Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

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Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby tomtom » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:16 pm

Living in Orlando, I go to Disney World a lot. It's probably my favorite thing about Orlando if I'm being honest. I go to ride things, I go to ride nothing. I go to walk off what I've eaten, and then the next day to eat what I walked off. It's a giant sprawling land filled of wonder. Where it doesn't snow like in the lands of my childhood and I'm told the temperature will eventually return to hospitable levels. But I've often wondered what other Disney parks were like and growing up adjacent to Six Flags Great Adventure, Magic Mountain always seemed like that cousin you always hear about but never see. Plus, Knotts always seemed like a really nice place. I've had their berries a few times and they were always seemed like berries. But alas, those place are 3000 miles away so they were just distant goals that repeatedly fell by the wayside as other, more convenient trips jumped the line.

But then the stars and my time off aligned and I realized it could work.
And what's that? TPR is having an event at a some of those parks?
This can happen! This must happen!

So it happened! It's been about a surprisingly long amount of time since this all happened but I want to try to capture some thoughts and maybe relive the trip vicariously through my own photos before the details become lost to time. Since it's already starting to fade I'll start at the beginning and work my way up to the actual West Coast Bash event later. I should probably also warn you that I have not done ever done a trip report but better late then never I suppose. Plus, it helps when the places are new and exciting!

The plan:
Wednesday: Late night arrival to Knotts Hotel
Thursday: Park Hop Disney (Link)
Friday: Do that again.
Saturday: WCB: Magic Mountain
Sunday: WCB: Knotts Berry Farm / Leave

Day 0

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No Orlando! I won't stay! Nothing you can say will stop me!
But I do kind of have to pee...
No! My resolve is strong! I will push forward!


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I had heard a lot about the Los Angeles airport. Slow service, crappy people, tunnels. I shuddered to think what I would find upon landing.


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Turns out, I just found Garbels on his way back from a busy couple of days in Japan. If you haven't read that report, you should go do that cause it's a lot more interesting and features his extensive review of Journey to the Center of the Earth ;)
Anyway, Garbels had to go back to Texas for like 30 minutes but he'd be back soon enough.


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With LAX being surpassing expectations and being not awful, I found my way to the Knotts Hotel which would serve as base camp, even if I barely spent anytime in it. It was only 11 pm pacfic by this point but given how long I was awake at this point my mind began to grow worried at the sight of this long ominous hallway


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As I laid sleepy head to rest,
images of coasters danced in my head,
probably cause they were hung over the bed


Day 1: Disney Land

That sleep was glorious. I slept in to the wonderfully late hour of 9 AM! The only caveat being that it was 9AM Eastern time so it was actually 6 in the morning. So I took a trip to IHOP, and Walgreens, and saw chickens. I learned that morning that the Knotts area is lousy with chickens for some reason. I would be told the actual reasons later in the weekend. That day though, walking down a road at 7 o clock in the morning, hearing roosters do that rooster noise that I forgot the name of at this moment but am too proud to look up, with roller coasters just across the street, was quite the introduction to southern California.

The pancakes were okay.

Anyway, back to that whole Disney thing.
Who wants to go to Disney!
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Okay.....
Just me I guess....
That's cool....


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Getting in to Disneyland is nothing like Disney world. There were probably some impressive arch ways somewhere else, but the way I walked in from my shuttle stop seemed a little anti-climatic.


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And then there is this. Lots of jokes I want to make about this, really so many. But I will refrain from judging.


caaaa.PNG
Held out for two whole weeks


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But anyway, I made it!
Disneyland!
Magic Kingdom 1.0!


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It's that plaque!


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It's the train station! It's looking a little small though,
Hey, where's the castle anyway?


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OH! I think I see it! It's all the way down there!


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Sarcasm aside, I was legitimately to excited to be standing in the middle of Disneyland. The fact that I was standing here is no small wonder to me, unlike the castle.


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Anyway, attractions, what I was most excited about was riding Indiana Jones, so I headed there first.
Dinosaur is basically ruined forever for me. Being one of those small children that were basically traumatized by the one two punch of terror that is It's tough to be a bug and what at the time was Countdown to Extinction; I can't help but wonder how much better my life could of been if we got an Indy clone instead. Oh well, moving on...


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Some of this looks familar, a lot of it doesn't


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Like, what the frak is this? Some sort of fancy smancy old timey printer thingamajig? Does it take Apple Pay? I don't even remember the last time I used a paper fast pass so I was a bit out of practice. So out of practice I accidently got a fast pass for Star Tours.


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I eventually found my way over to the one mountain I didn't recognize in my "I sort of know where everything is because Magic Kingdom" mental map


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Would you believe I either didn't know or had no memory of there being a Yeti in this ride?It moves and everything! At least I think it does, we went by it really quickly.


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Moving on to Tomorrowland, Space Mountain loomed in the distance. One of the big benefits of coming at this time of year was obviously the Halloween overlays.


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Sadly, I am one day too early. Happily, I will return!


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This would be the part of the day where I take a nice relaxing ride on the people mover to slow my pace down. Maybe cool off a little bit and enjoy the nice California breeze.

Sadly, you don't have a people mover Disneyland.
And it was hotter in Los Angeles than Orlando that week.
So, thanks for nothing California! :p

I just went and rode Star Tours and Buzz instead.


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Thus begin my second lap of Disneyland. Another couple stops at Indiana Jones were necessary, you know, for Science.


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Getting on Pirates for the first time, I was not prepared for how much longer it was than Orlando's. It's basically double the ride and so much better. I never knew that Orlando basically got a cliff notes version. Pirates Orlando is one of the rides I really just avoid as it just does not do much for me but this version is great. The extra drops even caught me off guard.


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Thunder mountain seemed pretty equal to Orlando. Bonus points to California for that last lift hill but minus 5 points for the completely outdoor queue and station. By this point, It was basically 10000 degrees out in direct sunlight.


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Shout out to DisneyLand for this glorious hole which at this point I had no idea as to its purpose.


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I didn't get eaten by a whale at all in my time at Disneyland so I guess I have goals for my next visit.


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I hadn't heard to many great things about this ride, combined that with the idea of riding in a wierd submarine vehicle this ride basically got procrastinated on until it was skipped completely. Next time perhaps


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Okay, I can't take it anymore! I need to go see what this California Adventure is all about!


Luckily Disneyland was super quiet that day so I was able to do a lot of the things I wanted to do in a pretty short amount of time. Ghost Galaxy and Mansion obviously had to wait till the next day. Fantasyland remained largely untouched as I felt it wiser to wait until my party consisted of more than a single adult male. Plus, I really wanted to go to DCA but in my mind, to get the proper experience, my first order of business on property had to be walking down main street USA.

With no real Florida equivalent, DCA loomed over as the first completely "new" park of the trip.

But I'll get to that, hopefully the next part won't sit in my saved drafts as long as this did.
Last edited by tomtom on Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:54 pm.
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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby robbalvey » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:51 pm

Wow! That is a GREAT start to your report! And this... LMAO!

"If you haven't read that report, you should go do that cause it's a lot more interesting and features his extensive review of Journey to the Center of the Earth ;) "

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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby cfc » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:01 pm

Shout out to DisneyLand for this glorious hole which at this point I had no idea as to its purpose.


I believe it was once part of the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. Thunder Mountain replaced that ride years ago.

Now it's "theming."
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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby laqueefa » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:03 am

Great report! Can't wait for the next parts. :mickey:
Tigga, please!

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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby Jakizle » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:14 am

robbalvey wrote:Wow! That is a GREAT start to your report! And this... LMAO!

"If you haven't read that report, you should go do that cause it's a lot more interesting and features his extensive review of Journey to the Center of the Earth ;) "


:devil:

But seriously great Photo TR Tom Tom, keep it up! Can't wait to see more. Had me laughing over here!

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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby viking86 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:40 pm

Great start to the trip report Tom! Had a couple of good laughs at some of your comments. Really looking forward to see more! =)

This would be the part of the day where I take a nice relaxing ride on the people mover to slow my pace down. Maybe cool off a little bit and enjoy the nice California breeze.

Sadly, you don't have a people mover Disneyland.
And it was hotter in Los Angeles than Orlando that week.
So, thanks for nothing California! :p


And yeah, shame Disneyland doesn't offer the possibility of getting stuck on the Peoplemover! :mickey:
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Stuck on Peoplemover, exclusively at Magic Kingdom!

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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby tomtom » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:29 pm

Thank you guys for the kind words! I hope to have the rest of that first day up tonight!
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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby TheCoasterKid211 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:37 pm

cfc wrote:
Shout out to DisneyLand for this glorious hole which at this point I had no idea as to its purpose.


I believe it was once part of the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. Thunder Mountain replaced that ride years ago.

Now it's "theming."


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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby tomtom » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:59 pm

Jumping right back in, it was time to cross the shockingly small esplanade to Disney's Hollywood Stu... Er....California Adventure!

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This is a face that says “I can’t believe I went somewhere hotter than Florida on vacation”


As attractive as aimlessly wandering around the resort all day was, I had successfully had the alone time nerding out in Disneyland that I needed on a spiritual level and thus it was time to meet up with Derek and company in DCA. They were still finishing up lunch, so in the meantime I had a mission: Get a fastpass for Radiator Springs and World of Color.

“RR springs fastpass are by it’s Tough to be a Bug and World of Color is over at Grizzly River" was provided to me as a general guidance, but I think some sort of Disney instinct took over as my brain just assumed it had knowledge of these places, and walked past the map kiosk. “Oh yea,” my brain thought, “I’ve been to Disney hundreds of times, no problem!”

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So needless to say I did not locate the Tree of life, but I found that machine pretty quickly regardless.


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Grizzly Peaks though, that would be some circling, half a trolley ride, and a generally refusal to stop and ask for directions.


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I saw this before I saw Grizzly Peaks. The classic photo, seen countless times, stood in front of me. Here It dawned on me that besides the half point I had assigned to Disneyland itself, this was the first completely new park I had been in since 2012. Sure some of the attractions were familiar but it was all new. I remember how excited that I was standing there 3000 miles away from home. I remembered right there and then, that I should probably go ahead and grab a map.


Anyway fast passes acquired, ranting completed, I met up with Derek and Lou. I’ve mentioned that too you that it was a couple thousand degrees outside so it was decided we would go see Aladdin. For them, it would be the last time before it closed. For me it would be the first time ever. Also the last time ever but that doesn’t sound as cool.

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We have a Hyperion theater where I’m from too. California’s is definitely bigger.


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How long is the show? 45 minutes!? Geez, is Ellen DeGeneres going to show up too?


Seriously though, I liked the show a lot. It’s the most elaborate Disney theme park show I have seen. Was I sad it was leaving? No. Truth be told I barely even remember watching Aladdin at all. I kept waiting for Prince Ali, Fabulous He, Ali Albawa to show up. Did you know for Prince Ali, Fabulous He, Ali Albawa is actually Aladdin?! Seriously, mind blown.

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Anyway time to move onto some real rides right?
“You know what we need to get you on? Hemlich!”
“On what now?”
“You’ll see”


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Oh gee.


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So we got front row on a ride I did not know existed 30 seconds beforehand. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Heimlich's Chew Chew Train.


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You have not lived until you ride Heimlich's.
I can still here him even now. Him and Derek. In that accent.


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If someone offers you a choice between brussel sprout way and Candy Valley. You go Candy Valley all the way.
This is one of those rides you would never end up on unless you are with the right people, this mediocre ride is still one of my more memorable experiences just because I was in such good company


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Now the real secret motivation of this entire trip is that I really just wanted to do the Animation Academy again. Of course ever since they closed it down in Florida I had been crying myself to sleep every night wondering how any higher power could ever do anything so cruel.

But it had a five minute wait so we skipped it.


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The next few stops reminded me of home. Mermaid followed by Soarin.


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For some reason Soarin is nowhere near as popular here as it is back home. Do you not want to soar over your own houses Californians? Are you not entertained by a blurry flyby of Disneyland at Christmas time? It’s ok I feel the same but hey it’s Air conditioned.

I would ride this ride a lot more if it was only a 15 minute wait in Orlando.
Okay that's not true, I would still skip it 9 times out of 10.
But Krunk!


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Moving on to something completely new to me now, it’s time for California Screamin!


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I know you are in a hurry! hurry! hurry! But for your safety! safety! safety!


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Toy Story was another ride I obviously expected to have a line out the door but you Crazy Californians apparently are just not interested.


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I never really get to see Mr Potato Head since Orlando's line is always out the door and fast passes are so hard to come by for this ride. But here he is, visibly taunting any random passerby searching for french fries


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Next it was time to tackle the Ferris wheel. Here you can see me standing in amazement at the strange swinging cars. This ride was actually the longest line of the day.


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It Is shockingly hard to get good photos when you are constantly flying back and forth.


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At last it was time for our Radiator Springs Fastpass!


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This would be the first of many visits to Carsland


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Hey Stanley, I’m a big fan of your parable! Oh, wrong Stanley, sorry.


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Racers lived up to the hype. I rode it a quite a few times between fastpasses and the single rider line. I will give it to you California, I liked this more than Test Track, even if the Cars franchise is of questionable quality these days.


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Alright guys, what hotel should we stay at? This nice safe cone place?


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Or the Hollywood Tower? I hear they accept Drop ins!


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Spoliers: I like my tower better. Though the spooky boiler is cool


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Spooky spiral staircase!


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Oh man, we are entering the spooky door!


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And mood ruined, momentum killed. The butler did it.


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Moving away from tower, we noticed the the bugs life area is apparently passive agressive. Bye? I'm sorry, did you want us to stick around a bit longer? Does Heimlich need some more help doing uh... whatever it is we were doing?


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As our group began to grow in preparation for World of Color, we took a spin on Monsters Inc. I wish I could tell you this was a great ride but I have basically no memories of it. A victim of a tired and hungry mind.


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Really a lovely place though.


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So we grabbed dinner, and as night began to fall, I realized why we got a fastpass for World of Color


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I don’t have a witty comment, this just looks really impressive.


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NEIL! What are you doing! You are supposed to be on Screamin! Not the Ferris wheel! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!


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I liked World of Color. It’s not exactly what I expected in a grand finale to the day type show but I really did like how it was put together. It’s just the time commitment which bugs me, you can’t really walk up and watch it so you got to get that fast pass and then just stand there. Which by that point in the day, my legs did not have much left to give. I’ll probably skip it next time I get out there and just ride Racers a few extra times.


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Speaking of Racers, I like that boulder, that’s a nice boulder.


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That area is super pretty.


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I shall leave you with this picture of Trader Sam’s. Which we did not patronize as the line was naturally too great.


So a great first day in California. I returned to the Knotts Hotel to find that the Alvey’s had made it. I was basically dead on my feet at this point, so after confirming that tomorrow we would be up bright and early for the first day of Disney’s Halloween time I promptly returned to my room to pass out.

So Disneyland adventures to come in the next update! There was still a lot of ground to be covered at Disneyland resort and questions to be answered.
Who is Sandy Claws?
How exactly can a Galaxy be both a galaxy and a ghost?
Who is Mr. Toad and why is his ride so wild?
Why am I asking these questions now?
Last edited by tomtom on Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:20 pm.
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Re: Photo TR: A first time trip to SoCal Theme Parks

Postby Nrthwnd » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:19 pm

^ Great California Adventure tour!

I would want my tour to go (some what) exactly likes yours did.
With more food involved. :smile:

Looking forward to your report, back on "the other side of the plaza"...
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