We kept pretty quiet about it (mostly to avoid the “You’re going to Disneyland with an almost-two-year old and a 3 month old?! You’re nuts!”)…but we went to Disneyland over the weekend. Our main objective for going: my little sister has never been, she’s always wanted to go, and we were either too busy (I laugh at this now,) I was too pregnant, or Hadley was not in a happy-traveler stage. After experiencing babyhood with Hadley, we realized we are in the golden days of ease of travel with little Sadie–she’s so portable, sleeps anywhere, and if she is being worn, she will gladly be along for anything we do. Hadley is now in a stage where she likes to go-go-go, loves visual stimulation, and is truly a little social butterfly.
We left on Thursday, at 5am. This was a good idea, but us frantically finishing up our packing until 12:45–while both girls slept–is not recommended. I can say that almost every time I have traveled, I have been frantically up too late doing last minute packing, kids or no kids. I guess it’s a lingering bad habit I take with me, and I am owning it! 😉 Our car has a third row, so we put up one of those seats for Hadley, and Sadie was in arms-reach second row, while Aaron and I would switch off driving, and Beth and I took turns of who was in the second row, and who had shotgun. Our friends were awesome enough to let us borrow their Yakima, so most of our stuff was on our roof. Our car felt nice and roomy for a round-trip Disneyland excursion!
What we imagined and what actually happened with our arrival are two different things. We got to our hotel (The Grand Californian) at about 1, but then had to switch our room 2.5 times. (It counts, since we almost went for a third room, but it ended up having an uncomfy sofabed situation.) We hoped to get to the park around 3, but the room-switching nonsense took longer than expected. By 5pm, we went through security and were a stone’s throw from the park, but took a glance at a very exhausted toddler and decided to call it a day. We ate at Downtown Disney’s Tortilla Joe’s, (Hadley “ate” a Jamba Juice because she was not a fan of dinner and hadn’t participated in any real meals of the day,) got some facial masks from Sephora to try in our hotel room later, and headed upstairs. I blew bubbles for Hadley on our balcony for a while, since bubble-blowing is basically her love language at this point.
I like giving my girls baths at least every other day. When your little one plays as much as mine does, there’s no reason for her to not be bathed. After a long car ride, a bath was necessary. I brought bubble bath (Hadley’s favorite,) and got her into the tub. Much to my horror, she got so comfortable that she pooped in the tub. Yep. It happened. While one of us was keeping Sadie happy, the other was wrangling a naked Hadley, while I was using a poked-open water bottle to sift out the poop. I was tempted to discard this from the post, but this is the reality that is parenthood, I need to own every ounce. Luckily, I brought a bottle of dish soap, and scrubbed the tub as long as possible. No, it is not bleach, but it was as clean as it was going to get, and none of us adults were planning to take a luxurious bubble bath. After a happily bathed girl emerged from the tub a second time, we put her to bed. Where? Well, we set up her pack n’ play in the closet (yes, closet,) Aaron brought an extension cord, so her nightlight could be in there, we brought a memory foam crib pad, and a portable white noise machine, and our girl was out like a light.
The next morning, we headed to Disneyland. A nice thing about staying at our hotel was the ability to be out of our room and into the park within a five minute walk. Our friend, Kurt, was the first to meet up with us. He stayed with sleeping Sadie, while we went on our inaugural first ride ever with Hadley. It was…(duh duh dunnn)…the teacups! She absolutely loved it, and not only signed for more, but asked for more once we finished it. We had 11:45 reservations for lunch at the Blue Bayou, so much to her dismay, we didn’t do an encore of teacups. Our lunch was delicious. You can’t go to Disneyland without eating at the Blue Bayou! Sure, it’s pricey, but when else are you going to get to eat a meal inside the environment of an actual ride? I will say, that on this trip, there was a bad sense of timing with Sadie and I, to where whenever I was about to eat, she wanted to eat. Nursing her at the Blue Bayou was non-existent on my wishlist of things to do, but I saw a mom with a nursing cover; feeding her baby near me, and I went for it and never looked back. Soon enough, Sadie was out, and I got to savor my delicious meal. Hadley was a trooper, thanks to crayons, carrots and dip, and some grapes.
We got to meet up with our two other friends, Kevin and Brittany, who were at the park for the weekend. I consider them Disneyland experts, and they made it to where we never had to wait in line for a ride (unless it didn’t have a fast-pass.) We took Hadley on the Finding Nemo submarine ride. To say she loves Finding Nemo is an understatement. She couldn’t care less about the princesses, give her that fish (or Pooh bear!) She was mesmerized by the ride, but got scared in the part where Bruce the Great White Shark came. I covered her eyes when the glowy, deep sea fish scene was about to happen, and we made it out of Nemo safe and happy!
We took the girls back on Friday and Saturday for nap time. This was a lifesaver, because it re-energized Hadley so she was in good shape for more exploring of the park.
Some more highlights of our trip:
-The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventures—this ride is adorable, the perfect length and there was never a wait time. This was a fantastic ride for Hadley, and one that we could all take a moment to relax on.
-The Cove Bar (at California Adventure.) It’s set over the lagoon, has delicious beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and very good appetizers! I had a glass of wine and shared a flatbread with Hadley. The scenery kept her busy for quite some time!
-Brittany got a bubble-blowing gun for Hadley, it became an obsession, an addiction, and an item of pure bliss for my bubble-loving girl.
-Kurt got a caricature done of himself as Aladdin. If you know him, you know he looks nothing like Prince Abubu, but bless his heart for making his dreams come true.
-Carsland! Oh my. I always heard people talk about it and its amazingness, (and mentally rolled my eyes) but now I get it. I am not even that huge on the movie Cars, but Carsland is incredible. It is eye-candy to the max, and the main ride (Radiator Springs Racers) is definitely one of the most well-done rides I have ever been on.
-World of Color. It was beautiful, the music is still stuck in my head, and it was 100% worth having our girls up multiple hours past their bedtime to see. Sadie stared at it in awe (it’s a show over the lagoon that makes mists of water, with scenes projected on the water along with moments where the fountains spray high in the air and even shoot fire.) Hadley was tired, but she was quiet and captivated during its entirety. We were lucky enough to have Kevin and Brittany get us fastpasses for it, then hold spots for us an hour in advance so that we had the perfect location.
-Fantasmic. It reminds me so much of my dad and our Disneyland trips together. I used to go to Disneyland with him a few times a year, so this show always brings back good memories.
-The ice cream in a waffle cone on Main Street. Dole whip, schmole whip—I am all about those delicious, freshly made waffle cones and a generous scoop of cookies and cream. Even Beth was hooked! 🙂
-The ducks! Ducks of Disneyland, it has an Instagram page, it has it’s own hashtag. There are rogue mallard couples everywhere! They lit up Hadley’s life, and they made us all smile. Some of us even saw a random duck fight over a discarded churro, the maximum amount of drama that could ever happen at Disneyland. 🙂
-Having an hour to do whatever we wanted! After we put the girls to bed (the night we saw World of Color) it was 10:30. Beth was tired, so she offered to stay back with the sleeping girls. Aaron and I had an hour-ish to do anything we wanted! We met back up with our friends, and rode as many rides as we could. Yes, I was exhausted, but when else am I going to get to do something like that? It was a blast, and as we were soaring on a rollercoaster, Kurt excitedly shouted “I love helixes”—except none of us heard it as helixes. Yep, new inside joke for all to enjoy.
-Friends that helped “share the load” of having two small children to travel with. Beth, Kurt, Kevin and Brittany all became like second “mommies and daddies” to Hadley (not so much Sadie, that girl and I are a packaged deal at this point in life.) 😉 They were all so helpful in their own ways, and it was amazing to get to enjoy some of our trip without having to worry 24/7 about how our babies were.
We left Sunday, at 8pm. This was in no way ideal for Aaron and I (we were so tired,) except for the fact that both girls slept the whole drive, and we didn’t hit any traffic. Hadley woke up here and there for a few seconds (probably wondering “Where am I!?!”) but all in all, the car ride was quiet. Beth was able to sleep a lot of it, as she had classes to resume on Monday at 12:30. After dropping off Beth and getting Penny, we got home and in our beds by 4am. There’s something magical about a long trip and getting into your own bed, and we cherished the sleep we got after a busy, fun-filled trip.
Would we do it again? Oh yeah, in a heartbeat! <3