Guess what? She loved it! From the outset, I thought it was a pretty shallow attraction, and I wasn’t sure that the change from the Orange Stinger to the Swings was that substantial. Ostensibly, both are amusement park attractions, one is just dressed in a slightly different manner. Silly Symphony Swings may be an amusement park attraction, but it’s an incredibly well-done one. The narration is wonderful, the art scenes on the top of the gazebo roof are captivating, and the gazebo itself is ornate. Oh, and the music, well, the music is absolutely fantastic. For what it is, Silly Symphony Swings is a 5 star attraction in my book. No, it’s not a brilliant E-Ticket with an amazing queue and post-show, but not everything needs to be. Dumbo is a highly regarded Disneyland classic, and Silly Symphony Swings is certainly more “advanced” than Dumbo. In sum, I did a 180 with regard to my stance on Silly Symphony Swings. I love it now.
Carsland what?! Bayside Brews is the next big DCA E-Ticket.
After the Swings, we started discussing lunch, and decided to head to Taste Pilot’s Grill, which was previously my favorite DLR Quick Service restaurant, for a meal there. Unfortunately, the amazing Aviator Chicken sandwich that I had loved so much on our last trip was gone! Ditto the waffle fries! The two things that appealed to me on the menu last time had both been removed. It was as if Disney was specifically punishing me for some reason. Luckily, the menu didn’t appeal to Sarah or Henry either, so I wasn’t forced to eat at the place I so adamantly recommended.
Instead, we picked up FastPasses for California Screamin’, and then headed over to Disneyland where we decided to eat at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. Maybe it’s just because I was starving since I never got my ice cream, but this meal was nothing short of excellent. Well, I should say the meats were excellent.
In the fast-paced world of competitive all you can eat (or as Disney marketing spins it so as to carefully avoid advocating glutiny, “all you care to enjoy”) dining, I have learned one thing if I’ve learned anything: only eat the delicious meats. Don’t fill up on breads, salads, potatoes, or even cola. Just stick to the basic food group: meat. Within the meat food group, cow-based meats take precedence, pigs are second-priority, then fish, and finally poultry.
Oddly enough, the chicken here actually was better than the ribs! It was slightly more tender and moist, and the herb-based seasoning used was an excellent choice. Because of this, I deviated from my own rules, consuming as much of it as I could, while still respecting the fact that Sarah and Henry wanted to eat meat, too. Our service was fairly prompt, with only one delay in bringing us a new bucket of meat.
We stuck around here for a decent amount of time, but not to the point where we overstayed our welcome or tried to stretch two meals out of it. We were seated near the back of the restaurant, and because of that, didn’t pay too much attention to the performers near the front. From what I could surmise, their performances were more aimed at families and little kids, so I’m not too upset that we missed it. It was still nice “background music,” for lack of a better term, while we conversed with one another.
As we were leaving, Henry pointed out some areas in Frontierland that were the remnants of Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. While I love Big Thunder, I really wish Mine Train were still around. The photos I’ve seen of it in the Disneyland books I’ve purchased all make it look really cool, and it’s nice to have attractions that are different between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. It’s nice that the remnants of Mine Train aren’t eyesores like the remnants from past attractions often found at the other stateside Magic Kingdom. Just enough to give a nod and a tip of the cap to the past. Plus, they add intrigue.
Our next stop was this goat farm within Big Thunder Ranch as Sarah has this odd fascination with goats. Don’t ask me why. I think the things are ugly and stinky. Plus I’m skeptical of anything that tries to eat my clothing. Luckily we only spent a few minutes there. I must admit that it is neat that Disneyland is still able to have goats in the park.
As we made our way to the front of the park to use our Space Mountain FastPasses, we decided to cut through Fantasyland to visit a couple of shops and see the Wishing Well. The name of the shop escapes me now, but the shop nearest the Castle with armor outside that sells odd expensive non-Disney items. I was a bit surprised that this shop still existed. When we went inside, it was absolutely dead, and I can’t imagine the shop sells much. You would think this would be valuable retail real estate given its location in Fantasyland. Again, it’s very cool that Disney leaves this as a unique shop, though!
Next up was Snow White Grotto and the Wishing Well. This was another thing we didn’t see last time, and although it seems insignificant, after learning some of its history (Snow White is roughly the same size as the Dwarfs, so forced perspective is used, they were a gift to Walt from Italy, etc.) I was really excited to see them. Hearing the singing in the Well completed the experience. Disney should send TDO executives out to Disneyland for a day, and just have the walk the park taking notes.
I grabbed a few photos of the Castle as this was a perspective I hadn’t shot before, and we then headed to Space Mountain and rode that.
I asked Henry about the escalators to the second floor, and whether those used to be outside (I had a lot of questions like this after seeing photos from the 70s and 80s in the books I purchased), he wasn’t sure, so I would continue my quest for this information later. It was interesting to snoop around looking at how Disneyland had evolved and changed over the years. I think Tomorrowland is a prime example of how Disneyland has changed without properly removing remnants of the past. Junk from past attractions and retail space just sits around, completely unnecessarily, and in plain view.
After Space Mountain, we headed towards Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. Along the way, Henry noticed the Star Tours mural had been updated since yesterday. Since we were working on a site tracking the Star Tours 2 updates and progress called StarTours2Live.com, we stopped and got some photos, and transmitted them on for someone to post online.
The Cast Member at Astro Blasters told us the wait was about 15 minutes. Not too bad. At least, not too bad for an indoor queue. Unfortunately, it was midday, sunny, and about 10 minutes of the wait was in direct sunlight. Oh well.
The attraction is worth it; it’s something we love at Walt Disney World, and is without a doubt better at Disneyland. Having free reign with the laser gun is a big plus, and the targets just look nicer. Additionally, I haven’t learned all of the secret high point targets at Disneyland, so the attraction is still quite challenging. At WDW, I can max out my gun about every other time we ride.
There are multiple pages in this Disneyland trip report installment. Navigate to the next page below!