June 2nd, 2015


Nighttime spectaculars

Oh man, we are so tired. We went to Disneyland yesterday! And wore ourselves out, as usual. I want to say I don't know how it happens, even on days when we spend four hours sitting around saving seats, but I think I do know. First, we didn't get enough sleep. That's partly our own fault, because when Gaston and Alice arrived, we talked for a little while, and then Athena and I said, "Hey, we have a DVD about our grandpa! Wanna watch?" So we stayed up an hour later, knowing full well that we were planning to get up at six. I guess the bigger question is why would we deliberately plan to get up at six? And the answer is: these days, it's the best way to enjoy Disneyland. I need to not think to hard about that or it will make me hate everything.

Anyway, so we didn't get enough sleep, and then, because we were tired from lack of sleep, and we didn't want to move from the spots we were saving for four hours, we also didn't get enough to eat. This is through no fault of the people we were saving seats for--as a preemptive measure, we decided to get ice cream sundaes. Usually we'll get one to share because they're so big and our appetites are so small, but we wanted to be fueled up for the rest of the day (just in case), so we each got our own. And so, even though it certainly wouldn't have been a bad idea to ask Gaston to pick something up for us at the Golden Horseshoe (the place he deliberately chose for his own dinner because he knew there's something on the menu there that we eat), we were still so full from ice cream that we declined the offer.

So before I get to the saga of seat saving, there were a few interesting (to me) encounters with cast members that I wanted to write about. First, we went on Indiana Jones, and Athena and I were wearing our Chip and Dale hats. (Each hat looks like the top half of a plush Chip or Dale's head--from the teeth up.) As I walked up to the entrance, a cast member tensed up and said, "Now...now don't be alarmed. There's...there's a giant rodent trying to eat your head." I just acted mildly alarmed because I am not good at improv. After we made it a good portion of the way through the line, it occurred to me that I should have started screaming and trying to hit it off. Oh well. Now I'll be ready for next time, I guess.

On the way out of Indiana Jones, our party (consisting of Gaston, Alice, Alice's father, and Alice's brother) was taking up most of the walkway and a cast member was trying to go the same direction. He was walking a little faster, so I tried to say to our party, "On your left," to see if they would move over to let him through, but they were wrapped up in another conversation or something so they didn't notice. We told the cast member that we tried, and he said it was okay, he gets paid anyway. Then he asked us how we liked the ride, and we talked about things that may only be interesting to people who have been on the ride.

We told him we love it but we're always disappointed at some of the effects they added to the Fountain of Eternal Youth. We also told him we hadn't seen the Chamber of Earthly Riches since they added effects, so he told us what they were, to confirm that they did actually add effects to all the chambers. (We started to suspect that maybe they only added effects to the chambers one at a time, as they came up with them.) Then he said he hadn't seen the new effects in the Observatory of the Future, so we figured each one of us probably had some kind of a link to each chamber (he said he almost always goes to Earthly Riches), and we just need to all go together a few times to see if we can get all three. (When we go with Gaston, we always go to the Fountain of Eternal Youth, but when it's just the two of us, it's about half and half with Eternal Youth and Observatory of the Future.) Maybe someday we'll see the Chamber of Earthly Riches...

Anyway. Moving on, later we went on the Matterhorn Bobsleds, because of course our party all needed to see the new upgrades. Alice hates the ride because it rattles your brains, and as I've mentioned before, we're not big fans of that aspect either, so as we sat in our bobsled and got ready to go up the mountain, I asked the cast member there, "What's the best way to prevent brain-rattling?" To which he responded, "Don't ride." Eh heh. But! I did an experiment and discovered that if you lean all the way forward, your brain doesn't get rattled, but it might do weird things to your neck. I guess the next test would be to try riding while leaning forward and facing down, but then I don't get to see anything! (Athena suggests leaning forward with a neck brace... Hmmm...) Our other hypothesis is that a large pillow might help. But that would be so cumbersome to carry around the park all day. The quest continues...

Of course, another option is to get a giant pillow, go on the Matterhorn, and then go save seats for the fireworks, which would really be the best thing you could do if you want a decent spot for the fireworks and the parade. And we did. On Wednesday, after we saw the fireworks, we decided that saving seats once was enough--we didn't need to do it again. But now we were here with friends, and they wanted to see the fireworks and the parade, and we always want our friends to have a good view, regardless of whether or not we care about the show. Also, we had still only seen the top half of the parade, so we wanted good seats for that for ourselves, too.

And so, at about five, we bought our sundaes and we found a spot to watch the parade and the fireworks from. Gaston had requested a spot with a good view of the castle and the Matterhorn, and we found one! And it was right next to the parade route. And there were already other people there saving seats. We asked the woman who managed to snag the bench how long she had been there, and she said since two-thirty. For an eight-fifty parade (followed by nine-thirty fireworks)! It's ridiculous! I mean, I say that as if I didn't regularly spend more than three hours saving seats for people for Fantasmic! in the summer of 2004, but it was usually only two and a half hours. We would save seats for the fireworks for the 50th anniversary, but that, too, was usually only two hours long. I feel like we as America are cultivating some kind of a "camping out" culture, and it's driving me nuts.

But we were so exhausted from lack of sleep that we didn't mind not doing anything else all day, especially since we'd already done most of our favorite things (even Indiana Jones, which we don't usually go on when Gaston is visiting). Unfortunately, sitting saving seats is not the same as just sitting. It's far more exhausting, especially as the crowds keep getting tighter and tighter, and you have to make sure that you're keeping enough space for your party. Fortunately, we didn't ever have to tell anyone no, you can't sit here, we're saving all this space. But it was nerve-wracking every time someone walked through (which they did constantly, because there was space to walk in that spot). On the bright side, there was one very small family (mom, dad, and little girl) who waved excitedly to us as we all split up after the show, so we made some friends, I guess (we'll probably never see them again).

This stint of saving seats also turned out to be much better than many other seat saving gigs we've had, because our party was so considerate. I already mentioned Gaston offering to get us some dinner. While he and the other guys did that, Alice came to keep us company (and take our orders). They didn't spend the whole time waiting with us (not all of them get to come very often), but they did check in to make sure they knew where we were, and to make sure we weren't dying or anything, and they did spend some time with us between their various other excursions. And they bought us a package of toffee pretzels! I think checking in and keeping us company was the most important, because what happens when we don't see hide or hair of anyone in our party until twenty minutes before showtime is that we grumble about how they're off having a good time while we give up hours of our day and blah blah blah grump grump grump. I guess it's our natural reaction to the boredom or something. But the point is, saving seats involves a lot of doing nothing, and one of the best ways to make that easier on someone is to just talk for a while. So we really appreciated that they didn't ditch us until showtime.

And then we got to see Paint the Night in all its electronic glory. Our opinion of the top half of the show remains the same as it was on Thursday. But there was stuff on the bottom half of the parade that was really cool, like Rapunzel's hair! It glowed, just like in the movie! Aaaaaahhhhh!!! But the highlight was the dancers. They all had such sparkly shiny costumes! It was amazing! But the music was kind of bland. A lot of the music they've had in the parks recently has been kind of bland. Maybe they do it that way to make it easier to have the other Disney songs fit into it (at the beginning and the end they played the main parade theme with the Baroque Hoedown from the Electrical Parade, for example), but they've managed to mix songs together so beautifully so many times in the past. We will always remember the 45 Years of Magic parade as having one of the coolest arrangements of Disney music ever...but we can't remember what it sounds like! Maybe we'll go track it down on YouTube.

And then came the fireworks, which bored us about as much as they did last week. Our party and the woman who was saving seats since two-thirty loved it, so we're glad of that, except that not only does it mean more people will be camping out like they did yesterday on into the future, but when they do come up with something new, it's going to be more of the same. Man, I wish a survey-taker had asked me for my email address.

Also, Kimee is asking for our opinions of the new shows, and now we feel like we ought to find time to watch the new World of Color so we can report. We like to be needed. But World of Color bores us, too. 2:30 Woman heard us being all curmudgeony about everything and was forced to ask, "So what do you like?" (She was a very nice lady, and I'm sorry for talking smack about Frozen (more sorry that we feel Frozen deserves it; we really did want to like it, and with all the extra stuff they're doing at Disneyland for it, it really makes us wish they were doing it for a movie we liked), but I appreciate the question!)

Today I'm thankful for having a great place to watch the nighttime shows with our friends, the great hope of not having to do that again for a while at least (if we do go to World of Color, that show is ticketed), getting more toffee pretzels, Gaston taking us to Chik-fil-a for breakfast, and managing to get some work done today (and also being done with said work; but the rest of our schedule has been pushed back a little).