Weekday Fun at Disneyland and DCA

Out-of-town friends gave me the excuse to play hooky from work one afternoon last week and spend some time at Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland. And I thought I’d share a few observations.

My friend AK and I attended the Miner Family Wine Tasting Seminar at DCA’s Food and Wine Festival. I was pleased to see that even on a Thursday
afternoon the tasting area was about 3/4 full! There was also a very
good turnout for the cooking demonstration, though we didn’t attend, so
I don’t know if it was full. (By the way, the Miner Family Rosato is still a very nice wine!)

When we went over to Disneyland, AK suggested that we ask about using the
“Observation Oupost” viewing area at the Finding Nemo Submarine
Voyage
. The Cast Members weren’t as organized/helpful with this as
they could have been, but eventually we got in there. The CM at the end
of the Nemo line told us we needed to go to the exit, rather than
waiting in the 45-minute line, so that was nice. So we walked in the
Exit…and then stood there for several minutes while various CMs walked
by and ignored us. We finally got the attention of one, and explained
we wanted to use the viewing room, and he said, sure, but someone was in
it (the light outside was red), but when the light turned green
someone would come and get us.

So after a few minutes the light turned green, but no one came out of
the room, and no CMs paid any more attention to us. We finally asked
another one who looked over, saw the green light was on, and took us
over there and got the experience going for us. (It turns out the exit
is on the opposite side of the room, which is why we didn’t see anyone
come out.)

I must say that with that high-definition large-screen TV, I
think the viewing is actually better in the room than it is when you’re
looking out of the tiny little porthole. The narration at the beginning
and the end is a little different, since the sub captain welcomed us as
those joining them from the remote marine observation post. But once
the sub leaves the docks, the narration and sights are the same.

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Marine Observation Outpost logo

nemo_screen.jpg

Back over at DCA I watched the Pixar Play Parade with my friends Randi
and Rick. I hadn’t seen the parade since opening day on March 14 – the
following week the “bug’s life” float failed during the parade (one of
the “flower swings” actually detached from the float, but fortunately no
one was hurt), and the parade was on hiatus for almost a week
while they ran safety checks. There are a few differences in the new
version. The “bug’s life” segment has not returned – instead they’ve
added this weird “TinkerToy” creation that precedes the Toy Story
section. (I’m sorry these photos are not of great quality – I wasn’t
expecting to have any reason to take any!)

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Lightning McQueen, who originally led off the parade, and Mater, who closed it,
were both missing, too. And in the Ratatouille section, the chefs who
lead it out weren’t on stilts…and the rats weren’t bungee-jumping. In
my original blog on the parade (HERE)
I noted this: “I found the Ratatouille float a little bit creepy – the
jumping rats were ok, but there were several rats hanging upside down in
some ropes looking rather lifeless. It just looked odd.” Apparently I’m
not the only person who thought so, because the upside-down rats are
gone.

rata_orig.jpg
Original Ratatouille float – note the “hanging rats”
on the front and on the spoon.

rata_new.jpg
New Ratatouille float – the rat on the front
is now perched in the mouth of the pitcher
and the one on the spoon is hanging by his tail

On the Toy Story float the acrobatic cowboys and cowgirls who used to
swing on the high bar were also MIA – now there’s several large
“Barrel of Monkeys” monkeys hanging on the bar.

pix_monkeys.jpg

Now, for all I know a few of these things, especially the more acrobatic
components like the bar performers and the stiltwalkers, could depend on
the availability of cast, and are still part of the parade during its
busier weekend performances. But I thought it was interesting that the
parade had changed so much in just its first month!

After the three of us had dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria (review
to come, which will also include comments from acclaimed food critic “Cheap
Rick”) we took a quick trip through Monstropolis and then
used our Tower of Terror fastpasses. Maybe after seeing the Pixar Play Parade
we were on a monkey theme,
since Rick suggested posing for the photo in the classic “See no evil,
hear no evil, speak no evil” poses. That was fun, and the photo turned
out well. After another drive through Monstropolis (where Roz said
the same thing to us she had the first time), it was 8:00 and DCA was
closing, and I headed home, since it was a “school night” for me. Though it was a short trip, I really enjoyed my time with AK, Randi and Rick – nice of them to give me the excuse to get away from work for the afternoon. 🙂

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Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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