Category Archives: Mouse-Next-Door

Lunar New Year at DCA

I think it’s great that DCA is getting more love these days, and holding the Lunar New Year festivities there was a great idea.

Okay, okay, Lunar New Year was like a month ago. I’m busy y’all, and you’ll see why below.

Anyway, Lunar ┬áNew Year is also called Chinese New Year but since it’s also celebrated in Vietnam and Korea, Lunar New Year is the more appropriate name. I was very pleased that DCA honored all different kinds of Lunar New Year celebrations.

I dressed Violet up in her qipao and off we went!

This was also the first time I successfully got her hair up in a little top ponytail to get her bangs out of her eyes

This was also the first time I successfully got her hair up in a little top ponytail to get her bangs out of her eyes

The festivities were held in the walkway next to The Little Mermaid

Archway to the festivities

Archway to the whole shebang

Closeup (sort of) of a pillar

Closeup (sort of) of a pillar

I loved the Mickey head design.

I kept trying to get a picture of both kids standing still and smiling, but as anyone who’s tried to take pictures of multiple kids know, it was a challenge.

We'll interpret Violet's squint as a smile

We’ll interpret Violet’s squint as a smile

Probably should have moved them out of the sun or something. Oh well.

The Lunar New Year celebration had some crafts you could do. They were very cool. Since this is the year of the snake, Theo got to make a paper snake.

The helper was extremely helpful

The helper was extremely helpful

She spent a lot of time with Theo helping him, which he needed but still made him feel like he made it himself

She spent a lot of time with Theo helping him, which he needed but still made him feel like he made it himself

Proud boy and cute snake!

Proud boy and cute snake!

Then he insisted on making one for Violet, which was a pain because I had to then keep her from eating it the whole time.

There was also a lantern-making booth where you colored a piece of paper and then cut it up for a lantern. I don’t want to pick on my child, but Theo is pretty much the World’s Worst Colorer. He doesn’t have any patience for it so he just randomly scribbles and calls it done. I already had my hands full because he decided to bring along his kid camera (a kid-proof real digital camera with questionable quality photos), I was holding two paper snakes, and Violet is a runner so you can’t let go of her hand at all. So, I forbid the lantern. He pouted for a while but got over it when I bought the special almond cookies in the cool little white Chinese take-out box.

No lantern for you!!

No lantern for you!!

They had women wearing traditional outfits twirling ribbons. They invited the kids to twirl the ribbons too, but Theo wanted no part of that. I have no idea why.

But twirling ribbons is fun!

But twirling ribbons is fun!

They also had special characters. We missed getting a picture of Mulan and Mushu, but we got both Mickey and Minnie. Violet actually stopped moving for once while we were in line for Mickey

After this she immediately took off

After this she immediately took off

She was fascinated by Mickey’s outfit. Unfortunately that meant she wouldn’t turn around for a picture.

Mickey Attempt #1

Mickey Attempt #1

Mickey Attempt #2

Mickey Attempt #2

Mommy steps in

Mommy steps in

I realized later I was wearing my Hong Kong Disneyland shirt. I promise, that was a complete coincidence.

Theo was very impressed that Mickey even took a picture with the “helper doggies”

He spent a lot of time petting them while we were in line

He spent a lot of time petting them while we were in line

And here’s a montage to explain how I spend my days now. Violet likes to run. She never stops moving. My dad calls her Hurricane Violet. It’s difficult when I’m by myself with both of them to take pictures because she’s usually taking that opportunity to make a break for it.

Making her escape

Making her escape

Theo tries his best to hang on

Theo tries his best to hang on

There she goes!

There she goes!

And she's off!

And she’s off!

She never misses an opportunity to dash

She never misses an opportunity to dash

I’ve lost over 10 pounds chasing her around.

Minnie did turn into a more successful photo shoot.

Minnie being non-intimidating

Minnie being non-intimidating

I had to step in again

I had to step in again

One of Theo’s favorite parts was taking along his camera. It doesn’t have a strap of any kind so it’s a pain in the butt to carry around, so this is the first time I’ve let him take it to the parks. He promised to hold it the whole time, which means that I ended up lugging it around most of the time. But we might have a budding photographer in our midst! He was fascinated by the Photopass photographer taking pictures of Minnie and begged to take his own picture of Minnie. I lined him up on the other side of the stanchions thinking he could just grab a shot whenever, but the cast member/handler overheard us and invited him in. She asked the next guest in line to hold off a second, then the Photopass photographer moved over and showed Theo where to stand. Minnie posed, and he got his picture. It was adorable.

So cute!

So cute!

Finally, we watched a troupe of Lucky Lion Dancers perform. They were fantastic!

LNY (2 of 27)

LNY (21 of 27)

LNY (22 of 27)

Violet was a little unsure about the whole thing though.

Or maybe she was just mad that I cramped her style by strapping her into the stroller

Or maybe she was just mad that I cramped her style by strapping her into the stroller

All in all, it was a great celebration and we had a really good time!

Red Car Trolley From The Inside, Woot!

I can’t get enough of Buena Vista Street, guys.

Also my kid can’t get enough of saying the word “guys.” It’s terrible, really, the things you hear coming out of your 3 and 1/2 year old’s mouth. Luckily so swear words, yet. We were at the park this weekend (a ┬áneighborhood park, not The Park) and Theo kept going up to all of the other little kids asking, “Do you want to be my best friend?” When he finally got a taker, another little kid his age, he kept calling this other kid “Orange Shirt Guy.” Like “Hey, Orange Shirt Guy! Want to go down the slide together?” or “Follow me, Orange Shirt Guy!” I honestly could not believe my ears. Neither could the woman next to me, who was like, “Did he just say ‘Orange Shirt Guy’?” and naturally she turned out to be OSG’s mother. So I felt obligated to keep calling out, “Honey! His name is Thomas!” but really I was secretly proud of how hilarious my child is.

Clearly a visual learner, as another friend pointed out.

Also, did you know that you can neatly fold down your popcorn box at Disneyland?

No way!

 

So maybe I’m the last person to find that out, but it pretty much blew my mind.

I learned this from a cast member when I boarded the Red Car Trolley.

With all the lights on

No eating or drinking in the trolley. And if you have a box of popcorn, you now know how to fold it up.

You’re welcome.

I haven’t had much luck getting on the Trolley. Well obviously I had SOME luck or I couldn’t have taken these pictures.

Ding ding!

But I’ve really only been able to ride it once. Which is a bit disappointing since it’s so cool.

The trolley goes from Buena Vista Street through Hollywoodland to the Tower of Terror, and obviously back again. I hopped aboard this one at the Tower of Terror stop.

More high-quality photography

The trolley does not go very fast. Obviously, since it would just mow people down right and left and how embarrassing would that be? There is a person who walks in front of it getting people out of the way.

I didn’t realize this until after I took this picture, but it looks like the scooter is beating the trolley.

Ha

 

I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure the trolley was not actually moving in that picture.

The trolley is something you ride for the experience of riding it. You could absolutely walk to any of its destinations much faster than riding there, but there is something special and kind of cool about taking the oldey-timey transportation down Buena Vista Street.

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE this new entrance to California Adventure? I love it.

 

 

 

 

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is one of the three new rides at Cars Land, and in my opinion, a hidden gem. It’s one of those rides that actually is a lot funner than it looks.

Is funner a word? More fun? Meh, my blog, I’ll use whatever words I want.

First, let’s be honest: Mater’s looks a bit dull–there’s a little tractor and you’re in a little cart behind the tractor and the tractors all go around in a figure-8 type motion while the seats move. Here’s a picture.

Your little tractor and seat

What makes it cool is that the little trailer swings way out around each curve with some major g-force action, as it whips you around (but not in a “Ouch! My neck!” kind of way) each curve.

The whole setup is very cute.

Despite being Mater’s ride, Mater is not actually IN this ride

It’s a true testament to Disney imagineering that they make a miniature tractor look both adorable and slightly confused.

This is the “petting zoo” part outside the ride–you can take a picture here

The queue is straightforward–switchbacks under a tin roofed open building. The decor is best described as “hipster junk.”

A big collection of signs and stuff

Totally unrelated, but when did Pabst Blue Ribbon turn into the hipster beer of choice? That stuff tastes like crap!

Anyway.

There’s a hidden Mickey in here. Can you see it?

I actually rode this ride on two separate occasions. The above pictures are from June. Last week we went on Mater’s with Kevin and Theo and I got a couple more shots.

I thought this was cute

The license plates are a combination of actual state plates and made-up ones.

Did you find that hidden Mickey?

Here it is!

Here’s a kind of action shot. Because MYWTM just wouldn’t be the same without some questionable photography.

Boy, makes you feel like you’re on the ride yourself, huh?

One nice thing about Mater’s is that two normal-sized adults and one small child fit comfortably, unlike Dumbo where I wasn’t sure the three of us were going to be able to exit our shared elephant without a crowbar or emergency personnel.

And there’s something particularly embarrassing about “Help! We are collectively too fat to get out of our elephant!”

Plenty of room for Mommy!

Another great thing about Mater’s is that there are actually two ride areas that run simultaneously. That really bumps up ride capacity, even though it’s not a continuous load ride. We only waited about 15 minutes to get on.

And then the music starts and you’re off! Right after we whipped around the first corner, Theo cried out “I LOVE IT!!!!!” Which was very cute.

Self-portrait attempt to capture the joy and delight on my darling child’s face

Okay, I realize it looks like he’s being squeezed to death in that picture, but I assure you that the tractors ARE fairly roomy.

Really, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is awesome. Don’t pass it by because it looks boring. It’s really a fantastic ride. The only bad thing about it was Theo’s unhappiness when we told him he couldn’t ride it again.

Because we’re really mean parents.

He’s not getting a pony for Christmas either.

Flo’s V8 Cafe, or I Should Have Had a V8!

Finally, the blockout period ends and I make my triumphant return to the Mouseland. I’ll admit I was feeling a bit of withdrawal.

We (Kevin, Theo, and I) headed to CA Adventure for the night. Kevin and Theo had obviously never seen Cars Land or Buena Vista Street–the sad consequences of being the spouse and child of the blogger rather than paying for the pass the blogger has. Theo, of course, spent a number of hours talking about how he wanted to see the castle and the fireworks.

That’s my boy.

Theo was a bit nonplussed about Cars Land, but Kevin was impressed. We decided to catch some dinner at Flo’s V8 Cafe.

I’ll admit I was nervous. Disneyland has really made a huge effort lately to improve their food–diversifying menus and giving greater value for the money. But my brain is still partially stuck in that place where they served nothing but dry overprocessed burgers at exorbitant prices (not counting the churros and corn dogs). So I’ll totally cop to the fact that Flo’s made me nervous.

I shouldn’t have worried.

They hand you a menu outside so you don’t spend your time at the register trying to read the menu board and holding everyone else up. I will warn you, the price on the printed menu is not the same at the register. Which is kind of lame.

Their kids meal, you can get a roast beef sandwich, a turkey sandwich, or macaroni and cheese. Theo picked the mac and cheese–a bit surprising since he generally doesn’t like mac and cheese (I know, right? What kid doesn’t love mac and cheese?). You could also get a Lightning McQueen racer with your kid’s meal.

It’s in the display case

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what it does. The wheels don’t move and it’s got two handles, so I guess it’s some kind of box or something?

Anyway, it cost $6 more and we have a remote control Lightning McQueen at home, so we passed on that valuable opportunity.

Up at the counter, the V8 Cafe does its best to be very 50s.

The jukebox doesn’t work. Yes, I pressed the buttons to check

It’s all shiny and stuff in the background

 

Actually that picture kind of freaks me out a little. Also, on the left? Flames!!!

The interior has plenty of seating. Actually more than you might think.

And by you, I mean me. And by think, I mean assume.

Interior seating with giant wrenches on the wall

Even MORE interior seating! Can’t beat that with a stick!

 

The silverware and condiment section was festive as well.

Route 66, which no longer looks like this

 

Also, Doc Hudson was a big-wig here, since he’s got all of these diplomas on the wall and stuff.

Little known fact: Doc Hudson only paid off his student loans right before he died

 

Now Doc Hudson is voiced by the late Paul Newman in Cars 1 (also known as “Cars”). Which is totally awesome and all, except that he died before Cars 2 was recorded, so he (Doc Hudson) becomes this kind of posthumous character, without ever really explaining how a car ages or what it means to die.

I mean, does a car go all Thelma and Louise and throw itself off a cliff? And how old are the cars in Cars anyway?

Sorry, I digress.

I ordered the pork loin dinner. I was very hesitant (can you tell I’ve been burned by Disneyland food before? And not in a temperature kind of way), because badly-done pork is REALLY bad. Like it’s all dry and chewy and you’re totally screwed once you go past that tipping point of nice and juicy and just plain overcooked.

However, at Flo’s, the pork came with a Coke BBQ sauce. Coca-Cola, not the drug. And that kind of appealed to me. It came with two sides, so I got the corn medley and the baked beans.

Here ya go!

 

It also came with a roll I found a bit uninspiring.

But overall, my pork was actually excellent! It was nice and moist and non-chewy. The BBQ sauce added the right amount of tang with just a bit of spiciness. I would totally get it again.

Kevin, in this slightly dazed picture, got the beef strip plate with gravy. It too was also very good. Go figure. He couldn’t resist a strawberry milkshake, but got it in a regular cup rather than the collectible Flo’s glass, which we really don’t need. The milkshake also came with “road gravel” which was basically little malt balls that just kept getting stuck in the straw. Cute, but not practical.

Kevin sporting his Anaheim Brewery t-shirt

Theo got, as I mentioned, the mac and cheese (sans Lightning McQueen racer car thing). It came with grapes, apple rounds, carrots, and peas. I actually really like that they put all the healthy food out there and if you wanted something else you had to ask.

This is what happens when I beg him to smile for the camera

 

All in all, I was very impressed! The food quality was great and the prices were on par with the rest of the park. Plus the outdoor seating area was ideally located for people and car watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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