Last Day, wheels up

Wednesday October 5, 2011

Awoke to rain for our last day, boo!

We decided to have breakfast in Story Tellers cafe, and there were lots of Disney Characters cruising around.

    

Sue wanted us out of the unit to pack up, so we 3 headed out for some rides after I made a poncho purchase. The¬†Toy Story ride was great, and we found the because of the rain, every outside ride was closed. ¬†In fact due to the rain, no one was about the park, and it wasn’t the most¬†pleasant experience¬†for adults, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. ¬†We headed for an indoor attraction, the¬†Bugs life show, which was really well done, in 4D no less!

I peel off from the kids for a little bit, to finish up clearing out the unit.  The rain comes down harder and we decided to checkout downtown disney and the monorail.  The kids wanted to brave the rain further, so Sue and I we hung out in our hotel reception for bit whilst they got in their last rides.

Packed and ready to go

  

The lobby was spectacular at the Grand Californian

  

Tegan’s final pins after swapping the 4¬†originals¬†we got at checkin

 

Got our car, bags in and reshuffled, and off to LAX.  We were lucky enough to make use of the Qantas lounge (well American Airlines lounge) and it  was great for a drink, feed and shower!  We knew we were in LA when a lady was talking loudly about a new show that she wanted to cast Eric Estrada in the role!

Kids relaxing their way (travel journal and iPhone)

 

and my relaxants

 

Our ride home

  

We relaxed until the plane was called, and it was chock o block full. Wheels up and thanks USA for a great 3 weeks.

I caught the Hangover 2 and Bridesmaids (had a theme going there) and enjoyed the non think viewing.

We lost Thursday as we crossed the International date line, and we arrived around 6:00 back into Brisbane. ¬†We were all a little groggy, but glad to be home. ¬†We all managed to get “some” sleep so we looked vaguely like our passport photos, but with poofy hair. ¬†We had put all of the “potentially” suspect items in one(ish) bag to declare to customs. ¬†All made the cut, except for our luau beads ūüė¶

Ryan and I headed off to pick up Charlie the wonderdog from the kennels, and our family was back to norm in our house from travels, even though we had suitcases everywhere to remind us of our travels.

I will write a reflection of our trip in a couple of weeks, but it was such  a great experience, and I think we will be booking another Waikiki holiday, sooner than later.

 

Rainy for a bit

Tuesday October 4, 2011

We were met with a rainy day, but we had a Magic Morning in Disneyland (meaning allowed in 1 hour before the rest of the punters) so we headed in to make the most of it.

 

Quiet in the park for the Magic Morning

 

Rest of the park goers about to move in after the dropping of the rope

We headed to Buzz Lightyear again, the star wars ride, Indiana Jones and the river cruise.  After getting the tip from Ryan on how to score more on Buzz, I managed to take him out in the highest score!  Thanks mate!  Indian Jones was a fantastic ride!

The girls about to head off on the Indiana ride

 

As the ground was wet, Sue slipped over, and luckily wasn’t hurt. ¬†I was however noted about her going over ¬†in London on our last big holiday, and we realised that it also¬†occurred¬†on the 3rd week of holidays.

Pumpkins everywhere!

The kids and I

 

We headed back to Cal Adv to get fast pass for world of colour in the evening.  We could get access to it earlier in the day, which allowed us to secure tickets for a particular area to watch the show.  Even though we got our fast pass, it was advised to get there at least an hour before the show.

¬† ¬†I haven’t seen a vending machine like this before

 

Sue and kids in the park, shot from our balcony

     

The rain came down heavier and kids wanted to brave the rain for a while, so they had some time in the park, while Sue and I relaxed.  I was heading to a shopping mall to get some clothes and the rest of the crew decided to join for some lunch and a turbo 1 hour shop to tag out from the rain.  The mall at Brea was almost a ghost town, and there were some great bargains to be had.  Whilst Disneyland maybe the happiest place on earth, it is also the most expensive.  A can of heineken from the local store in the lobby has a can for $6.50, so I picked up some beers, a 3 pack whilst shopping for $5.

3 pack of beer

 

We headed back to DL and the skies had cleared, Yay!  We hit some rides and got setup for the Parade.

The parade starts

Sue and the kids on the Grizzly ride

We headed to the World of colour show where we had a long wait until the show started.  It was worth it though, as it was brilliant!

Lots of lights, animation and colour!

Disneyland!

Monday October 3, 2011

We hit the park with vigour and were guided by the kids and what they wanted to see.  The last time we were at Disney, it was early December, and the park was themed for Christmas.  This time it was Halloween themed.

The buzz lightyear attraction (shooting game) was a hit for us all last time, and the four of us enjoyed it again this time. ¬†Seems Ryan’s video game time investment has paid off with him top scoring.

Heading into Buzz Lightyear

The girls in the car ahead of the boys

The prams and strollers were just over the top at DL! 

Heading into Toon town

  

The attention to detail is amazing everywhere you look

 

Sue and I decided that we would let the kids travel around the park on their own for set periods of time, regular txt check-ins and rules.  We were staying at the park, so we were very close by, and it was great to see the kids with this responsibility and looking out for each other, knowing the boundaries and accepting and acting on these.

Easy access in and out of the park from our hotel

The day was beautiful, so Sue and I decided to check out the pool for a bit, and it was fantastic!

Sue enjoying a cocktail in the pool.

The kids reported came back and we all headed into¬†California¬†Adventure Park, and we were a little disappointed in the number of rides shut for maintenance and with some new (very large) attractions being constructed, there were a lot less rides open. ¬†We were still glad to be in the happiest place on Earth though…

California Adventure Park at night

   

   

We decided to go for ¬†walk to the¬†Cheesecake factory for Dinner, checkout the menu as it is¬†ridiculously¬†large. After seeing Staf’s meal at this restaurant in Hawaii, Ryan and I attempted the burritos and it stopped us both! The White chocolate, macadamia and caramel cheesecake was a winner again!

We talked about our time in the park, what to do tomorrow, and how no matter the duration of a holiday, 4 days or 4 weeks, towards the end you are thinking of home.

 

Santa (Barbara & Monica) then Disney

Sunday October 2, 2011

We headed into Santa Barbara for a look around, and the pier was pretty big, with a number of stores and restaurants built at the end.

The Santa Barbara pier in the background

One of the restaurants at the end of the pier

We then headed south towards Malibu and at one point there were end to end RV’s parked at the beach for many miles! ¬†There were so many massive houses at the beach, with waves underneath their balconies, to mansions up in the hills looking out to the pacific. ¬†A lot of money in this area! ¬†When I was struggling with our dodgy fuel cap trying to fill up, a Ferrari just cruises up beside us at the bowser, with the owner not missing a beat on his “cell” while filling up.

We stopped at Santa Monica for lunch as I had a¬†Margarita¬†at the end of the¬†pier¬†on a previous trip and suggested it would be a good option for Sue. ¬†It didn’t take a lot of convincing, and we found ourselves there with a gazillion others on this beautiful day.

Heading into the Santa Monica Pier area

  

     

Sue enjoying her drink


And me enjoying mine

We headed on to Disneyland, and checked into the Grand Californian hotel where there was a large queue of people coming in.

The queue ahead

 

We got into our room and, and we could see and hear the sounds of the park from our small balcony on the 4th floor. ¬†The hotel also has it’s own entry into the park which is very convenient!

View from our room

 

We decided to grab some food from downtown before heading into the park.  Seems everyone else had the same idea, so we headed to the ESPN sports bar / restaurant.  There was a 45 min wait, but the kids could play on the games inside whilst Sue and I grabbed a frosty drink.

Our buzzer sounded and we were led into the restaurant area.  Oh my, it was like a small cinema with 1 large screen and 12 others surrounding.  We had a regular table, but people were in like gold class lounges. I milked as much sports viewing as I could until the park beckoned.

Inside ESPN

    

We were on the rides until the 10:00 PM close and had a great time.

Hump Day Holiday planning

Wednesday September 7, 2011

I had the luxury of spending some time researching some of our destinations that we are heading to in 10 days time. ¬†That’s right, 10 sleeps! ¬†We are starting to get a little excited here…

So our itinerary is:

Waikiki   17/9    Р   24/9

San Francisco   24/9  Р 29/9

Coastal Drive   29/9  Р 2/10

Disneyland  2/10  Р5/10

I have been reading through our lonely planet guides

Street view on google maps has been fantastic to get a sense of the places we are visiting. The statue of Duke is close to where we are staying.

And reading online forums such as Trip Advisor has been invaluable to find out answers to the many questions we had.  It is at this forum that I found the blog posting of Sydney Shop Girl, whose blog I find it hard not to go to for my first reading of the day.

We went to Disneyland in December 2009, and it has certainly had an impact on the kids. I recently bought a book for Tegan on the Hidden Mickeys of DL, and she is looking at building up a score sheet for us all to see how we go.

I love this photo of Tegan from our last trip, she just looks in awe of her surroundings.

Tegan in awe at Disneyland

Today’s song of the day seems very apt, being an Aussie band (who have since changed their name to Howling Bells) ¬†Waikiki – Here comes September

10 sleeps, can’t wait!