Is this a Disneyland blog?! 😉 No, but we sure have enjoyed taking the girls here (what seems to be the trend) twice a year. So, to keep up with tradition, I am sharing about how it all went!
We opted to stay at the same hotel as our December trip (Courtyard Marriott on S. Harbor Blvd.) because: it’s spacious, super-clean, brand-new, a breeze when it comes to walking distance, and we love it! Second time around, still feel all of the above feelings, and our entire family got to enjoy the bonus amenity: the awesome little water park built exclusively for guests of the hotel (more about that later!)
I was pretty nervous about how this trip would go, since this was my first time experiencing the park while pregnant. I was 22 weeks when we went, and as far as health and fatigue, I felt awesome! We walked an average of 25-28,000 steps a day, and thanks to my new Nike Frees and always being a fan of walking, I felt as good as I normally do. I will confess, though, I am not so sure we will ever be going in April again, as it was 90* every single day we were there. We would take the girls back to the hotel around 1:45pm every day so they could nap (which also benefited us avoiding the hottest time of the day,) but on one walk back, I started muttering to Aaron (mind you, it was so stinkin’ hot & I had the sun blasting on my skin, while also carrying a little space heater of a tummy around the entire park) sheer words of hatred about Disneyland and how I was never ever going back, ever again. Well, after retreating to our cool napping room, having some ice-cold water, and getting a foot rub from my sweet husband, I was an entirely new person and took back all the things I said out of heat and anger. I am pretty sure I even giggled how I couldn’t wait for the girls to wake up so we could go back. Oh, all the feelings I sometimes feel—bless my husband!
One thing I knew going into it, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the more “exciting” rides. Did I miss them? Honestly…100% serious…no! When Aaron, my sister, and my in-laws would go on rides together, I’d normally either take the girls somewhere shady and get a frozen lemonade or a snack, or I’d take them to Bug’s Land (perfect for toddlers and lots of shade!) on a few kiddie rides. I couldn’t help but laugh a few times when random people would ask me, “Are you here by yourself with your kids…and pregnant?” No, I was not, but it really wasn’t bad when I’d have my alone time with them. Plus, I am positive some parents have Disneyland mastered down with way more children that I have. 🙂 I’ve come to the conclusion that my girls are way too fun and not the typical toddlers when it comes to going to busy theme parks. They’re just so happy to be there, and they really go with the flow. I still got to enjoy some of my favorite rides (Pirates of the Caribbean & Haunted Mansion;) and was just happy to get to go on rides that Hadley and Sadie could go on and see their enthusiastic little reactions (I especially dig how they wave their arms in excitement!) 🙂
Some new things I tried this time, that I loved (don’t judge, they’re foods!)—-the cream cheese stuffed soft pretzel on Main Street, a Thai curry chicken rice bowl from the Lucky Fortune Cookery in Disney’s California Adventure (I couldn’t shut up about how much I loved eating it,) an apple bacon whoopie pie, artichokes with spicy aoili, and the flower fields lemonade (a lemonade infused with lavender and edible flowers with a sugared rim) all from the Food & Wine Exhibit in DCA.
We all got to eat at the Blue Bayou, which is always such a special treat. With menus that light up, and glowy ice cubes for the girls, it was a perfect and delicious break from the heat. I probably could’ve been full from the mere side of cheddar focaccia bread and small cup of gumbo, but my meal was my favorite: the jambalaya. Aaron got the Monte Cristo sandwich, and I had no shame in taking a piece (fear not, I shared my jambalaya!) 😉 Another place we re-visited that we have loved was The Cove Bar. It’s a great place to get a yummy drink or cocktail and share an app. Aaron and I split the fajita quesadilla rolls, while the girls shared (and devoured) a flatbread pizza…all with a perfect view of the water and the rollercoaster taking off every so often.
A trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing World of Color one night, and the fireworks another. I am 100% unashamed of crying sappy little tears when the fireworks lit up the sky, seeing my babies in awe of how beautiful it all looked—it’s such a perfect way to end the day. Since we aren’t pros when it comes to waiting in crowds, we’ve always watched the fireworks near the Rivers of America (it still has the music choreographed to the fireworks playing loud and clear)—it’s nice and quiet which makes it an even more ideal environment for getting to soak it all up and shed a few tears of joy. 🙂
Our hotel has a really nice waterpark included, so on our travel day before heading home, we kept our promise to the girls (mostly Hadley) and took them to play in it. So much fun to be had, I would visit that hotel just for that private water park! The girls had a blast in the kiddie pool and splash pad parts (there’s also a lap pool, jacuzzi, a kid-friendly water park, and some pretty intense water slides,) and it was a great way to bring our trip to a close. We were even able to meet up in Downtown Disney with my aunt and uncle for sandwiches before heading home!
I’m adding a few “bonus tips” we have learned this third time around that made our trip a little easier:
-We would put off the girls’ nap (typically they go down around 1:30 or 2) until we began our drive, around but no later than 3. They’d typically sleep until 5, be up long enough to watch a movie (Sadie has mastered rear-facing by using her headrest mirror to her advantage,) and by then we would make it to our favorite rest stop (it has a Chipotle) for dinner at 6:30 or 7. They’d eat, we’d change them into their pajamas, and they’d fall asleep for the remainder of the drive. We would get to our final destination between 10:30-11.
-I ditched the diaper bag! After one day at the park and having to bring my diaper bag onto every ride, no more! I transferred any of the girls wipes, diapers, sunscreen, etc. into my fabulously large Bebe au Lait wet bag, and kept my wallet, phone, lipgloss and sunglasses in my Jujube wristlet. I’d just take the wristlet with my on the rides. Our stroller (a Baby Jogger City Select) has a pretty massive cargo basket, so we just put all of their blankets, snacks, change of clothes, and waters bottles in there, along with the wet bag.
-Water hack: get a Hydro Flask…with a sport top! I am not joking when I say that water bottle will keep ice in it for at least 12 hours. Before we would leave in the morning, we’d fill our water bottles with ice from the machine, and bring about 6+ bottles of water to put in the stroller. I just read that there are places with filtered spigots throughout the park (I still think they seem a bit unicorn-esque, as I haven’t seen one,) but otherwise I think the water at Disneyland is yuck. Staying hydrated is crucial to enjoying the park, so you gotta do what you gotta do (*cough cough*…get a Hydro Flask!) 😉
-Last time, I brought bagels, bananas, and blueberries for us to have for breakfast. This time, we enjoyed the Panera that was right in front of our hotel, on the walk we’d take to Disneyland. I liked both approaches equally! This time, the girls would eat a banana on our way to Panera, we’d grab bagels or muffins, and they’d eat them in their stroller while we walked to the park. Either way, it was still cheaper than eating in the park (although I totally respect wanting to get a yummy breakfast in Disneyland, I just love bagels!)
I’d say those are the latest and greatest findings from this trip! It’s crazy to think another fun, family vacation has come and gone, and that the next time we go to Disneyland, there will be a third baby in the mix! I will say, though, that if this little one is anything like her big sisters, it will be a delight getting to include her in the fun family vacations we have to look forward to! 🙂
Thanks for reading,