Thursday, May 31, 2018

and that's how it's done

on memorial day, we got up bright and early to go - well, you know where.  rope drop is our favorite time to head to the disney parks, and even the crowd predictor website told us that despite the day off for most folks, memorial day is one of the better holidays to hit up the 'land.  we scored a pretty decent parking spot, and because we'd decided to do california adventure first we didn't have to wait in a super long line to get through the turnstiles.  once we got inside, i bought our maxpasses for the day and we headed straight to guardians of the galaxy to wait in the standby line.


while we waited, i scored fastpasses for radiator springs racers with a window that opened just 25 minutes later.  i love getting to the parks this early, before the hordes of people and strollers arrive.


the park officially opened at 8:00, and the line started to move.


we got through the line pretty quickly, and we were seated and screaming in no time.


while we waited in the fastpass return line at racers, i booked our next ride - hyperspace mountain.  this is the beauty of maxpass - when your window opens to schedule the next fastpass, you can choose from any ride that offers it in either park regardless of which one you're in.  not that i really mind the walking, but it's just so convenient to be able to do it without having to scurry.

radiator springs racers is always a good time.  i love looking at all the details as we ride through it.  and it's always fun to "race" at the end and see which car wins.  usually, it's ours.  heh.



we decided to hit up the churro cart in bug's land to mark off another space on our churro challenge map.  this is the "ants on a log" - drizzled with donut frosting and sprinkled with cocoa krispies.


with some time to kill before our next fastpass, we decided to check out the preview for the "incredibles 2" movie that's coming out in a couple of weeks.  the old lady is super excited for this movie, and getting to see the first 10ish minutes got us all pumped to see it as soon as it comes out.


while we waited to be seated, i perused the app and realized that we had access to the new mobile ordering system for some of the restaurants in the parks.  the bean had been clamoring to have lunch at the red rose taverne in fantasyland because we'd told her they served poutine there, and so we decided to test out the new system.  and it's pretty cool - you choose the restaurant, the time you'd like to arrive, and place your order.  and if you're an annual pass holder, it applies your discount right on the app and charges your card on file.  super convenient.  here's the process for picking up your order:



we never pass up a chance to go into the boudin bread factory and grab our free sample of fresh sourdough bread.


and as we headed towards the AP corner to pick up our prize for the churro challenge (we still had a couple of churros to try, but you can still get it before you finish them all), we saw that there was no line for the golden zephyr ride and decided to hop on.  it'd been awhile since we'd ridden it, so why not?


there are fun photo ops tucked away in this little corner.


have you seen coco?  it just got released onto netflix this week, if you haven't.



you get fun surprises like this when you hand the bean your phone.



it was too early for the character photo ops.  boo.


and when we followed the sign for the AP corner...


it turned out that it was too early for that too.  dang it.


we consoled ourselves with a ride on the silly symphony swings, which also had no line.  well, the others did.  i don't love this ride so i stood near the exit and took pictures instead.


this man was walking around the park with a bubble maker that made huge bubbles, much to the amusement of the other park guests.


we made our way over to disneyland and onto big thunder mountain, which we'd also scored a fastpass for.


if you watch the times on the app, there are opportunities here and there when you can stack more than one of them at a time.  the mornings are the best times for it, because it's not super busy yet and the fastpass window times can be kind of close together.  you don't have to have purchased maxpass to do it, though.  the little reminder ticket that you get when you go the OG route for fastpass will also tell you when you can score your next one - it's printed on the bottom.

we walked through fantasyland on our way to hyperspace mountain and came across a character we don't often see:


then we blasted through space before heading back into fantasyland.


with a little time left before lunch, we decided to get onto another ride we hadn't been on in ages.  the dumbo ride had been down for awhile as they built a new waiting area for it, and it looked really nice.  not to mention, the extra shade will be wonderful for the summer park guests and their families.  standing out in the sun was always the suckiest part of waiting for this ride.


before, when you got close to the front of the line and were queued up for the next turn on the ride, they would hand you a little wooden feather that acted kind of like a ticket.  if you had one, that meant that you'd be in the next group to board the ride and as soon as the gate opened it was kind of a free-for-all to find an available elephant to ride.  now they assign you a number and when it's time to get on, you find that elephant and that's yours for the duration.  way better.




as soon as we got off the ride, it was finally time for lunch.  we headed across the way, past the long line and right into the restaurant.  as instructed, i pushed the button as we walked in and followed the signs to the pick-up area.



this is where i think they need to streamline the process a little.  when you push the button, that signals the kitchen to start preparing your meal and get it delivered to the pick-up counter.  but we ended up waiting almost as long as we would have if we'd just gotten in line.  what they should do is to have your food ready at the time that you select on the app, and then it's on you to get there on time and pick it up.  but what do i know...i don't work there.  anyway, the bean was super excited for her poutine and enjoyed every bite.


i'd opted for the poutine flatbread, and it was just as tasty as i remembered.


near the haunted mansion, we found the churro cart that sold the carrot cake churro - which was really just a basic churro sprinkled with a little gold dust and served with a raisin cream cheese dip.  the bean and i passed on it because we wanted to find the sour lemon cotton candy, but the old lady and her special friend said that they liked it.


our next stop was the 1:05 showing of mickey and the magical map, because i'd seen that our favorite dancer was back for the holiday weekend.  i've talked about him before - he's my favorite because he looks just like one of my cousins, heh.  anyway, we love this show and watch it every chance we get.


we never did find that sour lemon cotton candy, but the bean settled for another seasonal flavor - orange cream.  we walked over to sprinkles in downtown disney to pick up their flavor of the day (pink lemonade) and then we boarded the tram and headed home.

we'd arrived just before 8, rode everything we wanted, took some fun pictures, had lunch and watched our favorite show all before 2:30.  and we managed to skedaddle outta there just as the crowds were getting crazy.  a very productive disneyland day indeed!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

kicking off summer at the bowl

we love going to the hollywood bowl, and this past weekend was our first visit of 2018.  and it was for something super fun - "beauty and the beast" in concert!

although we noticed something when we arrived at the valet parking lot this time...they raised the price by $10.  yikes.  still, it was so much nicer than taking the shuttle.  i think the old lady and i both have a little PTSD from the last time we did that, because it took us forever to get to the shuttle stop after the show and almost missed it altogether.


another bonus to valet parking is that you manage to avoid the gigantic crowds at the security checkpoint and entrance to the venue.  there's still a bit of a wait, but it's not very long and sometimes you spot a celebrity or two.  and this way you get to check out the merchandise tent too.  always a good thing.  and as we waited in line, we tried to get a glimpse into the VIP tent (but didn't see anything good, boo).


our seats were in section D, which is off to one side but is wedged in between sections of box seats and offers a pretty good view of the stage.


we spotted some of our friends sitting in the row in front of us, and nanette and her girls came over from their box to say hello.  there was lots of activity going on with people making their way to their seats and heading off for food and stuff, so i settled for a picture of the bean with nanette's em, who was appropriately dressed for the occasion.


while the old lady and her special friend were off in search of some wine, the bean and i happily sat back in our seats and watched the d-capellas, who were doing mash-ups of classic disney songs down on the stage.



lilcee and her family arrived not much later, and the girls were super stoked to see each other again.


and we managed to get this quick shot with our friend winnie.


one more selfie before showtime:


and then it was time.


zooey deschanel played belle, while taye diggs came out to sing for gaston.



but everyone's favorite was rebel wilson, who burst out onto the stage as gaston's sidekick, le fou.  she was fantastic and hilarious, just as you'd expect.



kelsey grammer was lumiere, and he did a great job of belting out "be our guest."


jane krakowski came out to sing the part of mrs. potts, and she did a mighty fine job.


we were so entertained that it was kind of a bummer when it was time for intermission.


as we waited for the show to start again, we were treated to a live violin and cello performance by sandy cameron and tina guo.  they were awesome.


when it was time for the "kill the beast" number, the folks in the back got to see rebel and taye up close, as they popped up to sing the song while being perfectly framed by the projections on the bowl.  we didn't have a great view of it, but i'm sure it looked awesome from the seats back there.


and then when the movie was over, i was (very pleasantly) surprised when the hostess introduced alan menken, who's won oscars for songs he wrote for not just beauty and the beast, but little mermaid and aladdin as well.  he sat down at the piano and sang a few of those songs, which was really cool.


curtain call.



and a couple of last photo ops before we made our way out of there.



we don't have tickets for any other shows at the bowl so far for this summer, but i'm hoping we'll head back at least one more time.  we always have such a great time there, and it's one of my favorite places to see live shows.
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