A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Another restorative day at Disneyland.

I love this place anytime, but HalloweenTime is just about my favorite. Candy corn bunting, Jack-O-Lanterns everywhere. And look at those mums!  It's impossible to stifle a smile when you walk onto Main Street at Halloween.

This was Mom's first long, taxing day post-surgery.  She's been doing great and we were both looking forward to a day to renew her spirit and give her a little push toward full recovery.  She provided me with little moments of amazement at her condition so far, starting with walking her wheelchair off the tram and down the ramp (slopes of any kind were her worst challenge before her knee replacement).  She didn't have a choice.  We discovered that her chair was broken (again) while sitting on the tram.  (I need to let the family know they have to lift the seat gently when they fold up the chair to put it in the car; when we snap it up quickly it pulls one of the joints apart and it's very difficult to get back into place, especially on the sidewalk in Downtown Disney.) We conquered the chair after a few minutes and made our way into the park for breakfast at our favorite eatery, The Carnation Cafe.

After a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage (replace the potatoes with fruit on mine, please) we made our way to the front gate again just in time for the fabulous Disneyland Band morning concert.

On their way on set Artie the Conductor recognized Mom and made her feel very special by taking a moment to smile, lean over and say hello, it's good to see you.  (Can you see the detail of his chestplate?  The band is wearing their Halloween uniforms and have the same design in the trim.)

One of the special treats of this performance is the appearance of the Mad Hatter, who supervises a number of guest performances.  Yesterday there seemed to be a full cast of...

"THE WORLD FAMOUS DISNEYLAND SYNCHRONIZED STROLLER DRILL TEAM!"  He's hilarious.  They were hilarious.  Just nothing better than starting your day with terrific music and delighted laughs.

As the set was coming to a close, Artie made Mom's day in one of the most touching moments anyone has provided her in this special, magical place.  He walked over to her, reached into his pocket and pulled out one of the rare, coveted Disneyland Band buttons.  She told me later that he presented her with the button saying "This is from the whole band for staying through the entire set."  Well, we ALWAYS stay through the entire set.  I told her I think they were just glad to see her back after so many weeks.  She was thrilled and wore that button proudly all day.

From there we went immediately over to Town Square where we enjoyed another delightful Disneyland Band concert (this book was of Disney movie music), then did a little shopping before trekking over to California Adventure to see Aladdin at the Hyperion Theater on the Hollywood Backlot.

Aladdin had been running at this theater for YEARS before we saw it.  I had always intended to, but there is so much to do at the Disneyland Resort on any given visit that I never bothered to check it out until I read they they were getting ready to end the run and replace it with a production based on Toy Story.  I thought to myself, "I'd better get over there if I want to see this before it's gone."  I've seen it a dozen times since then and have recommended it to lots of friends who have also loved it.  I'm sure I'm not the only one with that experience, because it's always packed and the Disney folks who make those decisions decided not to shut it down after all.

I can't recommend it more highly.  You have to check the show schedule, then try to get there about a half-hour early.  They have special seating for wheelchairs, complete with guest seats next to the wheelchair guests.
Disney California Adventure is undergoing a massive remodel so it was a little bit of a challenge getting to and from the theater, but we made it and made our way back to Disneyland in time to hear a little ragtime piano by Ragtime Pat, who was replaced by Ragtime Alan.  As we'd hoped, we were in time for Alan to be joined by The Mad Hatter for a game of Musical Chairs.

I think Hatter is one of the most highly developed "face" characters at the Park.  All of the actor/comedians who "do" him are professional and very funny, but the Saturday Hatter is our favorite.  We can usually catch him doing Musical Chairs on Saturdays at the Refreshment Corner, and if you have little kids it's well worth the effort to go by there and let them play.  (He's usually joined by Alice in Wonderland and the two of them together are an even better show, but she wasn't there on Saturday; I missed her.)

Hatter and Alan exchange quips.  They did a little three-hand ragtime; first time I've heard Hatter play piano!
Hatter with one of the "un-winners."  There weren't many little kids playing yesterday, so they recruited some teens, all of whom "let" the little ones win.  I'm continually reassured that we will be in good hands.
After Musical Chairs we headed over to the Golden Horseshoe Theater in Frontierland for a snack and set of countrified music by the incomparable Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.

"Billy" wearing his pros-teeth-is, which make him a "better" fiddle player.

The fabulous "Billy" bass player.  Seriously.

My favorite "Billy" checking for "Ghost Riders in the Sky," their Halloween song.
There was a high-spirited crowd yesterday and this group - like any live theater group - really amps up the energy when they tap the flow.  YeeHaw!

We did a little more shopping, then found a seat for the SOUNDSATIONAL parade at 6:30.
I must indulge myself in a little braggage:  For the first time - ever - I was able to get down on the curb to sit for this parade.  I sat there for over an hour and was then - wait for it - able to GET BACK UP without difficulty.  I dig 60!

Wanna see an example of how the Disneyland cast makes magic at every opportunity?  While we waited for the parade, someone spilled a drink along the parade route.  A clean-up crew precedes the parade to clean up this kind of stuff (and keep the route safe for the dancers).  This is how they clean up a spilled drink at Disneyland:

Pretty amazing, huh?

This was the first time I'd seen this parade at night.  Just as awesome as during the day with a little sparkly magic thrown in.

For my friend 'minniestitches."

For my friend Emma, who loves Snow White.

My favorite segment is the "Steppin' Time" piece.  I didn't get any good pics of the dancing sweeps but the float is stunning with the night lighting.
We had changed our routine yesterday, deciding to wait until after the parade for dinner.  We won't try that again, but it worked out.  I parked Mom at the Refreshment Corner with Ragtime Alan again, then shuffled my way with the massive post-parade crowd to the Pizza Porte for our favorite dinner of Planetary Pizza Salad.  (And pizza. And Cheetos.  And a brownie.  Like I said, we won't wait that long to eat again).  When I got back Mom again amazed me.  She had managed to snag a table for dinner.  They've closed down the majority of seating in that area as they renovate the Plaza Pavilion into the Jolly Holiday Bakery (the former Blue Ribbon Bakery will move into a Mary Poppins themed building) so seating is a cut-throat business.  I was proud of her (she said she "one-footed" herself over to the table in her chair.)  Anyway, we ended our day in our favorite style.  Tucked in at "Coke Corner" with sparkly lights, delicious salads and Ragtime on the piano.

Thanks, Ragtime Alan
I had known all day that my favorite-est-ever fireworks show, "Remember, Dreams Come True," was on the program for the day at 8:40 PM, but toward the end of the 8:00-8:30 piano set I was feeling the effects of the day at Disneyland at the tail end of my now-two-week recovery from the flu, so we decided to make our way out of the resort before fireworks.  Beat the crowds to the trams, saw the fireworks from the tram station and were just ahead of the post-fireworks crowd onto the freeway. 

We were feeling self-righteous all day that we had not stepped foot into the Candy Palace, but were grieving the pecan nuttles and dark chocolate peanut clusters on the way home.  But, we survived, and I will celebrate that choice in 25 more days when I can fit my smaller butt into the airplane seat bound for Japan.

(By the way, again in the braggage department, my Mom and my son and his girlfriend thought I looked darn cute in my snug little Maleficent tee-shirt.  I have to admit it added a fillip of fun to my day to catch a glimpse of my self in a window or mirror and not recognize her.  heeheehee)

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