Monday, October 27, 2008

Last day at Disney, a visit, & heading home (Part 5)

We began our last day at the parks back at Disney's California Adventure (DCA). We meandered through several rides that we hadn't been on yet, including this ride - the Sun Wheel. It isn't your ordinary ferris wheel! You can choose between riding in a stationary gondola or one that swings and slides along a track as it lifts you up to a fantastic 16 story view of the park. Of course we chose a mobile gondola, and it was actually really fun! As we crested the top of the arch, and headed back downward, the gondola slides along a track and then feels like it's going to launch you off the wheel into the water. My stomach was up in my throat the first time, but I loved it after that! Here are a couple picture of us on the ride:

The four of us with a view of the Paradise Pier in the background.

Before going on our vacation I opened a Disney Visa card for some of the perks we'd be able to use. For example: free stroller rentals (which we didn't end up using after all, since we brought one), discounts on food and merchandise (which we did use), and a private meet 'n' greet with a disney character (including a free 5x7 photo). After being used to throngs of people & often long lines to meet a character it was nice to walk right in to meet one, and nobody was even waiting behind us. We got to meet Chip & Dale!

Noah really liked these two chipmunks, and the two of them really spend some one on one time playing with Noah and giving him hugs. Here's Noah sitting in Dale's lap as Chip was trying to get him to laugh. What I thought was funny though is that Noah calls them "Chick & Dale"

Noah liked how soft they were, so they got a couple of goodbye hugs...

We snapped this picture after coming out of the Monsters, Inc. ride (which is pretty cute). We kept hoping to see Sully (the blue monster), but that day there were only villans wandering around that park. Noah kept a good eye on several of them that we saw, but was particularly terrifyed of the Queen of Hearts. She came over to say hi to him & quickly had to leave because he flipped out. No, I didn't take a picture of that - he was genuinely scared, so we just just hurried away.

A really cute area of the park for younger kids is called "a bug's land". There are several little rides, a couple splash areas, and everything is created to give you the feeling that you are the size of a bug! There's even a 3D movie that is interactive (with puffs of air, spurts of water, etc...don't want to ruin all the surprises), but I can see how it would be too scary for some little kids. I was surprised that Noah wasn't more afraid of a couple parts in the show (particularly a spider part...due to some spider drama at our own house), but I think it did help that he was already familiar with many of the characters in the show since he knows the "A Bug's Life" show. Here's a shot of the boys in their 3D glasses before the show. I just crack up at the expression on Noah's face in this picture. Waiting, waiting, waiting...
Here's Noah keeping a close eye on a statue of "Hopper" - who is the villan in Bug's Life.

It's nice how close the two parks (DCA & Disneyland) are to each other - their entrances face each other. So, we could just wander back and forth between the two as we pleased. So! This picture was taken back on the Disneyland side in front of a giant Mickey pumpkin. We could rarely get Lincoln to look for a picture if we had our mouse ears on because he wanted to stare at them, or grab them off somebody.

Here is a shot of me & my boys, with the Sleeping Beauty's Castle behind us. When I was little I used to tell my parents that I was going to get married there someday. Obviously that didn't happen, but I guess we did chose a temple that looks a lot like a castle/palace.

And, I think it's safe to say, this was the highlight of our trip for Noah...meeting Buzz Lightyear!! He gave Buzz five, gave him a hug...

...and then Buzz took Noah and walked with him hand in hand through a section of the park! Noah was definitely doing the "dude walk" and was loving every minute of his one-on-one Buzz time. It was so cute.

Once Buzz got to his destination we thought that he'd stick around and take pictures with people for the next 1/2 hour or so (that's usually the drill), but he had to leave to get over to the Pixar Parade - so we were extra lucky to catch him for pictures at all, let alone for a hand in hand stroll. After Buzz left, Noah was gazing off into the distance with a dreamy expression on his face (seriously) and then he said "Mom...I'm a space ranger!" Simply precious.

Quick clip. Enjoy.

We were able to attend the Pixar Parade (at DCA) two different days, and Noah absolutely loved it. After all, the Pixar movies are the bread and butter of his current movie reenacting obsession. Here is Noah smiling as Dori comes over to say hello to him.

This trip was a perfect fit for me. I love Disneyland, and I love Halloween. So, there really isn't a better time of year for me to visit the happiest place on earth. I love all the Halloween decorations, and I love that they change the traditional Haunted Mansion to the Haunted Mansion Holiday (themed with Nightmare Before Christmas & I love it!). I love how nice the temperature is there that time of year, and that the lines aren't as long. It really is the perfect time of year to go to Disneyland. Now if only everyone else doesn't figure that out...

I thought this was clever. Had to share.

Before leaving Disneyland, Noah wanted to see Woody & Jesse one more time.

I think he would have sat with Jesse for hours if we would have let him. She just held him and stroked his hair and he loved it.

After finishing our last ride (Autopia) both boys were super tired - after 3 days of fun packed, non-stop (meaning no nap) Disney excitement...they were both pretty spent. As we began
wheeling them back to the front gate of the park we ended up with both of them crying. So, we pulled out the big guns - Mickey Mouse suckers that I'd bought and stashed for such an occasion. This was Lincoln's first sucker - first sweet treat too. Any you think he liked it?

The next day, after checking out of our hotel, we drove to Glendale to visit some good friends of ours. I grew up as best-friends with Jenny (we've known each other since 7 years old) and so it was a lot of fun to visit her at her cute place. We were able to go with her, her husband & two cuties to a local park and just relax and eat some pizza while the kiddos played. When we got back we tossed the 3 "older" kids into the bath (so cute), and then after everyone else went to bed Jenny and I sat up and gabbed until 3 am! It was sooo nice to just relax and chat with her. I don't know how I managed to leave without getting a picture with Jen in it, but here's a cute one of the bathtub fun :)

Everything went smoothly getting to the airport, and on the flight home. In fact - Noah slept the entire flight! A big thanks to our good friends Ryan & Claire for being our personal airport chauffeurs too!
Well, I think that's it (can you believe it?)! If you actually read this entire trip log, then I am super impressed & if not, then I hope that you enjoyed at least a few of the pictures!


Mike and Lauren said...

I did read the whole thing and I loved it! It looks like you all had such a fun time. Family vacations are the best. I can't wait to see you, Mark and the boys during the holidays!

Megan, Tommy and the kids said...

Sounds like you guys had an awesome family vacation. I sure it was a much deserved break for Mark and you as well. If we ever make it to disneyland you will have to fill us in on all the tips for doing disneyland with young kids. :)

Josh said...

Wow, looks like this was quite the project putting it together. Thanks for sharing, I loved reading about all of it! It looks like you guys all had an amazing time. I can imagine how much Noah loved seeing Buzz, Woody, and Jesse. :)

Camille said...

Wow, Holly! Thanks for letting me visit Disneyland without waiting in line or paying the entrance fee! It sounds like fun - and you're all much more daring than I about the scary rides!

Jana said...

We had so much fun, and the photos are great for looking back on it! I have too many favorites to count, but a couple would be Noah with Buzz and Noah with Woody & Jessie. And a ton of Lincoln and his blue eyes. And the family photos.......Too many. I'll stop. Love the trip!!!


Wow!! That was quite a post! :) Of course... you got some wonderful pictures. Next time we go on a vacation, I want to take you along as my photographer. :) We loved having you visit and I miss you so much. We'll see you at Thanksgiving.
Love you.