this first picture nails our california/disneyland trip right on the head. it was half happy, and half sad.
everything started out great! i took the girls to the park right before we left so that they could get some energy out and get a little worn out for the beginning of the drive. we surprised the girls and they were ecstatic (well brooklyn was) and our drive went very smoothly. i had lots of things for them to do in the car, we had some yummy snacks, and we were in our hotel in vegas by 9PM.
everything i bought to entertain/surprise the girls came from the target dollar spot or the dollar store. so many good things!
we bought this awesome tablet mount on amazon so that the girls could watch movies when they started to get restless. and seriously, bless this thing!
we got up early the next morning, grabbed some breakfast at mickey d's, and drove the rest of the way to california. we all got very anxious once we hit the la traffic. ugh. we decided we'd drive straight to the beach since we couldn't check into our hotel until 3PM. that gave us almost three hours. it worked out nicely though.
instead of paying for parking, we parked a little ways away and walked to the beach. luckily, we brought our wagon from costco that fit the girls and all the beach stuff so walking was a breeze. and so was the beach, breezy i mean. it was a cool 70 degrees, but the girls didn't care. they got right to playing and digging in the sand. also, costco to the rescue again, this sand bucket play set was awesome! it comes with a ton of stuff and it's only $10!
james and i didn't get into our swim suits, but it was nice to just sit, relax, and stretch after a long drive. the girls loved the freedom and being at the beach made them so happy.
once we checked into our hotel, it was bath time, and then off to dinner.
(i surprised them with this 3 in 1 princess body wash for the trip. they loved it! it's the little things.)
we ate at IHOP, it was in the same parking lot as our hotel, and the girls ate til their little hearts were content. we watched a few little shows and then everyone went to bed.
on sunday, we slept in, enjoyed some breakfast at the hotel, and then got ready for church. we found a a ward nearby that had sacrament meeting at 1PM and that worked out great for us. the rest of the day we hung out in the hotel room, went for a little walk, and got the girls as psyched as possible for disneyland the next day. we snagged a groupon for dinner that night at a bucca de beppo down the street and we stuffed ourselves with pasta and mozzarella bread.
(on our way out to dinner)
then finally, FINALLY, monday morning came and it was disneyland time. technically, california adventure time.
we didn't waste any time, as soon as we got into the park we headed straight for a bug's life land. the girls loved the little rides and just finally getting to be at the park!
one of the highlights was the disney jr. show. both girls loved it, but brooklyn was especially into it as her favorite characters, jake and the neverland pirates, were part of it. the special effects were great and the girls were dancing until everyone cleared out of the theatre.
then we made our way down to the pier for a couple rides while we waited to check-in for our reservations at ariel's grotto.
this was definitely the highlight for brooklyn! and honestly, i had to hold back tears a couple of times watching brooklyn be overly excited about getting to meet all these princesses she loves.
our food was delicious! definitely worth the one splurge on a meal we did the whole trip. the girls ate their food pretty well and the dessert was so good!
brooklyn had a hard time eating her dessert because the princesses were making their way over to our table and she could hardly stay in her seat!
we have so much good video of this, and hardly any pictures.
i was surprised at how brave brooklyn was because things like this make her nervous, but she was just plain excited!
and keni dove in at every princess with a big hug. it was seriously the cutest!
i am so glad we did this part of the trip on our first day, since the second day was about to be a disaster. brooklyn was seriously on cloud 9 the whole rest of the day after this!
after ariel's grotto, we did a few more rides and then headed to the elsa & anna sing along. kendall napped through the whole thing which was perfect! brooklyn loved getting to sing all the songs AND of course, see anna and elsa.
then it was time for james and brooklyn to use their fast passes at cars' land. james said brooklyn got a little nervous when the ride started (it's pretty fast), but she ended up loving it! and she was even more happy that their car won the race. and that it was purple.
on our way out of cars' land, brooklyn joined in on a little dancing in the street performance. james and i are constantly surprised at the things she's not afraid to do. she got out there and clapped, danced, and shook her booty for all she was worth. it was so cute!
kendall's favorite ride was the ladybug ride at a bug's life land. she giggled the whole time and wanted to go on it again and again.
for dinner, we strolled down to the pier again, gave the girls a bunch of glow in the dark wands (from the dollar store), and we ate uncrustables while they ran around. then we did the carousel, which they loved. again, the simple things right?
then it was time for the world of color show down on the water. we had front row seats and they did not disappoint! this show was amazing. james and i were constantly just saying, "wow!" to each other. the girls loved it too. it was seriously entertaining.
we ended the night cold, wet, and exhausted. but totally happy! brooklyn was asleep by the time we got back to our hotel and kendall zonked out shortly after.
the next day was full of swimming, laundry (for me), and just layin low. it was a nice break before we were going to have another long day at the park. or so we thought...
that night, we went to dinner, downtown disney (to pick out souvenirs), and then to coldstone to grab some ice cream and watch the fireworks.
the next morning, brooklyn woke up with a stomach ache...
but she was determined to feel better and enjoy our second (and last) day at disneyland. so we all got ready and headed to the park.
as soon as we got to the gate to give them our tickets, brooklyn threw up. and then she threw up again. she kept saying she wanted to stay and ride rides and that she still had princesses to meet, so we we got in line for a ride. well, she had to throw up again. so i went and sat down with her while james and kendall rode the ride.
by that time, brooklyn was wiped out. she was lucky enough to see sleeping beauty before she passed right out in the stroller.
james and i were beside ourselves. we didn't know what to do. whether we go back to the hotel and and hope that she felt better, or just push on and try to make the best of it. it was not an easy decision to make. so james, being the resourceful one that he is, decided to go talk to the people at city hall. he told them the situation and they went above and beyond to make our decision easier. we were still heart broken, but we ended up with tickets to come back for two more days another time. park hopper tickets. they really did exceed anything that we expected.
while james dealt with all of that, kendall was having a blast running around and even meeting a couple characters.
so, sadly, seriously tears in our eyes, we left the park and went back to the hotel. i was devastated to tell brooklyn that we weren't going back when she woke up a little while later. but she took it like a champ. she said it would be so fun to come back later, and be able to do it all over again. it made it a little easier to bare.
so brooklyn threw up the rest of the day. the rest of us felt fine. so we just hung out in the hotel and rested up for our long drive home the next day.
and boy did it end up being long. kendall started throwing up in beaver. we'd made good time up until that point, but we were stopped for about an hour cleaning up the fun stuff, changing clothes, and waiting for the next round. eventually we just decided to throw our beach towels over everything, hand kendall a frisbee to throw up in, and make it home as quickly as we could.
we got home, took baths, and everyone slept well.
it was a really sad ending to our trip, and then i ended up throwing up the next day and we've all been sick since. except for james. thank goodness.
so that's how our vacation went down and though it didn't go as expected, we are really excited to get another shot at disneyland in the upcoming year. we learned a lot and are looking forward to a lot. but for now, we're getting excited to meet this new little chica that will be joining our family in the next 80 or so days!!!
cue the weekly bump pic...
taken at the laundromat at our hotel...
my tips for disneyland:
1. stay at the park vue inn. it's as close to the parks as you can get and it's an awesome place to stay! they have a yummy breakfast every morning, a fun pool, and you are literally 500 ft from the entrance of the park. plus, parking is free.
2. take a change of clothes for your kids into the park.
3. go at off peak times. end of february was great!
4. do a character dining experience! it was our one splurge and it was so worth it. i'd also recommend doing a lunch over a breakfast. here's why: it gets you out of the heat of the day, and the food is way more worth the money.
5. uncrustables are a must have! these kept me alive. they're easy, yummy, and who doesn't love a good pb&j?
6. download ride max. it's $15. it saved us time and the headache of how to 'do it all'!
7. take your own glow in the dark stuff instead of buying the expensive stuff.
8. don't do 2 days in a row at the parks if you have little ones. or if you can help that at all. i realize that came back to bite us, but seriously, knowing that we were leaving the park monday night and having all of tuesday to recoop, really saved me! and why not have a fun swim day in between?!
9. i did A LOT of research before our trip, like a lot, and i would totally recommend reading fun cheap or free's posts on how to do disneyland on the cheap. unless you don't need to ;) but we did, and i was able to set a reasonable budget and stay under it by the time our trip was over. i was definitely proud of myself you guys! and if you're in the same boat as we are and you can't afford to just go to disneyland and spend a ton of money, message me and i'll help you in any way that i can. i feel like i have some good ideas up my sleeve!