Thursday, October 22, 2015

Disneyland: Paint the Night Parade

 Date of Visit: October 21, 2015

We kept putting off see the Paint the Night parade the last two trips because we knew we still had another trip. This being our last Disneyland trip until probably the next D23 Expo, I insisted that we make sure to watch the parade this time. I know Mik usually doesn't like parades, but I remember him really enjoying when the  Electrical Parade was at California Adventure. Thus, I wouldn't let him talk me into seeing it by myself.

We knew we'd be in the parks at night the day we're doing the Halloween Party, but we wanted to enjoy the Halloween stuff instead, so we picked one of the few nights there wasn't a party during our stay. It also meant getting to see the parade at 7pm, which is much more appealing than the 8:45pm or later times to us.

We headed over to Disneyland from our hotel (Paradise Pier this time) around 5pm thinking we could leisurely get some dinner and/or snacks before staking out a spot. That wasn't exactly the case as already much of the front row spots were claimed. Of course, I knew people had been staking out spots really early for this parade, which is why we skipped it the last two trips, but the park was much less crowded than those trips and I didn't think getting a spot on Main Street would be as much of a problem this time.

Mik's main reason he was resistant to even see the parade was having to get a spot hours early. Thus, I agreed that we would still get the Pumpkin Twist he wanted before finding a spot. After that was successfully acquired barely before they closed, we did manage to get a good front spot right next to the reserved area on the square facing The Mad Hatter.

There is also a wheelchair seating area on the corner right where the parade route ends, but the area was still being used as a character greeting area and didn't get set up until about 30 minutes before the parade. We have used that spot for parades before and it is a good view if you get in the front, but it ended up being even more crowded than where we were and it would've been harder to end up with a front row spot there than what we did.

Overall we both really enjoyed the parade. Despite being reluctant to see it, Mik really did love it at least visually. The only thing he didn't like was that the spot we picked ended up being right under a speaker, so the sound bothered him more than usual. He still agreed it was a great spot otherwise, especially considering our options were limited. He especially liked that it ended up seeming easier to get out of the park after the parade than normal, although that did require us to roll off the curb rather than backtracking to a ramp.

Destination Info:
Paint the Night Parade
1313 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lane Motor Museum

Date of Visit: October 5, 2015

We had been meaning to go the Lane Motor Museum for a few years now, but every time we drove through Nashville to/from Huntsville it seemed to be a Tuesday or Wednesday and it was closed. We almost missed it again because I had completely forgot about it until Mom picked up a pamphlet on it.

Mik loves the car museums and this one certainly did not disappoint. He particularly enjoyed that it was different in that it had a lot of European cars. He found the microcars interesting and enjoyed that they were in a variety of colors, although the signs for many of these were behind them and I couldn't roll him up to read them (not an issue throughout most of the rest of the museum).

The 1966 Subaru 360 Van was another vehicle that caught his attention.

We also found it interesting that there are some photos showing how the building used to be a bakery and gave some history on the building.

One of the most interesting vehicles on display is the 1959 LARC-XL. This is U.S. military amphibious craft. Mik wasn't able to see it because you have to go up some steps to look out the window, but there was a video showing it being driven through Nashville to the museum that he enjoyed.

 Of course, Mik's favorite part ended up being the miniatures. In particular, he enjoyed the miniature dioramas that were on display that included junkyards and a hot rod shop.

The Lane Motor Museum is now one of Mik's favorite car museums he's been to. Mik also mentioned that the museum was a great deal because this was only $9 a person compared to the $17 to $25 a person for the other museums we visited in Nashville this trip.

Destination Info:
Lane Motor Museum
702 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN, 37210

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Date of Visit: October 4, 2015

Mik had a choice between the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or the George Jones Museum for today. He choose for us to go to the Hall of Fame because isn't familiar with George Jones. Also, he thought maybe he could first learn a little about him there and then be interested in the George Jones Museum like he was with the Johnny Cash Museum.

Mik wasn't too interested in the videos playing and the particular music selections in most of the exhibits (it was a lot of Johnny Cash actually, which even I was beginning to get tired of).  He did particularly enjoy the selections in the "Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillip" exhibit, though. He also liked that it was nicely laid out to be able to roll into the listening booths and select the songs.

I couldn't get him interested in the many listening booths in the "Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats" exhibit, but how can you not listen to the original Honky Tonk Man?

As expected, Mik's favorite part was the cars including Webb Pierce's silver dollar convertible. Taylor Swift's sparkly guitar also really caught his attention.

Accessibility Notes:
  • To get up to the entrance is a ramp on the side of the building to the right of the main entrance that isn't entirely obvious, but also not that hard to notice.
  • The elevator situation for navigating between the levels is again not entirely obvious, but it actually can be extremely confusing. Everyone starts by taking the elevators to the third floor. The signage that points to continue to the second floor only leads you to steps. We were going to head back to the elevators we came up, but I noticed an elevator by what is currently the exhibits on Eric Church and Stringbean. This worked no problem other than Mom decided to continue down to the first floor to go to the restroom and then couldn't get back up because you need your ticket to get back up and I had them all. The second floor and museum visit ends at the Hall of Fame and again it's steps. This time you're closer to the first set of elevators. The elevator locations are pretty conveniently close to the stairs, but they really should have some signage to tell you where to go, especially from the 3rd to the 2nd as that elevator is easy to miss.

Destination Info:
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 Fifth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Opry Country Classics at the Ryman Auditorium

Date of Visit: October 1, 2015

How I got Mik to even agree to go the Opry I don't know, but he went and despite finding it too loud enjoyed it enough that he is not ruling out ever going again. His main problem was it was too loud and I don't remember it being that loud when Mom and I went last December, but we sat in the balcony that time and it may be louder on the main floor.

The location and view of the seats on the main floor were pretty good. The only annoying thing was the usher had people come into our row from our side when there seats were actually closer to the other end of the row. It's hard enough letting people into your row regularly, but the way the wheelchair spot is at end of row makes it even harder.

Destination Info:
Ryman Auditorium 
116 5th Ave North
Nashville, TN 37219

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Johnny Cash Museum

 Date of Visit: October 1, 2015

Mik knew about at least some of Johnny Cash's music (mainly "Walk the Line"), but he was interested in visiting the museum when I mentioned it when planning our Nashville trip because he did not really know much about Johnny Cash. The museum is small, but it did provide a good overview of Johnny Cash's life and career (music, TV, film).

Throughout there are interactive iPad displays. These were interesting, but they were mostly too high for Mik to use. The ones at the beginning with videos of Johnny Cash performing songs in each decade of his career Mik couldn't really reach, but would've enjoyed more than one song from if only the headphones weren't too big as that was the aspect he found too frustrating.

Mik's favorite part was the area about Johnny Cash and the Bicentennial in Washington, D.C. He really enjoyed watching Johnny Cash read "Ragged Old Flag." He also liked watching the "Hurt" music video at the end.

The admission price is a little steep at $17/person, but it was still a worthwhile experience. It just would've been better if the iPad displays were easier for Mik to use or at least the headphones fit better for him.

Destination Info:
Johnny Cash Museum
199 3rd Ave South
Nashville, TN 37201

Thursday, September 17, 2015

National Museum of American History: Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910

Date of Visit: September 16, 2015

The "Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910" exhibit features examples of science fiction literature and explores how developments in science influenced fiction. It was interesting how it was organized by chapters with each featuring some examples of different types of science fiction, such as Chapter 1: Terra Incognita about unknown lands and Chapter 5: Rise of Machines that included Tik Tok from the Oz books. Mik particularly enjoyed looking at the various illustrations that were on display.

Destination Info:
National Museum of American History
1400 Constitution Ave NW
Washington DC

Metro Accessibility Note: Closest metro station is Federal Triangle (Blue/Orange/Silver). Smithsonian (Blue/Orange/Silver) is often also recommended as nearby for this museum and if you take the escalator exit it probably is closer or same distance as Federal Triangle, but the elevator is several blocks further, so Federal Triangle is definitely closest if you are exiting Metro via elevator. Of course, we are always partial to Archives (Yellow/Green) since it's a shorter train ride for us to take Yellow instead of Blue into D.C. and it's only a little more walking.

National Archives: Spirited Republic Exhibit

Date of Visit: September 16, 2015

Now that summer is over and the crowds are slim to none again, we finally got to the National Archives to see the "Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History" temporary exhibit. While the exhibit was a good brief timeline history of alcohol in American history with most of the focus on temperance and the Prohibition era, it was overall kind of disappointing.

I guess we mainly were disappointed because we tend to find the temporary exhibits here very interesting and this time it wasn't anything new to learn. However, it also seemed kind of limited in artifacts on display. Obviously as an Archives exhibit, the majority of items on display are always documents, but there is still usually more variety to types of documents along with artifacts either from the Archives collection or on loan from other places (often Smithsonian). This time it just seemed very heavy on letters and in particular it seems there could've been more of the patent and advertisement things. There were some items, but it was mainly just a drunkometer, which was actually very interesting.

Still worth a quick visit to the National Archives, especially since there was pretty much no other visitors making it easy to see everything at your own pace even if there really wasn't that much to see.

Destination Info:
National Archives
Constitution Ave NW (between 7th & 9th Avenue)
Washington, DC