Sunday, July 05, 2009


As we approach the bag check area that leads to the entrance plaza, I find my mind conflicted. I’m excited about Disneyland, but the excitement is dampened by the news of the monorail crash in Florida.

I still have the practical things to consider, too – we’re planning on using the monorail to save us a bunch of walking in getting to the Disneyland Hotel later this morning. I’ve been watching the monorail track and haven’t seen a train go by yet.

There’s a brief line for the bag check, and I consider asking the cast member checking the bags in our line, a gentleman who looks to be in his sixties, if the monorail is operational. But I know that is a question likely to be pretty sensitive, especially in front of other guests. And the man is so cheerful, so upbeat (in other words, so perfect to be the first CM guests meet on the way into the parks), that I just can’t spoil the mood. I’ll just rely on my eyes and ears.

We get through the bag check and head into the plaza. There are some awesome benches with Mickey-head-shaped sides. It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by Disney.

We walk into the plaza. The entrance to California Adventure, with its giant letters spelling out the word “CALIFORNIA,” is to our left. I take the time to note the location of Guest Services behind a wall on the east side of the entrance – it’s where we’ll check in tomorrow for our Club 33 passes.

Today we veer to the right. Ah, Disneyland. There’s the classic Main Street train station and the Mickey flower planter. We’re here!

And hey! There’s the monorail! It is running today. Monorail Blue glides past us, and I’m relieved, both for our transportation plans, and also just to see it in operation. To me, nothing says you’re at a Disney park like the sighting of a monorail humming across the rail above you. It’s so integral to the experience that, at Walt Disney World, we don’t really feel “there” until we see our first monorail, and we always mark with sadness our last ride. The monorails are Disney.

I pass out our printed ticket pages to the group. I’ve never bought our admission media off the internet before, and in Florida we’re used to having our “Key to the World” cards issued when we check into our resort, so I’m hoping this works! I step to one of the entrance turnstiles first – might as well be the guinea pig – and hand over the page.

The cast member scans the bar code, and a sound like a magic wand being waved, kind of a quick harp strum, plays. That’s a good sign! She keeps the page, but the turnstile computer spits out a credit-card-sized pass, printed with the date and “2-day Park Hopper.” It worked! We’re in.

The other five of us quickly clear the entrance, and we pause to enjoy the Mickey planter. In line with the “celebration” marketing theme this year, the flowery Mickey is wearing a party hat and holding several Mickey-shaped balloons. Cute and clever.

Time to cross under the berm. There’s a picture I’ve got to take – our crew passing under The Sign, the one mounted above the tunnel, the one that means we’re actually entering Walt’s Magic Kingdom:


It might as well say “Welcome home.” After 27 years, I’m back.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Wombat - I enjoyed reading your blog very much, particularly the Anaheim trip! I have some thoughts I'd like to share privately with you. If you're willing, send me an email at The topic of my thoughts? Hint: I live in St. Charles County, Missouri...