Yes, I did pop out the disc tray. Before doing that I took the 4 screws off the bottom plate of the drive and slid out the bottom plate with the drive lying upside down on a table. In this position I do not see any laser lens at the space where the pulled out tray used to be.
when you said " the laser is below the tray ", is the drive unit at its upright position? if yes, then in my upside down position, the laser is "above" the tray? It is frustrating without diagrams to illustrate things. I tried to attach a camera shot of the inside of the drive after I had done the above dismantling, but the file size exceeds the limit. Presumably you cannot attach any photos either. Maybe you can try another go? thanks