Monday, November 27, 2017

Halloween at Disneyland Part 6

By Nick

Halloween at Disneyland Part 6
Monday, October 31st

We got over to Disneyland at 7:30a.m. for an 8a.m. extra magic hour. The goal was to ride Haunted Mansion Holiday, and we did! Twice.

Barbie and I headed over to Disney's California Adventure for their 9a.m. opening, arriving at about 8:40 a.m. They were admitting people in and there was already a pretty lengthy standby line and a slightly shorter FastPass line being held up for Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout.

While Barbie waited in line, I took some photos of Halloween decorations.

When 9 rolled around we were walked into a queue where we waited about 20 minutes.

Guardians had a special Halloween addition which had been going on in the evenings, called Monsters After Dark, which always seemed to have a 2 hour wait!

For Halloween Day, they were playing this special edition all day!

It is basically a continuation of the storyline from the original ride, starring the Collector, Rocket and Groot.

It was okay, nowhere near the original in our opinion, but pretty amazing that this soon after opening they had a variant edition. I wonder if there will be more in the future!

We got FastPasses to ride again later in the morning and took a short ride on the Red Car Trolley, followed by a walk over to Paradise Pier, which we had not visited on this entire trip.

I'm very glad we did, since we got to walk on both California Screamin' and Toy Story Midway Mania! Guardians was swallowing up all the crowds!

It was late morning and we still hadn't eaten, so grabbed a meal at the Pacific Wharf Cafe. We were both really glad we did as the seasonal Beer Cheddar Bacon Soup and Pumpkin Bread pudding were outstanding. Actually, this may have been my favorite meal of the trip!

We headed over to the entrance area where we sat and people watched for a short while, waiting for Clarabelle's Ice Cream to open. It was extra entertaining since people were dressed up for Halloween.

As we were sitting there, several Streetmosphere characters came out and started to interact with guests. We were pulled into a little skit, acting as safety cones for a woman in a scooter to go around. FUN!

Once Clarabelle's opened, we got another seasonal offering. This was absolutely delicious!

We headed over to Monster's Inc., Mike and Sulley to the Rescue, which is a cute ride through Monstropolis.

Earlier in the day we had inquired about what time Groot would be out. Yes. Groot. we were told at 2. They had a queue set up, and we got in line at 1:30. By line, I mean we were lucky enough to be second, and I say lucky because by 1:50 there were about 100 people behind us!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Groot. He is awesome. And he is very talkative! We had a lengthy discussion about Halloween.

We headed back to the Grand Californian for our 3p.m. pickup, relaxing a short while in the lobby before our town car picked us up to take us to John Wayne Airport, where we continued our vacation at Barbie's dad's for a few days.

Thanks for following our Disneyland adventure, and please check out :
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Designing Our Own Disney Park - Episode 154 of The Disney Exchange Podcast

The Disney Exchange is Lisa, Dave, and me, Nick

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

This week's show was suggested by listener Claire. "If you could open a new park, what 5 rides would you put in there from the existing Disney parks around the world."

I suggest this new park be called Nickland, but I'm quickly shot down. We finally decide on Potatoland. Why Potatoland?  

This Mickey Mouse cartoon is why!

Lisa and Dave go international while I keep it strictly USA, but we feel we came up with a really great mix.

 My #1 choice, Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission : Breakout 
from Disney's California Adventure

The centerpiece of Potatoland? Potatoship Earth of course!

Lisa, me, and Lisa's husband Raymond

The Wheel of Distiny topic this week is also from a listener, Glen. Glen asks what intellectual property is under-represented or not represented at all. After a few ideas we decide this topic deserves it's own episode, so please come back for that soon!

Like Claire and Glen, you can reach out with show suggestions and Wheel of Distiny topics, or just comment on the show, tell me how great I am, or request a listener number on Facebook:  or 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 24, 2017

Halloween at Disneyland Part 5

By Nick

Halloween at Disneyland Part 5
Monday, October 30th 
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Since we went to bed relatively early the night before and were still not entirely acclimated to Pacific Standard Time, we were up at 5am. We tried to get back to sleep, but gave up by 5:30.

Disneyland didn't open until 9, so I suggested breakfast at Storytellers Cafe right in the Grand Californian.

We were showered and in the lobby by 6:30, and sat and enjoyed the lovely surroundings while we waited for 7am to roll around.

We've eaten at this restaurant on several occasions, three times for breakfast and once for dinner, and it hasn't disappointed. It's a great buffet, and there are characters!
It's Chip 'n' Dale's Critter Breakfast!

After breakfast we queued up for Disneyland at about 8:30, among the first in line. As expected, it wasn't as crowded as we'd seen it on the weekend, but there were still a surprising amount of people for a Monday morning.

Still, we managed to do everything we wanted to in Fantasyland before 10:30.

While Fantasyland at DL doesn't have the fantastic Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Be Our Guest like Walt Disney World, it does have Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, several other rides WDW doesn't have, and a better (in our opinion) Peter Pan. Yet another win for Disneyland, again, in our opinion.

We headed to Big Thunder next, which said it only had a 10 minute wait that was really about 20, and this, yes, I'm saying it yet again, is a better version of the ride than at WDW. For one thing, the cars have padded seats and sides, so when you inevitably slide into the person sitting with you, or visa versa, it isn't nearly as uncomfortable. And, like DL's version of Space Mountain, it seems to be FASTER! It is likely not true, but it feels that way.

After finishing up on the wildest ride in the wilderness, it was off to Haunted Mansion, with it's absolutely fantastic Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday overlay.

Since the standby line wasn't very long yet, we got FastPasses and waited for about 30 minutes, rode, and immediately rode again because we were already in our FastPass window!
One of the things I was most excited to see was the Hatbox Ghost, which is featured in a lot of HM merchandise, even though the character doesn't even appear in the Walt Disney World version of the ride!

By the time we finished our second go around, it was approaching lunchtime, but we still weren't very hungry since we'd stuffed ourselves at breakfast, so we grabbed a couple of Halloween themed treats at the French Market.

We picked up a FastPass as we went by Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, and hopped in the 10 minute queue for Jungle Cruise.

Next we enjoyed The Enchanted Tiki Room, before using our FastPasses for Indy.

We took a walk over to Mickey's Toontown to perhaps get a picture with Mickey, but the line was over 90 minutes long! In fact the park was getting incredibly crowded, so we decided to hop the train back to the front of the park and take a rest at the resort. On the way out, Goofy was just walking out for photos so we hopped in the short line.

Barbie took a nap while I enjoyed a few adult beverages at the hot tub.

Dinner was a Spicy Macaroni and cheese dish at the Cozy Cone. We walked around DCA a little, and saw a short line to get pictures with Mickey, so we jumped in and got a photo before calling it an early night.

Please look for Part 6 soon!

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!