Thursday, July 3, 2008

We're Going Live in 3, 2,1...

They say that you either love LA, or hate LA, but who cares about that? I'm in Anaheim, and about to hit Disneyland for the fourth day. That's right, The Traveling 'Toonist is reporting live for the first time, and ready to give up to the minute reports, travel tips, and answers to your questions.

AFTER I hit the parks, of course. :o)

Ciao, JOHN :0)

Getting up close and personal with a Princess

UPDATE 0: No,it wasn't me assaulting Cinderella above, but someone else was, and she remained smiling the whole time while security took care of the matter. One of the nice things about Disney parks is that the characters are great, stay in character, and are very friendly and accomodating. I only saw one incident where a princess made a face at a family, and hopefully she'll be replaced.

UPDATE 1: I'll update this with photos or illustrations when I return home. I'll also give you my plusses and minuses on my current Disney vacation.

UPDATE 2: The economy sucks right now, so those of you outside the US can come here right now and live the high life. For those of you IN the US, the price of gas has some benefits... mainly shorter lines at Disney, since there are fewer vacationers. Later hours means little or no lines on great attractions like Pirates or Haunted Mansion or that Buzz Lightyear ride.

UPDATE 3: Ran into Jack Sparrow, (that's Captain Jack Sparrow) in the Pirate's Lair of Tom Sawyer's Island. He let me in on an exclusive tip! He says there will be a 4th Pirates adventure, and it involves Captain Barbosa in the land of the Dead! Yes, you heard it here first, folks! A Pirates of the Caribean exclusive, straight from the Captain's mouth. :0)

Captain Jack Sparrow

UPDATE 4: The new ride at Disney is Toy Story mania, and it is definitely something to get manic about. 3D target shooting fun, fun, fun! I was told that people have stood in line for two hours to get in, and I can believe that. Even at closing time, the lines had a 45 minute wait. Definitely a ton of fun.

UPDATE 5: Disneyland is NOT a copy of Disney World, nor vice versa. Both have a lot in common, but maintain their uniqueness nonetheless. Disney World does have 4 parks to offer, but Disneyland has California Adventure that is a beautiful park that has a lot to offer. Also, the parks in California are not as small as you may think, nor are they 'old or run down', as I've heard people surmise. Yes, Disneyland goes back to the 50's, but Disney is a class act, and they've maintained the parks well. Another reason for you East coasters to go to California? Pirates of the Caribean and Haunted Mansion are both far superior to their counterparts in Florida. PLUS, Pirates is not only longer, but has a restaurant inside called the Blue Bayou! How cool is that? I actually had dinner while people were riding by in their little boats, heading for adventure with salty pirates.

The view from the Blue Bayou

UPDATE 6: Walt Disney came up with the idea of Disneyland while out and aboot with his kids. He wanted a place where parents could have fun with their kids, not just sit on the bench watching them. A great idea, but what did I see so much of? People sitting on benches while their kids and other loved ones ran off to the rides.

So what happened to Walt's dream? First of all, I wonder if he imagined just how big the parks would get, or just how many things there are to do there? Even 4 days wasn't nearly enough to do all that I wanted to do, and trust me, after 8, 10, 0r 12 hours in the Californian or Floridian sun, you are tired... exhausted even, and with the kiddies along, chances are they have passed out long before you are ready to leave.

Another reason? I don't imagine that Walt wanted you people to bring along infants! I can't tell you how many boneheads I saw carrying one or two month old children around in the hot sun. First off, infants shouldn't even be in public for the first few months, to protect them from colds and stuff, and second, their little heads and everything else are just too fragile to be putting them through a theme park environment. Third of all, why would you want to sit on the bench for hours on end or push strollers everywhere? Please, people, please... come back when the kids are older.

A denizen of 'The Mansion'!

UPDATE 7: I'm home, and can I please add that even with gas prices so high, I think I'll drive on my next vacation. The quality of air travel has gone down considerably. The plane I was on had the poorest air quality imaginable. You could smell the stench of the plane the second they opened the doors, and I was standing about 30 feet away! The food was bad, the bathrooms dirty, and the plane was kept much too hot. I'm sure the plane was so hot because they wanted to save money by not using the air conditioner. They actually asked us to close the shades so that they could conserve energy. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I'm driving next time, even if it's over seas.

Okay, now it's time to add some photos. I'll post some more if and when it comes to me. Cheers, JOHN :0)

UPDATE 8: While travelling, please avoid at all costs the internet connection that hotels provide on your hotel television set. It usually costs about 10 bucks a day, and it isn't worth 10 cents. The screen is awful, the graphics are awful, and the connection craps out every 15 seconds. And apparently my reply to Brian didn't even get through. Save your money, folks!

Disney's California Adventure by night

UPDATE 9: If you are going to do Disney, do it right. Save up your money, and look for deals. I've got the Disney Visa Card, and it comes with some nice perks. (I wish I could get a commision for saying that!)

Also, buy park tickets ahead of time to save a lot of money. At the door they are very costly. Get a park Hopper ticket, so that you can come and go as you please, and visit multiple parks in one day. Some parks close early, some late, and with the Park Hopper Pass you can take advantage of this.

Another MUST DO? Stay within the parks, in a Disney Hotel. There are hotels for every budget, although the cheaper ones? Well, you get what you pay for. The real benefit is closeness and ease. In California, the Disney Californian opens right into Disney's California adventure, and into Downtown Disney, and is mere steps away from Disneyland. I stayed at the Convention Center which advertised being only 1 block from the park, but that was misleading. The parking lot was a block away, but the entrance to the park was a very, very long walk. In Florida, the Disney World parks have a bus system that runs every 5 minutes from your hotel to the parks, which is soooooo convenient, that I cannot recommend it highly! No need for car seats, no looking for parking spots, and you can go from park to park or park to hotel and back in a short, comfortable ride. A wonderful service, that is free with your Disney Hotel package.