California Screamin’

A favorite attraction in California Adventure is the rollercoaster, California Screamin. Here’s a collection of pictures.

Nicole and Elizabeth Ready to Launch

Nicole and Elizabeth Ready to Launch. Click for full size.
Nicole and Elizabeth Ready to Launch. Click for full size.

Sarah and Josiah in the Last Row

Sarah and Josiah in the Last Row. Click for full size.
Sarah and Josiah in the Last Row. Click for full size.

Jason and Josiah Returning

Jason and Josiah Returning. Click for full size.
Jason and Josiah Returning. Click for full size.

Josiah, Sarah, Jeri, and Tim

Josiah, Sarah, Jeri, and Tim. Click for full size.
Josiah, Sarah, Jeri, and Tim. Click for full size.

Elizabeth and Tim in the front row of the first car

Elizabeth and Tim in the Very First Row. Click for full size.
Elizabeth and Tim in the Very First Row. Click for full size.

Family Photo at Disneyland

Tim took two days of vacation, April 9th and 10th. We purposely chose a Tuesday and Wednesday because the crowds would be smaller at Disneyland on those days. On Tuesday, we were at California Adventure from about 1 PM until 6 PM when some of us had to leave to pickup a food co-op order.

The next day, we managed to get the entire family there…although Sarah and Joanna had to leave for class after only an hour. During the time that we were all there, we got a few family photos.

Family at Cars Land Sign
Click for full size. From left to right, Jason, Jeffrey, Nicole, Justin, Victoria, Joanna, Elizabeth, Sarah, Jeri, Tim, and Josiah (front).

Here’s the line up for the following two pictures. From left to right, Jeffrey, Justin, Victoria, Sarah, Jeri, Elizabeth, Jason, Joanna, Nicole, Tim, and Josiah (front).

At the California Adventure Waterfall
At the California Adventure Waterfall

Family in Front of CA Waterfall

Disneyland Journal

Last Day at Disneyland…Passes Expiring

For weeks, Elizabeth and I (Tim) have had April 14th, 2013 circled on our calendar. Why? Because this was the day that our Disneyland annual passes expired. So Lizzie and I wanted to make the most of it. That day would be our special day together.

Before Church

Because California Adventure opened at 8:00 AM, we rose early and left for the park at 7:00 AM. By 7:45 AM, we had parked our car, taken the shuttle to the park, and were standing near the front of the rope that blocks people from the attractions (unless you have an early-entry pass). At 8:00 AM sharp, when they released the rope, Lizzie and I walked briskly to Toy Story Midway Mania (3-D shooting arcade game).

Midway Mania

Arriving at the attraction, we walked through the gate, were handed a pair of 3-D glasses, and were immediately on our way! It is SO fun! We love shooting targets, popping balloons, doing the ring toss, breaking plates, etc. We aren’t really destroying any real targets…it is all “virtual” like a huge video game.

Justin and Jeffrey have watched videos on YouTube where they learned tips on how to release higher value targets and score more points. They’ve shared their insights with the rest of the family. So now we all love to see how many points we can score.

Midway Mania Scores. Click photo for full size.

Midway Mania – Rounds 2 and 3

After finishing, we got off and immediately got back in line. This time we had to eight minutes. After finishing, we got on for our third time. The wait time was still a short 15 minutes. (Typically the wait time for Midway Mania is 30 to 45 minutes.)

FASTPASSes for Radiator Springs

Disney has an innovative system which allows users to hold one FASTPASS at a time to bypass regular lines at some of their more popular attractions. With a little planning, you can minimize your time in lines and maximize your enjoyment.

Because our goal was to get FASTPASSes for Radiator Springs Racers at night, we headed to Cars Land after Midway Mania. However the return time (which is the time that you can use your FASTPASS) was 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM…too early. So we did Luigi’s Flying Tires which took about 30 minutes. So now it’s 9:30 AM which means that it’s almost time to head home. Now the Racer’s return time is 7:40 PM to 8:40 PM…perfect! So we get our FASTPASSes and head home.

Back Home

We make it home in time to get ready for church. Because Josiah was still not feeling well, I stayed home with him. After church, we ate lunch together as a family.

Back to Disneyland

After eating, Lizzie and I pack up the food (sandwiches) that we prepared the night before and head to Disneyland. Because we had never done Splash Mountain (a water ride) before, we get FASTPASSes for it.

Elizabeth and Tim just inside Disneyland’s Entrance. Click photo for full size.

Live Entertainment

We tried unsuccessfully to get a seat at the Royal Theatre (to watch a live mini-production of a fairy tale)…which is just as well since they would be performing “The Beauty and the Beast” which we had seen on Friday. Next to the Royal Theatre, we watched Mary Poppins along with some supporting cast and band members perform a few numbers.

Mary Poppins at Disneyland. Click photo for full size.

Next we headed to the Golden Horseshoe Corral to watch Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. Even though we’ve seen them before, they are always entertaining with Blue Gras music and comedy. No two shows have been exactly the same.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. Click photo for full size.

Splash Mountain

Afterwards, we headed to Splash Mountain which is a great ride for hot, sunny days but not so great on cool, cloudy days like it was. Although we kept our jackets on and zipped up, we still got our legs wet. Lizzie was in the very front of the canoe and I was right behind her.

Tim and Elizabeth on Splash Mountain. Click photo for full size.

Next we did the Winnie the Pooh and Tigger ride followed by Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. We wanted to cross over to Tom Sawyer Island but the raft shuttle ended at 5 PM; so we just missed out.

Supper Break

We sat down at New Orleans Square to each our almond butter and jelly sandwiches plus popcorn, carrots, and chocolate chips (for dessert). We stuck around the square to hear the next music group. I was expecting a singing group but it was a jazz ensemble. So after their first song, we got in line for the Disneyland Railroad. We took the train to Mickey’s Toontown. Then we walked to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in nearby Fantasyland.

Heading to California Adventure

We knew that we wanted to be back in California Adventure before dusk (around 7:25 PM). So we started walking to the gates. We swung by Star Tours to see if it had a short wait time. Because the wait was 40 minutes, we kept on going. Now the time is about 6:45 PM.

Tim and Elizabeth back in California Adventure. Click photo for full size.

Once in California Adventure, we window shopped in a few stores to warm up. (Remember our pants were still damp; the weather is cool and cloudy; the sun’s going down.) We also stopped in the Animation Academy and saw a zoetrope with Woody and Jessie. Heading to Cars Land, we still had a little time to burn so we saw the 4-D show again, “It’s Tough to be a Bug.”

Cars Land Lighting

While we were browsing in a shop in Cars Land, “the” song (Life is a Dream) came on. So we headed out to watch the lights come on. Because our return time for Radiator Springs Racers was between 7:40 PM and 8:40 PM and it wasn’t really dark yet, we wanted to wait a bit longer to do the ride. So we did The Bakery Tour, got our picture taken, and headed back to Cars Land.

Tim and Elizabeth in front of Flo’s Cafe. Click photo for full size.

Radiator Springs Racers – Round 1

But now Radiator Springs Racers was down due to technical problems, so we headed to Paradise Pier. We did California Screamin’ and sat in the very front of the roller coaster. Our wait time was only 15 minutes. Then we did Goofy’s Sky School. As we walked back to Cars Land, we noticed that there wasn’t any wait for Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (from The Little Mermaid). So we hopped on.

Elizabeth and Tim in the Very First Row. Click photo for full size.

Radiator Springs Racers – Round 2

By now it’s getting close to our FASTPASSes expiration time. So we boogied back to Radiator Springs Racers. The ride was back up and running! The single-rider line was extremely long; the regular line had a one-hour wait. Thanks to our FASTPASSes, we had to wait only 15 minutes to get on the ride!

Exiting the ride, there is a place called Lizzie Suite.

Lizzie Suite. Click photo for full size.

Back to Midway Mania

After that, we stopped again at the bakery and got our only treat, a chocolate muffin. We ate the muffin during our 15-minute wait for Toy Story Midway Mania where I tried to help Lizzie get the high score. She was doing quite well through the first three games but we couldn’t get the alien ship to launch. She ended up with 154,000 which fell about 10,000 short of her personal best.

So we got in line again. Now the wait was down to 10 minutes. This time Lizzie was going to help me get high score. We each did really well. Each of us got our all-time personal high score. I got 247,000 and Lizzie got 169,000.

Lizzie ready for Midway Mania. Click photo for full size.
Tim ready for Midway Mania. Click photo for full size.
Midway Mania Scores – Tim and Elizabeth. Click photo for full size.

Sourdough Bread

Now the time is a few minutes before 10 PM which is closing time for California Adventure. We considered doing Midway Mania one last time. But Lizzie wanted to get more (free) sourdough bread samples. So we dashed back to the bakery. She ended up getting five slices (instead of the normal one or two); I got three.

World of Color

Net we found a spot to watch the World of Color (laser water show) which started at 10:15 PM. The show is absolutely spectacular with music, water, lights, and fire. Because it was the second and last show, we were able to find a nice viewing spot.

Disneyland One Last Time

After the show ended, we checked the time; it was 10:45 PM. Because Disneyland closed an hour after California Adventure, we had 15 minutes to get back to Disneyland and on to the Star Tours ride. So once again, we walked briskly…running isn’t allowed.

Star Tours

For those that don’t know Star Tours is a ride based on Star Wars. You wear 3-D glasses and feel like you are moving through space. The “movies” are randomly selected.
We made it to Star Tours with a few minutes to spare. As we waited the five or so minutes to board our “space ship”, we were both hoping for either a new or a fun “tour.” We were not disappointed. It was both new and fun!

Exiting Star Tours, it is now 11:10 PM so we join the crowds making its way to the exits.

Heading Home

The Toy Story parking lot was nearly empty. Traffic was light. We made it home just before midnight. Jeffrey and Jason were still up playing Monster Hunter on the WiiU.
So I was in bed by 12:20 AM. The day had started about 19 hours earlier. Lizzie and I had spent over 10 hours at Disneyland. What a great day filled with memories that Elizabeth and I will never forget.

What makes Disneyland so enjoyable to me is that when I’m there I forget about all of my stresses and problems. My focus is simply to have fun and enjoy time with my family. My only regret was that I hadn’t spent more one-on-one times with the other children as well.

Disneyland Journal

Four of Us at Disneyland

On Friday, April 12th, 2013, we achieved a significant milestone by releasing a new version of our software. I was able to leave work a little early. Instead of taking the bus home, a co-worker dropped me off at Harbor and MacArthur. Jeri, Elizabeth, and Josiah picked me up in the Carl’s Jr.’s parking lot and we headed to Disneyland (actually California Adventure). We arrived at the park a little after 4:00 PM.

Jeri, Elizabeth, and Josiah on the Red Car Trolley. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Josiah on the Red Car Trolley. Click photo for full size.

Shows in California Adventure

Because it was a little busy, we first got FASTPASSes for Soarin’ Over California. Then we saw two shows, “It’s Tough to be a Bug” in 4-D and “Aladdin” (featuring live actors). After Aladdin, it was time to use our FASTPASSes.

Soaring Over California

We headed over to Condor Flats (home of Soarin’ Over California). Because Josiah was feeling a little nauseated, Jeri sat on a bench with him while Tim and Lizzie went on the attraction.

For those not familiar with the ride, here’s my description. After buckling into your seat, the ride lifts you up and gives you the sense of motion…soaring, dipping, accelerating, etc. In addition, the sights, sounds, and even smells give you the sensation of literally flying over California. You are taken on a tour of many scenic locations like the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite, San Diego, etc.

A side note. The first time that Josiah experienced the ride was last year (when he was still six years old). He sat right next to me. As we “took off” into the sky, he incredulously asked me several times, “Are we really flying?” I had to reassure him, “No, we are not really flying.” Towards the end of the ride, he stated in a calm voice, ‘We aren’t really flying.”

Supper Break

Now it’s about 6 PM so we took a little break to eat the sandwiches, popcorn, and carrots that we brought with us. (We appreciate the fact that Disneyland allows people to bring in outside food to the park.)

Then we walked back to the park entrance and took the Trolley to the Hollywood Tower Hotel. From there we walked to Luigi’s Flying Tires and went “flying.” Then we spent some time on Paradise Pier…Goofy’s Sky School, Silly Symphony Swings, and The Bakery Tour (where they give our free sourdough bread samples).

Elizabeth and Josiah next to the Golden Zephyr. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Jeri on the Golden Zephyr. Click photo for full size.


We made sure that we were in Cars Land to watch the lights come on (at 7:25 PM). We stopped for photos in Monument Valley.

Elizabeth and Josiah in Radiator Springs. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Jeri, Elizabeth, and Tim in Radiator Springs. Click photo for full size.

At the Wharf

Elizabeth and Josiah part of a record catch. Click photo for full size.


Tim, Josiah, Elizabeth, and Jeri with Mater. Click photo for full size.

Luigi’s Flying Tires

Elizabeth waiting for Luigi’s Flying Tires. Click photo for full size.
Elizabeth and Jeri on Luigi’s Flying Tires. Click photo for full size.
Riding at Luigi’s Flying Tires. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Elizabeth on Luigi’s Flying Tires. Click photo for full size.

Finish in Disneyland

We headed over to Disneyland to finish our day there. We found a good spot to watch the 9:30 PM fireworks show. After the fireworks, we rode the Pirates of the Caribbean before watching the Fantasmic show at 10:30 PM. We had never seen the show before and were quite impressed.

We walked out of the park around 11 PM, got home around midnight, and were in bed by 12:30 AM.

Elizabeth and Josiah after a day at Disneyland. Click photo for full size.

Josiah woke up sick the next day. He had a slight fever and threw up several times.

Annual Passes

When we first purchased our passes, I honestly thought that, over the course of the year, we might grow tired of going to Disneyland. As a result, we didn’t go very frequently initially. But as the year progressed, our family has enjoyed Disneyland more and more.

Because we bought passes for the rest of the family after ours, they can continue going through the month of May.