Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Disneyland Continued

Greetings friends and family,

The most incredible vacation ever is over, but the memories will last our entire lifetime.  I was concerned that three years of hyping it up would make it impossible to live up to the expectations, but it did!  We invaded Disneyland and California Adventure for four full days of non-stop memorable moments.  In the mundane day-to-day life I'm happy to have one memorable moment per week, but each day here was filled with one after another. 

Kendra's planning and research paid off.  The Disneyland Hotel is the ideal place to stay.  The Grand Hotel is better, but insanely priced comparatively.  Location, location, and early morning entry to the parks were the three main benefits. 

Having Kendra's family join us was a big highlight.  They were very accommodating to go on Easton and Layla's rides.  All of us were acting silly, screaming like kids sharing in the twins' excitement.

For our first day in the park we lined up with the masses and made a mad dash for Cars Land where there is a replica town from the Disney movie Cars.  Here is the only picture we have of all of us together with our custom T-shirts. 

Easton and Layla haven't seen Ouma and Oupa for months so they spent the majority of the trip clinging to them like this. 

Waiting is a way of life at Disneyland.   The twins were given several lessons in patience.  We waited to go the park, waited for security checking backpacks, waited for the park to open, waited for Cars Land to open, waited for the Cars ride and THEN...

We were able to ride our first ride of the day.  The Cars ride was my favorite of the entire trip.  The fire engine from Cars, named Red, was right on the main street, but we didn't get to take a picture next to it because Red drove off to another location before we could organize the 9 of us. 

This trip will be the one and only trip we take to Disneyland where Easton and Layla fit on our shoulders.  They are getting so big that by the next time we go, they will be too heavy and tall to fit like this.

The next ride we went on is our only mistake of the trip.  The Hotel of Terror was a fun ride for us adults, but it scared Layla so much that we had to gain her trust on each and every ride from then on.  Easton wasn't bothered by it, but he didn't want to go again either.  I wish we would have never taken the twins on this ride, but since we didn't know what to expect. 

Bree's Panda Spirithood attracted the attention of the passing Stormtrooper who wanted to pose with her.  I think the black and white matched so well that he thought it was cool too. 

and we took advantage of the situation by getting the twins to pose with the Stormtrooper as well.  Little did he (Easton) know this was a foreshadowing of things to come.

Easton's favorite ride of the trip was Space Mountain.  He wasn't afraid even for one second as we blasted off through the portal and into space and then flew through the darkened arena with the star field simulation.  He rode this three times and would have gone again if we had time. 

Kendra stayed with Layla who was still traumatized from the Hotel of Terror ride.  She was not interested at all in riding through the dimly lit starfield.  Too fast and too dark was too much for Layla.  The rest of us loved it.

One of the most prominent features of Disneyland in real life and in the Xbox game is the Matterhorn Bobsled ride.  The two of them seeing these iconic features in real life for the first time was worth the trip.

Our family photo turned out well as we posed in front of the iconic ride.  The 4 Webbs had a jolly good time wandering through the park seeing the sights, characters, and mobs of people.

Not everything was laced with adrenaline.  We rode Pooh Bear's ride and got to meet him as well.

Easton was brave enough to ride Splash Mountain, but Layla declined after seeing the log plunge over the edge as we approached the ride.  Easton did his best to convince Layla to ride it.  maybe next time...

Casey went to ride another ride so he wasn't around when we took this gem in front of the castle.  I don't know what happened in the years since I was here last, but the castle looked much, much smaller than I remember.  I was shocked by how tiny everything looks in the park when compared to my early childhood memories.  Still a great time though.

Easton wore a birthday button and first-time visitor button.  Supposedly these get you special privileges in the park, but we didn't experience that at all.  The only difference was that it gave the park employees something to talk about with Easton as we were buying stuff.

We ate dinner in the park one night at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue.  My favorite meal of the week was here.  All you can eat ribs, chicken, corn and cole slaw.  Delicious.  I would say I ate my money's worth, but at $35 per person it was nearly impossible to stuff that much food in my mouth.

as we ate, the entertainers invited kids on stage.  Layla quickly jumped at the chance.   Easton sat quietly between Kendra and I with no desire for bright lights and fame.

Kendra and I had a few moments of alone time.  Our focus was on spending time with the family and the twins so we had no expectation of full-day alone times.  We took a few minutes to ride Space Mountain because Kendra missed out last time due to Layla's hesitance.

Not the most flattering picture of us, but if you were there with us in the moment you would have seen the big smiles and heard the loud screams.

Probably the most famous Disneyland background is this one at the entrance to the park.  Layla wore her Aurora dress and Easton wore his Disney sports T-shirt.

The whole family joined in for this one and I'm so glad they were all here to share in the memories.

We rode several rides that I thought were cheesy, like the Dumbo ride.  However, the nostalgic benefit of saying "I rode the Dumbo ride" was worth the short wait in line.

Layla raised her seat with Ouma in it all the way to the top and stayed there until the ride was over.  I wasn't able to get a picture of them until the ride was over, forcing her to come down.

Similarly, the teacup ride was nostalgic, but not as indulgent as the roller coasters and thrill rides.  We let the twins pick who they wanted to ride the rides with.  I was proud to be Layla's choice for the teacups.  We spun around without getting nauseous.

Casey was chosen as Easton's ride partner.  Casey isn't a fan of spinning rides, but he was kind enough to endure it with Easton for the sake of his enjoyment.

The Storybook Land ride was nothing like I remember, but still fun as we rode in a boat through miniaturized scenes from Disney lore.

During the BBQ performance by Layla they growled like bears so we carried that throughout our week.  Here we got all of the family to join her in being bears.

I think this next picture is from the Peter Pan ride.  Easton recognized every light and voice from his experience with the movie, Disneyland Xbox game, and book we read.

Bree's outfit was very creative.  Kendra was jealous we didn't all have fun outfits like that, but Layla proudly displayed her princess-ness to the max.

The most fun event for me (and Easton) was the Jedi training.  We arrived early and sat in the premier spot all together as a family.

Layla just wanted to be a spectator.  This was the only time I can remember Layla not wanting to join in, but instead was just a support for Easton's enjoyment.

The Jedi master chooses a select few individuals from the crowd to participate.  When Easton was chosen he jumped right into the spotlight and joined the fun.

The kids were given a training on how to use a lightsaber.

and then they waited patiently as Darth Vader and Darth Maul intruded with menacing words and faces.

I captured the video of Easton fighting Darth Maul.

He was magnificent and I couldn't be more proud of his courage to fight against this scary looking guy.

After the dark side was defeated the Jedi master gathered all the padawans up front to present them as bona fide Jedis.

Layla gave him a big hug and shared her encouraging words about Easton's accomplishments.

Here is his official certificate of Jedi training.  He was beaming with confidence.

I need to cut this post in half (or thirds) because it's so tough fitting our trip into a single post.  Stay tuned!

See you soon.

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