Disneyland Trip - June 19, 2006

This was a last minute trip. We were invited to join a dear friend at Disneyland to celebrate her birthday. We never pass up an opportunity/excuse to go to Disneyland!

Who went: Myself, 40 something, son 15, daughter 17, and friend 30 something.

We arrived about 7:45am. Park opened at 8, so this was good timing. We parked in the Pinocchio lot, very close to the tram. No wait for the tram, hopped right on. Its been REALLY warm lately, so we were dressed cool. It was still a little chilly so early in the morning. It was overcast, which was a little nice.

Got to the entrance to Disneyland just after 8. The lines were still long to get in, took us about 10 minutes in line. We bought Annual Pass vouchers at the grocery store the day before. The lady at the ticket booth was very confused by them, which I found odd. She eventually realized that they were vouchers, not the actual Annual Pass. I tried explaining it to her, but she was just puzzled. We had to go to the Main St. Bank to get our photo taken and get our actual 'passes' before we left the park.

We were very excited to see what they had changed in the new & improved Space Mountain. That was our first destination. There was a very short line, took us probably 10-15 minutes. We grabbed Fast Passes while we were there. The ride queue is a little different, you wind around through the building a little more than before, but its pretty much the same. The ride cars were upgraded with new sound systems, but other than that seemed about the same. The soundtrack is much different, I hate to say it, but I liked the old one better. The room was definitely darker than before, the ride seemed about the same. We really enjoyed it.

Next we went over to do Buzz Lightyear Astro Blast. We were here for the debut/premier of this ride about a year ago, so it was kind of fun to ride it again. Just as much fun this time around. The line wasnt too long, only took us about 5-10 minutes to get on the ride. We decided to ride it again, the line was still short. We knew that later on the line would be much longer.

Next it was time to go meet our friend on Main St. She got caught in a lot of traffic and was just now arriving. We stopped at the Main St. Bank to get our APs processed. No line. Took all of about 5 minutes. SO GLAD we did this now - we noticed a few times later in the day a LOT of people in line. From there we went over to City Hall to get in line, so that we could get Birthday Sticker for our friend. We knew she'd be there any minute, she called us from the tram. So we waited in line. She arrived just as we made it to the front of the line, worked out perfectly! They give you a sticker with your name on it, saying Happy Birthday & then you get to listen to Goofy on the phone. Its really cute.

Next to the Bakery. Our favorite spot for breakfast. Not healthy, but yummy! We got warm cinnamon buns, a cream stuffed pastry of some sort and a chewy brownie! It was a nice start. Next we went to do our Fast Passes for Space Mtn. The line was MUCH longer now, glad we didnt have to wait in it.

Star Tours was next. This line was not too bad, 10-15 minutes or so. This ride is always one of our favorites. It was a little sad, though, C3PO was broken. HIs arm was just hanging there. I rarely every see anything in disrepair, so this bothered me. I hope they fix him soon.

Next we went over to Adventureland/Frontierland area. They had the area over by Pirates of Caribbean closed off for the movie premier. This made walking in that area even tougher. Pirates ride was closed for rehab, too. They are adding Jack Sparrow into the attraction somewhere - anxious to see this when its done.

From here we went over to ride Indiana Jones, but the line was 70 minutes, and no fast passes today - skip it for now. Headed over to ride Splash Mountain. We did single rider, which is definitely the way to go if you don't have small children. You go in through the exit and they use you to fill cars. The regular line was over an hour long, and by using the single rider option we were on in less than 10 minutes. We didnt get to ride together, but thats ok. It was starting to get warm, so the water sprays felt good.

Next we rode the Winnie the Pooh ride. Its cute. Almost too cute. Pooh is our friends favorite character so she really liked it. We were going to wait in line to meet the characters, but decided against it. Disney does that now, they characters dont seem to roam around much, like they use to. They are in set locations and you wait in line to see them. It kind of takes the spontaneous fun out of it. I can see little kids getting very cranky in line waiting. My kids are older now, so we just skipped it altogether.

Haunted Mansion next. Very short line. 5 minutes maybe. BUt we got held up inside. Not sure what the hold up was, but in the room after you go down, and out to the museum looking area, prior to getting on the cars, we were stuck there for about 20 minutes. Tons of people just standing around. Never experienced that before. The ride was fun, the past couple times we've been there it has been decorated for Nightmare Before Christmas, so it was good to see the 'normal' decor again. Its always a fun ride.

Time for lunch. We had reservations at Storyteller Cafe, one of our favorite spots. Its located in the Grand Californian Resort (gorgeous!). Got there about 15 min before our reservation, but were taken immediately to a table. Had a delicious lunch. This restaurant is great for people with special diets. They will find out what ingredients are in their recipes and make adjustments for you. The service here is also always top notch. Its a nice relaxing place to cool off, relax and have a nice meal.They brought our friend cute Mickey shaped mouse cake for her birthday & sang to her. It was fun!

Back to the park. We really wanted to ride Indiana Jones, so we decided to just wait in the long line. It was 50 minutes long at this time. About 10 minutes into the line my stomach was a little upset, so I went and waited outside for the rest of them. About 45 minutes later they announce that the ride is having some technical difficulties and will be closed indefinitely. So everyone in line left. No sign of my kids and friend. My daughter called me fron the ride telling me that they were stuck ON the ride and that the cast member said they'd be around to 'evacuate' them soon. So I sat and waited for them. And watied, and waited. IT took about a half hour, at least. They gave them a fast pass for later, to come back and ride again. I guess someone dropped a water bottle on the track and one of the cars drove over it and it shorted out. This wasted a big chunk of our day


Next we went over to the castle to take a few photos and go into Fantasyland. Its always a special feeling walking under the castle and then into the 'fantasy'. I always feel like I am 7 years old. The place was packed - could hardly walk! Strollers everywhere! We slowly walked through and enjoyed it all. Rode the Carousel, which is always a nice way to relax and view it all. We really wanted to ride Dumbo, but that line takes forever & there were 100s of people in line. I took a photo of the golden Dumbo (in honor of the 50th anniversary)

We skipped it. Walked over towards the Matterhorn, but that line was incredibly long, too. It was really crowded in the park. We decided to take a monorail ride. Going up the escalator to the monorail you could see over the fence where they are doing construction of the new Finding Nemo Submarine Ride. It was kind of neat to see.

We were hoping to take a round trip ride, but they dont allow that. You have to get off in Downtown Disney. So we got off and walked around. Went into a few shops, kind of just took our time and wandered around. Walked back intot he main entrance to Disneyland. The place was jam packed! And now its really HOT!

We went back into Disneyland to do some shopping and to see if Indiana Jones is back open yet. We went in and out of a few shops. Bought just a couple little things, got more water and wandered over to Indiana Jones. It was open, so we used the fast passes and went on. Ride worked perfectly this time :) Its such a fun ride, worth the wait.

Next wwe walked over to the lake area and watched some baby ducks swim around. They were so cute. There were some bratty boys throwing rocks at them, which we stopped. Where are the parents? WHo knows! These kids were out of control. We stood there until the parents finally showed up and they all left. Here is a photo of one of the baby ducks:

It was getting late, so we agreed to ride one more ride & then head home. We chose Thunder Mountain. Line wasnt too bad, maybe 20 minutes. Rode the ride & enjoyed it. Its one that never seems to have a very long line for some reason. Nice way to end the day.

Positive things: Getting there early definitely helped! The 50th Anniversary theming is fun. Everything clean & crowds under control. Cast Members friendly and helpful. We had a really nice day.

Negatives: It was very crowded - but thats the only negative..

Overall: Great trip! Our friend had a great birthday (tons of cast members wished her a happy day - it was special!). We tend to avoid summer trips, because of the crowds, but this really wasnt unbearable. Magic is all around you!