Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happiest Place on Earth!

Was that a cliffhanger or what? After Michael and Sophie's crazy road trip, I met up with the gang (recovered) in Los Angeles for a week of Disneyland and Southern California diversions. Here are the highlights!

We stayed for seven days, and spent four of them in the park. This was Sophie's second trip; she went first at about 8 months old. Her original pink mouse ears still fit, and she loved wearing them! Our first day:

I love this shot, because it captures the wonder... of both daddy and kiddo. To be honest, we all love Disneyland! When Michael and I lived and dated in SoCal, we had season passes. And I'm not afraid to admit I get teary every time I enter the gates. It's just so happy and magical! This photo was taken as we watched the Pixar Play Parade in California Adventure. We saw it twice and absolutely loved it!

The weather could have gone either way, it being February. We hit 80 degrees (or close) almost every day! It only rained on the last day, when we were doing mop-up anyhow, and we didn't let it get us down!

The magic of the castle enticed our little girl.

Our tuckered out princess. You may already know I'm kind of a nap nazi, and I tried to stick to a regimen by taking Sophie back to the hotel mid-day at first. Then, I think: "Hello?! We're at Disneyland!" So after that, I just figured I'd let our little one live it up and zonk out in the stroller when she needed the sleep. I don't regret this decision.

OUR TRAVELING COMPANIONS: We were joined on the trip by Michael's family, his parents and sister/bro-in-law/nephew. It was a great sized group, and Sophie especially enjoyed being around the ones she loves!

I had to include this shot of Sophie's cousin on one of the Bug's Life rides; is there a more giddy, excited toddler?!

THE RIDES: First of all, if you don't notice moi in a lot of the shots, let me remind you that I'm nearly six months pregnant. I'm ineligible for the jolty/fun rides, and some of the others were just too swirly-whirly for this supergag pregnant gal. Normally, I'm a big thrill girl, so it was a little disappointing, but seeing Sophie having such an amazing time with her daddy was truly and indescribably fulfilling for me.
We don't have pics, but Sophie loved Pirates. The first time through, I thought it was a mistake, cause she just whimpered and said "We need go home." But post-ride, after some mature reflection, she announced she wanted to ride Pirates again. And again. And again. Another ride she requested in multiples: the roller coaster in Toon Town. She even held her hands up in the air! That's my cute little thrill-seeker!

One ride I was able to ride that ended up being the absolute favorite was the new Toy Story attraction at Midway Mania in California Adventure. I won't give it all away, but it was like a carnival game mixed with a video game mixed with a ride. So cute!

The old submarine was recently remade with a Nemo theme, also a hit. Boy, was I glad to be there in February on a weekday! The normal 2-3 hour wait was only 1/2 hour! Michael liked this one a lot. We did it once at night and once during the daylight.

Oh, the classic carousel! Of course, kiddo loves riding the horsies. This was a favorite on her first trip to Disneyland, too.

Dumbo, also a classic. Doofy picture, but captures the fun.

OUR ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed at the Residence Inn Maingate, a few blocks from the park. I really liked the place, and not just because I found it and we got a screaming deal (through Disney Travel. The February thing helps a ton). I liked the fact that it was close enough to the park that the jaunt back and forth was fairly painless on the Anaheim shuttle but not so close that we'd be expected to walk, which would have been too hard for our group. They're all suites with kitchens, which was handy. Myra planned a bunch of meals, even brought a crockpot! I also really appreciated the daily hot breakfast buffet, a great way to start each busy day. The Anaheim Shuttle was fairly handy (minus their midday lunch breaks), and actually the kids loved riding the blue bus!

THE CHARACTERS: You'd think Soph would be all over that, but she wasn't. She loved seeing all her favorites from far away, even waved, but up close she was just a little too apprehensive. We did the Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast one morning and had a total blast (my sister-in-law could hardly handle her overwhelmed excitement) but Sophie still didn't snuggle up to the big guys.

She was a little better with the fairies and princesses, but still not totally sold.

She did love the R2-D2 statue at the Lego Store. Is anyone surprised?

DIVERSIONS: We didn't do Dland every day. We did some shopping, particularly at South Coast Plaza. Scored a few maternity threads. When we stopped overnight in Vegas on the way home (highly recommended), we hit the Primm outlets (WS was a hit this time) and a quickie at Fashion Island.

One day, we hit Michael's old stomping ground at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Didn't get many photos of the most gorgeous college campus on the planet, but I loved this one of the kid in their chapel. She went right up to the front and sang a song (I'm sure it was a hymn) and said a prayer. How funny! After, I kind of insisted we do linner at Duke's Restaurant, where Michael and I went on our first (kinda) date. Not only is the food awesome, the views are divine. As we drove along the coast, Myra and I spotted several dolphins, which was fun. It was hard to be in SoCal and not visit friends, but we'll have to go back on our own and give hugs when it doesn't conflict with Hansen time. We also stopped by Third Street Promenade and got suckered into watching street performers who did more begging that performing. Some things don't change.

The weather was awesome enough that Sophie hopped in her new suit and took a dive in the pool with Daddy.

I wasn't all up for kickin' it in my b-suit maternity style (don't worry, come spring I will, just not this trip). So this was my view. Orange toenail polish courtesy Megan. Blindingly white legs courtesy Utah.

THE VERDICT: Awesome trip!


Janie said...

What great pictures!! It looks like you had such a great trip. Wish we could have seen you - next time!! Sophie is so cute and I love how obviously Michael is enjoying himself too. :)

Larson Love said...

I'm ready to go back. Are you?

LaLona said...

This looks so fun! I can't wait to take our family there someday!

Joni Marie Marshall said...

LOVE the blog and pictures! Thanks for coming to visit me! It was WONDERFUL to see you!

Jenny said...

This gets me excited for our trip in May. It really is magical.