The Cost of a Family Trip to Disneyland

Next we walked deeper into Tomorrowland and got in line for the Submarine Voyage... I mean the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

In line we bought some cotton candy. $6 in this souvenir bucket.

I don't think there is any other theme park with an underwater ride. It's kind of ridiculous if you think about it.

If I remember correctly, the ride used to involve a simulated squid attack. In the Finding Nemo re-vamp, the submarine starts off the same, idling past some underwater scenes, but ends up sailing past a series of underwater scenes from Finding Nemo.

It was an odd combination.

By this time it was afternoon, so we stopped at the Plaza Inn restaurant for lunch.

Chicken was a specialty, so Stacy and I split a chicken lunch and a Cobb salad. The kids had chicken kids meals. Our family total was $48.50. There was a lot of food, tempting me to re-use our souvenir cotton candy bucket as a chicken leftover tote.

I resisted the temptation.


After lunch we walked over to Adventureland and picked up Fastpass tickets for the Haunted Mansion. For the halloween season, they had re-decorated with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. It looked extremely busy, but we would be skipping that line in about an hour.

We caught a glimpse of Jack Skelleton.

The line for Jungle Cruise was fairly short, so we jumped in line and tried that next.

I wonder, how do they make a track for a boat ride?

Towards the end of the ride we spotted princess Jasmine sneaking out of a side door into the back of Aladdin's Oasis.

Tragically she was shot by a blowgun dart and fell paralyzed into the jaws of an alligator.

Next we hit up the Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse, repurposed into Tarzan's treehouse.

Impressed with the pre-show at other rides, where the wait in line is decorated so thorougly that the wait is almost enjoyable, I had joked with Nick that it would be funny if one of the line just came to and end and opened out into the park, without a ride.

That's what Tarzan's treehouse is, a long staircase up a giant tree structure, decorated to the gills with memorabilia and vignettes, but it's just a walkthrough attraction.

Pirates of the Caribbean was closed for the week. Rumor was they were adding something to the ride to make guests get a little wetter.

Next we went out to Critter Country and noticed that the wait for Splash Mountain was marked as being only 30 minutes.

We weren't sure Ferris would qualify as 40" tall, but he stood tall and was definitely tall enough to ride! Yes! This meant that he qualified for both Star Tours and Space Mountain! Awesome!

We jumped into line. It took 50 minutes, but it was worth it. Splash mountain is a real thrill ride, which isn't the usual result for a log flume, and our kids loved it.

We let our three year old sit in front.

He survived.


Our Fastpass appointment for haunted castle had arrived, which also signalled the availability of another Fastpass.

Nick and I ran over to Thunder Mountain railroad and picked up another batch of Fastpasses for everyone.

We reconnected with the group and trotted past the line for Haunted Mansion. It was 4 p.m. and we were finally using our first Fastpasses of the day.


I hate to say it, but the Nightmare Before Christmas re-dressing kind of ruined the haunted mansion ride. It wasn't spooky at all, with cartoonish additions in every corner.

I guess that's preferable to giving the kids nightmares for the next 10 days, but the adults were unimpressed.

Next we went on a candy run to Main Street. The Candy Palace delivered.

June selected "Chocolat-Ears" Chocolate malt balls ($5.95) Ferris selected a unicorn pop. ($1.95) and Stacy and I had chunks of fudge ($7.50).

The parade wouldn't start for another hour and a half, but people were already camping out on Main Street curb.

Next we rode Thunder Mountain. Our 40" tall son was measured again, and welcomed inside. We hesitated at the entrance and turned to grab another set of Fastpasses for Thunder Mountain.

The ride had a tiny line for Fastpass ticket holders, so we waited about 10 minutes to board, passing a few hundred other passengers.

Thunder mountain was the first real roller coaster of the day, and we all held on for our lives. After a morning of slow dark rides, we were hitting our stride.

As luck would have it, our second set of Thunder Mountain Fastpasses had given us an appointment in just 20 minutes.

We sat on some benches and hung out.

Twenty four minutes later, we were back on Thunder Mountain.


We wandered back to Main Street as the sun went down, reaching it a few minutes before the parade was scheduled to start.

I've never seen so many kids on shoulders in my life.

The parade was pretty impressive.

I only realized later that most of the music was broadcast over the park loudspeakers and that it moved from one bank of speakers to the next as the appropriate float rolled by.

Disney parade performers are ultra professionals. I never saw any of them out of character, or not smiling, unless they weren't supposed to be smiling.

Seeing the parade end at 7:45 p.m. was the end of the day for a lot of guests, including our family.

Ferris had been asking when we were leaving for about two hours, so it didn't break his heart that we didn't stay till closing.

Nick and Alisha headed to dinner and we headed back to the hotel.

Our kids fell asleep in one minute.


The next day we went to California Adventure. It's directly across from Disneyland.

California Adventure didn't open until 10 a.m., so we actually got there before they opened.

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