If you know me on a personal level you know I LOVE Disneyland. I grew up in Southern California so I have been several times in my life. I went as a child, I went as a pre-teen, I went a ton as a teenager, and a handful of times as a single adult. Each age brings a different Disney experience. There are rides for all ages, activities for all ages, and your priorities while there are always different depending on who you are with. But it is always a good time. But I can tell you this, the day you bring a child to Disneyland is a day you will never forget. There is something about the pure joy that seeps out of your children from the magic of that place that just melts your heart over and over again.
I moved to Northern California back in 2000 and didn’t move back to Southern California until 2008 with my Husband. We were there for almost 3 years so naturally we got annual passes and brought Aidan there often. And by often I mean I am almost sure we went once a month! I know, ridiculous!!!! But with a pass it was free and kids under 3 are free, why not! (notice, not a question LOL) We took Aidan as an infant and although he wasn’t able to ride many rides he still loved it. Just the atmosphere, the baby rides, and characters were enough for him at the time. With each year he got older the trips got better. Poor Isabella has not gone as often as Aidan. We moved back up to Nor Cal when she was 6 weeks old so she went at 6 weeks (we had to say goodbye to Disneyland) and once more when she was a year old. But as she was approaching her 2nd Birthday she had really come into her own little personality, she was really into Princesses and all the fun girly things in life. So we knew she would have so much fun at Disneyland. So on our last trip down to visit my family we made sure to make time for a trip to Disneyland. Man did we under estimate just how much she would enjoy it! When Aidan was young he LOVED every character, just loved them! Isabella on the other hand screamed bloody murder when they would come near her. So we didn’t have high expectations for her as far as the characters were concerned. But we were mistaken!!!
I think I could write a strategy guide to visiting Disneyland with small children and how to avoid lines and still see everything! One of the things we always do, that we learned from our friends The Hutchins is we make a reservation to have “Breakfast with Minnie” its a character breakfast inside a cafe at Disneyland’s main park. They open an hour earlier than the actual park does so you get to pass the crazy entrance line and get in early. (not all times of the year but most) It makes for a really early day but much better than standing in huge lines to get in. The other reason the breakfast is amazing is because you get to visit with several characters with out waiting in any lines. They come to each table in the restaurant and you can take photos with them and get autographs, the whole deal. So that knocks off like 6 or 7 lines you would otherwise have to wait in through out the park just to see these charachters.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the day. I didn’t spend much time editing the photos so please excuse them, it’s wedding season so I do what I can
Aidan has always love love loved Pooh Bear. As he has gotten older he has become a massive super hero fan but what’s funny is he still sleeps with his Pooh Bear and he was THRILLED to see him at breakfast!
This was the big test, Captain hook had come over to our table and she was ok with him but wasn’t interested in taking a photo with him or giving him a hug so we assumed that is how she would be with everyone. But the second she spotted Minnie from across the room she was over the moon!! she got right out of her chair and ran over to her and gave her a big hug with out hesitation.
this was her reaction to seeing Minnie Mouse!! Right there, that is worth the price of admission! I took these photos with tears in my eyes hoping they were in focus cuz I couldn’t see!
One of the many things I love about my Husband is how much he loves our kids. Im not entirely sure he loves Disneyland as much as I do but what I do know is he loves is our kids at Disneyland. He never complains a single bit and he is always just as eager to go as I am. We both spend the day glancing at each other as if to say “did you see his reaction?” or sometimes we just look at each other and we know we are both thinking what an amazing life we have with such wonderful kids.
If you know my Husband you know his favorite Disney movie is Alice in Wonderland. Some Men like school girls mine likes Alice LOL
We spent a ton of time talking about how much Isabella was going to enjoy this trip. We pretty much knew Aidan was going to, he always does. He already had a game plan set on which rides were in what order and all that. But we didn’t even think about his height. We had always stuck to the small kids rides cuz that’s all we’ve ever been able to ride. We totally forgot that he was getting taller and possibly able to move up in the Disneyland world. He loves loves loves his Grandpa Chapman and they share a love of Star Wars so this year especially he was asking to go on Star Tours but I was sure he wasn’t tall enough. But sure enough he was exactly 40″ tall! I wish I got a shot of us measuring him but it was far too crowded.
“Ill let you eat this loli pop if you close your eyes for 10 tiny little minutes” that 10 minutes turned to over an hour….just as I planned!!! =happy parents
I knew Isabella would love to see the Princesses. We could either do the princess lunch or wait in line. Since we already did the breakfast we decided to just wait in line. So I waited in line while Ben and my Mom pushed the kids around. That 2 hour line moved slower than a snail! But was worth every second! I have never seen her so happy!!!
She is so funny because she is so different from Aidan. When Aidan is excited he shows it, Isabella is more quiet about it and shows it in her little expressions and body language.
After you get done with the princesses it spits you out into a gift shop filled with princess stuff……… she was in heaven! “gama this is sooo pitty, you buy it?” “oh gamma sooo cute, buy it?” and my Mom fell for it hook line and sinker!
I cant remember any fireworks shows I saw as a kid at Disneyland, not even sure I ever made it that long to see one as a kid there. But I will never forget the firework show Ben and I saw with The Hutchins Family while I was pregnant with Aidan. It was during Christmas time and it was the most magical show I’ve ever seen (this coming from a girl who’s Dad use to put on the 4th of July fireworks show at Dodger Stadium) and at the end they made it snow! I was a crying hormonal mess! It was then that Ben and I were hooked. We would take Aidan to see that show immediately after birth! ok well maybe not so soon but you get the idea. In the 30 or so times Aidan has been he has never been able to stay awake for the fireworks !!!! But with a nice hearty nap he made it this time!!! Isabella, not so much! What I love most was watching him. I feel like when you get older you spend the entire first half of the fireworks show waiting for the finale. Towards the middle if a couple go off at the same time you start to wonder “is this it?” But he has no clue about a finale nor does he care. He is just enjoying every single thing as it comes. There is something so amazing about being young and expecting less and enjoying everything.
and for all you photogs this was taken with my mark ii (I left the mark iii at home I was affraid I’d ruin it somehow if I tried juggling the kids, disneyland, and my new fancy camera) it was taken at iso 4000 1.8 at 1/50 with my 50mm 1.4 lens. no flash.
Don’t judge my firework photos! LOL I spend most of my time watching Aidan so I turned quickly to snap a few of the fireworks just to have them. I’m not the best at firework photography but I think they work fine enough for a family memory ???