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Disney: Day 3


Our last day at Disneyland was great but anther hot one. Fortunately, we were able to hit the park early for Magic Morning, which meant getting into the park at eight, an hour before official park opening. Magic Morning is a great idea for people who can get their act together and be at the park around 7:30 a.m. The problem with MM, however, is that because people focus on arriving at the park so early, it gets crowded a lot earlier in the day than usual. On MM days, I like to break early for a rest, or cross over to California Adventure. This time, we planned to beat the heat and go back to the hotel for a swim. Turned out to be an excellent plan, since the pool was virtually empty at noon.

During Magic Morning hour, only Fantasyland and a few Tomorrowland attractions are open. The usual plan is to hit all the Fantasyland rides since the lines for those slow-loading classics get prohibitively long right away. I think this is even more true on MM days since everyone’s trapped in that one part of the park. Peter Pan was down for some reason, so we skipped that, and by the time it opened up again, the line looked to long to bother. It was probably just half an hour, but my threshold is about 20 minutes and the line itself is not entertaining. Some rides have interesting queues, like Indiana Jones and Star Tours, but the cattle-corral feel and tiny-kid ratio on the Fantasyland dark rides makes those lines not worth braving. Best to do them when you can be first on board, as we were with Mr.Toad.

I always joke that Mr. Toad is the loudest ride at Disneyland. I don’t know if this is technically true, but it always feels that way. Could be that it just seems incredibly loud at eight or nine in the morning, which is the only time we ever end up taking that crazy tour. Since it was my birthday, I got to drive.

And speaking of birthdays, I had a great experience at the Disneyland gate. I was wearing my birthday button (free at Town Hall when you ask), and the nice man conducting the opening ceremony spotted me at the turnstyle. He then asked if anyone else had a birthday and got one other reply. Then he led the entire waiting populace in an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Of course, I was completely surprised and delighted. A nice way to start our last day in the park.

Here’s what we did that morning:
Mr. Toad
Snow White
Alice in Wonderland
Mad Tea Party
Sleeping Beauty Castle
Petting zoo (goats!)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

At this point, we were getting hungry and sat down at the River Belle Terrace for the traditional “Disney breakfast.” It’s nothing fancy, but it’s one of the cheaper options that does the job. The eggs are the institutional sort of course, but the pancakes are pretty good.

After our meal, we rode the Disneyland Railroad for a full tour and another glimpse of Primeval World. Then we got off at Toontown and hit Gadget’s Go-Coaster, which is a tiny but fun little rollercoaster only worth doing if there’s no line. It might be the shortest ride in the park. I clocked it once at 32 seconds. After that, we took a spin on Roger Rabbit and did a few silly Toontown things. By this time, it was starting to get hot, and we were nearing our need for a break. So we wandered slowly out of the park with stops for gifts and souvenirs

We also visited the Mary Blair exhibit, which is well worth hunting up if you’re there. There’s no link or information about it on the Disneyland site, but it’s located to the right of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, in the building that used to house the Annual Passholder Center. There’s a gift shop in front with some cool mugs and things, and then the art galleries are out back. Blair is best know for her design of “it’s a small world,” but she also created fantastic concept art for Alice in Wonderland and other films. The back two galleries are filled with images. See them if you can.

By the time we got back to our hotel, it was midday and over 90 degrees. After a refreshing swim, a nice long nap, and a little air-conditioned blogging, we returned to the park around four o’clock to hit our last two targets. One was a rematch on Buzz Lightyear and the other Captain EO. Longtime readers will know that I discovered the latter on my last trip, and you can read more about its spectacular, campy goodness in this earlier post. JC had never seen it, so it was a must-do attraction this time.

The park closed early that night (at six) for an employee event. We knew that was going to be the case, and since we’d started so early, we were ready for dinner. We ambled about and made our way to the gate, with a farewell wave at the park. Then we spent the evening relaxing and enjoying small plates and drinks at Uva Bar in Downtown Disney.

All in all, it was a lovely trip, as well as a great birthday present. As usual, I came back exhausted, but I’d go back tomorrow if I could.

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From → Disneyland, Travel

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