Yesterday I went to the resort, expecting crowds and heat. I got both. Oh, man, was it hot. I usually don't go to the parks when I know it's expected to be that hot, but I wanted to check out Legends of Frontierland before it ended, and I'd convinced a friend to go with me and try it out.
We arrived around lunchtime, about an hour later than we'd intended due to some unexpected traffic. But spirits were high because we were going to Disneyland! And the car had air conditioning! And were in one piece, unlike the accident we passed that was the cause of said unexpected traffic. (it didn't look like anyone was hurt, just the car, or I wouldn't be so glib) There was plenty of expected traffic too, but we'd factored that in.
The original plan was to do a couple coasters and then eat lunch, but being an hour later than we'd anticipated, we were starving. We made a beeline for the Golden Horseshoe, observing some of the Legends of Frontierland happenings as we passed. Frontierland was definitely bustling.
Vegetarian alert: we both got the mozzarella sticks. Anyone who might be interested: they have changed! I know I had them earlier in the summer and they were the HUGE, rectangular kind, slightly lighter brown breading on the outside, no herbs in the batter. I think you used to get 5 in a basket, plus tons of fries. I used to barely be able to finish those things. So much food. Now what you get are 7 of the more standard, smaller, rounded-end mozzarella sticks, darker brown breading, herbs in it. They're still good, basically what you'd get in any chain restaurant that serves mozzarella sticks. I mean it's hard to go wrong with fried cheese. And my waistline certainly doesn't need more fattening food, but from a value-perspective, I'm pretty sure the meal cost the same, but was definitely less food. I often used to split one basket with a friend but that probably won't be happening any more. It made me wonder if they were responding to criticism of being too much in one serving. Reminds me of the shrinking chocolate cake that happened in the GH a while back. On the plus side, I had room to split a sundae.
We rode some Fantasyland dark rides after lunch. I love me a walk-on. Is it just me or is Peter Pan really harsh at the end there? I don't ride this frequently because the line is usually too long for me to be worth it, but did yesterday because my companion wanted to and it was actually sub 30 minutes (something I hadn't seen in ages). The stop at the end was so abrupt, it was Matterhorn-esque with the jerking around just as you come out of the ride area in into the exit stop. Kinda harsh.
Then we headed over to try to play Legends of Frontierland. I've got to say, it wasn't for me. I had read a few reports in here in advance to try to get a sense of it, but by no means did I study the rules or anything. I regretted that immediately. I found it really hard to get into and kind of confusing. From the looks of it, Rainbow Ridge was crushing Frontierland. Loads of yellow everywhere. When we went to the trading post (lots of signs said "head on over the to trading post", so we did) it took a really long time to get a CM's attention. There weren't so many players over there, but those that were were really into it and having very intense discussions with the two CMs, in character, which is all well and good but we finally decided we'd be standing there all day if we didn't interrupt. So we did. (I still feel bad/weird about doing so.) So we asked how to get started, and a very nice CM gave us nametags. All the names were foods? Was that a constant or do they have some random word list and we just arrived during the foods portion? They were only giving out orange, so I assume that means Frontierland needed people so they were putting all new people on that side? I don't know. I wanted Frontierland anyway so it was fine with me. Having received our nametags we asked what to do next, and were told to go to the Telegraph Office for a job.
Now here's the part where I pause and say I know I read some things about the game being kind of tricky to get into at first but then once you are in it it's great. There was a I think also some discussion about whether the game were designed for people coming for repeat visits, or more for the casual drop in type player. I absolutely found it to be the former.
There were clearly a lot of players REALLY into it and who really knew what they were doing. A bunch of younger kids (maybe 11-13) seemed to really have it down, had characters, were giving out jobs. It was really enjoyable to watch them. The CMs seemed to be really in character and I appreciate that a ton. However, it made me feel a little...left in the lurch? I don't know if I was just thrown by how in-character everyone was and if I'd just stopped and asked someone to explain things to me that I found confusing I would've had a better time? Maybe I read the situation wrong, but it seemed implied that you were just supposed to run with it and figures things out as you went. So I sort of felt like I wasn't "supposed" to ask questions. Although I guess I might've gotten an in-character answer that did give me some sort of better sense of things. But basically, I went, I asked for a job, they told me to go somewhere else and ask for a job, I went, they gave me one, I did it. I mean, I guess I get that the point is to get bits, and mostly the way to do that is the whole "job" thing but the whole time I just sort of felt like I didn't know if I were doing it right? Like if I could've had some strategy that would've made more sense other than just having these interactions that were basically...what do you want me to do...ok do that, repeat. I also seemed to keep running into CMs that looked affiliated with Rainbow Ridge. So it seemed like I shouldn't have been "helping" them, but they're the ones who offered me jobs/bits. I don't know if that's overthinking the whole thing. It just sort of made me feel stupid. I'm glad the game was there. All the other people I saw playing seemed to be enjoying themselves, but it just wasn't for me.
One thing I would criticize about the game: earlier, before I'd even tried to join, I noticed a LOT of children running around Frontierland. Literally running. Usually in the parks people tell you to stop running if they spot you. I thought it was odd there was so much running happening, mostly in the areas near the game. When I was at the Telegraph Office later, I noticed the way one of the CMs was phrasing things. I'm sure this was part of the script, but when people asked for jobs, the answer was consistently "I want you to run on over to the something and... etc. I doubt she literally meant "run"; it's an expression. Nonetheless, 11 year olds running all over the place. Not the best choice of phrase.
Deciding the game was not my cup of tea, rode BTMRR. All the effects worked. Yay. Then over to Adventureland to see if the special Friday juju were still available. Nope. Long gone. I sort of expected as much. I was jonesing for a whip float, but the line wrapped to the entrance of Aladdin's Oasis. I decided to settle for a frozen Mickey Bar. Next over to Splash Mountain for single riderism. Then DLRR to rest some very tired feet.
The afternoon showed no signs of getting cooler so we headed over to DCA. I am still sorely disappointed by Ariel's Undersea Adventure. It's improved somewhat with the better lighting in the Under the Sea room, sure, but every time I ride I'm bummed at the missed potential. Nonetheless I find myself riding it almost every visit to DCA. Why? It's a relatively long ride with a near always short wait, and it's air conditioned. It's a good way to cool off and rest, and the music's still great even if the figures aren't. Next was over to CS which only had a 15 minute wait. After that it was finally getting a bit cooler. At least, the sun was lower so there was more shade to be had. I could tell my companion was fading a little, so we headed over to the animation building to sit, hydrate and cool off.
A brief walk through the Mad T party misters, and then we rode the Red Car Trolley. Lots of slowing/stopping because people walked directly in front of it. Silly people.
By that point, my friend was fading fast, tired from the heat and the walking. So we headed home.