Monday, October 10, 2016


At the end of August Lindsey invited Stella and I to go to Disneyland with them. She had already booked a trip and wanted to know if we would like to come. At first I was wary of how much it was going to cost for such a short trip, but then I decided to just live my life and buy the plane tickets and go. So we did and it was super fun, but man woah, it WORE ME OUT! We got in pretty late Thursday night and we started our day on September 16th much earlier than I have ever been to Disney. We definitely didn't mess around.

We were staying in a hotel just across the street so we could walk to the parks. That morning after waiting a long time to get through security I realized I had forgotten my cell phone. Lindsey offered to go back and get it while I waited in another rather long line to get our tickets for the parks. By then the kiddos were kind of done being patient, especially Asher who is not used to me wanting to stop and take a ton of pictures and also obviously waiting in line to get a picture with Mickey or Minnie. We were able to see Mickey, and even though Asher was in no mood I was still happy to have our moment with the iconic mouse.

The park wasn't that busy that day which was great. We were able to get several fast passes for the longer lines and we had short wait times in most of the others. I think by the end of the day we had really done everything we wanted to do. In the morning, we hit some rides. Asher and Lindsey got some ears, and we had some delicious lunch. It was just too bad that it was such an ugly day with that cloudless sky. ;)

Using our fast passes on the Cars ride was great. Usually the fast passes are gone first thing in the morning, but we got some and it made the ride much more delightful.

Disney is getting rid of The Tower of Terror and it is pretty sad. We were able to ride it for the last time. Stella did not go on it with us, but she waited at the exit, and she was so scared as she waited for us to come off. I should have just made her go on the ride with us. It was really fun though and it makes me seriously sick to think about all that waste as they tear out all the cool details of this ride and put in a new one. Seriously Disney is not right on this one.

The one ride Stella loved that I would not go on was Soarin'. I was afraid it would make me motion sick, so while everyone went on the ride a second time I walked around and actually rode Cars as a single rider. I was next to the cutest little boy that was riding it the first time. After that I headed to the waterfront to sit down and enjoy the view. I did a little people watching before I met everyone else over there so we could take some pictures.

Pretty soon it was night time and these kiddos were beat. So was I as a matter of fact, I even had to buy myself a very expensive Coke to get me through the day. Stella had her first ever headache and she was so tired. These pics are while we were in line for Goofy's Fly School.

After this ride I was suddenly ravenous. We all ate and then headed over to the Mickey Ferris Wheel. None of us had ever ridden it before. But I had noticed in my relaxing sitting time that there are way more of the containers that swing on the ride, so of course we waited for swinging ones. The rest are stationary and are much less scary. Asher and Stella were so scared on it and the video I took of it is hilarious. Poor Stella had to go to the bathroom. Poor Asher thought it was the end of his life, quote: "I think someone just said the Lord's name in vain but I don't care, because I am TERRIFIED!" All in all, it was my favorite part of the day and my favorite memory.

We got to ride the Toy Story ride one more time (it's Lindsey's favorite, she likes to break the plates), and then Stella and I watched the Magic of Color show together while the Cutlers rode it again. I loved snuggling my little baby while we watched the show from the back of the lake. Stella and I have shared so many wonderful Disney memories as a duo. The whole day I kept thinking of how it might be the last time we go just as mom and daughter. I'm so glad we've taken the time to have such fun memories together.

We were all pretty dang tired. I carried Stella most of the way back to the hotel. We crashed as soon as we got in our room. We had a big day at Disneyland to look forward to, and we needed as much rest as we could get!

Thankfully the kiddos slept in a little longer on Saturday since they had very tired little bodies. But it didn't take them long to get excited about leaving for a fun-filled day at Disneyland. We got a later start in the park, but the park was open until midnight and we stayed past midnight so it was a very long, busy, fun, tiring day.

Just like the last time I was there on Halloween, I was totally charmed by the decor. It is so cute and fun. I love how clever they are with the character Jack-O-Lanterns. Of course my favorite is the Mickey one, it is so cute. We saw and met Minnie first thing.

After getting our fast passes for Indiana Jones we headed to Big Thunder Railroad. The park was so busy, but the line for this awesome ride was never very long. It was Stella's first time ever giving this ride a try and I knew that even though she was nervous, she was going to absolutely love it. And she did. We went on it twice in a row because of the short wait time, and it was great both times. One time we went the kids got to ride together and the big guy behind them kills me in all of the pictures. He had a big smile on his face and his hands up the whole time. It cracked me up every time I looked back at the kids.

So it was really very busy. I can't recall if I have ever gone to the park on a Saturday and it was quite nuts. As Asher and Stella were walking to Pirates I tried to take some pictures of the hoards of people that were also enjoying the beautiful day at Disneyland along with us. Stella was scared of Pirates for some reason, but she ended up liking it just fine. After, we got fast passes for the Haunted Mansion and rode on Winnie the Pooh.

After we ate lunch, it was time for us to use our fast passes for Indiana Jones. Stella was nervous of course, and I didn't blame her. She had never been on a ride like that before, but she thought it was awesome and I was so proud. While we were in the area we hopped on the Jungle Cruise because the line was short and Stella didn't remember going on it as a baby. Asher wasn't having it though, he played Pokemon Go during the entire "tour." I got a kick out of it though, it is so silly and I liked it more than I remembered liking it.

Every time we passed a food cart Stella asked for popcorn. So while Asher and Lindsey got their fast passes for Space Mountain I finally caved and spent a fortune on popcorn. I'm not sure why she was so into the idea but I guess she really wanted it, because she gobbled up the whole thing.

I had to take some time to take some pictures in front of the castle:

Finally it was the moment that the whole visit had been planned around. A tour of the Haunted Mansion all dolled up and themed for Nightmare Before Christmas. I truly with all of my little heart love this ride so much. It is so clever and wonderful and I see something new and delightful every time I get to go on it.

We finally made it over to Fantasy Land, but we only went on Wild Toad's and Snow White. Then we headed over to Toon Town.

Stella realized before we left that she had never been to Toon Town. She had of course, but she didn't remember. So we hung out there for a bit. We rode the roller coaster and went on Roger Rabbit. The moment we arrived in Toon Town was the moment where I realized that I was more thirsty than I had ever been in my life. And I couldn't find a food cart. I finally (after complaining to the kids over and over again) got some water at the concession stand. I had to go back again because the two glasses they gave me the first time just weren't enough. Anyway, while we were there Toon Town was calm and quiet and it was a nice place to just chill for a bit before returning to the chaos.

There was a lot of talk about "hidden Mickeys" and it was around this time that we were talking about it enough that Asher and Stella began finding them everywhere, which is to say, they were just finding rocks and stuff like that and calling them hidden Mickeys.
Stella and I snagged our traditional Mickey Ice Cream sandwich while we were by Small World. It was delicious and really hit the spot. In fact I didn't really want to share with Stella, but I did.

We then rode the Teacups, and it was fun because I have never been on them at night. Then we headed over to Autopia because Stella loves to drive the cars. After that we found a spot to watch the fireworks, which for me was a must-do event. They weren't that great though, especially compared to the 60th anniversary ones last year. But it was still fun to see them and we didn't wait too long for them so it all worked out.

We got to ride Indiana Jones again and then I was suddenly starving. We split up while Asher and Lindsey rode Space Mountain and I spent forever trying to find a food place that was still open at 10:00.

We were running out of time, so Stella and I headed to Alice in Wonderland which is one of her favorites. Asher and Lindsey met us there. As we were nearing the end of the ride we suddenly stopped, and then they announced that the ride was broken. Unfortunately we were stuck at the one spot where you can't get out and walk, and had to wait for the ride to move again. We didn't know this until the end and I wish they would have told us, because it was pretty annoying for them to keep coming by and saying that we would get out in a few minutes and then we would never see them again. There was a nice kid close by, who turned out to also be a nice Mormon boy and he promised us that he would get us on a ride, because by now we are thinking we won't make it on anything else. I said: "Peter Pan? You can get us on that?" And he said yes. Peter Pan is the only ride in the park that you have to wait even if you are in a wheelchair and we got in front of those people too AND we had a pass to get in front at any other ride in the park. We all fit on one Peter Pan ship and it was MAGICAL. I was feeling the Disney love my friends, I was feeling it.

We hurried to use our pass on Big Thunder, but it was down so we decided to go on The Haunted Mansion one more time. I enjoyed it even more that time and was just happy to be enjoying the moment with my little Stella.

By the time it was time to walk out and go home we were SO TIRED. Each step was an exercise in strength and endurance. I was barely able to get back to our hotel and was sore for days. We packed it in! We've never done Disney in such a hardcore way. I knew that was how it was going to be with the Cutlers and it was great, but dang it I couldn't do much for days.

Anyway, there was some whining, there were some grumpy moments, there were some headaches, there were moments of hunger and of dehydration. But it is funny--almost a month later I am sitting here and all I remember is the joy and the magic. I kept thinking about how each year Stella and I have these amazing Disney memories and I am so grateful for each and every one.  

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