Thursday, May 29, 2014

What To Do In Disneyland When Grandma Comes Along

I have discovered that vacationing with Grandma, in this case my almost 80-year-old mother, is similar to traveling with small kids, although there are some advantages.

While planning the trip, I was euphoric at the thought of taking her on this trip since she had not been to Disneyland since the kids (my son and daughter) were young, and although they are all grown up now they were coming on this trip, too. This trip was a family vacation and college graduation celebration for one of her grandchildren (my daughter).

Two people wearing Mickey ears decorated with University of Southern California stickers

But after making all the reservations, I began to doubt if bringing Grandma to Disneyland was wise since I could not recall seeing older visitors in any of my previous trips. And then I was wondering what we could do together so all of us would enjoy Disneyland and California Adventure.

One of the things I decided was to bring her for only 2 days and not use a wheelchair to move her around. Luckily for me she is still able to walk around quite well even if slowly.

So then the challenge was what to do inside the park since the roller coaster rides or any intense rides such as Indiana Jones were out of the question but then I realized there were several things that someone her age could enjoy, heck I enjoy them myself!

photo in front of Cinderella Castle in Disneyland

Here is my list of what we enjoyed in Disneyland Park:
  • The Tiki room
  • The Haunted House
  • Touring Toontown
  • Walking all around Minnie's house
  • Taking a picture with Mickey at his house in Toontown
  • Taking the train ride around the park
  • The Peter Pan ride
  • Astro Blaster ride
  • Watching the fireworks in front of the castle
  • Watching Fantasmic!

Here is what we enjoyed in California Adventure:
  • The Ariel ride
  • Soarin' ride
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Having breakfast at Goofy's kitchen
  • Eating dinner at Ariel's Grotto restaurant
  • The Animation Academy
  • The World of Color

Yes, we crammed all of that in 2 days but I was sorry to see several of my favorite rides which I know she would have really enjoyed were down for repairs such as Pirates, Alice in Wonderland and It's a Small World.

Now, I got to tell you some of the funny stories while with her in Disneyland.

The Astro Blaster ride
While we stood in the long line I explained to Grandma what to expect inside, she listened attentively but was not so sure about it. Finally our turned arrived, we sat in the car, put on our 3-D glasses, and then I spent the first few rounds or so explaining how to interact with the 3-D screen and use the gun. Then I started to show her how I did it, she finally gets it and starts playing on her own and starts to laugh.
While her reaction time may not have been up to her grandchildren, she was able to hit some of the targets and she loved it! She enjoyed the graphics and then she started talking about what she would do next time to improve her score. Personally, I thought she did remarkably well, all things considered and she even scored 6100 points!

Photo taking while riding the Astro Blaster ride in Disneyland

By the way, when I told her there was a similar ride in California Adventure, she got all excited about it, she was ready!

Minnie Mouse house in Toontown
She thought it was very cute but of most interest was the kitchen area where she found the dish washing machine and the oven making the cake, fun. She wants an oven just like it so long as the cake is real, haha!

Kitchen at Minnie Mouse house in Disneyland

Then we went to Mickey's house to take a picture with him.

Photo taking with Mickey Mouse in his house in Disneyland

Night shows
Watching Fantasmic! and watching the Fireworks while standing in front of the castle (my favorite spot) both events left her speechless and that is hard to do! She loved Tinker Bell and Dumbo flying around the castle, the night ended with her insisting to buy the Dumbo popcorn souvenir.

Dumbo popcorn souvenir bucket at Disneyland

The Animation Academy
Going into the Animation studio was a wonderful treat for Grandma. The big screens showing clips and drawings from various movies while playing the music was nice for her to experience. We spent quite a bit of time in there. She enjoyed the pictures and the music but the best part was when we all went to make our own drawing of Mickey as instructed by a Disney Animation Artist. She followed along and did her best. Here is her masterpiece.

Personal drawing of Mickey Mouse

Breakfast at Goofy's kitchen
While the food spread is quite good for most people, it was a bit of a challenge for Grandma given her dietary requirements but she was most enchanted by all the characters that came to our table, especially Pluto. I think their dog back home has competition now, don't you think?

At Goofy's kitchen with Pluto character

and look at Grandma in her new car! haha!

Grandma's photo in mini car outside Goofy's kitchen

In conclusion, if when traveling with your elderly parent, do as you would as if traveling with small children, go slow and take breaks.

I think all in all, Grandma had a great time but I wanted to verify this. So after we all got back from vacation and met up again, I asked her if she would go again to Disneyland and California Adventure on a future family vacation and her reply was a resounding YES!

Mickey still has it! As for me, I am looking forward to our future trip to Disneyland with Grandma.

Thanks for the memories Mickey.

Family photo at Goofy's kitchen

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Wishing you all....... Happy Travels!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Visions Of Spring In My Local Travels - Part 1

I have lived on both sides of the country; the east, the west and the southwest and I must say that spring time is most beautiful in the east.

Picture of a branch of a Cherry Blossom tree.

Perhaps it is because after a harsh, bitter cold and gloomy winter, we all welcome the warmth and the sunny days spring brings.

Picture of a cherry blossom tree taking through a window.

Spring brings the renewal of life expressed in colorful flowers, the birds chirping, and new leaves in the trees. Have you noticed how crisp all the colors appear in the spring? The tree leaves have a beautiful clean, brilliant green that by the end of summer has turned dark green.

A cherry blossom tree

I love and enjoy spring time. My favorite thing to do is to go out for walks in my neighborhood and watch nature unfold its beauty. I have my favorite trees and yards that I watch regularly.

Picture of my cat among a bed of daffodils
My cat among our daffodils. He tries to disguise himself in the hopes of catching a bird.

A blooming cherry blossom tree in front of a house

In my area the roll out of spring is most obvious when the magnolia trees and the crocus bulbs bloom, followed by the many varieties of cherry trees with their beautiful blossoms. The daffodils along with the forsythia bushes bring a beautiful yellow and the ornamental pear trees with their white flowers bring a snowy white look to the trees, this is where we are now, coming next are the tulips and much more.

Picture of a forsythia bush in full bloom

Picture of an ornamental pear tree in full bloom

One thing I really enjoy about spring is the cherry blossom festival in Washington D.C., the view around the tidal basin is spectacular, but the cherry trees around my neighborhood and in my front yard are just as beautiful this year. 

Picture of a blooming cherry blossom tree in front of the the Washington Monument in DC

A few springs ago, while not fully awake I gazed out my bedroom window and for a moment I thought it had snowed as it all appeared white outside! Slowly the brain woke up and I realized that it was not possible, was late April; it was just our cherry trees in full bloom.

As the blossoms pass their peak, I love to experience the shower of petals that happens when the gentle breezes shake the trees allowing them to fall in what seems like snow, but instead it is all petals. It is most lovely!

Picture of a cherry blossom tree through a window

It is during the spring and the fall when I find myself thinking how beautiful our planet is and how lucky I am to enjoy it in my walks through my neighborhood.

Spring is not over for us yet, nature still has more wonders to show. I look forward to see it all, I shall bask my eyes in this beauty and I hope you do too in your area.

To you reading this blog, I thank you and I wish you a Fabulous and Wondrous spring time.

Happy Travels!


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