It was kind of an odd trip to Disneyland. For a big chunk of the first day, it felt like maybe we were just going through the motions. There were some noticeable things, like how we had a good Jungle Cruise skipper. He had pretty much all the same jokes, but he had good energy and timing, and he added hard Gs to all the animal names for the gnu joke. And there were little things we noticed, like, hey, are there more stars in the Neverland room of Peter Pan's Flight? It seems like there are too many almost... And did they raise the volume on all the sound bytes? I don't remember hearing Peter tell Hook to say he's a codfish before...
There was also the discovery of a secret menu that allowed us to have mozzarella sticks for lunch. That was pretty exciting, except that the mozzarella sticks still taste just as bland as they did before they took them off the menu. We suspect they've been using low-fat cheese, blah. They didn't used to be so bland. And if it's a secret menu item anyway, they might as well go all the way with the fat content.
And we got to go to Toontown and ride Gadget's Go Coaster, which we never get to do with Gaston. We'd forgotten how scary that cute little coaster can be. It's a kid's coaster, and yet it's probably the scariest in the park. Well, except that Space Mountain is in the dark, but it doesn't feel as fast.
Anyway, it was at about five o'clock that the color started coming back. We had managed to give ourselves headaches by not hydrating enough the day before, and that carried over into still not having been properly hydrated the next day, which was exceptionally hot for Disneyland. So we went to the First Aid Center to get some ibuprofen, and the very caring nurse there told us we'd better find a snack to eat before taking it. So we went down Main Street to find a churro stand, but instead decided to buy some kettle corn, and while all that was going on, we heard an announcement that they were going to have a Flag Retreat Ceremony. We'd never really stopped to watch the ceremony before, and since we had to sit and eat anyway, we figured this would be a great opportunity.
I don't remember all the details exactly, but it started out with Main Street's resident barbershop quartet, the Dapper Dans, marching out to the flagpole and singing patriotic songs. They brought out the colorguard (three Disneyland security guards who are probably veterans), who invited any veterans and/or active members of the armed forces to stand around the flag. Since there weren't any around, they invited anyone who wanted to honor our country to join them. We all said the Pledge of Allegiance and joined the Dapper Dans in singing The Star-Spangled Banner, and then the colorguard took the flags down (there was a US flag and a California flag). After that, the Dapper Dans sang God Bless America, and I think that was it. It was very simple, but very heartfelt and touching. We always did like patriotic stuff, unless you count baseball. Or apple pie. XD
Anyway, after that it felt like we were actually doing stuff, and not going through the motions of doing stuff, so when we went to the Tiki Room it was that much more enjoyable. I mainly bring it up, though, because I noticed for like the first time after about a million times in the Tiki Room that Fritz (the German one of the four main parrots) makes a joke about how Herr Schmidt has no hair. That means that at one point in recent American history, it was common knowledge that Herr is the German equivalent of Mr., and if Disneyland can have a parrot saying Herr, why can't manga translations have people saying -san?
We did some other stuff, like get some food at the Golden Horseshoe, because we decided we probably did need more than just lunch after all, and there was some crying because I'm so terrified of everything, and we went on Autopia and remembered that gosh darnit, we like that ride! We just stopped wanting to go on it because the queue area is so out of the way and soul-crushing.
We watched Fantasmic!, of course, and, as always, noticed some new "improvements" that make us want to say to whoever's behind them, "Just sit down, and listen to how it should be done!" Mostly it was just a thing at the end where they were using all these fancy lasers when it was supposed to be back to plain and simple. Ah well.
It was after that that we saw the most heartbreaking scene. Not realizing that for some bizarre and esoteric reason, the park actually closed at 11 instead of midnight (which is when it's closed every day of every summer since as long as we can remember), we headed to Fantasyland to see if there was anything to do before going back to the hotel. Well, there wasn't because it was eleven o'clock and the park was closed, as were all of the rides. There was still a line for Peter Pan, because there's always a line for Peter Pan, and those people had probably gotten in line before they decided to shoo people away. Well anyway, we saw this father and his little girl, going around, probably thinking (as any logical Disneyland goer might) that the park was open until midnight, looking for a ride to go on. Snow White and Pinocchio were obviously closed, but the father saw the line to Peter Pan and suggested to his daughter that they might be able to go on that. It was very soon after we heard his suggestion that we noticed the cast member standing at the entrance to the line, ready to shoo people away. And we remembered how much we cried whenever we had to leave Disneyland at that girl's age, and we were very sad.
We were a little outraged by all of this, because one of the justifications people try to give us for the ridiculous admission price increase last May is that they have to pay all the new cast members working in Cars Land, and pay them for more hours, because they're keeping California Adventure open longer now. Well apparently not. They're even closing Disneyland extra early! We found a park map at City Hall and confirmed that at least they weren't closing the attractions before official closing time, but we were still pretty ticked off. As we were leaving, I saw one of the survey-takers, and set my course straight for her. We told her our sad story, and she was sympathetic but also like, "Yeah, the park's closed..." Whatever. She asked me to take a survey, and I was like, "I would love nothing more than to take a survey."
Unfortunately, this survey did nothing to serve my purposes. I think they probably still have a bunch of different kinds of surveys, and this particular one was meant to be taken on a computer inside the park. So the surveyor took me to a little room at City Hall and sat me down at a computer that literally listed every attraction in the park (it even listed individual characters, like every single fairy at Pixie Hollow (I was a little happy to find out that apparently you can still meet Terence)) and asked if I experienced that attraction, and how did I like it. That part was alright, but it didn't really give me the chance to say why I said what I said...which was probably a good thing, because then the survey would have taken forever. I wanted to say stuff about Fantasmic! and the odd little tweaks on Peter Pan's Flight.
It did ask me if I felt like anything needed an upgrade, which of course I do, but I figured it wouldn't let me explain what I think needs changing (ugh, the Maleficentricity of the Sleeping Beauty walkthrough...), so I just said, "Seriously, upgrade Tomorrowland already. It's totally stuck in the past, and it's supposed to be the future." Only I didn't get to say it like that; I just got to check a little box next to "Tomorrowland."
So then I was mildly annoyed again, but overall we had had a good time. We went back to the hotel to rest up for the next day, which is where all the real fun began.
Today I'm thankful for very caring nurses at Disneyland First Aid, getting to see the Disneyland Flag Retreat Ceremony, getting great seats for Fantasmic!, getting to go to Toontown and on Autopia, and getting to ride the Mark Twain.