Wednesday, August 6, 2014

California Adventure: Disney

The best part of our 4th bi-annual California Adventure was, most obviously, the time we spent with The Legend Leo Vanoni.

Perhaps I should just leave it at that... but the 800+ photos of the adventures that spanned 8 nights in 3 different areas of Southern California, and the memories we made with family and friends are important as well.  Here is part 1 (of 3) of our awesome adventure:

The trip began with an easy-breezy direct flight into LAX; our stay in a hotel near Dulles made for a (nearly) stress-free commute to the airport.  (Note the subtle foreshadowing here).  Jeff and I managed to a) sit next to each other for the first hour and a half of the flight; b) watch an entire movie during said flight; and c) enjoy what is possibly the easiest travel we've ever done with this crew. (More foreshadowing).  Our flight landed before noon, California time.  I couldn't believe how easy the whole thing was!  (Of course, I was forgetting science and law, and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Or in this case - every travel day has and equal and opposite day of travel.)
Once in SoCal, we headed to Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, where we found out we'd been randomly selected as the "Big Kahuna" winners of the day.  We received a room upgrade, some Disney schwag, a bunch of balloons, and an official photo of our winnings.  I was as equally embarrassed as Jeff was elated by this little hotel surprise.  And Pax slept through the whole thing.

The room *did* have a great view of California Adventure.  By Day:

 And by night:
 Downtown Disney was a fun afternoon.  We visited the Lego store where my kids spent a good TWENTY MINUTES building Legos... at a table... and I kept scratching my head and saying "People!  What are we doing?  WE HAVE THESE SAME THINGS AT HOME!! WE'RE IN DISNEY!!!  LET'S GO CHECK OUT OTHER STUFF!!"  
 We ate an exorbitantly priced but pretty decent "linner" at a Mexican joint, then headed back to the hotel to hit up the uber-cool water slide that even Pax rode!

We went to bed as late as we possibly could (a hard task, given our East Coast rhythms) and awoke early, ready for our day at Disneyland.

All I have to say about Disney is this:  I get it now.  I get the hype, the fanaticism, the excitement.  It exceeded my expectations; it was a wonderful day.  At the end of the day, when we were sharing our best parts, mine and Jeff's were the same: watching our kids have so much fun at the park. Space Mountain was I think our third ride of the day, and I was shocked when Pax agreed to give it a try.  With his face a mix of fear and elation, we asked him afterward, "What did you think of Space Mountain?" He answered, "It was AWFUL" with a huge grin on his face.  And asked to go again - so we did.

2 minutes post-Space Mountain, which he later dubbed his favorite ride.
Driving at Autopia
Sweeeet 3-D glasses for Star Tours
During Jedi Training Academy, Aidan was chosen to be a Jedi.  This was pretty spectacular for him - and fun for us to watch - but it was also a hard time for Leo, as he was hoping to be selected as well.  Still - a huge highlight.
What's not to love about the teacups?!
I adore this pic of Aidan, because it is one of his most genuine smiles I've seen in a photo.
Small World!!!  My all-time favorite... as a child.
In response to the question:  "What did you think of Pirates of the Carribbean, Pax?"
A crappy photo of an awesome day.  For the record, though, that "No Crying in Disneyland" is bullshit.
There were some tears - for the record.  
After a long and fun day, we left the park and headed to another Disney - Disney for Grown Ups, also known as the Anaheim Brewery.

We ate an incredible dinner from a burger joint called Umami, and it was a most perfect ending to a wonderful day.  Satiated and content to the core, we headed toward Ventura, where lemon fights, a day at the beach, a huge family dinner, and quality time with loved ones awaited us....

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