Kung Fu Panda Review

I had the opportunity to go out with the family to see Kung Fu Panda.  This was not a movie i was looking forward to but I am always up to get out with the kids on the weekend.  I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old.  We were not sure how are two year old would do.  I knew my dour year old would sit through most of it.

 Overall the movie is cute.  Just imagine watching a Kung Fu movie in a cartoon format.  Here is the basic plot.

Po loves to play with action figures of the legendary Furious Five—Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey. He dreams of being in their ranks as a true deliverer of kung fu awesomeness. But, alas, he is only a chubby, stumble-footed and easily winded panda, not a lightning-fast, disciplined martial artist. So he’s stuck in the family noodle business.

When word goes out that a Dragon Warrior will be chosen to fulfill legend and defend the Jade Kingdom from the dreaded martial arts master Tai Lung, Po can’t contain his excitement. With a great deal of effort he lugs his considerable heft up the hundreds of steps to the Jade Palace to see who will land the great honor.

Turns out, he lands it—after accidentally crashing the tryout party.

Nobody can believe it. Especially not the Furious Five and their kung fu master Shifu. But since the enemy is already on his way, they have to do something. If Tai Lung gets his hands on the lauded Dragon Scroll, he will surely be powerful enough to rule the world. Po must do whatever it takes to face the fearsome and treacherous foe. Uh … right after lunch, that is. ”

Overall the movie is fun.  My two year old was not into the movie that much.  My four year old got up a few times to go to the bathroom and since he saw his sister walking around, he want to do the same thing but he ended up watching 75% of the movie.  I asked him if he liked the movie and he gave me an enthusiastic yes!  What I saw of the movie, I enjoyed.  I would recommend taking your kids.  From personal experiences, I know my kids will copy what other kids do.  If they see someone else up, then they will do the same.  My son is older and better now.  i would take him to most kid’s movie.  My daughter I will probally wait another half year. 

So I would give Kung Fu Panda 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.  I would recommend it to anyone with kids or without.  In regards to taking the kids to the theater, it really depends on the kid.  It can be hit or miss, so beware.  The first time I took my son to see a movie (Cars), he watched about 10 minutes of the movie and walked out.  I would say this is definitely one of the best kid’s movie of 2008.

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Kids are a blast

It was quite empty at swimming lessons today.  I was surprised at how many kids were not there.  I guess many families like to take Friday off to get away for weekend activities. 

After swimming, we went to a free concert in the park.  The concert was geared for children with kid’s music.  Of course, my kids, would rather run around and somehow sneak over to the playground than listen to the music.  It was a great workout for me on a Friday evening.  The things we do for kids and they like to enjoy the simple things. The kids like to see how far can we wander from dad before he notices we are gone or they think maybe we can outrun him.  At least they run in a pack going in one direction.

Swimming lessons

It is summertime and now we are taking the boy to swimming lessons down at the local pool.  It seems he is having a blast.  Everyday he is very eager to goto swimming lessons.  I hope that by the end of summer he can swim well enough that I don’t have to worry about him in a swimming pool.  They have him jumping into the pool and I really hope I can get him to jump in our pool.  I am glad he enjoys the water. 

I remember as a kid going down to the local pool to learn to swim too.  We lived very close to Biola University in La Mirada and as kids we would use there pool, which was open to the public.  I remember only taking a lesson or two there.  I am still not a great swimmer today but we did have lots of fun at that pool.  The only thing I never did was jump off the high dive there.  I recall getting in line for the high dive but when it came time to climb up the steps, I chickened out. 

Disneyland Review

Last week was the first time we have taken our kids to Disneyland.  My daughter is two and my son is over 3 1/2 but will be 4 in a couple months.  It was a blast!  We all had fun and even meet up with some friends at Disneyland.

Everyone enters Disneyland through Main Street, USA.  Afterwards you are free to venture to Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, FrontierLand, Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, or Mickey’s Toontown.  With our toddlers, we spent a majority of the time in Mickey’s Toontown and Fantasyland.  I knew the It’s a Small World ride is being renovated so I was not disappointed when we arrived to see that attraction closed. 

We spent a large part of the morning in Mickey’s Toontown.  We were able to explore Mickey’s and Minnie’s House.  The kids climbed around in the Chip n Dale Treehouse.  My two year old daughter road  the Gadget’s Go Coaster about four times.  My son did not go on that coaster until his friend came, whom we were meeting at the park, and then he road the coaster once.  We even road the Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin ride.  The great thing about Mickey’s Toontown was, we meet and took pictures with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy.  i can’t believe how much the kids like Goofy.  Mickey’s Toontown was great!

We spent most of our afternoon at Fantasyland.  We rode the Storybook Land Canal Boats and then went on the Mad Party Teacups.  This was the only ride my wife did not go one.  We eventually came back to Fantasyland after we had an overprice Disneyland lunch.  We took the kids on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Alice in Wonderland, and the King Arthur Carousel.  The kids had a blast on all the rides.

We did have an opportunity to explore other parts of the park.  We took the kids on Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  It was a great opportunity to sit back and relax.  I forgot how long that ride was but it was a great opportunity to sit down for a little bit.  We also went on the Jungle Cruise.  It is still the same silly ride with the tour operator cracking silly jokes.  The jokes are Disney rated jokes we have become accustom to from their movies.  I finally had the opportunity to see the Enchanted Tiki Room.  It had been over a decade since the last time I had been in the Tiki Tiki Room.  It’s were the birds all sings and the flower bloom.   While waiting for the doors to the Tiki Room to open, it is a perfect time to enjoy some Pineapple Whip.  It taste like Pineapple Frozen Yogurt.  The vendor for this delicious dessert is right in front of the Enchanted Tiki Room.  The also have a Pineapple Whip Float, made with the Pineapple Whip and pineapple juice. 

The evening parade at Disneyland is the Disneyland Parade of Dreams.  We had a front row seat near the castle.  it was a great spot.  We did not have anyone in front of us, this was a first for me.  This is an advantage when you go to the park on a weekday.  Please note the park also closed at 9pm to prepare for the arrival of high school graduates for Gradnight.  The parade is alright,  it was not fabulous like the old Main Street Electrical Light Parade.  If you miss the parade,  the you did not miss much.

The only thing I miss is the parking lot.  It use to be that the parking lot was right in front of Disneyland.  Well that was replaced with the creation of California Adventure.  Disneyland not only added that separate amusement park but also Downtown Disney,  a bunch of shops and restaurants.  There is a parking structure with tram service to and from the parking structure to the Disney theme parks and Downtown Disney.  As the crowds exit the parking structure, everyone waits in line for the the tram.  It is just as fun to get on the tram after a long day at the park.  By the way, it does take a little time to get into the parking structure.  Not only do you get to wait in line to get on the rides at Disneyland but also to park your car in the parking structure and to take the tram. 

Overall Disneyland was a fun experience for both kids and adults alike. Going to Disneyland on a  weekday was a great time to visit the park. The lines were short and the park was not too crowded.  Food is definitely overpriced but what’s new.  I am also excited because my kids got there first Mouse Ears Hats.  Don’t be upset if you miss the parade, it is not that great.  Great place to take toddlers.  It may be a bit expensive for a tickets but it is definitely worth the experience for the kids.

Activities with Toddlers in Southern California -Story Time In The Park

Earlier this month was the first installment of story time at one of our local parks.  As summer approaches many park districts will put on story time for families in the park.  This activity varies from one park district to another park district throughout Southern California.  We grabbed a blanket and put it on the grass and watch the humorous performance by the actors

Our story time was presented by three amateur actors portraying Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey from the movie Shrek.  My wife and I  had expected them to present a skit from the movie Shrek.  Instead, each character retold a childhood story such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Three Little Pigs.  Audience participation was encouraged.  It was a fun to get out with the family for the evening.  I can’t wait until the next one.  I really think the actors did a good job with this performance.  Our kids sat for most of it.  It was funny when we first got there and I asked my boy if he sees Shrek.  His response was “That’s not Shrek!”

 Overall this was a great outing for the family.  I am glad the kids had fun.  Well, we will see how the next performance will be next month. 

 

Activities with Toddlers in Southern California -Griffith Observatory

Hi all,

Just last weekend the family took an outing to the Griffith Observatoryin Los Angeles.  There are so many activities available at Griffith Parkbut this blog  entry will focus on the observatory. In one of my earlier post, I mention the LA Zoo which is also located within the Griffith Park area.

We arrived at the observatory during the middle of the day.  My wife was patient and found a parking spot extremely close to the observatory.  Parking is free as is admission to the observatory.  Both my 22 month old and my 3 1/2 year old enjoyed the exhibits.  I am not sure how much of it they understood but it seems like they had fun.  It might have been the fact that they got to run around and see some interesting things.

The observatory has recently been remodeled.  A cafe has been added to lower right hand side of the observatory.  It is a great place to get a good view of Los Angeles.  If there is ever a clear day in Los Angeles, it is easy to see the ocean from there. They have expanded many exhibits to the lower level.  The observatory is nicely laid out with plenty of space to roam around.  There is a planetarium show for a nominal fee but it is not recommended for children under five.  The Hollywood sign is not far from the observatory and can easily be seen.  Parking is a battle but if you are patient a spot will open up.

I would highly recommend taking the kids out to the Griffith Observatory.  If the kids get bored, Griffith Park is a great place to let the kids get out to play and have a picnic.  Bring a sack lunch and enjoy the day.