Friday, February 20, 2015

The Happiest Place on Earth

Sigh.... our last day. Although we were a bit sad about this fact, we were determined to make the most of it and have fun! We used our "early morning" pass to get into Disneyland an hour early. Only a few of the attractions are open, but characters are out and just getting to see the park "wake up" is magical. Both the kids knew where they wanted to go first.. Autopia.. so we headed there to be one of the first in line.

After doing Autopia 2 times Doug headed to California Adventure to get fastpasses to Radiator Springs Racers. The kids and I wandered around and although reluctant at first, I convinced them to do the Buzz Lightyear ride, Astro Blasters. They has been concerned it would be too scary but both were brave and ended up LOVING this ride. We did it three times while waiting for Doug and then once more with him! It was so fun to see my kids rise to the challenge and try new things!

Not the best photos, but this is Astro Blasters! :)

The kids wanted to go on the Carrousel again, and Matthew really wanted me to get a picture of him and his favorite horse, Jungle! :)

We got to see Daisy before lunch.. she was one of the characters the kids really wanted to see but hadn't yet! :)

Daddy is happy and silly! :)

After lunch we headed over to the "other" park to do our two favorite rides before ending our day at Disneyland. 

This sign was posted as you leave the Radiator Springs Racers ride.. I love it!

Ready to go to "school" one last time! 

My pretty girl....

Rupunzel had been hard to find the whole week.. but we finally got to meet her and other than Tiana and Ariel she got to meet all the princesses...yay!

We couldn't leave Disneyland without having one of their famous ice creams! :)

Guess where we went next? Autopia of course! Can you tell they loved it? :)

Disneyland is know for their hand-dipped corn dogs, so we ate them for our last dinner. They did NOT disappoint!

He likes mustard.. can you tell?

Thunder Mountain Railroad is my FAVORITE ride in Disneyland. Hands down. While planning our trip, I really wanted the kids to go on it, but they both said it looked WAY too scary. I resolved that I may not get to ride it this trip, and I was really okay with that. Well.. during dinner the night before, Evelyn has said,  "Mom.. I think I am ready for Thunder Mountain!". She was, but her brother was not. BUT... during dinner this night he said he wanted to go and be brave. So we headed over after dinner and although a little apprehensive while watching the ride, Matthew still was okay with it. So on we went!

After!  They absolutely LOVED it and were so glad they did it! I am proud of them for being so brave and trying such a big ride! Such a fun way to end our time here!

We bid Disneyland farewell that evening with tears in our eyes (well, my eyes anyway.. haha) and packed up to head home the next morning.

Getting on the plane heading home.

There are so many more memories and stories from our trip that I could do a gazillion posts about. We had such an amazing time and made so many memories. I am so thankful we were able to do this!!

And it's true. Disneyland is the Happiest Place On Earth!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

California Adventure

We were up super early to take advantage of our "Early Morning" day that was part of our vacation package. You get into the park an hour early and take advantage of shorter lines, etc. We thought we could use it today when we went here:

None of us had been here before and thought getting there early to get a jump on the crowds would be best. Well... turns out our "Early Morning" was only good for Disneyland, and they didn't have early hours this morning, so we got up early for no reason and had to wait another hour before we could get into the park. I have to admit it wasn't my finest hour.. I was so frustrated and sad... I had been told that the "fast passes" for the popular attractions get sold out fast and that the waits can be super long without them. I had hoped by getting in early we could be assured to meet Elsa and Anna (Evelyn's main wish for this park) and to do the "Radiator Springs Racers" ride in Cars Land (Matthew's main wish). Now I wasn't sure. It all ended up working out just fine but I was certainly not the most pleasant person to be around while we waited for the park to open. Sorry family!

The kids played by this fountain in Downtown Disney while we waited (I went to Starbucks to get coffee.. haha!)

Finally we got into the park and were able to secure fast passes for our favorite things and then enjoyed the rest of our day. If I am being honest, I would say that all of us liked Disneyland WAY better. Maybe it was just the way our morning started, maybe it was that it was day 3 of us being up early to the parks and we were all TIRED, but I know that's not all of it. Not that California Adventure wasn't fun and I am so glad we got the hopper pass to go to both parks, but Disneyland seems cleaner, smells better, and has more trees to shade you from the sun... and we like the attractions better, too! BUT... we had a super fun day in this new-to-us park and the attractions we did do were FANTASTIC!

Real snow in the "Frozen Fun" area... sledding too!

Waiting to meet Elsa and Anna....

They were so personable and actually knew the kids names when they walked up! (Our names are on our tickets, so somehow they get that info to the girls...)

More fun waiting to meet Olaf!

I think this may be my favorite set of photos (the Olaf ones). They were genuinely excited to meet him and Olaf was super funny and nice to the kids, too!

There were some really pretty "photo op" spots in the park like this one. Moments after this photo Matthew had a complete meltdown. Good times.... haha... thankfully he snapped out of it quickly!

After leaving the "Hollywood" area of the park we headed to the other area, first stopping at Bugs Land to ride a few rides.

I love this picture!

We then headed to Cars Land. This was by far our favorite area of the park. Life sized version of Radiator Springs with lots to see and do. We loved exploring!

This place is so cool.... just like the movie!! Our favorite part of Cars Land was the main attraction, Radiator Springs Racers. Although, as I said earlier, we liked Disneyland better, this ride may have been all of our favorite of the entire trip. It was so awesome! Thankfully we did get fastpasses.. the stand-by line had an almost 2 hour wait.. in February!!

We then headed to the Paradise Pier to go on Mickey's Fun Wheel. The Pier area reminded me of the State Fair... hot, smelly, lots of cement and lots of people! :) But the kids REALLY wanted to do this ride. I thought I did, too.. until I got on it. Let's just say I will NOT go again. It was SO high up in the air.. and you stop at the top while they are loading. The view is cool but I was so thankful when we got out of our car! :)

There it is in all its glory. There usually is water at the Pier (it wouldn't be a Pier without it, right?) but they were working on lots of things around the Pier and had it drained while we were there.

She loved looking at things from so high up. Me? Not so much! HA!

 I put on a brave face for the kids but I was pretty much freaking out!

There was a "Rocket Ride" here, too,. and the kids loved it just as much as the one in Disneyland! 

There other favorite ride here was "Goofy's Sky School", a roller coaster that really is a lot of fun. We rode it twice and the kids could have done it a lot more had the line not been as long! 

This is a photo I found online just to show you what the ride is like. My kids started out quite timid of the roller coasters and fast rides, but thru the week got braver and braver. They really enjoyed this one a lot.

Evelyn REALLY wanted a fried turkey leg for dinner. I did, too, so thought we could split one (they are huge!). Um.. no.. she wanted on all for herself. And you know what? That girl of mine at the WHOLE thing!! I finished maybe half of mine! I don't know where she puts it! 

The parade at the park was super fun and Doug and I enjoyed sitting on a bench and resting our feet while watching it! The kids, of course, were up on their feet! :)

After the parade we headed back over to Cars Land, which is even cooler at night with all the neon lights on. I think our last couple of hours in the park were our favorite. We had so much fun in Radiator Springs!

Beautiful Neon Sky! :)

This is the last photo I took before my camera got dropped and the lens broke! :( Thankfully Doug got it working again but its still got some issues.. thankfully it DID work for the rest of the trip! 

About midway thru the day the kids asked if we could go back to Disneyland for our last day instead of coming back to California Adventure (we had planned on 2 days in each park). Both Doug and I had been talking about that exact things and while we were walking back to our hotel that night made it official. Our last day would be spent at Disneyland... but we would "hop" back over to do Radiator Springs Racers and Goofy's Sky School at some point during our day. The kids (all of us really) were excited about that and all of us slept REALLY well when we got to bed!