California, Days 3 and 4

Early on the third morning, we set off for Mission Beach, which was about 5 minutes from our hotel. It was very chilly and overcast out, so Bean and I absolutely refused to go into the water.

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Nothing would stop Soph and Big Papaaaaa though…

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Here's a view of the shops just off the sand… Bre had gone for a run, and we didn't see her for quite some time, so I figured she'd gotten distracted by seashell necklackes or something…

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Bean and I walked to the shops and perused all the tie-dyed tee-shirts, longboards, skateboards, and cute California boys (not I, mind you. I've got my hands full enough with you-know-who).

Pelicans would fly by every few minutes, which I loved seeing.. what huge creatures they are!

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Later in the day, the sun came out and warmed up my Joonie a bit…

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…and Breanna finally got back to our beach towel! I was so relieved. I didn't like her being gone for so long, and I kept watching the beach for her, while Sabrina kept saying, "She's fine, Mom. You should stop worrying so much."

Turns out, she'd run for 9.2 miles, and never stopped to look at seashell necklaces. 🙂

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Later that evening, we headed to the Fashion Valley mall to do some back-to-school shopping for the girls and eat at my new second-favorite place:

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Oh my heavens, if you've never had a real fish taco on a corn tortilla, you're in for a treat. Oh my my my my my. I had one here in Omaha a few weeks ago, and I thought that was good. But that was nothing compared to this. (Btw, my new first favorite eatery is a little Mexican place called Roberto's on Mission Beach. We had fish tacos there as well, and they were about a half-star better than these, in my humble opinion.)

The next day we drove about an hour north to Disney Land/California Adventure…

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I've never seen so many people in my life in one place. One year Bre and I headed to Disney World in Orlando during spring break (for a cheer competition) and it wasn't even as bad as this. The wait lines were sometimes 140 minutes for rides! We decided we had no choice, so we added ourselves to the Space Mountain line to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

It was at the 55-minute mark that we heard the Space Mountain loudspeaker announce, "We're sorry, but we've closed this ride for an indefinite amount of time due to ride issues. You may continue to wait, but we have no guarantee of when the ride will resume operating."

After a mass groan, many people left, but most of us stayed to brave it out. Thankfully, 10 minutes later the ride resumed, and everyone cheered.  In a brief 35 minutes or so, we were on one of our favorite rides. 🙂

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Next up was the Buzz Lightyear ride, which is another one of our favorites. You have to shoot targets and steer your "ship," and we all like to see who scores the highest (Mike always does). Btw, in case you're wondering, my hair clearly did not survive Space Mountain…

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The main reason the girls wanted to come to Disney Land was to collect Disney pins. Mike got them started on these pins when they (Bre and Bean) first visited Disney World back in 2001, and it proved to be quite an addiction. (Every Christmas, Mike gets them new ones from Ebay to add to their collections.)

If you've never collected pins at Disney, you start with a purchased "trader set." These are basic pins that you buy in sets, and you can go up to any park employee (called Cast Members) and ask them if they would like to trade. They're usually wearing lanyards full of them, and no matter which pin you ask to trade, they'll say yes. 🙂 It's a ton of fun for those who are on the hunt for limited edition pins, or the fun "Hidden Mickey" pins that so many people love.

Here are the girls, purchasing their trader sets (they didn't think about bringing their collections from home) and getting ready to choose a free "mystery pin" from a bucket… (btw, the sheer excitement of it all on Bre's face just cracks me up!)

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This is Big Papa's role in pin-collecting:

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This was Sophie's mystery pin, which her sisters kept trying to offer trades for:

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While standing in line for The Haunted Mansion, Bre tries to work her magic…

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I love the expression on Soph's face here; she is such a newbie at trading, and approaches even her sisters with a bit of apprehension…

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But she quickly learns that if she's going to get the best pins, she's going to have to beat her sisters to the Cast Members. It turned out to be quite an entertaining experience, watching the three girls flit from lanyard to lanyard…

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Sabrina's got a good one!

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Big Papa's been swindled charmed again…

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We were able to get the girls to snap out of it long enough to hop over to the California Adventure side of Disney…

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But it didn't last long…

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When the girls spotted their very favorite ride, however, they put their pin-trading on hold…

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Hollywood's Tower of Terror is based on the old Twilight Zone series. After a brief, spooky introduction, you're led into a large elevator with seats enough to hold about 20 people. After they close the doors, the elevator slowly rises up the tower, stopping in front of a large window that looks out over all the park. Suddenly, the elevator drops quickly, at which point everyone inside screams at the tops of their lungs, only to have to do it all over again about 3 more times. It's a wild ride, and everyone who has ever ridden it is hooked.

Except for me, who is the only one of the Stewart Clan not raising their arms in abandon:

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I seem to remember someone prying my hands from the lap bar when the ride was over, but I could be mistaken.

Seriously though, my family loves that ride so much, we returned later that night to ride again…

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Eventually it was time to leave the park, so out we went with the rest of California…

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…and the girls cried "Pins, pins, pins!" all the way home.

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11 Replies to “California, Days 3 and 4”

  1. Wow, never seen those lanyards/pin sets before. I could see that becoming very addictive. lol! You know, there’s such a thing in Disney parks (I assume in CA too) where you can sign up for rides and get a time to ride it. Saves you standing in long lines. I think there are kiosks or something like that. Anyway, looks like everyone had fun again! DS would have been in the water despite the cold too. Bre must be in really great shape! Wow!

  2. Wow, didn’t know about the pin trading at the park – fun! And pelicans!
    That ride is the stuff of nightmares, Paulette. Seriously, you could not bribe me onto that thing. Eeek!

  3. Yea, you did go to Disney!!! Our favorite place!!! I collect the pins with special attention to the Disney cats! We’re going to Orlando in Nov/Dec right after Thanksgiving. A great time to go with short lines on everything. Enjoyed the pics!!! So glad you shared them! Looking forward to some more of your trip! Linda in CO.

  4. Can I just say that you ate at 3 of the top 4 – Robertos, Rubio, and In-n-Out? If tomorrow’s post says “Potato Shack” I am seriously going to have to back my bags and head back to San Diego. Thanks for sharing the family vacation – I am glad you had such a wonderful vacation!

  5. WOW! What a great couple of days! I LOVED reading this. So glad you all had such a wonderful time together. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it all. 😀 Cathryn

  6. What a jam packed couple of days! I loved reading about all your adventures. I had no idea about the pin trading at Disney. What fun that would be! The year I took my sons to DisneyWorld, the MGM studios section had just opened. We waited in line for 2 hrs to get into some of the areas but it was so worth it!

  7. I learn something new each time I read a blog. I didn’t know about the trading of disney pins! That would explain why when I went for my 50th birthday, that the travel agency we went through sent us each a lanyard, with a couple of pins. Couldn’t figure it out! Darn, missed out on a great opportunity.
    BTW, I love The Tower ride!!! So does my squimish DH.

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