We celebrated Grant’s 9th birthday at Disneyland over the weekend! We had an awesome time (until he got smacked with the flu bug and we had to cut out trip short.) Boo. We will be taking him back for a “re-do” of Disney’s California Adventure, but today I wanted to share our trip to the original Disneyland park with you.
Please prepare for photo overload!
As I previously mentioned, we live about 20 minutes from Disneyland, but we hadn’t taken Grant yet! What…? Last week we surprised him with the news that he wasn’t going to school, but instead was going to go to Disneyland for 2 days and was going to get to stay in the Disneyland Hotel. (Now we know that his subdued reaction on this video was due to the fact he was getting sick.)
I had forgotten the excitement of walking through this arch and onto Main Street…
I had forgotten the excited chatter about where to go first (and why, OH WHY are the grown-ups moving so slooooowly!!??)
Seeing all of this through Grant’s eyes brought tears to my own.
We got there right at 8:00 when the park opened and we just walked right onto the Indiana Jones Adventure, the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, and then a short wait for Space Mountain, which he LOVED.
For the more popular rides, I highly recommend that you use the Fast Pass system, which lets you grab a special ticket that allows you to get in a shorter line later on in the day. We grabbed a Fast Pass for Star Tours and then headed for the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Grant is a little daredevil!
The Matterhorn was a big hit, and he thought the Seagulls from Finding Nemo were hilarious (“Mine! Mine! Mine!”)
He enjoyed the Submarine Voyage quite a bit. (Our shaky little Vine video.)
From the moment he saw the Astro-Orbitor (or, from when I was a kid “The Rockets”) he wanted on it. We had to convince him that we needed to go to the rides that would have longer lines as the day went on first, then we could come back to that. I don’t love heights, so he went on with Dad. He was one happy camper.
He was also thrilled to learn that he met the height requirement to drive his own car at Autopia. Unfortunately, he was not quite tall enough to keep the gas pedal pushed down as far as he wanted.
About this time, we could tell that the poor guy was losing steam. He was getting a few sniffles and was looking tired. We decided to ride the Disneyland Monorail (which I had never been on before) over to Downtown Disney and have some lunch. We were all ready to get off of our feet and decided on a sit-down lunch that would still keep Grant entertained. We opted for the Rainforest Cafe (which, if you’ve never been is very cool… tons to looks at and every 30 minutes there is a “thunderstorm” and all of the jungle animals come to life.)
Grant had a big lunch and a ginormous birthday dessert.
And what happens after you’ve been up since 5:30 in the morning, walked around Disneyland while running on adrenaline and then ate a big meal…? You get sleepy, of course.
This right here? Not a problem. Because we decided to go ahead and Vacation Locally. We stayed right next door at the Disneyland Hotel, so he could get a quick power nap. (OK, Mom needed a nap too, but whatevs.)
|This was the view from our window on the 10th floor.|
This hotel is beautiful. They describe it as a “modern look of classic Disney” and that certainly is a great description. It’s retro and fun. The lobby is fun and whimsical, and they made Grant feel like a VIP!
I love this photo!
The rooms are serene and pretty, but there are very whimsical touches everywhere. From the lighting and hardware in the bathrooms, to the hidden Mickeys throughout, it’s a fun place to be.
The panel above the beds lights up and I challenge anyone to “un-see” the Mickeys in the carpet once you see them. The concept of staying in a hotel so close to home might seem a bit silly at first, but it made the weekend extra special for Grant and made it extra convenient for mom and dad. It was fun for all of us.
Rested up, we headed back to the park.
Disney’s attention to detail is amazing. I have to say that one of my favorite moments of the day came while we were standing in line for Peter Pan’s Flight (one of my favorites from when I was 9) Across the way is Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and every few minutes or so, the Wicked Queen would part the curtains in an upper window and stare down at the crowds. I don’t think that Grant was scared, but he was certainly captivated and kept a pretty vigilant look-out for her as we moved through the queue.
During the summer months especially, we can hear the Disneyland fireworks from our house. (It’s how we know it’s 9:30, actually.) We were able to get some great seats, right in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for the Remember… Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular. Can I just tell you that this was no ordinary fireworks show… I think “spectacular” is an understatement. There was music, drama, narration and songs from popular rides and movies…Star Wars, Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean… The Haunted Mansion portion of the show made Grant actually gasp out loud. (See if you can tell which face was his scared/surprised face below…)