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Alethea & Athena
The Society of Explorers and Adventurers 
11th-Feb-2016 11:22 am
happyday
Weeeellllllll... Technically we should probably be working today, but when things go out of whack sometimes, we start throwing all responsibility to the wind. Gaston (and maybe Alice, too) is planning to arrive around eleven today to go to Disneyland. We seriously considered saying, "You know what, we reeeeeally should stay home and work this time," but that darn Disneyland as Annual Passholder Days going on this month, with a new theme every week, and today is our best chance to check out this week's theme before it changes. So, against our more responsible judgment, we're going to Disneyland anyway.

That, of course, doesn't give us a lot of time to get a significant amount of work done, which we thought would be okay, because Thursdays are usually UQ Holder! days...but not this week! So instead of doing any kind of work, we thought hey, why not take the time to update LiveJournal? Then we'll have less trip reporting to do in the future, which might give us more leisure time in the future, allowing us to get back to video games that much sooner.

So let's do it!

...Now where did we leave off again? Right, Miguel's Cantina. Of course the restaurant was all done up in a Mexican style and it was really neat. Athena and I weren't particularly interested in Mexican food (we have this habit of wanting other people to try foods even when we don't have any desire to eat it ourselves), so we both ordered a Mexican chocolate cake, while Cecille opted for the Miguel's Special Set, which...I can't remember anything about, except that it was a combo and therefore came with a drink. And a mango cake, which is important because, as has been established, Athena and I are all about the desserts. Cecille was happy to share the cake, for reasons that will be discussed shortly.

Now about that drink. Cecille was kind of interested in getting something you can't get everywhere in the US, and the list of beverages included melon soda. I was doing all the ordering, so I asked the cast member taking our order if the melon soda was any good...and she laughed at me! And I laugh at that, because when I thought about it, it was probably like if I was working at a fastfood restaurant and somebody asked me if Sprite is any good--like, doesn't everybody know about Sprite? So she probably wasn't laughing at me so much as she laughed out of surprise because it was such a weird question. So we were all amused.

As for the food itself, the chocolate cake was pretty tasty. It had cinnamon, which was really good, and nuts, which were not so good, but the cake was pretty dense, so the difference in texture wasn't too much of a shock, and I think they weren't walnuts, which are the enemy. Cecille says the Mexican food was pretty bland, and went on to tell us that her friend who's spent a lot of time in Japan had told her never to hope for good Mexican food in Japan. It's probably just a matter of general preference, though, because Disneyland has really good food in general, especially in Japan. The mango cake was also pretty good.

The most interesting part of the meal was the melon soda, though. Cecille started to drink it, but she couldn't finish it. She's extra sensitive to sweet, so to her, it just tasted like drinking pure sugar...which frankly has us wondering why that's a problem, but if anybody has a right to judge people on their food preferences, it's not us. And besides, it meant we got to drink the rest of it. ...But we appear to be pretty sensitive to bitter, because all we could taste was the carbonation, which is why we've never had a problem banishing soda from our diets (although we do like it very much once it's been flattened). We did taste a little bit of melon, but it just wasn't worth it. At least it was kind of free. But I find it fascinating that Cecille couldn't drink it because it tasted one way, and we couldn't drink it because it tasted another way. This gives credence to my theory that some aspects of picky eating come because people's tastebuds work differently.

After lunch...you'd think we would have gone on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage again, but we didn't. ...Oh wait, referring to my camera, it looks like we did. I must have reported our second time on the ride in error yesterday. This is when we went on it again, and Cecille was apologizing for making us go on it again, and that started to really grate on our nerves because this is OUR favorite attraction of all time and I thought we made that clear the last time we went to DisneySea with her so for crying out loud STOP apologizing as if this ride is your thing because it's OUR thing and stop making it all about you, gosh! ...Actually, I wasn't that vehement about it at the time, but now I'm thinking about it and thinking, "Wait, Sindbad IS our thing, not hers!" I mean, obviously we should share it. And if she's worried it's okay to apologize once (maybe asking if there's a problem first, instead of assuming), but she kept doing it, and another thing that bothers me is when people refuse to listen to me the first or second time. (I did level with her on that point later, when I was able to sort out my thoughts and articulate them properly.)

But at the time, I was mostly just like, "Uh, whatever... I just want to go on this ride again," and I mostly just focused on the beautiful ambience. This is also the time I took some video of Sindbad animatronics, for later comparison with the Ursula animatronic they kept bragging about here at California Adventure.

Cecille was so inspired by that ride that she decided she wanted to go back to the store with Chandu merchandise and buy the plush that came without the blanket, to go with the cosplay she was now planning to do. That's where we encountered another business-minded cast member, who definitely knew how to use cuteness in manipulative ways. She saw us looking at the Chandu plushes and picked one up and started making it wave and stuff. She could tell that Cecille was wavering about whether she should spend the money on it, so she started talking about how popular the character was, and how the merchandise always sells out--this plush might not be here tomorrow! I'm really not sure if she was being entirely honest, because once I distanced myself from the situation and thought about it clearly, I remembered that there were a bunch of that same plush an entire week ago. On the other hand, it's possible that they get a shipment once a week and maybe there are days before the weekly shipment where Chandu is unavailable. I may never know. At any rate, Cecille decided to take the plunge and buy the plush. My only regret is that during all these negotiations, I could hear the band outside in the courtyard and I wanted to go listen. Ah well.

Anyway, we decided to go to Mysterious Island and go on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea again, and then get fastpasses for Journey to the Center of the Earth, because, as I said before, I felt compelled to go on it again. After that, we came out on Fort Magellan, and there was a short line for what appeared to be some kind of quest thing. We had never done it before, so we got in line! Bam! And the cast members were not perturbed in the least about the possibility of us not knowing Japanese, even though a successful quest requires a knowledge of the language. On the other hand, there's no penalty for failing (I was a little worried that once they let us in, we wouldn't be able to get out until we finished the quest, but that turned out not to be true), so that might be why they showed no concern.

But this was one of the best things! First, they took us into a room where they introduced us to Leonardo da Vinci, who I guess had come up with some kind of video recording technology, because that's how he talked to us. He explained that this was kind of like an initiation test for members of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers! And once you're a member, you can help out at the fort, which was built to protect the city from lava flows, because we're, like, right under a volcano and stuff. The cast members passed out color-coded maps to each group, which showed the layout of the fort and had clues all along the edge. You start at the top left corner, and it will tell you to find something, with three options for what that thing could be, and the letter next to the picture of each one would tell you which clue to go to next. And they specifically told us that if you don't do the clues in order, you could get lost, so be careful.

Then they set us loose in the fort, and it was amaaaaaazing! It was like if Tom Sawyer's island was at the Griffith Park Observatory...and I realize that's mostly only going to make sense to Southern Californians, but it's the best metaphor we have. Seriously, it was awesome though. It was like an old Renaissance...um...science museum? I don't know if they had a lot of science museums in the Renaissance, but the architecture was kind of Renaissancey, I think, but then again what do I really know about Renaissance architecture? It was a stone building like a castle, but not like a fortress, more like the Getty...to use another Southern California example. Let's say more like a museum.

So anyway, our first clue was on the ship docked outside. This ship was super cool. It had cannons on it, and you could fire the cannons! And you could go to three different levels of the ship and there were some great photo ops. Our objective was in the hold. We were supposed to find a box and look inside it. It was kind of an unusual box, because it had a peep hole. Whatever was inside it would direct us to the next clue, and the cool thing is, the different colored maps have different clues so you get to experience different things in the fort each time. The hard part is not getting distracted by all the other cool things that aren't part of your quest!

Let's see, what all did they have? They had...you know in all those movies, where they have the war room with the map and the model ships? They had one of those, and it was awesome because they actually made it rain on the map sometimes! And if you put 100 yen in one of the machines around the map's table, you could control one of the ships! They had a giant model of the Solar System, and you could turn a crank and move one of the planets (or all of them, just not at the same time unless you had a big group). They had that pendulum that knocks over a peg every however so often, and they had two different levels you could watch it from! And they had this painting that was painted on five surfaces of a room (the floor, the ceiling, and three walls), and the painting was distorted because there was also a big curved lens that you could look through and then not only were all the proportions right, but the painting was now in 3D! Wao!

Not to mention it was just a beautiful fort and super fun to run around in. There were a lot of stairs, though, so I don't think we'll ever have a fort like that here. Also, it was a pretty intense workout...which is all the more reason I'd like to have one. One of the places our quest brought us had a big screen that, if I remember correctly, showed a view of the Mediterranean Harbor across the way (Fort Magellan is part of the Mediterranean Harbor, but it curves around a big chunk of ocean), so you can see all the people coming into the park. If you spin a wheel, it pans the view one way or the other, and it also causes fish silhouettes to light up above the display. One of these fish was our clue!

At the end of our quest, we were in the painting room, with a portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. We put our map in the special map reader thingie, and it made the painting come to life! (I think that's how it happened, but I might be remembering wrong.) And da Vinci told us how to operate the lava control machine, and once we got that right, we would be official members of SEA. Of course we can't tell you how to operate the machine (you have to find out for yourself!), but we will say that when we were done, we had a lovely imprint of the society's logo on our map. It was pretty fancy, and we regretted not having a nice flat bag to carry our map around in, because it was bound to get creased...and it did, alas.

The afternoon was wearing on, so we made our way to the American Waterfront again to catch the last show of Big Band Beat, which came highly recommended by an acquaintance in our ward up in Fresno, who went to DisneySea with his family on our recommendation when they all went to pick up his younger brother from his mission in Tokyo. We didn't want to miss it again! The sad thing about it, though, is that they started letting people inside right before I was about to go buy some Little Green Man-ju. (They look like the LGMs from Toy Story, and our research tells us the set of three has one each with custard, chocolate, and strawberry filling.) So we never got to try those, but there was conflict anyway, because in the same area they were selling some other round treat that claimed to be maple. By the time we got out of the show, both carts were gone. Sigh.

But as for the show! First, I have to tell you about the theatre, because I think it's interesting. The lobby of the theatre is decorated with enormous paintings of American settlers interacting with Native Americans. I think that, because this theater was supposed to be as American as possible, they wanted to depict American history. I just think it's funny because a real American theatre probably wouldn't care. It might have some, like, Renaissance paintings or something, or classical in some other way...but then again, what do I know? I've never been to Broadway (which is where this particular building was supposed to be replicating).

The show...was okay. The music was a lot of fun--they had a live jazz band. And the dancing was really cool--they had tap dancers doing all kinds of fancy moves. Of course they sang jazz songs, and they kind of acted them out because there was one about catching a train I think? and they had all these people in period outfits and a train station set. In the middle of the show, they brought out Marie from the Aristocats, and she sang about being a jazz baby. Then Daisy came out and sang about being a little jazz bird. And then Minnie Mouse came out and sang "I Love a Piano", and danced on giant colorful light-up piano keys. And whenever I think about it, I think it looked and sounded great...but it just didn't hook me. I don't know why. The whole thing was in English, so it might be my language bias. I just don't know.

When the show was over, Cecille asked how we liked it, and I said maybe I just didn't care for it as much because it didn't have enough of Mickey & Friends (the show was a lot longer than the three numbers I mentioned, and at least half the numbers had no Disney characters), and then she ribbed me because earlier I had complained about them putting movie characters on It's A Small World. I appreciated it, because I like it when people pay attention like that and I welcome the discussion, but it's a totally different thing. And ultimately, Mickey or no Mickey (he was in it, just not very much), we think it just wasn't our cup of tea.

Then we were all hungry, so we headed back to the familiar pizza place for something we knew we'd eat. And then! it was time to use our fastpasses for Journey to the Center of the Earth. Cecille was thinking she'd bow out because her stomach was hurting, but it turned out to be a moot point, because the ride was closed. I was a little concerned that we wouldn't be able to use our fastpasses if we didn't use them in the designated time frame, because that line is one of the longer ones (comparatively, if we leave the American Waterfront out of the equation), so I asked a cast member, and he said they would be good anytime now. Well that was a relief, but what now?

Turns out the transit steamer was working again, so we hopped on board that! We got on at the Mediterranean Harbor, and had a pleasant little boat ride over to the Lost River Delta. This is where things got a little surreal, because the stop there looked exactly like a dream Athena had had about not finding seats for Fantasmic!--a dream she'd had before we went to DisneySea the week before. And the really surreal thing about that is we didn't ride the transit steamer at any of our previous visits to DisneySea, and we don't think we were at the Lost River Delta at night, so we wouldn't have walked by it, either. Wild.

Anyway, now that we were so close to the Arabian Coast, what are we going to do but go on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage again? ...Actually, we're going to go on the magic carpets. Cecille had pointed out that we could go on them again, and we agreed that was a good idea, so we did that first because it's on the way. This is a concept we seem to be coming across less and less these days. Yes, we may have a goal, but if the goal is not urgent, and there's something else you want to do as well, go ahead and go on the thing that's on the way to the other thing first. Otherwise, you end up with either a lot of back and forth, or you get distracted and don't get to do one of the things. ...We may have had an experience at California Adventure recently where the Little Mermaid ride was RIGHT THERE, but we just kept walking because we were on our way to somewhere else. It's our own fault for not speaking up, though.

Anyway, this next voyage with Sindbad is significant. First, Athena says she got the impression that the cast member in charge of seating people was making more of an effort to facilitate guests who may not understand Japanese. She doesn't remember the details, but she got the feeling this cast member saw that we were not Japanese and jumped to conclusions. Also, Cecille had been joking that we go on the ride enough, they should give us some kind of a point card, with a prize for going on it so many times. (As mentioned previously, she fell in love with the ride hard. She also kept talking about how we needed an English version of the song, and we were like, "Why? It's perfect!" (<--our language bias again).) Well, there we were, standing by the gate to get on the boat, and I remember for some reason I was looking down, and then suddenly, there was a card in my hand, maybe more like a bookmark, but wider. And not cardstock, just fancy paper. I assumed it was cardstock, but Athena's spent more time handling it, so she'd know.

The point is, I saw it and I thought, "What is this...?" It had pictures of Sindbad and his adventures...and it had text. I started reading the text in a sing-song sort of way...and sure enough, it was the lyrics to Compass of Your Heart! In English! What! And despite our opinion that the Japanese lyrics are perfect, when we would tell people that we would be going to Japan again and we were really excited to go on this ride, we wanted to share the song with them but then got sad when we realized it wouldn't touch them as deeply because they wouldn't have any clue what the lyrics were saying. So we got super excited and started jumping up and down! Athena had just enough presence of mind to remember how to say, "Sumimasen, mou ichimai... (Please, one more...)" And the cast member brought us two more! So now we each have our own copy of the lyrics in English (and translations of some of Sindbad's dialogue) as our little reward for having gone on the ride so many times. How many times, do you ask? Well, it was seven for Cecille, but it just so happened that that was our tenth time on the ride ever! So it all worked out very well.

So what are we to do after a great thing like that...but go on Sindbad again! Actually, this was more of a tactical choice. There wasn't a whole lot of time before park closing, and I did want to make sure to go on Sindbad one more time, but I wasn't sure if we could do that and go on Journey to the Center of the Earth, unless we did it right now. So we did! And then we went to Journey to the Center of the Earth...and Cecille still claimed stomach pain, so we sent her on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea while we continued on our way to the Center of the Earth. The verdict: the drop is still just barely too long for my liking, but I like the rest of the ride enough to put up with it if I'm feeling up to it.

The park hadn't closed just yet! There were two minutes left! ...But I didn't think we had time to walk all the way to the Arabian Coast in two minutes, so, since 20,000 Leagues was right there, and it was still letting people on even though the park was closing in two minutes, we hopped in line. Very soon after that, we heard the "the park is closed" announcement, so we were right that we wouldn't have made it back to Sindbad, but I did get the feeling Cecille was dissatisfied at the idea of going on 20,000 Leagues again when she'd only just gotten off of it. Oh well. That was the only possible thing we could have done if we wanted to go on another attraction. I'm just happy that they do still let people get in line right up until closing. They don't always do that here.

We enjoyed our journey under the sea, and then we went back to the Mediterranean Harbor where they were still letting people shop, of course. We bought a few souvenirs for people we felt obligated to buy souvenirs for (the woman who fed our cat and Gaston), and then we bid a reluctant farewell to our favorite place on the planet.

DisneySea closed fairly early that day, so on the bright side, we made it back to Ikebukuro with enough time to stop by the creperie that was so close to our hotel. It was still cold, so we opted not to get ours with a scoop of gelato, and usually after a day of not eating enough, we're not up to too much excitement, so we just got our crepes plain. Sort of. They were chocolate crepes with a little bit of butter as a topping.

And then we returned to our hotel, with just one full day left for our trip.


Today I'm thankful for the Fort Magellan quest, Fort Magellan (I love that place! next time, I want to spend more time there), getting a Sindbad reward (sort of), chocolate crepes, and having time to finish this before Gaston showed up.
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