The book of Make Believe: The new Coaster Gospels (Pt 2, Ch 1)

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Friday, March 18, 2005 2:20 AM
Subtitle: Tekno & Jamaal's SoCal Solace Vacation

3-8-05

Its kinda odd. After getting back, I was talking to my sister on the phone, who has been to Disney World. I've yet to go to Florida, but when asking me about Disneyland, she mentioned that she always had this idea that Disneyland was old, rundown, and not very nice.

Whats odd is that I always felt the same way. Esp. after reading the one of the reasons Walt build Disney World was because he wasn't very happy with motel/hotels and fast food joints going up around Disneyland in Cali.

But Anaheim was a very nice place, and I was overly impressed with Disneyland. If Disney World is as good as this (and I've heard it is better), then I'm gonna be happy come October...

So after day one, we went to bed early, so naturally I woke up fairly early. Seven A.M. early. Not usual for me. Actually, at 7am in my normal life, I'm just getting off of work and going home. So I asked Jamaal if he wanted to join me for breakfast at the Denny's across the parking lot. He declined, opting to sleep longer instead, but I told him I'd get him some breakfast.

I was going to call Tina (coasterqueen) and Bill (rollergator) and ask them if they wanted to join me, since they were staying at Motel 6 as well, but it was early, and I figured I'd just call them after breakfast. so I got ready and traipsed my way over to eat.

While eating, I made sure to call Jamaal's sister (3 hours ahead of us) since we couldn't get her on Monday, just to let her know we were okay.

After getting something to go for Jamaal, I headed back across the parking lot. It was getting close to 8:30am, and Disney opened at 10, I wanted to be there at or near opening. So I let Jamaal get ready and let him eat as I watched the morning news (nothing new for me, I usually switch between east and west coast news at home, since we have satellite). Then I called Tina.

She said that once they got ready, they'd come down, since I still had yet to meet Billy-gator, who was as anxious to finally meet face to face as I was. So, a few minutes later, as we were readying to leave, I get a call from Tina; "Hey, what room did you say you were in again?" "Um, 315, I thought I told you." "Well we're outside the door" Clint opens the door..."No you're not" followed by hysterical laughing on the other end.

"Oh my, we must be at different Motel 6s!". "Are you at the one in Anaheim, Tina?" "No, we're near Knott's Berry Farm, 7 miles away!".

So there went our morning meet. We were so sure the entire time that we were at the same motel,
when we were really a few miles apart, us near Diseny, them by Knott's. So we decided to meet at
Disneyland later in the day, Tina and Bill were meeting up with Jodi (coastermom), the SoCal ACE rep.

Just before 10am we were finally ready. I had ordered special 1 day park hopper tickets for us for $54 a piece, and almost didn't get them in time. We got them the afternoon right before we left, thankfully. So other than parking, we were already set to go. So we got directions to Disney, got a little turned around, but a few minutes later were entering the Anaheim Resort, with Disneyland & DCA as the centerpiece.

We paid our $10 for parking and headed to the parking building. So far, everything was up to the standards that I had heard from Disney. During the drive, you finally come upon Disneyland/DCA, and see the Tower of Terror and Maliboomer. It was another exciting moment, much like seeing Cedar Point from the causeway for the first time.

After parking, we went down and hopped a tram to the front gate. The front gates were simply Impressive! Downtown Disney was straight ahead, with DCA to the left and Disneyland to the right. It was just after 10am, and everyone had given me the advice to go to DCA first, since we probably wouldn't spend too much time there. How wrong that was! We got into DCA quickly, and headed straight towards the Sun Wheel.

Sun Wheel-
The Sun Wheel is based on Deano's Wonder Wheel at Coney Island, in NYC and was built by Intamin AG. I was excited to see the swinging cars in motion. This was defintly the lowest capacity ride in the park, and the line showed that. The Sun Wheel coulda been a lot of fun, but it was just too slow, and it had to stop 2 times during the continuous cycle for scared kids and the like. Woulda, shoulda, coulda been funner. Oh well. I wasn't upset.

So after the Sun Wheel, we were close to Maliboomer, a 3 tower S&S shot tower complex. This was wonderful! The wait wasn't long at all, even with only one Tower running. Actually, so far, the park was fairly dead.

Maliboomer-
I had been on Power Tower at Cedar Point, but I was so nervous that, though it was fun, I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I knew what to expect with Maliboomer, however. This was wonderful! The air pop at the top was great. Even with the annoying 'Scream Shields', the ride was fun, and would be worth 2 more re-rides later in the day.

So we got off of Maliboomer and wandered around Paradise Pier towards California Screamin'. This was a very nice section of the park. In fact, it could fool you into thinking you were at a small sea side park at the beach. Very nice, clean, and friendly people. But enough of that, it was time for some more Intamin Goodness, this time in the form of a coaster...

California Screamin'-
This was Number 96. The line was slightly long. We quickly got a fast pass for later, since Moosh gave us the secret on how to exploit those. Then we got in line. They were running, I believe, a green, yellow, and either orange or red train. Maybe the were running orange and red, and not yellow. I don't know. But the line was about 20 min., like that all day. After getting in the station (they were running only one side of that as well), we were put on near the back.
We made our way down to the launch area. One thing I noticed was that the soundtrack was also not playing. Oh well. The launch came, which was a nice launch. The coaster was very smooth, and I liked how the LIM lift had the sound of a chain lift to it. It was a fun coaster, not my favorite of the trip, but definitly good and worth a few rides. No headbanging, the loop was cool. I'd rate it above average. Points on the launch and theming to a woody.

So we had our ride and our fast pass on Screamin'. What next? Another quick go on Maliboomer.

We were put in the same seats, facing the park. I really loved this ride. While walking back thru Paradise Pier, it was time for another coaster. Mulholland Madness was close by, and the only other credit in California Adventure. Even though Jamaal was going to opt out at first, since he said it looked like a kiddie coaster, I explained to him that wild mouse coasters scare me still, and that it was for adults. The fast pass was not available on this, the line was a little long, but we got on. Capacity was good on this ride, however.

Mulholland Madness-
Defintly tamed down, but still a really fun mouse. The theming is cool and the ride is normal wild mouse. We were in the front of our car. There isn't much to say, after a point it is just another wild mouse. I still love 'em, they still kinda scare me. 'Nuff said.

So we headed thru the Golden State, past Sunshine Plaza, and into Hollywood Pictures Backlot. We went into the Disney Animation building, but nothing much was going on at the moment, so it was on to the next thing I came to Disney for, Tower of Terror. The scenery beside Aladdin's theater was another forced perspective that was done very well again. So we rounded the street towards the 'Hollywood Tower Hotel'. We got a fast pass for Tower of Terror first, before getting in line, which, again, was very short. It was nearing noon, and still the park was pretty emtpy.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror-
Flippin Awesome! If the Florida version has more and is 'better', then I need to get my behind to Florida before the end of the year! The tower looked really cool. We saw it from the road outside of the park, and I couldn't tell if it was anothe hotel, or Tower of Terror till we got closer. We waited a couple minutes and were led into the first room of the preshow. The effects of lightning and the 'Twilight Zone' episode showing the story were both really cool. The boiler room was nicely themed as well. After a few minutes wait, we were led to our elevator. I must
say, the special effects that did make it to the California version were impressive. The room turning to a field of stars, everything was cool. I won't give away any suprises, but the first drop cought me off guard, and I was out of my seat almost every drop. This was better than Maliboomer! This was definitly my favorite ride of the trip. I even liked it better than all of the coasters I rode, and some of them will be ranked highly up there! We were in the back row, I was on the end, and the ride just flippin' rocked my sox! Blissful!

Whew! That was incredible. So after Tower of Terror, we went back to the Animation building and explored it some more, going thru a few rooms and shows in there. It was a nice break, I higly recommend it for any Disney buffs, and espicially artist. Jamaal & I were both Art Honor students, so it was right up our alley. Then we headed to Muppet Vision 3D. I had seen a lot of this as a younger kid, I was interested to see what it was really like.

Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3D-
I'm thinking this is just like the one in Florida, but I have no confirmation on that. It was cute, I enjoyed it, esp. the sitting down part. Moosh said it was about 10 minutes too long, and he was half right. It lasted about 5 minutes longer than I had the attention span for. But it was nice to finally see it. Still a better 3D movie than most.

We were getting hungry, so we headed over to see what the line for Grizzly River Run, and to find some food along the way. Then I remembered one thing Moosh had said to do as soon as we got into the park, just before the Sun Wheel, which I had forgotten: Get a fast pass for Soarin' over California. Oh my! I know wait times on this are outrageous, so we went to get our fast pass, only to find no line at all! Yippee!

Soarin' over California-
Soarin' was another awesome experience. I really like that Disney can take things like this and make them into a successful ride. We didn't get into the seats we had been told to ride, so there were feets hanging down above us, but it was still a lot of fun. The ride carriage was interesting to say the least, and it was nice to see some of California that I still have yet to venture to. Overall another winner at Disney's California Adventure. Now when does Soarin' over Florida open?

There was a burger joint, the Test Pilot Grill, right beside Soarin' which is where we decided to eat. The touch screen was interesting, and the food was rather good. Jamaal was kinda tired, his sugar was acting up, and he doesn't like to get wet, so I went over to see if I could get in line for Grizzly River Run.

Once getting there, I realized that I needed a fast pass, as the line was too long to make Jamaal wait on me, so unbeknownst to me, I took the long way around back to the Pilot's Grill to get my ticket for a fast pass. After getting back, however, the Fast Pass was closed, but there was a single rider line...

Grizzly River Run-
Yay single rider lines! More rides/parks need this for sure. I got in the line and got right on a raft for the ride. Best Freakin Rapids Ride. Ever! It was very nicely themed, all the way thru. The first drop got me kinda wet, and the last drop finished the job. But it was a blast,
the day was rather warm, so it was okay, and I love water rides. This is my new favorite rapids ride!

Okay, so I was drenched, but we needed to get to Disneyland. So, just before we left California Adventure (it was about 2pm by this point), we used our Fast Passes for Tower of Terror. Another excellent ride, which I could go on and on about again, but I'll spare you. At one point, however, I was out of my seat once as soon as the drop started, and never touched my seat thru the whole drop/ascent/drop sequence. It was definitly the best air I've ever had!

So it was time for a break from California Adventure, so I called Tina. They were in line for 'it's a small world', so she told us to meet her in front of the Castle. So we left Disney's California Adventure and headed to the one, the only, the origional...Disneyland!

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Friday, March 18, 2005 9:32 AM
Disneyland was a pleasant surprise, ESEPECIALLY the Indiana Jones attraction. WILD!

The Motel 6 confusion was a classic "moment". I knew something was up when we went to the front desk to see if you had checked in....."Um, no, there is no Mr. Beavers registered". We got kind of worried.

Oh well, it was funny, and I am glad we finally met up with you guys later on. It was great to hang out with you guys that day and on and off throughout that crazy week!

-Tina

*** Edited 3/18/2005 2:35:48 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

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Friday, March 18, 2005 10:27 AM
I'll comment more later.... but for now, I wanted to make sure this little kernel of wisdom got repeated, even SHOUTED from the rooftops: "Yay single rider lines! More rides/parks need this for sure."

:)

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Friday, March 18, 2005 10:41 AM
FYI, I'm pretty sure the Sun Wheel is Vekoma, not Intamin.
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Friday, March 18, 2005 11:35 AM
Right on. I'm glad you liked DCA. I really like the park (the short lines help too). It could stand to be a bit bigger, but it's a lot of fun.
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Friday, March 25, 2005 11:36 PM
Just returned from my first visit to Disneyland as well. Of course, I've only been to the Disney's during Easter week (a glutton for punishment, I am) so we encountered LARGE crowds, even at DCA. Just the same, a three day hopper served us well. The only thing we missed that most would consider a "must-do" is Splash Mountain.

So, DCA. First, the MGM Studios ToT is superior, although not by that much. The Cali version is much more straight forward - the ride vehicle doesn't move horizontally, BUT, that is significant. Much more disorienting and creepy when the elevator car moves forward! Sweet air!

California Screamin' (#142) was a blast! Didn't realize until I read it just this morning that it's the second longest coaster in the US. It's a long ride and well worth the 50 minute waits. Running all four trains, the line never stopped moving. Rode once in the fourth row, another time three rows from the back (assigned seating) and both were equally fun.

Why wait? Well, FastPass was out before 2:00 p.m. for both Screamin' and Soarin'. Park was open 10 am - 10 pm.

The Aladdin show was probably the best theme park show I've ever seen. Soarin over California was unbelieveable, especially the first time. When the clouds break at the beginning, the visual just takes you're breath away. Smelled the pine but no orange scent wafting through.

Dinner at Ariel's Grotto, outside on the veranda, corner table, by the gazebo? Amazing view of the lights of Paradise Pier. Food wasn't bad either.

No Grizzly. Too cold for my tastes. Temps barely in the 60's all week and folks were getting drenched.

Nice park. I know it takes some shots from Disneyphiles and the SoCal locals but a day well spent from my perspective.

But on days like Monday, when the Easter crowds are in full force, strollers and grade schoolers everywhere, the one way into and out of Hollywood Backlot was a disaster, especially when the Aladdin show lets out. Hit ToT early or late on crowded days.

Heading to San Francisco next month for a week long conference and looking forward to arriving early and staying late to check out a couple of NorCal parks.

Until then, just California dreamin on such a winter's day (it's snowing in Chicago!!).

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