Anyway, now we can finally post about the trip to Disneyland we took on Tuesday, assuming we can remember any of it. But they've got some new stuff going on, so it might be worth talking about. But it might be kinda slow as I walk myself through what happened on Tuesday.
We got to Disneyland at about noon, and since we still had time before checking in for the annual passholder anniversary party, we headed over to Tomorrowland to take a look around at how they dolled it up for the Season of the Force. The first thing we noticed was that the Stormtroopers were wearing new helmets, which means shouting "Down with the Empire!" is no longer relevant. We couldn't remember what we were supposed to be shouting "down with", so we just let them go by unmolested. (We later found out that it's like the First Order or something? But we figure we ought to wait until we see the new movie before we make any judgment calls about them. We're planning to adamantly Not see it on opening weekend, so there's no telling when that will be.)
We walked by Hyperspace Mountain, and the line was miraculously short! (Only 40 minutes for a new Space Mountain experience!) But we wanted to make it to check in for our party without having to worry, so we mistakenly chose not to take advantage. We did get fastpasses, though, and then we went to Red Rocket's Pizza Port to see what Star Wars menu offerings they had. They had a bunch of stuff with vegetables that we promptly forgot because ew vegetables (I found an article about how to overcome that, and I keep meaning to share it on Facebook because we need some help with it, but not wanting to take the effort because we're so busy), and they also had some kind of Wookiee-inspired cheesecake that looked really good but we do not like cheese in our desserts. But most importantly, they had a parfait called Darth by Chocolate, which looked indeed very chocolaty. The bottom was inexplicably red, so we thought maybe they added strawberry sauce, like how they had strawberry gelatin in the Black Widow parfaits, but then there was a cast member there who saw us inspecting it, and she informed us that it's red because it's red velvet. What. Definitely gotta get us some of that.
But not right now, because we're still exploring. So we continued to explore the outside of Tomorrowland, and walked by the place that used to be a hat shop but now sells nametags with your name in the Star Wars special alphabet thingie. We thought hey, we could use some nametags! but if they don't have our names in a legible font they'll be useless, but if we get them with different emblems people can tell them apart by color anyway, but neither of us wants the Empire symbol (or is it First Order now), and the Star Tours logo is boring, so we really should just both get the Rebel Alliance symbol, but that would defeat the purpose, but can't people tell by the fact that Athena's name is one letter shorter anyway?, and who cares it's just a fun souvenir and if nothing else we can wear them when we're enjoying Disneyland with friends. So we ultimately decided to get some.
But not right now, because we're on our way to check out the check in situation. We went to Frontierland, where check in was supposed to be, and saw nothing in the way of check in...ness. So we went on the Jingle Cruise instead! It was pretty much the same as other Jingle Cruises, so I don't really have anything to say about it. By the time we got off the ride (about half an hour later), the check in booth had been set up, and there was a line stretching all the way to the Royal Theatre. So we got in line twenty minutes before check in even started and once again cursed the camp-out mentality that has somehow made its way into our culture. On the other hand, we didn't need the gratuity, so there was really no reason to get in that line. But on the bright side, we now have two more Disneyland 60th Anniversary backpack thingies, as well as some Paint the Night postcards.
Then it was off to California Adventure, because we knew it was going to be a cold night, and we wanted to try some cocoa floats from Ghirardelli's before the chill started to set in. And the verdict is...! They were alright. The milkshakes are better. But now that we know chilled cocoa is a thing there, we're going to ask if we can get chilled drinking chocolate, because that would be The Best (I assume).
We hung out in California Adventure for a while and then it was about time to use our fastpasses, so we finally got to experience Hyperspace Mountain. And the verdict is...! It was alright. We'd have to go on it again to know for sure. We figured we'd have plenty of time to do that during the annual passholder party, when there should be fewer crowds.
But as for how Hyperspace Mountain works. First, you go through the line where you're always passing by monitors that explain The Mission. We're supposed to go help the rebel forces attack the Star Destroyer Jakku (we like to call it Jack, but technically it's pronounced ja-KOO), but be careful because the flight can feel like "a high-speed, turbulent roller coaster in the dark" (<--the safety spiel for regular Space Mountain). When you get on your space ship, they check your safety restraints, and then send you up, at which point the main Star Wars theme starts playing in the speakers behind your head. One of the awesome things about Space Mountain is the music that plays along with the ride, and how it matches what you're doing...only it didn't match so much with this one, because they started playing really tense rebel battle music when you're still making the slow climb up to the top of the roller coaster. It drove me nuts, because the music was telling me exciting things were happening RIGHT NOW, but the motion of the roller coaster car was telling me not so much.
Anyway, the way Space Mountain overlays work is that instead of just being in a giant dark room with disco balls making stars all over the place, they show projections on the walls at key places to make you feel like something is going on. Like with Ghost Galaxy, there was a space ghost chasing you all through the ride, and if you kept facing forward, the projections were timed just right so, for example, it would seem like the ghost was just about to grab you, or it's climbing on the track that you're about to turn onto. So for Hyperspace Mountain, I used the Ghost Galaxy experience to remind myself to keep facing forward, that's where they designed the show to take place.
But they tricked me! For Hyperspace Mountain, they don't only have music playing through the speakers, they also have your fellow pilots communicating about what's happening. And more than once, you hear somebody say something like, "They're on my tail!" The second time that happened, I thought, "Oh, maybe there's something behind us!" So I turned to look behind me just as they introduced a cool new effect that made it look like TIE fighters were shooting at us...from the front. Sigh.
Also, the music wasn't as nicely coordinated, as previously mentioned. I wanted to bring it up again, because once you break out of hyperspace (part of the trip up takes you through a long tunnel that's perfect for launching effects, like the ones you get in a jump to hyperspace...which would be more perfect if you went up the tunnel quickly, which of course you don't, but I can't think of a better place to put the hyperspace jump, either), you immediately hear Admiral Akbar say, "It's a trap!" and I think that's why they had the tense music playing prematurely. I don't understand why it's so important to have him say that line everywhere. (We also recently watched a Studio C sketch that insisted on quoting that line.)
But the laser effects were cool, and they kept getting cooler and cooler as the ride went on, so by the end, you're like, "That was awesome!" even though it's not that awesome at the beginning.
After that...stuff happened. I don't remember the order of everything, but I do remember that we had dinner at the Galactic Grill, which was offering more Star Wars themed menu items. We went with the boring Cheese-3PO burger, because the First Order burger and the Jedi Order burger were waaaaaaay too fancy for our picky tastes. But they put sauce and onions on the burger we got, so next time we're thinking of going with the even more boring Han burger (it's on the kid's menu and comes plain). We were adventurous enough to try the fancy new beverages, the Dark Side and the Light Side. The Dark Side is just strawberry lemonade, so no worries there. The Light Side is apple lemonade with yogurt-flavored pop-boba "meteors". And most importantly, they each come with a light up thingie--Dark Side has a Death Star and Light Side has a Millennium Falcon. They were both pretty good. The yogurt boba blended nicely with the tangy lemonade.
We didn't get dessert at this time, even though the Galactic Grill also had Darth by Chocolate, because we wanted to get it at the Pizza Port, and we wanted to save it for later because of our new "avoid starvation mode" strategy of preventing headaches at Disneyland. So off we went to enjoy the rest of the park while we waited for the regular hours to end and the passholder party to start. It was fun. We went on It's A Small World Holiday, where I discovered that, with my camera on the right mode, I can take some really good pictures even without a flash. This is GREAT news for when we go to DisneySea. So the third or fourth time we're on Sindbad, we can take pictures to show people.
But we also had a really bizarre experience on the ride, because our boat just stopped, right in the middle of the ride. We were going through the Africa room, and I was noticing that we seemed to be going awfully slow, and then we weren't going at all! Other boats came up behind us and got stuck because we were blocking the way. It was so bizarre! We don't know if it was the big boat pileup, or if it was our own efforts that got the boat moving again. We did like a lean-forward-really-fast thing over and over again until the boat made it to the next set of water jets to push it forward. We're just a little bit sad that it worked, though, because we were kind of hoping to see what happens when they have to send people to rescue you. Maybe next time we'll be less assertive.
And we went on Indiana Jones twice, and got to go through the Observatory of the Future both times! This was exciting because the Observatory of the Future is by far the most interesting of the gifts of Mara.
Finally, we watched the fireworks from the Rivers of America, which was nice. Without the projections to distract us, just looking at the fire in the sky, it's really a pretty nice show.
And then it was time for the party to start. They had a dance party at Fantasy Faire, which was interesting because it had guys on stilts and jugglers (sometimes the same person), and they had a ton of characters from Cinderella--Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, the Fairy Godmother, and the Duke's assistant guy who carries around the pillow with the slipper. It was also weird, though, because they were playing super modern Christmas music, like, "All I Want for Christmas is You". It didn't really match the ambiance. We stayed and watched the performers for a little while, and then we realized we hadn't been to Fantasyland, so we went on some ride there. The Peter Pan line was still as long as ever. This was frustrating, because you'd think that at an exclusive party the crowds would be a little smaller, but no, they were pretty average for the most part.
The exception was that some lines were a LOT longer than average. (Although we did manage to almost walk on to the Winnie the Pooh ride.) We went to Tomorrowland to see if Hyperspace Mountain might possibly be a viable option (it wasn't), and then, since we didn't really care about anything else anymore, we figured we might as well get our parfaits and go home. Of course, the lines for the Galactic Grill (the Pizza Port was closed, despite event reports that it would not be) were also several times longer than usual, so we waited approximately forever...to find out they had sold out of Darth by Chocolate parfaits. Boo! Boo, I say! Fie! Fiiiiiiiie!
And then we went home. But before we left, there were a couple of things that made us feel better. First, we stopped in the restroom on the way out, and for once it wasn't super crowded--it was empty. Yay! And second, they were handing out Christmas tree ornaments at the exit. Those two things assuaged my seething anger, and we had a pleasant, if tired, walk home. The end.
Today I'm thankful for getting to go on Hyperspace Mountain, getting to go on the Jingle Cruise, getting to try out cocoa floats, getting to ride the caboose on Casey Jr., and figuring out how to set my camera so it can take nice pictures without a flash.