Disneyland, Thursday, September 6, 2007

Our previous trip to Disneyland was in September of 2005, and among other things occurring at that time, I had just quit my job, we were in the process of selling our house in Portland, moving to Canada, starting a new job, and finding a place to live that allowed our ferrets.

This time around life was a little more sedate for us, but less so at the Disneyland Resort, where construction walls and scaffolding abounded.

As in our previous trip, we were staying at the Grand Californian, which we really like, and although the amenities really don't justify the hefty rate, the convenience and atmosphere makes it worth the cost to us.

We would not escape the Resort's construction and maintenance work in the confines of our hotel room.

Ah, but no matter, Disneyland was just a short walk away.

We have been visiting Disneyland together in September every other year since 1993, with a gap between 2000 and 2005. For our first few trips we would plan which attractions we'd see and when, to maximize the amount of time spent doing things at the park (yeah, okay, Elayne insisted I make it clear that it was I who would make and obsess over these detailed plans, and not her). These days we've settled into a much more relaxed approach to visiting Disneyland, where we have a list of things we know we want to do, but we mostly just walk about, enjoying the incredible details that are there for those who take the time to look.

We veered left at the hub and found ourselves, in quick succession, on the Jungle Cruise and Indy -- both rides were complete walk-ons.

Likewise, Pirates had no wait, and we were blessed with the best fellow guests possible: no flash photography at any time! Seriously folks, I could have stood at the exit and kissed and each and every last one of you to show our appreciation (well maybe that would be a little gross, but you get the idea). This was our first time seeing Pirates with the movie tie-ins, and our overall impression was favorable. Elayne is completely ga-ga over Captain Jack (see Act V for proof), and so of course she loved the addition of him to the ride, but we both thought he looked awful waxy in his final appearance.

With no particular place or attraction in mind we wandered over to New Orleans Square, gazing out over the Rivers of America along the way.

We noticed that Cafe Orleans now had table service, and decided we were hungry. While the menu is limited, both the food and service were good, and the views from our table, just before sunset, were idyllic.

After dinner we wandered about New Orleans Square, enjoying the sights and sounds, but lamenting the loss of the Disney Gallery, even if it was only to be temporary.

For the longest time, Elayne's favorite attraction was Big Thunder, and it was virtually a walk on when we strolled by, so we hopped on for mild rush of adrenaline.

After Big Thunder we crossed over into Fantasyland, where some of the low key rides are among our favorite attractions, such as Storybook Land, and here, King Arthur's Carousel.

The Tea Cups, another favorite, was made all the more magical by twilight.

The park was set to close just a few minutes away, at 8:00, and so we walked around the Matterhorn and into Tomorrowland, where we found the wait for Nemo was right around half an hour, and so we queued up. We have fond memories of the old submarines, and we were happy to see them operational again and gracing the lagoon with their presence. The interior of our sub was new, clean and sharp, which heightened our anticipation for Nemo.

We enjoyed Nemo, but found that we preferred the old style real three dimensional figures better than the animated effects. The story, if there was one, was rather much lost on us. We have hopes that the existing infrastructure could be used to present a non-Nemo, more futuristic ride through liquid space that could, perhaps, be offered in addition to the Nemo story.

It was 8:40 by the time we left Nemo, and we swiftly made our way back to Main Street, where we topped off our evening with an ice cream cone before heading back to the hotel.

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