The vacation kicked off Monday night (later than expected), when we went over to the house Mom and Steve were renting to hang out and play games. Aurora and her husband downloaded a game called Drawful 2 via Steam, which they described as a mix of Pictionary, Balderdash, and something else that I don't remember. Basically, everybody has a mobile device with which they log in to the game room, and then each player is given a title for a drawing. They draw a picture, and then the game shows each picture on the TV screen, and everybody who didn't draw it gets to make up a title for it. Then it shows all the title options, and everyone gets to guess what the real title is. For example, one time there was a drawing of a guy in a suit and tie, with two heads, and one of the heads was a dinosaur, and there was an American flag. The non-dinosaur head was supposed to be a mask, but you know how hard it is to draw on mobile devices without a stylus. And I don't remember what all the title options were, but the real title was, "The president is actually a dinosaur!" So it's ridiculous fun like that.
The real Disneyland trip began the next day, but Athena and I had to show up late because I had an orthodontist appointment. It turned out pretty well, though, because I wore the Mickey Mouse shirt I bought at DisneySea, and I was able to get rubber bands on my braces that matched my shirt! Tadah!
When we got to the park, I called Mom to let her know we were there, and she and Steve were just leaving Celeste and her family in Toon Town (where they'd gone to meet Mickey and Minnie; her son loves Mickey and her daughter adores Minnie) to meet Kimee at Splash Mountain. We happened to know that our friend Farley would be doing a set around that time, so we suggested we meet Mom halfway--in Frontierland, where we could hang out with Farley. So Mom and Steve got to meet Farley, and since Steve was wearing a birthday button, Farley let him request a song and we all sang Turkey in the Straw together. He also told them his set of Star Wars jokes. He had some new ones that we heard the week before, that were funny but so awful. "What did Kylo Ren say to General Leia after The Force Awakens?" "Look Ma, no Hans!" "Oh I'm sorry, did that cut you to the core? It did him!"
Kimee showed up, too, and she was a great audience, groaning at all his jokes. Despite her longtime obsession with Disneyland, she had never known about Farley.
Anyway, we all went on some rides, and met up with people, and parted ways with people, and got some of their new peanut butter sandwich candies, which are a lot like the old ones, only there's more peanut butter and it seems to have been mixed with more sugar (a welcome change to the recipe). And eventually we went to the Blue Bayou for lunch with Mom and Steve and Aurora and her husband. We got a really good table right next to the water, and the wait staff was amazing as usual. There was some family interaction that reminded us why we sometimes feel like we need to apologize just for being in a place, but our waitress made us feel better about that. And Mom and Steve even sprang for dessert. Of course, Steve got dessert for free because we told them we were celebrating his birthday (it was actually a couple weeks ago), and it was delicious chocolate mousse, which he passed around for everyone to try before finishing it himself. I really wish Disneyland would have chocolate mousse on the menu in more places. Maybe we'll just have to go to the Carthay Circle Lounge sometime when we have money to throw away.
After that, we met up with Celeste and her husband so we could watch their kids while they had their romantic Blue Bayou date. I think we spent the whole time in Fantasyland. Kimee has moved into the area and is going to a Young Single Adult ward where she has made a bunch of cast member friends--generous friends who put special readmission passes onto her park ticket, so we were able to get in a much, much shorter line to go on Peter Pan's Flight. Athena and I rode with Gabriel, but I'm having a really hard time remembering all the cute things he said. All I remember from that day was that every time we went through a tunnel, he would talk about the "time tunnel", which I'm told is a thing from Dinosaur Train. He even called Monstro a time tunnel when we went on Storybook Land. I also remember that he loved King Arthur's Carousel, and kept talking about riding the horsies.
And I think that's about it for day one. We were all pretty tired after that, which was not a good sign, because we still had two days to go, during which time we would be joined by three more kids!
We spent the next day in California Adventure. Gabriel is about two inches too short to go on any of the thrill rides, so his parents were hoping to compensate with a hat. (We later learned by watching other groups with small children that, not surprisingly, cast members are on to that sort of trickery. Parents really need to consider thick insoles. Or just come to terms with the fact that their child will get taller.) And so, since we got to the park before the whole thing opened, we went into the shops on Buena Vista Street to shop for a hat. As we were looking around, suddenly a small child comes barreling into me for a hug! It was Logan! Awww, our favorite nephew! (Just because he's the one we actually got to know before we cruelly moved away from our family.) Now all the cousins were together!
Soon the park opened, and we all went to Cars Land. Athena and I sent everybody on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree while we got fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers. ...Or that was the plan, but this was the day we learned that Cars Land, and pretty much the majority of the park, is a terrible place to take babies. They can't go on anything! So some people stayed out with the nieces (both of whom were younger than a year old), while some other people went on the Mater ride and Athena and I went to get fastpasses. We took all the boys on Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, which I think they liked, but more for the, "I want to ride a blue car!" aspect than for the dancing car aspect. When the ride was over, they were all ready to hop onto another car ("Now I want to ride a red one!") and go again. The nieces sat out again. I don't think they felt like they were missing out on much, though.
By then it was time for lunch, so we headed over to the opposite side of the park to Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta. But on the way out, we ran into none other than Lightning McQueen himself! Logan said, "Let's follow him!", which is what we were planning to do anyway, since that was the best way to leave Cars Land to get to the restaurant, but also because we know the boys like Cars, so duh we're going to try to meet McQueen. While we waited in line to see him, Logan took my camera and took about twenty pictures of him. When it was our turn, his cast member attendant noted that his little brother had Lightning tires! (Shoes with Lightning McQueen on them.) I didn't witness this myself, but I'm told that Michael put his foot in Lightning's mouth, and Lightning replied by saying, "Awesome!" I'm hoping the Disney photographer caught that moment on film. (They gave us a photo pass, but we haven't looked at any of the pictures yet.)
So that seemed to be a highlight, and then we went on to lunch. And now it's time for me and Athena to go on to lunch, so more on this report later.
Today I'm thankful for the wonderful wait staff at the Blue Bayou, Mom and Steve treating us to lunch there, getting to take the nephews to Cars Land, Disneyland chocolate mousse, and our beautiful DisneySea t-shirts.