Tuesday, October 20, 2015

{Travel Diaries} Disneyland Fall 2015 - Day 1

It seems like just yesterday I was writing about our First Day in Disneyland and that was way back in February.  Thomas and I had so much fun that we just had to go again and Ellie's Adoption Day anniversary was the best reason!  This time we chose to get the Four-Day-Hopper and let me tell you that is the best way to do Disney (If you aren't a season pass holder).  It gives you plenty of time to see the parks and do all the things and go where the crowds are not and to also not really feel rushed.  Additionally by doing Disney in 4 days with a toddler you don't feel like you are missing out when its nap time - because you are going to want your toddler to take a nap!! Crying and tantrums in the Happiest Place on Earth? So sad!!!  If you are planning a trip to Disney be sure to check out my post on Disneyland Essentials, seriously these were the best for both of our trips and I highly recommend!

Alrightythen - lets get onto this recap shall we?

We started our trip off early, like 3AM early!  Our flight was set to take off around 5:45am and Thomas insists on being in the airport at least 2 hours before departure.  We barely got any sleep because we were so worried that our alarms wouldn't go off and we would miss our plane!  Since we were getting such an early start we decided that we would just have a marathon day and go straight to the park when we got in Anaheim - we had to be ready for Disneyland so we made sure to wear our coordinating sweatshirts in the airport.

Tripleting in our Mouse sweatshirts!

We flew on Southwest and they don't have assigned seating.  We could have paid extra to get into the Loading Group A (we had group C) but since Ellie is under 5 we got to board just after group A so it was totally fine.  Ellie also insisted that she bring her suitcase on "all by myself!" (we checked the stroller at the gate) and all the passengers who were already seated got a kick out of her.

We had to buy Ellie a ticked for the plane since she is TWO and we brought the car seat with us.  I have to admit - it made the flight much more bearable with her having her own seat.  Though she was pleasant before when I just put her in the Ergo, so I wouldn't pay for a ticket for your little until you have to (that's just my opinion).

Ellie slept the entire way on our first leg of the trip, take off to landing - how perfect was that? We had a layover in Las Vegas and Ellie was perfectly content to watch Mickey Mouse/Sophia/Sheriff Callie or watch the airplanes while we waited to board our next plane.  If we could do it over again or make a note for next time, we are definitely going to make a straight flight our number 1 priority.

After we landed in Anaheim we got on our shuttle to take us to our hotel.  It wasn't anything fancy but it was perfect being just across the street from the entrance to Disney and all we really did there was sleep and let Ellie play in the pool bathtub ( we forgot swim diapers #parentingfail).

Family photo before hitting the park on Day 1 (aka travel day aka longest day aka best day) oh and Mickey Shirts FTW everyone asked us where we got them (amazon).

Since we went to Disneyland in the Fall (September) they have the park all decked out for Halloween...pumpkins everywhere.

The flower Mickey is even wearing a mask!!

**Random Fact** We have been reading up and watching the history of Disneyland in preparation for this trip.  Turns out this Indian (of which I have never noticed before) had a purpose.  Back in the day when the park first was open there was a smoke shop and this guy stood outside of it to help bring the customers in!  So Ellie and I had to get a photo with him, naturally.

Then we stopped into Starbucks (we somehow missed it on our last trip...newbies) and look at the fun treats they have especially for Disney!

Just ordering our drinks and a grande cold whole milk with ice for Ellie!

The fun little sitting area...we have to make sure to have morning coffee here at least once! SO cute.

Nothing better than a sunny day in the happiest place on earth in front of a castle with a Starbucks Disney Cup and your name on it (spelled correctly!). I mean perfection at its finest!

After we got through all the 'necessities" we made our way to our first ride: King Arthur's Carousel always first!  Ellie was so excited to ride the "horsies"

Thomas wanted to ride on "Jingles" the only horse that has a name.  **Random Fact** Apparently on regular carousels there is only one white horse and that is the "lead horse".  Walt didn't want there to be any "lead horses" so he had all of the horses white - he did have a favorite, Jingles, and that is Walt's horse, who knew! It was the horse that Ellie picked out to ride on her first trip too so that is pretty special.

View of Fantasyland from the horsies and that Peter Pan queue is insane!!! 80 minute wait minimum...all the live long day!!

After the Carousel we hopped on the Casey Jr Train...it was almost 90 degrees and we were all dying from the heat!

Y'all it was SO freaking hot...even in the shade.  We made our way back to the stroller (and the stroller parking wasn't as weird to me this time) and stopped in line for Pinocchio but quickly learned that the ride was temporarily closed so we hopped over to Snow White instead.  When Snow White was over Pinocchio was working again so we got right in line and rode that too.  Then we went to our stroller and made our way over to Frontierland thinking we would eat at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue but the food offering just wasn't calling our names, so we headed to New Orleans Square and got Ellie some popcorn (she was "crying" for it) and something for us to eat at the River Belle Terrace, we shared the Messy Mississippi BBQ Pork topped with crispy coleslaw on an onion role served with creamy potato salad and baked beans, overall it was Good.

After eating we took the raft over to Tom Sawyer's Island and let Ellie run around a bit.  It was pretty fun, but dusty, really hot and most of the stuff was above her age/height abilities.  Probably best suited for ages 4 and up.  Then we just couldn't take the heat anymore so we headed back to the hotel for a nap, "swim" in the tub, and to just cool off.

When we got up we headed to Downtown Disney and had dinner at Naples -  we went there last time and oh my word so good! We shared the small Cesare and individual sized Pepperoni Pizza and it was plenty of food for the two of us plus Ellie.  They also serve bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar at every table so you can fill up that way too.  This food was Delish and I wish we had one by us! (sorry I forgot to take pictures - we were so hungry!) They had a balloon guy walking around and he made Ellie a Minnie Mouse...she was in love! He works on donations so we gave him $3 and that was pretty good money for the less than 5 minutes he was at our table ;)

After dinner we jumped on the monorail (I love that thing) and Ellie kept calling it an airplane...so we just went with it.

Since the monorail drops you off in Tomorrowland we knew we wanted to take Ellie on Autopia so we had her change into her boots while on the monorail so as not to draw any attention to our plan (give our girl an extra half inch to make the 32" height requirement to go on the ride)

The wait for Autopia wasn't too long about 25 minutes but it was so hot when we had to go in the undercover area.  Ellie was pretty much over me taking pictures of her...I asked her to smile for me and this is what I got "Nooooooo!" and trying to swat my phone away.

Then she got over herself when she figured out she was riding with Dada.  I decided to take the car right behind them to try and prevent anyone from hitting them from behind...and of course my plan failed because at the end of the ride they came to a quicker stop than I expected and I panicked hitting the pedal only to realize that its only used to accelerate!! Oops! Thankfully both survived and no one was hurt (except for my own pride...)

I mean seriously how excited does she look?  Apparently she insisted on steering the first half of the ride, which meant that they were banging back and forth all over the track.  Each time Thomas tried to help her she would say "No Dada I do it by myself!" and hit his hand away. After they hit the track pretty hard and she shifted in her seat she got scared and just sat with her hands by her side the rest of the ride and it was smooth driving from the point forth.

I don't ever recall riding in an Autopia car by myself (I have been to DL about 10 times) so this was a little treat...no one to judge me when my driving skills are not on point...

Our next stop was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.  Ellie was too mesmerized by Buzz that she couldn't bother to even look at me for a picture.  Neither Thomas or I had been on this ride before and it was much different than I expected.  Of course Thomas had his laser gun figured out after the first target, while I battled with Ellie for possession of mine for about 1/4 of the ride.  When she finally handed it over to me it took me a good 1/3 of the ride to figure out how to use it and Thomas obliterated the score.  I don't even know you guys, but it was just par for the course: Thomas excelling and myself struggling.

Then we wanted to head to Mickey's ToonTown before it closed for the night (fireworks).  We first made our way Minnie Mouse's house and Ellie pretended to sleep on her bed.  We walked all the way through her house but there was no Minnie Mouse (I am sure there was a sign informing us of that)

Next we made our way to Mickey Mouse's house and just bulldozed our way through to get to the end, passing lots of people who were busy looking around, we were on a mission - Find Mickey Mouse.  Towards the end of Mickey's house they have a big screen that plays old Mickey shorts and the queue was pretty long (I think about a 20 minute wait).  Ellie picked up a sucker she found on the floor and handed it to me - both our hands were sticky and full of yucky germs... We finally got to go through the door and entered the room where Mickey was dressed up as Steamboat Willie.  We were 5th in line and Ellie did an excellent job waiting her turn even though she was SO excited to see him.

When it was finally her turn she greeted him with a big kiss and hugs... y'all she would not let go of him nor he of her!

We finally managed to separate them enough to get a family photo and Mickey was just the sweetest to Ellie.

When we were done meeting Mickey we walked over to the Gadget's Go Coaster and got in line.  We didn't see any sign saying a height requirement and from our memories thought Ellie would do just fine on it.  When we got to the front of the line all Ellie could talk about was "I want to ride dis!" and they had a height line - 36" even her boots couldn't help her out.  SO she had a meltdown while Thomas got on the coaster and we had to wait in line.  I asked the cast member who was monitoring the line if they had a sign for the height at the entrance and he replied "Yes, but it's kind of hidden behind a bush" - good going! I had to tell her a story that she would get to ride when Dada gets off to try and calm her down, then when Thomas came back I passed her over to him and I got in the coaster and she started crying again.  Thomas took her down into ToonTown to distract her with the car just outside of Mickey's house while I rode the coaster.  When I got off and met them down at Mickey's car she was happy as a clam and we made our way back to Fantasyland.

We chose the Mad Tea Party for our next ride and it was so comfortable with just the 3 of us in it.  On our last trip we crammed the 3 of us plus Nanny and Papa - that is just too many people in one teacup!! It was so much fun at night with all the lanterns lit and going in and out of shadows.  Ellie loved helping to spin the tea cup, so much so that she took over and wouldn't let us help!!

Our next ride was Mr. Toads Wild Ride and we basically had a private ride as we were the last ones in line before they shut down Fantasyland for the Fireworks.

When the ride was over and we walked out Ellie spotted the car outside and said "I want to ride that" so of course we had to let her!

Ellie was in need of diaper change so we made our way to the Baby Care center but first had to stop at Pixie Hollow so Ellie could check out the toadstools.

When we made our way to the Baby Care center we had to wait a couple minutes for a changing table to open up.  I love that they have this station at the parks.  It's so clean and has short toilets for kiddos who have a hard time getting on a big toilet.  They also have private room for nursing, sell diapers, wipes and formula and they have a small area for littles to crawl around and toys to play with.  There is a sink with dish soap so you can clean out your bottles and sippy cups.  Walt really thought of everything when he made the park for families.

On our way out of the Baby Care center the Paint the Night Parade was going on and the streets were packed.  We had to rush across the street just in front of Ariel (my favorite princess) and while I was waiting for room on the ramp to push Ellie onto the sidewalk I was able to stop and snap a picture before being ushered to finish crossing before getting trampled!!

We decided we wanted some ice cream so we walked through the stores on Main Street to get to Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. I had a scoop of Cookies and Cream and Thomas got the Cookie Dough.  Ellie loved having little bites of it and we got a table right at the window so we could watch some of the parade (through all the people standing/sitting on the sidewalk watching).  Once the parade was over Main Street was a mad house with all the people getting up and leaving or going to other parts of the park!

We went to Critter Country and rode on Splash Mountain, there was no one in line so we basically just got to walk on - Thomas did get the Rider Switch Pass so that I could just walk on while Ellie was sleeping but we didn't really need it since I hardly passed anyone.  So once my turn was over, I asked Thomas if I could ride again real quick since the line was so short and he let me go.  It was so much fun!!  Ellie was still sleeping when I got off the second time so we made our way to Big Thunder Mountain.  I got to go on first, it said there was a 15 minute line but I didn't even have to wait, I just walked right on and grabbed a Rider Switch Pass for Thomas (which he didn't end up needing).  Going on Thunder Mountain at night is just the best - it's my favorite, sitting in the train by myself I was whipped back and forth on the seat with every turn so I got an extra ride on the ride!  Once my ride was over I ran to meet Thomas so he could take a turn.  Then when he came back, I went again since there was no one in line.  I got to sit up front and let two little boys ride with me since they were in a group of four and were going to have to wait for the next train, when our round was over there was no one in the queue so I got off and the boys got to ride again right away without even having to get off the train!! What a fantastic experience.

When all of our Mountain riding was over we made our way back to Main Street to head home and the Paint the Night Parade was making its second round.  This time we stopped and Thomas recorded the whole parade on his phone, I stayed back with Ellie as she was sleeping through the whole thing despite being right next to a speaker that was going out and making this horrific static sound that was so incredibly loud, I few cast members were right next to me and they kept trying to figure out a way to let someone know that it needed to be fixed.  It was great getting to see the parade and Sleeping Beauty's Castle afterwards is so cool at night with all the lights.

And that's the end of our first day in Disneyland from a 2:30am wakeup to closing time at 11:45pm we had a full day but it was a fun day and Ellie was a total champ.

♥ Ashley

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  1. Ok, this totally makes me want to go to Disney! Looks like you guys had such a wonderful time :)

  2. I've only ever been to Disney World in Florida but Disneyland seems just as magical! I just got back from Universal Studios Orlando and it's definitely not as family oriented as Disney. I can't wait to one day take my future kids to Disney and experience it all the wonder through their little eyes. So special! Can't wait to read more about your trip.

  3. Holyyyyyyy cow longest day EVER. But SO MUCH FUN!! I love Ellie driving by herself and the story about the shooting game where Thomas killed it and you were on the struggle bus? Yeah. That's so me and Jim it's not even funny. Totally feel ya girl!

  4. Oh my goodness you guys are so cute in your Mickey/Minnie wear. That was a CRAZY long day but so much fun too.

  5. Sounds like such a fun trip! I can't believe you packed so much into one day! We're heading to Disney (Orlando) in a little over a week for Mila's first trip... SO excited!!! The shot of you and Ellie on the carousel is adorable - definitely frame-worthy! And the boots? OMG what a fantastic idea!!!

  6. What a fun trip! So so so impressed she slept on the plane!!! I love you all in your coordinating gear. And that picture of you guys with Mickey?! Awesome! What a great reason for another trip to :)


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♥ Ashley