Wednesday, June 21, 2017

road trip day eleven: california adventure and disneyland

Since we were staying at the Grand Californian, we were able to get into California Adventure an hour early and we headed straight for Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.  Grandma and Ellie went to get Fastpasses for the ride while everyone else got in the standby line and by the time the park officially opened, our group went on three times!  We met up with my cousins Rob and Lauren and they joined us for the last ride.

high flying fun
We made sure that ride #2 of the day was something that Ellie could go on too!

Toy Story Midway Mania is always a favorite!

king triton's carousel
Obviously we had to do the carousel at California Adventure.

Sweet, second cousins.

radiator springs racers
- Radiator Springs Racers -

date night
Jacob and I left all of the kids with my parents and then headed over to Disneyland for a date night!  We had the fried chicken at the Plaza Inn and then enjoyed rides and didn't have to argue about ride buddies or if it was time for a snack!!

haunted mansion
- Haunted Mansion -

churros and big thunder
Churros after the Haunted Mansion and fun on Big Thunder.

We watched the fireworks over Big Thunder Mountain.

After dinner at California Adventure, Grandma took Ben, Nick, and Ellie back to the room to go to bed and everyone else went to Disneyland to finish the night!  Lexie and Lauren had a blast going on rides together-- I think Lexie really liked having another girl to hang out with!

msep again
We snagged a bench on Main Street and watched the Main Street Electrical Parade (again!) to finish up the night.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

road trip day ten: surf's up breakfast and relaxing

surf's up family
We love doing character breakfasts so on this trip we decided to try the "Surf's Up!" breakfast at the Paradise Pier Hotel.  I made a 10:30am reservation since I knew we would be up late at Disneyland the night before and it worked out perfectly!

A few excited kiddos!  They made their way up to the buffet and filled up their plates before any of the characters got to our table.

minnie mouse
Meeting Minnie Mouse!  After being terrified of ALL the characters on our previous Disney trips, this was the year that Ellie opened up-- she was SOOOO excited to meet Minnie!

daisy duck
- Meeting Daisy Duck -

dance party!
One of the best things about the Surf's Up breakfast is the awesome dance party with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Stitch.  The kids had a blast!

mickey and minnie
After some serious dancing fun, Mickey PROPOSED(!) to Minnie!

- Meeting Stitch -

playing with stitch
Since we had one of the last reservations of the morning, the characters weren't in a rush and spent lots of time interacting and playing with the kids.

fun with daisy
And some characters even made it around to our table a second time!

mickey mouse
- Meeting Mickey Mouse -

playing with stitch and mickey
The kids played peek-a-boo and Ring Around the Rosie with Mickey and Stitch!

Pictures with Mickey - Everyone wanted a picture with the most famous mouse in the world!

Another dance party before we left.

fun at the pool
After our HUGE breakfast, we spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool at the Grand Californian.  The kids were obsessed with the Redwood Slide and went down over and over and over.  They (Chris and Nick) somehow convinced Ellie to go down the slide by telling her they would ride with her, but when they got to the top, found out she would have to go down alone.  Chris went down first so that he could catch her and then Nick sent her down alone!  She laughed the whole way down the slide but somehow flipped over at the end and went headfirst under the water-- she was NOT a happy camper! After her traumatic waterslide experience, she took a nice, long nap!

We checked out Fire+Ice at the Convention Center for dinner and it was awesome!  It's a Mongolian Grill type restaurant (you fill a bowl with protein, veggies, and sauces and they cook it on a round grill) but they also do pizza, burgers, and quesadillas-- with whatever ingredients you want!


Monday, June 19, 2017

road trip day nine: disneyland

We started out our day at Disneyland with family pictures in front of the Partners statue, just like we always do.  The kids usually cooperate as long as they know they can do silly pictures at the end!

Caffeinated and ready for fun!!  Star Tours was the first ride of the day.

And then we made our way through Tomorrowland.

splash mountain!
The kids always convince Grandpa to go on Splash Mountain with them-- oh, the things you do for your grandkids!

lunch and rides
We had lunch at the newly opened Red Rose Taverne- very underwhelming- but the gray stuff was delicious!  Then it was off to Fantasyland for more rides!

carrousel one
The "horsies" are one of Ellie's favorite rides and the big kids are such good sports to go on EVERY time we go!

carrousel two
-King Arthur Carrousel-

ride fun
We try and switch ride buddies for each ride so that everyone gets a chance to ride with everyone-- or at least as close to it as we can!

small world
"It's a world of laughter, a world of tears, It's a world of hope and a world of fears, There's so much that we share, that it's time we're aware, It's a small world after all..."  And on, and on, and on....  Much to the chagrin of some members of our party (Grandpa!) we got stuck on the ride and had to go around two extra times before we could disembark the "happiest cruise that ever sailed."

mickey and the magical map
 The "Mickey and the Magical Map" show was a great break from the heat and we were all pleasantly surprised with how good the show was.

jungle cruise
We met the nicest Cast Member, J'Amy, at the Jungle Cruise, and after chatting with the kids in line for awhile (and hearing about their dissatisfaction with a previous CM), she sprinkled us with some pixie dust in the form of the elusive "golden fastpass" and a private Jungle Cruise!!

waiting for the msep
We staked out spots for the Main Street Electrical Parade down by City Hall.  We were so excited that the parade was extended until August because it was originally supposed to end the day before our trip-- and we LOVE the MSEP!!

msep train
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Disneyland proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electro-syntho-magnetic musical sounds.  The Main Street Electrical Parade!"

msep turtle
The spinning turtle has always been my favorite!

msep bugs and alice
- Alice in Wonderland -

msep dancing mice
- the dancing mice -

msep cinderella
- Cinderella -

msep peter pan
- Peter Pan -

msep snow white
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs -

msep pete's dragon
- Pete's Dragon -


Sunday, June 18, 2017

road trip day eight: headed to california

On Father's Day, we loaded up the cars and started the drive to California-- of course, we had to stop at Waffle House for breakfast, first.  And then lunch at Baja Fresh on the way.  And then a certain three year old threw a screaming fit about needing ice cream necessitating a stop at McDonald's an hour later...

grand cal living areas
But we eventually made it and checked into our 2 bedroom villa at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.
June 18, 2017 - DISNEYLAND! - State #10 - 2600 miles

grand cal bedrooms
-Grand Californian bedrooms-

dinner and fireworks
After getting everything situated in the villa, we went to Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express for a quick dinner and then back to the room to watch the Disneyland fireworks from our balcony.

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