Monday, January 7, 2008

The Disneyland Diaries...

Well, here we are back together again. Starting out a brand new year! I hope everyone had a fantastic Holiday season and 2008 is starting out well.

For us, it has started out busy... after Christmas while everyone was still off on winter break we made a trip down to Disneyland. Yes, I know, we were supposed to be "de-Christmas-ing" the house, but somehow, spending time at the happiest place on earth just seemed more fun. Here is my diary of our trip (in two parts - second part follows tomorrow)...

Monday, December 31st:

Today we leave on our trip to Southern California at around 8am. We have decided to take the Prius this time just to try it out on a long trip (plus it would get way better gas mileage than the Sienna). Since we have an iPod port I decide to bring my iPod loaded with tons of kids cartoons (plus lots of grownup music). Last minute checks of the house, cancel the newspaper and we're on our way. This is the first time we have gone on a long trip without bringing tons of activities for the girls - we'll see how it goes - they've been allowed to bring their Leapsters and some games for them - other than that, it's just the cartoons on my iPod.

Disneyland is about 450 miles away so it will take us a good part of the day to get there. Highway 5 is such a boring highway - nothing but brown rolling hills for miles - every once in a while, some cows and a little oasis of fast food and gas stations but nothing much more. The girls have been unusually good - they watched cartoons for about an hour and have been sleeping now for about another hour - guess I'll have a nap too.

The girls and I finally wake up and we stop for lunch - Collette has been fighting a virus for about four days now so she needs some cough syrup and decongestant - I hope she'll be feeling better by tomorrow.

Back on the road and the cruise control is set - off we go. It's a good thing Eric likes to drive - I would be bored senseless driving this boring highway. We come up on a really awful accident - some poor people have rolled their car - the highway patrol are there, but the ambulances are not - they look pretty bad off - better say a few prayers for them.

We're into Los Angeles now, the traffic, luckily is light today - we though it might be worse with all the people getting ready for the Rose Bowl. We check into our hotel (not the hotel at Disneyland - we're closer to downtown Los Angeles because the girls want to go to American Girl Place tomorrow.) Why is it that when I stay in a hotel I'm ready to go to sleep at like 8pm? No way could I do that at home, maybe it's because we're all in our PJ's and just laying on the beds anyway watching TV - might as well go to sleep...anyway, it works for me! I might actually get a good night's sleep I go...It'll be the first New Years Eve in a very long time that Eric and I haven't sat up to watch "the ball drop" - oh well...

12:00am: Some idiots are running up and down the halls with noisemakers - guess I got to see the new year come in after all - I hope they stop soon....

12:20am: I'm calling the front desk to get the noisemaker people to stop now - enough is enough already!

Tuesday, January 1st:

We drive to American Girl Place in Beverly Hills. This place is sooo cute! Totally bright pink and black and white...Awesome...I want to be 8 again!! Today is the day they premiere the new American Girl of the Year - her Name is Mia and she's a figure skater. We go on a scavenger hunt around the store (two stories high) to collect all the stamps on our card. We get all the stamps and turn our cards in for Mia posters. They have a great photo studio here where the girls can get their picture on the cover of "American Girl" Magazine. Collette wants to do it, but for some strange reason, Lauren has decided she's not going anywhere near it (sometimes things strike her wrong for no real reason). I finally talk Lauren into taking pictures with her Sister. The pics turn out so cute - they're back to back holding their Bitty Babies (American Girl baby dolls) and, of course, it comes in a pink frame! We make our own hair scrunchies at a craft table - they turn out pretty cute!

We've now spent most of the day here (it's just a little girls paradise). They also have a theater with a stage show but no performances today - oh well, next time. We're waiting for 4pm when we can go to Tea.

4:00pm finally comes and we're ushered into the American Girl Cafe where it's just as pink as the rest of the store. Each of the girls dolls receive their own little booster chair that hooks onto the table next to them along with a place setting of matching china for their dolls to use during Tea. We are served an assortment of kid-friendly tea foods (and, par for the course, Lauren likes none of them!) We are introduced to Mia, the American Girl of the year and told all about her story. American Girl is just as much about reading as it is about the dolls - they encourage girls to read and learn about other girls from other periods in history. The books are all historically accurate and really fun to encourage girls love of reading. They also teach that every girl is special no matter what. Tea is over and we head back to the parking garage to make our way south. I do have to point out that in the parking garage, out in the open, they have stuffed leather couches and chairs to lounge in (maybe in case you get tired looking for your car? - only in LA!)

We drive the 45 minute drive to Disneyland and check into our hotel. (I have to give you some background: Eric has a friend that lives up in Southern Washington State. They don't get to see each other hardly ever so it turns out that his friend and his family are going to Disneyland at the exact same time we are - his friend and I have been planning for several weeks now how to surprise Eric on the 2nd. They're staying at the same hotel as we are so I'm having to text message them to make sure they're no where around when we check in and I'm constantly scanning to make sure we don't run into each other before the designated meeting time.)

We get checked in and make it up to our room without giving away our surprise. Baths for the girls and it's time for PJ's. Once again, 8pm and I'm ready for sleep - so be it!

2:15am: The fire alarm is going takes me a minute or two to even realize what's going on....Eric and I just kind of look at each other and say "what do we do now?" (I know, you're saying - evacuate - but for some reason it didn't seem like the thing to do). I stick my head out of our door and look down the hallway...only one other lady is even outside looking around...the alarm finally stops...we both go back into our rooms. The really funny part of this whole thing is that now that everyone in the whole hotel has been woke up...we all have to use the the same time!....the sound of flushing toilets echoed from every was a pretty funny experience! I'll try to go back to sleep now....

Wednesday, January 2nd:

Today is D-Day...they day to surprise Eric. I've set up the plan...I told him I won a contest to ride a new ride with a Disney Podcaster and we need to meet at the Castle at 10:00am - Eric is not too happy about this as I am throwing off his "plan". We ride the new NEMO SUBMARINE VOYAGE - it's okay - not as kitschy as the old submarine voyage of the past, but okay especially for kids who like Nemo. Next, we have some breakfast and then onto BUZZ LIGHTYEAR'S ASTRO BLASTERS - I, once again, whoop Eric (134,600 to 48,000). Eric and the girls decide to ride STAR TOURS - that should give us just the right amount of time to get to our meeting spot. Eric's friend is running late...that's okay because the line is longer than we originally thought. Eric and the girls are done with the ride and we're off to the Castle. It's a little after 10am so this is working out just fine. We get to the Castle and I look around "guess they already left" I tell him..."but let's go over to Snow White's wishing well - I have a scrapbook page planned all around a picture here"....While Eric and the girls are posing for the picture his friend "Joe" and his family come up behind Eric and Joe puts his arm around him and says something like "you just never know who you'll meet around here"....The look on Eric's face is priceless!! We've pulled it off!!

We spend the rest of the day riding rides and messing around...I love Disneyland! We have 5:00pm reservations at The Blue Bayou a New Orleans themed restaurant that is right on the waters of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN ride - you can watch as the boats full of people from the pirate ride drift just feed away along the bayou - it's pretty cool.

Dinner is fun - the girls are disappointed that they don't have chicken nuggets, but we finally talk them into pasta and they're happy. It's fairly dark in the bayou so I guess I'm getting old, but I have a hard time telling exactly what's in my's cubes of smoked salmon....not exactly pleasant when you don't know it's coming. The entrees are good and off we go....

Sleeping Beauty's castle is always decorated for Christmas, but this year, it's got snow on it and it's covered in these tiny little lights that aren't really too visible during the day, but when it gets dark, it looks so beautiful... One of my favorite moments this trip was seeing Collette's face when she saw the castle this way for the first time....her eyes were wide open and her mouth wide open with the sound of it taking her breath away....definitely priceless!

Lauren is now coming down with whatever Collette had and isn't feeling well. We get back to the room and poor little Lauren says "I just want to feel better so I can have more fun - We only have two more days left and I need to have more fun!"...bless her little heart.

We put the girls to bed and let them both get a good nights sleep.

Part two tomorrow.....

Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade

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