From Hollywood, a Side Trip to Scotland

I'm the kind of person who likes to plan every trip down to the last minute (bathroom breaks are scheduled every 2 hours), and when you have limited time and lots of opinions, sticking to a schedule usually works.  But sometimes the best experiences aren't planned; if you're willing to take the opportunity when it arises and go with the flow, you can end up having a great time.

For instance, last week we were driving through the streets of LA, on our way home from a great time at the Disneyland Resort.  It was around 1PM, and we were making our way to I-5 when we stopped at a light and Alfie spotted the Hollywood sign.   I realized we were just a stone's throw away from Grauman's Chinese Theater, so we decided to stop by and do a bit of the Hollywood tourist thing before we set off on the journey home.  We looked at the hand and foot prints outside the theater (the kids loved R2D2's and all the Star Wars cast's prints), had ice cream sundaes at Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store, and were on our way back to the van when we stumbled upon a promotional activity that Disney was holding for their upcoming movie, Brave. 

They had set up a Highland Games station in a small courtyard, and anyone could come up and try their hand at the Caber Toss, Sheaf Toss, Hammer Throw and Archery.  Of course they were sanitized/kiddified versions of the actual game -- I doubt if anyone but the strongest muscleheads would be able to toss a full-fledged caber -- but it looked like a lot of fun, so we decided to take a moment and try it out.

The hammer throw was basically a milk bottle tossing game.  The kids quickly realized that the best way to knock all the bottles off the barrel was to hit the barrel itself!

The sheaf toss was harder than it looked; the bale of hay kept falling off the pitchfork before the kids could toss it, but 3Po managed to hit the target and win a prize (a Merida wig!).

The archery was by far the most popular station.  Even grownups wanted to try it!  An archery expert was on hand to fit participants with bows and arrows and give them a crash course in archery.  Everyone had 3 attempts to hit the bullseye in order to win a prize (a Merida wig).  Merida must have been watching over us, because Jammy shot the bullseye on his third try, and Alfie did it twice!

Everyone who completed all four activities received their choice of a set of Brave postcards, or a Brave paper fan.  To add to the festivities, there were performances by a group of young Scottish Highland dancers, accompanied by a live bagpipe.  It was a fun way to spend a few hours and a great way to get everyone excited about the upcoming Brave movie (as if we aren't excited enough already!).

We had such a great time, we ended up staying till 4:30.  We had to drive through the night and got home at 11:00PM, but it was totally worth it.  The kids got to see a bit of Hollywood, the boys got a cute Disney pin to add to their collection, everyone got to shoot a bow and arrow, and Alfie even got a head of hair to wear to the Brave premiere.   Here's to spontaneity!

Check out more photos of our Hollywood/Scotland adventure on our Flickr page.

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