After my last Pongo Parking lot experience, I decided to leave earlier and have a chance to get into the Mickey and Friends parking structure to start our day off right! We arrived at Disneyland at 10:25am and the parking structure was closed already. Rats! I quickly prayed to park in a better alternate lot than the Pongo lot and did lots of wishing that we could park soon. Last time it took over an hour to get from the closed Mickey and Friends lot to the Pongo lot. Not fun. I followed the signs and was routed to the Anaheim GardenWalk parking structure. It was nice and close and the parking structure was nice too! We were parked within ten minutes of reaching Disneyland, so my quick prayers that I said at the red light worked! Yay! We boarded a red trolly type bus and rode to Disneyland.
Boarding the shuttle trolley was a challenge with two little ones and a double stroller and a diaper bag, picnic bag, jackets and purse. First I have to unload and fold up the stroller so the Disneyland people can watch me load it into the shuttle, amazingly, this guy picked it up and loaded it for me. He must be new. I like him! While I'm doing that, the other people board the bus. Ok, what is it with people? Why do the first people in line sit in the front seats? Then everyone has to squeeze past the filled seats to get to the empty seats in the back! After loading my hummer of a stroller under the bus, I grab my kids and bags and get on only to find (happens every time) that the bus is full and the only empty spot is the last seat way in the back. To all of the nice people who don't have enough sense to take a back seat when they are first to get on, I apologize for boofing you in the head with my bag as I walked by. I got almost everyone!
We didn't have to buy any tickets today since I got Gracie her annual pass on our last trip, so we were able to just go through security and then go through the front gate. We were in by 11am! Wow! We were off to a great start!
My mission for the day was trifold: 1. Visit Santa 2. Catch the Princess Tiana Riverboat Show and 3. Ride through the Christmas Small World. Today was such a beautiful sunny day and the last day for SoCal Select Annual Passholders to visit until January, so I knew it would be crowded - very very crowded. The crowd actually wasn't too bad, seems like the crowd was mostly adults and teenagers, not so many little ones. That's fine though because they prefer the rides and attractions that we don't go to. For example: the haunted mansion had a line a mile long!
Over the course of the day we managed to accomplish all of our visit goals and then some.
Visiting Santa was great! The little girls first saw Mrs. Claus. They both really liked her! She was great! Then we waited in line to see Mr. Santa Claus. He was great too! Libby didn't have the same opinion, so Gracie got to visit him without any competition for attention. Then we saw Pluto who was wearing Reindeer antlers. So cute! Libby woofed at him and he blew Gracie some puppy kisses. We also got to see all of Santa's reindeer. They were loitering in the hay, just taking it easy while Mr. and Mrs. Claus were at Disneyland.
We walked over to the Riverfront to see Princess Tiana. Not sure how this riverboat show will go, I wanted to get a great viewing spot so that the short ones could see. I took a spot on the edge of the crowd right next to the water. Turns out, it was a poor spot because the boat moved in front of us and then stopped, we could only see the back of the boat and cough in the fumes. I quickly ran the kids to a better spot even though we weren't right up against the fence, we could see just fine. The girls were mesmerized! At the end of the show, they shot confetti into the crowd; Libby caught quite a bit of it! For the remainder of the day, I picked confetti out of the stroller wheels.
Not even 2 o'clock and I've almost got my mission completed for the day. We have plenty of time to do lots of extras! We went to the Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, rode the Winnie the Pooh ride, caught the last half of the Tiana show again, watched the Christmas parade, and... oh let me stop here and tell you about the prelude to the parade.
Libby is 14 mths old, not exactly the age of patience. She walks fast and in any direction except where I want her to go. That's why I put her on a leash, so that when she does get out of the stroller to walk a bit, she won't get lost. This wasn't her idea of fun at all.
We arrived to the parade viewing area ten minutes before start time and there was a spot open right along the curb! How that happened, I do not know! Magic! So, I parked the stroller and we went to sit and wait for the parade. Most people claim their spots and sit for an hour at least for the parade. Libby decided one minute was long enough, two was too many and she wasn't going to sit still for TEN! She pitched a sreaming crying kicking fit that made all the people around me groan in agony. Two different people offered me food for her. I gave her a cracker but she just used it as a weapon. The screaming was loud and I thought she was going to clear the whole area of people. We might get to watch the parade all by ourselves! That didn't happen, but I imagine some people, or hundreds of people, were wishing I'd take little Miss Screamer and leave. As soon as the parade started, she flipped a switch and instantly sat up and waved saying 'Hi" in her sweet little voice. She was so happy! Waving her little hand off and dancing to the music, smiling and being cute! The parade was great! And Libby was too! Gracie was very well behaved and she waved her little hand like mad too. So cute!
We managed to see quite a few characters this trip. In addition to Santa and Tiana, we saw Woody and Sally from Toy Story, Pooh and Tigger, and... well, it seemed like more. They were all in the parade, maybe that's why it seems like we saw them all. We didn't go see the princesses this trip. First time!
Another first, Gracie rode a horse on the carousel! She was brave enough to get on it while it was stopped, but as soon as the ride started, she changed her mind. You can't get off in mid-ride though so she had to tough it out. When the horse was on its way down, she was all smiles and having fun, but when the horse started to climb up, she wanted off. My little bench rider is growing up!
The days are so short now, I knew it would be dark soon so we headed on over to the Small World. Wow, that was crowded! We might only ride it one time. First I had to find parking for the stroller. Found a sea of strollers and right in the middle them were two signs that said "Please No Stroller Parking". I found a lot of humor in the irony of the sight, so I snapped a quick photo of one of the signs, couldn't even see the other one as it was on the other side of the stroller sea. I kept moving and parked where strollers are supposed to park, you know, a long long long way from the Small World attraction.
The line for The Small World was super long. It wound around and around and across the path around over that'a way and back, we must have walked five miles before loading in the boat. I was glad that the line was always walking though, that's so much better than standing still. As expected, the ride through the Christmas Small World was amazing! Well worth the wait and the long walk! We only rode once, the line was way too long to do it twice. But I ran the video camera all the way through the ride. Hopefully I have some video worthy of watching. Knowing Gracie, we'll watch it a million times.
After the ride, the attraction wasn't lit up yet. It was getting dark and we did everything we set out to do, and I was wiped out. So, I headed for the front gate. Now that it was 5pm, the crowd was thick as pea soup! This is when all the annual pass-holders fill the park! Right after work! It was way too crowded, I could barely push the stroller through the crowd. Ugh! And now I could see that behind me, they lit up the Small World. I had a little argument with myself about turning around and going back to see it lit or continuing on toward the gate. The Good mommy won and I twirled around and went back so Gracie could see it all lit up.
I am so glad that I did. We walked toward it and she was so happy and excited! Next thing I know, I' m up against a rope and the crowd it so dense that I couldn't go anywhere at all. Stuck. Turns out the rope was set up because there was a light show and "Snow" on the Small World frontage. Cool! We had a front row spot for viewing! That was Disneyland Magic! The light show and
But, I was stuck in that crowd. It was nearly impossible to pass through and it took me 45 minutes to get from the Small World to the front gate. People were everywhere! Shoulder to shoulder! And on Main Street, they were lined up for the 6:30 pm parade. Fireworks were scheduled for 9:30 and I wasn't sticking around that long, crowd or no crowd. By the time I got to the end of Main Street both kids were asleep in the stroller, so I knew it was really time to end our fun and head out. I wasn't the only tired girl.
We boarded the bus to the Gardenwalk Parking structure, this time we had a seasoned bus driver - he watched me juggle two sleepy kids, bags and load the stroller myself, then he asked if he could help. Ay, ay, ay... I can only shake my head and wonder what ever happened to the morning gentleman driver. Wonder why they don't hire more like him.
We got to the van and loaded up, Gracie finally decided she would go potty in her van potty chair. Ugh. Why won't she go potty till we get to the van? I can't figure out how to force her to go potty during the day. I sit her on the toilet and she doesn't go, we get to the van and she finally goes for the first time since we left the house. I'm baffled. I couldn't just dump it on the ground because we were in a nicely lit parking structure with security guards driving golf carts around, so I stuck one of Libby's diapers in the potty chair and put the whole thing in a plastic sack for the ride home.
We left the parking structure at 7pm, Crazy, we left the Small World at 6:00pm. Got home shortly after 9pm. The 91 freeway was a jam packed slow going river of cars. Luckily, I went East on the 91 rather than West like I did last time. I had a hard time finding the East exit off the 5 North. All kinds of signs pointing you West, no wonder I took the wrong exit last time! The East 91 exit had one little sign and it was behind something. I nearly missed it!
Another magical day at Disneyland is done. The kids are making wonderful memories and once again, the hassle, the lines, juggling two little kids in the crowds, diapering and nursing in public, its all worth the hard work and the hours on my feet.... the smiles and amazed looks in their eyes, it's magical!