Disneyland Recap #15 October 15, 2016 Unexpected Surprises
If you are new to my blog, you may be wondering why I recap my visits. I share my visits to help others with a chronic illness, special need, or disabilities have an idea of what a day in the parks is like. I share tips and information that will help them have a magical visit.
This lovely Saturday was already off to a better start that last week. Last Saturday we had a high in the upper 90’s and only a high of 76 today. While I love the cooler morning and nights, my feet don’t. Since I would be spending the day in my wheelchair, I wore my Mickey slippers and brought a pair of shoes to slip on if I felt up to walking. There were a few moments in the middle of the day that I felt like I could have switched my footwear; but the minute I tried my feet began to ache so I ended up wearing my slippers all day. Funny thing about wearing my slippers instead of shoes on rides is that I am better able to brace my legs or even just have them relaxed. Hard bottomed shoes make it difficult for me to find a comfortable position. Thanks to my slippers, I didn’t experience any leg cramps while I slept that evening. My abdominal pain was high but thankfully I wasn’t experiencing nausea. For the first time in months, I was able to eat a small breakfast! Woohoo!
7:30AM: We arrived at the Mickey and Friend’s Parking Garage. Unloaded the wheelchair and rode the tram to the security area in Downtown Disney.
8:00AM: We entered Disneyland and made a beeline straight for Ghost Galaxy. Because the park had just opened and lines were crazy long yet, we didn’t need a DRT (disabled return time) and were able to board immediately.
8:20AM: My goal was to last longer in the parks than I have for the past few visits. To make this happen I knew that I needed to pace myself. So while I took a break my family rode Star Tours. I don’t mind taking breaks by myself. I always meet the nicest people. Today was no different. For approx. 30 minutes I had a lovely conversation with a man who was there celebrating his birthday and his God son’s first visit to Disneyland.
9:00AM: We grabbed Fast Passes for Indiana Jones before making our way over to Thunder Mountain.
9:05AM: Lines were still short so we were able to get right on Thunder Mountain. One of the things that I love about Disney is their attention to detail. While riding Thunder, guests see rattlesnakes shaking their tails, turtles, and a goat. These little details make the more grand effects even better.
9:18AM: Line for the Haunted Mansion was crazy long. Received a DRT for 10:15-11:15. My daughter decided to hang out with me while I took a break and my Prince Charming rode Pirates of the Caribbean.
10:15AM: Rode the Haunted Mansion. Unlike Ghost Galaxy which is only around for 6 weeks, I love that the holiday overlay for the mansion lasts just past the New Year.
10:35AM: Time to ride Indiana Jones. Like the last time I rode this attraction I chose to sit between my husband and daughter. And it’s a good thing I did as having weakened abdominal muscles the ride was tossing me all over the place.
11:00AM: We made our way over to Fantasyland to get a DRT for Peter Pan. This attraction is always busy and the handicap queue seems to confuse guests. Here is a tip: Do not get into the handicap queue if you do not have a DRT. See the cast member stationed there to obtain your DRT. When your time has arrived, enter the queue. Sometimes the cast member will scan your pass before you enter, but most of the time this is not done until you’re already in the queue. Because there were so many people confused about where to go or what to do, it took 20 minutes to receive our DRT. Do yourself and other guests a favor and READ MY BLOG and GUIDE. If everyone had an idea of what to expect before arriving, we all could have had our return times in less than 5 minutes. Please if you know anyone who has a disability, chronic illness, or special needs, tell them about my website. My goal is to help everyone have a magical visit.
11:20AM: Entered the standard queue for the Matterhorn. This attraction’s queue is accessible and does not give out DRT’s except for those who are using DAS for a cognitive issue. Since my daughter has never been a fan of this ride, she chose to ride Pinocchio. When she returned my husband and I were still in line. She decided to join us knowing that she could exit the line before we neared the boarding area. As we inched closer, she surprised us by saying that she was thinking about riding with us. We encouraged her to give it a try and reminded her that she had until we entered the boarding area to fully decide. She has ridden it before, but that experience did not sit well with her and she had refused to ever ride again. Well, not only did she decide to conquer her fear; she ended up loving the ride!!!! She loved it so much that she wanted to ride it again! However, with a wait time that exceeded 60 minutes we promised that it would be one of our first stops on our next visit. I really wish they issued Fast Passes for this attraction.
12:15PM: We returned to Peter Pan. Because the handicap entry is very narrow, unless I absolutely can’t stand for more than a minute or two I leave my wheelchair by the exit gate. We entered and waited at the white line to be called up to the boarding area. And we waited. My back and feet were killing me and I began to regret not bringing my wheelchair in with me. I sat on the floor and was just about to ask the cast member why the wait was so long when we were informed that the ride had broken down. Because they believed the problem would be resolved soon, we chose to sit and wait it out. Thirty minutes later, the problem was solved and we were on our way to Neverland.
1:00PM: Today we chose to eat lunch off property. Not just off property, but off off property. There are many restaurants to choose from that are within walking distance from the parks, but note that many of them also hike their prices and are just as crowded as any Disney restaurant. We went back to the parking garage and drove just two miles from the parks. There you can eat at Subway, KFC, Burger King, or McDonalds without paying extra or having to wait 45 minutes to place your order. This was the first time we had ever gone off off property to eat. I must say that it was a welcome break. Unlike the crazy busy fast-food places near the parks, our lunch was spent in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. The only downside to driving a little farther to eat, was returning to the parking garage. Instead of being able to park on the first level like we did in the morning we had to park not only on an upper level, but all the way on the opposite side of the elevator and escalator. A handicap placard or plates mean nothing when all the handicap spaces are full. I despise using the parking garage elevator because of how long the line is. So instead of waiting 20-30 minutes behind a line of families with strollers, we break the rules and take the escalator. Don’t worry; I am not in the wheelchair when we do this. I use the escalator like everyone else while my husband mans the wheelchair and keeps it from falling or tipping. The wait for the elevator wouldn’t be so bad if only the person pushing the stroller was using it. Instead of having the rest of their party take the escalator (located right next to it), they all line up for the elevator. Because of where we had to park it took us over an hour to park, make our way to the escalator, ride the tram, and go through security. Will we do this again? Yes, because giving our wallets a break and having time to relax without crowds was totally worth it.
4:00PM: Entered Disney’s California Adventure. Since Prince Charming wasn’t able to ride Tower of Terror last week, he went off to ride it while my daughter and I grabbed coffee, rested, and did a little shopping. We also caught a bit of the Pixar Parade.
6:00PM: During the heat of the day Grizzly River Run had a 45-60 minute wait, but as the sun was setting that wait time dropped to 5 minutes!! Still not up for spinning, I waited while my family rode it.
6:30PM: As my husband and I were about to enter the queue for California Screamin’ our daughter hit us with another surprise. She was considering riding it!!!!!! Unlike the Matterhorn, she has never EVER ridden this roller coaster. Occasionally her eyes would fill with tears as we neared the boarding area. So I did what all good mommies do, I offered her cash. LOL. Funny thing is that I did the same thing to persuade my son to try the Matterhorn when he was younger. Anyways, the cash offer was just enough to motivate her to overcome this fear. Although I love riding in the front row, I decided not to torture her and we requested the middle. I had a hard time relaxing and enjoying the ride, because I was worried that I would be faced with a sobbing child at the end. As soon as we came to a stop, I yelled over my shoulder to see what she thought. Hallelujah, she loved it!!!!!!!! AND she couldn’t wait to ride it again, so with only a 20 minute wait time we reentered the queue.
8:00PM: Pleased that I lasted longer than I have in months, we decided to head home. 12 hours in the parks and I rode 8 rides! Not too shabby considering how much pain I was in.
I had hoped that my body would wait until the next morning to punish me, but instead it began on the way home. All the way home and through the night my abdomen tortured me by having contractions. Who isn’t pregnant and no longer has a uterus, but still has contractions? That’s right this crazy lady. While they were painful, I wouldn’t trade the magical memories that were made during this visit. Remember, you will always leave with an increased pain level, just don’t let that pain diminish or erase the smiles and giggles that filled your day.
Wishing you a magical day filled with surprises,
The Disabled Diva