Anyway, yesterday was fun. We got to Disneyland early enough to get wristbands for the first Wednesday with Walt presentation, and we still had some time, so we got in the single rider line for the Matterhorn. The regular line, of course, was ridiculously long, partially because they just updated it, and I'm guessing also partially because (as we just found out yesterday) apparently people actually take the whole week off for Memorial Day these days. And apparently Grad Nite is going on, but we have no idea how that works now, because the park is still open until midnight for regular guests. But really, all we need to know is that it means the park is ridiculously crowded and stay away if you know what's good for you.
Yesterday, we didn't. But we did go on the Matterhorn and see the fancy upgrades. We had heard, upon talking to a cast member a couple of weeks ago, that the Imagineers had decided to take the abominable snowman experience to the next level. Before, you'd just kind of run into him in passing as you made your way down the mountain in a bobsled. Like, you saw his eyes a couple of times, then somewhere in the middle he shows up in full view like, "Ah! He's really there!" and then at the end he shows up one last time. It was a very simple animatronic figure and I don't remember if he moved much--not that it mattered, you go by him so fast.
But now! they wanted to make it seem like he's chasing you. So as you go up the inside of the mountain, they made it super super dark, and where they used to project falling snow to get you into the frozen tundra bobsled mood, they now have ultra fancy ice walls that simultaneously look like real ice like in ice sculptures and yet very fake. But that's coming from someone who makes it a point to spend as little time around ice as possible, so what do I know about what it really looks like? The point is, as you ride past the ice wall, you see a big scary face lurking behind it! Watching you! Aaahh!
Then you go through some tunnels, which really are ridiculously dark, and you hear him growling and stomping behind you, and then you ride past a smashed up bobsled and then THERE HE IS and it's scary! And you ride some more with maybe more stomping and THERE HE IS AGAIN and it's scary! And then you finish the ride. And that's about it.
I had kind of mixed feeling about it, because on the one hand, the updated animatronics looked pretty amazing (for the maybe a third of a second that we saw them). They're really detailed, and they move a lot, and most importantly, they have real sculpted faces instead of projector faces! And you ride really close to them, so it does almost seem like maybe the snowman's gonna catch you.
But on the other hand, the tunnels are so dark now that when the abominable snowman does suddenly show up against a brightly lit light blue background, the contrast is so stark that it takes the eyes extra long to process what they're seeing. And you're going by so fast that they can't fully process. Maybe that adds to the scariness, because it's like, "What did I just see!?" But on the other hand, if he's able to stalk you in the dark like that, why would he deliberately find a brightly lit place to swing at you? I don't know; I guess I just want there to be more variation of brightness levels in the tunnels. Like pitch black, and then maybe dark, dim, oh there's some light, and then boom! bright light!
And in all fairness, it's hard for me to process what's going on in the Matterhorn anyway these days, because I'm still trying to figure out how to sit so I don't get my brains all rattled. It used to be that they had two people to a seat, and it was kind a of lap-seating situation, so I understand the awkwardness and why they'd want to change it, but for Athena and me, it worked perfectly, because we could use each other as a shock absorber. Now it's one person to a seat and there isn't any cushioning whatsoever, so the brains get rattled. Right now our best theory is that a nice, big pillow would help, but it would be a bit unwieldy to carry one all around Disneyland all day.
After the Matterhorn, we had just enough time to weave our way through the parade-watching crowd and get to Wednesdays with Walt right on time! They were showing the Babes in Toyland Backstage Party episode, and that was pretty neat.
Then came the madness. We had asked a cast member where the best place was to watch the fireworks from, and he said, "Literally, anywhere you have a good view of the castle." And we thought yeah, since they're talking about projecting stuff, they probably would have some good things to see on the castle, so sure, why don't we try saving a spot right in front of the castle? If we go right after Wednesdays with Walt, we'll still have three and a half hours before the fireworks--that should be plenty of time. It's not like it's July or anything.
We really should have known better after our years of experience. (I think a few years of deciding we don't care about the fireworks that much anymore has skewed our perspective.) So we collected some dinner from the Golden Horseshoe and took it with us to Main Street. It was almost six-thirty...and all of the curb in front of the castle and all of the benches in front of the castle were already taken. Fortunately, there was still sidewalk, so we found a spot that was pretty close to front and center, and then we waited. We had given up on the idea of trying to watch the nighttime parade and squeezing our way back to front and center--we would catch the parade some other time (although that was a source of some frustration, because we knew it would be going right by us, just barely not close enough that we could appreciate it fully; we did see the top half of it, though).
We didn't bring anything with which to entertain ourselves for three hours, so after we finished eating our dinners, I ran over to Off the Page in California Adventure. The last time we were there, we saw they were selling Disney/Marvel comics, and! they had a series based on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. That seemed like it could be a pretty cool idea, and I would have bought the first two issues right there, but it was pouring down rain at the time, and we thought it would be best to wait for a drier day. So today was the day! And I found out that they'll bubble-wrap the comic books if you want, so we totally could have bought them two weeks ago, but oh well. There was a slight problem in that they didn't have volume two anymore. But I bought volume one and met Athena back on Main Street and we read it! And I think I'll talk more about that later. And the other stuff, too, because we have other things to do.
Today I'm thankful for getting to see the Matterhorn upgrades, getting a really good spot for the fireworks, our Amazon package not being lost (we were a little worried when we got home and it wasn't here--package tracking said it was due to arrive yesterday--but it was there this morning, whew), managing to meet our work quota despite our extra late start, and toffee pretzels.