binary girl: the secret blog

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shh!

ridiculously long vacation post, part three

January 23rd, 2014 at 13:05

Man. writing these posts is … time-consuming. :P

Long trip post the THIRD!

So, we drove back from the Beverly Hillsish area (I like to refer it that way because it sounds posh) on January 4 and called Taire, in Burbank, to let her know we were heading to Anaheim and when we’d want to meet for dinner. The drive isn’t that long, but both kids, who was extremely tired, of course fell asleep on the way. Of course — because the “hey, where are we?” video couldn’t be complete without a howling Max when he wakes up (or, it might not even be existent if they woke up after we got to the Disneyland Hotel). However, traffic was CRAP so ultimately, Katie woke up before we got there and participated in a game of “if you can’t read, can you figure out where the hell we are?”

Turns out that no, you can’t. There are no obvious signs to or outside the hotel while would indicate to a non-literate individual where you were at ALL. Finally, the gatekeeper was the one who let Katie know where we were, and Katie responded very shy/slyly, sort of like she thought that MAYBE we were having her on and then, when I continued being excited, being excited as well.

However, that that long nap w/o warning while driving in traffic did not bode well for K’s sleeping self and she had a… wardrobe malfunction. Then, Max woke up, and was crying (because that’s his thing when he naps in the car, as previously mentioned). So, we needed to check in, get Katie in a different outfit, and deal with Max flipping out and only wanting me — all at the same time! (I ended up running K to the restroom and putting her in my sweatshirt, as the luggage was already on it’s way with the bellhop, while B checked in and Max wailed, and then coming out and rescuing them). The kids ended up watching some carolers pretty closely (and wow, they were GREAT) and talking to them while B finished up. Then we walked across the grounds (and oogled the pool and two waterslides) to the Frontier Tower, where we were staying, and walked into an amazing room — with a huge wooden headboard that had twinkling LEDs in it which looked like fireworks over a carved image of Sleepy Beauty’s castle. At check-in, the desk people even gave Katie and Max autographed photos of Mickey (for Max) and Aurora (for Katie). This place? Swankage.

We got the luggage, Katie changed, and the kids a bit settled, and then we went down to meet Taire and Ryan, who had just arrived. We headed out to the clusterfuck that is Downtown Disney on a Saturday night (oops, fully my bad) and saw the Frozen ice rink, and then tried to find a place to eat; even though it was early, everywhere was booking up (Rainforest Cafe had a TWO HOUR WAIT) but the lady at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen said the wait would only be 30 minutes. LIES. An hour later the kids were melting down and Ryan was starving, so B ran back to the room to get the iPads and then we eventually were sat. The food was great, though, and seeing Taire and Ryan was also great, so there’s that :D

By the end of dinner, the kids were falling apart, so I bid my friends adieu and we put the kiddos to bed. We had to get up super early the next day: Magic Mornings (where you get in 1 hour early at the DL parks) was included every day, meaning that we were due at California Adventure at 7am! That means we woke up at dark o’clock again on January 5 and took two barely-awake kiddos, in the double stroller, through an incredibly foggy Downtown Disney to the park opening. We had decided that even though it would be a prime time to do the Carsland Racers, we were going to avoid that ride, because Max, our biggest Cars fan, wasn’t tall enough and would possibly be jealous. So, when everyone ran to that ride, we oogled Radiator Springs (really, I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with their reproduction — I felt like I had walked into the movie) and did Mater’s Tractors and Luigi’s Tires (our first ride, we were the only ones on it). Walking through the tire shop was cool, in and of itself!

Lightning and Mater appeared during this time, and Max, whose eyes could NOT have been bigger, was fairly brave in walking up to them and touching them/talking to them. He was incredibly excited in his shy way about everything he was seeing, and I know it was making a big impression on him because he was talking up a storm. We walked to A Bug’s Land to see if any of the rides there were open (they were not), but I was suddenly reminded fully as to why Disneyland is so great — the attention to detail is so great in the park in general, which was why I had had such a visceral positive reaction to Carsland. In Bug’s Land, every light is made up of a lightning bug perched on something (a bent straw, etc). The buildings are repurposed bits of garbage, etc., and the whole land fits perfectly into the theme of “Flick’s Fun fair”. It’s even sort of cool that this whole thing is happening in the shadow of the Tower of Terror (like it’s the garden of the hotel or something.)

Anyway. We looked at the map for “open early” rides and headed down to the play Midway Mania (a Toy Story ride). On the way, we noticed that the Little Mermaid ride was open, and since we were going to have lunch at Ariel’s Grotto (which I booked the previous night — Disney’s online food reservation system is great!), we stopped by. It was pretty awesome, although Katie was immediately scared enough of the scene with Ursula that she wouldn’t ride it again. So, we headed on down to the Toy Story ride, but as we walked by that ride we noticed a big coaster called California Screamin’ that had very little line, so after Midway Mania (which was fairly fun and a neat interpretation of the old “flat things that you do stuff to” game — with monitors, etc) I ran over for a ride on it while B took the kids on the carousel and the ferris wheel (file under “things that would make Mommy want to vomit and also have a panic attack). It was awesome! As much as I liked the drop on the Project X coaster at Legoland, this had an upside-down loop which meant that it beat the other, hands down. I was so pumped afterward that I made Brandon go on it while I took the kids around to see the Muppets 3D movie, and then we wandered around Buena Vista Avenue before we walked back down towards A Bug’s Land.

A Bug’s Land was great in terms of just-our-speed sort of rides; the only one that was a fail was the bumper cars, because Max couldn’t reach the controls and thus spent the entire ride fighting to get out of the belt. As a result, he was PISSED and doing this “I’m just gonna stand here and look extremely angry” bit for a while. He then spent the entirety of Henrich’s Chew-Chew Train screaming because I was riding with Katie instead of him. I felt a vague sense of impending doom as we started walking back toward the boardwalk (for the eventual character dining thing we were doing at 1:10pm), but his mood was alleviated by a) seeing Red (fire engine from Cars) hanging out nearby, and then b) going to see the Bug’s Life 3D movie, which scared him and Katie a great deal (and also pissed them off when the “acid” sprayed them).

Since we had a little time left before lunch, we spent some time on the Boardwalk playing games and did so well on one of them that we won two large-sized Bullseyes (the horse from Toy Story — first Max won, then Katie). The kids also got to meet Jessie and Buzz Lightyear (in the Buzz pics it’s funny because each kid’s head is buried in his/her Bullseye). Eventually we headed back up to Ariel’s Grotto for our Lunch With Princesses™.

I was actually a bit worried at how this meal would go, and towards the end it did go awry, mainly because the kids were really, really wiped out. That said, both Katie AND Max were super stoked that we were having princess lunch, which made me happy because I’d had a hard time deciding if our character meal should be with a bunch of random Disney characters or princess-specific. Katie was flat-out awed at Ariel, and got a little shy and quiet when it was time to talk to her, but was not so overwhelmed that she was speechless; Max hugged her and every single character he had the opportunity to meet. In our photo, Katie was holding on to Ariel’s hand so tightly it looked like it might fall off :D

I am so glad that we prepaid for that meal, because between the annoyance of trying to get the kids to eat (including Katie, who was doing her World’s Tour of Mac N Cheese) and the fact that the kids were falling apart at the end, I never would have paid what they were charging for what I ordered. :D (My salad should have been advertised as Featuring World’s Smallest Lobster Tail.) We met Belle, Aurora, Snow White, and Cinderella as we ate, and each time, the kids popped out of their seats and hugged the figurative pants off of the princesses. But, by the end of it, they were both Done, so we decided that we had seen enough of California Adventure at this point and needed to head back to the hotel for a little “down” time.

This down time came in the form of POOL! Max and I walked around and up/down the stairs at the wading pool at the bottom of one of the water slides while Brandon and Katie both flew down the small and big slide. It was nice and laid back and helped us all regroup so that we could eventually go back to the main park, as I’d made dinner reservations at the Carnation Cafe, and also so we could see what was going on there and maybe go on a ride or two.

Um. Holy crap, was that place crowded. We got to see the lighting of the tree, and I tried to excitedly show the kids Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, but the entire place was TOO CROWDED with people to see much of anything. So, any ideas I had about filling my kids with wonder on their first entrance to The Magic Kingdom were replaced instead by them being overwhelmed (although they did get to see Mary Poppins when we walked in.) We left the stroller by Pixie Hollow while Brandon and Katie went on the Matterhorn (K’s review: way too dark and scary for a roller coaster) and Max and I did Alice in Wonderland (M’s review: fun enough that he would do it again, even though I’m fairly certain that he had no idea what the hell was going on for 90% of the ride). At the end, I wanted to walk back to the stroller, and suddenly…. COULD NOT BECAUSE THE ENTIRE STREET WAS CLOSED AND JAMMED WITH PEOPLE.

Fucking parade.

It took me 20 minutes to figure out a way back to my stroller, that was only 100 or so feet away. It was completely ridiculous. However, we did decide to take this opportunity to ride A Small World, which had barely any line because of the parade and was totally decked out for the holidays, still! Yay! Katie was so uncertain of dark rides at this point we had to drag her on the boat and repeatedly promise that it was a super friendly ride. At the end, she screamed, “THAT WAS AWESOME!” And honestly, the holiday version was pretty fantastic. I loved looking at the faces of both kids and seeing them filled with awe.

We came out of the ride to find that they had moved our stroller somewhere. After 5 minutes of searching, we finally managed to locate it, and quickly decided that we should head to ToonTown to see what was there before going to the cafe. We actually even got in line for Roger Rabbit, which Katie was scared about, and whining about, and really angry about, and not wanting to go on, and fidgeting about, and then the ride broke down and we were out of time, so we headed to the cafe, where Katie proceeded to have a complete bathroom emergency requiring us to cut in front of a line of people, and then Max had a meltdown outside the restaurant, then Katie joined in, then getting them to eat barely happened and I could not wait to get out of there (and also learned that dinner on this part of the trip had to happen WAY earlier).

And we went back to the hotel room and everyone sacked out.

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