California, Here We Come
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Today was our last day in the parks , so our plans were to check off anything that remained to be done in both parks and finish the evening at World of Color. Since we didn’t have anywhere that we had to be this morning, we slept in a little.
When we got in the night before, Thom informed me that Maddie had woken up when they got back to the hotel and was mad as fire because he had taken her back. You see, Maddie is absolutely fascinated by the claw machines and, when she saw what Zack had won for Mary Devall and that he still had tons of tokens, she was hoping that he could win something for her too. Apparently, she had planned for them to go back to the arcade after Fantasmic, but sleep had won out.
So . . . when she woke up this morning and saw me, the first thing out of her mouth was “Did Zack spend all of his coins?” She felt much better when I assured her that we did not even go to the arcade the night before.
After breakfast in the lounge, we (minus Eileen who was saving her knee for WOC that night) headed out for the short walk to DL (and I made a quick detour into World of Disney for a new wristlet since my old one was literally falling apart ). When we made it inside the park (and the CM scanning my ticket even bemoaned the fact with me that it was our last day ), a double decker bus was just sitting there waiting, so we took it as a sign. Zack took the girls up top while the boring adults sat downstairs.
When we reached the top of Main Street, we disembarked and headed right to Buzz where I proceeded to totally tank at the DL version. Being able to pick up the gun is no help whatsoever to me.
Since Thom and Maddie missed out on Autopia the night before, we grabbed FP’s. While Maddie got her wish to watch Zack play the claw machine for her, Karen, Sharon and I hustled across the park to Splash Mountain to see if our ride photo was still available. Thom had the Photopass Plus card when we rode it, but Karen had jotted down the number. Thankfully, they still had it and it was well worth the walk across the park to get it!
By the time that we got back to the arcade, Zack had already won Maddie a tiger fluffie, so her day was made. We were going to need a throne for Zack if his esteem rose any higher in my girls’ eyes.
While we were in the neighborhood and had to wait for our Autopia FP’s to ripen anyway, we hopped in the standby line for Space Mountain. It was by far the longest wait we had this entire trip, but it was well worth it because Zack had a plan for our ride photo. He had tried it before, but wanted all of us to go along with it this time. The premise was that Eileen was his riding partner, but had mysteriously been sucked out of the vehicle somewhere during the ride.
An actress I am not, but I ended up in the seat behind the empty seat (a.k.a. Eileen) so Zack pretty much directed me to bring it. Since we had been on the ride a couple of times already, I thought I knew where the photo was taken (which was of utmost importance) but I still made my “face” about five times near the end just to make sure I didn’t screw it up.
After the ride, we all busted out of the cars to see the finished product. We cracked up . . . and were also pretty impressed with ourselves. Zack apologized that his hand covered up my award winning facial expression, but Karen assured me that my acting abilities shined through . . . Zack’s hand.
Our Autopia FP’s were good to go, so we breezed through the line and were soon in our cars. Zack wanted all of us to ride with our hands up (I’m thinking he meant the drivers too ), but we told him that he was on his own for this one. He rode with Maddie, and sure enough, he kept his hands up . . . which was especially brave considering who was in the car with him.
Zack and the girls were ready for lunch by now, but the adults wanted to wait to eat at Flo’s at DCA. We went next door to the Pizza Port where Zack and Maddie had pizza and Mary Devall went all out with an adult portion of fettuccini alfredo. I think Thom played clean up with both girls’ lunches, so he essentially ate lunch too.
We then walked over to DCA . . .oh, how I loved being able to do that . I even took a picture from inside the gate at DCA proving that you can see DL from there.
We headed straight for the Monsters, Inc. ride. Oh my gosh, I loved this ride! It was so, so cute!
And ever since Maddie was chosen to be Boo at the Laugh Floor last year she feels a special connection with Monsters Inc. and was all about this ride. At the end, Roz had a little chat with Zack about his Oswald ears which was just icing on the cake.
The one thing I did want to do was ride ToT since I hadn’t been on it yet, so we picked up FP’s before we headed to Flo’s for a late lunch. Since Thom had already eaten, he ran to the restroom while I stood in line with the girls to order. We had told them that they could have dessert here so they wouldn’t just have to watch us eat.
Maddie immediately spotted the kids meal which comes in a Lightening McQueen car. She didn’t say a word, but I could literally see the longing in her eyes. After perusing the menu, Mary Devall asked for a chocolate mud “pie-o-rama” and Maddie asked for a chocolate milk shake. I decided to be sneaky and order a kids meal with a roast beef sandwich without Maddie hearing me.
As we stood at the counter waiting for our food, Maddie noticed that a kids meal was being placed on a tray. A man was standing beside us, so Maddie whispered to me “That must be his.” I nodded my head to agree with her.
When our order was complete and I took the tray, Maddie looked at me as if I was stealing someone else’s food. When I assured her that the kids meal was in fact mine, she was all aglow . . . and then she got on me for tricking her . . . again.
I found us a large table in a room off to the side and we were soon joined by the rest of the gang. Maddie took about three sips of her milkshake before she took the car from the kids meal and sat at the table behind us to play. She went into her own little Maddie world and proceeded to talk and play with that car for the rest of our meal. At one point, Karen wondered where Maddie was and was surprised that she was sitting right behind her. There was so much conversation behind her that Karen had assumed that the table was filled with an entire family.
Maddie can definitely make something out of nothing when she plays. I never have to worry about a lack of imagination with her especially when I see her giving voice to the salt and pepper shakers at a restaurant. Those salt and pepper shakers have a lot to say.
After Maddie took the car, I was essentially left with a small roast beef sandwich for lunch, but that may have been the best roast beef sandwich that I have ever had. The meat was outstanding and the roll that it was on with soft and buttery. Karen and Sharon both had turkey platters that looked delicious. When Thom found us, I almost felt bad that he had already eaten lunch because that food was right down his alley.
I ended up supplementing my kids roast beef with the rest of Maddie’s milkshake, so I manage to piece together a very filling lunch. Zack also had a milk shake, but his was in a Flo’s souvenir glass that a CM kindly offered to wash after he had finished it. This glass (although truly hard plastic) will come back to haunt us later.
We had only been on one ride in Bugs Land, so we decided to finish it up next.
We went right to the first ride which was the bumper cars, but they went down as soon as we walked up so we moved on to the ladybugs. These were so cute and very similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree . . . except much smoother.
By the time our ladybug ride was over, we noticed that the bumper cars were back up, so back we went. Karen and Sharon decided to just be spectators on this one. Mary Devall drove me and we essentially moved forward one foot and moved backwards one foot before the ride was over. Zack seemed to be the only one who moved at all.
The time had arrived for our ToT FP’s, so Thom and Maddie headed for the Chew Chew Train while the rest of us “dropped” in at the Tower. Mary Devall just cracks me up because she was nervous as could be because Sharon had told her that there were differences between the DL version of ToT and the DHS version. The girl had ridden Screamin’ three times without a whimper, but was now nervous because of a few differences with the ToT elevator car. She is so funny!
Sharon told Mary Devall to sit beside her so that she could talk her through it, so Zack, Karen and I sat in the row in front of them. After we were seated and buckled in, the CM sees Zack’s milkshake glass in Karen’s hand and instructs her to be careful. Karen assured her that it was plastic and then the CM goes into this big spill about how plastic can be hurtful also. This girl was probably about Zack’s age but she was cautioning us as if she were our mother. Karen placated her and finally convinced her that she understood the serious nature of the conversation and would take heed to ensure that the glass was securely packed away.
So . . . the ride begins, we fly to the top and, out of nowhere, this Flo’s milkshake glass comes flying at my head. Lucky for me, Karen’s hand was still attached to it. After her lecture from the CM, she thought it would make a classic ride photo (kind of makes you see exactly where Zack gets it from, doesn’t it? ) And it would have been pure perfection, but she tossed it a second too soon. My reaction and the smirk on Karen’s face convey the hilarity of the situation. This is one of the reasons why I love these people so dearly - - you just never know what each minute might bring.
A trip to remember . . .
Last edited by Jillybean; 11-17-2012 at 10:07 AM..
I missed a couple of random shots of the girls during our time at DCA that afternoon.
After our ToT ride, we headed for the front of the park to meet up with Thom and Maddie. Mary Devall did a little browsing in the shops, but didn’t see anything she wanted so we stopped at World of Disney on the way back to the hotel. I could tell that she was ready to do some serious shopping which is rare for her because she usually hoards her money and gift cards and spends them slowly.
As if winning a tiger for Maddie wasn’t enough, Zack was also going to buy her something in the Lego store. Since she had searched World of Disney high and low the day before, she was able to tell me that she wanted the Bullseye pillow pet as her souvenir before she and Thom left us for the Lego store.
Mary Devall and I both spent a good deal of time searching for what we wanted. I found a Disneyland t-shirt and scrapbook that I liked while she bought several vinylmations (including a Brave set with Merida and the three little brothers) and a book about fairies. It was fun just watching her search for the perfect souvenir. And, of course, we bought Maddie her pillow pet. Our park tickets had also come with a 20% off coupon, so we really saved a lot of money on our little shopping spree.
When we reached the room, Zack and Maddie were heads down putting together their Legos. After a bit, we went upstairs to the lounge and enjoyed our last glass (or two ) of wine in our home away from home. Eileen had worked in the lounge for most of the day, so she was like royalty up there. They had taken good care of our buddy too (and definitely knew her fondness for sweet, pink wine).
We were sitting around the table chatting away when something made me remember the Raggedy Ann and Andy alarm clock that I had as a child. I heard it so much that I memorized the little song that woke me up each morning. After I recited it for the ladies (one of my many hidden talents ), Sharon all of a sudden perked up and said "Hey! I had that too! I had totally forgotten about it until you sang the song!" Were the four of us meant to be together or what?
Our big plans of the evening were to eat at Carthay Circle and take advantage of the reserved viewing area at World of Color. Instead of walking down the main drag, we were going to enter DCA through the Grand Californian entrance. Eileen decided to leave about ten minutes before us so that she could take her time and planned to meet us in the GC lobby. We were having so much fun that we didn’t even make it off the hotel grounds before we were snapping pictures. The girls were having an absolute giggle fest trying to pose for this picture.
We did have to cross one street going to the GC and I realized that it was the first time that I had even seen a stop light in four days! Once we were in the GC, I was just blown away. It is just gorgeous and both girls were immediately saying “I want to stay here!” I think it made Maddie a little homesick for the old hotel.
We picked up our date from a comfy chair and continued on our way to the DCA entrance. How cool to literally walk out of your hotel into a park! Maddie insisted on picking up a park map . . . not sure if she was trying to ditch us or not.
We headed straight for Carthay Circle where Karen checked us in. I love the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood, so this restaurant grabbed me from the moment I entered. It was very similar to the feel of the Brown Derby, but the look was even more elegant. While we waited, I wandered around the lobby and bar area snapping photos and studying the pictures on the walls.
As we were lead to our table upstairs, I could barely keep up because I was so busy pivoting my head back and forth trying to take everything in.
Upstairs was split into smaller dining rooms and we were seated at a large round table in the middle of a room off to the right. This was a fancier restaurant, but it never felt stuffy or uncomfortable. I just it . . . and that was before I ever laid eyes on a menu!
It was an extremely hard decision, but I finally settled on Summer Watermelon Salad (Cucumber, Gypsy Peppers, Lime Mascarpone, and Honey Sherry Vinaigrette for my appetizer and Bacon-wrapped Shrimp (on Summer Roasted Corn, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil Salsa) for my entrée. Everything was so fresh and delicious! I normally don’t turn down dessert when dining out, but I was so full that I couldn’t manage it.
All of the female adults had a Pimm’s Punch with dinner. I loved it, but Eileen not so much, so she gave me hers too. I guess that could be considered dessert. Only Zack, Mary Devall and Maddie ended ordering dessert, so apparently all of the 21 and older crowd was as full as I was.
Just to show you how “non stuffy” this restaurant was, Maddie had us playing a game while we waited for our food. I think it was entitled “Whose name rhymes with . . .?” We laughed so much especially when the question would be something like “Whose name rhymes with Ryleen?” You have to love a place with delicious food and elegant surroundings, but with an atmosphere where you still feel comfortable shooting up your hand if the question happens to be “Whose name rhymes with Pill?”
On our way out, I stopped by the restroom upstairs and was immediately greeted with one of my all-time favorite acting couples, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. That pretty much sealed the deal for me. If I ever have the opportunity to return to DL, I am coming back to this restaurant!
After dinner, we took a leisurely stroll through Cars Land to snag some night time photos.
We stopped by The Little Mermaid since Eileen didn’t have the chance when we rode it earlier. She seemed to enjoy it every bit as much as we did. We still had a little bit more time, so Zack and I took the girls to ride Goofy’s Sky School one more time. The standby line took a little longer than expected, but we made it back to the World of Color reserved viewing area just in time.
Karen had been able to snag a bench for Eileen to sit and the rest of us were able to stand behind her. It was the perfect spot to see this beautiful show. We were the last viewing area, but I still managed to get a little wet. It was totally worth it.
Before World of Color, we had discussed sneaking in a few rides after the show, but we were all pooped by the time it was over. Besides, we still needed to pack. The first part of our trip was coming to an end tomorrow.
We walked back to the hotel via the Grand Californian and started the packing procedure. Before we went to bed that night, we had to start the goodbyes with Sharon since she would be leaving way before we got up the next morning. This was the part that I dread every time I see these ladies. With Sharon, it was a tiny bit easier since I knew I would be seeing her back at WDW in two months. Still, it is not fun.