Claire woke up after a long night of some rough coughing seemingly a bit better. Hopefully the worst of her cold has passed. She actually ate some food for breakfast this morning, so that was a good sign. Despite the signs of recovery, we rented her a stroller for the next couple days: no use over taxing her and stretching our luck.
Once again the park was back on normal hours, so it was just shy of 10AM when we finally meandered onto Main Street. We paused for some photos — I’ve been snapping more “miniature scene” pics whenever I get the chance — and then strolled down the center of the street. When we got near the Walt & Mickey statue, that whole are was blocked off. At first we figured the park hadn’t opened yet. But they we clued in that they were still filming Modern Family and they were doing some long shot with Main Street as the backdrop. We scooted our way around and under the castle where we took in yet another ride on Dumbo’s elephants before tucking in for the main event.
I kinda figured it would be worse than it was. See, back in this low traffic area beside It’s a Small World, they’ve re-purposed a tented-stage area and turned it into the Princess Pavilion. Every time you walk past there are hundreds of people queued up — parents with little girls, for the most part — to meet the princesses. Now, it’s not really a secret that princesses and parenting have a sordid recent history; I mean there are books written on the topic of modern parenting and exposure to the Disney Princesses as poor role models, for crying out loud. Look it up. So, it wasn’t on our “can’t miss” list for this trip… more of on the “if it happens… it happens” list. We were close so we thought we’d check, and — amazingly enough — it being still early in the day, the queue was only about fifteen minutes long. We waited. And Claire was very much… meh. I mean she stood there and dutifully had her photo taken, but I don’t think she really cared either way.
She really wanted another spin on It’s a Small World. That would be exposure number four: I think I’ve reached my maximum dosage of miniaturized puppet-based happy-juice for the year.
It seems quick, but all this — and another spin in the teacups as we wandered past — brought us pretty close to lunch. We walked back over to the main square looking for a bite — sure enough encountering more filming on the way, some scene with Gloria, Jay and Manny in front of the castle — and grabbed Claire a hot dog and Karin and I some more substantial grub. Claire was still (a lot) grouchy, though not really showing it, and it was manifesting as her “I’m not hungry” routine. A six dollar hot dog later, I wasn’t buying it — but it did mean I got to sit and force feed her (through idle threats of another ride in the Haunted Mansion if she didn’t eat) while watching the filming a few hundred meters away.
We took in a bit more of the park in a whirlwind blur: Tarzan’s Treehouse again, plus another spin on the Winnie the Pooh ride, then thought about a nap. Claire wasn’t having it of course and insisted we ride on Big Thunder Mountain again first. The queue was long, but it was mostly shaded and moved pretty quick.
Karin ducked out after that, off to do some shopping while Claire and I tucked back to the hotel for a nap. On our way out, right inside the Main Square in front of the fire hall, more Modern Family filming, this time pretty much the whole cast — though I didn’t see a couple of them. But no lingering… shoo, shoo…
Karin was on her own for a couple hours. She — apparently — was there to get some shopping done, but admitted to sneaking in a ride on her own. Tsk-tsk! But by the time she was back at the hotel we were rested up and ready to go back. So, once again… off to Disneyland.
By the time we arrived back the sun was setting. Claire and I took a spin in the Astro Orbiter (that iconic spinning spaceship ride at the front step of Tomorrowland) and we all took another family shot at the Buzz Lightyear game which had virtually no line up before scooting off to dinner (clam chowder in a bread bowl all the way over in New Orleans Square.)
By that point is was getting late and we had two options: sneak out of the park a little early, or try and catch the parade again. As we were meandering along discussing options I noticed the line was short for Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, that is one of the few rides Claire is still too short to ride. Fortunately, that is the ride Karin snuck in her own earlier in the day. In other words… I went alone. Now, don’t get me wrong: the ride is intensely cool. But there is something simply wrong with riding alone on any rides: at least, it’s not why I came here.
The girls met me out front and — dashing madly across the park thinking we might sneak in one more spin in the teacups — found ourselves with a random, rare, and prime spot for the just-starting parade. We’d seen it earlier in the week, but Disney is nothing if not enduringly repetitive. And Claire loved it, of course, winning a wave and a smile from Ariel.
But that WAS that, and we snuck out a few minutes ahead of the crowd, back to the hotel for another modest night’s sleep.
Read more vacation travel posts on my Random Travel Writing page!