Friday, October 28: Wouldn't you know it? The plane was late!. My wife, Jimmie, and I were supposed to land at 3:40, but it was more like 4:30. And it didn't seem like the diamond lanes gave our shuttle any advantage in the heavy traffic. When we got to hotel, we dumped our stuff on the beds and high-tailed it over to the hub just in time for the 6:00 meet.
I immediately recognized CrazyLegs (She was not surprised), and was introduced to several others (Wolfy999, Grumpy4, DLCM, DisneyKat, et al). After some lively conversation, we parted ways, as I was meeting Carl, one of my old roommates from college days. Carl was delayed, so Jimmie and I headed over to Thunder Mountain. Carl arrived at the park and called us while we were standing in line, so I instructed him to meet us after we got off the ride.
We had dinner at El Zocalo (I had grilled shrimp) and then headed in the direction of NOS, taking in HMH and Pooh. As the first Fantasmic show was running we threaded our way over to Indiana Jones. When we exited the ride, the fireworks were just ending (oh well!) and we waited for the crowd to disperse before heading over to Tomorrowland to take in Buzz. Then Carl and I rode the Matterhorn. (It's my favorite classic ride.)
Then it was back to NOS to ride Pirates and find a spot for Fantasmic!, which Carl had never seen. We sat near the water, just in front of the dessert seating area.
I'm not a big one on shows and parades, so we don't see Fantasmic! that often, but it was nice watching it with someone who hadn't seen it before. But that was pretty much the end of the day for us.
Saturday, October 29: Up bright and early, I grabbed a snack, and we got in line for park opening. We headed straight for Space Mountain. We found it to be at least equal to its predecessor, darker, a little more intense, and it felt faster. I liked the fact there were no headrests in the new cars to block the view. Then we went on Peter Pan and Thunder before heading for breakfast at Riverbelle. (Jimmie had to have her MM pancake.)
After breakfast, we headed over to DCA to ride Soarin', Jimmie's current favorite ride. We got row 1, center section, next to a family that had never ridden it before. (Funny how that intensifies the experience!) It was starting to warm up, so I talked Jimmie into riding GRR. We walked right on and sat in a raft with a couple of pre-teen boys who were already soaked from a previous ride. The extra water was turned off (whew!), and though we were immediately offered another run, we left the boys behind, not wanting to press our luck.
Jimmie's friend Marge arrived, and we met her back in Disneyland near the hub. Marge is a smoker, which annoys Jimmie greatly, especially since Marge can't pass a smoking area without stopping to light up. (And this would go on throughout the day.) We walked over to Space Mountain to get fastpasses (return time 2:00), and then rode Big Thunder on the way to the Pirates. After a coffee break, we headed for the hub to see if any Chatters were there.
It was unclear if any Chatters would be there, but we stuck around to watch Mickey scale the Matterhorn before heading over to meet Carl and my son Spencer for lunch at Rainforest. Spencer arrived on time (barely), but Carl was late, so it was a while before we were seated. Everyone enjoyed lunch. (Mine was Rasta Pasta.)
We then split up. Jimmie gave her Space fastpass to Spencer, and he and I headed for Disneyland. Jimmie and Marge went into DCA to ride Soarin', and Carl went home.
Before Spencer and I rode Space, we got two more fastpasses for 9:45. We then did Buzz and went into Innoventions to see Asimo. It was just after 4, and the next show was at 5, so we had some time to kill there. Most of it we spent in the health area, but we spent a few minutes in the "Virtual Vacation" room before we bailed out to make the Asimo show on time.
Jimmie and Marge met us outside Innoventions, and we took the train over to NOS to get fastpasses for HMH and ride Pooh before reporting for our 6:50 reservation at the Blue Bayou.
Now here's where a BB CM blew the surprise. He asked me what kind of birthday bucked I wanted, when Jimmie pulled him over and said I wasn't supposed to know about it. The cat was out of the bag. And it got worse when another CM came over twice to first tell her that Buzz was out of stock, and then that Mickey was out of stock, and the remaining choices were Princess and Pooh. I found this pretty amusing, so I got to choose Pooh.
For dinner I had the salmon filet. The salad with red pepper dressing was especially tasty. Then came the bucket with the little cake that we shared. As the CMs sang the BB Birthday song, I remembered hearing that most servers hate having to sing. (I'm a singer myself, and I considered asking them to show a little more enthusiam.) Even with the surprise blown, it was still a lot of fun.
After we left the BB, Marge dashed off for a smoke, and we met in front of HMH with our fastpasses. After the ride, she had to have another, and as Fantasmic was starting, we headed for the train to get positioned near Small World to see the fireworks. It's a very good show there, not over the top like at the hub, but still quite impressive with the projections.
Now it was finally time to ride Space. I had given my FP to Jimmie (to replace the one she had given to Spencer for earlier in the day) so she could ride a second time. But Spencer decided to head home, so he gave his FP to me, so I got to ride a third time that day.
After Space, we saw the Star Tours wasn't busy, so on we went. When we exited I spotted CrazyLegs checking out the Star Wars merchandise in Star Traders. We had a nice little talk about our shared passion for Star Wars. (I saw the original 10 times in the theater when I was 27-28.)
Even though we'd have an extra hour to sleep in, we called it a night after that.
Coming up: Trekkie Dad's actual birthday at Disneyland.