Friday, January 6, 2012

A Western View - A New Year at Disneyland

It’s been a while since we’ve had A Western View update and for that I apologize. I, unfortunately, haven’t been to a theme park in much too long. I decided I needed to start 2012 out on the right track though, and made the trek down to Disneyland!

We had to of course deal with the terrible Southern California weather. It was a frigid 82 degrees and sunny. But honestly, I’m not sure you could ask for better weather. But at Disney, the snow doesn’t melt in any weather! You can see the giant countdown clocks were still up from the night before.

“Hey Mickey, why is the Christmas tree still up?"

On Main Street, the new Jolly Holiday Bakery Café was still behind walls. They weren’t kidding when they said “Opening Soon” either. I’m told the Café has since been opened and is quite nice.

Because of the crowds, we snuck away to the Disneyland Hotel to get lunch at the new Tangaroa Terrace. The burger was fantastic; unfortunately they went and ruined it with sweet potato fries (yuck!).

The new E-Ticket Pool is now open and was pretty crowded considering it was a January afternoon.

The new Monorail Slides were also back open. They had recently been closed for a rusting issue but that seems to have been worked out.

We didn’t want to think about the crowds at Disneyland so we headed for the generally quieter Disney California Adventure. But apparently no one got the memo that DCA is the less popular park and it’s work wall lined paths were jammed as well.

We checked out MuppetVision 3D to see if the awesome new Muppet movie had any effect on it’s popularity… it didn’t, and we walked right on.

Construction on Buena Vista Street was non-existant seeing as it was a holiday, but they sure have moved right along on the project since I was last there. Above you see the new Elias & Co. store façade going up.

Across the street, hard to see but the building’s replacing the spot that the California Zephyr once occupied are even father along and currently being skinned.

But the big change since my last visit is the Carthay Circle Theater. This building is absolutely gorgeous! It’s even more impressive in person than in photos and is helping DCA look really beautiful.

To the left of the tower there will be a new bar location for guests to relax at and have a drink.

Over on the right of the tower, there will be another bar but this will be home to the ultra exclusive Club 33 location within DCA. This is the first time that Disney has made a new Club 33 location within an American park (if memory serves me right, there is a Club 33 at Tokyo Disneyland).

I took this as a reminder that DCA does have some original features from when they first built the park that are truly beautiful. The park gets a bad rap for being ugly and made on the cheap but when you look past the excessive nit-picking you will see it wasn’t all that bad to begin with.

Moving to Cars Land. Man, oh man has this thing come along! Unfortunately they’ve done a great job at blocking just about every spot to take picture from other than that evil Ferris Wheel that I refuse to ride.

Here you see the sign for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.

A peek through reveals the tractors that guests will ride behind.

Later this spring the old Tortilla Factory will reopen as a Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory and Soda Fountain. Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area all my life, this addition of a SF landmark company makes me very happy.

Smile all you want Mickey, that thing behind you is pure evil!

The Little Mermaid was a walk-on the entire trip, but don’t let the Negative Nancys in the Disney community fool you; this ride is awesome and very popular. It has an amazing throughput and thus never seems to back up into the queue for more than a 5 min wait.

I’ll leave you with a parting shot of Paradise Pier. This was the first trip to Disneyland in 2 years where I didn’t watch World of Color, but I made up my mind to watch fireworks and Fantasmic! this time around. Up until this trip I hadn’t seen the new Dragon.

The following day was even more crowded so we gave up around noon and headed north to Universal Studios Hollywood. Unfortunately my camera never saw any action because I was too busy enjoying the park. I will, however, be heading back in a few months for the opening of Transformers so stay tuned for that!


Anonymous said...

Really, can't ride the ferris wheel? The swinging is what Deno's Wonder Wheel does.