The Best Surprise

My sister Allison's boyfriend Alex (that's a mouthful) has never seen the ocean. Since his birthday is in January, we decided that we would take a trip to Santa Monica for the weekend and hang out on the pier, so he could finally see it. When Allison and I started looking up hotel rooms, prices of the "things to do" on the pier, and the cost of food for three days, we realized that a trip to Disneyland wouldn't be that much more. Isaac and I had just taken the girls, and I was working on the blogs from our trip, which really made me want to go back. We looked it up, booked it on a whim, and couldn't believe that we were going to Disneyland in just two weeks.

Fast forward fourteen days, and we were on our way to California. We saw the most beautiful sunset as we crossed state line. Char snuggled with her star pillow, but neither girl slept as we drove. We hadn't told them (or Alex) of our plans. The girls only knew that we were going on a surprise vacation. Grace asked, "will they have rides there?". As we got closer, Isaac, Allison, and I kept giggling, because we were passing Disneyland signs left and right, and no one else knew what was going on.

We got checked in to our hotel and headed to Downtown Disney to pick up our park tickets and grab some drinks at the UVA bar. Isaac asked Alex if he knew where he was, and he finally realized that we were in Disneyland. The girls had noticed all of the Toy Story and Minnie Mouse shuttles as we were walking towards Downtown Disney and knew exactly where we were. Grace stood on her stroller singing, "I can't believeeee ittttt!". It couldn't have been a better surprise for all of them, and we couldn't wait to get in the park the following day.

Saturday morning, we got to the entrance of California Adventure forty minutes before it opened. They had moved Elsa and Anna over there a few days before and opened up a new Arendelle area complete with real snow and Olaf. I was ready to run to get our fast passes to see the princesses. As it turns out, everyone else would rather see Olaf. I was second in line to get the fast passes, and our time to see the queen and princess was in just twenty minutes. We headed over to get a peak at Olaf while we waited, and there was a crazy long line. Everyone left to go on the Monster's Inc. ride while I waited in line. Suddenly, they let everyone in, and I followed them all towards the back of the building. I had heard a cast member mention something about pagers, so I asked one where we were supposed to go to get them. He said, "right here! I'm not quite sure where everyone else thinks they're going.". That was pretty awesome. I was actually able to meet the rest of them in line and go on the Monstee's Inc. ride with them.

Right after the ride, it was time to see Elsa and Anna. We literally walked right in and didn't have to wait at all. It was so much different than it was the past few times in Disneyland. The girls were awake this time and loved talking to them.

Afterwards, we headed back over to "Arendelle" to see Olaf. We played in the snow for a few minutes before our pager went off to meet Olaf.

When it was our turn, the girls gave him the biggest hug. After all, those are what Olaf loves most. We took lots of pictures, and then, Olaf helped Charley walk towards the exit. He was the cutest.

(I couldn't believe we had finished all of the Frozen Fun in under an hour. That had to be a record.) 

Isaac took Allison and Alex on the Tower of Terror, and I stayed with the girls.

We ate some Cheetos and hummus while we waited, and then we decided to head over to a Bugs' Life to go on those rides.

The girls were so cute waiting in line together. They were just so happy to be in Disneyland.

Flik's Flyers were up first, and they picked an animal cookie box to ride in.

Next up was Francis' Ladybug Boogie. The girls had a blast on this one.

They held hands while we walked to Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. I couldn't get over how big and amazing these sweet girls are. How did I get so lucky? Anywayssss...we rode the train and then the rest of our crew met us at the exit.

(Yep. They held hands as we exited, too. Gahhh!)

We stopped by the pier to take a picture, as per usual. 

Cars Land was our next stop, since Allison and Alex hadn't seen it yet. We ran into Red the Fire Truck and admired the Racers track.

Since the Toy Story ride had a short wait time, we booked it over there. The girls got churros and Daddy enjoyed a turkey leg and the rest of my chimichanga while we waited.

The girls had so much fun playing the games on that ride, and then we headed to the swinging gondolas on Mickey's Fun Wheel. I didn't mind it so much this time, but Alex wasn't a huge fan. The girls loved it. I can't believe how fearless Charley is.

The grown-ups (minus me) went on Grizzly River Run, while I stayed with the girls and got them to take a short nap in their stroller. I wanted to make sure they wouldn't be cranky later in the day. While we were standing there, a group of kids came up and asked me who inspires me most. After a second, I instantly answered, "My girls. They inspire me to be healthier, happier, and an all around better person, because I want them to be better than me someday, and they need a good role model to do that." The looks on their faces made me feel really good and made my day.

Isaac and I took a picture in front of the Frozen entrance on our way out of California Adventure since the kiddos were sleeping.

Finally, we made our way over to Disneyland. We walked through the castle and went straight to New Orleans Square to go on Pirates of the Carribean.

When we got off the ride, the rain started. Can you believe it rained again? The weather said it was supposed to be sunny and 70 when we booked our trip. The rain makes for shorter lines and less people, so it's almost better in a way. Luckily, we all had our Sunstate rain jackets and our umbrellas from our last trip.

The girls were so silly while we waited in line for the Haunted Mansion. They were all hopped up on chocolate princess coins and loved hanging out in the sprinkling rain.

After the Haunted Mansion, Grace went with Alex, Allison, and Daddy on Splash Mountain. They had fun, but poor Grace got SOAKED.

Charley and I waited in line to see Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore while they were on the ride. They closed the line right after us, and the rest of our crew made it just in time.

We had to buy Gracie a whole new outfit, complete with Minnie undies and socks, since she was so wet. Girl made out pretty good.

Of course, the teacups were closed again due to the rainy conditions, so we headed over to It's a Small World instead.

After the ride, we ordered pizza from Naples Ristorante and the guys went to pick it up, while we took the girls back to the room. I forgot to pack Charley pajamas, so we tied up one of my tank tops for her to sleep in. We spent the rest of the night eating pizza and watching the Seahawks beat the Panthers in the playoffs.

The next morning, we went straight to Disneyland. We were excited for another day in the park, but we knew we had to leave early, because Alex still needed to see the beach, and we wanted to meet up with the Unertls.

There was no wait at all on Space Mountain, so I took Gracie for her first time ever with Allison and Alex. She was so excited to go on a new big girl ride.

After the ride, I looked at Grace's face, and she just kind of looked like she was in shock. We got to the exit, and they asked if we wanted to go again (even though the line had grown by then). Gracie said yes, and we were off. The second time, we got to see our picture, and Grace looked less than thrilled (or too thrilled) even though she enjoyed it.

Next up was Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters - Charley's favorite. She posed by Buzz in her new Buzz Lightyear hoodie that Daddy bought her the day before.

After we were done with Tomorrowland, we headed to Frontierland where Daddy and Alex rode Indiana Jones, while us girls went on the Jungle Cruise. We got a little wet but only because it was really raining.

Daddy got a "Rider Switch" pass on Indiana Jones, so I got to go right on when he got off. It was good for three people, so Allison and Alex came with me.

Char and Daddy practiced their shooting skills, and we had a yummy lunch in the Golden Horseshoe.

After lunch, we walked through Sleeping Beauty's castle.

Since there was no line at the Royal Hall, we went there to meet the princesses next. Cinderella was up first.

Aurora was next and spent at least five full minutes talking with the girls. She was so sweet and invited them over for a sleep over in the castle.

Snow White was the final princess, and the girls were still enamored with Aurora, and posed and ran away quickly.

We took some quick shots in front of the castle, because it was really raining at this point.

We had another amazingly fun Disneyland trip in the Happiest Place on Earth. What better surprise could there be? I already can't wait to go back again.

Our vacation wasn't over yet. Stay tuned for some more adorable beach pictures, because it wasn't raining in Newport!

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