We had a great winter time escape last week going to Disneyland! This was the first time our family had been, and it was just a wonderful time.
+ I was pretty sure as we were planning that this would be our family's one Disney trip -- fun, but enough. But it was so much more fun than I expected, and I kept thinking about 'next time...'
+ We've considered a Disneyland trip several times with various levels of seriousness. I thought all through this trip though that I think this was the first time that I could have handled/enjoyed the trip! :) We all sleep well (which makes everything better/easier/happier! :), no nursing babies, only one child likely to run off... plus great help from the older kids... Also Isaac was just tall enough to ride everything so that made things super smooth.
+ Porter surprised me by loving all of the more intense rides (I didn't go on any of his favorites!) along with Landon. (Owen was hesitant at first but then discovered he loved these too.)
+ We loved spending time with Kathie and Winslow too, and all felt so happy that they were able to come!
+ Jordan and I watched a little "Imagineering" episode a few weeks before we left, and it really made me appreciate all the amazing engineering and design at work. (Even Small World, though I should have worn headphones with my own music, was so inspiring with all the beautiful layers and colors and textures!) And it was so fun to talk to the kids about all the cool robotics at work since that's familiar to them with our lego robotics time.
+ It was wonderful to be enjoying 60-80 degree days, especially when we had some great big snow storms we got to miss at home :) (Although, I was prepping myself for returning home with some mental pep-talks about getting through the rest of winter when Landon out of the blue said, "I'm excited to get back to our snow!")
+ Riding the Silly Symphony Swings again and again with Ellie and Isaac while Jordan and the other boys went on rollercoasters
+ Isaac & Porter in their Star Wars helmet and all the boys so excited to build and play with their new light sabers
+ The moment Ellie turned from scared to excited while we raced in the Cars ride. (And feeling that same thing too!)
+ Entering the Radiator Springs town - such a happy nostalgic feeling from Landon's toddler years when we watched Cars again and again!
+ Doing a puzzle at the hotel with Kathie and Winslow and the kids
+ Playing Disneyland trivia games made up by Jordan at the hotel
We stayed at a Residence Inn close by with a great size room for our whole family to share (and Mickey Mouse waffles for breakfast!) (And when I stressed about the price, I just looked at the Disneyland Hotels and felt much better :) On the map it looked like a super easy walk, but half of us ended up taking an Uber some of the time just to make things easier.
We used Fast Passes one day and then Jordan (our fast-pass expert) decided Max pass was worth it and it did feel like it made everything pretty smooth.
We went for 4 days with a Sunday in between to rest and relax. I don't think we could have managed 3 days in a row (tired feet!), but 2 and 2 was perfect.
We took both of our strollers (though I debated) and pretty much always had them both in use. Landon was awesome at helping to push them and all the other kids were grateful for some breaks through the day.
Our hotel was just far enough that it felt like too far to go all the way back for a break during the day, but on a couple of the days we just took an afternoon break (with a calm drawing class for some and just some sitting/chilling time for the rest) and it helped us enjoy the rest of the day.
I loved the shows we saw -- Mickey & the Magical Map, Frozen, and the World of Color water/light show (which was amazing, but also long).
Jordan ran into some friends from our ward there and they gave us some great tips for the new Star Wars ride and Jordan had almost as much fun figuring/optimizing all the things for us to get passes as we did riding the ride :) Isaac has loved Star Wars lately so it was very fun to see him get to see it all come to life!
We planned our trip to be in the coolest and least busy time of year, and it was perfect for us. (We would have had a hard time with it much warmer or busier.) Also it was super to have this warm, happy trip to look forward to all through January!