Life has so incredibly hectic that it has taken me months to finally write this post! But we had such a wonderful time that I wanted to make sure I wrote something down before I forgot all the details.
We took Brayden on his first trip to Disneyland with my parents and brother in December 2013. He was only about 16 months old, and we weren’t sure he would even enjoy it. Thankfully, all our worries flew out the window the moment we walked into the hotel, which had a big Mickey statue in the lobby. The moment Brayden saw it, he squealed the happiest little yell I’ve ever heard him make and immediately ran right over to it. Hubby and I looked at each other and grinned. That’s a sweet moment I’ll never forget… and we hadn’t even left the hotel yet!
We got a good night’s sleep and headed over to the park as soon as it opened. There were so many exciting things to see at Disneyland, but Brayden found the most immediate joy in seeing the big yellow wheels on the popcorn carts. He could have easily spent all morning examining those wheels.
We went straight to It’s a Small World, thinking that would be an easy start to the day. It couldn’t possibly scare Brayden and the lines were actually really short (we dreaded a long line with a toddler). Brayden loved the boat ride and was captivated by the dancing, singing dolls. It was a perfect start to the day! On the way out, we stopped in the gift shop and my brother held Brayden while they looked at souvenirs. Apparently all that water from the boat ride made Brayden wet right through his diaper, his clothes, and two layers of my brother’s shirts. My brother walked out of the store and showed me what happened, and I could not stop laughing. We had only been there for one ride and my brother was already in need of a new shirt. Ahh, the joys of parenthood! My mom treated him to the very best shirt they could find at the It’s a Small World shop… one that said, “I survived It’s a Small World.” I felt bad, but I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.
Next, we headed over to Toon Town to see if Brayden could finally meet the really Mickey, live and in person. We got to Mickey’s house and lucky for us, he just happened to be home. We made our way through his house and eventually found him on set, filming his next movie. We were hopeful that Brayden would be as excited to see the real Mickey as he was to see the statue, but he was obviously getting tired and ready for a nap, so we weren’t quite sure how it would go. Also, we had just gone to see Santa the week before and that went horribly. Brayden had bawled the entire time. So we were really taking a chance with our tired little guy.
But as soon as it was our turn to meet Mickey, Brayden walked right up to him with such a look of awe and amazement. He seemed so shocked that he was actually able to touch Mickey’s hand. He didn’t cry a bit. He seemed so happy that he was almost in a state of shock. He touched Mickey’s nose, held his hand, and wondered why we had to leave his new friend when our turn was over. It was too adorable for words.
The meeting with Mickey gave Brayden his second wind, so we decided to power through rather than try to squeeze in a nap (even though we were pushing well past his usual nap time). Toon Town had a cute playground area where Brayden finally got to run around (with the crowds everywhere, we were pretty cautious about when and where we let him roam around out of the stroller). He had a blast.
Then we headed over to try the Jungle Cruise, thinking the boat ride might lull him to sleep. After a VERY long line, in which Brayden did surprisingly well thanks to his game of patting everyone we passed on the back, we finally got on the boat. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how loud the speakers are on the boat and sleeping was definitely not going to happen. He curled up in my lap and tried to relax, but it was just too loud.
Luckily, the Tiki Room was just a couple doors down and had no line. We ducked inside and took our seat in the dark room as the birds sang sweet songs at a reasonable volume. I did have to stand and rock Brayden a bit before he finally drifted off to sleep. Once he was out, I didn’t want to leave the Tiki Room for fear that the light and noise would wake him up. Since this is apparently one of the least popular attractions at Disneyland, the staff didn’t seem to mind that I sat in the back with him for at least 4 or 5 rounds of Tiki Room songs. Eventually we headed out and were hoping to just quietly slip Brayden into his stroller and let him keep sleeping. Yea, that didn’t happen. He woke up as soon as we laid him in the stroller and did not want to miss a thing.
We were all hungry by now, so headed over to New Orleans Square to get some lunch. Brayden and I had a little emotional meltdown at lunch (bound to happen with a pregnant momma and a tired toddler), but we pulled it together and headed over to Tomorrowland. The Buzz Lightyear ride wasn’t open at the moment due to a technical problem, so we got in line for the Nemo submarine ride. It was a pretty long wait, but we managed to keep Brayden entertained by letting him play and sort the bark and dirt that lined the inside of the line. Hey, whatever prevents a screaming baby!
We were a little nervous when we boarded the submarine because it’s such a tiny space and it’s pretty dark in there. We thought that might scare Brayden, but he didn’t seem to mind a bit. Once the ride began, Brayden was thrilled to see bubbles outside the window! Sure, there was a fish here and there, but did we mention there were bubbles?! As long as the bubbles kept coming, Brayden was a happy sailor.
Luckily, by the time we finished the Nemo ride, Buzz Lightyear Starblasters or whatever the ride is called was finally in working order. This was the #1 ride choice of my husband, so he couldn’t wait to show Brayden how to use his little blaster gun. My husband and I took time to show Brayden the ropes, and then battled each other for the high score. I thought I was doing pretty well, but he somehow came out WAY ahead by the time the ride was through.
Everyone was just lining up along the sidewalk for the parade when we left the ride. We managed to snag a great spot where we could hold Brayden up to see the beautiful floats and dancing characters. He loved the music and clapped along.
It was getting dark and Brayden was definitely tired, but after the Brayden we still decided to grab an ice cream for the road. Brayden and I ducked in to the little movie theater where classic old Mickey movies play on about six different screens. This was another great place that had about four people inside where we could let Brayden out of the stroller so he could move around. When the family came in to let us know they had the ice cream, Brayden was definitely not ready to leave. Eventually we lured him out with promises of seeing Christmas lights when we were outside.
We headed back to the hotel feeling so very happy and so very tired (at least Brayden and I were!).
We went back and after a quick story with my mom and brother, got tucked in for bed. My mom, brother and hubby headed back to Disneyland to ride more rides and buy some souvenirs. Since I’m pregnant, I wouldn’t have been able to ride the “big kid” rides, anyway (at least that’s what I told myself so I wouldn’t feel so jealous!).. It was a long, tiring, HAPPY day, and I already can’t wait to go back.