Friday, November 2, 2007

Gettin' our Disney on!

Wow- what a whirlwind week it's been! For that matter what a whirlwind few weeks! We just got back from a fantastic trip to Disneyland. Both Jane and Brandon had their first plane rides! (Brandon had a one-way flight from San Jose to SLC when he was 6 weeks old when we moved here, but does that count?) In preparation for our trip, I scoured the Internet for survival tips on how to get through Disneyland without having to stand in horrendous lines with my 18 month old. I knew she wouldn't hold still for more than a few minutes and we'd all be miserable. Luckily, I was able to really study up on how to leverage the fast passes and some other tips & tricks. So really, we didn't stand in lines hardly at all! Example? OK, we walked by Splash Mountain to pick up a fast pass. The regular line was 90 minutes long. I noticed a girl in a striped shirt and figured I'd see if she was still in line when we came back. We left, had lunch, went to get the kids their traditional mouse ears hats with their names on it,
..went to Winnie the Pooh,

...met the characters,

....shopped for Jane's Minnie Mouse baby,

...and then went to Splash Mountain to use our Fast Pass. The boys went first because Jane was sleeping and I got a baby switch pass.

The boys rode the ride with Eric, came out, we switched and the boys came with me again. (a HUGE benefit to having a baby at Disneyland! Don't forget to ask for the baby switch pass! Yes, even if you already have a fast pass!) Low and behold, we got right to the front of the line with our pass, and there was the girl with the striped shirt, still in line with several minutes to go. Why do people stand in line when they just don't have to! I just don't get it!

BTW - Splash Mountain was awesome - the drop at the end is the best butterfly at Disneyland. The picture they snap of you right at that climactic moment turned out awesome of us. Complete with Rock On! signs and OMG scrunched faces as we plummeted down Splash Mountain. I wanted to buy it, I just wasn't willing to fork out another $12.95 for one 5x7 after I just spent $30 on lunch, $32 in Mickey Mouse Ears hats, and $20 on a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal in less than an hour and a half. Hmmm...maybe the girl in the striped shirt is wiser than I after all. So THAT's what the fast passes are really for! (Brilliant, Disney!)

Speaking of the $30 on lunch, let me speak from experience that although they say you can't bring food and water bottles into Disneyland, you can. Trust me. Plenty of people passed through the security line with strollers full of water bottles and crust free bologna sandwiches. I had some very hidden snacks and 2 water bottles strategically hidden in Jane's Diaper Bag but it was a waste of time. So the 2nd day we strapped a cooler to Eric's back full of food (ok, not quite). I just really have a hard time forking over $2.50 for a Dasani Water. No problem however, paying $4.95 for a Pineapple Whip at the Tiki Room. Soooo worth it.

One of the highlights of Disneyland for us was definitely the Jedi Master Camp. I screamed like a little girl when Brandon was picked out of a huge crowd of screaming and begging children to get up on stage and get trained to be a Jedi Master and fight Darth Vader. I was literally closing my eyes and trying to use 'the force' to make the Jedi pick him. It worked! I'm Princess Leya after all!

The boys loved Tomorrowland, especially Star Tours, Space Mountain, and those dudes that bang on the garbage cans with cleaning equipment just plain old rock. Jane's favorite was hands down, Nemo. That was our very first ride of the day - everything I found on the Internet said to go there either very first, or very last. Just be prepared to wait. If you're going there first and you were at the park right when the gates open, RUN. Like the wind. We sure did, (run instead through Tomorrowland go by the Matterhorn, it's faster). We still waited for an hour but that was the ONLY ride we waited long for.

My favorite was hands down Soarin' over California inside California Adventure. It was pretty much the coolest thing I've ever done. Eric's favorite was the Ferris Wheel in California Adventure. You spin inside of the wheel - I can't explain it other than it was so freaking scary but fun. We all laughed so incredibly hard as we were spinning, we couldn't breathe. We should be spanked for taking our poor baby on that ride. Poor Jane clamped on to me so tight you couldn't pry her off with a crow bar. But it was sooo fun.

The first day there we were there from before it opened at 8am to close at 12am. We were so exhausted at the end we could barely walk and were falling asleep standing up. (seriously). Brandon literally could not walk and we had to put him in Jane's stroller and carry Jane. The next day we were rarin' to go and stayed until they closed at 9. Our feet hurt so badly but it was so much fun. We met Eric's sister Tami and her family and had so much fun with them!

Disneyland was decorated so beautifully for Halloween. I can't imagine it at Christmastime. We're going back for a 4-day trip next December and stay at a hotel inside the park. We already can't wait! To hear the uncontrollable laughter from the kids on the rides was the best for me and I can't wait to hear it again. Disneyland is truly is the happiest place on earth!