A BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov&Dec2010 @ VGC & AKV... 2 UPDATES 3/6 Post #85 & 86

stopher1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2008
Part II: “I'll Take a Lamplighter, a Coke and a Hot Fudge Sundae Please…”

So checking in to my room early was a good thing, except for the poor park view, but hey the room was literally moments from both parks, so I wasn’t complaining. It was only about 2 pm, and I wasn’t supposed to be over to my friends’ house for the Carnation Plaza Gardens reunion til 4 – so I had a little time to kill. I wandered the grounds and lobby, and got a couple of pics.

Looking straight out - then DOWN from my balcony






Outside near the pool, on the "wedding lawn", looking back at the DVC villas





The outdoor fireplace, near the same spot as above




The lobby Christmas Tree






Outside near the Porte Cachere - the "approach", and then nearby






Then started to head out to DTD. I knew that I didn’t want to actually enter a park, because then I would be tempted to ride something and might be late… but hey, I was right there… and DCA is right there… and Soarin’ is right there too… and DCA has a SINGLE RIDER LINE. Easy choice! Within 5 minutes I was inside the park and approaching the FP Return / Single Rider CM. I asked for my SR Card, and was waiting my turn within just a couple of minutes more. Soon enough (about 3 minutes later), the CM was calling to me, and assigning me to my row for immediate boarding. SCORE! Entering the queue to fastening my seat belt in about 6 minutes – when the Standby queue was hovering at about 60 minutes. There’s just something wonderful about going SOLO.

Upon exiting the ride, I decided it would be best not to tempt myself further, and made my way back in to the Grand through the hotel entrance, and then out in to DTD. I wandered a little bit, and quite uncharacteristically… did not take any pictures. I worked my way down towards the AMC Theatre and hung a left to walk down the path towards the hotel self-parking lot, and then left on my way to find a dessert to take to the party. Marie Callender’s was calling to me – another favorite from all the years of living in So. Cal. A couple of her yummy pies would be a nice addition to the evening’s fare.
I quickly entered the address in to the GPS on my phone, and was off. I knew the general direction of where I was headed, but my friends had moved since the last time I was at there house… 9 years ago! Thankfully it wasn’t far from where they had lived previously.

Now to backtrack a bit… this party was originally going to just be dinner between another former CM friend, Nancy, who lives in Minnesota, but goes home each year for Thanksgiving to visit her parents. We had chatted on FB for a few weeks about possibly getting together since we were both going to be in the area at the same time. And then it started to grow from there, as we each talked about who we might like to see while there and such. Last Fall while there I had opened up the possibility of a get together to several others (sadly missing Nancy’s dates by only a matter of days). About 7 of us were going to get together then… but sadly I got violently ill the night before we were supposed to meet. I felt it best to tell them all and let them make their own decision about whether or not they wanted to be around someone who had revisited dinner multiple times during the middle of the night. Most of the ones who were going to be there decided against it, but thankfully my friend Patty was very stubborn and threw caution to the wind, not really giving a care, figuring I’d flown all that way and “why not?” So she came over to the hotel and we had a nice visit. Plus I got to meet here adorable daughter.

So here we are back again this year, and now Nancy and I were set to see about 12-15 people, give or take some. A FB Event page was set up, and over the course of the time, our friends Dan & Connie opened up their home to be the gathering place, instead of in a restaurant as Nancy & I had been planning. Soon we started to see people announcing their intention to come, or their regrets for having to miss it. Several remained “Maybe’s” all through the process, so it really was a guessing game as to who actually would or would not show up. In the end we had a blast. It was great to reconnect in person with them all. Several of these folks I hadn’t seen in 20 years. Others I’ve been in contact with for the duration. Several of us attended each others’ weddings, and have watched our kids grow through regular communication, Christmas cards, and definitely Facebook. Not to bore you completely, but here are just a few fun shots from the evening.
Here Dan, a former fry cook there at CPG fires up the grill once more – flipping burgers for his guests once again.




Here, several of the gang reminisce and look at old photos and scrapbooks from our days together as we … as the “Traditions” handbook from the Disney University training always said… “we work while others play”.




Back in those days I worked the "front lines" - the cash registers selling "Lamplighter" (cheeseburger), "Great American" (double cheeseburgers) and other similarly named combo meals (CPG WAS technically part of Main Street, U.S.A., even though we were under the umbrella of "Fantasyland Foods"); I also scooped ice cream, or made "set-ups" (getting the buns sauced, and ready with lettuce & tomato); made the fries (VERY greasy - but MUCH WORSE when you closed and had to clean those greasy overhead screens); and yes, I was a fry cook too - flipping burgers. It was a fun but crazy time in my life.



Here it is and I am ... back in the day





And now... a sad shell of it's former "glory".




CPG was closed officially in 2000, and the restaurant part was torn down thereafter. Where it stood is now just an overflow patio from the neighborhing Rancho del Zocalo restaurant in Frontierland. The red & beige striped umbrellas in the back of this shot are where the restaurant once stood. The band / dance floor is still there... oh to be back in the day hearing that wonderful Big Band music once again and watching all of the old couples come out to dance. In it's heyday, CPG was host to many, many wonderful Swing and Big Band bands - both real big names, and a lot of pretenders too. Now it's pretty much just home to the Magic Music Days program with the high school kids. Not quite the same in my mind!



Here I am with some of my friends












Being a native Californian, I do have a lot of different family and friends living there still. Each visit I make, I try to see someone – or several someones. This trip had two such events that night alone. Sadly, my camera battery had died before I got to my next gathering, and I wasn’t able to document my get together with some old friends from Jr. High School. We had agreed to meet at 9, so I had to cut my time with the CPG folks short. I was very bummed to leave – but honestly can’t wait to get out there again and spend some more time with them in 2011.

I left the party with a happy heart, and headed back to the Grand. My other friends had agreed to meet me there, and so we enjoyed some time together in the Hearthstone Lounge. It really is a very nice bar area. We laughed, we reminisced, we had fun again like it was 1984. Then it was time for them to go, but I quickly let them come up to see what the room was like. (Being a good DVC member, I’m always on the lookout for possibilities to share my love for Disney, and the awesome accommodations with others who don’t necessarily “get” the DVC program. One already said he might be contacting DVC soon himself… now wouldn’t that be nice? )

My friends left, and I decided it was time to hit the sheets. It was approaching midnight, and I was going to be in the parks the next day. So with that same mentality – I will bid adieu for now, but will be back with more soon…
 

kikiq

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Part II: “I'll Take a Lamplighter, a Coke and a Hot Fudge Sundae Please…”

The band / dance floor is still there... oh to be back in the day hearing that wonderful Big Band music once again and watching all of the old couples come out to dance. In it's heyday, CPG was host to many, many wonderful Swing and Big Band bands - both real big names, and a lot of pretenders too. Now it's pretty much just home to the Magic Music Days program with the high school kids. Not quite the same in my mind!
Now, wait a minute, my friend...do you mean to tell me that my DH and I are teleported to yesteryear every Saturday night when we go to DL to listen to the swing bands. I mean those old couples are still out there, maybe we are being teleported back in time. But I mean to tell you the bands are still there Saturday nights. And I'm pretty sure a few of those old couples were dancing when you were last there;) Saturday nights = Swing band night = date night for us. But don't count on seeing us old fogies out there:lmao: My DH does a mean toe tap and I'm usually dancing with my grand daughter or swaying if she's with us.
 

franandaj

I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Wow! Thanks for sharing those old photos, I remember when it was a hopping restaurant destination. Sadly our community band is one of those groups that graces the stage for the Community Arts Showcase, but without the restaurant to draw people, it's hardly the destination it used to be.

Glad you had fun with your old friends!
 
  • stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    Now, wait a minute, my friend...do you mean to tell me that my DH and I are teleported to yesteryear every Saturday night when we go to DL to listen to the swing bands. I mean those old couples are still out there, maybe we are being teleported back in time. But I mean to tell you the bands are still there Saturday nights. And I'm pretty sure a few of those old couples were dancing when you were last there;) Saturday nights = Swing band night = date night for us. But don't count on seeing us old fogies out there:lmao: My DH does a mean toe tap and I'm usually dancing with my grand daughter or swaying if she's with us.
    That's wonderful to hear. I haven't experienced it in a while, and the few Saturdays I've been there over the past few years there has been nothing going on there...I mean nothing... a completely empty stage, nobody around except people trying to stake a spot to watch the fireworks...so my bad for making a generalization. I'm happy to hear it is still swinging there.
     

    dvczerfs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 14, 2008
    great update stopher!! love the old pics and its great how you guys still get together. :thumbsup2 (burgers look good too!:thumbsup2)
     

    Emma's Dad

    DIS Dad #115 Virginia Beach, VA
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2008
    Made it in time to read 2 installments! I am sooo slacking here. As always, your TR has started off beautifully! Looks like you had a lot of fun reminiscing with your friends. Looking forward to future updates :)
     

    BigEeyore

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2008
    Wow...what memories...CPG, Lamplighter combo, the big band playing at night. Takes me right back to those fun summers. Scooping ice cream...if the vanilla was rock hard you knew you were in for a bad day, and what was in that Fantasia ice cream anyhow? I think I recoginize a couple of people in your staff picture taken back in the day - the guy on the top left, the guy in the middle in the tie, and is the guy on the right named Ken? I have only kept in touch with one person from my DL days, but what a great experience I had working there! That is so fantastic that you have kept in touch with so many!
     

    DiznyDi

    If you remember, we are the rural folks
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2006
    Wonderful that you make it a priority to get together with old friends. You give new meaning to the phrase "so much to do, so little time."
     

    stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    great update stopher!! love the old pics and its great how you guys still get together. :thumbsup2 (burgers look good too!:thumbsup2)
    :)

    Made it in time to read 2 installments! I am sooo slacking here. As always, your TR has started off beautifully! Looks like you had a lot of fun reminiscing with your friends. Looking forward to future updates :)
    Welcome Don! Glad to see you here.


    Thanks for sharing . . .
    Welcome Rich! :) I'm happy to do so.

    Wow...what memories...CPG, Lamplighter combo, the big band playing at night. Takes me right back to those fun summers. Scooping ice cream...if the vanilla was rock hard you knew you were in for a bad day, and what was in that Fantasia ice cream anyhow? I think I recoginize a couple of people in your staff picture taken back in the day - the guy on the top left, the guy in the middle in the tie, and is the guy on the right named Ken? I have only kept in touch with one person from my DL days, but what a great experience I had working there! That is so fantastic that you have kept in touch with so many!
    Oh yeah, the memories are thick. CPG was awesome, but just being a part of it all was such fun, even when CPG went down for a rehab and I was sent off into the wilds of NOS/FRL, or to other FL locations like Village Haus or Yumz. I loved working at the BT Ranch too. Only did it a few times, but it was neat. About the picture, I remember most of the people in that shot, but unfortunately the guy with the bow tie... I have no clue who he is.

    Wonderful that you make it a priority to get together with old friends. You give new meaning to the phrase "so much to do, so little time."
    Thanks Di. Yes, every trip I make west I try to see at least one someone or pair of someones from days gone by outside of family, though it's usually more than that. Friends are another one of the spices of life!
     

    stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    The next day was Sunday, and I was headed in to Disneyland. In looking back I really didn't take as many pictures as I remembered - but it is what it is. And, for this update, I'm not going to comment on a whole lot, but let the pictures do the talking (mostly).


    The security check point - not quite as permanent looking as the ones at WDW... and still NO "Guests Without Bags" line. Ugh.




    Having passed through the tunnels and out in to Town Square




    The Christmas Tree (I'm still sad about the fact the tree is artificial now... what the 2nd or 3rd year now, I don't remember. I much preferred the real trees of old). Like the buildings on Main Street, the castle and elserwhere in the park, the ornament utilize "forced perspective", getting smaller as the tree gets taller.




    Hello Mickey!




    I LOVE Main Street, USA!!!








    Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle by daylight (still my favorite castle)



    A trip into Tomorrowland... Star Tours returns May 10th. Wish I could be there.






    Across the pathway for a relatively short wait for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters




    Then further in to Captain EO! (nostalgic fun, and oh yeah, I like the film too) At WDW it's just plain old Captain EO - at DL it's Captain EO "Tribute". Whatever. I think plain old Captain EO is better. Rock on Epcot!






    And a quick trip on Space Mountain. Here, the interior queue, getting ready to go down the ramp to board




    Amazingly, that was the last picture I took for the rest of the afternoon. Crazy, but true. I didn't take any more until that evening when I went over to DCA to watch World of Color. But that'll be in the next installment.
     

    stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    This next installment is about World of Color. I originally posted most of this back on the night or the next day within the DIS Dad's thread, and so I'm just paraphrasing it here for ease. This was mainly for my WDW-Centric pals who have never been to DL before... so any DL vets, you could even gloss over or skip this if you'd like - since you know all of this, and most likely, know even more than I do!

    So picking up from the previous installment - I enjoyed DL throughout the rest of the afternoon. Ate dinner at Carnation Cafe on Main Street, and eventually headed back to relax in the room for a while, and enjoy the hot tub. DL would be open until Midnight, and I still had another day to enjoy it, so I wasn't worried about rushing back in to the park just yet. I decided since it was Sunday evening, I would skip attempting to see the two earlier WOC shows and wait for the last one at 10:15. I figured I'd have a better chance of getting a "good" viewing spot... and I am so very glad to have made that decision!

    ***************** (from my earlier DIS Dad's Club post in November)

    Just as a background for the rest of the guys who may or may not know what it is... World of Color is an all-new (June 2010) water, laser, pyrotechnic show at California Adventure. It is about a 23 minute show that uses hundreds of fountains, and is truly a technical marvel. I had seen the entire show after it opened on youtube, but wow - there's just NOTHING like seeing it in person. Plus as I said earlier, I was in the very FRONT row, literally separated from the water only by a chest high fence.

    The show's name is inspired from the old Walt Disney's World of Color TV program on Sunday nights (one of several iterations of that show that was originally named "Disneyland" and started to air in 1954 on ABC to help Walt introduce the concept of his theme park to the nation - but later renamed several times. World of Color was the name when tv was transforming from B&W to Color) and actually starts using the original narration from that show. It incorporates tons of Disney's animated film arsenal, plus some snips/clips from the Pirates films, etc. There was a cool Tron "tag" at the end as well, advertising the new film. If you like Fantasmic!, this is 95x cooler IMHO. Because the entire show is run via computer, with no human actors, etc - it can be reprogrammed and updated relatively quickly. It has been so very popular this year since it opened, and I've been reading online that they're talking about change outs for Christmas, Halloween etc to add additional interest. That will be pretty cool too, IMO.

    Here are a few pics, and I'll try to post the short video clips as well.

    Just moments before the show began. I was again, right at the water's edge. Off to the right side a bit, but still have a great vantage point. I couldn't see the mist screens as well as I would have liked, but hey - I'll be back here in just 4 weeks so I can hopefully get a more centered view then.



    In the background you see Mickey's Fun Wheel, which is used at various times in the show, and California Screamin' and Toy Story Midway Mania. All got in on the act during the Tron end-tag. That was pretty cool.











    The fountains dance, and colors change - choregraphed to the music and clips playing too. I think my absolute favorite part was when they did the Genie's song "Friend Like Me". That was amazing. Not sure if I have any pics or not, but maybe. And the sequence where Woody meets Buzz, and then he proceeds to fly around the room was cool, but even better was when Buzz encountered Zurg, and Zurg proceeded to shoot at Buzz. Lasers were flying everywhere, and the water cannons were shooting off.









     

    KeepSwimmingDory

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 19, 2006
    Very cool stopher! Thanks for sharing the details about California because it has been so long that it is hard for me to even remember it. And it was before California Adventure opened. I so hope to get back there! One of my sons loves all the laser light/water fountain type shows etc and World of Color would be amazing to him.

    I love the photos of Main Street and enjoyed seeing the details there. Love that Crystal Arcade sign photo. :)
     

    dvczerfs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 14, 2008
    nice pics stopher!!! the trees are getting smaller.so are the decorations on the trees. i dont remember a live tree at wdw but i do remember the decorations and the tree being alot bigger.:thumbsup2
     

    stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    Those are great pictures Stopher! The detail on the buildings is amazing. :thumbsup2
    Thank you. I agree, the level of detail is incredible.

    Very cool stopher! Thanks for sharing the details about California because it has been so long that it is hard for me to even remember it. And it was before California Adventure opened. I so hope to get back there! One of my sons loves all the laser light/water fountain type shows etc and World of Color would be amazing to him.

    I love the photos of Main Street and enjoyed seeing the details there. Love that Crystal Arcade sign photo. :)
    I hope you can get back sometime, it really is so neat. There will be more pictures of Main Street coming up.

    nice pics stopher!!! the trees are getting smaller.so are the decorations on the trees. i dont remember a live tree at wdw but i do remember the decorations and the tree being alot bigger.:thumbsup2
    Yeah, the end of the live tree era was a big thing. Very sad. It used to show up backstage sometime in early October while it got "dressed". They would always fill it in with some artificial branches to make it look "perfect", since no real tree ever really looks "perfect". But the whole "green thing" led to the demise of a real tree. And to boot, they went last year to LED lights, so it has a really strange look to it at night, IMO. Later on I'm planning on a side-by-side of DL & the MK's tree. There is quite a difference in the overall look of both!
     

    FreezinRafiki

    Cold enough for ya?
    Joined
    Apr 16, 2009
    The pictures are great, Stopher. So familiar, yet so different.
    Disneyland is certainly on our "must do" list, but we're holding out until Cars Land opens in a few years.
     

    tea pot

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2007
    Loving it
    I really need to go over to that side of the "World"
    Looking forward to More :surfweb:
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Wow, I've really fallen behind on your TR's! Sorry about that. I'm working on catching up.

    First of all, I think the GC hotel looks amazing. Can't wait to see it in person someday. And I'm glad you could meet up with old friends.

    Secondly, I'm with Barry in that it's probably best for us to wait till Radiator Springs opens up before going to DL. But I'm really intrigued by all the ways it differs from WDW. Thanks for posting all of the pictures. WOC looks like an awesome show!
     

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