Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Our Disneyland Vacation | Day 1
We left bright and early Sunday morning, thankful for direct flights out of MSP at 7 am, expecting to arrive in LA at 9:30 thanks to gaining a couple of Pacific time hours. We seriously couldn't have asked for a better flight experience, even those in first class would have been envious of our arrangements! Shortly after making our way to the very back row of the plane, our sweet flight attendant slipped the kids a couple of flyer pins and informed us there was nobody else in our row. So instead of cramming in four seats, we had the entire back row to ourselves, as well as a flight attendant who loved on our kids, and slipped us free yogurts, sandwiches, and extra KIND bars. Thanks to Delta's amazing in-flight entertainment screens for each seat, I'm not sure why I packed so much of our own entertainment for the kids. I watched a movie, sipped hot coffee, and Mila fell asleep with her head on my lap for the last two hours of the trip. Was it weird I was actually disappointed when the pilot said we were preparing for descent?! Give the kids Disneyland, give this mom two hours of quiet to read, watch a movie, and drink coffee!
After saying our goodbyes to row 45, we went from our glorious in-flight experience to a quick not-so-glorious one at the rental car shop outside LAX. My 63 cents' worth of pennies kept the kids busy by the outside fountain at the Westin while Beau waited for an hour in line to get us our car and get us to Disney. By the time we loaded our luggage in our little Nissan crossover, we were all ready for the pool!
Beau had his first taste of LA traffic on a Sunday morning, breezed through the six lanes of freeway on the 405 while I gawked at the Southern California scene around me. The palm trees grew taller here, there were mountains in the distance, and my first impressions were that the slogan, "Sunny California" seemed to live up to its name. And the ten-day forecast of sunny and 78 with a 0% chance of rain made for a pretty easy going look ahead at the weather we could expect for our trip. As someone who checks the weather outlook religiously days in advance of any event or trip, this was a welcomed change. Our Disney ponchos stayed at home!
As if the Californian scenery could get any better, we soon made our way to the Disneyland entrance, more understated than we were expecting, but charming and full of Disney magic nonetheless. The Disney Grand Californian would be our home for the next few days, and it reminded me of something out of Hogwarts Academy with its grand ceilings and thick dark wood beams and trim. As we made our way to our third floor room down some very long hallways, I felt as though we had stepped back in time to old Disney, a less modernized, more traditional version compared to its more flashy brother down in Florida. I couldn't wait to explore more in the days to come, but looked forward to a chill day at the pool in the meantime.
The first thing Mila wanted to do? Put on her dress like Elsa!
The best part of our hotel was that it three entrances: the main entrance where we first pulled up, an entrance that walked directly into Disney's California Adventure Park, and a third entrance that walked right out to Downtown Disney and steps away to Disneyland Park. Ready for a quick bite to eat before checking out the pool, we found chips and salsa and tacos that hit the spot. Then, stepping in a couple of stores, including a Star Wars Store for Cruz and the Anna and Elsa boutique for Mila, we coerced them to save their souvenir money and check out the pool instead.
We spent the afternoon soaking up the sun by the pool, the kids loving the waterslides and the jacuzzi. I found the cutest Minnie Mouse swimsuit at Old Navy and Mila fit the scene parading around with her California beach curls and glittery shades. It was to be her first time experiencing Disney and she was just the perfect age for it. I could not wait to get my princess fix with her this week!
After swimming and then more swimming in the hotel bathtub, we were invited to a welcome dinner and reception with Beau's company down in the reception hall. We gathered with work friends and their families, were warmly welcomed by Mickey, Minnie, and the CEO of Farm Bureau, and dined on a delicious spread. But we were tired! Ready to take advantage of those early morning Magic hours the next morning, we went to our room early, tucked the kids in with their Mickeys and Elsa, read some Disney bedtime stories, and sprinkled their heads with a little magic pixie dust before drifting off to dreamland ourselves.
After getting her out of her Elsa dress and Minnie ears that is. ;)