June 19, 2014

Disneyland!!



LOTS of people questioned my sanity regarding bringing a 3 year old to Disneyland. To sum it up, most of them were concerned that Sweetpea {SP} wouldn't remember the trip, therefore, wasting "precious" money. And, as always, I took their advice seriously…

…okay, I really didn't. I'm not the greatest at listening to other people's advice…especially once my mind has been made up! And I am so so so so glad I didn't. SP had an amazing time and the trip met every single one of my expectations!!! I considered a few factors before booking this trip:

{1} Does SP have the patience to stand in line for 20-30 minutes?  Yes and she was a super star.

{2} Will this be our only trip to Disneyland?  Um, heck no. I'm ready to book again!!

{3} Does SP get scared of rides or new experiences?  Not typically.

{4} Will she remember this trip?  Ha! Trick question. I am all about creating happy memories, regardless if she remembers them or if I remember them. I don't believe you have enough time to "wait" on creating memories.

Your answers to these questions might be different…and therefore, you would have a different decision. Always, make the choice based on your family - not what you hear from other people or on blogs :)

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to take this trip while she is still young is because she still believes in magic. This is a shot of her when she caught a sneak peak at Tinker Bell through the fence! PRICELESS!!!

On to the trip details!! If you are planning a trip, one Google search will get you tons and tons and tons of Disney related blogs with a million tips and tricks. Read them, they are interesting - but don't take any of them to heart.  Remember, you know your family - so make the best plan for your crew. The smartest plan we made was to have a plan, but not be so tied to the plan. Our original plan was to stay all day in the park…find shady spots to rest, but really maximize our day. Our plans changed as we realized we were seeing all the sights we had hoped to in record time. We went back to the hotel for a swim and nap, before heading back into the park for the firework show. Our new plan worked perfectly!

Disneyland Hotel


I wished I had taken pictures of our room at the hotel. The hotel room was smaller than average, but recently remodeled so everything was new and modern. Sorry, I'm the one person out there that doesn't care for the charm of an outdated hotel room! It had a small fridge, but plenty big for our snacks and water. The AC kept the room cold, which made for happy sleeping.

The service at the hotel was outstanding. From the moment we pulled up the vehicle, to the moment we checked-out, everything was simply perfect. Nothing else to say here. Just perfect.

Here are a few shots of the pool. It was large, with three different pool areas. For the most part, the pool was fairly empty. They also provided lifejackets for the kiddos to use. 






Goofy's Kitchen

The food was buffet style and cost $115 for all three of us to dine on hot dogs, spaghetti, chicken nuggets, etc. FAR FAR FAR from gourmet dining, but the experience is why you go. SP saw Goofy, Jasmine, Minnie Mouse, Dale and Pluto. Each character spent at least 5 minutes talking with her. She and Dale spent the entire time "bonking" each other on the nose. Her joy was worth every penny of that meal. Besides, we were too hungry to complain about what we were eating!


Disneyland Park
For starters, we bought a 2-day pass to only Disneyland. We figured we would keep it limited and we are super glad we did. We didn't feel rushed to try to see everything!  For those of you trying to figure out pricing, each ticket was $178.  

We rode in on the Monorail and the conductor let us ride up front with him. SP had a front-row seat. 


Let me tell you - this map was well used. By the end of the trip it was wearing rather thin! We used it constantly to figure out where our next adventure would be. It is easy to get a tad lost in Disneyland, so I would suggest keeping this map on you at all times. And if you are planning a trip, download the map beforehand. It will give you a good idea on how to plan your day. We did take advantage of "magic hour", which allows you to enter the park one-hour earlier than most guests. However, we did not realize the park only opens Tomorrowland and Fantasy Land at that early hour. We would have planned our days a bit differently. 

 
Entering the park earlier, did allow us to jump in the Tinker Bell line and only wait about 10 minutes. We had tried earlier in the day and the line was over an hour. SP had three characters she really wanted to see and Tinker Bell was one of them. If you get into the park early and your kids have a character they must see -- use this hour to your advantage! To visit Anna and Elsa was a 4 hour wait. Insane!!!

Side note: The guy who was managing the Tinker Bell station was ah-mazing. Seriously. I'd hire him in a heartbeat. Managing crowds of children and parents -- getting his fairies all lined up. And doing it with such kindness. Really, amazing. I wish everyone could do their job with a smile and a positive attitude. It would honest-to-God make the world a better place.

Another character SP wanted to see was, of course, Mickey Mouse. We found him in Toon Town in his house. Toon Town closes the earliest of all the parks due to the firework show and we only had about 45 minutes to see the sights and Mickey Mouse. Thankfully, at 7pm, the line was relatively short. We only waited for 15 minutes. However, seeing Mickey Mouse was a BIG DEAL and she froze. She gave him her necklace and then just didn't know what else to do. She told me later that next time she would give him the biggest hug ever. I guess now there MUST be a next time.




Laguna Beach
We actually didn't spend our entire week at Disneyland. We could have, but didn't. We spent a few days prior to Disney at Laguna Beach. Our hotel was the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa. It was great. They had kid activities (e.g., movie night), a great pool and within walking distance to the beach. With that being said, I have no real desire to go back to Laguna. It's the beaches, really. I'm spoiled. I've never met an American beach I loved. I'm sure Hawaii will change my mind!! I hope Hawaii has a chance to change my mind!!

 
Road Tripping
Oh yes, this was another grand road trip. It actually wasn't bad. We left Denver on Friday night and drove to Grand Junction. The next night we stayed in St. George. Our plan was to visit Zion National Park, but since we are so wild and crazy, we visited the urgent care clinic instead. Fun times!!! We easily made it to Laguna the next day -- with plenty of time to hit the pool and beach. On the way back home, we stayed a night in Las Vegas. It was roughly about 6-7 hours per day.


 


Why even bother vacationing? 

Family. Family. Family. While it is GREAT to spend time with your extended family, nothing creates happy, long-lasting memories like hanging with your two most favorite people in the entire world. These moments are treasures to me and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Now off to plan the 2015 vacation!






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