Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Music Teacher's SoCal Adventure, Part Four: More Disneyland

We were slow to get rolling on Saturday, but I knew my kids would want as much time as possible in Disneyland, so we started off a little after 8:00...and stayed 'til nearly midnight.

I insisted on stopping for a quick group picture, because I love these kids and want the memories.

Me & My Kids

Then, it was off to the races. Most of the kids headed straight for Disneyland, but I had my own plan, and veered right towards California Adventure.

I love my home state, so a whole theme park celebrating it is awesome.
When it's done by Disney, even better!!

Disney's gardeners come out every night after closing to fix up the plants
and flowers that may have been damaged in a full day of fun.  Everything
is beautiful.

I loved watching the characters with kids. They're so beautifully trained
to handle every situation, and I really didn't see kids freaking out around
them. Just some shyness, quickly killed by the overwhelming cuteness.

Cali couldn't go for a paddle, but he was too excited
to have a look around the park to mind.

I rode Soaring Over California first. Brilliant, brilliant look at my gorgeous

Next it was off to Gold Country.

Then to San Francisco.
I spent quite a lot of time in the biggest, most dramatic section of California Adventure, the Paradise Pier. It is home to the enormous and truly epic California Screamin' roller coaster (seriously, it is a wicked ride), and also the huge Ferris wheel and other carnival-type rides, Disney-fied.

And a lovely day for it, too.

King Triton

Shortly after taking this, I rode it.

Took this and the next from the Zephyr ride.

The Silly Symphony Swings. Yup, rode these, too. I love swing rides.

Waiting in line for the big wheel.

My pod was a moving pod. It was on an elliptical "track" so it would slide
back and forth, then rock like crazy. 

They don't actually do tattoos.

Of course I rode King Triton's carousel! 

In my cute new Disneyland hoodie.

I rode a humpback whale.

My trusty steed.

Then it was time for this beast.

As we left Paradise Pier, Cali and I stopped to watch
his idol, but we didn't feel like standing in line to meet
him again.

Cars Land is new to California Adventure since my last visit, so I had to walk through. I wasn't in the mood to wait in line for ages to ride the featured ride in that section (something with race cars), so I just walked around, and stopped at Flo's Diner for a milkshake, some air conditioning, and a rest from all the walking.

It's Mater!

Kids' meals served in Lightning McQueen boxes. 

After leaving Cars Land, I caught a Newsies street performance that was very cute.

What I love most about this picture is that the performer was about to
move, looked right at me, saw my camera raised, gave me a huge, cheesy
grin, and held the pose. Fantastic.

I headed through "Hollywood" before leaving California Adventure to return to Disneyland, taking pictures, doing a bit of shopping.

This mosaic is awesome.

Next, it was time to head back to Disneyland. I wanted to ride some old favorites, and I had a lunch reservation with Al and Michelle, the parent chaperons.

We had a lovely lunch at the Blue Bayou (the restaurant you ride past on Pirates of the Caribbean). It was great to get in out of the sun, and we had a nice time chatting. After lunch, we all went our separate ways again. I wandered over to visit the Haunted Mansion, then made my way over to Toon Town, which had sadly closed for the day. I found myself near the line for It's a Small World, and in a fit of nostalgia, decided I didn't care if I got the song stuck in my head for the rest of the year, I was going on.

It's easy to disparage It's A Small World, but as I rode through, humming along and enjoying (again) being out of the sun, it occurred to me that part of Disneyland's charm is in the fact that there are so many familiar favorites to go back to. Sure, new rides come along, and things get changed up from time to time, but there are so many old favorites that endure, and It's A Small World is one of them. There's comfort in that.

Next I wandered back through Fantasyland, stopping to get a pic of the teacups, then finding that as a single rider, I could get on The Matterhorn Bobsleds a bit quicker. I hadn't been on that in eons, so I popped into the line and rode.

After The Matterhorn, I did some more wandering, rode Pirates of the Caribbean, then took the Disney Railroad around the park to Main Street. I was tired of walking. At one station, I looked up and saw a group of my students, and waved like Miss America when they started yelling, "HEY MS. COOPER!!!"

I did some more wandering around Main Street, then out in to Downtown Disney for some final shopping and a quick snack for dinner.

By the time I got back into the park, it was getting dark, and I was a couple of hours away from needing to be at the Thunder Ranch Jamboree Arena for an awards ceremony for the Heritage Music Festival. I saw that several characters were out on Main Street, and spent the next 40 minutes or so lining up to get my picture taken with them. Because I'm a 35-year-old woman who is just a big kid at heart.

I told Mickey, "Great place you have here!" He was

Minnie gave me a big hug, and I could hear "kiss kiss"
sounds coming from her. Too cute.

Unfortunately, the photographer did not get a pic of
Pluto kissing my hand. 

The awards were hectic, mildly fun. I was freezing by then, even with a second hoodie over the one in the above pictures. The best part was that my kids took home a silver rating--they have the last few years, and I was terrified with me, they'd get a bronze or something. But we maintained our ranking, and I know that with the growth of this program, we will only get better. We were the smallest group at the festival, and we didn't have our whole choir with us. They sang beautifully, and I'm tremendously proud of them.

After awards, I gathered my cranky teens (we were all POOPED) and we went back to the hotel. I would only get four hours of sleep before being awake again for the long drive home, and let me tell you, two days later, I'm still recovering. But it was a fun trip, a successful trip, and I'm glad.

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