We spent Monday morning driving to Ontario Mills Outlet Mall for some additional shopping. Like I’ve said a few times, it’s one of the rare things Lynnette and I actually have in common. I remembered going to Ontario Mills once when I was in college, and I kind of seemed to remember it as a place in the middle of nowhere with a whole bunch of stores. The second half of that statement is still true, but there’s a lot of development going on around the mall. It’s like the outlets are the sun and they’ve built a number of strip malls around it. There’s a Costco, and of note for us, a Panera Bread.
As far as food and this trip was concerned, the only thing I was hell-bent on eating was In-N-Out. Other than that, I would have found restaurants that I always see ads for on Fox Sports West like Sonic and Red Robin. Lynnette, however, had two such restaurants on her to-do list: Olive Garden and Panera Bread.
We knocked out Olive Garden after the Angels game and that was a huge mistake. It was Father’s Day and the place was packed. Our experience was a disaster of biblical proportions. We didn’t have to wait long to be seated, but it took a while for our order to get in. Then it took a while for our food to come out. When it finally came, they screwed up Lynnette’s dish. At least they comped that. I was frustrated and that completely precluded any enjoyment of my Tour of Italy. It wasn’t great, anyway. I don’t ever have to eat there again.
At least my first experience with Panera Bread went much more smoothly. Whenever Lynnette locks onto an idea like this, she hypes it up beyond human belief. She makes statements like “It’s so good!” and I can actually hear the italics on the word “so” and the bold on the word “good” when she speaks. She was right, though, I can’t lie. I ordered a half panini and chicken noodle soup and passed my soup on to Mad. She rewarded me with eyes the size of ping pong balls and a big smile.
The theme of eating well continued that night as we visited with Lynnette’s relatives in a hotel near Disney Land. All they said was “bring your appetite.” “What? Are they catering or something?” I asked Lynnette. She had no clue. No, they did not cater. They made Hawaiian food in their kitchenette. It was so awesome to have a home-cooked meal after a week of eating in restaurants fast and slow. I probably over-ate, and my suspicions of this idea were sparked by the fact that I was making noises like “Oi-sho” whenever I got up from the couch. Those are the same noises my Okinawan grandfather used to make, if you can’t hear it.
We used our Magic Morning pass to enter Disney Land an hour earlier than the usual opening. We knocked out the Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride all before 7:45 and headed back to stand in line at California Adventure so we could get on the Radiator Springs Racers one more time.
Just like last week, I waited in the Fast Pass line while Madison and Lynnette got in line for the ride. Once they finished their ride, we moved on to the Tower of Terror.
I am not and have never been a fan of roller coasters. I am afraid of heights and have never enjoyed the sensation of my stomach bunched up next to my heart. But Madison really wanted to ride the Tower of Terror and well, I didn’t want to let her down. Lynnette ate my anxiety up, telling Madison things like “Good thing daddy already shi-shi’sd.” “It’s okay, dad,” Mad said. “You can just hold my hand if you get nervous.” This, of course, is what I’d been telling her all week. I don’t know if I’d call it fear so much as anxiety. I was fine on the ride up until they open the door up and let you see how high you are. I think I actually said “That’s dick,” out loud. I don’t know. I wasn’t really thinking coherently.
Anyway, after that, we headed back to Radiator Springs to use our Fast Passes. We got on the ride almost immediately because we were a party of three (and also because no one likes to ride in the back seat) and I snapped a few decent shots of Mad enjoying her second favorite ride – as of today, Splash Mountain had overtaken RSR. But we didn’t ride Splash Mountain today.
We couldn’t ride Splash Mountain because Madison had an appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for her Princess Makeover. On our visit to Disney Land last week, Madison tossed a coin into a wishing well near Fantasy Land and her wish was to become a princess. Dramatic irony and all that. Well, prior to actually seeing what her makeover entailed, she tried to convince us that she would be completely fine with going on Splash Mountain in her makeup and hair. I was less certain. I didn’t want to spend that time and money on a Princess transformation only to have her turn into a pumpkin on account of a little water.
Well, once Madison’s appointment was completed and she became a princess, she no longer wanted to visit Splash Mountain, as she understood the threat it posed to her new look. I never really gave a shit about the little things that Disney Land does. Maybe that’s because I’d only been there twice before this trip; maybe because I was too young to observe it or think about it. All I know is that after Madison got made up, just about every park employee referred to her as “Princess.” Disney does a lot of things right, but I’ll be forever grateful for the way they made Mad feel like royalty, if only for a day.
Madison spent the rest of the day depositing the glitter that was dumped onto her head in various places around the park, but mostly on her parents and in her stroller. Since Gadget’s Go-Coaster shut down on Madison and Lynnette last week, we headed up to Mickey’s Toon Town again today to give it another go. Madison and I had already waited in line for nearly half-an-hour when they sent the cars on a run without passengers. “Oh no.” I texted Lynnette. That’s the same thing they did right before they shut it down last week.
Sure enough, they shut it down again. But we were too close. We sat down and hoped it would be up and running shortly. Lynnette acquired Fast Passes to the Roger Rabbit ride in the meantime. I took this picture as Madison and I were waiting for the ride to start operating again. “Do you want to sit on my lap?” I asked her. “No, I have sweaty buns,” she said. Five minutes later I asked her again, and without saying a word, she plopped down on my leg. It was a long and hot day.
We finally did get on the roller coaster. It’s a 10-second ride that I can actually handle. It’s only slightly more daring than the mini-coaster at the Punahou Carnival. But those are the kinds of rides Mad’s into right now. Of course the wait isn’t worth it. I’ll never be convinced that any ride in Disney Land is ever worth the wait. It’s kind of like a microcosm for life, though: You’re already there. You might as well accept the fact that making the most of it means periods of discomfort and frustration in the never-ending quest for moments of transcendence.