September 24, 2012


Alternate title for this post: "Looking WAY Up At the Park," in reference to my other posts about "looking up" inside the Disney parks.

The kids had the day off on Friday -- one of those district "work furlough" days, which basically translates to "the state of California didn't budget for the school to be open today." My husband, a huge space geek (he was quite misty over the successful Mars Rover landing in August), took the day off of work and we all drove out to Anaheim to catch a glimpse of the space shuttle Endeavor as it made its farewell flight around our state, before landing at LAX. 

One of the many iconic California spots the Endeavor flew over on Friday (including the Golden Gate Bridge, Griffith Observatory, the Santa Monica pier, etc.) was Disneyland.  At just over an hour away, Disney was the closest spot for us to try to see it. 

We parked and strolled through Downtown Disney, the strip of shops and restaurants adjacent to the parks, which is where we saw Lego Prince Charming fighting off the Lego dragon from Sleeping Beauty:
We warned the kids repeatedly that we were NOT going into the park -- but of course, once we were standing right outside the gates, it was hard for them not to get a little whiny.  It was hard for me, too. But I've put in an early request to Santa that all I want for Christmas this year is to have our Disney Annual Passes again, so maybe it won't be too long until we return.  (The price of the passes has gone through the roof, by the way.)

It was crazy crazy hot on Friday, but we stood for at least half an hour with a big crowd of other expectant shuttle-watchers.  We'd left our water back in the car, so it was hot and THIRSTY and I worried about heat stroke, with our unprotected heads roasting under the noon sun. The kids were surprisingly patient -- or maybe they were just dulled speechless in the heat.
Photo taken before the crowd began to gather.
Finally, finally, the plane carrying the Endeavor was spotted off in the northwest sky, and everyone started cheering and yelling and the belly of the jet flew right over our heads, at an angle that made it fairly impossible to actually see the shuttle itself -- just its wings sticking out.  Cheering, cheering, and then....gone.

Immediately after, the husband & I agreed that if we'd known it would be so fleeting, and at such a bad angle, we'd probably wouldn't have wasted the time and gas to drive out.  But after we found some shade and got some cold drinks inside us, we reflected that it was still pretty cool to have been there, to have been part of the crowd and the excitement and the sense of history. 
And someday when my children grow up and look back on it, they'll tell their own kids about that time when they had the day off from school, and their parents took them right up to the gates of the Disney parks, but wouldn't let them go inside.

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