The week of her birthday, on a Tuesday, we had a small gathering of some of her friends from church come over for pizza and cake. She chose to have a FROZEN theme birthday and honestly, even though it was small and at our own house, it was just as fun as some of the enormous birthday celebrations we have had for her at bounce houses and birthday places in the previous years.
We would be leaving on our trip on that Friday morning, so on Thursday, I took cupcakes to her class and they sang happy birthday to her there. (I felt that would also make up for the small crowd at our house since she wanted to invite EVERYONE)
Brian or I had never been to Disneyland, only to Disney World, so this would be new to everyone.
The reason why we decided to do Land over World was because my sister's in-laws live in California about 30min away from Disneyland. They absolutely love my girls (since they don't have g-kids of their own yet) and have been wanting us to come out there and stay with them. Also about the time we where planning our trip, their middle son, Jimmy, got a part time job at Disneyland, so he came with us a couple of days and kind of gave us the ins and outs of the park.
Our trip out there went ok. It was a 4 1/2 hour flight and Reese slept about 30min of it on my lap. The rest of the 4hrs where spent shuffling her between Brian and I taking turns trying to keep her entertained. Before we left, I downloaded some apps for Maddie on the ipad and that pretty much took care of her.
Saturday morning, March 1st, Maddie's 6th birthday, we got up early and headed to the park as planned. What was NOT planned was all the rain California suddenly decided to get after weeks of a drought. Of course it WOULD rain the weekend we where there. Back in January I made reservations at the PLAZA INN to have breakfast with the characters especially for her birthday. Another best decision ever made.
Even though I made a reservation, we still had to sit on the patio, which was ok, just not what I had visioned. The curtains where down so we didn't get cold or wet and the Characters made their way just fine outside to see us and Maddie never new the difference. The breakfast was a buffet of ALL kinds of food including mickey mouse shaped waffles. Maddie really liked those.
We spent the rest of the day walking around, riding rides and trying to avoid the rain. We spent part of this first day at California Adventure, which was just across the way from Disneyland. This was a fun park too, but Maddie was not able to do several of the rides, and with the non stop rain, we spent a lot of time just hiding out, trying to not get to wet.
In California Adventure we saw A Bugs Land, and also Cars, which was just amazing. We also saw Monsters University. I know there was probably more for us to see, but the rain made it quite impossible to do much else.
Fortunately I was able to get Reese take a nap in the stroller while we where there. She would sleep for at least an hour, and that was enough to get her through the rest of the day and into the night so we could stay as long as we could.
We spent 3 total days at the park and we had so much fun. My feelings comparing the two parks are as follows: Disneyland was perfect for the age of our girls. Maddie was able to ride just about all rides except for maybe a couple. She was even able to ride Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and absolutely loved them both. Reese was also able to ride several rides, and the ones she couldn't Brian and I where able to switch off waiting in line and riding a ride with Maddie, while the other waited out with Reese. When the ride was over, the parent riding stayed with Reese while the other parent got back into a no-wait line with Maddie to ride the ride. This was awesome. That way we where all able to ride the rides and not waste any more time waiting in line.
I would like to go Florida when the kids are older and would be able to experience all the parks that Disney has to offer there. I think it would have been a waste of money for us to pay for things and not be able to enjoy them because our kids would have been to small. These parks where perfect.
Maddie was able to meet several of the princesses and this just totally made her day. She met Cinderella, Anna, Ariel, Aurora, Mulan and several characters at the breakfast and then later through out the park including Mickey, Minney, Daisy and others. This age was perfect.
Along with visiting the parks, we also took a small tour of Southern Cali. We went to LA and Hollywood, which actually was not impressive and quite trashy. Not at all what I had imagined, they warned us, but I just couldn't imagine going to California and not experiencing the stars walk of fame. I wanted to tour the Dolby Theater, but they where still cleaning up from the Oscars from the night before, so we weren't able to go in. But I did take a picture with Mr. Oscar who was still standing outside.
After Hollywood, we went to Beverly Hills and took a picture in front of the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. We would have gone inside, but we had the girls with us so we didn't. Instead we drove down Rodeo Dr. and had lunch at a Cheesecake Factory.
After lunch we drove down to Santa Monica and walked down the pier and on the beach. Its not the most impressive beach I have ever seen, but iconic non the less. Maddie didn't know the difference and it was to cold to spend to much time there anyways. To my surprise Reese didn't like the beach. I don't know if it was the sand or the cold water, or a combination of both, but it was funny to see her.
I have so many more photos but I would be here all night.
We had a great trip, even though it wasn't a "relaxing" vacation on the beach, we had so much fun and I cant wait till Reese is old enough for us to do it again so she can experience it like Maddie did.
Our trip home was a little better, Reese slept 1 1/2 hrs on my lap which was better then the first time around, and after being gone from Friday-Wednesday, we where all ready to be home. It was a great vacation AND 6th birthday.