My sister Jennie has been planning a Disneyland vacation for her family for months. I wasn't planning on going since we were doing Yosemite the week just after and I wasn't sure about taking Clara out of school for multiple days two weeks in a row, but when it came down to it I just couldn't not go. So the day of my birthday, I drove to Anaheim and met up with Jennie, her family, and my parents and the next day we all went to Disneyland together (except Paul who had to stay home to work).
It was such a wonderful trip. The weather could not have been more perfect - mild but not chilly - and the crowds were manageable. Certainly not the worst crowds I have experienced at Disneyland and given our pace and what we wanted to do with the girls we didn't have a hard time getting on the things we wanted to. We were at the park before the gates opened at 8:30 and stayed until closing and didn't have any crying or hardly even any whining out of any of the girls. We think a lot of that was because the cousins had so much fun just being together and talking to each other that even standing in lines was no big deal for them.
The first ride we did was Peter Pan's Adventure. It was actually one of the longer lines we stood in for the day - probably about 30 minutes, maybe a little less - but because it was the first line it didn't seem too bad. And the girls were completely distracted by the Evil Queen in a second story window above the Snow White ride across the way who kept popping out from behind the curtains to gaze coldly down at us. The girls attention was rapt as they watched for her and then they would point and exclaim over and over. It was the cutest.
Even Jennie's twins did great. They were able to take naps in their stroller and they just toddled around. They danced to music and were just generally happy little girls. They, along with Rose, especially loved the Tiki Room, which was easily one of the top 2 or 3 favorite experiences of the day. Rose's mind was totally blown in there and she kept throwing her arms around me to hug me (something she does when she is overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness) before turning to gaze again at those magical, enchanted birds and flowers and totems.
Adelaide is my goofy, fiery little niece and I am just obsessed with this girl. And I think the feeling is mutual. It is super flattering that she held my hand for a good part of the day and asked to ride with me on lots of the rides. And the fact that Rose didn't get jealous of Adelaide holding my hand but would happily just hold the other hand and smile and jabber with her closest-in-age cousin speaks volumes. I loved taking turns with each of my nieces and got to ride with all of them at some point, which was so fun. And I loved that my girls got turns to go on rides with their aunt & uncle and grandpa & grandma as well. So grateful for these relationships and bonds that we are able to develop.
The princesses at the Royal Hall were another big hit of the day. They rotate throughout the day so you never really know who will be there but we lucked out and got our trifecta - Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel. Easily, Snow White is Rose's favorite princess, and it is well-established that Ariel is Clara's favorite. The girls had lovely conversations with each princess. Clara had an apple that she offered to Snow White, assuring her that it wasn't poisoned. Rose told each princess that she "liked her dress" and would gently stroke the fabric or point to their bows (or lack thereof in Ariel's case) and comment about them with a confident little "I like your bow!" that was distinct enough for them to understand her and respond. It was the cutest.
When we tried taking a group photo with Snow White, Rose couldn't be bothered to turn around because she just wanted to bask in the presence of her favorite princess and kept embracing her around her legs with a contented, blissful expression on her little face. Rose sings "Some day my prince will come...." and "I'm wishing for the one I love..." every single day and I have got to get it on video soon before she changes the way she does it.
We didn't get to all of the rides, but with half our group not meeting height requirements, we weren't really planning on it. We still got to Dumbo, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Matterhorn, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Teacups, Alice In Wonderland, It's A Small World and some others that I think I'm forgetting.
I discovered a new favorite Disneyland treat at the Jolly Holiday Bakery & Cafe where we ate lunch - these amazing raspberry macarons with raspberry cream. They were so unbelievably good that once the parade got over, I asked my mom to get another to share with me since Rose was passed out in my arms and the twins were sleeping. So while Jennie & Ryan took the big girls to Toon Town, we sat in the shade enjoying this wonderful creation while my arm fell asleep under the weight of Rose's head.
And that was our quick trip to the happiest place on earth! So glad we got to do it with Jennie & her family.