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Photo TR: Andy's California Adventure


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Your Jet Stream photos have me intrigued... The second drop has the mechanism and drop channel in place for boats to alternate between paths but it appears that the second trough has been cut and is no longer in use. Interesting that they kept the remnants of it in place while the rest of the ride continues to operate.

 

Thanks for sharing another great update from your trip!

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Your Jet Stream photos have me intrigued... The second drop has the mechanism and drop channel in place for boats to alternate between paths but it appears that the second trough has been cut and is no longer in use. Interesting that they kept the remnants of it in place while the rest of the ride continues to operate.

 

Thanks for sharing another great update from your trip!

 

SFGAdv did the same thing to their HydroFlume midway through its life as well.

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Great report again, Andy! SFMM is my home park and I'm always interested to hear other people's opinions about it. I have to agree with you about SFMM vs CP; both have great coaster collections, but there are several coasters at CP that are better than SFMM's best coaster.

 

As for the question, "Is SFMM in Valencia or Santa Clarita?", the answer would be, "Yes." Santa Clarita is a city that encompasses several smaller towns/communities - Valencia being one of them.

 

Your Jet Stream photos have me intrigued... The second drop has the mechanism and drop channel in place for boats to alternate between paths but it appears that the second trough has been cut and is no longer in use. Interesting that they kept the remnants of it in place while the rest of the ride continues to operate.

 

Thanks for sharing another great update from your trip!

That's exactly what happened. The ride opened with two drops, but the second drop was blocked off in the late '70s/'80s. Why? I don't know. (Oddly enough, the park still brags about Jet Stream's double-channelled drop on its website.)

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As for the question, "Is SFMM in Valencia or Santa Clarita?", the answer would be, "Yes." Santa Clarita is a city that encompasses several smaller towns/communities - Valencia being one of them.

 

 

So Valencia is like Los Angeles where there's all these areas within, but not actual real cities?

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^ You have the right idea, but Santa Clarita is the big city that encompasses a bunch of smaller "cities" that aren't real cities, but just unincorporated communities - namely, Valencia, Newhall, Canyon Country, and Saugus.

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^ You have the right idea, but Santa Clarita is the big city that encompasses a bunch of smaller "cities" that aren't real cities, but just unincorporated communities - namely, Valencia, Newhall, Canyon Country, and Saugus.

 

oops, i meant santa clarita.

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Impressive back drop with all of those mountains! Those are some great shots. It's astounding how many coasters there are to ride.. and then I did a double take to realize that 3 were down! WCB seems like the best way to get all those coasters in (and more) in one day.

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Impressive back drop with all of those mountains! Those are some great shots. It's astounding how many coasters there are to ride.. and then I did a double take to realize that 3 were down! WCB seems like the best way to get all those coasters in (and more) in one day.

 

I would be surprised if there has ever been a day in the last 20 years on which all of SFMM's coasters were open! CP has all of their coasters open on 90-95% of their operating days each season

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It's astounding how many coasters there are to ride.. and then I did a double take to realize that 3 were down! WCB seems like the best way to get all those coasters in (and more) in one day.

 

Seriously! OK, so let's take a look at this. RCDB lists 19 coasters at the park.

 

But ... three were closed:

1) Apocalypse

2) Green Lantern

3) Viper

 

And ... four are kiddie coasters:

1) Canyon Blaster

2) Magic Flyer

3) Road Runner Express

4) Speedy Gonzales

 

...so really, I only had 12 coasters to ride. That's still a lot, but it's a lot easier than going in and thinking I had to get on 19 or 20 coasters.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey again -- here's a quick little interlude, just to get something up while I'm working on pictures for the next major segment of the report.

 

Part 2.5 -- The The Angels Angels of Anaheim

Monday, September 10, 2018

 

After two exhausting days at West Coast Bash, it was time for a quick breather! Monday the 10th was the arrival day for the rest of my family, in advance of our four-day adventure at Disneyland.

 

To John -- another million thank-yous (but not a million dollars, sorry) for your hospitality and hilarity!

 

After a good night's sleep, John and I headed out to lunch, and then he dropped me off at my hotel near Disneyland so I could wait for my family to arrive from the airport.

 

So, here's the story with the hotels. My family decided pretty early not to stay on-property at Disneyland, even though we always do that at Walt Disney World. The benefits to staying on-site at WDW are numerous, and there are several hotels at the price point we're looking for. That's just not true at Disneyland, where even the cheapest hotel (Paradise Pier) is remarkably expensive, with few real perks that are exclusive for Disney hotel guests. I guess the biggest perk would be the extra hour in the morning (every morning) at one of the parks, but since we were doing a four-day stay with manageable crowds, that wasn't enough to put it over the top for us.

 

So, in early 2018, I started research into all the hotels on Katella, Harbor, and other nearby streets within walking distance of the front gate. I probably looked at 40 different hotels initially, but based on price/proximity/quality, eventually narrowed it down to two: the Candy Cane Inn, and the Hotel Indigo. Both had rooms for just over $100 a night, and both appeared clean and safe. So, I put it to a vote -- where did our trip participants want to stay? The result: the old people voted for the Candy Cane, and the young people voted for the Indigo. Rather than compromise, we just booked rooms at separate hotels. The end result is that the two places had their different strengths, but both worked out quite well, and I'd be happy to recommend either.

 

Anyway, that's the boring hotel stuff -- and obviously there will be plenty more from Disneyland in the next few posts. But how did we spend our first night together in California? Baseball. My family likes baseball, and while it's not my favorite sport, I do like to try to check out different stadiums when I'm traveling. With the Angels in town during our first night in Anaheim, it made sense to take the short trip and check out a game.

 

And since the Angels aren't very good, I got us some decent upper-level tickets for under $10 each.

 

So, here's a short photo set from Angel Stadium!

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Angel Stadium is the 10th MLB stadium I've visited -- though that counts two that are no longer in use.

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Baseball game tonight. Big baseball out front shoulda told ya.

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DISNEY CONTENT! It's a big Mickey from the 2010 MLB All-Star Game.

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Look! I found another one! I wonder how many were created?

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In a display case on the main concourse, the trophy from the Angels' 2002 World Series championship.

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A statue of Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry, the original owner of the Angels. He later sold the team to the Walt Disney Company, who sold the franchise to its current owner, Arte Moreno.

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Win one for the Cowboy!

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A relative of mine asked me to take a picture of Mike Trout and send it to him.

 

I sent him this.

 

I did not check to see if the head actually bobbles.

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He's got his very own Trout farm!

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The Big A, a major landmark alongside I-5.

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Culture Club and Tom Bailey from the Thompson Twins!!! Live in concert!!! Sign me up!!!

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Walking around the stadium to check out the views.

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Here's the cool rock / waterfall formation in the outfield, just left of the batter's eye.

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Behind the rock formation.

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This guy hit a lot of home runs -- but he was injured and not in the lineup for our visit.

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Something I like to do at every stadium -- check out the view from the seats in the far corners. Here's left field...

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...and here's right field. You're a long, long way from the game action up here.

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Hey, remember when Gary Bettman blew a duck call during a press conference? That was something.

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The view to the east -- the Saddleback peaks (Santiago Peak / Modjeska Peak) that dominate the Orange County skyline.

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Hey, way off to the north, it's that huge mountain I mentioned in the first TR segment. I wonder if it might be important later...

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Sunset to the west, and if you look close, you might just see something Incredible. And something ... Galactic?

 

OK, it's DCA.

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Sunset in the stadium lights.

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Yes, that is the name of the team.

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Looking down from the upper deck as the game was getting ready to begin.

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Wide view from behind home plate! Another view I like to get from every stadium I visit.

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Here's the view from our /actual/ seats. Not bad for $9 and change.

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A look at the Texas Rangers' dugout, celebrating a run.

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A look at the Angels' dugout, celebrating ... well, probably nothing. They weren't very good.

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Press box wonks, hard at work.

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All of a sudden, I would like some noodles.

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One last night view of the field! Pretty nice stadium. Not one of my very favorites (the parking lot stadiums are going to have a hard time making the top of that list) but I enjoyed my time there.

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Goodbye, Angels. Next stop -- Disneyland!

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Nice report!

 

Angel Stadium was one of the most beautiful ballparks I've visited; however, of the 6 stadiums I have visited, it's at the bottom. The crowd was dead. It would be one thing if the crowds were minimal but those who were there were going crazy (see Athletics fans), but the stadium was 3/4 filled and mostly silent. A baseball game shouldn't be watched in reverent silence. How was the crowd for your game? Lively or also dead?

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I went to an Angels game at the end of this season after a day at Disneyland. I agree it's the worst of the 7 ballparks I've been too. It's really cheap, and it's easy to get in and out of, but that's all it had going for it. Food and atmosphere were both pretty bad.

 

Ducks games at the Honda Center next door are actually a lot of fun though. Both venues have some great bars/breweries right across the street. It's actually a great break from the day at Disneyland. Cheap/quick uber over to the breweries for dinner and a game, then back to the park 'til closing for some night rides with a solid buzz.

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It would be one thing if the crowds were minimal but those who were there were going crazy (see Athletics fans), but the stadium was 3/4 filled and mostly silent. A baseball game shouldn't be watched in reverent silence. How was the crowd for your game? Lively or also dead?

 

Let's go with "barely there." Lots of empty seats, and not much to cheer for. Winning cures all, and I'm sure they'd be lively for a successful team, but it was a mediocre season in Anaheim.

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Part 3 -- Disney California Adventure

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

 

As I mentioned in this thread's intro post, a family trip to Disneyland was the centerpiece of my whole California vacation. Timing it out with West Coast Bash was not just convenient, but also made sense from a crowd/price standpoint. It also meant that we'd be visiting near the beginning of the Halloween celebration, so we'd be seeing special decorations and dining items all around both parks.

 

We planned out four days (Tues-Fri) at Disneyland, though I had sometimes asked myself -- is four days too much? Ultimately, it worked out perfectly for several reasons.

 

1) This was the first visit to Disneyland for everyone in our group. Absolutely everything was new to us.

 

2) Traveling with my parents and my grandmother, I knew the pace would be a little slower than I'm used to.

 

3) I tend to be able to occupy myself with photography for long periods of time.

 

By the end of the week, we'd completed everything important that we wanted to, and I got second (or third) rides on the best attractions. Even with four full days, there were still a couple minor attractions that we had to skip, plus two big items -- Matterhorn and World of Color -- that were not in operation.

 

Our plan was to spend the first two days as full-day visits to one park each. For crowd control purposes, we aligned our schedule opposite the Extra Magic Hour, and that led us to start our adventure at DCA.

 

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I won't do a full play-by-play, but we essentially got through the entire park in one shot. We started with a Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass run, then rode Soarin' while the line was short. From there, there wasn't any need for an overarching strategy, as crowds were manageable. Strategic use of Fastpass helped us out with Toy Story Mania, and even afforded us a second ride on Radiator Springs Racers after Toy Story went down for a while. We had time to split up for shopping / photography purposes in the afternoon (guess which one I was doing) before reuniting for the "lighting" of Cars Land at sunset. We also watched the Paint the Night parade together in the evening. After the parade, my family left, and I stayed in the park for night photography until well past closing time.

 

I should note that we did not budget for MaxPass. It wouldn't have been cheap with five people, and with four full days, we got through everything just fine using the paper Fastpass system. Sure, over the course of the week, we had a few 15-20 minute waits. The problem at Disney is that in most cases, a Fastpass (or MaxPass) doesn't bypass the final 5-10 minutes of the queue. It's a big difference compared to something like Fast Lane at a Cedar Fair park, where you may very well just walk right onto a coaster train. That being said, I'd get MaxPass on a short visit with a small group, but it just didn't make sense for us.

 

How Was DCA? Loved it. At first, I think some of my family members thought it wasn't "Disney" enough, but by parade time they had come around. I never saw the original version of DCA, which is probably for the better, but I think the current state of the park is an even more well-tuned microcosm of California than the original one could have ever dreamed of being. Rather than the prototypical whimsy one typically associates with Disney, the theming at DCA is a bit more realistic and natural. The Disney elements are the accents, rather than the theme itself. And to that end, I think the park is just enough Disney to go along with the rest of the experience.

 

Theme isn't enough, though, and a park like this needs standout attractions to make the visit worthwhile. That's no problem here. I'll put Radiator Springs Racers, Guardians, Incredicoaster, and Toy Story Mania up there with the best of any other Disney park I've been to. Add in some great second-tier attractions -- Mater's, Monsters Inc, Turtle Talk, Pixar Pal-a-Round, a really good parade -- and there's no shortage of things to do. I should note that while I didn't ride Grizzly River Run (rapids ride) a few family members did, and gave it a glowing review.

 

Have I gotten this far without mentioning Cars Land? I have zero interest in the Cars franchise, and yet I was blown away by both the grandeur and the detail of what is probably DCA's most fully-realized accomplishment. If we can expect this level of work from what's coming in future expansions at Disney parks around the planet, it's going to be a really exciting time to be a theme park fan when they all open up.

 

Any complaints? The Halloween specialty pizza was $8-per-slice or $40-per-pie, which even by Disney standards is completely insane. We skipped that. Overall, I thought the restaurant options at DCA were good, but not great. Maybe Carthay Circle would change my mind, but that wasn't in the cards for this trip. I thought the west end of the lagoon felt like some of the "Disney on the cheap" had yet to be cleaned up. The attractions over there never pulled any kind of a wait. I thought the wharf area was under-utilized, though it's probably too late to expand that section now. This is all pretty minor. DCA is a fantastic piece of work, and it's become a place that I thought was easily worthy of its location directly across from the original Disneyland.

 

How were the attractions?

 

Radiator Springs Racers -- How could this ride possibly live up to the hype? I won't say it exceeded my expectations -- which were quite high -- but it met them. This ride is a fantastic mix of outdoor scenery, dark ride elements, great animatronics, and the thrill of the race at the end. It's also one of the most immersive attractions I've been on anywhere -- outside of a brief glimpse of the Guardians tower, you're fully enveloped within Radiator Springs the whole way through. I like Test Track at Epcot, but this one wins out for sure.

 

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree -- Leave it to Disney to take a simple flat ride concept and turn it into something really fun and well-themed. It's like a Whip on a series of interconnected turntables, and it's slightly disorienting in the way each vehicle moves through the ride cycle. I've heard enough of Larry the Cable Guy singing to last the rest of my life, but it's certainly something I'd ride again -- maybe with earplugs.

 

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters -- I really don't know what to think of this. Unlike Mater's, it's probably more fun to watch than it is to ride. It's really something to behold -- the synchronization of the individual cars into one cohesive dancing unit.

 

Incredicoaster -- Fantastic! This is exactly what a "fun" higher-end family roller coaster should be. A coaster enthusiast can find things to like -- the launch, some airtime in the back of the train, and especially the unexpectedly-intense vertical loop. Still, it's not too much for the whole family to enjoy. One of my favorite parts about the ride is its length -- it's no one-trick pony. The themed tunnels are a lot of fun, and the visuals really pop at night. I'm also not ashamed to admit that this coaster might be the world's best cookie commercial. One minor complaint: the seats are kind of an uncomfortable hard plastic without any contouring, and the OTSRs aren't really needed. Nothing bad to say about the ride experience, though. This is of my favorite attractions at Disneyland.

 

Toy Story Mania -- A favorite in Florida, and a favorite here too. You'd need wrists of steel to marathon this, but that won't be an issue, because it pulls in consistent lines all day long. Having just been on Iron Reef and Justice League, I was wondering how this one would hold up. Quite well -- though I love Justice League, this one is my favorite of the three.

 

Pixar Pal-a-Round -- I didn't ride this on the first day at DCA, but later in the week I did one cycle each on the swinging and non-swinging cars. Having been on the original at Deno's (Coney Island), I knew what to expect from the swinging, and thought it was pretty fun. The full cages on the cars made photography a big challenge, but when I get to the pictures from later days of the trip, I'll share some results with the zoom lens that I'm pretty happy with.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission Breakout -- I've been on the original Twilight Zone version in Florida and Paris, and I love that theme. I also don't really keep up with modern movies, so I had little knowledge of the whole Guardians franchise. None of that mattered too much, as I thought this was a really fun version of the tower! The ride experience is about the same, but the storyline is more exciting than creepy. Well, perhaps bump up the "creepy" a bit for the Monsters After Dark overlay, which we rode later in the week! That was a cool change as well. This is a top-flight attraction in any version. I guess my preference would be to keep the Twilight Zone theme in Florida, and keep the Guardians theme in California, so I can ride them both!

 

Soarin' -- I have never been a huge fan of Soarin', but as this was my first time on the Soarin' Around the World version, I was hoping I might enjoy it a bit more. Nope. It's still just a glorified IMAX motion simulator. The scenery on the film is fantastic, but then it's ruined by obvious (and unnecessary) CGI effects. The best part about Soarin' is that it still draws crowds away from the better attractions elsewhere in the park.

 

Goofy's Sky School -- It's themed really well, but it's still a mouse at a Disney park. One ride was plenty enough.

 

Golden Zephyr -- It's kind of pointless, but at least it's unique. I don't think I've seen a spinny flat ride built like this one anywhere else. Actually, the calmness of its motion makes it a decent ride to get pictures from.

 

Silly Symphony Swings -- It's a wave swinger! At a Disney park! I mean, I guess there's nothing wrong with that.

 

Monsters Inc - Mike and Sulley to the Rescue -- It's a cute dark ride, and it's also quite funny. The door scene near the end is great.

 

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure -- Another cute dark ride, but not a new experience, as I've been on the one in Florida. Honestly, I'm kind of one-and-done on straight-up story-based dark rides like this one. Consider that a preview for my review of Fantasyland in the next trip report.

 

Sorcerer's Workshop -- Kind of neat for a quick stop, I guess, especially if you are into animation. It's pretty hidden, so I'm guessing most guests never even get in there.

 

Turtle Talk with Crush -- The world needs more digital puppetry attractions. Turtle Talk is great. You can do a lot with the whole surfer/stoner character, but pulling off humor for the kids and adults in the room is a bit of a balancing act. Whoever they had portraying Crush during our visit nailed it.

 

The Bakery Tour -- It's bread. They're making bread. Yep.

 

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail -- Every Disney park needs one of these. Actually, every theme park on the planet needs one of these. It's nature! It's a play area! It's educational! It's a place to let off some steam! As someone who enjoys national/state parks as much as theme parks, this was an unexpectedly fun little mix of the two.

 

Red Car Trolley -- Yeah, we rode the trolley! I still don't know exactly why we did, but we did. There was a spontaneous little show element as we stopped in front of Guardians and some cast members tried to bring a caged animal on board -- perhaps an escapee from the tower? Give the staff some credit, I guess, for making some fun out of an otherwise-inconsequential transportation ride.

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Pictures from DCA -- part 1!

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I have found Robb's personal hell!

 

First stop -- the Candy Cane Inn, to gather my family.

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A compass rose with mouse ears? Must be the place.

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"Storytellers" -- the "Partners" statue inside DCA.

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The waterfall off the side of Grizzly Peak speaks loudly that this isn't some cut-rate Six Flags park.

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We'll start off by Soarin' around the CGI world!

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Seems a little short to be an active runway.

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The queue and building theme (historic pilots) is far superior to the clean/sterile modern airline look in Florida.

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Hey, speaking of Florida...

 

It's easy to draw a comparison to Disney's Hollywood Studios, as the entrance and Hollywood areas of DCA share several of the same design elements.

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A trolley departs the former Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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The hotel has seen some renovations in recent times.

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This Tivan guy seems to like collecting things.

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Here he is, stroking his pet ... something. Yeah, I haven't seen the movie.

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Are these the Ewoks of the Marvel universe?

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Is this The Terminator?

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Something tells me this Tivan guy is a sore loser.

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Hey, is that Disco Yeti?

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Moving to something a little more cartoonish, we've got some monsters.

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Disney queues are full of little details that are easy to miss. Check out the phone book in the Monsters Inc queue!

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A Bug's Land is being taken over by Stark Industries. This was one of only two construction areas at DCA, with a couple sections of Pixar Pier also being worked on for new rides.

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There may be no finer themed land in any park in the US than Radiator Springs / Cars Land.

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The local union hall, with some ads for the drive-in theater. Of course it's a drive-in theater. It's Cars Land.

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If there's a pun to be made, Disney will find it.

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The Cozy Cone Motel is just the right amount of ridiculous.

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Even the traffic cones are grinning!

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If your teeth are this orange, maybe see a dentist?

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For when you need to top off your ECV with some Tulsa Tea.

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One of several Cars characters that were out and about. You'd think it wouldn't be easy to do with big vehicle-sized creatures, but Disney pulls it off without a problem.

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The Gateway to Ornament Valley -- and to one of the most anticipated moments of the whole California trip!

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Who wants to race around in giant anthropomorphic slot cars?

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Welcome to the 8 3/4th wonder of the world.

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Love this view -- it means the fun is about to begin.

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From winding roads...

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...to beautiful mountain scenery.

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Luigi hooks you up with some new tires -- for considerably cheaper than a set of four will cost you in real life, I might add.

 

(I might be buying new tires for my car right now)

 

(it's kind of expensive)

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Hit the starting line and head on out.

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There's even a bit of gentle airtime!

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A hero's welcome at the end of the race. We rode Radiator Springs Racers twice, winning once and losing once.

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This may be the most classic view at DCA -- sans the work being done on World of Color, anyway.

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But next up, it's time for lunch, and there's a bit of a Coco celebration going on.

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They were running with a specialty Mexican menu at the Paradise Garden Grill, which was actually quite good! Probably the best meal I had at DCA all week.

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Got to watch a Mariachi band perform, too.

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They were good. Of course they were good. It's Disney.

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The Golden Zephyr is one of the stranger spinny flat rides I've seen, so I had to give it a ride.

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It was actually originally scheduled to be down for maintenance during our trip, so I was happy to see it open all week -- outside of a brief closure for wind.

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A view across the Pixar Pier bridge, with the Cadillac Range in the distance.

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Hey, there's that big wheel. We'll catch a ride on it later in the week.

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Meanwhile, well, things weren't looking so hot for World of Color. There are people down in that tent working on things.

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Knocked out of commission by an incident a few months before our trip, we knew going in that it would be down. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to the whole convoluted process of finding a place to watch it, so I guess that's one benefit of ... well, not getting to watch it.

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So, what's new in the world of The Little Mermaid?

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Ariel's still trying to raise the roof. Sea level change will take care of that for her.

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Ursula's still scheming a bit out of her league.

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They still get married at the end, which is pretty good for a couple that spent a decent chunk of the movie's running time unable to verbally communicate.

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It's an official Disney survey marker. Another fun thing to do at Disney parks, if you're into geography / geocaching. Disneyland has about 40 known survey markers, and I think I found most of them. When you're walking around, look down -- you just might find one.

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Let's head back to Radiator Springs for another ride on Racers, and a tour of the other attractions.

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A horn-o-plenty filled with motor oil.

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A Route 66 sign with button copy!

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For Halloween, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree was transformed into Mater's Graveyard Jamboree.

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That means that you get to hear an endless loop of Larry the Cable Guy singing car-themed parodies of songs like Monster Mash. That was not quite my favorite part of the week.

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If you're gonna do a flat ride, do it like this.

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A well-themed, advanced version of a theme park classic.

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It's fun for all ages!

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Next up, the Casa Della Tires.

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I'll take the Lightyears. You guys do free alignment and rotation?

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Ferrari might have paid a few bucks for this display.

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Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters was changed into Luigi's Honkin' Haul-o-Ween! I don't think the ride experience was actually altered at all.

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The cars are all free-wheeling, but their motions (and quick changes in direction) are all synchronized.

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At the house of tires...

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...where the cars spin and dance around.

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Near the end, they all spin in unison, and everyone goes absolutely crazy.

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I guess I'll have to take a ride myself. Though I preferred Mater's, all the rides in Cars Land are just plain fun.

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Ha, it's a Burma-Shave joke!

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The way Disney aped the style of the National Park Service interpretive signs is just spectacular. The black bar with the white text up top is the key to the visual nod. The full-on NPS-style description of the fictional Ornament Valley is even better. Oh, and everyone knows that the Cadillac Range is named (and designed) for the tail fins on the late 50s / early 60s run of Cadillacs, right?

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See! There's '58, '59, and '60!

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Oh, and how awesome is this ride?

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The windshields get in the way of the view a bit, but you can't lose that important part of the ride theming.

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This is a top-tier Disney attraction, but if you're on TPR and you're reading this, you probably already know that.

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So, then there's the Boudin Bakery Tour.

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I guess that's pretty cool if you like bread, or if you're a Boudin employee, or whatever.

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Anyway, let's head on over to Pixar Pier and take a spin on the Incredicoaster!

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Yep, this is probably the only way I'm getting my whole family on a 6,000-foot-long Intamin launched looping coaster -- theme it to a Disney franchise.

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I always thought that California Screamin' looked like fun.

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I can safely say that the Incredicoaster is indeed a lot of fun.

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Though I know little of the story -- again, not really keeping up with the movies -- I didn't think the thematic elements were a detriment to the ride at all. I actually enjoyed the majority of it!

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Oh, and then there's this loop. This is a coaster that I'd describe mostly at the higher end of a family ride in terms of intensity, but the tight vertical loop pulls Gs like a Schwarzkopf. I was surprised and impressed!

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Ready to board the front row!

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The water effect on the launch is a lot of fun to watch if you're in the back.

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The area beside the launch track is a photographer's dream.

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Lit nicely by the afternoon sun, it's a fantastic spot for reaction shots!

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You might just catch people doing a bit of ... California Screamin'! Ha ha ha ha ha.

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Some people look mostly happy.

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Some look terrified.

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Oh, and I enjoy the Incredibles paint job on the train. Much better than an ad for Kia or hair gel.

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We're apparently reaching out for something here.

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Rock on, bro.

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This guy is chillin'.

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New York dude is having the time of his life!

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Tougher photo angle from the other side, but here's the view.

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You can catch the train just as it heads up into the post-launch tunnel.

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Here's one more from way across the water.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Pictures from DCA -- part 2!

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I mentioned in the body of the trip report that this ride is one big cookie advertisement -- one of the tunnels is filled with the smell of chocolate chip cookies.

 

Here's why -- the cookie cart (Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums) just in front of the ride's entrance/exit. Just go ahead and get over the fact that you're about to pay $6 for a chocolate chip cookie, and do it. It's huge, it's fresh, it's thick, it's warm, and it's absolutely fantastic.

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Mr. Potato Head welcomed us to Toy Story (Midway) Mania...

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...where I had the best score in my vehicle! Hooray!

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Grizzly Peak -- the most underrated Disney mountain?

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This section of the park is a bit of northern California wilderness.

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Eureka! I'll share some photos of Grizzly River Run in a future update.

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That logo kind of looks like the NPS "arrowhead" shield.

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Disney does such a great job with the details. This trail map is actually one heck of a good match for this corner of DCA. You've even got "Grizzly Peak Lodge" near where the Grand Californian is located.

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As I mentioned, I really liked the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

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Here's the map of Redwood Creek, with several play / climbing areas and towers.

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One of the trails in Redwood Creek. It's not just a single direct path through the whole area -- there are actually several trails to explore.

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Porcupine tree.

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The Millennium Tree is a very old Redwood, with history annotated on its rings.

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This tree sprouted over 1000 years ago!

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It survived until 1937, when a windstorm took it out.

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A few posters in the ceiling of one of the Redwood Creek towers. I thought it was interesting that for all the NPS-esque theming and signage around DCA, the Sequoia National Park poster in this picture was the only place I found a /direct/ reference to the National Park Service.

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I wonder what would happen if you yelled and/or screamed into this radio?

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There are actual USGS topographic maps in some of the towers in Redwood Creek.

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Here's one that features Mount Whitney, the highest point in the state of California and the entire continental US.

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Oh, well, that's interesting too!

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Make your way from tower to tower across a net bridge.

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This is definitely a "fun for all ages" kind of area.

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You can climb up the Mt. Lassen Lookout.

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Or take a spill down the ... rock slide. Oh, Disney.

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Inside Kenai's Spirit Cave, press your hand to the wall, and "discover the animal whose qualities you share."

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I got the Eagle, which is probably what I would have told all of you even if I didn't.

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As the sun begins to set, a reddish glow on the Guardians tower.

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A two-train sunset shot on the Incredicoaster.

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Incredisunset, part two.

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Incredisunset, part three.

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Let's begin the long-exposure night photography, and there's a lot of it! From the Pixar Pier bridge, a look over at the Little Mermaid ride building.

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A stunning view of the Incredicoaster, the wheel, and the crescent moon.

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I do enjoy long-exposure shots of a spinning, well-lit Ferris wheel.

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Even got some of the Earthshine on the moon in this one.

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Pixar Pier is lit up bright at night.

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Fantastic reflections.

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Didn't go in the Lamplight Lounge, but it sure looks nice.

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Just love how this area looks at night.

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More spinny-ride long exposure! This is the Golden Zephyr.

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The wheel, all lit up in red.

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Bright white.

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Can see some of the cars still swinging on this shot, and some of the cars remaining in place.

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Just some bizarre patterns on the wheel, with the way the lighting package works on the spokes.

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I think it looks best in purple.

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Alright, these may not be my best pictures -- it's hard to do hand-held shots of moving objects in the dark -- but I'll share what I can from the Paint the Night parade. Here's the lead float.

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I was really impressed with this parade. I thought it was a nice spiritual successor to the Main Street Electrical Parade / SpectroMagic, and even had some musical references to the Electrical Parade that did not go unnoticed.

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The doors of the Monsters Inc float.

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This is who /should/ have won the "best Owen Wilson impression" contest at West Coast Bash.

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The light effects on this truck are almost impossible to describe, but it's one of the coolest things I've seen in any Disney parade.

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Cars and random patterns...

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...a checkered flag...

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...and an array of lights that is like staring into the void.

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Yep, Disney was kind of next-level with their use of light and color in this parade.

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Hard to get good pictures of the performers between the floats, but here's one that kind of works.

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Heading under the sea.

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Up for some badminton?

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Slinky Dog, all lit up.

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It's been a long time since I thought about Lite-Brite, but it's a perfect fit in this parade.

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Buzz takes up Slinky Dog's caboose.

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Stockholm Syndrome: The Float.

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So much detail. It's almost too much to take in at once!

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Sorry Rapunzel, you don't get your own float in California, but you do get your own restrooms in Orlando.

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The Incredibles float was really spectacular. Three costumed characters up front...

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...and the other three from the family were referenced in various ways. I caught all of them here!

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Mickey closes things out. One of the most impressive Disney parades I've seen.

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So, let's get back to the long-exposure photography! Heading over to the back entrance to Cars Land.

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Willy's Butte, framed by the Lost Wheel Arch.

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Willy's Butte again, against the backdrop of blue-green rocks.

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This is stunning landscaping during the day, but it's breathtaking at night.

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The Cadillac Range against a dark sky.

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Headlights from Radiator Springs Racers...

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...as they race toward the finish line.

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So much color in Radiator Springs.

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Luigi's sticks to the green, white, and red of the Italian flag.

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Green lights in the trees, and a few Route 66 signs to spare.

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No vacancy at the Cozy Cone tonight.

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Naturally, orange is the dominant color here.

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No churros this time -- the park was already closed!

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Neon is the scheme at Flo's.

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Flo's was so bright it was tough to balance it out for this picture, but the end result worked fine.

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A catch-all view from down the road, with one of those cone-toothed grins in front of Mount Fifty-Nine.

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Purple and red lights at Sarge's.

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Heading out of Radiator Springs and into the main hub.

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Another interesting mix of colors at Carthay Circle.

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This building is based on the Carthay Circle Theatre, a movie palace from the golden age of Hollywood, demolished in 1969.

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A stunning blue tower against a clouded sky.

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I still want to call it the Tower of Terror, but those days are gone.

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A Hollywood backdrop along the trolley tracks.

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The slightly-crazy facade of Monsters Inc.

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Storytellers at night.

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The best statue in the park is right behind it. Say hello to the headless horseman!

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Sure, he looks frightening now...

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...but just wait 'til he starts breathing!

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A terrifying gleam in the eye.

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Finally -- over an hour after the park had officially closed -- I exited the front gate. I was not the only person there late doing photography with a tripod, and nobody was ever asked to leave. As the crowds disperse, it's truly an awesome time to get pictures of the scenery without people in the way!

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Between Oogie Boogie and the approaching clouds, this is one very Halloween picture.

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A "clean" version of the shot I edited for this thread's header image.

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Goodnight from Carthay Circle, Oogie Boogie, and Disney California Adventure!

 

One day at Disneyland complete, and three more to go.

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Great shots all around - day and night. Really awesome work as usual! Glad you had 4 days there, that's an amazing vacation right there. I wish I told you to ride the Grizzy rapids; you hardly ever get wet yet each ride is pretty wild.

 

Right there with you on not knowing/caring anything about the Cars franchise but damnit I love everything about Radiator Springs. Such a cool place to walk around at night.

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Thank you for continuing to share such great reports with us!

 

Very happy to contribute, and thanks for reading!

 

I figured a photographer such as yourself would have a field day with Cars Land and Paradise (err Pixar) Pier.

 

Absolutely. There is no shortage of cool views, and it only got better at night.

 

Great shots all around - day and night. Really awesome work as usual! Glad you had 4 days there, that's an amazing vacation right there. I wish I told you to ride the Grizzy rapids; you hardly ever get wet yet each ride is pretty wild.

 

Yep, I don't think I was ever bored in those four days -- well, maybe once or twice while waiting for the family to catch up!

 

GRR looked like a crap-shoot to me in terms of wetness, and I watched a lot of rafts go by while doing some photography later in the week. Essentially, I think you and Mike (Canobie) are both right. The geysers right at the end either don't go off, threaten to go off and then don't, or blow sky high and half the raft gets completely dumped on! I've got some great reaction shots in a future update.

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