Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Disneyland Day 1

We got to the OKC airport with plenty of time. Shortly after arriving we find that our flight is delayed because the flight crew (not the pilots) were in violation of some FAA regulation that requires them to be off the clock for 8 hours ever 'X' number of hours.

This put us 1 hour behind schedule, but so far so good.

We got to Dallas/Ft. Worth without issues and boarded our plane for Santa Ana Airport (Orange County).

We get to baggage claim and nothing, nada, zip.

My wife stands in the line for lost luggage while I continue to wait to see if it came on the next flight from Dallas. Still nothing, but my wife calls me on my cell to let me know that American Airlines knows where our luggage is.

Apparently, our plane from Dallas was overloaded and they took quite a few people's bags off the plane so that they wouldn't be in violation (detecting a trend yet). They told us that it would be on a United Airlines flight that will land at 4PM and they'll deliver it to our hotel at Disneyland. We were told we should have our bags no later than 7PM

We go on with our day.

At this point, I'd like to give a shout out to our driver with the Towncar service. Our driver, Ray, stayed with us the entire time while we dealt with our luggage problems.

We didn't really get the expedited checkin that we were lead to believe we'd get for having a Concierge-level room. We still had to check-in with the rest of the folks on the ground floor. Don't take this as an elitist statement, but we were told that one of the perks for paying extra is that we get an expedited check-in and avoid all that.

Once checked in, we scoped out the concierge club and grabbed some sodas and bottled water.

Then we hit the parks. We start at Disney's California Adventure where I start taking some pictures.

We hop into Taste Pilot Grill and grab a couple Chicken Sandwiches (Chicken strips are only for kids under 8 yrs of age).

After getting our bellies full with some taste chicken sandwiches, we start heading toward the exit so we can cross over to Disneyland where Tim is wandering the parks with his family.

On our way out, we stumble across the Block Party Bash.

Apparently, the Disneyland security people didn't like us standing in the doorway of the store we were coming out of. I only had time to pop off a couple pictures before we were told to either move on or jump into the fray which was the crowd watching the parade. We decided it wasn't worth working our way into the crowd. Plus, we had seen this parade the last time we came to Disneyland.

After that we work our way to meet Tim Devine from The Magic in Pixels and co-host of The Magical Definition Podcast.

It proved to be a bit difficult to meet up since my cellphone wouldn't make a call even though I was showing that I had a full signal. While trying to touch base with Tim we ended up making our way to the Disney Gallery above the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. It was at this point that we found out that they were still doing the Preferred Seating in the balcony of the Gallery. We were told, when we called at the 30 day mark that it was to be permanently discontinued. Apparently, that wasn't true. Needless to say, we were a bit upset and there was nothing we could do about it since it was now fully booked. That means the people who called late, got the better seats.

After some hit and miss Tim and I finally meet up. My wife got to meet Tim's wife and son, Billy, and that kept the wives entertained while Tim and I chatted and took pictures.

One of the things we did that I haven't ever done before was to ride the Disneyland Monorail. Not only did we do that, but we rode up front.

After riding the monorail, we decided to hit up It's a Small World. It was at this point, that I attempted to change me lens for the first time and Tim had to lecture me because I was doing it improperly and was opening myself up to getting crud stuck to the sensor of my camera.

With Tim's advice, I think I got some good shots inside It's a Small World.

After dark, and after a failed attempt to find an ice cream purveyor without a huge line, Tim's wife took his son back to the room and the three of us (Tim, my wife, and me) walked the parks.

We decided to take some pictures of the Electrical Light Parade. Tim found an awesome spot and we burned up some space on our flash cards.

After that, Tim broke out the tripod (Remember mine is in my lost bag) and we took some shots across the lake of the various lighted structures of California Adventure. Tim did let me take a few shots using his tripod, but for the most part he was running around getting some excellent shots.

While Tim was doing his thing, I attempted to take a couple hand-held shots of the same area. Also, at this time, the fireworks started going off at Disneyland. While standing in the right location, you could see the fireworks going off over the tree line. I have to agree with others though that it's not quite the same without Sleeping Beauty Castle is in view.

After getting our fill of taking pictures there (the park was closed and noone was really trying to force us out), we headed over to the main park so that we could shoot Fantasmic! at 11:30PM

Well, we decided to ride Pirates and Haunted Mansion first. I tried my hand at taking pictures at both but I think most came out badly. My wife had a run-in with some unruly teenagers at the Haunted Mansion where one of them kicked her. She told them off.

After getting thoroughly soaked on The Pirates of the Caribbean and finally getting to see the Haunted Mansion without it's Nightmare before Christmas attire, we met up with another member of Tim's forums, Roger, to shoot Fantasmic!

These boys whipped out the big lenses. I had my little entry level one. A member of security, seeing their rigs, ended up lifting the rope and put us in the preferred, VIP, seating right in the center of the action.

I didn't get any good shots, but the other two did.

By this time my wife and I were very cold (it's quite chilly at night here in SoCal). Plus, we needed to get to our luggage.

We walked back to the Paradise Pier Hotel and went to the bell station to get our luggage.....no luggage.

We went to our room....no luggage.

So, I log into the website American Airlines gave me to check the status of my bags.....no status.

So, we sat, on hold, with American Airlines for an hour before finding out that our bags didn't make it onto the United flight either because of a violation of weight restrictions. Well, the lady told me that they've been doing this to families all week for trips to Disney because they pack too much stuff.

Needless to say, we are ticked off!

We have reservations for Goofy's Kitchen tomorrow morning for my wife's b-day breakfast and are going to have to go in the same smelly clothes we have been wearing since 5AM the previous day.

Also, we have reservations at the Napa Rose for my wife's B-Day dinner. This is a dress-up joint and my wife just celebrated a significant weight loss with a new figure flattering dress which is in our lost luggage (along with my new, expensive tripod).

Needless to say, my wife ended up crying herself to sleep. She's asleep now while I write this (I'm dumping my pictures off the flash cards onto this Hard Drive).

I just want to go home. This is the worst Disney vacation ever and this beats the time I had no cash and my credit card company's computers went down and wouldn't authorize any use and I didn't get to eat for 3 days.

As it stands now, I'm supposed to meet up with Tim again tomorrow. But who knows now. Keep an eye on your news, one of us (my wife, me, or both) may lose it!

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