Saturday, March 22, 2008

Disneyland 2008 - Day 5 - Final Day

Friday was our final day at Disneyland. Thursday night and Friday morning we went over the Disneyland maps to try and decide what we wanted to do and figure out what we might have missed that people wanted to see.

Our list included:
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain (again)
  • Roger Rabbit
  • The swings in the giant orange (at DCA)
  • Tower of Terror (I got voted down)
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats
  • Mr. Toad
  • Submarine (vetoed once again)

As we hit the park, we went straight for Splash Mountain....our standard early morning path. We rode it twice and then moved back to Fantasyland. Fantasyland was hopping and Lynette was hungry for some Mickey Mouse waffles. Nobody else was hungry yet so she went to find a morning snack while I rode Snow White and Pinocchio with the kids. We were about to hop in line for Mr. Toad when my phone rang. She said she was in line for a table for 5 at Carnation and we should come for breakfast.

Back at Carnation, we sat down to order. The kids got cheesy eggs with bacon and sausage. Lynette got her strawberry waffles. I got cheesy eggs with garlic potatoes. As we ate, I made Lynette taste the potatoes. They were fabulous. A moment later, the head chef Oscar (I have to look that up to be sure) came by. He asked if we liked the potatoes & Lynette said they were the best she'd ever tasted. he asked if she could make them and she humbly said No. He said, Just a minute, let me give you the recipe. Don't leave before I give it to you.

He went on to chat with a few more eaters and then disappeared into the back. He came back just as we were finishing up and then dictated his recipe to her and gave her tips for making sure it came out right and how to cook it and make them perfectly. Then he asked if we'd tried the loaded potato soup. I had it the night before and shared it with Lynette. It also was fabulous. He went in the back and came back with a copy of that recipe as well. He was a great guy and it was a great bit of fun.

After breakfast, it was back to Fantasyland. We stood through the line for Mr. Toad. It was ~30 minutes which wasn't bad, and the kids were well behaved, only barely complaining. Mr. Toad is an absolute classic and one of the Disneyland exclusives (like the Matterhorn) and is a must hit.

After Toad, we hopped across the lane to the Storybook boat ride. We hopped in the end of the line and it looked like a 40 minute wait under a nice hot sun. We hadn't been in the line for more than a minute when Lynette started walking away telling the kids to follow her.

Where are you going? I asked.
Shhhh was her reply.
I noticed a little grandma of a cast member in front of Lynette saying something about Yes, be quiet...we don't want everybody to know what we're doing.

She led us to the front of the line and opened the exit/wheelchair gate and ushered us in, then told the ride operator that she had a party of 5 that needed to be on the next boat. We took a picture and giggled as we thanked her for the Disney magic. Then we boarded our boat and had fun looking at all the miniature houses and plants along the canal. I hadn't been on this ride for a dozen years or more. It's cool to see the updates of Agrabah and Ariel's undersea kingdom among others. I also learned (or was reminded...I think I'd heard this) that Walt Disney personally planted each of the flowers that make the patchwork quilt in the center of the ride. Kind of a cool fact.

After our boat ride, we made our way into ToonTown. We grabbed a fast pass for Roger Rabbit and then wandered around ToonTown getting pictures of the zany toon things and having fun wandering around. We got a few pressed pennies in the gag factory (we had quite a collection by the end of the trip) and picked up some scrapbooking items there as well. Then we fast-passed into Roger and spun through the streets of ToonTown.

After ToonTown, we were all a bit tired. We grabbed fast passes for Buzz and went back to the hotel for a brief rest. Julia was especially tired and fell asleep. Jason, Andrew and I decided to go to California Adventure to ride the "giant orange" ride. After Julia's nap, she and Lynette went for a little swim in the pool before we met them.

Jason, Andrew and I walked to California Adventure and headed back to Paradise Pier (I think that's the name) watching the giant orange loom before us. Andrew's legs were a bit tired by the halfway point (we hadn't picked up our strollers), but we pressed on. Andrew was just barely tall enough to ride, so the three of us slowly marched up the stairs with the line. We watched the California Screamin' roller coaster zoom around behind us. That looks like a fun coaster...though too "tall" for anybody but Jason...and even then, it looked like it might be a little beyond him. Next time.

We finally made our way up to the front of the line for the Orange Stinger (that's the name of the ride) and climbed into the swings. If you've been to a carnival or amusement park, you've probably seen this ride...a bunch of swings suspended by chains from a rising pole that spins in a circle. We found three swings by each other and climbed aboard. The ride operator warned against twisting, spinning or grabbing other people's swings...and we were off. About 30 seconds into the ride, the operator warned against twisting the swings...and a few seconds later, they did it again. Then suddenly, the music stopped and we came in for a landing. The operator told everybody to stay seated with their seat belts we waited.

About a minute later, the operator announced that we were going to try this again and maybe this time nobody would twist their swings. Apparently, the twisting swinger had been kicked off and we were getting another full ride.

We finished the swings with no incident and then hopped across the roat to the S.S. Rustworthy (?)...a giant boat on spongey carpet with various squirt guns and other water squirt mechanisms. The boys ran around for a few and I called Lynette. She and Julia were just getting ready to head back over and said they'd meet us for rides and dinner and our Buzz fastpass.

I grabbed the boys and we began the trek across California Adventure and into Tomorrowland. We passed by the Grizzly River Rapid ride...I've been on similar rides, but the river they have setup here looks amazing and some of the geysers and falls they have to soak you look absolutely fabulous. I'm sad we missed this one, but they have the height such that Julia couldn't the line was always huge. Instead, we grabbed some frozen lemonade and headed for Disneyland park.

We caught up with Lynette at the Penny Arcade. Earlier in the week, I'd shown the kids the 'foot massage' looks like a giant scale from a grocery store, but instead of measuring your weight, you step on the panel and it vibrates quickly. It actually feels pretty good on your aching feet. Anyway, I had promised Jason a "ride" on it, and now was as good a time as any. We also tried out the "shocking" game...both Andrew and Jason made it all the way to the end. Julia wanted to try it, but I was out of coins.

We continued on to Buzz and had fun blasting Zurg and his various robots and batteries. We had now hit all of our main "needs" except for Space Mountain, so we grabbed a little dinner and decided what to do. Fast Pass for Space Mountain was done for the day, so that wasn't an option, plus it was getting late (it was almost 8). We just bit the bullet and hopped in line.

The wait was listed at 90 minutes. I asked how accurate it was and I was handed a 'necklace' with a note to be given to the last operator we encountered so that they could accurately measure line times. The 90 minutes was a pretty good estimate. We wound around and around and then up top and around the upper platform. The sun was set completely now and the lights flashing around Tomorrowland were very cool. The kids were a little antsy but nobody really complained about the wait too much. Some band was playing over in Tomorrowland Terrace and we heard some Disney-ized version of Avril's "Girlfriend" song (which Julia has fun singing around the house). We played I-Spy for the last 10 minutes across the upper terrace and then entered the space bay and wound for another 10-15 minutes through the space station to our launch bay.

Andrew got to be the brave rider and go by himself in the seat in front of Jason and myself while Lynette and Julia were in the car in front of him. Space Mountain was closed for renovation last time we were there. The time before that (about 12 years prior), I remember seams in the ceiling letting in light so much that I could fully make out the track through the only-near darkness. Tonight, the darkness was complete except for the stars whizzing around and the various stations set up around the track. The cars had changed as well and were now side-by-side rather than lapping it like the Matterhorn. The ride felt smoother and faster and was a ton of fun. I reached up and patted Andrew's head a couple of times in case he was scared, but as we came out, I found it was unnecessary. He said it was his new favorite ride and all 3 kids wished we could go again.

As we wandered back out into Tomorrowland, a few booms let us know that fireworks had started. I grabbed our strollers and caught up with Lynette and the kids as they got a good standing view just around the bend from Star Tours. We watched an amazing fireworks show explode above the Matterhorn (we didn't have a good view of the castle). They incorporated sound effects and audio clips from the various rides around Disneyland and used colors and patterns to tribute the various rides. It was a great show.

After fireworks, we fought our way down Main Street with the rest of the crowd. There were a couple of final souvenirs that we wanted, so we foolishly bounced into the Emporium on Main Street. The crowd had separated us by this point. Lynette was somewhere ahead of us with Jason and Julia and I was in the rear with Andrew in a stroller. Having a stroller in the store was among the mistakes being made. People were crammed into the store even tighter than on the street...and street navigation had been tough itself. Once inside the store, I was stuck. I actually managed to get about 15 feet inside the store before I became stuck. I was literally unable to move forwards, backwards or sideways.

I told Andrew to "stay put" and I darted the extra 20 feet to grab a box with the PVC pirate figures I wanted. Back at the stroller, we waited and inched around. We chatted briefly with a cast member and traded for her 15th Anniversary Toontown pin. Lynette called and wondered where we were...she said she'd see us back at the hotel. We eventually made our way to the checkstand (there was a shirt I wanted, but it would have to wait until next trip) and then back to the hotel.

The kids helped pack for the next 15 minutes and then they went to bed and Lynette and I finished the packing. The next morning, we were out front with our bags waiting for our hotel shuttle at 9. About 40 minutes later we were on the curb at LAX. As we left our shuttle bus and did curbside checkin, Lynette frantically asked Where's my pillow!?!? We thought perhaps she had left it in the shuttle bus, but as I thought to the van I just helped empty, I hadn't seen it there. We called the shuttle company just in case. Our memory reminded us that it had likely been set on the bed in the hotel and then forgotten because it had a plain white pillowcase and blended in. Lynette called the hotel and they said they'd have somebody look for it and ship it to us if they found it. She called back 30 minutes later but nobody had checked yet. She was completely bummed then. Not only was it her comfy pillow from home, but she had packed her "Woobie" in there too (her ultra comfortable blanket her grandma made for her as a kid).

The flight home was nice and uneventful...totally crowded, but uneventful. The decent on the flight to Cali had been awful, but this flight was pretty smooth. My mom picked us up and we were home Saturday afternoon. I worked on unpacking and putting stuff away while Lynette hit the store to restock us on eggs & milk. We uploaded our hundreds of digital pix for print development as well.

It was good to be home....and to sleep in our own, comfy beds.

Ah...what a great vacation. :)

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