6.01.2011

Disneyland: The Rides

We lost a day and a half of our trip due to bad weather in Chicago and airline cock-ups and we reached a point around 11:00 AM on Thursday -- almost 24 hours later than we were supposed to be in California originally -- where it looked like we were never going to get the hell out of O'Hare airport. For serious, I was sitting in the middle of Terminal 3 at one point, weeping and blubbering and and cussing a blue streak, and for a little while I found myself hoping to get arrested so we could get out of there.

I mean, I figured my husband would visit me in jail, and bring me cigarettes. Absolutely nothing in the world is worse than being stuck on the secure side of the TSA checkpoint in one of the world's busiest airports with no idea if or when you're ever going to get out and no access to a smoking lounge when you're already on what is supposed to be Day 2 of your vacation but you're still 2,000 miles from your final destination and God only knows how many flights and hours left to go and you only have half an Ativan left in your purse.

Yes, I know I have a tendency towards melodrama, but yes, it really was that bad. And did I mention I was with my husband, who hates travelling, and my 4-year-old, who hates everything that doesn't blink, make noise, or dispense candy?

So when we finally got to Anaheim, and we rejiggered our schedule so that we could fit in as much as we possibly could while we were still there -- and once again I would like to thank the nice people at Disney Dining, who let us change our reservation at Blue Bayou not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES over two different days and never said a word or gave us a hard time or anything, even with me whining into the phone -- when we finally got to Disneyland, we were so busy having fun that we didn't stop that much to take pictures of the fun-having, you know?

Our final picture count is a bit disappointing -- just over 800 photos, and many of them not particularly good, as usual. I know it's possible for me to take upwards of a thousand pictures in a single day, and I'm pretty sure I did that last year at the shore, but it just didn't work out like that this time. Also, we didn't get ONE single picture of the three of us together anywhere. In retrospect, for a place like Disneyland, a little point-and-shoot that fits in a pocket or fanny pack might be a better way to go: not as heavy, for one thing, and not as difficult to whip out and start taking pictures in line for rides, in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle, etc. No having to change lenses and fuss with settings and whatnot. Or else I guess we could go on vacation with other people, so we don't have to ask strangers to please hold our jillion dollar camera while we pose here in front of this random scenic thing like a bunch of gauche tourists and move our stuff so my purse isn't in the frame and let me smooth her hair out a second and can you see us all or do I need to stand on this bench here since my husband is twelve feet tall and hang on while I spit into my hand and clean the chocolate and cotton candy off my kid's face face and ... hey, where is that guy going with our Nikon?

Shut up. I already know I'm crazy.

Anyway, here are the best of the pictures we got of the rides we went on at Disneyland. (Dear every English teacher everywhere, I am sorry for butchering the language right there, and if you need to punish me by making me diagram the previous sentence, so be it.)

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Silly Symphony Swings @ California Adventure
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King Triton's Carousel @ California Adventure
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King Triton's Carousel @ California Adventure
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Mad Tea Party @ Disneyland
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Francis' Ladybug Boogie @ California Adventure
Heimlich's Chew-Chew Train
Heimlich's Chew Chew Train @ California Adventure

And around here is the point at which we all hit the wall. Which, I can't say I blame Shae for that, overmuch -- we spent 20+ hours in two theme parks in two days, which is kind of a lot for us grown-ups, to say nothing of how exhausting it must have been for her. We were in both parks on both days, and we covered just about every corner. It was Memorial Day weekend, and there were lots of people (although, thanks to Disney magic, there were no "crowds," per se). There was a lot of noise and movement and characters everywhere and excitement and music and fireworks and laser light shows and what have you. And walking, oh my lands. And the HILLS. Gentle though they were, they are still in fact HILLS.

But honestly? Disneyland and California Adventure were pretty much as awesome as I expected, maybe even more, all things considered, and I think G and Shae agree. It's different from Walt Disney World in Florida, where G and I went for our honeymoon, but different is not bad in this case. It is smaller, more intimate, if that makes sense to describe a place filled with 50,000 people. There was stuff we missed, like the Peter Pan ride and the Alice in Wonderland ride and the Snow White ride and the Matterhorn and the runaway train. Big sections of one of the parks were still under construction, and Star Tours was closed for renovations. I can't remember if we even passed through Frontierland, and we only ever saw Mickey's ToonTown from the train depot. We didn't get on anywhere close to everything, but we hit all the highlights we were hoping for: Pirates of the Caribbean. The Tiki Birds. The Jungle Cruise. My favorite, the Mad Tea Party. It's A Small World. MuppetVision 3D. Space Mountain, Shae's first roller coaster ride. (She didn't like the dark, but she didn't mind the coaster part.) The swings and the ferris wheel and every stinkin' boat ride in both parks. We got a sneak preview of the new Little Mermaid ride which doesn't officially open until this week. Everything in California Adventure was fantastic, especially Soarin' Over California, which is the single best amusement park ride that I have ever been on anywhere ever.

No, I never got my In-N-Out burger, and we didn't see the ocean in person until we were on the plane coming home, and we probably could have spent two more days at the parks, easily, but considering how crappily the trip started, it ended up being pretty damned fantastic. More tomorrow.

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