The epic trip to Disneyland

The much awaited post is finally here!

Who am I kidding, the only ones waiting for this post is my own family. And that is just to see what tales I’m going to tell involving them. I will try to behave myself guys.

This has taken me absolutely forever to compose, life has gotten in the way of my blogging, it’s been frustrating to say the least. Anyway, here we go.

Walt Disney

We went and conquered Disneyland in the eccentric and slightly neurotic fashion my family has mastered. Seven full days filled with magic, fire, fun, uncomfortable pat-downs, beaches, nausea, and lots of churros. We survived, and that folks, is a victory.

For weeks leading up to this trip Crazy Lady had been stressing over the security process in the airports. I reassured her over and over it would be smooth and effortless, we were flying out of a small, two flights-a-day airport, security would be nothing. We arrived almost two hours early to the airport, because we departed town shockingly a half hour before schedule. We should have known that would be the only thing to go our way that day.

Security was ridiculous, but to justify having TSA employees at the airport they had to follow every single rule on their checklist. Every. One. Including randomly pulling me aside for a pat-down.

“If you’d prefer to go into our privacy room we can perform the pat-down in there,” says the TSA lady pointing to a room with one big window…

“No, just do what you need to do.” Cringe.

Crazy Lady had a good laugh on me.

FullSizeRender (1)

The plane ride to California was fast and easy, the layover in Seattle  effortless, so points finally back in my corner. Brother Serious and I whipped out our books, and the parentals whipped out these… at a distance of course.

ipad readers

We landed in Orange County on time, and then proceeded to wait an entire lifetime for the rental car folks to get things in order. I should mention at this point that both Crazy Lady and I developed colds the day before we left, so by the time we were in California I was tired and slightly cranky. Just slightly. We finally got to our car, loaded up and found our rental house with only needing to perform one quick turn around. Success! The rental house was great, newly remodeled with new appliances, a hot tub and fire pit. (We sadly never got around to roasting marshmallows over that fire pit, but The Neph utilized the hot tub every night.)

We would all recommend renting a house, and I’ll even plug away!

The girls went shopping for food, while the boys enjoyed watching the Disney fireworks from the backyard. We successfully set off the fire alarm that night when baking pizzas, and thus the blog list began. The blog list = the family recording the pros and cons of the trip for this blog. See, they do enjoy it.

Our first full day in California was Veteran’s Day, and after extensive research of park crowd indexes we decided to go visit Aunt V in Santa Ana instead of battling huge crowds. Before we took off we visited Downtown Disney to get a taste of the magic, it was fun and gave The Neph a glimpse of the greatness of Disneyland.

greg downtown

We drove by our old stomping grounds from the two years we lived there when I was small and cute, and then went to lunch out on the pier at Huntington Beach.

I suffered a lot of car sickness that day, along with a very stuffy head, so everything was a blur. Not much to report.

Except for the BBQ fire that night. I mean, the trip would not have been complete if we hadn’t set something on fire. And it was a fire, large and wicked looking. Our steaks turned out fine, no worries. And the brothers did not lose any hair, win!

First day in Disneyland:

  • Get to the park by 8:15, check.
  • Pick up park tickets, check.
  • Stand in line trying not to pee from excitement, check.

There was a countdown to opening the gates, and walking inside the park was like stepping inside a snow globe. The trolleys, carriages with horses, and cast members came out to greet everyone. The Christmas tree, decorations and lights had begun to appear.

We met Mickey right off the bat:


And it was so overwhelmingly happy Crazy Lady started to shed some tears. We attempted to soak it all in as we headed to our first stop, Star Tours. It was the one ride I had been looking forward to taking The Neph on for months. He loves Star Wars and and the Star Tours ride now has 50 different variations involving old and new characters and places from the movies. I went on twice, it was great, The Neph loved it, Sister Fierce got sick, it was a good start to the day…

greg star tours

We traipsed around and rode some other rides, including The Matterhorn, Big Thunder and Pirates of the Caribbean, and then had lunch at the Blue Bayou. This restaurant was one Crazy Lady and Mr. Green had always wanted to try, it is the dining area you see as your floating by in your boat on the Pirates ride. Their Monte Cristo sandwiches are famous along with their mint juleps (virgin of course, as Disneyland is a dry park). It’s dark inside to make it feel as if you are dining at nighttime, so I unfortunately didn’t catch any photos. But let me tell you, that Monte Cristo sandwich may have been the best thing I have ever tasted, I still catch myself dreaming about it. It was also about 5,000 calories.

Worth it.

We watched the Paint the Night parade, which was very loud and very bright. Baby Gil, who is now three but will forever remain as Baby Gil, had acquired a small gun from the shooting range in Frontierland and proceeded to shoot all the characters as they danced by… normal behavior, I’m sure.

ethan gun

Then everyone except Baby Gil, Sister Fierce and Brother Godwin, went back to ride Pirates and Big Thunder one more time.

We really loved Big Thunder.

Our second day we spent at California Adventure. We were up early again and after blowing my nose roughly 28 times I was ready to go. Here we were thankful for Brother Godwin who had read up and found we needed to grab fast passes for the Cars ride, otherwise our wait time would easily be 70 minutes. Ridiculous! It took us almost 70 minutes to just get inside the park as  we chose the entrance line with the oldest ‘cast member’ ever! He had to strike up a conversation with each and every person as he scanned their tickets… very nice, but all my excitement made me for a very inpatient person. I don’t care if you know some guy who starred in The Munsters… I just want to see Mickey!

Christmas decorations were also up! We went to A Bug’s Life land where Baby Gil finally had a whole place where the rides were geared toward his age group. Crazy Lady also loved this area, and Car’s Land next door. I think she would live there if she could.

Here are some trees from Car’s Land:

We convinced Crazy Lady to walk toward the pier area where the California Screamin’ rollercoaster is. And then somehow convinced her to go on it with Mr. Green. Hands down one of my top favorite rides, we rode it once more at night time.

We raced in the Cars ride, ate lunch at Flo’s Cafe, and grabbed an ice cream cone at the Cozy Cone Motel. Then we headed to my much anticipated ride, the one I had been looking forward to for months and months. The Tower of Terror!!

It was everything I had hoped and more. And because of the switch pass given to parents with small children, I was able to ride it twice back-to-back. Thank you Sister Fierce and Brother Godwin for allowing me to take advantage of your disadvantage.

tower terror
We are the back row, I’m the one in yellow thoroughly enjoying myself… my parents are the ones looking like they are about to pee themselves.

We took a break the following day and went to pick up Aunt V again and spend the day at the beach.

Then Mr. Green decided to leave his phone on the beach. And Sister Silent, Brother Serious and I drove with a very crazed Mr. Green back to the beach to attempt to find it.

In the dark. In the sand.

Fun times ensued, including Sister Silent almost tackling a homeless man, and Brother Serious sprinting after her to make sure she wasn’t knifed.

Lucky for my dad some kind soul picked it up and turned it into the rental bike shack. Not so lucky for my dad they had just locked up minutes before we got there. So, the next morning he drove back to the beach, got his phone, drove all the way back to the rental house. And then by himself walked to the trams, and tracked us down in the park. Because we were definitely not giving up an hour in the park to accompany him for his iPhone reuniting.

That day was the mother of all days for Brother Serious as word quickly spread through the park that a soft opening was to be held for the new Star Wars area along with the new Hyperspace Mountain ride. We booked it across the park to dive into line only to be held up by a Christmas parade… Get out of the way Santa there are dark rollercoasters to be explored!

The highlight of The Neph’s Disneyland adventure was being able to meet Chewbacca in person.

The highlight of my Disneyland adventure was the following day when the Star Wars area officially opened leaving New Orleans square and Critter Country abandoned and wide open to us! I took Baby Gil on the Winnie the Pooh ride which might have been more frightening to me than anything else in that park.

splash mountain
…because no Disney post would be complete without the required Splash Mountain photo! And yes, I hooded up.

Other highlights are as follows:

  • Eating at the Blue Bayou and having the most amazing Monte Cristo sandwich and non-alcoholic mint juleps EVER. It was such a memorable experience I had to mention it twice!
    • Bonus points for not having to count the 5,000 calories that was in that sandwich.
      • Calories don’t exist in Disneyland.
  • Finding the shorter line for the Dole Whip stand.
  • Enjoying an entire churro by myself.
  • Eating at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ restaurant… even more of a highlight now that it’s no longer existent.

I just really enjoyed the food guys. So, so much.

We did spend a night enduring hard cement in order to watch the Fantasmic show, which was pretty stinkin’ awesome. Here we are waiting:

The very last day was filled with trying to hit up all the places we hadn’t been to yet. This included recreating a picture of Sister Fierce and I with Minnie Mouse. And who would ever have thought the wait times to see Minnie would be so insanely long? So, we camped out in front of Toon Town that last day a good half hour before it’s gates opened, and when they did we shoved all those little girls in their Minnie ears/dresses/and shoes out of the way and raced to get to her home. We were successfully the first ones in, and also took the only picture with Minnie in her outside courtyard before she wussed out and went inside.


That last night was tough on Crazy Lady, she did not want to leave the happiest place on earth. The others all eventually trickled back to the house to get going on packing and cleaning up our rental home, but Sister Silent and I stayed behind to make sure Crazy Lady did not try to become Disneyland’s resident Crazy.

One of my favorite moments from the entire trip was when we three eventually made our way to the Carnation Café where they serve Walt’s favorite dessert; a cherry milkshake. It was the very last item on our to-do list. We sat outside in the heated patio, each savored a bowl of soup and each downing an entire milkshake. I was so proud of Crazy Lady for finishing hers! I think it was the best way to end our trip.

We made it back home despite being delayed for a couple hours in the Seattle airport and an incredible amount of turbulence on the way into Walla Walla.

Here’s one from our long wait in Seattle… Brother Serious proving he’s not always serious by snagging The Neph’s new ballcap:

colton hat

I miss Disneyland. I think of it often. Sister Silent has decided she would like to move and live there happily ever after. We are already planning our return trip, fingers crossed we can actually make it happen!

Final note: I have unfortunately inherited, from Crazy Lady, the trait of conveniently closing my eyes right as the camera clicks. I’m the worst, and this picture proves it:


Here are even more pictures if you’re curious!

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