Monday, April 11, 2016


This last week, for spring break, we went to Disneyland.
It was Carter's first time (at 17 3/4 years old).
Ryan came too.  He went to Disney World for his first time on his senior trip at the age of 18.
Austin, who is now 22, has never been...still.

The last time I went to Disneyland was 28 years ago, on the day before my wedding.
You see, I was a bridezilla, and my mother begged Frank to take me far away
and all of my siblings and bridesmaids agreed with her...
so he took me to Disneyland.
Now that I think about it, I am surprised that he took me there because 
this man does not care for Disneyland.
I guess that just shows that he was desperate.

I have tried to get him to take us to Disneyland or Disney World many times in the last 28 years
but he had no interest.
He always said that if he wants to pay a fortune for a vacation, he will go someplace real.
So we have had some nice vacations over the years to Cancun, Puerto Rico, Maine, Turks and Caicos...."real" places.

So I was pretty surprised when our neighbors here invited us to join them for their vacation to Disney
and he agreed.

I like Disneyland and was excited to go.
It turns out that we might have waited too long to take Carter because, although I think he enjoyed it overall, he seemed to feel like he'd had enough of it after the second day.
Carter, getting off of his first Disney ride. Space Mountain!
My kids are also more used to going to regular amusement parks that we have gone to over the years
(Busch Gardens, Six Flags etc)
and these places are geared toward thrills rather than telling a story
which is what I feel like Disney is about.

perfecting the "make a weird face at the camera" thing

I like the feeling in Disney of just giving in to the story of the place.
Using your imagination.
Being a kid again.

Anyway, I had a great time!

Somehow no matter what I had for breakfast, I was hungry the minute I walked into that place...

I must get back on the wagon and start eating well and exercising again!
I really fell off the wagon this last week.
Except for the exercising I guess, we walked a ton.
But that's another blog.

I went with the other families early each day so that we were there at the opening of the park.
My family went early for the first 2 days and then after that they decided they preferred sleeping in.
Here we are, waiting in line on Day One before Disneyland opened for the day
Usually once it got to be afternoon and it was hot and the lines were really long,
I would go back to the hotel for a nap (or a quick trip to the beach one day).
And then, most days,  I would head back for the evening.

We waited and held the perfect spot for watching the parade and fireworks on Wednesday...
and then the fireworks were cancelled!
So sad!
It was the only day it was cancelled.
And the last day that I was available to watch them...
so no fireworks for me.

They did a bit of a light show instead but it was short and a bit of a let down after waiting and sitting on the concrete for 3 hours.

The food:
I was given advice on various foods that I absolutely had to eat while at Disneyland.

Carter got the famous Turkey Leg:

Favorite quote #1: "I'm channeling my inner Ron Swanson"

We got stew in bread bowls on the rainy day (amazing!)
Beignets (as recommended by my cousin, Sara). This one used to be shaped like Mickey Mouse.

Corn dogs
shakes at Flo's Diner
Dole Whip
and delicious burgers that cost a fortune.

One of our neighbors had been off soda for awhile I guess and on day 4 he was so tired that he allowed himself to get a coke.
That moment made for several of my favorite quotes from the week.

"Ah, that tastes like a familiar friend"
His child saw him drinking it and said,"Dad! You got a coke?"
"It's medicinal!"
"No wonder I drink this stuff all the time.  It's incredible!"
"My whole trip just got better"

I decided that I needed a picture of me and Frank on Main Street
but this moment happened right as we entered the park as it opened.
The crowd at this time of day is rushing to get to their first ride so it is not a good time to stop in front of all of the walking people to get a photo.
So Frank and I walked backwards while our friends took the picture.
We look pretty normal!
Our friends were impressed with our backwards walking skills.

My favorite place, visually speaking, was bug land in California Adventures park.
Everything there is so so so cute.

pencils as lights along the walkway

straws for light posts

popsicle stick benches

discarded watermelon rind

Look at that big spigot! ahhh so cute!

Our favorite ride was also in California Adventures: The California Screamin' Roller Coaster

We Hills do like our thrill rides and this was a good coaster!

My least favorite quote of the week: 
"We've been on that ride before"

Ugh! My family did not get how it works at Disneyland...
you don't ride each ride once.
You rush to your favorite ride first thing in the morning.
You get a fast pass and then go on the ride while the line is short.
Then you ride something else while the lines are still short if possible.
Then when your fast pass is available, you ride the first ride again.
Later in the day, when there are no fast passes left, you will not be able to ride this ride without an hour wait so you get a bunch of rides in on your favorites early in the day.
Makes perfect sense to me!

But we would go on a ride and then when we were rushing to go on it again, 
Frank would say, "But we've been on that ride already."

Then the next day, when we rushed to that same ride, he was just beside himself with confusion.
To be fair, Frank doesn't even like to watch a movie twice even if he hasn't seen it in years and I will watch the same movie over and I know we are different in this way.

On Thursday, when my family joined me in the late morning, we purposefully went around and rode rides that we hadn't ridden before.

We explored parts of the park that you don't often see when you rush to the popular rides.
It was a lot of fun!

On Thursday it rained, a lot.
Not just was coming down and we were pretty wet.
During our lunch there was water filtering down through the shading fabric and plopping into our food.  It was super gross.  But the warm stew was still yummy, if full of unknown germs and debris.

Thursday evening we had dinner with my brother David and his daughter Lauren.  The rest of his family was in Utah for spring break but these two had to work.  Sad for them, good for us!
It was fun to see them and chat for a bit!
Seeing them was better than seeing the fireworks.

The forecast for Friday morning was for continued rain all morning so the group decided to take advantage and sleep in for a bit.
But I woke up early on Friday, looked outside and it wasn't raining much.
I decided on a whim to just go to Disney by myself.
I went out to the shuttle stop and I was completely alone out there, which was unusual.

I got to Disney pretty early and was like 4th in line.
I had decided that I wanted to ride Star Tours to try and check out the different versions
(there are multiple videos that you can get on this virtual reality type ride).

Here I am waiting to get into Tomorrowland before it longer 4th in line.

I was the first rider on Star Tours!
After I got off, I walked back around and got right back on...
they sent me to the same ship and the guy running it said, "Back again huh? Where would you like to sit?"
So I got to pick my seat. Sweet!

I went to ride some of the rides that my family had no interest in:
Peter Pan
It's a Small World

I really enjoyed just strolling around Disneyland on my last morning there.
I took in the ambiance and let myself just be a kid in my heart.

Ryan joined me at that point and we rode Big Thunder Mountain and the Indiana Jones Rides followed by a ride on the monorail.
We ate some more delicious disney food
and then our time at Disney was over.

Frank and Carter picked us up and we were on our way back home to Utah.

It was a fun vacation for me and I'm so glad we went.
When I go to Disney World someday (and I will go), 
I think I'll just go with a couple of girlfriends or by myself though.
No sense dragging along the guys who won't be as into it as I am.


  1. Please tell me you ride Soarin' Over California and the Lightning McQueen ride?! They had to at least love those ones! I feel disappointed that they didn't love it! Ha! Dave grew up going there every year as a kid so he loves it for the nostalgia I think. I just love it, period.

    1. Frank didn't get to do soarin' because it broke down right when we got there to ride it but the rest of us ride it. We did the cars ride several times. Don't get me wrong, they liked it! They just aren't into doing things over and over. I went on the cars ride at least 4 times πŸ˜„