We learned two main things yesterday. The first is that they don't open the Disneyland parking lots until an hour and a half before the park opens. I'm kind of glad to know this, because I didn't before, but thinking on it again, I realize it's something I wish I didn't need to know. But just because you don't need to know something doesn't mean it's bad to know it. The second thing we learned is... something I can't remember right now, so obviously we didn't learn it very well. Or maybe we learned it so well that it seems obvious now, and so I forgot that it was something we learned.
The day actually didn't start out so well, because after we got our tickets, we got into the "Early Admission" line. I suspected that might have something to do with people getting special tickets to let them in early, but we figured if it was a problem it would be easily solved. In the past, if we'd gotten to the park early, Main Street would be open and they'd let us shop around until they took down the ropes and let us into the rest of the park, so we really weren't sure what this "Early Admission" thing was, since there wasn't anything around to tell us. We obviously weren't the only ones confused, because the line kept stopping while the ticket takers talked to some of the guests about which hotel they were staying at, and then turning them away when they found out the guests weren't staying at any hotel. At least, we assume that's what they had been talking about, based on what happened to us.
We got to the front of the line and the ticket-taker realized I only had a one-day pass, so she asked which hotel I was staying at and I said, "Oh, we're not. We just got here today." The confusion would have been cleared up so much faster if the guy in front of us hadn't been so nice and tried to tell her we were with his group (we made friends in a brief conversation about how his watch had stopped). I appreciate the gesture, but I wasn't going to lie, so it only prolonged the suffering. Anyway, I think the early admission thing has always been around, but more discreet and less confusing to the rest of us. I have a whole rant about it, but I think I'll save that for when they e-mail me the survey about my experience at the park (I'm very thankful that the guy happened to stop me for a survey).
We were all a little miffed, but it didn't last too long. We can't stay mad at Disneyland!
Our strategy was to go on Finding Nemo first, but when we realized everybody else had that strategy, too, we decided to go on It's a Small World and check out all the holiday decorations. That turned out to be an infinitely better strategy, as we waited no more than ten minutes, while the Finding Nemo line was over an hour long.
We brought our camera, but since we've been to Disneyland so many times, we figured we'd only use it if we saw something new or unusual. So our first
Incidentally, the reason we didn't take her picture is that the camera and its batteries seemed to be having a tiff. The camera worked fine later, when we had to get photographic evidence that the standby line to Splash Mountain was really only five minutes long.
Our next subject would have been the mice we saw running around the little garden area by the line to the Peter Pan ride. We didn't even try on that one, because they liked to hide under big leaves and run really fast, and our camera's not nearly high tech enough to catch them. But they were adorable when we did catch glimpses of them.
When we got done in Fantasyland, we went to Adventureland, because for some reason I just can't calm down until we've been on the Indiana Jones ride. Also, it's the best place to buy fruit, and Mom's still dieting, so she didn't get breakfast when the rest of us did. So we stopped by the Tiki Room to get a pineapple spear for Mom, a pineapple whip for Sarah, and juice for the two of us. I had gone to get fast passes for Indiana Jones, so I didn't get to ask for ice cream, but Athena tells me that if she hadn't asked for juice for me, I probably would have gotten a big fat nothing. The line to the ride was so short, we decided it would be a great way to kill time before our fast passes kicked in, so this is where we learned that trying to walk through the empty Indiana Jones line and drink pineapple juice at the same time is Not a Good Idea. It was kind of an adventure though, trying to make sure you finish your drink before you get to the ride while at the same time not spilling or choking. If only that ice hadn't been slowing me down. Why do people put ice in juice, anyway? It just makes it watery.
Our fast passes hadn't kicked in yet, so we went on Jungle Cruise while we waited. We had a girl tour guide, who had some pretty funny jokes (at the part with all the guys chased up the tree by a rhino, she was like, "Look at that! It's astonishing! I have never seen so many rocks.") but poor delivery. It was kind of sad, but it was fun to remember some of the exceptional jokes we've heard. Like when we pass by the native ceremony with all the guys dancing around and the guide translates it as, "We lost... the key... to the bathroom."
When we were done in Adventureland, it was time for Pirates of the Caribbean. I've always been torn about the new additions to the ride, especially the part with Davy Jones. The effect they use is so awesome, but I don't think Davy Jones is cool enough to deserve it. He also talks about how dead men do tell tales, and I'm like, "How would you know? You stopped listening ten years after you got the job!" Oh well.
We went on Haunted Mansion Holiday, and I decided that it's a neat idea, but I don't think the Nightmare Before Christmas art style blends with the Haunted Mansion art style very well. But obviously it's not that big a deal, because that was my fourth time seeing it before coming to that conclusion. And there was a Kuroneko-sama in the attic.
I already talked about the non-existent Splash Mountain line, but I didn't talk about Sarah's awesome posing abilities. She decided that this time, she would act like she was on her cell phone. She even put on her sunglasses so she wouldn't have to worry about the falling part affecting how her eyes looked. It looked really good, too, because if not for the fact that her hair was going all over the place (which is what makes the picture so awesome), it looked just like she was sitting there having a normal phone conversation.
After lunch, we finally (we had lunch at about three or four) made our way to Tomorrowland for Finding Nemo, and now the line was only half an hour long. We were sorely tempted to leave the line halfway through our wait when the Jedi Training Academy show started (that thing is made of adorable), but we stayed firm, partially because Sarah was so insistent. Thinking back on it, we shouldn't have trusted her, because she was like, "I'm sure it'll still be going on when we're done," but she's the only one of us who was too young to remember that the submarine ride is actually about ten or fifteen minutes long. But it's just as well.
Anyway, the Finding Nemo ride was great, especially for the two of us, who used to go on the submarines every time we went to Disneyland, being two of the few people who actually liked it. (One time, they tried to change it and make it more like the Jungle Cruise. We were so giggly the whole time that the tour guide even said we were making him forget his spiel. One time he was like, "Oh no, we're being attacked! ...by more water. Something you don't see every day. I do. Over. And over. And over again.") The first part of the ride is actually a lot like the old version, only we're specifically in Australia, so the captain and first mate have Australian accents, and the first mate is female this time. But it's all educational and telling us facts about the ocean and coral and stuff. Soon after it started, Athena and I both remembered that at one point, the captain turns on the special thingie that lets us hear the fish talking. Of course, before, they only made bubbly gurgling sounds.
So basically, the Finding Nemo stuff (incidentally, I think it was Captain Nemo doing the narration in the original version) makes the ride more interesting for the people who were bored by it before, while still kind of being the same ride, for those of us who were sad to see it go. It even adds some unexpected thrills! Yay!
Next we went on Space Mountain, which is worth noting for two reasons. First, when we got off the ride, two of the guys who sat in front of us were like, "That was a good space mission." "Yeah, I felt pretty good about it."
And second, Athena thought of a cool pose idea, which she tried to tell me but couldn't because the ride had already started, and by then you're not hearing anything but the music and whooooooooosh. Anyway, what she did was salute the camera, which would have looked so much cooler with two of us. But what would have looked even more awesome would be six people (that's how many fit in a car) dressed in uniforms from some anime where they have uniforms and go into space.
I think the only other thing worth noting was the bit of stress arising from Sarah having a difficult time telling us that she wants to do something she thinks we don't, and therefore almost missing the parade and being annoyed about it. In our defense, we had been led to believe at Thanksgiving that both of our little sisters prefer to use parade time to go on more rides (we were talking about the 45 Years of Magic parade, and Celeste wasn't sure she'd seen it, which was silly because that parade ran for five years, but she said she always thought of parade time as time to go on more rides and Sarah seemed to be in agreement), which was really the only reason we weren't planning to watch the parade. Usually we ask people, though, so it was a miss on our part. Anyway, we happened to be on our way to It's A Small World right before the parade started from that very same place, so in the end, it all worked out. Except for some residual bad feelings, but those cleared up pretty quickly because, dude, we were at Disneyland.
We did skip out on the fireworks in favor of Pirates and Indiana Jones, but those are the holiday fireworks, not the super fancy ones they show the rest of the year that Everyone Needs to See.
We did take advantage of Main Street being open an extra hour "for your shopping convenience," and secretly bought a fancy pack of cards. Every year we had money, we got some kind of game for Mom and her family, and they would proceed to never play that game again. So this year, since they are constantly playing cards, we figured they'll either actually play the game we got them, or they'll stop playing cards forever. Either way, we win! (Except for the possibility of being doomed to an eternity of Catchphrase, but considering the fact that we really don't go over there all that often, it's not that much of a loss.)
And then we started the long journey home. We were determined to stay awake the whole time, but it was really really hard. I think I managed to do it until Mom turned off the Disney CD and switched on the country music. I was too tired to deal patiently with country music, so I tried desperately to play the Fantasmic! music in my head (though right now, as the Holiday Parade music runs through my head, I think that might have been more effective. Oh yeah! Ariel and Eric were dancing around in the parade! They gave her a fancy teal holiday dress.), but retreating to the inside of my head made it impossible to stay awake so I kept fading out of consciousness. I think it was about half an hour before we made it home, so I'll just be grateful it wasn't longer.
And of course when we got back, we discovered that everyone had e-mailed us! Well, not everyone, but we were pleasantly surprised to finally hear from our editor at CMX again. We probably would have e-mailed him sooner or later anyway, because we hadn't heard from him in months, and we were starting to worry that I Hate You More Than Anyone wasn't selling very well and so they'd decided not to renew the license for volume five (so everybody go read it, because it's awesome!!! (our editor tells us the translation's good, too)).
So all in all, very good stuff happening (except for the Attack of the Ellipses), but very very tired. And Mom saw DDR in the Starcade and wanted us to play; that probably didn't help. But that's okay, because now we can go do resty things.
Today I'm thankful for having had an awesome day at Disneyland, getting to fulfill our lifelong dream since June of going on the Finding Nemo ride, hearing from our editor at CMX, having peanut butter heaven to look forward to later, and being back safe from a long day at Disneyland.