Monday, July 30, 2012

disney's california adventure {part 2}

After some fun at Cars Land, we headed to explore the rest of Disney's California Adventure.  This was backlot studios- where they have all kinds of character meet and greets, and lots of fun rides!
As we were walking by, the Disney Junior Live show was almost starting so we ducked inside!
They performed four shows from Disney Junior, and Andrew just went nuts over Jake and the Neverland Pirates!
And Mickey Mouse Clubhouse... The music was amazing, just like the shows, and the special effects were so neat.  Both Andrew and Kerigan just were in awe.
Coming around the corner after the show, this guy was just getting done greeting kids and we thought we missed him.  They were so nice to let him stick around for just one more!  We told him he is one of Andrew's favorites!  I knew he would love meeting Mr. Incredible!
And how could we forget about Ga Ga?  She practically chased him down the street!  Ha!
The Monsters Inc ride was a much anticipated ride!
You ride in a little taxi cab and see scenes from the movie.  It was so fun!
This was our favorite part- the room with all the doors!  They actually had the doors going on tracks, and there were tons of mirrors all around so it really looked like there were millions of them!
Everything is so realistic and you just always feel like you are right in the movie.  We rode this ride about 3 times in a row I think!
We spotted Frozone (from the Incredibles)!
And Handy Manny!  

We met so many great characters, but I was so concerned the whole day about Andrew getting to meet Jake, his all time favorite character.  I think I probably asked a dozen people who worked there if Jake was coming out at a certain time, or where they thought we might find him.  I got lots of conflicting answers, such as, the characters all take turns so he may not be out today, etc.  I was super bummed.  We came all the way to California and this was a character I refused to miss.  I spent a lot of time searching for him, and the second I saw him, I got tears in my eyes... AGAIN!  He had literally just come out, and there was no one else in line.  I ran as fast as I could pointing him out to Andrew!  Ha!
There is just nothing quite like making your child's dream come true right before their eyes...
A treasured photo, currently hanging up in Andrew's room.
As we were walking away, my mom just shook her head and said, "Well, at least you're persistent!"  Ha!  I do have to admit I have a way of making things work out!  Sometimes it's at the expense of everyone else having to put up with my Type A personality, but nine times out of ten, it pays off.  This time it paid off, BIG TIME.
This was another fun moment... we went in to watch Turtle Talk with Crush (from Finding Nemo).  We sat towards the front in front of a large movie screen.  Crush comes out and talks to all the kids and it is interactive, like he is really talking to them, asking them questions, etc.  It was pretty amazing when the first kid he picked to talk to him was Andrew!  I think Andrew was in shock when he asked him his name and started calling him Andrew the rest of the time!  It was so fun!  Then he wanted to talk to Andrew's mom, too.  Ha!

We rode many more awesome rides, thanks to not having to wait in line.  We made our way to Paradise Pier, where Toy Story Mania was.
We remembered this ride from Disneyworld and loved it!
It is a 3D ride where you shoot at targets and all the characters come out in 3D.  It is pretty awesome!

We also experienced another favorite ride called Soarin' over California.  
I wasn't sure what to expect on this one, and I was a little nervous!  Ga Ga stayed with Kerigan and Daddy and I took Andrew.  I didn't take pictures, mainly because they would never do it justice.  I pulled a couple from online just to give you an idea.
I'm just telling you, if you ever get the chance...ride it!  It is so awesome!  You sit in these movie theater type seats, but you get raised up into the air above a huge movie screen showing footage of California and Disney.  It is beautiful, and you really feel like you are flying.  Andrew was so excited he ran to tell Ga Ga she had to go with us so daddy stayed with Kerigan and we rode it again with Ga Ga!  Ha!  
The kids at Paradise Pier with their Mickey/Minnie ears.  Andrew got Cars Land ones (the ears are tires!  So cool!) and it says "grand opening 2012."  This will be a keepsake forever.
For some reason Kerigan did not want to stand up and she was not happy!  But doesn't she look adorable in her little Minnie dress and her very first set of Minnie ears?  Ha!
This was the neatest place, I just loved the California Adventure park.  They had neat little places to eat and shop all along the pier.  
We spent some time acting "goofy" in the gift shops!  Ha!
We grabbed some pizza and pasta while we were waiting for the World of Color show to start (Another tip, get to the park early and get a fast pass for this show immediately.  That is the only reason we had decent seats and could see anything.  They rope off huge areas and only people with fast passes can go inside the rope and right down in front.  Yes, my research ahead of time  paid off and I knew this!  See?  Having a Type-A personality does have it's perks!  Ha!)
As you can see, Andrew crashed again before the show began!  Ha!  It was just a long day and he refuses to nap anymore.
The show was so incredible, I could never describe it, but I had to wake Andrew up!
 They shoot water up in the air and project clips from various Disney movies right onto the water.  It is quite a sight (this one is from Lilo and Stitch I think!)

I think this one is Mickey with his wizard hat on
Here's a video I put together in case anyone is interested in seeing what it's like!  Just ignore me bugging Craig to wake Andrew up!  Ha!

This is a moment I never want to forget.  Andrew woke up during the show but was still groggy for a while.  He ended up getting a second wind when it ended, so we asked him if he'd like to take one last ride on Radiator Springs racers.  He was so excited!  So we headed over to Cars Land and I am so happy we did.
I hadn't even thought about how amazing it would be at night.
But it was breathtaking.
Andrew was such a big boy and he was so proud to be up so late, going on a late night ride with mommy and daddy.  Just look at that smile on his face.  I figure, you only live once, let's make memories!
And memories were made.
My sweet boy and I getting ready for one last special ride... this was probably the most fun I had with Andrew the entire trip.  He was so happy and excited and sweet.  He knew that what we were doing was special, and he was appreciative.

Lately I have been so burdened thinking about him going off to Kindergarten, out into the "real world" and I want him so badly to have an appreciation for things.  I want him to understand that aside from his rough start and his special heart, he has had an amazing life.  We have worked hard to always treasure opportunities to take him places and "show him the world."  Even if it was just taking him to the swimming pool or to a movie.  He is starting kindergarten with some serious "schema" (teachers out there can appreciate that!  Ha!) which being a teacher I know how that impacts children's learning.  He has experienced so many things in his five years.  Some were great and some not so great.  But I think all in all, he's a well rounded little boy who is ready to conquer anything.  I just pray that he will always know how loved he is, and that above everything else, he will know Jesus, and be able to thank Him for the life he was given and for the miracle that he is.

The magic of Disney did not end for us this night, because these memories are ones that will live on in our hearts forever.  I will never forget our midnight ride on Radiator Springs Racers with our sweet five year old boy.

It was simply magical.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

cars land!

Our first stop at Disney California Adventure... yep, that's right!  The real Radiator Springs!  This addition to Disney California Adventure park just celebrated it's grand opening a couple of weeks before we were there.  It was jam packed and lines were long, but we enjoyed every minute and just took it all in.
I would never be able to explain how amazing this place was.  You just have to see it for yourself.  Let's just say that if you've ever seen the movie Cars... everything is an exact replica of the movie and you basically feel like you are walking down the street from the movie.  It is simply amazing.  See those mountains in the background?  That's where the most spectacular ride in all of Disney is located- the Radiator Springs racers.  
Right away when we were walking down the street we saw Mater and couldn't pass him up!
Andrew could not keep his hands off him!  Mater is his favorite... mine too!
This was Luigi's flying tires.  It was kind of like bumper cars, but not as rough!  They had beach balls flying around and it was all controlled by air.  It was pretty cool!
Another favorite ride was Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.  The tractors were on a track and they whipped around and around (kind of like the tilt-a-whirl).
Andrew is just obsessed with this part of the movie when they tip the tractors over!  He loves them!  He even found a tractor to purchase in the gift shop with his money he had been saving.

Next up was Filmore the fire truck!  In the mornings, he is out on the street watering the flowers, just like in the movie!
Kerigan was concentrating so hard to stay on her feet!  Ha!
After riding some rides, McQueen and Mater had switched places!  Perfect timing!  I love this picture of my two handsome boys!
And my special little man
This was a treat, because we got to see Mater and McQueen switching places!  They just drive right down the street, just like the movie!  It is an amazing sight.  Disney really knows how to make things come to life, and dreams come true.
Our Guest Assistance Card came in very handy for this ride.  This is the Radiator Springs racers.  The line was over 3 hours long.  We would have barely been able to ride on it once, and not all of us (because Kerigan was too small so someone had to stay with her).  We felt very blessed to have the GAC card, which allowed all of us to ride several different times.  It is honestly the coolest, most amazing ride I have ever ridden in my whole life.  I know that sounds a little dramatic, but it's the truth.  This ride is like a roller coaster, but you are in a race car, and it is so smooth and the scenery is breathtaking.  I seriously could have ridden it around and around all day long.
Like everything else, the pictures just don't do it justice.  But this was a beautiful waterfall we passed by on the ride.
Most of my pictures were blurry because we were moving pretty fast, but you go from inside to outside quite a bit, which is so neat.  The ride is several minutes long.  Doc talks to you as you pass by...
When you get to this spot, you are actually meeting up with another car who had been on a slightly different track.  One track takes you through the car wash (where you get a little mist!) and another track takes you to get your tires changed (we got to experience both).  Then, you meet up with the other car and you both race to the finish!  It is so awesome!  You take off and go flying up and down the roads and around corners at top speed!  So fun.
This was a picture of us (we are in back) flying over a hill!  Ha!  (I just took a picture of the picture on the screen they wanted to sell us!)
This was so fun, we grabbed a bite for lunch at Flo's Cafe, just like in the movie!  It was an old fashioned diner.  We ate at a table overlooking the Radiator Springs racers so we got to watch the cars speed by.

I have some great night photos and a special story I'll share in my next update...  More to come from Disney California Adventure!

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