Friday, May 27, 2011

Trip Report - May 23, 2011

Today’s Trip Report is about a trip I took to Disneyland on Monday morning to see the new Star Tours. I was lucky enough to win in the “drawing” for the annual pass holder’s preview. My time slot was Monday morning from 9am to 1pm.

It was overcast most of the morning, but the temperature was nice. The crowd levels were fairly low, although when I left at noon the masses of humanity appeared to be descending on the park.

Was there a force-field repelling guests from the center of town square? I stood there for a few minutes, no one crossed the center? Must be the lack of sunlight, this is usually a popular photo area.

My Breakfast of Champions. That cinnamon twist thing can be hit or miss, I've had them as hard as railroad spikes, but this one was soft, fresh and yummy.

After that coffee and twist I was ready to bolt for Star Tours (I mistakenly thought I could only ride once so I want to get in line ASAP) as I was slithering thru the inside pathway of the Penny Arcade I noticed something unusual at the Candy Palace.

From a conversation I later had with the Candy Maker I found out they were “experimenting” and “training”. The training is because it takes 3 people to make those Candy Canes at Christmas and it’s not something every Disneyland Candy Maker knows how to do – yet.

The “experimenting” was trying something new and not holiday related. He told me they haven’t done anything like this in years; he was pretty excited about it. These were going to be Candy “Sticks”, basically the Candy Cane with no curve. This green one is not mint but Sour Apple! They were going to do red Sour Cherry later in the day.

I think she was the Candy Maker who was being trained, although she seemed to be catching on great, she’s getting ready to “cut” the candy with some huge scissors.

Let’s watch how this works… Gotta be honest, I was mesmerized with this and stayed a good 15 minutes. Only two other people stopped to look, at least they took some pictures!

How long do you suppose those scissors have been at Disneyland?

On my way out of the park stopped by the Candy Palace and the Candy makers were “out of the booth” and talking with some a Disney management person. As soon as they were done I asked them about what they were making earlier. I didn’t see the green & white candy anywhere so I inquired, they told me “if someone asks we can sell it, but it didn’t come out like we thought so where not displaying it” Instead of “Sticks” they were one inch size pieces - $12 for a small basket, I almost bought some, but his body language said “don’t waste your money”…

Ok, over to Star Tours! My brief detour turned out to be a good thing, I was told there was a line at 9am but it was pretty much gone by 9:20am. The “winners” of the preview had to take their winning email and their annual pass and present it here before being let in to get a special Fastpass.

For some odd reason the new Star Tours Fastpass area is located on the Buzz Light Year side, pure genius!

All new Fastpass machines remind me of the droids from Silent Running (link) – great movie by the way.

Each machine was marked “GNK-“ and then 1 thru 6, does “GNK” have some meaning?

All things equal that little droid spits out one of these! And guess what, all "winners" were able to get another pass every 30 minutes until 1pm!

Once inside the first thing I noticed was this huge display screen, which alternates between this information sign;

And this information sign (translation anyone?);

Then this video comes on, let’s take a look.

Once you pass thru the main room and start the winding ramp queue you might hear this pathetic voice from down below on the right side, he was mumbling something and moving around, poor guy (you can here him at the end of the video above).

At least he’s not alone.

Great Shadows effect!

Be sure and check out Davelands super Star Tours post (link) as his exterior and interior photos are much more exciting than mine. I included this one show the cool technology in use here. The figure on the front and left screens is me in real time – and that see thru data panel on the right is straight out of Avatar! There will be some queue holdups here for certain.

The update was excellent, top notch, fully met my expectations as I imagine it will for most Disneyland and Star Wars fans. Seeing Jar Jar Binks in the Naboo journey was a bit disturbing, but everyone laughs at him when he appears and he’s done away with quickly.

I predict a busy summer for this revamped and updated 1987 attraction, use your Fastpass! A few odd observations. The seats and seatbelts were worn and appeared to be the same ones from before? They seriously kicked up the air conditioning; you feel it the whole time. The sound system has been vastly improved. When the attraction ended BOTH sets of doors opened, exit and entrance, a bit awkward the first two times. However, on round three when the entrance doors opened no one was there so we got to ride again, THREE MORE TIMES in a row!!!! 7 total for the day, in less than 2 hours!

Because I needed to rest my brain (part of it was still on Tatooine) I headed for the train, I guess I was the only one with that idea.

Is the #5 slightly smaller than the other trains?

On my last trip to the park the Mark Twain was closed, serious bummer. This time it was running and again no one was one the second deck, just me and Louis Armstrong’s ghost for an awesome 15 minute ride on the Rivers of America. Frankly, this part was worth the trip to the park all by itself.

At least it’s not sinking anymore.

Something doesn’t look right here, is it the color? Or is it that "Blazing Saddles" is playing???

Of course as the overcast begins to part I have to leave, still, no complaints here. I’m so lucky to be able to visit the park like this, how could I complain?