Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's at Disneyland!!!

Happy New Year from Radiator Springs and the Happiest Place on Earth. I know we are crazy but we did California Adventure and Disneyland on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We were so excited to check out Cars Land and just be at Disneyland as it turned to 2013! We had never been to the new cars exhibit and that was what the kids were really looking forward to! New Year's eve was a great day at California Adventure because we had Grandma, Grandpa and Papa Louie all with us. Raider especially loved having Papa Louie there (or Grandpa Cornnut as Raider affectionately calls him) so he didn't have to move at the same pace as the little ones and he had someone to go on the big roller coasters with him. They joined us off and on throughout the day for some of the rides. 

We heard there were some pretty long lines for the new Radiator Springs Racers ride so we arrived at the park at 7:30 am to get in line for Fast Passes. I took everyone's tickets and stood in line reading my book while the rest of the gang went and rode their first ride - Soarin' over CA - it turned out to be a favorite so we went back again later so I could catch it too. 

In trying to get the fast passes I waited at the gate at the entrance to the park with everyone for awhile and then asked about the fast passes a little late, they pointed me to a long line that already formed around the corner and I had to run and get in line. After about an hour in line I finally got our fast passes and they were already for 2-3 pm that day. I can only imagine that anyone who got to the park later than 9 am probably couldn't get a fast pass for that ride. It was definitely worth it later in the day because the wait was about 2-3 hours and with the fast passes it only took us about 20-30 minutes. We all loved the new Racers ride but it was definitely my favorite ride in all of Disneyland. You sit in a life-size convertible car and race through the mountains just like Lightning and Sally did in the movie. The mountains were huge and really actually beautiful. I felt like we were truly in the mountains and when the ride ended I wished we could get right back on and do it again 10 more times. We took way too many pictures in front of those mountains but it was definitely my favorite spot in the park. 

Other than that we all just loved Cars Land in general. It was the new big thing at California Adventure and we were so excited to be there and check out all the new rides and cool displays with our favorite Cars characters!

Aside from Cars land, we hit all the rest of the regular CA adventure shows and little rides while Raider and Papa Louie headed for the big roller coasters. We loved the Monster's Inc ride and Bugs Land - we made sure the kids had seen Bug's Life before we went so they knew all the characters in Bug's Land.  

By far the scariest ride at California Adventure had to be Mickey's Fun Wheel - you know, that big beautiful wheel that lights up at night with Mickey's smiling face and looks like an innocent ferris wheel? Well it's not - it's actually more like a secret torture device. None of us had ever been on the ride before because the line is usually so long and we figured it's just a ferris wheel anyways. We got in the line for the swinging cars rather than the stationary ones because we figured those would be more exciting. Boy were they ever!!! It should have been a warning to us when we got in and there were complimentary barf bags inside. The ride starts out like any other ferris wheel until it hits that first big swing and you realize there is nothing to hold onto!!! There are no seat belts, lap bars, harnesses or handle bars of any sort and trust me you need them! We were screaming for our dear lives and nearly crying from laughing so hard!!! It really was terrifying swinging around like crazy in that tiny little box and being able to see straight down that high up in the air. I thought for sure Haylie was going to lose it but thankfully Grandma and Grandpa held on tight! 

Since it was New Year's Eve, we really wanted to stay at the park til midnight and be a part of all the Happy New Year festivities. Considering we had gotten to the park at 7:30 am, were planning on getting up early to come back the next day, and had two young children with us, that was a very ambitious goal. Grandma, Grandpa, Raider and Papa Louie all bailed and headed back to the hotel to rest up for the next day. We stayed as long as we possible could and ended up making it until about 10:30 PM. We were there just long enough to get the free hats and noisemakers they passed out but left just in time to miss all the craziness and the big crowds leaving the park. Even though we didn't make it til midnight, we figured 15 hours was a pretty good effort. 2012 was such a great year - we are so blessed and we feel so thankful for the many great memories we were able to make this year!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Discovery Center

We went to Southern CA for Casey and JoAnn's wedding but we figured we would make the most of it while we were there. In addition to a planned Disneyland trip, we went to the Discovery Center in Santa Ana. It was such a cool place!!! The kids loved all the fun things to do and explore there! We spent over 5 hours playing and could have easily spent more time!!! Right out front there was a snow machine which the kids probably could have spent 5 hours playing with by itself!! Other than that some of the other exhibits we loved included the giant body mold which we had fun taking pictures of, the fossil scavenger hunt, the edible race cars made out of candy and crackers (which they built, raced and then ate), the live hockey demo, the bed of nails, the rocket ship simulation and the special Indiana Jones adventures. We really hope to come back here again some day!!