In middle school, I would usually come to the Disneyland Resort to celebrate my birthday. The last time I celebrated my birthday at the happiest place on Earth was on August 8, 2008 (08/08/08) because of the unique date. In 2009, the significant other hosted a house party. This year, 2010, I was originally going to go on road trip to Las Vegas, but plans got complicated, so at the last minute, the significant other and I decided to use our annual passes to the max and hit our favorite destination in Orange County.

Matterhorn

We left the house around 11:30AM to get an early start in the park. (Early for the significant other, that is. I consider early to be an hour before park opening.) As we were going to board the monorail, we had to be stalled for a bit due to a security check in Tomorrowland. Apparantly, there was an unattended bag issue in which it involved bringing in the security hounds. Not knowing how long this can delay things, we decided to foot it to the main park entrance. Upon arriving, I picked up my birthday badge. The nice thing about having a birthday badge is that cast members wish you "Happy Birthday!" Our first attraction was taking the double decker bus to the castle.

While approaching Tomorrowland, we saw the facade for Star Tours. We heard that the new Star Tours might open on May 4, 2011 (Jared's birthday). However, as a true Star Wars fan, we were let down when we heard that the new planets featured will be the ones from the prequel trilogy. (But there are so many awesome things to do on Hoth! The Star Tours travel video said so!) After getting fast passes for Space Mountain, we went to see Captain Eo. While I was watching Captain Eo, I thought to myself, "At least Lady Gaga's 'Alejandro' is not in 3D." Some of the formation style choreography reminded me of "Alejandro"'s choreography, particularly when the cast is marching towards the evil queen character. Hmmm...

We decided to hit the Tomorrowland side of the Mattherhorn. Despite the line looping in front of the Tomorrowland Terrace, the line went by pretty quick. This is my favorite side of the mountain because of the splash down and amount of sudden drops. After that, we went to Storybookland. We boarded the Belle themed boat (Belle is my favorite Disney heroine!). I really like this picture of Pinochio's village because you can see that the Matterhorn tops the Swiss alpines.

Some people on our boat thought this was Jack Sparrow's ship from the Pirates of the Carribbean movies.

Storybookland is one of my favorite attractions in the park. I always thought the miniatures were really cute. It's hard to believe that the original attraction was nothing but empty mudbanks!

We went to Sleeping Beauty Castle. I'll be the first to admit, I miss the dolly displays. However, the gift shop at the bottom of the castle has a display from the 1977 version of the walk through. It features the "Once Upon a Dream" scene when the woodland critters impersonate a princely type. I do wonder where the other dolls are at...

Of course, the obligatory Sleeping Beauty castle photo!

We made our way to the jungles of Adventureland. We saw that the fast passes for Indiana Jones were for 9PM. We decided to give it a go considering the fact that wait time for Indy is never less than 40 minutes. We also went on the Jungle Cruise where we saw many Leos watching over sleeping zebras.

We went to the Tarzan treehouse where Jared met his mortal enemy - stairs. The treehouse is a nice lookout point to the Rivers of America. We were feeling a tad hungry, so we stopped by the Stage Door Cafe for fish and chips.

Though the Stage Door Cafe operates with an outside seating place, we decided to sneak into the Golden Horseshoe to eat our food. What I like about the Golden Horseshoe is that it is hardly ever crowded, there are plenty of seats, and it's a great place to relax especially if you have been walking all day. There even was a show going on outside. Not to mention, the Golden Horseshoe also sells root beer floats. I'll have to remember stopping by next time if the line at Gibson Girl is too long.

For the first time, Jared and I went on the Rivers of America together aboard the Mark Twain. I was hoping to pilot the Mark Twain, but I was too tired to ask the captain and I just wanted to see the Rivers of America. It has been a while since I have been on the Mark Twain. It was nice to also see the new additions to the Rivers of America.

We finally had our passes for Space Mountain available. Likewise, Space Mountain was great as always. However, in the final photo, I look like I'm possessed. Must be the glasses.

Throughout the day, Jared and I kept spotting this Asian Indiana Jones. Though I know that costumes aren't allowed in the parks, I thought it was pretty cool the guy was able to get away with it. Before I get the "pics or it didn't happen" statement, I did sneak in a picture near the exit.

Jared and I decided to check out what was new at the Disney Gallery. I always like the new displays they have up every now and then. This time, they were doing something in relation to opening day at Disneyland. We were originally planning on going to the parks on July 17 (July 17, 1955 is Disneyland's birthday), but plans got jumbled (read: summer school). It is a very nice display of early desgin concepts for the park and the attractions. I highly reccomend anyone who is really into Disneyland theme park trivia to check this out.

Though I was not around for the lettered ticket system, I do remember when it was $4 to park in the current Lion King parking lot and Southern California admission was $25 during certain times during the year. My how things have changed!

We decided to hit Disney's California Adventure. Just to relax and chit chat, we went to the Redwood Creek Trail. Unfortunately, fast passes for World of Color were only available for the 11:15PM showing. That was way too late for the two of us. There has been much discussion if the Redwood Creek trail is a waste of space. I like it because it's one of those places where kids can get physical activity and have fun. I just like walking around or just sitting and relaxing after a long day. This was also one of my favorite trick or treating spots during Mickey's Halloween Treat.

We wandered through Paradise Pier. It was finally nice to see the skyline of the Sunwheel and California Screamin' in the World of Color viewing area. It was pretty awkward seeing the place boarded up for a few years, but it was a sight for sore eyes. We saw a bit of the Little Mermaid construction. I'm really looking forward to the Little Mermaid ride!

By the end of summer, we will see World of Color!

We made our way around to Golden Zephyrs. I always thought that attraction felt out of place. Maybe some retheming will do the trick. Then we went on the brand new Silly Symphony Swings. Much like its predecessor, Orange Stinger, it is still the same ride, but with a different theme. I like the hommage to the old Mickey Mouse cartoon in which he conducts a band concert, but things go wrong. It really shows that at least there is some pure, classic Disney still left in Disney's California Adventure.

We also tried to go on Toy Story: Midway Mania, but it was also shut down for an unknown amount of time. However, there was a huge crowd in front of the Mr. Potato Head as he was telling corny jokes. The larger than life Mr. Potato Head scares Jared.

We just wandered through Paradise Pier and made our way to Pacific Wharf. Typically, birthday guests get a free stack of tortillas at the Mission Tortilla Factory. Unfortunately, I suppose they no longer do that. I only got a single tortilla!

However, the Monsters Inc ride made up for that mishap. During the end of the ride, one of the monsters said "Happy Birthday" as our taxi cab was waiting to let out. I always thought the sayings and phrases were random, but that scared me at first. Jared and I also went to grab ice cream as the Glow Fest did their 7:40PM show.

We went to the animation themed attraction. Okay, I always sensed there was more chemistry between Gus and Jack (Cinderella) than Prince Charming and Cinderella, but one can wonder what the animators were thinking!

We proceeded to the Tower of Terror. I always like going on this ride because the wait is always less than 10 minutes on any given day. Not to mention, I love that the drops are random, so it is never the same ride twice. I always love the 1930s Golden Age of Hollywood theming and references to Twilight Zone episodes. Can you find for the To Serve Man book in the library?

Strike a pose!

As soon as we left the Tower of Terror, the Glow Fest festivities begun. It was like we walked into a party and we were all invited. Madonna's "Celebration" was playing. At first I was like, "Which Lady Gaga remix is this?" Then I noticed the Material Girl's voice and I was like, "Yay! The original Lady Gaga!" Jared and I danced in the streets. I really liked that this theme and music ties in to Disneyland's Celebrate theme and Disney's California Adventure's color theme. If you can't get seats to World of Color, head over to the summer Glow Fest.

We went back to the main park to check out a little bit of Disneyland: Day One at the Main Street movie theater. I have never entered the theater. I always thought it was a facade for the longest time, neither did I have any desire to catch Steamboat Willie. However, it was really nice seeing opening footage (in color!) of Disneyland's early years and to see how much the park has changed.

For dinner, Jared and I went to my favorite Disney restaurant, French Market. They were still open at around 8:45. Both of us ordered mint juleps with our dinner. We also arrived just in time for Fantasmic. We were able to see major parts of the show including the epic battle between Mickey and the dragon. I have seen Fantasmic since the mid-90s. The new dragon looks absolutely amazing! I'm really glad Disney kept Fantasmic through the years and have kept it fresh for new audiences.

Jared and I decided to hit Splash Mountain. I hardly go on Splash Mountain because the line is too long (90 minutes?!) or there always has to be that one person in the group scared of water. Because the line was relatively short, we were able to do Splash Mountain two times in a row. The second time, I was stuck in the front. However, I do not remember getting this wet on the ride. It was like Disney decided to add more water to the mountain because when I went on it for the first time in 1993, I only can recall getting "just a splash."

We deicded to wind down the night with going on the Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, and Space Mountain. We were pretty tired by the end of the night. We took the monorail back to Downtown Disney and headed home. Overall, this was one of the best birthdays I have had all thanks to last minute planning. Disneyland may not be Las Vegas, but it is one those places that holds much sentimentality through the years.

Next trip, we plan to finally see World of Color. It's just a pain getting up on a weekend morning...Oy. So far, no real plans for Mickey's Halloween Treat. We might hit Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights instead. Class schedule for this semester has me taking Tuesday night classes and don't get me started on commuting on Friday from the South Bay to Orange County...

Quotes and Inside Jokes

"Short Round - the next successor to the fedora."

"Dead things, Mikey. Dead things!" - on the Indiana Jones queue.

"Belle is the only redeemable Disney princess. Each of the Disney princesses is representative of the seven deadly sins."

"My second least favorite queue - Splash Mountain. I always run into random things!"

"There better be a mint on my pillow."

"Madonna: The original Lady Gaga."

"If we have a kid, what Disney character should they dress up like at the park?"

"Disney water tastes like rust."

look! a bow!

Final Attraction Count List

1. Main Street Double Decker Bus
2. Captain Eo
3. Matterhorn
4. Storybookland
5. Pinochio's Daring Journey
6. Sleeping Beauty's Castle
7. Jungle Cruise
8. Tarzan's Treehouse
9. Pirates of the Carribbean
10. Golden Horseshoe
11. Celebrate Parade
12. Mark Twain
13. Space Mountain
14. Flag Retreat
15. Disney Gallery: Day 1
16. Brother Bear's Redwook Creek Trail
17. Golden Zephyrs
18. Silly Symphony Swings
19. California Screamin'
20. Mission Tortilla Factory
21. Glow Fest 7:40 performance
22. Monsters Inc

23. Animation
24. Tower of Terror
25. Glow Fest
26. The Disneyland Story
27. Fantasmic
28. Fireworks
29. Splash Mountain
30. Splash Mountain
31. Haunted Mansion

32. Indiana Jones
33. Scot Bruce: A Tribute to Elvis
34. Space Mountain
35. Monorail

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