On day #5 we decided that perhaps 3-4 days is the ideal amount of time to spend at Disneyland/California Adventure. We had done everything we'd wanted to do, and all of us were kind of tired.
We checked out of our hotel early, had breakfast, and caught the shuttle (the new driver lady, by the way, took us this crazy route all through Anaheim, and the normally five minute drive took thirty minutes. We were worried she was taking us somewhere to kill us.). The plan was to spend the day at the parks, and then check into our new hotel in Newport Beach and spend Saturday at the beach. We planned to drive home Saturday night or Sunday morning.
Right when we walked into California Adventure, we met these guys:
Big hugs and lots of smiles. Autumn grabbed one of their noses, so they tweaked hers. She thought it was hilarious.
Unanimously, we had all decided that we wanted to go on the Cars ride one more time. After Autumn's rejections yesterday, we took matters into our own hands and folded up some cardboard pieces, stuck them in the bottom of her shoe, and gave her an extra inch. No, we are not ashamed. They shouldn't have let her go on it all week and then changed their minds. We were helping them be consistent.
We stood in line for the Fast Pass for Radiator Springs Racers. Our return time was 7pm! That was 8 hours from when we picked up our pass. We decided to try our luck with standing in the regular line. It took us an hour, but I enjoyed it. Really.
I mean, look at this place:
The details are amazing.
I especially loved the antique oil bottles made into art. It reminded me of a stained glass piece my brother-in-law is making me out of the bottoms of wine bottles.
I'm seriously going to look into a job designing for Disney (not really. I like to at least be qualified before I open myself to rejection).
The ride was awesome, and I'm glad we just went for it instead of waiting until 7pm.
As soon as we sat down in the ride, we felt the first drops of rain. By the time we were done, it was coming down like crazy. The rain didn't last long, but we were all completely soaked. We tried to talk them into one more ride on Splash Mountain or some of our other favorites, but both of them just wanted to go home. I told them we could go to our new hotel and go to the beach tomorrow. Calvin said, "Mom, I zero percent want to go to the beach. I one-hundred percent just want to go home."
Right outside of the gates, the highlight of the day was splashing in rain puddles. We probably could have done it all day.
So, we took the shuttle back to the hotel, ready to go home. And the car wouldn't start. Someone must have left a light on because the battery was completely drained. We asked the hotel and a few random strangers, but nobody had jumper cables. We called our insurance company and they sent a guy over. We waited an hour for him to show up, but he had the car started in less than a minute. We were on our way.
We made three failed attempts to eat at Baja Fresh. Two were in convention centers and one was a wrong address, so we headed out of town.
And drove 10 miles an hour for the next three hours in California, Friday afternoon traffic.
We finally found our Baja Fresh in Barstow, a small town on the border between CA and NV. It was even better than usual because we were hungry and had been waiting for it for so long. By then it was 6pm-ish and we'd already been on the road for hours without making much progress.
We drove straight through Vegas without stopping.
At 11pm we hit St. George and it was raining pretty hard. Strange for Southern Utah where it is usually hot and dry. We gassed up, took a bathroom break, bought some snacks, and put the kids in their pjs. We watched a show and then tucked them in for the night. They went right to sleep.
A couple of minutes later, we were in a crazy, out of nowhere blizzard. Cars were sliding off of the road everywhere, but luckily, it was late and not many people were out. The driving was extremely slow and tense. We pulled into home at just before 4am.
It was a long drive--much longer than usual with traffic and snow--but we were so glad to be back and happy that we'd decided to just do it.
It was a wonderful vacation. We loved (almost) every second. But, there's no place like home.