Sunrise saw us forsake the make-your-own waffles and head to the air-conditioned comfort ( and space ) of the local IHOP.
The Disneyland Resort ( as it’s know officially ) is made up of 2 theme parks separated by a central plaza. They build the Disney California Adventure Park some time in the late 1990s and is a “celebration” of California. This was more of a movie-themed park and allowed the Pixar characters to have their own section without tainting the Disney product.
This was a little more subdued then Disneyland itself. They have a boardwalk which contains a large Ferris wheel and incredibly fast roller coaster. Joanna likes Ferris wheels and Sam doesn’t so I played the role of “brave dad” for this one.
The wheel is, according to wikipedia, 48.8 metres in diameter and has 2 types of gondola. Those with a fixed axle and those which run on a small oval rail. The ones on the oval rail slide down as the wheel goes around. We chose the fixed axle.
Sam watched us from the ground as we started to move up into the air. Like I said, I’m not good with heights and it was about 20 feet up that I realised that I wasn’t comfortable being up with the gods. Joanna came to the same realisation so we held each other’s hand for comfort. Rachel didn’t have the same concern and she couldn’t make her mind up which seat she wanted to sit in so I had to, firmly and loudly, instruct her to pick one and sit down. I was concentrating on the horizon but Rachel wanted us to look down at the ground to see how high we were. Again, a firm and loud response was issued thanking her kindly for her offer but Daddy was fine looking into the distance.
We reached the zenith and began our slow descent and I relaxed. This allowed Joanna to release herself from the vice-like grip she’d been held in and wipe her sweaty palm.
As we got to the bottom of the ride again, I prepared myself to disembark from the gondola only to discover that the ride didn’t stop until we’d completed two revolutions. So, back up we went, eyes on the horizon, hands clamped together.
This time, it wasn’t as bad. The adrenaline levels were acceptable and we finished the ride in a state of semi-peace, much relieved to have reached terra firma unscathed.
We headed to the Pixar “It’s a Bug’s Land” section of the park where we got to play on Heimlich’s Chew Chew train and Flik’s Flyers.
We caught the Pixar Block Party Bash where we got to see a number of the characters and Rachel and Joanna were plucked from the audience to dance to the music.
When the party dispersed, we went into the Hollywood Pictures Backlot section. This was the highlight for me as we got to see the Muppet*Vision 3D show. The place was decked out like the Muppet Theatre and Waldorf and Statler were animatronics sitting in their box and heckling.
I still like the Muppets. You speak to kids today and they don’t know what a Muppet is but us grown-up kids remember. My favourite is Beaker and he was there as Muppet Labs showed off their 3D technology.
We had a quick go on the Monsters, Inc. ride and then retired to the hotel for swimming and food.
We returned in the evening again but this time we watched the Electrical Parade which is a series of floats covered in fairy lights. When that finished, we went straight back into Disneyland to see the fireworks again. For our evening rides we chose the Astro Orbiters, which is the Tomorrowland equivalent of the Dumbo ride, and the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
The Orbiters are higher and faster than Dumbo and, this time, Rachel was the pilot with me. Because of speed and height issues, I had to explain to Rachel that we didn’t need to take the rocket any higher than it already was. The horizon is a wonderful place to be looking in situations like that.
The denoument was the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. To be honest, I don’t know why we didn’t go on them earlier. It was great. You get into a little car on a track taking you around an ultraviolet landscape and you have to shoot all the aliens with a laser gun connected to your car. Not only that but you have a lever that can spin the car around in case you missed shooting an alien behind you. I could have spent weeks in that one 🙁
And so ended our Disneyland visit.