Monday, October 6, 2014


Surprise! I went to Disneyland! I didn't really advertise that I was going because for a while there it was an on again/off again trip and I didn't want to jinx anything. Even once it was booked and paid for, I still didn't allow myself to get excited because I was so just scared it would be ripped out from under me.

A month ago I had a couple of coworkers go to Disneyland and it was so hard to talk to them and not want to go myself. I can't even remember how it all came about- but my sister, Valeri and I decided on a whim to go. Our little brother acted as our travel agent and got things booked for us. It was school out time for her kids- but she ditched them and we went- just us girls.

When we got to the airport we were pretty giddy and excited. I'm pretty sure we annoyed all the people in the terminal around us- but I don't care. We were going to Disney and that's just awesome!

It was really fun to go with Val- and she is in a lot more pictures, but it wouldn't be true to my own blog if a post wasn't all about me. So from here on out for this post- these are my selfies. Most of these I actually took myself, but there are a couple that someone else helped with (obviously).

This was the first time anyone in our family has gone to Disney since Melanie died. I knew it was going to be hard. I always cry when I'm there- but it's usually just because I'm so happy to be there. This time- as I walked through the gates and under the railroad bridge and entered Main Street, USA, I cried. At first it was simply because I was there- and then it hit me and I missed Melanie so much I ached. Val left me alone to have a moment and I walked down Main Street bawling. I'm sure it was a pathetic sight. I cried one other time that day- when we went on Splash Mountain. That was Melanie's favorite ride (to the point that her headstone has the lyrics to "Everybody's got a laughing place" on it) and it was hard to be on it without her. Luckily (?) when we got on the ride for the first time, the family who was on it with us had a little girl who chickened out. Instead of filling in the seats, they just had just spread out- which left an empty seat between Val and me. That was Mel's seat. As stupid as it sounds, I really felt her with us.

They had the park decked out for Halloween. That was awesome! I've been on October before, but I don't remember it being so festive! 

 Just me and Captain Jack Sparrow. No biggie.

The first day at the Magic Kingdom was amazing! We got a lot of things done and a lot a rides knocked out- but at the end of the day my feet hurt SOO BADLY! I honestly can't remember a time my feet have hurt so much. I thought I'd worn great shoes- but maybe not. Ugh... This was my face near the end of the day. I found a bench and sat on it while Val went corn dog hunting.

It was shortly after this that I lost my purse. My PURSE! My WHOLE life was in there! My credit card, debit card, park pass, bus pass, ID- Ev.Er.Y.Thing. I'd apparently left it sitting on a bench and didn't miss it till about a half hour later. I'd been carrying bags of shopping so my hands didn't feel empty. Ugh. I had the sickest most grossest feeling. Forgetting about my sore feet- I hustled my butt to the Town Hall and prayed, prayed, prayed for a miracle. It took a long time for the kid (who really had the kind of presence that he should have been working in the Haunted Mansion) to look in the back to see if there was anything matching my description. He took his sweet time- and came out and said he had a *possible* match but needed me to fill out a longer form. Ugh... The whole time I was so sick with anxiety I could have barfed on his desk. I filled it out and waited another forever for him. When he came out holding my purse- he asked me to sign a paper and I couldn't. I was crying too much and couldn't see the paper. They were tears of relief. Thank God- literally- THANK GOD for honest people. Nothing was missing- even the open cash pocket had been zipped up.

It's just one of the many things I absolutely love about Disney. People there are generally honest. Seriously- if you walk around, you'll see people parking their strollers filled with merchandise and all kinds of crap- and they just leave it there while they go on a ride- and people leave it alone! It honestly is amazing. If only the real world was that kind. If I'd lost my purse in a mall in Utah? Yeah- chances are I'd never see it- or its contents again.

This picture is the look of relief on my face. Ugh.

The next day was my birthday!  We spent it in California Adventure. I was pretty stoked to meet Mickey's older brother, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit just as we walked into the park. He saw my birthday pin and gave my hand a little kiss. Awwwww......

It was Val's first time in Cars Land. It was fun to take her on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and all the other rides.

The following picture is proof that no matter how hard you try, you can't have a good hair day at the parks.  It was blown all over the place.

That day was hotter than Hades. For the first time in my life I took a hotel break. Seriously- it got up to 110 degrees. The park was so empty that any rides we went on were practically walk-on (except Toy Story which always seems to have the longest freaking wait). Val said I looked like a melted crayon. I tried. I tried so hard to stick it out- but it was honestly just so miserable. No amount of indoor activities and free ice waters helped. We went back when the sun set- but apparently everyone else had the same idea- plus the Magic Kingdom closed early that night because of the Halloween party so all the people who got booted out of there came over to C.A. It was full of humanity- but it was still better than earlier in the day.

We stopped at Ghiradelli and I bought myself a little birthday ice cream. I shouldn't've done it. Ugh... too... much... sugars...

Our last day took us back to the Magic kingdom. We were going to park hop- but again, it was just so hot that we did as many indoor activities as we could. Val had developed a pretty rotten heat rash on her legs, but she was a trooper and stuck it out.

I look like such crap in these pictures. Ugh... but- who cares? I guess. I was just so happy to be there and see it all decked out for fall.

Sometime in the past few years they've gotten a new knight. I remember taking a picture with the knight just inside the castle when I was just out of high school and I was like, twice his size. Sometime since then they've manned him up a little and made him actual man size instead of child size!

It's OK for grown women to go on the Dumbo ride without kids, isn't it? Well, no matter- because it totally happened.

During the hotter part of the day we went over to Innovations and soaked up the AC. They had all the Iron Man suits still on display- which is awesome- but this time they also added a portal through the bifrost to the throne room at Asgard to meet Thor. Oh my gosh. He was hilarious! And yes- once again- grown women standing in line to meet characters. It totally happened. Thor was very polite and when I asked for a quick selfie- he said, "Oh yes... I've heard of this strange human tradition" He was just so funny.

But I can't lie- my heart belongs to Captain America. We stood in that line too. I felt like a little kid waiting to meet Mickey Mouse. Seriously. I'm not even ashamed to admit it (a little embarrassed- but not ashamed).

Here was the gist of our conversation as he walked back into the room:

Cap: So sorry, I had a call from Director Fury- I never seem to get a break. Heather is it? Happy birthday!
Me: Thank you. And that's ok. I understand a call from Director Fury is important. Hydra is still out there.
Cap: It's true. You haven't seen any of them out there, have you?
Me: Well, if I have- I've taken care of them. Don't you worry, Cap. I've got your back.
Cap: You have? wow... are there a lot?
Me: Well, it IS Disneyland after all...
Cap: Would you like a picture?
Me: Of course- but can we first take a quick selfie for my blog?
Cap: Blog? Oh right... that's like, an Internet thing, right?
Me: Right- it's short for Web Log. [takes the selfie] Welcome to this century, by the way. How's it working out for you? (at this point the professional photographers were dying laughing)
Cap: It's coming along.
Me: Right- well you've got a lot to catch up on, so good luck with that.
Cap: Why thank you- would you care to take my arm?
Me: With pleasure. [professional photo]
...after Val has her picture taken with him...
[takes my hand again]
Cap: Heather, It's been a real pleasure. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.
me: [melted into a pile of goo] Thanks.

That night we waited for Fantasmic. I picked a spot next to some nice people while Val went off to get some food. I just asked, "can I join your family?" and sat down and started talking to them. They had an accent and I was pretty sure it was New Zealand- but I made a wrong guess earlier in the week and my accent confidence was shot, but I was right. They were from NZ and such a sweet family! They were total Disnerds and have been to every park in the world (Did I pick the right family or WHAT?) They were so lovely to talk to during the hour and some change that we had to wait for the show.  I was wearing my name tag so they didn't ask my name- and I didn't ask theirs. I wish I had. I wish I'd exchanged info with them because I would really love to keep in touch with them. All I know is that they are both teachers and one of the daughter's is named Megan. I *think* the mom was named Judy- Val asked I guess while I was gone taking my turn to get food.

Anyway- Fantasmic on the last day was another hard time for me. Fantasmic was Mel's and my thing. We both just love it so much. In fact, as she lay in her hospital bed in my parent's living room- hours before her death- I turned the music on to Fantasmic.  So from that very first lingering note that is sounded- I was crying. I cried through the whole thing- just missing Melanie. And as it ended and we all turned to say our goodbyes, they noticed I was crying so I had to explain why. Judy gave me a big hug as I turned to go. I said my goodbyes and one of the girls- the one I'd talked to the most (she just turned 12 last week) stopped Val and gave her a couple of pins. They are pins from New Zealand- one is a dolphin and the other is a fern leaf- the country's national symbol. How beautiful. I wish wish WISH I'd gotten their information.

It was like that all week- if there were long lines or long waits, we'd just talk to the people around us. We met some really wonderful people from all over the world. It was awesome.

At the end of the day though I was pretty worn out. It was a really fun trip- a really fast trip (Baker's usually go for five days, what's with this three day crap?) And this last picture for today was the happiest picture I could come up with. We'd done Fantasmic. We'd done the fireworks. And we'd completed all our shopping. I was beat. I sat down on the porch of  Town Hall waiting for Val to find me. If they'd've allowed it, I'd've just slept right there that night and not moved.

Till next time, Disney...


Girl in the 'Field said...

For the record--you do NOT look like crap! :) You look natural and beautiful. Own it sister. Looks good on you. So glad you were able to go--such a tender thing and I'd bet you anything Melanie got special permission to spend some time. So sure she misses you too. Thank you, as always, for your wonderful example and making me laugh and cry. Love you and yours!

Amy said...

This post got me choked up. I'm so glad you went. And I'm so glad for the memories you have and that you would share them with us.

I have to say - I LOVE the interaction with Thor. I definitely have to go see him next time I make it to the park! (Maybe January?! I hope, I hope, I hope!).

Granted By Tiffany said...

You're so cute! Glad you had a princess worthy birthday