Saturday, November 5, 2011

Can you keep a secret?

Saturday in Cali started off much the same as Friday - not in a good way.

An unscheduled 4:15 wake-up call, again.

True to form we had no problem going back to sleep for a few hours.

After a mediocre breakfast we started making plans for the day.

Drive into Hollywood? Nah, too touristy
Drive up the coast?  Nah, too much in the car time on such a gorgeous day
Find a spot at the beach to read and nap? Nah, the fog stays at the coast until at least noon this time of year

Go to Disneyland?  Heck Yeah!

I had immediate guilt thinking about having a day at Disneyland without the kids, but then I got over it.  We have not been here without kids in about 6 years.  There are very few pictures of this day because I did not have to carry a bag with diapers, snacks, and bottled water, and neither one of us was sporting a belt with which to hook the camera.  There are a few iPhone photos, but you've seen it all before, right?  The only noticeable changes were the Halloween decorations.
Mickey and his friends decorating the entrance turn-styles
We started our day at California Adventure and the ride lines were extremely tolerable.  I suppose they were more tolerable since we had no preconceived notions of what rides "had" to do - other than Toy Story Mania and Soarin'.

The Toy Story Mania line was pretty long, I'd say it was about 45 minutes.  The wait was well worth it.  Matt and I get very competitive on this ride.  We've only ever ridden it with the kids so we have never rode together to see our close scores.  I started off with a narrow lead, but Matt eventually beat me.  I would say it was a close competition.  Matt would not ride California Screamin' because the guilt of riding it without M was too much for him. 

After a few more rides at California Adventure we spent the rest of the day at Disneyland.  We rode our favorites including the Finding Nemo Submarines and Indiana Jones.  There were two odd occurrences - Pirates of the Caribbean was closed!  They say it was closed for refurbishments, but we were still mad.

The second odd occurrence was the wait for The Haunted Mansion.  Now we say "duh" to the long wait, but I never expected this.  The sign outside the mansion read 85 minute wait from the gate.  However, the line had an overflow corralling that went over by the Disneyland Railroad stop and New Orleans Square.  Yeah, I may not be in a hurry to ride the rides, but I can find something better to do with myself than spend almost 2 hours in line for The Haunted Mansion.  We definitely got a Fast Pass for this one.  Plus the Fast Pass was for about two hours later so it was a win-win.

While we waited for The Haunted Mansion we rode another favorite, Buzz Lightyear.  Today's ride was particularly spectacular as it kept stopping.  That gave maximum opportunity to rack up points.  I love the Disneyland Buzz Lightyear ride because you can hold the laser zappers in your hand and shoot wherever you want, unlike Disney World where they are stationary on the safety bar.  I say that only knowing what it was like the last time we were in Orlando.  Matt scored big when he hit a high scoring target that was also blinking (blinking targets =  mucho points).  See how he turned out....
He certainly beat me today
Once we got in line we realized what all the excitement was about.  The Haunted Mansion is seriously decked out for Halloween, starting with the front gate.

  The mansion takes on the Nightmare Before Christmas theme, and they did not disappoint.  In the entrance room that stretches, the usual wall portraits were replaced with movie-themed scenes.  As a matter of fact just about every other possible spot in the ride was replaced or enhanced with movie-themed scenes.  Check out the backdrop as you get into your doombuggy.
Scary Christmas
The low level of light on the ride made all the rest of the iPhone photos come out black.  I think everyone should check this ride out at Halloween.

After a quick run to the car or our jackets we grabbed some dinner at Downtown Disney.  The main restaurants were 90+ minute wait for walk ups.  The UVA Bar is a small extension of the restaurant Catal and the line for an outdoor table looked manageable.  

We ate this trio of dips that could have sufficed as my dinner - hummus, baba ghanoush and mouhammara (hummus-like but made with walnuts and red peppers and our favorite of the three)  with warm pita slices.

Enough about the food, we had one ride left for the night - Indiana Jones.  I will make a confession right here, I had never ridden Indiana Jones before.  The lines were always crazy long and the Fast Passes were all out by the time we made it over there.  I think we picked the perfect night for it because we watched the fireworks through the trees as we waited in line.

Our day had come to an end, and we were certainly fulfilled.

*Update - M knows that we went to Disneyland.  She bluntly asked Matt when we got home and he was the good dad and told her yes.  I think she was sad, but understood that she can't go every time.  Although she wants to go every time!

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