Beth and David's FotoPage
Pictures from the Abyss
By: Elizabeth Sorg

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Thursday, 9-Sep-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Happiest Place on Earth, pt 5: End and Epilogue.

The DCA closure crunch.
Main Street Station
Down Main Street
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As we head into DL we're pretty pooped out and haven't eaten since we went to the French Market. Not quite hungry enough for dinner, but hungry, we opt for ice cream at the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. I don't remember what the guys had, but I had a double scoop of chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone (those who know me well are no doubt unsurprised). We took this as a good opportunity to rest our feet and to take some video. After relaxing a bit we decide to do all the Fantasyland stuff that I usually tend to gloss over because, dammit, I'm there for the more thrilling stuff! Snow White was still in refurb, unfortunately, but Peter Pan was not.

The last time David and I rode Peter Pan back in '02 it broke down, the lights came on, and we were disgusted. Under that old era of DLR management the dark ride normally known for its stunning detail was covered in grime, gum, and trash. I was pretty horrified. This time however, we were pleasantly surprised by not only the fresh paint and smooth operation of the machine, but the addition of thousands of stars in the "Neverland" section. Matt Ouimet, you are my hero! It was simply breathtaking.
We did the Toad of course, and Pinocchio (a movie which still freaks me out. The whale, you ask? No, being turned into a donkey while screaming for your mother. Still makes me cry), Alice in Wonderland also had recently been refurbed and was pleasantly psychedelic (unlike Pooh, which we didn't ride, which is unpleasantly psychedelic). After soaking in the whole Fantasyland scene we decide it's time to go, grab some In-N-Out and start back on the freeway. We head back to the largest parking structure in the world, and start to settle in. Leaving DL is always sad, but we knew we'd be back (3 days later, in fact).
Sorting out stuff in the car before we leave, James asks to see his pin. I rummage around the backpack and dig out all of his stuff and set it in the seat next to me, except for the pin, which I hand to him. He takes it out and looks at it. "That's so damn cool!"
"Yeah that one is sweet!" I agree. "Here you go" he says, handing it back to me. I put it in the seat next to me. "K, James, all your stuff is in here in the seat next to me, your cameras and pin and stuff."
"The pin is yours."
I was, well, I was choked up . "I still owe you for taking my messages while I was in Canada."
Yeah, right, sending you 3 emails was worth $35. Anyways, after being assured that it was mine, I was damn happy. Very Disney-like behaviour going on in this car! I could have cried.
Back on the 5 with 3 double-doubles and we were on our way home. We slept good that night!
The End


Wednesday, 8-Sep-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Happiest Place on Earth pt. 4: The Deathcar and WWDWD?

The Sunwheel
View down (sorry bout the cage, damn safety requirements!)
 
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On to Big Thunder Mountain, which of course has had publicity recently. From what I understand it had recently been reopened. Up the exit ramp, where we ask the CM there too sit about the middle of the train. At this point, we're getting a wee bit out of control, we've just had double shots of espresso and our feet hurt. David jokes macabrely (is that a word?) with the CM, "Can we sit in The Death Car?", The poor girl looked a little freaked that someone would even say that. David's lovely demeanor continues when we go to get on, and in the car we are to board are people wearing...USC sweatshirts. Hey, it is closer to their neighborhood than our hallowed Westwood soil. David can't help going, "Yeah Bruins!", the SC kids are all, "They suck, we're gonna kick your ass!". I am meanwhile in full PMS mode, "Hey, at least we can read!!!!". A good few giggles later and we're all on, all three of us in one car. BTM appears to me to be pretty safe and was a lot less nerve-wracking than the Matterhorn (which the boys re-Christened this day as the Blow-my-horn.) Talk about the tooth-chipper! And it felt like it was going to buck us off the track at any moment. Good thing it's in refurb now.
We head back to DCA to ride, yes, the Tower again! This time we decide we're going to get the pictures. We sidle up to the photo counter and the lady is showing us the options, and the demo pic for the wallets are...US! Earlier in the day! We joked about getting them for free, which the lady said she'd like to do, but didn't want to get fired, which was cool with us. We got a 8X10 (uhh James, gonna scan that for me?). She gives us the order and we head out looking at our new pic. Concealed behind...was the demo! I'm not going to say this nice lady's name here cause she could get in trouble, but that was really cool of her . She always says Hi to us now when we're in; her son wants to go to UCLA coming from the same background as David and I so we filled her in on what to do.
So we're trying to decide what to do. David has a fear of heights (can't remember if I put that in earlier or not) that I am slowly getting him used to. Didn't think he'd like ToT, and I was even less sure of the rollercoaster California Screamin'. Turns out he loves both! We want to go do it but James isn't comfortable with it and has us go on ahead without him. Standby time: 10 minutes. We do our thing and James says something about wanting to go on the Sunwheel. Of all the things in the park, this is the one thing David will not go on. It's a huge (150 feet?) Ferris Wheel, only the catch is some of the cars on it are on elliptical tracs that cause them to sway to and fro. I had yet to sample this. So James and I go on it while David waits. Standby time: 20 minutes, sorry David! So James and I are in line, sortof. More like a loose-linelike arrangement rather than a sardine-packed-I'm-gonna-be-right-up-the-ass-of-the-guy-infrontof me sorta thing. We're waiting, and some dude just straight cuts in front of us! WITH his two little girls! I am livid. I blink a few times. Blinking is what I do in polite society when I'm trying really hard not to sock someone in the face. I can't help myself, I mad dog the guy. Yeah you, Mr. I'm so badass with my shaved head and my cool sunglasses. I'm about to bark something out (hello hormones!) when a thought saves me: What Would Delswife Do? I blink a few more times, take a deep breath. I'm not going to let some orange country skinhead dude ruin my Disney Day!
So it comes time to load, and apparently the CMs thought that James was going to take his chair
inside the car Even if his quickie did have brakes, I would worry. So he transfers into the gondola. Everything's cool, and then it the gondola starts on the track...James freaks out "Holy Shit! Holy Shit!" off the top of a 150 foot ferris wheel. I'm merrily snapping pictures, moving from one end of the gondola to another. "What are you doing?" he says. "Are you crazy??" Anyways, after the first initial shock it was pretty fun. To ToT one more time before the park closes, then off to DL to cap off our evening.


Tuesday, 7-Sep-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Happiest Place on Earth pt. 3: Pins and A Dream Almost Come

 
Beware the money-snatcher!
/homer "Sweet Mint Julep"
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After Soarin' we head over to DL until it's time to use our ToT fastpass. They've been refurbing Main Street and the newly painted buildings look great. First thing I see is the pin cart; I don't consider myself a savvy pin trader but there's a pin festival going on and I want to look. The guy at the cart is an excellent salesman, trying to get me interested in a limited edition HUGE pin commemorating the 1932 Olympics held in LA. Chip and Dale are on it and the thing is easily the size of my palm. There's only 3 left the salesman tells us, and shows me the numbering:469 of 750. I like it alot, but $35.00 is a bit steep for one pin on my income at the moment. I however snatch up two Chernabog pins that I had my eye on on previous trips. James decided he liked the Olympics pin and buys it; while he's waiting in line I see a beautiful sight: A velvet case, which held a Disney Villains Pin. It says Bad Girls on the bottom, Cruella DeVil in the forefront, with the Queen from Snow White in her hag phase to Cruella's right, the Queen of Hearts to her left. Above the hag is Ursula, and abover her is Lady Tremaine. Above the QofH is the Evil Queen in her regal, evil beauty, above her is Madame Medusa. And surmounted above the whole, is that most wonderful of all Disney Villains, the nefarious Maleficent. For the record, there was also a "Bad Boys" pin but I wasn't paying attention to that one. David notices me staring longingly at it, and asks the price. It's $15, and it's mine. I am a happy camper.
After a quick tour on the Jungle Cruise we decide unanimously to head to New Orleans Square, the favorite part of DL for yours truly and David too. Lunch at The French Market is mandatory at least once when you're at DL with me and so it is done. Fried cheesecake and mint juleps, yum! We were still stuffed from breakfast and it took a bit of work to get through lunch. Next to Pirates of the Caribbean, which is my all time favorite ride. Well ok, maybe a tie between it and the Haunted Mansion, which is where we head next.
We have to wait a little while at the HM because only 3 people in wheelchairs can be on the ride at any one time (no idea why, you still have to transfer from your chair to the DoomBuggy). So we got to kick it on the steps of the HM and chatted with the cast member there. She said that the hearse was Brigham Young's, I couldn't help myself and barked out a "Bullshit!". Another CM tried to tell us it was Ulysses S. Grant's. So the Urban Legends continue. We finally get on the ride, a tight squeeze for the 3 of us in a DoomBuggy but it's cool. We're right in front of the 13-houred clock when the ride freezes. We're there for about 30 seconds and the ride continues, until we get to the banquet room. This time it freezes and shows no sign of starting up again. Castmembers start unloading people off the ride and through the exit, but they have us cycle through. The lights come on. SWEET. They're going to cycle us through with the lights on! We can't contain our enthusiasm, and with CM escort the ride continues again. We get to the cemetary and....the lights are off. On the one hand, I'm glad because now the magic won't be ruined. On the other hand, dammit, I would have been the envy of a lot of people! I'm guessing they changed their minds about leaving the lights on when they saw how enthused we were at the prospect. So we finally unload from the ride and head down the HM walkway, chanting "We broke it! We broke it!". Onward to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, aka The Ride of Death. (Sorry not a lot of pics with this report).


Monday, 6-Sep-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Happiest Place on Earth, pt 2: The Van, AP Center, and ToT

Onward!
This guy hates his job.
Taking a picture of each other.
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Onward we go, heading to the tram or so we thought. We get to the tram area, and lo and behold! No tram for us, but a very comfortable van with a lift on it for James. At this point we've got the full "OhmygodI'matDisneylandIamsodamnhappy!" thing going. No it never goes away, not even with season passes.
Unfortunately the guy driving the van was not as happy to be there as we were. I guess I'll cut him some slack, he was working transportation and not a fun ride or something. But then the lady that took our money for the parking pass was very happy, a big improvement over when I went with my mom and sister. That lady wasn't very nice, and I remember vividly my sister speeding away, with her head out the window yelling, "HAVE A DISNEY DAY!!!". I love my family.
So anyways, we had a lot of fun on the van trip even if the driver didn't. No doubt he thought we were way too perky for that time of the morning. We get dropped off, and at this point, it's on. David mans James' wheelchair, I've got the backpack, time to sprint up the walkway to the ticket center. James got his AP pretty quick, and I tell the guys to head to the AP center NOW NOW NOW, cause I don't want to wait in line for an hour to get a picture taken. That's all done very quickly, and then we sort of stood in Tomorrowland for a bit, looked at each other and said, "What do we do first?". After a bit of conferring, we decided to go to DCA and James could decide whether he wanted to do ToT or not. He decided it would be alright and I explained how smooth the ride is, and David got him pumped up to go. Standy time at 10:30ish for ToT: 13 minutes. I never saw it creep above 25. This time of year rocks. We loaded into the Library of the ToT almost immediately, where we watched the Twilight Zone movie, in which the actors conspicuously lacked cigarettes (hey, it's supposed to be like TZ, right?). Onward to the boiler room, and loaded up bikkity-bam onto the ride, front row. The guy that was running our elevator's name was Gumi. He was not hyped about his job either. "This is the elevator, everyone get on" was the gist of all he said. It's morning, I'll cut them some slack. I couldn't be all hyped everyday about my job either. James was at first a little freaked out and then decided he loved the ride! Loved it so much we rode it another 5 times that day, setting a personal record above the previous 4.
On the way back through the Backlot on the way to Tower of Terror, the guy was there to take our picture in front of the fake street set thingie (someone help me out here with some terminology?). Note to those who have never been to DLR: these pictures, while nice, cost $15-$20, and the photographer is usually happy to (and in this case, offered before we could ask) take your picture with your own camera. By all means, take this up! Onward to Soarin' over California, which I love love love! This is by far in my mind the best recent attraction done by Disney over here in Anaheim. Can't tell you much about WDW, I haven't been in 6 years (I wanna rectify that though...). We call it the California Uber Alles ride (yes, I know what that song was about, and I still call it the California Uber Alles ride. It rocks.)


Sunday, 5-Sep-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Happiest Place on Earth pt 1: Background and Prologue.

In James' car.
Me working the camcorder, yay!
Fuel up!
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Earlier this week, David and I decided to go to Disneyland before he really gets to work on the LSAT. Sort of a last hurrah for the last laid back summer we will probably ever have. We managed to talk our friend James into going with us. James has been David's friend for well over 10 years. He has a bone disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, which basically means that his body produces little collagen, and that which is produced is poor quality, which means that James breaks bones easily. He has what is called Type III (I think) so on top of this he is also about 45 inches tall. Needless to say, I was worried that he wouldn't be able to ride everything in the park and might feel a little left out. I shouldn't have worried!
Let me just say about James that nothing lets him down. He owns his own business and works 6-7 days a week, often for 16 hours. He is always upbeat, very nice, generous to a fault, and is funny as hell. I've never had a bad time at Disneyland, but I'll say honestly: I don't know how I've gone all these years without him, and not because he gets to go up the exit for rides (which hardly matters this time of year anyways). I've never had more fun on a trip.
David and I live about 65 miles from James and we were setting out from his house. We got up at 5 am, left at 5:30 and got to James' a little before 7. My digital camera, check. James' digital camera, check. Digital camcorder, check. First stop McDonald's! No day trip of anysort starting early in a car is complete without Mc D's breakfast. David and I are of the same opinion here: there are two McDonald's restaurants, the one before 10am, and the one after, with the former being far far more preferred to the later. Egg McMuffin's (sausage biscuits for me) are awesome; BigMacs in my mind hold roughly the same purpose as syrup of Ipecac. So after a brief run-in with a bum and woman who was obviously a man disguised as such (hey, we were in Reseda), we loaded up on our breakfast of choice. Next stop, The Largest Parking Structure in the World and a grumpy van driver!
As a notice on the pictures: the timestamp on mine is very very seriously screwed up; one day I'll figure out how to stop it showing up in my pics altogether. Anyways, some are from my camera and some from James' Nikon *stares at the Nikon covetously*.


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