Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Day 3 - Disneyland

October 18, 2004

Today, Monday, is our first full day at the park and we were ready to go shortly after 9:00 AM. Armed with our RideMax plan for the day, we waited patiently near the front of the crowd on Main Street for the rope drop at 10:00 AM. As I described in an earlier post, RideMax is a software planning tool that takes into account the day of week and time of year of your visit as well as the average wait times for the different rides and develops a schedule to follow that is designed to reduce the amount of time you spend waiting in line. We created two RideMax plans, one for Disneyland and one for Disney California Adventure.

The Dumbo ride was scheduled to be our first ride of the day. As soon as the rope dropped, we dutifully headed over to Fantasyland while everyone else stampeded over to ride Indy and Splash. The reasoning the RideMax program gave for sending us to Dumbo first is that Dumbo is low-capacity, “cycle” attraction where the line can build fairly quickly. In contract, Indiana Jones is a high capacity ride and the line takes a lot longer to develop. RideMax proved to be correct and we were among the first guests to board Dumbo.

Our next scheduled ride was Big Thunder Railroad, but unfortunately the attraction was temporarily closed. Next on the list was Splash Mountain where we were supposed to pick up FastPasses for use later on. For those of you who are familiar with Disneyland, Splash Mountain is in Critter Country and requires a walk almost completely around the Rivers of America. There are no shortcuts to get to Critter Country. When we reached Splash, we picked up our Fastpasses but noticed that the line was short, so we ended up riding the ride.

After riding Splash, our next ride was supposed to be Alice in Wonderland. This meant another long, long walk around the Rivers of America and back over to Fantasyland. At this point, we were beginning to question the usefulness of RideMax. Although it may be great for reducing the amount of time spent waiting in line, it definitely didn’t do anything about reducing the amount of walking. A scan through the schedule showed us criss-crossing back and forth through the park. As we headed over to Alice, we saw that Big Thunder was now open so we stopped to ride it. Even though we were still on schedule, by the time we reached Alice in Wonderland, the line was so long that we decided not to wait in the line.

By now it is 11:30 and we are both starving. We decide to head on over to the Blue Bayou Restaurant to see if we can move up our 1:40 PM reservations. They were able to and within 10 minutes we were seated at our table. The Blue Bayou is located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and you can watch the boats full of people wind there way through the swamp. We both ordered the Monte Cristo, the Blue Bayou’s signature sandwich, and it was just as good as it was the last time we were here. It came with a side of pasta salad and some delicious freshly-baked sourdough rolls. Neither one of us ordered a mint julep. Once was enough.

After lunch, we decided to head back to the hotel for a short rest. It was at this point that we both realized that following the RideMax plan wasn’t very fun. By moving from land to land, we missed out on experiencing the real feel of the land. If it was peak season and crowds were an issue, the RideMax plan would make sense. So we ditched the plan and decided to just wing it.

Since we hadn’t done anything in Tomorrowland yet, we decided to start there first after we returned to the park. Star Tours was our first ride. Usually, this ride doesn’t bother my stomach, but this time it made us both a little queasy. We didn’t ride it again during the entire trip. Next was Honey I Shrunk the Audience, which is a 3-D show and we both enjoyed the special effects. Innoventions was next and was disappointing. It’s supposedly a showcase of future technology, but much of it seemed outdated. We didn’t spend very much time there. We did note that the outside balcony area would make a great spot for picture-taking, so we’ll be back later with the camera.

One of the things on our to-do list for this trip was to have ice cream at the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. It had been a while since lunch, so we picked up fastpasses for the Autopia and headed over to get some ice cream. While we waited our turn in the long line, I pulled out my Tinkerbell wallet and it caught the eye of the little girl standing behind us in line. She and I chatted for a bit about some of our favorite rides and favorite characters. With such engaging conversation, the time passed quickly and before I knew it, it was time to order. Jason and I both ordered the Gibson Girl Sundae in a waffle cone cup. It was delicious, sweet and very filling. Neither one of us ordered the Fantasia ice-cream, a special flavor only available at Disneyland, made of banana, pistachio and cherry.

After we finished our ice cream, we went back to Tomorrowland and rode Autopia. Then it was time to head home. We were very glad that we did not have to walk all the way back to the hotel.


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