I had no plans on going to Disneyland but caught the tweet on Twitter of one of my local friends, Michael Carrera indicating he was on his way up to Disneyland. I sent him a post back saying I wished I had known he was going because I would have gone. So he said, just come on up, and after thinking about it for probably the briefest amount of time possible, I wrote back saying I would be on my way up shortly. My Twitter conversation was picked up by another friend, Chuck Salerno, who was at Disneyland helping out with a “Flat Stanley” project for one of his family members. (If you’ve not heard of “Flat Stanley” (as I had not) essentially it’s just an elementary school project consisting of a cardboard cutout in the shape of a person (aka Stanley) that gets sent to people to photograph in random places to create a photographic travelogue of the cardboard cut out. Essentially a neat way to travel vicariously through photos and the creativity of the people Flat Stanley gets sent to.)
As I arrived at the Disneyland resort, I notified both Michael and Chuck that I had arrived. Michael sent back a text saying he and his friend were just finishing Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure Park and would be crossing over to Disneyland right afterwards. Chuck indicated he was on a park bench near the central hub of Disneyland. I was going to wait outside for Michael and his friend outside Disneyland when Michael sent a text saying he and his friend would be making a quick stop to the car, so I opted to go into Disneyland and meet up with Chuck and would catch up with Michael and his friend later as the trip to the car would add at least half an hour to the wait time for them.
I was also playing my second round of “Wishing Stars” the fantastic GPS game that takes place in the Disneyland park and I had a couple of quests that had items on Main Street USA that I wanted to hit since I was in that part of Disneyland before I made my way down to find Chuck at the other end of Main Street. So after standing next to the items I needed to be near to collect my goals in the game, I rushed down a busy Main Street to find Chuck. Chuck had spent most of the morning going through the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland sections of the park with Flat Stanley, and he showed me some of the pictures. Probably my favorite was the one from Space Mountain where Flat Stanley was stuck onto the seat and the photo was of the ride photo that they show at the exit of the ride.
Since most of the Wishing Star Items I was looking to collect were in the Adventureland/New Orleans Square section of the park and Chuck hadn’t yet gotten any Flat Stanley photos from that area of the park, we headed on down hitting both our missions. I helped out Chuck with a few photos that needed a helping hand for posing Flat Stanley in front of a few attractions such as the Tarzan Treehouse and Splash Mountain. It was funny, everywhere we pulled out Flat Stanley it seemed a mom would point and yell out “Flat Stanley” so it was good to know others were familiar with what we were doing because Chuck said he’d never heard of Flat Stanley until he was asked to help get some photos.
As Chuck and I helped each other with the Flat Stanley and Wishing Star quests, I was still waiting to hear back from Michael and his friend. It ended up being closer to an hour before I heard back from them. Chuck was finished with the Flat Stanley photos he wanted to get for the day, and decided to head home, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to have everyone meet, but another time, I’m sure. I got another update on where Michael and his friend were at before we finally just said, lets meet outside Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I’d already been past the ride so I knew it wasn’t operational that day, so I just waited to sneak up behind Michael when I saw him and his friend outside the closed ride. It looked like Michael was about to text me about the status of the ride when I walked up behind and said, “Uhm, Big Thunder Mountain is closed today.”
Michael introduced me to his friend Bruce Lau, who was visiting San Diego from Belgium. They had come up for the day and were enjoying the parks. They apologized for their delay of having to run to the car, and I said, no worries, I had a good time with Chuck in the meantime. And without further ado we were taking in all the fun and crazy stuff to do at Disneyland. We even suffered through a showing of Captain Eo.
We had a lot of fun, on Splash Mountain, the three of us got seated at the front of the log and I’m sure the larger size of both Michael and I contributed to making the log front heavy and as a result we got incredibly soaked through the course of the ride, in fact, we were really wet even before the big plunge from some of the smaller drops inside the ride. When we got on to the big drop, I tried to keep my eyes open through it, and managed to be successful through most of it but went to blink just as we were hitting the tunnel under ride and when I opened my eyes I saw just a wall of water in front of me a mere second before that wall drenched us all from head to toe. I have never in my life gotten so drenched on that ride, I quickly grabbed for my phone to make sure it was okay because I literally got covered in water. I was so drenched, it took my wallet a couple of days to dry out.
We had to make a couple of attempts to get on Indiana Jones as the ride went down the first time we were in line for it. We did manage to get on pretty much everything we wanted to get on to except Big Thunder Mountain as it was shut down. We ended the day with a Fast Pass ride through Space Mountain. The line for Space Mountain was long, but the Fast Pass allowed us to bypass pretty much 90% of the line. Space Mountain is always a favorite and never disappoints. By the end of the day, still trying to dry out from Splash Mountain, and a bit hungry, Bruce, Michael, and I met up at a near by Carl’s Jr. for dinner and had another chance to chat before we made our way back to San Diego. It was a fantastic and fun day. It was great to spend the part of the day with Chuck, and then later on with Michael, and I am happy to have Bruce as a new European friend.