And oh my goodness, it was amazing. I mean, Soarin' Over California was our favorite ride in California Adventure back when it first opened, so we already knew we liked it, but we actually hadn't been on it for a while even before they closed it and changed it. It has the unfortunate quality of making us just a tiiiiny bit motion sick, so as we've gotten more prone to exhaustion, we've been more likely to give it a pass. Of course, Soarin' Around the World doesn't have as much variety of movement, and we know of one person who likes it better because it's less likely to cause motion sickness, so I guess that's one thing it has going for it.
But! Soarin' Over California is amazing! It feels like you get closer to all of the amazing sights, which is probably part of why there's more left and right turning and stuff. And I like the scents better for this one. I mean, it's cool that they managed to replicate the smell of dirt, and the flowers at the Taj Mahal smell nice, but on the other hand, citrus is a proven mood enhancer, so you really can't beat the smell they pump in when you go over the orange groves of central California. Whenever we get to that part, I inhale for as long as I can.
Anyway, it was so magical I cried. But because I'm so bitter and jaded anymore, it's hard to tell if it really was more magical, or if I was more affected by it because of nostalgia and bias. I will say that I don't think I was determined to dislike Soarin' Around the World...
As soon as it was over, our fastpasses were active, so we went on it again! Then we got a couple more fastpasses, went to brunch at Earl of Sandwich (we decided we could use some more protein, and they have a great egg & cheddar breakfast sandwich (eggs are the best protein, and we like them the best best when we don't have to cook them ourselves)), and came back and went on it a third time. And to give you an idea of the extent of how much I love this old version of the ride, it actually made me feel so good about life that I forgot all of the usual bitterness I carry with me when I'm at Disney parks these days. (I'm sorry for being so cold-hearted.)
But technically we were there to work, so we figured it was about time we got to it. We found a bench under Grizzly River Run which was in the perfect spot, because part of the ride went over it, stretching from east to west, which meant it would always be in the shade. A few hours later, we were finished with our first draft of Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight (that series is so kind to us), and we had about half an hour before the next showing of Tale of the Lion King. Our usual assumption would be that there's a "the" before that, but there is not. It's just "Tale of the Lion King." We don't know why that is.
Anyway, it's a good thing we got there when we did, because the benches were almost full already! Of course, now that we've seen the show, I realize that maybe we did want to sit on the ground up front, so we could get a better view of the dancers. (The main part of the show is done on a stage, with all the dancers doing their thing in front of it.) As it was, I couldn't really see what they were doing, so I'm not sure if they added anything to the show.
The show itself was...typical for what Disney's doing these days. The costumes were amazing, the actors made us happy because we could tell they really loves doing the show, but the storytelling left something to be desired. Actually, it was mostly very good, but there were a few things that had us going, "I dunno..." For example, they lead in to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by having Simba act like he wants to tell Nala something but doesn't know how, so he's stammering. That works really well and goes right into his solo (so many things to tell her, but how to make her see?, etc.), which is where they started the song, but Nala hadn't said anything to him about coming back and taking his place as king, so when it goes straight into her solo (he's holding back, he's hiding ... why won't he be the kind I know he is?), it's like, "He hasn't actually said he wouldn't yet..." Also, he had actively been not holding back...or trying not to hold back, anyway. Like, he specifically started to not hold back, so that he could hold back.
They did do one thing I thought was a pretty good idea. Obviously they had to cut some things out of the story for time purposes, so Zazu wasn't in it at all. But there are only five songs in the whole movie, so of course they have to do all of them. So instead of singing "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" to Zazu (which was really a weird strategy for getting the bird to go away anyway), Simba sings it to Scar, and Scar sings Zazu's lines...which works surprisingly well. ...But then they morphed the song into "Be Prepared," which didn't really make sense, especially because, like, who would he have been singing to? There were no hyenas around.
That's not to say that there weren't any hyenas! The people playing Timon & Pumbaa had hyena cloaks that they put on so they could double up on casting. And I'm okay with that, because the actors playing Timon & Pumbaa were adorable. We really liked Scar, too. When Scar wasn't in the story, he took off his Scar jacket and joined the ensemble, and you could tell he really loved being in the show. It was great.
The wildebeest stampede was disappointing. All the dancers took out wildebeest masks and moved them from side to side. It wasn't exactly intimidating. And there were problems with the sound balance, so it was pretty hard to follow the (very important) dialogue over the music. It was kind of just a lot of back-and-forth-swaying chaos.
So overall it was pretty okay. By the time it ended, we had been sitting under very direct sunlight for about an hour, so we took advantage of the short line for the Little Mermaid ride (where we took up our old lament about if they had thought harder they could make Ursula's tentacles all tentacle-y), then we got some chocolate milkshakes at Ghirardelli's and watched Mickey's Philharmagic before we made our way home.
And that's when we had the biggest little adventure of all! We were walking along past a hotel when we saw a family gathered around a very small lump on the sidewalk. When we got closer, we realized the lump was a mouse, and it was very very still. The man we assume was the father was nudging it with his shoe, but it wasn't doing anything. Eventually he nudged it enough to move it, and it remained motionless, so we were about to assume it was dead and go on our way when I saw its nose twitch. The mouse was not dead, it was just dead tired.
We still had a guidemap we'd picked up at the park (we wanted to know when Tale of the Lion King showtimes were, and there were no entertainment schedules in sight), so Athena pulled it out and slid it under the mouse in an attempt to nudge it gently back into the flowers. But when it got to the edge of the sidewalk, suddenly it was much, much livelier. It clearly did not want to go back into the flowers. We felt like it was asking for help, but we didn't know what to do. We thought about going to the hotel lobby and telling the staff, but we realized that mice are generally seen as pests, so that would not have increased the little guy's chances. (I also considered the idea that helping it might be a nuisance to the hotel, but neither of us could stand the idea of deliberately letting a living creature die.)
After some thinking and silent prayer, Athena sent me to the nearby 7-11 to get it some water. On the way there, something red caught my attention. It was a piece of watermelon that someone had dumped on the sidewalk. It was too dirty and gross for me to pick up bare-handed, and it looked dry, but it gave me the idea that some fruit might give the mouse nutrients and moisture at the same time. So I bought a cup of diced peaches along with the water bottle.
When I got back, I poured some water into the water bottle's cap (I made sure to get a bottle with a very shallow cap, because oh my goodness, mice are tiny) while Athena got her hands all sticky trying to liberate some peaches (you won't be surprised to learn that we're not used to buying fruit cups). She finally got a piece of peach out, and literally shoved it in the mouse's face--on the one hand, it seems like a harsh move to do to such a weak creature, but this little guy was so tired, we're not sure it would have noticed it at all otherwise. And it started licking the peach almost immediately. Soon it seemed like it was back to life!
We don't know if the mouse stood much of a chance with or without or help, but now that we'd done everything we could (we left a couple more pieces of peach just off the sidewalk), and the mouse seemed to be feeling much better, we decided it was time to leave. So we came home and had dinner ourselves. And that was the end of our very adventurous day.
Today I'm thankful for getting to go on Soarin' Over California again, getting to see Tale of the Lion King, getting yummy food from Earl of Sandwich, having time to do all that and get our work done, and the inspiration that helped us help that mouse.