During each day, we tried to get back to the hotel to rest for a bit. Occasionally, I would try to type up some notes or write the blog during these times -- foregoing my nap! I certainly found that by the time I got back at the end of the day, I was much too tired to write. This eventually caught up with me as I wasn't able to post daily Trip Report as I had planned. Instead, the last few days will all be posted over the next couple of days.
Day Four was "Adult Disneyland Day". We love taking the girls, but the visits revolve around them. Though they are very good girls and acting out or having tantrums is rare, it takes a different kind of energy to keep everyone happy.
Some friends or ours, Ron and Dawn Babich, who are also big Disney fans, have for years talked about getting together with us for a trip. They have 5 boys (yes) ages 22 - 4. They actually make us look like amateurs because they have taken their boys to Disneyland several times, to Walt Disney World and on Disney Cruises. But we could never seem to coordinate schedules. This time, they decided to surprise us and a few days before we left, they let us know they had scheduled a flight and a short two-day trip just to be with us. It happened to coordinate beautifully with our schedule because the twins' Mom had just arrived to take them over for a couple of days.
Since we were all staying in Disney Hotels, we were eligible for early entry. Ron and Dawn had bought Disneyland-only tickets for that day. Park hours are shorter during this off-season time. The park opened at 10:00 so early entry was 9:00. Early entry has become very popular and available by other means than just staying in Disney hotels, so the line was quite long to get through the security checkpoint. I made a reservation to eat at the Carnation Cafe for us by calling Disney Dining while we were waiting in line. The line went quicker than expected though and after this, we got one of our first benefits for traveling with a disabled person (me!). Disneyland now has a separate entry point for ECVs, Wheelchairs, etc. Although the sign does not say so, those with strollers are using this entry point as well. Sometimes, the entry point is at the East side of all the gates near the stroller rental, but this time it was dead center. There was no one in line and our entire party walked right in.
The first thing I noticed on this day was the ease at which four adult Disneyland fans can navigate everyone's preferences and desires to experience certain things. To a fault, we were all more than willing to let someone else make the choice of what we would all do next. We all decided to use the early entry position to ride on the Matterhorn -- I opted out because I was not clear on the handicap access now that it has been refurbished. Ron, Dawn and Linda probably only waited 20 minutes for this ride which usually requires a 45-minute wait.
Next, we tackled the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and I do mean tackled! Though this ride is one of my all-time favorites, it is also one of the most difficult for me to get on. It usually takes two to three people to manhandle me on and off the boat. Luckily for me this was a good time. Ron and I had actually met back in the 80's when we both volunteered as camp counselors at the Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp in Arizona. Ron had been a long-time volunteer and I joined the staff in 1985. Ron's very experienced at transfers so it was easy for me to make the decision to attempt the "must-transfer" aspect of Pirates.
For those with disabilities who are not familiar with the disabled access to Pirates, you enter via the exit which takes you up to where the other patrons are disembarking (stay to the right of a dimly lit path). Once there, the Cast Members will hold a boat for you for as long as it takes your party to help you transfer from your chair or ECV to the boat. Cast Members are not allowed to assist you for liability reasons. There is a bit of a step over the side of the boat to the seat, then another step to the floor of the boat. Negotiating this is not easy for those with limited physical abilities. So, one needs to be aware of your own limitations and the abilities of those in your party to assist you. Long story short, it was great to be on the ride again and Linda, Ron and Dawn made it as easy are possible for me.
After Pirates, we chose to ride on the Jungle Cruise in nearby Adventure land. Again, this is a ride where the disabled guest enters through the ride exit. However, in this case there is a specially designed Wheelchair Access Vehicle (WAV) boat. The middle section if this boat is fitted with a hydraulic lift and those in wheelchairs and most ECVs can ride right onto the ride. Up to six people can join the disabled guest when accessing this way. On this ride, you feel like the captain as you sit a bit higher than everyone else and smack in the center of the boat. Our timing was great; when we got there they told us the WAV vehicle was next!
Another ride I undertake only when I have a couple of strong lifters with me is Star Tours. Not nearly as difficult to enter, access is again via the exit which is in the Star Trader Gift Shop. However, before you enter here, check in with the attendant Cast Member in the normal ride outside. They will give you a "ticket" notifying those attendants in the exit area of the number in your party. The seats on Star Tours are simply too low for me to be able to get up myself and I need two strong people to set me down and lift me up. Ron and Linda were able to do this easily and access to the ride is a ramp with a slight incline where people exit the ride car. In this case, our timing was again superb because we got an entire ride car to ourselves.
After a snack at the Golden Horseshoe where we enjoyed the musical-intro version of the Laughing Stock, Co.'s one-act play. After this, Ron, Dawn and Linda went on Splash Mountain we all went on It's a Small world where they also have a WAV boat. Later, the power trio went on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Pinocchio's Daring Journey. The lines were very short as the day began to get hotter and hotter. Temperature's for the few days towards the end of this week were up to 100 degrees, so you had to keep your eye out for shade. A ride around the park on the Disneyland Railroad and a visit to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and duck was approaching. Just as the sun was going down, we rode on one of the Mark Twain's last trips for the day. It was a perfect cruise! "How deep is the water?", asked Ron. "It's Mark Twain", I answered. This translates to only about 8 feet at the deepest point at Fowler's Harbor. The boat itself only draws about 18 inches of water. No matter how many times you go to Disneyland, you learn something new each time!
As the early day wound down at around 8:00 PM, we did some shopping then headed into Downtown Disney where we waited too long for an outside table at the House of Blues. Still the company was awesome and the temperatures had come down to a very comfortable outside evening.
All in all, if you normally come with children or grandchildren as we usually do, I would highly recommend an Adult Trip to Disneyland. The pace was slower, the negotiations were easier, the tantrums were fewer and far between (Ron was very upset when we didn't have time for Dumbo). Even though I love taking my twin granddaughter's Addy and Riley as well as all my kids -- Amy, Steven and Sara -- this day with Ron and Dawn was one of my more memorable and enjoyable. We all agreed we should do it again soon.