Monday, October 31, 2016

MMME (Megan, Miranda, Maleen, & Emebet)

Disneyland posts are some of the hardest posts to write. First, they are huge. Guaranteed there will be dozens of pictures. Next, it is hard to know what to include. I want the memories, but every single detail becomes boring. Then again, it is my blog...might as well remember what I want to. I think I will put the top 15 memories (in no particular order) of Disney interspersed with other details. And pictures...lots of pictures.

I went to Disneyland because my mother invited me (and payed for almost everything). Her coworker, Emebet had never been before, so in a way we were introducing her to Disney. It is always fun to go to Disneyland, but it is even more fun to share it with someone who has never been.

I flew out from Utah and planned to meet everyone at the Hotel. My flight was MUCH earlier than theirs, so I had plenty of time to kill. Three mini memories from my trip over:

1) On the descent into San Francisco, the pilot lost control of the plane (1). Only for a second. There was a shift in wind pressure or direction and suddenly the plane was falling. Not like minor turbulence shaking, but more like the drop-out-of-the-sky-cling-to-the-seat variety. The pilot quickly regained control. It was only for a moment, but my heart was racing for quite a while afterward.

2) I tried Uber for the first time. I am usually a little nervous about trying something new that is out of my comfort zone, but Uber was easy and the whole experience was enjoyable. My driver was very nice and I saved a boodle. (I told my mom about Uber and she used it on the way home. Always nice to pass along a helpful tip.) *I feel like everyone knows about things before me, so I'm assuming you know what Uber is, but for those of you who don't, it is a taxi service provided by everyday people. You can drive FOR Uber, or be picked up by Uber. Very handy, and cost effective.

3) I'm glad I had a book with me on my trip since I had a lot of time to kill. This was my current poison:

Loved this book so much. It was fantastic! I did break up the monotony with some movies. I watched Zootopia which I thought was really cute. And Minions which I thought was a waste of time. (I like minions, but the movie had no plot. I was disappointed.)

Everyone arrived safely late in the evening. And we went to bed as quickly as possible, because a day at Disneyland is going to be a long day.

Let's meet the crew. Here is Mom and Emebet. I had never met Emebet before although I had heard many stories. She was the sweetest gal; very genuine and kind. She was fun to be with from the first moment. And that was lucky for me, since mom and Miranda had scooters, Emebet and I spent a lot of time walking together.

Yes, you heard that correctly. My lovely sister came too. It is always fun to kick it with her.

Our hotel was not as close as last time. But it wasn't too far away either. We were right across from the Disneyland parking, so we simply walked across a big parking lot and then through Downtown Disney. Easy peasy. Of course, I almost got run over right away. Lucky for me, Emebet was watching closely and stopped the day from turning sour right away. (Love you Emebet!)

I have never been to Disneyland during the fall season. I know they deck it out with pumpkins and Halloween stuff so I was super excited to go. I loved it all. Disney is very detail oriented and you could see their preparation everywhere you went.

We entered the park and were ready for new adventures.

It is hard to know where to start with a new person. I wanted to check out the Ghostly Galaxy (2) a.k.a. Space Mountain. It is one of my favorite rides and we would learn right away if Emebet was a roller coaster kind of gal.

Total Fail. Emebet did NOT like it. (Not a roller coaster person. At. All.) Mom got a little queasy. Miranda and I were super unimpressed by the ghosties. Not the best start to the day. So we went to the most opposite thing we could think of...Small World.

That was a much better experience. (Sorry Emebet.) It was very sunny. In fact, it was downright HOT, HOT, HOT! It was supposed to get up to 107 degrees that day. Emebet was thinking my sun hat was a good idea, so we went shopping for some sun protection early on. At the Mad Hatter's, Miranda found some cute Mickey Ears. I bought a pair for Mom that I thought she would like, and Emebet found the cutest hat. I'm digging our stylish headwear. (Spoiler alert: No one got sunburns even with the intense heat. We be awesome.)

We toured around Fantasyland. That is much more Emebet's style. I wonder how long they will keep some of those rides? Pinnochio seems to be past its prime, and Snow White's Adventure is not so spooky anymore. (Probably still so for the little kids.)

Peter Pan is still a huge favorite. Mom and I flew to Neverland together.

The one that surprised me was Sleeping Beauty's Castle. We decided to walk through so Emebet could see it. I remember it vaguely from when I was a kid, but I haven't been through for decades. In fact, I remember it being so boring that I didn't take my kids when we visited. Now I feel bad. It was so fun. When I was little, it seemed like books that you had to read along a dark hallway, but they have added in plenty of displays with action scenes and cool imagery. It was much better than I remember.

We hit the classic Pirates of the Caribbean. I was determined to get a picture under the mist since Tim knocked the phone out of the my hand last time, but it was too dark after all. But I did get this fun picture of Mom. I sure love her. I wonder if Emebet realized the level of weirdness she would get with three Dargan women.

Had to stop for a pineapple whip. We got the kind with juice because of the heat. I should mention that I managed to spill it all over myself. (Classic.) It is a trap folks. If you try to eat the ice cream, it pushes down and the liquid overflows. I learned the hard way.

We had to check out the Haunted Mansion. It is redone in Nightmare Before Christmas style. I loved it. All the decorations were so fun.

Inside was too dark to get much, but it was neat to see all the changes they made.

Time for lunch. The hotel provided an apple and granola bar. I can't seem to like red apples. They taste like dirt to me, but a free lunch is nothing to scoff at at Disneyland. I almost had a heart attack when I saw Miranda's receipt. She had bought me a water and it was $7. Before I fainted she managed to tell me that she had bought TWO waters. Oh, thank goodness. Water was only $3.50. What a steal Disneyland.

After lunch was Soarin. (We jumped parks at lunch.) I believe this was a ride that Emebet liked but her fear of heights made it terrifying at the same time. I was blissfully unaware over by Miranda. But she was gripping mom and Miranda's arm pretty tightly.

California Adventure is a favorite of mine. I really like that both parks are so close, although I don't love the extra price to go to both.

We went and checked out the Beast's library. I was Eve like last time. This time I checked to see what my evil guy side would be. Turns out I am like Captain Hook.

A main reason to hit CA ADV is for Cars. I still think it is my favorite ride. We were hoping Emebet would like it. Radiator Springs was looking good as usual.

We didn't get fast passes, but the line wasn't terrible, so we decided to wait it out. I had already started the finding things game (3). Miranda and I were often unkind and came up with really hard things to find, but we seemed to get everything eventually. We were shuttled over to the wheelchair line because we had scooters. It isn't shorter, because the entire line is wheelchair accessible. But it was longer this time around. They told us that there was a shortage of cars for our area, but they underestimated the wait. In fact, I know we were there FOREVER because I was looking for a TV logo. The exit is right by the wheelchair area, so I was watching everyone leave. Some guy came through with a shirt that said Jalapeno Business (4). That made me laugh. But I wasn't laughing when he exited the ride a SECOND time and we were still in the exact same place. I have never stood in a line so long.

Miranda popped a cough drop because she was trying to stave off a cold. We chatted and took pictures and paddled to keep our heads above boredom.

Later, as we were chatting, she got this funny look on her face and looked down as if she had dropped something. I saw on her scooter what looked like the nose pad off her glasses. I didn't want her to lose it, so I swooped down to pick it up and ended up with a small sticky little cough drop. Miranda didn't even have time to warn me, but she sure thought it was hilarious that I picked up her cough drop (5). Needless to say, she didn't want it back.

Finally, a million years later, we got on Cars. Those are true smiles of joy to be on the ride finally. And look, Mom has Mickey ears!!

We loved the ride as usual, but it wasn't Emebet's favorite. A little too much coaster for her.

By this time, we needed to head back over to Disneyland for their Halloween evening. You received a special bracelet to show that you could stay in the park after six. And you got a treat bag to take around to the Treat Trails. They have some special decorations like glow in the dark balloons and the foggy lake.

We were a little confused at first how the Treat Trails worked. There were big ghosts to show where a trail started. We joined a line and followed people. We were given some candy, but then we were still stuck in the line as it headed inside a building. I thought we needed to go to another candy spot, but instead realized that there were several candy pickups on this particular trail. I think we stopped for candy six or seven times before the line ended. We could have gone to another candy line, but none of us needed that much candy so we were satisfied.

One of the coolest things of the whole night was all the costumes (6). Since it was a Halloween evening, many people dressed up. (I actually brought a costume, but left it in the hotel.) It is so fun to see all the creativity that goes into costumes. It is actually one of the reasons I like Halloween so much. Someone always thinks of something I never would have come up with. Or people go all out with their costumes. There was a couple dressed like Beauty and the Beast and they were legit. They probably could have come back the next day and been mistaken as cast members. Even the simple costumes like the girl with the headband that flashed Applause over her head made me chuckle.

I did stop for a picture by the castle. That seems like a must on a Disney trip.

I actually can't remember if we went on any rides. We eventually found a place to watch the parade. There is a villainous spooky  parade twice in the evening and we definitely wanted to see it. But we hadn't eaten dinner, so we thought we would grab a bite before the show started and thus began the Parade/Dinner Fiasco (7). It was a bit messed up from the beginning. Emebet wanted a salad. We were told to go to Fantasyland, but upon arriving, that venue had been turned into a Treat Trail, so it wasn't open. So we went back to the main square. We opted to try the Mary Poppins place. (I can't remember the exact name, but I have been there many times and I actually don't love the food, but it was open.) We waited in a somewhat long line and ordered our food. Then we proceeded to another line to wait for our food. But no one was getting their food. All the orders were messed up and people were getting very mad. Add to that...the parade was going to start and we weren't with Mom. (She was still out there saving seats.) We hummed and hawed about what to do. I got my money back, but both Miranda and Emebet waited too long and as the profanity increased in the cafe, we finally beat a hasty retreat.

It wasn't in time. We were able to get across the square before the parade started, but we couldn't reach Mom. At all. So we were out food and a parade, but I told everyone not to worry because there would be another parade and we would try to get our food at another time. We still had the receipts. At least Emebet and Miranda did.

We met up with Mom after and dropped off Miranda. Emebet and I were going to hit the cafe again and figure out food, but we had a more pressing problem. Emebet's feet were killing her. She had worn a slight heel and her toes were slowly being crushed. Feet hurt even with good walking shoes at Disneyland, so I knew we needed to get her something. She asked if we could find some slippers. I thought it was an odd request, but we ventured over to Frontierland in hopes of finding something to suit her. We found some big Mickey Mouse slippers but they were really over the top. Emebet thought they were ridiculous, but she was willing to try anything. All of sudden, she spotted some flip flops and said that was just what she was looking for. Turns out Emebet calls flip flops, slippers (8). That made much more sense, and we found her a good pair in Adventureland.

By the time we found appropriate footwear, we had to hurry back to our party to watch fireworks, so still no food. The fireworks were very fun with spooky music and we were close enough to the castle to see the fun projections on the side.

After fireworks, we now had excellent seats for the next parade. Emebet and I once again went to the cafe to get food. It had easily been over an hour since our food should have been ready. The people were so kind to get food for us even though they probably had made it and thrown it away earlier. I really did feel bad for those workers. Sure they didn't get everything right, but the hostile customers weren't making anything better.

At last, we had food and a bench to watch the parade. It was a crazy evening, but it ended wonderfully. The parade was so fun. It was great to see all the villains out and about. My pictures were awful because it was so dark. Here you can see the Step sisters and Step Mother from Cinderella. And maybe Hades in the back.

At one point, the queen of hearts came over and offered her hand to Emebet (9). Emebet shook it, but clearly the queen was displeased. She wasn't going to leave without a kiss. It took a moment for us to figure out what she wanted, but there was dutiful kissing of the queen's hand.

Miranda had her own moment as well. She was sitting at the end of the bench and a nice lady joined us and conversed with Miranda for a while. Turns out this lady was the wife of Bruce Harwood. He plays John Fitzgerald Byers, one of the Lone Gunmen, on X-Files. Miranda is a huge fan and she was thrilled to talk to this lady. The wife showed her pictures on her phone. You know...that everyday stuff like Bruce taking his first selfie or eating breakfast. It was pretty cool and made Miranda's night. Guess it was okay that we missed the first parade after all.

It was finally time to drag ourselves home. I took one more picture of the spooky grand central station as I left. It was a full day and I'm so glad I got to spend it with those ladies.

Stay tooned for one more day of Disney's fun.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016