Sep 7, 2016

Disneyland 2016 Highlights

Without fail - every Disneyland trip requires a family photo on the Jungle Cruise!
I'll try not to bore you will all the nitty gritty details of our trip, but just remember, I write these blog posts as much for reminiscing and memories as I do for other people.

This had been our original plan:
Day 1 - Drive down, La Brea Tar Pits, Pirate Dinner Adventure
Day 2 - Park Day
Day 3 - Park Day
Day 4 - Park Day
Day 5 - Drive home

Except that day 5 ended up being London's first day of school (when we booked the trip, that was not what we were told by the school). Only after we booked our non-amendable room reservations did we learn that her first day of school was actually a week earlier than anticipated. But we were determined to make the most of Day 4 as we could, deciding to drive through the night to get London to school on time.

Day 1 we started out at California Adventure, purely so London's first ride could be California Screamin'. The child was heartbroken our last trip when she saw the ride and then learned she wasn't tall enough. She'd been dreaming of this day ever since! Of course, I forgot to get a picture of her proving to the cast member that she was tall enough. I was a bit of a nervous wreck as being a worrying mom who has irrational fears, believed that London's first ride ever, we'd get stuck upside down and her being so skinny would slip right through the protective harness. I know, I'm crazy. But because of this fear, I made Cameron sit next to her. I did go along for the ride. We managed to get two rides in before Vicki & Sydney had made their way over to us from The Little Mermaid ride.

We then hightailed it over to the Twilight Tower of Terror, and proved to the cast members that Sydney was tall enough. This time I got a picture. Sydney loved it and while London was brave and went on it again even after our last trip and remembering that she hated it, she has decided the ride just isn't for her. Maybe that will change with the Guardians of Galaxy makeover coming next year.

Flashback - to London's 1st Ride in 2014!

Afterward, we headed over to Disneyland for the day, where we spent an abnormal amount of time trying to find something to eat for breakfast. Later we realized we should have just opened up the free Disneyland app I had already installed on my phone! Oh the lessons we learn. I will say the App was great and very handy later, especially when we needed a restroom. Plus, we could see all our Photopass photos almost immediately. More on that in a later post.

Cameron must entertain the caveman in him and indulge in a Turkey leg
London preferred the corn on the cob

This day in the park it was just Cameron, the girls, Vicki and I. We wandered a bit more than I prefer in the park (lots of back and forth it seemed). But we hit our favorites and Sydney got to experience Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain for the first time. London got to go on Indiana Jones for the first time, which she loved Sydney is still talking about Thunder Mountain and asking to go on it. She loved throwing her hands up and not holding on.

We also came to a realization regarding The Haunted Mansion. This was our first time riding it in its original capacity after a number of years. Our last two visits were timed for Halloween and Christmas so Jack Skellington had taken up residence there each time. Turns out, we like the Jack Skellington version better! We wish they would make it a permanent change, but we now know we need to plan our trips during a specific time of year from now on. Which means taking the girls out of school for a full week to have them qualify for Work Study. Which works in our favor as we have also decided we need at least one more day in the parks.

It was hot - a Dole Whip and visit to the Enchanted Tiki Room helped cool us down
Before our trip I had been told not to miss the Paint the Night Parade and this was our only night to see it. During the day a Photopass Photographer told us to consider lining up for it 2 hours ahead of time. Originally, we had planned on finding a spot for it about an hour early. With wait times and the kids getting tired, we ended lining up for it 1 1/2 hours early. We didn't get curb seating but just behind those people. I'd brought along some puzzles and Glo stick wands for the girls, helping to keep them occupied (best tip I received). Sydney and I even stepped away to go on the Astro Orbitors ride. The poor kid just wanted to go on rides, plus she was overly tired and probably a little hungry as we didn't end up having a proper dinner that night. Next time, if we are lining up for a parade, I'm sending Cameron to go get a full size pizza from Tomorrowland to eat while we wait. I saw so many people that did do this, and it seemed so smart!

The wait was all worth it. This parade was amazing! I've always been loyal to the original Electrical Parade but this one blew it out of the water. And right after the parade we were able to step into Main Street and get a good position for the Forever Fireworks 15 minutes after the parade ended. Poor Sydney fell asleep in my arms during the fireworks and missed most of it. Of course, she woke up and was rearing to go again half way back to the hotel! And we didn't bring a stroller this trip, so Cameron and I were trading off on carrying her, which of course meant London wanted to be carried.

Day 2 was a planned California Adventure day. Matt, Lynde & McKenzie along with Matt's parents would be meeting up with us, and they had chosen to get 1-park-a-day tickets versus park hoppers. The highlight of the day for the girls was lunch at Ariel's Grotto, where they got to meet Ariel, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Belle and Tiana. Cameron and I love it cause we can get our favorite Habenero Margaritas there, but we both agree they aren't as good as the ones we had Studio 55 at the Disneyland Hotel two trips ago.

The surprise of the day was how much both girls enjoyed Soarin'. I wasn't sure how much they would, but both came off of it having loved it - Sydney especially loved seeing the Sydney Opera House and London was a bit disappointed that there was no London city included in it, a fact that surprised us all.

That evening, Vicki treated us to dinner at the Carthay Theater restaurant. Our ultimate goal of having dinner here was it included reserved seating for that night's World of Color show. Still, we lined up early and played Disney Bingo while we waited. I wasn't as impressed with this version of the show. It was almost like there was too much talking and not enough music. I remember loving it the one time I saw it on our last trip. I'd say I enjoyed the Paint the Night parade most, closely followed by the Forever Fireworks. I could probably skip World of Color next time unless I'm convinced changes have improved it.

London had one complaint that day - she said we didn't go on enough rides that day. And for some reason it was my fault. Not the best way to end the day, but that's kids for you. I'll remember that the next time she complains that her legs hurt from too much walking around the park next time.

That feeling soon passed since instead of heading back to our hotel, we first headed to the Disneyland Hotel, where London was reunited with her favorite friend to visit Disneyland with - Maizy! It now appears to be a tradition to meet up with our friends the Millers at Trader Sam's Tiki Bar during our Disneyland trips. It's a great tradition I hope continues for years to come. We enjoyed some adult libations while the kids played. The waitress was awesome, bringing them water as they requested. 

Day 3 had us back at Disneyland. And the morning started off at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique for Sydney, Vicki, McKenzie, Lynde and I. Again, I'm going to save this for a later post. This was also the day we would be joined The Millers actually joined us in the parks. Cameron took off with London to meet up with them while Sydney and McKenzie got the princess treatment. We all met up back in front of the castle an hour later for a group picture. Last time, this picture wasn't until the end of the day, which included Maizy asleep in a stroller and all of us looking haggard. It was a much better plan to do this almost first thing. People were a bit annoyed with all the pictures we took, but oh well. We like going in big groups and we needed different group pictures!

From there we headed to Space Mountain where London peer pressured Maizy onto the ride. It worked, at least for this trip. London seems to bring out the dare devil in Maizy that she otherwise does not have for Disneyland rides. Hopefully this time, she remembers how much fun they are. 

From there we somewhat split up into our own families. While we tried to meet back up throughout, it just wasn't meant to be. I'm sure this will be easier once McKenzie and Sydney are tall enough for all the rides and it definitely would be easier if we all started our time in the parks on the same day. But, it was great to see every one, even briefly and we know we will see them again outside of Disneyland soon. 

Part of the reason we had to split up from friends is because we had made lunch reservations at the Blue Bayou on this day. Cameron and I had last dined here when we came for the 50th Anniversary celebration. It's always a fun experience and the food is quite good. Unfortunately, the dark got to Sydney and before we knew it she was fast asleep on Cameron! The waitress was awesome and only charged us for Sydney's drink and salad - not her entree, since that's when she fell asleep. Made for a cute picture. 

After lunch, Cameron headed back to the hotel for a nap since he'd be driving later. Vicki, the girls and I headed over to ToonTown for a bit before Vicki took Sydney into Fantasyland so London and I could ride the Matterhorn. I'd missed riding it last trip and now London was tall enough for it. The new enhancements added to it were a little scary for London, but she braved it out. And she had a blast all the way down - she was even in the very front!

We met back up with Cameron at the entrance of Disneyland so we could take the Mouse ear picture I was determined to get before the end of the trip. Cameron and I had gotten the 0th Anniversary Ears and taken pictures here and now I wanted the same with the family we have since gone on to have. I let the girls pick out their own ears, but Cameron and I both got 60th Anniversary versions. Again, next time I would make an effort to take this picture earlier in the day. 


We squeezed in a few more rides and then headed to California Adventure so London could ride California Screamin' one more time before we headed back to the hotel, packed up and headed out. Luckily, London slept almost the entire way home and was bright-eyed and ready for school the next day! I was glad I had the rest of the week off from work to recover. Biggest thing to come out of this Disneyland trip? I need to take up Yoga! And get back in shape, which I am attempting to do. 

Overall, London's favorite ride by far was California Screamin'. Sydney probably would rate Pirates of the Caribbean and Thunder Mountain closely together. Now to wait until Sydney is tall enough to ride all the rides - we have 7 inches to go!

Enjoy some more of the pictures: 

No comments:

Post a Comment