The Disneyland Pilgrimage & Cruise - COMPLETE

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alicemouse's picture
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Thursday, March 26 - Day 3 (part 2):

I actually fell asleep briefly during nap time today. Usually I spend this time returning calls or emails, typing up trip notes so I can remember what I want to put in my report later, or sorting out my keep pins from my to-be-traded collection. Once we were both back in commission, we headed off to dinner at Pacific Wharf Cafe. When we got back and reread the menu, Benn decided that he would rather explore the options at the Lucky Fortune Cookery, also at Pacific Wharf. This area works just like a mall food court. There are lots of nice options and each member of your party can eat at whichever establishment they choose and then everyone can sit together in the center seating area. I decided that Benn was onto something, so I joined him. We both had an Asian Rice Bowl with Chicken. Benn had the Mandarin Orange sauce and I had the Thai Coconut Curry. The portions were plentiful enough and the sauces were delicious. Mine definitely had a kick to it, but the coconut was sweet enough to provide a nice balance.

All during dinner we continued to talk about the bread from that morning, so we revisited the bakery tour for another sample. Yep, still delicious. Benn really wanted to buy a loaf shaped like a Mickey head, but they couldn't ship it home for us and we still had a lot of traveling to do. Ghiradelli happens to be at Pacific Wharf also, so we stopped in for the free chocolate sample. I was planning to bring back Ghiradelli chocolate as gifts for friends at home, but I wanted to wait until we got to San Francisco. Still feeling like we'd like a little bit more dessert, we headed over to the Cozy Cone Motel for ice cream. It was just right soft serve. So many times, I get soft serve that tastes too icy or too creamy to me, but this was really delicious.

Next we continued onto our first entertainment goal of the evening, Aladdin. We had heard from multiple sources that this was a can't miss show. We had been advised to arrive about 45 minutes ahead of time and we were in good shape to be a little over an hour early, when on our way there, we stumbled over the Pixar Parade! I'd been hoping to catch the parade, but we had been a little bit later than expected taking our break, so I had kind of written it off. What a nice surprise to catch it right next to where we needed to gather for Aladdin! It's not very long and I see a lot of room to "plus" this parade with more Pixar characters, but there were a few highlights. From the Incredibles, Elastigirl appears with Mr. Incredible and Frozone. The Omnidriod also makes an appearance! In the Toy Story segment, there is a float with a giant bar across and there were performers swinging on that bar continuously. At the beginning (and I would assume periodically throughout), they were performing giants on that bar. In gymnastics, a giant is the skill where you keep your body an extended straight position and swing around the bar making one complete rotation. It's a skill that many gymnasts take years to perfect. The only other place I've seen them performed is at Festival of the Lion King where the bar is stationary. Here they were doing them on a parade float where they could hit a bump or come to a sudden stop at any time. It's not a horribly complicated skill for an advanced gymnast and Disney's parade performers are always great, but I was really impressed that they'd managed to find performers who could not only do this skill, but could do it in costume in succession on a moving platform.

Immediately after the parade, we moved about 20 yards to our left to become the first people in line for the day's last showing of Aladdin. We were quickly joined by others. Many, many others. About 15 minutes into our wait, people began to stream out of the theater. They continued to do so at a steady pace for the next 15 minutes. We were then allowed to move forward and to select whether we would prefer orchestra or mezzanine seating. We chose mezzanine (I'm not a fan of the orchestra section. I always get behind some really tall guy.) and I think it was a good choice. If you are a fan of a more aerial view of stage shows, too, be advised that Mezzanine seating does require you to be able to climb 55 steps. Balcony requires you to climb even more steps, but we don't know how many because that section was closed for our performance. There are some effects that happen in aisles, so if you sit in the front row, you miss some of the show elements. I would say that the closest show that we have to Aladdin at WDW is probably Finding Nemo at AK. Nemo has the most similar theater setup and the same immersive performance set-up. However, Aladdin is a much stronger show in terms of performance, visual effects, and ability to engage the audience. If you go to DCA, see Aladdin. And be there 45 minutes early. I felt like it was going to be too distracting if I took a photo during the show, so you'll have to use your imagination for this one!

We had some time to kill before World of Color and we had a few to-do items left, so we set out to finish that list. Of course we had to see Radiator Springs in the dark, so we stopped by on the way to Paradise Pier. It was even better than it looks in all of the pictures.

At Paradise Pier, I still wanted to ride the Jumping Jellyfish and the Golden Zephyr. Benn wouldn't ride either of them, but I had a good time. Jumping Jellyfish was cool, but Golden Zephyr was kind of boring. The ride vehicle was so stable and secured by so many cables that it made Dumbo seem like a thrill ride.

I kind of wanted to do Goofy's Sky School, but only a little bit and Benn wasn't interested in that one at all. We love Primeval Whirl, but the ride vehicle feels much more secure than the little "airplanes" looked on Sky School. We opted for The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Under the Sea Adventure. Here's one of the few attractions where I've got to say that WDW's is much better. The queue at DCA had some nice themed tiles and attractive lighting, but it's nowhere near as immersive as our cave entrance at WDW. Also, DCA was missing something with regard to Ursula. I think that they didn't show her being electrocuted maybe?? I didn't make a note of it, but I remember that something about the end was different.

After that, we got in line to redeem our World of Color FP. We got a pretty nice spot along a railing. One thing that I found really interesting about both Fantasmic and World of Color is that during the day, the viewing areas are accessible walking spaces, but it doesn't feel like there is excessive empty space all around. At night when they rope off the space to do the shows, there's tons of viewing space, but still ample pathways for people to continue to move around the park. Having a long wait to see a show for the second night in a row was starting to wear on us a little bit, but then they started speed color matching game using Mickey's Fun Wheel. I found that to be very entertaining. Finally after about an hour, the show started. From all of the descriptions that I heard, I expected to be completely astounded and mesmerized by this show. I was not. It was a very IMPRESSIVE show, but it had no story or unifying theme and I found that bothersome. I love Wishes and Wishes doesn't really tell a "story" the way that Fantasmic does, but it has a soundtrack that drives the action. I felt like World of Color was just a montage of Disney stories with brightly colored water spouts inserted. I don't think it's a bad show and I would go see it again, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected to. The water spouts and the color technology are very impressive and there are definitely some beautiful scenes, but I would love to see them do even more with this show. I feel like this technology has untapped potential. I do love how unique this show is. Fantasmic is just two different versions of the same show, but this is completely different from anything that WDW has.

Only one more park day to go. sad Fortunately, leaving DLR did not signify the end of "Disney" on our vacation.

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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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Love your trip report! I have to admit, I'm stalking this thread for all updates! laugh

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Thanks, Morgan! I muchlove thread stalkers! laugh

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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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Friday, March 27 - Day 4 (part 1):

Remember how I said that we wanted to do Radiator Springs Racers just one more time? Well, we hit Extra Magic Morning Hours (I think this is how I'll refer to them from now on) to take advantage of a mostly empty park again before going to DL for the day. Friends who will be traveling to DL soon, here's an important note: According to what a CM told us, guests who purchase certain tickets can choose a morning to do a DL Magic Morning, but Extra Magic Mornings Hours are available exclusively to Disney's on-site hotel guests. So getting up early for DCA day presents more of an advantage than getting up early for DL day.

Also, I discovered yet another reason why living on the East Coast suits me well. I'm not a morning person. I am at rope drop almost without fail at WDW because I make it a priority, but it's not something that's easy for me to do. Regular park open for DL and DCA while we were there was 8:00am eek . I was minorly panicked at the thought of having to be up and at the park entrance at 6:30am for Extra Magic Morning Hours, but with the time change, 6:30am = 9:30am. It's nothing for me to stay up until 3am at home, so park close at midnight? Perfect. So my normal scheduled really worked out just fine. The only difference was that the clock read different numbers than I was used to seeing. Some day we're going to branch out to our first European destination and I'm going to be ALL messed up time-wise when we go the other direction. laugh

So anyway, by now we were getting the hang of the pattern and didn't have to stop and look at as many things on the way to Racers, so we were on and off in about 10 minutes. We lost the race again. sad I guess we have to practice. Walking out of Radiator Springs, we encountered a Cast Member with a little radio controlled fire truck and he played with us for a few minutes. This seems to be Disneyland's answer to the spitting camel at Aladdin's Magic Carpets in Adventureland.

Since we were finished early and had to real need to be at DL exactly at rope drop, we decided to hit TSM again. I know it's the same as home, but it's pretty much my favorite Disney ride...you know except for all my other favorites! laugh Unfortunately, TSM was starting the day down for maintenance for the second day in a row. Bummer. But, Benn, having a "Captain Courage" moment asked if I wanted to do Mickey's Fun Wheel! Benn's not so much a fan of heights. I am. As long as I feel reasonably secure. (I don't like being up high in the airplane because there's nothing holding you up. Also, small metal tube? Not my friend.) So as a reward for his valor, I acquiesced to Benn's request for a non-swinging gondola. This was a neat ride, but like the other Paradise Pier amusements, it was a bit on the short side. Benn was freaking out on the first lap around, but he was considerably calmer on subsequent laps. I think we only went around 2-3 times at regular speed. I highly recommend riding this early in the day because the load/unload procedure was so pleasant with only 4-5 groups riding. I wouldn't want to ride when it's full. It would take forever to load & unload. Of course, the view would be pretty super at night. I thought the aerial view of the World of Color rig was pretty neat. It was tough to get pictures from inside because the safety screen had very small holes.

On the way out,we noticed a Donald Easter Egg and it seems that some sort of Easter Egg hunt (presumably similar to what EPCOT does every spring) had started. I would have enjoyed doing this scavenger hunt if we'd had more time. I think the maps were like $5.00.

On to Disneyland! We decided on Alice in Wonderland for our first ride of the day. Nope. It was down. We basically wanted to re-ride everything in Fantasyland, so we just switched gears and started with Storybookland Canal Boats. This was still Benn's favorite and I enjoyed it a lot, too. Out boat driver wasn't as good as the first one. The first boat driver had done spooky voices and fun storytelling gesturers. The second one was more...documentary in style. We had a random Ariel sighting. The character interactions are so much more organic and surprising at Disneyland. Maybe there's a place where you can look them up, but I'm glad I didn't know who was going to be where ahead of time. We really loved the "randomness"!

We made our rounds to Toad, Snow White, and Pinocchio and by the time we got back to Alice, the test runs were going and the way the CM stated that the ride was down made us think that it was about to be back up any second, so we got in line. Less than a minute later, we were the first people who got to go back on. yay We took a second look at Pirates and Haunted Mansion. I still think that overall I like them better at WDW, but I'm not about to skip them if we're in the park! We finally hopped aboard the Disneyland Railroad for the first time and did the round trip from New Orleans Square. The train ride is much more interesting at Disneyland and features more stops. I especially liked the Grand Canyon and Dinosaur dioramas between Tomrrowland and Main Street.

We had previously skipped Big Thunder Ranch because I thought it was just the entrance to the BBQ, but it turns out that there's a little goat petting area back there, so we wandered over that way to check out the goats being cute before heading back to Main Street.

Even though we were going to probably see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln on our tour in the afternoon, we decided to go see it first and take time to explore the Disneyland history section of the gallery. That's really a fascinating place. There are some interesting artifacts and a really lovely film with Steve Martin playing on a loop in the lobby. It's definitely worth taking a few minutes to check out. In the Pre-show room, there is a photo of Walt dressed up as Abraham Lincoln for a performance that he gave at school and some other interesting things to look at. The video details how Abraham Lincoln was brought to "life" on stage. One thing that I didn't hear mentioned at any time in reference to this attraction was a story that I'd heard some time ago that the hydraulic fluid in the animatronics was originally red and the color was later altered due to a rather unfortunate leak that happened during one of the tests for the Abraham Lincoln figure. I've never heard anyone else corroborate that story and I'm curious as to whether or not it's true. On the way out of the theater, we stumbled across Goofy and saw Mickey leading the band!

We had a few minutes before we needed to get back to New Orleans Square for our Cafe Orleans ADR, so we stopped at the Main Street Magic Shop. I love that this store is still on Main Street. In fact, Main Street in general at Disneyland was much more quaint and charming than Main Street at WDW. Oh! We found a phone on the wall in one of the shops that still has a recorded conversation on it! I think all of them are gone at WDW now. sad Based on the picture, I think this phone was in the Magic Shop. I would have liked to spend more time just marveling at the shops, but we'll have to do that on a subsequent trip.

On to Cafe Orleans! We made this ADR at around 10pm the night before, so it's true that even at a location this popular, ADR's at the 60-day mark seem to be largely ceremonial. Now, I'm glad that we did decide to make an ADR instead of trying to do a walk-up because even then, we waited in line for 5 minutes to check in and it took another 15 to be seated. I thought that an 11:30 ADR and a 1:00 tour assembly time would leave us plenty of extra time. We had time to leisure over lunch, but not excessively and we were right on time for our 1:00 meet up. The setting here is so adorable. We early enjoyed everything about this experience. Benn ordered the Monte Cristo and I ordered the Salmon sandwich. Both were super amazingly delicious The only mistake we made was that we should have split a Monte Cristo and foregone the salmon. The Monte Cristo came out cut into 4 "halves", so it was essentially two sandwiches. So basically, we split 3 sandwiches for lunch. I know, I know, the beignets. We didn't have any. Seriously, we were too full to move and I knew that we would be eating again during the tour.

This is HALF of the Monte Cristo portion:

The whole Salmon sandwich:

***Walk in Walt's Footsteps happened here***
I'm going to skip the tour for now because I have a lot to say about it, so I'll make it a separate entry.

When I booked the tour, I was under the impression that it was 3-3.5 hours. Apparently that was the old version and the new version is slightly longer, so we wrapped up at exactly 5:30. Our last chance to see Mickey and the Magical map was at 5:45. So we had 15 minutes to hit the restroom and hightail it clear back to the theater near It's a Small World. We walked in at 5:42. *sigh of relief* I thought that was a really cool show. Benn seemed a little bit underwhelmed by it--I think he was getting tired. There's a really neat mix of live action and animation the way that the characters interacted with the set was really interesting. I liked the mix of characters. It followed the same pattern as the other shows had followed though out the week where no movie was so important that it dominated every single thing and a lot of characters that are basically forgotten about at WDW are alive and well at Disneyland. The show featured Jungle Book, Rapunzel, Lilo & Stitch, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tiana with no mention of Frozen anywhere! Now Frozen has booted Rapunzel out of the Fantasy Faire theater for the time being, so we boycotted that show. laugh Just kidding...you needed a fast pass to see it and it wasn't important enough to us to bother.

During the tour, we noticed a few things that we wanted to go back and do. Our tour guide had told us about a non-submarine viewing area for Nemo, so we checked that out. It was long. And boring. Maybe it's a fun ride in the submarine, but the viewing area is not a good time. If you're not into the submarines or if you can't get in and out of the sub, I would skip it altogether.

Another was Star Tours. One of our guide's stories was about the animatronic cast of America Sings being relocated to Splash Mountain at the end of the show's run--except for two geese. They found a new home in the queue of Star Tours as the bag check droids, where they still have their webbed feet! Well, of course I and to go see if it was true and it was! This one's a little fuzzy, but the feet on this droid are distinctly webbed!

Out last ride was Buzz Lightyear. This was a nice ride to end on because t was another great example of Disneyland's fascinating, mesmerizing, and wholly insane switchback queues! This game is still inferior to Toy Story in every way imaginable, but having the ability to remove the gun from it's holster at least means that it's a little bit easier to identify which little red dot belongs to your blaster! Disneyland version wins this battle hands down. Oh and in case you're wondering who won the game, of course it was Benn! But, with the moveable blaster, I did come closer to victory that I ever have at WDW.

It was only around 8:00 or so, so we still had quite a bit of time before park closing, but we had yet to check out the pool at GC and we wanted to see what our view of WOC was like from the room, so we decided to meander down Main Street and make our way back to the resort. It turns out that the pool with the waterside was closed. It looked like they were doing some minor maintenance, not that it was closed for the evening. A note about DVC policies with regard to pool availability. We stayed at Wilderness Lodge last fall when the main pool was under construction. I received at least one email and two letters detailing the pool closure, apologizing for the inconvenience, and explaining the available alternatives. There was a section in the pool area that was closed off and clear under construction at Grand Californian. From the map, it looks like a 3rd pool typically occupies that space. We received no notification that construction was going on that affected the pool area prior to our stay and there was no mention at check-in. It's not a big deal, especially because we clearly had not made swimming much of a priority, but I did note the differences in the way that the situation was handled at two different DVC properties. As it turned out, we didn't use the available pool at all. We each stuck a foot in, reconsidered our choice to swim, and headed for the hot tub! laugh

After some relaxation at the pool (and a rather chilly walk back upstairs--the evening air had turned quite cool), we settled in on the balcony for WOC. There is a viewing deck (I believe it's on the 6th floor), but we were both feeling very tired and wanted to just enjoy our balcony. We were 3rd floor near the middle of the balcony and we had a fairly decent view. It turns out that it was a good decision to stay home. We both dozed off during the show! laugh With our winter being so harsh this year and our normal physical activities curtailed and the enormously hot days sucking up all of our energy, this was one of many times on this trip where we were both dragging at bit. I guess we're out of Disney shape! eek

Next up: a review of the Walk in Walt's Footsteps Tour! Stay tuned! mickey

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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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Great report! It's really interesting hearing how DL compares to WDW. I think I'd like to visit DL again someday. I was there when I was 7 years old, but don't recall much of it at all.

Thanks for sharing all the pics and narrative! mickey

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Thanks, Ken! We really loved Disneyland--more than I was expecting to, honestly. I highly recommend making the trip at some point.

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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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That Monte Cristo sandwich looks amazing!

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I've heard that story about Lincoln and the red fluid before, I think it was the marceline tour? Not sure where I heard it but I definitely have Smile

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
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AnnielovesDisney wrote:
That Monte Cristo sandwich looks amazing!

It was, Annie! The salmon was actually quite good, too, but the monte cristo was more unique.

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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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RobynPrincess wrote:
I've heard that story about Lincoln and the red fluid before, I think it was the marceline tour? Not sure where I heard it but I definitely have Smile

Thanks, Robyn! I think I read it somewhere, but I know that a few of the books I've read have some confirmed inaccuracies.

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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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I'm loving this trip report! All of the food looks awesome and I'm vigorously taking notes for my "someday" DL trip. I went when I was 2 or 3 but I obviously don't remember a thing about it so I'd love to make it back sometime. Did you feel like you had enough time to hit all the attractions and explore without being rushed or do you wish you would have had some more time?

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All the food is great at DL and they have no dining plan. Coincidence? I think not!

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Allie wrote:
I'm loving this trip report! All of the food looks awesome and I'm vigorously taking notes for my "someday" DL trip. I went when I was 2 or 3 but I obviously don't remember a thing about it so I'd love to make it back sometime. Did you feel like you had enough time to hit all the attractions and explore without being rushed or do you wish you would have had some more time?

I mean, I ALWAYS want more Disney time. We were able to do basically every attraction that we wanted to with 2.5 park days and doing Walk in Walt's Footsteps was a huge priority for me. I don't regret giving up 4 park hours to do that tour. Also, we didn't close down the park at DL either night that we were there, so we did have some untapped time. Reason being, it was quite hot and since we're coming from our frigid northeast climate (you don't know anything about that, right? laugh ), we were not prepared for just how unforgiving the California sun can be.

I could have easily found another days' worth of things to do or re-do in each park. And we got really lucky. Touring Plans predicted crowd level 8, but we did a ton of attractions that were less than a 10-minute wait and even in the evening, that parks didn't feel uncomfortably overcrowded. The only long waits that we had were 50 minutes for Grizzly River Run and 40-45 minutes for TSM. With more time, I would have done the Easter Egg hunt, done more character meet & greets, watched the Frozen stage show, played on the Frozen Snowground, done Animation Academy half a dozen more times, ridden Alice in Wonderland 50 more times, done IASW again, gone to Fantasmic again (probably sans Benn--he was done with the standing around waiting for shows), shopped on Main Street, just stood around taking it all in...

The Colonel wrote:
All the food is great at DL and they have no dining plan. Coincidence? I think not!

laugh True story, Colonel! Which I suppose is why the ADR's are so easy to get. Plus, it's much easier to wander out into Anaheim and buy non-Disney food.

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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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Friday, March 27 - Day 4 (part 2 - Walk in Walt's Footsteps):

This tour was about half the reason that I wanted to go to Disneyland, but there is frustratingly little concrete information online that accurately describes the newest version of the tour. When I called to book the tour, I asked the CM what attractions were included. Usually Peter Pan's Flight was reported to be included, but since it was down for refurbishment, I was curious what the replacement would be. She wasn't able to tell me. My online research indicated that the tour had undergone an overhaul (and of course, a price change) last September and reviews since then were few and far between, many of which offered conflicting information. More on this in a minute...

We arrived at the Tour Gardens at 1:00, as we had been advised to arrive 30 minutes before the start of our tour. We scheduled the tour for Friday because that was the only afternoon tour that was available and we wanted to do an afternoon tour so we didn't waste morning touring time when everything was basically walk-on. Tour Gardens has a special check-in kiosk and a very nice area with patio tables where guests are invited to wait for their tour. We were presented with a limited menu from Jolly Holiday Bakery from which we selected our lunch (thankfully for later as we had finished our lunch at Cafe Orleans about 15 minutes earlier). I chose the Jolly Holiday Salad and I think that Benn had the beef & bleu. We each got a Mickey sugar cookie. While we were browsing the lunch menu, our guide, Phillip, outfitted us with the audio units and gave us a choice of two different types of headphones--standard earbuds or a single ear cuff type of device. I thought at first that we might get to keep them, but Phillip assured us that they are thoroughly cleaned and recycled. The audio boxes were much more streamlined and seemed to have fewer technical issues than we had experienced the last time we took a tour at WDW where we needed the audio headsets. Our tour had 12 people, so it was much easier to stay together than it had been on our 28-guest KTTK tour a few years ago.

We were informed by Phillip and the other CM's prior to the start of the tour that we would not be touring Walt's Apartment or Club 33 and instead that we would be seeing the Dream Suite. I made an effort to hide my disappointment because I REALLY wanted to see the apartment. Phillip explained that he has given the tour more times than any other guide and there were several reasons that we would be seeing the Dream Suite. 1. Walt's apartment is 500 sq. ft., making if very crowded when 13 people try to walk around and look at the space, and the original furniture is actually at the Walt Disney Family Museum. It's a great experience to get to go up there, but it's a 10 minute experience. 2. The Club 33 experience was a lose-lose situation. Members were upset that non-members were allowed to sully their lobby. Tour guests were upset that they only go to see the lobby. 3. According to Phillip, the Dream Suite is amazing and we would be glad that we went there instead of the other two places. So, we decided to trust Phillip and go with the flow. After we got home, I heard a review on a podcast from someone who has done the tour recently and their exclusive experience was Walt's Apartment. So the experience that you receive seems to be dependent on which tour guide you get. It sounds like some guides may still be going to the apartment despite what Phillip told us. Phillip also later told us that since he has given the tour so many times, he's "allowed" to go off script and tell Walt's story in a way that he thinks it's the most interesting. This leads me to believe that he prefers to take guests to the Dream Suite than to the apartment, not that the apartment is necessarily completely off the tour. However, since Phillip gives this tour more frequently than any other guide, I would book this tour with the knowledge that you will likely be seeing the Dream Suite instead of the apartment.

That minor "disappointment" aside, let me just talk about Phillip as a guide for a second. He was fantastic. We've done Keys to the Kingdom, Undiscovered Future World, and Behind the Seeds at WDW and we enjoyed each of those tours very much and we were pleased with each of the guides. Phillip blew them all out of the water. He was professional, personable, approachable, knowledgeable, and friendly. He took pride in Disney heritage without being overly gushy or saccharin and he presented every story with enthusiasm and wonder even though he's probably told those same stories about 1500 times. I truly can't say enough about his delivery. If I become a WDW tour guide some day, I will aspire to emulate Phillip in that role.

**If you are planning to take the tour and do not want to read spoilers, please skip to the next post! If you're like me and will forget everything that you've read before you take tour, read on. Undoubtedly, many of these stories we've all heard before at one time or another. mickey ***

Of course, we started out on Main Street talking about the construction of Disneyland and the preparations for opening day. The first day was called "Black Sunday" because of all the glitches that happened leading up to opening and on the first July 17 itself. Due to some trouble with the plumbers' union, Walt was told that only water fountains or restrooms could be available for opening day. (He wisely chose restrooms.) The asphalt hadn't been given enough time to cool and women's high heel shoes were literally stuck in the road all down Main Street. 11,000 guests were invited to the grand opening, but due to counterfeiting ticket schemes, opening day attendance is estimated at 28,000. A local orange grower said that he could have made more money that day by propping his laser against Disneyland's fence and charging people to climb over. Surely I've heard the dates for the start of the construction before, but it never really sank in that the park was built in 1 year. WDW just took 18 months to build a parking garage. All of Disneyland was built in 2/3 that amount of time. We walked up Main Street looking very briefly at the windows. Our guide on KTTK made a much bigger deal over the windows. Phillip also did not mention the 32 step rule for the trashcans and I was so busy drinking in the spiel, it didn't occur to me to ask him.

We arrived at the hub where Phillip shared a story about Diane Disney realizing for the first time who her dad was. She marched up to him and in a very stern voice informed him that he'd "never told her that he was WALT Disney!" We talked about Walt Disney being the originator of the hub & spoke design and how that concept was the basis of Walt's idea for EPCOT. We walked through the castle to Fantasyland where we look at all of the hand painted horses on the carousel and we talked about the importance of that bench at Griffith Park. Since Peter Pan was down, our replacement was....ALICE IN WONDERLAND!! WAHOO!! Phillip is lobbying for Alice to be a permanent replacement due to the limitations of the Peter Pan queue and how unfair it is for guests to have to wait an extra 10 minutes in an uncovered queue while a tour group cuts in front of them. I think that's a good idea for a tour perspective because Alice is the most sophisticated of the non-PPF dark rides in Fantasyland and it's distinctly Disneyland. Since we have PPF at WDW, I think it seems less special to ride it as part of this tour.

Walking over to Frontierland, Phillip told us the story of a petrified tree stump that Walt had bought for Lillian on their first vacation together--and how she had ever so graciously gifted it back to him to be placed in his new park. As you enter Frontierland, the stump is to your right near the Rivers of America. Frontierland is the largest land in the park. In 1963, a portion was cut off to create New Orleans Square. Minor rides were removed from that area to create Club 33, an exclusive members-only club that is marked only by an inconspicuous door adorned with a "33" and spans across the second floor of most of the buildings in New Orleans Square. This explains why the hostess had given me a funny look when I asked it we could be seated upstairs at Cafe Orleans. Current club membership is $10,000/ year and includes such esteemed members as Johnny Depp and Tom Hanks. There is currently a waiting list. The 1963 re-imagineering also included construction of what was to become the Disney Family Suite where Walt and Lilly could stay with their family when they visited the park. This space is now the Dream Suite. We talked about the original plans for Pirates (wax museum) and Haunted Mansion (walk through/ Museum of the Weird) before boarding the train to Tomorrowland.

All of Disneyland was financed except for the trains. Walt had failed in his business endeavors before and he said that he could stand to lose Disneyland if push came to shove, but he couldn't bear to lose the trains. In TOmorrowland, we learned that the only remaining original attraction is Autopia and fascinatingly, at one point, there were three separate Autopia attractions. One of the tracks was closed and the other two were merged together to form the current 1/2 mile loop. (One of the things that I regret from the trip is not taking the time to do Autopia even though it's the same as every other car driving ride. I'd have liked to have seen the view from those cars.) Innoventions was originally Carousel of Progress and then America Sings. Just like at WDW, all of the animals from America Sings were recycled to become the cast of the Splash Mountain showboat except for the geese, who as we previously discussed, are now employed as baggage handlers at Star Tours.

On of the most fascinating stories to me was about the technology required for the Matterhorn and what it has meant to roller coasters. The Matterhorn was the first ride to use a tubular steel track with an alternating dispatch system that made it possible to have two cars on the track at once. This technology paved the way for modern roller coasters to become the behemoths they are today.

The key to the changes to Pirates and Haunted Mansion that made them the attractions that we know and love today were made possible by the 1964 World's Fair. Because each attraction developed for the fair had a sponsor, the Imagineers were able to develop new ride technology on someone else's dime. IASW sponsored by UNICEF used a flume propulsion system; an attraction developed for Ford to promote the Mustang used an omnimover system; and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln sponsored by the state of Illinois proved that realistic human animatronics could be created. These advancements turned the wax pirates to animatronics and made the attraction a boat ride. The omnimover system, was employed at Haunted Mansion to remove the need to have guides walk guests through and explain the elements to them. Essentially, Walt Disney automated storytelling attractions.

Next we walked down Main Street to the Disneyland Gallery and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln where we learned that the animatronic Lincoln was actually molded from a life mask that Abe Lincoln had made when he was President. After watching GMwML again, we gathered in the hallway where portraits hang representing lots of Americans who espoused many of Walt Disney's greatest attributes - courageous, creative, entertainer, innovator, etc. He talked about Walt's final days and the plans for WDW and confirmed that Feed the Birds really was his favorite song and he would ask Richard Sherman to play it for him frequently. As we walked down Main Street toward Jolly Holiday Bakery, Phillip played the song for us over our audio receivers. There was barely a dry eye on the tour by the time we reached the bakery.

By this point is was around 4:00 and it seemed like the tour had just started. The food at Jolly Holiday was quite good and I would definitely eat there again. As a present, a beautiful hinged pin with Walt's Disneyland dedication speech was waiting for each of us with our meal. We finished up our lunch around 4:30 and Phillip led us over to the top-secret elevator near Tarzan's Treehouse that would allow us to access the Dream Suite. Of course no pictures are allowed inside except the one that they take of you in front of the fireplace in the Parlor. When we entered the hallway leading to the suite, our Dream Suite guide, Mykal, showed us a painting that is referred to as the "Mary Poppins painting" because in a few minutes, we would feel like we had stepped into that painting in real life.

The first room in the suite was the master bedroom or the Adventureland Suite. We spent a few minutes marveling at the richness of the wooden furniture and the beautiful paintings before Mykal reminded us how fond Walt was of giving all of his guests a "goodnight kiss" by doing a special display at closing time to thank guests for spending their day at the park. Well, each room in the Dream Suite has a goodnight kiss of its own. There was a painting of Mermaid Lagoon from Peter Pan over the bed, but there was a problem. The mermaids were missing. When the button was pressed, colorful filtered lights danced around the ceiling and the mermaids appeared on the painting! Entering the master bath (which by the way is larger than my master bedroom), we found a Fantasyland theme. Each piece of plumbing had its own separate room within the bathroom. The goodnight kiss here (yes, there's even one in the bathroom) was a beautiful set of stars that appeared all over the blue tile dome in the shower.

We walked into the Parlor and Mary Poppins picture indeed! It felt like we were standing in the painting that we had looked at in the hallway. We skipped this room for now and continued into the Frontierland suite, from which you can step our onto the balcony and overlook Frontierland! We tried to get Phillip to let us all come back up that night and watch Fantasmic. I really feel like this should be part of the tour. That would be amazing! Back inside, there was a shelf that ran around the room with artifacts representing each of the frontier-themed films and attractions and of course, a train engine enclosed in a glass box. Or was it? Once press of the Goodnight Kiss button and that train began to chug around the track! It looked like too many things were in the way and that the track couldn't possible go all the way around, but not only did the train weave through all of the items on the shelf, each time it passed one, that item lit up or becomes animated! After a lap, the train settled right back into its deceptive little glass case.

The parlor was decorated in blue & white like a china pattern that my grandmother used to have. There was a beautiful fireplace and a grandfather clock. A magic mirror featured effects that evoked memories of Cinderella as the goodnight kiss. I can't remember this room in detail because I was still busy trying to process all of the awesomeness from the first two rooms. Clearly the only remedy is to take the tour again. Each group got to take a turn to have their picture taken on the sofa in the parlor and then it was time for what may have been the best part--slowly descending the staircase beside Pirates of the Caribbean with hundreds of curious onlookers watching and trying to figure out how we were important enough to be upstairs and how they could be a special as we were and get to go up there! I FELT like Cinderella arriving at the ball!

So, the tour was awesome. I can't say that it was the first time that I'd heard a lot of these stories (with as much Disney history as I read, I'd take my hat off to someone who could take me on a 2.5 hour tour and fill it with completely new material), but the way that Phillip told them put a fresh spin or perspective on a lot of them and there were definitely a few tidbits that I hadn't heard before. As much as I would have liked to have seen Walt's Apartment, the Dream Suite really was amazing and I definitely enjoyed spending time there. I'd kind of like to spend more time there...like maybe a week? a month? move there?

Next up is transition day. A little Disney, a little travel, a little boat time. No worries, the Disney's not over yet. I don't think that we had a single day on our trip that was completely devoid of Disney! yay

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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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Ahhhhhhh the tour sounds amazing! Now seriously considering adding it into the plan for our trip.... Could I ask how much it was?

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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RobynPrincess wrote:
Ahhhhhhh the tour sounds amazing! Now seriously considering adding it into the plan for our trip.... Could I ask how much it was?

I believe that retail is $109, but DVC discount is 20%, so with tax, $174.40 for two.

__________________

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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Fantastic report so far Alicemouse have loved the sound of Disneyland maybe a trip to the west coast is needed........

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I'm hoping to do this tour when I'm in DL. I'm working through the details with my cousins.

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amy1989 wrote:
Fantastic report so far Alicemouse have loved the sound of Disneyland maybe a trip to the west coast is needed........

I really can't say enough nice things about Disneyland, Amy. Sure it's missing some things from home--most notable of which is World Showcase, but it has so many rich offerings of its own and the park is just beautiful!

__________________

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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JoAnn C wrote:
I'm hoping to do this tour when I'm in DL. I'm working through the details with my cousins.

I hope you get a chance to do it, JoAnn! It really was an excellent tour. I would do it a second time.

__________________

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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alicemouse wrote:
RobynPrincess wrote:
Ahhhhhhh the tour sounds amazing! Now seriously considering adding it into the plan for our trip.... Could I ask how much it was?

I believe that retail is $109, but DVC discount is 20%, so with tax, $174.40 for two.

Thank you so much for this! Sadly that is gonn be out of the budget for this trip, we have already had to drop a few things due to money worries Sad next time!

__________________

Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

alicemouse's picture
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Posts: 2832

RobynPrincess wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
RobynPrincess wrote:
Ahhhhhhh the tour sounds amazing! Now seriously considering adding it into the plan for our trip.... Could I ask how much it was?

I believe that retail is $109, but DVC discount is 20%, so with tax, $174.40 for two.

Thank you so much for this! Sadly that is gonn be out of the budget for this trip, we have already had to drop a few things due to money worries Sad next time!

That's a bummer, but I'm sure you'll be having so much fun in the parks that you'll be happy not to have to give up four hours to take a tour. It's the unfortunate reality for all of us that we have to make decisions and prioritize because there's not an endless vat of money available for playing at Disney. Sad (Wouldn't it be fabulous if we had access to Scrooge McDuck's vault??)

If you really want to do a tour, the welcome to Disneyland tour is only $25pp, so that would be $40 for two people with the DVC discount. I don't know how "worth it" it is, but it's another option.

Welcome to Disneyland Tour

I'm really looking forward to your review of the 60th celebration kickoff!! I think that's going to be a tremendously good time!

__________________

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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Saturday, March 28 - Day 5:

This was the absolute saddest day of vacation--the day that we had to leave Disneyland. sad Fortunately, this wasn't even close to the end of the line for Disney-themed fun on our trip. We had asked Linda when we checked in how to go about getting transportation to the Cruise terminal because it was supposed to be about a 45 minute drive and we weren't sure what the best way was to handle that trip. She advised us that for the convenience, a taxi was our best bet and that whoever helped us with our bags would call the taxi over for us and get us all set up when we were ready to go, so there was no need to pre-arrange anything. So we decided that we had better get the taxi by around 11am because we wanted to be at the cruise terminal no later than noon.

We "slept in" a little bit this morning. Our goals included eating breakfast at Earl of Sandwich, buying pins, picking up a few items for friends and family, and heading out to meet mom & dad at the ship. Like the Orlando location, Earl of Sandwich opens at 8:00am and the serves the full menu all day. Since the shops opened at 9:00, we decided that 8:30 was a good time to hit EoS. I had the Holiday Turkey (what else?) and Benn had the Reuben. The location feels a little but more modern and nearly all of the seating is outside under a large canopy. We enjoyed it every bit as much of not more than our EoS.

Our next planned stop was Pin Traders, but it turns out that they don't open until 10:00, so we hit World of Disney first. Benn had asked me what I wanted for my birthday and really, all I wanted was to go to Disneyland and have "free reign" at the pin shops. I'd been browsing the pins all week and now the time had come to narrow them down. I knew that I wanted a Grand Californian, a Disneyland, and a DCA. I also wanted a 2015, and a Sleeping Beauty castle. I also found a bunch of neat Up pins, a stitch set, a few to add to my Alice in Wonderland collection, some Mary Poppins (I love how celebrated she is at Disneyland), a Rapunzel that I thought I'd bought at WDW before and got home and realized that I'd put it back on the rack, my first Wreck-It-Ralph, and the Haunted Mansion Ghost Host. In total between World of Disney, Disneyland Hotel, and Pin Traders, I ended up with 34 pins, which I thought was an appropriate birthday gift--one pin for each year.

We wandered around a grabbed a few more last minute DTD pics. We loved looking a the differences in the lego sculptures. At first I was a little sad that there's no Once Upon a Toy, so no crazy potato head for this trip, but the lego store had a "build a lego person" station.

We returned to the Grand Californian lobby to retrieve our checked bags. Originally we were going to just leave them in the room because we knew we'd be back by 11:00, but we figured that if we checked our bags with Bell Services, they could start preparing our room for the next guest and someone else could get into their room sooner. It seemed like it took a long time to retrieve our bags, but it was only around 10:30, so we weren't really in a rush. The nice gentleman who brought our bags helped us to the cab and we were on our way to the port. These are the sliding doors at GC. I entertained myself while we were waiting for the bags by trying to get a picture of them completely closed--not an easy task at 10:30 in the morning! laugh

We had been given an estimated quote of $90 to take us to the port. Our driver was perfectly fine unit we had a little situation. He didn't know the port area well and instead of putting the destination in the GPS immediately, he waited until he got lost--AND left the meter running the entire time. We ended up with a total of $126. I was not a happy camper. I just paid it because I was in no mood to deal with confronting the guy, but it really made me mad that he charged us for his mistake.

The last time that we took a cruise (Carnival Pride out of Baltimore in 2011, aka The Voyage of the Damned), it took ages (probably about an hour) to check-in and get processed through security and then we waited for around 2 hours in a holding area before we could board the ship. This time, we went through an X-ray scanner/metal detector station, filled out a form declaring that we don't have ebola, checked in when it was out turn, and boarded the ship. I think it was less than 30 minutes form our arrival to when we first stepped foot on the Ruby Princess! Our stateroom was available immediately and we had no more than finished exploring every nook and cranny of the cabin when there was a knock on the door--our luggage had arrived!

We unpacked and walked upstairs to the lunch buffet. By this point, it was around 1:00. I knew that mom & dad's flight was landing at LAX at 11:35, so they were probably just arriving at the terminal. The buffet was fantastic! Unfortunately, this was the last time I would be able to say that with a straight face. We finished dinner and we about to go find where mom & dad's stateroom was when we walked right past them having lunch! It turns out that the head wind had been less forceful than anticipated and they landed 30 minutes early! They too had basically walked right on the ship! We chatted for awhile and told them all about Disneyland until it was time to go to the lifeboat drill.

The last time that we did a lifeboat drill, we had to go out on the deck where the actual lifeboats were located. On this ship, we were directed to report to our Muster Stations with out life vests in hand. This sounded like a great plan except that our Muster Station was in the casino. I avoid the casino on cruise ships like the plague and this particular casino and I would spend the entire cruise at odds. I'm not morally opposed to gambling or anything, but the casino is a place where indoor smoking is allowed on ships. Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate people for smoking. In fact, I find that most people who smoke recognize that many people are bothered by the smell and do their best to minimize inconvenience to others. I do, however, have a VERY low tolerance for being anywhere within "nose-shot" of the smell that this activity produces--especially if it's anywhere near food. (When Aloha Isle used to be across from the Adventureland smoking section? Torture.) If the casino is in an area where I can avoid it completely, no problem, but not this casino. Not only did we have to sit in there for about a half hour for the Lifeboat drill with the old stale smoke from the cruise before ours still hanging in the air, but due to its placement on the ship, the casino and I would continue to have to see each other socially all week.

Anyway, after the Muster drill, we went back to our room to stow our life vests and change for dinner. When we arrived at dinner, we were greeted with the first of many long lines. The low crowds that we had enjoyed at Disneyland were gone and they had been replaced by Spring Break-ers on a ship that had 1,000 additional passenger capacity over other ships of the same size and scope of amenities. Anyway, somehow we "survived." laugh For dinner the first night I had Shrimp Cocktail, chicken tortilla soup, Crawfish Etouffee, and the cheese plate for dessert. Benn had...I forget...the third picture down. Chicken? Turkey? I don't remember and I forgot to write down what a lot of the food was called. Dinner was excellent and our server for the evening, Sandra, was the best server that we had all week. We received what would be the first of many birthday "cakes" for the week when we told her that we were celebrating dad's birthday. The cake was mostly chocolate ganache and mousse. It was so velvety and creamy. O.M.G.

After dinner, we tried to check out the show for the evening. It was a welcome show featuring a comedian. Benn and dad decided that they'd had enough fun for the day and went back to the rooms while mom & I went to the show. I love stand-up comedy, but mom is not a fan. Even I thought that this guy was straight up poor. He a a few funny-ish one-liners, but he was mostly a toilet humor kind of guy. Gag. If you're a professional comedian and that's where you have to reach for your jokes, I'm going to assume that you just aren't all that good at what you're doing. From that intro, we decided to skip comedy nights on this ship. Fortunately, we also saw a sample of the Princess singers and dancers. Oh my, what an impressive group! On the Voyage of the Damned, I would have described the entertainment at cheesy, tasteless, and talentless. The entertainers on this ship looked to be the exact opposite. I was really looking forward to seeing them on subsequent nights. I also took an instant liking to the cruise director. He had a lovely accent, seemingly British and he was about 100 times funnier than the comedian. He was very informative and had a ton of charisma. I would have guessed him to be around 60 and his experience in "rallying the troops" was very evident. I looked forward to hearing form him again after each show.

We turned in for the evening, thankful that in our first 6 hours on the water that we had not yet felt the ship's movement. Unfortunately, that would be a short-lived phenomenon.

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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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Uh oh, I sense a lot of issues coming up! Did EOS let you use your coupon? wink

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Allie wrote:
Uh oh, I sense a lot of issues coming up! Did EOS let you use your coupon? wink

Haha!! I didn't try because it was expired. Not too many issues, but I'm not used to vacationing with a non-Disney product anymore.

__________________

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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Sunday, March 29 - Day 6: Day at Sea

The day that the sea (DID NOT) stand still.

We woke up this morning and all was well. We could feel the boat rocking a bit, but nothing overly tragic, certainly nothing like the Voyage of the Damned (did I mention that the Carnival ship in 2011 had a broken stabilizer and I was land sick for two weeks after we got home as a result. LOL. This cruise did not have to clear a very high bar to be better than the last one.)

So we got up and headed upstairs to meet mom & dad for breakfast. I love lox and cream cheese and I was excited to see that they had it on the breakfast buffet. Most of the other things I was kind of lukewarm on, but I'm not really a breakfast person. I did find some little hash brown cakes that were pretty tasty and there was an abundance of fresh fruit, so despite being very picky about what I eat first thing in the morning, I was able to find several options. Unfortunately, the lox was a bit on the slimy side, so that was the one and only for the week. (In fact, any cold meats and cheese on the buffet from that point on all had a slimy re-refrigerated leftover texture, so there wasn't much chance that I was touching any of that stuff. I understand that in the cruise industry it is very important that your resources are managed effectively, but I would have thought that the line could have been drawn at slimy meats and cheeses.)

After breakfast, the waves started to pick up. Benn was already starting to feel poorly. I wasn't feeling great, but I could still function ok and mom & dad (the expert cruisers) were fine. Benn decided that he was going to spend the day hanging out in the cabin instead of the deck until he adjusted to the fact that the boat was moving. Dad was ready for a nap (his favorite activity) and mom and I were planning to go to the half off sale for location merchandise that hadn't sold from previous cruises. We weren't back in the room for 10 minutes before mom called and said that she wasn't feeling great either and she was going to lie down for a bit, which I was kind of relieved to hear because I was feeling a little wimpy myself. I guess the water wasn't too rocky because this was being built in the atrium today:

After about two hours, mom and dad called back about lunch. I was feeling alright and decided to go, but Benn was still having none of it. I had a plate of mozzarella and tomatoes and mussels. The tomatoes were a little pale, but otherwise it was good and since we were going to afternoon tea in two hours, it was plenty. Tea was nice, but not as elaborate as the little Victorian place that mom & I like at home. Benn was feeling better and decided to join us. They served mini sandwiches--ham & cheese, tuna salad, egg salad...and two others I think--they were all really good. They also served scones and cookies. The scones had raisins in them. I'm not really so much a fan of raisins, so they definitely weren't my favorite scones. The cookies were mostly alright, but some of them were like the cookies & pastries at a Chinese restaurant--very pretty and look like they're going to fast so good and then they're just air-filled and very flat tasting. The main tea was black, but there was also an orange tea that Benn and mom liked and a mint tea that we all liked.

After tea, we watched part of a movie (Despicable Me) on TV until dinner time. It was formal night 1 of 2, so we slapped together the mist casual "formal" outfits that we thought would pass the dress code and went to the dining room. I considered wearing the most formal thing I own: my glittery Minnie Mouse ears, but I thought my parents would be embarrassed. laugh We were finding that eating was a very popular activity on this ship and that if you wanted to be seated near the start of the meal, you needed to be about 30 minutes before the dining room opened. Nothing on the special menu really appealed to either of us tonight. (It's entirely possible that we ate too many sandwiches at tea...) We opted for the "all the time menu". I had the salmon and Benn some variety of beef. Both were very good--the main dining room was scoring major points. One thing we found slightly entertaining and somewhat wrong were the "bye polar" mints on the table.

The advantage of getting to dinner early is that you can be at the show early to get a good seat. If you were going to the first show on the Ruby Princess, you'd better plan to be 30-60 minutes early for the show. Remember how I said that this boat holds an extra 1000 passengers than other similar-sized ships? Well it seems that the theater and the dining room are the same size on all ships in this class, but with 1000 more people competing for space and I'd say a large percentage of passengers being in...let's say an "older" age bracket, competition for seats at the 8:00 show was pretty tight.

The first night was a salute to Broadway. I think it's kind of a predictable lead off show, but it was very well done. The Princess singers and dancers on this ship gave stellar performances. When we're talking dance, singing, and gymnastics, I'm fairly critical or performances and I was very impressed with these shows from all aspects. The choreography was unusual and creative, the lighting worked in harmony with the performances, the talent was spot on, the costumes were tasteful but interesting, the props and scenery were fairly elaborate and advanced the story of each number. Overall, it was quite a fine performance.

After the show, we all decided that it was time to call it a night. The rocking hadn't really subsided and it was making us kind of tired. When you looked out the window, we could see white caps on the waves, so we knew that they were fairly large. In the daily report from the bridge, they had announced that the seas had been rough today. That was fairly self-evident, but I guess it was nice to hear someone acknowledge it even if there was nothing they could do to stop it. Another part of the announcement was that we would be sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge at 5:45am, so we wanted to get to sleep so that we could be awake and up on deck to enjoy that site.

__________________

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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Monday, March 30 - Day 7: Port of Call - San Fransokyo

I can't seem to stop calling it that since Big Hero 6 was released. It makes me giggle every time. JeffC, I should have checked to see if you were in town. I'm sorry--I didn't think about it until we got home sad

Mom had really drummed up San Francisco as being amazing, so I was pretty excited for this port stop. At 16 hours, it was our longest stop of the trip. Our day started at 5:30am (thankfully my body still thought it was 8:30am) up on deck waiting to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Having never been to the west cost before, this was kind of a big deal to me. Even though it was dark, the ride into the harbor was beautiful! After sailing under the bridge at precisely 5:45, we spent the next half hour truing to figure our which vaguely rock shaped thing was Alcatraz and delighting in seeing the signs for Ghiradelli AND....BOUDIN BAKERY!! Woohoo!! More delicious sourdough bread!!

We grabbed breakfast with mom and dad and got off the ship a few minutes after we docked at 7:00. It was kind of useless to be off the ship that early because our first stop of the day was to be the Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened at 10:00. Mom and I had discussed ahead of time taking a cab to the museum. The plan was for mom and dad to cab back to Fisherman's Wharf and Benn and I would walk back so that we could see a few items of note for us. Since we had so much time and dad was feeling very rested, he wanted to walk around, so we started off in the general direction of the museum--about a 3 mile walk from where our boat had docked. Dad is not so great with understanding his limitations when he's feeling well. For the first hour, we walked toward Fisherman's Wharf and then started up a side street because dad spotted a cable car and decided that he really wanted to ride one. Anyone else think that this is going to end poorly? waiting

Of course the cable car was farther away than it looked and it was a mostly uphill walk, but dad made it! Well, it turns out that the stop that we walked to was only one stop from the end, so the nice conductor let us hop on and ride to the next stop for free. He also told us how to find a bus that would take us closer to the Presidio, which is where the WDFM is located. We browsed a local sidewalk shop that had opened and made our way to the bus stop. The bus ride was similar to the end of PotC where all the boats pile up and ram each other. No actual accident, but lots of whiplash laugh . Still the bus was a good call because there's no way dad would have made it and we still had nearly a mile inside the Presidio to walk. The best part of the bus ride was that we got to ride on Lombard Street. My favorite Bill Cosby sketch is called "Driving in San Francisco" and he talks about Lombard Street being the most dangerous street in the world, so I was happy that it was part of our little impromptu self-guided tour. I think that the bus was $9.00 for the four of us if I remember correctly. I remember handing someone a $10 bill and telling them to keep the change because I didn't have smaller bills and they don't make change on the bus. I think it was the SF bus driver. So I guess it was $2.25/person. We had a short amount of time (maybe an hour or two) where we could have jumped off the bus and jumped back on for free. We actually drove right past Ghiradelli Square and we had plenty of time to stop, but we didn't realize where we were fast enough.

[url=https://]Driving in San Francisco[/url]

We reached the Presidio and since it was still only about 8:30, I thought that we should try to find Industrial Light and Magic so that we could get a picture with the Yoda statue before we went to the museum since we had lots of extra time. We found out later that we could have also gone into the lobby, so I was disappointed (and kind of felt bad) that I didn't know that ahead of time because Benn would have enjoyed that. Everything that I read basically said that you can take a picture with the statue, but that there's no public access to the buildings, so stay out. Benn even rocked his Star Wars shirt for the occasion.

By this point, Dad was starting to wear out (already! eek It was going to be a long day!), so when we happened upon the free Presidio shuttle and took advantage of the service. It picked us up basically in front of Industrial Light & Magic and dropped us off about 50 yards from WDFM. When the shuttle dropped us off, we had a pretty decent view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We arrived at the museum about 25 minutes early, but there are nice rocking chairs out front on a covered porch and there was lots of activity on the large grassy plot across from the museum, so if you go, don't be afraid to arrive early. General admission is $20. DVC members, remember to present your membership card to receive $3 off admission. There is an additional fee for certain special exhibits, but the regular museum exhibits will be plenty to entertain a Disney fan for several hours.

We spent about two hours at the museum. If I had been by myself, I would have stayed about twice as long. I LOVED this museum. As soon as you pass the ticket desk, there are shelves of awards and accolades before you start the tour of the Disney story. Also in that room is the original furniture from Walt's apartment! yay set against a life-sized photo of the interior of the apartment!! yay yay So even though we missed out on that segment on the WiWF tour, it was almost like we got to see Walt's Apartment after all!

The collection starts from Walt's birth an gives thorough details of his family's journeys and his childhood. There are loads of interactive pieces where you have the opportunity to listen to and touch some of the exhibits. In classic Disney style, there are some fascinating visual exhibits. I lost track because I was information-drunk just being in this fantastic place, but I think that all of the animated features produced during Walt's lifetime were accounted for here along with several of his best-loved live action films. There's a really nice display highlighting the company's efforts during WWII that gives much the same information as the "Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Line" DVD set. There are plaques all over the place labeled "family story" with little gems that I've never heard on any park tour or read in any biography and there are dozens of family photos, especially with Diane and Sharon that I've never seen before. Also in most pictures of Walt, I feel like he's either 30 or 60. There were many photographs here that captured him at many different stages of life.

About 1/2 way through is a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge and a bench from Griffith park, where Walt Disney first pondered the idea of Disneyland.

About 3/4 of the way through, there is a scale model of Disneyland that is absolutely fascinating. It doesn't represent one particular moment in time, but it draws in significant elements from throughout DL's history. There is a binder full of information that details the history and synopsis of each past and present attraction and show examples of original ticket books and other interesting material. The four final sections of the museum pay tribute to Walt's involvement in the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley (torch pictured below), Mary Poppins, the 1964 World's Fair, and the memory & legacy of Walt Disney. It is beautifully done. And pin collector friends, a bonus! The WDFM has it's own exclusive pin line!! They have a catalog of about 25 pins. I chose Oswald with the museum sign because I had neglected to purchase an Oswald pin at DL and it seemed fitting anyway. The museum cast member informed me that you can email an order in for the pins that they have in stock! biggrin I took a picture of their current offerings. I believe I'll be doing some more shopping.

Carousel of Progress model

Should you go to the museum, YES! It's fabulous! But if you're like me and want to read every detail, go by yourself and send the rest of the family on another excursion. laugh It's a lot like One Man's Dream at DHS, but the information is much richer and more in depth. The museum is maintained by the family and the Disney company has no control over it. I would say that for most people, it's not worth making a special trip to San Francisco unless you're within driving distance, but if you can arrange to have a reason to be in SF, definitely check it out!

After the museum, Fisherman's Wharf was the next agenda item. This time we took a cab and Benn and I decided to ride along and just forego the stop at Ghiradelli Square. We'd already gotten our free samples at DCA and they sell the dark chocolate sea salt caramel (my favorite) at our grocery store anyway. I think our fare was around $16 from WDFM to Fisherman's Wharf. By now we were hungry for lunch and the first restaurant we came to was Boudin Bakery!! yay I had the tomato soup in a bread bowl and Benn had a delicious sandwich--grilled cheese with apples I think--and a salad. My soup in a bread bowl was fair at best sad The bread didn't taste anything like the delicious samples that we'd had at DCA (It think it was baked a little bit too long. It was darker than the bread on Benn's sandwich and it tasted a little dry) and the tomato soups was more of a savory flavor than the sweeter tomato flavor that I prefer. Benn's sandwich was like biting into a little slice of heaven and the salad was good. So I would go again, but I'd get a sandwich.

After lunch, we browsed the shops and bought some candy and then we found the Sea Lions! Mom had told me about them, but I thought it was a thing where you go to this spot and maybe you see a Sea Lion or two if you get lucky--kind of like looking for dolphins or whales on the east coast. Holy cow! There are Sea Lions everywhere!! We probably watched them for almost an hour! We really enjoyed the wharf. It reminded me of what the Boardwalk could be like at Ocean City, Maryland if it wasn't so...trashy. They had a Zoltar fortune telling machine like in the Tom Hanks movie, "Big". There was a double decker carousel and a little stage where various comedy & magic shows were appearing. Each store had a theme and very creative signage.

By this point, it wasn't quite 3:00 and our Alcatraz tour wasn't scheduled to leave until 6:30, so we decided that the best bet for dad was to go back to the boat and have a nap. Also it meant that we could take advantage of "free" dinner instead of paying extra for food. I finally got a picture of the ship! When we arrived at the port in San Pedro, we were just trying to figure out where we had to go and where our bags had to go and it's really hard to take a picture of the ship when you're standing on it! We were in between lunch and dinner, so we just went up to the buffet and had whatever random selection of food we decided to throw together. The shrimp salad and tortellini were pretty tasty (sorry, no picture). We learned that the ship would be having a German buffet when we returned from Alcatraz, so I was excited about that!

We arrived at the Alcatraz tour area (between our boat dock and Fisherman's Wharf) about an hour early and tried to bump our tour up to an earlier time, but the 5:45 tour was sold out, so we had to wait for the 6:30 tour boat. We had to be back on the ship by 10:30 for our 11pm departure and we like to be back an hour before that. Our options for boats coming back were 8:40 and 9:15. We should have been perfectly fine on the 9:15, but dad wanted to get the 8:40 just to be safe. When the boat captain informed us that we would have to climb a long hill but assistance was available to those who needed it, we decided that using the provided tram service was the best plan. Unfortunately, that delayed our tour start because it put us in the last group to start. Added to the fact that on the night tour, the boat drives you completely around the island, our Alcatraz tour ended up being severely shortened. Once we made it to the cell house, we only had about an hour to do the audio tour and we didn't have time to see any of the additional exhibits. I wish we had gone with out original plan, which was to do the Alcatraz tour at 8:00am, then go to the museum, and then to Fisherman's Wharf. We still could have been back on the ship by dinner and we would have had much more time to enjoy each of our destinations. There's something special about the Alcatraz boats, but I forget exactly what it is, but it's something that makes them more environmentally friendly.

Alcatraz was a fascinating place. I thought it would be kind of creepy and weird, but the stories were told in a way that was engaging and really made you think what it must have been like to be a prisoner there or to be a guard and live on the island. Here are a few of the things that I thought were the most interesting. Alcatraz began as a fort and it was only a maximum security prison for about 30 years of it's existence even though that is it's most well-known legacy. After it was no longer needed as a fort, the government tried to find another use for the island. As a result, many Native Americans were imprisoned here for some time. In the 1800's, a small building was divided into 3'x5'x5' cells to incarcerate Native Americans. The cells not only had only 15 sq. ft. of floor space, but they were only 5' high. confused eek My chest tightened up just thinking about that claustrophobic's worst nightmare! Their crime? Refusing to send their children to government schools. In the 1930's, it was converted into a maximum security prison. One of the signs read, "if you break a rule, you go to prison. If you break a prison rule, you go to Alcatraz." After falling out of use as a "prison for the prisons" in the 1960's, the land was set to be sold to a developer until a group of Native Americans occupied it claiming that it should't be sold because the incarcerations that had happened there 100 years early were part of their heritage and story. The protests turned violent and they ended up burning and vandalizing several buildings. When Alcatraz was turned into a National Park, a decision was made to leave those buildings unaltered because that altercation was park of the island's history. The island itself has the potential to be beautiful and the views of the city are gorgeous.

Inside the cell house itself, the conditions were about as horrible as you would imagine a prison from the 1930's to be. The showers were all one open area and of course the cells are all cold cinder block. There's that one escape attempt where a prisoner dug through the block wall with a metal spoon and you can see that cell. The audio tour claimed that they don't know for sure which cell was Al Capone's, which I thought was odd. Maybe some of the records were destroyed during the protest? They did say that Capone spent a lot of time in solitary confinement, so maybe that's why. I thought it was interesting that Alcatraz wasn't actually for the worst criminals. It was for any criminal who had broken rules or tried to escape in regular prison. So some of the people had committed non-violent crimes with like a 5-year sentence, but they got into a fight in regular prison and got sent to Alcatraz! That kind of seemed like overkill because the conditions here were pretty deplorable and there were some pretty seriously bad people locked up here. I don't imagine that any prison is a picnic (nor should it be), but it seems like throwing Joe Schmoe criminal in with serial killers is kind of a bad idea. I feel like it should have been reserved for people who did things that were really, really bad...you know, like Al Capone kind of stuff. (Although then I guess Al Capone wouldn't have been here either since he was only ever caught for tax evasion...)

Dad in a cell. Should we leave him here or take him home?

After our whirlwind tour, we met back up with the tram for its 8:25 departure. Benn and I walked down the hill ahead of the tram so that we'd have time to hit the restroom. We got in line for the boat and the tram didn't come and didn't come. I was starting to panic a little bit. What if mom & dad missed the boat? Should we go without them? What if the boat filled up before they got back? So we talked to the people in charge of boarding and they assured us that there was plenty of space and that they would wait for the tram. *sigh of relief* The tram finally rolled up at like 8:39:55 for the 8:40 boat.

Benn decided that the open space at the SF cruise terminal was too special to be ignored, so he entertained us with his airplane impression. Back at the ship, we headed up the the German buffet yeah I was really looking forward to schnitzel and spatzle and bratwurst with mustard. wellll....there was no bratwurst (have the chefs been to Biergarten?? There needs to be bratwurst, people!) and the schnitzel was sliced too thin and over cooked. The spatzle was good at least and I did have some kielbasa (that's Polish, but ok I guess it's close enough) and that was decent, but overall, German night was sadly a bust.

It was time to gear ourselves up for the inevitable. The second day at sea was next. Several passengers we talked with had convinced themselves that if traveling north was rough, we must have been moving against the current, so traveling south would be smooth. crossfingers This was our first trip on the Pacific Ocean, so we were hoping that they were right!

__________________

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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Tuesday, March 31 - Day 8: Day at Sea

We were still on an early riser sort of schedule, which was kind of new to me. 7:00am breakfast was not a thing that I typically experience. We had started to adjust to the fact that the boat was moving, so we were feeling more like doing things on the boat today. We made it to the ship sale this morning and they had a nice selection of casual shirts that are like the ones I buy at home. They were on sale for $15, so I picked up a new one for myself. We also finally made it to trivia this morning where we got pasted by a group of 6 people who had ganged up against everyone. They totally cheated by being older than us knowing more stuff! laugh After our failed attempt at winning the illustrious grand prize of a Princess water bottle, we popped back to our cabin for a bit. We had decided to skip lunch today and go to tea instead. 4 meals was way too many and there was no chance that we were skipping dinner! Benn did some reading and I did some sketching. I ended up falling asleep for like two hours.

Tea was much the same as Sunday had been. We tried our hand at afternoon trivia only to be trounced again by the same devious crew. I was really starting to miss having access to google! laugh Dinner tonight was Italian and this may have been my favorite meal on the ship. I'm usually not a huge fan of Italian cuisine (I don't care for garlic), so this was a surprising pick for me in terms of favorite meal. This was Benn's favorite hands down. He loves Italian. Benn had the spaghetti & meatballs and it really was good. I love the spaghetti & meatballs at Tony's Town Square and this was every bit as good if not better. I chose a shrimp and scallop dish that was out of this world! Benn had Tiramisu for dessert, which I neglected to take a picture of, and according to the photos for the day, I had the cheese plate. One of us seemed to have some sort of soup. but it doesn't stand out as memorable. It looks tasty in the photo as least!

The boat was getting extra rocky as we finished up dinner, so Benn decided that he would just go back to the room and dad wasn't very interested in the show for the evening. The cruise director blew up balloons and tossed them into the audience while we waited and most people were having fun playing along and passing the balloons around in an impromptu volleyball game, but the one man in front of us was getting very frustrated that the balloons were hitting him on the head, so every time a balloon would approach him, he would confiscate it and hide it under his seat. What a party pooper. sad Tonight's show was called Colors of the World and it was really beautiful. (I kept calling it World of Color in my head.) The singers and dancers continued to impress and once again the sets and costumes were beautiful!

The only drawback to being in the theater was that since the room was so large, it was very apparent just how much the ship was actually swaying. Of course dad had been talking about the Poseidon Adventure during dinner and I kept trying to remember the escape in my head...you know, in case of emergency. It didn't help that the ship was making creaking noises as it swayed, not as loud, but similar to the sounds effects in Titanic when the boat was sinking. Intellectually, I knew that there was almost zero chance of this sucker actually capsizing, but try to explain that to my raging paranoia. At first I was really excited to be on a large ship because I thought we'd feel less like a "bath toy" bobbing around in the ocean, but with a boat that big, when the rocking started, it really started. Unfortunately, this would continue to be a trend every evening. I felt bad for the dancers because it always seemed to be the worst during the show.

I drifted off to sleep, incredibly happy that when we woke up the next morning, we'd be headed for dry land again!

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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.

RobynPrincess's picture
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Joined: 03/14/2010
Posts: 2859

I'm so enjoying your report! I have a weird friend who doesn't like garlic too Wink hehe

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

The Colonel's picture
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Joined: 11/08/2012
Posts: 2936

You could put garlic and olive oil on an old boot and I would eat it awesome

great report!

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DVC owner since 2002 BCV/BWV/BLT/VGC