Friday, July 5, 2013

Hakone (kind of) and Enoshima Aquarium

We decided to take Morgan to explore Hakone last week. One important lesson learned: check the weather where you are going TO - even if it is a mere 60 miles away. :)  The rain wasn't supposed to hit Yokosuka until late in the afternoon, so we thought we had time. Turns out, the rain moved into the mountains around Hakone a lot sooner than we thought. We did decide to drive to Lake Ashi anyway. It was very pretty, but without any possibility of seeing Mt Fuji and the sideways rain, wind, and a temp of only about 60 degrees, we decided not to get out of the car. 

Now, this is a switch-back!! Kris had a lot of fun driving around up here. I'm sure I lost a few years off my life and a few years off the use of my ear drums (from the loud squeals of terror from the backseat). 

Since Kris took the day off we didn't want to waste it, so we stopped at Enoshima Aquarium on the way home. 

A note on the picture below: this is a picture close to where the kids and I usually play at the beach. Last month when we were here the beach was covered in nothing but sand. We watched the summer fireworks around the beginning of June and I did notice the next week that there were builders on the beach. I thought they were pulling down structures from the fireworks display. Turns out, they build temporary "boardwalks" (I'm not sure what to call this, growing up at Rehobeth Beach, this is the closest thing I can compare it to). There are buildings like the one below from one end of the beach to the other. And, it seems they are on every beach around here. Some were only one story, covered structures. Others had open decks with chairs and tables. And, others even had a deck on top of their structure with chairs and tables. There were food shops, dessert shops, lots of alcohol shops. 

This was our first view of the big tank. 

These guys were so much fun to watch!!  We even arrived just in time to watch a show...a diver got in the tank and played with them. 

Garytt got comfy in the curved window. 

The bodies on these guys are huge! 

I could have watched this window all day. But, the kids were anxious to get to the next area. 

Jellyfish show. They played music and used colored lights to highlight them. It was very pretty. 

The jellyfish room also had a lot of little sparkly lights all over. See speckled Mackenzie below. 

He was doing his afternoon exercises. 

Sea lion show

Dolphin show!! This was awesome! My camera died, so the only shots I got were with my cell. 

We got to pet fish. :) Garytt wasn't afraid one bit. He went right for the little sharks. I think he would have stayed here all day. And, I think he really wanted to pick one up to hug it. :)

We tried really hard to get Mackenzie to touch, but she refused. She looked on from a safe distance 

She did put her hand in to touch the starfish. And the sea grass. She was so proud of herself for doing that much. 

The sea turtles loved her. All she had to do was put her hand on the window and they would come up to look at her. Garytt tried that trick, but it didn't work for him. 

We didn't get to do what we planned, but we had a lot of fun anyway. And, we added another fun place to go to our list. 

Kurihama with Morgan

The kids and I were so excited to take Morgan to Kurihama Flower of our favorite places to hang out.  Morgan wasn't too excited about all the walking, but we all had fun at the park!

We are between seasons for Flower World, so the fields were in the process of being planted for the fall show, I guess.

Since they were clearing and planting the paths that are easy walks were closed.  So, we had to hike up the hill to the top.  Not so bad, but the heat can sure get to ya!

 I loved seeing the flowers above bursting from their pod.

                                                  We found a heart flower!  <3

Look out!!!  GODZILLA!!!!  Oh......and.......sssslllliiiiddddeeessss !!!

The last time I took the kids here there were so many kids running around that place that they had to wait in line to do anything (and, I had lots of panic attacks trying to figure out where they were at all times).  This time, it was us and four other girls!  So, we got to take control of the whole place!! 

 I was sitting under a tree on the other side of the park when I realized I hadn't heard from my kids in quite a while.  So, off I went to see what kind of trouble they were getting into.  I found them on the backside of the playground on the zipline!  Oh, we had some fun on there!   Mackenzie said that they had never been on the zipline because usually there are too many kids on it for them to have a turn.

This is the view from the biggest tower.  That was the first time I'd been up there and I didn't realize there was such a view from up top!  The circle with the blue edging is a platform with a hole in the middle and a net leading from the platform to the ground.  Garytt really likes that part.  The net walkway to get there scares him though.

One of many trips down the slide.  (turn down the sound....The Boy gets loud!)

Tokyo and DISNEYLAND!!!! YAY!!!!

Finally, after trying to take Morgan to Disneyland over the last 7 years (pregnancies kept pushing the trip back) we got to take her to Disney!!!

We decided to stay at the New Sanno so we could be close to the park and spend the whole day there.  So, we made it to Tokyo around 1100 Sunday afternoon and headed out to explore before our room was ready.  We stopped and had lunch at the park and then took off toward Tokyo Tower.

We're getting close!

When the Tower was built in 1958 it was the tallest free standing building in the world...46 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower that it was modeled after.  Currently, it is the second tallest in Japan at just over 1.000 feet. 

I don't know who this guy is, but Garytt thought he was a Power Ranger, so we went to say hi.

Mackenzie found Miku!  She was so excited.  There were screens and video game consoles in the back of a couple of the vehicles promoting some kind of Diva game.

We went up to the first observation deck, at about 500 feet.

 That's a whole lotta city!!!  And, it's only a small piece!

We found the see through floor!  Mackenzie thought it was great and wasn't afraid or intimidated one little bit. 

This baby, however, was freaking out!  Once I made a face at him he laughed at me and forgot about the long way down.


Kris and I went into the store for drinks and left the kids outside to wait.  While we were in line we noticed that Garytt found something to climb on and peek in the window to see what we were doing.

Monday morning we got up around 7 and hopped in the car headed for Disney.  It only took us about 20 minutes to get there (I'm glad we decided to listen to a friend - thanks Dawn - and drive to the park instead of take the hour long train ride!)  When we got to the park entrance (at a little after 8) Kris was a little annoyed that I made him show up before the park even opened because we had a huge line to wait in to get into the park.  But, as soon as the park opened we breezed right through the entrance and into the park. 

We immediately made a dash for the Splash Mountain Fast Pass and then walked over to Thunder Mountain and stood in line for about 30 minutes. 
At 11 we got to watch the Tanabata Greeting.  Tanabata is a Japanese star festival to celebrate when Orihime and Hikoboshi (dieties) met.  They are represented by the stars Vega (Minnie was dressed as this diety) and Altair (Mickey).  The seventh day of the seventh month is the only day during the year that they are able to meet, and Disneyland celebrates this by having a special greeting parade during the weeks around Tanabata. 

Holy Crowd control, Batman!  That's a lot of people! 

Mickey (Altair, the cowherd)

Minnie (Vega)

Next up:  Splash Mountain!

We watched the movie before we went this time, because all of this ride is in Japanese.

Cinderella's castle:

We found the Dwarfs!!!

Grumpy faces!
We got to fly rockets for a little while:

He got his pilot license

That thing goes higher and faster than I thought


While Kris and the girls were getting lunch, Garytt and I made out our plan for the next rides we wanted to check out.

Nugget Mickey

Mickey sandwich
We took our time eating lunch so the little legs in our group could rest up for the next marathon walk and stand session.  We found one of those coin machines, where you put in some money and a smooshed coin comes back out.  So, all three kids got their own coins.  After lunch, we headed back out to grab our next Fast Pass and then we walked through the toy stores and watched the Happiness Is Here parade (this is the 30th anniversary for the park, so it is being called the Happiness Year).


Buzz Lightyear was a pretty awesome ride!  We got to shoot lasers and for every target you hit your score would change on a little screen on your cart.  The boys did really good.  Mackenzie and Morgan, not so good.  But, that's probably because we spent a lot of time spinning around in circles and giggling!  :)

Pirates of the Caribbean was a little scarier than I remembered as a kid.  I thought all the pirates were pretty funny....this Jack Sparrow themed ride was a little spooky for the little ones.  Mackenzie had her ears and eyes covered for much of the ride.

We wanted to go on the Jungle Cruise or the Western River Railroad, but they had really long lines, so we toured Swiss Family Robinson's tree house instead.

Next up:  Mark Twain's riverboat cruise.  The kids really believed the deer and moose and Indians and dogs were all real.  They would squeal with excitement when their tails would wag.  We just happened to see Pocahontas on our trip around. 

It's a Small World!  We tried to wait as long in the day as we could for this ride so Mackenzie wasn't singing the song ALL day.

Next up:  Toon Town.  Garytt was exhausted at this point.  I ended up carrying him all the way through the line because he fell asleep.  Probably not the best idea to then wake him up and put him on a spinny ride...he wasn't too thrilled and insisted I prevent the car from turning so much.

Dinner at the Queen of Heart's Banquet Hall

Kids had hamburger patty, rice, potatoes, broccoli and Jello.

Morgan and I had shrimp, crab cake and fish.

Kris had a hamburger patty, taters and broccoli.

 After seeing the crowd for the lunchtime parade, we decided to get in line early for the Electrical Parade.  So, about an hour before the parade we found a spot and sat.  Turns out, we were at the very beginning of the parade.  I didn't care too much where we were in the parade line, but I did learn one thing:  best idea!  As soon as the parade was done we made a mad dash to the local rides and we were able to get on 5 rides with no waits! 
This little girl's Disney yukata (summertime kimono, made of lighter fabric) was very cute!

The castle kept changing colors throughout the parade

Cinderella's dress started out blue, but with one wave of the wand from the Fairy Godmother and it was white...

Next, our mad dash to the local rides...

Pinnochio ride. 

 Our last ride for the night was Star Tours.  We all really liked this ride! 

R2D2 is getting our ride ready

C3PO wasn't much help

Trying to hitch a ride

It was a long day...starting before 7 in the morning and we didn't get home until 1030.  The kids were all exhausted (parents too).