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Photo TR: Chuck's Quick Christmas Trip!


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Table of Contents

Knott's Merry Farm--page 1

Disneyland Resort, Day 1--page 2

Disneyland Resort, Day 2, Part 1--page 3

Disneyland Resort, Day 2, Part 2--page 4

 

 

I just got back from my usual Christmas trip to visit the family in California this morning--who wants to see pictures of Christmas in Sacramento?

 

Anyone?

 

Well, I did spend a few days in southern California, too, at Knott's and Disney. Maybe that's more your speed.

 

First off, let's talk Knott's. This park, after wandering about in a "thrill-park" haze for a few years, is getting back to what it does best--that is, being a nice, enjoyable family park. And while, yes, it isn't back to its "glory days" of the 1960s and 1970s, much of the old Knott's charm seems to be coming back.

 

A few random thoughts:

 

I like what they've done with the log ride. The new show scenes, while not state of the art, make the ride seem much "fresher" than it did a few years ago. But it seems to me that they've amped up the "wetness" a bit too (the old log ride just gave you a little spray). Diabetic Dan and I actually got a bit soaked, and I took a shot of water in my eye on the indoor drop! That being said, this is still my favorite flume ride anywhere.

 

RIP Perilous Plunge. I always thought you were a bit of an eyesore, and I think replacing you with a wild mouse (new credit--yay!), a scrambler, and a set of flying scooters was a good move. The boardwalk area looks much brighter and vibrant now, although I still miss the old Roaring 20s Airfield that used to be there. Now if they would just replace the Boomerang with something good . . .

 

The park's Christmas decorations were very nice, particularly in Ghost Town. The Christmas lights in Camp Snoopy were OK, but not particularly spectacular. They even added a bit of a "Christmas show" to the old train ride, which can be either a good or a bad thing depending on your mood.

 

Yes, it was a very pleasant afternoon and evening at Knott's, which we topped off with dinner at the fried-chicken restaurant. I just love those fluffy Knott's Berry Farm biscuits.

 

Join us now, won't you?

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Diabetic Dan picked me up at the Clarion in Anaheim--a hotel where the 1970s survived. (This is true of many of the hotels in Anaheim.)

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Time for a very Knott's Merry Farm Christmas!

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Montezooma's Revenge may be old, but it still packs a punch--my brothers and I always loved this ride.

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Even the train is all decked out for the holidays.

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Xcelerator doesn't have any holiday decorations. It celebrates by kicking your butt!

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Wait! Who is that lurking behind the woman? Could it possibly be . . . him?

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I thought he existed only in legend and myth.

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Yes, Virginia, there is a Mantis Man! (They let him out of the home to go "single rider" on Xcelerator.)

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Well, if you have to be obsessed with rides, there are worse ones out there. Xcelerator is still great.

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Ka-ching!

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Dan offered to hold my camera while I rode Boomerang, which was very generous of him. Fortunately, I already had the credit. Nice new paint job, though.

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The Timber Mountain Log Ride looks much better now than it did a few years ago.

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And even though it gets you a bit wetter now, Dan still classifies the level of wetness as "acceptable."

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The Calico Mine Train will be going down for a much-needed refurb next year.

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"Would it be possible for me to be refurbed into something other than a stereotypical Chinese miner? Thank you."

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The big "fire in the hole" finale really needs some work, and I'm hoping it'll become great again later in 2014.

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Time to get all Christmasy and stuff.

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You can still see a little log-ride wetness on Dan as he sips his glass of chocolate porter (it had a licorice aftertaste that I sort of liked).

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Let's see, beer, goodies, . . .

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. . . reindeer--but something seems missing. Wonder what it could be?

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Oh, Santa, of course.

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Elvira is not in the Christmas Cabin, but nearby in the Haunt Museum.

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"Hurr, hurr, hurr!"

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Durn! Wished I'd seen these adorable plush clowns before I sent out my Secret Santa gift.

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"Dave, Icebat--yo."

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I think Catawumpus needs a nice elf hat and mug of holiday grog.

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Well, it's here. May as well ride it. (I don't hate Silver Bullet, but it's never done much for me.)

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Hmm--I hope that wreath is fireproof.

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This feller on the train was looking for his girlfriend. Her name is Sugartits McGraw, or something like that. Or maybe that was his name. I was feeling a bit jet lagged at the time.

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I wonder if Mantis Man is still delivering Christmas joy on Xcelerator? More to come.

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More merriness from Knott's.

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This is how Jose Feliciano wishes you a Merry Christmas--from the bottom of his heart.

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The little lights are starting to, well, light up.

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Nice to see the chairs are still rocking in Ghost Town. I like their decorations, too.

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They named a train after my Mom!

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"The sheriff done shut us down. Looks like you'll have to stuff your yule log up someone else's chimney."

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Baby Jesus isn't too far away from the local bawdy house.

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The sun sets on the boardwalk.

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"Merry Mantis to all, and to all, a good night!"

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I'm glad the Sky Cabin is still here, but I miss the Parachute Sky Jump.

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A bird's eye view of "Uterus: The Ride."

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There is one classic ride, one OK ride, and one horrible ride in this photo. I'll let you sort out which is which.

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The old saying is "red sky at night, sailor's delight." Hmm--this is more of a "pink," and it did rain quite a bit the next day.

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Coast Rider was a pretty good mouse, which wasn't "over-braked."

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Ghost Town is lighting up for the evening.

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Even the mine train is getting into the Christmas act.

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Judge Roy Bean found time to decorate in-between hangings.

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The log ride is satisfied with looking mysterious.

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Time for Snoopy's Christmas light show.

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This would be tough to unwrap.

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Purty lights everywhere.

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It's nice, but not "spectacular."

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Campbell Family Christmas Fact: Our Nana (or "Grandmother Mayfield") always had a blue Christmas tree.

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This is on the level of a "better-than-average" neighborhood Christmas display.

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Merry Christmas, Ghost Town!

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Happy New Year, Knott's! You're looking pretty good these days.

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Of course, I had to buy an official Knott's Merry Farm ornament. That's all for now.

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Great tour of Knotts, Chuck.

 

And damn, I really want to get out to one of these parks

that does holiday decorations and lights....and is open!

 

Knotts certainly looks good to me. Did you try any festive foods

there, that weren't Mrs.Knotts Chicken?

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Great stuff Chuck! I like to see trip reports of Knott's during the Christmas time…brings back many memories! No Ghostrider pictures!!!! You should be ashamed…it's only the BEST ride at the park! Nice to hear that Coast Rider wasn't suffering the over-braked curse that most mouse coasters suffer after a couple months of operation!

 

Jimmy "I've actually sat next to Mantis Man on Xcelerator before" Bo

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Jimmy "I've actually sat next to Mantis Man on Xcelerator before" Bo

 

That's almost as cool as sitting next to Elvis. Then again, maybe Mantis Man is Elvis. Or maybe I've watched Bubba Ho-Tep one time too many.

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Jimmy "I've actually sat next to Mantis Man on Xcelerator before" Bo

 

That's almost as cool as sitting next to Elvis. Then again, maybe Mantis Man is Elvis. Or maybe I've watched Bubba Ho-Tep one time too many.

 

No! Sitting next to him is not cool. He sat next to me one time before I knew who he was, and he freaked me out. He does this weird mumbling kinda countdown before the launch. He then gets pissed if he misses it. I actually think the ride ops watch for him and then mess up his count on purpose. I know if I were a ride op on Xcelerator I would.

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I witnessed Mantis Man's famous "count." He blew it.

 

OK, is everybody ready for a slew of Disneyland/Disney California Adventure photos? I hope so. But first, a few random thoughts.

 

DCA is, indeed, much improved over its original incarnation; well, at least half of it is better. Disney's work on Cars Land is excellent, and Radiator Springs Racers is a lot of fun. Buena Vista Street is also a big improvement over the old old "hub cap" fountain that used to be the park's "Main Street." The Little Mermaid ride is good, too, although I agree with many others that it's a build up in search of a climax (really, the ride just sort of "ends"). The park is closer to feeling "complete" now, and can probably coast on the afterburners of Cars Land for a few more years, at least.

 

Small World Holiday is a helluva lot better than the regular version of this attraction. Sure, it's full of singing and dancing dolls, but at least they're singing different songs this time around. The added Christmas decorations are great, and I really enjoyed it--a nice surprise.

 

Jingle Cruise wasn't as bad as I'd feared, even though it isn't, well, much. The decorations in the station are nice, and there are some nice touches in the jungle (particularly in the safari campsite). I also had a pretty good skipper, who added just the right note of sarcasm to her jokes: "Be sure to buy our Christmas CD as you exit. It's full of holiday classics, such as 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Typhoid.'" No great shakes, but OK.

 

This trip marked the first time I've ridden the "Nightmare Before Christmas" since the first year they did it--and it was even better than I'd remembered.

 

Whoever designed those new trains for the Matterhorn deserves a public flogging. God, they're uncomfortable, as well as painful. I was left with a pretty sore back after the ride.

 

Care to join me? Yes, it's a bit damp today, but even a rainly day at Disney is better than a day at the office.

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Let's start at Disney Hollywood Studios . . . er, California Adventure.

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Yes, Buena Vista Street does look better than the big hubcap fountain, even though it was a very nice hubcap.

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DCA's "official" Christmas tree.

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The Red Car does add some nice atmosphere, even though I never got around to riding it.

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Well, better get a Racers' Fast Pass . . . holy crap! That's the line?

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Well, once 9:00 am hit and the rope dropped, the line moved very well. I even got a decent return time.

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So, what about this Cars Land, anyway? Maybe they moved DCA's old entrance hub cap here.

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What? No Kiwanis?

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I do like this old-time "Route 66" atmosphere.

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While I'm not a big fan of the Cars flicks (the first was OK, the second one was just bad), I was impressed with how great they looked. And Cars Land lives up to that.

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Racers just opened. May as well get in at least two rides today. The wait was about 20-25 minutes (it was an hour plus later, despite the rain).

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Hmm--a building with bottles in the wall . . .

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. . . wonder where they came up with this idea? ;)

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I seem to remember another local theme park with a similar building, which they re-created from a building in a desert ghost town. The name is right on the tip of my tongue.

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As I said before, I'm really impressed with all the work that went into Cars Land and racers.

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Meanwhile, back at the Magic Kingdom . . .

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Hmm--there's a castle back there somewhere, but I can't quite make it out.

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Oh, there it is. It's cute.

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Hell, being as it's 10:00 am and I have a Racers' Fast Pass for 10:35-11:35, I may as well queue up.

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Good morning, slightly soggy Space Mountain. The people in line all smell like wet dog fur.

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Holy crap, they've locked on their photon torpedoes! This line better get moving now!

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What's this? The Nightmare Before Christmas line is only five minutes?

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Excellent! I've really been looking forward to this.

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Ho, Ho, . . .

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. . . er, Ho?

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Your host, Jack Skellington, aka "Sandy Claws."

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I've always found Sally to be oddly sexy. I guess Dr. Finklestein chose her parts carefully.

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"Yeah, ho freakin' ho, bitches."

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Scary Christmas, everyone!

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Dr. Finklestein's first name must be "Noel." Who knew?

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"That you, Santa Claus?"

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"Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat.

So, I'm an ornament.

You got a problem with that?"

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OK, the "Hidden Mickey" a bit askew. I'm going to guest relations to complain.

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Now that's a Christmas tree.

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Have a very "EAT ME" Holiday!

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Nothing says "Christmas" like big piles of fluffy white stuff and scary jack-o-lanterns.

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Ho, ho, Zero!

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"'Dead, dead, dead. Someday you'll be dead!' That's my favorite Christmas carol!"

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"It's right up there with "Hark the Herald Angels Scream" and "O Little Town of DEATHlehem."

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Sheesh! Glad I rode that when I did. Look at the line now. More to come.

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I got to Disneyland only once during it's Christmas season. And I wish Nightmare had been installed in Mansion back then. The movie had already been out, but the overlay didn't happen till I had been there. Still, I got to see the version in Tokyo Disneyland (2007 TPR Tour) and it was very cool - if not easy to understand.

 

Great TR Chuck! Looking forward to more (but never "the same").

 

(and EDIT to add: And DCA was still a parking lot, 1996)

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More Merry Christmas and stuff from the Disneyland Resort!

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Must . . . reach . . . Racers . . . before . . . Fast . . . Pass . . . runs . . . out . . .

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Actually, I had plenty of time, so I could check out this cool puzzle . . .

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. . . and the Christmas tree in Walt's apartment window.

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Meanwhile, back in DCA, the bell ringers are just ringin' away like merry SoCal fools.

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Here's one view that hasn't changed much.

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Hmm--Radiator Springs has a sex shop?

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Time for another exciting race.

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I really like all the detail in the queue.

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And we're off.

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I think it's a state law for all riders to take a photo of this bridge.

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If you say "get 'er done," I'll punch you in the grill.

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Here we are in Ramon's totally non-stereotypical body-and-paint shop. It really should smell like weed.

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"You lose this race and I WILL KILL YOU! Otherwise, no pressure."

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At the starting line . . .

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In the words of Clark Griswold, "Burn dust and eat my rubber!"

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Although Epcot's Test Track is a bit more exciting, Racers does have a beautiful setting.

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And we won! Beer is on Mater!

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OK, just how many races are they running today?

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Very nice work, Disney--you really seem to be back to your "A" game.

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Racing sure makes a guy hungry.

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The roast beef with mashed potatoes and roasted corn was pretty good.

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Flo has a nice Christmas tree . . .

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. . . and a good view of the races.

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Remember--Mind Your Speed!

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I'm glad there's a clear path from Cars Land to the Tower of Terror now.

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This shot might make you think you're in Florida . . .

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. . . then you see the cartoon boiler. Well, it's still a great ride.

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I live on the East Coast, yet my first Little Mermaid ride is on the West Coast. What you might call "ironic."

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"Well, as it turns out, Ursula had some video of old King Triton having, er, 'relations' with a giant squid, and that made Ariel really mad . . . oh, wait, that's the unauthorized porn version."

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Dive, dive, dive!

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Ariel, you closed your eyes. We'll have to take it again.

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This section was designed by someone who was into crabs and ganja.

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Conga line for the ganja, mon!

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Wait! What's wrong with her hair? And is she twerking? I'm going to post some very nasty comments online and at guest relations!

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The Ursula animatronic is very well done.

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Sure she's got legs, but does she know how to use them?

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"Aghh! My evil plans have been foiled, and I don't even know how!"

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Yeah, it's the old Snow White's Scary Adventures "WTF" ending.

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I wandered down to Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen to make reservations for dinner, and it started to pour rain again. So, I waited out the storm at Trader Sam's over at the Disneyland Hotel.

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Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Rum, anyone?

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I had dinner at the Jazz Kitchen with Jeff Johnson that night, and lunch at Trader Sam's the next day with Eric Johnson. More to come.

Edited by cfc
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And it just gets merrier and merrier!

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It's still a bit damp, so I may as well ride the Monorail to Disneyland to experience the Christmas version of Pirates of the Caribbean.

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"Arr! A Merry Christmas, sez I. Now stand and deliver, dogs!"

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"Aye, our Christmas party got a wee bit out of hand this year, mates."

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"In the spirit 'o' the season, allow me to present ye with this accursed, er, blessed treasure! Direct from Santy Claus, it be!"

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OK, show of hands: Who, in fact, does not want the redhead?

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"Time to deck the halls pirate style, mates . . . belay the extra candles there!"

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It's always Christmas Day for Captain Jack Sparrow.

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OK, I lied. There is no special Christmas edition of Pirates.

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But aren't the New Orleans Square decorations nice?

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Time to do something you can no longer do in Florida, for what that's worth.

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Hmm--looks like a nice holiday dessert recipe.

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Phew! That is a relief.

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OK, it's starting to get really wet again.

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May as well duck inside Sleeping Beauty's Castle and warm myself by the fire.

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Hmm--does Potterland have a "Corridor of Goons"? If not, then, suck it, Harry Potter!

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"Oh, man, I'm gonna hurl . . ."

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"Sorry dude--did you get any chunks on ya?"

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You know, I'm OK with this.

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I was sort of dreading this . . .

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. . . but I ended up liking it.

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"Ho, ho, ho . . . nice, nice, nice, naughty, naughty, extra naughty with a pic . . . ho, ho, ho, that one gets an extra gift this year!"

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Tonight on Hallmark: "The Night that Christmas Puked on It's a Small World . . .

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. . . and Actually Made It a Better Ride."

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That wee highland coo is eatin' the Christmas list!

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"Here's an RPG for Christmas, infidel dogs!"

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Do they celebrate Christmas in Bali? Well, nice fireworks, at least.

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"No Christmas in China--but we do like making ice sculptures."

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My god! That poor panda will be blown to bits!

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Jose Feliciano strikes again--from the bottom of his heart.

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"We have killed the reindeer and marked their graves."

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Welcome to the USA, where it's nothing but farms . . .

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. . . and cowboys. That's it.

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Sarah Palin hates this ride.

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"Nobody wants to play with a Pervert in a Box."

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Good luck with that.

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Well, not today--but tomorrow should be much better.

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OH, boy! The rain has stopped, so I guess I'll check out the Jingle Cruise.

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"All this tree lacks is a few shrunken heads. Is Trader Sam still holding that sale?"

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I had no idea this bird was here.

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The queue decorations are nice . . .

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. . . and the skippers get to wear goofy elf hats.

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The backside of Nutcracker.

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I think most of the letters to Santa in this bag ask for bullets, mosquito netting, and extra quinine. More to come--nearly done.

Edited by cfc
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One more batch tonight--maybe a few more tomorrow.

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Merry Christmas, cute little castle.

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Hmm--looks a mite busy down on Main Street.

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There is no Christmas edition of Buzz Lightyear. But Emperor Zurg is a sucker for egg nog.

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The Disneyland tree all lit up--it's been drinking.

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How about DCA when it's all lit up?

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Very nice.

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How many of you got a "Water Whiz" for Christmas?

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Cars Land looks even better after dark.

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The Cozy Cone looks even cozier.

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The front office is closed, but they do have a nice Christmas display.

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Races continue on well into the night.

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Guess I'll take the short cut to . . .

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. . . Pacific Wharf. This is another area that hasn't changed much, although there is a Ghirardelli ice-cream-and-candy shop where the tortilla factory used to be.

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Another photo that all guests are required to take.

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Paradise Pier is so cool it gets its own tree.

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Here are the two rides I rode next.

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California Screamin' was running so well, it deserves a second look.

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Even King Triton celebrates Christmas--and he's a heathen god!

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"A Very Brother Bear Christmas" was a Disney TV special that didn't draw a lot of viewers.

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Hmm--still have some time to kill before dinner . . .

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. . . so I may as well check out the special Christmas edition of Monsters Inc.--this is all it is, actually.

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After dinner, Jeff and I took the Monorail back into Disneyland to see the Small World projections . . .

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. . . and the fireworks that closed Toontown.

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Yeah, after watching them from near Small World, I can understand why they close Toontown and most of Fantasyland.

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Small World looks great during the holidays.

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The castle is all lit up now, too.

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It's been a great day, but I'm beat.

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But first, an extreme close up of the Main Street Christmas Tree.

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Back to the Clairon. I'll post some day-two stuff later.

Edited by cfc
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Wait! A Compliance Sign? When did "Snow White" get this posted?

And is this (of course, the children...) the only attraction with such a sign?

 

Important questions, Chuck.

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Uh......really?

Edited by Nrthwnd
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Great trip report - Christmas is an awesome time of year to visit Disneyland, and Cars Land is pretty spectacular in itself. The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay might be even better than the regular Haunted Mansion!

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Wait! A Compliance Sign? When did "Snow White" get this posted?

And is this (of course, the children...) the only attraction with such a sign?

 

Important questions, Chuck.

 

I saw them at a number of attractions.

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