Thursday night, herefox and I were supposed to go to the Meet & Greet thing for NaNoWriMo. I had had a very long & trying day and the thought of dealing with people was way down on my list of things I wanted to do. We walked into Tied House and it was crowded and noisy and and and... I basically bailed at that point. Foxy was kind enough to let me escape. We ended up having a quiet but tasty dinner over at some fusion restaurant on Castro Street. Can't remember what it's called. I got my glass of wine and I was happy.
Back to Alameda. Last minute packing and getting car cleaned out and packed for Disneyland trip. Gayle had originally talked about leaving at 5am or so - so the kids would at least sleep part of the way down. She also wanted to caravan down to Anaheim. I told her that I'd leave at 6:30 and that the hotel wouldn't let us check in until 3pm, so it would be better to leave a bit later. We could make lots of stops along the way so the kids would not get too crazy. I had a bet with Foxy that Gayle would be late anyway. At 6:15, she was not at Karen's place. Go me. *grin*
On the road by 6:40 on Friday. Wooowee! Go Us! Since it was still very dark, we made arrangements to stop at the windmill in Santa Nella. We ended up having breakfast there and letting Kyle & Alani run around for a bit. I think their Daddy (Steve) needed to get out and move too *grin*.
Made it down to Anaheim by 2:45 or so. Drove veddy fast until we hit the Los Angeles area - then we hit the dreaded traffic. Always traffic - even when it's 2am. Oh well. We stayed at the lovely Grand Californian. Karen & I were debating on whether to let Gayle know that the the connecting doors were actually were unlocked...
Ended up spending the evening exploring Downtown Disney. Had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe - Alani was a wee bit frightened by the talking tree and spent most of the dinner trying to get as far away from the plants trailing down the wall as possible. Both kids were fascinated by the huge aquariums and Kyle loved the black light room with the "glowy" toys.
Foxy & I capped off the evening at the hotel bar - a "great" room with lots of stuffed wing chairs and couches. Lovely place to kick back and chill.
We made to the opening! Yes, all 7 of us were in line at 8am on Saturday to do that disney thing. T'was foggy and just starting to get a bit smoky. While Gayle was in the coffee shop in search of caffeine and warm milk for Alani, Foxy and I took the squirming very very very excited Kyle over to his first ride in Disneyland - the Rocket Jets. His eyes were huge while he piloted his rocket up and down as we went 'round and 'round. Since there was no line, Kyle & I immediately went back on again - once was enough for Foxy *g*. Kyle's favorite ride turned out to be whichever ride he had just done. His favorite phrase was "can we do it again???".
Headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean via Adventureland. Quick stop at the Indiana Jones ride - disappointment for Kyle as he was too short to ride it. Daddy & Auntie Karen ended up taking turns going up all those stairs through Tarzan's Treehouse while Foxy & I did the ride. Kyle had done the run up the tree 3 times and tried to talk either me or Foxy to take him up again. Oh well, no luck. He did love Pirates. This kid has a thing about going down "slides". He wasn't afraid at all. Alani was enjoying(?) it too - no screaming or crying in fright. Just wide eyes at everything *grin*. Off to the Haunted Mansion which is currently the domain of Jack Skellington and his other Nightmare Before Christmas buddies. Oogie Boogie was supposed to show up 10 times somewhere on the ride, but we only found 6? 7? hmmm. Loved the ride. I think Foxy & I rode it 3-4 times?
No line at Splash Mountain, so Gayle, Kyle, Foxy & I rode it - getting royally splashed. The water did not hit Foxy splat in the face as it was supposed to - it came over the side instead. I had a very wet right shoe and side. Hmmm... We did the Winnie the Pooh & the Blustery Day ride - that was Alani's favorite. She loves Pooh. *grin* Gayle had to explain to the kids that the characters would not be small like on the tv, but might be as tall as Daddy or taller. The kids were all excited and loved being able to give and receive hugs from Pooh, Eeyore & Tigger.
Had a quick lunch at the Hungry Bear restaurant - hamburgers and salads. Park was starting to get crowded though we did make an attempt to hit Fantasyland. Kyle & Auntie Karen waited in long line for a ride on Dumbo. Alani & Gayle ended up doing Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and the teacups. Not quite sure how, but Kyle managed to get Auntie Debbie and Sean on the teacups. Much spinning. Ugh. He was happy. Auntie Debbie was majorly dizzy *grin*
Tired now. Everybody went back to hotel for a quick nap. Did some shopping in Downtown Disney. I hit the pool - had to try the 100 foot water slide. OOhhh fun! Was soon joined by Steve & Kyle. Kyle found he liked jumping off the side of the pool and making big splashes. Alani soon joined us - Gayle went off for some quiet time with the treadmill. Alani liked the jacuzzi and dumping bubbles on Daddy's head. Kyle would have nothing to do with all the bubbling froth, so he and I froze in the unheated pool *sigh*
Back to room for hot showers and then off to the buffet dinner at the Storyteller Cafe. Foxy had been kind enough to find the Winnie the Pooh cookies that the kids had wanted but nobody had bought for them (uh oh) somewhere in Downtown Disney. Made kids very happy! Go Foxy!
Off to California Adventure (there is an entrance directly from the hotel - very nifty and convenient)to watch the Electrical Parade. While everybody else was staking out our spots for the parade, Foxy & I were on keep Kyle occupied duty. We wandered around the Paradise Pier area - riding on the Golden Zephyr (another one of those rocket ships that just spun around over the water) and the carousel. had to keep explaining to Kyle that he'd have to wait until he was taller or he was 5 or next year or whatever for most of the rides. The carousel did not have ordinary stuff like horses or zebras, there were otters, and all kinds of fish and sea horses.
Sat on "street" and watched the parade. It was truly bright and sparkly and fun. Loved the snails and turtles. I had never seen the parade that close up. It was wonderful and I felt about 8 again. Loved watching the kids' reaction - just totally engrossed - eyes as wide as dinner plates *g*.
Split off at that point. Gayle, Karen, Steve & the kids headed back to the hotel while Foxy & I headed back to Disneyland. Did the Matterhorn - love that ride! Then did Snow White's Scary Adventure and the Toon Town roller coaster. Back over to the Haunted Mansion - no walk on this time - took 45 minutes to get on the ride. The Santa Ana winds had picked up so there was lots of ash ("snow") and smoke. Ouch my eyes! Eventually just took out contacts and did rest of the evening without clear sight.
Back to the hotel - had a quick night cap at the bar again - hot buttered rum is lovely.
Sunday started out on the icky side. Foxy & I hit the gift shop early to pick up sunglasses - mainly to shield eyes from all the flying ashes. Gayle ended up picking up wee glasses for the kids too. Alani looked adorable in her purple heart glasses. It really felt like "the day after". Lots of ashes - like snow falling; the sun was out, but it was hazy, the sky a dark grey. Found out that the park didn't open until 9, so we went back to the hotel for a quick snack at the snack bar. Weather was not as bad - the wind had died down a bit and once in the park, I guess there were enough structures to shelter the area. The glasses helped a lot.
Short line at the Matterhorn, so Karen, Steve, Kyle, Foxy & I went for a quick ride. Kyle talked Steve into riding it again but they had to wait this time. We all wanted to do the Haunted Mansion again, so we went over there had to wait for a bit and rode it again. Did Pirates again and then decided to eat the Blue Bayou (restaurant that looks like you're on the terrace of a fancy mansion overlooking the water, but you're actually inside, watching the people float off on the Pirates ride).
Foxy & I did some shopping on Main Street while everybody else went back to hotel (or hotowel as Kyle says it) for afternoon siestas. I was very good, just picked up two new beanies (Pooh as a Thanksgiving Turkey and Eeyore as an Indian bringing corn) and new sweatshirts for da kids.
Dropped stuff at back at the rooms and then headed off to California Adventure. The first ride you see when you exit the hotel is the Grizzly River Run rafting ride. It was WONDERFUL. Your boat is a giant inner tube that seats 8 people. Lots of downhill dips and you can get very very wet. There is one downward slope that spins you around and the water just comes flying over the sides. I was drenched. Spent the entire afternoon, dripping...
Went and did the Soaring Over Calfornia (hang gliding) - I love that ride. Stopped by the Mission Tortilla exhibit for a fresh, just out of the oven tortilla. Then headed over to the pier to ride California Screamin' roller coaster. It starts out by catapulting you from 0 tp 55 miles per hour in too short a time - straight up the 108 foot hill, so you can go crashing down the other side. I forgot to keep my head against the headrest, so I ended up with a sore head. And then on one of the curves, I banged my ear against the head restraint. Ouch! Then there was the loop de loop and hills and the being lifted off your seat and coming down BANG on your bottom and ... Ugh. The ride is exhilarating, but Ugh. I was definitely not feeling too steady after getting off that ride. Had to sit for a bit. I have a bruise on the back of leg and one on my hip. Maybe I'm getting too old for that kind of ride.
Did check out the corn dogs per ame_chan's orders - yes they look like how you said that did. *grin*
Ended up eating dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria. Had a lovely glass of Echelon's Pinot Noir with dinner. Will have to remember to pick up a bottle or two.
We were going back to the hotel and noticed that there was a "5 minute" wait for the Grizzly River Run. Oh heck, since we right by the hotel entrance, if we got wet, it wouldn't matter. Rode it twice! There was NO wait! Kept thinking to myself that Kyle would love this ride. We decided to see if Kyle was still back at the hotel. Told Gayle to throw him into his swim suit and we'd bring him right back. They were getting ready to go the parade, but there was still 45 minutes or so.
He was soooo excited. Had a moment of fear that he wouldn't be tall enough - I knew he was at least 40 inches, but the ride requirement was 42. He just made it. Put him on the ride and he just loved it. Did not get too wet. "Can we go again!!!!" So we went again. This time, that awesome wave struck again and our side of the raft was drenched. Foxy was sitting opposite, so did not get as wet, da bum.
Back to the hotel again... drip drip drip.
Steve got Kyle dried and dressed and off they went to the parade.
Karen had gone to dinner with the cousin from hell and was no where to be seen. Ended up going down to the pool. Slide was closed *sniff*. Swam for a bit and then soaked in the jacuzzi until almost 9. Felt like a marshmallow at that point. Showered and then Foxy & I hit the bar again. 3 nights in a row. I'm turning into a lush. Hot buttered rum again - and I almost drank the whole thing. Oy. Talk about imitating Rudolph. *sigh*. You know you've been there often when the waitress says "welcome back"...
I think Karen & Foxy yakked a bit, but I was sorta relaxed and slightly buzzed - so crashed. next thing I know, there's this bright light filling the room. Somebody forgot to close the drapes. Ugh.
Finally gave up and was up and dressed by 8am. Packed. Then we went off to dinner at the Storyteller Cafe again. Good buffet brunch. Bacon. Smoked Salmon, omelets, fruit and delicious scones.
The weather was a lot clearer today. Could even see blue skies. The Santa Ana winds had not been stirring all the ash and smoke towards Anaheim.
We'd been watching the news, trying to keep up with all the fire reports. Did check with road conditions and found out that highway 5 was open. That was my main worry - our usual alternative is 101 - and it was open too. We actually made it through all the fire areas with no problem. Did see lots of smoke, but not actual flames. Cleared the Grapevine by 1:30. Smooth sailing all the rest of the way home.