Tuesday, August 7, 2012

a slight delay heading home

Our journey home took a bit longer than we planned :)
We arrived in Greely Hill early evening on Saturday.
We had a great evening catching up with family and stayed up late telling stories and talking.
Our plan was to head north after breakfast and goodbyes, drive to Roseburg, OR and spend the night. Allowing for a reasonable drive the following day to get us home.
We hadn't planned on husband/dad waking up really sick on Sunday.

It didn't take to long to realize he wasn't going to be able to do our planned day. We were able to take the day and let him rest and recover. Not sure what the next day would bring, the kids and I headed out with our guide for the day: our Amazing Cousin. We explored Sonora and surrounding roads to and from. She took us to Railtown, which was a huge hit with both kids.

It was the end of the day for the train they were using so we got to see it go to the round house. It was a fun outing. We wrapped it up with dinner and headed back to check on our sick one.

He was feeling a bit better but we would know more in the  morning.
Well, morning brought good news and we packed up. Once we had a chance to visit a bit more we said our goodbyes and started our journey home.
With the sun shining and happy passengers we decided to drive until Roseburg or when we were tired, whichever came second. And with ample Starbucks along our route, we made it all the way to Vancouver, WA. Which allowed us to sleep at my in-laws house - and they have a VERY comfy guest bed.
The kids did great on our all day drive. With movies, audio books, music and car games, we kept them entertained.

We took the last few hours on our final day. And home was right where we left it.
The trip was great, filled with wonderful memories.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Days 12 through 16 - Disneyland

Overall this has been a really good trip to Disneyland as far as crowds go.
With the exception of a few rides, lines have been shorter than I expected.

We have been all over both parks and had a chance to ride almost everything we wanted to.
Had we been willing to get up a bit earlier today we could have done it all, but sleep won out :)

Tuesday morning we rolled in after another wonderful breakfast at King's Hawaiian in Torrance. It still holds its place as my favorite breakfast spot. Sadly its in Torrance, not at home. But I had a great breakfast Tuesday! We were at Disney's Grand Californian before Noon. Our room would be ready after 4, so we hit the park for a few hours.

Just chillin. 
Hi Mom!
chatting at lunch
Once we heard the room was ready, we picked up some picnic dinners and headed to our room. The picnics came with preferred viewing for the nighttime water light show "World of Color". So that was our evening plan.
On a side note, whatever had me feeling off Monday night lingered faintly in the background for several days.... oh bother. The family left me to nap in our room and went out to hit some more rides. They returned a few hours later to get me for one last ride before the show.
We enjoyed the show... but if you are going to go see it with kids, either be prepared to hold them so they can see, or get there early enough to be able to stand in the very front. We didn't do the later, so we did the best we could holding them up, on my part it was on and off, but they saw the bulk of it and it was really cool.
Then we hit the hay.

Wednesday was our get-up-before-the-roosters morning. We were in line to enter the park before 7 am! The reason for this is the new ride, in the new CarsLand: Radiator Springs Racers, which we had heard has an over 2 hour wait and fastpasses for the ride are gone by 9:30 each morning. So the park opens at 7 for resort guests... perfect! Right?
Tee Hee.... haa ha... silly planners. Wednesday, once we entered the park at 7 am, we saws signs saying "Radiator Springs Racers will open at 10 am today". WHAT? Huh? But, I got up early, just for that! And I don't know where the Starbucks is.... yet ;)

go ahead, click on the picture to read the sign... ugh ;)
We adapted, Hubby got fast passes for later and the kids and I hit a few rides.

So to give you a feeling for the nuttiness of the lines for this particular ride.... Hubby got in line for fastpasses around 7:10, the passes aren't distributed until 8. He got our passes at 8:05 and the time on our tickets was 11:20. By 10 am they were gone for the day. And the standby line was over 90 minute wait the rest of the day (and up to 2.5 hours). It's really the most popular attraction in the park. And it's a really cool ride. You are transported to Radiator Springs and it's pretty amazing.

Pretty cool, huh?
All of us, except our little lady, loved the ride. She isn't a fan of speed... and the racing part kind of killed the whole thing for her. We took a short break after our race and then split up for lunch. Us girls had lunch with the princesses at Airel's Grotto and the boys hit some fast rides and had Italian on the pier.

We came back together to change shoes... (just us girls) and go to Disneyland for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
I asked the kids to stand next to each other so I could take a picture... this is the result. 
We hit many of our favorites in DL that evening and stayed through til the fireworks! Yes, it was a long day :)
I have a new favorite place to watch the fireworks, and I will tell you since not very many people read this and its unlikely your knowing will fill it up :)
If you hang out in front of It's A Small World you have a lovely, uncrowded fireworks experience. Granted, you don't get the castle in front of the fireworks, and 10% of the fireworks happen at the castle, so you are occasionally glancing back at the castle. But the bulk of the fireworks are in the sky above toontown/small world. And you don't have to get there early to have a place to sit. And the kids have room to be kids and still see... but, shhhh. Don't tell anyone :)

Sleep in! Yay! no alarm clocks!
And we did. We were all awake by 10... tee hee. It was decadent.
Hubby went to the hotel's quick service restaurant and grabbed some chow for breakfast. After dining in the room and getting all ready, we hit Downtown Disney. Our kids had plans to make some souvenirs to take home. So, the boys hit RideMakerz and the girls went to Build-A-Bear.
We had a great time putting things together and each kid has a fun toy to bring home.
At this point it was NOON! I couldn't believe it myself, but thats what happens when you are lazy ;)
So we hit the parks and had a light lunch between rides and shows.

Take 2: I again, asked them to stand next to each other for a pic.... are they getting better at this?
Such funny kids :)
For dinner we met some longtime friends at an Anaheim resturaunt called Fire+Ice. Kind of like a Mongolian grill, but they make everything. All kinds of pastas, hot dogs, burgers, mex, asian, and its all cooked while you watch on a crazy big grill. It was lots of fun. And our little lady even decided she liked the fire..... after a while :) It was great to see our friends and hang out for a meal.
Then it was back to the hotel and to sleep.

We could have gotten up before the roosters again today, but we were too lazy ;)
We did book a tour for 10 am today, so we went to Disneyland around 9 for some window shopping before the tour started.

Discover the Magic Tour -
We met our guides in the tour garden at the front of the park at 10 this morning.
Tim was on time and Tiane (not sure that was her name, but it's close) was running late.
She found some odd keys on her way in and needed our help to figure out what they went to.
Once we established they were not keys to a brand new car, we all started to look around.
(Our group was us, another mom and her 9 year old son, and another couple.) Sitting up on a ledge was an old box with a lock on it... hmmmm.
Inside that box was a puzzle piece, with a clue - leading us to Frontierland. So off we go!

Kiddo with one of our Tour Guides headed down Main St.
Once inside Frontierland we re-read our clue and started looking for another box.

Opening the second box.
with our Pirate hooks
One of the kids found it and inside we found a pirate map! and some pirate swords and hooks. This lead us to Tom Sawyer's Island and Pirate's Lair. We had to commandeer a raft... but we said "Pleaseeee". Once we found the Lair we found another box!

opening box 3
This third box had another puzzle piece leading us to a house in the trees... Tarzan's Treehouse. So back on the raft and..... wait, they had a suprise ride on Pirate's of the Caribbean for us. We walked in through the exit and right onto the ride.... our kiddo wasn't to keen on this - in part because he likes more prep for rides and in part because we came in through the exit. But we all settled in and enjoyed the antics of those crazy pirates. Now, on to the treehouse. We found yet another box - this one had another puzzle piece.
opening box 4
This one directed us to Buzz Lightyear (now were talking, you should have seen our kiddo perk up at this). Our tour guide told us she had a great "short cut", which turned out to be a ride on the Jungle Cruise ;) funny girl. Again we got to enter through the exit and skip the line.

Then we all rode Buzz Lightyear. Our little lady wanted to ride with the tour guide so I got to go on my own... its been ages since I got to ride a ride on my own. She is so funny. After the ride we found our next box and puzzle piece. This one lead us to the Matterhorn and told us to look for a footprint. Which turned out to be a cast of the Yeti footprint. Near there the kids found the last box, which contained the last puzzle piece.

putting puzzle together
telling the tour guide where Mickey lives
The kids put all the pieces together and it made a big Mickey Mouse head. And told us to find him for our last thing. So off we go to Mickey's house in toontown. The big cheese was in and our little group had a private audience with him, while the tour guides told him everywhere we went and then put the puzzle together for him.

putting puzzle back together for Mickey
And then he gave us each fancy lanyards with medals saying the name of our tour. We had some time for pictures and hugs and were off... but wait, there was one last surprise - frozen apple juice from our guides. Which is pretty darn good.

with the Big Cheese
The tour was lots of fun and the kids did great. It was a challenge for our young man at times, but he got through it and enjoyed it. Our guides Tiane and Tim were great.
We hung out in Toontown for a little while after. The boys rode Gaget's Go-Coaster and the girls played in Goofy's house. Then we had lunch.
After lunch, our young man said he needed to go back to the room and we thought a break sounded like a good idea.
As it would turn out the kids seems to be suffering from whatever was bugging me earlier in the week, or something similar.
Hubby and the kids hung out the room the rest of the day watching movies and resting.
I got to do a bit of shopping and updated the blog ;)
Hopefully everyone will feel better in the morning.
Good night.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Days 12 - coming soon

We are still on our adventure, but the next four days will come all in one big Disneyland post when we are done.
See ya real soon ;)