Saturday, August 6, 2022

Weekend Round-up, 8/6/22

Aaron had a birthday on July 26. The family was in Oregon, so we celebrated last Sunday night with a family dinner. 

 He's pretty easy to please when it comes to gifts and we thought this "contour gauge with lock" might come in handy for home projects. 

You can put it next to anything and it will conform to the shape.

Like your daughter's face. Obviously, multiple uses...

A while back, our friends, Tim and Tracy, let us know that their son Michael would be part of the Disneyland All American College Band. It's very prestigious--only 21 college kids from around the United States get into the band, and the audition process is rigorous. We love Disneyland so we planned two days in the park with the main purpose of following Michael around to each performance. 

It was amazing! They performed four times each day in Disneyland, with another performance in California Adventure (although we did not get Park Hopper passes this time so we didn't see those performances).

We had gotten to Anaheim on Monday afternoon, so we had dinner in Downtown Disney and then headed over to the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel. We have often spent time relaxing in the lobby--they usually have live music, and it's an amazing hotel. 

I'm always fascinated by Disney's attention to detail. Here, the pattern from the tile to the carpet is seamless.
Before walking back to our hotel, we found a place in between the two parks and watched the fireworks.

The next morning, we started out with breakfast at the Red Rose Tavern in Fantasyland. I always keep track of what we do while we are in the park because it's so easy to forget. Our lists were long with both Charlotte and Levi. But since it was just the two of us, and we were here to see Michael, we just took it easy. Besides, it was hot (for southern California) and the humidity was high. 
Our first ride was It's a Small World.

Then we rode the monorail and went through the Haunted Mansion. 

The bench was empty at our favorite porch on Main Street so we watched people.

We watched the midday parade and had a corndog.
By then it was pretty warm, so in honor of my mother, we went to the Tiki Room because it was her favorite. And it was cool inside! (Note: Most people find the music from Small World to be annoying. I think the Tiki room music is even more annoying...)
By then it was nearly time for Michael's first performance so we headed to the front of Main Street (Michael is third from the right). 

The first performance is the flag ceremony where they lower the flag and honor veterans from all branches of the armed services.
For the next performance they did a medley of Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind and Fire songs.

Our dear friend, Jessie Harper, joined us too. She doesn't live too far from Disneyland, and she and her fiance' Timothy go there a LOT! She wore her mermaid Mickey ears on Tuesday.
After a light dinner, we headed to the front of  Sleeping Beauty Castle where the band had their third performance, a lot of iconic Disney songs.
Daniel (Michael's brother--also a top class musician), Tim, Tracy, Jessie, me, Mark

Later, before the Electric Parade, the band marches down Main Street toward the castle and does a fourth concert, one of my favorites because by then it is dusk and the lights are on--magical.

We stayed for the Electric Parade. Not sure why. It's kind of iconic but geared toward little kids.

Shortly after that are the fireworks, which are always spectacular. I didn't even try to capture how fabulous they are, but instead just enjoyed them.

One Wednesday, the day was much the same. We had breakfast at the Carnation Cafe.

Then we went on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, one of the most popular rides in the park right now.
We spent an extra $20 each to avoid the long line. Note: You now have to purchase your Disneyland tickets and then make a reservation for the days you will be in the park, with the aim toward crowd control. So even though the number of people in the park might be less, Disney has definitely figured out a way to recoup some of their money, for example, Genie +. You used to get free "fast pass," but those days are gone. Now you buy Genie + for $20/day and avoid the long lines. And then they charge the extra $20 for just the Rise of the Resistance. We really wanted to go on it and it was just too hot to stand in a line for 90-100 minutes. And yes, it was worth it. 

Then we met up with Tim, Tracy, Daniel and Michael. Michael had friends who were working on the Jungle Cruise ride. We went to the exit, and his friends got us right on the ride. 

We split up again--Tim and Tracy went back to California Adventure. We had lunch in the Golden Horseshoe, and then went on Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World. By then, Tim and Tracy were back. We all rode the train around the park, and went back to Main Street for another round of concerts. This time I wasn't trying to capture photos of Michael and could just enjoy the music.

Jessie came on Wednesday as well. I told her I had never purchased my own set of Mickey ears--I'm not sure why because we sure have bought a lot for grandkids, etc.-- so she let me try hers on. 
Timothy joined us in time for the concerts. 

After the last one, and before the fireworks, the four of us had dinner at Bengal BBQ.

And Jessie and I went on my very favorite ride--Big Thunder Railroad at nighttime. I love that ride any time, but nighttime is the absolute best!
I have always had the best time at Disneyland, and if we lived closer, we would go way more often. I stopped in one of the shops to buy a Christmas ornament (as I do each time I am there), and Mark bought this one for Jessie. And it matched the ears she was wearing! 
And spending time with people we love is definitely the way to live.