Sunday 20th April
Hallelujah, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!
Easter morning. We were not game to find a church, so we celebrated the resurrection quietly as a family in our room, with a hamburger bun and a quarter-bottle of Merlot from the 7-11 store down the road. It's not the way I would care to celebrate Easter every year, but it was a family celebration nevertheless.
We went down to the hotel dining room for breakfast and after that to the new Disney park, Disney's California Adventure, which faces the original Disneyland across the mall, on the site of the old parking lot. This park opened on 8th February 2001, it seems, and Disney have evidently taken lessons from their own experiences and those of others since the first park opened in 1955. There is much more space there, but this is partly because of the small number of people there by comparison and also the fact that there are, so far, fewer attractions there.
However, there are things I haven't seen in any other Disney park. California Screamin' is a real roller coaster - long and with a modest loop in the middle. The gentle music that plays in the headrests shouldn't deceive you. Mulholland Madness is another, more gentle, roller. There's also a very large Ferris wheel there.
Just about the first thing we did, however, was the truly marvellous Soarin' Over California. Three blocks of three rows of seats (giving a capacity of over 90) are filled, and then they rise into the air at three levels. Filling your entire field of view is a screen with projections of images of soaring over California, such as you would see from a hang glider or similar: the Golden Gate, Yosemite, a golf course, a ski field, the ocean, an aircraft carrier and others besides. And all the time there is air blowing at you just as if you were doing it for real, as well as the smell of pine forests or the ocean to match the images you are seeing. This is marvellous and has the longest queues in the whole park. When did you ever encounter a ride that gets applause at the end?
After that, it's scarcely right to mention the Orange stinger, but that's fun too. Circling chairs inside a huge orange, with a faint orange smell too, as you buzz with the bees there.
Three dimension presentations - those things with the glasses - abound in southern California parks. We saw
The Muppets 3D - that's one we saw in Florida in 1993, but the boys won't remember it from then. It was fun then and it's fun now. Yes, it does have cheap 3D effects and water.
It's tough to be a bug - adapted from A Bug's Life and containing some other surprises beyond what might be expected in a 3D show
Honey, I shrunk the audience - another film spin-off, but still entertaining. I enjoyed that one, especially the instruction to the boy to put the theatre back exactly where it was, otherwise the exits won't line up.
Terminator 3D - at Universal Studios - an ingenious mix of special effects, 3D and live actors. Very intriguing.
Monday and Tuesday
Mostly the same sort of things, as we ventured separately around the parks for part of the time, finishing up with It's a small world as our last ride at Disneyland and Soarin' Over California as our last ride at California Adventure. A high spot of the Monday was lunch at the Blue Bayou restaurant, one of the finest unlicensed restaurants anywhere. Tuesday evening saw us take a taxi late at night to the Hilton Garden Inn near LAX airport for the next part of the adventure, but I think I will save that for another night, having now been typing for longer than I wanted.