Here in Los Angeles there’s technically 2 sides to Disneyland: the Park and the California Adventure. Our last trip over there had us just go through the California Adventure mostly because we just followed the crowd and didn’t pay any attention to what was going over the other side of the main entrance. Since we had a 3 day pass to the park we decided that we should make the most of it and visit the other park. With that in mind we made our way over there when the clouds that had ben threatening us all of yesterday opened up and began dumping a torrent of rain on us. We continued on hoping that it would let up by the time we got there.
We arrived and the rain hadn’t let up. The problem here was that the car park isn’t right next to the park, you need to take a tram to get to it. There’s no covered walkway to the tram stop nor any cover when you get there so we’d be in for a good 5 minutes of soaking before we got under cover. Not keen to repeat the performance of the last time we were here we decided to drive back out and get some wet weather gear. Not a minute after getting in the car did the rain stop and the skies clear clearing the way for us to get in. You would’ve thought that the wet weather would’ve put most people off coming to the park but the place was packed, even more than it was when we went there previously. I’d say that this was because it was the weekend, but I really didn’t think that it would’ve been that popular. I can be the king of underestimation sometimes.
One of the exhibits I wanted to see was Tomorrowland as I’d seen that they a Honda ASIMO robot there. We headed over there first but before we could see ASIMO we had to go through the modern version of the house of tomorrow. In essence it was a giant advertisement for Microsoft, HP and I think CBUS for their home automation stuff. It was basically a small house that was rigged up with touchpads in every room to control the lights, sound system and anything else that might be in the room. The other parts of it were just massive rooms filled with XBox 360s and some other games further cementing the fact that this was just a paid for advertisement rather than an actual exhibit. Thankfully we managed to arrive about 10 minutes before ASIMO was scheduled to be on so we headed up there.
The show itself was basically just a scripted encounter between an actor and the ASIMO robot but it was awesome to see one of the actual robots up close and personal. They showed all its normal manoeuvres: walking up and down stairs, recognising people’s faces and kicking a soccer ball. I had no idea how long they had had this particular ASIMO so I wondered if it was one of the ones that was able to run but with the show almost to a close (and them saying its top speed was less than the run speed I knew about) I figured this one couldn’t do it. To my surprise this one could and they showed it running across the stage, leaving an ear to ear grin on my face that didn’t go away for a while. Satisfied we left the Tomorrowland exhibit and started making our way around the rest of Disneyland Park.
We spent many hours walking around the park, going on various rides and looking at the various attractions. Rebecca was especially keen to revisit some of the rides she had ridden as a youngster when she was last here almost 15 years ago and those were the first on our list. Time went exceptionally quick and before long the sun had dipped below the horizon, putting a chill on the wind that was blowing. This also meant that it was time for the Christmas Fantasy parade so we headed over the main road to catch it. The whole event lasted well over half an hour and was quite a spectacle. It amazes me that they did one of these every single day.
When the parade was over we headed back over to the California Adventure to catch the elecTRONica exhibit we’d missed last time we were here. It only begins after 6pm and I had wondered why, I mean pretty much everything else in this park was open all day. Walking through the entrance though I saw why, this thing put other light shows I had seen to shame.
The whole place was bathed in blue light and projectors shot images of TRON up onto every available surface. Further down there was also a DJ pillar covered in even more lights and supposedly played host a live DJ. All the while music that wouldn’t have been out of place at any rave I’ve been too cranked all around us with even a few punters busting out some of their moves. There was an old style arcade at the back with original cabinets of all your old favourites: Galaga, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders just to name a few. Just outside of the arcade is the End of Line club which is basically an open air bar decked out to look like it was straight out of TRON. The whole area was something to behold and I’ve got a couple videos of it that I’ll upload later as static pictures really don’t do it justice.
After wandering around there for a while we headed back out to catch the World of Colour light show. The entire place was packed with people and as we wandered around it become clear that Disneyland counted this as a ride and since we had showed up just before it was about to start we weren’t allowed in to it. However they’d roped off a big area of it that functioned as the walkway so we just slowly ambled our way around the entire show area so we could catch the show. The show itself is quite spectacular being a choreographed show of fountains with lights in the base and large projectors throwing images onto large sprays of mist. Once that was over we headed back to the car for the drive home.
On the way back we decided to grab a late dinner and couldn’t go past the In and Out Burger that we’d past several times on the highway over to Disneyland. We ordered ourselves up a couple burgers to take back to the hotel. The burgers themselves were pretty good although I’m not too sure if they’re up to the hype I had heard about them. Still the fact they managed to make a tasty burger that didn’t feel like a massive pit in my stomach after eating it should speak for itself, so I guess they win in that area especially when you consider their price.
I think tomorrow will be spent not doing a heck of a lot as our legs and feet are starting to rebel against us with all the walking and standing we’ve been doing over the past 3 days. We might make our way to Hollywood Blvd and take a leisurely stroll through it but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t venture past the front door of our hotel room. We’ve still got another day at Disneyland to go as well as a jaunt down to Legoland planned but I don’t think we’ll be bothering with either of them just yet, I don’t think our bodies would appreciate that.
Ah finally, a day where waking up was as natural as walking. I rolled over and checked the time, 8:00am a new record for this wearied traveller. I put my arm over my loved one and found her awake too which set off our normal morning ritual of getting ready for the day ahead. We had informally set aside this day to make our respective returns to Disneyland but hadn’t looked into it much past that. Figuring we could work out the details over breakfast we set about finding somewhere to get something to eat. Since this was our first full day here we assumed that finding something would be as easy as it was in NYC. Unfortunately it wasn’t and we wandered for a good 15 minutes before finding anything, making our future plans include finding somewhere good to go and making that our regular joint.
Just like in NYC southern California has its own version of CityPass which I picked up on when looking for cheap Disneyland tickets. Since it had been such good value before we decided to get them again even thought we didn’t think that we’d need 3 days at Disneyland (although we welcomed it). After battling through the dregs of the morning rush traffic we found ourselves outside those hallowed gates, now a multi-story parking lot capable of holding thousands of cars. We parked and then caught the tram into Disneyland proper and began our revisiting of childhood and teenage memories.
I’ll be honest, I was mostly doing this for Rebecca and was happy to go along with it as long as she enjoyed herself. That all changed almost the second I saw the massive TRON Legacy stage that was smack bang in the middle of the walkway. I had forgotten that Disney was behind the whole TRON thing, not to mention a whole lot of other cool things like their Tomorrowland Exhibits which house the Honda ASIMO robot. We spent a good 4 hours touring the various shows and riding the California Screamer rollercoaster. Towards the end of the day Rebecca wanted to ride on of those rapids rides which, while I’m not adversed to usually, didn’t particularly want to ride on since I’d be wearing wet jeans until we could get back to the hotel. Still I thought I’d go along with it and you can pretty much guess the outcome, I got completely soaked. Since we had booked tickets for Medieval Times I didn’t want to spend the next 5 hours in wet pants so we headed back to the hotel, and that’s when things took a turn for the worse.
Now I had been in some pretty heavy traffic back when I was driving around in Miami, but it was all pretty comparable to say Sydney or Melbourne during their more busy times. Still we figured that leaving at 4:30PM we’d have enough time to get to the hotel and back to Medieval times before it started at 7:00PM. It took us about 2 hours to get to the hotel which was only 28 miles from Disneyland. Thankfully the trip back was a little better but it still took us almost an hour to drive back making us late for our tournament. Still we were assured we’d get in as long as we had our tickets so we persevered.
Once we got in we grabbed our seats, right up in the front row. I had found a good set of coupons that gave us the best package you could get for less than the cost of the regular tickets and boy was it worth it. Even on a Thursday night the place was packed to the rafters and the crowd was roaring as we walked in. The entire show is really something to behold with skilled equestrians, falconers and enough choreographed fights to give me a thrill I wouldn’t soon forget. I had had reservations about it when I had first heard about it but after experiencing it for myself I was totally hooked, cheering for our champion and booing all others. If anyone has a chance to catch one of these shows I highly recommend you do, it’s 2 hours that you’ll be sure to enjoy, especially if you’re a fantasy nut like myself. Thankfully the drive home was much smoother than the previous trips, getting us back to the hotel in record time.
Tomorrow we’ve got some errands to take care of (like getting our clothes washed) but we’re hoping to hit up Universal Studios in Hollywood. After today’s experience at Disneyland I must say I’m now looking forward to visiting the other theme parks as well as spending another 2 days at Disneyland, as the tickets we bought allow us to. Hopefully too my server will be up soon so I can post these for you guys because I know how desperate you are to hear about my last week over here 😉