Thursday, January 31, 2013

Two months ago we went to Disneyland (Day 4)


Day four was California Adventure!  I grew up going to Disneyland a lot.  Jason, Payson, and Jack went to Disneyland for the first time in 2009.  But none of us had ever been to California Adventure.  First, we headed straight to Cars Land and posed for some pictures!

One of my favorite things we did for this trip was to purchase Disney's PhotoPass Plus before we went.  They have photographers set up at different locations to take your picture, which was great!  Jason and I could both be in a lot of the pictures instead of having one of us behind the camera.  While we were waiting to meet Lightning McQueen, one of the photographers took a couple of great pictures of Payson and Jack.  

Those two are such great friends and these are some of my favorite pictures we have from our trip!  Then we got to meet Lightning himself.

 We rode one ride in Cars Land and then headed to Bug's Land because the lines were already crazy long for Cars rides.

Bug's Land was okay.  Not the most exciting, but the kids enjoyed it.

Lucas was super bummed when he was too small to ride.  It was heartbreaking.

We had been warned to sit near an exit for the "It's Tough To Be a Bug" show.  The cast members in the park said it could be intense for little kids.  Surprisingly, Lucas loved it even more than some of the rides in Fantasyland!

Grizzly River Run was a lot of fun.  We prepared with ponchos, but ended up soaked anyway!  Jack skipped the poncho and looked like he had stood under a waterfall when we were done.  It was pretty funny.

We tried the swinging gondolas on the ferris wheel and then made a mental note to never do that again. We all felt pretty nauseous by the time we were done.

We took advantage of the rider swap on a lot of rides.  Jason would ride with one of the older two kids, while I waited with Lucas and the other older kid, and then we would switch.  Here are Payson and Lucas waiting while Jason and Jack rode the Hollywood Tower of Terror.

I had been on this one as a teenager in Disney World and knew what to expect.  It's one of my favorites!  Payson is pretty adventurous and likes the bigger rides, but Jack wasn't so sure about this one.  Here he is clinging to Jason in fear.  :)

The guy in front of us put his hand right in front of Payson's face when she and I rode.  :(  But she loved this ride!  I think she ended up riding it four times total.

Another perk of the Photo Pass that I mentioned earlier is that all of your ride photos are included.

Another ride Payson loved was California Screamin!  She rode this one several times, as well.  This was the only ride Jack was too short for and he was pretty bummed.  Hopefully next time!!

We really enjoyed the Sorcerer's Workshop, Turtle Talk with Crush, and Animation Academy, too.  Next time I hope we can spend a little more time there.

The kids loved talking this little quiz to find out what Disney character they were most like.  Mickey for Jack and the Evil Queen for Payson!!

The Newsies came by with Mickey several times throughout the day singing about a suitcase and a dream.  The kids loved waving at Mickey and getting high fives from some of the news boys.

At the end of day four, we staked out a front row spot for the World of Color show.  We were dead center.  It was crowded, but we had a great view!  Luckily we had our ponchos again, because we got soaked that close!

Gorgeous girl waiting for the show to begin.

Jack passed out in Lucas's stroller while we were waiting.  He wouldn't wake up when the show started.  Luckily he had his poncho on already.  We tucked him in and left a little hole for him to breathe through and he stayed like this through the entire show, despite the noise.

And here's Payson, posing with her light up Minnie ears after the show.

It was another long, exhausting, and awesome day.

Two months ago we went to Disneyland (Day 3)

Day 3

Day three of our trip was our first day at Disneyland.  We got up super early and got ready to go.  We had breakfast and then waited patiently for the bus to pick us up at our hotel and take us to the happiest place on earth!

I made the kids all Disney shirts to wear most of our days at the park.  I thought they turned out pretty cute.

We wanted to be first to the park each day.  We were at the parks during one of the busiest times of the year.  Arriving first can make a huge difference in how many attractions you are able to hit each day.  We also used RideMax to ensure that we got to do everything we wanted to while we were there.  This was the second time using it, and I will never go to the parks without it.  

Exploring while waiting.

Once they let us in the park, Jason and the kids took off running down Main Street!  They wanted to be in front for the Rope Drop.

We waited patiently at the rope in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  I love the Rope Drop ceremony.   There's just something special about the way they welcoming you into the parks in the morning.  

We started out in Fantasyland, hitting Peter Pan, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and the Tea Cups.

Then we headed towards Toon Town.  On our way, we noticed that the line for the Princess Fantasy Faire was pretty short, so we stopped to meet Ariel, Tiana, and Belle.

Belle is Payson's favorite princess, so she was extra excited to meet her and get her autograph!  

Then we hit a few rides on Toon Town.  Lucas LOVED running around and exploring!  It was super cute.

That afternoon we stopped for lunch at Cafe Orleans and had Monte Cristo sandwiches and Beignets that were to die for!!

After lunch, we met Jack Skellington.  Jack asked me to say to him, "Jack, meet Jack!"  He thought that was hilarious.  :)

We explored Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island.  Jack was in little boy heaven!

Of course, Lucas found the waterfall and tried to climb right in.

We hit a few rides in Tomorrowland that afternoon too.  But the most important event of the day was Jedi Training!  Jack has recently gotten really, really, really, REALLY into Star Wars, so this was a HUGE deal!  We made sure to arrive early and sit right in the front.  Thankfully, Jack was chosen to participate!  He was given a Jedi robe and lightsaber and was trained by real Jedi's!!  We got some great video of him fighting Darth Maul, which I think was the highlight of his LIFE!  When he was finished, he was given an official certificate stating that he was a true Jedi.  It was so awesome.

Later on, we had to check out the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!  Somehow, in the gazillion times I've been to Disneyland, I had never heard of it.  Just like everything at Disneyland, it's really overpriced, but it was a really fun experience for the kids.  I love that they do a little "knight's" package for boys.  Jack ended up with a red dyed fauxhawk covered in Mickey confetti and glitter, plus a super awesome sword and shield.  He loved it!

Lucas, testing out the sword.

Payson chose the most white trash hair accessory they offered.  :)  It was pretty hilarious.  I tried to encourage her to do something else, knowing she would like this one when they were done, but she wanted this.

She posed happily, and then took the hair extension out as soon as we left the store.  Other than that goofy hairdo, she loved the experience and walked away with a cute little bag of nail polish, lip gloss, etc.

We ended the night with the Believe in Magic Holiday fireworks show.  Lucas crashed and missed the show.  The rest of us were pretty beat after a long day.  But it was totally worth it!  I love the way the castle lights up and they even make it "snow" at the end of the show.

It was such a fun day together as a family!  There were multiple moments where I teared up with joy, just thinking about how lucky we are.  I'm a sap like that.  But it was such a perfect day in one of my favorite places with my very favorite people!

Two months ago we went to Disneyland (Days 1 and 2)

I've really gotten out of the habit of blogging lately.  Instagram is just so much quicker and easier!  But this trip needs to be documented.  It was a big deal.  We worked really hard last year to pay off our $25k of debt in 8 months.  This was a big reward for reaching a big goal! 

Day One

We left on a Wednesday, which is early out day at school for the kids.  Jason and I got ready and packed, and then picked the kids up around 11:15.  They were soooo excited to be leaving!  And so were we.  :)

Getting gas before we left.  We didn't realize until too late that the date stamp was on on our camera.  I still need to go in and crop the date and time out of all our pictures, but there are almost 2,000 so it's gonna take a while.  Grrrr.

We drove to Las Vegas and checked into our hotel.  We stayed at the Circus Circus, mostly because we got the best deal.  We were on the highest floor and the kids LOVE the view!  

After checking in, we met my brother and his girlfriend and her son for dinner.  Somehow I managed to not take a single picture at dinner.  I was so camera happy the entire trip, that I have no clue how that happened.  :/  We love these guys and wish they lived closer.  Jack and Matix are the bestest little buds and I adore Ashley.  She might just be at the very top of my list of favorite brothers' girlfriends.  :)

After dinner we headed to their place to visit with Devin and Ashley and Matix for a while and then headed back to the hotel to crash!

Payson and Jack slept great!  Lucas was another story.  Jason and I were up with him a lot of the night. It was frustrating.  He usually sleeps in a room with a closed door, so having all of us in one room was too stimulating for him.  We tried the pack n play, our bed, rocking him, everything.  That first night had us really nervous about staying in a hotel room for the next week and a half!  Were we going to get any sleep at all???

Day 2

The next morning we slept in and had breakfast at the ridiculously over priced buffet.  The kids thought it was amazing.  All you can eat and all of those choices?  They were in heaven.  It was really nice to not be in a rush and take our time getting going in the morning, especially after having such a rough night before!  But eventually we packed up and got on the road.

Everyone was sick of the car, but it was a much shorter driving day than the one before, thankfully.  Around 3pm we finally pulled onto Disneyland Drive!!  The kids got SO excited!  (And by the kids, I mean me.)  We parked the car and walked to the shuttle which we rode to Downtown Disney.  

The kids were really excited by every fountain we passed, especially Lucas.  He would have climbed right in if we had let him.

We wandered around the shops for a while.  Payson loved the Build-A-Bear store, while Jack's favorite was the Lego store.  Lucas was just fascinated by everything!

This was my favorite lego display.  It is so amazing to me what these guys can do with those little blocks!  We saw the Hulk, Buzz and Woody, Aladdin and Jasmine flying on the magic carpet, and Prince Phillip fighting Maleficent.  So cool!

Outside the Lego Store we killed some time letting the kids build lego cars and racing them down tracks.  They could have done this for hours.

By the way, we bought a new camera right before we left on our trip.  We hadn't quite figured out all the settings yet, so our pictures are horrible at first.  Neither of us are photographers anyway, but not understanding how the thing worked didn't help.

We had been killing some time at the shops at Downtown Disney because we had a reservation at 5:15 for Goofy's Kitchen!  This was the absolute best way to kick off our trip!  It may be ridiculously expensive (as is most everything at Disneyland) but it was completely worth every single penny.

Payson and Jack posing with Mickey and Minnie bushes at the Disneyland Hotel on our way to Goofy's Kitchen

First thing we did after checking in was pose with Goofy for a quick photo!  The kids were so excited to meet him!  We asked him how his son, Max, was doing and he informed us that Max was here and we would get to meet him inside!  Payson has never been one to like characters too much, but she had no problem with any of them.  And it was fun to see Lucas's first reaction to Goofy.  He was in awe!

After we were seated, Pluto was the first to make his way to our table.  He snuck up quietly and crouched behind Lucas, just waiting to be noticed.  When Lucas finally realized he was there it freaked him out!  He burst into tears and we all laughed.  We're mean like that.  Pluto felt pretty bad and tread carefully around our table the rest of the night.  It was cute.

The kids loved the all you can eat buffet again.  But the best part of the night was waiting to see who would visit us next!  After Goofy and Pluto, we met Minnie...




...and we caught Max on our way out!  (Again, horrible pictures before we figured out our camera settings.)

Each character spent time chatting with the kids, signing autograph books, and posing for pictures.  They never rushed.  Again, totally worth every single penny.

After dinner, we headed to our hotel and got checked in.  We stayed near the parks, but not in a Disney hotel.  We had a special "kids room" at the Holiday Inn (where Jason is a rewards member, so we saved some serious cash!) so there was a queen bed and then a sectioned off part of the room with bunk beds, a tv, and an x-box (which we never played).  The kids thought that was pretty cool!

So we unloaded, settled in, and crashed!