Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Disneyland - The Three Days at Disney!

Firstly, an apology. I've dumped practically all of the Disney pics on here for Grannie (and other interested relatives or friends) to see and for my 'baby book' of a blog. I was not going to individually edit and rotate every sideways pic. Sorry.

Warm up your neck now. First, tilt left.
Now, right.
Feel the stretch.

You're ready.

How Disney Came to Be

Okay, so our Disney trip needs a little background story to be able to explain this entry and the next. Yes, we went to Disneyland because we've wanted to for some time, but here is the little kick in the pants we needed. It's best explained (and already explained by my birthclub friends).

(click the highlighted link to read the entries in full)

My friend, Dee writes:

"When Lauren was still an infant, I'll be honest. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. She was a happy baby, don't get me wrong, but would only nap for 45 minutes at a stretch, was up for the day between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. even at 4 months, and had digestive issues.

In desperation, I began reading books, including one called The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. It had good advice on maintaining a routine and addressing sleep issues (which did not include crying it out, which we just couldn't do). It also, however, directed me to a website where an entire online community of moms existed who followed the BabyWhisperer techniques and were there to answer questions for every conceivable issue you could think of.

The website also had chat boards for moms whose babies were all born within a 2-month span. I joined the March/April 2006 board, not really knowing what to expect.

All I can say is, what a blessing these women have been. There were approximately 15 of us who were active on that board from all over the world, including Canada, Poland, the Czech Republic, Singapore, Russia, England, Scotland, and others (not to mention the good ol' USA). Through daily emails, we listened to problems we were having with our babies and offered advice based on our own experiences (several moms had been through the whole baby stage before). It may sound odd, but these women were such a source of comfort to me during Lauren's first year. While we had so many differences in our cultures and backgrounds (and ages - I am clearly the senior mama of the bunch), the universal truth is that we were all women who desperately loved our children and families and were striving to find balance between our roles as mothers, wives and women. In short, we were so much more alike than different.

After we overextended our stay on the BabyWhisperer website, a couple of years later we created our own separate chat board and the discussions extended beyond our kids into all areas of our lives. Every year we draw names to do birthday gift exchanges for the kids and every holiday season, the mamas draw names to send personalized budget-consious gifts to each other.

These are my girlfriends, plain and simple.

I had my first birth club meet-up when the kids were 3. Jodi, the only other California-based mom, came over for dinner with her husband Jason and kids Carter and Everett (she's since added 3 more to the brood!!). It was so much fun to be able to connect in real life.

Our group schemed of ways to get us together (we even considered writing to Oprah to plead for her to have us on her show!), and about 2 years ago, the idea was hatched to attempt a Disneyland based vacation for however many families could make it. Unfortunately, it wasn't feasible for the overseas mamas, but several of the Canadian ladies really committed to it.

Lo and behold, two weekends ago, we finally met them.

Beginning the night of Lauren's performance awards, Sami and Keri left their hubbies and kids back at their Disneyland-close rental, and came over for drinks, dessert and some girl talk.

Lauren was beyond thrilled to stay up late in her jammies to meet them."

My friend, Keri writes:

"Our trip to Disneyland has been nearly 6 years in the making. As old as Jonah. Well, maybe not that old, but he is the reason we planned this trip, starting nearly two years ago.
I've mentioned my online mommy friends, whom I've chatted online with since he was only a few months old. I've met a handful of them before, but this trip was one for anyone and everyone to meet.

Of course, there were many that were unable to make it for various reasons, but I was thrilled to meet those that could.

Our family shared a house with friends that we have known the longest, stayed with before, and lived very close to for some time. So, that wasn't a big surprise meeting, obviously."

We were lucky enough to get to meet up with Keri and Sami's families for our first day of Disneyland which was their last day of Disneyland.

Keri, I had met before in real life, but not Sami, and not Dee. It was very exciting to get to meet the moms with whom I've been chatting for 6 years!

We met up with Dee a few days later!

On the tram from the parking lot, and then to wait in line for early entry!

The Clarks have arrived at Disneyland!
Disneyland!! Really!

Keri, Ben, Dexy, and Mom went on the Buzz Lightyear ride. The others went on Star Tours.

Here we were heading to Main Street!

But first, Autopia! Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Driving! Driving! Driving!

Here are Keri and Ben!

Hanging out with friends like Bennett, Sami, and a Storm Trooper.

Fantasy Land, Mr.Toad's Wild Ride, and the Tea Cups!

Richard road the teacups because I get sick when I spin.

Entering 'It's A Small World' with AJ reading his beloved map of Disneyland and Dexter laying on my lap.

Dumbo might be too much for Mommy!

The Carousel. A big favourite of the boys'.

Day 5 - Tuesday, February 28th

Into day five of our journey, we were having a great time for our first day of Disneyland. We had a great breakfast at the hotel, we headed to Keri and Sami's to meet up with their families, and walk to Disneyland for early entry with a minimal wait to get in. It was very exciting!

We split off from our group at one point, enjoyed a bunch of rides and excitement, then headed to the hotel to change. Sami, Keri, and their families had us back over to their place for some dinner. The boys were so excited to get some long overdue playtime with some new friends, and I was able to connect with my birthclub friends.

Dinner with my birthclub friends and the kids got to play, play, play!

We watched the Main Street parade with our friends!

Then we booked it over to California Adventure to catch some of 'World of Colour'. Beautiful!

Day 6 - Wednesday, February 29th, Leap Day!

The boys were determined to spend their Disney money on light sabres. They talked about it the whole three days. AJ continued to find most of the rides too loud and a little scary while Dexter just found them all exciting. AJ was never crying about the rides, and he was more than willing to go on them, but was not enjoying the dark and loud ones as much as Dexter.

"Modern Family" was filming which put a cramp in our day a couple times, but that all worked out when we got to jump the line for the Toy Story ride (a 60 minute wait) in California Adventure. Splash Mountain, Matterhorn, the water ride in C.A., and the monorail were closed, but we had fun on the train, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, Tarzan, Pirates of the Caribbean, another carousel, "Soaring", Ariel's Ride, and Toy Story.

Our plan was to head back to Disneyland to just finish up a few more things, especially the things that were closed during the filming of Modern Family (ie. Thunder Mountain Railroad). But, we couldn't head back to Disneyland because the line up was so long with all the people coming for the 24hr day, ending at 6am. We decided it would be time better spent to have a very overdue dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. We ended the day with Dexter falling asleep during our delicious dinner and sleeping on me while I finished mine. We headed back to the hotel, beat.

The boys LOVED Toon Town.
The playground and the rollercoaster were faves, for sure, but,

... so was trying to open all the doors. Some of them made funny sounds!

The three boys on the Jungle Cruise!

The boys were trying to pick each other up throughout the trip. I got my Tiki Room visit (which was not as cool as I remember) and my Dole Pineapple Whip Float (which lived up to every expectation and more).

We went through Mickey's House in Toon Town and visiting Mickey. It looked as though AJ would be fine with the mascots after all!!!

We were on the train, looking down on the filming for "Modern Family".

Dexter posing after the Toy Story ride.

The Under the Sea Carousel in California Adventure.

Leap Day line up, two exhausted boys, and Mommy and Daddy happy to escape the chaos.

That line up when on and on and on for blocks and blocks... like 8 minutes of driving (the other direction) past it while I was telling my mom about the day. I was on the phone with her saying, "Oh my goodness, the line is still going! It's still going, and we're just turning off at Ball Road to head to our hotel now!"

Day 7 - Thursday, March 1st

We started this morning with the character breakfast at the Plaza Inn. We had a few things to finish up at Disneyland before heading over to C.A. like Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tom Sawyer's Pirate Lair, making their own light sabres, and the Astro Orbiter. At California Adventure we saw Muppet Vision 3D, Turtle Talk with Crush, and a street show. AJ and I road on Goofy's Sky School, and we all went on the Golden Zephyr and Heimlich's Chew Chew Train.

We ended our night back at Disneyland for the Nemo Submarines, and getting the boys each a stuffy to remember their trip.

And a swirly lollipop, of course.

The Nemo Submarines ended up being my favourite part of trip. I don't know if it was because it was the last thing we did and the kids were so mesmerized or if it was because they took a slightly cool ride from when I was a kid and made it sooo magical.

Dexter loved meeting so many characters at the character breakfast!

AJ is not a big fan of the mascots.
I had to move him away from all the action because he was stressing out a bit and was a little overwhelmed.

Some of the characters were really funny!

It was a very special morning! Next we headed off to the ride the boys had been asking for.

Richard went twice in a row because I couldn't go on... spinning... sick... etc.

Tom Sawyer's Pirate Lair was loads of fun!

The boys had been dying to use their light sabres (that they got to build themselves!) and their swords from the Indian Jones store. We let them sword fight before leaving Disneyland to head to California Adventure.

Mike and Sulley to the Rescue and Francis's Ladybug Boogie.

Flik's Flyer's and Tuck & Roll's Drive Em Buggies which were SO slow. Like crazy slow.

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train was pretty lame.

More photos with some favourite characters. Pluto was definitely Dexter's favourite.

The Golden Zephyr ride. The boys were very excited about this one. Mommy? Not so much.

And with no time or energy left (especially since Richard's cold was back with a vengeance and the cough too) for the trail walk and some shows, it ended as quickly as it began.

Good bye Disneyland. We'll come back soon, I hope and finish you off!

This was probably the boys' favourite part of Disneyland and the whole trip!

In my next post, I'll put the road trip home!
and a little thank you note to a couple special people.