Disneyland report

I love Disneyland!! It is one of my favorite places to be! Now I will talk about it.

Our flight was at 5:something on Tuesday morning, so I went to bed extra early on Monday evening. Of course Monday night sleep is always excessively poor, and being excited for Disneyland and having gone to bed particularly early made it a million times worse. I was tiiiie-urrrd on Tuesday!

The weather was in the 80’s and 90’s, which was lovely after all the blizzarding around here at home. As when we went to Disney World a couple of years ago, I decided that tank tops were a good idea, and I was telve correct. Brother went with ties, though, which turned out to be a good idea for other reasons.

There was an anomalous number of villains wandering around; I haven’t seen so many since the time we were there at Halloween forever ago. We saw Captain Hook and I forget who else, and got a picture with Dr. Facilier:

So that was cool. We actually didn’t end up tracking down many characters, because the lines were so long for all of them. I would have loved to get pictures with Mary Poppins, Spider-Man, and Kylo Ren, but you have to budget your time, you know?

I’ve mentioned before my excitement about riding the Haunted Mansion, since my previous several visits to Disneyland have been during either stupid Nightmare Before Christmas time or the transition between Nightmare and regular mode (and at Disney World a couple of years ago the Haunted Mansion was closed for maintenance), so I hadn’t been on the proper Haunted Mansion for something like fifteen years. I hadn’t seen the refurbished attic section with the murderous bride storyline. So I was really looking forward to this.

And I wasn’t at all disappointed! The attic is awesome! I love the wedding pictures wherein the grooms’ heads disappear. The party room (with the dancers) is still my favorite part of the ride, but the attic is now a close second. The line for the Haunted Mansion was consistently very short, so we went on it quite a few times during our three days.

Mom went in her new wheelchair; she was not happy about that, but she did enjoy herself overall. Mostly dad pushed her around, but of course brother and I took some turns too. It’s kinda hard on my carpal tunnels, especially up hills, but it was good practice.

So the Indiana Jones ride is still my favorite Disney ride (I can no longer say “my favorite ride” since going on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey a couple of years back), and we managed to get all three promised gifts from the idol during our visit.

It cracks me up how you, the rider, a stupid tourist, come along to receive your gift and then, of course, look into the idol’s eyes and trigger the doom; then Indie is trying to hold the doors of doom closed so you can escape, and you drive off to the left and heroic music appear!! As if you were doing something heroic, not fleeing a death you triggered that the real hero is barely holding back on your behalf. I imagine the lyrics at that point are, Stupid touriiiiists gonna diiiiie.

Oh, my gosh, guess what we met at California Adventure:

So perfect a snail!!! I always meet the best animals at Disney parks!!

For years mom has been talking about this Midway Mania ride that is her favorite of all time, and finally I got to go on it. She’s right; it’s great. Pretty bad on my carpal tunnels, but definitely lots of fun. I had a score somewhere in the 150,000 realm, and the high scores were in the 500,000’s. I could easily see doubling my score if I practiced (something I couldn’t do on account of the CTS), but 500,000 seemed patently unattainable.

Anyway, guess what the name of one of the Midway Mania games is.

This has not yet ceased to make me laugh out loud. Like, actually out loud.

In California Adventure, we found these somewhat random but somewhat cool brightly colored chairs in a sort of Wonderland corner. I made all the best poses on an orange one.

Then we had brother pose in all the chairs, mostly because we noticed that his pink tie matched perfectly the pink chair and thought it would be cool to edit the rest of the pictures so it looked like he’d come to Disneyland with an array of colored ties. I put together the following:

OK, so, the Hollywood Tower ride is so much fun, but, seriously, it’s so freaking short for the amount of time you usually have to wait in line for it. And the whole Twilight Zone angle and the story of the ride are unclear. They need to double the run-time… maybe triple it. Then I might go on it more than once per visit.

Another ride that’s been added since I was last there is the Radiator Springs Racers, which was cute and fun. Overall, though, California Adventure is still far inferior to Disneyland. And the World of Color show on the lake? Idiotic. Would much rather not have wasted any time on that.

The parade in Disneyland (“Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” at the moment) was pretty great. It’s nice to see Mickey actually doing something, pretending he has characterization, for a change, and in this parade he’s a badass drummer. Disneyland parades are always pretty cool.

There was one float with five princesses at once, and they stood there doing the stupidest gestures. I was really quite embarrassed for thems. And then Tiana came along and she was doing a great dance! Tiana makes everything better!! I tried to get a selfie with her in the background as she went by, and came up with a string of the silliest faces you can imagine as I focused more on what was behind me than my own smile. Here’s the least stupid-looking:

I like that they’ve added various named Disney characters to the Small World ride, but I think they overdid it in a couple of places. Why does Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo play while you’re passing Cinderella, totally discordantly with the main song? Why is Ariel such a diva highlighted all by herself and singing solo? I like the subtle ones, like Mulan, better.

Tomorrowland is all Star Wars’d up at the moment. Of course everyone in the galaxy is wondering what will become of Tomorrowland when the new Star Wars land opens. Anyway, I’m kinda-sortof a fan of Star Wars again since The Force Awakens redeemed the franchise, so I was happy to walk along in the Star Wars atmosphere. And in one of the shops, I found this tag on a bra:

That nonsense (including the price) made me laugh. I also enjoyed Star Tours more than on previous visits, because the story’s had an upgrade and Finn appear. And Hyperspace Mountain! Rebranding that ride was the best thing that ever happened to it! Framing it as a Star Wars experience rather than the vague, storyless mess it was before was the perfect touch. Plus getting to hear all the female X-Wing pilots makes me squee every time.

I’ve wanted a BB-8 dress for a while, since BB-8 is possibly the cutest thing that has ever happened in life. I saw people walking around wearing them, and I saw some other Star Wars dresses in the store, but I didn’t see the BB-8 dress! It was a painful tragedy.

We went on the Matterhorn at one point when its line wasn’t too astronomically long, and, yikes, what an awful ride that is! The reason I only remembered it vaguely was that there’s no substance to it; it has no story, no point… it’s not even a good roller coaster. It’s very slow, and so excessively rumbly that it literally made my chin fat jiggle and gave me a headache. And the weird way you have to sit hurt my butt; brother described it as, “Manspreading: The Ride.”

Speaking of wobbly chin fat, though, I got to ride the California Adventure The Little Mermaid ride for the first time, and the animatronic Ursula was badaaaasssssss.

Pirates of the Caribbean is still a favorite, but… well, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s waaayyyyy too much Jack Sparrow in there. It was much more fun back in the day to see all the bits that inspired certain things in the movies than it is to play count-the-Jacks and try to believe somehow that this ride is related to the movies.

I think it would be a lot better if they’d slipped just one subtle Jack Sparrow in there so that people could have fun finding him, and left the rest of the ride as it previously was.

The other problem I have with Jack being all over that ride is that his presence blurs the line between evil and affable villainy. Previously, even though the ride was always a fun experience, it was easy enough to see everything the pirates do in it presented as reprehensible behavior that you watched from the outside with no intention of joining. Certainly the pirates were glamorized, but there was the implication of inevitable (self-)destruction because their behavior was, in the end, unacceptable.

But with Jack as the finale draped in treasure talking about how being a pirate is the best life and so on… well, it seems a little more like this piracy (theft, pillage, murder, rape, and slave-dealing) is a lifestyle into which the viewer is being invited by a semi-heroic and friendly character.

Of course in the movies, pirates are glorified to an absurd degree, portrayed largely as adventurers seeking freedom from the oppression of tyrannical governments and corporations, but at least the movies have much more complex stories that can offer views of various sides of the situations and characters. The ride comes across mostly as saying, “Take an abducted wench for a sex slave bride! The lovable Jack Sparrow says it’s OK!” (And merchandising playing up lines like, “We wants the redhead” does not help, Disney!!)

P.S. If we are going to be glorifying evil behavior and sending mixed messages about what is and isn’t reprehensible and self-destructive, could we at least have some gender equality? Can I get some women being evil and self-destructive pirates, maybe?

On Thursday, our last day, brother and I got trapped on one side of the parade and worried that we wouldn’t be in time for our Hyperspace Mountain Fast Passes that ended at 4:55 and that we were supposed to redeem with dad. We were going to head for our other Fast Passed ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, instead, and just let dad ride Hyperspace Mountain by himself, but then we saw a spot where they were letting people across the parade.

So we dashed across and rushed to where we found that dad had gone on ahead. And then, as we were entering the line area for Hyperspace Mountain at about 4:53, two stormtroopers appear! And detained brother!! I’m pretty sure they chose him because of what he was wearing and how picturesque it would be with their armor; they had seriously walked, like, fifteen feet past us before they turned around and came back after us.

Of course I was torn between thinking this was the most awesome thing that had ever happened and worrying about our soon-to-expire Fast Passes. It seemed like the stormtroopers had a sort of preset script that they couldn’t deviate very far from in any case. So I just took a million pictures as they demanded his I.D. and generally harassed him.

It is my habit to take a million pictures of anything I’m taking a picture of, because you never know when your hands will shake and blur the shot or someone will blink. With an ongoing scene, this is even more important. Well, at one point while repeatedly tapping the “take picture” button, I accidentally hit the “record video” button instead. I realized that it might have been better to record the entire encounter, but I hadn’t thought of doing that. You can, however, watch the last 17 seconds of it:

By the way, there was an entire corner in the main Star Wars store dedicated to BB-8 stuff, and I’d simply missed it the first time (or maybe two times) I stepped in there. I had been considering a “Kiss the Girl” shirt as my souvenir of the trip, but instead…!!!

(This is a picture from home, obviously, so you can see me wearing it freezing-Colorado style rather than why-is-L.A.-90-degrees-in-February? style.)

Though BB-8 is the cutest, I actually thought the Darth Vader and Boba Fett dresses were better designs. However, not only were the prices on these items eye-poppingly high, to the point where buying more than one dress was out of the question (and even buying one was extravagant), Darth Vader and Boba Fett were my favorite characters when I was a Star Wars fan twenty years ago; BB-8, as a Force Awakens character, is a better representation of my renewed interest. PLUS SO CUTE I always love to be reminded of him.

So that was my awesome Disneyland trip. It was awesome and I loved it. Now to try to restore some order to my life and work on stories. Seriously.

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