We arose on Tuesday morning quite early, as we needed to get across town from Hollywood to Anaheim.
Note on geography in LA: I have no mental map of anything that has to do with Southern California. I only know that every time we got in a car, it took two hours to get where we were going. That was as true of the 100-mile drive on Monday as it was for the 1 mile drive from the hotel to the nearest In N Out on Thursday. So no idea what that was about.
We had tea and coffee with Damon, waiting for Ryan and his friend Megan to arrive, which they did around 7:30. From there, we said a teary goodbye to Damon and headed out to Disneyland!
A note on Disneyland: I'd never been before. This was my first trip and I was not exactly expecting anything special. However, everyone around me (including Jean, Ryan, and our friend Donna) was very excited, so I was ready to be happy but underwhelmed. Boy, was I wrong.
We reached the parking lot just before 9 AM, and there was plenty of parking available, which bode well for a low turnout, since I don't do well with crowds. Also, Tuesday is the least-popular day, and the first week in May is the lowest-traffic week in the park, so it was practically perfect for me. We rode the tram from the parking lot, and met our friend Donna at the front gate along with her adorable dad, who works for Disney at the park.
A note on Donna's Dad: Donna's dad was amazingly generous to Ryan, Jean, and me, signing in all of us in lieu of us purchasing tickets, which saved us an enormous amount of cash and making the park experience that much more awesome.
Since Donna's birthday was Tuesday, and Jean's birthday was Monday, we went to City Hall and got them both Birthday Buttons. This means that every "cast member" had to say "Happy Birthday, Your Name Here" to them, the whole time. It was awesome and hugely amusing. From City Hall, we grabbed a small breakfast snack on Main Street, and then we made our way to the first ride, which was Ryan's favourite: Star Tours. It was cheezy and vaguely cartoonish, but you know what? It was an awesome ride. It's fun, and engaging, and the various video bits that you see are randomized and all of them are very, very cool. We eventually ended up riding Star Tours six times (Jean and Ryan went seven), and it became my favourite ride.
From there, we went over to Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, which is a combo ride / shooting game. I had a brilliant time and outscored Jean by an order of magnitude. We went shopping for our friend Daniel, who is a huge Phineas and Ferb fan, and found lots of nifty kitsch to purchase and ship, and took a picture of the tiny, tiny castle in the center. We caught the Haunted Mansion ride, and then from there we went to Big Thunder Mountain for a roller-coaster experience, and then hit Mister Toad's Wild Ride before grabbing the Monorail to Downtown Disney for lunch.
We went to Rainforest Cafe for lunch, which turned out to be a mistake, as the wait for putting in our order took longer than any of the ride waits, and the food just wasn't that good. We then made a double-entendre joke via photo, and headed back into the park for Space Mountain, the Mad Tea Party (aka, spinning teacups), building lightsabers, and various other ways of spending money.
We bailed around 6:15 or so, checked into our hotel, Hotel Menage, and changed out our clothes for something nicer for the birthday dinner for our friend Donna.
A note about Hotel Menage: this is a great hotel, and we got a terrific rate on the room. Big king-size bed plus a pullout couch for Ryan, and a really good bar and a nice pool area (when it's not overrun by stupid f*****g kids). It's about a 5 minute walk from the entrance of Disneyland, so it's a great place to stay. Two thumbs up, will stay again!
Dinner at 7 was at Benihana, and if you've been to Benihana you know what it was like. A great time was had by all and we went back to the hotel to digest, spend some time in the hot tub, and sleep (in that order).