California Things That Were Not Disneyland

Well, if I'm going to pay for this website, I ought to be posting.

Ok.

When last I blogged, I posted all about my two days at Disneyland with family. Now I would like to post about the day before Disneyland and the days after.

Got a nice early flight out of JFK over to LAX where Kristen and most of the kids picked me up. We went right over to El Huarache Azteca for a little lunch.

And then we passed a pleasant afternoon at Grandma's. The sun began to set dramatically and a great big rainbow came out and Kristen, Rachel and I went on a walk.

OK, now, insert here the two days of Disneyland.

Woke up Saturday morning not terribly Disney-hungover and put in some pool time before we drove up to lunch at Mom's Tamales before spending an afternoon post-Disney crashing. Or that's what I think we did. If there's not a photo, I don't remember what happened! No, wait. Now I know what we did. We had dinner at Twohey's. 

Sunday night I went and watched the Oscars on the west side.

Monday morning I drove Cory and Dad and Blake to the airport and we followed one of those cars that's in disguise because it's still just being tested out before being released. We absolutely could not figure out or even make a good guess at what kind of a car it was.

Mom and I took a walk to CalTech. Sorry, no turtle pictures.

That night I met up with Keith and we went on a Westside to Eastside taco tour of LA, hitting up places of deep taco-meaning for Keith. It was for an episode of my taco podcast, you can find that episode here. First we went to the cultishly beloved Titos, then a truck near LAX called Mariella's and then finally Taco Zone, so innocently parked in front of an empty Von's parking lot.

The next day I had to get back to New York, but not before getting lunch with everyone, plus Collin, at the Tam O'Shanter. Last time I went to Tam O'Shanter I didn't appreciate it. But now I'm grown, and I appreciate it.

Big things are coming to LAX. I'll be back soon.

Disneyland 2017

I've shown I can say plenty about a trip to Disneyland, this time I'll try to be shorter on words.

Much like two years ago, I got word that Niece Elise would be dancing at Disneyland, so I flew out to California to participate. A whole lot of family would be there. This time I would be doing something I'd never done before: 2 days of Disneyland Park Hoppin'. Up to now I have always been a "one day is plenty!" guy. And having done two days of opening-to-close Disneyland, I'll stand by my stance. One day is plenty! Enough, even. But two is still fun.

The major thing about these two days was the park was packed. Middle of February and it was bursting at its seams. Fastpasses and good planning helped, but we still, a lot of time was spent in line. And also, so many rides were closed. It was a perfect set up for a near disaster, but no disaster happened. Everything went pretty dang well, to be honest. It was perfect as two exhausting super-crowded days at the park could be.

Ok, let's get going. First of all, look at this map I made of my walking for the two days. Nearly 14 miles of back and forth and round and round. Kinda seemed farther than that, though.

And now, the photos!

Day One: Started at California Adventure with my patented Midway Mania/Soarin'/Radiator Spring Fast Pass combo (plus Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters inserted in there while we waited on the Fast Passes to mature.) Followed it up with California Screamin', King Triton's Carousel, the Silly Symphony Swings, Goofy's Sky School and Little Mermaid.

Then it was over to Disneyland with us. We started off in Tomorrowland with Autopia, Star Tours, the Rockets and Space Mountain.

I'm a Barnes by blood, not relation

Then we cut across town to wind up at Splash Mountain. Our log received a substantial splashing, a splashing so fierce it wound up sending people home after Winnie the Pooh. The sun was going down, bathroom breaks were taking long, but Mom, Dad, Greg and Me stuck it out through the Mainstreet Electrical Parade and got tacos across the street at Jimboy's Tacos before returning to our hotel.

Also, shout out to Ellie for being so dang brave on Thunder Mountain and liking it a lot.

Day Two: Thanks to all sorts of airplane mix-ups, Blake and Cory arrived at 1'ish in the morning, but everyone was up, rested and ready for a second day at Disney. This one would be 8am to midnight. We started at Disneyland and ran straight for Peter Pan. There was a 30 minute line. You just cannot beat Peter Pan. From the elephants we went to Dumbo, Thunder Mountain, then returned for better luck on Splash Mountain, then the Haunted Mansion, the Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones, the Enchanted Tiki Room, one more Space Mountain adventure, and back to California Adventure.

We all arrived lunch-hungry to California Adventure and our forward momentum nearly ceased. Ellie's dance performance was coming up and so I went/was sent with Walker to ride Goofy's Sky School again since he liked it so much the day before and I didn't like not doing anything. The line was a beast as all lines were beasts, but we inched our way toward boarding as Ellie's performance inched its way towards beginning. We were probably 10 minutes from riding when I realized Ellie's dance would be even sooner, so Walker and I left the line. He didn't seem too put off and had been really well behaved for the 45+ minutes we had been standing in line. Thinking it was worth a shot, I told our story to  one of the cast members and she just handed me two Fast Passes for later. Wow. Disney takes care of you. We hurried over to Ellie's stage and arrived with minutes to spare.

After the dancing Walker and I rode some bumper car beetles to kill the last bit of time before our Fast Passes came alive and then rode Sky School at last. Then we ran back to the other side of the park to try to make it into the Frozen show with all the girls (all the other guys had gone back tot he hotel for naps). We just barely missed getting in my a second, so we rode Midway Mania. 

Among the rides closed that week: Tower of Terror as it is transformed into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Also closed: Grizzly Rapids, Mickey's Fun Wheel, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Matterhorn. Maybe that's why it was so crowded, because there was nothing to ride?

After Frozen got out and the men returned from their naps no one could decide what to do. It can be so hard to decide! So I went and got in line for Radiator Springs Racers in case they finally decided to ride it again. I'd been line 20 or 30 minutes when they all showed up and I was gald to have them. Blake and Cory had never been on it so it just seemed like something we had to do. It really wasn't so bad all standing in line for the 90 minutes or so it took and the ride is so much cooler looking at night. No regrets! That's my position on standing in that Radiator Springs Racers line.

After Radiator Springs we split up for dinner and, through the internet, I discovered that Laura was at the park, so I ran over to meet up with them and take a commemorative photograph. The family reconvened for ride Soarin again, followed by Midway Mania as the park closed. Then we went back to Disneyland for the last few hours of the night and rode It's a Small World, Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones. I'd never stayed at Disneyland until closing before and I'm glad I did. The trip was fun and good and everyone got along so well, no one had a meltdown, child or adult. That said, I think I've had enough Disneyland for the time being and hereby pledge not to return until Star Wars Land opens in 2019...or until someone asks me to come and I'll probably say yes.

Photos with me in them were probably stolen from Kristen and Cory's post about the trip, which you can see here.