October 30, 1969
Ten straight days at sea! Bliss! I wonder what’s happening in the real world. We have no idea. We used to read the news bulletin on the wall near the purser’s office every day , but now none of us care what’s happening in the world. This is our world and the rest doesn’t exist any more. Or if it does, it’s isn’t real.
As we approached Los Angeles on a misty morning at 7am we wondered if we’d made a wrong turn on the way because there were hills around and a big bridge we thought was the Golden Gate in San Francisco.
We had 5 hours to explore Los Angeles (or at least, what we thought was Los Angeles!) before joining our tour to Disneyland, so we climbed into a taxi and confidently said “to the city, please”.
It only took a few minutes to get there, and we couldn’t believe our eyes. Where were all the tall buildings, the bustling traffic? Wasn’t this supposed to be the glamorous Los Angeles, center of the movie world? It looked like a little country town!
We changed our money and had a lot of trouble trying to figure out the coins. A 10 cent piece is twice the size of a 25 cent piece! We did some shopping at a chemist (called a drug store here) and just handed the money over and said “take whatever it costs please!”
Then we decided to buy some postcards, and it was only then we discovered we weren’t even in LA at all, but in San Pedro! No, the ship didn’t get lost, this was just the port town. We knew Disneyland was 30 miles from where we docked, but hadn’t figured out that Disneyland is IN Los Angeles. And we weren’t.
We have our sea legs now, but as we wandered around San Pedro we discovered we’d lost our ground-legs after 10 straight days at sea. The footpath kept coming up to meet us every few steps and we kept tripping over our own feet. We had to keep grabbing each other by the arm or shoulder to stop from falling. Of course, that would make us all start giggling. I’m have no doubt people thought we were drunk!
At midday we boarded the bus for Disneyland, and after an hour traveling through suburban LA, we disembarked in a big car park.
But where was the fairy-tale castle we’d assumed was the entrance?
We walked through a turnstile and suddenly, there we were, in Main Street Disneyland! A street runs off it directly down to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, which is the entrance to Fantasyland.
First stop was the little cafe in the square where all the waitresses were dressed in early century clothing. Apparently it was meant to represent New Orleans.
No problem getting served, it was almost empty.
We had 10 tickets for our choice out of about 50 rides, so we looked them over as we waited for lunch, trying to decide which ones we’d take. We opted for the train ride first because it traveled all over Disneyland and would help us decide what else to see. The station was constructed to look historical, as did the train.
The trip lasted about 20 minutes and took us around the whole complex, showing us places we might have missed. After arriving back, we took a walk along Main Street and walked past a theater where Carole Lombard was appearing.
Everything there is so realistic! It was just as we’d imagined. But it’s so big that you’d need a week to see everything.
We began with Adventureland and did the Jungle Cruise. You wouldn’t know you were in an amusement park with people swarming all over it, because it really felt like you were deep in a jungle. We were in an open boat with about 20 other people, and as we cruised along, elephants trumpeted from the bank, snorting rhinos suddenly appeared, and alligators reared up out of the water beside the boat. (They warn you to keep your hands inside the boat at all times, of course!) There were giraffes, zebras, monkeys, you name it, even a few fierce-looking head hunters threatened us from the river banks!
Then we rode the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cups – which may not have been such a good idea after a big lunch – and did the ride down Matterhorn where we jumped into bobsleds and went screaming down and around and around the mountain, getting faster all the time.
In Fantasy Land we visited Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Story Book Land, then traveled through It’s as Small World (and couldn’t stop singing the damn theme song for hours afterwards! Most annoying!)
Next, Tomorrowland where we rode in a rocket ship. That was an interesting experience! Each one was designed for 2 people, one sitting in front of the other and both straddling a board down the center.
Chris and Denise went together and I was in another spaceship alone. I put my bag and parcels on the floor in front of me, and as we were spinning around, all the other rocket ships were way down below. I was spinning high up above everyone, almost vertical. I couldn’t figure out why I was the only one up there and getting higher all the time.
I finally realized that my parcels were pushing me backwards and I was trying to hold onto the steering wheel from so far back that I was pulling it towards me. When you pull on it, you GO up! The girls were laughing because I was yelling “hey you down there, why am I up here? How do I get down? Come up and join me!”
Soon it was almost time to go. After 4 hours we still hadn’t used all our tickets. We bought Mickey Mouse dolls, and after we’d stuffed ourselves with chocolate fudge pie and lollipops and all sorts of sweet and sticky stuff and been whirled about and thrown upside down and spun around, we regretfully staggered to the bus and arrived back in San Pedro at about 6pm.