Blast from the Past: Disneyland 2012

And for something a little different, here’s a post from our September 2012 trip to Disneyland…

The day of our big race dawned bright and early. Got that? EARLY. Actually, this west coast racing works in our favor because it didn’t feel all that early when we got to the starting corrals at 5:45am.

I’m in our corral at that point, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it was that empty when the race began. We were all packed in like sardines by the time the national anthem was sung and the fireworks sent off the elite runners. (Should’ve taken a picture then so you could get a feel for the crowds. I will definitely do this at WDW in January, when 24,000 are running the marathon!)

All that said and as I’ve already recapped here, we had so much fun. Disney does most things with excellence, and their races are no exception. We love RunDisney! At the finish line, we got our Disneyland medals then got in line to get our Coast to Coast medals. “WOOOOO!!!,” I yelled when the race volunteer put it around my neck, and she yelled “WOOOOO!!!” right along with me. I LOVE Disney people, y’all.

Hot and sweaty, we made our way back through Downtown Disney and over to our hotel to get cleaned up. This was the farthest we’d run in a while, so even though we had said it was “just” a half marathon… wow, we were still hurting! We got to the point last year where thirteen miles didn’t hurt, so I know we’ll get there again, but there are a lot of aches and pains in between here and there that we’re going to enjoy over the next several weeks. (This week, we have a fifteen mile run. Wes saw that and said, “You start to cry at the fifteen mile mark, right?” And I told him, “No, dear, that’s the nineteen mile mark.” He thinks he’s so smart!)

After getting cleaned up, we made it into Disneyland on our already sore legs and headed over to Critter Country, where the Hungry Bear restaurant was just beginning to serve hamburgers. Mmmmm… Actually, they weren’t that great, but everything post-race tastes better, so there you go. We saw another couple there wearing Coast to Coast medals and started talking with them about the Goofy Challenge. (The Goofy Challenge is held during Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend in January and is for those who run the half marathon on Saturday then run the full marathon on Sunday.) We told them we were signed up for it and that we were doubting the wisdom of that decision because after running a half that morning, we couldn’t imagine waking up and running a full the next day. They assured us that it could be done (they were Goofy alums themselves) but that we’d have to really take the half slowly and not push it at all. We’ll see, won’t we?

From there, we went to ride Winnie the Pooh, which is a long line attraction in Florida but had NO line in California. Perhaps it was because it was so far back in the park and not right in the middle of Fantasyland like at WDW. Splash Mountain was next, and I had the good fortune of sitting in front of a ten year old annual pass holder, who after hearing that I wasn’t looking forward to any unexpected drops, warned me about each one right as we were about to go through it. The ride is just different enough from Florida’s that his warnings were very much appreciated. (Wes didn’t hear the warnings and was surprised every time, yelling his head off with each one.) After the big finish, I told the kid, “Yeah, I think this is better than the one at Walt Disney World.” He, though he had never been to Florida, agreed with me, as any good Disneyland annual pass holder would, right?

Another trip through Pirates was up next, then a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, where another kid saw Wes’s medal and asked, “Did you finish the race in an hour?!” He would have beaten the winner if he had… and probably would have needed to be hooked up to an IV afterwards. (Seriously, the guy who won was running five minute miles. For thirteen miles! Crazy!)

At some point in this day, we rode the train… but I can’t remember when! And we rode Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours, Small World, the Matterhorn, and the Teacups. But again, I can’t remember when it all fit in there. I’m getting old, y’all. Or maybe it’s just that we looped around the park so many times in our constant confusion over who jumbled up the park and WHY they did so. (It’s so confusing if you’re going in there expecting it to be like WDW!)

I do, however, remember our brief brush with fame as we were getting ready to ride the Matterhorn later that afternoon. We passed by a guy without even glancing at him just before a swarm of excited girls started running towards him. I turned around to see what the big deal was, and I got pretty excited myself because standing right there in Disneyland was Adam Levine.

Woo! Then, I looked back again and discovered that it was actually Travis Barker.

Boo! Yeah, seriously. I was more than a little disappointed. (And how did I confuse them?! My eyes are getting as bad as my memory, y’all.)

“Is that guy famous?,” Wes asked.

“Yeah,” I said, “but I can’t remember why.” (All those years of reading USWeekly, gone to waste, y’all.) We’re not sure if the poor guy ever moved past the Matterhorn because waves of female fans kept coming his way. No matter, though — it made for shorter lines for the Faulks!

After the Matterhorn (which was a lot jerkier than I remembered), it was time for dinner, so we headed over to Frontierland and the Golden Horseshoe restaurant, which was a real treat for me after reading about a pre-opening party that took place there, detailed in this book. We actually sat in one of the balcony boxes while we ate, and I kept wondering if it was the one that Walt Disney almost fell out of as he tried to get to the stage. This is one of the things that Disneyland has over Walt Disney World — the history of the park, because it’s older, is so much fuller, and the ties to Walt Disney, who lived to experience the park, are much more evident.

While I was telling Wes the story about the Golden Horseshoe, he got an email telling us that our credit card was about to be cancelled. For real?! What is the deal with this card?! As he looked into it, though, the whole thing seemed shady. So, we quickly finished up eating, found a quiet bench away from the crowds, and called the credit card company. Long story short, our account had been compromised, and we had to hightail it back to our hotel to get online and change all of our passwords. What a mess! After all the mishaps that we’d had on this trip, I half expected Wes to be run over by a monorail if we went back to the park, so I was willing to be done. Giving up Disneyland to save my husband from an untimely monorail-related death — I was feeling charitable!

But Wes rightly said that we shouldn’t let this trip end on a bad note. We would be kicking ourselves the next day if we didn’t live it up while we had the chance. So, back we went, even if it was just so we could conclude the night with something other than credit card fraud. Good plan, right?

We rode the Jungle Cruise, where Wes grew increasingly more and more uncomfortable when the female skipper kept making eyes at him. “That’s what you get for flushing your wedding ring down the toilet,” I told him, while keeping an extra tight grip on his hand the rest of the evening. The line at Indiana Jones was too long to wait in, so we concluded our day (and our trip!) with one last ride on Pirates. Arghh! Still my favorite!

Oh, and for those who are wondering how we left out the Haunted Mansion, it was not by our choice. The Haunted Mansion was closed so that they could prepare it for the holiday season with additions from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Ugh. I know Tim Burton is a Disney original himself and all — seriously, he was one of their animators back in the 70s and 80s — but why mess with the classics? I was equally frustrated on It’s A Small World when everyone was so preoccupied with spotting the Disney characters that they totally didn’t get a chance to really soak in the original little dolls or the scenery. Call me a Disney snob, but some things don’t need to be changed!

Okay. Rant over.

We made our way down Main Street, browsed the shops one last time, and even did one of those surveys for guest services. Hey, after they saved our day in the park the day beforehand, I was willing to do a year’s worth of surveys for them.

After one last look at the castle, we left the park and headed back to the hotel.

All in all, it was a GREAT trip! We love Disneyland!

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