It was bright and shiny once…

This time, I mean Star Tours at Disneyland. That was our first port of call after breakfast at Mom’s Captain Kidd’s, just across the street from the main entrance (same owner, same menu, same food, just a different name…hmmm, do you think they could be trying to play on the popularity of Pirates of the Carribbean?).

Star Tours was, as ever, itself. Same jokes, same special effects, same everything — but shorter lines. Maybe it’s time for a remake.

After Star Tours, we did the rest of the Big Three at Tomorrowland. Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was also the same as always, except that they’d gotten rid of the amusing preshow and replaced it with a completely lame Kodak “feel good” commerical. Space Mountain was new and renewed and dizzying — but I thought it was the worse for the loss of the old amusing FedEx preshow and commercials.

We also visited Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Indiana Jones before lunch. The way they have the FastPass set up for Indy is bad — first, it forces people on the regular line (like us!) to stay outside in the heat and the sun for a longer time, and second, it means that you rush through the interior preshow instead of enjoying it.

And the heat was getting to me — the boys went on Big Thunder, but I just wanted to find a cool spot (I settled for shady). Then we went in quest of lunch — which meant Downtown Disney. This time, we hit the La Brea Bakery; I didn’t want anything but icewater for a long time, but I eventually recovered enough to eat Jeff’s salad (someone had to do it) and half of Diane’s sandwich (all in the interest of keeping portions reasonable, though half a sandwich wasn’t quite enough for either of us).

After lunch, we went to California Adventure, where we picked up FastPasses for Soarin’ Over California and then saw MuppetVision 3D (one of my favorite attractions at either park — we didn’t get to see the whole preshow, though, which was a shame), Monsters Inc (as promised, a slow cabride — the best part was the signs in the line; I though the homage to Ray Harryhausen was a nice touch), and It’s Hard to Be a Bug. Jeff also did California Screamin’, but the rest of us passed. Then we hiked through the Grizzly Mountain area and saw Soarin’ Over California — pleasant, nicely-scented, and cool. And that pretty much took care of California Adventure’s attractions. so we returned to Disneyland to brave the line for Pirates of the Caribbean. I haven’t seen either of the movies, so I didn’t find the additions compelling, but I did think that projecting on mist was a nice trick.

We returned to Downtown Disney and Catal Uva Bar and Grill for dinner, skipping the wine this time around, but going for the burgers — definitely a good place to have around. Then back, once more, to the Magic Kingdom; the boys went off to do Star Tours, but Diane and I wandered around for a while and eventually lined up for the Storybook Boats, which are far nicer at night than in the day. Then we wandered to Adventureland where we watched Fantasmic (more projecting on mist) and the fireworks. And then back to the hotel.

IBM has three annual timed exercise programs, where you form teams and agree to do a certain number of minutes per week — if you succeed, you get little tchotkes as a reward. The fall program started on Sunday; fortunately, walking counts as exercise, and we got a lot of it — my pedometer finished the day at 28,543 steps, which translates to 195 minutes of walking, which is nearly 2/3 of my weekly committment. Which might make up for half of the French fries I had for dinner.

The boys have one more day left on their Disney passes; Diane and I only bought one-day passes. While I wouldn’t have minded hitting the Jungle Cruise and MuppetVision 3D again, and we missed the Disneyland Railroad and all the classic rides in Fantasyland, I think one day was plenty for me this time around. And I’m not sure I wouldn’t prefer the rain we usually hit in our winter visits to the hot sun of today, either.