Disneyland Trip - April 26, 2004

We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to ride the new Tower of Terror ride, prior to its official opening. Being Annual Passholders ocassionally has its perks!

We got up early and headed on down to Disneyland. Our reservations for Tower of Terror was for 12-1pm. Record high heat was predicted so we wanted to get to the parks early, do our touring and then leave when the heat hit!

We hit some traffic but still managed to make it down in only 90 minutes. We arrived about 9am. Parks opened at 10. We allowed some extra time in case of heavy traffic, but turns out we didn't need it. Since we were early we decided to wander around Downtown Disney and find something to eat. None of us was really starving or anything, so we just went to Wetzels Pretzels. My daughter and I got a sugar/cinnamon pretzel, my son and husband each got a Wetzel Dog - basically a hot dog wrapped in pretzel dough. After we ate, we headed over to the security check area.

The security area is laid out differently. Now its one central entrance - you go through the security area just once now, instead of before entering each park. This went quick, they are very efficient. We got into line to enter Disneyland. The line went quickly. It was only 9:40, so we waited on Main Street for them to allow us all in the rest of the park. It wasn't too hot yet, so we didnt mind waiting

Our first ride was the Matterhorn. Waited maybe 1 minute. Enjoyed the ride, as usual. Nice way to start. From there we decided we wanted to ride the recently re-opened Big Thunder Mtn Railroad. Headed over towards are usual shortcut from the back area of Fantasyland - that takes you to Frontierland. Whoops - its closed! Wonder why. We headed back towards the castle and took the other path into Frontierland. Waited maybe 30 seconds in line, and rode the ride. We had our eyes open looking for some sort of memorial to the man who died on the ride. Didnt notice anything, but I am sure there is something - thats just how Disney is. Enjoyed the ride! Next is Pirates of the Caribbean. No line at all, walk on the ride. The ride itself seemed to go very slow, however, slower than normal. It felt like we were on the ride for a half hour! We got off the ride and noticed that the crowds had thickened. We went over to see how long the wait was for Indiana Jones, 25 minutes. We were cutting it close to our check in time for the Tower of Terror ride, so we opted not to wait in the regular line. Asked for Single Rider passes, then went towards the exit. Usually SIngle Riders go right up to the area where they load the cars, and you are on in no time. This time however, they were treating Single Riders like Fast Pass riders, you still had to wait in much of the line. Instead of wasting our time there (we have ridden this ride tons of times) we headed out of the park and over to California Adventure.

Entered the park and noticed the lack of crowds, which made us happy. We were a little early to check in for our Tower of Terror ride, so we visited the Animation bldg. Its always fun. They have a section where you can see which character is most like you. My husband was most like Timon, my son was most like Hades, my daughter was most like Nala and I was most like Jane from Tarzan. It was fun. We hung out inside, it was nice and cool. Found out later that the high in Anaheim was 105 degrees - broke many heat records! Anyhow, we enjoyed the coolness.

At 11:30 exactly we went over to the Hollywood & Dine area to get our passes for Tower of Terror. They told us we could check in 30 minutes prior to our reservation, so thats exactly what we did. There was about a 10 minute wait to verify our identity and get our passes. Everyone in line was just as excited as us. We rode this ride in Florida, so were very excited to have a version of the ride here in California. We got our passes, and then went over towards the ride. They had it all barracaded off - only those with the special passes were allowed past the barricades! We felt special. The wait for the ride was about 15 minutes long. Inside it looked similar to what I remembered about WDW's version. One thing I liked about this ride - the cast members really stay in character through the whole thing. Our 'guide' was Brian and he did a great job. He was funny. The ride itself was wonderful! I think there were 7 drops. Just as you think you are done, they shoot you back up for another fall. Our photo (they take it on the first drop I think) came out great, so we bought it! What a wonderful opportunity we had to ride this ride before its official opening. We really enjoyed it!

From here the kids wanted to ride the River Raft ride - to get wet. We were so hot!!! Got over to the ride and it was closed for repairs - they told the kids to come back in 30 minutes. We opted to have lunch. No sitting in the hot sun eating for us, however. We went into the Grand Californian Resort and ate at one of our favorite restaurants, the Storytellers Cafe. Its just insde the hotel, using the special entrance from California Adventure. We had stayed in this hotel before and loved it. There are many wonderful things about it, but one is definitely the easy access to the parks. We went to check on the wait at the restaurant, and there was none - yeah! So we sat down and guzzled a few glasses of the very cold ice water. We always have wonderful service here, and this time was no different. My daughter and I ordered fruit plates, my son and husband had pizza. We thoroughly enjoyed the cool restaurant, the good food, and good service. Got out of there for just over $40, probably the same price as if we would have gone to a fast food stand and gotten burgers. Enjoyed lunch, then wandered back into the park to see if the River Raft ride was open, but it wasnt. I wanted to do a little shopping, so we went back to the shop I like. The kids wanted to ride Mulhulland Madness, but it had a 15 minute wait. Too hot to wait in that long of a line - boy are we spoiled! This was the end of the day for us.

All in all - a great day! Extra special because of our Tower of Terror ride. Very hot weather definitely put a damper on things, but we still had a wonderful time!

Click here for photos!!!!