Monday, July 21, 2008

Disneyland Strategizing

As the last weekend in July approaches, Sara and Sarah and I are IMing each other more and more about Disneyland. What time is everyone arriving? When and where shall we have breakfast on Saturday? Does the Blue Bayou really have vegetarian selections for Sarah? Is it important to get a good view of the fireworks? What about Fantasmic? Is Space Mountain too scary for a non-coaster person?

A meaty meal at the Blue Bayou

Oh, it's going to be a great trip, but it's going to require more planning and strategizing than most of my past visits to Disneyland. I don't even reach Anaheim until about 8:30 AM Saturday, luggage in hand; and the shuttle back to LAX leaves at 3:45 PM Sunday for my 7 PM flight. Phooey. Not much time, is it? I priced a rental car to try to buy myself an extra hour at the park, but the cost was prohibitive.

But I wasn't there in 2007!

So I won't be there as long as Sara and Sarah, which is fair, in a way. Sarah hasn't been there in many years, and I don't think Sara has been there before at all. So they will get a little more time after I leave to see things that I've already experienced adequately on past visits. I won't be wasting time on Dumbo, the carousel, Casey Jr., any of Paradise Pier or most of Mickey's Toontown. Other attractions will be new to me, because they've opened or been redone since October 2006. Those are the must-dos, along with one or two things I've never quite made it to in the past. Still others I try to do on every visit, preferably twice or more: Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain are the main ones, and Soarin' Over California.

Fast, frightening fall into the Briar Patch

I expect that I'll get to do most of my must-sees with my friends, subject to individual tolerances. Can we all handle that scary, scary drop from the top of Splash Mountain? Will Sara like being thrown around in the dark on Space Mountain? Will I ever again brave the Tower of Terror?

Fireworks: a must-see or a waste of time?

And what can we work in of the second tier of wanna-sees? Do we skip the fireworks or Fantasmic on Saturday night, on the theory that they can see both on Sunday night, and the Saturday evening hours are better spent on Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion when the lines get shorter? Getting a decent view of either nighttime show involves staking out a good spot hours ahead of time, or sitting or standing someplace uncomfortable for a slightly shorter period, or walking out of an attraction at just the right moment to catch the finale of Fantasmic as you walk quickly past the crowds (since you're not allowed to stand where people are trying to walk). I suspect the three of us will need to seriously discuss our options, and make a final decision on the day.

Disney pins: are they acceptable to airline security?

I will be flying to California for the first time in years and years; I usually drive, but John and I decided that the time saved flying this time was worth the airfare, especially considering the cost of gas. The last time I flew anywhere was at least five years ago, before security got quite as bonkers as it is now. I probably won't pack any shampoo or conditioner (well, maybe a three ounce bottle), but what about other stuff I normally bring? What about my Disneyland pins? Are they considered a potential terrorist weapon, all those hunks of pointy brass on a swingable lanyard? I went to a couple of sites to read about what is and isn't allowed in carry-on luggage. There was no mention of jewelry, except to say that valuable jewelry should be kept with you, not checked through. Right, then. Disney pins in carry-on - but I fully expect to be scowled at by someone at the checkpoint.


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