Tuesday, December 9

Times a Ticking...

So it comes down to the last couple weeks before Jared leaves--cue hallelujah chorus-- which means its about time that we get some good quality family togetherness in. What better way to do that, then to pack the Yukon full of passengers and drive westward approximately 12 hours. That's right, we went to Disneyland.

This trip, some unusual things happened to us...some lucky things, and they have changed my life forever in some very valuable lessons that I will share with you today. Go ahead, keep on reading.

You see, my dad, bless his heart, couldn't get that lead out of his foot if he tried, and because of this genetic condition, he was pulled over. The officer came around to the side of the car and said, "Sir, I clocked you going *** in a ***." (I blotted the speeds out to protect the individuals involved, but lets just say, there is a reason we made the 12 hour journey in only 10.) My dad humbly apologized to the officer, and the man moved on to his next question. "Where are you guys going?"

And the award-winning answer is right here. "Disneyland" my dad said, as he sort of sunk his head and put on that puppy-dog pout. Immediately the officer said " You're going to Disneyland? Well I'm not going to give you a ticket!" And just let us drive off, didn't ask for a license, insurance, or anything.

Lesson one: When in trouble, just claim to be headed for the happiest place on earth. It sure works.

When we finally arrived at our hotel which was within perfect walking distance, slept for a few hours, and began the day bright and early with our special entry passes--which allowed us into the park an hour before it opened.

First thing we did was bolt straight for Space Mountain, at which we found no line, and we were able to ride 3 times in a row without waiting longer than 5 minutes. Awesome. After that the morning temperature started to rise, so we did what anybody would do with the oncoming heat: we hit up splash mountain. We were actually able to ride it 4 times without even getting out of our log!! It really was great. It's after Splash that my second lesson kicks in. Jared (for some reason) decided that he wanted to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride. There was no line, of course, so we just walked on. I actually enjoyed the ride more than I thought, since it is one I have never been on. After we got off though, there were nice people with big smiles waving mickey ears at us saying words like "Congratulations!" and "You've Won!!" and then proceeded to slap Mickey Mouse ears on all of us. These are ears that you can't buy, so everywhere we went workers were congratulating us on winning. It was great.

We found some similar ears in the shops, running around $14/pair. Times that by eight, your looking at over $100 worth of free merchandise.

Lesson two: ride little kids rides, you'll get free stuff.

Honestly, just look at the happiness.

See page above:
1) Teacups. Mom and I don't do teacups (when we do, lunch follows...if you follow) So we had a teacup challenge between the 6 players that are not affected by circular motion. Jared, Siera and Jake were in one; and Dad, Joe, and Josh in the other. See Jared's face in this picture as he watches Jake try and spin the cup by himself.
2) Again, Dad's face is priceless. Joe and Josh sit back while he wins the spinning competition. Wonderful. What champs!
3) Splash mountain: Josh rode that log like a rodeo all star! (and came out looking like a drowned gopher)
4) Check this boy out. They should warn people about this sort of thing.
5) This is the classic Jared picture face. This is what happens when no one "makes him smile"

Page Two:
1) Grizzly rapids, one of those rides we hit when the clouds came in and the temperature dropped. For some reason, people weren't eager to get soaked, which made the wait time next to nothing and allowed us multiple rides. We love getting wet!
2) Jared is known for pulling faces on roller coasters that no human can make naturally. This is but just one example.
3) Check out the decorations!
4) This is how Josh "ran" to the theme park. Yes, he is awesome.
5) The best quartet I have ever heard! These guys were world-class, and we caught them just as they were finishing up.

some of the characters we met

This bottom left picture was great. Joe (Jared's friend and portable family photographer) was going to take the picture for us with Mickey. And before the picture, Mickey demanded that Joe get in the picture. But there was a problem, we were short one pair of ears. So Mickey, in his chipper and lively fashion, proceeded to find the most innocent bystander possible--a little girl about 4 years old, and snatched the mickey ears off her head and gave them to Joe for the picture. This poor girl didn't know what hit her, I would compare the look on her face to one that a child forms the second after you break the news that her dog is dead. It was heartbreaking. And Joe, thinking that this should be a family picture, politely ducked down. You can see him there just behind Josh...with his stolen ears.
Lesson three: Mickey steels from children. The Parade:
1) Not that you can see behind him, but it's Santa himself back there. Josh was more excited than Elf when he said "SANTA!!! take my picture, take my picture!" So, I took his picture. and Santa didn't come clear in any of them. Sorry buddy.
2) If I could have a pet, it would be one of these snowmen. They are so cute!

D'ers some happy people!

So we were standing around, waiting for one of us to get out of the bathroom when this lady comes up to us and says "Hi, I'm Katie, and I'm with the year of a million dreams team, you guys look lost. So I am going to take you to whatever ride you're looking for!"
The blank stare on all of our faces must have just confirmed to her that we were indeed, lost. (even though we weren't...I don't think...)
We asked her to take us to the new Finding Nemo submarine ride--which had a 2 hour line that had not dwindled all day long. We got to talking, and she told us something very important. They have people on lookout there for Disney-goers that look lost, they call them Bogies, and they radio them into someone like Katie, and she picks them up and takes them to a ride. So that's exactly what she did for us, and not only did she just take us to the ride, she took us in the exit, straight to the front of the line! It was a dream come true!

Lesson four: Look like a Bogie.

Us with Katie, as she was skipping us to the front of the line

This is what my house will look like at christmas...someday.

So the trip went well, lots of fun, lots of magic, not a lot of sleep, and mostly smiles! I do believe that this is the most magical place on earth!!