DAY 1 - DISNEYLAND!
Our first day was Sunday, April 14th. The morning greeted us with some cool weather and cloudy skies but it didn’t dampen our excitement. We ate breakfast and headed out to Disneyland for our first day. I wanted to make it for opening but unfortunately I had to wait for the car rental place around the corner to open first to return our car. I wasn’t too worried though as the park was open until 11:00 that night and we had plenty of time. We got through the gate at 9:45 and we were in!
In what has become a bit of a tradition over the years of visits to Disneyland and Disneyworld, our first order of business always ends up being a ride around the park on the train. The refurbished station looks beautiful and there was no wait to get aboard the E.P. Ripley. “Gloomy skies didn’tkeep my daughter from enjoying her first sight of Mickey and the Main Street Station”
“We’re goin’ in!”
“The famous plaque”
“And we’re in!”
"Wait a minute! Happy, smiling kids? Wow, it really is magical here! "
As we rolled back into the Main Street station, we decided to head down Main Street and see what was new in the shops. A quick pit stop at City Hall for 1st visit buttons for the kids and away we went. I am still impressed to this day with how clean and tidy everything looks. I had read many comments about things going downhill but we honestly didn’t see anything to complain about. It surely is impossible to keep every inch spotless at every minute of the day, but it looked pretty darn good to us! “Not too many people around yet.”
After a quick stop at the Market House for coffee (on its last day open before refurbishment into a Starbucks) we pushed ahead.
At the hub, the kids were asked where they wanted to go first. Overwhelming votes were given to Star Tours (all big Star Wars fans) so we headed over to Tomorrowland. As FastPasses were not really something we tried last time (they were still very new in 2000), and we saw the standby time was 35 minutes, we chose to stand in line. The kids didn’t want to wait for the FastPass return time in an hour. LOL. The line went fast and we were on our first ride of the trip! And what a ride it was! The random storylines and new 3D effects were very cool compared to the “old” Star Tours. Over the 4 days of our visit, we came back 2 more times (using FastPasses after figuring out how to best use them) and managed to see several different segments. Awesome.
After Star Tours, we headed over to one of my favorites, Space Mountain. This sadly was one of only 2 real disappointments during our whole time there (the other being Soarin’ closed). I knew beforehand that Big Thunder was down for refurbishment, but to miss Space Mountain? Yuk. I can see though where safety comes first and while too bad, I saw no reason to get upset over it. Too many other things to see and do in 4days!
From there, we went and shot some stuff up in Astro Blasters, where I managed to hit a target that gave me 400,000 points at one time. Just as well as I could only hit about 50,000 on my own
“It’s lonely in Space”
After a visit to Star Traders and wandering Tomorrowland and around the Matterhorn we could see the crowds starting to pick up a bit. We decided to have some lunch and headed out of the park. We packed our own lunch and left it in a soft-sided cooler in a locker for convenience and were back in the park within about 45 min. There was no shortage of space to sit and eat and relax. This is one of the reasons we decided on a 4-day ticket. We probably could have“squeezed” 3 days but I am not one for rushing from place to place just to see it all. The whole time was much the same, without ever feeling like we were running out of time (except for about an hourbefore closing on the last day!)
We headed back through the gates and back to the Hub where once again, the question was put to the kids “Where to next?” to which the reply was “Where’s Indiana Jones?” Off to Adventureland!
After grabbing a Fastpass for Indy, we went over and waited for the Tiki Rooms next show. As it is the Tiki’s 50th anniversary this year, we celebrated with the much talked-about Dole Whip. It was actually my first one! I love pineapple. I love Dole Whip. “Partners Forever”
“Gawrsh! Where to next?”
After the show, we had time to take a Jungle Cruise before heading to Indy. Our cruise guide was funny enough, but the ear piercing scream she let out at one point near the hippos (I think) nearly made everyone jump out of the boat! I could have done without that! LOL
“It’s the Tiki TikiTiki Tiki Tiki Room!”
We climbed through the treehouse to kill a few more minutes and enjoyed some of the views…
“Making sure this guydoesn’t ‘drop’ anything while we are waiting!”
Indiana Jones was next and the kids loved it. It was much like I remembered, although to me it seemeda little rougher than before. I must be getting old!
After Indy, it was time to head back for something to eat. We left the park around 5:30, caught the shuttle and were sitting down to dinner at our place by 6:30. After relaxing for a bit, it was back at it. We got there around 7:45 and had plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the night. I love Disneyland at night - such a different feel with all the lights and displays. I don’t have the best camera so the night pictures aren’t great but still fun to look at and remember!
Our first stop after getting back in was to Pirates of the Caribbean. One of my very favorites tied with Haunted Mansion. We timed it just right, with crowds getting spots for the fireworks, we walked right on. In fact we went on Pirates and Mansion 3-4 times each during the 4 days and the longest we waited for either was probably 10 minutes. For most of our visit, the wait for any attraction was fairly short, enough so that Fastpasses didn’t come into play that often. The longest we waited was 75 minutes for Radiator Springs Racers but I’ll get to that story for Day 2!
Next up, Haunted Mansion! Once again, we pretty much walked right in and it was as good as ever! We walked through New Orleans Square and saw the fireworks from a bit of an odd angle but still enjoyable for the kids. After, we made our way through there and across to the hub again, and after a ride on Finding Nemo we decided it was a good time to take a night time monorail trip. This was the first time since 1987 that I have been able to do a full circuit because in 1999-2000, it was not passing through the future California Adventure. One thing that struck me was how fast it seemed to be. I had forgotten and it was pretty cool. It also gave us our first glance of DCA. Very exciting day coming tomorrow! “MMM, smells good!”
“And you thought you were having a bad day!”
After getting off the monorail, we headed over to the Matterhorn and waited to get on. Now, I love rollercoasters and thrill rides but my kids haven’t been on anything like it before. They were not worried in the slightest and were getting more excited as the screams of other riders wound them up more! I was a little concerned about riding because I have a bad back from an injury in hockey about 3 months ago. I had been reading about how bad the new bobsled seats are and was prepared for the worst, especially after hearing that Matterhorn was closed earlier and may close again. I wanted to ride! I am 6-1 and about 225 and I had a great time! The seat wasn’t too bad, the ride didn’t aggravate my back and life was good. I am not sure what all the fuss is about, but I seemed to fit with no ill-effects. Fun! Of course the kids wanted to go again but itwas getting late and we had had another big day tomorrow. All together we were at the park for just under 11 hours on the first leisurely day. The kids trooped right along with the best of them but now it was time for some sleep. We walked out at just after 11pm and I realized what magic really means… that you actually can getyour kids to listen and walk for extended periods of time! You just need a Disneyland!Next: On to Day 2!
“It’s 10:59pm. Do youknow where your kids are? Not too many people left in here!”