Sunday, September 08, 2013

Trip Report: Disneyland Half Marathon and Fantasyland

Last Sunday's Half Marathon really kicked my #$%. Even though the race started at 5:30am, the temperatures and humidity were already well on the way to misery-town. By mile 8, I knew I was toast...right about the time actress Allison Sweeney ("Days of Our Lives" and "The Biggest Loser") sprinted by me. On the plus side, there seemed to be more water stations, which were very welcome this time.

The finish line could not have arrived soon enough. Disney has no control over the heat, but as far as the rest of the race goes, I was fairly disappointed there as well. With the registration fee hitting an all-time high of $175, obviously the expectations went up, too. The first few years of the race, the Monorail came out at the starting line, filled with costumed characters that cheered participants on. While running through the park, the Mark Twain or the Columbia were brought out to encourage runners, filled with familiar Disney characters. Things like that make a 13.1 mile journey a lot more enjoyable. This year, none of those elements were present; plenty of cast members (already in the park for their shifts) were out to cheer on the runners. Noticeably absent was the President of Disneyland. With approximately 18,000 registrants, you'd think he (or somebody else high up in the food chain) could have gotten themselves out of bed to give a speech. I hope I'm wrong, but it does appear that ever since last year's billion dollar expenditure on DCA (which was to make up for the blundering cost-cutting measures from when it was initially built), the Disney Corporation has begun lowering value and radically increasing prices in an attempt to makeup for it. On to more pleasant things...

As soon as the race was over, I cleaned up and headed over to the park, as it had been at least two months since my last visit. That's a lot of photos to make up for!

I did my best to block the heat from my mind; seeing the beautiful blue sky and the Main Street Train Station sure helped.

I decided to take the yellow Horseless Carriage that was waiting at City Hall; my legs were too tired to walk the length of Main Street.

The Market House was still under construction; the exterior appears to be finished, but the interior conversion to a Starbucks location continues.

The Starbucks branding is subtle and matches well with the turn-of-the-century theming.

I had photographed the Fantasy Faire area before, but hadn't gone inside to see the meet-and-greet rooms inhabited by the Princesses.

The rooms are quite ornate:

AND they had some cool light fixtures!

I was able to meet Cinderella:


and Aurora:

Outside in the Courtyard, Maurice's cart was getting ready to do a booming biz in selling cold beverages for the day:

My next stop was the Peter Pan attraction in Fantasyland. For years, I had heard rumors that parts of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship were saved and reused here. The one that surfaces the most is the one that the rigging and other parts of the ship were used in the walk the plank scene. However, comparing photos of the Restaurant and the attraction just didn't match. Recently, animation director Rob Fendler (who is in the process of restoring some of the original structures from Storybook Land) pointed out that the Peter Pan line queue truly does have a piece of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship Restaurant. Ever noticed this on the way out of the attraction?

And view it in its original location:

More trip report to come!

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K. Martinez said...

Sorry to hear about the heat during your Half Marathon. Even more disheartening is the higher price and cutting back on the marathon presentation by Disney. Congrats on finishing your run.

So now that you've seen the outside and inside of Fantasy Faire, what is your general opinion of the place?

Daveland said...

K. - My opinion is still the same; Fantasy Faire is lovely, but it's just not my thing. I am sure there are children who will love the opportunity to meet their favorite Disney Characters, but I don't think the price of what was lost was worth it.

K. Martinez said...

Dave - There's no doubt it targets a specific demographic, but from what you've captured with your camera it looks very well done. On my next visit, I'll most likely just walk through the area to look at the detail, then move on.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I always enjoy your updates about the current happenings at the Disneyland Resort.

Major Pepperidge said...

I'd never noticed that the Chicken of the Sea sign hung from what almost appears to be a hook from a pirate's arm! Seems hard to believe that that is all they managed to save or integrate into Peter Pan.

I was thinking about all of the poor runners on that sweltering day. Hopefully they will bring back some of the special touches next year.