Star Tours and Disneyland

21 05 2011

I have so much to blog about.  Things like my youngest child’s sixth birthday.  But I also have priorities and so at this moment I’ll blog about Disneyland.  My youngest child can wait.

Summer is like a Raffle Goddess this year – she just keeps winning and winning (KNOCK WOOD). Most recently she won tickets to see the grand-reopening of Star Tours at Disneyland. The chance to be one of the first people in the world to get to ride after it was refurbished and updated: AWESOME. Originally when she told me about this, I told her she should opt for someone who, you know, doesn’t cry on roller coasters so she could have more fun, but in the end she asked me anyway and who am I to say no to that? And Matt Lauer should know I NEEDED this day at Disneyland. Of course it required me to ditch pretty much everyone important to me – my kids, the Camp Fire meeting I was supposed to be leading (and, uh, the other leader was out of town. *cough*). So while I felt guilty (and while I tried very hard not to allow myself the guilt) I also knew that I’ve never before ditched any of these people for anything trivial like this and I won’t be doing it again (often?), so I just went for it.

And “going for it” meant waking up at 4am.

line for star tours

I used to love going to watch movies the night they opened. I was the one happy to wait in line for hours if I needed to, to get a good seat (or a seat at all). More movie theatres showing the same movie on more screens waters the experience down so I haven’t had such an incredible experience in a long time now, but this morning at Disneyland reminded me of all the reasons I used to be happy to wait in line just to watch a movie’s first showing.

empty disneyland

The crowd was like a mini-Comic Con. There were costumes and geekery and camaraderie. Everyone there was your friend because they knew they shared an interest with you and that you were all interested enough to wake up at 4am, drive for an hour and a half in the dark and wait in line for hours just to have the experience. Once we finally got on the ride everyone in the car with you cheered and booed and laughed and screamed together. And that – THAT – is why I woke up at 4am. The experience is fantastic on its own, but when shared with a crowd like that it’s once-in-a-lifetime awesomeness.

And, as always when Disney changes or updates a ride, we were all nervous as to if it would survive or if they’d screw it up. And, in Disney’s track record, the screwing up often comes with the awesomeness. So we didn’t know what to think about how this would turn out.

But we needn’t have worried (in this case) because it turned out AWESOME. It was better, even. They paid homage to the original ride and it’s cheesiness in graceful ways, and they removed the dated look in ways which I feel will help the ride stay current in the future as well. They utilized today’s technology elegantly and stuck mainly to the original three movies (although someone did tell me you can find Jar Jar Binks in carbonite somewhere in the ride if you look for it). There are several different versions of the ride, each stopping at a different planet in the Star Wars Universe. We stopped at Kashyyyk, although the ride called it “The Wookiee Planet”. (Full disclosure, I had to come home and look up the spelling of Kashyyyk.)

flight times

The ride also utilizes 3D (as the guys in line in front of us said, “Not only do we have to clamp on with our butts but we also have to keep 3D glasses on?”) and if you now me at all, you’ll know I HATE 3D. Despise. Abhor. Detest. To put it mildly. I will put up with it grudgingly for short periods of time and I will complain about being forced into 3D every time. But not this time. This time was AWESOME. Seriously. I can’t express to you how surprised I was to not only tolerate the effect but to also enjoy it. LOVE it, even. It was seamless and headache-free (although that may have been due to the shortness of the time I had to wear the glasses). I know today’s 3D is better than that of, say Captain EO (which I also saw for the first time ever yesterday, and who’s 3D I detested), but even today’s 3D I find generally looks unlcean and cheesy at best. But the 3D in Star Tours was just fantastic. Perfect.

Happy thing: Bonnie and I, with our super cool 3-D glasses!
Photo by Summer. Actually maybe photo by me. But it was Summer’s camera either way.

The only bad thing I had to say about the ride was that it was too short. I could have enjoyed a couple more minutes at least.

Anyway, after that we enjoyed the rest of the park, too. I had no kids with me so I got to enjoy the bits I never get to enjoy like The Haunted Mansion and Indy. Summer got to have Dole Whip and sing along in the Tiki Room which is something she doesn’t get to do very often. We had coffee and churros (I had a bite, anyway – shh, don’t tell my body about the gluten, ok?). And we survived the day with enough energy intact to drive home safely and happily despite the too-early wake up call.

I feel so refreshed now. The last weeks have seriously kicked my ass and while my life itself is happy, my body and mind were wearying to the point that I didn’t even notice it until I was at the happiest place on earth recharging myself.

I’ve already thanked Summer a million times but here’s once more. And thanks to the people I ditched for understanding. And thanks to The Universe for knowing what I needed even more than I did and for making sure it happened.

Clicky here for the rest of the photos.








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