Friday, February 03, 2012

Post-birthday Disneyland report

As I mentioned in the birthday post last Friday we went to Disneyland. Who wants to hear about that? Okay, who's willing to pretend to want to hear about that now that I've gotten around to writing about it?

Yep, I'm wearing a stormtrooper  shirt.
When we got to the park it was not crowded, but given it was a weekday in January that was not surprising. We got "park-hopper" passes that allowed for going both the Magic Kingdom and to California Adventure in the same day, and allowed us to come back another day (and go to both) anytime before June. And of course I got a "Happy Birthday" button on which the ticket agent wrote my name.

That essentially obligated all park employees to wish me an appropriate greeting as we passed. While that seemed nice at first, after a while it turned into a modest burden to have to thank them for each "Happy birthday" they utter. They are trained to say it so cheerfully; one cannot be rude, especially in the so-called happiest place on earth, but after a few hours one does get tempted to take off the button.

Being the newest attraction since the last time we visited a couple years ago, we immediately rode the updated Star Tours ("The Adventure Continues"). And then we rode it again. Then we went on the Astro Blasters (directly across from Star Tours). And then we rode Star Tours again.

The updated ride (which is basically a flight simulator) differs from the previous incarnation in that there's now a number of variations in what adventure one will experience; with the old one it was always the same—and while that was certainly enjoyable, we tourists always ended up flying in the battle to blow up the first Death Star. The new one features three different segments, all of which can have different programs. (I'm led to believe there are two different opening, three different middles, and three different endings.) Oh, and it's in 3D.

For those first three times we rode there were at least two different ones for each segment. It was that interest in figuring out all the variant parts that kept us waiting in line over and over, and making that how we spent most of the morning. Ordinarily we wouldn't keep riding the same one over and over; there are other attractions we do enjoy.

By then it was time to head over to New Orleans Square for our lunch reservations at the Blue Bayou (otherwise known as the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean). The food was decent; it is a sit-down place in a theme park, so it's not phenomenal but it's better than most of the eateries on the grounds.

On the way back from there we did ride Pirates (and from the boat we could spot the table where we'd just eaten), because, hey, it was right there. My wife doesn't like the drops but she was willing to go, and then after experiencing them was reminded they weren't as long as she was thinking they were. And then we hit the Jungle Cruise, only because there was no wait at all, only to be reminded how vaguely (or not so vaguely) racist that ride is (and how the script the "captain" follows continues to refer to apes as monkeys).

Then over to Cal Adventure to check out the other ride that was new (at least to us): the Toy Story Midway Mania. However, it was out of service at that point, and so we did A Bug's Land and Muppet Vision to kill some time. By the time we were done with them the Toy Story ride was open again, and had the longest line we'd wait in all day (an hour). However, it proved to be a pretty fun attraction, where one plays virtual versions of classic midway games (ring toss, darts, plate shooting, etc.) themed around characters from the Toy Story movies.

Then we dashed back to the Disneyland side to use our Star Tours fast passes for our fourth trip (which ended up being exactly the same sequence of segments as our very first ride). We then had a choice: Stay on that side and ride the Mad Tea Party, or head back to Cal Adv to wait for the "World of Color" show (which we'd never seen). First world dilemma, to be sure.

We ended up sticking on that side, spinning in the tea cups, and then grabbing a burger at the quasi-Bavarian-themed restaurant in Fantasy Land (which had no line). We had reservations for the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney an hour later, but we were hungry then (and planned on trying to ride the Toy Story one again—Cal Adv was open until 9, an hour later than Disneyland—and the reservations would be right in the middle of that last hour the other side was open).

So, yeah, we blew off eating in a pretty decent restaurant to grab a mediocre burger 20 minutes before the first park closed, all in order to have one more round on a ride. We are not fancy folks.

When we got over to the Cal Adv side it was right around the time the World of Color was supposed to start. We had a second of contemplating whether we should try to find a viewing area when an announcement declared that due to high winds the show was canceled.

Having experienced the fireworks over at Disneyland be canceled many time on previous visits, this merely reinforced: Never wait for any such outdoor show at Disneyland when there's anything brisker than a gentle breeze.

Actual scores. 
So we dashed over to the Toy Story ride, and waited until well after that side was closed (another hour wait) to go through the games again.

Then we made our way out to the trams and then back to the car, and then home. We'd been out for over 13 hours that day and put middle age at bay all day. Which was what I fully expected.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a WONDERFUL day! Great pix.

    I bet they cancel the fireworks frequently just to save money.

    I want THIS t-shirt -


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