After hitting the sack pretty early the previous night I arose early ready to go, unfortunately I still had a few hours until the park opened, fortunately that wasn't the only option. Long time readers of this site will know that I am collector of Disney theme park postcards. Some of the cards I wanted would be found not only at the park but at the Disney hotels, in fact a few of them could only be found there, the cards given to guests free with a stay at the hotel. Our walk to the park would be quite short for the remainder of our stay in fact considering we were parked at the far end of the parking deck from the trams both previous days, I think there was less walking involved from our room than the park gate! Less walking than from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom for you east coast only fans, and even less walking than the walk from the Disneyland hotel to the gate. But this day was not to be a day of less in most things it was to be a day of MORE.
We arose early and made our plan for the day at the I Hop adjacent to our hotel. I started out this day by myself for reasons which will become clear as you read this, mainly there are things I love to do around the Disney parks that other would probably find boring and I had no need to subject Carlene to this. Besides that, she was going to go take care of the accident report this morning, and buy me a pair of sneakers. We had neglected to bring my sneakers and although I had a really nice pair of actually somewhat supportive strap-on sandals, it was clear these would not do for full days of walking (which is probably one more reason it was easy for me to call it a night early the previous evening). First, a word about our hotel, it has a lot going for it, but the top three things are, location, location, location. These first few shots may give you some idea of how close it is to Disneyland.
I walked from our hotel across Harbor into the tram and bus unload area, the trams were just going through their morning check outs and appropriate to that their hoods were up so heres a few photos of that.
I proceeded to the Esplanade, and across to the Disneyland Hotel arriving there some time before the first gift shop (smaller of the two shops there) opened at 7am. I went to the desk told them I was a postcard collector and wanted to know if I could have one of the cards of the hotel, I think they still assumed I was a Disneyland hotel guest, if for no other reason than the fact that it was still pretty early in the morning. I still had about 15 minutes before that first gift shop opened (at 7), so I took a look around I saw several Disney fans lined up in the convention center area for an event (merchandise related I think) that would be starting in a little while. I think this was when I ran into the Disney tattoo guy who I've heard mentioned several times (mostly at http://www.disneyworldtrivia.com ). anyways after checking out this convention center lobby area (which like the rest of the Disneyland Hotels areas I visited has a lot of very nice Disneyland concept art on display) I headed back to where the gift shop was and as they opened for the morning began picking out my first post cards of the trip 4 each of the less expensive type of cards and three each of the other, more expensive, foil, Die cut, and over sized cards. That's one for me, one for Tom De Luca (a fellow Disney PC collector from NJ) and one for future trade or re-sale. They had a nice large rack of cards, in fact I later decided that this was probably one of the best places I could have begun. By the time I got checked out from that I decided the best thing to do would be to take these cards back to the room then line up at Disneyland for the opening, I did that and by the time I got into Disneyland the Disneyland band had started their 8AM set in front of the train station, so I got my MD recorder out and proceeded to record them.
Many of the characters from Alice in Wonderland were set up here as well, and the band played some "Alice" tunes as part of their set. There were a few changes at the park today including a jumbotron television set up at the Town Square end of Main Street(and others around the park), also, when I had first stepped through the gate I noticed that todays park map was different than the ones we had received the previous two days gone was the cover photo of the Parade of Dreams, it's replacement a nighttime shot of Space mountain close in with lasers shooting into the sky and the phrase IT'S BACK! in the middle of the cover.
As you might guess the centerpiece of today would be the re-opening of Space Mountain. A few years ago when they announced Space Mountains closing for re-hab initial estimates were that the Mountain would not be able to re-open until november of 2005. That number stuck with me even through the planning of the precise dates of this trip, I didn't know until after we had already booked our room and airfare that Space Mountain would be re-opened during my trip after all, not only that but that the official re-opening ceremonies would be on one of my days at Disneyland. Once I heard that I began to plan that into my trip figuring I would go stake out a spot where the ceremonies could be seen first thing in the morning. Now, I knew that ceremonies at Walt Disney World like this are often held out of public sight, in fact they have a rather annoying habit of closing parks early just to hold press-only events (especially Epcot). So I asked some west coast Disney fans if this was the case out there , and was told that Disneyland press events are usually open to the public, they're just tremendously crowded, Well I figured that's no problem I'm 6'5" tall I can stand at the back of the crowd look through my cameras zoom lens if necessary and snap a few pictures and record some audio. So after finishing my recording session of the Disneyland band. I headed back to Tomorrowland to pick out a spot for the ceremony which I had heard would be at 10AM.