Monday, April 27, 2015

Twelve Hours at Disneyland

I posted a little ride recap on Saturday morning, but since then, I haven't had time to post anything about the rest of our tour weekend to Anaheim. I'll just say right now that I'm glad we went in later on Saturday; we had a leisurely morning to relax that way--well, I did. I woke up well before I had to, so while my students slept in, I had a cup of tea and played around on my laptop. It was glorious.

Saturday was entirely reserved for Disney fun. We left the hotel a little after 10:00, waded through parking traffic, and at one point, I heard a panicked voice from behind me.

"Ms. Cooper! Susie forgot her ticket!"


"Don't worry, we'll get her in the park!"

And we did. I had to buy her a $150 one-day park-hopper pass, but I can get reimbursed for that and the alternative was leaving her outside. Not gonna happen.

After that, we all scattered to the four winds. I went to California Adventure, so here's a ride recap from my morning there.

The Little Mermaid Undersea Adventure

This is a so-called "dark ride," which means it's mostly dark, and it's also slow-moving. You ride in a sea-shell buggy on a track through various animatronic scenes from The Little Mermaid, complete, of course, with the soundtrack of the best songs. It was really cute and well-done, much like It's a Small World except far more modern and a slightly less-annoying soundtrack.

Merry Medlies Swings

I love those huge carnival swing rides, which is what this one is. The wait was short (as is the ride), but I do love to soar like that. There's nothing particularly special about this ride compared to any other swing ride.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

As a rule, I am not a fan of sudden drop rides, but I had been on this one before and know that it's not one big drop. Plus, the whole thing is done with great effect, and it's quite thrilling. The best part is when the "elevator" pauses and a huge window opens, affording riders a view of Disneyland that you just can't get anywhere else in either park.

Plus, our "porter" who helped us load into the ride was both creepy and hilarious--obviously having a great time with his job, crooking his finger at us to come aboard and making the teenage girls in front of me in line giggle like crazy. He took advantage of this by getting even more spooky/silly, and that's just what is so great about Disney cast members--they help make the experience even better.

This was actually my last ride. It started to rain for a while, so I mostly darted around from one dry spot to the next, trying to share tiny spaces with lots of other dampened strangers. I had a cup of hot chocolate. When the rain let up, I was over standing in long lines, and figured it was best if I find a show or two to watch.

This led me back to California Adventure, were first I attended a Frozen Sing-Along, complete with the main characters along for the fun. Next, I saw a production of Aladdin, which was wonderful, too.

At the end of Aladdin, I checked my phone and found a missed call and voice mail from about three minutes earlier. The area code was Anaheim, so I listened to the message. Sure enough, it was a cast member. I had a pair of twin boys along on this trip--they're both really great kids, but they're a wee bit on the young side of 14 and they need a little bit of extra care and reminding sometimes. Turns out, they had left their bag on the Disney train--with their cell phone in it--and then they had been separated from each other. Twin A was now upset, with no way to find or get a hold of his brother, and the cast member had seen him and offered her support. I called her back and said, "I'm in California Adventure, but I'm on my way!"

So I booked it--not running, but a fast power-walk--from Hollywoodland in California Adventure to the Mickey and Walt statue in Disneyland, weaving among people and strollers and gaggles of teenagers. When I got to the statue, I saw Twin A sitting forlornly, with the wonderful cast member, a lady named Julie, and a security cast member with him. I got the whole story, and asked them where we might look for a lost shopping bag and a lost twin brother. They suggested the train station on Main Street and the City Hall, as well. I thanked them profusely for them helping Twin A reach me, and for comforting him, and with huge smiles, they were off. So Twin A and I set off down Main Street to the train station, where, lo and behold, the bag had been returned with the phone. We went back to the statue then, as the boys had agreed to meet there if they got separated. After about 10 minutes, I said to Twin A, "You stay here, in case Twin B comes along. I have a hunch I should check City Hall."

So off I went again, actually preferring the power-walk over sitting and waiting. When I reached City Hall, I saw a familiar pair of shoes from the doorway. Sure enough, there was Twin B, red-eyed and sitting on a bench, with another cast member and the same security card who'd helped Twin A!

"Twin B! I'm so glad to see you. I know where Twin A is, and we found your bag and your phone." There were huge smiles from the two cast members, a lot of profuse thanking from me, and a very quiet, "Thank you for helping me find my brother..." from Twin B.

With that, we were off, back to the statue, where Twin A waited anxiously. I caught his eye and did a "Ta Da!!!" gesture.

These boys are funny, in that they're not particularly boisterous or prone to showing emotion. There were no loud greetings, no huge smiles. Twin B simply sat down next to Twin A and lowered his head to his brother's shoulder, while Twin A repeated his brothers words of a few minutes before: "Thank you for helping me find my brother..."

By now, we had about an hour til we had to meet everyone else, so I left them to have some more fun, and went off in search of a few final souvenirs, a treat, and dinner. While waiting to order, I felt a pair of hands land on my shoulders--it was a group of my girls, so I ended up cramming together with them at a table and eating dinner, talking about our adventures, updating them on the twins (I had sent out a group text asking them to be on the lookout for Twin B) and realizing just how much I enjoy these kids. They have their moments, but they really are just nice kids.

By the time we left, we were all dragging and exhausted. Everyone had a great time overall, however, and aside from the twins' mini-crisis, there weren't any problems.

Still, it's good to be home. : )

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