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Coastering in SoCal -- Part IV

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

The Sun Wheel has got to be one of my favorite rides anywhere! Dare I say it's even my favorite ride in the whole resort! It's just so much fun! And I love the fact that you're not strapped in, so you can move around, get tossed around if you like, catch airtime if you like, whatever! I took video through most of the ride, and it is hilarious! It makes me laugh just watching us ride it! After the ride, we all scurried over to where I'd decided that I wanted to watch the Electrical Parade. It was across from the Golden Dreams theater...exactly where I'd been planning on watching it.

We didn't have to wait too long before the parade started, and when it got to us, I was in heaven! I've loved this parade since I first watched it. It makes me happy, simple as that. It's so strange that I hate parades, yet my favorite thing that Disney has ever done is a parade! I got fantastic video of it, so any time I'm feeling down, I can watch it :-)

After the parade, everything was closed, so we filed out with the masses. We noted that Disneyland was open for another two hours, with another fireworks show and a Fantasmic, so we decided to go over there. That was the only feasible time to see Fantasmic if we were gonna see it. We ended up walking out through the Grand Californian, which is such a spectacular hotel! We spent a little time there in 2001, and if I had the money, I'd stay there in a heartbeat! We weren't able to get hand stamps as we exited, but we were assured that it wouldn't be a problem.

Well, we obviously weren't the only people who had that idea. The entry plaza was PACKED with people trying to get into Disneyland, so we had to wait forever to even get in! Then Main street was packed to the gills with people waiting for the fireworks to start, and we had to hustle through them too. I wanted to get a little something sweet from the bakery, so I popped in there right as the fireworks started. I ended up with two Mickey shaped cookies and two glasses of water for Kevin and myself. When the fireworks were over, the bakery became overwhelmed with people flooding in for snacks...glad I got in there when I did!

We met back up with Kevin, who had waited outside while I got the cookies, and went over to New Orleans square to stake out a spot for Fantasmic. Being locals, Sean and Pamela knew a great spot to watch from that offered a great view, and that no one was already occupying! The show was great as always, and we had a great view. The two Fantasmics both seem to have their pros and cons, which I figure makes them just about equal. The seating in Florida is much better and more organized, with every seat having a good view. But Disneyland's use of the Columbia, and the added Pinocchio scene are really nice touches. Equally good in different ways, I'd say.

After the show, once again everything was closed, so we headed out. Sean offered to drive us back to our hotel, and we gladly took him up on his offer since we were both extremely tired. He didn't even make us walk all the way to the car...he went and got the car and picked us up near the escalator! What a nice guy! I was pretty wiped out by the time I got back to the hotel, so we both crashed as soon as we got there.

Monday, September 4th

This was the morning that we were eligible for early entry because we purchased the three day park hopper pass. Because of the very long day the day before, I wanted to sleep in. Kevin, however, was up bright and early like his normal self, and was out the door without even waking me up.

I got up at about 9:00am, and took my time in getting ready. I got a few things rearranged in preparation for leaving the next day, then grabbed some breakfast. I brought it back to the room and ate while I chatted with my mom for a while. She told me that Steve Irwin had died that morning, which was horrible news, but not news that really surprised me. After breakfast, I showered, got dressed and headed for the park, not even worrying about drying my hair.

I called Kevin slightly before I arrived, and he was just about to go inside the Disneyland - The First 50 Years movie, so I said I would just meet him at the exit. Once I got to the park, the movie had just started so I wandered around Main Street a bit. I went up into the train station to get some photos, watched a couple of penny movies in the arcade, then browsed the gift shop at the exit of the movie.

Once I met up with him, our first ride was the Jungle Cruise. While we waited, he said that he'd ridden everything in Fantasyland, most things in Tomorrowland and lots of other stuff during his early entry time! I really wish I could have drug myself out of bed, but I figured that I'd be toast by the end of the night if I didn't get enough sleep. The Jungle Cruise was the same as always, excepting the new piranha scene. It was a nice touch, but not one that really altered the "classicness" of the ride.

Leaving Adventureland, we decided to take a ride on the Sailing Ship Columbia. We had neglected to ride the Columbia on the last trip, so it was a priority this time. As we rode, we spotted the canoes...the only Disneyland attraction that I don't care to do again! I was exhausted after riding them on the last trip! I thought the below decks displays on the Columbia were really cool, and our pirate guide did a great job too! I wish we'd gotten a chance to ride the Mark Twain, but we didn't end up having the time. Again, one more reason to come back!

Kevin wanted to check out the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show in the Diamond Horseshoe, and since one was coming up soon, we decided to go over there and have lunch before the show. I didn't like the looks of anything on the Diamond Horseshoe menu, so I headed next door to Rancho del Zocalo. I'd heard great reviews of this restaurant, and now I can give one too! After oogling at a man in line who was wearing a kilt, I got a chicken taco salad, and took it back to the Diamond Horseshoe to eat. Kevin had found a table near the back of the main floor, and soon it was show time.

Hearing the description of the show, I wasn't terribly interested in seeing it. I find a lot of comedy of that genre to be pandering and stereotypical, but I didn't feel that way about this show at all. I had a blast! I loved the bit where the main Billy puts in the fake teeth and plays Devil Went Down to Georgia...hilarious! I will most definitely find time in any future Disneyland trip to see these guys perform again!

After the show, we went back into Fantasyland to ride the Storybookland Canal Boats since that was one of the only things there that we hadn't done. While on the ride, we noticed that the Casey Jr. Circus Train was running...it was supposed to be in rehab when we were there, but I guess not. We never got around to riding it though. I don't find the canal boats to be that thrilling of a ride, but since it's the only one like it, I'm sure I'll ride it every time I'm there.

Kevin had been excited to take in a showing of the Snow White musical since that day was the last day it was ever being performed. A show was just about to start when we arrived, so we got seats towards the rear of the theater. Snow White is one of my favorite Disney movies, so I enjoyed the show, but I'm not too sad to see it go. It was good, but not something I'd probably make time for again. Animazement...now *that* was a great show!

We headed back into Toontown again after the show, and got Fast Passes for Car Toon Spin. The standby line said an hour, I think, but the Fast Passes were only for half an hour later. So we wandered around a little bit, reliving a few funny moments from the trip in 2001. Kevin played with the talking mailbox, I got a barbell dropped on my foot, Kevin prank called Minnie Mouse, then decided to get in line to meet Mickey. We hadn't found him in either park yet, and you just have to get Mickey hug when you're at Disneyland! His house was so cute...I don't recall going through it last time...and the wait wasn't all that bad.

After getting our hug and our picture with the Big Cheese, we perused the main gift shop, where we each made some small souvenir purchases. I got a nice photo album, some stickers and some magnets, and Kevin bought a few odds and ends. By the time we were done, our Fast Passes were valid.

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