Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 1- Saturday!

Today we woke the kids up to their surprise boxes at about 3:45 am (Matt and I were up at 3). Piper didn’t handle it well- she hates waking up early and was super cranky. She then proceeded to cry, called us liars (she actually thought we were playing a mean trick on her) and dragged getting ready. By 4am though she was doing better and was excited to go! Aidan was a champ this morning, he kept repeating “I can’t believe this is happening!”. Pretty cute :)

We got picked up at 4:30 and were at the airport at 5:15. Security was awful this morning- took us 45 minutes !! It was such a pain and more than one person ahead of us were missing flights. We grabbed coffee right out of security and trekked all the way down to gate A14. We boarded our flight at 6:30 and took off on time at 7.

We had a smooth flight, and landed at 930. Got our luggage and hopped in a taxi and got to the Tropicana hotel a little after 10. Normally we stay onsite but even with reservations far out, all 3 onsite hotels were totally booked up because of the ½ marathon the next day. Luckily we got a hotel right across the street though and were only there for one night. The room was TINY though- cruise ship tiny I swear. And it was just 2 doubles (not queens) so it was a tight fit for all of us.

We checked in, then walked across the street and went right onto Pirates then wandered a bit before lunch at Hungry Bear.

Both kids really tired and cranky so we grabbed fast passes for Big Thunder and went back for a nap. Both kids crashed at about 1 or so and slept till 3, then we went to the pool till about 4. We had dinner reservations at PCH grill (at Paradise Pier hotel) at 530 so we got dressed and headed back to the parks into Downtown Disney (from here on referenced at DTD). P wandered into build a bear and found a small Merida (from Brave) dress that will fit her AG dolls. It even came with a wig and a bow and arrow! Aidan didn’t see much of anything:)  We then went into world of Disney and P used a little of her money to buy a new Disney baby (she collects them) and got Dumbo (so sweet- her first love at DL!).

We had dinner and it was really good! Matt and I both had this great pasta that was balsamic and olive oil based with sun dried tomatoes, parmesan and grilled squashes. Yum! Kids stuck with kid food. Matt and I both also ordered our favorite drink we discovered at Aulani- the ginger lemonade (made with vodka). It isn’t the same as sitting on the beach in Hawaii but oh well. Vacation is vacation:)

After that we wandered back into DL (after getting some pressed pennies- both kids seem to like it but P is way into it. It def takes planning though- With hundreds of pennies to do in the parks and one collector book only holding 50, it gets expensive . I think we spent about $50 in change on the kids to get prepped. We put all the pennies in one pill bottle and quarters in the other. Works well and we have a lot of them. We just switch them out as we need to!

We rode pirates again (NEVER a wait) then wandered over to Big Thunder to ride it but it was closed  not sure what was going on but P was bummed. We coaxed her bad mood away with more pressed pennies in Frontierland.

We went back to the hotel at this point(a trek compared to staying onsite) and kids went in the hot tub for a bit. We all got ready for bed after that and lights out- we were all asleep by 9!!

Day 2- Sunday!

This morning (after a GOOD nights sleep) we all got up in the 6 o clock hour to get ready. Our goal was to leave by 7 and we were out the door by 715. Not bad! After getting showered, dressed, etc we also had to get totally packed. No biggie since we were only there for one night though. We had thought about catching a cab out of the hotel and going to the GCH but there was a half marathon that was going on right then (the Disneyland half- someday I will do it…maybe) and traffic was really messed up. We decided we would walk it. It was maybe a 10 min walk but piled with suitcases not so fun!

We got to the security checkpoint after about 5 min and normally they check your bags but instead they had a security guard escort us to the other side of DTD by our hotel. Then another 5 or so to the front desk. We dropped our bags with security then checked it to our favorite hotel in DL!

We love the Grand Californian hotel for so many reasons- the proximity, the homey feeling, the bunk bed rooms (bunks for kids so they don’t have to share a bed and a queen for us), and the private park entrances.

After checking in (and asking for a text when our room was ready) we headed out! Plan was to go to Legoland today.

We get to the Alamo office (over by the Disneyland hotel) and the office was closed (but they shouldn’t have been). The office was right on the street of the ½ marathon so we suspected the worker was having some issues getting to the office. We were right. He showed up about 45 minutes later (the entire time Matt was on the phone, as well as other people loitering around waiting). We were on our way about an hour later then we thought but weren’t stressed about it. We had all day!

Our drive there was ok- the rental car we got was way smoother of a ride then our cars back home which was good for Piper but she still got car sick:( We gave her bonine and she felt a little better but it makes her drowsy and cranky. We got to Legoland about an hour later.

Legoland in all was fun- but really hot today! Kind of put the kids on edge. We did a ton of rides, looked around the factory and all the minilands and models (kids loved the Star Wars area). Piper got pink and purple hair extensions (that last a cpl weeks) , Aidan met a Bioncle guy while Piper and Matt did a roller coaster. We planned to go to the waterpark but it was super busy and the kids just wanted to leave. We did some shopping, found a local starbucks and headed home.

Both kids slept on the way home:) We stopped at a Target on our way home before dropping the rental car back to get some breakfast stuff for the week. Matt dropped me and the kids off at the entrance of the hotel and he returned the car while the kids and I got settled in the room (got bags brought up, etc).
We were hungry so we went into DTD for dinner. I got a greek salad and Matt got a sandwich from Napalini and the kids got Mexican food (where matt and I both got margaritas:)  then we headed into DCA (Disney California Adventure Park) to walk around. We didn’t do any rides, just enjoyed looking at all the new things since we were there last. Buena Vista street and Carsland were all new to us! We got a few cozy cone treats (churro bites and a souvenir Cozy Cone cup) then headed back to the GCH hotel (less than 3 min total)to get ready to go to the hot tub.

It was about 930 when we got back and the kids crashed right away. Matt and I stayed up for almost another hr to empty our luggage and put everything away and clear the clutter in our hotel room. Then we crashed too!

Day 3- Monday!

So today we got up early to do early entry at 7am –through the end of September all onsite hotel guests get early entry to the park of their choice every day of their stay! Today we decided to go to Disneyland since we hadn’t really done any rides yet and stick with the classics this morning. We were hoping with it being the last day of a holiday weekend that everyone would be using their early entry to go tot DCA (since Carsland is there and so new)- and we were right! We were first in line along with a few other families next to us lining up at the other turnstiles. We all wondered if we were in the right spot since it wasn’t even too early (6:50).

They opened the gates at 7 and off we went to Fantasyland! Peter Pan was first, then Dumbo and the Carousel. The boys wanted to ride Star Tours (P and I get motion sick on it) so they went off and we did Snow White and teacups. Piper then attempted with all her might to pull the sword out of the stone but it wouldn’t budge ;)

We then wandered into the Mad Hatter shop and she found her dream hat- a plush Stitch hat with dangling paws. I don’t even know why the kids love Stitch so much except when we were on the Disney cruise in the Bahamas in 2010 he was there and played with them a lot. But both kids (esp P) LOVE Stitch. We bought the hat and the lady said it was brand new that day and they had only gotten a few of them in. P got attention constantly the remainder of the trip- cast members and people in line all loved it. P was pretty proud of it and wore it throughout the trip (and heat!). After that we found some more pressed penny machines then met up with the boys.

We walked over to Frontierland (which was dead- there was no one around!) and did Big Thunder for the first time this trip. Aidan even went on it a second time without whining! He actually even had fun! This was a big deal to us- he HATES thrill rides and he actually put his hands up a cpl times on it. We were hopeful he would get more daring as the trip went on!

We then wandered into Toontown where the kids got their first autograph (Aidan’s last- he just wasn’t into it this trip but P was for the first time). She wasn’t even shy! Yay! Another first for us. After visiting Mickey we played in Toontown a bit. Piper and I rode the mini coaster there (see us in the neon? Lol).

We wandered into shops for a bit, got lunch at the Mexican Restaurant by Big Thunder Mountain, then headed to the hotel for the kiddos to play in the pool and then rest for the afternoon. We all fell asleep for an hour or so which was really nice:)

At 4:45 Matt and I headed out with the kids and dropped them off at the hotel’s kids club. They love it there! Piper loves all the art projects (and cooking projects they do) and Aidan loves the computer and wii games (no surprise). It’s nice too because they have mats and bean bag chairs if the kids get tired they can crash. They also serve them dinner ($6 each which is totally reasonable) which they get from the hotel character dining restaurant.

After dropping the kids, Matt and I walked down through DTD to the Disneyland hotel for some tropical drinks. I love our hotel (the Grand) but the Disneyland hotel recently was renovated and put in a really cool outdoor tiki bar area with comfy chairs/sofas and a good bar menu. We each ordered a drink and were able to wind down a little!

After that we were in search for the pressed penny machines in that hotel for Piper (so she didn’t have to trek out there later in the week). We got them all ad were on our way! We made it back to our room at 5:40 and quickly changed into nicer clothes for our dinner reservations. Every trip we want to go to Napa Rose and we finally were!

Napa Rose is a multi award winning restaurant and worth every penny! We had an amazing server (Saucy was his name and he was fabulous:) and we got to try so much food. My boss/friend Colleen treated us to a great bottle of bubble (which we finished, PLUS had a glass of red with dinner)- for appetizers we had scallops with vanilla/lemon sauce and Salmon Carpaccio. Matt had steak and I had the catch of the day for our entrees and we split a side of the truffled mac and cheese. All of it was so good. We shared 2 different desserts but honestly can’t tell you what they were….we were a bit intoxicated at this point! I know that when we tried to leave Saucy was laughing at us and I mentioned something about walking in a straight line…ooops! Oh well:) We had a GREAT date night!

So on that note we were off to pick up the kids lol. In we wandered in what I hope was a not drunk fashion! We got the kiddos and off to man street we went for fireworks! It was fun- the kids and I camped out on the curb (it was an hour early) and Matt ran around finding the kids snacks. Fireworks were good but I really miss the fall/winter ones. Our new camera got some great shots! I just held it up on my shoulder and hit the constant button for long exposure and no flash and it worked well enough (and I was still able to watch with the kids and not through a lens!). After that we wandered around a bit (rode Big Thunder again) and then off to the hotel again. It was a really fun day!