Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Day's 35 & 36 - Busy but colourful Disney - June 4th

For several months, I had been on the email list from Mimi’s cafe (linked to Howard Johnson’s) so we thought we’d give it a try.  It appears that over the years, prices have risen somewhat and judging by the vacant seats in an establishment that is so close to HoJo’s, maybe the punters are staying away – and we did too after this meal.
Nothing much wrong with the meal, but it appeared expensive to us. We hadn’t got up early to do Disney, so with our two park hopper ticket, we went into Disneyland first.  We hadn’t bargained for any kids being on holiday, but out of state kids have broken up, even though the California kids haven’t.  Big mistake from our point of view.  We were also unaware that the Disney annual passes expire early June, so many locals were in the parks getting the last ounce of value out of their passes.
I have never seen so many pushchairs and strollers in my life!  Just to show how many there were, several Disney employees spent their day acting as valet parking attendants, lining up the strollers, whilst mum/dad and the kids were queuing for the rides.
We managed Astro Blasters, Nemo and the railroad before heading for the Haunted House – but that was closed due to a temporary technical hitch.  I queued for Space Mountain using the fast pass system, whilst Paula waited patiently.  Although it was a real thrill back in 1983 and scared Paula half to death in 1987, its appeal has faded.   As a reward, for her, we went on her favourite – “Its a Small World”... 
We then headed over to the other park, as the last time I was there, the Thai chicken on rice was a substantial portion, so we headed straight there as it was about lunch time.  At $9.49 (plus tax of course...) it wasn’t bad considering the usual high food prices in the park.
As for attractions, we went once again to the 4D “Its a Bugs World” which was a bit scary for some of the younger kids, but we enjoyed it.  Apart from the new “Mermaid” ride (very tame) the queues were long and by this time, Paula was rather tired, after several hours on our feet, no surprise, so we headed back to HoJo's for much needed rest.

We nodded for a while and opted to not do anything else specific for the day. 
There was a time that my favourite place to eat locally was “Tony Roma’s Ribs”.  At around $26 for my main, we deleted that from our list of possible and ended up at – Denny’s!  Not very exotic maybe, but at least the prices are very reasonable, especially compared to the other options and the food was fine.
We ambled back and watched the nightly Disney fireworks display from the kids pool area then bed at a respectable 11pm.

Tuesday, for day two, we elected to get up a bit earlier and do Disneyland by 8am for the park opening.    
Although we were at the park opening at 8am, they do operate an early entry system for Disney Hotel guests, annual pass holders and those who purchase an early entry ticket, so although you may be past the tape fairly quickly, you are still in a queue.  I headed straight for the revised and updated “Star Tours (3D)”.  An enjoyable ride and the graphics are totally different from the original, featuring more down on earth stuff, rather than space.   Good fun.
Paula was waiting patiently for me and once again we went into “Astro Blasters” whilst the queue’s were short.  A clever ride where you have laser guns to shoot at targets and the score is recorded on a digital display.
I didn’t bother with my favourite ride – Indiana Jones this time, but we did do the rather pathetic “Winnie the Pooh” kiddie ride (no wonder there was no queue...).
After a mediocre Disney breakfast (well, we needed something to eat), we did one or two more kiddie rides, the recently refurbished monorail and the much loved "Jungle Cruise" (complete with corny commentary of course), then we headed back to HoJo’s to relax before we got too tired, as we had plans for the evening.
Denny’s again for a decent feed, then straight across to the California Park, specifically to see the dancing waters display.  They were building this back in 2009 when I was last there.  They had also started building the new “Cars” attraction way back then and that opens June 15th.  (Photo shows the model)  We could peek over the fence at a recreation of “Radiator Springs” from the Cars movie.  It will be a huge success, so if you plan going to Disney in the next  two or three months, be warned, the crowds will be bigger than normal.  As it was, the crowds were massive for tonight’s show, but what a show.  It is called “Colours” and is spectacular and well worth waiting for.  We stood around patiently, from about 8:20pm to 9pm for the start and we had a great view.  They very  cleverly integrate the projection onto the water mist with a screen that is part of the “California Screaming” roller coaster and also the LED lights on various background attractions.  Even the street lights on the boardwalk change colour!  Brilliant.  The Dubai Mall dancing waters display is very pale by comparison.  Literally.  
We headed back and had a drink then watched bit of TV before crashing out, knowing that this was the last hotel night of our trip.  Tomorrow, we head home again, to what we expect will be a cool Auckland, though LA wasn’t as warm as we thought it would be.
No rush to get out of the hotel tomorrow, as check out is 12 noon - and even then, we’ll be able to safely store our luggage whilst we waste the day relaxing.
Just one more daily blog to go – and a summary of course, then it will be on to the new one.

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