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!
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!
Another beautiful morning at Disneyland! Oh, and I'm posting this report in January, so the pumpkins are a little out-of-date.
...to all who come to this happy place...
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.
Just a 10 minute wait!
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?
I've always wondered why they went with different names for the two US-based Buzz rides.
Buzz Lightyear, I'm not very fond of you right now.
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!
Next up, a ride on Autopia (powered by Honda).
Autopia is probably a better ride than the Tomorrowland Speedway, just because there's a lot more landscaping along the way.
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.
Detail on the back of one of the cars.
No racing here -- just a nice and easy drive.
That is a very specific speed limit.
Oh, hello Honda guy. You must be the one who powers Autopia.
Fun fact: that's a real airplane. I looked up the tail number.
Disney reference! Can you guess the film?
Let's head under the sea. Wait. Wrong movie.
These are some of the more unique ride vehicles I've been in.
It's a bit of a narrow squeeze to get in, and the seating area is certainly cramped.
You'll view the whole ride through these little port holes, but the view is just fine if you lean in a little bit.
We saw an older diver...
...a younger diver...
...and lots of bubbles. Seriously -- the bubble effects going into the dark sections are simple, yet very effective.
Another view of the submarine loading area on the way out.
Oh, hey, there's the Matterhorn.
Oh, hey, there's a construction worker.
Random Mickey balloon.
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.
I spy a superhero.
This Monorail is certainly not as useful as the one in Florida -- maybe unless you're staying at the Grand Californian.
The Monorail is an engineering landmark!
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.
The next leg of the ride crosses through California Adventure.
Carthay Circle is looking spooky.
A view of the Mt. Muir lookout near Soarin'.
The Monorail leaves the California Adventure park and rounds its way through the resort area. Here's a view of the Paradise Pier Hotel.
The western end of Downtown Disney, which was in the middle of some major construction.
I love a good tree-lined street.
A backstage find: a double-decker Disneyland Transportation Co. trolley. Anyone know what they use that for?
A well-timed shot of the main entrance!
The train pulls into the station.
Another backstage view. Cast members need their coffee. Also, I love how the "ATM" sign is all done up in the Disney font.
The most exciting backstage photo ever taken.
Got a look down at the station area for the Matterhorn, which was in the middle of its renovation.
Looks like the whole queue area was being re-done too.
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...
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.
The light side...
...and the dark side.
That's no moon.
On that note, we'll continue with Star Tours.
Let's check in on the latest flight status. Can anyone explain to me why /all/ the flights to Alderaan aren't cancelled?
Here are the departures -- just, not in a language I'm familiar with.
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.
R2 welcomes us through the queue.
Are we being scanned? Is this the space-age version of the TSA?
Sadly, I never figured out how to get to the observation deck. (yes, I know it's just theming)
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.
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.
First, the king and the queen try to burn down their castle to collect on a fraudulent insurance policy.
Then, some jerk shines a light in the princess's eye. She's trying to sleep! Let her get some rest!
A party was held with the insurance money, but the punch was spiked with NyQuil.
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.
Unsuccessful, she turns into a dragon and burns down what's left of the already-half-destroyed castle.
Eventually, the princess wakes up, abandons her deadbeat parents, and stars in the fourth season of So You Think You Can Dance. THE END!
Moving back to something a little more tangible -- a trip around the Disneyland railroad.
Hmm, Walt, you may have miscounted a little.
A look down at the main entrance.
Giant flowers? Beads? We must be in...
Should we stop and ask this guy for directions?
The loop around Tom Sawyer Island is probably the most scenic part of the train ride.
Also, that's a nice-looking bridge.
Trees and cliffs!
A big, thunderous mountain.
Also, a snowy alpine mountain.
A quick stop at the Toontown station.
I have found stroller hell.
Agrifuture: farming dystopia.
Suddenly, we're in the Grand Canyon.
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.
Does everyone remember the Double Rainbow guy? Or has that meme expired?
And now we're back in prehistoric times, and I'm just confused.
This was my favorite scene in Fantasia.
Mega T-Rex vs Giant Stegosaurus. Coming soon from The Asylum.
Back home at the Main Street station, and on our way out of Disneyland after a busy morning / early afternoon.
Disneyland Odds and Ends -- The Photos, continued!
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.
This guy, however, wasn't as thrilled.
Construction update! Jessie's Critter Carousel was still a work in progress.
The Pixarmonic Orchestra was jammin'.
Talented musicians, playing fun music, and dressing crazy.
What's not to love?
The percussionist is /really/ gettin' into it...
...as was the horn section.
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.
How to draw a Dumbo. A little bit of animation...
...on the way into the Sorcerer's Workshop.
It's a bunch of cool little exhibits about animation, kind of hidden away in the same building that houses Turtle Talk.
Some neat effects in a room designed like something out of the Beauty and the Beast castle, as you go from the darker version...
...to the lighter version.
Mirror mirror on the wall, is anyone still reading this thread at all? ... that's a joke, sorry ;)
Back to the other side of California Adventure for a trip through Grizzly Peak!
I just love this area. It's beautiful, and it's themed to national parks, which is awesome.
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.
It's a pretty accurate representation of some of the lookout towers out west.
Soarin' -- been there, done that, had more fun flying commercial.
This vehicle's a little bit dug in.
Grizzly Peak Pass is open, which means there must not be any snow up ahead.
However, there are some rapids to contend with.
Yep, I have a whole ton of pictures from Grizzly River Run.
There are a plethora of viewing areas, including this platform that passes a pretty sizable waterfall.
You can even catch a glimpse of the rafts going by.
There are a few more viewing areas set up nearby. One of them has some great views of the ride's big drop.
Drops on a circular raft ride are always kind of interesting!
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.
Kicking up some water.
Going a bit sideways.
Some of the rafts got a pretty good tilt as they slowed down after the drop!
This is more of a straight-on view of the drop, taken from a bit further away on the main walkway.
Another big splash.
Another tilted raft.
Now we're lost in the mist of the jungle.
Have I mentioned how stinkin' well the themed this thing? This is the most beautiful rapids ride I've ever seen.
This part of the ride, after the drop, is basically just the final few turns into the station.
But this is also the part of the ride with the geysers. Oh, the geysers.
To say the least, the geysers provoke quite a reaction from riders.
They're also, as far as I can tell, completely random!
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.
Usually, people would see the geyser start to go, and then cower in fear as they approached it.
Every now and then, you'd get a geyser to go off /directly underneath/ a raft, soaking people by complete surprise.
Well, some people cowered, and others just ran with it.
Here's the look of anticipation.
And this is when you just learn to stop worrying and love the water.
We're going full-on terror here.
Kind of a range of reactions on this raft.
All in good clean fun!
Here's a different angle from the other side of the viewing area, closer to the ride queue.
Also, some of these pictures are from the next morning, in the interest of full disclosure.
The geyser at the end of the rainbow.
Pretty much no escaping this one.
Or this one.
It's basically like running straight into a waterfall.
Point and laugh at your wet friends at your own risk -- you may be next.
Nobody escaped on this raft.
A photography challenge -- the highly-reflective water is sometimes hard to get the contrast right on!
Just one set of geysers to go near the end of the ride.
This raft got the worst of it.
This one's also a little damp.
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.
It's very wet.
It's incredibly wet.
But just like any rain storm...
...there is a rainbow at the end.
Courtesy of Roy "G Biv" Disney.
Carthay Circle and the Guardians tower are looking nice! But DCA's about to close.
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