12.31.2011

California Part 1: Disneyland

We planned a trip to California for my cousin's wedding. Nicole is technically my third cousin, but she happens to be my very favorite third cousin, so a trip to California to celebrate her marriage was in order.

The original concept was a cram-eight-girls-into-my-Pilot trip, but it later morphed into a take-everyone-but-the-working-husbands-and-difficult-little-boys trip. That means Steve and Adam both stayed home.

We stopped in Las Vegas for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and a quick visit to Coke World and the M&M Factory. And then we kept on driving to California.

The next morning, we made the kids eat as much as they possibly could at the breakfast buffet and walked over to Disneyland:


Right inside the gate, we saw Minnie Mouse:


And then I saw this sign, and I was relieved that Adam wasn't with me:


Our first ride was the Jungle Cruise, and it did not disappoint:



We hit most of the main rides: Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo the Elephant, Tiki Room, Indiana Jones, the train, It's a Small World, the carrousel, the Matterhorn, Peter Pan's Flight, Storybook Land, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Teacups:


And the kids got to meet lots of Disney characters:



We cruised through the park rather quickly, thanks to Talmage and his special needs pass. Rachel was in need of some attention, so I took her and Kaleigh over to explore California Adventure. They had a good time riding one or two rides together:


But then Kaleigh fell asleep, so Rachel went on some of the bigger rides by herself. She is brave:


We waited in a long line to ride Mickey's Fun Wheel. . . and then it promptly started raining. The wind was cold, and ferris wheels are so so slow. We were trapped in our cage at the top when they announced that they were experiencing technical difficulties.

By the time we got off the ride, our shoes and pants were soaking wet and we were freezing cold. It was a bit disappointing because it was only 5:30 pm, and we had planned to stay at the park until midnight. As we were exiting the park, I asked the lady at the gate if they ever offer anything as compensation when it rains. I was sent to talk to someone else, who sent me to talk to someone else, who sent me to talk to someone else. Rachel was near tears and begged to go back to the hotel, but I told her to give me five more minutes. We walked out of guest services with $900 in free passes.

We spent our "bonus day" at California Adventure Park, and it was much more magical for me. Slightly warmer, less wind, no rain, and the rides and are inspired by Disney movies from the last few years. . . meaning I've actually seen them.

I think we hit all of the rides, except for a few that were closed because of the wind. My favorites were California Screamin, Soarin over California, Redwood Creek (the kids could have played there all day long and I felt badly that Adam wasn't there- he would have loved it), and Toy Story:


(That was the score from my first ride through. Yes, Lucy beat me. I didn't realize you could rapid fire until the very end of our second time through and now I can't wait to go back and beat Rebecca's score.)

The cameras on the California Screamin captured some pretty funny faces:


But nothing beats this shot from the Tower of Terror:


Kaleigh rode every ride she was tall enough for and cruised around the park as happy as could be:


Rachel was extremely helpful throughout the entire trip. And I finally found out why. . . she wanted a churro. We sent the others off on another ride and snuck away to buy her a special treat:


By the end of the day, my shoulder was throbbing in pain, but I had such a great time. I left Disneyland thinking we never needed to go back, but after our second day at California Adventure, I was already planning out in my head when we could return with Steve and Adam.

We stayed long enough to watch World of Color, and then we caught one more ride on Soarin Over California and called it a night.

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