Today we're at Disneyland with Ruston!
It's Halloweentime at Disneyland already and the kids are excited to celebrate. They really want to go on the new Haunted Mansion ride with Jack Skellington. But, you know, they don't really know much about Jack Skellington. They've never seen Nightmare Before Christmas. The day before we fixed that. Ian loved it. Alli liked it too, but did come to sit with Theresa and I midway through it.
On the ride to Disneyland this morning we got into the Halloween mood by listening to music from Tokyo Disneyland's Halloween parades, and the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.
Parking wasn't too bad which was nice. I can't even remember now the last time we used the trams. We're always walking these days.
I love how creative they are with these planters in Downtown Disney now! Disney has used lots of painted pumpkins to make giant candies!
No Ian, we can't lick them.
These are my favorites. I love the white speckled jawbreaker candies. And it was right by Marceline's Confectionary so the whole area had a very sweet aroma.
And the next planter had the favorites of some others. Giant candy corn! Heimlich would be proud.
The lines at the gate weren't bad at all at 9:05am. The lines for pictures in front of the giant pumpkin and the new halloween popcorn buckets were quite long though.
Today we're focusing on rides that might be a little scary. So to start we're getting our first look at the new Nightmare Before Christmas version of the Haunted Mansion. Only a 13 minute wait according to the sign.
The kids both picked out their hats today. Ian really likes Winnie the Pooh, so this Halloween Pooh hat from Paris was his favorite this week. Alli really liked the Minnie hat, and the great big orange bow on her hat matches the Ghost Minnie's bow on her shirt. She's a little girl who loves to play dress-up.
And Uncle Ruston is joining us!
Ian's found his buddy.
And someone still likes to be held in the stretching room.
Who is everyone riding with?
Ian and Alli together - UNCLE RUSTON!
I love that every year the giant Gingerbread house in the Mansion's Ballroom changes. This year they've paid homage to the Haunted Mansion's 50th anniversary. According to the Disney Parks Blog, on this 10 foot tall house, there is 30 pounds of gingerbread (doesn't seem like much), 120 pounds of frosting/icing, 140 pounds of fondant, and 75 pounds of powdered sugar.
There's also gingerbread cookies of 15 residents of the Haunted Mansion's. Some are on the table, but others appear and disappear with the Pepper's Ghost effect.
I like how they left the Birthday Ghost, but this time she's blowing out the Caretaker's lantern.
Checking Jack's list. Yup, Ian and I are both on there. Let's see if we can find our presents.
One for Ian. The name tags are on different presents each year, so we have to keep our eyes open.
Thank you for our presents Santa Jack!
The ride stopped so I held my camera up and took a shot looking backwards. This is a view you can't normally see.
The kids loved it, of course.
Where's the next scary ride guys?
Obviously Winnie the Pooh! The cast members on the ride loved Ian's hat.
Beware of those Heffalumps and Woozles! The kids opted to sit with Uncle Ruston again.
Is it actually possible to exit Winnie the Pooh without going into Pooh Corner? We've ridden this ride a lot and I'm trying to think of a time we don't go into this store.
Watching all the treats get made. We can't hear what the cast members are saying inside, but we can read lips, like "I love your hat!" and "they're so cute".
Waving and getting waves back.
That is a pretty big Winnie the Pooh.
Time for the next scary ride. Pirates of the Caribbean. Kids riding with Ruston again.
Looking over towards the Blue Bayou. We'll be there soon!
Let's ride Holiday Haunted Mansion again with our Fastpasses!
Hi Jack! Welcome!
It was a little bit more crowded this time around. When our elevator opened, the other elevator still had people trying to get off. It was a slow shuffle to the front.
Kids love their Uncle Ruston. T and I got to sit by ourselves all day for the first time in a long time.
Isn't the Hat Box Ghost missing something this year? This is the shot from 2019.
Back in 2018, he had Santa Hats from both Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie. I had hoped for a retail version of Oogie Boogie's hat last year, but I haven't seen anything.
And every year I try to find a Hidden Mickey in the graveyard. Theresa found it this year.
Here's some of the Hidden Mickey's we've found in past years.
2011 Tokyo Disneyland Haunted Mansion
2017 Disneyland Anaheim
2017 Disneyland Anaheim
What have you got for us Oogie? A question mark?
Ruston and the kids "won" and got surprised by Lock.
And Alli might not remember it, but I do, how when she was 2 years old and she'd repeat "bye little Sally, bye little moon" as we exited the ride.
Time for lunch! Back to the Blue Bayou! Our reservations aren't until 11:40am, but we got in this long line at 11:20am, hoping to score a table by the water.
Ten minutes later we were at the front of the line. And something I did not know. The 11:30am reservations are almost guaranteed a table on the water, per the cast member. The other reservation times are more like first come first served.
A table by the water would be available within 15-30 minutes. We were welcome to sit while we waited. Theresa and Ruston went next door to see if there was any merchandise they wanted while I sat with the kids. Well... I tried to sit with the kids.
Uh huh. Seat's taken.
It didn't take too long for us to make our way inside, only 10 minutes or so, but it did start to get crowded in the lobby.
But when we were led inside, I was really happy that our table was right on the water! I've eaten here maybe 3-4 times before, and haven't had any luck. This table is fantastic!
You know how sometimes it can be really hard to see the menu in a dimly lit restaurant?
Solved! The menu's have a built-in light when you hold down a button!
Ian waving at the boats floating by. He got a lot of people to wave back (just like the Ratatouille ride in Paris).
Alli was in a bit of a dour mood and we couldn't figure out why.
Alli, what's wrong? "I wanted to sit by Uncle Ruston too."
Ah, I'll swap with you then girly.
Now she's back to our happy girl. Lunch started with a bread course.
I remember on a previous visit that this was followed by a complimentary bowl of gumbo, which was so delicious I asked for the recipe. There was no gumbo this time though, and it's been years since I've been here, so I'm curious when they took it away. Our server told me that I could still find it at Cafe Orleans.
I do love the bottomless Mint Juleps.
Alright, not going to get any awards for the picture quality of the food, but whatever.
Ian got the kids mac and cheese, with fruit and veggies ($9). He didn't care much for the mac, but ate all this broccoli and grapes.
Alli got the chicken with spaghetti and marinara ($10). She loved it all.
T chose the Catch of the Day, which was Salmon with a corn mix underneath ($45). T thought the fish was tasty, but really small for price. She preferred the salmon she got last week in Phoenix to this one.
Ruston and I decided to split our meals so we could get the best of both worlds. So we got a bone-in rib-eye with mashed potatoes and brocollini ($46). The steak was very buttery, and the potatoes were delicious too.
And you can't eat here without have the classic Monte Cristo, with a fruit skewer ($29). It was as rich and satisfying as I remember it. And it's a good sandwich to split because you wouldn't like your self choices if you ate the whole thing.
Ian, you've never had a Monte Cristo before, have you? Take a bite!
Ian - I like it in the middle. Translation: He doesn't really care for it.
Alli? How about you?
Alli - Also in the middle.
Copycat. Fine. More sandwich for me.
Ruston splitting up the fruit skewer. T guessed what this was, and it was confirmed by our server. It's a gooseberry. Our server described them as being very sweet.
Oh boy was he wrong. Gooseberries are juicy, but very sour. Ian was immediately looking for a napkin. T described it as a vegetable berry.
Why do my Mint Juleps keep disappearing so quickly. Hmm. I wonder.
We loved the table and the atmosphere. Ian liked the shooting stars that ran across the ceiling every once in a while, and they both liked waving (but not yelling) at the boats from the Pirates of the Caribbean as they floated by.
Time for another scary ride! Big Thunder Mountain used to be a little scary for the kids, but now they're both super brave on it.
They both said they kept their eyes open the entire time in the dark cavern.
And they kept their hands raised for the whole ride too!
T watching us from the sidelines as we ride by in the front row.
Dessert time! It's a little warm today, so rainbow sherbet ice cream hit the spot.
We'd wrap up our day looking through all the fun halloween merchandise. And I'm sure some of it will appear in future reports.
It was a really fun day! The kids had a great time and loved seeing Uncle Ruston again.