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December 26, 2012
Stanford didn't practice on Wednesday, but the Cardinal still spent plenty of time out and about in the Southern California sun. The team spent the day at Disneyland and Disney's California adventure, enjoying complimentary rides on all that the theme park has to offer.
"It's really special because for us in the regular work week the players have Sunday off, so this kind of falls on our Sunday," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "So this is a day where we let them do whatever they want. There's no schoolwork this time, so these guys are able to be free and have fun, and what better place to have fun than Disneyland."
Better yet, each player was given a "Fastpass," to help avoid the headache-inducing lines often found at Disneyland this time of year.
Stanford coach David Shaw, who grew up in Southern California, visited Disneyland as a child. The trip made an early impression.
"It seemed like yearly we made our pilgrimage here to Disneyland," Shaw said. "Nothing's like the first time you get on Space Mountain. I was probably about eight or nine years old and had no idea what to expect and it was dark and you never know which way you're turning.
"That set the standard for roller coasters for me for the rest of my life."
Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz also had a memorable first experience at the theme park.
"I was talking with my mom about this the other day actually and she said that when I was three years old I came here and only wanted to go on the Dumbo ride," Ertz said. "We went on it about 20-something times and after about the 24th time I said okay, mom let's go home now, so that was pretty funny."
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, who is making his eighth trip to the Rose Bowl, said that the Disneyland trip is a critical part of the game experience.
"Disneyland is a part of the Rose Bowl," Alvarez said. "When you think of the Rose Bowl, one of the functions which is a must is Disneyland. This is a highlight for our players. Us coming out of a blizzard, to walk to a beautiful day like this in the park, it's really a special day for our players."
Stanford will get back to work tomorrow, both on the field -and in the dining room. A closed practice is scheduled, but the real highlight of the day is the annual Lawry's Beef Bowl, in which players from Wisconsin and Stanford compete to consume the most meet. Prior to last year, when Wisconsin defeated Oregon in the food competition before falling to the Ducks in the New Year's Day game, the team which won the event went on to win the actual Rose Bowl Game 71 percent of the time, according to the restaurant.