Nathan and I are very careful budgeters. Well…I am a very careful budgeter and Nathan fully supports me and helps me and mostly participates in keeping the budget. Each year, though, we don’t include my summer school teaching income in the budget so that we can spend it on something special for our family. This year, I treated the fam to a three day Disneyland adventure.
My Mom is a huge Disney fan (and so am I to tell the truth) so Elias knows a lot about it. Since Disney is a whole lot of fun and really really really really tiring, we were happy that Ama and Baba wanted to come along with us. Four adults on two kids was a huge help to me and Nathan.
We flew down to California on Wednesday afternoon. Even the short plane ride exhausted Simon, as he fell asleep on the way to the hotel from the airport. He was tired before we even started! We stayed in the Best Western Park Place which is literally right across the street from the Disneyland Entrance. I highly recommend it! We woke up bright and early on Thursday morning, and headed off to California Adventure to start our fun!
The first thing we did when we got there was hurry off to Radiator Springs Racers. Since everyone wants to ride it, one of the best ways to get on it without a long wait is to go straight there in the morning. We had a bit of a nail biter, since riders have to be at least 40 inches tall. With shoes and a baseball cap, Elias is currently about 40 and a quarter inches. He just made it! It turns out all the anxiety was for nothing, though, because Elias didn’t really like any of the rides with the height restrictions. He preferred others. But that is another story.
Here is Elias waiting in line for his first ride!
After only about 10 minutes of waiting, we got on our first ride! I loved it. Elias claims he liked it too, but he has always been bothered by loud and sudden noises, and there are quite a few of those on this ride. When asked if he wanted to go again with Baba for the rider swap (the system used so that families don’t have to wait in line twice when they have children too small to ride), Elias refused.
Here is Elias getting buckled in!
Unfortunately, Simon was a bit off on this morning. Maybe it was the travel, or the early wake time. Maybe he was just overwhelmed and didn’t know what in the world was going on…but he was very grumpy.
No amount of snacks, songs, bounces, rides, or anything could stop these tears. I think at this point I turned to Nathan and muttered under my breath, “this is turning out to be something distinctly less than magical!”
Don’t worry, though! Our Disneyland Adventure was absolutely wonderful.
After we finished exploring Cars Land, we decided that maybe a change of scenery would be good for Simon. We went to Bugs Land! Simon really cheered up when we let him explore the scenery.
Both boys really loved Heimlich’s chew chew train and Flik’s Fliers. Simon kept pointing to it and saying “sky. sky! more. more!” Here are Elias and Ama and Baba enjoying the ride while Simon, Nathan and I were right next to them in a different car.
Next, I decided to let Simon run around a bit while Elias and Nathan rode some bumper cars in bugs land. They have a great fountain area, and since it was 90 degrees, I didn’t mind letting Simon get a bit wet. He really cheered up and had the time of his life running around in the fountains and playing with another little boy he met there.
Ouch! Actually….I must confess this happened twice! What you just watched was his second fall. He fell the first time just like that, but on the other side of his face. He got two bright red marks…one on his forehead, and one on his right cheek. But after a few tears, he wanted to get right back in there. I tried to stop him from running because it was pretty slippery in there, but it just could not be done. So…he fell again. Poor Simon! This fall left a pretty nasty mark on his left cheek. After the second fall, he cried a lot. (If an adult had taken that fall they’d be hospitalized!) However, he again wanted to get right back in there and play. I wouldn’t let him, though, the mean mommy that I was. He had an absolute royal fit about it and resumed his grumpiness from earlier in the morning, but I couldn’t let him continue to get hurt!
After the falls we decided to move again. We left bugs land and headed over to paradise pier. We waited for Toystory Mania, which is a great ride, and I believe it is one of Elias’ favorite, if not the favorite of our little almost four year old!
After saying goodbye to Jessie, we decided it was time to grab some lunch. It felt great to sit down and be in the shade for a bit since it was getting very hot outside! Then, we decided to take Simon back to the hotel for a much needed nap. He fell asleep on Nathan before we even got out of the park. We made it back to the hotel room, and he was dead to the world for a good long while.
While Simon napped, Nathan took Elias swimming. We were lucky enough that the window of our room looked right out onto the pool so I could stay with Simon, but still witness the fun that was being had. I felt like an absolute creep filming a pool out of my hotel room window, but I did it anyway to capture some of Elias’ joy.
After a good nap, and cooling off in the pool, we headed back to California Adventure for more fun. Everyone rode Soaring Over California, and I stayed out with Simon who is not tall enough. I took him to get a special balloon since he loves those. As I approached the balloon guy, I wondered how much it would cost. Being Disney, I assumed it would be a lot, but I was not quite prepared for the actual sticker price on those babies. The balloons are $14! Granted, they are like a balloon within balloons that glow in the dark and do flashy light shows and all sorts of cool stuff. But $14? For a balloon? There I was standing under the enormous balloon bouquet, with Simon (finally happy after a nap) looking up in his balloon ecstasy shouting and pointing “balloon!” What was I to do? Every part of me wanted to walk away from that ridiculous balloon, and taking that $14 out of my wallet was a hard thing to swallow, but I did it. When in Rome, right? Besides, it was my special treat to the family for working over the summer.
Simon was happily playing with his balloon in the stroller, and we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves while waiting for the rest of the family and….the outer part of the balloon popped. The $14 balloon popped after about two minutes! All that was left was the white inner balloon with a shell hanging off like a beacon making me look like a fool. Simon lost interest in the balloon at that point, but had fun pushing the stroller around.
When my family came back, I related my sad balloon story. Nathan and I used the rider swap, and got to ride Soaring over California, and my parents took the boys for some fun. My mom decided to ask the nice balloon person to exchange the balloon since it hardly lasted at all, and in good Disney style, they did! It is the happiest place on earth after all. So…we got a fresh $14 balloon at no extra charge, and this second balloon lasted the whole rest of our trip! We got flashy light shows all night long. We even whacked a good number of people in the face with that thing by accident when it was tied to our stroller. You may even have considered us a menace to society when you think about how many faces we whacked and how many people we disturbed by Simon’s tantrums and tears earlier in the day. But despite all that, we were having an absolute wonderful time. I promise! When Nathan and I got off the ride, we found the boys happily enjoying snacks my parents had bought for them.
Elias really wanted to ride Toy Story Mania again, but Simon did not. I stayed back with Simon while everyone else went on the ride. I took Simon on the carousel, and he loved it so much that we rode it twelve…yes count them….twelve times in a row! During this time, Simon learned a few new words. “Whale. Seal. Fishy.” The carousel was an under the sea theme, and Simon was correctly pointing out and identifying which figures he wanted to ride with words. I think Simon would have ridden that carousel all day if I would have let him!
After dinner, we decided it had been a magical day, but it was time to go back to the hotel and get as much rest as possible before our next adventure! You can read all about it in part two coming soon!