2 days before Christmas while mingling at my work Christmas party with Jeff and my boss, my boss mentioned that he had a few tickets left of his 2016 allotment of 1-day Disneyland Park Hopper Passes. (He's a Club 33 member which gives him some pretty amazing Disneyland perks!)
He proceeded to tell us we should take the kids before the end of the year with his tickets!
What?! Seriously? You wanna GIVE us FIVE tickets to Disneyland?!
Well, for me...it's a no-brainer.
Jeff...well he's much more of a planner...
"What are we going to do with the dogs?"
"Where are we going to stay?"
(This is why I keep him around.)
So we figured out all the details and the Wednesday after Christmas we surprised the kids with a little trip...
I really couldn't tell you of the 3 who was the most excited!
Here's our first pic of the trip. Poor Dominic wasn't feeling so well that morning.
Wednesday: Drive down.
Thursday: Spend as much time at the parks as possible.
Friday: Drive home.
Wednesday after checking into our hotel, The Marriot Embassy Suites Maingate, we took a shuttle to Downtown Disney for dinner and some pre-Disney shopping.
Btw...This hotel was pretty good. I would stay there again.
It's no Disney hotel but it included continental breakfast every morning and it was super clean.
They also provided a shuttle to and from the parks but at a price. *Ergh*
Here's Emma Kate and Emma at the Lego store...
This was Emmy's first time at Disneyland and I was a little disappointed that she wasn't going to be able to do all the fun princess-y stuff that she would've been able to do if we had planned ahead and gotten reservations for certain events, etc... but something is better than NOTHING right?!
The boys playing around in the Rain Forest Cafe gift shop...
We ate at Tortilla Joe's. Yum!! It was such a fun time together!
And we were feeling very silly waiting for the shuttle to take us back to our hotel!
We thought it was hilarious that we had so much energy and were bouncing around laughing while the others around us were WIPED OUT from being at the parks all day.
We joked, "That's totally us tomorrow!"
*And it was. lol*
We were at the park by 7:15 to pick up our tickets and my boss met me in the lobby of the Grand California Hotel to give me his 24 restriction-free-Fast Passes to help navigate the CRAZY CROWDS that we would encounter that day. The crowds were pretty insane but we ended up riding quite a few rides, the first of which was It's a Small World.
We made the mistake when Connor was 5 of taking him on some pretty major rides right away and freaking him out. So we started easy with Emmers.
I've never been to the park at Christmas time...
The tree on Main Street and all the Christmas decor was so pretty!
We had a private meet and greet with Chewy!
And Connor finally overcame his fears of the rides!
When we asked him at the end of the day what his favorite thing was,
he responded, "I overcame all my fears today."
Be still my heart!
(Hyper Space Mountain.)
My poor hubby has "Plantar" something something...(I have no idea how to spell his condition!) going on with his foot and he was in so much pain being on his feet all day.
But when on the rides...
Emma Kate got her first set of Mickey ears!
And met Daisy Duck.
1st time for Connor and Emmy in Cars Land.
Did I mention how pretty the park is at Christmas time?!
We usually don't watch parades and shows but we took a break for a parade in the evening.
The kids sat down below us in the front and we got to enjoy watching them watch the parade.
Disney never disappoints!
(Except for the fact that they're closing The Tower of Terror to replace it with Guardians of the Galaxy. THAT is disappointing! But we did get to ride it before it closed.)
Here's little Emmy as she watched the princesses in lights...
And at about 9:00
she we all (except Dominic) were pretty much toast!
We gave Dominic the rest of our Fast Passes and we called it a night.
Dom closed the park down at midnight.
In that time he rode Indiana Jones twice, Haunted Mansion twice, and Pirates again.
Not too bad!
It was definitely a magical day! It was so awesome to take off as a family, ALL FIVE OF US, without the distractions of home or Christmas or holiday cleanup. The kids have finally reached the ages where they have become awesome travelers and the long hours in the car were even pleasant!
This trip was definitely the highlight of our holiday time together!
*Already trying to plan our next adventure to Disneyland.
Maybe we'll even go back to Disneyworld instead!*