Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Last Days...

I have two bad news-es for yous-es. 

1. This is the last of my Disney posts.
2. For some reason there is a serious lack of pictures.

Sorry.  I know the finale should be grand- but I don't know if I was just over seeing my vacation through my camera- or if my phone died or what... but there are just not many pictures. And this is two days worth of park hopping. What the heck?

The penultimate day started at the Magic kingdom. Look how incredible the poinsettias are. I know you're probably sick of me and my poinsettias... but I just love them!


The bulk our our time this day was spent in Adventureland/Frontierland/New Orleans Square/Critter Country.  There may not have been a ton of pictures- but by thunder there was shopping! Here is yet another idea for a gift for me... you know, if you feel like it.

And here we have contender #3 in the Heather's Head decor competition. This one actually has a story behind it. When I went to Disneyland four or five years ago I saw this tiara. I almost bought it but it cost the same as a small country so I didnt' get it. I regretted it. I even went so far as to ask people who were going to Disneyland to get it for me... no one did because I still couldn't commit to it. I'm a chicken. A non-committal Chicken.

So which one did I end up taking home? You'll see at the end of this post. Don't spoil it!

It really is a small world after all! While wandering the park we ran into Megan! She's in my book club- you remember the best book club in the world?

As we meandered, we came across Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger. They're just cute in their little hats. Awww...


I loved the Christmas tree in Pooh Corner.

Again with the imagineers- did they just bring in some produce and say, "ok- Rabbit is decorating a tree- what would it look like?" and they put vegetables on a Christmas tree!

We passed another churro cart that was selling weird churros. Honestly- normal churros were hard to find. they were all doing something a little different. this one was watermelon flavored. Personally I thought that sounded gross. Alex bought this one- but I just asked to take a picture of it. I didn't even want to try it.

These were the poles decorated around Splash Mountain. Teeny beehives! So adorable!

Speaking of Splash Mountain- it was closed while we were there. It was super sad because it was Nonee's favorite and it's nice to go on it in her honor.

BUT I won't lie- It was not super hot that day... I mean, it was January for crying out loud. I was a fraction... a teeny tiny fraction- glad that it was closed. I didn't want to get soaking wet and then just walk around in soggy clothes all day. If it's not hot enough to dry you out- it's not worth getting wet.


We went around to the other side of Rivers of America and took a ride on the Mark Twain. We all stood up on the upper deck- but Lisa stayed down with Jenna.

This is one of the snackies that we got that night. I don't think I tasted it- but I thought it was super cute. Seriously- put a Mickey head on just about anything and it makes it that much more awesome.

That evening we wandered over to Toon Town. We took Alex on Roger Rabbit and then shopped around and enjoyed the decor. 

We went through Minnie and Mickey's houses and then got the chance to meet Mickey.


One of these nights- I can't remember which because apparently I stopped taking pictures- we went to see Fantasmic. Right up there with corndogs, Fantasmic is my favorite thing about Disneyland. BUT they have recently updated it. Again- I understand the purpose of change... but I hate change. Fantasmic was pretty perfect the way it was- but they took a lot of classic stuff out so they could add some more contemporary characters. It went from freaking amazing to just ok. Sad.

The decorations throughout New Orleans Square were incredibly beautiful.


This tree was in Adventureland. It was pretty funny.

I know I mentioned it before- but I didn't post a photo. The castle at night was breathtaking.

They cancelled the fireworks that night- but we were over by Fantasmic anyway. But even though the cancelled them, they still did their Disney Magic and made it snow in the park. For people who never see snow it was probably pretty amazing. For those of us who were on vacation to get away from the snow? A little less so.

We made our way out of the park. The Christmas tree on Main Street was even more stunning at night. Wowza!

We caught a few of our friends taking pictures with lines of people... We weren't about to wait in those lines. But I love it when they are between guests and notice that I'm off to the side waiting for a decent picture and they pose for me. Thanks Mickey!


The next day- the last day. :(

We started out in California Adventure. And it truly was an adventure. It was a grey, dismal day- but that didn't stop us from going to Grizzly River Rapids. I was in trouble for mentioning the day before that I was ok not getting wet so I was a good sport about going on the ride.

Our helper guy- I can't for the life of me remember his name and apparently the photo we took of him was on someone elses phone because once again... I don't have it. Ugh- anyway, he was awesome. He was really fun to tease with He promised that we wouldn't get very wet.

He lied.

We got so wet.

And then as we came around to the loading zone- he asked if we wanted to go around again. Sure! We couldn't possibly get more wet.


We might as well have jumped in a pool. There was not a dry inch on any one of us.  He asked if we wanted to go around a third time- but we were done. That was enough.

I felt bad for anyone who sat on any rides after me for the next little while because there was just no drying off quickly. Sorry guys. I swear it was Grizzly water- not Heather water. Eew.

Of all the dumb things, one of my Disney bucket list items was to see a feral Disney cat. And luck of all luck- that day we saw TWO!  We talked to a cast member and she was telling us that there are dozens- hundreds?- of feral cats who help keep the parks clean. They are well taken care of, fed and kept healthy.- this much I knew. They try to avoid contact with them as much as possible to keep them feral. Once they become more domestic and get used to human contact, they lose their hunting drive. So when they get to the point where they are not afraid of people, they are adopted out to cast members. These two beauties are named Francisco and Snickers. At the time they were both very close to being adopted. They'd been coming out more and more during the day and getting used to people. I'm sure by now they have homes. Aren't they so sweet?


At this point we broke up the group a little bit. We all had different things we wanted to do. Kim and I really wanted to see the Frozen show at the Hyperion theater. So we went over, grabbed some popcorn and sat and waited to get into the theater. The show was cute- but I won't lie- I totally dozed off in the middle of it. Am I getting old?

Later we met up with the crew at the Animation Studio. Some wanted to go to Turtle talk with Crush- I wanted to go to the Artists Studio.  This was my picture.

It's Zero. You can tell, right? It's not that bad. I'm probably not ready for my job as an animator, but I thought for a first time attempt at this character it wasn't so bad.

On our last pass of the pier I had t make sure to stop and document it. I will never see Paradise Pier again. It's sad. But of all the changes I am actually excited for Pixar Pier. But this was my final farewell to Paradise.

We stopped at the wharf for a bit to get some ice cream and visit for a bit. I had a long chat with a janitorial cast member and he gave me all the inside 411 on the new Pixar Pier. I'd share it with you- but now that it's complete- there's no point.

We finally decided it was time to head over to the Magic Kingdom. On our way out I saw some cute things I wanted to take a picture of and realized I didn't have my phone. Enter Panic Mode. The last time I remembered having it was while siting on the bench over by Ghiradelli. I ran- and if you've seen me you know that's a feat- back to the wharf. Thank God for good people. My phone was sitting there on the bench and the guy there said he was there protecting it until someone came back for it. He said if I didn't come back in ten minutes that he'd turn it in.  Oh my gosh. My hero! I love honest people. 

I'm such an airhead! The last time I was at Disney I left my PURSE sitting on a bench and it was turned in. The time before that I left my camera in the bathroom and it was turned in. This time my phone- that's what I love about Disney. I'm sure there are creeps every once in a while- but in general we're all there for the same reason. People there are just good. They know that losing something like that could totally ruin someones trip so they go out of their way to save someones day. 

Thank you Thank you!

This is the picture I was going to take when I lost my phone. and Pluto was nice enough to give me a money shot while he was between guests. Seriously, I love it when they do that. :)

We spent the remainder of the day mostly in Fantasyland.  They did an awesome Christmas light show on Small World.

It was totally spectacular.

By this point Jenna was zonkered so Lisa and Macy took her back to the hotel. Without Jenna there was just no getting on rides so the rest of us stayed and found a spot for the fireworks. We waited and waited and waited and once again- they were cancelled. Sigh... every time. I swear. Stupid wind.

They tried to dazzle us with the magical Disney snow- but meh. So we just shopped on our way out. I made one last friend as we walked out.

Just before we walked out of the park, Shayla and I stopped and cried together. It is just such a magical, happy place.

I miss my sister. I miss her every day but I miss her most when I'm at Disneyland. Whenever I leave it's almost like I'm leaving her behind. I know that probably sounds stupid to most people... but if you knew Nonee like I did, you'd get it.

Sigh... Until next time Disneyland. Thank you for being so wonderful.

PS- this is the winner of the decorate Heather's head competition! Was it really a competition? eh, who knows. I had to sell off one of my siblings to pay for it- but every princess needs a proper tiara. I wore it all the way back to Utah. Partly because it was easier to wear it than to pack it. And partly because I wanted the magic to last a little big longer.

This is my "back to reality" face.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Adventures in California

Hi! So did you listen to all 13 minutes of the Small World Christmas Soundtrack? DID YOU?

If you did... you may proceed.

Just kidding. I didn't listen to the whole thing either.

Disney day 2 took us to California Adventure. They have recently remade the Hollywood Tower of Terror into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride. I loved the original  ride- I like that it was themed around the Twilight Zone- but I also totally understand why California Adventure is phasing out the more California elements of the park and bringing in some of the newer Disney franchises. Star Wars is getting a whole land of its own- why not give Marvel a nod or two. It has probably made them enough money to buy a cup of coffee or something. (ahem...)

Anyway- because of the popularity of the ride we knew that if we didn't get on Guardians of the Galaxy early on, then we might not get on it at all. It was the first place we headed.

As much as I loved ToT, it was fun to step into a Marvel movie there for a bit. They've turned it into the Collectors gallery- all the things he's collected from across the galaxy.

As I mentioned before- Alex does not like the big rides- but he did promise he would at least try. Poor guy. You can see from the look on his face (front and center) how he felt about it.

After he got his land legs back, we thought we'd take it easy on him and we took him over to Bug's Land. I'm super sad they are getting rid of this. It is such a nice place to take littles and let them go on rides. The lines are nothing and it's just an adorable concept.

But... Progress. right?

Jenna was my buddy on Flik's Flyers.


I even got a turn with Alex on a ride. Francis' Lady Bug Boogie! Woohoo!

Next we wandered over to Tuck and Roll. Lisa and I sat this one out and let everyone else get whiplash.





Our next stop was Heimlich's Chew Chew Train.

Seriously- I'm so sad they're getting rid of all these little rides. Even for us kids who are really tall and can vote and rent cars and stuff, we like it too! I'm sure whatever they put in will be awesome- but I love bugs land. :(

 Being a giant myself, it's nice to feel small once in a while.

Some of the bugs land stuff has already been removed and replaced with stuff from Coco. I LOOOOOOVE Coco. I cried. If you don't cry watching Coco... you probably don't have a soul. Which explains it. Because Coco is about souls.


Radiator Springs was the thing I wanted to see most all decked out in Christmas. They imagination of Disney's decorating team has no limit. Everything was down to the fan belt detailed!

A garland of air filters, people AIR FILTERS! Who thinks of that? Oh. Disney. Because they're awesome! And snowflakes made of wrenches?! I'm geeking out over here!

And here we'll take a momentary break from decor to look at the picture of our awesome shadows.

Christmas trees made from traffic cones...

 Sarge's surplus was of course dressed in red, white and blue.

I wonder if they just bring in a bunch of car parts and say, "Ok team- make something christmasy."

The last time I was here this ride was Luigi's Flying Tires. Now it's Luigi's Rollikin Roadsters. Not nearly as fun- but still cute.


Macy and Kim were excited to meet Buzz.


Buzz, of course, was excited to meet ME.

As we made our way along the Pier, there was a bit of a holiday fiesta taking place!


Mickey and Minnie were there- as well as Elena of Avelor. We stopped and grabbed lunch at the Corn Dog Castle.


 As we shopped around, I found contender #2 in the what should go on Heather's Head? contest.

Cute.... but still not quite right. A little small for this huge noggin.

 As we wandered, we passed Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. We didn't stop to say hello though. Sorry guys.

We found this guy- I can't remember his name but I'm pretty sure he's one of the bears from the Country Bear Jamboree- he was  giving this sweet girl some special attention. She was loving it. Super adorable.

We circled around and went on the Little Mermaid ride. I like this one- it has the feel of the older rides but it's new and improved. I just love how they make the story come to life.


Randy got to be my buddy this time. 

We circled back around the Pier and went on Toy Story Mania- my favorite-est ride!

Imma just go ahead and leave this next one right here...

I don't care how old... or big... I am- you're never too old or too big to go on a carousel!


Kim, what do you think? Think we can make these next Christmas? I can't... but you probably can.

One of Kim's favorites is the Hyacinth Hippo from Fantasia! We found her at the animation studio and did a little ballet with her.

We pooped out kinda early that day. We were tired. People were grouchy and there was a hot tub back at the hotel that was calling my legs. (of course by the time Macy and I got there it was over-run by unsupervised children who were using it as their personal swimming pool instead of the actual swimming pool. jerks. After getting kicked in the face twice we went back to the room)

So to end today's post- we'll just have this little fairy tale ending.