Dreams of Memories - Part 2
After a small break in our lovely hotel room we were ready to go out again for the evening. First stop: World of Disney!!
As promised I would give a bigger description of the store now: from the moment you see it, you know that no matter what they sell this a shopping experience of another class than the rest of Disney Village! The exterior is aestethic and majestic - this is the new "king" of Disney Village. Whether you are entering through the side entrances or the main entrance you are immediately walking into the big store that basically is just one big room. The main entrance has its own beautiful blue star ceiling while the middle of the store is dominated by the big blue ceiling and the iconic hot air balloon centre piece featuring Mickey, Minnie and Pluto traveling the world. Around the ceiling are the beautiful mural paintings featuring all the corners off the world represented by your favourite Disney characters! Absolutely beautiful and the interior in general is very detailed and classy. Take your time to walk the store without looking at the merchandise and you will see all these beautiful details.
Of course it is a store and the merchandise is a central part of the store. A lot of the merchandise is the "ordinary" stuff you find in most of the shops. However, you will also find a couple of lovely store exclusive series including the Disney by Britto pop art series and some World of Disney merchandise including currently four of the mural paintings in a limited numbered edition (500 prints of each - 69€ for each painting). This range of merchandise combined with the general look and feel of the store makes this THE place to do your shopping. It is very open and has a lot of space in between the merchandise, so you never get the Emporium-feeling of being packed like sardines in a tin. A nice, relaxing shopping experience, which in the end helps Disney, because it without a doubt leaves you with more desire to explore the store probably resulting in you buying more. A very fitting and beautiful flagship store for the "new" Disney Village!
As promised here is a lot of photos of the new store:
After walking the store and finding some stuff we wanted to buy on monday we continued on our way to Walt Disney Studios where we wanted to be until the Disney Magic on Parade began at 7 (and the Studios closed). Because of the new security check system you can now enjoy the Studios all the way from WoD - no tents or anything. Just the original gates and the view towards Studio 1:
Ready to behind the scenes we entered the park and just took time to enjoy the atmosphere of Place des Frères Lumière - this is probably my favourite area of the studios and in my opinion they should never even think of retheming this area. The perfect entrance to the studios - it has the pride and the atmosphere of the studios before you go behind the scenes. Also the area loop of this area is amazing - all the best musical scores of film history! This place is good...
... and so is Studio 1. Having just seen the country trio in Frontierland I had hoped to see a live band in Studio 1, but having completely forgotten about Stars'n'Cars that could be a explanation of the absence of live music. At least I told myself that
But yes Stars'n'Cars was just about to start and we had completely forgotten about it. I wanted to start off by trying RC Racer, so we quickly crossed the parade route before it started. We just got to the entrance of Crush' Coaster as the parade started - people stormed towards the parade route and we were kind of trapped in there. So I decided to use my height and new 70-200mm lens and take some photos of the parade. I have only seen it once before (with my mum in 2009 when it was as much a show as a parade)... I really like the cars, but I must say that is a bit short now that it is only a parade. However, the cars are very nice and people seemed to enjoy it in general
Before the parade ended we walked towards Toy Story Playland to beat the worst queues following the parade. I must say with this land that it has grown a bit on me, but still my general idea of it is that we could easily be wihtout it. It takes bright sunshine for it to be really welcoming with its colour scheme. There is still some general illusion breakers along the way too, but the main issue is the capacity. Now I went to the single rider line of RC Racer with 7 in front of me and it took me 30 minutes - that of course is to be expected when taking the single rider line, but the problem was that there wasn't really that many people in the ordinary queue line (only half the house was filled) and yet it was still 45 minutes for those people. It's crazy! I really like RC Racer though - it is great fun. You can say that it is a bit too short - you could use a couple of more ups and downs, but think of the capacity if that was the case??? :lol:
We walked around the land a bit afterwards and had a look at the Ratatouille construction site. It seems as if the ground construction is getting closer to being finished - I would expect upwards building to start during the next couple of months...
They should put in a more permanent, themed construction wall for the barrel of monkeys (maybe a lid for the barrel??), because this sight is not that "Disney":
Biggest illusion breaker of Toy Story Playland: the barrel of monkeys! It is way to big compared to Rex, Buzz and RC:
We strolled around the park - the waiting times for Tower of Terror was until the closing of the park, when we wanted to be in Disneyland Park for the parade, so I decided to save ToT for monday. The queue for Studio Tram Tour was huuge (60 minutes), so we decided to just walk around for a bit - soaking up the atmosphere:
When coming back to Hollywood Boulevard, the waiting time for STT had dropped so we decided to queue up. Because of Catastrophe Canyon this is still a must-do attraction. BUT really that is the only reason, the rest of this ride has developed into a complete waste of time over the years. The props are outdated, the screens do not work, the London scene is boring after Catastrophe Canyon and it just doesn't feel like a real journey "Behind the Magic". This ride needs a new scene or two and maybe some new props. When Ratatouille comes I hope they do this and make a permanent new route - right now you see the same things twice when going to Catastrophe Canyon and London. Either that or they should think about what they could use all that land for in stead! That being said it would be sad to lose Catastrophe Canyon, because that was still awesome! Even more so in the dark, rainy weather we had at that time!
Heading towards the exit of the Studios the sun broke through fromt the grey skies and when we walked under Main Street Station we walked into great sunshine and suddenly it was very hot. Perfect for the parade and we got a good viewing spot by the gazebo just 10 minutes before parade start
Of course we had a lot of people in front of us, but definetely a good spot without having been in Main Street for ages. A lot of children on parents' shoulders and we agreed that the parents should be more aware of the children. Not so much because people cannot see, but for their own sake. We saw several children whose pants ended up sitting very low to say the least. We felt kind of bad for these children!
This was the first time we could really see how many people was in the park this day! Main Street U.S.A was packed and the atmosphere was really great during the parade. Much to my surprise, because Disney Magic on Parade is not as much a new parade as it is a downgraded version of Once Upon a Dream!
The new opening float is very anonymous compared to its beautiful ancestor and the lack of the villains float is a disgrace! That was one of the best floats of all time... Finally the soundtrack is bad. 'Magic Everywhere' itself is actually quite a catchy tune (not a Dancin', but still), but it looses a lot by being repeated over and over again. One of the great things about Once Upon a Dream was the mix between the original song and the floats individual soundtracks. Overall the parade was very anonymous and certainly not as magical as earlier parades. That being said the new princess carriages were quite charming and the final float was majestic. A nice tribute to the fab 5!
After parade we felt like the only people walking into the park. This was our way towards the castle
We got through the people though and got to the hub and decided to walk towards Restaurant Hakuna Matata. My mum had never eaten there, while I tried it for the first time last summer and really enjoyed it. However, the restaurant was closed so we ended up in our next favourite restaurant after Toad Hall: Col. Hathi's Pizza Outpost. We both enjoyed the Pizza Royale and Tiramisu for dessert. We quickly agreed that the pizza was of a higher standard than previously and my mum, who really loves tiramisu, actually said it was one of the best she had ever had! :O This has to be one of the best located restaurants - the spirit of Adventureland! And I really like how it still feels like Explorers Club (why didn't they just stick to that name?)
Now I always have a special theme for my photos during a trip (last year it was lamps) and sitting outside at Hathi's I decided on this years theme: water! More precisely it should be water in movement as I really wanted to take a lot of long exposure shots of the waterfalls around the resort creating a silk like effect out of the water. I didn't bring my tripod this evening but I still started the series with this shot:
The weather was very nice and Adventure Isle was very appealing in the low sunshine of the early sunset, so we decided to just walk around for a bit taking time to enjoy this area, which is the best in the entire park in my opinion. You can get lost in the beauty of this area - and especially in a warm, sunny summer evening. THIS is why we have the best Adventureland in the world:
Next shot of my series:
Captain Hook's ship is finally back to it's beauty after the long overdue refurbishment finally giving us with a beautiful ship again! The ship must never get in such a state again, because it really is one of the beautiful assets of Adventure Isle! It always help you produce good photos:
As we arrived at Pirates of the Caribbean and the waiting time was only 10 minutes, we couldn't say no to our favourite ride even though this would mean that 2 of our first 4 rides would be Pirates! It is quite simply just a WDI masterpiece and that alone is reason enough for you riding it all day!
It was now after 9 and as we wanted to get a good spot for our very first viewing of Disney Dreams we slowly headed towards Central Plaza. The castle closed 9.15 and all the attractions of Fantasyland at 9.45, so we knew that we could only manage to try one more ride and decided on Les Voyages de Pinocchio. A Disneyland trip is never finished without having been on all the Fantasyland dark rides! However, we almost decided to drop out of the queue, because right in front of us was three people eating there bavarian hot dogs from Au Chalet de la Marionette right in front of us. While the choice of restaurant and ride was a good match
you don't really need the smell of mustard and sausage in this queue line on a warm summer evening :lol:
Having escaped from Pleasure Island and Monstro we finally ended up in the home of Gepetto and we were ready for the main part of sunday: Disney Dreams! We arrived at Central Plaza around 9.30 and got a great spot near the popcorn stand next to Plaza Gardens. We had decided that my mum wouldn't film it and I wouldn't take any photos of it; this evening was all about enjoying it for the very first time! This was our quite perfect view:
Already before the start of Fantillusion we noticed people sitting on the grass "hills" around Central Plaza, which is bad enough... However, this would be much worse on monday evening!
Before being breathtaken by Dreams, we enjoyed the great return of Fantillusion! I really like this parade and even more so next to Disney Magic on Parade. Fanti is a real Disney parade: it has a story line on it's own, it has all your favourite characters and most of all it has a fantastic score! I think this is the best parade score ever in fierce competition with Main Street Electrical Parade... I really like how they use the castle in parade - they already did it last year, but it seemed as if they took advantage of some of the Dreams technology to use the castle even more for colour overlays and light effects during the parade stops! For some reason the snake of the Jafar didn't work and I found that quite odd considering this was only the second night of service of this summer season.
We stood in quite some distance to the parade route but thanks to my new beloved lens I got a few photos of the parade:
And now people started to climb benches, lamp posts and flowerbeds, because... Dreams was about to start! Yes, finally 11 was coming closer and closer and then at 11: BOOM! Goosebumps for 22 straight minutes. A big, big
, big THANK YOU
to Steve Davison for giving us the coolest, most beautiful night time show I have ever seen from a Disney park! It was about time that we got our own all year night time show after 20 years, but Disney Dreams was definetely worth the wait
The projection effects are clever and mindblowing, transforming the castle in ways you wouldn't think possible! The fountains make it seem more immersive as it is somehow more "real" than the fireworks. Not that fireworks/pyrotechnics are bad in any way, they are just as amazing as the rest of the show. Dreams is not just the best show of it's kind, it it is also the most impressive fireworks display (even if was just the fireworks) that I have seen in Disney( and that includes the 2010-2011 New Years fireworks). Top it off with cool laser effects and impressive fire effects and you have the technical part of Dreams...
...That, however, is only one side of this magical story. Because this really is a story! It is story telling of the highest Disney class... It is great to see your favourite characters together in an original tale which has a great, heartfelt message that really is the essence of what Disney and Walt Disney as a person represents to me. A beautiful piece of art and the perfect celebration of our park and visions that is the very foundation of all Disney parks! I cannot wait to see it four times again this August, and I hope that I will get to see it many times in the future too
(Day 2 Part 2 will feature my view on specific scenes of Disney Dreams)
Still emotional from watching Dreams but also quite tired after the long journey we walked towards HNY wihtout any stops on our way. I set up my computer, transfered photos and got prepared for the second (and only full) day of the trip, which would start in just 7 hours!