Times and Sorensens

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Disneyland Finale


I just wanted to share some last thoughts to wrap things up.  I'm sure you can tell by now this trip meant a lot to me and my family :)  

*Disneyland really can be such a happy place.  We met so many people in line feeling friendly and wanting to talk.  It was a great feeling to just be open to it and to share ourselves with others even a little bit.  I already mentioned Mary Jane but also wanted to mention a very kind father/son duo we met at the Grizzly River Run.  We enjoyed making a connection with them.  Also the friendly guy in line at It's a Small World and the "Grandpa for Hire" on the train ride...I could go on and on!  

*Lucas is such a little daredevil.  He was willing to go on any ride he was tall enough for including Space Mountain which was "done up" for Halloween with a flaming skull image that kept popping up out of nowhere.  Over the top if you ask me, but Lucas loved that it was "scary!".  He turned down Gadget's Go Coaster in Toontown because it didn't "seem very interesting."  I think he missed the memo about how he's only three years old.  

*We really, really liked where we stayed.  It was within a block of the front gates to both parks and I didn't know just how amazing that access would be.  So convenient and easy to get to and from every day.  Huge pool, fantastic breakfast buffet each morning, impressive staff.  This place will figure prominently in our Disneyland memories for sure.  

*We learned a lot about ourselves on this trip.  It was interesting to discover, for example, that we were the types to fit in as much as we possibly could and we stayed 'til closing every night, wishing we could stay longer.  Eating was a burden -- we were too busy having fun.  Normally I  don't like to overdo things and I'd rather not push it and pay a higher price later, but I guess Disneyland just brought out the instinct in us to do it all.  And we really didn't have to pay a high price; our kids handled it very well and were real troopers throughout.  

*Just wanted to mention a few of our top rides; Soarin' over California was amazing.  Loved the experience.  I think that's about as close as you can get to the sensation of flying.  Of course Pirates of the Caribbean was a favorite (even though Caden fell asleep on Jake's lap the first time through!).  Joshua loved Autopia and even got a "driver's license" which doesn't expire until the year 3000 so he should be set.  Daniel loved the Winnie the Pooh ride because it featured a song he had learned in first grade that he really liked.  I like that he enjoyed it for sentimental reasons :)  

*So now that we've been once and know the ropes we'll definitely have to go back.  Plans for next time will probably include 5 days since we really felt like we needed one more day at each park.  Also, we'll need to fulfill Jake's dream of going to Medieval Times and possibly my newly found dream of eating at the Blue Bayou (the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean -- talk about atmosphere!).  We're thinking it will be a few years yet but we're really looking forward to it already -- especially now that we know what we're in for!

 "Disneyland was Walt's gift to a weary world.  Once you pass through its gates, the stress and strife of our everyday reality seems to melt away..." Julie Andrews

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Disneyland Trip - On the Way Back Up...

We were blessed to stay with Jake's parents on our way back home.  It was wonderful to spend that time with them and to take a breather from all the driving.  We spent a happy, relaxing day and couple of nights together and I was so grateful for the time the kids got to spend with Grandma and Grandpa.  We also got to stop by and see Jake's Grandmother which was really nice.  I was so glad the boys got to see G.G. and show her their Disneyland souvenirs.

Here are a couple of shots of these two in the same tub that I have pictures of our older two in, when they were about this same age.  I love that the legacy continues!
Caden and Lucas, October 2012:

Joshua, November 2005

Daniel, August 2006

Thank you so much Nick and Jayne for having us and for feeding us so well!  We loved being around you!

Disneyland Trip - Meeting Their Newest Cousin!

After the Disneyland fun was over we got to spend a day in LA with Jake's brother and his wife. It was great seeing them, finally getting to see their house and meeting their new baby! She is such a cutie and we all got to hold her lots.  It was a really nice, relaxing day with them and we appreciate their having us.

Joshua got to hold her lots and loved it!  He really does love babies and a baby cousin is all the more special.

I think they were either watching Thriller or Weird Al videos at this point:

Outside In-N-Out:

Thanks so much for spending that time with us Adam & Erin!  It was great seeing you guys and your house and your sweet baby!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Disneyland Trip - Disneyland Day #2

One last lineup :)

Here's a shot of some or the architecture in Fantasyland.  I think it's so pretty!

Dumbo ride!  Our boys ended up really liking this one.

Big Thunder Mountain ended up being a favorite of mine and Jake's.  It was super fun this time around, better than our memories of riding it as kids.  What a great roller coaster!  If you click to enlarge, you'll see Jake right in the middle, about halfway back (I thought it was Joshua at first but upon closer inspection, it's Jake :)

Inside Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  I don't remember there was anything inside when I was a kid, but now you can actually go through it and see different scenes from the story.  I'm perfectly willing to believe it's been that way all along, but I just never did it as a kid.

Onstage at the Golden Horseshoe!  We loved eating here.  Yummy food (don't skip dessert!) and fun atmosphere.  It was especially nice since we arrived about 1/2 hour before closing and practically had the whole place to ourselves.  The staff were so friendly, too!

One final ride, the rockets in Tomorrowland.  Lucas and I made our rocket go up as high as it would go and we loved the view from up there!

Some parting shots of Main Street all lit up as we were leaving...we'll be back!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Disneyland Trip - Disneyland Day #1

Here's the lineup for the day!

After over a year's worth of anticipating this trip we finally made it inside Disneyland!

First ride of the day: Splash Mountain.  Here we are winding our way through Brer Rabbit Country in a hollow log:

The Haunted Mansion all done up for Halloween/Nightmare Before Christmas.  I think the general consensus is it's not as good as the original.  I would have to agree, but still, it's the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland!

Some happy passengers on the Jungle Cruise:

Ooga Booga!

Here's Daniel at Tarzan's Treehouse.  I really like his smile and Jane there in the background:

Rubber bars in Toontown:

Waiting in line for It's a Small World.  Warning: I took lots of pictures here.  It's just so picturesque I couldn't help myself:

Ah yes, Mr. Toad's!  This ended up being one of Joshua's favorites. 

We ended the day at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.  I can't go on spinny rides like these and was just as happy to take pictures of everyone else enjoying themselves:

This is probably my favorite picture from the whole trip.  I was trying to get a shot of the lanterns because they're so pretty but when I reviewed the image realized that Jake and the boys had just happened to spin by right then!

Disneyland Trip - California Adventure!

We ended up spending our first day at California Adventure. We found out that Disneyland would be closing at 6pm for an event that evening but California Adventure would be open 'til 8pm. We just didn't want to miss out on that time and adjusted our plans accordingly. We loved California Adventure and had such a blast!

We had read a tip in the Unofficial Disneyland Guidebook to take pictures of each of your children each morning so that you'll have a picture of exactly what they're wearing in case they get lost. We thought this sounded like a good idea, so each morning on the way to breakfast, Jake did a lineup along this wall near the pool. It was the first picture of each day and I thought it would be fun to share here:

Here we are at Cars land waiting for our very first ride, the Radiator Springs Racers.  We had about a 110 minute wait so it wasn't the greatest way to start off our whole Disney experience, but the boys were real troopers and we made it through!

Here is a picture of Mary Jane (far side) with her son and daughter-in-law.  We waited in line behind this family for nearly 2 hours and got to know them very well (Mary Jane's husband happens to be an engineer for this ride, she has a daughter who is about to have her fourth boy and is having a really hard time thinking of a name she likes just like we did, etc.).  In fact, they are the ones who made the whole thing possible.  Mary Jane was so incredibly kind and helpful.  When Lucas said he needed a potty break about half an hour into our wait, she said don't worry about a thing and kept her eye on Joshua and Daniel while I took Lucas to the bathroom at Flo's V8 Cafe.  Then when Daniel said he needed to go to the bathroom about 20 minutes after we got back, Mary Jane said she'd come with me and was just so great.  I miss these people that we'll in all likelihood never see again.  Disneyland is a place where you can totally bond with people in line.  I love that!

Here we are in front of the Cozy Cone:

King Triton's Carousel; you can see Jake and all four boys if you look close:

Caden playing outside the Grizzly River Run.  He wasn't tall enough/old enough for this ride but had fun playing underneath the giant grizzly bear out front.  I think here he's running underneath the bear's legs:

Lucas finally met his match at California Adventure.  This kid hasn't napped in ages but a day at CA did him in.  This time was so, so nice.  We rested on a bench in some shade and enjoyed smoothies while the little ones slept.

Here is the Hollywood Tower of Terror.  A huge building for a ride, but it is very well done.  Daniel and I went on this and then Jake took a turn.  Daniel was attracted to it for its spookiness factor but then tried to change his mind in line.  Right or wrong, at that point I made him stick with his original decision and am proud of him for actually going through with it. 

Here we are at the bumper cars in A Bug's Land.  We ended up spending a lot of time in A Bug's Land.  It was kind of boring for Jake and I, but it ended up having a lot of rides that were a good match for each of our kids' ages so that was good.

Jake and Caden are the stars of this picture, but I really love Joshua's face in this one, off to the side there:

Action shot!

These pictures only represent a fraction of what we did here.  We loved California Adventure and felt like we really could have used another day here.  Will remember that for next time and be sure and get park hoppers!