The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

May 28, 2010

My Next Relaxing Getaway Will Probably Be in a Coffin

Filed under: travel, Wanderings — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 12:52 am

Let me guess... Off with my head?


From all that you’ve probably heard about Disneyland, you wouldn’t think of it as the kind of vacation one would need to recover from, but as anyone who has ever been there for more than a day or so can attest, it’s no walk in the park.  Actually, I take that back. It is a walk in the park, albeit a long one, dragged out over three days.  Having been through several of these trips and being curious about how much walking was involved, I wore a pedometer into the parks for two of the three days on this trip, and came up with numbers ranging between 10-14 miles of walking per day (although I can’t entirely trust some of those numbers, as some of the rides probably skewed the count a bit.)  Either way, these parks are destroyers of feet, and over the course of three or four days you’ll probably find yourself dealing with foot pain a lot sooner than any other sort of fatigue starts getting in the way (although I suspect that most of that may have been the sugar talking.)  It’s not even the walking that’s to blame for most of it; it’s the standing around in lines.  The foot pain generally goes (mostly) away after a day or two of taking it easy, but somewhere in the course of my trip (if I had to guess, I’d say the flight down is the most likely suspect) I also managed to pick up a nice little cold, which was at least considerate enough to wait until I was home to start taking effect.  The worst part is that I have the sneaking suspicion I probably got charged $20 for the privilege.  Combine that with the relative lack of sleep over the course of the trip, and I suspect it’ll probably take the better part of a week before I’m back to normal. 

That said, I quite enjoyed the trip, and at some point I should be posting in a bit more detail on it later.  In the meantime, I’ve included a few photos and some of my observations from the trip after the jump. 


  • I’m probably not a good judge of crowds given my limited Disneyland experience, but they seemed to be within reason during my visit. Sunday seemed to be the busiest day, but even then the crowds didn’t seem excessive, and most lines were still quite reasonable. The crowd on Sunday also seemed to clear out earlier than the other days, but that was also the day I left the park the earliest.  “Early” is a relative thing though, because I was still there until 11.
  • If you’re traveling solo, single rider passes are just about the coolest thing ever. It seems that hardly anyone bothers using the things. I think I only had to wait more than a few minutes once using the single rider lines on Indy, Soarin’ Over California and California Screamin. Normally you could add Splash Mountain to that list, but it was closed on this trip. 


  • I think I gained a newfound appreciation for Space Mountain on this trip, and lost count of how many times I rode it (on FastPasses, of course.  Not QUITE crazy enough to actually try waiting in the line.)  As far as coasters go, it’s actually quite tame.  But someone had the ingenious idea of putting it in the dark with a space theme, which somehow makes it one of the more enjoyable rides in the park (and frequently the most popular, especially after its 2005 renovation to its current form.)


  • As noted above, there was plenty of walking going on here.  Nonetheless,  I’m pretty sure I blew all the exercise on junk food.  Case in point:  The semi-world-famous Monte Cristo sandwich served at the Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans restaurants in the park, as seen below.  The items at the top of the plate are probably the healthiest things I ate on this trip.  The stuff at the bottom… Not so much.  And yes, that is battered, fried, sprinkled in sugar and served with dippin’ sauce.  I’m sure you could put a stick through it and it would feel right at home at the Minnesota State Fair.  That’s right, the folks at Disney have even managed to find a way to turn a ham-and-cheese sandwich into candy.
  • I never made it to the parks early enough for a rope drop, or even anything particularly close to a rope drop on this trip.  In fact, sleeping in until 10 on the last day might have been the best thing I did on the whole trip.
  • I’d say that my current cell phone’s tendency to run out of battery after about three hours in the park was the last straw, but by this point I think the thing is already about five or six straws in the red anyway.  The Evo can’t make it to the shelves soon enough…
  • After finally getting to compare the two (on the last visit I made to Disneyland in 2006, the Haunted Mansion had its Nightmare Before Christmas overlay,) I think I have to say that I might actually like Disney World’s Haunted Mansion better than the current Disneyland version. There were missing sounds in some places, you can see DLP projector rainbows (a pretty significant immersion breaker) on Leota’s head, and the timing of the stretching room spiel seems off these days for some reason.

This is the face of gibbering madness, also known as the "After" photo on It's a Small World.


  • The ride I didn’t expect much from that I actually quite enjoyed: California Screamin’.  I wouldn’t call myself a thrill junkie per se, but I’m not averse to riding the occasional roller coaster every so often.  Even as the largest coaster in the Disneyland Resort, it’s still pretty tame compared to some.  Even so, the launch is fun.
  • The ride I expected more from but ended up a bit disappointed: Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Of course, getting stuck on the boat for 20 minutes late in the evening for some non-specified reason probably didn’t help. The theme works out a lot better in this form than in the half-baked Nemo ride at Epcot though.  At least I didn’t have to wait too long to ride it…  If I had been in one of the two-hour lines from just after it opened, I suspect I would have been a lot more disappointed.
  • After three visits to the Disney parks, I finally managed to get myself to ride the Tower of Terror. Not sure I’d be in too big a hurry to ride it again, but it’s worth it at least once for the theming.  You just have to watch out for that
  • The “What the heck was I thinking?” ride of the trip: Autopia. How the heck is anyone above the age of six supposed to deal with the pedal on that thing without developing serious leg cramps?

Just be sure to bring along your credit cards along...

  • When will I be back? Hard to tell really. I found myself giving some fairly serious consideration to upgrading my 3-day Parkhopper ticket to an Annual Pass (which would have actually been cheaper than buying a second 3-day Parkhopper later for a second trip because the full value of the current ticket can be applied to the purchase price) so I could make a trip later in the year, but ultimately I decided to pass because  a) I’ll probably wait until the DCA makeover is finished for my next trip and b) Next time I go, I should really bring someone along. Solo travel does have its advantages, but you’re also on your own a lot (although you do also end up meeting random strangers a fair bit though.)
  • No matter how many times you see them, the  fireworks just never get old. There was one cancellation this weekend (Saturday) for winds, but Friday and Sunday both had shows.  On a semi-related note, the Fourth of July is coming up again really soon…
  • Nice little random bonus for traveling solo: Finding valid FastPasses left on the ground near the machines and being able to use them.
  • Missed on this trip: Splash Mountain (closed), Peter Pan (Lines too long), Captain EO (blah), Most of the smaller Fantasyland rides (also blah), Innoventions (double blah.)


  • As I mentioned when I was doing the trip report for my 2008 Disney World trip, the one real splurge I made on the trip was for a hand-drawn Donald Duck character sketch.  I liked the way it turned out so much that I got a second one on this trip, as shown here.

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