Thursday, September 19, 2019

Disneyland and a 13-year-old

Charlotte is a teenager as of today. How did that even happen?

A few months ago, Mark and I decided that when each of the kids turns 13, we will take them on a trip to Disneyland. So Sunday morning, we left bright and early.

We entered the park about 1 p.m.
The first thing we did was get Charlotte her birthday pin.
Check out her t-shirt. Thanks, Facebook advertisers. :)
She also came prepared with Disney-themed fingernails.
The castle has been painted since I was here last year--it is much brighter. Very pretty.
Small World was one of our first stops.
We made a stop at Toon Town to visit Mickey.
And then to Autopia, where Charlotte requested a car by herself, and definitely behind her grandpa so he wouldn't bump her.
It was pretty warm on Sunday afternoon, but the lines weren't long--I think the longest we waited was about half an hour.

Jungle Cruise:

The park was all decorated for Halloween. And it's always so beautiful at night.
Big Thunder Mountain--my very favorite ride at Disneyland, and especially at night!
We stayed for the fireworks on Sunday night--Disney never disappoints.
On Monday, we got a lot done! Going to Disneyland with a 13-year-old requires a lot of energy! We walked nearly 9 miles that day. We started out in Disneyland, with a photo op at the entrance gate
and then another at Gramps' favorite ride--the park bench, specifically on this porch on Main Street.

Fun bathroom doors in Fantasy Land.
Do you ever wonder how they estimate the "standby" time, the time it will take you to actually get on the ride. Turns out, they hand someone a little card on a lanyard when you first enter the ride, and then you hand it to a cast member at the other end when you actually get on the ride. We have never seen this before, but Charlotte was chosen three times to wear the lanyard.
The Haunted Mansion is always fun to see with seasonal decorations.

Then we headed over to California Adventure.

I love all the details, like this tile.
And this funny play on words.
The green Army men are always fun to see.
Jumping Jellyfish, although technically a kiddy ride, is one of my favorites.

Charlotte and I rode on the giant ferris wheel.
Meanwhile, Gramps rode his favorite ride, the park bench.
We went on the Cars ride--my favorite ride in California Adventure. Cars Land was fully decorated for Halloween too.
I think Charlotte's favorite ride might have been Grizzly River Run. While Mark doesn't go on many rides with a lot of motion, definitely not rollercoasters, he agreed to ride this one with her. I didn't want to get wet, so this is the only ride I didn't go on with Charlotte. Mark bought ponchos--smart man. Even so...their feet got wet.

And then Charlotte went on it two more times.
We headed back to Disneyland for the evening and many more rides.

Tuesday morning, we had early entrance. I think in the first hour we made it on five rides!

We walked over to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to check it out. Only one of the rides is open and the line was already an hour so we just walked around. It's quite impressive visually, though our assessment at this point is that there isn't really much to do yet.

Disneyland is not complete without a ride on the tea cups.
We went back to the Haunted Mansion. I took this picture of the ceiling with a hidden Mickey. Can you see it?
Our good friend, Julia, was there for the day, celebrating her birthday as well. We had lunch and rode on Cars.
Then we went back to finish our adventure with a final ride on Small World. It was a fabulous way to celebrate with this girl we love so much and we are so very proud of her. She is so easy to be around--enthusiastic, flexible, not demanding at all, funny, chatty. We had the best time together. Happy birthday, Charlotte!

P.S. We kept track of our rides!
Day 1
Peter Pan
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
It's a Small World--2
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad--3
Pirates of the Caribbean
Indiana Jones
Space Mountain
Jungle Cruise--2

Red Rose Tavern
The Golden Horseshoe

Day 2
Indiana Jones
Haunted Mansion
Disneyland Railroad
Little Mermaid
Jumping Jellyfish
Ferris Wheel
Soaring Over the World
Grizzly River Run--3
Pirates of the Caribbean
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad--2
Jungle Cruise
Tiki Room
Laser Show (Charlotte pronounced it "lame"--no fireworks due to too much breeze)
Storyland Canal Boats
Snow White

Corn Dog Castle
Hungry Bear

Day 3:
Space Mountain
Astro Blasters
Nemo Submarines
Alice in Wonderland
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Haunted Mansion
Pirates of the Caribbean
Girzzly River Run--4
Disneyland Railroad
It's a Small World

Restaurants at Pacific Pier

Really Random Thursday, 9/19/19

My elderly aunt passed away in August.  She wasn't always the easiest person to get along with, but she lived a remarkable life. A cousin I rarely see because she lives in Texas attended the memorial service. Louise is a few years older and when I was younger I always wanted to be her. It was so good to connect for an hour.
Aaron reffed a high school football game that was on ESPNU--national TV! So proud of him and his skills on the field. It was 103 degrees that day. Mark went to the game. I watched him on TV. :)
Our next door neighbor looked down at his phone very briefly while driving. And then this happened.
Good reminder...
Mark and I were eating lunch at In-n-Out Burger. It was crowded. So another couple sat at our table for four. We ended up chatting a bit, and I kept thinking about how he could easily be a professional Santa.
When I mentioned it, it turns out that he is a professional Santa! And he has been on the cover of Central Valley magazine nine years in a row.
For some reason I decided to repaint our bathroom pink. I know--what was I thinking? It's not horrible, but I didn't love it like I thought I would.
So it was quickly repainted into a very soft aqua. Ahhh....much better.
Remember when I said Gia Vang, the former Fresno TV news anchor, and Mark were birthday buddies? When he came home from Minnesota, he sent her one of his fused dichroic plates. And she posted the nicest thing on her Instagram feed.

No. Just no.
Haha, number 1.
Grandparents day at the school where Ella and Gabe attend. Mark and I stopped by the house and then walked them to school.

They are fortunate to have both sets of grandparents here in Fresno.
I always love when September arrives. But this is pretty much me all year around.
Happy weekend.