Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Michael's friends Tigger and Pooh (and Eyeore, too)...

We got up bright and early Monday morning (July 21st) in anticipation of our big day at Disneyland. We went down to the lobby of our hotel, where there was a snack bar, and had cereal and pastries for a quick breakfast.

As is common on Monday after treatment, Michael didn't feel the best. He woke up during the night shaking his hand and complaining of the "sand" feeling that he gets from the Vincristine. He also had pains in his stomach and didn't have much of an appetite. But we started our day as planned, hoping to distract him from his discomfort.

One of the advantages of staying in a Disney hotel is that it is just a short walk to get to the parks. One thing we enjoyed the most about southern California was the absolutely perfect weather. The temperature was cool in the morning and then gradually warmed up to the mid-70's. And there was no humidity like we have here in northern New York.

To get to Disneyland, we walked a couple of blocks to Downtown Disney and caught the monorail straight to the park.

I am sure everyone recognizes these pictures - Disney Main Street and Cinderella's Castle. (BTW - Michael believes Disneyland is the happiest place on earth because they have the best hot dogs in the world.)

The monorail dropped us off in Tomorrowland right next to the new Finding Nemo ride so we hopped right on. Disney had given us a special card that allowed us to enter the rides through the exit so we didn't have to wait in line. And some of the lines were more than an hour long! Finding Nemo is a submarine ride and Michael didn't care for it because there was a shark that scared him.

So next we tried the Autopia ride. This is where you drive little cars around a track. Jeff and Jenny were in the first car with Brian, Michael and I following. Brian operated the gas pedal, Michael steered and I hung on for dear life! Michael loved this ride - in fact, we did it again in the afternoon. At the end of the ride, there was a photo booth where you could have your picture taken and create a driver's license. Now Michael has a license that he can show the security guard at the hospital when we check in for chemo.

We also did the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride, which was a riot. You rode in cars and shot lasers at targets that were around each corner. Brian had the high score for this game out of our little group. After we left the ride, Michael had to have his own laser so that he could adequately protect the princess (which was me) from the bad guys (and of course he got it.)

Michael was very grouchy and not really interested in the rides (doesn't he look grouchy). We had an appointment at 11:45am to meet with the Pooh characters at the Wish Lounge so that is where we headed.

The wish lounge is just off Main Street and was a very nice place to relax and hang out. They had a bed with lots of big, comfy pillows and a couple of chairs. There was also a big screen TV where you could watch movies (Disney, of course) and a chest full of games and coloring supplies. It was nice and cool in the lounge and they had cold drinks and crackers for visiting Wish Kids and their families. So, we hung out for about 45 minutes waiting for our friends to arrive.

Right on time, Pooh, Tigger, Eyeore and their handler arrived to meet our family. There was some disappointment that Darby wasn't with them as expected but Michael never said a word. He was very shy at first but eventually warmed up to the characters.

The woman that worked in the lounge suggested a friendly game of Candyland for the new friends.

They all had fun together. Michael had a substantial lead when he got sent back almost to the beginning. Tigger was nice enough to switch places with Michael so that he could win the game. After about a half hour, it was time for Pooh, Tigger and Eyerore to get back to work making children smile in the park.

There were hugs....


and smiles all the way around!

On a side note - Genie is the Disney ambassador for Make-A-Wish and the mural behind Pooh in the above picture was made up of thousands of tiny pictures of Wish Kids at Disneyland. It was incredible and instantly brought a tear to your eye and a lump to your throat.

After we left the Wish Lounge, we headed for Mickey's Toontown where Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and their friends lived and hung out (although Michael wouldn't have anything to do with the characters he met throughout the park).

We stopped by Minnie's house but she wasn't home. And Michael didn't think we should go in without her permission but we assured him she wouldn't mind.

We stopped by Mickey's house, too but there was a LONG line to actually get to see him.

I think this ride was called Gadget's Go Coaster and was actually the second roller coaster we went on that day (but as you will see over the next couple of posts, it is far from the last). Michael liked this one but didn't like the first roller coaster we rode, Big Thunder Railroad, because there was an abominable snow monster that startled him.

This was the Fire Station in Mickey's Toontown and by this point it was starting to warm up and my family was already tired of posing for pictures. So, we grabbed a light lunch and headed to Critter Country where Pooh and friends live. Michael was sure we would find Darby there but, of course, we didn't.

So we checked out a few of the rides and attractions and then headed back to our hotel to go for a swim and to wait for the day to get a little cooler. When we got off the monorail in the evening, we headed for New Orleans Square and had a sandwich for dinner. Then we walked around and rode some of the attractions while we waited for the nightly fireworks show. We went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and were all in awe. The animated figures and special effects were amazing (in fact we went on this ride a second time on Wednesday). Then Michael fell asleep so Jenny stayed with him while Jeff, Brian and I went through the Haunted Mansion, which we loved too.

We took the Disneyland Railroad back to Main Street and the front gates to get back to our hotel and were able to see some of the fireworks while we walked. (The monorail didn't run during the fireworks.) We'll get a good night's sleep and tomorrow will take you to Disney's California Adventure.

Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne


Deb said...

Hi JoAnne, This was a wonderful trip, I'm sure that Michael is still talking about it. I really enjoyed it myself, it was like I was there with you. Even if Michael was a little grouchy at times I think he had a blast especially on that slide and rollercoaster. I have a thing for rollercoasters myself. This turned out to be a wonderful trip for the whole family, and plus it was during your Anniversary. Well I could go on and on JoAnne but I won't, just know that Michael and your family remain in my prayers, and I think of you all often. Deb

Kathy said...

Hi JoAnne,

Looks like a great trip that is filled with happy memories.

Thank you for signing my guestbook (Brown Bag For A Cure). I would like to talk to you via email or phone. Please email me at
Hugs and prayers...

I beLIeVE In A Cure...