Sunday, April 12, 2009

Disneyland Day 1

[Warning: lots of photos ahead! The full photoset of our our trip can be found here.]

We slept in a bit on Monday to give everyone time to recover from our late arrival the night before. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel then headed over to Disneyland! Amanda was beside herself and was dancing around while we waited in the line to get our passes transferred to tickets and get into the park itself.

Waiting Outside the Gates

The classic photo of all four of us just inside the gates...taken by a Disney PhotoPass employee:
Gotta Do It...

After walking down Main Street and soaking up the atmosphere, we headed right over to Sleeping Beauty's castle since that was what Amanda insisted she wanted to see first! She was actually a bit freaked out by the darkness and some of the spookier effects. Next she and I went on Snow White's Scary Adventures (which she also found a bit scary), then Jeff took her on Pinocchio's Daring Journey. Next up was the Storybook Land Canal Boats...we had a young tour guide with a really high squeaky voice...she sounded just like a cartoon character herself!

Then we headed over to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which neither Jeff nor I had been on before. This is an interactive ride where you shoot at targets with a "laser gun" and at the end you can see how many points you got. Needless to say, Jeff beat Amanda and I quite easily! The funny thing was that at the end of the ride they had kiosks where you could email yourself a picture of you on the ride. Jeff's didn't work out, but we sent the one of me and Amanda home. But when we looked at it later, they had put a border around us in the little car, and because Amanda was short, she was covered up by the border! Oops! She was pretty disappointed.

Miscellaneous Sam cuteness:
Hot Sleepy Boy

We had arranged to meet up with an old high school friend of ours whom we hadn't seen since University but had learned (thanks to the modern miracle of Facebook!) was going to be at Disneyland with his family at the same time as us. Since we just had a bit of time before we had to leave, we hopped on the Disneyland Railroad at Main Street Station and took a ride all the way around the park. Amanda especially liked the lovely dinosaur exhibit since her preschool class has been learning about volcanoes and dinosaurs!

We met up with our friends and their two kids, a 6-year-old girl and a boy just a couple of months older than Amanda, and had lunch just outside the park. It was great having a chance to catch up with Darryl and meet Bonnie and their family!

After lunch we headed back to the park. We hit Autopia first (we had picked up a FastPass in the morning) and Amanda loved it! It's kind of genius the way it's designed...she really thought she was driving the car. She kept telling me she thought she was getting the hang of it, then we would hit another bump and it would throw her off a bit! I must say that I had some weird flashes of what it would be like once she's driving:
Talkin' and Drivin'

Next we went to Pirates of the Caribbean, which thankfully had a nice short line-up. It's great because the wait is short but the ride is quite long! Amanda really enjoyed this one and Sam also seemed to like looking around at everything! This is where Amanda also discovered her obsession with "getting wet" on rides...she liked the small drop/slide and later on in the ride told us that she'd gotten some drips on her feet! We also really liked the part where the pirate image is projected on the "waterfall" looked completely real until we were traveling under it and realized we weren't getting wet!

We walked a bit more and picked up a FastPass for Splash Mountain, and also ran into Aladdin (our first character encounter!):
Amanda with Aladdin

In the late afternoon we headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest; Amanda and I hit the pool while Jeff and Sam took a bit of a nap. Afterwards we walked back to the park for the evening. We grabbed dinner at the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country, which had surprisingly not bad food! We were quite impressed with the food in general at both parks...although the prices are a bit high, there were lots of healthy options and even basic foods (like burgers) were good quality, with nicer-than-usual buns etc. and sides like apple slices instead of fries.

Next we went over to Splash Mountain for our first "big ride"! Amanda was insistent that she wanted to go, even though we were a bit nervous for her. She and I went on together and she was a total champ! I could feel that she was nervous...I was behind her and my arms were around her, and as the ride went on I could feel her shaking a bit. After the first drop she complained that she hadn't even gotten wet, but I told her there was more coming! After the second double-drop she was still doing fine, but knew that the big one was still coming. As we got ready for the big drop I held her tight and could hear her heart going a mile a minute, but she said she was fine...and she was! We had to spring for the exorbitantly-priced souvenir photo...our baby's first big ride! And as you can see, she looks a lot happier than I do:
Splash Mountain
(Medium-sized so you can see the looks on our faces!)

Amanda was on a total high after that ride, so we thought we'd take the chance to see a few rides with normally long lines while most people were watching the fireworks (we had decided to wait for our last night to see them). We went over to the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and were surprised to see that the line was still about 45 minutes long! (This is one of the rides that's been recently renovated, so lots of people want to see it.) We decided to wait anyway and finally got on the ride just after 9:30 pm, when the fireworks were starting. Amanda really enjoyed it although Sam was less impressed...he cried through a lot of it so I spent my time frantically trying to keep him quiet in the tiny submarine!

After that one it was so late that we were about ready to pack it in. We took a leisurely walk back through Main Street and stopped to buy hats for the kids. Just as we were leaving the hat store, we ran into Mickey and Minnie! Since it was so late there weren't many people around, so we were lucky enough not to have to wait to see them. Amanda was thrilled!
Minnie & Mini
Mickey! & Mini!

Late though it was, we stopped for ice cream at Coldstone Creamery on our way home, and enjoyed our treats in our hotel room before retiring for the evening. cream!!

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