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Part 4 -- Disneyland Park

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

 

This is a bit of a pilgrimage, of sorts.

 

I have it listed that Disneyland Park is the 77th theme park I've ever visited. Go ahead and make fun of me for having that statistic, it's alright.

 

That means that I visited 76 theme parks before making it into the one that, by many accounts, has the right to call itself the most important theme park ever built. I mean, it's Walt's original, and it paved the way for a multi-continental empire that sets the standard for parks everywhere. It all started with a mouse. Well, and a rabbit, and some shrewd land deals in the early 1950s, but who's counting?

 

So, on our second day at the Disneyland resort, we entered the original mouse house.

 

And even though you prepare yourself for it, you just can't help but notice -- that castle is tiny!

 

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The day went similarly to our prior day at DCA, with one big exception. Aside from obvious kids rides and spinny things, we intended to ride everything in the park once, since it was our first time there. While we were able to basically complete DCA in a single run-through, we weren't quite able to do the same for Disneyland. Those Fantasyland FastPass-less dark rides ended up taking a bit of time, and we even had to leave one (Alice) for the next day. We also nixed much of Tomorrowland, but got through pretty much everything else, including all of the major attractions.

 

Well, all but one -- we were visiting during the Matterhorn's scheduled maintenance, which was unfortunate. Thankfully, that ended up being the only ride we had to miss all week. The only other attraction that was totally down and out at Disneyland was the Tiki Room, and maybe the Columbia ship.

 

Crowds were again very manageable. We used FastPass on Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, and Star Tours -- and our waits were 10 minutes or less for everything else, sans a couple of those dark rides. We did lunch at the French Market and dinner at Bengal Barbecue. Both were pretty good, especially the skewers at BBBQ, though I'd vote to skip the breadsticks next time.

 

We watched the Pixar Play parade in the late afternoon, and the rest of the family called it a day after sunset. I stuck around for another lengthy set of night pictures -- yet again leaving the park just over an hour after closing time!

 

How Was Disneyland? It's weird to finally be at the original, when I've been to the Magic Kingdom more times than I can count, and also visited Disneyland Paris in 2016. What struck me the most about Disneyland was actually how it reminded me more of Paris than of the Magic Kingdom. Yes, I know I've got that in reverse, since Paris was obviously heavily influenced by Disneyland in the first place. It also reminds me a little of the whole Kings Island / Kings Dominion effect, where maybe there's something very familiar right in front of you, and then you turn the corner and it's entirely different from what you're used to.

 

I'll probably take the Magic Kingdom as my favorite of the three "classic" Disney parks I've visited, but all three are a pretty close call. Some of the cloned attractions are too similar for me to really tell a difference between. I'd put Big Thunder, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and several of the dark rides in that category. Anaheim definitely has the best Pirates of the three, and throw in Indiana Jones (far superior to Dinosaur) as well. Orlando has the best Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. Paris has the best Buzz Lightyear and Small World. Basically, there are top-tier versions of attractions at each park. So, my official trip report recommendation is to visit all of them!

 

Aside from that, I'm not sure how to really review a park like Disneyland. It's only the most iconic theme park on the planet. I wish the meals were a little cheaper. I wish some of the pathways were a little wider. I wish Fantasmic wasn't such a cluster, but I'll get to that in a later trip report! There's not much else to say, really. This park is a classic, and it's crazy that it took me so long to visit.

 

How were the attractions?

 

There's a lot to get through here, and I'll try to do it all in one shot, even for the rides I didn't get to until the next day.

 

Peter Pan's Flight / Mr. Toad's Wild Ride / Pinocchio's Daring Journey / Snow White's Scary Adventures / Alice in Wonderland / The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh -- I don't think I'm the target audience for these attractions. Glad to ride each of them once, but I can only take so much of these rather basic dark rides, and Disneyland just has so many of them. The best of the batch is probably Mr. Toad, which has a bizarre story that's probably a little more PG-13 than your average Disney-going kid is going to recognize.

 

Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin -- I'll list this dark ride by itself because the cars spin! If you aren't enthralled by the scenery, might as well try it out while rotating.

 

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy -- The first of two "overlay" rides at Disneyland Park. I'm guessing the scenery on the original version is pretty close to Orlando, but the Ghost Galaxy additions definitely ramped up the thrills a little bit. That's good, because the coaster isn't quite as exciting. Lots of turns, but no drops. That surprise airtime is the best part of the Magic Kingdom version, so I found this one a little bit lacking.

 

Haunted Mansion Holiday -- The second "overlay" ride, and wow, it's good. Haunted Mansion is already awesome, but the extra effects and theme are even more creepy and exciting. This ride was very popular all week, even on the days with light crowds. I guess Jack and Sally have a bit of a following.

 

Jungle Cruise -- Bad jokes and second-rate animatronics, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

 

Splash Mountain -- Seemed shorter than the Orlando version. More importantly, it seemed much wetter. Would have liked to have gone on this more than once, but just didn't feel like risking a soaking.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean -- This ride is long. It's the original, and it's easily the best and most complete of the three I've been on. If I have to hear that "dead men tell no tales" one more time, though...

 

Indiana Jones Adventure -- It's like Dinosaur, but it's not bad like Dinosaur! This ride system works really well for a storyline in which you're trying to avoid danger in a hundred different ways -- sprint across the bridge, sneak past the snakes, and so on. Might be even more fun if you aren't carrying loose objects that you're worried about getting knocked around, but thus is the life of the photographer.

 

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -- A great, lengthy family coaster. Maybe even a little bit of force here and there. I love the effects in the lifts -- the "fuse" thing on the final lift hill was really cool, and probably the most notable difference from the Florida version.

 

Star Tours -- If you're going to do a straight-up simulator, make it fun and exciting. Star Tours gets it done. I was not the spy. I'm not that good at keeping secrets anyway.

 

It's a Small World -- They're really sticking Disney characters all over Small World now, aren't they? The best part of this ride was not getting backed up in the final tunnel on the way into the unload station. That happened to me in Paris, and the song was stuck in my head for days.

 

Casey Jr. Circus Train / Storybook Land Canal Boats -- Two Disneyland originals that I first experienced in Paris. They almost feel anachronistic here, but they traverse a well-landscaped section of the park that harkens to the storytelling that the whole Disney empire was built on.

 

Gadget's Go Coaster -- It's a roller skater, but it's the best-themed roller skater in existence! I'm not a closeted Rescue Rangers fan at all, I swear!

 

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters -- I maxed out the version in Orlando. I maxed out the version in Paris, which is very similar to the one in Anaheim. I just couldn't do it here, much to my frustration. I wish it were easier to tell which laser is yours. I wish it were easier to hit the hidden target on Zurg's chest. Maybe I'm just making excuses...

 

Autopia -- It's a giant ad for Honda.

 

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage -- I think I went on 20,000 Leagues in Orlando a long, long time ago -- way back before I could remember. I didn't know what to expect out of this ride, as it didn't seem to get a lot of attention. Aside from the cramped seating, I was impressed! It was a lot more interesting than I'd thought it would be, with some impressive effects -- both practical (I love the bubbles) and simulated (I have no idea how they get the screens looking so good underwater).

 

Star Wars Launch Bay -- Basically a museum space if you're really interested in Star Wars stuff, or if you want to get your picture taken with a character. I fall into neither category, so it was a quick stop for me.

 

Pixar Shorts Film Festival -- Got some time to kill? Watch a few Pixar short films. We got to see For the Birds (good), Lava (cringe-worthy), and Piper (excellent).

 

Disneyland Monorail -- Kind of pointless as a transportation device at Disneyland, but you'll get some views you can't get from elsewhere.

 

Disneyland Railroad -- On the other hand, there aren't a lot of good views from the train. The whole dinosaur / Grand Canyon thing was unexpected.

 

Sleeping Beauty Castle -- If you aren't totally done with fantasy storytelling after all the dark rides, this walk-through is worth five or ten minutes.

 

Tarzan's Treehouse -- I guess the Swiss Family Robinson fell out of style? There are a lot of trees, so the views are obstructed, but it's one of the only places in Disneyland with any sort of elevated vantage point for pictures. Those will be in a later report.

 

Pirate's Lair / Tom Sawyer Island -- Not a whole lot to do over here, but you can go through some caves, run across a suspended bridge, and stand on the stage where Fantasmic is performed.

 

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln -- A.K.A. "The Hall of President." Walt was clearly a big fan of #16. You'll learn about American history, and you'll get a speech from a Lincoln animatronic. Only Lincoln. No other Presidents. Just want to be clear on that. For reasons. Anyway, when you're done, check out the museum housed in the same building -- it's got a great scale model of Disneyland and plenty of other historic photos and information.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Pictures from Disneyland Park -- Part 1!

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Look at the tower on this cute little castle!

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Here's another survey marker -- the "golden spike" underneath Sleeping Beauty's Castle. It's sometimes said to be the geographic center of the park, and while that's not exactly true, it does sit on the main north-south sightline that runs from Main Street into Fantasyland.

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How about some live music on the way into the park?

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We started in Fantasyland, opting to just knock out Peter Pan as quickly as possible.

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It's not a /bad/ ride, but I don't think it's worth its capacity problems.

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Mr. Toad was probably the best of the Fantasyland dark rides, and it deserves some credit for being the only existing Mr. Toad ride at any Disney park. I probably rode the Magic Kingdom one a long time ago, but I can't say for sure.

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J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq. Master of Toad Hall & Incurable Adventurer.

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Where are we going today? To nowhere in particular? Or perhaps to burn in hell?

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Mr. Toad control panel shot for you ride ops out there.

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Pinocchio's Daring Journey! Another dark ride!

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Snow White's Scary Adventures! Another another dark ride! And we didn't even get to Alice in Wonderland on this day -- we came back to it later in the week.

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A mountain I can't climb.

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Sadly, I couldn't ride it either -- it was behind construction walls during our visit.

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But here's some info about the ride's history. I had no idea it was the world's first tubular steel coaster!

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A roller coaster that /was/ in operation -- Space Mountain, with the "Ghost Galaxy" Halloween overlay.

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The queue setup is far different than the Magic Kingdom version. Mostly outside, and mostly elevated. I kind of missed the "star tunnel."

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That said, the interior section of the queue near the station was pretty cool. I have no idea if these are the normal lighting colors, or part of the special overlay.

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Disney engineering at its best -- they can yank a ride vehicle off to the side to do wheelchair transfers, allowing the coaster to continue to operate in the mean time.

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Let's jump on over to Critter Country for a couple more rides.

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Winnie the Pooh is yet another dark ride, but honestly it was a little more fun than Snow White and Pinocchio, etc.

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A bear loves his hunny.

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And you just have to give some credit to the design of the ride vehicles, because those are pretty cool.

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Splash Mountain in Florida is one of my favorite rides, of any type, anywhere. Would the California version hold up?

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Interesting that this version uses one-per-row seating, while the Florida version is two-per-row.

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One thing I love about both versions is how the ride station is built into a deep canyon, and feels completely disconnected from the outside world.

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The verdict? A very good ride, but a bit too wet, and not as complete a storyline as the version at the Magic Kingdom.

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There is a good spot for photos of the big drop on a nearby bridge.

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The terror is strong in this family.

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Cover your eyes if you want...

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This family has no fear of the briar patch.

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We did lunch at the French Market in New Orleans Square. It was good. From my experience this week, I think Disneyland Park has better restaurants than the Magic Kingdom.

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Just next door is a very decorated Haunted Mansion.

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Scarecrow Santa will eat your soul.

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Christmas in September!

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Skulls and wreaths! It's quite the combination.

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While we were in line, a big promo shoot was going on, featuring live Jack and Sally characters.

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It was really neat to see this alternate version of the Haunted Mansion. I've been on the Magic Kingdom version a ton of times, and the layout of this one looked pretty similar to me, so getting the special theme on our visit was a big plus.

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I think this stairway leads to 21 Royal, one of those "have a great dinner for the price of a car" types of special deals...

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We continued our day in Adventureland.

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First, a tour of the jungle.

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The skipper is telling a joke. Approximately 4 people are laughing. This is pretty much par for the course on the Jungle Cruise, and that's exactly how it's supposed to be.

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Hey, point that thing somewhere else!

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These friendly lions are protecting that sleeping zebra! Ha ha ha, am I doing this right?

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Hey look, it's ... the front side of water?

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Yo ho. The original Pirates was up next.

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The treasure map specifically promised monsters, and I did not see any monsters.

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Construction update -- the Tropical Hideaway restaurant was still being worked on in September.

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The Tiki Juice Bar, however, was serving up Dole Whip floats as always. Please excuse this horrible Disney-mommy-blogger-on-Instagram quality photo. I promise I won't do it again.

 

I could have waited in line with 20-30 other people, but I ordered on my phone and it was ready before I got there. Pro tip! Mobile ordering works! Try it!

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Hearing some big thunder in the distance...

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Another little survey marker -- this one is on the Big Thunder ride platform. They've got the elevation listed at 138 feet above sea level, which is pretty close to accurate!

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Attention Dollywood: some theme parks are able to keep their decorative lead cars on their roller coasters. Just to let you guys know.

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Hmm, what's down this dead-end near Big Thunder?

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On a remote outpost planet, new adventures await...

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Back in Fantasyland, yes, we actually rode the circus train.

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I think this is actually a miniature train, whereas the Paris version is a powered coaster.

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Does anybody /really/ want to sit in the monkey cage?

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You get some great views of the storybook castle displays on the ride!

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Another view from an attraction that never made it over to Florida.

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Dropping in on the Sultan.

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Another big castle. Sorry, I'm a bit out of practice with my Disney movies. Someone help me out here.

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Wave to the conductor. Don't feed the wild animals.

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For another view of the storybook scenes, let's head out on a boat.

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Hmm. It feels a little bit moist in here.

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The seven dwarfs call this place home.

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Toad Hall, where you can take a wild ride.

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Fake mountains of all shapes and sizes.

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Scenes from the classic Pinocchio...

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...and mixing in some recent stuff from Frozen.

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This looks like quite the seaside estate.

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An impressively creative job of hiding what I presume is the boat maintenance area!

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Alright, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Time to brave Small World.

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Small World's crazy facade was new to me when I saw it in Paris -- inspired, obviously, by the original here in California.

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The Magic Kingdom version, with its indoor loading station, just doesn't have the same effect.

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Grim Grinning Clocks.

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Is "Small World" really the happiest cruise that ever sailed?

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47,000 singing dolls (give or take) fully intend to convince you of that.

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I have been to Paris and this is exactly what it looks like.

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Is that a roller coaster? With a goat? Am I in Pigeon Forge?

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The figure in the window has a few too many arms.

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Disney characters!

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Disney characters everywhere!

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I found the "Ohio" scene. I'm right at home!

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Do not look directly at the sun: it will blind your soul.

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Here's the big grand finale where everyone sings in peace and harmony and you're too busy trying to get the song out of your head to notice.

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Not a ton to see in Mickey's Toontown, but there are a couple rides worth checking out.

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Mickey conducts the fountain in a low-key Sorcerer's Apprentice reprise.

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Daisy Duck: figurehead.

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New credit! Gadget's Vekoma Roller Skater!

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It's got a lift hill!

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Steep drops!

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Sharp corners!

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It's nothing special as a coaster, but they themed it up quite nicely...

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...especially for people who might have a soft spot for the Rescue Rangers. Does this buy me any Elissa points, or are those limited to Chip 'n' Dale on their own?

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The rest of Toontown is a bit heavy on the design-crazy.

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Roger Rabbit maintains a home here, though his movie has sort of faded from the public consciousness.

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Nonetheless, you can just spin your car a lot and enjoy the ride that way.

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It's 6PM and the Pixar Play parade is beginning!

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Follow the bouncing ball.

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Or, the bouncing guy.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Pictures from Disneyland Park -- Part 2!

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Monster cheerleaders?

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Monster cheerleaders. This probably makes sense if you've seen the movie.

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Not as cheerful as the cheerleaders.

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Sports! With monsters!

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Does this count as the marching band?

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Sulley rides along.

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"I didn't do it!"

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One-eyed Mike.

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I don't know what this thing is, but I guess it's kind of cute?

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We have superheroes!

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This guy is pretty incredible.

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Dancers and parade floats!

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A very detailed Jack-Jack.

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So, I should mention a little more about this parade. You've got the big floats, and you've got the dance groups, but you've also got another factor to contend with -- water. This float shoots water. Pretty much every float shoots water. They were indiscriminate about where they shot it. A guy with a big camera lens was not immune, and had to be quick to duck if necessary.

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Zaaap! Pow!

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Bouncy stilt guy #1 looks kind of upset.

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Bouncy stilt guy #2 is much happier.

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Speaking of happiness, we have Joy.

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We also have sadness.

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And a pink elephant that has nothing to do with Dumbo.

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I like turtles.

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Crush's eyes are lookin' a little bit tired...

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Baby sea turtles!

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The clownfish were handled by puppet actors in wetsuits.

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The diving mask is a nice touch.

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There will be bugs.

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Colorful ants, spending their retirement days on a swing.

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Going up?

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That's a garden hose, not a belt.

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A very colorful bird.

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Russell looks on with glee.

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The army men have arrived, amid a sea of bubbles.

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Buzz's leading ladies.

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The green hair is a little bit out-there.

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Aliens with guns. Guess what they shoot?

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Your esteemed photographer risked his lens for this picture.

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Just a couple more floats to go.

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Buzz pilots his own laser cannon thing.

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The rest of the toys get their own float at the end.

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Woody has a water cannon and he's not afraid to use it.

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OK, so basically everyone has a water cannon and you're getting wet

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It has to be tiring to keep up a gymnastics routine like this for the entire length of the parade.

 

So, that's the end of the parade! I'm kind of take-it-or-leave-it on Disney's daytime parades, but no question, this was at least entertaining.

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Mickey pumpkin!

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Sun is beginning to set on the mountains...

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...and an orange glow illuminates Tomorrowland.

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One more attraction to check out today -- The Disneyland Story and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

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"The actual park bench from the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round in Los Angeles, where Walt Disney first dreamed of Disneyland."

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With apologies to Aqualung.

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No photos allowed during the Mr. Lincoln performance, so here's one of the curtain before the show.

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An original 1965 advertisement poster for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

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In the museum space adjacent to the Mr. Lincoln show, there are paintings celebrating famed inventors like Orville and Wilbur Wright...

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...Thomas Edison, Henry Ford...

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...and Michael Jackson!

 

As Captain EO!

 

The greatest inventor of our time.

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There's also a detailed scale model of the US Capitol.

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The more interesting model, though, is this one of Disneyland as it appeared on its opening day in 1955.

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A look straight down at the park's main entrance. Slightly lighter crowds than I'd have expected for opening day.

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Fantasyland in its original form. A few of the rides have shifted position since then, but the general layout is similar.

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Tomorrowland looks drastically different 63 years later.

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Main Street looks about the same, and that's probably never going to change.

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So, let's get started with the night pictures! City Hall is looking festive, as always.

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Halloween Time means a giant Mickey pumpkin near at the south end of Main Street. Cool view to get both that and the (teeny tiny) castle in the same shot.

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Tomorrowland is always in motion.

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Streaks of light from the Astro-Orbiter frame the Tomorrowland sign.

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The adventures continue!

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Hey, one of those things is not a planet...

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The Star Trader, with all the Mickey lights lit up through the magic of long-exposure.

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Autopia (powered by Honda) looks good at night.

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A view over the Submarine lagoon, with Autopia (powered by Honda) in the background.

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The lights in the lagoon, along the submarine track, are very colorful.

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Caught a sub heading into the waterfall!

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This was not an easy photograph -- there's no direct lighting on the Matterhorn, so I had to run a really long exposure to get it bright enough.

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It's a world of laughter, a world of tears...

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...it's a world of long-exposure spinny clock faces.

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Rounding my way through Fantasyland for a few pictures.

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This is a 20-second exposure of the Tea Cups. It looks kind of insane.

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Dumbo is a flying blur.

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The Carrousel shines and spins.

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You can try to pull up the sword, but does anyone really want to be the king of England?

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Lamplight symphony.

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Big Thunder Mountain is closed for the night...

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...but the rocks are still glowing red.

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The Zocalo Park was set up near Big Thunder Mountain for El Dia De Los Muertos.

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Singing skeletons!

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An angle of the Partners statue that most people don't get pictures of.

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From this view, it's like Walt is focusing on tomorrow.

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The view down Main Street, finally starting to clear out the crowds.

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From this side, the Mickey pumpkin is winking.

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A look up at the castle, glowing purple at night.

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The best straight-ahead view I could get through the remaining crowds.

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"I think most of all what I want Disneyland to be is a happy place...where parents and children can have fun together."

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Partners and the castle.

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Partners and the castle, another version.

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A long-zoom version of the Partners statue.

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With Main Street basically clear of people, I decided to try a few more distant views of the statue and the castle.

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From near the north end of Main Street...

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...and one more from about halfway down Main Street. Try getting this shot during the middle of the operating day!

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The Disneyland Railroad station, park side.

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The Disneyland Railroad station, entry gate side.

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Finally, outside the front gate just after 10PM. A great first day at the original Disney park!

 

Two days at Disneyland complete, and two more to go.

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Awesome report!

 

I really need to get out there to try the Ghost Galaxy overlay one of these years. While I prefer Orlando's Space Mountain or the drops you mentioned, Disneyland's has an incredible soundtrack and those final turns are pretty wild if you have a full train (now pretty much a guarantee thanks to the single rider line).

 

If you think you're isolated from the outside world on the Splash Mountains at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, you need to ride the one at Tokyo Disneyland. The entire queue and station is inside a cave deep within the mountain itself. Plus it's even better than the Orlando one. Really there aren't enough reasons to recommend visiting Tokyo Disneyland.

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Thanks Mike!

 

I really need to get out there to try the Ghost Galaxy overlay one of these years. While I prefer Orlando's Space Mountain or the drops you mentioned, Disneyland's has an incredible soundtrack and those final turns are pretty wild if you have a full train (now pretty much a guarantee thanks to the single rider line).

 

If you like turns, DL's Space Mountain is the Space Mountain for you! I guess some day I'll have to experience the original soundtrack, but the Ghost Galaxy overlay features one that is intentionally creepy -- plus, I mean, the "ghost galaxy" creature itself is pretty scary!

 

Really there aren't enough reasons to recommend visiting Tokyo Disneyland.

 

Some day this will happen, and that is an absolute guarantee!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Quick question!

 

Working on pictures for the rest of the Disneyland stuff and came across one of an outdoor deck area at the Grand Californian hotel.

 

Does anybody know how to get to this location? i.e. is it open to anyone, or only for guests of the hotel?

 

Whenever I make it back to Disneyland that would be a cool spot to get pictures from.

 

Thanks!

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This is the spot.

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Part 5 -- Disneyland Odds and Ends

(Tomorrowland, Grizzly River Run, and More!)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

 

Alright, let's continue ahead with pictures from my third day (out of four) at the Disneyland resort. We spent Day 1 at California Adventure, and Day 2 at Disneyland, but still had more things to see and do with two days to go!

 

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We didn't completely finish off all the attractions at Disneyland on the previous day, so we headed there first thing in the morning, starting off with a run through Tomorrowland. That included our first rides on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Autopia, the Monorail, and the very frustrating Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Seriously, it's the first time on a Buzz Lightyear ride that I just couldn't get the hang of, and I'm used to going 999,999 on the score board. Oh well...

 

After lunch, we finished off a couple attractions in Fantasyland, before heading to the Main Street station to begin a loop on the Disneyland Railroad.

 

We crossed over to California Adventure for a couple hours in the afternoon, then headed out to Downtown Disney for dinner at the TPR-approved restaurant Naples. We also checked out the Grand Californian hotel -- a ways above our price point, but pretty neat to see, and (almost) as remarkable as some of the nicer Disney hotels in Florida.

 

After dinner, the rest of the family called it a night, so I headed back to Disneyland for some photography -- and a solo ride on Indiana Jones.

 

This was the one night of our visit in which crowds were an issue, but there's a very good reason for it. California Adventure closed early for the night, as Disney was hosting its Service Celebration for long-time cast members. I saw a huge line of them waiting to get into the park -- dressed a little nicer than your average park guest -- just before I headed into Disneyland. Unfortunately, what that meant is that everyone at DCA crowded into Disneyland for the evening, pushing crowds to somewhat inconvenient levels. I think I saw a 90 minute posted wait for both Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain!

 

That's why I decided to try the single rider line for Indiana Jones, and I have to admit -- it was an odd experience. The ride was running with a posted wait of 50-60 minutes, and I got on in about 30-40 minutes, so it definitely did speed things up for me. However, they didn't actually use single riders to fill empty seats in the ride vehicles. They simply ran you through a different part of the queue, forced you to wait for a bit, and then sent a limited number of people ahead into the rest of the line every so often. It was pretty confusing, to be honest!

 

At another time in the week, I tried the single rider queue on the Incredicoaster. They used a similar system with cast member "checkpoints" as they routed you beside the station platform, and then up and down the elevators to the main loading area. Once you were there, though, they operated as you'd expect -- they directed you very efficiently to empty seats.

 

Just an interesting little quirk to share, and this seemed like a good place to do it, because I don't have much else to say about the day. Onward to the pictures!

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Disneyland Odds and Ends -- The Photos!

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Another beautiful morning at Disneyland! Oh, and I'm posting this report in January, so the pumpkins are a little out-of-date.

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...to all who come to this happy place...

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We started the day in Tomorrowland, since we didn't get through it the day before. Space Mountain, as mentioned before, was in Ghost Galaxy mode.

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Just a 10 minute wait!

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The queue is totally different from the Florida version. There's this big terrace up on the second level. Is this ever used for anything?

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I've always wondered why they went with different names for the two US-based Buzz rides.

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Buzz Lightyear, I'm not very fond of you right now.

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Over the course of the trip, I played four times. This was my best score -- not even halfway to a million. I simply could not connect with the hidden target under Zurg's chest -- and I had no problem nailing it on the Paris version!

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Next up, a ride on Autopia (powered by Honda).

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Autopia is probably a better ride than the Tomorrowland Speedway, just because there's a lot more landscaping along the way.

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This was actually one of our longer waits of the day, though I wonder if it's normal for them to only operate one side of the loading area.

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Detail on the back of one of the cars.

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No racing here -- just a nice and easy drive.

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That is a very specific speed limit.

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Oh, hello Honda guy. You must be the one who powers Autopia.

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Fun fact: that's a real airplane. I looked up the tail number.

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Disney reference! Can you guess the film?

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Let's head under the sea. Wait. Wrong movie.

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These are some of the more unique ride vehicles I've been in.

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It's a bit of a narrow squeeze to get in, and the seating area is certainly cramped.

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You'll view the whole ride through these little port holes, but the view is just fine if you lean in a little bit.

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We saw an older diver...

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...a younger diver...

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...and lots of bubbles. Seriously -- the bubble effects going into the dark sections are simple, yet very effective.

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Another view of the submarine loading area on the way out.

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Oh, hey, there's the Matterhorn.

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Oh, hey, there's a construction worker.

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Random Mickey balloon.

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The classic Monorail. The original!

 

I was gonna say something about how maybe it breaks less than the Florida version, but this one broke down twice while we were at Disneyland.

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I spy a superhero.

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This Monorail is certainly not as useful as the one in Florida -- maybe unless you're staying at the Grand Californian.

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The Monorail is an engineering landmark!

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You can get some interesting views from the Monorail, but as a Disney World veteran, it's striking to me that you can get so many views of things /outside/ of the park.

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The next leg of the ride crosses through California Adventure.

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Carthay Circle is looking spooky.

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A view of the Mt. Muir lookout near Soarin'.

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The Monorail leaves the California Adventure park and rounds its way through the resort area. Here's a view of the Paradise Pier Hotel.

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The western end of Downtown Disney, which was in the middle of some major construction.

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I love a good tree-lined street.

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A backstage find: a double-decker Disneyland Transportation Co. trolley. Anyone know what they use that for?

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A well-timed shot of the main entrance!

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The train pulls into the station.

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Another backstage view. Cast members need their coffee. Also, I love how the "ATM" sign is all done up in the Disney font.

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The most exciting backstage photo ever taken.

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Got a look down at the station area for the Matterhorn, which was in the middle of its renovation.

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Looks like the whole queue area was being re-done too.

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Finally, a pass over the submarine lagoon. By the way, don't get your camera too close to the Monorail windows, or you might be politely reminded not to do that...

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Took a quick run through the Star Wars Launch Bay, which is basically a small museum of movie artifacts. It's also a place for people to meet the various Star Wars characters for photos.

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The light side...

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...and the dark side.

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That's no moon.

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On that note, we'll continue with Star Tours.

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Let's check in on the latest flight status. Can anyone explain to me why /all/ the flights to Alderaan aren't cancelled?

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Here are the departures -- just, not in a language I'm familiar with.

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We also received updates on the intergalactic weather forecast. I might have been mildly interested in this. However, I am completely unskilled at forecasting ion storms.

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R2 welcomes us through the queue.

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Are we being scanned? Is this the space-age version of the TSA?

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Sadly, I never figured out how to get to the observation deck. (yes, I know it's just theming)

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Preparing to board at Gate D! Lines for Star Tours ran a little slow because one of the ride vehicles was down, but it was not a big deal at all. Maybe added 5 minutes to the wait.

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Heading over to Fantasyland, we ventured into Sleeping Beauty's castle for a re-telling of her famous tale. Sadly, I've forgotten most of the story, so I'm going to make up my own version from the pictures.

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First, the king and the queen try to burn down their castle to collect on a fraudulent insurance policy.

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Then, some jerk shines a light in the princess's eye. She's trying to sleep! Let her get some rest!

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A party was held with the insurance money, but the punch was spiked with NyQuil.

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Sensing an opportunity, the evil queen decides to take over the kingdom, in an effort to find a skin care product that won't jaundice her precious skin.

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Unsuccessful, she turns into a dragon and burns down what's left of the already-half-destroyed castle.

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Eventually, the princess wakes up, abandons her deadbeat parents, and stars in the fourth season of So You Think You Can Dance. THE END!

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Moving back to something a little more tangible -- a trip around the Disneyland railroad.

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Hmm, Walt, you may have miscounted a little.

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A look down at the main entrance.

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Giant flowers? Beads? We must be in...

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...New Orleans!

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Should we stop and ask this guy for directions?

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The loop around Tom Sawyer Island is probably the most scenic part of the train ride.

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Also, that's a nice-looking bridge.

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Trees and cliffs!

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A big, thunderous mountain.

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Also, a snowy alpine mountain.

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A quick stop at the Toontown station.

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I have found stroller hell.

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Agrifuture: farming dystopia.

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Suddenly, we're in the Grand Canyon.

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Seriously, I had no idea about this part of the train ride in advance! We're going past Tomorrowland, and next thing I know, we're in a tunnel going through dioramas of the Arizona wilderness.

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Does everyone remember the Double Rainbow guy? Or has that meme expired?

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And now we're back in prehistoric times, and I'm just confused.

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This was my favorite scene in Fantasia.

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Mega T-Rex vs Giant Stegosaurus. Coming soon from The Asylum.

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Back home at the Main Street station, and on our way out of Disneyland after a busy morning / early afternoon.

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Disneyland Odds and Ends -- The Photos, continued!

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We park-hopped on over to California Adventure, which was set to close early for their 2018 Service Celebration. No complaints from me -- that's a really cool thing to do for their long-time employees.

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This guy, however, wasn't as thrilled.

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Construction update! Jessie's Critter Carousel was still a work in progress.

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The Pixarmonic Orchestra was jammin'.

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Talented musicians, playing fun music, and dressing crazy.

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What's not to love?

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The percussionist is /really/ gettin' into it...

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...as was the horn section.

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Bravo, Pixarmonic Orchestra!

 

Something I thought was interesting -- I believe these are the only cast members I saw during the entire visit who /weren't/ wearing name tags.

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How to draw a Dumbo. A little bit of animation...

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...on the way into the Sorcerer's Workshop.

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It's a bunch of cool little exhibits about animation, kind of hidden away in the same building that houses Turtle Talk.

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Some neat effects in a room designed like something out of the Beauty and the Beast castle, as you go from the darker version...

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...to the lighter version.

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Mirror mirror on the wall, is anyone still reading this thread at all? ... that's a joke, sorry ;)

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Back to the other side of California Adventure for a trip through Grizzly Peak!

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I just love this area. It's beautiful, and it's themed to national parks, which is awesome.

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Here's the Mt. Muir Lookout. There is not actually a Mt. Muir Lookout in the real world that I could find, but there is a Mt. Muir -- it's a sub-peak near California's state high point, Mt. Whitney.

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It's a pretty accurate representation of some of the lookout towers out west.

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Soarin' -- been there, done that, had more fun flying commercial.

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This vehicle's a little bit dug in.

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Grizzly Peak Pass is open, which means there must not be any snow up ahead.

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However, there are some rapids to contend with.

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Yep, I have a whole ton of pictures from Grizzly River Run.

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There are a plethora of viewing areas, including this platform that passes a pretty sizable waterfall.

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You can even catch a glimpse of the rafts going by.

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There are a few more viewing areas set up nearby. One of them has some great views of the ride's big drop.

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Drops on a circular raft ride are always kind of interesting!

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And yes, there are going to be a lot of pictures of this attraction. It's a lot of fun to take pictures of water rides, because the reaction shots are usually pretty great.

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Dropping in.

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Splashing.

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Kicking up some water.

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Going a bit sideways.

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Some of the rafts got a pretty good tilt as they slowed down after the drop!

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Laughing.

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This is more of a straight-on view of the drop, taken from a bit further away on the main walkway.

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Another big splash.

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Another tilted raft.

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Now we're lost in the mist of the jungle.

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Have I mentioned how stinkin' well the themed this thing? This is the most beautiful rapids ride I've ever seen.

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This part of the ride, after the drop, is basically just the final few turns into the station.

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But this is also the part of the ride with the geysers. Oh, the geysers.

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To say the least, the geysers provoke quite a reaction from riders.

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They're also, as far as I can tell, completely random!

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Some rafts managed to navigate through this section without a single geyser going off anywhere near them. I will not be posting any pictures of those rafts.

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Usually, people would see the geyser start to go, and then cower in fear as they approached it.

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Every now and then, you'd get a geyser to go off /directly underneath/ a raft, soaking people by complete surprise.

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Well, some people cowered, and others just ran with it.

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Blob.

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Here's the look of anticipation.

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And this is when you just learn to stop worrying and love the water.

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We're going full-on terror here.

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Kind of a range of reactions on this raft.

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All in good clean fun!

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Here's a different angle from the other side of the viewing area, closer to the ride queue.

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Also, some of these pictures are from the next morning, in the interest of full disclosure.

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The geyser at the end of the rainbow.

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Pretty much no escaping this one.

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Or this one.

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It's basically like running straight into a waterfall.

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Point and laugh at your wet friends at your own risk -- you may be next.

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Nobody escaped on this raft.

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A photography challenge -- the highly-reflective water is sometimes hard to get the contrast right on!

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Just one set of geysers to go near the end of the ride.

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This raft got the worst of it.

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This one's also a little damp.

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This geyser was the one that had the tendency to go off at the last second, giving people no warning to what was about to happen.

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It's wet.

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It's very wet.

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It's incredibly wet.

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But just like any rain storm...

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...there is a rainbow at the end.

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Courtesy of Roy "G Biv" Disney.

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Carthay Circle and the Guardians tower are looking nice! But DCA's about to close.

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Disneyland Odds and Ends -- The Photos, continued-continued!

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We headed over to the Grand Californian, just to get a look inside Disneyland's finest hotel.

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It's quite impressive!

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To me, from what I saw, it's very similar to the Wilderness Lodge (WDW) and Sequoia Lodge (Paris) -- perhaps a half step down from the former, and a full step up from the latter.

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I'd love to stay at this place, but I mean, we did 5 nights at a nearby hotel for the price it would have cost for 1 night here.

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Sun beams!

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Cool lighting!

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What is this fine, artistic sculpture?

 

It's a cake. Let me repeat that: this is a CAKE. This is an unbelievable cake. It even smelled like a cake!

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Oogie Boogie approves. Oh my, can Disney do some impressive things.

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Just a random stained glass door!

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Next up, we went out for a walk around Downtown Disney.

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It was, eh, alright I guess. Maybe it'll be better when all that construction is done.

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Live music!

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Pizza ovens! Yep, we went to Naples, which was also under construction and operating at limited capacity. No big deal -- we got a table outside.

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That is how you do pizza. That is TPR-approved pizza. That is Andy-approved pizza. Very good.

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Here are the lines of cast members waiting to get into their big DCA party.

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So, I headed back into the crowded Disneyland Park for some evening photography.

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The moon hangs in the sky above the Rivers of America.

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The Mark Twain is very well-lit.

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Also, a very red Thunder Mountain.

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The Mark Twain was about to set off on a late-night journey.

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Fun with long exposures: Mark Twain edition.

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Fun with long exposures: Mark Twain edition, part 2.

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The nighttime adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

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Splashin' in on Splash Mountain.

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This is a nice-looking ride at night, but I didn't ride it, because I knew I'd get soaked.

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A clean view of the top of Splash Mountain.

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Here's a view with a camera flash as a boat goes past.

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...and here's a long exposure with /two/ camera flashes, and this is seriously one of the creepiest pictures I've ever posted here.

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Speaking of creepy things, here's the Haunted Mansion.

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Very festive-looking with all its Halloween/Christmas decorations.

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Adventureland by torchlight.

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Yo ho, the Pirates have turned in for the night.

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I love the detail on the streets back behind New Orleans Square. Cool to get a chance to get a picture like this with nobody in the way.

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Oh, is that... the top secret... Club 33?

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No, they didn't let me in.

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This picture is from earlier in the day, but it seems like the perfect shot to close out this set -- one heck of a celebration on the steps of the Main Street station.

 

That's all from Day 3. One more Disneyland day (and one more photo update) to go, and it's going to be explosive!

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Part 6 -- Disneyland Grand Finale

(Aerial Views, Fireworks, and Fantasmic!)

Friday, September 14, 2018

 

At last, the final day at Disneyland awaits! Our four-day trip to the original Mouse House was coming to a close. And yep, that means I'm finally finishing up the never-ending string of Photo TRs from Anaheim!

 

Early in the planning stages of the trip, we were just going to do three days, intending to skip out on Friday entirely. I'm glad we decided to do four days instead, as it provided more time for photography, and an easier pace on Thursday and Friday. We pretty much got through everything we wanted to, and I got a whole bunch of good pictures -- including a final batch from the last day which I'll be sharing here. Of course, the biggest reason to stay for Friday is that the fireworks (Remember Dreams Come True) and Fantasmic are only performed on Fri-Sat-Sun during the offseason.

 

So, here's how the day began. While some of the family slept in, I headed over to California Adventure in the morning to do some photography.

 

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This was an interesting photo set for me because I treated it like a traditional amusement park set -- lots of action shots of the coasters, aerial views from the Ferris wheel, and so on. Disney parks are very much about atmosphere and theming, but it was fun to do more of my typical style of photography too.

 

I rode a few things -- including the Incredicoaster and the swinging side of the Pixar wheel -- and then we headed over to Disneyland for lunch at Rancho Del Zocalo. They were all out of their special Halloween Horchata, and that was not the first time on this trip that I'd been to a restaurant that was out of the holiday specialty item. That was a bit disappointing.

 

After lunch, we checked out a few attractions we'd missed on the first few days -- Tom Sawyer Island, Tarzan's Treehouse -- and then did re-rides on Big Thunder, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates. In the late afternoon, we made one final trip over to California Adventure for a ride on the Monsters After Dark version of Guardians, and one final spin on the incredible Incredicoaster. Oh, and while some of the family went shopping, I hopped on the Red Car Trolley for absolutely no apparent reason. It's a good time-killer if you've got nothing else to do!

 

That was about it for rides, as we headed back to an increasingly-crowded Disneyland for the fireworks and Fantasmic. We set up just off the hub on the right side, with a partially tree-obstructed view of the castle, but a perfect view of the fireworks. I had some fun setting up my mini-tripod on a fire hydrant, which actually ended up working out pretty nicely! Sometimes you have to work with the tools you've got, and photography is all about improvising. As soon as the fireworks ended, we headed over to the second showing of Fantasmic, for which we'd already acquired Fast Passes. I would charitably describe the process of entering the Fantasmic viewing area as a horrifying mess of a stampede, and didn't particularly enjoy that part of the experience. It all worked out -- I ended up second row, a bit right of center, with a clear view of all the action. I've seen the Disney World version, but this one was different enough to keep my interest!

 

Once Fantasmic was over, so was our time at Disneyland. I'm not sure when my return to Disneyland will be -- it's probably more likely I'll be back at Disney World in the coming few years -- but it was great to experience it for the first time with my family, and to have enough time to do just about everything we wanted to do.

 

Finally, that wraps up this segment of the report. Things get a little more varied from here on out!

 

But let's not forget about the pictures...

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Disneyland -- The Grand Finale -- Pictures!

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Starting my last morning at California Adventure over at Pixar Pier. This is a view I could get used to.

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Let's discuss the Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats. These may have been more popular than the Dole Whip over at Disneyland. Every time I walked by the place, the line was 20-40 people long!

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How do you avoid the waits? Easy -- get there at 9:30 in the morning when there's literally nobody else in line! It's never too early for lemon-flavored soft serve!

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The army men were out and about.

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Love this detail on one of the shops. It's like an old-school Helter Skelter, and I like to think of Knoebels' sky slide.

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Oh, and there's a coaster over here too. Goofy's got his own pilot's school.

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I have some questions about his operating license...

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Control panel shot for the nerds!

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Only at Hersheypark have I seen a mouse operated with this kind of efficiency. Sure, it's not a great ride, but I'll at least give them credit for running it well!

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Lesson 2: don't do what he's doing.

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Fun with framing devices.

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Fun with laterals!

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Everybody at TPR can relate to the wonderful experience of the last little drop on a mouse...

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...and the even more wonderful experience of hitting the brake run.

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This early in the morning, the swings were only running at half capacity.

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The Mickey figure at the top is conducting quite the symphony.

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The swings and the Golden Zephyr look pretty close from a certain angle.

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Fun fact: the swings might have been my grandmother's favorite ride at Disneyland.

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Also, there's a tornado painted on the ride, so it's got a claim for being one of my favorites too!

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Love the Coco decorations!

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And now, a closer look at the Incredicoaster.

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A very conveniently-placed palm tree.

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Inversion!

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Heading into a big corner.

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Two-train shot!

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Tilted track.

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Incredi-excitement.

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Rounding the lower curve at the west end of the coaster.

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The red trains look great against the white structure.

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Airtime!

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They're really nice looking trains, but I just wish the design was a bit more open.

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Uphill from here.

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Underneath the wheel.

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So, speaking of the wheel...

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Time to pal-a-round!

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I rode the non-swinging side on Thursday, and the swinging side on Friday. These pictures are a mix from both days.

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I also rode the swinging wheel at Deno's in Coney Island, so I knew what to expect going in.

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Take your seat in one of the many-colorful cabins.

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A look up at the wheel.

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A look down at the wheel's reflection in the lagoon.

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Another control panel picture!

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Heading up.

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My one complaint -- and it's a big one -- the cages are /very/ unfriendly to photography. I did the best I could, mainly with the zoom lens, which helped me to focus past the metal bars.

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First, a view west at the Paradise Pier hotel. Guest appearance by the Incredicoaster.

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Goofy's still teaching his sky school.

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The Zephyr keeps spinning around.

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A straight-on shot of the Zephyr in action.

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A wide view over the Little Mermaid dark ride, with some of Disneyland's mountains spiking up above the trees.

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King Triton below the trees and mountains.

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Starting with Grizzly Peak, which looks great from any angle.

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From up above, it's backed by some of the tourist hotels in the distance.

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Big Thunder Mountain, behind the Grand Californian, with regular buildings behind it. You get some interesting perspectives from up high -- it completely shatters the forced perspective you get from ground level!

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The new Star Wars rock work, dwarfed by the real mountains in the background.

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A closer view of the Star Wars stuff.

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The big parking garage, with the prominent western peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains behind it.

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That one is Mount Wilson, which has an observatory up top, and is a bit of a Los Angeles area landmark.

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Looking down at the Matterhorn.

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Mountains: real and imaginary. The one in the background is Mount San Antonio, aka Mount Baldy.

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This isn't the first time Mount Baldy has appeared in this trip report, and it won't be the last.

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Space Mountain!

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Another mountainous comparison. I could do this all day.

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But, I'll move on, with some views of California Adventure.

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The Guardians tower is quite a piece of work.

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The wharf and the bridge to Pixar Pier.

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The Lamplight Lounge, with Cars Land behind it.

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It's so weird to break the illusion of the whole Cars Land mountain range from this high up.

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The Cadillac Range in all its tail-finned glory.

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Here's one with Angel Stadium back behind Cars Land.

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Tail fins and construction cranes.

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The convention center, a big roller coaster, and a carousel under construction.

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Incredicoaster down below.

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Another two-train shot. Not hard to do, with Disney's excellent operations.

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A really odd side view of the Incredicoaster loop!

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Incredicoaster again!

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One more Incredicoaster shot.

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Looking down at the stage they had set up for their cast member party on Thursday night.

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The shadow of the wheel.

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World of Color, all broken and under repair.

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Nozzles and pipes and wires everywhere.

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Lots of work left to do.

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Alright, that ends this excellent update on World of Color's dry spell. Also, that ends the aerial photographs.

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One last walk through Cars Land!

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The Halloween decorations are so great!

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The former Bug's Land is behind this gate, now being converted into a Marvel-themed area.

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This sign is soon to be a thing of the past.

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Disneyland -- The Grand Finale -- More Pictures!

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The main plaza had a bunch of these artistic flags depicting rides at Disneyland. Here's one for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.

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And one for the Haunted Mansion.

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Back for another swing through Disneyland.

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"Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy."

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Looks like we're starting things off with the Dapper Dans.

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Or is this version the Cadaver Dans?

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Snap those fingers.

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I think they're getting ready to attack.

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False alarm.

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No question, these guy have a good time.

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Random history thing! It's a petrified tree!

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It's an actual piece of a petrified tree from Colorado. Pretty cool.

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I guess the Swiss Family Robinson just weren't selling the tickets, so Tarzan it is.

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It's pretty similar to the treehouse in Florida, but the views from up top are a little more open.

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Hanging lanterns in the treehouse.

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A bell and a book.

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A very angry cat. It growls at you just to make sure you're aware it's angry.

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I feel like we're intruding on someone's home.

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The view west from the top of the treehouse.

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I spy a Haunted Mansion...

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...and a Splash Mountain.

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The view north!

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More Star Wars stuff under construction.

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Work was ongoing...

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Big Thunder Mountain rises above the trees.

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A train crests the lift.

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So, how about one more ride on Big Thunder?

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Yep, good idea, as always.

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Train #1 looks like it's about to derail.

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I. B. Hearty.

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Piano Player Wanted: Must Play Good.

Bartender Wanted: Must Shoot Good.

I wonder which is their higher priority?

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More buildings in this little mining town.

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Rainbow Ridge is just a bit over that-a-way.

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First, we'll climb this hill over here.

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I think we've found the top.

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We've got tortoises.

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We've got snakes!

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And we've got more construction photos because this photo set just can't get away from them.

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This is gonna be spectacular when it's done.

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Explosives, you say?

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The Columbia, all docked up.

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The Mark Twain, giving rides around the Rivers of America.

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That's one ride we didn't get on, but we got so many views from other rides in the area that it wasn't a huge deal.

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It's a nice-looking boat, and only nicer when used in the show at the end of the day.

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The pilot house on the Mark Twain.

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Paddlewheel Excursions.

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Boat, train, spaceport!

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Oh boy, more construction photos.

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Hey, got a construction worker in this one!

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The main stage for Fantasmic, which looks like a whole lot of nothing during the day.

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Hopping across the water to Lafitte's Tavern on Tom Sawyer Island.

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The view back the other way to New Orleans Square.

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On the island, there's a little tree house.

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Also, a suspension bridge!

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There are pathways that go all around the island.

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Space Mountain behind the Mark Twain dock.

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A few smaller boats along the edge of the island.

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Meanwhile, the train passes around the other side of the river.

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Hoop-Dee-Doo, here's Fort Wilderness, up on a hilltop on the island.

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An old lantern. It's all about the little details at Disneyland.

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The top of the hill also has lots of pirate ship overlooks and play areas.

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Here's one spot with a good view of the river.

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A viewfinder I don't need.

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Meanwhile, the Mark Twain passes on by.

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It's a different view from up here.

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Oh, and one other view from Tom Sawyer Island -- the Splash Mountain drop tunnel!

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Admittedly, harsh contrast and tough focusing made these pictures difficult. Did the best I could.

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A wall of water.

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This is why they call it Splash Mountain.

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It's not "moderately wet" mountain. You might get soaked.

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Might as well enjoy it!

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Alright, scene change. One final trip to California Adventure for the special Halloween version of Guardians.

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Yep, all the creatures were on the loose, and they played it for laughs. It was a lot of fun, and I love the way they mess with the queue!

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Well, the Hollywood Tower Hotel this ain't.

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But I have no complaints -- I'm glad the two coasts have different versions of this great attraction.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Disneyland -- The Actual, Satisfactual Grand Finale! For Real!

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So, just two items of business left to attend to. First up -- fireworks.

 

See the fire hydrant at the bottom right of this picture? That would be my tripod stand for the fireworks, and it worked out pretty well. Oh, and the umbrella at the left side of the picture? We moved it out of the way. Don't tell anybody!

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It's going to be hard to caption a whole bunch of fireworks photos, so I'll keep it pretty simple and just enjoy the show.

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Explosions are awesome.

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This is probably my favorite photo of the batch -- such a nice mix of colors, and a long-exposure Tinkerbell trail to cap it all off.

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More fireworks.

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Fireworks and spotlights.

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Red and yellow.

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Fire!

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Very green.

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Very pink.

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X marks the spot.

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Fireworks, continued.

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Lasers!

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Oh, and the weird green things at the bottom of the pictures? Those were crowd control cast members waving their lighted batons. Nothing I could do to get them out of the frame.

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One more Tinkerbell trail.

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A huge finale! That was a really good fireworks show, and I love how it was themed to the various attractions at Disneyland.

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Hanging out by the Rivers of America, waiting for Fantasmic to begin. This was my spot to see the show, and I did this one long-exposure picture of the stage area before it started.

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The show has started!

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Lots of lights and water features.

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A big scene with the Columbia, which has been turned into a pirate ship.

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Daring acrobatics.

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Fights on the main deck.

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Bright blue and green lights.

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The skull and crossbones tells the story!

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Photography during Fantasmic is not easy, but if you catch the spotlights and the fog just right, you can get some cool effects.

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A romantic scene.

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First, we dance.

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Then, we light absolutely everything on fire.

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The dragon was awesome.

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The big finale with all the Disney characters on the Mark Twain.

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The monochromatic "Steamboat Willie" Mickey is a nice touch.

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More fun with spotlights.

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Everyone waves things around in the air.

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We have chipmunks!

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Buzz almost seems out of place on a historic steamboat.

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The Mark Twain rolls off into the distance...

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...and our Disneyland vacation comes to an end!

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Fantastic photos! There have been a ton of Disney reports lately. Probably because their one of the few parks open.

 

How did you get shots without the bars on the Pixar Pal Around/Mickey's Fun Wheel or whatever they call it? I remember them being very obtrusive and difficult to fit a zoom lens through for photos.

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