Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our First Disney Trip

As you all know, we recently went on a trip to the happiest place on earth. I'm sure you know this because you've probably had to listen to me whine and worry over the last six months about how this trip was going to go. Both Jeff and I were pretty scared by an awful trip to Tahoe with Claire back in January were she refused to sleep and we had to take turns throughout the night hanging out on the couch with her, and I mean THE WHOLE NIGHT. I was really concerned about a repeat and since we were going with my mom it would have been even worse if Claire didn't handle it all well. Not to mention Claire also had started throwing a lot of tantrums in the month before the trip. Oh goodness, I was concerned.

Claire ready and excited for her first day. Each morning she'd run to the door and start knocking to be let out.
I got totally misty eyed watching Claire run around the resort when we first arrived. This is one of the first times I've taken her to something that was a big part of my own childhood (and Jeff's). 

Well, my worries were all for nothing. Claire was a champ from start to finish. She was patient about the car ride to southern California, she was a reasonably good sleeper (she would crawl into bed with us around four and find lots of fun positions to sleep in) and she didn't cry on any of the rides. Sure she fussed here and there, but she only got really pissed off once. In her defense though, who wouldn't be upset if you'd just started playing in a beautiful puddle and then were ripped away from it?

Claire is trying to be brave as she got on her first ride, but she wasn't so sure about it.
This is one of my favorites.

Our future oceanographer.
Claire shared our family's generally belief that Luigi's Tire Spin sucked. I kinda liked it.

We took Claire on just about every ride she was big enough for, and she definitely had some she preferred over others. I had read a tip online to start with rides that you think have no chance of being scary so your kid doesn't get afraid of the rides before the trip even starts. For this reason we started with the Jungle Cruise and Claire was in love. She was not particularly fond of spinning rides like the tea cups or Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, but she just held on to me and waited for it to be over. Her favorite ride was probably Dumbo. She LOVED anything that went up and down. Her little feet were kicking and her little bottom was bouncing off the seat the whole ride. Heights certainly din't phase her, as she was happy to ride on the Ferris Wheel at DCA that even grandma wouldn't go on. She was also super excited that the operator let her ride the carousel multiple times without getting off. I was a little surprised that she was really into the new Little Mermaid ride since she hasn't seen the movie, but she loved when Scuttle would show up.
Our merry band of Disney misfits.
Claire had to supervise the belt tightening.
Carousels are super serious business.
Claire wasn't all that interested in meeting characters, but luckily she was just a little shy, not full on afraid. I was really hoping to get a picture of her with Stitch, but I never saw him during our trip. We did stumble upon the Winnie the Pooh characters with no lines though, so we snapped a few photos. 

We tried to get a happy picture of her with Pluto, but she said no.

One thing that was super adorable was Claire's fascination with all the rocks in Disneyland. I never realized just how many little pebbles are worked into the ques for rides, but Claire sure did. As we were waiting to ride Nemo she had to stop and touch all the little pebbles and see if there were any good climbing footholds. We decided that maybe we have a little geologist on our hands.

Claire laughs in the face of pirates. 
I think my proudest moment came when my baby girl made it through Pirates of the Caribbean without getting scared. I might have been a little annoying to the people in front of us because I was talking a lot (quietly of course). I assumed though that they'd prefer a little quiet chatting over a screaming toddler. I warned her about the drops by telling her that we were about to go down a slide, and the second time we went she even raised her little arms up like she does at the park. I think some of the pirate stuff she was just too young to know was scary. For example, she has no context for why skeletons would be spooky. It'll be interesting to see how she responds to the ride when she is a little older.

Ferris Wheel in DCA. Jeff made us do the non-swinging ones. Probably the right choice.
This was my first time going to Disneyland with a kid, and it was certainly a different experience. First of all, Claire wanted to take a four hour nap in the afternoon, but luckily that gave Jeff and I a little time to ride some grown up rides while Grandma relaxed back at the resort. You also just have to take everything slower. We spent four days in the parks and it gave us just enough time hit most things once and our favorites twice. We never made it to Tom Sawyer's island and a few other places, but we've been so many times that it was ok. I think having gone to the parks so much gave us a better chance of enjoying ourselves with Claire because it didn't matter so much if we missed something. We've already done everything enough and I'm certain we will go back plenty of times in the future. I can see how that would have been different if we lived half way across the country and only planned to come once or twice.

Claire getting her groove on at the Disney Junior show.
Going with Claire also resulted in us doing new things, and experiencing the parks from a new perspective. I've never really done Bugs Land, or played in the water areas they have set up for little ones, but Claire thought they were amazing! We also went and saw the Disney Junior show. Even though it was Claire's nap time and she had a very full diaper by the time it was over, she couldn't have cared less. She danced and wiggled and was amazed by the puppets and music.

One final note, I need to say thank God for baby leashes. I used to think they were weird (before I had a kid), but that thing is my new best friend. Claire never fought it, in fact, she'd get excited to put it on because it meant she was about to get to run and explore. My little girl is fast and the parks were more crowded than we expected, so without the leash she would have been stuck either in the stroller or in our arms the whole trip. Claire isn't a big fan of getting in and out of the stroller either, so I think we'll be seeing the panda coming along with us to future zoo visits as well.

And now here are some fun videos from the trip.

 I of course could never catch her on camera when she was excitedly pointing at the stuff she was passing, but she sure was enjoying telling papa about how much fun she was having.

It's a long standing family tradition that the ducks must be fed when we go to the Hungry Bear. Oh and no, we don't feed them our lunch, we bring bread in our backpacks specifically for them. We take this seriously.

Claire enjoyed the little parades and dance moments a lot. I like that in DCA they do more mini parades and character interaction since that fits her attention span better.

For some reason Claire really wanted to sit on the ground and wiggle during the Disneyland parade. This one was actually pretty cool. I especially liked the Mary Poppins float, and Claire was excited to see Rapunzel.

I just love how she talks like she's explaining everything to me and then gets all thoughtful at the end. Putting a toddler in a metal tube that we can't exit early made me a little nervous, but she was entertained the whole time and even started to notice that other people where seeing different stuff through their windows so she tried to sneak peaks.

This is really dark, but Muppets will be going away soon so I thought we should get a little video. She was fairly tolerant of the glasses, but only kept them on for about half the show before she gave up.

I don't know why Claire wants to push kids down who are younger than her, but at least she listens when she's caught. This area was perfect for Claire while we took turns using our fastpasses for Cars.

Claire seemed fascinated by animatronic birds in other rides so we thought the Tiki Room would be a big hit. Honestly, her favorite part was the fountain outside and the dole whip.

And last but not least, Claire got quite a few treats on this trip. We don't even give her juice at home! It was a vacation though, so she got to cheat...a lot.


Gramma Sherri said...

Thanks for sharing your trip. Grampa and I really enjoyed it. It seems like Claire had a really great time.

The Fearless Fickler said...

It was so much fun! And again, she's a genius.