Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our California Adventure

So, we made it back alive--Yay! :) Actually it was a lot to deal with for me. I have been wiped out since we got back Saturday and that is the main reason I haven't posted anything until today. So I'll give a short narrative of how things went. (Sarcasm here--if you don't have an hour or so, you might not want to read on! ;))

The kids went to school Wednesday the 8th and of course they couldn't wait to get home because they knew we were heading to the airport. So I was not at all acquainted with the regulations for airport security and found out at the very last minute that we weren't going to be able to NOT check any of our bags. My husband insists on traveling as light as possible, so he hates checking bags and thinks everything should fit in carry-on bags. So I had to do some last-minute rearranging of stuff to be able to pass through security and still have the things we needed. And yes, we had to check one bag. :( So we get on the plane and Trevin is just ecstatic! He hasn't ever flown before so he was excited that each seat had a TV screen in front of it, and that he could close the little shutter on the window, and of course he had to play with the seat belt a little more than I would have liked. So about 1/2 and hour into our flight he's asking me if we're at the hotel yet. I am SO glad we did not drive!

Jet Blue is a great airline--Love 'em!

The boys loved looking out the window.

We made it to the airport and got picked up by the greatest shuttle service in Long Beach! It was this great little mom & pop company called Jones' Family Shuttle Service and they had the best customer service I've ever experienced from an airport shuttle. It was nice to be able to talk to the driver and actually feel comfortable and not have to worry about breakneck speeds and are we going to actually make it to the hotel alive?! It was great. And the driver was funny and made great conversation, so I highly recommend that company if you ever fly into Long Beach airport. (Thanks, Anne! :))

Our hotel (Peacock Suites) was more like a motel disguised as a hotel, but it wasn't terrible. After all, we didn't pay for the room ourselves (Bryant's parents covered that) so I really can't complain.

It was around 8 p.m. by the time we got settled in our room. We were hungry and exhausted so we walked a few blocks to California Pizza Kitchen and had some delicious pizza. Funny thing is we have one of those at the University Mall and have never been there before. After that we headed back to the hotel and got some much-needed rest.

Thursday morning we had to get up super early because Bryant's brother's wife had arranged for all of us to do a Disney character breakfast at 7:30 a.m. We were supposed to catch the Anaheim Resort Transit shuttle at 6:30 a.m. in order to get there on time. Fortunately a brother-in-law shuttled us to Disney's Grand Hotel in his minivan, but it was so stuffed that Trevin had to sit on my lap and Bryant, his dad and Garrison all walked. Breakfast was great. It was a buffet with lots of yummy stuff. Again, this was paid for by Bryant's brother (who drives a Lotus Esprit and has plenty of $$). I think the cost is like $20/person. The kids got a few pictures with some of the characters.

This is Trevin trying to hug Chip from behind because Chip was too busy with Trevin's cousins.

Aidan wanted to get in on the fun with Trevin & Turk (sp?)

Finally Garrison decided he needed to get in the picture, too.

So after breakfast, we headed down to the main gates at the parks. I must have won the lottery or something because this really nice guy who looked really familiar met up with us and let 3 of us in for FREE!!! How awesome is that!? I think his name was Ben, and I really think I know him from somewhere, I just think it's been a really long time since I saw him last. But if you ever go to Disneyland, you should totally look him up because he actually thanked ME for allowing him to do us such a great favor. Wow!!!

So after we got into the park and got our terrific Disney stroller rented, we headed to Star Tours. The boys ALL loved that ride! They were begging us to take them on it again right after we finished it.

Kind of blurry, but this is right before the ride started and they were hurrying me up.

The boys really liked C3PO and R2D2.

Well, the next ride Bryant took us to was Space Mountain. Unfortunately I didn't remember that ride too well and really regretted it while I was on the ride. My poor baby was crying and screaming and of course being jerked around in the darkness, as was I. I don't get motion sickness (well I didn't used to) but that ride did me in. Both Trevin and Aidan came out of there crying and I personally was completely wasted. I was absolutely useless the rest of the day. I think my health is worse than even I had realized, and the stress from just that one ride pushed me over the edge. So the rest of that day was a nightmare. I even started bawling while we were walking down Main Street and my family was about 30 yards ahead of me because I felt so yucky I just could not keep up with them. I think it goes without saying that I will never go on that ride again.

I don't remember much about the rest of that first day except that every ride caused me to have a panic attack while I was getting strapped in and ready to go. Trevin crying on all of them that were dark was not much help. He didn't like Pirates because it was dark. He hated Splash Mountain because it was dark. And he ESPECIALLY hated Splash Mountain because of the vultures at the end of the ride (right before you go down the 50 ft. chute--which is what he REALLY hates, not the vultures ;)).

Too bad you can't see Trevin's face, but Aidan's is pretty good!

All the boys liked Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, Star Tours, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and the Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion in the distance.

Waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion.

The two older boys loved Indiana Jones--Trevin was too short for that one. They also liked the Grizzly River Run.

The first time the boys did that ride Bryant took Garrison and Aidan on the Grizzly River Run without us because we didn't think Trevin was tall enough. So he and I sat it out and he took a little nap while we waited.

Minnie Mouse happened by us and was nice enough to pose with my sleeping boy for a cute shot. :)

Trevin woke up soon after that and we explored some of the Halloween decorations at California Adventure Park.

We all loved Soarin' Over California but didn't get to do that one more than once. Bryant decided to take Aidan and Garrison on the Tower of Terror, and I have to say that Aidan HATED the Tower of Terror. Can't blame him. That's another one Trevin was too short for, so I stayed with him.

Can you tell that Aidan didn't have much fun on that one?

My husband didn't want to do any of the kiddie rides, so unfortunately we skipped those. I feel sort of like my kids got cheated out of a really good time because they didn't do those rides. :(

I'm surprised I actually have a smile in this picture after a grueling day.

That night we caught the ART back to our hotel.

The next day we got started a bit later than the day before (thank goodness!). Again we ran into that guy, Ben, who got 3 of us into the park again for FREE! We chatted with him for a few minutes before he had to take off and get to work. Hopefully we'll run into him again sometime when we can actually visit with each other.

We basically did all of the same rides we did the day before over again (with the exception of Space Mountain, of course!) and so Trevin and I spent some time hanging out waiting for Daddy and the big boys. Trevin didn't want to repeat Splash Mountain so we hung out in front of the ride and waited for an hour! The line looked short, but was deceptively quite long. Here we are biding our time:

Some guy saw us taking pictures of ourselves and offered to take a shot of the two of us together.

Just hanging out.

Trevin was hamming it up for me in his new hat.

Trevin wanted to get his picture taken with Brer Fox.

That drop is what Trevin was so afraid of.

We finally caught up with Bryant's family and went to get on the Monster's Inc. ride, but it broke down while we were in line, so we decided to go get the kids' souvenirs and head back to the hotel so we could meet up with everyone at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner on our last night in California.

My sister-in-law took this shot of us. We are all weary after two long days of Disneyland.

As we left the parks I got a few more shots of the great decorations they had up for Halloween.

You'll have to click on the last picture above so you can see that the word CALIFORNIA is decked out in candy corn colors. Cute!

Here we are at the Cheesecake Factory having a very late dinner. It took over 2 1/2 hours to finally be out of there from the time we arrived. The service was not what I would have expected.

We got back to the hotel late, I packed up before I went to bed that night and the next morning we caught a shuttle back to the airport at 5 a.m.. The flight home was really nice as I got smart and bought everyone a pair of headphones from the flight attendant. Everyone stayed occupied watching some TV, including myself. Don't ask Bryant about my little episode while watching I Love Lucy. I think I laughed a little too loudly and apparently attracted some unwanted attention from passengers nearby. Oops!

I am pretty well recovered from the trip now, except for the cold I came down with the day we flew back home. The kids actually did have a good time, and I have to remind myself that they really don't know what they missed in Fantasyland. There's always another time to go to Disneyland. :)

Final Twilight Trailer