Thursday, March 20, 2008

Disneyland 2008 - Day 4

Day 4 was to begin with our 3rd and final character breakfast...once again at Goofy's Kitchen, this time at 7:30. Andrew had another rough night and we decided it would be best to let him get some more rest, so Lynette took Jason and Julia while I waited for Andrew to rest up and feel better.

At just after 8 o'clock, Andrew woke up in a hilarious mood. Any sign of him being sick were completely gone and his personality exploded back to normal as he started teasing me and playing pranks on me. I prodded to make sure he was feeling well enough and then we got dressed and started for the park. We stopped for our "continental breakfast" on the way (mmm....hotel danishes and OJ).

As we entered, my phone rang. Lynette was wondering how we were doing and if she wanted me to swap with her so I could come ride. After breakfast, she had taken Jason and Julia for a little fun in Fantasyland. They did Snow White, Dumbo and other fun adventures. I explained I was jealous and that we had to do at least Mr. Toad. I also let her know that we were approaching the front gate.

As we got inside, Julia and Jason let us know that they had met Goofy's son Max as well as Cruella DeVil. Apparently Cruella scared Julia pretty good and Julia was confused why she was so angry.

As a big surprise, Andrew wanted to do Splash Mountain, so we headed that away, grabbing some Indiana Jones fastpasses on the way (it was open and running...hooray!). After Splash Mountain, Lynette conceded to a trip to Tom Sawyer's island. Being a claustrophobic, the jam packed raft ride to the island as well as the smallish caves on the island are not Lynette's favorite places in Disneyland. She completely avoided them on our last trip. Taking deep breathes she survived the raft ride over. There was a huge line to meet Captain Jack Sparrow on the front side of the island...we glanced over the netting at him and then went into the caves of the recently redone "Pirates Lair" on Tom Sawyer's island.

They've added some cool effects to some of the caves. In addition to the original treasure and spooky lighting in the cave as based on the Tom Sawyer story, they have added more pirate treasure and references to more pirates including characters from the Pirates movies. They had holographic "cursed treasure" that was impossible to steal even though the ghostly voices encouraged you to try. There was a pirate in a cell that had a projected face that was talking and rambling on and on. I'm not sure if it was a "live" image or not, but it was attached to some sort of sensors or something because Lynette took a picture and it noticed the flash and made a comment to her about minding her own business or something.

The kids had fun running through the caves for 30-60 minutes. Julia got a little frantic when separated from her brothers and from me (I was bringing up the rear but the boys decided to lead the group through a very small hole, so I backed out and took the long way around). Julia came out crying and was very scared. We stayed together after that and explored the caves. One cave had been transformed to be partially created as the interior of a ship run aground. They also had a big pile of treasure that we sat on and got photos.

Pushing back to the raft, we made our way back to the mainland and hopped into Haunted Mansion. The line took about 30 minutes and Andrew (even though the ride was his choice) was the most vocal complainer, wanting to go somewhere else. We tried to explain that all the lines were going to be big. This had been the busiest day in the park so far (as I'll explain more below). We tried to explain that lines were often just part of Disneyland and he should enjoy it and look at the graveyard and other cool things set up along the way.

We eventually made it inside the mansion and had a ball riding through. When we popped out, we decided it was time for lunch. Lynette wanted to hit the Blue Bayou for their famous Monte Cristo sandwich so we started the walk to the heart of New Orleans. As we walked, we noticed that we were stuck on the wrong side of a huge line of people winding back and forth down the street. We couldn't see the end/start of the line and we had to get across it to get to the restaurants. We finally cut under the ropes and through the line. As we did so, I asked what the line was for and how long people had been waiting. It turned out that the line was for Pirates, and the people I asked had been in line for 40 minutes (and they were about ready to turn and start back towards pirates...they were currently walking away). SO the line for Pirates extended from in front of the bridge by pirates all the way down to just before the Mansion and then back to the main bridge that starts the pirates queue. Talk about a crazy line.

After pushing through the crowd, we made it to the Blue Bayou entrance and Lynette went up to check on the wait. She came back somber faced. It turns out that the Blue Bayou is one of the few Disneyland Park restaurants that takes reservations and there were no spots available for lunch today or tomorrow. Looked like no Monte Cristos for us. :(

So we went back to Main Street to the Carnation Cafe. The kids got the Painter's Palette Peanut Butter sandwich (two slices of bread, one plain one with peanut butter and then little plastic cups with jelly, raisins, bananas, marshmallows all served up on a painter's palette). The previous night we had eaten there and I had the Steak Sandwich (which was great) so today I got a turkey sandwich and loaded potato soup. Both were fabulous. (More on this restaurant tomorrow morning...stay tuned).

After lunch, we had a little time before our Indiana Jones fastpasses so we did some random shopping and wandering first (along with bathroom breaks and other fun). As we got up to Indiana Jones, Andrew decided he wasn't too keen on riding anymore. Julia was too short. So Lynette used our fast passes to go with Jason while Julia, Andrew and I wandered around Adventureland. We went up into Tarzan's Treehouse and played trash the camp at the bottom for a bit. Then we went into the jungle outpost store to shop for a few minutes. I ended up with an Indy shirt and satchel as well as a little Mickey dressed up as Indiana Jones. :)

Lynette and Jason came out and we swapped. I used the remaining fast passes to go on Indy with Jason while Lynette wandered with the other two. Jason was hilarious. While we walked through the line (we had about 10 minute wait start to end), he told me how much he loved the ride and how Lynette had shrieked when she saw the giant snake and he had just bravely laughed. As we rode the ride, I remembered how much I loved it and the one reason I didn't love it so much...the jeep jostles just a little too much for me...a little too much to feel entirely realistic. Still, the overall ride is fabulous. I love the attention to detail and the cool effects they add in (the flashlight over the bugs is awesome and I love the blow darts being shot at you).

After Indy, we tried to decide what to do next. I decided we needed to go over to California Adventure again and see if the kids wanted to do anything in the Hollywood section (my secret motive was to try and get somebody to go on Tower of Terror with me). As we went into Hollywood, it felt a little deserted. By now it was a little after 5 o'clock. Julia looked excitedly at the "Playhouse Disney" building but we had sadly missed the last show. We continued down the road and stepped into a shop displaying some killer Disney artwork...prints, paintings, statuettes and more. My eyes bulged and my wallet cringed. There were some awesome pieces in there and I wished I had a bigger house to display them all and a bigger budget to purchase some. We ended up getting two small (~10x20) is a cool sepia-esque image of a Pirate ship similar to the one you encounter on the Pirates ride. The other shows the Disney princesses huddled around a puddle on the street with the Blue Fairy behind the puddle is the image of the Disney castle. Very cool.

The back entrance of the store led to the Animation building. This year marks a big anniversary for Snow White (70 yrs I think), so they had big displays for Snow White with some cool larger than life images and displays. In the corners of the room were three other exits/displays.

The first we checked out had cases with tributes to animation. In the center of the room was a display case with various toys from Toy Story. The toys were repeated again and again in a circular pattern, each in slightly different poses. I wasn't sure what to think of it as I looked other than that it was kind of a cool bunch of images. Since Toy Story was computer animated, I wasn't sure why they had little statues set up. A few minutes later, the room lights dimmed, a light in the case went off and some music started. The internal workings of the case started spinning slowly like they were on a carousel. The speed gradually increased and I could see the figures begin to animate a little bit as I scanned around the case at the line of figures moving. Then suddenly the music sped up and the display spun up to full speed (how fast, I don't know). The multiple figures suddenly blurred into a single bunch of figures that no longer looked to be spinning around the case, but rather they were hanging out in a single location but animating in that location. It was a VERY cool effect and a great display on animation. I loved it. We video taped it. Depending on the quality and the effort of digitizing it, I may post a link to the video later.

As we walked out we asked about the other corners. One led to Turtle Talk with Crush. We decided against that one for now. The other was an animation class where an artist taught you how to draw various characters. They had a class going on presently but in ~40 minutes they'd show us how to draw the dwarf Grumpy. The final corner led to the "Sorcerer's Workshop"...we took that path.

First we encountered a room filled with old school animation techniques. They had long strips of paper and boxes of pencils. There were charts showing how to draw cel by cel an image of a balloon rising and then falling on the paper. After drawing, you could load your paper into a machine that would spin and animate your drawing. They also had other machines you could spin in different ways to see different famous scenes.

The next room was under the sea and showed different animation clips from the Little Mermaid.

Continuing on, we entered the Beast's library. They had a digitized portrait of the human form of the beast...which animated occasionally to show the portrait being slashed by claws. Under that in a glass dome was a glittering rose floating softly. Around the edges of the room were giant books sitting in front of large chairs below mirrors. Each book was a touch computer (still looked like a book) that led users on a personality test. Lumierre was the host of the test and he asked various questions to determine which Disney character you were most like. Some questions were fairly simple and straight forward (do you like being outdoors or indoors...that sort of thing). Jason's favorite was the last question which determined if you were a hero or a villain: Do you enjoy eating lunch with nice people or eating nice people for lunch? Needless to say, Jason was a villain every time he took the test. If memory serves, our family was as follows:

  • Lynette - Tinkerbell

  • Chris - Tarzan

  • Jason - Jafar

  • Andrew - Cogsworth

  • Julia - Lady

After leaving the Sorcerer's Workshop, we looked for dinner. Hollywood was largely closed down and didn't have much in terms of food anyway (a hot dog stand), so we headed back to the Bountiful Farm area. Lynette and I had Mexican while the kids had chicken nuggets.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. We were debating staying out to watch Fantasmic! and the fireworks. We saw Fantasmic the last time we went and it scared the kids a little bit (the dragon IS rather intense, and we were right up front, so they could actually feel the heat from the real fire blasting towards them). Everybody was tired and cold, so we decided to call it a night and prep for a great day on our final day. So it was time for an "early" night sleep to dream of our final day.

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