Wednesday, May 31, 2017

welcome to the frickin' guardians of the galaxy!

the switch from "tower of terror" to the new guardians of the galaxy ride at california adventure finally opened last weekend.  a lot of people were really upset about this, and we weren't very happy about it either...but as walt said, disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world.  change is good!

the ride officially opened on saturday, and the posts i was seeing on social media were crazy.  like, there were already crazy long lines at the security checkpoints to enter the parks at 4:00 in the morning.  the wait for the ride itself was being quoted at 5-6 hours at some point.  um, what?  the ride isn't going anywhere anytime soon, guys.  that's just crazy.  although there are a lot of folks who love to be there on the first day of a new attraction, buy commemorative merchandise, etc.  the girls and i are not really among them, and so we stayed home and watched from afar.

but we decided that it might be kinda fun to go on the second day.  heh.  our plan was to keep an eye on the wait times posted on the official disneyland app and then head out there later in the evening, totally prepared to wait in line for up to two hours.  that still sounds pretty insane, but i guess we're just crazy like that.

we were pretty surprised to find no issues with getting into the parking structure and even scored a pretty decent spot.  security was a breeze, with zero line, and even getting on the tram was pain free.



once we got inside the park, we stopped to grab the bean something to eat before making our way towards the ride.  the fastpass return line stretched all the way out into the bug's land area, and then we found that the standby line was broken in half with the end of the line behind a fence and in this backlot area that they'd converted into those famous maze-like disneyland queues.



we hadn't even bothered to check the wait time before we got in line, and mustered up all the patience we could.


it was about half an hour or so before we got to the front of the fenced area and were within view of the ride.  it does look really cool when it's all lit up, and they'd done a great job of removing all traces of the twilight zone theme and replacing it with the guardians of the galaxy.


when we finally joined the other half of the line just outside the entrance, we caught a glimpse of the quoted wait time:


yup.  that does indeed say 180 minutes...and considering it was already 9:00 and the park was closing in an hour, we were wondering if they'd close the line at some point.  it gave us a teaser of what we'd be seeing when we finally entered the building before veering off to the left and then winding around and around and around and back again.


i'm pretty sure there were lots of other props and things that i missed along the way, but it was pretty dark and we were occupied with playing games and snacking on stuff i'd packed in my backpack.  i did see this gold gnome though...and since we haven't seen the second movie and hardly remember the first, none of us knew if there was any significance to it.


here's the entrance to the building:


and more props and things that we didn't recognize.





chris pratt and zoe saldana appeared on the screen, although it was so noisy in there that we couldn't really hear what was going on.



in the waiting area in front of what used to be the entrance to the hotel library:


and then we walked into this room for the pre-show.



the last part of the line was just past the side door, and like the rest of the whole area, you couldn't see where "tower of terror" once was.  they always leave a little piece of the ride that came before, but we couldn't find anything that looked familiar.



well, except for this - my photo is blurry because i was trying to keep up with the line (which was moving pretty fast by then), but this is harold...the former abominable snowman who lived in matterhorn mountain.


in front of the doors that would lead us to the elevator for the actual ride.


i'm not going to spoil it for you in case you plan to head out to DCA and check it out, but just know that while the up-and-down/freefalling motion of the ride is still the same as tower of terror, they managed to find a way to change it up quite a bit.  it's so much fun, especially when you don't know what to expect, and they still take a picture of you at the top when the doors open and you can look out at the park from high above.


and of course, you get dumped out into a gift shop at the end.


california adventure had been officially closed for about half an hour by then, and it's always fun to walk through an empty park.


since disneyland is open a couple of hours later than DCA, we headed over there to see if we could squeeze in one more ride.  we even caught the beginning of the electrical parade as the second showing began:


and we made our way through tomorrowland as fast as we could.  it was the last weekend for hyperspace mountain, and we wanted to ride it just one last time before the overlay was removed and it reverted back to the OG space mountain.


the wait time was quoted as 75, but we were on the ride in 30.


it was 11:45 by then, and so we made our way back towards the exit.  as we got to the end of main street, we found a couple of old friends waving goodbye to everyone:


good times.  and we can't wait to get back to ride guardians again!  maybe next week.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

bye bye brownies

so not only is another school year over, but our second year of being girl scout brownies has also come to an end.  the girls voted on what to do for their end-of-year party a couple of months ago, and with options like roller skating, bowling, build-a-bear and more, they all voted to celebrate at rockin' jump, our local indoor trampoline park.

it was an easy party to organize - everything could be ordered and paid for online.  for about $350 i managed to secure our friday evening date and time for 15 girls.  that got us jumping time for an hour, the required socks, a party host, and pizza and drinks in a party room for 45 minutes.  i booked it and promptly forgot all about it, not bothering to call to confirm anything, and when we arrived at the venue they were all ready for us.


the girls trickled in one by one, super excited to have some fun and burn some energy.  they put on their socks and wristbands and headed back to the jumping area, and when everyone was finally there our party host george gathered them up in the dodgeball area for a private game.


this was the perfect spot for a group photo, too.


and we had to have a silly face shot:


after a little more free time on the trampolines, they got to head over to the foam pit area to do some jumps and flips.


all too soon, jumping time came to an end.  everyone was all sweaty and happy, and after washing hands they all trooped into the party room to have some grub.



troop leader selfie!


the party was capped off with these cute cupcakes brought by one of the girls' parents.


as i've done every year, there was a photo book for every girl to take home to look back on their year of girl scouting.  the old lady and i had packaged it in a little goody bag with some fun emoji erasers, some candy and a couple of other little fun things along with their prizes from cookie season that had just arrived.

we've found a great local spot with a bridge to do our bridging ceremony, and we're hoping to get that done in the next month.  it's hard to believe our girls aren't brownies anymore - they'll be moving up to the junior level and getting ready to work on earning the first of the three big girl scout awards...the bronze.  we've got two years to get it done before bridging again to cadette level and then even more real work begins.

whew.  that'll be here before we know it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

looking back at the last days

i'm pretty sure most of you aren't at work today and won't be spending any of your precious off-duty time looking at my blog, so i'm going to just do a quick little walk down memory lane.  because it's fun.  the end of a school year always has me wanting to do a little reminiscing, and you've probably seen this around this time of year from me anyway.  don't want to disappoint.

so...last day of kindergarten, in 2014:


she looks so tiny!  and my chalkboard looks like i did it with my left foot or something.  yikes.

by the last day of first grade, i'd gotten my shit together.


a year later, at the end of second grade:


and just last week, finishing off the third grade.


one of my facebook friends pointed out that i better make sure i find a shorter skirt for next year, since there's apparently a pattern here.  maxi dress on the odd year, short for the even.  got it.

i do love this little tradition, though.  it's going to be super fun to put together a slideshow or something when she graduates from high school.  ooooohhhh, i can't wait!

wait, yes i can.  i don't want the time to go by any faster than it already is.  YARG.

Friday, May 26, 2017

rollin' outta third grade

ah, the last week of school. isn't it always the best time of the year? all the hard work is done, grades have been turned in, and the final days are spent just unwinding, having fun, signing yearbooks. i always loved it.

as does the bean. this was her final week of third grade, and even she thought it flew by. every day was a half day, with lots of fun stuff planned. 

monday was cleanup day. the kids brought extra bags to class to pack up all of their supplies, artwork, projects, etc. and when that was all done they got to have an ice cream party to celebrate their accomplishments during "multiplication madness." over the last couple of months they worked on mastering their times tables and some basic 1- and 2-digit multiplication and basic division, and with each test passed they earned a topping for their ice cream sundae. the bean got all the way through the tables 0-12, multiplying 2 digits times 1 digit and then times 2 digits, plus dividing 3 digits by 1. it was a long, hard road for the entire class and they were thrilled to enjoy the fruits of their labor. 



after school that day we decided to truck out to the mall for lunch and a celebratory squishy from the sanrio store.



strawberry pocket pies from the hello kitty cafe seemed appropriate, too. 



and because her new cheer schedule conflicts with her hula class, this was her last one for awhile. we're hoping the schedule changes for fall, so our fingers are crossed that she can go back. 



tuesday was board game day. they got to bring a game to school to share with their friends, and spent some time signing each other's yearbooks. 

wednesday was extra fun. i'd made shirts for the whole third grade class to wear to their bowling party and i was pretty stoked to see them all wearing them. they got to grab sharpies and sign the backs of the shirts before grabbing a little breakfast. it was pretty funny watching them form little trains as they signed away. 







breakfast was provided potluck-style by the parents, plus some delicious donuts that my co-room mom brought in. 





the bowling party was a blast. 







and what's a party without cake?





the bean's teacher surprised me with a cute little pedicure basket and a little book of notes from the entire class that thanked me for being their room mom. it was all so dang sweet, and i had to wait till i got home to read it all. because you know, i didn't want to cry in front of the kids. 



yesterday was the very last day of the year. the only thing on the agenda was the final awards assembly, and we started the day with our traditional last day of school photo:



we were super proud of her as she accepted her awards. as hard as the third grade had been, she managed to pull down straight As all year long and kept her spot on the principal's list the whole way through. not only that, but she had perfect attendance for the first time ever. pretty awesome. 



we love all of her friends!













i was really amused to watch her with some of the girls as they headed back to the classroom to get their report cards. like, i KNOW she had to be feeling quite regal as her buddy carried the back of her maxi skirt to keep it from getting dirty. 



one final moment with her teacher and friends:





and then it was off to a pool party:



and later that evening, the movies. the new pirates flick is fantastic, by the way. a must-see if you were a fan of the first three. and be sure to stay to the end of the credits for a bonus scene!



whew! what a week. what a YEAR!  and now, time for a much-needed break with a summer of freedom. no summer school means no morning routines, and with all of her extracurricular activities being later in the day, it's gonna be grand. i can't wait to see what summer brings for us. 

and then come august- fourth grade, here we come!
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