We spent yesterday doing pretty much nothing. Dennis has been pretty generous with his time and he needed to get some things done. So he did. Margo got caught up on laundry and I helped Dennis where I could. We did work out that it would be fun to run up to Los Angeles and see Disneyland. So as the 8th was Saturday again, and both Dennis and Carrie were off, we decided to go.
We got a reasonable early start, leaving San Diego about .
Main Entrance. That is Dennis in the dead center holding taping us.
It’s a bit over 100 miles from El Cajon to Anaheim, so we figured on about two hours. We weren’t far off, even factoring in for a short stop to take a picture of the sign in front on CampPendleton just north of San Diego. CampPendleton is a Marine base, and most new recruits end up here for their basic training. Margo’s brother was a marine. That is past tense because he died in a training accident, as opposed to him leaving the corp.
Main Street U.S.A
It was natural for us to stop and at least take a picture.
The drive up the coast was a bit boring. There really wasn’t a lot to see on the way up, as we took I-5, instead of the coastal highway. The coastal highway would have taken quite a bit more time. Oh, well. We got to Mickey’s place about and parked in the Robin Hood section of the HUGE Disneyland parking lot. I know this was the section of the lot, as when I took my video camera out to check it, I accidentally turned it on and it recorded our whole trip from the lot to the front gate. The Disneyland lot is so large they have a tram to pick up patrons and haul them to the main entrance. The person driving the tram makes a point of announcing where they just picked you up from several times and then reminds you to write it down.
The Big Cheese. Margo and Jolene are directly behind Mickey waiting their turn
Sound advice, which we followed.
By the time we got our tickets and finally got through the gate onto Main Street USA it was about . The first thing we did was gather with the rest of the masses to have a picture or two taken with the Disney characters. This is very much a Darwinian experience, with only the toughest and most determined being rewarded. Margo got Jolene’s picture taken near Donald Duck, but not really with him. But we did at least get to show her Mickey Mouse, Tigger, and a couple of others. We took a left and headed into Frontierland, as we really had no real plan. The Mark Twain Riverboat looked interesting so we got in line for it. By the time we got to the front of the line it was closing in on 1 PM. The boat ride itself was a bit relaxing and fun to the extent you got to feel you were really on an old Paddle Wheeler. It lasted about 20 minutes and got us in the spirit of things. That being that we would spend an hour in line for every ride we ended up taking.
Margo and Jolene waiting to see Donald Duck at Disneyland
But, this was our first attempt at a real family vacation and we were still learning about planning these types of things. Plus, waiting in line is part of the game.
After the boat ride we went over to the Big Thunder Ranch (petting zoo) and let Jolene pet the various animals. She was used to cats and dogs, but the goats and others she was not sure about. As she was still shy of three years old, she was also a tad fuzzy on the conjugation of her verbs. Upon being told she could actually pet the animals she asked in a slightly worried voice “Did it bite?” Once assured that the animals wouldn’t bite she was good to move from animal to animal petting and telling her Mom about how each one felt.
We decided to take the Raft to Tom Sawyer’s Island and look around there some. We enjoyed the ride, as it did give you the feeling of being on a raft.
Me, Margo, Carrie, and Jolene in her stroller. What to do first?
Of course this one had its own power and safety ropes to keep passengers from falling off. The island has a rock formation that the kids love to climb on, especially since one of the rocks acts as a large teeter-totter. We played around there for awhile and then took the raft back across the Rivers of America, and to the mainland.
We were getting hungry by now so we stopped for something to eat, before we got in line for the other ship than navigates the Rivers of America in Frontierland, the Columbia. The Columbia is a pirate ship. Ours was commanded by a Captain with a habit of making bad jokes. He told his first officer that he needed to speak up as he was “Deaf in one Eye”. Which complimented him being “Blind in one ear”, a bit later one. We sailed past a mounted Indian in full head dress, who the Captain identified as “Chief Auto Parts” (Chief Auto Parts was a large chain in southern CA).
Chief Auto Parts
It went on like that for the whole tour. But we saw all of the sites; like the Burning Settler’s cabin, a waterfall or two, and plenty of Indians. More fun. Jolene enjoyed it all. Whoever happened to be holding her or nearby would make sure that they pointed out the site to be seen, as we went by.
Next we left Frontierland and made our way over to Adventureland. There we got in line for the Jungle Cruise. This is a boat ride that takes you through simulated areas of Africa and Asia. There were lots of animatronic animals, but I thought the best part was that it was cool and we got to sit down and rest. We are deep into the afternoon by now, and everyone is getting a bit tired. But, the attraction was nice too. Even though you could tell the animals were machines, it was still fun.
Waiting to cross the river to get to Tom Sawyer Island
Our “guide” had a list of bad jokes that he told through out the tour, and at one point “saved” us, by firing his pistol at a hippo to scare him off.
We headed for “the hub”, the central area where the Walt Disney statue is, and where you can enter the various lands. We really didn’t have a plan, but when we saw the Chip and Dale were making an appearance we decided to stop and see them. We didn’t get a picture, as we weren’t the only ones with this idea. By now it was about . We were planning to stay until the fireworks show was over around . So we decided to take another break and get something to eat. After that we had our hearts set on riding the monorail.
We had spent the whole day looking up and watching it zip by, and we all wanted to ride it, so off to Tomorrowland we went.
On the Jungle Safari. The rhino and hyenas had "treed" a safari group
We were able to board sometime around and settle in for the ride. The monorail travels through part of the park, leaves it and heads to the Disneyland Hotel. It was relaxing and informative. There was a running commentary playing as we rode. It told us that the monorail could attain a speed of 60 miles per hour, but it never goes that fast. I believe the top speed reached was something like 35 mph. We also learned that the parking lot was 100 acres in size. We joked about being able to spot our car. It was also sunset as we rode, so we got to watch the sunset while we were riding. The whole trip, around the park, to the hotel, and back to Tomorrowland lasted about 15 minutes.
From the monorail we got a good look at the Submarine Voyage attraction and decided we wanted to do that. We waited in line for about half an hour. I was a little surprised the wait was that long as I figured most people would be finding a spot to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade which was starting pretty quick.
Anamatronic Hippo. This was a little one. The guide shot at a great big one
But, they weren’t. The sub ride puts you in a submarine that goes most of the way underwater. You, as a passenger, are underwater and looking out a window at there various things to see. There is an underwater volcano, and you get to discover Atlantis, and there are even a few mermaids that stun the Captain, who is narrating this whole thing. It lasts for around 10 minutes, and was one of the longer rides.
By now it was time for us to find our own piece of ground so we could watch the fireworks. We did just that, and at they started. I remember being very impressed, not so much by the fireworks themselves. They were good, mind you. Better than the display I see annually back home on the 4th of July. I was impressed that they spend the money to do it every night. But, with as many people as there were on this hot August day, I guess they could afford it.
That was it for Disneyland.
Elephants on the Jungle Cruise
We had completed a rite of passage. We all found our way through the sea of humanity, and spent about an hour getting to a hotel. We were all dead tired by now, and had no trouble dropping off to sleep. We would be staying in LA for one more day. Tomorrow we were going to Universal Studios.