As a special treat for Natalie, her Godfather promised her a trip to Disneyland. We arranged to go for two nights and three days at the beginning of May and it was so much fun!
We left early on a Sunday morning. It was a small plane, and I had already been upgraded to first, with Phil on the list. He got the upgrade too and talked the agent into upgrading Natalie so she could sit with us - what a treat!
Natalie enjoying her first class accommodations
We got to California, then the hotel by 11:00 and were inside the park and in line at the Ariel ride by noon. We were tired and hungry, so grabbed a hot dog at a stand on our way to the next ride.
Outside the Ariel ride
We were pretty lucky and didn't have too many lines to wait in. After moving around the California Adventure park and riding almost all the rides we could we decided to get a fast pass ticket for Tower of Terror and in the time we had to wait, we went back to the hotel and figured we would take a nap. Now, there are two issues with this, first would be, if we fall asleep are we really going to wake up and go back and two, if we do wake up and go back is this the best ride to take a 3 year old on.
We did fall asleep and we did happen to wake up with what we hoped would be enough time to quickly walk back to the line. However, no one realized that this ride might actually be scary. Scary for older riders, but especially for a 3 year old. We got into the park and only had to run half the way to the line, but once we were waiting to board the ride the guy who was sitting behind Natalie, Phil and I says to me, "You will want to hold onto her, because she is so light she will come out of her seat." Great! So when they say you need to be 40" tall, they don't tell you that you should weigh more. So I held on to her tight, which was a good thing, because she did come out of her seat. The ride takes up up several stories while you are sitting in an elevator shaft, then drops you unexpectedly, then you rise up, then fall again and over and over - all while there is thunder and lightning sounds happening all around you. Now, the rising and falling wasn't as scary for Natalie as the thunder. She hated the thunder, but never cried or screamed - which can't be said for the guy who was sitting behind us who screamed at the top of his lungs the entire time! We got off and she proceeded to make us promise to never make her go on that ride again, because it was scary. I ever said, "That was CRAZY" and she said "no mama, it was scary."
After that we went on the Ariel ride again, then into Downtown Disney for dinner. We ate at a Paris inspired bistro, then went into Disneyland to watch the 10 pm fireworks show. It was pretty impressive and perched atop my shoulders, Natalie was able to see Tinker Bell, Dumbo and a lot of pretty lights in the sky. We dragged ourselves back to the hotel, had drinks in our room then fell asleep soundly until morning.
We decided that Monday we would use our "early day" ticket and get into Disneyland an hour before it opened. The tickets make it seem like you can get into rides before everyone, but really very few rides are open, so you can get into the park, but can't get on a lot of rides, or even in line. However, it allowed us to grab some breakfast and we were close to the entrance of the area with the Indiana Jones ride, the Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Tarzan rides to get a jump on the line. We went to the Pirates ride first, were in the first boat and Natalie really enjoyed it. Next Godfather, Auntie and Phil went to the Indiana Jones ride while Natalie and I walked through the Tarzan tree house. She loved it! We were done with that around the same time as the others, so we went off in search of other rides. This was a perfect day, the lines were super short, which meant we were able to get on every ride we wanted to within the day - Disney in a day? It is the best way to do it!
Playing in Toon Town
Side Note: This is a jail with wobbly bars and Godfather & Auntie were pretending to be locked in and Natalie moves two bars apart and goes through and says "We aren't stuck". Always the realist.
Monday was the day we had reserved our Princess Lunch spot, so we headed back to California Adventure park, went on the Ariel ride twice, then got in line to meet Ariel and have lunch. It was the BEST part of the trip. The look on Natalie's face when she got to meet Ariel was so sweet. We all decided that we could leave right then and say it was the best trip. She loves Ariel, hence the multiple rides on the Ariel ride, and the lunch at Ariel's Grotto. To get to meet her meant so much to Natalie, she is still talking about it. In addition to meeting Ariel, during lunch all the other princesses came around to the table and Natalie got to have a photo with each one and get a hug too.
Meeting Ariel for the first time. This was seriously the sweetest moment,
Natalie couldn't have been more excited!
While eating, the princess parade started. First up was Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. She was by far the best of the princesses at lunch. She was super sweet with Natalie and even told her that she looked like her friend Tinkerbell. Natalie was in awe - star struck
Next was Cinderella
Finally Snow White
After dinner we went back to the hotel to sleep. Godfather and Auntie were leaving early the next morning, so Tuesday was a day for Natalie, Phil and I to explore. As we were leaving the hotel, I realized that Godfather and Auntie had left with one of our tickets - mine! So when we got to the park the attendant told us to wait in line and get another pass. I sent Phil and Natalie in ahead of me and waited in the 45 minute long line. The lady at the window had to get her supervisor to help, but they found our record and were able to print another ticket for me. I made inside the park and to Phil and Natalie, who were waiting in the line for Peter Pan. I cut in line and we rode the ride together, then hit a bunch of other rides in the kid-ish area, made our way back to the Nemo submarine ride, grabbed some lunch, hit a few other rides and then decided to take a cab to the airport and try and get on the earlier flight home, but not before riding the Ariel ride two more times...thank goodness there wasn't a line to wait in.
Natalie in front of the castle
This is how Natalie saw most of Disney - atop someone's shoulders
Philip was very happy to have us home and after the long day we were glad to be there!