Monday, September 21, 2009

Fun in the Sun, In the Happiest Place on Earth

We are happily enjoying our Disneyland vacation! Since we do have a full week in the parks we are taking our time and enjoying the little things in addition to riding the big rides. Sunday the park was pretty busy as is to be expected on the weekends but Monday the park was very unpredictable. The crowds were low and the big attractions that usually have long wait times were walk on - like Grizzly River which usually has an hour or more wait didn't even allow you to get fast passes today because the ride was walk-on all day long. That was very surprising as the weather is unseasonably hot even for Southern Cal. The smaller attractions that usually aren't busy though, had unusually long lines. It just challenged our Disneyland skills a little bit but we still just fine!

Sunday we left Portland at 7:00 in the morning and arrived 20 minutes early into the very very small Long Beach airport. The flight was very calm and I wish every flight was as smooth as that one was.

As we arrived very early our room was not yet ready and so we did the logical thing and headed for the parks!

With the system we use we had no problem doing the rides. As night came over the park we went over to Paradise Pier which most of you know is where Peter proposed! They are doing a huge renovation of the entire California Adventure Park and one of the first things to go was sadly the Mickey Mouse behind the loop on Screamin' that Peter proposed in front of. This is what has taken its place:

Not all that impressive of a change, but I am okay with that because Mickey has been transformed into something amazing on what used to be the "Sun Wheel" which is now Mickey's Fun Wheel:

The cool thing about the fun wheel is that it is LED lights that are constantly changing color and patterns. I am impressed with this change and I can now forgive Disney for taking my proposal spot away. We would have gotten our yearly photo in "our spot" but the location is behind walls right now being changed into a big amphitheatre and the lagoon is right now drained for tons and tons of fountains to be added. We will definitely get some construction pics by the time the trip is over as it is kind of cool to see.

Before the night was out we wanted to hit some of our trip goals as we had a lot of them. So we headed over to Pooh's Corner and got ourselves one of the most famous treats in Disneyland - The Tigger Tail!!! A Tigger Tail consists of 4 Marshmallows dipped in caramel Sauce then covered in Orange flavored chocolate. It was very sweet and pretty good!

After indulging our sweet tooth we waited for the first showing of Fantasmic to end so we could find a seat for the second showing. During the first showing we found a spot to wait where we just so happened to be able to watch the behind the scenes happenings of Fantasmic. We got to watch the stage crew run around and do quick changes of themes on boats. We watched the monkeys run off boats and princesses run on and it was just really cool to watch all of the tricks. The stage crew is pretty awesome!

After the show ended we still had to wait for the Fireworks show to end and then we finally were able to move into the area and get ourselves a seat! We had about an hour to wait and for the first time every - after being up since 3:30 in the morning - I fell asleep in Disneyland! It was short lived though, I promise.

Finally at 10:30 it was our turn to watch Fantasmic! No matter how many times we've seen the show we still enjoy it!

This time was even better as there have been a few changes to the show since the last time and one of those being the HUGE anametronic dragon which I believe is the biggest anametronic figure ever built. The dragon has been nicknamed "Murphy" as he was advertised all summer as the new big thing at Disneyland. He was supposed to premiere in June but due to technical difficulties he was advertised all summer long but only premiered a matter of weeks ago. If you've ever seen Fantasmic before then you would notice how incredible the change from the old to the new dragon is. This new dragon is impressive! Mark another vacation goal off our list!!

That was the end of day 1. We headed back to our room for a short night of sleep as we were going to conquer another goal on Day 2 - stay in a park from open to close!
Monday had the shortest park hours of any day during our trip so we decided that would be our best bet of being in a park from open to close. Now if the parks were on summer hours still then there is no chance we would be able to survive the 17+ hour days. Fortunately for us there was a special private event (more on that later) in the parks tonight and they closed early. So we only had to make it 9 hours to fulfill this goal!

This is the park entrance for this year. We aren't that impressed with it! They are in the process of changing the parks into Halloween decorations right now so it has been fun to see the parks change a little bit every night with more and more decorations. As the Halloween events launch on Friday, we expect to see lots of changes in the next couple of days!

So this is a picture to prove that we made rope drop this morning. Here we are waiting for them to open the floodgates!

After rope drop we got a few fastpasses (which we never used) and headed to Fantasyland. Here's a tip for everyone with little kids. Hit Fantasyland first or you will be sorry. There are very little wait times in the early morning hours (With the exception of Peter Pan and sometimes Dumbo) for the Fantasyland rides. We walked on all the dark rides then let Peter cross another one of his goals off his list. Ride the teacups for the very first time and spin them as fast as you can! I don't do rides that go in circles so Peter rode alone and spun the teacup to his hearts content :)

We did some more stuff - not that I can remember it all. I know we went over to California Adventure for their rope drop and were the first group on for Toy Story Midway Mania (another goal!) We have never gotten a chance to do this ride and it was a very cool 3D shoot em for points ride!
We hung around for awhile. Then headed back to Disneyland for yep - you guessed it - another goal task to complete! We watched Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. We have never seen the show! It was an entertaining show that we enjoyed! It is a comedic country group who play banjo's and fiddle's and they throw in some rock music (Elvis) and some rap, and other genre's!

So we hung out and walked around and did some more rides in the afternoon. The park was closing early for the night at 6:00 due to a private event that nobody was talking about. We were hoping it was something big so we did some investigating as the park was closing. About an hour before the park closed we started seeing people in suits running around and video equipment moving around and dressed up groups of workers. The best one was following a cart being pushed through the park with a sheet over it. They didn't do a very good job covering the side of the box and you could clearly see hard alcohol under the sheet which is funny because Disneyland does not sell alcohol.

Money does amazing things and this party was definitely something that cost a lot of money. We were hoping for some big event but in the end it just ended up being some big Alliance of Security so and so's event. I can't imagine how an association can get away with blowing that type of money on a huge event like that during this economy.

So we stuck around the park until someone kicked us out. Peter got some pictures of the event preparation. There were little boxed off sections of the park all day today and we assumed they were part of the Halloween decorations going up but apparently they were for this big party. Right at 6:00 the walls went down and tables started going up. We also found out they would be doing a private showing of Fantasmic for this group.

We found all the bars being set up everywhere pretty funny. A lady walked by us and said "Mickey's gonna get plastered tonight!". Even as we were leaving the whole water front was being transformed and bars and tables were being set up right in front of Indiana Jones. Still amazed at what money can buy :)
Day 2 complete. Here is proof that we stayed in the park until after closing!