RADP Mini-Meet at Disneyland, 9/21/97

(RADP is the acronym for rec.arts.disney.parks, a newsgroup whose primary topic of discussion is Disney theme parks. I've gotten to know a number of these wild and wonderful people via the newsgroup and Internet Relay Chat (IRC), but hadn't actually met them in person.)

Background: Several months ago Andrea McKenna (aka the Dairy Queen, aka Tigerlily, aka The Fabulous Guilt Babe) told me on IRC that there was a good possibility that she would get a work trip to Palm Desert in September, and if she did she planned to spend a few days at Disneyland. Saint that I am, ;-) I volunteered to meet her there. The idea grew from there, as we discovered a few more people who had plans to be around at the same time.

Players to be introduced in order of appearance. :-)

My husband Lee and I drove up to Anaheim from San Diego Sunday morning. First stop was the DL Pacific Hotel, where we picked up Andrea. Andrea and I had worked out code phrases to recognize each other - I was supposed to say "Have you seen the Dairy Queen", to which she was supposed to reply, "No, she's out with the milkman/milkmaid" - but in our excitement we both forgot. :-) She was wearing her new Tinkerbell cap (courtesy of Meli), which looked smashing atop all of that big hair. :-)

We met Beth Eloheimo about 9:30 in front of the Blue Bayou - her mission that morning had been to get tickets for herself and Andrea for the Fantasmic! dessert buffet that night - and she was successful! (Beth and Andrea had met the previous afternoon at DL). While we were there we made a lunch reservation at Blue Bayou - we used Jeff Spencer's name, even though he wasn't there yet, since it was the easiest to spell.

Crowds were VERY light - we were amazed to walk right onto Splash Mountain at 9:45! We got a log all to ourselves, and made Andrea sit in front - she got pretty wet. Flattened the big hair a bit, I'm afraid.

We continued our tour of the mountains by riding Big Thunder Mountain and then going over to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain twice in a row - hey, when you have 10 minute lines, you need to take advantage of it! :-)

By then it was after 11:00, so we got some goodies from the Blue Ribbon Bakery, and waited for Jeff to call. He called from right outside the turnstiles (cell phones are a wonderful thing sometimes). By 11:30 we were off to Indiana Jones, which had been closed earlier in the day, but was now running.

Those of you who have seen our vacation pages know that I take a small stuffed Tigger with me to share in our adventures. Jeff and Tig Jr. met when we went to DL together in July. Back then Tig Jr. had a rather harrowing ride with Jeff on the Matterhorn and almost got his head bashed against the walls, but he still thinks of Jeff fondly. (No one ever said Tiggers were overly bright - just bouncy.) Anyway, Jeff decided he wanted to take charge of Tig Jr. for the day, though I must admit I had some misgivings over this entire situation...but despite several adventures, Tigger seems to have survived unscathed.

The point of this being that Jeff made sure Tigger got to drive the jeep on the Indy ride - without the benefit of a seat belt. He *did* scare the snake and the rats away, though. :-)

(Remember Andrea and her Tinkerbell cap? This is what happens when the line for Indy gets way too long...)

It was after noon when we got off Indy, but Andrea and Beth went to the Goofy statue to try and meet up with the a.d.d'ers (they were too late, unfortunately), while Jeff and Lee and I rode Pirates, then met the other two at the Blue Bayou for our lunch reservation. Beth used her Premium Annual Pass to get us a 15% discount on the bill - thanks, Beth!

We had a nice table right next to the water with several "fireflies" dancing nearby, though some of us spent way too much time analyzing how the fireflies worked rather than enjoying the effect. :-)

Jeff and Lee both had the Monte Cristo sandwich as well as a bowl of clam chowder - something they were both regretting afterwards - a little too much fat and grease. I think they both thought it should have been served with a Tums chaser. :-) Lee seemed to be suffering a bit less than Jeff - but he used the raspberry jam, and Jeff didn't.

Haunted Mansion somehow seemed like a logical next stop. We had to prompt the CM, though - he told us to all "step to the center of the room", and we said "don't you mean the DEAD center of the room?", and he corrected himself. We were all starting to get silly at this point, and perhaps were not into the spirit of the Haunted Mansion - after all, it's a grave situation.

Did you ever notice that Madame Leota has really big hair? She must be from Texas.

We made it over to Small World Way just in time for the Hercules Parade, and just had one row of people in front of us. We all enjoyed the parade - Lee and Jeff both swear that Aphrodite was giving them meaningful looks, though since they were standing together, we're not sure which one she was looking at. Personally, I think she was looking at Tigger. :-)

And those gals with the Grecian urn hair-dos have given Andrea something to aspire to...

They dragged me onto It's a Small World after that - I even had to sit in the front row. Jeff almost lost Tig Jr. over the railing while we were in line - something about him wanting to go fishing for pennies in the canal. In the spirit of the Can-Am meet, we yelled "We're all gonna die" as we entered the tunnel. I'm not sure the rest of the people on our boat appreciated us. Especially when we got to the end, and all held up our arms and cheered as we got that extra little burst of speed sliding up to the boat dock - the ride operator laughed and said she was glad we'd had such a good time. (And if anyone tries to tell you that I was singing along on the ride, *that* is a vicious rumor.)

Took another ride on Space Mountain after that, then Star Tours and Big Thunder Mountain. We had the front three rows, and CM Christy kindly snapped a picture of all of us. We rode the Mark Twain around the river - it was a nice break, and one of the few times we didn't shout "we're all gonna die" that afternoon. We decided the line for Splash Mountain was still too long, so went to the Carnation Plaza for ice cream instead. Beth and I had real ice cream, which was good, but the rest had milkshakes that were NOT real, and somewhat disappointing.

We started our mini-tour of Fantasyland after that and rode Peter Pan, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, and Alice in Wonderland. "We're all gonna die" was heard often - Andrea said the Can-Am'ers would be proud of us.

We headed back over to Splash, and the line was down to about 20 minutes. We dubbed Jeff "The Fabulous Guilt Dude of Disneyland" at this point for choosing the slow side of the line - but of course by that time we had a list of things that had all been his fault - the Matterhorn was shut down, the Monte Cristos were too greasy, the "Blue Fairy" effect in Pinocchio doesn't last long enough, Peter Pan is too short, the Carnation doesn't use real ice cream in their milkshakes, etc. So, if there's anything at DL you don't like - now you know who to blame.

With 5 adults, we thought they would give us our own log, but no... they decided that two people needed to ride with us - those two unfortunates got to ride in the front. We pretty much submarined on the first drop - Lee swears he saw a 4' wave wash over the front. We stayed nice and dry in the back, though. And yes, we did scream "we're all gonna die" as we got to the top of the final drop. :-)

It was getting late enough that Beth and Andrea needed to think about getting to the Disney Gallery for the Fantasmic! show, but we still had a little time, so we took a ride on the DL railroad. Henry, the conductor, was a hoot, and he stood outside our car and talked to us the whole way around - working at Disneyland is the fulfillment of a dream for him. He wanted us to ooh and ahh as we entered the Grand Canyon diorama, so we obliged. He was excited when we told him he'd be on the Internet - Henry, here you are!

Next time you ride the DL Railroad, be sure to look for Henry the conductor, and tell him you heard about him on the Internet. :-)

Jeff and Lee and I got off at Main Street, and said goodbye to Beth, who was leaving early the next day, and made arrangements to meet Andrea at the DL Hotel later. We walked off to the Monorail Cafe at the DL Hotel, and waited for Pam Teixeira to call us - she was out here visiting San Diego for a conference and drove up to Anaheim that evening. We met up with Pam and had something to eat at the Cafe, and Andrea made great time getting over there after Fantasmic! so that she could meet Pam, too.

We all know each other from IRC, but it was really fun to meet face-to- face and have a chance to chat in person. And guess what, it's just like IRC, only without the lag and the disconnects!

After a while we decided we needed to call it a night since Andrea was the only one on vacation, and the rest of us all had to work the next day and still had at least an hour's drive ahead of us.

Jeff finally relinquished Tig Jr., and he got to come home with us. His arms seem a bit longer, though...hmmm.

Lee, Jeff, and Tig Jr. all got farewell butt pinches from Andrea - *she* said they were from Karen (Ladylurker), though.

Jeff, Pam, Lee and I headed back to the DL lot where we had parked, and went our separate ways. We got stuck in traffic in Orange County where they took I5 from 5 lanes down to 1. Grrr.

Still, it was a fun and wonderful day - RADPers are the best! ;-)

Other Photographs

Text and photographs copyright © 1997, by Laura Gilbreath. Additional photos copyright © 1997, by Andrea McKenna, Beth Eloheimo and Jeff Spencer. Feel free to link to this document, but you may not redistribute it in any form without the express written consent of the copyright holder.

Laura Gilbreath, lgil@cts.com
Last updated 11/4/97