Tuesday, July 07, 2009

All good things…

Right at 4:00 we spot Brandon and my dad ambling towards us.

Brandon reports that they were able to ride California Screamin’ and Toy Story again, and they also tried the Orange Stinger, a big swing ride inside that giant orange you see at Paradise Pier. Brandon didn't enjoy it too much -- the high-swinging ride set off his fear of heights.

My dad raves about “Magic Mania.” It takes me a moment to realize he’s talking about Toy Story Midway Mania. I gently correct him, with a pointed reminder that I’m a regular contributor to the StupidGuestTricks.com. There’s a whole discussion thread on the topic of what guests mistakenly call things. I don’t want to have to report him.

Off to Soarin’ – and it has a looong standby time: 15 minutes! Okay, by “long” I mean the longest we’ve had to wait for it in the multiple times we’ve ridden. We actually have time to read some of the historic aviation biographies posted on the walls of the queue.

I’m curious where we'll be sitting on this, my third time to ride this attraction. The first time (in Florida) we rode smack in the center, and yesterday we were on the bottom center.

The four of us are among the last in this batch of riders, so we’re sent to the last boarding area, last row. That’ll be the bottom left, if I’ve got this figured out now.

But wait! Someone miscounted and there are only three spaces left there. The CM holds us back and says we’ll ride on the next load-in, and calls for two or three more riders to fill the line. It gets better: once the pre-boarding announcements are made and the riders file into the ride room, we’re sent back to the middle loading zone, first row – meaning that we will be in the middle again, but on the top row!

Cool! I’ve wanted to see what it was like at the top. Some people have said like it best, if only because there aren’t other people’s feet hanging in the upper part of your view.

Preshow video, then time to board. We enter through the door and, sure enough, we get the top row, center. This’ll be amazing.

The all-clear is given and we swing up, up, until we are near the top of the screen. The view is awesome and unimpeded by other people’s feet. Too much fun. I honestly don’t think it’s enough of a difference to matter to me, since what you gain by taking away riders above you you lose from being near the top edge of the projection. It’s an incredible ride either way.

One of our very favorite things about Soarin’ is how it is so realistic, and the camera work so unbelievable, that you really feel as if you are there. When you pass the kayakers on the river, you swoop so low that you (and every other rider) instinctively lift your legs up so your toes don’t drag in the water! Same thing when you pass the skiers and juuuust clear the rocks on the ridge of the mountains. Everyone lifts their feet. It’s funny to watch, and to catch yourself doing involuntarily.

Tinker Bell greets us as we swoop down Main Street U.S.A. and fly over Sleeping Beauty Castle, with fireworks exploding around us. (Somehow that ending seems more appropriate here at Disneyland than at Epcot in Florida.)

Still an awesome, amazing experience, and good for our “last ride.” Hard to believe it's that time, but we need to eat, pack, and rest for the trip home tomorrow.

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