And we haven't finished our birthday report.
Oh, first of all, I should probably point out that I was thinking about it this morning, and I remembered that they had used that face projection effect before the Small World/Castle shows. There's a Buzz Lightyear animatronic figure in the queue area for the Buzz Lightyear ride. I remember being pretty impressed with it when I first saw it, and we would have checked to see if that opinion has changed, but...you guessed it, that ride was closed. At least it was whenever we were in Tomorrowland.
Anyway, we just left off after watching Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, after which we decided we should maybe call some of the people back who had been calling us all day. Well, mostly just Gaston, since he was the one who left a voice message asking us to call back. The upshot of that is we have plans to go back to Disneyland on Monday. Yay! (Or yay if the health situation has improved, anyway.)
We watched the Tangled show at the Fantasy Faire theatre, then we got some frozen lemonade and Sarah called to try to get Logan to wish us a happy birthday. He was shy again, though, so no luck. But he did defend Sarah's phone from his little brother and the other kid she was babysitting that day. We happened to be sitting near the Golden Horseshoe at that time, and just as we were finishing our lemonade, we heard Mayor McGillicuddy (or however its spelled) outside the saloon inviting people in to watch the show. So we figured why not?
Turns out, it was a good thing we went in, because the show was not the same show we'd already seen before, although it did start out with the same basic premise: Sheriff Clem was trying to get away from the Mayor's daughter Sally Mae, who was determined to marry him. This time (and perhaps other times, but we never watched the show frequently enough to remember), it had the added complication that the Mayor was trying to put on a show for all the guests. As luck(?) would have it, the star performer had an accident when Sally Mae told her to break a leg ("And then she did. Maybe I shouldn't have pushed her at the top of the stairs."), and Sally Mae was her understudy. But Sally Mae couldn't sing, so instead, they had an impromptu performance of the play Sally Mae wrote (with her own pen), Rodeo and Judiet. It was very short, and ended with Judiet tricking Rodeo into saying "I do," and it just so happened that the Mayor, who played the Justice of the Peace, was a real life Justice of the Peace, so now Clem and Sally Mae were married in real life, too! ...I really hope they manage to sort that out.
When the show was over, we walked out of the Golden Horseshoe, and there was the Mark Twain steamboat loading passengers. So we walked right on! We took a look around the boat, because it's really very pretty, and when we were done, we discovered that the railing at the back of the top floor is just the perfect height to lean against. So we decided that would be a good place to enjoy the river cruise, although it did occur to me that it might be polite to move over a little so we weren't taking up space directly at the top of the stairs. I figured oh well--there was still plenty of room between the top of the stairs and where we were standing--and then the captain came up to start his shift.
Here again we see the importance of birthday buttons: the captain saw us and wished us happy birthday, and then he was like, "Oh my gosh, are you two the only ones in your party?" "Yes...?" "Come with me." He took us to the captain's quarters, and we got to help pilot the boat! Eeeeeeeee! We'd actually done this once before--about sixteen years ago, when we were in the habit of asking regular cast members (as opposed to the characters) for their autograph. So when he said, "I bet you've never done this before!" I was a little sad to burst his bubble. It reminded me of all the times we'd be translating manga and thinking, "Oh man, the fans are gonna be so excited to read this part! ...Oh wait, they probably already have."
But we made the most of it! And he got to share with us a bunch of trivia that we didn't already know, so I hope it evened out. First, Athena asked him where the hidden Mickeys were, and he showed us the two on the boat, and the one on the river. And he pointed out one that we'll never be able to see on Tom Sawyer's Island, because you have to be up above it, and you can't get above it because they closed the treehouse that provides that view.
As we rode along, we passed by the settler's cabin, which used to be one of the more exciting parts of the river cruise, because the cabin was on fire. It hasn't been on fire for a while, so I asked the captain if he knew why that is--my best guess was that it was a fire hazard. Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Originally, the cabin was on fire because it had been attacked, and there was a figure outside of a guy with arrows sticking out of his back. People were offended by that, so they took the figure out and left the fire, but now the fire didn't make sense. (Apparently. I seem to remember being on the Mark Twain and hearing the spiel say something about how the fire should be a warning not to be careless, which I took to mean something like make sure to put your campfires out. Maybe that wouldn't make as much sense to people who didn't do a lot of camping.) So now the old settler's cabin has become the new settler's cabin, and the happy ending is that the imaginary settler has a real vegetable garden, and when they have a good crop, the cast members get free vegetables. So everybody wins, except for people who like to see burning cabins.
We kept going along the river and came to the Native American camp, at which point the captain asked, "You know who our shaman is, right?" See, in part of that scene, there's a shaman standing surrounded by some of the kids, teaching them the lore. The best answer I had was, "Uh...he's...the shaman?" so I just said no. So Captain explained that he was one of the original audio animatronic figures used in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln back at the New York World's Fair in 1964. They replaced Mr. Lincoln (probably with an upgrade), but the figure was still usable, so they gave him a face lift, changed his wardrobe, and tadah! Now he has a new role in the park. And if you watch him, you can see he still does the same gestures as Mr. Lincoln in that attraction, the most obvious of which being that he'll sit down and stand back up again.
Finally, as we came back to the dock, the captain pointed out a poster on a building by the river that has a hidden Mickey on it...that is nigh impossible to find. He said he's seen people stand near it for hours, trying to find the Mickey. We looked at it for a few minutes and decided to come back with a better camera. The only one we had was the one on my phone, which isn't even a smart phone, but we did lend it to the captain so he could take a picture of us in the captain's...captainy place. The bridge? I don't know what it's called. The place where you pilot a steamboat. And for one last finishing touch, he signed a steamboat piloting license for each of us. It was awesome.
After that, it was time to settle down and wait for the parade to start. We weren't sure it was such a good idea, because this particular parade brings out our uppitiness, and uppitiness with no outlet leads to exasperation. See, the parade starts with Mickey Mouse, which is fine, except that when you have an all-character parade, usually Mickey is who you want to use for the finale (unless it's a special parade, like the holiday parade, for which the finale is obviously Santa Claus). Whoever designed this parade probably figured that Mary Poppins was Walt Disney's crowning achievement, and so that movie would make a good finale...except that Mary and Bert are riding carousel horses, so they're not on the last float--it's just a bunch of nameless chimney sweeps. It's just not very finale-ish. But we were able to set our annoyance aside and enjoy all the costumes and choreography.
Oh, except that we got annoyed again, because we figured it would be okay to stay on Main Street for the parade, because we heard the fifteen-minute announcement, at fifteen minutes before seven. We assumed that meant that the parade would start on Main Street. The parade either goes from Main Street to Small World or vice versa; depending on where it starts, and where you're sitting, you might start viewing it at a very different time than what's listed on the entertainment schedule. This is probably why cast members are constantly baffled by questions like, "What time is the four o'clock parade?" But, see, the speakers along the parade route are set up to play the music that goes with each individual float when it's there, so when you're looking at an Aladdin float, you hear Aladdin music, or when you look at a Peter Pan float, you hear Peter Pan music, while somewhere else on the parade route, someone else will be seeing a different float and hearing the appropriate music.
That being the case, I think it used to be that they would make the fifteen-minute announcement fifteen minutes before the parade reached the speakers in that area. Either I'm remembering wrong, or they changed the system, because we had to wait another fifteen minutes (after the fifteen minutes that had been announced) before we saw any parade. Disneyland, I expected better of you. You already have it set up to announce things properly!
But anyway, we were able to not dwell on it (too much), and enjoy the costumes and dancing and stuff. Goofy's little miniature float broke down along the route, so Aladdin's float got a little too close, and the music changed appropriately...so while Goofy waited awkwardly for someone to fix his float, he danced to the Aladdin music, and that was fun. I really wished I had a video recorder of some kind.
After the parade, we only had two things left to do: get ice cream, and check to see if, now that the parade (the day's finale, since the park wasn't open late enough for fireworks) was over, the line to Peter Pan was shorter. So we got our ice cream, and then it was back to Fantasyland. Strangely, there was no line to Peter Pan whatsoever, but there was a janitor sweeping up the queue area. The ride was shut down. The park was still going to be open for another twenty minutes or so, but sometimes when the crowds thin out, they close things early. This called for some investigating.
Sure enough, there was a cast member standing at the entrance to the queue area. I saw her talking to some other guests, so I waited for them to leave, at which point I went to her and said, "I know you probably just answered this question, but is this ride going to open again, or is it done for the day?" She replied, "It's open now. Follow me!" And we were like, "Whaaaat." It was like magic! So we got to be the first people in line to ride Peter Pan's Flight after it opened up again. It was a nice little magical finishing touch for the end of a really great day.
Today I'm thankful for getting to pilot the Mark Twain, getting to learn some neat trivia I didn't know before, getting to see the Laughingstock Co.'s new(?) show, Disneyland's really good hot fudge, and being done with chores for the day.