Disneyland Day 3

I know that I said at the beginning of the last post that it was going to be short.  This time I mean it.  I’m exhausted.  My feet hurt.  My legs have stopped talking to me.  The top of my head (a place I could not put sunscreen) is sunburned.  The back of my neck (a place I should have put more sunscreen) feels like it should be glowing and starting nuclear reactions.  In short, I’m at the end of my rope, and only a fool and a madman would stay up much later, just to write another blog entry for an extremely low-volume site.

So in an effort to keep this somewhat brief, I will list out some of the things we did, without going into too much detail.

  • We started the day in the California side of the park
  • The first ride we got in line for was the Cars themed race one.
  • Chris started feeling extremely queasy just as we got to the front of the line, so he and I bailed on the ride.  Melissa and Bryanna said it was amazing.
  • Bryanna and Melissa did a water ride that looked like a big inner tube twice.
  • We did some other stuff in the park, eventually splitting up.
  • We grouped back up at the hotel to go to Medieval Times.
  • We made it back from Medieval Times early enough to go back to Disneyland and see the Phantasmic show.
  • We did some more rides, and then discovered that there was a second showing of Phantasmic, which we watched.
  • We stumbled back to the hotel.

Now that the listing is done, I want to talk about the scariest part of the whole day.  It was only tangentially related to a ride.  That is, right after we got fast passes for Soar Over California, Chris had a panic attack, hyperventilated, and we had to have park staff check him out.

Yesterday, I said that Chris and I were about on par when it comes to our manliness when it comes to getting on rides.  That is partly true.  We’re both unapologetic wimps.  The difference between us is that I’m 40 and he’s 15, and when faced with the prospect of having to get on a ride and face my mortality (or at least, my fears), I have some experience and wisdom to fall back on to get me through it.  My bowels might turn to water, and I might scream and embarrass myself, but I know that I’ll be okay.

With this ride, Chris had no idea what it was about.  We got the fast passes, and his imagination started going into overdrive.  I can only guess at the things that he conjured up in his imagination, and having the fast pass in his hand was a commitment.  He panicked, hyperventilated, and had to sit for a while.

He eventually calmed down, and was his normal smiling self after that.  And we all did the ride, and he loved it.  We all loved it.  Later in the evening, he faced his fears again, did the Haunted Mansion, and loved that, too.  He and his sister wound up racing around to do that ride 2 more times.

Eventually, Chris and I will work our way up to Space Mountain.  Until then, we’ll face or fears as we can, and have fun where we want to have fun.

Finally, I want to say that this Disney vacation was a complete success.  It was ridiculously expensive.  My credit card is hot to the touch, it’s been used so hard.  But everyone on this trip has been smiling and having fun.  Not even a panic attack could dampen our spirits.  This has been time and money very well spent.


Disneyland Day 2

I’m pretty tired, so I’m not sure how long this post will be.  I think feeling this tired after a day at Disneyland means that we did some stuff right.  I’ll leave the Disneyland experts to decide for themselves.

We knew that we wanted to get up fairly early, so that we could get a hearty breakfast before going to the park shortly after it opened.  I set our alarm for 6:30, thinking that would be too early.  We had a hard time getting up and getting out the door, but we managed to get going towards the line of restaurants across the street from the parks by around 7:15.  We settled on Denny’s because we thought it would be fairly easy and hopefully quick.  It was easy, sure, but service was slow and a bit incomplete.  We didn’t make it to the park until around 8:30.

I think I mentioned before that none of us are very experienced with Disneyland.  I’d been given tips by pros over the years, but I could only remember about half of them.  One of the things I did remember was the pin collecting.  I knew that Melissa and Bryanna would really enjoy that, so I pointed them in that direction.  One of the first things we did was get them starter kits.  I’ll jump ahead and tell you that by the end of the day, Bryanna and Melissa had spent a sizable chunk of their money on more pins throughout the park, and had traded along the way and now sport very impressive lanyards.

The first ride we dove into was Pirates of the Caribbean.  I remembered it somewhat from my visit 20 years ago, but none of the details were clear to me.  I remembered something about a dip that startled me.  Once we were in the boat, and it was dark, I suddenly remembered a few more details.  I clenched just before the dip, let out a girlish yell, and then enjoyed the rest of the ride.

When it comes to rides, I’m a complete wimp.  I just don’t feel comfortable getting slung around out of my control.  Pirates of the Caribbean is not a difficult ride by any stretch of the imagination, but I still let out a startled yelp.  My daughter, on the other hand, was shaking uncontrollably after that same dip.  It looks like she’s as bad or worse than I am when it comes to rides.

That means the only person that would want to do anything like Space Mountain is my wife, much to her chagrin.  Still, that left plenty of stuff for us to do, and we did plenty of other stuff.  We enjoyed Star Tours and Haunted Mansion quite a bit.  We ate at the Golden Horseshoe and enjoyed a show on their small stage.  We sat in with frozen lemonades and watched Mickey and the Magic Map (or whatever the show was called).  There was plenty of shopping done, mostly by Melissa and Bryanna.  We canoed on the river.  We had a full and fun day.

There were some negatives, however.  I, for one, am not very comfortable with crowds, and there were tons of people at Disneyland.  There were always tons of people, everywhere we went.  Getting from one location to another was a matter of navigating through a sea of bodies.  No, it wasn’t a sea, it was a battlefield.  There were armies marching through the filled streets, bearing bags and surly attitudes.  Phalanxes of strollers rolled through the resort, pushing people out of their way.  The pushers of these strollers were mechanized infantry.  Children had been weaponized.

I might be a little hyperbolic when it comes to describing the crowds and navigation of the streets of Disneyland.  I felt drained many times throughout the day.  In the late afternoon, but still before dinner, we all returned to the hotel room and napped.  I never nap, but I easily snoozed for 45 minutes.  Once refreshed, we went to a buffet dinner (which was utterly disgusting) and then returned to the park for a couple of repeat rides and the fireworks shows.  Melissa and Chris caught the Phantasm one while Bryanna and I were on another run through Star Tours.  From what they described, I regret missing that show.

And that was our day.  I’ve left out a few things, but I think what I’ve included is sufficient to describe day 2 of our vacation.  It’s also our 18th wedding anniversary.  It’s been a really fantastic day.  I should sleep well tonight.


Disneyland Day 1

I’ve brought my whole family down to Disneyland!  It’s been about 30 years since I was last year, and it’s the first time coming to Disneyland in California for the rest of my family.  Melissa and I went to Disneyland in Paris about 18 years ago, but that’s a whole different story.

We live in Northern California, and while it might have been faster to fly down south, we chose to drive.  I always prefer to drive, when I can.  About a month ago, I’d made the same trip, vising the Anaheim conventions center for MLG.  Like that trip, I decided we’d best be entertained by listening to an audio book.  We listened to the first half of Ender’s Game.

I was really hoping that Chris would enjoy it.  He’s not much of a reader, and I was hoping exposure to a really well done story would help sway him to the literate side of life.  He enjoyed it some, but he’s not going to pushing to go to the bookstore or the library any time soon.

This reading of Ender’s Game isn’t particularly good, to be honest.  It switches readers, which is a little bit jarring all by itself.  It’s made worse by the fact that the woman reading when it’s from Valentine’s perspective is really terrible.  She stretches out words too long, and ends sentences with overly lengthy pauses.

Our tickets for the parks themselves are for tomorrow and the next day.  We walked together to visit the “Downtown” area, which is full of stores and restaurants.  We acquired starter sets for pin collection and trading from one of the stores for Bryanna and Melissa.  After that, we ate at the Rainforest Cafe.  We concluded our long evening by watching The Wolverine.

All in all, it was a very good day, and a really great start to our vacation.