Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Disneyland Resort: Christmas 2003 (Tuesday)

Our first full day in the parks...

Cinnamon Roll: The bakery on Main Street serves these "Really Big Cinnamon Rolls", which are incredibly yummy. We ought to know - the family shared one. (Braeden and Dad had their fair share, even though we'd both eaten a Pop Tart at the hotel before coming over to the park.)

Peter Pan: This was just a bad idea... Braeden had a tough time going to sleep the night before and was operating at less than 100%. But, Mom & Dad both love this ride and thought he would, too. Nope... so far, the only ride he's cried even partway through. Guess we'll have to wait a few years. (The idea of riding in a pirate ship seemed cool to him, but then it went in the dark...)

Dumbo: A second ride on Dumbo... more fun for Dad & Braeden. Again, we kept noticing Monstro... and other things this time, as seeing things spin around in the daytime was a blast.

Mad Tea Party: Braeden asked... and Dad "took the bullet" (as neither Mom or Dad like spinning rides). He had a wonderful time... he got to sit in the tea cup he wanted and he just grinned as we spun around and around. He turned the wheel a bit in the center - but thankfully for Dad's stomach, most of the motion was just from the turntable.

Meeting Belle: On our way to ride Pooh again, we ran into Belle (from Beauty & the Beast). Suddenly, Mr. "I Want to Hug the Characters" turned into Mr. Shy. He wouldn't look at her. She asked his name and then called him Prince Braeden, but that didn't seem to change anything. No mattter whether Daddy or Mommy were close, he wanted nothing to do with her.

Winnie the Pooh (& the Characters): We rode Pooh again, this time with a more relaxed young rider - and he had a good time (as expected). As we got off the ride, Dad spied Pooh taking pictures with kids... so we went over & got pictures with Pooh. And then Tigger, who was right there as well. And then Eeyore, who was just down the way. Talk about a happy Braeden - and a happy Mom & Dad. He's so cute with the furry characters... hugging them, giving them high-fives... even rubbing noses with some of them. It's adorable.

Indiana Jones Adventure: Next stop - a big people ride. The line for this one tends to run 1 hour plus, but because we were "baby-swapping" (one of us ride while the other holds Braeden, then switch), we were allowed to go into the exit and work our way back to the loading area. Please note: the loading area is about 5 minutes of tunnels & passages away from the actual exit... Braeden did pretty well until Dad got onto his vehicle and drove away. (And the ride isn't short... he cried about 1/2 the time I was gone, evidently.) When we swapped with Mom, Braeden & Dad walked down to the part of the line where we could see the Jungle Cruise boats go by... and waved at the people. Of course, the skippers all ended up commenting on the two of us, Braeden sitting on my shoulders: "Look, the 7 foot man has escaped," "Watch out for the pygmies - they like to sit on each other's shoulders. The cute one's are the most dangerous."

Jungle Cruise: Of course, we then actually needed to ride the Jungle Cruise. Braeden was pretty subdued through the whole thing - he saw the animals but I'm not sure exactly what he was thinking/feeling. Our skipper was very funny - but not in a kid sort of way.

Meeting Ariel: On our way back over to Small World, we stopped by Ariel's Grotto (it's where the old Monsanto house used to be) and tried once again to see if he'd talk to a "face" character... no luck. This time, Ariel even saw that he was carrying a Nemo (fish) happy meal toy, and told Braeden that Nemo was one of her best friends. All to no avail... he was NOT going to talk to her.

It's A Small World: A second ride at "the doll's house" - this time much more relaxed and ready to enjoy the fun. This was the first time he got to sit on one side of the boat and spend most of his time choosing what to look at. (It was this trip that Shari & I both noticed that the mermaids had left a plate of fish for Santa.)

Donald's Boat: A place to play in Toontown... essentially just a big boat/climbing area. Our time here was marked by two things: Braeden getting huffy about whose turn it was to "steer" the boat with another little boy and Dad whacking his head HARD on the child-sized opening to the wheelhouse. Braeden did enjoy it, though, and asked to go back again.

Chip'n'Dale's Treehouse: Each house took a bit to get Braeden into... this one was no exception. There actually wasn't much up there, but Braeden was happy to go see "Chip'nJail's" house, as he called them.

Autopia: We knew Braeden would enjoy this, but we didn't realize how much. He didn't understand, of course, that he wasn't controlling the speed of the car... but he got to steer, and that was great fun. (Depends on who you ask... his favorite thing about Autopia was "bonkin'" whoever he was riding with. In adult English, what that means is that he steered in such a way so that the car bonked against the center rail, throwing everyone in the car about... and causing him to laugh.)

Fire Engine: All three of us were tired, and got the opportunity to ride on the Fire Engine back down Main Street. Nothing much sticks out in my mind about this - except that this was probably the least friendly Cast Member we met. (He was very ticky about our umbrella stroller.)

After an afternoon Lunchable (ah, the joy of having an in-room fridge) and a nap, we went back over to Disneyland for the evening.

King Arthur's Carrousel: While Mom nailed down our spot for the parade, Braeden & Dad went to ride Dumbo. Except Dumbo was so crowded, we opted instead for another ride on King Arthur's Carrousel. We got to ride on Ol' Blue & Christmas... but this time, Braeden didn't have anyone standing next to him - he rode by himself! (It's pretty cool watching your son do stuff on his own.)

Christmas Fantasy Parade: The parade was great... we had "candy cotton", as Braeden calls it, and popcorn, while the floats & dancers went by. Again, Braeden really liked the toy soldiers; I (Dad) didn't realize that the soldiers are actually playing their drums & trumpets - pretty cool. As earlier in the day, he was most interested in the "stuffed" characters... much more than the princesses.

Astro-Orbiter: As soon as the parade finished passing us, we (well, I) took off running with Braeden in the stroller, trying to wind our way through the crowds in order to get somewhere that was NOT Fantasyland. I freaked Shari out a bit as Braeden & I had our own homegrown version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride through the Castle & up to the Astro-Orbiter. As this is just a taller/cooler version of Dumbo, Braeden loved it. (It was fun for me, too - I don't think I'd ever ridden these before in my many years of visting Disneyland.)

Autopia: We stood in line (again!) for the opportunity to let Braeden send us to the chiropracter on the Autopia cars. I will say that it's more fun at night, when the lighting & atmosphere is primo.

Main Street Cinema: As the park was closing down, Braeden & I popped in here while Shari was looking in one of the shops - nothing has changed from my youth. It's a big dark room with a variety of old-school (20's & 30's) Disney cartoons playing on various screens. It didn't hold our attention for long.

Final note... there were no fireworks tonight or the night before - high winds forced them to call it off.

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