And so our adventure in Los Angeles draws to a close. I was fortunate the blog posted on schedule last night as planned, so I was able to focus everything on enjoying my time at Disneyland. And you know what? It wasn't bad.
I will say this, first and foremost: if I go to another Disney park I will be bringing a collapsible stool with me because my feet are DEAD. Things in the park didn't work out exactly as planned, but I suppose well enough for it to come out in the win column for me. The largest stain on the day had to be waiting in line for Space Mountain. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect to get directly into the ride, but I was in line for two hours. Two hours! I was promised 70 minutes by both the app and the signs at the ride. And you know what? There's not a single place to sit while waiting in line at Space Mountain. After walking all over two parks for the entire day.
Yes I know about Fast Passes, in fact I even got one. One. Arriving at around 8am in the morning, I grabbed a Fast Pass for Radiator Springs Racers only to find the time they reserved for me was... 4:30pm. The heck? So I lost my ability to get any Fast Passes the rest of the day while I waited for that to come up. That was fine. I used the app to find short waits at Pirates of the Carribean, The Haunted Mansion, and several of the Fantasy Land rides. It was fine. But after Radiator Springs Racer I rushed to Space Mountain only to find that they had zero Fast Passes left. So no matter what, I would need to wait in line. Eh... a little over an hour didn't seem that bad.
But that black mark aside, the rest of the day was relatively nice. We got in on Splash Mountain without any wait as it had just reopened after we got off the Winnie the Pooh ride. I even managed to stay moderately dry after the big splash.
Food was another issue that I'm kinda "meh" on. We didn't skimp, but we didn't exactly fork out the big bucks either. What was surprising was how quickly we felt hungry again. The food tasted okay, no complaints, but maybe it's just because we were constantly on the move, but it didn't last long.
I will give top marks to the desserts and snacks, though. We grabbed items from the bakeries twice and were delighted both times, and I even really liked their cheddar popcorn. On a side note, why has it become so hard to find good cheddar popcorn? White cheddar, sure, but all the cheddar popcorn I find has been so disappointing. But the Disneyland popcorn, both cheddar and even the regular -- top notch. Well worth the cost.
So what rides do I recommend from this little trip? First, the Incredicoaster was awesome. The managed the line well and I felt entertained the entire time. Once on the ride, it was a blast. Not too short, plenty of stuff going on. Good coaster.
Next, you can't go wrong with Radiator Springs Racers. Halfway through you literally race the car next to you. I've lost twice now, but I still think the ride is a blast. The animatronics are surprisingly good, you really do feel like the characters from the movie are inhabiting that world. Kudos to the engineers that came up with the facial animations on those characters.
Lastly, you have to take in one of the classics. Haunted Mansion for the atmosphere or Splash Mountain for the thrill. I... sadly... can't recommend Space Mountain. My wait time so badly marred my impression of the ride. I know it sounds like whining, but I'm a big guy and standing on my feet for sixteen hours starts to wear on me. Spending two of those hours in line, with no distracting fun facts or imagery, left a bad taste in my mouth. When I finally got into the ride, all I could think was "Wow, my feet don't hurt so bad now that I'm sitting down. I hope this ride lasts a while, I could really use the break." I wasn't concerned with the usually awesome thrill of spiraling through the dark. I was just happy to finally not be in line. I could've sat for some Steamboat Willie cartoons and been thrilled just be out of that line.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm disappointed with that one aspect. Even writing this, I didn't intended to dwell on Space Mountain for so long. I've been to the park before and I've always marveled at how they handle lines. Always moving, always distracted. But Space Mountain? A boring empty room devoid of life. Just a bunch of other tired tourists sitting uncomfortably on chains and barricades as best they can.
I've heard somewhere that you're rarely remembered for the things you get right, but more for what you get wrong. I feel there has to be some truth to that as I know a bunch of things went right during my visit. The food was reasonable, even good when it came directly from the bakery, the attractions were fun, the detail in aesthetics was admirable (in Cars Land, they have a traffic light that flashes and, yes, every third light is slower), but all I can remember was how much my feet hurt while I was waiting two hours for Space Mountain. If I'd known it would be two hours, I would've written the ride off and done something else. Happily ever after. But no. Grr.
Okay, I'm done with Space Mountain. Coincidentally, I'm also almost done with this blog. Really, I just needed a space to vent and this seemed like a good place for it. We've had quite the little adventure in Los Angeles and, surprisingly, Disneyland was not the highlight of it. We finished a long unfinished task, met new friends, stepped closer to our jobs in China, and even tried hot pot. It was pretty good.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.