November 21st, 2021


Return to the magic(?)

We have returned from our trip to Disneyland! ...I mean, technically we didn't really go that far away, but we did end up staying at the vacation rental instead of our own home, even if we weren't out of town. And also we actually got back yesterday morning, but we had Ward Temple Day, so we just treated it as part of our in-town-but-not-quite-in-town-ness. And we spent today dying. After church, of course. We still had to do Singing Time. And I had to sub for the ward organist (did I mention I got released from that calling a couple of weeks ago?). And by "dying," I mean lying in bed watching the Great British Baking Show. Turns out we're suckers for British reality shows. (Netflix, give us more Repair Shop!!!)

The madness fun began on Tuesday, when all our family arrived from out of town, preparatory to the Disney Resort shenanigans that were to begin on Wednesday. Celeste and her brood arrived first, and went to Downtown Disney because it was too early to check in to the vacation rental. We were invited, but we ended up not joining them because doing the rounds in Animal Crossing was a higher priority. The maple leaf event started that day, and Athena was still hoping either Leif would visit with some wheat starters or Kapp'n would take us to a wheat island. Neither of those things happened, but we still didn't have time to hop over to Downtown Disney before Sarah and company arrived at the rental house with pizza for all. (All except Mom, because Mom doesn't like pizza that doesn't have meat on it.)

Mom and Steve had arrived at the house before then without reporting in, but now they were on their way to pick us up so we could hang out with people (and eat pizza). Turns out the house had one more bedroom than the rest of them needed, so we were invited to join in the giant sleepover party. We had about ten minutes to pack.

The house was very nice and rather big. Because its target demographic is families going to Disneyland, there were murals in the main entryway and half of the bedrooms. This particular property was called Belle's Castle, so there was a mural of Beast's castle by the front stairway, and a mural of Belle and the Beast in the little alcove under the stairs, which also had a cloth rose in a bell jar. The dining area had a fun mural with Lumiere and the others in a "Be Our Guest" sort of scene (and the words "Be Our Guest"). There was also a princess room (where the nieces slept), a Peter Pan room (where the nephews slept), and a Cinderella room (where Celeste and Brother-in-Law #2 slept). It also had a heated pool with a really cool waterslide designed to look like a rock formation with waterfalls, and the kids had already eaten and gotten into the pool by the time we arrived.

Hermie showed us the room she and Rosetta were going to sleep in, and indicated the bottom bunk for Athena and me. We were like, "But isn't Rosetta going to sleep there?" No, they were going to share the (much smaller) top bunk. (By the way, the bunk bed looked like a castle. It was pretty sweet.) Athena and I never did try to share their room, but the other grownups report that one of the girls decided pretty quickly that she'd rather have her own bed.

There was also some Switch playing, but most of it was individual. I actually left because there was talk of Dynamax adventures, but we had left our Pokemon game card at home, so I tagged along with Mom and Steve when they went to get non-pizza, carnivorous dinner and we stopped by our apartment so I could grab it. But by the time we got back, it was too late. There was no multi-player Pokemon, although Bil 2 offered to trade Athena a shiny Eevee (he's a shiny hunter, but we prefer to get our own shinies and let it happen organically).

And then it was time to go to bed and then off to Disneyland. There was a lot of nervous tension the next morning, because we wanted to make sure we had a chance to get on Rise of the Resistance. Not only is it a pretty cool ride that we wanted people to see, but the BILs are both huge Star Wars fans. So as seven o'clock approached, Celeste and Sarah (our designated boarding-group-getters) were ready to constantly refresh their Disneyland apps to join a boarding group. Unfortunately, the not-entirely-intuitive app had another screen after tapping "join boarding group," and the failure to realize that meant that all the spots had been filled by the time either of them got to the second screen. This was the first incident that sparked the rage I now feel occasionally when I think of the Disneyland app. (I might not report on the others, so I'll just tell you right now that they involved mobile food orders.)

We didn't give up hope, however, because they allow people to attempt joining boarding groups twice during the day: once starting at 7:00am and again starting at noon.

That stressful issue being done with for the time being, now we had to get to the park, at opening if possible. This was going to be significantly more difficult than before, because for whatever reason, be it covid precautions or labor shortages, the tram from the parking structure to the park is not currently running. This means, unless you pay extra to park in the oversized vehicle parking lot which has a shuttle bus (...a greater covid threat than open-air trams, so I hope the reason for this is the labor shortage; could also be Disney being cheap and not wanting to pay more parking lot cast members), the guests get to walk two-thirds of a mile just to get through the gates of a theme park where they will inevitably spend several consecutive hours on their feet. I was very glad when the survey I took later asked me how this walk affected my intent to return to the park, and I was able to say "extremely negatively."

And I think that's enough reporting for now, because we're trying to get to bed early to make up for all the exertion of the last week. Today I'm thankful for a lovely if hectic trip to Disneyland with our family, getting to stay in a pretty sweet rental house, mostly finishing the work we had to do this last week, getting to relax and watch the Great British Baking Show, and trams.