Monday, August 4, 2008

On to Disney's California Adventure...

Sorry about the delay in posting but we have been in wedding mode around here (Jenny's wedding is this Saturday). But I have finally downloaded all our vacation pictures and am ready to continue our tour.

Since Michael wasn't feeling well on Monday, we let him sleep as late as he wanted on Tuesday. We got up around 9 am, grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and headed to Disney's California Adventure. Disney guests could enter this park through a private entrance in the Disney hotel across the street from ours so we were there in no time.

We had an appointment at 11 am so we only had time to check out one ride before meeting a special friend (more on that in a moment). We had seen Soarin' Over California showcased on one of the shows about Disney on the Travel Channel, so we decided to check it out first. We weren't disappointed.

There were several rows of seats in front of a panoramic screen. When the ride starts, each row of seats was lifted up and forward so that they were one on top of each other and you had an unobstructed view of the screen. Then the video started. You actually felt like you were flying over California on a hang glider. There was even "smells' to go along with the video (for instance you could smell oranges when you soared over the orange groves). They also moved the seats and a gentle breeze blew when appropriate. It was awesome.

Next, we found our way to guest services to wait for a very special person:

Handy Manny!!

He and Michael had fun playing tag and tickling each other for about half an hour. Did you notice the matching outfits (except Michael left his toolbelt at home)? Manny did! What a coincidence.

Michael was a Handy Manny fan even before he was a Darby fan so he really enjoyed this time.

Then Manny escorted Michael to a very special show. (BTW - what you don't see in this picture is all the kids running after Manny, trying to get his attention and he only had time for Michael. You can just imagine how special our little boy felt!)

This is Darby, Pooh and Tigger in Disney Playhouse Live, the show Manny escorted us to. We even had front row seats. The show features the characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins and My Friends Tigger and Pooh, all of Michael's favorites. Unfortunately they were puppets and this is as close as we got to Darby all week. (But I have good news on that front that I will share at the end of this post.)

When the show was over, we headed to the part of the park called Paradise Pier. It is set up like an old fashioned boardwalk and was where we had some of the best times of the week.

You can see this part of the park from our hotel (in fact that is the building in the background above) so Michael was anxious to visit since we checked in Sunday night.

And the first ride he wanted to go on was the Ferris wheel - so that is where we headed first. Now, I want you to notice that this Ferris wheel is not your traditional Ferris wheel. Not only does it go around but the cars also slide in and out as you go around.

Michael thought this ride was awesome and wanted to do it again. The only problem is Jeff, Jenny and Brian were all sure they were going to die and wouldn't go on it again. (As for me - I wisely kept my feet on the ground.)

Then we checked out some of the other attractions in the area like Toy Story Midway Mania...

and King Triton's Carousel...

and the S.S. Rustworthy...

where Michael had fun playing in the water.

Next, there were some fun on the Jumpin' Jellyfish...

a quick bite to eat...

and some time on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

And since Michael still wasn't feeling 100%, we spent the hottest part of the afternoon...

playing with some new toys in our air conditioned rooms (this is a replica of Disney's monorail)...

and swimming in the pool.

And then when the temperatures cooled, we took the monorail back to Disneyland to spend the remainder of the evening. On our way back to the hotel late that night, we purchased tickets to visit both parks again on Wednesday, which is where we will go next. (And since these posts take 2.5 - 3 hours each to create, edit and post, and we have a very important wedding in just 5 days, I won't make any promises this time on how soon I will get the next post up. But, I'll try not to make you wait too long.)

Now for our good news - when we got back home I started searching for a way Michael could meet Darby. We had seen a Playhouse Disney Live show last fall in Binghamton that had "live" performers playing the parts. I emailed them and explained the mix up in California and asked if there was anyway Michael could meet and spend time with Darby. They responded that they will do what they could and to have Make-A-Wish contact them with a formal request, which our local chapter was more than happy to do for us. So, I purchased tickets for the September 12th show in Erie, PA and hopefully Michael's dreams will finally come true! I will keep you posted.

Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers, JoAnne

P.S. I want to thank Jenny for the new banner at the top of the page - I love it!

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