Friday, June 5, 2015

Southern California Trip 2014 “Day 0” (Pre-Trip Overview Friday October 24)

This is an overview I did the day before the 1st of a series of posts dealing with my fourth trip to South California. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of a ¾ year later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”. After I booked the trip I unexpectedly had to move and during that had an Eastern Canada trip that didn’t go that great, so I was already pretty tired before the trip began.

Have a bit of a sore throat. Hope it's just lingering effects of a past cold and not a new one coming up. Thought I'd go into a bit of detail on places I've been to before, mainly the three theme parks. All of them are divided into different sections.

[NOW: I didn’t actually catch a cold during the trip.]

Universal Studios is divided into Upper Lot and Lower Lot. The division appears to be more due to being on a hill than any theme. Most of the attractions are on the Upper Lot. The Studio Tour is a special case because you head down to reach it, but it's accessed from the Upper Lot and not the Lower Lot. Escalators help save time heading from one section to the other.

Disneyland Park:
This park is divided by themes and is mostly surrounded by the Disneyland Railroad.
Covering the themes roughly clockwise:
·       Main Street USA is at the southern centre of the park and is the primary entrance (you can also enter via the Monorail in Tomorrowland). No rides in this section (unless you count vehicles like fire engine and horse-drawn carriage that take you a few metres from one end to another), though a few exhibits, and the Disneyland Railroad does stop here. It resembles an old fashion (late 1800s or thereabouts) street. 
·       Tomorrowland is the east end of the park and has a futuristic theme. With a few exceptions such as the Autopia, the rides tend to be grand scale even by Disney standards. Disneyland Railroad stops here.
·       Fantasyland to the west of Tomorrowland used to be the north end of the park. It's has the most fairy tale feel of any section and you can probably find more rides from the early days here than any other park of the park.
·       North of Fantasyland (and the railroad) is Mickey's Toontown. It's meant to be the most cartoony looking part of the park. The pastel colours are garish that their ugliness is somewhat fascinating. Disneyland Railroad stops here officially though an argument could be made that Fantasyland shares this stop.
·       West of Fantasyland is Frontierland. It has an old west theme to it. The Rivers of America are mostly in this land.
·       Roughly southwest of Frontierland is the small Critter County, which is animal themed (it used to be called Bear County).
·       A little east of Critter County is another small section called New Orleans Square. It has similar architecture to Main Street USA but is meant to be a little spookier, with two low key spook rides. Disneyland Railroad stops here.
·       Between New Orleans Square and Main Street USA is Adventureland, which is jungle theme.

[NOW: Prior to Mickey’s Toontown, that Disneyland Railroad stop was in fact considered the Fantasyland stop.]

Disney's California Adventure is entered from the north. Clockwise:
·       Buena Vista Street resembles early Hollywood. "Rides" of the Main Street USA variety.
·       Hollywood Land to the east is movie/TV themed.
·       A Bug's Land to the south is a tiny insect theme section
·       South of Bug's Land is a new section I haven't been to before, the new Cars Land, based on the Cars animated movies.
·       West of Cars Land is Pacific Wharf. No rides, just wine and bakery tours.
·       West of Pacific Wharf is Paradise Pier, which mostly surrounds Paradise Bay. Many of the rides are outdoors rather than indoors. Probably the brightest looking part of the park.
·       Grizzly Peak to the north is bear themed. Only a couple of attractions.
·       Condor Flats between Grizzly Peak and Buena Vista Street is more or less aerial themed, but other than one attraction (albeit a great one) and runaway painted walking areas, there's not here. A missed opportunity.

[NOW: The primary attraction of Grizzly Peak is Grizzly River Rapids and of Condor Flats, Soarin’ Over California.]

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