Larry and Julie were both busy today, so I was on my own--which I'm totally accustomed to at the Disney parks and don't mind at all. After enjoying the free breakfast at the Candy Cane Inn, I took the free shuttle to Disneyland and headed for Disneyland Park itself.
I don't recall this from previous visits, but each little cluster of turnstiles (two turnstiles with a wide opening between them for strollers) had a CM pre-checking entrance tickets. I don't know what they were looking for. Does anyone here know? Anyway, the CM who checked my ticket directed me to the lefthand turnstile, saying, "Teenagers all the way to the left." Flattery will get you everywhere in life, young man. :-)
It looked like all the Main Street vehicles were running; I got on the omnibus, but also saw the fire truck, horseless carriage, and horse-drawn trolley. I was headed to the Adventureland/New Orleans Square area, and normally I would take the Disneyland Railroad, but unfortunately it was down for maintenance. By the way, I noticed that one of the tunes being played over the speakers at Town Square was "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"; perhaps DL puts in some Irish music near St. Patrick's Day?
After reaching the hub at the other end of Main Street, I hoofed it over to Adventureland. They weren't currently accepting any more people for the Single Rider queue at the Indiana Jones Adventure, so I got a FastPass that I could use about 1.5 hours later. I then went to the Jungle Cruise, which had a posted 30-minute wait, but turned out to be only about 20, even though they were using some of the upstairs queue area.
The DL entertainment schedule said the Royal Street Bachelors would be doing a set at the French Market at 11:30, so I walked over there and listened to them for a little while. A big advantage of not being in "commando" mode at the Disney parks is having time to enjoy the many musicians and other free entertainers that Disney deploys throughout the day.
At 11:50, I decided to check the line situation on Pirates, and discovered that it was closed because of a problem. So I came back up to the Royal Street Veranda and got some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. I got confirmation that the bowls come from the Boudin Bakery in California Adventure. It's weird that they don't automatically give you a knife to cut the bread, just a spoon for the chowder or gumbo. I asked for one and ate part of the bread bowl, but I can't imagine how many bowls go completely to waste every day. :-(
A man asked whether he could share my table, and we had a nice chat about DL (he was there with his teenage daughter and nine of her friends; brave man!), Shakespeare (I mentioned an upcoming trip to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and his wife does children's productions of Shakespeare plays), and other stuff. At 12:50, I checked Pirates again and discovered that it was still down.
Earlier, I had asked a CM where pin traders could be found, and he mentioned the Westward Ho shop in Frontierland, so I went over there. I wanted to find out where individual pin traders--not Disney employees--could be found. Either the person at the shop didn't understand my question or was under orders not to promote the existence of unofficial pin trading, because she directed me to "the designated person" across the street. That turned out to be a CM who had set up some pins on a tabletop in front of another shop. I explained that I was looking for the non-Disney people, and he gestured vaguely towards the Rancho del Zocalo restaurant and said I could look there. Sure enough, there were a couple of people sitting at the outdoor tables with pin books. I made a trade (I had a few old pins I wanted to get rid of) and then headed back to Indy to use my FastPass.
The FP return line wasn't bad at all; I was able to keep walking until I was within sight of the pre-show room before I had to stop temporarily. I was off the ride within 17 minutes of entering the queue. If you've been on the ride, you know that a good 10 minutes of that was just walking to and from the loading area, which as near as I can judge is about halfway between Anaheim and the ocean. :-)
I checked PotC again, but it was still closed. So I wandered off towards Critter Country. I didn't feel like going on Splash Mountain and getting all wet, but I did want to watch the riders from my favorite spot behind the Harbor Galley, where you can see them just after they've come down the big drop and are laughing wildly. Unfortunately, that path was closed. A nearby CM said it was because of work being done; I hope it is just a temporary closure. If you get that way, do check it out, because it's a fun place to spend a few minutes people-watching.
I got a frozen strawberry bar and headed back to New Orleans Square. I saw the Mark Twain coming in to the dock, so I went over and got on that for a ride around Rivers of America. When I got back to Frontierland, I noticed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad running. It had been on the refurbishment closure list, so I walked over to scope out the situation. Turned out that this was a preview for Annual Passholders only, with the public opening not until Monday, drat. :-( (The CM told me that the ride had been down for more than a year, and now had new tracks (for a smoother and quieter ride) and cars, plus other improvements.
Here are two stories about the BTMRR upgrade from the Los Angeles Times:
BTMRR review BTMRR enhancements
They mention improved sound and lighting systems, a rebuilt ghost town, reengineered animatronics, and a more realistic dynamite explosion.
I decided to wander back towards New Orleans Square to see whether Pirates was open yet, and amazingly, it was! I was on the ride within 10 minutes. At that point, the line at the Haunted Mansion, which had been 45 minutes not long before, looked a lot shorter now; perhaps a lot of people bailed when they saw that PotC was open again. Anyway, I was in the stretch room within five minutes of entering the queue.
One of my favorite "hidden" parts of Disneyland Park is the Big Thunder Mountain Trail from Frontierland to Fantasyland, so next I headed that way, stopping for a few minutes to watch the lucky AP riders go by on BTMRR. I went into Big Thunder Ranch briefly to get a closeup look at a pretty Shire horse. He's very big; the CM with him said he was about 18 hands tall. I just found a posting from that very day on the Disney Parks blog that says these two Shire horses are 17.1 hands tall, which is nearly as tall as me! They're used to pull the trolleys on Main Street, among other jobs at Disneyland.
I continued on to Fantasyland and, in some burst of totally unwarranted optimism, checked the wait time for Peter Pan's Flight. It was 40 minutes, which I guess isn't bad for this always-busy ride, but I decided to pass. Instead, I got in the line for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and was off that one in less than 20 minutes.
I thought I might hop on the monorail next, but as I was walking past the Matterhorn, I noticed the Single Rider line, so I went in there. There were about a dozen people ahead of me, and the line wasn't moving very quickly, but I was still on the bobsleds within 15 minutes.
I then did head to the monorail. The line wasn't very long, but after one train came and went with hardly anyone able to get on at the Tomorrowland station, I realized that it was going to take a couple more trains before I could ride. So I worked my way back down the ramp and went through Tomorrowland to the Plaza Inn, where I got a tasty fried-chicken dinner. Tip: although the posted menus don't mention this, you can get items a la carte. So I didn't have to get a full three-piece chicken dinner.
By the way, I didn't go in to Innoventions, but I see from the DL Times Guide that most of it has now been turned over to Marvel characters, with displays and performances about Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. (Wake me when Tom Hiddleston makes an appearance.... :-))
After eating, I took the walkway along the eastern edge of the castle past Snow White Grotto and checked out the Peter Pan line again. Still 40 minutes. So I came back to Main Street and walked up to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, which I hadn't done in years. That animatronic figure is still impressive after all these years!
Having spent eight hours walking around Disneyland, I took the 6:45 shuttle back to the Candy Cane Inn and had a restful evening of soaking my tired legs and watching TV.
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Text and photos (c) 2014 Patricia F. Winter, unless otherwise noted.
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Last updated 3/20/2014