Chaos Attraction

Vacation Journal Entries, June 10-15

2015-06-15, 4:10 p.m.

We went to Disneyland for a few days!

Wednesday, 6/10/15:
Left at the crack of dawn to go to the airport. Usually either one of us can end up being a real asshole on the way to the airport--today it was her because she kept insisting that 511 would recognize detailed instructions beyond say, the name of a highway. She kept yelling at it ("HIGHWAY X TO OURTOWN!") and I started telling her that wasn't working and she slapped my leg. Geez, Mom. 511 doesn't work well anyway most of the time, but it really isn't going to work with details, Mom. Oh yeah, and did I also mention that it was somehow pouring rain? In June, in California, in drought season? I'm now convinced that if I have anything planned and/or forget my umbrella, I'm bringing rain on somewhere. Bizarre, especially since it was 105 on Monday and raining two days later.

Anyway, we eventually made it there, didn't have major incidents (and I had like, the quickest patdown ever, nice), and finally made it to Disneyland by 11. Our hotel (the Anabella) was across the street and within walking distance of the parks, and we got separate beds, so that pleased me. Also, it wasn't raining in SoCal and didn't until we were back in our hotel room, apparently, so yay on missing that.

We decided to do California Adventure on day one, and mostly ended up riding Midway Mania a lot--three times in a row! Despite people's going on about how there are going to be too many people there in June, I can say that on weekdays, the lines were reasonably short, ranging from 5 minutes to 40 minutes at the longest. The shorter lines is why Mom and I went on Midway Mania three times in a row, hah. And improved our scores at shooting. My accuracy kept going down, but my scores kept going up because I was hitting higher targets. When Mom started shooting like I was, the same happened to her instead of vice versa. We went on that and the Ariel ride and that was about it for rides.

Mom pretty much didn't want to go on any adventurous rides (say, the Cars ride, Big Thunder, anything very coaster-y) because she gets sick, and I feel bad about ditching her for an hour or whatever to go on rides by myself, so I didn't go most of the time either. Oh well, I've never seen the Cars movies and don't want to and wasn't that into that area anyway. I've never been that into most of California Adventure beyond the midway/Ariel bits, and the old-school movie theater areas. We went to Turtle Talk with Crush, as usual, went on the Monsters ride and saw Aladdin, and saw the Mad T party, which had amazing costumes and I really wanted the "We're all mad here" shirt the guy had on. (Alas, not sold at Disney.) Aladdin actually stopped the show randomly in the middle at one point, don't know why, but then went on as usual.

Lunch was at the Carthay Circle restaurant--California Adventure's fancy restaurant equivalent, based off of the theater that Snow White premiered at. It was very cool. The thing these days for seeing the nighttime shows is that if you want "good seating," you need to get some kind of meal deal and then get seating for World of Color, and Carthay did that. The menu was delicious, and our server, Jay, was a total delight, pointing out the subtle Snow White details and hidden Mickey on the ceiling mural (look in the lake). There's little apples hanging off the chandeliers and witches embedded in the wood design on the corner tables. He also told us about the secret earthquake bridge, which we tested later and yeah, that happens. So for the meal itself, A+. For the World of Color seating,, not so great because we still ended up having our view blocked by the giant lights. They broadcast video on the water, on the Ferris wheel and the rollercoaster, and we couldn't see shit on the Ferris wheel. Sigh.

Then we had to leave because Grad Night was going on there, so we ended up going to World of Disney and shopping till like 12:30 a.m. Oof.

Thursday, 6/11/15:
One thing that came with our hotel deal this time was Free Breakfast! You got coupons for every day for either a free bacon/eggs/potatoes breakfast or a continental breakfast. Mom was delighted and insisted on having breakfast before we left--which meant that with our dragging asses in late, meant that we wasted Disney time eating. And the food was not good either. Meh eggs, potatoes I didn't want to eat and limp bacon. Feh, this was worth it? Well, to her apparently. I have given in and started eating breakfast because she wants it and insists on it, but it drives me nuts when she keeps asking me what I want to eat until I give in and eat something, even if my answer is "Seriously not hungry until about eleven." And then gets annoyed that I'm not happy and hungry. Sigh.

Spent today at Disneyland, covering our usual rides during the day. We went to Blue Bayou for lunch and it was as scrumptious as ever. We got Fast Passes for Indiana Jones because I talked her into that one, but the Fast Pass time turned out to be after lunch and she decided she'd just get sick, so I went on it alone for fifteen minutes. (Yeah, it probably would have.) We went on the Buzz Lightyear ride twice--turns out Mom just loves those shooting games, even though Buzz Lightyear's laser gun shooting is really hard to do. I did better at it than usual once I figured out it was easier to figure out which little pointy laser bit was mine if I shot at targets nobody else was using. I went looking for a Tomorrowland pin and found out they're sold out until July, which ticked me off. (Since when is Disney out of anything?! As of this writing, I ended up ordering one online because you can find a lot of them there.)

The entire night was taken up by parades and shows, which was...frustrating. Mom got kinda ticked at me for not wanting to line up for hours for an afternoon parade, but since we spent the entire night doing that, I'm glad we didn't spend half the day doing it too. I get tired of the endless "I'm too short to see and these dads are standing in front of me" crap that comes with me being average short and Mom being short short. It seems like no matter how long or where you wait, you end up behind a bunch of people anyway, so I'm like, why waste an hour sitting and waiting for a "good view."

Like I mentioned yesterday, the thing these days is either (a) getting a Fast Pass for a designated waiting area for the night shows (World of Color and Fantasmic), or (b) getting some paid meal deal to get better show seating. We did NOT do the meal deal for Fantasmic because it was only for dinners and we wanted lunch at Blue Bayou because we wanted Monte Cristo sandwiches (and really, Disneyland and the Madonna Inn are the only places I've ever been that do them well) and those are only at lunch. For the record, folks: GET A MEAL DEAL FOR FANTASMIC. Why? Because unlike yesterday's experience, it turns out that the meal deal people get front row, CAN SIT DOWN ON THE GROUND FOR THE ENTIRE SHOW seating for Fantasmic, and everyone else is in standing cattle call for the hour beforehand. Suffice it to say, it wasn't super great seating, and I was annoyed to waste an hour of park time having to reserve standing room space.

Fantasmic is easily a much better show than World of Color. There's floating boats, dragon, crocodile, pirate ship...all so very many cool things. However: we went to the 9 p.m. show and should not have done that. I say this because they were having the Paint the Night parades at 8:30 and 11, and the fireworks show at 9. Someone told us we should go to the 11 p.m. show. Mistake. Big mistake. Huge. Because when you get out of Fantasmic and are trying to head to Main Street to watch the fireworks--not only were the streets full, the Disney employees WOULD NOT LET YOU STAND AND WATCH. They just kept yelling at you to keep moving. Mom asked where the hell we were to go to watch the parade and they were all, "It's A Small World." --so basically at the very back of the park. WTF. We ended up stopping in Tomorrowland, but we couldn't see the whole show because they were broadcasting video on top of the Matterhorn (which we could see) and the castle (which we could not). I felt like I missed a lot of the show and was pretty ticked about that. For future reference, folks: DO THE PARADE FIRST AND THEN STAY FOR FIREWORKS.

After that, Mom insisted that we sit on the street for an hour to make damn sure we got "good seats" for the parade. We talked to the folks next to us, who met at Disneyland in a ride line and got married. Awww. Anyway, the Paint the Night parade (otherwise known as Electric Light Parade Round Two) was genuinely awesome, with huge amazing floats--particularly Ariel, Belle, and Frozen--and light-up costumes. It was really worth seeing.

We didn't get back to our hotel room until nearly 2 a.m., because well, shopping had to happen on the way out. Stuff bought so far: a few pins, pens for my coworkers, two 60th anniversary T-shirts and a glow-in-the-dark sweatshirt.

Oh, and for those of you (like my friend Jackie later) wanting to know "what's different" for the 60th anniversary, the answer is: new decorations (most notably Sleeping Beauty Castle, which is awesome at night), new blingy souvenirs, and Paint the Night. I think the fireworks are supposed to have something new, but uh, beats me what. I pondered buying a $100 diamond blingy sweatshirt, but it didn't look good on me once I tried it on, plus where are you going to wear a $100 sweatshirt? Even I would have problems figuring out that.

Friday, 6/12/15:
Last day at Disneyland, and we spent it doing the few things we hadn't gotten to doing the other two days. Mom still wanted free breakfast, and we had a different meal (the "continental breakfast"). It was still...not good. Still a waste of Disney time, I feel, but god forbid we not have a free Nice Breakfast to start the day off right. I give in.

We literally park-hopped to each place twice before having to leave, and hit Downtown Disney. I hit Rainforest Cafe and got a peacock dress. We rode Midway Mania and the Ariel ride one more time, and hit the monorail, and got Dole whip (note: long lines for that these days), and Mom had to get her "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" in. We hit Big Thunder Mountain Ranch for fried chicken and cornbread. I also ended up going to the Lego store and buying a Rapunzel tower kit. I didn't expect to do that--and it lead to some creative last-minute packing--but seriously, this thing is cooooooool and I had to. We had a nice driver to the airport who told us how he has a season pass and will hit Disneyland for a few hours in between pickups, and he owns a house on an island in the South China Sea somewhere. Damn, does shuttle driving make enough money for that? Whoa.

I had the longest, most thorough patdown ever at the airport, but at least it was quite a friendly experience. We ate at the airport Carl's Jr and ended up waiting around for quite awhile because our flight was late. We got home late at night, as usual, I suppose.

Saturday, 6/13/15:
Mom, Angelica, and I went to see The Illusionists. It was ... interesting. It's seven different magicians (or uh, six magicians and an escapeologist), all with super kewl nicknames. About half of them are dressed in suits and the others in more...punk sort of wear. Some of them speak on stage, some of them don't. There's a lot of card tricks, a few amazing things, and some...well, I dunno how to describe it. My favorite one was "The Futurist," who did some card tricks, but also at one point somehow managed to get changed into looking like another dude and then pull off the costume in the audience, and did some amazing work with screens that I don't think I can even describe. I also liked "The Inventor," who did some paper/card tricks and also some body work--like "this guy got cut in half and yet moves" sort of thing, with a steampunk theme.

"The Escapeologist" only did two things--escaping from a straightjacket while hanging upside down onstage and Houdini's Water Torture Cell-- but really, isn't that enough? I liked "The Warrior's" one trick--putting a wedding ring into an apple, putting the apple on the ring owner's head and shooting it off with an arrow while on a revolving stage--but that was all he did. I wanted to see more, darn it. "The Manipulator" is apparently extremely impressive and wins all of the awards for his balletic card tricks--he went twice but they were very well done.

I was less thrilled with "The Trickster," who was, well...this review I found pretty much summed it up. He was kinda like a mean Liberace and I felt sorry for whoever he got out of the audience for his tricks. But who I really felt sorry for was the poor girl forced up there for "The Anti-Conjuror" and his Russian roulette broken glass game. Honestly, that guy put me off--of course, that's his schtick, to be creepy and gross. Let's just say he did a few tricks involving pulling things out of his body with floss that uh...ew, I had to stop watching. And then he did the Russian roulette trick and forced someone out of the audience by throwing a really ugly baby out there...He did a cool trick involving a lot of birds, but most of the rest of his act was giving me the creeps. Which seems to be his goal, so. Anyway, it was a mixed bag, but good production value overall even if some folks got on my nerves and some others felt shortchanged in the act.

After dropping Angelica off, Mom decided she wanted dessert, and seemed to want something akin to Vampire Penguin's "shaved ice." I went looking on Yelp (Jackie would be proud) and found a place called Snowflake that supposedly did shaved ice. It was... a lot different from what I was expecting. Kind of reminded me of soft serve ice cream, with boba balls and jelly. It was okay, but I wasn't overwhelmed and probably wouldn't go out of my way to go there again. It's supposedly quite popular and we got there during a relatively dead period, so good for us, but...I dunno, it was just okay.

Sunday, 6/14:
I saw Jackie today on my way back home. I drove from the East Bay to the South Bay, which involved a shit ton of freeway changes, damn. You'd think there'd be a more direct way to do that. But I'm happy to report that I made it there all right without getting lost, so there's that. Anyway, we met up at Lovey's, which is the sorta-chain(?) spinoff tea house of Lovejoy's in SF. When we went in, we couldn't help but notice that it looked pretty dead on like Lovejoy's in both style and menu, but when we asked, someone was all, "No, the owner is separate." Uh, not really: turns out the owner of Lovey's may be doing it alone, but she co-owns Lovejoy's. So it's not a ripoff! All right, then. I liked it, Jackie was all "it tastes totally different, I don't like it." Sigh. Honestly, I just don't know what to say when I literally don't notice every single thing she does. Anyway, she's still looking for work, sigh, and while she does have another car now, she's having problems with her grandma, who's now convinced (despite a lot of evidence to the contrary) that Jackie is stealing from her. Oy.

Anyway, after that I drove home...through the SF freeways and most of an hour of cloggy traffic. Whee. Oh well, less freeway changes happening that way, at least. I was pretty exhausted when I got home.

As for my coming back, well, I didn't make it into the state fair this year. Sigh.

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