Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Sunday - So Here's Friday's Report!

Every trip has its kinks and ours showed up yesterday for our second full day of vacation.

(I didn't take many pictures yesterday because of general malaise, but I do have some and will add them to his report later.)

The day started with Dirk nursing an increasingly severe sore throat and cold, Katie noticing some muscle issues and potential blisters, and Jim and Leslie as the perky ones. Already a scary sign.

We made it to the 10:00 opening of California Adventure just fine. Our strategy was to head back to Toy Story Mania, while grabbing fastpasses for California Screamin' roller coaster and spend the morning knocking out the Paraide Pier attractions. Unfortunately, the California Screamin' Fastpass machine would accept the tickets but not issue fastpasses. The fastpass attendant was quite blunt there was nothing he could do. Some of the Walt Dinsey World experienced among us mentioned that they can usually open the Fastpass machine and free the pass (if it was jammed) or do an override. The attendant thought that idea was rediculous and suggested that some of might enjoy vacationing at WDW a bit more than here.

That dump-truck load of anti-pixie dust set Dirk off, so the last Leslie, Katie & Jim saw of him was the blur of his sneakers as he head to guest services, confident there was better way. Otherwise, our tickets would be frozen for future fastpasses for a couple of hours as the machine assumed we had received them even though it failed to print them out.

Guest Services were very, very helpful. They understood the situation immediately and issued a blanket fastpass for up to 6 of us for California Screamin' to be used once any time that day. So, having been made whole, we once again attempted to get on with out strategy.

The wait for Toy Stoy Midway Mani was 15 minutes - not long at all. The queue is very different than at WDW - definitely themed to a Victorian row of carnival games. We were loaded into our ride vehicles and had a blast - well, many blasts, considering you are basically shooting a laser canon at 3-D projects of midway games themed on the Toy Story movies. Very fun. Probably the most fun interactive attraction at Disney.

While Leslie, Jim and I made our way to California Screamin' standby, Katie decided to stick with Toy Story Midway Mania. No evil fastpass person was in site and the standby line was 15 minutes, so my plan of riding once standby and again with a fastpass seemed to work well. Leslie loved the coaster - this was her first ride - and I found it did wonders for my mucuous clogged head. Round 2, with fastpasses (due to a now 25 minute standby line) brough us into direct contact with Evil Fastpass Guy, who dutifully acted like he had never seen me before, we were waved right on through and rode the attraction again.

(In fairness to Faspass Guy, he was probably having a bad morning two with 4 of his 6 machines not working and frustrated guests asking questions. Disneyland Resort cast members are also famously touchy any time you mention WDW even exists. I also need to be clear, this is th eonly negative Disneyland cast member contact I have had in 5 years of visits - which is why I ceased arguing and went straight to guest relations because I knew they were the only ones who could do something.)

While waiting for us, Katie did Toy Story two times in the single rider line and then went off to First Aid for bandaids to deal with blisters from Birkenstocks that had not been as well trained as she had hoped. Once reuinited, we did Toy Story again, and then rode Mickey's Sunwheel. It was pleasant and cool, but seriously lacking given the lake is drained for construction of the myuriads of pipework for the new evening light and water show "World of Color" set to debut next year.

The temporary absence of water also meant the park was baking without a single cool breeze to temper the hot sun. Even the locals were commenting on the unusual humidity. So, Trenton is cooler than noremal this year and Anaheim is hotter and more humid than normal. Once again, a mis-timed vacation!

By now, we were ready for lunch. Dirk was depressed at the closure of the Corn Dog Castle since he loves corn dogs. Jim wanted a turkey leg. Leslie wanted healthy roll-up, and Katie a salad, so was just picked up cart food along the way until we all ended up with the lunch we wanted. By the time we ready to settle, we were at picnic tables right next to a milkshake stand. Now, that's pixie dust (and desert).

After lunch, we headed into the Hollywood Pictures Backlot section of the California Adventure to get fastpasses for Tower of Terror and check out the times for Aladdin - the Musical. Leslie and Katie decied on a mid-day break but we wanted to see Aladdin, so we decided to meet up for dinner later.

The Aladdin show is a 45 minute musical version of the animated feature. The stagecraft is very well done, but the acting was a little sub par for this based on our prior experience. The show didn't feel as fresh. As usual, Genie took most of the laughs and applause, and his humor was as topical as ever. All in all, it was great to see, but I doubt we'll repeat it this trip.

We briefly flirted with the idea of using the 4 fastpasses we had for Tower of Terror amongst ourselves, but realized that wouldn't be fair, so we shopped a bit, rode the Monsters, Inc. dark ride and trundled on home for an afternoon break.

As can tell from the length of this post, I was able to internect connection in the lobby, but not in the room. The staff did their best though, and this morning, I have somewhat reliable access in the room with my PC netbook, but Jim's Macbook can't get a signal. Sigh. 21st century technology with 1940s war-time reliability.

For dinner, we ate at a California chain -Mimi's. Known for comfort food and oversized portions, but reasonable prices. I had Country Fried Steak - a one-time must for me in Calfironia; Jim had a cobb salad with very fresh and tasty avocado, Leslie had pot roast, and Katie had french dip. It was the kind of ending the day needed - except,

Leslie and I realized we would have to drive past the entrance to Disneyland on the way back to the hotel and we still had these 4 Tower of Terror fastpasses. Leslie though she could just get out and experience Tower four times in a row. I reminded her that one of them was mine, so WE could experience Tower 2 times in a row. She agreed, so off we went while the others went to veg in their rooms.

Tower of Terror in California Adventure is different than in Orlando - it's definitely smaller and less richly themed around the actual building, but there are some different effects so it really is a worthy member of the Tower pantheon. With now 4 Towers in Disney's "Terror Hotel" chain around the world, I believe each is different, sometimes, quite significantly, from the other. That's the way to copy an attraction!

Well, we strolled out just as the Electric Parade was ending, so we were expecting to beat the masses to the buses. Then, Leslie gets pulled for a 5 minute survey, which lasted 15 minutes, so we strolled out with the masses. But we did get to see the Disneyland fireworks from outside the park, which was fun.

Off to bed, and plans for a slow Saturday. We meet up mid-afternoon and have the Fantasmic Dessert Party reserved seating Saturday. Whoohoo!



1 comment:

Susan Yates said...

A full length trip report on the fly! I'm impressed. It seems that having to knock out sermons on a regular basis serves as good training for producing a TR while the T is ongoing.
Glad you came to a happy result with the Fast Pass issue. Disney is usually dependable at making a PR SNAFU OK (that's all the acronyms I can think of). They can't guarantee you won't run into problems (though a little surprising when it's with one of their CMs), but they do promise to make it better when they can.
All right, your friend Loren says a great part of your joy comes from telling us all the fun you're having--even as you're having it--so continue, please.