Wow!  What a wonderful time we had in Disneyland!  “Year of a Million Dreams” is absolutely right!  I don’t think I could convey the magic and wonder we all felt during our trip this time, but I’m going to try.  We arrived Saturday afternoon and after briefly settling in the hotel, we hit the park!  Sophie was so excited to see the castle and thought everything from the train depot to city hall was it!  I had heard Nemo’s Submarine Voyage will be very difficult to ride without a very long wait so we first went to the back of Tomorrow Land to check out the line.  Yep, long line.  We were all very hungry from the long trip down and stopped at the nearest lunch counter for a cheeseburger.  Then it started to rain.  Ick…but maybe it’ll thin the crowds…  As we’re eating (near the Jedi Training Academy), Darth Vader, Darth Maul, a storm trooper and some Jedi Knights emerged for autographs and pictures.  The line formed so fast; we didn’t stay.  We had more important people to meet.  Sophie had to use the restroom and en route to find the potty she spotted Ariel.  Off we went to wait in line to talk to Ariel.  I think that may have been the longest we waited in any line the entire time we were there and that was about 20 minutes.

Picture with Ariel

Sophie wanted to know Ariel’s favorite color and what is her favorite piece from her human collection.  Ariel said blue like the sea and the dinglehopper (fork).  After Ariel, we rode Dumbo (Sophie’s favorite ride) and then we headed back to Toon Town to let the kids play on/in the ridiculously cute props there.

Beep. Beep. I think there’s a fire around here somewhere…


A little help here, Finn?




In the Dog Pound


Finn really wants that car to come off Mickey’s side table


Apparently Minnie gets her fashion tips from “Jessica’s Secret”

While we’re goofing off (no pun intended) in Toon Town, I found 2 Fast Pass tickets on the ground for Space Mountain later that night.  Of course, Abby gallantly volunteered to help me use them.  By now the parade was going and we decided it would be a good time to ride the bobsleds of Matterhorn.  Whee!  As we were rounding to the end of our ride, a bell rings and the track under the sled ahead of ours shifts to the right and the cast members working say to them, “Does everybody want to ride again?”  And off they go on another turn of the Matterhorn!  Lucky ducks.  After a turn on the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, it’s time to use our fast passes to Space Mountain.  It was great fun and after seeing the people ahead of us on the Matterhorn get to go again, Abby and I started chanting, “One more time.” As we rounded the corner to the disembarking platform, a bell rang and our spaceship slips right on past the platform.  Yay!  We got to ride again!  Those were the best fast passes I ever found!  

Sunday was the blue ribbon day at Disneyland.  Finn woke us all up entirely too early.  At 5:30 a.m. he sat up in bed and, delighted to see me sleeping next to him, said, “Hi, Mom.”  Those are clearest words I’d heard out of him yet.  Sophie started the day in high spirits because Sunday was the day for our scheduled Princess Dinner and that meant she got to wear her Aurora dress that I made for her.  She looked so cute and you could tell she felt like a million bucks!  She walked so stately and batted her eyelashes and accepted all praise with a very humble and polite, “Thank you.”  Despite the rain, we had a great morning and rode Pirates of the Carribean and Splash Mountain (Sophie and Finn rode Pooh Bear ride instead with Grandma and Auntie Cheryl).

Meeting Pooh outside the Pooh Bear ride


Meeting Eeyore outside the Pooh Bear ride.  Grandma thought Eeyore looked sad, so Sophie looked around the back of him to make sure his tail was still there (she’s so funny).


Abby and Cheryl rode Indiana Jones while the rest of us enjoyed the Tiki room.  Finn was absolutely enamored with the singing birds, talking totems and drumming monkeys.  After the Tiki room, we happened upon Jasmine and Aladdin in their Oasis and stopped in for a picture and autograph.  Sophie asked Jasmine and Aladdin what their favorite colors were.  Jasmine said turquoise and Aladdin said purple.

Meeting Aladdin and Princess Jasmine


 After lunch and a live blue grass show at the Golden Horseshoe (which was very funny and impressive), the sun came out!  And we decided to go see about riding the Alice in Wonderland ride and the teacups (which don’t operate when it rains).  On our way, we met two cast members who were quite taken with Sophie’s enthusiasm and they gave her an “Honorary citizen of Disneyland” button, Easter egg decals and some Dalmatian temporary tattoos.  The cast members hung around and talked with the kids about Disneyland—did you know that about 90% of the rocks in Disneyland are fake?  Two ducks were swimming near one such rock and Sophie named them Starla and Hockey. A cast member thought the latter name to be especially appropriate given the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and he thought she would like a private engagement with some of the princesses before her scheduled Princess dinner that night.  We were all so thrilled!  We continued on our way to the caterpillars and teacups and as we passed through Sleeping Beauty’s castle we came upon Merlin in front of the sword in the stone as he was about to start a little skit.  We stopped to watch.  Merlin, as the skit goes, is looking for a new temporary ruler of Disneyland.  He uses his magic stick to help him find the right person to pull the sword from the stone.  First the stick points to a brawny lad, who is unsuccessful in pulling the sword from the stone and he retreats to the “cobbles of shame” while a second smaller person is chosen by the stick to try.  Well, as luck would have it, Sophie is chosen.  She pulls the sword from the stone (or in her case, it pulls itself) and the crowd cheers as she’s crowned temporary ruler of Disneyland by Merlin.  That’s when the tears erupt!  She was so stunned and scared by the applause!  Merlin quickly wrapped up the skit and after the crowd dissipated, he presented Sophie with a Disneyland Sword in the Stone medal.  I cannot believe our luck!

Merlin is encouraging Sophie to pull the sword from the stone.  The brawny lad on the “cobbles of shame” is in the back right.


After Merlin, we met Snow White’s Queen


Finally, it’s time for the private meeting with the princesses.  We make our way back to the Princess Fantasy Faire and since we are a few minutes early yet, I decide to get a little lunch for Finn.  As we are sitting and munching, Aurora floats past.  Sophie and Abby spring after her to get her picture and autograph but she’s in a hurry (we assume for the afternoon parade).  But as she goes, she says to Sophie, “Goodbye, twin!”  The look on Sophie’s face was heart wrenching. She was so clearly disappointed.  But Grandmas always know just what to say and she somehow abolished the tears that were so close to breaking in Sophie’s big eyes.  Finally, we present our ticket to a cast member and we were escorted behind a curtain where Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are waiting to talk with us.  Sophie’s eyes lit up when she saw Aurora.  I think we could have cancelled the dinner at that point.  She was tickled!

Private rendezvous with Princess Snow White and Princess Aurora


Sophie wanted to know their favorite colors as well.  Snow White said yellow, blue and red.  Aurora said pink, blue and purple.  As we came out of the curtained room from the meeting, Cinderella was just starting to tell her story.  Finn, being the only little boy present, was singled out by the Prince to be the stand-in prince at the appropriate time during the story.  He chose not to cooperate. 

The apple was better than the girl.


After the Princess Fantasy Faire, we found ourselves back in front of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.  At that point, Cheryl said to me, “Watch for Captain Jack Sparrow.  He’s usually around this area.” No sooner had she gotten the words out than there he was.

Meeting Captain Jack Sparrow


After a few more rides (including one on the rockets or “airplanes”—as Finn called them), it was finally time to head to Ariel’s Grotto for dinner with the princesses.

Mom and Finn on the rockets…er…airplanes


Abby and Sophie on the rockets


Meeting Belle at the dinner


Meeting Cinderella


Meeting Jasmine


Meeting and rubbing noses with Princess Minnie


After dinner, we went for a quick stroll down to the pier.  California Screamin’ was no wait so Grandma took the kids on King Triton’s Carousel while Cheryl, Abby and I rode the most amazing roller coaster I’ve ever been on—twice.

California Screamin


Monday was touchy as the kids were getting the colds that Grandma and Abby were just coming off of, but still a stellar day in which we finally got to ride the teacups (Sophie’s 3rd favorite ride) and the Storybook land boats through Monstro the Whale’s mouth.  We also rode Nemo’s Submarine Voyage, Soarin’ over California, Grizzly River Rapids (Sophie’s 2nd favorite ride—she had to ride it twice and wanted to ride a 3rd!), Monsters Inc, and Muppets 3-D.  I’m sure I’m forgetting at least one something, but you get the point.  We had a fantastic time and can’t wait to go again next year!