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Coastering in SoCal -- Part II

Author: USRoadTripper
Email: usroadtripper@yahoo.com (More Trip Reviews by USRoadTripper)
Date of Trip: September 2006

We finished the walk to the Disneyland resort, entering on a pathway opposite of Downtown Disney, and stopped at a will call window to pick up our tickets. We entered Disneyland and found ourselves right in the middle of the afternoon parade! We cut through some shops to get up Main Street quicker and eventually found ourselves at the entrance to Tomorrowland. We quickly grabbed fast passes for Space Mountain, with the return time being over 5 hours away! Just as well since we planned on closing the park that night anyway!

The first ride we headed for was the Matterhorn. On our last trip in 2001, the Matterhorn was closed for rehab...then with just weeks to go before this trip, the Disneyland website started to show the Matterhorn closed for this trip too. It said it was supposed to close on Thursday, and we'd be there that Saturday. Then the website changed to say that it was going to close the following Tuesday. Needless to say that when we arrived and I saw cars traversing the tracks, I was extremely happy to see the ride open! It's a ride that's so iconically Disney that I didn't want to miss it again.

Our first ride was on the Tomorrowland side, and was one of the longest waits of the trip, clocking in at about 20 minutes or so. I thought the ride was great, and while not breaking into my top 10, I did think it was very fun! I was really happy to have gotten to ride it...it was a coaster I'd waited my whole life to ride! It was a coaster that I wanted to ride back when I hated coasters! It was really a highlight of the trip for me.

After the Matterhorn, Kevin asked if I wanted to ride Mr. Toad...duh! Of course! This had maybe a 10 minute wait, which wasn't too bad considering that it was the Saturday of a holiday weekend. I really love this ride, and really really hated to see the one in Disney World taken out. Hopefully this one will be preserved since it's in the "Class of '55."

While we were in the area, we rode Snow White, then Pinocchio's Daring Journey, passing on Peter Pan because of the huge line. Kevin wanted to ride Pirates next, so we meandered in that direction. Our friend Donna had requested that we drink a mint julep for her while we were there, so we stopped for that before getting in line. I enjoy the Disney mint juleps much more than real alcoholic ones, even though they do "taste like drinking gum" as the girl in front of us in line put it.

We drank while we waited for Pirates, which also ended up being about a 20-30 minute wait. I enjoy this version of the ride so much more than Magic Kingdom's. It's so much longer and so much more elaborate. And I think that the Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones enhancements were very nice and well done. They spruced it up just enough to keep it fresh, while still preserving everything classic about the ride.

We rode the Haunted Mansion next, with very little line. I figure that this mansion is about the same as the Florida version, but holy cow does the new attic scene rock! Totally kicks the ass of Florida's! That is an upgrade that the Florida park sorely needs, as their bride looks like total poo compared to Disneyland's new one!

While in the area, we rode the Pooh ride with basically no wait. I thought the ride was ok, though I'm not a Pooh fan at all. Definitely better than the country Bears though. *shiver* After the ride, we browsed a sweet shop nearby, and Kevin ended up getting a chocolate covered strawberry. I took a bathroom break, and found Kevin on the phone with Donna when I came out. She was glad that we'd had a mint julep for her, and after exchanging pleasantries, we moved on. We got some Fast Passes for Splash Mountain while we were there, then went for a ride on Big Thunder Mountain. Another pretty solid ride that's pretty much equal to the one in Florida.

We circled back into Fantasyland, and caught a ride on Small World. When we were done, it was parade time...oh joy. We struck up a conversation with a nice Cast Member who was fairly new to the company while we waited. We chatted about my time working at WDW, what it's like to work at Disneyland and whatnot until the parade passed by where we were. Kevin ran up to the pathway to see it, while I hung back a bit. Then the parade stopped. Now, I really hate most parades...but what I discovered is that the only thing worse than a parade is a parade that stops and just stands there in front of you! I could have bashed my head on the sidewalk and had more fun. Eventually, I called my mom and chatted for a bit.

After the parade, we went into Toontown to get the credit that we both bypassed in 2001, Gadgets Go-Coaster. Neither of us were counting credits at the time, or else we would have surely ridden! haha This was a pretty grueling wait, with just one train and lots of little kiddies in line around us. We managed to get the credit though.

Our Space Mountain Fast Passes were valid by then, so we started back over that way. We saw that the Fantasyland side of the Matterhorn had no line, so we quickly jumped in for a ride on that side. I thought they were pretty much the same, though a few more rides on each would have surely shown me lots of differences. Right when the ride first came off the lift, the glowing yeti eyes growled at me, and I thought I was gonna poop my pants! It came out of NOWHERE and scared the snot out of me! Of course Kevin had a good time laughing at me because of it!

We headed off for Space Mountain next, and had one of those "haha we're so much smarter than you" moments when we got there. The standby line was pretty long, but since we had Fast Passes, we got to walk straight past the whole thing.

Then, once inside the building, there was no one! NO ONE! We were running, and dancing and taking pictures of us in this completely empty queue, feeling so much smarter than the suckers that probably waited an hour in the standby line. But anyway, I thought the new ride was awesome! So much better than the old version, and light years better than Florida's version. I wish that the WDW one would get the same treatment that Disneyland's got...better track, much improved space travel effects and audio.

Continue reading Part III

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