So, it started out with a drive that was intended to take us down the California coastline on Hwy 101. We were going to cut over in Stockton to the Bay Area when we began seeing the lighted signs advertising the freshly reopened Grapevine. After the third one, we decided to take the chance and take the Grapevine!
The drive down was gorgeous as it has been raining a lot here in CA and what was normally a dreary brown drive was very green! So, we got to the Grapevine and took it carefully.
But, we made it into the gorgeous San Fernando Valley (also greener than it has been lately) and were on our way to our hotel and then on to Disneyland!
We checked in to our hotel, The Tropicana Inn, and headed over to Disneyland! The crowds were VERY light! We had gotten to the hotel at about 5:00pm and were in Disneyland with our very first AP's in hand at 5:58pm. That first night in Disneyland was not even supposed to happen originally. Remember, we were going to be taking 101 down and that would have taken us about 10 hrs. We probably wouldn't have gotten to Disneyland that night if we had taken 101.
By 11pm, we had eaten dinner (for the first time ever) at Cafe Orleans and gone on Indy, Pirates, HM, Splash Mtn, Thunder Mtn, Snow White, Pinnochio, and Star Tours.
Having done all that in such a short period of time, you would think that all the things we got to do was the highlight of our night. Well, there was a woman who wanted that honor all for herself!...and she got it!
With the crowds being so light, we showed up for the 9:25 fireworks at about 9:15. There was a large crowd of people sitting on the ground in front of the hub with a space of about 15-20 feet behind them. Behind this group in the space, people were starting to fill in. Those people were standing. On the curb of the hub itself, there was another group of people sitting on the left and right sides of the hub and standing in the middle. We moved toward the middle and ended up just a little left of the middle (no Natalie Imbruglia reference intended!). About 5 minutes before the show, the area between the seated crowd in front of us and the seated crowd behind us began filling in with a standing crowd. We were under the impression that those behind us were going to stand when the fireworks started. They didn't!!! Just before the show started, a man came up and began asking my husband and I (in the front of the standing group) to sit down. At this point, there was no room for us to sit and so we just shrugged him off and told him that they should stand up as we were unable to sit. He went to sit down and his group began yelling at all those that were standing to sit down. Noone listened as the area was becoming crowded and there was no room to sit. So, the man's wife came up to us and started yelling at us to sit down. We shrugged her off, too, as the fireworks had already started. Finally, she came right up to me and turned me around and said "If you're not going to sit down, at least let my kids stand in front of you". This would be her two small children, probably 4 and 6! I said, "Of course they can stand in front of us" as they were short and I wanted this lady to shut up! It was at that point that she pushed her kids in between my husband and I! Then, came the winning moment. She pushed me down into the woman sitting in front of me! It was priceless! I turned around and told her off about what a wonderful person she was, how she had no right to push me down, and what kind of example she was setting for her children by using violence to get her way. The fireworks were cancelled about halfway through (karma is so wonderful!). My husband and I began walking away from her and I was apologizing to the woman who I had fallen into in front of me. The woman who pushed me down wasn't done! She turned me around again and said "For the record, I am teaching my kids to stand up for themselves!"...to which I replied, "I hope it was worth it! You better be glad I AM a nice person and don't get you kicked out for pushing me down!". Yeah! It was fun!!!
ANYWAY, after that, the night went smoothly. I didn't even really get mad at the woman. I was just shocked that she would use such means to get her way! My husband and I decided that we would, in the future, settle for a less than desirable seat than put up with that crap again! After all, we have AP's now and can see the fireworks again and again and again!
So, that was Friday night! On Saturday, we spent the day at DCA for the first part of the day. Our goal for this trip was to try to do things we had never done before. Saturday included a walk on to California Screamin' and rides on some of the Paradise Pier rides we had never been on. Truthfully, the only ride worth saving in the DCA Makeover is the Sun Wheel/Mickey's Fun Wheel (where I took some of the best pictures of Disneyland I've ever taken)
! Mulholland Madness is a horrible ride that was so small, my husband (who is 6'6") couldn't ride! I really didn't like it!! We got SOAKED on Grizzly River Run by the geyser at the end! For that, I was NOT happy!...lesson learned! We checked out the Animation building and tried to watch the Brother Bear Totem Ceremony! Something happened and the show was cancelled in the middle of it. That was kind of disappointing because I had never seen that show before!
Saturday night we met up with the MiceChatters and had dinner at Tortilla Joe's. It was wet, crowded, and totally fun! MiceChatters are the best!!! We ate our dinner outside on the wet bar...no, really, it was WET!...where we met Chernabog and his friend and the wonderful MickeyMaxx and Rixter! We also, FINALLY, met Mamabot, Villains Fan, JenniDisneyfer, and LightBeer! Of course, we also saw the fabulously wonderful Fishbulb and Dusty! Despite the rain and the tightly packed space, the even went off fabulously and everyone had a great time! I know we did!
Sunday was the big day!!! We had breakfast at River Belle Terrace and met MaryAnninwndrlnd's husband Nick while in line for food. We ate breakfast in record time and made it to the 10:00am meet a couple minutes late. There we met penguinsoda, OlympicNut (finally), and got our MiceChat 3 Year Anniversary paraphernalia and name tags (YAY)! Thanks to MickeyMaxx and Rixter for making those! Thanks also to Katrina (I don't remember your screen name) for the rock candy! It was yummy!
After the meet at Magnolia Park, we took the Grand Circle Tour on the Disneyland RR and I got to sit next to penguinsoda and we chatted about life and Disneyland and such! SUCH a nice lady!
After that, we headed over to the Mark Twain and met Elly and her husband. We ended up having lunch with them and their friend Uncle Mike also! Because of them, Knotts Berry Farm will be on the agenda on a future trip down to SoCal! They were so awesome! After that meet, Elly, my husband, and I headed over to Buzz to get our FastPasses for the meet later in the day!
It was finally time for the noon meet! There were so many MiceChatters there it was hard to keep track of everyone. We met so many wonderful people and had such a great time! Dusty gave a wonderful speech and some folks won some cool raffle prizes! After that, it was time to head over to get our picture taken! I have seen some of the pictures so far and they turned out awesome!!! I'm sure by now everyone knows the story of the omnibus picture and the cool security guard who followed us around all day to "protect us". This was just a sample of how good Disney was to us that day. In every situtation, except one ("Either get on or get out!"), the CM's were AMAZING! I've got to give it to them for treating us so wonderfully!
After the noon meet, we had lunch with Elly and friends at the Plaza Inn! Lunch was great! ...new friends, great food, AMAZING day!
After lunch, my husband and I went on Matterhorn, Mr. Toad, and Dumbo (which my husband had never been on!).
We then headed over to the 3:00 meet at Fantasia Gardens! We chatted a bit with penguinsoda and met aashee! We also saw Maynard for the first time! He was very funny and VERY popular! The highlight of that meet for me was meeting Dark Lady! She is SO COOL! I also got to meet Team Diva and actually hold them! TOTALLY the highlight of the meet! Dark Lady is so talented and creative and Team Diva are as beautiful in person as they are in pictures!
After the meet, we went over to Buzz Lightyear and blasted Zurg in MiceChatter syle! When that was over, we all headed over to the Tiki Room for a very fun show where even the hostess congratulated us on our Anniversary! For my husband and I, it was the best Tiki Room experience ever!!! On the way to Jungle Cruise, we saw pixychick whom we haven't seen in a long time. It was nice seeing her again. Then, came the highlight of the day...
We were lucky enough to get on the boat with a skipper who was also a fellow MiceChatter! It was the best cruise through the Jungle EVER!!!!!! He showed us secrets of the Jungle Cruise, the Hidden Mickey, Humphrey the humping elephant, the secret gazelle with scary eyes, the sensors that trip some of the tricks (the explosion, the piranhas, and the attacking tribesmen). He also showed us the backside of water...twice (we backed up!), the Lion King shield, and more! That was SO the highlight of the day for a Disney Nerd (those of you who were on the boat will get the reference there) like my husband and myself!
After JC, we went to get on Pirates and there was a bit of a snag! The rain started to pour down on us. It was like a shower...not a rain shower, the one in the bathroom! So, we went into Pirates and waited in the corner in the queue that wasn't being used. This is when the CM came up to us and began yelling at us "What are you doing?", "Make up your mind...either get on, or get out!". It was kind of inappropriate. But, it was the MC response that was even weirder and more brash. That's all I'll say about that. Anyway, it worked out and we went over and waited in the rain by the Court of Angels where we met brerrbit1 and a few others. We hope to see all of you at a future meet! After everything was worked out and the 5:30 meet time came, we went on Pirates together and tried and failed to sink the boat!
With the Pirates fiasco and attempted ship sinking behind us, we went on our last ride together, Haunted Mansion! We got our own stretching room so we could all recite the spiel together. After haunting the mansion, we all congregated near the exit. As it was getting dark, we exchanged numbers, said our goodbyes, and we actually met MaryAnninWndrlnd and Amy and Noel (sisters...but, I can't remember their screen names). We ended up seeing them again on Monday night as we were buying hats in Critter Country. Such nice girls! On the way over to dinner, we met Darkbeer, Deogees Mom, and Pratt55 (who we had met earlier in the day) and her husband, Tim.
All in all, the Sunday All-Day Meet ended up being one of the most fun days I've ever had in Disneyland. Such great memories and new friends were made and we reconnected with some old friends. Thank you everyone for making it such a great time and a big thanks to Dusty, Fishbulb, MonorailMan, Darkbeer, Al Lutz, and everyone else involved in MiceAge/MiceChat for bringing us all together! MiceChat is such a special place and it is because of your hard work that we are able to meet here every day and enjoy our love of all things Disney together!!! Here's to many many more Anniversaries and Sunday Meets where more and more will join our ever-growing family!
Monday in the Parks and the drive home complete with a tour of some of the LA area to come soon! More pictures to come later. But, all of them can be seen at www.neuhickman.net.