On our way out of Cars Land and on our way to Disneyland, we walked by the fast pass station for Radiator Springs. It was a little after 9 am, and while fast passes were not yet sold out, they were being issued for 11:00 pm that night. That’s crazy town.
We hit Town Square at about 9:30 am and our first goal was to get fast passes for Indiana Jones. Check that, our first goal, which was quickly aborted, was to get coffee at Market House. I do this every trip, but the line was out the door and working its to center street when I got there. And this place is supposed to hold Starbucks? How in the heck is that going to work? We had the good fortune of FINALLY being able to get a fast pass for Indiana Jones on this day. The ride was operating at full strength! So we get our fast passes for 11:30 later that day.
Subscriber meet and greet!
Just as we were coming out of the Indiana Jones fast pass queue we were greeted by Michelle, one of our subscribers, and the rest of her family. 7 in total! That’s her husband and 5 kids. Hi Michelle! It was so cool to meet them and was really the highlight of our day. We felt proud and grateful that our efforts to bring the park to everyone, and to help those visiting, were appreciated. As I write this, Michelle and her family should be on day 3 of their visit, and likely at the park this minute trying to catch a ride on Radiator Springs Racers. Best of luck to you guys! I’d be happy to publish a trip report if you’re interested.
Final ride on Big Thunder
Coming off the high of our new found celebrity status (we are but humble folk), we made our way to Big Thunder Mountain for a farewell ride. Big Thunder will be going down for repairs for about 9 months, returning with new tracks, new trains, and new paint on the mountain. I’ve also heard rumors that part of the refurb will be to incorporate some new back story into rainbow ridge to go along with the new television series that is now in production. There aren’t many details available yet regarding the television show, but some of the back story has been provided by the Disney Parks Blog. Here are some photos of the rides second to last day as we know it.
I love Big Thunder. I love the ride, I love the queue, and I love the in-ride theming. I’m very much hoping they don’t tinker too much with a ride that wasn’t broken to begin with.
After our farewell ride on Big Thunder, we made our way to the Big Thunder Jamboree to take in the first Limited Time Magic event at Disneyland. This weekend was the Three Kings Day celebration. I won’t go in to too much detail here as we cover it in another article, but the event was a bit lackluster. At least it was when we were there. I would suggest that everyone check it out, but it’s…limited time only so…
Fantasyland Pit Stop
The Disney Ninja had been bugging us all morning that he wanted to ride Star Tours, so we left Frontierland for Tomorrowland via Fantasyland. On the way, we took a pit stop for what I am just now realizing our first ride through Storybookland on either the Casey Jr. train or the canal boats. I’m afraid I didn’t notice much difference, though I suspect I’m not meant to. Or perhaps it was because we were in one of the cages in the Casey Jr. train, which makes viewing a little more difficult. But we did enjoy the ride a lot. Check that, I enjoyed the ride a lot. Neither Candi nor the Disney Ninja were particularly jazzed for the ride to begin with. I don’t know why. I think those scenes in miniature are amazing. It’s one of my favorite parts of Disneyland, and a real piece of Walt himself.
The rest of Fantasyland was starting to jam up we noticed, so we didn’t do anything else there. Instead we headed for Tomorrowland to get fast passes for Star Tours. We were a bit early though, so the Disney Ninja and made a quick visit to Innoventions. Have I said I don’t like this place very much? I’m sure I have. DJ had his usual fun, and I took a bunch of photos. Here is a sample:
There is a subtle rumor circulating that this attraction will be shutting down as soon as February. I don’t know what Disneyland has planned, but just about any idea is an improvement. It’s all third hand stuff though, so there’s no telling if it’s true. But just the same, I’ll be ramping up my coverage of Innoventions in the next few weeks to make sure I commemorate as much of it as possible. I’d like future generations to know just how awful it is.
With our fast pass time available, we headed for Star Tours and then off to Rancho Del Zocalo for an early lunch. It was now 11:30 am, but we were already starving, having had a very early breakfast. Rancho Del Zocalo is probably the most universally loved restaurant by the team at Fresh Baked. We are all fond of Mexican food in general, and we find the food at Rancho to be more than passable in terms of authenticity. Candi got the Citrus Chicken and DJ and I shared the Enchilada and asada plate. It’s so very good. I highly recommend everyone give this location a visit.
Indiana Jones is BACK
Believe it or not, it was just noon and our Disneyland day was already beginning to feel like it was winding down. But we had a few more items to check off on our day before leaving. First on that list was cashing in our fast passes for Indiana Jones. I personally have had a “jones” to have a ride on this one for about a month now. All of our previous tries ended in total failure. But to our good fortune, the ride was still working at noon and we were ready to go! When we go there, it was an hour wait on stand by and fast pass return times were for 4:30 pm that afternoon. This is impressive, but certainly not as bad as Radiator Springs. At least the stand by guests had that awesome queue to enjoy for an hour.
We made our way through the interior queue fairly quickly, which is kind of a bummer sometimes. I’d like perhaps to take some time one day to properly photograph the queue. They worked so hard, and it’s so impressive, it really deserves more attention.
Well? How was it?
AWESOME!! Ok, in the video, I suggest that it was both better and worse. In retrospect, there was far more of the better than there was of the worse. The fire effects were greater before, and the boulder scene seemed less so as well. It may have been just our ride, or timing, or something. These were nit-picks though I think. The real win was that the ride, while still very turbulent, perhaps even more so than before, felt less jarring. The turns felt smoother for sure. I’m back in love with the Indiana Jones ride again, and hope to ride a whole bunch more in the very near future.
After enjoying our ride on Indiana Jones so much, we found ourselves kind of rudderless. We had had a plan for most of the morning. But apart now from our fast passes for Star Tours, we had no plan. So I took the Disney Ninja to Tom Sawyers Island to do a little cave exploring. Our visit was quite a bit of fun, as it usually is. The only exception was that the Pirates Grotto was closed. The Disney Ninja and I agree that this is the best part of the island and were kind of bummed. But we still enjoyed our trip. We explored the other caves, did that water pump thing to find the hidden treasure, and DJ climbed around in that cage made of bones. It was a great time at just about the most beautiful time of day one could have hoped for.
Disneyland railroad to the future
We decided we would make Star Tours our last ride of the day, and to get there opted for a ride on the Disneyland railroad. For whatever reason, it’s almost always at New Orleans Square that we decide to catch the train. Perhaps it’s because of how beautiful that setting is compared to ToonTown or Tomorrowland. It’s just so inviting. You can hear the train whistle, and the red of the train juxtaposes so nicely with the lush greens around it. So on we went through Critter Country, ToonTown and stopping at Tomorrowland on the Disneyland railroad.
My favorite part of this section of the train ride is riding shotgun to all the Autopia drivers. One of my favorite things about Disneyland is the opportunity to see attractions from interesting perspectives like this. The main entrance and esplanade from the monorail is great as well.
We have now reached what winds up being our final destination. It’s about 1:30 pm, and while it is not crazy busy, things are starting to get at least a little bonkers. We make our way to Star Tours and encounter a fairly good sized queue. Normally we ride Star Tours early in our day, so we don’t have any trouble with lines. But today reminded me why I hate the Star Tours queue so much.
Reason #3 why I don’t like Star Tours
First of all, if you’re on stand by, at least half of the queue is either outside or in that temporary looking indoor queue to the left of the main entrance. That part of the queue is one of the more soul sucking locations in the entire park. There is NOTHING happening in there except for switchbacks and some planets painted on the wall. It’s a fail as far as Disneyland goes. So to skip that, you want a fast pass right? Well, yes. But the fast pass doesn’t get you only half way into the queue. You still have to negotiate most of the proper indoor queue even with a fast pass. It sucks.
The wait still wasn’t too bad, and we were in our shuttle and on our way to Hoth pretty quickly. Our trip also took us to Coruscant. I very much liked these two worlds as part of our tour, but have experienced them only once each before I think. One thing I did notice on this trip, more so than others, was the severity of the dips the shuttle takes in ride. I noticed twice that the backpack at my feet was sliding quite a bit forward as we took our nose dives. It was so sharp I had to catch it with my feet. One wouldn’t normally notice this I think, but we were sitting in the front row, which made it more noticeable. I never realized how much that thing moves!
Disneyland Trip Report
So that ended our day at Disneyland for January 5th, 2013. Our first visit of the year! It was a great day for many reasons. We got in at 7 am. We had a great ride on Radiator Springs. We go to meet a very nice family and fresh baked subscriber, and the Fresh Baked team got to spend some quality time together. Who could ask for more?
So until next time, thanks for checking in with Fresh Baked. Maybe we’ll see YOU on our next trip to Disneyland!
See also: Part 1 of this trip report