Zippity “Zoo” Da

Living down wind from a zoo has some benefits (and none of the disadvantages), especially when you have a membership to take advantage of the downwinded-ness. This summer that membership paid off with multiple trips to the zoo with friends and family alike. Instead of making a post about each and every single visit, we thought we would be kind and combine all the visits together into one post.

And why not start off the post with some pictures of the cutest creature around?

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Ya, Little Miss pretty much takes the cake when it comes to cuteness. On one of our trips to the zoo we kidnapped invited a grandma and papa along for the adventure.  Unlike her brother, Little Miss has lived most of her life away from her grandparents. Padawan was pretty lucky to have spent most of his early years at one of three grandparents’ house getting spoiled (he of course is still spoiled rotten by them whenever he sees them). But Little Miss still takes a while to warm up to them every once in a while, not that that stops her from soaking up some spoiling loving from her papa.

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And just to prove this cuteness happened at aforementioned, downwinded  (or would it be up winded since we are downwind?) zoo cue animal photo now:

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And Padawan is always happy when papa and grandma come along cause that means he gets to use their smaller camera to take pictures, which mostly ends up being of his baby sister.

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And asking me to take pictures of him being crazy. I have no idea whose kid this is, please let us know if you know where he belongs. Just kidding, he is ours and we claim him (most of the time).

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There were animals to see of course, we are at the zoo remember?

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In all the times we have been to our zoo we were never lucky enough to see these guys awake, until one time this summer:

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It was crazy seeing them walking around! You could actually hear their quills clacking against each other as they walked. Since the time we saw them awake, they have been asleep and/or hiding every single time. At least Little Miss and Padawan (and mama too) got to experience these crazy creatures we call porcupines. Little Miss may not have been as impressed with them as much as I was.  Guess it takes a lot to impress a 16 month old these days.

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One of the other times we rounded up our crew to go to the zoo we also brought along our neighbors kiddos, who Padawan spent most of the summer playing with outside and having movie/dinner nights with (sad to say they moved away before the end of the summer and Padawan misses them like crazy!) The hubster thought it was crazy that it looked like we had 5 kids, something that he says he does not want in real life.

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After looking at that crazy bunch I think I will have to agree with the hubster, 5 is too much crazy for this mama (though I wouldn’t mind one more).

The kids had way too much posing at all the different areas, I didn’t even have to coax them. Well, ok maybe I had to coax them a little bit and threw in a bribe of an elephant ear or two.  But the crazy, that’s all their doing. Crazy is one thing you don’t have to coax out of kids when you put a camera in front of them.

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Little Miss had to show her crazy a couple times too.

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Just look at those teeth! She is finally getting them all in which makes this mama happy since it is a downright pain to go through the horrors that is teething with nothing to show for it.

And here is one more obligatory animal shot since you know we are at the zoo (again).

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That otter had the right idea. It was surprisingly hot this summer which made for nice days to go out and walk the zoo but man did it make you envious of the animals who just laid about in a nice cool pool.

So there it is our zoo adventures of the summer nicely condensed into one neat and tidy post. We sure enjoy being this close to our zoo (I think this is the third blog post about a trip there but whose counting). Is there a place your family frequents during the summer? Is it a water park (man I wish we had one of those) or a museum (my kiddos are too loud for one)?


Sand, Surf, and Sun

Disneyland was not the only adventure we want on this summer, the rest of them though were within our beloved state. One of the places we enjoy visiting the most is the coast. Where we are from it is not called the beach, it is the coast; the beach has warm water and sand and you don’t need a wet suit to go into the water.

Despite the chilly water and the lack of bathing suit beaches, we love our coastline! The hubster and I have recently talked about planning a camping trip that takes us all along our coastline one of these summers. But back to this coast trip: like most of our trips it was pretty spur of the moment and motivated by one kind of food or another. This time it was clam chowder. And who would want to turn down the best clam chowder this side of the Mississippi especially when it come with a view like this one:

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This seems to be our stand-by go-to location when we are in much need of some ocean therapy. Are we the only ones who feel rejuvenated after spending the day gazing out at the waves? If you haven’t tried it, you are missing out. Not only do you get to enjoy the sound of the waves and the smell of the salty sea air  but you also get to watch all the crazy wildlife, like these guys (I think we counted 8 at one point)

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And this rare little bird in sparkly sneakers. This was Little Miss’ first time to the ocean where she could actually enjoy it (her first official visit happened when she was only 2 months old).

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She was all down for the freedom of letting her roam around while we waited for a table to open up at our chowder spot.

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And she was all for playing the sand, more like letting us bury her legs in it or throwing it at me which is one of the reasons I am glad I didn’t take Ansel down to the shore with us except for these few shots.

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We had hoped to add to our sea glass collection that we have been working on, but sadly we were unable to due to the fact that high tide happened right when we arrived and would not go back down til after dark (cue sad mama face here). Since our glass hunting was put on hold til our next trip over we had to find something else to occupy our time at the sea. Again, being food driven our caravan (my mom and stepdad meet us over there for chowder time) made its trek to another of our favorite seasides spots for another sea staple: salt water taffy.

The only problem with saltwater taffy is remembering what flavors you got in your bag or are currently left over in your R2-D2 candy stash. Any ideas on what flavors we still have??

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The weekend that we went seaside was the first time that Little Miss got to ride in her “big girl” car seat.  I think it is safe to say that she enjoyed it.

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With a tuckered out kiddo and a hungry hubster, we hopped on over the bridge for a spot of tea beer. One of the local breweries we enjoy is based out of our go-to seaside destination and we *GASP* had never ventured over there for bite to eat.  Which is even crazier when we consider the fact that when the hubster and I started dating he had applied for a job in the accounting department at this brewery.

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Both the hubster and the step-dad sampled the beers, i just enjoyed the fish tacos and watching Little Miss enjoy the view of the marina and her crayons.

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I did enjoy a nice HOT caramel macchiato though on the drive home which was such a welcome after spending the day on the cool side of the ocean. I am soooo ready to have my coffees be hot again. Funny how I can’t wait for the weather to turn to enjoy iced ones again but then around August I am ready for the warmth and coziness of a hot cup again (too bad the weather is not cooperating around here for that!)  How about you, do you wait for the weather to change for your coffee order to change as well? Are your trips as food oriented as ours (at least Disneyland wasn’t hahaha)? How about your coastline, is it warm and perfect for shorts and swimming? Or is it like ours where you dress in layers and have plenty of opportunities for a cup of hot joe?

Going Downtown

So here we are at the last leg of our trip. Our third and final day in Disneyland was full of packing (that was me) and work engagements (that was the hubster). I told the kids if they behaved and helped mama pack everything back up along with our souvenirs (how come things never fit back into the suitcases at the end of the trip??) we could go down to Downtown Disney and get a couple more souvenirs and have some more fun.

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All Padawan wanted to see was the Lego store, which was pretty awesome. I mean, look at that awesome dragon built out of LEGOS!! A big internet high five and a princess crown if you can name the movie this scene is from.

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You all better know where these guys are from! “To infinity and beyond!”

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If you thought the outside sculptures (is that what you would call them?) were amazing the ones inside were pretty awesomely amazing as well! Padawan had to have his picture taken with the Hulk. Personally, I would have liked to see Iron Man (but that’s another story).

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Then they had this thing hanging from the ceiling!! Crazy I tell you, crazy!! Do you think they glued all those pieces together so it would be safer to hang?? I don’t even want to think of how big of an ouch that would be if it fell on you, stepping on Legos is a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy so I can only imagine how big a whollop that many Legos would cause.

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“Get a picture of the dragon mom!” “Mom, get a picture of the wizard for dad!” Check and check.

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After the Lego store, I had a promise to fulfill: a cotton candy promise. We had left the parks without getting Padawan the one food treat he wanted so we stopped at the cutest little candy store to get him some where I could not leave without taking a photo of these adorable candy apples! I almost swallowed the sticker shock and got them but knew they would just sit in my fridge forever like a prom corsage cause they were too cute for me to EVER eat!

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We ended our trip at the end of the Downtown Disney district next to the Disney hotel where we found spectuarlly Disney toparies and accomplished one of my goals for the day: find an adorable stuffed Sulley doll for Little Miss. It just happened to be the last gift shop we went into but it didn’t matter, I found one and was super stoked to find it! Every little girl needs at least one special doll from Disneyland.

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While we were away soaking up every little last drop of Disney goodness, the hubster got to hang out with these two guys:

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He was kind enough to take a couple shots of our favorite Monsters (that aren’t are own) that was in the lobby of the hotel he had a work function in (thanks again sweetie!) With our Sulley and cotton candy plunder in our sweaty little hands, we packed up our car and headed back towards the airport to make the trek home. We survived our first family trip (except my feet) and pulled off the surprise of our kiddos lives so ya, I would call it a success!

Going through all these photos makes me want to go back again to have more wonder and magic (and to get another Dole whip float!) I can’t wait to plan another trip back to Disneyland or maybe someday Disneyworld, now that definitely would be an awesome trip! If you could relive one family trip where would it be to? Or where would your dream family trip be? Need a break from the kiddos, where would you take your break at? Me it would be Scotland or the trip we wanted for our honeymoon (a train ride through Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Glacier National Park).

In case you missed the big revealour character experiencethe magic beginningthe continuation of the magic, our California dreams, or our found adventure just follow the links to the previous posts.

Adventure Is Out There!

Now that we are back from lunch, we can continue on with our tour through California Adventure which was quite adventurous! Sorry i just had to use that once and get it out of my system. Before lunch we had taken the time to figure out when the parades would be going through both parks and decided we would rather see the parade at California Adventure than the one at Disneyland so it was back to the California Adventure after lunch.

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We wanted to be able to find a good spot (and avoid the crowds) so we strolled down the amazing little streets towards the parade route. I loved all the old Art Deco style bulidings and old Hollywood style that they created in central part of the park. I could have spent the whole day there just soaking up all the little details, but alas I was there as a mama and had limited memory space on Ansel and these cute faces won over the architecture.

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If you can’t tell in the top photo Padawan is showing off the tooth that he is about to lose (he actually loses later in the day at the park which is kind of cool to think about, I sure never lost a tooth at Disneyland).  We gave Padawan our old point and shoot Nikon to take his own pictures of the trip since I could not find any one-time use cameras anywhere; do they not make them anymore?!?!? Maybe if you are lucky I will show off some of his pictures with ya all, but that is only if you guys behave and laugh at my obviously corny jokes.

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He seems so serious just sitting there and waiting for the parade. Trust me, he lost all seriousness when the parade hit though except for when they hit his sleeping baby sister with the water guns they had going during the parade; ever the watchful big brother.

We were bummed that Little Miss timed her afternoon nap during parade time especially since her favorite movie is Monster Inc. and her hero (besides her daddy and big brother) is Sulley. She does the cutest Sulley impression this side of a closet door.

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The parade was a big hit! Seeing that until recently princess movies were not a staple in our household most of our family night movies were Pixar movies. So seeing all the characters and the amazing choreography (that made me really sad that our little dancing queen was missing all the fun) was totally worth sitting on the hard sidewalk in the hot sun for a good 30 minutes.

Speaking of cute Sulley’s, how cute is the entrance for the Monster’s Inc ride??

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Our Little Miss is even on it. Ok, so it Boo from the movie but Little Miss could be an awful cute Boo with a little monster costume.

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We figured even if our own Boo was still knocked out for her afternoon nap, we had to go on the ride about her favorite movie! You have to hand it to the designers of the rides, they make even waiting in line a part of the experience.  I must admit that the lights that are next to the poster were about to be swiped and stuffed in our backpack, they were so awesomely vintage inspired that they may have made it into a few photos just on their own.  But I won’t bore you with those, instead feast your eyes on the crazy, amazing details like the “Monster” themed vending machines:

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I think this ride was hands down my favorite of this trip. What can I say I am a sucker for a giant blue and purple “kitty” and a cute little girl who likes to hide in Chinese take out boxes.

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Then add in the end of the ride where your hubster gets hit on by none other than Roz; apparently he has a cute little monster and they should do lunch sometime. Yep, hands down the best ride ever!!

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The boys had planned it so that once the parade was over we would hope back over to Disneyland for them to use their fastpasses for a ride (and for this mama to get another heaven in a cup YUM pineapple soft serve). Ok, so it wasn’t in the original plan to get another pineapple float but when you have twenty minutes to kill while your boys ride a ride and there is practically no line it’s hard not to resist this once twice in a lifetime treat.

But before we were able to indulge we encountered this

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Well played signage Disney, well played. What you may ask cause this traffic trouble?

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A whole flock of dancing princesses!! Are a group of princesses called a flock? Who cares! We didn’t account for walking into the end of the parade route but we were so happy we did because one special little princess woke up just in time to see all the princesses go by!
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Such a big girl waving to all the princesses!

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Then this mama’s favorite “princess” came by: none other than Miss Mary Poppins herself.

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We pushed our way through the crowds to the best of our polite Oregonian ability and made it just in time for the boys to cash in on their fast pass tickets, but not before we got in a couple of cute pictures.

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So the boys went off to their ride and the girls got their pineapple yumminess and a short walk around a couple shops. We had a quick snack/dinner that we had packed in before we headed back over to California Adventure (lots of park hopping happening here!) The reason for this park hopping madness: The World of Color water show!

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I know these night photos aren’t the best but I was happy to at least get some that weren’t terrible! If only I had had a tripod to bring with me (and hubster that was willing to cart it around the parks for me), but there is always the next trip!

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When it came time for show we thought we would be safe from getting wet, but we were wrong. There is no dry zone for this show! But the drizzle you feel throughout it is TOTALLY worth it! This show was nothing short of amazing and crazy beautiful! I will admit I got teary eyed it was so beautiful and moving!

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Kudos goes out to the hubster for these shots from his iPhone! Thanks hun!

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And of course, the obligatory selfie of Little Miss and I (told you we got good at them!) It was soon after this photo that Padawan lost his tooth! He pulled it out during the show and thankfully did not lose it on the way back to the hotel.

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We made our way out of the parks even though we could have stayed til midnight (CRAZY!) But we were beat and the husbter had an early morning for a work engagement before we would board the plane and head home. Our second day was definitely full of adventure (planned and unplanned) and we could not wait to crawl into bed with bellies full of pineapple floats, feet glad to be out of shoes, heads full of Tinkerbells and Princesses, and hearts full of memories.

So there it is our Disney vacation (well, not all of it I have a few more posts to share with you all about it). How are you feeling, your feet holding up? Are you ready for a couple other adventures with our crazy little family? Better go grab that coffee cause we plan on sharing a lot more of them with you all!

In case you missed the big revealour character experiencethe magic beginning,  the continuation of the magic, or our California dreams just follow the links to the previous posts.

California Dreamin

When the hubster and I began planning our awesome Disneyland trip, we were faced with a cross roads: do we spend our 2 days in Disneyland alone or split the days between Disneyland and California Adventure? Since neither of us at been to California Adventure we decided to give it a go. And boy are we glad we did! We walked out of our second day wishing we could have spent more time there instead of Disneyland!

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The boys knew right off the bat which rides they wanted to hit up before the crowds started showing up but they still obliged this mama and let her get in some quick snaps along the way to the first ride of the day (which ended being the favorite ride of the whole trip)!

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What was the first ride you ask? Why Grizzly Mountain of course! Cause who would not want to spend the whole day in wet clothes?

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Little Miss and I did not have to wait long to see the hubster and Padawan make their way down and we had taken note on the rafts before theirs when to time and place our camera (and ourselves) so we could get a good shot and not get wet!! But poor Padawan got plenty wet! He didn’t let that damper his good spirits and he was happy for a reason to wear his new rain jacket (where we come from you ALWAYS pack a rain jacket)! See doesn’t he look dashing in it? Poor hubster restorted to holding Little Miss to get warmed up again (not that she minded being out of her stroller).

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Funny thing happened at this park, we saw more characters out and about in California Adventure than we did in Disneyland. Weird right?!? I remember them being ALL OVER the park when I was little and was there. But now it seems they are hidden away and then you have to wait in line for forever (like a ride) just to see them. I miss the old days when photos like these were easier to catch.

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Love Little Miss’ look on her face when she is next to Jessi. It seems she liked Donald more lol.

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We did have to wait in line a couple times for a quick pic with a character or two but no more than 15 minutes so we can’t complain too much. Especially when you add in the cute entertainment we got while waiting: cue the cute dancing nugget we call Little Miss.

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Awe that smile kills me!! She is way too cute for her my own good.

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Then add the hubster in there and I am in serious trouble! Pictures like this one make me want to have another or ten, I am telling you I am in serious trouble with these two.

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Moving on to the rest of the trip. The boys had plans for their next big ride which just happened to be located in Cars Land. The park scape for this “mini park” was so cute and really made you feel like you were plopped right into the movie. It had the leaning tower of tires and all!! The line was nearly a 2 hour wait but the boys were lucky enough to be able to jump the line with the single rider option which turned out to be really really lucky cause as soon as they were done the ride broke down (I swear, it felt like the whole park was constantly shutting down).

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After a high speed race (and a quick nap/nursing session for Little Miss) we bee-lined it for Bug Land. Hahahaha you see what I did there right?!? Please say you do cause sometimes I am worried I am the only one that finds my humor in this blog amusing.

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Again with these two! Too much cuteness going on!

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And then there is this pair: too much crazy going on!

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It was nice to be able to find the little rides tucked away that we could all ride together as a family. The boys were all about riding all the BIG rides, but I was just happy to enjoy the rides we got to do together; that’s what made the trip for me.

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That and cute photo ops like this! I swear, by the end of the trip Little Miss and I were pros at using a heavy Ansel to take selfies.

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We knew after Bug Land that it was time to fed the bigger people in the group (aka the mama was getting ready for our big meal out). And wouldn’t you know you it we just happened onto another ride to do together before our late lunch. It’s like they stratigically place the rides near the exits so you will never leave!! This time we took a trip under the sea and visited my sister’s favorite Princess: the Little Mer-mer (the Little Mermaid to the rest of us).

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Little Miss did not seem to be all that impressed with Princess Ariel, she kept giving me grumpy faces the whole ride. Aunt Kat-Kat, I think we need to do a Little Mer-Mer intervention stat!

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But then somewhere around “Kiss the Girl” someone got awfully quiet.

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A belly fully of mama milk and a smooth ride with nice music makes for a great napping opportunity apparently.

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With a napping Little Miss leading the way in her stroller, we broke from the hustle and bustle of the parks and made our way here for lunch:

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We had decided to eat out near/at the park at least once besides the character meal we did (while packing the rest of our meals but more on that later), and when we saw that there was a Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney we knew we had to eat there. We’ve been to a couple before and we know that Padawan enjoys all the animals everywhere (plus it would probably entertain Little Miss as well) and their food is pretty darn good too (a salad covered in pecans, goat cheese, and strawberries is nom nom in my book).

Whew! So there it is the first half of our second day! I warned you that I had a lot of photos to share and would probably have to do multiple posts for a 2 day vacation! But you don’t mind do you? Pretty pictures are fun to look at, especially ones with cute babies in them, even more so when the cute babies are in Disneyland. Have any of you been to California Adventure? Did you like it more than Disneyland? Why or why not?

In case you missed the big revealour character experience, the magic beginning, or the continuation of the magic just follow the links to the previous posts.