Saturday, May 21, 2011

'Good Times Were Had By All' Disneyland 2011

Back in February Brad and I talked about wanting to take our first family trip. Disneyland was always a front runner, but we were worried that the two girls would not enjoy it or be able to go on many rides. We asked a lot of friends who have been with tiny ones what their thoughts were and they all said to go. So we decided to go. We wanted to tell the kids in a fun way, so we ordered a Disney Vacation DVD and when it got here we told the kids that we were having movie night and that mom and dad got to pick the movie. We made popcorn and turned the movie on. When the train rides and monorail came on the screen Jackson was all grin, ear to ear. So, we anxiously waited over the next two months making trip errands on the weekends for beach toys, swimsuits and summer clothes, glitter toes for mom, and testing out the new DVD player in the car. We left on May 6th and drove to Vegas. We decided to stay at Excalibur on the strip so the kids could say they stayed at a castle. As we were driving down the strip, walking through the casino to get to registration it did not take Brad and I long to figure out that we were fish out of water with three kids in Veagas. We wanted to take the kids to the M&M store and the Coke store that night, but we were so uncomfortable being out from all the looks we were getting and having to walk through the casino to get anywhere else that we went to the golden arches for dinner and stayed in our room the rest of the night. The kids enjoyed it because we had a room on the 21st floor that overlooked New York New York's roller coaster. (Don't get me wrong, I love Vegas as does Brad, but go as a couple and not as a young family.) As my brother said to me that night, "Tomorrow you will be at a place where you fit in." He was right, we got to Anaheim on Saturday evening and we stayed at the Fairfield Inn across from Disneyland. As we pulled in we woke up Addi and told the kids we were finally there and you could just feel the excitement. We had 3 day park hopper passes and our first day at Disneyland was Sunday, Mother's Day and National Gothic Day. They had cast members handing out a carnation to each mom to pin on her shirt. It was awesome to walk down the main street and to feel the magic as you look at other people, the characters that were out, and at all the sites. Our first ride that morning was Big Thunder Mountain and on our way to the ride we came along Woody and Jesse. Sometimes its not so great to have shy kids as only Addi would go up to them and when she got there she would not leave dad's arms. We got to Big Thunder Mountain and I promised myself that if Jackson wanted me to go on something I would go because I did not want him to sense my fear of heights, so Jackson and I went first and we got a switch pass for Brad. What a blast! Towards the end Jackson was saying 'Mom I want to get off!' We got off and then he went again with Brad. Later that day Brad and Jackson went on Space Mountain and got another switch pass for Jackson and I to go after. After waiting an hour for the ride Jackson came off and DID NOT want to go again because of the dark. We enjoyed the merry-go-round about two times that day, Dumbo once, and the tea cups twice. We watched all the Gothics walk around and in the bathroom I heard a little girl say to her mom, 'Why are there all these people dressed in Halloween costumes?' I got a really good laugh at that. We waited for the fireworks that night in front of the castle, but because of high winds they were canceled, but all in all we had a great first day!!! On Monday we hung out at the hotel, went and saw the movie Rio, and went to the hotel pool. On Tuesday we had made reservations for breakfast with Mickey and his friends. We went to the PCH Grille at one of the Disney Hotels and this was totally awesome!! We met Mickey, Minney, Daisey, Goofey, and Stitch. They came right up to the table and gave the kids hugs, signed their books, danced with them up on the stage and the kids (and even mom and dad) had a great time. When we went to the park Brad and Jackson went on some big rides and the girls and I headed over to the Princess Fantasy Walk. After a looooong hour and 45 minute wait Addi got to meet Belle, Cinderella, and Ariel. Though the pictures may not show it, she was excited to meet them and keeps telling me they signed her book. Throughout the day we came aross Raprunzel and Buzz. Rapunzel came up to Addi in her Tinkerbelle outfit and asked her if she used her wings to fly to Disneyland and if Addi could teach her to fly. Buzz gave Jackson a high five. Later that day we went to Pixie Hollow and met Vidia and Addi's favorite, Tinkerbell. Addi was sooo excited to meet Tink and we were just glad that Tink was there. Tink looked at Addi's fairy wings and talked with her and Addi actually returned Tink's hug. We went on many more rides some for the first time and others for the second or third and ate a huge fried turkey leg (yum!). Wednesday we took the kids to Newport Beach for the day and we had such a great time. Jackson loved the waves, Addi loved having Brad make Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and Kenzi loved the sand and having the space to roam. We did not want to leave the beach and neither did the kids. Our last day was Thursday. We spent the morning at Disneyland and the afternoon and evening at California Adventure. At California Adventure we met Pluto and Donald Duck and a couple of our favorite rides are there. Jackson wore his pirate costume and handed Pluto his sword pen to sign his book and Pluto took the pen and held it in a way to start a sword fight with Jackson. Jackson thought that was pretty funny. We went on Soarin' Over California and Jackson and Brad went first because there were signs saying if you are afraid of heights this ride is not for you and if Jackson did not want to go again I would rather me not be able to go then Brad. So they get off the ride and Jackson absolutely loved it and wanted to go again. I was really nervous and hesitant to go, but I did and loved it. The lady on the other side of Jackson was getting a good laugh when she saw how tight I was holding on before the ride had even started. Later that afternoon Jackson asked Brad if he wanted to go on Califonia Screamin' which is a huge, fast, roller coaster with a loop and they both loved it to the point that Jackson wanted to go again. It was really cute though he kept complaining that his neck was bothering him afterward and Brad said that he really tensed up when the ride took off and was that way the whole time while being whipped around. But he still loved it. We had plans to see World of Color that night and we wanted to make sure we had a great place to watch it as Jackson has been watching it on YouTube the last two months, so we made reservations at Ariel's Grotto since tickets for the preferred seating area came with dinner. We went and got a spot and soon the show began and we all had huge smiles on our faces, but a few minutes into it the water stopped and the lights came back on in the park and there was an announcement saying that the show was cancelled due to technical difficulties. We were SOOO upset! This was supposed to be our big grand finale and we did not get it. Addi kept saying 'I'm so mad right now' and Jackson kept saying 'at least we can still watch it on YouTube.' We left the next morning and stayed in St. George for an extra day and came home Sunday.

I LOVE Disneyland!! It really is the happiest place on earth (even with a few hiccups). You see parents dancing around with their kids, dad's wearing princess backpacks, kid's dressed in costumes of their favorite characters, and more special to me is seeing the magic light up our kids' faces. One of our favorite rides was Small World because all three of the kids especially Kenzi just paused and literally took in everything all three times that we went on it. We had such a fabulous time that NONE of us wanted to come home. I even cried when we left! We can't wait to go back!!!!!!

Here is a link to see our fun pictures.