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Old 07-11-2008, 01:06 PM   #1
SusanEllen
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Yet Another Happiest Place on Earth Report Disneyland--Day Two, June 10th, 2008

[Before this vacation started I thought I knew what I’d be telling you in this trip report--if not the actual words, I was fairly certain I knew all the subjects I was going to cover. I thought I would follow the day by day list of tours, shows and restaurants, making pithy and entertaining comments about each. I feel fortunate to have had 10 previous trips to Disneyland and 11 to Walt Disney World in the past fourteen years, so I thought I’d be able to point out similarities and differences between the two American Disney places and make insightful comments about them. (It's all right if you laughed at my use of the words "pithy," "entertaining," and "insightful". I did.) I thought I knew pretty much everything I was going to be writing about, until I woke very early on Day Two and something that wasn’t on our carefully crafted itinerary happened, something so splendid that it’s now close to the top of my all-time best Disney experiences—and I never even left the hotel room. A lot of today’s report concerns that surprise. Here’s how it started:]

The call that woke me at 5:45 (AM!!!) was a wrong number, but of course, I didn’t know that when I bolted out of bed and stumbled to the desk, feeling for my phone in the dark. Since only a handful of people have my cell number, I was afraid this early morning call meant trouble—either an emergency back in Oklahoma or a change in Sharon’s flight plans. Happy to say it was neither. I was so relieved that this call hadn’t ended the vacation before it had begun that when the person on the other end apologized for disturbing me, I said, “That’s all right. Really.” and I meant it! Whether it was the adrenalin still in my system or the bump on my leg that I got when I tangled with a chair during my dash to the phone, I was wide awake now. I began thinking about our plans for the week and once that started there was no chance of getting back to sleep. Though six was earlier than I’d intended to start the day (thinking I’d bank a little extra rest for the long, full days ahead and rise just in time to dress and meet Sharon in the lobby), I knew that Sharon had already started her day by this time, so it seemed only fair that I be up, too. With an 8 o’clock plane to catch, she and Howard were almost certainly on the way to the Sacramento airport. I hoped they’d allowed plenty of time in case Sharon ran into . . . well, you know . . .Special Screening! Her LA/Ontario ETA was 8:50 and now that I knew how long that trip took, I had some idea of when to expect her—10-ish and not before.

I realized that being up before the sun might be an opportunity to get a shot of my wonderful park view in the morning light. I opened the curtains to find Paradise Pier still lit with the park’s night lights. Dawn was just beginning to lighten the sky and one by one the lights on the rides and the neon signs snapped off. I pulled up a chair and for the next two hours sat watching Paradise Pier come alive. Trucks began to arrive—small ones moving down the midway and big eighteen wheelers pulling in behind the barrier that hides the utility road from guest areas. Before long the park would open and for the rest of the day thousands of guests would walk just there, only a few yards from the backstage they wouldn’t be able to see but that I could see now from my window. All those people stopping and watching friends on California Screamin’ or the Maliboomer would be unaware of the world of work going on so close to them. Tiny blue street cleaners (tiny from 14 stories up) that looked like Zambonis zipped around washing the walkways. There were vans, bicycles, trucks of various sizes and shapes—a big one pulling seven cars like a railroad train off its tracks, and vehicles like I’d never seen before, obviously designed for their specific jobs. Two boats crossed Paradise Bay heading for the Sun Wheel. Soon there were dozens of vehicles and hundreds of people moving all over the park and I felt like I was playing with the most deluxe version ever of a Disney Park game, complete with lots of miniature backstage Cast Members. A large crane pulled up and parked next to the Golden Zephyr ride and a man in a basket at the top of the crane began to replace light bulbs. (The Golden Zephyr has long cables lined with old fashioned amusement park light bulbs. Keeping them all lit must be a full time job—this man worked on them for nearly three hours.) As the Zephyr slowly rotated while the crane stayed in place, the man changed the burned out bulbs he could reach. Awhile later, the crane began to fold very slowly. Then it unfolded and when it was in its new lower position the man began to change bulbs at that level.


This hazy view may look just like the pictures from Day One, but note the empty parking lot and the night lights decorating the rides still on. The red ride on the left is the Golden Zephyr.

Of course, I knew that it took thousands of people behind the scenes to keep Disney parks going, but knowing is one thing while seeing is something else entirely. What great luck to have awakened early today, to get to see all this. Tomorrow morning we’d be doing the Cruzin’ California segway tour in DCA at just about this time. For months I’ve been looking forward to the tour, to seeing DCA’s backstage activities as we move around the waking park. I realized that seeing those activities now from up here was adding a dimension (literally) to my understanding of what goes into getting a park ready for us—every day! I scanned all that was in my view hoping to see segways from today’s tour speeding down the walkways but knew that at 7:30 the tour group was probably in the midst of their segway training. It was time to get dressed, but every few minutes I returned to the window to look for the segways. Finally, just after 8, I spotted a lone segway that was obviously not part of the tour but a CM on a mission speeding from one side of Paradise Pier to the other. At 8:45 riderless coaster cars began moving along the Mulholland Madness track.

I believe I could have stayed at my window all day long and been entertained the whole time, but decided it was time to go downstairs. I knew Sharon’s plane had probably just landed and it would be an hour or so before she got here, but I thought perhaps it was time to break my wonderful window’s hypnotic spell—if I could.
. . . to be continued

Day Two, Part 2: Day Two, Part 2

Last edited by SusanEllen; 10-18-2008 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:32 PM   #2
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What a wonderful start to day two Susan - and a great insight into all the work done behind the scenes.

Can't wait for the next instalment

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Old 07-11-2008, 03:07 PM   #3
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Good start t the day Susan, you write with such a poetic, romantic lilt - you should have a career around literature!

I had a sinking feeling that I was going to get the blame for awakening you, as I did send you a text message at some point - admittedly despite the fact that I know you don't "do" text messages, but I thought you may have joined the 21st Century - luckily you've not

Looking forward to the next chapter, hope there's no "other lobby/terminal" type issues when Sharon arrives!
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:08 PM   #4
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What a great way to wake up. As you say it is one of those things that you know happens but very few people get to see.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:30 AM   #5
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how fab; a 'window seat' tour almost
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:12 PM   #6
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Awesome! I think sometimes the most magical moments of a Disney trip don't involve riding a ride or meeting a character and your TR proves that you don't even need to be in a park
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:06 AM   #7
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What an amazing way to start your day Susan
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:11 PM   #8
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More...more....
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:24 AM   #9
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Wow, that must have been an incredible start to your day and one that not many people get to see.

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Old 07-20-2008, 02:18 PM   #10
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What a wonderful view to wake up to
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Old 07-20-2008, 02:50 PM   #11
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What a great start to the day, Susan, and a wonderful insight into the 'behind the scenes' activities. It sounds fascinating - and all without leaving the comfort of your room too
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Old 07-20-2008, 03:54 PM   #12
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Great start
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanEllen View Post
The call that woke me at 5:45 (AM!!!) was a wrong number, but of course, I didn’t know that when I bolted out of bed and stumbled to the desk, feeling for my phone in the dark.
Well, I'll admit to sending you a text whilst you were away, but it was very carefully timed and I'm pretty sure I'm not the guilty party.

You certainly seem to have had a birds-eye view of all sorts of goings on from that room of yours.
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:15 AM   #14
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Susan, you write beautifully, its like reading a good novel you dont want to put down, brilliant start to the day
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:25 AM   #15
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lovely start to the day
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