binary girl: the secret blog

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ridiculously long vacation post, part two

January 13th, 2014 at 16:46

The long vacation post! Part two!

We got up on January 1 at dark o’clock in order to get to Carlsbad at a reasonable hour. Happily for us, Arizona is a rebel and doesn’t participate in PST/PDT so whatever time we left was really an hour earlier in Carlsbad. This drive was much like the others, but we saw some pretty amazing things — the sand dunes and huge rock mountains impressed both kids (as well as adults) and were interesting conversation points. We also showed them the state line, which was a little confusing to Katie at first because she didn’t understand why California’s sign had a flower instead of a star like Arizona.

Anyway. Max, as would be his way, fell asleep as we got close, and I took the “woah! where are we?!?” video when we reached Legoland with Max howling, as he is wont to do when he wakes up from a nap in the car. Max: good at falling asleep in the car, not good at waking up in the car. They were both really surprised, though, and were super stoked to go inside and check out the huge castle/pirate ship and run around looking at all of the things and seeing the minifigs walking around. They also thought that our room, which was castle-themed and included bunk beds and their own television, was amazing — and I was actually pretty stoked about it took, because even though it was the “cheapy” room, it felt big enough that I wasn’t claustrophobic in it. (It had a layout that reminded me of a cruise ship, in some ways.) We ate dinner at their overpriced buffet and then B went swimming with the kids (WAY too cold for me) before we retired to our room for the night. (Best things about the hotel: spontaneous dance party in the elevator, which we experienced when we looked at the other floors: adventure- and pirate-themed; the whoopee cushion in the floor that said “Oh, you stinky peeg!” when you stepped on it; the public restrooms that would talk to you about how cute you were when you washed your hands. Oh, and the guy at the hotel who told me that he thought I was 27 when I told him that the next day was my Day O’ Birth Celebration. Also, the kids loved that there was a treasure-hunt at checkin that resulted in them each getting a minifig — Max got a baseball player and Katie, an Amazon warrior — as well as chocolate coin treasure! WOO!)

We had breakfast in the buffet the next morning, where one of the workers gave Katie a minifig because she was upset that she couldn’t crawl through the holes in the wall (she promptly gave this minifig to a crew member at the park who didn’t have one — apparently they all participate in a trading program and Caitlin had failed to load up her tag for the day, so Katie handed over fakey Elvis minifig to her). Because we were at the hotel, the park opened an hour early for us, so on my birthday we were first in line and immediately hit up the “most raved-about” ride — Sky Cruisers. While I did think this ride was fun, I do not understand what all the fuss is about — you have to literally pedal your own little bike thing around on a track above the park. We then went on Coastersaurus, which was one of Katie’s favorites (although her REAL favorite we would ride at the end of the day), and then Max’s favorite ride: Fairy Tale Brook. One of my favorite memories of this ride was when a little dwarf from Snow White waves at the boat and Max, in awe, waved back. TOTALLY ADORABLE.

We headed back to Fun Town for the opening of the rest of the park, and Katie and Max both participated in Junior Driving School, which was great for Katie but frustrating for Max because he repeatedly slammed his car into whatever unmoveable obstacle was available and couldn’t figure out how to undo this. So while Katie rode that twice more, we went on the helicopters (bad idea, Max couldn’t reach the joystick so he’d climb out over the bar and I’d have to quickly turn the ‘copter away from the operator so s/he couldn’t see) and then went to get sodas, where we met this awesome manager who became my buddy and gave me a birthday pin and some free Legos (and a free soda the next day). Eventually we met up with Katie and B again and then we all did helicopters (I rode with K so I am assuming B somehow kept Max tied down, but I doubt it), and then we wandered into the pirate area, where they all did the small log ride while I ran into someone I actually know from here on the Peninsula. (I wanted to go on the big one but it’s part of the water park and that is closed right now.) We eventually wandered up Castle Hill for the infamous apple fries, which I devoured without sharing in part because I was starving. Since everything in Castle Hill was aimed at the larger crowd, I took Max back to Schooner School while Katie and Brandon rode The Dragon coaster and also went on KNIGHT’S TOURNAMENT, DESTINY ONE (a ride which which looks like a huge hand flinging people around, on which you can pick from multiple “destinies”, aka thrill levels). We rounded out the time with the Coast Cruise, which was so deserted we went on it… twice!

At some point here I think we went back to the hotel for lunch, and to decompress a little. It was around this time that I started to realize that my desire to hit every ride in some sort of order from open to close was inhibited by the fact that my children are only 3 and 5 and start to lose steam (which in their case translated to random wailing tantrums, like the one Max had in line for Schooner School). A little iPad time during lunch helped them re-center themselves, as did a brief jaunt to the pool, and then we were back in the park, where I made everyone walk through the huge Lego cities in Miniland, and then we explored more parts of the park we hadn’t seen yet — I got a chance to ride The Dragon (mainly because it had a huge Lego dragon inside — I wanted to get K to come with me but she wouldn’t because it was too scary), and Katie and Max ventured into Land of Adventure, where Max found his two favorite rides (besides Fairy Tale Brook): Beetle Bounce (which I literally rode 6 times in a row with him, making me feel like I was going to projectile vomit) and Cargo Ace (a flying plane ride that also made me want to vomit), while Katie found HER favorite ride in the nearby Lego Technic Coaster (which included a big drop that makes your stomach feel all funny). We also hit the Pharaoh’s Revenge, which is essentially a laser shooting indoor ride, that freaked K out.

And at this point I should have realized something really important about Katie, but it didn’t hit me until the end of our first day at Disneyland: she LOVES thrill rides, but is extremely, sincerely frightened by rides that are in the dark and contain any “scary” element. At Legoland, this was really only two: The Dragon, which had a Lego cat outside that was so scary she couldn’t even handle waiting in line a second time for the ride as well as the big dragon inside the castle, and Pharaoh’s Revenge, which is entirely dark and blacklight lit. I didn’t take her concerns as anything more than tired whining at the time, and it caused me to seriously readjust our Disneyland plans once I understood what was happening.

We ordered delivery pizza in-room that night, as we’d had enough of the hotel food at that point (props to Paradise Pizza!) and the kids were so exhausted that Katie was having serial meltdowns. They soon fully collapsed … and so did I!

On January 3, we got in early again but this time we decided to skip the Sky Cruisers and go for fan favorites. For Max, this meant the Fairy Tale Brook; for Katie, the Coastersaurus. We then hit the Safari Trek and when we were done there, we headed back to the other rides we really liked. As we had already spent a lot of time there the previous day, we concentrated on the rides that the kids really wanted to do — and this is when I got a free soda from my friend the store manager when we showed up before they had cash in their register (but were open) :) I do have a very specific memory on this day of Katie having an epic meltdown at the Star Wars X-Wing, where she was just flipping out the entire time we looked at it and we were doing that parent thing where we drug her along behind us, wailing her head off. Also, at one point while Brandon and Katie were on Bionicle Blasters (this Mad Hatter Teacups but way faster), Max had … diaper needs and a stranger lent me a ton of wipes. THANK YOU STRANGE MOM!

After lunch we hit the attached Sea Life Aquarium. It was pretty cute in that it had lots of Lego people in the water with the fish (except… not cute from a “wtf, these things do not coexist in nature” standpoint), and I appreciated the fact that they have an education program in place about conservation, pollution, and also the obligatory Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program call-out. Little did we know that there was a photographer halfway through the aquarium — who surprisingly didn’t ask us for a pic. Turns out that Katie had posed on her own for what was just an incredibly adorable pic, yay!

Other random things from Legoland:
– We made friends with lots of random families and employees while we were there. This is good because I like friends and making them. This is bad because I suffer somewhat from face blindness so people would say hi to us and I wouldn’t remember how the heck I knew them.
– There are “secret” slides on Dune Racers that the kids really liked.
– Apparently part of getting old and already being prone to motion sickness is that everything makes you motion sick, even rides that aren’t particularly aggressively circular. So… that sucked.
– Our kids fight a lot when they’re in a double stroller, and they demand to be carried a lot, and when they get tired, they whine a lot.
– More as I remember it!

We rounded out or last day at Legoland with dinner at the Skyline cafe at the hotel, and then I made sure to cram everything that I could in the car. We had a day before we honestly got to point E (mainly we had to check in at the hotel the next day), so I made plans with Jenna to hang out at her house over Shabbat and then to meet Taire and Ryan for dinner! That meant that we left Legoland earlyish, then we drove to Beverly Hills (J-san and family live on the outskirts), where we spent an enjoyable Shabbat lunch with Jenna, Seth, and their absolutely adorable kiddos who I hadn’t ever met before (last time I saw Jenna, we were both pregnant with our firsts). Eliana and Katie bonded quite well, and at the end, when we were leaving, Katie declared, “I LOVE HER!” and they decided to be pen pals. (Max wasn’t as keen on Asher because he didn’t like the fact that A kept trying to play with his stuff… alas.)

More in the next post!

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