Monday, July 18, 2011

Virtual Disneyland Trip - Part 3 - 1st Real Day

Monday, this will be our first full day in Disneyland. This is a day that matters. But it's first thing in the morning and me and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler have already hit a snag. You see, I'm an early riser, not a very good sleeper at all. I'm generally awake by 6 a.m. every day, 7 at the latest. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler is not a morning person. She's a sleep-in kind of person. We've accepted that. It used to annoy me when we weren't standing in line at the gates before the park opened. Now, generally, I go when I'm ready. She will catch up with me an hour or two later.

Getting ready in summer is a breeze - put the coffee on, shower, shorts, shirt, shoes and I'm ready. Head over to the breakfast buffet at the CCI clubhouse, grab a couple of bagels and bananas for me and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and back to the room to decide today's plan of attack (which was already pretty well thought out) and a light breakfast. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler may or may not be conscious at this point.

First of all there is NO reason to ever start a day in Disney California Adventure unless this the day you plan to see an early Aladdin performance, you have a lunch reservation, or you want to get to Toy Story Mania before the long wait times hit. DCA will wait another day, today is for Disneyland and its going to be a long day (for me anyway, it will be a little shorter for Mrs. DisneylandTraveler who is still snoozing). I tell Mrs. DisneylandTraveler 'I love you' and I'm out the door. Hoping to conserve some strength, I'm opting to take the CCI shuttle. From the shuttle to drop-off point to the front gates is still a couple of hundred yards, but every step you can save in the morning will be in reserve as the day wears on.

I'm standing in line before the Disneyland 8:00 a.m. opening just the way I like it. Once inside the gates and the decision needs to made, enjoy the morning with another cup of coffee from the Market House, walk around and start taking pictures, or hit a ride. I'm opting for the ride and today I'm going to make it count with Space Mountain knowing full well that Mrs. DisneylandTraveler will not go near the place with a cattle prod. The new Star Tours is another possibility. Me and Mrs DLT haven't discussed it yet, but she didn't care for the old version, maybe the new and improved version will be more to her liking. But this is the first time when her phrase 'it just messes with my head' creeps into the equation when thinking about rides.

Some pictures of Tomorrowland and I'm heading back to Main St. and the Market House because Mrs. DisneylandTravel has texted me that's where we should meet me up for coffee. They have great coffee at the Market House.

It's around 9:30 and me and Mrs. DLT talk about our plans for today. We need to get to work before it starts to get hot. Just like when we arrived at Disneyland yesterday, we head to Adventureland and New Orleans Square, this time walking instead of taking the train. She talks me into getting a fastpass for her favorite ride, Indiana Jones (whether we use it of not remains to be seen), then for the second time in two days, hit Pirates and Haunted Mansion both with short waits in the morning hours. We backtrack to hit the Jungle Cruise and a journey to the backside-of-water. By this time it is getting close to our 11:40 reservation time at our favorite place to eat - The Carnation Cafe. So simple, reasonably priced, delightful outdoor surroundings, and always very good, this won't be the last time we show up at the Carnation Cafe on this trip. We both order a cup of the delicious baked potato soup, I opt for the Chicken Pot Pie while Mrs. DLT opts for the Chicken Sandwich for our entrees. We leave full and delighted once again.

What to do next? Well we are on Main St. Mrs. DLT starts to browse through the stores, me? - not so much. I just had a nice meal, give me a nice bench down by the flagpole and I'm good to just enjoy the scenery. She calls me on my cell phone and tells me to come in the store she wants "show me something". Her come the dollar signs. I tell her "fine go ahead and get it but lets wait till later so we don't have to carry the bag around". Maybe she will forget. Never happens.

We're in our fastpass window for Indian Jones. She tries to convince me to on while I plead that the ride is hard on my back. Somehow 'it messes with my back' is not as strong an argument as 'it messes with my head'. We go on the ride. While my spine thinks about its condition after IJA, we head down the Enchanted Tiki Room to visit some old feathered friends. Before going in I go for the pineapple float at the Dole Pineapple stand while Mrs. DLT opts for the whip. It won't be the last time we will be having these delicious treats on this trip. 

It's after 3 p.m. by now and Mrs. DLT and I have to make that crucial decision. It's summer. There will be a Fantasmic shown tonight. Mrs. DLT gets an evil look in her eyes when she thinks about the Fantasmic wait. "Why couldn't they build seating". I've heard phrase uttered many a time (and it won't be the last time I hear it on this trip). We're not not that young anymore. Sitting on the concrete in the middle of summer isn't going to cut it. We refuse to play that game again. In 2002, I sat on the concrete for almost 3 hours, my body says never again. So the decision that needs to be made, that 6 hours before showtime, will Mrs. DLT and me will hold a table by the railing at the Riverbelle Terrace? We decide to do it.

We've been spent 22 days at Disneyland since Murphy the Dragon was scheduled to make his debut. In those 22 days, we probably saw Fantasmic 4 or 5 times. We've yet to see the dragon for one mechanical reason or another. Tonight will be the night. And so the wait begins. Mrs. DLT wanders off for awhile and I hold the table. I wander off, and Mrs. DLT holds the table. In my wanders, I bring back my dinner, a corn dog from the wagon on Main St. and a Safari Skewer from the Bengal Bar-B-Q. There's protein and vegetables somewhere in there. Mrs. DLT grabs an overpriced sandwich from the Riverbelle Terrace after all, we are using one of their tables for 6 hours. Seems only right. We scatter the food, napkins, purses, drinks, cameras all over the table to make it look like we're a party of 5 because sooner are later someone is going ask 1) are you leaving soon? 2) mind if we join you? 3) can we take a couple of these chairs if no one is using them? Answers - 1) no we're staying 2) yes if they look like nice people and especially if they have a small child or two and 3) if no one has taken the chairs from answer 2, then help yourself but we're not moving an inch from our spots.

So we agonizingly wait for the show and finally see the dragon. The only entertainment is seeing the castmembers who work Fantasmic crowd control try to make people do something they do want want to do. Some are cooperative. Some are not. The dragon makes a big impression in a short amount of time. After Fantasmic I ask "Do you want to go on Thunder Mountain Railroad?" The reply, "It messes with my head. Let's just get to the shuttle and back to our room". On the way out, we stop in 4 stores and pick up whatever she wanted to show me earlier in the day. We also stop by the Disney Gallery to see the latest exhibition and prints.

Back at the hotel, Mrs DLT takes a shower while I grab a beer and a couple of Advil. Yep, it was a really good day.

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