Saturday, June 22, 2013

Disneyland: Day 4

Our last day at Disneyland was special in its on way. It created its own unique memories, as had each day before it.

Our first objective that morning was to address the next to last item on Aaron's bucket list: getting Fastpasses for The Tower of Terror in California Adventure. Those obtained, we then headed over to Disneyland for more bucket list items. (I was glad we had purchased "park hopper" tickets that allowed  us to move. Back and forth between the two parks. In order to use the Fastpass system and to move between the parks if one was too crowded for our liking.)

The next objective was a pavilion in Tomorrowland. One of the exhibits had all of the Ironman suits and allowed people to stand in front of a screen in which they saw themselves suited up as Ironman, just like Tony Stark, and then to maneuver in their suit and zap targets with a beam coming out of their wrists, just like the "real" Ironman. The line had been 45 minutes long the day before, but on Thursday morning it was only about 12 minutes.

If you look at the screen you can see what Levi looked like as Ironman. Aaron did the same thing; Mark was filming him while I was filming Levi:

From Ironman, I went to get Fastpasses for a third ride on Space Mountain, then we went over and stood in line for our third ride on Star Tours, which was Mark's favorite ride. This was an actual ride but a 3-D theatre experience. The "theatre" seated about 50 people and was supposed to simulate a space ship. The screen allowed us to participate in a rebel escape from Empire forces and was very realistic. Fortunately, they alternate the scenarios, and we were able to see a different one each time.

As we waited in line for this attraction that day, we were glad we had let the kids bring their new iTouches, primarily so that they could take their own pictures. But they also served the very useful purpose of keeping them occupied while we waited in line. At one point as we waited for Star Tours, the dad behind us tapped me on the shoulder and said, pointing at our three kids and his son, "Quick! Take a picture!" All four kids were busy playing on their respective iTouches:

After we got out of Star Tours, Mark, Esther and Aaron took off for The Tower of Terror in the other park. Levi and I headed for Frontierland, where we went to an attraction for which I had secretly been pining for the past few days: The Mark Twain paddleboat that makes a turn around a man-made lake, but which is fairly realistic. 

I had thought about what it was about this ride that had appealed to me, and I think it was nostalgia for the time I went to Walt Disney World in the summer of 1973 with Kevin, a friend of mine from high school. We had saved up our money through our jobs at the local theatre (I was 14 at the time), paid for our air fare and all our other expenses except lodging. We were picked up at the Orlando Airport by Kevin's aunt, and we stayed with them for the duration of our visit. Each morning, we took a bus to Walt Disney World, returning in the evening. The park had recently opened, and some of my favorite attractions were in Liberty Square, including the riverboat ride. So it was fun to now share that with my youngest son.

While we were gently wending our way, Mark and Esther and Aaron were having the bejesus scared out of them in The Tower of Terror. This ride is set in an old haunted hotel in Hollywood. 

People are strapped in and rise in an elevator to the 13th floor, then drop all 13 stories to the ground floor. It took Mark several hours to recover from that. Aaron loved it. Esther was scared to death. Mark texted me after they got out: "We are done. I will never be the same again. I have a headache. Esther was absolutely terrified, as was I." I was glad I didn't go.

After one last ride on Space Mountain (which I had originally enjoyed, but now finding that the ride lacked the luster had the first and second times), we all headed over to New Orleans Square for a late lunch/early dinner. It was a delightful experience - our only meal inside Disneyland. We sat outside in the shade, watching the crowds go by, watching a group of "pirate" musicians, laughing, talking. It was truly magical.

We had to wait a while for our table. The kids amused themselves by sitting on a brick wall near the Haunted Mansion,
playing with their iTouches.

At one point while we were waiting for our food, Levi decided he was cold in the shade. So, without fanfare, he simply got out of his chair and proceeded to sit on the pavement in the sun so that he could get warm. Buddha child.

I forced Aaron to smile for this picture. Isn't it beautiful?

After lunch/dinner, we bid good-bye to Disneyland and headed to Downtown Disney - a development of shops and restaurants between and off to the side of the entrance to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. It was souvenir shopping time. I'll leave to the next post to describe what Mark bought for our souvenir from this trip. I was with Levi down at the Lego store while Mark, Esther and Aaron were in the OMG This is the Biggest Disney Store Ever!! store (which is where he got our souvenir). Esther got three stuffed animals, whom she promptly dubbed, "the children."

Esther's children: Stitch, Mickey and Bolt

Aaron got various sizes of Ironman, and Levi picked out some Star Wars lego, which he immediately set to work assembling in our hotel room. As he solemnly informed Mark, "Once I start, I don't stop until I'm finished." And he did. That night. Before we went to bed. Good memories ...

Levi assembling on our bed

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