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.
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).
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.
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).
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 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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.
At the Wharf
Luigi’s Flying Tires
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.
Josiah woke up sick the next day. He had a slight fever and threw up several times.
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.
Because Tim and Elizabeth’s annual passes for Disneyland expire in mid-April, we’ve been going to Disneyland more often. “We have to get our money’s worth” is the motto. Because we purchased the rest of the family’s passes later, they can go through the end of May. So Tim and Lizzie are sad as the end draws near.
March 21st, 2013
On Thursday, March 21st, 2013, Tim was able to get off from work a couple of hours early. Because Sarah and Joanna weren’t home yet (Joanna wanted to see her math instructor so she could get her “A” on her recent misgraded exam turned into an “A+”), an “early group” headed out. Tim, Jeri, Justin, Victoria, Elizabeth, and Josiah to the park a little after 5 PM and headed to the Golden Horseshoe to see a live show, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. (Tim took a detour and got Fast Passes for Star Tours.)
The show was great. The guys are all named “Billy”; they play bluegrass music and are quite funny and entertaining. After the show, the six Paus headed to California Adventure. In California Adventure, they saw the rest of the family (Nicole, Jason, Sarah, Joanna, and Jeffrey) in line for the California Screamin’ (a roller coaster). Tim, Justin, and Josiah headed to Toy Story Midway Mania while Jeri, Victoria, and Elizabeth went to Cars Land.
Soarin’ Over California
After the “early group” regathered in Cars Land, they decided to that they had to time to do California Screamin’. Finishing the roller coaster, they had to dash to Soarin’ Over California (because they had Fast Passes that would soon expire). The ride makes you feel like you are actually soaring over California. You are lifted up in your seats and you feel like you are flying over various sites of California like the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite, Big Sur, San Diego, etc.
The first time that Josiah (when he was six years old) did Soarin’ Over California last year, he sat next to Tim. Early in the ride, Josiah incredulously asked several times “Are we really flying?” Tim told him, “No, we’re not really flying.” Towards the end of the ride, Josiah stated a few times “We’re not really flying” as if to assure himself.
After Soarin’ Over California, they had to leave California Adventure and back into Disneyland in order to use their Fast Passes for Star Tours. Star Tours is a 3-D motion ride based on Star Wars characters. Apparently Disneyland has about 50 different stories. Each ride has about 30 riders. One person is selected as the “Rebel Spy” who becomes part of the story line. Josiah was chosen as the rebel spy (again).
Turns out that the story was one that Tim had seen (and enjoyed) before. It featured going into hyperspeed several times, going underwater, and being violently attacked by an underwater creature. It concluded with the nose of another space ship breaking through our windshield. Fun, fun, fun!
As they walked out of Star Tours, the evening fireworks show had begun. Although they missed the first part of it, they stopped on Main Street to take in the incredible fireworks show. The show (as always) was synchronized with music from Disney movies. Although most of the fireworks are launched from behind the Castle, some were shot off from our left and right.
After the fireworks (now it’s around 9 PM), this group headed back into California Adventure. Via text messages, they knew that the other group (Nicole, Jason, Sarah, Joanna, and Jeffrey) was at Grizzly River Run. So they were able to meet up. The ones who got soaked (Nicole, Jason, Sarah, and Joanna) decided to head back home. They were freezing…by now, the temps were in the 60s.
More Midway Mania and Cars Land
To finish out the evening, Tim, Justin, Victoria, and Jeffrey head to Midway Mania. Because of the World of Color show, the wait was only 20 minutes. After finishing, they got back in an even-shorter line (seven minute wait). Now it is a little before 10 PM (that is when they close the line). So they were able to do it AGAIN!
Jeri, Lizzie, and Josiah headed back to Cars Land. Here are a couple of photos taken by the Disney photographer.
The OCC Music Department presented “Opera Magnifica!,” directed by Susan Ali, on Saturday, February 23rd, at 8:00 p.m. in the Robert B. Moore Theatre. Students performed arias and ensemble numbers from operatic hits from many lands and many eras.
Sarah and Joanna sang “Dew Fairies’ Song” from Humperdink’s opera Hansel and Gretel. They were also performed in four other numbers including “Try it, Try it, Try it” and “Will the Shoe Fit?” from The True Story of Cinderella.
Afterwards Sarah and Joanna and about a dozen other cast members went to a Red Robin restaurant. They sang for the staff and received three free (enormous) slices of Mud Pie.
On Thursday, February 7th, 2013, we took a school field trip to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. The library/museum/gardens offer free admission on the first Thursday of each month. Jeri reserved tickets for us. Jeri, Tim, Victoria, Jeffrey, Elizabeth, and Josiah all went.
Although it was winter and many of the flowers weren’t blooming, the outdoor gardens were beautiful and very relaxing.
The Japanese Garden area was probably our favorite. Here’s Josiah watching the koi. Apparently they thought that we were going to feed them. They gathered around us.
Here’s one of many bonsai.
A Japanese house was part of the gardens. Although we couldn’t go into it, we could view inside of it because some of the exterior walls were removed from the design.
Victoria, Elizabeth, and Jeffrey
Jeffrey and Victoria near the Japanese Gardens
Many gorgeous flowers were blooming. However all of the roses had been pruned. Here’s a flower that had fallen into the brook.
The rock garden was very different from what we are used to seeing. Here we are relaxing for a few minutes.
There were many interesting rocks at the Chinese Garden.
Probably the most famous painting in the large art collection is the Blue Boy. Although the room was dimly lit and we weren’t allowed to use flash photography, we were able to take a picture by having a long exposure.
Around 1:30 PM, we decided to head home. I needed to get back to work (I was working from home that day). Plus we needed to pickup Sarah and Joanna from Orange Coast College. As we began our trip home, the van surged slightly a couple of times. Then when we were on the I-5 freeway, the van lost power.
Adventure on the Freeway
So now we are in the far left lane traveling about two or three miles per hour. Tim eyes an exit less than 100 yards away. However without any power, there is no way that we can cross multiple lanes of traffic. So Tim stops the van and traffic backs up behind us.
Tim has us pray for help and safety. Jeri gets on the phone with roadside assistance. Tim works to find the emergency blinkers. Within a few minutes, a CHP (California Highway Patrol) officer pulls up behind us. Someone else must have called 911.
The officer gives us instructions, breaks traffic, and pushes us off of the freeway. Now that we are safely off. Jeri finishes coordinating with roadside assistance to get a tow truck. Tim walks down to the Denny’s restaurant just down the street in search of a quiet place to make a phone call. He calls Enterprise Rent-a-Car in order to get a car that would get the rest of the family home.
Sarah and Joanna called the Sebo family to get a ride home from college. Mrs. Sebo asked if there was anything else they could do to help. So Jeri asked if she could pick us up and take us home. Tim then cancels the Enterprise reservation.
Tim rides with the tow truck driver back to the repair shop close to our house.
Because we hadn’t had lunch, the rest of the group grabbed some food at Denny’s while waiting for the Sebo’s to pick them up.
Everyone (except Tim and Jason who had to work) went to California Adventure on Friday (Jan. 18, 2013). The weather was hot…sunny with temperatures reaching the low 80s. They got to the park early and did a number of rides including California Screamin’ (roller coaster), Mickey’s Fun Wheel (ferris wheel with swinging gondolas), Goofy’s Sky School (a different type of roller coaster), Hollywood Tower of Terror (a few did this one), and Toy Story’s Midway Mania (3-D shooting game).
Jeri took Josiah to Disneyland. Josiah loves the Peter Pan story and likes the ride, Peter Pan’s Flight. He got a chance to meet Tinker Bell as well.
They finished their time with the new Radiator Springs Racer in California Adventure before heading home (via Taco Bell) around 2 PM.
Tim (who took vacation on Tuesday and Wednesday), Jeri, Victoria, Jeffrey, Elizabeth, and Josiah all went to California Adventure on Wednesday this week. After a few weeks of cool weather (highs never getting out of the 60s), we had a really nice day. It was sunny and around 75 F.
This year Grandma Stogdill came to spend Christmas with us. As always, we very much enjoyed spending time together with her.
Come Christmas morning, we were still wrapping a few presents so we didn’t open presents until early afternoon…and, of course, we had to take our annual Christmas photo before we begin unwrapping. Click on the photo below to see it full size.
Back in 2006 when we lived in San Jose, we purchased via Craigslist a beautiful oak entertainment center. Our current TV didn’t come close to filling the opening designated for it. Then we spotted a Craigslist moving sale that listed a nice TV for $50. So Justin and I drove and picked it up…it just fit in our Audi sedan.
That TV served us well until 2011 when it finally died. Watching Craigslist, we found someone selling their stuff. Because she didn’t like her landlord, she was determined to get rid of all of her stuff so that her landlord. So for $25 she sold us her TV along with other items.
In the year 2012 as flat screen TVs kept coming down in price, I start wondering if we should spend the money to buy one. We don’t have cable or satellite TV nor do we watch much television. However I thought that a better TV would enhance our Friday-night movie nights. But I just didn’t get a peace about proceeding.
Then came New Year’s Day 2013, Jeri and some of the girls leave to go to Kohl’s to do some clothes shopping. Just a few minutes after leaving, Joanna calls home to say that there is a flat screen TV sitting on the curb just down the street from our house.
Figuring that there is nothing to lose, Justin and I walk down to the house. I knock on the door. Someone comes to the door but doesn’t open it. The man asks through the door, “What do you want?”
So I ask about the TV. He says that the TV doesn’t turn on; the power supply just clicks. When asked, he gives me permission to take it and adds “It might be a simple fix.”
Justin and I carry it home. I immediately go to my computer, open a browser to Google.com, and type in “samsung tv doesn’t turn on power supply clicks.” I soon discover that because of a class-action lawsuit that Samsung opened an 800-number hotline where owners can call to get the TV repaired for free.
The next day, I call the number and schedule an appointment for the next day. Sure enough a guy shows up, replaces a few capacitors, and gets the TV working.
So the Lord provided us a free 46″ TV. The vertical resolution is only 720 instead of 1080…but, heh, we’re not complaining!
Tim was able to take a personal day off from work to celebrate Jeri’s birthday (a day late). Nicole, Victoria, Elizabeth, and Josiah joined us. However after a few hours, Nicole wasn’t feeling well so she and Victoria went home.
We enjoyed the new Radiator Springs Racer in California Adventure’s Cars Land. We made it through the park gates a few minutes before the official opening time of 9:00 AM. Tim immediately got in the (already-long) line to get FastPass tickets to the Radiator Springs Racer ride.
The weather was very nice…clear skies with a high around 72 F. The park wasn’t crowded. A few of the popular rides had wait times over 30 minutes. But for those, we used FastPasses. Most of our wait times were five to 10 minutes; a few were as long as 20 minutes. So we got to do a lot of stuff.
We saw a few shows with the last one, the Candlelight Christmas Processional, being absolutely FANTASTIC! The quality of the production (stage, scenery, sound, lighting, etc.) was first-class Disney. We enjoyed in immensely.
Afterwards, we did Astroblasters. Our family nicknamed it BLAB for Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters). A person in a wheelchair got on the ride shortly after we did; this enabled us to rack up some serious points while the ride was paused. Here are our results. Elizabeth was the winner (but only by a little).