Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The dream vacation and a Merry Christmas

We started dreaming of this vacation when my daughter was 3.  She wore her princess dresses not only for Halloween, but for making her bed, jumping on the neighbor's trampoline, and even during naps.  After speaking with neighbors and getting tips on what to do with little ones we decided to wait until it was cooler.  Long lines and a little one in 100 degree heat sounded terrible to me.  Well before our hemisphere cool sufficiently I was pregnant with Coleton and so so so very sick.  And then after having him a month early, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Treatment took a year. Follow up took 5.
Bumble Bee at Universal Studios
I honestly thought this vacation would never ever happen. Like Ever.  Especially when the doctor bills started piling up. Just a fact I've learned - the average out of pocket cost for cancer patients with insurance is over $15,000 a year.  Did I mention we were in the middle of building a house during all of this? ya... I was just happy keeping my house. Especially when we hadn't any idea of how expensive it would be for Follow Up care, surgeries, and tests every few months every year for the next 5 years.  

We went on the Transformers Ride 3 times with no wait what so ever. We walked up to the gates inside the building and they ushered us into our "car".  This ride is seriously impressive and so fun! If you go here and it's cold, get the closer parking.  You'll be glad you did.

The Who's of Whoville  - Universal Studios
 The Who's were my favorite of all the characters.  They were so fun and so interactive.  In fact the front Who in the photo above with the dark red outfit and gold band on his hat came to talk to us later while we were in line to see the Grinch show around the tree.  He looked right at my daughter and said, "Why you look just like a little Cindy Lou Who, don't you?"  I think he made her day.  It made mine!
More cute Who's of Whoville
We spent 5 days visiting parks with the Southern California City Pass  
Day 1 - Sea World 
Day 6 - sleep in and relax and make cars at RideMakerz

Don't you just love this Snow Mobile from Cars Land.  So cute! So clever.
Snow Mobile at Cars Land
Get snacks at the Cozy Cone Motel - there was a lady selling cinnamon churro bites who was so much fun to talk to.  She quizzed our kids on the Cars 1 and Cars 2 movies and gave them cool button/pins to wear with cars from CarsLand.

Sleeping Beauties Castle at about 7:30 a.m. It was pretty and quiet.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle - Disneyland
 We were standing in line for Mater when McQueen drove up. We rode on the Radiator Springs Racers ride all three days.  Using the fast pass, it took us about 15 minutes in line instead of the 2-3 hours it took in the Stand-By line or single riders line.
Lightening McQueen in Cars Land California Adventure Disneyland
 The entire town was decorated with filters in the garland and tires for wreaths and hub caps and street signs for decoration. Cars Land was my favorite place.  It was like walking into the movie.  In fact it's even better at night with the neon aglow.  
Radiator Springs Town Hall Christmas Tree
 If you get anything at the Lucky Fortune Cookery, ask for the sauce on the side or children may toss it after 3 mouthfuls. The Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland had exceptional sandwiches AND the best part was they even had gluten free buns so I left there feeling happy and full from one of the best turkey sandwiches I've ever eaten.
Red in Cars Land in California Adventure
And Flo's V8 Cafe was so impressive, even inside.  I can't even describe it.  The oil cans everywhere reminded me of Mater and The Ghost Light.  And the nice thing is that all those Disney photographers will take a photo with their camera for your Photo Pass but they'll also take photos with your camera.  I think we had the same camera (Nikon D7000) or close so it was easy for them to photograph us with it. 
Flo's V8 Cafe Cars Land in California Adventure
 On our way out one afternoon we stopped to get a photo with the visionary, Walt Disney. Bring lunch with you.  Eat dinner back at your place or where ever.  It gets busy the second the local kids are out of school for the day.  The earlier you get into the park, the better and don't leave for a lunch break. Dinner break is better (unless it's hot).
Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue in California Adventure 
And of course, no trip to Disneyland is complete without a photo of a Princess.  My daughter loves Rapunzel.  She was even Rapunzel for Halloween one year.  
Rapunzel from Tangled in Fantasy Land in Disneyland

We had a wonderful vacation.  We walked about 7 miles a day for 5 days.  On the last day there we packed and then walked over to Downtown Disney to the shops and went to Ride Makers to make some Christmas gifts.  Our experience there was perfect.  And we love our Cars cars.  

If you want a sit down meal, get reservations or you'll wait 2 hours. Our last evening we ate here. Even with reservations we still had to wait 40 minutes.  The food was good.  And the cowboy could really sing and yodel.  The cowgirl was trying too hard and came across kinda pushy.  

THE COOLEST THING ever was the ride back to Downtown Disney on the MonoRail.  Mandy Monorail - painted up by Ramone from Cars.  We got to sit in the nose of the monorail with the Captain.  We just had to ask.  I was smiling from ear to ear!

Well, that's a quick summary of our dream vacation.  It's the kind of vacation you come home from and need a nap or a day to sleep in at least.  It was go, go, go.  But it was fun.  My daughter said to me as we stood in line for the last ride - This is the best week of my life! And I'd have to agree.  We had fun and we enjoyed each other's company and we had more fun.


Mindy Blake said...

How fun! I am glad you finally got to go! This makes me excited for May! Santa gave us tickets to Disneyland! Thanks for all of the great advice!

Rhonda Gales said...

Happy New Year. How exciting, your photos are beautiful. I must take my grandson there, that is every child's dream. He is a huge Cars fan, and would love it. Glad you were able to take your dream vacation.