The team at Fresh Baked Disney made a rare Monday appearance at Disneyland this past Monday for Martin Luther King Day. The day was also special as we had the great fortune of meeting a new member of our traveling team, Sara Romey. Sara is a longtime fan of Disneyland, and a frequent contributor to the website. And so, today will forever be the day that you all first get to meet Sara The boy and I arrived at Disneyland at around 7:30 am and found Sara getting her annual pass. It was early still, but the weather was swiftly changing into a very warm day. It was like Santa Ana weather. And if you’re from So Cal, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, it means it was windy, dry, and warm. I hate Santa Ana weather. Once in the park, we made a bee-line for The Market House so that I could be sure to imbue Sara with all of its awesome. While I waited for my coffee she and the Disney Ninja played a game of checkers next to the old timey stove. I was able to coax and admission from here that she did think it was pretty darned awesome. But we had a rope drop to attend, so it was off we went.
Disneyland Rope Drop
Normally, when we attend a rope drop, it is held at the front of each land. All of Main Street and most of Town Square is open. This method is actually fairly new as far as I understand. But on this day, the rope was dropped where Main Street ends and Town Square begins. The rope stretched along the doors of Coke Corner and the photo supply store. This I believe to be the more traditional location.
The rope dropped and we headed straight for Space Mountain for fast passes, then to Peter Pan. This is one of Sara’s favorite rides in the park, and I wanted to make sure she got a ride before it was too late. And it nearly was already, even at 8:15 am! When we got there, the line was already 20 minutes with no signs of slowing down.
After getting breakfast at the Jolly Holiday, I decided we had to take part in one of my favorite Disneyland traditions. We were off to make a wish at Snow Whites grotto. Everyone agreed this was a splendid idea, so off we went. While walking up, we had what I can only describe as a one of a kind experience. An especially rare experience made so due to our visiting the parks so often that it’s NOT often something rare happens. What happened? We saw Perla waiting for us in front of the wishing well. If you don’t know Perla, she’s one of the mice from Cinderella. Seeing her walking around anywhere in the park, ever, is…I’ve never seen her before. And let me tell you, Sara FREAKED OUT. I wasn’t ready with the camera, but we did try to recreate it for you. This is what made the experience even more memorable. Seeing Perla, and seeing Sara’s reaction to seeing her made me so freaking happy. It was awesome!! And so was Perla. Her reactions to Sara’s excitement were priceless, and she immediately became my all-time favorite walk around character. Thank you so much Perla! And thank you Disneyland for letting us meet her!
So I’ll follow that story up with another funny story. As we were leaving Perla and making our wish, Sara saw the Omnibus and mentioned that she had never ridden it before. I was slack jawed. NEVER? To me, the Omnibus is PURE Disneyland. Like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln or Tom Sawyers Island. It’s a part of Disneyland that is so…Walt. So we made to hitch a ride, but it wasn’t showing up by the castle. So we grabbed a ride on the fire truck instead back to Town Square. Our driver was awesome. He gave us some quick history. Not so much as to be boring, but enough to make us say COOL! Then he showed the Disney Ninja that he can ring the bell. Oh, and he also required that we wave to everyone. I thought it was cool he did that, and I must say we were quite expert at it.
Main Street Vehicles
The Disney Ninja was in a fire engine mood, so the fire station was our next stop. I gave a little a bit of Disney history to anyone listening and cracked a few jokes. Then the Disney Ninja spotted the Omnibus rounding Town Square. Rounding Town Square? Which by the way is a triangle. Anyway…We caught up to the Omnibus and prepared Sara for what I was sure to be the most magical bus ride of her life. It wasn’t You see, I’m used to the driver who works the weekends in the mornings. He’s an elderly gentleman who has a great spiel. He’s awesome. Informative and reverent, he’s the perfect blend in my opinion.
Our driver this morning was a much younger gentleman, which by the way isn’t bad, but he did seem to be in much more of a hurry. I could barely understand what he was saying at points, and there was a very clear idea that he was reciting a script. I mean, I know there’s a script. But you can say it like it’s your own. Anyway, it was less than magical and that bummed me out a bit. But we love Disneyland so much we can shrug that off no problem!
Next stop was fast passes for Indiana Jones. This ride is gaining momentum for me personally. As recently as a few weeks ago I was thoroughly frustrated and done with this ride due to its inability to remain open. But it’s been going strong since then, so hopefully the worst is behind us. Then we were off to Haunted Mansion, which I do believe is Sara’s number one favorite ride. There was no wait of course as it was still fairly early in the morning. I was glad to see the old ride back myself. I love the Nightmare overlay, but it’s been almost 4 months. That’s probably too long in my opinion. Riding the traditional theme was like an old shoe. It fits just right
We moseyed over to Critter Country for a bit to ride Winnie the Pooh, which I love, and to check out Pooh corner. It was fun to see Sara’s expression when we walked in there. It was a mixture of “awwww” and “I miss you!” I’m sure it’s been a while for her, and we sometimes forget how cool this place can be. Pooh corner really is one of the more charming shops in the whole park.
Pirates of the Caribbean was next as we headed back to Frontierland to cash in our Indy fast passes. Nothing awesome to report here other than I was glad to see the Pirate with the hats back. But then the scene with the woman chasing the pirate with a rolling pin had gone dark. This was a very strange experience for me as I don’t believe, in all my years, I’ve ever seen a section of the ride that we all know so well go dark like that. Literally. There were no characters there, and no light.
We went from Pirates to Indy, which was still running thankfully, and had a great ride there. We still had our fast passes for Space Mountain, so we made for Tomorrowland. We were at Star Tours when Sara realized she had lost her phone, leaving it perhaps at Indy. So we headed back. It turns out this was a rather fortuitous turn of events though. We found her phone at Indy, and on our way back again to Tomorrowland we walked past the Tiki Room. And to my surprise who did I see? I saw Maynard!! He was working the entrance to the Tiki Room!
Maynard! It’s Maynard!!
Who is Maynard? Maynard is legend. He’s just your average cast member, working rides like everyone else. But in addition to this, he’s also MAYNARD!! When I first started really getting in to Disneyland, I did a lot of surfing for history and trivia and secrets about the park. One of those pieces of history was this guy named Maynard who was just about as fun as a cast member could be. Everyone had their favorite Maynard encounters. But I didn’t believe there would ever be a chance I’d have a Maynard encounter.
So…how was our Maynard encounter? Kind of strange actually. I spotted him and said out loud in fact “It’s Maynard!!” I immediately asked if I could get a photo, and he was happy to oblige, providing one of the greatest poses I’ve ever gotten from a cast member. He’s a real pro at this sort of thing.
But then he asked if he’d ever done a commercial for us. I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about, so I said no of course. He then proceeds to run off the entire script of some commercial he did for a drink found in Hawaii. He was reciting lines from this commercial in various voices, very tiki room like in fact. Big voices, little voices, it was kind of cool. He went on for a little while longer, doing some shtick that I didn’t quite understand.
It was weird in a way. I guess because of his somewhat famous stature, he’s become accustomed to many people recognizing him and knowing his story. So when this happens, he acts as though he knows you, and has a bit all ready to go for his Maynard performance for guests. All in all, it was another memorable experience, even if it was a bit confusing. If you want to know more about Maynard, you should check out some of the Maynard fan sites out there.
With our Maynard experience tucked neatly in our memory banks, we made for Space Mountain. Nothing new to report here with regard to the ride itself, but this is a good spot to give a heads up on Disneyland’s current fast pass policy. To date, Disneyland has not enforced the one hour window given on your fast pass ticket. But there has been rumor in the wind that they would be doing so right around…now. But they’re not. Or they didn’t. We got our fast passes at 8 am that morning and we were hitting the ride now at about 11 am. So…I don’t think that’s going anywhere.
When we got to the top of the ramp at the beginning of the Space Mountain queue there was a large group of people clogging up the entry to both lines. When we got closer, we could hear what sounded like mass amounts of confusion with the guests. As best as I could tell, none of them could grasp the concept of how fast passes work. There was bickering back and forth, and some very exasperated looking cast members. And I remember feeling a quickening sense of frustration and impatience myself, as they were stopping anyone from getting into the queues.
It was a strange scene, and reminded me of why I like going to Disneyland as early as possible. The later in the day you get, the more frustrated families or other large groups get in trying to make their way through their day. It’s sometimes maddening, and sometimes comical. This is why you’ll hear me venting in the video on our way to the fast pass collector. I needed my happiness re-engaged! On our way out of Space Mountain, we noticed that they had closed up the Wreck it Ralph meet and greet.
This bummed me out quite a bit as I was hoping Ralph would become a permanent character at the park. They still have Merida, why not Ralph!? I know Disneyland loves them some princesses, but I thought they were trying to make a concerted effort to ramp up the Prince side of the equation. So now we have another bleak, boarded up section of a tired, under-developed area of the park in the Starcade. The Starcade is depressing. That’s all there is to it. This is supposed to be TOMORROWland for heaven’s sake. And I mean the happy tomorrow. Not the Blade Runner tomorrow!
So it’s getting close to the end of Sara’s day, as she couldn’t stay long, so we decided our last stop would be Toon Town. It had been a while since The Disney Ninja and I had been there, so we were definitely up for it. The place was pretty hectic as usual. It’s where you’ll find just about the highest concentration of kids 10 and under anywhere in the park. This was worsened by the fact that Roger Rabbit’s ride was closed. But still, it wasn’t bad. We got a lot of great photos from Goofy’s garden.
This place is really photogenic. There are lots of details all over the small land. And you get some great views from Donald’s boat as well. It was then we had to say goodbye for now to Sara and DJ and I headed for The Disneyland Railroad.
You want to hear something I think is pretty cool? I’m pretty sure The Disney Ninja loves trains like I do. He won’t admit it, but every single time we’re there he suggests we ride it. Mind you, he’s suggesting it as a means to get from one side of the park to the other, and that he wants to sit, rather than walk. But I also think he really likes to ride that train. I think that’s awesome as I think to properly appreciate Disneyland, you must do so beyond the usual roller coasters and other favorites. It’s the folksy charm of Disneyland that does it for me, and there aren’t many things folksier than the Disneyland Railroad. On the way to New Orleans Square I grabbed these photos.
So we make it to New Orleans Square and head straight for Splash Mountain. We figured we better catch this ride while we can, when it’s warm, because the weather would be changing again very soon. In fact, as I write this it’s raining. So we had another great ride on Splash Mountain. This is one of the best themed rides in the whole park in my opinion. It’s full of great characters, fun scenes, and it’s very well detailed. The music is also a perfect partner to the whole ride story. And on this trip, we got very wet.
And because of how wet we got, we decided to call it a day. We weren’t prepared with a change of clothes or anything. But all in all, it was a very good Disneyland day. We had our first visit with Sara, we had some highly unique experiences with Perla from Cinderella and Maynard. And we got some of the best photos I’ve shot in a single day in quite some time.
Yep, things are pretty great when you’re having a good day at Disneyland. So until next time, be well and love one another like it’s free, because it doesn’t cost anything to be happy.