It has been too long since we have seen Tabby (Rose's birthmom) or been to Disneyland (since October 2013, which, interestingly enough, as we were walking into the park that first morning is when we first got Tabby's email to us explaining that she had seen our adoption profile and wanted to get to know us), so when she invited us down and told us that her brother who works at Disneyland had offered to get us in for free, we jumped at the chance. Paul would have loved to have gone too but had to miss because of work (both his job and on the house). So last Thursday I loaded up the girls and the car and we made our way south. Rose fell asleep as soon as we got in the car and slept for almost the first two hours of the drive. Clara was in movie-watching heaven in the minivan. When Rose woke up we drove until we spotted an In-N-Out, then stopped for lunch. I have the cutest little travel buddies ever.
The rest of the drive went pretty well too. We rolled into LA in the afternoon just before traffic really got bad and only had to deal with a little bit of a slowdown, which is when both girls fell asleep again for about 30 minutes, until we got to the hotel. We stayed at the Tropicana Inn & Suites right across from the main gate and got one of the suites so that there was a separate room for Rose's pack & play because she is the lightest sleeper in the world and I knew we would all be miserable dealing with naps and bedtime sleep (since Clara stays up way too late). It worked out great. After unpacking and letting the girls stretch their legs (they were beyond excited about being in a hotel and out of the car and were squealing and exploring both rooms of our suite) we walked over to Downtown Disney for dinner at the Naples restaurant, which has some of my very favorite pepperoni pizza. Then it was back to our room for bedtime for Rose, a little Disney channel for Clara to wind her down, and then around 8:00 I turned off the lights thinking I would help Clara fell asleep and then call Paul but apparently I was exhausted because we both drifted right off.
We woke up bright and early the next morning and headed over to Disneyland and picked up a bacon & egg sandwich for breakfast, which the girls devoured.
It was so fun seeing Tabby! And meeting her brother, who we haven't met before. First on the agenda was getting Rose her "1st visit to Disneyland" pin and mouse ears. Then we took a picture with Mickey Mouse right at the start of Main Street.
Rose liked looking at the characters from a distance but did NOT want to get close to them. Like, at all.
After that we rode Peter Pan, Dumbo, and the Teacups and just generally had fun chatting with Tabby and enjoying being at the happiest place on earth. Both girls were a little apprehensive about the darker Fantasyland rides (they are scary!) so we skipped Pinnochio and Snow White, but they loved Dumbo and the Teacups. Its a Small World was closed (major bummer!) but we went to Toontown to tour Minnie's house and having a picture taken with Minnie by Tabby's brother, who is a Disney photographer and was working with Minnie that day.
By the time we finished with Toontown both girls were starting to show symptoms of being overwhelmed so we took a little breather and just splashed in the fountain. Amazing how something like slowng down and just splashing in some water works wonders for improving moods. Then we headed over to Adventureland to see the Tiki Room and have a Dole Whip and the girls were much happier.
The only other rides we did that morning were the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. Rose squealed and chattered all through the Jungle Cruise - it was probably her favorite thing we did at Disneyland - but Clara was a basketcase over the crocodiles and was convinced that one of them was going to eat her. Both girls were pretty quiet on Pirates and it was lunchtime so once we got off we decided to head back to the hotel for naps. On the way the girls made a lunch of crackers, fruit, squeezy pouches, and fruit snacks, and were both asleep within about 5 minutes of hitting the hotel room and each slept for a good 2 1/2 hours, which is abnormal for my girls.
When Clara woke up from her nap I let her eat the lollipop that she had picked out for being such a good girl and walking all morning without whining about wanting to ride in the stroller (a problem we often deal with).
We got back to the park just in time to snag a spot on a curb at the head of Main Street for the parade. While we waited for the parade to start, Rose marched up and down the street, smiling and clapping and laughing. She was in heaven and so completely pleased to have so much space to toddle around in and Clara happily protected our viewing spots by sitting in front of the stroller snacking on pretzels.
The girls LOVED the parade. It was the other highlight of the day. Rose was into the music and drums and Clara had a look of awe and amazement on her face watching float after float of her heroes go by. I really have to hand it to Disney and their princesses because every single one of them spotted Clara waving, made eye contact with her, and blew her a kiss. It truly was magical and so fun to watch. Elsa's float was first and Clara was impressed but it was really Ariel that Clara was hoping to see and she was thrilled to actually see Ariel's "beautiful turquoise mermaid tail" in person. The only part of the parade that Clara didn't like was when Peter Pan and Captain Hook came by. Clara is terrified of Hook and was starting to get a little hysterical and begging me to "protect her", so I told her that we just needed to shake our fingers at him and shout "You go away, you codfish!", which she did with a quavering voice until he passed us by.
After the parade we did a couple more rides (Teacups again and the Alice in Wonderland ride), then had a nice dinner at Café Orleans in New Orleans Square (Tabby and I split a Monte Cristo sandwich and it was delicious), before heading back to the hotel, facetiming with Paul, and calling it another early night at 8:00 p.m.
The drive home on Saturday wasn't quite as easy. There was traffic leaving LA (ugh) and both girls were fussier than on the way down (probably from being overly tired from the day before, possibly having had too many sweets, and knowing that we had just done the long day a couple days ago) but we made it through and got home around 3:00. It was a fun, quick little trip and so nice to spend time with Tabby at the happiest place on earth.