Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 3 – Monday, June 21, 2010

Plan: Disneyland Day; Breakfast at Carnation Cafe


I was up at 5:30am after a good, although short, night’s sleep. I showered and dressed then texted Jason that I was ready so he could come over. We hung out in the room until 7:00am and then drove over to Mickey & Friends. We didn’t even try to park in Toy Story, figuring it would be closed this early in the morning. We parked in the Pinocchio lot, two spaces from the front.

The rest of the family was waiting in the security line, which had just opened. After security we found a line where we were only a few people from the front. Since it wasn’t a Magic Morning, we were let into the park around 7:45am and held at the end of Main Street. At rope drop we all headed straight for Fantasyland. I played with RideMax for quite a while, tweaking things here and there until I came up with what I felt was the ultimate touring plan for this area of the park. First stop was Peter Pan, where we waited about 8 minutes. Next was Dumbo, where six of us piled into our own flying elephant. Jason stayed on the ground to take pictures of us. We then headed over to the Matterhorn. Mom doesn’t ride the Matterhorn, so she headed over to Buzz Lightyear to pick up a FastPass. It wasn’t until after she left that we realized we should have given her our tickets so she could pick up FastPasses for the rest of us. Dad was going to ride the Matterhorn with us, but decided while we were in line that it was too bumpy for him. He took all of our park tickets and went to get FP’s for Buzz for later. We rode the Tomorrowland side which is supposed to be a bumpier, faster ride. There were multiple times when the bobsled from the Fantasyland side was on the track right next to us. I wished I had my camera ready because I could have taken some great close up shots of the other bobsled.

After the Matterhorn, we headed over to Storybook Land Canal Boats, where we were going to meet up with Mom and Dad. Within a few minutes, Dad appeared, but there was no sign of Mom. We all figured that she wouldn’t be able to resist hopping on Buzz, since it’s her very favorite ride. After waiting a while longer we decided to skip ahead to the Mad Tea Party since Mom wouldn’t be riding that. Sandy and Dad sat this one out. There was no line at all. Samantha and Matthew were in one teacup, while Jason and I were in another. Jason and I don’t spin the teacups, and spent most of our time taking pictures of Samantha and Matthew.

There was still no sign of Mom when we left the tea cups. We were getting a little frustrated because the lines for Fantasyland attractions get long quickly. We watched the line for Storybook Land get longer and longer. Finally, we decided to just get in line and hoped that she would arrive before it was time for us to board. As soon as we got into line we saw her coming. There was one family behind us, so we let them go ahead and waited for Mom. Yep, we were right, she couldn’t resist Buzz and took a couple of rides. She thought we’d take longer at the Matterhorn.

We waited in line for a couple of boats and then boarded. With seven of us, I thought we might get our own boat, but they loaded a few more people in. I was at the very front of the boat which gave me a great opportunity to take pictures without people’s heads in the way. Dad was busy trying to take pictures of the Hidden Mickey’s.

In spite of our delay waiting for Mom to meet us, we were running about 30 minutes ahead of the RideMax schedule. We’ve generally found that RideMax is somewhat conservative in their wait time estimates. We’re happy with that as it is very satisfying to be ahead of the schedule.

Since we had time to spare before our Carnation Café reservation, we sent a few people over to Space Mountain to pick up FastPasses and then met at Market House for coffee. Even though ordering coffee all on one receipt would have put us over the $10 threshold to be eligible for the 10% AP discount, we decided to order separately so we’d each have a receipt to carry. This would make it easier to get free refills later in the day if we didn’t happen to be all together. When I stepped up to place my order, I found that Mom had given the CM enough money to cover everyone’s coffee.

We took our coffee and found a bench in Town Square and just sat and enjoyed the day. A few minutes before 9:40am we walked back to Carnation Café. When I called to make our priority seating I was told that the maximum number that they could seat on a reservation was four. So, after checking with a supervisor, the CM allowed me to make two reservations to accommodate our party of seven but warned me that we wouldn’t be able to sit together. When we checked in at Carnation Café, I gave the names that both reservations were under and without even asking they were able to put us all together at one table. In fact I saw several parties of more than four people sitting together. While we were prepared to be split up, we were glad that we were able to sit together.

We were at a table way in the back, which was fine since I was worried that we would be seated at one of the tables along the railing where walk-ups line up. I find it awkward to sit there with people staring at you while you eat. If I were standing in that line, I would make sure I was looking in a different direction. It just seems like common courtesy.

Breakfast was great. Since we planned to eat here twice during the trip I had Oscar’s Scramble this time and would have the Mickey-shaped waffle next time. Oscar’s Scramble includes scrambled eggs with cheese, potatoes, bacon or sausage, and a mini-croissant. There also a strawberry and orange wedge garnishing the plate. I made sure to eat that since I wasn’t getting nearly the fruits and veggies that I’m used to eating every day. Jason and I always take pictures of our food and once everyone else saw what we were doing, they also whipped out their cameras. I’m sure it looked odd to everyone around us. Oscar was there and spent a lot of time at our table. He seemed to greet us like he knew us and I wasn’t sure if he really did or he was just good at making people feel like he knew them. We don’t come here that often and I know he sees a lot of people each day. Still it was good to see him. It’s been about five years since he said he’s going to retire and although I know he deserves to retire, we really look forward to seeing him each time.

After breakfast we headed over to Captain EO. Jason and I love this because we both remember seeing it in 1993, although Jason was fourteen at the time. I’m not sure everyone else loved it as much as we do, although Mom seemed to enjoy seeing the 80’s hairstyles and fashions. For some reason the floor didn’t move at all during the show, which I really missed.

Next we did Buzz Lightyear, with no wait at all and then everyone but Mom and Dad did Space Mountain using our FastPasses. I always take my glasses off because I’m afraid they’ll fly off. I decided to try it with them on and it was just fine. Although it’s a very dark ride, it was nice to be able to see a few things during the ride, and it was nice not to have to fumble for my glasses when the ride was over.

Our last planned stop for the morning was It’s a Small World. The line extended beyond the roped queue area but moved quickly. When we reached the point where we branch into two lines, we chose the line on the right side.. We also took note of the person that entered the left side of the line so we could see if our line moved faster. As usual it did. When we boarded our boat I could seen him still a ways away from boarding. We all enjoyed seeing the new characters that were added.

Normally at this time I would head back to the hotel for a rest during the afternoon and then return in the evening when it began to cool off. But because Sandy, Samantha and Dad had their Segway Tour early the next morning, we decided to just stay in the park and meet at Coke Corner at 6:00pm. We’d call it a day at that point, grab an early dinner and get a good night’s sleep. Sandy and Matthew took off on their own, but Mom talked about getting a chocolate dipped waffle cone so the rest of us decided to get ice cream if the line wasn’t too long at the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. Dad was joking that the best time to get ice cream is when the park first opens otherwise the line is always ridiculously long. We walked over to Main Street and while the line was fairly long, it seemed to move quickly. I wasn’t super hungry because we’d just finished breakfast not too long ago, but it seemed like the optimal time to do this.

All the tables at Gibson Girl were full so we took our ice cream over to Coke Corner where we all crammed around one table. The ice cream was good. I know it’s just Dreyer’s, but it always tastes better at Disneyland.

After we finished the ice cream, Jason and I went over to Market House for coffee refills and everyone else went their own way. We took our coffee to Town Square and found an empty bench where we could watch characters. After awhile we decided to split up. Jason took off to take pictures around the park. I moved up to sit on one of the benches in front of the train station for awhile. While I was sitting there I realized that this was the first time I can remember being totally on my own in the parks. It was a strange feeling. I didn’t really know what to do. After awhile I decided to take a round trip on the train. I could hear a train approaching so I went into the train station. There were a lot of people waiting. I was about 10 people from the front of the line when the gates closed because the train was full. Fortunately, I was standing in front of a bench so I sat down to wait for the next train. While I was waiting I glanced over at DCA and decided it would be fun to maybe do a couple of rides on Soarin’ using the single rider line. So rather than wait for the train, I headed over to DCA.

It was extremely warm in the plaza area and the distance between Disneyland and DCA seemed a lot shorter from up at the train station than it did when I was actually making the trek. There were long lines of people at the turnstiles waiting to get in and I was resenting World of Color that was making DCA more popular than it had been in the past. I sure missed the emptiness of DCA.

By the time I made my way through the turnstiles, I was regretting my decision to leave the comfort of my bench at the train station. My knees and legs were killing me and I slowly hobbled my way around to Soarin’. When I asked the CM about doing single rider, she politely told me that because Soarin’ was so busy, they weren’t doing single rider at that time. What a disappointment!

I walked over to Taste Pilot’s Grill and sat down at one of the outside tables for a few minutes to give my knees a chance to rest. While I was there I considered my next step. I decided to head over to Muppets since there usually isn’t any problem getting into the next show and then I’d go over to the Animation building and do the Animation Academy, where they teach you to draw a popular Disney character.

I hobbled over to Muppets where I found an eleven minute wait until the next show. I was just about to ungracefully sit on the floor to wait when I spotted a place to sit off to the side. It was cool and comfortable and I was able to revive somewhat. When the doors to the theatre opened, I was at the back of the crowd. It wasn’t a huge crowd so there wasn’t really any need for people to move all the way over to end of the row. Most of the crowd went to the center of the row and sat down. I headed along the back and enter one of the back rows from the opposite side and had a perfectly unobstructed view of the show. I was also positioned to be one of the first people out of the theater.

After Muppets I walked across the street and entered the Animation building which was packed with people. I headed to the Animation Academy and saw a huge crowd of people waiting for the next class, which was still 10 minutes away, so I decided against doing it. I went into the room with Toy Story Zoetrope and sat down on a cushioned bench for awhile. That thing is just amazing. It was fun to hear the gasps of surprise from people seeing it for the first time.

I sat there for about 10 minutes and then headed back to the Animation Academy to find out when the next class was scheduled to begin. It wasn’t for another 30 minutes so I gave up on that idea. I decided to just head back to Disneyland, find myself a shady bench, and just rest.

I slowly made my way to the front of DCA, stopping several times to rest on a bench. I was really in a lot of pain and it was unbearably warm and very crowded. I was sitting on a bench outside of DCA’s Guest Services when Jason texted me, asking where I was. This end up being a frequent activity for most of us throughout the week. Someone would text the group, asking where everyone was, and we would respond by sending a picture of something near us. Or, sometimes someone would take a picture of some obsure area where they were and send it to the group asking us to guess where they were. I stepped out from Guest Services and snapped a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. Jason was surprised that I was way over at DCA. I followed up the picture with a text telling him I was heading back to Disneyland.

I was just passing City Hall when Jason caught up with me. We decided to head over to the Tiki Room and have a Dole Whip. Once we reached the Tiki Room, we decided again the Dole Whip because it was a too close to dinner. We sat down on a bench to wait for the next show. As we sat there we came to the conclusion that we were both done for the day. If we headed back to the hotel now, we would have a good hour and a half to rest before dinner. Jason texted everyone else and asked them to give us a call when they were leaving for dinner.

We were able to hop on the next tram back to the parking structure and soon were back at the hotel. Jason went to his room and I headed to mine to soak in a hot bath. After my bath, Jason came over and we watched Castaway on HBO. Around six, we got a call saying that the rest of the group would be by to pick us up for dinner at 6:45pm. After dinner everyone was coming back to my room with their laptops to use our Wi-Fi for awhile. At 6:40pm, Jason and I walked to the lobby and picked up a guest parking permit for Mom and Dad’s minivan so they’d be able to legally park in the parking lot later.

They were pulling up just as we stepped out of the lobby. We hopped in and were on our way to El Pollo Loco on Ball Road. There was a lengthy discussion as we figured out how much chicken to get and what sides everyone wanted. Samantha doesn’t care for El Pollo Loco so she picked up something from Panda Express next door and brought it back to eat with us. There was a lot of food, but we did a good job of finishing most of it. There were four pieces of chicken left that Mom wrapped up to take back to the room. Jason and I always make a point of eating at El Pollo Loco whenever we’re at Disneyland. Sometime in the past year they opened one near us in Beaverton. We ate there a couple of times, but decided that it just tastes better in Anaheim.

After dinner we all piled into the van and came back to my room to use the Wi-Fi. Jason and Dad brought over a couple of chairs from Jason’s room so everyone had a seat. There were seven of us in the room with six laptops. Looking around it seemed like we were running some kind of illegal hacking operation with everyone hunched over their computers.

Everyone left by 9:20pm. Jason said goodnight and went to his room. I was tired so it was lights out by 10:00pm.

Highlights: Having our RideMax plan work so beautifully; being able to ride the Matterhorn, which was down for refurbishment during our February trip; seeing Oscar at Carnation Café.

Pedometer Stats:
Miles: 4.48
Steps: 14,204

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