Monday, April 25, 2005

Disneyland - second day

OK, so I ended the first day post kind of abruptly. We had gone back to our hotel for a nap and a little relaxation. We finished unpacking and just relaxed at the hotel for a bit. Then we headed back over to the park for a couple of hours of wandering around. We walked over to New Orleans since the kids wanted to try the Haunted Mansion. There was no line so we just walked right up to the door. Similar to their reaction to Snow White that morning, they turned around the second we set our feet inside the doorway and they saw the dimly lit entryway with flickering candles and dark colored walls/floors. We tried for a couple of minutes to coax them in (reminding them that they'd seen parts of the ride in their Disney sing-a-long video), but it was to no avail...and we soon wandered out.

We took the adventureland path out and climbed up Tarzan's treehouse. The jaguar up at the top scared them...we came around the corner to him just as he growled...both the boys looked like they were going to wet their pants (Lynette stayed down below with Julia...her knees didn't feel like making the climb). I convinced the boys that they didn't need to be afraid and we worked our way through the rest of the treehouse. They loved playing "trash the camp" down at the bottom. After going out, we went back up again. Then we headed home to get some sleep before our Day 2 in the park.

For Day 2, we used our "Early Entrance" pass to get into the park early and ride Fantasyland rides. Once again, we had a lot of fun on Dumbo and the teacups. We convinced the boys that the Alice in Wonderland ride would be alright. Andrew was a little scared as we went into the dark, but in the end, they both had fun.

We walked to Toontown because we had "Early Entrance" pass to Toontown as well, but we were turned back initially because that early entrance started later. So, we rode Dumbo again...and Casey Junior train a couple of times....and then went back to Toontown.

In Toontown, we got to wander around and play in the different houses. The kids loved Donald's boat and had fun playing in Mickey & Minnie's houses. Then, we found "Gadget's Go-Coaster" (which because of conversations with people before we came, they called "Goofy's Barnstormer" the whole time...which is the ride in WDW). They loved the Go-Coaster. We rode it a couple of times before heading back to town square in Toontown for the morning madness.

The honorary mayor of toontown welcomed us all and then turned the time over to Mickey for a speech. All of the characters were there and they kids thought it was great. Mickey's speech became an ad-lib peppy speech and then all of us were sworn in as honorary citizens. After that, the characters each took a spot in front of their house for photos and autographs.

So we got a chance to meet each of the characters IN THEIR HOUSES...AND we got to see Mickey in front of his house instead of waiting in the long line winding through his house to get a picture with him in his studio. It was great. It was funny too...Jason wandered off as we posed with Mickey...and Mickey chased him down inside his house.

After picture and autograph time was done, we spent time riding more Toontown Go-Coaster rides. Julia was too little so Lynette and I took turns going with the boys. Jason was big enough to have his own car, which he thought was great. All in all, it was very fun.

Before leaving Toontown, we stopped in at the Roger Rabbit ride (which also had no line thanks to early morning madness). However, the queue to get to the cars was very long...and by the time we got up there, Andrew was convinced he didn't want to go. So, I sat out with him while Jason went with Lynette & Julia. Jason loved it and once he got back, I went through with him (Toontown was finished building the summer after the last time I went, so I was excited to see it). It was fun.

After leaving Roger Rabbit, we spent some time playing with the funny buildings around the area...checking the mailboxes, pushing buttons, getting squashed by safes (though the ground was kind of wet for that one so it didn't really happen). We stopped into the Gag Factory and bought ourselves some Mickey ears and had our names put on them.

Then we figured it was lunchtime so we grabbed some lunch (I don't remember if we stayed in the park or not) and then it was time for a hotel nap break. Instead of going back, Andrew really wanted to stay. So we stuck around a bit longer and I took him on Dumbo again. Then I convinced him that we could try "Small World". The line was all outdoors and you get on the boat outside, so he was pretty OK with it. But as he saw that the boat started to go into the building, he started crying "Get Off", "Go Back" and huddling close to me.

We rode the whole ride with me hugging him close to me and pointing out the whimsical characters singing to him. He settled down after a few minutes and actually enjoyed it a little bit, but said he didn't want to go again.

Lynette called me about then (we had our cell phones) and said we could stick around a bit 'cause the kids were sleeping and she was going to do some laundry. So Andrew and I wandered around a bit and rode a little more Dumbo and looked in some shops. Then he started getting tired so we walked back to the hotel to meet the rest of the gang.

Lynette had taken Jason & Julia swimming and they were ready for dinner. The bunch of us walked to a place next to our hotel that claimed a good buffet. The price was crazy and the food didn't look great. Fortunately (for me...sort of) Andrew was crying and crying so I took him back to the room to rest a bit. He laid down for a bit while Lynette & Jason ate the overpriced, under-good buffet. After a few minutes of rest, he decided he felt better and wanted to go swimming. So we hopped into the pool. The pool was pretty chilly and he was feeling somewhat insecure so we ended up just sitting on the steps (which made for an even colder experience since we were mostly out of the water but still wet from our first entry). After about 15 minutes in the pool, Lynette came over with the other kids. We all went back to the room and changed to go back to the park.

In the park, we walked through Adventureland and the boys wanted to cruise through the treehouse again. So we did. Then, we went over by the Rivers of America to get a spot for the Fantasmic show that night. It ended up being about 3 hours worth of waiting. Lynette sat with Julia while I took the boys around to go on the Treehouse again. We even wandered to Fantasyland to ride Dumbo again. We went into a few shops and played with the little machines (shrunken "Ned", stretched pennies, etc.). We looked in the pirate shop and got a couple of swords. We checked out the shooting gallery.

Finally, at 9 PM, the show started. It was dark by then and loud, so at first, the kids were nervous. When they saw it was just Mickey up there having fun with water and a few fireworks...they were OK. They loved seeing the Columbia sail around with Captain Hook's crew fighting Peter Pan. Andrew loved the Crocodile coming after the boat and Cptn. Hook yelling "Smee" (that became Andrew's narration many times from then on..."Captain Hook was coming and the crocodile was coming and Captain Hook yelled SMEE!" was pretty funny).

But shortly after that, the Wicked Queen appears and then Malefecant transforms into the giant fire-breathing dragon, and Andrew crumpled into a little ball in my lap crying that he was ready to go. Naturally, we were right on the front row...right against the fence by the river....we could feel the heat of the flames on the water...we were getting misted by the water itself. It was a little much for the boys. Fortunately, we were able to show them that Mickey beat the dragon and everything was good afterwards. In retrospect, they both liked the show, but they were definitely very scared while it was happening.

As the show ended, we were ready to head back to the hotel. Julia was whining to go to sleep...and so was Andrew (since he had basically skipped a nap and had worn himself out). So, we stood up to the annoucer came over the speakers telling us that the Fireworks show was starting and so lights would be dimmed and we should try to stay in one place until the show was done. The kids were too tired, so we decided to just go. Lynette was in front and I pointed her at the easiest way to go through the crowd. Unfortunately, she went up the stairs, which was easier for her since she had a small umbrella stroller. For me, we had rented one of the big D-land strollers for Andrew, so I was stuck winding down and around in front of the Haunted Mansion. I did that, but by then had long lost site of Lynette. As I rounded the corner, the fireworks finished up and the mob in New Orleans Square was off and running.

It was shoulder to shoulder people. Pretty much the only thing we could do was flow with the crowd. We did break free for a minute to buy a light up flashing ball thing for the boys, but then it was back in it. I tried calling Lynette on the phone, but it was too noisy so she didn't hear it. Knowing her aversion to crowds, I figured this was too much for her. Jason was breaking down as we wound through Adventureland and Andrew was almost asleep in the stroller. I found myself a bench to sit on and let Jason rest his legs for a few minutes before we wound back to the hotel. I called Lynette and she was practically in tears (she had been in tears, I could tell, but she was choking it up). "There were so many people." She couldn't find me and didn't know which way to go (though that choice was mostly made for her by the crowd). She was back at the hotel and getting Julia settled. I spent a few more minutes on Main Street letting Jason get ready and then I walked back with the boys, Andrew held in my arms and Jason shuffling slowly along on tired legs.

We all collapsed into bed...ready for some good sleep (after a long reassuring hug to Lynette of course).

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