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Pictures below!

Since Arno is going to take a while getting his photos together and scanning and computerizing before he comments, I figure I'll at least say a few things. (I was going to leave it to him to make the first comments on the Disney parks since it's his first time, but he's being slow.)

For the past two posts, Beedoo! has had her back turned. This is, I've found out, an incredibly annoying position to draw her in, mostly because of the wings and backbent lower legs. I can't have the wings open because they obscure too much, but I can't just leave them off either (and I don't think I'll go the chibi-wingalings route...).

Arno was very impressed with the verisimilitude and effort Disney puts into its attractions (and also the technology, I'm thinking). They go the extra mile to make things look right... always have. Ever noticed how crisply the attendants are dressed? I wonder how much ironing they have to do? (Does Disney corp have its own laundry service??) And I bet those costumes--and by this I mean the actual suits and ties, not the mascot things--get hot during the California summer! And it must be worse in Florida! Back at the beginning of college, I worked with a lady who had worked at Disneyworld. She told my coworkers and I that she had been specially trained on how to guide with the hands toward locations rather than pointing, because pointing is considered extremely rude in some cultures.

I decided to convince Arno to go to Disneyland after MAui's wedding because it was still in the shoulder-season. I can't say that makes it any cheaper; at $74 a head, I can see what No Doubt was singing about in "Tragic Kingdom"... But it does mean there are less people there, especially less large families and groups, and therefore you speed through the lines much faster. Unfortunately "shoulder-season" also probably means "last minute maintenance" before the main season hits. Thus the ride I really would have relished taking Arno on--Splash Mountain--was closed. (And believe me, it wasn't because it was cold at all...) To my knowledge, Space Mountain had also disappeared, apparantly being replaced by a new, updated version of Star Tours (which also wasn't open yet, and would have been if we'd come two days later).

For all this, AND having a cold (which, turns out I was only worsening by taking Dayquil and Nyquil), I had a really good time at the two parks. The last time I'd been to Disneyland was on a church youth-group trip when I was 14. The following morning, we were caught in the Northridge quake... most people don't remember that anymore, so I'll add that it's the 6.8 where the freeways collapsed. (Lucky for use we were in Beverly Hills, 9 miles away, and still asleep when it struck.) But that's another story, and I'm just throwing that in for reference. In any case, it's been a while since I've seen it, and some fondly remembered things have changed... Swiss Family Robinson has vacated their treehouse and rented it out to Tarzan, apparantly. "Bear Country" is now "Critter Country," and no longer contains the animatronic show... instead Pooh and company have taken up residence. Space mountain? *shrug* If it was there, we certainly couldn't find it. There's a definite Lucas/Spielberg prescence in the Indiana Jones ride and upcoming Star Tours revamp (I recall the original only)... since when were these Disney things though?? The Autopia (which we didn't see) has a Cars theme now, according to something I read. I'm not sure what was repurposed for the Tinkerbell-themed Pixie area... Anyway, things have changed, but most of the old favorites were still there. Disney's a very dynamic park!

I'm pretty sure we had a good time at the Disney parks. When I look at the pictures, they look like a good time, and usually I am too busy taking them to notice. It did not start out so well, though, because this was the part of the vacation where Beedoo! really got sick.

When we arrived at the airport Beedoo! was already pretty misserable. She left the plane without half her things, and the fine Air Canada ground personel went in twice to go get it, despite their rush to get everyone in the delayed plane. They were very kind. After this we left for the hotel, but not before considering getting American dollars from an ATM. Since this one charges $2, though, and Beedoo! suggested we would find a free one around the hotel, we skipped that one and took the shuttle straight to the Ramada Inn in Anaheim, traveling on Beedoo!'s $42.

Fun Fact: Anaheim has four Ramada Inns.

The booking website had neglected to print the address of the Ramada Inn on our receipt, the shuttle took us to a Ramada Inn, and left with $40, and then we were, as we found, at the wrong hotel with $2 in our collective wallets and a sick dragon amongst us.

Okay, long story short, we dragged our luggage to a pharmacy, where we bought medication and I paid $5 at an ATM to get $200, which at that point felt like gaining a superpower. We took a taxi to the correct hotel, Beedoo! crashed on the bed, I walked waaay one direction to buy us water, found her zonked out when I got back, walked waaay the other direction to get us sandwiches from Subway and received the Good Boyfriend Achievement.

Anyway, next day... California Adventure! We decided on California Adventure on the premise that it was a quieter park than Disneyland itself. Our two-day pass allowed us access to one park per day, and this seemed like a good place to start. Beedoo! held herself pretty well, trying not to let her typhus spoil our fun. She gets the Good Girlfriend Achievement. :)

I had no idea what to expect of California Adventure. As it turned out, it was a theme park with a California history type theme. Sort of. I couldn't really make out what the theme was, really. But that hardly mattered. We had some good times, even if the $74 or so ticket seems a bit overpriced to me.

So what did we see? First, we saw... A bench!

A bench!

Just beyond the entrance we got a Fast Pass to something called World of Color at the end of the day, and then we moved on to the rides. And they had a few good ones!

Our collective favourite by far was the rollercoaster to be seen in the middle picture. The picture does not show how big it is. It just goes on and on and on, and it feels like three rollercoasters welded together. Everyone, if you ever go to California Adventure, go ride the rollercoaster!

Some attention was given to the look of the thing, though not nearly as much as in Disneyland itself. Here we have a shop, and a giant Mr. Potatohead performance entertaining the crowd waiting outside the Toy Story ride:

We were smart enough to bring our own overpriced food from Subway, which we ate at a charming little fake wharf...

... And we actually found ourselves spending a lot of time in a section built like a backstage lot, the name of which I sadly forgot:

Muppet Vision was an amusing enough 3D movie 'ride'. With the advent of 3D movies as a common thing I think some of the 'wow' went out of it, but hey, it's still muppets! That tower in the third picture is the Tower of Terror, a fantastically disorienting "Lift and drop" ride that I'd definately go on again, now, several months later. As you can see, the kids were entertained with wholesome entertainment, of which the toy soldiers really amused me, because they really got the kids going.

The big eyecatcher of this area is a big optical effect. Check out this long street...

However, what you do not see on these pictures is a little hidden door that we completely missed on our first pass. In fact, I had to check the map to find it was there at all. Inside there was possibly the best part of the park: a drawing seminar with a Real Animator, a 'make your own animation' thingy and, by far best of all... Turtle Talk with Crush!

Turtle Talk with Crush is digital puppeteering, a big surprise for us. Check out the little movie above. It's not ours, I got it off of YouTube. Watch at least a few minutes to see it really get going. It's cute!

Anyway, with Turtle Talk with Crush and the biggest rollercoaster we have ever seen, what could be left to top that? Well, we still had that Fast Pass to World of Color...

At the end of the day Beedoo! was pretty knackered. And so am I, uploading all these pictures, and so are you, looking at all of them. So Beedoo! and I decided... To be continued. Next comic: Actual Disneyland!

(Oh, and as always, click on any of the images to see a bigger version. Try some of the World of Color ones!)

Fixed a couple broken links, so everything should be working now. ;)

I'd also like to add about the World of Color thing, that it was awesome, though Arno's camera picked up some odd moments. Damn thing pauses a few seconds before actually taking the shot... hence some odd shots of Ariel and Genie. Also, the wind picked up a little during the show, carrying some of the mist wall into the audience... Not the sort of thing that would bother a Netherlander, but for normal people... well, it's a good thing that the colors washed out. ;p

Also, don't know if you can tell, but the random shot of a girl's face (from Pirates of the Caribbean 4) is actually projected inside the loop of the rollercoaster!

This really is a great show, though I'd hoped they were still running Fantasmic, if for no other reason that it had fire-breathing Malificent in it. ;p

To be continued...

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