So we were on our way to Space Mountain. The plan was to get fast passes and then go watch Captain EO, but! since the line was only twenty minutes long, the plan changed to: get fast passes, go on Space Mountain, watch Captain EO, use fast passes to go on Space Mountain again. A brilliant plan!
So up the ramp we went to line up for Space Mountain. Everything was going just fine, but at one point in the room where they loaded and unloaded passengers, we heard a high-pitched beeping (I wonder if "high-pitched beeping" is redundant...), and Gaston said, "I don't like that sound..." Still, we didn't see any problems, and we just kept going through the line because hey, what else were we going to do in line?
The line stopped moving right when we turned onto the last switchback to get on the ride. The cast members were sending rockets out empty in an attempt to get things moving more quickly. The reason for this, Gaston explained, was that the beeping was the "you have too many rockets backed up" warning. In other words, there was such a backlog of rockets waiting to unload at the bottom of the roller coaster track that if they had any more, there would be some serious collisions when people made it close to the end of the ride. So the cast members were trying to get them moving faster, because if they couldn't take care of that backlog, the ride would shut down automatically.
But each time they tried to send a rocket out empty (in order to get to the next one more quickly), someone who had just gotten out of the rocket came back to retrieve a forgotten item. The result: the ride shut down.
We were about three minutes away from getting on, too, alas. We waited around, because sometimes they can get the ride up and running again in just a few minutes! Here's the team of brave technicians who went to rescue those stranded inside!
Unfortunately, things were not going so well, and they ended up sending us all away. But! we didn't go empty-handed! They gave each party a special ticket that would let them go straight to the front of the line for any attraction in operation in both parks (except for Toy Story and Captain EO). Unless they changed the name since I worked at Disneyland, these tickets are called "No Strings Attached Cards" (I believe the reference is to Pinocchio), and they give them out so we wouldn't have waited in line in vain. They have to work for all attractions, because they have no guarantee that Space Mountain (for example) will be running again.
The moral of the story: get your butt out of the attraction ASAP!!!
On the way out of Space Mountain, I noticed something that seemed kind of out of place in Tomorrowland:
What's especially ironic is that this, another set of phones in Tomorrowland, and one set in Frontierland are the only sets of pay phones we can think of in the entire park. But maybe we just haven't noticed them elsewhere.
Well, our failure to get on Space Mountain didn't hinder our ability to go see Captain EO, so that was our next destination. We were especially interested in seeing Captain EO, because it was a pretty big thing back in the day, when we would constantly pester Mom and Dad to take us to Disneyland. But we were terrified of everything for a long time, and even though we had started braving more attractions as early as 1994, it wasn't until 1998, the very same year they replaced "Captain EO" with "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience," that we resolved to experience every attraction in the park. But now that Captain EO has returned to Disneyland, we could repair the egregious error of our youth and regain a lost part of our childhood. So we went to see Captain EO.
Captain EO was pretty awesome, but probably not in the ways it was awesome twenty years ago. And if you don't want to be spoiled for it, then it would be best to skip the next paragraph.
The attraction is a 3-D movie about Captain EO and his ragtag team. The narration makes them sound kind of awesome, but when you actually meet them, you learn they're kind of incompetent and are in danger of drummed out of the... space corps, or whatever they were a part of (we only saw it once; give us a break!). They have to find a homing beacon, and then go from there, using a map which of course they have lost, to find the Supreme Ruler and give her The Gift. After some bumbling and crashing into the beacon, they manage to find the Supreme Ruler who wants to kill all of them except for the captain, who is to be tortured for a hundred years. He agrees to her terms, but asks to give her The Gift first. There's a claymation sequence (maybe it's for the best that we didn't see the movie back in the day) where EO's team creates musical instruments. The Supreme Ruler doesn't like the looks of it, so she sends her guards after them, but Captain EO uses his magical musical powers to transform them into hot 80's dancers! (Hot by 80's standards. Fashion is always changing.) There's a big dance number where he fights more robot people (oh right, the planet is all roboty; reminded me of the Borg), but changes them all into hot 80's dancers, and finally he is able to zap the Supreme Ruler with a magic music beam powerful enough to unlock the beauty hidden inside her, and the roboty planet turns all Greek mythological. Thinking about it later, we have to wonder if Captain EO was any inspiration for the Jammin' Ninja.
After the movie, Gaston explained that all the effects that were so cheesy and Power Rangers-esque were a huge deal back in the day. (He was a big Michael Jackson fan when he was a kid, so he was obsessed with Captain EO as well.) It was definitely entertaining enough to watch again, but maybe we'll sit farther back than the second row.
We made a quick stop at the Buzz Lightyear ride, and then it was off to California Adventure! We watched a bit of one of the cooking demonstrations for the Food & Wine Festival, and then it was off to the Animation Building to see what characters they would be drawing. Nobody interesting apparently, because we didn't stay, but we did trade with the cast member there to get a really neat Kuzco pin, and we saw the big Tangled poster in the room that has the posters for recent and upcoming features.
Outside the Animation Building, they had some boards up to hide the construction work for the cable car attraction they're building, and, to go with the retro-Disney theme they're trying to implement across California Adventure, the boards were covered with old Disney movie posters. I really liked the Snow White one, because the prince is adorable in it.
We parted ways with Gaston, who was eager to sit in at all the cooking demonstrations, and the two of us joined Han and Leia on the Toy Story ride, where we both got our highest scores ever! I got a beaver for the first time! (You're "awarded" an animal depending on your points. I always got a rabbit before.) And then we went to the midway games to get a Dumbo to go with our Timothy plush. While we waited for all the kids to go away so the four of us could take over the game without stealing plushies from small children, I noticed a little sparrow inspecting the wall of Timothy plushes for nest opportunities.
We thought about taking the photo to Paint so we could circle the bird and make him easier to spot, but we didn't.
After playing the fishing game for a toy we have labeled the Platyduck (we got a blue one before, and now we have an orange one, too) and a fisherman Mickey (Leia won that one, but she gave him to us because we paid for her to play), we went on the Sun Wheel! Or I guess it's called Mickey's Fun Wheel now. Anyway, Ferris wheels are a great place to get pictures of the park, so we gave the camera to Han, since he knew how to make it work through the wire lattice keeping us from falling out. We got some neat behind-the-scenes shots of guys getting all the equipment ready for the World of Color show opening on June 11, and some great shots of Grizzly Peak.
This is going to be the seating area for World of Color. The construction behind it is what will be the Little Mermaid ride, and you can make out the hangar for Soarin' Over California and Space Mountain in the background. Not to mention Grizzly Peak, of course.
And that's enough for now. We have some errands to run, so the rest will come tomorrow.
Today I'm thankful for getting to see Captain EO, learning why it's so important to disembark from Space Mountain quickly, getting cute new plushies, getting our work done early enough to get caught up on other stuff we needed to catch up on, and getting to order Labyrinth of Grimm.