Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I’m Walking Right Down The Middle Of Main Street USA (Part 2)
[To catch up and read part 1 of this story click HERE.]
Okay. So, when we left off, it was September of 2001. Little four year old Wednesday and I had hoarded every spare penny would could scrounge up for an entire year to afford a vacation to Disneyland and we were sooOOooOOoo excited. But a mere month before our trip (and after we had already forked over $2000+ for it), some jack*ss-y terrorists hijacked some planes and…. well…. you know what happened on September 11th.
About a week after the terrorists attacked, suddenly everyone I knew seemed to come crawling out of a fog of mind-numbing shock and started pelting me with questions: “What are you going to do?”, “Are you still going on your trip?”, “Are you afraid to get on an airplane now?”, etc.
The answers were easy. I knew exactly what I had to do. In fact, the moment I saw the plane smash into the second tower live on TV while eating my breakfast that ugly morning, I knew even then what I had to do: Keep calm and carry on.
(See, these British genes of mine come in handy every now and then.)
Wednesday and I were still going to go to Disneyland, terrorists or no terrorists. I honestly wasn’t afraid. The only other option was to flush away all the money we had saved up for an entire year, teach a four year old that hard work has no reward and your dreams can be stolen from you by jerks, hide under my bed in fear, and let the terrorists win. There was NO WAY that I was going to allow that to happen.
And so, one month later, little Wednesday, my mom, and I found ourselves in the deserted airport where we boarded a nearly-empty plane to California. Wednesday had been on a plane a few times before, but she had no memory of it. She watched out the window, kicking her feet and laughing so hard that she couldn’t breathe as we rocketed down the runway and up, up, up into the Seattle sky.
Two hours later, we landed at LAX. We rushed through the airport, just wanting to hurry to our hotel, dump our bags, and get our rears on over to Disneyland ASAP! Little Wednesday (with her Blue’s Clues backpack—awwww) pushed the luggage cart with my mom while I ran beside them, snapping pictures.
Wednesday and I spent five fabulous days in Disneyland and California Adventure, which had only just opened. I took pictures of almost everything we saw and did. These were the days before digital photography, so at the end of our trip I had twelve rolls of film to get developed. Yeah. Twelve! These are some of my favorites….
When we arrived at Disneyland, the first thing we did was rent a stroller. Yeah, yeah, Wednesday was four years old and kind of too big for strollers, but all the Disneyland survival guides I had devoured while planning our trip had sworn that renting a stroller was THE smartest move you could possibly make in Disneyland. And, holy heckcakes, were they right! For a mere seven dollars, you could rent a stroller for the entire day. (If you somehow misplaced your stroller, they’d give you a new one for free with no questions asked!) There’s a lot of walking to do in Disneyland (about eight miles a day, I read) and that’s an awful lot to ask of a four year old, so we made REALLY good use out of those strollers each day.
After snagging the stroller, we had little Wednesday cover her eyes until we got to Main Street USA. She squealed out loud with joy and anticipation with her small hands pressed over her face. Then I got my camera ready, told her she could take a peek, and this is what she looked like when she opened her eyes and got her first glimpse of Disneyland….
She gasped. She laughed like a lunatic. Then she climbed out of the stroller and held my hand as we went walking—no—running right down the middle of Main Street USA. We passed by Sleeping Beauty’s castle and then headed off into Adventureland. The first "ride” we went on was Tarzan’s Treehouse. Little Wednesday LOOOOOOOOOOVED it!
Although, she thought Sabor the Leopard was scary as all heck!
And he was.
Next, we wandered into New Orleans Square where our jaws hit the ground. The Haunted Mansion I remembered from years and years ago had been given an awesome Nightmare Before Christmas makeover for Halloween!
The makeover of the mansion is an annual tradition now, but the year Wednesday and I first saw it was their first year of it. In fact, they had only just re-opened the mansion after decorating it and had Disney employees waiting with clipboards at the mansion’s exit, asking all the guests what they thought of the makeover. Wednesday and I gave them SPECTACULAR reviews—over and over and over again!—each time we went on the ride (which was about 50 times, no exaggeration!)…. and maybe, just maybe, she and I are the reason the makeover is now a tradition, hmm? ;-)
The cruddy little non-digital point n’ shoot camera I was toting around back then didn’t do a good job of capturing pictures inside the dark mansion, but I did get a shot of Jack Skellington’s face grinning down at us from the ceiling of The Stretching Room.
That first day, we also went on the Dumbo ride, where Wednesday got to hold the magic feather.
We met (and got an autograph from) Mickey….
We even got to see a surprise performance of the retired Electrical Parade which Disneyland unleashed as a peace offering to all the Disneyland guests that night because several of the bigger attractions had been closed down for repairs.
And, late that night, in the hotel restaurant, little happily-exhausted Wednesday fell sound asleep against the wall after only taking one bite of her grilled cheese sandwich.
We met Tigger….
….and Wednesday got kissed by Pooh Bear….
The three of us ran amok in Fantastland. (Yeah, I was a lot heavier back then. Blah.)
We even saw dancing mushrooms in a parade!
We had breakfast with Eeyore.
Wednesday drove a car like a flipping maniac in Autopia. (Lord have mercy!)
We met Cruella De Vil, whom Wednesday wouldn’t go ANYWHERE near!
And we met Belle….
….and Sleeping Beauty.
We even saw the crashed ship from Pigs In Space!
Before we set foot in the park that morning, I told little Wednesday I would let her buy one Disney Princess costume to wear in the park. A rabid, drooling fan of both dress-up clothes and all things Disney-ish, this was her reaction to the exciting news….
Wednesday picked out a Little Mermaid costume and—whaddaya know—then we ran into the Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid LOVED little Wednesday’s costume and said, “you’re my twin princess” to her…. which resulted in Wednesday not wanting to change her outfit for the next four months!
We met The Mad Hatter….
….and Donald Duck….
….and Snow White….
….and even the Wicked Queen.
Still in her Little Mermaid costume for the second day in a row, Wednesday met Daisy Duck….
She also had a long, lonnnnngggggggg nap in one of those rental strollers.
(See how handy those strollers are?!)
The Haunted Mansion was closed for half the day our last day there, because they were filming some sort of commercial or something. The mansion was all lit up, there was fog all over the ground, and cameras everywhere.
Through the gate, we saw them filming this Vincent Price-looking dude who was welcoming the film crew into the mansion in the swirling fog, ringing his hands shiftily, and laughing evilly like…. well…. Vincent Price.
The last thing we did in Disneyland was watch The Parade Of Stars where we saw Tarzan….
….and Wednesday’s “twin princess” The Little Mermaid.
(I hope there were air holes in that bubble!)
And then our Disneyland adventure was over. We flew home with Wednesday still dressed as The Little Mermaid, and with enough photos to fill two entire picture albums!
Wednesday still remembers our 2001 Disneyland trip as one of the best times of her life, and she is still astoundingly good about saving her money up for things she really wants rather than letting money burn holes through her pocket. She learned a lot of valuable lessons by helping to raise the money for that trip and those lessons have stuck with her all these years.
Of course, it wasn’t too long after our trip that we started feeling the Disneyland fever again and started saving our pennies up for a second vacation. We went back seven years later, and I might dig out those pictures and share that trip with you too one day soon—(trust me, there’s a good, solid reason for all this Disneyland madness here lately, but you’ll have to wait a little bit for that!)—but first bloggy things first: Anybody know what important anniversary this week is in the history of Blogaritaville? Hmm? Anyone? Tune in tomorrow to find out. :-)