Friday, August 31, 2012

Magical Disneyland – Part I


Let’s get this on. The excitement continued from last night when we explored Downtown Disney. Now, at long last, we were able to go to Disneyland and feel the magic for ourselves.

Judging from the amount of pictures, there could very well be a few posts about these wonderful two days spent with my Mama in the most magical place on earth.

Consider yourself warned.


We arrived at the Disneyland gates at 7:00 AM as they were counting down to let everyone in. I almost teared up. Mom was pretty excited about it, too.

I felt bad that I had kept her from counting down with everyone in person, so I decided to get up earlier tomorrow morning to prevent it from happening again.


Main Street looks busier than it really was. We brought up the rear of the early-entry crowd. But we didn’t waste time here. We had a schedule to keep in order to maximize our time this morning with fewer people in the park.

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On our way to our first ride, we stopped at the castle to take a picture without the massive crowds behind.

Look at this perfect weather! We had cooler temperatures and overcast skies for the first several hours each morning of our two-day stay. It was perfect.

And, of course, we started with my Mom’s favorite ride, Peter Pan. It just didn’t feel right to do anything else first. I was happy to oblige. It’s one of my favorite rides, too!


Oh man. I was so excited. It was still surreal that we were here to enjoy this together. It was difficult to wait the five minutes until our turn in line.


Neither of us had any desire to ride these, but I thought that a picture was satisfactory. I hate spinning and getting thrown around for no good reason.

Party pooper? If I’m not doing it in an airplane, please don’t ask me to participate.


Our schedule for the morning next took us to the Matterhorn, which has been recently renovated. I haven’t been on this ride for about twenty years, since it was under construction last time I was here in 2000.

All I remembered from way back then was the red-eyed abominable snowman. And yes, he still scares me.


We met some nice people in line who offered to take our picture. We actually ran into the same family the next day in California Adventure. Small world? No pun intended!


Of course, we were first in line. I love how well-organized Disneyland is. We discussed several times how they have perfected crowd control, including how to line people up for ride entry.


I think part of the renovation was new cars. It was fun to ride through a noisy mountain in a bobsled, that’s for dang sure. I’m pretty sure that I yodeled. And, no, I don’t know how to yodel. I just got caught up in the moment.

Disneyland does that, you know.


Next on our list was Space Mountain. We had a goal to knock out some of the big-line rides before the rest of the park attendees arrived. These were also rides that we only needed to do once.


There was no wait for Space Mountain, and we walked all the way to the room where we got into the cars. It simply took ten minutes to get there.


Space Mountain was always one of my favorite rides as a kid. I regretfully need to tell you that this time around, I needed some breakfast afterwards! Riding awesome rides on an empty stomach has never worked for me.


Apparently, it was scary enough to close my eyes for the camera. Weak sauce. Am I allowed to blame the very bright lights that go off just before the camera takes the picture?

On our way to get something in my stomach, we passed the newly-redone Star Tours and decided to ride it while the crowd was non-existent. Here we are in line. We waited a whole five minutes until we “boarded” our flight. How fun!

In the first hour, we had ridden four rides. Not too shabby, for two overly-excited ladies!

But it was time to eat some breakfast. We quickly decided on Jolly Holiday for some pastries and goodies to share. This place was so delicious that we actually came back for a late-night snack!

And you can probably see why. Pastries, croissants, cinnamon rolls, and donuts awaited hungry guests. This was the right place for us this morning.

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We aren’t normally this indecisive, but we decided to share again so we could try more things. We got a mini quiche, a croissant, and a very healthy cinnamon roll. All of our dreams came true with this healthy assortment in our bellies.

Start the drums! It’s time for my favorite land, Adventureland! Mama’s favorite land has already been visited this morning, too, since we went to Fantasyland right away.


We next went to one of my favorite rides, Pirates of the Caribbean. I have such lovely memories of this ride as a kid. We had no wait at all and got on the very first boat.

I tell you, mornings are the best time in this magical land!

Pretty sure that my face hurt after today. I don’t think either one of us stopped smiling!

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After we got our Pirate on, we wandered through New Orleans Square on our way to the Haunted Mansion…another favorite of mine.

With no crowds to compete against, we had a great time not waiting in line for this one! I love this ride. Again, great memories as a kid. But this was my first time to Disneyland with my Mama, and I can’t even begin to explain how much fun it was to be here with her today.


Oh man. I love this place.


Have you ever been in this room of illusion?


We were close enough to Splash Mountain to justify it for our next ride. I love this one, too. I am trying to think if there is any ride here that I don’t like!

Maybe It’s A Small World…don’t be a hater.


We opted to ride in the back, since neither of us wanted to get really wet. There was no line, yet again, so we pretty much got to sit wherever we wanted!

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And the ride was everything I remembered. But even more fun, because my Mama was there with me. I snuck a few shots in the un-wet portions of the ride. That’s the big drop on the right!

Excited? What? Us?


The entrance to the Winnie the Pooh ride is right next to the Splash Mountain exit, so that was our next choice. This didn’t even exist last time I was here, but it is a favorite of my Mom’s. So we had a nice time on the quick ride before moving on.

And then I think that we held hands and skipped.


On our walk skip, we passed the band and took advantage of this prime photo opportunity. These little old men are so cute and invite people up for pictures while they play. We were happy to pretend that they wanted us there!

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Next came our only wait in the two days. We spent a whole twenty minutes in line waiting for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but we thought it was just too long. So from this point on, we got smart with our Fast Pass access and only waited ten minutes for anything!

My Mom knows everything about this place! Fast Pass was just a new little baby last time I was here.


Just like I remember, this ride was wonderful. And we enjoyed the cute displays of the three-quarter scale town while waiting in line.


Up to the first drop. Chug a lug! And I love this picture of my Mom during the ride. She looks so calm, when the ride is anything but!

Isn’t she awesome?

This was one of my favorite pictures from our visit to Disneyland today. Goodness knows we took a lot of pictures!


Next, we continued our walk towards to top of the park to enter into Fantasyland (yes, again!) for some more fun. I was surprised at how dark and scary lots of these rides were.

Good thing I’m mostly grown-up now. Mostly.


We even rode around in tree trunks for Pinocchio's ride!

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And then we continued on with another dark ride for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. This line took about fifteen minutes but seemed longer because of the kid screaming bloody murder in front of us. He didn’t want to go on such a scary ride, but his mom was just dragging him along. The nice ride attendant gave him his flashlight so he would be “safe” on the ride. I thought that was so thoughtful and well-handled!

We were impressed on numerous occasions with the cast members of Disneyland.


We rode Mr. Toad’s at 11:00 AM. We’ve been up and at ‘em since 6:00 AM and entered the park at 7:00. As you can see, the park is filling up pretty quickly now. And our nice overcast layer has disappeared. But it never got crazy hot! It was great weather for our perfect two days at Disneyland!


Next we rode Snow White. But first we had to stop for a poisoned apple. Of course.


Our few moments in line allowed us to enjoy the ride decorations. Look how cute these pillars are! I love squirrels. The cartoon versions, anyway.


We were getting pretty excited about lunch, too. I had a surprise for my Mama, and it meant scheduled lunch on the other side of the park. Our stomachs may or may not have grumbled while we rode the Snow White ride.


This is a good place to end for today. And, as I look through all of these pictures again, I just want to go back! Mom, are you game?

See you on Monday for more magical Disney!

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