We were up at 5:45 with Nora on both Saturday and Sunday (time zone change FTW! ugh), but this morning we were up even earlier… to an alarm. Blah. But we wanted to hit the road by 6:30 a.m. to get up to Anaheim without hitting much traffic. We got ready, packed things up, woke up Nora, and got on the road. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we were really excited to get up to Disneyland and get the magic started.
We arrived in Anaheim earlier than anticipated (thank you, carpool lanes!), at about 8:15 (Disney doesn’t open until 10 a.m. this time of year). We used the extra time to stop into a store for a little breakfast, and also to check into our hotel! It was really nice that they had a room ready for us, despite being so early in the day. On our way out again, we were able to purchase our Disney tickets right in the hotel lobby, which was fantastic.
We hit a little traffic getting into the parking garage at Disneyland, but before we knew it, we were on the tram and heading to the parks. I fixed Nora’s hair for her on the way. :)
As we were walking up to the gates, I was actually overcome with emotion and got a little teary eyed! I don’t know what it was, but you could sort of hear the music and it was sunny and there were people everywhere… it just seemed really special to be doing this with our little girl.
Once in the park, Nora was still a bit clingy, so we tried to start things off slow. We went on the Finding Nemo “ride,” which was nothing spectacular, but is a movie that she was quite obsessed with during the week or two following Christmas, so she is familiar with the story and the characters. There were actually a few parts that freaked her out a bit, so she turned her face into my neck, but overall she did really well. When it was over, she kept saying, “Bye bye, ‘Mo!” (Bye, Nemo!)
Located really close to Nemo was a car ride called “Autopia.” Nora spotted it and seemed interested, so we decided to check it out. The wait was longer than some of the other rides—25 minutes—but our girl stuck it out.
Nora rode with me and Michael got his own car. It was a slow-moving driving ride, but you did have SOME control of the steering. Still, it was hard for me to steer and hold onto Nora, so we were kind of thrashing around a little bit. To my surprise, Nora LOVED this. Every time we hit the “guide” and it bumped us around a bit, she laughed HYSTERICALLY. So at some point I said to hell with steering, and just held her and laughed along with her for the entirety of the ride. She was having the time of her life.
After that we made our way to the back of the park to hit up Toon Town.
We figured there would be a collection of age-appropriate rides there, but there really wasn’t. Of course, it’s cute though, with little cars and “buildings” to explore.
We went on the Roger Rabbit ride in Toon Town, and I thought Nora would like it since it twists and turns. But it was also quite dark and had some “scary” sounds and imagery, so she spent most of it tucked into my side, not saying or doing much of anything. I think she was ready to be done with that one by the time it was over!
It was such a beautiful Southern California day! FINALLY!
There was a little playground area that Nora quite enjoyed. All I could think was, “Wait: We came to Disneyland for a SLIDE?!” :) But it had been a while since she’d been on a playground so we let her be for a little bit. She was having fun, after all.
(In case anyone is wondering, I still have never cut her hair. She has something weird going on up front (and sort of off to her left side, if you can see) right now. It’s like it all fell out or it’s new growth or something? It’s hard for me to tell, but it seems to be growing out and will hopefully catch up in length soon—or will at least be long enough to pull back again, anyway. For now it just looks like she intentionally has bangs, which I guess there is nothing wrong with! Baby/toddler hair growth is just so strange!)
We eventually got her away from the playground successfully by promising more rides, so we next waited in line for the Dumbo ride. It was another 25 minute wait, but again, she did pretty well.
And again, she loved the ride. By then, we were hungry so we decided to take a breather with some lunch. Yummmm, pizza! (Coupled with some Daniel Tiger watching. Gotta love it.)
After lunch we went on more rides, including the train and the carousel.
Nora wasn’t too happy to get off of the “horsies,” though. She probably would’ve ridden the carousel all day! That explains her pouty face in this pic of us with the castle.
As we were making our way back to the front of the park, we stumbled upon Pixie Hollow. Nora’s latest movie obsession has been with Tinkerbell (poor Jay endured several viewings of the Tinkerbell movies just in the last couple of days!) so we wanted to take her through. We discovered, however, that you can’t really go into Pixie Hollow unless you are doing a character encounter.
Before our trip, we originally planned to go to Ariel’s Grotto for lunch so we could do the built-in encounter with all of the princesses, but given Nora’s unpredictable behavior in restaurants so far this trip, and her shyness, we ultimately decided against it for this trip. We didn’t want to sink a bunch of money into the princess lunch if she wasn’t going to like the princesses, wasn’t going to eat, was going to throw a fit, etc. It was too much of a risk and too much stress so we nixed it and had the simple take-out meal of pizza that you saw a bit ago.
But, with Pixie Hollow, we decided to give it a whirl. We figured that since Tinkerbell has been her favorite as of late, maybe she would do well with it. And then we found out Tinkerbell wasn’t there today. It was Periwinkle and Terrence. Lucky for us, Periwinkle is Tink’s sister and is in the Secret of the Wings movie that Nora likes. We asked her if she wanted to go see Periwinkle and she said yes. So in the line we went.
When it was finally our turn… she shocked us and did GREAT!
She was still shy, of course, but she immediately got this magical little look on her face like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. And underneath it all, a little smile. GAHHHH, so cute.
Periwinkle asked Nora some questions, and she actually (very quietly) responded to some of them. And then Periwinkle showed Nora her shoes and her wings. Nora = won over.
As we were walking from Periwinkle to Terrence, we showed Nora the “snow machine” that is in the movie.
And then we got to Terrence. Poor Terrence. Nora didn’t want anything to do with him. In all fairness, she had only seen the Tinkerbell movie featuring Terrence once or twice, actually on Netflix at Jay’s house in the last few days. We were getting SO.SICK of Secret of the Wings, and discovered the other Tinkerbell movies on instant streaming. Anyway, I think it was a combination of the fact that she wasn’t as familiar with him AND that he’s a guy. She wasn’t into him. He couldn’t win her over, even with his talk of pixie dust. We took a quick pic for posterity and then we were on our way.
That was it for our character encounters. Of course, now I wonder if she actually would’ve been OK with the princesses at lunch, but oh well. We need something to look forward to when we make our trip down to Florida for Disneyworld in a few years. By then she’ll be old enough to understand it better anyway. I was just so proud of her for doing as well as she did with Periwinkle!
After that, it was mid-afternoon and we still hadn’t made our way over to California Adventureland. So we began walking in that direction, and Nora was starting to lose her cool with no nap. Just like at the zoo, we cajoled her into the stroller and laid her down flat, at which point she cried a bit. But UNLIKE the zoo, she did actually pass out. THANK GOODNESS, because after all of that excitement, she certainly needed a little rest.
While she slept, we walked around Adventureland to get the lay of the land and figure out which rides were appropriate for Nora so we were prepared when she woke up. She only ended up napping for about half an hour (during which time Michael and I also enjoyed a churro and a lemonade, ha!).
We were soon back on track with sightseeing and rides with our girl. Nora LOVED the rides over at Adventureland. It seemed like there were more rides that catered to her age group, the rides were closer together, and the lines were definitely SHORTER. I’m glad we ended up doing the Park Hopper passes because it was worth it to be able to spend some time here!
Her favorite ride was a Tow-Mater ride (from Cars). You sit in a car (well, a tow truck) and it spins around and whips you from side to side and she was LOVING it. We actually went on it twice in a row because she was having the time of her life.
Once the sun went down, it started to get COLD. By then we had hit all of the rides for Nora’s age, so we started heading back to Disneyland so we could maybe grab some dinner and be set up in time for the parade at 7:00.
At Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port, we grabbed a plate of spaghetti and meatballs and a side salad to share, and warmed up inside of the restaurant for a little bit. Then it was back out into the cold for one last ride of the Astro Orbiter, and then to Main Street for the parade.
There’s the elusive Tink! ;)
We were situated at the beginning of the parade route, so once it had all passed us, we began walking quickly down Main Street to get back toward the entrance to get out of there. It wasn’t quite 8 p.m., but it had been a very full day. We stopped at a little shop on the way out to get our girl a souvenir… Minnie ears. :) She wore them (with the tag still on!) the whole way back to the tram, on the tram, in the car, and back at the hotel until we made her take them off for bed.
Doesn’t she look exhausted, but also happy at the same time? I think we showed her a good day.
Happiness all around.
AboutI'm Heather. I'm 32 and have been married to Michael for six years. Together, we have two beautiful little girls we love more than anything, and a miniature dachshund who drives us crazy. I'm a full-time working mom who has very little time for my own "stuff" these days, like home improvement, cooking/baking, cake decorating, and photography. Despite the team not making the playoffs since 1999, I'm STILL a Buffalo Bills fan, which I think speaks to my loyalty AND sense of humor. I can't wait to pick up the pace with travel again some day... you know, when we're done being ruled by tiny fists. Welcome to my blog.
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