For the kids' fall break this year we decided to go to Disneyland, mostly because the kids have been asking to go back to Disneyland ever since we ended our last trip two years ago. This is also the kids' last school "fall break" since they'll be transferring to a school next year which has a longer summer break, but no break in fall.
We went to California Adventure first and our day started out nice enough. There wasn't much of a crowd and we got into the rides and attractions quickly.
But the forecast called for rain for the next two days so I was prepared with our rain jackets but I was worried that this could really be a disaster for our trip. Soon after we arrived in the park the skies got very dark...
...and then the rain started. We headed into an indoor ride, one of Erin's favorites (I think she rode this one four times last visit)--the Tower of Terror, where you are in a Twilight Zone-themed haunted hotel elevator that malfunctions and drops repeatedly. Allison and Kate were tall enough for it and though we knew it got dark inside sometimes, everyone seemed okay with trying it. Erin loved it, no surprise there, Allison said unconvincingly that it was "pretty fun" but Kate was terrified and isn't pictured here in front of the ride because she was still calming down I think. Oops.
Luckily she pretty quickly forgot about how terrible that was because there was plenty of interesting things to distract her. The rain came intermittently. When it stopped we'd dash onto a ride or two outside (we could always practically walk onto anything), and when it started again we'd duck into a covered ride or show or something else.
During one downpour we went into an animation studio building where you can see exhibits about how animation is created and how voice-overs are added. When we entered the girls were pleasantly surprised to see Goofy and Jessie from Toy Story and the girls danced and played with them. Soon Cinderella and Pluto and Woody from Toy Story came in too and they all stayed and played with the few children there for a long time. I mentioned to an employee that I had no idea so many characters would be here, since we've never been in there before. She answered, "There usually isn't but it's raining and we don't have anywhere else to send them."
The next day the rains continued and we started off with breakfast in Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. Our table was visited by more characters than I can list here and at one point several of them got some kids together and danced with them. Allison only watched, but Kate got into it.
And we headed to Disneyland and some more rides in the rain.
Again the we found the park nearly empty and we could just walk onto just about anything. Our jackets kept us dry and I was really realizing that Disneyland in the rain is far from a disaster.
But by the time we had lunch the rain stopped, the ground dried and the jackets came off.
And we didn't see any more rain for the rest of the week. The park was still relatively empty so the girls got to join in with a pirate band in the New Orleans area, and everyone gave a big thumbs up for the Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
Because we had no lines to wait in we had so much more time to explore things we haven't tried before, like the giant river boat ride.
That evening, now that I was confident they could be worn without getting soaked, the girls picked out some official Minnie Mouse ears.
The next day we came back to Disneyland to see a couple of the attractions that we missed the day before.
Then we went over to California Adventure because there were two big shows that we wanted to be sure to see. The rain was definitely history and we had beautiful sunny weather and a warm day, so naturally the girls were interested in spending their first dry day by running through the fountains and getting wet.
It was so warm that by the afternoon the girls wanted to cool down with some ice cream.
That evening Trish and Hugh (who live about 10 minutes away) joined us for dinner in the park and a fantastic new outdoor water and lights show in the evening called "World of Color".
The next day, our last one before heading home, we again went to Disneyland.
We had breakfast with Minnie Mouse and her friends.
Then more rides.
And a trip to what I still remember as Tom Sawyer's Island (which was closed in the rain) and which has now been renamed "Pirate Island". I like the old name better.
Trish and Hugh left work early on this friday to join us in Disneyland in the later afternoon and we hoped to ride Space Mountain again, which was all re-done in a Halloween theme. The girls and John and I already rode it earlier in the week.
By this point it hadn't rained in two days and there was a special Halloween event going on the park starting at 6pm that night, so Disneyland suddenly became very, very, very crowded. We were two hours from the time the park closed and the wait for Space Mountain was 80 minutes. Erin and Hugh and Trish and I decided to get in line while John and the twins went elsewhere. The time passed relatively easily as the obscenely long line moved along, and when we were just less than 5 minutes and about 40 feet from getting on the ride, it suddenly malfunctioned, stopped, and we were told we'd all have to exit the building and we were given special passes to return to it at the front of the line on another day, which didn't do any of us any good at all.
"This is HORRIBLE! This is just SO HORRIBLE!" Erin kept saying over and over. Well, yeah, it did really suck, mostly because I wanted Trish and Hugh to see how they changed the ride for Halloween. And it's a really fun ride in general. But of all the things we saw and did, this was really the only low point in the entire last 5 days, I reminded Erin.
The next morning we reluctantly left the Disneyland Hotel.
But we'll be back, and if we're lucky, it will be raining during our next visit.