Gay Days Anaheim 2016

This weekend was Gay Day at Disneyland (link). It’s typically the first Saturday of October and that’s where I am every year on that day. Many years ago, it was known as Red T-Shirt Day or Family Day, before people were comfortable with calling it Gay Day. Those days are still honored by everyone wearing red t-shirts. Within the past few years, Disney has embraced it (it’s not an official Disney event) and they serve rainbow treats and have special rainbow products (shirts, lanyards) and they even had rainbow thread that you could have used to embroider your name on your mouse ears. As you can see in the picture, there were also cast members around the park holding up rainbow frames that you could take your picture with.

There are several optional meet-ups throughout the day. We chose to go to the Enchanted Tiki Room meet-up. We learned that on Gay Day, there is choreography for those of us who sing along! I didn’t know that the tiki room could be even better but it was absolutely wonderful.

‘Til next year, Gay Days!

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Published in: on 10/03/2016 at 6:11 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A few words on the Frozen show at Disneyland

I mentioned in my last post that there were a few technical difficulties. There were some costumes that weren’t cooperating and the mics would go in and out every once in a while.

I would like to say that this was one of the most intense live theatre experiences I’ve ever had and this is why: The Hyperion Theatre at Disneyland California Adventure where this show runs has an audience capacity of 1,984 people. So even if the adult:child ratio is 1:1, that’s almost 1,000 children in a single space.

Being quiet.

Being quiet while someone is on stage singing “Let It Go.”

Here and there you hear parents telling their kids to shut the hell up because the kids are trying to sing along.

A thousand kids holding their tongues. The pent up energy was palpable. It was a flame sitting just out of range of a fuse.

I can’t say that each show is quiet like ours was, but it was both stressful and wonderful all at once.

Published in: on 06/07/2016 at 3:56 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Disneyland Shenanigans

We went to Disneyland on Saturday for some self-care. I learned something new while we were there: don’t cry when wearing contact lenses. We went to see the new Frozen show (pretty good, had some technical/costume difficulties to work on) and in the beginning during “the sad part”, my eyes got watery and I blinked and plop! My contact lenses popped out of my eyeballs. So then I couldn’t really see the show. Or drive home. So Cole had to drive us home.

Luckily before the world turned blurry, we had a lovely day. We took some pictures at the haunted mansion (below). The video at the end is very short and full of “what the hell?” If you haven’t noticed, if you get your photos taken by an official Disneyland photographer sometimes they add some special effects. Ridiculous, silly special effects.

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Published in: on 06/07/2016 at 3:12 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Special Event at Disneyland!

On Tuesday we went to a special event at Disneyland for Annual Pass Holders. About 6 weeks ago I got a notice that there would be this event and it’s necessary to RSVP for it, so I did. They closed the park at 9pm and only allowed registered guests from 9p-1a. We arrived around 7p and checked in to get our wristbands (pictured below) and were handed a special schedule and some postcards (also pictured  below). We ran over to Disneyland California Adventure and grabbed a couple chicken sandwiches before that park closed at 8pm. We then went to the tiki bar and had a drink before wandering back into Disneyland. We got into Disneyland at about 8:40p while the fireworks were happening. We were really curious about how Disneyland was going to kick people out who didn’t have wrist bands. We went over and got in a very short (under 20 minutes) line for Star Tours. When we exited the ride into the Star Trader (Tomorrowland’s main shopping establishment), we saw that they had the doors to the outside mostly closed, with cast members standing at the doors and turning away people without wrist bands. So that’s how they did it. They had cast members checking for wrist bands at every open ride, store, and restaurant. They even had cast members checking wrist bands at the openings of certain walkways.

Some of the special things they had going on that night were a free download of all photopass pictures, some characters out for meet & greets such as Jafar and Stitch, live music at the Tomorrowland Terrace pretty much the whole night, and what I was really excited about, they did the Paint the Night Parade! The Paint the Night Parade is Disneyland’s new and insanely bright LED electric parade. We were planning on sometime going to the park after work to camp out to see the parade because seating fills up but since they did it during this special event, we got great seats and didn’t have to camp out for two hours! The Parade was amazing. Doesn’t have the charm of the original Electric Light Parade and by the end, I was definitely on sensory overload, but I’m still glad we finally got to see it.

We didn’t wait maybe more than 15 minutes for any ride and we literally walked right on to Pirates of the Caribbean. There was only one other person in our boat on that ride and the boats in front of us and behind us were both empty. We rode Space Mountain twice in a row and also got to ride the terrifyingly updated Matterhorn without having to wait in line for an hour.

There were hardly any children around during the event and I saw under a dozen strollers. It was truly magical. Yes, I just said Disneyland is extra magical when there are no children there.

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Published in: on 09/03/2015 at 6:21 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Another Disney Day

This weekend we went to Disneyland. Here are a couple of pictures and some highlights.

While in line for the Haunted Mansion, a little kid (about five years old) was screwing around, as little kids do, and he rammed his head into Cole’s butt. It was hilarious.

Parks were super busy this weekend. Super super busy.

Whoever was bartending at the tiki bar was very heavy-handed. I ordered a Mai Tai, which is not a clear drink but it had much more rum than usual and less juices so it wasn’t as opaque as it should have been. We decided to get some cheap food in the park, then go to the tiki bar to have drinks. We concentrated on not spending a ton of money there this weekend and we know that the things we spend the most money on are food items. I think we did pretty well.

We went over to Tom Sawyer Island, which they actually call Pirate’s Lair or something like that. I don’t know. I refuse to call it anything other than Tom Sawyer Island. It was nice and quiet over there with lots of shade and lots of places to sit.

When we went over to California Adventure we walked over to Soarin’ Over California to get fast passes but they were ‘sold out.’ As we stood there, a guy came over and said, “here, do you want these?” he gave us two fast passes for Soarin’ which were good immediately AND a pass that got us right onto the Hollywood Tower of Terror, both rides that we wanted to ride and not wait in line for! We were really excited about that.

We went over to the wine terrace and had a drink (beer & cider). There was a male couple next to us with their son and one of the dads was tickling the kid and the kid was making hysterical laughter noises which made us laugh. The other dad looked over at us and shook his head at the silliness and I said, “It’s okay, he [pointing at Cole] makes the same sounds when I tickle him.” I’d caught both the guys off guard and they laughed really hard.

We went over to Bug’s Land and saw the 4D thingy called “It’s Tough Being a Bug.” I don’t remember ever having seen it. It’s a bit creepy and there were a couple things that were really surprising that made the audience (me included) scream. Now that I’ve done it I feel like I don’t have to do it ever again.

Saturday night means swing dancing in Downtown Disney. We did a little bit of dancing, but since we had a backpack it was a bit hard. We hopped back on the monorail to go into Disneyland and went on some more rides after the fireworks so I could sober up and drive home.

It was a really good day. I wore my fitbit. We were at Disneyland for about 12 hours and logged over 24,000 steps. That’s over 10 miles of steps. Wheee!

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Published in: on 08/24/2015 at 6:51 PM  Comments (2)  
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Another Day at Disneyland

Yesterday we went to Disneyland (and Disney California Adventure), my home away from home. I’ve had a season pass for years and now Cole finally has one as well. We didn’t plan on spending 14 hours there, but we did.

We met some friends at DCA first thing in the morning and went on the Hollywood Tower of Terror. In case you aren’t familiar with this ride, it’s made to be like a service elevator in an old hotel and it brings you up and drops you down, multiple times at multiple levels. At some points, it allows you to look out from 13 stories up and it takes your picture right before dropping you. Since we know where the cameras are, we love taking planned pictures on the rides. For this ride we figured that deadpan was the best (back row):

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Next we went on California Screamin’, a roller coaster reminiscent of those found on beach boardwalks. It’s one of my favorites:

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You can see the roller coaster in the background here:
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Cole and I took a break from running around and sat in the shade and had some iced coffee. While we were on a bench, a cast member (what Disneyland calls their employees) dressed as a janitor with a broom and a dustpan came over in front of us and dipped the tip of the broom (which was rubber banded to be like a paint brush) into some spilled water on the ground and drew Donald Duck. I snapped a picture before it evaporated completely:

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Then the “janitor” came over into the shade in front of us and drew one of my favorites, Jack Skellington:

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We realized that his dustpan was actually filled with water and that was his job: To go around the park dressed like a janitor and create unexpected, fleeting art and moments of magic.

As Cole and I sat there we were fascinated by watching people just walk all over the art:

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No one looks down. Maybe one or two people did. But dozens walked by without noticing the art beneath their feet.

That’s one of the things I love about Disneyland. They have such an amazing attention to detail and there are unexpected “magical” things all around, but you have to stop a moment and look.

Speaking of magical things, one of my favorite parts of the Disney parks isn’t in the parks, but instead, over at the hotel. It’s Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar. I’ll be doing a whole separate blog post on the tiki bar, but here’s a teaser photo:

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The bar is basically like the Enchanted Tiki Room without the birds but still with the enchantment. And booze. Wonderful, heavily-poured booze.

After Cole and I had drinks, we made our way back to DCA to meet with other friends and have a fancy lunch at Carthay Circle. They have a full bar and delicious food, though not cheap.

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After lunch we walked around a bit, went on some rides, got more booze, and chatted. We then went over into Disneyland and waited 25 minutes to get on Big Thunder Mountain only for it to shut down right before we got on the train. Since we were next in line, they gave us a “FastPass” to use on any ride. We went to dinner at the all-you-can-eat barbeque in Frontierland then used our fastpass to go on the Matterhorn, a ride that has recently been updated and does not offer a fastpass option, so the line is always longer than I want to stand in.

The rides at Disneyland have storylines and that of the Matterhorn is that you’re in a bobsled and being chased by the abominable snowman. They have updated the tracks a bit as well as the snowman and now he’s fucking terrifying. He has very smooth audioanimatronic movement that he did not previously have and he’s much scarier-looking. Also the audio is creepy as hell and there are parts of the ride where it’s made to feel like he’s running alongside of you, just on the other side of the ice, growling. I really liked it but it was NOT what I was expecting from a Disney ride. Don’t take your kids on it if they’re easily frightened. Going on it at night was even better because there were parts that were almost pitch black. Good times!

Published in: on 07/13/2015 at 8:24 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Holy Sh*t I Went to Club 33 at Disneyland!!!

If you don’t know what Club 33 is, look here, then come back to this blog post. Short story: It’s a private (membership only) club in Disneyland. It costs bajillions of dollars to join. I heard at one point the waiting time to join was 14 years long, but it is currently closed. Don’t quote me on that. There are corporate memberships and that is how I got in through my friend. If you want to learn about the Club 33 dress code and more general details, look here. I’m mostly just going to tell you about my experience.

My friend and I met up at Disneyland at about 6:15p. We went to the lockers and dropped off our fancy clothes because Club 33 has a dress code; however, our reservation wasn’t until 9:30p so we had time to kill. Apparently, if you make reservations for Club 33, they pay for your entry into the park all day. My friend and I have season passes, so we didn’t think it was necessary to spend the whole day there.

After roaming around the park and getting kicked off the Winnie the Pooh ride (it broke. Not our fault.), we changed and arrived at the Club at 9:15p. They weren’t ready for us so they had us stand around outside. Super surreal standing around outside the door in a dress and heels while bunches of people are walking by, trying to open the door to the club or jumping to look inside when the door opens so the staff can talk to people with reservations. So, we stood outside and took pictures.

Once we got in, we waited around in the foyer for about 25 minutes. Staff was running behind, but we were IN and we didn’t care. Again, it was surreal to be standing inside, listening to people try to open the door. A couple of college-age people rang the doorbell and said, “We don’t have reservations, but we just wanted to tell you that someday WE WILL GET IN TO CLUB 33!!!” The staff was of course a really good sport and said, “Well okay! I’ll see you someday, then!”

So, while we were standing around, I took more photos:

This is the French Elevator. The story is that Walt Disney and his wife had taken a trip to France. He was so in love with the elevator at the hotel, he asked to buy it. They said no. So, Walt Disney sent a team of Imagineers over to take measurements and pictures so that it could be recreated. This elevator still has almost all of its original parts and yes, it works. We used it. The right foreground of the photo has the front desk and in the right rear is the coat closet and I think other things because the front desk person kept going back there.

The important part of this image is the painting hanging on the wall. It is of 3 African-American men that Walt Disney hired straight from New Orleans to play in the park. It was a big controversy to hang a painting of African-Americans on the wall but Walt did as he pleased. Duh.

Me. Elevator.

Staircase because, hey, why the heck not?

Entrance way back into the main dining room.

A hallway with many closed doors. I do not know what is down that way. It was dark and I’m pretty sure we weren’t to go down there so we didn’t.

Main dining room. Yes, very dim lighting.

Place settings. Yes, Fancy! I had lots of coffee.

The waiter asked if I wanted a picture with the dish. I hadn’t thought of it, but sure! There ya go! Also, I haz a Time Turner!

The salt shaker had a really unfortunate (yet hilarious, because I’m immature) design.

So each season there is a 5-course menu you can get.  Yes, you see that correctly. It is $90 plus $50 if you want the wine pairing.

I didn’t like much of what was on the Vintner menu, so I got the Local Field Green Salad to start and the Cinderella Pumpkin Polenta Ravioli.

Our amuse-bouche was a goat cheese tartlet topped with onion.

Ravioli! They were delicious, not too sweet.

I had the maple crème brûlée with candied fruit and a handmade beignet with raspberry puree. I’m not a huge crème brûlée fan, but I LOVE maple. This was excellent.

Pumpkin cheesecake with vanilla bean ice cream and an eggnog something or other. All was delicious. The ice cream was tasty and I asked if they made it there. The answer was no. The waitress thinks it was Häagen-Dazs. Also, I just learned from that Wikipedia article on Häagen-Dazs that it’s an American company.  Learnin’ new things daily!

Yep, I totally took pics in the bathroom. Here are the stalls! Those are mirrors on the doors.

Ooh fancy!

OLD TIMEY TOILET FTW!!!

Our window looked out to the lagoon. There was also a balcony, but it was too chilly to step out there. Next time! *wink*

Published in: on 02/22/2012 at 4:57 AM  Comments (4)  
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