We left on Wednesday. Mom was kind of surprised when I called and asked her for a ride to the train station. She thought it was very out of character for us to take a train anywhere, I guess. She obviously doesn't realize the power of Disneyland, and our desire to live there.
We reserved our tickets online, but we still had to go into the station to get the actual tickets. Inside, we found out the train was running a little late, which I always consider to be a tender mercy because when a train is running late, that means I have more time to get my bearings and figure out what's going on before the train leaves with or without me. It also meant we had less time to wait in Union Station before we could get to Anaheim. We were a little concerned that we would miss the bus that would take us from the Bakersfield station to Los Angeles, but the lady at the station assured us that it would wait. Everyone was very friendly and the process was very painless, for which we are grateful. I also noticed that all the men had mustaches and looked very conductor-like, and I wondered if that was part of the Amtrak dress code until our trip back when we saw some guys without mustaches.
We arrived in Anaheim safely, if a little motion sick from riding backwards half the time, and headed over to our hotel. Part of the reason we had the courage to go on this trip is that when I was working at Disneyland, I ended up walking from the train station to the park a few times, so I knew the way very well. What I didn't remember was how very far from the train station Disneyland is. We were very tired when we finally made it to the hotel (a process which took a little longer because the sidewalk right before we got to our hotel was closed for constructiony type things). After catching our breaths in our room for a while, we headed over to Downtown Disney. We had to walk between the entrance gates to Disneyland and California Adventure to get there, and as soon as we hit that area, the speakers started playing the Fantasmic! music. We both almost started crying we were so happy to hear it. Cheesy, I know, but that's us. I think that might have been about the time we realized that the reason we love Kingdom Hearts so much (well, one of them) is that it's like taking Disneyland home with you. I think we feel more at home at Disneyland than anywhere else.
We finally made it to Downtown Disney and were shocked to find The Vault, which, according to all the commercials, is where all the movies go when they stop selling them. But we were a little disappointed to find out that this Vault was actually more like a Disney Hot Topic. Hot Topic has some great stuff, but we never could calm down in that store.
We walked the entire length of Downtown Disney, which was probably an incredibly bad idea in retrospect, but it was the only way to find the one bookstore there. While it is a little disappointing that there was only one, it was actually a little surprising, because Disney doesn't seem to want to encourage that whole "reading" business. Too much thinking involved. Then they'd have to make quality movies again. Okay, that was terrible, but I do wonder what the whole High School Musical obsession is about. On the other hand, we haven't seen it and Celeste and Sarah are the ones who told us it was bad, and they thought Danny Phantom was bad, so we're not sure if we should trust them.
Anyway, we made it back to the hotel, exhausted, our feet already blistering (but only a little), feeling kind of headachey, and ordered pizza and cheesesticks from Papa John's. We watched the end of Bleach and an episode of Inuyasha on Adult Swim while we waited and ate--it was a little like being at AX. And then we went to sleep, all excited (and a little afraid for our feet's sakes) for California Adventure.
We were a little lazy on Thursday morning, so we didn't get to the park until a little after California Adventure opened at ten o'clock. First we had to go on Soarin' Over California, because it's the awesomest ride ever. It's so awesome that the Disney World tourists, in a jealous rage, insisted they bring it over there, too. So that they wouldn't have to come aaaalll the way to the remote West Coast to see it. Okay, so we're making stuff up, but the ride is at Disney World. And it's awesome. Apparently the original model for it was built on an erector set!
In line, I noticed something I'd never noticed before--a defibrillator! We thought that was neat, so we took a picture. But we're not sure why it was so close to the entrance to the ride, which was so far from the actual ride, because if you need a defibrillator, you probably need it because of the ride. Maybe there's a secret cast member entrance we don't know about.
Anyway, Soarin' is like the only ride that can get us motion sick (that we've been on) (but it's so worth it, and it's only a little motion sick), so instead of going on in the same direction and hitting Grizzly River Run, which spins around some and gets you a little dizzy and is therefore a very bad ride to go on when you're a little motion sick, we turned around and headed over to the Hollywood Backlot. This area of California Adventure is the dangerous one for us, because it has the Disney Animation building. We could stay in that building all day. But before we got inside, we noticed they were about ready to start something in front of it, so we hung out to see what it was. And now I feel bad for forgetting what they called themselves, but they were an a cappella group singing songs and being hyper and awesome. We got a couple of pictures, but we were anxious to get inside our favorite building ever, so we made our getaway after the second song.
Inside the Disney Animation building, for those of you who haven't been there, you first enter this huge room filled with screens of varying sizes ranging from the type of screen you see in a classroom to ginormous. On these screens, they have all sorts of art from Disney movies--backgrounds, concept art, etc. The smaller screens sometimes show scenes from movies. They'll play a song or some music from a movie and all the screens will show stuff from that movie. There are like three different songs for Sleeping Beauty--one for the battle with Maleficent and Philip, one for when Aurora and Philip meet, and... another one?. Athena remembers three, just not what the last one was. It's really kind of hard to describe, but it's awesome. That room alone keeps us hypnotized forever.
That's why we're glad that they announce the shows they'll be doing. The main reason we headed over to the building to begin with is that that's where they have Turtle Talk with Crush (from Finding Nemo). But those shows are at the same time as the Animation Academy, so guess where we went! We went into this room where they had all these drawing boards set up, and a real life Disney animator taught us how to draw Minnie Mouse. We found out that Minnie actually has a smaller nose and bigger eyes than Mickey, so when we watched our Mickey Mouse Three Musketeers DVD on Saturday, we checked and the differences are very very slight but they're there. While the one animator was teaching the class, the other animator there was sitting there drawing his own picture of Mickey and Minnie kissing and it was soooooooo cute. Then they said, "Come back and we'll show you how to draw Donald!" We like Donald a lot, so we were thinking of going back anyway, but as we left, I made sure to walk by the other animator's drawing to get a better look, and since he was right there, I said, "That's so cute!" And he said, "Thanks! Come draw with us again!" So we're like, "Now we have to."
So in the fifteen minutes we had between shows, we went through the Sorcerer's Workshop, where they have various little animation thingies to look at and play with, a personality test in Beast's library (we didn't take it this time, but I seem to remember getting...Nala? before. Or was it Jane? Or was it Belle? Okay, so it was way too long ago, but Athena thinks it was Jane.), and Ursula's Grotto, where you get to dub a Disney scene, and Ursula steals your voice and plays the scene back with it! It's really awesome.
We got to keep our drawings, so maybe if we can get a USB cable for our scanner we'll scan them and post them. Or maybe we'll take a picture of them.
After we drew Donald, we decided we'd better get out of there or we'd be there all day, so off to the Monsters Inc. attraction that opened last year! (Or was it two years ago? at any rate, we hadn't seen it yet.) It's a ride in the same vein as Snow White's Scary Adventure, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but I think this one is now my favorite. The effects are really cool, especially with Randall, and when you go into the room with all the doors. Very awesome. And at the end, Ros is standing there with a clipboard, and the first time we went on it, she asked, "You in the front row. Are you twins?" We thought that would be the end of it, so we kind of mumbled our usual, "We get that a lot," response, but then she asked again, and Athena (who was closer) said yes and she replied with, "I thought so. You both have two eyes." It really makes us wonder how she'd respond to cosplayers. But we also kind of get the feeling that there may be some automated responses for when they don't have somebody watching people closely enough to be Ros.
We just kept walking and found ourselves by...whatever they call that theater where they show their crazy Aladdin thing (the Hyperion, Athena tells me). And there was Belle, wearing her blue dress with the apron. We figured we'd get a picture, since normally she's in her ball gown and there's the whole Kingdom Hearts obsession. While we waited for the kid who was getting their picture taken to finish up, we talked to her attendant and said, "You know what would make this perfect? If she had a book." He told us that she can't have a book, because she's trying to spend time with her adoring fans and it would get in the way. We said she'd probably have one anyway, because that's how she is, and he could hold it for her. He covered by saying she wouldn't trust him with it. Nice save!
We weren't waiting in the line with the kids, because we weren't particularly interested in being in the picture with Belle, so we just snapped one while she was inbetween guests. She was really awesome, too, because she saw us standing there and did a quick pose as we snapped our picture. It was just like at AX! *click* "Thank you!" But I was really impressed that she was paying so much attention to her surroundings and not only focused on the line of kids. I have a whole rant about that, but not right now. She was really pretty, too. We were so jealous.
Next it was off to a Bug's Land and Flik's Fair! We'd never been there before, and we had no idea how new it was until we came home and told Mom all about it and she was like, "I've been there." And we're like, "Wha? We've never been there! How have you been there!?" Apparently she went when she drove me to Disneyland for orientation, which is only mildly annoying because one, she went without us, and two, it was opened when we still had valid annual passports and we still hadn't been there! Ugh!
Anyway, it's an awesome awesome place. The vegetation is all designed to make you feel small like a bug and the rides are very cute. Yeah, it's kind of a kiddie place, but there's no height limits saying we're not allowed to ride stuff because we're too tall. They tried to pull that when Toon Town opened, and it sucked. It also defeats the whole purpose of Disneyland, because Walt Disney came up with the idea as he sat and watched because he wasn't allowed on the carousel with his daughters. We went on Flik's Fliers, and it was so cute when he did the safety spiel, because he explained why he invented the ride, and he's like, "I invented it because ants can't fly. Well, queen ants can fly, and I guess if... Well anyway, now everyone can fly!" So Flik! He's always been a favorite of ours.
We also went on Heimlich's Chew-Chew Train, which we have to mention because Heimlich giving the safety spiel in Spanish with his same German accent is one of the funniest things we've ever heard. Also, when you go through the animal cracker box, it really smells like animal crackers! Amazing!
Our usual lunch place was closed because they're building some attraction involving Woody there. It's like the Magic Kingdom is Disneyland and now California Adventure is Pixarland. Except that the Finding Nemo attraction and Buzz Lightyear's ride are in Tomorrowland. And the Ratatouille characters were in New Orleans Square. Ah well. So anyway, we had MacDonald's for lunch. We weren't so energetic as to walk all the way to the MacDonald's outside the park--there's actually a MacDonald's inside California Adventure. It was actually kind of an interesting sensation, eating MacDonald's while in Disneyland. Er, California Adventure. Still.
There's not a whole lot else worth mentioning (except maybe the guy from Liverpool who was in our boat on Grizzly River Run; I love accents, but he was definitely too young, so no flirting) until the Block Party. We're not sure entirely how it works except that there are two areas in the park designated as the Block Party areas, and it's kind of like a parade, and kind of like a moving party area. Obviously it stops in the two Block Party areas, and has a party. We were a little too busy taking pictures to notice everything, but we ended up sitting next to the Bug's Life float area, which is good enough for us! There were three floats with Green Army Men on top of them, and they were the MCs.
First they danced around and stuff, and then the party began. The MCs told the crowd that they were starting off with a screaming contest, pitting each side of the road against the other. The crowd we were watching with was completely lame and didn't do anything. I mean, sure the scream meter is operated by hand, but that's no reason to be too cool for school. Next we said "Hey hey hey hey hey" to each other, and last was the dancing! The Green Army Man was like, "We'll start with the Macarena! Don't pretend you don't know the moves!" The dancers from the parade pulled people up from the audience to dance with them, but the people were being lame again, so the parade people noticed that we were actually playing along and pulled us up to join them, too. It was pretty awesome, but a little sad because we didn't get to see Slim dancing the YMCA. Alas. Flik was very hyper, and Gypsy and Atta were very cute shaking their booties.
As the finale, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible popped out of a couple of floats, but since we were at the end of the Bug's Life float, we weren't in a good position to see it. Then there was some more dancing and stuff, and there was a loud pop and I looked up, and something was flying at my face!!!! AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!! So I reach up to protect my face and/or catch it (as if I was that coordinated) and when the things hit the ground I discovered they were Nerf balls!! So I grabbed a yellow one and a green one that no one had claimed yet and they were our Happy Souvenirs. We'd been needing some stress balls.
We hit Monsters Inc. one more time (there was never a line--it was awesome) before making it to the last Turtle Talk with Crush. Both of our impressions of it are that it's good, but it wouldn't be nearly so popular if people weren't so amazed that they could do it. Because what it is is you're looking out an aquarium-type window that's supposedly looking onto the sea, and then Crush comes out in is computer-animated glory and talks with the audience. We know a lot of people don't know how it works and are astounded, but we think we have an idea, so that's not really a draw for us. Still, it was never the technology that impressed us with Disney, and it was really fun and definitely worth looking into. It was really cute when he tried to lie that he'd swum past "the Reno Nevada," which the girl from said Reno claimed had excellent surfing. He talked to her dad too, and he called him Papa Bear, which led us to wonder how many bears he meets under the sea, but there were so many kids with questions we decided to leave it alone. I think it could have been funnier, but that might depend on the audience and what kind of questions people ask Crush.
We raced over to Condor Flats to go on Soarin' one more time, and on the way out we stopped by Burrr-bank Ice Cream because we saw they had mint sundaes. As we sat there eating our most excellent sundaes, we just enjoyed the atmosphere and were really happy to be there. And reeeeeally happy to be sitting down. It is a little sad we had to leave, though. Stupid park closing. Oh well.
We were glad that we had plenty of time to rest before the next day, when we'd be at Disneyland for ever. So we headed back to the hotel and watched that new pirate reality show while we ate leftover pizza, and then we watched Christmas with the Kranks, and we still can't quite figure out why we did that. It probably had a lot to do with the lack of commercials.
Well, that was plenty long enough, so the rest of the report will wait until tomorrow. Though it might actually be shorter, even though the day was longer, because there wasn't a whole lot of new stuff. But there was some, so yes.
Anyway, today I'm thankful for friendly Amtrak employees, the Monsters Inc. ride, the Disney Animation building, Happy Souvenirs, and free tortillas at California Adventure.