Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Trip Report - Day 4

Friday, December 17, 2004

Today was the last full day of our trip. Being Friday, Disneyland opened at 9:00 AM instead of the usual 10:00 AM. We had priority seating reservations at the Carnation Café for 8:30 AM so we were out the door around 8:00 AM.

The Carnation Café is located right between the Blue Ribbon Bakery and the Emporium and offers outdoor seating at tables with umbrellas to shade you from the sun. It was a nice sunny day and as it was still early, the temperature was very comfortable. We both ordered our favorite, the Mickey Mouse waffle, which comes with a couple of strips of bacon, and we each ordered an orange juice. The service was excellent as usual and after just a few minutes our breakfast was served. While we were eating, the chef, Oscar, came to our table to ask how our breakfast was. Oscar also has a scrambled egg dish named after him that looks really good, but I don’t know if I could ever pass up an opportunity to have the Mickey Mouse waffle. In fact, we’ve decided that during our next trip we’re going to start every morning off with a Mickey Mouse waffle.

With full and satisfied stomachs, we stopped to ride Mr. Toad and then went on to Tomorrowland to ride the Autopia. After the Autopia, we walked all the way back to Critter Country to ride Winnie the Pooh. After exiting Winnie the Pooh, we picked up fastpasses for Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones. We were able to get more than one fastpass at a time because of early fastpass return times for some attractions and also because some of the fastpass machines are not networked together.

Pirates of the Caribbean was next, followed by the Jungle Cruise, then a quick walk back over to Critter Country where we used our fastpasses for Splash Mountain and lastly over to the Haunted Mansion.

By now it was lunch time so we stop to decide where to eat. Neither of us had been to the French Market and since we could get a 10% discount with our annual passes, we decided to eat there. Many of the menu items had a Nightmare Before Christmas theme, so I chose Zero’s Bowls of Bones which was a pile of ribs, chicken legs and fries served in a souvenir dog bowl with Zero’s name on it. Zero is the name of the dog in the movie “Nightmare Before Christmas,” which I’ve never seen. My entrée also came with a salad. I think Jason ordered the lasagna, which was also served in the dog bowl. The CM that took our orders was a little hard to understand and Jason misunderstood her and selected a fruit platter that ended up costing him an additional $5.95. We found a table outside along the perimeter of the seating area and enjoyed our lunch while watching the crowds pass by.

After lunch, we used our fastpasses for Indy and then picked up fastpasses for Big Thunder Railroad on our way over to the It’s a Small World toy shop. When you exit IASW, it dumps you out right into the toy shop (a very smart marketing move). I had noticed an IASW mug that I wanted to buy. We tried to use Jason’s premium AP, but forgot that you need to make a minimum purchase of $10 to get the discount, so I ended up using my merchandise gift card.

We reached the Main Street Hub just in time to hop on the horse drawn trolley for a ride back to the entrance. We made a quick stop at the Candy Palace where I purchased a piece of their delicious fudge. There are many different varieties of fudge. This time I got the plain fudge instead of the fudge with walnuts, which is what I bought last October. It was still good, but I think the fudge with walnuts is better.

Since the park was open later this evening and we had tickets to the 10:30 PM Fantasmic Dessert Buffet, we planned to head back to the room for a rest. After leaving Disneyland, we walked over to DCA and picked up some fastpasses for Soarin’ to use later on when we returned. We also walked over to the shop near Grizzly River Run so that Jason could buy one of the picture frames that he is collecting and so I could buy a DCA mug to add to my collection.

With our purchases in hand, we headed over to the parking lot tram station. Once we were back in our rooms, we settled down for a short nap.

Late afternoon, we were ready to head back to the park. Our first stop was DCA where we used our fastpasses to ride Soarin’. I will never get tired of that ride. After Soarin’, we went back to Disneyland and rode Big Thunder Railroad, doing the Goat Trick of course.

We traded one train ride for another, as our next ride was the Casey Jr. train. Jason didn’t want to ride it, but I really did so we waited in a short line and then made a beeline for one of the cars that was a cage. It was a short ride, but very enjoyable as you get to see a lot of the little cottages from the Storybook Land Canal boats.

Exiting the train, we came upon a churro cart and of course had to try one. Many people rave about the churros and we’ve never had one at the Park. We forked over a $2.75 a piece for a churro and they were every bit as delicious as people said. I think everything tastes better at Disneyland. They must add a little pixie dust to everything.

While munching our churros, we walked over to Tomorrowland to see “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience,” a 3-D attraction. We had a little while to wait before the show started, so we sat on the steps and finished our churros.

After HISTA, we rode Big Thunder Mountain twice, both times doing the Goat Trick and then walked over to Critter Country and picked up fastpasses for Splash Mountain. We wanted to be on this side of the park before the 9:00 AM start of Fantasmic. This was the opening night for the show after being on hiatus and the crowds promised to be huge. People had begun to stake out their spots hours before the show.

Since there never is more than a 5 minute wait for Winnie the Pooh, we always stop to ride it whenever we are in Critter Country. Right near the exit to Winnie is Pooh Corner, a wonderful shop filled with Pooh merchandise and a great assortment of interesting candy. After shopping, we had a few minutes until it was time to use our fastpasses for Splash, so we sat on the bench on the porch outside of the shop and admired the Pooh themed Christmas decorations in the big tree in front of us.

When our ride on Splash Mountain was over, the 9:00 PM Fantasmic show was finished so we decided to make our way over to the Disney Gallery which is located upstairs above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. We had heard horror stories of the huge crowds leaving the Fantasmic viewing area and causing a gridlock so we wanted to allow plenty of time to move through the area. Fortunately, many people remained in their spots in order to watch the fireworks display at 9:45 PM so we didn’t have too much of a problem getting through. We arrived at the Disney Gallery with plenty of time to spare so we walked up the stairs to the Gallery to look around. The fireworks began shortly thereafter and those that had tickets to the 9:00 PM Fantasmic Dessert Buffet were allowed to remain on the balcony to watch the show. Even though the fireworks are designed for best viewing directly in front of the castle, it still would have been nice to view the show from the balcony. If we ever do the dessert buffet again, I would like to get tickets for the first show so that we can stay and watch the fireworks afterwards.

We weren’t sure how the seating for the dessert buffet worked, so we wanted to get checked in early in case it was first come, first served. The CM working in the Gallery told us that people were seated in the order in which they purchased their tickets. We were directed to an inner courtyard just outside the Disney Gallery where there was a small fountain and several patio tables and chairs. We sat down to wait. The building which houses the Disney Gallery was originally planned to be larger living quarters for Walt and his brother Roy. However, Walt passed away before the rooms were completed.

Shortly after 10:00 PM, a cast member entered the courtyard with her clipboard and began calling names. As luck would have it, we were the first ones called. She took our tickets and led us through the Gallery, out onto the balcony and directed us to our seats which were located right along the railing, directly in front of the area where the Fantasmic would be performed. The view was absolutely perfect. A waiter came and took our drink orders and invited us to visit the dessert buffet. There was a mouth-watering assortment of desserts, cheese and crackers, and fresh fruit. We filled our plates and sat back down. Other groups were being seated one by one. The woman next to me asked me what time I had called to purchase our tickets. I told her that I called promptly at 8:00 AM. She said she thought she had too, but I must have beat her to it.

We managed a second trip to the buffet before the show started. Once it began, we didn’t feel comfortable standing up in front of everyone behind us to go back to the dessert table. Plus, we didn’t want to miss a minute of the show. It was an amazing display of lights, sound, pyrotechnics and many, many of the Disney characters. Even from where we were seated, back away from the river and up on the balcony, we could still feel the heat from the flames on the river. The show lasted about 20-25 minutes and ended way before we were ready for it too.

After Fantasmic, I wanted to ride It’s a Small World Holiday one last time. So even though the line was outrageously long, we waited in it. To pass the time in line, we took pictures of the area even though most of them didn’t turn out because it was too dark.

Although it was after 11:00 PM, the line for Peter Pan was still long, but we waited in it anyway since the line never seems to get shorter. It’s really one of my favorite rides and I wanted to ride it at least once on this trip.

By now it was late and we were really tired. Since we were due to go home the next day and still had to pack, we decided to make a night of it. We made our way to the parking lot tram along with the thousands of other people leaving the park and eventually made it back to the parking lot and then back to the hotel.


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