Our vacation to southern California is rapidly approaching, and it really cannot come soon enough. I am ready for a break, and I am ready for it to be in a place where the weather should be considerably better than it is here at home.

We are heading out to San Diego to stay with one of our friends in his bachelor pad. I wonder what he’s going to think about having a 2-year-old around for a little while. :) Really, though, we are only staying with him for a couple days, then taking off on our own for a few days to explore Disneyland and Los Angeles, before going back down to San Diego for one more day.

In all honesty, I think we are most psyched about Disneyland.

On one particular grouchy morning a week or two ago, I was trying to distract/cheer up Nora so I said, “Hey, Nora. Do you know we are going to Disneyland?? You can see princesses! And Woody and Buzz!” and she repeatedly started saying, “YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!” and jumping up and down in excitement. And then I realized… she thought we were going THAT day. Whoops. Needless to say, she was not happy when we had to get into the car and drive to daycare. Note to self: Do not discuss exciting things in advance with a child who does not understand the concept of time.

Our plan is to leave San Diego early in the morning and drive up to Anaheim to be there in time for the park opening at 10 a.m. We’re going to get a pass that allows us to go to both Disneyland and California Adventure Park. We figure since Nora’s still little there will only be so much we can do in each park, so we can probably successfully hit up both in one day (or so I’ve been told). We’ll make the most of it, staying until the park’s early close at 8 p.m. That’s kind of a bummer, but I think 10 hours will be PLENTY of time to sufficiently wipe out a toddler, so it’s all good.

We’re planning to have lunch at Ariel’s Grotto, with the hope that Nora will be completely fascinated with seeing the princesses in person. It’s sort of gamble—she may not “get it,” or if she does, she could still be painfully shy about it—but eh, we don’t know when our next chance to do this will be, so we’ll take our chances. Other than that, we’ll kind of let the wind take us where it will within the parks and just do whatever Nora’s little heart desires. I can’t wait to experience all of it through her eyes.

If anyone has ever been with a toddler and has suggestions, I am all ears.

Now, we just have to get through the VERY LONG flight to get out there. We are flying all the way to Phoenix direct, then taking a short hop over to San Diego. The flight to Phoenix is like five hours. To say I am nervous about tackling this with Nora is an understatement.

She has her own seat on the plane, and we are planning to take her car seat on because I think it’ll be more comfortable/familiar for her than sitting in the big seat by herself. She is far more likely to fall asleep in the car seat, and she can be STRAPPED IN. I am pretty sure half my carry-on is going to be loaded with JUST SNACKS, so if we need to, we can just let her EAT for five hours straight. The iPad is also coming along (with her headphones) and I pray to heaven that it will hold her attention as well as it has for past road trips. Also in the bag of tricks will be stickers, crayons, and paper. Any lesser known secrets I should be aware of? Help a mama out.

One of the final pieces of the puzzle is the weather. Please, please let us have decent weather—both to travel in and to enjoy ourselves in. C’mon, Mother Nature.

Counting down the days, hours, minutes…


7 Responses to Countdown

  1. Kristi P says:

    Some of the other tricks that I bring on a plane are travel aquadoodle or a travel magnadoodle. Seems like variety is a key for a toddler. Also, find new apps and tv shows. New is key. I keep the favorites, but sometimes having a new app with really help. We are loving Squiggles by Lazoo right now. Mickey’s Road Rally is another favorite that is almost tvshow and app in one.

    And if you aren’t above drugging your child to sleep, we found zarbee’s cough and sleep drink last time about 30 mins before the flight ensured that she slept like a baby. Granted she had a very bad cough and it was night, but I will always travel with that just in case she gets a cold from now on since it was hard for us to find where we were for some reason at the local drug stores.

    As for Disney, We found last year that we just let her nap in the stroller when she wanted and kept going for the day. We didn’t want to waste time leaving the park for nap times. It worked out and she slept great at night. Get fast passes if you need them – lines are brutal with little ones. Longest we tried was 30 mins and that was about the limit we found.

    Good Luck and Have fun!

  2. Sarah says:

    We just took our 2 year old (and the baby too) to Disney World in December, she loved it! You can see our pics in my blog http://bellybabbles.blogspot.com. You guys will have so much fun!

  3. Tara says:

    As I’ve said before I worked at Walt Disney World for 4years. My biggest recommendation, which you got right on the money, is to just go with the flow. Let Nora experience it from her level & just take your time :) You’ll all love it, I’m sure of it. I really hope Nora loves seeing the characters as much as Kira, it’s such an experience! Now it breaks my heart a little as we are back living in NY & Kira will occassionally ask if she can go see Mickey Mouse (spoiled much? :p) and I have to say no. Have a great trip!!

  4. Kari says:

    I’ve never been to Disney Land but we did take my niece to Disney World when she was little (around 3ish). We were very much go with the flow. We made sure to bring plenty of snacks and drinks for her (we went in July). We also brought little things for her to do (sticker books, books, toys) to play with when we had to wait in line-in July lines weren’t too long, but you know how toddlers’ attention spans are. ;)

  5. Meredith says:

    We’ve done many 4-hour flights with our daughter that is 2 days older than Nora. Things that unexpectedly work really well for us: a box of new band-aids (a box she can play with, plus they are like stickers), a pad of smaller-sized, multi-colored post-its, wipes (we let her color on the back of the tray table, and then wipe it clean), and a stuffed animal with some of her baby clothes that she can dress and undress. Good luck!

  6. Melanie says:

    My parents took my sister and I to Disney when we were 2 and 3! They packed fruit snacks for us to chew on for takeoff and landing, since it can be painful on the ears. I remember as a kid, I only got to eat fruit snacks on planes :-)

  7. We’ve done the cross-country flight with Ryan several times. Large supply of snacks, stickers and the iPad will be great. Our portable DVD player has also been a total lifesaver, too (kid, you can watch as much Dinosaur Train as your little heart desires). Ryan is a big fan of books, so I tried to bring as many of those as I could (I basically brought all of his paperback books and some skinnier hardback books, so I could fit more options into his bag. You will cycle through toys very quickly in 5 hours, so the more options, the better. I also always tried to have at least a couple of new things that he’d never seen before, as well as my “only bring out in total desperation” tricks (i.e., M&Ms) that I saved for the descent, which is usually the worst part for us. It always surprises me what ends up keeping him occupied. He once spent 30 glorious minutes taking crayons out of the box and putting them back in.

    We’ve never taken Ryan’s carseat on the plane, but he’s not a big fan of carseats and I think being strapped in for that long wouldn’t have worked for him (he also never sleeps in the carseat, so it didn’t have that extra benefit for us). He did like being able to climb down from the seat, move over to look out the window, etc. I think it helped prevent him from getting too restless – something to consider. But I know you’ve taken Nora on some longer road trips, so maybe it will work well for her.

    Good luck and have fun!

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