Thursday, June 14, 2018

fourteen years later

the girls and i had every intention of heading down to the 'land yesterday afternoon, but when the old lady got home and we were just kind of hanging out, the thought of driving down to anaheim (likely in traffic, and most definitely to a park full of families finally out of school for the summer) just didn't appeal anymore.  not to mention, the bean was happily snoozing away on the couch and looking really comfy.

when she woke up, we tried to come up with something else fun to do - her cheer team was having a fundraiser at a local mexican restaurant.  but it didn't sound good to any of us, and that idea was vetoed pretty quickly.  we revisited the idea of going to disneyland even just to grab some fun treats and maybe watch fireworks, but the laziness won out.  and then as i was perusing the showtimes for the local movie theater, i found it:  an incredibles doubleheader on the IMAX screen.  there were still a handful of seats available, so i bought our tickets using the app and that was that.  even better, the IMAX shows always have assigned seats.  i hate having to find seats when we're walking in at the last minute.

we had just enough time to feed the dog, grab some mcdonald's grub so we wouldn't be hungry, and walked in just as the first movie started.  apparently when it's a special event like that, they don't prolong it with a bunch of previews, and i was glad that we had all seen the first incredibles movie plenty of times so we hadn't missed a thing.

it was fun to see the movie up on the big screen again, and i hadn't realized that the first one was 14 years ago.  that's a long time to wait for a sequel.  when it came to an end, the girls headed out to grab something to drink and a small popcorn for us to share while i stayed in my seat and waited for the next movie to start.  the intermission wasn't very long, and i was a little alarmed when the theater went dark again and the girls weren't back yet.


the writer and director of the movie appeared onscreen to introduce the movie, along with some commentary by the cast.


i'd forgotten about the adorable-looking short that we'd see before the movie started, and the girls still weren't back.  yikes.


they finally returned to their seats a couple of minutes into the short, and i was finally able to relax and enjoy.  i won't spoil it for you, but i will tell you that i definitely cried at the end.  heh.

movie time!


i really liked this one.  they picked up right where the first one left off, and even though it was a little longer than a lot of animated movies (almost 2 full hours!), i was completely entertained through the whole thing.  the bean said she really liked it too, although the old lady wasn't sure if she liked it or not.  but since she'll get another chance to make a final decision about it when she takes her special friend to see it.

it comes out in full release tomorrow.  go see it!  you'll love it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

scavenging through downtown disney

are you tired of my disneyland posts yet?  because guess what...it's time to renew our passes and you KNOW we aren't letting that shit expire.  heheheheheh.

one of the bean's favorite team bonding outings with her cheer squad is the scavenger hunt at downtown disney.  last year it was a little awkward in the beginning since she only knew a couple of the girls on the team, but this year i lost her to her cheer BFFs as soon as we arrived at the meeting spot.  she gave me the eyes when coach asked a parent to walk with each group of girls, and so instead of participating in the parents' version of the hunt i had to chase them around with the help of one other mom.

a list of things to find and places to go was sent via text message to all of the parents, and off we went.  the first one told us to find a yellow wall and take a group photo, which we found at the lego store.


there were about 8 or so tasks to complete, and we scurried around the downtown disney area from one end to the other a few different times to get to them all.  the girls were successfully thrown off by another team during the last challenge, making us the last group to get to the end despite having been in the lead for a good majority of the time.  oh well.  


we got together for one big group photo before everyone went their separate ways.


you know we weren't going to be all the way down there without going into the parks if even for just a little while.  not to mention, we were hungry after all that running around.  being a saturday afternoon, it was pretty busy at disneyland, and we ended up at the hungry bear restaurant after using the app to place our food order as we made our way through the crowds.  i decided to try their new cold brew coffee to wash down my (very dry and rather tasteless) burger:


and we shared this churro funnel cake, which was just as delicious as you'd imagine a churro funnel cake would be.


since we were back there in critter country, which is an area we don't typically visit, we decided to visit winnie the pooh and friends (the 5-minute wait didn't hurt).


you may have heard about the updates to pirates of the caribbean - with "redd" the redhead being switched over from one of the brides up for auction to one of the pirates.  there was a lot of uproar over this, with people who don't like to see change in the parks complaining about the "sensitive snowflakes" who didn't love the auction scene to begin with.  i mean, i don't know...i've never been a huge fan of that scene either.  i used to wonder when i was little why the women had to stand there like cattle while the gross dirty pirates got to sit there and "buy" them, and i always thought it was just icky.  

anyway, despite the 45-minute quoted wait time on the app when i checked while we were eating, we found that the line wasn't all that long when we got there.  and so we went for it, moving through it pretty quickly and looking forward to getting inside where the air conditioning was blaring.  as we went through the line we noticed this elevator off to one side and wondered where it went.


by the time we were seated on a boat, we'd only had to wait for about 25 minutes.  not too bad for opening weekend of the refurbished ride, and on a saturday afternoon to boot.  i'd heard that there were a few other changes, but this guy was the only major one i noticed as we rode through:


and then we rounded a corner and came upon the new auction scene, with redd right in the middle.


so it is a little different.  redd is right in the middle, and you actually get to hear her speak every now and then.  they still have the women lined up for an auction, only now instead of being auctioned off as brides for the pirates they're holding livestock for sale.  if you'd never been before, or hadn't listened to all of the chatter about the changes, you probably wouldn't even really notice much of a difference.  either way, it's still a fun ride and a great way to cool off for a good ten-plus minutes on a hot summer day.

and outside, we got to meet redd in the flesh.  she spoke with a delightful irish accent (which is probably fake, but she pulled it off really well).


obligatory castle selfie!


we decided to suck up even more a/c with a stop in the theater in tomorrowland, which had finally switched over from a recap of the star wars storyline to a preview of a new marvel movie coming this summer.


another one of our favorite things to do when the lines for the rides are super long is to hop onto the disneyland railroad.  it's a nice leisurely ride around the park, and a great place for a quick catnap.


when we hopped off the train at the main street station, our intention was to walk right on out of the park and head home.  but when we realized that the pixar play parade was starting in just a few minutes and there was a prime spot open and waiting for us, we decided to stay and watch.  while i held our spot, the bean walked across the street to pick up a box of popcorn for us to snack on.


while we munched on our popcorn, the parade began.  it kicked off with dancers, a giant pixar ball and the pixar lamp.


roz from "monsters inc." and "monsters university" came slinking past.  the bean used to think she looked like one of her great-great-grandmas.  ha!


we managed to snag this great selfie with russell and kevin from "up" in the background:


the characters from "toy story" are my favorites.  



i think mr. potato head might have forgotten to look in the mirror before coming out, because his eyes were a little...off.


slinky dog brought up the rear.


and since we were leaving at a weird time, we had no problems catching the tram back to the parking structure.  so much fun, and it just never gets old.  can't wait till we can go again!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

part of a live studio audience

if you're around the same age as me, you'll most likely remember a tv show on nickelodeon from waaaaay back in the day called "double dare."  i thought it looked like so much fun, and i would have loved to be a contestant to get to that awesome obstacle course round.  alas, i was too old for it and wouldn't have had any idea how to go about trying to audition for it anyway, and so i settled for watching it on tv whenever it came on.

it seems that all things 90s are getting a reboot and are cool again these days.  everything always seems to come back at some point, doesn't it?  and "double dare" was no exception.  i was super excited when they announced that they were going to bring it back, and while marc summers wasn't going to be the host anymore he'd still be a part of it.  the new host would be liza koshy, who is apparently youtube-famous, but because i'm an old fogey who doesn't do much youtube i'd never heard of her.


and then i was even more excited when i got an email offering tickets to watch the taping of the first round of "double dare" shows.  with the minimum age set at 8 and a taping scheduled for a monday morning, both my girls were able to come and so i went ahead and requested four seats (in case the hub was interested, which he wasn't).

traffic on a monday morning heading out to the west side is always pretty miserable, so we allowed ourselves tons of time to arrive on time.  the taping was at CBS studios in studio city, and luckily we managed to get through the traffic even with a stop at starbucks for some sustenance, pulling into the parking structure with about ten minutes to spare.  the ticket had instructed us to wear brightly colored clothing and that phones and cameras would not be allowed in the studio, so this is literally the only picture i took yesterday during our double dare extravaganza.


of course, as we checked in we noticed that everyone had their phones with them and weren't being instructed to leave them in the car.  ugh.  sometimes i wish i weren't such a rule follower.  although the girl who was taking our ticket did make it a point to thank us for not bringing ours in, so i guess rule followers are a little appreciated.  heh.

we stood in line for a little while waiting for everyone to get checked in, and then we were walked through the lot to the soundstage where the taping would take place.  it was such a cool set and looked just like i remembered it from the old days.  as we followed the staffers towards the seating area, we walked right past some of the pieces used in the obstacle course, like the giant pancakes and tacos and the best obstacle of all...pick it.  remember this (i borrowed this from my friend google)?


so because the old lady looks about 12 years old she was counted as a "kid" when we were checking in, which we both found immensely amusing.  and then it was even funnier when the PAs had her sit with the other kids while i was directed to sit in the very back row with the rest of the moms.  she turned around and giggled at me, and i won't lie, i was a little bummed to be out of camera range.  ha!

as the crew got the stage all set up and ready for the first physical challenge that would kick off the show, marc summers himself strolled out on stage and came over to say hello to the audience.  i'm pretty sure all of the adults were way more excited than the kids at this point.  and even funnier, he totally reminded me of my stepdad.  he was friendly and personable, and i had to wonder if he really did like being back considering that after the original "double dare" wrapped we learned that he had OCD and really struggled with the messy parts of the show.  he didn't seem bothered by anything as the taping continued, so i'm guessing all is well for the most part.

it was really fun to watch the show as the kids did their best to answer the trivia questions and play the games during the physical challenges.  the longest part of the taping was having to wait as the stage was cleaned up after each of those, because of course everything was gooey and whipped cream-y and super messy.  that was the part that took the longest, but the announcer who was there to entertain everyone and give us all instructions on when to applaud and stuff was always there to keep everyone occupied and happy.

i was pretty impressed with how well they kept things rolling and stayed right on time.  these things always seem to take forever, but maybe they figured that because it was not just a game show played by kids but also had an audience full of kids in a wide variety of ages, they had to be strict about staying on schedule.  we'd been told that the taping would run until about 2:00 that afternoon, and as the obstacle course part wrapped up and we'd given all of the applause and cheering they wanted, i checked my watch and it was exactly that time.  the production staff had done quite a nice job indeed.

the episode we were watching is the third of this new season with the first episode scheduled to air on june 25th.  if you happen to catch the episode pitting the "kickin' cousins" vs. the "[some last name that starts with S] slayers", keep an eye out for the bean and her sister sitting next to each other in the second row during the game part and then again standing behind obstacles 5-6 and me right behind obstacle 8.  ha!  and let me know if you spot us!

oh - and if you want pictures of the new set and obstacles, buzzfeed got to visit the set and take pictures.  i was a little WOMP WOMP when i spotted a few moms taking quick selfies with their kids with the set in the background on our way out, but that's okay.

kinda.

alright, fine.  i'm totally bummed that i didn't get a single picture in there.  dang it.

maybe we can go back one day.  and this time i won't be such a stick in the mud rule follower.  so there.

Monday, June 11, 2018

soaking in just a little disney magic

we realized after catching up on disneyland social media posts that the churro challenge we'd bought a map for was coming to an end.  and since we hadn't had a chance to finish it off and pick up our prize, we decided to head down one day last week after the old lady got out of work.  and even though it was a non-grad nite thursday afternoon, it was pretty crowded - so much so that the parking structure was closed and we had to park in the toy story lot and take a shuttle in.  we were dropped off on the other end of the esplanade, and the security checkpoint lines were really long.


luckily, they looked worse than they actually were and we got through it in about ten minutes and walked right into the california adventure side.


after we grabbed our free sourdough bread sample at the boudin bakery tour, we headed towards the pier to get in line at the newly opened "adorable snowman frosted treats" stand.  on our way there, we swung into the little shop on the corner that's been revamped - now it features merchandise from all of the pixar movies.  super cute, with lots of really fun merchandise for sale.


i'm sure this is going to turn into one of those popular walls that instagrammers love for photo backdrops.


and so of course, we stopped for our own photo ops.



the line for ice cream was a little crazy.  still, we got in it and listened to the sounds of the redesigned "incredicoaster" as it was doing a bunch of test runs before the official opening on the 23rd.




as we looked around, we saw that there are lots of little touches of pixar all around - like silhouettes of the characters overhead and the pixar ball on top of the building.


like most disney lines, this one was long but moved fairly quickly.



this is the pixar pier frosty parfait - a non-dairy lemon soft served swirled with blue raspberry.  refreshing and light, and creamier than you'd expect from non-dairy.


in the AP corner we received that week's special giveaway, an "inside-out"-themed decal.


the bean wandered over to see if she could add a drawing and a note to the friendship box.



there were lots of people in line for the photo op.


and this was our prize - a giant button commemorating the churro challenge.


we decided to grab salads from the restaurant just behind us, and watched the bean eat her pizza in her own special way.



and as we made our way towards the exit, we eyed the rows of VIP chairs set up just outside carthay circle for the paint the night parade viewing.  they do a special dining package where you enjoy a prix fixe meal and then have reserved seats along the parade route.


one last stop for treats to go, and then we headed home.  gotta love our quickie disneyland nights.
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