I can't deny it, I love the place. It's busy, crowded and expensive, and yet I just love it there. After our trip 2 1/2 years ago I had to make myself just not think about when we could ever go again. Then when I heard that my brother Adam may be moving away from the LA area this summer I thought to myself, "We must go! Free place to stay is leaving!" So we put together a trip. In the middle of our plans we had to suddenly take Troy out of the picture because he started a new job 3 weeks ago and didn't want to take a bunch of days off in his first month. But as we did more and more planning we got sadder and sadder about him not coming, so we wrangled together a plan in which he could drive down with us, do 1 day of D-land with us, hang out with family on Sunday and then fly home on Sunday night while the kids and I did two more days o' mouse before driving home. I felt so much better about the trip know that Troy could be there for a least part of it.
Also, I have always dreamed of surprising my kids with a trip. We picked them up from school on Friday with the car already packed. We sat them outside the car on the grass and told them. What fun that was. Stomper was slightly stunned and wasn't sure he could trust that we were being serious, but Bitty went nuts.
We then drove to St. George to meet up with my brother Peter and his wife and two daughters. You can not say the word "Disneyland" to Sheri and not look forward to her joining you on the trip. I've always wanted to do a Disney trip with her and I was really happy they could make it. So, we slept at their house that night. Let me rephrase that. We TRIED to sleep. We were kind of jittery and excited. I don't think Bitty fell asleep until 11:00. This wouldn't have been too big of a problem except that we got up at 5:00 a.m. (Note: we forgot that this would be 4:00 a.m.California time....) and were driving by 5:30. Stomper and Bundle fell back asleep for a while, but Bitty was just sitting in the back seat practically levitating with excitement. Luckily she and Bundle both fell back asleep for about the last 1 1/2 hours of the trip, which was our saving grace I think.
We drove straight to the park, getting there around noon and we stayed until 10:30 that night. I think that was the day that took the most years off of my life. We were the walking dead by the end of it. And yet, it was absolutely wonderful. The kids were so good. They were good in the car, they were good in the park. We were all just so happy to be there. Even little Bundle handled all the driving and waiting in lines just beautifully. That's not to say there were never any conflicts or tears, but there were never any major incidents, meltdowns or tantrums. I was so proud.
My sister in law already blogged about the trip and I think she summed it up quite well. I don't even know how to record all the fun that we had. Perhaps I'll do a little summing up myself.
Great because Troy was with us, because we discovered that even on really busy days Disneyland is doable, because when Bitty rode the Matterhorn with me she was so brave but kept yelling, "This can not be happening!" Great because each kid got to do fun things with just their dad: Bitty picked Alice in Wonderland and Stomper got to ride Indiana Jones for the first time. He also took on the Mountains both Thunder and Space - and we discovered that he is a rollercoaster fanantic. Troy and I got to experience California Screamin' for the first time and had a ball. Adam's son Smith joined us for the afternoon. I always love to see the boys together, especially as they lay eyes on each other that first moment. Big hugs and much silliness to follow. We loved the jungle cruise - our boat captain was actually quite hilarious. We just wasted ourselves and then drove to Adam and Whitley's house. They were laughing at us for being totally insane, but with Troy only having one day there we made the most of it!
How grateful we were for a day at Adam's house. Whitley went above and beyond making the house look like the most welcoming B&B ever, cooking fantastic food for us and helping us have a relaxing day. It was just delightful to watch all the kids (eight of them!) scampering around the yard and jumping on the tramp. We needed a down day like you wouldn't believe. That evening I was very courageous and braved the highways of California all by myself to drive Troy to the airport. This was slightly nerve-wracking but I survived. I was so sad to send him home but couldn't have been happier that he got to be a part of our trip at all.
Rise and Shine, people! A full Disney day! We loved getting to the park pretty early and heading straight for the princesses. Stomper was very patient and brave as the little girls got to meet three lovely princesses. This was a big day because all three families were there, me being a single parent, and trying to manage our group of 13 people. We did our best to make the kids happy and also send some grownups on some big rides when we could. We weren't able to hit every single attraction that day, but we got most of them in and I think the kids were happy. There's nothing like trying to get six girls to pose for pictures all at once.
Well, this was our day of having early passes to the park, but the morning was made slightly difficult by the fact that there was a soaking rain going on until after noon. We were so wet and cold - I don't think Bundle's feet dried off and warmed up until she was in bed that night. The kids were tired, but we still ended up having a really nice day. We had a small group, well, smallER..., smallISH..., and it was easier to get around. Stomper decided to try California Screamin' with me and loved it so much he immediately accompanied his uncle then his aunt on the ride. We also LOVED the new Toy Story ride - Midway Mania. That was good fun. Basically, we just packed in as much as we possibly could, including the World of Color show that night in California Adventure. Just as we were walking over there we noticed that the Grizzly River Run ride hadn't closed yet, so Stomper and I had one last adventure together in which I got very wet and he stayed almost completely dry. That was a great ride.
And then miraculously, the ride home, all in one day with only one parent in the car, went amazingly well. Bundle held it together until the very last hour, when she finally cried a bit then fell asleep. It was definitely a long day but it could have been really awful. Instead it was just lengthy with a lot of rain and snow to keep us company along the way. I was afraid the journey home would be hard enough to ruin the trip but it wasn't at all. I'm so glad we did it. And guess what. I can't wait until we can go again!