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Homer once said “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” Obviously, he’s right. I’m not crazy enough to argue with Homer. I’d like to think that even he knew that those two ebb and flow. Sitting at home for the 9th month of quarantine? Probably a better time for sleep than many words. Spending full days at Disneyland? A good use of less sleep!
So there we were, after going to sleep sometime after 2 AM and then getting up a little after 6. Just soaring on four hours of sleep for the third night in a row! Michaela had the day off so she met us at our hotel before we all headed to Disneyland. Like most other days, we got into the park about half an hour about before the posted opening time and geared up to get a spot in the Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue. We accomplished that without much trouble, queueing for Big Thunder Mountain in the process.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – squeezing three in a Big Thunder seat makes the wildest ride in the wilderness even more fun. I think I’m guilty of underrating Big Thunder more than any other attraction in the Disney Parks. The reason I say that is I think about the best time to ride it and I always come back with all of the times. Riding it in the fresh morning air? Perfect. How about right before close? It’s one of the best nighttime rides in any park. There’s no bad time for it.
When running on sleeping fumes, it’s important to find energy so we grabbed some breakfast items from Jolly Holiday. While we waited for our boarding group to be called we walked along the Rivers of America, enjoying the morning with a few of Disneyland’s best creatures.
Before long our boarding group was called and we walked back to Galaxy’s Edge through Critter Country. For those that have only experienced Walt Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge, this walk through Critter Country is what distinguishes Disneyland’s version. The soundscape down the long forested path is transportive, eerily leading guests through the changing vegetation. I think this path will age perfectly, keeping a small portion of Disneyland fairly quiet and serene.
We made it on Rise of the Resistance but not without a little bit of drama. Being a group of three, Cast Members put us on our color that would determine our row. It was the front row of the ride vehicle and I was excited about that because I’d only been in the front once in the eight times I’d been on Rise. Michaela had never been in the front. We got to the loading zone and then another group didn’t follow the color grouping they were supposed to be in, meaning we had to split up our group and not all of us could be in the front. In the long run, it’s not a big deal to those of us who get to go the park often. But riding separately was frustrating even though we followed directions. Moral of this paragraph? Please follow Cast Members instructions. I did like the photo with the droids I got though!
After Rise, we piloted the Millenium Falcon then walked over to Fantasyland. The lines were still fairly short this early in the morning and we made it through Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride pretty quickly. To Hell and Back Again, a Toad’s Tale. I’m so sorry.
Keeping things weird, we hopped on Casey Jr. and did the loop. There was a duck invading some of the miniatures in Storybook Canal and I like to think of them as a Godzilla of sorts, ready to topple those villages. Instead they reside peacefully but it’s a good way to level up a children’s railroad ride.
While it’s hard to surpass the thrill of God(duck)zilla, we tried our best by meeting Harold in the Matterhorn. He was angry. But we survived him and had a nice bumpy ride down the mountain.
Earlier in the day we’d gotten a FastPass for Indiana Jones Adventure that we redeemed after our jaunt through Fantasyland. Photographing Indy is a challenge, to the point where doing it on the actual ride seems impossible. The queue is the only place where I can get a few photos off and even then, I don’t particularly like any of the shots.
All in all, we fit in seven rides along with breakfast and some photo taking, succeeding in a very productive morning! All that activity made us pretty hungry so we traveled across the Esplanade and had lunch at the Carthay Circle Lounge. I’ll have a review of the lounge eventually but, in short, it’s one of the best places to eat at Disneyland Resort. The prices are somewhere between a table-service and counter-service restaurant and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Whenever Disneyland opens back up, I’ll be frequenting Carthay Circle Lounge pretty often.
Before lunch we grabbed a FastPass for Mission: BREAKOUT! and cashed it in after lunch. Deciding on a drop ride minutes after digesting food seems precarious but we made it out unscathed and headed over to Radiator Springs Racers for a single-rider trip. The lines weren’t long anywhere that day and it was fun to get on so many attractions all by the early afternoon. But we were also tuckered out so we walked back to the hotel after a few rides to take a nap.
Feeling revived after a long, mid-afternoon nap we headed back into the park and grabbed a few photos in DCA before going to Disneyland. We found a place by the train station to watch Magic Happens and enjoyed a few snacks before it began. I loved watching the parade just as the sun had set. While the photography wasn’t quite as good and this wasn’t exactly a nighttime parade, seeing it in the blue hour was a lovely experience. Here’s a few photos from that viewing.
It was a chilly night and the park wasn’t especially crowded so we had a night full of rides! After the parade we walked over to Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s strange when Disney Parks are chilly because the rides you usually go to for a reprieve from the heat are now there to warm you up. I’m not sure what my point is here but I do like it when it’s colder.
From there we went over to Critter Country and rode Splash Mountain (gluttons for punishment) and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We also enjoyed Pooh Corner, which is a pretty versatile shop with some great gear as well as bakery treats. Melissa bought this amazing Peanut Butter and Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat which was so sweet but so delicious.
The night was planned around watching Fantasmic! and we had another hour or so before that so we went for a single-rider trip on the Millenium Falcon and then headed over to the Rivers of America. Our feet were pretty tired after a long 4 days so sitting/laying on the ground waiting for the show was a good amount of fun. At least it was good fun until someone spilled hot chocolate near us and had it cover the spot where Melissa was sitting. They were nice about it but it was less than ideal. It all got cleaned up eventually before the show started.
I love taking photos of Fantasmic! but it’s not the easiest thing. So many objects are moving around and that makes it hard to get anything clear in the low light. I’m looking forward to trying more and more over the years. For now, here’s the best I’ve got.
I don’t know if there was one moment that pushed Disney Parks into being a passion for me but I’ve always had a soft spot for Fantasmic! One time I was with my college roommate and my family at Disneyland. We were in DCA and watched World of Color and there was only about ten minutes before Fantasmic! started. So I made my poor roommate sprint from one end of DCA to the end of Disneyland to see the entirety of the show. I’d happily do that again right now.
Somehow there was still another hour or two in the day so we went back to riding attractions. We zoomed through Storybook Canal, Alice, Peter Pan’s Flight, Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain all in the span of about 90 minutes. Here’s a tip: When Disneyland gets cold, and I’m talking like 50 degrees or below, all of the locals leave. Go then. The frigid air was a good trade off for so many attractions done.
We did some late night picture taking with hot chocolate in hand around the Matterhorn and Fantasyland. It was pretty frigid at that point but well worth it for the empty streets. Here are some more photos!
To make Homer proud, we eventually straggled our way back to the hotel to get a little bit of sleep before another day in the parks. That’s where we’ll pick up in our fifth and final installment!
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