Our day at Disneyland was really wonderful, and even magical, if I may use that word. A smile crept on to my face when we first boarded the subway with the Mickey Mouse head-shaped windows, and I feel like I was still smiling 12 hours later when we left the park! Three things made it particularly wonderful: my husband's preplanning, the sunny weather, and my kids doing very well. (By that I mean everyone enjoying themselves, no major discipline issues, Christin eating and sleeping on a normal schedule, etc.)
The day we were traveling to Hong Kong, John spent some time planning our day at Disneyland. He went into detail, thinking of how long it would take us to do certain things, where we should go at what time of the day, and generally giving us a structure for the day. At first I thought that seemed silly and would take the spontaneous fun out of the day, but actually it really helped! And for once, things actually went according to plan!
We arrived just as the park was opening and first on our list was to go and see the princesses. We had heard that they came out of their castle only at certain times, and so we were thrilled to see four of them lingering around the castle with basically no lines. Each of them took special time with Clara Anne (Chloe was feeling shy and so we didn't force her) and talked to her so sweetly. Clara Anne was still in wonder as to what was happening, so didn't react with great excitement, but at the end of the day when we asked her what was the favorite thing that she did, she responded, "meeting the princesses!" Actually, the day before she had said to me, "Mommy, that was too bad about what happened to Sleeping Beauty, how she pricked her finger on the spinning wheel. I'm real sorry about that." I told her, well, when you meet her tomorrow you can tell her so, Clara Anne! But when she met Sleeping Beauty she just shyly greeted her and couldn't think of a thing to say, of course!
The area all around the Castle was where we spent the majority of the morning. We seemed to stay slightly ahead of the crowds which was wonderful! It was steamy and hot out but we alternated some outdoor activities with indoor rides and shows. One of my distinct memories of Disneyland as an 8 year old was going to "It's a small world." So I was excited to show that to Clara Anne and Chloe. Again, we walked right in to that one, which was lovely! Another favorite of the morning was a 3-D movie with music and digital effects that were pretty spectacular.
We ate lunch at the only non-asian food place in the park and then got outside just in time to line up for the parade. Clara Anne was finally starting to acclimate herself to the novelty of it all and during the parade, for the first time, she started getting excited and pointing and smiling at things. We then headed to a stage show and got great seats to see the "Golden Mickey's" where Mickey and Minnie handed out "awards" to lots of the Disney classic movies and so we got to see songs from many of the shows performed live. I was so impressed with the costumes and sets, everything was very professional and done very well. At the end of the show they fired off some streamers and wouldn't you know it, that was the girls' favorite little thing! They picked up some gold streamers and carried them with them the rest of the day!
It was so fun to see the girls start to really enjoy themselves. We went on a jungle cruise, drank some frozen cokes, went to talk with Crush the turtle (from Finding Nemo), and then went to the Lion King show. This was really spectacular! It was in a round theatre and the stage was in the center, with impressive performers, sets and costumes. The girls really liked it and sat quietly in amazement through the whole show. One thing I'll always remember about going to these shows was nursing Christin during those times! It just worked out that in the morning we were attending the 3-D movie and it was time to feed her, in the afternoon at the Golden Mickey's and then at the Lion King show she had feedings each time. That's how to survive Disneyland with a 3 month old!
After this point I was feeling like maybe it was time to go. We decided it was easiest to eat supper at the park again, then we would maybe ride the train around the park and head home. But at supper Clara Anne started asking to do more and more activities, and Chloe also seemed to get a second wind. So we decided that if they were still up for it, we'd keep on going! After supper John and Clara Anne did a car racing ride while Chloe played in a small water-spraying area and Christin slept, and then we all rode a few more rides before the fireworks at 9pm. I'm really glad we stayed for the fireworks--they were set off from the Princess's castle with music and were really beautiful!
The whole day was just lovely and I so enjoyed being in such a clean, family-friendly, fun atmosphere. I was so impressed with the friendliness of the staff and the beauty of the park! Once, we were in line to ride a Buzz Lightyear ride but as we got close to the front the girls got scared. As we were trying to get ourselves out of the line, with a crying Chloe, just like that there was a staff member there with a sticker to distract Chloe and bring a smile back to her face again.
So after the fireworks, we meandered our way toward the exit with Chloe still going strong and Clara Anne passed out cold in the stroller. We followed our family tradition by buying a magnet to add to our frig collection, and walked out in the warm evening, sighing a tired but happy sigh.
I do hope that the girls will remember something from this day in the future! It was a blessing to be able to spend this time together as a family. Smiles all around!
PS. One funny story: mid-day we were filling up our water bottles at the drinking fountain when a bright yellow something "splatted" on my foot! What could this be? Indeed, it was. Christin had pooped and squirted it right out the side of her diaper. She was in the Baby Bjorn and so it just shot right out and landed on my foot and all over the sidewalk. Wowza, Christin, that's some serious output! Glad I was wearing Crocs that could be easily washed! And, we were right next to the bathrooms so were able to get her cleaned up right away. I'm sure she felt better afterwards!