Monday, October 4, 2010

Disneyland - Today, Things We Like

Occasionally, here at Jungle headquarters, I find myself engaging in remembrances of things past.
However, we are commissioned by our Creator to live in the now.
So let me not pine over yesterday, but take a few moments to look at things as they are now, today.
If I took you to the Park today, what we would enjoy most?
I suppose that I could take you to Baskin Robbins' 31 Flavors ice cream shop and ask the same question---with the same myriad results.
Some would say "Lemon Custard," others "vanilla," still others, "Jamocha Almond Fudge."
It is true.
You cannot argue matters of taste, generally speaking.
Nonetheless, I will throw out a few of my personal favorites at the Park.
It's my blog, after all.
You are but its hapless victims.

So, after we get there, I say we go over to Indiana Jones.
You want theming?
You want a queue that is almost as good as the ride itself?
You want to start your day in Adventureland?
You want to channel your inner Harrison Ford?
Let us go, then.
As for me, it is always a front row seat behind the steering wheel.
It is a marvelous attraction.
You are definitely immersed in its world from start to climactic finish.
It's got everything: great soundtrack, music, sets, animation, ride vehicle, thrills, etc.
I still duck as phantom "poison darts" blast past me on puffs of air.
It is also always a relief to get out from under that darn boulder and to see Indy wiping his brow at the end, with the dust still settling.
And as we exit the attraction, we step outside the Temple of Mara and onto a walkway that parallels the magnificent Jungle Cruise.
If we stop here awhile, we will no doubt become part of the spiel of the next skipper who pilots his boat by us.
"Over to the right hand side of the boat, we can see a few choice examples of a strange bipedal species that frequents this area. Don't make any sudden moves! There's no telling what they are capable of! The big ones are scary enough, but those little ones! Sure, they look cute and cuddly, but let me tell you, they can latch on to an adult for 18 to 26 years and bleed them dry! Trust me, I have three of 'em."

Next, let's take an early morning Monorail trip.
Well, it's not too crowded this time of day (at least at the Tomorrowland station), so what better time to ride it?
We'll cruise over Tomorrowland and get a great view as we head out of the Park and back to the Disney Walk station.
The sleek new trains, with their window-facing bench seats, are comfortable and the views are great.
We can hop back on and enjoy the return trip into the Park.

Okay, so we're back.
We're in Tomorrowland and it is still fairly early.
Let's grab some coffee and a danish or something to enjoy while we wait in line for "Finding Nemo." It is still cool, so even though the wait will be around 30 to 40 minutes, we'll be comfortable. The line only gets hotter and longer as the day progresses.
Though not for the claustrophobes in our group, the "Finding Nemo" attraction is well done and utterly enjoyable.
Sure, it can be a little dark and scary for the younger ones---whom you might choose to keep off of this one. (Picture a howling, terrified four-year-old in a dark submarine with at least six minutes left of the ride before you can get off and a sub full of guests a bit nonplussed over the commotion---sound like fun?).
However, most kids love Nemo and are more than capable of weathering the ride without incident.
Mine, for example, are simply fearless of anything a Disney park can throw at them.
A Disney park threw their dad at them, and they got past that, so nothing can scare them now.

A third, and final, suggestion for today's post: the Mark Twain.
Wait, isn't that boring?
Perhaps, for some.
For me, though, the refurbished Rivers of America are well worth a smooth trip around Tom Sawyer's Island.
The Mark Twain is a classic, and it, too, has been neatly refurbished.
In the mornings it is not too crowded and the cool air over its decks is invigorating.
Grab a comfortable seat and watch New Orleans Square glide by.
Look around you.
You could almost swear, by the time you reach the Hungry Bear Restaurant, that you have left California behind and are somewhere in the backwoods of a Mississippi River offshoot.
If you grabbed a refill of your coffee or soft drink, you can casually sip it while enjoying the view from the Mark Twain's deck.
If you are really ambitious, and one of the first groups to board, you can run up to the top deck and knock on the cabin door just below the wheelhouse.
The captain just might open it and let you in.
Then you'll get a chance to join him up in the wheelhouse---a rare treat that is worth the effort!
If you have youngsters, they'll get to steer the boat and pull on the steam whistle and ring the bell. They will even get a Pilot's Certificate at the end of the trip.
Even if you don't get to the wheelhouse, the relaxing morning trip on the river is its own reward.

I'll leave it at that for now.

Enjoy your next trip to the Park.
May you have many, many more!



Connie Moreno said...

BRAVO!!! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Roger Connie's note. Still have a few of those certificates in my possession having been one lucky enough to hand them out to those I chose to "come aboard". The look in a child's eyes when he or she pulled the whistle and rang the bell as we drifted in from another journey is etched in my memory.

dmorrone said...

It's the small, granular bits of pixie dust that make up the magic....

Anne said...

Ah the Mark Twain Wheelhouse, still on my Disney Bucket List. Excellent post. Have you ever seen the golden corral show? I havent and am wondering whether it is worth seeing once. hmm?

Mike said...

Connie: Thank you, much obliged!

Anon: you obviously know exactly what I'm talking about!

dmorrone: Couldn't agree more. Thanks for your readership!

Anne: Keep it on your bucket list! Here's a trick, hang around the wheelhouse door after the Mark Twain docks. Knock and tell them captain you'll be back for the next trip and really want a chance to see the wheelhouse. If you are blowing whistles and ringing bells on the next trip, I'd be plenty surprised. The show at the Golden Horseshoe is always worth seeing! Say Hi to Billy Hill and the Hillbillies!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike. Your narrative evokes long ago memories. And I may re-visit the park next week while on vacation. It's the crowds of today that I'm not ready to endure.

Reader #4