniversary and the Disneyland 50th Anniversary).

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

alicemouse's picture
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Posts: 2832

Day 6: See Ya Real Soon!

This was the end of our inaugural AbD experience, but we did finish on a rather high note with breakfast at Steakhouse 55. Again, the review of the breakfast is on page 1. Abby & Michael were very busy this morning because they had to make sure that they talked to each person and verified their departure arrangements, and distributed our final daily pin, and gave each of us an opportunity to thank them and say goodbye.

After breakfast was over, we were on our own. We had been informed ahead of time that our park ticket would be valid for the entire day on Friday, so several people had planned accordingly and booked later Friday flights or even Saturday flights. We were the only ones staying until Sunday, but we did continue to meet up with friends here and there for the rest of the day. This might be a good opportunity to discuss a great misconception that I had heard about AbD prior to traveling--that the group would bond so fiercely that no earthly force could shatter the bond. There were many people on our trip whose company we very much enjoyed and we will probably even stay in contact via Facebook for awhile. There were also a handful of people on our trip whose personalities did not seem to mesh well with mine and I definitely won't bother to keep in touch with. Our group was 27 people. We knew no-one ahead of time (with the exception of one very nice woman who I did correspond with very briefly on disboards) and to the best of our knowledge, there was only one set of couples who was acquainted before the trip. I will be really anxious to see how the group dynamics change from trip to trip and to see if this trip was an anomaly in the way that the group meshed.

Before I wrap up, there are two non-AbD experiences that didn't really fit into a category and I want to share them with you. The first is the "Remember: Dreams Come True" fireworks show. This was the first time that I'd had the opportunity to see this show because it only runs on weekends and it is canceled All. The. Time. for high winds. The reason it only runs on weeknights is because DL sits in the middle of a community and there are hefty fines imposed for violating noise restrictions on school nights. We made every effort to see the show on the first Saturday night of our trip and it's a good thing we did! We tried to see it a second time on the second weekend, but it was canceled for high winds both nights. If you're missing Wishes at home, this show is the ticket! It has pieces of the Wishes soundtrack woven with a Julie Andrews narrative and it is so absolutely gorgeous. I love every moment of the show and I really wish I'd gotten a chance to see it more than once.

The second experience was the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout opening day. We didn't have any expectation that we were actually going to be able to see the ride (or in my case, just the queue), but we were intrigued by the spectacle and were planning to be at DCA that day because we had lunch reservations at Ariel's Grotto. At first, we were really confused because as we approached the concourse only 15 minutes prior to park opening, we saw no enormous crowd, no insane line. We looked at each other like, "do you suppose everyone forgot?" No, dear friends. Everyone had not forgotten. We passed through the turnstiles and we were immediately greeted by a line that I would call the mother of all switchback lines. The posted wait time was 5 hours, but we later heard that at the worst of the wait, people had waited up to 7 hours. The wait to get into the (terribly disappointing and hugely overrated) store was an hour. We didn't wait an hour. We went int he following day. You know where there wasn't a 7-hour line? Cars Land. Bug's Land. Paradise Pier. We enjoyed all of them tremendously. In my 7 hours, I rode 9 rides and walked two miles down the road to the pin trader's mecca. I have no regrets. It was definitely cool to be there for an opening though--just to see the spectacle. I did think that DCA did a tremendous job of handling the line. Where do you stack up all of those people?? They actually diverted the line backstage so that he walkways would remain clear. If you weren't trying to ride the ride, you could walk into that section of the park and just think that it was randomly slightly more crowded than usual. We did see part of the mix tape dance party thing. I kind of wanted to meet Groot, but with the show being so new, they were having trouble getting it to run on time and Groot wasn't guaranteed to be part of any performances. The show is a little rough--they did not find the best lookalikes/ actors for the roles.

That's it for the trip as far as I can remember! The SoCal itinerary is the gateway drug. I had already booked a long weekend in San Francisco sight unseen just because I really wanted to share some more time there with my mom and it was on sale. Within a week after we returned, we canceled our British Isles Cruise on Norwegian (Sorry, Amy!!) and booked the England & France AbD for next year.

The trips are expensive and if you've looked a the price tag, you've probably needed the smelling salts to revive yourself, but one of the questions that I wanted to answer by starting with this (least expensive itinerary per day) trip was "is it worth it?" To me, the answer is yes. Here's the breakdown of approximate retail value received:

Accommodations (2 nights @ Loews, 3 nights at DLH) = $2400
2 4-day DL park hopper tickets = $670
Included meals (Welcome dinner, Tam O'Shanter, Studio Commissary, 2 Hotel breakfasts, Blue Sky Suite, Plaza Inn Breakfast, $40 lunch voucher, Goofy's Kitchen, Carthay Circle, Steakhouse 55 Breakfast) = $800
Peripheral food (sundaes, bus snacks, in-park treats, bottles of water, choc. covered strawberries) = $64
TCL admission + popcorn = $44
Jim Henson Studio Tour* = $100
Walt Disney Studios Tour* = $150
Imagineering Tour* = $400
Pirates movie premier + concessions = $61
Merry-Go-Round admission = $3
Hollywood bus tour = $60
DL/DCA VIP tour guide service for 2 x 12 hours = $720
Glow with the show ears = $50
7 pins each + lanyard = $124
Imagineering 40% off coupon = $80
transportation = $100
AbD swag (duffle bag, cosmetic pouch, sling backpack, luggage tags) = $65
DL PhotoPass = $78
Airport transportation services = $100
Included gratuities for bell services, set-on guides, transportation, etc. = $120
*estimated; cannot be booked by public

Total value of tangible components for 2 = $6189
Trip cost for 2 = $5798

Are the trips expensive? Yes. Are they worth it? Absolutely. AbD is a demand-priced product, so it might not be "worth" the cost at all price points. For example, the price of our trip was as high as $4199 per person near the end of the booking window because our tour was almost full and it included a holiday weekend. That's WAY more than what we paid. In that case, you would have to see a lot of intangible value in the exclusivity of the experiences to make it a reasonable vacation option for your family. If you're on the fence and experiencing sticker shock like I did the first time I priced out one of these babies, rest assured that if you book early and get the introductory rate, you should receive a trip where the retail value is equal to or greater than the expenditure.

As far as intangibles, 8 of these experiences and 2 of our meals were things that I couldn't have done in Hollywood or in Disneyland on my own and are not part of a currently offered tour. Period. While their retail value might not be high in terms of "similar experiences that I can book for myself", I owe the fact that I experienced them at all to AbD. The other big intangible is time savings. I didn't have to stake out a spot for parades or show up an hour early for WoC. I got a dozen free FastPasses without having to run to machine or care about return times. I had access to 18 characters with absolutely not waiting in line for meet & greets. I didn't have to spend hours researching to craft an itinerary and once we arrived, I had zero stress about whether or not my timing would fall in place properly during the AbD portion of the trip (remember the timing nightmare that was our day at Warner Bros. that I planned on my own?). I went to LA a cautious optimist and I came home an AbD believer. I'm not trying to sell you on taking one of these trips. I'm just trying to answer all of the questions that I had before we tried AbD.

Thanks for following along! I appreciate all of you who read and comment. If you have any questions, please post them and I will do my best to answer them!

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

Allie's picture
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Posts: 5417

Love that breakdown of the cost, Holly!