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  1. Disneyland Paris https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/disneyland-paris So, the other half to my trip report for Walt Disney Studios Both days I visited I went into the park in the afternoon. This probably makes sense because there’s not really anything you want to ‘rope drop’ in Disneyland, it’s all quite high capacity attractions (aside from Peter Pan, which I ended up skipping both days, just couldn’t be arsed waiting 90 mins for it. Most rides seemed to be around 30-40 min waits, so no problem visiting a wide variety of attractions. Overall impressions is that it is very nice, you can really see how they went above and beyond with the theming here in order to impress the well cultured European market. The castle is ornate. They have nice arcades behind main street. More details in general. I also felt that Paris has the “better” version of many of the classics. Their big thunder mountain is better, Pirates of the Carribean has a better themed queue and facade, Phantom Manor looks a lot cooler than the haunted mansions, and of course who can forget their more thrilling Space Mountain. Only downside is I don’t think the park has enough ‘unique’ rides (Aside from Space Mountain being very different). It’s like how Tokyo has Monsters Inc or Beauty and the Beast, or HK has Mystic Manor, or MK has Seven Dwarfs mine train. The main unique thing Paris has is some additional themed walk throughs. So Paris is good if you are a fan of the classic E-ticket rides, but you’ll have to go next door to the studios for something more unique. On to the rides! Indiana Jones - Et Le Temple du Peril Ugh got this one out the way early. It’s like a bigger version of Nitro Coaster type layout, a glorified galaxi with a loop, but built by Intamin. Rough as guts, and the theming is decent (But not a touch on Raging Spirits) The queue line is down under a canvas tent and you go up a grand stone staircase to the ride, which is built around a temple. It does get points for how well they position a stone arch that hides the structure of the loop, so if you are not paying attention you might not be aware it goes upside down. Star Tours Yeah, this one is always nice for its well themed queue. The storyline we got was a bit older, it was the pod racing sequence and then ending up on Naboo, which I think debuted when the new 3D version of star tours was launched. The last time I did star tours in Tokyo in 2019, it was a brand new film based on the last Jedi Space Mountain This was perhaps the one I was most hyped for. When they would show Disneyland Paris on shows like Getaway as a kid, Space Mountain would alway feature prominently. The outside looks gorgeous, particularly the enormous cannon pointing up the side of the mountain. It’s a shame they deactivated the whole mechanism where it woul roll close and recoil when fired. It was such an iconic thing. Maybe one day they will bring it back, and delete the star wars overlay in the meantime. The first bit of the queue is outdoors, before going through some plain corrugated metal corridors inside. Eventually you reach the well themed open air station. It has the new Vekoma trains with onboard audio, so comfort wise it was fine. Out of the station is an enclosed turn, drop and then incline which gets you onto the catapult launch. Despite not being the fastest launch, the fact you are pushed back in your seat going uphill gives it a bit of force. Inside, its like a more drawn out version of RNRC / Avengers Flight Force. Starts with a big drawn out turn that does a lap around the ride building, eventually leading into a sidewinder and a couple of tighter turns, mcbr, then a drop into a corkscrew. From that point the layout peters out a bit, with a regular lift hill towards the end, some more turns and helixes, and vekomas early attempt at an overbanked turn. All the while the audio is playing chaotic star wars music and there are projections on the wall of tie fighters etc being blown up. It’s a Small World What can you say about this ride? Does anyone other than kids enjoy it? Do people just ride it for tradition? For its infamy? Because it has a shortish queue and it gets you out of the sun for 15 mins. Possibly all of the above. I think all the kooky imagineers get put on the design team for this, with all the stylised design sets depicting various countries. Molly Brown Riverboat A moment to relax. I rode this in the afternoon which allowed for some awesome shots of Big Thunder. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast A ride I secretly enjoy and will always ride at Disney. There was a 30 min wait for this one, so I actually googled how do get a high score. A couple of the secret targets are very hard to to hit, but i was able to spam some of the difficult triangular targets and at least get a score in the hundreds of thousands rather than the tens of thousands. Pirates of the Caribbean This is proper POTC. Other versions have you going straight out from a New Orleans area into this pirate boat ride. Meanwhile this one has you going into the actual corridors of a pirate fortress, so big points for having an actual themed queue. All the scenes were the same, including the pirate battle and the burning town. What made this version better was how the layout was on a few levels and had a few crossovers, so youd get views through to other scenes from a higher level before actually arriving in it a few mins later. Phantom Manor Another Disney classic, and well executed. It looks a lot more spooky having the house sitting up on a hill by itself, surrounded by overgrown gardens. There were a couple of scenes unique to this version. In the load area there is a lonesome bridge, staring out a huge glass window with a thunderstorm raging outside. At the end of the ride you go through a haunted mining town (to tie in with its location in Frontierland), and that part was reminiscent of Fire in the Hole. Still, my favourite part will always be the floating head in the glass ball. Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. These fantasyland dark rides are a bit ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. You speed through a quick retelling of the story in what feels like a couple of minutes, so only have a brief moment of time to appreciate the scenes before crashing through the doors to the next one. Nice enough, but I struggle to think of a single moment in the ride that really sticks with you or where I was like ‘woah how did they do that’. Ok there was one memorable thing. The ride control panel is themed like an old open book, and the buttons are on the pages. Les Voyages Des Pinnochio Similar Comments to the above. Mostly UV black light painted sets. Autopia Big Ole car ride through some pleasant pine trees, and a handful of billboards with advertisements for space destinations, and themed bridges to give it that Discoveryland feel. If you are short on time you could probably skip this, but again, not much of a queue so I gave it a go. Big Thunder Mountain Ended up saving one of the best for last. There was an intial false start. The ride needed an evac so they emptied the queue and i came back an hour later. The paris one is different because the coaster is on an island in the middle of the river, with the station on the mainland. This means you have a pitch black tunnel at both the start and end of the ride to get over to the island and back, which bookends the experience nicely with thrilling moments. So from the station you drop down into a mine, and it feels like you go really quite deep underground. I’d just about say its a better tunnel than Oblivion. From there it’s classic Big Thunder, with themed lift hills (including one with projection mapping involving fuses burning towards a stack of TNT) and helixes, but also a lot more random drops, and it seems to maintain speed better than the others, rather than hitting a lift the moment you build up a bit of speed. The end of the ride has you go into a themed tunnel, but then the track starts diving deeply and getting darker, and then you just keep diving and diving and go around a huge underground banked turn, and head back up a lift hill. The train practically makes it to the top before the chain finally catches and you rise out into the daylight and coast into the station. So one thing you must know about Paris is that it has a handful of well themed walkthroughs. This seems to be a European ‘thing’ since you see similar attractions at Efteling and Europa Park. Adventure Isle A series of bridges, caves and passageways and great themed sections, like a grotto full of pirates treasure, and a skull shaped rock you could look out through. Needs more slides La Cabane Des Robinson Not Far from Adventure Isle, and another Disney Staple. What I find notable is the way it uses a lot of visual distraction to still maintain the reveal of different parts. From a distance, all you see is this giant tree and a couple of platforms sticking out. When you get there, you basically just see a staircase disappearing up into the tree and the famous water wheel. Quite unassuming considering all that is going on above. When you are up there in the tree canopy, you can see walkways going everywhere, above and below you, and the bits of the treehouse perched in different parts of the tree, so all you can really do is follow the walkway along and be guided through the labyrinth. Thematically its one of my favourites. La Cabane Des Robinson Not Far from Adventure Isle, and another Disney Staple. What I find notable is the way it uses a lot of visual distraction to still maintain the reveal of different parts. From a distance, all you see is this giant tree and a couple of platforms sticking out. When you get there, you basically just see a staircase disappearing up into the tree and the famous water wheel. Quite unassuming considering all that is going on above. When you are up there in the tree canopy, you can see walkways going everywhere, above and below you, and the bits of the treehouse perched in different parts of the tree, so all you can really do is follow the walkway along and be guided through the labyrinth. Thematically its one of my favourites. Le Passage Enchante d’Alladin This has a few dioramas behind glass telling the story of Alladin. Havent seen this film since about age 5 when we watched it on the last day of term before school holidays, brought back memories, ended up watching it again on the plane home! Les Mystères du Nautilus Probably my favourite of the walkthroughs, and I almost missed the best part! From a small building next to lake in Discoveryland you go down a spiral staircase and through an underground passageway into the interior of the Nautilus submarine (You see the top of the Submarine poking up through the water next to the entrance. All the rooms are ornately themed, with a cool engine room full of moving equipment. The main room I strolled straight through, but when I looked back i noticed a crowd of people gathered around a small circular window. Went back to have a look, and all of a sudden the window expands like an iris / camera shutter, revealing a much bigger circular window looking out of the submarine. The iris opens and closes every few mins, revealing something new each time, eg a pod of whales swimming by. Amazing bit of imagineering to build that mechanism. La Belle Au bois Dormant I found out about this one via the Imagineering Story. They did some really ornate stained glass windows in an area in the ‘foyer’ of the castle, so definitely take the time to check this out. La Tanière du Dragon Under the castle, there is a damp cave with a dragon that occasionally wakes up and roars. Easy to miss if you dont know about it. Alice’s Curious Labyrinth A large hedge maze with statues from Alice in Wonderland. You eventually reach a small castle, but its bloody narrow and crowded up there, though its a great vantage point for photos over the park. Disneyland Paris Railroad I thought this was going to be closed for my visit but it ended up re-opening late afternoon day 2. They've designed the carriages to only load from one side, so most of the views are designed to face into the park…If you are riding, sit on the side closest to the platform. For those of you not familiar with the Disneyland Railroads, you dont just do a lap around the park, a couple of times you pass through other ride buildings, and through a couple of indoor sections with actual built sets (The latter too hard to get photos of in the darkness. The other “train” Casey Jr Circus Train was closed on my visit, so no powered coaster for me. So final thoughts. Nice park, superb theming, but perhaps it just feels middle of the range compared to the other Disneylands since it’s all ‘classics’ and the last new ride they got was Buzz Lightyear. More photos here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/disneyland-paris
  2. Hi All So we've bit the bullet and booked our first overseas family trip! It's been a long time coming (i haven't left our shores since 2000). Despite saying i wouldn't take my wife and son to any other Disney park for their first taste of the magic until they had been to Disneyland itself, i went back on that given the ridiculous Aussie dollar, and the opportunity to travel with friends in a large group which is great for the adults, and the kids. It's also my first trip to Japan. We are in the country for 2 weeks, starting off with 3 days in Osaka - 2 of which will be spent at USJ. Already booked the 7 attraction express pass for one of the days (hello to a $1000 day out for 3 people). We're staying at the Universal Park Front hotel right on the doorstep which will make the early start a little easier. We'll be doing the aquarium one night too as cant pass up the chance to see Whale Sharks in the flesh. We're then off to the snow for 2 days in Hakuba (again something none of us have experienced) Before heading to Tokyo for 9 nights. We're staying at Hilton Tokyo Bay, so not an official disney hotel, but a partner hotel not far from the park. I've penciled in 4 Disney days (2 at land, 2 at sea). Open to another day at one of them if need be. My partner has a mild disability so being on her feet all day wont be an option, so there will be plenty of resting time, potential hire of a wheelchair etc, so we may not be as quick around the parks as others. Bummed they dont offer multi day hopper passes like DL/CA do, you can only buy single day tickets to one or the other park. We have a heap of other things we want to cover off while there - Harry Potter Studio Tour, TeamLabs, animal cafes, pokemon centre/cafe, shopping etc BUT would love some suggestions on some theme park/rides/attractions in Tokyo itself, or any other must see's if people have anything they'd like to personally recommend. I'd love to get out to Fuji Q if we can score a free day, but it's not the highest on the priority list given the travel needed.
  3. I visited France back in June and visited a few parks over the course of 3 weeks. Might as well get one of the easier ones out of the way, with Walt Disney Studios. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/walt-disney-studios I had a two day pass which was the right amount of time for Disneyland Park / Walt Disney studios. But for the purposes of this TR I'll just go attraction by attraction rather than a recount of both days. Getting to the park is easy, about 40 mins from Central Paris on the RER, then through the security checkpoint into Disney Village and the two parks. When you arrive, the main street is actually a sound stage, with plywood sets forming the shops and restaurants. Crush's Coaster Recommended to start on this one since it draws long queues. I frequently saw it reaching 120 minutes. It was broken down when I arrived, so I hung around for 20 mins and got on as soon as it opened. Really good! An indoor marina themed station (complete with seagulls chanting "mine") leads into a short lift hill, a couple of turns outdoors before heading back into the building. From there are a few dark ride scenes where you are going with the sea turtles to ride the east coast current, a jellyfish field, and finally a lift hill in the hull of a ship with sharks chanting "fish are friends not food". From there it's into a very dark show building with the standard Maurer SC2000 layout, with a few scrims with projected flowing bubbles to simulate riding the current. Much darker inside than scooby. The coaster is zippy and good fun. My only criticisim would be that too many coasters at Disney Paris rely on being in a big dark room with a few effects. Avengers, Crush's and Space Mountain all rely on it, so thats half the coasters. A tip, the single rider queue time lies. I saw it advertised as 50 mins, walked in and there were 3 people waiting, so it was more like 5 mins! Worth using since there is nothing worth seeing in the standby queue. RC Racer Similar comments to the one in HK. I really like these compared to the spinning halfpipes because the beyond vertical spike creates this great sensation where you are floating, but also being forced forward in your seat (much like the beyond vertical drops on GL/Abyss), combined with the launches picking up speed. Again the single rider queue is the way to go. Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin Missed the one in HK so did this because it has a short queue. Most gentle matterhorn ride ever lol, but the theming looks great. Not sure who makes it, but I suspect Intamin because it looked like the cars actually run on Intamin track. The theming is great, with a pile of dog toys on a bowl as a centerpiece. Ratatouille Hmmm, a bit underwhelmed by this one sadly. I love trackless and 3D dark rides, so was really looking foward to this, but it falls a bit flat. The vehicles can spin, but cannot do the full range of motion like you get on rides like Spiderman or Planet of the Apes or the Justice Leauges at Six Flags. You ride in large rat shaped cars that seat 6, and scurry around through the kitchen, being chased by angry kitchen staff, with a mixture of oversized sets (including going under a stove, into a fridge, through the wall cavities), interspersed by scenes in front of giant screens. For some reason I thought that despite the reduced range of motion the vehicles would still maybe scoot around a tiny bit on the spot or rotate a bit from side to side in front of the screens to give a little feeling , but nah you're just parked there in front of a giant screen for 30 seconds watching a giant movie, with things popping off but it feels strange and muted without any movement. The best part probably is the giant sets. A nice touch is when you are under a giant waiters trolley, and as you roll fowards the castors either side of you rotate as well. In this area they had a food festival going, with very permanent looking stands selling food from different regions of France. I tried this cheese and potato thing but it was a bit pungent! Spider-man WEB Adventure Ok, so it wasn't until shortly before I went on this trip I found out they built an Avengers campus at WDS (For some reason I thought it was just Rock n Roller coaster being re themed with other stuff coming later)....Cool, means I don't feel guilty about skipping DCA! This is another 3D dark ride, with vehicles that track the movements of your hands and allow you to shoot webs. Can tell you ahead of time there is nothing special enough to see in the standby queue, so by all means do this with single rider...You still get to see the preshow either way . The ride is themed like an old brick warehouse that used to be "Stark Motors" that has now been taken over by a tech startup called the "World Engineering Brigade" . The preshow is set in a research workhop and uses a few layers of scrims, and has Peter Parker showing you his new spiderbot . The spiderbot is able to mine materials and 3D print it's own replicas, which sounds cool until they start cutting holes in the walls and replicating out of control. That's where you come in to start hunting them down before they replicate into the millions, by blasting them with webs just like spiderman. The ride reminded me of a long lost relative of toy story mania, with large back to back vehicles travelling in front of game screens. The bits in between were probably better themed, and in this case yes they did take advangage of the spinning of the vehicle to get a bit of wild movement between scenes. I've heard this ride bagged out a bit, but I had a great time. The graphics and the gesture tracking was super crisp, and each scene had heaps of ways you could interact with it, eg shoot webs at the spiderbots, or you could fling a web at an oil drum, then sweep your hand a across and cause it to fling across the room and cause a massive explosion. Avengers Flight Force This was a rethemed of Rock n Rollercoaster, with a snazzy, but perhaps sterile queue set in Avengers HQ. Think lots of stainless steel and chamfered panels, like an Apple store without the wood. Simple storyline, some missiles have been sent towards earth by the bad guys, all the other avengers are busy with other missions, so its up to you to help Captain Marvel and Iron Man by flying in a manner that draws the missiles away from earth. There's a really good Iron Man animatronic in the preshow. Another touch I liked is the pulsating lighting tubes throughout the queue that all go haywire from the power surge when the ride launches. The coaster, again, excellent, with flashing red lights on the launch, followed by 3 inversions taken smoothly in the dark, with the odd curved screen with the two heroes shooting beams etc in the battle. The finale is a huge panoramic screen where you see the baddies missiles blown up in a spectacular green explosion, coupled with a cresendo in the music, all at full speed, before finally hitting the brakes. Pym Test Kitchen Forked out for Sit Down Meal for a change. This restaurant was a buffet with novelty food items that were either bigger than smaller than normal. The theming reflected this. Eg for burgers, you could get sliders, or get a slice from a burger the size of a hubcap. There was a bit of scientific mixed in too, eg blue coloured salad dressing, things in test tubes, this really nice lemon dessert that had an crystaline atomic structre pattern on the top etc. 49 EUR, ouch! Tower of Terror This thing is wild. I've done other TOTs in Cali, Florida and Japan but this one has the best most intense ride cycle and its not even close! Right from the first pushback, you are rocketing to the top forcefully. No slow lifting floor by floor, just several sustained ups and downs, all the while a creepy girl at each floor tells you "not to scream, it will only make it worse". I get the feeling Europeans are a bit tougher in terms of thrills, so they get a better cycle as a result. The queue is the same as the others. Gorgeous. Cars Road Trip Urrrgh. This is unashamedly a filler while they build the Frozen area. It was the studio tour, it has been cut short due to construction work in the park, and they kept the catasrophe canyon bit, and stuck it in with this utterly rubbish road trip thing where you look at 3D props of roadside landmarks. Think lame stuff like a giant spanner, billboards, the Tyre-ful Tower. But then the catastrophe canyon bit is ham fisted too becasuse they took the tanker that blows up and put a cars face on it, so you're literally watching a setient tanker getting burned alive with a look of mild concern. Walk on queue said it all. Tapis Volants You know, out of all the Disney rides I've never done one of these Dumbo/Orbiter type things, time to rectify that. It's themed as if Alladin is being filmed as a live action movie. You can move the carpet up and down with a little lever in front of your seat. Supposedly the other lever makes you tilt back and forth, but despite reaching back and trying it did nothing? The viewing area was nice too. Cars Quatres Roues Rallye. Same sort of ride as Patricks Jellyfish Frenzy, a figure 8 motion demolition derby, but with Cars theming. The queue predates cars land, so it's like a mini mish mash of Radiator springs. Despite having two of the rides installed side by side it still must get long queues. Final thoughts The park is pretty good, though a lot smaller than every other Disney Park. The offering is about 1/3 of Disneyland next door. I did appreciate the thrill rides here, probably the most 'intense' lineup of any Disney park. Perhaps what it lacked was strong themed zones. The whole front of the park is this open bitumen area with a lot of plain looking studios and food trucks. The bits around Avengers Campus, Ratatouille and Toy Story felt immersive, but then the rest of the park is a bit mish mash. Perhaps once frozen is finished it will feel a bit more consolidated. At the moment, even the orignal DCA is better! The park seemed popular, with crowds and 30-60 min waits all day. As always, photos are here. https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/walt-disney-studios
  4. Hong Kong Disneyland https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/hong-kong-disneyland The last park from my trip in April was Hong Kong Disneyland. Im on mobile so it's a bit harder to do my usual formatting and add many pics, but of course all 300 are already uploaded here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/hong-kong-disneyland Again I won't do a blow by blow of the day. Rather ill do each ride. Space Mountain Im still not big on the whole star wars overlay. The original music is much easier to follow and the theming doesn't make sense. You have classic space mountain with planets etc in the station, which is completely different to how a space ship interior looks in Star Wars. And then on the ride yeah they have a few lights that represent laser fire which looks great, but there's no hiding that a lot of it is just backdrops with a small 2d projection of a star destroyer. Just all feels forced on the wrong type of ride. That said the coaster is still great. The station is much smaller than the other ones so you lose a bit of that buzz of looking down over the station and seeing trains pump through. Iron Man Experience Pleasant surprise! I was expecting a reskinned star tours, but it felt so much more. The queue is like a tech expo with lots of cool stuff to look at. The ride film is incredibly detailed, and your usual "on a tour but stuff goes wrong" sort of storyline. My tip, have a walk around Hong Kong island and ride the tram east on a day before you visit the park. You'll get a lot more out of the ride film if you can spot real details. Ant Man Vs the Wasp - Nano Battle This was also better than expected. It was previously themed as buzz lightyear, but of course the MCU rules at Disney now. The ride was panned a bit in POVs for looking "boring" but it's fine and better than Buzz imo. Really bold visual design with you making your way through a high tech facility, before being shrunk down to fight the bad guys inside a computer. A nice touch was that the targets aren't just flat things with LEDs, instead they are actual screens built into the sets, with animations when hit. "its a small world" Yeah its fine, but probably the longest ive waited for it. It's hard to separate any of the versions of these in my mind. This was the first to integrate Disney characters into it but to be honest it was fine. It wasn't in your face at all. Winne the Pooh The scenes seemed similar to the Tokyo version, just without the trackless cars. You start in hundred acre woods in some gorgeous scenes that are all flats but have a real picture book feel. Eventually you see pooh in bed, he falls asleep, and there is a great peppers ghost effect of his soul seemingly leaving his body. You I've been transported into poohs dream, with a circus of "heffalumps" Instead these ones were tracked, but could still bounce up and down at certain points. Mickey and the Wondrous Book I made an effort do some shows since I normally don't do many at parks. Was great! There's a huge projection mapped book on stage, and as Goofy and Mickey turn through they release characters from various stories. Elaborate song and dance numbers with quite a large cast, tied together with your usual cool Disney FX. Worth a look. RC Racer So imagine Surfrider with the TOT2 car on it. Greater than the sum of its parts! It wierds you out for a moment since you keep mentally expecting to a bit of spin. But what makes it great is the multiple moments of floating airtime. Would have ridden twice but it's somewhat low capacity (was a one and done early in the day) Oh and the theming is great. I liked the plastic car model parts on a frame in the station, and the queue paths themed like a scaletrix track (complete with the metal slots and the joiner pieces between track segments) Toy Soldier Parachute Drop Eh was ok. Good if you want a view of back of house areas and very mild drops in a short ride cycle. Again has a great themed queue, with lots of props looking like green plastic parts from an army playset. Was able to bypass a 45 min wait with single rider. Mystic Manor Did not disappoint. You ride in a trackless ride vehicle through the antiques collection owned by an eccentric old man and his pet monkey (in fact 4 go at once and they dance around each other in each room) The antiques come to life as you go through each scene, and this is a ride where a few laps can help you spot all the great gags. I quite liked the room with all the Mediterranean antiques. There's a Greek vase with the print on the outside coming to life and physically popping out the neck. And the final room has a great effect of literally falling apart around you! My only critique is that the ride looks like a cool old mansion from the outside, but you don't walk in the front door. Instead you go into the "loading dock" down in the basement, which feels like a cop out. Dunno I reckon it would have been more dramatic if you went through the foyer of the house and a few rooms and THEN go downstairs to the basement with the treasures. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars Great fun! A mine train coaster that wraps around a whole themed area. What i loved is the number of times goes under pathways and itself, so you can't just glance at the whole layout and map it out in your head. So it makes it feel like more of an Adventure since you don't know whats coming. Starts with a regular lift hill. At the top a grizzly bear pleasuring itself on a railway points lever causes your train go down "the wrong track" and a few turns follow. Then theres a dead end lifthill like a boomerang where you go up, then roll back down backwards The reverse section is mostly straight with Gentle turns, so no risk of feeling sick for anyone. Eventually you run backwards into a mine tunnel with a switch track. Some bears playing with dynamite cause an explosion, launching you forwards again. The remainder of the ride is several quick turns back to the station. It feels well orchestrated, with all these highlights on the way, a pace that gets faster as the ride goes on, and of course some good humour. Festival of the Lion King The other big show. Its a circular theatre and they bring in floats of African animals to the middle. There's acrobatics, fire twirling, bits of stage that rise up etc. It's done in a format where its a tribal retelling of the Lion King story, so Simba, Scar etc are guys in tribal dress, not actors in fursuits. Jungle Cruise I know its a classic but I just don't get it. Cruising past static sculpts of jungle animals just doesn't do it. Yeah there is some fire and water at the end, but not enough to warrant a repeat imo. Momentous. Really good and a genuine highlight. Recently the park renovated the castle from something that was once the size of the one in California, to one that rivals the Magic Kingdom. And after dark it becomes a giant projection mapping surface. Add some lasers, fountains and fireworks (Which HK is really good at for some reason) and of course a rousing soundtrack and the results are spectacular. The content is often a bit touchy feely, with memorable moments from Disney movies put up on the film. It was a particularly good sequence where they had all the villains and a song which I wish knew the name of. If I ever get back I'll definitely try and get there for a front row seat... I ended up sbout halfway up main Street which was decent enough view but you couldn't really see the fountains that well. Overall impressions... If nobody compared it to the other parks, it would be a fantastic place in its own right. There's always going to be certain Disney rides they could add, but as it stands now the lineup feels quite complete. I stayed from open till close and there is still stuff I could have tried (Slinky Dog, Astro Orbiter, the Teacups) Did repeat rides on Grizzly, Mystic, Iron Man, Ant Man, Space Mountain. Lines weren't that bad, maybe 30 mins at worst. Some of the rides are scaled back from the originals but it doesn't meaningfully impact the experience. Place is spotless, I loved the shady feel of Adventureland, the creative theming in Toy Story Land and the little thematic touches. There's a chance ill be back in HK next year, so I'd definitely go back again, and check out the new Frozen stuff too.
  5. https://www.9news.com.au/videos/world/fire-breaks-out-at-disneyland/clgt4x6zj002d0jn3kf9kxy88
  6. Hi All, Thank you for inviting me to complete a trip report on my recent trip to LA - it's my first time doing a trip report, so hopefully I do okay! My husband and I recently flew Qantas to LA - departing 27th (and to our surprise, arriving the 27th) and we left on the 5th Jan. We spent 2.5 days at Disney (a day cut short due to illness), 1 day at DCA, and 2 days at Universal. We stayed at Disneyland Hotel for 3 nights, and then moved to the Kimpton Everly in downtown LA, about a 7 minute drive to Universal. Disneyland: I've never cried at a theme park until our first day at Disney! What a magical (and overwhelming) experience. I've never been to America, and have only been to Hong Kong Disney as a kid - so I did a lot of preparation for this trip, so I knew my way around the park and how to use Genie+ confidently. I'm also a massive Disney parks nerd, so my husband was constantly bombarded with 'fun facts' on every ride. We had honeymoon and first visit buttons - and we loved the attention. Cast members were so beautiful in acknowledging them and occasionally giving us a bit of extra magic (some extra Genie+), we even had Belle stop to welcome us on our first visit, and a wonderful stranger at DCA gifted me a Minnie Mouse handbag (that interaction made me cry). Genie+ was a success - we didn't mind paying for it, we found it a great benefit to our trip. We didn't end up waiting much the entire trip, as most attractions we use Genie+. We also purchased a lightning lane for Rise of the Resistance twice - my husband is a massive Star Wars fan so he needed two goes on the ride to really take it in (he did cry!). We also purchased Magic Bands, which are new to Disneyland. They were helpful for tapping on for lightning lanes and obtaining photos taken by cast members, but a little disappointing they aren't yet integrated to pay for food/merchandise and for opening your hotel room like you can in Florida. Hopefully, this comes in the future. We found the parks to be reasonably busy on our first two days there - but on the half day (we went from 4pm) we found it much quieter due to the rain - which didn't bother us in the slightest! Contrary to the blogs I had read, we actually rope-dropped and headed to Tomorrowland - it was basically dead, and we smashed out Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear and Star Tours before the park had even opened. We then hopped over to Adventureland and New Orleans Square for Haunted Mansion (this was the ride I was most excited for - slightly disappointed I didn't get to ride it in its original capacity as it had the Xmas overlay, but still wonderful). We then headed over to Galaxy's edge for ROTR and then spent the rest of the day/night going to various rides (I think we ended the night on Indiana Jones). We caught the fireworks show and watched it from the river (I cried) and then had dinner at Blue Bayou, which was an amazing and delicious experience. We jumped on the monorail back to the hotel, which I think our feet appreciated. DCA: Our second day was spent much the same way, we took a break at lunchtime for a nap, and met up with some friends to play mini-golf nearby. We then came back to the park that evening and had our first dole whip (YUM). We then hopped over to DCA, as we had booked tickets for the World Of Colour Dessert Party. While the view of the show was incredible, I'm not sure I feel the experience was worth the money. You got unlimited drinks (which was great, as they bought us two cans of soda to take with us), and then food was a little container with cheese, crackers, grapes and a few sweet treats, including a mickey rise krispie treat, a chocolate cheesecake, and a shortbread cookie. It was yummy, but at $80 a person, I feel a little overpriced. After the show we managed to snag a Genie+ for webslingers, and then jumped in line for Radiator Springs Racers right at closing time - a posted 50-minute wait but I think we only waited 30 mins. Our third day was spent in the rain at DCA - which again didn't bother us (we live in Victoria and are used to the rain now!). We didn't manage to do every attraction, but did as many as we could, including Soarin, Monsters Inc, Incredicoaster, Midway Mania, Little Mermaid - and my favourite, the animation drawing class! We had lunch at Flo's diner in Cars Land, and I think my favourite ride of the day was Guardians of the Galaxy! Our fourth and final half day at Disney was quiet as I was still unwell (recovering from a stomach bug I managed to get on new years eve), but we did ROTR again, as well as Winnie The Pooh and my favourite ride of all time, Peter Pan (which I cried again, you'll see a theme here). Universal: Moving onto Universal, our first day was lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed the tram tour, and we ended up doing it twice. Harry Potter world was by far our favourite - we are both MASSIVE HP fans so this was incredible - and I'm told it's even more amazing in Florida. Sadly, my husband wasn't able to ride Forbidden Journey due to size which was disappointing, as he had had no issues at all at Disney. This was the only ride at Universal he didn't fit on though, which was okay. Flight of the Hippogriff was closed both days sadly. We also rode Simpsons ride (both massive Simpsons fans so this land was great!). The park was quite busy the first day, and we didn't purchase the queue jumping thing (we found it quite expensive for only two days), but also didn't feel the wait times were as long as some were at Disney. Our second day rained NON_STOP and we were drenched after 5 minutes in the park - but we didn't let that stop us. We rode the Mummy, Jurassic Park and the Tram Tour again, and also watched the special effects show. Lunch at the three broomsticks was delicious, and then we decided to make our luggage much heavier by spending big in Hogsmeade. The park was VERY quiet this day due to the rain - most attractions only had 5 minute waits! Sadly due to the tummy bug we didn't see much of LA - only seeing the stars and the Chinese Theatre. But looking forward to going back in the future (maybe with less rain) and see more of LA. I hope this report isn't too long (sorry if it is) - I'm happy to answer any questions if you're looking to travel to Disneyland or Universal soon :)
  7. Hi all, Been quite a while since I posted here - but after any tips/tricks/advice for visiting Disneyland and DCA in current times. Husband and I are travelling just after Christmas, and have four days at Disneyland/DCA and two day at Universal. We have pre-booked Genie+, as well as a few dining options (Goofy's Kitchen, World Of Colour Dessert Party, etc). I have NEVER been the American Disney parks (only HK as a kid), but I have done A LOT of research into Disney parks and would like to say I'm fairly comfortable in planning our days. That being set, both of us have never been to the US, and especially after changes to the parks with covid, we would love to hear any tips, tricks, suggestions or advice. Or just general advice for being in California in general is welcome! We are both plus size as well - I'm around a 90kg and 163cm - I have had no problem fitting on any gold coast rides. My husband did struggle, he is about 180cm and around 140kg (or thereabouts) - he hold most of his weight in his belly. He struggled at our recent trip to movie world/sea world - I think the only ride he got on was wild west falls. For any fellow larger size people, I would welcome your advice on disney/universal rides - i would rather go with my expectations low than be disappointed there. Thank you everyone for your help
  8. First The Imagineering Story, now Behind The Attraction... I'm surprised that there isn't an episode on Pirates Of The Caribbean!
  9. A year overdue, but with Brisbane in lockdown this weekend it’s time to finish my Japan writeups. It’s kind of a bucket list thing but not really (if that makes sense) but I spent Christmas day 2019 at Tokyo Disneyland. https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/tokyo-disneyland (Lots more photos in the above link) Prepared by our day at Disneysea prior, we again were there bright and early, to not quite the level of crowds. I employed the strategy of getting Monsters Inc fastpasses whilst sending mum and dad to wait at the entrance to Poohs Hunny Hunt. All worked well except Pooh was broken down, so we just sat down for half an hour or so till they fixed it and ended up opening the day on that at the first riders on. Trackless Dark rides are perhaps not as unique as they used to be, but it’s still a nice ride with gorgeous sets that look like something out of a picture book. Highlights included a scene with tigger where the cars, and the entire set wall was bounced up and down, as well as a scene where pooh falls asleep into a dream, and appears to float away as a ghost out of his body, what follows is a trippy dream sequence with the car moving erratically, giant elephants, and even a moment where you get blasted in the face with a smoke cannon. We were at that end of the park, so I grabbed a quick lap on Gadgets Go Coaster, a roller skater they were managing to run two trains on. Nice theming with a lot of stationery, and there are a couple of highly themed kids play areas next to the ride too. So we wandered back to the front of the park for Monsters Inc Ride and Go Seek. The entrance is impressive, being a re-creation of the famous Monsters Inc foyer. You soon arrive in the “Security Department” themed load area, and board simple ride cars for the trip around the ride. Personally, I thought it was only a bit better than the Monsters Inc Ride at DCA, you ride through various gorgeous monstropolis themed sets, with HEAPS of little monsters everywhere that pop up and respond if you shine a torch at them. So the same basics as a shooting dark ride, but the idea is to just activate stuff and see what easter eggs you can uncover, rather than gunning for a score. It feels very zany, but you move through quite quickly so you can feel a little short changed trying to take it all in. My favourite scene was one where you travel up a Monstropolis street with various things in the doorways and windows, through the Japanese restaurant and back down the street the other way. It has the same finale with Roz making a sarcastic line to each group of riders. From memory we had picked up faspasses for Star Tours on the way past. Much the same as other versions with a great detailed spaceport themed queue, though the building is more impressive. They were already running new set of footage based around Rise of Skywalker (I haven't seen it, but one scene had your craft sinking into water, and another one had you emerge in the middle of an enormous battle with hundreds of star destroyers, only to be hit by a crashing fighter, causing you to plummet towards the ground, spiralling and locked with the wreckage. Next we did Tom Sawyer Island, fairly passive with static sets and lots of trails through the woods, in a blooper it turns out I missed half the island. It narrows to a neck around Skull Rock and i thought that was the end of the island, but it actually keeps on going down to a fortress. Ah well, im sure we’ll be back. For lunch mum wanted to do the Christmas buffet at Crystal Palace. Despite no booking we were able to standby and eat with a 30 min wait, buffer was good with everything from seafood, roasted meats, breads and mickey shaped nuggs. We had fastpasses for Space Mountain. Dad wasn’t a fan and had to sit down a bit after! This version feels more “creepy” for lack of a better word, with the space ship in the station having more of an alien look than the “space odyssey” style of the others. Everything had more of a green tinge. The coaster is fun, but no onboard audio, so the California version reigns supreme IMO. After this we headed over to Haunted mansion and did that on Standby. This was my first experience with the Tim Burton haunted holiday version, which has a fun kooky art style, but I guess I didn’t really get the best comparison with the original given it was in Japanese. After this we got onto another classic, Pirates of the Caribbean, a perennial favourite, this one had a much more extensive indoor queue. I think the CA version does a better job of hiding the limits of the sets to make it feel like you are in vast, dreamlike spaces. Here in Japan you could see a lot more black walls and so forth, and it felt slightly more dated. Still an amazing ride though. Swiss Family Treehouse, this one is unadulterated by Tarzan theming like the Disneyland one. It’s a nice attraction purely for the views over the rest of Disneyland, but needs a giant slide from the top of the tree house or something lol. Nearby was Jungle Cruise, which shares a station building with the railway. It was getting close to sunset by this point (4:30pm at this time of year) so the photos I got weren’t great. One thing I loved was on this one you go into an indoor temple at one point, with projection mapping that brings the statues to life, sort of like a diet version of Indiana jones. We had fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain, but mum and dad were’t keen for that one, and were sufficiently worn out enough to tap out and head back to the hotel. Result: I got 3 laps on it! I was fully expecting a long wait for Splash Mountain, but this one has single rider which I didn’t realise till I got there so I skipped a huge wait. Again, a good fun ride that is awash with colour, and perhaps the easiest to understand if you don’t speak japanese. They must fiddle with the mechanics of it during winter because you don’t get very wet. Crowds were easing off slightly after dark, so I decided to go all out and try and see as much as I could. In hindsight I probably should have done tiki room, but I couldn’t be arsed watching a show in Japanese at that hour. Snow White always strikes me as an odd dark ride, you start off with the dwarves, then get lost in a thunderous forest with the witch aciting menacingly, but it kind of just finishes without seeing Snow White get out ok. Pinnochio Pretty basic compared to other rides, I had forgotten the story for Pinnocchio, with the kids getting turned into Donkeys. I’ts over and done with very quickly. it’s a small world A capacity monster and seemed to be very popular. It’s fully indoors too, a relief to get out of the cold. This is probably my favourite version of the ride, very lengthy and they had tastefully included other disney characters where relevant. It also had a more fleshed out Australia and NZ section compared to the others Buzz Lightyear Pretty average in the shooting dark ride stakes these days I guess. I probably waited way too long (about an hour) Roger Rabbits Car Toon Spin This thing is actually fabulous, I hadn’t ridden this ride since my first ever visit to Disneyland in CA back in 2007ish, so many good cartoon tropes, a really well themed queue with heaps of detail. I love the grand finale where Roger plants one of those “instant holes” onto a wall for you to escape through, with clever use of mirrors accomplishing the effect. Whilst I was in the area I grabbed a cartoon hand bao sandwich with teriyaki chicken. Goofys Paint n Play House This had no line as I was leaving the area. It uses guns like on toy story, fixed in position, and utilises projection mapping onto a lounge room scene in Goofys House, so basically you splatter digital paint over the room, applying funny textures and so on. ***** I returned on my 3rd day at the resort when park hopping became available to try The Western River Railroad and the Mark Twain Riverboat as well as Snow Whites Scary Adventures. The Western River Railroad only has one stop, however you get some good views of the back of Big Thunder. I was surprised to discover it still has the same dark ride section with dinosaur dioramas as the one at Disneyland. The routing of the Mark Twain Riverboat means you see the same stuff as you do on the train. Peter Pans Flight Popular for a reason, with great use of forced perspective as you fly over minature scenes. I also did Star tours again to try and get an alternative storyline but aside from a small change in the opening sequence, it was pretty firmly set on Rise of Skywalker. Overall impressions of the park, yes it’s great but I think Disneysea was much more enjoyable for me. It felt like it lacked the intimacy of the original Disneyland because everything is spaced out much more due to the crowds. There were extensive renovations going on at the entrance, the castle, and in fantasyland for the Beauty and the Beast ride. It’s obviously a lot more family focused than Disneyland. It was a lot of fun too getting a lot of enthusiastic shouts of “Merry Christmas” from the staff, offers to take our photo and so on. It was pretty busy, but not unbearable, and well worth it if you want to try a Disneyland Christmas. A few of my favourite pics:
  10. Disney just announced that splash mountain at Disneyland and Disney world will be rethemed To the Disney Movie the princess and the frog here’s a good video explaining it
  11. The Disney Dish Podcast has done a 2 part podcast delving into the history and story of Disneyland Australia. Would highly recommend a listen, it's a fascinating story! Link to part 1: https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/track/unbuilt-disney-disneyland-australia-part-1 Link to part 2: https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/track/unbuilt-disney-disneyland-australia-part-2 I've listened to this podcast on and off. They have a really good backlog of episodes to choose from. The podcast mainly covers insider knowledge, history and reviews of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Universal Parks all around the world.
  12. Hi everyone firstly I couldn’t think of a good title, secondly over summer I am going to go to Florida and California for the first time, I already have passes to Walt Disney World and Universal and I have a few questions. 1) Are there any other recommended theme parks. 2) Should I bother to also go to Disneyland. 3) Any recomended must see shows, rides or attractions. 4) And any tips or things to look for.
  13. Hey there! I'm heading to Disneyland in December with my Mum and Nan and I'm just wondering what rides would they like the most? The most 'complex' ride they've been on was Scooby Doo at Movie World and they're both older than 45. Thoughts? PS the title is terrible, sorry about that
  14. I remember during a trip to Canada and the US in 2011 I started taking photo's at Canada's Wonderland with the intention of uploading them here for people to see. I think by the the time I got to Disneyland and Universal Studios in LA though I was just taking random pictures of anything and everything with no real thought where they might end up. Are these the kind of photo's people here would like, and is this the right thread to post that kind of stuff? Here's an example of some of the photos I took: Can't remember the name of this one, but its similar to Magilla Gorilla's Flotila at Australia's Wonderland, with The Bat and rainbow arch in the background Rainbow arch to Snoopy's Land, similar to the rainbow arch to Hanna-Barbera Land in Australia's Wonderland. Entrance to The Bat with lift hills in the background, similar to The Demon from Australia's Wonderland Plenty more where that came from, so if you want me to upload more let me know. Should I create a separate thread for each park or put them in here? I don't want to upload photo's of park's people have seen too much of before.
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