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11/25/2006

A Very Disney Thanksgiving

I'm so thankful we were in town this year and were able to resume our many-year tradition of spending the day with good friends at Disneyland. "Why Disneyland?" many people ask. It's something that a friend of E's, Wendy, who he has known since he was a kid, and her friend Jeff started a long time ago. Neither of them have family in Southern California and they travel for Christmas, so they launched an "orphans" day at none other than The Happiest Place on Earth. We joined them for the first time back in 1995, I think. We've missed a few...once I went to see my family, another year E got severe food poisoning the night before, and then of course last year, we traveled back East for E's 20th high school reunion. I was really, really excited to rejoin Wendy and Jeff this year!

Another thing people say when hearing about our odd holiday plans is, "Oh, the park must be empty on Thanksgiving!" Um, no. I've heard and been told by Disneyland employees cast members that Thanksgiving is in the top 3 busiest days of the year. What we have noticed though is that around 6pm, there is some crowd thinning and then a mass exodus after the nightly fireworks. This year's crowd seemed somewhat light overall though. We walked right on to most of the laugh-in-the-dark rides. Of course, Peter Pan still had a ginormous line, up until midnight, which I just don't get. We did go on it, for a change, spending our last half hour at the park in line. It was worth it as it is a cute ride, but why does it always have the longest line? Can anyone explain that to me?

Over the years the size of our Thanksgiving group has varied, from just the four of us, to 10 or 12 people. For a few years, a friend of mine from high school was living in the area, so he and his wife joined us. One of the most memorable occasions was when four English guys who worked for the software company E was working for at the time, experienced Disneyland with us. They were slain by the It's A Small World ride (we take anyone who has never been to the park before on the scariest ride there).

This past Thursday, we had a nice group of six people. Wendy's niece from Philly, Julia, joined us, as did my friend Cheryl. Julia had come with us a couple of years ago and apparently we didn't scare her off with our silliness and dorkiness. Cheryl was our Disneyland virgin, so yes, we tortured her with a go on It's A Really Repetitive And Annoying Ride. I sure do hope that Ren checked her voice mail because, being the good friend that I am, that's when I called her to wish her a Happy Turkey Day.

Highlights of the adventure-filled day included accidentally catching the parade and seeing the Presidentially pardoned turkeys, Flyer and Fryer, practically walking on to several rides due to relatively short lines (we didn't even really use the Fast Pass system very much at all as there just wasn't a need), laughing ourselves silly at our Jungle Cruise driver...he was really dorky and funny, checking out the updated-with-Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, watching the fireworks and snow, getting some great seats for Fantasmic, near perfect weather, and generally acting like big kids, laughing and giggling ourselves silly. I did observe a lot of people who just don't seem to loosen up and have a good time at Disneyland and I don't get that. At all. Stop scowling and find your laughin' place people! You paid at least $60 to get in, make it worth it!

Another inquiry I get is, "Well, what are you going to eat?" It's not that big of a deal to me. Thanksgiving has definitely come to mean more to me about the company I'm with than the food I stuff into my face. The meals have varied over the years from Mickey cheeseburgers to barbecued ribs to a nice feast at the Blue Bayou. As you can now make advanced reservations over the phone and I didn't call until a week and a half ago, the Blue Bayou was a no-go. Wendy made a reservation at a place just outside the park, but we decided to optimize our time and have dinner at one of the cafeteria style places in New Orleans Square. I went with the traditional meal, which included turkey, andouille sausage stuffing, green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. It was all quite delicious. I was able to snag the last piece of pumpkin pie, which is the Thanksgiving staple I truly cherish.

That of course leads me to The Great Pumpkin Pie Incident of 2006, where I ended up with pie on my face, quite literally. I'd really had my heart set on a slice of pumpkin pie and had gone on about it for quite some time. I was nearly devastated when it looked like they'd run out, but they managed to find one last slice for me. So, we're all enjoying our dinner and E started taunting me, saying things like, "Too bad you're too full to eat that pie," or holding up his fork and pointing it toward my dessert. I'm not sure what came over me, but I got really protective of this piece of pie, picked it up, and proceeded to lick it...you know, like a little kid does so his sibling won't touch his food. Well, it would have been clever if the pie hadn't flipped off the plate, landing on my shoulder/in my hair/on my face. Yeah, I'm an ass. Of course this was also the moment when everyone, who were previously engaged in their own conversations, turned to look at me. We laughed about it for hours. In the end, I gave E the very last bite of the pie. Naturally it was the piece with the most spit on it.

By the time we left Anaheim, at 1am, we were all super-exhausted, but quite contented. Luckily there was no traffic and we sped home, fed the dogs, and were passed out by 2:30. I had to get up around 9:00am to feed Daizy, but promptly returned to bed once I was home and slept until about 3:30pm. E got up at 4. I was that special kind of tired that I'm sure new parents experience and that I can only handle a couple of times a year.

I do still have my fantasy Thanksgiving where serve friends buttered toast, popcorn, jelly beans, and pretzel sticks...on plates that I toss to them. All the while, my pets will be preparing a fabulous turkey for us to eat when everyone leaves to go to Charlie Brown's grandmother's condo. For now, Disneyland will more than do. Click here to see photos from the day.

7 comments:

justJENN said...

The kids and I enjoy Disneyland a lot. We go there every couple of weeks, thank god they are free to get in.

Peter Pan is always long because it is the only dark ride that is 'suspended' and it is a slow loading ride. Speaking as a theme park designer, of course. Here are some other theories for you.

Julia said...

Hah the pumpkin pie incident was pretty funny lol. I checked out the pictures and they were great ( i got the email from wendy). Disneyland was fun this year! It was good to see you again. See ya next year! Cya

Julia

Nanette said...

How fun! I prefer Mr. Toad's Wild Ride myself. I love when I die and go to hell and it gets hot. ;)

Jodi said...

Yes, Nanette...it's so cool that at Disneyland you can actually go to hell and it's quite toasty. We giggled a lot about that too..."Time to go to hell!"

Stan said...

Yikes. Glad to hear you enjoyed Disneyland. Personally, given the choice between a day at Disneyland and a poke in the eye with a stick, I'll take the stick.

madretz said...

I was literally LOL reading your pie incident.
Love Disneyland! It's a different experience going with kids vs. going with all adults, though. Still just as fun, just a total different experience. And ya, I don't get those grumpy people. How is it possible at the Happiest Place on Earth?

Joanne said...

I love Disneyland! I think I went one Thanksgiving and I remember it was crowded as heck. I have probably mentioned that the best time I found to go was the Friday before what would be Christmas break. All the holiday stuff was up (which I LOVE) but it wasn't crowded at all. Did you see any 'dreams' happen?

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