Tuesday, April 30, 2013

California - Part 2

Part 2 of our California trip 


Being an absolute Disney fanatic, I was beyond excited to go to Disney Land.  I turned into a five year old again....but you're supposed to do that at Disney, right?! 

The kids have been to Disney World a ton in their little lives.  We are very fortunate to have such an amazing tourist attraction only an hour from our house.  Since I grew up in Florida, I feel like I know Disney World like the back of my hand.  I couldn't wait to see how California did Disney.  We had such an amazing time.  There are a few attractions that are at both Disney World and Disney Land.  Our game plan was to stick with just the things that we could not do back home so that we could do both parks in one day.  

We got to Anaheim and checked into Disney's Paradise Pier hotel.  Thank you Mom so so so much for hooking us up with such an awesome hotel through the Disney Vacation Club.  Staying right on the Disney Land property was the way to go.  Both parks and Downtown Disney are in walking distance of the Disney hotels.  Once we parked our car, we were done.  This is so different than Florida.  In order to get anywhere down here you have to take a bus, tram, monorail or drive yourself.  Both parks were so small than what we were used to.  I liked this because we were able to do everything we wanted in both parks in just one day. We were taking the red eye home that night so we had to pack a lot into just one day. 

We left of hotel in San Diego at noon on Tuesday and headed North. The drive was so beautiful.  Gorgeous water and mountains.  Pictures just cannot capture the true beauty. 

The boys were asleep within minutes of leaving. They missed the beautiful scenery...but naps were much more important!! :) 

Our hotel - Disney's Paradise Pier.  It was such a cute beachy themed hotel. They boys LOVED the beach ball pillows on the bed.  

This is Brenton's face when he discovered that Donald Duck was on the wall. He was SO HAPPY!

Checkin' out Donald. 

Fun with the beach ball pillows!

After settling into our hotel for a few we decided to walk to Downtown Disney to shop and grab some lunch. 

Brenton is pointing at a big sign that had a picture of Lightning McQueen.  He was yelling "nite-ning!"

The boys clapping at lunch 

Me and my boys at lunch (Brax has a mouthful...silly kiddo)

After lunch the boys wanted to go into the car store.  At this store you pick out the body, wheels, rims, etc. to create your own model car or remote control.  It was set up just like a body shop.  The kids were mesmerized.  We didn't get a car this time - we had so much stuff to fly back with already.  They were both satisfied just watching the cars being made --- and we were totally fine with that! ;) 

Little B spotted a Mickey Mouse. 

Showing Braxton what he found in the window.

The kids had so much fun at lego land.  They didn't want to leave. 

We spent a really long time playing with legos and watching the bigger kids race lego cars. Mike lured the kids away from the lego store by telling them we could go to the candy store.  I think Daddy really wanted some candy.....

I loved the Lightning McQueen carmel apple.  I've seen the Minnie and Mickey ones lots of times - but the Lightning was a first for me.  I was trying to talk one of them into choosing that....it didn't work.  We ended up with a big ol bag of jelly beans! They were thrilled with their choice, and that's all that matters! :) 

Our friends, Todd and Kelly, moved just outside of LA a couple years ago.  They invited us over to their house in Hermosa Beach for pizza.  After walking around Downtown Disney for a while we headed over to see our friends.  I turned around while we driving and saw the boys holding hands.  Mike and I just melted.  They love each other so much and it just warms our hearts to no end! 

The boys being silly before we headed to the theme parks Wednesday morning. They are so funny!

First stop....California Adventure! 

Disney has recreated the town of Radiator Springs from the Cars movies.  Out of all the Disney movies we have watched with the boys, Cars is the one we have seen the most.  Since we have seen it so much, Mike and I could see all the attention to detail Disney put into making Cars Land.  We were so impressed! It truly looked like the movie came to life. 

Lightning and Mater drive around through Cars Land all day talking to people walking by. So fun! 

Mike and Braxton on the tire bumper cars.

Brax posing. My little model, haha! 

Our family on the Little Mermaid ride (this was my favorite ride!) 

Walking into the Monsters, Inc. ride

Entrance to California Adventure. 

Walking into Disney Land

Ok...so maybe we are a bit spoiled by Disney World.  When Mike and I walked in and saw this castle we were both surprised.  Mike says to me "whoa...that's it?!" It was beautiful...just small.  Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom is so huge.  You can see it from almost anywhere in the park (and see it from different hotels too!).  It was a shock to see how little this castle was. 

Riding rides with the boys.

So our plan was to only go on rides that were unique to Disney Land.  After seeing It's a Small World, Brax and I decided we HAD to go.  It is, after all, the original.  I'm so glad we went on it.  It was a little different than the one down here and included a whole section of underwater animals (even Nemo, Dori and the Little Mermaid made an appearance!). Brenton was so tired.  Mike walked around with him til he fell asleep while Brax and I were on the ride. 

We came out of the ride to this sleep little bug.  His legs look HUGE in this picture, haha! He's such a peanut -- but he has thunder thighs in this pic! 

Braxton was able to play at Goofy's playground while Brenton finished snoozing. 

One ride Braxton really wanted to go on was the Finding Nemo Submarine ride.  Brenton was still snoozing so Brax and I went together.  It was definitely a good thing that just he and I went, it was super tight space with small windows and you were packed in like sardines.  Mike would have been sick as a dog! It was almost our turn to ride and he fell asleep in my arms.  I tried everything to keep him awake, but he was OUT.  Right as we sat down in the submarine I was able to wake him up.  Below is his sweet little face when he first woke up.

He loved this ride.  It was really cool to see all the fish and familiar faces from the the movie Finding Nemo.  I'm glad I went -- even though I was quite claustrophobic! 

A sweet lady on the monorail took a family picture for us.  I'm so glad she offered, I never ask anyone...this ended up being my favorite photo.  At my favorite place with my favorite people.

We still had some time before we had to leave for the airport, so we headed back to Downtown Disney for a bit.  

One of my favorite treats in the world are good ol New Orleans beignets.  
   There was a New Orleans themed restaurant that we stopped at so we could grab a yummy bag.  The boys had so much fun eating them.  We had powdered sugar everywhere! 

We walked over to the Grand Californian Hotel to hang out and kill some time.  We had about an hour before we really had to head to the airport.  They had little chairs set up with Disney movies playing in the lobby.  The boys relaxed before our long journey home. 

Time to head to the airport!

I couldn't leave California without hitting up an In-N-Out Burger.  My favorite, favorite fast food joint, EVER. Mike and I ordered milkshakes to share with the boys....

Here are the boys with our milkshakes....their milkshakes.  They sucked them down so fast that Mike and I each only had a sip or two! I'd say they loved In-N-Out as much as their momma! :) 

Ok...time to fly home.  We flew out of LAX at 11:15pm.  Our sweet boys were so incredibly tired.  They were beyond troopers.  Our plan was to not let them fall asleep until they got on the plane.  Fortunately, they had adjusted a bit to California time, but even so, they were tired.    
Brenton looked so funny.  He sat like this for the longest time in the terminal. 

Everyone stay awake! You too, Daddy!! :) 

Finally on the plane to start our journey home. 

Both boys were asleep before the plane took off.  They stayed asleep the entire flight.  I was very nervous when we booked our flight about taking a red eye.  It turned out to be the best plan, ever. They were perfect! 


As we flew home I snapped a few pics of our view. California is a beautiful state.  The lights were so gorgeous as we left.  

We arrived in Tampa just in time to see the sun come up.  The kids only had about 5 hours of sleep so they dozed on and off the drive home. 

Here they are when we first arrived at home around 7am.  They were so tired. So jet jagged.  So crabby....we all were! I really can't complain, they were the best little travelers.  They made their Mommy and Daddy so proud! Shortly after this pic I got them both tucked into their own beds where they took the best naps.  There isn't anything like coming home to your own best.  

I loved every minute with my family in California - but nothing compares to home! :)