Friday, August 11, 2017

Top Ten Disney Memories: Memory #5: Space...Matterhorn?

Disneyland 2017 Memory #5

After breakfast on Tuesday, we all rode our way across Fantasyland together, but we honestly didn't get very far before our Fastpass window for Space Mountain opened.

We were planning to ride Snow White as a group before Derrick, Gray, Nellie, and I raced over to Space Mountain to cram in a quick thrill ride while Mom and Dad took Gideon on the carousel. We had to hurry because it was almost time for our late lunch reservation at Cafe Orleans.

(Max Pass would have enabled us to cancel our Space Mountain Fastpass and reschedule it for a more convenient time, but they were just rolling out the new system that week, and it didn't become available to us until Wednesday.)

For some idiotic reason, I blurted out, "Pinocchio has almost no line. Let's ride it first on the way to Snow White!"

Why did I say that? Here is a helpful Disneyland travel tip: Pinocchio always has no line because it is an awful, useless ride and no one likes it except toddlers obsessed with Pinocchio.

Maybe that's harsh, but I'm bitter because we ran out of time and didn't get to ride Snow White, and I actually really like that one. It has all those great scary props in the queue--the poisoned apple, the spooky book, the wicked queen's dungeon lair. It's one of the few dark rides that is full of great photo ops.

But I like to try to capitalize on short lines, so we ended up on Pinocchio, whether we liked it or not (and we did not). The ride didn't seem to be working properly. In this one part, the Blue Fairy's light is supposed to shine around, but we just got patchy sound effects and lots and lots of total darkness.

Even Gideon hated the ride. He kept protesting, "No! I don't like this!"

During the Pleasure Island sequence when Pinocchio pleaded, "I wanna go home!" Giddy chimed in ardently, "I wanna go home, too!"

Somehow by the time the ride was over, our Fastpass window had opened, so Mom and Dad took lucky Gideon on Snow White while the rest of us dashed over to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain.

The mood was all heady excitement until we were just about to board and the ride completely stopped. Someone already in a car had either a seizure or a heart attack. Derrick had the best view and insisted the person hadn't ridden yet. All I know is she ended up writhing on the ground, the soundtrack went off, and the lights came up in the boarding area.

Penelope was devastated. She was so shocked and disappointed. We all had to reassure her that stuff like this happens all the time (not medical emergencies, necessarily, but mishaps preventing you from riding even when you're about to board). We were all like, "Don't worry. Don't worry. Before we leave, they'll give us something." (If you stay in line, they always give you something.)

Before long they gave us directions for exiting. They herded us all into a back hallway and instructed us to hold out our park tickets and wait patiently until someone with a device came to give us a free Fastpass.

At one point, we were all instructed to hug the far right wall to make way for the gurney and emergency medical crew coming in (and then out again carrying the woman in crisis) on the left. The distressed guest looked to be in fairly serious condition, but they clearly had the situation under control.

As the designated cast member scanned each of our passes with her little machine, she informed us helpfully, "This lets you board any Fastpass attraction in Disneyland Park right now...except Peter Pan."

"Man you just can't get on Peter Pan, huh?" I joked, finding the exception really hilarious. (Seriously unless you want to wait in line for like an hour to enjoy two minutes in a "flying" pirate ship, good luck riding Peter Pan.)

"I feel sorry for the people running Splash Mountain right now," I said to Derrick. I mean, it was about to be the hottest part of the afternoon. Most people were heading toward Critter Country with those instant Fastpasses.

The five of us opted for the Matterhorn, though, because it was on the way back to Fantasyland, and we could ride it quickly without even mentioning to Mom and Dad that we'd encountered a hiccup in our plans.

But of course once we got over there, we encountered yet another hiccup. Derrick, Gray, and I scanned our tickets and went through...and then realized a moment later that Penelope and Merry were no longer behind us. A few seconds later, we saw Penelope running toward us with hysterical tears streaming down her face.

"Mine didn't turn green!" she sobbed.

Apparently their tickets had produced blue circles instead of green ones.

"She told us we had Fastpasses to Star Tours," Merry explained (which we did), "but I was like, 'Well we're with them,' and just kept kind of edging us forward until she let us through."

Penelope was quite worked up by this time. Derrick eventually calmed her down, and we made sure that she went through the scanner first after that.

To cheer her up, I declared, "I'm going to make a video of this ride."

She was incredulous that I would do such a crazy thing, especially because I planned to use my phone.

"What if it goes flying away?" she worried.

"Yeah," Gray seconded. "You're going to lose your phone."

"No, I won't," I decided, "because I'm going to hold onto it." After all, I keep seeing 4K ride-throughs of every attraction that exists on YouTube. Why couldn't I take my own home video? (I already ride every thrill ride with my camera around my neck, and I've never lost that.)

I had so much fun taking the video. It turned out to be so hilarious, too. I had hoped that I was getting a lot of good reaction shots of Merry behind me, but it's mostly just a close-up of my own face as I scream loudly (and borderline incessantly).

I never screamed on roller coasters until I started riding with Penelope when she was little. I didn't want her to be afraid, so I made as much noise as possible to reassure her that I was having fun. It worked. But now she's older, and this trip she apparently assumed I was screaming so much because I was scared which I find adorably endearing. Disney roller coasters don’t scare me at all. Now if someone standing near me in the line starts coughing, that’s another story!

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