We didn't get to bed until after midnight last night, but what an evening we had! We arrived at our hotel just down the street from Disneyland a little after 4:00. The kids went for a swim for a good hour or so, then we had dinner before heading over to the park around 7:30.
I had been to Disney World a couple of times back in 70's, but this would be my first trip to Disneyland, as it would for be for Mark. I had therefore read the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, which was probably a good idea on the whole. However, it did leave me feeling that a trip to the park needed to be approached with a game plan as complicated as that which launched the Normandy Invasion. Otherwise, I was warned, we could end up spending hours and hours in long hot lines with crabby kids and even crabbier adults, our wonderful time with the kids turning into a nightmare.
Last night, however, was pure fun. We were able to get on several premium rides with hardly any wait. There were some good tips in that book I read, but I quickly realized that it is possible to have a wonderful time at Disneyland without an encyclopedic plan (and a healthy dose of luck).
For example, we were able to practically walk right in to Star Tours (based on the Star Wars movies). The kids loved it. Mark and I thought it was pretty cool, too.
We then went to Space Mountain - an indoor roller coaster - and got some Fastpass tickets which would allow us to essentially go to the head of the line if we returned in an hour or so. Then, it was on to Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, where we again practically walked right in, even though it is a very popular attraction. This was essentially an interactive video game in which we engaged as we rode through the attraction. It, too, was a lot of fun.
Perhaps the funniest moment in this ride was as we were walking through the areas that guide the crowds to the ride. Buzz Lightyear's voice was blaring through speakers, saying something about "junior space rangers." Mark, however, thought he had said "junior space wankers." Um, no.
The kids then wanted to go on a rocket ride, then the Matterhorn - Disneyland's original roller coaster ride. We decided we didn't want to join the hordes waiting for the daily fireworks show, so we went and got ice cream.
Then it was time to head to Space Mountain. We arrived a bit early for our time, but the line controller gave us some tickets that would allow us to go ahead and get on; then we'd be able to return for a second ride with our Fastpasses. There would be no second ride, however, for Levi, Esther and Mark, the first two of whom staggered off the ride in tears at the end. Too dark, too scary. As for Mark, well, let's just say he didn't care for it. Aaron and I, on the other hand, loved it. So we went on the second ride on our own.
As we were heading out of Tomorrow Land, we passes Star Tours and saw that there was practically no line there, so we did that one again.
It had been a great evening. One of the most memorable moments had come when Levi told me, "I'm having FUN!" The way he said it, however, was what made it memorable: as if he had been surprised by the fact that he was capable of experiencing and was in fact experiencing FUN.