I’m finally doing it you guys! I’m blogging about our trip to Disneyland and it only took me two months to get around to it, hallelujah! Let’s get the party started with this picture, my favorite of all our Disney pictures. Our birthday girl hugging the main mouse she’s only ever known to exist on television. She was so excited when this picture was taken that she ran to him and even grabbed his nose as he gave her a hug. It’s like she was in total disbelief and needed to make sure he was real, haha. As Disney kids, this was a moment that Georgia and I had been looking forward to since our gal was born and marked the first of several teary-eyed moments we had during our days at Disneyland.
In all seriousness, I’ve been dying to write this post but I’ve put it off because it’s a lot to take on when you have so many memories that you want to document and about a million pictures to go along with them. Our trip was everything we hoped it would be. It was an absolute dream come true! The months of planning, saving, making reservations, designing DIY outfits, booking shows, crafting autograph books and making princess plans paid off. In other words, I have a lot to share folks so this is going to be a lengthy, picture heavy post. Grab a chair. ;)
Wanting to beat the crowds, our first day at Disneyland started super early. You would think we would have been dragging our feet that morning but we weren’t. It’s like we all turned into kids again and were buzzing around the condo practically singing as we got ready. Georgia made the entire family matching shirts for our days at the park so we looked pretty stinkin’ cute. On day one we wore 60th anniversary custom family tees and on day two we all wore shirts with our names and favorite characters on them. Even Gracie’s Gaga and Papa got in on the action.
Here is our 3 year old and her 73 year old Papa, super excited to be at Disneyland for the first time EVER! We made sure they both received a “first visit” button and Papa got a birthday button because we were there on his actual birthday. Heart melts!
The minute we stepped foot in the front gates there was Goofy, just hanging out by the entrance. A line had just started to form so we decided to jump in it and about 5 minutes later, Gracie was hugging Goofy! We didn’t bother looking up the schedule of when and where characters were going to be at the park but as luck would have it, we continued to run into them just like this on both days. Even meeting Mickey Mouse was a surprise. We thought we were just taking a tour of his house and then a nice man told us, “this way to meet Mickey Mouse”. It was all so very exciting (even for the grown-ups).
There were a few rides near the back of the park that we knew would be swarmed with people later in the afternoon, so we headed to those first. We started with the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage because it was under construction the last time Georgia and I visited and we’ve been dying to see what all the fuss is about. Finding Nemo was the very first Disney movie our gal watched as a baby and to this day, it’s one of her favorites! She was so excited when the ride started but got a little scared as we went under water and it got darker. She started in the seat next to me but was in Mommy’s lap by the end. In typical Grace fashion, once the ride was finished she wanted to do it again, lol. Next up was Toontown where we ran into Pluto! By the Bean’s second character encounter, she was a pro and had zero hesitation having her autograph book signed.
Mama & Mommy Disneyland selfie. :)
On our walk over to Toontown we came across a little family of ducks. We ended up seeing them again swimming outside of It’s a Small Word and again later in the day. Every time we would see them Grace would say, “Oh, they’re so cute, little cuties!” There were so many of them and they were quite adorable.
Toontown may have been the Bean’s favorite spot in the entire park. If you’ve been to Disneyland, you know that the entire Toontown theme land is kid friendly, meaning kiddos can climb on everything! All edges are rounded, the floor is padded and everything is clean… It’s a helicopter mom’s dream! We let our toddler loose and she ran around like a crazy child. There were 5 adults watching and still she managed to run out of sight a few times, she was just so excited. Gracie’s uncle Dean did most of the playing here but Gracie’s Gaga and Papa got in on the action too.
I continue to be in awe of my in-laws. You would never guess that they’re both approaching their mid-70’s because they act 10 years younger. Grace is so blessed to have super active grandparents. :)
As we waited for the Mickey’s Soundsational Parade to begin, we spent the remainder of the afternoon on some of the rides Disneyland is most famous for and ones that us mamas had never ridden before! We went on the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups (which were ridiculously fun)! The Bean did super good with the spinning… her moms, not so much. That ride made me feel old for sure. No one ever tells you when you’re going to reach an age when spinning and flipping upside down makes you want to hurl, haha!
Dumbo the Flying Elephant was a ride we passed all day and could not wait to get on. Mid-afternoon, when I assume most families were eating lunch, the line for the Dumbo ride was short so we jumped in. It worked out perfectly that we opted to eat cotton candy and ice cream most of the day because skipping lunch saved us lots of wait time. Who needs nutrients when you’re in Disneyland, am I right?! ;)
Our last stop and one that Grace could not wait for was Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! Our gal LOVES Disney princesses and Sleeping Beauty is at the top of the list right next to Little Mermaid. She walked through the entire castle on her own, holding our hand because it’s pretty dark in there. She was absolutely mesmerized. We had to stop at every nook and cranny so she could peek in and check out every square inch of that place. I completely remember going through the castle when I was in the 2nd grade with my parents and aside from some technical upgrades, it looks exactly the same. I definitely had some touching mama moments as we went through and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that Georgia had the same excitement when I took her to Disneyland and through the castle for the first time as Gracie did. Like mother, like daughter.
FINALLY it was parade time and not a moment too soon. We all needed to get off our feet and we needed some real food. We lucked out and arrived early enough to snag some curb seating while my lovely wife grabbed us a few giant corn dogs (that are my fav) and we were ready. This experience was the one that got me. Georgia and I totally cried watching Grace watch the parade (and I think the uncles may have teared up a bit too). Even though she had way too much sun at this point, was exhausted and in desperate need of some rest, she loved every minute of it. She yelled hello at the characters. She waved non-stop as each float passed and couldn’t take her eyes off the horizon as she looked to see who was next. Our hearts felt like they were going to burst.
Day one at Disneyland ended with our first show, Fantasmic! I must give props to my wife because she single handedly coordinated most of the awesomeness in our trip including the shows we watched that were paired with marvelous dinners. Our first show experience began at Blue Bayou, the Disneyland restaurant with a Princess and the Frog theme located in New Orleans Square. The food was so good but the atmosphere was even better. The place is made to feel like you’re actually out in the Bayou in Louisiana complete with a night sky full of fire flies and frogs leaping into the river that encloses the place. It was pretty fantastic!
Our 2 hour dinner reservation was at 7pm, which meant that the show didn’t start until 10pm and much to our surprise, the Bean was still going strong come show time. I think there’s just something about Disneyland that gives even the little ones more energy than normal. I was fully expecting her to be in meltdown mode but instead she had a full tummy and was super excited for the show to begin.
The wifey got us amazing seats just one row from the water front, so we could actually feel the heat from the pyrotechnics when Mickey slayed the dragon and were sprinkled with water a few times. It made for a pretty awesome experience when the floats carrying Disney princesses floated by. We could see there faces and all the detail in their costumes. I’m pretty sure that was Gracie’s favorite part. G and I loved the entire experience but more than anything else, we mostly watched our gal watch the show with beaming smiles from ear to ear. It was magic.
The huge boat carrying all of our favorite Disney characters marked the end of the show and the height of excitement for our little crew. I was actually able to get some of it on video and I’m thinking that’s really the best way I could possibly conclude this post. It was the perfect end to our super fantastic, wonderful day. Stay tuned for Gracie’s 1st Disney Trip Part II: California Adventure!
And it won’t take me another month to share. I promise!