Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Disney Day in two parts

On January 28th, Theresa, Jacob, Ruston and I made plans to head out to Disneyland to watch World of Color.  Ruston had never seen it before, so we figured that had to remedied!  Ruston's cast member status is definitely a perk.  Without it, we'd never be able to go to Company D.  What's Company D?  It's the Disney store for cast members only that has great discounts on certain Disney merchandise.  

And yes, they've got someone stationed right at the door asking for ID.  They even make you scan it to be sure. 

After our trip together to Japan, Ruston thought we all needed to get a Duffy. 

And here's what the inside looks like.  The first section has a lot of grocery items. 

Then you get on to the merchandise.  Just about everywhere you look, things are discounted at least 50%.

And here's the back room.  Lots of deals back here.  That 75% off sign is for shirts from with 2011 printed on them.

So many things I want, but where do I put them once I get home?

Then it was time to head to Disneyland.  It's looking like a beautiful day. 

We always enjoy the live music that is ever present at Disneyland.

Mickey leading the band down Main Street.

A quick stop at the Stage Door Cafe for lunch.

Winnie the Pooh is Theresa's favorite ride.  We seem to go on it every single time we go to the park.  I'm glad the line is usually under 5 minutes.

And we also have a tradition that as soon as we get off the Winnie the Pooh ride, we go into the sweet shop near the exit.  They're making some tasty treats back there.

We usually split a marshmallow stick.  It's 4 marshmallows covered with caramel, then coated again with chocolate.  Mmm.  Sorry for those who get these from Disney World in Florida.  Those don't come with caramel.  It's really a lot better with it.

Today is just going to be a slow day meandering around the park.  The Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon is the next day, so it's pretty crowded.  
Can you believe Theresa and I have never tried a Mint Julep? 

We have now!  They were tasty!  Thanks for buying them Ruston!

We sat and listened to a live band play jazz music while we just sat and enjoyed a sunny day with warm weather.

On busy days, you have to pick the rides that are high throughput and not too busy.  Jungle Cruise it is!

Even that is a little crowded.  I don't remember the last time I went upstairs in this queue.

Who likes the Jungle Cruise?

We found the Duffy section of the store! 

Our main purpose of this day was to go see World of Color at Disney California Adventure.  We stopped into the Blue Sky Cellar to see all the new changes we can expect with Cars Land.

Mickey's Fun Wheel is tame enough for everyone.  The skies over Los Angeles were very clear today.  You could just make out the Hollywood sign way way far away. 

We're all excited for Cars Land to open up this summer.

Two weeks earlier I made reservations for the Wine Country Trattoria with World of Color reserved seating.  Sadly, the winds were super high the whole day and the day before, they had cancelled World of Color because of the high winds.  We spoke to the hosts at the Trattoria and she estimated a 90% chance of the show being cancelled that night.  We had no desire to spend $40 on dinner and not get to see that show.  We cancelled our reservations and went to the newer Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta restaurant instead.  We promised to come back again soon when there weren't high winds and watch the show another time.

Continuing on with Part 2.

Flash forward to February 11th.  We all met up again at the parks to take another shot at World of Color.

Just a quick aside.  Do you remember how awesome it felt when you were little and found money?  I try to bring spare change to toss on the ground for kids to find when I'm thinking of it, but today I had something special planned.
When we were in Japan, I asked for some extra 5 yen coins.  These were cool for a few reasons, the main one of course being that there is a hole completely through the coin.  That's totally unlike any coins you'd normally find.
Our group got so many great smiles standing near some family and nonchalantly tossing a coin near the kid's feet.  Kid's ears must be specially tuned for the sound of money ringing on the ground because they were immediately looking for it as soon as they heard it.  Seeing the wonder and amazement in that kid's faces was totally awesome.  Trying to read the Japanese characters on the coin, showing their parents the coin and passing it around to the whole family, marveling at how there is a hole through the coin, wondering what it's worth, and wondering how did it just fall out of the sky?

If you saw the above text and said "too long; didn't read", I'll summarize.  It's fun to drop money for kids to find.

Alright, back to the report.  None of us had seen Aladdin recently, so we figured that should be remedied.  We hit the 2:20 showing and got decent seats in the mezzanine.  We do miss the magic carpet flying around.  The "Whole New World" scene really feels incomplete without it.
The Genie is always everyone's favorite and this was no exception.  We love how he keeps the jokes fresh.  He even made fun of Madonna from the Super Bowl Halftime (just 6 days ago). 

We had an hour or so before our dinner reservations, so we headed over to Disneyland to go to on Theresa's favorite ride.  Walking through New Orleans Square, there is a Mardi Gras festival going on. 

Happily in line for Winnie the Pooh

You're used to asking to sit in the front row on roller coasters right?  Well we're doing the same thing on Winnie the Pooh now.  Why?  Well the front row has a few extra inches of leg room.  It's a very tight fit in the back two rows. 

Told you it was becoming a tradition.

Next we walked back to California Adventure and headed to our dinner reservations at the Wine Country Trattoria.  We were very happy with the menu.  Seeing the Filet Mignon on the menu made our decision easy.  All four of us ordered that.

We were seated upstairs right by the wall and had some great views while we dined.

It started with a bread basket with plenty of balsamic vinegar.

Followed by a tasty filet and potatoes. 

Arrgh.  Greens are the only reason I'm not a member of the clean plate club. 

For dessert, we were brought a sampler platter with lots of different things.  The tiramisu was my favorite.  The panna cotta was not.

The European macaroons match their shirts

Next we went to Soarin over California.  Ruston found a dollar while in line.  After we all sat down on the ride and everyone was buckled in, Ruston put the dollar about two feet out of reach on the ground.  I wonder if the people on the two rows behind us saw it.  It was still waiting for us when we got back.
Did you know that if you're on the very side in the front row, you can give a high five to the person in the next row?

Our server told us we didn't need to show up until 7:30 for World of Color.  That may be true for average seats, but we had a goal.  We wanted to be on the railing and dead center.  For that, we showed up at 6:40. 

We all sat down and talked about our upcoming vacation plans.  We're heading out to Florida together in May to go to Disney World.

The show is about to start and we're all ready for it!

I love how the water fountains just look like bright streams of paint spurting all over the lagoon.

Wall-e and Eve are becoming some of our favorite characters.

And Theresa can watch Tangled over and over again.

I'm glad Mickey makes at least one appearance.

Theresa and I have seen World of Color 5 times now.  In all our times, this was our favorite.  Standing right on the rail with no one else in front, no camera LEDs, no kids on shoulders, this was the way to see it.  We're glad we had ponchos on though.  There were a few times we got sprayed pretty good, but overall it was awesome!

And at the end, it's fun seeing all the lights and fountains dancing.

Afterwards, we were all just a little wet and a little cold.  We walked out through the Grand Californian exit and went to White Water snacks.  Four hot chocolates later, we walked over to the large outdoor fireplace just outside the Grand Californian.

It was a great end to a great night!

Walking back through the hotel lobby, the piano player was playing "I Can Go The Distance" from one of my favorite Disney movies, Hercules.  That meant a stop for a few minutes while we listened to music from that, Tangled, and a few other great Disney movies.  Remember what I said about all the great live music options at Disneyland.  Here's another great example. 

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