2009-04-27, 4:10 p.m.
Actually, I already wrote about going down to the OC on the astrology blog here. (There was a reason for that. I read that your birthday was supposed to set the tone for how your year was going to go.) Long story short: I got cosmically fucked into missing the train I was trying to take (late bus + early train + dickweasel conductors breaking the law), but had I made the train, I wouldn't have made my flight because the BART station I was going to transfer on had a fire right when I would have been coming through. Afterwards my mom was all, "Why didn't we have you just go into Oakland on the train in the first place rather than trying to go through BART?" Yes, indeedy.
Anyway, I made it onto the plane, didn't punch anyone at security, etc. Huzzah. We stayed in a very nice hotel. Had a great view of the Disney fireworks.
When we eventually got to Disneyland the next morning, Mom said I should get a birthday button at City Hall (or hospitality or whatever you call that building on Main Street). The line was OUT THE DOOR, much to my surprise. "What the heck?" I said. I eventually figured out why this was: everyone must have been in there picking up buttons for something.
You see, Disney's new marketing thing is "Celebrate Everyday" and they want you to come to DLand for stuff like your birthday (you've probably already heard of the birthday freebie offer this year), family reunions, Disneymoons, graduations, new babies, getting deployed to Iraq the next day (yes, that was somebody at dinner), etc. And I have to say, looking around at Disneyland that weekend, you wouldn't know it was OMGNOBODYHASMONEY around there. If Disney isn't making bank on this, they at least have to be doing better than you'd think, because I have never been around so many fellow Taureans in my LIFE. It's a rare case when you see marketing done well and working well, and this was it. People were wishing me well all day long (sure made up for yesterday at work), and I got free dessert at Cafe Orleans. It was a blast.
I was nice and didn't make Mom go on too many of the rougher rides (she forgot her Dramamine), but really, I was just excited to go on It's A Small World again. Yes, I'm a dork, but I used to be the world's biggest ride scaredy-cat and IASW was a ride I could handle without scary dips and stuff when I was little, and I still love it without irony. I was pretty pissed that it was closed down for years (so I didn't see it on my trips in 2007 and 2008 and had to go to the Magic Kingdom in Florida for my fix) for remodeling and "upgrading", and I didn't want them to mess up the cuteness of Mary Blair. Happily, they did not mess it up. Mainly the updating meant that they have slipped in movie characters here and there--but they added them in doll-style and in other ways that they fit with the style of the ride. Wikipedia says they put in 29 characters and I spotted most of them. I really loved how they did the mermaid area (and Stitch on the surfboard) and Aladdin and Jasmine on the carpet. Very cute. I wish I'd spotted the other ones...or had a list before I went in :P Oh, hey, I forgot that I spotted Kanga and Roo at the very end in a postcard. They missed one. Yeah, yeah, I know advertising sucks, but I kind of enjoyed the Where's Waldo aspect of it all anyway.
It wasn't too bad for lines that day. We did the FastPass for Indiana Jones (which was not broken all day the way it usually is whenever I go) and got in and out within 35 minutes, which is darned good for that ride. The longest line I was in all day was for Finding Nemo, a ride I'd never been on before because it's so long, but finally around 8-something we were like, "Well, we went on everything else, might as well suck it up and wait in the line." We asked a guy why it was so long...er, popular and he said, "Well, because I work here, of course," then went on to say that (a) the ride could only take 80 people at a time per sub, with 8 subs, and (b) it was the longest ride in the park at 10 minutes. Happily, we only waited 45, even if some asses refused to move their children so we could sit down so we had to get onto another sub (the Disney employees were all, "Yeah, those people...you KNOW those kids aren't going to be able to see and will have to sit on their laps." I found this funny). It was actually redone very well. It was more interesting than the original ride and had a plot and some funny moments. Well done, Disney revamp.
We also ended up talking to another employee for quite a while about various things (California Adventure should be a lot more interesting in 2013). The chick we were talking to was really into the Disney thing, and as I talked to her I thought, "You know, Mom should totally work at Disney, she'd fit right in with this." She also told us a ghost story: when Walt used to be in the park, his office light at the top of City Hall would be on to warn the employees, and off when he wasn't. After he died, someone went up to the office to clean and she shut off the light on her way out. By the time she got down to the street, she looked up and the light was on again. She went back up, flipped it off, went back down, and guess what. On her third time up, she supposedly heard the voice of Walt saying, "I'm always here..." And now the light stays on all the time.
I definitely want to return for my birthday in 2010.