Wednesday morning, we drove to Carlsbad.
I had been worried that the coupons we bought the day before off of Craigslist were fake. However, our risk paid off: we paid for two adult admissions for both Legoland and the adjacent aquarium, and then kids got in for free.
Day 4 total: $150 (well, plus $12 for parking and $10 for souvenirs). Kudos to us as we didn't spend any money on food in the park. Around lunchtime, we walked out to the car, pulled what we needed from the cooler, and set up a picnic on a nearby patch of
grass weird xeriscaping-type tree bark. (If we weren't so good to the kids, I'm sure they would hate us by now for our hippie ways.)
One thing people may not know about Legoland is that it's not just Lego models. There are lots of things to do: roller coasters, boat tours, water rides, puppet shows...
However, we didn't take any pictures of those activities. Well, except this one, but only because I was pretty sure Keene would ralph.
So, this post is a big fail because the only part of the day for which pulled out the camera was at MiniLand. This is what makes LegoLand. Not only is each model extremely detailed, but there is so much of it (with almost every square inch dedicated to the overall scene). One could reasonably spend hours looking at all the minute details.
Our first stop in MiniLand was California:
(Notice the people pruning the bushes. These little trees are all real.)
The Chinese Theater, premiering Thriller:
Lombard Street in San Francisco:
Golden Gate Bridge:
Next was Daytona Beach:
Then Las Vegas:
A quick jaunt to New York:
And New Orleans:
And finally to Washington D.C., where it seems we didn't take any photos except of this:
After passing the White House, I had asked, "I wonder if they have Lego-ed the Obamas yet." We walked farther and saw the Obamas' motorcade driving around (yes, cars really do drive around in MiniLand). Good job, LegoLand!
Overall, a very fun experience. Personally, I wasn't all that impressed with the new Aquarium, but maybe I'm just spoiled by the awesome one in Denver. The kids liked it well enough, especially the gift shop.
The next morning, bright and early, we headed to Disneyland.
Earlier this year, Keene, Kayden, and I had participated in the Give-a-Day, Get-a-Disney-Day volunteer program. Because of this, we only had to buy a ticket for Maia (about $60-$70, plus $12 for parking). However, by this point, we had used up all of our groceries and didn't want to buy (and subsequently, waste) more since we would be leaving the next day. Not to mention, a trip to the car for a picnic would take hours, given the distance to the parking lot. So we gave in and ate lunch and dinner (and midnight cupcakes) at the theme park. Between Maia's ticket and the meals, we spent around $100 for the day, maybe a little more.
For the first few hours, we were not impressed. In fact, we were downright bummed.
I had heard that lines are long for rides. But I don't know if I really heard it. On that Thursday morning, we waited for about 45 minutes to get on Space Mountain. As our turn neared, the ride was closed down. We then tried Innoventions, a tour of the future(!). Again, we waited and waited. Then we got to go in, stepping on to a moving platform which carried us to the first station: a demonstration of not-so-futuristic electric instruments. Huh. We quickly walked through the rest of the exhibits (which would have been awe-inspiring in the '50s...not so much today) and exited.
0 for 2.
It was around this time that we started implementing the Fast Pass system. Basically, you pick a ride you should like to experience at some point during the day. You scan your ticket and it tells you to come back at 3:00 or 6:45 or 11:30 or some other time in the future. You leave,
Anyhow, as people dispersed around the park, the lines went a little quicker and the day got more fun.
No idea what I was doing here, but I bet it was hilarious at the time:
Toward the end of the night, we got in line for Space Mountain once again. And waited for over an hour.
And got a little rowdy:
But finally made it:
Now, even though I have about five or six different cameras, none of them had film/batteries/a charge at the time. So I purchased an old-school disposable camera to use for the day. And unfortunately, I haven't developed it yet. So, uh, stay tuned for the rest of the Disneyland photos.