Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2014 Disneyland Vacation - Disneyland Day!

We spent our first day in the parks at Disneyland since we had a Magic Morning that day. We went into this trip with essentially no plan, which is so against the grain for me that it's not even funny. It turned out to be nice though. We had a lot of fun watching all the people racing to be first and dragging their kids around as we leisurely strolled from land to land, riding whatever we felt like, stopping for snack when we felt like it, and just enjoying the day together.

All smiles in the turnstile line.

Managed a entry picture with nobody else in it!

Obligatory Main Street, Friends Statue, and Castle Pics

 We actually all really love the Astro Orbiter and it is usually one of our first rides when we go to Disney. It offers some spectacular views of the park, especially in the early morning sunlight. I love this picture, btw. I think I'll make it my Facebook profile.

Thank God for selfies so I am actually in some of our vacation photos this year.

The Matterhorn. Summer made it her mission on this trip to be in the front seat of all the rides. Who's kid is this???

We're all mad on the teacups!

 Love, Love, Love The Haunted Mansion. It has always been one of my favorite rides.

The girls have spent weeks reading up on random Disney facts like the fact that the evil queen appears in the window of the Snow White ride every few minutes and that if you rub the brass apple at the entrance to the ride the witch cackles. The latter was much to the delight of the little girls behind us in line.

Next up, King Arthur's Carousel and a chance to pull the sword from the stone. We were not worthy....

Finding Nemo

Now that the girls are older, meeting wasn't really a part of our agenda (which we didn't have anyway), but when we happened upon Woody and Jessie with pretty much no line, we HAD to stop and get a picture.

A Disney first for us - Dole Whips!

Cinderella is always a must-see for Summer.

 After a quick dinner back at the hotel, we made it back just in time for the evening parade where we finally caught a glimpse of the characters from Frozen.

To me, the look on her face is the embodiment of Disney Magic.....

After the parade we toodled around for a bit, rode a few more rides, and then headed back to the hotel from some sleep.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2014 Disneyland Vacation - Travel Day

This year's Disney trip took us to Disneyland in California. With an assignment due any day now, this may be our last chance to be a hop, skip, and a jump (OK, an 8 hour drive) from the west coast Mouse, so off we went. As usual, we were up at Zero-Dark-Thirty and on the road. The Road Warrior drove, and the girls and I assumed our usual road trip positions....

Normally, we go for the long haul and get to Disney as fast as we can, but on our trip to California over the summer, we saw some familiar faces along the way and vowed to stop next time.

Meet the dinosaurs from Pee Wee's Big Adventure!!!!!

The girls have no frame of reference as to why we would drag them out of the car in the middle of nowhere, California to take pictures by giant concrete dinosaurs, and I am pretty sure that there was some eye-rolling involved, but worry not, they will soon be educated on this gem from my childhood!

Last summer, we were overtaken by Disney Mania while having our every whim met on a Disney cruise and we signed up to be members of the Disney Vacation Club. This was our first time staying at a DVC Property, in this case, The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian. It is a BEAUTIFULLY done luxurious property and I immediately fell in love with all the Craftsman details. Our villa wasn't quite ready when we arrived, so a valet whooshed away our bags and we headed to Downtown Disney for lunch and some shopping.

After lunch at Earl of Sandwich, where they had a life-changing Arnold Palmer made with Earl Grey tea, we had to make a stop at the Lego Store. I don't know what it is about Legos, but the transcend age, gender, and even teenage girls. Den and the girls jumped in and started building cars to race on the track they had set up.

After the race we continued meandering throughout all the shops and finally ended up in the new Frozen store. Let me tell you, Frozen is EVERYWHERE at Disney right now. Anyway, we were perusing their frosty themed goods when, all of the sudden, red lights started flashing, alarms started going off, and Nordic-clad workers began shepherding customers out of the store. There was a fire in the kitchen of the restaurant 2 doors down. The efficiency was pretty darn impressive, I have to say. Within a matter or minutes, cast members had evacuated all the businesses and formed a human blockade surrounding the area. I do feel the need to point out the irony of being evacuated from the FROZEN store for a FIRE. 

After the Downtown Disney excitement, it was approaching check-in time, so we strolled back to the hotel to chill in the lobby until we received the text that our room was ready. Lounging in the dark next to this fire and reading a book was one of the most relaxing things I have done in a while and proved to be too much for Den. The early start and the warm coziness caught up to him and it was lights out Haggis.

Once we got the text, we headed up to our room and to say that we were blown away was an understatement! We had booked the 2-bedroom villa since originally, Dennis' brother and his family were going to be joining us. Thanks to a cross-country move and a new job, they, sadly, weren't able to make it. So... we had this giant villa all to ourselves. I wish I had gotten pictures of everything when everything was freshly made and tidy, but by the time I got the camera out, the valet had arrived with our luggage and the HaggisFam had molted all over the place. One perk was that we had a full kitchen, so we were able to prepare meals in the room and that saved us a TON of money. 

This was the girls' room with their own private veranda

And in-suite bath

This was the third full bath off of the main living area. 

The master suite with it's own veranda. This picture does not do the luxury of this room any justice.

One of the coolest features, I thought, was this sliding panel that allowed a person soaking in the jetted tub a view of both the park and the tv in the bedroom. BTW, the closet that holds the toilet in this bathroom is actually bigger than our whole bathroom at home. #posh

Once we got all settled in, we headed down to the pool. It was too chilly for this girl to be swimming, but Den and the girlies braved the chill and had a blast.

We ended the day in our plushy spa robes and ate dinner while admiring our AMAZING view of the park. Shortly after this pic, we all passed out from exhaustion.