It started pretty early, because Peter Pan's Flight opened with new upgrades while our passes were blocked out, so we all wanted to go on it. But we also know the line for the ride never gets short. So we made sure to get to the park before it opened and race (speed-walking, not running) to the ride before too many people got to it. I think it's very telling that before the park even opens, they put ups signs around the ride saying that the wait is about 50 minutes. Fortunately, we managed to get on it in about fifteen, but it was bittersweet. As we made our way through the queue area, we could see that the rest of Fantasyland was practically empty, and we longed to walk on to all the other rides.
So about these new upgrades. As you might imagine from our bitter jaded personalities, we were underwhelmed. We think they wanted to do what they did with Alice in Wonderland, which was to project animation from the movie onto certain areas, but there weren't as many flat surfaces, so it didn't work out that way. All we got was a projection of Peter and the Darlings as they take a short break on one of Big Ben's hands in the London scene, which they only do on one of the clock faces, to be realistic I guess, but if you don't sit in the right place, you can easily miss the whole thing. On the bright side, Athena heard me react to it, so she was scrutinizing the clock and found a hidden Mickey that sounds pretty cool to hear her tell about it. Maybe someday we'll go on the ride again. In addition to that one scene, they added pixie dust where appropriate and water effects to the places that were supposed to look like water. And they made the Second Star to the Right look all fancy. I think we would have appreciated the pixie dust effect if they had taken it in more of a white direction than a yellow direction. As it was, it looked kind of greenish--a little too artificial, not really very magical.
The only discussion our party had about it was after we got off, I said, "We weren't really impressed," and Gaston said, "Who's surprised?" And then, despite the beautifully short lines in Fantasyland, we went off to Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland. Of course, it was before ten o'clock, so the lines were short everywhere. One thing we finally learned about the new Disneyland paradigm is that people still refuse to wake up early, perhaps moreso now that they're using annual passports instead of trying to pack all the fun into one or two days. Alice's parents had joined us this time, so they all went on Splash Mountain while we grabbed some kettle corn for breakfast.
Alice's mother is really into geocaching, so her main goal for this trip was to locate all the caches she had printed out from the internet. For some reason, we relied more on visual cues than GPS, but anyway, we ended up looking at a lot of neat plaques that we usually ignore. Frontierland has a big petrified tree stump, and New Orleans Square has Lafitte's anchor.
After hitting all the big rides in Disneyland, we went to California Adventure, where we spent the rest of the day. The forecast predicted Hot, so the main plan was to do things that involved a lot of sitting inside with air conditioning. This included watching the Aladdin stage show, our opinion of which remains the same. Sometimes I wonder why we ever watch it, because it always makes me sad. Not that it's terrible; just that it's not great. This time, my constructive(?) criticism is that when the Genie goes off on one of his adlibbed monologues, it should be okay for the other actors to look like they're listening. Usually they just freeze in place, while the Genie is going on and on with whatever kind of nonsense, and of course they can't really do anything about it, but for example, if the guards (who are holding Jasmine and the Sultan captive) would look at each other with raised eyebrows and then shrug, that would be great. Or at least if, when the Genie gives Jafar a long hug, Jafar would react in some way... (He did seem to be trying not to laugh, which is something, I guess.)
I mentioned this idea to Gaston, who likes to be a theatre person, and he said that in the Theatre, if someone is monologuing, the rest of the cast is supposed to freeze, because anything else might distract from the main source of entertainment. Our rebuttal (which we didn't think of at the time) is that if the main source of entertainment is such that they need everybody else to completely stop doing anything to make sure people are paying attention, that doesn't really say much for its entertainment value. I would also like to point out that in Fantasmic!, in the princess sequence, they have all the lights on one princess and her prince, but the other princesses are still dancing. It's not distracting; it makes things more believable.
Anyway, other air conditioned entertainment included Turtle Talk with Crush, because Alice's parents hadn't seen it so we figured why the heck not. This time, one of the kids asked him how many kids he had, so he started listing them, and I don't remember all the names (there were a lot), but they included all the Ninja Turtles, the cast of Saved by the Bell, and Bill & Ted. There were a lot of Crush Jr.s, and finally there was his oldest, Keanu. Later, a kid asked if he knew the Ninja Turtles, and he said, "I don't know any turtles that know ninjutsu. Do you know the Ninja Turtles?" When the kid answered in the affirmative, Crush responded with, "Then they must not be very good ninjas."
The other main thing worth mentioning is, of course, World of Color - Celebrate. Overall, we think the show was put together better than previous Worlds of Color, but again are underwhelmed, as we are always underwhelmed. I had low hopes for it going in, but then they went up. It starts with Neil Patrick Harris as the host, and I think he says some stuff about Walt Disney, and there are pretty colors and photos of Mr. Disney and video footage and sparkles and it's nice. And most of all, there was the song. Mr. Harris started singing, "Celebraaate♪" and we thought, "!!!!" We had heard this song before, on our Koe no Ouji-sama deluxe edition CD, sung buy none other than Hiroshi Kamiya and our beloved Yuuki Kaji! It's the song he was disappointed in himself for not knowing about before he sang it for that CD! ...And apparently it's no wonder that he hadn't heard of it, because we can't find any information on it on Wikipedia. But we thought, "Using this song to get into our good graces... Well played, World of Color."
And then, because it all started with a mouse, they have a mini tribute to Mickey, and I kind of rolled my eyes at first because I don't really like the idea of having a host for a nighttime spectacular even if one of those hosts is my beloved Mickey Mouse, but then they showed bits of Steamboat Willie, and Plane Crazy, and Through the Looking Glass, and! The Band Concert, which is currently my very favorite Mickey Mouse cartoon. And that's about when I started thinking, "Wow, I might actually have to like this show."
And then they ruined it. They skipped way ahead to the modern Mickey Mouse cartoons, which we hate. Actually, we've only seen one of them (maybe one and a half or two), but they seem to have been designed with the thought, "What if Mickey Mouse looked like one of those ugly Nicktoons?" We find the new Goofy design to be especially offensive, and so we don't watch the new Mickeys. But they were featured prominently in this segment of World of Color, and so I was once again not liking it.
Then they started using this really neat effect, because they went into the story of how Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came to be, and the effect was to replicate the sparkles from the dwarfs' jewel mine. And I thought, "Oh, I shouldn't be so grumpy about everything. Maybe it will be good after all." And they started the segment that featured the feature films...which was mostly a montage set to sort of minimalist music, and jumped from Snow White to The Little Mermaid, so I was like, "Hey! I thought this was supposed to be about Walt Disney!" But then it kind of went back and forth, and it even had a clip from Tarzan, so that was nice. No Hercules, though...
And then they played all of Let It Go, of course. That was the only Disney song they played all of.
Finally, the Disneyland 60th Anniversary special World of Color got to the part about Disneyland, and it jumped from the Tiki Room to Splash Mountain to Cars Land, so once again, I was thinking, "Hey! I thought this was supposed to be about Walt Disney!" (Splash Mountain opened in the 80s.) They featured all the big attractions, like Pirates and the Haunted Mansion and Star Tours (which part actually turned out to be kind of a trailer for The Force Awakens) and It's a Small World. And they used a lot of weird CGI. I mean, CGI is like their thing right now, so that's okay, but it would be nice if they could make it good, movie quality CGI instead of like the kind of CGI we saw when they showed us the earlier stages of production in Big Hero 6.
But then they had the finale and Neil Patrick Harris sang the song again, and was joined by a fancy Disney choir and everything...but then they ended with some weird song called "Forever Young" that made it sound like we were bidding farewell to someone who died at a young age, and as usual the show left us with a sense of ennui. Gaston thinks we're heartless for not liking it; he says it got him right in the feels. At least I admit the storytelling worked better and it didn't seem like just setting my music playlist to giant fountain displays. (It still needs work, though; if you're going to have a theme, stick with it!)
Today I'm thankful for finally having seen all the new nighttime spectaculars, getting to have delicious Ghirardelli milkshakes, getting to have ridiculously overpriced chocolate covered pretzel balls (also Ghirardelli; Gaston's pretty sure ghirardelli is Italian for "ridiculously overpriced"), making good progress on work today, and having a really fun UQ Holder! chapter this week.