Day 2: Part II: Disneyland Again!
Ok now for the exciting conclusion of my trip report.
Since there were no FastPasses available at DCA when I arrived yesterday evening, I snagged one for Big Thunder Mountain and also one later for Space Mountain. My BTMRR FP ended at 8:15, and since I didn’t leave DCA till after it closed at 8pm, I was pushing it a little on time. To make matters worse, I had arrived into the exodus of people from WOC and park closure.
But it pays to be solo! I was able to slip through the crowds to exit DCA, cross the Esplanade, and enter Disneyland’s turnstiles in no time. I made my way up Main Street and into Frontierland, snapping some pictures along the way. I was in line when the 8:15 cutoff came (but there is a 15-min grace period so I would have been fine).
As I mentioned above, BTMRR is my wife’s favorite ride, so I knew I’d have to repeat it sometime. It is such a blast at night! I highly recommend you ride when it’s dark at least once.
The first picture here is the back side of the turnstiles. It seems that Disney has added a Frozen theme here for the holidays.
Next was Pirates of the Caribbean. Anyone who has been on the ride knows what it means when you see an empty courtyard like this - no wait! Only about five minutes inside the building. It’s one of my favorites, especially the quaint bayou scene at the beginning with the guy playing his banjo on his porch and people dining at the Blue Bayou restaurant on the other side.
I really wanted to get one of the dog with the keys outside the jail cell, but it was tricky with the low lighting and my mere iPhone 8. At least I got a decent one of Jack Sparrow.
Next I had to make a decision - Haunted Mansion or not? The line was 45 minutes due to the holiday overlay, and it’s honestly not one of my favorites. So I skipped it and went straight to Splash Mountain, which is my favorite ride and one that I wouldn’t dare miss even though it was in the 60s by then. I took a few pictures of the French Market and passed through the crowds gathering for Fantasmic.
There was literally no wait for Splash Mountain. I walked right through the queue and when I arrived at the loading platform, they had just boarded another party but were letting some logs go through empty. I was seated in row 3 with the entire log to myself. This was nice because you are much more likely to get drenched the closer you are to the front, and also a heavier log tends to make things worse (especially front heavy). I got away with a light spritzing, aided by keeping my backpack in front of me (which ruins the “GQ” look I was going for, but better to be dry) and lifting my shoes up on the inside edge of the log. This is essential if you want to have dry feet! A better idea is to bring flip flops, which I usually do.
By the way - I love all the quotes in the queue. It makes me so nostalgic every time I see them.
After Splash I had another big decision - Fantasmic or no? It started at 9pm and the park closed at 10, so it would essentially limit me to one more ride and I’d miss out on a couple of snacks I wanted. I was back at the edge of Rivers of America heading to Star Wars GE and I could see the performers on the barges getting ready to go out in front of the crowd. I could hear the music starting and see some of the lighting and effects. It ALMOST drew me in but I told myself I could watch it on YouTube later.
Instead I went to SWGE again and got the blue milk I had been craving! It’s not spectacular but for a SW junky like me it is a must-do. It’s certainly refreshing. While there I took in more of the sights and sounds of Black Spire Outpost one last time. I wish I could easily post all the videos I took - just short snippets that give you a sense for all the sounds of the land. It’s not music - it’s sounds that make the land feel alive, like engines revving, characters talking, droids beeping, equipment humming, starships blasting off, blasters blasting, etc. It’s a small detail that makes the experience more immersive and which I really appreciate.
Next stop was supposed to be a churro in Fantasyland - there is a stand near Casey Jr that is usually not too busy. SWGE exits right by there, so I thought it would be perfect. Unfortunately, it must have closed at 9pm because the cashier was counting his bills and told me he was closed. So instead I went to ride the Teacups since I had time before my FastPass and since it’s my kids’ favorite ride and so I had to send them a pic of me on it!
Next my FP window at Hyperspace Mountain had opened up, so I made my way there via the Pixie Hollow area that is currently vacant. It actually didn’t get me any closer to Tomorrowland by the time I was done (the entrance to Tomorrowland can be tricky - don’t try to take a shortcut - I’ve done this more than once! ). But I snapped some pics to show my daughters when I got home.
The wait for Hyperspace wasn’t too bad, but still longer than I’d like when I have a so-called “fast” pass. A girl passed me by in line looking for her phone along the queue. Apparently she lost it and I’ll never know if she found it. Hope she did!
Incidentally, I did not eat at Pizza Planet this time but the pizza at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta was identical to the last pepperoni, just FYI. It’s fine but goes south really fast if it gets cold, IMO. It’s probably closest to Pizza Hut in nature and quality.
I had about 20 minutes left before park close, and I had one more decision - Peter Pan or Matterhorn? I really love the magic of Peter Pan but it is a kids ride and I didn’t have my kids, so it was my one chance to ride a thrill ride without having to worry about swapping. So I did Matterhorn. That also allowed me to say I rode all the headliner rides in DLR except Star Tours (which makes me sick) and GRR (which soaks you). Also IJ was closed the days I was there
Matterhorn is actually much better at night. It helps to have the cool night air whipping past your face and also the darkness to conceal the track a little. Also, several years ago they updated the effects and installed not one, but two WORKING Yeti animatronics. Granted, they’re about a quarter the size of the one at EE in WDW, but still quite effective.
The park was closed by the time the ride was done so I got some ice cream from Gibson Girl through mobile order (no wait - why are you waiting in line, people!) and ate it as I walked down Main Street. I snapped a pic of Alice on the way - one of my favorite dark rides but not one I had time for.
By then I was full from all the snacks and I was ready to go home. My only failure was that I hadn’t gotten a churro.
I couldn’t let that statement remain true.
So I got a churro!
It was a great trip and I made good time back to the hotel.
I’m so glad to be an AP, if only for this one year. More trip reports to come, but not for a few months at least, I’m afraid. Maybe RotR opening?