A few months ago, I visited Disneyland for 4 1/2 days. It was glorious!
It was time to pick up the pace on touring! After two relaxed days in the park, we were ready to go full steam ahead! I was ready to leave slow walkers in my dust, to rise up and claim my proper title as Most Efficient Tour-er at Disneyland!
Spoiler alert: I got tired…
We started the day by quickly stopping my parents’ room to say goodbye and then we took the short walk to the parks to rope drop DSL. First, though, we needed food. How could I defeat the slow walkers without caffeine and sugar? Obviously, I could not.
Diane and I went to La Brea Bakery for pastries and coffee, while Sarah stood in line. We picked La Brea purely because of its proximity to the gates and its, ostensibly, fast counter service. The pastries were good (I got a croissant and a sugary pastry thing to split with Sarah), as was their coffee. Diane got a sandwich–not a breakfast sandwich, just a normal turkey sandwich–because she’s an odd duck. It was apparently good, but my god, they were slow. Granted, I was particularly antsy because ROPE DROP, but I think they were slow by any standard. My recommendation: it’s a great place to grab a drink and a pastry to go, but I would not order anything that requires preparation if you’re trying to make rope drop. That said, we were still fine on timing.
We got back to Sarah just as they were letting people into the park, but they were doing a two-stage rope drop so they held everyone in the Hub. The two-stage rope drop isn’t quite as exciting as the full sprint down Main Street, but it does have its advantages. We were able to sit on a bench, eat our breakfast, and finish our beverages in the relative peace and quite of the parks.
After finishing our food, we slipped back into the pack, ready to sprint to Fantasyland. We were ready!
We were positioned on the right side of the Hub and I distinctly remember that the left side was released a whole 5 seconds before us. I assume this was a fluke. Or that Disney was issuing us a challenge.
I know some people have kids in strollers, and some people have mobility issues, but does the rest of America just walk really slowly? If you’re reasonably able-bodied, have ever walked in a real city, and don’t have kids to slow you down, you can easily be in the first 10 people on any ride. The left side’s head start was no match for our skillful speed walking!
I realize that, as an adult, I should not take so much pride in getting to Peter Pan first, but I DO!
Having left a pile of slow walkers in our wake, we blew through Fantasyland: Pan, Alice, Tea Cups, Matterhorn, Mr. Toad, and Pinocchio in rapid succession.
The only hang up was when Diane (who passed on the tea cups due to a general aversion to spinning) sprinted to the Matterhorn without waiting for us. She thought we would realize where she had gone and meet here there; we thought she was abducted by aliens. Both reasonable conclusions, you say? No! Wait for us, Diane! Your friends thought you died at Disneyland!
I know I bashed it in prior installments, but another quick word on the Matterhorn: ouch. I know it has historical significance and I have fond memories of riding it as a child, but riding it is roughly akin to being in a car accident. Little thrill, but lots of jostling. I am sure some future child of mine will convince me to ride, but until then I’ll pass.
It was just about time for Toontown to open (it opens an hour after the rest of the park), so we headed to meet Mickey and Minnie! We had not finished all of Fantasyland (sorry, Snow) but we wanted to beat the crowds — Mickey and Minnie are in demand!
Because that area was just opening, there were only about a dozen people in all of Toontown. Take that, crowds!
We started at Minnie’s house, but she wasn’t there yet, so we went to Mickey’s. You’d think that after all their years together, Mickey and Minnie would live together. Maybe they just like their own space? They are like the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera of the animated world.
We then went back to Minnie’s house, but she was still MIA. Minnie, where were you?
We rode Roger Rabbit and then played around in Toontown for a bit. I would definitely recommend taking the extra time there. There were so many fun little details, photo ops, and hidden jokes. Plus, it provided a nice leisurely reward after our hour or so of running around.
We then doubled back to Fantasyland and rode Snow White so she wouldn’t feel left out.
A quick bit about Fantasyland before we move on: that shit is crazy! Alice is an acid trip. Toad is an acid trip to Hell. Snow White is just creepy. Pinocchio is creepy and bizarre. Not that there is anything wrong with creepy, bizarre, acid trip rides, but doing them all in a row is a bit disorienting. That said, Pan is perfection!
By this point, Fantasyland was beginning to get claustrophobic, so we headed towards the Finding Nemo subs. Unfortunately, or really fortunately, the Jedi Training Academy was mid-performance so we got distracted. Disney has a lot of attractions that rely on cute kids being cute–and I’m completely ok with this! I am very happy to watch random kids train to be Jedis and (spoiler) battle Darth Vader. I was also happy to sit and drink some water.
At this point, we didn’t have quite enough time for Nemo before lunch, so we picked up fastpasses for Space and rode Buzz quickly. I don’t remember who won, so let’s just say it was me.
For lunch, we had reservations at Cafe Orleans. I had dutifully made that reservation the first day I was able, because I was looking forward to eating there so much. We showed up promptly, I gave my name, and…we were walked through an empty dining room…to the empty patio. We clearly did not need reservations, but I had the peace of mind that came with reservations, so who cares.
We got seats on the patio, right along the little metal fence, which meant that we were wonderfully positioned for people watching. That said, if the park had been really busy, I would have opted for a different table. There was little division between the courtyard and the restaurant; on a busier day, we would have felt like we were in the middle of the chaos.
The meal itself was great. The three of us split the Pommes Frites, the Monte Cristo, and the Seafood Herb Crepes. I was expecting the Pommes Frites to be great, because they are essentially Parmesan fries and when are those ever bad, but they far exceeded my expectations. They were definitely in my top 5 foods I ate on this trip, which is really saying something. The Monte Cristo was perfection but, predictably, very heavy. I would not have been able to finish it myself without feeling ill the rest of the day. In fact, even though we shared it, I still felt a bit like shit at the end of the meal. (But a good, satisfied, who-cares-I’m-on-vacation type of shit! No regrets!) The crepes were also good but not as memorable. For dessert, since it was my birthday, they gave me a free Mickey beignet. It wasn’t bad, but we had just been to New Orleans the prior month and it didn’t compare. It is too dense to be a good beignet, but if you just think of it as a Mickey donut, it’s not bad.
You might be wondering why I picked Cafe Orleans over Blue Bayou, when the restaurants have a lot in common. (And if you’re not wondering that, you should be!) Off the bat, I’ll admit that, when I picked, I had never been to either, and I have still not been to Blue Bayou, so this is not the most educated comparison. But I did do a lot of reading before deciding, and I’m still confident in my choice. First, I’ll concede that Blue Bayou wins on atmosphere, but you’re paying a lot for that atmosphere! For example, the Monte Cristo is $18 at Cafe Orleans, but $26 at Blue Bayou!! Seriously. The same sandwich is almost 50% more at Blue Bayou. Outrageous. I had heard so many rave reviews about the Monte Cristo that I knew I had to have it, but I could not justify paying the $8 tax for atmosphere. Plus, the Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans were supposed to be excellent (and were!) and I read a lot of reviews that said Blue Bayou was too crowded and loud to be fully enjoyable. I wavered a bit, but in the end it was not a hard choice. Team Cafe Orleans!!!
Stay tuned for future installments! Eventually I’ll finish this report! (Fingers crossed!)