The Happiest Place on Earth

Okay, remember that last picture from the California Adventure post? The one with the crowd of people sitting in their camp chairs, wrapped in blankets like they were ready to camp out for the night? Well, they were. Let me explain.

As I researched park hours on the way to Anaheim, I saw on the calendar that it listed the hours for Friday, May 22 as 6:00 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. Well, that seemed strange, so when I called to verify our reservations at the RV park, I asked the camp host about it. Sure enough, those were the correct hours. When we rode the shuttle to the park Thursday afternoon, our driver was very informative, and enlightened us to the situation, Apparently Disneyland has been doing this “24-hour thing” for a few years now, as a way to celebrate their new year (their anniversary), and this particular year is their 60th, so it was supposedly going to be even bigger.

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Disney was allowing people to begin lining up at 10:00 p.m. the night before (hence the line of people in chairs and blankets) in order to begin purchasing tickets at 3:00 a.m. to then get into the park at 6:00 a.m. Friday morning! Obviously, we didn’t know this was happening when we planned our days in the park, or we might have made a different plan. But, when in Rome, right? So, we prepared ourselves for long lines and LOTS of people.

The earliest shuttle we could catch from the RV park was 8:30 a.m. We made plans for Minnie Mouse and I to go at that time because Harriet had a little hitch — we had an issue with one of the hydraulic lines that goes to the levelers — so Vence had to stay back at the park to meet the mechanic.

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We got to the park a little before 9:00 a.m., but there weren’t any of the lines we had been told would be there. She and I basically walked right in. Main Street was busy, but not awful, and we made our way to Fantasy Land. We were making our way toward It’s A Small World, but stopped to ride a couple of other things first (one being the teacups, which aren’t called The Teacups, BTW — they are called Mad Tea Party). We waited in a line, but nothing atrocious. At Small World we had to wait, maybe, 5 minutes.

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She and I then rode Dumbo and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, then walked over to Tomorrow Land. At this point, the park was definitely getting busier, and we waited a while in line for our next ride. When we got off, Vence called and said he was in the park. We met up with him, and he told us he had a much harder time getting into the park. It looked like this when he arrived:

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We took him on some rides we wanted to do with him (ones that aren’t in Walt Disney World in Florida), and Small World — again.

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You have to understand something about Small World: It is very important to Minnie Mouse. Actually, it is to me too. I have always loved Mickey Mouse, and Disney. When I was 15 my mom took me to Florida for Christmas, and we went to Walt Disney World — Epcot one day, and Magic Kingdom on Christmas Eve. When we arrived in Magic Kingdom, the first ride my mom insisted we do was It’s A Small World. I was fascinated by the dolls and the colorful scenery. She didn’t come out and say it, but it was obvious that was my mom’s favorite ride there, and it was something special she wanted to relive from her childhood, and share with me. Then, we took Minnie Mouse to Walt Disney World when she was 4. She knew about Small World from a Disney Sing-Along-Song video she has. But, when we actually rode it, she was hooked. Grandma (Vence’s mom) and Grandpa were with us on that trip, and Grandma loves the ride too. So, when Vence and I would go to ride a roller coaster, Grandma and Minnie Mouse would go ride Small World! (Okay, not every time, but she ended up riding it 5 times on that trip, and 3 times on this trip.)

We found a table to eat lunch:

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Then, we finished up in Fantasy Land, and headed to Frontier Land. This trip hit some milestones for our family. Vence and I LOVE roller coasters. For us, the faster, the loopier, the crazier, the better. But, Minnie Mouse has not enjoyed these kinds of rides. She generally likes them slow and steady. But, we had hopes that this time we might get her on Thunder Mountain Railroad. It took some doing, but we finally talked her into it. So, with Fast Passes in hand for a ride on Thunder Mountain later that evening, we headed to New Orleans to hit our next milestone.

Another favorite ride of ours is Haunted Mansion. Again, Minnie Mouse hasn’t been willing to do scary, either. But, again, we thought we would try it this time. We got in line. This was, by far, our longest line of the day — we waited a solid hour. She made it (through the line and the ride), and actually kind of liked it (The ride, not the line). Whew! That one went well.

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We did a few other must-see-and-do things, then ate dinner. After that we headed for Thunder Mountain Railroad to use our Fast Passes. Guess what? She loved it! I mean, she really loved it. We got off, and she couldn’t stop talking, she was so excited. She couldn’t wait to ride it again. Vence said, “Well, finally, we know she is our daughter.” We might make her a roller coaster lover after all!

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From here we went back to Small World (for the 3rd time), and we tried to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, but after waiting in line for a bit, it was broken down! So, since Minnie Mouse wanted to, we went back for a second ride on Thunder Mountain railroad. This time, she put her hands in the air, like she just didn’t care, and laughed and hollered like a seasoned rider!

So, Daddy thought now we should take her on Space Mountain. Another milestone.

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She made it, but she wasn’t as excited about it. Too fast! Well, that’s okay. Next time maybe she will love it.

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We ended with an easy ride on the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, then weaved our way through the mob of people standing around to watch the new night show they were debuting for the 60th anniversary. We caught bits and pieces of it as we walked out. It was impressive and magical, as only Disney can do. We were hoping to get over to Downtown Disney again, but realized that wasn’t going to work because of the crowd.

So, all in all, the day was successful. There were a lot of people, but the lines were not terrible, and we got to do everything we wanted, and be part of a special Disney celebration. It is one of the happiest places on earth!

See you at the next stop!

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