Well, Tom & I decided we were actually going to take the kids to Disneyland after talking about it for a couple of years. Because of Spencer’s school schedule, we decided to take them the week of Thanksgiving. We thought it wouldn’t be too crowded at Disneyland, because it is a holiday weekend, afterall, but that was foolishness! Still, we had a good time anyway.
We didn’t want to tell the kids – we wanted it to be a surprise. We had to let the fact that we were going out of town out of the bag, so to speak, because we had to contact Spencer’s teachers about his absence. But we let him think we were going to Monroe. On Saturday afternoon we loaded the suitcases into the car and headed to the airport. We hadn’t gotten far when Spencer said, “Umm, are we going a different way? Because this isn’t the way we usually go.” Tom told him we were going to Kansas for Thanksgiving with the Woolleys (Tom’s sister’s family). Spencer was MAD. Although he likes his Woolley cousins quite well, he was disappointed not to be going to Monroe to “chill”. Once we reached the airport, Tom had a new story. We were flying to Las Vegas, where my parents would come pick us up. This was because Tom “had to get back to his new job early”. By this time Spencer wasn’t really buying it, and he picked up on the fact that we were actually flying to Los Angeles pretty quickly. He didn’t really say too much after that, except to say that we should tell him where we were going! The little kids were genuinely surprised and excited that we were going to Disneyland and couldn’t wait.
We arrived in Los Angeles Saturday evening and drove out to Anaheim and checked into the Fairfield Inn across the street from Disneyland. We were all in one room, which was kind of a drag – Andrew never wants to go to sleep if anything is going on, and he’s afraid of the dark, so he gets afraid once we turn out the lights. Still, we persevered and once the week got going, he was more tired out and slept better.
Sunday morning we got up and attended the Anaheim 1st ward. We had planned to attend Sacrament Meeting and then drive down to San Diego. But their church schedule began with Relief Society/Priesthood, so we ended up staying for the entire block. In retrospect, that wasn’t such a bad thing, because it helped us to stay in the Sabbath mode a little more. After church we changed clothes and headed south. I wanted to drive by our home in Penasquitos and then take the kids down to Balboa Park and to the beach. Our old home and neighborhood looked a lot like I remembered and also a little different. Trees were bigger and the neighborhoods looked older, but still familiar. It was fun. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera, so no pictures of our trip to SD. We wandered around Balboa Park, which was interesting. Then we drove to La Jolla shores to let the kids get out on their first beach. It was just like I remembered! Andrew & Haley immediately went into the water up to their waists! (fully dressed) and Spencer hunted for shells. We watched the sun set and then drove past the SD temple – beautiful! Spencer decided that was where he wanted to get married!!
The next morning we got up early and were in line at Disneyland by 7:20am. Tom bought this nifty program called “RideMax” that makes up a schedule for you to ride the rides with a minimum of waiting. We followed the schedule for our first couple of days, and we did get to ride a lot of rides without waiting a lot of time. That was cool. However, we kind of over-did it the first day (didn’t leave the park until about 6pm) and we were beat! The next morning Tom and I could hardly walk – our feet were so sore! I used to think I could cross the plains if I had to. Now, not so sure!!
Things we did the first day: Space Mountain, Autopia, Buzz Lightyear ride, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Carribean, Thunder Mountain, Winnie the Pooh ride, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan, the Tom Sawyer Island, the Haunted Mansion, and the Treehouse.
It got really crowded in the afternoon, and we left the park in the afternoon on all the rest of the days. Spencer & Tom headed over to CA Adventure and rode a couple of rides in the early evening, while I took the kids back to the hotel.
The next morning we got to enter Disneyland early – so we were at the gates at 6:30!! We rode Dumbo and the Matterhorn bobsleds, and the Tea Cups and Alice in Wonderland (all of these are difficult to get on without waiting, usually). Then we went to “Its a Small World” (also usually long waits). Afterwards we wandered around in Toon Town, which is a great place for finding a bench and letting the kids wander around and play. Afterwards we headed back to Splash Mountain, the Jungle Cruise, and Thunder Mountain.
I was pretty tired by this time, but Spencer insisted we should go over to CA Adventure, so we limped over!! After getting something to eat, we all perked up. We rode Soaring over CA and the Grizzly River Run. Spencer was a little disgusted by our slow pace, so he took my phone and went off to ride by himself, while we did things like take a tortilla making tour and watch “It’s Tough to be a Bug” (a 3D movie). Finally, we all rode the Tower of Terror and headed back to the hotel for a nap. In the evening we headed back to Disneyland to eat dinner at the Blue Bayou (the restaurant inside Pirates of the Carribean). The food was expensive and not so great, but the atmosphere was awesome! We had hoped to catch the late Fantasmic show but it got rained out.
Wednesday we spent most of the early part of the day at CA Adventure – although the day started out rainy and we waited until about noon before heading out. We rode Screaming CA a couple of times (even me!) and the kids loved it (especially Haley). Tom & Spencer rode Maliboomer about six times while I took the kids over to a kid friendly play area. Spencer took off again(!) while Tom & I took the kids to the Monsters, Inc. ride, a character show (where they got to take pictures!) and checked out the animation exhibit.
We caught the parade at CA Adventures and then went over the Disneyland and watched the parade there as well. We then watched the fireworks (they are awesome) and finally caught Fantasmic. In between all the shows, we window shopped a little, caught a couple of rides (Splash Mountain especially!) and just enjoyed the atmosphere.
Thursday we rode a couple of our favorite rides at CA Adventures before saying goodbye to the park. Then we went over to Disneyland to do our real shopping. Around 1pm we left the park and enjoyed Thanksgiving Dinner at Tony Romas. It was pretty good!! Afterwards, we took a little nap in the hotel room and caught a little football!! Then we headed back to the park in the early evening. We rode Splash Mountain 4 times (it wasn’t busy so they kept letting us go through again) and watched the fireworks one last time. We finished our shopping and finally left the park around 10:30pm. Our Disneyland Adventure was over.
Friday morning we checked out of our hotel and headed to Newport Beach. We spent a couple of hours on the beach – everyone got into the water – though none of us could stay in long!! We hunted for shells and took pictures and played in the sand. Afterwards we drove up the Pacific Coast Hwy all the way to the airport. Some of the drive was beautiful and some was just through run down business districts but we arrived at the airport about the right time and caught our flight uneventfully. We arrived in Denver to SNOW! Very strange to be in the ocean in the morning and in the snow by nightfall!! We had a great time, though we missed spending the holiday with family. Thanks for sticking with this super long post all the way to the end!!