Tuesday morning we had plans to visit California Adventure. Much to my dismay, Andrew ended up caught in work related issues that morning which slowed our departure time. Eventually my feelings of irritation shifted to acceptance and then thankfulness. It's because of his job and his dedication to it, that we had the opportunity to visit Disneyland. I would later apologize to Andrew for my frustration.
Like many Mothers I know, I spend hours researching all aspects of upcoming vacations; Disneyland was no exception. With love and joyful anticipation, I prepared excel documents that detailed our itinerary, listed my to-do's, budget, etc. (Nerd alert.) Prior to leaving, I felt confident in our "game plan" and had specific strategies or plans for each day of our trip. However, I was reminded that when traveling with small kids you have to be flexible and keep expectations realistic. If you aren't at the park an hour before it opens to gain maximum fast pass advantage... that's okay. If your kids would rather spend time on rides and skip the Aladdin show (I wanted to cry), that's okay too! If you forget to bring your autograph books that first day, again... it's not a big deal (there's always day two and three!) No matter what your game plan looks like, magical moments will happen regardless. The best moments, in my opinion, are the unexpected surprises (see Eliza's lemonade example in my final disney post). Be grateful for what you can do and allow your kids to sleep as much as possible!
Disneyland may be the happiest place on earth, but really; if a child is exhausted, no amount of charm or Disney magic can completely fix a mood. Imagine the scene from Big Hero 6 where Baymax's suit is failing him. He tries his best to fix the damaged spots with strips of tape. As the humorous scene progresses, he is likened to a drunken fool who can't stand up straight, complete with slurred speech.This is what happens when my kids are pushed too hard. They deflate and become difficult to reason with. I type all this as a reminder to my future self that bad moods, grumpy kids and poor attitudes are all possibilities when expectations are set too high. This is why three days at Disneyland was the perfect amount for our family. When they are older, or if Andrew wanted to throw in a special spa trip for Mom in the middle of the week, that could change.
Flexibility and realistic expectations are important. This doesn't mean that planning is a bad thing. Planning can help utilize time wisely and with prioritizing your day. Tuesday morning, the plan was to meet Olaf, Anna and Elsa. We also had a princess lunch planned at Ariel's Grotto. Eliza was so eager to be on rides that the wait for the meet and greets was kind of painful for her. Even so, when it came time to meet them all, she really enjoyed herself. The waits weren't bad either.
The process to meet Olaf was thought out brilliantly. Having been given a pager (similar to what you'd receive while waiting to be seated at a restaurant), the kids are allowed to play in this amazing winter wonderland. There is actual snow, a hill for sledding and bubbles that randomly disperse from the ceiling. When your pager beeps, you get into a very short line to meet Olaf.
We also reserved a time to meet Anna and Elsa. It conflicted with our lunch reservation at Ariel's Grotto so they kindly accomodate us early without it being a problem.
Anna quickly commented on how great it must be to have so many siblings.
"There's always someone to play with!" She exclaimed. They wanted to know what they do for fun. Eliza offered that they enjoy sliding down the stairs in sleeping bags. Anna yelled,
"That sounds awesome! I have never tried that!" And then Lottie informed them that she broke her arm doing that very activity which quickly garnered some well earned Princess sympathy. We posed for photos and then when it was time to go, Henry awkwardly debated if he should hug Elsa or give her a high five. He ended up doing both. Much to Anna's dismay, he began walking away. She stood there, tapping her toe, waiting for Henry to say "goodbye" to her. Her hand was extended, hoping for a high five when she finally said his name.
"Henry!" He looked at her and realized she was waiting for him. "Don't leave me frozen!" she said. And with that he gave her a great big high five. It was the cutest thing ever. I loved it.
Lunch at Ariel's grotto happened next. This was a first for us and to be honest, I don't think I would spend the money on it again. It's a great way to interact with princesses and saves time, but the cost is crazy and my kid's reactions were minimal (they were all being shy).
If we hadn't spent the entire morning having our fill of all things Frozen, this might have been that much more awesome. Still, parts of it were wonderful and the kids are happy to have that memory. Andrew, however, is still recovering from the price tag. Lottie's favorite princess moment would happen the next day when she'd meet Princess Aurora.
After lunch, we went to Cars Land. We had fast passes and then a stroller swap pass to use! It was our first time exploring Cars Land. We were amazed. The radiator springs racers ride was incredible!
It quickly became a family favorite. I was happy that Lottie wanted to go on it more than once.
We soon made our way to California Screaming where Eliza was able to have her fill! The line was less than five minutes so Andrew and I took turns taking her on it a couple times. That ride was a sad reminder that we're getting old! It's her favorite.
The longest line of the day was waiting for Toy Story. Forrest was exhausted by then, so I held him the whole time to keep him pacified. I am happy to report that he did enjoy the ride!
After Forrest's nap, he was much happier. He loved Bugs Land and picking leaves off of bushes he shouldn't.