Monday, October 12, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part V: Last Day in the Parks

We had the opportunity with our Park Hopper passes to take advantage of a "magic hour" one of the days. We saved it for this last day where we could get in at 9 instead of 10. Apparently, we weren't the only ones as the line to get some magic was immense and our house turned into more like 39 minutes of magic.

All we had left was to spend time in Tomorrowland. First stop was Star Tours where we were loaded into our shuttle, vaguely amused by the robot pilot who shook us around on a wild ride. Fletcher loved it.

I can't remember the order in which we did everything else, but at some point we were getting lunch and Fletcher noticed the Jedi training going on nearby so we vowed to do that at a later point. We rode the Buzz Lightyear thing where you shoot at stuff with your laser gun. We took the Innoventions modern house tour. Now I want that dining table with the interactive ponds in it.

We sat through the Asimo presentation that was stunning. He runs, he climbs stairs, it still feels like a special effect but it's happening right in front of you.

We almost rode Space Mountain. I had sort of misjudged how much of a rollercoaster it was, made us stand in line, then when we caught sight of it, Fletcher (and me) happily took the exit before we got on it. Tower of Terror was already too much, never again do we want to drop that much. Instead we happily watched the slightly dated Honey I Shrunk the Audience, still fun for Fletcher and reminding us again how he needs to see some more movies.

When we went back at the afternoon time slot for the Jedi training we found Fletcher a place to squeeze in at the front of the group and he was picked. They put each child (about 25 of them) in a brown paduwan robe and give each a plastic light saber (the kind you press the button and flick the retracting plastic "light" out, various colors), then taught the children with lots of good patter and whipping of sabers about how to take down an enemy. Then, lo and behold, a bit of the stage rises to Darth Vader's theme and there he is and also Darth Maul. Each child gets to take a turn defeating one or the other. Fletcher fought Darth Maul. It was precious. He's a bit awkward. But you could tell he was having a blast.

The finish is a certificate and of course we had to promise to buy him his own light saber. Finally we rode Autopia where you drive cars around a track. Then we rode the claustrophobic but worth it Finding Nemo submarine ride. Fletcher doesn't really remember his toddler year of watching that movie in a loop. Joe and I do.

Last thing we did in that area was to purchase the double-ended super light saber that Fletcher helped create. Barely fit in the luggage on the way home. I found some lovely Alice in Wonderland tea for myself and some blue crystal Mickey head earrings. We had time to kill to we took the monorail to Downtown Disney as Joe wanted a chunk of time to really shop that big Disney store located there.

We found gifts for people, for ourselves, a bathroom for Fletcher to use. After lots of frittering, we walked out the other direction of the Downtown, then back to Disneyland so we could find a spot to see the parade. We kept finding spots that looked great but either were told to move along or found out they weren't actually on the route. Finally settled in behind some people who reluctantly allowed Fletcher to stake out a tiny bit of curb and watched the parade.

The parade was lots of music, colorful costumes, many of the classic and new Disney characters. Stitch was playful with Fletcher trying to put Fletch's hat on. Ending play with putting both his fuzzy little hands on Fletcher's head. Fletcher was handed one of the flat drums to beat on during the dancing. All in all, pretty cool, though we think the Pixar Parade at CA was probably better.

Our last hurrah at Disneyland would be the Halloween Screams light show and fireworks display at outside the castle. I left the boys to stake out a good bench while I walked back to the hotel to drop off the heavy purchase from earlier. I was tired of schlepping stuff, needed to take some medicine and use a better bathroom. I accomplished this (though the stupid room key card was again not working and had to go get a new one - the third time that happened) and found Joe and Fletcher back at Disney on a well-placed bench. I ate a churro. Disney seems to be powered by churros.

As the time neared for the show, the crowd swelled, got surly, calmed down and waited. The streetlights went out, powerful voices announced Halloween things over the loudspeaker. It began. Shapes in colored light were projected on the castle, while the darker of Disney characters narrated things about Halloween and songs were sung, then fireworks entered into the choreography. It was spectacular. Fletcher and I loved it. I think even Joe did, and he's not usually impressed with fireworks. Disney does these kinds of things well.

Once done, we trotted out of the park, back toward the hotel, skipping over it for a meal at Mimi's next door. Sure, it's a chain restaurant and we have one back home, but sometimes that's what you need. Except the host was super surly and slow. Could have done without that. Food was good. We went back to the hotel room to pack a little, goof off a lot. Next morning, I commandeered the packing so we could get everything in, we left a bit early for the airport so we could stop at what turned out to be a fairly disappointing Disney Outlet store, but made it to the flight just in time.

Two flights and two hours of dark, dark driving later, we were home. Our house smelled weird and alien, the cats acted odd and it was midnight.

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