We left early (5:15 a.m. early) Thursday morning. We told the girls we were going to Phoenix then broke the news about Disneyland about 3 hours in to the 8 hour drive. They were so surprised. I recorded it as Jeff spilled the beans. Ava's reaction of confusion and excitement is so hilarious.
When we got to L.A. we decided to head to Manhattan beach for lunch. We took a walk down by the Ocean and ate a yummy meal at the Ocean View Cafe. Grilled cheese and hot chocolate hit the spot. After lunch we checked into the hotel and went for a quick swim before meeting my brother and his family for dinner. We ate pizza in a restaurant in Downtown Disney followed by ice cream and fireworks. Not bad for the first day there.
Disneyland opened at 9:00 and we were there waiting. The lines were long, as expected, but my brother downloaded a wait time app on his phone so we zipped around the park and hit as many rides as we could. I counted 20 rides during our 14 hour day. Not too shabby. We were surprised that the girls loved the roller coasters and were able to last until 11:30 p.m. The kids got a little grumpy just after lunch but a few nice long rides, It's a small world and a train ride, and they were ready to go again.
We went back to Downtown Disney for dinner then those that could make it returned for more fun. Unfortunately we got stuck for 45 minutes on Pirates of the Caribbean. We ended up having to exit the boats and walk out back through the "cast" break rooms. Kinda cool I guess. They gave us a few passes to the front of the line so we were able to hop on a few more rides before heading home. Whew! It was a long day but it was so much fun.
Saturday morning we went to see the La Brea Tar Pits. It was pretty interesting but what I really love is watching how much the kids get into it. Not as exciting as Disneyland but I'm glad we went. After a quick lunch we headed down to Rancho Palos Verdes for a barbeque at a friends house. Good food, great friends and happy kids were a fantastic way to end the trip. Before we headed home in the morning we got to see our friend Jeff in a bike race that passed right in front of our hotel.
It was time to head home about 10 a.m. on Sunday. I had some blank books and movie stashed away for the drive. This kept the kids happy until we pulled up to home just after 5:00. Wrigley and the house sitter welcomed us at the door. It could not have been a more perfect weekend.
A few travel tips if you're headed to Disney:
- Avoid weekends if you can (I know, that's a duh).
- My brother brought in snacks and bottled water, great for the kids and the wallet.
- We used a Disney wait time app and found it to be pretty accurate and very helpful.
- My sister-in-law was awesome and got us reservations for dinner both nights. Taking a break to sit down to eat was really nice. A cold beer would also be a good idea.
- I feel like I took a lot of pictures but I wish I had taken more.