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Our first day of driving took us to warm St. George, Utah where we were able to reconnect with old and dear friends and family. Our first stop was visiting my very first Beehive -- Kribitistibi. (This is from waaaay back when I lived on the OR coast. I was called as the Beehive counselor in YW in August and Kribistibi turned 12 in October. So she is literally the very first Beehive I ever had!) Even though I haven't gotten any older, she has. She found a great guy, married him in the Temple and last spring had her first baby. I feel like the smelly, old, great aunt to this sweet baby girl, so I was very excited to finally meet her.
We spent the night at Max's youngest brother's house. It was his birthday that weekend, so we had an extra special treat of partaking of birthday cheesecake while we were there! That was definitely worth the drive! Happy 35th Birthday, A.J.!!! (Dude, you were 12 when I met you!)
Monday morning we awoke and had our in-room breakfast of Frosted Flakes or homemade cinnamon rolls. The hotel didn't offer breakfast. We brought our own food. We also brought fixin's for lunch. Whatever $$ we could save by feeding ourselves was money we could spend on gas to get home! After fixing our lunch, filling water bottles and grabbing our 3 day pass we headed out the door. Our hotel was directly across the street from Disney, so it made it extremely easy to get there. We used the shoeleather express!
Standing in line that first morning, we ran into family from Florin. They informed us that while we were enjoying sunshine and warmer (not hot) weather, our friends and potoato harvesters back at home were experiencing their first winter snow storm of the year. At that time, Florin was sitting under 1.5 inches of new snow. We wiped the sweat off our brow and said, "Glad it's not us," and marched into the Park.
I won't regale you with each day's adventure. I'll just say it was delightful and such a good time! We knew our friends from our ward were there (not the people that told us about the snow) so we were excited to meet up with them and spend an evening riding some of the funnest rides together.
Compared to last year's trip:
1) It was much cooler. Last year they had record heat. Each day was close to 100*. This year it was 10* cooler than average. Our days were holding steady in the mid 60's. Of course, that meant the evenings were cooler and we were glad we remembered our jackets!
2) Crowds: Last year Utah schools were out (UEA) and Arizona schools were having their break, so the Parks were much busier! That wasn't the case here. Most of the lines we stood in were 20 minutes or less -- and that included standing in line and riding the ride. The biggest lines were Thursday night (our last night) right after the firework show when some of the lines were up to a 45 minute wait.
3) Space Mtn: Last year, even though we were there in October, they didn't have any special Halloween effects on this ride. This year they did. Can I say that it was phenomenal?!? They scared Inigo, but they were pretty darned amazing. I forgot to get car sick I was so enthralled with the graphics!
4) Villains: Max has an unusual Disney collection: Villains. He has collected them for years. His collection is mainly ceramic figures of characters like Cruella, Ursula, Gaston, Cheshire Cat, Captain Hook, etc. We were thrilled to say the least to find an area where we could actually meet the villains and get our picture with them!
We spent three full days in the Parks and had a glorious time. We got Inigo to enjoy riding Splash Mt and Thundermountain Railroad. The biggest coup was getting him on CA Screamin' rollercoaster. It's the biggest, fastest rollercoaster that he has ever been on. He was as scared to go as Buttercup was excited. But he sacrificed "for the family" and went. (Buttercup went a total of 4 times!)
To break up our time we spent one day in Downtown L.A. THANK YOU, DO-WANDA FOR GETTING US THERE SAFELY!! I was terrified we'd end up a statistic in East L.A. We wanted to see Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Stars. We also took a short hike up the mountain to the Hollywood sign.
Inigo compares handprints to Jackie Cooper who was 8 when he made his.
We didn't know about all the scary people dressed as movie characters that hang out in this place. They come up to you and ask if you want your picture taken with them. They are working for tips. Some creepy guy dressed up as the Heath Ledger joker walked up to my daughter and started licking his lips and acting all weird toward her. I balled up my fist and was ready to deck him when he finally walked away. I think Max was ready to take him out too.
Finally, sadly, it was time to come home. Bright and early Friday morning we left the hotel. 7:00. Our intention was to drive straight home. Ugh. But we broke the drive up:
♥ We stopped in St. George to pick up the jewelry Buttercup left at A.J.'s house. The temperature was 90*.
♥ We stopped in Vegas at a Walmart to replenish our groceries.
♥ We stopped to eat dinner at Spaghetti Factory. Yummy! The temperature was in the lower 50's.
♥ We pulled into our driveway at midnight. The temperature was 31*. (When we left, it was still warm outside, so we left some upstairs windows open and the fire turned off. The inside temperature was 55*)
Back to school and back to reality on Monday!
Ahhhh.... I love Disneyland!