Last week I was at the Disneyland Resort, and like all the times I'm there, I resolved to wake up early and get into the park early. As luck would have it, there was no early morning entry for resort hotel guests, so I had to enter at 9AM, at the same time as everyone else. Since it's the beginning of summer, I expected to see bigger crowds than I had on my previous visits (in the spring and the fall), but I didn't expect this:
That wasn't even the line to enter Disneyland. It was the line before the line, to get your bags checked. Once I got into the park, the real reason for the crowds became evident: Star Tours was opening that day. Duh. It's not like I didn't know that -- I was here for that very reason, to cover the opening ceremony. I just didn't make the connection. But it's impossible not to make the connection when you see this:
That is the line for Star Tours. It started near the Astro Orbitors and the Plaza Inn (the area nearer to Star Tours had been roped off for the opening ceremony) and snaked back and forth, spilling onto Main Street. I took this photo at 10:15 AM. According to the Disney line monitor that I asked, the line looked to be about 4 or 5 hours long -- and the ride hadn't even opened yet. By 7PM that day, I was seeing tweets from people saying they had waited for about 2 hours, so it did get better, but oh my gosh, you have to be a Real Star Wars Fan to stand that long in the hot sun. My friend Akemi spoke to the guy who was first in line, and he told her that he had been waiting at the Disneyland gate since 2:00 AM.
I have to admit, I felt more than a twinge of guilt seeing such a huge line. Here are these diehard fans, who have waited months, if not years, to get back on Star Tours (so what's an extra hour or five?), who will cherish every second in that Star speeder, who know the name of each and every droid they will see and every planet they will visit, waiting in line......
...... and here I am, given the incredible treat of going on Star Tours with the rest of the media, before the general public. I have a basic knowledge of the Star Wars world (I know where Hoth is, and what an AT-AT is, and I know that Jar-Jar Binks sucks), but I couldn't tell you what the name of the Wookie Planet is, only that it's got lots of trees (I subsequently did my research and found out it's called Kashyyyk; better late than never). Most seven-year old boys know more about it that I do, and I got to ride Star Tours twice. I could have ridden it several times more (as some of the other media people did) but I didn't want to get too nauseous.
Oh well. There were a bunch of people who had won promos from various radio stations and got to ride along with the media people. I just think of it this way: they got lucky, and so did I. I guess there are some things money can't buy, after all.
To all the people in line: I admire your fortitude! And it truly is an awesome ride. I'm sure you knew what you were getting into when you stepped into the queue, so I'm equally sure you'll come out of that ride and say it was worth the wait.