Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Justyn, Taylor & I racing in Lightning McQueen!  Ka-chow!
Thursday, 24 January 2013 – Our last full day in Anaheim and we had yet to conquer Radiator Springs Racers at California Adventure!  The weather had finally caught up with us again with early morning rain, and a forecast for overcast and much cooler temperatures.  We decided to all drive to the Disneyland parking station and catch the tram in to keep as much out of the drizzle as possible.  We all has our fingers crossed that Radiator Springs Racers would be working….  And it was!  The weather and being a weekday had kept the crowds way down so we grabbed Fastpasses for a 1.30pm ride and joined the small 40 minute queue for our first experience on this much-hyped ride.  Taylor, Justyn and I were in the front seat of a ‘Lightning McQueen’ and the others were in another car which meant we got to race each other – just like we were in a slot car!  After we boarded our car, we went for a bit of an idyllic drive through Ornament Valley Range before entering the dark portion of the attraction where we ran into several Audio-animatronic characters including the Sheriff, Mater and Frank the Tractor.  At this point, we turned one way Ramone's House of Body Art for a quick paint refresh (that meant we were squirted with water mist…) while the others went into another section where they had their “tyres changed”. From there, both of our cars lined up ready to race outdoors a top speed of 65 kph.  Pretty good fun although we really, really wanted to go faster!!!  

Everyone (on the right) enjoying the Tower of Terror!
Agreeing that we all needed to ride the Tower of Terror again, we all went on it this time and it was just as great during the daytime as it was when we rode it during the night.  We all then went our separate ways to ride or do things in California Adventure that we did not do last time and meet everyone back at the Racers at 1.30pm for our fastpass second ride.  The kids went to ride California Screaming while Justyn and I went over to Soarin’ Over California which we had been told was a great experience (and it was!).  
On the Soarin' Over California ride
The attraction, which lasts nearly five minutes, takes you on a simulated hang glider tour of California, flying all over the state from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Disneyland itself during the Christmas season.  The last few scenes transition from daytime to dusk and then to night, culminating in Disneyland's Holiday fireworks surrounding the riders in the nighttime sky.  With each change of scene or recreation, scents (citrus, pine, sagebrush, ocean mist) fill the air as the ride vehicles themselves move gently to simulate the sensations of flight.  It was pretty damn cool!  As a huge Muppet fan, Justyn and I went over to Hollywood Land to enjoy Muppet Vision 3-D, featuring “live” Statler and Waldorf heckling from their balcony while mayhem ensues during the show.  Some trivia for your, this was the final Muppets project that Jim Henson voiced Kermit.  It was now time to head back to meet everyone for our second ride on Racers and this time Justyn and I rode on our own but unfortunately we went through the same section with Ramone’s body painting rather than through Luigi’s tyre change.  Lucky Taylor was the only one who managed to have both experiences!It was creeping closer to 2.00pm and we still wanted to head back across into Disneyland.  
Space Mountain!
Mad Tea Party spinning cups!
Agreeing to meet up later in Disneyland, the girls went to track down the Disney princesses, the boys were having caricatures drawn and Justyn and I took off straight to Space Mountain!  We did grab Fastpasses, but there was absolutely no waiting so we jumped on to explore the deepest darkest recesses of space!  Again!  After lunch, while we were still in Tomorrowland, we went on Star Tours again which meant that we only have 52 more times to ride it to have experienced all of the possible adventures you can have on this ride!  One of my classic favourites is the Mad Tea Party, the spinning tea cup ride.  In case you are from another planet, the ride theme is inspired by the Unbirthday Party scene in Alice In Wonderland.  The ride has gained infamy over the years for the number of people who get motion sickness!  We also Fastpassed the Indiana Jones ride again and while waiting, headed around to Critter Country.  Unfortunately Splash Mountain was also undergoing a major refurbishment (I get that winter is the best time to refurb water rides, but all of them at the same time??), so we jumped in the beehive that is the buggy vehicle for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh dark ride.  More suited to the younger age group, we still manage to enjoy ourselves through Pooh’s mishaps!  Another classic favourite is the Haunted Mansion (Disney does love a dark ride) in the New Orleans Square realm.  This has a great lead up with lots of special effects going on with portraits following you, breathing doors, stretching rooms and other great illusions.  Jumping in our ‘doom buggy’, the ride took us through various haunted rooms, cemeteries and theatres – the scariest encounter was a weird lady who recited word-for-word the Ghost Host – including maniacal laughter!  Obviously she is a fan of this ride…   Still fondly remembering our beignets from our time in New Orleans, we found a little café were we could enjoy banana flavoured, Mickey Mouse shaped beignets so of course we had to indulge!  After we had ridden Space Mountain and Indiana Jones ride again, it was after 6pm and with the park closing at 8pm, we just had some souvenirs to buy.  We’d found out that mum and Sally had already caught a taxi back to the house and dad, Peter, Taylor, Britts and Byron were still going hard.  So after we purchased our souvenirs, Justyn and I walked around back into Tomorrowland to catch the monorail to Downtown Disney.  One of the park’s signature attractions, the Disneyland Monorail System opened in Tomorrowland in 1959 as the first daily-operating monorail train system in the Western Hemisphere.  The monorail guideway has remained almost exactly the same since then and five generations of monorail trains have been used in the park, since their lightweight construction means they wear out quickly. It follows a 4 km long route designed to show the park from above.  Alighting in Downtown Disney, we found our way to the tram back to the parking lot and then drove back to W Laster to wait for the boys.  Farewell Disneyland – it has been a blast!

We’d decided that for our last meal together, it just had to be In n Out burger; a US institution.  While Justyn and I had indulged on our previous trip to America, everyone else was pretty keen to give it a try.  Although he really wanted vegetarian, Peter had to make do with the same beef patty as everyone else.  Because the In-N-Out menu only consists of three burger varieties: hamburger, cheeseburger, and "Double-Double" (double meat/double cheese).  The hamburgers come with lettuce, tomato, with or without onions, and a sauce.  Peter, Justyn, Brittany and I drove the closest restaurant, joined the queue and placed our order for 8 cheeseburgers, 2 hamburgers, 10 serves of fries, 2 chocolate thickshakes and 5 lemonades…  Your order is made only after you have placed it, so we found a spare booth and sat down to wait for our order.  Dashing home after we picked up the order, we munched through our burgers, slurped up the thickshakes and commenced packing!  What a bummer!  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Anaheim and managed to pack a lot into the week but packing is a real downer!

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