Monday, March 27, 2017

California Adventure Day 2

Our second day was spent at California Adventure! 

We were so pleased to see the sun!
There wasn't a rain cloud in sight!

We did a better job of staying close to Mark and Jen's family this day.
One of my favorite moments was riding radiator racers for the first time.
The Flegal's raced the Mays crew and I am happy to say...
with as much humility as I can muster...

The Flegal's won! ;) 

Our first ride that day was Toy Story.
Look at all that awesomeness.

I had fun riding this with my Mom.
The two of us bring out a competitive spirit in each other.
Pretty sure that it was confirmed that these two cousins are soul mates.
Kaitlyn and Brynn were darling with Lottie and Forrest.

 We had lunch together and then enjoyed the ride, 'Soarin around the World' together.
That was really cool.
Later that afternoon we made it to the Frozen Musical.
The musicals at Disney are always so well done!
It affords you the opportunity to rest your feet, relax in a comfortable chair,
in an air conditioned theater while enjoying
incredible musical talent.

I looooooooved it.
Forrest slept through it so it's also a lovely little napping spot.
After the musical, the older kids darted off with their cousins (and Andrew)
to ride some coasters.

The smaller kids, Nana Marie and I went to see Captain America and Elsa and Anna.

They had a darling conversation.
Lottie asked Anna where she hides her stash of chocolate.
When talking about this a few days later, it was Forrest, not Lottie,
who could recall the precise spot she shared with them.

 Captain America was equally charming.
He asked the kids to find out if Elsa would join the Avengers.
After meeting our new friends, we went back to Cars Land.
We hit the Cozy Cone motel for some dinner eats and treats before reuniting with rest of our family. 

We had one more fast pass to use at Radiator Racers before we called it a night.
As we walked back to our hotel that night Eliza lamented,
"I already feel sad." Knowing what she was about to say I smiled as I waited for her to finish her thought.
"We only have two days left!"


This video shows the kids meeting the characters; including Elsa and Anna.

Disneyland Day 1

We made it!

Usually, I am the one who is dancing their way into the park.
That Disney music hits and you can't help but bust a move as it fills your Disney loving soul!
I was so pleased to see that it was Andrew, not me, that started skipping like a silly little sap
to the beat of the music while holding Lottie's hand that first morning. 

He may deny this happened, but it DID. 
He has such a love/hate relationship with Disneyland.
His frugal nature really struggles with the expense of the experience
but once he is there, I am so glad that he allows himself to enjoy it!

When you're accompanied by four excited Fleglets,
it's impossible not to!
My Mom said something that morning about Disneyland being a place
where you buy special memories. And if you ask me,
it's totally worth doing it! (at least every other year!)
The weather looked promising when we arrived.
I did my part to annoy the entire group while I insisted on some key photo ops!
After they were taken, I took a step back so we could go with the flow!

While waiting for the rides to open,
we bumped into Cinderella!
Forrest insisted we stay to meet her.
The rest of our crew was ready to get started, but he really wanted to stay in line.
So we did. 
I've watched as my older children's interest in meeting the characters has dimmed.
So, in my opinion, it's worth taking the time to stand in those lines while they are little!!
... And every once in awhile, insisting they do meet a character or two!

The first thing we did was get our kids a spot to train to become a Jedi!
Unfortunately, due to rain, the show was canceled that day, but we were able to
see them dress up and take a few pictures!

Our day began in Tomorrowland.
It was fun to see the kids pair off with their cousins on the rides.
And while I had worried prior to the trip that I would be left behind,
there were still plenty of one-on-one moments
for me to enjoy with my kids.

Forrest was magically 40 inches!
This meant that he was big enough to ride splash mountain, thunder mountain,
space mountain, radiator racers and other "big kid" rides this trip!
It was a game changer, for sure.

We have loved utilizing the rider swap in the past,
but it was so much better experiencing these rides all together.
"Just to be sure," his height was usually checked by a cast member,
but we didn't mind. I was just so so happy that he was big enough.
If he had been a quarter of an inch shorter, it would have been a big heartbreak for him.
(and me!)

As lunchtime approached, the rain arrived.
We were ready with our ponchos and stroller cover,
but still, it was slightly disheartening;
especially when the children complained of having wet socks!

We had lunch at Pizza Port before heading over to Critter Country.
Because we were already wet,
we decided to do Splash Mountain.
Because of the rain, the crowd level was small.
We were able to ride it over and over! 

As far as the day's most magical moment, 
can we please talk about mine for a minute? 
In fact, this may have been the most magical moment of our entire trip!

 Does anyone love Downton Abbey? 
Please say yes!
We made our way over to the Jungle Cruise that afternoon while it was raining.
I was happy to see that the canopy from the ride would give us a reprieve from the rain.

I noticed a darling couple sitting with a Disney employee next to me.
"Wow" I thought to myself. "That woman looks a lot like Mrs. Patmore!"
A moment or two later I heard her laugh.
My suspicion was confirmed.
"That IS Mrs. Patmore!"

I knew I would regret it horribly if I didn't ask for a photo.
After the ride concluded, I paused a moment to gather up my courage.
"Excuse me!" I said politely. "Would it be okay if I got a picture with you?"
She was so lovely and so kind as she said it was okay!

I gathered my kids...assuring to them that this moment would mean a lot to them one day.
I explained she was a favorite character from a favorite television show.
"You'll get to watch it when you're older." Giggling she added, "Yes! Much older!"
During our exchange I said in a fluster, "I just really want you to scream, 'Daisy!' at me!"
She laughed a moment and then growing serious, she looked at me and yelled,
And my life was made. I clapped and thanked her for being so kind!
I was floating with happiness the remainder of the day.
Mrs. Patmore was my sunshine on that cloudy day! ;)

(she is seated behind me, to the right, in this photo
and... oh my goodness.. look at my scary stalker eyes!)
As evening approached, the rain died down.
While Andrew and kids hit a few more rides,
I went to save a spot for the parade.
I was there two hours early but my feet didn't mind!

My Mom soon joined me, followed by Andrew and the kids.
Andrew and I went and bought corndogs for dinner.
After eating, we had sometime so I took the littles into Fantasyland to do a few rides. 
Finally, it was time for the parade to start!
It is my favorite!!

I didn't take a lot of photos because I was too busy filming.
Check our my favorite video of our entire trip!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Magical Prelude - Balboa Pier

As hard as I tried to coordinate and plan our outfits at Disneyland,
it is this family photo at Ruby's Diner, where we all look slightly disheveled
that wound up being my favorite from our trip.
The kids weren't totally prepared for the chill in air that evening; 
but because of where we were and what we were about to experience, no one seemed to mind.

Earlier that afternoon, we had arrived in Anaheim, checked into our hotel 
and purchased breakfast items for the week. 
After a little downtime at our hotel, we ventured out once more to Ruby's Diner.

We arrived around 4:00 pm. To our surprise, we were one of two groups in the restaurant.
We couldn't believe it!
The ambiance was amazing and so was the food. 
It was here that we were reunited with Mark and Jen's family.
They arrived in California that afternoon after flying in from Alaska.
Knowing that a week at Disneyland was beginning the following day
(and that we had a group of cousins and a Nana to enjoy it with;)
there was joyful anticipation in the air.  
As the sunset, we introduced our kids to the ocean's waves. 
Sure, they have been to the ocean before but their beach memories vary. 
Screams of elation filled the air as they dipped their toes into the water 
and then raced back up the sandy beach to a place of safety before the water could catch them!
We delayed the drive back to the hotel as long as possible.
The kids were loving every second on the beach; especially once they were joined by their cousins.
They played tag for awhile before it was time to rinse off their sandy feet.
On the drive back, Forrest was fading quickly! Because we were concerned that a power nap would postpone bedtime for everyone, we did our best to keep him awake!

The boys were in bed first and thankfully, fell asleep immediately.
Lucky for the girls, they were still awake when the firework show at Disneyland began.
We had a perfect view from our hotel window.
Enjoying that moment with Andrew, my Mom and girls was a magical welcome
to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Road trip to Disneyland!

All Aboard!
Our long awaited, much talked about, meticulously planned,
DREAM trip to Disneyland finally arrived!

My fingers were crossed throughout the month of February 
that our family would be able to dodge major illness. 
The possibility of a sudden fever or an upset stomach bug making an appearance 
while on our vacation, stayed in the back of my mind while planning.

The weather was something else we kept a close eye on. 
With these things in mind, 
I called upon my inner girl scout to peruse Amazon
 to help me prepare for all scenarios. 

Saturday, February 24 arrived and by some miracle 
(or Mom's crazy awesome efficiency!)
we made it out the door on schedule - 9:00 am. 
Our first stop was to Nana Marie's house!
I was so happy that she was willing to drive with us.
She is one of the people I love most on this planet. 
Also, her presence helped all of us stay on our best behavior. :)

After a long stretch in the car, we made our way to Chik-Fil-A in St. George.
While eating lunch, we drove over to the fabulous new, all abilities, play ground, Thunder Junction! 
"Are we there yet?"

When we left our house that morning, our driveway was covered in snow!
You can imagine that after months of winter,
that St. George sunshine was a welcome change!
After eating their lunch, we were more than ready to stretch our legs!
I know the kids could have stayed a lot longer, but we were eager to get to Las Vegas.
Travel weary Fleglets!

On to the next adventure!

Late in the afternoon, we arrived in Las Vegas.
Our first stop was to the Bellagio hotel. 
Again, the kids were excited to walk around, 
although they didn't fully understand what we were about to do.
Check out the video below to see their fun reactions to the fountain show. 
After the fountain show, we walked through the conservatory gardens at the Bellagio.
Next up, we picked up a box of Little Caesars pizza before
checking into our hotel and calling it a night.
We had a great little breakfast the next morning at our hotel and then left for Anaheim!