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!


  1. aw, can't wait to read about the rest of the trip! lucky liam :)

    1. Thank you so much for reading along Annie! The next part should be up shortly.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that Cal had tooth trouble this weekend. That sucks. I hope it's nothing serious! Anyway, I LOVE the PPH too. I know it's not the fanciest but they've always been the kindest and that's why they have a special place in my heart. I haven't done the new Fantasmic packages so I appreciate your review. It sounded like a madhouse, but I'm glad you were able to get through that craziness and enjoy the show. How sweet that Liam was kicking you from the inside the last time you watched it. I too believe it was because he was enjoying the show. :D Also great idea about setting up a little backpack for him to keep him occupied. I love that's Mike from Monsters. So cute!