Found Out What Terror Smells Like ...

Found Out What Terror Smells Like …

This past May, several of us Ugly Bug Balled (charming little song, it is) it down to California- Disneyland specifically- in celebration of my sister’s birthday. The Land of Disney may not be my Happiest Place On Earth, but hey, it wasn’t my birthday, and as it is the Happiest Place, I went gladly!

Was mildly bummed at first to locate my seat just above the plane wing where I feared the blockage of various camera shots, but soon found its presence helpful in gauging perspective in the view seen far, far below. Multiple shots exist with the typical fare: clouds, a mountain or two, vast bland land and blue, blue, blue.

Nubu, our dolly accompaniment (well, one of them) mentioned in posts long prior, hung out on my serving tray complete with teeny tiny pretzels and Relevant reading material.

Dolly Sitting On A Plane Tray

Eerily enough, in the seat behind me Bean’s tray had a similar resemblance, only with Boopenny, Shane’s British Boo. Yes, we gave him his own dolly. And he’s resigned to, I mean, fine, with that. Really. Ask him. Go ahead.

ASIDE: Matching eye attire was truly an unplanned occurrence made possible by one of the two of us here owning far too many pairs of sunglasses. I’ll let you decide which one.

Once arriving at the John Wayne airport, we dined at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant concluding with a little pie and sassafras.

Luggage Tag

Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant's Berry Pie

Main Street U.S.A. was a dream what with all its vintage this and vintage that. Caught a movie for a penny in the aptly named arcade, drank a soda under some fine lighting, and was soon off to the first thrill of the day in the form of a ride on Space Mountain. Rode it for the first time several years ago, only to find it more than a little unpleasant due to the fact that with each swoop up and then back down again through tunnels and around bends, I felt fairly certain that my block would be knocked clean off. Regular and involuntary ducking makes for a tedious time, that’s for sure! The ride had been revamped this time around, allowing for all tedium to fall away leaving only the sensation of careening through a host of many, many stars at a most delicious speed! Briefly stopped in at the bathroom soon after, nifty signage!

Space Mountain Bathroom Signage

In the way of more nifty signage, found this noggin advisory in Tarzan’s Treehouse.

Tarzan's Treehouse Sign

And confronted a childhood bully. See that whale there?

Storybook Land Canal Boats

Not a very nice fella, at least the way I remember it way back at the age of five. Sure, I’ve returned mulitiple times since then, but always made it a point to avoid the overblown beast residing at the entrance to the Storybook Land Canal Boats. This time, he topped my list in wants for doing. Apprehension- more than a little- got my heart a pounding as our boat idled up to his gargantuan mouth leading us straight down his massive gullet. Made it a point to not close my eyes and instead looked straight up at the row of those even teeth awaiting above. There they are now …

Storybook Land Canal Boats' Whale's Mouth

Wouldn’t have minded plopping down and lending an ear to these fellows doing their thing down in New Orleans Square. Spiffy shoes, too!

New Orleans Square Band

This trip around, I was all about noting the many little details that made up each attraction, each land created and embodied within Disney. Found that the props, the interiors, the posh and paint didn’t capture my interest nearly as much as all the landscaping. Perdy, huh?

Disney's California Adventure's Flower Bed

Though lacking a proper photo to share, a favorite example would be the Haunted Mansion in which a selection of drab and dreary dead-like plantery was chosen to convey a sense of decay all about the “residence.” Yet all were very much alive and thriving. It’s like they painted, but with foliage!

Discovered the best time to attempt enduring a ride on the It’s a Small World attraction. Night, late-ish, while dark out. Lines were minimal which was combative in keeping the mind numbing at bay brought from the oh-so repetitive song played … repeatedly. Once in our comfy little boat, we rode through scene after scene of chummy little dolls, nationality after nationality, only to enter the last room where a doll representative of each country was found dressed in an all-white version of their attire in an attempt to appear cult-like. I mean, unified.

Disney’s California Adventure was instantly liked on my part if for nothing other than their Paradise Pier. Love!

Paradise Pier

However, Mickey’s Fun Wheel nestled right amongst all the pier carnival fun, while appearing harmless enough, in actuality, has been renamed Frickin’ Minion Mickey’s Dastardly Death Wheel by moi. For a ride that very much resembles a ferris wheel in design (ferris wheels have worked their way to the top of the scary list in that most often, one sits on a little bench-like seat in the open air only to end up at the very tippy-top stopped and inevitably rocking, ready to flip over and out at any moment), at first, one may find comfort in the fact that the seats are actually enclosed, with a door to boot. Comfort not to be taken! The “gondolas” as they’re called, sway back and forth along tracks located within the wheel’s spokes. One may request one of the few non-swaying gondolas, but really, no terror, no fear-facing fun, yes? There are no seat belts. No restraints. No apparent door latches. Did I mention the door slides open as though on a track greased with butter-flavored Crisco left out in the 90 degree summer sun? (Not while en route, of course.) No handles, bars or gripping devises of any kind. Oh, the trauma!

The grating on the windows contained mesh holes too small to put one’s fingers through for grasping

Once our turn, we took our seats only to find that the couple accompanying us were just as terrified. Well, the woman was anyway. Her boyfriend on the other hand, broke out the camera and proceeded to film her shaking, quaking, tremor-filled existence. To be fair, he did offer up a little comfort from time to time. A little. Up we went around and around again, rocking up so high as to lift off the seat a bit staring back down at the couple facing us on the other side of the cab with the ground and all that was sane behind them in the far distance, far too many feet out of reach. The grating on the windows contained mesh holes too small to put one’s fingers through for grasping, so thankfully a friend was kind enough to allow me the use of a hand and knee for need of something to cling to desperately.

In continuing the serendipituous situations that seem to frequent my life, I was happy to take a seat in the Muppet Vision 3D theatre and await a little entertainment. A mixture of onscreen antics and animatronic Muppetness left me wishing for an encounter with a real live Muppet (this may sound familiar coming from me and I believe I’ve now reached my Muppet mentioning quota for the year, right after the conclusion of this story). It then happened! What to my wondering eyes did appear, but a long frocked monster that I did much revere! Sweetums. The very one! Out he ran down at the front of the theatre fulfilling his part to bring the show to a close. I hoped for a quick moment that he may be a greeter at the door in saying goodbye to all guests and therefore allowing me a potential hug opportunity as desired in the post preceding this one, a clear example of the serendipity I so often enjoy. Alas, it was not to be. This time …

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was thoroughly formidable with its once-luxurious-now-vacant hotel atmosphere, creepy bellhop attendants and the mad 13-story drop in an old elevator shaft. Note: Found out what terror smells like … flowers. Who knew? The scent permeates all those awaiting hotel entry.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The Animation Academy was a huge, ahem, draw for me in particular. A room filled with dozens and dozens of people, many stating their complete inability to draw or sketch worth a darn soon introduced to an honest-to-goodness animator who then proceeds to walk all through a simple lesson on the provided clipboards, paper and pencils. Voila! Some stellar results on behalf of the audience! Me, I wanted to follow that animator back to his office and ghost him for, oh say, a month.

The Animation Academy

California Screamin’ was the best thrill had! A steel roller coaster containing many a twist, turn and upside downing. Braced myself for a bumpy ride as any and all coasters I’ve been on in the past few years have been a jar to the system to say the least. The ride began, carnival music accompanying (yay!) in true blast-off fashion and once I began screaming I didn’t stop. Love a good excuse for attempting to wake the dead and that was a worthy one! Smoothest ride eva! Not a bump or jar to be detected. Need one of those in my backyard. Need a backyard. Wouldn’t ya know it though, all that bloody screaming did a number on my lovely throat and by night’s end a soreness from hell was working its way into place. Awoke the next morning terribly sick, opting to stay in bed, delirious and dopey (drugstore NyQuil) the entire day through. Ordered in takeout late that evening. Vietnamese. Bad idea.

I again found that connection that I hadn’t realized I count on to brighten my life

Found that I was uneasy much of the trip and didn’t clue in as to exactly why until returning back home. For all the many, many people walking here and there, face after face, row after row passing me by, not once that I can recall, did anyone make eye contact. Not even by accident. Found this odd. A mass of folks, and not many smiles either. Tired, determined, always-moving people, parents, there to push and park strollers, nothing more. Not Disneyland. Zombieland. Once home, people appeared relatively human again and the regular looks and smiles I receive while out and about in public resumed, and I again found that connection that I hadn’t realized I count on to brighten my life from all the nameless masses out there in the world. ♦

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