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Coastering in SoCal

Author: USRoadTripper
Date of Trip: September 2006

Thursday, August 31st

My morning started at 4:00am when I woke up and finished up a little bit of last minute packing. I changed the litter box, then fixed some breakfast. Dad arrived at 4:30…a half hour early…so he had to sit there and watch me eat my breakfast. We left my house at 5:00am and arrived at the airport at about 5:10am, with my flight leaving at 7:00am. I was through security quickly and was sitting at my gate within 20 minutes.

My first flight went from Nashville to Atlanta and was uneventful. Once in Atlanta, I found my gate easily and was happy to find a food court nearby. I grabbed an egg and cheese bagel from McDonalds (that was completely soaked with butter!) and was on my way to LA shortly thereafter.

The second leg of the flight was uneventful also and I kept my little monitor on the flight tracking map the whole time.

Once at LAX, I waited a half hour for my checked bag with my liquids and gels in it to be delivered, then I caught a Thrifty car rental shuttle. Once at Thrifty, I was directed to a row of vehicles that I could pick from, but there were only minivans in that row! No way did I want a minivan since I knew I’d be doing a significant amount of driving! Eventually I got them to give me a regular car, which was what I had reserved in the first place. It was a red Chrysler Sebring and was quite nice!

I knew I’d probably be getting a call from my friend Mike as soon as I got to LA, so I kept my phone out. Of course, almost as soon as I started the drive, my phone fell under my seat where I couldn’t reach it! I was staying at the Holiday Inn Express at the Magic Mountain exit, so I just headed there, then found my phone and called Mike. After unpacking a few things, I picked him up and headed for some lunch.

I’d been wanting to try a Del Taco for years, and lucky for me, there was one within a couple of miles! I got a crispy fish taco, a macho taco and a chicken taco, and it was pretty good, though it’s no Taco Bell. I think I will also always associate the taste of cilantro with Del Taco!

After lunch, we headed for the Mountain. I said that I wanted the first stop to be Psyclone since everyone seems to talk about how horrible it is, so that was where we headed. My first impression of the park was that it was quite a bit nicer than I thought it might be. Everything seemed to have relatively nice landscaping, lots of places were themed, and generally, I couldn’t quite see what everyone was complaining about.

Once at Psyclone, I really braced for the worst. But luckily, I didn’t think the ride was that bad. Yeah, it wasn’t smooth, but I’ve ridden much, much worse woodies. Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised! We meandered across the back of the park for a bit, then rode Goldrusher since it was along the way. I thought it was a nice little terrain coaster, though it did have a couple of rough spots.

Next, we decided to go ahead and hike up to Superman and ride that since it was running. The hike was quite a bit more strenuous than I’d imagined, but I made it. Superman was running the left side, and had pretty much no line. I’d really been anticipating this ride since I love both launches and shot towers…I figured that the ride had to be good. And of course, I was right! I thought the ride was really awesome! As soon as we were done, I said I wanted to ride again, so Mike obliged.

Since we were in the area, we rode Ninja also. This is definitely my favorite of the suspended coasters I’ve ridden since it swoops low to the ground and water, and is quite forceful. It does have a really lame ending though. Second only to Adventure Express!

When the ride was over, I found a soda machine that had a dollar’s worth of credit on it, so I decided to buy a soda. It still cost me $2.50, but hey, at least I got a dollar discount. We wandered back down the mountain, then in the direction of Bugs Bunny World for my Canyon Blaster credit. On the way, I saw Sierra Twist, the bayern curve, and decided to hop on for a ride since I’d never ridden one before. It was kinda fun, but it felt like it was gonna dump me out the whole time! I’m glad we both survived! Mike put it best when he described it as the Matterhorn meets Space Mountain meets a Six Flags budget!

Afterwards, we explored Bugs Bunny World for a while. We tried to ride both Goliath Jr. and the Tweety bird cages, but were denied both rides. After watching Mike chat with some ride op friends, and being introduced as his chick, we rode Canyon Blaster. Leaving Bugs Bunny World, I said I wanted to go take a look at Flashback, so we headed over there. I can see why this coaster never had a lot of attention…it’s off in a little corner by some bathrooms, so no doubt people didn’t know it was there.

We crossed back across the front of the park and decided to take in Revolution while we were in the area. I found the OTSRs on this ride to be completely unnecessary and very poorly designed. When I pulled the restraint down over my head, only the very top of my head would touch the sides of the restraint! I could turn my head and peek through the restraint, and Mike could see my whole face! The ride was quite comfortable since my head was almost completely not touching the restraint.

Next, it was time for my #200 credit! I’d decided a long time ago that I wanted it to be X, but X had been down for a while by that point, with no sign of it’s reopening any time soon. So I decided that Tatsu would be #200. There was very little wait, so we decided to wait the extra and ride in the front row. It was still only about 6 trains worth of wait or so. I thought the ride was great, though it did knock the wind out of me pretty well! The pretzel loop seemed too big to me, and when the ride was over, I had to take a few minutes to get my bearings back. We tried to get Vault Icees, but the mix wasn’t frozen yet, so we sat in the shade and chatted for a bit.

Once my head quit spinning, we went to ride Viper for the last ride of the night. I don’t have a good track record of getting good rides on old Arrow mega-loopers, and this was no exception. The ride beat me up pretty well all the way through, especially near the end just before the element that looks like the butterfly on Tennessee Tornado. This one was definitely my least favorite coaster in the park, and the only one that really seemed to hurt me.

There was just a little bit of time left before the park closed, so we decided to ride Log Jammer before it closed. It was a nice ride up until the very end when the final splash soaked us both! I got pretty wet, but Mike was basically soaked!

By the time we were done, the park was closed, so we headed back for the car. I gave a call to Guy on the way out and finalized plans for the next morning, then dropped Mike off at his house. From there, I had to go pick up Kevin at LAX, since his flight was arriving at around 10:30. He’d texted me earlier to say that he was going to be later than planned, which was fine with me since it meant more time in the park that night. I had a few minutes before I had to leave, so I found a nearby Pavilions supermarket and got some water and Snapple, then loaded up the hotel fridge before heading out for the airport.

The only credits Kevin had left were Canyon Blaster, Ninja and Viper, so we stopped at Canyon Blaster first. We only had about an hour or less left in the park, so we pretty much just ran in, got him his credit and left. We did manage to pop our heads into the Bugs Bunny Burrow, which was just one random chair inside a tree stump hahaha. I also found an abandoned leopard print hat! Score!

We hiked it back over to Tatsu, passing the site of Kevin’s upheaval, if you will. We then climbed up the stairs to Ninja and Superman, neither of which had lines. We had fun playing with the hat and Kevin said he enjoyed his ride on Ninja also. When we got in line for Superman, Kevin decided to pass on riding, though he did wait with us.

The car before ours ended up all the way in the maintenance bay since the brakes failed somehow and it was caught by the emergency brakes, which caused a breakdown. With only 8 minutes left until park closing, we assumed that it wouldn’t reopen, but we were wrong! It reopened pretty much right at 8:00, though there were only two trains full of people waiting. The second train wasn’t even full, so Mike and I rode twice in a row, for the last two rides of the night. They could have easily not bothered with bringing it back up, but they did, and I thought that was pretty cool.

With the park closed, we headed for the car so we could meet up with Jahan again at In-N-Out Burger. Of course it took longer to get there than we’d anticipated, but he was still waiting there patiently when we finally arrived. We all had burgers and fries, which is pretty much all that was on the menu! We’d meant to eat at an In-N-Out back in 2001 but were never able to find one near us. Even though the burger was pretty average, I was glad to say I’d been there!

When we got back out to the car, Kevin ended up being sick again, which now gives Mike the ability to joke that not only did Revolution make him sick, but my driving did as well!! I was gonna head off for a few more moments with Mike and Jahan, so I dropped off Kevin at the hotel and we all reconvened at a nearby Cold Stone Creamery. I had the cheesecake ice cream with a peanut butter cup mixed in…yummy!! Between the good ice cream and the good company, I had a blast.

After a while, I bid my boys farewell, with a promise that I’d get the TR online as soon as I could 🙂 Kevin was asleep when I got back to the hotel…so soundly asleep that I had to check and make sure he was breathing! Hahaha! I was pretty pooped too, so I hit the bed almost as soon as I got in as well.

Saturday, September 2nd

I woke up around 8:00am, and Kevin was already awake and watching TV. Having a had much better night’s sleep that night, he said he felt much better than the previous day. I showered and got dressed and as we finished packing up our things. We headed for breakfast again, which was nice as always. They had hard boiled eggs that morning, and after Kevin made a comment about how no one was eating them, I had to eat a couple of them just to prove him wrong.

Finally, we packed up the car and headed south towards Santa Monica. There was pretty much no traffic, and we found where we needed to be quite easily thanks to my directions and Kevin’s GPS. We parked the car in the first lot we found, which happened to be directly behind the Hot Dog on a Stick, which was one of our planned stops. The first order of business was for Kevin to do a bit of geocaching since there were three caches in the immediate Santa Monica Pier area. I’d never done anything like that before, but it was really quite fun!

The first one was up some stairs at the end of the pier and hidden under a plaque about sewage or drainage or something. Kevin took a little glass heart out of the box, and left a pink flamingo “travel bug” that was trying to get home to Colorado, and a coin with an octopus on it. The next one we found was a webcam cache at the main entrance to the pier. We had to stand on a street corner facing some random dentist’s office, and hold our arms straight out! We must have looked truly strange, but hey, one of Kevin’s friends got on the web and was able to save the picture of us!

With that done, we headed onto the pier. I’d never been to anything like that area before, so I really thought it was a lot of fun! It was such a beautiful day, and we had a lot of fun just wandering around checking out the beach, the people and the birds.

Soon we were at Pacific Park, which was the site of another “virtual cache” where you had to look around and answer a few questions. We both bought enough tickets to ride the Santa Monica West Coaster and the Pacific Wheel, then promptly got in line for the coaster. Everything was just so cute and picturesque that we had a great time taking pictures and video in the area.

We ended up riding in the front seat of the West Coaster, and this was a much better ride than I thought it would be! It looked pretty tame, but there were actually some pretty decent pops of airtime on the return leg, and the helix was much more forceful than I imagined! Kevin really ended up liking it as well, later saying that it was his favorite coaster of the whole weekend. Next we rode the Pacific Wheel, which was really great, and had such an awesome view.

The time on our parking space was running out (we’d only paid for one hour) so we headed back to the car. Since Kevin wanted to get a hot dog and I wanted to explore a little more, we put another dollar in the meter. When I found Kevin again, he’d purchased a Hot Dog on a Stick and a lemonade, both of which he said were great. I’m not too big on corn dogs (who am I kidding…I hate them) and am allergic to lemons, so I couldn’t get anything They did have cheese on a stick, but it was covered in that horrible corn dog batter…yuck!

We wandered down the beach a bit and discovered that Muscle Beach was just a ways down, so we took a moment to people watch. My mom called to ask a question about my cats, so I talked to her for just a bit, and she thought it was really cool that I was at Muscle Beach for whatever reason. Must be a much cooler thing to southerners than to Californians, I guess! There was also some random middle aged dude in short shorts doing a hand stand…awesome.

When our second hour was up, we left and headed for a nearby Ralph’s grocery store to pick up some tickets to Knotts Berry Farm later in the weekend. On the way, we passed the corner of Lincoln and Olympic, but no video store! Just a U-Haul and a Chevron! I was expecting to find an adult bookstore! Turns out that the Ralph’s was out of Knotts tickets, but they called another one in the area and they said that they had some. Kevin bought a pound of Concord grapes, then we set out to find Ralph’s #2.

We found it pretty easily, but all they had were Soak City tickets! Gah! And the lady there gave us the most insincere apology for making us go out of our way that I have ever heard. So we left empty handed and headed south again towards Anaheim.

Heading south, we ran into quite a bit of traffic on the way to Anaheim. It was never completely stopped, but was very congested and very slow. Godspeed to the locals who have to deal with it every day. We followed the directions in Kevin’s GPS to our hotel, then quickly checked in. After dropping our stuff in the room, we headed out to find food before going to the park. We’d spotted a Subway and a Chinese restaurant on the way to the park, so we opted for the Chinese. I had sweet and sour chicken, sesame chicken and lo mien, and it was all great. It was too much to finish and still be able to walk out in the California sun.

We tried out Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters next since it didn’t have much of a line. It was a nice ride, and I ended up beating Kevin quite handily thanks to hitting a lit up triangular target. Leaving Tomorrowland, we crossed the hub and went into Adventureland for a bit. We decided to stop to watch the Tiki Room, and Kevin got a Dole Whip while we waited. I really enjoyed the ambiance in the preshow/waiting area with the fire, the water effects, the staticky tiki god narrations and the super ancient Dole pineapple canning video!! The original Tiki Room is such a nice show…campy but fun, and something that I hope never changes.

It was almost time for fireworks by this time, and we were both feeling the need for a bit of dinner, so we headed to Casey’s Corner. The line was horrible! We were so hungry and so tired that we became pretty giddy, which thoroughly entertained the two ladies in front of us! We all marveled at how people can stand in line for 15 minutes directly under the menu, then have to pause to decide what they want when they get to the register.

I got a regular hot dog and Kevin got a chili dog, and once the dogs were dressed for dinner, we went back out onto Main Street. Watching fireworks is just one step behind watching parades as activities that I truly hate while in theme parks. Yet Kevin really wanted to stop and watch them, so I sucked it up and ate my hot dog as they started. Frankly, I thought the show was really lame excepting just a few small points…they get mega kudos for working in the Electrical Parade music, and the Star Tours little segment where a laser shoots out of the castle and makes a green firework explode on the end of Main Street was kinda cool too. That was it though. Everything else was just music and unrelated explosions to me.

After the show, we waited around for the crowd to die down a bit, but sensing that it was gonna get worse before it got better, we battled against the crowd into Fantasyland. My memory is fuzzy about which rides came next, but I know we did Alice in Wonderland before leaving the area. Our Splash Mountain Fast Pass was valid, so we took the path behind Big Thunder to get there. The path was really eerie though…there was no one else around, and there was no area music, so it made the park feel really deserted.

There was still no one around when we got to Splash Mountain, so the Fast Passes were completely unnecessary. I didn’t remember much about this ride from my last trip, but now I can safely say that this ride sucks compared to WDW’s! Firstly, the water moves so fast that it almost feels more like a rapids ride than a log flume. Florida’s version meanders at a nice pace, letting you really take in the scenery. This one just hurries you right on past the show scenes, giving you pretty much no time to take it all in. And secondly, they just don’t develop the story nearly as much as they should. Everything just seems very randomly placed. So yeah, Splash Mountain definitely goes in the “Better in Florida” column.

We didn’t have too much time left before the park closed, so we walked back towards the entrance via Adventureland. When we passed Indiana Jones, there was no wait, so we decided to end out the night with that. I think Indy is a solid ride, but to be the dissenting voice, I really don’t think it’s all that. It’s got some nice theming, but there are too many places where you can tell that they either ran out of money and decided to leave you in the dark, or where they had major show scenes and effects not operating. It’s definitely not a ride that I feel the need to wait very long for.

By the time we left, the park was closing, so we scurried out the front gates with everyone else. We both agreed that we’d had an incredibly fortunate day, in that we got to ride all the E-ticket rides plus see tons of other stuff, all on a Saturday of a holiday weekend when we didn’t get there until the afternoon. Had that been the only day that we were spending there, I would have walked away feeling like I did a good solid chunk of the stuff in that park. Luckily, we still had two more days to go!

We followed the crowd out, and down the street towards our hotel, and pretty soon, we were both collapsed into bed, exhausted.

Sunday, September 3rd

I’m not sure what time I woke up, but Kevin was already awake and ready to go, whatever time it was. After showering, we hit up the free breakfast again, then headed out for California Adventure. There was quite a lineup when we arrived, so we stood roasting in the already boiling sun for maybe 10 minutes or so before we could get in.

Kevin wanted to do Tower of Terror first, but then suggested getting a Fast Pass for Soarin’ first. When we arrived at Soarin’, the wait was only about 10 minutes, so we went ahead and rode instead of waiting until later. I still think this is a great ride, and Kevin loves it as well.

Next we went over to Tower of Terror. My first thought upon seeing the front of the tower is that it just looks fake. The burn on the building is very obviously painted on, unlike Florida’s which resembles much more closely a real charred building. This tower just didn’t look decrepit enough…or old enough, or dirty enough, or scary enough. There was no wait, and when we entered the lobby, we both thought it looked very out of place. It was very well lit, and looked somewhat inviting, which isn’t the point at all! It’s supposed to be dark and creepy! The library and interior queue were nice, but I took the chicken exit down before the ride started because I hate drop towers. Kevin said that the ride was good despite not having the 4th Dimension scene like MGM’s tower does.

The next ride we did was Mike and Sully to the Rescue. Basically, I thought this ride was awesome. I loved it! The queue was packed full of stuff to read and look at, and it was all hilarious. I particularly loved the overhead monitors that were displaying the Child Detection Emergency Broadcast System “test.” It pretty much said that if an actual kid had been sighted, you were supposed to scream your head off. Love it!! The ride itself was really great…a fantastic addition to that park. I loved Superstar Limo, but I guess I’m with the masses in thinking that Mike and Sully is a better ride. I particularly liked how the Japanese restaurant actually smelled like Japanese food, and the area where they store all the doors…I’m sure it was probably just mirrors, but I was very impressed by the effect nonetheless.

We both picked up some frozen strawberry lemonade on the way out of the courtyard, then got in line for the next Aladdin show. The lemonade was way too frozen to eat right away anyway, so having 45 minutes to let it melt during the show was nice. We sat in the first balcony of the theater, a few rows back from the front, so we had great seats. I thought the show was really good…much better than the Steps in Time “be nice to your little brother” crap that was in there last time I was at DCA. Someone described the show as “Broadway caliber” and while I definitely wouldn’t praise it *that* highly, I did think it was above average for a theme park show.

When we left, our frozen lemonade was just at the perfect consistency, so we ate as we walked back to the Wharf area. We hadn’t decided on anything for lunch ahead of time, so we decided to do the bread and tortilla factory tours, then grab lunch at one of their respective restaurants. We did the Boudin Bakery tour first, but they weren’t giving out any samples. Boo! It is quite impressive that Disney can take something as ordinary as baking bread and turn it into an entertaining and educational theme park attraction.

Next we went to the tortilla factory, but as soon as the doors closed behind us, our friend Scott called Kevin. So Kevin pushed through the doors, went outside to finish the conversation, and we went back in to the preshow. When the doors opened up to let us out of the preshow room, the right side door (the one that Kevin had barged through minutes earlier) didn’t open! So Kevin says, “Oh my God…the tortilla factory went 101 because of me!” Once we go to the end, we got a hot and fresh tortilla, which Kevin said was the best tortilla he’d ever made go 101 in his life. He also jumped on the “what is your weight in tortillas?” scale, but claimed that it was off by one since he’d just eaten one tortilla.

Kevin decided to go back to the bakery’s restaurant for lunch, while I stayed at the Mexican place by the tortilla factory. While I waited in line, our friend Scott walked by! I hadn’t seen him since about 2003 or so, so it was nice to see him again. We chatted for a bit, then he went to find Kevin. I got the chicken taco platter with beans and rice, and I thought it was excellent. Kevin got a salad in a bread bowl and said his was great also. Mike called during lunch, so we chatted for a bit, then when we were all done with lunch, we walked back towards the Pier.

Scott doesn’t do thrill rides, so he held my camera bag as Kevin and I got in line for California Screamin’. We didn’t wait very long…maybe 10 minutes or so. I still love this ride, even after having ridden some much bigger and more powerful coasters. It’s just fun! I didn’t notice the effects of the trim brakes too much since I still thought there was a nice amount of floater air over the bunny hills. Screamin’ is a really solid ride…one that I wish was closer to me!

Kevin and Scott didn’t want to ride Maliboomer, so I utilized the Sad and Pathetic line. For a moment, I thought the ride was gonna break down. We all got strapped in, the ride lifted up in the air and moved up and down a bit, then immediately dropped back down to the base of the tower. Of course at that point, the person in the control tower tells the riders to please remain seated…like we had any other option! After another restraint check the ride was fine. But I do like this one less than others though because of the stupid scream shields.

Kevin said that he really wanted to ride Grizzly River Run, but Scott and I agreed that we didn’t want to get that wet, so Kevin went for a solo ride. Scott and I waited on a nearby bridge and watched him float past, then retreated to the cool gift shop nearby to wait for him. I found this one spot in the store where an air vent would blow directly on me, so I just parked myself there. I joked with Scott that I was really studying the shirts in front of me…yep, that’s what I was doing…NOT standing directly under an air vent! 😉 When Kevin found us, he was barely wet at all! Just his butt seemed to be wet.

I got a call from our friend Sean at that point saying that he and his wife Pamela were in the parking garage and wanted to know where to meet us. I wanted to tape Seasons of the Vine, so we agreed to meet there. After waiting outside the theater for only a few minutes, they found us and we went inside. It was great to see them too, but we see them most Decembers at WDW, so it wasn’t some grand reunion or anything. I started taping Seasons of the Vine, but my battery ran out right in the middle of it! And it was right at the “time lapse grape growing” clip too! 🙁 Oh well, just another reason to go back.

Kevin and I hadn’t been in A Bug’s Land, so that’s what we suggested as our next stop. The entrance was a little haphazard, with some water play areas for kids, and some random fenced off areas with Bug’s Life character statues inside them. The rides area was really cute though! You can tell that the budget for the area wasn’t that huge since everything is off the shelf, but I think they did a nice job with the theming.

Little did anyone there know, but Heimlich has been my favorite Disney character since the first time I saw Bug’s Life. So I definitely wanted to ride Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train. We only waited for one cycle, but I would have certainly waited longer. It was so adorable! You ride in Heimlich themed caterpillars, and pass all these foods along the ride path. You go through a watermelon that mists you, and an animal cracker box that smells just like animal crackers, and at the end you pass CANDY CORN! Realistically, if Heimlich wasn’t my favorite character, the ride would have garnered a “meh” from me. But he is, so it’s the best ride in the resort hahaha Ok, so that’s an overstatement, but I did think it was really really cute!

I said that I wanted to video tape the Monsters Inc. ride, so everyone headed in that direction for a ride. My video of it came out pretty well, including when we stopped at the end and got harassed by the slug lady with the clipboard. She said “Oh great, another camera. Hope you get my good side.” and “Hey, you left the lens cap on!” Ha ha!

At that point, the guys decided that they wanted to watch Block Party Bash, but the girls decided against it, so Pamela and I went to watch Muppet*Vision instead. I hadn’t intended on watching it during the trip, but it was certainly better than watching another parade! The preshow was almost empty, so I sat down on the floor and stretched out my legs and back. I must have looked pretty dumb, but it felt wonderful! The preshow, theater and show are all identical to Florida’s version, so needless to say, I enjoyed it.

After a bathroom break, we called the guys and agreed to meet up with them at the Wine Country Trattoria, which is where we had set up dinner reservations. When we got there, they were going on about how great the parade was, and that it really was a “bash” and all. So Pamela and I start saying “Yeah, well Muppet*Vision was completely live action today. They said they were only gonna do that for that one show, and you missed it.” Ha! I don’t care how big of a bash they had, I can assure you that I enjoyed Muppet*Vision more than I would have the parade.

We were seated within just a few minutes in the Trattoria, so we had time to cool down before we ate. Pamela and I ordered the chicken alfredo lasagna, Sean and Scott ordered the lasagna rustica and Kevin ordered a panini, and everyone really seemed to enjoy their meals. I also got a glass of Riesling, which was very nice. I wish I could remember what winery it came from! Scott and Kevin also ordered a sorbet dish for dessert. When they arrived at the table, Scott’s was piled high on the top of a frozen orange, but Kevin’s took a tumble and ended up laying on the plate next to the orange. We all awwed, then giggled about it.

After dinner, we wandered back onto the Pier, enjoying the park at night and the good company. Eventually, we decided to do the Sun Wheel, which was when Scott decided to bow out for the evening. Sean and Pamela opted for a non-swinging bucket, while Kevin and I got in line for a moving one. Kevin then decided to get them to let people go in front of them until we were gonna load in side by side buckets, so we could watch each other ride. I sort of freaked out about the wait, thinking that I might not have enough time to get a good seat for the Electrical Parade, but the parade ended up being later than I thought it was, so we were fine.

The Sun Wheel has got to be one of my favorite rides anywhere! Dare I say it’s even my favorite ride in the whole resort! It’s just so much fun! And I love the fact that you’re not strapped in, so you can move around, get tossed around if you like, catch airtime if you like, whatever! I took video through most of the ride, and it is hilarious! It makes me laugh just watching us ride it! After the ride, we all scurried over to where I’d decided that I wanted to watch the Electrical Parade. It was across from the Golden Dreams theater…exactly where I’d been planning on watching it.

We didn’t have to wait too long before the parade started, and when it got to us, I was in heaven! I’ve loved this parade since I first watched it. It makes me happy, simple as that. It’s so strange that I hate parades, yet my favorite thing that Disney has ever done is a parade! I got fantastic video of it, so any time I’m feeling down, I can watch it 🙂

After the parade, everything was closed, so we filed out with the masses. We noted that Disneyland was open for another two hours, with another fireworks show and a Fantasmic, so we decided to go over there. That was the only feasible time to see Fantasmic if we were gonna see it. We ended up walking out through the Grand Californian, which is such a spectacular hotel! We spent a little time there in 2001, and if I had the money, I’d stay there in a heartbeat! We weren’t able to get hand stamps as we exited, but we were assured that it wouldn’t be a problem.

Well, we obviously weren’t the only people who had that idea. The entry plaza was PACKED with people trying to get into Disneyland, so we had to wait forever to even get in! Then Main street was packed to the gills with people waiting for the fireworks to start, and we had to hustle through them too. I wanted to get a little something sweet from the bakery, so I popped in there right as the fireworks started. I ended up with two Mickey shaped cookies and two glasses of water for Kevin and myself. When the fireworks were over, the bakery became overwhelmed with people flooding in for snacks…glad I got in there when I did!

We met back up with Kevin, who had waited outside while I got the cookies, and went over to New Orleans square to stake out a spot for Fantasmic. Being locals, Sean and Pamela knew a great spot to watch from that offered a great view, and that no one was already occupying! The show was great as always, and we had a great view. The two Fantasmics both seem to have their pros and cons, which I figure makes them just about equal. The seating in Florida is much better and more organized, with every seat having a good view. But Disneyland’s use of the Columbia, and the added Pinocchio scene are really nice touches. Equally good in different ways, I’d say.

After the show, once again everything was closed, so we headed out. Sean offered to drive us back to our hotel, and we gladly took him up on his offer since we were both extremely tired. He didn’t even make us walk all the way to the car…he went and got the car and picked us up near the escalator! What a nice guy! I was pretty wiped out by the time I got back to the hotel, so we both crashed as soon as we got there.

Monday, September 4th

This was the morning that we were eligible for early entry because we purchased the three day park hopper pass. Because of the very long day the day before, I wanted to sleep in. Kevin, however, was up bright and early like his normal self, and was out the door without even waking me up.

I got up at about 9:00am, and took my time in getting ready. I got a few things rearranged in preparation for leaving the next day, then grabbed some breakfast. I brought it back to the room and ate while I chatted with my mom for a while. She told me that Steve Irwin had died that morning, which was horrible news, but not news that really surprised me. After breakfast, I showered, got dressed and headed for the park, not even worrying about drying my hair.

I called Kevin slightly before I arrived, and he was just about to go inside the Disneyland – The First 50 Years movie, so I said I would just meet him at the exit. Once I got to the park, the movie had just started so I wandered around Main Street a bit. I went up into the train station to get some photos, watched a couple of penny movies in the arcade, then browsed the gift shop at the exit of the movie.

Once I met up with him, our first ride was the Jungle Cruise. While we waited, he said that he’d ridden everything in Fantasyland, most things in Tomorrowland and lots of other stuff during his early entry time! I really wish I could have drug myself out of bed, but I figured that I’d be toast by the end of the night if I didn’t get enough sleep. The Jungle Cruise was the same as always, excepting the new piranha scene. It was a nice touch, but not one that really altered the “classicness” of the ride.

Leaving Adventureland, we decided to take a ride on the Sailing Ship Columbia. We had neglected to ride the Columbia on the last trip, so it was a priority this time. As we rode, we spotted the canoes…the only Disneyland attraction that I don’t care to do again! I was exhausted after riding them on the last trip! I thought the below decks displays on the Columbia were really cool, and our pirate guide did a great job too! I wish we’d gotten a chance to ride the Mark Twain, but we didn’t end up having the time. Again, one more reason to come back!

Kevin wanted to check out the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show in the Diamond Horseshoe, and since one was coming up soon, we decided to go over there and have lunch before the show. I didn’t like the looks of anything on the Diamond Horseshoe menu, so I headed next door to Rancho del Zocalo. I’d heard great reviews of this restaurant, and now I can give one too! After oogling at a man in line who was wearing a kilt, I got a chicken taco salad, and took it back to the Diamond Horseshoe to eat. Kevin had found a table near the back of the main floor, and soon it was show time.

Hearing the description of the show, I wasn’t terribly interested in seeing it. I find a lot of comedy of that genre to be pandering and stereotypical, but I didn’t feel that way about this show at all. I had a blast! I loved the bit where the main Billy puts in the fake teeth and plays Devil Went Down to Georgia…hilarious! I will most definitely find time in any future Disneyland trip to see these guys perform again!

After the show, we went back into Fantasyland to ride the Storybookland Canal Boats since that was one of the only things there that we hadn’t done. While on the ride, we noticed that the Casey Jr. Circus Train was running…it was supposed to be in rehab when we were there, but I guess not. We never got around to riding it though. I don’t find the canal boats to be that thrilling of a ride, but since it’s the only one like it, I’m sure I’ll ride it every time I’m there.

Kevin had been excited to take in a showing of the Snow White musical since that day was the last day it was ever being performed. A show was just about to start when we arrived, so we got seats towards the rear of the theater. Snow White is one of my favorite Disney movies, so I enjoyed the show, but I’m not too sad to see it go. It was good, but not something I’d probably make time for again. Animazement…now *that* was a great show!

We headed back into Toontown again after the show, and got Fast Passes for Car Toon Spin. The standby line said an hour, I think, but the Fast Passes were only for half an hour later. So we wandered around a little bit, reliving a few funny moments from the trip in 2001. Kevin played with the talking mailbox, I got a barbell dropped on my foot, Kevin prank called Minnie Mouse, then decided to get in line to meet Mickey. We hadn’t found him in either park yet, and you just have to get Mickey hug when you’re at Disneyland! His house was so cute…I don’t recall going through it last time…and the wait wasn’t all that bad.

After getting our hug and our picture with the Big Cheese, we perused the main gift shop, where we each made some small souvenir purchases. I got a nice photo album, some stickers and some magnets, and Kevin bought a few odds and ends. By the time we were done, our Fast Passes were valid.

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin was closed during the last trip because it was right after the little girl had gotten hit by the ride vehicle. So it was a completely new experience for me, and one that I thought was pretty good. I’ve never seen the movie, so I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I thought it was fun nonetheless. Despite trying really hard, I wasn’t able to control the spinning on the car. I’d try to spin it, but I had to pull or push so hard that I eventually gave up on it.

At this point, we split up for a bit. Kevin wanted to go back to DCA and see the Aladdin show again, and I wanted to reride a few rides so I could video tape them. Once he was off, I got in line for the Tomorrowland side of the Matterhorn again. I called Jahan and chatted with him through my wait, which only ended up being about 10 minutes. I got great video of it! We were also racing with another bobsled, which hadn’t happened on my previous two rides.

While I was there, I rerode Alice in Wonderland, then Mr. Toad, then Pinocchio, video taping each one. Most of the video didn’t come out well, but at least the sound recorded well. I wanted to run back over to DCA for a bit to ride Screamin’ again, so I started towards the front of the park. I decided to stop and watch the First 50 Years movie on the way out, which I really enjoyed. It was pretty much just a humorous timeline of the changes Disneyland had gone though…I’m glad it wasn’t a sappy tear jerker like One Man’s Dream! (which I love, but don’t watch too often since it’s a more emotional film).

I started to leave the park, but just then the train pulled in, so I ran up to the train station to get a ride. I figured that if I didn’t ride it then, I wouldn’t get a chance to. And is it me, or did they change the train? I could swear that in 2001, all the seats on the train faced the right side…so all the guests were facing outward as you went through the Small World facade. Maybe I’m wrong, but I really don’t remember it being a normal train. After the ride was over, I left and went back to DCA.

My only real objective at DCA was to ride California Screamin’ again since I like it so much. I pretty much bee-lined for the Pier, stopping only to take photos along the way. I rode in the front seat for my ride, and it was once again a great ride. I thought about going back around for another ride, but ultimately I decided not to.

I called Sean, and he and Pamela had already met up with Kevin, and they were having dinner at Red Rockets Pizza Port. I assumed that someone would have called me when it was time for dinner, but I was wrong. I left the park, and when I got inside Disneyland, I called again, and they said that they were about to get in line for Pirates. I got them to wait for me, then scurried over there as fast as I could. The wait was significantly shorter for this ride than the first!

After the ride, I was really hungry, but I didn’t just want to grab a snack somewhere since I was wanting to stop for a full meal. Kevin said that he wanted another mint julep, so when we got to the mint julep bar, I got a Coke. I was so hungry and thirsty that I downed my Coke almost immediately, so we headed into the counter service restaurant to get a refill. Afterwards, we browsed the Disney Gallery, and oogled over all the stuff that’s too expensive for us to own! Sean and Pamela are collecting these miniatures of Main Street, and you can buy a big table to put them all in to display them…they were really awesome, but way too large for something I would collect!

We’d picked up Fast Passes for Indiana Jones earlier at some point, so we wanted to use them before the fireworks. Sean and Pamela said that they’d go stake out good seats in front of the castle, so we rode while they held spots for us. We didn’t even need the Fast Passes since there was no line, so we kept them as souvenirs.

We found Sean and Pamela directly in front of the castle, which were perfect fireworks viewing seats! I, however, had had more than my fill of fireworks already, so I wanted to go hit up a few more rides before the night was over. Sean decided to wait with Kevin and watch the fireworks, while Pamela and I went off to ride some more. Having some time to kill, we decided to ride Astro Orbiter. The line was really long, but it wasn’t so bad since we were able to chat through the whole wait. Afterwards, we rode Buzz with two Fast Passes that Sean had handed off to us earlier.

With fireworks having not even started yet, we opted to ride the Autopia. The wait time was posted at 20 minutes, but we ended up waiting about 45 minutes instead! At one point, Sean called to say that the fireworks had been cancelled due to winds, and that they’d meet us after our ride. I really like the Autopia…definitely my favorite miniature car ride because of the off-road section and the hot rusted nuts! The ride was very dark, and I could barely tell what any of the scenery was, so I almost missed the hot rusted nuts!

After the ride, we found the boys right where they said they’d be. I mentioned that I still had not had dinner and that I was about to starve, so we decided to stop in the Main Street bakery on the way out since that was just about the only thing still open. I ended up getting a turkey sandwich, a huge chocolate chocolate chip muffin and a glass of water. It was all great, and almost too much to finish! Sean and Pamela split a giant cinnamon roll, and we all sat in the Carnation Cafe while we finished our goodies.

By the time we were all done, the park was almost empty, so we took the opportunity to get some shots of the Main Street lights with very few people around. Most of them came out really well! I was quite surprised and impressed with myself! On the way out, we found Paul Pressler’s commemorative brick, and took a few pictures of the DCA lights. We wandered out through Downtown Disney, but didn’t stop in any of the shops, and soon made it back to the car.

Once at the hotel, we bid our friends farewell until next year, and headed to the room. I tried to pack up a bit of stuff, but that didn’t really work too well, so I just went on to sleep.

Tuesday, September 5th

Tuesday morning found us both sleeping in a tad bit since we were both gonna have redeyes home that night. Once awake, I showered, then finished packing up everything into my backpack. Luckily, everything fit since I hadn’t overindulged in souvenirs. We checked out, then loaded up the car (which we hadn’t even touched in the last two and a half days), and headed out to find some breakfast. On the way to Knotts, we stopped at a McDonalds for some grub.

We arrived at Knotts a little while after park opening, but the park was really dead, so we knew that lines wouldn’t be a problem. Since we didn’t find a Ralph’s with the discounted admission, Kevin got a AAA discount, which was better than full price at least! Before we were even inside the park, I noticed all the trash cans that everyone always talks about! Too funny! But everyone is right, there are way too many trash cans!

The first ride we went for was Silver Bullet since it was pretty much right at the entrance to the park. Since there was no line, I rode in the front row, and Kevin in the row behind me. I quite enjoyed this ride, and really don’t understand why everyone calls it “forceless.” It had plenty of forces, just not as strong as other inverts. It was a fun ride, but not one of my favorite B&M inverts.

Since it was nearby, we rode Jaguar next. It was a fine ride, though nothing that thrilling. Montezooma’s Revenge was nearby, so we headed for it next. There was no line, but we still ended up waiting for quite a while before they would dispatch the train. This is just like the shuttle loop at Kentucky Kingdom, so while it’s a good ride, it’s sort of a “been there, done that” type feeling.

The park’s frisbee was near Montezooma’s Revenge, so I stopped to watch it for a while. I’d been wanting to try out a frisbee that was kind of small, and didn’t have an insane program on it, and this one seemed to fit that bill. Kevin didn’t want to ride, so I rode by myself. I was quite worried that I wouldn’t like it because of the pendulum motion, but in reality I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was fun, and not as sickening or disorienting as I thought it might be. Now I’m excited to ride a bigger or more intense one!

Kevin said that the heat was getting to him, so we popped into a candy store to cool down a bit. We had an interesting conversation about Jelly Belly jelly beans with the lady working in the store, and we tried our hardest to get her to sample some of her product, but she wouldn’t! When we were sufficiently cooled down, we decided to catch a ride on the sky tower. I really enjoy these type of rides, and this one was no exception. The glass seemed very foggy or dirty though, so none of my pictures came out well :-/

Kevin still wasn’t feeling 100% because of the heat, so he decided to sit out on Boomerang and go inside and stay cooled down. The Boomerang had no wait, luckily, so at least I didn’t have to waste half my day waiting to get my head bashed in. Good thing Kevin didn’t decide later to go back and get that credit, or he’d have been riding solo! We also noticed that Perilous Plunge was open at this point, though neither of us had any intention of riding.

Moving along, we decided to ride the Timber Mountain Log Flume next. This ride had the only significant wait of the day, clocking in at just a little under half an hour. This, I believe, was my favorite ride in the park. It got us just wet enough to be cooled off, but not enough to really be wet. And it had lots of unexpected theming and show scenes inside the mountain that houses the ride. Frankly, I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed the Disneyland version of Splash Mountain!

Next, we decided to try out the Calico Mine Ride. They were only running one train, which would have made for a terrible line had there been many more people in the park. We waited probably 5 minutes or so, and were on the next vehicle that came by. I enjoyed this ride quite a bit too. But Kevin and I both had the question…does this ride count as a coaster?? It’s pretty much like a train ride, or a dark ride, but then it’s got a chain lift at the end! If you count powered coasters, should you count this ride? I don’t know! It straddles the line between coaster and not-a-coaster more than any other ride I can think of!

We were both getting snacky by the time we left the ride, but we knew that we wanted the Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner restaurant to be our dinner stop. As we passed a fruit stand, Kevin picked up a container of watermelon and I got a container of strawberries. We went into the nearby Calico Saloon and sat down to eat.

I just never imagined that I would go so crazy over a bowl of potato and cheese soup…but it was truly a fabulous meal! Best theme park food I’ve had in a long time!!

As I was finishing up, a show was beginning, so we stayed and watched. It was pretty cute…it was the story about a woman who left her boyfriend because he wouldn’t marry her, and he was trying to get her back. It was funny, though I doubt I’d go out of my way to see it again. Before the show, Kevin had also purchased a sasparilla, which I didn’t even know that they made anymore!

A show time for the Mystery Lodge was coming up soon, so we headed deeper into the western themed area of the park. This area was so cute, and so well themed. Most buildings had windows that you could peek inside and see little dioramas of things going on at the time. Lots looked like bedrooms or offices, while one was a post office, and one was a gold seller. My favorite was one that appeared to be a man sitting in a barber’s chair, while the barber nervously eyed a wanted poster with a picture of the man in the chair on it! Those were great little touches!

On the way to Mystery Lodge, we passed a gold mining sluice, and having wanted to try out gold panning for some time, I decided to give it a go. It was $6 and you got a pan full of dirt and sand to sift through. Long story short, I got pretty tired pretty quick, so I asked the man working there for help. Once he emptied out my entire pan of sand, he’d only found one little tiny chunk of gold. So he reached into a bag behind his back and pulled out a few handfuls of what was obviously not regular sand! Every hadful had a few tiny pieces of gold in it, and by the time I was done, I had enough gold to cover the bottom of the vial they gave me. I wish I’d found more, but what I was got was ok too.

Finally, we headed into the Mystery Lodge. The employee let us into the air conditioned preshow early since it was so hot outside, and everyone was pretty much wiped out and laying on the floor. Kevin and I laid down too, which felt great after walking all morning. Soon the show started, and I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed this show! I loved it! I thought the story was so beautiful, and was presented so well! It even made me misty eyed a couple of times! Kevin didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did, but it was my favorite thing in the whole park! I don’t know why people don’t talk about it more…it was wonderful.

We wandered around a bit more, popped our heads into the teddy bear shop, and pondered having an antique photo session done. We also found an old schoolhouse with some interesting framed items! One was rules for teachers, with rules such as “After ten hours in school, teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or any other good books” hahahaha Another was a list of punishments for things such as “wetting each other during washing at playtime” and “climbing for every foot over three feet up a tree” haha The school also had garters for sale, so I picked up one since I thought it was one of the more random souvenirs I’d seen!

Ghostrider was the last major coaster we needed to ride, and when we arrived, it had no line. The coaster is very pretty…it takes a great picture! But that’s just about the only nice thing I can say about it! After my ride, I now have five woodies that are on the lowest rung of my coaster list…the “never in a million years will I ride that pile of crap again” rung. We hadn’t even made it 1/3rd of the way through the ride before we were both grimacing and wanting off. The onride photo is priceless though! I wanted to buy a copy, but no one was manning the photo booth. Unfortunately, this ride has a really nice layout…sort of adds insult to injury to imagine just how great this coaster would be if it didn’t try to kill its riders.

The last credit left in the park was Timberline Twister, so we headed off to Camp Snoopy. This area seemed a little haphazard, but was very shady, which was great! Kevin stopped for a frozen drink, then we got in line for the coaster. This was the first time that I almost hadn’t fit into a coaster I was trying to ride! Kevin fit just fine (he was straddling the lap bar) but I wasn’t able to fit when tucking both of my legs onto one side of the car. So I got out, they sent the train, and when the next one came around, I was able to fit by straddling the lap bar. Whew!

As we wandered, we saw some caves with suspension bridges leading to them. We both thought “Cool! Like Tom Sawyer’s Island!”…uh, no. The cave was only a few feet long, and had nothing in it. Lame! They also had a very carnival-y looking Ferris wheel, which looked very out of place for such a large park.

We were pretty much done with the park by this time, so we started back towards the front. We passed the Butterfield Stagecoach along the way, and since the line was pretty short, we decided to ride. We only had to wait through one “cycle” which was good since the ride has such an insanely low capacity. I thought it was a pretty interesting ride, though not one I would ever wait very long for! They also had a funny “Rules for stage riders” sign just before you enter the stagecoach!

When we left, we saw that the train was just about to leave, so we decided to ride that also. Everyone else was seated in the open sided car just behind the driver, but we decided to sit in the front section with the driver, despite it’s being closed in with windows. That was a really good decision because since we were the only two up there, we got a private lesson about the history of the train The Galloping Goose. The front originally had a gasoline powered car attached to it, but it now runs on deisel per the modern codes. There were also photos of the train when it was in service as a real train, which was very interesting! The train conductor was awesome…you can tell that he’s really into his job, and loves what he does.

Being completely done with the park, we scooted out the front gate with about half an hour left before park closing. We decided that since everyone and their mother raves about the Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant, we wanted to try it out for ourselves. There was only one large group in front of us when we arrived, but not everyone in their party was there, so we got to go ahead of them. We were seated towards the back, next to what appeared to be an outdoor patio that was now closed in.

I got the fried chicken as my entree, and got chicken noodle soup as my appetizer. The soup was great, though it was exactly like what they serve at the Mr. Gatti’s I have been to numerous times near SFKK. Does Mr. Gatti’s buy Knotts chicken soup, or do they both buy from someone else? Hmm…the mystery continues. Kevin got the rhubarb soup, which he said was great too. I took a little bite, and having never tried rhubarb before, I thought it was pretty good.

When the entree arrived, I really was expecting it to be better. I got three HUGE pieces of chicken, which was way too much to finish (I finished one and a half pieces). But the chicken had barely any flavor…the batter was very flavorless, and there was very little of it at that. Any average piece of KFC chicken would have been more flavorful. And the mashed potatoes were abysmal! Ugh, they were like drywall paste! Not one bit of seasoning in them…no salt, no butter, no nothing! Ugh! Couldn’t eat more than one bite of them. Even the rolls had no flavor. Would it kill them to brush some butter over the tops of them?

But then the waitress did something that really didn’t sit well with me. She came back to the table and asked if we were full, or something to that effect. We said yes, and she reminded us that dessert was included in the price, and that she could box it up to go if we wanted. Since I’m so picky, I was just gonna ask for ice cream for dessert, which isn’t something you can really take with you. And we were heading straight to the airport when we left, so we wouldn’t really have time to eat anything later. So I said that I’d rather eat it then. So she stressed again how she would be more than happy to box it up, but again I said that I’d rather eat it there. So she walked away for a bit, then came back and said something like, “So I’m boxing up your dessert to go?”

Now, I know that any restaurant wants to put through as many people as they can in a day, but this insistence on us taking our dessert to go was extremely rude in my opinion. I had to tell her that we wanted to eat it there three times before she asked us what we wanted! It really felt like she didn’t care if we’d enjoyed our meal or not…she just wanted us out the door as quickly as possible so she could seat another table. Needless to say that once she brought us the dessert (which was great, and just about my favorite part of the meal), she didn’t return to the table.

A native southern Californian friend of mine described the Mrs. Knotts restaurant as a tradition, and I can respect it as such. But since I’m not from California, I can almost certainly say that I won’t be back. The food was very average, and the service was sub-par in my experience. Kevin seemed to enjoy his entree (chicken and dumplings) much more than I did, so his opinion is probably different. I’d rather eat another bowl of the awesome potato and cheese soup than go back to Mrs. Knotts!

Leaving Knotts, we headed back towards LAX. We took a brief detour while I tried to find the Randy’s Donuts, but wasn’t able to find it quickly. I dropped Kevin off at the arrivals gate, and bid him a sad farewell until December.

With Kevin safely on his way, I headed back out in search of the Randy’s Donuts. I found it quickly on the second try, but since it was dark, I didn’t get very good pictures of it. I called my mom and chatted for a bit, then headed up to the window. She was very insistent that she wanted a t-shirt from Randy’s, so I got the t-shirt and a dozen assorted donuts to take back home and share. I gave her the caveat that if I got hungry during the ride home, I reserved every right to eat a few of the donuts!

On the way to return the rental car, I stopped to top off the tank with gas, then went to return it. I rearranged most of my stuff so I could check my large backpack, and keep all my important stuff (camcorder, ipod, etc) in my smaller bag to carry on the plane. When I went to pay for the car, they acted like it was a huge inconvenience that I wanted to pay part of it in cash. When I originally got the car, the girl I got it from also acted inconvenienced because I hadn’t called ahead to attach my Blue Chip number to my reservation. I had to wait for about 15 minutes in line just to get to a cashier that would even accept cash! Next time, I will know…put the Blue Chip number on ahead of time, and definitely don’t pay cash!

I took the Thrifty shuttle back to the airport, were I got checked in reasonably quickly. The security line wasn’t too long, but was filled with people who have no common sense. Almost every person was waiting until one x-ray machine was completely empty before going up to it, neglecting to see the huge tables in front of the machines where you get all your stuff ready to be x-rayed. The security folks kept yelling at everyone to fill in any spots they saw at the tables, but people still just stood there like morons. Airport security has got to be one horribly stressful job since you deal with a steady stream of morons all day.

Once I got to my gate, I had some time to kill, so I called Mike and chatted for a while. Later, I went and got a fruit parfait from McDonalds so it would tide me over until I got to Atlanta and could find breakfast. Just about as soon as I was done with my parfait, we started boarding.

RANT: I will NEVER carry a dozen donuts onto a plane again. When I got the first comment or two about the donuts, I thought, “Heh, that’s kinda funny.” But then more and more people started making comments about the donuts…and soon it felt like every person who came within five feet of me felt obligated to comment on the fact that I had donuts with me! You couldn’t smell them…and they were just in a plain brown box, so it’s not like the box screamed DONUTS either! And do you believe that I had two people even ask me the question, “Is that a live animal, or is it donuts?” What kind of idiotic question is that??? Is it a LIVE ANIMAL or is it DONUTS??? Give me a freaking break! I don’t even think a person who reeks of body odor would get as many “I hope I’m not sitting next to you!” comments as I got with those donuts. So a word to the wise…as nice as it may seem to bring your mom a dozen donuts from an iconic donut shop in SoCal..DON’T DO IT!

Anyway, once the donuts were safely stored, I was fast asleep. I only woke up a few times…on take off, when I was handed my little snack pack, one time when I moved from one seat to the one beside me, then when we were about to land. It was nice to get some decent sleep on a plane for once.

Arriving in Atlanta, I didn’t have too much time to spare, but I had just enough to get to my gate and find a Nathan’s Hot Dogs along the way! I’d never had a Nathan’s hot dog, so I ordered two with sauerkraut. I knew that the very last thing I needed was to not only carry those donuts onto the plane, but to carry two sauerkraut loaded hot dogs onto the plane with me also! So I ate them as quickly as I could, and didn’t finish until after my plane was loading. They were good…I’d definitely get them again.

The flight from Atlanta to Nashville was pretty much just like the LA to Atlanta leg. The girl next to me looked like Claire Danes, but I was too tired to try and start a conversation with her and figure out if it was her or not…probably wasn’t, so no big loss. The next thing I knew, I was landing in Nashville. After collecting my backpack, my mom arrived to pick me up. She drove me to my place, where I promptly opened up the box of donuts and declared that by God they were going to be the best donuts she’d ever eaten in her whole life! In reality, they were good, but not anywhere near good enough to go through the airport donut hell that I went through to get them back to Nashville again! As soon as she left, I hit the sack and got some more sleep.

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