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Sunday, June 9, 2013


A few weeks ago, I was invited to go to Disneyland along with a slew of family members, most of whom have annual passes.

My mom and sister -who have passes as well- must have gone more times than they have digits to count by now. I, on the other hand, had only gone twice before this most recent time. The first was when I was too young to remember much of anything. I've been told that I screamed and cried a lot, so that's good. The second time was about 12 years after that with the string orchestra during high school. On neither of those occasions did I go to California Adventure; I'm pretty sure it wasn't even built when I first went. As much as Disneyland might seem like a place only for children I was pretty excited to go because the bits I could recall were indeed memorable.

I wonder how much it costs to get a hexagon in your name?

As a heads up: most of this post will likely be just photo dumping. But I think you're okay with that.

I think being told you're a Kevin is worse than a Skunk, honestly

Comedian Patton Oswalt had a segment on his most recent standup album where he mentioned a particular attraction at the California Adventure park called the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. It really is meant for children, but my brother and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit the spirit cave. Most of it is modeled after Russel's Wilderness Explorers group from the Pixar movie "Up" and there's plenty of things to for the young ones from rope climbing, to tire swinging, and rickety-bridge-walking. The spirit cave itself is really just a small cavernous space. After about a 20 foot walk into the cave you'll find an impression of a hand on the walls that upon pressing your hand to a little light, sound, and general Disney magic goes off to reveal on the monitor/cave wall, your spirit animal. I found out that mine was a wolf and my brother was told that he was a bear. When we checked the sign you see up above, my brother made me laugh when he stated quite plainly: Yeah, that sounds right.

First time riding Star Tours! Woo!

You have to admit, they really know how to decorate the place up

This is not one of the rickety bridges

Getting to Cars Land
I need to interrupt the picture dump here to make a note of how amazingly well done this section of California Adventure is. I could go on about how nicely designed it is utilizing all manner of useless adjectives and sycophantic gesturing, but instead I'll just say this: It feels like you're walking through the damn movie.
The Cozy Cone! A place to park it!

My sister and cousin rode this NON-RIDE

My brother and I walking down the main street

Heck yeah

So by the end of the day I manged to ride (in chronological order):

The "Cars Ride" where you race each other at the end (I don't know the name of it but I won so it's okay!), Soaring over California, Star Tours, Little Mermaid (don't ask), Buzz Lightyear, which despite being a kid's ride was way fun for the blaster zapping action. Later on we did Winnie-The-Pooh's Acid Trip (with my nephew), Alice's Teacups (with my nephew), The Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, and Space Mountain again because that's what any reasonable person who rides Space Mountain for the first time wants to do after riding Space Mountain.

Indiana Jones was pretty fun because of how it happened. Being the ever popular ride that it is, there was quite a line by the time we meandered by it. So we each picked up one of those fast passes, which reserves a time slot for you later in the day that lets you into the shorter line. Only when we returned we discovered that the ride was being suspended. We watched the last of the riders funnel out as our group sat there pondering where we'd go next. After maybe a minute it suddenly opened up and we all dashed for the entrance. I don't know why we were so pumped, but the lot of us raced through the weaving lines, being applauded by the staff in the pandering way that they do, but enjoyed it non-ironically all the same. We all squeezed into one car (room enough for the 10 of us) and were the first people to ride it after being started up again.

It's pretty funny how the togetherness of familial bonds can stem from the most obscure of places. And as I sit here, thinking back on that moment, I can say without reservation that it was unabashedly fun. Maybe it's a bit silly to say that I felt close because of an amusement park ride, but if it's sincere, why not? Perhaps we're all just wandering souls amongst crowds of people from all over the world. Aimless and alone, we seek to to establish a connection between one another. Sometimes it comes about out of crisis or turmoil, and other times it happens while you're all on an automated ride escaping a giant rock while the likeness of Harrison Ford rappels down a rope helping you to escape almost certain doom. But not the Temple of Doom. That was the worst one.


Hey, why not? Have a bonus picture of myself and my brother kicking ass

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