And here I had been planning to post another story about Disneyland with the little ones! But now I can just post them in a bigger chunk. If we're lucky, we'll make it all the way through the report on Little Sister No.1's kids!
We had just had lunch...and I think after that, we went to the Jungle Cruise! We were sure this ride would be much more acceptable to the timid Rosetta, but she had had enough of rides and was determinedly uninterested. She went on it with us anyway...and still didn't like it. Maybe she's just not that into animals, or maybe the piranhas were too much for her, I don't know.
But our skipper was really good! Soon before we got to the hippopotamus pool, he did the joke with, "Bet you don't get to see that very often! I do. Every. Single. Day." And as he said those last words, you could see him grow more distant, and he kind of went into an "I hate my life" trance, which made it make perfect sense when he was suddenly surprised by all the hippos. And after the backside of water, where they usually point out some rock and say something along the lines of, "my friends all take it for granite," he had this amazingly long string of rock puns. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of them. Also, when he was making sound effects for the native ambush, he said, "To be or not to be! ...That one was a Shake-spear," thus corroborating my theory that the people with the best senses of humor are familiar with great literature/writing. (Not that I'm a Shakespeare expert, of course, but you can at least some of the Animaniacs writers were really into him, and there are Shakespeare references in the good version of Beauty and the Beast.)
Incidentally, I don't know if Gilderoy got all the jokes, but he sure enjoyed them. He would throw his head back and laugh out loud, and say, "He's bein' real funny, Mom!" The way he said it reminded me of the little boys in old Disney movies, so I thought it was cute.
Oh, and speaking of Gilderoy, there were a couple of details that I missed in the last report that have since been filled in. First, when Celeste convinced him to get back into the Jedi Training Academy to fight Kylo Ren, we learned that she told him, "He's not a bad guy; he just wants to help you use your lightsaber." And second, when Tinkerbell was accusing him of growing up, she said she wouldn't want to do that, it seems itchy.
Well, Rosetta still wasn't into the whole ride thing, and Athena and I had never been to the Royal Hall for the Disney Princess meet and greets, so we figured now would be a good time for that. I mean, actually, we were supposed to go to It's A Small World, but Celeste had sneaked off to get a chocolate horchata (special Halloween-time offering), and we were supposed to meet at the Fantasy Faire area. Athena and I saw that the line to the Royal Hall was short, so we took the liberty of dragging the kids into it. At one point during this wait, Athena spotted Princess Jasmine and Aladdin on their way to Snow White's Grotto, but chose not to point them out, because that would only complicate things further. Fortunately, Rosetta was shorter than the wall enclosing the queue area.
Actually, the line was so short, we were worried that Celeste wouldn't make it back to us in time, but she showed up shortly before they let us in, whew. And so in we went to meet Snow White, who was asking a girl in the group ahead of us if she had a dress with all her favorite colors, too. I don't think there was anything especially noteworthy about any of these encounters, except that the baby brother was crawling around, and he seemed to be deliberately crawling away from Cinderella, who encouraged him to come closer by saying, "I don't bite. Only sparkle." One of the princesses, we can't remember exactly which one, but we think it was Cinderella? Or was it Snow White? Noticed the children's "I had fun with Farley" stickers and mentioned that she was friends with him, too. Gilderoy, of course, bowed to each of them, and Rosetta gave them all hugs. We saw Ariel last, and I don't remember much about that, either. I seem to remember mentioning something about how Ariel has six sisters, and not quite hearing her response but gathering from it that she thought I was talking about our own family. And I wondered if this particular Ariel had amnesia, but it's possible that she just misheard me.
By the time we were done, Celeste was eager to get to California Adventure to see the Disney Jr. show. They've changed it since the last time we saw it--the last version required specialized performers who were trained in puppetry, but this new one only requires movie screens (our favorite, she added sarcastically) and the regular character performers. I mean, I guess these ones have to dance, but I'm getting the feeling the characters have to dance more in general, partly because of the thing I almost forgot to tell you about.
On our way to California Adventure, we had to stop and wait for members of the group who had split off to do more grownup rides, and while we were there on Main Street, we noticed one of the Main Street bands (I don't remember what this one is called; we think it's all the guys from Frontierland's Silver Dollar Gang, but in Main Street costumes and not outlaws) hanging out with Donald Duck, so we went over to get a closer look. Donald was having a drumming contest with some kids at the park. They wanted the audience to cheer for the world's best drummer, and obviously we cheered for Donald, because we don't know who those random little kids are, and children are sticky. And the leader of the band was all, "We have some people who totally missed the point of what we're trying to do here," and we're like, "Obviously we know exactly what you're doing, even though we walked in late and didn't get the introduction, but did you stop to think that maybe the girl wearing a Donald Duck shirt is going to be a Donald Duck fan? Gosh."
So obviously the kids won that one, and then Donald left and Mickey and Minnie came out and did a cute little dance routine to "Let Me Be Your Sweetheart." I really think that they're trying to copy Tokyo Disneyland's street performer ideas, which is probably a good idea, because Tokyo Disneyland is the best right now. On the other hand, they did used to have more things like that, like Merlin coming to choose a temporary ruler of the realm, and some Tomorrowland janitors who would drum on trashcans. We're guessing the had to discontinue some of that stuff when the crowds got to be too bad.
Anyway. We went to the Disney Jr. dance party, which, despite their obvious cost-cutting, was a pretty neat concept. It was hosted by DJ D.J. and her friend whose name I didn't bother to remember because I thought he was a little annoying. And they invited all their Disney Jr. friends to a dance party. So they would show, for example, Princess Sofia, on the giant screen behind them, and then they'd have all the kids do the special dance move, and it would bring the character off the screen and into real life! What! And they sang and danced. Considering the fact that getting up and dancing seemed to be the kids' favorite part of the previous show, it was probably a smart change.
On the other hand, Rosetta was not a fan. She even told me during the show that she did not like it. Gilderoy seemed to like it. He stood up and seemed to be paying very close attention, but he didn't move much. The hosts were worried through the whole party because they forgot to invite Mickey and Friends, so they called him up towards the beginning, and since Mickey and Friends are part of some racing thing on Disney Jr. right now, it was okay, because they could just drive right over super fast. So between Disney Jr. characters, we'd check in to see how close they were, and one time, Goofy used his bathtub car to shoot out bubbles which I'm sure did nothing to make the cars faster like he said it would, but it did shoot real bubbles into the audience, which was fun. Another time, they were getting closer, but then! they all crashed into a tree, and confetti leaves came raining down on all of us. Rosetta remained unimpressed.
Toward the end of the show, the hosts were panicking because it was looking like Mickey and the gang weren't going to make it in time, so Gilderoy's hand shot up into the air, and he said, "I have an idea!" When he knew he had DJ D.J.'s attention, he said, "Let's just make the party longer." It really is the logical thing to do. But of course, they had a different solution because the show is already scripted. And I think it was...to do a dance? I don't remember. The point is, Mickey and Minnie came out at the end, and despite her deep and abiding love for Minnie Mouse, Rosetta stayed rooted to her spot on the floor. And the show had a happy ending, and it was especially happy for Rosetta because she could finally leave that accursed place.
Incidentally, we're told the baby brother had mixed feelings about the whole business. Like he loved the music and wanted to dance, so Celeste had to not let him on the floor because he would start crawling too close to the stage (and too far from his mother), but also like he would freak out and need to hug his mom for assurance...or something? We didn't witness this, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details.
The father, who I guess wanted no part of a boring old Disney Jr. dance party, had taken the opportunity to go into the Animation Building and grab us a place in line to meet Anna and Elsa. (Insert complaints about the building that's supposed to be for cool exhibits on the animation process seeming to be a repository for "hey, I want to do this, but I don't know where to put it! eh, just take out another exhibit from the Animation Building.") By the time the show was over, he was almost at the front! So next stop, Arendelle.
And even though I do deeply loathe Frozen, I will admit that this was a nice meet and greet. I was especially impressed by Elsa and how sweet she was with the children. I forgot to mention, and now that I'm remembering it, we're having a hard time remembering where it was in the chronology...but I have pictures, so I could just check...
It was right after the Royal Hall! Of course, because the Royal Hall exits right across from the Princess store. We went into this store because each of the children was promised exactly one souvenir, and given her love of princesses, we were all pretty sure this would be where Rosetta would want to get hers from. And indeed she did--she got a plush of Princess Aurora, that she hugged so sweetly as soon as it was hers. It was the cutest thing. Gilderoy got his souvenir on Main Street--another plushie, this time of Mickey Mouse in his 2018 Halloween costume (a vampire with candy corn teeth).
But the point is! Rosetta was now carrying this plushie with her wherever she went, so naturally now the princesses she meets are going to comment on it (actually, after she bought it, she wanted to take it and show it to Princess Aurora, but she wasn't available anymore, and we didn't want to wait around for another chance; fortunately children that age can be easily distracted). So Elsa told Rosetta about how when she and her sister were little, they would read that story together. Awww! Meanwhile, Gilderoy was busy charming Anna, and Baby Brother was crawling all over, which may be why none of the grownups caught it in time to take a video when Rosetta started singing "Once Upon A Dream" to Elsa. Oh my goodness, it was the cutest thing.
I also noticed that Elsa very adeptly covered up the leg that was left bare by the slit in her skirt with her cape. She did it so subtly, I never noticed the action that caused it.
Now that we'd met pretty much every princess available (not really true, but we did meet a lot), it was time to go to Cars Land. Except for the one Rosetta was too small to go on, the rides there were all outside, and you could see exactly what happened before you got on them, so we hoped for more success. We started with Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, and we asked Rosetta if she liked spinning around, and she said yes, so I told her that she'd get to do a lot of it on this ride. (This is my new strategy for helping kids cope with rides. Equate it to something they're used to.) And the verdict is...she liked it! We had a winner! Woohoo!
Gilderoy liked it, too. He rode with me, and when the ride is over, I moved to unbuckle the seatbelt, and he said, "Don't unbuckle us, then we can ride again." Nice try, kid, but it doesn't work that way.
We also went on Rollickin' Roadsters, which I don't think we quite as well received, but the kids both liked that one, too. Baby Brother, of course, has no opinion of either ride, because, contrary to Walt Disney's whole concept of a theme park where adults and kids can all have fun together doing the same things, none of the rides in Cars Land accommodate babies.
We had dinner at the Pacific Pier Wharf, and then we went over to check out the midway games at Pixar Pier. The sister-in-law is a big fan of WALL-E, so she was excited to find out that they actually have WALL-E merchandise now. In fact, one of the midway games is WALL-E themed! And! it happens to be the game that Celeste feels is her calling--the one where you squirt water at a target. So we all played and, true to form, Celeste won! and she picked out an Eve plushie for her sister-in-law. The cast member got it out, and Gilderoy took it from her and hugged it...only to hurl it at the ground when his mother told him it was for his aunt. He got in trouble for that one, and so he had to sit out when we played again to get Wall-E. Of course Celeste won again.
Happy with our winnings, we continued along to Goofy's Sky School. Gilderoy had had a pretty bad time with the roller coasters up until now (a fact sorely lamented by his father, who was very much looking forward to going on the thrill rides with his son (Magic Mountain might be a better place to go for that sort of thing, but it's true those rides are more hardcore, so yeah, probably wait until the kid is older)), but he had seen this one from their hotel room and showed an interest in it, and they were going to hold him to it. Fortunately, he loved it.
Meanwhile, we took Rosetta on The Adventures of the Little Mermaid, or whatever that ride is called (we stopped caring about the exact names of rides after a certain point). We did warn her about Ursula, but we assured her it would only be for a little while, and then they'd beat her (in the "win against" sense, is how we meant it, not in the "give a beating" sense). But the universe was conspiring against us. On the bright side, when we walked into the ride building, Rosetta saw the mural and got really excited. I'm sure she was having a good time at first, but she was riding with her other aunt, so we don't know the details.
The problem is, the Little Mermaid ride is on a conveyor belt, which means the vehicles are moving constantly for most guests. This is not an ideal situation for a guest who has mobility restrictions--it's not easy to get out of a wheelchair and onto a ride vehicle while the vehicle is moving away from you. And what this means is that the ride is frequently stopped to accommodate these guests. Normally this is no big deal, you just relax and enjoy Alan Menkan's amazing soundtrack.
But. this time, the ride stopped right when we were at the entrance to Ursula's lair. Fortunately (or so we thought), Rosetta had just made it past Flotsam and Jetsam and had not made it to Ursula yet, so she wasn't staring at bad guys the whole time. Unfortunately, as her other aunt reports, the creepy voices just behind her and the dark hallway were not helping Rosetta feel the magic of Disneyland. And! we were stopped there for a very long time. The third aunt had enough time to think, "Maybe I should just pull out my phone and distract her," and to actually do it. Sooo Rosetta and dark rides are just not a thing. (Until we try again next time!)
After a quick trip back to Cars Land for another spin on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree (oh wait, for Halloween it's Mater's Graveyard Jam-BOO-ree), we...had to wait for grownups to get food and souvenirs before heading back to Disneyland (because California Adventure was closing and Disneyland was open for another hour). Despite the fact that we were all pretty much dead on our feet by now (except for the children, of course, who were either carried or riding the stroller most of the day), we were determined to get some more rides in. We took Gilderoy on the carousel. Athena tried to take Rosetta, but it went like this: Do you want to ride on a horse? No.
For Gilderoy's part, he found a horse and very excitedly scrambled on top of it...only to realize that this horse was as high as any horse could get, so he started climbing down, explaining that he had a fear of heights. I told him the horse wouldn't go any higher than that, so he got right back on it, and we had a good time waving to the peasants.
We had time for one more ride and we all decided that we really did want to take the kids on It's A Small World, whether they liked it or not. Normally I'm against the movie characters being on the ride, but we did use them as an incentive to get Rosetta to pay attention to the ride in a positive way. I don't know if it was that or the happy magic that is It's A Small World, but she liked it! She really liked it!
When we got out, the Small World clock had started chiming to announce the time, so we stopped to watch it...and were a little disappointed when the doors didn't actually open to show us the time. The cast member told us it was because of the fireworks, but it was nine o'clock, the fireworks aren't until nine-thirty, and the park was closing anyway. So maybe it was because of fireworks and also lazy automatic programming, but when we saw the clock in the afternoon the next week, it was acting the same way, so. But we got to see all the kids come out and do their thing, so it wasn't a total bust.
Finally, we dragged our carcasses to the exit and parted ways after a lovely but exhausting day at Disneyland.
We did it! That concludes the Little Sister No.1 arc of our Disneyland tale. Tune in next time (whenever that is) for the Little Sister No.2 arc!
Today I'm thankful for It's A Small World not being rejected, having plenty of cupcakes to look forward to (lately all we're interested in eating is pizza and certain forms of chocolate), making it safely out of the Little Mermaid ride, getting to have Joe's Italian Ice at the hoedown last night (okay, so there are other food exceptions), and plans to read more Harry Potter.