Friday, June 22, 2012

The Bryans go to Disneyland - First Installment

We're back!
We had a wonderful time and I'm going to write all about it right here...all about it.
So unless you're Grandma Jannie, Aunt Angie or Aunt Jenny, you might want to skip it or just skim through the pictures.  Don't get me wrong...anyone is welcome to read it...I just don't want to bore everyone to tears.

We sprung the surprise on the kids Monday morning after breakfast at Grandpa and Grandma Bryan's home.  We gathered the family and said that we needed to discuss our plans for the day.  Andy gave them a few choices, the last one being Disneyland.  
"Really?"  "Right now?"
They were pretty excited...although Matt seemed a little disappointed that he didn't get to play Rally-X all day (one of the other choices).
They got their shoes on and we were out the door.
Things went smoothly at the airport (we stuffed them with candy and fast food) and on the plane for that matter. 

We're going to Disneyland!

 We were kind of split up in twos over the space of several rows.  Andy offered to take Ben.  I was with Matt and the other two with Grandpa and Grandma.  Ben was awesome until we had to turn off all electronic devices and his iPad was taken away.  Then he was quite upset.  I had taken two Dramamine and ended up very sleepy and kind of out of it.  The kids had each had some as well but seemed to hold up better than me.
Once in California, a shuttle took us to Disneyland.  I marveled at the amazing flowers everywhere...

(google images)
Lily of the Nile lined the roads in purple and white.  It was an impressive sight.
We drove right to the Disneyland hotel and checked in.
Now, as I mentioned in my last post, I was determined to not stress out and just enjoy the trip.
I must admit at this point I had a stress moment and it affected me for a few hours.
While the guys were checking in Ben was quite upset and wanted to get out of his stroller.  I didn't want to get him out, put on his helmet only to have to put him back in a few minutes later and deal with a tantrum.  So I ended up dealing with a tantrum without having taken him out of the stroller.  Lately Ben has been more grumpy, moody, frustrated etc...  He's taken to screaming and sometimes it is obviously directed at me.  That's what got to me and I went into stress/shutdown mode.  I was in a bad mood and I regret it.  I tried really hard to come out of it for the sake of everyone but it took a few hours and lots of Disney and smiles on my kids' faces before it happened.

Once settled in the rooms it was only about 2 or 3 in the afternoon so we prepared our stroller (clipped on water bottles, packed snacks, memory books and diaper bag, camera, sunscreen and helmet etc.) and headed to the park.  We took the monorail that first day so we didn't have any grand entry like I had expected but I got it later so that was okay. 

Ben and Grandpa on the monorail
 The monorail dropped us off in Tomorrow Land and we began our adventure.
One of the first things we did was go to the Jedi Training Academy.  There, Abby was chosen to be one of the trainees.

  At first I was sad for the boys thinking that they would be disappointed but after seeing what the young Jedis experience, I decided that it was a good thing they weren't chosen.

The foes were quite menacing.
Abby held up really well through the stress and came out victorious.
After it was over, we told the boys that we could go back later and try again to be chosen.
Neither of them seemed thrilled about the idea :)

Next we walked up to Fantasy Land.  We had something to eat and then started in on the fun little rides for the kids there.  Josh, Abby and Matt rode the carousel and Ben saw the Casey Jr. train and got excited about that.

  We had picked up a disability access pass for Ben at Town Hall with a stroller stamp which allowed us to get in a separate, much faster line at most of the rides and take a stroller where otherwise we wouldn't have been able to.  After getting it, Andy and I felt kind of guilty using it (and quite frankly weren't sure how to use it) so we just got in the regular line for the Casey Jr. train.  Ben was so thrilled and couldn't wait to get on.  We watched it go several times before we were finally able to board.  Right before we took off Ben started having a jerk and stare seizure.  The train started on its way and I cried and held Ben tight as he continued to be oblivious to what he was missing.  I felt so sad for him.  As the train came to a stop he came out of it.

Ben signing "train" just seconds before his seizure
  We determined that we no longer felt guilty about using the pass.  We used it every chance we could after that.

While waiting in line for the train, Ben also spied the Dumbo ride and made the elephant sound telling me he wanted to do that ride too.

Josh, Abby and Matt enjoyed Dumbo too
While in line for Dumbo, Ben saw the carousel with the "Neighs" and asked for that one as well.

Next up was New Orleans Square.
We all got in line for Pirates of the Caribbean.  I don't know how I didn't get any pictures of this classic :(
Everyone enjoyed it...even Ben...especially Ben.  On this trip we realized he is a thrill seeker.  He loved the bumps and fast turns and spins and drops on all the rides.

random picture of grumpy face Ben (with a hint of a smile)

Andy had fond memories of the Haunted Mansion so he was able to talk Abby and Matt into going with us.  Josh and Ben waited outside with Grandpa and Grandma.

Andy had told Josh that it was no more scary than Pirates had been...well, he remembered wrong and once again, I was glad Josh was spared the fright.  Afterwards, Abby asked if she could sleep with me that night if she had nightmares.
While we were in the scary house, Josh watched the attraction next door...Splash Mountain.  He was very excited about it and wanted to give it a try.  It was getting late and we needed to get back to Tomorrow Land to use our Fast Passes (greatest invention ever) to Star Tours.  We told him that maybe he could do it later when we had more time.  Sadly, we never made it back to Splash Mountain.  If we had, I wonder who would have been the brave adult to go with him :)

Star Tours was a hit with everyone.  (Grandma stayed with Ben in the gift shop since he wasn't tall enough.)
It was quite believable had us all laughing and screaming.
Coming out of Star Tours, I asked if anyone knew what time the fireworks started.
It was one of those perfect timing moments...the first crack of the pyrotechnics exploded right then. 

We stood there and watched and listened.  It actually wasn't a bad spot.  The Matterhorn made a nice backdrop.
Afterward, we dragged the kids back to the monorail and rode "home".

The hotel rooms were nifty!  They had this cool lamp that chimed the first few bars of "When You Wish Upon a Star" and lit up the fireworks behind the bed.  It was quite magical.
I left those fireworks on each night while we slept :)

15 minutes after we got back to the hotel room, this is what we had...

the oldest three, sacked out on the bed; each having fallen asleep without meaning to, and...

one very wide awake Ben who played the iPad for a long time while we cleaned up and planned for the next day.  He was as happy as a clam and would have stayed awake much longer had we permitted it.
We all slept soundly after our first day.

Thanks for reading and
stay tuned for our next installment...
'Day Two in the land of Disney'.


  1. What an adventure! Almost makes me want to go. So much has changed since the last time I was there at age 14.
    I love every shot of the kids having fun, but especially the one of them sacked out (well, most of them). Too cute!

  2. Hey, I read the whole entry and loved getting all the details. Wore my Running For Ben shirt to the race!!!

  3. I may not be family - but I LOVED every single picture!! And the dialogue too!!