Adventures of a Disney Fan

I am so glad to be blogging again. Please forgive me for neglecting these posts. My life has changed significantly over the past couple of years and unfortunately, this has affected my blogging. But, now I’m back and ready to continue sharing my Disneyland adventures with you.

Last week, I visited Disneyland for a few hour hours and it was wonderful to be back in the park. Of course, I still have an premium annual pass, so the parking and park fees were covered. I am hoping to begin visiting the park every week or two again. And, as I visit the parks, I will update you on the latest and greatest at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.

It was a gorgeous day at the resort on Thursday, May 24th. I arrived at about 11:00 a.m. and stayed for about four hours. I strolled up and down Main Street U.S.A , as I usually do, enjoying the lovely weather and the sights and sounds of the vehicles carrying guests from one end of the street to the other. Later in the day, I caught a ride on the horse drawn trolly car. Lucky was the name of the horse that pulled our car as I sat in the front seat with the driver and an excited little girl.

Double Decker Bus (One of several vehicles on Main Street)

Disneyland was all decked out for the Memorial Day holiday weekend with red, white and blue banners and flags enhancing the appeal of Main Street.

Emporium decorated for the Memorial Day holiday

The Disneyland Band performs on Main Street USA

And, of course, the flowers at Disneyland never disappoint!

Purple and blue stalks of flowers were amazing.

Flowers covering an arbor in Frontierland

A variety of flowers near Tomorrowland and Pixie Hollow

When I decided it was time for lunch, I headed over to the River Belle Terrace, as I do quite often. I purchased a kid’s meal consisting of a small sandwich with hand carved turkey breast along with some red grapes and apple slices. I also chose a pasta salad as a side item and a Diet Coke. The kid’s meal came with a small drink. So, I got a bottle of water to save for later. The pasta salad and the Diet Coke were not included with the children’s meal. The price of the child’s meal is about $7.00 by itself.

With my discount (15% on food for Premium Pass Holders), the meal cost me a little more than $11.00. Choosing the children’s meal can often save you quite a bit of money, especially if you are used to eating smaller portions for your meal. For example, the regular sized turkey sandwich comes with a side salad and beans (I believe). However, it is priced at about $13.00 – $14.00. And the drink is extra, about $3.00.  Even with my discount, I would have paid more than I did (total cost would have been over $15.00 with the discount) and I would have had leftovers to throw away.

At the River Belle Terrace, you can dine outside and take in the view of the Mark Twain paddle wheel boat as she travels down the Rivers of America and passes by The Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyers Island.

On this particular day, I purchased my lunch at the River Belle, but I walked next door to The Golden Horseshoe. I arrived just a few minutes before the start of the 12:15 stage show performance of Billy Hill & The Hillbillies. I always enjoy their fun and entertaining show.

Outside of The Golden Horseshoe

Billy Hill & The Hillbillies performing inside The Golden Horseshoe

I also took the time to visit Disney’s California Adventure while I was at the resort.

I wanted to check out the construction taking place there in preparation for the grand opening of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street on June 15th. The Cars Land area is still surrounded by fencing and walls, so it is difficult to see. However, a portion of Buena Vista Street is open already. Here are a couple photos of the new area.

Carthay Circle on Buena Vista Street at DCA

Close up of Carthay Circle on Buena Vista Street

 

Well, thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back soon. Hope you all enjoy your Disney adventures as much as I do.

Tammie

The following was written in March of 2011.

Hello everyone,

Thank you for visiting my Disneyland Blog. I know that I have seriously been neglecting this blog and my other blog, World of Natural Splendor, over the last few months. There have been many changes in my life since July of last year, including my separation from the man I married more than 15 years ago. He moved out of the house in August and I began the long, slow adjustment to being single again. Anyway, to say the least, I have been trying to handle the change. However, this blog, as well as other projects in my life, have been on hold for many months.

Well, today I have decided to change all that. I still have my Disneyland Annual passport and it was renewed in January. So, I have access to DL for the months ahead and I have recently become a member of D23, the official Disney Fan Club. It cost me about $35.00 for the one year Silver Membership and a collectible Mickey Mouse wrist watch was included for the price. Here is a link to the site where you can sign up. Disney’s D23 Fan Club

I have only visited Disneyland a few times over the past months, but I would like to share photos of one of the last times that I was at DL.  I arrived at Disneyland early on December 31st, 2010. I had not been to the park during the entire Christmas holiday season and I wanted to see all of the decorations and spend a few hours of New Year’s Eve day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Christmas Tree on Main Street U.S.A.

Looking up at tree

It’s really tall…

Even though I arrived early, the park was unusually busy already and as the hours passed, the park filled up with more and more people. I have to say, it was probably the busiest day that I have seen at Disneyland in quite some time. I guess everyone was excited to start celebrating the new year.

The park was decked out for the holidays with a Christmas tree, garland, lights and decorations all round. It was exactly what I look forward to seeing every year at Disneyland.  Even the Dapper Dans were dressed in holiday colored apparel.

Dapper Dans

Dapper Dans in front of the Disneyland Fire Dept.

The castle was draped with lights and garland made to look like icicles and it was simply beautiful.

Castle Side View

Castle with lights and icicles

Castle and bridge

Castle and bridge

In front of the castle, there was a sign to welcome in the new year and on either side of the castle there were two large digital clocks counting down the seconds until 2011.

Castle with New Year 2011 Sign

Castle with Happy New Year 2011 signs

Of course, I had so much fun photographing the Mallard ducks that were searching the flower beds for snacks. They were quite content and did not shy away from me as I photographed them.

Mallard Boy Duck

Mallard Boy Duck

Mallard Girl Duck

Mallard Girl Duck

As usual, I had a great day at Disneyland :-)

Please check out my eBay store Splendors of Nature and Wildlife.

Tammie

Well, I’m finally back for another week’s Disneyland resort update. I was sick for a couple of weeks and I didn’t feel like visiting the parks. However, since I was feeling a lot better,  my husband and I visited Disneyland for a couple of hours on Saturday, July 24th.

We started out by strolling down Main Street, stopping to watch a band that was playing on the sidewalk. I took the photo below when they took a break to pose for pictures with park visitors.

A Disneyland Band seen on Main Street

Of course, I always enjoy seeing all the Main Street vehicles giving folks rides down Main Street, U.S.A.  We usually arrive at the park in the afternoon and miss seeing them.  They stop taking passengers in the early afternoon, depending on the parade schedule. I love riding all of these vintage vehicles. Although, my favorites are the Horse-Drawn Streetcar and the Double-Decker Omnibus. If you are lucky, you can even sit in the front seat with the driver. My son loved it when we sat in the front seat of the Omnibus. Here is a picture of the Fire Truck.

Fire Truck on Main Street

We decided to head toward Frontierland and see about taking in the show at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. We arrived just in time to grab a seat on the second level with a great view of the stage. This was actually our first time sitting on the balcony level. I loved seeing the show from this vantage point.  The show was Billy Hill & the Hillbillies. We have seen the show many times before, buy it had been about two years since we last saw it.  The show hasn’t changed much over the years, but we always enjoy their performance.  I always recommend this show to first time Disneyland visitors. The entire experience takes you back in time to an old-fashioned, old west stage show. You’ll hear lots of fiddle playing and good humor. They always have the crowd laughing and cheering them on. They also sell food and ice cream inside the saloon. So, if you are hungry, you can enjoy a meal or a decadent ice cream sundae dessert while you watch the show.

Golden Horseshoe Saloon

Inside the Golden Horseshoe. Picture taken from the upper level

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies 2

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies 3

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies 4

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies 5

After the show, we caught the tail end of the Comedy western show that was taking place outside the saloon. It was pretty funny, as you might be able to guess from the picture below.

Comedy Western Folks

After I snapped a couple photos, we headed over to the Haunted Mansion, only to find that it was experiencing technical difficulties and it was closed. Oh well, maybe next time. By the way, if you are trying to decide what rides to head for next, you can stop by the board located near the end of Main Street, on the left side, before you enter into Adventureland. There, you’ll find a board that has many of the most popular rides listed along with the current “wait times”. It is regularly updated by the Disney cast member that stands nearby. It is also a good way to gage just how busy the park is. For instance, if most of the wait times are  30 minutes or less, the park is not very busy, and you probably won’t need to rely on fast passes for the most popular rides.  Although, the park tends to get busier later in the day, so keep that in mind when you are planning where you will go next.

Ride Waiting Times Board

On our way out of the park, the parade was traveling down Main Street and the cast members were directing heavy foot traffic around the back side of Main Street. In other words, they had the gates open behind the shops. This area is a restricted area and is usually only accessible to Disney employees. However, on occasion, they open up this pathway to help clear out crowds during, or after a parade. Since I worked at Disneyland before, I was familiar with the area, but it was the first time for my husband to experience this particular back side of Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A. We were able to pass behind the other side a couple of years ago.  This time, were strolled behind the shops on the right side of the street as we were heading toward the exit of the park. The parking/mooring area for the Jungle Cruise boats is located on this side of the street as well as the parking area for the horse-drawn trolley streetcars. On the other side of the street, behind the shops, is one of the Disneyland employee cafeterias and the Disneyland Fire Station.

When we left the park, we boarded a bus to the Toy Story parking lot and we were back at our car in about 5-6 minutes.  We parked in the Jessie area of the lot this time, and our space was very close to the bus area. However, when we arrived in the lot, our bus did not stop in the Jessie area, only the Woody area. And,  because of the design of the boarding/exit area, we had to get back on the bus and ride it back around the circle area. Even with this confusion, we were on our way in a jiffy.  I still LOVE this new parking lot!  It was another great day at the Disneyland Resort!

Tammie B.

On Sunday July 4th, I visited the Disneyland Resort with my husband and step-son. We arrived at the park at about 2:00 PM and parked in a new parking lot that I had just read about. The parking lot is on Harbor Blvd. just south of Katella. The cost, if you do not have a parking pass or premium passport, is the same as the other lots, $14.00 for a car. This lot is known as the Toy Story lot and we thought it was GREAT!  Transportation to the resort is provided by Anaheim City buses and the drop off location is off of  Harbor Blvd  at the Esplanade area. We all agreed that it was much quicker and less stressful than the parking structure and trams.  I think it is destined to become our favorite place to park.

Our first stop, after exiting the bus, was Disney’s California Adventure. I wanted to see if there were still any fast passes available for the World of Color show that night. To my surprise, a third show at 11:15 PM had been added for the evening and fast passes were still available. We had to wait in line for the passes and when we got up to the ticket machine, a cast member (Disney employee) was there to issue the tickets for us. Our fast passes were for the “Blue” area at the 11:15 PM show. On the ticket, it stated that we should arrive in front of the Wine Country Trattoria between 10:15 – 10:45 PM.

World of Color Fast Pass Sign 1

World of Color Fast Pass Sign 2

World of Color Fast Pass Sign 3

With our fast passes taken care of, it was time for the boys to ride the Grizzly River Run. Conveniently, the fast pass area for the World of Color is located at the Grizzly River Run. They love this ride and I wanted to take pictures of them anyway, so I stayed behind.  This time around, they managed to stay pretty dry. That is not usually the case. Most of the time, they exit this ride dripping from head to toe.

Grizzly River Run

Before exiting this park to head over to DL (Disneyland), we had to take a walk through the toy store. My son is 7 1/2 and, of course, he has to scope out the latest and greatest merchandise (A.K.A. New Toys).

Soon after, my husband had to leave to head back home and get some more sleep before going to work for the night. He works the night shift :-(

After saying our good-byes, we were off to DL. We decided to take the train (The Disneyland Railroad) and we rode it all the way around the park before finally disembarking the train in New Orleans Square. The train is a great way to see the park, take a break (you get to sit down), cool off on a hot day (there is a nice breeze when the train is moving), and experience an old fashioned train ride. When I worked at Disneyland, I found out that the voice recording that you hear on the train saying, “All Aboard!” is the same person that did the voice for “Tony the Tiger” in the original Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes commercials. Just a little bit of Disney trivia :-)

On the way to our destination, we took the boardwalk dock walkway past the sailing ship Columbia. It had already been docked for the evening, so it was a great opportunity to get some close-up views of the ship.

Columbia

Columbia Anchor

This pathway exits right near Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, which we were hoping to ride. It turned out, we made it there just in time to catch the last boat leaving for the night. They were about to close. The canoes close early, like Columbia and Tom Sawyer’s Island. They have to close early so that the Fantasmic folks can start preparing for the first show of the night, which starts at 9:00 PM. We had a great time on the canoe ride. I always seem to forget how tiring it is though. By the time you circumnavigate the island, your rowing arm is worn out! My son had a great time though. In fact, the lady sitting in front of him could easily vouch for that. He kept splashing her with is vigorous rowing :-)  She was “Cool” about it though and said that she knew he was having a great time.

After the canoe ride, we took a few moments to enjoy some popcorn. Then, we headed over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This is a favorite ride for both me and my son. After riding it twice, the wait was only about 10-15  minutes each time, we started walking toward Tomorrowland. We made our way past the parade crowd and headed for Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port. They have a chicken pasta with white cream sauce there that we both love. It is a large serving and if you are not starving, it can easily feed two people. And, with our Premium Passport 15% discount on food, it is actually quite reasonably priced. The Pizza Port is also one of the very few places in Disneyland where they allow refills on soda fountain drinks. Simply ask the cashier if to can return for a refill and they will let you through to fill up again.

After dinner, we decided to take a ride on the Disneyland Monorail. We were hoping to ride in the front of the train with the driver, but there were already several people waiting for the front car. So, we rode in another car instead. If you want to ride in the front car, where the driver sits, you can usually just ask a Disney employee and they will tell you where to wait. If there are several families waiting to ride in the front, you may have to wait for two or three monorails to arrive before you are able to take the front seats. If you have never ridden in the front car, I highly recommend it! However, the front section has a seating area for only 5-6 people, though.

When we returned from our trip on the Monorail, we made our way back into Frontierland by cutting through the castle and Fastasyland. As we were passing through Fantasyland, I pointed out the sword shop to my son. So, of course, we had to take a look at them. He was super excited to see that they had “real swords” at Disneyland.

Sword Shop

We also passed by the dance floor at the Plaza Gardens Stage where Doc Anello and the Swing Machine were playing swing music and dancers were kicking up their heels.  So, we stopped to watch them for a few minutes.

Swing Band

Dance Floor

When the band took their break, we left the dancers and headed into Frontierland. As we were arriving and nearing the viewing area for Fantasmic, they were making an announcement that the 9:00 PM showing of Fantasmic was full and they were stating that visitors should come back for the 10:30 or 11:30 (additional show added for the evening) shows. We had planned to view the 9:00 PM show of Fantasmic, the 9:30 Fireworks and the 11:15 World of Color, so this was our only chance to see the show. We finally found a spot in New Orleans Square where I thought we could view the show pretty well. However, once the show started, people shifted around and it became impossible for my son to seen anything. He is still not tall enough to see over everyone’s heads. Feeling somewhat frustrated, but understanding, we left the show and walked right into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. There was no one in line. Everyone was too busy watching the show.

Pirate Gold. I got in trouble taking this picture because I used my flash. A man's voice came over the loudspeaker inside the ride and asked that I refrain from flash photography for the courtesy of others. Oops!

As soon as we left Pirates, we started making our way toward Main Street. As we were cutting through Adventureland, the fireworks began to burst in the sky. I held my son’s hand and directed him as we walked through the crowds. This way, he was able to look backwards and view the fireworks as we walked. By evening that night, the crowds were incredible. It turned out that Main Street was completed filled from beginning to end. We finally managed to secure a viewing area on the left edge of the street about two-thirds of the way down the street. There was a tree in our way, but we had a great view of the castle. We enjoyed the show, even though it was crazy busy and our view was not the best. It was a special show for the 4th of July and it was very nicely done. I did not take photos that night, but I did take pictures on Thursday evening a few days before. It was the same Independence Day Holiday show and I posted the pictures in my last blog, Disneyland Adventure Week 6.

When the fireworks show had finished, we quickly ducked into the Emporium. We looked around to see if the items we wanted to purchase were available there. Most items that are on sale in Disneyland at other stores in the park are available in this store. The Emporium also sells medications such as Tylenol, Advil and Pepto as well as bandages and sunscreen. Just ask for these items at one of the check-out registers and the Disney cast member will assist you.  If you do not have money to purchase medicine or if you just need a couple of BandAids, you can go to the First Aid and Lost Children Center located next to the photo store on Main Street. They will dispense over-the-counter medicine or bandages to you or your family member, if needed. They also have a medical staff on call, if needed. This is also the place where you will be able to find lost children, if they should somehow become separated from you in the park. All Disneyland cast members are instructed to take lost children to this spot if they cannot locate the parents in the vicinity where they found the lost child. Disney’s California Adventure has a first aid and lost children center too.

When we left the Emporium, we sat outside near the City Hall to wait for 20 minutes or so while the crowd cleared out. Lots of people leave the park following the fireworks show. And, because the crowd was so large that evening, it took quite awhile for the streets to clear. When we were ready, we headed over to DCA, checked out their stores again, and explored the Glow Fest area in the Hollywood Backlot. There was music, dancing, and Hulu Hoops, as well as glowing mixed drinks for the adults.

From there, we proceeded to the area near the Trattoria where we found a place in the line for the “Blue” section of the World of Color show. We got in line at about 10:45, but we still had to wait for the previous World of Color show to end. Then, we all waited in line until the crowd from that show cleared out.  By the way, we were told that all three color coded sections have separate lines. So, you have to find the correct line for your color.

When it was time, our line started moving and we were escorted into the “Blue” section of the viewing area. Once we were in the area, we had the option of entering the “wet zone”. So, of course, we went directly into the wet zone and got a front row standing area view right in front of the railing. There was no one in front of us.  It was amazingly awesome!!! We both loved the show and we were wet, but not too bad. Because it was not very windy, we just had a fine mist of water falling on us for most of the show. It was because of this mist that I was not able to take any pictures :-(  Oh well, there’s always next time, maybe from the dry area instead.

We wrapped up our day by catching the bus to the Toy Story parking lot. The wait to catch a bus was just about 5 minutes and then a 5 minute ride to the lot.  It was much faster than the tram ride to the parking structure  would have been at that time of night, when the parks are closing.

We had such a marvelous day at the Disneyland Resort. It was a great way to spend the 4th of July holiday!

Tammie B.

This past Thursday evening, July 1st, my husband and I stopped by Disneyland to view the fireworks show in the park. We arrived about an hour early, so we took advantage of the time and did some window shopping on Main Street. I also took a few photos of the windows at the Emporium. The windows of this shop are always decorated with scenes from your favorite Disney films.

55 Years Happiest Memories on Earth Mickey and Minnie Window

Window featuring Pocahontas, Mulan, Tarzan & Jan and Esmerelda from the Hunchback of Notre Dame

Window featuring The Rescuers, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, and The Fox and The Hound

Window featuring a scene from Ratatouille

Tinker Bell and the Windows to Enchantment Book

Window featuring Peter Pan and Wendy, Snow White and Dopey, Cinderella, Pinocchio and the Blue Fairy and Sleeping Beauty's Aurora and Prince Phillip

When we were finished browsing the stores, we found a place to stand in the middle of Main Street to watch the fireworks display. That night, the show was special for the Independence Day holiday weekend. It was full of patriotic music and color. And, as expected, it was a magnificent show!

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 1

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 2

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 3

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 4

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 5

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 6

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 7

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 8

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 9

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 10

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 11

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 12

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 13

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 14

Independence Day Holiday Fireworks 15

We had a great time that evening.  As usual, I can’t wait to do it again!

Tammie B.

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