Thursday, December 27, 2012

Disneyland Day 3 (Part 1)

Thank you Redbox for your 5:30am wakeup call.  The text tone woke me up bright and early, despite the fact that the alarm wasn't set to go off until 7am.  I laid in bed trying to convince my body to go back to sleep but it was no use.  I finally woke everyone else up just after 7am and we got ready pretty quickly then went next door to Captain Kidds for our free breakfast.  Not exactly the tastiest start to the morning, but at least we got some food in our bellies.  It made me doubly glad we'd thought to bring muffins, as we'll be eating those the rest of the week. :)

 While we were finishing up breakfast Melinda texted to let us know that she was in line, so when we got to California Adventure we met up with her.  A cast member told her that they would let us into the park at 8:30.  We were also notified that RSR was down until at least noon, both by multiple announcements by cast members and also by signs posted in the park.  Melinda's family was heading for Screamin' first.  Her Mom didn't want to ride Screamin' so was getting fastpasses for RSR instead.  She offered to take our tickets and get us fastpasses also.  We were so thankful that we didn't have to spend time in the line but that we could just go straight to our first ride of the day, TSMM. 

We were held at rope drop near Carthay Circle until the park opened at 9am.  It seemed like a long wait, but the kids passed the time playing Disney Trivia together on my phone. 
Once they opened the park we had to slowly follow the rope to Carsland, at which point we passed right by and headed straight for TSMM. 
We tried to walk fast but found that there were plenty of people there ahead of us.  Nonetheless we got on in good time and all enjoyed playing the games.  Here's the scoreboard for Carissa and I (we rode together).
We liked it so much we decided to go again, knowing that wait times for TSMM weren't likely to get lower throughout the day.  The wait this time was about 20-25 minutes and was probably the longest wait we have had thus far.  Brian amused himself taking self-portraits with us all.

We did manage to find a few hidden Mickey's in the queue (this one caused some debate... there's a hidden Mickey in her spots near her horns, but are the three toenails together a hidden Mickey too?).

Our second time through we saw Melinda's family, who joined the line about 15 minutes after we did.  They had ridden Screamin' twice and were ready to move on.  They handed our park passes and fastpasses to us when our lines passed next to one another.  To our surprise, Melinda's Mom had also got us all WOC fastpasses.  Yahoo!


Our second ride on TSMM and Brian was crowned the grand victor, having achieved the highest score each time we rode the ride.  His best score was 185,400.  The rest of us were significantly under that.

Screamin' was going to be our next ride but the standby ride was a little long.  Instead we let the kids ride King Triton's carousel and grabbed faspasses to use later on Screamin'. 

 The kids had yet to ride Goofy's Sky School so we sent them that way and then leisurely walked the boardwalk and perused the stores while they waited and rode.  Tristan said the ride "scared the heck" out of him, as they were so high up and barely made the corners.

The kids had yet to pick our Mickey ears but Chase had seen Oswald ears on our first day in CA and decided that's what he wanted.  We weren't able to find them anywhere in Disneyland Park so we stopped by Seaside Souvenirs for them. 
We got his name on the back and he wore them all day long.  He loved that people asked him about them and why the ears were so big.  And since he's a huge Walt Disney fan (and knows so much about him... he's done many school reports on him) he was able to give the interested parties quite the history lesson about Oswald.  It was adorable!


Carissa had been eyeing several pairs of ears and she finally made her choice.  She went with the "Glow with the Show" ears... white ears with a brightly colored had covered in Mickey heads.  When you are in certain areas or at certain shows (like WOC, fireworks, etc.) then the ears blink different colors in time with the music and the theme of the show.  They are super cute ears!  Unfortunately she couldn't get her name embroidered on them, but she didn't care. 

Brian walked away for a moment and came back carrying three churros.  The kids hadn't had a chance to have one yet this trip.  We shared them but they were polished off fairly quickly.

 We walked our way past Little Mermaid and Tristan just spouted out "I'm wishing this would never end".  Made my heart melt!  That's how I feel about Disney vacations with my family too.  I love them and wish they would never end.  To hear Tristan say that though just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

It was time for us to use our Screamin' fastpasses and Carissa just kept hounding us about riding it, so we headed there to use them.  I did make the family stop to get some family photos where Duffy usually is.  He wasn't there, which was okay with us though, as the area was decorated nicely for Christmas.

We finally made our way to Screamin' and we had so much fun again, though Brian and I were both feel a little off balance afterwards.

Today was sort of a leisurely day, comparatively speaking, so we kept the slower pace and headed to the Pacific Wharf to check out the Ghiradelli chocolate store.  I had heard that they were giving free samples of the peppermint bark and I wasn't disappointed.  Yummy!  Brian and Carissa don't eat them so the boys and I shared the 5 pieces we got.  We also eyed all the yummy treats offered, but since it was still mid-morning we decided to hold off on ice cream for later in the day.

We also went across the street to The Bakery Tour, where we got a piece of yummy, crusty, tasty, soft, perfect bread.  It was sooooo yummy!  If we were heading home or knew we'd eat it all we would have bought a loaf.  None of us cared about the tour but Brian and I loved the bread!

Up next was A Bugs Life.  I just love the little bug glasses we get to wear! The show was okay and the stingers got me again.  Even though I know it's coming it still startles me. 

By now it was lunch time.  Brian, Chase and I ended up eating at Flo's.  Service was pretty slow but the portions were big and the food was tasty.  Chase and I had the turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy
while Brian had the strip loin, also with mashed potatoes and gravy.  He and Chase ordered first, as I was off getting Tristan and Carissa's meal (no meat and potatoes for those two kids!) at Taste Pilots Grill.  When we got back the guys were still waiting for their food, so were given this free chocolate pie as an apology. 
It looks better than it tastes.  I had just a bit but the boys ate it.  Then again, they are teenage boys so anything sweet pretty much gets put away.  Tristan had chicken nuggets and Carissa had a "power pack", which is pretty much what her school lunch consists of, as she doesn't eat sandwiches - yogurt, apples, goldfish and carrots.  She ate most of it but didn't like the yogurt much.  Apparently only being fed one kind of yogurt (gogurt tubes) means that it's the only kind of yogurt you like.  *insert eye roll here*

Anyways, we sat back in the outdoor dining area of Flo's and just relaxed and enjoyed our food. 

When lunch was over it was almost time for us to use our RSR fastpasses.  Our FP time was 12:55, so we killed about 10 minutes in the stores then headed over to the RSR fastpass line.  I was so thankful for those fastpasses!  We bypassed the 110 minute posted wait and gobs of people in huge, winding queue lines.  We were in a car within 10-15 minutes of entering the line.  What a lifesaver!  

We did end up going through Luigi's tire shop again (none of us except Chase have been through Ramone's paint shop), but our car won the race and we all left with smiles.  It's a nicely done ride and the theming of the entire land, but also this ride, was fabulous.  We truly enjoyed it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Disneyland Day 2 (Part 3)

After the shopping we used our BTMRR fastpasses,

then it was time for the Jingle Jangle Jamboree. 


We poked around at the animals but really were aimed for Santa.  It was a somewhat slow line and took us about 20 minutes to get through.  We did at least have Billy Hillbilly show to help pass the time and it was amusing to see the Country Bears show up on stage.  I loved that show when I was a kid!

When it was our turn to go up and see Santa the kids all dumped their coats and bags and got a photo with the big guy.  Then Brian and I joined in and got pics with him too.  It was a pretty little area. 

We left the Jingle Jangle Jamboree and walked in a few more shops, then hit main street.  It was getting super busy on the streets because of the upcoming 4pm parade.  Our goal was the shopping anyways, so we went through the shops looking for good souveniors.  On the way in we ran into Mary Poppins, who was just standing near the doorway with no one to talk to and nothing to do.  Carissa went over and started chatting with her and I gathered the boys up and for a photo.  Carissa was so cute, locking arms with Mary Poppins for the photos.  Aaawww... these adorable moments are what make the not-so-adorable moments worth dealing with. 

We shopped all the way down one side of main street, finding these fun hats (which we didn't bring home but were absolutely hilarious!). 

We then crossed over by the tree

to the Mad Hattery, hoping that the kids would finally find some Mickey ears they wanted.  No luck yet, as some of the ones they wanted couldn't be personalized, which might be a dealbreaker.  At this point, 2 days in, we are thoroughly missing the make-your-own ears and have not found anything that we absolutely must buy.   

By the time we were done shopping it was so busy around Main Street that we couldn't even find a place to stand for the parade.  Maybe another day...

The Astro Orbitor was nearby and Carissa really wanted to ride that so we did.  It was a bit of a wait but Brian and I were grateful for some time off our feet.  We were starting to feel all the miles we put on them the last two days.  We took a seat and relaxed while the kids waited for their ride.  We went over to take photos of them when it was there turn but other than that we enjoyed the 15 minutes of peace and quiet relaxation. 

Now was a great time to use our Space Mountain fastpasses, as it was so close.  The standby was 45 mintues so we were glad for the FP's today.  We were even more thankful when we took the FP queue.  So much shorter than the regular queue!

On our way out the kids wanted to go play in the arcade near the Space Mountain exit.  We went in and looked around for a little while.  All three kids played "Fix it, Felix!" a time or two and then we moved on. 

They really wanted to go in Innoventions but Brian and I weren't sure we were up for it.  We decided to let them go for a little while and meet up with them later.  They assured us that they'd stay together and we agreed to meet up in 40 minutes, at 5:30. 

Brian and I really didn't have anything to do so we wandered around Nemo and found a little churro stand.  We hadn't yet had a churro this trip but fondly remember them as some of the best churros ever (and not even close to the nasty churros at WDW).  It didn't disappoint and was tasty, sweet and warm.  Yum! 
While we enjoyed our treat we took a seat in some hidden little seating area with some tables and benches.  We both sat back and put our feet up on a chair to relax.  It felt so good to be off our feet and even better to have them elevated some.  We sat there just like that chatting until an announcement came on and they flipped the lights on at IASW.  We didn't even realize we were sitting in the general area of IASW, so it was a surprise.  It was amazing when all those lights turned on and Brian and I both felt so grateful to be able to see it. 

About 5:15 we headed over to meet the kids and took a seat (and a few nighttime photos) while we were waiting.

We headed for the railroad so we could ride it to New Orleans Square and use our HMH fastpasses, however the train was closed because of the candlelight processional.  Bummer.  We hoofed it over to Haunted Mansion instead.  It was a long walk on tired feet, but we made it.  Again, the FP saved us a lot of time and we all loved this ride at least as much (if not more) than the first time we rode it.  It did stop right in the best scene of the ride, so I was able to get some decent ride photos (well, as good as I could without a tripod).


I'd been dying for some candies that I'd eaten when I was here last so that's where we headed.  It's just past Pooh so we all piled in to ride, joking with Chase about his childhood fear of heffalumps and woozles.  It was so much fun (at least for Brian and I) but Chase complained that our needling distracted him from finding all the hidden Mickey's.  Those Pooh ride vehicles are small!  Brian and I in one car does NOT work.  Poor guy!  We shoved in there together but it wasn't very pretty.

Next was the candy area, where we got a chocolate cupcake with Mickey sprinkles for the kids and a cashew, caramel and chocolate covered marshmallow stick for me.  yummy!

At this point we'd exhausted all the fastpasses we'd collected so we started meandering our way towards the hub, so we could scout a spot for the fireworks.  On the way we got waylaid by this pretty spot in New Orleans Square...

...and then again by the Jungle Cruise.  I don't know if it was because it was night (and thus too dark to see a lot) or that the crowd wasn't into it (no one laughed at his cheesy jokes), but the ride wasn't that fabulous. 

Our final goal for tonight was the fireworks.  Melinda had been scouting a spot and we ended up in the hub almost straight in front of the castle. 
It was a long wait but a great viewing area.  I went and got dinner for us while we waited and ate sitting down staring at the beautiful castle (with no lights on... I don't understand why they don't keep them on until closer to the fireworks time).  Carissa bought a glowing rose for herself and we sat on the ground and covered ourselves with the blankets.  It was a long wait and it started getting packed closer to show time, but in the end it worked out perfectly.  We stood there, the 5 of us together, arms around one another watching another beautiful Disney fireworks. 

 It was rather short, maybe because it was Christmas themed.  And it was missing the magic that Disney fireworks usually have (because of the Disney theming I think), but the moment where we stood there together, leaning on one another and watching the sky light up almost brought me to tears.  That moment was just so happy for me and reminder of why we love Disney as much as do.
We hung back for a while, hoping the crowds would filter out.  We really wanted nighttime photos with the castle in the background, but there wasn't a Photopass photographer anywhere to be seen.  We ended up taking our own, which were nowhere near as good because I didn't carry a tripod and had to shoot with a low f/stop so the background isn't in focus.  Oh well, at least we have some. :)

On the way out the tree was lit up and beautiful...
a great site to end our first day at Disneyland Park.