The longest day at the happiest place…

Disneyland Day 2, and the Spring Break fever is in full effect! Today we start with early-opening hours, and (spoiler alert) we go all the way until tomorrow!

We used our early-access time to get to the rides that we can’t “lightning lane” later, to get them while the line is short. The fun part about this is that these are three of the oldest rides: Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Mr. Toad’s wild ride. We did Mr. Toad first. If you’re going to get sentenced to hell for theft you might as well get it out of the way early in the day. (Boy, Disney morality tales used to be dark! Yes, this is literally the plot of the ride.)

It’s actually pretty fun to do the old rides. They’ve definitely done some minor modernization to these, but for the most part they’re still very old-school original Disney. Personally I love that. Imagining what riding something like “Small World” was like when it was the height of technological entertainment is fascinating. And I love the way they had to be clever with things like mirrors to create effects, rather than the modern rides that just use projections and hidden TV screens.

In a similar vein, we also went on the old “20,000 Leagues under the sea” submarine ride, now with a Finding Nemo overlay over it instead.

I remember being so fascinated by this ride when I was a kid, even without the Nemo and friends aspects! The illusion of diving under the ocean was so fascinating! There was another party with a 5-ish year old in the same ride vehicle with us, and the kid’s surprised exclamations, as well as slight terror at one point, really made me smile.

After our morning snack it’s time for a whirlwind through some more rides! Lightning Lane to the rescue, so we don’t have to stand in lines for too long!

Yes, we’re wearing sunglasses on space mountain. What of it?

Actually it was a test. I had decided I disliked how bright this version of space mountain is, due to the cool star-projector effect. Matt suggested sunglasses might dim it down enough that you get more of the “AHH, WHERE IS THIS COASTER TAKING US?!” feeling.

He was definitely right, however we decided that it dims down the colors too much, and the stars effect is too nice to cover up. Next time: no sunglasses.

Julian has heard from the internet that buying the cheesy pretzel roll from the snack shop by Matterhorn, and then going to Adventure Land to buy meat skewers and putting them on the pretzel roll is quite good. Can confirm: was tasty. Worth another back-and-forth all the way across the park.

After lunch it was time for our mid-day break. Spring-break crowds are in full force right now and the park is a bit crowded, plus apparently we’re all old and infirm.

After a bit of a rest we head back to the park via the monorail!

The Disneyland monorail is much smaller than the World version. Both the monorail network, and the physical cars themselves. But it offers some fun views of the park, and it’s better than walking back!

Time to do Small World, because, well, you have to? You can’t SKIP Small World!

It’s interesting that this version has both more Disney IP (Lion King and Nemo characters, Snow White, Aladdin, etc…) and possible better audio.

Spinal re-alignment is once again necessary, so we’ll ride the matterhorn! Dune has been the topic of humor for us lately, so Matt screaming “THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKENED!” as we go through the cave after the Yeti was pretty damn funny.

Time to leave Switzerland and head off-planet for more Star Wars adventure! Rise of the Resistance is an amazing ride. You start out walking through a cave complex, and then you board a spaceship to escape!

After you get on the shuttle, it takes off for your adventure… And then you get back OFF the shuttle as a prisoner!

It’s such a fun ride. The entire Star Wars land is themed so well. The only thing they couldn’t theme properly is the fact that in the “real” place there should be two suns overhead. Someday they’ll figure that one out too I’m sure.

Off to pilot the Millennium Falcon!

Next up, more food, before we have food.

Bevin demanded Beignets…

What you really need after a bunch of sugar is a roller coaster! Fortunately for us Big Thunder Mountain is right there!

We made the choice to keep our reservation and go back to Oga’s Cantina for some drinks rather than watch the fireworks, and decided to make a quick detour to the Storybook Land ride. It’s a simple outdoor boat ride through miniatures of a bunch of the Disney stories. Basically: Baby’s First Jungle Cruise.

What we DIDN’T know was that if you’re on the boat when the fireworks start, they stop the boats and you sit there watching the fireworks from inbetween the close fireworks by the castle and the ones further back. You don’t get the audio from the show, but fortunately for us we got stopped right by the Agrabah miniature, so we got to listen to “A Whole New World” over and over while being in the middle of fireworks. It was actually surprisingly fun!

The cast members in here are really fun. There’s a drink called a “Fuzzy Tauntaun” which has a foam on the top of it that has a numbing agent that makes your tongue a tingly and slightly numb. The bartender here was giving the customers at the table a hard time for asking for a straw for their Fuzzy Tauntaun. He kept turning on his headlamp and watching them to make sure they were drinking it without a straw. And there are some little easter eggs that they do too. Poor DJ R3X.

I didn’t get any more pictures here because we were busy singing and clapping to songs and such… Here’s the main playlist for the cantina though, if you want to sing along with us!

(There’s also a 2nd album, but it’s new and doesn’t get used as much.)

After Oga’s it’s now 11PM and we have time for a few more late-night rides! We didn’t actually walk through Swiss Family Robinson, but it looked cool, sadly the camera didn’t really get it. And as usual, on Indiana Jones, Emily looked into the Idol’s eye and doomed us all.

Matt opted out of this one after sugar and drinking and Emily stayed with him. Amusingly, the car we were supposed to get into had to be taken offline because the previous rider had, perhaps, had a little too much to drink before riding? Whoops.

It’s now almost midnight. Just as we get off the ride the park officially closes. It’s still both surprisingly busy, and quite empty. By time we reach the exit gate it’s after midnight, and we started at 7AM. This may actually be my record for longest Disney day ever? Sweet!

What a fun day! Fortunately we don’t have to get up at 5:30 in the morning, our breakfast isn’t until 8:45. I think we all hit the pillow and crashed as soon as we got back.

In case you were curious about the DVC 2-bedroom suite at the Disneyland hotel, here are a couple more pictures, as well as pictures of the rest of the art in our Fantasia themed room!

Breakfast was at the neighboring hotel, the Pixar Place. The restaurant theme was “Maple”, so there were maple donuts, maple bacon, etc… We will all be in food comas for the entire trip home.

After getting back to the room and packed up we waited around a little while before heading to the airport. Of course this meant more playing with lightsabers!

After that it was a ride to the airport, and home we all go!

Well that was Disneyland! An excellent 4 day adventure. As Julian says we “sucked the marrow from it’s bones”. I think he’s right, we did pretty much everything possible to do! And now most of us get to return home and go back to work in the morning. Matt and Emily were smart and get an extra day off.

Here’s a couple more pictures that were leftovers that didn’t get uploaded in the right order!

Lastly, Esme has been quite upset while I sit and write up this blog post at home, she very much wanted me to be playing in a sunbeam with her in the kitchen instead, and is now angrily snuggling on my lap.

So what’s our next adventure going to be? Currently the next scheduled vacation is in 2025, but we’ll try not to make you wait that long!

Further Adventures in California

Day 3, we’re back to California Adventure for… more adventure?

Our adventure started with…. standing in line. Unfortunately the one ride that we wanted to get to early (because the line gets very long) was having problems, and after we used our entire early-admission period waiting for it, they finally said they weren’t going to open for a while and kicked everyone out of line. Oh well, it was worth a try! So we poked around Cars land!

After that we went to Pixar Pier and road the Incredi-coaster! This one is the one Bevin didn’t want to go on, because it goes upside-down briefly. But she went! We had fun, there was screaming.

Didn’t get too many more pictures in the morning. We moved fast and zipped around the park doing rides while it wasn’t super busy yet. The cloudy weather seems to dampen everyone’s spirits around here. Worked great for us though! As usual we went pretty fast the first part of the day, and then came back for a break after lunch, and then went into the park for the evening. Both parks here have sections that are really beautiful after dark, so we always want to make sure that we have plenty of energy to spend the time in the evening.

After we were done in the park for the evening we stopped by Trader Sam’s tiki bar on the way back for a little while before turning in for the night.

Matt and Emily sharing a drink that comes in a bowl: the Uh’oa. Possibly named for the “uh oh…” sound that is universally made when it is delivered.

Matt and Emily’s drink was fun. It arrived, was lit on fire, and then they sprinkled cinnamon on the flame (causing sparks) to appease… pele perhaps? Anyway, gods were appeased, and drinks were had. Everyone wins.

The two sugary non-alcoholic concoctions Bevin ordered for us caused almost as much “uh oh!!” as Matt and Emily’s drink! Also bonus like Ukelele player!

I also had a Dole Whip. Delicious pineapple soft-serve, with pineapple juice over it.

And then sleeping. Early to bed, early to rise, for tomorrow we go back to Disneyland proper again!

Day 1 in the Happiest Place on Earth

We had a mixed sunny/drizzly day today, so we got a few more pictures!

We bounced around the park a lot, it was a 20,000+ steps day. We managed to do a lot of stuff and not stand in too many lines though, so it was worth it!

We had lunch at Blue Bayou, the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean, which was fantastic. Julian gets up very early in the morning months in advance to get us the best reservations so we can do things!

We didn’t get to see the fireworks because there were winds so they cancelled the fireworks portion of the show, but otherwise it was a great day. Didn’t get rained on too much, didn’t have any significant difficulties getting the rides we wanted. Very successful.

The build-a-lightsaber experience was fun. Matt and Emily both built their own, so we got to go in with them. Anyone who’s a major Star Wars fan will definitely enjoy the experience of building their own saber.

When we did the Millennium Falcon ride we did the “Chewy Mode” where instead of getting instructions you can understand you just get yelled at in Wookie for the whole ride.
So of course we ran into absolutely everything, and barely succeeded. But it was super fun.

Jungle Cruise after dark is always fun too. As we sailed past the gorillas “Anyone wearing yellow try not to sit still, and don’t make banana noises!” cracked me up.

After a long day we went back to our room and everyone crashed. Up extra early tomorrow for the resort-guest extra time!

An adventure in… California!

After just over 3 hours on the nearly empty plane, most of which Bevin spent sleeping on my shoulder, we arrived at SNA in Orange County. None of that LAX business for us!
Our flight got in about an hour before the Portland gang arrived though, so we grabbed a drink and played some Tak.

Bevin, looking like she's going to actually have a strategy for her Tak game. (But it's all a lie, she's just going to be chaotic!)

After everyone arrives we take our ride to the hotel with a California driver who clearly thought most every traffic law was more of a suggestion. But we survived, got to the Disneyland hotel, and then off to the park we go!

The Disneyland Hotel towers. The water slides are monorails, which makes Josh very happy.
The resort is beautiful, but there's not too many people outside because it's rather cloudy and threatening to pour down rain.

Our room is a 2 Bedroom suite that’s Fantasia themed! There’s cool art everywhere, including a mosaic in the master bath.

The suite living room, with a murphy bed behind the couch, and a cool Fantasia art piece on the wall.
Bevin liked the light fixture in the bedroom.
The art in the master bedroom.
The mosaic in the master bathroom. "The creepily sexy fish" as Matt called it.

There are two parks at “Disneyland”, one is Disneyland proper, and the other is California Adventure. That’s where we went next!

Wait a second, we just got off a plane, why are we doing a ride that’s putting us back on a plane?!

Buckled back into "airplane seats" to go Soarin'!
The big screen of Soarin!

Soarin’ is a motion ride that puts you up into this big half-sphere screen and takes you flying over the landscapes, while shooting scents that match the landscapes at at you!

Cool thing is that right now they’re doing the classic “Soarin’ over California” version, rather than the Soarin’ over the USA that’s normal, so all the scenes are from CA. And there are even more scents! (Pine forest, orange grove, ocean mist)

We didn’t take too many pictures through the afternoon because it was raining so hard and phones were tucked into pockets. But we grabbed a few!

Grizzly Peak is the first thing you get to once you get past Main Street.
The old Yeti from The Matterhorn is now in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout queue.
Radiator Springs from Pixar's Cars movie.

Radiator Springs is one of the absolute best forced perspective things I’ve ever seen. It looks huge, it looks real. Photos don’t really capture it well. It’s really impressive. And it’s a fun little race-car ride too!

And because we’re all adults, and can do what we want, we went on the Little Mermaid ride, and sang along. Sha-la-la-la-la-la my-oh-my!

Little Mermaid's Under the Sea scene.
Kiss the girl!

And that’s about it from our first 3/4-ish day at the park! We got… slightly damp. We had a great lunch, and a great dinner, none of which we took pictures of, and then went to the “fireworks” show, which is actually lasers and lights and water at California Adventure. Also not pictured, because it was cold, and damp, and we had our hands in our pockets.

Tomorrow will be Disneyland proper!

What’s this?

Bevin, excited to be using her new rolly-bag for the first time!

We seem to be at an airport!

Less than half full plane? Not bad! Doesn’t mean extra leg room though…

Yep, definitely an airport, you can tell by the fact that we’re on a 737!

Guess it’s time for another adventure!

32 hours later…

We made it home! Almost exactly 32 hours after we left the hotel “this morning”.

What a Tuesday. Anticipating going to bed in a couple hours, this day will have been 34 hours long. Plus 4 before we woke up, and 2 more after we went to sleep for total of 40 hours between 12:01am and 11:59pm on Tuesday Dec 12 from our perspective.

A single day that’s 40 hours long and 9000 miles wide. Now there’s an experience you don’t get to have too often.

Hopefully at least!

Leaving on the last jet plane. Into the wild blue yonder dear friends, once more.
I love flying at night, especially with how many neighborhoods around here are just COVERED in Christmas lights. The picture doesn’t even come close to doing it justice.

During our flight from Guam to Honolulu I sat next to a guy from Saipan who was leaving the islands for the first time. Hawaii was impressive to him, I can’t imagine what he’s thinking now, having gone through LA and landed in Seattle where he’s going to try and get set up. The island he lived on is slightly less than half the length of Guam, at only 14 miles. From the single high spot you can actually see the whole island he says.

And our Lyft ride home from the airport was 24 miles, almost the entire length of Guam.

Sometimes the scale of things just really gets you.

I hope that guy enjoys Seattle. I assured him he did NOT in fact have to worry about frostbite upon arrival.

Kitties are very suspicious.
Eventually they figured out that they remembered us. At which time they immediately remembered that it was dinnertime.
All is back to normal.

Kitties got up to some shenanigans while we were gone and got themselves into some places they’ve never gone before. Whoops! Learning for next time.

We’ll try and post a few more things in the next few days as we go through all the pictures from the other phones as well. But for now: we’re home, and ready for a nice sleep with actual lying down and such. What luxury. Almost like we’ve been upgraded to first class!

And even more miles to go before I sleep…

It’s 10:15am on Tuesday it Portland Oregon. We got out of bed 24 hours ago at 4:15am on Guam. (where it is currently 4:15am on Wednesday…)

Everyone is very tired. At least half of us are almost home and tucked in for the.. Day?

Almost home to have a proper non-sitting nap.

Only one more 3 to layover and then 4 hour flight for Bevin and I. The Tuesday that never ends continues ever onward.

At least there were some mountains in the distance.

Oh mountains, my mountains, thank you for showing yourselves today.

The last day adventures…

We’re currently in Honolulu airport, where it is once again Monday. Oh joy, we get to experience 4am Tuesday morning for a 2nd time, just what I wanted.

The morning got a late start because we were enjoying snorkeling and swimming in the bay. I do wish we had pictures of that, but we really don’t like to be the people with the GoPro firming everything, rather than enjoying it. The bay is lonely though we were 100-152 yards off the beach, and the water was never too deep for me to stand up. (and thus for Bevin or Caren to use me as a platform if needed.) The water is clear enough that you can just look down and see the fish swimming around, but it does get truly spectacular when you get the goggles on and see it from below. I’m certain there are plenty of videos of snorkeling in Tumon Bay available on YouTube if you really want to see!

Since we got a late start we weren’t able to do the breakfast at the hotel and had to wait to get lunch. This turned out to be excellent because their lunch had some great items, including a local dish called Kelaguen that they did a very good job of, in fact the best version we’ve had since arriving!

After lunch Caren and Bevin and I went to the Guam Aquarium. We weren’t expecting much, based on the reviews and seeing the entrance (it’s in a mall) but it was really pretty great! I think they have the longest walk-through aquarium tunnel I’ve ever seen!

Bevin named the turtle “Dragon Ball Sea”. Its real name was Napu, which means “waves”. We wondered which it would prefer.
We saw these outside in the ocean!
The absolute grumpiest looking fish ever.
Caren declared this to be “that Star Wars looking fish”. Accurate.
This fish just sat there staring at us. And then turned and stared as we walked by. We figure he’s a cousin of the aggressive one in the bay that bit Caren on the foot…

Our last day was going to be just mostly sitting around, perhaps some swimming, but some early morning internet sleuthing uncovered a few extra family graves, including one that was quite important to Dave: Auntie Bita.

Unfortunately he never knew anything else about her, so we could never find her. Didn’t even know what the true relation was. It’s possible she was just a family friend. All we knew was that her headstone had ten picture in the upper right. She was a very important figure in his childhood though, and he was very much hoping to find her.

Well Marcia and her Ancestry account did!

As soon as Dave saw the picture he knew this was the right one!

It turns out that “Auntie Bita” was actually Great-aunt Rita, and she’s buried just a few headstones down from her sister, Dave’s paternal grandmother, Maria Taitano Aguero. We literally walked right by her last time we were at this cemetery and didn’t notice the picture. (Dave had remembered seeing a picture of a dark headstone, so hadn’t looked at this one.)

The two in the foreground are grandma and grandpa Aguero, as they’re standing at Auntie Bita. We were so close!
Dave telling us about Auntie Bita.

One further bit of research that was accomplished in the morning was finding out the actual neighborhood that Dave’s grandparents used to live in! He remembers it being across from a schoolt we had visited all the local schools and not found in. Narrowing down the search grid to about 5 blocks though we were able to determine what is now a park/playground used to be a school, and we found his grandparent’s house!

The old Aguero house.

When we drove by someone was in the font yard, so Dave hopped out to talk to him! It turns out that the guy’s parents are neighbors, and bought the house from the Agueros! He and Dave chatted for a bit while we watched the neighborhood roosters run around. (they’re like squirrels! They’re just everywhere!)

We did a little more last minute souvenir shopping and picking up some things we needed before heading back to the hotel.

Last sunset over Tumon Bay

Eventually we went back to Meskla, clearly our favorite restaurant since this was our third trip, and had nome more delicious quasi-local food.

After dinner it was back to finish packing and turn in so we could get up at 4. Bevin and I went on a walk down the beach though. It’s really quite lovely out there in the dark, but there were a surprising number of loudly drunk people. There’s some kind of flying fish in the bay though that only comes out at night, and skips along the surface like a skipping stone. And tons of little schooling fish that come right up to the tide line.

Unfortunately it’s even harder to get pictures on the water at night, so you’ll just have to take our word for it. 😎

Bevin, carrying her somewhat enlarged bag stuffed with goodies, headed to the airport…
The sign at the airport says that KFC serves Kelaguen. Which can be chicken, but is definitely not fried…
Still getting used to being on a 777 and being so high up. It’s quite a plane!

We survived the flight from Guam back to Hawaii without too much difficulty. It was a bit ahead of schedule due to 100mph tailwinds and cut about an hour off the time.

Flying over Kauai on our way to Honolulu
The first Starbucks in over 2000 miles, bit of a novelty. (there’s technically exactly 1 on Guam, in the Westin hotel lobby.) Not sure if the return of Starbucks implies we’re back in civilization, or have left it behind…
Our plane home. There is no glass between me and the 777, the terminal is open-air.

So here we sit in Honolulu, 12 hours after leaving our hotel, waiting for our 11pm flight, and 11 hours away from touching down in Portland. On this flight we have the entire middle column of the 777.