If we had to be up early, at least the weather and sights were nice!
As soon as the park opened, the kids, my parents and I raced over to get the kids set up for Jedi Knight training. This was one of two "must-do's". Thankfully our early rising did not go to waste and we got the kids signed up. Jon ran around to get fast passes and the rest of us headed to Hyperspace Mountian.
We wanted to get this ride in early before the crowds hit. We figured it could go one of two ways with the kids considering it was the fastest/scariest ride in the park:
1. Completely scar our kids for life and give them material for future therapy sessions in which they blame everything on "that time my parents made me ride Hyperspace Mountain"
2. It could go over well and we could turn them into ride junkies.
Oh yes, kids...prepare yo'selves...
Thankfully (and surprisingly) they LOVED it. Andrew came of screaming "That was awesome!"
Next up was this super cute Nemo ride, where you boarded a submarine and went "under the ocean." My dad and I took one look at that claustrophobic capsule and had one word: NO.
We opted for coffee instead.
We hit a bunch more rides and took a photo in front of the castle.
The other "must do" was Peter Pan. You fly through Neverland in these little ships, and the detail was fascinating.
There was ONE ride in the park that Andrew wasn't tall enough for (an Indiana Jones ride). He was a half inch short, so we tried to get creative. I took my socks off and stuffed them in the bottom of his shoes to elevate his heels.
We then spiked his hair up with water. Unfortunately, it still didn't work, and he was SO upset.
The others headed on the ride.
I was going to take Andrew on something else, and then he threw an EPIC tantrum outside of the crowded ride. Y'all. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen him throw a fit on that level. He was screaming at the top of his lungs, took his shoes off, threw the socks I had stuffed in the shoes, and tried to run under the ropes to get in line for the ride. He had a taste of the fun and didn't want to miss out!
I was laughing the entire time because it was SO ridiculous. Strangers were staring, and I ended up having to physically restrain him in the stroller. All over a friggin' ride. UGH. I finally bribed him with a Star Wars treat, and all was well again.
The rest of the group met up with Andrew and I to get ready for Jedi Knight training. I had set my expectations low for the day, but this was a MUST! It lived up to our expectations and more!
Marching into training.
The kids lined up in the staging area, and were each handed a light saber. There was a little show, and the kids were taught some Jedi Knight moves. Video here.
The excitement on Andrew's face made up for the fit he threw earlier.
Not going to lie, when Darth Vader came out, he was pretty intimidating. We thought all the kids would be "fighting" him, but they also brought out Darth Vader's sister (is that even a thing??).
They split the kids up into two lines. Madeline was in line to spar with the sister, and Andrew was in the line to spar with Darth Vader. Right before it was their turn to go, the villains switched spots. You could see Andrew's face drop, but he didn't let it get to him. He was on his "A" game! Video here. Andrew is on stage with the sister, and Madeline is in front with Darth Vader.
This is at the end, when the kids were lined up to return the light sabers. Apparently Andrew was not done with his training. Video here.
After training, it was time for more rides. It had started to get hot, so we opted for Splash Mountain. The kids and I didn't want to get soaked, so we wore our jackets. This picture is hilarious. You can't see Andrew, but he was sitting in front of Jon.
Famous last words: "No one gets soaked on Splash Mountain."
The heat had us fading, and we were thankful for the stroller we rented. (Side note: We rented from City Stroller Rentals because ours wouldn't have lasted 2 flights and all the walking we did. They delivered it to our condo and picked it up on the day we left. I highly recommend them if you're traveling to southern CA.)
We took a little break in the shade.
We then opted for the Haunted Mansion, which is a 10 minute ride in the air conditioning.
Disney is SO pretty!
We rode Winnie the Pooh.
Jon took the kids to get ice cream and I waited in a 45 minute line to get a Dole Whip.
No Disney trip is complete without a ride on "It's a Small World."
While we were waiting in line, I looked back and saw my mom holding this kid. We told her she couldn't take him or his twin sister home.
Oh, look! Jon is texting on "It's a Small World!" (Love you, babe.)
The kids wanted to meet Mickey, so my parents went to get something to eat while we prepared ourselves for a long line. Fortunately, we hit the jackpot and only had to wait 10 minutes to see Mickey!
Mickey was located in Toon Town, which was the cutest area for kids.
Before it got dark, we drove some cars in Autotopia.
Somewhere in there we ate dinner. Unlike Disney World, Disney Land doesn't have any "OMG you MUST eat HERE" places/experiences. Honestly, it was kind of a relief to just do with the flow and not revolve around meal times. Another note: Madeline didn't ask once about princesses until that night. Oh, how things have changed since we went to Disney World 3 years ago.
The picture below might seem like a parting shot. It would make sense considering at this time we had been in the park for 12 hours. But no, my dear friends. You have not traveled with Jon Kleckley. It ain't over until you see the "Main Street Electrical Parade." Say what? The pedometer says you've already walked 14 miles? Suck it up kids, we're on VACATION.
On this day, the park was at 94% capacity and we felt every bit of it. Thank goodness for Fast Passes. We had read that to get a front row viewing spot for the parade on a busy night, expect to reserve a spot 2 hours before. There was no way any of us wanted to sit on a curb for 2 hours. I had read a tip on another blog about a "secret" location at the back of the park near "It's A Small World" where you can show up 30 minutes before for a good spot.
Not so, my friends. We found this ledge/patio area with space, but it was a terrible view. And let's just say out of the 6 of us, three of us (myself and parents) were OVER it. My voice was completely gone, I was on antibiotics, and was exhausted. My mom said she peed out all of her pixie dust. So we all gave Jon evil looks and powered through.
Andrew passed the time by continuing his Jedi Knight training. My mom said the rosary for our sanity.
By the time the parade started, we couldn't see anything. We were basically stuck in the back of the park so we improvised. The kids stood on these light posts. On the other side of the posts was a steep hill that led to a ravine. So my dad was not happy with us that we were endangering our precious cherubs. The picture below says it all. I'm holding Andrew's legs with my back to the parade while rolling my eyes, Jon is holding Madeline's legs on another post, and my dad is standing in the middle with his arms crossed, probably wishing he was on a golf course.
Poppy eventually won the safety war, and he and Jon took turns holding the kids on their shoulders.
And not to sound whiny, but the parade was so not worth it. And it lasted FOREVER. With the same 6 word chorus being sung over...and over..
If one thing was in our favor, it was that the kids had seen fireworks the night before from the roof of the condo, so we didn't have to stay until 9:30 pm to see those. It took us forever to get out of the park, and a glass of wine and ice cream never tasted so good. WHEW!