Thursday, March 27, 2014

Honorary Family opens Disneyland!

This morning family members balked at the hour in which we arrived at the gates before the opening of Disneyland. We arrived at 7:45am for a 9:00 park opening. We were the first in line at one of the turnstiles. Just before they opened the gates they came over and asked if we'd like to help them open the park. How cool is that!!! Curtis and Gennie walled up just as they were selecting us. So our home family was together!

After opening the park gates we made our way to Main Street to await rope drop. Rob and I lined up to the left to get Big Thunder Mt FPs. Meanwhile the rest of the group lined up to head to Tomorrowlabd to ride Buzz. We met them after retrieving the FPs and rode Star Wars together. Then c (fell asleep will write more later.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Great but busy day at DCA

From rope drop to getting on RSR was 47 mins. Stayed wide right as best we could. With how far back we were to begin with I felt we did good. For those with ECV they go throught the line to the ride. Strollers are easily stashed as you get to the ride. 

After our first RSR ride I went for FPs while the others ride the smaller Cars Land rides. The line for FPs was extremely long and switched back several times. But it went fast and we got tickets for 7:05pm.

We are a large group and thereforeoved very slow. But with early arrival and FPs we were still able to manage all the main rides except TSMM, GRR & mickeys fun wheel. Those will be priorities for Thursday. 

The kids and some of the grown ups did the little bumper cars in bugs land. Most of us saw It's tough to be a bug movie. For lunch we went to the Pacific Wharf area and had bread bowl soups. Very tasty and a good value. We rode Soarin with FPs and walked around to Paradise Pier and the kids rode the zephyr, swings, Goofy's and jumpin Jelly fish. For dinner we had the Mexican food back over at the wharf. Then we split a bit and we took the kids back over and the littler ones did goofy and the big ones did the swings. We all met up for our second RSR ride, then rode Screamin with FPs and last Tower of Terror with FPs. The longest line all day was the first RSR ride. And the park was the busiest I've ever experienced. So I felt for our size group and pace we did great. Made lots of good memories. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DCA Rope Drop

We arrived at 8:03 for a 9:00 opening. We were this far back from gates.

By 8:23 there were this many behind us. 

Gates opened at 8:30. By the time we all got throught and got to rope drop we were here. 

We have all agreed that RSR is first no matter how long the wait. We will keep you posted. Going to stay to the right as best possible. 

Headed to Disney!

We left at about 10:30 am and headed west.

 First stop was In-n-Out Burger on our way out of Phoenix. In-n-Out is always a must do when we come out west!

Headed for California. 

And we arrive at Disney!

We checked in at BW Plus Park Place Inn. Checkin went smooth and we found a parking spot no problem. Room is clean and beds are comfortable. Nothing special but so far adequate and the location is perfect!

We next headed out to Downtown Disney to get a little Disney vibe going. Mom definitely needed to practice with her new cart and she was quite pleased with her rental from Deckerts! 

We stopped off and got one more ticket for tomorrow on our way. That took a bit of time. Then we headed down to Earl of Sandwich. 

We had a good time pointing out some of the new details to my parents who haven't been to DL in about 30 years. Mom had fun telling the kids that she came to DL within the first month it was opened in 1955. 

Both brothers had arrived by the time we were headed back to our rooms. One of the brothers has a theme park view room at the Grand Californian Hotel. They have invited is for dessert and WOC one night! Sounds fun!

Tomorrow will be an early morning. Good night!

Monday, March 24, 2014

AZ Family Day

Since our body clocks are still two hours ahead the kids played and watched cartoons while waiting for grandma and grandpa to get up and around. 

Once everyone was up and around, mom and I took the kids for some traditional donuts at 19th Hole Donut shop while my dad and Rob took a look at the brakes on our van. (Ended up doing the pads and having the rotors turned. Good thing they looked!)

We then went shopping for new swim suits for a couple of the kids. Here is Ashlee's, Robbie's not one to model a suit. (But if you're curious you can check it out below in the swimming photo(s). 

Then we took the boys for some haircuts at Grandpa's favorite barber shop in town. 

Back at grandma and grandpa's house the kids did a little swimming in the chilly unheated pool! 

Check out the expression on Robbie's face. It says quite a bit about the temperature of the pool!

I didn't get anymore pictures on Sunday, but grandma and Aimee made it to her meeting in the afternoon while I napped and grandpa and daddy took a couple kids to Bass Pro Shop. Then we all went to meet Curtis, Gennie and Sailor for a yummy dinner at Portollo's which is a Chicago style place with beef sandwiches, Chicago dogs and hamburgers. Good food and nice family conversation. 

I promise some Disney updates are coming soon! We head to Disneyland area today (Monday)!

Another Journey West

On Friday, March 21st we left the house at about 7:30 PM after returning to make sure we didn't leave our cat locked in our bedroom.

This photo was taken while we were waiting for Robbie and Rob to get in the car. 

We drove all night stopping only for gas and one 45 minute sleep stop. The kids did their part staying asleep!

And we made it to "Amarillo by morning".

We then trekked through New Mexico. 

And through the Mogollon Rim area down to my parents house in AZ. 

We arrived at our AZ destination at about 3:45 PM local time. 22:15 drive,sleep,gas time!

We had a nice Mexican food dinner brought in from Tia Rosa's, one of our favorite local places, and visited that evening with my parents and one of the kids' cousins.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cooking skills try-out

Our kids are still out of town so Rob and I decided to try our hand at Gumbo today. And the result was complete success! We ate the whole batch! OK it was only a half batch we made, but we ate all of it!

Then I decided to try Pralines. Not quite as successful, but edible those will take more practice. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jackson, MS

We arrived at the Jackson, MS station 40 mins early. Now we await the scheduled departure time. Sunset while we wait. 

For some reason Rob has had a pizza craving most of the trip. He finally got his pizza fix on the train. Nothing like $6 for a few bites of pizza. But he's happy and that's what counts. ;)

I got a not so good picture of a house that we liked. 

And here is a stupid picture of an old train engine I tried to capture as we went by. LOL

Now it's dark. No more lame pictures. Thanks for joining me for our New Orleans trip. :)

Hammond, LA

First stop Hammond, LA. Scenery to this point has been swamps and Lake Pontachatrain (sp?) which looks like ocean to me. Can't see any land on the other side. Water as far as the eye can see. Didn't get a pic this time by let me look back and see if I have one from our ride south. Nope bummer. 

Well here is a pic of the Hammon station. 

Last morning

Our last morning in New Orleans. I was glad I had done some research ahead of time because there was very little open on Christmas Day. We walked over to the French Quarter and breakfast at Cafe Fluer de Lis. Cute little cafe, good service, decent food, great coffee with real cream. 

I had the Big Easy breakfast because I wasn't sure what I wanted and it had it all. I couldn't get it all on one pic without doing a pano. 

Sausage and hash browns were eh but edible. Everything else was good. I liked how they browned the biscuit. 

Rob chose the Farmer's omelette but told the waiter he wanted the cow and the pig too. So it had a bunch of veggies and ham and cheese. It was very tasty.

After breakfast they brought me a to go cup full of coffee and we strolled through a very quiet French Quarter. We enjoyed looking in shop windows, it didn't matter if they weren't open - jewelry and antiques weren't in the budget for this trip!

We say this chandelier in the lobby of the W hotel. It made us think of my brother and our daughter, our favorite trumpet players. 

After our little stroll it was back to the hotel to pack up for our trip back. 

We are back on board Amtrak now and left right on time. Maybe freight trains don't run on Xmas and we can get back to Memphis on time. :) We are scheduled to arrive at 10 pm. I have to work tomorrow and we have an almost two hour drive home. 

Really enjoyed our trip. Will be nice to be home in our own bed tonight. Although the be at the Hilton Riverside was not uncomfortable at all.

Did I post pics of the view from our room? Here is a daytime and one at night with the moon. iPhone pics not great. But you get the idea. We had a river view. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cajun Mike's

3 awesome poboys, 2 sides and 5 cocktails, $63 including tip. Another successful Yelp! find. Local dive bar delivered!

My NOLA tips

1. Bring lots of cash in small bills for street cars, tipping and places that only take cash like Cafe du Monde. 

2. Try Cafe du Monde if you must, but don't fret if you don't get there. And certainly don't stand in a long line to go there. 

3. Comfy walking shoes are a must. 

4. In cooler weather dress in layers. A wind breaker type jacket with hood over a sweater and shirt is going to keep you warmer than a wool or leather coat in the wind. 

5. Do the New Orleans School of Cooking. It's fantastic!

6. Get to Jackson Square early one morning before the crowds. Especially if you think you want to stop in at Cafe du Monde. 

7. All museums are closed on Mondays.

8. Free Tours by Foot is a good no pressure name your own price option. Our tour was very informative. 

9. Most restaurants that say casual but take reservations will have most people dressed up anyway.

10. $100/day for two is doable. $200/day person would give you more options. If you like your cocktails maybe more. We dropped $20 for one round of drinks at Pat O's. 

11. Afternoon naps are your friend. 

12. If you can afford it, stay in the French Quarter. But there are lots of places on the Central Business District that work as well. 

That's it for now. If I think of more later I'll add to it. 

More street cars, Garden District, Cemetary

Took three different street cars to get over to the Garden District. 

Below is the St Charles St car. This is the line that goes to the Garden District.

We got off on Jackson and walked to Washington and turned left. We took a few pictures of homes and the tree lined streets. 

After we turned left on Washington, we walked down to the Cemetary and wondered around a bit. We had learned a little about how the graves in the area work. The graves are all above ground due to the high water table. We also over-heard a few details from on going tours in the Cemetary. It was interesting to hear how they worked.

After we left the Cemetary we came across a few trees with no bark. At first we thought it was a dead tree. But since there were several of them and it is winter we aren't sure. 

Now we are in our room resting again. We will head out later to find some dinner and see what else we can get into on our last night.