Tuesday, August 6, 2013

California Adventure Part 5

Our last day!   We started out our last day to play in a big way by taking a trip through Downtown Disney as we made our way to a hotel to enjoy breakfast with the Disney characters. 
And on our way there, Mom and Dad couldn't pass this setting and had the kids take a pix of Dad stealing a kiss from Mom. :)
We ate breakfast with none other than...

The kids loved the Mickey pancakes and for some reason, they just couldn't get enough of the watermelon - this was Cash's dish alone. 
Cash also got a special birthday song sung to him by the restaurant staff since his birthday was that weekend along with a cupcake and candle.  He felt pretty special!

After breakfast, we made our way to California Adventure where we had decided to spend our last day. 

In order to get a fun picture on the kids laying in the Mickey figure you see below, I had them close their eyes until just before I snapped the picture so the bright sun wouldn't bother them too much.  ...And...this is what we got from Vanna.  Ha ha ha.

Our first stop was Cars Land. 

Because we took our sweet time eating a yummy breakfast, we got to the park one hour after it opened and the Fast Pass for the Radiator Springs Racers ride was already all booked out for the entire day!  We had heard it was popular but my goodness!  We were told we could wait in line without a Fast Pass for 2 1/2 hours but the decision was made real fast on that one.  We figured there was much more fun to be had than to waste that long standing in line, and the kids had no idea what they might be missing.  So off we went to the next attraction and who did we see driving right by us...
Lightning McQueen!
We enjoyed Luigi's Flying Tires and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree before heading over to "a bug's land". 
Funny story:   As we were walking along, there was a time when Ty said "Let me hold Vanna's hand."  Right as he said that, we were both looking down at her and she picked her nose.  Right on cue Ty said, "Nevermind!"  Ha ha ha.

We couldn't pass up California Screamin but afterward I told Ty, "I don't know if I'm just getting old or what but the way your head kind of gets jarred around on those kind of roller coasters gives me an instant headache."  It wasn't my favorite experience :)  Ty was pretty impressed by it - just how fast it was and stuff.  I much prefer a ride like Ariel's Undersea Adventure.  In fact, it turned out to be one of my favorite rides of the trip (call me boring - I don't care :)!

We enjoyed lunch in the park and that's when I realized I was pretty much done.  We were all sitting at the table in a type of daze of exhaustion and I hardly felt like going on another ride.  Everyone else felt the same way so we passed on the Adventures of Hollywood Land, along with many other rides on that side of the park, and finished up at Grizzly Peak.  We loved the Grizzly River Run (although poor Vanna couldn't go so each of us "big kids" took turns going with Cash)!
Then we headed back to the hotel for a nap before returning for the night time World of Color show.  We were all asleep within seconds I think and I had to drag everyone out of bed to go back.  We could have slept through the night we all seemed so tired. 

I'm so glad we didn't though because we would have missed another of the most magical parts of the trip.  The World of Color show was in a word - AMAZING!  Water was shooting up everywhere creating beautiful displays and I loved how Disney images and movie scenes were projected and displayed on the fog/water.  It was just incredible.    I just love how all the parks come alive with their lights, shows, fireworks, etc.  The night time fun is just the best!

It was the perfect ending to a fantastic trip.  Many memories were made, many laughs were heard (that we are choosing to remember, rather than the arguing that was also heard :) and lots of fun was had! 
As it turned out, I think we enjoyed the experience so much more than if we'd tried to go earlier in the year or even if we'd been able to go in years past when we'd originally thought of doing it.  Funny how that works sometimes eh?  We wouldn't have been able to see/do as much with our little Rosie with us and Vanna wouldn't have been able to go on near as much if we'd gone any earlier.  The kids were at an age where they were young enough to enjoy it and be excited about the characters yet old enough to go on most all the rides and hopefully old enough to remember the experience and the fun they had!
And although we had a blast, we were anxious to see and snuggle with Rosie Posie.  Gosh I missed her!  I was a bit nervous about how she would react to me when we arrived to pick her up.  I've heard of babies hardly remembering their parents when they go for a trip and not wanting to go to them, and I had in mind how sad I'd be if she responded that way.  But she didn't - thank goodness.  She first looked at us like she couldn't believe we were there - almost like in shock, poor thing - then she held out her sweet arms to me right away.  I gobbled her right up.  It was so good to see our baby again!  We gave her the little souvenirs we'd bought her (again, we got hers in advance and had them wrapped and just sitting at Grandma and Grandpas waiting for her so we didn't have to pack them) - an Eyore Pillow Pet and Minnie Mouse slippers and just played with her for the rest of the night!
We stayed that night at my parents, went to church with them the next day and then made our way home.  Boy, I love vacations, but I've come to realize that by about day six away from home, I'm missing my own bed, home cooked meals, etc.  I think the whole family felt that way!  It's always good to be home - and thankfully, we were home, safe and sound!

California Adventure Part 4 - Universal Studios

The next day we rode the bus again down to Universal Studios and snapped a couple photos of these fun monuments welcoming you to the park.

The first thing we did was go on the Studio Tour which I think was my favorite thing to do at Universal Studios.  It shows you famous scenes from movies and shows you a few of the tricks behind movie making.  I always find it so interesting to hear about this stuff and I was right when I figured Ty would be fascinated with it as well.  We're movie watchers and now it will be fun to see if we can figure out some of their tricks as we're watching.

On the tour we came across a parking lot of famous cars, one of which was The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.  The kids LOVE Scooby Doo so they of course, thought that was awesome. 

And then guess who we found after the tour?!  Scooby Dooby Doo!!!

Vanna said, "Mom look!" (for about the hundredth time on the trip :) and when I turned around, this is what I found.  I thought the hat looked pretty funny and had to steal a snapshot.  It reminded me of when my older brother used to tease me by putting his hand on top of my head and making a sucking sound only to describe it as the sound of a starving brain sucker - sounds like an older brother huh!?

We also got to meet Curious George when we went to the Curious George play area.  We started out telling the kids they could get a little wet to cool off but asked them not to get sopping wet.  Does it look like they listened?  Who can blame them though when there's this much fun to be had in the water and when the weather was so warm?  Piece of advice though:  don't wear tennis shoes (they don't dry out so quickly :).

Ty's a Back to the Future fan so you can see his happy face at the following finds:

Great Scott!

Another highlight to Universal Studios was that we got to meet "a real life transformer" (as Vanna would say)!  Vanna still talks about this so it must have really impressed her.  I have to admit, it was pretty cool.  But even for it's coolness and the awesome special effects to the Transformer ride, we were all about sick afterward and wasn't sure it was worth the super long wait to go on it.  I guess by this point of our trip, our minds were tired of all the 3D stuff - it was starting to make us all a bit sick or dizzy I think.

I have to record a funny memory from when I came to Universal Studios as a kid.  At that time, The Mummy attraction was a walk-thru and at one point a statue (which was really a dressed up guy) came at me from a dark corner and about scared me to death.  As I was in motion trying to get away from the guy, I ended up running head first into a rock arch doorway that led to the exit of the attraction.  I had been so focused on looking at the scary guy and not paying attention to my surroundings that I hit the wall with enough force that I think it kind of knocked me out because the next thing I knew, I was on the ground on my bottom and facing the opposite direction of the way I was going.  Needless to say, I came out of the attraction with a big goose-egg on my forehead.  So you can imagine why I found it comical that The Mummy attraction now is an actual ride, rather than a walk-thru.  Ha ha ha.

We also got to go to a very action packed water show called WaterWorld and a fun show where they showed us how the animals are trained to be actors in films.  It was pretty entertaining. 

All in all, Universal Studios was probably my least favorite stop, but it was still fun and provided us with great memories!  On top of it all we were just so grateful for great weather we had that allowed us to enjoy every minute of the trip.  Before leaving, I kept hoping for good weather and good health for the trip.  I guess one out of the two is okay :).  I think as far as weather goes, we couldn't have picked a better time - it wasn't too hot yet  - it was just right!

Monday, August 5, 2013

California Adventure Part 3

After our "time off" and after Vanna was feeling much better, we made our way back to Disneyland on Wednesday, May 29th. 

Welcome to Disneyland!

We first headed to Fantasyland to finish our adventures there and found ourselves enjoying, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Peter Pan's Flight, etc.  And speaking of Peter Pan's Flight...we waited in line for quite a long time for this one surprisingly and when we finally got right near the front of the line, we thought our wait had been in vain.  The group getting on the ride in front of us had a child throwing a huge tantrum and his parents couldn't get him on the ride quickly enough - this backed up the ride and jammed everything up.  We were told that the ride wouldn't be working for what could be over an hour.  I was a little bummed as I had been trying throughout the trip to get as much in as possible and thought, "man - what a waste of time".  We decided to wait it out for just a bit and luckily the ride was up and running within a matter of about 5-10 minutes.  Ty kept saying, "this ride better be worth it"  and it was I thought.  For not even remembering the ride before or having never heard anything about it, I was glad we got a chance to ride it because I thought it was very cute and was one I loved.  Just kind of a funny story - and one I'm glad didn't repeat itself throughout the rest of the trip!

We finally caged these wild boys on the Casey Jr. Train!
While we were in Fatasyland we got to meet the Princesses.  Vanna soaked it up - she said she was most excited to meet Cinderella and who do you suppose was the first princess we got to meet?

Cash played almost bashful (which is quite unusual for him) with his hands in his pockets the entire time!

After the kids were done admiring and flirting with the princesses, we made our way over to Frontierland where the only thing we enjoyed was the Mark Twain Riverboat.  Most everything else was closed for remodeling.  But, no matter, not much looked overly exciting there anyway.  So we went to see Winnie the Pooh and the gang at Critter Country.  We met T-I-double "g"- er! He gives great high fives!

And Eeyore gives great hugs!  OOO, I just love Winnie the Pooh!

Then we got a Fast Pass to Splash Mountain and while we waited, we hit some attractions at  New Orleans Square such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.  I was surprised the kids did so well through that.  Brave little buggers.  Then we ate a yummy (and might I add expensive) lunch in the park at the Harbour Gallery.  We finished up just in time to cash in our Fast Pass to Splash Mountain so we headed back for the dive of our lives :).  Ty got especially wet - I'm pretty good at ducking behind the person in front of me. :)  The kids loved it!  It was always so funny - as soon as we got off one ride, Vanna would say, "Let's go for another ride!"
We finished up in Adventureland with Tarzan's Treehouse, the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room but we were hugely disappointed to find Indiana Jones' ride was shut down.  We got a fast pass for it anyway and hoped we'd be able to catch it later.  It was one ride I remembered loving. 
By then we had literally marked off just about everything there was to do in the park and so we made our way back to a couple of our favorites - like Star Tours and Space Mountain (except Cash - after going on Space Mountain the first time, Cash said, "I hated it!" - the rest of us loved it!).
At this point we told the kids it was time for them to pick out their souvenirs.  We had actually bought each of them a Disney shirt before we went to save on the cost and gave it to them then told them in advance that they could each only pick one thing from Disneyland and one thing from Sea World (knowing how expensive everything is and knowing we didn't have a ton of extra luggage space coming home).  They were really good about understanding that and were on the lookout the whole trip for their very favorites.  When we got to the check-out counter to pay for the souvenirs, the clerk asked Vanna what her favorite part about Disneyland was.  Vanna responded, "Sea World!"  Ha ha ha ha!

The kids loved the 3D glasses.

By the end of the day we were all walking a bit slowly and the kids were tired of course.  But we thought it was so funny when a mean and impatient Cruella came behind us and muttered to Cash, "You walk slow!" before bolting around him.  It was so funny - she really played the part. :)  The kids found themselves a little resting place along the walk way before we headed over to Main Street for the parade. 

The parade is one of my favorite parts about Disneyland!  We saved ourselves a spot right along the route and sat there to eat our dinner of hotdogs and pop and waited for it to start and I'm so glad we did because the kids got to see everything up close and personal!

Meet Mary Poppins everybody.

Vanna loved this new float with Rapunzel.  The whole time I was watching the parade I couldn't help think about how hot each of those characters must get in their costumes and all that get-up.

After the parade, we went and saved ourselves a seat for the night show Mickey and the Magical Map.  I wasn't sitting for long before Vanna curled up on my lap and fell asleep.  Since we were just waiting and I was kind of stuck in one spot, Ty went to see if the Indiana Jones ride was open and he lucked out!  He got to ride it along with a few other favorites again before the show started.  And what a fun show it was.  I have to say that I think the parade and the night shows are just the best at Disneyland - they are so magical with all the characters and amazing effects!  

To add even more magic to the night, we stayed to watch the fireworks going off behind the famous Disney Castle.  What an amazing day and unbelievable night!