The quality of George Lucas’ film making skills have been the subject of much debate for the past decade. But no one can deny the fact that 35 years ago today he changed the world as we know it. Star Wars was a tour de force and geekdom will forever be in his debt. Thank you George Lucas and a very Happy Anniversary to you.
At first I didn’t that think our little Leap Day trip to Disneyland was nerdy enough to write about. Then I thought about the fact that I stayed up all night for a history-making 24 hour Disney marathon and I realized that this is about as nerdy as it gets.
Our little group chose a Star Wars theme for our little adventure. We were planning to ride Star Tours multiple times like I had on my birthday. Also, we all love Star Wars. We wore our t-shirts. Jessica had her Darth Vader backpack. Troi had her Darth Vader sweatshirt. I had my Darth Vader watch. Then, of course, it turned out to be über cold and we had to cover up our sweet t-shirts. Then Jessica had to head out and she took her sweet backpack with her. In the end the only proof of our Star Wars love was Troi’s sweet Vader sweatshirt. Which got a ton of compliments in the Star Tours line the ONE time we were able to ride it.
We also had our mini lightsabers. I snagged them the second I saw them at Target because they, well, look like mini lightsabers. Only after I brought them home did I realize that they could also be used as location devices. At that point I didn’t think the park would be very busy in the middle of the night. I was very very wrong about that. So these bad boys came in handy on multiple occasions. Plenty of people had glow sticks and light up Mickey ears but these outshined them all. I’m never going to any nighttime event without one ever again. A stroke of genius on my part. And did I mention that it doubles as a lightsaber?
I got to introduce Troi to the awesomeness that is Captain Eo. Usually she has my 3 year old nephew with her and he’s not quite old enough to sit still or appreciate he epicness that is Michael Jackson throwing rays of light that turn the Borg into 80’s workout video dancers. And they gave us a special pin for watching it on Leap Day. Double win.
We had to fight for this picture with Darth Vader. Seriously, people, you just don’t mess with my sister-in-law. She’s married to a marine so she has badassery via osmosis. She plays roller derby so she has badassery in her own right. She’s all tatted up (including a skull that looks like it should be Klingon, that one is my favorite) so basically she’s just badass all around. Here’s what happened…
We were hanging out by the totally random rave party for about 5 minutes while Troi said hi to a friend of hers. As we were leaving we saw Darth Vader and two stormtroopers walk by. Game Over for Troi, the girl is borderline obsessed with Vader. So we follow them and see a line to take a picture with them. It’s kind of long, but shit, so are all the other lines so we get in it. They say that Vader and friends are going to be there for half an hour. The way the line is moving we’ll totally get to the front in time. Ten minutes later one of the girls working the line…don’t know her name so we’ll just call her Evil Whore….starts shouting that Vader is only going to be there for 5 more minutes. The person behind us in line has a schedule of his appearances and says not to worry, he’ll be back at midnight (in about 20 minutes or so). We have nothing better to do because, at this point, we’re still under the delusion that people will clear out of the park after the parade at 1am, so we decide to wait. About 5 minutes later the stormtroopers come back sans Vader (so they’re obviously following this so-called schedule they’ve given out). Troi gets a little anxious and goes up to EW and asks when Vader is coming back. EW says it won’t be for about another half an hour. Troi very nicely says that she would like to wait for Vader and that other people can go in front of us in the line if they want a picture with just the stormtroopers. EW flips the fuck out. She says that we have to take pictures with just the stormtroopers or we can’t have pictures at all. Troi comes back to the line fuming. Everyone around us wants to know what’s going on and why Vader isn’t there. Troi fills them in on what EW said and states that she’s not moving. She’s waiting for Vader and EW can suck it. Everyone else decides that they are going to do the same. We get to the front of the line and refuse to move. EW starts yelling at us. We start calmly explaining our position. EW starts threatening us. We start not so calmly explaining our position and all the ways in which she’s failing at her job and how she’s a lying liar who lies. A grandma behind us points to her crying grandson and totally uses him as a pawn against EW. It was epic. EW threatens to call over security or management. We tell her to please do. The Manager comes over and wants to know what’s going on. Troi is our unofficial spokeswoman and she very nicely tells him the whole story. EW is standing next to him with her arms crossed and a smug look on her face. The Manager….don’t know his name so I’ll just call him Awesome Manager Dude….TOTALLY AGREES WITH US. The smug look very quickly evaporates from EW’s face, only to be replaced with a look of pure, unadulterated hatred. AMD quickly forms a second line for those who don’t mind having a picture with only stromtroopers…mostly made up of people who happened to be walking by (I felt bad for the poor troopers, they had no idea what was going on and we wanted to tell them that it had nothing to do with them). EW walked up and down the line saying that there was a second, faster line for the troopers and NO ONE MOVED. Seriously, it was like some crazy, instantaneous brotherhood of nerds that was as mad as hell and they weren’t gonna take it anymore (bonus points if you know what movie I stole that line from). Darth Vader came back out about 5 minutes later and we got our GD picture. Justiccccce!!! I’m not gonna lie, the experience restored my faith in humanity a little.
After that we said screw it and got in the long ass line for Star Tours. We quickly formed “fleeting line friendship #1” with a guy named Chris who had come to the park (han) solo. He explained to us how they had a giant X-Wing in the room we were waiting in during the previews of the revamped ride. He was kind enough to email me a picture of it.
The good thing was that this was the best scenario combo I’d seen yet for the ride. The bad thing was the 10 drunken idiots behind us that were shouting the whole time. Made soooo much worse by the fact that one of them was chosen to be the rebel spy. (I might be just a little bit bitter that I’ve never been chosen as the rebel spy…ahem)
After a quick jaunt over to Pirates of Caribbean (in which the girl we’d been talking to in the seat behind us fell asleep and had to be shoved off the ride), it was 4am and our last chance to ride Space Mountain. We had been hopeful that the line would die down, but nope, there was a 140 minute wait. We quickly formed “fleeting line friendship #2” with a lady about my mom’s age who had flown in from Arizona that morning on the 7am flight, taken a Super Shuttle to Disneyland, ridden rides all day/night by herself, then was going to take the shuttle to the Disneyland hotel, the hotel shuttle to the airport and catch a 8:30am flight back to Arizona. The woman was a frakking rockstar.
By the time we got off Space Mountain it was 6am and the park was closing for 4 hours before they opened again at 10am.
We walked down Main Street with the rest of the crazies…surprisingly few people considering how crowded it was all night. We found a drunk guy in a Ninja Turtle snuggie and had to stop and take a picture with him.
We high-fived the Management team who were all lined up wearing Mickey hands and shouting “We did it!”
We walked past the ticket booth where people were already lined up to buy tickets for the park that day. I know it sounds weird, but it was sort of a spiritual experience walking through Disneyland while the sun came up.
Maybe it was just the exhaustion, but that was the first and only point where I thought “dude! I was just a part of history!”
I’m glad I did it but I will never, ever, ever do that again.