Monday, January 30, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth!!!!

And it most certainly is!

I skipped, danced and sang my way around the land of the Mouse.

And yes, I probably embarrassed my family to boot.

But that's okay, you are allowed to act like a child sometimes.

And I acted like one a fair bit - I squealed, I aahed, I bounced from foot to foot in anticipation, I even let out a few whoops every now and then.

In my head I kept saying, "I'm here! I'm here!"

I drove everyone mad by stopping to photograph literally everything!

Obviously, having never been to Disneyland before, I must say it is beautiful at Christmas time.

There were decorations everywhere.

I really tried my best to take in as much of my surroundings as I could, but The Groom and the kids were more interested in going on the rides.

We were very fortunate that for 3 of the 4 days we were there we didn't really need to get Fastpasses for anything.  

The only time we did use them was if the wait was around 45 minutes and we wanted to do something else in the meantime.

It was a rather quiet time at the park, most wait times for rides was 5 to 15 minutes.  Even the busiest day wasn't that busy.

One of the first things we did on our first day at the park was to go and see Santa (but we call him Father Christmas).

While we were waiting outside the gate, we saw Jessie come walking along.

I got all excited when I saw some of my favourite characters.

(We won't mention the infamous stalking of Goofy incident around the park...

The kids were so embarrassed).

And after visiting with Father Christmas and admiring his reindeer, we saw Pluto.

He is so cute.

I missed my dogs when I would see him.

The Groom and the kids INSISTED I go on the Tea Cups.

I HATE the Tea Cups.

I don't like rides that go around in circles or spin.

I don't even like the Merry-go-Round.

I was a lovely shade of green when we got off.

The kids thought it was funny to see how fast they could spin our cup and I'm sure they were taking bets on how soon I would be sick.

I was rather wobbly on my feet when we got off and stayed close to a rubbish bin for a little while afterwards.

For just-in-case...

But I loved all of the other rides.

The Groom refused to go on It's A Small World.

He said it took him years to get the song out of his head when he first went as a kid and he'll never risk it again.

I LOVED it!!!

Luckily much of the song was interspersed with Jingle Bells so it was fun.

I only had Jingle Bells spinning around my head for a few days afterwards.

It's A Small World is kitchy and kind of daggy but it is a lovely contrast to the 'high tech' rides in the park.

Space Tours was so much fun.

We went on it about four times.

Thank heaven for quiet days at the park.

It's Buzz Lightyear!

While the kids and The Groom were off riding more rides (for the umpteenth time) I staked out our spot outside the bakery for the nightly parade.

A girl can't be expected to sit on hard concrete in the gutter without something to keep her going.

Cappucino and Mickey cookies.

And maybe a churro or two...

Come 4.30pm or so, it was like someone turned a light off somewhere - it got cold and dark suddenly.

The days were beautiful, though.

Our first night at Disneyland saw us missing out on the fireworks because of strong winds so they were cancelled.

Once an announcement had been made a big cry of disappointment rose up from the crowd outside Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

Some people had been there for an hour minding their spots for the show.

Instead of fireworks we got to watch the light show and enjoy the 'snow' falling.

It was so magical.

I went home on cloud nine and I'm sure I fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

I was one happy little camper.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going to America.

This is going to take a number of weeks to get my adventures out there - darn wet weather is playing havoc with the internet so bear with me.

And I can't promise my posts will be short, either.

We had a great time and met some lovely people and saw some wonderful sights.

It was literally the trip of a lifetime, one that we had saved up for for over a year and went without a lot of things to be able to afford.

We didn't want to go over and live to a strict budget, having to miss out on things because we couldn't afford it, or eating solely at cheap fast food restaurants because of a budget, either.

So we saved and saved and saved and actually came home with at least $1500 left on our prepaid travel Visa!

There were lots of things we just simply didn't see because of time or choosing to see something else.

There were unplanned down days, too, because  the kids and I all came down with colds at various stages.

But it all added to the adventure and actually made things easier as we weren't rushed or restricted to a strict timetable.

So, grab a coffee (or like me, a glass of pomegranate juice with soda water - it's too hot here today for coffee) and sit back for the first instalment of our Big Adventure!

We flew on V Australia and were VERY impressed with the plane and service.

We will definitely fly with them again.

We paid extra to add our domestic flights to our international ones so we could drop off our bags at our local airport and not have to worry about them until we got to L.A.  

Also, if there were any delays or cancellations we were looked after without any worries.

We had a 6am departure for Brisbane so we were up very early to get to the airport by 4.30am as instructed by the airline.

We needn't have bothered - the airport was deserted when we got there and had to wait for the check-in counter to open!

I don't do mornings very well, let alone early ones.

We had about a 2 hour stop-over in Brisbane where we killed time by reading or watching the planes taking off.

Soon, we were on our way.

There's not a whole lot between Australia and America.

I loved the on-demand channels on the flight.

I didn't really watch any movies (I was too tired) but I watched a few episodes of Big Bang Theory and some music videos and listened to some music.

I listened to Adele, Mumford and Sons, Michael Buble, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Nick Cave.

I have very eclectic musical tastes.

The food on the plane was pretty good for airline food.

And there were unlimited snacks of potato chips and soft drinks if you wanted them.

I loved the plates and cups.

I loved the color and they reminded me of my tea cups at home.

Now let me say one thing.

I really do love my children but I was not liking them very much by the time we got off the plane!

Despite having gotten up around 2.30am on the day we left they 'chose' not to sleep on the plane.

I could have strangled them.

I was sitting between them and every time I'd doze off they'd wake me by leaning over to touch the other's screens or to tell me to look at the score they'd reached on some game.

Or did I want to 'chat' on screen with them!!!!!

Twelve minutes before landing, The Princess promptly announced she was ready to sleep!

I could have thrown her off the plane by then.

We managed to finally work our way through the nightmare that is LAX and the baggage and customs departments to find our car hadn't arrived to pick us up.  

After a phone call to the shuttle company we were finally on our way to our hotel.

I booked online after reading great reviews on Trip Advisor.

TIP: Sign up for all of the loyalty cards you can before you travel anywhere.  

We got to the hotel just after 8.30am and we could check-in early for a $45 or $50 (or something like that) fee, but when the lady at reception saw on our booking our loyalty number, which I'd only signed up for a month or so earlier and had never stayed there before, the fee was waived.

We got into our room, sorted ourselves out then promptly fell asleep for a couple of hours.

Then it was off to explore and get something to eat.

And we found the Buena Park Mall, complete with a McDonald's inside Walmart.

So our first American meal was Maccas!

There was a McDonald's across the road from our hotel who advertised 50 nuggets for $10.  

Then it was time to wander about through Walmart for some jumpers and bargains, and have a bit of a cry over the prices of things.

These KitchenAid mixers are about $500 plus at home.

I'm sure this was the basic model, but it was so cheap!!!

I really wanted a daggy Christmas jumper and I found one - red knitted polyester with appliqued Father Christmas complete with gold thread touches.

I wore it everywhere and then donated it to a charity shop when we left the country (I can't see myself wearing it again in a Tropical North Queensland summer, can you?)

We decided to try dinner that night at Claim Jumpers; we don't have it at home so we have never been there and were interested to see what it was like.

We had a lovely waitress who was more than happy to explain to us about tipping (so we tipped her more for her help and because she was so nice).

While we were waiting for our meals we read through a brochure for Disneyland - the first place on our list to visit.

I came home weighing almost 145 pounds (I don't know what that was in kilos but I normally weigh 60kg) and I blame it all on the food.

And maybe the unlimited soft drink refills you get almost everywhere.

The Groom ordered ribs as a main.

They were delicious.

The Princess ordered cheese burgers from the kid's menu.

Little Man ordered macaroni and cheese.

I ordered an appetiser only as I was rather tired and just wanted to get back to the hotel and go to bed.

THIS is my appetiser.

I could not get through even half of it.

It's a good thing I didn't order a main as well.

Or dessert!

So, that's pretty much our first day in L.A.

I highly recommend V Australia and Radisson Suites Buena Park.

Staying just out of Anaheim saved us half of the cost of accommodation in Anaheim, which gave us more to spend elsewhere.

And we got a buffet breakfast daily and a free shuttle to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and the Buena Park mall if we wanted it.

I did a lot of research before our trip and used Trip Advisor a lot to help me plan things.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I'm Back!

Can you tell where I went?

I went to Disneyland.

And did a Disney cruise from L.A to Mexico.

It was so cool!!!!

We were away for a very long 7 and a bit weeks.

But it's so good to be home.

I missed my dogs so much.

School goes back next week and I've got gazillions of photos on the memory cards (5 full cards) to sort through.

Next week I hope to have some pictures to share and stories of my travels.

Be prepared to be bored silly - or entertained!

I'm delighted to know that Deb from A Clothesline Out The Back got my postcard and I promise I'll post your presents soon.

In other news, it's The Groom's birthday today (or really yesterday now it's past midnight)so we had a barbecue with friends and bored them silly with our travel tales (you can tell we don't go away anywhere exciting very often) and gave out our gifts for their children.

It's so good to be home!