by Joe Thompson
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by Joe Thompson unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved.
We paid a visit to Disneyland in July, 2013. The temperature was in the high 80sF, but the humidity made it feel hotter. We had to leave after our first full day because of an illness back home.
This is the twelfth consecutive year that I written about our visit to Disneyland. I'm afraid I have some gripes this year.
We had a room on the 5th floor of the Frontier Tower of the Disneyland Hotel. We usually avoid that tower because "Frontier" describes its position in relation to the rest of the hotel.
We paid extra for a pool view. You could view a fraction of the pool from our room.
We unpacked our bags, then went to put the contents of the ice chest into the refrigerator. We discovered that there was no refrigerator, just a note, saying that that the refrigerator was removed because of "a possible defect." We weren't sure we believed them. We thought it might be a trick to sell more cold beverages. We went to the Guest Services, which are now located next to the desk, to complain and they said that there had been a recall and that they had removed all the refrigerators. They had a few for people who needed to store medications.
We went to mass at Saint Boniface, then had a nice dinner sitting outside at the La Brea Bakery.
When we entered the park the next morning, cast members had those entering for the first time stop. The cast members took their pictures with iPhones. When we reentered and they scanned our tickets, our photos came up.
I usually list the Disneyland Railroad locomotives we saw, but I can't find my notes. We rode behind 5, the Ward Kimball. Ward Kimball, who passed away in 2002, was a Disney animator and railfan. He designed the gold Jiminy Crickets on the sides of the headlight. Number 5, a 2-4-4T, was built by Baldwin in 1902 as an 0-4-4T for a plantation railroad in Louisiana. This was Disneyland's first new locomotive since 1959. Disney acquired Number 5 in a trade with Cedar Point, an amusement park in Ohio, where it had operated as Number 1, the Maud L, from 1963 to the early 1990's. Cedar Point had added the leading pony truck. In return for Maud L, Cedar Point received the first Ward Kimball, a Davenport 2-4-4T which Disney had intended to operate on the Disneyland Railroad, but which proved to be too heavy for the bridge at Critter Country. The locomotive went to Walt Disney World in Florida, where it proved to be too light (!). The new Ward Kimball sat in storage until 2004, when restoration began at Boschan Boiler & Restorations.
We climbed onto #5's train and rode around the park.
Engine 4 (Ernest S Marsh) is a Baldwin locomotive, built in 1925 as an 0-4-0, and converted by Disney to a 2-4-0 in 1959.
We had two horse car rides during our short visit.
We had a couple of monorail rides.
We sailed on the Mark Twain early one morning and were the only people sitting at the bow.
We went into Disney California Adventure (DCA) at early admission and rode the Radiator Springs Racers. We got the front seat on a car and set off for our adventure. We got stuck indside, in the middle of Radiator Springs. We had a nice view of the gas pumps. We started again and moved into the room where the car gets prepared to race. We moved out to the start line and the car on the other track pulled up. We started on the race and I thought I saw the other car stop. We got to the entrance of the cave at the end of the race and got stuck again, for quite a long time. We noticed that the car on the other track did not arrive. After the system rebooted, we moved to the start area. The cast member said we could go around again if we wanted to. We wanted to, did not get stuck, and won the race.
We moved on to catch a Red Car near the the Tower of Terror. The conductor explained that car 623 has that number because Walt Disney came to Los Angeles in 1923. 623 is in an older Pacific Electric livery, 717 is painted like a PE Hollywood car. July 17 was the date that Disneyland opened. The cars are double ended. The terminals are stub ended. There is a passing track on Hollywood Boulevard, closer to the outer terminal than the inner. We rode on 717.
There is an overhead electric wire which is not energized. I learned last year, when the trolley pole dewired, that the correct (rear) pole has to be up and in contact with the wire or the car will not move.
Last year, a cast member (Disney's term for employee) explained that the people working on the Red Cars rotate through three jobs: motorman/motorette, conductor and station agent. The station agents work at the terminals and stops, answering questions and getting people to wait in line. When the crowds are heavy, an agent will walk in front of the car to ask people to get out of the way.
We were riding on a train in the evening, just entering the diorama with the Grand Canyon and the Primeval World, when our cell phone rang. We had to wait till we got to Main Street and left the station to be able to hear. There was a medical emergency back home. It was too late at that hour to drive back, so we went to the hotel. I asked at Guest Services if there would be any issues with checking out at 4:30 the next morning. The representative said no, the desk was staffed 24 hours a day.
We packed our bags and went to bed for a restless night. We got up at three and dressed. We went to the desk about 4. The clerk had no idea what she was doing, and disappeared in the back to talk to her supervisor. She came back and still didn't know what she was doing. She didn't check us out properly and failed to cancel the rest of our reservation.
We didn't have time to argue, so we got in the car and drove. There was still a mess around I-5 and 2, but I followed a big truck, figuring he knew where to go for the detour on 2 and another road. I think it was light by the time we got across the Grapevine.
The medical emergency turned out to be less serious than it could have been.
We tried to call Disney Travel when we got home and sat on hold for nearly two hours. Their website appeared to be down for maintenance. We gave up that night and called again the next day. They said they could do nothing to cancel the reservation and get us a refund for the nights we didn't use. They asked why we didn't call the night before and didn't believe us when we said we were on hold for two hours. We're still sending paper to the travel insurance company to see if they will cover any of it.
The service we received from Disney Travel was not worth the money.
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Copyright 2002-2013 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.
Last updated 31-August-2013