Sunday, December 31, 2006

Our Vacation - Day 6

Today I was stressed out. Last night I went to do some laundry at our hotel, and rumors were flying around the laundry room about how crowded it was going to be today at Disneyland. Supposedly if they reached capacity, they would shut the gates and if you left, chances are you wouldn't be allowed back in -- even if you had a Park Hopper Pass (which allows you to move from one park to another). I understand the capacity issues, but I was frustrated because if you buy a Park Hopper Pass you should be able to use it -- regardless. Anyway, we had made plans to get up extra early so that we could be there at 7:00 am (one hour before the park officially opened) so that we could use our 'special passes' but found out that they are not valid on Sundays. Thankfully we found that out before we got up extra early, and though we were very disappointed, it did work out OK in the end.

So, we get to the park, and the first question I ask is if our 'Hopper' passes would be valid no matter what, as long as we got our hand stamped for re-entry as required. I was told that yes, they would be valid. So off we go, Hakuna Matata!

We explored the outside of the castle (beautiful fountains and swans swimming in the moat), and we traveled up and down Main Street in a Horse-Drawn Streetcar and a Omnibus.

The Purple Dragon cautiously pats the horse that pulled our streetcar.

We visited the Tiki Room (where the birds all sing and the flowers croon, in the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room...). No flash photography was allowed, so my pictures didn't turn out very well. I'll spare you the agony. :)

Then we went on a Jungle Cruise (twice) where we saw many ferocious beasts...

I think The Princess realized that these animals were not real, but I'm not so sure about The Dragon.

We browsed a shop or two at this point and the girls found more souvenirs that they wanted (a snake for the Dragon and a parrot for the Princess) but I said we'd come back later. I did not want to carry more than was absolutely necessary.

We explored 'Tarzan's Treehouse'. This one took me by surprise because it used to be the 'Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.' Lots of fun, but this one was definitely more popular with the kids.

We visited The Golden Horseshoe where we were entertained by Billy Hill and the Hillbillies (stomp your feet, hoot along and raise the roof at the liveliest session of pickin' and grinnin' this side of the Pecos... four brothers, all named Billy, put on quite a show of bluegrass and slapstick and comedy).

We sailed aboard the Columbia...

The girls sang "Yo ho, yo ho! A pirate's life for me!" throughout our cruise.

...and took a raft over to Tom Sawyer Island.

In one of many tree house structures on the island...

Crossing one of many bridges...

We decided to proceed to California Adventure to 'finish' the park so to speak. We got our hand stamped as previously directed, but were told (contrary to before) that the hand stamp was NO guarantee that we would get back in. AGH! OK, so I need to make the best of it, right? I tried. I so really tried. But there was always a nagging thought in the back of my head that we wouldn't make it back into Disneyland. Very frustrating.

Anyway, The King and I wanted to try out the California Screamer (awesome roller coaster!). The Pink Princess wanted to go on it too, so we had her measured and she was tall enough! So we got in line. And then, right before it was our turn to board, they measured her again and said that she was NOT tall enough. Oh great. She's in tears, the crowd is in an uproar (Let her ride! Let her ride! Let her ride!), and I'm mad as all get out. Not to mention that the person who pulled her out of line to measure her again is explaining the 'rules' to a hispanic family that is in front of me. He thought that THEY were her parents. I'm not sure which made me more mad... the fact that she couldn't ride after she was told that she could, or the fact that he made assumptions which placed my child with the WRONG family.

So, long story short, we got out of line (I was still fuming), and Isepik went to ride the coaster while I took The Pink Princess to ride on another ride (the 'Orange Stinger'). But guess what... she was too short for that one also. More tears, more agony, but at least this time we didn't wait in line. The solution? Mickey Mouse Lollipops! And then it was my turn to ride the coaster...

This is the best picture that was taken of me all trip! I'm the reddish blur with my arms up in the second row... but that was obvious, right?

We then waited in line to go on 'Soarin' Over California' again. I swear, that is one of the best rides in the park, hands down. Even The Purple Dragon liked it better the second time.

We then made a trip to one of the many shops so that we could purchase Mr. Potato Head pieces. You could fill a box for $18... as long as the box still shuts. We packed, and repacked, and repacked again, and got about 28 pieces inside the box, so it was less than $1 a piece. We now have Dumbo, Goofy, Pirate, Minnie, Sorcerer, Princess Potato Head, along with popcorn, cameras, Mickey Mouse Hats, Mickey shaped ice cream popsicles, and a variety of other accessories. Way fun!

Now it was time to head back over to Disneyland (a 50-yard walk). Would we get in? We did! And just in time for the 'A Christmas Fantasy' parade too! We got awesome seats, basically front row (there was one row of people in front of us, but they were all sitting down, so the girls sat in their stroller and had a perfect view of the entire thing. So awesome!

Toy soldiers...

Goofy is busy working on his gingerbread house.

I can name all seven dwarfs and identify them correctly... can you? This one is... here's a hint... Ahh-choo!

And the grand finale... Santa Claus, of course!

After the parade, we got a unofficial backlot tour of Disneyland because of the completely asinine way they directed the crowds. Let's just say it's MUCH prettier on the OTHER side.

We headed over to Autopia (which I alone had ridden alone late one night) which is way more fun when you have an underage driver with you... though it is awfully bumpy. I drove with The Purple Dragon who shows an aptitude for road rage. When we reached the end of the ride, there was quite a long line of vehicles waiting to unload. The Purple Dragon lost no time in announcing in her loudest voice "HEY ALL YOU PEOPLE! GET OFF MY ROAD! I WANT TO DRIIIIIVE!" We probably should've waited in line again because the girls had such a blast driving, but the line was REALLY long. REALLY REALLY LONG. So we didn't. Oh well.

The Pink Princess has her driver's license. Seriously... Stay OFF the road! Then again... stay OFF the sidewalks!

It was then time to acquire food. Three hours later we had food. No, I am NOT kidding. I'm not going to write anything else about that.

Since we had fast passes for the 'Indiana Jones Adventure' we headed there next. This ride was lots of fun! The Purple Dragon was too short to ride, but she fell asleep anyway, so it worked out OK. The Princess and I rode it together first, then The Princess rode it again with the King. While they were riding, I headed to the shop to purchase the parrot and the snake as previously promised to the children.

It was about 11:30 pm at this point, and we headed for Main Street. I had one more shop I wanted to visit... plus there were rumors of something happening when the clock strikes twelve...

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