I know. I KNOW. Even I know that going to Anaheim three Sundays in a row is a bit excessive, especially when you live in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT COUNTY from the place. But, hey, if my Twitter feed is anything to go on, people spent hours and hours last weekend watching college basketball. I went to Disneyland for an evening. Let’s ease up on the judgement, I say.
Liz Does Disneyland 2014: Trip 10
COMPANY: My compatriots from Trip #3, plus new Disneyland friend C.! Yes, this trip was Mike’s fault; by which I mean thank you, Mike, for inviting me to join you and your friends for the day!
WEATHER: Dare I say it, almost chilly (especially given that we rode Pirates of the Carribean and Haunted Mansion), but with some hazy sun still filtering through. I’d define it as my ideal Disney weather, though I’d maybe have enjoyed wearing a slightly thicker sweater.
MONEY SPENT: $8.06 for a fried green tomato sandwich and fries from the Hungry Bear Cafe (after the passport holder discount). Easily one of the best food deals yet, and the eating area is spacious, not too crowded and right by the Rivers of America, which is populated with extremely entertaining ducks! My compatriots were wise indeed to aim us there.
LONGEST TIME SPENT IN LINE: Probably Haunted Mansion? Though I’d forgotten that the Jungle Cruise line is a weird labrynth that leads up and down stairs, snaking you around in circles until you begin to well and truly identify with the humble lab rat, stuck in a maze.
TIME SPENT: Arrived around 4:30, met up pretty quick with the others (who had been in and out of the park for several hours, already), and left around 8:15, low on energy and a bit worried about how long escaping the park might take. I was right to worry — it took me half an hour to get across Disneyland and monorail out to freedom.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE ROBOT BOYFRIEND NOVEL? Didn’t work on it while I was at the park, but the robot has just been outfitted with… bits. Eventually, he might get to use them.
WHAT HAPPENED ON STAR TOURS? Alas, didn’t make it. Time and other priorities kept me on the west side of Disneyland. Didn’t get to California Adventure, either.
NUMBER OF TIMES I WANTED TO MURDER A PERSON: The place was packed from the moment I arrived, and so there were the inevitable bumps and shoves that wore me down a bit. However, the day’s gold star winner was the lady sitting right in front of us during Pirates, because not only was she super-into taking selfies and trying to capture the pirate action, she did so USING HER CAMERA FLASH.
Guess what, lady? The reason they tell you there’s no flash photography is because every time you fire it off during a dark ride, YOU ARE BLINDING THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. ESPECIALLY during those selfies.
AIMEE’S BATHROOM REVIEW (IN ABSENTIA): Hungry Bear bathrooms got a bit crowded, but were surprisingly clean and nice-smelling for 6 PM on a busy Sunday. Definite recommend.
CALORIES BURNED (ACCORDING TO FITBIT): 942. Not bad for only about four real hours.
WHAT I READ WHILE IN LINE FOR STUFF: Most of the time, there was human companionship! But in line for the monorail, I did get in a little bit more of Going Clear, as well as an issue and a half of Brian K. Vaughn/Fiona Staples’ Saga, which is maybe a totally inappropriate thing to read in a public setting, given the violence, orgies and naked unicorn lesbians. But I kept the screen tilted away from impressionable eyes.
BEST T-SHIRT: I don’t know if this was the BEST, but I definitely saw five people, roaming together, wearing coordinated Power Rangers t-shirts. Black, red, blue, pink, yellow — each classic Ranger was represented. It was not only pretty amazing, but lead to a really fun Power Rangers vs. Ninja Turtles conversation while in line for Haunted Mansion.
THING I SAW/DID THAT I’D NEVER SEEN/DONE BEFORE: Look at this cute animatronic cat and bird I spotted while walking through Fantasyland towards the exit! Totally unexpected, adorable thing I just happened to stumble across, untied to any media property being marketed to impressionable kids! Just one of the lovely little details that make me really love Disneyland (even when I’m just burned out enough to read somewhat pornographic comics on my way out the door).
Also, earlier in the evening, we’d chosen the Lego store in Downtown Disney as a meeting place, which led to some other firsts: For one thing, I played with the publicly available Lego for a little while. Took a while to warm up to it, but then I had some real fun building a little boat. (I’ve Lego’ed before, believe me, but not in front of people.)
Plus, there was a prototypical hipster roaming the publicly available Lego, but despite the full crinkly beard, he was pretty cute. And then I saw that he was monitoring two small children, who were playing with Lego at the same table as me, and realized I’d been checking out a hot hipster dad, and felt impossibly old and young at the same time. It is a feeling I’ve become familiar with over these 10 trips to Disneyland, but the cause of it upon this occasion was certainly new.
There were also Lego car races, being overseen by a Lego store employee. That was cute, too.
BEST THING I SAW/DID: So I owe a huge debt to my companions and a half-dozen frazzled and generous Disneyland employees for this one!
Because I spent the early portion of the day working, I wasn’t able to pick up a FastPass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when the rest of my party did. And Big Thunder has JUST re-opened, with some new twists, so the wait times are currently astronomical, going as high as 90 minutes. Looking at those waits, I’d accepted the fact that I wouldn’t get onto the ride during this trip; instead, I figured that I’d go meet Captain America or something while they used their FastPasses.
However (my, again, very wise compatriots revealed), it turns out that if you’re with a group of people, and THEY all have FastPasses for the same time… Well, as long as it’s only one person in the group who’s missing theirs, frazzled and generous Disneyland employees might just wave in all of you, accepting the explanation of “I lost mine and the last guy said it was okay.” (This really only works, according to one guy we talked to, if it’s JUST one pass.)
We weren’t SURE it would work, especially since we had to re-explain the situation to every single line-wrangler we encountered, but I found myself sitting in the first row of one of my favorite roller coasters in record time. And while the ride itself hasn’t fundamentally changed — the track is pretty much exactly the same — during the shutdown Disney has added a bunch of fun new effects that add a lot to the experience. And also, damn it’s a fun coaster.
WHEN DO I THINK I’LL BE BACK NEXT? I’m going to put this in bold and italics — not until I’ve done my taxes. That’s right, Liz — not until you’ve done your taxes.
That may take me a good week or two to pull off, which isn’t a bad thing. Like I said (sigh) last week — I am vaguely ready for a break.