Monday, November 20, 2017

Halloween at Disneyland 2017 Part 4

By Nick

Halloween at Disneyland 2017 Part 4
Sat. Oct. 28th continued... 

Part 3 can be found here, while Part 2 is here and Part 1 here.

After riding Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission: Breakout 3 times in an hour, we headed over to Cars Land. We passed through A Bug's Land to get there, and came across this...

As was seen in part 1, Sleeping Beauty Castle over in Disneyland had snow on the roof. Christmas decorating had begun. Almost every shop had Christmas merchandise out. It was difficult to find Halloween clothing. We did eventually purchase a couple of items, but it was a hunt. But I digress.

We rode Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, and then enjoyed second breakfast at Flo's.

Mater was dressed up for Halloween!

One of the things I was most excited about on this trip was the various seasonal and Halloween themed culinary offerings, and the Grape Ghoulant Shake was pretty fantastic!

We headed over to Disneyland. One of the reasons I love Disneyland Resort so much is the closeness of it all. Yes, it is a fraction of the size of Walt Disney World, but there is so much fun packed into such a small space here!

As soon as we entered the park we hopped a double decker bus and took a ride up Main Street U.S.A. , note Minnie and Mickey on either side of the photo below.

The second story of one of these old fashioned vehicles is a wonderful way to get a different perspective of the park.

Afterwards, we took some pictures in front of the snow covered Sleeping Beauty Castle...

... before heading to Tomorrowland, which is where Disneyland's Star Wars Launch Bay is located.

The Launch Bay here is smaller, but with 3 characters, instead of 2.
Like in Florida, they have Kylo Ren and Chewbacca.

Here you'll still find Darth Vader!

I can't recall what he said to us, but clearly it was very alarming.

As we left DL to head over to The Disneyland Hotel, the sun was finally burning off the morning clouds.

Barbie and I met our friends Amy and Matt, and their wonderful kids for lunch at Trader Sam's.

After eating we took a walk through the Disneyland Hotel gift shop before saying goodbye and walking through Downtown Disney, returning to Disneyland just in time to use our FastPasses for Space Mountain. Another ride that is better in Disneyland than Walt Disney World!

We returned to the Grand Californian for a nice rest in the main lobby next to the fireplace.

After our little siesta we returned to Disneyland, which was as crowded as on the previous evening. We sat at the Railroad Station and people watched before taking a ride around the park. Another attraction that beats WDW, since we get a ride through the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World!

Before heading out for the evening we stopped for a photo with Minnie!

Stop back for Part 5 soon!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Halloween at Disneyland 2017 Part 3

By Nick

Halloween at Disneyland Part 3 
Sunday, October 29th

Part 1 can be found here, and Part 2 here.

Caution: The following installment contains SPOILERS for the new Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! attraction at Disney's California Adventure. 

Up at 3am. Yep. 3. A. M.

And the headache I had!

It was awful. I looked through all our luggage for headache medication, but, despite over-packing and bringing an entire apothecarie's worth of medication with me, I found no headache remedies. I tried to go back to sleep, but after an hour I gave up and decided to go to the front desk.

The following really happened. I kid you not.

There was one Cast Member (CM) at the front desk. And one guest. I have no idea what this one guest was asking for, but the CM went “backstage” several times during this episode. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably actually only 10 minutes, I finally asked the guest if I could possibly just ask the cast member for an aspirin or ibuprofen when she returned.
He said “Sure. Late party night?” Or something to that affect, to which I replied “No, I didn’t drink at all. I’m jet-lagged, we flew in from New Jersey yesterday.” To which he replied, “I’m jet lagged too.” “Where did you fly in from?” I asked. “San Francisco.” Before I could say “So you’re tired, because San Francisco is in the same time zone, you realize?” The CM came back out and I asked if I could possibly get something for my (now worse) headache. She explained they couldn’t provide me with medication, but a CM could open the store for me and I could purchase some. Then she asked if I was a guest at the resort. 
I was in my pajama pants and slippers. “Yes.” I moaned, holding my head hoping it wouldn’t explode.
A nice young lady came out and escorted me across the lobby to the shop. She said a guard would be along any moment to unlock it. She asked me what was wrong. “Very bad headache." I said.  "I'm very jet-lagged and can’t sleep, because I am normally awake at this time. In New Jersey it is after 7 o'clock.”
To which she very earnestly asked... “P.M.?”
The security guard arrived as I said, "No, A.M." and I bought Advil which I immediately took upon returning to the room. I lay in bed for another hour, and the headache gradually faded. I gave up trying to get back to sleep, got a shower, and after Barbie took hers, we headed to Starbucks in Downtown Disney.

It was Magic Morning, or Extra Magic Hour (EMH) at Disney’s California Adventure (DCA), I guess what it's called is dependent on the media you use to enter an hour early. EMH at Disneyland Resort (DLR) works differently than at Walt Disney World (WDW), where you get 1 Magic Morning per visit if staying at an on site property. You also get 1 with certain passes.
We used our 4 day park hopper for this visit.

We queued up at 6:30, among the first in line.

Immediately upon opening we headed for Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout, along with a majority of the early risers, and walked right on. (SPOILERS AHEAD)

I had no preconceived expectations as I avoided all videos.

I was blown away from the moment I entered the building, it had so many references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

And then there is the ride itself!
The premise is the Collector has added the Guardians of the Galaxy to his collection, but Rocket escapes, and needs us to assist in the rescue of the rest of the Guardians.

As soon as we entered what used to be the old Tower of Terror library, now the Collectors private office, until the end of the ride, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! Rocket was THERE! ROCKET!

And Starlord’s Sony Walkman.

 The whole gang appears in the ride. And there are, from what I am told, 6 different songs from the soundtrack, with different scenes for each version! And about 40 drops (slight exaggeration) and tons of air time, lasting up to 40 seconds (maybe more exaggeration)! I didn’t want it too end!

We immediately rode it again and got a different song.

And then rode it again!

LOVE this attraction. If you are a fan of Guardians of the Galaxy, or just a fan of FUN, this is a MUST!
In fact, (and this time I’m not exaggerating) this ride alone was worth the trip to Disneyland Resort!

Whew! After a bumpy and very early start to the day, things are looking up. And down. Get it? Cause it's a drop ride. 
Anyway, please stop back soon for Part 4, as Sunday 10/29 continues!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Halloween at Disneyland 2017 Part 2

By Nick

Halloween at Disneyland 2017 Part 2
Sat. Oct. 28th, continued

Part 1 can be found here.

Following the hour long production of Frozen at the Hyperion Theater at Disney's California Adventure (DCA) we walked back to Cars Land to take in the neon and Halloween lights...

...and then made our way over to Disneyland, where we planned to catch the 9:30 fireworks.

My wife Barbie, me, and our friend Nicole

Being as it was an absolutely gorgeous Saturday night, and the last weekend before Halloween, and this is a locals park, it was absolutely jammed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen lines for photos and food like the ones I’ve seen here! It's sort of hard to see in the photo below, but there seemed to be a half hour line to get pictures in front of the Partners Statue of Walt and Mickey!

In case you’re wondering what that is on top of Sleeping Beauty Castle, it’s snow. Yep. More on that on a future installment.

We made our way to New Orleans Square where we planned on waiting in the relatively short 45 minute line for Pirates of the Caribbean, (Haunted Mansion was 100 minutes) and arrived just as Cast Members were telling guests it was down. So we thought we’d go and get beignets and mint juleps at the Mint Julep Bar.

That line seemed longer than the Haunted Mansion line!

Hop on the Disneyland Railroad? The crowd to get on that was 10 people deep.

Ooookay. We were tired, jet-lagged, and getting crankier by the moment. We made an executive decision to skip the fireworks.

We meandered through the New Orleans Square shops, checking out the decorations as we made our way out.

As we passed Pirates I noticed a stream of people walking through the queue quickly. It was opened, and uncrowded! We got on in 10 minutes, thus salvaging what had been a pretty rough evening!
In case you are unaware, Pirates in Disneyland is longer than in Walt Disney World (WDW) with several more scenes.

After getting back to DCA, we headed to the Cozy Cone for snacks, picking up a couple of Halloween themed Macaroons, with marshmallow stuffing and candy corns. It was good, especially if you like sugar. Pure sugar.

Barbie and I were crashing fast, so we said goodnight to Nicole and turned in for the night.

Stop back Friday for Part 3!

To hear me discuss this vacation, please check out The Disney Exchange Podcast Episode 152!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Nick at Disneyland - Episode 152 of The Disney Exchange Podcast

The Disney Exchange is Lisa, Dave and me, Nick 

Podcast: Play in new window | Download  

Lisa checks in from a Dream. The Disney Dream Cruise Ship! She tries to take over the show, but I shut that down! Why?!

Because this show is about ME! More specifically, my recent trip to Disneyland!

Lisa asks all the right questions, while, apparently, Dave was playing on his phone, or napping, or both.

We met Groot!

I talk extensively about my new favorite Disney attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: Breakout!

My favorite meal!

Mr. Toad.

One thing I forgot to mention was lunch with friends Amy and Matt and their wonderful children at Trader Sams! Hi Amy and Matt!

The Wheel of Distiny topic this week: Have you seen Thor: Ragnarok?
Only one of us have seen it, guess who! She (need another clue?) asks our listeners for their thoughts on it!

Please reach out with show suggestions, comment on the show, tell me how great I am we are, submit Wheel of Distiny topics, or request a listener number on Facebook:, Twitter:  

If you would be so kind as to leave us a 5 star review on any of the social media sites, such as Facebook or iTunes, we’d really appreciate it. Thank you!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Halloween at Disneyland 2017 Part 1

By Nick

Halloween at Disneyland 2017
Sat. Oct. 28th Part 1 

My wife Barbie and I flew in from Philadelphia with a plane change in Vegas. That is a loooong flight, but we had our friend Nicole picking us up at the Long Beach Airport to look forward to at least.

Nicole dropped us off at the front of The Grand Californian and went to find parking while we checked in.

I’d requested a high floor in the block of rooms I knew faced the Paradise Pier section of Disney’s California Adventure (DCA). Of course room selections are not guaranteed. And, indeed, we did not get our request. In fact it was about as far away from the request as possible, a view of a mound of dirt with some shrubbery on the 1st floor. Ah well, we were fortunate enough to have the themepark view twice in the past, so it was someone else’s turn.

At least our room was ready, which is always a plus, so we dropped off our bags and headed to DCA, meeting back up with Nicole in Cars Land.

 Barbie, me, and Nicole

This area was all decked out for Halloween for the first time since it opened, and it was awesome. Luigi’s and Mater’s ride even had Halloween themed music substituting the regular songs! 


After getting some photos we headed back to Radiator Springs Racers and only waited about 10 minutes in the single rider line. Nicole and I wound up in the same car with Barbie getting a car almost immediately after.

Because Nicole is an Annual Pass Holder we were able to get some fun pictures of us posing with some of the decorations.

We had a so-so dinner at Flo's, traditionally our go-to spot (on our last trip we had 5 meals here). The pot pie was heavy on rosemary, a spice which made it’s presence known REPEATedly throughout the evening.

After dinner we walked through the Animation Academy before making our way to the Hyperion Theater for the live Frozen show, which was absolutely terrific. The performers were tremendously talented, and the staging amazing.

Please stop back Monday for Part 2, when we leave DCA and head over to an overwhelmingly crowded Disneyland!