DCA 3/11 and Disneyland 3/12

Associated parks:

This TR is done in an interview format, since there were four of us present on our week long California trip: Rob (HeyIsntThatRob), Kristin (Kristin Marie), John (Michael Darling), and Chris (Moore On). Enjoy!

Disney's California Adventure

1.) What was your first impression of the park as a whole?

Rob: Wow!

Kristin: Everything felt so magical. From the people singing Beach Boys on the midways to the old fashioned Paradise Pier, it was all surreal. Everything was so beautiful and well themed, it really did make me forget all my worries.

John: Wow!

Chris: We were told, by enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike, that DCA is a 3-hour park or even a complete waste of money. Imagine this, but this was one of our favorite parks on the trip. Sure, it is not really attraction-heavy, but we were still able to spend an entire day there and not do everything we wanted. Of course, we did play “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” three times, and that ate up three hours. And I should proudly mention that yours truly got to sit in the hot seat, only to lose on the $64,000 question, because I didn’t know the Naked Chef’s real name (I know, I’m *such* a MooreOn!). That was such an awesome experience; to think I could have won a cruise to the Bahamas…By the way, John and Rob were both in first place among the audience members at various points and also came very close to being in the hot seat. The theming at DCA is top notch, possibly the best we saw on the trip, and the Disney employees…er…I mean cast members are by far the friendliest and most helpful of any park chain I’ve ever seen. I swear, Disney must make all their employees graduate from “nice” training before allowing them to work. As for the supposed lack of attractions, give this place 15 years and it will be one of the best of all the Disney parks.

2.) What was your favorite attraction and why?

Rob: Who Want's to be a Millionaire, Play it! Man that's so addictive.

Kristin: Soarin' over California. Words can't even describe how realistic it was. I want an orange grove air freshner for my car.

John: Soarin' over California. It's just amazing.

Chris: Soarin' Over California. B1, I repeat, Row B1. Breathtaking and imaginative, this shows the potential of a simulator ride (when done with Disneyesque Imagineering, that is). I can still smell the orange groves…

3.) What was the biggest surprise at the park?

Rob: Soarin' over California. I can't believe the kind of effects used on that attraction. You could even smell the pine when you are soaring over the forest.

Kristin: It's Tough to Be a Bug was really cool, I totally wasn't expecting some of the special effects to happen. I'm sure it wouldn't be as cool the second time though. California Screamin was a lot more fun than I'd imagined, the bunny hops at the end even had some great air. Soarin over California also amazed me. Heck, the whole park was a surprise!

John: Soarin' over California

Chris: California Screamin’ Being that this is Disney, I was expecting a tame coaster. Not at all. The “Mickey Loop” pulls some intense G’s, and there are many spots of air throughout the course. What I like about this coaster is that it is thrilling, yet not terrorizing, so the entire family can enjoy it. Oh, and it is nice and long…(over 6,000 feet). The music rocks, too. I should also mention “It’s Tough to Be a Bug.” I never got into the “A Bug’s Life” hype, but this was easily the best 3-D attraction Disney has.

4.) What was the biggest disappointment at the park?

Rob: How can you be disappointed at a Disney Park? They're fun!

Kristin: I was hoping for a few more rotations on the Sun Wheel, we never really did get much good swinging action. Also, Mulholland Madness was braked painfully and pretty boring compared to what we've learned to expect from a Disney park.

John: Mulholland Madness. You'd think WDI could do a little more better with a mouse. (ha ha... mouse...)

Chris: Nothing really. I guess I remembered Muppets in 3D being more better when I saw it as a kid at MGM in Florida, and I also suppose I expected the SunWheel cabins to swing a little more. And the scream guards on Maliboomer kind of suck too, although we didn’t even ride it, so what am I complaining about?

5.) Would you go back to the park in the future?

Rob: Definately, and I want to go on Tower of Terror.

Kristin: Can I go tomorrow? I loved it.

John: Absolutely!

Chris: Most definitely. The Disney resorts may very well be “the world’s largest human trap created by a mouse,” but they’ve won me over with their service, creativity, and emphasis on the guest experience. Ooh, and their lack of an on-ride camera policy is sure nice too.

6.) What's your fondest memory (memories) from the park?

Rob: Chris getting in the hot seat for Who Wants to be a Millionaire

Kristin: Definitely Chris getting in the hot seat, surviving a Big Mac attack, and having a late night photo shoot in the "California" letters at the entrance.

John: Mmmm... the cheeseburgers on the billboard were pretty yummy.
Chris getting in the Hot Seat in Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Play It

Chris: Well, being in the Millionaire Hot Seat was sure nice. I will also remember that particular very nice lady who worked at Millionaire; I’ll say she is probably “due” for a break very very soon!

7.) List some superlatives for the park.

Rob: Best Themed
Most Family Oriented
Best Pizza

Kristin: Best smell-o-vision
Best capacity, due to Fast Pass
Coolest park entrance

John: Most Imagineered

Chris: Best Theming (tied with Disneyland), Friendliest Staff (also tied with Disneyland), Most Variations Possible the Song “California Dreamin’” Played on Midways. Also, Best Capacity: 6 trains on Screamin’ and 2 Soarin’ Simulators keep lines virtually nonexistent for these two star attractions.

8.) Funniest thing(s) that happened.

Rob: Finding out that Chicago is in Ohio.

Kristin: I agree with Rob, the woman who said "Oh there's a lot of big cities in Ohio, right? Like Chicago." Also, having that pesky Coppertone dog trying to bite me in the butt (you have to see the picture I think to understand).

John: Too tired to remember them all...

Chris: John and Kristin’s “Burger Invasion” Pics; you’ve got to see them! Also, the Caesar Sausage (you can order it in “Award Wieners” stand in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot if you’re brave enough to try it).


1.) What was your first impression of the park as a whole?

Rob: Yes! Arrow land!!

Kristin: Wow...I think the fact that it's smaller than Disney World made it seem a lot more welcoming and gave me a chance to really soak in the surroundings. It was so comforting to walk down mainstreet and see some of the same sights as Disney World, yet there were new things to discover as well. The themeing was so meticulously taken care of, everything in the park looked brand new.

John: Where's the Castle!? Disneyland is so similar to Magic Kingdom, yet so different that I got lost a few times.

Chris: What a magical place! Placing thrill rides aside, this could possibly be my favorite park of the trip, just because it really does give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside (OK, I’ll stop being a sentimental wuss now). Everything I said about DCA’s capacity, staff, and theming also applies here. Seeing how nice so many of the buildings look, it is hard to believe that many of them have been around since the 1950s. Here comes the inevitable comparison with WDW’s Magic Kingdom: Disneyland is smaller, more quaint, but with more attractions jam-packed. I would imagine the midways don’t handle crowds too well in mid-summer, even though most of the attractions do, but the park’s little nooks and crannies were what made it special for me. I especially loved the New Orleans Square area, with its tiny little “town” streets and buildings. Fantasyland’s buildings were very cool, too. Also, Disneyland doesn’t seem as “touristy” as any of the Disney World parks.

2.) What was your favorite attraction and why?

Rob: Matterhorn!!! Arrow godliness. Actually it was more better than I thought it would be.

Kristin: Matterhorn and Indiana Jones. Both rides were just fun and exciting. Matterhorn was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, and Indiana Jones was so realistic we had to ride it again just to take it all in. Go Disney!

John: Indiana Jones. Wow. Who would have thought that they could make it suck so much when they created Dinosaur/Countdown to Extinction at DAK. The original is waaay best.

Chris: I have several favorite attractions here. Indiana Jones is the coolest dark ride ever, but Peter Pan’s Flight and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride are awesome examples of the “old-school” dark ride; riding them made me miss CP’s Pirate Ride. I think Pirates of the Caribbean was my favorite attraction, especially since it’s longer and less “politically corrected” than the Florida version. And then there was Matterhorn Bobsleds…pure Arrow godliness. Sure, this isn’t the most thrilling coaster ever built, but its historical significance (being the 1st to use modern tubular steel track) and its all-around fun make it a definite winner

3.) What was the biggest surprise at the park?

Rob: Indiana Jones. I haven't heard much about this attraction, but it was really cool darkride/motion simulator.

Kristin: Space Mountain was a lot more intense than WDW's. Oh yeah, and cheesecake on a stick. I did a double take when I saw it, but I had to buy one just to say that I experienced yet another "on a stick" food item. I bet even cheesecake on a stick isn't as bad for you as cheese on a stick!

John: Matterhorn. I wasn't expecting it to be that fun.

Chris: Space Mountain. I’m pretty sure the version at the Magic Kingdom isn’t this intense. A couple of the turns on this coaster really throw you around, which is very cool! I was also pleasantly surprised that the It’s a Small World at Disneyland is not 15 minutes long like the version at WDW, where stacking boats keep you in the last few rooms forever screaming “Why God Why, get me out of here!!!” At Disneyland, as soon as Small World gets absolutely unbearable, the ride is over, thank God.

4.) What was the biggest disappointment at the park?

Rob: Finding out that Snow White ate the apple, then died, and then everyone lived happily ever after.

Kristin: Yeah, there was a severe gap in the Snow White ride. I'm pretty sure in the movie a few things happened between her eating the poisoned apple and everyone living happily ever after. I was disappointed that I didn't get to ride Matterhorn a few more times. Splash Moutain was pretty tame too compared to WDW's.

John: The Monorail system. Unlike WDW the monorail is totally contained within park gates.

Chris: Splash Mountain is smaller and more scaled down that the 12 minute version at Magic Kindgom. And, it doesn’t have the double dip either. I really enjoyed the ride, but I was expecting more. Also, I am disappointed that we missed the Alice in Wonderland dark ride, which is unique to Disneyland (found that out after we were at the park). And then there’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, in all its 50-foot-tall splendor. I really wasn’t expecting it to be that small. While were at DCA, Rob looked over at Disneyland and commented, “I can’t see the Castle…Matterhorn must be blocking it from us.” Well, once we saw how small the castle is, we realized that we didn’t see the castle because the trees were blocking it!

5.) Would you go back to the park in the future?

Rob: Yes, I still have to ride the other Arrow rides.. including Dumbo!

Kristin: Yep, we forgot to ride the teacups! But I think I'd wait to spend that much money again until DCA or Disney gets something new that really looked cool.

John: Sure, if they add something new.

Chris:I would happily visit the Happiest Place on Earth again.

6.) What's your fondest memory (memories) from the park?

Rob: Whistling "It's a Small World" and getting a beating from everyone in the group.

Kristin: Beating up Rob and Chris for Whistling "It's a Small World" all day.

John: First lap on the first Arrow coaster... mmmm...

Chris: The sights of all the little kids there with their families having the time of their lives, couples sharing a romantic time together, and older people passing the time away: EVERYONE was happy! Sure, the little kids running over you got a little annoying pretty fast, but I understood why they were so excited. I will remember the 2 hours we spent at DL the night after DCA closed. Somehow, in 2 hours, we were able to hit Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion and not feel one bit rushed.

7.) List some superlatives for the park.

Rob: Most Likely to Bring Out the Little Kid in You
Smallest Big Park Midways

Kristin: Best cheesecake on a stick
Coolest simulator (Indiana Jones)
Best collection of Arrow rides
Most annoying song (It's a Small World)
Best themeing of bathrooms (I couldn't find them!)

John: Most Disney

Chris:In addition to Best Theming and Best Capacity (tied with DCA), I’d have to give Disneyland Best Family Park, Most Magical, Most Beautiful Park, and Most Sadistic Attractions (if you don’t believe me, ride It’s a Small World).

8.) Funniest thing(s) that happened.

Rob:Finding out that 3 times 4 equals 28.

Kristin: When I was the one sitting in the steering wheel seat on Indiana Jones and after we got off the ride everyone vowed to never let me drive again, even though I saved us all from being crushed by a huge boulder. Psh..some gratitude.

John: Uh..I'm still tired.

Chris: “Cheesecake” on a Stick! Guaranteed to make you feel like Snow White after eating the poisoned apple, right Kristin? If you are walking down Main Street USA, just a warning to be careful if you’re behind the horses. Oh, and after riding It’s a Small World, Rob and I came up with an interesting new variation of the “Finger Poke” Game (if you hang around with us, you’ll know the game pretty well), in which you combine poking someone with whistling the MOST annoying song in the world, creating maximum annoyance!

Mamoosh's avatar
Row B-1? Told ya so ;)


And we're all eternally grateful for the recommendation. We rode it twice in that row, and I can't imagine sitting in any other. :)
Mamoosh's avatar
Eternally, eh? *evil grin*

"Everybody loves Moosh!" - Dawnmarie313

Ooo, you guys don't know how happy I am that you loved DCA almost or as much as I did! DCA is easily my favorite park west of Williamsburg, Virginia and it really puts the magic back into Disney. With Tower of Terror coming soon, I already think it's a fairly well-rounded park after just a couple years in operation. Soarin' Over California was probably the biggest unexpected, surprise ride ever! There's really nothing bad to say about the park... except that I can't wait to see what they cook up next! :)


It's so funny to see how amazed people are with Soarin, but then it fades into mediocrity after 4-5 rides. It even happened to me!
Phantom - why do you think we stopped after two rides? ;)
I didn't like Soarin' Over California one bit. I didn't feel immersed in the scenery of California or that I was even "soarin". The orange smell was faint and the ride itself was horribly boring and uneventful. The "soarin" effect was lost for me because my view was obstructed by people's feet dangling above me. During the ride I had a better time looking down at the floor and noticing that we were really high than actually watching the screen.

Just my 2 cents.

Row B1....try riding there and see what you think!

- Chris

I put the "D" in DDR.

I agree. Soaring Over California is one of my favorite attractions anywhere. Front row is the place to be.

People complain about clones, yet can't even come up with original conversation, which is ten times worse.

I would like to give it another chance and ride in the front row, but I live in NH so I won't be traveling to DCA for a long time. :(
I sat in the second row and was very impressed! I hadn't really heard too much about the ride, which may have helped.

In fact, both DCA and Disneyland surprised me as a whole. I like them better than the Disney Florida parks.
*** This post was edited by PT300 3/31/2003 10:42:54 AM ***

janfrederick's avatar
I agree, DCA is underrated. We had such a great time when it first opened that we went again the same summer (the second time, however, we had a passport for BOTH parks; my legs hurt at the memory).

"Know thyself!"

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