Madeline was actually the first one up..AT 4:45 AM. She acted as our alarm and turned on the light next to her bed (which was more like a spotlight). I pleaded with her to go back to sleep. Jon couldn't go to sleep, so he went for a walk. He said on his way back to the room (sometime in the 5 am hour), he was walking down the hall, heard a thud, and a kid screaming. So even though our day started early, I'd say it was a better start than others had. My dad went for a walk around 6, and said there were over a dozen dads on laptops in the lobby (and it was a Saturday). The rest of us got dressed and twiddled our thumbs until the hotel breakfast buffet opened at 7 am (9 am Texas time). We (ok, I) wanted to be first in line, because the only thing grosser than a buffet is a buffet in a hotel packed with kids (judge away, angels).
I didn't have high expectations for the breakfast buffet, but it was outstanding: every breakfast related egg, carb, fruit, smoothie and drink combination you can imagine. Andrew, our breakfast expert, was in heaven. And he ate most of what you see in this picture.
After breakfast we had 1.5 hrs to kill before the park (which was literally feet away) opened. We packed up, and let the kids play in the lobby. After announcing the night before that "there was no way my kids were touching that Lego pit", I was overruled by the three other (crazy) adults I was with.
We took pictures with the Lego pirate.
The kids played on the Lego pirate ship for awhile while us adults sat and drank our coffee.
The park opened at 9:30 and we were off!
On day #2 we hit the Star Wars jackpot! A new Star Wars exhibit had opened a few days before, and Andrew was thrilled. We haven't let him watch the "real" Star Wars movies, but he's read tons of books and has seen the Lego Star Wars movie 89734839 times. He knew what all the exhibits were, and couldn't contain himself from one place to another. Video here. Side note: You might notice I was starting to lose my voice. This had never happened to me before (shocking, right?). We all said it must have been the amount of times I was yelling "Andrew" because the kid was like a hyperactive butterfly going from one thing to the next (and was like this the entire trip).
At the center of the park was Mini Land USA. There were replicas of San Francisco, New Orleans, DC, Las Vegas, NYC and others. We took our time looking at the models, because one was more impressive than the next. To get an idea of the size, look for people in the background...
....like Jon. On his phone.
We rode a few more rides.
Madeline built and raced a lego boat.
After lunch outside, we had seen it all and decided it was time to head to Anaheim. The middle seat looked like this for the hour long drive, myself included.
Since we planned our trip only a month before, most of the hotels in the area were sold out. The Disneyland hotels aren't anything special (like Disney World) and were ridiculously expensive, so I ended up finding a condo within walking distance to the parks on AirBNB. It worked out GREAT! We got a 2 bed/2 bath condo with a kitchen for less than half of what a "moderate" hotel would have cost. I'll definitely look into this option when we travel in the future. Having a kitchen, living room, etc is so nice when traveling with kids.
We checked in, and Andrew got busy working on a Lego set he picked out at Legoland.
That evening I wasn't feeling that good, so I stayed back and rested while everyone else went to Mass and the grocery store. We were able to call in an order from The Cheesecake Factory, and my dad and Jon walked a block to pick it up so we could eat in the condo and not have to worry about a busy restaurant. We ate dinner, and went over our plan for Disneyland the next day.
Sidenote: If you've been reading here for awhile, you might remember the HOURS I spent planning our Disney World Trip a few years ago (Go to November 2013 to read those). The planning made the trip easier, but this time around, I did not have it in me. Nada. Nothing. Maybe I'm becoming less uptight??? (ok, maybe not). There was not a spreadsheet to be seen this time around (shocking). The week before we left, Jon took the reigns and spent every evening/night working on a plan for us. So THANK YOU, my sweet husband, for taking over.
ANYWHOO. I went to bed early, and the rest of the group headed to the roof of the condo building to watch Disneyland fireworks.
We all crashed and needed our beauty sleep, because when Jon Kleckley is in charge of a day in a theme park, you better be well rested!