Monday, July 06, 2009


What a thrill that was.

Many times you don’t know that something is “once in a lifetime” until much more of your life has passed. However, there are some events so unique, so rare and exclusive (and, yes, so expensive) that you are sure right away that you are likely never to experience them again. Staying in the Disney Wonder’s Walter E. Disney Suite was one. Club 33 was definitely another.

We may yet someday, somehow, again gain access to the wonderful Club 33, but probably not – and who knows when and if we’ll even get to Disneyland again? But how cool to have been able to go there, even this one time.

To my benefactor (who wishes to remain anonymous publicly, presumably to keep from being deluged with Club 33 requests!), and his member friend, thank you, thank you, thank you so much. I know we paid for our own meal, but you still took a significant risk using your membership to get near-strangers in (and you’d be on the hook if we didn’t show up), and we deeply appreciate it. It was indeed a memory that will last a lifetime.

Okay, well, we are back in the real world now. It’s pretty warm out here. We gather at a shaded spot to regroup and make our plans on where to go from here. There are some beautiful flowers nearby, here at the base of the New Orleans Square train station.

At long last, there are no more obligations on our trip, no appointments to keep, no reservations to make. It’s a very freeing feeling. Ron and Kay take advantage of the freedom and bid us goodbye, ready to explore the park as a couple instead of as a part of a gang of ten. Perfectly understandable.

The rest of us have mixed ideas on what to do next, but all the ideas involve going to Tomorrowland, so we head up to the train station. We’re quickly on board the train, but it doesn’t leave right away.

While we’re sitting on the train. I turn the camera around on myself, and snap a picture of the upper half of my head, from my moustache up, wearing the new Club 33 hat. Yep – that’s the one used as my avatar on this trip report website and various other Disney sites, taken on the train at the New Orleans Square station at Disneyland.

I like the resulting picture. It has kind of a neighbor-at-the-fence-from-Home-Improvement feel to it. My kids, on the other hand, think it’s creepy. Okay, that settles it – I definitely like the picture!

The train gets underway for the Toontown station first, and then Tomorrowland. Brandon and my parents want to ride Space Mountain. I like thrill rides and even most roller coasters, but the “wild mouse” kind with the narrow tracks and sharp turns, those are a beating to me. I mean that literally – they slam me against the edge of the car painfully at every turn. Space Mountain is such a coaster, and has the added disadvantage of being in the dark, so I can’t even steel myself for the turns. I rode Space Mountain once in 1982, and that was enough for me.

Instead of Space, I’d like to ride the monorail again, but the entire loop this time, just for the fun of it. Benjamin wants to drive a car on Autopia, and Becky will do that with him. Bob & Linda are okay with whatever, so long as we eventually make our way to Fantasyland, where Bob wants to ride Peter Pan and a few other things as time allows.

As we approach Tomorrowland station, there’s bad news for Benjamin. No cars are puttering around the Autopia tracks – it looks as if the attraction is shut down.

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