Monday, July 06, 2009

In the loop

As we step off the train at the Tomorrowland station, we bid goodbye to Brandon and my mom and dad as they head to Space Mountain.

It’s clear that Autopia is 101 – cast member code for an attraction being down – so Benjamin reluctant agrees to come ride the monorail. We assure him that if Autopia is open when we return he can ride then. We are traveling the full loop, after all!

We walk around to the ramp up to the monorail station. There’s still a very significant line for the Finding Nemo submarine ride. As we start up the monorail ramp, though, we find that this also has a line – the station is packed, and the overflow runs about halfway down the winding ramp. So, we have a little wait ahead of us.

My cell phone rings. It’s Brandon, calling on my dad’s phone. Space Mountain is also not operating at the moment, so he and my parents are coming to us. Aw. I may not have wanted to ride Space, but I know Brandon sure did. Hopefully he’ll have the chance again before we leave town.

In just a couple of minutes – there isn’t really a lot of distance between stuff in this park, is there? – the three of them are coming up the monorail ramp. A couple of dozen guests have filled in behind us in the meantime, but the three of them are close enough to us that we might get on the same train, or consecutive trains for sure.

Eventually the five of us – Becky, Benjamin, Bob, Linda and I – are up on the loading platform, while the other three are not quite. Monorail Orange approaches, and we line up behind a gate.

The train glides into the station, but the cast member on the platform is assisting a guest, and our particular gate is opened well after the others. Theoretically there may still be room on the train for us, but obviously not together in a single compartment, so we step back behind the gate and let this one go without us.

Of course, that means that Brandon and my mom and dad are now up on the loading platform, and they are able to join us. Monorail Blue arrives at the station just a few minutes later – I love how these monorails (and also the steam trains) are just constantly coming and going.

We are all able to pile into a car on Monorail Blue, and we set off for our round-trip tour. It’s just such a cool way to travel.

As we glide down Harbor Boulevard and then turn into California Adventure, I decide I want to try to take a picture of the entrance plaza, when the train is crossing the Golden Gate bridge. I know it will flash by in an instant, but I’m successful. It’s not as interesting a picture as I thought it might be, though – all you can see of the bridge is a blurry vertical line, one of the wire braces of the bridge, very out of focus.

The train continues through the Grand California and again takes that steep right turn into the Downtown Disney station. We stay on board, and very shortly the train is cruising out of the station, banking right for the return trip. We glide over the tram loading area I walked past yesterday, and then across the Disneyland side of the main entrance plaza.

We continue to trace the edge of the park until we are running north along Harbor Boulevard. The train then turns left into Tomorrowland, and onto the portion of the track that owes more to its original status as an attraction rather than transportation – it twists and turns in a warped figure eight over the roadways of Autopia and the submarine lagoon, and then into a circle back around the west side of the Matterhorn before pulling into the station.

I’m pushing 45 years old, and a monorail ride is still just about the coolest thing in the world to me.

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