Sunday was a brilliant day. Up around 7 and out the door before 9 down to Disneyland with Sofie and Romi. It was an incredibly wonderful experience. The heat wave broke cleanly and nicely and it never got much above 85 degrees in Anaheim. There was a cool breeze, too. If you stood in the sun for a while, it was warm, but not bad–not intolerable and certainly not overwhelming.
The crowds were thin, too, for Disneyland. They picked up as the day went on but again, nothing intolerable. In fact, the most crowded experience we had was getting on Toy Story Mania in California Adventure at 9:30 at night. It was our last ride of the day and the wait was half an hour long. That was about it for big crowds. We walked on nearly everything except the Peter Pan ride and that always perplexes me. The ride is a kid’s ride that lasts about 2 minutes total. The wait Sunday was about half an hour. Half an hour–for two minutes. Quite the trade off. But, we love it, so we do it.
We did have a bit of a misadventure, however. Sofie and Romi expressed interest in the Finding Nemo submarines. This is the old Undersea Submarine Voyage that has been re-branded with the Pixar Finding Nemo mark. You climb aboard the submarine and you’re suddenly in the oceans around Australia with a scientific crew studying life. It’s here you encounter Nemo, Marlin, Dory and all the gang in a rather well done set of vignettes throughout caves on the “ocean floor.” It feels for all the world like you are underwater and in a way, you are. The boat never actually dives, but the cabin is indeed under the water and the windows allow you to see into the undersea world.
In the middle of the ride, our submarine suddenly stopped and the lights around us went out except for a couple of underwater lamps near the cave scene where we had stopped. Mind you, the submarine itself is an interesting vehicle. You board it from the roof through an open hatch, walk down the stairs and into a folding seat with a window in front of you. It’s not abundantly comfortable, but it’s air-conditioned and it serves the purpose. It is also quite cramped, quite small. When your mind is fixed on what’s happening in the scenes outside the boat, it’s fine. You don’t think about it. But when the boat stops, the lights are out and no one is talking in an official capacity, it’s un-nerving. Like being aboard an airplane in bad turbulence when the Captain’s only words are: “Flight attendants take your seats.”
Now, I’m bad in these situations. Very bad. I am prone to claustrophobic panic attacks and have been known to go whole hog into them, mostly when I was younger. But even now, on occasions such as this, I find it very hard to keep my cool and when it happened, and our “captain,” the guy who operates the boat, wasn’t saying anything, I found myself fidgety and a bit panicked. That feeling was growing when Romi hit her boiling point.
It turns out Romi too is prone to claustrophobia and panic and she was in the throes of a good one. She began crying and shaking rather uncontrollably and so I turned my attention on her. I went into “daddy” mode, of which I am capable on occasion, and it allowed me to quell my own panic. I didn’t have time to panic–I had to help Romi calm down. Sofie, meanwhile, was calm and cool and she was trying to help Romi to “breathe” and be still. That didn’t work so well.
I got the “captain’s” attention and explained to him that Romi was having a rough time. He hadn’t really been thinking about what was happening to those of us in the cabin as his vantage point was different. The “captain’s” or drivers of these subs stand up on a bench that is the same height as where we all sit. They rise up into the “bridge” and they have a window that sees above the waterline and everything in front of them. I assume that he was simply thinking–“we’re stopped. We’ll go in a minute. No big deal.”
When he saw what we were dealing with–Romi and some other folks becoming pretty uncomfortable, he explained the situation. A red light had illuminated where a green one was supposed to be and all the boats came to a stop. My guess is, he didn’t want to explain that too fully because doing so would reveal “behind the scenes” of the Disney Magic. I’m actually sympathetic to that. Disney wouldn’t be Disney if it said, “hey, come on in and see how we make the ghosts in the Haunted Mansions and the Pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean.” The suspension of disbelief is one of the joys of the place.
The “captain” popped the hatch nearest Romi and I and he allowed us to open it and look out. This gave me a great deal of comfort, but it didn’t calm Romi as much as I would have liked. Still, it had some small palliative effect which was good. We got back down in the cabin, pulled the hatch closed and sat for a few more minutes. The “captain” then kept us pretty well updated and we were underway about five minutes later.
All at the ride were very apologetic. They gave us a pass that we could use in our entire party allowing us front of the line status on whatever ride we chose (we used it on Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye) and they were kind. I have no complaints.
Romi got off the sub and pronounced, “I don’t like that ride so much anymore…” and away we went to watch Peanut in the Jedi Training course where she battled Darth Maul. My little Padawan.
The rest of the day was truly grand and we had a great time. I got a rare chance for some “me-time” as the girls went off on Star Tours and Space Mountain. These are two rides I no longer care to do partly because they tend to be pretty rough on my back and partly because in both, I get sick to my stomach. Doesn’t happen on any other rides–just those two. So, while they journeyed to outer space, I went back in time and rode the Disneyland Railroad around the entire park. I’m a train nut, so that was a good time. Struck up a couple of conversations, enjoyed the evening breeze that was settling in and just watched folks coming and going. Grand.
Dinner at Naples in Downtown Disney. Balloon-guy Jesse made a crown for Princess Peanut…
Of course, the Queen had to assert her authority as well…
We did go over to the new World of Color show, but we could not really get a good spot to see it. You need to obtain a fast pass that allows preferred seating and so we walked around it on our way to Toy Story’s Midway Mania. It’s a beautiful show indeed.
Everything was just beautiful and Disneyland was a smash success, even after being trapped aboard the Nautilus. What’s adventure without a little misadventure anyway?