Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stormtroopers Are Not the Good Guys

Disneyland!!!!!!  Late one night after Annie and I had, presumably, been drinking (I don't know why else we would have contemplated such an endeavor) we thought it would be a great idea to take Nate to Disneyland. 
Nate is notoriously skeptical of new places and people, gets anxious around large crowds, and has a tendency to freak out if he feels like he might be doing something that could be scary (unless it is adrenaline pumping).  So naturally, we thought what a splendid idea it would to drive 6 hours south, brave the 100 degree temperatures and take Nate on one ride after another at Disneyland, with each having the potential to send him into shakes and tears. 
Thankfully, things went pretty well.  In fact, I'd say that if the weather hadn't been a soul-crushing 187 degrees it would have been a fantastic experience.
The trip down there was fine. Nate was very good the whole way.  How could anyone not be with this setup?

We took the shuttle in to Disneyland and Nate was already starting to get excited. 
The first obstacle, and what made us almost turn around and leave immediately, was the new handicap access program.  In order to get your limited access handicap pass you need to report to guest services and get your passes.  What we didn't realize was that, for some bizarre reason, there was a 20 minute line out the door for guest services.  What could that many people need with guest services first thing in the morning?

To make matters worse, the line was not handicap accessible.  It went up stairs and was impossible for someone who is actually handicapped to queue in.  It turns out the handicap access for the building was around the corner, but the employees didn't want us to wait there though because it was also the only EXIT from the building.

It was a nightmare and the only reason we didn't leave immediately is because a very kind couple saw our plight and allowed us to hop the line in front of them.  Without that, our trip would have been very short.

With that behind us, things improved dramatically.  Except for the weather.  Have I mentioned that it was 250 degrees that day?  No?  Well it was.  We gave Nate a quick rundown of what the park included (sadly Nemo and Pirates were closed) and let him pick. 

First up were the rockets in Tomorrowland and they turned out to be his favorite the whole day and we ended up returning to them. 

Nate LOVED the rocket ride.  However, he would not look at me for the picture.  He just wanted to stare at the steering wheel and prep for take-off.  Drastic measures were needed.

There was stiff competition though.  Nate was able to ride a real pirate boat and was absolutely thrilled.  Much more thrilled than his father who was holding him and had to spend the 10-15 minute ride adjusting him constantly so as to bring temporary relief to various muscle groups. 

On the shoulder was the preferred method but as you can see, Nate can't hold himself up so after about 10 seconds I would feel his chin stabbing me in the head and pushing my neck forward most awkwardly.

Nate loved Dumbo (who knows why), had great fun on the train, which had his dream come true.  A time tunnel that showed him giant animatronic dinosaurs.  He was amazed by all the animals in Jungle Cruise and was reserved about Peter Pan.  I think he liked it for the most part but was a little nervous.

The last thing Nate wanted to do was meet Captain America.  However, that was problematic.

The handicap pass works like a fast pass. You're given a couple of them and they let you line up through the exit.  We didn't see that option available so we entered the line normally. While I was waiting in line Annie went to go see if we could use our last pass.  She inquired at the exit and was told to bring Nate to the back.  We did.  We were then told that his fast pass was not valid for "live events" and if we wanted a pass for that we'd have to go back to guest services.

Our hearts sank.  The event was only about 15 minutes from closing and there was no way we could make it there and back.  Nate would miss meeting Captain America.  I explained that no one informed us of this and asked if there was anything he could do.  He said no.

I begged, I pleaded, I entreated, I appealed to his patriotic side and every human's innate desire to see a little boy meet his favorite super hero.

Finally, after reciting the Declaration of Independence to him, looking from me to Nate he agreed to let us in after the next family.

After a brief wait, we pushed Nate's chair up the ramp and turned the corner.  Behind the giant partition, there waiting for us, was Captain America.  Nate was awestruck.  He told Cap his name, he touched his shield and looked like the happiest boy on Earth. 

Captain America told Nate he could tell that Nate had a fighting spirit.  It's true. 

However, my favorite part was when two Stormtroopers approached us as we waited our turn for the rocket ride.  As they stood there saying hi to Nate, Annie said "Nate look, stormtroopers! They're the good guys."  One of the stormtroopers turned his head towards Annie and simply shook his head. 

Although he loved Disneyland I don't know that any of it compared to the sheer joy he experienced typing on Grandpa Lowe's calculator.  He would type in the same number over and over again, ask us what number it was and then fall apart in laughter.  I never got it but it kept him in hysterics for a good 30-40 minutes.

It was a great trip and we would definitely do it again. Our only complaint was when the Sun descended from it's celestial orbit and parked itself on Disneyland for a couple of days.  We found ourselves rushing from ride to ride hoping to do anything would could to avoid the sun and its hateful gaze. Did I mention it was a whopping 328 degrees?