disneyland vacation

Tim and I decided that it was time to take our kids to Disneyland again.  The last time we had been was in August of 2006 when Payton was 4 and Parker was only 18 months old.  We thought our kids were at a great age to go...not too old and not too young.  We were also lucky enough to sucker Tim's parents into coming with us (best. idea. ever).  We would have gone crazy without their help!

Tim packed up the van, picked up his parents and came to rescue me at the finish lane of the Wasatch Back Relay in Park City.  We headed to St. George to stay with the Siebenbergs in the Fawsons condo (did you get that?!)  Cam's parents new condo was gorgeous and so accommodating to our huge group.  We ate dinner, swam and went to bed....everyone was exhausted! 
{Brett, Makenna, Tim, Cooper, Pay, Parker, Kent & Ann}

{Cam and sick Sam}

After snapping the above pictures with our St. George hosts, we drove to Anaheim.  We had a great set up in the minivan.  Tim's Dad kept Tim company in the front seat, Ann and I sat in the middle row and attended to the boys, and all three boys were piled in the back.  I thought it might be a little too close for comfort, but the driving arrangement worked out so well.  I was really impressed with how well these three did.

{The boys coloring in their Disney Color Wonder Books}

{We stayed in a family suite at the Courtyard Marriott}

Finally, the day we'd all been waiting for...Disneyland.  It did not disappoint.  Long lines, lots of stops for treats, tons of people, whiny, tired kids and soo much fun!

{Pay, Coop & Park}

{Grandpa Kent had to hobble his way through the park due to a bad case of da gout! Parker always tried to sneak in the stroller any chance he could get.}

{Tim & Parks}

{Waiting in line for Buzz Lightyear}

{Grandma Ann & Payton Shooting Away}

{Grandpa Kent, Tim & Coop}

After a couple hours at Disneyland  we realized that some things don't change. Parker was still as scared at 5 years old as he was when he was 18 months old.  We thought age would help, but obviously, it's just his personality.  He did not love any ride that was a) fast and b) had hills.  Every single ride he clung to one of our hands asking, "Does it have hills?" or "Is it fast?"  Poor child got my sense of adventure.  So, I took Parker & Cooper and headed to Toon Town while Tim, Payton, Grandpa & Grandma went on Splash Mountain and other "Fast" and "Hilly" rides!

{These boys loved it here!}

{Everyone kept asking us if these two were twins...you should have seen their faces when we told them they were three years apart?!}

Then we discovered some fun little gems...CHARACTERS.  Cooper was in awe, Disney heaven, truly he couldn't believe that these characters had popped off the screen and into the real world.  He was mesmerized!

{I just love the way he's staring at Parker like "Can you believe this is happening?}

{That smile on Coop's face was priceless.  Worth.  Every.  Penny}

{Gotta love Parker's perfect perma grin.  He played along so well and acted like it was the coolest thing ever.  I think he was just happy to not be riding any rides!}

The highlight of Disneyland for Parker {and probably the entire trip} was this moment.  Our friends told us that we had to do the "Jedi Training."  We went in the morning and watched the first show, but Parker was too nervous to volunteer.  However, he kept asking when we could go back.  We took him to the next session and he was the last child chosen.  He was so excited!  He actually got to become a certified Jedi...wow.  They trained these kids and then let them fight the real Darth Vader, which of course I neglected to take a picture of because I was too busy filming their feet...seriously?  I guess the moment was too exhilarating to concentrate.  It was so cute to see our tiny Jedi Parker.  He loved it!

Cooper really embraced the chaos of Disneyland and did so well.  We thought he would be the hardest one, but he was the easiest and the most fun.  He sucked up all the excitement, the fun and the magic.  Payton and Parker were too busy asking when we were going to go back to the hotel and swim.  {Seriously, do you know where you are?!}  Although, I should have known better.  You can see Payton's response to marketing calling Disneyland "the happiest place on earth" here.  Fortunately, we were pretty excited with this response because it means that our next family vacation will be much easier!

{Cooper & his new BFF waiting for the parade to start}

This next experience is one of many that happened because of me this trip.  AND, it was only day three.  I was told that you have to eat at the Blue Bayou and get the Monte Cristo.  I was also told you needed reservations in advance, but I didn't remember that until we got there.  Luckily, some girl in line gave us her reservation time.  We thought we hit the jackpot...until we showed up and realized that you needed to win the jackpot to eat dinner at this restaurant...pricey!  That's fine.  We're always willing to pay for a great recommendation.  However, we sat down and there was no Monte Cristo.  We missed one small detail...it was only served on the lunch menu.  Bummer!  We made the most of it and still had super yummy food.

After a super {pricey} and yummy dinner we FINALLY let the boys spend their money that had been burning a hole in their pockets and then we headed home {the highlight of the day for most}.

This picture of Cooper exemplifies how we all felt.  We had some serious Disneyland hangovers.  Luckily, we had anticipated the exhaustion and slept in.  After we came to, we packed up and headed to the beach!

{Heaven on earth...love watching the kids run around the beach}

{Tim getting buried}

{Parker the Sandman}

{Payton the Sandman}

{Of course, Coop needed a turn!}

{Big shocker...they made a "U" out of sand}

{I was happy to sit and soak it all in}

{loved it}

{Grandma Ann teaching the boys how to find sand crabs}

 After a fun filled day on the beach we didn't think it could get any better, but little did we know how are lives were soon going to change.  We went to Downtown Disney for dinner.  The boys wanted to check out the huge LEGO store, but they couldn't find anything they wanted to buy.  We were walking past Build-A-Bear and Payton saw some Lakers Jersey's hanging on a rack.  {He has a mild obsession with sports jersey's.}  He wasn't interested in the Lakers, but we inquired if they had other jersey's and found out that they had an ENTIRE WALL of jersey's.  We decided to go in and check out this "jersey" place.  I'm not sure Payton even knew it had anything to do with stuffed animals, but as soon as he saw the Utah Jazz jersey hanging on the wall...HE HAD TO HAVE ONE!  Of course, Parker and Coop thought it looked pretty cool too.  So, we spent the next hour or so building bears.
{First they picked out their bear, stuffed it and then did something special with their hearts...tender!}

{Then they gave their bears baths}

{After baths they picked out their clothes and named their bears.  Parker's bear is "Darth"}

{Payton's Bear is "Jazz"}

{Cooper picked out a football uniform and kept calling his bear, "Hike"}

The rest is history.  These bears were hands down, absolutely, 100% the highlight of the trip.  Who knew that we could have just taken our boys downtown and called it a vacation?  All three boys were enamored with their new bears.  My boys have never really had stuffed animals or ever had a desire to have one, but oh my goodness...Build-A-Bear changed all that. 

{The gang with the newest family members!}

After a day of rejuvenation, we headed back to the theme parks.  Today we went to California Adventure!  First stop...Monster's Inc. and Tower of Terror {for some...ahem...and not others!}

{Sitting on Mickey's Head}

{These boys thought that was pretty funny!}

{There is no significance in the "R", it was just the ONLY letter available for a picture at that moment.}

{Three Generations of Jones Boys...waiting in line!}

{Parks & Grandma patiently waiting}

The Toy Story line was the longest line we had to stand in the entire time, over an hour, but it was really cool...and new so we had to check it out.  After our long wait in line, we headed over to "A Bug's Land" and rode the cute little kiddie rides.  

{Isn't this exciting?!}

{We went on the carousel while Grandma & Tim went on California  Screamin!}

{It was so great to see Woody!}

{Tim & Kent river rafting.  Tim went with Payton & I then decided he wanted to go back for more!}

{Payton Zip Lining}

Payton was actually able to do this zip line on the "Redwood Creek Challenge Trail."  This place was the perfect GIANT playground for boys.  They climbed trees, walked across rope bridges, slid down logs, climbed rock walls and just explored.  They could have stayed here forever.  They loved it!  Plus, we were hanging out with Elvis Costello {or a really good impostor}!

Another highlight of the day was being able to ride Mulholland Madness 3 times in a row because they were doing a parade and nobody could get to the ride...no lines = heaven on earth!

After conquering all the rides we wanted too, we decided we were too tired to stay for the amazing Light Spectacular Show over the water {which we actually got tickets to}.  I'm sure it was really awesome, but we were party poopers!  We did have a fun time dancing our way out of the park.  That place is a serious party at night.  The boys {especially Cooper} loved the dance party in the street.

Although our kids probably wanted to stay at the hotel and swim we forced them to go back to Disneyland with us just "one last time."  Okay, we weren't twisting their arms, but they also wouldn't have been disappointed had we not spent another day there.  What's wrong with the fact that we were saying,  "I promise this is our last day here and then we can do whatever you want tomorrow."  Really, do many parents have to say that at Disneyland?
{The highlight of the day for Parker...Feeding the Duck!}

{LOOK...we actually got Payton to pose with a character.  I guess we must have bribed him with a Churro or Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Sandwich!}

{Is it really that obvious that I'm sooo hot and exhausted, but still smiling and having a great time!}

{Enjoying some of Toon Town's silly stuff}

{Last picture in Disneyland...'nuff said!}

Despite the heat, long lines, complaints, and all the people, we did have so much fun in Disneyland!

We new we would need a day to recover.  We thought that we would go to the beach again, but all my boys wanted to do was swim at the hotel.  We thought we finally better let them choose something they wanted to do!

{It was so nice to spend the day doing this!}

{Then we saw this...too cute...and made me cry!}

We packed up the van, but had a serious predicament.  The World Cup Game didn't start until after checkout.  So, being the avid soccer fans that some people in our family are, we watched the game in the hotel lobby.  Bummer!

{I know, I know...we felt the same way Donovan!}

After the disappointing game, we enjoyed a nice long car ride to Vegas.  We were mostly just exhausted and ready to get home.  Tim was super sick {as he had been most of the week}, but being in Vegas just makes it worse.  The pool closed early so the boys couldn't swim.  We ate dinner and called it a night!

We made the trek home and it felt so great to be back where we belonged.  The vacation was exhausting, but we really did have a great time.  We learned a lot about ourselves and our children.  We were able to bond and make some priceless memories and mistakes.  We wouldn't change a thing!  I'll say it over and over again...we couldn't have done this trip without Tim's parents.  They were so great to have with us. 
"My favorite ride was the one that went slow and had the cat {Alice in Wonderland} and the one that looks like you were flying in the clouds {Peter Pan}, Monster's Inc and the Bugs Life ride where you go in the box."

"The first thing that I like about our trip is getting our bears, but I really couldn't decide.  I was trying to choose Buzz, but then I wanted to buy Anakin, but then I just picked out Darth Vader.  I liked swimming.  I liked that I could swim in the deep end with a floaty.  I liked that I got knocked over by a wave at the beach.  I liked that Grandpa & Grandma came with us."

"I loved doing the Jedi Training because I fought Darth Vader and learned how to be a real jedi."
"I liked splash mountain a little, I liked the Madderhorn and my favorite ride was Indiana Jones.  I liked Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story and Star Tours."
"My favorite thing was getting my Jazz Bear.  I like getting the bear because I don't have one yet and I  like that you can change his clothes.  I liked building a big "U" out of  sand and trying to build a big fort so the water wouldn't hit it.  I liked swimming at the pool and learning how to swim in the deep end.  I liked going to see Toy Story 3.  I liked spending my money I earned."
If you actually read this whole thing...you're crazy...it was way too much for me to even proofread!


Patty said...

WOW! FUN! EXCITING! WOW! Glad to see that everyone had FUN!

Jay and Bec said...

Where is the picture of you with your favorite Disney character?? It looks like you had such a great vacation. I think Disneyland is the best!

Jenn said...

Sounds like you guys had tons of fun. I hope my kids enjoy it in Feb. They will all be older and hopefully Morgan will remember some. I enjoy long vacations too, but do like that I can come home to my HOME.

Reeses Pieces said...

Yes, I love the perma grins. Looks like a fun trip. It's been so hot this summer everywhere so I think you all looked great considering.

Us said...

looks so fun! I loved coopers cute little smile too. Emilee

Melissa said...

what a fun trip with fun pictures and memories!

Hawk Family said...

How fun!! Looks like the boys loved it. So glad to finally see your pictures!!