On our second morning in Disneyland, despite getting in later than the rest of our family did the night before, Danny and I were the first to rise. Everybody else wasn’t going to be ready for hours, so we ditched them and headed to Downtown Disney for breakfast at La Brea Bakery Express.
It was about 8:30 in the morning as we walked through the Esplanade. Disneyland had been open for a half hour, but Disney California Adventure wouldn’t be open until 10:00. Turnstiles open a while before the official rope drop, but we were still a little surprised to see people lining up at the gate to DCA so early. The next day, however, we would find ourselves among them.
At the La Brea Bakery Express, we both ordered the ham, egg and Gruyere panini with mixed greens. The panini were probably not the greatest choice as it was a very heavy breakfast. Shortly after we started eating, we discovered that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. We could have easily split one sandwich rather than each ordering our own; neither of us finished our food. The eggs had a strange consistency. They weren’t like any scrambled egg we’d ever encountered before. Danny compared the texture to what you might find on the inside of a dodgeball. I can’t say for certain that they were even real eggs. They might have been made out of yoga mats. The ham, gruyere and bread were delicious nevertheless. The mixed greens were also good, although the vinaigrette was bitter and acidic.
After breakfast, we headed into Disneyland. We didn’t know exactly when our family would be along so we didn’t do much. We wandered around Main Street U.S.A. for a while. The area around Sleeping Beauty Castle was closed because Verizon was shooting a commercial. I didn’t see any filming going on, but over the next two days various areas in Disneyland were closed for the shoot.
We hadn’t made it back to Mickey’s Toontown the previous day, so we headed that way. It was early and the wait for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin was still relatively short, so we decided to ride.
We don’t ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin on every visit. Often we visit in June when Disneyland is very busy. The line to take a spin with Roger and Benny the Cab can be up to an hour long, and we never seem to manage to take advantage of Fastpass for that ride. It’s a shame, though. It’s a fun ride, although a little too short. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my favorite movies and I like that it’s so well-represented in Mickey’s Toontown.
When we finished with the ride, we spent a little more time wandering around Toontown. I imagine we’ll spend a little more time in this area in the future now that Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom no longer has Mickey’s Toontown Fair. I’ve always vastly favored Disneyland’s Toontown anyway. The theming is excellent.
We had to stop by Donald’s houseboat. It’s probably my favorite of the character houses in the area. It’s definitely the one I miss most in the Magic Kingdom, and Disneyland’s is appointed even more completely.
When we had our fill of Toontown, we headed back toward the front of the park. It was nearly time to meet my family. Somehow the process of connecting with them lost us over an hour. Traveling in a large group really tried my patience at times. After riding just one attraction with them, Danny and I broke off on our own again. The rest of the group wanted to ride Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage, which I believe to be a fool’s errand. I almost never feel like waiting in line for an hour just to be treated to a seat on a claustrophobic submarine, looking out smudged windows at Finding Nemo show scenes with a room full of tense parents and crying children. What is it about being partially submerged in water that sets everybody on edge anyway? I’ve been on the ride once in its new incarnation and that was enough. I’ll wait until our next visit to EPCOT, where I can see the same show scenes from a cozy Clamobile for two.
Instead of subjecting ourselves to that mess, Danny and I headed over to Adventureland for an afternoon respite in the form of Dole desserts and the Enchanted Tiki Room. The line for our snacks was a good 30 minutes long, but we consider it worth every minute. Afterward, we took our snacks and waited for the doors to the Tiki Room to open. Our plan was to enjoy our snacks inside, but as you can see from the photo above, my soft serve was capsizing just seconds after it was handed to me. I finished it (and the cherry from Danny’s float) before the Tiki Room doors even opened. Danny too polished off his drink in record time.
After our power lunch, we headed to Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye and met up with the rest of the family. My grandma seemed a little nervous about this ride, especially when we got to the video announcement about sharp turns and drops, but she actually enjoyed herself. Next we rode the Jungle Cruise, which she enjoyed even more. The nice thing about going with Grandma was that we could see things from her eyes. It didn’t matter that the boulder and other show effects in Indiana Jones Adventure weren’t working because the ride and scenes were still an adventure to her. It didn’t matter that our Jungle Cruise skipper didn’t have the greatest comedic timing because the old skipper spiel was funny to her. Plus, the queue music at the Jungle Cruise features a lot of Glenn Miller, a love that Grandma and I share.
Sometimes veterans of Disney Parks cast a more critical eye on what they’re seeing. While I do think it’s important to be vocal about demanding the best that Disney Parks can offer, I try to keep myself in check and praise the good as I lament the bad. While I do find things that I wish were better every time I visit, I also find improvements and still enjoy old favorites. Sharing those favorites with my grandmother definitely made me appreciate Disneyland even more on this vacation. And the next time I go, I’ll be able to enjoy a refurbished Matterhorn, and new menu at the Carnation Café, two completely immersive new themed lands in Disney California Adventure, and with any hope, a whole host of other wonderful, magical moments. Things are looking up.