Disneyland Trip Report
My family has been desperately trying to plan a family trip together. Finally, all the stars were aligned and it was decided that all thirteen of us would go to Disneyland in February.
Our flight was the thing I most dreaded, because Emily has never been on an airplane before. But we were prepared as much as we could. We got a portable DVD player especially for this trip. We also brought on lots of toys on the plane. And we gave her a big dose of Gravol, which "may cause drowsiness." May? I want certainty! I want "will definitely cause drowsiness"! Oh well. She actually was pretty good on the plane. She was only restless a little while.
Our hotel was The Best Western, directly across the street from Disneyland. In fact, if you looked out our hotel room, you could see that the Disneyland gates were literally across the street. The hotel room was fairly large, with both a king-sized bed and a sofa bed. Since Emily managed to sleep between Julie and myself, we didn't use the sofa bed for anything except storing our luggage. I had requested a crib, but the crib that they gave us had more rust on it than the remains of the Titanic. The hotel had a lot of amenities, including a refrigerator, a microwave, and free continental breakfast at the restaurant next door.
We arrived at LAX a few minutes before 8:00 PM. I had prepaid for a shuttle to take us to the hotel. When I read the fine print on the shuttle passes, I noticed that the "hourly shuttles" stopped being hourly at 8:00 PM, and the next (and final) shuttle was at midnight! So I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of our luggage on the luggage belt, while eyeing the second hand on the clock as the time inched closer to 8:00. Our luggage finally came out at 7:58, prompting me to grab both suitcases (along with the 5 carry-on bags strapped on my body) to the shuttle waiting area. We just barely made it, and the shuttle took its sweet time to the hotel (about an hour).
Our first full day at Disneyland, we all walked around as a big group, until this got too unwieldy. Then we split up into two groups; one for the good rides and one for the kiddy rides. I chose the good rides. The Matterhorn Bobsleds rocked! I can't remember ever being on that ride before, even though I had been to Disneyland a few times. We later met up with the rest of the group.
That night, we went to the ESPN Zone for dinner. Afterwards, we went upstairs where all the games were. I was compelled to try the rock-climbing wall. Since it was my first time climbing, I chose the easiest wall to climb. After watching an 8-year old girl climb the wall, I followed her strategy. I even beat her time! Although I felt bad gloating about it right in front of her afterwards.
Our second day, we went to the California Adventure park. We went to the first showing of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. By luck, or skill, or perhaps witchcraft, my brother had the fastest finger out of everyone in the audience (about 200 people). He got pretty far, with my Mom looking on, beaming with pride. Afterwards, we went to the Paradise Pier section of the park, where a few of us went on the California Screaming Roller Coaster. This is a magnetically-levitated ride, so it accelerates pretty darn fast.
California Screaming Roller Coaster (the Vomit Inducer?)
Emily liked Winnie The Pooh; both the ride and the... um, pooh.
As luck would have it, the Edmonton Oilers were playing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks that week. So we managed to get tickets to the game at Arrowhead Pond. All the boys (with the exception of Joshua) went to the game in full Oilers attire. We thought we would be the only Oilers fans at the game, but I'd say about 20% of the people there were Oilers fans. What's up with that? I was hoping that we'd end up on TV.
New York City Trip Report (1)
"New York City Boy..."
We planned a trip with three other couples. Wayne & Tina, Jack & Linda, and Ed and Janis. For the sake of brevity, these couples will now be known as W/T, J/L, and E/J.
We stayed again at The Red Roof Inn. After we dropped off our luggage, we met Tina's cousins for supper at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant about a block away. It was expensive, but very good. Unfortunately, just before supper, W/T and myself took a short walk near the hotel and feasted on some hotdogs from a street vendor. And the vendor was so nice, that he gave us some meat on a stick for free. This meat wasn't beef. It definitely wasn't pork. It couldn't have been chicken. And it didn't taste very good. W/T cautiously threw theirs away after one bite, but I idiotically consumed my "meat" on a stick in several (2) bites. And then I spent the rest of the evening praying to my stomach. Later that evening, Wayne and I took a walk to Times Square. We wanted to catch a hockey game with our beloved Oilers. Do you know how hard it is to find a TV showing a hockey game from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the middle of Times Square? Do you know that we actually found one? We found one TV inside the ESPN Zone showing the hockey game, whereas 99.9% of the other TVs were showing the final game of the NCAA Final Four.
Idiot that I am, I had to check my work e-mail while on vacation. So I managed to find a place that had Internet access (it was only about 2 bucks for 20 minutes). So I managed to get my e-mail fix almost every day.
The first full day in New York, everyone went shopping to the Woodbury Common Factory Outlet, except myself. I decided to take a look at the Columbia University campus. That way I could put on my resume that I "went to Columbia University" and not be lying (for a change). After that, I took a short stroll to Riverside Park, then made my way to the Guggenheim Museum. Later that day, I met up with everyone else at the hotel, and then we decided to go to Chinatown for supper.
On Monday, we all went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum first thing in the morning. After that, we went to the Carnegie Deli, where we feasted on 8-inch high sandwiches (the next day, we found out that the Carnegie Deli was closed for a health violation... how comforting). We then walked to the new Time Warner building, then took a walk down 5th Avenue (including a stop at Trump Tower).
On Tuesday, we had planned to visit lower Manhattan. Our first stop was a Chinatown restaurant, where we ended up having dim sum with Wayne's aunt and Janis' cousin. Or maybe it was the other way around. I'm so confused! After lunch, we took a walk down the Brooklyn Bridge (part of the way), then went to see Ground Zero. Afterwards, we took the Staten Island Ferry, stood on Staten Island for about 12 seconds, then turned around and went back on the ferry. Dinner was at a restaurant in Little Italy. We then walked through SOHO and into Greenwich Village, before taking the subway back to the hotel.
Wednesday, we had tickets to a taping of Live With Regis And Kelly. The studio had more security than an Israeli airport. And Bruce Willis was supposed to be on the show, but he taped his segment beforehand ("booooooo!"). Afterward, we went to the Starbucks across the street and ran into Yo Yo Ma (or someone claiming to be him). We then met the other couples at a deli, where we ran into Mia Farrow. After lunch, we took a "30-minute" carriage ride (elapsed time: 21 minutes), and then went to the Metropolitan Museum. I think everyone was pretty tired, cuz those Picassos started looking pretty weird. Oh, and we saw David Caruso on a park bench by Central Park. After supper, Wayne and myself went to a Knicks game, while Julie and Tina went to see Hugh Jackman on Broadway ("Van Helsing! The Musical"). We waited for the two girls to come out of the theatre, when across the street, I saw Ray Liotta. Henry Hill from Goodfellas, my all-time favourite movie! I squealed in delight, and ran to get a closer look at him. After he ran the gauntlet of autograph seekers, he walked past me to get to his car. Since I was standing in his way, he kind of pushed me aside. Yay, he touched me!
Our final full day in New York, we went for lunch at the Soup Nazi. For those who don't know, the Soup Nazi was a character on Seinfeld. The real Soup Nazi (gee, he doesn't really like that nickname for some reason) had a soup stand in Midtown. We arrived at the Soup Nazi headquarters at 11:45, still too early, as he was closed until noon.
can you work the e-mails and part of your dream, or how you missed Edmonton, etc "So excited to be there, I was dreaming of what it was like to see all the new sights that we missed on the other 3 trips. After seeing the sights, it was up there with my expectations."