Disneyland was wonderful! The kids had such a great time, and so did we. Andrew kept saying all week, “Thank you so much for bringing us here!”
The kids and I drove out on Sunday. I would have preferred to drive on Saturday, but the hotels were booked and we couldn't find a hotel room for Saturday night. We left at around 9am and got there around 3:30pm. We only made one stop but we hit some traffic. First we went to the hotel and checked in and brought all the bags to the room. Then we picked up Michael (he had been at a convention) and drove to Uncle Jim’s. He had made us hamburgers and potatoes and corn on the grill and we had a nice visit.
The crowds at Disneyland weren’t too bad overall. We were able to ride almost all of our favorites multiple times. Before we went, we made a trip to the Disney Store to buy tee shirts. Each of the kids got one, and they also had a budget for souvenirs at Disneyland. Each child also had a small backpack to hold their jacket (it got cold most evenings), poncho (which we never needed), and snacks/lunch and water bottle. The kids did great with this. They packed their lunchboxes themselves every morning and kept good track of their backpacks. I wanted to avoid buying snacks in the park, but the kids did have a budget that they could choose to spend on treats/snacks if they wanted. We usually ate breakfast before we went and ate at one of the park restaurants each day.
Monday morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then headed to Disneyland as early as we could. We headed straight for Space Mountain, where we got Fast Passes and then stood in the Standby line. We all went on the ride once, and then Michael and the boys went on a couple more times with the Fast Passes. We spend most of the morning in Tomorrowland. It was my goal to avoid zig-zagging across the park so we could conserve our energy, and it went pretty well. We had lunch at the Golden Horseshoe Review, where they called Michael onstage to play the town drunk in their play. It was a re-enactment of a bank robbery—they were trying to figure out who did it! Michael had to say, "I'll drink to that!" multiple times. It was really cute. We didn't bother to tell them that he's never had a drink in his life, lol!
On Tuesday we went to California Adventure. We headed straight for Radiator Springs Racers, which was a good thing because the Fast Passes go quickly! I also ran and got Fast Passes to meet Anna and Elsa. I really liked California Adventure. The California Screamin’ roller coaster was awesome! We ran into the Astons there, which was cool. They are a senior missionary couple we knew in Alabama. They were with all of their grandchildren. Daniel loved Cars Land; we all did, really. We ate lunch at Flo’s V8 Café. Michael and I hated the Goofy Flight School roller coaster, but some of the kids liked it. We all liked the Golden Zephyr and Silly Symphony Swings. Those rides were very fun and relaxing. Tuesday night we bought Papa John’s on the way back to the hotel, but most of the kids were asleep before they could eat it!
On Wednesday morning, we met the Swensons for breakfast at Denny’s. They are our friends from Alabama, and their daughter Annie Mae was one of Jonathan's best friends. We were so grateful to them that they would drive to Anaheim to see us (it was about an hour drive, I think) and it was wonderful to visit with them! We spent the rest of the day at Disneyland. That night we stayed for Fantasia. The kids were frustrated that they couldn’t see it very well, but the fireworks were great!
Thursday morning we met Uncle Jim for breakfast at the Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney. It was a very cool restaurant, and we had a nice visit. From there, we said goodbye and took the Monorail into Disneyland. It goes right to Tomorrowland. We had another fun day and got to ride tons of rides. We had a late lunch at the French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square, where a band played and threw us Mardi Gras beads. I had been looking forward to getting an chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich on Main Street (like the ones at Disney World), but they only had it as a sundae and the ice cream shop was packed, so Michael took us all to Dairy Queen that night. :-)
After much debate, we decided to spend the last day at California Adventure. Really, we should have just gone for four days and called it good because Friday was a bit of a disaster. We still had fun and the kids had a good attitude, but it was rough. As we were waiting to go on Mickey’s Fun Wheel (Ferris wheel), Jonathan started crying. We had no idea what was wrong. Michael picked him up and held him, and then just as we were about to get on the ride, Jonathan vomited. Poor little guy! We took him somewhere to cool off and then Michael watched him while the kids and I went to the Standby line for Radiator Springs Racers. We didn't get to the park until late morning because we had checked out of our hotel and packed the car, and by the time we got there the Fast Passes were gone! It was almost our turn (the 90 minute wait turned into 2 hours by then) when they announced that the ride was shutting down. They didn’t know how long it would take. The kids wanted to wait, and we did for a little while, but then we had to give up. But not before they gave us a free Fastpass to any other attraction for all seven of us. Woo hoo! We met up with Michael and Jonathan (who was feeling better by then) and we all went to the Frozen Sing-Along. The lady said, “Oh no, we only take our own Fast Passes,” but I showed her what the ticket said and she let us through. The show was pretty cute. After that we went to see Turtle Talk with Crush and then went home. We got in at about 2am.
I am so grateful that we were able to go on this trip. Even with the rough day we had on Friday, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.