On May 29th and 30th, we played hookie and took a mini family vacation to some amusement parks. Kendall missed her first two days of school this year (it's the end of the year, they aren't doing anything anyway, right?) and Jay and I took a couple of vacation days and Wednesday night we drove down to Anaheim after work and school. We stopped for a quick bite at Taco Bell on our way and got down to the hotel and got settled quickly and Nicole took her shower and I took mine and Jay and Kendall waited for the morning to take theirs. The beds were hard and it was not easy to fall asleep, but considering all things, we got a decent night's sleep and got up early in the morning and got ready for our day. The hotel offered a very modest continental breakfast (complimentary, you cannot complain!) and we had a small breakfast and then headed over to Disneyland. Our hotel was within walking distance, so we didn't have to pay extra for parking and we had our tickets already so we went to the entrance and just waited for the gates to open. We headed straight for Finding Nemo and apparently, so did everyone else in the park. We skipped that line and went over to Space Mountain and only had to wait around 20 minutes. It was Kendall and Nicole's first ride on Space Mountain and they both really liked it a lot. Although the park was crowded, we didn't have to wait longer for any ride than 30 minutes, with the exception of Finding Nemo, which we finally did ride and the wait was only 45 minutes, which was good because the ride was not worth waiting more than 30 minutes. I wasn't impressed. I love the movie and I thought they took too many shortcuts with the ride by using the animation. The animation looked good and it was clever, but I was hoping to see the characters up close, not projected onto open space. But, we were glad we got to ride it, since we've heard so much about it. All in all, we had a wonderful day! We went to the Hungry Bear for lunch (it was recommended by the friendly Magic Kingdom staff members) and even though it took about an hour to get our food, we were all glad we took their suggestion. The Hungry Bear is in Critter Country and the tables face the river. Nicole and I got a table while Jay and Kendall waited in line and we saw ducks swimming and watched the River Boat pass and it was extremely peaceful and beautiful. They had yummy burgers too, and very nice portions! Which was a good thing, because we were all starving! I think we were all really pleased with our day and we created some wonderful memories. At the end of the day, the girls learned a lesson in compromise. We were running out of time because the park closed at 9:00 and Kendall wanted to ride Indiana Jones one more time and Nicole wanted to go souvenir shopping. We told them we only had time for one or the other, so they would have to come up with a compromise on their own and if they were not able to, we would just head back to the hotel. They had a stand-off initially, and then offered for Jay to go on Indiana Jones with Kendall and for me to take Nicole shopping (although this was very creative, not exactly the compromise we had in mind!) and then decided on Indiana Jones. Kendall's compromise was that Nicole would get to choose the first ride and the last ride of the day at Magic Mountain. We were very proud of our girls and the lesson they learned! They are growing up indeed.
After our day of fun at the Magic Kingdom, we left the park and stopped at Quizno's on our way back to the hotel and then got back and Nicole and I showered in the evening again and then we all crashed! The bed was just as hard the second night, but we were so tired that we didn't even care. We got up early Friday morning and had a quick breakfast at the hotel and then drove to Valencia to Magic Mountain. We hit a little bit of traffic on the 5 so we didn't make it there before the park opened, but the lines were really modest all day. We headed to Goliath first, since it was Nicole's choice and she wanted a ride that we could all go on. The only ride we didn't get to ride was X2. The line was over 2 hours long and as a result, all of the other thrill rides little or no lines at all. Our day at Six Flags was not without a little excitement. We were getting into the Jet Stream when we noticed a young boy a few boats back that appeared to be stuck in his boat. The ride worker was over tugging on his leg and he was crying out in pain and we thought they would stop the ride, but they moved us along and we completed the entire ride. We got back to the docking area and there was a back-up of boats and people in line were leaving. The staff explained that someone was stuck in the boat and we would have to be patient and wait until they were able to get him out and move us forward to let us off the ride. Eventually, he got himself out and we saw him walking up the stairs to the exit, so apparently he was ok. We could not figure out how he managed to get stuck inside, but we were all relieved that he was ok! We all had a great time at Six Flags and I think everyone got to ride their favorite rides. Jay and I tried Tatsu finally and it was a blast! I was TERRIFIED because you are hanging mid air, facing the ground the entire time. I thought for sure I would get sick, but it was a very smooth ride and I got off and felt great! We still haven't convinced Kendall to try an upside down ride, but maybe next time. She faced her fears as well this trip by riding Indiania Jones and opening her eyes during the Haunted Mansion, so we're proud of her bravery :). Nicole is a little dare-devil, I don't think she has a single fear bone in her body.
The park closed at 6 and we stopped at Claim Jumper for a nice dinner on our way home and then drove back to Santa Maria. We were very glad that we still had Saturday and Sunday to recuperate. The trip was almost perfect. The only thing that would have made it better was if Chrissi was able to be with us. Maybe next time Punkin!