Dec 13, 2011

Disneyland - Day 3

Day 3 at Disneyland was our last big day and boy was it going to be packed. We hadn’t taken in any other entertainment besides the Holiday Parade and It’s a Small World Holiday light show by accident. We still had World of Color, Winter Fireworks and Fantasmic. It was our last full day as we’d be flying home mid-day the next day. It also our last with my parents and Cameron’s.

But given our late night the night before and gung-ho attitude, we were a little lazy that morning in getting up and I don’t think we made it to the park until after 9:30 or so (the park opened at 8AM). All in all this was fine as it was a colder day and cloudy.

We headed to Fantasyland first where London, my parents and I took a turn on King Arthur’s Carrousel. It was pretty cute watching my parents and London wave to Cameron, who was taking pictures from the side lines after taking a call for work. We also made it onto Peter Pan’s Flight, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White and Pinocchio. The longest line was, of course, Peter Pan. This is the most popular ride at Disneyland and Disney World. The attraction in Disney World has a fast pass option but not Disneyland. I don’t think one ride in Fantasyland has a Fast Pass option, now that I think of it. We probably waited a good 20 minutes for Peter Pan, but we were able to walk on to all the other rides, which made it less of a problem. This fact probably had something to do with the cloudy weather – we even got sprinkled on at one point.

From there we made a beeline for It’s a Small World so my parents could see London mesmerized by the attraction. She loved it as much the second time as the first. Of course, it was a little fun to watch my dad and Cameron suffer. My dad had joked that the traditional tune had just left his head from our ride on the attraction at Disneyworld when I was 16. Cameron is also not a fan of the ride, having been stuff on it for 15 minutes one time, and still puts on the charade of being a Grinch about Christmas and all that goes with it (FYI – he plans to wear the Grinch PJ bottoms I got him last year on the plane to Tucson this year – I’ll take pictures if he does). Then it was on to Toon Town, where we picked up some fast passes for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.

Joe hadn’t been feeling well that morning so we weren’t sure if we’d even see that part of our crew that day, but by the time we made it to Toon Town we learned that they were in line to see Mickey at Mickey’s house in Toon Town. We wandered through Mickey’s House and met up with Vicki, Joe and Connor. The line to see Mickey was too long for us (why wait in line now to see characters when we are sure to do so again when London actually cares) so we headed back outside in search of food, but happened upon Mickey’s car first. London loved playing in it. I told you driving is her favorite thing to do.

After a quick visit to Donald’s boat, the lunch area was finally open for the day (again, after the posted 11 AM sign), so we grabbed a quick bite of pizza and some sandwiches. When it came time to go on the Roger Rabbit ride, Cameron ended up giving Connor his ticket so he could go with us. This was the first time I’d ever been on the ride. Imagine the tea cups on a track going through a ride like Mr. Toad’s wild ride. We were spinning so much it was a bit hard to take it all in.

London was getting a bit crabby at this point and we were all a little cold. We figured we’d hit up a round trip on the Railroad and then go back to the hotel for a nap. My parents and I both had never actually ridden the Disneyland Train and it was fun to get a new vantage point of Disneyland, and see the Grand Canyon and Dinosaur dioramas that I’ve read about.

Unfortunately, while we were on the train and about half way (I believe we were pulling in at the Main Street location), London went into a meltdown. Her current way to throw tantrums when one is holding her is to bang her head back and forth. I was holding her on my lap at the time, and she’s gotten so tall that she swung her head right into my mouth – I had a nice fat lip the rest of the day. We were going to beeline it to the hotel after we got off, but first had to stop at the restrooms just 50 feet from the Toon Town Train depot. By the time everyone was ready to head for the hotel, London was passed out in her stroller.

We decided to walk around the park until she woke up, hoping she would be out for a good hour or so. Cameron had gotten a great straw hat at Disneyland the last time we were there and wanted to see if they still had it, since he had accidently left it on an old co-worker’s boat, and she wouldn’t give it back after it became the “boat hat”. It must have been the wrong season as it wasn’t at the Mad Hatter’s in Fantasyland, nor in any shop in Frontier or Adventureland. At one point we tried to board the Riverboat, but apparently even this ride requires you to find stroller parking. We weren’t about to risk moving London so we opted to continue walking.

While we were in Adventureland, I convinced my parents to get fast passes to Indiana Jones. After a tour of New Orleans square, and bumming that Pirates of the Caribbean was closed for refurbishment until Thanksgiving (we learned that it was supposed to be open the Monday before we arrived, but got pushed back), it was time for their ride. My dad came out saying it was his favorite ride. I knew it would be. It’s one of mine! Too bad London has to be 40” to ride it. Give it another year or so – she’s already 33”.

London woke up while they were on the ride, so once we regrouped, we ran into the Tiki Room and then headed for California Adventure. We probably should have allotted more time for this park since my parents had never seen it, but with all the construction going on to the entrance and Carsland, it made it a bit frustrating to get around (think many mice in small maze tunnels), and not too many rides London couldn’t go on.

Our first order of business was get fast passes for seating to see World of Color at 8 PM that night. Then we headed for the new Little Mermaid ride. After a 30 minute wait, we finally got to board our clamshells. Great ride and well put together. It hit all the great parts from the movie.

Across the large pond we waited probably 45 minutes to get on Toy Story Mania. This ride has some kinks and was a bit of a let down, at least for this visit. It didn’t help that it really wasn’t a ride for London, though she technically could go on it. The ride requires 3D glasses, which she cannot keep on yet. Then there was the bar that goes across you lap. Most rides with bars, are a single bar to go across every rider’s lap. Not this ride. Designed for two laps, there were two bars that sort of met in the middle to cover a third person, as long as every one has the same sized thighs. This doesn’t work well on Tower of Terror in Orlando (my cousin Eddie and I learned that riding with my dad and Uncle Rick when we were there – did make it more fun in our eyes) and it didn’t work here. About mid-way through the ride I noticed that London was slipping through the gap between the bars. So there I was holding on to her for dear life while she grabbed my glasses which made everything blurry to me. London also wanted to pull the cord to shoot at the targets but to do so, she wasn’t aimed at anything on the board. Add in the fact that the ride kept stopping and had to have the games reset a couple of times, and I was just ready to get off it by the time we made it through.

At this point it was starting to get dark and we were all hungry. We found some ok Chinese food rice bowls in the Wharf which was mainly food options. I think the mix of being tired, all the waiting we had done and the long days were getting to me at this point. I took London to the bathroom for a diaper change and became increasingly annoyed by the other mother changing one of her children. Her loud mouth sisters and their combined 5 other children running and screaming in the large echo-y bathroom didn’t help, nor them crowding me up against the changing table since they had to all be crowded around the other at one point. Cameron heard screaming at one point and sent my mom in after us, just as we were leaving the rest room. Asked if that screaming was London I explained the situation. I guess I have something about getting stressed out at amusement park bathrooms changing London – it was similar to my experience at Marine World back in May.

After dinner, we wandered over to the BlueSky Cellar to see what all the construction was about and to let London run around in a warm place for a little while. She had a great time playing hide and seek behind the large tables and running up and down a wheelchair access ramp.

Up next: Mike and Sully to the Rescue. This is a fun ride and right along of the traditional Fantasyland rides, which were perfect for London. It was also nice to not have a line and got us back into the spirit one should have when at Disneyland.

In a Bug’s Land, my mom and I took London on Francis’s Spinning Ladybugs (similar to the teacups although we had no control over the spinning of ours for some reason – the ride was having issues that caused us to wait in line a little longer than we were prepared to).

My parents went on Tuck and Roll’s bumper buggies (think bumper cars) after that – it was pretty funny to see them both turn into big kids for this ride. Sadly, my memories of bmper cars are a little jarring so I opted to sit with Cameron and London and eat a churro. Then we walked right onto Heimlick’s Chew Chew train. We must have timed it just right because we got the train to ourselves. The one before us had been full and by the time we arrived back to offload there was a line waiting to get on our train. Not that we could see that much during the ride– A Bug’s Land isn’t very well lit at night, even though it was only 5 PM or so. It got dark early in the parks thanks to all the tall buildings and attractions. I’m sure the lighting the way it is, is meant to portray what its like for a bug at night in the grass, but it could stand to be a bit lighter mainly just for safety concerns and to not totally take away from the land in general.

Cameron had gotten us Tower of Terror fast passes while London and I were on the spinning lady bugs and it was now time to take advantage of them. By the time we got done, London was passed out again. My parents said they would take her and wander toward our area for World of Color while Cameron and I ran to have one last ride on California Screamin’. We got back just in time to get into our seating area for World of Color. Of course, we had another hour to wait for the actual show, so London and I played tag to entertain her. But the show was well worth the wait – World of Color was fantastic. I do agree with my dad that it is a shameless plug of almost every animated Disney movie ever, but everyone was singing along and the effects were brilliant. London especially loved when bubbles rained down on us.

Now, after World of Color, the plan had been to dash back to Disneyland for the fireworks and Fantasmic. The fireworks were scheduled to start 15 minutes after World of Color, and the first show of Fantasmic 15 minutes after the fireworks. But my parents were done for the day – I’m sure Cameron’s and my pace for Disneyland was bit much for them, as was London.

They offered to take her for the night again, and wanted to stop at Build a Bear with London on the way back to the hotel before it closed. So Cameron and I took off for Disneyland on our own. We made it to the gate to have our tickets scanned to get in just as the fireworks started – we were literally under the awning when the first boom went off. Somewhere along the way, Cameron decided we would skip the fireworks and make our way to Fantasmic. We got to see a bit of the show while we rushed along the course they had laid out, but I was definitely bummed to have missed it – somehow we always sacrifice the fireworks for something else. The sad part is that we made it to the first showing of Fantasmic and managed to find great seats. Matt & Lynde were supposed to have met up with us for the first show but got lost, so after it, we grabbed even better seats, and guided them to us – battling a lady over the seats that tried to take them from us long after we had claimed them. Only Matt & Lynde didn’t stay for the second show! So much for the tug of war of the seats. Worked out for her in the end I guess and we still had our great seats so we watched it twice that night!

In between shows I told Cameron how I was disappointed about missing the fireworks. He’s promised me a trip back, probably just the two of us, just to see the fireworks. Looking back, he wasn’t even sure why he rushed past them to get to Fantasmic since he loves fireworks too.

It actually did turn out to be a good thing to stay and watch the second Fantasmic show. At one point in the show the dragon from Sleeping Beauty shoots flames from its mouth. Only in the first show, the liquid didn’t get ignited so the dragon looked like it was only shooting water. It definitely makes a difference in how the show comes across. Plus, I always love the end when the Black and white Steam Boat Willie Mickey comes out driving the River Ferry with all the characters dancing. By the time we made it back to the hotel we were exhausted. And again it was too late for the spa.

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