Monday, April 30, 2012

Disneyland Version 2.0 (Part 2)

[For part one of this story, please click HERE.]

So, last we left off, it was the end of Day 1 of Wednesday’s and my second trip to Disneyland back in 2008. (Yes, there is a REALLY good reason for all the recent Disney yappin’ going on around here lately, trust me, but you’ll have to wait for it.) (Sorry.) As you recall, I had met Mary Poppins and Bert when I went to the bathroom on Day 1—but just wait and see who we met on Day 2!!!! Read on….

DAY 2:

The Santa Ana winds hit the morning of our second day in Disneyland. And they hit HARD. Holy Clarabelle Cow, they were strong suckers! They made walking in a straight line much, much more of a Herculean effort than it ever should be. And worse? They were carrying soot, smoke, stink, and debris from all the nearby Orange County wildfires, which really made the winds quite brutal. The smoke stung our eyes and the soot penetrated through our clothes and made itself at home in…. umm…. all sorts of delicate places where one NEVER wants soot to settle. (*wince*) By the time we had walked the half mile trek from our hotel to the theme park, we had already renamed them the SATAN Ana winds.

(So there, Mother Nature!)

It was amid the vicious (and pervy) attack from the Satan Ana winds that we met Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter and Peter Pan, attempting to put on a skit for the crowd just inside the park gate.

But it’s kind of hard to put on a skit when you’ve got soot in your eyes and you can’t stand upright or keep your skirt down.

Ohhhhh, to be a character encased in a full-body armor costume, eh, Alice?! Speaking of which, we met Mickey Mouse all dolled up for Halloween!

And Minnie!

And Goofy too!

It was 95 degrees that morning and, because of the Satan Ana winds, we were kind of afraid to take off our jackets, so naturally a breakfast of ice cream sundaes at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor for breakfast seemed like a stellar move! Mmmmmmmmmm!

(Again, sorry about the quality of some of these pictures. The ones I got from my sister are on super-glossy paper and, for some reason, my scanner just insists on making them look all stripe-y. Grrrr.)

After breakfast, the Satan Ana winds magically died off. (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) We all de-sooted ourselves in the restrooms, and then trekked over to New Orleans Square because Wednesday really, REALLY wanted to show the other kids in our group the Jack Skellington makeover over at the Haunted Mansion.

The two preschool boys we were with were up for the Tim Burton-ness even though their parents and grandmothers were not so sure it was a good idea. There was some fretting among the adults that it might be too scary. However, the little fellas both thought Wednesday was about the coolest person on the whole dang planet and, if she thought it was awesome, well, heck, then it must be!

Here is what it looked like as we got near the front door of the mansion. Soooooooooo cool!

As we climbed into our “Doom Buggies” the massive sign there changed from Merry Christmas to Scary Christmas.

Not the best shot in the world, but this was the man-eating wreath lunging for us from the ceiling in the dark hallway. Eeeeeek!

Here was a huge snake eating Jack Skellington’s Naughty and Nice list.

This was Jack’s swirly hill covered with snow and jack-o-lanterns in the graveyard. The pumpkins at the foot of the hill were singing “We Wish You A Scary Christmas”.

At the end of the ride, the boys gave it a thumbs up, but the adults in our group? Yeah, not so much. It wasn’t that the ride was frightening, as they had feared, but that (….wait for it….) they were offended by the Tim Burton-y transformation it had undergone. They all wished it had stayed untouched and looked just like they remembered it from their childhoods.

(Yeah, I know. I’m surprised Wednesday still talks to any of them too!)

Next, we took the little kids into Tarzan’s Treehouse.

Somewhere along the line, Wednesday found a JACK-o-lantern! (Ba da dum tish.)

And she turned Chip n’ Dale into Playboy Bunnies. Ha!

Back in New Orleans Square later that day, we ran into Jack Sparrow. Jack was a slippery swashbuckler, and was constantly swiping things from visitors, running around, refusing to stand still for pictures, and just generally being very pirate-y. Go figure.

See? Off he goes again!

The guy who played Jack Sparrow was awesome. AWE. SOME. He had the voice, the accent, the mannerisms and the attitude down pat.

He also had a crowd of people chasing him, begging him to pose for pictures, but would Jack oblige? No, me hearties, Jack would not. I admit it, I was one of the women chasing Jack that day. And—*sigh*—there are pictures to prove it too. See?

(Oh, shut up.)

I was trying to talk Jack into stopping his pillaging for two seconds to pose with me and Wednesday for our Christmas card picture. That’s it. I didn’t want much. But Jack wouldn’t do it. Nope. I tried flinging flattery at him and everything! I called him "Captain", so he called me "lass" in his nearly dead-on Johnny Depp-ish accent. I called him "sir", so he called me "saucy wench," swaggering and swaying drunkenly in his rock star pirate fashion and hypnotic Jason Castro-like dreads.

While chasing and tossing cheesy pirate-y lingo back and forth with Jack Sparrow was fun, eventually I gave up. With much bitterness and festering resentment, I might add. It would have been one fabulous Christmas card, people! Gah!

*grumble—stupid Jack Sparrow—grumble*

However, I should point out that I’m no longer mad at Captain Jack. You see, I later found out that Disneyland went all Donald Trump on the Jacks they employed in the park and fired them all in one fell swoop. (It was freaking Mickey Mouse Mutiny! Savvy?) So, why did Disneyland send their Jack Sparrows sailing across the well-charted waters of the unemployment office? Hmm? Simple. The wenches. The lasses. The yo-ho-ho-bags.

You see, it turned out, that there had been a big problem having Jack Sparrow in Disneyland: he was turning the chicks on, making the Happiest Place on Earth a tad too happy, ifyouknowwhatimean. Reportedly breasts were flashed. Breasts in Disneyland?! Mickey no likey. And that was the reason Jack Sparrow wouldn’t pose with anyone in the park, because he was under strict orders not to, lest any women might lose control. (ARGH!) But the don’t-stop-and-linger-with-the-lasses rule didn’t deter the breast-flashers, so Jack was booted from the park shortly after our trip there.

It’s a shame, really, because the Jack Sparrow we chased mercilessly saw was absolutely phenomenal at his job! How sad.

But anyhow….

I was under strict orders from my Neurologist to avoid all the wild rides while at Disneyland due to the whole spinal trauma thingy, so my sister accompanied Wednesday on Splash Mountain for me.

(See Wednesday screaming near the back of the boat there? Soooooo funny!)

And what was I doing while Wednesday partook in all the wild rides?…. Why, lounging in one of the preschooler’s rented strollers, of course!

(See, I told you they come in handy!)

The one year old girl who was part of our group was pretty confused by this whole Disneyland thing. She had no idea where we were or what was going on and just kind of had this perplexed expression permanently plastered on her face the whole time. Wednesday and I felt kind of bad for her and decided to take her on The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh ride.

Wednesday and I had never been on the Pooh Bear ride before, but we figured surely it would be cute and baby-friendly because it was Winnie The Pooh, right? Umm…. no.

The ride was really freaky. The props were huge and painted neon, so they glowed in black lights. The music was loud and creepy and the whole experience was just…. wrong.

This is what the one year old looked like as we exited the Pooh Bear ride.

She was traumatized for life.


(Sorry, girly! I swear we didn’t know! Really!)

That night, Wednesday and I went off on our own and took several trips through the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. This was a stellar plan…. until we boarded a virtually empty Pirates boat, which went rocketing down the waterfalls like…. well…. a rocket. I hadn’t realized how violent that ride could be in a nearly-weightless boat. On the second waterfall, I actually flew off my seat (there’s no seat belts, of course) and came crashing back down right on my spine on the rock-hard seat back.

Owie. :-(

Sheepishly imagining my Neurologist sitting me in the corner with a dunce cap, I decided I was done with rides for the rest of the night and should probably try to walk the pain off. So, Wednesday and I went hat shopping and she was delighted to find Mickey ears that looked like Jack Skellington….

….and these guys too!

(Sorry, I had to borrow those last two pictures from Google because I forgot to take my own in the stores. Oops.)

Then, with our snazzy new Mickey ears and Wednesday’s Jack Skellington doll, we walked back to our hotel.

[….to be continued soon…. where you’ll find me unintentionally sloshed like Jack Sparrow and making an *ss of myself in front of a dude dressed like a skeleton.]

© Coracabana

Friday, April 27, 2012

Disneyland Version 2.0

Okay, so last week I told you all about my trip to Disneyland with little Wednesday back in 2001. Cute stuff, huh? Aaaaaaaaaaand now it only seems fitting to tell you about our second trip there. Ready? Let’s go!

Little Wednesday and I saved up all our nickels and dimes once again for a second Disneyland vacation, which we were hoping to take in 2004…. Unfortunately, destiny had other plans for us—like Wednesday’s emergency hospitalization and surgery in 2003, my losing my job because I missed too many days of work because of Wednesday’s surgery, and then my emergency hospitalization and surgery not too long afterwards (Oy!)—all of which meant that the money we had worked so hard to save up for Disneyland Version 2.0 had to be used for other things. I mean, HAD TO. We simply had no other choice.

*sad sigh*

After a couple of years of climbing hills of bills and wading through the ponds of pennilessness, we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off, and started saving our money once again. Little by little, we added to the pile and, in October 2008, we were FINALLY able to make our way back to Disneyland. 

Disneyland Version 2.0 was a bit different than the original trip. First of all, little Wednesday wasn’t so little anymore; she was almost 13. Second, this time we travelled there with a huge group of eight other people, including three grandmas, two thirty-somethings, two preschool boys, and a one year old (*cough—in a pear tree—cough*). And third?…. Ugh. This is embarrassing. I hate to even admit it. I…. I…. I had emo glasses. There. (Shut up.)

The gargantuan group of us all met up at the airport before sunrise one morning and hopped a plane to California. Here’s what it all looked like:

DAY 1:

When the huge herd of us arrived at Disneyland, we were all giggly and squeal-y to discover that the front gate had been Halloween-ified like this….

(I mean, really, how awesome in THAT?!?! The gates didn’t look like that the last time we were there!)

Once inside the park, it quickly became apparent that navigating around the place as one big, mammoth group was just NOT going to work out. At. All. With so many different people with different tastes and ages and whatnot, there just didn’t seem to be one single attraction that appealed to everybody. In fact, we were those idiots—you know THOSE idiots!—who wasted a full thirty minutes of our precious first vacation day standing on Main Street USA arguing about where to go.

Basically, it looked kinda like this….

So pitiful.

The we-all-like-different-things realization meant that we often split up into smaller groups during our vacation and would meet up every couple of hours to trade group members, depending on who wanted to do what. Most of the time though, Wednesday and I were in a group by ourselves, which was totally fine by us! Any guesses where Wednesday and I ran to first?….

The Haunted Mansion Holiday ride!!!! Duh.

Unfortunately, the line for the Haunted Mansion was just ridiculous and the wait time was nearly two hours or something like that—*sniffle*—so, Wednesday and I decided to skip it for now and come back to it later when the crowd had thinned out a bit. The wait time at Pirates of the Caribbean next door was only 15 minutes though, so we decided to hit that ride first.

Some of our group members happened to show up at Pirates at the same time we did, so about half our herd went in the boat together. One of them shot this picture of me and Wednesday as the ride started. (Sadly though, my scanner just won’t scan any of the uber-glossy pictures she gave me well and they all keep coming out ripple-y. Gah!)

Here are some shots I took on the ride.

Wednesday and I were THRILLED to find that the Pirates ride had been updated to include Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa, and Davy Jones, etc. Disney did a kick*ss job of it too, because the four Jack Sparrow robots I saw on the ride were the spitting image of Johnny Depp. So cool!

After Pirates, I needed to find a bathroom (must have been all that sloshing water!) and, hey, looky who I found lurking outside the bathroom! Mary Poppins and Bert!

(Either she’s a giant or I’m a midget. I’m not quite sure which.)

Wednesday and I were on our own again, and we had fun climbing around on Tarzan’s Treehouse.

We passed by Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

We went on a million more rides, including Pirates of the Caribbean again, and then met up with the herd at the Parade of Dreams that night, where we ate hot dogs for dinner while standing on benches in the dark, watching the parade floats crawl by while that Family Time song from Brother Bear played over and over and over.


When Wednesday and I started thinking we would lose our hot dogs if we heard one more minute of that song, we bailed on the group and went running for the Haunted Mansion, where there was virtually no line.


That is hands down the BEST thing about the Disneyland parades, isn’t it? Everyone flocks to Main Street, leaving the rest of the park deserted. If you can live without watching the parades, I definitely suggest skipping them in favor of going on all the typically busy rides without even having to wait in line!

The outside of the Haunted Mansion looked like this.

And here is what it looked like inside, just as you climb into the “Doom Buggies.”

As we looked down on the ballroom party scene, the incredible scent of gingerbread filled the whole room. That was a real gingerbread “house” on the table down there. They make a new one every year for this ride. It smelled AMAZING!

We saw Jack Skellington and Zero at the entrance to the graveyard.

We rode under these icy jack-o-lantern angel dudes on our way out of the graveyard.


After the Mansion, we met back up with our group and caught a few more rides, including Star Tours, which was fantastic too.

Eventually, I was forced (FORCED!!!!) to spend $50 against my will on a Mickey Mouse hoodie that night because the zipper broke on one and only jacket I had brought with me and I was freezing.



That was the cheapest thing they had there. $50. And guess what it did the first time I washed it? Shrunk to Tinkerbell proportions like George Costanza in the pool, that’s what! Grrrrrrrrr. (Memo to self: Maybe travelling light isn’t a good plan if you’re going somewhere where the cheapest replacement hoodie costs five times as much as it’s worth. Just a thought.)

Well, anyway, I have much more to share with you from our 2008 trip—including (literally) chasing Jack Sparrow around New Orleans Square, Santa Ana winds, and a tale of some…. umm…. sketchy free pain meds a Disneyland “nurse” gave me—but unfortunately, I’m all out of time today. I’ll have to finish this next week. Have a great weekend, Blogaritaville!

[….to be continued….]

© Coracabana

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dark Shadows and more Dark Shadows!

Aaaaaaaand now for another update on this year’s Project 365….

Day 107 (2012-04-16) ~ Dark Shadows. Can't wait! Can't wait! CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Day 108 (2012-04-17) ~ Ha! So, there's this comic book store in my neighborhood that sometimes puts this huge Incredible Hulk blow-up doll outside on the sidewalk to draw attention. It cracks me up every time I see it. Today I got up close and personal with the Hulk while taking his picture and he was even funnier the more I looked at him. The Hulk appeared to have attempted to ride two bikes at once, crashed into a pole, and was a tad miffed at his predicament! *snicker*

Day 109 (2012-04-18) ~ I know, I know. I already did a Dark Shadows movie poster picture this week, but I couldn't resist!

Day 110 (2012-04-19) ~ Tiny flowers, BIG punch. I walk by these tiny, little lilacs every day and I am always shocked at how fragrant they are. I swear, I can smell them a full block away and they smell AMAZING!

Day 111 (2012-04-20) ~ So. Google pulled the plug on Picnik where I typically edit my pictures. *sniffle* I'm trying PicMonkey in its place now, which is almost as good. Almost. I still miss Picnik though! (So sad.) I figured I would break out my Lego Buckingham Palace Guard to memorialize the changing of the Picnik photo editing guard. It seemed fitting. (The link to PicMonkey for anyone else who is missing Picnik:

Day 112 (2012-04-21) ~ About 1/1,000,000 of Wednesday's Tim Burton collection. She has the COOLEST room ever!

We are about 30% of the way through the project so far. More on the way soon, swearsies!

© Coracabana