Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Disney Vacation 2016!

We had a family party last night, actually a Family Home Evening with the extended family.  We've been trying to do it every month with my parents, its a tradition i'm learning to love already. My mom taught the lesson by reading a blog post she wrote years ago about some special experiences she had, it got all of us talking about journal and blog keeping to help us preserve those memories and it made me want to restart this blog, so here it goes!

Last week we went on a family vacation, just Ryan, Me and the kids. It was a really fun time! Exhausting for sure, but a blast. We left early Sunday morning (Mother's Day), and drove all day to California. The kids did amazingly well, they've become awesome road-trippers. The traffic was bad from Vegas to California, I need to learn my lesson and not plan Sunday travel! 

Our hotel room was a family suite with 2 bedrooms, it was small, but perfect for the week. It was about a mile from Disneyland, but the ART shuttle came right in front of the hotel and Disney was the first stop, so it was a quick ride each way. 

Bright and Early Monday morning we headed to the park and hit California Adventure first. The lines weren't terrible, but not the best we've seen them. But we had such a great time. Kate could ride on everything except California Screamin', it was so great to be able to do just about everything together. We still hit lots of small rides that she loves and James hated, but he was mostly a good sport. :) We used fast passes for Cars land and Soarin' over California, and we did almost every ride in the park. We kept busy, but were exhuasted by the evening and went home before the park closed. I was disappointed to not see the closing show, but we were just too darn tired! We went back to the hotel and collapsed and watched TV until we conked out.

 Tuesday we got up early again and headed to Disneyland for magic morning. I was so unbelievably excited. Man, I love Disneyland. We got in just after 8am and booked it to Tomorrow land. We rode Space Mountain first thing, the line was reasonable. They have changed it to HyperSpace Mountain and its a Star Wars theme now. We all LOVED it. So fun. We then ran over to Star Tours, another short line and big hit with the kids. We then got on the Buzz Lightyear ride, another quick line and fun ride, we really made the most of our early hour! After that it was 9am and the park was officially open, so we got a fast pass for Space Mountain and began exploring the park, eating Churros, and laughing. We did just about everything in Tomorrow land, Frontier land and Adventure land. The weather was perfect all week. We had overcast and cool mornings and sunny and warm afternoons, but it was never too cold or too hot. Our feet were pretty tired after two long park days in a row, so we went back to the hotel in the late afternoon for another break. The kids were disappointed to leave, as was I, but I knew we all needed to rest up if we were going to make it through two more park days! We made plans with David and Stacey and their kids and met up at a fun little barbecue restaurant and enjoyed their company all evening.

 Wednesday morning we headed out early, again, to go to our Character breakfast. We drove the car down to the Paradise Pier hotel, and went in and enjoyed a really fun buffet breakfast with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Pluto and Stitch. The kids loved the characters coming to our table, getting autographs, and eating their weight in Mickey pancakes and waffles. We were planning to drive back to our hotel to park and ride the shuttle in, but a very nice employee at the Paradise Pier let us leave our car there so we just walked into the park.

We started the day in Fantasy Land, Ryan ran over to Space Mountain for fast passes while we got settled in Fantasy. We lucked out and got short lines for Dumbo and Peter Pan, we did all the others the kids were interested in, then moved onto Matterhorn, and over to Space Mountain for our fast passes (we did that ride 5 times, it was definitely our favorite). Then we went to Toon Town. Lunch in Toon Town is a tradition we have now, we've been to Disney with the kids 3 times and we always spend at least one lunch there. I just love toon town, I have fun memories from there when I was in High School too, its just such a colorful happy place. We saw Goofy there and he was so cute and fun with the kids cause the line wasn't too long so he was really playful with them. I loved it. We then went and hit all of our favorites in the park again. The kids dragged us all over, and we ate Churros and Mickey pretzels and of course a Dole Whip in the Tiki room. We did some pin trading, and wore ourselves out making sure we did everything we wanted to get done on our last day in the park.


Thursday we slept in a bit to catch up, and because we knew driving to Universal during morning rush hour was pointless. We got on the road around 9:30, and it still took us about an hour and half to get to Universal, during which Beth got carsick and threw up, so fun! Luckily I always plan ahead and we had a bucket in the car for just such a problem. She felt fine afterwards and still had a great day at the park, so thats good. I was SO excited for Universal. I've been dying to go to Harry Potter ever since one opened in Florida, when I found out the California one would be open in time for our trip I was ecstatic. I was in heaven, and i'm sure I acted like a little kid. All of Universal was fun, but I was really there for Harry Potter. :) I loved feeling like I was in the world of magic. We went in all the little shops and rode the rides. I could have stood in line for the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey ride all day. The line takes you through Hogwarts castle and it was so mesmerizing! I loved every inch. The ride itself was super cool, although it made me pretty motion sick. I still loved it. When we went into Ollivander's Beth was chosen by a wand, such a cool experience! And of course I had to buy it, and take it all over Hogsmeade performing spells. LOVE! We drank Butter beer and soaked it all in.  We also did some other rides at Universal and took the tour, which was super cool! I loved learning about the sets and seeing all the cool special effects they use. Overall, a great day at Universal.

Our last day we took it very easy, we slept it, ate a late breakfast, laid around the hotel watching TV, and then around lunch time we headed to Newport Beach! So fun! The kids really loved it. I wasn't sure how it was going to go with the cold Pacific Ocean water, but they really enjoyed it. They played in the waves and built sand castles and collected sea shells. The weather was again perfect, not so hot that you felt like you were frying but warm enough to enjoy sitting there and getting some cool ocean spray. Ryan got me a new camera for Mother's day so I took it to the beach with us to play around with it (the ones uploaded here are not full resolution, there are better in real life ;) ). I was too paranoid to bring it to the parks with us. :) After the beach we headed back to the hotel (it took twice as long to get home thanks to lovely California traffic), showered off and headed to David's house and out to dinner, yummy Mexican food, yay! I loved hanging out with family all evening and laughing. I sure love my siblings and wish I got to see them all more! It was the perfect last day of vacation.

Saturday we headed home, traffic was perfect this time all the way home, and the kids were excellent, we made it home by 7 in the evening and had time to unpack and unwind before bed. What a fun, exhausting trip! I hope its something the kids will all remember now that they are a little older.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Family Pictures 2013

Do I have a beautiful family or what??