There are many reasons for that, but for now, let's say the main one is that we finally watched episode 64 of Eyeshield21, and there's a new character named Riku! Riku!!! His coloring is a lot like Kingdom Hearts Riku's, his eyes are similar (but a little bigger), his personality is like KH Riku's, his whole character setup is so much like KH Riku's that there must be a KH fan in the staff. Especially because the White Knights just played against the Karibu Pirates (say it out loud). It's especially funny, of course, because Sena is played by the voice of Sora. We really wonder what Mamoru Miyano♥ thinks of this new character (being the KH Riku, but unable to be the Eyeshield21 Riku, as he's already Sakuraba).
We woke up around seven on Wednesday so we could make it to the park around the time it opened. Our anime buddy wanted to get there early, and we wanted to stay as long as possible. We found out on the way there that our buddy had never seen Disneyland at night, which was very strange to us, because when you have to spend such a huge amount of money to get in, it only makes sense to stay as long as it's open so you can get your money's worth. That's how our family always did it, since we were like three. Except when we had annual passes. And of course, we wanted to see the fireworks and Fantasmic!.
We decided to wear our Goku and Hakkai costumes, because when you go to Disneyland after AX, you have to cosplay, and because we ♥ them. So we got dressed and headed over to the park. I guess we made it just about at eight, maybe a little bit after, because places other than Main Street were open, but Mickey and friends weren't out greeting people yet.
We started out heading over to Fantasyland, because early morning is the only time to get on Dumbo without having to wait in a crazy line. Unless it's raining. We would have walked right through the main gate of Sleeping Beauty's castle, but before we got to the bridge, I noticed Snow White standing all by herself at the wishing well. So we decided to go say hi. We got a picture with her to show Sarah that it's possible to get cast as Snow White even if you are rather well-endowed in the chest area (being about twelve, Snow White is the flattest of the princesses (unless you count Melody, but please (or Kairi, but she's older and more gifted now)), a cause of great disappointment to Sarah, who is definitely the biggest in our family, but whose favorite princess is Snow White).
I really liked this Snow White, because her voice matched the real Snow White's, while most Disneyland Snow Whites sound like they're sucking helium. In fact most Disney princesses sound like they're sucking helium at Disneyland, which really doesn't work for Belle, who is clearly an alto in the movie. Here I have to interject my opinion about Snow White's voice. Most people we talk to say they hate Snow White because of her voice, but really I don't think it's any worse than, say, Tohru in Fruits Basket's voice. Though I will admit that sometimes when she sings, she sounds like a singing saw. We currently have a theory that most people who hate Snow White's voice only hate it because their friends hate it, and they themselves haven't actually seen the movie in years.
I also think it would be awesome to get a picture of Gojyo with all the princesses, looking very smug, but alas, we had no Gojyo.
Anyway, we went on to Dumbo, and then went on Casey Junior, to get the obligatory "Goku in the monkey cage" picture. We got on almost all the rides in Fantasyland before ten o'clock (we decided to pass on the teacups and Storybook Land, though I think our anime buddy would have liked to get pictures from Storybook Land). After It's a Small World, we got on the train to New Orleans Square, because Athena and I were feeling antsy about not having been on Indiana Jones yet.
Of course, Pirates of the Caribbean is between the New Orleans Square train station and Indiana Jones, so we went on that first. It was neat seeing the portrait of Captain Jack Sparrow added to the other paintings in the line. The ride stopped as soon as we got to the front of it. Our only guess as to the cause is that the new animatronics are making things stall--they should be able to fix that the more the ride operates. Indiana Jones used to break down all the time, too. It was kind of fun waiting--Pirates has a really nice atmosphere. At some point while we waited for things to start up again, the lanterns next to the boat landing started flashing green, which I attributed to Barbossa's curse, but I think I'm the only one who was as amused as I was. Though I did say, "It's a ghost!" and one of the cast members laughed.
Eventually, the ride finally started moving and we finally got to see the new stuff they added. If anyone is planning to go to Disneyland and wants to be surprised, skip to the next paragraph. The first thing we noticed was that they changed the clothes on the skeletons in the cursed cave. I think the skeletons playing chess was new, too. We then made it to the part where there used to be a voice telling us to turn back for our own good, and that would be the last friendly voice we heard, but he was gone. I think Davy Jones killed him, which is a shame, because he was like my best friend. Instead, right before the cave exit, they had what looked very much like a waterfall, and after the not-friendly voice said, "Dead men tell no tales," Davy Jones's face appeared in the waterfall and said something like, "Oh, but they do." He appears again and says something else, but since seeing the movie I've decided I don't quite think he's cool enough to be given such an awesome special effect on the ride. It looked like all the boats were going through the waterfall, which was kind of a surprise, because we never got that wet before, but then it turned out that the waterfall was just a projection on a screen of mist, which we should have figured out because they totally had that effect on Indiana Jones. Kept falling for it for a while back when we started going on that ride, too. Then the pirate that Barbossa took some lines from for the first Pirates movie (something about bloomin' cockroachers) had turned into Barbossa, and he was looking for Jack Sparrow. This kind of changed the premise of most of the ride (they were asking where Jack Sparrow was instead of asking where the treasure was), which I guess isn't too much of a problem. We found Jack hiding between a pair of mannequins, watching some other pirates drowning the mayor in the well in an attempt to find him. It was pretty awesome, actually. He moved very much like Jack Sparrow, including the way he moved his eyes, and it seems like a pretty Jack Sparrow type thing to be hiding like that. He was also in a barrel looking at another pirate's treasure map, and at the end talking about how great it is to be a pirate. And then Davy Jones says something as you're going up the waterfall back to New Orleans Square, about how he'll see you in his locker or some such. Overall, it was pretty awesome(tm).
We finally went on Indiana Jones, which was the same as always, so I won't say anything more about that. Then we went on Jungle Cruise, where I confess I was happy to see the woman tour guide switch with a guy tour guide just before we got on the boat. Somehow, girls just don't guide the Jungle Cruise as well, though they have gotten better since they started letting them. The guide saw our costumes and said, "I don't know what that's for, but it's cool-looking," and that made me happy. He was a pretty good tour guide. His gimmick was his reaction to the audience's reaction. We would laugh at his jokes, and cheer when he pointed out the backside of water, and he would say things like, "Thanks for cheering; it's nice to have family on board." When we got to the dock, we all cheered, and he said to the guys who would help us get off the boat, "Hear that? That's the sound of pity."
Next we went to the Tiki Room, and then to Big Thunder Mountain. We were completely ready to wait in the standby line, but as we got to the entrance, a woman who was taking two small children away from the ride said, "You want some fast passes to Big Thunder?" She happened to have three for exactly that time. I suspect the kids she was with decided they didn't want to ride after all. So we go through the fast pass line, and the guy taking fast passes says, "You don't need fast passes, it's so dead right now." So we practically walked onto the ride. While we waited for our train to arrive, a couple of people from AX took our picture and asked how we got into the park wearing costumes. We keep saying--it's easy as long as you're not wearing something that will confuse the guests.
The Columbia sailing ship pulled into port right as we walked by on our way back to New Orleans Square (hadn't been on Haunted Mansion or to Critter Country yet), so we all got on. We went below deck and checked out all the neat stuff down there (kind of like a museum, showing what it was like on sailing ships back in the day), and it took off a little before we got back on deck. Soon after taking off, a woman who looked a lot like the pirate in the Pirates movie who accused Jack of stealing her boat announced that she had hijacked the Columbia and was going to take it off in search of treasure. This was entirely new to us, though we'd been on the Columbia before. She told us we had to do what she'd say or she'd have her pirate friends (waiting on shore with a cannon) blow us to bits. Then she shouted to her friends that she had got the ship and she was going to keep all the treasure she found with it to herself, because her friends didn't believe she could do it. I heard this and suggested mutiny, but I think she may have conceded to sharing the treasure anyway.
She told us that she was born in Cuba, but had been kidnapped by pirates when she was little and taken to Australia, where she was rescued by Jack Sparrow. Then she brought out her compass, which is a lot like Jack's, but only works for the pure in heart, so she chose a kid from the guests to focus on what he really wanted so it would lead us to treasure. There was a lot more to it, but in the end we made it back to where we started (the Land of Disnay, she called it, accent on the "nay"), and she came to the conclusion that there was a lot of treasure there, and it was our job to plunder all the treasure (I suspect she really meant "buy"), and if we got any chocolate chip ice cream to share it with her.
We're not sure if the Columbia gets hijacked every time it takes off now, but we did see Shakia (not Shakira) disembark, so we still have no idea.
Then it was off to the Haunted Mansion, which had also had some changes made. Again, if you want to be surprised, skip to the next paragraph. It was all the same until we made it into the attic. One of the first things I noticed was a wedding picture, much like the changing pictures in the main hallway (only more hi-tech), that changed so that one minute it was a nice wedding picture, and the next the groom was headless. There were about two or three more of them, with different grooms (not sure about the bride) in each one. Then the bride ghost was holding an axe and saying things like, "I'm ready to marry you now." At first I thought it was kind of cool, but then I realized that she was the first really malicious ghost on the attraction. I mean, there are the dueling ghosts in the ballroom, but they're not trying to kill anyone who's not already dead, or anyone they don't know for no good reason. Now, I don't have a problem with scary people on Disneyland rides, but I just don't think that a malicious ghost would choose to haunt Disneyland, of all places.
As an aside, when I was working at Disneyland, I heard that apparently part of the reason the Haunted Mansion was built was that Walt Disney wanted to make a place for ghosts to go that didn't have a place to haunt. I like that, because it goes with the quote they keep saying during this 50th anniversary celebration, "To all who come to this happy place, welcome." That includes ghosts, too, apparently.
Next we headed to Critter Country to go on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. None of us were particularly interested in Splash Mountain, so we stopped by the Hungry Bear restaurant to refill our water bottles. While Athena was in the bathroom, our anime buddy checked her cell phone and found out that someone had called at about one-fifteen. It was one-thirty at the time, so we figured the call came while we were on Winnie the Pooh. Our buddy called the number back, after asking if I would do the talking. That only made sense, since it was most likely (and we found out later that it was) chibidrunksanzo or someone in her party, and we know all of them better.
While she was dialing, I remembered that, much as I hate cell phones, I hate them even more at Disneyland, as I had tried talking to Celeste on one at Disneyland about a year ago, and she was almost completely inaudible. Our buddy handed me the phone as soon as it connected, and I waited for someone to pick up. I didn't hear a ring, which made me worry even more, and then I got the voice mail message, which, I kid you not, sounded to me like, "You have reached the voice mail of Tom and Claire." So I didn't leave a message, because I'm paranoid enough about phones, and I didn't want to leave a message if it really was Tom and Claire, because while we know a Tom, we don't think he knows a Claire, and he wouldn't have known to call us on our anime buddy's phone.
I wondered about it all the way to Tomorrowland, where we got in line to ride the Buzz Lightyear ride. In line, Athena figured out that it may have been chibidrunksanzo's full name, at which point I kind of felt like, "duh," but we figured if it was important, she'd call us back. Sorry if we troubled anyone with our insanity!
Afer Buzz Lightyear, we decided it was most assuredly lunch time, so we went all the way back to Frontierland to the Stage Door Cafe, because they're the place that sells what we wanted to eat. Before we made it there, we saw Alice, the Mad Hatter, and Peter Pan doing something at the one restaurant whose name I don't know on Main Street. They were playing musical chairs with three small children. We got there just in time to see the smallest child get knocked out of a chair and lose the round, but they called foul and the boy who knocked him down was out. Then they played the last round, and while the piano player went off on a huge piano solo as the two remaining players walked around the last chair, Peter, Alice, and the Mad Hatter started pulling chairs in from all around and making a mess of things. Eventually, Peter was just dragging one chair with the smallest boy on it around, and when the piano player stopped, the boy was already sitting down, so he won! And for his prize, he got to put away the chairs.
We got our food and sat down to wait for the parade to start. I love that parade. For some reason, I was crying like a baby during the whole thing, which normally wouldn't bother me, but the dancers were so close I was worried that they would see me and think, "What is up with that girl?" I think the tears had something to do with the constant repitition of the word "welcome" (the main theme was the "Welcome to Our Family Time" from Brother Bear), because we've felt so out of place for so long. In fact, as we were walking down Main Street the first time that day, I said to myself, "Tadaima!" kind of as a joke, but as the day went on, I really felt more and more at home.
Oh yeah! While we were waiting for the parade, I saw something most unusual. With the enormous popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, they have about a million pirates wandering around New Orleans Square. Apparently one of these pirates had finished his shift, because he was walking across Main Street toward what many cast members will recognize as the exit leading to the costuming center. As he walked by a family waiting for the parade, he took a kid's frozen lemonade. Just took it and kept walking. It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. But only because I knew he wasn't serious, and I saw him give the lemonade back.
chibidrunksanzo may feel somewhat vindicated to learn that Athena and I each left the hotel with little baby headaches, that insisted on growing gradually, despite our draining our water bottles several times throughout the day. By the time the parade was over, they had gotten to the point where we figured they weren't going to go away if we didn't do something, so we stopped by the First Aid center and got some Ibuprofen before going directly onto Star Tours. In retrospect, that may have been a bad idea.
We went to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, and on our way out, heading toward Space Mountain, we found out we could have enjoyed the attraction in Japanese. But we decided once was enough for the day, so we'll just have to remember it for next time.
We went on a few more attractions and did some shopping, with a lot of walking inbetween, because if you're not efficient in the right way, you end up having to walk across an entire land before you get to something you haven't done yet. We decided to check out Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and discovered that it had indeed been a while since the last time, as they weren't doing that. They were showing a movie about the first fifty years of Disneyland, hosted by Steve Martin and Donald Duck. It was really neat. We learned stuff like how they used to have real mermaids in the submarine lagoon, but they're not there anymore because they had problems with real young men trying to swim out to them. And before the movie, they have a bunch of awesome stuff to look at, like models of Space Mountain, and how the park looked when it first opened.
Eventually we decided it was time to get some funnel cake for our anime buddy (we were out of cash) and then sit down and wait for the fireworks. This decision was sped along by the fact that Indiana Jones had broken down, so we couldn't go on it again, which was just as well, because we got awesome seats. Unfortunately, when you start saving seats two hours before the fireworks start and you have a headache and you're with people who aren't good at conversation, you spend a lot of time thinking about your headache, which does not help it to go away. There was a minor nervous breakdown, but tears probably helped get rid of the toxins causing the headache, so by the time the fireworks actually did start, everyone was perfectly alright. And, as we have said many, many times, those are the freaking awesomest fireworks we have ever seen ever. Maybe sometime I'll type up a detailed description with some of our buddy's pictures, so people will know what they're missing, but for now we'll say that anyone who has fond memories of Disneyland really needs to see this show.
After the fireworks, we headed over to New Orleans Square where we got totally awesome seats for Fantasmic!. I think I'm finally going to remember that the best place to see Fantasmic! is the back of the lowest sitting-only area. Because the ground is tilted so you're higher than the people in front of you (as well as above the rails preventing people from falling into the Rivers of America), and if it's still a problem, you can kneel and no one will be behind you to complain. And you get to sit.
Fantasmic! was awesome as usual. We couldn't stop smiling for a long time after it ended, though I did have a small fit when we turned to our anime buddy and said, "See why we have a hard time comparing Fantasmic! and the fireworks?" and she said, "For me it's no contest--the fireworks are way better." She finally managed to calm me down after saying that she has a thing for fireworks (although I would like to point out that I caught her looking down at her camera when most of the fireworks were going off at Fantasmic!).
Then we went on Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones one last time each before heading to Main Street for some final souvenir shopping (for our buddy's family--we still had no money). And then we walked back to the hotel, feeling that we had had a very good day, but being very sad that we had to leave. I thought of how we'd be coming back to Fresno, and I wanted to cry. It's so far away from Disneyland! But we were also very tired, and very ready to go to sleep.
It's nice to be home, able to sleep in our own beds. And the cats seemed to really miss us. They've been following us around since we got back, except when it was too hot. And one day we'll live closer to a Disneyland, be it in Anaheim or Tokyo.
And that's it for the complete and utter awesomeness that was AX2006 and Disneyland. I hope things are that awesome next year, too.
Today I'm thankful that the weather is a few degrees cooler, musical chairs with Disney characters, Disneyland's First Aid center, the awesomeness that is Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Celebration, and being able to experience it yet again.