It’s a Small World after all

 I’ve had plans every day to update, but we keep getting in at 10 or later to the hotels, and we’re always too busy in the morning.   So you’re going to get several days at once. The cut doesn’t work, so apologies in advance to your friends page. 

Sunday

Dan’s sister Wendy came in late Saturday night from Canada to Santa Monica; she’s been splitting time between Yellowknife & LA for some time now, but on Saturday she came to Cali for good.  And so on Sunday we went to see her and her boyfriend Andrew at their apartment in Santa Monica.  We quickly set out for the bus to a favorite restaurant, then walked down the boardwalk to the pier.  After a brief swing on the muscle beach, we hit the carnival, having a few rides on the carousel, a wade in the ocean, and some cotton candy.

We hit the promenade for awhile, where Dan met a friend for coffee and we helped Andrew pick up a new Macbook before we went home to play with it.  He delighted Anna by making movies in Photobooth, keeping her completely entertained while Dan, Wendy & I went to the store and picked up a few snacks.  We were sorry to leave them and are already planning on when we can see them again.
 
Wendy, however, was free the next day, and promised to come with us to Disneyland.

Monday

We picked Wendy up at nine, then headed down to Anaheim.  We’d gone on a weekday in hopes that it would be less populated, but it was so packed that by the end of the day it was declared "full," and no one else was admitted.  The lines were very long, never less than forty-five minutes.  So we chose carefully and made the best of what time we had.  

We started with Star Tours, then parted while Dan & Wendy went to the Haunted Mansion while Anna and I toured the Princess area.  She wanted to meet the princesses, but all the characters are walled off in special sections now, and you have to stay in line to meet them.  The princess line all day was over two hours, and we just couldn’t waste the time.  So we played paparazzi over the fence & took stealth photos and then got Anna’s face painted instead.

After meeting back up, we all went to It’s A Small World.  I had been to Disneyland when I was Anna’s age, and I don’t remember much, but I remembered that ride as soon as I saw it.  The exterior is so big, and so beautifully retro–it’s like stepping back in time.  The ride itself has been updated some, but not much, and it was easily my favorite moment of the day.  So much so, that after going on Alice in Wonderland and having lunch, when Dan & Wendy went to Space Mountain, Anna and I did a spin on Peter Pan’s Flight then went on It’s s Small World again.  Both times I felt all choked up at odd times–I don’t know why, but it was just so . . . much.  I think it was the music and the dark and being there with Anna, remembering being young and seeing it for my first time.  The seal on the deal was finding an Its A Small World mug at the end of the ride, which I’ve been having my morning coffee in since.

Space Mountain’s line had promised to be 75 minutes, but ended up being over two hours, then broke down just as Dan and Wendy were about to get on; while they battled that, Anna and I wandered down to Pixie Hollow because it was near to them, and would make a good last right.  But to Anna’s delight we realized half-way through the 45 minute wait that it wasn’t a ride but a chance to meet the fairies.  And so Anna met some yellow fairy and the famous Tinkerbell, and even got the latter’s autograph.

After meeting up again at last, we headed to Red Robin to meet Kim & her husband, a friend of mine who lives near Anaheim.  They treated us to some great burgers & bottomless fries, and then we headed back to LA to collapse into our beds.

Tuesday

We headed out on Tuesday to give us an easier way back, but first Kari took us to lunch in El Segundo to get us tanked up for the road.  Unfortunately, we lingered too long and ended up in LA traffic, which brought us into Las Vegas around 9:30.  We decided to stay up a bit, going up to the top of the tower at the Stratosphere (our hotel), then taking a cab ride through the strip.  

Our hotel was chosen because Dan found a room for $30; we worried that it was going to be a wreck, but it was only sparse, with no real surface spaces and no frills at all.  The bed however, was great, and we wished in the morning we could linger longer.  But after a stop at the amazing breakfast buffet, we hit the road for Glenwood Springs.

Wednesday

We had a ten hour trip from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and it was made more complicated by the fact that we lost an hour due to a time change and that we lingered too long at the buffet.  We were tired, and I just couldn’t drive well, which left most of it to Dan.  We canvassed the entire state of Utah, which was beautiful but barren, and when we hit the rainstorm at the top of the pass, we wondered if we were going to lose it completely.  But we made it through, and finally arrived at Glenwood Springs tired, strung out, and ready for bed.

Thursday

Today was our resting day; we slept in, then headed to a ranch just east of Meeker up in the mountains where we’d reserved a trail ride.  It rained on the way there and poured on the way back, but the weather fairies blessed us yet again and made sure we had a (mostly) dry ride.

 

Our guide was great, too; as Dan put it, "That was a real cowboy."

We came back to the hotel in Glenwood Springs, ran a few errands and grabbed some dinner, then headed for the hot springs.  It’s a natural phenomenon funneled into a pool and a therapy pool; the regular pool is the size of a football field and 90 degrees, and the threapy pool is the size of a regular pool (or perhaps a bit smaller) and 104.  Both are cooled with non-spring water, because the spring itself is 122!  We swam there for hours, came home and showered, and now we’re getting ready for bed.
 
Tomorrow we’re going to head back to Iowa; we’re going to try and make it all the way home, but it’s a 15 hour drive and might prove a bit much.  The lure of sleeping in our own beds, though, is a strong siren song.  You’ll have to tune in Saturday morning and see what we ended up doing.

In the meantime, here’s the link to the photo album starting at the Santa Monica day, and here’s the second volume I had to start with Disneyland, as I couldn’t fit it all in the first volume.  Watch for our tweets tomorrow, and wish us good weather for the way home.  Especially as Dan tackles the Loveland Pass tomorrow and more winding, winding roads.

See you soon.

One Comment on “It’s a Small World after all

  1. We’ve been missing you! I can see why you wanted more time for horses – it’s absolutely gorgeous there. You’ve done a great job of a getting a solid family vacation in, and at just the right age for Anna. I missed that she’d met Tinkerbell in person! Fansquee! Will she be posting any travel notes on her blog?
    Hugs and kisses to all. Puppies are snoring in counterpoint to Stephen, and I’m heading to bed shortly too. Travel well and swift journey home tomorrow.

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