Monday, September 3, 2018

Carolyn's 2nd Birthday at Disneyland

Before Carolyn was even born we had decided that for her 2nd birthday we would take her to Disneyland and get annual passes again that year. As her birthday neared it became clear that there was only one type of party that would befit her, a Minnie Mouse birthday party!

Her birthday landed on a Saturday this year, so we opted to throw her a small family party on her actual birthday and take her to The Happiest Place on Earth on Friday. Two days of celebrating equals twice the fun! The picture above is from her birthday invitation, after last year's adorable mermaid photo (you can check that out here) I decided I need to do one of these photo invitations every year, party or no party! I'll share the party with you tomorrow...

We decided to get to the park as early as humanly possible and arrived before the parking garage was even open! Ben and I decided to dress in Disney-bound style (which means you dress in the spirit of a character without actually wearing a costume). Since Carolyn was Minnie Mouse I bet you'll never guess who I was!

As I said we got there EARLY, this was the line for the gates an hour before the park opened!

We started our day with reservations for the Minnie and Friends breakfast - best decision ever! Carolyn had the most wonderful time seeing her Disney characters that she'd been learning about in books!

While we were waiting to check in we had a Tigger sighting! I don't know what it is about that guy, but kids just love him!

Before you go inside you get to greet Minnie! Carolyn was SOOOO excited to give her a hug! No fear of friendly characters here!

Then of course she got all bashful....

Back to excited again! Have you figured out who we are yet?
Ben is Donald Duck and I'm Daisy Duck!

To make this breakfast extra special we go to see our friend Emily who was a hostess that day at the restaurant.

We saw soooooo many characters, Carolyn loved almost all of them!

She even chased Tigger outside to get a hug from him!

Of course she didn't love everyone! I'm not sure what she has against Rafiki, but boy did she not like him or Captain Hook!

Emily even came by with a special birthday cupcake!

We stayed so long, Winnie the Pooh came back for a 2nd visit!

Then it was time for some rides in Fantasyland! While Mommy waited in line to get the required picture in front of the castle, Daddy took this time to teach Carolyn how to read a map.

Here it is folks, the obligatory castle picture.

Carolyn's very first ride was the King Arthur Carousel. Of course she can hardly look at the castle because she's so busy taking it all in. Everywhere we went her eyes were wide open as she stared at all the interesting decorations.

I'm not sure if it was my first ride, but we have an ancient photo of my mom and I on this ride together!

We went on Peter Pan because the line was awesomely short and then we jumped onto It's A Small World. She loved them both!

It was so much fun to watch her taking in the ride, what amazing experience for her to see all the singing dolls! Oh how she loved it!

After that we went to Toontown so that she could visit Minnie Mouse's house, but sadly found out that the line was over 45 minutes long. Since it was nearing nap time and we could tell her patience was wearing out we decided to let her play in some of the fun interactive areas like Donald Duck's boat and Goofy's house and yard.

If it has a steering wheel, she needs to drive it!

Then we visited the Disneyland ducks, a Mommy favorite. She's making her "quack" sound, you can almost hear it in this picture.

Our our way back to the car we spotted the Fire House band. Carolyn was delighted to listen to the music and see the instruments.

Loni Mom pro tip: skip bringing the stroller into the park, because your kid will barely sit in it - you spend most of your time in line for rides anyway. At naptime go back to your car and grab it, Carolyn quickly fell asleep as we walked through Downtown Disney, then Ben and I were able to go to the Grand Californian Hotel and enjoy their lovely lobby and free Air Conditioning! It was so nice to sit down and relax while she napped. When it neared the end of her nap we strolled back to the car and ditched the stroller then headed over to DCA for a mandatory ride on The Little Mermaid. I still tear up thinking about sharing this long awaited experience with her!

We enjoyed visiting several areas of DCA: the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area and A Bugs Land (which sadly is closing). Then as we were walking down Buena Vista Street to leave Carolyn cried out Mickie! We both turned around, "Where?" And there he was off to the side on the sidewalk! We just had to say hello!

Back in Disneyland we made a pit stop at the Hat Shop on Main Street for Carolyn's 1st pair of ears, another required tradition!

It's hard to say which was her favorite ride, the Teacups or Autotopia. She was DELIGHTED to discover that she could ride inside a teacup! I wasn't joking when I said she plays tea party everyday! She has since Christmas when she received two tea sets! She made a beeline for this pink cup.

Ben had the privileged of riding on Autotopia with Carolyn, he said she was a crazy driver and had a maniac laugh! The best part was she couldn't see over the steering wheel!

We ended the day by getting her a special souvenir. Oh how she loves this Minnie Mouse plushy!

We didn't go on a ton of rides, but rather took the day at her speed. We stopped to smell the flowers and look at all the neat Disney decorations and we are so glad that we did.

That wraps up her Disney day. Carolyn had a fabulous time and gets excited every time I tell her we're going back! (We've been back twice already). I just love being able to share one of my favorite places with her and see Disneyland through her precious eyes!

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