Jessi and Jolene, on the tram from the parking lot to finally get to Disneyland!
Up, ready, and on the road by . The park opens at 10, so we figured that was plenty of time. We drove past the entrance as it was on the other side of the road, but that did give us a hint of how big it was. You couldn’t see the park; all you see was the largest parking lot I had ever seen. We paid our money to park, and then were directed to a space. The parking lot is so big (100 acres, bigger than the park itself), that it has to be divided into sections, each named after a Disney character. You needed to remember the section, and row, so you could find your way back. We wrote ours down. We were not going to rely on our fatigued strained mental faculties at the end of the day. We had gotten here at about , and still parked well, well, away from the entrance.
Me, Jolene, and the stroller on our way to the Happiest Place on Earth
But Disney anticipated that issue, and they had a large tram, to pick you up and whisk you off the entrance. A short five minute or so ride later and we were at the entrance. We paid our money and got in line to get into the park. Disney had done away with their old ticket system ten years ago, so all you needed to go from ride to ride was your passport.
All set, we pushed into the park and onto Main Street USA. When I say pushed, I’m referring less to the stroller carrying my daughter, Jessi, and more to the sheer volume of people. This was easily the highest concentration of people I had ever seen in my life. There were, at times, literally no way to move, and Main Street is very wide. We ended up getting our way through, to CentralPlaza, and finding a spot to stop where we could get our bearings and decide where to go first.
Jolene driving, me preserving the event for posterity.
The park is divided into four “lands’. There is Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland. There is also Critter Country and New Orleans Square. We opted to head towards Fantasyland, as there were some kiddie rides to start Jessi on. The girls, who included my oldest daughter, Jolene, took their turns on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and The Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup ride. From there we decided to get adventurous and go on It’s a Small World. (If you had seen the line, you wouldn’t question the “adventurous” part). When we finally got to the front we were loaded into a boat and sent around the world. Throughout our tour of world tour, seeing various themed rooms, representing different cultures and places, the song “It’s a Small World” is played over and over, but the language it is sung in changes to reflect the culture of the room. The net result is that you can’t get the song out of your head. I was humming, much to my dismay, the rest of the day. (Now I’m rhyming. Grrrrrrr) But, the girls liked it.
It's on rails, so the rocks were safe.
Heading into Tomorrowland we came to the Submarine Voyage. On this ride they put you in a submarine-like conveyance. It doesn’t completely submerge, but it does so enough that those sitting inside are under water. Then the ride takes you around the lagoon for a series of sites and adventures. I thought it was a little on the cheesy side, but again, the girls liked it, and that’s what we were here for.
But, by now they were also hungry. So we stopped to get something to eat. Hamburgers and Chicken Fingers were the fare of the day, followed my some Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream. Between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland is Motorboat Cruise. Margo and Jessi got into one boat-on-a-rail-in-the-water, and Jolene and I got in another. I razzed Jolene about her driving (which the rail had complete control of), and tried to work the video camera and follow Margo and Jessi ahead of us.
Tired of looking at Disneyland thru a little black n white window.
It was quite tame, but both girls got to “drive” and that was the big fun.
After the Motorboats they had Disney Characters out in the CentralPlaza. So we wandered over and saw Daisy and Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. Jolene got right there with them, and gave hugs and was all smiles. Jessi never left her mother. She didn’t trust these guys anymore than she had Daffy Duck a few days ago. But, she was only shy with them, and still waved good-bye to each.
Next it was off to Frontierland. We got on the Mark Twain Riverboat and set on down the Rivers of America. The ship is on rails, but you can’t tell. So we went around, seeing guys paddling canoes, and going past a burning building.
Jolene and Jess, off to the left, waiting to climb on this rock on Tom Sawyer Island. The rock rocks back and forth like a teeter-totter
There were Indians, of course. We all liked this one, and it had given the girls a chance to see Tom Sawyer’s island from the deck. That looked like a good place to play, and they had a raft/ferry boat to take you over. After our riverboat ride, we got in line to ride the raft over to the island. Once the girls got on the island they were anxious to get on the teeter-totter like rock that was near the pier. It looked like fun from a distance, but it lost its allure quick. They explored for awhile, but then decided that something else would be more fun, so we took the rafts back over. We decided to take Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. These were the same canoe we had seen from the ship. There was a Disney employee in the front, to paddle, and one in the back of the canoe to steer. They both had Crockettesque coonskin caps. We were all given a paddle of course, but participation in the physical part was more or less voluntary. On the last leg of our canoe trip, our guides decided to race the other canoe in water, and asked for full power from their guests. Most complied, but one Oriental woman looked confused about what to do, and just stuck her paddle in at odd times.
The Little Pottys at the Baby Care Center in Disneyland
(Photo courtesy of Mouseplanet.com)
She probably didn’t understand a word of what was said.
From Davy Crockett’s place we went over and got in the SplashMountain line. We had gotten used to these water rides, and this time wanted to get wet to help cool down some. The line was long, and the overall ride seemed to go quick, but we liked it. It sent us to the realm of Brer Rabbit from the movie Song of the South. That movie ruffled some feathers, as some people got the idea it was racist or offensive. I never saw it that way, and liked hearing, albeit in an abbreviated manner some of those Brer Rabbit stories. The end, on the pretense of sending us to Brer Rabbit’s home, the Briar Patch, we were sent down the steep hill and splashed down at the bottom. Fun for all, again.
It had been awhile since we had eaten, and it was well after 5 PM. So we took another break for dinner. We had every intention of staying to see the fireworks show at the end of the night. After we ate we walked past New Orleans Square. We didn’t see anything we wanted to do there, so we kept going to Adventureland. There we got on the Jungle Cruise. That was very similar to Mark Twain’s boat ride, but there were more adventures. We had to contend with elephants trying to hose us down and Hippos in the water, and such. But the Captain got us thru everything.
We didn’t linger in Adventureland very long. I mean we were almost eaten. Beside the kids had to go to the bathroom. And so begins the only part of Disneyland that my baby remembers to this day. It was not any of the rides, or meeting Donald Duck, or the animatronics, or even the flume at SplashMountain. Nope. What does she remember? I quote “the little pottys”
We looked on our map for a rest room and found a place called the BabyCareCenter, outside of Adventureland and across CentralPlaza near Tomorrowland. That sounded OK. Margo and Jessi went inside that. Jolene and I found normal accommodations nearby. The BabyCareCenter was only for infants, toddlers and their parents. When they returned 15 minutes later they regaled us with their tales of wonder. The BabyCareCenter was staffed with the most helpful people who were constantly helping with the infants and toddlers, and replacing mats, or wiping things down so they were spotless. And inside where you actually did your business, there were both adult and child-size toilets. Not just normal sized ones that were lower to the ground, but they were completely scaled down and lowered to the ground. This would allow a toddler, like my Jessi, to use them with no help. Stop the presses. Margo and Jessi both had to tell us all about it.
This continued as we entered into Tomorrowland. The kids had seen the monorail all day and wanted to ride in it. They had also noticed the SkyRide that went from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland, earlier in the day. I wanted to ride SpaceMountain, just 'cause it is famous. That’s what we ended up doing next. But they were having mechanical problems with the ride that day. We waited in line for at least 45 minutes. The kids were not having fun at this point, but didn’t get too disjointed. On this ride Jessi was too small to ride, so we did a hand off thing. First Margo or I would ride, and the other would keep Jessi. Then the other would have their turn. Disney has it down to a science. Jolene got to go with both of us.SpaceMountain is an odd kind of roller coaster, as it is indoors, and a lot of it is dark. You can see the ceiling with the simulated stars and such, but not much of the ride itself.
We got a little more than we bargained for when the ride stopped about half way though my turn. The mechanical difficulties had surfaced again. We were stranded for about ten minutes while they coaxed the hamster back onto his wheel, and we finished the ride.
We are all getting tired by now, and relaxing a bit sounded good. So we went over to the Sky Ride and rode it to FantasyLand and then back. It was nice and slow and took you up in a gondola like cable ride over the park and people. You have a great view, and it is very tempting to spit or drop something. We managed to refrain ourselves.
Dusk was approaching, so we got in line to do the monorail. We had been lucky today, in that most lines had been pretty manageable. The Monorail was no exception. It was air-conditioned and really comfortable. We weren’t crowded, and it made for a very nice rest. With night, would come first Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade and then the fireworks show. Both were worth the long day. Each float in the parade was just a dazzle of lights, and each one had it’s own music that would change as the float appeared. It was something to see. The fireworks were your standard fare, but there were just so many of them. You had to wonder how much it cost to this every night.
That was our day. We and about half the population of California headed towards the parking lot, and the trams. We decided to walk, instead of wait for a tram. It was a hike, but it would still be quicker than waiting behind all the people who would be in front of us in line. We were not alone with that idea. It all worked out, and we were back to the hotel about an hour later, tired and ready for bed.
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