Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Top 10 Disneyland 2017 Vacation Memories: Memory 1: The Slime on Splash Mountain

This photo is from Monday night

Disneyland 2017 Memory #1 

The Slime on Splash Mountain

What instantly comes to mind when I focus on the best memories of this trip is the shock of surprisingly-placed star glitter, a defiant woman screaming in the dark on top of a trash can, and--most prominently of all--the slime on Splash Mountain.

This is not a logical place to start, but I just can't help myself. I will never forget the slime on Splash Mountain. Based on how often she brings it up, I'd say Penelope will never forget either. Probably at my funeral one (hopefully distant) day, the priest will ask her to say a few words about what she remembers about her mother, and with a hesitant cough, she'll begin, "Well one time there was this slime on Splash Mountain..."

So Thursday night, July 21st. Already our fourth night at Disneyland. We'd been there since late Monday afternoon. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, Mom and Dad had gone back to the hotel in the early evening and taken Gideon with them. But after trying to keep up with my frenzied, park-hopping pace all week, by Thursday, my parents needed a serious break. 
After we all rode Toy Story Mania together on the pier in the punishing afternoon sun, we retreated to the hotel where the five Rayburns and my sister Merry went swimming. 

 While the kids and I suited up, Derrick used Max Pass on his phone to pick us up fastpasses for Splash Mountain when we returned to the park at dusk.

So while Merry and my parents spent the evening in, the Rayburn kids had a battle with their new light sabers, and then I put on my new light up Star Wars ears (that look like ships are zooming around on them) and headed over to Critter Country to get wet.

Since Giddy was with us, we did rider exchange. I thought I was being nice by letting Derrick ride first.

"While Daddy takes Gray and Nellie to stand in the boring line," I told Giddy, "I'll take you to ride Winnie the Pooh. It's one of my very favorite rides. You'll ride that with me, won't you?"

"Ohtay!" he agreed cheerfully. Of course, I wasn't about to leave his lightsaber in the stroller, so he carried that (and our glow cubes) and I carried him (and my phone and my camera and his bottle of juice). I wore my ears which were surprisingly heavy and uncomfortably tight.

 Despite being kind of encumbered, Giddy and I had a wonderful time riding Winnie the Pooh twice in a row. (Somehow, I even managed to video one of the rides, and I also took lots of pictures.) "Now ride Ladybugs," Giddy suggested.

"Ummmmm..." I hedged.

Since that ride is in the other park, it was fortunate that Derrick suddenly texted that they were about to get off the ride.

We walked over to the exit to meet them, and Giddy ran towards them squealing and laughing and bubbling over with excitement. I handed off the toddler. Derrick handed me the backpack (crammed with twenty million pounds of diapers and dry clothes and juice and electronics and stuff), and he took Giddy to ride Pooh again. Seamless, right?

As Gray, Nellie, and I were preparing to board our log, things started to unravel. Derrick texted forlornly, "Is his bottle in the stroller?"

Apparently Giddy got to the front of the Pooh line and had a berserk meltdown wanting juice. Unfortunately for Derrick (and rather inconveniently for me, too), Giddy's bottle was still in my pocket. We did have an unopened juice box leftover from lunch, but that was in the backpack...because, I mean...what wasn't in the backpack?! (I think Jimmy Hoffa might have been in there.)

Lugging around that cumbersome burden, I really hoped I would land the very back of the log (row 6) where the seat is double wide and roomier. (We had already ridden twice before that week, and both times I'd been randomly assigned to row 6, so my chances felt good.) Of course, now that I was the one carrying the backpack, the people running the ride crammed me into row 5, right behind Gray in 3 and Nellie in 4.

Since my camera and the backpack were jockeying for the same space (between my not inconsiderable belly and the back of Nellie's seat), I gave up on the idea of getting still pictures and instead tried to take a video with my phone (which didn't feel too secure in my pocket, anyway.) I mean, why take a risk with my good camera under those circumstances?

Penelope very vocally thought I was nuts. "You are not taking a video of this," she insisted.

"Oh yes I am!" I replied.

Then--because the stupid, overstuffed backpack knocked into it--the lens cap popped off my camera. (The camera I wasn't even using because I was being prudent and responsible). Immediately my pulse quickened and my hand shot down to the bottom of the log.

"Nellie!" I yelped desperately. "Can you help me get my lens cap? It fell down there somewhere! I've got to get it back!"

Splash Mountain is not the kind of ride where you can let that kind of thing go and just find it at the end. 

I mean (though I'm guessing that G-force would probably keep it in place) all I could imagine was the lens cap flying into space during the big drop at the end, leaving me in a theme park with an exposed lens that cost more than anything else I own and is my most precious possession (besides maybe my Grandma's diamond ring).

So Nellie and I scrambled around feeling blindly for the lens cap like some kind of zany comedy team.

"Try closer to the log," I suggested. "Maybe this is...oh no! It's slime!"

"What do you...ewwwwww!" she squealed, after finding the slime herself.

This slime of ours was right up against the inside of the log closer in to the middle than our feet. We never could see it, and it never left a residue on our hands, but it felt so gross, so very, very gross. It must have been some kind of algae growing there because the log was always wet. (That's what I prefer to believe. It could have been somebody's old puke for all I know.)

Anyway, to make a long story short, we found the lens cap quickly, but then before long, it popped off again...and again and again and again and again and again....

Seriously the lens cap seemed to pop off like infinity times. And every time we'd grope around for it, first we'd accidentally touch the slime...five or ten times!

Basically I was always yelling out, "Is that it? No that's the slime! Maybe this...wait! It's the slime!" It was always the slime! It was never the lens cap! And this just kept happening over and over again, no matter what great care I took to keep it from recurring. The final drop was...right before the final drop. Talk about suspenseful! In the end, I had to use the flashlight app on my phone to find it (on top of the foot of the stoic guy behind me in row 6).

Penelope and I spent 3/4 of the ride shrieking and giggling and searching urgently for the lens cap and finding the slime instead. I can't even remember any of the ride that time at all. Later (at home) I came across multiple short videos I somehow made during the ride. I was like, "How did I possibly make these?" I must have been in a fugue state. (Of course, to be fair, on the longest video, I am basically recounting the story of what had just happened (repeatedly) with the slime.)

Immediately after the ride, all my night pictures were kind of streaky because I had accidentally touched the lens while looking for the lens cap.

This is probably my most memorable ride on Splash Mountain ever. It was all fun and games until we got off the ride and ate dinner at the Plaza Inn. Only after the meal did I realize that in all the confusion I'd forgotten to sanitize my hands post sliming and pre-pasta. That is so unlike me. And yet, I survived.

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