When is the Next Trip?

Disneyland 2016 Top 10 – in no particular order

The Limo ride from school –
We booked a limo to drive us from Marengo to Midway. As we considered the timing it was decided that we should have the limo pick the kids up from school. As we arrived to get them the 1st grade class (Michael’s class) was outside playing) and as we left, the 3rd grade classes were outside playing. The limo driver honked as we drove by and the kids all waved out the window. What a fun way to start our adventure to California.

Tinkerbell ½ Marathon –
This race was the “real” reason (excuse) to make the trip out to California. The race was Sunday morning. It started at 5:30 am (I was in corral B – so my start time was 5:35). It was a beautiful day to run, nothing like last time I ran in California!!! Cool in the morning – low humidity. The course was different that the course I ran back in November of 2014. It was a little through the parks and mostly through the streets of Anaheim. There were a lot of people cheering on the runners, dance troupes, cheerleaders, bands and “Candy from strangers”. I texted and snapped pictures throughout my run and finished with an official time of 2:13: 30, not my best but considering my lack of training. I was pretty proud! The best part was at mile 13, where Rhonda had brought (dragged out of bed – I’m sure) my cheering section to the race. They had been up the day before making posters (good thing there was a CVS near the hotel – CVS has everything!) for me and it was so fun to see them at the end.

Meeting the Fairies on the race route!

Meeting the Fairies on the race route!

The Best Cheering Section

The Best Cheering Section

The rides – Radiator Springs Raceway is my favorite

The best ride was when Leah was stuck in the car with all the kids and they raced against Rhonda and I – we teased and taunted them throughout the whole racing part of the ride – it was so funny, I felt sorry for the other people in the car with us!

While Carly couldn’t bribe Madelyn on to the California Screamin’ she did manage to get her on everything else including the Tower of terror which she rode like a champ even if she never wants to go on again!

The Elevator is "Waiting for You..."

The Elevator is “Waiting for You…”

Michael on the other hand was fearless and loved every single ride and would yell at me to get my hands up on each roller coaster!

Matterhorn Mountain – Small World, need I say more?!?

The night time Parade and Fireworks –
To celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland they have a new night time parade called, “Paint the Night”. We stayed up until 10:45 pm (Michael slept on a bench the whole time – I was almost there with him) on our first day there to see it and it was AMAZING. I am constantly amazed at the incredible detail that goes into every float. The music and “talking” timed perfectly!! Do not miss the parade if you are ever there, it’s worth a late night and crabby kids the next day – really, it is!
Disneyland Forever is the name of the new fireworks spectacular at Disneyland Park. We tried to see it the first night we were there but it was canceled due to the wind. I am so glad we happened on these great “seats” the following night. Though I am partial to “Wishes” at Disneyworld, it makes me tear up when the kids sing along. “Disneyland Forever” is right up there. It included songs from many popular moves along with projections on both the castle and the Matterhorn Mountain. Tinkerbell and Nemo fly through the sky during the show and there is fire in front of the castle and on top of the Matterhorn. It also included my absolute favorite part from Finding Nemo – the “ring of fire – shark bait” part. I loved the show. We watched it the first night from the front of the castle and caught it the second time from the back of the park near the river, both great vantage points!
Hands down Disney has the best fireworks displays – my kids had never seen a 4th of July display until 2 summers ago at the Dells in Wisconsin and at the end they asked, “is that it?” we don’t bother anymore!

Beginning of the Parade Float

Beginning of the Parade Float

Couldn't take our eyes off of the parade.

Couldn’t take our eyes off of the parade.

Fireworks viewing from the back of the park.

Fireworks viewing from the back of the park.

Whale Watching –
I could have spent all of the 5 days we were there in the theme parks. I’m sure the kids could have too – but I though that since we were in California and had a car we should explore a little bit. We decided last minute to go whale watching. I happened on a brochure in the hotel lobby as I was doing a load of laundry (Carly ran out of underwear) that offered a pretty substantial discount. So, back in the hotel – 1 phone call, 3 kid’s breakfasts, 2 bags packed up, and a few arguments about who was sitting by whom, we were on our way to Balboa Pier to see the ocean and to catch our wale watching boat.
Our tour was at 12:30 so we started by letting the kids play in the ocean. It was way too cold for me and really – they only lasted less than an hour in the water. Caroline ended up getting her (only pair I brought with) pants soaking wet in the ocean because “the water just caught me”, she didn’t seem to mind the soaking wet pants as we headed to lunch on the marina side of the bay and to catch our boat.
The wale watching boat took us 6 miles up the coast of California with beautiful views of Newport Beach. It took a while – the kids had a grey whale book to read and some snacks from the boat’s concession stand but finally. we were fortunate to see a pair of Grey whales in the distance. We saw a momma and her calf migrating up to Alaska. We followed them (at a distance) for a little while before we had to turn around to head back to the marina. We also saw a several sea lions on our way back.
It was a great “side” trip and I hope the kids even learned a little something – either from the book they were reading or from the captain – or Dale the funny photographer!
Disneyland 2016 - Giesekes 139

Disneyland 2016 - Giesekes 138

Disneyland 2016 - Giesekes 130

Disneyland 2016 - Giesekes 128

Disneyland 2016 - Giesekes 122

Our crew - minus Dale

Our crew – minus Dale

The old married couple –
We had 4 kids with us on the trip, 3 girls and poor Michael. For the most part the kids got along just great and they could even be a great “buffer” when 2 ore more weren’t getting along (Madelyn was most often the buffer for Carly and Caroline).
Caroline and Michael were just hilarious together and they quickly earned themselves the nickname “old married couple”. They would be getting along just great one minute and then refusing to sit by one another the next. Caroline didn’t want to share her Kit Kat with him because he was a boy – but was more than happy to share 2 whole bags of mints with him through out the trip!

Hands Up!

Hands Up!

Diet Coke obsession –
1 – Going to mc Donald’s
Rhonda made a few walks to McDonalds, under the pretense that Michael needed pancakes. I know the truth…it was for the Diet Cokes 
2 – Leah leaving her diet coke on the garbage can until an old man tried to drink it.
We had just stopped to eat dinner before heading back over to California adventure. Leah had a nearly full (5.00) cup of diet coke, as we went on the rides in the “Bug’s Land” area of the park, she would leave the Diet Coke on the garbage can then get it after the ride. The Diet Coke was never out of sight – until we were riding the bumper cars and an older man took the coke, removed the lid and was about to drink it – Leah was furious Rhonda said, “I was scared for the man, I thought Leah was going to throat punch him” – I laugh about it even as I type this up!
3 – As we got to the Plaza Inn that first morning, Leah knew what the most important thing was – and brought 3 diet cokes (1 with lemon) immediately to the table!

First Things First!

First Things First!

Rhonda ride photos – She makes the best faces!! See photos below – a pictures is worth a thousand words…or laughs!!

They all look like this - except Space Mountain, where the lady is blocking Rhonda with her arm!

They all look like this – except Space Mountain, where the lady is blocking Rhonda with her arm!

Club 33 – Once in a lifetime!
How lucky am I to have such great friends. We were able to secure a reservation (through a friend of a friend) to Club 33 in Disneyland Park. It is an exclusive club located in Disneyland. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_33 ). Our lunch was at 11:00 in Club 33 so we headed to the park around 10:00. We had to abide by the dress code and got the kids all dressed in dresses and kakis. The kids looked great. We rang the bell on the “secret” door and after announcing ourselves, we were escorted in. We were met the open-air courtyard area by wonderful cast member who offered us hot chocolate.
The atmosphere was amazing, the staff was attentive and patient, the food (3 courses for the kids and 4 courses for the adults) was unbelievable, and the company couldn’t be beat. Daisy and Minnie both made an appearance in the lobby and the kids had to get up several times to both check out the characters and to check out the bathroom!!
The kids’ favorite part had to have been the bathroom, carpeted floors, a couch, free mouthwash and flossers! My favorite memory was the napkins – the restaurant replaced your napkin every time you got up, “they are going to have to do a whole load of laundry just for our napkins” the kids thought it was funny and that Rhonda and Madelyn were given blue napkins because they had dark clothes on.
What an incredible experience from the anticipation of getting there throughout the meal all the way to the dessert (salted caramel chocolate mousse tart)!

Until next time...

Until next time…

Decisions - Decisions

Decisions – Decisions



Meeting Minnie and Daisy

Meeting Minnie and Daisy

Funny quotes –

See – “throat punch” in Diet Coke paragraph

“Disneyland is just like Disneyworld gone rogue!” –Leah after spending the morning at
Disneyland Park and eating breakfast at the Plaza Inn restaurant. It is a character breakfast with a variety of “random” characters roaming around. Any character can be seen there, from Winnie the Pooh to Captain Hook…no rhyme or reason, just random characters.

Where else would Rafiki be hanging out alongside Chip?

Where else would Rafiki be hanging out alongside Chip?

“Not the raisins – if you don’t hurry we are going to be stuck with the raisins” Leah
in reference to the particular ride car theme that we would be getting into on “Flicks Fliers” ride. Lucky for us, we ended up in the Animal Cookies car!

“I AM DONE” – Michael
On our last day…it had been a loooong day, and long vacation, he just said how we has felt at one point in the trip!

“Don’t worry, grey whales only like to eat little kids in neon green sweatshirts” – Dale
As we were watching the whales and Michael was wearing a neon green sweatshirt, Dale also had some pretty colorful Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump jokes.

“Get your hands up” – Michael on every roller coaster

“Do you have your exit buddy” – Carrie, a quote borrowed from Toy Story, I was using it
to help figure out who was sitting by who on each ride -and also to get Michael to smile, he thought I was hilarious…I’m glad someone did!

Honor Flight Return to Midway –
Our flight was delayed coming home by 3 hours. We spent the extra time field tripping into the Hollywood Hills to get a glimpse of the Hollywood sign – we ended up at the Griffith Park Observatory to walk around and snap a few pictures.

Disneyland 2016 - Giesekes 210
Upon arriving back at Midway we say fire trucks and police on the runways and near the terminals. Usually a sign of trouble, we came to find out they were there escorting the Honor Flight back into Chicago.
When we were off the plane and heading to get our bags the baggage claim area was filled with people, bands welcome home posters and military personnel. We finally figured it was the homecoming welcome for the men who were WWII veterans who had just returned from their honor flight that took them to see the WWII monument in Washington DC. It was a humbling, amazing and proud moment to watch these veterans (heros) be welcomed home with such grandeur.


Honor Flight Welcome Home

Honor Flight Welcome Home


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