Oh Disneyland. I love it so much. I'm a Disney addict. I admit it. I have a problem...but I don't intend to change anything, so what phase of addiction-recovery does that put me in? Growing up in my family Disneyland was our go-to vacation spot. We probably went 4 or 5 times and I have so many memories of the rides, the hotels, the characters, souvenirs, the occasional splurge on room service. It's one of my most favorite places because of all the memories we created there as a family, and now it's even more wonderful having added new memories of sharing this place I love with my little boys and nieces. Glenn doesn't share my romantic draw to Disneyland. He has a hard time with theme parks in general. Lines and crowds are not his thing and he doesn't buy into the whole "magic" thing. But he did a pretty darn good job of indulging me on this trip and buying into the fun for the sake of our kiddos. There are a few things I know that he genuinely enjoyed, however: the giant turkey legs, the Buzz Lightyear ride, setting our group up with fast passes, and giving away our unused fast passes to other lucky park visitors.
There were a lot of firsts for me in this park too. We'd never ridden on the Disneyland railroad, Casey Jr. Train, Gadget's go-coaster, the Tiki Room, or Nemo's submarine ride before, and they were all so fun and perfect for little Tate's age. I think the trains were some of Tate's favorites, for obvious reasons. Another favorite was Tom Sawyer Island. This place was built for little busy kiddos and Tate was in heaven exploring caves, climbing rocks, crossing bouncy bridges, and other such pirate antics.
We even found the pirate treasure. Sadie was most concerned that all these chests had locks but we didn't find the keys to open them.
But those piles of treasure still made for some good climbing while the parentals had a much-needed sit down.
Little Finn was a dream on this trip. So content and didn't let the messed up nap schedule slow him down much.
Sometimes we liked to taunt Finny with his bottle. It makes him laugh...until he gets mad that he doesn't have the milk in his mouth already! He was really content on the rides we took him on. He seemed to like It's a Small World best. I think we all actually really liked it this time. It's very festive all changed up for Christmas time. Finn did get pretty nervous on Pirates and Haunted Mansion, however. I'd forgotten how dark those rides are. I guess any kid would be nervous with loud noises in pitch black darkness.
Tate, Glenn, and Mya running along on the island.
While we were waiting for the Christmas parade to start Tate and Sadie had a hug-fest. Tate kept wanting the hugs to end in a tackle but we kept trying to avoid that as the results would have been unpleasant for teensy Miss Sadie.
Tate, on Glenn's shoulders taking in the parade.
And Miss Mya on her Daddy's shoulders.
I was impressed this trip how openly Disney embraces the celebration of Christmas. They were Christmas decorations. Christmas trees. A Christmas parade. The cast members wished us Merry Christmas instead of just Happy Holidays. The first few nights we were there they even held a candle-light vigil where celebrities read the story of Christ's birth while an enormous choir sang Christmas songs. Seriously? Stories of Christ's birth in a theme park? There are so few places where people even dare mention Christmas anymore. At both of the retail stores I used to work at we were told we were not allowed to wish anyone Merry Christmas unless the customer said it first. I don't understand offense being taken, honestly I don't. And it makes me sad that it's become kind of taboo to plainly talk about Christmas. So I appreciated the openness about the subject of Christmas at Disneyland.
Another favorite place for the littles was toon town. There was just so much for the kids to climb on, touch, push, and play with. Tate could have climbed on this big, plastic fire truck all afternoon if we let him.
And a piano that made silly sounds when you played it. It was a huge hit.
We explored Donald's boat.
And then met Mickey at his house. It was very sweet.
Fantasyland was lovely as well. I'm so glad, once again, that we went at this time of year. I forget how small certain lands are and how crowded they can get. I'm so glad we never had to wait in too long of lines for these really short rides.
Cody and Mya with her magic flying feather.
Aubry and little Sadie.
Me and Tate.
During our trip planning we had discussed swapping baby-sitting for an evening so we could have a date-night in Disneyland. That first night that Mom arrived, she insisted that she was tired and wanted to just take the kids back to the hotel for a sleep-over. So we walked them back, got them set up with movies and pizza, and they had a fun night playing together and winding down after a busy day. Cody, Aubry, Glenn, and I, had what was probably the most fun double date I've ever been on. We rode space mountain, then split up while we waited for a table at a restaurant. Aub and I wandered shops in New Orleans square, Cody and Glenn rode some rides. Then we had a yummy dinner with some great conversation, and then headed to a couple rounds of Splash Mountain. We walked right on and when our ride was over we asked to go again. They just told us to stay in our seats and when the next people in line looked at us with confused expressions Glenn waved his hand and said, "This is not the log you are looking for." And the man in line smiled and said, "Move along." It was great. Cody took one for the team and sat in front and was the only one who got very wet. What a fantastic date night.
I wish I had taken more pictures of Tate in front of his favorite rides. For some reason the Haunted Mansion was right up at the top of his list. He tried Splash Mountain, he even tried Tower of Terror (at California Adventure), but he didn't love the drops. But for whatever reason, he thought the Haunted Mansion was so cool. He walked around one afternoon pretending to be Jack Skellington. Telling us how much he loved Christmas and introducing us to his dog Zero. Mind you, he's never seen the movie. He really got into certain rides and could be caught playing characters from them or humming their theme songs hours later.
He tried Big Thunder Mountain once. Didn't love it. It was a little crazy for him. For some reason half way through the ride he started yelling, "LEACH" over and over. It was like his version of screaming. He was excited and nervous and the word that came out was "leach". He was smiling when it was over though, so we'll take that as a good sign.
Another favorite of Tate's, owing to his new discovery of Star Wars, was the Star Tours ride. I think he rode it 3 or 4 times. It's different from when I was little. The ride is a little different every time and he was always excited to see which planet we would go to next. Sometimes he would just jabber the whole time to C3PO, who was driving our star speeder. Sometimes he would just say "weeeee" over and over. It was darling.
The three daddy's on the trip couldn't get enough of the Buzz Lightyear ride. The line was never too long and with the element of competition and skill involved, it was a no-brainer. I have no idea how many times they rode it, sharing (or sometimes not) new tricks they discovered to get tons of points.
Our last day at Disneyland was a Saturday. We were all beat by that last day and the crowds were much worse. Note to self: if possible, avoid Saturdays, even on the off-season. Glenn and I made the mistake of getting into a Splash Mountain log with two very large gentlemen. Glenn was in the front, then me, then these two guys. We went down the first little slide and we had water come up over the front of the log and the sides. We knew we were in trouble, and it only got worse from there. I'd never had the log literally flood with water before, but apparently it's possible. Wow were we wet.
Glenn debated running back to the hotel to change but soon changed his mind and just pushed through the day drying very very slowly.
Nanna bought Tate the best souvenir ever. His own Light Saber. Which he, of course, calls a Light Saver. He still plays with it almost every day. It was a big hit and poor little Sadie couldn't get enough of it either.
This is a very dark picture from inside the Nemo Submarine ride. It was slow but long and relaxing after a long day on our feet. They've done such a good job incorporating characters from their new movies into the park. Our little kids were thrilled to see and hear Nemo, Marlin, and the gang right in front of them.
Once again, there are so many pictures I wish I had taken. The Christmas decorations were so beautiful. The castle all lit up at night with snow and icicles, the small world ride facade decked out with lights, the huge Christmas tree on main street. Everything was so beautiful and festive. What a perfect trip. I'm so glad we did it, at this time of year, and with all the family who were able to come. We missed Grandpa, Kenzie, and Mallo, but hopefully they can come next time. It was magical. In a while, once my sweet Glenn stops getting the rabid raccoon look in his eyes when we talk about it, we'll start planning another trip! Waahaaahaahaaa