Disneyland Day 3

by Melita Sat, December 04 2010 07:58

Well our early morning pass was not used this morning. Not that I’m surprised or upset – it was still dark at 7am. It would have been very cold and dark and then we would have had to lug our jumpers around all morning. Anyway – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

We did get to the park at around 9.30am. As it was a Saturday, we weren’t sure if it would be ridiculously busy. It turned out to be pretty busy, but not as crazy as last night.

We headed to Toontown again, rode the rollercoaster (twice), had photos with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, did the ‘small world’ ride again and then waited a million years to go on the submarine ride – not the best investment in time. It was well done, but Zane has never seen Finding Nemo the movie, so he didn’t relate as much as some of the other rides – like the Toy Story characters. We finally got to see the parade, which was at 1pm. We had a good spot we didn’t have to fight for and had a very interesting conversation with the people next to us. We realise we haven’t had much opportunity to talk to many American people. We don’t really meet them, except the people that serve us at restaurants, and they can’t stay and chat.

While we haven’t really done all the rides here at Disneyland or seen anywhere near everything, we really had to call it a day. If I was living in the fairly close vicinity, I would get an annual pass. For around the same price as a three-day pass, you can get an annual pass and come and go all year round. Fabulous idea! We met a couple of people with them and they just came for a day or a few hours.

Back at our hotel and Zane had a nice long nap and then Tracy and Russell, Tamara and Rhys came over and we had Chinese food for dinner and the boys went for a swim in our heated pool. The pool might have been nice, but the getting in and out is too much for old wussy me!

Overall a marvellous experience at Disneyland, and a fabulous place to come back to in around 10 years time, when all of the rides will be accessible by Zane (as he will have grown a few more inches) and he can carry his own backpack and put on (and off, and on, and off, and on) his own jumper.

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Disneyland Day 2

by Melita Fri, December 03 2010 06:40

Yesterday Zane fell asleep just before the evening parade, so today we decided to start late, as the park is open till midnight, and we wanted to try and see the park at night. The morning was spent doing laundry and filling in time (Zane and Cameron had a swim in the heated pool) and we went to a local grocery shop to get a few things. While Zane was napping, Cameron went out to get a new mobile phone. He spent a whole $19 on a new phone (he’ll tell you all the technology sagas in a separate blog). When he got back, I went out to the Mall. I drove myself – on the wrong side of the road no less.

Having absolutely no idea what shop was what, I first headed into Saks Fifth Ave outlet store, and promptly walked out the other side. I did the same with Neiman Marcus. I’m clearly not in the designer market – I refuse to even look at a child’s beanie for $45. You have got to be kidding me!

The mall was a funny place – kind of like Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast. Everything is in blocks, but to get from one shop to the other, you had to walk out in the open. Must be awful in cold or snowy weather (although I think LA doesn’t get snow). I was a little surprised. I thought the shops would have been more like what we have at home with everything under cover. I found a bag shop that had great prices, but didn’t find anything I really liked. Then I asked about what was around, as I didn’t want to wander aimlessly. I was given directions to a Levi’s factory outlet and an Old Navy store, which was eventually where I found some things I liked. I got a new pair of jeans, a ‘sweater’ and a lovely scarf at really good prices.

Getting home from shopping we got Zane up from a nice long nap and headed out to Disneyland. This time, we opted to drive and park, which was a much quicker option. It only took us 10 minutes, and although it cost $15, we could come and go all day for the one price, so probably the best way to go. Disney runs free, non-stop shuttle buses from the parking lot to the main gates. It’s a very slick operation and only about a five min (max) trip. Cameron seems to think the parking used to be near the main gates, but they have built a new theme park since then (California Adventure) and moved the parking offsite.

Once inside Disneyland, we caught up with Tracy and Russell again and headed towards a different section of the park – Critter Country to go on the Winnie the Pooh ride. On the way, we decided to go on the Jungle Cruise, which was a bit of fun and then got side-tracked doing the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Although there were no height restrictions for Pirates of the Caribbean, Zane was too young and I admit I spent the first half of the ride with my hand over his eyes. I wasn’t interested in having to deal with nightmares from him seeing skeletons.

At this point, Tracy offered to look after the boys (Rhys and Zane), who went on the train ‘to see the dinosaurs’ and the rest of us headed off to do the Indiana Jones ride. We were nearly turned away as the ride was closed due to technical difficulties, but as we were debating what to do, they started letting people on and we were luckily some of the first people to get on. I’m very pleased I didn’t have to wait too long and as it turned out, we got back to Tracy at almost the same time. We finally made it to the Winnie the Pooh ride (lamo, but then it wasn’t built for adults) and then we bought Zane his souvenir – a Mickey the Mouse hat with ears. Very cute!

Rather than trying to find something to eat inside the park, we decided to get a pass out and try to find a real meal at a restaurant nearby. Tracy and Russell had been to a Denny’s just across the street, so we went across to see how busy it was. We got in straight away, which was amazing. Once again, we were blown away by the serving sizes. I decided that I needed a much smaller meal than I have been getting, so I got the Appetiser Nachos. Well – I’m pretty sure I didn’t order the Nachos as appetisers for the whole seven of us, but it could have been. It’s absolutely crazy. It’s going to take me all month just to get it right. I apparently have to order the half-size appetisers. If I ordered half-size at home, I’d get 2 corn chips and a pea-size serve of sour cream. So, I have quickly and easily discovered why obesity is such a problem here.

The others left before we had finished forcing food down Zane’s throat….. why eat when I can bounce all over the restaurant….. and we got back to the park just in time to see the fireworks – which were excellent. Then, to top off the fireworks, they made fake snow come off the top of the buildings – absolutely incredible. Just magic! I loved it! As the park was opened till midnight, we thought we’d try and go on a couple of rides before we headed home, so we headed towards the back of the park (we were right at the entrance for the fireworks). Well…trying to make it through the crush of people was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Cameron and I both agree we have not seen that many people in our entire lives. I made the comment there were more people at Disneyland than in Australia that night. It was crazy and insane and I would not choose to do it again. We tried to see “Fantasmic” the light show, but there was no way to find an inch of space. People were getting their places for the parades over an hour before it started, so I can imagine people were lining up long before we were able to. It’s just not feasible to try and sit Zane still for any length of time. Queues are hard enough as it is. We finally made it to the “small world” ride, to be turned away from the huge lines of people. What surprised me was the number of strollers. We anticipated that people with small children might go home after the fireworks, but they stayed and went on rides. There were more strollers parked outside the ride than a baby shop – actually, make that a baby warehouse.

We did manage the ‘whale ride’, a boat ride that went through the mouth of the whale (from Pinocchio) into an enchanted village (everything in miniature). We also got to the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blazers, which was fun for the boys – I let them shoot the baddies with their lasers.

Totally exhausted, and getting cold, we headed back to our nice warm hotel and crashed into bed at a ridiculous hour of 11.30pm. Our pass allows us to get into the park tomorrow an hour earlier than the crowds, but this means that we have to be there at 7am. I somehow don’t see that happening.

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Disneyland First Timer

by Melita Thu, December 02 2010 21:39

We are staying at Orange, near Disneyland, in a very nice suite at the Best Western Meridian Inn and Suites. It has a King size bed – absolutely HUGE – in its own bedroom, as well as a lounge area (includes Sofa Bed), table and chairs and kitchenette. Of course, when I say Kitchenette, there is a small fridge, microwave and coffee machine, but nothing else. No toaster, kettle, plates, cups or cutlery. Clearly no one drinks tea in this country. I guess I’m supposed to microwave the water first.

We were under the impression that we were quite close to Disneyland, and I believe we are, as the crow flies, but yesterday we opted to take the shuttle from the hotel, and didn’t get to the theme park until 40 mins later. I think we took Cook’s tour, and then some. The bus also did not have suspension, so we were feeling a bit ill by the time we were ready to walk in the front gates.

I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thought the big fairytale castle was the first thing you saw when you went in the gates. It turns out it is actually in the middle of the park. The park is broken up into different sections, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland etc. We headed to Fantasyland and rode the Carousel and while we were waiting to meet Tracy and Russell, Tamara and Rhys, we waited for the TeaCup ride. Unfortunately, we were just about to have a go when the audio cracked up and we had to leave the queue and come back later – lots of groaning.

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While we caught up with the news from the relatives, we sat in the queue for the “It’s a small world” boat ride. Zane absolutely loved this. I couldn’t get a photo of him looking at me – there was too much to see. The ride is really clever with lots of animatronics, music and lights. High quality too, nothing tacky about it at all! As it’s the holiday season they have added some Christmas carols to the song-list as well as the usual “It’s a small world”.

Next we decided to take the train, which circumnavigates the park. We thought this would be a good introduction to what was here. It was good to see the size of the park. In some areas, the train went through a tunnel, which I can only assume was when it passed under or behind another ride, and they had displays, like a diorama of the Grand Canyon, or a dinosaur display, which Zane thought was pretty special.

Next we went to Mickey’s Toontown, where Zane was big enough to finally ride his first rollercoaster. I guess he liked it, because he wanted to go again as soon as we got off. We parted from the others so they could do some more ‘grown-up’ rides that didn’t involve minimum height restrictions of 35 inches (Zane must be 36 inches as he was a little higher than he needed to be). Toontown had a play area and we spent a while running off some steam here, before finally getting onto the Tea Cup ride. We also went on the Alice in Wonderland ride (which Cameron thinks was designed by someone on a bad acid trip). Zane was a bit disturbed by this, so we won’t be revisiting that particular ride.

Zane in Toontown Disneyland

As it was getting dark, we wandered down Main Street USA to be ready for the traditional Lighting of the Tree, when they turn on the lights of the big Christmas tree located near the front of the park. Although it was not even 5:00 pm, there seemed to be hundreds of people lining the streets ready for the parade at 5:30. We were to meet the others at 5pm, so having a few minutes to kill we wandered into one of the many souvenir shops to see what junk we could buy. While we were there, Zane fell asleep on Cameron’s shoulder, so we opted to go home rather than hang around to watch the parade. With a three day pass, there is a little bit of leeway to come and go as you please, which is quite relaxing.

The bus trip home was only 20 mins, thankfully, and for dinner, we tried some local pizza (which was pretty awful), watched some television and then crashed fairly early.

At this point, I’ll mention the food. Serving sizes are very, very large at restaurants. This also applies to any form of drink. Cameron made a mistake of asking for a large coffee and struggled under the weight of the cup they handed him. I had the small serve of ice-cream that could easily have served two.

Everything you are served or buy is extra sugary or extra salty. I had eggs for breakfast this morning that were so salty, my late great-grandmother, (whose exploits at piling the dining table high with salt were legendary), would not have found anything lacking. Every cereal is laced with sugar. I had Raisin Bran (Sultana Bran equivalent – or so I thought) to find the flakes of bran frosted with sugar. I also think they soaked the Raisins in syrup. The pizza we had last night had more cheese than base and about 5 pieces each of ham and pineapple.

As prices go, it is pretty cheap compared to home. We went to Sizzler the other night and the buffet was $9.90 each (ex tax). Back home dinner may set you back around $18.00 at Sizzler. Obviously, we have found it much cheaper to make and take sandwiches with us during the day, as the theme parks seem to gouge you at every turn – not that this is different from say Dreamworld. I have also found it a little easier to stay healthy. We can have our tinned fruit and fresh fruit and a couple of muesli bars (granola bars they are called here) and a ‘cookie’ or two, without feeling like you need to buy bigger jeans.

Speaking of jeans, we have had a couple of chances to go shopping for short periods. I now own a very trendy leather-look jacket to wear with jeans ($32 inc tax) and a proper 80% wool coat that I got on sale at Macy’s (Myer) for $119.00. I plan to go out this afternoon and try my luck at the local ‘Mall’. We shall see what eventuates.

Zane on Teacups Disneyland

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