Robo finally visits DCA 4/28-4/30

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 1:23 PM
I've never been inclined to wear those mouse ears on my past visits. They look kinda dorky, I thought (and still do). In fact, I believe that on a few occasions, as a teen, I made light fun of folk who donned them. Never in front of the person wearing them, mind you.
Well, the time had come for me to provide fodder for the teens of today, for one of the major rules in marriage is (for me): Strive to please the mother-in-law...

For months now, Brent and I had been looking forward to taking a trip to the Disney Resort in Anaheim, and utilizing the great deal Disney had offered on a 3-day hopper, along with his mom (Kendra) and Harriet, a friend of all of ours, and Kendra's best since, like, forever. Harriet resides in our old stomping ground of Portland, OR. So after picking us up at 5:30am Thurs April 28th, Kendra next sped off from Vegas to the John Wayne airport in Santa Ana CA, to pick up Harriet.

We got to our hotel at noon, the Parkside Inn and Suites, right across from the main gate. I got an Expedia rate (booked months ago) of 35.99 a night for all 4 of us; how can you pass that up? We knew from some "rate it" site that this was going to be a place to crash only, which was fine. It was mostly what we expected, and actually a tad better. Things are clean enough, just not new. For example, the carpet was vacuumed and devoid of divots, but a few stains (old) were noticeable. The TV's had no remote and needed to be manually handled. Of note: A LOT of people on the rate it site mentioned this as a sticking point. I personally didn't care about having to get up to change the channel, or power it off/on. That's how things worked when I was growing up.

We weren't expecting to check in at noon, just register the car so we could go to the parks and return after check-in time. Well, as it turned out, our room was ready. Nice big kitchen with a lot of cabinets for an extended stay could also use updating, but it had a microwave, a refrigerator/freezer, and a stove (all clean and functioning), so who cares!
After unpacking, we went kiddy corner to Coco's and ate lunch/ had drinks. Eventually we wound up in Disney Classic, and stayed for the remainder of the day.
First however, Brent conspired with his Mom to get me in those damn ears.
Gold ones, to be exact, for the 50th anniversary.
With our names embroidered on the back to boot.
Fine, I thought. Just make it read "Robo"...
They come with chin straps, btw.
I figure this is to give the wearer less of an excuse to take them off. Eventually, after the first few snickers (the 4 of us, still somewhat tipsy from lunch, were quite the sight), my ego rebounded, and I wore them proudly.
Yes, I am a geek. A coaster geek. A Disney geek. And proud of it.

For the next three days, at least.

We did some classics first; the Pirates (fun as always) and the Mansion (I knew of the new effects, but the other 3 were pleasantly surprised at the upgrades), followed by BTMR.
Next up, the Enchanted Tiki Room. Now, I have no recollection of it, but my mom says when I was there as a child, I cried so much I had to leave the show. I never saw it as far as I was concerned, so knocking out something new to me was cool. Also new for this trip were classics like Alice in Wonderland & Peter Pan's Flight, as well as the brand new Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters.
I should mention I suck at these types of target games. Gimme a standard shooting gallery, and my aim is dead on. When I'm stationary, moving targets are no problem; when I'm moving, stationary targets are the problem.
Scooby at PKI; Den at IB; flume at stateline; and now this. It's official. I can't hit the broad side of a moving barn. But it sure as heck is fun trying.
I e-mailed my on-ride photo to me. Perhaps I'll post it. Me, alone in my rocket ship, all serious looking, one eye shut, the other staring through the site of my blaster, planning my attack on my next target, wearing my unlv cap, and my golden mouse ears topping things off. Oh, did you know that this service is free? Yep, no charge to email your on-ride photo (or any one else's you choose, for that matter) to whatever email account you wish.

Yes, I wore my golden ears atop my red cap throughout my visit. The cap was a must because my forehead burns easily and swiftly, even with suntan lotion. The ears were a must because, well, just because.;)

It was after Buzz, Pirates, Indy, Mansion, Alice and Peter that it struck me just how big of a dark ride haven Disney Classic is. You'd think I'd've made that connection some time ago. You'd think...

Brent's never the one to pass a chance on the Matterhorn. I told him I've ridden smoother wood. I still think it's a good ride. Indiana Jones was good on Thurs, but back to form, IMO, on Fri and Sat, where it was awesome. The jeeps felt a bit smooth on Thurs, but both Fri and Sat, they had more kick. Maybe it was where we we sat. Both times Thurs we were in the back row. Fri and Sat we were up front.
The place was gonna close at 7, so we headed to "Honey, I shrunk...", because H&K had never seen it before. Alas, as was the case back in December, our seats didn't "work", but at least H&K's did. Watching their reaction was too good.
Afterwards, we walked back to the hotel, 8 shining golden orbs on our heads.

mOOSH came over to the room and met H&K, in their nighties, as well as Brent, who was not in his nighties. The three of us went to Dave and Buster's in The City, if memory serves. Thank you Matthew! It's always good to see good friends. And thanks for the tip about Soarin', it really made a difference! :)

Fri came and it was time for New Disney. This park would be new to Brent and I, but Harriet had recently been here with her family, and Kendra with her husband Rick. We got our fastpass to Soarin', and then found ourselves around "It's Hard to be a Bug", an immensely entertaining 3-D show. As we neared the queue, my jaw dropped as I got a view of the opening/closing shot of the film, done just perfectly and blown up, of course, for real life.
The entire theming of this section was incredible, actually. We took a quick ride on Heimlich's train, which encourages kids to eat their fruits and veggies; interesting.

Next up, Mullholand Madness. Harriet skipped out, but the rest of us took a ride. Kendra found the tight turns disorientating, and she did not feel the need to re-ride. But Brent and I did. We came to believe that the nice pops of air were better from the front for some reason. We walk around some more, get lunch, and then take in Golden Dreams. Whoopi? Yeay! All 4 of us love Whoopi!
We use our Soarin' passes, and the show was everything I'd heard; wonderful. Muppets 3-D is cute and fun, but I'd rank it the least of the resort's three 3-D attractions. In the area of the Muppet attraction we spy a building with a big "Monsters Inc" logo on it. Not that it surprised me, just figured they would not be making any allusions to it until after the announcement.
We get our ToT fastpasses and explore some more. Everyone else waits as I take a single rider ticket onto California Screamin'. No one else had the courage to try it. I got lucky with a back row seat my first ride! It's fun, and you barely notice the OTSR. We walk around more and end up at Grizzly River Run. I have never been on a rapids ride like this one! It was fast, steep, and oh so spinny. Too bad I got sat in an "aisle" seat. So did Kendra. We needed to go back to the hotel to change after that. No ride I'd ever been on got riders THAT wet!
Brent and I returned to New Disney while the girls caught a disco-nap; they would return to catch the Main Street Electrical Parade. Meanwhile, the two of us rode ToT. Brent was noticeably nervous prior to riding. He kept asking why I wasn't apprehensive as well. I tried to explain that this was nothing compared to Drop Zone at PKI, or Millie and TTD at CP. It simply was not tall enough to frighten me in the least. I couldn't wait, having heard so many good reviews. It was effin wild. So much air. Brent held on for dear life, as my hands were well above my head. I LOVED it! I want to have ToT's baby!!

Then, the moment happened that I wondered would ever come; Brent says he wants to do California Screamin'.
Brent didn't do rollercoasters when I met him. He gets sick for days if he rides a tilt-a-whirl. Well, I got him to slowly trust that certain coasters would be no problem. It's taken years of smaller coasters, like wildcats, mad mouses, and even the small (35ft) Pinfari Looper at Oaks in Portland, to build up the courage and trust needed to even consider a major coaster.
Well, here we were. He was nervous as all heck, and was visibly working hard to will himself into the queue. He knew it launched, and that was another unknown for him. He screamed loudly the entire time, then said he had a great time riding. I asked how he handled the loop. He replied "Fine. No big deal". I knew it! He is more like us than he cares to admit. Although he could see that Maliboomer was smaller than the drop ride at the Puyallup Fair, which he'd done several times now, he still did not want to ride. Nor did he want to re-ride ToT, although he would do it once more, but only once more. That was plenty for him. But at this rate, it shouldn't be long before he's on Ghostrider, Monte, or even Xcelerator. He actually mused that now that he's gotten California Screamin' under his belt, he might try Speed the next time I go (monthly, as it turns out). But the whole going backwards thing concerns him. Oh well, baby steps...

We caught up with H&K after their parade, and the 4 of us returned to Disney Classic to see the 10:30 Fantasmic! Now, I can't quite put my finger on it, but it wasn't as good as my last viewing in 2000. Technically, it looked better (except for the dragon, which looked faker and less scary than I remembered), but it just didn't pull you into the story as it had in the past. We got a few night rides on BTMR before the show, which was more fun for me in the (relative) dark. Afterwards, we call it a night.

Saturday would be spent split between Disney Classic and New Disney. Mostly re-doing the faves, but getting in a few new ones in each park. It had been close to 20 years since I had done Small World, and now I can say that I'm good for another 20 or more. Fun to look at from the outside, but the drop ceiling in every room kinda distracted me. And thank goodness something did. Wonderful craftsmanship, but a boring ride. I'm sure they could do something with the ceilings if they wanted, not that it would make it more enjoyable. getting stuck in a room towards the end of the ride was no picnic either. I still can't get that song out of my head now. Arrrgh!! Hey I know. Maybe I should sue for emotional distress.;)

With 3 day passes, we had a much more relaxed visit than single day sojourns of the past. We got up in the mornings when we got up. We arrived when we wished, and left for breaks when we pleased. No agendas, no timelines. It was magical.

Spending $2.75 for a gallon of gas at stateline was not.

I can't wait for Haunted Mansion Holiday. I will make it a point to ride some more new-to-me stuff (still so much) upon my return.

The perfect ending to this vacation was coming home Sunday night to an all-new Family Guy. The litany of failed shows that fox has run, since FG was cancelled up until present day, was freakin' hysterical.:)

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 2:44 PM
Glad you guys had fun! It was great finally meeting Brent.
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Thursday, May 5, 2005 9:48 PM
Ay Dios! we were at DCA on the same day :) I was sporting my gold rodent ears too. Glad you had fun...Wish I did Grizzly River run. Didnt feel like getting wet that day.
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Thursday, May 5, 2005 10:31 PM
Super great TR, Robo! I am so jealous.......again! ;)

Family Guy frickin' rules....

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Sunday, May 8, 2005 11:50 AM
Matthew, thanks for B1 advice on Soarin'. Best seats in the house.:)

Antuan, you don't get wet on GRR, you get drenched, LOL! Same for Splash Mountain. Aunt Harriet said "You don't get wet much" on it. So we decided to do it Saturday night at 1030pm. All I can say is she was very, extremely misinformed. Still we decided to stay and close the park. At this point, walking around like we took showers in our clothes was beginning to feel normal.

Robbio, it's about time your jealous of me for a change.;) FG does frickin' rule. American Dad, on the otherhand...

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Monday, May 9, 2005 12:46 PM
Good to hear that you got Brent on a 'big' coaster. Sounds like you had a great time.

I liked DCA and thought that Screamin' was a perfect Disney coaster. Unfortunately I didn't get nearly as wet on Grizzly as you did, and I rode 3 times (Oh, how I love the single rider lines!)

I'm sorry to say that I will snicker if I see your picture with mouse ears. :)

I am also jealous, but you won't be riding Hades in less than a month. evil laugh ;)

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