Monday, February 9, 2015

Our 3 Year Anniversary

Rise and Shine!

     We were up early to make it to California Adventure for magic morning! Magic morning is when a designated park is open an hour earlier for hotel guests. We knew we wanted to make it over to check out Olaf's Snow Fest. It was our number one priority since Liam loves his Frozen and he's only met Anna before.
Olaf's Snow Fest
7 A.M. and ready to meet Olaf!
     We walked right into Olaf's Snow Fest and were greeted with this
So Pretty!
     There was no line to meet Olaf. Unfortunately for Liam, seeing a larger than life Olaf when you're half awake wasn't the most fun idea for him.
Liam's not quite sure about Olaf
Liam giving Mama a warm hug instead
     After a not so successful meet with Olaf, we went to go play in the snow. Liam loved this!
He kept picking up the snow and saying "Cold! Cold!"
     There still wasn't a line for Olaf and Liam was able to wake up a little more. So we asked him if he wanted to see Olaf again and he nodded yes. We crossed our fingers and hoped for a better meet and greet. This is what we go:
High fives for Olaf!
     Overall, we absolutely loved visiting Olaf's Snow Fest. We are glad we went straight here during magic morning because as soon as the park officially opened for all guests, there was a long line immediately. It was so calm and quiet when we were in there. Liam had so much room to run around in the snow and we were able to let him roam free without worrying about him getting trampled by other children or adults. We also got to meet Olaf twice! When you visit California Adventure and especially if you, your child, or anyone in your party are big Frozen fans, definitely go check it out!

     When we were done with Olaf, we still had a good amount of time before the park officially opened to guests so we headed over to try and ride Monsters Inc. It wasn't open yet, but we did notice a familiar face and went to line up for Sulley! Liam recognized him and pointed him out from afar, but when it was our turn to say hello, he was not having it. He wanted nothing to do with him and he chose the farthest place to be for the picture!
Liam was not having it!
     Then off to our beloved Animation Building! We had our wedding reception here and it was seriously one of the best nights of our lives. We even have friends still tell us they wish they could relive that night with us! Every year when we've visited the parks, we make sure to take pictures at all the spots we shared amazing memories at during our wedding.
January 19, 2012
D. Park Photography
January 19, 2015
    Of course we headed inside and noticed a lot of changes! First off, "Once Upon a Time" has been changed to Arendelle! We noticed that they added some clips from Frozen on to the screens. Liam loved when Olaf appeared. Then we quickly realized that the Anna and Elsa meet and greet was now inside the Animation Building.
D. Park Photography
Liam cant keep his eyes off of Olaf!
     We quickly headed over to line up in the literally non existent line. What a difference from 6 months ago when we lined up for about an hour to meet Anna. Now we only were in line for about 5 minutes before we were able to meet Anna AND Elsa! It was a major difference meeting Anna and Elsa this time versus when he first met Anna. Before he was shy and would bury his head into my chest. Now, while waiting in line he was singing "Let it Go" and when we finally got up to see the sisters, he had his eyes glued to Elsa the entire time. When the girls paid a little too much attention to Liam, he quickly tried to divert their attention to Calvin by pointing to him and saying "Daddy!". We later noticed that every time he met a Princess and he felt uncomfortable, he would try and direct her attention to daddy. We posed for a picture and you can see that Liam is trying to show his best Elsa with a little hand pose.
Liam loves Elsa
Posing like Elsa
     We then decided to go check out, For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Singalong Celebration. We ended up getting fast passes for the second showing at 10:30 and we had about 2 hours to kill before then. So we headed over to our wedding ride, The Little Mermaid~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Love this ride so much! Liam was more aware of everything and waved to Ariel and Prince Eric at the end. It was the cutest
D. Park Photography
Visiting our wedding ride
D. Park Photography
Liam was intrigued with all the beautiful colors on the ride.
Afterwards, we headed over to Cars Land. I was getting a little rumbly in my tumbly and had to get my hands on my favorite churro bites! Definitely a must have when visiting Cars Land. Head over to the cozy cone and grab yourself some the next time you're there! I'm actually craving some right now.
Even little Liam loved his churro bites so much he had to photobomb my picture!
     Then we saw Lightening McQueen and we had to stop for a picture with him. One of Liam's first words was "car" and that was thanks to his good pals, Lightening McQueen and Tow Mater. So you know we had to go say "hello".
Lightening McQueen
     As we were saying bye to Lightning, Liam kept saying "Car! Car!" and the cast member kept laughing and saying "yes, he is a car!"

     We checked the time and realized it was 10 and we should go over and start lining up for the Frozen singalong. It was super cute and I enjoyed it. Liam on the other hand, he didn't understand that it was a "singalong". In the beginning, he was getting angry at me and everyone else who was singing along. He would mumble some gibberish and swat his hands around as if to tell us to stop. I couldn't stop laughing.

Liam was singing "Let it Go" before the show started
He is so into it
The whole gang!
     When the show was over, we headed out and found someone who was on the top of our list: Doc McStuffins! Liam has been loving Doc McStuffins recently. He loves watching her on TV, he sings along with her theme song, he has a Doc plush that he sleeps with, and he has the figurine set from the Disney store. He loves her. So I dart over and get in line. Liam sees her and gets so excited. He kept screaming "Doc! Doc!" and doesn't quite understand that we have to wait in line. When we are next, he is literally dragging me to go up to her.
Liam couldn't wait!
Fist bumps with Doc
     Soon we realize time is escaping us and Liam's nap time was coming up quick. We decided to head out to grab Liam some lunch, revisit our ceremony venue to take our traditional picture, and then rush back to the room to feed Liam and put him down for his nap. 
     After our family nap, we got back up and headed back into Disneyland to finish off our day. We knew exactly where we were headed first and that was to Liam's favorite ride, Its A Small World. But first we had to stop in front of the castle. Its the standard picture you must take whenever visiting Disneyland!
     Our cruises around the world just keep getting better with Liam. Every time we take him on it, he always does something different. He learned how to say "Small World" this trip and would always ask to ride it. Then we headed over to Alice in Wonderland. My all time favorite movie and one of my favorite rides in Disneyland. Afterwards, we decided to head out of the park to ESPN Zone for dinner and Calvin really wanted to build a car with Liam at Ridemakerz.
Father and son bonding
He was so proud of his car and insisted on carrying it by himself
      I know, how could we decide to call it a night already at the parks? We only did two attractions. It was actually quite simple. When you have an 18 month old, an early flight the next morning, and 10 days in Walt Disney World coming up, it was the easiest decision to make. Our main goal with visiting Disneyland this trip was just to relive our wedding day and that is exactly what we did. We started it off by having lunch and sharing hugs with two very important friends who have become family and who helped make our wedding day unbelievably amazing! It's only natural we always see them during our anniversary! We were able to visit all our special places, plus we got to get in some must-dos for Liam like meeting Olaf and Doc McStuffin. We also made sure we got in Liam's favorite ride and mine since Alice in Wonderland isn't an attraction in Walt Disney World.
     Needless to say, we were excited to begin our next adventure. I was feeling quite anxious about our plane ride because I know my son and I know he has a lot of energy. How were we going to keep him occupied on a flight for 5 hours?! Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

First stop... Disneyland!

     Had to play mommy and daddy this weekend. Poor Calvin has been suffering from extreme tooth pain, but couldnt get an appointment until Monday so he's been down for the count. Lets just say my back is killing me! Mommy life, am I right? But now the boys are in bed, the dishes are clean, the toys are put away, the laundry is finishing up, and I finally have some mommy time. 

    So the first stop of our coast to coast trip was our beloved Disneyland! We started with our first of four flights this trip. Needless to say, my biggest stress of this whole trip were the flights. We have taken a plane before and when Liam was less mobile, he did really well and we had zero problems. The last time we were on a flight, Liam was a little antsy and wanted to walk around. He didn't understand that we needed to sit down. This time I was prepared. I had packed him a little backpack filled with little goodies he had never seen before. 
Liam's goodies for the plane
      In his bag, I included some snacks like his cheddar bunnies, organic apple sauce, and cookies. He usually doesn't get cookies so we included it as a last resort to keep him occupied if need be. Plus, we're on a super fun vacation and vacation means delicious junk food! I also included some books, a little toy, and a play pack. The play packs are amazing! They include crayons, a small coloring book, and stickers. I had also packed different play packs, books, snacks, and toys for the other flights we still had, just to keep everything fresh and new. On our flight to Disneyland, I was able to keep him occupied with a pack of cheddar bunnies and a play pack!

     Our flight was only about an hour long so we were at our destination very quickly. We were picked up by some very dear friends of ours. Bless her heart because it took her and Cal some time to stuff all our luggage in her car. It is definitely not possible to pack light with an 18 month old for a two week long trip. We had two suitcases we checked in, a carry on suitcase, a stroller, a car seat, a backpack, and a diaper bag. It was insane the amount of stuff we had, but we did use pretty much everything we packed!

    Then we were off to our hotel, Paradise Pier. We absolutely love this hotel. For those that don't know, the Disneyland resort has three hotels: the Disneyland Hotel, The Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and the Paradise Pier Hotel. We love all of their hotels and have stayed in each. The Disneyland and Grand Californian will always hold a special place in our hearts because it reminds us of our wedding. Plus each hotel has something extra they offer that appeal to me. For example, the Disneyland hotel is more themed. The bed headboards light up and play "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and the hotel lobby has tea cups that you can sit in while waiting for your party to be checked in. The Grand Californian is absolutely gorgeous and has its own private entrance into Disney's California Adventure park. But our current favorite is Paradise Pier. Yes, it is the furthest of the three hotels from the parks. We found that the easiest way to get to the parks is to cross the street and cut through the Grand Californian. But after having Liam and staying here, it works for us. The cast members have always been so nice and helpful. We also love how quiet the hotel is. When you have a napping baby and two exhausted parents, you need all the quiet you can get to ensure everyone is happy! 

     This time we did have access to their concierge level, known at Paradise Pier as the Beachcomber club. We were actually a little disappointed in this. We had stayed at the Disneyland Hotel before and enjoyed their concierge level. The Disneyland Hotel had more selection when it came to the food that they offered. The set up of the lounge is a lot nicer as well. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the Beachcomber club and I wish I had. We didn't have much time at Disneyland, but we had a full schedule, so we were running around everywhere. I will say that it was convenient to stop by the Beachcomber club to stock up on some water bottles before heading into the park though! Those $3.75 water bottles in the park add up!

    After we checked in, we met back up with our friends and had a delicious lunch at Tortilla Jo's in Downtown Disney. Delicious! Their tableside guacamole is a must have! I swear it was the best guacamole I've had and they make it in front of you! Hence the name, "Tableside Guacamole"! Then we headed over to Build-A-Bear workshop because Auntie Sue wanted to build a snowman with Liam! Thank you again Auntie Sue!
Building Olaf with Auntie Sue and Jacquelyn
   We bid farewell to some of our favorite people and headed back to the room for the three of us to get a much needed nap because we had something fun planned later that evening. We were going to take Liam to watch Fantasmic for the very first time and I was so excited. It is my all time favorite. I remember the last time we were able to watch it was during our babymoon at the Fantasmic dessert party. Liam was in my belly and he was kicking like crazy during the show. It could have been the sugar I had from the dessert, but I'd like to think it was because he enjoyed Fantasmic just as much as I did!

     They no longer off the Fantasmic dessert package that we experienced. I'm actually kind of bummed that they no longer offer it because it was so convenient. You get a dessert tray filled with delicious goodies, drinks such as hot chocolate, and an actual chair to sit on with a great view of the show. Now, they have a variety of options to view the show. They still have a dessert package, but it's a different setup. We didn't do this option, but our dear friends have and I believe they went to the Hungry Bear restaurant to have their desserts there and then were given a fastpass for the show for a preferred viewing area. We opted for the dining packages. 

    There were two options: On-The-Go dining package and the dinner package. We opted for the dinner package. We had a choice between The Blue Bayou and Riverbelle Terrace. Of course we wanted to have dinner at The Blue Bayou. Who wouldn't? But unfortunately, they were all booked. Luckily, Riverbelle Terrace still had availability and we were able to get a reservation there. When we called to make the reservation, we double checked the pricing for Liam. Adults are $41.99 and children between the ages of 3-9 are $21.99. We were assured that Liam would be free. For those of you traveling with a child under the age of 3, your child can eat for free but only from your plate. If you wanted to order him or her a meal, you would be paying $21.99. It was disappointing because we know at Ariel's Grotto, they have toddler meals and Liam would get a macaroni and cheese for free because he was under 3. They do not do this at Riverbelle Terrace. When we asked if they had the toddler meal like Ariel's Grotto, we were informed that the table service part of the restaurant was new and they didn't have something like toddler meals set up. We just could not justify spending 22 dollars on a meal for Liam, so Calvin ran over to Jolly Holiday to pick up Liam a grilled cheese for a much more reasonable price. We weren't upset about this and completely understand that each restaurant has a different setup, we just wish we knew earlier so we could have picked up something for Liam before getting seated. Overall, dinner was good. You get an appetizer, entree, and dessert. For our appetizer, we both had the creamy corn chowder soup. For our entree, I had the pasta primavera and Calvin had the New York strip steak with Cajun shrimp skewer. For dessert, Calvin had the apple pie and I had the chocolate mousse cake. Then at the end of your meal, they present you with a fast pass to the preferred viewing area. 

     We had some time to kill before the show started so we decided to hop on a ride before the show. We had about an hour until we needed to line up. Our show started at 8:45 and we were told to start lining up around 8. Note to self and everyone else, line up earlier! We finished dinner around 7 and noticed that no one was lined up and thought we had time. We jumped on the jungle cruise which had about a 30 minute wait. After we were done with that, we went to line up for the show and it was a mad house. There were so many people and there was no real line. We overheard people in the front saying they've been in line since 7:15. We finally found the back of the line and waited patiently. There were a lot of people complaining at the poor cast members who were trying to get everyone where they needed to be. Yes, I will agree that the system for having everyone line up wasn't very organized and it was easy to get confused, but no one is going to get anywhere if people are stalling the lines and yelling at the cast members. They are trying their best to do what they are instructed to do. Calvin and I were more irritated at the rude guests than anything else. To make matters worse, this big group came at the last minute and created a second line and tried to cut in front of us. Needless to say, they did not get in front of me. I waited in line like I was supposed to and followed directions. We finally found a spot, sat down, and waited patiently for the show. It was AMAZING! All the rubbish we had to deal with in the beginning was a thing of the past and the three of us were in awe of such a magical show! 
I was so excited to watch Fantasmic with Liam!
     Thus ends our first night. We made a mad dash out of the park, straight to our hotel room, into our PJs, and off to bed. The next day was our anniversary and only full day at the parks. We planned to make the best of it. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 6, 2015

I'm Back!

     So sorry for being MIA! Mommy life had taken over and when I finally had some down time, I took the opportunity to get some rest. But I am back and going to try and be better at blogging. It's a new year and a new start! 

   The Tan household started off the new year with a big bang! We did a big coast to coast Disney trip. What do I mean by "coast to coast"? We were going to visit Disneyland here on the west coast and then fly straight to Walt Disney World on the east coast! It may seem like a crazy idea for most, but we're a Disney loving family and it sounded like a fun adventure. That is exactly what it was, an adventure. Now how did we come up with this plan you ask? 

   Originally, we were planning a trip to Walt Disney World with two of our good friends, Jennifer and Peter. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go together but the Disney World travel bug was already planted in my head. So I thought, when else could we go?

   My husband and I have made it a yearly tradition to visit Disneyland on our anniversary in January. We like to revisit our venues and relive our special day. We also like to visit our ceremony venue and take a picture holding a photo from the previous year. It's become so fun to look at! 
3 years and counting
   Well, when researching flights, I noticed that Virgin America would fly from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then to Orlando. Then the wheels started turning. LAX had a direct flight to MCO. Bingo! We'll fly down to Disneyland and celebrate our anniversary as we always do, then fly directly from LA to Orlando! Surprisingly it didn't take too much work to get the hubs on board with my plan and soon I was planning our big Disney trip!

  We were both excited because this was going to not only be Liam's first time to Walt Disney World, but it was also going to be our first big family vacation! Plus, who are we kidding, we missed Disney World too! 

  Stay tuned for how we traveled with an 18 month old coast to coast and survived!