Hi all. I'm Jeff Spencer, a 38 year old aerospace engineer with NASA. I've written a number of trip reports for our family trips to Walt Disney World but don't usually write reports for my solo trips to Disneyland. I'm writing one this time for several reasons: 1) I actually stayed at one of the Disneyland resorts so I thought I'd share my impressions of the hotel and facilities, and 2) this time around I was joined by a number of internet friends from the newsgroup rec.arts.disney.parks and Internet Relay Chat group #radp- friends.
Appearing in this report are fellow posters to the newsgroup rec.arts.disney.parks (radp) Andrea McKenna, Pamela Culbreth Teixeira, Laura Gilbreath and Laura Acker. Also joining us were Laura G's husband Lee Zimmerman and Laura A's fiance' Dave Scribellito. Beth Eloheimo, another radp poster, met up with us on Saturday, September 21st.
Day 1, Sunday, September 21, 1997
For an excellent trip report on our first gathering on September 21, visit Laura Gilbreath's page at http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/1975/.
You'll also find quite few neat photos of our adventures. I really enjoyed meeting Andrea and Beth! We had a great time and had a heck of a ride on Splash Mountain! Thanks Beth for getting us the 15% discount at the Blue Bayou with your Premium Annual Pass. Also, while Laura's report is really good, it's not *entirely* factual. Much too much is blamed on me...I am innocent!
Some Additional PicturesAndrea McKenna The "Hat and Glasses Lady"
Lee Zimmerman, Andrea, and Laura Gilbreath
Pam says: Oh, right. Like we're supposed to believe *that*!
LauraG comments: Don't believe him - everything I said was true!
Day 2, Monday, September 22, 1997
Andrea and I had made plans to meet back up in the park today and then planned to have dinner later at one of the resort restaurants. I arrived at the park around 3:45 pm and proceeded to upgrade my regular Annual pass to include parking. We had planned to meet up a 5 pm so I was an hour early. I headed to the camera shop at the end of Main Street to pick up some new batteries for my camera (mine had failed the day before). Two batteries were over $17! I at first thought the CM said $72, so I had stopped breathing there for a second. Whew! Walking by the wait board I noticed a 35 min wait for Indy and 10 minutes for Space, so to Space I went. I first walked through the hub and snapped this shot of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
To my delight, the wait was only 5 minutes so I ended up riding 3 times in a row, first in the middle, then in the back, then finally in the front. If you want to ride in the front, let the CM know when he/she asks you how many are in your party. You may have to wait for a short period but it's well worth it to sit up front in my opinion. I found sitting in the middle or back lets you see what's coming ahead too easily thus making the ride seem a bit more tame.
LauraG comments: Personally, I find the opposite - sitting in the front I can dimly see the track ahead, and anticipate, so I have a better ride in the middle or the back.
Next up was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Again I experimented with positioning on the ride (hey, I'm an engineer, what do you expect?) and found the back to be the best. The reason is the rear of the train actually goes faster around the curves than the front of the train. One of my favorite things to do at DL or the Magic Kingdom in WDW is to ride Big Thunder in the back at night. Woo hoo! After two rounds it was 5 pm so I turned on my cell phone and called Andrea. We met up at the shooting gallery for hugs then proceeded to Splash Mountain. On our ride yesterday, I had sat in front of Andrea and she took advantage of that to tickle and poke me. Well this time, I sat in back and all I can say is that revenge is *sweet*! Woo Hoo!
Next we did the Haunted Mansion (HM) with little wait. Our Cast Member had to be prompted for the right phrases again... ugh! Next was Pirates with a short wait. The Pirates at Disneyland is better in my opinion. I like the serenity of the Bayou part at the beginning and the smells wafting out from the Blue Bayou restaurant are wonderful. We then climbed the stairs outside of Pirates to visit the Gallery. We particularly were interested in the scale model of Space Mountain...it is *too* cool! I recommend that everyone stop by and take a gander at that and the other fine exhibits of past, present and future attractions at DL. The Indiana Jones attraction is right next door to Pirates so it was our next stop. The lack of a line looked very inviting; however, we found after waiting approximately 40 minutes that looks were deceiving. They were only loading one side so what *looked* like a 20 minute wait was twice that long. Still, Indy is worth waiting for!
Andrea had promised me the day before that she would ride the Teacups with me since Laura G., Beth and Lee were all too wimpy to do it. So, true to her word, off we went to Fantasyland. We first stopped at Snow White, since it seemed never to have a line, then did Mr. Toad. I *love* Mr. Toad at Disneyland! We got on the Teacups next with very little wait and proceeded to twirl ourselves to near nausea! What fun! The Teacups at Disneyland do not have a roof over them, which I think makes them blend into the look of Fantasyland better. It's hard to describe but the overall look of Fantasyland is really superior to the one at WDW. It all seems to fit together so well! It was now getting near park closing so we decided to try Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin in Toontown. I'd never done this ride before, having been scared off by the long lines. Well we got lucky! We got on with no wait! Woo Hoo! I like Roger Rabbit OK, but I wouldn't wait too terribly long to ride it.
We then took the monorail over to the Disneyland Hotel complex. We scouted out possible dining options and settled on Stromboli's. After a 15 minute wait in the nearby bar (we were given a beeper), we were escorted to our table. I liked the look of the place...it felt comfortable to me. We had a bit of a disaster early on. Andrea was given two water glasses in a row that still had lipstick on them---yuck!! Being the Disney expert she is, she didn't let the poor server forget about those glasses during the entire meal. She weaseled another drink out of him as well as coffee after the meal. I fully expected dessert too but I guess she felt sorry for him. Andrea ordered the prime rib, which she seemed to enjoy and I had the lasagna, which I most definitely enjoyed. They served breadsticks and flatbread accompanied by a cheese spread/dip, and a salsa. Both were tasty appetizers. Despite the lipstick on the glasses bobble, I would recommend Stromboli's to anyone. Magic Kingdom Club members are eligible for a 10% discount here too.
Andrea and I then strolled outside and said our goodbyes and exchanged big hugs. I really had fun spending time with Andrea. She's as funny in person as she is in radp, email and on IRC. I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of her family at Disneyworld in December!
Day 3, Friday, September 26, 1997
After a long week working at an aerospace contractor's facility I was *ready* for some Disney fun and relaxation! Unfortunately, the traffic on the Santa Ana Freeway was heavy so what normally takes me about 45 to 50 minutes to drive took twice that. Ughh! I arrived at the Disneyland Pacific (DLP) Hotel at 4 pm and proceeded to check in. This was my first stay at a Disneyland resort so I was especially looking forward to it. Check in was uneventful and efficient. I was booked at the $99/night September special rate which is a considerable discount over the normal rates. A note about persistence. I had made my reservation a few weeks in advance and was only able to get the $99 rate for one of my two nights. The second night, with a Magic Kingdom Club discount, was to be $148. Ouch! I kept calling and was finally able to also book the second night at the $99 rate, but not until the day before I was to arrive. So don't give up!
LauraG comments: And thanks to Al Lutz for putting the special rate info on his web site, and to Pam Teixeira for finding it and telling the rest of us!
Pam says: The DLP is a nice hotel, but the theming is nothing compared to a WDW resort. They have a neat Mickey/Donald/Goofy(?) colorful sculpture and bright Mickey carpeting in the lobby (and Mickey soap & shampoo in the rooms!) but that's about it. But for $99/nite and walking distance to the park, how can we complain?
Parking at the hotel is a separate $10/day charge so take note of that.
Pam says: Andrea and I were given *free* parking...how bout the Laura's? The woman at the front desk, when asked why she was letting me park for free said "Because you seem nice and I feel like it!" :-) (Boy, do I have her fooled!)
LauraG comments: No free parking for us...guess we didn't seem nice enough.
My room was a non-smoking room with two double beds (I had asked for a non-smoking with a king but none were available) on the 8th floor, overlooking the swimming pool. I also noted that the DLP has a whirlpool spa next to the pool. The room had a big stuffed chair, a table with two (I think) chairs, a combination TV cabinet and dresser. Inside the closet is an ironing board and iron. A hairdryer is provided in the bathroom. Adorning the walls were framed pictures of Disney characters, Donald (my favorite) was hanging over my bed. I decided to walk to the park to stretch out my legs, which took about 10 minutes. There is a nice walkway from the DLP to the Disneyland (DL) Hotel complex, where one may either take a tram to the park or ride the monorail.
I must say that I don't miss the finger scanners they have at WDW at all! My DL annual pass has my photo on it along with a bar code that is scanned at the turnstyle. I arrived just as the Hercules parade was going on so I made my way through the Main Street shops to the wait board at the end of Main Street. Indy's wait was posted at 15 minutes so guess where I went. Actually, the wait was only 8 minutes and that included the 4 minutes it actually took me to get to the end of the queue! I rode again with no wait, stepping over the rope on my way out. There was hardly anyone waiting to ride! They were actually sending out empty cars! I rode again for a third time in less than 30 minutes but this time Indy broke down! I've been on this ride dozens of times but had never been on it when it went down. After a few minutes, the lights were turned on and we were escorted from the vehicles back to the loading area. It was neat to see the attraction with the lights on, including the mechanism that controls which door you go through. Pretty cool!
I was to meet fellow radp'er Pam Culbreth Teixeira, hereafter known as Pam, Pammy, Spammy and a few other names I won't mention, (Pamella_de_Vil on IRC) at the DLP around 6 pm so I decided to head back to the hotel to see if she had arrived. Not a minute after I had gotten there in walks Pammy! Pam is a very good internet friend, however, we had only met briefly the previous Sunday (see Laura Gilbreath's trip report). I was really looking forward to spending time with Pam, Laura G. and Laura A. We had been chatting about this weekend on IRC for weeks!
LauraG comments: Should we tell them the name of the room we were chatting in? :-)
From the looks of things Pam had had no better luck traffic-wise driving up from San Diego. In fact, her drive was even worse and she had that Santa Ana Freeway stressed out look. It looked like she was in serious need of some Disney magic. Pam got checked in and situated (she was first given a room that wasn't yet cleaned).
Pam says: (but I was glad because the first room overlooked the parking lot and road, and the new one had a nice view of the pool!)
We met up later and walked over to the monorail loading station for a ride into the park. The Disneyland monorail is different than those at WDW, they seem smaller, the seating arrangement is different and they travel with the windows down. I believe they only have air conditioning in the front and back cars. The ride into the park was neat...you ultimately are dropped off next to the Submarine Voyage in Tomorrowland.
We were also to meet up with Laura Acker, hereafter known as Laura A. (ldg on IRC), and her fiance' Dave so I turned on my cell phone so they could call us when they arrived. Pam and I began to scout out possible eating places before settling on sandwiches at the Blue Ribbon Bakery on Main Street. I thought the sandwiches were pretty good and Pam appeared to like hers as well.
Pam says: Well, I would have liked mine better if you hadn't finished yours first and then watched me eat even though I repeatedly begged you not to! :-)
After dinner, we checked the wait board only to find Indy still down. We walked to Pirates of the Caribbean and rode it with a 5 minute wait. I like the queue of Pirates at DL better than its counterpart at WDW. It's not that it has better theming, it doesn't, I like it because you can actually see how long the wait is going to be. At WDW, the queue winds around quite a bit on the inside so you can be in for a 20 minute wait and not realize it. I had brought along my buddy Eeyore with me and it was here that Pam took him. I think he enjoyed Pam's company the rest of the evening. Little did he know what she had in store for him the following day. Read on!
It was in the queue for Pirates that I discovered a peculiar thing about my friend Pam. She has this bizarre stop and start shuffle step that invariably caused me to step on her feet repeatedly! She started the weekend with brand new "Mr. Clean" white shoes but by Sunday they looked pretty dingy. Oh well...she couldn't help herself!
Pam says: HEY!!!! Oh sure, blame me. It's your trip report, so there's probably nothing I can do about it. :-) Guess I'll just have to write my own and tell my side of the story. Of course, I'll have to make up some lies of my own. Heh-heh-heh.
Despite Spammy's shortcomings, I still found her to be excellent company
. Next we did Haunted Mansion (HM) with a short wait. Again, we were disappointed by our Cast Member (CM) as they had to be prompted to ask the guests to move to the "dead" center of the room. I'd love to be a HM CM! We recited the lines along with the narrator and screamed at the appropriate time in the stretch room. Woo hoo!
LauraG comments: And he would be a good one, too - we enjoyed watching him practice. But you'd have to shave the mustache, Jeff... :-)
We strolled next door to Splash Mountain (15-20 min wait). Pam and I continued to get to know one another in the queue, she's a very funny lady. I felt like I was with an old friend that I had known a long time.
Pam says: Awww, shucks! That's so sweet! Thanks!!! Ditto, babe. :-)
We had a ball in Splash though Pam did get a bit scared on the "big" drop. I think Eeyore comforted her though. Pam then dragged me to do the Country Bears, an attraction that I had never done in Disneyland. The show at DL is considerably different than its counterpart at WDW and we enjoyed it immensely. We sat front and center and had a big time clapping and "yee-haaing" throughout the show.
Pam says: You claim you don't have a southern accent, but the drawl rears its ugly head when it comes to shouting out those "yeeeee-hawwwws"! :-)
We then headed to Fantasyland, which is superior to its Magic Kingdom counterpart in my opinion, to ride Snow White (0 wait), Pinocchio (5 min), Mr. Toad (10 min), Alice in Wonderland (10 min) and the Storybook Canal boats (5 min). The Blue Fairy effect in Pinocchio is really neat but you have to pay attention as she doesn't stay long.
Pam says: We covered Eeyore's eyes during the scenes with the caged donkeys!
Mr. Toad at Disneyland is superior to the Mr. Toad at WDW. The cars are two person instead of four and the scenes are much more detailed than at WDW. The "Hell" effect in Disneyland's Mr. Toad is really good, the heat is awesome. The Storybook Canal boats were fun to do too. The scenes I think look better at night than during the day. I tried valiantly to get Pam to do the Teacups with me but she wimped out. Pitiful!
Pam says: What, did you want me to hurl? :-)
We finished up the night with a ride on Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (0 wait). The neatest thing about this ride is the "hole" effect near the end of the ride. Roger Rabbit is typically a crowded attraction with waits often rivaling Space and Splash Mountain. I wouldn't recommend waiting more than 10 or 15 minutes myself.
Pam and I rode in the back of the monorail to the hotel and nearly froze our butts off! It seemed like it was 50 deg. back there!
Pam says: There was frost on the windows! D'oh!
Once at the monorail station back at the Disneyland Hotel all guests must pass through a "single" turnstyle. This caused big backups, especially at park closing. Pam and I made plans to do the character breakfast at the PCH Grill at 7:30 am and then headed off to our rooms. It was amazing how quickly the time had passed with Pam's company. We never did hear from Laura Acker or Dave so we assumed that they had blown us off to do something romantic. However, after arriving back at the room, I found a message from Laura on the phone. She had tried to reach us several times but apparently when we were inside an attraction where the phone reception was bad. Dang!
Pam says: I'm glad to see you're still sticking with that story. :-)
Day 4, Saturday, September 27th
Pam and I met at the PCH Grill as planned and had an enjoyable breakfast. Characters on hand were Minnie, Belle and Merlin. Gaston is supposed to be there as I understand it; however, I overheard Belle telling someone that he was sick that day. Poor Gaston! Pam was seriously disappointed! This character breakfast differed from those I had been to at WDW. At WDW, a single price, $12.95 to $14.95 is charged for a buffet-type (like Grand Floridian) or served sit-down (Cinderella's Royal Table) type breakfast. At the PCH, one could have the buffet ($14.95) or order items such as cereal or eggs from a menu for a much cheaper price. Pam and I, both starving, opted for the buffet. We were visited by the characters as we ate and were entertained by Merlin's magic act. Pam and I agreed that Merlin was very good and that Belle was a major babe...woo hoo!
Pam says: Merlin was hysterical. He was dressed in a long purple robe, purple wizard hat, purple pointy shoes, and long white hair/beard/mustache. He made an announcement during breakfast: "I just want to make one thing absolutely clear:
I am **NOT** Barney!!"
What was neat about the character breakfast (CB) here was that the characters performed while you were eating, instead of just coming around to each table for pictures and autographs like they do at most of the CBs I've been to at WDW. Merlin did magic tricks, invited some of the kids to come up and help him out, and sang songs with Minnie. Then Belle came out and she and Merlin sang "Be Our Guest" as all the waiters passed by Belle showing her the food they had on their trays. It was really cute!
The buffet was well stocked with fruit, cereals, bread, Mickey waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, among other things. Also, there was a cook there to prepare made-to-order omelettes. I had a ham and cheese omelette, sausage, bacon and some Mickey waffles. Pam had cereal, fruit and Mickey waffles. Our waiter kept our coffee and juice glasses filled consistently. All in all, I thought the breakfast was good and well worth the price.
We rode the monorail over to the park and arrived at 8:30 am. We had planned to meet Laura A., Dave, Laura G. and Lee at the hub at 9 am so we decided that we had time to ride Peter Pan. I like the Peter Pan at WDW better. We then walked through Sleeping Beauty's castle. If it were not for Pammy, I'd have never known you could do this. Thanks Pam! We then headed to the hub to wait for our friends. Soon Laura A. and Dave walked up. I *loved* Laura's "Joizy" accent! I wish I'd had a Southern accent to share with her but I don't... hehehe.
Pam says: Yeah, right. See above. I've already told you that you sound like Elvis!
LauraG comments: Yeah, and you should hear "Elvis" sing: "It's a small world after all..."
We stood around and chatted while waiting for Laura G. and Lee. We waited, and waited, and waited.... FINALLY, they came sauntering up Main Street and greeted us as we all stared at our watches. After listening to lame excuses about traffic and parking we, exchanged greetings, handshakes and hugs.
Pam says: You forgot to mention the cool Air Force One hat that Lee gave you! :-)
LauraG comments: Yes, you *did* forget that! Boy, there's gratitude for you... :-) And it *did* take us 15 minutes to get through the parking kiosks and get parked...it wasn't our fault! Really!
We made an executive decision to first do Splash Mountain and headed in that direction. Again, Pam perplexed me with her stop and start shuffle but I decided to just grin and bear it. It's amazing sometimes what one tolerates to get along.
Pam says: I'll get you my pretty...and your little donkey too! :-)
I normally have my arms up on the big drop at Splash but I was threatened with bodily harm if I did that this time. I kept them down and it was actually a good thing. We took the most wonderful Splash Mountain picture I've ever seen! Poor Eeyore made the mistake of riding with his buddy Pam (donkeys, like tiggers, aren't especially smart) and she placed him on the front of the log! The poor thing got absolutely soaked! As we finished out the ride Pam tried to make it up to Eeyore by helping him to dry out. Unfortunately, she used the "wring" method which was a bit painful to poor Eeyore. The picture was so good we decided that we had to buy it. As we were waiting in line, one of the CMs noticed poor soaked Eeyore and took pity on him. He pulled out his pocket comb and tried to groom him a bit, which did help. After he finished, I took Eeyore and sat him in the sun to further dry off. I don't know if this is routine or not, but we found out that if you purchase the Splash picture with your American Express card you can get a second picture for free!
LauraG comments: It *is* a really cool picture! And Eeyore looked really cute with that wet spikey hair do... :-)
After picking up our pictures we decided to ride the Haunted Mansion. Lee, acting as group leader, guided us all to the HM gate only to stop dead in his tracks and let a huge tour group go in front of us. We were shocked and amazed! Our group quickly decided that Lee was much too nice to be leader so he was unceremoniously demoted to group caboose. While waiting for the tour group to enjoy HM, we stopped by the horse-drawn hearse to let Tig Jr. play. Soon, we were ushered in by a vertically challenged Cast Member. Maybe it's just me but I want the HM CMs to be tall like Lurch on the Munsters! However, we did finally get a CM that hit all the right phrases without being prompted. "Move along bodies...step lively bodies", "Move to the dead center of the room bodies"...ahhh, you gotta love it!
LauraG comments: Does anyone else think that Jeff enjoys HM maybe a little *too* much?
During the ride our doom buggy stopped so I took the opportunity to bang on the buggy in front of us trying to scare Laura G. and Lee. However, at the end of the ride we found out that Lee and Laura G. weren't in the car! It was some poor woman riding by herself and Lee and Laura G. had also knocked on her buggy thinking it was us! Sorry lady! Next we rode Pirates of the Caribbean. When the CM asked how many we had in our party we told him 6 people and 3 animals. He thought that was really funny, so much so that he had us tell a co-worker the same thing. I guess sometimes it gets a bit boring for those folks and any change of pace is a welcome one. We then walked through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
Spammy was brutal here with her stopping and starting! Those shoes just kept getting dirtier and dirtier. Laura A. and Dave produced a no wait pass for 6 guests to Indy, received the night before when Indy broke down, so we walked next door to ride. We were disappointed to find that Indy was *still* down.
LauraG comments: This, unfortunately, was a recurring theme during the day - Laura and Dave had NEVER ridden Indy, and were really looking forward to trying it, but every time we checked it was still down. Like Jeff, we had never had problems with Indy breaking down either, before this.
After a quick snack at the Bengal BBQ, we headed to one of my all time favorites - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! I only have one complaint about DL's Big Thunder and that is the uncovered wait queue is brutal on a hot sunny day! Man it was hot!
We then did Pinnochio to see the beautiful Blue Fairy. Here's an odd coincidence for you. Both Laura G. and Pammy *both* played the Blue Fairy in school plays! Woo hoo! I want pictures!
Pam says: Even wishing on a star isn't going to get you what you want. :-)
Continuing to enjoy Fantasyland, we next rode the Storybookland Canal Boats. Our boat driver Jeff (another coincidence) dubbed us his boat of the day! The poor folks that rode with us wondered what planet we were from I'm sure but we had a good time! The CMs seem to feed on the energy of their riders. I find this to be true often on the Jungle Cruise too.
Pam says: Woo Hoo! We were named the B.O.D.! Sam, are ya listening? :-)
LauraG comments: We had a blast. The animals (Eeyore, Tig Jr. and Baby Pegasus) rode on the front of the boat, and the rest of us screamed "We're all gonna die" as we entered Monstro's mouth, and we answered Jeff's questions, and generally gave him a bad time. It was lots of fun. :-) A cute ride, too - something that I don't ever remember doing before.
Laura G. then demanded that we ride It's a Small World (IASW), her favorite ride, or else! Not really wanting to find out what the "or else" entailed, we appeased her and got in line. You can see by the photos that she was thrilled to be there! Laura G. really does a fine job singing IASW too. It almost brings tears to my eyes even now just thinking about that Disney moment.
LauraG comments: Brings tears to my eyes, too, but not at all for the same reason. Argh. Am I going to plagued with this particular vicious rumor for the rest of my days??? Beth Eloheimo reminded me that I *did* think IASW was a cool ride - but that's only because of the air conditioning!
Space Mountain was next after a 35 minute wait. I normally don't like waits so long but the company made the time fly by. It was Eeyore's first ride on Space and he really enjoyed it. Nearly falling out twice only added to his excitement. He obviously needs lessons from Tig Jr. on holding on.
LauraG comments: It also helps to have a non-engineer holding on to you - one that *isn't* trying to experiment with the properties of gravity and the friction relationship between plush animal fur and vinyl.
It was now 2:15 pm, so we headed back to Fantasyland to watch the 2:30 Hercules parade. Lee and I were going to determine once and for all who Aphrodite was making eyes at the previous Sunday. The parade was great, much better than its counterpart at MGM Studios. As for Aphrodite, well to be honest, she didn't look at either of us this time...women can be so fickle!
Pam says: Actually, wasn't it a different Aphrodite than the one you saw last Sunday?
I re-watched the parade the next day and the Aphrodite was a different woman.
And from your, um, description, she was probably the same one you saw the previous week. Oh, and by the way, she didn't make eyes at me either. :-) (not that there would be anything wrong with that!)
And you didn't mention how much fun Pegasus Jr. had at the parade watching himself as a grown up flying around. I had to hold him up over all the people in front of me so he could get a better view.
It was *really* hot outside and we nearly cooked ourselves in the short time we were standing there waiting for the parade. Laura G. suggested that we *again* ride IASW, she claimed for the air-conditioning, but we all knew the *real* reason.
LauraG comments: I don't recall hearing *any* dissenting votes to the air-conditioning plan. I think Lee and Jeff both took naps.
Having satiated Laura, we decided a afternoon break might be in order so we began heading towards Main Street. We stopped along the way at the Blue Ribbon Bakery to get a snack and some sodas then decided to visit the Walt Disney Story featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (GMwML). I'd never been in this attraction so I quickly became enthralled in the various Walt-related papers, furniture, etc. After a few minutes we were ushered into the GMwML show. I really enjoyed this show, but I'm the patriotic type so my opinion may not be shared by all. There were elements common between this show and the American Adventure at Epcot. The song, "Golden Dream" is common as is the story of the two brothers in the Civil War, one fighting for the North, the other for the South. Anyway, an outstanding show!
We made our way back to the DLP hotel for a quick break before dinner at Stromboli's. We all met up at the restaurant at 5:30 pm, all except...you guessed it...Laura G. and Lee! Does anyone else see a pattern here?
LauraG comments: It wasn't our fault! Unlike the rest of you, we hadn't stayed there Friday night, so we still needed to check in. It took them three attempts to find us a room that was 1) clean and 2) unoccupied. We finally did get a non-smoking room with a king bed (the first two had two queen beds). But by that point we barely had time to take a quick shower and hustle over to the Disneyland Hotel for dinner. And, when we got there, Jeff and Pam were no where to be found, though we found Laura and Dave. They showed up a couple minutes later, and Jeff had a beer in his hand, so we knew where *they* had been...
We were seated shortly after they arrived (and after I'd made my way to the little bar next door).
LauraG comments: I don't know how she did it, but Laura scored us a terrific table overlooking the little lake/marina.
I'm not sure what everyone had but I had the fettucine alfredo with "jumbo" shrimp. If these were their jumbo shrimp, one would need tweezers to eat their popcorn shrimp. The fettucine was pretty good but I've had better in many places. I'd give it 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. We finished our meal and walked back over to the park intending on catching the final Hunchback of Notre Dame "Festival of Fools" show at 7:45 pm. We made it in plenty of time for the show but way too late to get a real seat, having instead to sit on the concrete. For those that haven't seen this show, there is a gazebo structure in the center of the area with stages and building facades along periphery. The action moves constantly so to help the audience keep up with what's going on, there are performers who carry and wave red flags to help you know where to look.
Before the show begins, CMs assigned to each section of the audience teach their sections when to cheer and when to boo during the show. For example, when Frollo comes out everyone is supposed to boo loudly. There are various cheers that are also appropriate during the show. Anyway, there was this lady in the audience sitting next to us that *really* got into this thing. She had this yell that sounded something like "ayei-ayei-ayei-ayei-ayei-ayei-ayei-EEEEEEEEEEE" and it was *really* loud! At first I thought Spammy was doing it so I began thinking of ways that we could disassociate ourselves from her but then found out it was the lady next to her. Whew!! After that walking problem of hers I didn't know if I could take that howling thing too!
LauraG comments: Pam definitely scored the "line of the day" at this point - she looked at the woman and asked, "Come here often?" I thought Laura was going to bust her side laughing.
We strolled by Big Thunder and saw a huge line, which is common after they let out a Hunchback show, and proceeded to Splash Mountain.
LauraG comments: Actually, I believe this is the time when Indy was *finally* running, and we got to use Laura's "Head of the Line" pass to bypass the 1 hour line. Woo hoo!!!! Laura and Dave loved it, and of course it was already a favorite of the rest of us.
By this time, the crowds were amassed for the first showing of Fantasmic! so we expected the line for Splash to be reasonable. It likely would have been but we discovered upon arriving that Splash was down! Dang! We visited Country Bears instead. It was funny to hear Laura A.'s Joizy-accented version of a "yeeehawww". Fantasmic! was finishing up just as we exited the Country Bears show. We had great difficulty getting through the exiting crowd, in fact, we came to a complete standstill at one time. It was the worst job of crowd management that I'd ever seen the Fantasmic crowd control CMs ever do...it was terrible! Finally, the log jam broke and we made our way to Toontown.
Laura comments: We actually intended to ride BTMR at night, but it too was down - don't know if both it and Splash being down was a result of the same problem or just a coincidence. It was frustrating, though.
I stopped off in Fantasyland to visit the Tinkerbell shop to pick up a headband for a fellow radp'er while the others went to Toontown. We really didn't have much time as we had to get back and find a spot for the 10:30 pm showing of Fantasmic.
Our spot, a pretty good one considering we got it just a few minutes before the show started, was on the side of the walkway between Frontierland and Adventureland. I won't try to describe Fantasmic, but suffice it to say it's the best show that Disney does in my opinion. Laura G., Lee, Laura A. and Dave decided to try to ride Indy again but Pam and I were totally worn out so we begged off and instead rode the monorail back to the hotel.
LauraG comments: Jeff was so tired he actually left without Eeyore - I was carrying all three animals at the time. But I'm sure Eeyore had more fun with us, anyways.
We got in line for Indy, and it broke down several minutes later. We were NOT having very good luck with rides that day. We decided to stick it out, though - the line was still moving as people got out of line, and we thought that, if nothing else, we could maybe get another "Head of the Line" pass out of it. Fortunately they were able to restart it, and we waited about the same time we would have had the ride not broken down. Laura and Dave still loved it. :-)
We had time for one more ride, so we made our way over the BTMR, and almost walked right onto the train. It's so much more fun at night. By then it was a little after midnight, and the park was closing. Lee and I wanted to do a little shopping before heading back to the hotel, so we said goodbye to Laura and Dave and arranged to meet them in the morning, and Laura said she would call Jeff and Pam and let them know.
Day 5, Sunday, September 28th
We had all agreed to meet up for breakfast at the Monorail Cafe (MC) at 8:30 am in the morning. I, for some unknown reason, woke up early so I finished packing, verified my express check-out bill was correct, and took my bags down to the rental car. I scoured the hotel shops for a cool Donald Duck shirt but couldn't find one. Why doesn't Disney make more Donald merchandise? I ended up buying a Tigger shirt instead.
Laura comments: Tigger rules!!! :-)
Soon, Laura A. and Dave too walked up. We waited and waited for Pam...and waited some more. Suspecting a mix-up, I walked back to the DLP to find Pam in the lobby looking for us! In all fairness to Pam (and I'm always fair and completely truthful), we both were told the time and place of breakfast via a phone call from Laura A. waaay after we'd both gone to sleep. You ever have one of those late night calls where after you put the receiver down and think to yourself "what did they just say?". Laura's call was definitely one of those calls.
Anyway, we had a nice breakfast and visited with one another some more, but too soon I had to leave to catch my 11:35 am flight back to Huntsville, AL. We exchanged hugs and handshakes once again and said our farewells. I need to report too that Laura G. was very diligent in delivering all the hugs and butt pinches that she had collected from fellow radp'ers on #radp-friends. Frankly, I was shocked that she had the nerve to actually do the pinches! However, it's obvious that she's had some practice in that area...you might want to take note of that Lee!
LauraG comments: I think Lee rues the day that I met Andrea McKenna - she has elevated butt-pinching to an art, and I learned a few things that Lee wishes I hadn't. :-) I had a wonderful time delivering all the hugs, though.
Lee says: I think she enjoyed delivering the hugs a bit too much
In summary, I had a wonderful time! I've come away from the trip with some wonderful memories. I look forward to continuing and building on the friendships that I have with Andrea, Laura G., Laura A. and Pam.
Pam says: Me too! I had a great time with all of you!
LauraG comments: We had a terrific time with everyone, too. Now don't be strangers, y'all! (Don't you like that word "y'all"? I learned it from Jeff...)
Lee says: Humph! I notice that Jeff only wants to be friends with the women in this group...despite the fact that I've spent as much time with him at DL as my wife has. I had a great time with EVERYONE (even Laura's fiance Dave who doesn't do netnews or IRC) and hope to see them again soon.
Jeff replies: Sorry Lee! You are right, and I really have enjoyed getting to know you too over the last several months. Thanks for the Air Force One hat! Dave, I'm look forward to seeing you again in the future.
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