Chrismas Vacation 2012 – California (Part 5/6)

by Nathan Stout (of

Welcome back! Today we are continuing with my 2012 Christmas Disney California vacation. This post will cover some of our ‘magic morning’. Basically if you buy multi-day passes you get one ‘magic morning’ where you get into the park one hour early. This is totally worth it! We picked Christmas day for our ‘magic morning’ and we rode 3 rides within that hour (typically that would have taken us a couple or three hours normally). We high tailed it over to Tomorrowland and rode the Astro Blasters and Star Tours then Space Mountain.

Space Mountain:
What a whale of a tale to tell when it comes to Space Mountain! We initially rode this great ride with no issues (during our magic morning). We went back on our last night because my brother got 4 ‘fast passes’ for announcing the leaving train (which you will read about in a bit). So that night, we got to the front of the line. It was my brother, his older stepson, me, and my wife. Right before the coaster is set to start off up the ramp some cast members come over with a set of moving stairs and have my brother and his stepson get off (the are in the front seats of the car). Me and the wife had NO IDEA what happened. They got off, then the ride continued on. Now let me describe the ride. It is an indoor roller coaster with a neat semi-rock soundtrack. The lights are all off in the main area and there are thousands and thousands of lights (kinda like disco ball lights) making it seem like you are traveling through space. It is fast and fun (no real unexpected craziness in the dark).

Anyway, we get back to the station and there is my brother and his stepson waiting for us. We get off and they tell us they got on the train right after ours. There was a restraint issue with the first ride and they pulled them off and let them right right after. They let us get right back on so we could all ride together. We went right to the front of the line (again) and all got on.

It’s not over yet. We set off and head up the tunnel and begin our ride. Not 15 seconds into our trip the car stops (near the top) and the lights come on! Something really jacked up (another security precaution shuts the ride down). So there we were at the top as the cast members went from platform to platform, checking on everyone, the machinery, then manually pushing the trains off the platforms to continue to the bottom (in the lighted area). They finally get to us, ask us if things are ok, then once they get the clearance, they push us and we ride the track all the way to the bottom (lights on).

Finally we get to the end and the ride starts back up normally for everyone. We get to the disembark area and they ask us if we want to go again (since the mess-up). We agree and we get to go a 3rd time! We thoroughly enjoyed it (although my brother’s stepson did not take it well). Here is the ride (with lights off) and here it is with lights on.

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey:
One of Disneyland’s dark rides, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is pretty much like Snow White’s Scary Adventure. It tells the tale of the movie of Pinocchio using 1980’s technology like hologram images and fiber optics. It’s a little more interesting than Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride but not as good as Peter Pan’s flight. Here is the video.

Snow White’s Scary Adventure:
One of the original rides from Disneyland’s opening day I can’t say I was too impressed. Now, don’t get me wrong I enjoy ALL dark rides but this was probably less than the rest (even Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride which I will talk about soon). Apparently some of the other Disney parks have a slightly less frightening version of this ride. Snow White’s video

Peter Pan’s Flight:
Wow! What a ride! I seem to remember not being too impressed when I rode this back in 1991 at Disney World. I was shocked at how much better it was (as opposed to my memory). This is a dark ride but your car is actually hanging from a ceiling track and you ‘fly’ through the scenes of Peter Pan. The over London scenes are amazing! I highly recommend this one and I can say hands down it is the best of the Fantasyland dark rides. Enjoy but this video just can’t do justice!

As a note, I heard that the rides are sped up during peak times of the year. I remember telling everyone that all the dark rides seems to move you though REALLY fast. It would have been nice to have gone a little slower (especially on Peter Pan’s flight).

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride:
WTF? I mean really… WTF? What were the Imagineers smoking when they came up with this ride?! Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is based on the Wind and the Willows books and the Imagineers decided to create a tale of their own that mixed up one of the stories where Mr. Toad stole a car and crashed it.

Mr. Toad has an issue… he is a figure of excess. He can’t do a little of this and little of that… no, he has to do it all and do it big! He has this thing about cars and in the ride you race through various scenes as Mr. Toad, driving like a bat (or frog) out of hell. This is where it gets strange. You crash (with the help of a train) and go to hell. Yep, hell. Walt Disney sends your toddler and you to HELL. No real rhyme or reason. You drive fast, crash, and got to hell… then then ride is over.

The actual ride does not have 3D figures in it. It is all flat wood cut outs. It is very colorful and there are a few gags like the train horn and light and the effects of hell but everything is flat wood. I feel Disney could have done better but I can see that they were going for a particular look with this. You have to ride it just to say you did. Here is the madness

That is it for this edition. Join me next time for my surprise favorite ride of the whole of Disneyland as well as the worst torture you can experience in Disneyland!

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3
Click here for Part 4
Click here for Part 5
Click here for Part 6

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