Family Finding Fun Apart and Together!

So we had two VERY full days in the parks so far, but had spent most of it in Disneyland itself. We wanted to make our 3rd day one for Cali Adventure goodness, but I had a major hitch in my giddy-up. As I had stated earlier in the TR, I had a bad neck …or more specifically an upper rib rotated out of place around my right shoulder/neck. It had been getting worse over the course of those two days to the point where I couldn’t have the camera strap or eventually even a pin lanyard around my neck.

And doing Matterhorn the night before had completely done me in. I have a hard ball that I used against a wall, pressing it into the muscle groups of my neck and shoulders. It would temporarily relieve the pain but not for any length of time. I had been chewing ibuprofen regularly but it also only did so much. The one thing I had going for me is that I had a chiropractor within walking distance that I had used before. I already had an appointment set for 12:30pm with him and was going to take it easy until I saw him.

Meanwhile Roxy had arranged a “date” of sorts with her first boyfriend from way back when. Don’t worry, it’s cool  He is married with kids and him/his wife and me and Roxy are all friends on Facebook and keep in contact with each other. He works at California Adventure as an electrician supervisor on the night shift. He has complex things to do as part of the job, but their main task is trying to keep up with keeping all of those lightbulbs lit throughout the park. And if you’ve ever really looked around at night you know what a job that could be!

Special shout out to him – he had his birthday recently, which coincided with the presentation of his 10 year service plaque working for Disney! 

We were going to meet him in CA at opening and hit Cars Land. We’d hang out until it got close to my appointment and then I was going to leave them all to their own devices while I walked to the chiropractor to have my adjustment.

I still ended up being the first one up and got my shower to try and loosen up my neck and shoulders. Then it was upstairs to the breakfast buffet. Roxy asked me for a bagel but they didn’t have any that day so she came up and got some breakfast with me. We finished eating and headed to CA just in time for opening. The kiddos had of course slept in a bit more and would be meeting up with us.

We had been texting with him and met him at a gate. Soon we were in the park and making a beeline for Cars Land. To tell you how hurting I was I DIDN’T TAKE ANY PICTURES!!! We headed for stand-by line for Radiator Springs. Most of the line time was spent with him telling stories about the park and what it was like to be there after hours. And more time than you would think about the unique types of lightbulbs used in different areas.

While we were talking and shuffling thru the queue the kiddos made it into CA and ran into Goofy!

Meanwhile we eventually made it into a car and did our tour thru the world of Radiator Springs and beyond. Our car won of course!

From there we went to the tables at the Cozy Cone and talked for a while longer until it was time for me to head out for my appointment. The kiddos stopped by and said hello and then rolled on down to Paradise Pier and Ariel while they waited for their California Screamin’ FastPasses to kick in.

There was no wait when they got off so they had another go, this time in separate ride vehicles

And there was much rejoicing!

From there they headed for California Screamin’ – obligatory queue selfie from PumpkinGirl

The standby line wasn’t bad, so they took two trips back to back! We only have their pics from the screens as I think they forgot to download them to their MaxPass.

While they were getting their roller coaster fix I had found that it was time to go get my neck fixed. I said farewell to Wes and gave Roxy a kiss and told them to have fun. I downed 4 more ibuprofen and headed out of CA and out the front gate and onto Harbor. Turning towards the highway and said hello to a monorail going by.

The chiropractor is on the other side of the Santa Ana freeway on Ball Road, about a 1.5 mile walk. He has this awesome hydraulic table that you walk up to, stand on its base, and he lowers you into place. Once there he uses gentle pressure on the problem area and foot pedals to trigger areas of the table to pop up and do the manipulations. It is extremely effective and got the rib mostly back into place.

While I was getting worked on the kiddos FastPass time came up for Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) so they had headed back that way thru Bugs Land and into the FP queue

They again forgot to upload to MaxPass or it glitched, but they did take a pic of the screen

They both love them some Loki!

While they were freeing our galactic heroes Roxy and Wes had headed down to the Pier while awaiting FPs for Soarin’

He’s a big goofball for sure and I’m glad they were all having a good time. It was a beautiful 75 degree day out there by the way, gotta love Cali in late November! While they strolled and the kids had their space adventure, I was on my way back to CA as “well-adjusted” as I was going to get for the time being.

Let’s head back to the kiddos, who were maximizing their ride fun. They had already hit Little Mermaid, Cali Screamin’, and GotG and had Monster’s Inc. in their sights before we all met up for lunch.

Huzzah for another pre-ride selfie from PumpkinGirl!

Sully and Mike make good their escape with Boo

These guys need their own movie

Mike must have run out of ‘oderant’ – can go out without his “wet dog” scent

Look – up there – there’s POINTING going on!

Mike’s stage production is a rousing success!

Nothing to see here!

Roz wants to make sure you have all of your paperwork in order

End of ride selfie!

While they were still riding I came back into the park and found that Roxy and Wes were already on Soarin’. So I jumped on the MaxPass and found that I could get and immediate FastPass for Toy Story Mania. I stopped by one of the Festival of the Holidays carts and ordered up a beer flight, walked to a table and drank them down one after another. The four cups were pretty small, so probably equaled a pint and a half all together.

Between the adjustment, the ibuprofen, and the beer I was feeling better and had a pleasant stroll down to the Pier. Once in the queue I had a nice conversation with Mr. Potato Head

And then had another nice conversation, this time with a family of grown-ups all visiting the park for the first time. I ended up in a car with one of them and gave her tips on how to rack up points …and gave my token complaint that they didn’t just have triggers instead of the silly rope pull firing mechanism. I don’t remember what my score was but I did okay.

On the way out I snapped a couple of random shots

By the time I was walking back onto the Pier, Roxy and Wes had finished on Soarin’ and he unfortunately wasn’t able to stay any longer. The joys of working the night shift! I had been in communications with the kids and we were all hungry. I touched base with Roxy and made the command decision to meet up at Pacific Wharf for lunch.

On the way from Monsters Inc., PumpkinGirl caught up with some of the roving entertainment.

We all gathered at a table and had a mix of stuff from the Pacific Wharf Café and the Lucky Fortune Cookery. I had made a quick pit stop for another beer flight. No food pics, but here’s some beer pics!

The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale was pretty awesome! And you’ll notice our little charging station setup – I have a large external battery and a USB hub that allows all of us to recharge our phones at once!

Once we were all fed and rested we decided our next move. Roxy wanted to hit California Screamin’ and PumpkinGirl was on board but Jinx had done it twice and decided to hang out with the old man. As we strolled out we stopped for a couple of minutes to enjoy some musical entertainment!

I love all of the Toy Soldier decorations and had hopes to see the drum team at some point while we were here

We were heading towards the Zephyr when we stumbled into some Indian dancers – they were very talented!

While we were watching the show Roxy and PumpkinGirl got shot down the line for their ride on California Screamin’. They had gone thru the Stand-by queue as their FastPasses hadn’t kicked in yet (no idea why we don’t have PP pics of this one)

When they got off it was time for their FPs so around they went again, they had great expressions but I think the two guys behind them had them beat!

As Roxy and PumpkinGirl were “Screamin’”, I was on the other side of the Pier and was continuing my hunt for good beer with a sip from Bayside Brews.

Jinx and I were awaiting the start of the Elena of Avalor street show and had secured a good spot on the tape line. I had to offload some of that beer so headed to the restrooms near the Paradise Garden Grill and ran smack into Elena herself!

Upon my return to the street I settled in with Jinx

It wasn’t too long before the dancers came swirling in

Now you may have been wondering why is a grown man and his son were watching this show. Well firstly it was beautiful and colorful with cool dancing. But we weren’t here to see Elena. We …or specifically Jinx was here to see Skylar the Jaquins (had to look that up). I was just along for the ride. Soon enough the float came out and we had a great view of Skylar

Honestly that was it – we saw the magical leopard thing and left, making room for tired moms and dads and their little kids to have a better view. We had wanted to hit the Zephyr, but it was down because of the show. So we moved on to the Silly Symphony Swings and took flight on those

While we had been having all that fun Roxy and PumpkinGirl had been enjoying themselves with the Midway games. They were kicking butt!

Jinx and I finished our round on the swings and texted them and we all agreed to meet back up at Mickey’s Fun Wheel. On our way that way we ran into Woody! He was very cool and noticed my Army hat and Bearded Veterans shirt and gave me a salute and thru gestures thanked me for my service – it was a very unexpected and cool.

We hit up a churros stand and all met up in the swinging side of Mickey’s Fun Wheel

PumpkinGirl was excited to show off her prizes!

Roxy and her took a look at some MaxPass options

…while Jinx took care of the critters

We boarded our gondola just as the sun was setting

Smile everybody!

The view was of course awesome!

And the sunset was spectacular!

By the time we got off and made our way back around the pier the sun had disappeared and the lights had come up!

I had separated from the fam to try and make the flag retreat at Disneyland. While doing so the fam saw a short line and an opportunity to go back Under the Sea yet again!!!

He’s a musical bird!

Quite the school if fish

Can you hear the music?

He can!

Flounder looks like he is snoozin’

They are some bad eels

…workin’ for a BAD lady!

Here come those legs!

Kiss the squirrel …or something like that

And again, there was MUCH REJOYCING!

While the rest of the fam enjoyed this interlude I had been hustling thru the park and out the entrance of CA, turning around quickly to capture the entrance as the last of the sun disappeared from the sky

I unfortunately had completely misjudged the timeframe for getting thru CA and the time of the flag retreat itself so totally missed it – lol

While I was gone the family had made it towards the front of CA also and were looking at Character timeframes as they were on the hunt for Thor and Loki. While waiting they had some time to say “hi” to Nick Wilde

I had now returned to CA and was taking in the nighttime street scene

The beautiful tree

And the coolest non-theater theater around!

The family was going to be meeting me at the fountain so I killed some time by heading back thru the arch of the Festival of the Holidays

And saying a quick hello to a musical Dia De Los Muertos gent while I waited for some goodies from one of the food carts

Food down I headed back to the circle and on my way took the obligatory pic of colorful balloons at night

The fountain itself looked truly magical with the theater and its wreath in the background

There was a PhotoPass photographer there so we took the opportunity to get some family photos!

Then one of Roxy and I

More Family PhotoPass Fun! First my Lady and I get the “mistletoe” treatment

And then our Kiddos!

The wizards on the back end of PhotoPass neglected to put a character in PumpkinGirl’s hand – so I took the opportunity to add in Stitch for them!

After picture time we headed back to the food carts and everyone filled up on little boats of good food while we killed time waiting for Thor and Loki’s next meet and greet time. We made sure we would have plenty of time to get there for the “front row” of the stage portion.

It is hard to tell with the bright backlighting of the stage, but PumpkinGirl was very excited!

As was Jinx!

Out they came, putting on a great show – top notch banter!

The kiddos and I waited patiently in line, them to meet the characters – me to take pictures

Roxy was hanging back in the seats with all of our stuff. The line moved at a reasonable pace, we were good with it as Thor and Loki were taking a good amount of time with each party that came up. Soon enough we were next and Jinx especially was nervous so PumpkinGirl took the lead for some banter.

Then they brought PumpkinGirl forward – all of their expressions are different on each shot and so classic!

Finally pose time

Then Jinx came in – he was a bit overwhelmed

But then he settled down and got a cool shot with them

Then the two of them

We were going to wrap it up but Thor and Loki insisted Roxy and I come up for a pic – and Thor said I had to show off my “guns”.

And that lead to a cool bonus family pic!

I can confirm what many others have before me, the Thor and Loki Meet and Greet is awesome! I’ll leave you with this last image from it – the uncomfortable hug!

It was only 6:30pm and we had managed to wrangle yet another GoTG FastPass – thank you MaxPass!!!! On to the epic façade courtesy of the Collector!

So many items to gaze upon!

The main attraction was of course our heroes

We worked our way around under the watchful eye of Tivan Group Personnel

By Grabthar’s hammer, by the Sons of Warvan, you shall be avenged! …wait, wrong movie!

I made sure we were up front this time around so I could be near this

PumpkinGirl took a look at the desk’s contents

I just thought this looked cool

And here come the spiel

…and the takeover

At the end I was ready and caught Rocket’s hand coming down to grab the Walkman!

We thankfully got the lower tier queue


Someone is watching and he’s wondering where his high altitude ice cave has gone

We boarded our elevator and Rocket grabbed the power cable to start the fun!

We had to be separated on the back row so it was PumpkinGirl and I on the left and Roxy and Jinx at right-center

All too soon it was over, but we were all smiles. We disembarked and walked by this dedicated group of employees

I don’t think it would be worth joining the Tivan Group to see what was behind this door

We headed thru the gift shop and I ducked into a doorway in the corner to snap a pic of this EPIC MOVIE POSTER!

As soon as I had scanned our FastPasses on my phone the four of us had been pummeling MaxPass trying to secure one more “E Ticket” ride to end our night. And by the time we were done with GoTG we had them!!!!

Our MaxPass win lead us to Radiator Springs to end our night with one more ride on the Racers. We of course have to give you a couple of street shots to start off with.

It was just after 8pm when we headed past Flo’s and you can see the long day starting to seep in on us

Ramone’s was looking stellar

We checked out some merch and then on to the queue!

Smiles everywhere as we made it towards the front

PumpkinGirl caught a shot of all of us in our car right as we headed out onto the track

And off we went!

Good to see Disney allowing beards after all of these years!

Such cool theming

Things were starting to shut down so I got a great shot of the empty queue

All hail Radiator Springs!

Love that neon

We found a CM who was willing to take a couple of family shots

Hey PumpkinGirl!

What a view!

At this point we had Cars Land nearly to ourselves

Pretty awesome, aye? We continued on our own private tour of Radiator Springs just taking it all in. Check out Flo’s!

Too bad we couldn’t get a room at the Cozy Cone

Such a cute little tree

Fillmore’s looked very serene

The tractors had all gone to sleep

Finally back to the entrance of the Land

A pair of Scandinavian girls and us traded pic taking duties with this little guy

We joined the herd of guests heading out and only stopped when we got close to the park entrance. The Five & Dime was still doing a small amount of business

Oswald’s had a really cool look – Jinx is there in the shadows

He took a real shine to Oswald and ended up getting and Oswald hoodie that he still wears constantly.

We left the park and made the long walk back to the hotel. We were pretty beat but had enjoyed a spectacular day. It was a haphazard one with us all meandering around in smaller groups until the evening but we all had so much fun that coming back together it gave us so much to talk about. And adding in the epic character experience with Thor and Loki and awesome fun on Guardians followed by closing up Cars Land – who could ask for more?

We did our shower rotation and settled into bed, planning for our next day in the parks. Tomorrow was going to be our Baby Groot T-Shirt day – whoohoo! The rest of the fam was going to sleep in, but I had a hankering for CA early entry and more GotG!

Ride Count for the day:

– Voyage of the Little Mermaid x4
– California Screamin’ x4
– Monster’s Inc x1
– Toy Story Mania x1
– Silly Symphony Swings x1
– Mickey’s Fun Wheel x1
– Guardians of the Galaxy x2
– Radiator Spring Racers x1