Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trip Report Pt. 4: Early morning at Disneyland!

I rarely visit Disneyland during the summer; the heat and the crowds are not a particular draw for me. However, the recently added bonus of an early morning entry for Annual Passholders was enough of a perq to get me on the train back to Anaheim in the middle of an August heatwave. As you can see, it was the crack of dawn when I lined up at the security checkpoint. There was actually somebody in line ahead of me; a gent from Canada who decided to get up early and attempt to get some fast passes for his sleeping family.

A view of the entrance that you rarely see. Not a soul in sight.

My "strategy" for the day was to hit Tomorrowland. It had been awhile since I'd spent much time there, so with one hour of play time before the swarms arrived, I decided to use that to my advantage. Despite my strategy, I had to stop along the way to snap a few Main Street shots without guests.

Thanks to the early entry, I was able to walk onto Star Tours. Thanks, R2D2!

Snapped a few more guest-free shots:

Paid homage to the Moonliner tribute, which was a totally unnecessary (but very cool) set piece that was erected in honor of one of the most beloved attractions of the past.

Walked right onto Space Mountain:

As I was exiting Space Mountain, I realized that I hadn't been on The Matterhorn since its refurbishment. Here was my opportunity to bypass the lines! How does it look? Absolutely spectacular!

I can't get on the attraction yet; I need to photograph these cool light fixtures!

How does it ride? Fortunately, I had the front seat of the new vehicles. The poor guests behind me pretty much had their knees in their faces, and complained about the cramped spaces. The attraction seemed just as jerky in its movement, but it seemed to go much slower. Good for taking photographs:

But definitely lowers the thrill factor.

Back into Tomorrowland, Stacy & I played a round with Buzz.

Stacy was the 2nd highest score of the day, just shy of 1 million.

She's unbelievable at Buzz.

Next up was Peter Pan, which required a shot of the Castle on the way:

New Orleans Street sparkled, waiting for the first slew of guests to eat Mickey Pancakes at The Riverbelle Terrace Restaurant.

The Mark Twain was still docked, not quite ready to take its first spin around the Rivers of America:

The golden flowers with white highlights looked beautiful in New Orleans Square:

There were only two others wandering through the streets of New Orleans Square:

An empty Pirates of the Caribbean:

Which provided Stacy & I the rare opportunity of having our own boat through the attraction. I decided to enjoy it and put the camera back in the bag.

The last shot for this trip report shows the Treehouse with The Dream Suite peering out of the background.

With a train to catch and the crowds starting to trickle in, it was time for me to head home. Hope you enjoyed this trip report as much as I enjoyed experiencing it.

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter and view my most recent photos on Flickr. See more vintage and current Disneyland/DCA photos on my Disneyland web pages.


Thufer said...

These are just wonderful. Oh, how many early morning(?). That shot of the entry tunnel (west) with the newsstand prior to opening is just calling me so strong.
I also enjoyed all the empty seating along the Rivers; talk about a table with a view.
Excellent; TY very much.

Davelandweb said...

AP's got one early entry for Disneyland and one for DCA. It was a nice bonus and allowed me to enjoy some things without long lines, and gave me some extra time to set up my shots!

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, amazing pictures of Harold!

K. Martinez said...

Dave - How tall are you? I'm 6'4 and found it very painful and cramped, however I didn't get to ride the front seat. I was in the last seat.

And yes, I agree, it seems they have slowed down the bobsleds quite a bit.

BTW, Beautiful Matterhorn interior shots!

Davelandweb said...

I'm 6'; it was somewhat cramped even in the front seat, but no worse than the old cars. However, the seats behind the front seat seem to have less legroom; I can imagine at 6'4" that it would be a less than comfortable ride for you!

Anonymous said...

Spectacular pics, thank you so much.

Matterhorn is over-the-top, but simple ones like the reverse view of the Pirate entrance. Wow, what a rush of good memories came with that one.

Thank you Dave.


Knott'sAfterDark said...

Nice interior shots of the Matterhorn! I admire your bravery to have your camera out during that rough ride!

K. Martinez said...

Thanks for answering Dave. Maybe next time I visit I'll have to find a way to get the front seat.

Todd said...

Dude...awesome pics!! I am headed there in October (Columbus day weekend...that's just the way it worked out). Cannot wait to see some of this stuff. I will be sure to post my impressions...when I am not posting on other random collectibles!!

The Dismal Trader said...

I'm glad I finally found your blog.. Been following your website for years and I'm not sure why it took so long for me to realize you have a blog! Being so far away from Disneyland isn't so bad when I'm getting such fantastic daily pictures in my blogger reading list!! Thanks for making me feel less home sick!

Davelandweb said...

Knott's: My camera strap was wrapped around my wrist a few times!

Todd: You'll be just in time for all the Halloween stuff!

Dismal: Welcome to the blog!