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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

gluttons for punishment

so the grand opening of the new cars land at california adventure was on friday.  earlier in the week, annual passholders had been given the opportunity to attend a couple of sneak peek visits to see the new stuff and ride all three new attractions...for $50 apiece.  yikes.  since the teen and i had gotten a jump on it and previewed cars land already, we were good to wait until it was officially open.

since the bean had the day off from school and we had no other plans for the day anyway, we decided to brave the crowds to go and check it out.  having read lots of tweets from various sources warning of dire traffic conditions, crazy opening-day crowds, and long waits, we went into this trip just to see the new bits of the park that hadn't been part of our previous tour.  there was no way we'd be able to hang in the insane lines for any of the three new rides, and we were okay with that.  we were perfectly content with the notion of simply being there for the first day.  yup, that's pretty dorky.  would you expect anything less of us?

the courtyard between disneyland and DCA was mostly empty, although there were definite signs of the craziness that had taken place earlier that morning.  people had camped out overnight and stuff - that's just nutty.

those damn walls just beyond the turnstiles had finally been taken down, allowing for much easier access to the park.  before, you had to walk all the way towards the edge of DCA and follow the pathways to get to the other areas.  but now, the entrance is totally open...and completely enchanting.  it's been named buena vista street, much like main street over in disneyland, and it's meant to mimic 1920s los angeles the way walt likely saw it when he stepped off the bus from marceline, MO.

it was really fun to take in all of the new buildings and decorations.  since the teen loves retro stuff anyway, she was just as captivated with buena vista street as i was.  the bean was perfectly content to sit in her stroller and just look around as we strolled down the street.  it was pretty stinking crowded, but as we made our way past bug's land and caught our first glimpse of cars land, we were met with a serious sea of people.

it would've been fun to stop at one of the snack stands here to try out some of the new grub (chili "cone" queso, anyone?), but if you look closely you'll see that the lines were about a mile long.  i'm not even exaggerating here.

the teen was slightly dismayed as she scanned the area - "the paint on the ground is already all dirty and messed up," she complained.  but knowing disney, they'll probably touch it up on the regular.

forget even going anywhere near the entrance to this new eatery.

we actually did try to go inside this little souvenir shop to see if we could pick up a commemorative something-or-other, but we lost patience as soon as we set foot inside and saw the line at the registers.

with our mantra of "we're passholders at least until september of 2013" running through our heads, we sucked it up and made our way through the hordes of visitors and got the hell outta there.

as we made our way out towards the less-crowded hollywood backlot, we stumbled upon the red car trolley and a new show in progress.  because it was crazy packed in front, we circled around behind it and cut through the walkway of the newly opened carthay circle restaurant.

mickey was rocking some new threads in the buena vista street's 20s theme.

we'd overheard some guy asking a cast member for directions on where to find the opening day-only commemorative merchandise, and as we headed off towards where he was told, we passed the stations set up for various radio stations broadcasting live from the grand opening.  this is just a few of them.

the merchandise was set up in the animation academy, one of the things on our "we never stop in there but will one day" list.  the line was pretty long, but it moved quickly.  standing up on the ramp heading into the building, mickey rolled by in the trolley.

as much as we love the vintage-y stuff, these mickey ears were kind of lame looking.  sorry, unknown girl who inadvertently served as the model for said dumb ears:

hey, at least i blurred her face out.  i'm not that much of an asshole.

when we finally got in the door, we were handed numbered cards for each of us.  there were pink, yellow, tan, and green cards numbered from 1-30, and each person entering had to have one as there were quantity limits set on the merchandise.  this disney stuff is serious business, folks.

we took a seat in the auditorium, where a cast member was calling out colors/numbers for entry to the merchandise floor.  i tell you, the disney people are super organized.  they'd arranged all of the categories by zone, and displayed a map of which zone was where on the screen.

it didn't take long for our color and numbers to be called, and we made a beeline for zone 1:  the commemorative dated merchandise.  oh, so exclusive!

we didn't linger, nor did we pick up anything from the other zones (pins, vinylmation collectible dolls, exclusive annual passholder offerings).  zone 1 took care of our needs, so this was our last stop.

please to allow the teen to model our selections for you.  first up, something to give the hub for father's day:

a little suh-in suh-in for yours truly.

and the sweet tote the lady talked us into, for the teen.

these little commemorative hangtags were attached to every item.

by then, we were hungry.  and as we headed back up buena vista street, we found something fabulous - disney's very first collaboration with an old favorite.

we chose a couple of sandwiches to share - the salami royale and a roast beef & cheddar.

that salami sandwich may just be half, but as you can see, it's pretty substantial.  damn near the size of the teen's head.

despite the jacked-up prices, i hadn't had my caffeine for the day.  look, even the cups are cute:

and the bean begged for a hot chocolate, so she got a starbucks cup too.

now we were nice and full, and the newly relaunched "pixar pals" parade was about to start.  we were seated at a table outside, and although the parade route didn't stretch out in front of us, it was close enough for us to enjoy it from where we were.  happy campers right here.

here's a couple of short videos that i couldn't decide between to share.  they're only a few seconds apiece, so i figured i'd just post 'em both.

since we knew we wouldn't have the patience to stand in any of the lines at DCA (tweets from the official DCA account told us that the wait for the most popular ride was a ridiculous SIX hours), we decided to check out disneyland, to see if it was less crowded.  and as evidenced by the wait time for one of their most popular rides, DCA definitely had the lion's share of that day's visitors.

by this time, the bean was spent.  she was passed out cold in her stroller, and rather than try to finagle getting her out, folding the stroller, and carrying her sleepy self onto the tram and through the parking garage, we walked the half mile and got in a little extra exercise.  before heading off on our walk, though, we stopped in at the world of disney store to look around.  the teen had a ball with the hat display just inside the door.

present on opening day, check.  surviving the crowds without killing ourselves or anyone else, check.  dated, exclusive commemorative stuff, check.  i'd say it was a pretty successful friday indeed.

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