The Daughter Chronicles

Friday, June 19, 2009

Adventures in Disneyland, Part Two

Okay, we left off at the end of Tuesday, when we had visited both parks, ridden on a bunch of rides, and had a ton o' fun. So let's move on to Wednesday, 3 June 2009!

Wednesday was our day off. I wanted to visit a comic book store in Ventura, which is 90 miles away from Anaheim, so my dad and I drove out there and had a grand old time (read about it here!) while the wife and mother and kids went shopping and then hit the beach! Newport Beach, in particular. Norah actually went in the ocean, which surprised us because we thought she'd be terrified of the water attacking her. But she loved it, and now she wants to go in the ocean all the time! Luckily, we live in the middle of the desert, so she can go ... oh, wait a minute, she's out of luck there. We're visiting San Diego in July, however, so she can check out the ocean again. Let's hope she's not terrified then. Who knows - she's fickle.

My dad and I joined them in Newport and we wandered around for a bit. We walked down the pier, saw some seals in the water (or maybe they were sea lions?), and had a nice time. We were going to eat dinner down there, but it was still early, so we headed back to Anaheim. It was a nice day to decompress after running around for three straight days with the children.

On Thursday we headed back to California Adventure. We wanted to take the kids to some of the shows, because we figured they would like them. We first went to the Playhouse Disney show, which features puppets of the early morning television shows. So Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto were having an issue, and they needed to consult with the other TV stars to solve it. So there were vignettes with the Little Einsteins, Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger, and Handy Manny. As Mia was in her chair, she had to stay in one certain area, and Krys and Norah had wandered off before we got to that spot, so we were separated for the show. Norah appeared to enjoy it, at least whenever I looked over at her. Mia, however, LOVED it. She was rocking with the music, laughing a lot, and clapping all the time. I took a bunch of pictures just of her, because it's so nice to see her so happy. I mean, she's often happy, but it's rare to see her so joyful, and I paid less attention to the show and more to her, because I'm a dad, after all. Here are some more!

After the show, we went to the Muppet Show Theater, where we watched a brief 3-D film, which Norah did not find to her liking. Much like the bug show we saw on Sunday, Mia liked it but didn't keep her 3-D glasses on, so I don't know how much she really saw, as it was very fuzzy without the glasses. But it was short, and Norah didn't freak out like she did in the bug show, so that was okay. Then we went over to watch the Aladdin show, which was quite the spectacle. The line was already long when we arrived, about 45 minutes early, and although we got good seats, I had to wait separately with Mia because she needed to take the elevator up to the seats. So we got in, and the show was pretty cool. It was basically a 45-minute synopsis of the movie, with all the highlights and a fairly funny genie. Mia, as usual, thought it was pretty awesome, and Norah liked it until the end, when Jafar becomes the giant cobra. They had one of those long, thin balloons like you see on the side of the road advertising car sales and whatnot, and the balloon had a giant cobra head on top of it. So when it sprang to life, Norah was a bit upset. But she calmed down pretty quickly, and I think, overall, she dug the show. It was pretty impressive - they had a large elephant, and when Aladdin takes Jasmine on the flying carpet, they had a prop that flew over the seats, which was pretty keen. So that was fun.

After that, Norah desperately wanted to go on the Ferris wheel again. She and Krys headed over there while the rest of us went to Disneyland to get a Fast Pass for the Indiana Jones ride. Apparently Norah and Krys went on the swinging gondola this time, and Norah dug that immensely. We got our Fast Passes and went on the jungle cruise ride next to it, which Mia did not enjoy too much. The seats were long benches, so she couldn't really sit too well on it, and the ride wasn't that exciting for her to look at, so by the end, she was ready to go. We went back and found Krys and Norah, then returned to the Indiana Jones ride, which was closed. Apparently this happens quite often, and they never know how long it's going to be shut down, so we waited for a bit. They told us we could use our Fast Passes even if it was after the designated time, so that was nice. We wanted to ride it about 4 o'clock (our Fast Passes were for between 4 and 5), but that wasn't going to happen. We waited about an hour before the kids really started to get whiny. So we left. We hoped that we could use our Fast Passes the next day, but we figured we could just get different ones if we couldn't.

Friday was our last day at Disneyland, but we decided to go in the pool in the morning just for fun. We didn't buy a bus pass for the day, so we figured we'd walk over to the park and we didn't want to spend the entire day tramping around there and then have to walk back when we were tired. Plus, we had done most of what we wanted to do, so we didn't think we'd have to spend too long at the park. So we walked over around noon and went back to the Indiana Jones ride, where we were able to use our Fast Passes from the day before. That was swell. Then we decided to watch one of the parades that go down Main Street. It wasn't the official parade, but more of a show; it was called Celebrate Disney and it consisted of about five vehicles with various characters on them, and they would stop every 200-300 yards or so along Main Street and do a song-and-dance routine. We figured the kids would dig it, and they did. Mia was smiling and laughing, while Norah, who was bit frightened at the beginning of the show, warmed up to it quickly. At one point the dancers took her out onto the street for a conga line, and we didn't think she'd go, but she mustered up her courage and went out. She didn't look too happy with it, but she didn't cry and went around for a few minutes. It was a nice way for the kids to end their time at the park.

We went back to the hotel and hung out for a while, and then Krys and I tried to go out to dinner. Unfortunately, Norah was still awake, and she freaked out. She was screaming, writhing around on the floor, and generally being a pain in the butt. We finally went with my mother and her down to the street and we left them there so she could get all her screaming out and not bother Mia or my dad. According to them, she calmed down eventually, but she was very concerned that we were coming back. We think that she was so upset partly because she wants to be with Mommy all the time but also because she was in a strange environment with her grandparents, who she doesn't know all that well. But she was fine going to sleep, apparently, so that's nice.

Krys and I walked back to the park because we hadn't been there yet at night. We wanted to go in California Adventure and go on the ride that "flies" you above California, but when we arrived, the park was closing. Yes, California Adventure closes at 9 o'clock in the evening on a Friday night. Sheesh. Apparently, that ride is pretty keen, and it's the only thing I wish we had gone on. We didn't know it existed until, I think, Friday, because we were too busy doing other things, especially when we were in California Adventure. So that was disappointing. We zipped over to Disneyland (which closes at 11) and went on the Lucas Tour ride, in which you sit in a "shuttle" and are thrown around as you fly to the moon of Endor. When we got out of the ride, it was almost time for the fireworks display. We were herded by "cast members" around the central cul-de-sac in front of the castle, around from Tomorrowland toward Adventureland and Frontierland and then back down Main Street. This has to be the worst part of the Disney employees' jobs, because everyone who was walking wanted to stop on the sidewalk and watch the fireworks, but of course that was not allowed, and the cast members had to keep reminding everyone of this fact. Krys and I weren't really there to watch the fireworks, although we wouldn't ignore them if we happened to be there, so we kept looking for a spot to watch them. As we passed the very front of the assembled throng, we passed a spot with no rope separating them from us. Krys suggested we slip into the crowd right there. I looked at the people, who were almost all children. I suggested that if she didn't want to get killed by the parents, perhaps we should move on. Along the side of the crowd, where people were breaking off to enter Frontierland, there was a small spot right on the other side of the rope where we could stand. We slipped underneath the rope and claimed it. It was lucky we did, because a few minutes later, a rather large group tried to stop in the other side of the rope, and the cast members had to urge them away from it. When we got back to Arizona, a friend of mine told me he's seen cast members have to get physical with people who won't move. Luckily, we didn't see any of that.

So the fireworks began, and although there was a tree in front of us so we couldn't see the castle too well, we saw the fireworks perfectly fine (they're in the sky, after all). I like fireworks, although I'm never exactly dazzled by them. It seems the technology was perfected years ago and nothing ever changes with them. So it was nice, but nothing different from fireworks I've seen for thirty years. Afterward, we decided to ride the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster one more time, and even though we had to stand in the regular line (the Fast Pass was for much later), it wasn't that long. Then we decided it was time to go to bed, so we walked back to the hotel.

The drive home was uneventful. The kids were relatively well behaved, and even though Norah whined about being tired, she refused to sleep. She often does this - if she's in the car with one parent, she'll fall asleep. If Mia's in the car, she'll stay awake, even if she's tired. It's not that she and Mia play together - Norah spent a great deal of the trip whining because Mia had cooler toys than she did - but for some reason, she just doesn't want to fall asleep. I assume she thinks she'll miss something exciting, because exciting things always happen when you drive across 300 miles of desert, right?

So that was our journey to the West. We had a pretty good time, although it was quite exhausting. We all slept well, though. Next time I think we'll go to Disney World. I've been there twice, and I remember liking it a lot more than Disneyland. Disneyland is limited by space, while Disney World sprawls over acres and acres of Florida swamp land like a medieval fiefdom. Plus, it has a water park. I dig water parks.

More pictures below! I hope you like them!


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