After we got cleaned up from the beach, we headed up to the Desert Inn hotel in Anaheim with Grandma Coco. The kids had no idea why we were staying there or where we were going; they just sort of went with it. Finally, after eating a simple dinner of sandwiches in our hotel room (which was directly across the street from Disneyland), we all took a pleasant evening stroll. I filmed the kids as Isaac read the sign that was across the street:
The nice thing about going right after Labor Day is that all the kids are just starting school, so the parks are very uncrowded. Most rides had a wait time of 5-10 minutes, just enough time for little ones to play a quick game of Squish Daddy's Face.
My friend Julie also has a pass and was able to join us in the afternoons on Monday and Wednesday. The boys adore her and Elinor tolerated her (which is high praise indeed for this shy girl). It was fun to have a friend along, and she was (and always is) a fantastic help with the kids.
Isaac was the only one tall enough to ride most of the roller coasters (Sammy was about an inch too short - drat!), so we took him while the younger two were at the hotel. His first-ever roller coaster was the Matterhorn, which he LOVED! Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain (Space Mtn. was closed) thrilled him perhaps a bit too much; once was enough for him on each of those. He was so nervous about Grizzly River Run but ended up loving it and wanting to ride it multiple times.
In general though, the slower rides were more his (and everyone's) speed.
I worked at Disneyland my senior year in high school. My friend told me about auditions they were holding for an attraction called Innoventions, so I auditioned and got the job. It was a really fun job, but I could never recommend the attraction to people because it was so lame. Disney apparently got the memo, because they made a huge overhaul at some point since and now the top floor is all Marvel superheroes - awesome!
And let's not forget about the food! Favorite food by far this trip: the Matterhorn Macaroon! This isn't my picture (I was too busy stuffing my face with these beauties to bother with cameras!), but you can see how darling and decently sized (especially for only $2!) it is. And the white chocolate coating? Fuggeddaboutit! So. Good.
Of course, there were the usual other treats: Dole whips, churros, corn dogs. We regret not getting around to picking up a mint julep or beignets this time, as the lines were always too long. Hazardous consequence of 90-degree weather. Seriously, 4 days and we couldn't manage a single julep! Alas. But we did find a few other new favorites: the lemon honey cupcake at the Hungry Bear Restaurant, the apple-cheddar pie at Flo's V8 Cafe, the pear soda at the Cozy Cone, and these delightful create-your-own ice cream bars from Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream (I got the berry sorbet with dark chocolate coating and blue raspberry pop rocks. Yeah.).
We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the California park. When we were originally planning our trip, we were going to get 3-day one-park-per-day passes, thinking we'd spend two days at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure. I'm so glad we got the 4-day park hoppers, because we ended up spending slightly more time at California Adventure than Disneyland.
Basically, this was the perfect trip. Everything fell into place to make it as stress-free as a theme park vacation can be. We even got to inadvertently experience Dapper Day on Friday: a day when people dress up... uh... dapperly to go to the parks. We miss it already and can't wait to go back in 4 years!