Saturday, March 9, 2013

Guinevere's First Trip to Disneyland!

Inside the Happiest Place on Earth
Disneyland will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was one of my first college jobs.  I went to UC Irvine for undergrad, only about 20 minutes away from the big D.  I didn’t work there for very long, but it was a “magical” time.  So I was super excited when my sister mentioned that she might want to do a Disneyland bachelorette party.  Aaron and I have been saving up to get passes (which was our delayed big Christmas present to each other) for several reasons: a) it’s something that has always been on my bucket list (not sure if that’s a lame bucket list item, but there it is) b) many of our friends have passes and we’ll be able to go with them and c) with a baby, the pass makes a lot more sense because then you’re not rushing around trying to get on all the big rides.  If the baby is tired or fussy, it’s ok to just find a quiet spot and hang out for a while or even head home at noon.  Disney passes are not cheap!  We opted to go with the Southern California Annual Pass (the second cheapest version), so we can go most Sundays and anytime during the week (if we ever have the day off).  No July entry or Saturday entry, but honestly, we’d probably be avoiding Disneyland during those times anyway due to the crowds.

We got there right as the park was opening at 10am.  Not surprisingly, there were several other people with strollers and babies/toddlers.  Guinevere’s little face lit up every time she saw another kid or baby.  She’s a very social little one! 

My sister had been delayed due to traffic, so I went straight to the “mother’s room” (which is on the Disney map as the “Baby Care Center”) where I could nurse Guinevere.  I walked in and this nice old nurse greeted me and asked what services I need.  I said I wanted to nurse my baby, and she directed me to a sectioned off area behind a room divider dedicated to nursing.  I walked in and they had large semi-comfortable chairs (the chairs were wicker, which is never comfortable, but they also had nice cushions, which was comfortable) facing away from each other so that it felt more private.  There is also a pump room, a couple of high chairs if you want to feed your baby away from all the crowds, and a changing station in the back with about 5 changing tables.  They also had mini-toilets for potty training kids.  In case you ever go to Disneyland and need to find the Baby Care Center, it’s at the end of Main Street. Just walk to the end of Main Street, hang a right by the Plaza Inn café is and then it’s on the right hand side.  It’s kind of nice that it’s tucked away for privacy purposes, but was kind of a pain when I was trying to find it in the first place.

Once I was finished feeding G, my sister (Sharon), her fiancé, his sister, and the rest of our group had all gathered and we were ready to start the day!  We decided to start with Indiana Jones.  Of course, babies aren’t allowed on Indiana Jones, so we decided to try the “ride switch” thing.  Disney has a great program where, if there is a baby in your group, your friends can ride the ride first and then when they get to the front of the line (or after they’re done riding), they ask for a “ride switch pass.”  This pass then allows whoever was waiting with the baby plus one person to go through the fast pass line so that they don’t have to wait forever.  It worked really well for us!  While everyone else went on Indiana Jones, we took Guinevere through Tarzan’s treehouse.   
On Tarzan's treehouse.

We a little nervous about leaving our stroller in the “stroller parking” where EVERYONE leaves their strollers.  Seriously, I can’t tell you how many strollers were left just sitting out unattended.  My friend, Kim, who also has passes says you just get used to it.  Obviously you don’t leave any valuables in the stroller, and everyone does it.  I have a feeling that by the end of our next visit, we will probably be comfortable with it.  I’ll admit I felt a little weird every time we left it – either that someone would take it or that we would forget where we left it and never be able to find it again in the sea of strollers.  Though, I guess one of the advantages to having such a distinctive looking stroller as the Orbit is that it’s pretty easy to find.  And every time we came back to our stroller, it was in the exact same place and everything was fine.

After Indiana Jones, we went on the Jungle Cruise.  Babies are allowed on that one.  We strapped Guinevere in the Ergo so that we wouldn’t have to worry about her squirming out of our arms while on a boat.  Of course, she fell asleep while we were standing in line and slept through the entire ride.  Next we went on Haunted Mansion.  Guinevere woke up in time for that ride.  I think she actually enjoyed it!  I will admit that I got a little nervous when we were in the elevator and all the lights went out and everyone screamed.  But she was fine.  Kim has a 2 year old and a 5 month old, she said she would take the 5 month old on Haunted Mansion, but not the 2 year old – mostly because our babies are not old enough to get scared of things like that yet.

After Haunted Mansion, everyone else went on Pirates.  I love Pirates – it may just be my favorite ride in all of Disneyland!  But this time, I knew G was getting hungry and I was hungry too, so we opted to get some lunch and stake out a table for when everyone else joined us.  (This is the advantage to having passes; I didn’t feel bad about skipping out on Pirates because I know there will be another opportunity to go!) Once we were all satiated, we made a plan of action.  Somehow, with the park not opening until 10, it seemed like time was getting away from us – even though the park wasn’t crazy crowded.  The group decided to do Splash Mountain while it was still warm enough that they didn’t mind getting wet. 

While they did that, Aaron and I took Guinevere to meet Pooh!  I had been waiting all day to take Guinevere to Pooh Corner. She was soo adorable!  First we met Tigger.  Her little eyes lit up when she saw bright orange, fuzzy Tigger walk out.  She reached out to try to touch him, even though we were still a couple people back in line.  Once we got up to him, G seemed a little confused that this big stuffed animal was walking around and moving on his own, but then she smiled and squealed and giggled with glee.  Then we rounded the corner and Piglet was standing there to greet us.  G had a Piglet rattle that she’d been carrying around all day and we showed it to Piglet.  She reached out and touched Piglet’s nose and seemed super thrilled.  And then, the pièce de resistance, we met Pooh!  Pooh corner was my old stomping ground back in college.  Being Pooh may just be the best college job in the world!  And then watching my baby meet Pooh for the first time, warmed my heart.  It was definitely the best part of the day for me! 
With Tigger.

Meeting Piglet - she was thrilled!

Meeting Pooh - I was thrilled!

We then made our way over to Tomorrowland and split the group up.  Half the group went on the Matterhorn, while the other half went on Star Tours.  My sister’s fiancé didn’t want to go on either ride, so he watched Guinevere for us.  It was my first time going on Star Tours since they revamped it.  The animatronics while you’re standing in line have been cleaned up and updated, and were great!  But, I have to say, I was disappointed in the ride itself.  I am not a huge fan of 3D glasses – especially when the 3D element doesn’t enhance the experience.  And in this case, I really don’t think they needed to add 3D glasses/technology.  I loved the old Star Tours so much.  It wasn’t 3D and it was still amazing.  But the 3D glasses made me feel a little dizzy and there was no point – I think there was only one time that anything felt like it was coming out of the screen.  At least now I know that I don’t need to wait in a super long line for that ride next time we go to Disneyland.

Since the people in the group who don’t have annual passes bought the Park Hopper tickets, we figured we should take advantage of it and head over to California Adventure for dinner.  The nice thing about California Adventure is that they serve alcohol in a couple restaurants.  Sharon’s fiancé is a native New Yorker, and really wanted some Mexican food while we were in California (and with all the wedding festivities that would happen over the next couple days, he’d have to settle for theme park “Mexican” food because there would be no time to have real Mexican food).  We got some burritos and Margaritas for dinner.  Guinevere banged some spoons on the table while we ate.  By this time, we were all tired and basically ready to go, but there was one last ride people wanted to go on – the Tower of Terror.  The sign at the front of the line said it would take 20 minutes.  Haha!  Several of us waited with the baby while the others went on the ride.  It was a very long wait!  But when they all got back, they were full of the enthusiasm that comes from going on a thrill ride.
Our group at the end of the night - forgive our tired faces.

All in all, it was a fantastic day.  I am soo excited that we got passes and can’t wait for the next time we go!

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