With the morning photography rush of “One More Disney Day” at Disneyland over, it was time to enjoy the middle portion of Leap Day 2012. This portion of the day was actually much like an ordinary day in Disneyland. It wasn’t too crowded, and most of the special offerings hadn’t yet started. In fact, about the only things that were disproportionately busy were the places serving breakfast and coffee. It seemed like the first wave of people was just starting to get hungry, and all of them decided to head to Jolly Holiday Bakery. Unfortunately, that’s where we wanted to head, too.
Even though we had just grabbed drinks at Tomorrowland Terrace–where we met a fan of Sarah’s Instagram photos–we were still hungry and ready to make attraction number two of the day our second restaurant “attraction.” It seemed silly to wait in a line that could have used a FastPass queue so decided to pass. We weren’t sure what to do instead, but we thought it might be a good idea to head over to Market House, where we were going to host a TouringPlans.com meet later that morning to talk to the manager.
Most Disneyland TouringPlans meets have around 15-20 attendees on weekends. This is a perfectly manageable number for Sarah and me, so I thought it would be fun to have the meet be an “Unlimited Caffeine” meet. For those unfamiliar with it, Market House offers free refills on coffee all day if you present a receipt. So my plan was, quite simply, to individually purchase cups of coffee for the 15 or so attendees that showed up. The individually purchase element was essential so that each attendee would have their own receipt to present later in the day, thus fulfilling the “unlimited” promise of the title.
Well, something crazy happened (I still have no clue what), and a couple days before the meet, our registered attendees list on Plancast swelled from about 10 people to over 80. Len warned me that usually about 1.5 people showed up for every one person registered. I was not prepared for this, and I was no longer sure how it would work from a logistics standpoint. We couldn’t bottleneck the Market House line by individually ordering that many cups of coffee at the time of the meet, and Sarah and I couldn’t manage 80-125 people!
Luckily, two researchers for TouringPlans (Robbie and Dan) offered to assist us with the meet. That solved that problem. The second problem, supplying the coffee, we figured would be much more difficult. To our surprise, it wasn’t. When we went into the Market House prior to the meet, we spoke with someone who said that we could simply order at their second cash register at the time of the meet. Sarah asked if she could just order right then and receive a bunch of receipts, and they were happy to accommodate this request. So she ordered 100 cups of coffee, all on separate transactions. If we needed more, we could always order the rest later.
While she did this, I wandered around Main Street taking a bunch of random photos for the eBook (isn’t Sarah awesome for letting me play while she ordered cups of coffee?!). I had spent the morning focusing on beautiful sunrise photos, but now was the time to think like a coffee table book, and focus on details and other “filler” photos that on their own aren’t all that awe-inspiring, but are the bread and butter of a good coffee table book. Or in this case, coffee table eBook.
I stopped back by the Market House when Sarah was just about done ordering the cups of coffee. She still had 20 more to go, so I told her I’d head over to Jolly Holiday Bakery to stand in line. It was the least I could do given that Sarah let me go play!
The line for Jolly Holiday Bakery was much shorter, but was still pretty long. I was excited to eat there for the first time. I’ll share more of my thoughts on this controversial location in a later installment, but for now, I’ll just say this: I think it’s a great and well-themed addition to Disneyland.
Sarah soon joined me, and waited in line for a few more minutes. While in line, we saw the famed Chef Oscar of Carnation Cafe, who is the longest-serving Cast Member at Disneyland, having worked there for some 56 years. Sarah got a photo with him right before it was time for us to order. The great selection at Jolly Holiday Bakery made ordering difficult. So many things looked great! (And they were!) For those keeping score at home, this was the third restaurant we visited that morning, all before experiencing any attractions. Not too shabby!
After finishing our breakfast at Jolly Holiday Bakery, we got ahold of Gregg and Ryan, who were out wandering around. Sarah and I had our TouringPlans meet coming up fairly soon, so we agreed to catch up with them after our meet. There were only about 10 minutes until the start of the meet, so we decided to head over to Market House to see if anyone had arrived early. As the clock ticked closer and closer to the start time, we were surprised that no one was there. Finally a few people showed up. This continued for about the next hour, as small groups came and went, briefly chatting with us along the way. All told, we ended up only having with far fewer attendees than the Plancast guest list showed. We had more than past Disneyland events, but fewer than the massive number on the list, and fewer than normally show up to a Walt Disney World meet (the meets there are much more popular). The meet was fun and it was nice saying hello to people. I gave Ryan a call when we were done and we met up with them.
When we met up with Gregg and Ryan, we noticed how beautiful the sky was looking. A blue sky and puffy white clouds are relatively rare in Disneyland (supposedly–we often experience very nice weather when we’re there!) so Ryan and Gregg were pretty excited about this. We decided to spend some more time taking photos. It was almost noon and Sarah and I still hadn’t done any attractions!
Finally, we headed over to Tomorrowland where we focused on some attractions, doing Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Star Tours, and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage all consecutively before stopping to take more photos.
After finishing up our fun in Tomorrowland, we decided to venture out to the rest of the park. We mostly wandered around taking more photos in New Orleans Square and Frontierland.
We finally stopped at the French Market, which was one of the few locations that had a special menu out during the daytime hours. The food was okay, but overpriced for what it was (even for Disneyland). I think there was a premium for the “limited edition” nature of the product. Hey, sort of reminds me of “limited edition” Disney merchandise!
Towards the end of eating, several other local Disneyland photographers showed up, and we wandered around New Orleans Square and did Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion with them.
After these attractions, the group started moving a little slowly for our liking. It was simply too large, and decisions by committee took too long. I’ve mentioned my impatience and desire to move swiftly here in the past (if you haven’t read those trip reports, basically: I’m impatient and hate wandering around aimlessly in a state of indecision), so there’s really no reason to fixate on that here. This may seem like odd sentiment from me given that I spent the first several hours of the day not doing any attractions, but to me, there’s a difference between running around focusing on taking photos and wandering around not really doing anything because no one can make up their mind. I could spend an entire day in Disneyland without doing a single attraction, as long as there is a sense of purpose. Even if that “purpose” is as simple as sitting around, enjoying the sights and sounds of Main Street, USA. However, it’s different when you’re just wandering around.
Of course, this was no fault of anyone in the group, it’s just the inherent nature of larger groups and really is my “problem.” But in any case, we decided to break off from the group, visiting The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Haunted Mansion again before the sun began to set…
PLUG: since the whole purpose of taking the trip was to create the Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise eBook, the majority of the “best” photos I took on “One More Disney Day” are not presented here. If you like Disney photos, I strongly encourage you to check out the eBook, Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise, by clicking here. If eBooks don’t interest you, fret not, as there are still a lot of good photos here, but they’re generally the ones that didn’t make the cut.
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