Decisions, decisions! Money, travel, 8 month old, car, plane, boat, expenses, hotel, fun, new adventure, relaxation, dining, souvenirs, beach, happiness...getawaytoday, priceline, expedia, allegiant air, google searches, facebook questions...all swirled around in my mind for days.
Until finally, after long--and I mean 8 or so hours spread out over several days worth of research online long--searching, I "accidentally" booked a hotel through Priceline in Anaheim about a mile from Disneyland at great rate.
Anxiety. Did I really just do that? I mean, I had Hylan's okay, but I immediately had a sense of buyer's remorse. That really was going to be the highest rate I bid before I quit for the day...and so it was.
So unlike many trips that are planned far in advance where there are months of anticipation and excitement, this time there was less than two weeks worth of calm-ish anxiety and tempered anticipation. Why the anxiety? I don't know!
The drive was relatively smooth: a few diaper changes here, bottles in the car there, a constant changing out of the toys, a delicious stop for a Pretzel Pub Chicken sandwich at a Wendy's in St. George, and the omnipresent annoying California traffic, and we finally arrived at our destination!
The first night was rough. Baby girl did not want anything to do with the hotel crib and screamed her way through much of the night, until finally, Hylan out of sheer exhaustion, laid her down on the other queen bed in the room and she slept great. Sweet relief for the weary travelers (and apparently other weary guests in the hotel). The rest of the trip, we pillow barricaded her on the bed for sleepy time and she slept like a champ!
As long as she has her Betsy doll and a soft blanky!
On Thursday, we hopped on the shuttle (which was great by the way, we never waited for then 5 or 10 minutes on either side) for my and Naomi's first experience at Disneyland ever! "It's a Small World" was our first ride (you know, cause the wait wasn't that long) and Naomi had spent the first hour in the stroller sleeping (it was morning nap time, after all).
On the boat. Taking it all in.
We walked around a lot and hopped on rides or went to shows when it was convenient or the wait time wasn't that long. We just had to be flexible with a baby and all, and that was just fine by us.
We met Pluto!
During one of her naps, I shopped in the store by the Winnie the Pooh ride to find Naomi a Minnie souvenir and a Winnie the Pooh book.
And yeah, she slept in her stroller when she was tired, so we spent all day at the park, and called it a night when it got dark and cold around 7:00 pm or so. Unfortunately, this meant we missed the evening festivities, but we were tired anyway, and felt it best to get everyone well fed and rested. We had long full days and didn't feel like we missed out at all, but we look forward to being able to experience more magic in the future (like World of Color!).
After Naomi woke up, we just had to ride the Honey Pots! This is how
A visit to Toon Town and Hylan and Naomi got put in the Dog Pound!
A nice view of the castle. This was near the end of the day, so she was bundled up and happily entertained by a plastic spoon.
We made sure to get at least one shot of the iconic Halloween Mickey. We weren't fans of waiting in long lines for pictures, so we just snapped our own on the side.
Day 1 complete.
Day 2, we spent the whole time at California Adventure!
Hylan was told that we wouldn't have much fun there because most of the rides weren't for babies, but I think this was our most fun day! It didn't seem that busy and we were able to do a lot of rides.
We got our free (exclusive Chase Disney card) picture with Stitch (just two minutes earlier or 30 minutes later and it would have been Minnie! We could have gone back, but we liked to keep moving forward).
And Stitch could not get enough of Naomi's cheeks. Cuteness!
We did some single rider rides this day and we were so glad. The Cars ride was awesome. And only a 20 minute wait for each of us. I got right on California Screaming and Tower of Terror (which was my fave) with almost no wait.
Hylan wanted a Mickey pretzel. It was novel but not as tasty as an authentic Pennsylvanian soft pretzel.
The Mickey ice cream bar was however worth the price of the novelty. High quality chocolate and ice cream.
We did many other things this day, but our phones would have died very quickly if we would have taken pictures of everything!
But it was still fun! We didn't do as many rides, but we didn't feel cheated. We just experienced other parts of the park. Like, the Halloween Festival in Frontier Country!
Seriously, it was the best place in the park. It was all decked out in country Halloween paraphernalia and it was the most relaxing least crowded part of the park. We wished we would have eaten lunch up there.
Naomi thought the pumpkin lady was hilarious.
We got to see some real animals too! Like this meditating goat sunning himself on a rock.
And a cute little brown cow.
That doesn't even cover half of what we did, saw, and ate! but it covers enough.
Our last day in California, we did a little relaxing at the hotel and took a long drive down the coast. The beach is all Hylan ever talks about, so we had to spend a few moments here at Huntington Beach.
We ended that day with a snow crab steam pot at Joe's Crab Shack.
We came home with so much gladness that the trip turned out so well. We really had a fun time and were able to forget about all the normal every day cares. And of course, now we can't stop thinking about our next trip.
This year is ending much more happily than it started! Ever After! The End.