Monday, August 2, 2010

Well . . . we did it . . .

My last post was on June 22nd and at that time we were contemplating going to Disneyland. Well, we did more than contemplate--we did it! In fact, we left on July 4th -- a mere 12 days after we started talking about it. I'm really glad that we just jumped forward and did it because it turned out sooo great! We rented a mini-van and got a portable DVD player for the trip--again, another great idea! The trip to Southern California took about ten hours, but the trip home took twelve. So thankful for the DVD player and for my nook!

We were able to get a kidsuite room at the Portofino Inn & Suites. It worked out beautifully. We were able to watch the fireworks from our room, the kids had their own room and actually slept! Baby Bean loved it because she got to sleep on the top bunk. Originally, Bean and Baby Bean were going to take turns, but Bean decided that it was fine for Baby Bean to sleep up there the whole week. We had a tv in both rooms and a fridge and microwave, which definitely helped.

We opted for the five-day park hopper pass. We were able to get them for the price of a three-day, which saved a ton. My initial thoughts were that we would spend three days at Disneyland and two days at California Adventure. Turns out we never left Disneyland--looked at California Adventure, but never went over there. It also worked out well that we spent Monday through Friday at the park. We didn't have to deal with weekend crowds and for the most part didn't have too much of a crowd issue while we were there.

We also ended up buying the Verizon Mobile Magic app for my phone. We used the 24 hour trial and it was so worth it that I spent the money for the 6-month pass (we just need to go again before January 4th!) The longest line we waited in (other than to meet the Princesses & Pixie Hollow) was 45 minutes. That was for the Finding Nemo Submarines--the first ride we did. After that, we used Mobile Magic to find the shortest wait times and to locate the times for fast passes. It was great. Most of the time our wait was 20 minutes or less! Even on rides such as Splash Mountain, the Matterhorn and Indiana Jones.

We soon found out that Baby Bean is a thrill seeker! She loved all the big rides--she couldn't get enough of Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn. She thought Space Mountain was "awesome," but it made hubby sick, so we only did that one once. After riding the bigger rides, the Go Coaster in Toon Town just didn't have that much appeal. We did spend our time meeting Mickey & Minnie in Toon Town, and riding Roger Rabbit, but we spent much more time out with the big rides.

It was so much fun to watch Baby Bean throughout the week. I think the highlight was on Thursday when we waited to meet the Princesses. She had dressed up that morning as Cinderella for our morning Character Breakfast. She put the costume back on, just to meet everyone. Her favorite Princess of all time is Ariel. I'm not sure what it is, but hands down Ariel is the one she most wanted to meet. Well, we were in luck. They had three Princesses available--Belle, Princess Tiana and Ariel. When we got to Ariel, Baby Bean said she was her favorite. Ariel bent down and asked her to dance and then spent several minutes twirling around with her. When she was done Ariel thanked Baby Bean, saying, "I need practice with my human legs, I haven't had them as long as you have." Baby Bean was in HEAVEN! I wish I had the video camera, but luckily I took several pictures and you can tell they were dancing. It was so sweet.

As for the character breakfast, it almost didn't happen. We made reservations, but then started thinking that it was a lot of money for breakfast. The older two said they didn't really care, so we decided not to go. The reservations were for 8:10am, and the kids hadn't been getting up before 7:30 anyway. So the morning that we were "supposed" to go, Baby Bean started asking and we mentioned that we weren't going. She about lost it--so I called and said we overslept and they ended up squeezing us in at 10:30. We are so glad they did. The kids got to meet lots of characters, the breakfast was great, and it was really brunch. The cost was actually about the same as we had been spending on breakfast and lunch anyway, so it was a wash. And worth it to get autographs and photos for the kids to remember.

Wednesday was interesting. We were watching the band play around 4:30 and I thought I felt an earthquake. Turns out I was right and the park ended up closing all the rides to make sure there was no damage. We walked around thinking that we would stick it out until everything reopened, but ultimately we decided to leave and go to the beach. We had wanted to take time for the beach since Baby Bean had never been and Bean doesn't remember ever going. This ended up being the perfect excuse. We drove down to Laguna Beach, showed Butter the hospital where he was born and then went to the same beach that we spent almost every Sunday morning at for several years when we lived down there. Baby Bean couldn't get enough. It was late and we only paid for 30 minutes of parking, but it ended up being perfect.

It was fun during the week with Butter. We would find different areas where we took his photo when he was 3 1/2, and then try to recreate the photo now. One in particular was next to a statue of Dumbo. When we were there ten years ago, his head barely reached the top of the podium. Now, at 5'9", he towered over the statue. We also took a picture of Baby Bean asleep in the stroller, just like Butter had been ten years ago. I don't think Butter expected the trip to be as much fun as it was. I think he was expecting it to be very baby-ish, but he proved himself wrong!

And, of course, no vacation can be complete without a little bit of drama. Friday was going to be our catch up day--you know, the day where you do the things you didn't get to do and re-do the things you really wanted to do. Butter and Bean both had lists of what they wanted to do. We started the morning with our souvenir shopping (we had a 20% discount if used before noon). Then, I took the girls to Pixie Hollow and hubby took Butter to get a caricature done. When we were done, we (the girls) headed to the restroom--while I was in there, Bean ended up getting a bloody nose. We got it stopped and then went outside where it promptly started up again. I didn't know what to do, so I stopped an employee who offered to call a nurse (since we were a ways from the first aid station and I couldn't have Bean walk all that way with her head back). A very nice security guard came over--we got a chair for Bean and I called hubby and Butter to let them know where we were and what was happening. Then the nurse showed up and gave Bean some ice and talked to me about what to do. At that point I noticed that we essentially had a wall of security all around us. I have no idea when they all showed up, but no one could get by or see us. Not even hubby and Butter! I finally noticed and told security that they were with us. The whole thing took a good 45 minutes to an hour out of the day and made Bean paranoid about going on any big rides. As a result, the rest of the day was pretty mellow. We even ran into the security guard later who remembered Bean and asked how she was doing.

I think one of the best memories that I will keep from the week was on Friday night. We never stayed for the fireworks--opting to go to the hotel and watch from there. On Friday we had initially decided that we were going to stay til the park closed. Then Butter got some stomach bug and wanted to go back to the hotel, and Baby Bean fell asleep. While I wanted to stay, I told hubby to stay with Bean and just enjoy the rest of the night. They ended up staying until after the park closed and didn't get back to the room until 1:30am! Butter, Baby Bean and I headed back to the front gate to pick up our purchases from earlier in the day. Butter really needed a bathroom break, but offered to carry Baby Bean over to watch the fireworks while I waited (they couldn't find our three HUGE bags). When I finally got to them, he said that he would stick it out until the fireworks were over--he was holding Baby Bean the entire time. When they were over, and we were walking to the bus to take us to the hotel, Butter said, "Mom, I really need to go to the bathroom, but I didn't want to leave because the look in Baby Bean's eyes over the fireworks was too sweet. I loved watching her watch them, mom." It was probably the sweetest thing he has ever said and I knew then that he gets the magic as much as I do!

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