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20 June 2014 @ 07:59 am
Disneyland  
Avalyn and i had plans to go to Disneyland with inkbot and a friend on May the 4th, but we ended up having to cancel that because other stuff came up.

Since Disney decided to do a couple extra "Star Wars Weekends" we decided to reschedule for one of those and went the Saturday before last.

We got there around 10:30 and got inside about 11. We had a reservation at Blue Bayou at 12:30, so we decided to check out Indiana Jones since it was on the way. The sign at the front said it was a 30 minute wait, so we got in line. After about 15 minutes in line they started announcing that "due to unexpected demand" or some such the wait was going to be longer than expected. Realistically there's no way that "unexpected demand" could cause the line to go slower. It's possible there were a lot of FastPass people gumming up the works, but by definition the FastPass people had to have shown up earlier to get their tickets and thus could not have actually been unexpected. Clearly one way or the other some screwed up the signage.

After we'd been in line for a little over 45 minutes and were only about 2/3rds of the way through the _outside_ line, InkBot went and talked to one of the attendants, to explain that we had an upcoming reservation and ask if they had any notion of how long the wait _actually_ was now. I don't know what all was said, but she came back with a group FastPass ticket so we bailed out of the line. Since we were right there we stopped by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and got regular FastPass tickets for that, and then went to Blue Bayou.

I got one of the steaks for lunch and three mint juleps. The friend decided to try the Monte Cristo sandwich, and then donated 1/4th of it to me so i could try it too. I finished all my food and the quarter sandwich, but when she offered me another quarter i turned it down. The Monte Cristo sandwich is good, but it's kind of overwhelming. I'd heard it described as a sandwich made with french bread and then deep fried, but the end result is really more like a sandwich stuffed in a doughnut.

When we were done with lunch we went to use our FastPass tickets on Big Thunder, and decided as long as were were there to get another set of FastPasses for it. So we went on Big Thunder, then went and used out group pass for Indiana Jones, and by the time we got out of that our second set of FastPasses for Big Thunder were good so we did that a second time.

We went to check out Splash Mountain and the FastPass time was kind of long, so we decided to do the "Single Rider" thing. I had not heard of this before, but you basically go in through the exit and get in a special line, and every time they have one seat left in a car after filling the rest in with one or more groups, they pull someone from the Single Rider line. I think there were four or so people in front of us, and it took somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes for us all to get cycled through. Definitely a lot quicker than the huge line.

For Splash Mountain the general rule is the Single Rider gets stuck in the back. However from what i gather the closer you are to the front the more wet you get. The rest of the car i was in had a group of five people who were all together, two guys who got stuck with the front two seats and three girls. The two girls in front of me asked if i'd mind swapping spots with them, and i said sure. Then the third girl saw what they'd done and asked if i could swap with her too, so i said sure. The two guys didn't realize they'd been abandoned until we'd already gotten in and the ride had gotten going :) The third seat might not be as bad as the front two, but i definitely got pretty wet.

After we'd all gotten through we decided to check out the Haunted Mansion, and found the line was pretty short so we did that. I believe at that point we stopped my the Mint Julep place for drinks, and also some beignets. (I drank all of my mint julep and half of Avalyn's =) Then we did the Pirates of the Caribbean. (Given that you have to do reservations for the Blue Bayou now, it seems like they ought to "FastPass" you for that right before your reservation to help establish the mood.)

Since we'd pretty much covered everything on that side of the park we decided to head for Tomorrow Land. On the way out we stopped at some random place to get some fries for InkBot, and then went by Bengal Barbecue so i could get some skewers and the others could split a "jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel."

We stopped by Star Tours to get a FastPass there, but it wasn't good until 8:10 (it was about 5:30 or 6 at the time) so we went on Buzz Lightyear Astro Whatever, then went to Matterhorn. For Matterhorn we did the Single Rider thing again, and got equally speedy results.

We then went and checked out the new Small World. There wasn't much of a line, but just as we got to the front, they started experiencing some kind of technical difficulty with our lane of boats, and ended up having us and everyone else in the line walk through the boat so we could alternate loading into the other lane from the exit area. Small World definitely seems to be a bit shinier than it used to be, but it's kind of weird that they've inserted Disney characters all over the place.

When we got to the end of the ride there was no one in line anymore. Either the ride shuts down at 6:30ish, or they decided the technical issues were serious enough to close the whole thing.

Some of us were getting hungry again by that point, so we went to the Carnation place on Main Street for dinner. I wasn't especially hungry after the skewers earlier, but i had a salad and couldn't resist splitting an order of fried pickles with everyone. (I ended up eating at least half of them =P)

By that point it was time to get back to Star Tours. Almost immediately after i first went on the ride as a kid i started saying they ought to film another flight or two. It ought to be easy to swap out the film and programming on a moment's notice, right? So now they apparently not only have multiple videos, those videos are created on the fly by splicing together randomly selected segments. So i ought to be happy now, right?

Well i kinda am, but that happiness is detracted from a bit because A: the new parts seem to be rather Prequel-centric, and B: they replaced the old pilot with C3-PO. C3-P0 is cool and all, but i liked the old guy. (Even if his memory was clearly getting wiped before every flight =)

We were just in time to watch the fireworks after that, which were cool, but we were kind of hoping for some Star Wars stuff, which was entirely lacking. (The info available about what Star Wars related events were happening on which Star Wars Weekends and at which parks was vague at best. According to pages i found they _sometimes_ do Star Wars themed fireworks, but this was not correct time and place.)

We wanted to go to the Fantasyland rides after the fireworks, but it turns out they block out the entire area during the fireworks display, and there was a big line of people waiting to get back in, so we decided to bail on that plan. Then we went to check out Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again, except it apparently also gets shut down during the fireworks and the Phantasmawhatever show they do. So we ended up going on Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean again.

After that we did a little shopping on Main Street on the way out, mainly buying a bunch of candy :) (We wanted to find some Malificient stuff, but like the Frozen merchandise it's apparently all getting snapped up as soon as it appears thanks to the movie.)

We were out the gate around 11:30, and it was between 11:45 and 12:00 by the time we were leaving the parking structure. So aside from not leaving at the crack of dawn to get there when the park opened we spent about as long there as it was possible to spend.
 
 
 
Beth Leonardbeth_leonard on June 20th, 2014 04:36 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a fun day at Disneyland! The single-rider idea sounds good for when the kids get older, but for now I think we're stuck in the slow lane for a few years.

--Beth
DonAithnendonaithnen on July 7th, 2014 07:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was pretty convenient. Between that and fast pass we may have doubled our ride count. I wonder how long the single-rider thing has been around without me knowing about it?