Friday, June 12, 2009

surviving family

This past weekend and most of the week was the semiannual (biannual? Which is the one that's every two years?) Madsen Family Whatever. This year we decided on Disneyland and had my normal brother Andy organize it. Actually he's pretty normal except that he's unnaturally obsessed with Disneyland.

I rode down with Mom and the stepdad to Vegas where the family set up Winter Quarters for one night. My sister lives in Vegas in a brand new beautiful house that she and her husband just finished moving into at 4:00 that same morning. Here's a shot off the loft balcony where I slept. Yeah, long time exposure. Turned out pretty cool.

My mom and dad's theoretical 50th anniversary would have happened this past weekend so we got Mom a big cake. She actually ate that whole thing.

Here is a picture of some of my family on the walk to Disneyland from our hotel (seen in the background; resembles a riverboat). It sorta looks like we're crossing the plains.

We went over to the park at like 7:30 am in order to have that tiny window of time to ride the rides at our leisure before half of the country's population (and many Japanese people) show up. Our first choice? Splash Mountain.

There were so few people there that early that we had the opportunity to ride it again immediately. I and some of my nieces and nephews took that opportunity. In order for some of my smallish nephews to ride, they made me take the "fatty" seat in the back. Then the ride operator was totally like, hang on to your hat! I was like, I just rode this and my hat did fine. Whatev. Turns out the back seat makes your hat fly off, because that's what happened to me. My cool "podgineer" hat? Gone. Hey! I thought it was cool anyway.

Here's a picture that I took of the picture I was too cheap to buy of my nieces, nephews and I just before my hat fell off.

Here is a Kodak "picture spot." Kodak was awfully nice to point out what signs I ought to be taking pictures of.

We rode Big Thunder Mountain several times, because it was only shut down half the time. Most of the rest of my family rode it at night, which I hear is a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, I only rode it twice; both times in the middle of the day.

I'm always on the lookout for places of business with names that look like they'd be in a Simpsons episode.

Speaking of Simpsons, whenever someone says "Matterhorn," I automatically think "Murderhorn."

Here is another picture opportunity sponsored by Kodak. My camera actually is a Kodak. I wonder if camera owners of different brands are as welcome at these "picture spots." I was hoping to find more, but I really only saw two picture spots the whole time.

Here's probably the most hilarious video you'll see all day. It's of Space Mountain (which was seriously closed 75% of the time for some dumb reason and I only got to ride it the once). If you've ever been on it, you might be able to see the appeal in the video. If you never have, you'll wonder why it's the most popular ride at Disneyland. Its appeal is that it actually strips away the sense of sight. That's why it's got the longest wait. Could the same sensation be achieved on Big Thunder Mountain or Matterhorn if the eyes were closed? I dunno. I wouldn't willingly do it. I need to be compelled to have that kind of fun. Perhaps the music helps.

So on the second day, we met for dinner outside the park, but 15 minutes before that happened I ran to Space Mountain (through the Disney Parade!) real quick to get a fastpass there. I barely made it in time to discover they had already booked Space Mountain for the rest of the day! Sheesh. Just close your eyes on some other ride, people.

I ended both days in the magic kingdom by riding Haunted Mansion (while most of the rest of the fam were on Big Thunder Mountain). The second time I was totally alone. Love that ride. It got me so pumped for Halloween.

I didn't take my camera to California Adventure because by that time I was almost out of battery. California Screamin' would have been awesome to take video of, though. Soarin' is plenty fun, but it doesn't hold a candle to The Tower of Terror, which was probably my favorite new thing that I did on the whole trip. Word of advice though: when you go to California Adventure, do the Toy Story ride first. You get to shoot stuff at targets and it's 3-D and you get to keep score with the person next to you and everyone else if you want. The ride doesn't offer fastpasses, so if you go late, it's like an hour wait. Oh! Also the rapids ride is wicked fun with a surprisingly short wait. Maybe because it was a frigid 70 degrees out while we were there. Seriously. Vegas and L.A. were wicked cool over the past week.

So after all that, on the way home I hiked Angel's Landing in Zion's with my other brother. We're sort of the odd couple. We shared the hotel room the whole time. I'm sloppy and lazy while he's meticulous. I think he's more extreme. I mean, the guy makes his hotel bed for cryin' out loud.

Here's the warning sign in front of Angel's Landing.

People who've hiked Angel's Landing know the thrill. The thrill is you could die. They've got chains staked into the rock to hold onto as you ascend. It gets pretty steep and there's like a 500 foot drop on both sides of the trail. We talked to the Zion's shuttle driver and asked how many people die on the thing. He said a couple a year, but it's always because they went off the trail and not the hazards of the trail itself.

Here I am showing how bald I can be sometimes and also how far up we are. That's the Mississippi river up at the top of the photo.

Here's a picture of my brother in his usual pose of, "Here, take a picture of me!"

Here is my brother approaching summit.

Here is a picture of my brother taking a beautiful picture.

Here's an awesome picture. Also, my brother's in it.

Here's a squirrel I met. Our Zion's shuttle driver told us not to feed the squirrels because it brings out aggression in them. I named this squirrel "Tub Gluttonous."

Here I am. I hadn't been in too many pictures so far, really so... here I am. Since I'd lost my hat, my brother lent me one of his Eurotrash dew rags, which I'm sporting.

Here's me again, but showing my Klingon Che Guevara t-shirt. My beard, glasses, hair and rag make me look similar. Like some kind of leftist revolutionary.

We didn't notice how cool these switchbacks looked until on the way down. On the way up, they just sucked.

Yep, so that was the big Madsen trip! Honestly, it was funner than I thought it would be. I actually really enjoyed Disneyland. Possibly even more than Magic Mountain.


Blogger Kristi said...

Mississippi River. That was funny.

June 14, 2009 10:33 PM  
Anonymous chrisrunoff said...

I've hiked Angel's Landing, it's an incredible trek. I want to go back to Zion so bad. One of my favorite places in the world.

June 15, 2009 6:20 AM  
Blogger jaime said...

Did you enjoy Disneyland more than Lagoon though?!? That's the real question here. Also, I jumped a little bit when you came across the abominable snowman on the Matterhorn. I forgot how much he freaked me out!

June 15, 2009 2:57 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Just random Disney Trivia, Disneyland is the only park that has music during Space Mountain. I think the music is the best part.

June 15, 2009 8:30 PM  
Blogger dre said...

Space mountain was the scariest ride I ever went on in my life. Granted I was like 7 the first time but I did close my eyes the whole time hoping it would get over. How did that make it less scary?

June 18, 2009 10:07 AM  
Blogger Charlotta-love said...

Jen and I hiked Angels Landing. Ulg. The way up was awful.

June 23, 2009 1:52 PM  

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