Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hooray for Disneyland!

The plans have been going on for a long time but 2013 was finally the year we made it happen!
On March 22nd we pack the kids and all the fod-er-al and fiddle-dee-dee in the van and after making  a stop for our girls Dance Competition in St. George we headed to sunny California!
We stayed one night in Cedar City
then drove down to St George for the competition  then headed to Mesquite for the night.  On Sunday we headed to Anaheim.
Even as I type this I can remember how I was feeling.   I can remember the air and the heat as we drove.   It was bliss!!!   Having our windows open while we drive and have it feel refreshing rather than freezing was just what I needed.....I needed a break.....I needed "refreshing"!  Our entire family needed to be together away from all the pressures and responsibilities of work, school, church responsibilities and the everyday stuff that takes up space in our brain.  We don't over schedule our kids but even with just dance classes once a week, church activities, Brad's work schedule and calling, life feels like it is moving pretty quickly.   Our Disneyland trip was all about being together and going to a place we all would enjoy without interruptions. 

In Anaheim we stayed at the Raddison Suites hotel in Buena Park.   It is a bit older but decor didn't feel outdated and it was clean.   We were also greeted with smiling faces from the staff who helped us with every little need.   When we first walked into the hotel to go to our room we found ourselves in our own little oasis.   We had a pool side suite so out our door we were in an open space with huge tropical bushes and tall palm trees.   The pool and hot tub were hidden behind all of the plant life.  It reminded me of being in Porto Vallarta where the pathways through the hotel were open  and you were surrounded by beautiful greenery.   I instantly felt a peaceful ambiance!

After resting we got up ate a yummy breakfast at the hotel and headed to "The Happiest Place on Earth".  We purchased 3 day hopper passes for our family.   For the first two days we ended up just playing in Disneyland park and then the third day we spent a few hours in Downton Disney buying our items we had been eyeing up  and then spent the rest of our day in California Adventures.  Our first day the park was NUTS!   I couldn't believe how many people were there.   The lines were 2 hours plus for the more popular rides and 1 hour or 45 minutes for the kiddie rides.  I was frustrated at first but then remembered why we were there.....for our family...for the kids.   Then the frustration left me and I enjoyed every moment....even when my feet were so sore I didn't think I could walk or stand any longer.   When we were in California Adventures the lines weren't nearly as long with the exception of the Tower of Terror and the Radiator Springs Raceway. They were two and one half hour wait.   We skipped them and enjoyed ourselves in Cars Land, Bugs Land and spent time at Paradise Pier...but stayed in the low key areas. We had a huge yummy shake at Flo's Diner and enjoyed our time looking around in shops. One place we found which was really neat was called Disney Animation.  It wasn't a ride but a place where the kids learned about the magic of making Disney movies, creating art and even learning about acting and singing.  That was one of my favorite places in California Adventures.  

On Thursday we headed out to Hollywood and saw the Chinese Theaters and walked on the "Stars".  There was some type of movie promotion happening for the new GI Joe movie and people were lined up everywhere to with signs to welcome Bruce Willis.  The excitement in the air was palpable!   We hung out in the Hard Rock Cafe and shopped a bit then grabbed a bit at McDonalds.  
Our next stop on our sight seeing day was a drive through Beverly Hills.  The houses were beautiful and we had a good time driving around seeing how the other half lives.  :)   We even past a street called Camden Place.   Camden thought that was pretty cool!  

Our last stop of the day was about a 4 hours drive thanks to some terrible traffic.  We went to Newport Beach. By the time we got there it was dark and windy but the kids (excpet for Spencer ) still loved the sand and they looked for seashells with flashlights.   I took Spencer for a walk on the pier.   He wasn't loving the sand and hated the water on his feet.   But he loved looking at it all.  We then headed back to our hotel where the kids crashed after four days of crazy busy fun!
On Friday we headed home and drove straight through so we got home in the wee hours of the morning.   I was sad to have our vacation over but so thankful we got to go and make memories!   I was also thankful we had no illness while on our trip.   The day after getting home Camden came down with a horrible high fever, sore throat kind of virus.   Then Haley got it!   It stinks but I count it as a huge blessing it didn't happen in California.  
There is something so special about being together....just the six of us.   I am so glad we got to make this dream come true for our kids ( and for the parents too)!   There really isn't anything better than being with each other!
Family IS the Happiest Place on Earth!

Here are a few more pictures of our trip.

Brenley LOVED the Mad Hatter shop!

A Stitch hat for our little "Stitch".  Love this kid!

Waiting in line for a ride in Bugs Land.

Haley in the Lego store in Downtown Disney.

I LOVE Spencer's face in this picture!  Pure Joy!  He was so excited to drive!


Kim said...

Cool! I live in So Cal so I'm always impressed when families actually spend a fortune to get into Disneyland. I just take out of state friends to Downtown Disney. :) That's good that you stayed in Buena Park too. If you ever get out to So Cal again, I highly suggest going to Laguna Beach. It's so scenic.

SmallAdventures said...

Thanks for the tip Kim...I will make a mental note of that. We are hoping to get to So Cal again in the next year or two and take our kids to Sea World. Is Laguna beach north or south of Newport beach?
How do you handle all the traffic? And the number of people...I loved visiting but I couldn't live there. But maybe where you live is alot different than LA?
Sometime I want to take a trip with just Brad to Nothern Cal...I hear it is also a great place to travel.

Kim said...

Laguna Beach is south of Newport. Granted, Newport is nice, but Laguna is just a cut above. They have the Sawdust Festival in the summer and it's just pretty.
I'm a native Southern Californian, so I'm used to the traffic. I've got to admit though that I work from home right now, so it's wonderful to not be sitting on the freeway for an hour plus every morning for a normal 20 minute drive without all the traffic.
Northern California is a whole different ball of wax to visit. They have pretty sites up there that are worth the trip. They're a little nutty though compared to Orange County, but nice to see.