Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Adventures in Disneyland part 2

Thanks for waiting. 
So day one and we walk over to Disneyland from our hotel, and as we enter I’m first struck by the beauty of the place. Remember, I’d just come from Utah where everything was either dead or frozen, so I’m wowed by the flowers and green grass, and delighted to see a marching band playing with the Mad Hatter and Alice. We hurry over to city hall where I can receive my coveted “First Visit” pin, and off we were in the park.
I didn’t have time to keep enjoying the grandeur though, as Andrew was meeting a friend later so he wanted to get on a ride as quick as he could. After a quick walkthrough Sleeping Beauty’s castle (Awesome effects when Malificent fights the prince BTW) we were standing in line for Star Tours. Now before this trip rides to me met Lagoon, a place I have a complicated relationship to say the least. On the one hand, they have an awesome lazy river and Rattlesnake Rapids, two things I insist on riding. On the other, they have everything else. I may be the oldest 27 year old in existence, but I honestly feel like most of the rides are repurposed interrogation devices. The last time I was there I had to pop my knee back into place after two different rides, due to it trying to calculate what the human threshold for pain is.
Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to rides at Disneyland.
How I was wrong.
Turns out Star Tours, as well as all the other rides at the park I had the pleasure of riding, not only accommodated the larger gentlemen and his backpack, but also were less interested in G-force and more interested with telling stories and showcasing animatronics. I loved it!
So with Andrew we did Star Tours (A ride featuring Star Wars characters and locales, perfect for a geek) then something involving life-sized AC cars before Katie and I were alone at Disneyland. I’m sure we were disgustingly cute to the other patrons, but like we cared. We were in Disneyland and in love, nothing could’ve been better.
Throughout the day we ended up riding a giant sailboat, a Snow White ride, Small World (Afterwards Katie wanted to use a drill to get the song out of her head), and the train, that turns out has animatronic dinosaurs, much to my delight.
What Katie and I loved was that Disneyland wasn’t just rides. As we sat on a bench waiting for our feet to stop throbbing, we heard an announcement that a patriotic show was about to start no more than 20 feet from where we were sitting. Well of course we went and caught the show, which was a delightful medley of patriotic songs acapella style then saw a robotic Lincoln reciting some of the 16th president’s most memorable times. Back outside we caught the lowering of the flag, accompanied by the same band we heard earlier with Mad Hatter. It was stirring, though I was sad to see not as many people getting into it as Katie and I did. I felt blessed to be with someone who appreciates fine American traditions as much as I do.
Peppered throughout the day I got to meet characters. I bought a Mickey Mouse autograph book and started to fill it with some of my favorite characters. First thing first though: I got to meet Mickey. The Mouse is located in his house in Toontown, through an air conditioned maze of Disney memorabilia and little animatronic shows. After about 45 minutes I finally fulfilled my dream, teary eyed, met Mickey Mouse and got his autograph. I consider it a highlight in my life so far. Included in my autograph book that day is Rafiki, Genie, Aurora and Cruella DeVille.
We of course had to hit the parade, which was pretty cool, even when the wheel fell off the Mary Poppins float. The parade was a celebration of Disney music, and every float had the crowd singing right along. We ended up seeing it again on our last day, just to see what it was like when everything worked, and it was so worth it. 
We ended up stopping at a cozy little restaurant in the New Orleans area and had delightful Southern style sandwiches. As we ate and gushed over the Tennessee Barbecue, a server walked up to us and gave us both “Citizen of Disneyland” pins. I was so proud of it I wore it every day I was in Disneyland.
I know I’m kind of pathetic.
Toontown wasn’t my last teary eyed experience at the Magic Kingdom. That night Katie and I saw the fireworks over the castle. Julie Andrews told us about how Disneyland has been the place of hope and wonder for kids of all ages. As I heard lines from the movies I grew up on and loved for years, remembering Pinocchio, Arial and Peter Pan brought my childhood in full view. By the time they were simulating Pirates of the Caribbean I was losing it. It was a wonderful evening, made only more special by the hand of the woman I love in my own.
Okay so my first day was definitely an experience to remember, tears, rides and performances and all. Want to find out what happened the second day? Stay tuned!

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