At the beginning of the year, we decided that it was time to take the kids to Disneyland. We hadn't been since Eliza was 4 and Chloe was 9 months old. Plus, I love Disney! So we made plans and booked a week in the first week of September with Costco Travel. We had heard it was a ghost-town at Disneyland that particular week so we were looking forward to pulling the kids out of school and not fighting crowds. The only catch to our plans was that we wanted to keep it a surprise from the kids! I didn't realize just how hard that would be to do.
So I did all the packing and prep work while the kids were in school and the car was all packed up when we woke up the kids on Monday morning. I gave them a little packet of clues to figure out where we were going and then gave them a gift bag full of Mickey shirts. I had hoped for really excited kids with our surprise but I think they were too shocked to really understand what was happening! As soon as they figured out where we were going, we loaded in the car for the LONG drive to California. (Seriously the worst drive ever with California traffic and construction on the freeway).
Our hotel for the week was the Desert Palms. On the plus side - 10 minute walk to the gates, breakfast included, we could see the tower of terror and the fireworks from our room, and double set of bunk beds with a sliding door for the kids. On the downside - the thinnest walls ever, sketchy people hanging out at the 7-11 next door, and someone stole part of our hubcaps while we were in the parking lot during those days, and breakfast wasn't that exciting or great. We probably would not choose to stay there again but it worked for the sleeping that we would be doing there (after my neighbors went to bed and I couldn't hear their conversation anymore).
The first day we had Early Hour so we hustled over to ride Peter Pan (as we were told to do) and had to wait for 30 minutes in line. A total waste of Early Hour in my mind. The rest of the day we used Fast Passes to ride all of our top ride choices (Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion were closed to get ready for Halloween at Disneyland).
It was a busy day up until 4:30 when we took a break and rode the monorail over to Downtown Disney so we could walk to our Character Dining meal at Goofy's Kitchen. This meal came as part of our Costco package and I am so happy that it did! It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Lots of attention from Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Chip and Dale. The food was pretty good too for a buffet style place.
After dinner we headed over to California Adventure and did all the little stuff in Bug's Land before heading back over to Disneyland again to get the stroller that we had parked and ride a couple more rides. We got to ride in the front of the monorail which was a highlight!
The next morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel and then headed over for the rope drop at California Adventure. I booked it over to get Fast Passes for the Radiator Springs ride and waited in line for 15 minutes just to get them. Kind of crazy! We hopped around and used fast passes throughout the day and then went over to Disneyland for a little bit before coming back to California Adventure for the Color show. We didn't have the greatest view but it is a cool show!
Asher was such a trooper going on so many rides that were terrifying for him. He finally hit his limit on the Tower of Terror which was one of the last rides that we did on our 2nd day at the parks. The next day, he hardly went on anything because of the trauma. Poor kid.
Our last day of the parks was spent hopping and back and forth and hitting all of our favorite rides again. The best part was that about half way through the day, we ran into Eliza's best friend from school at Disneyland! Her mom and I knew that we were both going to be there but weren't sure that we would see each other or have time to hang out. So it was pretty awesome that it actually worked out! We made plans to hang out later that night. At 6 p.m. Rob and Asher were Disney'd out so we met up with Alexa and Maggie and the girls and the moms were able to live it up at Disneyland until we were kicked out. So much fun!
Friday morning, we packed up and headed to Dana Point to hit up a beach. I love the beach but in hindsight, I would have put the beach trip in the middle of the trip. We had already checked out of our hotel so we were all forced to use the beach showers and still be sticky and sandy on our drive to the half way point of Vegas that night.