We woke this morning to the promised forecast dump of snow. It figures. One of the barest winters in years — I could have mowed my grass a few days ago — and the day we leave on vacation the snow flies. It made for a sketchy drive out to the airport, and of course the flight had to cope with the expected delays from de-icing and snow removal around the apron and ramp. But despite the weather we were quickly off to California — three hours in the air — for yet another light-hearted, fun-filled adventure in the land of Mickey Mouse.
Our luggage was among the first off the carousel. If I was a superstitious guy that might mean something to me… but, really it merely resulted in a quicker rendevous with the taxi and arriving a few minutes earlier than expected at the hotel.
We’re staying at the same place as last time and oddly enough they put us in nearly the identical spot, just two floors up. Decent room — having spent less than an hour in it total, lets call that a first impression — though with three of us sharing the space but not sharing a bedtime, it’s going to make for an interesting week of many evenings spent in the dark reading from the reflected glow of the iPad… or bathroom.
Our park tickets have too many days for us to actually use while we’re here, so we decided to get one step closer to maxing them out and wandered over to the park for a late afternoon encounter. Hey, it beats sitting in the hotel…
That’s why it was after four when we finally wandered through the gates, snapped a few pictures of the Mickey shrubbery, and meandered into the throng: right then a parade of some sort was in full swing — Mickey waving to us from across the impossible masses of people — and Main Street so crammed with our kindred tourists that Disney had crowd control in full action, complete with lighted batons.
My only beef with this partial, late-in-the-day jaunt was that — if memory serves — Disney tends to welcome you into Disneyland in a very specific “discovery” sort of way, particularly if you show up early in the morning when the gates just open. It really is an experience: this awakening of something big, kinda-feeling. But coming into the middle of it just then and there was kind of, well, less than magical. Couple that with the fact that the park is at the end of a holiday busy week — they rate it a 9 out of 10 for busy, today — and ugh.
We beelined straight for the only ride Claire has been excited about for the past few weeks: the Teacups. Thankfully that ride is a blend of less-than-popular and high-throughput so we only waited about five minutes in line before we were sitting there, our long journey over, and us merrily spinning our heads in a whirl of pink plastic.
After, Karin thought it might not be bad to take in “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” as our second ride. Claire was fine, until we got near the very front: then she saw some spooky FX and — in her state of overstimulation and overtired — panicked and cried her way through most of the ride.
We broke off further attempts at ride-based fun, opting for supper — tacos — and then calmed things down a notch with a turn through It’s a Small World before blurring back to find ourselves an infamously legendary churo… which Claire ate most of. Three hours after entering the park on our first day — and merely twelve hours after stowing my snow shovel back in the garage after scraping down my driveway back in Edmonton — we were on board the Disney train back to Main Street station, and a quick dodge back to the hotel.
Let’s call today a taste of the week to come. Meanwhile, I’ll note that it took Claire less than five minutes to crash after her head hit the pillow. And now — sitting here in the dark writing a blog entry that won’t be published until we’re back home — I need to occupy a couple of ill-lit hours in a hotel room somewhere a few blocks from Disneyland.
Read more vacation travel posts on my Random Travel Writing page!