Share thoughts, photos, and reviews from visits to Carowinds or any other amusement park
By Edwardo
#91382
SoCal Day 4

ImageHuntington Beach 2016 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Have you heard? The bird is the word.

We got up once again and headed this morning to the beach. Huntington was familiar so we went back there for some morning beach time. I did do a little of the pool that morning. Huntington was just a nice during the day and there were again plenty of surfers. Also there were birds for Isaac (an avid birder). I acclimated to the water quite nicely, but he was kind of on and off with it. The surf was up and fun, and we spent a nice morning playing in the water and laying out.

ImageHuntington Beach 2016 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Beach Game on Fleek.

We had lunch reservations at 2:50 at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland, and thanks to a good friend, got hooked up with tickets for 2 days while in the area. Because of poor planning and GPS usage on my part, we were a little late meeting our contact, but we did get there not long after we’d planned to meet, at the Grand Californian Hotel. Unfortunately, once we parked and got to the resort, another GPS mistake had us walking all thru Downtown Disney and going to the hotel the long way. But once we got in, we met up with our new friend and headed into California Adventure first before heading directly over to Disneyland proper.

My last visit was 2005, just before they started the 50th celebration. I hadn’t been to Walt Disney World at that point, but now I’ve been to those parks a couple times. So it was nice to compare again. I love Disneyland, and the last time, my group only had a 1 day park hopper pass, so we tried to cram too much into one day, and didn’t spend nearly enough time at Disneyland. I loved California Adventure (even then, before the changes), but I really needed more Disneyland time.

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Where it all started.

We walked thru the park and to the left. I’d never done the tree house, so we went up into that, which was interesting. We looked at Haunted Mansion next, but the line wasn’t conducive to us getting to Blue Bayou on time. We walked to Splash Mountain instead, which was down on my last visit. It ended up the longest line of the day, so we got a fastpass instead. Oh, and I remembered to download the Disney app for wait times and photos. We did do Winnie the Pooh’s Honey Hunt. I love Disney dark rides.

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Dinner at Blue Bayou was outstanding!

Lunch (or, I guess, more specifically, Supper) at Blue Bayou was outstanding. The atmosphere can’t be beat (even if there were not boat view tables for us). The service was spectacular, and the food? Amazing. I had Gumbo as a starter and it was great. Isaac had Shrimp Boil Cocktail, and he said it was really very good as well. After a bit, the server came over and said there was another Shrimp in the kitchen and wanted to know if Isaac wanted it, but he wanted to save room for the main course, so she asked me, and I gladly obliged. And it was very good. As was the bread.

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Just another day on Main Street U.S.A.

I had a mint julep (no alcohol) as my drink with water, and steak mid-rare with au gratin potatoes and veggies. Dinner was really special. We both enjoyed it. And our server was beyond amazing. I will eat here again next time.

After eating we headed to Haunted Mansion before remembering our Fast Pass was for Splash Mountain instead. I was unable to ride the last time. The logs on this one is inline seating. And it's a bit different than the WDW version. There are a couple of extra scenes in Florida, but both are a lot of fun.

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
The original Haunted Mansion.

Then we got in line for Haunted Mansion. This would be the first time seeing the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. I’m glad I got to do this ride the last time as it originally stands, but seeing this with a different theme was interesting and not bad at all. Then we got in line for Pirates of the Carribbean. I actually like that both queues for this (east coast and west coast) are so different. But aside from that, the west coast version of the ride wins hands down in every other category. More drops, long ride time, less Jack Sparrow (I like him, but not as much as he appears in Florida), and just an overall better ride that floats right by Blue Bayou and Club 33 dining.

Isaac needed caffeine, so we headed to Main Street to Starbucks for a drink. He wanted to ride the carousel, something I’ve never actually done at a Disney park (and I do love a good carousel), so we went to King Arthur’s Carousel. Then we walked back and got in line for Matterhorn (right).

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
This was my 99th & 100th coaster back in the day.

Matterhorn-I like the new animatronics on the ride. That was new from the last time. It is still an interesting ride, though a bit jarring, but I guess that’s okay since it is the first tubular steel coaster. I’ll ride it every time. I like going thru the mountain, racing with the other side, and splashing down in the water.

We’d gotten Fast Passes for Space Mountain and that was coming up. I didn’t get to ride the original as it was being rebuilt during my last visit. And this time the ride was also showing the Ghost Galaxy overlay.

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Ghost Galaxy was in full effect.

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy-I love Space Mountain east, both sides, with the right side having the slight advantage with the one drop that goes under the left side and gives a nice pop of airtime. Space Mountain the coaster at Disneyland was just as fun and aggressive in California. I wasn’t used to two by two seating, but I liked it. And the way they load handicapped riders was really neat. I really like the projections used for the Ghost Galaxy overlay. It made the mostly in the dark circuit of the coaster more interesting. It was a lot of fun, and the ride was surprisingly aggressive.

When we left Space Mountain, the park was getting dark. We headed over to the Star Wars Launch Bay to check it out, and get our pictures taken with Chewbacca. I was Disneybounding as a Storm Trooper, but the host said I should be okay since I’d gotten a BB88 set of mouse ears over by Space Mountain.

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Inside Space Mountain.

Time was starting to get short. I missed an opportunity to ride the Disneyland Monorail yet again (Gah!) but at least it was running this time and I got to see it. We headed over and did Indiana Jones. I still think it’s much better than Dinosaur (though I love that ride), but this time we had two regulars in the seat beside us that apparently ride it way too much and they had to narrate and comment on the entire ride and voice track. It was annoying. Please, don’t do this. You look like a major idiot.

ImageDisneyland Resort 2016 Day 1 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Now with less unhinged lead cars.

I wanted to do Jungle Cruise, but the wait was too long. We headed over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad next instead.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad-I love these, and think they are the ultimate mine train rides. They’re fast, fun, so well themed. I hadn’t ridden this one in a while, but it was running well and night rides are always more fun.

We toyed with a ride on the left side of Matterhorn, but they’d cut operation down to only that side, and the line was kind of long. Matterhorn served as both my 99th and 100th coaster, so I’m not too upset about not riding both sides this time since I have them. I would have liked to have done it, but there’s always next time. We headed back to the back of the park because I remember how much I loved Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. We went thru the massive queue and ended up being the only people back there to ride, which was a nice surprise.

ImageUntitled by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
The Castle at nite.

This was when we tried to get over to the Monorail, but it was a one way trip outside of the park, and I wanted to take night time photos from Main Street, so we headed back thru Tomorrowland and towards the front. I wish they’d had a fireworks show or something that nite, but no luck. There was a Star Wars fan event, but I think only for the Disney club members. I just know we weren’t invited. And I’m going to force choke whatever Jedi left us off the list.
We headed back to the house and spent more time outside at nite, and actually got used to being in the pool this time for a good while before getting out. My one complaint was not enough time spent in the pool, but the darn thing was rather cool in the evenings and Isaac finally found the light switch that would have helped to warm the water up a little on our last nite there. Bummer. We will stay there next time if it is available though. For the same price (actually about $10 cheaper after taxes) that it would cost to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, we got a 4 bedroom AirBnB house with a private pool, so I’m not complaining.

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