Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We are not having the big traditional dinner today, we are holding off until later because my husband does all the holiday cooking and he is out hunting today. I'm not going to knock myself out cooking a feast for just me and the little girls, and they don't know the difference. Gotta get away with sliding by while I can! Won't be long and they'll catch me breaking the rules like this!
Can't let the holiday go without some fun though. So I took the girls to Disneyland on Tuesday. We had a blast! The looks on their faces when we are there is so precious, it is worth all the money and all the hassle. It's just pure happiness!
That kind of happiness is more expensive, again. I noticed the parking and the entrance prices all went up. Funny, I noticed that last month too. I went ahead and got Gracie an annual pass so that I don't end up in Mickey Mouse jail for sneaking her in as a child under the age of 3. She doesn't look under 3, and I'm not going to risk it.
Parking was a nightmare! The Mickey and Friends parking structure was closed so once you got there you were rerouted all around Anaheim in circles until you got to the Pongo Parking Lot, which didn't look like it was anywhere near Disneyland. And since it took over an hour to get from the parking structure to this temporary parking lot, I assumed we were nearly home again. Then we boarded a bus to Disneyland which took another 15 mins. The bus was overcrowded and I had to squeeze me and Gracie and Libby all into one seat, plus the diaper bag, my purse and the snack bag. My double stroller was underneath the bus in the storage bin, but they wouldn't let me toss my bags in there too.
Finally we got to the Happiest Place on Earth! Stood in line for the security check, then stood in line for Gracie's ticket, then stood in line to show the tickets and get inside the park. Lordy. I was so thankful that Gracie didn't have to go potty! That could have really thrown a wrench into all this patience we were practicing. We did really well with patience, I must say.
I only had a temporary pass for Gracie, had to go get her picture taken and get her plastic card at "The Pavilion" on Main Street. Getting a pass isn't as easy as it sounds. I didn't see this place and was sick of standing in line for no big thrill, so decided to come back to Main Street and do it later.
My camera was flashing low battery in red. Which usually means I have 2 or 3 pictures left and that's all that I'm gonna get. Darn it. I managed to get quite a few pictures and we got the Photo Pass card.
We made our way down Main Street slowly. It was so crowded it was unbelievable! Today was going to be a day to be very very patient. Very patient. It was 2pm and people were claiming their spaces on the curb for the parade at 3:30. Yikes. Here we are on Main Street, look at the stroller in the background on the left. There are two kids in it! One is getting squished.
Got to the castle and we went up inside to see the story of Sleeping Beauty. This is always our first attraction. Gracie loves most of it. We don't look in the windows that have scary parts of the story. At the end, the princess is dancing with the prince and her dress turns from pink to blue over and over again. We never leave until it is pink. Then we boarded King Arthur's carousel. Libby rode a horse and Gracie ran straight for her favorite spot: the bench.
We moseyed along and found ourselves a great spot for the parade that was to start in 20 minutes. Great spot right on the curb and great timing! We sat next to a family with several kids who had bubbles and bubble guns, so they entertained Gracie and Libby as well as a few other children who were all right there. Note to self: bring bubbles next time. Great idea!
The parade was amazing! We saw several characters, the dancers were better than great, all of the Princes and Princesses were in it and it ended with Santa. Couldn't have been better! Libby really wanted to get out there and join in with the dancers, but I held her back. Gracie would like to be a roller skating snowflake when she grows up, but she needs to practice. I think she will be a very pretty snowflake someday.
Next stop, another long line of course! This time we were waiting to see the Princesses. This is a terrible line to stand in because you cannot use your stroller, there is nothing to lean on, and it takes an hour at least. Again, I had to nurse Libby standing up in line. Gosh, I'm good! There are three princesses to see, and you never know who you will get to visit with, it's a triple surprise! And well worth the wait. Each princess spends a little time with each kid and they get a little visit, a hug and maybe even a twirl around. You can look down the line and see total amazement and awe in little faces as they visit the princesses! So cute! Libby didn't want anything to do with any of them, she still thinks her mom is the best! Awww, thanks Libby! We saw Mulan, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
We then made our way toward Toon Town. I was only going to concentrate on touring this one section of the park today, since I have never gone to this part of it before. Oh gosh, it was so crowded you could barely get around. Gracie recognized Minnie Mouse's house and wanted to go in, so we parked the stroller and got in line. Only one family got in line behind us and then the line closed down. Minnie would be making an appearance on Main Street and so they closed down the line to visit her. Another family showed up to get in line and they had a little girl about 2 or 3 years old dressed like Minnie Mouse and the guard didn't let them in line. I just about cried when I saw that little girl's disappointed face! I sure hope she got to see Minnie Mouse sometime during the day.
Minnie was cute! I handed my dying camera to the Disney worker to take a photo and hoped it would fire off a shot. It did. Just one. And it's blurry. Her house was adorable! Just a few rooms. Gracie and Libby had fun making the dishwasher go. Next door was Mickey's house and no line, I think you just go from one to the next, so we already stood in line and were just following. I had no idea Mickey's house was a mile long maze with no escape. We were in there for an hour at least, nudging our way forward. I ended up having to nurse Libby while standing in line inching forward and keeping Gracie near me with my foot. I didn't kick her, I just used my foot to reach to her and get her attention. Yes, that's me, the mom who is in line at Disneyland, standing on one leg while breastfeeding a toddler. I think I'll write that on my next resume.
We finally got to see Mickey Mouse! He was great! Libby wanted nothing to do with him, but Gracie gave him some love. The Disney photographer took some photos. These photos never did make it to the Disney Photo Pass web page, so I haven't seen them. Hopefully they will show up soon. Usually only takes an hour and your photos are there. The princess photos showed up a few at a time over the past couple of days. I'll check again tomorrow for Mickey photos.
By the time we got out of there it was dark! We left Toon Town for Small World. It was lit up with a billion lights! We parked the stroller and got in line for the Small World boat ride. The line was encroaching on the entrance to Toon Town. Wow! This line moves though because they are constantly loading and unloading boatloads of people, so at least you don't just stand there. Once again, I found myself battling a wiggle monster in my tired arms, and ended up nursing in line again. This time she fell asleep.
Gracie could have stared at the Christmas lights all night, they were beautiful and this was her first sighting of any lights this holiday season. We rode the boat through and Libby missed it all because she was fast asleep. It was great! The entire ride was decorated for Christmas, so many pretty details! The puppets sang bits of Christmas songs intermixed with the Small World song. It was so sweet to see Gracie's big eyes trying to absorb it all. At the end of the ride, she asked to go again, so we got back in line. This time the line was a lot shorter, it ended at the gate where you are supposed to enter to line up. And as we walked along the line, the parade went past. This time it was all lit up and since we were in line, we were on an elevated platform! Score! Gracie got to yell and wave to Santa again! Of course he winked at her and waved back. Libby slept through this and the second ride. We called Katie from inside the ride and left her a message, Gracie said "Katie! I'm at the Small World!" The music is pretty loud, so I'm sure she got an earful of that too.
Now it was 7:30 and I was worn out. Gracie seemed to have forgotten about the fireworks, so I was going to let her. They start at 9:30 and then its mass exodus from the parking lots. I thought sneaking out early might be a great idea, especially considering getting out might not be so easy, getting in was sure difficult! I strolled the kids across the park, down Main Street, and where is this Pavilion? Up and down Main street, and I asked, finally found it. Got there for Gracie's pass and she was sound asleep in the front seat of the stroller. Libby was wide awake, but Gracie was not waking up for anything. I held her head up and they took her picture like that. Her pass looks pretty funny! The lady said "Next time come when she's awake". Sure, great idea.
We went out and headed for the bus pick up area. Had to wait quite a while there. Wasn't too sure how I was going to get on the bus holding a baby, carrying a sleeping kid and fold up my stroller too. Somehow, I managed. I had to wake up Gracie and she was so groggy she wasn't sure what was going on, but I got her on the bus. This time we got 2 seats. yay! Found the Pongo parking lot, and I asked the bus driver how to get to the freeway. She said to Take a left, go a block to Harbor Blvd, take a right and it's a couple of minutes to the freeway, stay in the right lane. Really? It took me just a couple of minutes to get from Pongo to the freeway! Why did it take over an hour to get from Mickey and friends parking structure to Pongo! A Disney mystery.
Anyway, when I got to the van, Gracie finally had to go potty. This is the first time she said she had to go since we left the house! I asked her a bunch of times all day, but no, she won't go on big toilets. Good thing I keep a little potty chair in the van. The girl has a bladder of steel!
I was so glad to get into the van. My arms were ready to fall off! I had to carry Libby a lot because you can't use your stroller in line, and we spent more time standing in lines than we did strolling. Libby is definitely leash-ready! Next time, I'm bring a leash for her so I can put her down a bit here and there. Save us both some frustration. She is 22 pounds of pure wiggle!
I followed the bus driver's instructions to get out of the Pongo Parking lot, and she was right - I was on the 5 North in no time! She said the 5 goes to the 91 in only a couple of minutes, and that's the freeway I needed and sure enough, I found it! I merged and hopped onto the 91 West. Drove and drove, Gracie was wide awake now and Libby was fast asleep. After a while I thought, hmmm, these exits don't have familiar names, I must have a long way to go yet. Then I started to drive right into some fog and I saw a sign that said Long Beach Blvd. Oh no! The Beach! I drove WEST! I needed to go EAST! Oh Lordy!
I pulled off on the next exit, and in a panic I called Keith who was in South Dakota, he pulled up a map and said I could flip around easily there and head back. Then he said, "Wow, you drove a long way in the wrong direction". I made it to the edge of Compton. Went about 12 miles west rather than east. Ugh!
So I got turned around and got home just fine. I really need to learn the difference between East and West! Someday... someday...
We got home at 11pm. We left the house at 11am, making this a 12 hour outing. I was beat! And of course, the girls were wide awake now and ready to play! They'd been strapped down too long and needed to wiggle and be free of constraints. Guess we could have stayed for the fireworks after all. We were up till 1am when I finally declared an end to this long exciting day. It was great, but Disneyland was tougher than I was that day.
Watch out, Disneyland, the parking nightmare, crowds, long lines without use of a stroller, lollipops that shatter on the sidewalk, and trapping me in Mickey's house didn't do me in! I'm coming back for more! And I'm bringing a fully charged camera battery and a toddler leash!