Today we did our first day at Disneyland. For me the fun of Disneyland starts with watching the excitement of the kids as we pull into the parking garage. They get increasingly excited as we board the tram and go in the front entrance. No matter how many times you’ve been to Disneyland, it’s always fun to go through the front entrance and walk into Main Street USA.
The classic entrance photo. Notice that mickey is wearing a mask for Halloween
We were hopeful that the park wouldn’t be too crowded in the middle of the week and while it was more crowded than our last trip, the longest wait for any ride was 30 minutes and we just used Fastpass for those rides. One thing that was new this year was a Finding Nemo ride (the old submarine ride that they shut down for a number of years and only recently brought back). I wanted to go on the submarine ride but there was never a wait under 30 minutes and it doesn’t have a fastpass. Oh well, we’ll get to it one of the next two days.
My one and only chance for a classic Mickey picture and I manage to make it blurry
We first went to Mickey’s Toontown where we rode on the Cartoon Adventure ride (can’t remember it’s real name), the Goofy Rollercoaster, and waited in a long line to take a picture with Mickey. After Toontown Samuel and I decided to ride the Matterhorn while the rest of the family went to ride the cars at Autopia. It turns out that Samuel is my best roller-coaster partner. He was always up for any of the roller-coaster/action/adventure type rides while his sisters often (and his mother always) wussed out. Caroline turned out to be a pretty good roller coaster rider once Samuel went on it first and convinced Caroline that it was fun. Diana wasn’t tall enough go on any roller coasters and seemed content just to hang out in her stroller and wait with Nancy.
Samuel about to board the Matterhorn bobsleds
Diana’s favorite ride was the Alice in Wonderland teacups. I don’t mind going on that ride but I have a strict “no spinning” policy because I don’t want to get seasick. Diana’s second favorite ride was the carousel and she also liked the Dumbo flying elephant ride.
Emily and Anne of course enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean. So did Nancy and Samuel. Nancy and the girls also went on Indiana Jones while I took Samuel and Diana on the Jungle Cruise and the Tarzan Treehouse because they were too short to go on Indiana Jones (not that Diana would have gone anyway). It’s interesting to see how Disney is rebranding various attractions to be more in line with their newer movies. Pirates of the Caribbean now features a Johnny Depp look-alike as Captain Jack Sparrow. The submarine ride is now Finding Nemo and features scenes from the movie. The old Swiss Family Robinson treehouse is now Tarzan’s treehouse.
Samuel and Diana in Tarzan’s treehouse
For lunch I hoofed it to the car and brought back our picnic we had packed in a cooler. There is a little picnic area just outside of the entrance to the parks that also has lockers where you can store your coolers. After lunch we headed back to the park for the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, and Big Thunder Railroad. By the end of the day we had gone on every ride except Finding Nemo and so the rest of the day was devoted to “seconds” – going on each person’s favorite rides. That included the carousel, teacups, and Dumbo for Diana. Pirates for Nancy and Samuel, and Autopia for the girls.
At the end of the day Nancy and I were both tired and ready to head home so we decided to postpone the parade until the next day. As we went back to the picnic area to pick up our cooler, Emily zigged while the rest of zagged and we got separated. Nancy had already taken Diana to the car so I was stuck with Anne, Caroline, and Samuel while looking for a lost Emily. At first I thought she had followed the crowd streaming out of the park towards the main exit so I went looking in that direction but couldn’t find her. I finally got worried enough that I contact park security who put out an APB on her. We thought she might have boarded the wrong tram for the parking place so they had the tram drivers on the lookout for her. The security people asked me if Emily would have gone back to the car on her own. I didn’t think that was likely because the tram for our car was on the opposite side of the park from where she got lost. After about 20 minutes of looking I got a call from Nancy (who was still waiting at the car) that she thought she saw Emily riding on one of the trams. It turns out that Emily had indeed made it across the park on her own and got on the right tram and headed back to the car once she realized she was lost. It reminded me a lot of the time I got lost in NYC when I was exactly Emily’s age. Nothing is worse than the sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’ve lost a kid. I’m glad that Emily was level headed enough to work her way back to the car so our day at Disneyland could have a happy ending.