A few friends and I went to Disneyland yesterday for one of their birthdays. I'm really tired now, but I had a super fun time. We all had different types of passes that allowed us to "park-hop," which meant we could go back and forth between Disneyland and California Adventure as we pleased. This was pretty exciting for me because previously, my first and only visit to CA-A was shortly after it opened, which meant it was suuuper crowded, they had less cool stuff, and I was a little young to appreciate the stuff they did have.

  • Eating "waterside" at the Blue Bayou, the restaurant that's inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  The food was a tad pricey, but the ambiance was worth it.  Good food, good service, and a free dessert for my friend's birthday.
  • Having every Disney cast member say "Happy Birthday" to my friend as we walked through the parks.  That's the deal.  You get a "Happy Birthday" button to wear, and everyone has to say "Happy Birthday" to you.
  • New Space Mountain.  I actually don't know how "new" it is, but I'm pretty sure it was different from the last time I went on it.  It was way cool, but the flash picture they take of you at the end was less of a flash and more of a we-are-trying-to-blind-you light.
  • Indiana Jones.  There's some controller-type guy in a lighted booth upstairs who didn't move for the 10 minutes that we were staring at him.  My friend, L, asked the cast member who seated us, "Should that guy be sleeping?"  The cast member quickly replied, "He's not sleeping," but we said that we had been observing him for quite some time and that we thought otherwise.  The cast member then got on a phone and rang upstair, startling Mr. Controller, who started doing his job again.  I hope he doesn't get in trouble or anything, but his inaction was a tad disconcerting for us.
  • The Tower of Terror.  When I went to CA-A the first time, they didn't have this ride up yet.  Disneyland rides are fun because they're fun.  You don't get scared, but you get a nice thrill of being on a magical ride.  Not so with the Tower of Terror.  True to its name, it was very, very terrifying.  I love rides with large drops (which is why as a kid I loved those log water rides...before I started thinking about how nasty the water is), but the difference between log rides and the Tower of Terror is that in log rides, you know how far down you're going to go.  You can see the bottom.  The Tower of Terror just keeps dropping.  And going back up.  And dropping again.  I loved it and it was fun, but it was scary as heck, and there was now way my friend could have gotten me to ride it again at night.  I have it pegged as a daytime-only ride
  • Disney Animation Studios.  I'm not sure if this one was in CA-A when I first went.  I vaguely remember wanting to go to it, but my parents didn't because they thought it was boring or something.  Either way, this was my first trip there.  In a small lecture hall, they teach you how to draw one of the Disney characters.  I dedicated my drawing to my mom to put on her fridge, because, you know, she hasn't gotten one of those in 15 or so years.  She actually knew who I drew, which made me happy.  (It was Winnie the Poo.)
  • New fireworks show.  This one had the usual magical choreographed fireworks, but there was also more stunt-work done by Tinkerbell and also a cameo by a stunt-flying Dumbo.
  • Hanging out and chatting with friends.  My friend, K, told me about how she and L went to Neuschwanstein, the castle which the Disney castle is based on.  I'd heard the story before, but she told me a few details that I didn't know.  We also talked about the original Mulan poem and I made a really nerdy joke about a Chinese poet named Li Bai and Plato's Republic.  K will be abandoning us to study abroad in England, and it was nice to hang out and celebrate her birthday with her before she goes.