But now it's time to talk of happier things!
Disneyland. So we had just finished watching Tiana's Showboat Jubilee, where we realized once again that we don't find Randy Newman songs to be as singable as, say, Alan Menken's, and then... um... well eventually we found ourselves in the Golden Horseshoe where we got delicious mint sundaes. We had to pay extra for the hot fudge, since it wasn't part of the official sundae, but what's a sundae without hot fudge, I ask you. And then we watched Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. They did not, sadly, do our favorite holiday show joke, but they did do the Elvis thing as usual. And we played the screaming fangirls as usual. And the lady sitting in front of us got snippy as occasional. At one point she turned around and said, "Pretty soon I'm going to turn around and start screaming at you," and I thought, "In the middle of the show? Not likely."
Still, I didn't feel the need to ruin her experience completely, so I toned it down. I didn't want to stop completely, though, because the rest of the audience enjoyed it, as did Billy Hill, who even told us to scream. I don't think he did that the first time we revisited them, but he seems to have done it ever since. It really makes me wonder if he remembers us from all those years ago.
After the show, we still had some ice cream to finish, so we hung around inside for a while, which was great because the Billies came out to... um... I really don't know why they came out, except for the main Billy, who said he was schmoozing his boss's kid. Anyway, we got their autographs, except for Billy Mandolin who didn't come out before we left. Billy Fiddler seemed to recognize me, because when I asked for his autograph, he said something like, "How did I know you were going to ask that?" I figured it was because of the open autograph book in my hands, but the way he said it sounded like that wasn't it. Or maybe I'm being delusional because I like to think I'm special.
Anyway... there was It's A Small World Holiday, which still had us annoyed at the nose they put on Jiminy Cricket, and Tink was gone again, but it was still nice. Oh, except that they still got the lyrics wrong in Deck the Halls. Why do they do that? As we were in line, all the shiny lights on the building suddenly went out. It was kind of creepy. They still hadn't come back on by the time we were on the ride, at which point we started clapping and chanting, "I do believe in fairies! I do! I do!" but it didn't help. They were back on when we got off though.
Other Small World line thing of note: the holiday line (which is always longer) took us by the Fantasyland Designated Smoking Area, which prompted the discussion that Gaston thinks that if they refuse to make smoking illegal, they should make it legal to squirt people who are smoking with whatever liquid is on hand (gasoline failed to be mentioned; we'll have to remember that if it comes up again).
As we got off the ride, we were mystified by the sudden appearance of sparkle-shaped lights on the It's A Small World building. The sparkles turned into snow, which turned into a crazy psychedelic show! It was really pretty trippy. Like whoa. It was neat, but we got bored with it before too long.
(While we were in the toy shop outside the ride, Donald tried to convince me that it was okay for the Tinker Bell play set to have a broom despite Tinker Bell's spoiled brattiness, and I was like, "I'm not buying it..." and Gaston was like, "Well then put it back!" Yay for puns.)
Eventually we went to Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, which had only just reopened. I talk like I don't know for sure because it's been so long since we saw the original, but it looks like they went back to the original show, which starts out with a movie narrating stuff about Abraham Lincoln. (For a while, they had a special fancy 3-D audio experience thingie, where they told you that you were this soldier going to get his hair cut for a photograph, and because of the fancy headphones, the sound makes it really feel like you're getting your hair cut. It was really cool, but I remembered liking the original better, so it's good that they (apparently) went back to it.) It's been a while since we've been on the regular Haunted Mansion, but the first time we saw the original show, we were kind of creeped out because the narrator sounded just like the Ghost Host. This time it wasn't so obvious, but it did eventually start sounding like the same guy.
We got out of that just in time to see the parade, but we didn't get very close because of the crowds, so it was hard to enjoy it. And then everyone was pretty exhausted (except for us; we were just kinda tired), so we decided it was time to find a place to wait for the fireworks to start. This was about two hours before they did start, but it turned out to be a very good thing. Han was so flipped out by the crowds packed like sardines all down Main Street that he ended up taking my camera for much longer than I expected. (He left his at home because it was his birthday trip and he didn't want to be working. As a professional photographer, he has much heavier equipment, so it's understandable. Also, he's going stitch all the pictures he took together into one panoramic view. I need to get those to him.) It was around this time we realized how evil strollers can truly be.
There was a very magical lighting of the castle on Main Street (it was seriously like, "Oooh!") and the fireworks were about the same as they've been for the last several years (it was the holiday show; there's still a non-holiday show that we haven't seen which apparently is super awesome and has Dumbo flying in it). And then it was time to brave the terrifying crowds and make our way to the Rivers of America for Fantasmic!. When we got to Frontierland, we noticed all the water screens were up in an attempt to hide a giant dragon that was on stage. This must be the animatronic dragon we'd heard so much about. And by "so much" I mean Gaston's never seen it in action because it was never working in the shows he's seen since they got it.
When we finally found a place to watch the show from (people have figured out "fireworks first, Fantasmic! later," but they haven't figured out the secret of the light fixtures), the guy standing next to us, whose... son? I don't know, some relative of his... works on the show informed us that they had had trouble with the dragon, and if they couldn't get it worked out, they wouldn't be able to have a second show. Tragedy! Fortunately, they did get it worked out, but not all worked out, because we saw the show for the first time without a dragon. It was really interesting to see how they worked that out. It's still kind of cool, but not nearly as cool as it is with a dragon. That robot better be awesome to the extreme to justify this. If not, they might as well bring back the puppet, because that was really awesome as well.
On the bright side, we did get to see Fantasmic!. And not only that, but we got to see the upgraded crocodile (from Peter Pan) and Flotsam and Jetsam, who looked amazing and really helped the villains' part to stop dragging. It's still really sad that the dragon didn't work, though, because Leia had never seen the show before. Oh well, now she'll have something to be surprised about next time.
After the show, we were totally energized, but Indiana Jones was shut down and Han was ready to pass out, so it was back to the hotel for us (after a little bit of shopping while the crowds died down). It was just as well because as we waited for the shuttle, we realized just how much pain our legs were in. Then we got back to the hotel and went to bed.
For all our having been to Disneyland a million times before, I still end up talking on and on and on about it. Ah well, I like it.
Today I'm thankful for getting the Billies' autographs (still need Billy Mandolin, but Billy Bass was really nice and he's always been our favorite), those yummy mint sundaes, extra hot fudge, getting to see Flotsam and Jetsam, and actually finishing our column today.