Monday, April 12, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth!

Our trip to Disneyland, 2/22/2010 - 2/26/2010

Back in February Josiah and I took our kids on a 5 day vacation to California. The trip included 3 day park hopper passes to Disneyland and California Adventures, a hotel which was maybe 3/4 mile away, and LOTS of fun to be had by all of us! I knew I wanted to include a trip to the beach as well as a trip up to L.A. to visit Josiah's sister Jenna. It was less than an hours drive...we couldn't pass it up!

We had planned to leave home by 10ish Monday morning (the 22nd of February) for the
6 hour drive to Anaheim. It was more like 11ish before we got away and we had to make a couple quick stops before we could leave Mesa. Including picking up a GPS from my sister Tanya, which we decided we were really glad we had w/us. Not that we got lost, but it sure simplified things. (except the time that we were looking for a gas station and it had us drive around the block to get to one that was almost kitty corner from the hotel. (Where we were parked, we couldn't see that there was one that close...))

The drive wasn't too bad. I had packed some sandwiches to eat for lunch on the way. Since we left so much later than we'd planned, we ended up eating those pretty early on. Josiah and I took turns driving. It's a fairly boring drive with all the straight, flat roads. The kids loved seeing the huge windmills. The mountains w/snow were neat also.

We got to our hotel around 5:30 CA time. There was a little trouble getting checked in. We had booked our trip only a couple weeks beforehand but for some reason (as we were told anyway) we weren't "in the system". Fortunately we had our confirmation receipt w/us so after several minutes of being in the back room (or whatever is behind the doors) the lady came back out and tried to offer us a deal for only $25 more a night on an upgraded room. We said "no, thank you" and that we were "fine with what we had reserved" and after a few more minutes of looking at the computer she said "I think they just painted your room" and asked us to "please hold on" again. A couple of the kids needed to go to the bathroom so I took them and while that was being taken care of the lady was finally able to finish up w/Josiah. They ended up upgrading our room for free because of the fresh paint in the one they had us down for. They were pretty smooth (or so they thought) trying to offer us a "deal" on an upgraded room.

We got settled in and then decided that for dinner we would try the little restaurant that was located inside the hotel. Definitely not the best. I ordered some nachos which the menu said included some shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheeses but instead had some cheese sauce. Not to mention it took quite a bit of time to get it out to us. Whatever though. We know for next time.

After eating we headed back up to our room so we could get some sleep for the busy day we had planned for Tuesday. As it turned out the bed Josiah and I slept on was less comfortable than sleeping on a hard floor. No joking. (The next night we took the other bed and it was a bit of an improvement, but still not super comfy like you would expect from a hotel.)

Tuesday morning we got up bright and early so we could get dressed and head up for our free complimentary breakfast before starting our Disneyland adventure. The breakfast was actually pretty decent. They had sausage and eggs the first and third mornings, along w/donuts, toast, fruit, cereal, etc and the other 2 mornings they had biscuits and gravy plus some eggs w/diced ham as well as all the other stuff.

We headed down to Disneyland by around 9:15 so we could make sure we had time to get our tickets picked up before it opened. They started letting people through the gates at about 9:45, so we got the "must have" picture in front of the Mickey Mouse head flower bed.

We stopped in a couple of the stores to take a peak at what they had to offer. In planning our trip, we had decided that we would let the kids each earn $50 for spending money. We also told them beforehand, that we weren't going to buy anything right away. The best idea would be to look around and see what there is, keeping things in mind and at the end of the day we would come back through the stores and make some purchases at that point.

The rides opened so we began to make our way around the park. Starting in Adventureland and heading clockwise, hitting as many rides as we possibly could! The very first ride we tried to go on was Indiana Jones Adventure, but Trenton was about 2" too short. (As a sidenote, since we've been home, Trenton has mentioned several times that he "hung on the bars at school today so I could stretch myself, so next time we go to Disneyland, I'll be tall enough to go on IJA"...Too funny!!) I almost positive that the longest we had to stand in line at any of the rides was 30 minutes and that was for the Dumbo ride. Most waits were 5-10 minutes. Because of the time of year that we went, there were a few rides that were down for maintenance. But of those, I think the only one that we really felt like we missed out on was the Matterhorn. Next time!

We ate lunch in the park at (I believe) Village Haus Restaurant. Josiah, Rylie and I had burgers, Alyssa had mac & cheese, and the boys split a pizza. I had to make a scene there and point out to the cashier taking our order how poorly I felt their little system was for taking orders. Whatever, my 2 cents isn't going to change anything. Actually, it did for the next customer in line, so I guess that's something! That's all I'll say about that.

After lunch we continued on our journey. The park was only opened til 8pm but we were all pooped by 6 and so rather than stay for the parade, we made our way out of the park, hitting a couple stores on the way for any purchases that needed to be made.

The walk that didn't seem so terrible to get to Disneyland that morning, was almost torture after spending the entire day on our feet. After arriving back at the hotel though, we all changed into swimsuits and headed down to the pool to relax in the hot tub. So. Nice!!

Originally our plan for Wednesday was to head down to California Adventure but we decided on Tuesday night, after how exhausted we all were, that we would instead take a ride down to the beach and then head to Jenna's in the early afternoon to spend the rest of the day at her house.

We all wore jeans and jackets to the beach. It was a cloudy, chilly day, but being that close to the ocean, I wasn't going to pass it up. We had a blast for about 45 minutes or so and once it started sprinkling on us, we decided to head out. It was enough time though. The kids were wet, cold, and covered in itchy sand. Thank goodness for the "shower" that they had right near the parking lot. I had the 3 younger kids pull their pants off so I could rinse their legs. I'm sure it was quite comical for the people walking/jogging/riding by.

We grabbed some lunch from Taco Bell on the way back, and then had to make a quick stop at Target because Alyssa had informed us that she forgot to pack underwear. Silly girl!

We got cleaned up and left for Jenna's. I think we got there around 2:30 or 3. She fed us some delicious baked spaghetti along w/some yummy salad and other vegis. She had also made a zucchini cake w/cream cheese icing that was soooo good! The kids had fun playing w/their cousins that they rarely get to see, and Josiah and I enjoyed visiting w/Jenna and Adam.

Thursday morning after breakfast, we headed back down to Disneyland. Our tickets included one magical morning so we were able to get in an hour earlier than the parks regular opening time. We headed straight to Tomorrowland because we had opted against it on Tuesday, due to some longer lines that by the end of the day, we just weren't interested in standing in. Especially when we knew we could come back and hit them first. We rode the Finding Nemo ride as well as Space Mountain. Then I think we headed over to Splash mountain and rode that a couple times before we headed over to California Adventure around lunchtime.

Before going on any of the rides at California Adventure, we stopped and ate lunch at Taste Pilots' Grill.

Going over the map, there wasn't too much there that we were really hankering to go on. We started on Soarin' Over California, which several people I had talked to about Disneyland/California Adventures before we went, mentioned that one ride as being their favorite and how I had to make sure to go on that one. I was not let down. I will admit, I even got teary eyed at the end where you fly over Disneyland and the fireworks are going off.

We then went on the Grizzly River Run which was fun. The best part was that Josiah took the alpha on the big splash! We walked over to the Pier and stood in line forever for Mickey's Fun Wheel which I can pretty much guarantee I won't go on that one, ever, ever again. The Towere of Terror was another favorite! Although, if we're being completely honest here, that's the ride I was pretty certain my heart was going to give out on! What an adrenaline rush!!

We made our way back out of that park and headed back over to Disneyland to spend the rest of the day. We rode Splash mountain a few more times, the 2nd to the last time being when Josiah hurt his tailbone. He was focused on posing for the camera, and not prepared for the final thump at the bottom of that fall. That put a little bit of a damper on the rest of the trip, but it didn't keep us from having fun. We thought we'd be able to see some of the parade that night, but we were a little too late for how big the crowd was. Maybe next time!

We left the park, missing it before we could even get back to the hotel. We would be leaving the next morning around 11 and saying goodbye to all the fun until next time.

Friday morning we got up and dressed and started packing our bags. At some point, for whatever reason, I went to my purse and pulled out the flyer that we had been given at Disneyland. In looking at it, I noticed it said that on Friday the park opens at 8am. This idea of trickery started forming in my head! The passes were 3 day park hoppers and we'd only used 2! I discussed w/Josiah "what if we surprise the kids w/one last quick trip down to the park before we head out!?" At first he thought it was a silly idea. I still had it in my head though. Eventually he realized the fun in it so we planned to ask the kids at breakfast, "Out of ALL the rides that we went on yesterday, if you could pick just 1 of them to go on one more time, which would it be?" We wanted to get an idea of what they REALLY liked so we can plan our attack before letting them in on our secret.

We finished eating breakfast then went back downstairs to the hotel room to get our bags and things to take to the car. We did that before checking out, so we'd have to go back inside before getting into the car. The kids were anxious to get in the car and wondered why they had to come back inside w/daddy while he checked out. Typically I probably would have just sat in the car w/them while he ran in to take care of that himself. Since we were parked in the underground parking garage, we came in the back way. After checking out, we headed out through the front doors and started walking. The kids questioned where we were going and when we told them we were going to the car, they weren't fooled. "The ramp to get the car was back there." "Why are we walking?" Rylie mentioned that "We aren't going back to Disneyland, we don't have the tickets!"

They still weren't quite sure what was going on when we got down there, until Josiah pulled the tickets out of his pocket. We explained that we wanted to take a quick ride on the 4 rides that we all liked the most. (Besides splash mountain, due to Josiah's injury) At Disneyland we went on Autopia and then Space Mountain (the lines Friday morning, even as early as it was, were noticeably longer than they were Tuesday and Thursday) and then headed over to California Adventure to ride Soarin' Over California and The Tower of Terror. The kids loved it and then we were able to leave knowing we'd gotten all of our money's worth!

We had sooooooo much fun! For the next several weeks I dreamt everynight about rides. Josiah has done a lot of research about Disneyland since we got back. It hadn't occured to me until a couple weeks ago, just how much fun he actually had. We were sitting at the table as a family eating dinner and he confessed how badly he wants to go back. He wants to buy annual passes. That would be so much fun! The kids have not stopped talking about it either and keep asking when we are going back. At the moment, I don't have an exact answer. I can just say that we will!


Lisa Huber said...

going private huh? I don't blame you - glad I'm invited! I have a favor though... can you invite my other email address, I never log into google with this one. Thanks! invite me at:

YogaNana said...

Love all the details! Sounds like it was a super trip!

scrappiemom said...

Remember the trips we used to take? We did if for the memories. I remember you guys talking for days before and after about them. Nothing beats that kind of fun, with the family. I'm so glad you guys were able to make these memories. Your kids will not forget them, ever!

Abby said...

Oh, how fun!!! Disneyland is so much fun! (we went to Disneyworld..but I imagine they're about the same lol) I want to go back SO badly! Especially now that the kids are a little bit older and we can stay in the parks longer and do more things! Oh! Good times! You took many pictures, yes?? I want to see!! :)

Abby said...

^^ sorry about embarrassing :(

Sarah said...

Not to worry! I took care of it! :)

We did take LOTS of pics! I tried to put some on here but it was taking sooooo loooong just for 1 so I stopped trying. I did put some on FB though.

Jenna Consolo said...

I love it! It sounds like it was a perfect trip, even with the small mishaps. I'm so glad you guys could do that with your kids. And I LOVED that you came and spent time with us. We had such a wonderful time, and I wish you lived next door! What fun that would be! Please buy annual passes! You can camp at our house every time you come!