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, January 12, 2014


...that you can have a grand time at Disneyland without doing much of anything.

Mom and I were supposed to go to Disneyland last weekend to bid our fond farewells to Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, but we both came down with a stomach/intestinal flu.

No fun.

So, we went yesterday.  No Hillbillies.  No parade.  No musical chairs set at the piano.  Not one of our favorite piano players.

But then, it's not like there's nothing to do there.

LOVE off season.
Although it's a bit more crowded on weekends, we have decided it's worth it not to have to fight traffic on the workday freeways.  Got to the park in slightly over an hour with not one snarl anywhere.  Were parked up at the top of the Mickey and Friends structure, but there was nobody waiting at the elevator so it was no problem.  Breakfast, as always, at the Carnation Café was, as always, delicious and the people watching delightful.  I really do love watching people come into the park I the morning, so excited about their adventures to come.

After breakfast we made our way to the front gate for the first Disneyland Band concert.  Our favorite Hatter was there and he greeted Mom with the sweet thrill of recognition and an enthusiastic, "HI OLD LADY!"  She loved it.  As always the band was on and the Hatter and helpers led the kids through some fun activities.  Here they are learning their choreography for the chorus line "Tea for Two."  (At least, I think so.  I get so wrapped up in Hatter and the kids that, to be honest, I'm not sure what music they were playing.)

Mom had a shopping goal and after the concert we headed into the Disney Showcase to start the hunt.  It was the first time we've noticed the "band" up along the eaves in this shop.

First time I've noticed a full bed of primroses.  Maybe in a year without a drought I'll do a bed like this.

After Mom found her item (BIG score on that one, just perfect for the intended recipient, we thought), we settled at Town Square for the noon band concert.  It was so beautiful I had to - yet again - snap a picture of the castle in it's winter coat.  Oh, I know our little castle is pretty cozy compared to the other parks, but it's the one Walt walked and we love it.

Had a little Dapper Dans concert while we waited for the band.

Brass.  It's all about brass.  We always sit on the brass side.  And are never disappointed.

After the concert we kicked around a little.  Without the Billies, Musical Chairs or the parade our afternoon felt kind of - well - boring, so I suggested we head over to Disney California Adventure for a while.  We saw the BEST performance of Aladdin that we've seen so far.  I wasn't able to find out for sure, but I believe the role of Genie was played by a friend of my sons, which made it especially fun.

My little camera is overly challenged between a no-flash rule, my BET and a moving subject, but the elephant puppet was begging to be documented for once.
A little better.
After Aladdin we moseyed to Buena Vista Street for my new favorite entertainment in the park, the Red Car News Boys.

"Sal" sings to Mom.

Mickey arrives with "A Suitcase and a Dream."


Then it was time for dinner, which we enjoyed (Loaded Potato Soup - yum - and a burger) back at the Carnation Café.   Afterward, we found ourselves with some free time before the swing dancing scheduled for 7:30.  We thought about hanging out at the Golden Horseshoe, but I had the thought to check to see if the Mark Twain was doing night runs and it was!  (I know there must have been some disappointed guests that there was no Fantasmic! last night, but it's been YEARS  since I took the riverboat around the island at night, and I loved it.)
Twilight is my favorite time of the day at Disneyland.  Mom and I were saying that we missed our evenings with a fine piano player as the sun set, then after-dark people watching with piano soundtrack under twinkle lights.  The piano sets have been limited to daytimes (at this time of year twilight comes during the last piano set) and when we do go to listen to the Ragtime piano player, we don't usually stay, remembering the times when the piano player could stay on beat, play the right notes and - most importantly - remembered that music is more than pounding on the keys, it's also telling a story.  Haven't had that experience in a long time.
Our ride on the Mark Twain kind of made up for that loss.  She is really beautiful at sunset.
Waiting for more passengers to load.  The Golden Horseshoe at twilight.  It wasn't a full moon; just one time my BET became a benefit in taking a picture.  So, am I the only one that hasn't noticed the red lights on either side of the entrance door to the Golden Horseshoe?  What's doing on upstairs, anyway?  I mean,  it IS Disneyland, after all.

Rivers of America shoreline from Frontierland to New Orleans Square.  The ducks were still begging.  I'd never seen them out after dark.  As we made our way around the island, though, we could see them winging their way home.
Wherever that is.
I sat by the rigging.  Made a fun picture.  Chem trail kind of a bummer, though.
After our cruise we decided to hang out for one set with Laughing Stock.  I don't know.  I know I'm still feeling the loss of the Billies (who used to play in this theater to packed houses).  We enjoyed them for years.  They had a few different shows (holidays and such) but for the most part it was the same routine and they cracked me up every time I saw them.  And there's nothing 'wrong' with this troupe.  And I'm no expert on what makes something funny (with my dry-as-the-desert sense of humor).  But I've read that the key to good comedy is the art of surprise, and after watching this bunch for a while I've gotta say...  no surprises.  Only real smile I felt was when the audience volunteer started improvising a little.  I mean, a VERY little, but it was something different while the rest of the show was a little stale.  Again, though, I admit to a strong bias for the former act.  So maybe it's just me (although I will say, I've never seen a packed house since the change to this act.)

After Laughing Stock we headed over to the Fantasy Faire for the swing dancers.  I doubt we'll do that again.  This area was redesigned and CLEARLY Disney did not intend to bring the dancers back - after 55+ years - but an intense campaign by dancers and fans resulted in them returning to an inferior situation.  For Mom and me, as spectators, it's nearly impossible.  Shortly after I took this picture, dancer friends came and sat on the row of benches inside the railing, standing periodically to talk to more friends.  Mom and I couldn't see a thing, and sadly decided to leave after just one set.
In the end, we were glad we did.
We were treated to a limo tram ride back to the parking structure (meaning we were the only ones on the tram - my fifth time for this privilege) and NO LINE for the elevator.  We were home at 9:40, just slightly over an hour's ride.  Clear freeways all the way.  Faster ever trip home.  Usually it takes between 1.5-3 hours, depending on how many drunks have been on the road before us.  We noted they must have all been still tucked into bars, 'cause we had such a smooth ride home.

One of the highlights of the day was a conversation with a castmember at the Clothiers, who shared that Disneyland has passed the 1,000,000 passholder mark - much more successful than the Disney World program.  We're pleased to be part of that number, and to be able to enjoy days like yesterday.  Days that don't go exactly as planned but are "perfect" anyway.

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