Disneyland Adventures

 - by Eric

This post is a team effort.  Eric had actually already started the post and outlined a lot of the things he wanted to post about, and I decided to help him out and start fleshing out some of the pieces for him.  At first I tried to just write in Eric’s voice, but that got confusing to me and I knew that the way I was writing was different from what Eric would write.  So instead we’re employing the Chris Heimerdinger Method and all of my comments will be in italics and Eric’s will be in regular typeface.  Hopefully this isn’t too confusing :P

I know this post has been a LOOOONG time coming, but I really wanted to document the fun adventure our family had during the 2010 family reunion. I particularly enjoyed this trip because I got to take my family to Disneyland in California, a very nostalgic experience for me. You see, I went to Disneyland way back when I was five years old, so I was very interested to see how things changed over the past 20 years.

Old Disneyland Entrance

Old Disneyland Entrance

The first thing I noticed coming into the park was how much smaller it was! Well, I suppose the park wasn’t so much smaller as I was much bigger. Even so, the place felt a lot bigger by the end of the day because we had to walk across the entire park to get to our rides a couple of times.

The day started with us all being a little bit groggy.  While the other families mostly had kids who were SO excited to be there that they didn’t mind the early hour.  However, at only 1 year old Sam didn’t know what was in store for him.  So he wasn’t super thrilled to be up early.  As we went in he was mostly clingy and just wanting to go back to sleep.  We even debated just heading back to the hotel for a little while to let him get some more sleep.  However we decided to first try going on some rides and see how he reacted.

Stroller Nap

Stroller Nap

His first ride of the day was actually just riding around on Grandpa’s scooter with Grandpa.  In Sam’s opinion, that was pretty awesome!  Grandpa even let him control the scooter himself for awhile.  It doesn’t get much better than that, especially if you’re Sam and have inherited your father’s penchant for technology and pushing buttons :)  After awhile of playing with Grandpa we decided it was probably time to test out one of the actual rides at the park.

As far as actual rides go, we started out in the little kids section of the park and tried letting him ride on the merry-go-round on a horse with mom standing next to him, but he didn’t really enjoy that experience until mommy actually rode with him. After that he seemed to enjoy it enough to ride a few more times.

 

Not sure about this carousel thingy

Not sure about this carousel thingy!

Next time around was better

Next time around was better

The next nearest ride was the dumbo flying contraption where you ride on Dumbo’s back in a circle, controlling the elevation with a joystick in the cockpit. The funny thing about Sam on this ride was his expression. During the ride he had a very contemplative look on his face as if he wasn’t sure if he liked the ride or not, but after he was done and got out he got really excited. He came over to me, made the signe for more and asked, “MORE?!”

 

Dumbo ride with Mom

After the Dumbo ride with Mom

Sam signing for more Dumbo :)

Sam signing for more Dumbo

The next logical step from that ride was something a little more exciting: the teacup ride! I distinctly remember riding that one when I was there as a kid, and it was fun to spin ourselves fast and see how dizzy Sam got at the end. The line was pretty long for that one, so we then hopped over to the Storybook boat ride that was nearby. This trip was made during Sam’s fascination with water, so he really enjoyed the boat rides that day. We had to hold on to Sam as we went around, and he was only semi-interested in the exhibits and displays around him. If we weren’t holding him back, he would’ve jumped into the water!

 

Sam on the teacup ride

Teacup ride

Given Sam’s love for water rides, we felt it only appropriate to make the token Small World ride to complete our Disneyland experience. The experience was much the same as I remember, except there were a lot of newly-injected Disney references from recent movies like Toy Story and Lilo & Stitch. Sell-outs! :P

Space Mountain Poster

Eric and I wanted to get some fun out of our day at Disneyland too, so we got ourselves some FastPasses for a couple of rides and arranged with Mom & Dad to watch Sam while we rode those rides.  We considered them like little mini dates.  Even though with our FastPasses our “dates” were less than half an hour it was still fun to have an opportunity to spend a little bit of time together and to feel care free. Our first mini date ride was Space Mountain which is a classic ride of and we had a lot of fun.  There’s not a lot to say about the ride itself, it’s a rollercoaster in the dark, but it’s a really fun ride.  Actually I was impressed that the ride itself was as long as it was, with most rides I have the opposite opinion, so that in and of itself is a pretty good commendation I guess.  Surprisingly Eric and I hadn’t been to an amusement park together in our 3 years of being married so it was kind of exciting just to have some new “first” experiences together.  Luckily Sam slept happily in his stroller for the duration of the ride.  Which was good, he was still having some pretty serious separation anxiety and wasn’t yet used to Grannie and Grandpa.  We were glad to not have to worry about his reaction to us being gone, even for that short bit of time.

Indiana Jones Poster


For the second mini-date near the end of the day we were able to secure some FastPasses for the Indiana Jones ride on the other side of the park. The long walk wasn’t the best, and unfortunately Sam wasn’t napping in his stroller this time around. With his separation anxiety, we had to try and distract him with another ride on grandpa’s scooter while we stole away into the line for the ride. I wasn’t sure what the experience would be like, but LucasFilm partnered with Disney on the experience, and they generally produce good stuff. The ride was on a giant jeep with hydrolics, and we were both amazed at the animatronics of all the characters in the ride. At first, I thought the people were real. I figured that would be a really boring job to have to repeat the same lines and actions over and over again. It wasn’t until the last moment I realized that it was a robot. Pyrotechnics combined with G-forces from the hydrolics made for a really fun ride. It was good that it didn’t last as long as space mountain because Sam was really distraught when we came out.

After dinner at Pizza Planet, we weren’t sure what to do with a one-year-old, but as we wandered around, we came across the TLT dance party. That caught my attention thanks to my DJ-ing days in high school and college. What kept us there was seeing my son break down to Darude’s Sandstorm – he’s got good taste in techno! It was really fun to see Sam in this new element. He even got some flirtatious looks from some girls nearby! I think we may have a ladies man on our hands. :)

Our last ride of the night was the new Finding Nemo ride.  Sam had recently gotten into the movie so we figured it was likely to be a safe bet.  Unfortunately the line for the ride was incredibly long all day, and we didn’t think that our 1 year old was going to have the patience to wait so we kept putting it off.  When we finally did hop in line the line was still over an hour long, but we decided to brave it.  While standing in line Eric fell for Sam’s cute face and bought him a flashing bubble gun.  Since Sam was getting pretty tired at this point it was a very helpful tool in getting Sam through the line.  Even though it was severely overpriced (welcome to Disneyland :P ) it was definitely a worthwhile investment, because at the end we were able to get on the Finding Nemo ride.  It was Sam’s favorite thing that we did all day long! As we hopped on the submarine I was concerned that he was going to freak out at the small space or being underwater.  However, my fears were quickly replaced by a completely different concern – that Sam was going to be too distracting to the other people on the boat!  He looked out the window and immediately started exclaiming, “water!  Water!  WATER!”  He *loved* it.  He didn’t stop talking about the water the whole time we were on the ride :) The ride itself was pretty impressive, it was cool to see how they had re-worked the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride to become a completely new ride.  When it came to the end Sam kept saying “more? more? more?” but of course there was no way that he was going to last through that line again.  So instead we started to head out of the park.  We were leaving just as the final parade of the night was going through Main Street.  It wasn’t worth it to stay with Sam as tired as he was, but he still enjoyed seeing the fireworks as we walked out.

So those are the main highlights from our Disneyland adventure. I’m just glad that I took enough notes that we could write about it a year later!

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