Anyway, I better report this last Disneyland(ish) trip before I forget everything.
The reason it's a Disneyland(ish) trip is that that's kind of what Celeste was calling it the whole time. She sent us a text at eight o'clock to see if we were up, adding, "We're going to Disneyland(ish)!!!" It will all make sense once the report is finished.
Sarah picked us up at nine, and we all drove about an hour to get Celeste. The fun part of this (where by "fun" I mean "adventurous") came when we got distracted by a truck...right about when we were supposed to hit a turn off onto the right freeway. It took us a little while to get back on track, and while we were in the process, Celeste sent me a text to find out where we were. I sent two texts back saying, "What!? We didn't miss the turn off!" and "It's not even ten o'clock! Get off our backs!" Confused, she texted back with, "Okay, I was just trying to find out how close you were... No accusations..." And the three of us were highly amused by the whole thing. I texted to let Celeste know we were back on track and should be at her place in a few minutes, and she realized the meaning behind my first two texts and laughed with us.
So we got Celeste, and then we were on the road again! We had a discussion about how Celeste's knee had been hurting, and...oh right, I should probably remind everyone that this trip was part of the runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon. Celeste and Sarah decided they wanted to join the race, but not a half marathon, because they're not ready for that yet, so they signed up for the Neverland Family Fun Run 5K. We're not in shape enough for that either, but as soon as Celeste told me they were going, I said, "Can we tag along?" and we did. Anyway, the point is we like overall Neverland as a theme better than we like just Tinkerbell as a theme, so they chose the better race either way.
But the real point is, Celeste's knee had been hurting, and we all have slightly dark senses of humor, so she said something about how she was probably going to die. But in all seriousness, she said if she was going to get seriously injured, she'd want it to be at Disneyland, partly because Disneyland is sure to have an awesome medical team, and partly because that's something we've never seen at Disneyland before, and it would be neat to see what happens. Inquisitiveness is a good thing as long as you take it too far. Spoiler alert: no one in our party actually got seriously injured.
Also on the ride down, Celeste announced that we were going to make Mom a part of the trip, so she had somebody call Mom (Celeste was driving at this point, and talking on the phone while driving is illegal in California) to tell her to make a list of all the things she wants us to get pictures of while we were at California Adventure. And that's the answer to why it was a trip to Disneyland(ish)--the park tickets that came with the runDisney packet were twilight tickets, good for only one park. Celeste decided California Adventure would be the better choice because it was open later (Disneyland closed early for the event), and because she and Sarah hadn't seen World of Color.
But anyway, now Mom was charged with making a photo scavenger hunt list for us. She really liked the idea, because she sent the list about forty minutes later, and we gave her four hours. At this point it would make sense to post all the pictures in this report, but I can't for two reasons. One, I'm still too lazy to deal with Disneyland pictures (one of these days I'll post all the ones we have stored up), and two, all the pictures were taken with Celeste's phone. There are two reasons for that as well. First, our camera's battery died because I completely forgot that battery power was a factor in anything. And second, the idea was to send Mom the pictures as we took them, thus making her more a part of the action. You can't text a picture taken on a camera that has no phone or internet capabilities. I think Celeste may have posted the pictures on Facebook...
So now we have the prelude set up, it's time to actually get to the park. This took longer than we wanted it to, probably because we were all hungry, and hunger makes time pass slower. It also took longer because! Celeste and Sarah had to check-in for the race to get their tickets. Check-in was at the Disneyland hotel, which was kind of bittersweet, because we had actually contemplated surprising our sisters by reserving a room there (we were in charge of getting a hotel), but decided against it because we figured we wouldn't have much time to enjoy it. Not only did we turn out to be very, very right about that, thinking about it now, surprising them would have been a bad idea because as attendees of the event, they probably could have gotten discounted rooms.
But anyway, now we were at the hotel! And they had it all decked out for the event, with a fancy Tinkerbell Half Marathon carpet and silhouettes of pixies along the walkway (I did get a picture of those things). It was pretty fancy. And Celeste and Sarah each got a t-shirt and an energy bar and some other stuff like a program and the bibs to wear while running (the ones with the numbers on them).
There was still time before their park tickets would be activated, so we went to Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen for beignets, and then it was time to check in to the hotel we stayed at, where Celeste and Sarah took care of a few last minutes things, and then we got confused about the transportation, so we walked to the park entrance. And that's where the madness began.
(Okay, as a little side thing, before the madness began, we saw one of the cast members with pin lanyards, and he had an Eilonwy pin, but we couldn't legally trade for it, because it was on one of the kids only lanyards (something I only knew from when I spent a month working at Disneyland; the cast member never volunteered the information, and in fact offered to let us trade it and say he wasn't looking). So we kept going and there was another cast member with a Taran pin, so we happily traded for that instead. Then we were like, "But we don't really like The Black Cauldron (movie) anyway," followed by, "But we'll be glad to have the pin when we're reading the books." This made us a little sad, though, because the cast member we got Taran from was so happy that we knew his name, because she seems to be a fan of the movie. She had a Horned King pin too. Anyway, then we got home and had an email from lyschan about that very book!)
Right, the madness. See, as we got to the gates, Celeste realized that we could have gone in an hour sooner than we did, and she was very apologetic about it. We didn't mind for our sakes, because we have annual passes and we were just there because we like to see people having fun at Disneyland(ish). But she was so apologetic about it that it made us think, "Oh no! We have to make sure she and Sarah get to do everything they wanted to do so they have an awesome enough time that that extra hour won't mean anything!"
Fortunately, the only must-sees on the list were World of Color, Toy Story Midway Mania, and The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Also fortunately, Sarah had expressed a desire to eat at the fancy Mediterranean place. If she hadn't, we would have gone to our first choice and forgotten all about World of Color tickets. But since she did, we walked by the World of Color ticket machines on our way to the restaurant.
BUT! the tickets were all gone! Well, that may not be so strange--they are the free tickets, after all, and we did get to the park rather late. And since we haven't eaten yet, we can go get the picnic lunches, and get our tickets that way. So off we went!
...And found out they were sold out. Now this did not make any sense, because they didn't sell out of picnic lunches on opening weekend! Opening weekend! What's the big idea!? The cast members told us they were only given a very small number of tickets that morning. Boo.
Well, we weren't out of options, and we were ready to try them, but in the meantime, we discover that the Little Mermaid ride is temporarily shut down. So now our prospects are lower for World of Color and Little Mermaid. Boo!
Anyway, we went to Ariel's Grotto--the super fancy restaurant with super high prices to match. Not only that, but if we eat there, the Twins are guaranteed to not get enough to eat and waste a lot of (really expensive) food. We asked if we still had to pay even if we didn't eat, and they said yes. Ugh. So we checked the other fancy restaurant (better prospects, because it has Italian food), and after a lot of waffling over the menu posted outside, I talked to the hostess and she said they were sold out of World of Color tickets! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
Well, Celeste and Sarah weren't about to let us spend the money to eat at Ariel's Grotto (they had both left their wallets at the hotel and have less splurging money), so we headed for the Mediterranean place, sad and dejected. But we determined to ask a cast member what the best course of action would be, and Celeste happened to catch sight of one and asked, "We want to see World of Color, but we can't get any tickets. What should we do?" And he said, "Um...can you come back another day?" Well, that's not promising. We told him no, and he said then the best thing we can do is to watch it from the other side. He told us the best place to see it from (it's like the same show, just backwards) and when we needed to start claiming our territory. So problem...solved...ish.
But we actually ate, and Celeste and Sarah really liked their food, so at least they enjoyed the first thing we did. Then we went on the Silly Symphony Swings and Goofy's Sky School, both of which are old attractions (been there since the park opened) that have been given makeovers to match the makeover they've been giving the whole park, so technically the attractions are new, but they'd both been on them before.
By this time, Celeste had downloaded the app that's supposed to tell you what the wait times are for all the Disney rides, and it had been telling her all night that the information on The Little Mermaid and Midway Mania was "temporarily unavailable." Since we knew the Little Mermaid ride had broken down, we figured "temporarily unavailable" meant "the ride is shut down right now." But California Screamin' was in the same direction as Midway Mania, and as it turned out, the ride was still operating! Woohoo!
...And the line was forty-five minutes long. Seriously, I do not understand why that ride doesn't have a fast pass. Maybe there's something to do with the computer system or something, but they should at least have a single rider option. If any ride needs a single rider option, it's that one, because they specifically designed it so that you can get more points by working together with the person sitting next to you, and therefore it can be less fun if you're alone. And yet, we kept seeing a bunch of odd-numbered groups setting out in the ride with one person all alone. Oy.
It wouldn't have been such a big deal, except that we were anxious for Celeste and Sarah to have a lot of Big Fun. So we sent them off to go on California Screamin' (the roller coaster we refuse to go on), seeing that the line was about half as long, while we got in line for Midway Mania (I usually call it Toy Story, but when you ask a cast member about the Toy Story ride, they're never sure if you mean Midway Mania or the Buzz Lightyear ride). While they were gone, we vented our frustration about how things were going.
We weren't quite halfway through the line when our sisters returned. They reported that just as the people in front of them got on the roller coaster...the cast members evacuated the line. They said the CMs sounded a little panicked, so while nobody in our party got hurt, there is a possibility that somebody at the park did. If that is the case, we hope that person (or those people) is (are) okay.
On the bright side, Celeste and Sarah didn't get stuck sitting on a motionless roller coaster all evening. But they didn't get to ride it, either. Still, they did enjoy Midway Mania...we think. Celeste said she could have gotten a better score, but the ride confused her. Next time, she'll do better. Especially if they convince Mom to get the Wii version to practice on.
When we got off the ride, it was about time to stake our claim on the best non-ticketed spot for World of Color. Athena, Celeste, and Sarah took turns saving the spot and getting pictures for the photo scavenger hunt, while I went to the other side of the "ocean" to see if I could get the low-down on World of Color seating. The cast member I talked to was very helpful. He explained that the seating area has been reduced to half because of some construction they're doing (we saw the construction and figured that was part of it), and that two big groups had come in that morning and snatched up all the tickets. Well, boo. I asked if there was any way we could sneak in, and he said they can let people in without tickets after the show starts, but since people with tickets will often wait until right before, there's no sneaking in before that.
I decided the ocean was too big around to risk that (if the ticketed space filled up, we'd spend the whole length of the show (okay, maybe only half) walking back to our spot, which would no longer have space for us), and we'd just watch it backwards. Though thinking on it now, there probably would have been room to squeeze Celeste and Sarah in. Well darn it.
World of Color backwards is an interesting experience. We're not sure if it's because we were behind the show or if it's because it was windy that a lot of the image projections were really blurry and hard to make out, so we really only got to enjoy the fountains. Those are the best part anyway, but some of the sparkle effects seemed less sparkly from our angle. And I don't know if it was the lack of pictures or what, but it was a lot harder to feel like a part of the show. So that was kind of a bummer. Celeste and Sarah said they liked it anyway. But man, we need to go back and do it right sometime.
Whew, this is getting long. I think I'll end it there for today.
Today I'm thankful for getting the tip on the best spot to watch World of Color if you don't have a ticket (we really had a great view, considering), no one in our party getting injured (for some reason I had a really hard time not imagining what would happen if my swing (on Silly Symphony Swings) popped off its anchor), getting to go on Midway Mania, Celeste's clever idea to involve Mom in all the fun, and rides with the sense to have fast passes.