A Travellerspoint blog

Disneyland

semi-overcast 27 °C

We arrived at our hotel Sunday morning absolutely exhausted but VERY greatful that out hotel gave us a room at 8:30am instead of making us wait until check-in time at 4pm. We got settled in and then made the decision to stay awake the remainder of the day so we would sleep well and be refreshed for Disneyland the next day. We went to the pool, had some lunch, did some shopping and then happily retired to bed early that night.

Our hotel has free shuttles to Disneyland so the next day (Monday) we woke up, had some breakfast and jumped on an early morning shuttle and headed to the park. The mornings in LA start off overcast and a little cool so it's a bit hard to tell what the weather will be like for the rest of the day. That morning was a little cloudy until lunch but then fined up and turned into a nice warm day to spend at our first theme park in LA.

Disneyland was a good theme park to start off our LA trip with. It's your typical family theme park so not only do you have rides but you also have lots of shows like float parades, laser shows and fireworks for the kids. It doesn't have any big thrill rides but there still are some pretty exciting ones.

Our first ride was Space Mountain then followed by the Mattahorn. We then figured out that the popular rides have "fast passes." This pass allows you to skip the long line-up for a specific ride and go straight to the front in the designated time thay have set for you on the pass. This was very helpful for such rides as Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain which were all very popular and the lines would have been over an hour long.

I'm pretty sure we did all the rides except for the Finding Nemo Sub. The line-up for this was HUGE (about 2 hours long) and to us it didn't seem worth the wait. We did however go on the spinning tea-cups, the carousel, Storyland boat cruise and the lamest ride of all - 'It's a Small World.' It was an experience though!

At night they have a Fantasmic Laser and Lights Show, followed by fireworks. The Fantasmic show is set on the water and they set up a huge spray in front of the middle of the stage where they project the screen on to. Then they have boats sailing past plus fireworks so it was a good show to go see. The fireworks show over the castle was well done too. It's themed according to the park rides so the show varies from Star Wars to fairytales. The fireworks were really well done but unfortuantely I couldn't get the setting right on my camera to show the firworks and the castle in one shot clearly.

Then after the show we headed home at about 10:30pm and had some dinner. They say the average person walks 9 miles in one day at Disneyland so needless to say we slept very well that night!

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Posted by Jess_F 00:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

42 °C

Written by Brian

After saying goodbye to everyone and hitting a few golf balls in the lake for the very last time, Jason (one of the guys that worked in the kitchen) drove us to the Atlanta airport. Our flight from Altanta to Vegas was at 10pm landing us in Vegas at 11pm thus having about 7 hours to see as much as we could.

As soon we landed in Vegas we caught a shuttle to the end of the Vegas strip and went up the Startopshere which is a very tall building (like the Sky tower in Auckland - that was Brian) and has 3 extreme theme park rides on top of the tower. We went straight to the top taking plenty of photos as well as going on two of the rides. The first ride we went on was called the Big Shot which shoots you off the top of the building straight up the needle in 2.5 seconds and then drops you back down (Jess loved this ride haha). The second ride was a mini rollercoaster that tilts down and shoots you right off the edge of the building so you have nothing but buildings and a HUGE fall beneath you. We were a little nervouse before going on this one as we got told that it had broken down over the edge once before. It was pretty scary! The 3rd ride wasn't running as it also hangs off the side of the building and it was a pretty windy night so I think it was a good idea to have it shut off.

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We then walked from the Stratopshere 3 miles up the strip to all the famous casinos and toursity places in the sweltering heat! We went to Circus Circus and then popped into the Frontier Casino which was open for its 2nd last night as it was getting blown up in 2 days to make way for a new casino. Maybe Packer's new one haha. We then stopped at Treasure Island, Paris, The Bellagio, New York New York and Excalibur... to name a few. By the time we got off the plane and into the city it was midnight, so from 12pm until about 5am was when we were sightseeing/drinking and gambling - not such a busy time out on the strip. Because of this we missed out on a few casino shows and rides but luckily we arrived in time for the Statopshere to be open! Our last stop was the Excalibur Casino where we had a drink or two and I had a go at gambling, which i did pretty well winning $75. We got the shuttle from there just in time to make our 6am flight and got to see Luxor and Mandalay Bay on the drive to the airport.

By this time we hadn't slept since leaving camp on Saturday so as soon as we got on the plane to LA we were asleep and woke up 5 mins before landing. We were dying to get to our hotel at Knotts Berry Farm Resort to get some sleep. Vegas takes it out of you!

  • See more Vegas pics in the album!

Posted by Jess_F 22:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Our Last Week of Camp!

sunny -17 °C

Well it's friday and it's our last night at camp. We just finished dinner and a chat with Mark.

My last week has been fun as I only had morning golf classes so that gave Jess and I the afternoons off to do a few fun things around camp that we hadn't had the chance to do yet. Tuesday we went rock climbing (which I did last week) but it was fun to show Jess how to climb. She was a little nervous with finding where to put her feet but she did well. I still hold the camp record for the fastest up the wall which was 26 seconds, beating the climbing instrutor by 4 seconds.

Thursday Jess and I went over to the rifle range and shot some guns while there was a break in between class periods. Jess has never shot a gun before and wasn't sure which eye to look out of and she didnt have her glasses either which made shooting for a small target hard for her. She did ok for not being able to see though! That night we drove a van load of kids down to Stone Mountain (which is close to Atlanta) to see the laser and fireworks show. The laser show was awesome and so were the fireworks as you can see from the photos.

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Today we went down to the COPE course and went on the zip line. I went first as Jess was a little scared and wanted to see how it was done. It's a lot better than the one we had out the back of our old house! Jess had to be pushed off the platform because she was too chicken to jump herself but she enjoyed it once it was moving.

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Campfire is about to start now and it's our final one so i'm going to give out a few awards and present Peter (the program director) with my scarf because Charles (camp director) already has a NZ scarf from when my troop was here and is rubbing it in Peter's face.

Camp has been fun and at times but I have also been wishing it would finish. I've been to a few summer camps now and have liked different parts from each camp so the experience was good. This camp i've enjoyed seeing how much a camp can change in 14 years and seeing how much scouting in America is still going strong. Every camp I go to though is like being back in High School. You have the people you get along well with, people you can't stand being around and then you have those weird kids where all they say to you is "hi Brian" and then you see them 5 mins later and they say the same thing again.

It will finally be nice to know that Jess wont be sick from a dirty med lodge or bossed around by Sandy anymore. I think she'll be happy that she won't have to clean that place anymore or clean out the toilet bowl after Sandy cause she's sick of all the flies on the toilet! Most unhygenic person ever!

I've enjoyed teaching Golf and I hope to get to play alot more when i get back home. Next stop...Vegas!

Posted by Brian_H 16:33 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Rainwood Tournament and The Fun Factory

semi-overcast

On saturday it was the Rainwood tournament, which is an ultimate frisbee tournament between the surrounding summer camps eg, Rainey Mountain, Scoutland and Woodruff. Rainey Mountain (our camp) has won the tournament every year for the past 5 years.

Scoutland had 1 team, Woodruff had 2 teams and Rainey Mountain had an A and B team. So being athletic and being from another country I was in the A team plus they liked the fact that I use to play rugby (to rough up the other teams). I played in the first game against Woodruff's A team and played ok for the amount of time I was on the field. I intercepted a frisbee and then threw it in for a goal. We won that game but Woodruff pulled a sneaky one and made their B team the stronger team. So in the final we played Woodruff B for the trophy. Tension was high so people like myself didn't get any game time as the guys who play Frisbee at College played the whole game so Rainey Mountain could retain the trophy. Rainey Mountain won the game 13-1.

We left the tournament early and headed off to a place called "The Fun Factory" which is full of video games, mini golf, bumper cars, ten pin bowling, go-karts and a batting cage. Jess and I had such a good time getting away from camp and acting like kids again. We paid $20 to play unlimited games of anything we wanted for as long as we wanted. I kicked Jess' butt again in Ten Pin Bowling and the arcade games but she gave me some pointers in the batting cage. On top of all that we won a bunch of tickets on the arcade games so we could get some prizes - in total we won 899 tickets. By the end of the night we both were buggered from running around so we headed back to camp after about 5 hours at the Fun Factory.

Sunday we were able to leave camp again to hit up the Mall so we bought Mark and Jason a thank you gift each (they picked us up from the airport, took as around Atlanta, put us up in that nice hotel and also took care of us at camp). Jess also bought her 30G ipod which she had done alot of umming and ahhing over and also did some other shopping before we head to LA. I bought Jess and I nitrogenised ice-cream - i'm not sure if that's the correct term for it but it's ice cream that has been nitrogenised into little ice cream balls that looks like crumpled up biscuit but tastes and actually is ice cream. It's pretty cool cause it doesn't melt easy and it's crunchy and fun to eat. We then stopped in at Habersham movie theatre on the way back to camp and saw Fantastic Four. Jess was tired of putting up with Sandy's crap back at camp so she didn't want to go back too early. It was nice to chill and watch a movie.

This week Jess and I both have the afternoons off so we can go sailing, rock climbing, shooting and do other stuff around camp together. It's a nice way to end our time at camp. Jess also has photos from the Rainwood tournament she will put on the net and hopefully we will have more pictures of what we get up to this week.

Brian

Posted by Brian_H 06:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

4th of July

sunny

Well yesterday was the 4th of July - Independance Day for America. It's a public holiday in the country but obviously camp is camp so classes continued and everyone celebrated after evening formation.

Brian has no kids in his morning class this week so he's been roaming around camp and helping people out. He went rock climbing that morning while I was teaching :( and Kevin took some photos of him climbing the tower for me. (Wednesday is my day in medlodge so I couldn't go but I have the afternoons off this week so hopefully I can rock climb tomorrow afternoon.)

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After classes and formation the staff headed to Corneil's house (the Ranger who takes care of camp and lives up the road) for a big feast and some running around time. Dinner was 2 large turkeys a ham, potato salad, coleslaw, garden salad, bread and other side dishes. Everyone ran around and played frisbee and I swear it was as if they hadn't been outside for a year. I have never seen so many hyped up kids running around! Must be all the testosterone from being in a boyscout camp, who knows.

After that we headed to camp fire and Sandy and Diamond sung 'Our lady of America.' Then there was the flag retiring ceremony which consists of folding up old flags and burning them in a fire. America has a big thing about their flag and how there is a specific etiquette. When the flag is lowered it can never touch the ground, it has to be folded in a specific way and when it is no longer fit for duty it has to be retired in a ceremony. There's alot more to it but that's all I know of.

There were a few war veterans in the visiting troops so they came down to the stage and burnt a flag each after some of the staff folded up a flag on stage and Peter went through what each fold meant.

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After that there were fireworks (some of the scoutmasters had bought from South Carolina) which were fired off across the otherside of the river whilst American celebration music was played. After the ceremony alot of the kids hung around the campfire the flags were burnt in and stood there salluting for ages. It was pretty interesting to watch. My take on it all was that the 4th of July is more a day of reflection as apposed to a day of celebration. It was pretty intense at times.

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Well it's staff night out tonight so I better find Brian and see what we're gonna get up to. I've also updated the photo album so remember to check that out too.

Cheers

Jess

Posted by Jess_F 10:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Know-it-all scoutmasters and another trip to the hospital

Well the fourth week of campers was an up and down week for me and Jess. I was still very sick from sunday's white water trip down the river so all day sunday and monday i spent in bed trying to get over my sore head and the flu. As i cant take pain killers the two days were very painful. Jess was also sick these two days so everyone on staff thought we were allergic to America.

My golf class this week wasn't as good as the past week, which makes my job harder but fun. I make all the kids that cant play too well tee off at the ladies tees which they didn't like (haha). I have scoutmasters that come along every week to be an extra adult (boy scout stupid rules) which this week wasnt helpful at all. At the driving range I show the kids a basic swing as well as 3 things to work on (for most kids thats alot to work on). But the scoutmasters that came along this week thought they knew everything about golf and stuffed up my program. They pulled kids aside and told them the opposite from what im trying to teach which is far from basic technique. Ohh and then one kid broke 3 golf clubs in 2 days.

Jess didnt have the best week, i havent seen anyone sick so much in my life. She was just getting over the flu until she started throwing up on thrusday night and all through the night. She wasnt feeling any better on friday and had pains in her tummy so we went to the ER. They put her on a drip and gave her a pain relief which when it hit her she was in Disneyland haha. After 2 bags of IV drip she was feeling alot better so we headed back to camp.

Its saturday night at the moment and everyone is out of camp until tommorrow but we stayed at camp so Jess could start to get better. So today i found a site online that you can download pretty much any rugby game you want, so i downloaded the lastest game between NZ and Australia. Which in the end was not a good result for me but Jess was happy and it gave some of the American boys a glympse of rugby.

JESS says - Hey. Mum and Dad if you are reading this before I call you it is because the lines are down. Everything is ok and I am feeling much better now. My head is a little sore and i'm still a bit weak and tired but apart from that i'm feeling 110% better than the other night. Brian is taking good care of me :) I will try calling again in the morning and I'm sorry if you have read this blog first and freaked out!

Lots of Love

Brian and Jess

Posted by Brian_H 04:08 Archived in USA Comments (2)

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