You'd think after yesterday's princess pandemonium the girls were ready to leave their heels and tiaras in the hotel and go for a hike or at least a wander around the Park. Yeah... not so much. Turns out they really, really love the whole princess thing.
Good thing, too. It'd be a lousy day if they didn't. (Sorry Henry, this just ain't your day.)
We started the day heading into the park with Amy intent on punishing someone else with a roller coaster ride. I didn't mind. I'd done my time and that's all the time I wanted to do. Clara wisely declined Amy's invitation in favor of the Tea Cups, but poor Lilly was just tall enough to go on the Matterhorn and just young enough to believe her mother when told it'd be fun.
Asked afterward Amy described Lilly as walking the very fine line between a "righteous good time" and "utter terror" resulting "bawling her head off." Since she still has that monstrous amount of hair floating above her shoulders I'm going to deduce she didn't fall into the terror hole or at least not completely. She didn't have that good a time, though, because she didn't ride it again.
After we had regrouped we headed back toward Toon Town and a spot from which we had diverted the girls' gaze way back when. Back on Day 3 we were all about getting to Toon Town for Morning Madness. We couldn't afford the delay that would have been inevitable and long lasting had our aspiring princesses seen the official home of the Princess Fantasy Faire.
Today, however, we were heading there on purpose. I know, I know. Why would you do such a thing? Isn't it just inviting princess-like behavior? I'm not talking about the good kind where they wave and solve problems with wishes. I'm talking about the drunken stupors and $1,000 handbags. The ugly side of royalty.
Well, sometimes you just can't escape destiny.
Like the rose with its thorns or the bull with its horns (huh?) you have to take the good with the bad and hope rehab won't be too expensive. So in we went. I stood in line for a solid 15 minutes only to find out that line was for the Royal Greeting Line (or something like that). However, since we had just met the princesses the previous day (and dear goodness let them be the same princesses) I bailed on that line and joined the crew in the bleachers. (Um... did all royal courtyards come with bleachers?)
The place was actually kind of neat. There were the aforementioned bleachers with an activity section one side and a gift shop on the other (more on that in a moment). Between the bleachers and the stage was a large open space. Back to the left was the story nook. We started there.
Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) came out to tell us her story. The nicest part was that it wasn't the equal opportunity princess from the day before and you could actually imagine some handsome prince might find her fetching enough to plant one on her to wake her from an eternity of suspended animation.
Martin and I sat with the girls on thoughtfully provided carpet circles on the floor. How nice, except no padding. I think there's something that happens when you graduate preschool or perhaps kindergarten. I see Clara and Lilly sitting cross legged (aka Criss Cross Apple Sauce) all the time and they don't seem to mind it. I, however, can't manage it for more than a few moments. Unfortunately, Princess Blabs went on and on about her fair godmothers and how lovely her dress was and blah blah blah. Meantime my seat is going numb and I'm not talking about the carpet circle.
When the story was done the girls ran off while I pushed myself to a semi-standing position and pretended I wasn't really "old" even if Clara says I am. (No, she's not mean. It's part of the age game: How old is Henry? One. How old is Lilly? Two. Clara? Four. Tokul? Seven. Mommy? 29. Daddy? Old.)
Back in the bleachers I was handed a stinkbomb and told to go change Henry. Finally! A manly pursuit! I gotta say one of the really great things about Disneyland is that the bathrooms are a heck of a lot cleaner than, say... Qwest Field. Might be something to do with a lack of alcohol, though that would make some of the rides more fun.
Once the princess dresses had been stowed and the girls had gotten new grown up princess nighties (um... thanks, Nana) we headed back to the rest of the Park to look for more adventures. Where better than in Adventureland? And where better than Tom Sawyer's Island? Full of pirates and treasures and scary steep stairs to a treehouse that Lilly loved, but that I was sure she was going to fall out of. I don't know if it was intended to accommodate someone of my size, but I made do with only a few head bumps as I followed behind Lilly as she went up and down and back up.
The caves weren't tons of fun, but mostly because I'm old (more proof that Clara's right) and too tall (first time I've ever heard that). The pontoon bridge was pretty cool, though and the kids had loads of fun on the pirate treasure. Unfortunately, the fort was closed and it was getting hot so we headed back to the ferry to take us to the mainland.
Amy's natural Julie instinct kicked in and guided us over to a saloon (yeah!) where they served ice cream and banjo music (oh). I'm not usually a big fan of the banjo, but since we were there with Martin and Nicole it seemed only fitting we should honor their state's official instrument. (Yes, I know the banjo isn't really the state instrument of Kentucky. Everybody knows it's an old whisky jug.)
I've frequently pointed out my wife isn't from Kentucky (worse, she's from Kirkland), but I must admit Billy Hill and the Hillbillies were pretty entertaining. The jokes were quick and well-delivered and the music certainly made the girls dance around. In fact, Lilly was so into the experience that before we knew it she had her shirt off and her pants were around her ankles. (Ah... just like Mommy!)
Once we had recovered from the embarrassment of a nearly bare... um... behind we headed back for one more ride down Splash Mountain. I'm not sure exactly why we headed that way, but there we were once again looking at a nearly empty line. (In fact, the line was shorter to ride than it was to meet Tigger and Pooh who just happens to have the name easiest to make fun of.)
Right away we knew we were in serious trouble on Splash Mountain. When we did it earlier in the week we took up the whole log and were pretty lightly loaded with all the girls. This time, however, we had just one little lady among us and the rest were big manly men. It turns out there's a direct correlation between weight and the wet factor. This meant that when we went down a tiny little four foot drop at the beginning of the ride that got a couple of drops on our shoes last time we instead nearly sank the log and Martin was completely soaked. In fact, by the time we were done we were all 100% wet.
In fact, the only real victory was that I figured out where the camera was and just before I collapsed into a quaking mess of fear I gave my cheesy grin for all to see. (Martin, on the other hand, was not so brave looking.)
As we squelched our way back to the drier, saner portion of the team we decided that since we were soaked anyway we might as well head back to California Adventure and do the river rafting ride. It couldn't get any wetter, right?
Oh... ye of little faith.
Let's start with the fact that the attendants laughed at us as we got into the submersible donut of dunking. Then we started up a really long ramp that sprayed water on us for fun. When we actually started running the rapids, which I found to actually be not so terrible, waves would splash up over us and then empty out through drains in the floor. Even after the long drop to Frog Jump Falls we were still pretty dry, but there's a "geyser" feature that shoots an immense amount of water into the air so it can fall on you just before you get off.
I'm sure it's quite the refreshment during the height of the summer heat. February might be a little early, though. I'm actually surprised Amy survived. Needless to say it's the one thrill ride that only thrilled once.
We walked back through the Grand Californian soliciting the evil eye from numerous staff who ran to phones to call maintenance to clean up after us. After we had found a little bit of warmth in dry clothes we got the kids into their new nighties and paraded to Nana and Papa's room just down the hall. Even Henry got suckered into wearing a Princess t-shirt, which of course got captured for posterity.
I'm sure he'll appreciate that some day.