Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Today was our big day at Disneyland. We had planned to get there at 7am -- the park normally opens at 8am, but our tickets let us in an hour earlier -- but didn't quite make it; we got there at 7:15.

We headed straight for Tomorrowland, which is the futuristic section of the park (obviously). As we came round the corner, we spotted a building with the Star Wars logo on it, so that was obviously going to be our first stop. It turned out to be another hydraulic ride -- like the Simpsons ride at Universal -- this time 'simulating' an abortive journey through space to Endor.

After wobbling out from this ride, we went into Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, which is a more sedate affair. You ride in these two-seater cars which trundle around a track. You have a joystick mounted in the dash which allows you to rotate the chair, but otherwise, all you have to do is shoot targets with the laser blasters, in an attempt to help Buzz Lightyear defeat the evil Emperor Zurg (which probably only makes sense to people who've seen the Toy Story movies). It was a lot of fun (Juliette scored just under 10,000 points; I got 45,300).

After that, we headed to the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, took a ride on the Monorail, visited the Innoventions futuristic home, and the Honey, I Shrunk The Audience 3D show (which still made us both jump with the 3D effects).

We then headed for Autopia, where you get to drive small cars around a miniature highway. The controls are rudimentary -- just a steering wheel and an accelerator pedal -- and you don't have that much control over where you're going (there's a raised concrete section that running down the track that keeps the cars on course), but it was still a lot of fun. Juliette especially liked the fact that she was behind me, and bumped me a couple of times.

By now, we were done with Tomorrowland, so we got on the Disneyland Railway, which runs all the way around the boundary of the park, and got off in Mickey's Toontown. There wasn't a lot we wanted to see here, but it meant we were close to Fantasyland.

We then took a ride through the It's A Small World attraction, which is a leisurely boat cruise through animatronics in different national costumes alterating between singing It's A Small World After All and Jingle Bells (even included a Maori doll dancing with two kiwis).

Next stop was the Matterhorn Bobsleds, a proper roller coaster ride set inside a fake mountain. The worst part was the first section, when the bobsleds rattle along at high speed and in complete darkness. Once you get some light, it's a lot more fun.

We had goes on the Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan's Flight rides which were fun (although the Peter Pan ride was a bit of an anticlimax -- 30 minutes of queuing for a 2 minute ride).

We got back on the Disneyland Railroad, and rode it round to New Orleans Square, then walked through to Critter Country, where the Splash Mountain roller coaster is. The signs at the beginning say "You may get wet", but I hadn't seen any people looking damp, so we didn't put on the vinyl ponchos that we'd picked up at Universal Studios (although Juliette thought it might be a good idea). Of course, with a 50-foot plunge ending in a big splash, we did get wet -- in fact, Juliette got saturated.

We decided to go back to the hotel to get changed and get some lunch, and ended up staying for a nap. We went back to Downtown Disney (the shopping precinct), and watched the fireworks display from Main Street, before returning to the hotel for dinner.

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