Thursday was pretty uneventful--just driving and stuff. We stopped at Gaston's sister's dance lessons, because he helps her out there, but we only watched. It was really funny when Gaston would hold his hand out to whatever partner would eventually take it, because actually nobody would. But it's probably not as funny without the visual.
Anyway, Friday was pretty hectic. Gaston had some errands to run, for one thing, and for another thing, there was one last touch we wanted to add to all our costumes that we hadn't had time for until that day. See, I mentioned the Villains Victory Party on Thursday, but I didn't really explain what it was about. Maybe I mentioned it before that, but just in case, six Disney villains are campaigning for best villain, and people can go to the website and vote (as many times as they want) for their favorite. Gaston, as expected, was not one of the choices, but that didn't stop us! We stole a couple of "vote for
But by the time we finished that and our errands, we were already running late! Oh no! And thanks to traffic, we got to the park half an hour late. Ah well. We were still on the lucky side. Ponyo and her brothers didn't leave Fresno until after noon, and they had to deal with some serious rush hour traffic. They didn't show up until about seven-thirty.
We decided not to wear our costumes right away, which turned out to be a big mistake. But that's okay; we just learn from it and move on. After we got into the park, we got in the 100 minute line for Space Mountain. At that point it was only the two of us, Gaston, and Alice, and none of us we really anxious to do anything else until the party, so we figured we could handle the big long line. It was actually kind of refreshing to wait in a long line and not have everybody being all like, "Nnnnghhghhnngh this line is so looooonnnnnnnnnnnnng." Still not our favorite pastime, but not too bad.
Then we raced back to the parking lot to get our costumes on, and back to the park for the party. By the time we were back, we were half and hour late to the party. D'oh. Anyway, when we went into the park the first time, they gave us all orange wristbands, and now that the party had started, they had roped off a bunch of areas on Main Street, so the only way to get into the park was to show your wristband to the people at the various checkpoints. And for a while after that, they would check for wristbands whenever we got in line for a ride. Well, that solved the mystery of how they were going to clear out the non-partygoers.
It was about this point that Gaston and Ponyo had to keep texting each other with status reports so that we could find them. We finally did after we went on Pirates of the Caribbean. After going through some treat trails to get a bunch of candy (and discovering that Alice doesn't like Reese's, but loves Almond Joy, thus creating a wonderful trade opportunity (which unfortunately didn't last, because Athena and I each only got one Almond Joy the entire night)), we tried going on Indiana Jones, but decided the line was too long and we'd miss the fireworks. (Incidentally, Ponyo's other brother, who will now be codenamed to Henry, was dressed as Indiana Jones, so they took a lot of pictures in line.)
The fireworks were pretty amazing but, like World of Color, had some presentation problems. They started out by playing an instrumental of "This is Halloween," while they shone colored lights on the castle in orange and green to make it creepy and stuff, and then! Jack Skellington's dog Zero flew past the castle! Ooooohhhh! Then this giant moon rose beside the castle, and turned into Skellington's face. He introduced the whole show, like this is Halloween and stuff, Zero flew around some more, and then they finally shot off some fireworks (makes sense; we wouldn't want Zero catching on fire, after all). There were a lot of fireworks shot off from the castle itself (as opposed to from Toontown, a good deal behind the castle, which is where they shoot the rest of them from). They had some really cool new firework effects, like these white ones that spiraled as the went up, so they left a kind of curvy trail of sparkles. And there were some that seemed to just be an upward shower of sparkles. It was pretty awesome.
The only problem was that they had that moon there, and they showed light patterns and stuff on it when there weren't any villains talking, so it became a big distraction, and we almost missed some of the cool new firework effects until we taught ourselves not to look at it. Ursula, Maleficent, and Oogie Boogie all made appearances, too, and they had some pretty awesome arrangements of Grim Grinning Ghosts and some Disney villain themes. We liked the music so much that I kind of wanted to buy a soundtrack, even though there was a lot of "This is Halloween," and that song really creeps us out. For the finale, Skellington comes back and says okay now we're going to have a scream-along, so, for example, there are the parts in "This is Halloween" where it says "everybody scream!" and I think they wanted everybody to scream, but I'm pretty sure most people weren't screaming. Oh well, their loss. We had a lot of fun screaming.
After the fireworks, we decided it was finally time to go talk to some characters! First stop: Pixie Hollow. We were a bit hesitant, because we weren't quite sure what kind of interaction we could have with pixies, but we wanted to at least tell them to vote Gaston. So we got in line! Behind us, there was a girl in Giselle's wedding dress who spotted our Gaston and asked, "Are you Gaston?" (There were several Giselle's, in fact, but she gets credit for being the only one in the hard-to-make wedding dress; the others were all in that bluish thing.) I said she couldn't have him, but Gaston was like, "I have time Friday. Today's Friday, right?" Apparently the two of us and his wife are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then he started talking about how we need more redheads in the village. *rolls eyes*
When we got to Pixie Hollow, the cast members there loved our costumes. The two of us were really excited to see that Silvermist was there. She's totally our favorite, and this particular Silvermist played the part very very well. She was standing in front of a crayon drawing of a bunch of fairies, and one of the kids in front of it pointed to part of it and said, "That's Tinkerbell!" and she was like, "That's Tinkerbell? I thought that was Tinkerbell!" pointing to the Tinkerbell that the kids would go meet next. She sounded a little confused, too, and not just like when somebody trying to tell somebody they're wrong. We turned to our group, most of whom haven't seen the Tinker Bell movies, and said, "Silvermist is a little... flighty." Aaahhh ha ha ha ha.
Anyway. She was very excited to see us, and she said, "Don't tell me who you are!" then named all of us according to the Broadway show, which made our Gaston very happy. There was some discussion about Belle, and we were like, "I don't see why we should want to see her!", expressing our jealousy. And she looked at Athena and said, "Oh, but if you're dressed in yellow, maybe Gaston will think you're her! I like the way you think!" Then when we posed for pictures, she asked if she could be the fourth silly girl. She's like, "I can be the blue one!" Then she asked how to pose like a silly girl, and Gaston told her to just look adoringly up at him. She was so cute.
Tinkerbell was pretty awesome, too. I wish I could remember more of our conversation with her, but I do remember one highlight. After we took the picture, she asked us what kind of candy we liked best, and if she could have some of ours. Gaston was like, "...Gaston's not much of a giver." And she put her hands on her hips and replied, "Well, I'm kind of a taker." Bwa ha ha. She didn't get any candy, though. Gaston was like, "That's why I keep my candy... over here."
Next we went to see the villains, but their meet and greet was closed, because it was right next to the parade route, and it was almost time for the parade. Boo. So off we went to the Princess Fair instead! It was at this point that Ponyo and Henry decided to break off from the rest of us and go on rides. But we still had Lumiere for our group.
While in line, we noticed that the couple behind us was speaking in a different language that sounded kind of familiar. A little more careful eavesdropping and we confirmed that they were in fact speaking Japanese (we only listened closely enough to hear a "nee;" no spying). Then Athena noticed that the guy in the couple was wearing a "just married" button! Awwww! And that gave her the courage to tell them congratulations, so we talked to them for a little while. We discovered that they were anime fans, too, which may explain why none of the four of us were very good at keeping up a conversation. Gaston tried to come to the rescue, but he doesn't know any Japanese. It was kind of interesting, like when Stephen Colbert was still a correspondent on the Daily Show, and he was talking to a Chinese person, and he told the interpreter, "No don't translate; I speak Chinese," and he obviously didn't speak any Chinese.
He did mention how he speaks German, and said a bunch of stuff about how Germany and Japan were allies during World War II, but since I didn't remember all the right vocabulary for that, instead, I just brought up Hetalia. The woman showed us that she had Hetalia episodes on her phone, and then we started doing what all anime fans do, and started listing anime that we liked. The only other things I remember being mentioned were Sailor Moon and Fushigi Yuugi. Oh! And we told them that we translate manga, and listed a couple of things we translate, and the woman said she met Ken Akamatsu at comic market!
Very soon before we got to the front of the line, they had to stop it for a while, because it was time for the princesses to switch shifts! Dun dun DUN! Oh no! We had no idea which princesses would be there when we got there, so we were a little worried. But we asked which ones had just left, and none of them were Belle (all we remember is that one of them was Tiana). So there was still hope.
The new princesses arrived and tadah! Belle was one of them! Yes! Miraculous timing! We walked into the... um... hall... thing... and were greeted by a Disneyland photographer who asked, "Why didn't you dress up?" I wish we had been able to say, "Gaston is way too cool for silly costumes."
Belle was great. Very much in character. But she was subtle about it, so we didn't realize exactly how great she was until thinking about it later. The main thing I remember is that Gaston walked right up to her, of course, and she was very polite, but she gestured to the silly girls and said, "You can stand right here," then gestured to the spot between her and Gaston. Awesome. I tried to take advantage, but Gaston pushed me out of the way again. There was more conversation where she was like, "I'm saying this to humor you and be polite, but I really really really don't like you." Unfortunately, I don't remember any of it. I do remember that she was very happy to see Lumiere.
We also met Ariel and Sleeping Beauty, both of whom seemed to like our costumes, but there wasn't a whole lot of interaction. Gaston did wish Aurora well with her narcolepsy problem, and she thanked him graciously.
As we left the Princess Fair, we encountered two security guards, who said to Michelangelo that his costume was by far the best they had seen all night. That made us happy, because we had been so nervous about how it would turn out, and how people would react to it and stuff, especially because Gaston is at least as perfectionistic as we are, and we were too stressed out over the whole thing to have people tell us it was terrible. What with grumpy translators and failed translation tests, we've been seriously doubting our ability to tell if something is good or awful lately. As expected, Gaston had suggestions on how to make it better (he was improving his own costume just that morning), but! he also said he was impressed, so we're pretty pleased about the whole thing.
We talked to the security guards some more, and learned some interesting things about Disneyland security. One of the guards we talked to said he was a director of sales and marketing at his last job, then he retired, but he was driving his wife crazy being home all the time, so she said he could get another job as long as it wasn't as stressful as his last one. Disneyland security is pretty laid back. The guard told us that a lot of the Disneyland guards are school teachers, because when they have to deal with people, usually they have to treat them like children. They've had people join the security force from other law enforcement positions, but those people don't usually last long, because they're used to being more aggressive when dealing with people, and at Disneyland you have to be more personable.
Earlier in the day, we had run into one of the security dogs outside the park, and Gaston and Alice, wondering what the dogs were there to sniff out, asked the guard with it, and we were told that the dogs sniff out explosives. That got brought up, and we all realized that Gaston could be a threat, with the gunpowder and stuff, so one of the guards pretended to turn on his communicator and report him. XD
By that time Gaston was tired of waiting in slow-moving lines, and the villains either hadn't returned to their meet and greet area or there was another shift change, because we didn't see any of them greeting people. So we got some more candy as we made our way through Tomorrowland to Space Mountain. Michelangelo had spent the whole time with us, so he hadn't gotten to go on many rides, but if you can only go on one ride during the Halloween season, Space Mountain is the one. So we went on it twice.
While we were in line the first time, Gaston got to talking to the group ahead of us--a couple of Griffindors and Dr. Henry Jones. I don't know how it got started, but he lit into his spiel about how Belle is a gold digger. He's like, "Let's look at this. I threatened to imprison her father. The Beast actually imprisoned her father. I wanted to make her a domestic slave. The Beast actually imprisoned her. Neither of us can read. The only difference? The Beast has a castle with a library. I have a hunting lodge." They also let him explain to them how the title Beauty and the Beast isn't actually about the hairy guy and the chick. There's only one character in that movie who is beautiful and beastly, and that's Gaston. So really it's his movie.
After two rides on Space Mountain, it was actually probably after closing time. We made our way down Main Street, took a few pictures of the group, and waited while Henry reported the hat he lost on the Indiana Jones ride. He just couldn't resist taking pictures of himself in costume while on the ride. But we heard today that Disneyland is going to ship the hat back to him free of charge. Nice.
While Gaston and Alice would have been happy to have Ponyo and company stay at their place, Ponyo's father had made them a reservation at a nice hotel, so we parted ways outside the gate and the four of us went back to the apartment. While driving out of the parking lot, it was revealed that the Twins had eaten almost nothing since breakfast (we didn't want to take time out of anything for eating, and besides, we each had some apple slices that were being passed out as one of the healthy trick or treat options). So we stopped at MacDonald's, where we got Happy Meals with Mr. Potato Head trick or treat buckets. I think we were very greatly blessed in that neither of us got a massive headache from going around an amusement park on so little food, and we're very grateful.
The next morning, Alice made crepes for everyone, and then it was back to Fresno. Tadah! The end.
Today I'm thankful for getting to meet Silvermist, the very awesome characters we met at Disneyland, the magnetic lasso tool in Photoshop (an enormous help in cutting Gaston out of the screen capture to put him in the Vote For sticker), friendly security guards, and not being told that the Lumiere costume was terrible after all.