August 27, 2009

My Disneyland Birthday!

August 22nd is my birthday, and since I registered for Disneyland's FREE Birthday Admission, both Tommy and I spent Saturday playing in the Magic Kingdom! But, of course, even though I was getting in for nothing, we still had to purchase a $72.00 ticket for Tommy. Can you believe what they charge now? And that only gets you in the gate! You still have to eat and drink... If I remember correctly, water alone goes for almost $4.00 a bottle! So, obviously, I didn't really go to Disneyland for FREE. That was just another one of Disney's many illusions!

Don't get me wrong, I loves me some Disneyland! I just also happen to be a realist, therefore I tell it like it is. And what it is, is expen$ive! However, it's also a whole lotta fun!

We started my special day by arriving at the park around 9 am. When we redeemed my admission and paid for Tommy's, the ticket booth lady gave me a big "I'm Anthony and It's My Birthday!" button to wear. She also gave Tommy one that said "I'm Celebrating with Him!" or "I'm with Stupid!", something like that... My instinct was to not wear mine, but Tommy suggested that it might get us special treatment, maybe even front-of-the-line type treatment (wink, wink). So we pinned 'em on, and began our adventure!

As I'm sure most of you can guess, or may even know from experience, we were not allowed to circumvent any of the lines, and had to wait just like the common folk. Oh, well. At least, everyone that worked there who saw my magic button (except one or two, and they will be reported) said, "Happy Birthday!" to me. It's pretty funny how obvious it is that all of the "cast members" must have been programmed to say it as part of their basic training. Several of them even delivered their line in a bored, robotic monotone. After a while, it wasn't funny anymore. And besides, we weren't getting any real privileges, so we took off our birthday badges and blended right into the crowd.

Actually, one special thing my birthday badge did get me was a li'l cup-o-chocolate mousse with whipped cream and a candle. That was presented to me after we finished our "nighttime" lunch beneath the glowing lanterns of the Blue Bayou. Located in New Orleans Square, Blue Bayou is easily the most beautiful and atmospheric dining experience to be had in all of Disneyland. Imagine dining alfresco under moonlight (even though it's actually sunny and about 90 degrees outside) on the banks of a swampy Louisiana bayou, complete with fireflies and chirping crickets. And the occasional sound of screaming tourists, as their boat plunges down the first drop on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. That is what the Blue Bayou experience is like! The menu is a bit pricey, but I think that it's well worth it... at least, once! If/when you do go, and you're not a vegetarian, make sure to try the Monte Cristo sandwich (the crispy, battered ham & cheese one that you dip in jelly) because it's absolutely wonderful, and probably the best thing they serve! It's also quite obviously not for the health-conscious! But it was my special day that only comes once a year, so I said, "Screw it!"

Photo via Google Images

For those who've never been, this is a good shot of the Blue
Bayou's (exterior) interior. The lanterns are more colorful
in person, and the actual (artificial) bayou is to the right. It's
like you're dining on the veranda of a southern mansion,
somewhere along the Mississippi River...

Photo via Google Images

This must be an official Disneyland press release photo, or
something. It might even be from around the time they first
opened the restaurant? It just has that perfect, unique Disney
quality. Whatever the case, it's a good shot of the bayou view
that diners get to enjoy. Only, it's a bit darker than this in reality.

Not the best shot from a technical standpoint (nor the least
bit flattering), but we had to document the moment. It was
my FREE special birthday treat, you know! Also, being that
it was so dark and atmospheric, we didn't want to risk ruining
anyone's fine dining experience by using the flash. Besides,
we thought this might look pretty neat.

We had a blast on all 11 of the rides we managed to cram into our day. Some of the highlights included the carefully (Thank goodness!) updated It's a Small World and Haunted Mansion. On It's a Small World, they've added several iconic main characters from Disney animated film classics like Pinocchio, Lilo & Stitch, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story, Cinderella, The Three Caballeros, Little Mermaid and others I can't recall. When I first heard about this "embellishment", I was a bit scared that it was going to completely ruin the ride, but now having actually seen it, I'm relieved to say that it's mostly unobtrusive. The people at Disney really worked at trying to match the art style of the original doll/puppet/marionette children, and for the most part they do blend in quite nicely. There was only one or two that made me cringe a little. Woody, from Toy Story, comes to mind. That one just plain sucks, and whoever worked on him must have been lazy!

The Mad Tea Party spinning teacup ride is one of my favorites,
not only because of its dizzying fun, but I also really like the
look of it. All the eye-popping colors... and those lanterns!

Tommy, being a teacup cutie!

Me, just taking the cup out for a spin.

Here we both are, about to take off on Peter Pan's Flight.

The update in the Haunted Mansion was well integrated, too. There may have been more done than what we noticed, but here's what Tommy and I compared notes on: In the hallway, right after exiting the elevator, a few of the changing portraits on the gallery wall have either been tweaked or replaced. So if you have a particular favorite, you might be disappointed. One that I'm fairly confident is popular among fans, and was not there any longer, is the one of a pretty young lady that morphs into an ugly old biddy. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember it being called 'April-December'. It was one of my faves, as well, and the gallery just didn't feel right without it. Once on the ride, the main changes we noticed were in the attic. It was almost completely different, in fact. There are now 5 (?) wedding portraits of the bride with each of her doomed grooms, so to speak, and as you pass each one, the groom's head disappears. In case you don't know, this ties in nicely with the background story of how the bride beheaded all of her husbands. Then, you see that the bride herself has gotten a total make-over. She even has an animated face now, done in much the same way as the singing busts out in the graveyard. It's a neat effect, and executed (No pun intended) quite well. She's also been moved from the right side to the left. Purist fans of the Haunted Mansion will probably have issues with these revisions, but I found most to be very well done and kind of cool. Tommy did, too, I think.

This shop window display, in New Orleans
Square, caught my artistic eye. I'm drawn
to this kind of collage-type arrangement.

Here's the same window, a bit closer.

And even closer, yet!
This particular half-bird/half-child trinket just
pulled me right in. I think that dressing a shop
window in this style would be a lot of fun!

Well, I could go on (and on...), but this has already become another one of my MEGA-posts! That being said, I will now pick up my toys and go. Thank you, for letting me share my exciting Disneyland birthday adventure with you!


  1. I'm so glad it was so perfect! I thought about you all day on your birthday and knew you'd be having fun, Disney-style. The photos of you guys are just too cute, and I like the way the birthday-candle-lit one turned out.

    I'm also relieved to hear your reviews on the updated rides - I had the same fears of ruination. Hey, perhaps we could go again for my birthday in Oct? It should be cooler, and I can actually get us all in for free!!

    I also have a little gift for you that I think you will love, and I want to plan a day out with you. Downtown Fullerton perhaps? Your choice, let me know!!

  2. Wow! How fun. I've never been to the World or Land of Disney. This may tip me over the edge and make me want to go.

    Happy Birthday!!

    I NEED the Bird Baby. It's Incredible!

  3. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Townhouselady!

    I can't believe that you've NEVER been to either of the Disney parks! How is that even possible?! Your parents never even took you as a child?! Wow...

    Yes, I also would like that baby/child/bird hybrid creature in the window! I don't think it was for sale, though. :(

  4. That Bird-Baby thingie was very cool indeed.

    You know how I feel about things Disney, but you also are one of the few who know that I always have a blast whenever I go there with you guys. It brought back some great memories. I'm very glad it was an awesome day for you.

    Holy crap! $72? For realzies? WTF?

  5. I AM LOVING THE BIRDY THINGIE!!!! love it!!!!!

    and i hope the birthday was just PHENOMENAL!!! may the celebration continue INDEFINITELY!!!!!

  6. Yep, you read it right, Matt! It now takes 72 big smackers just to get yourself in the gate! And that only gets you in ONE of the two parks... If you wanted to enjoy BOTH Disneyland AND California Adventure, they give you a "break" and only charge you something like $120 for a Park Hopper passport.

    It's all totally sick, I know, but it IS the Magic Kingdom and there's no other place like it! Well, except for Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney, Euro Disney... Am I forgetting any? Maybe, a Lunar Disney, perhaps?

  7. Thanks, drollgirl!

    We totally had a blast! In fact, we had so much fun that we were literally soaking in it by the end. See, I failed to mention in my post that we had gone on Splash Mountain and were seated in the VERY FRONT of the log! In all the times we've ridden Splash Mountain, we've NEVER sat in the front seat. And, well, you can guess the obvious outcome...

    Every piece of our clothing was drenched, through and through! The kicker was that it was right before the park closed, sometime right before midnight. Needless to say, we felt like cold, wet rats! Dripping, but also giggling... ;)

  8. Happy Belated Birthday Darrrrling!!!
    Such a wonderful venue to celebrate & enjoy your day..that half-bird/half-child should be in Tim Burton's next movie! All the blessings in the world to you Anthony! ~kiss-kiss***

  9. Thank you, sweet lady Lenore!

    You're so right about that bird/child thing seeming very Tim Burton-esque. Maybe, we'll spot one or two of them in his upcoming 'Alice in Wonderland' film... We won't know until it's released in March of next year. :(

  10. Hey Anthony!! I am so behind on reading other blogs - but I absolutely loved this post! So I'm commenting now - better late than never? Disneyland birthday??!! YES!! For the first time, ever- we went for my birthday in 2006, then again in 2007. I loved it so much. Naturally, I also had to have my birthday dinner at Blue Bayou, my favorite.
    And, just like you - I was pleasantly surprised at It's a Small World and it's changes. They could have done without a couple of them, but I really liked it over all. I am SUCH a Disney freak - and hearing all about your special day was delightful! I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Have a happy Disney day!

  11. Hey, Heidi!
    Thanks for dropping by!

    I'm pleased that you enjoyed my Disneyland birthday, even though it was only vicariously...


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