Disneyland, Saturday, September 8, 2007

Early entry on Saturday morning was, well, early. Even at this hour there were already more people waiting to get into Disneyland than we saw in the park almost the entire day yesterday. Main Street, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were open, and because we had already been on all the Tomorrowland attractions we cared about already, we planned to concentrate on Fantasyland.

The Photo-pass people were all nice, and often they would volunteer to take our picture with our own camera. I'm the goofy looking person in orange.

We made our way down Main Street and into Fantasyland. Yes, as the photo suggests, there were only four people in Fantasyland besides us, and two of them were employees. We took advantage of this state and rode Peter Pan right away.

Now what to ride next? Pinocchio? Snow White? Toad? The Tea Cups looked tempting, and so bright and shiny like candy. Why of course, Alice!

Unfortunately StoryBook Land, one of our very favorite attractions in the park, was unexpectedly closed. Oh, but then we found Dumbo completely empty -- why we haven't been on Dumbo in more than a decade!

And there's always time for a trip on the Carousel, and of course Toad.

It's a Small World looked so unexpectedly inviting, all white and shine, but

It's not that we planned to do anything in Tomorrowland, other than catch the morning light, which was reason enough. Everybody else in the park went to Nemo, but we were just there for the sights.

And then it was time for breakfast at Carnation Cafe!

After breakfast we went to meet some old friends waiting for us in Adventureland. Isn't that Bob Hope and Bing Crosby I hear singing?

We once again wandered into New Orleans Square, where we always find some detail you've missed before, or forgotten all about. We checked out the shops in the area before heading back into Adventureland for some shopping.

This brings up a general observation about shopping at the Disneyland Resort: please bring more area specific merchandise to the shops! New Orleans Square had a handful of nicely themed shops that mostly kept to the location, but even here we found Ariel, Buzz Lightyear, as well as DCA related merchandise. The shops elsewhere were even worse. Other than a dancing three eyed green alien plush toy we purchased in DCA for our ferret Takoda (who spent half of last night hiding from it, and the other half gleefully trying to rip its eyes off) and some candy to take back home to friends, we bought nothing on this trip, which was a first for us. Maybe that's because most of what we bought for ourselves on past trips we got at the Disney Gallery.

And then it was across the esplanade to DCA. When we first entered a CM came up to us and asked us a few questions about our visit. Her final question was "What specific attraction, if any, did you visit the park for?" We answered honestly that we were there to find Heimlich, and she looked at us like we were crazy, but she dutifully entered it in her tablet.

Over to A Bug's Land, which if it were in Disneyland would be filled with kids all through the day. Honestly, the landscaping and theming here is great, and even we enjoyed our visit. It is so appropriate that the plants were selected to attract bugs!

It's Heimlich!

Why Heimlich? Because Elayne is a wildlife biologist, and her current field of specialization is butterflies (and of course caterpillars). She currently works as a contractor for the Oregon Zoo (through the Canadian Government -- it's a long story) working on silver-spot butterflies (an endangered NW species). One of her coworkers insisted she visit Heimlich on her trip, and so there we were.

We then trundled over to Paradise Pier. To many people this corner of the park is an eyesore, but Elayne likes California Screaming, and so we braved the cheerless concrete and plastic facades for a ride or two.

We'd never been on the Sun Wheel, and while the views of Disneyland are nice, we'll probably never ride it again. How many peaks can you see?

The best part about Grizzly Rapids is watching the other guests get blasted by the geyser! This was so addictive, and we couldn't help watching.

I've always thought the Hollywood section had some great architecture, and loved to walk down the street looking at the Art Deco and Streamline facades. I really want there to be more here!

We rode Monsters Inc, and thought it was at least as good as the best dark rides in Disneyland, but suffered from a really cheap facade, a recycled ride vehicle, and a terrible location.

There were no vacancies at the Hollywood Hotel, and 45 minutes was too long a wait for us, and besides, we had a date with a Sith Lord. We ate lunch at the Tomorrowland Terrace and watched the Jedi Training Academy, and just loved it.

After all the little Jedi Knight wannabees disappointed us by steering clear of the Dark Side, we went back to the hotel and had a few drinks at the Hearthstone Lounge. The atmosphere is calm and relaxing, and the bartender was able to mix a good version of Milk Punch, once I gave him the basic recipe.

We had dinner reservations at the Napa Rose for 8:30 that night, and so we decided to visit DCA again (a first!) and make a run for the Tower of Terror, after which Elayne insisted we make another run on Screaming -- and the shoddy photo is proof positive that we both enjoyed it, although I felt guilty about it afterward.

We then waited for dinner time at the Cover Bar, where we limited ourselves to just one drink (honest!).

Dinner at the Napa Rose was, if anything, better than on our previous trip. We shared scallops as an appetizer, and they were the second best I have ever had. The heirloom tomato salads were delightful (we asked for them without the bacon and blue cheese, which we felt would overwhelm the wonderful tomato flavors), and Elayne enjoyed the salmon while I feasted on duck. We had a nice bottle of Pinot Noir along with our dinner, and spent over an hour and a half enjoying ourselves.

It was late when we returned to Disneyland (sans camera), and we spent the rest of the night at Carnation Plaza with the band and dancing. We finally left the park after a very long day.

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