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.

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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.

And the Magic Continues

Let’s see here so far we have spilled the beans on the Ice Cream Man, had breakfast full of a few recognizable faces, and shared the first half of our first day in the most magical place on earth. So let’s get a move on and show you how we spend the second half of that amazing first day!

After a run through of the craziness that is ToonTown, we made our way through the park (and the crowds) to Tomorrow Land. We had been told by friends that the Buzz Lightyear ride is a must and it just so happened to be right next to the Star Wars ride that Padawan was all for doing with the hubster.  We have to admit, our friend (Hi Jakers!) was totally right about the Buzz Lightyear ride being a must! It was so much fun! If I remember correctly Little Miss got the highest score out of all us (don’t know she pulled that one now do we, hubster?!?)

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We played it smart and grabbed fast passes for the Star Wars ride so we had time to kill in the coolest gift shop ever. What you ask makes the collest gift shop ever the coolest? A giant x-wing of course!!

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And the fact that provide the ability to turn the cutest baby in the world into the cutest Ewok this side of Endor, the hubster not so much (love you sweetie!)

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We should have bought that hat, it still kills me that we walked out there without one, but at least Padawan got an ultra cool souvenir from here. He got to build his very own lightsaber (to match his R2-D2 Mickey ears of course!) Only the boys went on the Star Wars ride, this mama was busy nursing and cuddling a baby who was starting to feel the effects of an exciting day.

Our next big hit we wanted to accomplish was the Indiana Jones ride, so from Tomorrow Land (after a quick stop at the most awesomest expo display ever that deserves its own post) we winded our way over to Adventure Land. Where again our luck was not in our favor and the ride line was too long of a wait with a baby so fast passed it we did and then grabbed the next safari boat outta there!

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He was such a trooper through all the crowds and lines, he never stopped smiling the whole entire day I swear! This kid was more than happy and excited to be here!

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As we took the leisurely drive down the Congo River (that’s what I imagine where the ride is supposed to be in the real world), we encountered all sorts of wild life,

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And some crazy natives that our guide told us could be canniabls, frankly I would not want to stay for dinner to find out if that statement was true or not,

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Not to mention some pretty crazy tourists who took the boat ride along with us.

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After all this adventure we were in need of a treat and this mama had earmarked just the treat she wanted (thank you Pinterest!): a Dole pineapple float. I know, I know it sounds bizarre but it is totally worth the long wait in line and totally worth licking the bottom of your cup to get the last drop of soft serve, tropical, pineapple-ly, heavenly goodness.

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The boys were kind enough to endure the long standing line and give us girls the chance to sit down and have some fun playing with the camera together.

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Ya, it is easy to say that I am smitten. I mean, who wouldn’t be she is totally adorable!

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Now our oldest maybe somewhat of a Star Wars nut (he takes after his geeky parents) but he also loves old Westerns, so when he saw an old steam boat straight out of an old John Wayne movie he was all over taking a ride on it. Luck was finally on our side and we were able to catch the last ride of the day.

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These three are what made the trip for me, love them to the moon and back. Now back to DISNEYLAND!!

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I don’t remember riding the steamboat the last time I was at Disneyland and it is not something people tell you “you need to ride this” but I would highly recommend it. Not only is it fun and you see “historic” depictions of the “Great Rivers” and their boats but where else will you see a live game of “Duck, Duck, Moose”?

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I LOVE this picture of him. It captures him so deep in thought and quiet and still, which if you are a mom to an 8 year old boy, you know why it is such a special picture.

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After a peaceful trek along the Mississippi, we went to see about riding Thunder Mountain which was sadly closed for repairs so that coupled with Splash Mountain being down but a damper on our time in FrontierLand. That was until we snuck on over to Pirates! Now I love this ride, and they have even updated it to include my favorite pirate: Jack Sparrow. But Padawan was not the biggest fan of it since it was dark and he could not see the drops coming. I say give him a couple more years and he will right up there with his mama on loving this ride.

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Things started winding down after Pirates and the boys went and used their Indiana Jones fast passes (Padawan liked that one except for it was too dark, I am sensing a pattern here). The kiddos started getting tired, heck mama was getting tired too. As the park started lighting up we slowly made our way back to the entrance so we could catch the bus back to our hotel putting an official close on our first day at Disneyland.

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It was at this point, this mama wished she had brought her tripod and wasn’t beating back the crowds and 2 tired kiddos bedtime so that I could really capture the beauty that the park puts on at night. Little Miss was ready to go to bed that was until she realized we were leaving Disneyland for the day.

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She just had to say “goodbye” one more time before she passed out on daddy’s lap on the bus ride. I may not have captured the nighttime beauty of the park but I was able to capture the sweetest “goodbye” blown kiss ever given. Oh.My.Goodness. I could eat her up I love her so!

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There it is the second half of our first day at Disneyland, that is trimmed down to the best of my ability to overshare all our photos. We can’t wait to share our second day with all you! But first, what rides were surprised to find you liked or disliked? Did you ever imagine that pineapple soft serve would be something so addictively good? Or is there another foodie item you HAVE to hit up as soon as you get inside the park?

Let the Magic Begin

Where did we leave off? Oh ya, we had our awesome surprise and then we had a character filled breakfast and we are all ready to dive into the venture into the parks!! The first day we decided to devote solely to Disneyland and we would spend the second day in California Adventure and if time make our way back to Disneyland for any rides we missed the first day.

And this is where the picture craziness really began. Now Disney offers this new service where at popular picture locations they have their own photographers to take pictures with their cameras, or if you want with yours, but I was not about to hand my Ansel over to a complete stranger who then would probably mess up my settings that I worked hard to get where I wanted so all pictures were done by me and sometimes the hubster.

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Are you getting excited yet?!?!? The next picture is when it really sunk in where we were (not that a breakfast with giant characters running around wasn’t a dead giveaway).

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Padawan was eager to get on a ride and get this party started, but after seeing that most major rides had a waiting line of two hours we decided to start things off slow with rides the whole family could ride. Which really was a great way to start since the lines weren’t too bad and Little Miss was in a pleasant mood with a belly full of Mickey waffles.

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We started off with a little boat ride (Storybook Land I think it was called) and then it was off to one of the most recognizable songs in the world  which everyone has gotten stuck in their head at least once): It’s A Small World.

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Little Miss was all about dancing during the rides, but then again she hears music of any kind and she takes it as an invitation to shake her groove thing. We were just glad she was enjoying the rides and not screaming, it was a win-win for sure!

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Now we were really close to this guy to catch a ride:

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But as soon as we got close enough we saw that the 2 hour long wait in line had changed since it broke down and it was one of the major rides that you can NOT get a fast pass on (boo!) So it was off to another part of the park (picked by Padawan).

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When I went as kid, Toon Town was fairly new and for some reason seemed a lot bigger! Even though it seems to have shrunk over the years it was still full of a lot of little fun and quirky things and rides. Padawan had lots of fun exploring things and riding a couple things with the hubster since Little Miss was still too little and was about to take her afternoon nap (which meant mama could sit for a nice relaxing snuggle fest with her).

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Our first half of our day at Disneyland was pretty darn exciting, we found out both our kiddos LOVE rides and that they are pretty patient little people with large crowds and lines (but then again it’s hard to be unhappy at the happiest place on earth!) I will share the rest of our first day tomorrow since this post is filling up with pictures and I am only halfway through the pictures I earmarked to share for the first day (told I went picture crazy!)

How about you, what rides do you start off with when you go to Disneyland? Do you hit the major ones first? Or are you like us and go and just enjoy the rides and kiddos experiencing them?

In case you missed the big reveal or the our character experience just follow the links to the previous posts.