Sunday, August 6, 2017

Our Disneyland Vacation | Day 2

One of our favorite things about our trip to Disney was taking advantage of the early magic hours every morning.  Every morning, magic hours bounced between both parks and opened an hour early for patrons staying at the resort.  Monday morning took us to California Adventure and as we walked from our hotel room to the ticket entrance, the park was near empty as we made our way through the gates.  The weather was dang near perfect every morning, we'd grab our coffees at the little cafe in the hotel, and have no waits on rides for the first 2-3 hours there.  Because the fast passes work quite differently here than at Disney World, there was no plan, no time constraints, and no expectations; however, we quickly discovered our fearless kids liked the big ones!

Beau had his heart set on California Screamin', the big roller coaster that made quite the statement as we crossed the bridge that led to Paradise Pier.  Cruz was the perfect 48" for this trip, and could get on almost everything, so I assumed he'd be big enough to tackle it.  But when we ran into another agent and his wife, with kids the exact ages as ours, who had just went on the roller coaster sans kids, they looked at us like we were crazy for taking Cruz on it!  This made me nervous, Beau annoyed, and Cruz very anxious!  If it was up to me, I would have taken him on the carousel with Mila, but I'm pretty glad Beau persisted.  As they were waiting to ride, Beau asked him if he was excited and Cruz replied, "I am a little excited and 90% scared!"  But ten minutes later, he came leaping across the boardwalk, eyes big and smile wide, grabbed my hand and said it was my turn to ride with him.  We screamed, we held our hands up high, we went upside down, around and around, and had ourselves a blast.  And Cruz ended up going on that roller coaster six more times while we were there! :)

While Cruz screamed away on the roller coaster, Mila loved King Triton's carousel! 

The next ride to conquer was the new Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout ride, basically the old Tower of Terror transformed into an impressive simulation of one of Beau's favorite superhero flicks.  Feeling quite fearless at this point, determined to conquer them all, Beau and Cruz made their way down Hollywood Blvd. and Mila and I snuck in the Disney Animation building to find a place in line for our little magic - meeting Anna, Elsa, and friends.

I had heard lines for these two princesses can get very long, so was quite pleased with myself when we just kind of stumbled upon this right as it was opening.  And we were second in line!  A little sad Cruz was going to miss our first big character experience of the trip, I got Mila's autograph book out and prepped her for seeing her favorite princesses in the real.  And little did I know I was the one who needed the prepping!

Yep, I cried when Mila met the cast of Frozen.  Smiled through tears as Olaf twirled Mila again and again, drew a little Olaf face in her autograph book, and Kristoff asked her if she liked warm (smelly) hugs.  She was so excited to meet Anna and Elsa she just kept jumping up and down!  Star struck and speechless, my girl showed them her Minnie dress and they talked about chocolate chip cookies and summertime.  It was the sweetest, most personalized little experience, and full of the kind of magic only Disney can deliver.

We met up with the boys just in time to see the streets shut down for Black Widow to arrive, transporting some evil villains in a big black hummer, to spot Thor trying to order a hot dog, and Groot showing off his dance moves in the Guardians of the Galaxy dance off.  We ordered smoothies, took some pictures with Groot, and Mila and Beau got a little special attention from Sofia the First, another one of Mila's favorites.  Sofia tried to take her hand and go on a little walk with Mila, but she was too shy until Daddy took Sofia's other hand. :)  Together, the three of them walked down the street like Disney's own little royal family. :)


A big highlight of our morning (in addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy ride which the boys LOVED), was taking a little break inside the Disney Junior Dance Party.  We were debating whether or not to do this, but I am so glad we did!  Both kids LOVED it, it was typical Disney with leaves, snow, bubbles, and confetti all flying from the sky at different parts of the show, and Mila reminded us both why she might just be the quintessential age for all the Disney magic.  Every time a new Disney Junior character would magically appear in a puff of smoke, Mila would turn around, put her arms up in the air, lean over and squeal, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!  MINNIE?!?!?  DONALD?!?!?!  DOC MCSTUFFINS?!?!?"  She'd throw her hands in the air in complete amazement, then follow her brother's lead and dance as they'd never danced before.  I have a couple youtube clips here and here that show a snapshot of the fun!


We worked up quite the appetite at our dance party and luckily had quite the lunch in store for our day.  Because of Mila's love for all things Disney princess, I decided to book a character lunch at Ariel's Grotto.  It's rather expensive, but worth every penny (and minute saved by not waiting in line to see the princesses!).  We were greeted by Ariel and friends, sat down for an under the sea inspired lunch on an open-aired patio on the water, and were soon greeted by quite the royal cast of our favorite princesses.  One by one they came to our table, interacted with the kids, posed for pictures, and gave lots of hugs.  Belle was beautiful, of course, but we loved Rapunzel most of all.  I loved that Mila insisted on showing every single princess Olaf's signature in her autograph book, and that they all had the perfect response.  And watching their sweet reactions was definitely all I had dreamed it would be.

Other highlights of our day included the ride Soarin', competing against each other on one of our favorite rides from our last trip, Toy Story Mania, visiting Radiator Springs (more on this later), and amazing Frozen: Live at the Hyperion.  This live musical version of one of our family's favorite movies blew us away.  The cast, the songs, the special effects, and of course, the snow, was incredible!  The hour show ended and I would have sat there for a repeat performance in a heartbeat!

By this time, Mila and I walked back to our room for a late afternoon nap while Daddy and Cruz picked up a few fast passes for another ride on the Guardians of the Galaxy ride.  This was one of my favorite parts of staying right on the Disney resort.  We could come and go, split up, and not worry about a car the entire time we were there.  

Monday night, Farm Bureau treated us to quite a night.  They rented out the entire ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, complete with a kid-approved feast of chicken strips, nachos, sliders, pasta, and cheesecake.  They had unlimited play at the arcade for three hours.  And for the finale, they walked us back to California Adventure for a VIP viewing of the water and light show off Paradise Pier.  It was set to Disney music and was of course, magical.

It was such a good day!  And we were ready to get up and do it all over again!      

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