Need I say any more?!
I guess I will so you know how it went. Let's just say this trip has been my favorite one so far. I say so far because we WILL go back. Again, and again.... and again. I was thinking about it the other day how many times we have been since we were married. Because that's when the obsession really started.
2007- the year we were married. We went for our honeymoon.
2008- we went for our one year anniversary.
2009- we skipped this year because we had a baby.
2010- I was barely pregnant with Claire, we were only going to go to the beach for our third year anniversary(without Kael).... but we couldn't resist, so we snuck over for a day. And on the plus side we met some friends who just happened to be vacationing there at the same time.
2011- we went twice this year. Once for our four year anniversary (see a trend) and then we decided to go a second time right before Kael turned 3 because it would be the last time he would be free.
We've been too broke and busy to go in any year following. But I have been dying to go and just dreaming of the day we would get to go again. Disneyland is definitely not a cheap trip. We have been extremely blessed that we have been able to go as many times as we have. Some.... ok lots of people think we are weird because we love Disneyland sooooo much. I don't know what it is about it but every time we have gone it's been a very different experience, and every time it's been.... well, magical.
People also think I'm crazy for taking a baby. I've done this twice now. It's actually a good time to take them. It's really not as bad as people would think. You don't have to worry about buying them anything-food, toys, ect. They don't want to run away. It's great and low key.
Here's just a few of my tips that I've learned:
#1. If you are going and have a baby. Take them before they are mobile. No crawling, or new walkers. If they are 'immobile' then they are happy to just hang out in a baby carrier most of the time. You can take them on any ride that doesn't have a height requirement. And they sleep better while being held too. It was super easy and not a hassle at all to have the babies there and with them in the carrier you still have your hands and arms free. They don't require much. They are still at a stage that they don't require a ton of entertainment, and the only food you need it your boobs, (or bottle stuff.) You can keep it super low key. Just a few blankets, binkie, diapers, and a spare outfit. (you know, for that explosion that always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time.)
#2. Get a stroller pass!!!! This was so awesome. We have used them every time we've taken the kids and they make life at Disneyland so much easier. Seriously a life saver. This year Kael was tall enough to go on ALL the rides except I think 3, but Claire and Molly weren't, obviously. What's a stroller pass? It's for this specific problem. When not all of the family is tall enough to go on the rides. How it works.... We had our family of five and then three other adult family members who joined us. So we would split up and most of us would go on the ride and when they would go thru the line they would ask a cast member for a stroller pass. Then they would go on the ride and bring back the 'stroller pass'. They are good for three people. Then any three people would take the pass to the cast member and you would either get right on thru a different entrance or you would go thru the fast pass line. Something they have been doing is asking you to show the kid(s) who can't go on the ride before they will give you the first pass, then you go thru the line and get the second and the official pass. It saved us so much time from having to wait in line twice.
#3. If you don't mind if your group doesn't ride ALL together get in the single rider lane. This was awesome too. The new ride in cars land has this line. And if you get in the regular line plan on waiting close to 2hrs. We used the single rider line and waited a combined total of about 20 minutes from start to finish for our group!! How did we accomplish this? The first people who went were the three adults and they got a stroller pass. Then they went thru the single rider line and waited ten minutes. They got lucky and ended riding all together. Then we switched, Chase, Kael and I took the stroller pass and they took us to the handicap entrance where we got right on. We finished the ride and met back with our group. Not all rides have the single rider line, but use it if you can. We wouldn't have gone thru the single rider line with Kael because he's too young to ride ALL by himself with a bunch of strangers. But if you have older kids who don't mind riding alone, this line is awesome and well worth the time you save.
#4. Spend at least 3 days at the Disneyland Parks. This is the perfect amount. This last time we would have totally spent longer, because we were having so much fun. If you spend three days there it gives you enough time to hit all the rides and shows without running around like a crazy person. You could do it in two days but you really have to plan well and not skip around and you still might not hit everything. That extra day really makes a difference. We were able to hit our favorite rides multiple times and we weren't rushing to the next thing. We were able to just take our time and enjoy the fun memories. And that will lead me to my next tip.
#5. Save your character meetings for the third day. You will, most likely be standing in line for a while to meet characters. And they only allow so many people in the lines for the characters that wander around. My suggestion is first thing, on the third day, is go straight to the royal hall. Where you meet the princesses. There is a mix of a few different ones. This would be the best way to meet several princesses at once. Then thru out the day take the time to watch for characters in their 'special' spots and get in line quick. It worked out so great to do this the third day because the kids were able to meet enough characters to make them happy. They weren't interested in meeting every character so you don't spend all day doing this but it makes it less hectic.
#6. Pack little things to do while standing in line. I had little bubbles and snack necklaces for the day. And then glow sticks for the evening. The bubbles would keep them entertained, and the kids around them, while standing in those long boring lines. The snack necklaces were great so they weren't constantly asking for food and I wouldn't have to dig in the stroller or diaper bag for something. We bought glow stick wands and swords at the dollar store before we left. They sell light up stuff at night, but they are super pricey, so the glow sticks would keep my kids happy and they wouldn't ask for disney light up stuff. Good for me and my wallet.
#7. Go during off season during the middle of the week for the least crowds. For us we have learned that the best time to go is that first week in March because that's when our anniversary is. But anytime during off season will work. One down side is, that a couple of the major attractions are closed because this is when they do maintenance on them. So you just have to decide if you are ok missing the ones they have closed.
#8. My final tip would be. Just RELAX. Disney has gone out of their way to make this experience a good one. They are very friendly, almost always. We are all human so we aren't perfect. But if you lose something, big or small, go to lost and found and they will help you out the best they can. There was a lady who's son lost his shoe. So they tried to see if someone turned it in at lost and found. They gave them a voucher to buy a new pair of shoes so that her son wouldn't be barefoot. If something happens don't freak out. Talk to a cast member and they will help you work out whatever to the best of their ability. Disneyland is full of magic, be polite and relax, and you are sure to have the best time.
Those are my few tips. Now on to the pictures.
The kids were so excited to meet all the princesses despite the look on their faces. Kael was being super shy but he was loving it. Claire could hardly stand still she was so excited.
Snow White is Claire's FAVORITE princess. She was being kinda snotty right be for we met her so she was crying. Snow White to the rescue to dry her tears.
This has a cute little story.
We were sitting outside of the entrance of space mountain ride after eating lunch. We had just taken a potty break with the kids and as I was walking back. Chip (or I think it was Dale) came over to Molly to 'play'. I was by far my favorite memory because he just sat at played with her for a good ten minutes or so. She loved it! I thought she would be afraid but she loved him and kept grabbing at his nose.
Then Minnie Mouse came over a few minutes after and did the same thing. This was such a sweet thing because the characters are always getting bombarded by people to get them to take pictures with them and these two people came out of their way over to us, to give our sweet Molly some loves.
Claire got to meet her two most favorite disney characters and couldn't be happier. She was set the rest of the trip.
This was the first time I went on Tom Sawyer Island and it was so cool. This was a moment when it was just Chase, Kael and I and Kael was loving all the caves he could crawl in and explore.
Disneyland is our favorite vacation. We have always had a great time there, but this one was special because all the kids were experiencing something for the first time. Kael got to ride the big rides, Claire's dreams came true when she got to meet her favorite characters and Molly was on her very first disney trip. Even though they are young and won't remember much, I feel so lucky that we were able to make the trip happen.
Till next time Disneyland..... hopefully it won't be too long until we meet again.