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Old 07-11-2012, 08:15 PM   #1
BuzzBiteyear
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Pandas, Legos, Cars, and Baseball, Oh My! (with pics)

Just back home finally after our lengthy trip to Southern Cal.

The Crew:
Myself - baseball fanatic who has turned into a Disney fanatic
DW - lone voice of reason in a house full of men, dislikes our democratic votes we (usually I) announce
DS8 - Lego and Star Wars fanatic and attempts to act older than he is, saying things are for babies, when deep down he still enjoys them
DS5 - lover of all things Toy Story and Cars

Day 1 - Flew from Indianapolis to John Wayne. Were able to see some of the Colorado wildfires, Pike's Peak, and the Grand Canyon from the plane, which none of us had seen before. Quick layover at the Vegas airport, where DW and I were not able to pay for the trip. Got in to John Wayne and picked up our rental car after convincing the nice lady that the Chevy Malibu would be fine, after she suggested an upgrade to a SUV seeing our two boys already picking on each other.

Then we headed to Huntington Beach and drove and drove around the parking lot before finally landing a spot. Headed out on the pier to eat at Ruby's, which I remembered doing in the Winter of 2000-01 with my brother and distant cousins and thought was so cool. All the way down the pier and while eating, I thought, this isn't the right place, but thought things might have just changed over the years. Finished up dinner and headed to San Diego for a one night stay.

Day 2 - Woke up early and headed to the San Diego Zoo. First stop was the pandas. Being there for rope drop paid off as we were able to spend as much time as we wanted viewing the pandas. DS5 asked one zookeeper which one was Kung Fu Panda? We spent the entire day there, leaving just before closing, the biggest hits were the pandas, the reptile house, the skyfari, feeding the giraffes, and the signs by a few animals warning viewers of that animal's ability to "do their business" X number of feet. DW was not as amused, and especially when I agreed to let them get a "Splatter Zone" sign after a 3 to 1 vote. Left the zoo and made trip #1 to In N Out, as good as I remembered, and this time I was able to order like a local getting exactly what I wanted. DS8 was impressed with the Neapolitan shake. Then we drove to Oceanside for a one night stay.

Day 3 - Woke up early and headed to Legoland. Had a bit of a problem redeeming our kids free ticket from a recent Life cereal box, but then they just entered it the same as our other coupon and we were ready to go. Getting there early helped as we were able to hit most of the lines with very little waits. Only mistake we made was hitting the Sky Cruisers late in the day. Were able to see every minifig for pictures, including Darth Vader, which made DS8's day. Stayed almost until closing and then headed to Anaheim for our 8-night stay at the Ramada Plaza Inn. Tried to talk DW into a second round of In N Out, but we ended up just hitting up Carl Jr's quick on the way, no way I was going to attemp In N Out animal style in the car, even if it was a rental.



to be continued
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
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I've always wanted to see the San Diego zoo but each time we drive south we get as far as DLR and can't seem to get past that.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:21 PM   #3
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Day 4 - Woke up even earlier and made the trek over to California Adventure. Got in line and waited for the gates to open. Presented our WDW non-exp hoppers and about 5 minutes later we had our 1-day hoppers. Joined around 50% of the state's population in the mass of humanity that would be headed towards RSR. Rope drops and off we go. As we get to Carsland, DS5 is in awe. He has some development issues particularly with his speech, but his little "happy dance" of quick shaking of his fists with the occasional clapping told all. He wanted to stop at every building, ride, vehicle, but we pushed on to RSR stand-by.

We're waiting in line for a while and usually that means the boys will start picking on each other. But then DS8, starts to talk to DS5, and I figure, here we go, he's going to start calling names, since he knows his little brother hates that, but instead I hear him telling him in this sweet little voice he gets how we were in the real Radiator Springs, and that he saw the real Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Red. The nice spell ended a few minutes later with him calling little brother a cactus head (he'll just call him anything he sees, usually ending with "head").

The wait was a bit longer than what we figured, but the ride did not disappoint. Can definitely understand why this ride is so popular, and also why it's going to have its share of technical issues. After that we headed to Mater's for a quick ride before heading over to Disneyland, but grabbed a FP, 1st time visit, and b-day pins for DS5 (he was confused the rest of the day when people would wish him happy b-day, since it wasn't his actual b-day) on the way out. Immediately grabbed a FP for Indy and then headed to Pirates for a ride before the boys checked out the treehouse and I checked in to Blue Bayou for our 11:30 ADR.

We all loved the atmosphere, DS8 said it reminded him of Mexico at Epcot. We ordered and I've sort of poo-pooed when I heard people on here saying they can't eat the Monte Cristo and that's what I ordered. Having only ate part of a chocolate croissant, I was ready for this finally. Well, after some bread and the gumbo, there I was still staring at 1/2 the sandwich, potatoes and green beans (the kind that I love). I finally pawned off a quarter to DS8 and he ate about 1/2 of that, and I tried to down the last 1/4, almost finishing it off. DW had the steak and also couldn't finish it off. We definitely agreed that we should have done the split plate Monte instead.

Next we tried to "conquer" most of DL, hitting Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, the DL train from there to tomorrowland, where we got FP for Star Tours, hit Buzz, and were then able to get another FP for Space. We headed to Fantasyland and hit up iasw, before searching for the Little Red Wagon for a corn dog. We got directions and did the castle walk-thru (glad I heard about that here) and got a corn dog for DS8 and I to share, while DW and DS5 were going to share a hot dog. Well, the boys didn't share much, but I did get a bite or two of the corn dog, and it was so much better than those pre-fab ones you usually will get (even the dog inside was much better than I expected, usually corn dogs seem to be cheap dogs). After we were done, we headed back to Space and Star Tours before going back to CA for the night.

We then rode Monster's, (which on the way home DS8 says was what he remembered from when he was 2 1/2, I don't question it anymore, he seems to remember everything). Next up was Goofy's Flight School, boy is this ride not meant for people of my size. It was fun, but I said no more for me. Then it was back to Radiator Springs to meet some of the Cars. DS5 was so excited to go to the Cozy Cone and meet Mater, followed quickly by McQueen. He's never too sure about things like this and was very hesitant, but finally got close enough to be in the same picture with Mater, and even stretched his arm out as far as it would go to touch McQueen, while standing as far away from him as he possibly could. I was so glad by how patient the photographers and other families were behind us, as it did take him quite a while to even get close to either Cars. He was so excited, yet afraid to get close to the real Mater and McQueen. After the pictures were done he made sure to say goodbye and waive to them.

Next up was dessert time at Flo's V8 Cafe. DW and the boys ordered two mud pies, while I ordered the apple cheddar. We all loved these and had no problem downing them. Finally, we decided to wait for Luigi's Flying Tires at Casa Della Tires or as DS8 called it, Quesadilla Tires. The wait for this did me in as there really wasn't anywhere to lean or anything and my feet were killing, but you can see why it takes so long. We're wondering how long the beach balls may stick around as that seemed to be a big part of the slow loading times. This ride definitely is cool once you're on it though, just seems to be too much in there, but understand if they take any vehicles out, it's going to make the waits even worse. Us boys just wanted to "bump" a bit harder. We decided that was enough and headed back to the hotel for the night and I was definitely eyeing the taxis at that point, but we made the trek back on foot.
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the TR!
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:31 PM   #5
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Will be adding more, plus pictures tomorrow.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:09 PM   #6
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Day 2 pictures from San Diego Zoo

Start of the day


Sydney the zoo mascot




DS5 thought this was Kung Fu Panda, Po, since he was eating




End of the day with the infamous sign
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:21 PM   #7
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Day 3 was day #1 of Legoland

Were able to find each minifig, we believe. Vader was a nice surprise.










The life size Vader and Maul were very impressive




DS8 refused to get his picture with Bob the Builder, because he's for little kids.




A couple of their favorite rides while we were there.




You get some strange looks in line when your son omits "s" sounds in words and you're waiting to ride this.


The boys enjoyed being able to play with Legos while DW and I waited in line.


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Old 07-14-2012, 08:36 PM   #8
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Day 4, 1st day at Disneyland

Future proof that they at least were nice to each other for a couple minutes


A few from Radiator Springs






It looks great at night.


"Main" entrance sign


With McQueen, DS5 didn't want to get too close.


And with Mater.


Doc's impressive trophy collection.


Coming out of Filmore's house.


Trying to pull the sword from the stone.


Riding up front of the Monorail.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:04 PM   #9
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Love the photos! We are going to the SD Zoo next month, and we are so excited to see the pandas! Any advice on avoiding lines etc.?

Keep the photos coming!!
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:27 PM   #10
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Not really sure how bad it was the rest of the day, as we only walked by once more in the afternoon and it appeared to be a bit backed up. I would go there first thing in the morning if you're able to. We probably spent close to 10 minutes there.

I would look over the maps prior though. We did it on the fly, and I'm sure we walked further than we had to.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:41 PM   #11
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Day 5 - Slept in a bit late again and hit the breakfast buffet in the hotel before heading to Hollywood for some sightseeing. I had Googled addresses before we headed for our trip and was glad I did. While most people were taking these types of pictures:



We later came upon a scenic spot to pull over and take as many pictures as we'd like:





We then winded our way back down the hills to head to Grauman's Chinese Theatre and see the sights there.



Captain Jack


DS5 stepping in Woody's footprints


Star Wars gang


And then Han Solo, followed later by his star




Ate a quick lunch at Mel's Diner, before hitting a few more stars we had been looking for.

The Mouse


Walt's


Donald Duck


CARS creator


DS8 wouldn't even get his picture with a princess' star


But here's the one he wanted to see


After that and seeing some other "interesting" sights on those blocks we headed to Dodger Stadium for the late afternoon game. We arrived about 2.5 hours prior to the game and were surprised that the lot didn't even open until 2 hours prior to the game. So we waited and then got in, and headed to the gates for our front row right field seats right beside the Reds' bullpen. The boys were both able to get Reds' reliever Bill Bray's autograph before the game started.

The Dodgers put on a very nice tribute to the Armed Forces and an enormous flag was unveiled by many military men and women. Next up, Billy Ray Cyrus sang the National Anthem and afterwards my son asked who it was. I tried to explain it to him, then finally said, it's Hannah Montana's dad, and then he understood.

The view from our seats.


All the boys had to make sure to get a Dodger Dog, even DS8 who doesn't tend to like just hot dogs. Fans around us were great. Group of 3 guys from Cincinnati had been to Oakland and San Fran, before heading to LA and were also going to a game at Anaheim, before seeing 2 in San Diego. DW could tell I was a bit envious of them. We talked with them and Dodgers fan dad and son throughout the game, the dad and son let us know that after the game, we could actually go on the field to watch the fireworks. We were pretty shocked by that, as in Cincinnati, even when you're on the ballpark tour they freak out if you look at the grass, it seems. So the game ended with the Dodgers winning, and we headed to the outfield for the post-game 4th of July fireworks.



DS5 getting his "scoreboard" shot we always get for new parks for the boys.






The fireworks were great, afterwards not so much. Getting out of the parking lot was a mess, and after seeing where we ended up going, I really couldn't figure out how it could take us nearly an hour to exit. But we were on our way, and little did we know, the fireworks displays were not over. We've never seen anything like it as we were driving back to Anaheim on I-5. Seemingly anywhere we looked we saw fireworks going off, very very cool.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:46 PM   #12
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Sorry about the sideways pics, I rotated them on Photobucket, so not sure why they are reverting back to how they were originally.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:33 PM   #13
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Day 6 - 2nd day at Disneyland

We rose early again to head to California Adventure for rope drop. This time we went with a new strategy. I went directly to the RSR FP line, while DW took the boys Luigi's Flying Tires. I got in line and was beside the window with Mary Poppins at I think the Aladdin show building. But the line got moving once rope drop hit and I was able to make it back to the Flying Tires in time to watch DW and the boys on the ride. Our FPs were for 11-something, so we decided to head to Paradise Pier, but not before walking by Ghiradelli's for a free chocolate hazelnut square. Then it was over to California Screamin'. DS8 had originally said he wasn't going to do it, then decided to ride with DW. DS5 was just a bit too short, so we went to King Triton's.



We rode King Triton's 3 straight times with no wait and then headed to the dock to watch the CS "launches", but missed DW and DS8. A couple minutes later DW and DS8 got off CS and DS8 loved it. Next we hit Toy Story Mania and I remembered quickly why I'm not the biggest fan of this ride as I start to get that feeling of tennis or golfer's elbow in a hurry on this one. I learned my lesson at WDW when this first came out, so it was once and off to Mickey's Fun Wheel. We decided to go for the swinging side and had second thoughts once we saw the "sick" bags in the cage. We really didn't like this side at all and agreed we'd try it some other time on the stationary side. Next we grabbed FPs for Soarin' and headed back to RSR for our ride where we won again, 2 for 2 now.

At this point we were getting hungry so we headed up towards Monsters, Inc. and hit the sandwich QS there. The boys had hotdogs, while DW tried sausage and I had the portobello-philly. Maybe the CM sensed we were from the midwest as she made sure I was fully aware that this had no meat on it. DW and the boys like theirs, and mine was okay, but a bit too much spices for my tastes, though I had no problems finishing it off. We finished up and saw Jake across the street and DS5 wanted to get his picture with him.



Then we went for a quick ride on Monster's before heading over to Disneyland for the afternoon. We rode the horseless carriage to the castle drop off spot and then headed to BTMRR where we picked up a FP as I noticed the times where almost ready immediately. Headed over to Pooh and rode that and then got Tigger Tails for DW and the boys. At that point we could grab another FP so I got them for Splash. Next up I waited in line and got the beignets and they did not disappoint, well worth the wait in our opinion. After those were downed (perhaps in record time) we rode the train to Tomorrowland. We decided to wait for the Nemo Subs. The boys both thought that was really cool to be in a ride underwater, if not for RSR though, this definitely would have been where we headed at ropedrop as it was a lengthy wait. Next up was the Matterhorn. After riding this I definitely learned my lesson about paying attention to where I'd be sitting, I was in the middle and my knees were aching after this one.

Finally, it was time to see Mickey's real house. DS8 was quite disappointed when he found out Mickey's house was gone at WDW, until a CM told him that was just his vacation home, and that he decided to start staying in the castle when he's in Florida, and that his real home is still in California.



As we headed back to Toontown, first stop was Chip & Dale's treehouse.



The boys went through that a couple times and then we hit Gadget's Go Coaster. While in line, I heard DS8 telling DS5 that things only looked fake when we went though the houses, because everything becomes real at night time when Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Chip and Dale come back home when the park closes.

Then it was time to go to Mickey's house. The boys loved seeing Mickey's car.



DS8 spotted this picture and had to take a picture of his own of it.



This picture really got to him, and then he told DW and I that Mickey was Walt Disney's son, because Walt loved him so much, even though he was a mouse. After a wait we got to see Mickey, or should I say, Steamboat Willie.



We then went through Minnie's and Goofy's as well before we grabbed some food. DS5 had talked about going to Pluto's Dog House since I showed him a picture online a few months back.



At some point we had grabbed FPs for Roger Rabbit, and rode that before letting the boys mess around a bit in Toontown. We all agreed that this Toontown was vastly better than what WDW used to have.







Having done everything we wanted in Toontown, we headed to the train again to ride around to the Haunted Mansion stop. We were pleasantly surprised by the scenes we saw once we got past Tomorrowland, as none of us knew about those. Well riding Splash as evening was setting in was not the best idea as it was getting a bit cool. But we had our FPs and got on. Sure enough, I get 2nd row right behind DS8 who ducks constantly and I got soaked on the ride. But that was okay, as next we used our FPs for BTMRR to "dry off". After that we decided to end the day with Buzz before heading back to the hotel, against the pleas of DS5 who wanted to go back to Radiator Springs.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:10 PM   #14
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great TR, cant wait to see and read more!
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:17 PM   #15
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Day 7 - Second Day at Legoland

At this point in the trip we were all a bit tired, and definitely did not make it up as early as we had hoped, but still made it down to Legoland as the park was opening. DS8 was pretty impressed with the model of the hotel they're building there. Since it was our second day here, we knew to head straight to the Sky Coaster, even first thing it was a bit of a wait. We then headed back to the boys favorite spot at Legoland, the Volvo Test Drive.





At this point we took it pretty slow and just tried to hit some of the rides we had missed the first time around. We made sure to avoid Pirate Reef this time. We hit that the first day, and the only time I can recall getting that wet on a ride was maybe on Thunder Canyon at Cedar Point (similar to Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom).

We decided to play a round of mini golf, before grabbing a quick lunch and then hitting a few more rides. Then we took our time in the Minilands checking out the details at the Star Wars Miniland in particular. DS8 gave us a pretty good commentary on each scene, which I'm sure will be terribly embarrassing to him when he gets older. We also checked out the other parts of Miniland, DS8 thought it would be really cool to be one of the people that gets paid to put these things together.







As we were starting to wrap up our day, we walked past this, which reminded me very much of a drinking fountain at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in Indiana. It was always a place where we had our pictures taken, so I made sure to get both boys pictures here. To this day when we go there, I have to get a drink from that fountain.





Fort Wayne Zoo's



It was getting close to closing time, so we headed up to the Big Store and picked out a few items before heading to the car. On the way back to Anaheim, we made our 2nd and final stop at In 'n Out. Might have been my favorite place to eat while we were out there, wish they had some anywhere close to here.
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Camelot Inn @ Disneyland - Xmas '14| Yacht Club - Dec '13 | Ramada Plaza @ Disneyland - July '12 | All-Star Sports - June '11, Xmas '10, Nov/Dec '02 | Caribbean Beach - Aug '10 | Pop Century - Aug '09, May '09, Sept '08, Aug/Sept '07 | Brother's Apartment - April '07, Dec '06 | Fairfield Inn @ Disneyland - Aug/Sept '06 | Grand Floridian - Nov/Dec '05 | Port Orleans - Riverside Aug '03 | Offsite - Kissimmee Aug '90
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