Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week o' Vacationing 2011 Day 2: The Happiest Place on Earth

Monday morning we got up bright and early so we could be to Disneyland in time for when it opened.  And to be honest, I was up a lot earlier than that. The time change plus the excitement made it easy for me to get up early and shower and then run to the store for some breakfast groceries and to fuel up the car.

After breakfast we drove the ~30 minutes over to the park, rode the parking tram over to the gates and got right in there. It seemed like last time I was there for the opening of the park they made us wait out by the flowerbed, but this time they had everyone all the way into Main Street U.S.A. before blocking the road.

Val told us that the big draw right now was the redesigned Star Tours (Now in 3D!), and that last time she was there they ran out of fast passes for the ride fairly early in the day. So we headed there first. Not to the ride itself but to the fast pass station. Once we had a time scheduled for Star Tours, we hit Space Mountain figuring the lines would be short. And they were.  Then Buzz Lightyear. Then a jaunt over to Adventureland for the Indiana Jones ride, and then to Pirates of the Caribbean (walked right on!), and the to the Haunted Mansion (closed for the day :( )

At that point it was time for our fast pass ride on Star Tours, so we headed back that way.  It was definitely an improved experience over the last time I'd been, and it was cool to find out later in the day that there are actually some portions of the ride that are randomly selected, so sometimes you get to see different places on your space journey.

Star Tours 3D!
With our Star Wars glasses on

After that, we walked over to the Matterhorn which was sadly also closed all day.  Then we hit the Autopia, the Finding Nemo Submarines, and then if I remember that's when we headed over to the other side of the park again to get a fast pass for Splash Mountain.

So excited for Autopia
Look mom! I'm driving!

We had lunch while we waited and then it was time for our ride.  Brandon hadn't been to Disneyland since the advent of the fast pass and as we walked past people who'd been waiting in line for almost an hour to get on, he was dumbfounded at why people would wait that long when they could just get a fast pass and not just sit in that line all day. So true. Anyway, Splash Mountain was fun, and Brandon, riding in the very front got soaked pretty much everywhere. I got pretty wet too and though I wrung the water out of my socks, I still felt a little squishy all day.

After that, we hit up Fantasy land and did a lot of the storybook rides there (Pinocchio, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan). We went up to Toontown and rode Gadget's Go-Coaster.  Went back for a 2nd ride on Star Tours. Rode Space Mountain a couple more times. Then back to Adventureland for a couple more rides on Indiana Jones and a nearly empty Jungle Cruise.  Thunder Mountain Railroad. It's a Small World. Teacups. Roger Rabbit's something-or-other ride in Toon Town. The Disneyland Railroad.  Don't know if I'm missing anything else, but I'm sure I've mixed up the order somewhere.

Private Jungle Cruise
Our private jungle cruise ride

Indiana Jones
Driving our Indiana Jones jeep. Sometimes I would pretend to get shot with a poisonous dart during the ride for the benefit of the other passengers.

One of the kind of out of nowhere funnest moments was when Julie and Val convinced us to go on the Tea Cup ride and somehow we ended up cramming all 4 of us into the same tea cup. I felt like for sure some park employee would tell it was unsafe or something. But no. So we just were packed in there like sardines and we took a bunch of silly photos and just had a grand old time.

Tea Cup Madness
If you look closely you can see all 4 of us

Tea Cup Madness
Well, now you can see us better, but it's less obvious how crammed in were are.

Tea Cup Madness

Tea Cup Madness
Maybe my favorite picture of the whole trip

Love this clock
It's a Small World

Weight Lifter
At one point Brandon got angry and threw these weights at Julie...

...somehow she survived.

The End
The End (actually just the end of the Roger Rabbit ride)

In any case, we rode a lot of rides and the lines were relatively short and painless. Slight downer that the Matterhorn and Haunted Mansion were closed, but still a great day at Disney. The park was open til 10, but we headed for the parking lot just before the fireworks show at 9:30 feeling pretty spent and like we'd gotten our money's worth.

End of a long day
Ok, this is the real end. We had someone take our picture and for some reason it turned out weird. Probably because the ghosts had the day off from the Haunted Mansion.

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