There was so much planning that went into the Bean’s first Disneyland experience that we felt the need to start last year. And while there was a lot involved in creating the magic, please know that this type A, party-planning Mama is not complaining. Not one bit because we loved every minute of it and not just because it was a welcomed distraction from TTC (which it totally was), but also because it’s something we’ve been waiting to do since our stinker was born. It’s a trip that had I gone along with it, would have taken place when the Bean was just 8 months old. Can you believe that my wife tried talking me into that back in 2012? My response to her was, if Grace isn’t big enough to remember going to Disneyland and can’t get on a single ride AND isn’t even walking yet – we’re not going! Aren’t you glad I made you wait, babe?
Quick side note: I do realize that I will likely be eating my words when baby #2 decides to make his or her appearance. I have no doubt that we’ll be taking that little one to Disneyland as a baby because big sister is itching to go… So you all can make fun of me for that later. Anyway, I digress. Back to the trip.
Our morning at California Adventure was my favorite experience out of everything we did at Disneyland! We started the day with the character breakfast, Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration. I had no idea that a thing like this existed so the wife deserves all the credit for this one. If you have a princess loving kiddo, it’s basically the best opportunity to insure that your little one will get to meet all of their favorite Disney Princesses at one time. Knowing we were going to do the character breakfast, we picked out a princess dress for the Bean for her birthday that we knew she would love and she sooo did! She was super pumped to be able to wear her Little Mermaid dress to the park complete with pink jellies and a turquoise tiara. Just look at this cutie!
Gracie’s Gaga and Papa looked adorable as well in the tees G made and they were just as excited to meet some princesses as Grace was. The first princess to come out for meet and greet was Mulan and this is where it got funny. Let me start by saying that Grace has only watched the movie, Mulan a few times and its one Disney movie that she can never seem to watch from beginning to end. I think you know where I’m going with this… We had told Grace that she was going to meet Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Belle and Tiana (her favs), so when Mulan came out first she looked at us like – umm, where’s Little Mermaid?! Eventually Mulan made her way to us and Grace seemed somewhat unmoved. She still smiled and hugged Mulan but was a bit subdued. Right after taking the picture below, Belle was introduced and came around the corner. In a split second Grace let go of Mulan, pointed at Belle and began screaming “BELLE, BELLE, LOOK IT’S BELLE!” I swear you would have thought Madonna turned the corner with how crazy she went. Poor Mulan. ;)
Belle was a beauty, as expected and looked just like her animated self so we took a lot of pictures, especially uncle Dean. As you can see, Gracie smiled so hard her eyes were barely open the entire time we visited with Belle. At one point she asked Belle where Beast was to which Belle replied with the best excuse ever. I’m convinced that these princesses are prepared to answer any possible question a kiddo can throw at them. They’re total pros.
The remainder of our character breakfast was filled with squeals, jumps for joy and pure 3 year old elation!
Grace goes through some serious phases when it comes to Disney princesses and you can usually tell which phase she’s in based off the pictures I post of her on Instagram. If you notice that she’s worn the same Sleeping Beauty dress for 2 weeks, it’s a Sleeping Beauty month and so on and so on. When we left for Disneyland she was going through some serious Cinderella love. Because of this, her mind was blown when Cinderella made her entrance.
Cinderella was the most animated, friendly and sweet of all the princesses and her voice was spot on. Her and Grace spent their entire visit holding hands and hugging. You would have thought Cinderella was Gracie’s mom or something, haha!
She spent so much time with us that Tiana ended up standing behind Cinderella waiting for her turn to visit our table and while Gracie was excited to visit with Tiana, we were all sad to see Cinderella go.
Tiana was our final visitor before heading in to meet the queen bee, Little Mermaid. She had dimples and was gorgeous and very nice. Grace was on a total princess high at this point and thought Tiana was “so pretty”. Miss T has always been a favorite of Gracie’s so it made us happy to see them chatting it up.
The finale of Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration came as we entered Ariel’s Grotto. Entering the Grotto feels like you’re walking right into the Disney movie. There are seashells everywhere, everything is turquoise and bright and you’re surrounded by sea life. We were all pretty excited!
Yummy breakfast, amazing view!
When it was Gracie’s turn to meet her hero, she ran to Little Mermaid with zero hesitation and gave her a big hug. They then had a little conversation, just the two of them and while we couldn’t hear what was being said, Grace had the biggest smile the entire time. We of course got suckered into purchasing the ridiculously priced professional picture because it was the CUTEST.picture.ever. I’m telling you, these Disney people know what they’re doing. After meeting LM we rode Ariel’s Undersea Adventure ride and headed to the gift shop.
I think the reason we absolutely LOVED our princess breakfast, was that it was sooo Gracie. It involved everything and everyone she loves and she was in heaven. I remember when the Bean was a newborn, G often talked about how Grace was going to be a star athlete like she was, I mean heck, we put the kid in soccer when she was just 17 months old for crying out loud. Eventually even Georgia had to come to terms with the fact that right now, sports just isn’t her thing. I know so many parents who don’t want their daughters to be the stereotypical princess but what if that’s what they love?! What if they adore the color pink and think that Disney princesses are the coolest gals around? We’ve chosen not to fight it but to embrace it. We have a cha-cha heel wearing, jewelry obsessed, princess-loving girly girl and I wouldn’t want her to be anything else because all this fluff makes her happy! And that makes her mamas happy. :)
After breakfast we headed to A Bugs Land, which was another super awesome place. We started our adventure going “underground” to watch the 3D movie, “It’s Tough to Be a Bug”. It’s one of those 3D experiences where the chairs poke you, water sprays from the ceiling and wind blows on your face while you watch. The Bean was a bit cautious but seemed to be ok as long as she was sandwiched between her moms.
We rode Flik’s Flyers where we had a view of all of Bugs Land!
And jumped aboard the Heimlich Chew Chew Train!
As we were walking around checking everything out we ran into Flik himself and he was sooo tall! I’m not sure how it worked out that we kept running into characters but we weren’t complaining.
It’s amazing how having a kid totally changes your Disneyland experience. I remember walking through A Bugs Land with friends (wine in hand) when we visited for a 30th birthday a few years back. I thought everything looked cute but we quickly moved on to the next thing. Having Grace with us totally changed how we saw everything. Watching her run around blissfully happy allowed us to notice things that we totally missed the last time. There’s just nothing like seeing the world through your child’s eyes.
Note to self… if you wear a hat half the day, you WILL have hat hair the other half the day…
My in-laws are awesome and volunteered to take Grace sightseeing for an hour so her mamas and uncles could ride some big kid rides. I don’t know how we did it but we managed to squeeze 4 rides in under an hour and when we finished our last, we came back to a napping birthday girl. She was so pooped she couldn’t stay awake a minute longer and thankfully California Adventure had strollers for rent. I was happy to hear that she got to meet Sofia the First right before passing out.
We had planned to watch the Pixar Play Parade and even had curb seats but we decided not to wake our exhausted gal. I was sad she missed it but she had a lot of sun and was on her way to cranky town, so she needed to rest up a bit before dinner. Here’s a little of what she missed. :(
If you’re planning a Disney trip and plan on watching any of the shows at either parks, I would highly suggest purchasing dinning packages. They are pricey but once you see what you get with each package, it’s totally worth it. The package we purchased for our day at the main park came with Disney seat cushions for each of us that we got to take home and 2nd row sets to the show + a delicious dinner! As awesome as that was, I feel like our World of Color Dinning Package was even better!
Our dinner was at the Carthay Circle Restaurant, which is a reproduction of the iconic theatre where the first animated Disney film, Snow White premiered. It was gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous and the food was amazing! I'm talking, making yummy sounds while you eat amazing! Grace was still sleeping when we arrived and ended up sleeping through the first course of the meal. When she did wake she was ready to go again and starving. Thankfully with a full service 3-course meal, there was plenty of food to go around. Her face was too funny waking up in that fancy place. It was also crazy to see such an elegant restaurant crawling with kids! G's parents enjoyed some delicious Disney wine and the rest of us sampled a few of the classic Carthay Circle cocktails. It was pretty sweet!
After dinner we had a little over an hour before World of Color, so we headed to, “Freeze the Night”, a family dance party! It’s a temporary attraction that just opened in Hollywood Land featuring Frozen themed music, dancing, live performances and special guests. While we were there they had what looked like a Stomp performance only the winter version and there was a huge dance party with an ice carving competition going on. We got to meet the giant ice monster from Frozen and even had our picture taken with the ice beast!
Here’s Grace making sure he wasn’t real. This kid, she always has to check things out for herself, lol!
He totally freaked her out at first (she wanted nothing to do with him) but once we showed her that he wasn’t real and convinced her that he wouldn’t “get her” like she thought, she started laughing at him and wanted to get a closer look.
At this point it was show time and we were so excited that I forgot our stroller clear across the park. Yup, Mama fail… We walked all the way back to Ariel’s Grotto when G asked me for the tickets and I realized that I left the stroller in the middle of the walking path, as I was buying a balloon… clear across the entire park. Keep in mind it had our $500 Nikon D3200 camera, my mother-in-laws purse, ALL the souvenirs we purchased throughout the day, our jackets, tickets, everything! I honestly can't remember the last time I ran so fast (and without the aid of a sports bra). It was quite the sight I’m sure. These are the things that happen when you haven’t used a stroller in over 2 years…
Thankfully Disneyland is the most magical place on earth and a place where people obviously don’t steal, so everything was as I left it, phew. Some person was even nice enough to push the stroller off to the side leaving it in a well lit area. I love Disney people!
This was the 3rd time seeing World of Color for Georgia and I but the first for Gracie and her eyes were glued! We had great seats, right in the middle and she remained perched on the back of her Gaga’s chair the entire time switching between G, Uncle Dean and me.
She yelled out the names of the characters who appeared in the show, singing her favorite songs along with them and when Little Mermaid came on she yelled for all of us to “LOOK, IT’S LITTLE MERMAID!” She was just so excited!
Here’s a video of the finale! Pretty amazing, right?
And saving the best for last, my favorite picture from our 2nd day at Disneyland! It’s dark and a bit grainy but pure magic. This is the face we saw for two days straight as we watched our baby girl’s dreams come to life. It’s a face that we’ll never forget.
Thank you Disneyland! We’ll see you again in 2017.
Planning is already underway. :)