A week and a half ago, Caden, my parents, and I went down to California to enjoy all that Disneyland has to offer at this time of year. It was a short trip but filled with memories nonetheless. We flew down early in the morning (6 a.m. – eek!) on JetBlue (fabulous deal – $100 roundtrip!) into Long Beach, snagged our lovely rental car and drove straight to Disneyland – after a stop at the local IHOP for breakfast. When you walk into the front gates you have to take the obligatory picture by the Mickey Mouse head. And Goofy just so happened to be there so we were able to add him to our crew.
As you come around to the square that opens up onto Main Street, you are immediately struck by the gigantic Christmas tree that is a center point of attention. Garland and wreaths and giant ball ornaments decorate everywhere you look and it always gives me the chills. Strains of Christmas carols can be heard through the air and the smell of the candy shop entices you in for a bite.
We headed straight on over to Caden’s favorite ride, Buzz Lightyears Blasters, after which we spent the next couple of hours going on everything in Tomorrowland (gotta love that Space Mountain!). I had made lunch reservations for us at The Blue Bayou, the charming eatery that lines the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (which we actually rode before we went to eat). They are famous for their Monte Cristo sandwiches and all I have to say is they are soooo good!
We pretty much hit nearly every ride we wanted to go on that day in Disneyland. A favorite for us was It’s a Small World at night. The light show is incredible! I’ll have to see if I can get the video to post here. Unfortunately for us it was a little windy and it had been a tad bit rainy (not too bad) so they had to cancel the fireworks. Saturday we headed out to Disneyland for a couple of hours before switching back to check out California Adventure. I took my parents straight on over to Soarin’ Over California because I knew it would be a hit. My dad thoroughly enjoyed it and said he could have ridden that ride all day long. For those who have never been on it, it’s a simulated flight over the state of California and it’s absolutely entertaining! You feel like you are actually outside experiencing each flight segment – orange groves (you smell oranges), ski slopes (the wind on your face), kayaking down a river (the smell of pine). It’s a sensory rush that you should experience sometime in your life.
We hit the Aladdin show and again, just about everything we wanted to do in CA Adventure. One ride I had never tried because Caden had been too small was the California Screamin’, a rollercoaster that is long and winding and admittedly made me nervous when I was waiting in line to ride. It was more of a claustrophobic reaction because the restraints come over your shoulders and push you down into the seat. But once my dad and I got going, it was a riot!! Loved it, loved it, loved it and I could hear my dad screaming during the entire ride, “Oh, yeah! This is good! Whoohoo!” Nothing better than watching your parents act like children. 🙂 Nice to know we are all really young at heart.
I had to take my parents back to the airport around 5 p.m. but Caden and I came back to the park and were able to watch the fireworks and Fantasmic shows that night. Also, since it was a bit cooler than normal, even for Californians, it wasn’t really that crowded. Caden and I had a boat all to ourselves in Pirates of the Caribbean!
The next day we relaxed a bit at the beach – Caden playing in the sand and surf and me enjoying a good book. That night we were able to go see a musical that I’ve been absolutely DYING to see since I first heard the music a few years ago: WICKED. I was able to snag some really awesome seats and so we headed from Anaheim to Hollywood to the Pantages Theater to enjoy a jaw-dropping performance of the true story of the Wicked Witch of the West. All in all, it was a great quick trip to California, an early Christmas gift to Caden from me. I decided a few years ago that Iwould do this every other year (if possible) as his gift because the memories that are made last so much longer than a plastic toy I could have bought. Think about it for your own family. It could become a new holiday tradition!