Friday, September 30, 2011

Meeting Disney Characters and dining with the princesses!

When I first told the girls we were going to Disneyland  their first questions were can we meet Belle and Ariel?  I told Jocelyn we would try our hardest to meet Belle and told Katelyn unfortunately we were unable to meet Ariel because she was not at Disneyland, but at the park next door.  I think she understood, but would randomly say....with her sweet little 4 year old voice...that it would sure be nice to meet Ariel.  I felt so bad.  I looked into ways that maybe I could just spend a little more to buy the park hopper pass...but that was out of my budget...and then to try to do 2 parks in one day...yikes...and then I found out the only way to meet Ariel was to dine at Ariel's Grotto restaurant...which was way out of my budget.  I just kept apologizing and telling her that it wasn't going to happen this time around.  Sean said that if I was going that far to California, I shouldn't just leave something out and regret it...but then I didn't want to leave our friends alone at the first just wasn't going to happen.  So a few days prior to leaving my friend Emily mentioned...hey didn't I tell you that we were going to be buying park hopper passes?   What!?  Are you kidding me?  She left out that little detail!! I was soooooo excited!  Katelyn was too.  We were able to get hopper tickets for over 1/2 off due to some very special connections that Emily had...very away I went...going way over our budget and reserved the girls' and I a lunch with the princesses...we then wouldn't have to wait in a long line (of sometimes an hour long) to meet Belle and then find out she wasn't the one that was greeting people.  The lunch was WONDERFUL!  The girls were able to meet Ariel.  Were were the last one's of the day, so she spent a little extra time chit chatting with the girls.
Waiting to meet Ariel

 We then were seated on the outside patio ($9.00 cheaper to do that for some reason)... they started us off with a 3 tiered plate of appetizers... YUM!  We all devoured that.
We then had our meals...the girls barely touched theirs...they had chicken on skewers and mac-n-cheese sea shells.  They liked the fruit and fish crackers...I should have gotten a picture of theirs...but here is mine..NY Strip...YUM!
and then there was this dessert was to die for.  See the sea shell...that was white chocolate...I am still sick to my stomach...because we were so full, we put most of this dessert tray in a to-go box and then I left it the bathroom...and then by the time I remembered the place was closed....ugh!! Oh well...I enjoyed the molten chocolate cake and few bites of the other things...
and then there was this....the 4 other main princesses visited our table...the girls gave them their little cards that they had made...and got to visit with each of the princesses.  They also got their autographs.  This experience was a bit pricey...but I think it will be something the girls (and I) will remember for a long time! 

and then there were other characters...we waited in line to meet Minnie Mouse and Alice....we waited for Pluto and he just walked I snapped a quick photo of him.  Many of the character's have extremely long lines...even if you have been waiting in the line for over an are still not guaranteed to meet that character...for example with Minnie we waited for around 20 minutes and her handler announced that she would be leaving in 5 minutes....luckily we were the last one's to meet her...Here are a few pictures of our encounters...enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Disneyland and California Adventure....where dreams come true!

I recently had a friend move to Riverside, California, so I thought that it would be nice to visit them and take my girls to Disneyland.  We had a really good visit ...they have only been gone since April, but we sure have missed them.  Emily and I had planned what our weekend would look like...what we would do, where we would  I am not sure that anything turned out as we had planned, but in the end we had a really time.  Lesson can only plan so much...but sometimes you just have to roll with things...

So anyways, on our 3rd day in California we visited Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.  If you are visiting the California area, I would not recommend doing both parks in one day.  You will not have enough time.  We had no intentions of spending a lot of time at California looked like a really fun park, but other attractions at Disneyland were calling our name.  My girls really, really wanted to visit Ariel and the only way to do this was to go to this park.  We also went on this Soaring ride...where you para-sail through California...hands down one of my favorite rides....

Tips if traveling to Disney....if you are wanting to have the "Disney" experience....and do not have a reason to go to California...I would not recommend choosing Disneyland over Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  I love the resorty feel of Disney World...and there are many more Disney parks that you can go to instead of just the two in California.  I have been to Disney World 4 times and now Disneyland 4 and Euro Disney...and my conclusion still remains...Disney World wins the best Disney park award.  If you are thinking about a Disney vacation for your family, I would not recommend taking the whole group until all of the kids are of age to remember the experience.  A good age is 4-5 years old.  I still remember my first visit at age 5.  Going to Disney is an extremely expensive vacation, so unless you want to go back so all of your kids can remember it, wait until they are all old enough.   Disney will just keep getting better...but also may keep getting more expensive. 

Another tip, would be to go on the off season...if you can, go right after Labor Day when school is back in session...and don't go during the summer or during the spring break/Christmas/Thanksgiving season.  Your entire day will be filled waiting in the heat (during the summer) in extremely long lines...most of the good rides will be at least 30 to over an hour wait.  We went on a Monday during off season and it was great...our longest wait was maybe 20 minutes.  Most were around 10 minutes or less.  I don't know about you, but who has fun when everyone is hot....waiting in long lines...listening to kids complain.

Last tip...bring your own food.  It is really expensive to eat at any Disney Park.  We brought quiet a few snacks, but my friend Emily spent over $20 on 3 slices of pizza...yikes.  If you can swing it, I would highly recommend a character dining experience.  It is a bit pricey, but something my girls will never forget.  I will write more about that tomorrow.

My dream is to take the entire family to Disney World when our boys are old enough...we should probably start saving now, because it will be an expensive little husband has no desire to go there, so I might be taking them on my own.  I do agree with him though, Silver Dollar City in Branson is hands down a much better set-up than at Disney Park, but I like palm trees and oceans...what can I say?

So here are a few pictures of our day at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure!  A few of the pictures are from my friend Nancy.  I only had my camera phone and a really low resolution pocket camera.
At the beginning of our journey

On It's a Small World Ride

Jocelyn tried to follow the map...the entire time...

Toon town!

Inside Minnie's House

The tea cups

Watching Mary Poppins perform

On our way to the 2nd park

Disney's California Adventure...on our way to meet Ariel


The front of Disneyland...decorated in Halloween stuff...yuck.
Emily and I....taken by a child...I think I am trying to explain something.

The jungle cruise

More of toon town

The Ariel girls favorite ride
Night time shots...parade and parks

My girls' favorite had the 4 main princesses on it.