(our kids') California Dreams! (COMPLETE)

albertamommyof4

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
I am loving your trip report. I think it is great that you planned to go even though finances say other wise lol. Memories are forever and the kids are only young once. It has been a long time since the kids and i's first disneyland vacation (april of 2009) and will be a long while till we get to go back unfortunitly so it is so nice to see your pictures and videos.
 

Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
First off I just want to say I really hate when things like this happen to the schools. We do live in a pretty great school district but we're still told that our kids may not go to our home school. Which is kind of bad since I was the first family to sign my DD up for Kindergarten next year also. (My DS is in Kindergarten this year!!) Hope you're able to get it all straightened out and both of them into a good school!!
Thanks. I'm trying not to think about it too much this week. The kindergartner is already approved and registered at our first choice, thankfully. That should move DS6 up on the list? We have him on two waiting lists, and he's technically registered for next year at another campus of the same charter (20 minutes away, -without- traffic) but it might be a few months until we hear. Blah.

Ok are you sure your not writing about my life!!! My DH and I got engaged Feb 2004 and got married in May 2004!! A whole year before you and your DH!! We've also taken trips to DL that we shouldn't have due to finances (my DH is an electrician and when there's no work he doesn't work). But our children are only young once and it's memories we will all cherish for year's to come.
Can't wait to read more about what you guys did! And your kids are adorable!!! Love all the happy smiles!!
Of course I went and commented all over your post instead of saying anything here, but thanks! I love the happy smiles too, and keep looking at them. I even printed some pictures (GASP - we never print pics anymore, and I'm about 2 years behind on my digital scrapbooking still) to put up around on my fridge and stuff. :rotfl2:

I am loving your trip report. I think it is great that you planned to go even though finances say other wise lol. Memories are forever and the kids are only young once. It has been a long time since the kids and i's first disneyland vacation (april of 2009) and will be a long while till we get to go back unfortunitly so it is so nice to see your pictures and videos.
Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I don't think it matters if there are several years or more in between trips - there are lot of fun memories you can make in between. It's okay for Disney to just be a big "every once in a while" thing for some of us. Better than racking up credit card debt or something to go more often, right? That doesn't really make the family any happier in the long run... But it's nice to "live a little" every once in a while, even if you do it on a budget. ;-) We do give up some of the "little things" (like rides at county fairs, brand new clothes and shoes most of the time, eating out more than once a week) to be able to save up though.
 

ladylyons

Wishing I was closer to Disneyland
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Thanks. I'm trying not to think about it too much this week. The kindergartner is already approved and registered at our first choice, thankfully. That should move DS6 up on the list? We have him on two waiting lists, and he's technically registered for next year at another campus of the same charter (20 minutes away, -without- traffic) but it might be a few months until we hear. Blah.
I hope he does move up and get put into the same school! I'm doing the 2 school drive this year and I'll be honest it sucks!!! My DD is in a co-op PreK about 10 mins away and my son is in Kindergarten 2 mins away in the other direction (we walk to his when my DD doesn't have school, she only goes 3 days a week.) I'll be glad next year when they are in the same school. At least I already know that my DS will be staying at the same school due to a survey I had to fill out. The waiting is hard! Hope it goes by fast though so you can find out for sure where they will both be going!


Of course I went and commented all over your post instead of saying anything here, but thanks! I love the happy smiles too, and keep looking at them. I even printed some pictures (GASP - we never print pics anymore, and I'm about 2 years behind on my digital scrapbooking still) to put up around on my fridge and stuff. :rotfl2:
No worries! Post where you can! Again your posting my life!! I'm about 3 years behind on updating our digital frame!! James looks at it and see's baby pictures of Jeremy and says "ME". :rotfl2: Nope sorry baby that's your big brother!! We also don't normally print pictures unless they are for family.
 

Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Where were we? Ah, trying to make that decision about Splash (which we dearly love, and as I said, it was HOT) and park-hopping over to enjoy a few less people. I should mention that on the itinerary, we should be spending the late evening in Disneyland and seeing Fantasmic. I was planning to lay out our little throw on the grass and read something on my phone/people watch for a couple hours while DH took the little ones around/got dinner, etc. But we just weren't feeling Disneyland at the moment, and decided to make the Fantasmic decision later, and head across the esplanade. (I would possibly have never known it was called that except that I found the DisBoards through a little game called VMK (or Virtual Magic Kingdom) back in the day.
Before we left though, I helped the kids complete their first pin trade (there hadn't been many CMs wearing lanyards where we had been mostly on rides.) They thought that was kind of cool, and we made slow progress to the turnstiles, since they were getting ready for the afternoon parade on Main Street, and the pins were plentiful. It was hard for me to just stay back and not influence the trading (much) since there were so many pins that I- thought were cool. Mommy might have to get in on the action next time. Here is a picture of one of their first trades:



Walking into California Adventure was a bit of a breath of fresh air. It was busy there too, but its more open- than Disneyland in many areas, and you could feel a bit of a breeze. It was definitely the right choice for us at that moment. After trading once or twice on our way in, we rode The Little Mermaid again. It was a constant favorite, mostly because the kids enjoyed it and the line was not much of a line.



After that I took the little one on one of her favorite rides, the Golden Zephyr, again while DH took the older two on Goofy's Sky School. Ha. Sucker. He'd never been on it. (Technicaly, neither had I, but I've ridden "Muholland Madness" once or twice, thank you.) I might have enjoyed the theming, but I was gracious and let him try it out. He wasn't a fan (surprise) but the kiddos enjoyed it. GSS had a bit of a line (maybe 10 minutes?) but we didn't have to wait for the Zephyr.



I was a little sad that the Silly Symphony Swings, which my kids would have loved, were closed, (They didn't even seem to be up on their little pedestal - strange?) but for the "off season," we really didn't miss much to refurbishment, overall. And they would have been awkward to ride, since none of our kids are tall enough to ride independently. Now we tried to figure out if the kids wanted to wait for the Pixar Play Parade or ride something else. Somewhat sadly, the older two wanted to ride TSMM again. (And DD2 usually wants whatever they're excited about still) I say sadly, because the wait was listed at 45 minutes. They still wanted to go though, so we did. I'd say we waited closer to 30 or 35, thankfully, and took a few fun pictures in the process.





This was actually the first time in the whole trip that my feet were starting to really hurt. They had felt tired before, but I was uncomfortable standing in this line. Goes to show that getting a little more fit and switching my shoes every other day made a difference this time though! (I was in my almost-broken Saucony sneakers and heel inserts again this day, even though the temperatures called for my Croc flip flops again. I had a tiny "hot spot" on top of each foot where the strap rubbed a bit though as soon as I put them on that morning, and I chickened out and switched them while we were standing in line before rope drop. How many of you can say you changed your shoes during rope drop? Anyone else crazy like me? )

The kids enjoyed the ride again, and DH was excited that he got "high score of the vehicle," whatever that means. ;-) We realized that if we booked it over there, we could probably catch most of the Play Parade, since it started on Buena Vista street, and would be ending by the Silly Symphony Swings. We ran (er, walked quickly) around and crossed just before they roped off the exit for the Parade to cross. DH was a bit grumpy at this point (I don't remember why, but I know HIS feet were hurting) so he sat back in a chair at the restaurant and watched while the kids and I got a curbside seat. (Lineside?) They enjoyed the parade, though not nearly as thoroughly as Soundsational the night before. I think any parade gets a few degrees more magical when the sun goes down though, and it was only about 5:30. ;-)




We weren't sure exactly what we wanted to do after the parade was over, but we were getting pretty hungry (and lets face it: TIRED), so we walked up through Cars Land to check out the lights and see what our options were, and then we continued over through the big arch. All the kids wanted was a Power Pack, and I figured at least one- of the restaurants in that little food court area of the Wharf would have one. We found some, and DH took the kids in to get some (it was a bit crowded and there were some lines) while I stopped at the Lucky Fortune Cookie (is that its name?) to get some food for myself and ask about their gluten-free options for DH. The chef came out of the restaurant (it's counter service) to talk to me about the options there, and DH ended up choosing to eat there too. The next morning I thought my tasty, very filling dinner had given me some mild food poisoning, but later I was thinking it was a little bit of heatstroke or something else. I'm still not sure.





After that we walked back through Carsland and ended up deciding to get in line for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. The kids were really excited about it, and even though it was after 7:30 PM we decided the 30 minute wait wouldn't be too bad. The kids were a little hyper (especially DD2, who gets sillier as she gets tired) but doing okay when we had our little mishap. They were finishing up some of the goldfish crackers from dinner, and all of a sudden DD2 started choking on them a little bit. She worked through it almost as soon as we realized she was in distress, but it scared her pretty badly and she had a little accident. As soon as she realized it, she turned to DH, in the saddest voice said, Does this mean I don't get to ride the ride? Breaks your heart, doesn't it? DH walked her back out through the line and talked to the CM before exiting to go get her some fresh clothes. Thankfully the bathroom behind Flo's isn't that far away, and after about 10 minutes they were waiting for us at the exit. She had already had one slight accident that day (DLR is hard for the recently potty trained too much going on and potties are not closeby sometimes.) and used her change of clothes, so she ended up in her brothers extra pants thankfully some lightweight khakis that didn't look out of place. :) Anyway we all got to ride the Junkyard Jamboree and I think it was one of their favorite rides. Definitely one of DD2s, so I'm glad she didn't miss it. ;-) And even though the line was long, it was a fun one to wait in that late in the evening, with all the lights and getting to watch the ride going on in the center. There is some fun giggling and sliding on the video. :)






You've probably realized by now that we decided to skip Fantasmic! this time. We had already done so much and experienced so much and we were a little crowd-weary and worn out in general. Also, I knew that it was intense enough to scare the kids at least a little bit, and I'm pretty sure that it will be there for our next trip, when they're older. Well try to make it a priority. :) We couldn't decide about trying to catch the fireworks though (at least from the esplanade?) so we wandered over in the Animation Academy (which I'm NOT sure will be there next time, and which my older kids hadn't seen at all). First DH took me in to see some of the art though. We've always loved to look through here, but it wasn't something on our list with our kids for the first time.
When the kids got bored (or I got tired of asking them to look and not touch, I don't recall) we headed into further into the building. I LOVE those big screens and the immersion of video and sound in that big oval room. My kids are media junkies and thought it was the best thing ever. So we rested and relaxed a bit, checked out the Zoetrope (which blew my mind!) I think I've seen several other versions of the same idea, but never a 3-D model.





While we were relaxing they announced that Turtle Talk with Crush was starting. I'd seen it before, and it didn't excite me THAT much, but the kids had asked about it several times, so in we went. One of my favorite pictures of the trip was taken outside while we waited for it to start:



They kids enjoyed it a lot, and DD5 even got to ask Crush a question. (Why do you like your son?) Really, DD? Crush had to take a second to figure out what to do with that one. :rotfl2: If you had told me that the last attraction we would experience together on this epic trip would be Turtle Talk with Crush I probably would have laughed. It wasnt really in the same league as Fantasmic!, but it was a good example of how flexible we tried to be, I guess. We made the trip enjoyable by not making anything happen against the flow. We tried to listen to our kids signals and ask what they wanted and gently steer them through a general schedule instead of a specific one.

We had mostly avoided stores (also different from our normal we generally do a lot of window shopping, even if we don't buy much) since we weren't planning to spend much on souvenirs, and didn't want the kids seeing all sorts of cool things and being disappointed. But after Turtle Talk we did a little shopping, planning to let the kids pick out one or two small things. DS, however, didn't see the Star Wars set he wanted there in CA, so we exited the park, intending to either find it at the World of Disney, or trek back into Disneyland to get it.

Im going to go ahead and post my final video, which will give away some of what happened next. I've got to get dinner going though, so Ill have to wait until later to tell you the story of how and why I watched the fireworks all by myself. <3


Day 3, part 2 Video
 
Last edited:

ladylyons

Wishing I was closer to Disneyland
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
What another fun day!!! We usually leave the parks in the middle of the afternoon unless there's something we really want to see or we happen to be there during off season which is rare for us. Loved the picture of you and your DH in line to TSMM.

Disney is great for letting you join back up with your family. I've had that happen now twice at Toy Story. First time we were half way through the line and the baby blew out a diaper. :scared1: I just said I wouldn't ride and DH could take the other 2 by himself. As I got out of line the CM asked me if I decided no to ride and when I explained the situation they told me where to go to wait for my family. Happened again this last trip but it wasn't as bad as a situation.

Can you believe in all our trips we've never seen the Pixar Parade!! Looks like it would be cute but I agree it probably would have been better if it would have been a little darker.

uh oh!! I'm curious now why you watched fireworks by yourself!!
 

Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
What another fun day!!! We usually leave the parks in the middle of the afternoon unless there's something we really want to see or we happen to be there during off season which is rare for us. Loved the picture of you and your DH in line to TSMM.
With kids this young we maybe should have, but since we were there in the off season, and things were only open from 10-8 the first two days, AND because DD2 sacked out in the stroller each day, we just powered through!

Disney is great for letting you join back up with your family. I've had that happen now twice at Toy Story. First time we were half way through the line and the baby blew out a diaper. :scared1: I just said I wouldn't ride and DH could take the other 2 by himself. As I got out of line the CM asked me if I decided no to ride and when I explained the situation they told me where to go to wait for my family. Happened again this last trip but it wasn't as bad as a situation.
I think I mentioned it earlier, but they even let me wait at the exit for TSMM (even though I hadn't waited in the line with them) and join them. I probably wouldn't have, but I realized DH couldn't take all 3 kids by himself... Oops.

Thanks for the comment! I can't believe we've been back for over a month now... :(
 

Linda67

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
You certainly packed your days full of fun!

I really do think that you had the right idea with being more flexible with your plans. It makes for a much happier trip :)

It sounds like you all had a really great vacation and that is so much more important than just crossing things off a 'to do' list
 
  • ladylyons

    Wishing I was closer to Disneyland
    Joined
    Feb 1, 2009
    With kids this young we maybe should have, but since we were there in the off season, and things were only open from 10-8 the first two days, AND because DD2 sacked out in the stroller each day, we just powered through!



    I think I mentioned it earlier, but they even let me wait at the exit for TSMM (even though I hadn't waited in the line with them) and join them. I probably wouldn't have, but I realized DH couldn't take all 3 kids by himself... Oops.

    Thanks for the comment! I can't believe we've been back for over a month now... :(
    Off season we power through too but not peak when park hours are 8 am to Midnight!! Now way the kids (mine anyways) could survive that without a couple hours nap and some time away from all the excitement.

    They had me wait up near where they load everyone into their cars. I just told them I was waiting for my family and they were like ok just let us know when they get up here.

    I know what you mean!! We've been back for a week now, Jeremy is back in school and my poor DD already had a 24 hour bug (had to miss her first day back to school yesterday :( )!!
     

    albertamommyof4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2008
    Thanks. I'm trying not to think about it too much this week. The kindergartner is already approved and registered at our first choice, thankfully. That should move DS6 up on the list? We have him on two waiting lists, and he's technically registered for next year at another campus of the same charter (20 minutes away, -without- traffic) but it might be a few months until we hear. Blah.


    Of course I went and commented all over your post instead of saying anything here, but thanks! I love the happy smiles too, and keep looking at them. I even printed some pictures (GASP - we never print pics anymore, and I'm about 2 years behind on my digital scrapbooking still) to put up around on my fridge and stuff. :rotfl2:



    Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I don't think it matters if there are several years or more in between trips - there are lot of fun memories you can make in between. It's okay for Disney to just be a big "every once in a while" thing for some of us. Better than racking up credit card debt or something to go more often, right? That doesn't really make the family any happier in the long run... But it's nice to "live a little" every once in a while, even if you do it on a budget. ;-) We do give up some of the "little things" (like rides at county fairs, brand new clothes and shoes most of the time, eating out more than once a week) to be able to save up though.
    So very true, credit card debt( to much of it) is no fun. I am a very budgeted person but also make sure the kids and i live a little, and glad that that always doesn;t have to cost a lot.
     

    Markie Mouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2010
    Oh man great TR so far. I can smell the churros now. I love the use of pics and video recaps. Beautiful family btw, they seem to photograph very well. Who is the one that is usually behind the camera more, you or your DH? I am usually the one but this time I think my wife will enjoy herself more if she is the one and lets me wrangle up our little ones. Whats your take?
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Oh man great TR so far. I can smell the churros now. I love the use of pics and video recaps. Beautiful family btw, they seem to photograph very well. Who is the one that is usually behind the camera more, you or your DH? I am usually the one but this time I think my wife will enjoy herself more if she is the one and lets me wrangle up our little ones. Whats your take?
    Thanks! For the camera question, it really depends. I am almost -always- the one behind the video camera, unless I remember to hand it to someone else. But with the regular camera it's probably almost half and half. DH has taken a photography class and likes to take pictures, so if he has his camera (a Canon Rebel) he's pretty good about taking a lot of pictures with it. We technically had 4 cameras with us most of the time: The Canon, my little Sony Cybershot, (that is tiny and fits in my purse) our camcorder (which is miniDV and needs some serious replacing), and DH's iPhone (which takes good enough pictures to print and look nice, therefore counts... also his iPhone and my Sony both take decent video). I am a psycho recorder person, and the "record keeper" in my extended family even...
     
  • cp11

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2011
    We made a countdown chain yesterday morning. I bought even more snacks. DD1 was bouncing with excitement (at bedtime) yesterday just thinking about it. :jumping3: I can't believe we're finally doing this! Praying for no sickness and decent weather!

    Also, we finally decided what to do with our neon shirts, and I have to say, I like how they turned out. :)

    These shirts are so cool! Great job. :thumbsup2
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    You certainly packed your days full of fun!

    I really do think that you had the right idea with being more flexible with your plans. It makes for a much happier trip :)

    It sounds like you all had a really great vacation and that is so much more important than just crossing things off a 'to do' list
    Whoops - somehow I missed this comment until now! Our days -were- really full, but I feel like you can get so much more done in off season, even with shorter hours some days. :)


    These shirts are so cool! Great job. :thumbsup2
    Thanks! I still love them, but I feel a little conspicuous wearing them around town here and there now that we're not IN Disneyland... One day the week after we got back all 3 kids picked to wear them that day, and for some reason I felt really self conscious running errands with them all matchy-matchy and BRIGHT. :rotfl:
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Loving your trip report. Your kids are adorable!
    Thanks! I'm having a hard time wanting to finish it. I don't want it to be over; it's the last way I'm hanging on to the amazing time we had! ;-)
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    It was difficult to walk out the gates of California Adventure and know we wouldn't be returning. We headed towards Downtown Disney to look for those Star Wars figures and I asked DH if he thought we could be quick enough to at least watch the fireworks from outside. He was pretty sure we wouldn't make it through the crowds and back in 15 minutes... So the sweet guy that he is, he told me I should go back into Disneyland and see the fireworks, and whatever else I wanted to do, while he shopped with the kids, and he would take them back to the room and put them to bed. Did I luck out, or what? I hemmed and hawed a bit because I felt bad, but I really wanted to, and I know that he enjoys doing things like this for me when he can, so in I went.
    It was a touch surreal walking into Disneyland by myself, especially that time of night! By the time I got in and made it onto Main Street, the show was about to begin. I set myself up right in the little round spot in the center of Main Street, behind a couple's empty stroller. (They had their little one out, up in their arms so he could see better). I'm only 5'3, so the stroller gave me enough clearance in front of me to be able to see the castle mostly unobstructed. It was completely awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It wasn't quite as intense or emotional as I think it would have been if I was closer, but I had a great view.

    When it was over I sat down on a bench and watched people stream out for 10-15 minutes. I'm not sure that I've ever done that. Then I strolled up Main Street towards the hub and even had my picture taken (once with a FP photographer, once with a CM that had a cool light he was using to take pics for people?) a few times.




    Then I walked around Fantasyland to enjoy all the lights for a few minutes and got in the extremely short line for a ride on the Carousel. It was a wonderful, memorable ride. The night was just barely cool enough to want my jacket on and the breeze of the movement felt nice. I soaked in every moment of that last ride, knowing it would probably be several years before I returned. (yep, there are the tears) I closed my eyes and used my other senses to enjoy it for a rotation or two as well. Apparently the CM was watching me, because when I got off, he asked, "It was a good one, huh?" I nodded. We exchanged a look that let me know he understood what I had been feeling. My own little magical moment.




    As I walked slowly through the castle and up Main Street, I said a little good-bye, but promised to return when I could. I had filled my cup with so many memories and feelings, and they will have to last me until that day comes again. :)


     
    Last edited:

    ladylyons

    Wishing I was closer to Disneyland
    Joined
    Feb 1, 2009
    Ahhh!! What a sweet last moment!! We love the fireworks!! I'm so glad you at least got to experience them!!! Enjoy the memories and know you will be back sometime!! And then the kids will be a little older and it'll be a whole new experience!!
     

    OhioStateBuckeye

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2007
    Then I walked around Fantasyland to enjoy all the lights for a few minutes and got in the extremely short line for a ride on the Carousel. It was a wonderful, memorable ride. The night was just barely cool enough to want my jacket on and the breeze of the movement felt nice. I soaked in every moment of that last ride, knowing it would probably be several years before I returned. (yep, there are the tears) I closed my eyes and used my other senses to enjoy it for a rotation or two as well. Apparently the CM was watching me, because when I got off, he asked, "It was a good one, huh?" I nodded. We exchanged a look that let me know he understood what I had been feeling. My own little magical moment.
    [/IMG]
    Geez your gonna make me cry, and I'm at work so I can't.

    I hope your going to do a follow up post with impressions and best times and other such stuff?
     

    Connect

    TODAY'S HEADLINES


    Top