Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trip Report - October 3, 2011

Are you ready for a long trip report? It’s been a few months since I've done a report even though I’ve been to the park half a dozen times over the summer. I've either been with friends, family or attending events like Dapper Day (that sure was fun!). On Monday morning I finally had a chance to spend a few leisurely hours at the park and check out all my favorite spots.

I’ve discovered an interesting phenomenon that occurs at the park during early October; I call it the “ guest-less hours”. As you may know, Disneyland has a special night time Halloween party on selected days; I think these separately ticketed parties start at 8pm. Normally the “off season” park hours for the park are 10am to 8pm, but due to Halloween party, they shift them to 8am to 6pm. I don’t think many people (apparently only a few hundred) knew the park is open so early on a Monday in the Fall.

The weather was great with some cool looking clouds that cleared away quickly; the photo below was taken moments before the one above,

Hey everyone, get out of my shot. Thanks…

The most frequent guest you’ll see is my shadow.

For the first hour I saw more cast members than guests.

Interestingly all the Main Street Vehicles’ rushed onto the scene at 8am sharp.

Years of Brass polish and this plaque still looks great, is this the original 1955 plaque?

Let’s hop the train for a quick trip from Main Street.

The attraction information board was unmanned and appears to only list “fast pass” attraction wait times, maybe this is the “off season” configuration?

Only a hand full of people at the hub and naturally one has a stroller!

Frontierland gets no respect! "No Guest" respect that is.

(After waiting two long years to upgrade my cell phone I got a new Droid BIONIC, it’s a beast but so far I love it. The videos in this post were mostly a test of the 1080p HD video camera’s ability.) I stood here and drank my $3 coffee and soaked in the atmosphere.

From the Frontierland Bridge if you look to your right your see the Carnation Plaza Gardens. Rumor has it Disneyland has big (More Princess stuff?) plans for this classic, quaint, charming and historic area of the park. There is an excellent post over at Daveland (link) about the history (and future?) of the Carnation Plaza Gardens. It’s hard to believe the amazing list of celebrities that have played there, including my absolute favorite; The Elliott Brothers and the Disneyland Date Niters (link)!

Since it’s just you and me in the park, let’s take a walk over to and through the Carnation Plaza Gardens.

It’s even more charming to enter the Plaza Gardens from the Castle moat area. This area between the Castle and the Plaza Gardens is one of my favorite spots in the park, PLEASE don’t mess it up Disney! Listen closely around 1:05, its so quiet you can hear Snow White singing in her grotto on the other side of the castle.

I’m just not interested in all the tack on holiday stuff, that said – this cool sign did catch my eye.

That shadow followed my everywhere I went; it was starting to creep me out.

You never see this, three people in line for Casey Jr.?

Monstro was swallowing guests a very slow rate, I bet he goes hungry on days like this.

So here’s the deal Disney... As much as I adore the former Motor Boat area (Fantasia Gardens?) you kind of ruined it when you cut off the water way to make escape routes for the subs (how did they escape from 1959 to 1997?) now it’s just a dock floating in a pool.

See all the flowers and stuff, why it looks like a “princess” could live here? The “make me a princess” shop is just up the path so it’s logical to put the new princess thing HERE not at the Carnation Plaza Gardens.

Here’s the layout, there must be a way to get the little princess' over here instead of them invading the Plaza Gardens.

OK so there is a lot of water, work it out Disney! "She Loves me, she loves me not".

This is the tree from Jason’s awesome post from June (link) a 1955 original, yes I went up to it and touched it.

The mighty Matterhorn was open on both sides!

That line is outrageous.

For some reason this just feels right.

Three fences is doing well, the 1959 section is getting a bit overgrown.

It’s just after 9am now, still not too many guests.

Close your eyes, click your heels together three times and repeat after me “Speed ramps, People Mover, Rocket Jets

Do you see the Omega Man too.

The area in front of “Tinker Bells Pixie whatever” is really nice when no one is around.

Its nice how much “plain” grass remains around the hub, it lends a nice “at home” touch.

Obligatory Castle shot.

The morning sun really sets off the paint on the trolley.

Adventureland was packed as usual – do you really need that baseball cap at 9am?

The Anaheim River, drink at your own risk.

Does anyone else recall the HUGE tree that was at the Jungle Cruise exit? It was where that tiny tree is now right? This area is super bright now.

Oh, that’s what the pathways in Adventureland look like.

All the fighting thru the crowds had made me hungry. $8 with my AP discount, it was filling if not fattening…

Three people on the Top deck, that’s it.

So now it’s 9:30am and actually kind of scary, were is everyone?

Let’s ride the train again, my feet are getting tired.

Back at Town Square near the Guided Tours building they’ve added this braille map, very cool!

And let’s wrap up this report with a few Fall Flowers, boy does Disney know how to do flowers!


  1. Spectacular photos! And what a ghost town! I'm going to have to plan my next trip in early October.

  2. What did they do with that wonderful old tree in Adventureland??? That was original to the park, wasn't it?

    I love your trip reports. Your people-less pics are fantastic!

  3. Thanks for the trip report. It was great as always. I can't imagine how nice it must be to have the park almost to yourself!

  4. Top-notch post, Tim - sure wish I could have been there on such a (rare) empty day. A total photographer's dream! However, you should file a report about that shadow that was stalking you.

  5. Wow, some of those early-morning shots are real beauties! Love the nice shots of the vehicles too.

    I think that Daveland might have shown that the dedication plaque has changed over the years, but I might be mistaken. And I hate to say it, but expect your favorite area to be messed up. Hopefully I am wrong...

    Neat shot of Monstro, with the sunlight reflecting into his mouth. And you have several photos of things that I feel like I have never seen photos of before, or ever noticed. I've heard of "Fantasia Gardens", but wow, they look lovely! You're right, why not a princess meet 'n greet THERE? Because they don't give a crap, that's why.

    What's all that work being done at the entrance to Adventureland? Any idea? And an early cruise on the Mark Twain in an empty park would be like heaven.

    THANKS for the report!!

  6. Another special spot of the original Park soon to vanish. Not many left. With all the historical signifance of that stage, one would think it could be placed in the National Historic Register for protection.

  7. Oh my god, WONDERFUL! I love your photos!!! How LUCKY to be in an empty Park!!!! I so wish I could meet up with you some day.

  8. Nice, very nice. Perfect idea to move the "Faire" to the smoking pod (isn't that the designated smoking area?). Great photos for my wallpaper. I like to find pictures that unless you know Disneyland, you don't know where the photo is at. Next up...keep the old Fantasyland Skyway terminal and have as the entrance to a Bambi ride, think what they could do with April Showers!

  9. Great video, hard to believe that's a phone.

    I wanted a picture of three fences when I was there recently, but the area was crowded with smokers. I did see the fences tho...thanks.


  10. Thanks for the nice comments everyone!

    Snow White; there's still a few more of those days this month (see my comment below to Connie)!

    TM, no one seems to know anything about the old (missing) tree in Adventureland, do you have any photos of it?

    PeglegPete: It was actually a bit odd, its by far the slowest I've ever seen the park, but by about 11am or so there were a decent amount of people showing up - I hope they enjoyed their 7 hours for $80!!

    Dave; that shadow was relentless! A photographers dream yes, if only I had a camera like yours!

    Major; I need to know more about the dedication plaque(Dave??)! Fastasia Gardens is perfect for the little princess's - just keep them out of the Plaza Gardens! Contruction in Advenureland appears to be refurbished bathrooms as they were closed, seem a bit over-kill with the huge tarps. I should have rode the Mark Twain, what was I thinking!

    Anon: Lets get the Plaza Gardens in the National Historic Register like yesterday, how do we do it???

    Connie; I'll be back for another test of the "guest-less hours" on at least one more of the days, they are 10/11, 10/18, 10/24 & 10/25 - I'll post the day(s) I'm going ahead of time - maybe we should try and get a few bloggers/readers to join??

    Darryl; thanks for nice words, its not easy to photograph mystry photos of one of the most photographed place on earth, but its fun to try. At the moment Fantasia Gardens is not the smokers area, I've seen that go on and off as the smokers area a few times in the last 3 years.

    JG: That's a wicked cell phone isn't it? Dual 1 ghz processors, 1 gig of RAM, it runs apps faster than my home PC, or course the actual wireless telephone part is only so-so! Three fences is just beyond the designated smokers area, but it does not seem to stop the rude #$@%'s....

  11. I really enjoyed your tour of Plaza Gardens and commentary on its pending demise as well as Daveland's blog on same. In a way I grew up in the Gardens as the Elliott Brothers were my Dad Lloyd and my Uncle Bill. It's really wonderful to see how many people remember them and the fun times that were generated out of that area!

    I was there a couple of years ago for my '55th-I hadn't been there for over ten years-I saw that Plaza Gardens had been repainted burgundy/tan and that they had taken out the old concession stands (where you could buy Fantasia ice cream). What used to be Dad's "secret passage" behind the bandstand to Frontierland is now a wide archway that anyone can go through. But the mirror ball was still there and that terrazo floor still looked great!

    I hope some one out there in-the-know might find out when this remodeling is supposed to take place. My cousin talked about making a last pilgrimage.

    Wouldn't it be great if Disneyland had one last dance show there as a tribute to all the great muscicians who played there in the past?