March 4th, 2016


Rollickin' Roadsters

Well today has been a day of...stuff! Since we finished our scary rush project, we decided (against our better judgment) to go to Disneyland. Why would we do such a thing to ourselves, when we've been there every week (almost) since we got back from Japan and every time we came home thinking, "I could have spent that time more productively"? It's silly, really. They're opening a new ride in Cars Land, and it doesn't officially open until Monday, but they had a special Annual Passholders Preview today! And it really was silly, because Gaston is almost sure to be coming next week (the auditions for Big Band Beat are on Monday, and he said something about being in town for a hockey game anyway), so we're sure to be going on it soon anyway.

But! to be honest, we kinda wanted to beat him to it. We can be petty like that. Somehow, he manages to beat us to all the new stuff at Disneyland, even though we live here. (Okay, so not the new fireworks or the top half of the new parade.) But on a less petty note, as we waited in line for it, we realized that we had a lot of mixed feelings about the new ride, and it was nice to be able to process them without a big opinion like Gaston's getting in the way.

But let's tell this story in order. The idea was that if we got to the park at opening, the line wouldn't have had time to get too long, so we could just hop on the ride, get some breakfast, go home, and work maybe almost a normal workday. It didn't work out that way. We got there just as the park opened, which was great, but! the ride wasn't working when we got to it. They didn't even want to let people line up until they knew they could get it working, so they were practically begging people to go do other things while they solved the problem. So we figured we might as well get breakfast first.

Actually, we'd had breakfast (we ate some cereal soon after we woke up), but we had heard from a cast member friend that...okay, does anybody remember when I mentioned all the Star Wars-themed food they have in Tomorrowland now? What we didn't realize about any of this is that they also had breakfast food. And we love breakfast! So we went to Tomorrowland to get some french toast. They call it "bantha bread", because it's supposedly made with blue bantha milk, but it just doesn't make any sense. The bread is swirly, so some of it is blue and some of it is normal bread color, which is great if the moisture farmers on Tatooine have developed an obsession with Pinterest, but I really think that if they are using the bantha milk to make bread, they wouldn't bother making it swirly. It would just be blue. It was a nice shade of blue, though, and it was pretty tasty. The only disappointment (which wasn't too disappointing, because we knew it would be the case) is that they gave us maple flavored corn syrup instead of maple syrup. After having real maple syrup in Japan, it's really hard to go back to the fake stuff.

It probably would have been a good idea to go back to Cars Land after breakfast, but we saw people going around with special maps, and that reminded us that our cast member friend mentioned really liking the little Easter game they have every year--the Egg-Stravaganza! Large Easter eggs are hidden throughout the park, and when you find them, you put a sticker on your map matching the egg in each location. We hadn't done it before, probably because we've been so busy and Gaston doesn't take time to do the extra little things like that, so now seemed like our best chance! So instead of getting in line for the new ride in Cars Land, we bought an Egg-Stravaganze map! And we took a nice, leisurely stroll around Disneyland park. It really was lovely.

When it was over, we got to choose from one of six souvenir eggs! I really liked the Cheshire Cat one, but you can't ignore Mickey Mouse! So we got Mickey, determined to get the Cheshire Cat and Minnie Mouse later (they have different hunts for California Adventure and Downtown Disney!). They also have Stitch, which would be nice to have, and Woody and Jessie.

Also during our egg hunt, we walked through the baby clothes store, where they seem to have recently released a bunch of new items, including the cutest little Tinkerbell bodysuit, and the most precious little Dumbo dress. We saw them and immediately had to buy them for our nieces, but I had to text Mom to find out the right sizes, so she ended up paying for them instead. This is a good thing, because on the way home, we remember that we forgot to pay the rent on time, and Mom paying us back for the baby clothes should cover the late fee. Eh heh heh... But most importantly, there were matching socks for all of the outfits, and the Tinkerbell ones had pompoms! SO! CUTE!

Anyway, finally we got in line for the ride. Not surprisingly, the line was now massively long, and we waited for maybe about an hour and a half (I didn't really keep track of the time). We might have tried doing something else and checking back later, but we didn't want to spend all day at the park, mostly because we have other things to do. Our schedule is in enough danger as it is. (Then we came home to another new deadline. Ha, ha, ha...)

On the bright side! they were giving away free commemorative keychains! Aww, that was nice! They're even nice acrylic ones (when we heard they were giving us keychains, we wondered if they would be made of paper...). And on the even brighter side! this ride. Like, oh my gosh this ride.

But first some backstory. The new ride is Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, which is replacing Luigi's Flying Tires. Flying Tires was on a specialized floor, and everybody rode in a big tire that worked kind of like a hovercraft. The really neat thing about it was that you controlled where the tire went by shifting your body weight, and whenever Athena and I went on it, we would make really exaggerated motions, because it was super fun to treat it like some kind of interpretive dance. Or water ballet, but we weren't underwater, and we weren't synchronized with anyone else, because we hadn't discussed any choreography. We did dream, though, of one day getting a big group together and choreographing a Flying Tires dance routine. It could have been so amazing... *wistful* But it was not to be, because before long, they closed down Luigi's Flying Tires. Our dream faded away...

Then they replaced the ride, and we wondered what on earth it could be. One time, we walked by the area and heard a bunch of noise like they were testing the new ride vehicles. So Gaston climbed up on the guardrail (the streets of Cars Land are lined with guardrails, like on a freeway) and reported that it looked like some sort of bumper cars situation. That kind of made sense, because the Flying Tires were a sort of bumper cars situation, but also didn't make sense, because they already have a bumper cars ride in A Bug's Land.

Well today was the day we finally found out what it was. It was a bunch of cars, designed to look like Luigi's cousins (from Cars 2), and you know what they do? They dance! Like a routine and everything! They dance in a circle, and they promenade, and they all line up, and they spin in a circle! It's the best idea ever! It's OUR idea! We wanted to do a dance routine there, and now we can! Sort of. The one downside is that, since we're not controlling them like the Flying Tires, it's not like we're dancing quite so much. But there are different songs, and each song has a different dance! And now you know that everyone will be participating in the dance, or else they won't be going on the ride!

On the other hand, dance routines such as these require the cars to not be on a track. This is where the mixed feelings started coming in--we were afraid they were getting a little too close to the Tokyo Disney Parks' awesomeness. So we had to sort out why that bothered us (Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are like our little secret; if all the stuff you can do there is available here, where's our specialness?) and now we can work toward getting over it. In the meantime, brief conversations with cast members revealed that the technology is different anyway (probably)--the cars are all controlled via wi-fi. And so, now that we'd sorted everything out, as we got closer and closer to the front of the line, we couldn't help smiling. This idea is too awesome!

Right before we got on the ride, the cast member there revealed that each of the dancing cars (or rollicking roadsters, if you will) has a name! Wow, that shows some love for the attraction. (What shows less love for the attraction is that all the boy cars have the same face, and all the girl cars have the same face; if you really want them to be individuals, can't you give them different facial expressions? at least on the windshield.)

As for the ride itself, it was a lot of fun! But we wish there had been more spinning. That's the fun part of dancing, after all. As long as it doesn't spin so much that it makes you dizzy. We have to go on it again, because there are other dance routines, and also because when the cars were all lined up, we were in the front row, so it was hard to see how we were part of the formation. That made me wonder if the ride might be more fun to watch than to ride in some aspects.

Satisfied with our experience (but annoyed because the line was now at least half an hour shorter (but still too long to get back in it)), it was time to leave...except we were hungry and thirsty and not sure we could make it all the way home without some sustenance. We decided to kill two birds with one stone by getting drinkable food--smoothies. Ever since they offered caramel apple smoothies for Halloween one year, we've been stopping by the smoothie place (it's in the Hollywood Backlot and it's called Schmoozies) with Gaston every so often. We haven't tried any since the caramel apple ones (which we didn't really love), but we'd always look at the menu and think maybe we should try the Dynamic Duo--the pineapple-strawberry smoothie. Now was a good opportunity, so we took it!

...And the smoothie was not great. It was one of the most flavorless things I can think of, though to be fair, I probably tend to forget flavorless food. And we tend to like food that most people consider to be flavorless, so the fact that these smoothies seemed flavorless even to us...well, that can't be good. Although, I would be interested in getting a second opinion from someone with differing tastebuds. Like our sensitive-to-sugar friend Cecille.

But they were enough to fuel our walk home, so we came home and finished translating a chapter of UQ Holder!. Tadah!

Today I'm thankful for getting to go on the new ride at California Adventure, getting to take part in the Easter egg hunt, getting to try bantha bread, getting to buy the most adorable outfits for our nieces (Mom said if she had to pick one, go with the Dumbo dress; later she texted and said if we're still at that store, actually, could we get both? we weren't at that store anymore, but we already had both of them), and getting to try a smoothie from Schmoozies (I'm glad I tried it, even though I didn't like it).